Here are a couple of pictures from our trek. More to come. If y0u would like to have some of your favorite photos added to the Trek DVD, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
- The ticks are very bad this year and you do not want to bring theme home with you, so please consider the following (Repel Permanone, repellent for your clothing; a separate black bag to put your dirty clothes in before our return home, and a fresh change of clothes and a fresh pillow case, also for the ride home)
- For adult leaders, there is a new garment that wicks away moisture and prevents chaffing, available at the Distribution Center
- There are some muddy spots on the trail for which you will need your water/river crossing shoes. Flip flops will not d0 and may be lost in the mud.
- Please remember the small nylons to wear under your regular stockings to prevent blisters
- Make sure to bring any prescription medicines, including any inhalers if you have asthma
- Remember to bring gloves for pushing and pulling handcarts!
- Remember now to start drinking lots of fluids, even before the trip. Staying hydrated will be super important and we will not have any I.V.'s!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Pioneer Trek Individual Equipment List (Please take note of Trek Agenda below)
All of your gear for the trek will be packed in one of two places: in your 5-gallon bucket or in a large, black, heavy-duty garbage sack. The bucket will contain your personal items and the garbage sack will contain your sleeping items. The total weight of the bucket (excluding the bucket itself) must not exceed 17 pounds. Please put your name on a piece of masking tape and tape it to your black garbage sack. Your name should also be on your bucket. NO electronic devices allowed other than cameras.
On Tuesday, August 3 at 7:00 pm, we will be loading all of the buckets, bags and other gear at the church. Please also bring a PRE-FROZEN tinfoil dinner in a plastic bag with your name and your assigned family name. You' will cook this dinner with your assigned families on the second night.
On the morning of departure you need to carry on a sack lunch (and breakfast, if you don't eat it before coming) and a water bottle. You will be carrying and refilling this water bottle throughout the trek.
Things to pack in your BUCKET
[ ] 1 rain poncho
[ ] 1 pair of trek shoes (not new, you'll get blisters)
[ ] 1 pair of shoes to cross the river (flip flops, water shoes, barefoot)
[ ] 3 pairs of socks
[ ] 3 pairs of inner socks (fewer blisters with two layers of socks; nylon works well)
[ ] 2 sets of underclothing
[ ] Bandanas/neck coolers (supplied by Sister Whitfield!)
[ ] Toothbrush and toothpaste
[ ] Modest sleeping attire
[ ] Deodorant
[ ] Bowl, plate, cup, utensils [or mess kit] (no plastic or paper)
[ ] Comb or brush
[ ] 5 bandaids and prescribed medications only
[ ] 1 old set of scriptures and your favorite church magazine
[ ] 2 extra, black, heavy-duty garbage sacks
[ ] Chapstick, sunscreen, and insect repellent (insect repellent needs to work for ticks)
[ ] Moleskin for potential blisters
[ ] Flashlight
[ ] day pack
MEN should bring
[ ] 2 pairs of canvas or cotton pants (not Levis/denim)
[ ] 2 long-sleeved shirts
[ ] 1 wide-brimmed western style hat (no baseball or army hats allowed)
[ ] 1 pair suspenders (optional)
[ ] Personal journal/pen
WOMEN should bring
[ ] 2 mid-calf length, long-sleeved dresses, skirts or jumpers with long sleeve shirts
[ ] 1 or 2 bonnets
[ ] 1 pair bloomers (can be made out of old pajama bottoms or hospital pants)
[ ] 1 apron
[ ] Feminine hygiene supplies
[ ] Personal journal/pen
Optional Items (everyone)
[ ] Camera
[ ] A pocket knife
[ ] Harmonica or other small musical instrument (does not include iPods or similar items)
[ ] Spray bottle to stay cool (no squirt guns)
[ ] Small package of hand wipes
[ ] Work gloves (these will be nice for pushing/pulling the handcarts)
Things to pack in a large, black GARBAGE SACK
[ ] 1 warm sleeping bag
[ ] 1 thin pillow
[ ] 1 blanket
[ ] 1 jacket
[ ] 1 thin foam pad (optional)
For Ma’s and Pa’s
[ ] 1 5-gallon drinking cooler (one per cart)
[ ] Enough tents for your group (we will do and inventory of total tents and divide up
YM/YW and leaders)
[ ] 1-2 lanterns
Rexburg 15th Ward Trek
Tuesday, August 3 7:00 pm, bring supplies (bucket, gear bag, tin foil dinner, to Church)
Wednesday, August 4
5:00 am – meet at chapel
6:00 am – depart for Martin’s Cove
· Bishop Sampson welcome
· Opening Prayer
· Devotional (family 1)
12:00 noon – own sack lunch on bus
1:00 pm – arrive at Martin’s Cove
2:00 pm – Trek Center Orientation
3:00 pm – Trekkers depart for Camp Jackson
4:00 pm – men’s callout, woman’s pull
7:00 pm – Devotional/Dinner
8:00 pm – square dancing
9:30 pm – family scriptures, prayers, journal writing
10:00 pm – lights out
Thursday, August 5
11:00 am – river crossing
11:45 am – Avery Babcock baptism
12:15 noon – lunch HC parking
1:00 pm – cove talk, Bishop Sampson
1:30 pm – Silent walk
4:00 pm – Vans to take trekkers back to camp
6:00 pm – Devotional/Dinner
8:00 pm – Ephraim Hanks story
9:30 – solo time, journals
10:00 pm – lights out
Friday, August 6
9:00 am –bus to Martin’s Cove
9:30 am – Fort Seminoe
10:30 am – Martin’s Cove Visitor Center
12:00 noon – Drive to 6th Crossing
1:00 pm – 6th Crossing and walk (1-3 mile) to Meadow (lunch) and presentation
4:00 pm – Drive to Rock Creek Hollow, set up camp
6:00 pm – Devotional/Dinner and pioneer express
8:00 pm – pioneer stories (Rock Creek Hollow Grave Site)
9:00 pm – Readers Theater, Amphitheater
10:00 pm – lights out
Saturday, August 7
7:00 am – amphitheater – devotional/testimony meeting
10:30 am – break camp
12:00 noon – Devotional/Lunch
7:00 pm – arrive home
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Elizabeth Robinson Telford, A Handcart Pioneer of 1856 who came to Utah with the MartinThandcart Company when she was twenty years old, was born May 17th., 1836, in the little Manor town of Beauvale, Nottinghamshire, England. She was the daughter of Samuel and Mary Price Robinson.
They left their home In Beauvale on the 20th of May 1856 for Liverpool, where they joined other Saints and set sail on Sunday May 25th. on the ship "Horizon" for Boston, Massachusetts, where they landed on July 3rd. after a voyage of forty days on the ocean.
During the voyage the returning Latter-day Saint missionaries held meetings on board which were attended by the Saints and some of the officers and sailors of the ship. Apostle Franklin D. Richards, the retiring President of the European Mission, promised the emigrants, during one of their meetings that they should have no storms during the voyage, and not spar should be broken. One sailor who heard his sermon, said: "I know that is a lie for I have crossed the ocean thirteen times, and never yet without plenty of storms and some part of the ship broken." But the prophecy proved true nevertheless.
From Boston the emigrants went by rail to Chicago where they spent the night in an old barn. Continuing their journey on the following day to Iowa City, which was the western terminus of the Rock Island Railroad, and the outfitting point for the handcart companies, where they arrived about the 8th of July. The final stop was at the Iowa Camp ground on Iowa Hill three and one-half miles north of the city, where they remained for three weeks waiting for their handcarts to be made for them, as the carts for the Willie's Company, which preceded them were not yet finished.
On the 28th of July, the Martin's Handcart Company began their journey westward from Iowa City to the Salt Lake Valley. They traveled across Iowa, walking 400 miles to Omaha, Nebraska on the Missouri River. And started from Omaha in September to walk 1,031 miles to Salt Lake City over the trackless stretch of prairie, high mountains and desert now known as the Old Mormon Trail.
This was the biggest company, with the fewest wagons, the most infirm and the least provisions of any company crossing the plains, and also the most women and children.
This added to the late start and the severe winter weather was responsible for the unprecedented hardships endured by this company which was described by historians as one of the saddest in the history of the West. They were cheerful, however, this courageous, heroic band of emigrants, and true to the spirit of all our noble Pioneers.
During this tragic journey the winter storms came over a month earlier than usual, and were more severe, and to add to the misery of cold and hunger they had to wade all the streams and rivers. At the last crossing of the Platte River on October 19th. it was snowing and bitter cold. The river was full of blocks of ice and the water was deep. It came up under Elizabeth's arms as she waded across. Many were dying from hunger and cold. At this crossing eleven were buried in one grave. Their clothes were frozen on them every night.
Elizabeth was forced to leave most of her clothing and personal belongings at the outfitting point, as they were allowed to bring only fourteen pounds each, including clothes, bedding and provisions, etc. On the plains, as they grew weaker, they were forced to discard even a part of that, so in the coldest weather they were nearly naked, and the provisions gave out so that they were reduced from one pound of flour per day to just two spoonfuls, one in the morning and another in the evening which they made into gruel, as they had no other food. No salt nor pepper, no meat or vegetables or anything else to eat. They got only one buffalo on the plains, and didn't even see a rabbit.
The suffering of this company was beyond words to express, and those who didn't die were so weak and ill that they were near death.
As winter advanced and President Young learned of the suffering of the Handcart Companies, he sent relief trains to meet them. Sixteen wagons with provisions were sent out from Salt Lake City. They met the Willie's Handcart Company on October 20th and seventeen men and nine teams pushed on to meet the Martin Handcart Company, and Hunt Wagon Companies.
Joseph A Young and two others, Dan Jones and Abe Garr, were sent on ahead to announce their approach to the emigrants. They found the Martin's Company near the Sweet Water on October 29th, in a most deplorable condition. They had lost fifty-six by death since leaving the Platte River nine days before. Most of their bedding had been abandoned on the road as they were too weak to haul it. The Company was strung out three or four miles along the trail. There were old men pulling and tugging at their carts, many of which were loaded with sick wives and children. There were also little children from six to eight years of age who were struggling through the snow and the mud.
Two days later, on the first of November, the emigrants with the assistance of the relief party, reached Devil's Gate in the Sweet Water Valley. Here they were forced to leave many of their belonging under the care of Dan Jones of the relief party and fifteen others. Several days later they made the last crossing of the Sweet Water. The crossing of this river was a terrible ordeal to the weary travelers. It was intensely cold. The river was wide and the ice was three or four inches thick, and the stream full of sharp cakes of ice which bruised them severely as they struggled through the water. The river was deep and about forty yards across and many were unable to wade.
Three men of the rescue party, David P. Kimball, George W. Grant and C. Allen Huntington waded back and forth for hours helping the handcarts through and carrying the women and children. One of the men offered to carry Elizabeth across, but she said she would wade the river if he would carry her brother Solomon, as he was so ill that she knew he would die in the water. She started to wade across the river but another man came and insisted on carrying her over, which was very fortunate as she was not strong enough for such an ordeal.
Soon after this crossing, probably during that night her brother Solomon died. His death occurred on November 5th. and he was buried three miles north of South Pass. After Solomon's death, Elizabeth allowed one of the young women to take the boots off his feet and wear them as her shoes were in holes. Elizabeth was also wearing a pair of her brother’s boots as her feet were so badly swollen that she couldn't wear her shoes. And after his death, she also wore his coat, and one of his handkerchiefs tied on her head as the wind had blown her hat away.
As they grew weaker and were forced to throw away apart of their load, Elizabeth discarded clothes, bedding and provisions, but kept their books. Among these were her Church works, a Barclay's dictionary and the books belonging to her brother who was a surveyor.
While traveling along the Sweet Water and after the emigrants reached the mountains they were met by other relief trains from Utah. But they still didn't have teams enough to allow all the weary travelers to ride, so tried to give them all a turn, but Elizabeth walked over a thousand miles without riding a single step. She was suffering so much fatigue that she felt like it was impossible to go any farther and it was only the thought of her parents in faraway England, and their grief when they received the message that she as well as her brother had died of hunger and cold on the plains that made it possible for her to continue on. Otherwise she would have laid down in the snow and died.
Finally, with her feet frozen so badly that she could no longer keep up with the company in her exhausted condition, she started out one morning far in advance of the others to avoid being left behind. But they soon caught up with her and continued to pass her. She was too proud, as well as too shy to ask for a ride. Although she had never a turn she plodded resolutely on while the entire company passed her, one by one all the relief wagons, except one driver had gone on ahead. Elizabeth was steadily loosing ground and the wolves were grimly drawing closer. In desperation, as she neared the foot of the hill and watched the last relief wagon pass by, she got the courage to call to the driver, Anson Call of the relief party, and asked him to give her a ride. He said his team was too weary to take her up the hill but she could ride when he reached the summit. He was very much surprised that she hadn't been given a ride sooner. She managed only by a supreme effort to reach the top of the hill. Then Mr. Call had to carry her and put her in the wagon, and that night she had to be carried to the campfire and have her boots cut from her frozen feet.
During that afternoon while Elizabeth was riding along the trail with Mr. Call she spent the time mending his coat, which was badly tattered. Welcoming the opportunity of repaying him for the ride he was giving her. When they reached the camp that night it was impossible for Elizabeth to get out of the wagon, or to take a step so she was carried to the campfire where boots were cut off, and her feet wrapped in gunny sacks. Her feet were so black from the continued freezing that it was feared they must be amputated to the knees. But she would not consent to this, as did quite a number of her unfortunate companions, but her recovery was due only to her great faith and persistent care that she received. Even under those adverse conditions her feet were carefully bathed in warm water every night and morning.
It was Jesse Perkins of South Bountiful, a member of the relief party, who carried Elizabeth back and forth from the wagon to the camp fire every day for the remainder of the journey to the Salt Lake Valley, as it was impossible for her to walk any more until after she reached Utah.
Elizabeth with other emigrants of the Martin Handcart Company, arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday November 30th, 1856, just as the Sabbath meeting was out.
When she saw that cheerful, happy throng of pioneers, so clean and neatly dressed and compared them with her own Country people in their pitiful tattered clothing, hungry, bedraggled and frost bitten, she could no longer restrain her tears, the first she had shed on that long tragic pilgrimage across the plains, where she had faced danger and death and every privation. And where she had left her brother buried in the snow. The only relative she had in this new land and the only member of that company that she had ever known before leaving her native land.
Elizabeth, after her arrival in the valley, lived at the home of Anson Call in Bountiful, until she was married the next March. She was married in the Salt Lake Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah on the 13th of March, 1857 to John Telford of Bountiful, Utah. He was a pioneer of 1851.
They resided in Bountiful for many years where they built a good brick house on their small farm in East Bountiful.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I was born November 17, 1843, in Bath, Somersetshire, England, and was the youngest son of Joseph Oborn and Maria Stradling of Wellington, England. My father's family belonged to the Plymouth Brethren Church, but joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the year 1843. Our family soon afterward received the spirit of gathering with the Saints in the valleys of Utah. [p.364] In the year 1856 all of our possessions were sold for cash and this money turned over to the Church Emigration Fund. Father, mother and I said goodbye to Sister Eliza and Brother Henry and other relatives and friends and took a last farewell look about the old home, realizing we would never again see that always-to-be-remembered "Home, Sweet Home." We had now cast our lot with the Saints of God and were on our way westward, little realizing and never fearing the terrible hardships between us and the valleys of Utah.
We traveled by train to Geverfod, where we met other Saints and on Sunday, the 4th of May, 1856, set sail in the good ship Thornton under the command of Captain Collins. It was a sailing vessel with very few conveniences. There was one cook stove for each deck and our family was allowed to use it for an hour each week. The ship's diet was largely bean biscuit soaked overnight. This would still be dry in the center in the morning. But we were happy and after a voyage of forty-one days we landed in New York, Saturday Evening, June 4, 1856. Our journey from New York to Iowa was by train and boat. . . . In Iowa we were assigned to travel with a handcart company under command of James G. Willie. Our one hundred was under the supervision of Millen Atwood. We left Iowa City, July 15, 1856. The train consisted of one hundred twenty handcarts, six wagons, and six hundred souls. We arrived at Florence August 11th and a week later, after repairs to our handcarts, we started. It was very apparent that the handcarts were poorly constructed We left Florence, following closely along the Missouri river, going about 10 miles a day. Father would usually pull and mother and I would push. At the end of the day's journey we would pull our carts into a circle, a meeting would be held and instructions given. I was but a boy of 13 years, but I never shall forget the testimony and the wonderful spirit of sincerity and loyalty of all members of our company.
Our guides kept us pretty well supplied with buffalo meat, which at that time was plentiful. There were thousands. On August 29 we encountered a tribe of Indians. They were friendly to us and told us of a murder that had been committed by another tribe of Indians a few days previous to this in which a lady and her child were the victims. Our train passed the scene of the murder and we buried the remains.
We passed through Fort Laramie on September 30, where a few supplies were bought. We soon began to realize that we had started our journey too late in the year. There were no more buffalo to be found, and our rations were getting low. We were reaching the foothills near Rock Springs. We had already had some snow and the weather conditions looked unfavorable. Our scant rations had reached the point where the amount ordinarily consumed for one meal now had to suffice for a full day. From here on it is beyond my power of description to write. God only can understand and realize the torture and privation, exposure, and starvation we went through. Now word reached us that we must hasten or winter would soon come upon us. Instead of speeding up, the weakened condition of our older members slowed us down.
Each day one or more would die. A few more days, and then came the most terrible experience of my life. This was October 20th. Winter had come, snow fell continuously. Movement in any direction was [p.365] practically stopped. Our scant rations were now gone. Then or twelve of our members, faithful to the last were buried in a single grave. Starvation was taking its toll. A day or two later my own father closed his eyes, never to wake again. He, too, had given his life cheerfully for the cause that he espoused. We buried him in a lonely grave, its spot unmarked. This was not far from Green River, Wyoming. During these terrible times it seemed only a matter of days before all would parish.
We resorted to eating anything that could be chewed; even bark and leaves of trees. We youngsters ate the rawhide from our boots. This seemed to sustain life. Then when it seemed all would be lost, already 66 of our members dead, like a thunderbolt out of the clear sky, God answered our prayers. A rescue party, bringing food a supplies from Great Salt Lake City, sent by President Brigham Young, came in sight. Those of you who have never had this experience cannot realize its intensity. I shoveled snow out of our tent with a tin plate belonging to my mother's mother. We were cared for by a dear brother who was very kind to us. He seemed like an angel from heaven. We left our handcarts and rode in his wagon and slowly, but safely, he brought us to Zion. We passed through Fort Bridger on November 2, and arrived in Great Salt Lake City, November 9, 1856. . . . [p.366]
Saturday, June 12, 2010
About twenty of us went to Bear Gulch for the first "Trek Training Hike." And even though the weather was just a little wet, everyone there had a great time. Brother and Sister Greenwood were pretty happy to see so many there too. They are now a little less worried about us 15th Ward Trekkers being prepared for what will be a challenging time out at Martin's Cove.
Even though the circumstances will be a little more difficult (like pulling a handcart in hot weather) on the actual Trek, it was great to see everyone hike five miles without any problems. And the best part about it was enjoying each other on the trail. We didn't exactly sing pioneer songs...but it was fun to realize how many of us know all the words to the songs from Disney movies! And hey, the Primary song doesn't say what the pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked.
The more I think about being out on the actual Pioneer Trek on August 4-7, the more excited I am to be with everyone I love so much, honoring our heritage, doing a pretty hard thing, and helping each other along the way.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Please meet at the Bear Gulch Parking Lot at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 5.
Come prepared to hike with good hiking shoes/boots, some water, and a sack lunch.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
"On the 5th of May 1856, we sailed on the great ocean which took us a little over 6 weeks to cross. I was very sick on the way and could not eat such food as they had on "seafare" which consisted of what they called sea biscuits and salt pork and salt beef, also brown sugar and vinegar and very little other food.
"I got very feeble living principally on sugar and vinegar for 3 weeks. (It was reported that when he arrived in New York, he was so weak through the hardships of the voyage that he could not walk without assistance).
"I was very glad when we arrived at Castle Gardens, New York, where we could get a piece of bread once more. We rested here for a few days then we pursued our journey by railroad and steamboats, changing from one to the other until we arrived at Iowa camping ground where we had to lay over 3 or 4 weeks waiting for our outfits.
"The Church had a herd of cattle there which was at the time a general fitting out place. While laying over we had to herd those cattle night and day. There were lots of us to change off if all would have taken a part, but it was a very rainy country and some would not take their part, especially in the night time. I can well remember those who had charge used to come to us and say, "Will you go and herd again tonight as we cannot get anyone else to go."
"My father and I and my brotherin-law, James Hurren have gone 3 or 4 nights out of a week in the pouring rain, wet through from head to foot and in the water part of the time up to our knees, anything to help get fitted out and started on the road.
"Eventually we got our outfits of 4 wagons with ox team, loaded with flour which was calculated to take us to Salt Lake City making calculations for 60 days and one pound of flour for each grown person per day and half that for all children under 12 years of age. Beside that, we had one wagon with 4 mules loaded with bacon and groceries for the trip and one saddle pony belonging to an elder returning home which was used for hunting camp grounds, and the rest were handcarts about 120 of them.
"As a general rule, one handcart to each family and in some cases, two young men and two young women per handcart. Those with handcarts were loaded with their baggage and children that were unable to walk. The company comprised of about 500 people.
"In this way we traveled to what was called Florence, this side of the Missouri River. We were again detained, waiting for some Independence emigrants who wanted to travel with us as it was very dangerous to cross the Plains in those times one thousand miles of wild Indian country.
"There was one outfit belonging to A.W. Babbit and consisting, I think, of about 5 men, 1 woman, and 1 child about 3 or 4 years old, concluded to start 2 or 3 days before we were ready. I think we left this place about the 20th of Sept with an addition to our outfit of about 30 head of cows, some to give milk, other to kill for beef.
"Our company came to where the Babbit Company had camped the the Indians having killed them all and burned their wagons, nothing being left only the irons and the bodies half buried. This looked very discouraging to us but we traveled on looking back for nothing. We were surrounded by Indians on two or three occasions, but we got out by giving them some flour and tobacco which some of our company had with them.
"When we got out about 300 miles on the road, our cattle stampeded, most all of our best oxen leaving, which left us in a bad state to move on any father. We stayed there for several days hunting as far as we dared to go to find some of our cattle, but could not find any, believing the Indians must have driven them away.
"Some of the flour was taken out of the wagons and put on the handcarts according to the strength of the party drawing them. Some had one (sack), others had two or three. And if my memory serves me right, Brother Hurren, being considered the strongest man the company had, had five sacks put on his cart besides two small girls that were not able to walk and all his baggage and cooking utensils. His wife, my sister Eliza, helped in pulling the cart and walked the entire trail.
"We made up with the few cattle we had left, - one yoke of cattle and one cow to each wagon, and on account of weak teams and handcarts loaded too heavy, we traveled only a few miles each day. Our provisions were going fast while we were making but little headway. Our rations had had to be cut down half and some (people) were sick with bowel and other sickness.
"My father, David Reeder, would start out in the morning and pull his cart until he would drop on the road. He did this day after day until he did not rise early October 7, 1856. He was found dead in his bed and his fellow bed mate had not heard anything all during the night.
"Sister Eliza wrapped a cherished sheet around him and we placed him in a shallow grave, hoping wolves would not disturb. We must be on our way in silent mourning and in a weakened condition.
"Our rations were growing shorter and we reduced them by common consent from day to day. Nights were getting colder and some would sit down by the roadside and die.
"My younger sister, Caroline, 17 years old, after traveling all day and seeing the camp being made for the night, took her apron to tie some sage brush in to bring into camp. She sat down to rest, leaning on her bundle, exhausted. They found her chilled and dying and carried her to camp. She died that night, not gaining consciousness.
"She died the evening of 15 October, 1856. She too, was placed in an unmarked grave near Three Crossings, Sweetwater. Her death was another real loss to us but we must hurry on in threatening weather and colder nights on the Windriver Pass. I think fully 100 died on this trip.
"On Oct 17, we awoke covered with 8 inches of snow and rations about gone. We pulled our carts 16 miles in the blinding snowstorm and arrived at Rock Creek where we sheltered against the hill as best we could to avoid the north wind and blowing snow. Weakened to such an extent and without food, 13 died that night. All the able-bodied men dug one large grave, but not too deep.
"My brother-in-law, James Hurren, held his 8-year old girl, Mary, to see her little playmate lying among the dead. They were laid in the clothes they wore, in a circle with feet to the center and heads out. We covered them with willows and then earth and slid rocks down the hill to keep the wolves from disturbing them.
"Two of the men who helped dig the graves, died that night and were buried near by. We could go no further. The weather was severe and we had not a morsel of food in camp. We had heard that assistance was on the road and we still had hope.
"We had one pony and one mule that were not entirely exhausted and two of the men took these animals and started out to find some relief, which they did after going to Pacific Springs. The relief party had laid over there because of the storm, not knowing the dire distress which the handcart company was in at that time. When they heard the report, they left part of the wagons, doubled up teams and came to us as quickly as possible.
They reached us after we had been in camp 48 hours. They dared not give us food for fear of killing us all, which would most likely have done. For food we had been using rawhide. I myself sat by the campfire with Brother Hurren and scraped and singed the hair off a piece of hide, some that had been taken from discarded handcarts. It was hard but we would boil and soften them and cut them up in small pieces and put in our pockets to chew on the road the next day. It helped to keep life in us.
"Through snow and wind we mostly walked behind the relief wagons about 300 miles to Salt Lake City and arrived on Public Square November 9, 1856. We stopped for about 2 hours and many of the church officials came and talked with us. Then we were given over to the bishops of the different wards. Each bishop took a few, some they saw got some kind of pay for their keep during the winter.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
(From Ann's Autobiography)
I was left a widow with 7 children under 12 years of age and the step children of William's first marriage. I was very grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the comfort it gave me. I knew that our parting was only temporary and that viewed from the eternities, this was but a fleeting moment. I also knew that no matter how fleeting a moment it was, I had to make the best of it. I had a very real job to do. The children had to be fed and clothed, but the big task and the one I must accomplish, is to get us all to Zion. I must be among the people of my faith and I must get the Temple work done for us.
There came a time, when there seemed to be no food at all. Some of the men left to hunt buffalo. Night was coming and there was no food for the evening meal. I asked God's help as I always did. I got on my knees, remembering two hard sea biscuits that were still in my trunk. They had been left over from the sea voyage, they were not large, and were so hard, they couldn't be broken. Surely, that was not enough to feed 8 people, but 5 loaves and 2 fishes were not enough to feed 5000 people either, but through a miracle, Jesus had done it. So with God's help, nothing is impossible. I found the biscuits and put them in a Dutch oven and covered them with water and asked for God's blessing, then I put the lid on the pan and set it on the coals. When I took off the lid a little later, I found the pan Filled with food. I kneeled with my family and thanked God for his goodness. That night my family had sufficient.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The only son born to Samuel and Amy was born in Ohio on Independence Day. His parents felt that in addition to carrying his father’s name, he should have an additional name suggestive of this great event in American history. Accordingly, he was named Samuel Washington Orme.
Shortly after Samuel’s birth, the family returned to England to assist Grandfather John Orme, who was in his declining years and wished his son to return. The family moved to Coalville where young Samuel remembered his father taking him and his younger sister by the hand and going a short distance to see the first train go through Coalville. Samuel, Sr. was a bookkeeper for the Midland Railway Company.
When Samuel W. was 9 years old his father died. Samuel W. became an apprentice to a blacksmith for the next 7 years and also worked in the nearby coal mine. He was an excellent penman and learned somewhat of his father’s trade, but did not become a bookkeeper. He finally earned enough money at his blacksmith’s trade that he supported his mother and sisters comfortably.
Before Samuel Orme, Sr. died, he reminded his wife about his strong impressions of the preachers back in Ohio. He had studied the Bible, pondered about it, and knew it was true. He told his wife that she must join this church whenever she heard about it. He said, "When you hear the first sermon, you will feel as I feel, that it is true. A strange spirit will come over you, and you shall feel as if the truth of it is burning into your very soul." Only a few months after Samuel’s death, Amy heard of two brothers, John and James Burrow, who were preaching a "strange" doctrine in nearby Whitwick. She took her children to go and hear them and at the close of the meeting she was ready for baptism. She said, "Why, I feel as if my very soul is on fire. I know it is true, although I don’t know where these men got their truths. Yet I know it is the same as my husband heard in America years ago." Amy and her children who were over 8 years of age were baptized at this time. Samuel was active in church work, becoming a local Elder as well as a clerk of that branch. They began to save money to emigrate to be with the other Saints in Utah.
They boarded the ship Horizon in Liverpool with a large company of other Saints bound for Zion under the direction of Edward Martin, a returning missionary. Martin’s handcart company was organized in Iowa City, Iowa. It was the 5th and last handcart company of the year. The Hodgett and Hunt Wagon Companies were following closely along, and assisting as much as possible. However, because of their delayed start and early winter storms in Wyoming, they all suffered together from hunger and cold.
As flour rations were cut, and then cut again before the rescuers came from Salt Lake City, the Orme family was down to four ounces per day per person. Samuel’s courageous mother saw her son quickly weakening. She proposed to her girls that they each cut their own rations even further in order to feed Samuel more. They all agreed to make this sacrifice and it saved Samuel’s life. His sisters and mother also survived, although Rebecca had to have several toes amputated.
Samuel had left his sweetheart, Sarah Cross, in England. She emigrated the next year and she and Samuel were married. They soon moved to Tooele where Samuel became prominent in the community, serving in many positions in the church and community, including mayor of Tooele two terms without pay. He was an earnest advocate for better schools and did much work as a trustee. Samuel died in 1889 at the age of 57.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Do you have ancestors from the Martin, Willie, Hunt, or Hodgett companies? If so, please let brother Davis know and he will add their stories to our blog. You are also welcome to post your own stories, photos, or histories.
Friday, May 21, 2010
1. Nick Dickey, 716-8095
2. Steve Whitfield, 356-8205
3. Alyn and Gloria Andrus, 356-6052
And of course, remember to check your own basements, sheds, and garages.
James and Amy Loader came to America in 1855. James had worked in England as foreman and head gardener for a wealthy gentleman by the name of Sir Henry Lambert. Patience and her eight sisters and four brothers were all born here on this estate where James had worked for 35 years. Somewhere around 185O, the Loaders were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. James was fired from his job as a consequence. In November 1855, they left for America on the "John J. Boyd" with at least six of their unmarried children, including Patience. Their oldest daughter, Ann (Dalling), had already emigrated with her husband and was awaiting their arrival in Utah.
Patience recorded a rather precarious and interesting experience she had upon her departure from England: "After my parents and my sister and I got all our baggage on board the ship, we found that it would not sail until the next day, so I decided to go back to stay at my married sister's house that night. The next afternoon I went back to the ship and found it ready to depart. The men were just taking away the last plank. There were all my folks standing on deck watching anxiously for me and shouting at the top of their voices, 'For Lord's sake bring our girl on the ship and don't leave her behind.' There was just one plank to walk on from the dock to the ship and father and mother were afraid I should fall off into the water.
"The sailors said, 'Miss, do you think you can walk the plank?' I told them I thought I could, but they thought I might get dizzy and fall off so they were very kind. One man went on the plank before me and took my hand, the second man came behind me on the plank and took my left hand. They said if I slipped they would save me from going into the water . . . There was great anxiety among them when they saw me walking the plank with the sailors, and there was great rejoicing when I was safe on the vessel with them."
The Loader family first went to Williamsburg, New York, where they all worked for a time. Even their daughter, Sarah, who was not yet twelve, worked as a nursemaid in the home of a wealthy family by the name of Sawyer. They left in June of 1856 and traveled to Iowa where they joined with their daughter, Zilpah, her husband, John Jacques, and their one-year-old daughter, Flora. Zilpah was expecting another baby, which was born on the plains in August. This new baby, Alpha, survived as (eventually) the longest-lived member of the Martin Company, but little Flora did not survive the trek. She died about a week before reaching the Valley.
One family record indicates two sons coming to America, but only ten-year-old Robert is listed with the Company. Robert died on the plains. James also died, fairly early in the trek, leaving his wife and daughters to finish the trek alone. The rest of them survived the trek, experiencing many miracles amid their tribulation. James had been faithful and courageous in defending his new faith. One of his greatest wishes was to see his daughter, Ann, in Zion. Surely the Lord granted James this blessing of witnessing his entire family in Zion.
Patience was blessed with a mother who was a very strong woman. She protected, sustained and cheered her children as well as others without complaining, and manifested great faith in God. She put on all the extra clothing she could carry under her own, so when the children needed dry clothing, she always had it, including dry stockings for them after fording streams. As the weather became colder and provisions shorter, they were given four ounces of flour a day for each person. Instead of the usual gruel, Mother Loader made hers into little biscuits and would have them through the day, thus having a bite or two for the children when they were tired and faint.
One day, a man lying by the roadside, when asked to get up, said he could not, but if he had a mouth full of bread he could, so Amy gave him some food and he got up and went on. In Salt Lake some time later, this man stopped Amy and thanked her for saving his life.
After one exceptionally cold night, Amy (whose health was also very fragile), could not get her daughters to arise. She finally said, "Come girls, this will not do. I believe I will have to dance to you and try to make you feel better." Amy struggled to her feet, hair falling about her face as she filled the air with song. Louder and louder she sang, her wasted frame swaying as finally she danced, waving her skirts back and forth. The girls laughed, momentarily forgot their frozen toes and snow-covered blankets, as their mother danced and sang and twirled until she stepped on an ic,v patch and fell in a heap to the ground. Then, Patience wrote, ". . . in a moment we was all up to help our dear Mother up for we was afraid she was hurt. She laughed and said, 'I thought I could soon make you all jump up if I danced to you'. Then we found that she fell down purposely for she knew we would all get up to see if she was hurt. She said that she was afraid her girls was going to give out and get discouraged and she said that would never do to give up."
Patience had a sister, Tamar (22), who was very much grieved when she left England because she had been unable to convert her sweetheart and he remained. One night, while on the plains, after much grieving, she had a dream. The next morning she told her mother that she had dreamed that her sweetheart came and stood beside her and he seemed so real. But he was not alone. Another man was with him . . . In the dream the sweetheart finally faded away but the other man remained. When Tamar first saw Thomas E. Ricks in the rescue party, she took her mother by the arm and said, 'Mother, that's the man." She did marry Thomas Ricks (after whom Ricks college was named).
Patience also had spiritual experiences on her trek. She relates that one day as she was pulling the handcart through the deep snow, a strange man appeared to her: "He came and looked in my face. He said, 'Are you Patience?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'I thought it was you. Travel on, there is help for you. You will come to a good place. There is plenty.' With this he was gone. He disappeared. I looked but never saw where he went. This seemed very strange to me. I took this as someone sent to encourage us and give us strength." (The Loader family was met by rescuers at camp that night.)
Patience also wrote: 'We did not get but very little meat as the bone had been picked the night before and we did not have only the half of a small biscuit as we only was having four oz. of flour a day. This we divided into portions so we could have a small piece three times a day. This we eat with thankful hearts and we always as[k] God to bless to our use and that it would strengthen our bodies day by day so that we could perform our duties. And I can testify that our heavenly Father heard and answered our prayers and we was blessed with health and strength day by day to endure the severe trials we had to pass through on that terrible journey before we got to Salt Lake City. We know that if God had not been with us that our strength would have failed us . . . I can say we put our trust in God and he heard and answered our prayers and brought us through to the valleys.”
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Amy Britwell Loader gave birth to four sons and nine daughters at the estate of Sir Henry Lambert in England, where her husband, James, had worked as foreman and head gardener for 35 years. When the family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, James was fired from his job as a consequence.
James and Amy brought six of their living children to Zion with them in the Martin Handcart Company. Another married daughter also traveled with this company and gave birth to her second child on the plains. Recorded dreams and heavenly visions sustained and comforted this family, but Amy’s great strength and cheerfulness, manifested again and again over the 1,300 miles, also brought them through, especially when James and one of the grandchildren died.
As the weather became colder and provisions as scarce as 4 ounces of flour per day, Amy made these scant rations into little biscuits to eat throughout the day, thus having a bite or two for the children when they were tired and faint. One day, a man lying by the roadside, when asked to get up, said he could not, but if he had a mouth full of bread he could. As her 10-year-old son, Robert, watched, Amy gave the man some food and he got up and went on. In Salt Lake some time later, this man stopped Amy and thanked her for saving his life.
Amy’s descendants wrote of her, "Amy Britwell Loader protected, sustained and cheered her children and others without complaining and manifested great faith in God.... She endured [the journey] bravely, although it made her a sorrowing widow. She has lived a life of usefulness to the present time, yet still a widow, for she could never believe there was a man left in the world equal to her husband."
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Edward was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, November 18, 1818. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England and emigrated to the United States. He was one of the Saints called upon to defend his country as a member of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War. Later he was sent on a mission back to England, and returning from there, he became Captain of the ill-fated Fifth Handcart Company of 1856.
The Fifth Handcart Company actually left Iowa City as two companies. Edward Martin was the Captain of one and Jesse Haven was the Captain of the other. They traveled separately until they reached Florence, Nebraska, where Elder Haven joined the Hodgett Wagon Company, and the two handcart companies combined under Elder Martin.
Captain Martin also brought a wife back with him from England, Eliza Salmon. Their first baby, George, was born August 12, 1856, in Iowa City, Iowa, while waiting for the handcart journey to begin. Edward and Eliza eventually had ten children. Two of Edward's other wives died and Eliza also raised their children.
As the handcart company sought the shelter of the northern mountains in a ravine later to be named Martin's Cove, they had many difficulties. It was a struggle for all of them to keep from freezing to death. Icy winds blew over a number of tents and many of the immigrants died.
One afternoon, Captain Martin, together with two or three other men, set out from the camp at Devil's Gate, when they were surprised by a snowstorm and they lost their way. After wandering about for several hours, the men came near perishing and endeavored to make a fire to warm themselves. They gathered some cedar twigs and struck match after match to light them, but in vain. At length, with their last match and the aid of portions of their clothing, they succeeded in starting a fire. This was seen from the handcart camp, from which, after all their anxious and weary wanderings, they were only about a half-mile distant. Help soon came to the wanderers and the rescuers carried Captain Martin, who was nearly exhausted, back to camp.
There were many deaths in the camp. John Bond, a 12-year-old boy in Martin's company recorded some experiences that give us a small idea of what leadership meant for Edward Martin: ". . . [Some died] lying side by side with hands entwined. In other cases, they were found as if they had just offered a fervent prayer and their spirit had taken flight while in the act . . . Some died sitting by the fire; some were singing hymns or eating crusts of bread . . . Captain Martin stood over the grave of the departed ones with shotgun in hand, firing at intervals to keep the crows and buzzards away from hovering around in mid air."
Peter McBride, a young boy in the Martin Company, later paid tribute to Captain Martin in the narrative he wrote of their trek: "We had to burn buffalo chips for wood, not a tree in sight, no wood to be found anywhere. Just dry earth and rivers. We children and old folks would start early so we wouldn't be too far behind at night. A great many handcarts broke down, oxen strayed away, which made traveling rather slow. Quite an undertaking to get nearly one thousand persons who had never had any camping experience to travel, eat, and cook over campfires. It took much patience for the captain to get them used to settling down at night and to get started in the morning."
John Bond also recorded a time when a sister whose husband was near death and whose two sons were suffering with frozen feet, appealed to Captain Martin, 'Do you think that the relief party will come soon with food, clothing and shoes?" Bond recalls that Captain Martin gave this suffering pioneer woman encouragement by answering, 'Y almost wish God would close my eyes to the enormity of the sickness, hunger and death among the Saints. Yes, Sister Sermon, I am as confident as I live that the President (Brigham Young) will and has dispatched the relief valley boys to us and I believe that they are making all the haste they can, that they are bringing flour, clothing, shoes, etc."
A day or two later, this sister, with faith in Captain Martin's words, was looking into the west. All at once she sprang to her feet and screamed at the top of her voice, "I see them coming! I see them coming! Surely they are angels from heaven."
Edward Martin lived in Salt Lake City and died there at the age of 64, on August 8, 1882. His youngest child was just eight years old. Eliza lived as a widow for 30 more years.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Levi Savage Jr. (March 23, 1820 – December 13, 1910) is a prominent figure in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the second of fifteen children born in Greenfield, Huron County, Ohio to Levi Savage Sr. and Polly Haynes. He grew up in southern Michigan as a farm boy, exposed to some degree of schooling. During his lifetime, he was a teamster, soldier, teacher, pioneer, and missionary to India and Burma. He spent the remaining years of his life as a farmer in southern Utah. Levi kept a detailed journal starting 6 October 1852 to 16 March 1903.
In the early 1840s his father and mother joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) generally called the Mormon Church. The family moved from Michigan to Nauvoo, Illinois and later migrated as Mormon pioneers to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847. During the move from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah, Levi Jr. enlisted in the U.S Army as a part of the Mormon Battalion. Levi's enlistment commenced in July 1846 in Company D of the battalion. The battalion marched 1,400 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California. Levi's family was a part of the 18 June 1847 Abraham O. Smoot/George B. Wallace wagon train company. Levi's mother, Polly Haynes Savage, died on the trek to Utah. Levi learned of his mother's death after he finished his enlistment with the Mormon Battalion. Levi arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah via San Diego on 16 October 1847, three weeks after the family. Levi married Jane Mathers 23 January 1848. Jane had crossed the plains as the cook for Levi's parents. Levi and Jane had their first and only child Levi Mathers Savage on 11 January 1851. Jane died 29 December 1851 leaving Levi Jr. to raise their infant.
In October 1852, Levi Jr. was called on a Mormon mission to the Far East country of Siam. Levi Jr. left his 21 month old son with his sister Hannah Maria Savage Eldridge while he served a four year mission in the Far East.
Levi left for Siam 21 October 1852 by traveling through Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California and then by boat to San Francisco, California. On 30 January 1853 Levi left San Francisco headed for Siam. After the boat left, Levi was struck with small pox but survived the outbreak. Levi arrived in Calcutta, India 25 April 1853 and then went on to Rangoon, Burma. Siam was experiencing a civil war so Levi never reached Siam. Levi served 2 1/2 years in the Far East mission and started home for Utah on 12 October 1855. He traveled from Calcutta, India to Boston, Massachusetts by going around the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Levi arrived in Boston 28 February 1856 and went on to Ohio and Michigan to visit family. From his journal Levi writes on 19 June 1856, “I have circled the globe.”
On 10 July 1856 Levi was in Iowa City, Iowa and joined the ill-fated Willie handcart company that was planning to travel to Salt Lake City. Levi was one of the “sub captains” of the group. On 13 August 1856 Levi is quoted as telling the group that going so late in the season was dangerous. According to a narrative of this fatal journey given by John Chislett, when Elder Savage was overruled he said, “What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, and if necessary, will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.” Over one-fifth of the group died from freezing and starvation before the group arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah on 9 November 1856.
Levi arrived in Salt Lake City after four years. Brother Savage kept an excellent journal of the trek and you can read it by clicking here.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
While at sea (or in Boston), Sarah's sister, Elizabeth, died. The family arrived in America and traveled to Iowa City, Iowa. They had to wait there nearly a month for their handcarts to be finished. they then joined with the Martin Company.
They traveled several weeks and on August 4, 1856, a baby girl, Sarah Ann, was born on the plains in Nebraska. A short time later on August 26, 1856, Sarah Ellen's mother, Betsy, died. Two weeks later on September 11, 1856, the new baby, Sarah Ann, also died.
After this sad tragedy, Sarah's father became discouraged, left his three little girls with the company, returned to New York, and later went back to England. The Saints cared for the little girls as well as they could. They all suffered greatly from food shortages and the lack of warm clothing. Sarah Ellen's oldest sister, Betsy, froze to death. This left Sarah and her sister, Mary, to continue walking on to the Salt Lake Valley. They arrived on November 30, 1856.
They were met by a group of Saints who took them in and cared for them. Later, they found a home with the Hatfield family in Farmington, Utah. They remained there until Sarah married Thomas W. Beckstead when she was 15. Sarah and Thomas had 10 children, four of whom died as infants.
Sarah devoted her life to her children, her husband, and her church. In 1887, the Beckstead family moved to Idaho. Sarah read in the paper where her father was advertising for his family. Sarah Ellen sent to England for him to come and join her family. Sarah's father accepted her invitation and Sarah cared for her father until his death.
Sarah Ellen lived a good life helping the sick and needy. Surely, she learned to trust in God and be forgiving. She lived to be 92.
When 14 years old I left England to come to Utah for the Gospel's sake. That was on May 22, 1856.
One day while on the ship, I was in the cooking room getting our dinner. It was so crowded there was hardly standing room. All were cooking their meal. One man was boiling soup in a milk pan. When he took the soup from the stove, he lifted it over my head in order to carry it through the crowd. While doing so, someone knocked against him, and it fell out of his hand on my back. My father stood outside waiting for me to come with the dinner. I ran out to him and said, "I am burned." He said, "Come downstairs and lets get some oil". So we ran down and got one of the Mormon elders to administer to me. My pain had gone, and I never felt any more of it. Some of the soup went on the hands of the man who spilled it on me. He put his hands in a bucket of cold water and wasn't administered to. He not being a convert, he wouldn't hear of having the elders pray for him. His hands were blistered and didn't get well for two weeks.
We had been five weeks on the sea when we landed in Boston. We were very glad to walk on land agin. We left Boston for Iowa and were eight days on the train. When we arrived in Iowa, we had three miles to walk to the camp grounds. It rained all the way, and we were soaking wet when we reached camp that night at twelve o'clock.
We had to stay on the camp grounds five weeks waiting for the handcarts to be made. When everything was ready we started. Traveling through Ohio and Council Bluffs (Nebraska), we had to cross the Missouri River which was about a mile from Florence. At that time so many of our company took sick that we had to camp at Florence for two weeks. Then we started on a journey of thirteen hundred miles across the plains. The people began to get sick and died from drinking muddy water. We had to drink pools of rain water most of the time. While traveling, one of the wagons split and let flour out. The Indians who were nearly starved to death came along behind picking it up and eating it, dirt and all.
One day while we were camped an Indian came to me and asked me to give him my shawl which I had on my shoulders. I told him it was all I had to keep me from freezing to death. He turned and walked away.
The soldiers came and guarded us past Chimney Rock. They stayed with us until we reached Fort Bridger. There they stopped and we had to go on alone. When we got on one side of Devils Gate, we had to rest about a week, and our cattle died. We roasted the feet and the hides. Then we ate them.
Joseph Young came on a donkey to meet us. He told us to come on about three miles further. Then we would meet the Mormons who were coming to meet us with wagons of provisions. They could only carry a small amount because the snow was so deep, and they had to carry grain for their horses.
We started that morning and traveled all day. We got to the Mormon camp about five o'clock. The next morning we started with the Mormons and camped at South Pass that night. After pitching our tents we lay down on the ground to get some sleep and rest. In the night the tents all blew over. It was all ice and snow where I was laying, and when the tents blew off I didn't wake up I was so tired. One man came and looked at me. He called some more men over saying, "I wonder if she is dead?" He patted me on the head and just then I opened my eyes. He jumped back. I tried to raise my head but found that my hair was frozen to the ground. They chopped the ice all around my hair, and I got up and went over to the fire and melted the large pieces of ice that were clinging to my hair. The men laughed to think that I could lie there all night with my hair frozen in the ice, but were very glad that I wasn't dead. This same night the handcarts all blew away, and some of us had to walk until we met some other wagons.
Mrs. Unthanks got her feet frozen and had to have them taken off, but when we met more wagons we could all ride. There were four men in our tent, and all of them died, father dying first. ...
We reached Salt Lake City the last of November, 1856. We were waiting on the streets for people to ask us home with them.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
From Elizabeth Horrocks pioneer journal.
“I have a desire to leave a record of those scenes and events, through which I have passed, that my children, down to my latest posterity may read what their ancestors were willing to suffer, and did suffer, patiently for the Gospel's sake. And I wish them to understand, too, that what I now write is the history of hundreds of others, both men, women and children, who have passed through many like scenes for a similar cause, at the same time we did. I also desire them to know that it was in obedience of an eternal reward- an exaltation to eternal life in His kingdom- that we suffered these things. I hope, too, that it will inspire my posterity with fortitude to stand firm and faithful to the truth, and be willing to suffer, and sacrifice all things they may be required to pass through for the Kingdom of God's sake.”
The ship that carried the family across the Atlantic landed in Boston on June 30, 1856. After a short stay in Boston, they moved on to Iowa City where they prepared for their journey across the plains in handcarts they built. They were part of the Handcart company captained by Edward Martin. After a long, dreary and toilsome journey the company reached Fort Laramie on the 8th of October. In Elizabeth’s writings we read:
“Our provisions by this time had become very scant, and many of the company went to the Fort and sold their watches and other articles of jewelry. With the proceeds they purchased corn meal, flour, beans, bacon, etc. Hitherto, although a ration of a pound of flour had been served out daily to each person, it was found insufficient to satisfy the cravings of hunger… Shortly after leaving Fort Laramie it became necessary to shorten our rations that they might hold out, and the company be not reduced to starvation. The reduction was repeated several times. First, the pound of flour was reduced to 3/4 s of a pound, then to a half of a pound, and afterward to still less per day. However we pushed ahead. The trip was full of adventures, hair breadth escapes, exposure to attacks from Indians, wolves and other wild beasts. When we reached the Black Hills, we had a rough experience. The roads were rocky, broken and difficult to travel. Frequently carts were broken down and much delay was caused by the needed repairs.”
After leaving Laramie and before reaching the Platte river, Elizabeth’s husband, Aaron was afflicted with mountain fever. He was able to eat more than his rations, but he had no energy. While crossing the Platte he only made it to a sandbar in the middle of the river where he sank down through weakness and exhaustion. Elizabeth’s sister Mary Horrocks Leavitt waded through the water and assisted him the rest of the way. The river was exceedingly cold and while some men carried some of the women on their backs, many women tied up their skirts and waded through like the heroines that they were!
After crossing the river and tremendous storm of snow, hail and wind hit the handcart party adding to their suffering. It was necessary to lighten the loads of the handcarts as well as the wagons carrying the supplies, so a great deal of the bedding and clothing had to be destroyed. Elizabeth tells about the worst night of her life:
“About the 25th of October, I think it was - I cannot remember the exact date - we reached camp about sundown. My husband had for several days been much worse. He was still sinking, and his condition now became more serious. As soon as possible after reaching camp, I prepared a little of such scant articles of food as we then had. He tried to eat but failed. He had not the strength to swallow. I put him to bed as quickly as I could. He seemed to rest easy and fell asleep. Bout nine o'clock I retired. Bedding had become very scarce, so I did not disrobe. I slept until, as it appeared to me, about midnight. I was extremely cold. The weather was bitter. I listened to hear if my husband breathed- he lay so still. I could not hear him. I became alarmed. I put my hand on his body, when to my horror I discovered that my worst fears were confirmed. My husband was dead. He was cold and stiff-rigid in the arms of death. It was a bitter freezing night and the elements had sealed up his mortal frame. I called for help to the other inmates of the tent. They could render me no aid; and there was no alternative but to remain alone by the side of the corpse till morning. The night was enveloped in almost Egyptian darkness. There was nothing with which to produce a light or kindle a fire. Of course I could not sleep. I could only watch, wait, and pray for the dawn. But oh, how those weary hours drew their tedious length along. When daylight came, some of the male part of the company prepared the body for burial. And oh, such a burial and funeral service. They did not remove his clothing- he had but little. They wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a pile with thirteen others who had died, and then covered him up in the snow. The ground was frozen so hard that they could not dig a grave. He was left there to sleep in peace until the trump of the Lord shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall awake and come forth in the morning of the first resurrection. We shall then again unite our hearts and lives, and eternity will furnish us with life forever more.
“I will not attempt to describe my feelings at finding myself thus left a widow with three children, under such excruciating circumstances. I cannot do it. But I believe the Recording Angel has inscribed in the archives above, and that my sufferings for the Gospel' sake will be sanctified unto me for my good. I could therefore appeal to the Lord alone; fatherless. I appealed to Him and He came to my aid.
“A few days after the death of my husband, the male members of the company had become reduced in number by death; and those who remained were so weak and emaciated by sickness, that on reaching the camping place at night, there were not sufficient men with strength enough to raise the poles and pitch the tents. The result was that we camped out with nothing but the vault of Heaven for a roof, and the stars for companions. The snow lay several inches deep upon the ground. The night was bitterly cold. I sat down on a rock with one child in my lap and one on each side of me. In that condition I remained until morning.
“It will be readily perceived that under such adverse circumstances I had become despondent. I was six or seven thousand miles from my native land, in a wild, rocky, mountain country, in a destitute condition, the ground covered with snow, the waters covered with ice, and I with three fatherless children with scarcely nothing to protect them from the merciless storms. When I retired to bed that night, being the 27th of October, I had a stunning revelation. In my dream, my husband stood by me and said, 'Cheer up, Elizabeth, deliverance is at hand'. The dream was fulfilled.”
On the 28th of October Joseph Young, Daniel Jones and Abel Garr galloped in camp. Those three men were from the relief company sent by Brigham Young from Salt Lake. The camp welcomed them with tears and cheers as they brought word of provisions and clothing waiting for them at Devil’s Gate. After reaching Devil’s Gate the company decided to leave most of the freight there for the winter. The company decided to continue onto Salt Lake. Elizabeth writes:
“It was several days after that - I do not remember the exact date - that we made the last crossing of the Sweetwater. In speaking of that memorable event, Elder John Jaques says: "It was a severe operation to many of the company. It was the last ford the company waded over. The water was not less that two feet deep, perhaps a little more in the deepest parts, but it was intensely cold. The ice was three or four inches thick and the bottom of the river muddy and sandy. The stream seemed to be about forty yards wide. Before the crossing was completed, the shades of evening were closing around, and this, as everyone knows, is the coldest hour of the twenty-four, especially at a frosty time. When the handcarts arrived at the bank of the river one poor fellow who was greatly worn down with travel exclaimed: 'Oh dear, I can't go through that!' His heart sank within him and he burst into tears. But his heroic wife came to his aid, and in a sympathetic tone said, 'Don't cry, Jimmie, I'll pull the handcart for you.' In crossing the river the shins and limbs of the waders came in contact with sharp cakes of ice which inflicted wounds on them which did not heal until long after they arrived in this valley. And some of them are alive, some of them bear the marks of them to this day.
“After this crossing we camped for several days in a deep gulch called Martin's Ravine. It was a fearful time and place. It was so cold that some of the company came near freezing to death. The sufferings of the people were fearful, and nothing but the power of a merciful God kept them from perishing. The storms continued unabated for some days. Said I. K. Hank in speaking of it: 'The storms during the three days were simply awful. In all my travels in the Rocky Mountains, just before and afterwards, I have seen nothing like it - nothing worse.' When the snow at length ceased falling, it lay thick on the ground, and so deep that for many days it was impossible to move the wagons through. I and my children with hundreds of others were locked up in those fearful weather-bound mountains.
The emigrants with the Martin Handcart company finally reached Salt Lake City on Sunday, November 30, 1856. Elizabeth and her children moved to Ogden and stayed with her brother until they were rested and recuperated. Elizabeth married William Kingsford and became a prominent business woman. Elizabeth concludes her writings with these words of faith, courage and gratitude:
“…the Lord has blessed me, and rewarded me with abundance of this world's good, for all my sufferings, and has also blessed me with the highest blessings of a spiritual nature that can be conferred upon man or woman, in His Holy Temple, in mortality. I have a happy home for which I thank my Father in Heaven.”