England, Eliza Seamons, "Pioneer sketch," in Daughters of Utah Pioneers (Salt Lake City, Utah), Scrapbooks.
While at Omaha I met William England, to whom I was married June 5th, 1860. We were married by W. S. Biggs, Justice of the Peace at Council Bluffs. Mother and the family left for Utah May 25th in Captain Franklin Brown's company.
In the spring of 1861 the civil war broke out. I remember that Orson Pratt visited us, and spoke in our meeting and read the revelation to Joseph Smith, given years before in which he predicted the coming of the war. The Saints began to arrange to go to Utah, and my husband and I prepared to go with them. We left Florence July 11, 1861, in Joseph Horne's company. We made good progress, some times traveling as far as thirty-three miles in one day. We were visited one day by a band of Sioux Indians all dressed in their war paint and feathers. They demanded to know, where we were going. When told that we were Mormons, going to Utah, they rode away and left us to go on in peace.
Our food consisted principally of bacon and bread, but some times we could gather pig weeds and make greens of them, which when seasoned with salt and pepper, were very good.
Our company consisted of 63 wagons, with four yoke of cattle to a wagon. There were twelve people assigned to each wagon. Owing to the crowded condition of the wagons we were compelled to make our beds on the ground, with the starry heavens above us. Still we enjoyed ourselves. When the ground was suitable we would gather and have a dance. Meetings were held on Sunday, and the Elders instructed and encouraged us. At night the bugle would sound and we would all offer up our prayers for protection on our journey.
There was considerable sickness in the company, and thirty three members died and were buried by the way side. They were often wrapped in blankets and laid away without a coffin or box of any kind. It was the best we could do.
As the fall months drew near great wind storms would arise, which brought clouds of dust which covered us from head to foot, so that we could hardly recognize each other. Later along in the mountains snow storms overtook us and we would have to shovel the snow off the ground before making down our beds. With the cold nights, and the howling of packs of wolves or coyotes[,] it was difficult for us to get the rest we needed.
One day we came close to a portion of Johnson's Army, which was going east to take part in the war. Our captain ordered us to travel around them so as not to meet them. As we came near the place called "Devil's Gate," we discovered a large grave or trench, in which fourteen people had been buried, each grave marked by a slight raise of the earth.
Passing through Echo canyon, we camped at the foot of the Big Mountain September 10th. The next day we crossed the mountain, and were compelled to walk all the way, owing to the steep grade and the heavily loaded wagons.
I shall always believe that the Lord gave me strength to climb that mountain, considering my condition, and from the fact that the only food or nourishment that I had taken for several days was bread and water, as I could not eat the salt bacon, and the next day while camped between these two mountains my first baby, a boy, was born.
To be in this condition at such a time and place, would appear to be trial enough, but as the company had to move on, I was placed in a wagon, and made as comfortable as possible under such conditions. It would be impossible for me to describe the suffering, pain and torture that I endured during the balance of that journey[.] Mothers who have passed this ordeal under more favorable conditions, with tender care can perhaps form some idea as to what I suffered while riding over a rough rocky road, in a jolty wagon. I was not the only one to suffer this trial, for two other babies were born in our company during the journey.
We reached Salt Lake City next day, where we stayed one day. My husband had only one dollar left with which to buy food or nourishment for me but kind friends made me as comfortable as possible.
The next day, in company with some Saints, we started for Cache Valley, by ox team.