I labored with the company of pioneers to prepare the way for the Saints through Iowa, after which I had the privilege of returning to Nauvoo for my family, which consisted of my wife and three children. I moved them out into Iowa, 320 kilometers, where I left them, and returned 160 kilometers to settlements, in order to obtain food and other necessaries.
I was taken sick, and sent for my family to return to me. My wife and two children were taken sick the day after their arrival. We found shelter in a miserable hut, but some distance from water.
One day I made an effort to get some water for my suffering family, but failed through weakness. Night came on, and my family were burning with fever and calling for water.
These very trying circumstances called up some bitter feelings within me. It seemed as though in this, my terrible extremity, the Lord permitted the devil to try me, for just then a Methodist class leader came by, and remarked that I was in a very bad situation. He assured me that he had a comfortable house that I could move into, and that he had plenty of everything, and would assist me if I would renounce “Mormonism.” I refused, and he continued on his way.
I afterwards knelt down and asked the Lord to pity us in our miserable condition, and to soften the heart of someone to administer to us in our affliction.
About an hour later a man by the name of William Johnson came with a 12 liter jug full of water, set it down and said: “I came home this evening, weary, having been working with a threshing machine during the day, but when I lay down I could not sleep; something told me that you were suffering because you did not have water. I took the jug, went over to Custer’s well and got this for you. I feel now as though I could go home and sleep. I have plenty of chickens and other things at my house, that are good for sick people. When you need anything I will let you have it.” I knew this was from the Lord in answer to my prayer.
The following day the quails came out of the thickets, and were so easily caught that I picked up what I needed without difficulty. I afterwards learned that the camps of the Saints had been supplied with food in the same way.