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The Trek

West

John Chislett

Journal Entry: Rock Creek

"The Weather grew colder each day, and many got their feet so badly frozen that they could not walk, and had to be lifted from place to place. Some got their fingers frozen; others their ears; and one woman lost her sight by the frost. These severities of the weather also increased our number of deaths, so that we buried several each day.

"A few days of bright freezing weather were succeeded by another snow storm. The day we crossed the Rocky Ridge it was snowing a little—the wind hard from the North-West—and blowing so keenly that it almost pierced us through. We had to wrap ourselves closely in blankets, quilts, or whatever else we could get to keep from freezing.

". . . But we had found a good camp among the willows, and after warming and partially drying ourselves before good fires, we ate our scanty fare, paid our usual devotions to the Deity and retired to rest with hopes of coming aid.

". . . The night [was very severe] and many of the emigrants were frozen. . . . There were so many dead and dying that it was decided to lie by for the day. In the forenoon I was appointed to go round the camp and collect the dead. I took with me two young men to assist me in the sad task, and we collected together, of all ages and both sexes thirteen corpses, all stiffly frozen. We had a large square hole dug in which we buried these thirteen people, three or four abreast and three deep. . . . Two others died during the day, making fifteen in all buried on that camp ground."

(John Chislett, as quoted by LeRoy R. and Ann W. Hafen,Handcarts to Zion[Glendale, Ca.: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1960], 127-29.)

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