Margaret Jane McIntire Burgess



PIONEER OF 1849-1861

by Margaret Viola Burgess, a Daughter

Margaret Jane Mc Intire(Burgess) was born at Wheat Field Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania May 22nd 1837. Died December 17th, 1919, at St. George, Utah. She was the daughter of William P. McIntire and Anna Patterson(McIntire). The following items are from her records. Brother Erastus Snow brought the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to Penn. He being only 17 years of that age, he was gifted a very good speaker. My parents told me in later years that he made his home at my fathers house while in that part of the country. My parents embraced the gospel under his teachings and were baptised by him into the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S. At that time the saints were gathering at Nauvoo Ill. My father wanted to gather with the saints at that place so he sold his property that he did not give away and started for Nauvoo.

I think it was in the year of 1840 and there was a good many Saints that had gathered there at that time. We traveled by land as Mother had such a fear of traveling by steam boat. Father sent all our domestic goods and a large stock of merchandise by water. When we arrived at Nauvoo our things were stored in a large frame building, unfurnished, owned by a gentleman by the name of George Telling. The building being on the corner of Main and Parley streets. My father bought the building and had it furnished and finished up completely. It was comfortable and we lived there until the general explosion of the Saints to the west.

We left Nauvoo the early part of May 1846 crossing the Mississippi River. Some of the Saints were ahead of us and some yet behind but we had a goodly company.

The morning we started on out journey to the Rocky Mountains, although a child I had to look back on the beautiful temple of Nauvoo, it being built on a hill on a hill. I could see it plainly as we journeyed westward. The company all seemed so happy in traveling and camping on our way. We met many Indians but they were friendly. We finally arrived at Council Bluffs where there was a large camp of the Saints. It was there the word was received for our Mormon Battalion. Many men got ready to go leaving

When we broke up camp some crossed over the Missouri River to a place at that time called Winter Quarters (later called Florence). While some of the camp stopped on the east side of the river. My father with four other men with their families lived in a wooded ravine where they each built a log cabin for their families, which made us very comfortable as the weather was getting cold. Just below our cabins was the Pottowatamie Indian Village and just above us was their Grist Mill. They had some nice farms near their village and were good and kind neighbors. Wild grapes grew in abundance on the sides of the hills, also Elder berries, Hazels nuts, etc. all that we wanted. The Indians would bring us in wild honey for some nice things that we had they wanted.

After we spent the winter there, in the spring we crossed over the river to Winter Quarters and stayed there until President Young started for the Rocky Mountains, with his company. He advised those that had means to on with, to go back over the river as the Indians were there getting mean and quarrelsome. Therefore we moved back after he left. We went to a Place called Kanesville, named after General Kane who was a great friend to Mormon Church. So we all traveled back again and build us some cabins and a large log school house. And a great many who were not mormons moved in there and helped to build up the place, built several stores and were plesant and agreeable people.

Orson Hyde was our President.

Kanesville was a very pretty place in the spring of 1849.

Those who could get ready started out for the Great Salt Lake Valley the next season but we still had to leave some of our company behind. Our company vas composed of one hundred wagons. Had a Captain Orson Spencer who had just returned from a mission to England.

The company was divided into two fifties each with a captain. William Miller one captain, Orson Hyde the other. We had some trouble with the Indians (Pawnees). They had been back to draw their money from the government at a place called Tarpus Point, just below Kanesville and the Cholera had broken out there. Many of the Indians took it and they traveled along with us only as they would take some cut off in fact we had to pass through their village. As the road passed through the village, the consequence was five of our brethren died with the Cholera. My father had it and two others came down with Father's felt so bad at the loss of our brethern that he dreamed of a cure He tried it and was cured and he gave it to the others and who were likewise cured. We traveled hard to get out of that section of the country even late at night.

My father had three wagons. One was intirely devoted to mother and her small children, the side of the wagon being fixed in a frame to get out and in without fear. The company wagons were all made in that way. Our teams were mostly oxen. I drove a team across the plains and was only twelve years old. My brother two years older had to help drive the loose cattle sometimes through rivers, over mountains, over the Black Hills then down Emigration Canyon.

I must now tell you something of my childish personal incidents at Nauvoo. We were close neighbors to the Prophet Joseph Smith and family and very intimate to the Prophet, and he was often in our home for short visits. One morning he came in and he noticed I had a piece of flannel around my throat. He inquired if my throat was sore. Mother told him it was and she was afraid it was the mumps. He called me to him, took me up on his lap, then took the flannel off my throat and asked mother for the oil. He annointed my throat with the oil and administered to me. I knew I was well when I got off his lap after which I felt no more sore throat. Another proof of his tender loving heart.

One morning as we were on our way to school, my brother and I were forced to walk in some very muddy places as it had rained the night before. The school house was down by the river and there was one very bad place where we had to go through. When we got stuck in the mud fast, I began to cry as did my little brother. I thought we would surely never get out, but on lookin up, we saw the Prophet Joseph coming right for us. The crying soon ceased. He carried me out first, then my brother. He took out his handkerchief, wiped the tears from out of my eyes and cleaned the mud off our shoes. all the time speaking comforting words sending us on our way rejoicing at the same time pointing out a safer way to get to the school house. Oh our belcved Prophet, how deep were his sympathies and how kind his heart yearned to do good.

Now let me tell you of another incident before ??? Mother had twins, baby girls. Aunt Emma (as we called her) the prophet's wife had been confined and her baby died soon after birth, The prophet came in one morning and said "Sister McIntire, I have come to borrow one of your babies, and Mother explained why Brother Joseph what do you want with one of my babies? Well he replied, I want one of them for my wife to comfort her only for a short time. He talked to Mother for a while and she finally told him he could have one of the babies, through the day if he would bring it back at night, so the bargain was made and the Prophet smiled with gratitude. The twins were so much alike you could scarly tell them apart but of course Mother could tell them apart. Their dispositions were not alike. One was a quick tempered baby, the other a mild one. One was named Mary and the other Sarah.

One morning when the prophet came for the baby, mother handed Sarah, the quick tempered one. He took the baby, kissed it, looked at it, then handed it back to mother and said "This is not my little Mary", so Mother reached him little Mary. The prophet would always bring the baby home at night. One night he did not come at the usual time. Mother went. down to see what was the matter.

The baby was crying and the prophet was setting by the fire trotting the baby on his knees. As soon as mother went in, it reached its little hands out to her and the crying ceased. He wrapped the baby up in its little silk quilt and walked home with mother and carried little Mary. Those dear little twins both died, Mary when she was 15 months old and Sarah, when she was 11 months old.

Well now go back to the trip across the plains to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. We landed in the valley in 1849, truly a heaven of rest. We lived in the old fort the first winter. In the spring, my father Wm. P. McIntire bought a lot up in town where City Creek ran through the back of it in later years it was known as the 16th Ward. Grederick Kesler was our bishop. In the spring of 1855 he was married to Melancthon W. Burgess by President Brigham Young in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah. We were called to the Dixie Mission (St. George, Utah) and with my husband, two little sons, my parents and their family, also my husband's parents, his brother and sister, we came into Dixie (St. George, Utah) with the pioneers of 1881. Surely the inhabitants have made the desert blossom like the rose compared to our first entrance into St. George, Utah.

Margaret Jane McIntire Burgess was a true Pioneer went through all to hardships of Pioneers days. She was the mother of seven children, and a more loving devoted mother never lived. A true mother of Israel, one of God's noble women.

Written from her records by her daughter Margaret V. Burgess (McMurtrie) St. George, Utah