The Turley Family spends Christmas day 1857 camped on the summit of El Cajon Pass in the snow

Mormon trail to San BernardinoExcerpt from a Letter from Dr. Joseph Soll Turley to Lawrence Turley
This was written to descendants of Theodore Turley from Tujunga, California, on August 4, 1971, and was read at Turley Family Reunion by Lawrence Turley in the summer of 1971.  Joseph Soll Turley is the grandson of Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles and the son of Jacob Omner and Louisa Woodhouse Turley (Jacob is the son of Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles.)

The Return to Utah from San Bernardino 1857
There were about 500 members that left Salt Lake and spent that summer and fall at Lytle Creek where his daughter Marianne married John Cook [8 September 1851] under a sycamore tree. They finally moved down to what they hoped would be their permanent home in San Bernardino in December of that year, and my father, Jacob Omner [of Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles], his youngest son who lived to maturity, was born there January 30, 1852. His youngest son Alvin [of Theodore Turley and Ruth Jane Giles] was also born there in 1855. Brigham Young ordered their return to Utah in mid-winter and Aunt Sara [of Theodore Turley and Frances Amelia Kimberley] told me they spent Christmas day camped on the summit in El Cajon Pass in the snow. There were no roads in those days and they had to cross a canyon east of present Las Vegas, Nevada, with vertical lava-rock walls where they had to take their wagons, in pieces, and lower them on ropes, one wheel at a time, and pull them up on the other side of the canyon, which required at least a week or ten days of very hard work with no shelter from the winter’s cold waves and storms that swept down from the North Pole and carried the thermometer down to 38 below zero in Flagstaff.


Here is a link to a fascinating report of the train route through this area in 1915.  It mentions the founding of San Bernardino by Mormon settlers and describes the terrain through which our family members traveled.


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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