Disaster at sea
Our ship took a southern route along the coast of France, then west along the coast of Spain, then south along the coast of Portugal where we came into view of the City of Lisbon, the fifth of June 1862. The second day out to sea we were caught in a terrible storm which lasted three days. It was impossible for anyone to walk on deck. The children had to be tied in their berths. Both kitchens were broken to pieces and caught fire. Repairs were made but they again caught fire were burned beyond repair. Two children died and were buried at sea.
YORK HARBOR July 8, 1862
After passing through quarantine and customs, we left by train the next day for Albany, New York, then to Niagara Falls, over the St. Lawrence River and down through Canada to Chicago. By July 13th we were in Quincy, Illinois and crossed the Mississippi River on the 14th, arriving in St Joseph, Missouri on the 16th of July. Here we stopped over night in a hotel. Jacob Wintch was very ill. My mother and Sister, Dora, stayed up with him during the night. Dora was to be his intended wife. They fell asleep and someone entered their room and began searching through their clothing and other articles in the room. My mother awoke and the intruder left. She reported the incident to the hotel manager and lectured him for allowing such characters to enter his hotel but he didn’t seem a bit concerned.
We left for Florence or Winter Quarters on the 18th, going up the Missouri River by boat, arriving on the 20th of July. We spent eighteen days at Winter Quarters making preparations for our trek across the plains. The four yoke of oxen and Schettler wagon, previously ordered through the church, were deliveredtD us and paid for. My father also bought two cows, a sheet iron stove, a tent plow, tools, dried fruit, rice, bacon and flour to take with us on our journey.
The Trek Westward
August 8, 1862
Our company consisted of sixty teams and wagons. We were among the six outfits independently owned and we traveled together. We were the last company to go west. At first all went well, then the roads became dusty with eight to ten inches of dust in some places. Progress became slow, feed scarce and the cattle began to lose flesh. Some of the people became sick and had to remain in their wagons. A wagon following our wagon was driven by an Englishman and his wife. She fell asleep and fell under the wheels of the heavy wagon killing her instantly. They stopped and buried her and then went on. On the 7th of September, Sister Wintch died. A few days later a child of Michlaus Jakobs died, and a son of Jacob Neaser, and October 1st, a man from England passed away.
THE INCIDENT OF THE DEAD INDIAN at FORT LARAMIE
While passing through agrove of Cottonwood trees along the Platte River, Ferdie and his chum, Henry Mathes, noticed something tied in a bufflo robe hanging in a tree. Out of curiosity, Ferdie climbed up to investigate. To his astonishment he found a dead Indian. The stench made him sick.
Following the incident of the dead Indian, my brother Ferdie joined the rest of the family my mother, my two sisters and his wife Louisa, with what was then called the Mountain Fever. He never walked another step until we arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. My father, sixty-three, drove the two cows and gathered wood for the fires each morning and evening as he walked along, so you may guess that most of the work was left to me. I hired a German woman to cook for us and care for the sick. I got a youngster about my age,17, to help me with the oxen each morning and evening. Each evening a circle was made with the wagons, the oxen unyoked and kept confined to the inside perimeter, giving better protection against the Indians. I had to put up the tent, set up the stove and make the fire in addition to milking the cows and go after the water which was usually some distance away. With the assistance of a neighbor, the sick had to be carried back into the wagon and so it was day after day.
THE ROUTE OF THE PIONEERS
Approaching the mountain terrain and on to the south pass, having an elevation of 7550 feet, we moved through snow and experienced very cold temperatures. Many froze their feet. One man, upon reaching the Salt Lake valley, had to have his toes amputated and on the 5th of October a man named Looser died. A day or so later, the Bachofen baby died at birth.
Our travels took us across the Sweet River several times. We had to carry some of the people across this river on our backs. There was five inches of snow on the ground so you might guess the water was very cold. When we reached the Green River the snow was gone. We came down Echo Canyon and camped a number of miles south of what is now Coalville, on October 27th. I forgot to unyoke one pair of oxen and the next morning they were gone. Someone had stolen them, but we managed to keep going and on the 30th of October we arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. Many people came to see if any of their relations were in our company. One man came all the way from St. George, Utah. On the 31st, we drove into the city and we camped in Emigration Square. The cattle were turned out to graze in the church pasture but being so late in the year the feed was about gone. Thirty five people had lost their lives in our company.
Salt Lake Valley
October 31st to November 7, 1862
We were strangers in a strange land. We didn’t know a soul. Ferdie and his wife, Louise and my sister Dora were able to get out of the wagon for the first time. How glad they were. Mother and Elisabeth, my sister, were not so fortunate, Elisabeth’s legs had been cramped for such a long time in the crowded wagon box that it took four months of constant massaging with bear grease before she could again gain the use of her legs. My mother had been so sick and helpless, but in time she was able to walk. Because of her great faith the power of the Priesthood was made manifest many times in her life. This was generally through the administrations of Brother Ballif who we became acquainted with as a missionary in Switzerland. In her Patriarchal Blessing, a few years later, she was promised that sixteen years would be added to her life.
While in Salt Lake we received an invitation from Brother Ballif to come to Cache Valley which we accepted. It was delivered by Jacob I. Naef, who had come to Salt Lake business and also to take emigrants back Cache Valley. It took seven days to make rip. Traveling was slow with only two yoke of oxen, having lost one on the way.
PROVIDENCE – The six and one half month journey ended. November 15, 1862
We arrived late at night and camped on the south end of town which was at that time a fort. How glad we were that our journey was ended and we could stop and rest. Nobody knew how tired we were. We were thankful to the Lord for sparing our lives during this long journey.
The next morning, among the people who came to see us, was a man by the name of Ulrich Traber who offered us his one room house, a log cabin, for a yoke of oxen. My father accepted his proposition and we moved right in. Here we all spent the winter of 1862 and 63. The people were very poor and had no money to purchase the things they needed so they desired to trade us out of some of the articles we had brought from Switzerland. Judging from the amount of goods we had they considered us rich.
In 1863, my parents bought a piece of land north of town giving a tent and a pair of boots as part payment. That season because of the drought we only raised 150 bushels of wheat and oats. We did have a fine garden, however, and my father liked to fish and kept us supplied with fish which he caught in his traps.
In the fall of 1863 I took the tithing grain to Salt Lake. I drove the same yoke that my father purchased at Winter Quarters prior to making the trek across the plains.
My father loaned Apostle Rich some money and in exchange he gave us a number of sheep. The wool which we sheared from our flock of sheep was spun and woven into cloth. Everyone had clothes made of the same material.
I loaned Ulrich Traber a yoke of oxen and a wagon in 1863, so he could take a load of his wheat to Salt Lake for which he got thirty five cents per bushel. It took a week to make the trip. With the money he bought a little sugar, some matches and enough Calico at seventy five cents a yard to make his wife a dress. A man could easily carry under his arm the little bundle it made.