It was the most beautiful day as we pulled into Martin's Cove.
Our family had been sick the night before and we were still a bit queasy. I think hearing stories of pioneer families stuck in the snow with little food and much sickness was just what we needed to keep our spirits raised.
While the trek West was difficult for almost everyone, two specific handcart companies (the Willie and Martin companies) had a series of unfortunate events causing them to be stuck walking when a harsh winter came. 26% of the people in these handcart companies died.
Their food was rationed to 4oz of flour per person per day.
Mostly fathers died. Fathers often gave their food to their hungry children. They physically pushed their bodies farther then they could go. This excerpt from one teenage son's story really touched me.
When Brigham Young heard there were Saints still traveling to the Valley he said, “Many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with hand-carts, … and they must be brought here. … Go and bring in those people now on the plains, and attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, … otherwise your faith will be in vain.” 11
Todd's ancestor, Thomas E. Ricks was amoung the initial rescue group.
Although my heart aches for the sacrifice of these early pioneers, I absolutely think that we need their story to inspire us today. The depth of their sacrifice carved the depth of their testimonies and sealed their families to them.
Just a few miles outside of Martin's Cove is Independence Rock. If pioneers made it to that rock before July 4, they would make it to Utah before winter.
They carved their names in the rock. It was fun to climb and fun to find names carved in.
Oh! I love history. I love to feel the depth of conviction and sacrifice that these Mormon pioneers had.
I want to be more like them.
If you have a chance, visit Martin's Cove. It is LOVELY.
These places are holy. Not because of the place, but because of the stories. Sometimes places or relics help us to know people. These people in our past actually help to shape our future.
I want my kids to all be part of the initial rescue teams! I want them to be healthy enough, strong enough, and aware enough that they are called and they are there to help.
Sometimes we all need a lift up.
Life is good when we work together.