These exhausted immigrants now crowded onto the Blackhawk, a riverboat, for a two or three day journey upriver to Florence, Nebraska, arriving on July 2nd. Travel from New York to the bustling frontier town of Florence took five train changes and two riverboats in two weeks. They had come over 7,000 miles.
The travel weary James with wife Mary and 19-month-old Mary Jane had to outfit a wagon with food and belongings. The wagon was probably shared with others. For crossing the plains, we do not know which company they joined but think probably it was the John R. Murdock Company or the Sixtus E. Johnson Company.
|Mary Dyer Glade|
At mid-July they left Florence for the final 1000-mile journey westward to the Territory of Utah, Great Salt Lake City.
Before they had traveled a half-day’s journey, the arduous trip proved too much for the delicate Mary Glade. She passed away before noon. There was only time to bury her in a shallow grave and place rocks on top for protection. After a brief ceremony they continued on west.
That evening a sad James walked all the way back to his dear Mary’s grave. His wife of six years, their plans and dreams of a better life were all changed here on the plains of Nebraska. In the moonlight he heaped more rocks and cut limbs from trees and bushes to fence off the grave to protect his wife’s remains from animals and trespassers. James mourned and said his last farewell to Mary Dyer Glade.
James kept busy to assuage his grief. He became the handy man for the company. A baker now turned pioneer and frontiersman. There was plenty to do such as keeping wagons repaired, helping others with animals, food, and anything to help the saints reach their goal, Zion. They were bound together by a common faith. Half-heartedly he continued on.
Mary Jane was only 19 months old and she also missed her mother. A kind woman named Maria Argent took care of Mary Jane. To keep her from crying too much, a bacon rind was tied around her wrist so she could suck and chew on it to help her grief.
James and little Mary Jane arrived in Great Salt Lake City on 16 September 1861.
In 14 years, Great Salt Lake City had grown to 8,236 people. Brigham Young had walled in his property with an Eagle Gate for the entrance. James boarded with and worked for Brigham Young that first winter.
At the corner of East Temple and South Temple (where the Hotel Utah now stands) was the Deseret Store. The tithing office was behind it. The temple block was walled in. The saints now used the first tabernacle. The old Bowery is behind it. East Temple (now Main Street) had a modern telegraph office seen above the wagons. This telegraph office had received the news of the Civil War between the North and the South. Brigham Young sent a telegram to President Lincoln to inform him of the status of the saints in Utah territory. The overland mail had replaced the Pony Express. It only cost three cents to send a half-ounce letter.
Brigham Young devised the down end back wagon trains. Teams and wagons from Utah took manufactured goods and food back to Florence, Nebraska to aid the migrating saints to come west. Brigham Young asked James to assist in this project as he was so capable at fixing things and a hard worker.
In a letter James said, “When Brigham Young says ‘Go,’ I go.” He took a team and wagon back and forth in 1862 and again the next year in 1863. Each time he would stop to restack the rocks on Mary’s grave and fence it with more sticks, because other pioneers had removed them for firewood.
Before he left in 1863 to go to Florence, James received his own endowment at the Endowment House. At Florence, James met two young Welsh sisters, Eliza Mary, age 18, and Joan Jennetta Litson, age 16, whom he had known in the Cardiff Branch. They came with a Brother Morgan, so James got Brother Morgan a wagon to drive and James put the Litson sisters and their belongings in his wagon. By the time they got into Salt Lake City, he and Eliza had fallen in love.
To be continued...