Mary Lyman Reeve,
Personal Interviews, February 23, 1937.
†† Mrs. Nicolus Gourley Teeples.† (She was named for the czar of Russia but she and her children called it Nicholus, with accent on the second syllable, so,--
Nichol'us.† She is called that by her friends and relatives.† However she admits she has changed the spelling of it.† She asked us to call her Nicholus.)
†† Nicholus' father was Paul, and her mother was Margaret Glass Gourley.
†† She lives in Holden at the present time with her daughter Mrs. Katarine Gustaveson.
†† She is a retired Seamstress.† Has been a farmer's wife and been on the frontier all her life.
†† Was born at Carnbrue, Scotland,- December 6, 1844, is 92 years old.
†† When she was 8 years old her mother died, leaving five children as follows:† Robert, Alexander, Nicholus, Janet, and George.† After two years her father married Allison Jup (pronounced Yap, or Jap)† Then in the early spring of 1854, they left Scotland for America.† Paul Gourley had been the presiding Elder at the Holston Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, for 13 years, and when the call came to come to Zion he hastened to make preparations to come to Utah.
†† They set sail on a small ship, Thornton, and were tossed about on the ocean 7 weeks before reaching New Orleans.† One week of this time they were lost at sea.† During that time they had some grueling experiences that in a way served as a schooling to prepare <p.2> for the many hardships ahead.
†† Arriving at New Orleans the little ship made its way up the Mississippi River to Florence, that is now part of Omaha, Nebraska.† Here Brigham Young had established a town or station to receive the Saints as they came from abroad, and there help them to make the necessary preparations to make the dreadful journey across the plains to Salt Lake City.
†† Emigrants were arriving at Florence faster than wagons and teams could be secured.† Furthermore, most of the Saints were poor, thus making it hard to equip themselves with oxen, wagons, etc. to make the trip.† So the problem became acute and the Church leaders devised a plan whereby the emigrating Saints should walk across the plains and push handcarts, in which were the necessaries of life--this across a trackless prairie.† It was estimated that no one must have in his or her handcart more than 17 pounds of luggage for each person.† This was most disappointing for many had personal belongings and keepsakes from their old homes, which had to be discarded before the journey continued.
†† At Florence, Paul Gourley was called by the Church as a missionary to remain at Florence and build and repair handcarts.† This was in April, and he remained there until he was released in August, then two handcart companies started west.† James G. Willie and Edward Martin were in charge of the companies.
†† Most of these two companies started from Iowa City.† From there to Florence, the journey was a pleasure, the weather was good, the road was easy, with plenty of grass and game along.† They had a few cattle along with them.
†† Traveling with the Willie and Martin Companies were two wagon <p.3> companies; one under William Hodget and one under Captain Hunt.† Most of the Gourley family were in the Martin Company.† The family consisted of nine members--Paul Gourley and his wife Margaret's children, and Ellison's two children Margaret and Paul, and herself.† The oldest boy Robert 20 years old, and Alexander 18 years old drove teams for Captain Hodget.† Margaret Teeples, a baby was nine months old when they left Scotland and died and was among the many buried on the plains in an unmarked grave.† Paul was three when they left Scotland and he died after reaching Salt Lake City, because of the rigors of the journey.
†† The family had two handcarts.† In one Paul Gourley had to carry his wife Ellison in a delicate condition, and her two children.† In the other were placed all the earthly belongings of the family, and it was drawn by Nicholus and Janet, and their little brother George pushed from behind--he was 7 years old.† "A thousand mile journey is almost beyond our imagination, for such little tots.† But those children not only walked, but toiled with all their might to bring the handcarts and the supplies with them."† (Nicholus Gourley Teeples.)† Nicholus was 11, Janet was 8, and George was 7.
†† When Paul Gourley left Scotland he was unable to sell anything from his well furnished home because of the prejudice against the Mormons so their supply of money was very short.† He had a watch and a few trinkets which he tried to sell to help defray expenses, but for all of them he received only a few loaves of bread, and a little corn.
†† When the handcarts were ready to start, the Captain came along and ordered all superfluous luggage left behind.† Among the lot was a cherished copper tub that once belonged to Nicholus' mother.† When everything was in readiness to start, Nicholus could not be found.† In the search that followed, she was discovered crying her heart out while seated in the cherished tub that at one time belonged to her departed mother.† It was too much for the father and he tied the clumsy <p.4> utensil on the back of his handcart, for Nicholus declared she would not go to Zion without it.† It was brought to Utah and is among the family heirlooms today.
†† Paul Gourley was released from his mission when all the westward emigrants were supplied with handcarts.† That was about the middle of August.† Captain Willie started with his company August 17, 1856 and Captain Martin a few days later.† The wagons were back of them and did not leave till September 2, 1856.† All possible haste was made to reach the valley before winter set in.† The Gourley family, the most of it, left Florence about the 20th of August, 1856.† They found out later that the first company of handcarts that left Iowa City early in the spring of that year arrived in Salt Lake city a few days after the Martin Company left Florence, on their way west.
†† The main body of the handcart company left Iowa City and stopped a few days in Florence for supplies, to get their handcarts repaired and get a few days rest.† It was not considered wise to start till all the companies were ready.† Another bad thing was a very early winter.† About four weeks after starting the whole company were wading in snow 18 inches deep.
†† After the start was finally made all possible effort was made to get through before snowfall.† Among the disasters that befell them was some of the handcarts breaking down, and when the company was camped one night within 300 miles of their starting point, a rash and terrific thundering noise and before any one realized what was the matter a heard of maddened buffaloes tore through the camp and broke many handcarts, and scattered their precious provisions to the four winds, and the frightened travelers were thankful to find that Providence had saved them from being trampled to under their heavy heedless feet.
†† The Martin Company, in which the Gourley family were numbered, had 146 handcarts, 7 wagons, 30 oxen, and about 50 head of loose cattle.† There were about 500 people.
†† Edward Martin, an experienced frontiersman was the captain of the company.† There were no Church officials in the company.
†† The company had to wade all the streams, as the wagons were so far behind that they were of no service in such cases.† The people were instructed to be very careful to dry all their clothes at night before going to bed, so the company would not be delayed with any sickness or unnecessary work in the mornings.
†† Rest was the order of the day on Sunday, and no one was allowed to do any work on that day.† In some cases singing and prayer were strictly observed even after starvation stared them in the face.
†† The Indians came begging for food up to the time that food gave out and they were always fed though the starving people knew they were suffering more than were the Indians.
†† The Willie Company were just ahead of the Martin Company and it had several oxen, about 25, along with them.
†† On the best days the company would travel 10 or more miles a day, but often it was torture to travel one third of that.
†† When the companies left Florence there were two wagons along to assist in emergency and carry the heavier loads.† But as the unrelenting winter and desert approached the oxen fell in their yokes and every one was eaten skin and all.† Then the already overburdened people had to take over their loads and necessarily the progress was slower as the danger approached.
†† Nicholus remembers seeing two men in a heated argument over who should claim the skin of a dead ox, with which to save off starvation.† <p.6> Words led to blows and blows to deeper anger, until finally the two had to be separated before they did each other bodily harm.† All over a rawhide.† "But that rawhide stood between them and death." (Nicholus G. Teeples.)† Their progress was slow if for no other reason than they had to stop and pick up every buffalo chip they saw; these chips were essential for it was their one dependable source of fuel.
†† The first snow fell as they left the Sweetwater.
†† At Fort Laramie the situation had become so acute that flour was rationed out to them in the amount of 3 ounces a day.† Out of this the children had to be fed for none but adults got the ration.† Mrs. Teeples says, "I know it was only three ounces.† A few days later another cut was made."† At this point the Gourley family was joined by a lady by the name of Emma Bachelor, who had fallen out of a former company and asked permission to continue on in Captain Martin's company.† She was placed with the Gourley family because they needed help.† And then she would be able to share her ration with them as up to then they had as many in their group who could not draw any flour, as could; none under 10 years could draw any.† Paul Gourley was glad to have her in the group because she was a great help in pulling the handcart and mothering the children who had to do it alone before she came.† We must remember there were Nicholus, 11 years, Janet 8, and George 7, who helped from the rear as best he could.
†† Emma Bachelor after reaching Salt Lake City married John D. Lee.† She met him when he was in the (State) Territorial Legislature as a representative from the southern part of the country.† She was cooking for the lawmakers and met hem.† After the trouble of the Mountain Meadows no one suspected Lee for years, but after the facts and the truth leaked out, and Lee was tried for his part in it, Emma Bachelor stayed with her friends of handcart days when she passed to and from Provo where the trial was being held.† When guilt was fastened on him, Emma married a man by the name of Miner, after she had been released from Lee.† <p.7> President Brigham Young, when evidence fastened on Lee, sent out an injunction that Lee was forever outside the Church and must never under any circumstances be admitted again.† He was later found guilty and executed for the crime.
†† No tongue can tell all the hardships this band of religious worshippers underwent in the effort to get to Zion.† In the mornings, the men would take turns getting up to build the fire.† A very early and exceptionally severe winter set in.† When they crossed the Sweetwater, one of the men had waded the stream and in his great fatigue, had not dried his clothes the night before.† It was his turn in the morning to make the fire.† Brother
Gourley called him.† He got no response, upon investigation it was found the man had frozen to death in bed.† This was among the first fatalities.† From then on the outlook was very dubious.† Some died every night, and delay was caused by having to bury them in the frozen ground, this became a real problem, for their strength was low and their diet was now a scant portion of water gravy.† The snow had sent the wild life of the prairie elsewhere and there was no relief in sight.† Many times the people would get so tired they would go to the side of the road and lie down under the blue sky and refuse to be disturbed, then the leaders would take whips to them and lash them again to sensibility.† One night 16 died and to conserve strength and time they were all buried in one grave.† The sufferers were actually known to sit on the dead bodies, to keep from freezing to death, until the bodies became cold.† Ten years before the Donner company in the Sierra Nevada Mountains were trapped in the cold by such a winter and perished.† These people would have shared the same fate if it had not been for their resolution and faith in God.† And Nicholus Teeples says, "We had a man of God at our head who was a master executive and God was on his side.† He was not to blame, it was just one of those things that happen and for which there is no help."
†† In September a company of men under President Franklin D. Richards passed the traveling emigrants, and took account of their condition and the distance between them and their goal, and hastened to report to President Young.† This <p.8> party of men reached Salt Lake City while October Conference was going on.† President Young immediately took steps to send relief to them.† He asked for volunteers to go with wagons and provisions to the rescue of their brothers and sisters from the inclement weather.† That was a test also, for the storm clouds were threatening, and wise heads prophesied suffering on the pass.† But supplies were soon gathered, by contributions of the people, and 20 teams, each with two experienced men left immediately for the east prepared to go till the sufferers were rescued.
†† But from the time they left Salt Lake, their progress was slow and they encountered storms from the first.† When they arrived at Green River Joseph A. Young, Lot Smith and Angus Wheelock were sent ahead to meet the handcart companies.† They traveled on horseback.† They were to let the sufferers know that relief was near at hand.† They had a few crackers in their pockets and came upon the children in a wash called since "Martin's Hollow."† The children were eating bark off the willows.† They had nothing but bark to eat for days and days.† But the children thought the horsemen were Indians and ran for camp.†
†† These men told the travelers that two wagons would be there in the morning with food and clothing for them.† But because of the storm and cold the wagons did not reach there for another day and a half.† These two wagons were from Fort Supply, and the men sent ahead were from those wagons.† The second day after the scouts arrived at the Devil's Gate, several wagons arrived from Salt Lake.
†† Food was rationed out, the poorly-clad sufferers were clothed and given comfort, the weak were put into the wagons and the march continued on.† The first relief teams reached the camps at Devil's Gate on December 1, 1856, and the company had no more grueling experiences.† They arrived in Salt Lake City December 7, 1856.† Then their comfort was ministered to by solicitous friends in their longed-for Zion.
†† They arrived in Salt Lake City December 7, 1856, the day after Nicholus turned 12 years old.
†† Mrs. Teeples is very anxious that no one should feel that she or any of her people blame in the least the Leaders of the Church or any of the men who had anything to do with the handcart project for anything they had to go through.† She says it was purely a miscalculation and a combination of adversities over which no one had control.
†† Out of the 500 members that left Florence, 150 died on the road from hunger, cold and exposure.
†† After arriving in Salt Lake City, they took off little George's stockings and one of his toes stayed in the stocking.† A few days later another one fell off--his feet had been frozen badly.† Brother Gourley's feet were also badly frozen.† But as soon as he could hobble around, he found a job chopping wood, and at that he earned a meager existence for his family that winter.† He was a good carpenter and in the spring worked on the Salt Lake Temple.
†† The first winter after arriving in Salt Lake, Robert went north to one of the settlements and lived with a man named Kipping.† He stayed with him several years, then came to Goshen where his father was living and later married a Goshen girl.
†† Alexander went to live with a man named Beckstead, in Jordan for several years, then came to Goshen and married.† Alexander, Robert and Nicholus all married in Goshen within a year of each other.
†† One of the drivers that came from Fort Supply with the wagons was a young man of 19 years, named Sidney Teeples.† Five years after he met those starving people he married Nicholus Gourley.† The little girl who was eating bark off the willows, and was saved from starvation by the food supply from the west had no idea that one of the drivers would be her future husband.† And no more had he.† But Nicholus Gourley was living in Goshen when Sidney Teeples came to the town to visit <p.10> his brother, and as time and fate conspired to weave destiny, Nicholus, on the 27th day of October in 1861 became the wife of Sidney Teeples, in Lower Goshen.† Bishop William Price performed the ceremony.
†† The year after their marriage Sidney and Nicholus moved to Mona, Utah, in Juab County.† Then went back to Goshen.
†† The next summer after their arrival in Utah Paul Gourley, during the excitement that followed the news of the coming of Johnston's Army, moved to Lehi for a few months, then in the company of a man named Taylor, moved to what is now Eureka, but what was then called McIntyre Springs, strictly speaking the Springs are west of Eureka.† The families lived in a dugout in the side of the mountain for two months.† West of them and at the Springs were a few soldiers who had some broken wagons to be repaired, and some broken wheels.† They got Gourley and Taylor to repair them.† Just before Christmas, the two families moved over the mountains to Goshen.† At this time Goshen consisted of a fort, with only a few families in it.† Mr. Gourley became one of the pioneers and founders of that town, the remainder of his life.† The first winter after coming to Goshen, Paul Gourley lived in the fort with an old bachelor.† The next spring the town site had been surveyed about 3 miles from the fort.† The fort was called Fort Goshen.† This new town was called Sand Town.† Brother Gourley, along with the other people of the fort, moved to Sand Town in the spring and built their houses.† Here it was that Paul Gourley built the first house that he had ever owned in his life.† It was half a dugout and half adobe house.† A few years after the people moved their town again about three miles to the north and west of Sand Town.† They called this town Lower Goshen.† They weren't satisfied with this location, as they decided to move again.† President Young came down to pick them out a townsite, and settle them down from moving about so much.† All the people got in their wagons and followed Brigham Young <p.11> while he located a site.† He finally decided on a site about three or four miles back to the east.† It was farther east than the first fort which was called Fort Goshen.† The people asked Brigham Young what they should call this town.† He said, "Call it New Town."† So it went by the name of Newtown for some time, but its name was finally changed to Goshen.
†† When President Young picked out this new townsite, he said, "This is the place for your town.† Now stay her and quit moving around so much."† While speaking to the people at this time he made a very clever illustration out of Goshen.† He said that the town "had moved so much that every time the chickens saw a covered wagon, they would lie on their backs and stick their feet in the air, waiting to be tied."
†† On the 24th day of July, 1857, Governor Young, with a large number of people had gone to Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon to celebrate the entrance of the Pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.† A.O. Smoot rode into camp about noon and told President Young that a United States Army was coming to Utah, under the command of Albert Sidney Johnston.† It was being sent by President Buchanan.† As the army reached the borders of Utah, General Daniel H. Wells, Commander of the Territorial Militia, was called out and with 1250 men left for Echo Canyon.† Paul Gourley was one of the soldiers helping to guard the Echo Canyon that winter.† One of the majors in the Militia, Lot Smith, took an active part in the campaign.† Brother Gourley was one of the men who assisted Lot Smith in burning some of the soldier's supply wagons in October, 1857.† September 15th Governor Young issued a Proclamation forbidding the troops to enter the Territory.† Johnston's Army remained in Echo Canyon part of the winter, then moved to fort Bridger, where it remained till the following spring.
†† In the early 1860s Nicholus and Sidney were living in Mona, Juab County.† Early in the morning they were awakened by the sound of Indian voices outside the house. †Sidney arose and went out; there to his great astonishment stood seven large Ute Indians.† They were holding three tall poles, on the tops of which hung three fresh human scalps.† The leader speaking in English asked, "You no scairt?† Get food--damn quick--heap hungry!"† Sidney led them into the house, where Nicholus hastened to get them a good breakfast.† It developed that they had held up the stage between Camp Floyd and Lehi, and killed the driver and two passengers, taking their scalps as tokens of valor.
†† In 1866 Sidney Teeples was called into service under Captain Nuttall.† They were camped in Sevier County between Annabell and Richfield; great excitement was everywhere.† This was during the Black Hawk War.† The most of the trouble was in San Pete and Sevier, and that was where most of the fighting took place.
†† Nicholus was in Goshen.† It was in the middle of winter, and when the best experience to be had, told her father that he must not wait a minute longer, that she was dying.† A party of three men were sent to find Sidney.† That took two days.† He was located with his company near Annabell, they found him at dark.† Captain Nuttall began taking stock of his men to decide who could be spared to go with Sidney home, for it was war time and no one was safe along away from home.† It was like going in to certain death to try it.† Three men had come and that was considered a safe number.† but Sidney had been raised with the Ute Indians on Provo River bottoms and he knew their habits.† He knew too that Nuttall had no men to spare, so he told him he thought he could made the ride alone.† And with his favorite horse he started away.
†† Mrs. Teeples says, "History records few rides like that one.† Clumps of underbrush that would ordinarily be reason for fear, was charged through at top speed."† All the night he rode like the wind and spared not <p.13> the precious horse.† In comparison with the life that hung in the balance, he seemed to know he must choose between them.† The awful fear that froze him was that he would not reach home in time to see his wife alive.† so he charged through all dark objects as if in madness.† Nicholus says, "The kind hand of Providence guided him through that night without harm coming to him from any source.† He reached Goshen before daylight.† His house was dark, all was still.† A feeling of despairing defeat came over him.† 'She must be dead,' he told himself, but as he went into the house he found to his unspeakable joy, she had sunk into a peaceful sleep--the crisis had passed, she was saved."
†† Within a short time from the minute he arrived home, the horse that carried him through such danger and at such a speed, dropped dead.† Three weeks after this Nicholus gave birth to their first daughter, alive and well and they named here Margaret.† She is living in Holden now; she was born February 8, 1867.
†† In the spring of 1866 William Teeples (Sidney's brother) moved to Holden, Millard County, Utah.† After Sidney left the Army he was laid up with rheumatism, and in the fall of 1867 his mother and William came back up to Goshen to move Sidney down to Holden.† The dog, Curly drove the cows, William drove one wagon, and Nicholus with the baby on her lap drove the other.† She made her home in Deseret while the house was in the building, in Holden.† Some logs were brought from Sidney's brother and the house was built one block north of the fort, the first one on the surveyed townsite.† Sidney's health improved and he helped survey the new town.† David R. Stevens built the second house and Walter Stevens built the third house on the new townsite.† These houses stand today.
†† Sidney Teeples was born at Far West, Missouri, February 10, 1837.† He is the son of George Teeples and Hulda Coulby Teeples.† He was but a year old when his family was driven from Missouri by a mob.
†† Quoting from Nicholus Gourley Teeples, "In the spring of 1839, the family moved to Nauvoo, Illinois.† His father George Teeples and Lanson Coulby were running Joseph Smith's farm at Nauvoo when the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were killed in Carthage Jail.† Lanson Coulby was a brother-in-law to George Teeples.† He was called into service of the Mormon Battalion by Brigham Young in 1846.
†† "George Teeples and family came across the plains in 1848, shortly after arriving in Salt Lake they moved to Provo.† In 1853, while living in Provo, the Walker War broke out.† Sidney was a boy of 16, yet he was called into service along with the men, to help defend their loved ones from the Indians.† In 1856 the family moved to Fort Supply.
†† "In 1860 Sidney came to Goshen to visit his brother William Teeples."
†† Here he met and married Nicholus Gourley.
†† As a boy he had lived among the early settlers wherein, the Ute Indians were seen every day, and he had played with them all his life.† He could speak their language as well as he could his own.
†† In 1867 the couple moved to Holden, and participated in all the trying scenes incident to early pioneering.
†† In 1870 when the officers were trying to find Ben Tasker, the Sevier River was raging, Sidney Teeples swam the stream and arrested him.
†† The same year the couple was living in a one room house and kept a tavern.† The travelers were allowed to sleep on the floor.† One night a stranger was sleeping on the floor and a low light was burning for the children, and the stranger thinking all were asleep, rose quietly in his floor bed, and beckoned through the window, but Nicholus' quick eyes had taken it in from the reflection in the mirror.† At a silent gesture from her to Sidney, Sidney rose and shouted for him to lie down.† He had his gun in his hand and meant business.† About this time the mail stage was held up and robbed between Scipio and Holden.† And the driver and two passengers were killed at Robber's Hollow.
†† Sidney Teeples was a missionary in Tennessee in 1884, with Elders Gibbs and Berry, when the latter were shot to death by an angry mob in Kane County while they were doing missionary work for the Mormon Church.
†† He was a great friend to the Indians both the Utes and the Pahvants, and they regarded him as a great and true friend.† When he lay on his death bed, Sobiquint of the Pahvant tribe brought some of his braves and cried over him, and told how he had always befriended them and took them in and put them up to his table and fed them, and gave them blankets to sleep on.
†† Sidney was a blacksmith and carpenter, a stock-raiser and farmer.
†† In early years Holden was first called "Buttermilk Springs" because of the ranchers there in the summertime.† Here the weary travelers would stop and take a cold drink of buttermilk before going on their journey to the gold fields of California.
†† Quoting from Nicholus Teeples, "When the emigrants passed through the country, who later were killed in the Mountain Meadow Massacre, they were vindictive and courted trouble.† They came to the ranch and ordered buttermilk.† Fanny Coulby (she was Sidney Teeples' mother's brother's wife (Lanson Coulby's wife, Sidney's aunt), who was keeping the ranch, started down to the cellar to get it for him, and one of the travelers gave her a vicious kick in the abdomen, and brought on a premature birth and death of her baby."
†† As they, the travelers, passed through the territory, they poisoned cattle and water and killed many Indians.† They made their boasts that they had killed many Mormons at the Haun's Mill and drove the Mormons from their homes.† And it is a known fact, that several white settlers were killed by drinking water they had poisoned.† In Millard County, a young man was killed by drinking water poisoned by them; his name was Robison.† Lee encouraged the Indians in seeking revenge.† As the company proceeded the Indians became more enraged at them, and they finally became uncontrollable, and then with the assistance of Lee and some more, it is not deemed advisable to name who the others were as Lee assumed all the responsibility and answered for the crime.† It is only rumor as to who the helpers were, before the deed was committed, that stained <p.16> the name of Utah.† Word was sent to Governor Brigham Young, and he sent the messenger back and told him not to spare no horseflesh, but to prevent the violence by all means.† The messenger came back after the act of massacre had been committed.
†† In about 1868, Buttermilk Springs had been called Cedar Springs for some years and then out of respect for a well-beloved member of the town group, who bore the name of Holden, it was called after him--for on his return from the north with a small son of his, he was overtaken by a severe blizzard and snowstorm and, leaving the child in the wagon, it is supposed he started to walk to town from the slope south of the summit of the mountain north of Holden.† At any rate, the two were found frozen to death.
†† Mrs. Teeples has about 143 descendants.† some of them may be found as follows:
††††††††††† Katharine Teeples Gustaveson, Holden, Utah.† (To whom we owe a debt of gratitude for assisting us to get this sketch.);
††††††††††† Josie Teeples Cramer, 217 West 5th North, Salt Lake City, Utah;
††††††††††† Dr. Vaughn Hunter, Salt Lake City;
††††††††††† Mrs. Marie Roberts, Lampoc, Cal.;
††††††††††† Miss Claudia Cones, Los Angeles, Cal. (A Great-Granddaughter).
†† Mrs. Katharine Gustaveson said her father could never allow his girls to wear bangs for it brought back the picture of the fresh human scalps, as they hung on the pole tops the night in Mona when the Indians had held up the stage and killed the hapless passengers.
†† Mrs. Teeples says the relief wagons reached them on December 1st, but Mrs. Gustaveson says she reminded her mother that Levi Edgar Young in his book, "The Founding of Utah", says they reached them November 1st.
†† Nicholus reminds us that a little girl of 11 years is not likely to forget her birthday, when it is as near as hers was.† She says the handcarts reached Devil's Gate about the 26th of November, and her birthday was 10 days off.† She turned 12 years old after reaching Salt Lake City.† They were there four days with no food at all before the supply team came.† They started west the day after the wagons arrived.
†† There were in that company 5 young people who have children scattered throughout the land, namely Robert Gourley, Alexander Gourley, Nicholus Gourley, Janet Gourley, and George Gourley.
††††††††††† Alexander has a daughter, Margaret Gourley Madson, living at Salina, Sevier County, Utah.
††††††††††† Janet Gourley Powellson is living at Raymond, Alberta, Canada.† She had a son George Powellson whose wife is living in Provo, Utah.
††††††††††††† ††††††††† George is dead, but before his death he gathered a great deal of family history.† His wife's name is Mary Powellson.
George Gourley, who was 7 years old when he came to Utah, and whose toes were frozen off.†
Two of his sons live now, one is David† Gourley of Pleasant Grove, he is a school teacher.†
His daughter is here in Hinckley teaching school.† Her name is Mrs. Gertrude Reid.
††††††††††† George has another son on 13th West Center Street in Provo.† He is the sheriff, and keeps the jail there.
†† Mrs. Teeples is an experienced and skilled needlewoman.† In her earlier days she took the wool as it came from the sheep's back and washed it, carded, spun, wove and colored it and made it into gowns of rare beauty.† She not only wove for her own men folks and children, but did work for others who were able to pay her a substantial price for it.† She has the distinction of owning the first machine in that section of the country.† She sewed for everybody in town whether she received pay for it or not--if it were mended, that was her pay, in many cases.† This profession she taught herself.† Since she was 85 years old she has taken every prize she has competed for in the State Fair for embroidery work, some of her work is exquisite in every particular.
†† Hers and Sidney's life was a harmony from the first.† When in his blacksmith shop he had to fit the oxen in the frames and spend long hours putting on the shoes on their clumsy hoofs, in the suspended stalls, she would bring her sewing, knitting or carding out and the two would keep up their friendship through the years of drudgery.
†† Her life had been one of toil and privation, but after some years as a spinner, while yet a young woman, and the price of dress goods was too high to be reached by many people, she won as a prize for hand sewing, enough yardage for a dress that was a mark of distinction.† She made shoes for herself and husband out of old soaks and they wore them to dances, and were very proud of them.† Other people were barefoot.† She took an old wagon tent and in between the holes cut out shoes for many people.† She worked for factory, valued at $1.00 a yard and colored it with chamber lie and make beautiful dresses.† Sugar then was 50c a pound.
†† She never went to school a day in her life.† But after she was a woman past 35 she taught herself to write and read.† That opened up a new world to her, since then she has taken great delight in reading, and she has read hundreds of books through.
†† During the trek across the plains, and Crow and Shoshonie Indians would come to the camp, they were fed even though starvation stared them in the face.
Mary Lyman Reeve
November 20, 1936.
1.† Nicholus Gourley Teeples.† She was named for the Czar of Russia, Nicholus.
2.† Holden, Millard County, Utah.
3.† Retired seamstress and farmer's wife.
5.† December 6, 1844.
6.† Cairnbrus, Scotland, in early spring.
7.† Nearly 92.
8.† Thornton, a very little ship.† Seven weeks on the ocean.
9.† In February of 1856.† The ship was lost on the ocean a week.
10.† New Orleans after being on the water seven weeks.† Up the Mississippi River to Florence, Nebraska.
11.† April 1856.
12.† James G. Willie and Edward Martin.† There were two companies.† The Wagon company had gone on ahead under Captain Hunt.† Another wagon company under Commander Hodget.† (This last one was thought to have been killed by Indians).
13.† She was 11 years old and she pulled a handcart one thousand miles.† Her sister was 8 years old and she was the helper.† Each one in the company were allowed 17 pounds of luggage.
14.† The Teeples people made lots of brick in the early days of Fillmore and Holden.† Mrs. Teeples' husband made brick for the first house and built it in Holden.† They made adobes and then for brick would burn them in a brick kiln.
15.† Log house in Holden and shortly afterward, a brick house.
16.† Button with candle wick in it submerged in tallow, and tallow candles.
17. Sage brush, cedar, scrub oak, etc.
18.† The year of 1856-1857 was a very hard year for the pioneers.† They had very little crop and some of them would have starved to death if it had not been for sego roots and greens and wild game such as jack-rabbits, mourning doves, etc.
19.† The men had suits of heavy jeans, buckskin and canvas, etc.
20.† One yard of factory $1.00.† Sugar, 50c a pound.
21.† A large and vicious herd of buffalo tore through their ranks as they were pulling their handcarts, and broke and wasted a lot of their precious provisions and supplies.
23.† Plenty of grass and wild hay growing on the plains for the few cattle they had along with them.
24.† Corn, cane, wheat, potatoes, etc.
25.† Shovels, spades, rakes, scythes, scycles, etc.
26.† Worked for some, made some, traded for some.
28.† Butter and cheese making were the first industries by which any money was made.
53.† In the early sixties the family was living in Mona, Utah.† They were awakened one morning by Indian voices outside the house.† Her husband went out and there stood seven large Indians with three tall poles on the top of which were three scalps.† They had held up the stage between Camp Floyd and Lehi and killed the driver and two passengers.† The leader said in good English, "You no scared?† Get food damn quick.† Heap hungry."† Sidney Teeples led them into the house and there Nicholus gave them a good breakfast.
56.† In 1874 in Holden this woman and her husband lived in the United Order and signed over their property to the Order.† The venture did not succeed.
57.† Her husband Sidney Teeples was called into service in the Black <p.3> Hawk War in 1866.† He had some hair raising experiences.
64.† Sidney Teeples could talk the Indian
language as fluently as the natives.†
Nicholus was not so smooth.
68.† Too many to number.
69.† Mrs. Etta Teeples Dale, Trona, California.
Mrs. Josie Teeples Cramer, 217 W. 5th North, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mrs John B. Hunter, Holden, Utah.
70.† Mrs. Marie Roberts, Lompoc, California.
Mrs. Reya Teeples Dorrity, Kanosh, Utah
Dr. Vaughn Hunter, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Miss Claudia Cones, Los Angeles, California.† (Great Granddaughter).
Questions for Handcart Pioneers.
1.†† Full name and where born?† Date of birth?
1.† Nicholus Gourley Teeples.† Born in Cairnbrue, Scotland, December 6, 1844.
2.†† When did you leave for America?
2.† In February 1856.† They sailed on an all Mormon ship and the Captain had charge of the company.† Later Edward Martin in the Handcart Company.
4.†† How many in your family party?
4.† Paul Gourley, his wife Ellison Jup (Yak), and seven children.
6.†† On what ship did you travel?
6.† Crossed the Atlantic on a small ship Thornton.
8.†† Where did you start from with handcarts?
8.† With handcarts from Florence, Nebraska.
9.†† What time of year?
9.† Latter part of August, 1856.
10.† Why was the handcart company delayed?† Why did they have to make such a late start?
10.† Paul Gourley and his family arrived in April at Florence, but the call came for a mission.† That mission was to remain in Florence and make handcarts.† His release came when everyone was supplied with carts.† That was the latter part of August.† Captain Willie left with company August 17th, and the Martin company left shortly afterward.
11.† Did they expect to get through before snow fell?
11.† They made all possible haste to get through before snow came. †The journey from Florence to Iowa City was very pleasant.† The roads were good, game was plentiful, grass high for the few oxen they had with them. <p.4>† There were two wagon outfits just ahead of them.† They left Florence September 2, and went on ahead.† The two older boys of the Gourley family were driving the teams for them.† At Iowa City they stopped several days to repair handcarts, get more provisions.
12.† How many in your company?
12.† 500 in the company.
13.† Who was the captain?
13.† Edward Martin was the Captain.
14.† What church officials were with the company?
14.† None of the Church Officials were in the company.
15.† What other companies did you travel with or near on the trail?
15.† The Willie company were just ahead of the Martin Company.† When they left Florence there were two wagons in the same group to carry the heavy luggage.† These wagons were drawn by oxen.† There were three wagons.† As the journey proceeded the oxen died one by one, the people ate them hide and all.† Every ox died before this journey was ended.
The people had to wade streams, climb mountains, make and repair roads, etc.† Nicholus would by the side of her eight year old sister, stand in the form and push all day long.† The little brother George seven years pushed from the rear.† On the best of days they could travel ten miles a day.† But on bad cold days it was torture to go but a third of that.† Mrs. Teeples says often the people would get so tired, they would lie down under a bush or tree and then they would be very hard to get up.† The leaders had to take a whip to them and lash them back to consciousness, when they would beg to be left to die.† Paul Gourley pulled one cart with his wife and two small children in.† Each person was allowed 17 pounds of luggage and Nicholus and Janet pulled that.
16.† Describe in detail daily experiences on the journey, as for instance, one complete day's travel, on any section of the route, from starting in the morning until camping at night.
16.† It may sound humorous now but it was a matter of life and death then, when two men were found fighting over which was to get the hide of an ox that had been found dead and left by one of the <p.5> companies ahead.† Those two men had to be separated before the one killed the other.
18.† When did you first discover that troubles were ahead?
18.† At Fort Laramie things had become acute and there the people were put on rations of 3 ounces of flour a day--this to those above ten years.† Those under had to be cared for by those above ten.† The Gourley family were half and half.† But here a young lady by the name of Emma Bachelor was put into the Gourley family.† She had been left by a former company, and she was a most welcome asset to them as it made one more who could draw some flour and pull the handcarts.
Here the order came to dispose of all luggage that could by any means be spared.† Nicholus' mother had died when she was 8 years old and among the precious baggage was an old copper tub that had belonged to her.† It was one condemned to be thrown away.† When the company were ready to start Nicholus was nowhere to be found.† A search was started and there the little girl was found in the copper tub and refused to be comforted--and absolutely refused to leave the beloved keepsake there.† So the father of the motherless little girl tied it on the back of his handcart and brought it to Utah.
19.† What was the cause of the handcart disaster?
19.† An early and very severe winter set in.† Soon after leaving Laramie the ration was decreased and when the first snow began to fall they were living on water gravy.
Another great calamity that happened was a stampede of buffalo and the path they followed was directly across the line of march the weary emigrants were taking.† Much flour was wasted and carts broken, but no lives were lost.
Their progress was slow because they were all supposed to stay together and gather every buffalo chip they saw, for that was all the fuel they had.
20.† Who was to blame?
20.† As the season advanced and the cold increased, and food became more scarce, people began to succumb to the inevitable, and several died every night.† One scarcely knew whether or not he or she would be alive in the morning.† They had to wade through ice and snow and slush, but they were told to be sure to see that their clothes were dried every night and not to go to bed in wet things.† But the first one who fell by the way was a man who had been too tired to dry his wet clothes and the next morning--it was his turn to make a fire, and Paul Gourley called him, and he did not respond; upon investigation it was found he was dead.
No one was to blame; it was a situation beyond control--a miscalculation and a series of disasters.† The oxen died and their loads had to be cared for by the people.† The more that died the longer was the delay for they all had to be given a decent burial.† The cold was terrific.† The little baby died and was buried on the way.† In the morning an investigation was carried on to see who had died in the night and while the ablest prepared them for burial the others would actually hover over and lie by them and sat on them to absorb what warmth was in their dead bodies.† One night sixteen were found to have died and they were all buried in one grave.
Right here we might say that along in September Daniel H. Wells passed the two companies.† He was on a stage and he stopped and took in the situation and then hurried on to report the condition to headquarters.† He reached Salt Lake city at October Conference time and President Young told of it in the meeting then and called for volunteers to go back and take provisions.† Arrangements were made than and as soon as possible wagons were loaded and started east.† And they met all kinds of storm and cold weather.
President Franklin D. Richards passed them in Wyoming and in making his report said, "No one knows the blizzards in Wyoming till he feels them."† The first snow fell at Sweetwater.† And the winter that followed was one like the one that killed the Donner people ten years before.
21.† Was there a shortage of food?
21.† By the time the sufferees reached Devilís Gate, the food was entirely gone.† They were without any food for four days, then the help sent out in October from the Church arrived.† 20 teams had started, each one with an experienced frontiersman.† They had left immediately and bucked storm all the way.
22.† Describe in detail some of the troubles in the snow, near Devil's Gate, Rock Creek, Martin's Hollow, etc.
22.† When the rescue party reached Green River they sent three men ahead to meet the starving travelers and to relieve them by telling them help was near.† They had a few crackers in their pockets.† In their haste to get to poor people, they were riding like mad and came upon a famished group of children in a wash eating the bark from willows.† The whole of them scattered, hobbling away as fast as their straight and frozen limbs would let them.† They thought the strangers were Indians and had come to kill them.† Imagine their surprise when the horsemen threw to them some crackers and assured them of friendship.† Joseph A. Young and Lot Smith were among the rescue party.† They told the poor people that food and clothes and teams and wagons would be there in the morning, but it was not--not for another day and a half.† Their delay had been caused by the terrific storms.† The next day several teams arrived from Salt Lake.† This was in Martin's Hollow.
25.† How many died in your company?
25.† 150 died in the Martin company through starvation, overexertion, and exposure.†
One of the drivers from Utah was a young man of 19 years, Sidney <p.8> Teeples.† He saw the starving, frightened children run away, but he did not know the girl he afterward--5 years after--loved and married was among them.† Neither knew the other that stressful time, but they became prominent pioneers in early Holden times.† Before that time they had pioneered in Eureka, Salem, Goshen, Goshen Fort and Sand Town.† Here Nicholus' father built for himself the first dwelling he ever owned in his life.† The folks had been in very comfortable circumstances in Scotland.† He had been a carpenter and joiner and was well-respected, owned a house full of furniture, which when he left he could not sell because of the prejudice against his religion.† He had been the Presiding Elder over the branch for 13 years.† This house in Sand Town was half adobe and half dug-out.† The people of that section--around Goshen--were unsettled and moved all around the country, finally Brigham Young came down and picked out the present site of Goshen.† He told the people they were teaching their chickens bad habits, in that when they saw a covered wagon they would lie down on the ground and stick their feet in the air to be tied preparatory to moving again.
In 1857 when Daniel H. Wells led a crowd of men to hold back Johnston's Army, Paul Gourley went with him and helped burn wagons and supply trains.† This was in the fall and Governor Young had issued a proclamation forbidding the Army to enter the Territory except by permission.† So these men went out and kept them in Echo Canyon till in the winter when they came through the city very peaceably, and went to Fort Bridger [actually Camp Floyd].
Sidney Teeples was born in Far West, Missouri on February 10, 1837.† Son of George and Hulda Coulby Teeples.† He was a year old when the Mormons were driven from Missouri by mob violence.† His father George Teeples and Lawson Coulby were running Joseph Smith's farm <p.9> at the time of the Martyrdom.† Coulby was Teeples' brother-in-law.† Coulby was called into service in the Mormon Battalion by Brigham Young in 1846.
When the Indian War broke out in 1853 Sidney Teeples, who was then 16 years old was pressed into service to defend the settlers.† In 1856 the Teeples family moved to Fort Supply.† In 1860 Sidney Teeples came to Goshen to visit his brother and saw and fell in love with Nicholus Gourley and married her in 1861, by Bishop William Price of Lower Goshen.† They later moved to Mona and in the later 1860s moved to Holden and participated in all the trying scenes incident to early pioneering.† Two of their early houses are still standing and are being used, they were built before the town was surveyed.
In 1870 when the officers were trying to find Ben Tasker, the Sevier River was raging and Sidney Teeples swam the stream and arrested him.
The same year the couple was living in a one-room house and kept a tavern.† The stoppers they would allow to sleep if it were necessary.† One night a stranger was on [the floor] sleeping, and a low light was burning for the children and Nicholus saw him through the mirror, rise and beckon through the window.† Sidney grabbed his gun and screamed for him to lie down.† It developed that the man had some accomplices outside, and an attack was planned on their house.† About this time the stage was held up between Scipio and Holden and a stage driver and two passengers were killed at Robber's Hollow.
Sidney Teeples was a Missionary with Elders Gibbs and Berry at the time of the killing of both of them.† [Gibbs and Berry were murdered in Davis County, Tennessee in 1884]
He was in both the Walker and Black Hawk war.† He loved the Indians, he had been raised near them in his childhood.† They all <p.10> looked upon him as a great friend, and when he lay on his last bed the Chief Sobiquint and some of his braves came and cried over him and told him he had always befriended them and took them to the table and fed them and gave them blankets and quilts to sleep on.† He could talk their language as well as they could.
Sidney Teeples was a blacksmith, stock raiser and carpenter.†
Early Holden was called "Butter Milk Springs," later Cedar Springs.† It was given the name of Holden because of a well-beloved man of that name who with his little boy froze to death about 8 miles north of the town.
Supplementary Notes on the Life of Nicholus Gourley Teeples.
She was a great and efficient seamstress.† In the early days, before the prices of cloth came down to convenient prices, she won as a prize for sewing, enough yardage for a dress.† She made shoes for herself and husband out of sacks; these were for dances.† She took an old wagon tent and in between the holes cut out shoes for many people.† She would take the factory and color it with chamber lie and make it into beautiful dresses.
Since she passed 85 she has taken the prize at the state fair year after year, in embroidery work.
She never went to school a day in her life but after she was 35 years old she taught herself to read and write and since that time has been a great reader.
In 1866 when Sidney Teeples was out fighting the Indians and Nicholus was in Goshen, she became very ill and the doctor told them to send for him, that she was dying.† He was in Sanpete where it was dangerous†† to be out alone for fear of the Indians.† So 3 men were sent to find Sidney--he was between Annabelle and Richfield, and Captain Nuttall began preparations to send three men with him, for it was like riding into the jaws of death to go alone.† But Sidney <p.11> felt he would be able to protect himself against any Indians he met.† So he rode on alone like mad through the darkness.† He did not spare horse flesh and reached Goshen before day break.† His horse fell dead, but Nicholus had passed the crisis and lived.† The next year he was crippled and for a long time was laid up with rheumatism. †On the way to Holden he could drive a team but the care of it had to be given by another.† Nicholus was the other driver, and with her 8-month old baby she drove a team and the dog drove the cows.† She stayed in Old Deseret while his brothers built them a one-room house.† He recovered and they spent the rest of their lives there.
She attaches no blame to the Church Authorities for her excruciating experiences on the plains.† She said they were wholly without any means to have given more assistance than they did.† As far as she could learn the whole group felt the same way.
No dishes were washed on the Sabbath Day and no traveling was done till Monday.† They were nearly starving by the time they reached Fort Laramie, and they were thankful to always find some berries or roots or willow roots or something to save their lives.† When the relief wagons came those that were too weak to walk were put into the wagons and if any handcarts were worth saving they were taken too.
When the Indians came into their camps they divided with them everything they had, even if they saw starvation ahead.† "But the Indians were always friendly and when the situation became acute, the prudent Indians did not come to beg any more--as they knew they were having a hard enough time to make a 'live' of it."
Nicholus' father dug out his watch from among his keepsakes and with some other things tried to trade for some provisions, but they bought only a few loaves of bread.
Her little brother George--7 years old--wore his shoes out and they wrapped his feet in gunny sacks.† He pushed on the back of the cart and when they reached Salt Lake City his toes came off, because they had been frozen.
Her step-mother's children were Paul, 3 years old--died after reaching Salt Lake--and the baby Margaret, 9 months was buried at Scott's Bluff in Nebraska.
Emma Bachelor proved to be a real friend.† She married John D. Lee.† When he was cited to appear for trial Emma stopped with Nicholus in Holden on the way to the court.† When he was convicted she left him.
Nicholus tells about those emigrants that were killed in the Mountain Meadow Massacre.† When they came through the Territory they were vindictive and courting trouble.† They came to Holden and ordered butter milk.† Her sister-in-law started down cellar to get it for them, and one of them gave her a vicious kick in the abdomen, and brought on a premature birth and death.† They poisoned meat and killed many Indians.† And it is a known fact that several white settlers were killed by drinking the water they had poisoned.† Lee encouraged the Indians in seeking revenge.† When they became uncontrollable, it became known what their intentions were and word was sent to Governor Young and he sent word back to prevent it by any and all means.† When the word reached them, the massacre had taken place.† The Indians and some white men had killed the whole outfit, it was said the young children were taken by the heels and their brains dashed out against the wagon tongues. †And hid the bodies in the tall grass.
seemed impossible to get all the information this woman had to give.† I spent 3 hours with her.† The daughter said Dr. Josiah E. Hickman had
come down from Logan and spent days with Mrs. Teeples and took down every thing
she could tell him.† He lives in Logan.)
--LDS Genealogical Library, Film 485340 Item 7.
To return to the Mrs. Teeples Introduction, click here.††††††††
To learn more about the Mormon Handcart Pioneers, click here.
To learn more about the WPA Writer's Project, click here.
To learn more about Professor Josiah E. Hickman, click here.
To return to the Hickman Family index page, click here.