Janette Lager

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Janette Lager STORY OF CROSSING THE PLAINS By Susan Elmina Coffman Bramall I was born April 26, 1855 in Iowa. On the 10th of May, 1864, we left Appanoose County, Iowa, to cross the plains. We arrived in Springville on August 11, 1864, making 3 months and 1 day on the way. We had a small company, about 10 wagons. We were all relatives. My Grandfather, Jacob Coffman, and Grandmother (Rebecca Matthews Coffman) and their two sons, Marion (William Marion) and Ples (Andrew Pleasant Burgess), with their wives and families. Also Nancy Clark, my mother's sister, and her husband Hyrum and their family. My father and mother, William Marion and Margaret Serena Coffman, had 5 children --myself (Susan Elmina), Jacob Edward, John Wood, Sylvester Marion, and Joseph Edgar. The Clark family consisted of Uncle Hyrum, Aunt Nancy, and 7 children--Lonzo, George, Rastus, Silas, Lucina, John, and Jim. Uncle Ples and Aunt Margaret had 4 children. My Grandfather and his two sons expected to go to California, but the never got farther than Springville. Our teams consisted of oxen and cows except father and Uncle Hyrum had one team of horses. We would drive the cows all day hitched to the wagon and then milk them at night. We would but the milk in our little tim churn fastened to the side on the wagon. When we camped at night our milk would be churned to butter by the movement of the wagon. My grandfather (Jacob Coffman) was an Indian interpreter and this proved to be a blessing, in fact, I might say it saved our lives. The Indians at that time were hostile We heard of them killing people ahead of us. One afternoon as we were plodding along, we could see a cloud of dust in the distance. The older folks were worried for fear it was Indians. Sure enough, when they got near we could see them. They were indeed on the war path. Their faces were painted up and one was swinging a white girl's scalp of long light hair. I will never get that sight out of my mind. They were sullen and acted mean. Grandfather did everything in his power to make friends with them. He gave them tobacco and talked to them as friendly as possible. Finally they acted better and rode away, leaving us unmolested. We always felt that our lives were saved through grandfather being able to speak their language. There were about 300 Indians in the band. I shall never forget how frightened we were, although I was only 9 years old. For the first few years we had a hard time as all the pioneers did. Many times I have worked all day for people that needed help and perhaps received a tallow candle or maybe a little homemade soup for which we were always thankful. We gleaned wheat in the fields for our bread. That means picking up a head of wheat here and there that had been left from the farmer's cradle scythe. We would work all day and carry our precious sheaves home and that night we would rub it out on a wooden wash board. The Pioneers that had come before us were very good to us. I shall never forget how good Bishop Johnson was. Bishop Johnson gave us a little house to live in. It was located near where the fire station now stands. Bishop Johnson had a long house nearby. I almost lived with his girls. I can see him now filing out with his big family to go to church. We girls like to line up in the rear so if we could slip away we would. It is useless to say we were very poor and had a hard struggle. It made it harder because my father was not a Mormon. My mother and her sister Nancy Clark were Mormons. My father and his people were Methodists. They expected to go on to California, but my mother prayed with all her heart that they would not go on. She wanted to stay here with the Saints so bad. The next year my Father and his people went back to Iowa. Father was determined to take us all back, but Mother had got right where she wanted to be and would not go. He left us here to starve, but with the help of the Lord we got along. He was gone a year and returned bringing us clothing and food. He was so glad to get back with his family that he settled down and never wanted to go away again. Although my Father was not a Mormon, He was an honest, upright citizen. Mother's prayer was answered. I forgot to say my Mother was a frail little woman which made it pretty hard on me when I was home with that family of boys. There were 5 of us when we crossed the plains, Jacob Edward, John Wood, Sylvester Marion, Joseph Edgar and myself. Joseph Edgar died at the age of 5 years. Two children were born after we came to Springville, William Daniel and Thomas. I was married in the Endowment House on Nov. 1, 1875, to Samuel Bramall. We have raised a family of 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. I have 16 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. I was chosen on the first Old Folks Committee in 1899 with O. B. Huntington, George Beardall, John Bryan, and Olive Childs. The first entertainment was given on Feb. 4, 1899. I worked on this Committee until I was 72 years old and always enjoyed it so much. I was a Relief Society teacher, I think near 30 years.
Jan 01, 2006 · posted to the surname Coffman
Janette Lager Sorry this is NOT Jacob and Rebecca Matthews Coffman. This is Jacob and Rachel Murphy Darting as entered another time. Sorry for the mistake and will load Jacob and Rebecca Coffmans photos
Dec 24, 2011 · posted to the photo Jacob and Rebecca Matthews Coffman