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Forest Grove Oregon Stake Handcart Trek 2012


Source of Trail Excerpt:

Dangerfield, Mary Ann James, Autobiographical sketch, in Mormon biographical sketches collection [ca. 1900-1975], reel 4, box 4, fd. 10, item 1, 2-3.

Trail Excerpt:

We were met at Camp Iowa by Elders from Salt Lake, with tents, handcarts and provisions, we were told that all must walk that could and pull our baggage and provisions. The emigrants were divided into four companies. The company in which we traveled was the Willie Company and numbered about 500 souls. We left Camp Iowa July 15th and the first 200 miles of our journey was filled with pleasant memories. After leaving Council Bluffs, Iowa, we started on what is known as the remarkable journey recorded in the annals of history.

Early in September the first frosts of the season came and from then on our sorrows and troubles were far more than our joys. The Indians had been on the war path and we were in constant fear of them. At one time we were almost trampled to death by a herd of buffalo. Provisions became very scarce and we could be allowed but a very little each day. The Indians, drove all the cattle that had been allotted to our company, away, thus leaving us with out meat. The storms increased, and the roads became terrible. The poorly made handcarts were about to fall to pieces[.] much time was spent in fixing them, and very little progress could be made. These troubles happened daily, but the climax for mother came during the first part of October. Father and my oldest brother stopped to help bury a member of our company. Mother waited with them as she was helping to draw the cart with the heaviest load. We children went on with our load until we came to a river which we could not ford. It was snowing and blowing. Fathers strength gave out. He made every possible effort to continue, but without success. Mother was placed in an awful position. Her husband unable to go farther, and her little children far ahead starving and freezing, what could she do? Father said, “go to the children; we will get in if we can”. She hurried on with a prayer in her heart for father’s deliverance and our safty. She found us by the river and with her aid we waded through. Our clothing wet was soon covered with ice, and our shoes frozen on our feet. Camp was reached but we had no one to fix our tent, as father and brother were behind. We watched and listened for their coming, hoping and praying for the best. At last they were brought in but death had claimed our father.

Brother was finally restored. Imagine if you can, my mother only a young woman of forty-one, her husband lying dead in a frozen wilderness with seven little children starved and freezing crying for comfort which she could not give. Her feelings are better imagined than described. Her physical and mental indurance was surely nothing short of merecleous. Relief came, the next morning from Salt Lake. It was surely a God send to get some thing to eat. During the day the dead were cared for the best way they could be, and we continued our journey, leaving the bodies at the mercy of the wild animals. The rest of the journey was terrible, however we had more to eat and certainly helped us to endure the cold and the weary march. We arrived in Salt Lake Nov. 9th 1856.

Source of Trail Excerpt:

Zundle, Josephine Hartley, Biography of Josephine Hartley Zundle, 1-2. (Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.)

Trail Excerpt:

On August 25, 1856 we started on a thousand mile journey across the plains. I was ten years old at this time, and to my great sorrow, I had chills and fever, and had to have my mother pull me on the handcart, which was heavily loaded with our provisions. The deep sand, rocky roads, and fording streams made it almost impossible for mother to pull it, so we had to leave some of our things along the roadside. Mother would cook our meals and then rest for the night, and then take up the journey again.

We continued on with our journey with continued hardships, until we reached Laramie, Wyoming, about October 8, 1856. we rested here for a short time, and it was necessary for us to dispose of our prized possessions and buy corn meal, beans, and other food as our supply was gone. We were rationed to a pound of flour per day. This ration was decreased several times until all of our flour was gone. The captain was very kind to mother and gave her some of the flour sacks to scrape off with a knife for what little flour was left along with the lint. With this, she was able to make cakes and mush to help sustain life.

At this time, winter was setting in and on October 29, 1856, we traveled 10 miles through snow, and at this time had to reduce our belongs to 10 pound for adults and 5 pounds for children, sacrificing our bedding, which added to our misery and suffering. My mother's and sister's skirts were frozen stiff. They would try to dry them out in the evening by the fires, but were not very successful. My brother, Samuel's feet were frozen, and he lost one leg below the knee and always wore a peg leg after that.

On our way, we camped at a gulch called "Martin's Ravine". Here we suffered terribly with the cold. It was only with the Power of God that we survived. When we reached Devil's Gate, we met wagons from Salt Lake City with provisions and clothing waiting for us. From this time on, the journey was better and much easier.
We reached Salt Lake City with the company on November 30, 1856.

Contact: stake.trek@fgos.org