Our Hunt Family Returns To Salt Lake
This writer suggests that if the reader may not be conversant with the term "The Reformation" as is often referred to in Church history as having occurred in 1856 - the year of which we are dealing with Daniel D. Hunt - that he or she take a few minutes time and review this period from one of several historical accounts by various Church historians. It is interesting that our own Daniel D. Hunt played a part.
For a period of ten years - 1846 when driven from Nauvoo, until the year of which we are dealing, 1856 - life for the entire membership of the church was not normal, physically or emotionally. Being driven from one's home and being forced to leave behind most of his worldly possessions, was far from normal, in this portion of what has been classified for centuries as a civilized world. Those who forced the issue were classified as Christians, in fact, were often being led by their respective church ministers. No respect was shown for sex or age. Women with their infants received no preferential treatment, nor did the aged, the sick, the infirm. All were swept before the unrelenting tide of persecution, for no other reason than being disciples of the great Restoration of the gospel. All any one of them had to do to exempt themselves from this devastation, was to renounce their conviction. Some did, but most dared not to go contrary to that which knew to be a fact - that the Lord was in their time, communing with newly-appointed prophets in preparation for the Savior's Second Coming.
Without homes, their new mode of living was foreign to the most of them. Adjustments had to be made. Several months of tortuous travel, where only the Indians and buffalo roamed, was far from normal. They found themselves in a situation where preservation of their own lives, was all the strongest of them could do. The weakest succumbed - at least six thousand of them - with their faces toward Zion, even in spirit, despite the fact that their bodies had to be planted under the surface of the rocky soil over which they were traversing. The hot desert sun nor the cold wintry chill seemed not to have been spared by Mother Nature. These good people had all they could take - and more.
After reaching their destination, there seemed nothing but desolation - even for those who were permitted to remain in the Valley, such as out Hunt and Wilkes families. This was little more than the beginning, for parched, barren ground had to be made farmable. Shelters had to be constructed from the clay that may have been underfoot.
These pioneering hardships did not lend to "normal living", particularly up to the year of which we are referring - 1856. The Wilkes family arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1850, and at the time, their non-related Hunt family arriving in 1852 - a range of from four to six years in the Valley, respectively. During those early years, considerable camp and frontier life was involved. There was much moving about, unrest, absence of settled conditions everywhere, all of which made it difficult to establish regularity of life. All too often, this resulted in failure to enforce discipline in individual life, as well as in family life.
The Mormon code of life was expected to be of a higher order, which under conditions described above, was difficult to maintain in all instances. Oft-times old habits were resorted to. We must remember such teachings as the Word of Wisdom - to do without tobacco, strong drinks, even less strong , such as tea and coffee, had not had generations of "practice", such as with our generation today. Also, these people probably didn't fully realize the full importance of observance of this great health law, such as we today should realize. There are reports of a disregard of proper care in the use of profanity, often brought on by the rugged lives these people found themselves in. Many were neglecting the regularity of their prayers, and reasoned that their days were not sufficient to get all the work needed to be done within a week's time, and otherwise, found excuses for breaking of the Sabbath Day. Infidelity between husband and wife was occasioned, and the law of chastity was being infringed on, to an extent that became a deep concern. In fact, the whole gamut of the moral law became a real concern not only to the General Authorities, but likewise, to local ward and stake authorities. Bu the middle of the year, 1856, a great missionary movement directed toward rectifying these conditions was started.
In the Comprehensive History of the Church B. H. Roberts writes:
"The 'Reformation' began at a conference at Kaysville, in Davis County, held on the 13th of September, continuing through four days: President Jedediah B. Grant (2nd counselor to President Brigham Young in the First Presidency), Joseph Young of the First Council of Seventy, and William Willes -being the most prominent factors."
This same history goes on to say:
"On the third day 500 people renewed their religious obligations in the act of baptism. 80 of whom were baptized by Elder Grant himself.
"The 'Reformation' proposed went chiefly to the practical affairs in life. According to the minutes of the meeting published at the time, the text of Elder Grant's first discourse and exhortation in the movement, was supplied by Brigham Young: '"Saints, live your religion"'.
"The speaker urged that the saints hold sacred their baptismal covenants: 'observing cleanliness in their persons, and dwellings, setting their families in order, carefully cultivating their farms and gardens, and not to feel so anxious to have more land that they could not attend to themselves: to gather into and build up the fort and settlement; and concluded by praying that all those who did not feel to do right might have their way opened to leave the people and territory of Utah, and that those who did not come forward and do their first works, (i.e. renew religious obligations by baptism), let them be unto you as heathen men and publicans, and not numbered among the saints.'"
The above paragraph, while quoted from the Comprehensive History of the Church, had been in turn quoted from the newspaper, The Deseret News, as of September 24, 1856.
From the first day of meetings in Kaysville on the 13th of September, which was the commencement of the "Reformation" effort, meetings were held on a daily basis throughout the area from Kaysville to the north to Farmington, and thence south into the wards in the Salt Lake area. Then on south to, at least, Spanish Fork and eastward from Provo, which required several months time on the part of the Church officials, who were called to lead in this movement.
Undoubtedly, the reader of this history will wonder why this writer is taking the space and time to relate the purpose and events dealing with what seems on the surface to be general Church history, rather than confine this to what could be classified as family history, and in this instance, the Hunt family.
The answer is simple, but interesting. The fact is that Daniel D. Hunt was very much a part of the entire movement, and which had to have been assignment from the Authorities. We are cognizant of the fact that this family member was one of the presidents - and very likely the senior president - of the Seventies quorum, which at that time was over the region of a large portion of the Salt Lake and surrounding areas as has previously been explained. In the previous chapter's closing account of Daniel D.'s record in Lake City, the minutes of the last meeting in which his name was mentioned, they made reference to what was specifically termed "The Call-up". His preaching his first discourse appears to have been a new assignment. As his next several months of activity bears out, it appears there is a close connection between what was transpiring in Lake City, and the new movement in the Church which became known as "The Reformation" period. It is most likely, due to this new assignment, that the Hunt family moved from Lake City back to Salt Lake City. This evidence will be forthcoming as we proceed with our story.
During the year 1977, following our eighteen-month mission to England, considerable time was spent in the Historian's Department in Salt Lake City, researching materials to complete a joint assignment from the presidents of the Rupert and Paul, Idaho stakes. This assignment was to write a history of the Minidoka Stake from the time it was organized, until its subsequent division - a period of fifty years. This history of three hundred fifty pages, was completed and processed in a hard-back binding, and has been distributed throughout the two stakes. It was while in the process of this research, that I had access to the original Journal History of the Church. Wilford Woodruff has been credited as perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest contributor to that journal. It appears this Journal History has become a basic fountain for most of present-day Church histories. It was on the 20th of January 1977, that as I was browsing through the early years of that manuscript history, I discovered the name of my great-grandfather, Daniel D. Hunt, who appeared to have played a prominent part in the subject at hand, "The 1856 Church Reformation". I have since concluded that the above quotations B. H. Roberts used in his, "A Comprehensive History of the Church", most likely originated from this Journal History.
These brief quotations come from the Journal History relative to the topic under discussion - The Reformation. "On Saturday 13 September inst. (1856) President Jedediah M. Grant and Joseph Young, in company with Elders Daniel D. Hunt, Gilbert Clements, Thomas Grover and William Willies (home missionaries) held a conference at Kaysville, Davis County."
The minutes of this meeting stated that among the speakers, Elder Hunt followed on the necessity of the Saints gathering into forts.
The next day, Sunday, in the 7 p.m. meeting (three public meetings were held daily) the minutes read: "Animated addresses were delivered by President Grant and Joseph Young and Elders Hunt and Willes."
Separate and apart from the series of meetings being reported on, but in the Journal History of the same dating, it was reported that a letter had been received by President John Taylor (president of the Quorum of Twelve) from Erastus Snow, which was dated 15 September 1856, who was then on the Steamer "Polar Star" on the Missouri River. He wrote to the effect that the Church emigration business was being closed down for the season at that point, due to the fact that the last of the handcart companies and wagon trains had left the Missouri area for Salt Lake City. The last company having left on August 1st under Captain Hunt.
As we are all aware, the Captain Hunt referred to was none other than Daniel D. Hunt's son, John A., who was returning home from his mission to England, after four years absence, or nearly so. He left Salt Lake City in 1852, and was now returning, but would not arrive until in December of 1856. More will be written of him later, but now we return to his father, Daniel D. Hunt, who is assisting with a series of meetings up and down the Wasatch Range on either side.
After a three-day set of meetings in Kaysville, the missionary group started a like series of meetings in Farmington to the south of Kaysville. The minutes of these meetings states that on September 16th, "Elder Daniel D. Hunt bore testimony to the work that had commenced in the ward north." The conference continued the following day, and "Elder Daniel D. Hunt spoke on the practical duties of Saints and exhorted the people to bring in their tithes and offerings, and see if the Lord would not pour out a blessing such as there will not be room to contain."
The minutes of the 9 a.m. meeting of the third day -- 18 of September - reads that "President Grant (Jedediah M. Grant, 2nd counselor to President Brigham Young) remarked that we ought to produce and manufacture everything we need to eat and wear and ought to do something to support the home missionaries and that the Seventies ought to support their president, Joseph Young, without his saying a word concerning the matter. He wished the home missionaries to bless the people; whereupon Elders Hunt, Gates, Grover, Clements and Willes blessed the people in the name of the Lord."
Eleven days later - Monday, 29 of September - we find the same group in a 10 a.m. meeting all the way around what we know today as the "Point of the Mountain" and south to Spanish Fork, a distance of approximately fifty miles. Those minutes read : "Brother Hunt made a few remarks in regard to the good feeling that prevailed during the conference ; said that he felt as though angels were in our midst". At the 7 p.m. meeting, "After remarks by Bros. J. Young, Hunt and Grover, President Hunt adjourned the meeting."
Indications are that this group of home missionaries, under the direction of the General Authorities, especially President Joseph Young of the First Council of Seventy, continued with the reformation meetings.
Minutes of the Jordan Mill Branch, Salt Lake County, West Jordan, reveal a like series of meetings held there on October 15th and 16th. At these meetings, Patriarch John Young, Daniel D. Hunt and J.W. Long, were in attendance and in the minutes of the 10 a.m. session of the first day, it is stated : "Elder Hunt was chosen to preside over the conference, and among some of his later remarks, they read: "Elder Hunt spoke on self government and of the judgements of the Almighty being at hand if we do not repent of our sins and turn to God."
It will not be the purpose of this account to attempt to give more detail relative to the additional missionary effort extended by Daniel D. Hunt and his associates. A later meeting enjoyed the spirit of the Lord to the extent that the "congregation seemed to be lighted up with the Holy Ghost; they prophesied, spoke in tongues and had the interpretation thereof, and the blessings of Almighty God rested upon them."
The purpose of the Reformation was to encourage members of the Church to turn away from their careless ways, and to rededicate themselves to the cause of the gospel, apparently great success was experienced. Hundreds of people in practically every locality these ambassadors of repentance went during the latter half of the year, 1856, recommitted themselves to the original covenants they had made at their original baptisms into the church. In their recommitment, they were rebaptized as a witness that they would do better. The minutes of the many meetings held, relate to the part Daniel D. Hunt played in this great campaign for righteous. At many of the meetings, the minutes recognize him as being the presiding authority present, undoubtedly due to the fact of his presidency position in his Seventies quorum.
It appears that this particular campaign, in which Daniel D. was involved, was s special calling from the General Authorities of the Church, with a time limitation of a few months, perhaps two or three months. Daniel D's assignment was confined to the Utah area from Kaysville on the north, to Spanish Fork on the south, a distance as previously stated, of approximately fifty miles. No ward minutes are located which would lead us to believe this special assignment lasted beyond the last of October of that eventful year of 1856. However, Daniel D. was not left to rest, for by the 4th of November, he had received another assignment, one with less traveling, for this time he was given a call to serve with two other brethren, on a special local mission to the 14th ward of Salt Lake city. The mission call to which we have a copy is addressed:
Elder Daniel D. Hunt,
This certifies that yourself and Elders
Levi Richards & Enock B. Tripp are appointed to preach the Gospel of Repentance
to the people of the 14th ward of this city, and get them to live their religion.
Nov. 4, 1856
F. D. Richards
Note the signatures of two members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles
To confirm our supposition that the Hunt family had returned to the Salt Lake City area from Lake City where they went early in 1853, returning early in 1856, a city tax assessment is shown below:
The fact that the statement labels itself as being a city money tax, probably does not infer that there were other forms of taxation. There is, however, a possibility there could have been a "labor" tax, such as being required to spend a given amount of time on street work by an individual perhaps with a wagon and team of horses or a pair of oxen. One may construe an inference from the above wording. Undoubtedly, the $3.10 was Daniel D's proportionate share for the year 1856, for we are aware that the family was in Lake City until, at least, the middle of February. Not that, apparently nine years after arriving in Salt Lake City, a regular municipal office building had not been erected in a downtown location for city officialdom. If so, at least the city assessor and collector was not given room, for the above statement plainly indicates that Mr. J.C. Little was operating from his office which was located in his residence, indicated by the fact that he lived within the boundaries of the 13th ward.
As was previously stated, Daniel D.'s eldest son, John Alexander, was at this time of our story - summer of 1856 - returning from his mission to join his family. A very brief review of his life to this time may be in order : John A. was born May 16, 1830 in Gibson County, Tennessee. At the age of ten years, he traveled with his father from their home in Tennessee to Nauvoo, Illinois to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to learn of the Mormon Church. They were impressed. He moved with his parents, Daniel D. and Nancy Davis Hunt, to Nauvoo before March of 1843, for at that time, he and his next younger brother, James Wiseman, were baptized into the Church. With his father and now his step-mother, Martha Eynon Hunt, he emigrated to Utah in 1850. In 1852 he was called to serve a mission in England, and with a companion, William Woodward, took a team and wagon belonging to the Church from Salt Lake back to Missouri. The two young missionaries -- he twenty-two - eventually arrived in Philadelphia with their combined cash resources of eleven cents. The account of him in "The Biographical Encyclopedia" Vol 3, pp. 121-122, says " - but through the providence of the Lord they obtained means to continue the journey to Europe where Brother Hunt filled a splendid mission."
The first wagon train, which was involved with the Mormon Immigration, and the one which Brigham Young was a part, left for the Salt Lake Valley from Winter Quarters where Omaha, Nebraska presently is located. This was the site of the wagon train departure during the balance of 1847 and the year 1848. Due to the fact that this site was actually on Indian Territory in Nebraska, the government agent was anxious to have the Mormons move. At the same time, the incumbent political forces of Iowa, saw political advantages in having a greater voter population in Iowa than they then had, and so the Mormon settlement of Winter Quarters made the decision to move back to the east, just across the Missouri River, and the settlement, Kanesville, was established with a government post office. For political expediency, Pottawatamie County was formed, and the Mormons established a rather extensive farming community as well as a busy outfitting station from which future wagon trains could leave for the West. During the years 1849, 50, 51, 52 and 53, at least fifty-three wagon trains accommodated thousands of westbound emigrants. For one reason or another, the wagon trains of 1854 left from Kansas City, Missouri, which was situated also on the Missouri River, but some one hundred miles south of Kanesville. Eight wagons trains left that year and the following year, 1855, another eight wagon trains left from Mormon Grove, Kansas, which as near as we can now determine, was not far from Kansas City, but on the opposite side of the river.
The eventful year for our family, 1856, arrives with a puzzle for which this writer has no ready answer. There had to be good reason, but for the next three years - 1856, 57, and 58, most departures were from Iowa City nearly two hundred fifty miles further to the east, than the Missouri river on which banks the previous departure points were located. Iowa City is within thirty miles of the Mississippi River, and upstream on the Iowa River from the point it empties into the Mississippi. That is almost the entire length of the state of Iowa, east to west, further away from the emigrant's final destination in Utah, than their predecessor wagon trains of previous years.
How long prior to the final make-up of the last wagon train leaving Iowa City for the West for the season, we do not know. It has been reported that most of the emigrants who joined up with last group crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the ship "Thornton", which sailed from Liverpool, England May 4th, 1856. Others came on the ship "Horizon", which sailed from Liverpool May 25th and arrived in Iowa City July 8th. John A. Hunt, a twenty-six year old Utah Elder returning from a mission to Great Britain, is noted as being listed among the group of approximately four hundred fifty souls who registered as desiring to make the trip to Utah that year.
A special meeting was called and held on the 13th of July at the LDS Emigration Camp, which was located just outside Iowa City proper. The purpose of the meeting was to organize the group who were to make up this last wagon train of the year. Undoubtedly, the meeting was conducted by the Church Immigration officials, seemingly at this time under the direction of Erastus Snow, a member of the Quorum of Twelve apostles.
John A. Hunt's wagon train left Iowa City 1 August 1856.
Already there had developed a concern as to whether or not such a trip should be made due to the lateness of the season. As the history is examined of the previous eighty-seven or more wagon trains which had left for the West, since the first of April 14th of 1847, the departure date of only one was dated five days later. The starting point of that one was the 5th of August 1855, from Mormon Grove, Kansas, some four weeks travel time further along the route than what this wagon train would have to travel. The great majority of the previous wagon trains left the Missouri River area during May or June of their respective years - a few in July. It will later be seen that the wagon train now being made up did not reach the Missouri River until August 28th.
The lateness of the season had been considered and weighed against the fact that there was a constant influx of immigrants arriving in Iowa City daily, and already there was not sufficient housing for those already there to provide shelter through the winter. After considerable debate, it appeared to the officials there was but one alternative, and that was to move this group of four hundred fifty on to Salt Lake Valley. Few, if any of the group, fully realized the importance of the decision. The great majority of the group were from the cities of Europe - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales of the British Isles, and many from the Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, who could not speak the English language. They were all anxious - overly anxious - to reach their destination, "Zion", and little realized the obstacles between where they were and their final destination. They wanted to be on their way.
At the afore-mentioned meeting, Dan Jones, a well-known Welshman and friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who had served so effectively among the Welsh people as a missionary and mission president, was elected as captain of the newly planned wagon train. John A. Hunt, a twenty-six year old returning missionary from England, was selected as a captain of fifty, to serve under Captain Jones. William B. Hodgetts was also selected as a captain of fifty, likewise, under Captain Jones. Under this leadership of three, nine other men were selected as captains of ten each to be in charge of a segment of the wagon train.
As can be understood with a group of this size, -- four hundred fifty people with eighty-nine wagons - some became fully prepared to start the journey ahead of others. On the 23rd of July, it was agreed that Captain Hodgett with three of the captains of ten, would pull out of the campground and travel a couple miles where they would camp and wait until the remainder of the company came. This group included one hundred fifty people, thirty-three wagons, eighty-four yoke of oxen, nineteen cows and about two hundred fifty head of heifers and other loose cattle.
This advanced group numbered one-third of the total, and in most respects were better outfitted than the other remaining three hundred of the Dan Jones company, yet remaining in camp under John A. Hunt's supervision. He was responsible for fifty-six wagons and about twice the number of cattle and ox-teams of the Hodgetts company.
Due to the apparent restlessness on the part of the Hodgetts company, they concluded they should be on their way, and go at least as far as the Missouri River, which was practically the entire length of the state of Iowa to the west, and so, on the 30th of July, they started their trek. Two days later - August 1st - the remainder of the company under the direction of Dan Jones and John A. Hunt, pulled from their campground at Iowa City. From this point on, the Hodgetts wagon train became known as the fourth wagon train of the season, and the other, the fifth of the season.
Far more details of these trips are available than we will have purpose, nor space to relate in this history. Daily diaries or journals were kept of the four and one half months it took the John A. Hunt company to make the journey, leaving Iowa City, as stated on the 1st day of August, and eventually arriving in Salt Lake City on the 15th of December.
After the last company left under the direction of Dan Jones and John A. Hunt, and had traveled for two weeks, Captain Jones, on the 14th of August, left the company "to return to Salt Lake by mule train with other emigrations officials and he placed the company in charge of Capt. John A. Hunt". We have no direct word from John A. Hunt as to this awesome responsibility falling upon him, but it had to have been almost overwhelming. Even with the magnitude of it at the time, it later proved to be far more devastating than anyone ever realized. Nothing in all of the Church's migrating history proved of greater hardship other than the experiences of the two handcart companies, who were just ahead of the John A. Hunt wagon train. The James G. Willie and the Edward Martin handcart companies had each, separately, left Iowa City two weeks ahead of the Hunt wagon train, and their suffering could have been little worse than the last wagon train, for they were eventually suffering identical hardships.
On August 28th, four weeks to the day, the Hunt wagon train, following their departure, reached the Missouri River, which they crossed. There they were advised by the apostle, Erastus Snow, who met them there, "to let nothing but the necessity to rest the cattle delay their progress." It would appear from this, that already - and their journey in reality was just beginning, -- something ominous and foreboding was in the offing.
The journal for that day reads:
"Thursday, August 28. The ferrying of wagons across the Missouri River was commenced at 8 o'clock a.m., and at 7:30 p.m. the whole company of 56 wagons had been taken across without any serious accident, and camped close to the city of Florence." The next day's journal reads: "Friday, August 29. The company was busy in taking in provisions and other requisites for the journey on the Plains. Flour sold at $4.50 per hundred, cornmeal at $2.50 per hundred, sugar, 12 and 15 cents a pound, etc. Very little bacon could be had and most of the company had only a trifling weight of it."
All wagons had left Florence by Sunday evening and camp for the night was set up three miles from Florence, and thence started the trek into the prairie wilderness to last for another three and a half months.
The lack of grass at many of the overnight stops proved to become a real problem, as, also, the lack of water. While every effort was made to find both for their stopovers, it was not all uncommon to have no water or no grass - and in cases, neither - for their hungry and thirsty cattle, which certainly were called upon to suffer, perhaps even more than the humans of the company.
Distances traveled day by day varied according to the terrain they encountered. On a few occasions during the earlier weeks of their journey, such an entry could be found as speaking of needed repairs, etc., "-this gave the travelers and their cattle a day's rest at a place where the feed was good", but such was a rarity rather than a common thing.
Daily distances traveled varied, but it was not unusual to find the journal reporting "-the day's journey, 14 miles", "After traveling during the day, 18 miles", "The company started at 9 o'clock a.m., traveled until sundown and camped for the night after making a distance of 14 miles".
"Sunday Sept. 21. The cattle were again driven into the corral to be yoked up, but on account of a brother who was dying, the camp was detained all day. A buffalo was shot in the afternoon and the meat distributed."
"Tuesday, Sept 23. The morning was cold and frosty. The company resumed the journey at 6 o'clock a.m. An accident occurred to Sister Ann Davis, whose husband died 2 days before. After crossing Skunk Creek she was in the act of getting out of the wagon when her clothes caught in the tongue, and she fell; the wheels passed over her thigh and shoulder, but luckily the roadbed was soft sand and the injuries received were not so serious but that she was able to walk a few hours afterwards. Capt. Hunt and Spencer shot a buffalo in the afternoon which was brought to camp in the evening and the meat distributed. The night encampment was made at 6 p.m. on the Platte River, after traveling 18 miles during the day. The grass was somewhat scarce on this ground."
"Wednesday, Sept 24. Sister Mary Noble, wife of William Noble of Brighton, England, was delivered of a daughter in the morning. The company started at 10 o'clock a.m., traveled until sundown and camped for the night after making a distance of 14 miles. The feed at this place was not good."
"Monday, Oct 6. As the morning was very foggy, the brethren found it difficult to find all their cattle, but the journey was resumed at 8:30 a.m. Brother John Turner from Natley, Kent, England, died at 9:45 a.m. of diarrhea, having lasted about four weeks. Brother Turner was 42 years old, left a son and daughter of tender years. A tire came off one of the Church wagon wheels which caused some delay. No noon halt was made that day and the night encampment was made on the Platte River at 4:30 p.m., after traveling 9 miles. Feed was scarce. Ruth Jones born."
And so the journal could continue to be quoted, which space here does not permit, but deaths and hurried burials were a common thing - on the other hand a few births.
Cold weather had been mentioned as early as the second week in September, and that complaint became very common as the days of October passed. Snow storms with freezing winds, were often included in the camp journal, and by the end of October and the first of November, there were occasions when the pioneers were obliged to scrape off snow from the grass for the animals to graze. They had now reached the condition where their animals were succumbing to starvation, and dying. Human deaths were becoming more frequent, and there was suffering from the cold.
The emigrants were sensing their extenuating circumstances. On Sunday, November 2nd, a meeting was held in the evening at which a "unanimous vote was taken that all the emigrating Saints would be willing to do as they were instructed, even if it was required of them to leave all they had behind, and be glad to get into the Valley with their lives only. They agreed to cease complaining at coming so late in the season, as everything was being done to start the company".
At the conclusion of the entry on Monday, Nov 3rd, a note is made by someone many years later, of which a comment is made, "From this date on the camp journal was written with lead pencil which at this late date, February 25th, 1926, can scarcely be read. It would appear that the ink used by the scribe had frozen, and the journal from now on only contained a few entries."
The journal indicates that contact was being made with at least, the Hodgetts wagon train, which normally maintained a two-day lead of the Hunt company. By mid-October, the wagon trains were catching up with the handcart companies, which started two weeks earlier back in Iowa City. By the time of October 19th, the Hunt train caught up with the Martin handcart people who were seemingly fighting a losing battle.
The journal entry for October 19th contained the following information:
"The journey was continued at 7:30 a.m., and Capt. Edward Martin's handcart company was passed just as it was ready to start, after it had stopped for dinner. Many of the handcart people pulled their carts alongside of the wagons belonging to the Hunt company and, writes the clerk of the wagon company, "it was enough to draw forth one's sympathy for them, seeing the aged and women and children pulling their handcarts, many of them showing haggard countenances."
The next morning, Monday the 20th, the ground was covered with snow. By the next morning, the snow was about 8 inches deep which completely stopped the company from traveling. The journal report for the next several days indicated the weather was very cold and frosty, and deaths among the humans as well as with the cattle increased. "One ox was found dead, and two more not being able to stand the weather were slaughtered." Another entry, "By this time several of the cattle had died." "More timber was cut down to feed the cattle"
It appeared the immigration officials were keeping in touch with the unfortunate people on the plains, and on October 29th, three brethren who had arrived in the camp from the Valley the day before, left Captain Hunt'' company on their return expecting to be back with help in ten days.
And so the daily entries in the journal remained much the same - certainly no better. On Saturday November 1st, another snowstorm, but they pressed on another 12 miles where encampment was made at 7o'clock p.m., where there was no wood or water.
By Wednesday, November 5th the company reached Devil's Gate - the first indication we have had as to where they were located on their trip. From the map, we find Devil's Gate and nearby, Independence Rock, to be approximately halfway across present-day Wyoming coming from east to west. According to the journal, two or three brethren had arrived at this place from the Valley bringing encouragement in the fact that Salt Lake was aware of their plight. They said that help would be coming as soon as possible, but the two handcart companies and the two wagon trains contained such a huge number desperate people, that help would be limited. At the time they left Iowa City, there were five hundred souls in the Willie handcart company, five hundred seventy-five in the Edward Martin handcart company, one hundred fifty in the Hodgetts wagon train and three hundred in the Hunt wagon train, totaling well over one thousand five hundred humans, plus the animals accompanying them.
Upon reaching Devil's Gate at 8 p.m., they camped for the night. A meeting was held at which the Salt Lake brethren instructed the members of the wagon train as to what had to be done - this the 5th of November. There happened to be a log house at this place. The journal reads:
"Brother George Grant and the others informed the emigrants that they would have to leave their goods at this place, until they could be sent for, such as stoves, boxes of tools, some clothing, etc., and only take along sufficient clothing to keep them warm, with their bedding. He wanted four or five wagons and teams to assist the handcart companies and he expected them to take only about half the number of wagons along. All present expressed their willingness to do whatever was expected of them."
Thursday, Nov. 6: "The weather was intensely cold and stormy and the snow drifted very much. The brethren commenced to unpack their wagons and store the goods in the log house. William Burton, age 26 died due to the intensity of the cold."
Friday, Nov. 7: The weather continued extremely cold. More wagons were unloaded and the goods stored. Ann Davis, age 47 years, died at 4 p.m."
And so the days of November slowly passed with the journal reporting deaths - often more than one - daily. Twenty-four wagons of the original fifty-six were now on their way toward Salt Lake City. While promised food was on the way, the promise of it did not stave off death to the starving. Severe frost bite was prevalent throughout the camp, which brought on even more intense suffering. The journal entry for Friday, Nov. 22: "A number of oxen came from Fort Bridger and took on several of our wagons to that place." Wednesday Nov. 26: "The company arrived at Green River."
There were days at a time throughout the month of November when nothing was written in the journal. Continued suffering and deaths occurred.
Thursday, Dec. 4th: "The last of the wagons arrived at Fort Bridger." The map tells us they were approximately one hundred miles from Salt Lake City.
Saturday, Dec. 6th, the journal reads: "A messenger arrived from Great Salt Lake City in the evening bringing intelligence that a number of teams were coming on the road to bring the remainder of the Saints from the mountains and they were also bringing provisions with them. This caused great joy in the camp."
Sunday, Dec 7th: "Fourteen wagons - relief teams - arrived in camp in the evening from the Valley."
Monday, Dec. 8th: "More wagons arrived in camp from the Valley.
Tuesday, Dec. 9th: "This morning some of the teams which had come from the Valley to help the belated emigrants started on their return."
No journal entry for the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th.
Monday, Dec. 15th entry: "Captain Hunt wrote under the date of Dec. 15th 1856: 'The remainder of the Saints arrived in G.S.L. City today; the emigration being now complete!"
Before leaving this story of the John A. Hunt wagon train, one personal experience of the many that could be copied will here be related:
"Ann Malin Sharp, daughter of Thomas Malin and Mary Penn, was born April 10, 1832 in Barford, Warwickshire, England. After joining the Church, she prepared to go to America. She went to the shipping docks and was engaged as the cook for the captain and the crew of the sailing vessel, "Horizon". Other Saints, and some returning elders, were also on board. They landed in Boston.
"From Boston to Iowa City they traveled by railroad. When she arrived at Iowa City a company of handcarts and wagon pioneers were preparing for the long trek to Utah in September. She was hired as a cook in John Hunt's wagon company. They were instructed to travel near one of the handcart companies. It was their duty to see that no one was left behind to suffer. They were also to pick up and care for any who were unable to travel by foot.
"Food became scarce and so many died that if a horse or cow fell down to die from exhaustion it was immediately killed and dressed for food. The raw hides were cut into strips and used to bind the tires onto the rims of the wagon wheels. After a time all food was exhausted and the men cut those raw hides from the wheels and boiled them to make soup that they might be sustained.
"When they had traveled about five hundred miles, deep snow was encountered and a road had to be broke before the wagons could get through. A small girl of about seven or eight had both feet frozen, and later, as the wagon jolted along, both feet fell off. She was cared for by Ann Malin.
When the companies reached Laramie, Wyoming, it was thought advisable that this girl with other sick ones and the smaller children should be rushed on at all possible speed. Ann Malin was to go with them to nurse and care for them. These people arrived in Salt Lake City about December 1, 1856. The more able ones remained at Fort Laramie until help could be sent to them from the Valley. Miss Malin remained at her post of duty with the sick until arrangements were made by the Church for their care."-- Mrs. Ada Rosella Sharp Pate. From "Heart Throbs of the West" by Kate B. Carter, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, p. 376.
Trail of the Mormon Pioners From Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake
With the last of John A. Hunt's company - those who survived - arriving in Salt Lake City on 15th of December, John A. was at liberty to return to his father, Daniel D. Hunt's home, which by this time, appears for a certainty, to have been back in Salt Lake. Since his leaving for his mission in England, they had spent the most of three years in Lake City, but as earlier described, they had returned to Salt Lake earlier in 1856.
According to John Alexander's biography from the Biographical Encyclopedic History of the church, he did not remain at home long. By the spring of 1857, he had charge of the mail station at Devil's Gate halfway across Wyoming east to west, the very area where, less than one year before, he with his wagon train, had first been detained by a snowstorm.
From this same source, we learn that two years later, he had returned and on 22 September 1859, he married Elizabeth Tilt, a twenty-two year old English girl, originally from Coventry, Warwickshire. Of interest to the reader will be John A.'s biographical account
As was observed above, John and his new bride made their home in Grantsville, Utah, a new settlement near Tooele, Utah some thirty-five miles west of Salt Lake city, where for the next four to five years, they made their home. In 1864, this little family with two children moved to St. Charles on the shore of Bear Lake, Idaho.
Before writing of this move, let us now return to John's father, Daniel D. Hunt and family in Salt Lake City. Our last writing of them was just prior to John A.'s return from his mission and wagon train history.
Perhaps the first evidence we have that the family had returned to Salt Lake is a city tax receipt, and while not dated until June 1, 1957, applies to their tax for the year of 1856, undoubtedly for but part of that year.
There was an event of which Daniel D. was very much a part, which occurred shortly after the Hunt family returned from their three-year stay in Lake City. So far as this writer is aware, we have no historical information to answer any query relating to a polygamous marriage on the part of Daniel D. It is true our great-grandmother, Martha Eynon, was Daniel D.'s third wife, but to this time, one wife at a time. On the 14th of February, Mary Jane Bigelow was sealed to Daniel D. Hunt. This event has been known by the family throughout the years, however, family records have indicated that this sealing was performed in the President's Office, such as was Elizabeth Crook's sealing to William Wilkes, as related previously. This place of sealing -- the P.O - does not agree with a much more recently compiled record of temple data. On the IGI (International Genealogical Index), a computerized index of more recent temple ordinance data performed since 1969, actually supplements the former Temple Index Bureau record of earlier temple data. The more recent record is printed on clear plastic cards known as microfiche. On this latter record, the sealing of Mary Jane Bigelow is recorded as having been performed in the Endowment House on 14th of February 1857, the same date as the family records.
No record has been located revealing that there were children from this marriage, nor is there evidence that Daniel D. attempted another home for Mary Jane. Neither do we have evidence that she joined in the residence of Daniel D., Martha and their children, as can be noted three years hence by the 1860 census which we shall again review shortly.
Attention has already been called to the fact that Daniel D.'s and Martha's first child was born the 25th of October 1851 in Salt Lake City. Mormon Brigham, who passed away the next day. Their second son, Abel Moroni, was born the 6th of December 1852 in Salt Lake City. Following their return to Salt Lake City, their first daughter was born the 10th of March 1857. That was Martha Elizabeth, who was to become a grandmother to some of us known as Martha Elizabeth Hunt Wilkes. Less than one month prior to the birth of this little girl, Daniel D. and Mary Jane Bigelow were sealed.
Other than a city tax assessment, the Hunt family was also in line for a Territorial and County tax assessment. Note that while the receipt was dated March 31, 1853, it indicates that it was for the year 1856, their first year back in Salt lake following their three year Lake City stay.
The above letter indicates that Great-grandfather Daniel D. Hunt and family lived in the 7th ward of Salt Lake City, at one time. His history indicates that he moved considerably. Such a letter was of value as a member moved from one ward to another. Note that the above bishop, James G. Willie, was the captain of the ill-fated Willie handcart company, but which was more fortunate than the Martin Handcart and Hunt wagon train companies - all of 1856.