Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1852 (age 25), Watkins, William Lampard

I, William Lampard Watkins, son of William Watkins and Hannah Maria Lampard, was born in Islington, London, England, February 7, 1827. When I was two years of age I was paralyzed, losing the use of my right leg from the hip joint down. This was due to the carelessness of my nurse who left me exposed too long in the fields of wet grass. Between the ages of eight and fourteen years, I attended the Bressers School. This was an endowment gift from Lady Gains of St. John's Road, Islington, London. During my boyhood I attended church with my parents, known as Irvingites.

On leaving school I became acquainted with the Latter-day Saints and in the month of May, with the consent of my parents, I was baptized by James Aldon and confirmed by Lorenzo Snow. By the close of the year, my parents and sister were baptized. On the twenty-second of May, 1842, my sister died.

To America and Nauvoo
In October 1842 my parents, myself and two younger brothers, Joseph and Henry, aged four and two respectively, left our home for Liverpool to sail with the Emerald under the care of Parley P. Pratt. We had a stormy voyage of ten weeks. My mother met with an accident in her hurry to escape the storm. She fell down the hatchway and fractured her thigh. She was attended by Elder Pratt. A few days later she was able to be on her feet again and on arriving at New Orleans was quite well. We took the steamboat Goddess of Liberty to St. Louis. Brother Pratt and his family left the boat to travel inland. After nine or ten days we were safely landed. We remained in St. Louis for the remainder of the winter.

I got a situation in a store with a Mr. Severson. My parents found an old friend whom they had previously assisted in London to emigrate. We took shelter with them for a while. Early in April 1843, Lorenzo Snow with a company of Saints, came to St. Louis on a light draft boat, the river being freed from its recent ice, enabled them to continue their journey on to Nauvoo. We made arrangements to follow as soon as possible. Upon reaching Nauvoo, my parents, in connection with Samuel Smith, bought five acres of land south of Brother Abraham Hunsaker. My parents also bought some land in the prairies, in what was then known as Little Field. They built a neat comfortable house, thinking they were settled for life.

In Iowa (1846-1852)
My daughter Mary Ann was born early in the spring of 1846.

I, with my family and my father-in-law and other families crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa. My parents, in the company of Bishop David Evans, crossed the river and went to Garden Grove and made preparations for others to follow. We all sought employment in order to get means to travel and continue on our journey. Through the latter part of the summer we camped near Bonaparte, on the Des Moines River, and engaged in clearing a piece of land. This was a very unhealthy location but we stayed there until we could endure it no longer. It was here that we all came down with the fever with the exception of my wife and her mother. In this condition, we moved up to the higher land to a place called Utica. This country was but sparsely sealed. Here we found an empty log cabin into which we entered for shelter. On Sept. 29, our little daughter died. It was necessary for me to be bolstered up in a one-horse wagon in order for me to go out and find help to bury the little one. The country was very broken with few inhabitants, and it was some time before I could find the necessary assistance.

As soon as we were able to travel we went into the timber country. Here a family by the name of Dunn was building a new house. Mr. Dunn offered us a chance to occupy his old house for the balance of the winter if we would assist him in building his new one. This offer was gladly accepted. We had to live in a tent and in a covered wagon until the Dunns moved out. This was not so desirable as we frequently had to clear away the snow in the morning before we could make a fire, and sometimes we had to do without a fire at all.

Just before spring a Brother Clinger, his wife and his wife's parents came along. His wife's parents were old acquaintances of my father-in-law in the early days of the church, so we took Brother Clinger and his wife into our room although there was barely room for us to turn around. He used to make butter ladles and other notions from box elder wood. Then for some reason he reported to Mr. Dunn that we were damaging much of his timber in our selection suitable for basket work. Mr. Dunn came to us very much excited over the matter. My father-in-law took Mr. Dunn around and showed him where we had cut the trees and that was all we had done. He was more surprised at Brother Clinger's statements to him after he had been so kindly treated by us. This naturally resulted in Brother Clinger finding a new location.

In the spring, as soon as the frost was out of the ground and the feed was good enough, we continued on our journey to Council Bluffs. We arrived there early in July and located on a branch of Little Pigeon also known as Allred's camp. Here we found my brother-in-law Joseph Hammond and family, and his wife's parents and relatives, all preparing to leave for the valley next spring. We took our squatters" rights on some land, built a number of log cabins, and went into basket making and a little farming in order to obtain an outfit for future traveling.

The Saints had gathered here quite rapidly. Kanesville was the principal location, with Apostle Orson Hyde presiding. We found a good market for our baskets, and made frequent trips down the Missouri with them in exchange for such things as we needed. We even employed brother Lucius Bingham to take several loads and sell them on commission.

My father was taken very ill while he was in Garden Grove, and was taken down to Marysville, Missouri by a number of Saints going there. It was thought by some that my father was dead, but Bishop Evans said it was not so and through the exercise of faith and prayer he finally recovered.

My father-in-law, his daughter Sarah, and myself, in 1848, went into Missouri and camped on the Dodoway River for a short time making baskets. It was only twenty miles from the place where my parents were so I concluded to go out and see them. In those days twenty miles seemed a long distance. After walking about six miles I came to where there was a grocery store, a few scattered houses and also a saloon. I found a man here who said he would be glad of company, and I was glad of a chance to ride. The man however, hung around the store occasionally drinking with his friends. He became very drunk and did not know what he was doing. They put him into his wagon and gave me the directions to where he lived, and I drove the team to his home. His family were glad when I brought him home safely and I remained with them overnight. The next morning after breakfast I started on my way to Marysville. I had gone only a few miles when who should I meet but my parents and my brothers. They were moving to St. Joseph, Missouri. It did not take much persuading to have them go to our camp on the Dodoway. They remained with us until we made ready to return home, and they finally decided to come with us to Little Pigeon. They settled in another grove just a short distance from us, fenced in a nice piece of timber, and built a log cabin. On August 80, 1848, my daughter Susan Elizabeth was born.

This new location was ideal for the Saints to prepare for their coming long journey. Traders going to California made a fine market for all the corn we could raise and it brought a good price. A great many began to make improvements and much business was done in Painsville. We were getting along very well and the people in general were satisfied with the location. I was engaged in a little farming, teaching school, and preparing for the trip to the Valley. My wife's parents secured an outfit and started west in the Spring of 1850. My daughter Louisa was born August 10, 1853.

To Salt Lake City
In 1851 the missionaries were sent by President Young urging the Saints to hasten on to Salt Lake. Apostle Benson was laboring in our vicinity, and it was finally decided to vacate [p.394] Council Bluffs completely and in one solid unit leave for Salt Lake in the Spring. I immediately began work on building a wagon. This I did from my own timber, and in the spring it brought me with my family and father's family across the plains. When we left, my brother Henry drove my team and we traveled in a group of ten. William White was captain.

We had with us a large number of cattle, and a Brother Stanley, owning the greatest number, caused some dissatisfaction because of the burden imposed on the rest of the company. We came close to losing most of them when we attempted to cross the Platte River at the South Fork. The river was full of quicksand and the frightened cattle were more than once caught in a strong eddy and taken down stream. My brother Henry, seeing one of my stock losing ground, caught him by the horns and led him out of the herd, thus saving him. The men forced most of the cattle across with long poles. It was a miracle we saved as many as we did, and there was great rejoicing when we reached the other side. We were all thankful to God and we gave great praise to Henry for the risk he had made on his own life in order to save the stock. He was then only in his 15th year.

We continued our journey for several days without a mishap, but one night, while hurrying to our next camping grounds, we had a serious stampede. We were close to the river and it was very dark. My wagon was second in line and in it were my two little children. My wife was on foot. Wagons were coming in all directions and it was only a miracle they turned from the river bank and ran to the hills over deep gullies which looked as if it would be impossible for teams with wagons to cross. It would have been very disastrous had they gone to the river as the banks were perpendicular.

My team ran in this wild manner until they were exhausted. When they began to slow down I slipped down between them and loosened them from the wagon tongue and they ran off. I then went into the wagon and made a light. It was not long before other lights were to be seen scattered about. It took a long time to find all the company. Henry was found lying in a ravine. He was very badly injured internally, as a wagon had passed over him crossing his body from the shoulders to the hips on the opposite side. Blood passed from him for several days. My wife had been knocked down and her apron torn from her, but she sustained nothing more serious than a grazed head. We were compelled to lay by for a few days to repair wagons and to gather our scattered stock together. Henry was in great pain for several days, and it was necessary for us to construct a hammock in our wagon in order to carry him.

We had a few cases of cholera in the company, and two deaths. On the crossing of Bear River, Sept. 5, 1852, my daughter Sophronia was born. At this time my parents remained with us with their team; the rest of the company continued on to the valley. On the seventh day of Sept., my wife's father came to meet us with a horse team, and as soon as possible we continued our journey. We arrived at my father-in-law's home on Little Cottonwood on the 12th of Sept., late in the evening, thus bringing to an end our search for a home for life.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.