GROVES FAMILY HISTORY
William Groves was born April 4, 1834 at Chesham, Bucks County, England. He joined the English Navy at the age of fifteen years. He served several years. He left the apprenticeship as a shoemaker and came to America at the age of twenty-two years.
In America he joined the U. S. Regular Army, (U.S. National Army) under the name of William Jackman. He was afraid the English would take him back to England. He joined the army at Philadelphia, Penn. In 1865 and served five years.
He joined the “Oddfellow’s Lodge” in Philadelphia and was later transferred to the Denver, Colorado Lodge.
From Philadelphia, Penn. His army company was sent to Utah and Wyoming as scouts. After scout duty his company spent one winter in Utah. They were sent into Utah, from Denver, to bury the remains of the people from a wagon train who had lost their lives in the Mountain Meadow Massacre. There were 140 people killed there. Mountain Meadow is in Utah about 350 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah.
There were only bones left of the people who were killed. The soldiers put them in sacks and buried them in trenches.
Winter caught them in Utah. The snow was deep and the temperature was extremely cold. They couldn’t get through “Soldier’s Pass” to go back to Denver.
There were many hardships to endure and some of the soldiers died from the cold. They only had their wagons and tents for shelter. There was no food for the mules so they butchered them, built rail fences around the meat to keep out the wolves and coyotes. Guards were stationed to protect the meat and also to guard against the Indians.
During the long, cold winter the fuel, which was sagebrush and trees, became scarce. The food supply became so short it was rationed to the men a little at a time along with a piece of frozen mule meat; which they would roast over the fire. A man didn’t dare lay his food nor meat down for a minute before another would grab it and eat it. There was much fighting in camp over the food.
In the spring, as soon as the snow was gone the U. S. Government sent them help. Wagons of food and clothing arrived. By this time their clothes were in rags and their shoes were worn out. There was much rejoicing in camp by the soldiers for plenty of food each day and “meat that wasn’t mule”.
William Groves hearing was impaired at this time, due to the intense cold and lack of food.
The soldiers returned to Denver at this time. He served his army duty and was honorably discharged at Denver, where he made his home for several years.
Amanda Neal was born Feb. 22, 1846 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She left there during the Civil War and traveled by team through Missouri in 1863, via Kansas City up the Missouri River to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Through Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska to Denver, Colorado. Arriving there in 1864.
She spent one year in Wyoming and saw the first train come into Cheyenne, which was a tent town.
She lived in Denver for nine years and married William Groves April 1. 1870. Two girls, Cyrena Amaline was born April 1, 1871 and Sarah Melissa was born November 29, 1872, were born in Denver.
In early spring of 1873 the family joined a wagon train and started west to Oregon. There were ten wagons in this train.
The train consisted of large heavy wagon with big heavy wheels. There were horses to pull the heavy loads. They took cows to supply the milk on the way and to start their cattle herds when their destination was reached. They had lots of guns and ammunition as well as their personal possessions and what ever else was needed for the trip.
Little Sarah was about three months old and was critically ill with what was called “brain fever”. She wasn’t expected to live only just a few days. However, the train was ready to leave and they started out with the sick baby. They had boards along to build her coffin with and an outfit of clothes to bury her in when she died.
She always said in later life she was always contrary and never did do what people expected her to do.
The wagons always stayed close together. The cattle were driven close together and near the wagons at all times. The people stayed in sight of the wagons at all times, also.
They encountered many bands of Indians but was never molested. There were many men and guns with the train. (There were about 50 men).
Amanda had a big churn they tied to the back of their wagon. They would pour milk in it after the cows were milked. By the time they would camp for the night they would have fresh butter to eat.
There weren’t any roads, just the trails the animals followed going from water-hole to water-hole. The Indians followed these same trails. This route was called the “Oregon Trail”.
The wagon train crossed through the southern part of Wyoming and came into the Idaho Territory near Border, Wyoming, then on to Soda Springs where they drank some of the water. From there they went to Fort Hall, then followed the south side of Snake River to Island Ford near Glenns Ferry, where they crossed to the north side of the river.
There were several massacres in Idaho along about this time. One at Massacre Rocks in 1862. The road passed between these big rocks and the Indians attacked when the wagons were in this pass. Chief Pocatello was chief of the Bannocks at this time. Later he was put on the Fort Hall reservation.
The Indians held a Sun Dance near these rocks. The festival lasted for three days and nights. The worn circle could be seen, where they danced, for a hundred years. The dances were discontinued in 1917.