Vignettes from Trek

Devotional prior to breakfast
Address by President Cowdell
Song by Trek Choir:  Let Us all Press On

Thursday morning at Florence, Nebraska.
This is now also known as Winter Quarters.
It was our departing place

Eliza (Elizabeth) Simpson Bradshaw’s story  told by Lindsee Thomas
I am Eliza Bradshaw.  I was an orphan at 9 and have been left a widow twice.  I am a single mother to five children.  . I believe in God and the power of the Priesthood.  I have longed to join the saints in Zion for many years.  The trip on the ship Horizon from England to Iowa was treacherous.  My friend lost her husband and two of her children.  Sickness was everywhere.  Water and food were scarce.  Once on land, we rode in cattle cars from Boston to Iowa City. In Iowa City, I gave up most of my belongings to take my family across the plains to Zion with a handcart. I believe in God and the power of the Priesthood, which has promised I will take all five of my children to Zion.  “I am going to Zion.”
---adapted from Tell My Story, Too

Francis  & Ann Webster  told by Brock & Lexi Stuart
contributing to the Perpetual Emigration Fund and choosing to travel by handcart
Ann and I have just been married back in Liverpool 5 months ago.  We are expecting our first baby. We’ve decided to cross the plains by handcart so that others can also emigrate to Zion through the Church’s Perpetual Emigration Fund. 

Levi Savage addresses told by Denver Bradbury    
“Brethren and sisters, [what I have said I know to be true; but] seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help you all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, will suffer with you, and, if necessary, I will die with you.  May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.” ---July 1856

Other interesting excerpts from Levi Savage's journal:
Prior to this final speech, with tears of love flowing down his cheeks, he had warned the saints:  Brothers and sisters, wait until spring to make this journey.  Some of the strong may get through in case of bad weather, but the bones of the weak and old will strew the way.”  You cannot cross the mountains with a mixed company of aged people, women, and little children, so late in the season without much suffering, sickness, and death.”]

Tidbits from Levi Savage's journal… July Des Moines, Iowa  
“Just out of Des Moines, Iowa.  Mr. Charles Good a respectable gentleman from the City, who seemed very favorable to the Gospel, for no impure motive, brought a present of 15 pairs of children’s boots.” – Willie Company Journal July 31

“We started from Florence about the 8th of August…Although our carts were more heavy than they were before, everything seemed to be favorable, and we moved gaily forward full of hope and faith.  At our camp each evening could be heard songs of joy, merry peals of laughter, and witty remarks on our condition and prospects.  The only drawbacks to this part of our journey were the constant breaking down of carts and delays caused by repairing them.”

"We reached Fort Laramie about the 1st of September, but the provisions which we expected, were not there for us.  It was resolved to reduce our allowance from one pound to three quarter of a pound of flour per day, and to make every effort in our power to travel faster."

Thursday afternoon, prior to lunch
William James told by  Grant Thomas
“I am William James.  One evening as we prepared for dinner and camp, a large load of buffalo came thundering toward us.  It sounded like thunder at first, then the big black animals came straight for our carts.  The children were so scared that they were rooted to the ground.  One of the Captains jerked out some of the carts to make a path for the steady stream of animals and let them go through.  They went past us like a train roaring along.  After they had gone, somebody called out that our cattle had gone with them.  This was our only supply of meat.  I went with other men started to ride out after them.  The rest of the company made preparations for the night.  As the sun went down, a terrible storm came up.  The thunder and lightning was like nothing we had ever seen before. Soon the rain came down in torrents, and in a  matter of minutes we were all soaked to the skin.  Unfortunately, we came in from the hunt empty handed.  We all went to bed wet and cold.

Our spirits were low the next morning.  As we trudged through the mud, we sang  “for some must push and some must pull as we go marching up the hill, for merrily, merrily on we go until we reach the valley-o.”   I am humbled by this experience. ---from Maryann James’ journal, William James History

We  have received word (from trailriders and pass the word onto families) that the lunches have not arrived at Hardware Ranch.  They were in a car that was detoured.

Thursday afternoon 
WAGON RESCUE told by President  McCleary 
“We have heard of your plight.  President Young called us to come to your rescue.  It is not right that we should wait at camp while you perish here on the plains.  The Lord has granted us strength and direction to find and rescue you. There are more wagon teams coming just behind us. We hope to provide you the help and comfort you need to make it with us to Zion.  It is not far to go.”

An account of the wagon rescue by 19 year old Albert Jones
“It was at this place that Joseph A Young arrived as the leader of the relief party sent from the valleys by President Brigham Youn.  He rode a white mule down a snow covered hill.  The white mule was lost sight of on the white background of snow, and Joseph with his big blue soldier’s overcoat, its large cape and capacious skirts rising and falling with the otion of the mule, gave th appearance of a big blue winged angel flyig to our rescue.  The scene that presented itself on his arrival I shall never forget, women and men surrounded him, weeping and crying aloud; on their knees, holding to the skirts of his coat, as though afraid he would escape from their grasp and fly away.  Joseph stod in their midst drawn up to his full height and gazed upon their upturned faces, his eyes full of tears.  I, boy as I was, prayed “God bless him.”

Pioneer Games
planned by Marianne Olsen

Devotional prior to dinner

Square Dance  
provided by Hardware Ranch

Revelry by bugle player Deshaun Helm
Devotional prior to breakfast

Men are called away and leave the women

Vignettes to women prior to women’s pull

Maryann James story, 10 years old told by Emma Thomas
"One day as we were skipping alongside the carts and singing, where we were always happiest as I remember it, a group of Indians on horseback rode up and followed along with us for a while.  We didn’t know the Redman well enough to be too friendly, so we quieted down and stayed close to our parents.  One of the Indians seemed fascinated by the contraptions being pulled along by people.  Finally his curiosity got the best of him.  He leaped off his horse, ran over to one of the carts which was being pulled by a women and her daughter and gave it such a hard push that it nearly ran over them.  The women and girl screamed and got out of the shafts as fast as they could.  The Indian pushed the cart a little ways, and apparently satisfied, he jumped on his horse and rode off.  He, with some of his friends, came back later to beg food.  We gave it to them because we were told that the Indians were our brethren and that we should treat them so.  We never did have any trouble with them except that they never seemed to learn that it is stealing to take something that didn’t belong to them.”

Elizabeth Bradshaw’s story told by Lindsee Thomas
“I am Eliza Bradshaw.  I am a single mother to five children.  I have pulled my handcart 45 days now.  My children have been a wonderful help and have livened my step. I have made so many friends and feel so blessed to be with the saints who are gathering to Zion.  I have longed to emigrate to Zion for 16 years. My part is easy and my God gives me the strength to go on day by day. I believe in God and the power of the Priesthood which has promised I will take all of my children to Zion. “I am going to Zion.” “

Elizabeth Horrocks Jackson, (Martin)   told by Jaime McCleary 
"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's sake will be sanctified unto me for my good . . . I [appealed] to the Lord . . . He who had promised to be a husband to the widow, [see Isaiah 54:4-5] and a father to the fatherless. I appealed to him and he came to my aid . . .
 “One night there were not enough men with strength to raise poles and pitch 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. . . . 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 anything to protect them from the merciless storms. When I retired to bed that night, being the 27th of Oct., I had a stunning revelation. In my dream, my husband stood by me and said, Cheer up, Elizabeth, deliverance is at hand.'"
The next day the advance rescue team found us---the stranded Saints.”

another account...
Betsey Smith, 13 years old
  “After we lost our cattle, we kept sacred the Sabbath day for worship and rest, and felt better for it.
  “September came, and we were on half ration and had cold weather but we never forgot to pray, and we sang “Come, Come Ye Saints” with great zeal and fervor.
  “I will not dwell upon the hardships we endured , nor the hnger and cold, but I like to tell of the goodness of God unto us.  One day the wind blew and the clouds arose.  The thunder and lightning were appalling.  Our captain said, “Let us pray.”  And there was offered such a prayer.  He told the Lord our circumstances.  H talked to God, as one man talks to another, and as if the Lord was very near.  I felt that He was and many others felt the same.  The the storm parted to the right and to the left.””

YW Devotional with YW President Candice Marsh   
As Sisters in Zion sung by Trek Choir and YW of the Stake

Devotional to YM    with YM President Matt Reynolds and Stake Presidency
The Spirit of God sung by the YM and leaders to the YW and women during the Women's Pull

Women's Pull
Men's Pull up Rocky Ridge

an account from Levi Savage near Rocky Ridge
“We buried our dead, got up our teams, and about 4 o clock commenced ascending the Rocky Ridge.  This was a severe day.  The wind blew awful hard, and cold.  The ascent was some five miles long, and some places, steep and covered with deep snow.  We became weary, set down to rest, and some became chilled, and commenced to freeze. About 10 or 11 o clock in the night, we came to a creek that we did not like to attempt to cross without help, being full of ice and freezing cold.   I started to the camp for help.  When I arrived, few tents were pitched and men, women and children sat shivering with cold around their small fires.  It was heartrending to hear children crying for mothers, and mothers crying for children.  By the time I got them as comfortably situated as circumstances would admit, day was dawning.  I had not shut my eyes for sleep, nor lain down.  I was nearly exhausted with fatigue, and want of rest.”
Thursday October 23rd

Pioneer Meadows
Lunch and Pony Express delivery
For eighteen months starting in April, 1860, the Pony Express was the talk of the nation. The firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell turned the idea into reality and a crew of "young, skinny, wiry riders willing to risk death daily" carried it out. Each rode over 100 miles a day, changing horses every 10-15 miles. They carried the mail between St. Joseph and Sacramento, 2,000 miles in ten days, sometimes less. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph in October, 1861 signaled the end of the Pony Express.

Utah territory, which then included Nevada, contained almost half of the 2,000-mile-long Pony Express trail and some of its most difficult terrain and dangerous stretches. The company hired many LDS men and boys who fit its high standards—employees took an oath “before the great and living God to not use profanity or liquor, not to quarrel, and to be honest.” Such LDS frontiersmen as Howard Egan, “Doc” Faust, and Bolivar Roberts manned isolated Pony Express relay stations. Of the Express’s ten dozen rugged horsemen riders weighing less than 125 pounds riders--no less than two dozen were teenage or young adult Latter-day Saints, including William Frederick Fisher, Howard R. and “Ras” Egan, and George Washington Perkins. The main problems the LDS riders told about were night riding over dangerous trails, Indian attacks, bandits, slippery trails and deep snows in winter, loneliness, and fatigue. Salt Lake City’s Main Street station was four days’ ride from Sacramento, California, and six from St. Joseph, Missouri. Whenever riders brought important news from “the States,” the weekly Deseret News issued an extra, called the Pony Dispatch, to keep the Saints up-to-date. The Pony Express mail moved between Utah and “the States” a week faster than stagecoach mail.
Sweetwater Crossing told by President Tyson Welling

The crossing of the Sweetwater proved to be a terrible ordeal.  Standing shivering with cold on the river bank, they watched huge pieces of ice floating downstream.  The water was about two feet deep at the crossing and it was almost sundown.  In spite of the cheering information that this was the last river the would have to cross, it seemed impossible for them in their weakened condition to make the attempt.  Not only women and children wept,  but men shed tears freely.  Some of the strong men made several trips across to help others make it.  They camped on the bank of the Sweetwater that night.  Ahead, mountains grew steeper and roads rougher.

 We all must sacrifice and do our part, everyone according to his or her own abilities. "We all have work, let no one shirk." We all pull our own weight, plus a bit more to help others. 

Historians have shown that the Sweetwater River was 30-40 feet wide at the point of
crossing. Fording a river requires crossing it on an angle, making it easier to fight the
current as well as getting in and out at the banks – this angle makes the Sweetwater crossing 100 feet across, or 200 feet round trip.

We must always stay on the straight and narrow path and endure to the end. We work with and within the main body of Christ, striving to do better and helping each other.  In the Sweetwater crossing, everyone helped and did their part. Brigham Young stood in meeting and announced that Saints were trapped in the snows, and he asked for help. There were hundreds that responded, hundreds of rescuers – women who made food and created temporary sleeping arrangements in their homes for the incoming pioneers. There were teams of men who loaded up supplies and wagons, and even others who walked and rode into the cold mountain passes over the long snowy path, stomping it down so that it would be easier to walk on by the tired and cold feet of the Martin pioneers.

Some men prepared and set up camp across the river, getting the tents and fires going so that it would be ready, warm, and waiting. And almost everyone in that company crossed the water on their own, and did so many times over – which is the only way to ford a river and get everyone and all the wagons and supplies across. The pioneers had at least 6 wagons and the rescuers came with at least 10 more, not to mention a fourth of all the remaining handcarts. All of these were used to ferry the elderly, the children, and the frozen infirm. However, the wagons and handcarts required people on all sides pushing and helping.
 Bry Cox, More About The Three Men of the Sweetwater Rescue
 Page 7 of 8

Pioneer Games available to families  prepared by Marianne Olsen
Devotional prior to dinner
Fireside about the Martin Handcart Company
Some Must Push and Some Must Pull sung by all
Now Let us Rejoice sung by Trek choir accompanied by Dave Christensen
We Seek After These Things played and sung by Carter Walker

Testimony Meetings in wards


John Briggs  told by Grant Thomas
I am John Briggs.  I have been giving my rations to my children.  I can hold out until the rescue party arrives.  My heart aches when I see my children hungry and having to live on rations. I love my family and know the gospel is true.  Whether I live or die, I have a desire they will remember this sacrifice as a gift of love from their father who will do anything to help them along their journey.

Louisa Mellor(15) is the daughter of Mary Ann Mellor(36)
told by Denver Bradbury 
music played by Dave Christensen
I am Louisa Mellor.  I am here with my mother Mary Ann Mellor who has felt overcome with weakness and homesickness. Mother persuaded father to let her stop and rest beside the trail many hours ago.  The company could not wait for her.  I told my sister Elizabeth to take care of the rest of the family and I would stay with mother.  Now many hours have passed by.  Mother is quite discouraged.  She sat down on a rock and wept.  I had faith the Lord would help me know what to do.  I stepped a little way away from mother to pray that God would help us, that he would protect us from the wolves and let us reach camp.  As I was just going back to where Mother is sitting, I have found this apple pie in the road.  I will give it to mother to eat.  She will rest and recover.  She will be strengthened and know that Heavenly Father is aware of her and cares for her.  She will know that she can do hard things.  I am so grateful for this blessing from God.  I know mother will also be overcome with gratitude.  I know when mother feels like giving up and quitting, this apple pie will remind her of how watchful the Lord is.  She will press on and offer a prayer of gratitude instead.

Apple Pies miraculously delivered after family pull up hot mountainside

Burial of a child  displayed by Mike & Sherri Helm and Lindsee Thomas
Dave Christensen playing music in background
"My sister has lost her baby in the cold overnight.  Move on."

Bagpipes played along the trail

Welcome to Zion  address by President Cowdell

More stories may be found at Additional Pioneer Stories

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