[Camilla Eyring was born in 1894, in Colonia Juarez, Mexico. She was the daughter of Edward C. Eyring and Caroline C. Romney. In her later life, she would marry Spencer W. Kimball. She spent her childhood in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico. In 1912, when she was seventeen, the hostilities relating to the Mexican revolution caused Camilla and her family to flee Mexico. The following are excerpts from Camilla's autobiography:]
In July 1912 Salazar demanded that the colonists give up their arms. They were unwilling to leave their families wholly unprotected, so the stake president, my uncle Junius Romney, decided that the women and children should move temporarily to the United States for safety.
That summer we had raised lots of blackberries. On Saturday Mother, with our help canned one hundred quarts of berries. That evening Father came home with word that our guns were to be delivered up to the rebels at the bandstand on Sunday and that the stake leaders had decided we should leave for El Paso immediately. He took up the porch floor and we stored the newly bottled berries underneath, thinking we would soon return to reclaim them. We hid valuables in all the unlikely places we could thing of.
We were allowed to take just one trunk of clothes for Father's family of thirteen. I wanted so much to put in my doll and some other treasures, but there was no room. I had always been a great collector and had kept all my school papers, letters, toys -- everything I had ever owned; now I had to leave them all, never to see them again.
In the morning Father drove us to Pearson in the white-topped buggy. This railroad station was about eight miles from Juarez. There were dozens of buggies and wagons and crowds of refugees waiting for the train to carry us to the safety of the United States. Grandmother Eyring had been robbed of forty dollars that morning by a rebel who invaded her house and demanded her money. A troop of rebels on horseback with guns and bayonets was drawn up in formation at the train station. As one old lady walked by, a soldier hooked his rifle through her handbag and took possession of it. She dared not protest, but went on to the train. A drunken man rode his horse at my sister Isabel, just three, and nearly trampled her, laughing at her fright.
When the last wagon had unloaded on the depot platform at Pearson, several hundred women, children, and elderly persons, assisted by a few able-bodied men, were ready to take the train for El Paso. At Dublan more people crowded on, making about one thousand refugees packed onto one train. Our family was in a third-class car with long, hard benches running lengthwise of the cars and children and baggage piled on top of one another. Buggies and wagons were left standing empty at the station. When passenger cars filled up, boxcars and even a few cattle cars were attached. Some cars were so crowded that even standing room was a premium. We all suffered intensely as the delayed train finally moved off in the stifling July heat.
The trip to the border at El Paso was only about 150 miles, but the train went at a snail's pace and stopped every few miles. We were in terror all the time lest the rebels waylay us. We traveled all day and all night. Finally, just a dawn was breaking, we crawled slowly across the Rio Grande and were greeted by the sight of the Stars and Stripes. A great shout went up from all the refugees. . . . After a harrowing experience we felt safe once more.
The kind people of El Paso met us at the depot and took us in automobiles (only the second time I'd ridden in one) out to a big lumberyard, where they improvised shelter for the refugees. Hundreds had already arrived before us and hundreds were yet to come. They put us into a huge corral with dust a foot deep, flies swarming, noisy, stinking, and crowded with a mass of humanity. It was enough to make the stoutest heart sink. Those in charge tried to arrange a stall for each family, and we piled in for the night, hanging up blankets in an attempt at a little privacy. During that night five babies were born in these rude shelters.
We felt humiliated as newspaper photographers and reporters recorded our pitiful dependence and as the curious townspeople gawked and pointed at us, as they would animals in a zoo.
Mother had a little money, so the next day she scurried around to find us lodgings that were a little more private. She was expecting her ninth child in a few months. She finally took one room in a small hotel for the fourteen of us. . . . There was just room to spread quilts all over the floor, and we managed to be one deep at least until we were asleep. Some of us slept under Grandma's bed. In this room we ate our meals as well as slept. In the morning I took the children out to play in the fresh air.
We expected Father would come out of Mexico at any time to get us, so we stayed there about a week. We then moved to a tenement way down on Talles Street near the Rio Grande. There we had two rooms and at least some fresh air and a place to get outdoors. Families in six or eight apartments shared one kitchen, so the women took turns cooking for the crowd. The government sent men around every morning with daily rations. They brought white baker's bread, puffed wheat and rice, milk, and canned salmon.
[Soon the men also fled from Mexico and Camilla's father joined their family in El Paso. He tried several times to return to the colonies, to ship out some of his cattle, but ended up abandoning virtually everything. Finally, Camilla's parents decided to send Camilla to live in Provo, Utah with her uncle Carl Eyring. In 1914, she finally rejoined her family again, who had settled in Thatcher, Arizona. During that summer, Camilla met for the first time Spencer W. Kimball. He was working at a dairy in Globe, Arizona and attended a dance at Thatcher. They were introduced after the dance was over. A month later, Spencer left for his mission to Europe.]
(From Camilla Eyring Kimball autobiography, quoted in "Camilla" by Miner and Kimball, p. 28-35)