Monday, June 29, 2015

Martin Handcart Pioneer: Mary Ashton, 5

Mary Ashton turned five on the trek.  She traveled with her parents, two older sisters and a younger sister.  Their family was struck with tragedy as they were preparing to disembark from the Ship Horizon in Boston.  Mary's younger sister, Elizabeth passed away and her body left in Boston.  After they left Iowa City with their handcart all had to work hard as Mary's mother was pregnant.  She would deliver the baby close to Winter's Quarters, and pass away as a result.  This left her father, two older sisters and the new baby sister.  The baby, without her mother lived a couple of weeks before passing away.  Thr hardships for Mary were just beginning.  When the handcart company passed Fort Laramie, her father enlisted in the army, leaving the three girls in the care of others.  Betsy would have been the primary source of comfort.  She was eleven.  However even Betsy would not survive.  She froze her feet at the last crossing, and passed away between Red Buttes and Martin's Cove.  This left Mary and her older sister, Sarah Ellen, who was seven, to care for each other.  They would suffer because of the cold, and were taken by others.  After arriving in Salt Lake City Mary's was a difficult childhood.  She was expected to work hard for her keep.  She would marry young, an older handcart pioneer, Isaac Wardle, as his second wife.  She would bear a son, but die in childbirth.  From that some comes a large posterity who honor Mary for her sacrifice.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Martin Handcart Pioneer, William Ashton, 34

William Ashton immigrated with his four daughters and joined the Martin Handcart Company.  His wife was pregnant as the began the journey.  On daughter had previously passed away in infancy.  Betsy, 11, Sarah Anne, 7, Mary 4, and Elizabeth Ann traveled with them.  Tragedy would strike this family before they would leave the Ship Horizon.  Elizabeth passed away as the boat lay in harbor, and the passengers were being inspected for admission into the United States.  There was measles on board and this is likely the cause of her death.  William had only about four hours after her death, until they had to make the next leg of their journey via train towards Iowa City. 
The new baby would come close to Winter Quarters, just after they had restarted their journey after outfitting at Florence, Nebraska.  However, Williams wife would die in childbirth.  The new baby, also a girl, Sarah Ann would only survive a couple of weeks, and then be buried close to the burial site for members of the Babbitt party who had been massacred by Indians a week before. 
William Ashton appears to have become very distraught as a result.  When offered the opportunity to join the Army at Fort Laramie, he would take this chance.  This also gave him the opportunity to provide some provisions for his surviving daughters with his signing bonus.  His three girls, Betsy, Sarah Ellen and Mary would be in the care of others. 
William served his five years in the infantry, marching to California and up and down that state a couple times.  He was discharged at Benicia just before the Civil War.  He did not go to Utah to check on his girls.  He apparently had heard bad news about the handcart trek and assumed they had passed away.  However Mary and Sarah Ellen did survive.  It wouldn’t be until he was an old man, and after having returned to England, that he would seek out his daughters.  At this time Sarah Ellen was the only surviving child.  They would pay for his transport by boat and train to Salt Lake City.  He would pass away and be buried in Whitney, Idaho. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Handcart Pioneers: Langley Allgood Bailey, 18 John Bailey, 15

Langley was the oldest son of John and Jane Allgood Bailey.  He crossed the ocean aboard the ship Horizon and traveled by train to Iowa City.  They had to walk to the outfitting site the first night, and were hit by a severe storm and soaked through.  They did not arrive into camp until after dark, where they had to stand in a tent in their wet clothes until morning.  They had gotten separated from their parents and were found the next morning.  While in Iowa Langley learned to swim.  While treading water, a brother tried to walk to him, and almost drowned had Langley not pulled him out.  While traveling across Iowa, Langley took sick and had to be pulled by his brother John and Isaac Wardle.  He received a blessing from the apostle Franklin Richards in Florence, Nebraska and was promised he would make it to Salt Lake.  A local doctor advised he not travel further, but the family continued on.  At one point Langley became discouraged, feeling he was a burden to others.  He tried to get away and hide so he could just pass away.  However his mother came looking for him.  A voice told Langley to reveal himself, so he did so.  After a gentle rebuke from his mother, and a reminder of his blessing, he returned to the company.  Langley continued to ride in the handcart, and after the rescue was able to ride in a wagon.  Upon arriving at Salt Lake he was lifted up in the wagon and later said, "It was like the Israelite of old in beholding the promised land."  Because of his illness, Langley weighed only 60 pounds upon arriving in Salt Lake.  He would recover and settle in Nephi, Utah and have 17 children.

During the handcart trek John Bailey was almost inseparable from his older brother, and in turn from Isaac Wardle who were all from the Whitwick Branch of the Church in England.  They also pulled the handcart together when Langley become ill.  Then he and Isaac Wardle pulled his brother.  John was soaked with Langley when he was caught in the  rain the first attempt they had at foot travel, walking form the rail depot to the outfitting location in Iowa City.  Langley promised to share his food with his brother and Isaac, because it was going through him like a "funnel."  John would settle in Moroni, Utah where he was active in politics.  He would raise a large family.

Mormon Handcart Pioneer: Sarah Ellen Ashton, 7

Sarah traveled with the Martin Handcart Company.  Before they started the handcart portion of the trek, her youngest sister had passed on succumbing to measles.  This was while they were in Boston harbor.  The family would have only a few hours to say goodbye before having to board the train to continue their journey.  Tragedy would strike the family again.  While close to Florence, Nebraska, Sarah's mother, Sarah Ann passed away in child birth.  Her young baby sister would follow a couple weeks later.  Perhaps being overcome with grief, or perhaps out of mercy for his three surviving girls, Sarah's father joined the infantry at Fort Laramie.  (The signing bonus would provide some food for his girls.)  His last surviving girls were not free from hardship.  Sarah's older sister Betsy. 11, would freeze her feet at the last crossing of the Platte and would pass away shortly after.  This left Sarah, and her younger sister, Mary, 5, to journey on in the care of others.  They would make it to Salt Lake where they would be taken in by several different families, often for the labor they could perform.  Sarah Ellen married Thomas W. Beckstead and settled first in South Jordan, Utah and then Thatcher, Idaho.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Isaac's Handcart History in Brief

This is for Manteca Pioneer Trek and they what some short excerpts;

Isaac Wardle
Isaac Wardle turned 20 on the ship Horizon, the year he crossed the plains.  He had been working since the age of seven, and was muscular from working in the coal mines.  He was with the Martin Handcart Company.  Being a young man, he was often called upon to perform extra duties.  Initially this included guarding, and staking the tent.  Langley Bailey, who was part of his handcart team, became ill and Isaac and Langley’s brother pulled him on the cart most of the way.  
Isaac did not have shoes.  I don’t know if he was too poor to purchase shoes, or if his shoes wore out from the walking I don’t know.  However, he left bloody footprints on the trial.  He found a pair of shoes left by the trail.  Even though they were a bit small, these shoes protected his feet the remainder of the journey.
As the journey progressed, unfortunately Isaac’s duties included grave digging.   The gravediggers saw so much death they became hardened to it.  
At one time he himself gave out and would not have had someone not helped him get back on his feet.  When the company reached martin’s cove, he was asked to chop down three trees for the fire.  He refused at first, saying he was given out and was just going to die.  However, the Valley Boys eventually prevailed on him, and he gathered the fire wood, warming himself in the attempt. 

Isaac was one of the those who continued to pull the handcart after they left Martin’s Cove.  It wasn’t until after South Pass that he was able to abandon the cart and ride in a wagon.   He indicates that upon arriving in Salt Lake they were taken in by others “Where they could rest their weary bones.”