John Drysdale And Emma Clark
Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF JOHN DRYSDALE & EMMA CLARK
Written by Martha Hacking, a cousin of Emma Drysdale Knight
John Drysdale was born 8 October 1837 at Wholme, Lancashire, England. He was the son of James and Margaret Arnold (Arnot) Drysdale. Against his parents' wishes, he immigrated to American in his early young manhood. Whether he accepted the Gospel in England or after he came to American is unknown. He crossed the plains in the Captain Dailey Company in1853.
John Drysdale settled at Fairfield, Utah living with a family by the name of Smith. Charles F. Smith, his wife, Rowena and their small sons, Charles & Hyrum crossed the plains about the same time as John, but whether they came in the same company or not is not known. They were very close friends and John, being alone, was welcomed as a member of the family. When he had work, he shared his earning with them and if he was unemployed, they shared with him and made him feel at home.
Hearing so much about the gold strike in California, the Smiths and John decided to go and perhaps find themselves a rich gold mine. They stocked up with provisions, and with the family and all bundled into a covered wagon started to follow the lure of gold. They hoped to reach California in plenty of time for the arrival of the new baby the Smiths were expecting, but the roads were very bad, rough and rocky. Crossing the dessert, the sand was so deep they could make but slow progress. Mrs. Smith suffered greatly, and finally somewhere in Nevada found it impossible to go on. The journey had taken so much longer than anticipated that they found themselves without food or money. After consulting together, John said to his friend, "Charles, you stay here with Rowena and I will go and get work at the sawmill (which was not far from where they stopped) and earn money for food." He started out on foot, and as he trudged along in ankle deep dust, his eyes caught the glint just barely visible in the dust. He stooped and picket it up and to his great joy, found it to be a twenty dollar gold peace. He fairly ran back to camp and gave the gold to his friend Charles saying, "Take this and buy provisions for the family." Charles went with him to the settlement store at the sawmill and got food for his hungry wife and little ones, thankful for the miracle that had been provided for them.
John worked at the sawmill until Charles and Rowena and their new son were ready to continue their journey. With the money he had earned, they were well stocked with provisions and started hopefully on their journey. This story was related to the writer by Maria Smith Cook, daughter of Charles and Rowena. Her mother often told her the story and wondered whatever they would have done had it not been for the staunch and true friend, John Drysdale.
Gold mines were not as plentiful in California as they had expected and there were so many gold seekers they felt that they had little chance, so they soon returned to Utah. They now settled at Cedar Fort, Five miles from Fairfield. John Drysdale had learned the trade of a Charcoal burning, either in England or St. Louis, Missouri and made use of his knowledge, using the Cedar trees just north of Cedar Fort for that purpose.
One day as he was busily at work, he was approached by a sedate soldierly gentleman in the uniform of a general who proved to be none other that General Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Army unjustly and unwisely sent out by President Buchanan to subdue the Mormons. The army had entered Utah without any bloodshed through the cleverness and strategy of the Mormon men, with the aid of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a good friend and mediator. Peace was established and it was agreed that General Johnston might bring his army into Utah if he would establish his camp at least 40 miles from Salt Lake City. Cedar Valley was the place selected for their permanent camp, June 26, 1858, the camp being situated at the north end of the valley on a stream coming from North Canyon. It was at this time that General Johnston approached John Drysdale and asked his opinion of their camp. John informed the General that there was water in that stream only in the spring and early summer. the water drying up in August. He told him of the better springs near Fairfield and suggested that as a good place to make their camp.
General Johnston acted on his suggestion and the place was named Camp Floyd, after the Secretary of War. The General told John he had a man named Drysdale in the army. John looked the man up and to his surprise found him to be his brother, James. The troops provided the residents of Cedar Valley with means for making a living. They had a ready sale for all kinds of produce for cash, which was greatly appreciated as there had been practically no money in circulation. John's knowledge of charcoal burning came in handy as he, with his brother-in-law, John S. Hacking, together with a number of other Cedar Fort men made pits among the cedar trees and burned large quantities of charcoal for which the army provided a ready sale, both at Camp Floyd, and also in Salt Lake City.
On July 8,1861, John Drysdale was married to Emma Clark, a beautiful slender girl with dark hair and dark eyes. They were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Emma was born July 25, 1845 in Longridge, England, a daughter of James and Elizabeth Pearson Clark, who crossed the ocean in the year 1850, when Emma was five years old.
On crossing the ocean they encountered a terrific storm in the Gulf of Mexico. All the masts of their sailing vessel were broken and they drifted in the Gulf for two weeks. Finally, they landed in New Orleans and from there went up the Mississippi River to St. Louis by steam boat. They remained in St. Louis four years, the father and James Jr. working in the coal mines and Emma's older sister Jane working as a maid for a wealthy family. Jane was married on May 6, 1855 to John S. Hacking, her childhood sweetheart, who crossed the plains in 1849. He also went to California with an exploring company and on his return trip, then sailed up to Philadelphia and across country to St. Louis to meet his bride. Two days after the wedding, they started the long trip across the plains west by team. There was no room in the wagons for anything but bedding, clothing, and food, so John shipped the rest of their belongings up the river to Council Bluffs by steamboat. When he arrived there he heard that all the Clark family had been killed by Indians. He couldn't bring himself to believe this and was overjoyed when the whole family arrived safely at Council Bluffs.
The Clark family, of which John S. Hacking was now a member was placed in Banks Company for the journey west, but were with the ten wagons who later pulled out and went on alone under James Pearson Clark, brother of Emma. A dispute had arisen when part of the men in the company refused to do guard duty and other unpleasant jobs, so rather that be imposed on, the ten teamsters pulled out and went on by themselves. They encountered no Indians, had a minimum of illness, and one baby was born on they way.
Emma was now nine years old and perhaps found the slow traveling day after day quite tiresome. She did ride the horses and joined in the dancing and singing at night. One could easily imagine them singing around the campfire at night for they were all good singers. John Pearson Clark, brother of Emma, was chorister in Cedar Fort for 45 years.
When the group arrived at Fort Laramie, tribes of Indians were there, making peace treaties with the United States, and their many horses had eaten off the grass in all directions for about 60 miles. This was a great disappointment to the pioneers, because their oxen were in need of good forage. One night, as they were camped by a deep gulch, a bad storm arose. Soon the gulch was flooded and the banks overflowed, covering the plains around the camp with a foot of water. The cattle stampeded back across the gulch. Emma's father and John Hacking swam the torrent and ran two miles before they could turn the oxen toward camp.
Arriving in Salt Lake City on Sept 27, 1856, they proceeded at once to Cedar Fort, where John Hacking had established his mother on his previous trip to Utah. Here they made their homes and resided the rest of their lives.
Emma was a typical pioneer girl, full of life and fun. Jane, her older sister, said she was a regular cut-up, always playing pranks and having a good time. She was always willing to help gathering sego roots and greens to supplement their food supply. She also helped fight the grasshoppers that came to destroy the crops of these hardy pioneers. Emma was only sixteen when she became the wife of John Drysdale.
The young couple were very happy, playing together and enjoying themselves. Their first child, Margaret, raised a fine family of her own. Tragedy, in the form of diphtheria struck, taking the lives of three of their children within a few days. The father himself was stricken and his life was despaired of, but John Hacking rode all night to bring a doctor to his side and his life was saved. Kind hands did all they could to help, but the little mother's heart was saddened. Other children blessed their home and happiness returned. Their home was always open to their friends and many happy gatherings were held there.
As their family grew, they added more rooms to the small house, the last to be added was a lovely large living room in which a new organ was placed. Here the young people gathered, sang songs and had many happy times and her association with this family has left many golden memories to be treasured through life. The quilting parties, with the wonderful dinners cooked by "Aunt Emma", as she was lovingly called by most of the town, were wonderful affairs. The wit and humor of "Uncle John, as he gave a reading always brought forth roars of laughter. He would assume a very dramatic attitude and recite from Shakespeare.
Their daughter, Emma, was a very beautiful girl. She and Manetta were dear friends of the writer, as was Andrew, and his wife Julia. Henry was a good looking chap, lively and full of fun. Addie, the youngest of the family, was petite and winsome.
John helped build the stone fort which Brigham Young told the pioneers of Cedar Fort to build. It was never finished as the Indian troubles were settled before its completion. He also fought in the Walker Indian War of 1863 and was in the battle with White Elk and his warriors (presumably the Tintic War). He often related the story of this battle in which an Indian and a squaw were killed and buried in the same grave. The question arose which to put in the grave first, and they decided that ladies should always go first.
The children grew, married and left the family home. John and Emma were left alone but were often cheered by visits from their children, and good times once again filled their home with love and laughter. As they grew older, Emma was afflicted with cataracts, which were operated, but her eyesight never was good after the operation. John also lost his eyesight; his health failed, and he died in Cedar Fort on April 4, 1912. After his death, Emma went to live with her daughter, Emma and Walter Knight, who did all in their power to make her last days happy and content. She did June 15, 1919. So this pioneer couple who braved many hardships and endured so much, yet lived happily passed to their reward. The story of their bravery, courage, and achievement will be treasured by their descendants down through the years.