Monday, February 4, 2013


This is a continuation of Andrew Madsen's account of his conversion to the L.D.S. Faith and his trip across the Atlantic Ocean and the plains of North America.  His father, mother and brother, Christian  were among the William B. Hodgett's Company.  He gives their account of the very serious conditions, death and suffering of  the Hodgett's, Martin's and Hunt's Companies at Devil's Gate  and Martin's Cove.  His father, Lars Madsen, died there at the age of 61, due to the harsh conditions that he and others  had suffered . Lars Madsen  was buried at Devil's Gate, at the head of the Sweet Water and  near Martin's Ravine.

We stopped a few days at Salt Lake City and went to a meeting.  We met President Brigham Young and the leaders of the church, but could not understand much of their language.  Myself, two brothers and two sisters moved from Salt Lake City to Kaysville and there we arrived with but one dollar among us.  We were not able to get but very little work there and consequently sold one yoke of our cattle, bought provisions.  We also had a cookstove with us and this we traded for a yoke of young steers.  This I received for my portion of the outfit and I then left and went to Brigham City, December 1st and secured work with a carpenter for the winter and received for my services twelve bushels of wheat and my board.  This was very small pay but it was the best I could do.  Early in the spring my brothers and sisters moved from Kaysville to Brigham City.  Neils Peter was now married to Lena Frandsen and my sisters had both married Rasmus Frandsen, April 1857.  My father, mother and brother, Christian, who had remained in Denmark emigrated to the United States to join us in Utah.  They landed in Philadelphia and took the train to Iowa City, Iowa and remained there six weeks for some unknown cause before they could get fitted out.  They started out in July with ox teams, together with a large company under the command of Captain Wm. B. Hodgetts.  They traveled on into the wild and unsettled west, enduring many hardships.  October 9th they passed Captain Martin's hand cart company just as they were ready to start from Deer Creek after having stopped for dinner.

Many of them pulled their carts alongside of the wagons of Hodgetts  Company and it was enough to draw forth one's sympathy for them.  Seeing the aged men, women and children dragging carts and so many with haggard countenances.  They passed the Ft. Bridge  Plat and camped at the fording  place on the Plat River.

Hodgetts Company forded the river just before Captain Martins' hand cart company arrived and was further on ahead.  October 19th, the dark clouds were hovering  over the mountains and every indication was that winter would set in and on the morning of October 20th the ground was covered with snow, which continued to fall during the day and prevented their moving.  The morning of the 21st, the snow was about one foot deep, which almost prevented them from traveling.  It became very  cold and frosty.  Their oxen were getting so poor that many of them died.  As Captain Edward Martin left the soldiers' camp at Laramie, Wyoming, where they had obtained some provisions and Rogers, one of the last to leave after the Company, had gone on about a quarter of a mile, he espied Father Jonathan Stone (I think from the London Conference, a man of about 55 or 60 years of age) in the log cabin.  He was sitting on the floor by the side of a fire, the cook handing him bread and  meat, which he was devouring with relish.  Mr Rogers went and called him and begged him to come, as it was getting late in the day and he could see their company a mile or so off,  preparing to cross the river and the storm clouds were gathering quite low.  The only promise that he was able to get was that he would be along soon.  It was then between three and four o-clock and Rogers made all haste to catch the company before they commenced to cross the river.  Some of the Hodgetts teams had crossed, taking with them some of the aged men, women and children.  The remaining then began to ford the river, a distance of six or eight rods, slipping sometimes off the smooth stones, shoulders deep into the water.  Some of them were so weak and timid , but getting into the rope harness they were soon in the ice cold water, men and elder sisters, wading waist deep in several places, by keeping up courage, made the crossing without accident.  After all had crossed the river they camped for an hour or so, close by the river and after a tin cup or so of hot tea had been drunk and a bite to eat for supper, they traveled up the river a mile or two.

Father Stone did not reach the camp that night, but it was learned that he had become lost and wandered on to Captain Hunt's company, with a young girl by the hands about ten years old.  Being advised where they were, they then turned and started in the darkness in a direction of Martin's Company.  This was the last seen of Father Stone and the girl alive.  The following morning when Captain Edward Martin had missed him, he returned across the river to Hunt's camp and hearing about the last they knew of him, he turned east on our back track and within a mile learned from Peter Fredericksen, one of Hunt's guards of their death, Mr. Fredericksen having found some of the remains of both bodies and clothing upon which the Plat wolves had feasted on the night before.  The name of the girl I have never been able to learn.

On the morning of October 19th when Captain Martin's Hand Cart Company forded the crossing of the North Plat River they had to dodge while wading, the lage cakes of mush snow and ice.  The water was cold, indeed, and to many of the young women and middle aged mothers it proved a fatal crossing, resulting in the death of many and the ruining of the health of as many more, where from some of them never recovered.  The Hodgett;s Company rendered them all the assistance that was their power, but owing to their heavy loads and poor conditions of their oxen, they were barely able to handle their own luggage.  Captain Hodgetts Company, together with Willis Martin's Had Cart Company and Hunt's Company were all camped close together along North Plat River, near Red Buttes.  Owing to the heavy snow they were compelled to remain there for several days.  Franklin D. Richards in company with a number of returning missionaries, traveling with horse teams, passed the Company just before reaching Laramie and when he was at Laramie he purchased one hundred buffalo robes to be given to the emigrants when the arrived, as he knew that the cold would be severe and cause them much suffering.  This was one of the most appreciated things ever done for them as it was certainly cold and these were what the emigrants needed.  Mr. Richards arrived in Salt Lake City, October fourth and Conference was held on October 6-7-8.

When Richards arrived there, he at once made known the conditions of the emigrants and when conference was opened, President Brigham Young took up this important question and soon a relief party was fitted out and all gave what they could spare.  Equipped with wagon loads of provisions, a party set out with George D. Grant, Captain Robert T. Burton and Wm. T. Kimball, Assistant; Cyrus H. Wheelock, Chaplain; Charles Decker, Guide.  They journeyed on reaching Devil's Gate where they were snowbound.  This being the same storm which the reader will understand all the Company and Emigrants were snowbound in at the North Plat River, a short distance away, which you have just previously read about.

While the relief party were there snowbound, they sent out express men not to return until they found the Emigrants and to hasten on towards the relief company.  They traveled all day and camped in the snow that night.  The following day their horses followed a herd of buffaloes for several miles but the express men finally overtook them.  They then started back and soon were on their way in search of the companies.  After traveling on about fifteen miles, they saw a foot print of a white man in the snow.  This at once cheered the searching party and they cried out "We have found them."  They then rushed on for a short distance and came in sight of their camps.  They found Captain Martin's Hand Cart Company and Captain Hodgett's Ox Team Company and a little further down was Captain Hunt's Company, all snow boud.  There was no time lost in reaching them.

When they reached the Companies there was great rush of great joy and hand shaking, as they had nearly given up all hope of ever reaching Utah alive.  At this time they only had about a week's supply of provisions and the rations were then cut down to one half pound of flour to adults and one fourth to children.  They were at once requested to pack up and journey on to meet the Relief Party and on October 28tth, Hodgett's Company and the Had Cart Company started on toward's Devil's Gate.  The clouds began to gather together thickly for more storm and after they started the snow began to fall.  As they journeyed on it was very difficult, owing to the snow and mud.  All the men, women and children were compelled to walk as the oxen were as poor and many of them had died and they were barely able to bear the loads while ascending the muddy hills.

Conditions of great distress were witnessed.  The Companies were strung along for miles.  There were old men pulling and tugging their carts, sometimes loaded with a sick wife or child.  Women pulling along a sick husband.  Little children from six to eight years old were seen tugging along through the mud and snow.

As night came on, the mud froze on their clothes and feet.  That night they camped on Avenue Hill.  It was bitter cold and several persons died.  Next morning they started for the Relief Camp at Devil's Gate and the Relief Company moved on east meeting the emigrants at Grass Wood Creek.  Such assistance was rendered, as could be given, until they finally arrived at Devil's Gate Fort about November 1st.  There were some twelve hundred in all, one half with hand carts and the other half with ox teams.  The goods were all unloaded and they started again Sunday, November 2nd.  The snow fell very deep, the wind blowing ad drifting.  It became exceedingly cold and  on November 3rd Monday, they remained at the same place.  It was so cold that the Companies could not move during the day.  Joseph A. Young and Abe Garr were sent as an express to Salt Lake City to report our situation to get council and help.  Owing to the continued cold weather and snow the Companies were compelled to remain here several days, suffering much cold and exposure, it at times being as much as eleven degrees below zero.  ad for days the sun was not seen at all .  Charley Decker was here with General Burton and stated that he, with all his trips across the plains to Utah since 1847, had never seen the snow as deep or the cold so intense.

While remaining here suffering these many exposures and hardships, being reduced in rations to less than one half of the amount required and needed to eat, my father took sick, and after a few days of illness and suffering worn out from exposure and hardships, passed to the Great Beyond and died at the age of 61 years .  He was buried at the Devil's Gate at the head of the Sweet Water and near Martin's Ravine.  He was laid away as best that could be done under the conditions, as was many others, leaving my mother and youngest brother, Christian to move alone with the Companies.

Sunday, November 9th was a fine warm morning.  Captain Martin's had cart company and Hodgett's team company moved on at 11 o'clock.  Hunt's Company had not yet been fitted out and came on a little later.  Dan Jones, F.M. Alexander and Benjamin Hampton with several other brethren were left to reain and take charge of the goods left by Hodgett's Companies.  November 10th Monday, was a very fine morning, Captain Hunt's company moved out and the last wagons pulled out at about 2 o'clock p.m.  Captain George D. Grant, Cyrus H. Wheelock, Steve Taylor and R.J. Burton moved at 3 o'clock p.m. and camped that night with Captain Hodgett's Company.  As soon and as fast as relief teams arrived from Salt Lake, the hand carts were left and the emigrants taken in wagon load after wagon load with the goods left at the gate and soon after Captain George Grant and Company followed.  The  entire relief consisted of 350 horses and mules, 104 wagons and 16 yoke of oxen, together with all the provisions.  At Green River all the wagons were left  and most of the oxen were dead, others killed and eaten.  My mother, brother, together with others were placed in one of the relief wagons which reached there from Salt Lake and started with the companies to Utah.

When they reached the Weber River the two young men driving the team preferred to go down the Weber River and left the Company and started off alone.  They had to cross the River many times and at places the ice was broken and the horses could not pull the load up the bank and many times they were compelled to load and unload.

They were two weeks in getting through Weber Canyon on account of snow and  rough roads.  They arrived at East Weber December 21st 1855, while the other Companies arrived at Salt Lake City fully ten days earlier.  My brother, Peter, and family were living at Kaysville and learned of the arrival of mother and brother, which was a great surprise to us as we had not heard from them since we left Denmark.  My brother went to Heber with an ox team and brought them to his home which consisted of a dug out and a wagon bed.  There they remained over the winter, mother being nearly worn out from the exposure of so long a journey.  She left a good home and suffered much losing her husband and leaving all they had upon the plains.  She was glad to again be with her children and although she had sacrificed the loss of her husband and endured the hardships of the journey her faith in God and the religion she believed in caused her to rejoice and she felt that it was the will of the Lord.

to be continued

No comments:

Genealogy Quote

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."

~Alex Haley

L.D.S. Temple

L.D.S. Temple
Manti Temple