The Life Story of Thomas Young
By Thomas Young
As he penned it in the year 1915 before his death while living with
his son, Wallace Young:
I was born on Feb. 8, 1826 at Upper Caldecot, near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire,
England. Son of George Young and Ann Willshire. I was the Grandson of
Thomas Young and Lucy Cocking and James Willshire and - I do not know
the name of my grandmother' s maiden name.
I was baptized into the Church on Feb. 5, 1855 and confirmed the same
day. Samuel Wagstaff baptized me and I was confirmed by John Sears.
I immigrated to Utah in 1856, leaving England in the middle of February.
I crossed the sea in the ship Caravan and landed in New York on April
1 1856, then reached Saint Louis on April 6, 1856.
I secured work on a farm and worked until the first of August, then
left to get ready to cross the plains. We began our great adventure on
August 8, 1856 and reached Salt Lake City on November 9, 1856. Walking
all the way, driving an ox team for Abraham Smoot, father of Reed Smoot.
We came in the Captain Willis Company. There were five hundred people,
one hundred twenty handcarts, five wagons, 24 oxen and forty-five beef
When we reached Florence, Mississippi (?Nebraska) there were several
days delay on account of the handcarts. We mended old carts, made new
ones and obtained supplies. We had many thrilling experiences crossing
the plains, and some that made it very hard for our company. One was
the Indians driving off our beef cattle. There was an extremely early
winter that year and no one had warm enough clothing nor enough bedding
to keep warm. The hand carts were so rickety that it took rawhide a plenty
to tie them together. The provisions were so low that on October 12,
1856 everyone was rationed out with ten ounces of flour. On October 19,
1856 the snow began to fall and 18 inches deep fell on the level. We
pushed on as far as we could but were forced to make camp on the Sweetwater
in Nebraska (?Wyoming). A company of men headed by Franklin D. Richards
passed the immigrants and learned of their sad plight, their shortage
of food, clothing and of their sickness.
Brigham Young learned of this in the October conference. He dismissed
the conference and sent twenty wagons each with two teamsters, provisions,
quilts and all kinds of supplies that had been volunteered to aid our
company, and others who were on the plains. Two men were sent ahead to
let the Saints know that help was coming, and to encourage them. Help
came just in time, we had had nothing to eat for forty-eight hours. Nine
of our company died the night help came. When we reached the valley one
sixteenth of our company had been left buried by the wayside.
I stayed with Brigham H. Young, son of Brigham Young, for one year,
then I married Martha Webb Campkin who had crossed the plains in our
company. She had five small children: Francessa, Martha, Wilford, James,
I then started out for myself. In July 1857 I was ordained by Elder
Joseph Young, brother to Brigham Young. About this time I joined the
Nauvoo Legion and we used to train every Saturday afternoon as we heard
there was an army of soldiers coming to kill us and burn our homes. I
enlisted in colonel I. D. Ross's company. H.B. Park was captain and I
We had some gay times. About the middle of October we were called to
shoulder our guns and go out to meet the soldiers and stop them from
coming into the valley. We loosened great boulders and had rocks of various
sizes stacked available, very few men could roll these rocks down upon
the army as it crossed through the narrow canyon pass. We went to Echo
canyon and stayed there for six weeks, then we heard they couldn't come
in till spring so we went back home for the winter.
In the spring of 1856 we were told to pack up our things and go south
and not stop short of Lehi, twenty-five miles south of Salt Lake City.
I went about thirty miles, stopping one night on the way. It rained very
hard and five families had to stay in one old cellar all one night, the
mud leaked through. The next morning we were a sorry looking sight, but
glad that it was no worse. Starting out the next morning we went to American
Fork where we stayed till the first of August 1858, then we were told
we could return.
I went to Bountiful and worked for Israel Barlowe, this was in 1859.
In the spring of 1860 I moved to Three Mile Creek, of what was later
called Perry. I arrived on the 9th of April and lived on James Neilson's
old farm. Henry Tingey bought it from a man named Allen. I lived there
one year then moved to a place called the Stauffer farm. I sold it to
Richard Thorne and went to live in a house a little above Barnard White's
house. I worked for Mr. Thorne for two years then bought another place
and moved there on Mar. 1, 1864. This was the time of the Civil War When
green backs were worth only fifty cents on the dollar, so I had to pay
fifteen hundred dollars in gold or double that in green backs. But I
had three years to pay for it, at five hundred dollars a year.
All I had to start with was one yoke of oxen. He took them for one hundred
dollars. Now I had a place but no team to work with so concluded I would
make a pasture of it and rent another farm to work. So I rented the farm
Mr. Hansen had, but a Mr. Perry owned it, then Heber Perry's grandfather,
I do not know that I ever learned his given name.
There was a great deal of freighting going on
at that time from Ogden to Montana, done mostly by ox teams. One night
about fifty head of cattle
broke out of my pasture, getting into Mr. Larsen's field of corn, (father
of Adam Larsen) the cattle ate and tramped down about two acres of his
corn. Of course he was angry about it and wanted the freighters to pay
much more than it was worth. I said, "Mr. Larsen, I'll settle with
you for the corn, these men are paying me for their pasture, that is
all I can ask of them." They settled and went on their way. When
they were gone I said, "Mr. Larsen, I have a very good patch of
corn on Mr. Perry's place, I will see him and get him to let me have
enough to pay you for your loss." Then I gathered up all that was
left on the ground and hauled it home. Then I said, “Come, let
us measure your land and then we will go and measure that much on mine." Which
we did, and he said he was well satisfied as my corn was much better
The first year I made payment all right and had
a few dollars to spare with which I bought some calves so as to have
something to help with
the next year's payments, which I also made all right. But it took all
I had to make the next year's payments. Then I had only a "Squatters" right,
no title to the land. So when the land came into market in 1869, I had
to go and buy it all over again from the government at a dollar and fifty
cents cash down and no grumbling, besides this there were sixteen dollars
clerk fees for every one hundred sixty acres, and then there was witness
fees to pay. But we witnessed for each other as several of us went together,
and right after that, each man had to have his land surveyed to know
how much land he had. That took two dollars for every piece, then we
had to pay for the deeds and recording of them.
There was only one log room on the place, the south one. I bought the
north one and had it shingled as there was only boards and a dirt roof
on it, and it leaked every time it stormed. After awhile I added two
more rooms at the back and built a big rock cellar on the north. After
my family grew up I built a six room adobe house just east of the log
one. I accepted the principle of plural marriage, marrying Harriet Campkin.
The marshals caused a great many trials and hardships, many times the
men would have to quit work to keep out of their way. But I with many
others was convicted of polygamy and served six months in the state penitentiary
farm. Then I divided my farm into three pieces. Each wife and I drew
separate portions. Harriet getting the piece with the house.
By building the house and buying fine bred cattle I became involved
in a debt for three thousand dollars. Each piece of property was to assume
one thousand dollars of the debt. I let my property go to satisfy creditors
and went South of Salt Lake for several years. In the mean time both
of my wives had died. I married Lily May Andrus and went to Lewiston,
buying a piece of ground near the school house. I planted fruit trees,
raised strawberries and sugar beets, to pay for my small place. I also
served as janitor for the school house part of the time. I lived in Lewiston
for fifteen years then came to live with my son Wallace.
I was the father of seven children, three sons and four daughters. Fannie,
Thomas and Albert being born to my first wife, Martha Webb Campkin. Then
Eliza, Wallace, Ida, and Sarah were the children born to my second wife,
Harriet Campkin, daughter of my first wife, Martha Webb Campkin.
Wallace, my son, was a very pleasant
good-natured man. He had clean habits and was a strict observer of the
Word of Wisdom. He enjoyed helping
take care of his two little girls, Clarice and Velda. He would follow
Velda for hours, teaching her to walk so she would not get a bad fall.
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