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Adding salt to the wounds of hunger, cold and fatigue, the cornet became a sound the beleaguered pioneers came to despise.

“John Jaques called it a cornet. John Southwell called it a bugle. But they were united in their feelings about it. This instrument sounded many times each day, beginning at 5:00 A.M. to call the company to arise and cook breakfast. At 6:00 it sounded again to call everyone to public prayers. At 7:00 it blew to signal the time to take down tents, break camp, and start on the trail. Toward the middle of the day it blew for lunch and then again an hour or so later to resume traveling. Toward the end of the day it blew to halt and and make camp. At 8:00 it sounded again for public prayers, and at 10:00 it sounded a final time for the fires to be put out and everyone except the guards to go to bed” (Andrew D. Olsen, The Price We Paid,  298).

John Southwell, 56 after the trek, while living inAmerican Falls,Idaho, still recalled how he felt about the cornet. He wrote, “Oh, that bugle, that awful bugle. How disgusting it was to the poor, weary souls who needed rest. . . . Tired and weary as they were, some of the older people would lie down on their hard beds and almost instantly be in the land of dreams. Then that accursed bugle would blow the call for prayers. Which, I ask, did the poor souls need the more?” (John Southwell, Autobiographical Sketch, 13).

And John Jaques wrote, “The undeviating regularity of all this for so long a time grew to be wearyingly. . . monotonous. How some of the emigrants did long for the time to come when they could be freed from the odious and relentless tyranny of those unfailing cornet calls, and be left to enjoy a little rest and quiet! . . .

“Each cornet call was some well-known air or tune. How hateful those tunes did become! I verily believe. . . that eventually they were abhorrent to every ear in camp. It was a shame to use good and innocent tunes in that way and render them forever after repulsive. . . . There are different ways of murdering music. Those unfortunate tunes are hateful to this day” (Salt Lake Daily Herald, 12 Jan. 1879, 1).

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