Rowley, Ann Jewell, [Autobiography], in James Albert Jones, comp., Some Early Pioneers of Huntington, Utah and Surrounding Area (1980), 244-46.
We started out in great spirits, grateful at last that we were on the last lap of our journey. When we started our weather was intensely hot and our feet were badly blistered. The stock had to be herded at night and this was a laborious task for men who had drawn carts all day.
When we were well out into the wilderness, we noticed a storm approaching from the southwest. The terrifying thing was not the storm, but a large herd of buffalo stampeding right past our camp. Afterward, I thanked the Lord, that our lives had been spared, for we all could have been killed. As it was, we lost 30 head of our best oxen. They were swept away by the buffalo. The men hunted for them but had to give it up.
This was the beginning of our great hardships and probably was the cause of most of them, for we had spent valuable time looking for the oxen. This loss in turn, reduced our meat supply and because there wasn't enough cattle to pull the supply wagons, a hundred pounds of flour was placed in each handcart.
Our handcarts were not designed for such heavy loads and we were constantly breaking down. They had been made of green lumber and were affected by the weather. Rawhide strips was used to wrap the iron rims to the wheels and the wood would shrink and the rawhide would come loose. It hurt me to see my children go hungry. I watched as they cut loose rawhide from the cart wheels, roast off the hair and chew the hide.
There came a time, when there seemed to be no food at all. Some of the men left to hunt buffalo. Night was coming and there was no food for the evening meal. I asked God's help as I always did. I got on my knees, remembering two hard sea biscuits that were still in my trunk. They had been left over from the sea voyage, they were not large, and were so hard, they couldn't be broken. Surely, that was not enough to feed 8 people, but 5 loaves and 2 fishes were not enough to feed 5000 people either, but through a miracle, Jesus had done it. So, with God's help, nothing is impossible. I found the biscuits and put them in a dutch oven and covered them with water and asked for God's blessing, then I put the lid on the pan and set it on the coals. When I took off the lid a little later, I found the pan filled with food. I kneeled with my family and thanked God for his goodness. That night my family had sufficient food. The men returned with buffalo meat, and what wasn't eaten right away by the Saints, was dried into jerky.
My two youngest children, Thomas who was 10 and Jane who was 8, often played as they walked along with other members of the company. When the company stopped at night the children would hurry to our own camp for roll call. One day when they had been especially busy with their own games, the company got far ahead of them and I didn't even know it. They hurried to catch up, but they were confronted with a large stream, too deep for them to cross and the wagons had gone on. Roll time came and the children were missed. All the wagons were searched and questions asked of the members of the group. I was frantic with grief and worry for the night was coming on and I knew the dangers of wild animals and prowling Indians. A searching party was dispatched and the children were found on the other side of the river, huddled under an overhanging rock, cavelike formation. I blamed myself endlessly. My only consolation was that the Savior's mother had experienced the same thing when Jesus was 12 years of age. From that time on Thomas and Jane willingly stayed by my side.
The weather became cooler and at times the company was delayed because of the constant repair of the handcarts. We encountered many storms on the way and the way seemed long indeed.
The last time we crossed the Platte River, Samuel's clothes were soaked. By the time he got to camp it was sundown and his clothes were frozen so stiff he could hardly move. I wrapped a blanket around him and he stood by the fire, while I dried his clothing.
Samuel celebrated his 14th birthday somewhere in the vicinity of Chimney Rock. He celebrated by pulling the handcart with John all day.
From here on, the country became hilly and hard to travel. The company dragged on. Provisions were getting lower and the people weaker day by day. Anything that had no immediate use, was discarded on the way.
I watched with alarm, my stepdaughter Eliza, grow weaker each day. She was never very strong. I had always devoted a lot of love and care to her, but she passed away one day and was buried off to the side of the trail. Her long journey was at an end, but ours had a long way yet to go.
John being the oldest boy, had born the brunt of the hard work. I was grateful for my faith in God, for it was only through this faith, that I was able to carry on at all. I confess, it seemed at times, the Lord had deserted us. I watched John, so cold, drowsy and sick, want to lie down in his tracks, never to rise again. I had to stand helplessly while Captain Willie whipped him, to make him go on. Gladly would I have taken the whipping myself.
In traveling at night, in the frost of that altitude, Thomas' right hand froze while he was pushing on the back of the cart and when we stopped at night and his hand got warm, it swelled up, as Samuel said; "like a toad." John could finally go no farther and I felt my heart would break as I saw him laying beside the trail, waiting for the sick wagon. By the time he was picked up, his body was frozen in two places. That night, 12 people died and the next morning, 3 people joined them. I always thought, I shall be the happiest person, if I could reach Zion, with all my children alive.
However, the Lord had not deserted us and I was ashamed for thinking for a moment, he had. Hope came to us, when the company of Apostle Franklin G. Richards overtook us and seeing our plight, hurried with as much speed as possible, to go to Salt Lake City, to get help for us. When the rescue party found us, we had been in camp 3 days and had been without food for 48 hours. There was 18 inches of snow on the ground. We were very grateful for the provisions they brought. It was good to see my family eat again. It was Cyrus W. Wheelcock, of the Dan Jones party, that met us with the provisions and he could not hold back the tears, when he saw the condition of our company.
With wagons to help us, we unloaded our carts. Samuel felt he could pull our handcart by himself and perhaps it would be useful when he got to the valley. He tried, but the trail was so rough and mud balled up on the wheels. I was very weary of the thing and was glad to see the family push it to one side and leave it. I think, none of us cared to see it again. We were able to ride on the wagons when we went downhill and I think that everyone enjoyed that. Perhaps! We can't really say, that we walked every step of the way.
We entered the valley 6 Nov 1856 and were given food and shelter.