Utah Pioneer and Apostle, Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family Edited by Melvin Clarence Merrill
During the winter of 1855 and '56 I worked in North Mill Creek Canyon as I had done the previous winter. And in this connection I will here relate a circumstance that occurred with me that winter while working in the canyon. During the month of January, 1856, the weather was very cold, the temperature ranging 20 to 30 degrees below zero at times. On one occasion I found myself in the canyon alone, as it was so cold no one else cared to risk going out in the canyon that day. I was at that time hauling house logs, usually five to a load. After getting my logs cut and dragged down to the loading place I commenced loading them on my bob sled, one end on the sled and the small end to drag on the snow. I had the five logs lying side by side. The loading place being very slippery, I was as I thought very careful. But after getting the first one loaded on the sled I turned around to load another one. The one I had on the sled slipped off like it was shot out of a gun and struck me in the hollow of the legs and threw me forward on my face across the four logs lying on the ground, or ice. In falling, my hand spike, which I had used in loading the first log, slipped out of my hand and out of my reach. And thus I found myself with my body lying face downwards across the four logs and the fifth log lying across my legs, and I was pinned to the ground with a heavy red pine log 10 inches through at the large end and 22 feet long lying across my legs. And there I was with no visible means to extricate myself and there was no aid at hand, as no one but myself was in the canyon that day. I made up my mind that I must freeze and die all alone in the mountains of Utah. Many serious thoughts passed through my mind, as you may imagine. In falling on the logs my breast and stomach were hurt and it was difficult for me to breathe. I did not conceive what to do under the trying ordeal, but concluded to ask the Lord to help me, which I did in earnest prayer. After calling upon the Lord for some time I began to make an effort to extricate myself but all in vain, as I could not move the log that was lying on me. I, however, continued my efforts until I was exhausted and lost all recollection of my situation. And the first I remembered afterward I was one mile down the canyon sitting on my load of logs and the oxen going gently along. My overcoat by the side of me, and feeling very cold, I spoke to my oxen and stopped them and looked around in wonder and astonishment. Then I remembered being under the log at the loading place some time previous. But how long I was there I could not determine, but supposed about two hours, as I was two hours later getting home than usual. I looked at the load and found I had the five logs on the sled, three on the bottom and two on the top, nicely bound, my ax sticking in the top log, my whip lying on the load by my side, my sheepskin (with the wool on, which I used to sit on) also on the load and I sitting on it. I made an effort to get off the load and put on my overcoat but found I could not do it, as I was so sore in my legs and breast that it was with great difficulty that I could move at all. I put my overcoat on in a sitting position as I was, and wrapped it around my legs the best I could and started on down the canyon. My oxen being gentle and tractable and the road smooth and all down hill, I arrived home without difficulty. On arriving there I found my wife was anxiously waiting for me and quite uneasy about me, as I was so much later than usual. She lifted me from the load and helped me into the house, placed me by the fireside (as we had no stoves in those days), and made me as comfortable as possible and took care of my team, etc. I was confined to the house for some days before I could get around again. Who it was that extricated me from under the log, loaded my sled, hitched my oxen to it, and placed me on it, I cannot say, as I do not now, or even then at the time, remember seeing anyone, and I know for a surety no one was in the canyon that day but myself. Hence I must give the Lord, or my Guardian Angel, credit for saving my life in extricating me from so perilous a situation.