"Daniel C. Wood," In Biographical Information Relating to Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database.
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I was born in Council Bluff, Iowa, Jan. 27, 1847, the son of Daniel Wood and Peninah Cotton. After ten years became members of L.D.S. Church through the direct teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith. After they accepted the gospel, he took his first wife, Mary Snider, to Nauvoo Temple and was married according to the laws of the church, then the same day he took the second wife Peninah Cotton, and married her. My mother was the second of seven wives. I am one of a family of forty three children. Joseph Smith was proud of my father and spoke of him as being one of the most honest, upright men in the country.
When Brigham Young made up the first train of pioneers to come to Utah in 1847, father was anxious to come but couldn’t dispose of his property, so had to wait until the next spring. We landed in Salt Lake on the 14th of August in 1848. Father and Mr. Simons came up to the place that is now Woods Cross and staked out the land. They opened up the first farms north of Salt Lake City. I remember riding the old plowbeam made by my father and pulled by two yoke of cattle to plow the first furrow this side of Salt Lake. There was no sage brush where father located, but the land was covered with bunch grass. On this dry and desolate land we started to make our living and build our home. As the years went by and my father took other wives and his family increased he built his own church and school other wives and his family increased he built his own church and school house in which to educate his children. They also had their own cemetery.
I seemed to be rather a favorite of my father for every time he wanted something special he called on me. Every year teams were sent back to the plains to help other settlers into the country. About 1865 a yoke of cattle coming across the plains got tender footed and had to be left behind near Park City, on Silver Creek Ranch. My father was asked to see that they were sent for. So father came to me and told me to go. I was 16 years old. I saddled my horse and started early in the morning through Salt Lake, up Emigration Canyon, over the divide and down in Parley’s Canyon and the Silver Creek country. I arrived at the ranch and found the cattle, then went to stay with some friends, George Pace and Amos Atkins. This was my first night away from home and I was rather homesick, but everything went fine. I took the cattle home safely the next day.
My second experience in staying away from home came in 1868 when my father was asked to furnish a driver to go back to Omaha to bring in immigrants. Father asked me to go, and though not very anxious I consented. We started on the long hard journey the first part of April. Two trains were made up of about 75 wagons each ---the ox train and the mule train. I was in the mule train with Horton Hale of Bountiful as our captain. The beginning of our trip was pleasant and everything went fine until we had gone thru Echo Canyon and were going thru the South Pass toward Evanston, Wyoming, when one day our captain saw a band of several hundred Indians following us. For three days and nights they followed us. We became very uneasy. Our captain must have been worried for he instructed any of us who wished to do so to write home. So I wrote to father, told him that the Indians were on the war path and asked him to pray for us that the Indians might be turned away. Within the next few days the Indians retreated and none of our band were harmed. I later found out that father and the rest of the saints had prayed very earnestly for us, and I believe that the Indians retreated in answer to their prayers.
We continued on our journey to the North Platte River, which we had to cross. The captain always made a habit of crossing the river as soon as he came to it, but as the side on which we were on was grassy meadow land, and the other was barren and rough, we decided to camp and cross on the morning. As the day faded away, we could see clouds in the sky miles away but there was no storm so we spent a peaceful night. The next morning we awoke with much regret, the river had risen so much that we didn’t dare to cross. For three long weeks we waited for the river to go down. The summer was passing so fast that the captain decided to make a ford and trust in the Lord to help us safely across. Five men on horses explored the river and decided on what they thought was the safest place to cross.
Our next stop was at Lee’s Ferry which we reached the afternoon of the July 24th, 1874. It took our outfit three days to cross the Colorado River on a ferry. We had to pay $2.50 for single teams and $3.50 for four horse teams. As it was a holiday we all donated grub and Mrs. Lee, and her small son cooked us a big dinner.
The following incident shows in what strange ways old acquaintances meet. Not many years ago my son Andrew and I were camped on the Blackfoot river 12 miles north of Soda Sprints. As we were cooking dinner we saw a young man about 16, fishing in a nearby river. I sent Andrew to ask him to come and eat with us. He accepted. While we were eating he related to us that he lived in Burley, but was up here herding sheep with his father. When we told him we were on our way to Blackfoot he said they were camped right on our way home and invited us to come and stay all night. We went and while talking after supper I discovered that the boy’s father was one of the boys who helped his mother cook that 24th of July dinner for us at Lee’s Ferry. He remembered the incident very well.
While spending my boyhood days at Bountiful, my best pal was Irie Hatch. He was always curious about the Indians and vowed that someday he would learn their language. When he grew up he married Many Pace, daughter of Ed Pace. A short time after the marriage Mandy died. Six months later Irie was called by Pres. Young to go and labor among the Indians and if possible to live with them the rest of his life to teach them our ways and religion. He did as he was bade, married tow Indian maidens and has some fine children. He had been with the Indians 15 years when we started on our trip. Pres. Young sent him word to meet us at the Colorado River and to with us as an interpreter. We met him a few days after leaving Lee’s ferry. From here to the rest of the trip he acted as a guide and interpreter for us and we were very successful in our labors.
After filling our mission I returned to Bountiful and when 22, I was married to Elizabeth Waddoups whose family I helped to move across the plains. We were married in an old endowment house before the temple was built. We lived in Woods Cross until Elizabeth, our 6th child, and 1st girl was 2 years old. We then moved to Rockland, Idaho, where we stayed for five years then lived in Star Valley for 7 years. While here I was called on a mission to England. Shortly after returning in 1894 my wife died and a few years later I married Margaret Ann Edwards, who came from England. We moved to Blackfoot, where I expect to spend the remaining years of my life.