Joseph F. Smith, "How One Widow [Mary Fielding Smith] Crossed the Plains," Young Woman's Journal, February 1919, 165, 171.
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- Source Locations
- Church History Library, M205.1 Y81 v. 1-40 1889-1929
- Related Companies
- Heber C. Kimball Company (1848)
"In the spring of '48 there was a move westward and the widow went to Elkhorn. Up to this time one of the teams had two wagons and when we reached a hill, we uncoupled one wagon, taking one at a time. The widow feared to cross the plains in this way and so applied to the Church agent for help. This was refused and she was advised to turn back. This she declined to do, telling the agent, 'I will beat you to the valley and ask for no help either.' The agent's answer was, 'You will prove a burden to your company.' Accompanied by her brother, she went back and returned fully equipped, having arranged for the loan of teams, promising to send them back on reaching the valley. On being assigned to companies, the widow's lot fell to that of the agent who had refused her assistance.
"We journeyed on, meeting with mishaps, losing our oxen, etc. At one time, I remember, one of our oxen, 'Old Buck' was taken sick and the captain said: 'It will die, unyoke it, and leave it,' closing his remarks with, 'I told you that you would be a burden to your company.' The widow went to her wagon, brought a bottle of consecrated oil and with the assistance of Brothers Fielding and Terry used it. 'Old Buck' jumped to his feet and we went on our way rejoicing. Later the captain met with the same misfortune, the widow offered help but her assistance was declined.
"Just before entering the valley, we were met by Brother James Lawson, who had come to assist and guide us. On the 22nd of September, 1848, we saw the valley and we were among the happiest people on the earth. We saw our Mecca, our resting place.
"At the last camping place the widow again lost her oxen, and the captain not being willing to wait, the company rolled out, leaving the widow behind and here she expected to spend the night, but shortly after the company left a cloud burst, the rain literally poured, driving the cattle into camp. We yoked up, continued our journey and passed the captain on the way. We did not stop and camp at dark, but with Brother Lawson for guide traveled on, reaching the fort at 11 the night of September 23rd.
"The next day, September 24th, was Sunday. After the luxury of a bath, we went to meeting and heard Brother Brigham and others preach. On our way home, we met the captain, tired and dirty, just entering the fort, thus proving the truth of the widow's words: 'I will beat you to the valley and ask for no help either.' "