Digital History>eXplorations>Children and the Westward Movement>The Trail to Utah>Mary Goble

Mary Goble

I, Mary Goble, was born in Brighton, Sussex, England 2 June 1843. My father William Goble son of William and Harriet Johnson Goble. My mother was the daughter of John and Sarah Penfold.

My childhood days were spent the same as most children. When I was in my twelfth year, my parents joined the Latter-day Saints. On November 5th I was baptized. The following May we started for Utah. We left our home May 19, 1856. We came to London the first day, the next day came to Liverpool and West on board the ship, Horizon, that evening.

It was a sailing vessel and there were nearly nine hundred souls on board. We sailed on the 25th. The pilot ship came tugged us out into the open sea.

I well remember how we watched old England fade from sight. We sang "Farewell Our Native Land, Farewell."

While we were in the river the crew mutinied but they were put ashore and another crew came on board. They were a good set of men.

When we were a few days out, a large shark followed the big vessel. One of the saints died and he was buried at sea. We never saw the shark any more.

After we got over our seasickness we had a nice time. We would play games, and sing songs of Zion. We held meetings and the time passed happily.

When we were sailing through the banks of Newfoundland, we were in a dense fog for several days. The sailors were kept busy night and day ringing bells and blowing fog horns. One day I was on deck with my father, when I saw a mountain of ice in the sea close to the ship. I said, "Look, father, look." He went pale as a ghost and said, "Oh, my girl." At that moment the fog parted, the sun shone bright till the ship was out of danger, when the fog closed on us again.

We were on the sea six weeks, when we landed at Boston. We took the train from Iowa City where we had to get an outfit for the plains. It was the end of July. On the first of August we started to travel with our ox teams unbroke and did not know a thing about driving oxen. My father had bought two yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows, a wagon and tent. He had a wife and six children. Their names were: Mary, Edwin, Caroline, Harriet, James and Fanny.

My sister Fanny broke out with the measles on the ship and when we were in Iowa Campgrounds, there came up a thunder storm that blew down our shelter, made with hand carts and some quilts. The storm came and we sat there in the rain, thunder and lightening. My sister got wet and died the 19 July 1856. She would have been 2 years old on the 23. The day we started on our journey, we visited her grave. We felt very bad to leave our little sister there.

We traveled through the States until we came to Council Bluffs. Then we started on our journey of one thousand miles over the plains. It was about the last of September. We traveled from 15 to 25 miles a day. We used to stop one day in the week to wash. On Sunday we would hold our meetings and rest. Every morning and night we were called to prayers by the bugle….

One night cattle were in the corral, which was made with wagons. When one of the guards saw something crawling along the ground. All in a moment the cattle started. It was a noise like thunder. The guard shot off his gun. The animals jumped up and ran. It was an Indian with a buffalo robe on. Mother and we children were sitting in the tent. Father was on guard. We were surely frightened but Father came running in and told us not to be afraid for everything was all right.

We traveled on till we got to the Platt River. That was the last walk I ever had with my mother. We caught up with Handcart companies that day. We watched them cross the river. There were great lumps of ice floating down the river. It was bitter cold. The next morning there were fourteen dead in camp through the cold. We went back to camp and went to prayers. We sang the song "Come, Come, Ye Saints, No Toil Nor Labor Fear." I wondered what made my mother cry. That night my mother took sick and the next morning my little sister was born. It was the 23rd of September. We named her Edith and she lived six weeks and died for want of nourishment.

We had been without water for several days, just drinking snow water. The captain said there was a spring of fresh water just a few miles away. It was snowing hard, but my mother begged me to go and get her a drink. Another lady went with me. We were about half way to the spring when we found an old man who had fallen in the snow. He was frozen so stiff, we could not lift him, so the lady told me where to go and she would go back to camp for help for we knew he would soon be frozen if we left him. When she had gone I began to think of the Indians and looking and looking in all directions. I became confused and forgot the way I should go. I waded around in the snow up to my knees and I became lost. Later when I did not return to camp the men started out after me. It was 11:00 p.m. o'clock before they found me. My feet and legs were frozen. They carried me to camp and rubbed me with snow. They put my feet in a bucket of water. The pain was so terrible. The frost came out of my legs and feet but did not come out of my toes.

We traveled in the snow from the last crossing of the Platt River. We had orders not to pass the handcart companies. We had to keep close to them to help them if we could. We began to get short of food and our cattle gave out. We could only travel a few miles a day. When we started out of camp in the morning the brethren would shovel the snow to make a track for our cattle. They were weak for the want of food as the buffaloes were in large herds by the road and ate all the grass.

When we arrived at Devil's Gate it was bitter cold. We left lots of our things there. There were two or three log houses there. We left our wagons and joined teams with a man named James Barman. He had a sister Mary who froze to death. We stayed there two or three days. While there an ox fell on the ice and the brethren killed it and the beef was given out to the camp. My brother James ate a hearty supper was as well as he ever was when he went to bed. In the morning he was dead.

My feet were frozen also my brother Edwin and my sister Caroline had their feet frozen. It was nothing but snow. We could not drive the pegs in the ground for our tents. Father would clean a place for our tents and put snow around to keep it down. We were short of flour but father was a good shot. They called him the hunter of the camp. So that helped us out. We could not get enough flour for bread as we got only a quarter of a pound per head a day, so we would make it like thin gruel. We called it "skilly."

There were four companies on the plains. We did not know what would become of us. One night a man came to our camp and told us there would be plenty of flour in the morning for Bro. [Brigham] Young had sent men and teams to help us. There was rejoicing that night. We sang songs, some danced and some cried. His name was Ephriam Hanks. We thought he was a living Santa Claus.

We traveled faster now that we had horse teams. My mother had never got well, she lingered until the 11 of December, the day we arrived in Salt Lake City 1856. She died between the Little and Big Mountain. She was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. She was 43 years old. She and her baby lost their lives gathering to Zion in such a late season of the year. My sister was buried at the last crossing of the Sweet Water.

We arrived in Salt Lake City nine o'clock at night the 11th of December 1856. Three out Of four that were living were frozen. My mother was dead in the wagon.

Bishop Hardy had us taken to a home in his ward and the brethren and the sisters brought us plenty of food. We had to be careful and not eat too much as it might kill us we were so hungry.

Early next morning Bro. Brigham Young and a doctor came. The doctor's name was Williams. When Bro. Young came in he shook hands with us all. When he saw our condition our feet frozen and our mother dead-tears rolled down his cheeks.

The doctor amputated my toes using a saw and a butcher knife. Brigham Young promised me I would not have to have any more of my feet cut off. The sisters were dressing mother for the last time. Oh how did we stand it? That afternoon she was buried.


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