Pioneers by shimeiyan


									                    Times and Seasons
     "To see such a large body of men, women and
children, compelled by the inefficiency of the law, and
   potency of mobocracy, to leave a great city in the
  month of February, for the sake of the enjoyment of
   pure religion, fills the soul with astonishment, and
 gives the world a sample of fidelity and faith, brilliant
as the sun, and forcible as a tempest, and as enduring
                          as eternity.
    May God continue the spirit of fleeing from false
 freedom, and false dignity, till every Saint is removed
  to where he 'can sit under his own vine and fig tree'
  without having any to molest or make afraid. Let us
                        go—let us go"
    ("February," Times and Seasons, 1 Feb. 1846).
Thomas Kane
―I had left my steamer at Keokuk, at the foot
     of the Lower Fall, to hire a carriage,
     and to contend for some fragments of a dirty meal
with the swarming flies, the only scavengers of the locality.
   "From this place to where the deep water of the river
    returns, my eye wearied to see everywhere sordid,
vagabond, and idle settlers, and a country marred, without
         being improved, by their careless hands.
   I was descending the last hill-side upon my journey,
 when a landscape in delightful contrast broke upon my
view. Half encircled by a bend of the river, a beautiful city
   lay glittering in the fresh morning sun; its bright new
            dwellings, set in cool green gardens,
 ranging up around a
 stately dome-shaped
     hill, which was
  crowned by a noble
  edifice, whose high
   tapering spire was
radiant with white and
  The city appeared to cover several miles, and beyond it, in the
background, there rolled off a fair country, chequered by the careful
                    lines of fruitful husbandry.
The un-mistakeable marks of industry, enterprise, and educated wealth
everywhere, made the scene one of singular and most striking beauty.
I could have supposed the people hidden in the houses, but the doors
   were unfastened; and when at last I timidly entered them, I found
  dead ashes white upon the hearths, and had to tread a tip-toe, as if
walking down the aisle of a country church, to avoid rousing irreverent
                   echoes from the naked floors.
It was after nightfall when I was ready to cross the river
on my return. The wind had freshened since the sunset,
and the water beating roughly into my little boat, I edged
   higher up the stream than the point I had left in the
           morning, and landed where a faint
           glimmering light invited me to steer.
Here, among the dock and rushes, sheltered only by the
    darkness, without roof between them and the sky,
 I came upon a crowd of several
  hundred human beings, whom
   my movements roused from
uneasy slumber on the ground. ..
"Dreadful, indeed, was
 the suffering of these
    forsaken beings;
 bowed and cramped
with cold and sunburn,
  alternating as each
  weary day and night
dragged on, they were,
almost all of them, the
   crippled victims of
They were there because they had no homes, nor hospital,
 nor poor-house, nor friends to offer them any. They could
  not satisfy the feeble cravings of their sick; they had not
 bread to quiet the fractious hunger-cries of their children.
 Mothers and babes, daughters and grand-parents, all of
   them alike, were bivouacked in tatters, wanting even
  covering to comfort those whom the sick shiver of fever
                was searching to the marrow.
 "These were Mormons, in Lee county, Iowa, in the fourth
 week of the month of September, in the year of our Lord
1846. The city—it was Nauvoo, Ill. The Mormons were the
    owners of that city, and the smiling country around.
 And those who had stopped
    their ploughs, who had
silenced their hammers, their
axes, their shuttles, and their
workshop wheels; those who
  had put out their fires, who
 had eaten their food, spoiled
 their orchards, and trampled
under foot their thousands of
acres of un-harvested bread;
  these were the keepers of
their dwellings, the carousers
    in their Temple, whose
drunken riot insulted the ears
          of the dying.
                 Eliza R. Snow recorded:
 On the first night of encampment at Sugar Creek, nine
infants were born. The weather was extremely cold, and
        the Saints did not have adequate shelter.
   ―Mothers gave birth to offspring under
   almost every variety of circumstances
imaginable, except those to which they had
 been accustomed; some in tents, others in
   wagons—in rain-storms and in snow-
storms. I heard of one birth which occurred
under the rude shelter of a hut, the sides of
 which were formed of blankets fastened to
 poles stuck in the ground, with a bark roof
 through which the rain was dripping. Kind
    sisters stood holding dishes to catch
     the water as it fell, thus protecting
        the new-comer and its mother
            from a shower-bath. …
  ―Let it be remembered that the mothers of these
 wilderness-born babes were not … accustomed to
roam the forest and brave the storm and tempest. …
         Most of them were born and
educated in the Eastern States—had
there embraced the gospel as taught
  by Jesus and his apostles, and, for
        the sake of their religion, had
 gathered with the saints, and under
  trying circumstances had assisted,
by their faith, patience and energies,
   in making Nauvoo what its name
 indicates, ‗the beautiful.‘ There they
   had lovely homes, decorated with
   flowers and enriched with choice
    fruit trees, just beginning to yield
   ―To these homes … they had just
   bade a final adieu, and with what
     little of their substance could be
  packed into one, two, and in some
instances, three wagons, had started
                out, desertward‖
             Eliza R. Snow
                            Thomas Bullock
                            September 1846
"Dear Father,
  "I have been shaking every day for the last month and can scarce
     write any…My little boy says 'dadda I wish we were out of this
   country, for when I've done shaking I can get nothing to eat—we
  have all been 'shake, shake, shaking' more or less for the last five
     weeks. A fortnight ago, I, Henrietta, & Thomas Henry were not
expected to live thro the day—I sent to the Trustees for something to
cure us or we might be dead before the morrow—Heywood & Fulmer
  ordered Whitehead to come up & see us, & learn what I needed—
      but he has never been yet—and if it had not been for a little
Charity—and Henrietta selling her clothes we should all have died of
 starvation—it will almost be a miracle if you see little Willard alive for
   he has fallen away dreadful this week—and if you was to see me
   and my family at this moment, you would say we had either been
  whitewashed or had risen out of our graves—we have not the least
               idea where our next meal is to come from.
                        SECTION 136
    The word and will of the Lord, given through President
Brigham Young at the Winter Quarters of the Camp of Israel,
Omaha Nation, West Bank of the Missouri River, near Council
Bluffs, Iowa. Journal History of the Church, January 14, 1847.
  Two years before the Prophet Joseph Smith died, he prophesied that ―the
  Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the
   Rocky Mountains,‖ and that some of them would ―live to go and assist in
  making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty
 people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains‖. In fulfillment of this prophecy,
some 70,000 Church members from all over the world made the trek to Utah
                           between 1847 and 1869.
It took the Saints 131 days to travel the 310 miles from Nauvoo to the
    settlements in western Iowa where they would pass the winter of
    1846–47 and prepare for their trek to the Rocky Mountains. This
    experience taught them many things about travel that would help
them more quickly cross the 1,000 miles of the great American plains,
          which was done the following year in about 111 days.
  A number of settlements of Saints stretched along both sides of the
                             Missouri River.
   The largest settlement, Winter Quarters, was on the west side, in
   Nebraska. It quickly became home to approximately 3,500 Church
 members, who lived in houses of logs and in dugouts of willows and
dirt. As many as 2,500 Saints also lived in and around what was called
      Kanesville on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. Life in these
 settlements was almost as challenging as it had been on the trail. In
the summer they suffered from malarial fever. When winter came and
      fresh food was no longer available, they suffered from cholera
 epidemics, scurvy, toothaches, night blindness, and severe diarrhea.
                         Hundreds of people died.
     Yet life went on. The women spent their days cleaning, ironing,
   washing, quilting, writing letters, preparing their few provisions for
    meals, and caring for their families, according to Mary Richards,
      whose husband, Samuel, was on a mission in Scotland. She
  cheerfully recorded the comings and goings of the Saints at Winter
Quarters, including such activities as theological discussions, dances,
              Church meetings, parties, and frontier revivals.
 The men worked together and met often to discuss travel plans and
      the future site for the settlement of the Saints. They regularly
cooperated in rounding up the herds that foraged on the prairie at the
      outskirts of the camp. They worked in the fields, guarded the
  perimeters of the settlement, constructed and operated a flour mill,
  and readied wagons for travel, often suffering from exhaustion and
   illness. Some of their work was an unselfish labor of love as they
 prepared fields and planted crops to be harvested by the Saints who
                             would follow them.
Brigham Young‘s son John called Winter Quarters ―the Valley Forge of
 Mormondom.‖ He lived near the burial grounds there and witnessed
   the ―small mournful-looking trains that so often passed our door.‖
He recalled ―how poor and same-like‖ his family‘s diet of
corn bread, salt bacon, and a little milk seemed. He said
mush and bacon became so nauseating that eating was
  like taking medicine and he had difficulty swallowing.
Only the faith and dedication of the Saints carried them
                 through this trying time.
Wonderful sights as well as hardships awaited these travelers on their journey.
Joseph Moenor recalled having ―a hard time‖ in getting to the Salt Lake Valley.
But he saw things he had never before seen—great herds of
          buffalo and big cedar trees on the hills.
Others remembered seeing vast expanses of
sunflowers in bloom.
 I was decidedly tired, nearly unto
    exhaustion. Fearing that my
  riding, which was 'agin' the law'
would be discovered, I slipped the
 broad board from the barrel head
      and conceived the idea of
    dropping down in the barrel,
   secure from the eyes of those
 who might oust me from my seat
  in the wagon if I were found. To
  my surprise, if not amazement, I
    discovered when I let myself
   down in the barrel that my feet
    were into about three or four
inches of a sticky liquid substance
       which turned out to be
   The smarting of my chapped feet almost
  made me scream with pain, but I stifled it.
 Too tired to attempt to climb out, I remained
   and gradually slipped down and went to
 sleep doubled up in the bottom of the barrel
 with such results as can well be imagined. It
    was daylight when I woke up and there
   began to be the usual camp noises and
    teamsters shouting to each other to be
prepared to receive the incoming team driven
   from the prairie by night herdsmen. As I
  crawled out of the uncomfortable position,
and with molasses dripping from my trousers,
   I was greeted with yells and laughter by
  some of the teamsters and emigrants who
 caught sight of me. I crept away as fast as I
could to scrape off the syrup, which added to
     the weight and thickness of shirt and
trousers, for there was no change of clothing
  for me, and so bedaubed I had to pass on
 until dusk and drying somewhat obliterated
                the discomfort."
  While most Saints moved to
    the Rocky Mountains by
     traveling overland from
   Nauvoo, a group of Saints
from the eastern United States
   traveled a sea route. On 4
   February 1846, 70 men, 68
    women, and 100 children
boarded the ship Brooklyn and
  sailed from New York harbor
  on a 17,000-mile journey to
 the coast of California. During
their voyage two children were
    born, named Atlantic and
  Pacific, and 12 people died.
  The six-month trip was very
The passengers were closely crowded in the heat of the tropics, and they had
only bad food and water. After rounding Cape Horn, they stopped on the island
of Juan Fernandez to rest for five days. Caroline Augusta Perkins recalled that
 ―the sight of and tread upon terra firma once more was such a relief from the
 ship life, that we gratefully realized and enjoyed it.‖ They bathed and washed
  their clothing in the fresh water, gathered fruit and potatoes, caught fish and
    eels, and rambled about the island exploring a ―Robinson Crusoe cave.‖
   On 31 July 1846, after a
 voyage marked by severe
storms, dwindling food, and
  long days of sailing, they
 arrived at San Francisco.
       Some stayed and
established a colony called
   New Hope, while others
    traveled east over the
 mountains to join with the
 Saints in the Great Basin.
―Life isn‘t always easy.
  At some point in our
  journey we may feel
 much as the pioneers
   did as they crossed
Iowa—up to our knees
 in mud, forced to bury
  some of our dreams
      along the way.
 We all face rocky ridges, with the wind in our face and winter
coming on too soon. Sometimes it seems as though there is no
  end to the dust that stings our eyes and clouds our vision.
Sharp edges of despair and discouragement jut out of the terrain to slow
our passage. … Occasionally we reach the top of one summit in life, as
 the pioneers did, only to see more mountain peaks ahead, higher and
more challenging than the one we have just traversed. Tapping unseen
 reservoirs of faith and endurance, we, as did our forebears, inch ever
   forward toward that day when our voices can join with those of all
              pioneers who have endured in faith, singing,
                          ‗All is well! All is well!‘ ‖
                        (Elder M. Russell Ballard.)
        Many who have gone before us have
demonstrated that our inner happiness has little to
    do with our outer circumstances. The external
conditions weathered by these pioneers were often
   harsh, and winter's severity forced them to take
    refuge in temporary settlements referred to by
  trappers and explorers as ""winter quarters." The
fact that these brave pioneers persevered, despite
  their struggles, suffering, adversity strengthened
 their resolve and deepened their communal spirit.
  Fortunately, this austere existence did not crowd
   out of life the joy of living. Laughter, merriment,
 playfulness, the lively strains of the violin, and the
dancing party were still observed. Music and song
      nowhere and at no time better served their
    purpose of cheering the hearts of men than in
            these wilderness encampments.
Laughter, merriment,
playfulness, the lively
 strains of the violin,
and the dancing party
 were still observed.
    Music and song
 nowhere and at no
  time better served
    their purpose of
cheering the hearts of
  men than in these
   "They did dance! None of your
     minuets or other mortuary
      processions of gentles in
     etiquette, tight shoes, and
  pinching gloves, but . . . French
  fours, Copenhagen jigs, Virginia
reels, and the like forgotten figures
 executed with the spirit of people
 too happy to be slow, or bashful,
 or constrained. Light hearts, lithe
 figures, and light feet, had it their
   own way from an early hour till
  after the sun had dipped behind
       the sharp skyline of the
             Omaha hills.
  …and the like forgotten figures executed with the
 spirit of people too happy to be slow, or bashful, or
constrained. Light hearts, lithe figures, and light feet,
 had it their own way from an early hour till after the
   sun had dipped behind the sharp skyline of the
                      Omaha hills.
   Silence was then called,
     and a well cultivated
    mezzo-soprano voice,
  belonging to a young lady
 with fair face and dark eyes,
      gave with quartette
accompaniment a little song,
  the notes of which I have
     been unsuccessful in
  repeated efforts to obtain
a version of the text, touching
   to all earthly wanderers:
   ‗By the rivers of Babylon
    we sat down and wept.
       We wept when we
      remembered Zion‘"
          Thomas Kane
I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor
     angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
    nor things present, nor things to come,
 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
  shall be able to separate us from the love of
    God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
                 Romans 8:38-39

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