In honor of Pioneer Day...
Autobiography of Susannah Stone Lloyd
I, Susanna Stone Lloyd, being impressed to make a sketch of my early life will endeavor to do so. I was born of honest parents, in the town of Bristle, England, December 24th, 1830. My father was William Stone, he was a master painter, born in London. My mother was Diana Grant Stone, born in Glostershire, England. My father's people belonged to the Church of England, mother's people to the Wesleyans. I attended the Wesleyan Sunday School. I used to read the scriptures and wished that I had lived in the days of Apostles and Prophets, not knowing then that the everlasting Gospel had been restored to the earth. When I heard it preached I hailed it with joy. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the year 1848; this caused my heart to rejoice. I have seen that the hand of the Lord has been over me for good from my earliest childhood and I know that His Holy Spirit has been my constant guide and companion. I never shall forget the many manifestations of the Lord's goodness and blessings unto me and mine. My parents, relatives and friends did all in their power to keep me from coming to America, but I had the spirit of gathering and the Lord opened up my way and I came to Utah in 1856 with the Hand Cart Company. Brother Willey was our Captain, Millen Atwood was his councilor. We were almost pioneers for we had to travel through sunflowers and sage brush for many miles.
The first part of our journey was pleasant, the weather being good. We left Liverpool in May on the Ship Thornton, landed in New York the latter part of June in a sailing vessel. While crossing the Atlantic, the peoples' galley or cook house took fire and burned down which caused great excitement. But through the blessings of the Lord we were saved. After we landed we came up the Hudson River in Steam Boats and continued by railroad cars until we came to the frontiers which were called Iowa Camp Grounds. We stayed there several weeks, while our hand carts and tents were being finished.
Oxen drew the wagons that brought our provisions and tents, our clothing to last the journey, which was over one thousand miles, were brought on our hand carts. The rest was brought the next season by the Water Boys. After we had proceeded quite a ways on our journey we lost quite a number of our cattle which drew the provisions. Some supposed that they were stampeded by Indians going East to war. It was in the year 1856, when Colonel Babbitt was doing business with the United States Government. (President Brigham Young being a Governor at that time.) He (Babbitt) and his teamsters were massacred, they were a day or two ahead of us with a train of goods which was seized by the Indians. We met a tribe of Indians with an interpreter, who told us all about the circumstances, but we were not discouraged. We traveled on and felt that the Lord would protect his saints and so He did, and although we passed through many trying scenes His protecting care was over us. After we left Iowa, we traveled about one hundred miles and came to Florence, Nebraska. By this time we had gotten more used to traveling and we made better headway, but through losing our cattle and having to camp on the plains for several weeks, it threw us late in the season and made our provisions short for the latter part of our journey. We left England, May the 2nd and got into Salt Lake Valley on November the 5th 1856.
I am thankful that I was counted worthy to be a pioneer and a Hand Cart Girl. It prepared me to stand hard times when I got here.
I often think of the songs we used to sing to encourage us on our toilsome journey. It was hard to endure but the Lord gave us strength and courage. Yes, the Lord has multiplied blessings upon my head and I praise His Holy Name and pray that I may be worthy of the many blessings that is promised to the faithful.
After we had traveled about seven hundred miles our provisions being short our Captain bought up all the biscuits and flour that he could get in Laramie. We had to live on short rations and it became very cold and a number of our older people died. Sixteen were buried at one time. Traveling as we were with scant clothing and lack of sufficient food we suffered greatly from the severe cold and snow. On account of the loss of Cattle it became necessary for each hand cart to take additional load, by each taking a share of the provisions that were left. We waded through the cold streams many times but we murmured not for our faith in God and our testimony of His work were supreme. And in the blizzards and falling snow we sat under our hand-carts and sang, "Come, Come Ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear but with joy wend your way, though hard to you this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day."
Only once did my courage fail. One cold dreary afternoon my feet having been frosted I felt I could go no farther and withdrew from the little company and sat down to wait the end. Being somewhat in a stupor. After a time I was aroused by a voice, which seemed as audible as anything could be and which spoke to my very soul, of the promises and blessings I had received, and which should surely be fulfilled and that I had a mission to perform in Zion. I received strength and was filled with the spirit of the Lord and arose and traveled on with a light heart. As I reached camp I found a searching party ready to go back to find me dead or alive. I had no relatives but many dear and devoted friends and we did all we could to aid and encourage each other. My frosted feet gave me considerable trouble for many years but this was forgotten in the contemplation of the many blessings the Gospel has brought to me and mine.
A young man whom I had kept company with in England, but would not promise to marry, as I wanted to be free, died enroute and was buried on the plains with many others.
When we were within about one hundred miles from Salt Lake Valley, our Captain had a dream that a company was coming from Salt Lake Valley to meet us. Brigham Young ask a lot of our brethren to come and meet us with provisions, buffalo robes and blankets. You may guess the joy that was in camp the day they arrived. We were near Fort Bridger when they met us, and we rode in the wagons the rest of the way, but we had walked over one thousand miles.
When we got near the city, we tried to make ourselves as presentable as we could to meet our friends. I had sold my little looking glass to the Indians for Buffalo meat, so I borrowed one and I shall never forget how I looked, some of my old friends did not know me. We were so weather beaten and tanned. When we got near Salt Lake Valley, President Young with a company of our brethren and sisters came out to meet us, and bade us welcome and when we got into the city we were made very comfortable until we met our friends and relatives. There were many things that happened on our journey that would be interesting if I could remember them in their proper order. While we were traveling through the United States the people tried to discourage us by telling us there was a famine in Utah, that the grasshoppers had eaten up everything and that there had been a grasshopper war, etc. but we traveled on trusting in God.
We raised good crops the next year. I had many chances to marry in England, but were advised to wait until we got to Zion. Among others who came to meet their friends was a handsome young man, Thomas Lloyd, who had immigrated the previous year, in 1855, from Wolver Hampton, England. He had proven his integrity to his newly found faith by renouncing everything offered by a wealthy maiden aunt who had raised him, his parents having died when he was but two years old and he would have fallen heir to her fortune, but was cut off because he would not renounce Mormonism. He had learned a trade however, that of a saddle and harness maker which proved a great blessing in the new country. He had settled in Farmington, Davis County and had already a small cabin which served as home and work shop. We were both favorably impressed at our first meeting, he having received a very satisfactory recommendation from his Bishop and on advice of President Young we were soon married and the fulfillment of the blessings which had been pronounced upon my head in the generous posterity began to be realized and in the following year our first son Thomas W, Lloyd was born.
The following year Johnston's Army came to Utah and we had to move South under very trying circumstances. After this scare was over we were glad to get back to our homes again. We remained in Farmington until about 1864 when It became necessary for us to procure more land to take care of our growing family. We lived in Forts when Wellsville, Cache County, was first settled to protect us from the Indians. The grasshoppers and crickets were very troublesome and ate up many of our crops but we managed by the help of the Lord to take care of our growing crops and by this time numerous family. We were blessed with ten sons and four daughters, all of whom are healthy and all members of the faith for which their parents had sacrificed so much, and this is a joy to me in my declining years.
As Cache Valley became more settled and the Lord blessed the land for our sakes and although we have suffered many hardships we have never murmured or felt to regret the sacrifice we made.
AS I read through this narrative again this morning I felt impressed to italicize the statements of faith and gratitude. May we ever look at our own trials with the same fortitude as this sweet Pioneer Woman.
Susanna Stone Lloyd is my husband's second great Grandmother.