Going West

F. W. Cox soon left again to make preparations to go to the Rocky Mountains. He raised corn, potatoes and other vegetables. He made chairs and traded them away in Missouri for provisions for the long trip. He one time traded for 100 pounds of flour, a luxury. He built his own wagons. He was planning to take enough food for his families for at least a year and a half because he could not raise any crops the summer of travel and would not be able to harvest until the following year’s harvest. This shows the character and wisdom of F. W. Cox.

F. W. Cox’s outfit contained three wagons. The first, drawn by three yoke of oxen, was heavy built and loaded with many supplies. This one he drove himself with Emeline and two children. His wife, Jemima and her sister, Margaret L Losee, and three children, the youngest a 4 month old baby girl, rode in a second lighter wagon. Emeline’s eleven year old son, Bill, was the teamster for this wagon. F. W. Cox’s wife, Cordelia, and three children rode in the third wagon, also pulled by three yoke of oxen. This wagon was heavily built and hauled supplies. Cox’s oldest son, fifteen year old F. W. Cox, Jr, drove this wagon. F. W. Cox also took along five milk cows. They left the area of the Missouri River and present day Omaha, Nebraska about June 20, 1852. The oxen were quite slow so they made only about fifteen miles per day.

They started out in a fifty wagon caravan. Cholera broke out in the camp and thirteen persons died in the first 200 miles or two weeks. F. W. Cox and one little Cox boy got the disease but both recovered. One woman was killed by a stampede of some camp cattle.

It was decided to reduce the size of the company, so F. W. Cox went with a group of 10 wagons. By August 6, 1852, they passed Ft Laramie. Two days later Emeline gave birth to a little baby girl in the wagon box. She said it was one of the easiest confinements she had. While the wagon rolled along she knitted a pair of stockings and mittens for the baby.

When the last wagon was crossing the green river driven by F. W. Cox Jr., the lead pair of oxen turned around in mid stream and started to come back toward the wagon. This posed a serious danger as they might have caused the wagon to tip over in mid-stream. Cordelia was screaming for help but the other wagons were too far away. Just then a cow herder came back to look for a stray cow and saw the plight. He plunged his horse into the river and got the lead oxen turned around and heading across the stream.

One of the group reported that it was peaceful to hear the night guard call out through camp at intervals and report “One o’clock and all is well.” They arrived in the Salt Lake valley September 28, 1852. (Unfortunately they did not record much about their trip over Llittle and Big mountains and the descent down Emigration Canyon.) Mary Elizabeth Cox came into the valley some time in 1849, two years after the first pioneer company arrived in 1847. Mary described the scene: “We arrived in the city and it was one of the prettiest places I have ever seen. The young shade trees along the side walks were yet green, and many young orchards, all quite green, made a picture of loveliness never to be forgotten by us weary travelers.”

The record does not state, but it is certain that F. W. Cox paid a visit to Brigham Young and reported on his assignment to see that the wagons of the pioneers were road-worthy before they left Winter Quarters, in accordance to Brigham Young’s instructions. He also probably talked to President Young about where he should settle, and may have indicated that he would prefer to go to Manti. A number of his relatives and also those of his wife were already in Manti. In any event they stayed in Salt Lake City only one week before proceeding south October 5, 1852, reaching Manti in late October. They lived with other people that first winter. He shared the corn and wheat he had brought from Iowa with relatives and perhaps others.

F. W. Cox and his family began immediately to clear some land of sagebrush that was as tall as a man. He probably helped complete an eight foot high fort. He built two sixteen by sixteen foot rooms inside the fort in the southwest corner for his three wives and thirteen children. He had two children born in the fort in the year 1853.

On October 11, 1854, F. W. Cox married his fourth wife, Margaret Lydia Losee. She was a younger sister of his wife Jemima. Many troubles with the Indians and food shortage, due to grasshoppers in the fields, plagued the Saints. The Indians destroyed the flour mill in 1853, and before it could be rebuilt, the families used a large coffee mill owned by Edmund and Mary Ann Richardson, who had come to Manti at the request of Brigham Young in December, 1853. F. W. Cox used horses to walk over the cut grain in a confined area to thrash the grain. F. W. Cox was a counselor to President Chipman in Manti.

Burned Out       Richardsons