Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Journey West

Wouldn't you love to go back in time and talk with some of your ancestors? I know I would. My mother was a devoted genealogist. This was before computers when research involved snail mail. She would marvel that today all we have to do is merely turn on a computer and go online to do family history. I inherited a lot of family history from my mother which includes wonderful stories. As I'm thinking of pioneer days in Utah I can't help but think of my great, great grandmother Sarah Ann Willis Scott.

Sarah (this is her picture) was the third wife of John Scott. They came west with the Heber C. Kimball Wagon Train and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 24 September 1848. The journey started in the spring when Sarah had a six-week-old baby, but that didn't stop her from driving one of the wagons. In a letter written by Joseph Fielding Smith to one of my distant cousin's, he gave a list of the Heber C. Kimball Wagon Train. He wrote that there were 662 souls that made this journey in 226 wagons. There were 57 horses, 25 mules, 737 oxen, 284 cows, 150 loose cattle, 248 sheep, 96 pigs, 299 chickens, 17 cats, 52 dogs, 3 hives of bees, 3 doves, 5 ducks and 1 squirrel (what's with the one squirrel?). Can you imagine the size of this wagon train?

Some of the questions I'd like to ask Sarah if I could would be, where was her wagon in the line up? How did they set up camp for such a large group? How did they take care of all those animals? Questions continually come to mind.

After arriving in the Salt Lake valley, the Scotts settled in the Mill Creek area and struggled to stay alive eating rationed flour and roots such as Sego Lily bulbs. Sarah did fancy sewing for wealthier families. Again questions come to my mind such as, why did they settle in Mill Creek (good area, but just want to know)? How could Sarah raise 9 children on rationed flour and roots? Mostly I'd like to ask her if she was happy? I think her answer would have been yes, but how did she find joy in such bleak conditions? Okay as I wrote this the answer came. She counted her blessings and didn't dwell on what she lacked, but was grateful for what she had. I will be forever grateful to her and my other ancestors who sacrificed so much for their families.

Please let me know of your pioneer stories.

I found this video of pioneers heading west. In the background the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings Come, Come Ye Saints . I thought you might enjoy it.

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