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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1866 (age 16), Warnick, Charles Peter (Sweden)

I was born April 5, 1850, in Nolosen, Forsbu, Skaraborg, Sweden. My parents were Anders Peter and Anna Helena Andersen Warnick. I was the youngest of seven children, five sons and two daughters. My parents were industrious, hard-working people. They were God fearing as well. They were members of the Lutheran Church and were very strict in keeping the Sabbath day. They must have all preparations made on Saturday, such as cutting a large supply of wood which must even be carried in so that there would be no hindrance of the Sunday morning program. There was singing and prayer and reading of the scriptures before attending church, where Father was often asked to lead the singing. After returning from church, the reading from the Bible was continued and the family must all pay the strictest attention. Needless to say, we children did not enjoy those hours of sitting still when there was so much more to enjoy outside. I was a very sensitive child and when I heard my father in his reading say something about Heaven, I thought and wondered how anyone could ever become good enough to get there. On one occasion I attended church with my parents-it was a very old church and it had many wonderful paintings upon the walls and ceiling, especially was there one which struck terror to my young heart. It represented hell and the people who were doomed to that place. It was in the form of a very large kettle hanging over a fire. The kettle was full of human beings, each trying to make their escape, but they were kept in the kettle by a horrible looking person with horns, who was continually pushing them down with a large fork.

As I was the youngest in the family, my childhood days were spent mostly with my mother and in carrying lunches to the rest of the family as they were at work. My moral education was well taken care of by Mother and the rest of the family. We were taught to be honest, truthful and industrious, and that idleness and waste were sins.

My schooling was very limited as it was at this time that the Mormon elders came into this part of the country and our schoolteacher was determined to drive them away. He did not know how to really go about it, so he started by abusing and mistreating the children whose parents he learned had any sympathy for the new sect or the elders. As my parents were among them, I was in for my share of abuse.

It was when I was ten years of age that my aunt came to visit with my mother. She had already learned much about the Latter-day Saints as she said the new sect was called. She was a believer in the principles taught and she explained them to my mother as far as she was able. I was eagerly listening to all that was said... It sounded good to me.

My parents were soon converted and became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were baptized January 13, 17, 1860, by Elder Adam Swenson who later married my cousin, and rejoiced in the new light which had come to them. But with their rejoicing came persecution and the hatred of former friends. My father was turned out by his employer, as were others of the family unless they would renounce their religion. But this they refused to do and bravely and... they found elsewhere a home and employment, better and more remunerative than that which they had been driven from. In a few short years they had gathered around themselves enough property that when they had disposed of it, they had sufficient means to bring seven grown people and two children to America. I was baptized a member of the Church April 18, 1866, in Oddatorp, Sweden, by my brother Adolph Fredrick, who was laboring as a traveling elder in Sweden, in which capacity he labored for seven years.

To America
I, together with my parents, my two brothers, John August and Anders Gustave, my sister Anne Christine, two sisters-in-law and three children left our native land in the latter part of April 1866 for America. We were thankful that we had thus been blessed of the Lord that we were able to go to Zion where we might live and worship with those of our faith without fear of mob or ridicule. But alas! how shortsighted are we human beings! How little we know what is before us! We boarded the sailing vessel Cavour at Hamburg June 1st, 1866, for our trip across the great Atlantic. The supply of water was very limited for such a long journey which lasted nine weeks. We were allotted one quart of water per family each day. The water itself was terribly bad. Other rations were likewise limited and of very poor quality. Sickness broke out among the passengers. I was so sick my mother worried much as to whether I would be allowed to land. But that part went all right and we were glad once more to set foot on Mother Earth and to enjoy the luxury of good cold water, as the weather was warm.

New York to St. Joseph/Mother died of Cholera, others Dying
When we landed in New York July 31st, we went directly to Castle Gardens and from there to Montreal, Canada. We went on a flat steamer that was fired by wood up the St. Lawrence River, and then continued by rail to Chicago and on to Omaha. When we saw the string of cars into which we were being herded, our hearts almost failed us. But what could be done about it? We were on the road and must follow it through, even though we were treated like cattle. For that was the kind of cars the train was made of. But those awful hard and dirty cars proved to be a blessing in disguise, for we had not been long on the train when cholera broke out in a very serious form among the people. The poor stricken souls couldn't have sat up, so with room to spread their bedding down, it was better for them. But oh how they suffered with the jarring and bumping of the cars. When we had traveled three days my dear mother passed away on the fifth of August, she being one of the first to go. Her body was left on the station platform at Marcella. Conditions continued to get worse and when we reached St. Joseph a few days later, my father and sister Christine were left dying on the platform. When I now look back and think of that awful scene, I wonder how we could do it, and I can only think that we saw so much suffering and death that our sense of feeling and sympathy must have been paralyzed. We thought that we were all doomed and nothing mattered-the sooner the better.

The "Sanpete" (or Cholera) Company - Many More Deaths
We met ox teams in eastern Wyoming and started for Salt Lake City on August 13th. But the angel of death had not finished his work. Many of our companions were left in shallow graves by the roadside. One noon as we were camping, all the men that were able were busy digging one large grave in which seven bodies were buried. We had not been out many days when my brother Anders Gustave said to me, "Let us pray, for we don't know how soon our turn will come." How true he spoke, for it was only two days later when he passed away, and it was only a few days later when his betrothed, Charlotte Bengtsen, died. Also one of my brother August's children, and a little girl of my sister Christine. Before we reached our journey's end, another of August's children died, making eight of our number who passed away on this terrible journey. I remember especially one whole family that died, and in many instances there were just one or two left out of large families. This is the darkest chapter in my life, but yet in this great suffering and bereavement they died in the faith and in hopes of reaching a better land.

In Utah
The company we traveled with was made up of teams and men from Sanpete County. Our captain's name was Abner Lowry and he was from Manti. We arrived in Salt Lake on October 27, 1866. Our family was John August and his wife, Mary Bengsten Warnick, their little girl, Caroline, and myself. Their baby, born on the way, was numbered among the dead. I was then sixteen years old. We drove out south of the city near the present site of the Granite Stake Tabernacle (33rd South) to camp for the night. There was good feed at the sides of the road for the cattle to feed on. My brother, walking around, noticed a small plot of ground which had recently been plowed. On kicking around in the loose mold he found a few potatoes which had been overlooked in the harvesting. Needless to say they were greatly enjoyed as they were the first potatoes we had had for six months. Next day we traveled beyond American Fork and camped near Pleasant Grove for the night. It was customary when the people close around heard of an emigrant company camping near, to go and visit them and see if perchance they might find some of their friends among them. Among those who came to our camp that night was a Swedish man who had recently moved to Pleasant Grove. He was a man of small stature but a kind and liberal soul. His name was Paul Andersen. He had just built himself a little home, only one room and that partly in the ground, but he asked us kindly to remain there, that he thought this was as good a place as we would find in Sanpete. He did not have much to offer us but the weather was warm and if there was not room inside, there was a big outdoors. My sister-in-law was very worn, both with sickness and sorrow, so the offer sounded too good to her to be refused. We gathered together our belongings and went with Brother Andersen. His family was kind and hospitable and they were ever after among our dearest friends. So this was my first experience in Pleasant Grove.

The next day was Sunday and one of the things that came into my life that day I have never forgotten. In the afternoon a little girl came to play with the Andersen girl and I, though somewhat older, wanted to be with them. I felt lonely and this little eleven-year-old girl with such pretty blue eyes looked so good to me that when the girls went to take her a ways home, I too wanted to go, but they gave me to understand that it wasn't customary in this country for boys and girls to go together, so away they ran. But one does not easily forget such a strong impression made on first sight, so I continued to look into those pretty eyes as often as I had a chance and eight years after I first met that little girl, she became my wife. And now, after having lived together for fifty-six years, I am anxious to follow her on, and the brightness in those eyes has lighted up my way over many of the dark and rough paths which I have had to travel.

Whatever It Takes
The next day my brother and I went to look for a place to live. We were anxious to make some preparations for winter. We found a dugout that had just been located out east of Locust Avenue. It was owned by a man named Savior. We carried our things there and made ourselves feel contented with the thought that we at least had shelter. We began to gather wood down from the hills which were not far away. We got an occasional day's work husking corn or stripping sugar cane. In this way we got a little corn for bread and some molasses to dip it in. Once in a while we would brown some of the corn and make a drink of it, as a change from cold water.

For a time things went along all right. Then the coming of rain and snow reminded us that winter was at hand. There was lots of rain and it soaked the dirt roof covering our dugout. Early Christmas morning we were awakened by a crash. The roof was coming down on us fast and we had a narrow escape through a little opening left of what was the door. We soon found another place, and when spring opened up, I helped my brother who was planning a little home of his own. I continued to work for him that year and whenever there was a chance to earn something, I would help him there too. In this way I made adobes for a man and received for pay a cow, which was quite a help to us. I also worked some in the west mountains.

The next winter I hired out to a man in American Fork named Niels Thomson. I was to come on the first of January 1868 and work for him for the whole year for which I was to receive thirty-five dollars a month. I worked for him until the first of April. Then the railroad work opened up in Echo Canyon. My brother was going and he thought I had better go too. I had to give the man three months" wages to break my contract. On the railroad we contracted the work. It was hard work and as they agreed to pay me man's wages, I had to do work equal to that of a big strong man. I was then eighteen years of age. We did pretty well, but the grading was all sub-contract work, and in part payment we had to accept orders on stores and on different men, and some are still unpaid. But since I have lived this long without it, I have decided that should we ever meet I will shake hands and call it square. Toward spring we moved our camp near the mouth of Echo Canyon. My brother's wife had been with us all winter cooking for our company. I, together with my brother, sent money back to Sweden to bring our sister, Ingra Marie, and four children, here; also L. John Swenson, a friend. I sent three hundred dollars. In August 1869 I drove an ox team to Ogden to meet my sister and her family. It was a joyful meeting after three years of separation, and yet there was sadness, and many tears were shed for those who were gone.

We made the trip back from Ogden to Pleasant Grove in three days. After making my sister somewhat comfortable, I made my home with her and helped to support her. I worked and earned a cow and a stove which was a great help to her. I had also paid to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund my fare from Florence to Salt Lake City. I had bought ten acres of land, and in the spring of 1870 I bought me a team and a wagon for which I paid fifty cords of wood which I hauled from the west mountains to a brick kiln just south of the Big Spring.

I could always find work, and hard work at that. A great deal of it was in the mountains getting poles and wood, but I never shirked when I could help in any public or charitable way. I delighted in feeling that I was interested in all things that were for the public good. I did some work on the Provo Canal, bringing the water of the Provo River over our way.

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.