Transcript

Transcript for "History of Louisa Mellor Clark", DUP Pioneer History Collection, Page 3-4.

While crossing the plains trials of different kinds were our portion. Many fainted and fell by the wayside. Many a mound was dug and a fervent prayer uttered for those gone and those left, that God would spare them to reach Zion. We were so fatigued and hungry that we would stop and get raw hide and chew on, as our food was diminished. We tried to keep a little flour as long as we could, to make porridge for the children; at first it was biscuits; then pancakes; then porridge. Often we would cook a hide or piece of it to get a little strength; it being winter, we could not find weeds to help out. One time Mother and family saw a young man chew his finger ends before dying. A little incident I well remember occurred on the journey. A cow died with calf, and Mother got the calf head and roasted it in the camp fire. The next day we took it along with us and had a great feast of it.

The first snow storm left about two feet of snow on the ground and we began to feel very nervous. We had to wade through more streams, and sometimes up to our waists, and when we got through our clothes would freeze on us until we reached camp and made a fire to thaw out. And so we traveled on until a great many gave up and a great many died, mostly old people. At last the snow got to be four and five feet deep and often we had to shovel a road before we could move. Thus our traveling was very slow and our provisions nearly gave out.

We witnessed some heart-rending scenes on our journey to Utah. Sometimes I saw as many as thirteen bodies being buried in the morning before we started on our way.

The outlook was very discouraging. The Captain called a meeting and told us there was only enough food for one more day and asked us if we would rather have it all or divide it into three days. We all agreed to divide it. And despite our desperate situation we sang the handcart songs. One was, "If we should die before our journey's through, Happy day! All is well!" The camp gave up to die, if need be, and scarcely a dry eye was left to see the dying.

My mother, being still weak, finally gave up and said she could go no further. The company could not wait for her, so she bade my father goodbye and kissed each one of the children Godspeed. Then my mother sat down on a boulder and wept. I told my sister, Elizabeth, to take good care of the twins and the rest of the family, and that I would stay with Mother. I went a few yards away and prayed with faith that God would help us, that He would protect us from devouring wolves, and asked that He would let us reach camp. As I was going back to where my mother was sitting I found a pie in the road. I picked it up and gave it to my mother to eat, and after resting awhile we started on our journey, thanking God for the blessings. A few miles before we reached camp we met my father coming out to meet us. What a joyful meeting that was! We arrived in camp at 10:00 p.m. o'clock. Many times after that Mother felt like giving up and quitting; but then would remember how wonderful the Lord had been to spare her so many times, and offered a prayer of gratitude instead. So she went on her way rejoicing while walking the blood-stained path of snow.

The snow was getting deeper and it was growing colder and more bitter at nights. My father's feet were both frozen. One night I had been holding my sister Clara in my arms while I slept, and when I awoke I found my long braids frozen to the ground. They had to be cut off to release them.

At last the Company gave up and decided they could go no further. We all gathered around and held a meeting, praying God to help us, as we knew it was Him alone who could deliver us from death. We were happy and willing to die for a just cause. The Lord knew our desperate condition, and sent us deliverance. A hurrah! burst from the camp as three messengers came riding in—Brother Cyrus Whelback [Wheelock], Joseph A. Young, and E. Hawks. They told us to cheer up as there were ten wagons loaded with provisions only three miles away, but they were snowed in. They could not get to us, but for us to eat all the food we had left for the morning's breakfast and by the next night we could get to the camp. We had to do much hard work and shoveling of snow before we reached camp, but they had a large fire and a good supper prepared for us and we were very thankful—the overwhelming feeling we had cannot be described. These scouts had traveled over 200 miles to meet our company. They were sent by President Brigham Young and the saints in Salt Lake.

Some of our company were so nearly exhausted by this time that a goodly number died; some were frozen to death and others were with frozen hands and feet. Only about one-half of our company survived to reach Salt Lake Valley; however, all of my people got through. We arrived in Salt Lake on 30 November 1856, being six months from England.

Brother Wheelock and Brother Goddard were in the crowd to meet us when we arrived. They asked for James Mellor. When they saw him they were stunned! A man of 38 years of age with hair as white as the driven snow! Indeed, the trials and tribulations, the hardships and the deprivations they had suffered from England to Salt Lake Valley had taken its toll. They took him in their arms and wept! They also greeted my mother, to whom they had promised life and that she would live to see Zion. We were received by the saints, some with tears in their eyes and some with joy. We were a pitiful sight to see, and for weeks this company was not allowed to eat much nor to see themselves in a mirror. President Young met us, and when he saw us he was so melted down with grief at sight of our condition he had to go home sick, but he blessed us first.

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