Payne, Harry M., [Reminiscences], in Wilford H. Payne, The Harry M. Payne Family History , 28-29.
- Related Companies
- Joseph S. Rawlins Company (1864)
As soon as arrangements could be made, all the families who live in the house at Fallbrook started for Zion, leaving father Edward alone to work in the mines. So mother Emma [Powell Payne], who already had experienced the responsibility of bringing the family of children from England, again shouldered the burden of taking them from Pennsylvania on to Zion without father. What a splendid woman she was, a tower of strength to her husband and family
The families from Fallbrook, of which I was a part, traveled by rail to St. Joseph, Missouri, where we took a boat and went up the Missouri River to a point near Florence, Nebraska. We soon joined the saints in Camp Wyoming, where we met Grandma [Maria Mousley] Powell and family, and Uncle James Price and family, together with many old acquaintances from England.
In due time we were assigned to the company of Captain Joseph S. Rawlins, in a wagon train which was partially loaded with freight. On account of the large number of immigrants that year (there being nearly three thousand saints) it became necessary to load part of them on the freight wagon train. We were assigned to the wagon of William Coleman as follows: Grandpa [George] and Grandma [Maria Mousley] Powell with the three children; Mother Emma [Powell Payne] with four children; Uncle James and Aunt Ann [Powell] Price and their three children, fifteen in all. Thus, all their earthly possessions were loaded on top of a part of a load of freight. These extreme conditions required that all able-bodied individuals make the journey on foot.
I shall not try to describe in detail the journey as I remember it as a child, (of less than seven years) but I tell the story as I frequently tell it to my children and grandchildren as they cluster around my knees. When nearly half way to Utah, Thomas [Payne], the baby, nearly two years of age, took sick and lingered along for two or three weeks and finally died on August 22, 1864, as we were camped at a place called "Bitter Cottonwood." He died a martyr to the cause for want of proper food. He cried for a slice of yeast bread cut from a loaf, which could not be provided. He could not be comforted. He was unable to eat the rough food that was provided the company. As the wagon train left camp the following morning, our wagon lingered a little behind. They dressed Thomas's body in a little red dress and sewed him up in a sheet, there being no material available with which to make a coffin. The body was placed in a grave, with the end gate of a wagon box laid over it to protect it as much as possible; another mound to mark the way to Zion.
In later years mother cried when she talked about that bitter experience. I might mention here that when Mother Emma left father in Pennsylvania, she had only five dollars to her name, all she had to make the journey to Utah.
A week or two earlier, Uncle James and Aunt Ann buried a little boy [James William Price] about the same age as Thomas. Three weeks before reaching the valley, Aunt Ann gave birth to a baby girl who was named Maria Rawlins, in honor of our Captain. Thus there were two deaths and one birth from our wagon. Thomas died one night and Maria was born the following day before noon.
Grandma Maria Mousley Powell was not physically able to walk across the plains. She had erysipelas. Many times, after arriving in camp at night and making the fire of buffalo chips which we had gathered as we traveled along, Grandma Powell was buried to her knees in the ground so the damp earth could take out some of the inflammation.