Journeys of the Spirit

Blue mountains on a far horizon

Some will sleep, but all shall be changed.

One of my 23 great-great-grandfathers was Samuel Mulliner: immigrant from Edinborough in the early 1800s, polygamous husband of at least five wives, pioneer into some of the wilds of Southern Utah, and participant in an early experiment in social equality called “The United Order”.

He helped lead an emigrant wagon train which started out from Council Bluffs, Iowa in June, 1850, and arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 26. He wrote on the journey -

The company was organized on the 12th of June by Elder Orson Hyde on the camping ground 2 miles from the ferry above Bethlehem….On the 17th, our whole company camped on a creek about 3 miles West from the ferry where the officers met and passed the following resolution for the intended benefit of the company while journeying to the valley of the Salt Lake:

  • Resolved that the company will arise in the morning when the horn shall blow at 4 o’clock and after the necessary preparation for starting the horn shall blow for prayers, also the horn shall blow for prayer every evening at 1/2 past 8.
  • Resolved that if any of the company who is in the habit of profane swearing and after being reproved by their captain shall still persist they shall be published from the stand.
  • No cattle shall be taken out of the carrel till after prayer in the morning.

20 June. We traveled 10 miles, had 2 delays in crossing creeks, met a number of gold diggers returning home, saw 2 graves of our people, several cases of cholera in camp tonight, the case of Alfred Brown serious, one wagon tongue broke and replaced.

22 June. More of Brother Spafford’s children dead, making 3 in one day in the 2nd division.

24 June. Still wet – our 2nd division near us. Several more deaths in 2nd division. Captain Foote called a meeting for prayer of the whole company, also a council of all the captains. There was a good spirit manifested by all the captains…

28 June. A severe storm of rain and thunder in the night…not much water for cattle. A part of our camp not able to come to the camping ground tonight – the 3rd and 5th ten absent. The absentees came up late and for the first time we saw the power of death in our camp. One boy had fallen in a few hours and this morning.

7 July. This morning we had to bury Mrs. Hart. This being Sabbath we would fain have rested, but we had no wood nor water…Three new cases of cholera this morning…

9 July. We are camping on Plumb Creek for the purpose of washing, etc. Captain Maughan’s ten of their division fell behind some days but have come up and camped by us tonight. This captain was very dissatisfied at their slow movement, as he called it of our our camp, but some of his cattle have given out, and he couldn’t keep up. So much for go ahead folks.

11 July. We had a severe storm of rain and wind last night but the Lord preserved us all from danger. Camp in good health. One violent attack of cholera this morning, but means promptly used with the blessing of God it was an instant cure. The medicine used was 2 doses of pain killer in 15 minutes…This day we passed 25 graves….

14 July. In the afternoon when our folks had got along with their cleaning up we went to the river and I baptized and rebaptized some 30 or 40 of our camp. In the evening we had a good meeting, several of our brethren spoke well, a good spirit prevailed and we parted rejoicing.

18 July. Our camp in good health, – feed very scanty. We have passed a great many graves in the last few days mostly buried from the 5th to the 15th of June and mostly from Missouri and scarcely a grave but has been robbed of its contents by the wolves.

1 August. We traveled 12 miles today – had to stop, for an axel tree broke. A number of the Sioux Indians about us – they appear quiet. Smallpox is among them, we hope the Lord will preserve us from that plague.

7 August. We started this morning from 1/2 mile east of the Bend in the road Dead Dry Timber Creek and as the first ten reached near the deep ravine a stampede took place in the 5th ten as they were coming into line on the road. The teams that were running were providentially stopped or who can tell the awful scene that would have taken place in that deep ravine for every wagon would have been found at the bottom of it. Poor Brother Clements lost his life in endeavoring to stop the wagons. William McDonald at the risk of his life, and his horses rode in before the teams and stopped them before they got far enought to scare the front teams. Brother Clements was knocked down by the oxen, who trode on his body, and a heavy wagon passed over his bowels. He lived till toward evening.

19 August. Still in camp – 1 mile from the ford in a heavy cold rain storm, our cattle suffering with cold and hunger.

20 August. This day we saw the Sweet Water Mountains capped with snow.

3 September. We traveled 10 miles today, all well except Sister Blodgett who has been confined. She had a fine Boy – doing well.

26 September. Arrived at our long wished for homes, the City of the Great Salt Lake, making in all 101 days since we started from the Missouri River opposite Bethlehem.

At the foot of the last mountain, where we camped for the last time before we entered the valley, the first fifty were called together for the purpose of settling all difficulties, if any existed, and ask each others forgiveness, so that we could enter the Valley free from any hard feelings towards any of our brothers and sisters.

A good spirit prevailed, and all expressed a desire to forgive, and to be forgiven.

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