The Brown family was on the steamboat Saluda when it exploded near the town of Lexington, Missouri in April 1852. The father, Harry, was severely injured and died three weeks later. Ira, a son, had his leg broken; other family members were wounded too. The mother (Rhoda), and her children continued on toward Utah that same year but by the time they arrived at Fort Laramie Ira's leg had become so infected that it had to be amputated. Only eighteen-year-old Sarah continued on to Salt Lake City that year. The rest of the family lingered at Fort Laramie until the next summer when they, too, traveled on to Utah. Rhoda and her children (with the exception of Sarah) returned east after only one year in the City of the Saints.