In 1962 my dad was 15 years old. His family had recently converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and were living in St. Paul, Minnesota. My grandpa was in very poor health and was out of work. He wanted to join with more people of their faith and decided to head west to Utah. The only problem was they had no money. They had nothing! With 8 children to feed and clothe they took a leap of faith.
All they had to their name was a car, their limited household belongings and their horses. When Grandpa told the kids that the horses would need to be sold they children cried and begged him not to sell their precious horses. He tried to reason with them, even suggesting that they instead would have to ride their horses to Salt Lake City. The children thought this was a great idea. And that is exactly what they did!
They loaded up their 4 wagons with their household items and what little food they had, some wheat, chickens and a milk cow. They took all the cash they had on hand, it totalled $5.00, that's five dollars, no I didn't forget any zeroes. They were, by all standards, destitute. But they did not feel poor. This was a great adventure for the family of ten, with the children aged 10 months to 15.
The trip took them 2 1/2 months, with many adventures along the way. Each of the children and my grandma remember people's kindness more than anything. All but one night along the trail they were invited to stay with people, in their homes, on their farms. They were invited to share their meals. Women came to the rescue and offered to do laundry for my grandma, or to lend their bath tubs to bathe the children. Perfect strangers were welcoming, kind and generous.
They were followed across the country by reporters and newspapers, all interested in how their trek was going. Because of that, and my grandparents journal keeping, we have a great record of their journey. What a heritage. I'm so very thankful for my family and the legacy that they are leaving for me and my children.
We were very grateful to be able to join all my extended family in commemorating 50 years of the Gulbranson Trek from Minnesota to Utah.
Deseret News June 2012
article/765588895/A-family- experiences-a-true-life- pioneer-trek-2-in-1962.html
Modern Pioneers Bog Down
The Pittsburg Press, July 3 1962
20th Century Pioneer Cracks Whip, Heads Towards West In Wagon Train
North Carolina Wilmington Morning Star, July 5 1962
Family Heading West In Four Covered Wagons
The Victoria Advocate, July 5 1962
Wagon Train Family Has Misfortunes
Lewiston Morning Tribune, July 6 1962
Even Wagons Need Breaks, Family Learns on Westward Trek
Provo Daily Herald, August 16 1962
Speedy Cars Pose Only Threat On Trek
Ogden Standard Examiner, Sept. 25 1962