Friday, October 4, 2013

Pioneer Memories As Related by C.W. Anderson ~ from the Johanna Madsen Hafen Collection

C.W. Anderson wrote this as second person version.  The red marks made on the original manuscript changes it to "first person".

In the year 1854 a company of people set sail from Scandinavia.  It took them nine days to cross the North Sea, with their sailing vessel.  This same distance with distance now with steamers can be traveled in less than three days.  On their way to Liverpool they were nearly ship wrecked.  They left Liverpool on Christmas Eve.  That same night they were driven on dry land on the other side of the English Channel (France).  Here they had to wait til the tide came in to carry them off the land.  They found their ship was damaged and had to go back to Liverpool for repairs.  On the way back, when in the middle of the channel, they collided with another ship and almost went down. After arriving at Liverpool, they had to stay at a boarding place for six weeks, waiting for another ship.  It took them nine weeks to go from Liverpool to New Orleans.
They were then driven by the tide as far south as the Isthmus of Panama.

On their trip they buried fourteen people in the ocean.  They were followed three days by pirates, who were at times so close that their faces could be seen.
The people on board got their guns, knives and four cannons on board ready for use, if needed, should an attack be made.  For some reason the pirates changed their minds.

In crossing the Gulf of Mexico there was a man who fell overboard.  When they arrived in New Orleans, the people were having a sale or trade on negroes.  In going up the Mississippi River in a steamer to St. Louis there were five people who fell overboard, but no attention was paid to them.  It took two weeks to make the trip up the river.

At St Louis the cholera broke out among them, and during the two weeks while the went by boat from St. Louis to Fort Leavenworth there were a great many that died.

While crossing the plains they saw buffaloes by the thousands.  The pioneers had to corral their cattle at night.  This was done by driving their wagons in a circle with the cattle inside the circle.  Sometimes in the day the buffalo were so thick that they would stampede their teams.  But they were not allowed to shoot them for fear they would fight.

The party reached Salt Lake on the 27th of September 1855.  During the winter of 1855-1856 it was very severe. The snow was three feet deep in Brigham City.  Many of the cattle starved to death, and their meat was all the people had to eat because the grasshoppers had taken their crop.  Therefore, when ever an animal died their meat was eagerly taken.  In the spring and summer about all there was to subsist on was sego roots and thistle stalks. One day mother, by mistake ate a poisonous sego, and results was convulsions and almost death.  They had no bread whatever from Christmas until the 24th of July.  The second year after arriving in Utah, however, was a better one, and they thought the crop was a good one.  It is strange to remember that they had been almost three years before a pig was seen.

One morning, during the first year, the mother and son of this family went out into the fields to look at their wheat and found it frozen.  They had started for home in dismay.  They became very hungry having not had anything to eat all day, and very little for previous days.  They came to a small spring of cold water, but before drinking, they blessed the water, and when they drank it, it satisfied their hunger, so that they were not hungry the rest of the day.

In the early spring of 1859,or March 20th, 1859, this family were among the original pioneers to Mt. Pleasant.  And since that time  have always had plenty and been happy and content.  Up to this time the men were mostly dressed in buckskin, both shirt and pants, and in many instances mostly bare footed.

The first construction in Mt. Pleasant was the fort which was built of rocks located on the block where the old Union Store and Opera House now stands (Madsen's Store) (2013 Recreation Center).  The first adobe house was built first house south of where the Armory Hall now stands (Wheeler's Drive In 2013).  The second house was where Mrs. Wise now lives (?), and the third by Nils Widergreen, on the block now owned by Wasatch Academy.  The adobies were made by John Waldermar.

Sometimes when people didn't have access to a cradle, they pulled the wheat up by the roots with their bare hands, and when this was done, the stacks would be as black as the ground.  The women and the girls always helped in the fields.  The Indians  often caused a great deal of trouble to the pioneers.

Plowing was done with ox teams, sowing by hand, reaping with a cradle, binding of bundles by hand, threshing was done by oxen stepping on the grain, and cleaning was done by the wind.

One particular plow, and that was a good one, was made entirely by wood, with the exception of about 5 percent iron. Iron was very scarce..

At the first celebration in Mt. Pleasant 1860, an oxen was killed and a public dinner was given in the bowery, built just east of the now social hall. A pitch pine arch in  each corner of the bowery furnished light for evening, many dancing barefoot on the dirt floor.  Music was furnished by John Waldemar and James Hansen.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

(The family referred to was the Niels Widergreen Anderson Family)

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