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Jews in the Wild West

Chapter 28.

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Departure from Great Salt Lake City—Equipments for the Journey—Author Paints Portraits of Gov. Young and Apostles—His Restoration to Health—Snow Storm—Cotton Wood Settlement—Willow Creek—Lehigh—Utah Lake—Snow Storm—Pleasant Grove—Provost—Payson.

HAVING determined to go to California by the Southern route from Great Salt Lake City, through the settlements, and over the trail of Col. Fremont of 1843, which I wanted to illustrate with views, etc., I took advantage of the opportunity which offered on the 6th May, 1854.

Twenty-three Mormon missionaries, under command of Parley Pratt, were about to proceed over this route to San Bernandino, thence to San Pedro, and the Sandwich Islands; at which latter place their religious labors were to be exercised to convert those benighted islanders to the truths of Mormonism! It was the season that his excellency the Governor usually paid his annual visit to the different settlements at the South. He had also made extensive preparations for a treaty of peace with the Indians under the chieftainship of Wakara. He proclaimed his intention of accompanying Parley Pratt and his missionaries to Cedar City, the most southern settlement, a distance of 300 miles from Great Salt Lake City.

At the invitation of Gov. Young, who seemed anxious that I should have a safe escort across the desert, I completed my arrangements, and decided to proceed with this party.

I purchased a superior riding mule for which I paid, including his shoes, saddle and bridle, etc., one hundred and sixty dollars. My provisions consisted of six boxes of sardines, and one hundred pounds of crackers, made expressly for me by my eccentric friend, Golightly. Luxuries such as butter, eggs, etc., I intended to procure at the settlements below. To the kindness of Mrs. Benson, the elder, I was indebted for four pounds of brown sugar, for which I paid one dollar per pound; and two pounds of ground coffee, at the same price,—this was a favor, for I could not have procured any at ten dollars a pound elsewhere. My wardrobe had received considerable additions at corresponding prices—four dollars for white shirts, two dollars for striped cotton shirtsabout four hundred per cent. on prices for the same goods at home. I determined to provide myself with all necessaries. I had some fifteen hundred miles to travel before I reached San Francisco. I found my Pandora's box most valuable on my last journey, and everything that I might require, I put in now, unmindful of the cost. On referring to my memorandum when I arrived at San Francisco, I summed up $350 as expenses of the journey. I painted several portraits in Great Salt Lake City; among them were two of Gov. Brigham Young; one of Lieut. General Wells, General Ferguson, Attorney General Seth Blair, Apostle Woodruff; Bishop Smoot, Col. Ferrimore Little and lady, Mrs. Wheelock, and several others.

The Governor's party consisted of a large number of wagons, mounted horsemen, etc. They left on the 5th of May, 1854. 1 not being quite ready, having to finish a picture, was not able to leave with them. Brigham Young promised to wait for me at Provost City.

On the 6th of May I mounted my mule, (having previously sent my baggage, provisions, etc., in one of the wagons), and fully armed, and equipped with pocket compass, thermometer, drawing materials, etc., I recommenced my journey, over the route I had travelled in wagons as an invalid, three months before: I was completely restored to health—I gained the enormous increase of sixty-one pounds. When I arrived at the city I weighed one hundred and one pounds, my usual weight was one hundred and forty-five; I therefore lost forty-four pounds on the journey, and regained it, with nearly twenty pounds extra. After travelling three miles I was overtaken by a severe snow storm. I stopped at the residence of Bishop Smoot, where I remained all night, and was hospitably entertained by him. It continued snowing until ten o'clock the next morning, when I resumed my journey, and arrived at Cottonwood Settlement.

This town is eight miles from Great Salt Lake City. It contains one hundred families, who own considerable stock, etc.

Ten miles further is Willow Creek settlement, containing about seventy-five families. Ten miles further south is Lehigh, a fine town, with six hundred inhabitants, three hundred head of cattle, one hundred horses, etc. Ten miles distant, is Lake City, on the American fork in Utah Valley, containing one thousand inhabitants, five hundred head of cattle, two hundred horses, and one hundred sheep.

I have taken lodgings here, and feel rather tired with my long day's ride of thirty-five miles.

Utah Valley is the next, south of Great Salt Lake Valley, and presents a magnificent spectacle from the summit of the pass by which you enter.

Utah Lake, which you can also see from the heights, is forty-five miles long, and twelve miles broad. The lake is situated on one side, to the west of the valley. The scenery, which is enlivened by the glistening waters, although grand and sublime in stupendous mountains, flowering vales, abrupt rocky descents, etc., is without timber, except on the creeks which meander from the mountains and entirely surround the valley. Sparse growths of young cottonwood are the only trees I have seen, except in the canons of the mountains, on which grow pines, cedars, and a species of mahogany.

May 8th.—I awoke this morning and found another snow storm raging, and very disagreeably cold; but if I allow these trifles to detain me, I shall not be in time to meet the Governor.

After breakfast I mounted my mule, and in an hour I arrived at Pleasant Grove, containing 300 inhabitants. Passing through, without stopping, I continued my journey, the snow blowing in my face the whole way, until I rode into Provost, a distance of ten miles from Pleasant Grove. I was disappointed in finding that his Excellency had departed that morning for "Petetnit," nineteen miles further. I stopped there to dine, gave my mule a good feed, and after warming my almost frozen feet, I jumped into my saddle, determined to ride the nineteen miles before dark. Onward I went, putting my mule to his mettle. He, not minding a gallop, tried to create a circulation. In a couple of hours it cleared up, and at six o'clock I rode into Petetnit.

Provost City is a large settlement, containing about eight hundred and sixty families, equal to five thousand inhabitants, two thousand head of cattle, three thousand sheep, five hundred horses, several woollen manufactories and carding machines, shingle machines, two sawmills, a seminary and several schools, pottery, tannery, etc. Here are five hundred men capable of bearing arms.

Provost City is built on Provost River, which abounds in salmon trout of delicious flavor and large size.

Evan M. Green is mayor; Elias Blackburn, bishop. There are four bishops to this city.

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