Cyrena Dustin Merrill – Part III

continued from – Part II

It rained a little during the night and our bedding was soaked through and not being used to exposure of any kind of course I took a severe cold, which with the long walk and the worry of leaving home under such trying circumstances brought on a fever and a nervous prostration.

I shall ever remember how kind and good to sisters and brethren were to me during that long ride from New Portage, Ohio to the Missouri River; they gave me every attention that I could be given under the circumstances; many times sacrificing their own comfort for mine.

As day by day went by and I still remain so very low, albeit Brother Stanley sadly concluded that I could not recover — and several times I was taken from the wagon and laid down by the roadside while they all gathered round expecting me to breathe my last — but I had great faith, for my blessing said I should go to Zion and I clung to that, (and so did Brother Stanley) and I felt as if that must be true. Sometimes as we were traveling along, people would come to our camp and talk to us and they would say “Why do you drag that sick girl with you? Can’t you stop long enough to let her die in peace? It looks inhuman to take her over these rough roads.” And when told it was prophesied that she should go to Zion, they would shake their heads and say, “She’ll never lived to get there anyway.” We were stopped several times by mobs who were determined we should not go on, but we were strong in faith and continually prayed to the Lord to deliver us from these people and so we finally overcame all difficulties and arrived at the Far West. I had been getting some better before the end of the journey — and oh, how we rejoice that are long tiresome traveling was ended and we could meet and have sweet concourse with the Saints here. But our rest and comfort was soon broken, for in a few days Far West was surrounded to our enemies and I saw Joseph’s aged father and mother weeping over their son as he was taken away a prisoner. During the winter our fate which tried to the utmost — in a strange country – our beloved leader was torn from us — and our food and clothing very scarce — at times we had nothing to eat but parched corn with a little squash.

My health continued to improve daily and Father Smith obtained a place for me to work at Little  Platte (about 20 miles from Far West), with an aged couple who treated me like a daughter but thought I ought to return to my parents. They begged me to go home to my mother who must be so lonely without me, even offering to pay my fare back to Ohio and send their son with me for company — but my faith in the Gospel was strong and I never had any desire to give up our religion or leave the Saints.

To my great joy I found (while living here) Brother and Sister Horn living near, although I had no idea that there was a Latter Day Saint within miles of me — the us is the Lord cheered my heart at all times when I most needed consolation. These new friends told me that the Saints were moving to Quincy, Illinois. After staying with these good folks three months I went with brother and sister Horn to Far West, to again cast in my lot with the Saints although the lady where I had been working went over me and wish me to stay with her or return home to my parents, but I now felt that the Saints’ home was mine.