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.

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