From the Journal of Abraham Alonzo Kimball

[p. 52] After leaving St. George, we camped at what was called the Lava Spring: from thence to the Beaver Dam; where we found quite a flourishing place of a few families, under the supervision of Henry Miller.

After camping over night we commenced wending our way down the long dreaded Virgin River, crossing it some 28 times during the day. Camping at the head of the Musquite flat. We did not forget to double quite a few times during the day. All were willing to hitch one me, this time, as they were glad to have the compliment returned. The women folks along had taken quite a liking to my folks, as all were young women, and had left their mothers behind and were glad to cling to my wife’s mother for council, &c:

Our patience was considerable tried, pulling through the sand, making only a few miles per day.

On arriving at the famous Virgin Hill, after examining its magnitude, we decided that we did not have animals enough to pull up, either of our wagons to the top, so we decided to continue our course down the river, taking us some two days longer. All Californians, especially freighters, are well acquainted with this hill; usually coming down the hill loaded, they would tie ropes behind the wagons and all hands but the teamster would hold back to keep them from ending over. The hill is about one and a half or two miles long, but was not so steep all the way, but was like all Dixie, fearful sandy. We arrived safely at St. Thomas, and was a disappointed set of men, as well as women. A small mud fort covered with the same material and flags (Cotton Tail) for roofs. No signs of any grass for the animals in sight and the people awful destitute for food and clothing. Camped by the Fort, for the night, almost sorry we had left home.

Some commenced looking for houses to live in, or rather rooms, seemingly afraid some one would get ahead of them.

I was not anxious for a house, as I did not intend remaining there, for I had made up my mind to locate at St. Joseph, from what I had learned concerning the country, but all the rest of the company intended remaining at St. Thomas. The Bishop, (James Lithhead) was a fine man.

The next day all the brethren were on hand to show us the beauties of the country and farming facilities, also the unoccupied land; All seemed quite elated over the chance for farms but myself. We were shown the wheat stubble of former years, which was awful scattering and small. All the land had more or less Musquite brush on it, which was hard grubbing. A good working man would manage to dig up seven or eight per day. The Indian price for digging them was one cup of flour for each root, which was cheap if a person had the flour to spare, which was a scarce article in that region. $12.00 per hundred, and no money.

The water was conveyed to the Fort through a ditch, some four miles in length, through mineral land, causing the water to look like rain water, besides being brought from a slough or swamp. After looking around one day I decided I did not want to make my home at St. Thomas, so I hitched up my team, the rest following suit and set out for St. Joseph.

All the company declaring that they would not like the place, in fact they did not want to go, but the women being so attached to my folks and wishing to locate where they did, over persuaded the men to go, but at every hard pull they come to, they found fault with themselves for going, supposing they would have to return again.

We arrived at St. Joseph in the middle of the afternoon, found the Fort about the same as at St. Thomas only not located on the muddy stream nor any ditch leading to it, causing the people to haul water, also had a small meeting house in center of the Fort, also a grist mill close by, In fact I was much better pleased with the location and surroundings being upon the bench where we could overlook the valley, which was quite large, consisting of from 12 to 15 hundred acres, mostly swamp and quite an abundance of hay land and a good supply of farmland, but, which required a great amount of labor to bring the same under cultivation.

I felt quite at home, as I found quite a number of young men there from Salt Lake who had arrived previously. My former friends all returned to St. Thomas. I found no lack of friends and acquaintances. The Bishop Alma Bennett was a young man, some 35 years of age and a stranger to me, and was poor enough as well as the old settlers. I learned from them that they were and had been so destitute that they were compelled to cut up the last bed tick and sheet they owned to make clothing enough to cover their nakedness, and at one time, were compelled to discontinue their meetings for want of clothing to cover themselves. I also learned of many privations they had endured, which I consider far ahead of Pioneers or Battalion for hardships which they have received very little credit for and sympathy but, are left for God to reward.

After looking around a few days I decided, in company with quite a number to pitch our tents on the brink of the hill west of the Fort, as all vacant rooms had been secured before I arrived. When we were all together there was quite a few of us, being an extensive call for Dixie, some two-hundred in all, and a good share of them stopped here. This was the time I missed my stove as winter was coming on and my stove in Beaver City.

The only way to warm was to build a fire outside of the tent, make some coals, take them inside in an iron kettle, which warmed up considerable for a short time, as the weather was not yet very cold but still quite a change from a good warm home, but when I came to compare my circumstances with the old settlers I felt quite satisfied with my situation, although quite a feeling of jealousy arose between the old settlers and the new comers, as the new ones could wear fine clothes and had better food, so they commenced talking about their neighbors which always terminates in bad feelings.

Our new comers did not associate with nor treat the Bishop as they should, and he was smart enough to know it. So a feeling of independence arose among us, although we enjoyed ourselves in dancing together on clay floors, as there was not one board floor on the Creek. After about two months had passed, some of our men went exploring up the Creek, hunting for a better place, as they were very much dissatisfied by this time. I bore in mind, what Father had told me about taking a stand against the Bishop so I remained quiet, besides my health was poor and for that reason I did not amount to much: up to the present I had not as much as formed an acquaintance with the Bishop.

When our explorers returned, all was excitement, as they had found just the place, so all hands was on the move, calculating to appoint a Bishop of their own.

It was but a short time before all were gone, but myself and one other family of the new-comers. Not wishing to remain alone I hitched, loaded up, and set out for what was called the Upper Muddy – 15 miles distant from St. Joseph. On arriving found all feeling jolly enough, (which is generally the case with people where they have their own way.) I was made welcome and invited to strike camp, which I did, liking the place fully as I expected. The valley narrow and quite fertile, some grass, and wood, mostly large willows.

All hands were for improvement, so we soon had some willows fences enough made, so that we did not have to herd our animals and all felt to rejoice in the good cause. We soon had a fort laid out and ditch made and a leader appointed, by the name of Andrew Gibbons, Indian Interpreter from St. Thomas. Some of the brethren had a large army tent, which was used for a meeting house. Reminded me more of the Apostate Church I was raised in than any place I had seen since leaving.

While we were having such a good time, some one had reported our case to Pres. Young, as runaways, so in a few weeks the answer returned. I remember it well, as I was sent after a load of wood. While I was gone the news came for us to return back to St. Joseph, where we were sent or come home.

On my return I found quite a different spirit in camp, so much so that one of my mules was seized with the same feeling, so when I went to let down the neck-yolk, she caught me by the muscle of the arm and gave me a fearful bite, which caused me to express my feeling in an uncouth manner, better imagined than written. We were soon found burning up fences for firewood, etc; and in two days time our new home was vacated and desolate all returning to St. Joseph, the most of them were anything but satisfied with the change.

I had looked for us to be called to return, to where we were called in the first place, from that time I made up my mind to remain until I was honorably released, so I soon commence shaping for putting in a small crop, which I did, with the assistance of my brother-in-law Henry E. Hatton, after settling down again in my tent which was located east of the fort, just beside the graveyard some three hundred yard distant.

By this time I was out of provisions, although my brother David, had brought my things down from Beaver, as he was on the way to California.

We were now down to bread and molasses straight, and not much molasses. Skimmed milk, ten cents per pint, butter, 75 cents per pound, and very little to be had at that price.

My wife used to shed tears on seeing me set out in the morning to work with a piece of bread and a yeast powder can full of part full of molasses, my health being poor at the same time, but the warm climate seemed to improve me some. So after starving as long as we deemed necessary and in wisdom, William Segmiller, Helaman Pratt, and myself decided to rig up six mules each and load with salt for Pahranaget Valley for smelting purposes, after borrowing four mules each, as we owned two apiece.

We set out for the Salt Mountain, which was located about 10 miles below on the Virgin River. On arriving at St. Thomas we decided to blast our own loads to save buying it. As it would only cost us the blasting by doing it ourselves. So we managed to get a drill and hammer, also some powder and a pair of scales and set out, taking an Irish-Englishman with us to do the blasting. On arriving at the mountain, which was located on the side of a large wash or canyon, being a face of salt about 100 feet high of different grades, from crystal to dirty-gray. After locating camp, we commenced shaping for blasting after procuring some swamp canes for fuse, as were not able to obtain any regular blasting fuse.

Our first trial was a failure, as we drilled a hole right straight into the face of the salt, which was as clear as so much ice. After finishing loading and charging the hole, all hands ran for life, expecting a great explosion. After waiting some time we decided it was a failure, so we commenced crowding up to ascertain how matters stood, about the time we had decided to go right up and see, “Whang! she went” making us dodge, as the tamping of the hole flew all around us, that being all the impression it had made upon the salt. After several trials, all similar failures, we decided on chopping some out, which we commenced on. After chopping out a few hundred pounds, we decided to load some that was blasted and be off, which was done, but not that day.

In the night we had quite a narrow escape as a flood came down the wash suddenly, about two feet deep. I was quite lucky being awake when it came, so we managed to save of our harness, although some went down, such as collars and bridles, which we found in the morning about a mile down stream; it was a dry wash only in case of floods. Next day we set out for home, loading twenty-eight hundred to the wagon and six mules; then could travel only about ten or twelve miles per day. Arrived on the 2nd day at St. Joseph, having had our clear salt ground fine at St. Thomas, for table use, (by a small one-horse mill.) On arriving at home, found all well. Our greatest dread on leaving home for Pahranaget was we had very little to eat.

We procured all the provisions we could muster, which consisted of some flour, one gallon of molasses, one small can of dour dough for making bread and six pounds of pork, a part of a hog head called the Zole, which we borrowed from one of our kind neighbors (Edwin Twitchell,) on conditions we would return the same number of pounds on our return home, which we faithfully promised to do. We set out on our journey trusting we would have good luck.

When we cook we would fry two pieces of meat, (small ones) for the purpose of making a little gravy grease, then we turn a little molasses into the frying pan, and all sop our biscuits into the same, enjoying the contents with relish. Fourth night out lost some of our mules, causing a delay of two days, then after fining and driving them to camp in the evening, one of them got a little behind the rest, and supposing she was lost, she started back on the road, and all our endeavors to head her off proved useless. So after running her for a short time I returned to camp, saddled a mule and set out after her, following her some ten miles. I discovered an Indian a head, close by a swamp on the headwaters of the Muddy. So I hallowed and motioned for him to stop her, which he did by running her into the swamp. I then jumped off and caught her, changing my saddle to her back, and not knowing what to do with the one I had ridden. I at last got the Indian on it bareback, after making him a bridle with strings, and promising him something to eat when we reached camp. I was glad to have the company of an Indian for once, as I was now in the land of Indians and sometimes they were quite mean, killing straggling individuals. As soon as I could get ready we set out for camp, it being a long distance to ride in the dark, there being no moon. We had not gone far when the Indian’s bridle came off, and he commenced calling for me to stop and fix his mules. I paid very little attentions to his cries, only assuring him if he jumped off the mule might kill him, as I was quite anxious for him to go with me. After getting several miles away from his camp, I was then sure he would not leave me, so I rode as fast as mules generally go, leaving mule and Indian to follow. I could not help laughing when his mule would get several hundred yards behind going up a hill, and when at the top she would come tearing down full speed, the Indian hollowing for me to stop him. He got awful tired before reaching camp, begging me to ride his mule and let him ride the saddle, but I could understand that part of the Indian.

We reached camp about eleven o’clock in the night. Found the boys anxiously awaiting my return. After telling my trails and eating a small slice of molasses and grease along with the Indian we retired, giving Mr. Indian some saddle blankets for his bed.

Found our animals all o.k. in the morning and set out again, camping at Kista Springs. Met mail carrier, (called Pony mail), but he rode a mule. We were so satisfied that we would get some money, we sent home by him to secure us some wheat, as it was on the raise.

Next day took us to Pahramaget Valley, where we met Mr. Hanks, Salt Contractor. He offered us 5 1/2 cents per pound for our salt if we would deliver it at the mill, and he would pay us when he could get the money, which would not do us, as we wanted to buy some things while in Pahranaget. He said we could not get it in on his contract and get the money, because they would not pay him any. But said he, “If they will pay you, you can put it in on my contract and you can, if they don’t pay you.” I asked him if he had not better give us a paper. He said, “No!” So we concluded to take our chances; our circumstances required money, and money we must have.

During our stay with Mr. Hanks, we did not fail to ask him to loan us a little bacon, which he did cheerfully.

I never saw bacon look so nice before nor since, as that piece did; of about 8 pounds, some four inches thick, grease was what we wanted.(“I will just state here, that Clingham Smith, the Mountain Meadow man, was along with Mr. Hanks, the first and last time I ever saw him. I decided he was the most forlorn and God-forsaken man I ever saw, about the first man I ever saw that I thought I would be afraid of. He looked mean enough to do anything in the shape of killing men, women and children.”)

In the morning we bid adieu to Mr. Hanks and Co. and started up the valley, which was quite a change from the desert, being a valley from a half to three miles wide, and very swampy forming quite a lake, having some fish (chubs) in it, also plenty of grass and Tulies around. We had not gone far, when we discovered some sand hill “Cranes”, about the size of turkeys, as we had a rifle or two along we became anxious to kill one or two of them. So Bro. Pratt took his rifle and commenced to chase, Bro. Miller and myself, looking after the teams. After a short time our hunter fired a shot, breaking the wing of a large one, then the chase commenced in earnest, through the swamp water, all depts. After Bro. Pratt was about run down we engaged in the chase, being determined to have some food from that fowl, something we had not had since landing in Dixie. After an hour or so, he became entangled in the Tulies and we caught him and he was a bouncer. At noon we dressed him and soon had a part of him cooking, and we did ample justice to that portion, and by being quite economical the bird lasted us some four or five days with the aid of bacon.

In about two days more we reached the town of Pahranaget, which consisted of one Quartz Mill (5 stamp I believe) and quite a number of stores and dwellings.

As soon as possible after caring for our animals, (as it was evening) we all proceeded to visit the man, Mr. Hosmer, doing the business for the company. Found him in his office and made our business known to him, Helaman Pratt being our spokesman. Hr. Hosmer said, “Did Mr. Hanks say you were to put it in on his contract and me pay you?” Pratt hesitated, and commenced to explain in a manner that was injurious to our cause, or at least I thought so. So I stepped up and said, “Yes, Sir, he, (Hanks) said we were to put it in on his contract and you were to pay us the money for it, the same as he was getting, which is six cents per pound. He then asked, “Did he give you an order?” I said, “No Sir, Hanks said we did not need one.” He then replied that he did not have the money. I then said he could borrow it off some one. Says he, “If you can find anyone in town that will lend me the money, I will pay you the same.” I said where had I better go. So he referred me to one gentleman, I forget his name; but say he, “Maybe you can get it off him. You will be likely to fin him uptown in a certain store.” I lost not time in hunting him. My partners were nearly disgusted with me by this time for telling a lie, but for all that, they were in hoped it would prove successful.

The first store I called at, I found my man. I said to him, Mr. Hosmer want to borrow $400.00 (four hundred dollars) of you at the office.” He accompanied me down there, walked into the officer, took out his book, also the amount of money asked for, asking if that was what he wished, and walked out again.

We were then told to have our salt weighed and our money was ready, we did not lose anytime in doing that for fear he would change his mind. We called at the office again with the receipt for the salt and were paid three hundred and fifty dollars. Did not stop to count it, but rushed to camp to talk over the good news. We made several purchases while there. Paid $75 for 100 pound of bacon and other things in proportion. Stopped one day, then set out for home; taking two Indians with us to show us where the timber was. (called Timber Mountain, 65 miles from St. Joseph.) Took their pistol in security for their good behavior, but for all that they ran away, leaving us to find our own timber, which we failed to find, not daring to venture in search of it, as there was only one place where there was any water, so we turned back and set out for home again.

On arriving at the headwaters, where I caught the mule, we camped for the night, calculating to cut some ash timber from the swamp. About the time we were eating breakfast, some six or eight Indians came to camp, demanding the pistol we had in security. We informed them that they could not have it until the Indians came that owned it. They made us promise that we would not whip him nor kick him if he came. (Whipping Indians in that country had become quite customary by those going to California.) Did as desired, and they set out after them or him, that owned the pistol. In about an hour they returned with about twenty, beside our Indian, all armed with guns, bows and arrows, claiming they wanted to fight. We consented to fight if they wanted to, as we were well armed and had prepared for this, while they were gone. After bullying them a short time, we compromised on conditions; if the Indians leaving us should carry three, six mule loads of timber out of the swamp and besides returning the pistol, would give them some flour. Helaman Pratt and William Segmiller did the chopping, while I stood guard over the wagons and camp outfit. After a short time all the Indians but the Chief and myself went in and carried out timber, and of all the whooping and yelling, they did some of it; some five or eight getting hold of one log, some falling, some slipping and all manner of monkey shine. The water was warm, as all the springs supplying it were warm and of a whitish color at all times of the season. The old Chief got tired and went off home leaving the balance of the tribe, requesting me to send him a biscuit when they came. (His name was Rufus.) There were three Chiefs on the Muddy – Joshuf, Thomas and Rufus, all tolerable peaceable men.

We got our loads out that day and loaded up. Set out for home next day- arriving the following day. Found all well and glad to see us, as we had a little meat. Before coming into town we stopped and divided up our meat and such things. Did it on a fair plan, dividing the meat into three piles as near alike as possible, then one of us would turn our back, shut our eyes, and one of the boys would touch one of the piles and say, “Who has this one?” He would say who by calling the name of one of us; then another one was touched. That ended the meat question, for the third one belonged to him and no one could find fault, as we all had a hand in the dividing, not knowing which would fall to us. We divided everything in three equal parts, as near as we could, not minding which hauled the most salt. We were just poor enough to be united and feel well in doing what was right and be willing to divide. “Live and Let Live!” My family never did feel richer in their lives, than then.

We did not fail to pay the meat borrowed with interest, as we reserved it out of the division. It was not long, however, until we were out of nearly everything again.

So during the summer I worked on small ration-mostly bread and molasses, endeavoring to farm a little and improve my land as much as possible, having heavy brush on it. I remember well when I heard of my father’s death, which occurred June 28th 1868. I was in the field ploughing; I was letting my mules eat at noon. While doing so I was walking over my land, viewing it, and making future calculations, when I heard a man (William Casper, formerly Major Casper,) calling to me asking me if I knew H. C. Kimball was dead, which shocked me like thunder, as I never had as much as heard of his sickness, to say nothing of his death. I was done work for the day, and had lost all farming interest for the present. Hitched up my mules and proceeded homeward. Met some of the brethren on my way confirming the news, which had cast a gloom over all. I never had anything affect me to such an extent in my life. Tears seemed to add no relief to my sorrow. The days of my youth and hardship all rushed before me, besides remembering what father had said to me before leaving, that he might not live until my return, or probably I would never live to return; never thinking for once he was the doomed one.

My real situation presented itself before me, being left for the second time a poor orphan to wander alone in the world, which had always been my lot from childhood, for some reason unknown to me. I never had known what it was to be associated with a father, brothers or sisters, only for a short season.

After contemplating my situation for some length of time, my grief in a measure subsided. I always flattered myself that I had as much love and respect for my father as any son or daughter he had, probably occasioned by being deprived of a father, mother and friends while young. For some reason father had asked me when leaving to return in the spring on a visit, which had failed to do, on account of having so much to do in trying to start a home in the Land of Dixie.

After a few days I recommenced work again, looking after what little crop I had in, and making some adobies preparing to build a house.

After I finished making adobies and putting up my house, (which was built on the new town site,) the only house there. The fort burned down while I was building it, Br. Bennett helping me to build, he being a mason. I shaped for going to Salt Lake City. On arriving found all hands had gone on the Rail-Road (meaning my brothers,) and also learning I could nave some mules from the estate of father, so I decided to go on the Rail-Road myself. I got one span of H. P. Kimball for $425.00, also one span from D. P. Kimball for $375.00, making six mules with the team I had with me. I hitched up and set out for Bear River where my brothers were working.

On arriving they advised me to go on to the Muddy near Fort Bridger, to work for Crisman’s outfit, as they were paying $5.00 per day for each team and furnishing everything. I soon commenced work, hiring two teamsters, and driving one team myself. I worked until the first snow storm, then made applications for my pay, and was informed they would not pay me, for if they did so, all hands would want to leave as the weather was bad. But after arguing the point with Charles Crisman, telling him he was called on the same mission that I was, and as he had failed to go he should favor me by paying me off so I could go home to my family. So after considering the matter a while he concluded he would pay me if I could leave in the night, which I consented to do.

My pay amounted to some $400.00 dollars. I took one barrel of sugar towards my pay. On arriving at Salt Lake in company with my brother Solomon and others, I fitted myself up for home, by buying me a large wagon from the estate, sufficient for my six mules.

On arriving at Fillmore I loaded up some of my furniture, which I left when going down to Dixie. I had a young man with me by the name of Alma Cox. On arriving at St. George, found the Indians were making raids all over the southern country. So we formed in companies to guard against them, as several trains of Dixie Missionaries had lost their animals. On arriving at the Beaver Dams, I was appointed Captain of the guard. So I appointed seven men to guard with me, four at a time, two sleeping in the herd, and two keeping around the animals. Br. Kesler of Salt Lake was along. The night we arrived at the Mosquete Flat the train below us on the Rio Virgin had their animals stolen by the Navajo Indians, passing by our camp close enough to be heard by some of the guard.

So in the morning an express was sent to our camp, also to St. George to take measures to cut the Indians off before crossing the Colorado River.

We sent a couple of men with water after the men that were following the Indians. We continued our way down the river through the sand, arrived at night where the brethren were camped that lost their animals. They felt quite down hearted, being a long way from home and all their animals gone. We could do nothing for them, so we continued our journey. Had a hard time pulling up the mammoth Virgin Hill. We could not accomplish it if I had not been acquainted with the ways of Dixie.

On arriving home found my family all well and glad to see me. They were yet living in a tent. I could not help acknowledging there was no place like home, although Dixie was a dread to all men women ever called there. Soon after returning home I moved up to my new home, having one room finished. Awful sandy, four mules could manage to haul 250 adobies by resting often. There was no water nearer than the creek, some one mile distance which did not put me much about, as I was quite used to hauling a load of water every morning before going to work.

We soon got the water out of the sand bench, where our city was located. During this time, the 8th of January my daughter Lois was born.

After spending the winter in hard work, (working week in and week out, going on the works Monday morning and not returning until Saturday night,) my brother-in-law, Henry E. Hatton, returned in the fall, so I had help during the winter, which made me feel more at home. After we got the water in town, we had a fearful time keeping the ditches open, as the wind would blow it full of sand, some three times a week. The common call was mornings, “Turn out and clean the ditch.” All were aware the ditch was full, for all hands were out of water.

A better set of men never lived together to work on ditches than we were; it had become second nature to us. In the spring I put out a small vineyard. It would commence to leaf out, then the wind would blow the leaves all of slick and clean. They would start again and meet the same fate, which soon proved their death.

One of my neighbors planted some peas. They came up nice. He laid some brush over them to keep the chickens from destroying them. The wind commenced blowing, and by noon, neither brush nor peas could be seen; they were all covered with sand. (This was our town lots.)

I put in some wheat, raised a few bushel, not enough to bread me during the summer. I sold a pair of mules in company with Aroet Hall, and bought a Threshing Machine, which I run during the fall season, earning wheat enough to do me another season.

Late in the fall I sold out to Leavitt and Sanders, then set out for the city in company with my wife, mother-in-law and children, leaving my brother-in-law to keep house and look after affairs. All went on well until we arrived at Buckhorn Springs, when I took the chills and fever, having my first chill at Pine Creek Hill. When we reached Cove Creek I felt quite dumpish, as the fever had commenced. Fortunately my wife’s aunt lived there, so I was at home. We remained there a few days then to Fillmore. Remained a few days, then proceeded to the city. Found all well, remained there several weeks, bought another pair of mules for $450.00; bought me another wagon, put my four mules on, and set out for home. I had recovered from the ague, as Dr. Murphy had given me some medicine which had stopped the chills, I felt splendid. He assured me I would be all right if I did not get wet. Before arriving at Salt Creek, I was caught in a rainstorm, which set me back worse than ever.

Chills and fever set in, also night sweats, which soon pulled me down in flesh and spirit. On arriving at Fillmore I felt like I was nearly dead. We remained there some time, but feeling no better, my appetite failed me almost entirely, and I grew weaker all the time, and often wished I was at home. So in a few days we set out alone from Fillmore to Kanosh, tying my animals up nights. Arrived at Kanosh without much trouble, but was very weak, caused by night sweats.

When I hitched up in the morning I turned blind and was compelled to sit down until I could see again, which was some time. I fell in company with some Dixie teams, the Carpenter Bros., also John Esplin. The first night from Kanosh I tied my mules to telegraph poles without hay, as I was not able to walk after them. The brethren beginning to realize my condition offered to see to my animals during the nights, which gave me great relief. They lent me all the aid I needed, as far as they could, which I fully appreciated very much. When I arrived home I was hardly able to do anything. I spent a fearful fall and winter. Soon after my arrival home, the people had decided to move the town some three miles up the creek, and most of then had moved, as the Indians were bad.

So I had to move out of my house into a straw one or shed. Made it myself, but had my tent besides. The weather was tolerable moderate. I commenced immediately to build again, having Henry haul adobies, sand, clay etc. I was unable to work. I came near losing my daughter Clara, as she had a severe sick spell, disease unknown.

Winter wore away. As soon as spring came my health commenced to improve. But I had come near giving up the ghost. People used to remark to my family, “Be kind to Abe, for I fear he will not live long.” I feared so too, as I feared dropsy was setting in as my feet and leg commenced swelling. J. W. Young sent me some wine and chamomile blows, which seemed to help me. I soon took a change for the better and commenced laying up my house, which was soon completed, being 36 feet long and 16 wide, three room; finished two of them. Moved in and felt at home again. But when warm weather came we were unable to sleep in the house, and were compelled to resort to the sheds and sleep on top of them to keep from scorpions, tarantulas, rattlesnakes &c, no escaping mosquitoes.

Many a time I have got up in the night and rolled in the ditch to cool off, but soon found it injurious to my health. I have often seen the chickens at day break, holding their wings up and lolling for breath, the same as at noon in a decent country. An egg would roast in a short time laying in the sand. I have eaten as fine roasted onion, (sun roasted) as need to be, by watering carrots in the morning they would cook by noon, so the skin would all slip off of them by pulling them up.

The way some men made coffee while working, was to put water and coffee in a canteen, hang it on a bush, and by noon it would be well steeped, and fit for use. I have been very much amused to see the children going home from school at noon. They would take their bonnets, aprons or some green brush (if they had them) in their hands, run as far as they could, throw them down and stand on the them until their feet cooled off, then run again. I used to calculate I could drink five gallons of water each day when at work, as the perspiration would flow so freely. When I would take my overalls off nights after they had dried, they would come near standing alone, from the mineral and salt in them. It was a fearful place for fever and ague in time. No one can tell how the poor Dixie people suffered from heat, until they go through the same.

No man nor woman there only those of good faith. I farmed some during the summer raising a portion of my bread. Sometime in August Pres. Brigham Young and company made us a visit, which gave us all much satisfaction, for we wanted his opinion on the country. He also visited the Colorado River, at the mouth of the Rio Virgin River. On his return from there his council was to us to make permanent homes like we were going to remain forever; which we soon commenced, supposing that settled the matter with us poor Muddy-ites. We had a good time while they were with us. Bro. Erastus Snow stopped with me. I remember that part well enough, as I asked him to pray with us when night came, supposing it was the only night they would remain with us.

I was like many other Saints, making pretense of sincerity, when I was not sincere enough to have family prayer myself. So happened they decided to remain another night. The question arose with me, who is going to pray tonight? I tried hard to get some other man to come and stop all night, but all were cared for, so I concluded I would not be a hypocrite, but would try and pray myself. The evening was very short. But when the time came, I got down and commenced as if nothing wrong. When I said “Amen,” Bro. Snow responded a loud and hearty ‘Amen’ that could have been heard some distance; suffice it to say that broke me of asking men to do what I would not do myself, besides leaving me with a determination to continue family prayer, which has remained with me until the present day.

As soon as the party set out for home, I commenced following out the council of Pres. Young in making a home. I commenced selling my mules for land, and paying as high as $100.00 per acre for land close by. Also turned one span toward the Washington Factory for $400.00 capitol stock. I also made every exertion to put in grain, which I accomplished, having a fair prospect for a good crop, the only one while in Dixie. My farm now consisted of some 40 acres of land, some 10 acres of good hay land, besides some lucern, and quite a nice vineyard; and vines enough paid for to finish setting out two acres.

I commenced to feel to rejoice, and make my boasts how well I was doing, saying, “I guess father was a false prophet for once, as he had said when I left home, that I would be so poor in three years, he would have to help me away.”

About the time I was feeling the best, the news came that the mission was broken up; which put a damper on all hands for a season. We had the privilege extended to us to remain, if we wished; but given to understand that no more would be called to assist us. So I decided immediately to leave the country, but not knowing where to go, nor how to get away; only having one span of mules left, and could not sell anything as there was no one left to buy.

The full extent of father’s prediction of poverty stared me in the face, but no show only to face it. I hitched up my team; drove to Overton in company with Gurnesy Brown and John Carpenter. Attended a meeting, called especially. Bought a bottle of whisky and soon became rich. Had a good time and returned home. All three of us fell out of the wagon, the spring seat on top of us, but no one hurt, nor knew how it was done. Had a good time for a while after returning home. Called on the Bishop, etc., before retiring, which always seemed my duty when on a spree.

The following morning Pres. Joseph W. Young asked me what I was going to do. I remarked I was going to move somewhere. He seemed to think it was not the meaning of the call to break up, but I differed with him on that point. I felt quite blue for a short time, but soon recovered. In a week or ten days, a company of us set out exploring what was called Long Valley, where we wer advised to move, a distance of some two hundred miles. Joseph W. Young was captain of the company, consisting of Bishop Leithhead, Evan Andrew Gibbons, Bishop Heleman Pratt, Bishop Starks, councilor Heaton, Hyrum Folsom, John Carpeter and myself. All went on nicely, had no trouble, had a little fun before reaching the Mommoth Hill, called the elephant, as we had a gallon or two of eye opener along, which considerably affected some three of us (names retained.) On arriving at the hill, we were prepared for the worst.

As the wagon I drove was behind, Heleman Pratt’s wagon was ahead and sober, so were the occupants. Only one boisterous outfit, that was mine, of course, all the Bishops being sober. Helaman being a good driver, he tipped his wagon bottom side up to be smart. I drove up on the side hill and went around them, my passengers holding the wagon from capsizing. After passing the unfortunates we stopped and saw them right side up again. Then made our way into Long Valley, where we camped for the night. Of all the valleys I ever saw it was one no one team could pull an empty wagon out of and hardly wide enough to turn a wagon around. The walls of the canyon were so high a man could see the moon and stars by lying down on his back. Considerable commenting was done that evening concerning the prospects ahead. Morning came and we set out again, having to make considerable road to get along, some times crossing the stream on the ice, broke through and came near drowning some of the animals.

When night came we had arrived at one of the old settlements, now Mount Carmel, or better known as Orderville. At this point the valley is some wider and the hills lower, looked more like living. The next day we made our way to the upper end of the valley to the other old settlement, which had been vacated for some time, on account of the Indians.

This place is now called Glendale. After viewing the country, some were quite flattered with the prospects. But I could not feel so, the valley being so small. A five acres when surveyed, running from one side of the Valley to the other, the creek in the middle, rather confined to suit me.

We remained one day, then returned down the valley, going home by Kanab, which was another forlorn looking place, being so scarce of water, but plenty of wind. Not a very good place for wind mills, for it would blow them down. (But I learned in Dixie, that people could become used to anything). From Kanab we made our way to St. George by Pipe Springs, (the Church Ranch). (Now has a fine fort.) From St. George home.

Then called a meeting, rendering our various reports. I must say mine was not a favorable one, as I did not see the country as the others did. But decided to go where counseled to. The majority decided on moving to Long Valley. We soon commenced shipping our effects to the Beaver Dams, some 40 milers distance, being plenty of grass, wood and water, and good location for the winter, so we all struck camp there some time in January, reminding one of the camps of Israel.

This was one of our greatest trials, as we were counseled to leave our homes standing, not burning them, being promised we should received our reward.

My wheat and barley looked nice and green, being in the boot eight or ten inches high. Also leaving my lucern, vineyard, with a fine stack of hay, with the promise we should be paid our seed back by the outsiders coming in and taking possession. The end of my house was soon covered with notices from the assessor and collectors from Lincoln County, Nevada, Pioche. As we had been paying taxes to Utah in preference, as they were much lighter than Nevada. About the same as Arizona.

We were generally assessed by the three Territories. We failed to appear at Pioch the first of March, as notified, but was out and gone. There was not one house burned in St. Joseph, not even the mill belonging to Bishop Leifhead, but he removed the machinery out of it. Some of the other settlements burned their houses.

On arriving at the Beaver Dams, we had a good time, as all were poor alike. We remained there some time, but during that time we were moving our affects to St. George, which was a slow job, roads being so awful sandy. As soon as I finished moving my surplus things, we all set out for St. George with our families. On arriving at the Summit, between there and St. George, the snow was two feet deep, and we were obliged to camp out all night. Some of the families ahead of us had commenced being visited with the measles.

The next day we reached St. George where I rented a small house for a season, waiting for Spring to open. While there I was attacked with severe sore eyes of the worst kind, which lasted some time, making me nearly crazy. As soon as I could get around I commenced shaping for going to my destination Long Valley. While in St. George I went, in company with others to see President Young as he lived there. In consoling us in our losses he said if we would not complain, nor find too much fault, he would promise us that in five years, we should be worth three times as much as we would have been, if we had remained on the Muddy. Then he said he would reverse it, in three years we would be worth five times as much, which claim I clung to.

My rig for traveling was concise, as I was limited to one wagon and team. Had a chicken coop and pig pen on behind, containing two pigs and a half dozen chickens, and family and provisions inside.

I felt happy, considering my poverty and sore eyes. For two nights after leaving I suffered fearful agony, as I could not sleep nights but was compelled to walk around to keep awake, for they pained me so I could not shut them. (I made a mistake; I had another team (single) of David Canon’s, loaded with traps of various kinds). My wife driving the family wagon with pigs and chickens, and I managed to pound the other mules along, but could hardly see. They soon commenced to get better, which caused me to rejoice.

On arriving at our new house, we were soon located in our small log house covered with old fashioned stakes. I bought 30 acres of land from one, Allen Stout, formerly a settler of Glendale. Had a spring on it. Paid him one hundred dollars on the Washington Factory for the same. Hard work soon commenced, as the land was all covered with brush and briers. Had not been there long when sickness set in; the measles and some other disease.

My Mother-in-law, Adelia Kimball, commenced sitting up every other night with the sick, as we had no sickness in our family.

One woman died, three children, a pair of twins of Andrew Gibbon’s some three years old, and one of his sons-in-law (John Carter). All three were buryed in one grave. Fortunately none of my family took the disease, although we lived in a log fort made by joining houses about four rods wide; besides we sat up every other night and every night.

The sickness soon subsided, after establishing a nice little graveyard. We all felt to mourn the loss of our young friends, and sympathize with the parents and orphan children left. When (at) sister Dumer’s we were all.

-End of Excerpt-

[LDS HD Archives, MS 1778, 79–80; Papers, 1878-1889, MSS B 34, copied by the Utah State Historical Society, transcript by Maurine Colgrove]

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