JOHN ALEXANDER JOST 1809-1905
MARY ANN JOST (ELMER) 1847-1925
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
James G. Willie Company (1856)
Departure: 15 July 1856
Arrival: 9 November 1856
Company Information: 4th handcart company which had about 500 individuals, 100 handcarts, and 5 wagons in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Iowa City, Iowa.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Jost, John Alexander
Birth Date: 17 December 1811
Death Date: 25 March 1905
Company: James G. Willie Company (1856)
and family; joined the Hodgett Company at Ft. Laramie
Fourth Hand-Cart Company—Capt. J. G. Willie.
Wagon Company, organized at Florence, with the Fourth Hand Cart Company. FROM ENGLAND.J[ames]. S[herlock]. Cantwell and family, J[ohn]. T[homas]. Geary and family.
FROM THE UNITED STATES.A. L. [Andrew Lafayette] Siler, N. L. [Neils Lars] Christianson, Reverina [Mount] Leason and son, J. A. [John Alexander] Jost and family, C. [Christine] Anderson.
Source of Trail Excerpt:
"Immigration to Utah," Deseret News [Weekly], 15 Oct. 1856, 254.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Cantwell, James to S. S. Jones, 28 Sep. 1906, in Handcart Veterans Association, Scrapbook, 1906-1914.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Smithfield September 28th 1906
I have often wondered why it was that so little was ever mentioned about those who crossed the plains with the hand-carts in the year 1856. Of course I was more interested in that year, because with my Fathers family came in that fatal year. I was nearly fourteen years of age, and I never can forget what we passed through on that trip. I used to think I would like to forget that part of my history, but of later years I have taken quite an interest in clipping from the papers the testimony of those that have been placed in print. I also have my Father's record and it helps me in dates and names. I see by the Deseret News there will be a gathering of the hand-cart people and also those who came to the rescue. We have in our town men who took an active part in that work[.] there names are Peter Tidwell[,] Geo. G. Merrill & E.R. Miles, we have also eleven who came in 1856. I will give you a short sketch of that history
The captain of our company was Ja[me]s G Willie and his assistants were Jesse Haven & Millen Atwood.
We left Florence on the 17th of August. Our company was composed of 10 wagons and 76 hand-carts. 5 of the wagons belonged to the following men Andrew L Siler, John A. Jost William Wilford [Allen], Ja[me]s S. Cantwell & W[illia]m H Kimball. The other five wagons were to haul the provisions, tents and extra baggage and when any were sick and could not walk, they were put in the wagons. We had traveled about 170 miles and had camped with the Pawnees, they being the only Indians on the plains that were friendly. They informed us that a few miles ahead the Cheyennes had killed 4 men and a child and taken the Mother prisoner, the outfit belonged to Alma Babbitt. They were camped on a small stream waiting for us to come up so they could travel with us. The wolves were digging their bodies up so we throwed a mound of dirt on them.
August 31st Alma Babbitt overtook us. He swore he would kill the first Cheyennes he saw, he was carrying the mail, and had a man on guard by the name of Sutherland.
On September 2nd we came to where Mr Babbitt had been killed and the letters and papers scattered over the ground.
On the night of the 4th the buffalo got among our cattle and quite a number ran away with them. We did not find them and it left us in a weak condition for teams.
On the evening of the 5th Porter Rockwell came to our camp, having been with the Smoot camp five miles ahead. He tried to find our cattle but failed
September 17th my sister Ellen was bitten by a large rattle snake[.] it caught her by the two first fingers as she pointed at it, this was at a place called Scotts Bluff. They tied her arm about half way between the wrist and elbow, the flesh fell off the back of her hand and her life hung in the balance until long after we came to the valleys.
We arrived at Laramie on October 1st. Owing to the condition of my sister and our teams very poor, those owning 4 of the independent wagons stayed there to recruit. Captain Willie's company went on and my brother Frank [Francis] went with them.
We stayed until the 17th and left with Captain Hodge[tt]s wagon and Captain Edward Martins hand-cart company.
On the 19th it started to rain, hail, & snow, we made all haste and camped at a place called Buttes. We camped there about 8 days, it storming so we could not travel. It was there they commenced to die from hunger & cold. It was deemed advisable to travel on but the cold & snow made our traveling slow and I do not think there was a day we did not have to bury some[,] the greatest number at once being 14. I have an old spade that was used in covering them.
On the 4th of November we arrived at Devil's Gate &
on the 5th Captain John Hunts Co came in[.] To give a just description of what we passed through there, would be too much of an undertaking for me for the weather was very severe, and the people almost lost all heart. Many of our remain[in]g cattle died & the only thing left was to leave every thing we could leave, take some of the lightest wagons & travel on.
We left on the 8th and arrived at Bridger on December the first. All of our cattle were dead and many of the peoples cattle.
On the afternoon of the 4th some teams arrived from the valleys, there were 7 or 8 and two span on a wagon. The snow was about 20 inches deep. I remember four of the mens names or they were all from Lehi, Wm Dawson Alonzo D Rhodes, John Skeen & Geo G Merrill. Wm Dawson was acquainted with my Father and we rode in his wagon to S.L. City
We left Bridger on the 6th
and arrived in Salt Lake on the 14th of December. The snow was 18 to 20 ft deep on the big mountain.
We camped between the two mountains on the night of the 13th the road being kept open by men with shovels and ox teams from the valleys. The wind was blowing & drifting the snow every day so they had to break the road through every few hours. I will also give you the names of those living here who came in that year with the hand-carts—James Meikle, & John McDonald came in Daniel McCarthys Co, Euphemia Mitchell, wife of R.A. Bain & Elizabeth Read came in Jas G Willie's Co. Jas. B. Shorten and Ellen Parkinson wife of Hyrum Covey came in Edward Martins Co. Annie Brighton wife of Rob[er]t Thomley [Thornley] came in Israel Evans Co and Ja[me]s Sheen in Ellsworths Co. I thought this would not be amiss in getting together the names and where-abouts of some who often speak of those dark days. Hoping you will accept this in the spirit given I remain Yours Sincerely
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Cantwell, James, Autobiography, in Joel Edward Ricks, Cache Valley Historical Material [ca. 1955], reel 3, item 29.
Read Trail Excerpt:
It was the 17th of August that we started for the valley.
The captain’s name was James F. Willie. His asistants were Jesse Haven and Mellen Alwood [Millen Atwood]. The company was composed of 76 handcarts and 10 wagons. 5 of the wagons belonged to Andrew L. Siler, John A. Joste [Jost], William Wilford, James S. Cantwell and William Kimball. The other 5 wagons belong to the handcart company and were to hawl the tents, provisions and extra baggage and when there was anyone that was sick and could not walk they were put in the wagons.
On the handcarts the bedding, cooking untensils, rations for the day, vessels to hawl water to use along the road, and such changes of clothes as was necessary; also firearms for we were continually watching for trouble with the Indians.
Between the 17th and the 29th of August we had traveled about 170 miles, and that night camped with the Pawnees. They were almost the only Indians that were friendly on the plains. They informed us that the Cheyennes had killed 4 men and a child and taken a woman prisoner. Her name was Wilson but she was never heard from afterwards.
Their wagons belonged to Almon Babbit and they were camped waiting for a company to travel with—thinking there was no danger being so near Fort Kearney.
The Pawnees buried these bodies but so shallow that the wolves were digging them up. So we threw a [m]ound of dirt on top of their grave.
On the 31st Almon Babbit overtook us. He was carrying the mail and had a man with him as guard by the name of Sutherland. when he was [saw] what the Cheyennes had done he was wild with rage, and swore he would kill the first Cheyenne he was [saw].
There was a woman traveling with them, but being as the Indians were so bad she stayed with us. We brought her as far as Fort Larimie [Laramie]. Her name was Nancy Stewart.
Babbit started on ahead of us but in a few days we came to there [where] both men had been killed, and the mail torn and scattered over the ground.
The night of the 4th of September some of our cattle ran off with buffalos and we neve[r] got them again. So it left us in a weak condition.
On the evening of the 5th Porter Rockwell come to our camp, he went to recover our stock but failed. He was with Smoots camp. A short distance a head.
On September 17th near a place called Scotts Bluffs [Bluff] my sister Ellen was bitten by a large rattle snake. It caught her by the first two fingers as she was pointing at it. They tied her arm between the elbow and wrist to keep the poison from going [i]nto her body. By the time she got to camp the poison was above the wrist. The flesh dropped off the back of her hand and she never recovered till the next summer.
We arrived in Larimie [Laramie] on the 1st day of October, and owing to my sisters condition and our cattle being very poor, those owning 4 of the independant wagons stayed a while to recriut. Captain [James G.] Willie went on and my brother Frank [Francis Robert Cantwell] went with them. We stayed there when Captain Benjamin Hodgett’s wagon and Edward Martin’s handcart company came in and we went on aga[i]n with them.
On the 19th it stormed with rain, ahil [hail], and snow. We hurried and camped at a place called Buttes and stayed there 8 days during which time it stormed almost incessently. It was there that the people began dying from hunger and cold. After the storm we broke camp determined to travel as fast as possible but we made but slow progress for the weather was cold, roads were frozen and the feet of our oxen soon were cut up and made blood tracks.
Those pulling handcarts began to lose heart and felt that life had no object. Our death rate increased, Ma[n]y of our cattle died, but we kept on, and on the 4th of November we arrived at Devil’s Gate and on the 5th Captain John Hunts company came in. To give a description of what we suffered while there is beyond my power for the weather continued very severe, and the people were discouraged. It snowed and blowed for days and many more of our remaining cattle died. So the only thing left for us to do was to leave everything that could be left and travel on. There were about 1200 men, women and children with scarcely anything to eat.
Many dying every day, and I do not believe half that number ever got into the Valley. I do not believe there could be any account kept but the most I remember of dying in one day was 14.
We had little order in our traveling from Devil’s Gate to Fort Bridger, for those who came from the valleys told us to go as far as we could, so we were strung along for many miles and the most of our living was on the cattle that had died.
We left Devils Gate on November 8 and arrived at Fort Bridger December 1st. All of our cattle being dead and very few of anybody else’s left.
On the afternoon of the 4th some teams came to us from the Valley. There were 7 or 8, two span of horses on a wagon; the snow was 20 inches deep.
I remember the names of 4 of the men and they were from Lehi—William Dawson, Alonzo D. Rhodes, John Skeen and George F. Merrill.
William Dawson was acquainted with my father, so we rode in his wagon to Salt Lake City. We left Bridger on the morning of the 6th of December and arrived in the City on the 14th. The snow was 18 to 20 feet deep on the mountains. We camped between Big and Little mountains on the night of the 13th. The road was kept open by men from the valleys with shovels and teams. The wind was blowing and drifting the snow every day so they had to open and pack the snow every few hours.
I have before me a history of that terrible time and will copy that part of it that relates to that part of our history. This history is entitled “Forty Years Among the Indians” and was written by Daniel W. Jones one of the men who came to our rescue. He has described it much better than I can but there are a few items in my experience that I wished to leave to those that will follow after. This history I will copy and begin at the XI chapter, as follows:—
“I attended the October conference of 1856. When conference was opened President Young arose and said: “There are a number of our people on the plains who have started to come with handcarts; they will need help and I want twenty teams to be ready by morning with 2 men to each team to go out and meet them. If the teams are not voluntary furnished there are plenty of good ones in the street and I shall call upon Brother J. C. Little, the marshal, to furnish them. Now we will adjourn [adjourn] this conference until tomorrow.” Brother Young was in earnest; he seemed moved by a spirit that would admit of no delay.
“A few days before this a few elders had arrived from the old country reporting that the handcart company were on the road but they did not know how far they had advanced.
In those days there was no telegraph and mail from the east only reached Utah monthly, they being many times delayed by high water, Indians or other causes.
“Brother Young called upon every one present to lend a hand in fitting up these teams. As I was going out with the crowd, Brother Wells spoke to me saying “You are a good hand for the trip; get ready.” Soon after Bishop Hunter said the same thing to me. Also Brother Grant met me and said: “I want you on this trip.” I began to think it time to decide, so I answered “all right.”
“I had a saddle horse. We were instructed to get everything we could ready and rendenvous between Big and Little Mountains, a short day’s drive out from Salt Lake. Next day teams and volunteer men were ready. A better outfit and one more adapted to the work before us I do not think could have possibly been selected if a week had been spent in fitting up. Besides the wagons and teams several men went horseback. But best of all, those going were alive to the work and were of the best material possible for the occasion.
“As soon as we were all together we organized and moved on. George D. Grant was selected captain, with Robert Burton and William Kimball as assistants: Cyrus Wheelock, chaplain; Charles Decker Guide. I was given the important position of chief cook for the head mess.
“I was quite proud of my office, for it made me the most sought after and popular man in the camp. The rest of the company was made up of the following persons: Joseph A. Young, Chauncey Webb, H. H. Chiff, D. P. Kimball, George W. Grant, Ed Peck, Joel Parrish, Henry Goldsbrough, Thomas Alexander, Benjamin Hampton, Thomas Ricks, Abe Garr, Charles Grey, Al Huntington, “Handsome Cupid,” Stephen Taylor, William K. Broomhead, Ira Nebeker, Redick Allred, Amos Fairbanks and Tom Bankhead, a colored man. These are all the names I remember, if there were any more I have been unable to find them.
“The weather soom [soon] became cold and stormy. We traveled hard never taking time to stop for dinner. On getting into camp all were hungry and ready to help. No doubt many of the boys remember the hearty suppers eaten on this expedition. There was some expectation of meeting the 1st train, Brother Willie’s on or about Green River.
We began to feel great anxiety about the emigrants as the weather was now cold and stormy, and we, strong men with good outfits, found the nights severe. What must be the condition of those we were to meet. Many old men and women, little children, mothers with nursing babies, crossing the plains pulling handcarts. Our hearts began to ache when we reached Green River and yet no word of them. Here an express was sent on ahead with a light wagon to meet and cheer the people up. Cyrus Wheelock and Stephen Taylor went with this express.
“At the South Pass we encountered a severe snowstorm. After crossing the devide we tuned down into a sheltered place on the Sweetwater. While in camp and during the storm two men were seen on horseback going west. They were hailed. On reaching us they proved to be Brothers [James G.] Willie and J[oseph]. B[enson]. Elder. They reported their company in a starving condition at their camp then east of Rocky Ridge and said our express had gone on to meet the other companies still in the rear. We started immediately thru the storm to reach Brother Willie’s camp.
“One [On] arriving we found them in a condition that would stir the feelings of the hardest heart. They were in a poor place the storm having caught them where fuel was scarce. They were out of provisions and really freezing and starving to death. The morning after our arrival nine were buried in one grave. We did all we could to releive them. The boys struck out on horseback and dragged up a lot of wood; provisions were distributed and all went to work to cheer the sufferers. Soon there was an improvement in camp, but many poor faithful people had gone too far—had passed beyond the power to recruit. Our help came too late for some and many died after our arival.
“William Kimball with a few men and wagons turned back taking the over sight of this company to help them in. Capt. Grant left a load of flour with Redrick Allred to guard it. There were several hundred people with Brother Willie. They had a few teams but most of them had become too weak to be of much service. When we left Salt Lake it was understood that other teams would follow until all the help needed would be on the road. The greater portion of our company now continued on towards Devil’s Gate, traveling thru snow all the way. When we arrived at Devil’s Gate we found our express there awaiting us. No tidings as yet were received of the other companies.
“Having seen the sufferings of Brother Willie’s Campany, we more fully realized the danger the others were in. The Elders who had just returned from England having many dear friends with these companies, suffered great anxiety, some of them feeling, more or less the responsibility resting upon them for allowing these people to start so late in the season across the plains.
“At first we were at a lost [loss] what to do for we did not expect to have to go further than Devil’s Gate. We decided to make camp and send on an express to find where the people were and not to return until they were found.
“Joseph A. Young, Abe Garr and I were selected. (Some histories give other [text missing]
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Elder, Joseph Benson, Journal, 21-28.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Tuesday 6th – Arrived at Florence just at sunset[.] the large herd had just got over and they had not yet let down steem[.] we found sum cattle strung along the road[.] we gathered them up and drove them into camp[.] oh how glad I was to get back again to old winter quarters[.] I supose because I liked it was that it was the nearest place to Zion I had yet been[.] many of my friends also rejoised at my safe arival
Wednesday 7th – I thought to have had a little rest but Brother VanCot called upon Brother Clough and I to take charge of the herd imediately etc.
Thursday 8th – herding
Fryday 9th – the handcart company exspected who would take a part of the cattle
Saturday 10th – the Handcarts arived true enough[.] there was about a hundred of them and about five hundred persons[.] I was agreeably surprised at the health and good feelings and cheerfulness of the camp[.] they traveled from 15 to 18 miles per day[.] the spirit of the Lord was with them[.] the greater portion of them was in better health than when they left Iowa city ---- that night a fiew of the Devils that walk in gents Boots who reside in Bluff city came over to fulfill their mision and do all they could against the handcart emigration[.] quite a muss
Sunday 11th – I herded cattle all day
Monday 12th – awkward herds[.] man to help
Tuesday 13th – meeting at night[.] sweet singing – a favorite song composed by E. Hill
Wednesday 14th – herding as usual from daylight until dark
Thurs. 15th – long and tedious days[.] at night about 10 oclock I was waked up by sum of the Boys[.] they said I was wanted[.] I got up and went down to the corell[.] they proposed my starting with the present handcart company on the morow and drive their teem until they overtook us on the planes[.] short notice[.] however I determined to start for Utah
Fry. 16th – colecting my teem[,] loding and geting a waggin[,] prepairing etc.
Sat. 17 – got all togather and rolled out overtook the company and now from this time until I reached the Valley I had not time nor opertunity to keep a memorandum as I went along[.] therefore I will set down the circumstances without date
we took up our line of march for the valleys of Ephrem [Ephraim] or G.S.L. City distant over one thousand miles[.] it was quite an interesting sight to see the carts roll out in their several divisions and to see the people in such good faith[.] although the Planes had never been crossed by handcarts yet they believed they could accomplish it[.] the company had 7 waggins also to hall the extra flower and the lame and sick etc. and mine which was considered one of the company and 4 indapent waggins made up the trane[.] in all about 450 Souls[.] our captain was James Willy [Willie] and there was also other captains over hundreds and tens[.] we rolled on well[,] the carts in the front of the company and they would often outrun us but we would overtake them when night came[.] it truly was a pleasant seen [scene] to see the camp of Israel moving through the wilderness
we soon arived upon the banks of the Elk Horn[.] this streem we had to ferry in an old flat boat[.] I well remember that streem for in going out of the boat up the bank of the river the teems stalled and the men and women took hold and pulled the waggins up the hill[.] here we came out into the old Platte River bottom up which we was to travel[.] the next River we came to was the Loop [Loup] Fork[.] this we also feryed[.] we traveled up its botom a long way and then put across to the Platte again[.] on elum [Elm] Hollow we passed through a large hunting party of Omahas[.] they numbered about eight hundred[.] it was a great sight to sum of the company[.] they stod along each side the road as we passed through and as I passed along I looked upon them and wondered at their condition[.] I thought of the people they once was yet they were a stout robust hardy looking race of beings[.] we camped that night close by them and of all the trading that I ever saw what folowed took the lead[.] they brought us a letter from the comanding officer in fort carny [Kearny] stating to us the danger of the Shieans [Cheyenne’s] and of the murder of Col. Babbits company of 4 waggins which took place about 4 days befour we reached the spot where the poor fellows fell a prey to the redmens anger[.] we caught a yoke of their oxen the next day[.] I well remember the chase I had on my pony to head them although they were yoked up[.] I allmost ruined a musket beating them over the heads[.] I finaly circaled them into our herd and then by degrees we tamed them – (Col. Babbit overtook us that night camped with us[,] went on to carney[.] passed him[.] he again overtook us and in an open waggin with two others aginst the advise of all who knew the circumstances he put ahead and this is the last that ever was seen of him) we now began to see buffalo off from the road[.] I got impatient at a distant view of them so I went out for a hunt[.] I chased a herd 4 or 5 miles shot at them but to no affect[.] I had to return to camp with ondly a pararia [prairie] dog[.] the bufalo is an awkward looking annimal[,] especialy when they run[.] their motions much resemble the elephant[.] we crossed ellem crick [Elm Creek] about noon[.] by the advice of the captain Broths. [John Alexander] Jost and [Andrew Lafayette] Siler and myself went a buffalo hunting[.] I wanted to go one way and Syler another[.] I finally gave up to him as he had hunted them before[.] he soon got tired and left us[,] went to camp[,] but Broth. Jost and I continued the hunt[.] we at last found 2 old bulls[.] we fired upon them but our eyes had deceieved us[.] we was to far off[.] after sevarel shots we succeeded in killing one[.] with wonder and great delight we examined him for it was an enormous big old Bull[.] I sat down upon him to keep the woolvs off whilst Broth. Jost went to camp[.] I had a pretty lonesum time for it was dark but at last he came with lots of men and carts to cut him up and hall it to camp[.] we had a jolly time[,] the first bufalo in camp[.] when I got to camp I was tired and hungry so I and Broth. Jost cut off sum of the hump[,] a great big chunk[,] and rosted it[.] I thought I never tasted so good meat in all my life[.] it is very healthy meat and we had a real feast etc.
we next crossed Buf[f]alo crick[.] here the Bufalo began to be numerous all around us[.] sum of the boys went after them but got none[.] we next went over the hills which are in the Platte botom[,] they are wholy surounded by a level Plane[.] just as we got through or rather on the top[,] a large herd of bufalo started from below the road and ran directly across towards the north just as the carts were passing[.] they ran helter scelter right through the company[.] the company was prety hungry for meat and to see the Buffalo come right to them seemed to them as a great Blessing of kind providence[.] the seen [scene] that followed would have made a hunter laugh to see them shoot[.] sum with shot others with little fizees that would hardly have upset a june bug come tareing along and up and pop pop they would go[.] but some of them had muskets and amongst the whole they managed to kill two[.] I was to far behind to help any being with the waggins but I could see the performence and then of all the Bragging about who killed them[.] sum declared they hit him after he fell etc. that night we camped at a small lake away from any crick or river[.] here as in many other places we had nothing but Buffalo chips to burn which serve prety well in the absence of wood[.] it rained and stormed awfuly that night[.] the next morning when we drove up our cattle to yoke them great was our suprise to find that about one half of our oxen was gone as the Buffalo had passed close by a litle after dark and considerably frightened the cattle[.] we was afraid that the Buffalo had got them[.] we started out for to search for them and on acount of the rain and numerous herds of buffalo was all around us we was not able to find a trace of them[.] we hunted for three days and then the company moved on the best they could and I and Bro. A. Smith by the desire of the capt. took the mule and my pony and went back down the Platte Bottom determined if possible to find them[.] my pardner declared he saw three Indians one night when he was a little behind me[.] though I did not see them I could not dout his statements for he was a young man of integrity[.] for no doubt they were folowing us and as we had been off the road to rest a little but through the kind mercy of our heavenly father we arived at carny in safety[.] we would have gone further but the officers of the Fort prevented it[.]
after we had waited 2½ days the missionarys arived at the fort on their way to Utah[.] we rejoiced to meet them[.] they were very sorry to hear of our loss of cattle[.] the company consisted of about 12 Broths. F.D. Richards[,] G.D. Grant[,] W.H Kimball[,] D. Spencer[,] J. Ferguson[,] J. VanCot[,] C. Web[,] J. Young[,] J. McGow[,] McCalester and Dunbar and S. Wheelock[.] when we overtook the handcart company again they had traveled better than could have been exspected under the circumstances[.] they were camped upon the north bluff Fork[.] I had made my arrangements such as to go on with them[,] that is the missionaries[,] but owing to the advice of Brother Franklin and others I chose to remain with the handcart company and to asist them all that I could[.] well my time was mostly employed in furnishing the camp in meat[,] most of which was Buffalo[.] many were the interesting hunts which I had for hunting Buffalo is the greattest sport for me of any sport that I ever partissipated in
we reached Fort Larime [Laramie] about the first of October[.] quite a fussing in camp[.] sum grunted[,] sum lyed and sum apostatised[.] sum folowed us after we was gone and beged the captain to receive them again into the company[.] we moved on better than we antisipated under the circumstances for we had fine weather ondly one storm all the way up the Plat[t] and I do not believe we would have had that had it not been for sum of the mean conduct of sum of the company
after we got onto the sweetwatter [Sweetwater] River I mostly gave up hunting for game got scarce[.] it was at the commensement of the 16 mile drive without watter that we gave out the last of the flower[.] we was then 28 miles below rocky ridge which made it about 50 miles to the South Pass and we had not yet herd whether there was any help comming to meet us or not but we were determined to do all we could[.] that day about noon there came up a snow storm[.] it blew directly in our faces[.] the company that was ahead with the carts stoped and sheltered themselves from the storm[.] I was driveing the foremost waggin[.] it was severe for the people was weak having been on short rations[.] I determined to keep ahead until I overtook the carts anyhow but by the time we caught up with the carts the clouds dispursed and the sun shone out and as we looked ahead Lo and behold we saw a waggin coming and it was close[.] such a shout as was raised in camp I never before herd[.] it came from the hearts of faithful saints who felt that their lives was in the hands of their God[.] but what made them shout[?] was it meerly the sight of a waggin for we had met waggins before[.] no but it was that the spirit of the Lord bore testimony that they were saviors comming to their relief and truly it was[.] it was Brothers S. Wheelock[,] Jos. Young and 2 others[.] they brought us glorious news. they had been to Zion and were returning with many of their brethren with teems and provisions to help us through
the next morning when we got up we found the snow about 6 or 8 inches deep[.] the camp was hungry naked and cold[.] to rush them into the snow would be certain death to a great many of them for we had not yet met the relief company ondly one waggin which passed us and went on to the other company behind us[.] Brother Willy who was the captain of the company left the charge of the camp in the hands of Broth. Atwood and we started ahead in search of our brethren[.] we rode 12 miles where we exspected to find them but they were not there[.] we asended the rocky Ridge[.] the snow and an awful cold wind blew in our faces all day[.] we crossed the rocky ridge and upon the west bank of the North Fork of the sweetwatter we found a friendly guide post which pointed us to their camp down upon the sweetwatter in amongst the willows[.] when they saw us they raised a shout and ran out to meet us[.] great was their joy to hear from us for they had long been in search of us[.] they could scarcely give us time to tell our story they were so anxious to hear all about us
their camp being 27 miles from ours the next day they hitched up and went over to our camp and the second day afterwards we crossed over the rocky Ridge again[.] the whole company except those who went on to the next company behind[.] that was an awful day[.] many can never forget the seens they witnessed that day[.] men[,] women and children weakened down by cold and hunger weeping[,] crying and sum even dying by the roadside[.] it was very late before we all got into camp[.] oh how my heart did quake and shuder at the awful seens which surounded me[.] the next morning we buryed nine all in one deep and wide grave
we rested one day and then again persued our journey[.] the health of the camp gradually increased and the people revived as we moved towards Zion and in a fiew days (for the weather moderated a litle) the camp gradualy grew more cheerful and many were the pleasant evenings we enjoyed ourselvs seated around our campfires[.] though it snowed and blew and sumtimes seemed as though we would be oerwhelmed in the storms in the mountains yet still we was ablt to persue our journey[.] though we suffered a great deel yet the saints endured it very well[.] on the way we met many of our Breathren going on to see what had become of the other company for as yet we had not herd a word of them since the missionarys left them away below Ft. Carney and many more met us to help us in
we continued a steady march and at last to our great desire we arived at Great Salt Lake City on the ninth of Nov. 1856
Sunday 9th of Nov. – this morning we harnessed up our horses to complete our journey[.] I got along pretty well except I got stalled once upon what is called the litle mountain[.] well at last we imerged from amongst the mountains and the beautiful valley with all of its loveliness spread itsself out before our view[.] my heart was filled with joy and grattitude[.] the lovely city of G.S. Lake lay about 5 miles distant in full view[.] we entered it[.] the houses at first looked odd being built of adobys or sundried brick[.] truly it is unlike anything I ever before had seen[.] the journey was ore at last and the people were soon distributed amongst the sevarel wards and I put up with my old friend Wm. Kimball[.] after I had washed and put on sum clean clothes and got my supper I felt first rate
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
James G. Willie Emigrating Company, Journal 1856 May-Nov., 16-53.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Tuesday 1st JulyThis morning the Company of the Thornton Ship signed receipts of passage from New York to Iowa City. A child died today.
We are getting ready for the plains and are getting 17 lbs. of luggage ready to cross the plains with as it is not possible to take more. We still continue busy making tents and all doing what they can to further our movement.
Wednesday 2nd JulyThis morning it is pouring with rain accompanied by thunder and lightning. Sister Mary Lewis, wife of Joseph Lewis was delivered of a son at 3 a.m. of the Bristol Branch in the midst of thunder and lightning. The tents not being done we had a good soaking. It is very hot today.
Thursday July 3rdWe had plenty of rain again last night with thunder & lightning. The tents are not yet done although Prest. Willie is unceasing in his exertions to keep the sisters to their work. Nothing of importance, but all have plenty to do guarding, making tents, etc.
Friday July 4thThis day being the day of Celebration for the Independence of the United States we suspended generally from work and held a meeting with the American Flag flying when many of the Brethren spoke and Elder Ferguson delivered an oration. Many strangers were present and appeared much pleased, and all passed off well.
Saturday July 5thThis morning Lars Julius Larsen was born, the son of Peter and Ann K. Larsen. Also died this morning, Sarah Ann, daughter of Sister Ann Cooper in the Camp late of the Cambridgeshire Conference, England. It is very warm today.
Sunday, July 6th. It is very hot, the tents are not yet finished. We attended meeting this day, held two meetings in the Camp today & many strangers were present. A good feeling prevails among the Saints, and very little discontent manifest.
Monday, July 7th. This morning, Mary Ledingham died, daughter of William & Catherine Ledingham, late of Leith, Scotland, aged 22 months.
Tuesday, July 8th. The tents are now finished, and all are pretty comfortably provided for. Most of the company are now engaged washing clothes, while others are making the hand-carts, fitting up waggons, &c.
Wednesday, July 9th. A company of Saints arrived that came in the Horizon from Liverpool numbering some 800 souls came up this evening in the midst of a terrible storm, and we as well as the other Companies accommodated them the best in our power. A sister of the Company died this morning.
July 10thSelecting the cattle this morning for our Camp; also mules, waggons, &c. All are pretty well with plenty to do preparing to move. Weather very warm.
Friday, July 11thSaints generally busy and feel well about their departure, and are making all exertion possible to get ready. Nothing of importance occurred this day, the health and spirits of the company good.
Saturday July 12thSister [Elizabeth] Bailey who was out of her mind was baptized by President Willie. All are busy getting their 17 lbs. weighed up this morning. A brother fell down in a fit but after being administered to soon recovered. We have about finished weighing up the luggage this day. Quite a number complaining of diarrhea. There was a meeting held this evening when President Willie was appointed to preside over the 4th Division of the P[erpetual] E[migrating] F[und] Hand-Cart Company. Elders [Millen] Atwood, [Levi] Savage, [William] Woodward & [John] Chislett were appointed to preside over hundreds of the said Company. And much good counsel was given by President Spencer.
Sunday, July 13thA child died last night between 8 & 9 p.m., the daughter of Hannah Louiza Richins on the camping ground. Sister [Elizabeth] Ingra was baptized this morning. We had two meetings in the Camp today where some good doctrine was preached. Elder Willie also called a meeting of the Captains of Hundreds & proposed that Elders [William] Ledingham and [Edward] Griffiths be appointed Captain of the Guard & Commissary. The vote was carried unanimously & after some good instruction from President Willie we were dismissed.
Monday July 14thThe Captains of Hundreds and all hands are busy carrying out the instructions of Prest. Willie given last night, namely of weighing all luggage to be paid for the valley & takeing an Inventory of all surplus property with valuation of same—All are in first rate spirits and more for the hand carts than the waggons.
Tuesday July 15thWe finished weighing the luggage today. Sister Eliza Hurren was delivered of a daughter about 6 a.m. yesterday; also Franklin Richins was born this day to John and Charlotte Richins of the Cheltenham Conference, & Richard Godfrey of Worcester Conference was joined in matrimony to Ann Herbert of the same Branch by Bishop Tyler.
We started out a short distance this day and encamped for the night, all in first rate spirits.
Wednesday July 16thThis morning all seemed in first rate health & spirits. We moved out 3 miles this day. The oxen did not arrive for 2 or 3 hours after the hand carts so that Prest. Willie with 9 or 10 men & 2 yoke of oxen went back and helped them up.
Thursday, July 17th. This morning is a lovely morning. President Spencer and Elder Ferguson came up this morning & took back with them a list of the names &c. President Willie called a meeting & gave the Saints some good counsel and encouragement. Elders Atwood and Savage also addressed us & gave us some good advice & and a good spirit prevailed in our midst, after which we were dismissed by prayer.
Friday, July 18th. All are well and in first rate spirits. The bugle blew about 4 a.m. for us to get up & we got breakfast, luggage, &c., ready for starting by 11o' clock. We proceeded on to Clear Creek, a distance of 6 miles where we arrived at 5 p.m. over broken bridges bad road unbroken oxen, &c. When we arrived we were covered with dust, all in first rate spirits. There is plenty of wood & water here.
Saturday July 19thThis morning it is very cold. The bugle blew about 4 a.m. & after getting our breakfast we started at 9:30 a.m. for Brushrow Creek 12 miles where we arrived at 7 p.m. much fatigued. We stopped about 3 miles from here to water the cattle. It is a beautiful road & good traveling.
Sunday, July 20thWe did not move out this day but rested ourselves and had two meetings. Prest. Willie, Elders Chislett & Savage addressed us. Yesterday Sister Adelaide A. Baker left us & this morning came and took her luggage & two of her children away with her. She came from the Portsmouth Branch, Southampton Conference; also Ann & Sabina Bird of the Eaton Bray Branch of the Bedfordshire Conference & Harriet Smith of the Bristol Branch, South Conference left us this day. All seemed in good spirits & when the evening meeting was over we were dismissed by prayer & went to our tents.
Monday, July 21stThis morning the bugle blew at 4 a.m. for the Saints to get up which they did & then got breakfast, greased our carts, took up our tents, packed out luggage & were ready to start at 7:30 a.m., with only one sick person in the waggon, all cheerful & in good spirits and proceeded to Hutton Creek 7 miles where we arrived at 12 noon. The Saints on arriving were surprized to find they had come so far and a good spirit prevailed throughout. There are a few sick in our midst. This night we were a little disturbed by some persons cursing & swearing about the Mormons, but plenty of guards & firearms were called out & after an hour or two swearing they left us.
Tuesday, July 22ndThis morning is a beautiful morning. The bugle blew at 4 a.m., and after getting our breakfast, &c., we had prayer & were ready for the journey at 7:50 a.m. We proceeded on our journey about 4 miles where we halted & refreshed ourselves & proceeded on to Bear Creek 10 miles. Our journey was very hilly & the heat very great & nearly all were beat out when they arrived at 2 p.m. There is plenty of wood & water here. Prest. Willie was busy attending upon the sick, the remaining part of the day. We were then dismissed by prayer by Elder Willie & went to our beds.
Wednesday, July 23rdCharles Peat and family [blank space] with Martha & four children from Worcester, England, left us this morning. This morning it is very hot indeed without a breath of air & after prayer by Prest. Willie we were ready to start again at 7:30 a.m. we proceeded on our journey about 5 miles when we halted & those who had provisions refreshed themselves. We then went on about 5 miles when we halted & those who had provisions refreshed themselves. We then went on about 5 miles further & halted two hours. The sun was excessively hot. We then continued our journey as far as Brush Creek, 13 miles, where we arrived at 7 p.m. with a great many sick & tired out. Prest. Willie & Elder Griffiths were engaged till quite dark administering to the sick. Sister Mary Williams from the Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire Conference died on the way, supposed from eating green plums, together with the excessive heat. There is plenty of wood & water here.
Thursday[,] July 24thThis morning after prayers we left at 7:30 a.m. and proceeded on our journey 2 miles & encamped on Big Bear Creek, where we remained during the day. This afternoon we buried Sister Williams in the town burying ground and procured timber & made her a decent coffin. Prest. Willie & several of the brethren attended the funeral. In the evening we held a meeting & after prayer Prest. Willie with Elders Atwood & Woodward addressed the meeting and gave such counsel as was needed pressing upon the Saints the necessity of being one in all things.
Friday, July 25th. This morning at 7 a.m. we left the Camp and traveled as far as Muddy Creek, 13 miles. We stopped twice by the way to rest. The weather being very warm just before we encamped we were overtaken by the Sheriff with a warrant to search the waggons, &c. under the idea that women were detained contrary to their wish with ropes. After showing their authority, they had permission to examine any part of the Company & were fully satisfied that the report was without foundation & left us. We were disturbed last night by about 30 men with supposed bad pretensions & called over their names but finding us on guard left without committing any depredations.
Saturday, July 26th. There is a nice air this morning. We had prayers & were in readiness for our journey at 8 a.m. when it commenced raining very fast & made the carts run very heavy. It continued to rain till about 10 a.m. when it ceased and the roads soon began to dry up. We arrived at Sugar Creek 11 miles at 1 o' clock and encamped for the night. Wood & water being pretty handy.
Sunday, July 27th This morning we had prayers, packed our tents, luggage, &c., and were on our journey by 7:50 a.m. We traveled as far as Skunk Creek, 6 miles, where we encamped for the day being Sunday to attend to washing, prayers, preaching, &c. The Camp is getting strong & the sick are a mending very fast. There is a good supply of wood & water here. We had a meeting this afternoon, Elder Savage presided & he & Elder Woodward addressed us. The weather is quite pleasant & very congenial to our feelings.
Monday, July 28thThis morning the air was very pleasant. After we had packed our luggage, had prayers, &c., we were on our journey. We proceeded on for 9 or 10 miles when we halted for an hour or two & pursued our journey to Cherry Creek, 14 miles. Here we encamped for the night. On our way we passed through Newton, where it was rumored we should meet with some difficulty, but we got our Company together & passed through very quietly. The Saints were all pretty tired & arrived at Cherry Creek about 6 o' clock. Wood & water pretty handy, all going along well although their journey throughout was very rough & hilly and tired them all out.
Saleam [Selena] Haren [Hurren], daughter of James & Eliza Haren [Hurren], aged 14 days died about 11 a.m. this day with the rash in the mouth. Sister Haren' s child was buried this day with Elder Savage & others in attendance.
Tuesday, July 29th, 1856. This morning we were up, had prayers, breakfast, &c., and were on our journey by 7:15 a.m. This morning there is a small breath of air & beautiful traveling. We proceeded as far as Castle Green 8 miles where we halted two hours, then pursued our journey as far as Skunk Creek where we arrived at 4 p.m. We had some very heavy hills to ascend & made 12 miles this day. There is plenty of wood & water here. On our journey Brother Henry Boden of the Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire Conference left us.
Wednesday, July 30th We arose had breakfast, prayers, &c., and were on our journey by 7 o' clock, the air beautiful. We proceeded on our journey about 8 or 10 miles when we halted for about 2 hours, and were on our journey again at 2 o' clock intending to go about 4 miles to the next creek, but the Danes having the lead went some distance by the Camping ground through some misunderstanding, & after consulting a while, it was thought better to proceed to the next creek, rather than turn back. And being misinformed about the distance we pursued our journey as far as Fort Des Moines without coming to a convenient camping ground. We arrived about 7:30 p.m. all very tired. Wood & water is plentiful here. We stopped just outside the Town and had many visitors from the Town to see us & kept themselves very quiet. We traveled 21 miles this day.
Thursday, July 31stThis morning we were all up, had prayers, breakfast, &c., and were on our journey by 6:30 a.m. We crossed on the Flat-Boat-Bridge & passed about a mile through the Town where we stopped till 2 o' clock to give the cattle water & grass. We pursued our journey again about 4 miles where we encamped for the night. Wood & water pretty plentiful here. (Walnut Creek). Mr. Charles Good, a respectable gentleman from the City who seemed very favorable to the Gospel from no impure motive brought a present of 15 pairs of childrens boots & being given with a free spirit we received them. The Saints all seem in pretty good spirits this day although they were very much fatigued last night by the long day' s journey.
Friday, August 1st. This morning the air is very refreshing. We travelled about 10 miles & halted for about 2 hours for refreshment & pursued our journey again as far as Timber Point where we encamped for the night. The weather was very hot indeed the latter part of the journey which made it very bad travelling. The Saints all seem pretty well, the inhabitants round were very civil & obliging. Wood & water are plentiful here. We came 14 miles this day.
Saturday August 2ndThis morning there is a beautiful air. We started about 7:50 a.m., after the general duties had been attended to. We passed through O Del. Before entering the town we had to ford a river about knee deep. A great many of the towns people came to see us & got trying to get the sisters away, but they took no notice of them & we passed through very quietly. We also forded another river & mud hole this day on our journey, & arrived at Middle Coone Creek about 5 or 6 o' clock. Wood & water plentiful here, & a good spirit prevails in our midst. We travelled 17 miles this day.
Sunday Aug. 3rd This morning is a beautiful morning & we were on our journey by 6:45 a.m., & arrived at the South Coone Creek at 10:15 a.m. where we encamped for the day being Sunday to attend to washing, &c. Wood & water are pretty plentiful here. We travelled 10 miles this morning & rested ourselves the remainder of the day.
Monday, Aug. 4th. We started out about 7 o' clock, a beautiful morning and a nice air. We halted as usual 2 hours for refreshment & then continued our journey to Bear Grove Creek 17 miles where we arrived about 2 p.m. We stopped at a spring being no houses on our journey for refreshments. Wood is very scarce here. The Saints generally in pretty good spirits.
Tuesday Aug. 5th. We started about 6:30 a.m. & travelled 8½ miles to a spring where we rested for an hour & then went on to Turkey Creek 18½ miles & arrived about 3 p.m. Wood rather scarce here but a beautiful spring of water. In the evening Elders Willie & Atwood reproved the Saints for being so dilatory & told them if they did not repent they would not have the blessings of the Lord & would not get through this season.
Wednesday, Aug. 6th. This morning the rain came down in torrents till about 7 a.m. & we started about 9 a.m. after the tents had dried. We halted for two hours at a creek and then pursued our journey to Jordan Creek 14 miles where we halted for the night very much fatigued, the journey being very hillyn—water pretty plentiful but no wood within a mile and a half. We arrived in Camp about 6 p.m.
Thursday, Aug 7th We started out about 6:30 a.m. A beautiful morning & splendid roads. We passed through Indian Town on our way, about 11:30 & halted for refreshments 2 hours and pursued our journey again as far as Walnut Creek 16 miles where we arrived at 4 oc[lock.] wood & water very plentiful here. We had splendid roads this day & travelled some part of the journey at the rate of nearly 4 miles an hour. The Saints all in good spirits. Bro. [William] Smith of the Wiltshire Conference went into a store to purchase some things & left his purse in the shop with 6 sovereigns in it.
Friday, August 8th This morning there is a nice air, we started out at 7:30 a.m., travelled 8 or 9 miles & crossed the East Nishna Botany River and took dinner on its banks & pursued our journey as far as West Nishna Botany Creek 15 miles where we halted for the night, wood & water pretty plentiful. Bro. Woodward went back with witnesses and got a search warrant for Bro. Smith' s purse, but did not succeed in finding it. We arrived in camp about 3 oc.
Saturday Aug. 9th. This morning we arose, had prayers, &c., and were on our journey at 6:30 a.m. & travelled to Silver Creek where we halted for refreshments about 2 hours & pursued our journey to Keg Creek 16 miles where we arrived about 3 oc. wood & water pretty plentiful here. In the evening Elders Willie & Atwood addressed the meeting & we had a first rate time of it with much of the Spirit of the Lord in our midst. On our way to this creek Bro. Gurnly of the Wiltshire Conference left us with his daughter.
Sunday, Aug 10th. The Saints are all busy washing this morning. We left Keg Creek about 4 p.m. this day & travelled to Mosquito Creek 9 miles where we arrived at 7:20 p.m., a good spirit generally prevailing in our midst. Wood & water plentiful.
Monday, Aug. 11th. This day we started at 7:15 a.m. with a beautiful air & good roads in our favor. We passed through Bluffs City & 2 or 3 small towns on our way and proceeded to a Creek 10 miles where we intended to halt but finding no water we proceeded on to the Missouri River 16 miles where we took the ferry & crossed over to the Camp of Florence arriving about 4 oc & encamped for the night, all very tired. Bro. McGaw came & assisted us in crossing the river & Bro. Kimball welcomed us on our arrival.
Tuesday, Aug 12thThis morning the brethren are busy getting the Saints to sign bonds finding out who intend stopping, what hand-carts want repairing, with many other things which are requisite before proceeding on our journey across the plains. In the evening Bro. McGaw and Bro. Willie addressed the Saints and gave them some needful instructions & advice before proceeding on the remainder of the journey.
Wednesday, Aug 13th. The Brethren are busy settling up accounts, finding out those who are going to stop, &c. In the evening Prest. Willie with Elders Atwood & Savage addressed us and bore their testimonies & gave their opinions of the journey before us & after prayers we were dismissed & went to our tents.
Thursday, Aug. 14th. It is splendid weather & the Saints are getting up their strength while the Brethren are busy loading up flour, taking the names of those going through, preparing the hand-carts, &c., together with many other things necessary before proceeding on our journey.
Friday, Aug. 15th. This morning the sun is out beautiful, all the Brethren who can work at the carpentering & iron work were up early and all went at the hand-carts in good earnest under the Presidency of Elder Willie in order to forward our starting as much as possible. Last night Sister Mary Ann Hanson [Maren Hansen] [sentence unfinished]
Minutes of journey from Florence (Old Winter Quarters) N. T. to Salt Lake City, 1856.
Saturday 16 August. Part of the 4th Company of Hand-carts 85 in number under the presidency of Elder James G. Willie started from Florence in company with 11 waggons (P.E. Fund & Independent) about one o' clock p.m. and journey to Little Pappea where they camped for the night with Col. Babbitt and 4 waggons of his. The Handcart Company had been organized into hundreds by President Daniel Spencer at Iowa City and subsequently sanctioned by President James McGaw. Millen Atwood, Capt. of 1st Hundred, Levi Savage Capt. of 2nd Hundred, William Woodward Capt. of 3rd Hundred, John Chislett Capt. of 4th Hundred, J. A. Ahamason [Ahmanson] Capt. of 5th Hundred. Brother [John] Jost borrowed a yoke of oxen from Bro. [James] Cantwell in consequence of his own being unmanageable. Promised to return said yoke tomorrow—6 miles from Florence.
Sunday, 17 August. Staid in camp all day. Bros. Jost and Geary [John] returned to Florence with Bro. Cantwell' s oxen. Remainder of handcarts and waggons arrived in Camp from Florence with President Willie. This evening Capt. Atwood gave the Saints some good instruction relative to their present and future duties which he plainly told them must and should be performed and referring to his satisfaction at some grumblers having deserted from the ranks told the balance that those of them who might still feel double-minded had better do the same as this was about their last chance. Capt. Atwood was addressing the Saints when President Willie arrived. A smart shower or two to-day.
Monday 18 August. Left camp about 3 p.m. and camped for the night at Great Pappea. President James McGaw and Elder Wm. H. Kimball with one or two other brethren visited the Camp. President McGaw placed the Independent Waggon Company in the same organization as the Handcart Company and appointed Andrew L. Siler, Capt. of such Company. 9 miles from Florence.
Tuesday, 19 August. Rolled out about 6 a.m. and ferried the Elk Horn River in the middle part of the day, the cattle swimming the stream. Prest. Willie appointed Bro. Niel[s], Lars[on] Christiansen [Christensen], interpreter and Counselor to the Danish Saints and obtained a unanimous vote from the Camp to support every other appointment which had been made. Camped for the night on a creek about 3 miles from the River. 27 miles from Florence.
Wednesday, 20 August. Stopped in camp till one p.m. to wash, prepare weapons, &c. Started at one o' clock & arrived at the Platte River about dusk. 39 miles from Florence.
Thursday, 21 August. Last night rather stormy. Journey resumed at 6:30 a.m. Reached Platte River where it joins the road about 2 p.m. The sun being very hot and cattle much exhausted train ordered to stop here till 5 p.m. when the journey resumed. Travelled about 6 miles further and camped on the open prairie without wood or water the cattle having been watered just previous to starting. Ordered to move off in the morning before breakfast. About 55 miles from Florence.
Friday 22 August. Order to move before breakfast, obeyed. Weather very hazy and grass very wet but about 9 it became fine. Stayed 2 hours at Shell Creek to breakfast, &c. Resumed journey and tavelled about 12 miles further camping at sunset near Platte River by the side of a long lake. During the afternoon Sister Sophia Geary had her left foot run over by Bro. Wilford' s waggon. She was administered to in the evening by Bros. Siler, Cantwell and Geary, Capt. Siler officiating. He sealed the blessing of health and strength upon her and promised that inasmuch as she would exercise faith she should walk tomorrow. 75 miles from Florence.
Saturday 23 August. Rolled out about 6:30 a.m. ferried the Loup Fork River, the cattle fording it. While at the Loup Fork Prest. Willie had a cow and calf killed for the Handcart Company. Camped for the night on the other side. Plenty of wood and water and abundance of rich feed for cattle in the shape of pea-vines. Sis. Geary walked a considerable distance pursuant to Bro. Siler' s promise. About 86 miles from Florence.
Sunday 24 August. Left Camp at 6:30 a.m. Journeyed about 6 miles and stayed for dinner and to water cattle for nearly an hour at a bend of the Loup Fork. Travelled a considerable distance further and stayed again sufficiently long to water, then journeyed about 12 miles.further turned off the road and camped on the bank of the Loup Fork with plenty of grass[,] wood and water. A good hard road nearly the whole day' s march. Say 100 miles from Florence.
Monday 25 August. Rolled out about 7 a.m. leaving Bro. Griffiths on a mule to hunt for 3 cows which had been lost. He got into Camp in the evening about dusk with one cow only which he reported as having found on terms of close intimacy with 2 wolves. Travelled about 8 miles opposite the Pioneers' Ford of the Loup Fork (1½ mile to right of Camp) and stayed there for water and dinner. Had to double teams up a steep sandhill between 2 bluffs at the top of which Camp dined. Journeyed about 12 miles further and camped for the night on the right hand side of a lake of water. No wood nearer than half a mile on the other side of the lake which was crossed at its head. About the time of arrival the Camp was favored with a drenching shower of rain. Good feed. About 120 miles from Florence.
Tuesday 26 August. Started about 7 a.m. and after journeying about 10 miles stayed on the open prairie to rest for half an hour and then travelled about 5 miles further camping for the night near the Loup Fork with good feed and water but little wood. A fine cool day for travelling. The king-bolt of Bro. Chislett' s waggon broke soon after starting this morning. This detained his and another waggon' s company for some time but they all arrived in Camp early in the evening. About 135 miles from Florence.
Wednesday 27 August. Left Camp about 7 a.m. Travelled over heavy sandy roads more or less all day stopping for an hour or 2 in the middle of the day to eat and to water cattle at a well about 8 miles on the way. A large quantity of lizards on the road. Camped for the night on the open prairie having found a slough of water on the left hand side of the road. 150 miles from Florence.
Thursday 28 August. Rolled forth about 7 a.m. Staid to water cattle and to dine at Prairie Creek which Camp subsequently crossed arriving at Wood River after dark. Camped there with plenty of wood & water but rather indifferent feed. Roads very sandy throughout the morning. Four buffaloes seen during the afternoon. They were fruitlessly pursued by Bros. Siler & Savage for several miles. They saw a large herd in the distance. Bro. [William] Haley [Hailey] (an old man) was missed on the arrival of the Camp this evening. Several went out in search with a lantern but without success. 165 miles from Florence.
Friday 29 August. A tremendous storm arose early this morning and lasted for several hours. A large number of scouts started after breakfast in search of Bro. Haley. The lost sheep was found 30 yards from the road after about 2 hours' search thoroughly drenched with water. His voice was scarcely audible. He said that the Bro. with the lantern passed nearly close to him last night but that he (Haley) could not make himself heard. Left camp at one o' clock p.m. and after journeying about 3 miles met a number of mounted Omaha Indians one of whom (the Interpreter) produced a letter from Capt. Stewart of the U.S. Army dated recently at Fort Kearney and addressed to Col. Babbitt stating that on last Monday (25 August) his waggons were attacked by the Cheyenne Indians who killed 2 of his men and a little child[,] shot a 3rd man through the thigh and carried a woman captive, the wounded man with another who escaped unhurt being, at date of letter, at Fort Kearney. President Willie and Captains Atwood, Savage and Siler visited a large encampment of Omaha Indians about half a mile from our Camp. These Indians were very numerous and had a great quantity of horses. They seemed friendly disposed and bartered Buffalo meat for different articles. Our Camp stopped early in the afternoon about half a mile from the Indian Camp. 175 miles from Florence.
Saturday 30 August. Left camp about 7 a.m. Immediately met some Californians with a large herd of horses for the States. They confirmed the Indians' report of the murder of Col. Babbitt' s men and stated that they met several Mormon trains at different points on the route and that good health prevailed generally. After travelling some distance we came up to the graves of the 2 men and the child. President Willie and Capt. Atwood assisted by the brethren piled very large quantities of earth on the graves to protect them from the wolves and to smother the effluvia which was beginning to arise.
Journeyed on till we arrived at the "Lone Tree" where we crossed creek and staid to water cattle and dine. While dining some of the brethren noticed on the hills about 2 miles off some animals which looked like oxen. Capt. Savage and Bro. Joseph Elder started in pursuit the one on a mule the other on horseback and after a long chase succeeded in bringing into Camp a yoke of oxen which were added to Bro. Jost' s team. Travelled on after about 2 hours' delay[.] crossed Wood River and camped for the night on its bank about 4 miles above the crossing with plenty of grass[,] wood and water. Shortly after camping Col. Babbitt, with a man, & a Scotch sister named Stewart arrived in Camp with 5 mules and a carriage. They camped with us for the night and the Col. arranged for Sis. Stewart going through to the Valley in Bro. Cantwell' s waggon. This evening Bro. Robert Culwell' s collar bone got broken by a cow which he was attempting to milk. About 200 miles from Florence.
Sunday 31 August. Started out of Camp about 7 a.m. leaving Col. Babbitt behind. He however overtook us at the point where the road leaves Wood River and where we took in water. He went ahead of us to Fort Kearney. Travelled on for about 16 miles further to the place where the road nearly strikes Platte River. On our way met 4 Californians who gave good reports of our trains and stated that crops in the Valley were first-rate when they passed through on 2nd August. I omitted to state yesterday that Bro. Culwell whose collar bone was broken was promptly administered to by President Willie and his shoulder and arm bandaged. He is doing well today. About 218 miles from Florence.
Monday 1 Sept. Left Camp about 7:30 a.m. and crossed 2 dry creeks besides Elm Creek where we watered cattle and dined. Journeyed to Buffalo Creek on a bend of which we camped for the night with plenty of grass and wood and rather indifferent water it being very low and consequently stagnant. Capt. Siler and Bros. Jost and Elder by permission went ahead of the Camp in pursuit of Buffalo and succeeded in killing one which was not brought into Camp till about 11 p.m. A cow was killed today previous to the Buffalo by direction of Prest. Willie. About 238 miles from Florence.
Tuesday 2 Sept. Cutting up[,] weighing and delivering meat occupied some little time this morning. Left Camp about 9 a.m. and after crossing a dry creek journeyed to crossing of Buffalo Creek where we dined. After crossing journeyed to the point where that Creek leaves the road. Camped there for the night with plenty of grass[,]wood and water. We camped here in consequence of its being probable that water could not be reached in less than 10 miles. About 250 miles from Florence.
Wednesday 3 Sept. Elizabeth Ingra of the Cambridgeshire Conference in England died about daybreak this morning and was buried in a grave 5 feet deep before starting of Camp which moved off about 8 a.m. President Willie and other Brethren staid behind for an hour to complete the interment and to cut and erect a tombstone. After travelling about 6 miles passed 2 bends of a creek of water on our left and stopped after about 12 miles journey to dine on the open prairie without wood or water at which point the Brethren killed 2 buffaloes which came within shot of the handcarts. Good hard road this morning except at intervals where it was studded with patches of sand. The country rolling. Pursued our journey till we arrived at a pit or small lake of water on our left where we camped for the night without wood but with good feed. 265 miles from Florence.
Thursday 4 Sept. It being ascertained this morning that 30 head of cattle had strayed away (most probably in a stampede) during the night, President Willie despatched all the able-bodied men to search for them and after several hours' search the Brethren returned with reports of failures. A council was then called by Prest. Willie and afterwards different brethren under the command of Capt. Savage, Siler and Christianson started in different directions. Capt. Siler with his company returned about 5 and Captains Savage and Christianson with theirs about 8 p.m. (Capt. Savage' s was a mule company, and Captains Siler and Christianson's were on foot), after a fruitless search. This morning Col. Babbitt overtook us and reported that it was uncertain whether Mrs. Wilson (the woman who was stated in this journal of 29ult. [Aug.] to have been "taken captive") was dead or alive, but that she had not yet been found—that the statement made to him by his 2 men (the one "Parish by name and the other called "John" and wounded through the thigh) whom he had found at Fort Kearney was that one of them (Parish) being on guard and noticing some Indians coming upon their camp alarmed the other men who were sleeping under the waggons, as also Mrs. Wilson—that the Indians immediately began to fire & he (the guard) shot at them with a revolver several times from behind a waggon during which time he saw the waggon-master shot dead, and that finding the numbers too great he and "John" made their escape to Fort Kearney. Col. Babbitt also reported that the Cheyenne Indians attacked a small waggon-train from California last Sunday and killed a woman. that the U.S. Dragoons had killed 13 Cheyennes and taken a number of horses. The Col. also stated that according to report this tribe was concentrating all its strength in the neighborhood of Ash Hollow where the troops were expecting a fight. The Col. very kindly lent me a letter which he found amongst Mrs. Wilson' s papers, and which he said was written by herself containing a short history of occurrences between Florence and the Loup Fork from whence it was dated on 21st ult. It commenced with the words "Dear Cousin" and was left unfinished, the latter half being written in pencil. It was manifest from the tenor of the letter that the writer was very uneasy and had more or less during the whole journey entertained apprehensions of danger from some source or other. It would seem that she wrote the letter while some of the men had gone in search of their cattle which they found 18 miles from their Camp. Col. B. reported that Prest. Smoot' s train would probably be opposite to us on the other side of the Platte this evening which turned out to be the case.
Friday 5 Sept. This morning Prest. Willie sent out together Capt. Savage in command of a mule company and Captain Christianson in command of a foot company in search of the missing cattle, but the 2 parties returned at dark together this evening and reported a complete failure. Capt. Siler and other Brethren visited President Smoot' s Company this morning which they overtook 12 miles from our Camp. President Smoot and Capt. O. P. Rockwell returned with our brethren and met with our Officers in Council this evening. They camped with us for the night.
Saturday 6 Sept. This morning President Smoot at the request of our President made some cheering remarks to the Saints and showed us the necessity of strict and ready obedience at the conclusion of which President Willie told the Brethren to yoke up their remaining cattle and the cows and be ready for an immediate move. The first and second hundred and part of the third hundred accompanied by the P.E.F. waggons to start first which was done accordingly. At the same time Bros. Joseph Elder and Andrew Smith were sent back to search for the lost cattle with instructions to go on till they met Franklin D. Richards. After a few hours' absence the teams which had moved off the first half of our Company returned and took away the remaining half the whole Company about 4 or 5 miles nearer the Valley in the bend of a fine creek near the Platte. This evening at Prayers Capt. Siler made some remarks to that portion of the Camp entrusted to his charge on the principle of obedience & more particularly as it bore on the Saints' present position here and which remarks had a tendency to prepare their minds for some coming trial of their confidence in God and his Servants. President Smoot and Capt. Rockwell left us this afternoon for their Camp.
Sunday 7 Sept. This morning a council was held and soon afterwards the whole Camp was called together by the well known sound of the horn. President Willie called on Capt. Atwood to preside over the meeting. After singing, "How firm a foundation ye Saints of the Lord" &c., Prest. Atwood called on Captains Chislett, Woodward, Savage and Siler (in the order of their names) to address the Saints which these Brethren did showing very clearly the difficulties of our present position and urging on the people the absolute necessity for doing away with the spirit of grumbling, strife, pilfering and disregard of counsel which was now on the increase in the Camp and substituting in its place the spirit of contentment, peace, union and strict obedience. President Atwood then addressed the Saints stating his cordial approbation of the Brethren' s remarks which he believed would be heeded and thus reduced into practice by the people. He adverted (as also did Capt. Siler in his Observation) to the "Independent Waggon Company" and said his feelings was for the owners to consecrate waggons and teams and everything belonging to them to the Lord through his Servant President Willie to be used in the present emergency as the Holy Ghost should dictate through him. Prest. Atwood urged the pilferers to come forward and openly confess their faults before their Brethren who would then extend to them the friendly hand of forgiveness. He told the Saints plainly they must one and all from this time, as far as they knew how, literally obey the counsel of each particular officer placed immediately over them without repining or grumbling openly or secretly. President Willie then summed up the whole matter examining minutely the ground occupied by the preceding speakers and expressing his approbation of their remarks. He said (as also did President Atwood in his preceding speech) that the whole strength of the Camp, that of men, women, children and beasts—must be applied under the direction of the Officers of the Camp for the one object in view, the early resumption and speedy & final completion of the journey which he (with President Atwood) considered might, even now, be continued at the rate of from 10 to 15 miles per day according to circumstances. He urged on the Brethren and Sisters attached to the "Independent" Waggons and who had no particular occupation except to walk alongside those vehicles or to ride inside them to walk altogether or as much as practicable and besides to confer honor on themselves by assisting to pull handcarts or doing anything else which their Superior Officer might direct or which they might see required to be done even though it should be to leave their luggage on the Plains. Prest. Willie said he would not enter into full particulars of the plan of operations which he contemplated further than by saying that if the Brethren or Sisters drawing handcarts should be required by their Captain to draw 4 or 5 hundred of flour they must do it cheerfully and the Waggon Company must act on the same principle by carrying anything and everything which might be required of them by like authority. He entirely concurred in the remarks of President Atwood and the other Brethren and would like to see all the grumblers, pilferers, liars and so forth if any were still so in their hearts immediately stand by themselves aside from the rest so that the Brethren might better know them. He concluded by suggesting that President Atwood test the feelings of the Camp by obtaining their vote to sustain the various Officers in their respective positions to the very uttermost in carrying out such measures as the Holy Ghost might devise through them for the most safely and speedily gathering this Company to Zion, expressing his strong desire that none would raise their hands toward Heaven in support of such a vote unless they meant it from their hearts and would literally and willingly carry out its spirit when the Officers came to execute their duty. President Atwood then put the question in the affirmative terms mentioned by President Willie at the same time wishing the people not to lower their hands till he told them to do so. The motion was carried unanimously and on its being put in the negative not a single hand was held up. The Meeting was then dismissed and the Brethren immediately went to work to execute the will of President Willie which was cheerfully responded to. Afterwards President Willie and Captains Atwood and Siler with other the Brethren yoked up many of the cows which was an arduous task. Early this morning some animals were observed at a considerable distance from our Camp and supposing they might be our missing cattle President Willie, Captain Savage and others went out to reconnoitre but found the animals were a small herd of horses belonging to some men from California who afterwards came to our Camp to purchase flour, a mission in which they completely failed as none were willing to sell in our present emergency. They said they gave 20 cents a pound for the flour at Fort Laramie which they left 12 days ago leaving a poor lean horse on the road 25 miles above this point. They reported having met a handcart company on the Sweetwater and 2 other Companies behind them "all right" and that the grass was scarce for 3 days' journey from this point though afterwards we should find it very plentiful. One of these men who gave his name as "James M. Hurn" stated that he lived in Salt Lake City in 1854. The only thing in the shape of provisions which this party wanted for was breadstuffs.
Monday 8 Sept. This morning a man who gave his name as "Henry Bauichter" came into our camp on horseback. He stated that he was a discharged Soldier from Fort Laramie which he left on 29th ult, and that after travelling about 30 miles he overtook a waggon with 2 mules and 2 horses, the one an Indian horse with a white face, the mules alone drawing the waggon, accompanied by 2 men, one of whom gave his name as "Thomas Margetts" and the other as "James Cowdy"—that the former appeared to have a wife and the latter a wife and child, the whole of whom, as the 2 men stated, were on their way from Great Salt Lake City to the States—that about 70 miles ahead of us on what is supposed to be the North Bluff Creek he and Thomas Margetts went out on horseback in search of buffalo—that this was between 1 and 2 p.m. on 6th inst.—that he (Bauichter) soon killed a buffalo upon which Margetts returned to the Waggon to fetch some things for carrying away part of the animal which Bauchter staid behind to dress—that on Margetts' return from the waggon he filled one utensil, principally with tallow, and started again for the waggon while Bauichter remained behind to fill up another utensil which Margetts had brought—that the buffalo was over the bluff about a mile and a half from the waggon—that he (Bauchter) was occupied half an hour or so, after Margetts' last departure, in cutting up meat and filling the other utensil immediately whereupon he also returned in the direction of the waggon noticing before his arrival there that the wagon-cover had been stripped off and that neither mules nor horses were to be seen—that on his (B' s) arrival he discovered on the ground the bodies of Margetts, Cowdy, his wife and child, all dead, except the child that was crying and bloody—that he (B) saw no wounds on any of the bodies and an arrow was sticking in Cowdy' s thigh (whether the right or left one he could not say) and Mrs. C. was sitting in an upright posture leaning against some raised ground, with her breasts and private parts exposed and her head leaning backwards and seemed to have been brutally treated by her murderers—that the waggon, the hinder part of which was on fire, had been completely ransacked and all that was of any immediate use taken away—that he (B) looked around for Mrs. Margetts whom he could not find—that the feathers from a bed had been strewn on the ground by the side of the waggon but he could not see the bed-tick—that he saw at some considerable distance 12 men or so on horseback apparently riding fast and, as far as he could discover, Indians—that none of the bodies were scalped—that he heard no report of fire-arms during his absence from the waggon and that not feeling himself safe in the neighborhood of the murders he escaped with his horse, and with the loss of his discharge and other papers, about $300, a gold watch and other things which he had deposited in the wagon and made the best of his way to this point intending to reach Fort Kearney and report the facts there as quickly as possible. Bauichter said he did not meet any one on his journey from Fort Laramie to our Camp where he arrived stating that he had not eaten for 50 hours. His wants in this respect were supplied and he was furnished with food and ammunition to Fort Kearney for which place he started about 11 a.m. He stated that the 2 horses were ridden at intervals during the journey by Mr. and Mrs. Margetts. The fixing up of our remodelled teams and the changing of freight from one waggon to another occupied the entire morning. We started about noon and after travelling along the Platte Bottom for about 10 or 12 miles, part of the road being very swampy and sandy, we camped for the night close to the River with good feed. Fetched wood from an Island in the River.
Tuesday 9 Sept. Rolled out of Camp at 8:30 a.m. our teams still being very troublesome to fix up. Journeyed about 6 miles and then stopped to water cattle and to dine over a sand bluff to cross which we had to double teams. Continued our journey from the river upon the banks of which we camped for the night close to the point where Skunk Creek empties itself into the River. Very heavy sandy roads throughout the day. About 285 miles from Florence.
Wednesday10 Sept. Left Camp a little before 9 a.m. & journeyed on to crossing of Skunk Creek, President Willie, Capt. Atwood and other brethren carrying the Sisters over the stream. Camped for the night at a good spring of clear cold water on the south side of the road with good feed but no wood. Roads worse than yesterday. 295 miles from Florence.
Thursday 11 Sept. Left Camp about 8 a.m. crossed Carrion Creek, nooned on banks of Platte River and camped for the night on the banks of the same. Buffalo killed this evening after arrival of Camp. Some of the Brethren thought they saw horsemen and carriages coming along this evening at dusk but it unfortunately turned out to be a "bag of moonshine". Good feed and lots of "chips" as usual. We have most delightful weather and are being prospered beyond our utmost expectations. Better roads today; the health of the Camp which has been indifferent for some time past is improving and all is well with us. About 300 miles from Florence. Our camping place for the night was on the north fork of the Platte about 9 miles above the junction.
Friday 12 Sept. Pursuant to a previous threat or promise Capt. Atwood pulled down a tent or two this morning (about an hour and a half after the horn had blown) exposing the serene features of its sleeping inmates much to their chagrin and the amusement of bystanders. Some of the sleepers wanted to draw the tent back over them as a covering but it was "no go"—they stood confessed to the "vulgar gaze." Buffalo meat served out this morning first thing—Left Camp about 8:30 a.m., crossed a fine creek[,] nooned on the banks of the Platte and afterwards crossed the North Bluff Fork. Pretty good feed. This evening President Franklin D. Richards and suite (with Bros. Elder and Smith who went in search of the missing cattle) arrived just before dusk in 3 carriages and 2 waggons. They were loudly greeted by the hearty hurrahs of the Saints whom they met after supper when Prest. Willie in a few appropriate remarks introduced Prest. Richards into whose hands he gave the Meeting to be led by him as the Holy Ghost might dictate. Bro. Richards then called on Bro. [blank space] Dunbar for a song. He accordingly sang one of the Songs of Zion. Prest. Richards then addressed the Saints expressing his satisfaction at their having journeyed thus far & more especially with handcarts and congratulating them on the loss of their cattle which he knew had proved and would prove their salvation if they would hearken to and diligently obey counsel to the letter in which event he promised in the name of Israel' s God and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood that no obstacle whatever should come in the way of this Camp but what they should be able by their united faith and works to overcome[.] God being their helper and that if a Red Sea whould interpose they should by their union of heart & hand walk through it like Israel of old dryshod. On the same conditions he promised that though they might have some trials to endure as a proof to God and their Brethren that they had the true"grit" still the Lamanites[,] heat nor cold nor any other thing should have power to seriously harm any in the Camp but that we should arrive in the Valleys of the Mountains with strong and healthy bodies and that this should be the case with the aged the sick and the inform [infirm]. He said that next to the Pioneers the Handcart Companies would meet with the most hearty and gracious reception from Prest. Young[,] the Authorities under him and all the Saints in Utah of any Companies that every entered the valley. Prest. Richards said although it was a scheme at which many had already scoffed and which they were yet deriding it was nevertheless the Lord' s plan, a plan which would first puzzle and astonish the nations and then strike terror into their hearts. He encouraged the Saints to live the principles of their religion not only openly before the world but privately in their families and in their intercourse with each other and to scorn all the trials and difficulties which might come in their way, assuring them as the result of such a course that they should find favor with God, and have the confidence of the Brethren things which were to him at all events afar above all the gold, silver and precious stones in the Universe. His words had the tendency to build up, strengthen and encourage the people and seemed to electrify his hearers as it were. The Holy Ghost was felt in its almighty and renovating power during the whole time we were together and the people seconded his sentiments by a hearty "Amen" from time to time. Counsellors Daniel Spencer and Cyrus H. Wheelock addressed the Saints in a few stirring remarks bearing testimony to the truth of the words spoken by Prest. Richards. These Brethren exhorted the Saints to obedience, union and brotherly love as they valued their salvation across these Plains. The meeting was then dismissed with prayer by Capt. Atwood after which an account was taken of the number of cows, oxen, waggons, fire-arms, &c., for presentation by President Richards to the First Presidency. Bro. Dunbar sang several songs of Zion during the meeting. Camped for the night on the North Bluff Fork of the Platte—320 miles from Florence.
Saturday 13 Sept. This morning we were summoned together about 7 o' clock. Prest. Richards opened the Meeting by calling on Counsellor C.H. Wheelock to engage in prayer. Bro. Dunbar then sang an appropriate song at the conclusion of which Prest. R. gave the Saints some good and wholesome instruction especially impressing on their minds the absolute necessity of literal and prompt obedience and reminding them that Prest. Willie was invested with absolute authority to direct the affairs of this Camp. President R' s remarks were well received by the Saints and there was a perfect unanimity of feeling manifested. He then dismissed the meeting with prayer at the conclusion of which our President moved that we give 3 cheers for Prest. R. and Suite which was quickly responded to by the waveing of hats, handkerchiefs and bonnets and 3 united hearty and uproarious hip – hip – hip – hurrahs. He then said that as he had found a good place for crossing the Platte nearly opposite our present camping ground our Company had better cross at once. He and his Suite crossed and Prest. Willie immediately gave instructions for all of us to follow. The crossing occupied till pretty late in the afternoon and the teams being wearied he decided on camping on the south side of the Platte. A calf was killed this morning from our herd for Prest. R. Father William Haley of the Warwickshire Conference in England died this afternoon from general decay of constitution aged 66 years.
Sunday 14 Sept. William Haley was buried this morning on our yesterday' s camping ground, a grave-board being inscribed with his name, age, and date of death. Left Camp about 8:30 a.m. nooned at a bend of the Platte and cam[p]ed for the night about 7 miles further up on the same river. Bro. Joseph Elder killed 2 buffaloes just before arriving in Camp this evening.
Monday 15 Sept. Left Camp about 8:30 a.m. soon after which Father Richard F. Turner of the Worcestershire Conference in England died. He was buried at a bend of the Platte River where we nooned. Journeyed some distance when 3 mounted Indians armed with bows & arrows met us. They represented themselves as of the Tribe called "the Arraphoes" and wished us to camp with their party on the Platte tonight which was not acceded to we being too far from the river. By signs as far as the Brethren could understand them these 3 men represented that some Emigrant Train was attacked by the Sioux Indians 5 days ago, and they thought our train would be attacked also. The Brethren by signs said we had plenty of rifles, powder, lead and caps. The 3 Indians shook their heads. Camped for the night on the open prairie close to a small muddy pool of water scarcely sufficient for cooking purposes. Poor feed. Cattle chained to the waggons for the night. They have had a long & tedious day' s journey and seem quite exhausted though the roads on the whole have been tolerably good. Prest. Willie notified the Saints that the horn would blow in the morning at rise at 3 so as to start at 4.
Tuesday 16 Sept. Rolled out about 4 a.m. accordingly and after travelling through a deep winding ravine over a very heavy sandy road we nooned on the banks of the Platte with splendid feed. Since noon yesterday we have been travelling over a long range of bluffs which have opened at noon today on the Platte River Bottom. The guard saw several Indians round our Camp about 2 this morning on the bluffs but on going up to the spot they could not be found though they with their dogs were heard in the distance. Journeyed over some heavy sandy bluffs this afternoon and camped for the night in the valley by the side of the Platte.
Wednesday 17 Sept. We were delayed this morning (as we had been on previous occasions in consequence of some handcarts which had been broken requiring repair. Left Camp about 9:30 a.m., nooned on the banks of the Platte and camped for the night on the banks of the same River. Very bad sandy roads throughout the day which, combined with a very high wind rendered it the most arduous day' s trip up to this point.
Thursday 18 Sept. Last night and this morning we had a very sharp frost. Rolled forward about 9 a.m. and after travelling some distance over our usually (of late) sandy roads nooned at the foot of some high bluffs near the River from which we took a 7 mile supply of water. I omitted to state in my journal for yesterday that Bro. J.S. Cantwell' s daughter Ellen (aged 7 years) was bitten by a large rattlesnake as she was playing in the sand. Capt. Siler killed the snake and applied the best known remedy at hand (a mixture of powder and lard externally and some whisky internally) after which she slept soundly for some time. After dinner today we made a start up the side of the bluffs which occupied a considerable time—journeyed over hill and dale for several miles till after passing through Ash Hollow we again entered the Platte Bottom where we camped for the night. Fine cedar found on the bluffs. Sister Stewart was found to be missing on the arrival of the Camp and as her footsteps were traced in advance of us Bros. Oliver and Smith were sent ahead in search and returned reporting that they had failed in their mission thus far. 380-¾ miles from Florence.
Friday 19 Sept. After breakfast this morning, Prest. Willie sent out many of the brethren to search for Sister Stewart, while Capt. Siler, Bro. Jost with the assistance of some Brethren repaired the axle-trees and other parts of some broken-down handcarts. The Scouts for Sis. Stewart returned without her about dinner-time. Prest. Willie then called a Council after which he with 11 Brethren went out on a 3rd expedition. They had been absent about 4 hours when she came into Camp stating that hearing the lowing of cattle and the sound of the axe she made for the spot and found Captain Woodward and others (who had been sent into Ash Hollow by Prest. Willie for timber to make axles) cutting wood. On arriving in Camp she appeared much exhausted and was scarcely able to speak. A cow having been killed this morning, she partook of some beef soup which revived her and she fell asleep. This evening after supper, Capt. Atwood called the Saints together for Prayer as usual and was afterwards conversing about the best plan to be adopted to bring back Prest. Willie and Company to the Camp (Capts. Woodward & Chislett having volunteered to go in search on horseback) when they all entered the Camp Prest. Willie stating that having discovered and lost Sis. Stewart' s back track about dark he had deemed it best to return to the Camp for the night and make a fresh start in the morning if necessary. We were all much rejoiced at being restored to each other again.
Saturday 20 Sept. This morning Sis. Stewart stated that when she descended into Ash Hollow instead of turning to the right towards the River (where our Camp was) she turned to the left because she saw a road in that direction—that she went for a long distance on such road and then not seeing anything of the Camp turned back to the place where we nooned yesterday near which she slept last night on the bluffs of the open prairie and that she was followed by some wolves one of which came within 2 yards of her and seemed inclined to be rather too familiar which unlawful propensity she instantly checked by a steady gaze accompanied by an authoritative shake or waive of her right hand. The repairs of the handcarts commenced early this morning and we were not able to leave Camp till about 2 p.m., after which we wended our way to the next point where the road joins the Platte at which place we camped for the night about 6 p.m. Roads fast improving with better feed.
Sunday 21 Sept. 2 handcarts having been broken down yesterday afternoon we were delayed a little this morning for their repair and we therefore did not leave Camp till about 9 a.m. Very wet unpleasant weather. Travelled till 1 p.m. when we camped on the Platte for dinner. Started again at 2 and camped for the night on a bend of the same River with indifferent feed. Roads on the whole heavy and sandy throughout the day. W. N. Leason, son of Sister Ruvinia Leason, of Quincy, Illinois, died at 11:30 p.m. of canker in the stomach. He was born on 7 Nov. 1854.
Monday, 22 Sept. W. N. Leason was buried this morning at 7 o' clock, a suitable inscription in wood being placed on the grave. Rolled out about 7:30 a.m. & nooned and camped for the night on the Platte. A hard and long day' s journey, the roads being more or less very heavy and sandy notwithstanding which Prest. Willie considers we have made from 18 to 20 miles since the morning. In about an hour after the starting of the Camp this afternoon Bro. Jesse Empy of Eaton Bray Branch in the Bedfordshire Conference in England died from scrofula, age 31. Weather turned warm and pleasant about noon but cold set in again before sunset.
Tuesday 23 Sept. Bro. Empy was buried this morning before starting of Camp, a suitable wooden inscription being placed on the grave. Rolled out of Camp at 8:30 a.m., nooned a short distance from the road on the Platte and camped for the night on that River about 5:30 p.m. Roads much better though interspersed with heavy sand occasionally.
Wednesday 24 Sept. Left Camp about 7:30 a.m., nooned between the road and River and camped for the night on the banks thereof about 2 miles on the southwest side of "Chimney Rock". A very interesting meeting at which Prest. Willie & Capts. Atwood and Savage earnestly exhorted the Saints to the more diligent performance of their duties. A cow was killed this evening.
Thursday 25 Sept. Rolled out of Camp about 7:30 a.m., nooned at a point where the road and river meet and camped for the night at another similar point a short distance beyond 2 vacant Trading-posts with indifferent feed. Roads pretty good throughout the day.
Friday 26 Sept. Left Camp at 7:30 a.m., immediately struck off from the River for "Scotts Bluffs" near which we nooned and nearer to which we camped for the night, close to a very deep ravine or creek the sides of which were studded with fine Cedar which as well as water was hard to procure. The water was obliged to be dammed up in order that the cattle might drink. Feed dried up. Sis. Ann Bryant aged 69 from Bristol in England died this afternoon of general decay of constitution. Roads today "half and half", i. e., partly sandy & partly good.
Saturday 27 Sept. Sis. Bryant was buried before starting of Camp, which took place about 7:30 a.m., nooned on some Creek and about 10 miles further & crossed over Horseshoe Creek where we camped for the night with a little better feed.
Sunday 28 Sept. Left Camp about 7:30 a.m., nooned on the road about ¾ of a mile from the Platte with good feed. Met a company of emigrants returning from Salt Lake City in 11 waggons. Peter Burgess one of the party informed us that Mr. Babbitt and 2 men who accompanied him had been killed by the Cheyennes. We afterwards met a Company of U.S. Dragoons the officer commanding which confirmed, Burgess' s report. The Officer and several of his men took possession of a horse which we found several days back and which he claimed as his property. He refused to see President Willie before taking the horse. Camped for the night on the road near the River with good feed.
Monday 29 Sept. Left Camp about 8 a.m., passed an Indian Agency Station where some Sioux Indians were camped. Nooned at a vacant Trading Post 7 miles from Fort Laramie and camped for the night on the road near an Indian Burying Ground about 4 miles from that Fort with weeds and young cottonwood for the cattle.
Tuesday 30 Sept. A Council Meeting was held this morning after Prayers and then Capt. Siler left the Camp for Fort Laramie to procure provisions and cattle. A cow and calf were killed for the P. E. F. Company. Just before leaving Camp some Packers and Bro. Amy from Salt Lake City in a waggon in company with other Brethren who were going on business to the States passed by our Camp and we afterwards met 2 other waggons and some more packers. Rolled out of Camp about 2 p.m. and camped for the night about 3 miles west of Fort Laramie from whence Capt. Siler arrived late in the evening and reported that cattle were not obtainable but that provisions could be had on the credit of the Church. It was therefore resolved that the Handcart Company should make the best of their way through and that the 4 Independent Waggons should wait untill the arrival of the next Waggon Company in the hope that some assistance could be then rendered them. Some soldiers visited the Camp this evening.
Wednesday 1 Oct. The Handcart Company rolled out of Camp about noon and the 4 waggons then turned back to an elevated spot of ground commanding a full view of the Fort. The first thing this morning it was discovered that several sisters had left the Camp and had taken up their residence at the Fort. Early this morning Bro. David Reeder died, aged 54. He was born at Rumburgh, Suffolk, in England.
Lucinda M. Davenport left camp on the previous night with an apostate Mormon. It was discovered this morning she was with Grant & Kimball' s wagon on the journey.
Christine Brown of the Handcart Company also staid at Fort Laramie.
Capt. Willie with some brethren returned to Fort Laramie with the mule team on business. W. Woodward had charge of the company during the day. Rolled about 7 miles and camped on the banks of the river Platte.
William Read [Reed] died coming to camp in a wagon—he was born at North Crawley, Buckinghamshire, England, aged 63.
Capt. Willie & the Brethren returned to camp. Some missionaries from Salt Lake passed by our camp & informed us that Brother P. P. Pratt & other missionaries were camped about 4 miles from us up the river.
Thursday 2nd. Morning fine. Several missionaries came into camp this morning, among which was Thomas Bullock—they were in good spirits, several brethren went on to the wagons as they were travelling & Bro. Parley came to camp, preached a discourse suitable to the times, which was well received by the people; he bid the camp good by & went on his way to the States. Bro. Willie accompanied him to Fort Laramie.
The camp rolled on as usual, travelled about 7 miles & camped. A meeting was held in the evening, Bros. Willie, Atwood & Savage addressed it on the necessity of shortening the rations of the camp, that our flour might hold out till supplies should meet us. The people were willing to listen to Capt. Willie' s suggestion, & it was unanimously approved of by the people.
Friday 3rd. Road leaves the River, ascended some steep bluffs & rolled on. Nooned on a dry creek. Rolled on again, descended the Bluffs & travelled till dark. Camped by the road, travelled about 21 miles. Peter Larsen, aged 43, from Lolland, Denmark, died during the day.
Saturday 4th. The camp rolled on about 3 miles & the company staid to allow the sisters to wash clothes, &c. Benjamin Culley, aged 61, from Sprowston, Norfolk, England, died; also George Ingra, aged 68, from Bassingbourne, Cambridgeshire, England died; also Daniel Gadd, aged 2, from Orwell, Cambridgeshsire, England, died. A cow was killed in the afternoon.
Sunday, 5th. The camp rolled on, roads good, nooned on the Platte; rolled again, crossed some hills, then some splendid road, arrived at the crossing of the Platte—the company forded the river & camped on its banks. Travelled about 15 miles.
Monday 6th. Roads good, the Handcarts roll fine, the ox-teams are nearly always in the rear; nooned for an hour on the Platte & then rolled a few miles farther. Travelled about 16 miles.
Tuesday 7th. Travelled about 3 miles & forded the Platte River. Roads generally good, some few hills. Nooned on a creek that was nearly dry. Rolled on again & camped on the banks of the Platte. Travelled about 15 miles.
Wednesday 8th. This morning one of our best oxen belonging to the P.E. Fund, died—supposed to have eaten a poisonous weed. The camp rolled on, roads splendid, some few hills; crossed a clear running stream & rolled on to the Platte & nooned where the Black Hills road intersects the river road. Rolled on about 5 miles father & camped on Deer Creek. Four U. S. soldiers from Laramie on their way to a military post camped near us. A cow was killed in the evening for the use of the camp. Travelled about 15 miles during the day.
Thursday 9th. Rolled on 9½ miles & nooned on the Platte. Samuel Gadd, from Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England died in the afternoon, aged 42 years. The company rolled on 7 miles farther & camped on the banks of the Platte.
Friday 10th. The company rolled on as usual. After travelling a few miles we came up with several U.S. soldiers who had been to get firewood for their fort. We called at a trading post & obtained 37 Buffalo robes for the use of the Handcart Company, which had been engaged by Bro. F. D. Richards. Travelled about 6 miles & nooned. Rolled on again & forded the Platte river and camped on its banks. Travelled about 12 miles thro' the day.
Saturday 11th. Travelled about 12¼ miles & camped; the road was hilly. Several of our cows gave out that were hauling wagons; one died on the road or was killed by wolves.
Sunday 12th. Alfred Peacock & George (William) Edwick left our company & returned towards Fort Laramie. The company rolled on, passed a mineral lake & spring, passed thro' a "Rock Avenue" & nooned at the Alkali swamps & springs. Rolled on & camped at a clear stream of water, travelled about 13-¾ miles. A cow was killed that was not fit to travel. The night was cold.
Monday 13th. The camp rolled on, passed the "Willow Springs", ascended "Prospect Hill", & nooned at a "Bad Slough". Rolled on to "Greasewood Creek" & camped for the night. Travelled about 13 miles. Paul Jacobsen, from Lolland, Denmark, aged 55 died this evening.
Tuesday 14th. Weather splendid. Road sandy. Rolled on to the Saleratus Lake & nooned. Travelled on, & the Handcarts with the people crossed the Sweetwater River on a bridge. The teams & wagons forded the stream. Camped about a mile west of "Independence Rock". Came about 13 miles. The people gathered considerable Saleratus from a lake on the left of the road east of "Independence Rock" of a superior quality.
Wednesday 15th. Early this morning, Caroline Reeder, from Linstead, Suffolk, England, aged 17 years, died. The camp rolled on, passed "Devils Gate" & nooned after travelling about 6 miles. The camp rolled on & we camped on the banks of the Sweetwater after making about 16 miles travel thro' the day. Many of the company are sick & have to ride in the wagons. One beef heifer & one poor cow were killed this evening for the camp. Last evening a council & a meeting were held to take into consideration our provisions & the time it was considered we should have to make it last before we could depend upon supplies. It was unanimously agreed to reduce the rations of flour one fourth—the men then would get 10½ ozs. per day; women, & large children 9 ozs. per day; children 6 ozs. per day; & infants 3 ozs. per day each.
Thursday 16th. Early this morning sister Ella, wife of Olof Wicklund was delivered of a son. George Curtis, from Norton, Gloucestershire, England, aged 64 years died; Lars Julius Larsen, who was born July 5th, 1856 in camp at Iowa City died. John Roberts from Bristol, Somersetshire, England, aged 42 years died. The camp rolled on, roads hilly & sandy, nooned after travelling about 5 miles; rolled on & camped on the banks of the Sweetwater. Many of our company are failing in health. Feed for the cattle scarce. Came about 11 miles.
Friday 17th. William Philpot, aged 51 years, from Southampton, Hampshire, England died this morning about 2 o' clock. Camp rolled on in the morning, roads good, forded the Sweetwater & nooned, after travelling over 7 miles. Bro. Findlay found an ox able to work. A calf gave out & was killed by wolves. The company rolled on again, forded the Sweetwater twice between the mountains & travelled on a piece & camped; willows plenty for fuel; Travelled about 13 miles thro' the day.
Saturday 18th Rolled on in the morning & nooned on the Sweetwater. Forded the Sweetwater after dinner & camped on its banks. Travelled about [blank space] miles. A cow & calf was butchered for the company. James Henderson from Nixwood, Lanarkshire, Scotland died in the evening, aged 27 years.
Sunday 19th Rolled on in the morning, weather very cold. Ann Rowley died this morning, aged 2 yrs. Some of the children were crying with cold. Passed "Ice Springs"; just after we were passed the "springs" a snow storm came on, which lasted for about half an hour. The company rolled on again, & were soon met by Cyrus H. Wheelock & Joseph A. Young & two other brethren from the Valley, bringing us the information that supplies were near at hand, the camp halted, a meeting was called. Bro. Wheelock informed us of the liberality of the Saints in the Valley, of Bro. Brigham Young' s kindheartedness in speaking in behalf of the Handcart companies now on the Plains, & of himself fitting up ten teams & wagons & supplying them with flour, &c., & others in proportion, During the day Eliza Smith, from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 40 years died; also John Kockles, from Norwich, Norfolk, England, died; also, Daniel Osborn, from Norwich, Norfolk, England died; also Rasmus Hansen, from Falster, Denmark, died. Travelled thro' the day about 16 miles; camped at dark on the banks of the Sweetwater. The teams mistook the road & did not get into camp till about 10 p.m. Monday 20th This morning there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Anna F. Tait from Glasgow, Scotland, aged 31 years died; Capt. Willie & Joseph Elder left camp to meet the "Relief Train" that had been sent from the Valley. Our provisions were all issued last night & that was hard bread.
Tuesday 21st. John Linford from Graveley, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 49 years died; also, Richard Hardwick, from Moorhen' s Cross, Herefordshire, England, aged 63 years; also Mary Ann Perkins, from Norwich, Norfolk, England, aged 62 years died; also Sophia Larsen from Lolland, Denmark, aged 11 years. Many children were crying for bread and the camp generally were destitute of food. A beef heifer was killed for the camp. Capt. Willie, Capt. Grant, W. H. Kimball & others with 14 wagons with horse & mule teams arrived in camp with flour, onions & some clothing for the camp, this made the Saints feel well.
Wednesday 22nd. Camp rolled out. W.H. Kimball & others with 6 wagons went on to the Valley with us. G.D. Grant & others went on towards "Independence Rock" to meet Martin' s Handcart Company. Travelled 11 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Roads good considering the snow on the ground. Eliza Philpot from Southampton, Hampshire, England, died, aged 36; also John James from Whitbourne, Herefordshire, England, aged 61.
Thursday 23rd. Ascended a steep hill, travelled about 16 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Crossed several creeks on the road, several men were near frozen thro the day; two teams loaded with sick did not get to camp till very late. James Gibbs from Leith, East Lothian, Scotland, aged 67 died; also Chesterton J. Gilman from Yarmouth, Suffolk, England, aged 66 years died.
Friday, 24th. Reddin N. Allred & others with 6 wagons came to camp this morning to assist the Handcart Company on our journey to the Valley. It was concluded to stay in camp today & bury the dead as there were 13 persons to inter. William James, from Pershore, Worcestershire, England, aged 46 died; Elizabeth Bailey, from Leigh, Worcestrshire, England, aged 52 died; James Kirkwood from Glasgow, Scotland, aged 11 died Samuel Gadd, from Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 10 died; Lars Wendin [Venden], from Copenhagen, Denmark, aged 60 died; Anne Olsen, from Seeland, Denmark, aged 46 died; Ella Nilson, from Jutland, Denmark, aged 22 years, died; Jens Nilson, from Lolland, Denmark, aged 6 years died; Bodil Mortinsen from Lolland, Denmark, aged 9 years, died; Nils Anderson from Seeland, Denmark, aged 41 years died; Ole Madsen from Seeland, Denmark, aged 41 years died; Many of the Saints have their feet & hands frozen from the severity of the weather.
Saturday 25th. Rolled from camp in the morning. Thomas Gurdlestone from Great Melton, Norwich, aged 62 years died. William Groves, from Cranmoor, Somersetshire, England, aged 22 years died; Crossed the Sweetwater for the last time. Travelled about 15 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Some brethren were stationed at this post on the river with supplies of flour & onions. John Walters [Watters] from Bristol, Somerset, England, aged [blank space] [65,] William Smith from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 48 years died.
Sunday 26th. Morning fine & pleasant. Samuel Wit from Bristol, Somerset, England, aged [blank space]  years died; Mary Roberts from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 44 years died. The camp rolled on, crossed the "South Pass" & Pacific Creek; travelled down Pacific creek & camped after travelling about 14 miles. Good place to camp for sagewood.
Monday 27th. Rolled out of camp, roads good, crossed Dry Sandy Creek, passed the Oregon Road, crossed Little Sandy & camped on its banks. Travelled about 18 miles. The health of the camp improves slowly.
Tuesday 28th. Travelled about 8 miles, crossed Big Sandy creek, travelled down its banks about 3 miles & camped. Weather fine. Saints improving in health.
Wednesday 29th. Anders Jensen, from Copenhagen, Denmark, aged 49 years died this morning. Rolled from camp & travelled about 15 miles. Camped on Big Sandy after crossing it. Kersten Knutesen, from Seeland, Denmark, aged [blank space]  years died in the evening.
Thursday, 30th[.] Rolled from Big Sandy to Green River, 11 miles, forded the river and camped on its banks. Many persons were sick & it was late before they were in camp. Bros. Atwood, Woodward & Christiansen staid behind the main body of the camp to urge on the sick & see that none were left behind. Mary Gurdlestone, from Great Melton, Norfolk, England, aged 59 years died in the morning. Joseph Oborn from Bath, Somersetshire, England, aged 43 years died in the evening. A large fire was kindled in the evening, a meeting was held & several of the Brethren addressed the audience.
Friday 31st[.] Left Green River, met with wagons from Fort Supply, & the Valley to assist us on our journey; 7 wagons were from the former place & 3 from the latter. Crossed Hams Fork & camped on its banks; travelled 18 miles. Bro. Savage with the ox & cow teams did not get to camp this evening.
Saturday Nov. 1st[.] Rolled out of camp, met several teams to assist our company on to the Valley. Drove 15 miles and camped. Daniel Osborn, from Norwich, Norfolk, England, aged 35 years died in the evening. A snow storm came on after we camped but did not last long.
Sunday 2nd. Camp rolled out. Ephraim Hanks passed our camp this morning, bringing news from the Valley of many teams being on the road, & that he was going on to the rear companies to meet them. Bros. Willie, Woodward, & Christiansen staid behind to bring up the sick. This morning we had not teams enough to haul the feeble that were left behind. After a short time several teams came on from the Valley & picked up the sick. The brethren that staid behind were late into camp. The company camped about half a mile west of Fort Bridger, travelled about 15 miles. James Cole of Fort Supply married Lucy Ward of the 4th Handcart Company at Fort Bridger in the evening. Bro. Willie' s feet were in such a bad condition from frost that he was unable to walk to the Camp; a wagon was sent for him. Peter Madsen, from Jutland, Denmark, aged 49 years died in the evening.
Monday 3rd. Several wagons came into our camp from the Valley to assist us on our journey this morning. We rolled out of camp about 11 a.m., passed Gilbert & Gerrish' s merchant train going on slowly to the Valley. Crossed the "Basin Rim", forded Muddy Creek & camped on its banks. Some 10 (ten) ox teams with wagons were camped alongside us & were on their way to meet the rear companies. A meeting was held in the evening, the brethren from the Valley attended. It was considered advisable to send on an express to the Valley & report the condition of things in the mountains in regard to the companies on the plains. W. H. Kimball said he would go as the express & he appointed Bro. Gould captain of the horse-teams & Bro. Wm. Hyde, captains of the ox-teams; travelled about 12 miles. Night cold.
Tuesday 4th. W. H. Kimball & Bro. Thomas went on to the Valley this morning. Camp rolled on to Bear River, forded the stream and camped on its banks. Bro. Blair with 3 ox wagons was camped on the opposite bank of the river. Met several teams during the day going to relieve the rear companies. Potatoes, onions & clothing was distributed among the different Hundreds in the evening. Franklin B. Woolley came on from A.O. Smoot' s train informing the company that President B. Young had sent word that some freight still lying at "Fort Bridger" was to be brought in this season & that some teams and men of our company were needed to go on to "Bridger". Several teams & men were selected for the trip.
Friday 5th [Wednesday 5th.] Rolled on in the morning & crossed Yellow Creek, ascended a steep hill & then go down Echo Kanyon [Canyon] & camped; travelled about 23 miles & camped. Peter Madsen, from Copenhagen, Denmark, aged 66 years died during the day; Susannah Osborn from Norwich, Norfolk, England, aged 33 years died this day. A snow storm came on this evening. The people are much exposed to cold from lying on the cold ground.
Nov. 6th. Archibald McPhiel, from Greenock, Argyleshire, Scotland, died about 2 a.m. aged 40 years. Much snow on the ground this morning & still more falling. Go down Echo Kanyon, roads very bad at the crossing of streams; forded Weber River & camped on its banks. It snowed most of the day. The camping ground presented a most dismal appearance, as we rolled on to it there being much snow on the ground & it being late at night. Rasmus P. Hansen, from Lan [blank space] Denmark, aged 16 years, died this evening.
Friday 7th. The camp rolled on, crossed a steep hill & came into East Kanyon; crossed East Kanyon Creek several times & camped in a cottonwood grove; good place to camp for wood. Maria S. Jorgen [Maren Sophie Jorgensen] from Lango, Denmark, aged 8 years died; Theophilus Cox, from Bristol, Somersetshire, England, aged 25 years died; William Empey from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, England, aged 9 years died. During the night day we passed some teams going to relieve the rear companies.
Saturday 8th Travelled up the Kanyon about 3 miles, & then ascended the Big Mountain, which was difficult for teams to gain the top; go down the mountain & camp about a mile from the Little Mountain. Bro. Blair left us early this morning for the Valley. We travelled about 13 miles during the day. W.H. Kimball came to camp this evening; also , a load of provisions for the camp. W.H. Kimball & W. Woodward took an account of persons who had made engagements where they were going to stay in the mountains.
Sunday 9th[.] Early this morning. The people were busy preparing to enter the Valley. Rhoda R. Oakey from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 11 years died this morning. The teams after some difficulty ascended the Little Mountain & rolled down Emigration Kanyon . Several of the wagons passed Captain Smoot' s Church train in the Kanyon. The wagons formed in order on the bench at the mouth of the Kanyon & rolled on to the City. Captain Smoot' s train went ahead. F.D. Richards, S.W. Richards & many others came to meet us on the Bench & went ahead of us into the City. As soon as the company arrived in the City of Great Salt Lake, the Bishops of the different wards took every person that was not provided for a home & put them into comfortable quarters. Hundreds of persons were round the wagons on our way thro' the city welcoming the company safely home.
After the loss of many of our oxen, west of Fort Kearney, we hunted for them some four days & then sent two young men back on the road towards Missouri River to see if they could find them. As our oxen were gone & we still had some cows, we yoked many of them up, lighted the loads that were in the wagons by putting some 6000 lbs. of flour on our handcarts & rolled on towards the Valley, Bro. F.D. Richards & company, & the two young men we sent to hunt our cattle overtook us at North Bluff Fork of the Platte, but brought us no information of our cattle.
After we left Fort Laramie we reduced the rations of the camp with regard to flour. Instead of men & women & children over 6 years of age receiving one pound of flour daily, in a public meeting, the camp agreed to submit to what the officers of the company considered for their preservation as our supplies were running out, & Capt. Willie had the assurance from Bro. F.D. Richards that supplies should be on hand at "Pacific Springs"; Our object in reducing the rations was to make them hold out till we should arrive at the point mentioned. Captain Willie drew up a scale, flour was issued accordingly—men were to have 14 ozs. per day, women 12 ozs. per day, children 9 ozs. per day, & infants 4 ozs, per day. This took place some few miles west of Laramie. The emigrants having to cross the North Fork of the Platte 3 times after we left Laramie, thro' cold water & having again to reduce our rations of flour at Independence Rock, men to receive 10½ ozs., women 9 ozs., children 6 ozs., & infants 3 ozs. of flour daily, & having to cross the Sweetwater River several times, also to sleep on the cold ground with very little bedding, as only 17 lbs. of luggage was allowed to each individual, many of the people failed in strength & many of the aged died exhausted. The diarrhea took hold of many which greatly weakened our camp, our wagons were crowded with sick which broke down our teams & we had to refuse many who were worthy to ride.
C.H. Wheelock & Joseph A. Young with two other brethren met us a short distance west of "Ice Springs" & brought us the cheering intelligence that assistance was near at hand; that several wagons loaded with flour, onions, & clothing, including bedding was within a day' s drive of us. That same night we issued all provisions to the camp which was hard bread that was bought at Laramie (the last of our flour being issued the night before) left us about destitute of provisions for the camp. In the morning we found the ground covered with snow some 4 or 5 inches deep. Bro. Willie & Joseph Elder started in search of the "Relief Train" as we could not move our camp & they did not arrive back again till the following evening, when the "Relief Train" under the charge of George D. Grant came to our camp. Flour & onions were issued that same evening, clothing, bedding, &c. were give to the camp the next morning. Nine persons were buried at that camping ground. Snow was on the ground & looked dismal. W.H. Kimball and others with 6 wagons went with us to the Valley. G.D. Grant & others went on their way to meet the rear handcart companies. Crossing the Rocky ridge was a severe & disastrous day to health. The weather was cold & it snowed & blowed some of the time making it bad for the sick who rode in the wagons & for those who pulled the handcarts. The next day we buried 13 souls near Willow Creek on the banks of the Sweetwater. From that time till we entered the Valley many died. They were the old, the infirm, & the debilitated. Oftentimes the snow had to be cleared from the ground that the tents might be set & the people have a place to sleep. The provisions were given out every night & often it was from 10 to 12 p.m. before all the camp could retire to rest. Help, in the shape of wagons & provisions continued to reach us till we arrived in G.S.L. City. The number of persons that died belonging to the handcart Company was 67 souls & one child belonging to a wagon that joined our company above Florence making the total of deaths 68 souls.
William Woodward clerk of the camp from October 1st till our arrival in G.S.L. City.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Smith, Marilyn Austin, Faithful Stewards--the Life of James Gray Willie and Elizabeth Ann Pettit, 95-120.
Read Trail Excerpt:
James G. Willie's account: . . . ."On the 26th of June we left Pond Creek and, after crossing the Mississippi in consequence of the fallen bridge, started per rail for Iowa City where we arrived on the same day, meeting with the most cordial reception from President Daniel Spencer and the brethren and sisters in camp there. We stayed at this point until Tuesday (July 15) and during the interval had frequent opportunities of meeting together to hear the word of life spoken. The brethren were engaged in making yokes, handcarts, etc., and the sisters in making tents. For the want of these latter articles immediately on our arrival we had several soaking rains which the Saints bore with becoming fortitude. We celebrated the 4th of July with the American flag flying and had a first rate time. Many strangers were present and seemed to take considerable interest in our proceedings.
"On the 12th President Spencer appointed me as captain over the Fourth Handcart Company, consisting of the passengers of the ship Thornton, with Elders Millen Atwood, Levi Savage, William Woodward, John Chislett, and Johan A. Ahmanson respectively captains of hundreds."
William Woodward's journal: "Tuesday 24th June. This morning the remainder of the Company joined us (at Pond Creek), and remained there till 5 p.m. doing the best we could though unable to procure provisions. Left for Rock Island and arrived at 11 p.m. and slept in the cars all night. While at Pond Creek the child of (left blank) died of general debility and was buried the same day in the presence of Pres[iden]ts [James G.] Willie and [Johan August] Ahmanson."
"Saturday 28th (June). Prest. Willie received instructions from Prest. D. Spencer to continue in charge of the Company for the time being."
"Sunday 29th June. We attended meeting in the Camp in the morning. Prest. Willie & Elder John A. Hunt addressed the meeting and in the afternoon Elder Dan Jones preached."
"Monday 30 June. This day Jens C. Jensen, native of Denmark died in the camp, aged two years."
"Tuesday 1st July. A child died today. We are getting ready for the plains and are getting 17 lbs. of luggage ready to cross the plains with as it is not possible to take more."
"Wednesday 2nd July. Sister Mary Lewis, wife of Joseph Lewis, was delivered of a son at 3 a.m., of the Bristol Branch, in the midst of thunder and lightning. The tents not being done we had a good soaking.
"Thursday July 3rd. We had plenty of rain again last night with thunder & lightning. The tents are not yet done although Prest. Willie is unceasing in his exertions to keep the sisters to their work."
"Saturday July 5th. This morning Lars Julius Larsen was born, the son of Peter and Ann K. Larsen. Also died this morning Sarah Ann, daughter of Sister Ann Cooper in the Camp, late of Cambridgeshire Conference, England."
"Monday, July 7th. This morning Mary Ledingham died, daughter of William & Catherine Ledingham, late of Leith, Scotland, aged 22 months."
"Tuesday, July 8th. The tents are now finished."
"Wednesday, July 9th. A company of Saints arrived that came in the Horizon from Liverpool numbering some 800 souls came up this evening in the midst of a terrible storm, and we as well as the other Companies accommodated them the best in our power." (May 25, 1856, the ship Horizon sailed from Liverpool with 856 Saints under the direction of Edward Martin. The company arrived at Boston and reached Iowa City by rail July 8th.)
"Saturday, July 12th. Sister Bailey who was out of her mind was baptized by President Willie. All are busy getting their 17 lbs. weighed up this morning….There was a meeting held this evening when President Willie was appointed to preside over the 4th Division of the P.E.F. Hand-Cart Company. Elders Atwood, Savage, Woodward & Chislett were appointed to preside over hundreds of the said Company." (The third hundred, under William Woodward, were principally Scotch and the fifth hundred, under Johan A. Ahmanson, were Scandinavians.)
"Sunday, July 13th. A child died last night between 8 & 9 p.m., the daughter of Hannah Louiza Richins, on the camping ground. Sister Ingra was baptized this morning….Elder Willie…proposed that Elders Ledingham and Griffiths be appointed Captains of the Guard & Commissary."
The early companies arriving in the Salt Lake Valley came with oxen, mules, and horses and heavy laden wagons. The people quite generally were under the necessity of walking across the plains by the sides of their wagons. Cheaper methods had to be employed to accommodate the increasing emigration. As early as 1851 the First Presidency suggested the use of handcarts as a means of making the journey from Iowa westward. The first handcart companies to cross the plains came in 1856, led by Edmund Ellsworth (266 souls who left Iowa City June 9th), Daniel D. McArthur (220 souls who left June 11th), Edward Bunker (a small company of Welsh Saints who left June 23rd), James G. Willie (who left July15th), and Edward Martin (who left July 28th). [blank space] When the latter two companies arrived in Iowa City, the starting point of thirteen hundred miles of plains, they discovered that the handcarts were not in readiness. They were delayed until they could be produced. This delay and a much earlier and most severe winter caused much suffering for members of these two companies. The two other belated companies that year were the Hodgett's and the Hunt's wagon trains.
It is said that Captain James G. Willie's company consisted of 500 souls, 120 carts, 5 wagons, 24 oxen, 45 beef cattle and cows; Captain Edward Martin's company consisted of 575 souls, 146 carts, 7 wagons, 30 oxen, 50 beef cattle and cows; Captain William B. Hodgett's wagon train consisted of 185 souls, 33 wagons, 187 oxen, beef cattle and cows; and Captain John A. Hunt's wagon train consisted of 200 souls, 50 wagons, 297 oxen, beef cattle and cows.
No attempt will be made here to tell the detailed and lengthy account of the Willie Handcart Company. It is a story by itself. Only James' personal account along with a few other items will be included in this history.
James G. Willie's account: "On July 15th we started from Iowa City Camping Ground for old Winter Quarters, now known as Florence, and pursued our journey till the 20th, when Adelaide A. Baker of the Portsmouth Branch of Southampton conference with her two children, Ann and Sebina Bird of the Eaton Bray Branch of the Bedfordshire conference, and Harriet Smith of the Bristol Branch, Southampton conference left us for the leeks and onions. I wish to here mention an act of kindness performed by a gentleman, Mr. Charles Good at Fort Des Moines. He presented me with 15 pairs of children's boots which I readily accepted as he seemed to be interested by a sincere desire to do good. On Monday the 11th of August we arrived at Florence, having previously on the 9th had two other deserters from our ranks, a Sister Guirney and daughter, both of the Wiltshire conference.
"On our way considerable opposition was shown towards us by the people from time to time, and threats of personal violence were sometimes made use of, though never carried into effect, because they could not find any just cause for complaint. We were persecuted by a posse of men with a search warrant from some justice of the peace authorizing them to search the bottoms of our wagons for young women, who as was alleged were tied down there with ropes."
William Woodward's journal: "Tuesday, July 15th. We finished weighing the luggage today. Sister Eliza Hurren was delivered of a daughter about 6 a.m. yesterday; also Franklin Richins was born this day to John and Charlotte Richins of the Cheltenham Conference, & Richard Godfrey of Worcester Conference was joined in matrimony to Ann Herbert of the same Branch by Bishop Tyler. We started out a short distance this day and encamped for the night, all in first rate spirits."
"Thursday, July 17th. President Spencer and Elder Ferguson came this morning and took back with them a list of the names &c."
"Sunday, July 20th. We did not move out this day but rested ourselves and had two meetings. Prest. Willie, Elders Chislett & Savage addressed us. Yesterday Sister Adelaide A. Baker left us & this morning came and took her luggage & two of her children away with her. She came from the Portsmouth Branch, Southampton Conference; also Ann & Sabina Bird of the Eaton Bray Branch of the Bedfordshire conference & Harriet Smith of the Bristol Branch South Conference left us this day."
"Monday, July 21st. this morning the bugle blew at 4 a.m. for the Saints to get up which they did & then got breakfast, greased our carts, took up our tents, packed our luggage & were ready to start at 7:30 a.m., with only one sick person in the waggon. . . .This night we were a little disturbed by some persons cursing & swearing about the Mormons, but plenty of guards & firearms were called out & after an hour or two swearing they left us."
Peter Madsen writes: Monday, July 21, 1856. "This evening some strangers tried to disturb us and by threats tried to drive us away. President Willie, who knew the people in Illinois, made a comparison and upheld the brethren in arming themselves for battle. Our enemies found it unadvisable (to carry out their threats) and failed to appear."
William Woodward's journal: (The company arrived at Bear Creek at 2 p.m.) "Prest. Willie was busy attending upon the sick the remaining part of the day. We were then dismissed by prayer by Elder Willie & went to our beds.
"Wednesday, July 23rd. Charles Peat and family with Martha & four children from Worcester, England, left us this morning. This morning it is very hot indeed without a breath of air & after prayer by Prest. Willie we were ready to start again at 7:30 a.m.. . . we arrived (at Brush Creek) at 7 p.m. with a great many sick & tired out. Prest. Willie & Elder Griffiths were engaged till quite dark administering to the sick. Sister Mary Williams from the Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire Conference died on the way, supposed from eating green plums together with the excessive heat."
"Thursday, July 24th. This afternoon we buried Sister Williams in the town burying ground." (The company camped on Big Bear Creek.)
"Friday, July 25th. . . .just before we encamped (at Muddy Creek) we were overtaken by the Sheriff with a warrant to search the waggons and under the idea that women were detained contrary to their wish with ropes. After showing their authority, they had permission to examine any part of the Company & were fully satisfied that the report was without foundation & left us. We were disturbed last night by about 30 men with supposed bad pretensions & called over their names but finding us on guard left without committing any depredations."
"Sunday, July 27th. The Camp is getting strong & the sick are mending very fast."
"Monday, July 28th. Seleam Haren, daughter of James & Eliza Haren (Hurren), aged 14 days died about 11 a.m. this day with the rash in the mouth. Sister Haren's child was buried this day with Elder Savage & others in attendance."
"Tuesday, July 29th, 1856. On our journey (to Skunk Creek) Brother Henry Boden of the Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire Conference left us."
"Thursday, Aug. 7th. Bro. Smith of the Wiltshire Conference went into a store to purchase some things & left his purse in the shop with 6 sovereigns in it."
"Friday, August 8th. Bro. Woodward went back with witnesses and got a search warrant for Bro. Smith's purse, but did not succeed in finding it."
"Saturday, Aug. 9th. On our way to this creek (Keg Creek) Bro. Gurnly of the Wiltshire Conference left us with his daughter."
"Wednesday, Aug 13th. The Brethren are busy settling up accounts, finding out those who are going to stop, &c. In the evening Prest. Willie with Elders Atwood & Savage addressed us and bore their testimonies & gave their opinions of the journey before us and after prayers we were dismissed & went to our tents."
"Thursday, Aug. 14th. The Brethren are busy loading up flour, taking the names of those going through, preparing the hand-carts, &c."
"Saturday, 16 August. Part of the 4th Company of Hand-carts, 85 in number under the presidency of Elder James G. Willie, started from Florence in company with 11 waggons (P.E. Fund & independent) about one o'clock p.m. and journey to Little Pappea where they camped for the night with Col. Babbitt and 4 waggons of his. The Handcart Company had been organized into hundreds by President Daniel Spencer at Iowa City and subsequently sanctioned by President James McGaw. Millen Atwood, Capt. of 1st hundred, Levi Savage, Capt. of 2nd hundred, William Woodwarad, Capt. of 3rd hundred, John Chislett, Capt. of 4th hundred, J.A. Ahmanson, Capt. of 5th hundred. Brother Jost borrowed a yoke of oxen from Bro. Cantwell in consequence of his own being unmanageable. Promised to return said yoke tomorrow."
"Sunday, 17 August. Bros. Jost and Geary returned to Florence with Bro. Cantwell's oxen. Remainder of handcarts and waggons arrived in camp from Florence with President Willie. This evening Capt. Atwood gave the Saints some good instruction relative to their present and future duties which he plainly told them must and should be performed and referring to his satisfaction at some grumblers having deserted from the ranks, told the balance that those of them who might still feel double-minded had better do the same as this was about their last chance."
James G. Willie's account: "On our arrival at Florence we were warmly greeted by Pres. James McGaw and Geo. D. Grant, Wm. H. Kimball, and John Van Cott. We stayed there till August the 16th and during this interval were employed in repairing handcarts and tents. We also received much useful instruction from the brethren.
"At Florence four independent wagons joined our company and were subsequently, on the 18th, at the Great Pappea, organized into it by Pres. McGaw, who then appointed Andrew L. Siler a Captain of such wagons under my presidency."
William Woodward gives the following information: Names of persons attached to or accompanying the P.E.F. and Independent Waggons.
P.E.F. Waggons Levi Savage (Capt.), Millen Atwood, Johan Ahmanson, Thomas Bowington, William Woodward, Charles Oliver, John Chislett, Charles Oakey, Robert Reeder, Joseph Reed, Anders Judd Mortensen, and Martha Campkin (and Francessa, Harriet, Wilford George, Martha Ann, and James).
Independent Waggons A. L. Silver (Capt.), Joseph Elder, N. L. Christiansen, Melissa Davenport, Ruvina Leeson (and William N., a baby), John A. Jost (and Mary Ann Senr., Catherine Ann, Samuel, Thomas, Mary Ann Junr., and Andrew James), James S. Cantwell (and Elizabeth Senr., Francis R., James, William, Ellen, Mary Ann, and Elizabeth Junr.), William Wilford, John Thos. Geary (and Sophia, and Sophia Ann), and Christina Anderson.
James G. Willie's account: "On August 19th we rolled out of camp about 6 a.m. and commenced our journey across the plains in real earnest, traveling about 18 miles that day, including the crossing of the Elk Horn river. I then appointed Bro. Niel Lars Christiansen interpreter and counselor to the Danish Saints."
William Woodward's journal: "Friday, 22 August. During the afternoon Sister Sophia Geary had her left foot run over by Bro. Wilford's waggon. She was administered to in the evening by Bros. Silver, Cantwell, and Geary, Capt. Siler officiating. He sealed the blessing of health and strength upon her and promised that inasmuch as she would exercise faith she should walk tomorrow."
"Saturday, 23 August. Prest. Willie had a cow and calf killed for the Handcart Company. . . .Sis. Geary walked a considerable distance pursuant to Bro. Siler's promise."
"Monday, 25 August. Rolled out about 7 a.m. leaving Bro. Griffiths on a mule to hunt for 3 cows which had been lost. He got into camp in the evening about dusk with one cow only which he reported as having found on terms of close intimacy with 2 wolves."
James G. Willie's account: "On Thursday the 28th of August Brother Hadley of the Warwickshire conference aged 66 was missed. Immediately I sent out scouts in search of him with a lantern, but he was not found until early the following morning, after being out exposed to a drenching rain during the night. He, however, soon recovered.
"On Friday the 29th we came up with a large camp of Omaha Indians who were very friendly and sold us some buffalo meat. The Chief invited the officers of our camp to see him. We accordingly went and were hospitably entertained. These Indians informed us of a murder which had been committed on the 25th by the Cheyennes on two of Col. Babbit's men and a Mrs. Wilson and her child. We subsequently passed by the scene of the murder and covered up the graves."
William Woodward's journal: "Friday, 29th August. President Willie and Captains Atwood, Savage, and Siler visited a large encampment of Omaha Indians about half a mile from our camp. These Indians were very numerous and had a great quantity of horses."
Church Chronology: "1856. August.—Mon. 25.—Col. Almon W. Babbitt's train loaded with government property and traveling west, was plundered by Cheyenne Indians, near Wood river, Neb. A. Nichols and two others were killed, and a Mrs. Wilson was carried away by the savages."
William Woodward's journal: "Saturday, 30 August. While dining some of the brethren noticed on the hills about 2 miles off some animals which looked like oxen. Capt. Savage and Bro. Joseph Elder started in pursuit, the one on a mule the other on horseback, and after a long chase succeeded in bringing into camp a yoke of oxen which were added to Bro. Jost's team."
James G. Willie's account: "On the morning of Thursday, 4th Sept., being 265 miles west of Florence we found that 30 of our oxen were missing. We stayed to search for them till the 6th and during our stay Col. Babbitt came up and reported that the Cheyennes had attacked a small California train and killed a woman and that the U.S. Troops had killed 13 Cheyennes and taken a number of horses. Captain Smoot and Bro. Porter Rockwell visited the Saints and comforted us in our then present emergency.
"On the 6th of September we started afresh with our broken teams. Joseph Elder and Andrew Smith returned on the back track in search of the missing cattle. We traveled a short distance when I found it necessary to yoke up some cows which we had with us and to make a transfer of baggage and oxen from one wagon to another in order to equalize the burden of our present position. The brethren cheerfully responded to this call and matters were soon arranged, so that we were on our journey again."
William Woodward's journal: "Thursday, 4 Sept. It being ascertained this morning that 30 head of cattle had strayed away (most probably in a stampede) during the night, President Willie dispatched all the able-bodied men to search for them and after several hours search the brethren returned with reports of failures. A council was then called by Prest. Willie and afterwards different brethren under the command of Capt. Savage, Siler and Christiansen started in different directions. Capt. Siler with his company returned about 5 and Captains Savage and Christiansen with theirs about 8 p.m. (Capt. Savage's was a mule company and Captains Siler and Christiansen's were on foot), after a fruitless search. This morning Col. Babbitt overtook us. . . . (He) reported that Prest. Smoot's train would probably be opposite to us on the other side of the Platte this evening, which turned out to be the case.
"Friday, 5 Sept. This morning Prest. Willie sent out together Capt. Savage in command of a mule company and Captain Christiansen in command of a foot company in search of the missing cattle, but the 2 parties returned at dark together this evening and reported a complete failure. Capt. Siler and other brethren visited President Smoot's Company this morning which they overtook 12 miles from our camp. President Smoot and Capt. O.P. Rockwell returned with our brethren and met with our officers in council this evening. They camped with us for the night.
"Saturday, 6 Sept. This morning President Smoot at the request of our President made some cheering remarks to the Saints and showed us the necessity of strict and ready obedience, at the conclusion of which President Willie told the brethren to yoke up their remaining cattle and the cows and be ready for an immediate move, the first and second hundred and part of the third hundred accompanied by the P.E.F. waggons to start first, which was done accordingly. At the same time Bros. Joseph Elder and Andrew Smith were sent back to search for the lost cattle with instructions to go on till they met Franklin D. Richards. After a few hours absence the teams which had moved off the first half of our company returned and took away the remaining half. . . .This evening at prayers Capt. Siler made some remarks to that portion of the camp entrusted to his charge on the principle of obedience & more particularly as it bore on the Saints present position here and which remarks had a tendency to prepare their minds for some coming trial of their confidence in God and His servants. President Smoot and Capt. Rockwell left us this afternoon for their camp.
"Sunday, 7 Sept. This morning a council was held and soon afterwards the whole camp was called together by the well known sound of the horn. President Willie called on Capt. Atwood to preside over the meeting. After singing 'How firm a foundation ye Saints of the Lord' &c., Prest. Atwood called on Captains Chislett, Woodward, Savage, and Siler (in the order of their names) to address the Saints, which these brethren did, showing very clearly the difficulties of our present position and urging on people the absolute necessity for doing away with the spirit of grumbling, strife, pilfering, and disregard of counsel which was now on the increase in the camp and substituting in its place the spirit of contentment, peace, union, and strict obedience. President Atwood then addressed the Saints, stating his cordial approbation of the brethren's remarks, which he believed would be heeded and thus reduced into practice by the people. He adverted (as also did Capt. Siler in his observations) to the 'Independent Waggon Company' and said his feelings was for the owners to consecrate waggons and teams and everything belonging to them to the Lord through His servant President Willie to be used in the present emergency as the Holy Ghost should dictate through him. Prest. Atwood urged the pilferers to come forward and openly confess their faults before the brethren who would then extend to them the friendly hand of forgiveness. He told the Saints plainly they must one and all from this time, as far as they knew how, literally obey the counsel of each particular officer placed immediately over them without rebelling or grumbling openly or secretly. President Willie then summed up the whole matter, examining minutely the ground occupied by the preceding speakers and expressing his approbation of their remarks. He said (as also did President Atwood in his preceding speech) that the whole strength of the camp, that of men, women, children, and beasts, must be applied under the direction of the officers of the camp for the one object in view, the early resumption and speedy & final completion of the journey which he (with President Atwood) considered might, even now, be continued at the rate of from 10 to (poor copy) miles per day according to circumstances. He urged on the brethren and sisters attached to the 'Independent' Waggons and who had no particular occupation except to walk alongside those vehicles or to ride inside them to walk altogether or as much as practical and besides to confer honor on themselves by assisting to pull handcarts or doing anything else which their superior officer might direct or which they might see required to be done even though it should be to leave their luggage on the plains. Prest. Willie said he would not enter into full particulars of the plan of operation which he contemplated further than by saying that if the brethren or sisters drawing handcarts should be required by their captain to draw 4 or 5 hundred (pounds) of flour they should do it cheerfully and the Waggon Company must act on the same principle by carrying anything and everything which might be required of them by like authority. He entirely concurred in the remarks of President Atwood and the other brethren and would like to see all the grumblers, pilferers, liars and so forth if any were still so in their hearts immediately stand by themselves aside for the rest so that the brethren might better know them. He concluded by suggesting that President Atwood test the feelings of the camp by obtaining their vote to sustain the various officers in their respective positions to the very uttermost in carrying out such measures as the Holy Ghost might direct through them for most safely and speedily gathering this company to Zion, expressing his strong desire that none would raise their hands toward Heaven in support of such vote unless they meant it from their hearts and would literally and willingly carry its spirit when the officers came to execute their duty. President Atwood then put the question in the affirmative terms mentioned by President Willie at the same time wishing the people not to lower their hands till he told them to do so. The motion was carried unanimously and on its being put in the negative not a single hand was held up. The meeting was then dismissed and the brethren immediately went to work to execute the will of President Willie which was cheerfully responded to. Afterwards President Willie and Captains Atwood and Siler with other brethren yoked up many of the cows, which was an arduous task.
"As our oxen were gone & we still had some cows, we yoked many of them up, lighted the loads that were in the wagons by putting some 6000 lbs. Of flour on our handcarts & rolled on towards the Valley."
James G. Willie's account: "While in camp on the morning of the 8th a man who gave the name of Henry Bauichter came up and reported that two men named Thomas Margetts and James Cowdy with the wife and child of the latter had been murdered by the Cheyennes about 70 miles ahead of our camp. He said that the murders were committed during his absence from Margetts and Cowdy on a buffalo hunt. These two men I ascertained afterward were apostates returning from the valley to the States."
Henry Bauichter, a discharged soldier from Fort Laramie, left there August 29th and had overtaken Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Margetts and James Cowdy and his wife and child. The massacre occurred September 6th. Mrs. Margetts was carried away captive by the Indians. The Margetts-Cowdy party had left Utah and were on their way back to England. Thomas Margetts, along with John C. Armstrong, was called on a mission to Europe at the April, 1852, conference in Salt Lake City. These two elders, because of immorality and other serious transgressions, caused much sorrow in the mission field while under the supervision of Pastor James G. Willie and earlier.
William Woodward's journal: "Wednesday, 10 Sept. Left camp a little before 9 a.m. & journeyed on to crossing of Skunk Creek, President Willie, Capt. Atwood and other brethren carrying the sisters over the stream."
James G. Willie's account: "On Friday the 12th President Franklin D. Richards with three carriages and some wagons, accompanied by a number of brethren and by Bro. Elder and Smith who had met them while searching for the lost oxen, came up with our camp on the north Bluff of the Platte river, amidst the hearty cheers of the whole company. In the evening he gave us a stirring address with a view to build up and encourage the people, and his sentiments were seconded by a hearty amen from time to time. His counselors, Daniel Spencer and C. H. Wheelock, also cheered the Saints with some seasonable remarks. Several of the songs of zion were sung with first rate spirit and good effect by Elder W.C. Dunbar, and the meeting separated late in the evening, much edified and with the good spirit of our God evidently burning in their bosoms.
"The next morning we had a similar meeting, when the Saints had portrayed before them in vivid colors the realities of the present position. Pres. Richards and others spoke there as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and it was indeed a time of refreshing with the presence of the spirit of the Lord. At the conclusion of the meeting eight cheers were given for these brethren who immediately afterwards crossed the Platte river, an example which we at once followed."
According to William Woodward, President Franklin D. Richards and suite (George D. Grant, William H. Kimball, Joseph A. Young, Cyrus H. Wheelock, Chauncey G. Webb, James Ferguson, John D. T. McAllister, William C. Dunbar, Nathan H. Felt, John Van Cott, and Dan Jones), along with Brothers Elder and Smith, arrived September 12th, just before dusk, in three carriages and two wagons. After the evening meeting an account was taken of the number of cows, oxen, wagons, fire-arms, etc., for representation by President Richards to the First Presidency.
Report by F.D. Richards and Daniel Spencer: "On the 9th inst. we met with two brethren from br. J.G. Willie's company of hand-carts, in search of 30 head of cattle that had strayed from their camp about 50 miles in advance. On the 12th we overtook and camped with br. Willie's company, at North Bluff Creek, consisting of 404 persons, 6 wagons, 87 handcarts, 6 yoke of oxen, 32 cows, and 5 mules. They were considerably weakened by the loss of their oxen, which they had failed to recover, but were in good spirits and averaging from 14 to 16 miles a day."
There were approximately twenty persons assigned to a tent and five persons assigned to a handcart. Each person was limited to 17 pounds of clothing, bedding, etc., making 85 pounds of luggage to each cart. The green wood used to make the wheels of the carts shrank and became loose. They wrapped them with rawhide.
Emily Hill (Woodmansee), a Willie Company member, wrote the following handcart song, sung to the tune of 'A Little More Cider.'
Oh, our faith goes with the hand-carts,And they have our hearts' best love;'Tis a novel mode of traveling,Devised by the Gods above.
chorus: Hurrah for the Camp of IsraelHurrah for the hand-cart scheme!Hurrah! Hurrah! 'tis better farThan the wagon and ox-team.
And Brigham's their executive,He told us the design;And the Saints are proudly marching on,Along the hand-cart line.
Who care to go with the wagons?Not we who are free and strong;Our faith and arms, with a right good will,Shall pull our carts along.
William Woodward's journal: "Saturday, 13 Sept. Father William Haley of the Warwickshire Conference in England died this afternoon from general decay of constitution, aged 66 years.
"Sunday, 14 Sept. William Haley was buried this morning on our yesterday's camping ground, a grave-board being inscribed with his name, age, and date of death. . . . Bro. Joseph Elder killed 2 buffaloes just before arriving in camp this evening. "Monday, 15 Sept. Left camp about 8:30 a.m., soon after which Father Richard F. Turner of the Worcestershire Conference in England died. He was buried at a bend of the Platte River where we nooned."
James G. Willie's account: "On Monday, September 15, we met several Indians who stated they belonged to the Arapahoes, and that the Sioux and Cheyennes had recently attacked a large emigration train and killed many. These Arapahoes were watching us during the whole of the night for what purpose is best known to themselves. On the night of the 17th we had the first frost, which was a very severe one. On that day one of Bro. Cantwell's daughters (Ellen) was bitten by a rattlesnake, but the wound was dressed and no fatal effects followed. The snake, which had ten rattles, was afterwards killed."
William Woodward's journal: "Thursday, 18 Sept. I omitted to state in my journal for yesterday that Bro. J.S. Cantwell's daughter Ellen, aged 7 years, was bitten by a large rattlesnake as she was playing in the sand. Capt. Siler killed the snake and applied the best known remedy at hand (a mixture of powder and lard externally and some whisky internally), after which she slept soundly for some time. . . .Sister Stewart was found to be missing on the arrival of the camp (at the Platte Bottom) and as her footsteps were traced in advance of us Bros. Oliver and Smith were sent ahead in search and returned reporting that they had failed in their mission thus far."
"Friday, 19 Sept. After breakfast this morning, Prest. Willie sent out many of the brethren to search for Sister Stewart. . . .The scouts for Sis. Stewart returned without her about dinner time. Prest. Willie then called a council after which he with 11 brethren went out on a 3rd expedition. They had been absent about 4 hours when she came into camp stating that hearing the lowing of cattle and the sound of the axe she made for the spot and found Captain Woodward and others (who had been sent into Ash Hollow by Prest. Willie for timber to make axles) cutting wood. On arriving in camp she appeared much exhausted and was scarcely able to speak. A cow having been killed this morning, she partook of some beef soup which revived her and she fell asleep. This evening after supper Capt. Atwood called the Saints together for prayer as usual and was afterwards conversing about the best plan to be adopted to bring back Prest. Willie and company to the camp (Capts. Woodward & Chislett having volunteered to go in search on horseback) when they all entered the camp, Prest. Willie stating that having discovered and lost Sis. Stewart's back track about dark he had deemed it best to return to the camp for the night and make a fresh start in the morning if necessary. We were all much rejoiced at being restored to each other again."
James G. Willie's account: "On the 18th Sister Stewart from Scotland was missing. A number of brethren accompanied me in search for her and during our absence she returned to the camp after sleeping in the company of wolves for the night. She was much exhausted for want of food. On Sunday the 28th we met a company of nearly 100 apostates on their way from the Valley back to the states, and shortly afterwards a small company of U.S. soldiers came up."
William Woodward's journal: "Sunday, 21 Sept. W.N. Leason, son of Sister Ruvinia Leason, of Quincy, Illinois, died at 11:30 p.m. of canker in the stomach. He was born on 7 Nov. 1854.
"Monday, 22 Sept. W.N. Leason was buried this morning at 7 o'clock, a suitable inscription in wood being placed on the grave. . . .In about an hour after the starting of camp this afternoon Bro. Jesse Empy of Eaton Bray Branch in the Bedfordshire Conference in England died from scrofula, age 31."
"Tuesday, 23 Sept. Bro. Empy was buried this morning before starting of camp, a suitable wooden inscription being placed on the grave."
"Friday, 26 Sept. Sis. Ann Bryant aged 69 from Bristol in England died this afternoon of general decay of constitution."
"Saturday, 27 Sept. Sis. Bryant was buried before starting of camp, which took place about 7:30 a.m."
"Sunday, 28 Sept. Met a company of emigrants returning from Salt Lake City in 11 waggons. Peter Burgess, one of the party, informed us that Mr. Babbitt and 2 men who accompanied him had been killed by the Cheyennes. We afterwards met a company of U.S. Dragoons. . . .The officer and several of his men took possession of a horse which we found several days back and which he claimed as his property. He refused to see President Willie before taking the horse."
James G. Willie's account: "On September 30 we arrived at Fort Laramie, having necessarily expended considerable time in the repair of handcarts up to that point. Here we obtained a small ration for the company, and Captain Siler's four wagons staid to await the arrival of the next wagon train pursuant to President Richards councel. While at the Fort some soldiers visited our camp and conducted themselves with propriety. Two of the sisters thought proper to stay here, Lucinda M. Davenport, who immediately married an apostate just arrived from the valley, and Christine Brown."
William Woodward's journal: "Tuesday, 30 Sept. A cow and calf were killed for the P.E.F. Company."
James G. Willie's account: "on the 1st of October we renewed our journey. This day we met Brother Parley P. Pratt with a number of missionaries under his presidency. In consequence of our limited supply of provisions I considered it necessary to slightly reduce the amount of provisions and the daily ration of flour which was unanimously and willingly acceded to by the Saints."
William Woodward's journal: "Wednesday, 1 Oct. Early this morning Bro. David Reeder died, aged 54. He was born at Rumburgh, Suffolk, in England. . . .William Read died coming to camp in a wagon. He was born at North Crawley, Buckinghamshire, England, aged 63."
"Thursday 2nd. A meeting was held in the evening, Bros. Willie, Atwood, & Savage addressed it on the necessity of shortening the rations of the camp, that our flour might hold out till supplies should meet us. The people were willing to listen to Capt. Willie's suggestion, & it was unanimously approved of by the people."
"Friday 3rd. Peter Larsen, aged 43, from Lolland, Denmark, died during the day.
"Saturday 4th (October). Benjamin Culley, aged 61, from Sprowston, Norfolk, England, died; also George Ingra, aged 68, from Bassingbourne, Cambridgeshire, England; also Daniel Gadd, aged 2, from Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England, died. A cow was killed in the afternoon."
"Wednesday 8th. This morning one of our best oxen, belonging to the P.E. Fund, died—supposed to have eaten a poisonous weed. . . .A cow was killed in the evening for the use of the camp."
"Thursday 9th. Samuel Gadd, from Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England, died in the afternoon, aged 42 years."
"Friday 10th. We called at a trading post & obtained 37 buffalo robes for the use of the handcart company, which had been engaged by Bro. F.D. Richards."
"Saturday 11th. Several of our cows gave out that were hauling wagons; one died on the road or was killed by wolves."
Betsey Smith (Goodwin), a company member, wrote the following account printed in the Improvement Era under the title 'The Tired Mother: Pioneer Recollections.'
"I will not dwell upon the hardships we endured, nor the hunger and cold, but I like to tell of the goodness of God unto us. One day, especially, stands out from among the remainder. The wind blew fresh, as if its breezes came from the sea. It kept blowing harder until it became fierce. Clouds arose, the thunder and lightning were appalling. Even the ox teams ahead refused to face the storm. Our captain, who always rode a mule, dismounted and stepped into the middle of the road, bared his head to the storm, and every man, as he came up, stood by him with bared head—one hundred carts, their pullers and pushers, looking to their captain for counsel. The captain said, 'Let us pray.' And there was offered such a prayer! He told the Lord our circumstances, he talked to God, as one man talks to another, and as if the Lord was very near. I felt that He was; and many others felt the same. Then the storm parted to the right and to the left! We hurried on to camp, got our tents pitched, and some fires built, when the storm burst in all its fury! We had camped on a side-hill, and the water ran through the tents in little creeks."
. . .during a very cold spell. . . .my mother traveled fifteen miles with little Alex (age 6) on her back, as he couldn't walk in the snow. . . .My mother was taken very sick with cramp and cholera, a very fatal trouble in our weakened condition. We all felt bad about mother. I remember thinking, 'Many are dying; mother may die, and what a dark world it would be without our dear mother! As I gathered the sage to burn on our camp-fire, I couldn't keep from crying. When I met mother, she asked me what was the matter. I told her how badly I felt. She said, 'Do not feel like that; pray for me. I have been out yonder in the snow praying to the Lord to spare our lives that we might get through to the Valley. I will never murmur nor complain, whatever we pass through, when we get there.' God heard our prayers, and she kept her word."
"One evening we camped near a marshy meadow spring. Poison parsnips grew there in plenty. Everybody was elated. We had found something to cook and to eat! By this time our ration was four ounces of flour a day, and neither salt nor soda. Alexander Burt brought some parsnips to our camp fire.
"Mother said, 'What have you there, Brother Burt?'
"He answered, 'They are parsnips, Sister Smith, a sort of white carrot; put on the pot and let us have a mess.'
"'I will do that,' said mother, and we cooked and ate our fill of poison parsnips.
"I confess we felt like we had been eating rocks, so heavy they lay upon our stomachs. The whole camp ate of them. Our captain arrived late at the camp that night, and when he found what we had been eating, he groaned aloud, and cried, 'Put them down; every one contains enough poison to kill an ox.' He said, furthermore, that it would be one of the providences of the Almighty if we were not all dead by morning. However, many were glad that they had eaten of them before they knew. We did not realize the truth of his words until the next morning when one brother died—a Scandinavian. We supposed that he had eaten them after he knew they were poison."
William Woodward's journal: "Sunday 12th A cow was killed that was not fit to travel. The night was cold."
James G. Willie's account: "On Sunday the 12th of October Alfred Peacock and George Edwick were added to the list of deserters, just before we arrived at the Upper Crossing of the Platte. On the same day it was considered necessary to make a still further reduction in the daily ration of flour and accordingly it was fixed at 10½ ounces for men, 9 ounces for women, 6 ounces for children, and 3 ounces for infants.
"This turned out to be a very salutary arrangement, as it just enabled us to eke out our provisions until the very day when we received material aid from the valley, which arrived, when the little ones were crying for bread, on the 20th of October, in the shape of 14 wagons laden with flour, onions, and clothing. The last bit of breadstuff, which constituted all the provisions we then had, had been served out two nights previously. We all felt rejoiced at our timely delivery and attributed it entirely to the hand of God which had been over us during the whole of our journey."
William Woodward's journal: "Monday 13th. Paul Jacobsen, from Lolland, Denmark, aged 55, died this evening."
"Wednesday 15th. Early this morning Caroline Reeder from Linstead, Suffolk, England, aged 17 years, died. . . .Many of the company are sick & have to ride in the wagons. One beef heifer & one poor cow were killed this evening for the camp. Last evening a council & a meeting were held to take into consideration our provisions & the time it was considered we should have to make it last before we could depend upon supplies. It was unanimously agreed to reduce the rations of flour one fourth—the men then would get 10½ ozs. per day; women & large children 9 ozs. per day; children 6 ozs. per day; & infants 3 ozs. per day each.
"Thursday 16th. Early this morning Sister Ella, wife of Olof Wicklund was delivered of a son. George Curtis from Norton, Gloucestershire, England, aged 64 years, died; Lars Julius Larsen, who was born July 5th, 1856, in camp at Iowa City died. John Roberts from Bristol, Somersetshire, England, aged 42 years, died. . . .Many of our company are failing in health."
"Friday 17th. William Philpot, aged 51 years, from Southampton, Hampshire, England, died this morning about 2 o'clock. . . .Bro. Findlay found an ox able to work. A calf gave out & was killed by wolves."
"Saturday 18th. A cow & calf were butchered for the company. James Henderson from Nixwood, Lanarkshire, Scotland, died in the evening, aged 27 years."
Apostle Franklin D. Richards and other elders arrived in Salt Lake City Saturday, October 4th, having left Florence September 3rd. They reported to President Young the precarious condition in which they found the Willie Company when they passed them on the plains three weeks before. Sunday, October 5th, President Brigham Young stated: ". . .many of our brethren and sisters are on the Plains with handcarts, and probably many are now seven hundred miles from this place, and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. . . .and bring them in before the winter sets in. That is my religion; that is the dictation of the Holy Ghost that I possess, it is to save the people. . . .I shall call upon the Bishops this day, I shall not wait until tomorrow. . .for sixty good mule teams and twelve or fifteen wagons. I do not want to send oxen, I want good horses and mules. They are in this Territory, and we must have them; also twelve tons of flour and forty good teamsters, besides those that drive the teams. . . ."
John Chislett recorded: "We traveled on in misery and sorrow, day after day, sometimes going quite a distance, and at other times we were only able to walk a few miles. We were finally overtaken by a snowstorm which the fierce winds blew furiously about our ears, but we dare not stop, as we had sixteen miles to make that day in order to reach wood and water.
"As we were resting at noon, a light wagon from the west drove into camp, and its occupants were Joseph A. Young and Cyrus H. Wheelock. Messengers more welcome than these young men were to us never came from the courts of glory. After encouraging us all they could, they drove on to convey the glad tidings to the members of the Martin company which, it was feared, were even worse off than we. As they went from our midst many a hearty 'God bless you' followed them." Improvement Era, vol. 17, p. 115, by Solomon F. Kimball)
William Woodward's journal: "Sunday 19th. Rolled on in the morning, weather very cold. Ann Rowley died this morning, aged 2 yrs. Some of the children were crying with cold. Passed Ice Springs, just after we were passed the springs a snow storm came on, which lasted for about half an hour. The company rolled on again, & were soon met by Cyrus H. Wheelock & Joseph A. Young & two other brethren from the Valley, bringing us the information that supplies were near at hand; the camp halted, a meeting was called. Bro. Wheelock informed us of the liberality of the Saints in the Valley, of Bro. Brigham Young's kindheartedness in speaking in behalf of the handcart companies now on the plains, & of himself fitting up ten teams & wagons & supplying them with flour, &c., & others in proportion. During the day Eliza Smith, from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 40 years, died; also John Kockles, from Norwich, Norfolk, England, died; also Daniel Osborn, from Norwich, Norfolk, England, died; also Rasmus Hansen, from Falster, Denmark, died. Travelled thro' the day about 16 miles; camped at dark on the banks of the Sweetwater. The teams mistook the road & did not get into camp till about 10 p.m."
With renewed hope the Willie Company pressed on in the midst of snow and a howling wind until late at night all got to camp. That evening the last ration of flour was issued. They found a good camp among the willows, and after warming and partially drying themselves before good fires, they ate their scanty fare, said their prayers and retired to rest with hopes of coming aid.
William Woodward's journal: "Monday, 20th. This morning there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Anna F. Tait from Glasgow, Scotland, aged 31 years, died. Capt. Willie & Joseph Elder left camp to meet the 'Relief Train' that had been sent from the Valley. (The next few words missing from the page) were all issued last night & that was hard bread."
John Chistlett's [Chislett's] record: "In the morning the snow was over a foot deep. Our cattle strayed widely during the storm, and some of them died. . . .The morning before the storm, or, rather, the morning of the day on which it came, we issued the last ration of flour. On this fatal morning (20th), therefore, we had none to issue. We had, however, a barrel or two of hard bread which Captain Willie had procured at Fort Laramie in view of our destitution. This was equally and fairly divided among all the company. Two of our poor broken-down cattle were killed and their carcasses issued for beef. With this we were informed that we would have to subsist until the coming supplies reached us. All that now remained in our commissary were a few pounds each of sugar and dried apples, about a quarter of a sack of rice and a small quantity (possibly 20 or 25 lbs.) of hard bread. . . .These few scanty supplies were on this memorable morning turned over to me by Captain Willie, with strict injunctions to distribute them only to the sick and to mothers for their hungry children, and even to them in as sparing a manner as possible. . . .
"Being surrounded by snow a foot deep, out of provisions, many of our people sick, and our cattle dying, it was decided that we should remain in our present camp until the supply-train reached us. It was also resolved in council that Captain Willie with one many should go in search of the supply-train and apprise its leader of our condition, and hasten him to our help. When this was done we settled down and made our camp as comfortable as we could. As Captain Willie and his companion left for the West, many a heart was lifted in prayer for their success and speedy return. They were absent three days (they were absent two days)—three days which I shall never forget. The scanty allowance of hard bread and poor beef, distributed as described, was mostly consumed the first day by the hungry, ravenous, famished souls.
"We killed more cattle and issued the meat; but, eating it without bread did not satisfy hunger, and to those who were suffering from dysentery it did more harm than good. This terrible disease increased rapidly amongst us. . .and several died from exhaustion. Before we renewed our journey the camp became so offensive and filthy that words would fail to describe its condition, and even common decency forbids the attempt. . . .During that time I visited the sick, the widows whose husbands died in serving them, and the aged who could not help themselves, to know for myself where to dispense the few articles that had been placed in my charge for distribution. Such craving hunger I never saw before, and may God in his mercy spare me the sight again.
"As I was seen giving these things to the most needy, crowds of famished men and women surrounded me and begged for bread! Men whom I had known all the way from Liverpool, who had been true as steel in every stage of our journey, who in their homes in England and Scotland had never known want; men who by honest labor had sustained themselves and their families, and saved enough to cross the Atlantic and traverse the United States, whose hearts were cast in too great a mould to descend to a mean act or brook dishonor; such men as these came to me and begged bread. I felt humbled to the dust. . . ."
The morning of October 7th sixteen first-class four-mule teams were seen wending their way towards Emigration Canyon, headed for the east. They were under the supervision of such men as George D. Grant. William H. Kimball, Joseph A. Young, Cyrus H. Wheelock, James Furguson, and Chauncey G. Webb. . .The first night out they camped at the foot of Big Mountain, and by unanimous vote George D. Grant was elected captain of the company. . . .At daylight next morning they continued on their way, driving as far as possible each day, not even stopping for the noon hour. Stormy weather soon set in, making the roads well—night impassable. Fort Bridger was reached on the 12th, but not a word from the emigrants had reached that place. Three days later they arrived at Green River, and still no word from them. By this time the boys became somewhat alarmed, as they were expecting to meet the Willie company in the neighborhood of Fort Bridger, and here they were fifty-eight miles beyond. When last heard from, the Martin Company was more than one hundred miles in the rear of the Willie company, and the wagon trains still behind them. After discussing matters from various standpoints, Joseph A. Young and Cyrus H. Wheelock were sent ahead to let the emigrants know that relief was at hand, and to urge them to push on towards the Valley, as rapidly as possible, no matter what the sacrifice might be. There were around 1,400 pilgrims to be rescued, and sixteen loads of provisions divided among such a number would not last many days.
Before the expressmen were fairly out of sight, their companions were again moving. They were anxious to cross the divide between the Wind River and Green River Mountains before the threatening storms overtook them. After traveling thirty-five or forty miles in a northeasterly direction, winter broke in upon them in all its fury. It snowed for three days and nights almost incessantly, with a cold wind constantly blowing from the north. The roads became so blocked with snow that the boys were compelled to double teams before they were able to reach the summit of the Continental Divide. Reddick N. Allred's team was so run down that he was unable to continue the journey. The snow was so deep at South Pass that the best teams in the outfit could hardly draw their loads on a down-hill pull.
On the evening of the 20th they turned down to a sheltered place on the Sweetwater and camped for the night, for men and animals were completely exhausted. One of the men felt impressed to place a sign in the road, indicating their whereabouts. That night Captain Willie and Joseph B. Elder, frostbitten and exhausted and riding two worn-out animals, appeared out of the blizzard with news that their company, east of Rocky Ridge, was in a freezing, starving condition, and would perish unless immediately relief was given. The boys soon hitched their teams again and continued on their way as long as their animals could stand it. At daylight the next morning another start was made. With Captain Willie and Brother Elder directing them, they drove eastward through the snow with all possible speed to the starving handcart people. (Improvement Era, vol. 17, no. 2, Dec. 1913, pp. 108-117)
John Chislett's record: "Just as the sun was sinking behind the distant cliffs west of our camp, several covered wagons were seen coming towards us. The news spread through the camp like wildfire, and all who were able turned out en masse. Shouts of joy rent the air, strong men wept, and children danced with gladness. As the brethren entered our camp the sisters fell upon them and deluged them with their tears and kisses. Our rescuers were so overcome that they could hardly speak, but in choking silence attempted to repress the emotions that evidently mastered them. Soon, however, the feeling was somewhat abated, and such a shaking of hands, such words of comfort, and such invocations of God's blessings were never before witnessed. Among the brethren who came to our rescue were Elders William H. Kimball and George D. Grant. They had remained in the Valley but two days before starting back to our relief. May God ever bless them for their generous, unselfish kindness, and their manly fortitude. How nobly, how faithfully, how bravely they worked to bring us to the Zion of our God." (Improvement Era, vol. 17, p. 115)
James Simon Willie, James G. Willie's grandson, related the rescue story with tears rolling down his cheeks. He stated: "When Grandfather left to get help, he said that he wouldn't be gone very long, and when he came back he would have help; the Lord wouldn't let them die where they were. . . .Long before they (the rescuers) got there they could hear the tires on the snow squeaking and knew they were coming. (A few minutes brought them sufficiently near to reveal their faithful captain slightly in advance of the train.) The children began singing and the parents crying. When Grandfather got there they took a long canvas and made a shelter and built a big fire, boiled meat, and had soup, the first thing to eat in two days. Grandfather told them (the rescuers) to give them just as little as they could and go on, taking what was needed to the Martin Handcart Company who were worse off than they were."
The Willie Company had not had anything to eat for forty-eight hours and were literally freezing and starving to death. The Salt Lake boys were soon mounted on harnessed mules, with axes in hand, and in a short time dragged from the distant hills several cords of wood to the Willie camp below. Bonfires were soon made and the cooking began in earnest, every available person taking a hand. This was kept up until every member of the Willie Company had enough to eat. (Era, vol. 17)
Mary Hurren (Wight) stated: "I was eight years old when I crossed the plains in the James G. Willie Handcart Company. . . .We all loved Captain Willie. He was kind and considerate and did all that he could for the comfort of those in his company. Many times he has laid his hands upon my head and administered to me. . . .During the last few days before relief came our small allowance of flour was cooked as a gruel and eaten that way. . . .Captain Willie went ahead through the snow to meet the relief wagons and urge them to hurry as the people were freezing and starving to death. If help had not come when it did there would have been no one left to tell the tale. As a small girl I could hear the squeaking of the wagons as they came through the snow before I was able to see them. Tears streamed down the cheeks of the men and the children danced for joy. As soon as the people could control their feelings, they all knelt down in the snow and gave thanks to God for his kindness and goodness unto them. The last supply of food in the camp had been given out two days before the relief wagons came. They came just in time to save our lives."
William Woodward's journal: "Tuesday 21st. John Linford from Graveley, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 49 years died; also Richard Hardwick from Moorhen's Cross, Herefordshire, England, aged 63 years, also Mary Ann Perkins from Norwich, Norfolk, England, aged 62 years, died; also Sophia Larsen from Lolland, Denmark, aged 11 years. Many children were crying for bread and the camp generally were destitute of food. A beef heifer was killed for the camp. Capt. Willie, Capt. Grant, W.H. Kimball & others with 14 wagons with horse & mule teams arrived in camp with flour, onions & some clothing for the camp, this made the Saints feel well."
George D. Grant writes: "We had no snow to contend with until we got to the Sweetwater. On the 19th and 20th of October we encountered a very severe snowstorm. We met br. Willie's company on the 21st; the snow was from six to ten inches deep where we met them. They were truly in a bad situation, but we rendered them all the assistance in our power. Br. Wm. H. Kimball returned with them, also several other brethren. . . .(the) men, women and children (were) worn down by drawing hand carts through snow and mud; fainting by the way side, falling, chilled by the cold, their feet bleeding and some of them bare to snow and frost. The sight is almost too much for the stoutest of us; but we go on doing all we can, not doubting nor despairing. Our company is too small to help much, it is only a drop in a bucket, as it were, in comparison to what is needed."
One of the relief party remarked that in all the mobbings and drivings of the Mormons he had seen nothing like these handcart saints. C. H. Wheelock could scarcely refrain from shedding tears; he declared that he would willingly give his own life if that would save the lives of the emigrants. By October 31st no less than 250 teams were on their way to relieve the sufferers. Many died and all would have perished in the mountain snows but for the timely rescue by relief parties sent out from Salt Lake Valley by President Young. (History of Utah, p. 563)
The morning of October 22nd, according to plans adopted by the relief party at a meeting held the evening before, Captain George D. Grant, with nine teams, pushed on to the relief of the Martin, Hodgett, and Hunt companies, taking most of the provisions with him, while William H. Kimball, with the remainder of the outfit, started back to Salt Lake Valley in charge of the Willie Company.
Joseph A. Young and Abel Garr, expressmen sent to locate the Martin Company, found them in a deplorable condition, they having lost fifty-six of their number since crossing the North Platte, nine days before. Their provisions were nearly gone and their clothing almost worn out. Most of their bedding had been left behind, as they were unable to haul it, on account of their weakened condition.
Captain Grant, who was in charge of the Martin Company, ordered his men to make a start for the west. "Those of the handcart people who were unable to walk were crowded into the overloaded wagons, and a start was made; the balance of the company hobbling along behind with their carts as best they could.
"When the boys came to the first crossing of the Sweetwater west of Devil's Gate, they found the stream full of floating ice, making it dangerous to cross, on account of the strong current. However, the teams went over in safety and continued on their way until they came to a sheltered place, afterwards called 'Martin's Hollow.' Here they camped for the night and, after burying a number of Saints who had died during the day, busied themselves in getting ready to receive the remainder of the company who were expected at any moment.
"When the people who were drawing carts came to the brink of this treacherous stream, they refused to go any further, realizing what it meant to do so, as the water in places was almost waist deep, and the river more than a hundred feet wide by actual measurement. To cross that mountain torrent under such conditions to them meant nothing short of suicide, as it will be remembered that nearly one-sixth of their number had already perished from the effects of crossing North Platte, eighteen days before. They believed that no earthly power could bring them through that place alive, and reasoned that if they had to die it was useless to add to their suffering by the perpetration of such a rash act as crossing the river here. They had walked hundreds of miles over an almost trackless plain, pulling carts as they went, and after making such tremendous sacrifices for the cause of truth, to lay down their lives in such a dreadful manner was awful to contemplate. They became alarmed, and cried mightily unto the Lord for help, but received no answer. All the warring elements of nature appeared to be against them, and the spirit of death itself seemed to be in the very air.
"After they had given up in despair, after all hopes had vanished, after every apparent avenue of escape seemed closed, three eighteen-year-old boys belonging to the relief party came to the rescue, and to the astonishment of all who saw, carried nearly every member of that illfated hand cart company across the snow-bound stream. The strain was so terrible, and the exposure so great, that in later years all the boys died from the effects of it. When President Brigham Young heard of this heroic act, he wept like a child, and later declared publicly, 'that act alone will ensure C. Allen Huntington, George W. Grant and David P. Kimball an everlasting salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of God, worlds with out end.'" (Improvement Era, vol. 17, pp. 287-299)
Doctrine and Covenants, 98:13. "And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name's sake, shall find it again, even life eternal."
A tremendous responsibility rested upon the shoulders of these young men who had received instructions from President Brigham Young not to return until every emigrant on the plains was accounted for. No greater act of heroism was ever recorded than that performed by these rescuers who were instruments in the hands of the Lord in saving about 1,200 belated emigrants.
Edward W. Tullidge records: "James G. Willie is. . .a man of marked character and capacity of intellect. . . .John Chislett, in his graphic sketch of the terrible journey and sufferings of the hand-cart companies, everywhere pays a grateful tribute to Father Willie, whom he names as our 'faithful captain.' When his company was about to perish from starvation, with but a single companion Captain Willie went in search of the supply trains from the valley, which he found; and, after an absence of three (two) days, returned with the supply train of George D. Grant and Wm. H. Kimball. It is evident from the narrative of Mr. Chislett, who was one of his sub-captains, that Captain Willie saved his company from perishing." (Tullidge's Histories of Utah, vol. 2, p. 422, by Edward W. Tullidge)
John Chislett's record: "Our Captain did his utmost to move us forward and always acted with great impartiality." (Rocky Mountain Saints, by T.D.H. Stenhouse, p. 320)
William Woodward's journal: "Wednesday 22nd. Camp rolled out. W.H. Kimball & others with 6 wagons went on to the Valley with us. G.D. Grant & others went on towards Independence Rock to meet Martin's Handcart Company. Travelled 11 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Roads good considering the snow on the ground. Eliza Philpot from Southampton, Hampshire, England, died, aged 36; also John James from Whitbourne, Herefordshire, England, aged 61."
Part of the provisions, clothing, and six wagons were left with the Willie Company with William H. Kimball in charge of Willie's detachment. Captain Willie still attended to the details of the company's travelling. The remainder of the provisions, clothing, and eight wagons were sent forward under charge of George D. Grant for the use of the Martin Company.
William Woodward's journal: "Thursday 23rd. Ascended a steep hill, travelled about 16 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Crossed several creeks on the road, several men were near frozen thro the day; two teams loaded with sick did not get to camp till very late. James Gibbs from Leith, East Lothian, Scotland, aged 67 died; also Chesterton J. Gilman from Yarmouth, Suffolk, England, aged 66 years died. Crossing the Rocky ridge was a severe & disastrous day to health. The weather was cold & it snowed and blowed some of the time making it bad for the sick who rode in the wagons & for those who pulled the handcarts. (The next day we buried 13 souls near Willow Creek on the banks of the Sweetwater.)"
John Chislett's record: "The weather grew colder each day, and many got their feet so badly frozen that they could not walk, and had to be lifted from place to place. Some got their fingers frozen; others their ears; and one woman lost her sight by the frost."
William Woodward's journal: "Friday, 24th. Reddick N. Allred & others with 6 wagons came to camp this morning to assist the Handcart Company on our journey to the Valley. It was concluded to stay in camp today & bury the dead as there were 13 persons to inter. William James from Pershore, Worcestershire, England, aged 46, died; Elizabeth Bailey from Leigh, Worcestershire, England, aged 52, died; James Kirkwood from Glasgow, Scotland, [blank space] died; Samuel Gadd from Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 10, died; Lars Wendin from Copenhagen, Denmark, aged 60, died; Anne Olsen from Seeland, Denmark, aged 46, died; Ella Nilson from Jutland, Denmark, aged 22 years, died; Jens Nilson from Lolland, Denmark, aged 6 years, died; Bodil Mortinsen from Lolland, Denmark, aged 9 years, died; Nils Anderson from Seeland, Denmark, aged 41 years, died; Ole Madsen from Seeland, Denmark, aged 41 years, died. Many of the Saints have their feet & hands frozen from the severity of the weather.
"Saturday 25th. Rolled from camp in the morning. Thomas Gurdlestone from Great Melton, Norwich, aged 62 years, died. William Groves from Cranmoor, Somersetshire, England, aged 22 years, died. Crossed the Sweetwater for the last time. Travelled about 15 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Some brethren were stationed at this post on the river with supplies of flour & onions. John Walters from Bristol, Somerset, England, died; William Smith from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 48 years, died.
"Sunday 26th. Samuel Wit from Bristol, Somerset, England, aged 65 years died; Mary Roberts from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 44 years, died. The camp rolled on, crossed the South Pass & Pacific Creek, travelled down Pacific Creek & camped after travelling about 14 miles."
"Wednesday 29th. Anders Jensen from Copenhagen, Denmark, aged 49 years, died this morning. . . .Kersten Knutesen from Seeland, Denmark, died in the evening.
"Thursday, 30th (October). Rolled from Big Sandy to Green River, 11 miles, forded the river and camped on its banks. Many persons were sick & it was late before they were in camp. Bros. Atwood, Woodward & Christiansen staid behind the main body of the camp to urge on the sick & see that none were left behind. Mary Gurdlestone from Great Malton, Norfolk, England, aged 59 years, died in the morning. Joseph Oborn from Bath, Somersetshire, England, aged 43 years, died in the evening."
"Friday 31st. Left Green River, met with wagons from Fort Supply & the Valley to assist us on our journey; 7 wagons were from the former places & 3 from the latter."
"Saturday, Nov. 1st. Rolled out of camp; met several teams to assist our company on to the Valley. Drove 15 miles and camped. Daniel Osborn, from Norwich, Norfolk, England, aged 35 years, died in the evening."
James G. Willie's account: "On Wednesday the 22nd Bro. Wm. H. Kimball with 6 wagons went on with us towards Great Salt Lake City, and Bro. Geo. D. Grant with the remainder started to meet the companies in our rear. Two days previous to this we had encountered the first snow storm and on Friday the 24th met Bro. Reddick N. Allred and others with 6 wagons also on their way to help the rear companies and on the following day, being 15 miles west of the last crossing of the Sweetwater, came up with some brethren who were waiting there with supplies of flour and onions. On Friday the 31 we met 7 wagons from Fort Supply and 3 wagons from Great Salt Lake City, and on the 1st of November we met further help from the valley. On the next day Bro. Ephraim Hanks passed us and reported plenty of teams ahead. On this day we passed Fort Bridger, and on the next met fresh supplies for the rear companies and overtook Gilbert Gerrish's Train."
The following story is told about Ephraim Hanks: "I was down to Provo on a fishing expedition, and felt impressed to go to Salt Lake, but for what reason I knew not. On my way there, I stopped over night with Gurney Brown at Draper. Being somewhat fatigued after the hard day's journey, I retired to rest early, and as I lay wide awake in my bed, I heard a voice calling me by name and then saying: "The handcart people are in trouble, and you are wanted; will you go and help them?' I turned instantly in the direction from whence the voice came, and beheld an ordinary-sized man in the room. Without any hesitation I answered, 'Yes, I will go.' I then turned over to go to sleep, but had slept only a few minutes when the voice called a second time, repeating almost the same words as on the first occasion. My answer was the same as before. This was repeated the third time.
"When I got up the next morning, I said to Brother Brown, 'The handcart people are in trouble, and I have promised to go out and help them.'
"After breakfast I hastened on to Salt Lake and arrived there on the Saturday preceding the Sunday on which the call was made for volunteers to go and help the last handcart company in. When some of the brethren responded by saying that they would be ready to start in a few days, I spoke out at once, saying, 'I am ready now.'
"The next day I was wending my way eastward over the mountains with a light wagon, all by myself. About ten miles east of Green river, I met quite a number of teams that had been sent to the relief of the belated companies but had turned back on account of the deep snow. Those in charge had come to the conclusion that the emigrants as well as the twenty-seven heroes who had gone to their relief, had all perished, and they did not propose to risk their lives by going any further.
"I helped myself to such things as I was in need of, and continued on my way. Just before I reached South Pass, I was overtaken by one of the worst storms that I ever witnessed. Near the summit, I came to a wagon partly loaded with provisions in charge of Reddick N. Allred. After enjoying a needed rest, I secured from him a saddled horse and pack animal, and continued on my way in snow almost to my waist." (Improvement Era, vol. 17, pp. 290-294)
William Woodward's journal: "Sunday, 2nd (November). Camp rolled out. Ephraim Hanks passed our camp this morning, bringing news from the Valley of many teams on the road, & that he was going on to the rear companies to meet them. Bros. Willie, Woodward, & Christiansen staid behind to bring up the sick. This morning we had not teams enough to haul the feeble that were left behind. After a short time several teams came on from the Valley & picked up the sick. The brethren that staid behind were late into camp. The company camped about half a mile west of Fort Bridger, travelled about 15 miles. James Cole of Fort Supply married Lucy Ward of the 4th Handcart Company at Fort Bridger in the evening. Bro. Willie's feet were in such a bad condition from frost that he was unable to walk to the camp; a wagon was sent for him. Peter Madsen from Jutland, Denmark, aged 49 years, died in the evening."
Sunday, November 2nd, President Young delivered a discourse in the Tabernacle, stating: "We can return home and sit down and warm our feet before the fire, and can eat our bread and butter, etc., but my mind is yonder in the snow, where the immigrating Saints are, and my mind has been with them ever since I had the report of their start from Winter Quarters, on the 3rd of September. I cannot talk about anything, I cannot go out or come in, but what in every minute or two minutes my mind reverts to them; and the questions—whereabouts are my brethren and sisters who are on the Plains, and what is their condition—force themselves upon me and annoy my feelings all the time. And were I to answer my own feelings, I should do so by undertaking to do what the conference voted I should not do, that is, I should be with them now in the snow, even though it should be up to the knees, up to the waist, or up to the neck." (Utah, p. 228)
William Woodward's journal: "Monday, November 3rd. Several wagons came into our camp from the Valley to assist us on our journey this morning. We rolled out of camp about 11 a.m., passed Gilbert & Gerrish's merchant train going on slowly to the Valley. Crossed the Basin Rim, forded Muddy Creek & camped on its banks. Some 10 ox teams with wagons were camped alongside us & were on their way to meet the rear companies.
James G. Willie's account: "On Monday the 3rd it was deemed prudent to send an express to the First Presidency presenting the state of things generally on the plains. For this purpose Bro. Kimball volunteered to go and did go in company with Bro. Thomas. Before starting Pres. Kimball appointed Bro. Gould Captain of the horse teams and Bro. Wm. Hyde of the ox teams. On the 4th we met Bro. Blair with 3 wagons and other brethren with teams.
"Also on November 4th Brother Franklin B. Wooley came along with a message from President Brigham Young that some freight which had been left behind at Fort Bridger must be taken in this season. So I immediately dispatched some brethren with wagons and teams back for the freight in question."
William Woodward's journal: "Tuesday 4th. Potatoes, onions & clothing were distributed among the different hundreds in the evening." (W.H. Kimball & Bro. Thomas went on to the Valley this morning.)
"Friday 5th. Travelled about 23 miles & camped. Peter Madsen from Copenhagen, Denmark, aged 66 years, died during the day; Susannah Osborn from Norwich, Norfolk, England, aged 33 years, died this day. A snowstorm came on this evening. The people as much exposed to cold from lying on the cold ground.
"Nov. 6th. Archibald McPhiel from Greenock, Argyleshire, Scotland, died about 2 a.m., aged 40 years. Much snow on the ground this morning & still more falling. Go down Echo Kanyon, roads very bad at the crossing of streams; forded Weber River & camped on its banks. It snowed most of the day. The camping ground presented a most dismal appearance as we rolled on to it. there being much snow on the ground & it being late at night. Rasmus P. Hansen from Denmark, aged 16 years, died this evening.
Friday 7th. Maria S. Jorgen from Lango, Denmark, aged 8 years, died; Theophitus Cox from Bristol, Somersetshire, England, aged 25 years died; William Empey from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, England, aged 9 years, died. During the day we passed some teams going to relieve the rear companies.
"Saturday 8th. Travelled up the Kanyon about 3 miles & then ascended the Big Mountain, which was difficult for teams to gain the top; go down the mountain & camp about a mile from the Little Mountain. Bro. Blair left us early this morning for the Valley. We travelled about 13 miles during the day. W.H. Kimball came to camp this evening, also a load of provisions for the camp. W.H. Kimball & W. Woodward took an account of persons who had made engagements where they were going to stay in the mountains."
"Sunday 9th. Rhoda R. Oakey from Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, aged 11 years, died this morning."
James G. Willie's account: "On Saturday, November 8th, President Kimball returned to us with a load of provisions which was timely succor to us. The next day, November 9th, a part of our train passed Captain Smoot's which, however, proceeded us into Great Salt Lake City where we arrived on that day. Brother Franklin D. Richards & L. W. Richards, besides many others, came to meet us on the Bench and preceded us into the city.
"On our arrival there the bishops of the different wards took every person who was not provided with a home to comfortable quarters. Some had their hands and feet badly frozen; but everything which could be done to alleviate their sufferings was done, and no want was left unadministered to. Hundreds of citizens flocked around the wagons on our way through the city, cordially welcoming their brethren and sisters to their new home in the mountains."
John Chistlett's [Chislett's] record: "From Bridger all our company rode, and this day I also rode for the first time on our journey. The entire distance from Iowa City to Fort Bridger I walked, and waded every stream from the Missouri to that point, except Elkhorn, which we ferried, and Green river which I crossed in a wagon."
There was one, Margaret Dalglish, from Scotland, who dragged her pitiful handful of possessions in her handcart to the very rim of the valley. When she looked down and saw the end of it, she tugged the cart to the edge of the road and gave it a push and watched it tumble and burst apart, scattering down the ravine the last things she owned on earth. She entered Salt Lake City to start a new life with nothing but her gaunt bones, her empty hands, and her stout heart. (Ordeal by Handcart by Wallace Stegner)
Captain James G. Willie's Handcart Company arrived in Great Salt Lake City Sunday, November 9, 1856. His son William, now eight years old, was so anxious to see his father that he walked to the mouth of Emigration Canyon. There he met him. James was delighted to see his son and lifted him into the wagon so that he could ride back with him. James' feet and legs wre wrapped in burlap sacks because his shoes had worn out. Both feet had been badly frozen when he went to find the rescue party. It was feared they would have to be amputated. James didn't think he would have the use of them. "There was nothing but his faith and the power of the priesthood and administration that saved his legs," testified Elizabeth, his wife, many times to her granddaughter Maud W. Hendry. James Simon Willie said just his feet were frozen.
William Page was a seventeen-year-old Willie Handcart Company member. One time when a buffalo was killed William made a pair of shoes out of the skin for an elderly lady. Later William was so hungry he swiped one of her shoes at night and cooked it over a bonfire and ate it. He gave his flour to the older lady who shared the same cart with him. Perhaps it was the same lady. To keep himself alive William would dig roots and peel bark from the trees to eat. He belonged to tent number 5 of the third or William Woodward's hundred. When William arrived in Salt Lake City, Mr. Henry W. Lawrence took him in and fed him milk and bread while he regained his strength. William became one of the famous Pony Express riders, riding between Salt Lake City and Fort Bridger in 1860-1861. The firm hired about eighty of the keenest, bravest and toughest young men available.
Mary Hurran (Wight), a Willie Company member, related: "We lacked sufficient clothing and bedding. My shoes were worn out, and my feet and legs were badly frozen. . . .I was placed in a wagon with two sick boys. The snow came down so fast and the wind blew so hard, that it drifted in the tracks of the wagon ahead, so that the driver of our wagon lost his way, and it was eleven o'clock at night before we were finally located by the rest of the company. During this time we had nothing but a few cracker crumbs to eat.
"When we arrived in Salt Lake City, we camped in the old tithing office lot. . . .We were met by Uncle George Reeder. When he saw what a pitiful condition we were in, he went for medical aid. Two doctors came back with him. In the meantime my mother had warmed some water and was engaged in soaking the rags from off my frozen legs and feet. One of the doctors remarked, 'She'll never get over this. There's nothing we can do here.' He did not expect that I would live more than a day or two at the most. They came back, however, in the morning and informed my father that the only way to save my life would be to have my legs amputated. They said that it would be necessary to amputate one leg just above the knee, and the other one directly below the knee. My father objected to this and said that his little girl had not walked for a thousand miles across the plains to have her legs cut off. The flesh fell away from the calves of my legs, so that it was necessary to grow new flesh. My mother put sweet oil on my legs. I remember that on several occasions after coming to Brigham City that father walked to Ogden to secure fresh beef to bind on my legs. It was three long years before I was able to walk."
Emily Hill was born at Warminster, Wiltshire, England, March 24, 1836. When but a mere child she was much concerned about her eternal salvation. Hungering and thirsting for truth, she searched the scriptures, invariably turning to the lives of the ancient prophets, and wondering why God did not still speak to man. In the year 1848 her family received a visit from a relative who had just embraced Mormonism, and from her they heard of Joseph Smith. Emily was baptized March 25, 1852. She and her older sister Julia had to leave their parents home in England and find employment in order to be active members of the Church. They were members of the Willie Handcart Company. She writes: "In the month of June 1857, firmly believing in the principle of plural marriage, I entered into it. The result of this marriage was one child only. For a little more than 3 years after said marriage my husband went on a mission to England and after I had worked for upwards of 4 years to maintain myself and little one, my husband himself sent me word that he never intended to set foot in Utah again. (He renounced the principle of celestial marriage, by virtue of which she had become his wife. Brigham Young later informed her that her husband had asked to be sent on a mission, for he wanted to leave.) And here I must be allowed to say in behalf of myself and other true women who have passed through such separations, and to whom perhaps, it is counted as nothing, no one can realize what such an ordeal is, unless they have been through it. All that I had hitherto suffered seemed like child's play compared to being deserted by the one in whom I had chosen to place the utmost confidence, who himself had fixed an impossible gulf between us by ignoring the very principles by which he had obtained me, leaving myself and my little one (for all he knew) to sorrow and destitution." (History of Utah by Orson F. Whitney, vol. 4, pp. 593-595)
The handcart trek was not the worst experience that happened in the life of Emily Hill Woodmansee, and it did not destroy her faith. She is the author of the meaningful hymn—
Providence is Over all
1When dark and drear the skies appear,And doubt and dread would thee enthrall,Look up nor fear, the day is near,And Providence is over all.From heav'n above, His light and loveGod giveth freely when we call;Our utmost need is oft decreed,And Providence is over all.
2With jealous zeal God guards our weal,And lifts our wayward thoughts above;When storms assail life's bark so frail,We seek the haven of His love.And when our eyes transcend the skies,His gracious purpose is complete;No more the night distracts our sight—The clouds are all beneath our feet.
3The direst foe that mortals knowCan ne'er the honest heart appall,Who holds this trust; that God is just,And Providence is over all.Should foes increase to mar our peace,Frustrated all their plans shall fall.Our utmost need is oft decreed,And Providence is over all.
(Childrens' S.S. Hymn Book, third edition, 1899, No. 72, page 87)
"If all the days were fair And every dream came true, There'd be no need for prayer Or faith to guide us through." Edgar A. Guest
"If courage and endurance make a story, if human kindness and helpfulness and brotherly love in the midst of raw horror are worth recording, this half-forgotten episode of the Mormon migration is one of the great tales of the West and of America." (Ordeal by Handcart by Wallace Stegner)
On the 17th of November the Martin emigrants were filled with delight when they met William H. Kimball, who had taken charge of the Willie Company on October 22nd and had seen them through to the Valley, at the head of another relief party. After remaining in Salt Lake City one day, he, along with several other brethren, started back with several light wagons loaded with provisions and clothing.
The Edward Martin Handcart Company arrived in Great Salt Lake City Sunday, November 30th, three weeks after the Willie Company. When the Martin Company passed Florence, Nebraska, it consisted of 575 (or 576) persons. In the Willie Company there were 67 deaths and in the Martin Company there were 96 deaths.
"1856. December. Wed. 10.—On this and the following six days Capts. Wm. B. Hodgett's and John A. Hunt's companies of emigrants arrived in G.S.L. City, after much suffering, being helped in by the relief trains sent out from the Valley." (Church Chronology by Andrew Jenson, P. 57)
The Fourteenth General Epistle of the Presidency of the Church, printed in the Deseret News December 10, 1856, states:
This season's operations have demonstrated that the Saints, being filled with faith and the Holy Ghost, can walk across the plains, drawing their provisions and clothing on hand carts. The experience of this season will of course help us to improve in future operations; but the plan has been fairly tested and proved entirely successful…."
The local areas could not readily supply the total needs (animals, carts, lumber, etc.) of the many saints emigrating in 1856. This resulted in delays. The leaders over the various outfitting assignments and tasks worked with great diligence and sacrifice to meet this high demand. There was no breakdown in the leadership.
Over two thousand souls emigrated in 1856. In the period from 1856 to 1860, approximately eight thousand emigrants arrived in the United States bound for Utah. Of these 2,962 walked and pushed or pulled their handcarts across the plains. The tenth and last emigrant company to cross the plains with handcarts arrived in Great Salt Lake City September 24, 1860.
The last living child born to a Willie Handcart Company pioneer appears to be Veara Southworth Fife, age 88, living in Logan, Utah, as of August 1985. She was the youngest of thirteen children born to Chester Southworth and Agnes Caldwell. Her mother, who emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland, crossed the plains in the Willie Handcart Company at the age of ten.
Although some writers have tried to make something horrible out of the handcart business, using exaggerated descriptions and figures and criticizing the leaders, it was but an unfortunate affair, in which the leaders suffered with the rest. But nothing further than this can be justly charged to anyone." (Hubert H. Bancroft)
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Woodward, William, Journal, in Utah State Historical Society Cache Valley Chapter, Historical resource materials for Cache Valley, Utah-Idaho, 1955-1956, reel 4, item 2e.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Saturday 12th I was busy thro’ the day. In the evening I attended meetings. Good instruction was given by Elders [Daniel] Spencer and Ferguson
The 4th “Hand-cart” company was organized—James G. Willey was appointed captain of the whole company. Milen Atwood was appointed capt of the lst Hundred; L[evi] Savage capt. of the 2nd Hundred; myself. capt. of the 3rd Hundred; John Chisltett, capt. of the 4th Hundred; [blank space][Johan August] Ahmanson, capt of the 5th Hundred.
Edward Martin, was appointed Capt. of the 5th Hundred: Daniel Tyler was appointed to assist Bro. Martin. Jesse Haven, was appointed Capt of the “6th Hand-cart” company. These Captains of companies had captains of Hundreds appointed. Dan Jones, was appointed Capt. of the Wagon company; John A. Hunt, was appointed capt. of the 1st 50 wagons; W[illiam].B. Hodgetts capt. of the 2nd 50 wagons.
Sunday 13th. The day was fine. Meetings were held. I attended. A good feeling prevailed. A meeting was held in the evening in the 4th “Hand-cart” companie’s Camp. Bros. Willie, [Millen] Atwood, & [Levi] Savage addressed the meeting.
Monday 14th Busy preparing to start
Teusday 15th I drove the mule team to town in the afternoon.
The 4th “Hand-cart” company pulled up stakes & encamped in a fresh place.
Wednesday 16th Our Hand-cart company made a start & rolled about 3 miles. I had much difficulty in driving the mule team, assisted by others. Bros. James Oliver & Alexander Burt, were to take charge of the mule team under my charge.
With each Hundred persons were 5 tents, 5 covered Handcarts & 15 Hand-carts not covered.
I went Back from camp & assisted in driving Bro. [John] Chislett’s team, which moved along with great difficulty.
Thursday 17th I drove the mule team back to camp for some things that were needed by our company. Bro. Willie felt displeased because I had not brought an ox yoke fitted up, and in meeting told me to go to camp & bring one. I went with two Bretheren. When I arrived the Saints were holding meeting. I found Bro. Ferguson jn he said they had done the best they could as they had no ox yokes fitted up. John A. Hunt went to the carrall & got a yoke. I slept with Bro Hunt in the camp.
Friday, 18th I returned to our company early in the morning. Our camp travelled about 5 miles & camped.
Saturday 19th Weather warm. We traveled about 12 miles. I unloaded the mule wagon when I got to camp & went Back after some sick people about 3 miles.
Sunday 20th Resting to day. Several of the 3rd Hand cart companie’s people
Monday 21st We drove about 7 miles & camped. I went to Marengo with the mule team to purchase some Brandy & whiskey for the sick of our company. Marengo was about 3 miles from camp.
Teusday 22nd The weather was warm to day. We drove about 10 miles & camped on the Banks of a small creek. Wood, water, & grass plentiful. Several strangers visited camp in the evening.
Wednesday 23rd We traveled thro’ woods, & over some fine rolling pra[i]rie. A woman was sun-struck about noon, & died towards evening. We camped on the Banks of [blank space] Bear Creek. Distance traveled about 13 miles.
Thursday 24th Weather warm. We travelled about 2 miles & camped on Bear creek. The
Friday 25th Weather warm. We travelled over Beautiful rolling prarie. I drove an ox team belonging to the 4th Hundred. A great many persons were sick—our wagons were crowded with them. We drove about 13 miles & camped on “Bare” creek: wood very scarce. At night we were disturbed by a noise which we tho’t to have come from disturbers. Some men came to search our company, as they heard we had some persons tied down in our wagons. The sheriff of Powishelk [Poweshiek] co., from Brooklin, was authorized to look into our wagons, but found that they came on a foolish errand. This took place about 3 miles from our camp.
Saturday 26th Morning wet. Roads rather muddy. We travelled about 5 miles & camped on Sugar Creek
Sunday 27th Morning cool & pleasant. Travelled 5 miles to North Skunk creek & camped. Held meeting in the afternoon. Bro. Savage preached. I spoke a short time also.
Monday 28th We ascended a steep hill & rolled on our way. Passed thro’ a town called Newton, the county seat of Jasper Co. Camped on Cherry Creek about 2 miles from Newton. Travelled about 14 miles.
Teusday 29th Crossed several creeks—traveled over a beautiful prarie & camped on South Skunk Creek. Travelled about 12 miles. We tried to drive in the team a wild mule—he cut up all kind of capers. A man left camp to live with the Gentiles named Henry Newman.
A meeting was held in camp in the evening—Bro. Willie, & Atwood, preached.
Wednesday 30th Morning fine. A child [Selena Hurren] was buried that died yesterday. Travelled about 21 miles & camped in the woods near Fort Des Moines. Feed scarce for the animals.
Thursday 31st We rolled on our way about 6.30 A.M.—crossed the Des Moines river on a floating Bridge—passed thro’ Fort Des Moines city, & nooned on a small creek near the city. Travelled about 6 miles & camped on Walnut creek. Some noisy men from Fort Des Moines came to interrupt our camp, but were foiled by the Guard.
Friday, August 1st Travelled about 14 miles & camped on the prarie. Several of our company went on to Adel about 6 miles past our camp: the mule team was sent to fetch them back.
Saturday 2nd. Morning fine. Rolled on about 6 miles and crossed Middle
Sunday 3rd Travelled about 10 miles & camped on South Coon River.
Monday 4th Travelled about 17 miles & camped on Bear Grove Creek. Arrived about 2. P.M.
Teusday 5th Travelled 8½ miles to a spring,where we rested for about an hour. Crossed a stream of water[,] travelled thro’ the day 18½ miles[,] camped on Turkey creek at Morrison’s. Meeting held in the evening—Elders Willie & Atwood addressed the meeting. The remarks were plain & pointed & such as the camp needed.
Wednesday 6th Travelled about 15 miles & camped on a small creek: wood scarce.
Thursday 7th I rode on a mule to find out some particulars at Indian Town. Crossed the Nishnabotna River about 5 miles from camp, & after about 2 miles travel arrived at Indian town met with a Brother named Joseph Seltcer who treated Bros. Willie, Atwood, [Levi] Savage, [John] Chislett, & myself to dinner. He & family were in the Church & felt well in the Work of God. Drove on about 6½ miles & camped on Walnut Creek[.] Travelled about 15 miles. Isaac Smith a member of our company lost at Iowa City
Friday 8th Returned to the camping place in the morning. Loaded up my wagon & followed after the company. Camped at night on West Nishnabotna River distance from Indian Town about [blank space] miles
Saturday 9thTravelled about 10 miles & nooned on Silver Creek. Travelled about 6 miles further & camped on Keg Creek. Meeting held in the evening Bros. Atwood, Savage & Willie preached
Sunday 10th About 4 P.M. we left Keg Creek. Travelled about 9 miles & camped on Mosquito Creek. Grass very tall where we camped.
Monday 11th Rode on a mule ahead of the company to Council Bluff City, formerly Kanesville. Visited some friends—saw Elder Jame McGaw agent for the Church. Travelled on to Missouri River—was ferried aross on the Steam ferry boat “Nebraska” our company arrived safe across the River. Saw Elders William H. Kimball[,] [blank space] Cunningham, Moses Clough, Andrew L. Siler & others[.] we camped at Florence in Nebraska.
Teusday 12th Morning fine. The 3rd Hundred signed receipts for their conveyance from Iowa City to Florence. A meeting was held in the evening—Elders McGaw, Willie, & Atwood addressed the meeting. Many of our company agreed to leave the company.
Wednesday 13th Rode to Omaha City to purchase some hoop iron for skanes for Handcarts—could not get any in town, crossed Missouri River & went to Council Bluff City. Put my mules & wagon up at the stage office[.] I slept over night at sister Mace’s. I was very sick over night. Bro. Blacket & Sis Davenport went with me to town.
Thursday, 14th I purchased 61 lbs of Hoop iron & some small fixing to fit up hand-carts. Drove to Missouri River, & crossed it at Florence. As soon as I got to camp with the iron &c, the bretheren went to work fixing up the carts.
Friday. 15th Splendid weather. Grasshoppers very numerous in Nebraska & have been for some time. I was taken very sick in the afternoon with fever. I had my head bathed with cold water which greatly relieved me of pain. Bros. Willie & Atwood administered to me with anointing with oil & laying on hands. I got better from that very time. I was at Mr. Davenport’s while I was sick.
Saturday 16th In the afternoon Bros. Atwood, & Savage’s Hundreds rolled out of camp to the Pappea. My received Hundred received carts that had had skanes of hoop iron put on them.
Sunday, 17th I was busy getting my hundred ready to rooling [rolling] for the Pappea. I was taken down quite sick with fever. I was led to Mr Davenport’s, where my head was bathed with cold water which made me feel some better. William H . Kimball & G.D. Grant took me in thier carriage to the
Monday, 18th Some of our cows strayed off, & went to camp. Four men went back to camp after them. James Mc.Gaw & William H. Kimball & William Latey came to our camp; in the afternoon we rolled on to the Pappea Creek about 3 miles & camped[.] Bros Mc.Gaw[,] Kimball & two other breth. returned to Florence when we arrived in camp. Another wagon was added to the 4th Handcart company to haul provisions along.
Teusday. 19th This morning I was sick with chills & fever. I rode in a wagon. The day was very warm. To day the handcarts went ahead of the wagons. Ferried across the Elk Horn river & drove on to Raw Hide creek & camped. Distance traveled about 10 miles
Wednesday 20th Our company was delayed in consequence of Bro Savage having to go back to the Pappea after a cow. We drove on to the Platte River 11 miles & camped. Wood & water & grass plenty.
Thursday 21st I had a chill this morning. We drove 13 miles to the Platte River, staid there till 5 P.M. then drove 5 miles & cam[p]ed: no wood nor water
Friday 22nd Our camp rolled on 5 miles before Breakfast to Shell Creek. The folks partook Breakfast at this place[.] After two hours stay, we rolled on about 12 miles & camped on the Platte River. I was quite sick during the day. Sister [Sophia Fryer] Gearey had her left foot run over while travelling.
Saturday 23rd We rolled on about [blank space] miles to the Loup Fork River—ferried our wagons & handcarts across the stream & forded our cattle. A cow & calf was killed for the benefit of our companys[.] camped on the banks of the river.
Sunday 24th Travelled about 14 miles & camped on the banks of the Loup Fork. Grass, wood & water plentiful.
Monday 25th Rolled out of camp about 7 A.M. Bro [Edward] Griffiths went back on a mule to hunt for 3 cows. After travelling about 8 miles we ascended some steep bluffs—teams had to double. Travelled about 12 miles farther and camped on the banks of a lake.
Teusday 26th Rolled out of camp about 7 A.M. and travelled about 15 miles camped near the Loup Fork, wood, water, & grass plentiful. A King-bolt of one of the P.E[.] Fund wagons broke this morning—a wooden one was put in place of it.
Wednesday 27th Left camp about 7 A.M. travelled over heavy sandy roads most of the day: nooned at some wells of water: camped on the open prarie near a slough. Distance travelled 15 miles.
Thursday 28th Started at 7 A.M. rolled on to prarie creek & nooned: crossed the stream after dinner & rolled on several miles: travelled about 15 miles thro’ the day & camped on the banks of a creek[;] a dispute arose in our minds as to the name of the creek[;] some supposed it was Wood River[.] Wood & water plentiful, grass scarce. An old man named [William Hailey] Haley belonging to my Hundred was lost in the evening on the road. Diligent search was made for him but proved fruitless
Friday 29th A tremendous storm of rain arose this morning & lasted for several hours. A large number of men hunted this morning for Bro. Haley and found him about two miles from camp. He could scarcely speak when found. Left camp about at 1 P.M. after travelling about 3 miles, met several Omaha Indians, who were out hunting Buffalo. One of the Indians presented us a note from Capt. Stewart U.S. Army to Mr [Almon W.] Babbitt, informing us that a band of Cheyennes Indians a few days since, had fallen upon Mr Babbitt’s wagons, killed two of his teamsters, a little child, & it is supposed that the child’s mother was killed also, one teamster was wounded & 1 escaped unhurt. We passed the Omaha camp, & camped on the banks of a creek: travelled about 8 miles. Many Indians visited our camp to trade Buffalo meat.
Saturday 30th Rolled out of camp about 7 A.M. Passed a band of Calafornians [Californians] with a large herd of horses for the States. Passed the graves of Babbitt’s teamsters—our men covered up the graves with soil as considerable stench arose from the dead. Travelled on—crossed a creek & nooned. Joseph Elder & Bro. Savage hunted for a yoke of cattle on the prarie[;] caught them. Drove on & crossed Wood River—drove near the stream & camped on its banks. Made a good days drive. Mr. Babbitt came into camp this evening, a young man was with him also a woman named Mrs. Stewart. Babbitt engaged for one of the independent wagons to take her thro’ to the Valley.
Robert Caldwell’s collar bone was broken by one of the cows.
Sunday 31st Started about 7 A.M. drove a few miles & watered our cattle[.] Left Wood River—struck across the Prarie to near where the road strikes the Platte. Met 4 Calafornians who gave us favorable reports from the Valley. Babbitt passed us & drove on to Fort Kearney. Travelled about 18 miles
Monday 1st Started about 7:30 A.M. crossed two dry creeks & Elm creek: watered the cattle & nooned. Drove on to Buffalo creek & camped. A cow was killed in the evening. Bros. [John Alexander] Jost & [Joseph Benson] Elder killed a Buffalo some distance from camp. Several bretheren with hand carts went & brought it to camp late in the evening.
Teusday 2nd The meat was divided among the camp, & we started about 9 A.M. crossed a dry creek, & rolled on to Buffallo creek: nooned & crossed Buffalo creek, drove several miles farther & camped on Buffalo creek.
Wednesday 3rd Elizabeth Ingra aged about 76 years died early this morning & & was buried near camp. Two Buffaloes were killed thro’ the day. We made a good days drive.
Thursday 4th More than one half of our cattle were gone this morning—they had stampeded thro’ the night. Men were sent in different directions to hunt for our lost cattle. A. W. Babbitt came up with our camp this morning: T. Sutherland was in company with him. Capt Smoot’s train was opposite our camp this afternoon.
Friday 5th Bro. Savage & others went hunting the cattle again to day. Bro. [Andrew Lafayette] Siler & other bretheren visited brother Smoot’s train. Bro.[Abraham O.] Smoot & O[rrin]. P[orter]. Rockwell came to our camp in the evening. A council was held in the evening. Bros. Smoot & Rockwell staid over night at our camp.
Saturday 6th Bro. Smoot & O.P. Rockwell this morning addressed the Saints at the request of bro. Willie. This morning our camp removed about 8 miles distant, where water was better & wood handier[.] Br. J. B. Elder & A[ndrew]. Smith were sent back to hunt for our cattle. Our wagons were taken to our fresh camping at twice, as we had not team enough to move them all at once. Bros. Smoot & Rockwell left us this evening for thier camp.
Sunday 7th Council held in the morning, camp called together. Bretheren addressed the meeting. We yoked up wild cows & prepared to start to morrow. A party of returning Calafornians came to our camp on thier way to the States.
Monday 8th A man named Henry Baaichter came into our camp this morning on horseback, said he had been without food for 50 hours, & that T. Margetts, & Mr. Cowdey were killed some 70 miles from here. We travelled about 11 miles & camped on the banks of the Platte River. This day I did not have a “chill”. I drove team.
Teusday 9th Rool [role] out of camp. Travel over some sandy Bluffs & noon, camp on Skunk creek at night near where it empties into the Platte River.
Wednesday 10th Left camp. Crossed “skunk creek”, & camped near a cold spring of water. Road thro’ the day very bad.
Thursday 11th. Roll out of camp cross “Carrion creek”, camp at night on the banks of the Platte River. A Buffalo was killed in the evening.
Friday 12th Camp rooled [rolled] on to North Bluff Fork[,] crossed the stream & camp on its banks. Bro. F[ranklin]. D. Richards & company with Bros. Elder & Smith came up with us at night. A meeting was held in camp[.] Bro. Richards spoke to the saints also Bros. D. Spencer & C H Wheelock.
Saturday 13th A meeting was held in the morning Bros. Richards, Spencer, & Wheelock addressed it[.] A severe repremand was given to Levi Savage for speaking before the camp in an improper manner to Bro Willie, & also in speaking as he did at Florence. Bro. Richards & company crossed the North Fork of the Platte. We crossed also. Wm. Haley of my Hundred aged 66 years died in the afternoon. Travelled about 3 miles.
Sunday 14th Travelled about 14 miles & camp on the banks of the Platte. Joseph Elder killed two Buffaloes in the evening.
Monday 15th Richard F. Turner died this morning aged about 64 years. Ascended the Bluffs after nooning. Three Arrappahoes [Arraphoes] (Indians) came up with our camp. Camped at night on the open prarie. Cattle were chained to the wagons during the night.
Teusday 16th Camp called up about 4, A.M. in about one hour the company was in motion. descended the Bluffs & nooned on the Platte River. Let our cattle feed, & then rooled [rolled] over some very heavey sandy roads & camp for the night.
Wednesday 17th Rooled [Rolled] out of camp. travelled along the banks of the Platte, & camped. Roads sandy. The wind blew terrific thro’ the day.
Thursday 18th Roads sandy (I injured my thumb. Bro. [James Sherlock] Cantwell’s daughter was bitten with a rattlesnake yesterday) Ascended the Bluffs & were soon into Ash hollow. Camp on the Platte. Sis. Stewart lost herself. Strooled [strolled] from the camp.
Friday 19th Several bretheren went in search of sis. stewart but did not find her. I found her in the afternoon in “ash-hollow” as I with several bretheren went to cut an ash log for hand cart axels. Handcarts were mended thro’ the day.
Saturday 20th In the afternoon we travelled a few miles & camped
Sunday 21st Roads sandy. Morning wet. Travelled till evening & camped on the banks of the Platte. A child died in the evening named Wm Leason
Monday 22nd. Travelled about 19 miles & camped on the banks of the Platte River[.] Jesse Emp[e]y aged 31 years died during day. Night rather cold.
Teusday 23rd Some good road thro’ the day. camped on Platte River
ThursdaWednesday 24th Travelled about 14 miles. camped near “Chimney Rock.” A cow was killed after we arrived in camp. A meeting was held in the evening.
Thursday 25th Travelled till we arrived near an old Trading Post & camped. Road good thro’ the day.
Friday 26th Rooled [Rolled] on & camped at Scott’s Bluffs by a small creek. Cedar wood plentiful. Ann Bryant, aged 69 years died.
Saturday 27th Ascended a steep hill & rooled [rolled] on to “Horseshoe creek”.
Sunday 28th Met some apostate Mormons from Salt Lake. We were informed that A. W. Babbitt & the two young men with him had been killed by the Cheyenne’s (indians)[.] Met a company of U.S. dragoons. We camped on the platte.
Monday 29th Rooled [Rolled] out of camp passed an Indian agency. also, several Indians. Joseph B. Elder & myself left for Fort Laramie to obtain letters &c for the camp. A young man, Stephen Forsdick lived at the Fort who had been to the Valley and was formerly a schoolmate of mine. he was an apostate Mormon. Returned to camp with a letter from F. D. Richards to J.G. Willie & one to myself from W.H. Kimball also some other letters to bretheren in camp.
WednesdayTeusday 30th A cow & calf was killed this morning. Dustin Olmy & others from Salt Lake passed our camp this morning, reporting news from the Valley, good. The company crossed Laramie Fork & camped about 2 miles west of Fort Laramie. Travelled about 6 miles. I, & several others went & traded at the fort for flour[,] Bacon, rice, crackers[,] sugar &c. Several soldiers visited camp L[ucinda]. M[elissa]. Davenport eloped to the Fort with S[tephen]. Forsdick.
October Wednesday 1stBro Siler with 4 wagons under his charge returned towards the fort to wait for the wagon companies behind. Bros. Willie, Atwood, Savage, Christiansen [Niels Larsen Christensen], Ahmansen & others returned to Fort Laramie to trade. They took the mule team with them. I had charge of the company during the day. Went about 8 miles & camped. David Reeder & William Read [Reed], both died thro’ the day. Some missionaries from G.S.L City passed our camp & informed us that Bro. P[arley]. P. Pratt & others were encamped about 4 miles west. Bro Willie & others returned to camp in the evening.
Thursday 2nd Morning fine Several missionaries came to our camp this morning. Bro. P.P Pratt, came to camp & addressed the Saints, said that the two great parts of the gospel preached in the Valley was “agriculture & Home Manufacture.”
November 1856Sunday 9th Crossed the little mountain, passed Captain Smoots train. And got into the Valley where the sun was shining brightly. F.D. & S.W. Richards came to meet us on the Bench near the mouth of the kanyon. We formed according to our hundreds & rolled into the city.
Source of Trail Excerpt:
Cantwell, James Sherlock, Autobiography, reel 3, item 30, 1-3.
Read Trail Excerpt:
Having my business disposed of and being also enjoined by a letter from Milo Andrus of Utah, I took my passage for Florence or old Winter Quarters, as it was called on the steamboat Arabia, on Friday the 27 of June, 1856. At about 3 P. M. we moved into the river and my wife and my son Francis R. and daughters. We arrived at Florence, July 7th.
I camped near the Church office and employed myself cutting wood for the steam ferry boat and assisted James Kinney and Andrew Cunningham to cut and haul timbers to make sleepers for the cloth making machine. I assisted to write in the Church office for the emigrants and occupied my time very profitably.
I purchased two yoke of oxen, and got ready for starting on our trip to Utah. Sunday, August 17, at about 1 P.M. we started on our Journey for Utah, I had two yoke of good oxen as ever stood in a yoke.
The company was organized a few days before we started by Elders George D. Grant, William H. Kimball, and James McGaw. James G. Willie was appointed captain and Millen Atwood, councilors. At the meeting a man named Levi Savage spoke against starting on so long a Journey at that late season of year. He said the company was not clothed or shod to face the mountain storms and they would freeze and suffer death, many of them. He said he knew what the country was in winter as he was well acquainted with the climate of the mountains.
At the conclusion of his discourse, James G. Willie denounced him as a recreant to the cause of truth and a disturber of the peace of the brethren and an opposer of those who were placed over him and called upon him to repent..
James G. Willie was filled with the spirit of enthusiasm and had a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. Levi Savage still maintained that he firmly believed all he had said, but said he was ready to go if the authority here said so; and if he lost his life in the journey it was all right.
It was resolved that we should commence our journey and we started on the 17th of August.
The company was organized with the afore mentioned officers and there were 10 wagons and 76 hand carts. The wagons were owned by W[illiam]. H. Kimball, John A. Jost, Andrew L. Silver, William Wilford and myself. Andrew L. Silver took charge of the last four wagons and J. G. Williams the other wagons and the hand carts.
On the 24th of August we encountered a severe prairie storm which tested the capacity of man and beast.
Friday the 29th of August we were 170 miles out from Florence. Some of our men killed a buffalo or two. We lost an old man who was unable to walk. When he was missed the Capt. sent men back to find him. They found him about two miles back from camp.
In the evening we came to a large camp of Omaha Indians. They were greatly overjoyed to have us camp with them and wanted us to stop with them always. We exchanged for buffalo meat. We stood double guard all night and stationed picket guard outside. Those Indians were afraid of the Cheyenne’s and were at war with them.
Sunday Aug. 31st Almon Babbit overtook us. A man named Sutherland was with him, also a woman named Nancy Stewart. The woman left them and came as a passanger [passenger] in my wagon.
Monday, Sept. 1 Almon Babbit and companion pursued their journey and in a few days after they were killed by Indians while they camped at noon.
Thursday, Sept. 4, In the evening our cattle stampeded; a herd of buffalo having gotten among them. There were altogether 16 yoke. I lost one ox. We had to go without them. It weakened our travelling capacity very much.
Wednesday the 17th of September as we were descending Scott’s Bluff my daughter Ellen was bitten by a rattlesnake in the first two fingers of her right hand. It being noon we were camped. We had great difficulty in saving her. She suffered until the month of January. The virus settled in the back of her hand and ate out the flesh insomuch that the bones and sinues were discernable. The scar is still visible.
On the first of Oct. we came to Fort Laramie where we stayed. We were in all four wagons, and James G Willie left us with the handcarts and we stayed behind to wait for Capt. William B. Hodgets as they had plenty of cattle.
In crossing the Platt[e] river on the 19th of Oct. we encountered a very severe hailstorm which the experienced declared was the beginning of winter. Several men from the valley came out to assist us in. They councilled on immediate start which was complied with and we travelled on day by day in snow storms. Our cattle continued to drop down in the yoke one by one every day, and sometimes 5 or 6 would die at a day until the 4th of November when we arrived at Devil’s Gate.
On the 5th Capt. John Hunt’s company came in.
To give any just description of the 6th, 7th, and 8th of November, the time we stayed at the above place would be impossible. It was a combination of wind, hail, and snow and cold in terrible reality. Many of the remaining cattle died and our travelling power fell so short that it was deemed advisable to leave one half the wagons behind and all the freight and take nothing except good [food] and clothing. A company of about 20 young men was left behind to guard the property with scant food, arms and ammunition. Those who advised the above course were George B. Grant, Robert F. Burton, and Synes W. Wheelock.
Nov. 8, 1856, I accordingly went into the wagon belonging to Andrus L. Silver, adding what team I had to his and started on my journey. After a cold and perilous trip we arrived at Fort Bridger on the first day of December. The weather had moderated during the time we were at Fort Bridger[.] several teams arrived from Salt Lake City for the express purpose of conveying the people to the place. They were sent out by Pres. Young.
December 4, 1856 in the evening while we were at supper a team drove up to us and stopped. They inquired for me. I responded and two men got out. One of them I recognized to be Wm. Dawson a man who I was acquainted with at Florence. The other was a man named Alonzo D. Rhodes, They came from Lehi to assist the people in.
I made arrangements to assist myself and family to Salt Lake. On the 6th of December we commenced our journey. My son’s James and William traveled in a wagon belonging to John Skeen of Lehi. After a quick tripp of 8 days we arrived in Salt Lake on Sunday the 14th of Dec. 1856. We were taken to the Tithing yard.
In our ascent and descent over the mountain we encountered a formidable amount of snow. At the summit it was 18 feet deep. It took about 66 of us to dig our way thru it occuping about two hours time to do it.
The cold was intense and when the passage was made the people were hurried over as fast as possible. By order of Bishop Edward Hunter we were lodged in the council house in company with many more and were visited by many of our friends who extended invitation to us to visit them at their homes.