Extracted, consolidated and edited from Christian’s own writings by Glen Moosman
I was born on the 18th day of November 1835 in Troggenried by Muhlenberg, Canton Bern, Switzerland. My father Johan Moosmann of Wylervoltigen was from a rich family as well as was my mother Elizabeth Tschannen of Ostermannigen office Aarberg, Canton Bern. There were 11 children, 3 boys and 8 girls of which John and a girl named Maria already died in their early youth.
After we lived in Troggenried for a few years we were forced to sell our house and land to pay for the debts which my father had accumulated through his slothful and squandering life style. From there we moved to Wylervoltigen where my father continually served as a bad example of strife, quarrelsomeness and drunkenness. More than twice did he leave his family and burdened dear mother with sorrow, heart break and much trouble so that in my early youth I often cried hard about the sad fate of our family.
As we children grew, some of us could hire out. Thus I came to the 16th year of my life and was permitted to leave school. For some further time I worked at the home of my parents on the farm and when there was work to do, I did it. During this time I was supposed to be learning my father’s profession. However, I could not be moved to it, for in the first place he had no understanding toward my brother Bendicht, who was learning it as well as others, and secondly I did not like the profession. Finally I went into apprenticeship with Jakob Gutknecht and learned the weaver profession according to my mother’s wishes. Completely ignored by my father, I had to spend a year and afterwards repay the apprenticeship cost. But my good mother and brother did everything they could for me.
On the 8th day of April 1856, I traveled to the Waardtland in order to learn my profession better and become as familiar as possible with the French language. For a short while I worked in Apples for Moorsen, afterwards I worked for Joseph Schneeberger in Cranei. In order to learn the language better, I worked for Jean L. Belaz for one year. This was also in Cranei. After a year worked again for Schneeberger.
When I still worked for Belaz, I met a certain Johann Ledermann in the city of Cossonay. He told me in brevity that he had read a book, the writing of a which had ladin in the earth several hundred years. He told me other things. We parted one from another and from then on I could not hear from him for half a year. Unexpectedly, this my friend returned from Genef (Geneva) to Granci and there we worked together in the same workshop. Soon he began to bear his testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to me. I believed his testimony without any objection as soon as he proved the principles with the Bible. Already I had been at his home every evening for 14 days to learn more about these things from him. I was filled with joy and with great longing waited for the opportunity to walk 8 hours unguided to be baptized as Christ ordered. There on the banks of the Rhone river by Genf at the hands of the dear brother Henri Morel, President of the Genf branch, on the 1st of August 1857 and Sunday, the 2nd, a Seventy from Zion, John Luwig Smith laid his hands upon my head for the Gift of the Holy Ghost and confirmed me a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the meeting. Those were golden days for me. There I received unperishable riches, a heavenly blessing which the kings of this earth do not possess nor are capable of taking away.
Now I went to Genf with Ledermann and worked as a weaver in that city. I was happy to be in Genef and stay among the brethren and sisters there, for in my heart I felt more and more that these teachings were eternal truths and would be for all eternity. On the 5th of September 1858, I was ordained an Elder by Jabez Woodard, President of the Swiss and Italian Mission. I then went to Wylervoltigen to give testimony of eternal truths I had found to my parents. But after a few weeks having accomplished little, I again left going to the Canton Waadt where Itook work in Cossonay with a certain Wehrli. I also worked for Abraham Charade in Pentelaz by Cossonay, but only for a few weeks because after that I left by wish of President Woodard. On the 28th of July, 1859 Jabez Woodard ordained me a Traveling Elder for half the Canton Bern, from St. Immer to Bern and Langnau.
On the 6th of November 1859, I was called to be President of the Zurich Conference. By order of President Woodard, I traveled to Basel on the 29th of November. The feet were very swollen from all the traveling. On the 2nd day of January 1860 I went to Wylervoltigen to preach some more to my parents and siblings since I had high hopes that someone from my dear family would soon be baptized.
(Elder Moosman went into great detail about the places he visited and the people whom he taught and baptized. He worked as counselor with Ignaz Willi and John Keller)
On the 16th of March 1861 I baptized my sister Magdalena in the presence of Elder Peter Gulli and Math. Schuler in th eSchnuss by the Biel. I said farewell on the 25th of March to my brother and sisters in Wylervoltigen. Bendicht gave me 60 Franken and several pair of pants. Anna Maria believed in the gospel and wanted tocome with me to america but the relatives would not let her go. I traveled over Bern to Thau and baptized Ka. Gloser and I. Hatter in the Aarn. This man had peg leg.
On the 4th of May we went to Basel. On the 5th our emigrants (89 persons) traveled through the province of Baden to the city of Mannheim by train. From here we took a steamer going down the Rhine river to Holland and the city of Rotterdam. We saw the cities of Mainz, Koblenz and Cologne, beautiful vineyards, castles, windmills, etc. Until Rotterdam, it was a pleasure trip. But on the trip over to Hull, England through the English Channel it was different. After 15 or 20 minutes out on sea, the first people started to get seasick. I was no exception. The weather was cold and stormy. Hardly anybody partook of the meals. After a day and a night and the weather cleared up and we recovered fast. From Hull to Liverpool, England we went by railroad and then down to the harbor. Saw S. Francis, Apostle Leyman and Rich and Kumar, heard him preach but I couldn’t understand anything.
On the 12th of May I saw Maria Justet and Anna Rivoir of Piemont, Italy with Br. Banot from the hotel to the ship, “The Monarch of the Sea.” We boarded the big sailship with three masts. As soon as we were all settled on board, a tugboat pulled us through the St. George Channel onto thehigh seas. On the 14th we slept on the ship. Leyman, Rich, Pianon, J.L. Smith and Woodard ordained the people, numbering 1008 of all creeds, including the ship personnel. On the 2nd day the steamship left us. We then had enough wind to sail towards New York. It was the 16th when we took off. We had a great storm and good health. Two or three persons died. There was enough to eat but I did not have much appetite.
On the 19th of June we arrived with great joy in New York in Castle Garden. This was a big round house, near the harbor, built by the government for the immigrants. There we met a type of men well dressed addressing you a “friend” or “\landsman” willing to show you the sites of town and in so doing relieve you of your money, watches, etc. And then disappearing like ghosts. It is well to carry your watch where they can’t get at it and your money in a money belt next to your skin. We continued to travel from here by train.
We left on the 21st. We went through the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We went over Cleveland, Toledo, Chicago. From Quincy we went over the Mississippi by steamship and then again by train to St. Joseph. This was through the beautiful Missouri valley. Saw lots of soldiers since the South led war against the North. The trip from New York ‘til here took us 8 days and nights. On the 30th, the Saints traveled to Florence. I and W. Davis and Conrad Nageli stayed to buy oxen. From St. Joseph, we went by steamer up river to Florence, Nebraska. Arrived on the 14th of July and left for the first camp. On the 16th, we left the camp with 70 wagons and more than 420 heads of animals, mainly oxen.
Now started life on the prairie. We had to make fire and maintain it besides cooking our meals. We had to take care of the new wagons and over 300 oxen. They had to be yoked and placed in front of the wagons, quite often in 15 to 20 minutes. We used to make 15-20 and often up to 30 miles a day, as we had a contract for the use of wagons and oxen for 10 weeks. We had to stay out of other companies way and detour around mountains to prevent our people from freezing as we went straight towards a cold climate.
Quite often we had to get up at 2:00, 3:00, and 4 o’clock in the morning and cook our beans for the day, or go hungry.
On this trip of 1000 miles, we never missed our prayers. We were healthy and happy. The wagonburgs were with two oval rounds, open front and back to facilitate the driving of the oxen in and out. Saw many Indians and little good water, much grass on the plains, but little in the mountains. We traveled early and late, and arrived with 52 wagons, lost 25 oxen. Sigti Johnson was captain. David Nicola drowned in the Platte river. He was from Lausanne. The telegraph was built that year, and also the last soldiers returned to the State of Utah. We traveled over Fort Laramie and Bridger without seeing a raven, but mountains. So, after a trip of 3300 hours we finally arrived in Salt Lake City on the 28th of September. Here we became our own boss and could go or do where and what we wanted. Here we had the freedom to honor God as to the dictates of our heart.
I worked for Heinrich Reiser and stayed and looked for G. Hafen’s oxen which had escaped from the enclosure and found most of them. Pres. B. Young called about 2 or 300 families to go south, among them Hafen, not me. However, Hafen wanted me to go along. He would take care of me and my fiancee ‘til there in order to grow cotton, grapes, and all kinds of tropical fruit.
On the 18th of October Maria Justet and I were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City as were other Swiss people. On the 30th of October we, Swiss left for Dixie. We traveled over Provo, Payson, Saltcreek, Beaver, Cedar City, to Washington over and through snow, sand, over stones, the armies with the Church trek, I and Maxi from Florence to St. Clara where we arrived on the 28th of November.
Today, on the 9th of December 1861, I and my wife started setting up household in Clara Fort. On Christmas Day we moved to our city lot under Br. Daniel Bonelli’s control or almost force, so he and other English brethren among us could have room. But Br. Snow made several of the Swiss people move to make room for the English speaking in our midst. He led us unwisely.
In the year 1862 we had a great flood, which tore away our already finished dam. It also took Jacob Hamblin’s fort and several homes and home furnishings, also land and a corner acre. I built me a house of willows. On the 2nd of September my wife gave birth to Dina. For 5 ½ months my wife had chills and fever every day or night. Towards the end of her illness she was swollen from head to toe and in the year 1863 she lost her fever. I believe on the 8th of January. On the next day Dina got the sickness and on the following day the suffering child died. I and Jacob Tobler buried her which grieved us greatly.
Because I had received only about 2 ½ acres of land, I had to move my family to Washington. In the spring I planted and harvested sugar cane and about 8 to 10 bushel wheat. We received our Patriarchal blessings from Br. Elmer Harris.
We were called to go to the Muddy mission in the spring of 1865 by Erastus Snow. Also Maria Emma was born on the 8th day of March ‘64. Soon after that we arrived at Muddy with one yoke oxen and 2 cows, but lost our best ox on the mesquite grounds. We traveled with Engelstatt and H. Christensen and the brethren from Muddy sent us 2 yoke oxen to help us, for the way was very bad, and 28 times we had to drive through the river washes.
I built myself a little adobe house in the first Fort. In this house Maria Emma died in the spring of 1865. And in the year ‘66, on the 12th day of April, Christian was born. And only several days prior we moved into the new Fort. Here I built me a house with two little rooms. Here also was born David Daniel on the 8th of January ‘68. Then we moved from the Fort to a city lot in the following year. Also Sarah was born on the 28th of October ‘69 before I had built my house. However, rocks, adobes, everything was right there.
For 6 years we worked on the Muddy fort under great heat. We also lost many animals because of the Indians who also gave u much trouble otherwise, also we had to fight much against the white and the black mineral. We also planted thousands of all kinds of trees but in vain. Grapes, figs, cottonwood trees were all that would grow among the 200 Indian patches. The following 4 consecutive years such ground brought about 40 bushels per acre the first harvest and in the fourth year hardly 8-10 bushels. We had a 12 mile long water table, but only little water in the summer. There was grass enough but only of poor quality. There were three villages in the lower and one in the upper valley, Bishop Lighthead (Leithead) also had a good flour mill in Overton. This village, St. Joseph, and West Point had enough water, but St. Thomas did not. And in the 1870 the Muddy or its villages were dissolved and on the 21st of January, the last brethren left Muddy, driven by tax collectors of the State of Nevada. Nothing was supposed to be destroyed that could not be moved.
Pres. B. Young gave us an honorable release from our six year mission and everyone could go where they wanted to. I had my lot full of trees and grapes. I also had bought land for over $100 during the last year and I could not move from it. We received nothing for our labor but God will reward us. We were 100 miles from St. George, 100 miles from Pahranagat, 40 miles from Catsville, 25 miles from Colorado or Junction. I stayed in St. Clara until the end of June 1871, when also Will was born on December 9th 1871 in Pine Valley, beginning with the 1st of January ‘72 I herded Ulrich Ranches sheep for 50 dollars until the end of June.
I was splitting lots with H. Schleppe until Christmas, each 1000 for 2 ½ -3 dollars. On the 1st of November I moved into Conrad Nageli’s house in Clara, worked for non or everyone, all for trade money goods. On the 20th of May (probably 1873) we again arrived in Pine Valley with2 cows and one yearling heifer. No wagon and no train, but well and healthy and in good faith with strong determination to serve God and not to work for the gentiles anymore.
On November 9, 1873 Elizabeth Jane Moosman was born in Grass Valley, Utah about 3 miles northwest of Pine Valley. The entry on the back cover of Christian’s “Wanderbuch” or passport shows her name as “Jeanne Elisabeth” born in Grass Valley by Pine Valley Washington County.” The next location we have on Christian comes from a March 1874 letter he sent from Pine Valley to his relative in Switzerland. Sometime between Christian’s writing of this letter in March 1874 and February 1875, the family moved to New Harmony, Utah. On February 19, 1875 their fourth son John Henry Moosman was born in New Harmony, Utah. On September 9, 1877 their two older sons, Christian and David Daniel were both baptized in Harmony, Utah. On April 28, 1878, Sarah was baptized in New Harmony.
When Christian’s family left New Harmony they went to Panguitch. This was probably in the latter half of 1878. While in Panguitch James Harvey their fifth son ws born on February 18, 1879. Christian and Marie apparently stayed in the Panguitch area about a year to a year and a half before they moved to Escalante.
During the move the older boys drove or trailed their three head of livestock while Marie and the smaller children rode in their ox drawn wagon which also carried all their modest earthly possessions. They traveled over a “9000 foot high mountain pass with a very poor road” before the family arrived in Escalante on “December 24, 1879.” Christian was now 44 years of age and his oldest son, Christian was 13 years and 8 months of age. But it was in Escalante that Christian and Marie basically raised their children. Here it was, that they would stay, build a home and send their children to school. Their wandering from place to place was over, but their daily struggle was still on going. A large storm struck 3 days after they arrived dropping three feet of snow. The spent the balance of that first Escalante winter in a dugout with another family. The following summer, Christian rented a farm in town. The year after that he rented a farm up the canyon next to the mountain in Main Canyon. They prospered and later purchased the place. In the meantime they built a one-room log cabin in the northwest part of town.
Christian work most of his time in the timber. Their last child, Anna Isadora was born in 1883. Christian did much genealogy work for his family. After Marie’s death in 1905, Christian moved from place to place with his children and their homesteading. He spent his last years in Manti where he was able to do much Temple work. He lived by his motto: Work while day lies, night cometh, then you can’t work!” He passed away June 8, 1930 at the home of his son Wil’s home in Escalante and was buried there by his wife.