"A Novel Journey," Deseret News [Weekly], 29 Oct. 1856, 266.
- Related Companies
- Company Unknown (1856)
CINCINNATI, Aug. 12, 1856
EDITOR OF THE DESERET NEWS:
Dear Sir: I was at Payson, about 70 miles south of G. S. L. City, at the time of our last April Conference, but upon being informed that I was appointed on a mission to England I repaired to G. S. L. City, where I arrived on the 22nd of April, the same day that the missionaries left.
I waited day after day for a team going to the States, but as I could not find any opportunity for conveyance I determined to go on foot. Elder Richard Ballantyne procured me about 18 lbs of crackers and some meat, and I then started on foot and alone, on the 8th of May, to perform a journey of 1200 Miles.
A brother told me that I should never get to the States, that I might be killed by the Indians or be eat up by wild beasts, or be starved, or die by some disease, no one to administer to my wants.
I arrived at br. Kilyon's at the foot of the Little Mountain, on the first day. I asked him if he would let me stay there that night; he told me I was quite welcome.
I renewed my journey after breakfast, and when I had got over the Little Mountain some distance I met a man coming out of a house; he asked me where I was going. I told him I was going to br. Robison's at Fort Bridger. He told me that br. Robison was a selfish man, that he would do nothing for me, and that I had better come in and stay at his house a few days, for a team to come past and take me along. I went in and stopped, but when I turned my back he took about half of my crackers and robbed me of my pistol. I then thought it was time to leave his house, and took my things and went on my journey.
Before I reached the top of the Big Mountain three lads overtook me. I asked them where they were going; they said to Fort Laramie. I told them that if they were willing I would go with them; they had a gun and expected to kill game for food. I told them that I would share my crackers until they were gone; they lasted until we got into Echo kanyon, where we saw two mountaineers on horseback.
We told them that we had nothing to eat; they gave the lads some crackers and told them to overtake them in the evening and rode on. It soon began to rain pretty hard, and I stopped under a tree for shelter. When the rain was over I came from beneath the tree, but I could see nothing of the lads; they had made off with the crackers and left me with nothing to eat.
It was getting dark and began to rain again. I fixed up one of my blankets to keep the rain off and laid down upon the other. In the morning I wrung the water out of my blankets and having no food I picked up some wild herbs and eat them. I thought of Elijah when he was in the wilderness, about the same as I then was, and how the Almighty fed him by sending a raven with bread. I thought that the Lord could do something for me, seeing that I was placed in the same circumstances, and I prayed to my Father in heaven that he would cause me to obtain some bread by the way.
Did the Lord hear my prayer and grant my request? I may say that he did, for about four in the afternoon, and just east of Bear river, I saw a stick stuck up in the middle of the road with a budget tied to it. I untied the budget and found some crackers, and a note stating that the mountaineers, upon being told that I was left without anything to eat, said to each other that the missionary will be starved if we don't leave him something to eat; that they had passed that day at noon, and for me to make haste and overtake them.
On the next day I arrived at Fort Bridger, earlier than I expected. I remained there a week and did some work, and br. Robison gave me a little bread to take along with me.
When I got to Green river I had nothing to eat, but I met a band of Indians, and traded some gun caps for a good portion of dried meat. In three miles I met another band of Indians, and it being near dark I stopped, and one of them invited me into his lodge and gave some dried meat for my supper, and a buffalo robe to lay upon.
I had a good night's sleep, and as soon as day they made preparations to start. They were going part of my way, and I went with them. There were about 300 of them. I crossed Green river with them; one could talk a little English and he told me not to go any farther, that I would be killed by a hostile tribe. Being determined to perform my mission I shut up my ears and went on, trusting in the Almighty.
I traveled on until I came to Platte bridge, and on the east side I saw a camp of United States' soldiers. I went to the cook house and told the cook my circumstance; he told me wait a little and I should have something to eat. The soldiers came round me, and gave me a pair of shoes and some other things.
When night came, they told me to come into their tent and sleep along with them. They were laying under arms, and had an Indian chief bound in irons, and expected that the tribe would come and try to rescue him.
The officers told me I might stop as long as I liked and rest myself; and that they would give me provision enough to last me to Fort Laramie.
At the Platte bridge I engaged with a man going to the States, and was to have $10 a month. When we got to Fort Laramie a man that I saw at Fort Bridger overtook me, he was not a Mormon, and told the man I had hired to that I was a missionary to England. I was then discharged on the plains, but on the same day I met with a government train and engaged for $25 a month to Fort Leavenworth.
I arrived at Fort Leavenworth on the 21st of July, having rested on the plains about four weeks of the time out, and I can say truly that the Spirit of the Lord has been with me all the time. While I was alone, and even when I had nothing to eat, I could rejoice, I could lay down with safety, knowing that the power of God was round about me. I could rise in the morning thanking my God for his protecting arm. But I believe that if I had been an apostate I should not have reached the States.
SAMUEL JOHN COOK