–Photographed 2015 by David Walton
Cabin by Decker Family
As the expedition started in November, the pioneers were confident that the trek would only take about six weeks. Because of this, James and his wife, Anna, were not afraid to leave while Anna was seven months pregnant. On January 3, 1880 Anna gave birth to a baby girl in the harsh frontier weather at Fifty Mile Spring. Since the expedition was over a hundred miles away from a doctor, they had to improvise. The couple’s wagon box was lifted off of the axel and placed on the ground, providing a crude shelter from the elements. James then packed snow around the outside of the wagon box to provide even more insulation. In this dismantled wagon, and without the aid of a midwife, Anna gave birth to their third child. They named her Lena Deseret to mark the fact that she had literally been born in the desert of Deseret.
The Deckers, Zachariah, Jr., Nathaniel A., and Corneliue moved on to Colorado and Arizona. James B. remained in Bluff and became its first sheriff, a volunteer assignment.