Early Pioneer Life in Manti

as lived and told by the children of Frederick Walter Cox

Edited by Carl Cox, June 2007
  1. Prologue
  2. Getting There
  3. Fort Manti
  4. Mission
  5. Pioneer Skills
  6. The Big House
  7. Epilogue


The family left Kanesville for Utah 20 June 1852. Our outfit consisted of 3 wagons, 7 yoke of oxen and cows. Father drove Aunt Emeline's wagon, which was loaded heavily and had 3 yoke of oxen. Fred, then 16, drove mama's wagon, also very heavily loaded, with 3 yoke of oxen. William, then 11, drove a light wagon with one yoke of oxen. One oxen was lost on the way.

I was 4 , but I remember plainly many little incidents of the journey. I was very tired of being kept in such close quarters. How gladly I raced around gathering buffalo chips for our camp fire. Best of all, I remember the water can with the cup turned over the top. The clear mountain streams had no charms for me. I used to hunt for the old can, take off the cup, and draw a good smell. Cholera raged that year, and every morning father filled the can with water, added a cup of vinegar with sugar, which I longed to smell.

For beds the wagons were built with a projection, something like the common sheep wagon of today. The projection was laced with a small rope making a good roomy bed, under which everything we had was closely packed--clothes to wear, tools to work with, and provisions.

Thirteen persons died of cholera during the time we were traveling the first 100 miles, and a woman was killed by the stampeding of cattle caused by someone shaking a quilt. Father and Byron both had the cholera, and for days we did not know if they would live. Aunt Jemima came to mama's wagon saying, "Cordelia, come and see Byron. I am afraid for him and I don't want to sit alone." So both got into the wagon. They knelt and earnestly prayed for their loved ones that they might be restored to health. Surely Heavenly Father is not far from His children, for their prayers were heard and answered. The next morning when they were cutting meat for breakfast, Byron reached for a piece. Father said, "Let him have it. Nothing can hurt him now." Though weak and ill, Byron and father steadily grew better. What a thankful family! Father was needed so badly. For all of the journey Aunt Emeline was so poorly.

When we reached the Platte River we stopped to wash. How we children enjoyed ourselves playing by the stream. Emily was born there, 8 August 1852, so Aunt Emeline needed care the whole of that long, toilsome way. Aunt Lydia was with us and helped get a good part of the work done. The boys had a real task caring for the cattle.

While crossing the Green River, Fred's team was the last one over. A bend in the crossing hid us from the train ahead. When our team reached the middle of the river, the leaders turned back to the wagon. We were being upset into the stream. We screamed and cried, with drowning staring us in the face. Then a horseman came back to look for a lost animal. He quickly rode into the stream, turned our leaders, and we were saved.

The journey was weary but how cheering was the call of the guard, "One o' clock and all is well. Two o' clock and all is well!" It gave us a peaceful and secure feeling that nothing else would have given. We saw large herds of buffalo, and Indians always lurked near wanting food.

We reached Salt lake City 28 September 1852, and went on to Manti 4 Oct. We were welcomed by Grandpa Isaac Morley, Uncle Edwin Whiting, Uncle Joseph Allen and Aunt Lucy, Uncle Orville Cox and Sylvester Hewlett in whose house we lived the rest of the winter.

Fort Manti