Life was hard for the Mormon colonists and their families living in northern Mexico sixty-five years ago. Nevertheless, they were a strong and valiant people. Eat what you have, wear your clothes till they are worn out, use what you have, and live without the things you can’t have, was the simple rule by which they all lived. Yet in spite of their poverty, the Saints were “rich toward God.”
It was during the Mexican Revolution and because of the danger to the Mormon families we were forced to leave for the United States.
I remember well the night in July, 1912, when father came home from a priesthood meeting with the message a decision had been made for women, children, and older men to leave the next day for El Paso, Texas. The prospect at first was exciting to me, full of adventure. But I really realized the seriousness of the situation when we were awakened early the next morning to prepare for the trip north.
Before leaving on our journey to the train station, I sat on a chair under the apricot tree in back of our house while father cut my hair. He told me that he would have to stay a while in Mexico to settle his affairs and that I should go with mother and the children. He said I would have to be the man of the family temporarily and take care of them when we got to El Paso.
About 10 o’clock in the morning we left Juarez, Mexico in a wagon. Mother, Aunt Lydie, and Uncle George sat on the spring seat. Mother’s seven children and Uncle George’s children—I think there were five—were in the back. I was seated on our trunk that carried all the goods we could take because of the crowd that would be on the train.
As we drove down Main Street, across the river, and down past Dan Skousen’s mill, I was looking up the road in the direction from which we had come. Over the flat between Dan Skousen’s and San Diego, the rebel army was moving northward. They were not in formation but were straggling along two at a time or in larger groups.
Suddenly two soldiers on horseback, large cartridge belts slung over their shoulders, stopped us. They were riding in old-fashioned Mexican saddles with big horns. The men said they were looking for ammunition and searched our wagon. They found no ammunition but they did find twenty Mexican pesos, the only money we had to help take care of us when we reached the United States.
They took the twenty pesos from Uncle George and then permitted us to proceed south. They started north. When they were about 91 meters from the wagon, they turned around, drew their guns from their holsters and pointed them toward the wagon.
As I looked up the barrels of the rifles, they seemed very large to me. I suppose this was one of the most exciting moments in my life, as I expected that we would be shot. However, the men did not shoot us. Slowly they lowered their guns, turned, and rode away, and we all lived to tell the story.
I am so grateful for my courageous parents who were always loyal to the Church and taught their children to love Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that we are all sons and daughters of God, our Father, and that because of the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, we can again be with our Heavenly Father some glorious day.