Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Here is a recollection of Robert Sweeten's about his experiences coming to Utah:
"Every night we would pull the wagons into a large circle and form a corral for protection against the Indians, and as an enclosure for the animals. The kids would play around the wagons and campfires. After supper the older folks would get out the fiddles and have dances around the fires, some of them dancing in bare feet as they had no shoes.
I walked most of the way across the plains with but an occasional ride. One time, while I was driving two yoke of oxen so my step-father could ride and rest awhile, I stepped on a prickly pear, and being barefoot, ran the needles in my foot and Mother had to pull them out.
Our only means of crossing rivers that were too deep to wade across was to chop down trees, chain them together, and make a raft upon which we would pull one wagon across at a time. We were crossing a narrow deep stream one time, and they were just starting to pull our wagon across when Mother shouted for them to let the children out before crossing. We got out, and when the wagon was halfway across it flopped bottom-side up in the stream. Everything we owned was in the wagon, and Mother jumped into the water to save what few things she could.
While following the Platte River we saw many buffalo, sometimes in herds so large we had to stop the company and let them go past. One day I became lame from walking so much and fell behind. Suddenly, I heard a strange noise, and looking up, I saw a large buffalo bull intently watching me. His fierce snorting frightened me into screaming, which attracted the attention of the driver on the last wagon. He shouted at me to run, but I was too frightened to move. Some men came back and were going to shoot the animal, but the captain stopped them, saying that Brigham Young's orders were to shoot the animals only to be used for food.
My first sight of Brigham Young was when we met him at the Green River when he was on his way back to get his family and assist more Saints across the plains. As we reached the top of Big Mountain we could see the lights of another camp ahead of us, so we came down the mountain at the head of Emigration Canyon in the dark. The Canadian wagons were lower than the American wagons so they struck stumps the American wagons would pass over. We had to chop off all the stumps our wagons struck.We finally reached the company ahead and camped with them for the remainder of the night, and traveled together the next day. During the day the call was passed down the trail- 'There is the Great Salt Lake.' We reached Salt Lake that night and camped with Brigham Young's company. The kids played high spy in the grass and sage."
More to come!

No comments: