Ezra T. Benson (1811–1869) Illness

Biography of Myron Tanner  

[Salt Lake City: The Deseret News, 1907], pp. 13–15.

(see also) Biography of Myron Tanner, Joseph Marion Tanner, editor


      “Brother George A. Smith on my arrival at Kanesville informed me that he was in need of my services, and put me in charge of his ‘ten.’ Ezra T. Benson had fifteen wagons under his supervision and we had twelve. There was considerable delay in crossing the Missouri, and George A. Smith becoming impatient put the management of the teams and outfit in my charge, in order to facilitate and hasten the work. My work was so satisfactory, that Brother George A. subsequently gave over to me much of the responsibility of conducting the teams across the plains, as I was familiar with horses and cattle, with which I had worked all my life.

      “As an illustration of the difficulties we had, I may say here that some of these brethren whose lives had been given largely to the ministry were hardly familiar with team work and many of those who were driving had little experience. Apostle Benson at the outset took the lead. He would permit his men to drive into muddy places where they became fastened and after struggling for some time in the mud—all the time the wheels becoming more difficult to extricate—he would finally put on an extra team in order to pull out the wagon. Finally, I prevailed upon him and George A. Smith to give me a free hand in the management of the teams. After that, whenever we reached a place where I thought we were likely to be ‘stuck’ in the mud, I would double my teams and put the wagons through, one at a time. Such a method was so much more expeditious than waiting until the wagon became fastened in the mud and then trying to pull it out. The latter method was such an easy means of making balky horses, and besides it entailed a useless lot of pulling to no purpose. Soon those in the rear followed my example and we afterwards got along without so much delay and with less difficulty.

      “While traveling up the Platte, Apostle Benson became very sick. It looked very much as though he must die, and the anxiety among the brethren and sisters became so great that God’s aid was implored in the most solemn manner. The brethren who had [p.14] been through the temple dressed in their robes. I was sent as guard to the top of a hill overlooking the country, especially of the little valley where the camp was made. To the top of an opposite hill another young man was sent to act also as guard. From the position I occupied, I could look down upon the fifteen men dressed in their temple robes, devoted in prayer and supplication to God for the recovery of one of their leaders. To me the sight was a most impressive one and had a lasting influence upon my life.

      “About the time we left the North Platte our teams began to give out, but in the meantime Brother George A., as he was affectionately called all his life, had sent ahead to Salt Lake for help which met us at the South Pass in Wyoming, just over the main chain of the Rocky Mountains at the head of the Sweet Water. At Willow Springs a heavy snow storm overtook us and we were delayed for some time.”

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