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Southern Expedition

 

 

 

ACCOUNT OF A JOURNEY FROM GREAT SALT LAKE CITY FOR 450
MILES TO THE SOUTH -- FROM CAPT. D, JONES
San Pete, March, 1851

 

 

 

DEAR BROTHER DAVIS--

Perhaps it would be interesting and useful to give the following account to the Welsh Saints, who are no doubt desirous of every bit of information concerning these parts of the world from whence they derive their love. At least, that is how I felt when I was there and I still do. And even though I am far from them now, my desire to entertain and benefit them is not one ounce less than ever before; on the contrary, the more I perceive of advantages to benefit them temporally or spiritually, the more my desire grows for them, more than anyone else, to receive these advantages. And I continue to think, like Paul of old, that my joy will not be perfect without being in the company of all of you. But, on with the account.

The week that I arrived in Great Salt Lake City from Wales, our respected Pres. B. Young told me privately of his intention and his plans with respect to settling the valleys of the mountains, etc., and reported to me interesting evidence which he had received from travelers about that missing branch of the race of Gomer who are called the Madocians; and he also counseled me to go with the company which he intended to send to the south soon, all of which brought great joy to my heart. Another purpose of this journey was to search out as far as we could how far up we could navigate the Colorado River, together with determining the quality of the valleys and rivers, etc., of these everlasting hills.

November 22, 1849. According to the previous arrangements, the majority of the company departed from the city, and the regiment regulated  12 miles to the south, but I was prevented from departing until the 24th, since I was settling the various Welsh families on the other side of the Jordan River and apportioning to them their inheritances according to their needs. Great was the weeping and the sorrow at my leaving. I had already established them as Welsh branches before that and had designated presidents over them. And almost all of them had renewed their covenants through baptism, etc., and in the Welsh meetings there was more unity and more of the Spirit of God than I have seen amongst us since I left Wales.

The first day I came to the place where I expected to meet the company, but all of them except for myself had gone from there two days before. I stayed the night there, and the next day I began alone after them. It had
snowed during the night, and continued to snow when I began, so that the trail was totally invisible except that I could see the sprigs of grass on either side and nothing on the road. There were no inhabitants or houses, or any
hope of seeing a traveler along my way for over 60 miles. It was so foggy that I could hardly see anything around me; and although others had tried to get me to refrain from venturing forth, I was not to be discouraged in spite of that. Forward I went on horseback, and one other I was leading, which carried my clothes, bed, etc. I went along with hardly a pause for about 15 miles, when I discovered an unexpected crossroads; I ventured along the middle of the three, which before long deceived me by disappearing from sight. I turned back to try one of the others, and I followed the south road, which after a while led me over a steep bank and to bogs and mud where the horses sank to their thighs. But I struggled forward through water mixed with mud and snow until the path dipped precipitously over the bank of a large and deep river, which I saw just in time to save myself from a ducking, I took the hint now that that was not the right path either, and I went back as best I could, at times the horses, at times myself lower. The horses, poor things, performed their part well to come out alive from such bogs when neither they nor I could see 10 yards around us. My lonely and deserted situation
was not enviable now; for if I lost much time here while the camp traveled forth, I could see that my bed that night would be in the cold snow, without a fire or anything to light one; and if so, although I was safe from the
barbarous inhabitants who wandered across the country, the company would not be so pleasant of the snarling wolves who were already howling to each other to assemble their armies together in sufficient number as to take the wanderer captive. Now I called on my Father to guide me or my animals to the right path, who, as usual, praise be to his name, answered my plea; for the latter, when given their reins, took me to the bottom of a steep and rough hill which they quickly climbed to its top and then down over it from rock to rock. At the bottom of the hill ran a small river which was difficult to cross, but after following its banks for a while I found a safe spot, and before long I found myself on the highland again without ever a road or a compass or anything except the heavens above to go by. I shouted again higher than before, "0 Father, cause a breeze from somewhere to blow the clouds and the snow." At the calling the breeze came and the snow ceased, and I heard the neighing of a horse not far from me. As I pondered what it could be, whether a horse lost as I was, whether it had a rider, or whether it was an angel from heaven bringing salvation, again and again the whinny which was answered back by my horses and myself as loudly as we could, and taking heart they pranced to meet him. A gust of wind came which blew the clouds away.  Then we saw three horsemen on their mounts opposite us! These were travelers toward Utah [Provo]. I traveled with them until I caught up with my own company, and great was the joy of the meeting, for they were waiting for me at the Willows River. With gladness I was welcomed to the camp, and we started from there to climb a steep hill which divides the Great Salt Lake Valley from the Utah Valley. From the highest point we took the last look on Salt Lake City and its inhabitants in the distance. We descended gradually along an excellent road of the south side and camped along the Dry River in Utah Valley.

Our camp contains 12 wagons drawn by oxen and a carriage for me and P. P. Pratt, which was drawn by four horses. We had also about 20 horses and 15 riding mules, and 47 brave and armed men, one brass cannon on wheels,  7 fat animals for slaughter as the need arose, and food for four months. On one of the wagons there was an odometer which was turned by the wheel, a barometer and astronomical instruments, etc.

Nov. 26th. We traveled along the side of this beautiful valley. Utah Lake was to the south of us, about 30 miles long and about 10 miles wide, of fresh, clear water and lots of fish. We crossed several rivers today of various sizes on the banks of which trees are scarce, but the land is rich and abundant and suitable for farming.

Nov. 28th. About mid-day we crossed the Provo River which is about  103 feet wide and  2 feet deep, emptying from the eastern hills to the lake in the west. On the southern bank are settled from 300  to 400 saints. They built a square fort of log cabins, about 20 on each side and two wide gates.  The enclosure contained about two acres of land. They cultivated about 600 acres in one enclosure and are doing very well up to now, and they had abundant crops. Distance from Salt Lake City, 46 miles. We camped on Spring Creek,   12 miles to the south, the snow almost vanished. On the bank of the next river, that is Hobble Creek, in beautiful and fruitful country, we met a tribe of Indians, called Utahs, who stole from us a fat ox and escaped stealthily. They made their cabins out of willows or "sage." And since they wandered from place to place hunting, they did not build them to stay in them for long. Their clothing is of buffalo skins which they get from the southern natives, or blankets which they get from the Mormons, etc. There is not much desirable in them, poor things, except that they possess eternal souls and are the descendants of a strong nation, to which great promises were given earlier. Behold here in them the fulfillment of many prophecies without doubt; for much was said that the seed of Ephraim was brought to bow down to the dust and they were brought down to the ground--that their "speech shall whisper out of the dust," etc. Not one unbiased man can doubt the truth of the Book of Mormon after understanding the true character and history of these remnants, I dare say.

29th. We crossed a river about   10 yards wide and a foot deep which runs along the dividing strip of land between the southern corner of the Utah Valley and the northern corner of Juab Valley. A considerable number of trees good for firewood line the banks of this river; and there is a broad view from here to the north over the entire Utah Valley and to the south for scores of miles in its length and from 10 to 15 miles in width is a valley which would be difficult to surpass in beauty or in the nature and lay of the land, except the scarcity of its trees lessens its worth.

About 15 seconds  [a second is about one sixtieth of a mile] before reaching the southern corner of this valley the road leads to San Pete, which runs through a canyon between high mountains for about 18 seconds, from where runs a small river with cold and crystaline water. In this canyon there is a mountain of salt of a reddish and harsh color, and it comes from a cave which runs under the mountain of salt; near the cave there is a spring bubbling its salt water to the surface, which when it sets in the sun produces a layer of white salt tasty and good. Here we gathered sufficient for our use.

30th. We reached the corner of the San Pete Valley which is far more abundant than the valleys already mentioned. Now in front of us to the south can be seen a luxuriant and grassy meadow for 50 seconds; it looks very similar to some meadows which I saw in the old country of my fathers before the hay harvest, but more abundant. Several rivers and streams run through it from which the biggest part of it can be irrigated; the largest of these is called the San Pete River which runs from the northern corner, meandering along the
length of the valley, where the valley stretches its foot several miles beyond the high point of cedars on our left. It stretches its other foot to the northwest corner just as far. Around it it is enclosed by a range of high mountains beyond which nothing can be seen except for the blue sky, without a cloud "as big as the palm of a man's hand" to blacken its lovely countenance. This valley is 20 seconds wide at times, and then it narrows toward the south, where its head slopes up from its shoulders toward the southwest again on the bosom of some mountains. It is a majestic sight which gives to this valley the appearance of a small world by itself, and timeless calm reigns herein on its throne, except for an occasional savage native or wolf which wander after their prey--the fish in its rivers or an occasional rabbit as white as the snow which jumps from its refuge in fright gazing at our faces as if to ask, "Who are these strange intruders and what do they want?" This is how this valley was like many other valleys which were sheltered in the chambers of these everlasting mountains until a few days ago when an encampment of Saints arrived here to settle in its southern corner whose welcome association we reached on December 3rd. We stayed with them here until the 5th, and we received every kindness they could give us. It is Isaac Morley who presides here over about   50 families. They have not had time to build, but there is an excellent rock quarry to use for building at their convenience nearby. A river runs through their intended city, and they are surrounded, except in the east where the mountains are, by many thousands of acres of fertile land. There is an abundance of trees for firewood readily available at the foot of the hills, and plenty of timber for building, etc., in the neighboring canyons, which are a blessing generally hard to come by in these valleys. We received an additional 3 men in our camp here. The distance of this place from the Great Salt Lake is 1302 miles.

December   5th. We traveled to the south, crossed the San Pete River the second time, and in the evening we camped along the Seviere River, which runs from south to northwest and contains as much or more water than the Teifi River. There is hardly any good land on its banks here. Here we met the Utah Chief Walke and his tribe hunting, some of them sick from measles. We administered to them as we were able. Before getting under way the next morning, they assembled together in our camp, and the gospel was preached to them through our interpreter, D. B. Huntington. They were presented with a Book of Mormon, together with a brief explanation of its contents and our intentions of coming into their midst, together with their duties, etc. They listened attentively and contentedly to the end when their Chief, Arapin, answered that they had heard a great deal through the traditions of their fathers about some book of the work of their ancestors, which they expected to obtain through the hands of white men; that they understood their genealogy and their ancestors, and that they had been a white people, skillful and good earlier; but through transgression and disobedience of their fathers to the great "Shinob," they had come to this degeneration. He said that they promised obedience to the Mormons in everything they wanted them to do, and through so doing they expected to be civilized so they could become a strong, skillful and blessed people and so they would become white and beautiful again as before. He enlarged with apparent happiness through all of them that their forebears showed that this blessed time was at the door; that they were very happy to see the Mormons settle in their midst, etc. We left a good impression on their minds, and we had from them irrefutable proofs that what is told of them in the Book of Mormon is true. It was amusing to hear them try to follow us in our songs, prayers, etc. That the gracious Lord hasten the time in which they will be restored to the bond of the new covenant, be our prayer.

Here some of the brethren from San Pete visited us and brought samples of salt and coal which could be had in abundance in the neighboring mountains; also, a trader by the name of Barney Ward came here with goods to barter with the Indians. He informed us that he had been 14 years among the Indians of the interior. He told us that we could get a fairly flat route along this valley except for a place or two for over 100 miles until the Little Salt Lake Valley, and from there to the Colorado River by the source of the Mahobby River, to which place from the California strait he judged that that the Colorado River was navigable. Mr. Ward told us also that he had been among a people called the Moquis; that they were white people, skilled in crafts such as agriculture, weaving, making clothes, raising animals, building, planting, etc., that they were different in their whole behavior and in their language from the Spanish, more so than any Indians around them, and that they were handsome people, and that their women were particularly beautiful and fair. He described their clothes very similar to the clothes of the common folk in Wales. They worked and they raised abundant crops of wheat, corn of India, etc., in an abundant and luxuriant valley along the Colorado River. They chisled their houses for the most part in neighboring rocks for protection against the neighboring Indians which oppressed them greatly. Mr. Ward says that they are quite peaceful and hospitable to strangers. They had loaded him and his friends with plenty of food for free. He said that he had eaten better apples, pears, etc., there than in any other place, and that there was among his friends there one Welshman from birth who understood a few words of Welsh only, and who testified that it was Welsh these natives were speaking!  I do not guarantee, of course, how much credence we should give to all the above stories, yet they are not incredible to me when I understand the character of the story teller. Not often can so much smoke which hides the Madocians from the presence of their fellow-nation from age to age be seen without its originating from some fire, say I. But to return to the account of our journey.

We traveled to the bank of the Seviere River, and the land improved until the 11th when the mountains closed before us. In the morning P. P. Pratt and I went on horseback before the rest of the camp to look for a path between the mountains. At about sundown as we were going through a grove of cedar trees, totally unexpectedly, we heard horses neighing, and soon several galloped toward us. We understood by this and by the barking of many dogs that there were Indians nearby. We followed after the horses to the trees, and soon we saw the "wicciups" (houses) of the Indians; but they were inside making preparations to defend. We called them to come out, but they did not come until we shouted "Mormoni toowidgeweinio." At this they came out to us unarmed and cheerful to shake hands and welcome us, which proved that the name of Mormons among the savages of the mountains was a protection to their lives.  When among "Christians," as they were called, the same name is reproachful and proverbial, and in some places endangers the life of its bearer!  Does this not prove that the time is dawning when the "envying of Ephraim shall cease?"

P. P. Pratt went ahead to the mountain, and I returned to lead the camp here to make camp where we all met on that night.

December 12th.  We climbed a rather steep hill through cedars and after descending about 5 minutes to the south side we arrived in a splendid small valley along the Seviere River, with an abundance of grazing and large pine trees, etc.  We camped.

The next morning five of us went to look at the quality of the country; we crossed the Seviere on the ice, and we called this place Mary Vale, 200 minutes from Great Salt Lake City [a minute is slightly over one mile].  In the evening, after traveling hard through the day, through trees, and seeing the trails of bears, panthers, wolves, etc., we reached the fork of the river, where the half of the water coming from the east and the other half coming from the south meet.  We saw some Indians through the day wandering here and there for game.  We returned back to meet the camp.  The weather cold, hardly any snow in the valley.  The surrounding mountains white with snow; the thermometer at times in the night below the freezing point.

December 14th.  It was snowing; we reached the furthest corner of the valley where the river issued from the huge crags, impossible to follow them further.  The next day a way between the mountains was searched for, but one was not found better than crossing over the huge cliffs of the Wasatch Range, which feat was considered impossible by many, especially in the middle of the winter. But bravely and unitedly, we set ourselves to the task, and the next morning, the   16th, we began to climb, and some with axes, some with shovels, others with pickaxes, etc., through the deep snow we ascended gradually to the castle of the snow god, who at the time summoned his whole snowy and frigis powers to prevent us. By night we had reached from 3 to 4 miles. At times we had to tie ropes around the oxen and drag them through the snow drifts, and leave them to drag others, and after that the wagons, like this over the cliffs and then lowering them down by ropes. Another time we drove the horses to break the way through the snow. They became buried in the drifts there because of the cold, and we could not get them to face the storm. Some times we had to clear the snow with shovels, and the entire time we were crossing this ridge, that is close to a week, the animals had no food except for the
tips of the trees which were sticking up out of the snow.

To our great joy we found a narrow and gradual descent between steep and high rocks on the other side; we saw hills at times which were almost covered with deer, mountain goats, etc. I killed some of them. One morning we discovered that our animals had scattered, and we were everywhere in all directions on horses through the day looking for them, and by night we got them all; and some of the searchers found out also, too late, that we could have had an easy opening to save crossing this ridge to the south of this place. On our descent from here we went at times as if through narrow gates between high crags of every color and shape, as if we were traveling in an old castle. The view was wondrous and majestic. At last the fissure led us to the eastern corner of the Little Salt Lake Valley, and the climate was so temperate here that the snow had disappeared, the grass was in abundance and sprouting, and the view had changed so completely and suddenly, more so than on the top of the mountains, that we called this place "Porth yr Haf" (Summer Port). Here we camped and great was the feast our poor animals had. From here we could see a splendid valley reaching from before us to the southwest a good 30 minutes, and in its middle a rather large lake of water on which the sun shone as if on glass.

December   22nd. We traveled along the valley through the country of the rabbits which dotted the face of the land, so that it was hardly possible to shoot in any direction without killing some; we had our fill of this food at that time. The land improving. In the evening we camped along a small river which came from the southern mountains and emptied within 10 minutes to the salt lake. Because of the weakness of the oxen and the desire to examine the quality of this new and beautiful valley, we decided to leave all the oxen here, together with the wagons and  32 men; the other 20 of us began on the 26th to the south with  20 horses and 12 mules to carry our supplies, etc.  After traveling  6 minutes through good land we crossed another river, bigger than the other, the shores of which for several miles are of excellent soil. This place is an excellent location for a settlement, with an abundance of firewood, that is cedars, etc., which reaches to the foot of the nearby hills. The weather continues temperate here, and at times warm during the day, but rather cold in the morning and the evening. After traveling about 12 minutes further through these luxuriant meadows in the evening, we camped on the third river in this beautiful valley, after being greatly surprised in the excellence of its size and advantages, more than we had thought at the first sight from afar. These waters are crystalline, cold and of good taste, and the chief wonder of these rivers is that they run along the small ridge of land which is higher than almost any other place of the land, which makes it easy to irrigate all of the lands. It is thought that the greatest part of these lowlands will produce wheat, oats, etc., without irrigating, and I believe it will produce corn of India, cotton, potatoes, etc., better, because of the climate than any other place we have seen in the valleys of these mountains; and certainly animals can be raised here with hardly any cost. The main road to the country of gold of California runs through the middle of this valley which will make it a good marketplace.

The next day after traveling through this lovely country in the afternoon we stood on the ridge from where we could see an even wider valley which is about 15 minutes wide before us. It reaches to the south between two mountain ridges out of sight and to the north about 20 minutes of more, then to the west for 100, and half that in width. At our feet three strong springs of sparkling water gush, which form enough water to turn mills and irrigate the meadows in their course down to the large river which runs through the middle of this valley, on the eastern banks of which there are thousands of acres of desirable land, yet not many in contrast to those which are on its western side, where we judge to be about 20,000 acres of flat luxuriant meadows; and behind that as much or more of good farming land which reaches to the foot of the western hills which rise gradually and are covered with cedars, etc. To the west of the place I describe now there is a rather high, jagged mountain,
which we judge to be of iron ore, the richest that any of us has ever seen, besides several kinds of other ores in that neighborhood. I consider this discovery to be priceless in this place.

Some in our company said that they saw coal also nearby; however, I did not see any. No doubt but what this is a lovely and very commercial location for a settlement. Commercial, I say, because of the iron, etc., so convenient and abundant--located about half way between Salt Lake City and the Pacific Ocean or the California Strait. Lovely because the country is open to the south and the climate is temperate and the lay of the land is so advantageous and beautiful. An excellent place to build a city is at the foot of these hills, where there is plenty of firewood, water, and land and healthful air to breathe. Permit me for a minute to describe the image which I saw in my mind's eye while standing in this place! I see here a beautiful city, a branch of the mountain of Zion, and plenty of space to stretch its boundaries where it wishes. In its foreground to the east, and that which it overlooks from every corner of it, I see large fields getting white for the harvest, their glad owners smiling at this sight, without thinking of paying anyone rent or hardly any tax on any of them, rather everyone free to enjoy his fill of all the elements. Beyond these white crops the luxuriant meadows stretch their verdant and splendid carpets, along which countless thousands of oxen, cattle, calves and flocks of sheep play, all of which fill their skins with this abundance in a short time. To satisfy their needs the river runs slowly and
sluggishly past this majestic sight, while along its pretty banks herds of horses prance with a boastful neigh, under the feeling of their independence in this western paradise. Yet, I cannot close this picture until we see hosts of the race of Gomer, which are now in slavery and poverty, their women and children, instead of hunger and oppression, here enjoying their fill; and all of its inhabitants cheerful whom I meet along its long and beautiful roads. But, hush! We have gone far enough. My wish is this, even though perhaps it may never be realized. At least there is no sign of habitation here now except what the Indians have, or animals except those which we brought, and an occasional deer, wolf or rabbit. Its only inhabitants are a few Indians of the Pah Utah tribe, which wander over the country without perceiving its worth or its excellence, nor wishing for anything except the game.

From here we went up to the southern valley through fruitful meadows, and we crossed some streams which furnished it with water. The third day we crossed a small river which runs across the valley, which by now narrows to about 7 minutes in width. This river could easily be turned to run to the north to mix with the waters of the "Great Basin" and with them to the eastern seas thousands of miles from here. For having been between two thoughts for a long time, it decides to swerve to the south and is soon swallowed into the bowels of the Rio Virgin, which a little to the south bubbles out of the middle of a huge rock until it swells to the bellies of our horses as we crossed it, and it hurries to the south a bit and rushes to a cave under the mountain from our sight for about 5 minutes, and then it comes to daylight again, hurrying to meet its mother, that is, the Rio Colorado, and with her to the California Strait, which proves that we now have passed the highest ridge of this continent and from where there is a descent to the Pacific Ocean. The climate changes now almost every day and becomes more temperate; no snow or any more snowy mountains, except behind us; the leaves are breaking out on the small trees and vegetables; all of which are of a different kind, more similar to those of the tropics. The geography and the view have completely changed also. Now the country with its face is looking the other way, as if it had turned backwards. It seems as if we are going quickly to the bottom of some place! The country is lumps and cliffs shattered by something, and stretching its ledges to the south from the heads of which it jumps hundreds of feet to begin another ledge. On these varied rocks are seen symbols of almost every kind, hieroglyphics, carvings, together with monuments of the greatness and antiquity of the nation which made them. Several of them were copied. Our wise men, those who can interpret them, say that they resemble those
which were on the plates of the Book of Mormon. These natives who are of the tribe of the Pah Utahs, wandering through the country without settling, building or laboring, or having rifles or clothes except from the kinds of rabbits, cannot give us an explanation of them except that they were there when they first saw them.

It is obvious that it is spring in this country, even though it is but the beginning of January. The whole country, not only the lowlands, but also the hills, is terribly muddy, so that it is almost impossible to travel.
Everyone has to walk now because the horses are sinking; the mules, despite all their skill in trying to tread on rocks, are sinking to their bellies and unable to rise, so that we frequently have to untie their burdens, at times a half a dozen or more at once. Now we have to keep one or more of the Indians in our camp every night as a hostage so that the others won't take our animals, etc. Like this we traveled, uncomfortable and tired, down along the banks of the Rio Virgin, which by then receives other rivers to its bosom, until we reached the place where the Santa Clara empties into it. It rushes now between high and rough crags. A fairly even distribution of trees are along it, and an occasional small, paradisical glade where the Indians have planted corn, etc., but too restricted for settlement.

Because of the illness of our animals and the miry condition of the country, we had to change our plans and our course, and from here we followed the small river last named to the west. We had intended to follow along to the south to the Colorado to search out the Moquis, etc., but because of that which was noted, we deemed it wisest to return. In these parts scores of the inhabitants gathered around us and snarled at times in an ugly way. The rains are frequent here while we did not have anything to shelter us from them, nor against any other harm except for blankets or a buffalo skin, which we spread on the wet ground and another over us; and frequently during the night I woke up almost swimming in water, for the watchmen had left the fire going in their turn, and in this manner they kept the large, black wolves, the panthers, the wild cats, etc., away, which were thirsting after our blood; yet, the animals were no more bloodthirsty than the natives. One time we had a host of them together, and we made conditions of peace with them, which continued at least as long as the presents they received from us. After that they invited us to their country and said that they had heard a great deal from other Indians about the Mormons, that they are good people, who teach them the ways and the skills of their fathers. We did not see a woman or a child in their midst at all; they said that the measles had swept them all away. Was this true or false? There are worse, but unproven tales told about them; I do not think they consider hardly anything too shameful to do.

Within a few days, we reached the road which leads to California, along which we returned over the Rim of the Basin, along the valley which I mentioned before, for about 60 minutes, where we met several emigrants going toward the country of gold. We saw the abundance of iron ore along the sides of the road, and at last we camped by then foot of the iron mountain mentioned before.

Next day P. P. Pratt and I went ahead of the others, and we reached our wagons in the Little Salt Lake By midnight, tired, and after having a rather hard skirmish with the snarling residents of these woods. Everyone healthy and happy to see us. We were received with cannon thunder, rifles, hurrahs and hosannas, etc. Hardly anyone slept until the morning, rather exchanging stories and news and feasting.

January 10th. The rest of the company arrived, and they were received kindly to enjoy the excellent feast that was prepared by the occasion. Surrounding the table on the grass sat about 50 of the brave sons of Zion, all in unity and love. Here the "Liberty Pole" was raised, about 50 feet in height, as a monument to the first settlement of this country. There was an abundance of trees of several kinds in the fissures of the mountains,
limestone, plaster of paris, etc. Distance from Great Salt Lake City is 2772 minutes.

January 14th. We all began toward home. The second day we left the valley over a ridge of mountains and the snow began to fall and continued to fall more or less until the 20th. During this time we traveled along the road of the emigrants, for the most part over hills and stony hollows, exhausted, at times without water, just snow, for days; only 3 or 4 small and insignificant valleys, except the Beaver Valley, which is of considerable size and advantageous for agriculture and which perhaps will be a settlement before long. 

Several days we had to travel by the compass because the snow was so deep that it hid the road and all landmarks, and so cloudy that we could see hardly anything. The snow was by now close to a yard deep on the level ground; and none of us had ever been this way before. Some days we traveled but 5 minutes and had to drive the horses back and forth to tramp down the snow before the oxen and the wagons, the wheels of which were at times buried in the snow. It was now clear that we could not travel like this for long, for the food for the animals was buried except for the tips of the cedars. Also we did not have supplies to all stay here until the spring; and since it was for certain that the Indians would kill our oxen and would take our spoils if we all left, it was agreed that 21 of us would start on horseback toward home and leave all that we could of our food to the rest to remain here until the snow went away; and so we started the next day leaving our wagons, etc., on the Willow River.

Now our hardships really began in earnest! Even though we tried hard from morning to night, we could not travel over 8 or 10 minutes; the snow was in drifts at times as much as 8 to 10 inches deep--with nothing to eat except bread, which was getting scarce, and dry meat, and at night we made our bed in the snow, which by morning had covered us with a foot of it. The snow, after all, was not as bad as the weariness and the cold, besides the fact that we had close to 150 miles before any hope of seeing a house or anyone to help us. And the road now was climbing every day higher toward the white sky over a range of jagged mountains. Yet, we were not really aware of our danger until our food supply dwindled to one small biscuit per day, which in spite of that I shared with my faithful animal, who by this time was too weak to carry me or hardly carry forth on his own. Some horses gave up every day and were left behind to perish without doubt in the snow, and their riders
threw their saddles, clothes and everything they could spare, proceeding on foot.

One day before reaching the top of the mountains, we left six animals almost within sight of each other, who, poor things, foresaw their danger and whinnied after us as long as they could see us, which mixed with the howls of the wolves, etc., was heart-rending music. Among others, one of my own horses failed. Great was our joy when we reached the Seviere River, but before this, I and several others were snow blind; others had frostbitten feet, and some had frostbitten hands more or less, who were led on the horses which could carry them.

After our arrival of within 50 minutes of the Utah settlement, and that night will be long remembered, for we ate the last of our scanty provisions, and also P. P. Pratt and others laid their hands on me and I saw the first light of day which I had seen for days! Such joy and gratitude that caused!

Next day P. P. Pratt and another brother started off on the two strongest horses in front of us and to send help to us; we followed as best we could after them. And though we suffered greatly, yet our cup was sweetened by the strong hope that we would get to the end of our journey without perishing. The fourth day after that, and the morning before reaching Utah, we met two brothers bearing food from Utah to meet us. I need not say how good it was to see it, how long we took to open their bags, or how much we ate before getting up! But I shall say that we all had our fill and more for the first time in a long time. And that night we reached the town of Utah and were received hospitably. I slept in a bed once again! The next day we went from Utah, except those whose feet were frozen so badly that they could not travel, and the second day we arrived back at Great Salt Lake City. And I found my family and the Welsh all healthy.

So this strange journey came to an end without any of us losing our lives. The rest of the company arrived here in May. I was sad that we had been unable to fulfill all of the aims of the expedition this time, but I believe they will be fulfilled before long. Time will tell how much good was done by this investigation; no amount of money would tempt me to go through that again, besides the fact that it cost me about $300. By the time I returned, several of my animals had perished here because of the winter cold, which was beyond anything ever felt before or anticipated. 

I heard from some of the mountain men and the Indians several accounts of the existence of a nation of white and civilized people who settled in the south. Their accounts agreed with respect to the locality, etc., and some assured us that it was Welsh which they spoke. Yes, there are too many of such accounts from a number of different places, persons, and times, totally unknown to each other, to leave any doubt in my mind about the existence of the remnants of the Madocians. Among others, Pres. B. Young told me that he had been totally satisfied by a man of good character since he has been here, that such a nation had settled on the banks of the Colorado. This man said that he had visited them, and gave the same description of them that was given before by Mr. Ward. He said that he understood just enough of the Welsh language to know that it was Welsh that they spoke. He added that there were some old books in their midst, which, though they could not read them, they
respected greatly and kept carefully in the hope according to their traditions that the time was about to dawn when someone from the country of their fathers would come and would teach them to understand them and read them again!

Perhaps the accounts which I heard are incorrect to some extent; I could not expect less, but I repeat, I cannot believe that they are all baseless imaginings, especially when I link them with the accounts which are in the chronicles of Wales of the departure of one such as Madoc ab Gwynedd from Wales the second time to America with 10 ships laden with emigrants--the traditions which were had among the oldest natives of the States was that "white men landed on the shores of their country and had gone up the Taunton River in Massachusetts in 10 floating houses, and conquered the natives." The accounts which I got from the "American Antiquarian Society," which followed them by the ruins of their crafts, their houses, etc., along the shores of the Lakes, and from there to the "Falls of Ohio" in which place, says Mr. Josiah Priest, their president, a few years ago several bodies were found buried and that they continued in such a condition of incorruption that their war-like clothing was found on them, that they resembled the Roman dress, and on one of them there was the symbol of the mermaid playing the harp.  Whether it is true that these were the markings of the Welsh before the departure of Madoc I am not sure, but I think I have read that. Besides this, I read in a publication belonging to the Wesleyans in St. Louis, "that a tribe of Indians settled along the Iroquois River, in the State of Illinois, which spoke Welsh," and that it happened that two Welshmen who were in the service of the American Fur Company had traded with this company of Indians in Welsh. All this, besides many other later accounts in my possession, proves the same thing to me. And the greatest desire of my soul for more than 20 years has been to get the Madocians out into the light and to give them a knowledge of their forefathers.

 

Yours truly,

 D. JONES.

 

Immigrants:

Jones, Dan

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