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Chapter 2

We moved back to Salt Lake City in the Spring of 1856. We had nothing here to eat and had to live upon the sego and thistle. We took a stick and trimmed off the all the thistle's leaves, and peeled off the outside skin. We then ate what was left. They were rather crumpy, puckery, and left our mouths all black, as black as a stove. The little Indian potato we rather enjoyed; it was a tiny root of a pinkish color and grew along the ditch banks in funny little twists and curls. The sego, like a little seed onion, was good to eat too, and was always found upon the benches, in the high places. The place Where the State Capitol now stands, blossomed a regular garden of them.

We had good crops for harvesting in this year, but we could not wait for the crops to mature. As soon as a spot or corner ripened, we cut it because we were hungry, starving.

In one room of an old adobe school house we went to school. Rough benches we sat upon, warmed ourselves by the old fire place; we didn't have any school stoves then, you know.

As we didn't have any too much wood, we had to be mighty sparing of it as we did with warm clothes. The teacher's name was Strictly. Each year we had one pair of shoes, these were made of Valley tanned leather, and when they got wet would spread all over the side walk. When they dried out they were so stiff and hard, one could barely get them on. When we had a little tallow, we would work it into the leather and try to get them back into shape.

All the honey we had in those days, we robbed the bumble bees for. We would sneak upon them sipping honey from the thistle flower, pinch them in back of the head and take out their honey bag. We would search too, for the four little cells of honey which were hidden in the ground.

In the winter of 1858, all able bodied men were called to go into Echo Canyon to hold the soldiers from entering the Salt Lake Valley. My sister Margaret's husband, Alexander Watson, was one who was called to go into the canyon, also my two brothers, David and James. My sister and I were left home alone, (she with a very young baby) in that severe winter weather with only a green wood fire. A sack of flour stood in one corner of the large room. Often I was forced to get into bed to keep warm, or rather to keep from freezing to death. My heels were frozen, swollen and raw, with sores as big as a half dollar upon them.

We had extra good crops in 1856 and thru 1857. In this year we received word that Johnson's army was coming. Brigham Young, in the Spring of 1858, ordered all the people to move South. I went to Spanish Fork to live with my brother James and his family. After the army came into the Valley, they went forty miles south to Cedar Valley. It was known ... ?

Then, most of the people moved back to their home in Salt Lake and went about putting in their crops. Concerning the army stationed at Camp Floyd, well, this was the greatest thing that could have come to us. It really proved to be a blessing in disguise. We were then in destitute circumstances. The army brought money, food, and clothing. Our men went down and contracted chopping wood, cord wood, for fuel for the soldiers, made adobes, built houses for them, and received good money for their labor. How very true is the old saying, "God moves in mysterious ways". The army remained where they were for two years.

In 1859, Robert Watson took a contract to put up ice on the "Pelican Point" on Utah Lake. My brother David was hired by Watson. I was then thirteen years old and went along with him, helping him in and about the kitchen. The next spring, the soldiers were called back in 1860 and left without a single block of ice. Men who traveled that way said that all summer there was a fine stream of water running across the road, which served as real ice water for them to drink.

In this Spring, 1860, we moved to Riverdale, three miles out of Ogden. It seems we were always on the move in those days. It was in 1862 that I walked from Salt Lake City to Riverdale, for my bedding, and came back the very next day also on foot.

At some time there must have been a great drought that overspread this valley, Great Salt Lake, at a period before the Mormons settled it. They took out their plows, even before they had prepared a permanent shelter for their heads.

Pioneer Park marks the spot where they stopped and corralled their wagons. The ground was so hard and dry that the shear of the plow wouldn't cut it. They immediately went to work building a dam in City Creek, for the purpose of flooding the land. And so we give Brigham Young the credit of having introduced irrigation here into the West. My reason for speaking of this great drouth was because we were living at Riverdale in the late fifties and early sixties, and I used to travel between Riverdale and Salt Lake City by team, not by way of Kaysville and Farmington, however, but straight South from the location of Clearfield (today) over the barrens of the lake, and a prettier road one never traveled on. It was as smooth as the floor, soft and restful to the feet of the cattle and horses.

Farmington lay away to the East of us and still the lake was two miles to the West. I was told that the cattle belonging to the Church were driven across to Antelope Island and that the lake was so low that all one needed when fording the same was a pair of hip boots.

I used to haul salt, just loads of it. The salt beds were deep, some six inches and easy it was to shovel. When we made the trip with oxen, it took us two days, but with mules, we could cover the distance in half the time. The salt I hauled was turned in to the tithing office as tithing, and I was credited with the sum of four dollars per ton.

The reason for much being accepted as tithing was that the people living away to the North and South (where the salt was not to be had).

Chapter 3


This page last updated on February 20, 2010 .