Johnson, Benjamin F., My Life's Review , 121-23.
- Source Locations
- Harold B. Lee Library
- Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
- J. Willard Marriott Library
- Related Companies
- Willard Richards Company (1848)
We now all sought to get ready, and trust in the Lord for what we could not obtain. We soon learned my brother, Joel H., was on the road bringing us a good wagon and yoke of oxen from Brother Babbitt and my brother, Joseph E., also some groceries and other comforts for the family sent by my mother and sisters. So the way continued to open until the organization of President Willard Richards' company, which started July 4, 1848.
I now had two wagons, a yoke of large oxen for one, and two yoke of steers for the other; and as I could not manage both teams alone was obliged to take with us Brother Benjamin Baker and his daughter [Sarah Jane], which made eleven persons in the two wagons. Brother Baker had two cows and I had five others, to be put in the yoke if necessary.
On the first day we broke an axletree, and the delay, trouble, expense, etc., to get it repaired seemed a prelude to the weary, toilsome four months' journey that was before us, of which there were but few prominent incidents pertaining to my own history. I suffered much with chills and fever and stomach complaint, and although I was never required to do guard duty, I had more cares and labors upon the way than I was well able to endure. Among other things to annoy me, my wife, Clarinda, rebelled at my government of her child and left us upon the road, and associated with a family named Washburn, into which she afterwards married. Yet, the blessing of the Lord and His angel was ever with us. On one occasion, I think it was on Strawberry Creek, we had yoked some cows on the family wagon, which Brother Baker was driving. The wagons were stopped, on the bank of the crossing and he was talking, when the team started, turned and tipped the wagon bottom side up in a gully, with our three youngest children underneath. The wagonbox was filled with large flat trunks made just to fill the wagonbed crosswise and were filled with all family goods and our beds were spread upon the trunks. As the wagon turned over the trunks would naturally fall with their whole weight upon the children. Appearances were frightful and left us hardly a hope of escape for the children. Haste was made to rescue them, which seemed an age, when the two eldest were found between instead of under the trunks. Of the youngest we despaired, but at last removing the weight and unrolling the bed the little one was found nearly smothered, but otherwise uninjured. Again I could see plainly the Angel was there.
I started with five cows, and although we were greatly blessed in our teams, yet others had lost oxen and our cows were taken to replace them, until all but one heifer was dead.
We arrived in Salt Lake Valley October 22, 1848, feeling that the mercy and blessing of the Lord had been with us. I felt, on arriving in the valleys of the mountains to dedicate myself renewedly unto the Lord, to become more fully His servant. The last attack of chills and fever, which had stuck to me over a year and a half, I felt on the Little Mountain, in sight of Salt Lake Valley, since which it has never again afflicted me.