Rachel F. Burton autobiographical sketch, undated, 14-20.
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When we started for Salt Lake Valley we were
very rather destitute for my parents had spent all they had in bringing us from England to Nauvoo and then to Winter quarters.
We had lost one of our horses but we had three oxen, two cows, and one horse so father [Joseph Fielding] put the oxen
were on one. one wagon with the horse in front of them forming a spike team and the two cows on the other wagon with the third ox forming a spike team <and one of Aunt [Mary Fielding] Smith’s oxen making a double yoke of cattle> Mother [Hannah Greenwood Fielding] and Aunty drove the former with us children in it until the lines broke and then I had to lead it and father drove the other wagon with all our earthly possessions in it. I was bare footed and I walked most of the way from Winter quarters to Salt Lake for our harness was an old one to start with and we had not got far on our way when the lines gave out so I led the horse by the bridle. It was rather difficult sometimes on the rough roads for the horse often stepped on my heels and kept them sore.
When we got to Big Mountain mother and Aunty happened to be walking behind with father and I was leading the team quietly on a head with my little brother Joseph [Greenwood Fielding] and my little sister Mary [Ann Fielding] in the wagon. I remember the discent looked long and rather steep but I went on down without waiting for my parents.
When we got started down, however, the hill seemed worse than ever for the wagon pushed the oxen and the oxen hooked the horse and the horse kept stepping on my feet. and I had to run. I called to the children to sit down and we came down big mountain rather fast.
The people at the bottom were very much alarmed and shouted “that child will be killed! that child will be killed!” But we arrived at the bottom in safety. I would not think of leaving go of that bridle because the children were in the wagon.
My feet got dreadfully cut and bruised and my tracks could be traced for some distance by the blood.
We had lots of enjoyable times on the Plains as well as sad ones. Some nights we camped early and in the evenings we had immense bon-fires and the saints would gather round and sing hymns or dance and make-merry. The bigger the fire, the better and the spirit with which the hymns were sung was an inspiration.
When we camped our wagons were placed in a circle thus forming a correll for the cattle for the night.
Some times we had to travel quite late before we found a good camping ground for in many places the grass was scarse or else the water was.
We often saw large herds of buffalo and then the men would kill one so we could all have a little meat. Once we saw a large herd of deer and it pleased me so much to see how nimbly they ran.
I remember one time we came to what seemed a large lake of saleratus and all the women got some. I helped my mother and we filled our aprons. It was in cakes. Mother took care of it and we had saleratus for a long time and used it instead of soda. We were glad of it when ever our bread was sour as it was quite often owing to the way in which we had to neglect it in our travels.
In all our worries and frights I never was badly frightened for I had such confidence in my parents. Little children like little chicks run to mother for protection. Father and mother carry all the cares.
We arrived in Salt Lake City 23 September 1848. I remember feeling so glad that we had got to Zion and relieved that we did not have to travel any more. I ran up on to the temple square and all over, my parents could scarsely keep track of me.
. . . I forgot to tell about an experience we had on the *plains.* Once the ox we had of Aunt Smith’s got sick and it seemed as if it would die but my father poured oil on it and administered to it and it lay perfectly still a few minutes and got up and shook itself and ate a little grass and father hitched it up and it was all right after that.