[transcribed by Dayna Jacobs from a letter written by Sarah to the Republican newspaper.]
Mesa, Arizona, April 2nd 1921
Editor of the Republican,
As you have kindly invited the Pioneers of Arizona, to write of incidents in their journey to this land, I thought I would respond the call and leave it to your option, either to print it or throw it into the waste basket.
My husband, Francis Martin Pomeroy, and family left Paris, Bear Lake Co. Idaho on the 14th day of Sept. 1877 seeking a warmer climate either in Southern Utah or Arizona. We had a splendid outfit. There was 13 in the family. We had 4 wagons, two span of fine American horses and 4 yoke of oxen, 12 cows, besides some saddle horses.
We were accompanied from Paris by George W. Sirrine and family to Salt Lake City, where were joined by a number of other families—Charles Crismon, Wm. M. Newell, Wm. Schwartz, Chas. I. Robson, J.D. Hobson, besides some single men.
Our company now comprised 18 wagons, and 120 head of stock and naturally moved very slowly, so that it was December before we crossed over the line of Utah into Arizona, by way of Lees Ferry.
The day before Xmas we were crossing the Mogellen range of mountains, when it began to gather for a storm on those mountains. We met some travelers that day, who advised us to send the women and children ahead as there had been known cases where travelers had been caught in show storms and be snowed in for the winter. However the company concluded to hang together and risk the consequences. Our camp was made at Pine Springs, on Xmas Eve, and the snow was coming down pretty heavily at the time. I remember thrusting my hand out a number of times during the night from the wagon, hoping to find a cessation of the storm, and could feel the big feathery flakes as they came down. When morning came, what a sight, Giant trees weighted down like weeping willows, with the snow and everything buried from two to three feet deep in snow. I remember, at about the break of day, Chas. I. Robson called out “I wish you all a Merry Xmas,” but there was a very faint response.
It was certainly a gloomy sight. After digging out the wood piles, and having breakfast, the men started out to hunt the stock. They found them huddled up in sheltered places, to get away from the storm. After the herd was started the lightest loaded wagons were selected to “break the track,” taking turns as the horses became wearied from fighting the snow. During the day we met a sleigh carrying the mail, and the track made by it made traveling easier. Seven miles of traveling brought us to the “jumping off place,” and below the valley looked green and inviting. No snow there. We hailed it with joy after our struggle in the snow. A long dugway took us down into the valley, where we found a fine camping place at Beaver Head, where it was decided we would remain and give our stock, as well as ourselves a good rest, while some of the men of the party should go down to the Salt River Valley and select a location for our future homes.
Chas. I. Robson, Francis Martin Pomeroy, George W. Sirrine and Charles Crismon, were chosen to go. In a couple of weeks they returned, bringing to us the joyful news that they had found the “Mecca” of all our travels. They were extravagant in their praise of the country. In the mean time we all had had a good rest, and were soon on our way to the “promised land.”
A site, now Mesa City, was selected and surveyed, but the company camped on the bank of Salt River until the water could be brought to the dry desert land, then covered with mesquite and chaparral. An ancient canal was followed, which lightened the building cost very materially. The company had arrived on the 14th day of Feb. and it was the first of Nov. before the canal was completed, when camp on the river was broken and all moved to the mesa, where now stands the beautiful city of Mesa.
While camped on the river one Sabbath, a crowd of us had a desire to visit the site selected for our city. A four horse team was prepared and hitched to a large wagon, and all that could be accommodated were loaded in, and a merry crowd it was. We had prepared picnic baskets filled with the best we had and intended to make a day of it. We soon arrived at the spot, and were all delighted at the prospect.
In my imagination I could see what a beautiful city could be built there. The large expanse of level country reaching out in every direction. It seemed to be the very place to erect beautiful homes for thousands of people who in the future would come to this place in search of a place to locate, and my imaginings at that time have been verified to the letter.
Sarah Matilda Pomeroy,
A pioneer to Utah in 1848, to Idaho in 1864, and to Arizona in 1877, and is now 86 years of age.