From all I can gather, William Lindsay was the straightest of arrows, a saint. In an attempt to keep his experiences accessible, I'm dedicating a few years of research into William Lindsay and putting it on this blog. Please sign the guestbook. I'd love for this to be a gathering place for discussion on the man and his family.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

1868 retrieval of pioneers

William Lindsay was part of the 1868 efforts to seek out and guide some of the very last pioneers that made the overland trek west. This call was made by Bishop Hatch and required the then 21 year old William to travel by handcart starting in June to where the end of the railroad line had reached near Rawlings, Wyoming. Below is a map of the path taken, which mostly followed the Mormon trail until Devil's gate where they split south towards Rawlings.

View 1868 John Gillespie Company in a larger map

William Lindsay devotes 3 pages detailing the journey in his journal, included below:
"About this time I was called by Bp. Hatch to drive an ox team back to the end of the railroad after emigrants who were coming to Utah. However before I started on that trip I had a promise from from my Dear girl that she would marry me when I returned in the fall. There were 4 of us called from Heber 3 from Midway & one from Charleston. From Heber Wm Moulton, Willard Carroll, B.A. Norris & Wm Lindsay. Midway Emanuel Richman, John Van Wagoner & Brigham Hamilton. Charleston Geo. Noakes. All had ox teams 3 & 4 yoke to a wagon except Carroll & Norris who had horses & mules. Hamilton was a night herd & had a horse. We started early in June & we was to meet the Captain & the main body of the train at the head of Echo Canyon. We camped on Silver creek & I came near getting hurt the oxen I had on the wagon were rather wild & had not worked on the wheel as we called it & as soon as I unhitched them & the tongue dropped they started to run & the off ox kept kicking at me as I was still between them I however got hold of the yoke & clung to it till they slacked their pace then I dodged out in front of them all right. Of course I soon learned how to prevent further trouble. The Weber river was very high & at Wanship they charged a heavy toll & we had no money so we drove down 3 mile to Rockport up to Peoa & crossed the Weber on an old bridge with the water running over it & all around it & went down to Wanship on the other side over a very rough rocky road that never been traveled before by teams.

We intended to camp at Grass Creek but just we got to the Chalk Creek bridge some boys were coming with a bunch of cows & rustled them on to the old bridge to be ahead of our string of wagons. The bridge gave way & the cows & timbers were carried down the raging stream towards the Weber river of course we camped right there. It was known that a new bridge was need ed & new stringers were all in place ready to lay the new plank on. So next morning the new plank was laid & we crossed on it. Two days after we reached Cache cave at the head of Echo & joined the main part of the train. The men & teams were mostly from West Jordan, Cottonwood & Salt Lake The Springville Provo, Battle Creek, & American Fork teams came up Proyo Canyon & joined us at Heber. Now there was over 50 wagons & that many men besides the Captain John G. Holman his assistant Chauncy Bacon & some 6 night herders. We laid over one day to get acquainted & get instructions as to our places in the train & what we were expected to do. The Captain warned us all to be very careful of our health. He said we are now starting out on a long & tedious journey that will take all summer. We have no extra men & everyone of us have our part to do. One thing I especially remember he said boys it will be warm days & cool nights traveling over the high mountain country be sure to keep your coats handy so you can slip them on each evening as the sun goes down. We started on our journey got over Bear river on bridge all right Went over the Quakingasp ridge crossed the Muddy near Bridger & on to Green river which was a raging torrent a quarter of a mile wild. Three days before 6 men were drowned there by the ferry boat being up set & it certainly was a dangerous stream to cross The wagons & men of course were taken over on the boat. But there was some 400 oxen & we had a job making them swim over to the other side We finally drove them up the river to where there was a riffle or shallow- er place & the men on horse back forced the oxen into the stream & we on foot waded into the stream as far we dare to keep them from turning back & of course the water was very cold & everybody had to get in up to their waist & stand there for hours. It took most of two days getting all the oxen over. There was several narrow escapes from drowning one, man was saved by getting hold of an ox's tail as he was being carried down the raging stream, another on a horse in swimming water the horse turned over backwards with him & kicked him but others were near & helped him out. I tell you we were all thankful & happy when everything was landed safely on the other side. Men from the other train were still there trying to find the bodies of their comrades. Some I think were never found although the river & its banks were searched for miles

Our train traveled on day after day on what was the original trail of the Pioneers passed Big Sandy, Little Sandy & Dry Sandy & Pacific Springs & on to South Pass & Sweetwater which we follow- ed down for nearly a week to Devil's Gate. From there,we struck of to the right through Whiskey Gap & on to Rawlins on the line of the U.P. railroad. Some grading was being done there at that time However we traveled on till we reached the North Platte near a railroad town called Benton*.
Here was very good feed for the oxen & it was decided best for us to camp right there until our emigrants came along. Some of the other trains went on to Laramie and got the emigrants that came in the earliest companies. We were the last train going down & we had to wait for the very last company of the season & they did not arrive till the first of September. We had taken supplies of flour bacon & beans with us enough to last us & our emigrants back home. But having to wait so long our stores would have come short, so Captain Holman took a contract to haul some hundreds of cords of wood to some of the railroad camps & us teamsters soon filled the contract & in that way raised money to buy all necessary supplies. The North Platte river was still quite high when first reached it & the best feed was on the other side of the river. So we had to take turns going over to herd the oxen we used the horses to get over & back & they had to swim. That was the only time in my life that I ever rode horses in swimming water & I was lucky in always getting a horse or mule that was easily managed. Of course we had lots of leisure time while lying over on the river but we enjoyed ourselves very well when off duty sing songs or playing games & visiting other camps as they came along on the return journey with their emigrants on their way to Utah In these trains I met several persons that I had worked with in the coal mines in Scotland. John Livingston, Wm Wilson & James Elliot among the rest. Of course we were very glad to see each other but they had to go on with their train. I met an old Scotch lady named Osborne who had been an invalid for 20 years but she had a very great desire that her body might be buried with the Saints in the land of Zion that was her great ambition & to get her daughter who was with her settled down among the Saints. The Dear old sister was very frail but she had faith that she would live to reach the valley which she did. She died at Grass Creek & was buried in the Coalville cemetery & had a Latter Day Saint funeral & a nice coffin to lay her body in."

The Pioneer Overland Travel Website, 1847-1868, repository includes accounts of all the Mormon pioneer treks, including other accounts of this journey. William Lindsay's group is listed as being assigned to the Ogden settlement in John Gillespie's account book.

Below is a list of folks assigned to William Lindsay's care for the journey (from John Gillespie's account book):

Ogden City Wm Lindsay Good teamster Good wagon 3 yoke good oxen Emmigrants lbs Luggage
William Nichols 232
Ellen Nichols
Catharine Nichols
Isabella Nichols
Mary E Nichols

Robert Broun [Brown] 178
Mary Broun [Brown]
Henry Jones 100
Rachael [Rachel] Jones
John Stevins [Stevens] 100
Mary Thomas 100
David Thomas

Ann Bryan Osborn, who died September 12th, 1868 in Coalville, Utah was disheartening for me since she was so close!

*More on Benton, Wyoming, no longer in existence but an interesting place as described here:
"Benton was Wyoming Territory's first ghost town. Benton, 11 miles east of present day Rawlins at UP milepost 672.1, lasted only three months from July to September 1868, and attained a population of 3,000. During that period, however, it provided an interesting contrast. On one hand, it had twenty-five saloons and five dance halls. During its brief existence, reputedly over 100 souls met their Maker in gunfights. One visitor referred to Benton as "nearer a repetition of Sodom and Gomorrah than any other place in America."

Grant during his 1868 visit to Wyoming visited the town. Additionally, the town in August and September 1868, provided the jumping off location for 2,000 Saints in 5 companies heading to Utah." Source: http://userpages.aug.com/bdobson/photos9.html

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