The Great Move to Salt Lake

In April 1849, we started on the great move of all moves toward the Great Salt Lake of the, then, unexplored regions of Mexico. We were about three months reaching the Elkhorn and were organized in brother George A. Smith's fifty, brother Benson being over the 100 and he had gone ahead for it was not thought best for more than fifty to travel together on account of firewood and other conveniences and fifty were considered safe from the Indians. Of that long tedious journey, volumes might be written. In our camp we had one stampede of cattle. It was after about three weeks of travel and it was most terrifying being in the night about one o'clock and father was on guard but no one was hurt so we were all comforted although eight or ten head of our cattle were lost.

We saw many herds of buffalo but our worst and most trying experience was on the Sweetwater. After reaching the Black Hills we were snowed in for about three days and many of the best cattle in the company died. Father counted nine head in one little bunch of willows. There were only enough teams left to move the wagons to a new camp about a mile or two ahead, but in a day or two we met the teams sent from Salt Lake to meet us. We arrived in the city Oct. 28th, 1849 and it was one of the prettiest places I ever saw. The young shade trees on the sidewalk were yet green and many young orchards all quite green made a picture of loveliness to us weary travelers never to be forgotten.

But we were soon to leave as we were chosen by father Morley to help form a settlement in Sanpete County, which had been located at Manti, and it was thought best to go so as to be ready to start work in the spring. It took us three weeks to reach Manti and it was the first of December and there were so many discouragements. My husband and brother Orville went to Salt Lake on snowshoes to report starving condition of the saints. About half of our little company returned to the city and the long snowy dreary winter was endured by those who remained, with the blessing of the Lord. We had many seasons of enjoyment in various ways and our prayer meetings were held every week. Sunday evenings and Thursdays were well attended.

Father put up a foot lathe and he and William, who was fifteen years old, hauled the timber from the canyon on a handsled, and he made a hundred chairs with rush bottoms, and in April they took them to the city and sold them for grain and other things for family use, for the long cold winter had consumed all our supplies, and most of our cattle had died of hunger and exposure.

Those that lived were saved by digging off the grass near the warm spring south of Manti, so they could get the grass. It was hard work but faith and perseverance saved some. We had two old oxen and a three year old heifer. Our firewood that winter was drawn on a handsled and our bread was mostly of grain ground in a coffee mills. The Indians were with us all the time and our scanty food supply was shared with them always.

The first trial to raise our crops by irrigation was watched with the greatest anxiety as it was something entirely new to some of us and very little known of by any, but the Lord helped us and we raised enough for our sustenance although the alkali killed some as soon as the water was turned on.

The Indians were always to be watched and would steal whenever they could get a chance or kill for very little provocation, but we were on their land are did our best to keep peace with them. I taught school in Manti every year more or less so long as we stayed there which was twelve years.

We had the grasshopper war in 1856; everything green was eaten by them in Sanpete valley. My brother Walter had moved to the valley in 1853 and was so blessed as to have plenty of wheat in store and helped greatly to feed those not so favored.

In 1854, father and brother Elisha Edwards were called to go to Ohio on a mission and were gone two years. While they were gone the grasshoppers again took our crops and again we were short of bread, but no one starved. When father came home from his mission he brought a variety of choice fruits with him, some from his fatherís old orchard which he himself had grafted when a boy, and he also had a few plants which he brought on the side of one of the wagons when we crossed the plains in 1849.

The first few years at Manti were so frosty the trees froze down to the ground every winter. He only succeeded in raising two peaches and one bushel of apples in all the twelve years we lived there so brother Brigham told him to move some of his trees to another valley and try them. So in 1861, he bought a lot of Steven Perry in Springville and moved most of his trees over there, then moved his family later. He made a success of his nursery business and was the first to bring those large goose berries from Ohio, which were raised so successfully in Utah so many years.


Growing Up | Springville and Arizona