1850 (age 33), Weston (Maughan), Mary Ann (Journal Entries)
Mary Ann was born in Corse Lawn, Gloucestershire, England, March 10, 1817, the eldest child of Thomas Halford and Elizabeth Walker Thackwell Weston. In 1840, when she was twenty-three years of age, Mary Ann was baptized and that same year married John Davis, a young convert of the Mormon Church. Shortly after the death of her husband plans were made to join the body of the Saints in America. After her arrival in Kirtland, Ohio, she met Peter Maughan, a widower with five small children, whom she married November 2, 1841.
Mary Ann kept many notes, sometimes a day by day diary, and during the 1880's she took these records and wrote them in journal form. As the years went by she added to her writings. The diary is written verbatim with the exception of the spelling of names and places and some deletions on weather reports and repetitions. She was the first woman to enter Cache Valley and served as the first president of the Relief Society in that community. From the time of her arrival in Utah and almost until the time of her death, she served in the capacity of midwife and nurse, bringing into the world countless infants and alleviating the pain and distress of many dependent upon her kindness and wisdom. For over thirty years she was a widow but she carried on the responsibilities of rearing her large family with unflinching faith and courage. She was the mother of eight children: Charles Weston, Peter Weston (killed as a child on the plains), Joseph Weston, Hyrum Weston, Elizabeth, Willard Weston, Martha and Peter Weston.
We arrived in Kanesville in May, near the end of the month. All well. Staid there one week to wash and to rest our cattle. Here we found some friends of Mr. Maughan's from the North of England. We were organized into Captain William Wall's Company of 50 and Captain Foote Company of 100. Mr. Maughan was appointed captain of first 10.
June 6, 1850. We started early this morning. At noon came up with Captains Bear and Smith. Traveled behind them till near sundown, then turned off the road. Found a good camping ground on Black's fork. Plenty feed. We met Bro. Call from the Valley.
7th. We remained in camp till noon, then started. Found Captains Wall, Loveland, and Belknap. Camped on Hams Fork. Concluded to wait here in hopes Mr. Ebley will come up. Traveled 5 miles.
14th. Today our 10 have crossed the river. We are camped on the bank. We had a shower of rain this afternoon but the weather is still very warm.
17th. We started about noon today. We have been waiting for some muskets which Captain Foote went back to Kanesville after, as there was a deficiency in our arms. We traveled 3 miles. Camped on 3 mile creek. Had some bad roads but no bad accident happened.
19th. This morning we had a powerful rain; comenced at breakfast time and continued till near noon. Started in the afternoon. On the way passed the grave of Bro. Warren, who died of cholera. This is the 1st grave we have seen. Traveled 8 miles. Camped on a small stream.
21st. We were called to bury 2 of our company who died of cholera this morning, a man named Brown and a child. There are more sick in camp. Have been in sight of the Platte river all day. Traveled 15 miles, camped on Salt Creek. Soon some of our company came up with another child dead. They buried it at twilight on the bank of the creek. There are more sick. It makes us feel sad thus to bury our friends by the way. Weather very hot.
22nd. This morning before starting we were called to bury 3 more children. They all belonged to one family: We started late and before all had crossed the creek it comenced to rain very hard. We were detained till noon. Traveled 9 miles, camped on the Paria without wood or water, or some that is very poor. This is the worst time we have had since we crossed the Missouri river. Every thing wet and several sick in camp. Very little fire.
23rd. We buried 3 more this evening. Traveled 8 miles.
24th. This morning is wet and uncomfortable. It was thought best to remain in camp. Some are washing and baking, all were busy. About noon it cleared up and we had a public meeting in camp. Some fasted and humbled themselves before the Lord and prayed that He would remove disease from us. Brother Crandall said in four days five of his family had been taken from their midst and requested the Brethren to pray that the other members of his family might be spared.
25th. The mother of the three children spoken of yesterday died this afternoon. She will be buried this evening. We are camped on a creek which we call Pleasant Point. Here we buried Sister Spafford, the mother of nine children. There are no more sick in camp and we hope the worst is over. Traveled 10 miles.
27th. There has been wagons in sight before us; we think they are the Snow company, a part of which crossed the Missouri River when we left it. About noon we met the mail from the valley. They said there was some sickness ahead, but not much, and that we must travel faster or we would be caught in the mountains.
29th. At noon the last wagon came up with a corpse, a Sister Beal. I heard that she had been sick for sometime. They buried her on the bank of the creek called Clear Water and baptized more for their health. That evening some Elders camped with us. They were missionarys on their way to England. Sister Grover, one of our Nauvoo neighbours, is traveling with them. I wrote a letter and sent it to mother. They brought the emigrants mail.
30th. We were called upon to bury another of our company, Sister Crandall. She died in childbed. This makes seven out of a family of 15.
July 1st. Started at the usual time this morning. We kept near the bank of the river, then left it and passed through Indian Town. There were about 200 wigwams, some of them large. They are neatly woven into wicker work with stick and dried grass. They belong to the Pawnees, who are gone farther down the river, as the imigrants" teams destroyed their crops. We passed 4 graves. Traveled 12 miles. Are camped on the river bank. This water is so high we have to wade for wood and the water is very mudy. Weather pleasant.
July 4th. This morning we found one of our oxen a little lame and sent him into the herd, and it was thought best for the last 2 tens to go a mile around to avoid crossing a slough. At noon we found the herdman had left our ox on the road and our 10 immediately camped, and 3 men went back after him. Soon Bro. Russell went by, going after his cow that was also left. The herdsmen are thought very careless to leave our cattle behind when they know we are not on the same road behind them. We heard the guns at the Fort Kearney. To day it is the 4th of July. Traveled 9 miles.
5th. About noon today the men returned without our ox. Brother Russell found his cow. Captain Maughan called a council to decide if we should go on, or go back again and try to find him. All agreed it was best to go back and 2 of the Brethren volunteered to go with him. They returned at night without finding him. We all feel sorry to leave a good ox on the prairie, not knowing what has become of him. We heard afterwards that a company traveling close behind us killed him for beef. Some Brethren that knew the ox saw his head.
6th. Started early this morning, traveled 18 miles over a beautiful country, but no timber except on the river bank. At 11 o'clock found a letter left by Captain Wall. They had waited till 10 the day before for us to come up, said they would go on slowly and for us to travel with all possible speed. We have passed 9 graves to day, mostly children. Are camped on the prairie in sight of Fort Kearney.
8th. This morning 26 government teams passed our camp. Bro. Wood's cow and one of our oxen are lame. They had to dress their feet, which made us late in starting.
10th. We had a shower of rain last night which makes it feel cool and refreshing this morning. Traveled 16 miles, passed 11 graves, and camped on the prairie without water or wood, at a place I call Mosquito Plain, in honour of the vast numbers of that tormenting little fly. There is a good bed and stove lieing near our camp ground.
Death of Little Peter
12th. About noon as we were traveling along on a good plain road, my little Peter, about 3 years old, was sitting in the front of the wagon between his brother Charles and his sister Mary Ann. They were looking at a cow that had lost one horn. He leaned forward, lost his balance, and fell before the wheels. The first passed over him and he tried to escape the other one. But alas the wagon stoped just as the hind wheel stood on his dear little back. The Brethren from behind ran up and lifted the wheel and took him from under it. He was brusied internaly so that it was impossible for him to live long. We done all that was possible for him, but no earthly power could save him. He did not suffer much pain, only twice for a very little time. The people left their wagons and gathered around mine, and all wept for the dear little boy that we knew must soon leave us. I had talked to him many times to be careful and not fall out of the wagon, or he might be hurt very bad. He only spoke twice. I said to him, "Pete, did you fall?" and he said, "Yes," and seemed to know that he would leave us, and asked for his father. I did not know that his father had fainted, for the Brethren stood to hide him from my sight. On my asking for him, they said he would come soon. As soon as he was able he came to the wagon, covered with dust. But his little boy could not speak to him. He opened his eyes and looked so lovingly at us, then gently closed them and passed peacefully away, and left us weeping around his dear little bruised body. Then loving hands tenderly dressed him in a suit of his own white linen clothes. He looked so lovely. I emptied a dry goods box and Bro. Wood made him a nice coffin; and it even was a mournfull satisfaction, for we had seen our brothers and sisters bury their dear ones without a coffin to lay them in. We buried him on a little hill on the North side of the road. The grave was consecrated and then they laid him to rest. Some one had made a nice headboard, with his name printed on, also his age and date of death. This was all we could do, and many prayers were offered to our heavenly Father, that he might rest in peace and not be disturbed by wolves. We turned away in sorrow and grief. A few days" after, we heard that his grave had not been touched, but another little one made beside it, and afterwards some more were buried by them. This was a great satisfaction to us, to know that he remained as we left him. Our dear one's name was Peter Weston Maughan, born in New Diggings, Wisconsin Territory, May 20th, 1847.
13th. Started early this morning and overtook the company that passed us while stopping yesterday. Passed on 3 miles further to Ash Creek. Here we all camped to wash and bake. Traveled over a beautiful country today, timber in sight all day. Passed 12 graves, mostly grown people. We have a fine place to camp; plenty of wood and water, also grass. Weather cool and pleasant.
14th. We are obliged to wash and bake today to last 1 week. Formerly emigrants have found food on the river but there is none this year on account of high water in the spring. The rain has also injured the buffalo chips. We had meeting this afternoon in camp, and several were baptized for their health.
15th. We are again permited to renew our journey, which lies through the buffalo country. They are seen by thousands, and this country seems made for them, being high bluffs and deep ravines. In the ravine there is plenty of cedar and water. We can see the Bluffs as far as the eye can reach. At night we came up with our company. All are well. While traveling through this country, the road was near some hills on our left, and the river some distance to the right, our company saw a moving mass on the bottom near the river. We could not tell what it was, whether Indians or not, but they came rapidly towards the hills; and our train, being a long one, was standing right before them. We soon saw that it was a large drove of buffalo, that had been to the river for water and were returning to the hills. The Brethren stood by their teams, as there was great danger of our oxen stampeding and running away. Mr. Maughan stood in front of our oxen, and the boys by theirs. My wagon being the first one was in the most danger. The large drove came bounding on until the leaders saw their way blocked; then they hesitated a moment and then swerved to the right, and all galloped by in front of my wagon, so we had a good view of the noble creatures.
16th. We took our places in the company this morning, and it seems like home. Traveled 18 miles today over very sandy country. The soil is sand mostly. Met 3 wagons from Fort Laramie. There is plenty of game through here, such as buffalo, deer, elk, and antelope, also the largest kind of wolves. Passed 3 graves, and camped in one of the pretty places on the river bank. All well.
19th. Started early this morning and traveled as fast as possible in order to reach the south ford at noon. Found about 30 wagons already there, and our fifty made 80 wagons; but we all crossed safely in half a day. We camped on the bank. Weather pleasant.
21st. We are again pursuing our tedious journey. The first 3 miles were up hill, then we came on a ridge; this extended to Ash Hollow. When we came in sight of the Hollow, we saw steep precipice and deep ravines; among the rocks are growing Ash and red Cedar. This is a very romantic looking place. When we came to the bottom of this hollow we found a good road and a fine spring of cold water, plenty timber, and some grass. The hollow is 3 miles long. We camped at the mouth in a pretty place. Passed 6 graves.
22nd. We stopped to wash and bake here. Must take wood to the sandy hills that are ahead of us. We are now in a very different looking country, have high sand hills on the left. We are now in the Sioux Indian country.
25th. Since we left Ash Hollow we have traveled in small companys, and find it better where there is but little grass. This afternoon we passed Ancient Bluff Ruins on the north side of the road. We could see them; they look like Castles and fortifications gone to decay. Traveled 22 miles. Passed 11 graves. Crossed a beautifull stream.
29th. This morning started early, as we had to travel 20 miles without water for our cattle. About 5 o'clock found good place to camp. A fine spring of water, and plenty of dry wood. Found Bro. Loveland's Company camped here. Bros. Belknap and Coon arrived afterwards. This made up our company of fifty wagons. We held meeting at night, and many spoke of the joy it gave them to meet their Brethren and sisters again in camp. Wall said he felt to rejoice in his heart that we were all met together again. Also spoke in the highest praise of the good conduct of his company, and prayed for the blessing of God to rest upon us. Some Indians came to see us in the evening; these are the first we have seen since we crossed the Missouri River. We have Scott's Bluff on one side and the river at a distance on the other. Traveled 20 miles.
31st. Today we found a letter on the road left for us by Bro. Belknap, stating that a old Indian had died with the smallpox. The Indians left a little boy with the corpse. We think they fled to avoid getting the disease in their camp. We saw a kind of platform made by driving four stakes in the ground and covering it over with sticks and about 4 feet high. This was covered with a buffalo robe, under which we suppose the man was. The little boy was standing by its side. Close by was a dog hung by the neck, and a wigwam made of boughs.
August 1, 1850. Today the weather is very warm. We have crossed the Laramie River, a fine swift stream 100 yards wide. Passed 8 graves; one was empty and we think wolves had dug up the corpse, as a man's suit was lying by it. We camped on the bank of the river Platte, 1 mile from the fort, which is in full view of the camp. As I am writing in my wagon, have fine view of the fort. Its stars and stripes are waving over the Battlements. There are several buildings there.
7th. We rose at 4 o'clock this morning. Started early as we want to go with Bro. Belknap's company who camped by us last night. We found a good spring of cold water at noon, which greatly refreshed us all. Mrs. Ebley found a good side-saddle in some bushes. She took the saddle with her. I was with her when she saw it first.
8th. I was very sick this morning with the Mountain fever. As I lay in my wagon today I thought the wheels went over every rock there was in the road. Camped in the Black Hills. After camping, Mr. Maughan laid my bed in the shade of the wagon. On the outside, chains were fastened across the wheels to keep some sheep in. Thinking my bed would stop them, my wagon wheels were not chained. Seeing a open place, the sheep darted through and every one sprang over me. I clasped my baby close to me, lay still and was not hurt, not even touched by one of them. I think the sheep were worse frightened than I was.
10th. Today we came up with Bennett's Company. They have the whooping cough among them. We drove off the road while they passed.
September 8, 1850. Today we heard from Captain Perkins. He is 40 miles back. Two wagons from his company have come up. Captain Foote is 60 miles back. O
12th. We were delayed this morning by some of our Brethren going to the tar spring to gather tar. Started at 11 o'clock. Crossed some big hills. Camped at Yellow Creek at the foot of Rocky Bluffs.
13th. This morning it comenced raining before breakfast, conturned about 2 hours, then dressed up, and we started. Passed Loveland and Belknap in camp, met a white man and Indian woman dressed in man's costume. We think she was his wife. At noon Bros. Belknap and Loveland came up and stated that Bros. Nellie had broken his wagon wheel. In consequence of the accident they camped, but we drove on till near sundown. Passed Cache Cave. I had a fine view of it from my home on wheels, but did not go to it. This is at the head of Echo Creek. We now travel down a narrow ravine between high Mountains. Camped alone on Echo Creek.
14th. We rose at day break. The U. S. Mail passed before we started. A part of the road is on the side of the hill, which makes it dangerous for if great care is not taken a wagon is very easily tiped over into the creek. From my wagon I had a fine veiw of the high ruged mountains with small cedar growing on the sides. We think the road today the worst we have had yet. Camped on the Weber river. 2 miles on the new road.
17th. This morning we entered the canyon and traveled on the most dreadful road imaginable. Some places we had to make the road before we could pass. Passed the toll gate and paid for passing over the road we had made. We had a veiw of the Valley, and it delighted me much to think I was near my long journey's end. The road today has been the worst we ever saw, but we came safely through without any accident. Camped at dusk 1 mile past the toll house. Here is no food or wood.
18th. We rose at day break and all are happy because our long journey is so near done. When we came near the city we met Bro. Blackhurst, a friend of Mr. Maughan's. On arriving in the city we soon found many kind friends. We camped in the street in front of Bro. Peart's house. I think this is destined to be a great place. There are stores and houses going up in all directions. We staid in Salt Lake City one week and enjoyed the Society of our friends. Then we were counciled to settle in Tooele, 35 miles west of Salt Lake City. This Valley was then being settled. Here I found 2 old friends from England, Bro. and Sister Rowberry, and some of our friends from Nauvoo. Here we camped in tent and wagon on our city lot untill we built a nice large double log house. We moved into our house in the middle of November, 1850. I had not eat or slept in a house since we left our own home in New Diggings, Wisconsin Territory.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.