Susan E. J. Martineau, "Almost an Indian Bride," Young Woman's Journal, June 1907, 264-65.
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In the summer of 1850 the writer, then just fourteen, crossed the plains with a company of Latter-day Saints, led by Capt. Stephen Markham, arriving in Salt Lake City in October. While traveling up the Platte a large party of Cheyennes journeyed in the same direction, usually camping not more than a mile or so distant from us, and often visited our camp to trade or for amusement.
One evening a young Cheyenne, probably twenty years of age, who had been a frequent visitor, announced that he desired the writer for his wife, and would pay a good price for her. "All right!" said a young man who had recently joined our company—a deserting soldier from Fort Kearney—"All right! You may have her for five horses, five buffalo robes, and some dried meat, and two antelope skins." This the young man said by way of a joke, little thinking the Indian took it in earnest, or realizing the consequences which might follow. The Indian assented, saying he would come "one sleep" and bring the pay. Many were the mock congratulations showered upon the bride-to-be and requests for invitations to the wedding, much to the annoyance of the prospective bride.
But the next morning affairs assumed a serious aspect. The Cheyenne appeared early in the morning with the horses and other articles specified, and demanded his bride. He was told that it was all in fun—a joke—and that the Mormons did not sell their girls either to white men or Indians. Also, that the young man who had made the bargain was no relative of the girl, and had no authority over her. But all this was words thrown away. The Indian was determined to have his bride. He had been told he could have her for such and such pay; he had brought it, and would have her, or the company would be sorry; and when he found himself absolutely denied, went away in furious rage, with dire threats of revenge.
All this caused great uneasiness in our camp, as we might be attacked—some one killed, or our teams be stolen, especially as the Indians no longer traveled with us or appeared in sight. Captain Markham was untiring in vigilance and all kept their arms in readiness for instant use.
A few days after the dispute our company camped on the bank of the Platte, about fifteen or twenty feet above the narrow river bottom, which was covered with a dense growth of willows. At sunset a terrible tempest of rain, hurricane, thunder and lightning came upon us, blowing wagon covers loose, leveling tents and drenching bedding and clothing. As our tent was about to fall the writer rushed out to hold up the rear tent pole while others held the other one up and drove the tent pegs more firmly into the sodden soil. The darkness, like that of Egypt, was illumined at intervals by blinding lightning flashes, and rain fell as in a deluge. While thus holding up the tent pole with all her strength, she suddenly felt herself lifted upon a horse by unseen hands, and some one sprang upon the horse behind her. At this instant a blinding flash of lightning revealed the young Cheyenne. With a scream the writer sprang to the ground, and men rushed to her assistance; and the Indian, foiled of his prey, dashed down among the willows and was gone in an instant. In the storm and darkness pursuit was impossible, and that was the last we ever saw of him or his party. For days he had dogged our camp waiting for an opportunity to carry away the wife, as he considered, he had honorably purchased; and had not a flash of lightning revealed his presence he would have succeeded very easily in his purpose, and she who writes this would never have been heard of more.
But, the Lord, by a single flash of light, overruled all, and sons and daughters, grand and great-grandchildren have done temple work for more than a thousand dead—work otherwise not done. How wonderful are the ways of the Lord! To Him be all praise and honor.