Transcript for Aldrich, Hannah Madsen, [Interview], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 3:52-58

After they landed in America they went directly to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they stayed just a short time when they started for Utah; that was the same year that they came to America.
When they started for Utah there were six companies in this wagon train and each company had a Captain at its head; it was his duty to issue the command and keep order in the train. In this train some of the people traveled by oxteam and some by hand cart.

Mrs. Aldrich's family was in the company commanded by a Capt. Willardson, and they traveled by hand cart all the way from Illinois to Utah. She does not recall how long they were in reaching Utah, but she did recall some of the instances that happened on the way here. She told that when they reached North Platte, the Indians stampeded the buffaloes and ran off all their stock, and they were stranded for a couple of days until they could round up their stock again. And she recalls another instance, how the Indians traded them buffalo meat for a lot of little trinkets that did not amount to much. She stated that while they were crossing the plains they were never attacked by the Indians, but they saw at different times, bands of Indians roving over the country. At nights they would make a large circle with wagons and hand carts, and sleep inside of the circle, and keep guard in case of attack by the Indians, but they were never attacked by them, only the time stated when they ran off their stock.

After they arrived in Utah, sometime in 1851 [1856] . . . 

. . . and by july 15th there was enough hand carts made to supply half of the company, who started to Salt Lake Valley, on that date with Mr. James Willie as their captain.

On July 22nd, the last half of the company started for Salt Lake Valley, with Captain Edward Martin as their leader. It was with this company that her family began the trip across the plains.

There were about one hundred and forty-six hand carts, six head of cattle, and five hundred seventy-five men, women, and children in Captain Martin's company before leaving Iowa.

They wanted to reach Salt Lake Valley as soon as possible, because the company was not financially able to stay in Iowa any more then they were prepared to attempt the trip to Utah.

The family of Mrs. Aldrich came to this country for religious reasons.

The president of the Scandinavian Mission of the Latter Day Saints Church advised, it was dangerous to attempt to cross the plains too late in the season, and he also advised the party of the hazards of the snow, and the cold weather. It was decided to start the journey anyway, and the company hoped for a late fall season, so they started for Salt Lake Valley.

The first part of the company that had gone on ahead with Captain Willie, arrived before there was any deep snow fall. The last part of the company with Captain Martin, with which the Madsen family started, left Iowa City, July 22nd, and by the last part of October the weather was very chilly, and snow was setting in. Food was scarce, and was conserved, the loads of the hand carts were again made lighter. Many of the hand carts had fallen apart, with no way to fix them, they were abandoned.

By November the party had reached the Rocky Mountain Range, and it had started to snow again, and they were unable to go farther. They had hope that help would be sent out to them. Camp was made, and on the night of November fifteenth the company was snowed in, and left with scarcely any roof or fire wood, and a shortage of warm clothes and bedding. There was gloom and despair, hunger was prevalent. Some of the adults and children had eaten the meat from their finger bones. Men were delierious, women frantic, the food was gone and the people of the company had given up all hopes.

The first part of the company who left Iowa City with Captain James Willie reached Salt Lake Valley in safety before the snow became too deep. On arrival, Captain Willie told the church authorities at Salt Lake that he believed Captain Martin's company had met with disaster, so President Brigham Young sent out a part of scouts, and a supply train to find and help Captain Martin and his company. Mr. Joseph A. Young and Mr. Stephen Taylor, two scouts on horseback found the stranded company camped and in despair. The supply wagon was brought up while the living were revived and the dead were buried. Ole Madsen, father of Mrs. Aldrich, who died from hunger, cold, and exposure, was buried in a shallow grave on the trail with thirteen others.

The company made a new start with the help that had come to rescue, and they arrived in Salt Lake Valley the first of December, 1856.