The Life of William Probert, Jr.
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
(as written by himself)
I was born on March 14, 1840, the son of William and Ann Gibbons Probert, in a lonely house about one mile from High called Botany Bay in the parish of High near the town of Leominster in Hereford, England. All my ancestors lived in the same county and the ones adjoining, called Radner and Monmouth, for at least 500 years as Father had traced them back that far. At present, some talk the Welsh language. My father was a well-educated man and very religious, and at the age of 21 became a minister of the gospel in the Wesleyan faith. A short time after he joined the Mormon faith or Latter-day Saints, and at that time there was a great excitement among them and they thought that their children should not learn the ways of the Gentiles. I was taken out of school to wait until we could gather to Zion, the promised land and there learn a more perfect order of things. The result was that I never went to school again and was left without learning; only what I could gather at times as I could get a chance to read signs over stores and other doors. I only learned the alphabet in school, from which I suffered all my life.
My father was a boot and shoe maker by trade and had a large family, so I started to work at eight years of age and all the time afterwards. My first work was in a rope factory in Budley, Worcester, England, and the next time in a carpet factory at the same place. The next work I did was striking or dolling, as it was called then, for a chain maker in Hagley, near Halesowen. From that I went to work in a pottery for Mr. Odnet of Britle Lane.
Then my father moved to Worfield in Shropshire and there I worked for one Mr.Mulinex, a butcher. At this time I was 11 years old, and in my 12th year I hired to one Mr. Alfred Blundle, a farmer of the first class.
Right there is where life really began for me. I lived with him for two years and that time I gained a good experience which has helped me all my life. Mrs. Blundle was a very fine lady, a mother to me, and would often times take up a labor with me in the way of giving me good advice: how I should conduct myself so that when I grew older I would not regret the course I took in life. She would often repeat thus: "Honesty is the best policy and servility brakes no bones." She wanted me to learn how to set the table in the finest manner and to wear livery and wait on company. I started to learn and was getting along very well, but I was all boy and so full of life and fun that the girls living there tending to the cooking and waiting could not tend to their business as I would have to imitate all I saw or heard. At that time and until I was 26 years old I could imitate anyone, or all the voices I ever heard and I could not help it, so I gave up waiting on tables.
One of those girls who's name was Charlotte Humphres, was the first girl that my boyish love thought of, and she thought I was the best boy in the world and would often tell me my thoughts. At one time she told me what would become of me in this world. Little did I ever think it would come true, but it did, so I will leave this now and return to my work and fun.
I learned to be true to my master, but at times he would be very cross and disagreeable to all the men and boys on the farm. I would often turn it all to a good account by imitating him to the men when he was gone. I dared not let him hear me for he would apply the lash and I knew I could not stand that. So if I made any mistakes I would have to cover them up, as I had no one to take my part, only the good orphan girl, Lottie. As I stated before, it was here that I first made my plans for the future. Here I built my castles in the air, some of them to fall and some to stand. Here it was that I made up my mind that I wanted to farm and to go to a land where I could get one for myself. Although there was no apparent hope for a poor boy to get enough money to clothe himself and save money to immigrate to a distant land where I could take up land, the good Mrs. Blundle, the lady of the house, would often encourage me by saying if I would be honest and sober I could become rich and accomplish a great deal. Again, the good Charlotte would look at me and say,"Willie, you will some day be rich and well-to-do." I believed it, not knowing how it would come about; but it did come after years of struggle and toil.
Going back to my labors on the farm, I used to feed the pigs and poultry as there were a great many. Some of the time I worked in the garden with the gardener and among the sheep with the shepherd; and I had special charge of the carriage horse, which finally was the cause of my leaving the place. There were a number of teams on the farm and cattle. One day I was pulling turnips for the sheep and there was a very fine ram that would often run and bunt everyone, and he came after me. I struck at him, thinking to turn him back but I had the wrong side of the turnip puller towards him and it cut his eye out. Now I knew that I would catch a whip from the boss if he knew how it was done. In order to save myself I began thinking about how to get out of it. In a minute one of the other rams saw him turning his head to one side and thought he meant to fight. He drew back and started to fight with him. "Now", thinks I. "I've got it all right. I will go and tell the shepherd that the bucks are fighting" He parted them but now he wanted to know what caused them to fight and how the one knocked the other's eye out. Of course, I did not think it would pay me to inform him, so I let him do the thinking. He was afraid Mr. Blundle would blame him so I said nothing, but I could see how he could blame me for them fighting. When he came home and learned of the trouble, he did not believe they would fight. He went into the field to test the case. If they failed to come together then I was in for it, that is what he told me. Fortune turned my way as he turned them together again. They met each other with such force as to send each other back for 10 feet. Then I felt safe again, but the boss could not understand how the eye came out. He said he had never seen such a thing before, and I did not feel like telling him as it would not pay me. If he had been a kind master, I would have told him the whole truth; but he was a very cross man to the men and boys, and whipping boys was the rule with him.
He was a man that loved fine stock. He kept some of the finest stock in the county, also fine pigs and the lady kept fine poultry. I helped to feed them and one day when I was feeding the fancy pigs, one of the fancy chickens got killed by me striking at the pigs with a stick. I knew what I would get if it was known that I did it. Not wanting to lie about it, I did not know what to do but I thought of an old sow which ate chickens in the yard, and at the same time I saw Mrs. Blundle looking out through one of the office windows of the house facing me. I threw the chicken out to the sow and she took right hold of it and commenced eating it. I took my stick which I had killed it with and went to beating the old sow and she, to squealing. The good mistress wanted to know what I meant by whipping the old sow and I told her that she was eating one of her best chickens. In reply she said for me to whip him good and furthermore, she would have him fattened and killed, which she did. So I saved myself again, but in the end I had to take the fate of all boys who labor for such masters ,--- but not until the last.
In those days the servant did not eat with the masters nor as good food, as they ate the best in the land. In the fall of the year I helped to gather in the fine winter fruit and nuts for dessert for the family, but there was none for the hired help. I always thought of those myself and put away a few nuts and choice apples for Christmas; and in doing so I came very near to being caught, as I would have to pull out hay in the stack and make a large hole the length of my arm and then put the apples in and fill the hole up again with hay so that no one could find it. One day while I was away, the cow-men were getting hay from the stack and cut into my apples and so exposed me cache or deposit. At the same time the master came along and saw the apples and the next thing was to find the thief. Of course, it laid on the cow-man, John Steel, or some other man, but no one would own up to it. I was the one to blame but I played strange and could not understand how it could be done, so the good lady turned it back on the cow-man who said it was me, and he had to ask forgiveness for the wrong he had done in taking them and for trying to put the blame on me or lose his job, which was a good one for him, and I was cleared again. My fellow-servants felt well and we had a good Christmas together without the apples.
But my turn came the next time, but this time I was right and not guilty as charged by the master. It was on one Sunday evening about the month of August in 1854. He came into the stable and told me to give his buggy horse some water, which he said I had not done all day, and it was my place to do it because I always tended to the buggy horse. But I had watered the horse twice that day and I stayed by it that I had done it. He said I did not and took the stable bucket to try the horse, but it would not drink. He contended that I had not watered the horse and knowing that I was right I stayed with it that I did, knowing that I was liable to get a whipping for telling the truth. When he said it was not so, he took hold of my ear and pulled it very bad and I commenced to kick and bite him and he continued to pull my ear until he very nearly pulled it out, and I stayed with him, kicking and biting and at last he struck me between the two eyes and knocked me down senseless for a time. When I got up my ear was very near off and my pants and shoes were full of blood and I did not know what to do. I would not stay with him any longer. I put my ear in place as best I could and got a man to tie it up for me, and then I started for my father's home.
On the way I passed a retired judge's house and he saw me with my ear tied up and blood all over me and asked what was the trouble, and I showed him as best I could.
"Well," says he, "I never intended to go to court again, but if your father will come with you and say that he will prosecute him, I will tend to it for nothing. It will cost him not a penny and it will break Mr. Blundle up for life." My father was a very timid man and dared not do a thing with him. Blundle paid for my time when I could not work and that ended it with Father; but I thought it never would end with me unless I could give him a good whipping if it took me ten years to do it, so I laid that up for him in my mind a fight with him and the last thing I tried to do before I came to this country was to get into a fight with him or some way to get a good lick at him and then leave, but I could not get to see him and had to leave him unpaid.
In September I hired to one Mr. Low of Tresal near Wolverhampton to groom his horses: that is his riding and buggy horses, and do the other work that was required. He also had a first class name for whipping all the boys he ever hired, and the first thing the boys and men around there told me was that he was a good man to feed men and boys, but he always whipped the boys when he got mad about anything, and that he would surely whip me. I had just had a whipping and did not intend to get another one for some time; and if I should I thought that the one who gave it to me would get a part of the fight if I died in the struggle. I so told the men and boys on the farm and in the village as I had no one to take my part and must do it myself. Everything went all right for one year and over, as I always tried to please him and do my duty as a servant. He was very good to me and taught me a great deal. Here I got a great experience in travelling from town to town with a spring cart to gather up empty sacks and at times, deliver malt, as Mr. Low had a large malt house and seed house where he bought and sold large quantities of field seeds. He had a large farm besides, which he ran in first class style (or he had a bailiff do so for him). He was very fond of race horses and at times he kept Mr. Green's race horses just before the time to run them, with his jockeys to train them. It gave me good experience in that line as the jockeys were fond of rest and sport and would pay me to help them after my work was done. That way I learned to groom horses the right way. I also worked a part of my time in the Malt House, and learned how to make malt. The winter of 1855 was a very cold one. It froze steady all the time for 13 weeks without thawing day or night and the rivers were all frozen up. At times I had to drive to the towns of Wolverhampton, Bilston, Dudley, Tipton, Sedgley and Gornal with a little malt, say 8 or 10 sacks, and then gather up all the empty sacks that the large teams left with malt in them at the public inns. It was very cold riding, but I got along with Mr. Low all right and he treated me very well up till the first week in August.
When I was driving one of the teams, hauling wheat in the harvest field to the stock, the horses were very fat and high-lifed so that I could not use a whip, but there was one horse that was very slow. I used an oak club about 2 and a half feet long to thump him on the back of the front legs so as not to startle the others. While they were loading with 4 men to the wagon, Mr. Low came up and he was very cross about something that had taken place at another part of the farm, as he had two large farms near together. When he came up to where we were working, one of the horses in the team pulled a mouthful of wheat out of the shock. Mr. Low always rode a fine grey horse with a dog-hide hunting whip about 10 or 12 feet long; and as the horse pulled the wheat out, he took that awful whip and struck me with a lash across the face and brought the blood from my cheek. Now was the time to make my promise true, although I did not have time to think about it, but picked up some stones and threw them at his head. They came so near to it that he dared not take any chances of anymore, and he jumped down and came for me with that horrible whip which he was an expert at using, and he weighed 215 lbs. so that he struck hard and often. He held me by the left hand with his left so that we both had our right to whip with. He used the whip and I used my oak club across his arm until he could not stand it any longer that way, so he threw me down and attempted to kneel down on my legs. I was not willing for him to do so, peaceable, so I commenced to kick and bite, and I struck him on the legs and he was a little gouty and could not stand my kicking. He let go of me and I gathered my club again almost crazy with pain and passion. I was ready to fight until I died, so he withdrew saying if I did not stop talking back he would whip me again and I could not stop so he rode away. All this time the men wanted to see my back where the whip had done it's work, and as I only had on one thin shirt on my back, I was one row of welts from my neck down to my knees with blood running down in places.
A short time later, it felt worse than earlier, as I had got a little cooler. All that those men could say about not helping me, was that they thought I was giving him the worst of it and they were so pleased to see me fight back so hard, and thought it would teach him a lesson about whipping boys. Well, I wanted to get my pay and leave, but no, he would not pay me; and if I left without, I would not get it as I had no one to take my part. I thought I would stay it out. He went home from the field and stayed there for two weeks, not able to ride or walk as the gout took hold of the sore places and he would give orders while sitting on one chair, and his legs on another. As we all ate our meals in the same room at harvest time and while I was sitting between the men, they would thump me with their elbows and look at him and then when I came out they used to say that Mr. Low intended to give me one of his daughters and a farm, but now I would get nothing, and all such jokes as that.
For many miles around the news went out that Mr. Low had found his boy and many came to see and talk about the whippings they had got from Mr. Low. How glad they were that I gave him a good one. Well, when he got out again he was alright with me and said I was the best boy he had ever had, only I never would give up. All went well until April of the next year 1856, when I was pulling turnips for the sheep. He came into the field cross and for one cause or another commenced to scold me and said he would whip me if I talked back to him again. I told him if he did, I would kill him by stoning him to death. That settled it. He paid me up in about two weeks, all but what my father had got from him. I here say that on Christmas Day previous to this time I went to Mr. Low's grandmother's home on business, and the old lady sang and danced in her 103rd year of age, which was the oldest person I ever saw. Her home was in Astanbotral, near the Clee Hills in Shropshire, England.
I will say, before I proceed further, that at Mr. Low's I used to have a good time with the boys and girls and hired help by imitating everything that I heard or saw and I acquired a habit of laughing extremely loud and then stopping short and starting up again, and at the same time making faces which never failed to make all the others laugh.I learned how to keep them a-going and on one evening especially, I had a good humor streak upon me and started all the crowd a-going, and they could not stop as long as I kept my game a-going. It is easy to keep people a-laughing when they are well started and no one knew it better than me. There was one Mary Calander among the rest who laughed very hearty and easy, and all was going fine and lively and no one could stop, and just as I was going to stop, there started a stream of water running from where Mary was sitting across the hearth stone, which surprised and startled all again worse than ever. All the boys and myself, included jumped up and left the ladies to see it out but we all agreed never to smile or to indicate in the least that we knew what had happened. All kept the faith but I never dared try the same game again before that crowd, but the boys would have a good time with me.
When I left Mr. Low's I went to work at Devenport Hall or residence for a Mr. Edward Russel, a brother of Lord John Russel of London. I went as undergroom for all was tended here in first-class style. The stables were good brick buildings with glass windows and hot and cold water all the time for the use of the grooms. All the walls were plastered and lined with matting to keep the damp from the saddles and harnesses. All the grooms and coachmen had a good time together after work was done, and here I added my store of fun and at the same time I had to stop short when any of the dignitaries were around or you would get your papers or ticket of leave. There were 50 servants in all, male and female. There was a butler and a footman and a housekeeper on the ladies' side. We all dined together in one large dining room: that is, the servants did. Here we had to observe strictly all the rules of table etiquette or leave the table. This was one of the best lessons I ever learned. It was a great benefit to me in after life in hotels and on board ship.
I did not stay here very long as Mr. Russel moved to London and did not need so many grooms, so I hired to Mr. Thomas Wilson of Cranmoor.
At first I was to be boy of all works to do everything around the farm. Here I learned to fatten sheep and cattle for the best markets in England. Sometimes they were so fat that the butchers would have to bring a low dray and back it up to the door of the cow-house and there, drive the creatures into it, as they could not walk across the yard. On this farm I first saw oxen work and at times I drove them myself, but they worked in harness, not with yokes as they do in this American country. Mr. Wilson was a very good man and gave his hired help good food, the best of meats and all kinds and plenty of good beer, but he was always in a hurry. When it was fine weather he would say to his men, "We must hurry and get this work finished for I am afraid it will rain very soon and then this work won't get done." Then when it cleared up he would say,"We must hurry and get this job done for I think it will clear up soon and then we will have to do something else." But that was about the worst he could say. He hired 6 men regular out-of-doors as they called it, and 2 indoors that was what they called the man and boy that hired for a year at a time to stay in the house with them, only we did not dine with the family for all servants ate at the one table and the family at another.
At times he hired a good number of Irish men to help with the harvest and turnip crop and they were all fresh from the sod. I had to learn the brogue and at times have losts of fun with them. When I lived with Mr. Low, he had a good number of them and I learned a lot of Irish words as well as the brogue and it came in use later in life.
I drove a team for Mr. Wilson most of my time and would take my lunch out with me to the field at times, and on my return eat dinner. As there were a number of cats on the farm I wanted to train them some, so I used to make a noise like a cat and set my eyes on them or their eyes so as to almost paralyze them, and then make another cat noise and at last I got one trained too much for my own comfort. I also trained children the same way for the benefit of the servants. As the boss wanted the family alone, we wanted to be alone after work hours and the children would come into our room and carry tales and we had no right to tell them to go out, so the balance left the responsibility on me to clear them out without anyone being able to take offence at it. I turned myself loose, and in a short time I had them trained like the cats, just looking at them without saying one word. Of course they would run in and tell their parents about being afraid of me, and sometimes their mothers would want to know what I did, but they could not tell, and my mates never saw me do anything, and at last they quit coming in.
One day I came in the house and one of those trained cats of mine was in the house and I shut the door without knowing the cat was there. The cat felt like she didn't want to eat dinner with me or to stay until the door could be opened for it. In fact it was in such a hurry to do something it was not pleasant for anyone to try and help it, and I did not want to. As it must go somewhere, it went up the clock which stood in the room. It was a very fine clock and cost a great deal of money as it showed all the changes of the moon and all the planets on the face of it. It stood on the floor and was about 8 feet high, and never failed to go, but Mr. Cat stopped it short. It did not go again until Mr. Wilson came and opened up the face, but before he did so, he wanted to know what caused the cat to run up the clock, but no one could tell him, as no one had touched the cat. It was in a hurry to get somewhere and that was the place it chose. All this time, the cat was talking cat talk and would not stop and when the door was opened the cat got into the works, as I suppose it thought it could see my eyes. It took all hands to help get the cat out of the works. I dared not go to help, as I was afraid the darn cat would do more damage, but finally they got it loose, but lost sight of it in less time than I can tell. All the hands had had enough cat and clock experience and I felt well to think no one had touched the cat so no one could be blamed.
The next experience was when I was all alone with some cats and I never will forget it. One cold day I went into the stable and shut the door after me, and the first thing I saw was cats, and I found out I was a failure at cat training. I had not trained them to stop when I wanted them to. All the cats started after me, and all went up to the upper floor and down and back and across the stable so fast I thought there were a thousand cats in that stable. I was trying to get out, but so were the cats. However, we finally made it out and I have never tried to train cats since.
When I had worked about one year for Mr. Wilson, my mother wanted me to come home and help her keep the family while Father went to work in a pipe and tile factory to get money to emigrate his family to Utah, or Zion, as it was called. As Father had ordered me away from home years before, he did not want to ask me to come back, for fear I would not do it, but I went and helped mother keep the family.
There were 6 children at home and I made the 7th. I went to work for a Mr. Sing of Swancut, about two miles from home and had to walk it night and morning. At the end of each week I got my pay and took it home to my mother. She worked out at one Admiral Brazer's, helping in the house among the servants and she got good pay, so we kept the family fairly well.
The most noted thing I remember here was a large comet to be seen in the west every night. The newspapers were saying that it would smite the earth and burn it up. The people were so afraid that it would that they prepared for the end. The men in the fields would be talking every day about it and I would say to them that I did not believe it would burn up as there was too much green stuff to burn, as it was the month of June. I thought it would burn better in the fall when things were dry. The old men would scold me profusely for not thinking more seriously about it, as it was sure to come.
On this farm I first saw lucerne grow. We used to cut it for green feed and on this farm we worked oxen, which helped me out when I came to Utah. Mr. Sing was a good master and at times used to hire bands of Irishmen, so I had a little fun with Irish boys green from the sod. I always was on the good side of them and would learn some Irish words from all of them. Sometimes I would go to an Irish Wake which is something that no one knows about unless they have been to one. Neither do they know what an Irishman is unless they have been in one's company. You can get more laughter to the square inch out of one than you can out of anyone else.
I worked here for one year. This was the year of 1857 and part of 1858. About February 15th, 1857 Father came home from his work in the pipe and tile factory and had made a failure of it. To make it worse, my two little brothers, George and Joseph took sick with typhus fever and died, both being buried in the same grave. My 4 sisters came down with the same disease and came very near to death but finally recovered. I did not take it although I slept with my older brother that was at home.
I stayed with the folks until May 1st, then I left again determined to do what my father had failed to do, but while I was helping mother care for the family, this happened:
One night while in bed, I was moved by someone apparently all night. He said he wanted me to go with him, and we got into a chariot and away we went into space. My guide said it was 5 miles above the earth, and there he told me to look, and I did so. I saw ships on the sea and steamboats on the rivers, and wagon trains camped on the plains up the Platt River and on to Salt Lake City and on down to Millard. There I saw what I had to do until I should return back to that very place. After I had done the work appointed for me to do. When he showed me what I had to do, we returned to earth and it seemed to me to have been a perfect trip. Only I could not think that Salt Lake City could be so small or so poorly built as it appeared to me to be, as I had always believed from what I had heard from the Elders that it was a very large city and the name was Great Salt Lake City. But lo and behold, when I arrived there with an ox team, I found the very same place I had seen that night. I will write more about it later in my life.
When I left home this time, I hired to a man by the name of Baker, to work for one year. When I went to his home, which was to be my home for a year, I could not put up with the food. It was so poor and sour that I could not eat it. I had been used to good food at other places I had lived, so I made up my mind that I would not stay. By law, he could make me stay if he wanted to, so I thought I would get up early and leave without him knowing. At the same time, they were trying to give me a new name, as there was already one Will there and me, being the last one, I had to take the new name. They wanted me to say what that would be. Well, I thought Walder would be a good name for me as I thought to myself "I will be leaving in the morning " --- but I did not get away that morning. The next morning I got away about 4 o'clock and I never stopped until I got clear of the county.
I then went to work tending mason on a large building. That did not last long, and after that, I went to work on the Severn Valley Railway near Beddington and Bridgenorth I was put to work in a stone quarry helping to get rock out for bridges over the Severn. I boarded with one Mr. Andrew Robinson near the quarry and had a good time here. For about 8 months I worked here, earning better money than I had before, and I thought I would be able to save money to emigrate to some place where there was land to take up. I wanted to get a farm of my own and to help my parents, if possible. I never lost sight of that until I could do so.
The foreman's name was Mr. Morris. He was a good man to work under, and I learned to quarry rock fairly well under him. There were about 16 men at work in the quarry and I was the youngest man or boy on the job. In the summer it was very hot under the cliffs of the rock, so we all threw in our mitts and bought a barrel of cider at a time from an old farmer. He was an old miser. He had about a hundred barrels full stored away in his cellar. He would take one out and put it in a safe place for us, so that we could draw a bucketful out at a time for our use until it was all gone, then we would get another.
He kept a housekeeper by the name of Mary Ann Scott. She was about 22 years old and she had come near the quarry to get water from a fine spring that was there. On Sunday, we of the small village went across the meadows to church together, and as I was apt to joke a litte, I soon got acquainted with girls. When Mary Ann came to the spring, I would often see her and there keep up the fun of the Sunday before. On Saturday she would go to the town of Bridgenorth to buy groceries for the week coming, and the custom was for men to buy their own food and pay for the cooking. So it happened that I had to go to town too, and sometimes I would ask to be allowed to carry the market basket and at the same time, have good company home. At last, when she came to the spring for water, she would bring the bucket full of cider and empty it into the horse bucket that would happen to be near there, and when she went away I would go and find the cider and bring it up to where the boss was. That would help out our barrel and us. There were a number of teamsters hauling rock all the time. They caught on to my game and undertook to beat me out of the cider, and finally did so. Well, I could not stand for that, so I went to work on my wits to get it back.
Now there was a young man in the crowd of teamsters that was good-looking and smart. He was about 27 or 30 years old and Miss Scott was 21 or 22, so they were near the same age and the right age for marriage. We didn't know one another's names for we were called and paid by numbers, not names. This young man came from Northamptonshire, and we called him North Hampshire Jack. When he and his fellow teamsters got away with the cider, they all laughed and poked fun at me. The boss or foreman of the quarry had no control of the teamsters, as they belonged to another department, but he was interested in getting it back on those teamsters. Well, as I thought all was fair in love and war, I must get it back on Jack. So one Saturday, as I was coming home with the groceries I was talking to Miss Scott about her beau, Jack. I said that he was a good-looking man and smart, but there was one thing I did hate to hear him making such fun and speaking so hateful about her, as he had done. "Besides that, the boys say that that he ran away and left a wife and two children in North Hamptonshire." It would be too bad for a fine young woman like her to be led away by such a man as that. "Then the bad language he is using about you in those big crowds of men, but I will try and stop it all I can."
Oh, what a rage she went into about Jack trying to deceive her in such a way as that! She said she would have him arrested and put in jail, and other bad things, but I said the best thing was to just let him alone and let him go to blazes. Well, she concluded that would be the best thing to do, but if he spoke to her she would scold him for sure, and she meant it. I told her he would just deny it and get the men to swear to it, so it would be no use talking about it. The next day was Sunday and when we were going to church she was of the same mind, so I thought, "Woe be unto Jack if he spoke to her on Monday morning." Well, Monday morning came, the men showed up and Jack saw Miss Scott.
"Good morning," says Jack.
"Yes," says she, "You're a nice man, you are, to come courting me. Go back to your wife and your two children that you left in North Hamptonshire." Here Jack wanted to to learn something about this business, but no, she goes for a pail of hot water and would have scalded him with it if he had not gone away, and she called him names that I would not dare to repeat in Sunday School. The best part of it was that all the rest of the teamsters saw and heard the play.
Jack came into the quarry a-swearing and wanted to whip me, so he laid all the blame on me, but I had informed the boss that I had got it back on Jack, so when he came in the boss took it up and ordered him out. Jack wanted to fight, but the boss was a very powerful man and he took it up and then Jack stopped.
"Well," says the men, "what is the trouble?"
Jack said, "Why, he told that girl that I left my wife and two children ." Then all the men laughed and there was no stop to it. The story grew larger and more of it and all the men in the quarry were pleased so well that they would call out every time they saw Jack, "How are your wife and your children?" It got so bad that Jack quit the road and went away. We got the cider again, alright, and I was the good boy again. The facts are that Jack did not want the girl, only to play me, and I was getting even with Jack, and did it alright, they say.
I was in my 19th year and up to this time I had only seen one girl that I thought was all the good girl that there was in this world, and that was that orphan girl, Lottie. All my thoughts were about getting money to emigrate to a better country.
I now went to work at another place on the same road. This was the Severn Valley Railroad, and there I discovered that the ones who worked the least got the most money. At this point I was brake boy on construction, and most of the men were Irish. They wanted Irish boys to do the breaking. It was easier work than shovelling, and as I was somewhat of a new hand compared to most of them, and as they all dressed according to their work on the railroad, I concluded to dress as a horse driver and also used their slang words or phrases so all would think I was a professional driver, or Railroad boy, as none but those could get those kinds of jobs. I wanted to get money to emigrate so I dressed up accordingly and started for a new road where I was not known.
The first place was on the Iron bridge and Coalport, R.R. and Madely RR.Roads. There I worked for a short time and then I moved to Salisbury and Welsh Pool Railroad. On arriving at Manwood, I could get work driving a horse, if I was Irish. A Mr. Cox was ganger, or foreman as they are called here, said he would give me the job if I could get along with those Irishmen, as they were all Irish and had run off a number of English boys. I told him I could get along with them if he would not tell on me, as I would play Irish boy on them. It pleased him so well that he said he would pay me six-pence a day more if I could carry it out alright. This was just what I wanted to help me along, but at the same time I knew if I failed, I would get a good whipping.
My name was Bill Megary, but as we were paid by numbers it did not make much difference what the name was. So away I went to find a place to board and lodge, and in a short time I found good quarters with one Mr. Goft, a very good Methodist family. The next morning I went to work with my Irish friends, and the first thing I did was to cry out,
"The top o' the mornin' to ye, boys". The reply was: "More power to ye, an sure are ye goin' to stay with us?"
"An'sure I am," I said.
So I started to work with my horse, and as I knew I should be allowed to play smart as long as I did my work. At once I licked the blarney stone and went to talking back to all the men, and here comes Mr. Cox.
"Well, how are ye getting along?"
"Fine," says one of the big full stock Irishman.
"And how do you like your new driver?"
"Fine, Mr. Cox. He is worth six of those English boys. We don't want any more of them, for now we will do some work for ye."
Cox was so amused at it that he coughed right out, but turned at seeing one Irishman picking down dirt from the bank. I was flying around doing my very best to show off to the very best for those Irish friends. I had had lots of experiences before with Irishmen so I knew just what to do and to say to please them. At times, I would ask them in to Tim O'Brian's to have a drop of crater, to bring out the bright spots on their memories so they would forget the nasty past. In this they would say to Mr. Cox, "Bill is the finest boy a-walking," and I could say what I pleased and I did so, and it gave no offence but rather pleased in the way that I did say it. We pleased the boss so that he would bring visitors around to see and hear me talk to those Irishmen. We all had a good time, as the men understood what I was doing it for, as I favored the Irishmen for favoring and bragging on me, and we all worked to one good end.
Now the reader must understand that in those days we did not use plows and scrapers as they do now, but all the dirt was loaded onto trucks that would dump, or tip, as it was called, and my job was to run those trucks out when the men filled them. Most of the time they were stinted to so many cars a day, so that if we all worked together, we could get through by 3 or 4 o'clock in the day. Well, this went along alright until I got tired. We were about through at this place and about to move on to a new point. I wanted to get there before anyone else got the best place, or piece of work, so Mr. Cox let me go, as I had done so well with my Irish friends.
All the men at the new place were English, for the reason that English and Irish could not agree together. When the Irish boys found out I had deserted them, they grew wild at me , and said I had denied my country, and they would throw me in the river Severn. They meant it, so I was obliged to move farther away for a while so as to escape them.
About this time my father came looking for me, as he had sickness in the family and had lost two children. He wanted me to loan him some money, and he would pay me again when I was ready to start for America. I was afraid he would fail to do so, but I concluded to let him have part of my savings and trust to him getting to pay me back the next spring, as that was the time I had set to emigrate. I went to Mrs. Goft, my landlady, as she was my banker, and got the money and gave it to him with his promise to pay me in the spring. Then he returned home and I, to my work at driving. I stayed at this point for about three months. Six of us drivers, young men as we were, thought that the railroad company could not do without us, as they had always complied with our wishes. (That was when it was right and just), so we wanted them to do just what we wanted or we would leave. They concluded that we should leave, and away we went. Before we left there were others asking for our jobs, and one young man, the son of a poor widow, wanted my place. I was afraid he would be killed if he took it and I told him so. I was afraid he did not see the danger attending such work. It looked easy to a looker-on, but he wanted to try it, so he did, and in less than two weeks he, poor fellow, was run over by the car and nearly cut in two.
From here I went on tramp, as we called it, to find a new job. When we arrived in Leadbury in Herefordshire, we went into a company boarding house, and while eating dinner, who should come in but my old rival North Hamptonshire Jack, so I called and laughed out loud, "Well, Jack, how are you?" He at once took it good-naturedly and then I told the joke I had got on him and it was such a good one that they all concluded Jack must treat all in the house, and he willingly did so. He said he had never got such a good joke on anyone as I got on him. He said I must stay and board with him, and my mate must stay with me. We stayed and had a good time at Jack's expense. Here they were cutting a tunnel through Maulvin Hill into Worcestershire. We could not get work there, so we said goodbye to Jack, never to see him again.
We travelled through three or four counties before we could find work, and then we did not get as good a job as we had left. We first got work at Clay Cross, in Derbyshire. At last we went to work on the Buckstan and Wayley Railroad at a point near Wayley, but the work was nearly finished so we did not stay here long.
Finally we concluded to return back to the place we started from to see if we could get work on the same road again. Up to this time I have forgotten to give the name of my mate. He was the darkest white man I have ever seen, so we called him Fair Child as a nickname. We travelled on the road together until we reached Pontsberry in Montgomeryshire in Wales, and there we stayed two weeks, working on the railroad.
Then we were sent to work at Welsh Pool in the county, and from there we were sent to Craven Arms to work on the centre Wales railroad. Here, we went to work for the winter but we had a hard time finding lodgingas the Welsh people were afraid of knaves, as we were all called, and they did not want us around there disturbing their peace. They were living quiet up in the Welsh hills with their little farms and small sheep and ponies. They still rode horseback with the old saddle and pillion, carrying their butter and eggs to market, both man and wife riding on the same horse. This was too old-fashioned for my mate, Fair Child, so he left and we never met again. I was determined to stay for the winter as I needed the money to emigrate in the spring. I was alone again among strangers, and very few Welsh people could talk English. When we went northwest of Niton, in Rodnershire, I was determined to have some fun or good times, so I applied my imitation and soon learned Welsh enough to ask for what I wanted. Soon I got acquainted with the people. At first I got lodging at a lodging house where the beds were so short that when we laid straight, our feet hung over the end, and so narrow that when we pulled them up, our knees stuck out. There were so many of us that the first one up was the best dressed, and as there were a number leaving all the time, those that stayed were short of clothes , unless they got up early.
I soon found a very good family where the lodging was good: at Mr. David Louis's.He was one of the most intelligent gentlemen that I ever met. I stayed with them all winter. There were nine in the family of Louis's, and all musicians, but most of them were married. There were only three children at home, two young men and one young lady. They could all play and sing, and at times we had a good concert in the house, as they had a number of violins and brass instruments, and a piano. We had plenty of music, and we all took turns in singing, and I learned to play some on the violin while staying there. Mr. Louis was very strict and allowed no one to stay out later than ten o'clock, unless there was a concert in town, or some other special call.
Now my work on the road was hard for a short time, but soon one of my old bosses came along and gave me a good job at braking. We ran gravel down to Highton to gravel the station yard. That just suited me, but two months later here came the time-keeper that had kept time on the road where I played Irish boy, and he was very pleased to see me. He wanted to help me along, but he was the means of me leaving in a very short time.
There was a very dangerous piece of work about a mile above, on the same road, under a mountain called Crackdon, and the drivers were all the time breaking the wagons or trucks. There was a great complaint in the office about it, and the time-keeper reported to them that I was a number one driver and there was no use of breaking up wagons. So I was sent up there to take over the horses and handle the trucks. I did not want to go, for the horses were poor and there was always danger in handling poor horses on a steep grade. It was alright for a short time, but I never liked a poor horse to drive. One morning I went to work and the boss spoke cross to me, and I told him to take his horses, I would not drive any longer. I returned home to Mr. Louis's, packed my clothes and bid them goodbye, never to see them again.
All the time I drove horses on the railways, I had to get up at four in the morning. Now I was in my 20th year of age and soon would be 21, and I was determined not to stay in OLd England another year. I went down to Hanwood on my way to Shrewesbury, to try and find work to last until about April 10th when I intended to go home. On my way I found work on a gravel trainrunning between Hanwood and pansbery. The boss gave me the job of braking, which I kept until the 9th of April, then I started for home to see if my father had got my money to help me out, as I only had enough on hand to pay my fare across the ocean, and not a penny more.
Well, when I arrived home, my parents were pleased to see me and so were my sisters, but my father had no money to pay me back. He thought I had better not go for a while, and my good mother said I had better not start without any money as I would land in a new world among strangers without a penny and I may come to want for food, and a hundred other troubles such as a mother would think of when her boy is going far away, maybe never to see him again.
I had a brother older than myself, and he always promised he would go with me when I was ready. I had notified him about 3 or 4 months before and he said he would be ready to go at the time I stated. I knew he had plenty of money for the trip so I told my mother I would go and see him. He lived in Wolverhampton about 6 miles away, so I went to see him. To my great disappointment, he said he could not go just then because he was partly engaged to a young woman and he wanted her to go with him. She could not get ready in less than 6 months. I had decided to go, sink or swim, and so I told my brother, and when I returned home to tell my mother and father about my luck with meeting my brother, it made matters worse. The family doctor was there and he, being a learned gentleman, commenced telling of all the horrors of a wild west, and could do it to perfection. I told him that his was hearsay and I would go and see for myself. Then he turned and said that America was the best country in the world to make a fortune, but England was the best place to spend it in. He had two sons there that were rich, and he would give me letters to them if I wished, and they would help me, but I did not take them. He advised Mother to let me go as I would be alright, but Mother still cried and asked me not to go. I said I must go, and I would make money and send for her in a few years.
Finally I started for the town of Wolverhampton to see my brother, Samuel again, and on my way I met and shook hands for the last time, with Miss Charlotte Humphres, and as we parted she remarked,"It is hard to put the hand where the heart cannot be." We never met again. I met my brother, Sam, and he loaned me five shillings to buy my tins with, which I used on board the ship and I bid him goodbye and started for Liverpool.
I arrived there in the evening and called at Latter-day Saints office, 42 Islington, and there received my ticket. Away I went and bought my tins and outfit for the voyage, and now for the first time, I saw a ship.
The next day we went on board the ship, Monarch of the Sea, and for the first time I saw a drunken Mormon, and that was Joseph A. Young, who had charge of the emigration there. He was the son of Brigham Young which was a surprise to a great many. The next day we were inspected by the Health Officers, and passed, and then we started with a pilot ahead down the channel. The next night the sailors fought and cut each other so badly that two had to leave on the pilot the next morning when it left us to sail alone.
We sailed along alright for about 16 days, and then there came up a very bad storm which lasted for 4 days. It was worst on the last day and night, when it broke two of the main yard arms in two pieces , and the mainmast was split so badly that it had to be banded up with iron bands. The storm was so bad that Captain Gardner, a good and brave man, notified Brother Jabous Woodard, the president of the company, that he could do no more to keep the ship afloat. He was afraid that it would go down if the storm lasted any longer. At that time, he told the president if he could do anything to save it, to try and do it. There were 1000 Saints on board, and a crew of 50 sailors. The sailors were afraid the ship would go down and they prepared all the long boats (there were 6 of them in all) and at the same time swearing that no Mormon should get in one of them. They were a hard lot of men. The way I came to see and hear them was that I helped to give out the rations to the passengers and was allowed on deck. When I wanted to go up there, the others were ordered below to stay there or be washed overboard. I had to hold the Capson Poles and that way I saw and heard what they were doing. The old ship was squeaking and groaning as though it could not stand another minute, so President Woodard called out all the Elders and went up on deck. They prayed and rebuked the wind and waves, and in a short time the storm abated and all were saved.
During the storm we drifted north 500 miles out of our course, and the captain had lost his reckoning, but the third day we saw a ship and he got us straight again. While we were being tossed about upon the waves, there were two other vessels on the south of us, laboring hard with the storm, but finally we lost sight of them, and they never got into port.
I will say here that one night when I was on guard with a companion, to see that none of the crew went below among the Saints, about 11 o'clock or later we heard a noise. I walked back toward the stern, or wheel of the ship, and here I saw a man of the crew coming on at a fast walk with two of the mates following him with their pistols drawn, sending him along without saying a loud word, as it seemed to have been done before he left the bunkhouse. There was a long plank arranged for him to run up and jump overboard, which he did. We never saw him after he leaped over the stern of the ship. Not one word was spoken after, but all was quiet again and we did not dare to speak as it was a new business for us and it might be our turn next. All that we could learn about it was that the mates said he was crazy and jumped overboard. I think he did it willingly because he had to, or be shot dead on the deck.
Well, the next thing after the storm there came a calm. We were in it for 36 hours and didn't move one inch, but got moving again at the end of that time. All on board were pleased, I can tell you.
At this point we saw schools of whales spurting like so many fountains. Soon a pirate came in sight to the north of us, and the captain ordered all who had guns, on board, as he said they would not come nearer if they saw plenty of arms on board. He kept a very close watch with his glass, and soon they turned north again.
Now the next sight we saw was a very large iceberg coming from the north, and I can tell you that the captain was afraid of it, as we were travelling very slowly. He was afraid it may have reached our course before we could pass, but it did not, but shed a very cold breeze upon us. By this time our water turned bad, with worms in it an inch long, but there was no remedy for it but to strain it. Our food supply was getting short as we were now 7 weeks out from Liverpool, and there was talk of short rations. In three days more we sighted land, and I can tell you that all were pleased to once more see the land. We hoped to stand upon it in the near future.
We landed in Castle Garden on June 3rd, 1861, and the first thing I saw was the Military parading the streets of New York, and drumming up for volunteers to go and fight the south, which had rebelled against the north. All work was stopped to make the men enlist, and as I had no money, it looked rather blue for me, but I had faith and hoped that I could get as far as St. Joes, Missouri. I had just spent my last and only cent for a suit of clothes and one blanket tied up in in a large handkerchief. While I was viewing the troops and artillery, Brother Joseph Woodard came up the street and said, "Well, Bill, how do you like the looks of this?" My reply was that I could stand it till I could do better, and at the same time, laughing about it.
"Well," he replied, "I think you are too good-natured a boy to leave here. You have been used to the railroad work, haven't you?" I answered, "Yes."
"Do you think you could take care of my luggage and Brother Hanson's, if I can get you through?"
"Yes," was my reply. "I will see about it."
I went down the street to the castle again and on my way I was saluted by three well-dressed gentlemen in linen suits. They wanted to know if I had any money, and I told them no. I had just spent my last half-penny. At that, they each put their hands in into their pockets and pulled out a handful of change and gave it to me. I thought I was one of the rich men of the land. In talking with themI found that they were railway menand they knew by my dress that I was a railway hand. It was a common custom in England to help each other, and they were going back to England on the Great Eastern, to get out of the war. They wanted me to go back with them as there was no work to be had, and England was taking all her subjects back home free. But, no, I was sure that I could get as far as St. Joes.
The next man I met was Brother Samuel Grancis, the commissory on board the ship, and I had been one of his assistants. His first word was, "I wish you were going along with us" and I told him that I was going, and at that he put his hand into his pocket and gave me 2 dollars and a half, and added that when that was gone, he would give me some more.
Well, I went to work and cut wooden tags for the baggage and put them on the trunks, and took charge of them. The next morning we started all aboard for St. Joes. We had not gone far before some of the company got left while they were buying provisions in the railway towns, and they had to come on the next train. It was wartime, and it made lots of trouble for the company, and frightened the parties that got left. Those who had money wanted me to buy for them, as they saw that I understood all the train signals, and could board the train when it had already started up. I was very willing to do so, as when I bought them cakes and pies, they would always give me a part of them. That way I lived as well as any one of them, and no one ever asked me how I got along for food, and I never had to ask for money or a meal of food, for I had plenty.
After we left New York State, we were often stopped to see if we had any arms on board, or any rebels. Sometimes in the night we were stopped and had to face a field battery until morning, and then to be inspected before we could move on. Sometimes we were piled into cattle-cars, or any way to get along.
When we reached St. Joes, I found that my friend, Mr. Reynolds had left there, so I could not stop there. At that time, the railway came no farther west, so we had to go on board a steamboat on the Missouri River and run up to Florence. So I went on board without asking any questions about it, but I was well-pleased, because it was the same kind of boat that I had seen in my dreams three years before, and then I knew I would get through alright.
When we arrived at Florence, there were a great many people waiting for us, to see how to make up the trains for travelling across the plains.The first thing I thought of was How can I get across the plains without paying , as I had no money and did not want to be in debt when I reached Utah. The first thing I did was to deliver up the baggage I had in charge to Brothers Woodard and Hanson. Just then one John Merrick, a teamster from Mount Pleasant, came along and saluted me with a "How do you do? You are just the kind of a boy for the mountains, as you have been used to rough work, I can see."
"Well," says I, Can you tell me how I can work my way across the plains so I do not come out in debt?" Just then, Brother Woodard came up and received the baggage and found it alright, and at the same time, John R, Murdock, a captain of one of the Church trains, came up and Brother Woodard says, "Brother John, do you want to hire a good boy? If you do, here is one. We put our baggage in his charge in New York and here it is, alright. So you can trust him."
"Can you drive oxen?" says the captain. "Can you drive four yoke of oxen like those?"
"Well, sir, "says I, "I can try and that will show willingness, won't it?"
"Yes," he replied. "John Merrick, take this boy up to camp and tell those Fullmer boys that he will take charge of Henry Robinson's team, and drive it back home."
So away we went, and I was put in charge, but I will now go back to the old ship and tell what became of it. On her return trip from the West Indies to England, she burned at sea and all was lost. On my way through the States I had heard a good many hard stories about the Mormons, and a number had tried to get me to stop and not go any farther west. I thought if the Mormons in Utah were as bad as reported, I could go on to California, so I would not stop. Well, at Florence I began to think there might be some truth in it, as I found that some of the teamsters would drink whiskey. I had been taught that the Saints in Zion were perfect, and I should have to be the same or I could not live with them. Some of the immigrants got so badly disappointed in the MOuntain Saints that they turned back, but I went on and found it badly mixed.
I will return now to start from the Missouri River.While I was in camp the first day, I heard the teamsters say that they were going to be troubled with "that green horn"all across the plains --- meaning ME. "Well", I thought, "if you do, you will be the first party that was ever bothered by me", so I began to look around to see what my work was, and to learn it. I found that Henry Robinson had left two old quilts and two pieces of carpet. With these and my blanket I on the ground for the first time in my life. One night it rained so hard that I had to dig a trench around my bed to carry the water byand keep it out of my bed. This was a good start for a" green boy"
The first move was a very short one, about two miles to get a clean campground. The boys helped me yoke up my oxen and start, and I kept close watch of the business so as to learn. The next day we moved a short distance and it gave me a good chance to learn as we moved slowly. The following day I yoked up my team alone, without any help, and the bous asked me to help them and then they would help me. So I helped them, "and now", says they, "we will help you."
"Oh," says I, "I have mine yoked up."
Then they laughed out, "Let's go and see, boys," for they thought the green horn had not only done it wrong, but got somebody else's oxen. When they looked they found that I had done it right, and got my own oxen, and the only mistake I had made was to put one yoke on the wrong end, then they began to think maybe they would not have so much trouble with the green horn, and they were more sociable with me. From that time on I took care of my own team, and did not trouble anyone, but I must say that the captain never passed by without giving me a little good advice, and a good word. John Merrick took great pains to instruct meon how to keep my team even.
When we reahed Elkhorn River, I saw the first Indian camp, and I should judge that there were 100 children from ages 3 up to 12 years of age. All of them could swim just like ducks. I saw the smallest of them just drop into the river and float off like young ducks. At this camp we caught up with two other trains: Homer Dunkens and Scotts. The next day we started out on our journey with our morning camp call which was sounded by Mark Croxall's bugle horn, and when it failed, the old bake-kettle lids never did. The next call was to bring in the cattle. It made everyone rustle to get through breakfast and put everything in the wagon, and be ready to take up the line of march for the day. All had to walk that could, and when we crossed rivers the women and girls, as well as boys had to wade unless some of the men carried them across on their backs. To emigrate was something new - not very pleasant but the thought of going to Zion inspired the people to do so, for they thought all was good there, and it would pay them to do anything to get there.
The next treat was when we reached the point on the Platte river where there was no wood for about 300 miles, and we had to burn buffalo chips, or droppings. After a good rain it would take an expert cook to get a first class meal with such fuel, but it was always flavored and not too great a variety, as we used sour dough, or soda to make bread with, and that and bacon and dried apples with a very little sugar was our fare. Sometimes the boys would kill a deer or a chicken, and one buffalo was killed. We had been without fresh meat for so long , and using so many kinds of water, it was not good to eat too much fresh meat. We did not see many buffalo on the plains but deer and antelope were plentiful - like flocks of sheep. Bear and wolves were plentiful, which made me think of a song I used to sing:
"Away to the west to the land of the free
Where the mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea
Where the wolf and the buffalo and the grizzly bear roam
I will away to the west to find me a home."
The way we got our news was by writing upon the shoulder blades of dead buffalo or oxen, and leaving them by the wayside for the next company to read. At Fort Laramie we saw 500 Sioux wigwams with about 3000 Indians trying to make a treaty with the government. From there on we had plenty of wood to burn.
We arrived in Salt Lake City on 12th of September, 1861about noon. The next day we began to divide up and each mess or small partyof teamsters went for their own homes some for one town and some to others. While there and before we started for the south, one Brother Joseph Robinsonof Fillmore came into camp and he had been acquainted with a number of the teamsters, and owned the wagon that I was driving. He invited me to go to his home in Fillmore and stay all winter or until I could do better. One Brother Edwin King, a teamster from the same town wished me to go home with him and stay until I could get a paying job.
Well, we started for Millard County on the 13th in the afternoon and arrived in Round Valley on the 18th day of September. On our way down I called on some old acquaintances of my father at Battle Creek (Pleasant Grove). Their names were Green and Davis, but they thought I wanted something of them, and they did not know me or my father, though I used to play with their childrenand we had been together a great deal. After that, I never tried to find old friends.
About 4 miles before we came to the little berg known as Round Valley we met one thomas Robbins, a settler in the valley. He was the stage driver carrying the U>S> Mailand he wanted to hire a boy , or young man, to work for him. He would pay part in store pay, or goods, and that was thought to be one of the best chances to be found in Utah at that time. Clothing was very scarce and money was scarcer, so I hired to him for $14.00 per month and board. He told the teamsters to leave me at his home in the south end of the valley, where they had commenced to settle in the spring before we arrived. On the way to the little settlement, I saw three girls walking together in the distance, down by the houses. As I sat in the front of my wagon, I heard a voice say that one of them would be my wife, but I was so far away that I could not tell if they were young or old. All I could see was that they were wearing women's clothing, and I was not thinking about a wife. All I wanted was a home or a stopping place.
Well, we arrived at Brother Robbins' place at about 11:00 in the forenoon on September 18, 1861. I was introduced to Sister Robbins and here I took up my home in the wonderful land of Zionwhich I had heard of all my life. It was a strange land to me and altogether different from what I had expected. I found it was the same to all Old Country people, as we had been told that it was a land flowing with milk and honey. The nearset to honey was a little molasses , and very little of that. Well, the the balance of the teamsters divided my team in with theirs, and took it home to the owners in Cedar Springs and Fillmore.
Now, going back to Salt Lake City:It was just like I had seen it in my dream. It was a very small city with 3 small stores, and no brick houses. I was disappointed as I had been led to believe that it was a great city.
Well, I stayed with Mr. Thomas Robbins until spring. He bought me two checked shirts and a hat and shoes, and Mrs. Robbins made me a pair of buckskin pants. I soon became a native of the land and well-dressed for the times as there were many that did not have pants without patches, and shoes, they had none. I spent my evenings mending what shoes there were in the families that did have some, with parts of the saddles they had saved or part of the leather from the old saddles. I thought I had struck a hard country to live in, but I made the best of it. I listened to the preachers and watched the people and they watched me.
The first settlers in the valley were: James Matthews and Benjamin Johnson, Thomas Robbins, Elias Pierson, George Monroe, John Brown, John Memmott, Samuel Curshaw, John Vardleyand William Robbins, having a claim on water , and I came nextin turn for a claim, but I did not get it, only by buying. I bought my right to claim in the valley off a native Indian, who was the last of his tribe. Then I had to get it from the bishop, Elias Pierson, and a hard man at that. He always wanted to settle his disputes with a pistol and a knife which he always carried with him . I labelled them his counselors as he had no others.
In the spring of 1862 I settled up with Brother Robbins for my winter's workand he paid me two yearling steers, coming 2 years old. I got the one and the other I never saw , as I took them on the range in the fall of '61.
I first saw President Young and party in Fillmore. They were on their way down to Dixieas they were just settling that district. I was very disappointed in the Presidentas I had always been told that he was a fatherly man full of kindness, but I saw in him a kind of firm-determination-to-rule man in himwith a close grasp to his mouth like I would not want my finger in it. I saw John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and others of a more kind disposition. I never changed my mind and I became well-acquainted with them all.
In April, 1862 I hired to John M. Baldwinkle of Salt Lake City to drive an ox team for the year. With others we started from American Fork and then down to Fillmore and back to Salt Lake City. This was the year of the high water. On our return from Fillmore, we found the Sevier River over its banks and had to pack our loads on our backs through the wateron the north side of the river, and from that time on, we found all the bridges washed out, except the west Jordan. We crossed there. We tried to cross at Lehi but only got 3 wagons acrossbefore the banks gave way. I was packing the last sack of grain across on my back when the bank gave way and down I went into the JordanRiver. I could not swim, only just dog-paddle.Just at that time the boys turned some oxen loose into the river and I caught one by the tail, and the laugh came in when the boys called out,"Hold onto his tail, BIll." I can assure you that there was no need of that warning, for I did not intend to let go. At the dame time the boys gatheres ropes to throw into the river for me to take hold of, but Mr. Ox got out in time to save us both, But I had had all the swim I wanted for one time.
Well, we loaded up the grain to take out to Cold Springsand Middle Gate Stations on the stage line in Nevada. One Mr. Earl Haws of Provo was captain of the outfit. He was a very good captain , which was needed at that time as the Indians were very bad at that time, both theGoshotes and shoshones and the Paiutes. Nothing of note happened until we reached Fish Springs.There the boys got up to snipe hunt one Will Redding. They got poor Will to hold the sack while we drove the snipes in, at the same time we played Indian and so frightened him that he ran away out into the desert. He would have been lost only the captain got on his horse and caught him, but we had a hard time to get him back. Will was a good boy, but had just come over from England , and we all had a little fun at his expense. He was feeling very badly about it and cried to me, and said he wanted to whip some of the other boys, and could do it if someone would keep the others off him. Since I had been a lone boy myself, I agreed to see that no two touched him at the same time, While I was alive, and we had some hard men along.
One Jack Bevan from the south was a great blowhard, so he commenced slurring Will again, so I said, "Jack, don't do that anymore." But he kept it up until we camped for noon in Deep Creek, and then Will couldn't stand it any longer. He asked me if I would do as we agreed, and I told him I would, but I expected a big row.Jack struck at him and Will knocked off his blow and knocked him down. He got up and the next blow, he smashed all the flesh off his cheek bone, and laid him out. By this time all the hands wanted to come in, but I did as I agreed with Will. With my gun in hand, I made all stand back, and at the same time, I told them he would whip them one at a time. Then one Tom Bannard wanted to try him. He took a turn at Will but he never touched him. Will knocked him straight three times and he was out. Then two or three wanted to get at him. I stood my poat and then the captain came in on my side and we held them all back.
He next started on one Martin Parker and settled with him and then we got stopped. We all could see that Will could whip us all, one at a time, so he had no more to fight after that. He was not yet 20 years old, but had been trained in the best boxing school in England, and stood at the head of his class. We did not know it before, or I would not have poked fun at him. He was very good-natured and kind and never bothered anyone, or they, him, after that.
This being wartime, there were a great many going to California to get out of the war. Some were rich and some were poor. There were two who joined our camp at Camp Floyd. The wagon boss agreed to board them if they would work in helping to herd and other work. The one was from the south, the other from the north - a genuine Blue-Belly Yankee. After we left Deep Creekand before we arrivrd at Antelope Springs, we met the chief of the Goshoots and a band of his warriors, and he demanded pay of us for travelling through his countryand for the grass the stock ate. It led to a dispute between the Indians and us, but we had to pay them or lose some of our cattle. At night we were obliged to tie up two Indians in camp, and pay the others for herding the cattle, or we would have lost all of them.
At a number of points in the shoshones country, we had to do the same thing. When we arrived at Diamond Mountain on the west of Ruby Valley, I first swa gold panned out of th gravel. We had two of the old 49ers that had panned gold in California, and they thought there was gold in the gulch where we were camped. They took a pan and tried it, and found a good number of colors of gold in the pan, but it was too far from the water to pay.
Well, we were in Nevada now, and the Yankee thought he could shirk, and did so as he was down on the Mormons, he said to me. He and others thought I was no Mormon because I was not re-baptized after coming to Utah. He called me Mr. Englishman and I called him Mr. Yankee.He confided in me and thought he had done enough for his boardThe boys did bot like to night-herd and cook for him anf guard camp at nights. I told them to give him over to me and I would train him, so the next day he was sent out to guard the stock. I told him he had better stick with meas the Mormons were talking very hard about him. I told him they would play foul on him if he did not obey orders, so he agreed to do as I said until we got out of Mormon country.
The next few days we came in contact with the Paiutes near Cold Springs, and they demanded about all we had or we could not go any further. We could not stand that so the captain told them that we would not domas they wanted but he would give them a little flour, meat and coffee.That was all we could spare. Then the chief told us if we went any further they would kill every one of us. His name was Buffalo bill, and a hard-looking Indian. We told him we were going on, and if they killed one man some of them would surely die and he would be the first. All the men were ready, and some were experts with a gun, as was my bedmate, James Lee.Mr. Indian could see that some of their best men would go if they made any move at shooting, for the boys had their guns sited on them. The Indians went off mad, and we camped at Cold Springs Station that night. We could see fires and smoke in the mountains, which meant war. We concluded to do our best and die hard if we had to die. We were all prepared. We got into our wagons and put sacks of grain up on the sides of our wagons for a defence, if they came at night or early morning, which was their way of fighting.
At about three o'clock in the morning the guard saw an Indian crawling up to the camp in the brush and gave a signal. We all jumped out to learn the news and Mr. Indian got out quickly, for he could see that we meant business. They did not come that morning, but the next day they tried to take us by surprise. As we were travelling down to Middle Gate Station up jumped about 100 Indians out of the tall sage-brush. We were ready for them and it did not surprise us as much as they thought it would. Our guns were levelled on their chief and the big war captains, so they just passed on that time.
That night we arrived at the station and unloaded our freight and stayed inside the fort so they could not get at us. The next night we camped at Sand Springs Station. It was hard to get water here for the stock. There were a goodly number of immigrants staying there to rest their stock. At about 11 o'clock the guard , or one of them, came into camp and told the captain they could not hold the stock. It was moonlight at the time so the captain concluded that the Indians were after them. He called all the teamsters up and said that the best plan was to move out quickly and quietly and not to speak a loud word. He told the guard to bring in the cattle and we should move on.
Tha sand was very heavy and the wagons made no noise, and out we went. When we were about halfway to Carson Lake, we heard the sound of horses coming on the gallop. This time we thought we were in for it, but there came a U.D.Officer and wanted to know what time we had left Sand Springs. He had received a telegram from Sand Springs that the Indians had killed a number of immigrants and would have killed them all if the men at the station had not taken them into their little fort. We readily concluded that it was us they were after, but we were already gone.
The officer and his men came from Fort Churchull on the Carson River. At this fortmen were seen carrying bags of sand lashed on their backs because they favored the Secession Party. At times, some of them disappeared, never to be seen again.
When we arrived in Carson city, we found a city of only men as there was only one white woman in the city and 6 Chinese women. The men had gathered to discuss the justice of the north against the south, and feelings ran high. They came very near to war among themselves. Every man got his gun, but one good statesman pleaded with them not to fight, but to all stand for the union and for each others' interests. Finally they cooled down. Mr. Yankee wanted to turn himself loose and tell how bad the Mormons were, but I told him it would not do for Carson City was full of them, and he would do better go on to California before turning loose. He accepted my advice and we parted the best of friends.
We loaded up again, but with government freight this time. Colonel Conners' command was moving to Utah at that time. One Mr. Streets had the contract to freight the sellter supplies and he sublet it to J.M.Baldwinkle. We went to Ruby Valley and there, unloaded. They built a fort there. We returned to Middle gate Station and met the California teams with the supplies for Salt Lake City. We loaded up again, and this time started for Utah.
On our return trip to Middle Station, our provisions gave out at Reese River.We waited for fresh supplies, but none came. For 9 days we had nothing but very small fish about 4 inches long. These were underground fish as the water would sink and run underground and then raise again as the so-called Reese River, which was only a small creek. The fish were not plentiful as small as they were, so we came very near to starving. There was an overland station on the creek, but old Ben Halliday, the owner of the stage line would not allow any of his men to feed or let anyone have food for money. The captain offered them anything he had if they would let us have a little flourand bacon, but not one bit could he get. At last the boys concluded they had nothing to lose, for if we did not get something to eat soon, we would all starve. We notified the captain that we were going to have something from the station or die in the attempt. The station was forted in, and always had about 30 guns inside, so they could stand a good fight. We intended to bnurn them out or get bread. The captain went ahead of us and told them that we would have food or die. At first, 2 out or 3 men said we would not get anything from them. One man said he did not want to fight starving men and would not. When the others saw us coming with our guns, they concluded to let us have a little flour and some bacon. Our supplies were due about 10 or 15 days before this, but had been delayed because of Indian troubles. We got what we could get along with and went back to camp. Once more we got a meal of bread and bacon, which tasted very good. In about 3 more days our supplies arrived and we paid them back.
We went on toe Middle Gate Station and there we loaded up with supplies to get to Salt Lake City for thew conner Camp which ws to be quartered at that place. It created a great stir among the boys as the talk was that the army was going to put down the Mormons and hang all the leaders. Some of the boys believed it could not be doneand that one good Mormon could chase 100soldiers, and that two could put those 1000 to flight. I said that the Mormons would have to work on the lead if they did or else their soldiers were not as good as the /English were. They thought I was weak in the faith not believing that they could do all that.
We reached Salt Lake City with our freight in November and the excitement ran high there, but there was no fighting. We drove up Main and Brigham Streets and went out on the old Red Butte Road and put our freight down in the sage-brush where Camp Douglas now stands. All was peace abd we went down into the town and there received our pay for our summer's work. After running the gauntlet with the Indians all year and being nearly starved to death, then Mr. Baldwinkle didn't want to pay us the wages he had promised us in the spring. He did not pay all as he agreed to and right there I told him in front of 6 of his best friends just what would become of him. They laughed at me, but it came true , just the same.
I told him that he would lose all of his propertyand come to my house to beg for his breakfast and finally die in a ditch at thre last. We came very near a gun fightbut he let me tell my story and dinally we parted. He was a rich man at that time, but very soon he began to lose his friendsand then his propertyand he lost all and came by my house peddling salt and did beg his breakdast of a neighborof mine, and finally died in a ditch in Alta City.
On our way home from Carson City at different times and places, we met a number of immigrants going to California to get out of the war. We traded with them at times as they had worn out all their shoes and pants. I sold my shoes and pants to them and made me some shoes out of old ones, taking the tops of some and the bottoms of others and sewing them togetherwith buck skin strings. I did the same with old overalls and this way I saved my money. On our return trip we often met Utah men taking grain out to the Overland Stations, and they were so poorly clad that we boys would have fun at betting on which was the original piece of a shirt or pants as they were all just patches. We would just as often miss it as we woukld hit it, and nearly all of them would have either the brim or the crown of their hats.
Well, I left the city for Millard County with Benjamin Johnson who had taken the Baldwinkle stock to herd for the winter down in Round Valley. He paid me a little to help him down with them, and I stayed with him all winter. When I arrived back in Round Valley, who should I meret but my father. He came to Utah without me knowing anything about it. He left Mother and the family in England and came to see me about sending for them. He had nothing, and he had left Mother to care for herself and the family as best she could. Well, I gave all my money over to him except for $20.00. I had $75.00 due me from the Church for driving a team across the plains in '61, and I turned that over to him. Two or three of my friends gave him $10.00 apieceso that he had enough money to pay their fare up to Florence on the Missouri River. My father had to sign a note for their fare to Salt Lake Cityon August 10, 1863, at 10% interestand he paid it on the 26th of April, 1878. He went back to meet them and drove the team down and back. There were four children and Mother. My brother, Samuel came with them but he paid his own fare all the way to Salt Lake City.
When my father and family came, they stayed in Morgan County on the Lost Creek (now Croyden), and did not come down to Millard County where I was , but sent to me for flour for the winteror until they could raise a crop. I did so, and wheat was worth $7.00 a bushel the next spring and summer. Flour was worth $21.00 a hundred pounds, and it was worth $100.00 in Montana. I sold what I had for $7.00 a bushel and took heifer calves for it as there was no money here at that time. They were better than the cash to me, for there was plenty of green grass then, and increased very fast. I earned the wheat by working on a threshing machine belonging to Richard and Benjamin Johnson. I only got one bushel a day and my board, and at the time I could not get 50 cents a bushel for it, so I stored it. The gold find in Montana caused a great excitement and a rush to that territory. There was no grain or flour there, and it was all shipped from Utah.
In 1861 when I worked the winter for Thomas Robbins, I used to take the mail into Fillmore once or twice a week for him. I stayed at Cedar Springs (now Holden), and there were only two or three families there at that time: the Richard Johnsons and the /Stevens families. I stayed all night and left at 5:00 in the morning. One of the young ladies that I saw on my first arrival in Round Valley was a Miss Johnson. I soon became acquainted with her and continued this acquaintance until December 23rd, 1864, at which time I married her. I started in housekeeping in Round Valley (now Scipio), Millard County.
A good friend of mine, Joseph V. Robinson of Fillmore, started a large scale nursery, the first in the territory, in '63. I worked in his nursery.
In '64, I rented a farm across from William Robbins in Scipio as he was called upon to go across the plains for the immigration that year. I sent back with him for a stover and other household supplies so as to get them cheaper. Stoves were $200.00 apiece if bought out here. I bought a yoke of oxen from James Mathews and went to work for myself.
After planting the crop, I went in company with J. Mathews and B. Johnson and G. Nibrie, to the mountains to get a set of house logs to build us houses and poles to fence land. While up in the mountains it rained very hard and the lightning struck a tree and broke it into pieces very near to where we were standing. We started down the trail and I lost all the poles out of my chains but one before we reached the wagons. The story was told years after, that I started down the mountain with 20 poles and got them all but 19. It continued to rain and thunder all day and night and we were like drowned rats. In the morning Benjamin Johnson discovered a trail to the top but he said no one dared to go but him as no white man gad ever been down and no one knew what there was in the way, and the descent was about 1000 feet. I said if Johnson would risk his wagon I would risk my oxen, so away we went.
Soon we came to cliffs of rock and very bad places so that we could not get back. We chained trees to the wagon with the brush on them to hold back and finally got safely to the bottom. No one has ever tried it again. The name of the point is Noon Rock. It is south of Scipiotown and is often talked of as our mail route.
Later, we got our logs and poles and that fall I built me a house, in company with others, on the site where Scipio is now. We drew for town lots in those days, and I drew one near the public square.
Then and there I got into trouble with one Jesse B. Martin, the bishop of the ward. He wanted to know when I was going to get married and if I did not tell him I was not entitled to a lot or water for it. Bishops ruled supreme in those dayswhether they knew anything or not. , and he was as ignorant a man as I had ever met. He came out of the backwoods, and never saw anything or learned anything. I was there before he was and got the firsdt stream of water from the mountains above Round Valley Lake. That is, to put it correctly, I found water first and then got 6 young men to go with me and make the ditch that carried the water into the lake from three canyons south of the lake. That made it possible to enlarge the town.
I would not answer him, but only said that the water belonged to me, and I would have it and own more than he ever would, and I did. The trouble ran on until something had to be done, and I was in the right and could not give up. Before that, he had stopped a family of Ives from going down south to live. He wanted them to stay with him as a balance of power, as there were too many English thereand they were only fit for servants to the Americans. That was the first time I had learned what we were here for, and I did not believe him, as Johnny Bulls were not taught that way in their youth. I had a way of telling it that did not fit good with him.
Brother John Memmott and Ben Johnson pled my case for me as they could be milder than I could, and I was in danger of getting hurt, as he had a lot of cranks that would talk cutting a man off below the ears. In preaching they would say if their bishop told them to kill a man, they would do so and ask no questions. Their names were Bill Goal, Cutler and one Crandle. It was fanally settled by Apostle Amasa Lyman, who had been called in to hear the case. After all the evidence was in, he decided that the property was mine, and I did not have to tell in public or private, when I was going to be married. He said he wished that there were 10,000 more boys just like Billyso that they copuld put a stop to the bishop's little game, and all who backed him. I thought it was a great blessing that he came to decide the case.
In those days we had no nails and very little lumber and shingles in that county, so we put poles on the roof and cedar bark. Then we plastered it with mudand then covered that with dirt, as there was no lime. We used pegs for nails, and the lumber that I got for the floor, I hauled 60 miles. When I got through, my house was as good as any in town, and just as well-furnished.
I then went over to Cedar Springs and married Miss Mary Ann Johnson, and took her over to Scipio and gave her charge of our new home. We lived comfortable together, and she did not have to borrow any more than her best neighbors. We all had to depend on each other for something or other. Matches were 60 cents a box then and we had to borrow fire from the one that started a fire first, or that had covered up the fire the night before. Tea was $6.00 a pond then, and sugar $1.20 a pound when you could get it. Sheeting was $1.25 a yard and other things in proportion. A wagon that carried a load across the plains was worth $200.00. My wife had learned to card wool and make her own clothes as far as she could get wool, and then she made my clothes. When I wore buckskin pants, they were number one until they got wet, and then they would extend about 6 inches forward in the knees and about the same backwards at the seat. You could not tell whether the wearer was going to jump over the campfire or sit down.
In 1865, I began to farm upon my own farm, as far as we could call it our own. First we bought the right from the Indians, and then the bishops had to say how much you should have, as he was the law-giver. One very strange thing about it then was that only Americans were worthy to hold Church offices, but the foreigners were worthy before they came here and after, to pay on every call that the Church made on them.
I raised a good crop of grain that year and did some trading that year. At that time there was a great deal of talk about going back to Jackson County in Missouri, and our bishop would not plant a tree or build a good house as he expected a call to go back at any time, as none but the very good would be permitted to go. So there was no chance for rowdy boys like me, and all the preachers would tell us that we never could expect to go back unless we were almost perfect.
In the winter of that year or early in the next ('66), the call was made for teams and teamsters to go down to the Missouri River and meet the immigrants and bring them here. One of the boys who was called to go, reported in the latter part of March that he would be unable to go, so the teachers were sent to ask me to go in his stead. I said Yes, I would go if I was wanted, but I thought that he, Thomas Phillips, ought to go if he was called, as he claimed to do what he was called upon to do. But they wanted me, so I said yes, If I could do my fellowman any good, I was willing to go.
In those days all the talk was that the way was going to be closed up and the Saints could not come for the rivers would turn into blood and the sea would not be safe to travel upon. This had been taught ever since I could remember, and the belief of the people was from preaching that the war then going on between the north and the south would end in all the people being slainand that the Saints would go back and take the government, that the earth was the Lord'sand he was going to give it to the Saints. We would govern the world. Apostle Orson Pratt preached in Scipio on his return trip from Dixie in the south, that the Ten Tribes of the north had started to come down out of the north and would be here 7 years from that date, 1865, and that we and they would conquer the world. They have not come yet, but we young people believed it.
Well, in order to fill the call, I had to break up my comfortabler little home which I had just made, and the first I had had for ten years or more. I thought of the good of the people and to better their condition, as we all thought that the end was very near.
We concluded to sell our goods and buy a new set, which we did. First of all I had to hunt up all the cattle that we owned. The Indians had already commenced to kill settlers and steal cattle in Sanpete and on the Sevier River. Some of the cattle from Scipio had strayed over on the river and all wanted to go and get their cattle, but were afraid. I was determined to go and get mine so I started, and went up the river above Gunnison, and on my return was arrested for being alone when the Indians were so hostile, and for endangering my life. When I told them I must leave for the immigration in about 10 days they let me go. I met one John Metcalf, of Worm Creek, and he went with me for a mile or so, to show me where one of my large steers was. We found it and we parted but not until he warned me about the danger ahead of me. I had a good and fast steed that could outrun the Indians if I should see any. I was in hopes that I would not have to try it, but when I had travelled about 10 miles farther down the river, near a narrow pass , I saw three Indians as I supposed, , with their guns, and dressed just like Indians on a big hunt. Well, thinks I, "I'll have to take my chances: either run by, or run back. I concluded to go ahead. I thought maybe they had not seen me as there were some cedars between us at times. I started the steer up on a trotand then Mr. Indian started up faster, so then I determined to gallop the steer past the point and then leave him for Mr. Indian. They galloped too, and it seemed that maybe Mr. Indian would get me. Anyhoa, I outran all but one and I thought I could kill him if he ran past that point. I just passed the point and was ready to leave my steer when Mr. Indian was upon me. I reined my horse to one side and brought down my pistol on him ready to shoot when he put up his hands and said, "Don't shoot!" The up came the others in a rage and wanted to know what I was going to do and why I was going to shoot. I told them they were dressed just the same as Indians and rode like Indians and carried their guns just like Indians, and I intended to shoot the first one and then run for my life and get away. We had very hard talk together for a while, as I wanted to know why they were trying to frighten me, and they said they thought I was trying to steal the steer. They were determined to check me, but I said they could not do it, so to settle it, we agreed to make the run. I intended to make it.Their ,am with their fastest horse came after me for half a mileand in that distance I gaines 75 -100 feet and was still gaining, so I concluded that I could have made it alright. Then they wanted to buy my mare and take her to Kansas and tell the story about the near call she had had. Money was scarce at that time and with me going down east, I concluded to seel her for $75.00 and the boss gave it to me. We parted the best of friends.
I then sold all the steers that we had as my wife had three of the number , and we sold all of our goods out of the house and I took my wife back to her parents, and 6 cows and a one-year-old steer for her to sell later in the summer, so that she would not be an expense to them. I rented my farm and team to one Thomas Yates, who afterward was bishop of the people. All wanted to send what money they had with me to buy goods with, and have them freighted up by team from Payson and other places where they made a business of freighting. My father-in-law and his brother, Ben Johnson concluded to sent for a threshing machine, and hired my brother, Samuel Probert to drive the team down and back, but for me to help and look after things . So I was right in business.
We started on 15th of April, 1866, and the roads were very bad all through the mountains and the storms continued all the way down. I drove the lead team most of the way down, and one side all the way down and Thomas Parkerson of Beaver, the other side. There were 80 teams in all in the train. Brother Daniel Thompson of Fillmore was the leader, and Byron Warner, his assistant. He proved to be a very good captain and all liked him.
All went well until we reached Ophallen's Bluffs and there we were caught in a very bad thunder storm, and some of our oxen were killed. One of our boys, Joseph Perkins, of the Dixon teamsters, accidentally shot himself through the arm, and for want of time and the knowledge of how to dress the wound, he later died on the Big Blur Creek. It was like losing one's brother for us all to lose him.
We arrived in time at the river and I went with Captain Thompson to buy oxen down the river to haul back the extra freight. I bought 5 stoves and a good assortment of dry goods for the people of Scipio, thst had sent money down with me. Then with the frieght money, I bought oxen. In my own wagon I loaded the freight and hired a young man to drive it for me. I then had in charge, 4 teams: two with the threshing machine, one for the Church and one for my own. Well, the immigrants arrived in due time, and we loaded up and started for home in July. On our return the Indians were very bad, and were killing people and burning wagons in front and behind us. At Fort Laramie the US officers mustered us into service: that is, the teamsters to guard the immigrants, and commissioned Captain Thompson to take charge of us. We were subjected to the sme martial law as the other soldiers, and were drilled at all the posts on the route. We got safely through without any trouble.
We arrived home the last of September, and I delivered my team and wagon back to the owners. I forgot to state before how the teams were got up and supplied. There was a call made on those who had cattleto furnish a steer or a yoke of steers or oxen, and in that way the teams were made up. Someone would be called upon for a wagon, and those that could, had to furnish their own bedding and board. Others had to help those who could not supply their own. I furnished all my supplies for the round trip.My wife made a bushel of butter crackers for me, and put butter for me in the flour sacks. That way, it would keep for the round trip of 2200 miles.
On arriving home with teams and delivering up the goods that I bought, everyone was well-satisfied with my selection of goods. They felt well towards me for my way of buying and freighting myself. Now came the changes that had to be made during my 6 months away. My home had been moved: that is, my house had been torn down and taken to help make a fortas the Indians had made war on the people of the valley. They had killed two of the settlers and run off all the cattle and horses except a very few that the people were using. Thomas Philling, who had been called to go after immigration and failed, lost all but one white calf. I only lost two head , as I had taken mine over into the next valley to my wife's home, and left them with her. Thomas Yates, the man who rented my farm and team, had them over in the same valley, and they were saved too.
My next discovery was that of meeting my wife with a big baby boy about two months old, both looking and doing well. We stayed in my father-in-law's house all that winter, and I hauled wheat for him from Deseret.
On day as I was crossing what is known as Mud Lake, I saw something flash across my eyes from the north side of the road. Upon looking to the left side of the road, and a very short distance ahead, I saw a gun pointing to me , and a black head just over a small knoll. I jumped off my wagon on the right side, and with my gun in hand and my pistol at my belt, I concluded to defend myself the best I could. Just then, Mr. Indian jumped up and ran to the north away from me, and as I did not know whether there were any more around, I did not shoot at him, but I was glad to see him go.
Well, the next spring the Indians shot my chum and partner, Charley Wilson, and I had to go and bring his body home, as he was shot on the Sevier River. We had a very exciting time all that spring and summer. We were forted in at this time and as I was sergeant of the militia at the time, I was on duty all the time for a year and 8 months. We had to furnish our own horses and outfit, and got nothing for itexcept the thanks of the people, andlike good citizens, helped guard the country.
Then in 1867 the grasshoppers came and destroyed all our crops, and the next spring, 1868, I went over to Holden , Millard County, and together with George Nixon and Ebebezer Tanner, went up on the mountain and cut logs to build a house. We built that same year and moved into the house without windows or doors, as it was very hard to get glass or hinges. We put up sheeting for glassand got the blacksmith to make the hinges that falland winter. I cut cedars and fenced my lot and 10 acres of land.
In the spring of 1869 I cleared the ground of brush, plowed and planted the same with trees and corn. This was the year that Holden was named after one Edward Holden, who perished on the Round Valley Ridge in a snow storm, on the 3rd day of September, 1869. He had been to Nephi and Provo with wool, to get it carded into rolls. He was on his way home, bringing a boy back with him and the storm caught them about halfway home. Not being prepared for a storm, the boy chilled and could only travel to what is known as Sevier Hill. He laid down and Holden took off his coat and covered up the boy, thinking to reach home in time to get help. The storm got worse and he lost his way and perished, and so did the boy. Before this, the place was known as Cedar Springs.
We made ditches and canals and brought water from the mountains together, and made a town out of it. I sold my improvements in Scipio for cattle. We could not give a deed for it as there was no government survey in Utah at the time. I took care of my cattle and farmed a little, and traded a little, as there was very little money in the country.
In 1870 we enlarged the field by taking in more land. It was enclosed with a jopint fenceof so many rods to the acre, and there was some very good land left out and nearer town. Myself and George W. Nixon and Ebenezer Tanner took it up: that is, cvlaimed it as was - the practice at that time. To show what small minds there were around there, they forbid us using it, and took it up in a Church capacity, condemned us, and said that we should not have it, but I stayed with mine and would not give it up. After 2 years time it was all taken up by those that forbid us taking it up and was called the best land around there. I mention this as this was the beginning of a number of cases where I used my own judgment, regardless of what others said, which I was blamed for by a lot of cranks that thought the Church would always dictate in regard to the land.
In the spring of 1871, I sent to Knox's Nursery in Pittsburgh, Penn. for a lot of roses and other flowers to come by stage. They arrived and grew fine and we had the finest flower garden south of Provo. I took an interest in roses and grafted different colors . I had a rose tree with all different colors on it.
(The rest of his history was added to by his daughter, Eva P. Wood, from items gathered out of the History of Holden and other sources as well as from memory. It was written in 1961.)
1883 was the year that their meeting house got under wayand William Probert was made general manager of construction. That same year, the second counselor to Bishop David R. Stevens, Brother Ebenezer Tanner, was called to go to Beaver to help there. William Probert was called to take his place as second counselor, a position he held until 1888 or 1889.
John Jefford Ashby, Ebenezer Tanner and William Probert Jr. formed an organization of young people for the improvement of their talents, putting on plays, etc. They emphasized such qualities as punctuality and other good traits of character. This was before the Mutual Improvement move of the Church was initiated in 1875.
William Probert Jr. was the grandson of Joseph Probert and Martha Yapp, and William Gibbons and his wife, Frances Blunt. He married Mary Ann Johnson, daughter of Richard and Husselear Ann Bevans Johnson. To this couple were born 12 children: 3 bous and 9 girls, mostly in Holden, between 1866 and 1888. They had a lot of hardships and lots of sickness. In fact they lost five children one right after another. Then in February, 1883, my brother, Lyman was born deaf and dumb. This naturally caused them great sorrow.
His parents made their home in Holden too. His son, William Probert married Nellie Kenny. His daughter, Sillar Probert married William Riley Stevens. Another daughter, Mary Charlotte born May 12, 1870 and married Benjamin Ashby Stringham, son of /benjamin J. Stringham , the patriarch of Millard County. Prior to their marriage, those boys attended the Brigham Young Academy under Karl G. Maeser, which was his first class in the Academy. During the years, Father bought and freighted from the east, all kinds of commodities and sold them to the people. He gradually graduated from the old adobe houses with dirt floors to better one, and finally built a nice brick, two-storey home where I was born in 1885.
He fought in the Black Hawk War, so is one of the old Black Hawk War Veterans. In later years, they used to hold reunions at different places. The veterans would camp out in tents, with their families, cook over a campfire, make bread and cook it in a skillet, and sleep on the ground. They would have meetings, and programs and games for the children. We all enjoyed it. It would last from 3 days to a full week. You could suit yourself how long you stayed. Mother and Dad were always friendly with the Indians. They thought a lot of Mother as she could talk their language fluently and understand them. They were Ute Indians.
Father accumulated large flocks of sheep and became quite wealthy. He thought he would like to move to a larger place where there was more going on, as Holden was 50 miles from a railroad. So he sold out everything and moved to Provo in the year '89 or '90. He bought a home right next to Charles Duke, one and one-half blocks west of Brigham Young Academy. He invested in Real Estate, and also built a store and a rooming house straight across the street from the old BYU campus, and intended to have a lunch counter, school supplies, and other things necessary for students. Then upstairs there were rooms which the students could rent, which were partly furnished.
He, with two or three other men owned the street-car system and was doing fine when trouble hit. The company decided to sell bonds in the street-car business, so sent John W. Young, son of President Brigham Young, back east to sell them. He was very successful in doing so, but he kept all the moneu and went off to London, where I have heard Father tell he got in severe trouble through driving 6 white horses down the main street of London , because Royalty were the only ones allowed to do that and he knew better.In one way or another, he soon lost it all so it didn't do him a bit of good. But of course, it was a calamity to Father. He lost all he had. It was such ashock to him that he said he would fall off the couch and would have to pinch himself to see if he was still alive. It left him a poor man overnight.
When he was rich, he had all kinds of friends, but as soon as they heard he had lost all his money, his friends did not even know him, let alone try to help him. In that same year he moved tom Richfield, thought there was an opening there, but only stayed about 11 months.
Then he moved back to Holden again, and built a little home on the south part of town. Everybody burned wood for fuel, but Father brought in a load of coal: the first coal to enter Holden. I don't know what he did for a livelihood bhut he was among relatives and friends. Everywhere Father went, his daughter Charlotte and husband moved too, so they had a house right close to us. His father passed away on January 3rd, 1894. He woke up in the night and said to Grandma,"I feel queer", and went and laid on the hearth for a while. Then Grandma told him to come back to bed or he would catch a cold, so he did. When she awoke in the morning, he was dead.
In 1896, Utah was made a state and Father moved back to provo to a red brick house which was still in his name. It was just north of this store building he had built across from the BYU, but he finally lost itso we rented two other different places. Later he bought a small farm up on the east bench. Here, he had cows, which Mother always milked, also chickens, geese, several swarms of bees, some fruit trees and small fruit bushes, a pasture and an alfalfa field which supplied feed for his team and a saddle horse. They sold eggs, butter and fresh honey in the comb, as well as liquid honey. They had a very hard struggle here. Many times we had nothing but beans, milk, bread and butter. The only means of transportation was by wagon and his team. Before he bought this farm he used to work in the mines at Park City. As children we used to enjoy going up there for a few days and riding back in the mines on the little ore cars.
Father was very friendly with Jesse Knight, who told him about the vast acres of tall grass in Canada, and as he had always dreamed of having a field close by with a herd of good cattle grazing on it where he could watch them, and as there was a group of people preparing to go, he decided to join them. Among the families who went in the same company were: Lees, Vances, Bullocks, Ben Stringhams, Charles Dukes and the William R. Stevens family. So at the age of 62, he sold out again, bought cattle and started to pioneer a new land.
On March 9, 1902, on a beautiful bright spring morning: sun shining brightly with birds singing, and the grass turning green, we boarded a train bound for Raymond, Northwest Territories, Canada. When we landed there on March 13, it was 20 degrees below zero, and the ground was covered with snow. There were only 11 dwelling places, a small hotel, a barber shop, the Raymond Merc., Wood's butcher shop, the Post Office was in the Merc., and a church, which they opened for us to go in. We ate there and bedded down on the floor for the night as best we could. Next day, Father and Ben Stringham went down to the railway station, cleared the snow off, pitched a tent and put a board floor and walls in it and we moved in. For two weeks the weather stayed about the same: everything froze solid every night, bread and all, but we had a good stove so things thawed out soon.
In the meantime, Father filed on some land on the edge of the townsite, and then a chinook came. With Ben Stringham being a carpenter, and a few others to help, they built leantos with 2 rooms and a pantry. Then gradually added a living room and another bedroom. In those days they put a bed in the living room and that is where Father and Mother slept.
In the spring it started to rain, and it rained for over a month. Dad said, "I guess it's going to rain for forty days and nights. I hope we don't have another flood." The grass was beautiful. The weather got better and things went along pretty good, but Father found the cattle were rather hard for him to take care of, especially in the winters.
The town of Taber started to boom as it was on the main line of the C.P.R and there was a large coal mine there. It looked like great opportunities for the future.
In 1904, the summer after Bert and I were married, he sold out in Raymond, purchased a lot in Taber, built a cowbarn and lived in it while they were building their home, which now stands just two blocks west of the old Taber School. He and William Bullock invested in the coal mine called The Old Majestic Coal Mine. He, with others invested in a number of acres of coal, oil and gas rights as well as land. They called themselves The Independent Co., which later furnished farms for Will Stevens, Ben Stringham, and others. He also built a a store building one block straight east of the school where he carried a General store business on a small scale. At that time, it was the main business of the town. There was nothing up where the businesses are now.
In 1905 he was getting more business than he could handle, and as Bert had sold out his butcher business in Raymond, intending to go to Cardston, Father coaxed him to come to Taber with him. At first Bert said No, as he knew nothing about the business, but did know the butcher trade. Father finally convinced him to join him and the firm was called Probert and Wood. The business kept increasing, but Father decided it was getting to be too much for him, so he told Bert he was going to sell his share and if he had anyone in mind that he would like to go in with him, to get in touch with him. Bert got in touch with Byard Smith in Cardston. He came down, bought out Father's share and took it over. He moved to Taber in Dec. 1906.
Father sold the following spring and moved back to Provo. He built a nice home where they later built the Maeser Memorial Building on the BYU campus on the hill. He had a nice pasture for their Jersey cow, planted grapes, and a nice vegetable garden as well as flowers. They kept a few chickens, and seemed to be permanently settled, but it was mostly on a hillside. Mother developed Asthmas and they thought it was from carrying so many things up that hill. So Father sells again and purchases the old Hall home a block west of the store building he built and only a few doors from where he first lived in Provo, and just across the street from Charles Duke. So he was back where he started from.
In the fall of 1915, he said to Stella, "I'll be gone before the leaves come back again." In March, he took pneumonia and passed away on his birthday, March 14, 1916.
He was a self-educated man. He studied astronomy, phrenology (could read your character by the bumps on your head). He was well-posted in history and was a good public speaker, and always willing to do any kind of work.
I hope I have done justice to him and have written what and how he would want me to write. I am proud of his courage and of my heritage.
In November 1961, his great granddaughter, Connie Fisher Steed typed up this book.