Sharp, Sarah Bethula Palmer, Autobiographical sketch, 1931, 5p.
At Florence, we camped on a hilly country, at least it was near Florence. We must have been there nearly two weeks and we left July 2nd or 3rd. The reason we were there so long was that we were all coming in on what was called, "Church Trains."
When you came with the Church Trains you had to pay a certain amount for food and transportation, or pay what you could when you started and the rest as soon after you got there, with interest, until paid. They traveled three trains, about ½ day drive apart, so if any serious accident with Indians occurred, they could help each other. I am glad to say we met up with none of these.
So many people wanted to come to Utah and some could not afford teams of oxen and wagons and some could not drive them if they had them. Others did not want to buy wagons as they would have no use for them after they got to Utah. So the Church got different ones, anyone who could spare one ox or more, a wagon, a cover, an oxen yoke, etc., until the amount of wagons and oxen were all made up. Joseph Horne, who everyone called "Captain Horne" was Captain of the train we arrived in.
The men (teamsters, mostly young ones) were called as missionaries to drive. They received no pay, only their food. The train we were to go in was late in getting to Florence. If I ever knew why it was late, I have forgotten. There was a Gentile firm, Livingston and Bell, who had a store in Salt Lake City. They had a train of new empty wagons to take to Salt Lake, and as they were not ready to start, they let the Emigrants stay in those wagons. We stayed several days.
When our train from Salt Lake arrived at last, we were all loaded and ready to start to Great Salt Lake City, for it was called at that time and for many years after, "Great Salt Lake City."
All that 13 people owned was in the wagon where my people were put. All wagons were loaded about the same. Father, Mother, and we four children; five of another family of Philadelphia, and an old couple from Brooklyn—13 surely left no place to ride. The old lady from Brooklyn died on the way. Mother was sick nearly all the way and could not walk. After the Old Lady died, my sister, Selinda, took "Mountain Fever" and, of course, had to ride. Two of the family of five slept in the back part of the wagon, my parents in the front part, and I across the front. The others must have had a tent to sleep in. I can't remember and Eliza says she can't, so all we could do was get out and walk. I walked many, many days without one bit of a ride for 10 to 15 miles.
The train was made up of 46 wagons with passengers, two belonged to the Captain and 6 carried supplies, and the night herders slept in them in the day.
When camp was made, it was always circle-shaped and all wagon tongues were inside. The reason they camped in a circle was for protection for cattle against Indians. Sometimes there were openings in two places, but always one. When the oxen were yoked they were in the center, as the tongues were right there. The night herders on horseback drove them to water and feed for the night and in the morning when they were again in the circle, the teamsters caught and yoked their own oxen. The wagon tongues were right there and to snap the chains on and all ready to start again was important. There were about a dozen boys and girls about my size who clung together. When the cattle came in, we would start to walk ahead of the train and many, many times we kept ahead of the train until it was time to camp for noon. Then after dinner—off again. Once in a great while, one of the teamsters would boost one of us up for a few miles ride. I can't remember, neither can Eliza, what we had to eat. We got our rations once in two weeks (I think). Flour, bacon, coffee, and Eliza thinks beans. Perhaps so. I can't remember. Some men had guns and once in a while they would kill a rabbit. But when that happened, the neighbors were not invited to dinner.
Once in a while there was a dance after supper. But as I was too small to dance, and too tired and sleepy to stay up, I don't remember of seeing the dancing but once. I recall the fiddler. His name was Hop Penler. And all teamsters and night herders and Hop were from Cache Valley. The man who drove our team was Henry Dennison Durfey. He said his grandmother was a squaw. I was fond of him. The main reason for the fondness, I guess, was if it was possible to let me ride, he would let me.
My mother was very sick one day when Father said, "You must get out and walk or you will die in the wagon." So he helped her out. She could not stand alone. The first telegraph line was just being put up. The poles lay along the line for miles. Father said, "Just go from one pole to another." Then she took his arm and, oh my, I will never forget how slow. When they reached the pole he let her rest and then got her in the wagon. Next day she went one pole further and so on and on, one pole further. She had a very bad spell when we were camped at "Little Mountain." We children and the elders were called in the tent, but she rallied again and in two or three days, we arrived in Salt Lake, and it was many days before she could take a step alone.
On the 13th day of September, 1861 we arrived in Salt Lake. We were all cleaned up and all of we youngsters were ahead of the train. The only things that stand out in my mind as we came out of the Canyon (Emigration) was the Lake and a small white house that belonged to President Young which was torn down when the Elks Club house was built on South Temple.
We, as all emigrant trains did, camped on the 8th Ward Square, where now stands the City and County Building. A number of old Chester County people, friends of my parents, came to see us.