Sunday, July 17, 2011

Somewhere There's A Mountain - A Pioneer Day Tribute

With grateful and loving memory of Sarah Goode Marshall (35), Lavina (12), Selena (10), Tryphena (8), Louisa (6), George (4) and Sarah Ann (2), and Sarah's sister Mariah Goode.  Sarah, a widow with six small children, had a deep desire to "Come to Zion" to be with the Saints.  She worked two years making kid gloves and as a ladies maid to afford the journey from England to America, and to purchase a handcart and the necessary supplies to join the handcart company.  Sarah and her young family were members of the first Handcart Company, led by Captain Edmund Ellsworth.   Lavina, the eldest and only 12 years of age, helped her mother pull the handcart.  Selena, age 10 was in charge of making sure the children were dressed and fed for the day, and to watch over them.  Selena shared her meager food rations with her younger siblings to encourage them along, and she prayed that she "would not feel the pangs of hunger" so she would be able to do so.   Tryphena (8), frightened the group when she became seperated from the company after falling asleep along the trail.  She found her way back, following the lights of the campfires.  Selena, Tryphena, Louisa (6), and George (4) walked barefooted all or most of the 1400 mile journey.  Sarah (2) was the only one  allowed to ride in the handcart.   

As the journey neared its end, the company camped, making repairs to the handcarts, and waiting for the 2nd handcart company to join before entering the Salt Lake Valley together midst a great celebration that was planned.  It was easier for Sarah and the children to start out earlier as the heat of the day made traveling much more difficult.  After receiving permission to leave the company for an earlier start, Sarah dressed the children in their best in preparation for entering the Valley.  When they tried to put their shoes on, they found they would no longer fit.  They pulled their handcart, and were on the crest of a hill when they saw riders in the distance shouting and waving their hats.  The frightened children huddled around their mother, crying.  They all were afraid these men might be Indians.  As the riders got closer, they realized they were frightening the little band of travelers.  They quieted their shouting and rode up to the small family.  They told Sarah they were scouts sent by Brigham Young to bring back news of the whereabouts of the company.  A couple of the riders picked up the smaller children and put them on their horses to ride back to Salt Lake with their report, while the other riders rode on to the main body of the Handcart Company. 

They took the children to a place that may have been a Relief Society building.  One of the women was holding Louisa on her lap, and was sobbing as she saw the skin hanging from her little arms as the sunlight shone through the window.  Another of the children, saw some tomatoes ripening on the window sill.  They were the most beautiful thing the children had ever seen.  The women, noticing their interest, asked if the child would like one, and of course they nodded yes.  One of the ladies encouraged the children to take a bite, "It's good!"  However, to the children, the tomato was far better to look at than to eat.

The rest of the Handcart Company came in with great pomp and circumstance, a band and parade and "the first to enter" were heralded and undoubtedly greeted by Brother Brigham and other dignitaries.  The little group that had arrived a day earlier, arrived in a much quieter fashion, but they did arrive.