Josiah Rogerson, Preface to Martin's Handcart Company Narrative, February 10, 1908 in Josiah Rogerson papers, circa 1895-1914.
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NO. Salt-Lake City, Utah.
Dated Feb. 10, 1908
For the last fifty years – Death with the eternal sweep of his Scythe has been thinning the ranks of the survivors and veterans of the Hand Cart Companies that crossed the more than 1,400 miles of the
meadows and the dreary Plains of <Iowa,> Nebraska and Wyoming <with Hand-Carts,> from IOWA, City, Ia.; to Salt-Lake City, Utah in the year, 1856.
All their belongings and personal possessions <that each member of the Co> on earth, were strapped on and stowed in their Carts, including extra clothing; bedding;
cooking frying pan--or Dutch oven; spoons, forks, knives, and the tent and tent-pins, crowning the pile.
Their weary and arduous <journey,> sufferings and deaths by starvation exhaustion and cold, had been alomost A sealed book since that fatal year till the present, and would doubtless have remained so for years to come, had not the writer at the repeated solicitation of prominent survivors that wanted the record to hand down to their childrens children printed embodied in book form, and even at this late date, it is by no means the wish of the writer to depict in harrowing detail the sufferings of this ill-fated company, but to compile A truthful record of the journey as correct a data of our daily travels, distances and camp, with A sufficient number of incidents, and losses by death to give the reader A correct digest of the whole journey.
That it was an unpleasant task and painful at times must be apparent to every member still living, but realizing daily the necessity of gathering and compiling what records were still to be had from the few Diarys kept on the way; the valuable incidents and the Names of those that
were perished on the way, before all was gone and lost to oblivion, the labor has been done for this purpose and no other.
The names of those that died on the journey, where and when buried and kept by our Capt. Edward Martin, has unintentionally been consigned to the flames, which was by far the most valuable of Record, and what is now given in our Book, is all that can be ascertained from the decimated ranks of the survivors.
This list may be lacking as to the <total> number, but from the commencement of our Narrative to the close--and daily as we proceeded, we became convinced that the death list of those that fell by the way, had greatly mis-understood and over-estimated by the majority of our members.
If we do not accomplish any other good point in the publishing of our Book, we are repaid for our labor in this particular, for we are sure that we have cut the Death list down more than 100, and instead of this sad list exceeding 300, it did not exceed one half that number.
The following Narrative, and Annals, were written and compiled as A matter of record, before the last of the members of the ill-fated “Martins Hand-Cart company,” shall have passed to
beyond the beyond and to <the> sure reward of their invincible faith; sufferings and privations on that fearful journey.
During the last ten years, those that survived the journey of the old and mature age, have been passing away by the score annually, and, as with the Pioneers of 1847, the next ten will leave but few to tell the sad story of pulling and crossing the "Plains", in 1856 Hand-Carts in 1856.
The half of the story <is not told as> herein;
is not told; never has been and never will be; nor would it be in keeping <now> with the wishes of any member of the survivors to present its thrilling details in <colored> pen-pictures.
The record mainly belongs to the veteran survivors, their children and their generations to come; that they may read of the
steadfastness travels and hardships <that their parents> endured in order to reach and gain the Zion of the West.
Since the day of their arrival in Salt Lake City, November 30th 1856 every member of the hand-cart companys <of that year> have been prominently known in every hamlet, town, village and city <where they first located or now resident> in Utah or the surrounding states and territories, and the writer records with pleasure, that fewer apostates have been found in their ranks and left and lost the "Faith" than in any Company <of Mormons> that ever crossed the plains since 1847, save and except in the 143 Company of Pioneers.
and encomium that we shall offer un to the general readers as to the value of our book, is from one of the most intelligent men in the state, and whom for twenty years was the editor and publisher of the most valuable monthlies in the Rocky Mountains who say the very plainness and terseness of the [illegible]
President Theodore Roosevelt, is credited with the axiom, that, “If a man never made a mistake he never did anything" and endorsing the sentence in toto; we add, that the angels haven't heralded yet, the advent of a human being to this sphere without a fault or failing.
Edward. Martin, was born, in the ancient and beautiful village of Penwortham, County of Lancashire England; on the [blank space] day of [blank space], 182[blank space].
This was the birthplace and home for many generations of the Moon, Clayton, Romney, and Martin families, and the scene of their conversion, and nearby a mile or so to the North, in the River Ribble, the place of their baptisms, all through the teachings and ministrations of Presidents. Heber.C.Kimball, Apostles, Parley.P.Pratt, and apostle Orson Hyde.
We have not the exact date of Bro. Martins baptism, but it was in his early youth, for he emigrated to Nauvoo, as early as the year 1840, or soon afterward.
In the building up of that city, and his labors on the Temple, we find him recorded as one of the most industrious and willing: that he passed through all the trying scenes and persecutions that fill the pages history, and the Exodus to Winter-Quarters, where in the early spring of 1846, he was enrolled as one of the members of the Mormon Battalion.
In the 3,000 miles journey made by the Battalion from near Council-Bluffs, to Pueblo and Santa-fe; across the endless deserts and dreary plains of Arizona; on to the battle-fields of Santa Anna, and Gen'l Kearney, in the Los-Angeles valley, his record through all this, is one of the most hardy and faithful.
The majority of the Battalion being disbanded here, we find him this course from this on, headed with the company for the Salt Lake valley, thus completing the last half of the 3,000 miles through all of which, a wagon had never left a trace of its wheels.
Reaching Salt Lake City, in September or October, 1847, he is recorded as one of the Seventies in the roster of one of the first quorums, having previously been ordained [illegible] priest in England, and an Elder in Nauvoo.
From this time on for years and years his time and labors were spent in the establishment of the Church with the rest of his brethren in the building up of this city and the establishment of the Church in the Rocky Mountains.
In the fall of 1853, he was called on a mission to Europe, and after arriving at Liverpool, was set apart to labor in Scotland, where he also presided over the _____, Conference, returning to England, in the fall of 1855, visiting his birthplace and the scenes of his youth, and laboring in the ministry till May, 1856, when he was released to return home to Utah.'
That his faithfulness on his mission, of nearly four years, had been proven; and his steadfastness to the faith established; his ability as a President and attention to details understood, he was put in charge of and made President of the 1.000, Saints, that sailed on board the “HORIZON”, out of Brammerly-Moor, dock, on the 18th, day of May, 18566 and towed out the “MERSEY”, into the Irish Channel, Sunday morning, May, 25th-56.
His policy was candor and truth, and attending truly and -fully to every labor and duty placed upon him, was the acme of his heart.
There were many in the Company, his superiors in education and self-esteem, but his continuity of thought and action, grasping every minutia and detail connected with his trust, he won the admiration and thanks of all, and for his unselfishness and vigilance day and night during the entire voyage.
It is not necessary to repeat in this tribute that our Church has always had its hundreds of Elders who made duty their law, and on this voyage of five weeks, he earned his record of being listed with the best of this class.
Order, system, and method, cleanliness and peace were seen in every Ward and department of the ship, while sanitation [illegible] were given all necessary care.
Every deck and its division here received received his daily surveillance, not as a spy or Boss, but as a brother and friend charged with their keeping safety, and welfare.
The voyage terminated at Boston, Mass', June the 30; then came the examination before the Government Inspecting Officer, with whom he sat and his word taken as referee, when any of the emigrants intentions as to their purpose and destination was called in question.
The next two days – July, 1st,and 2nd were employed in the transfer of our baggage, luggage, and freight from the Ship to the cars, and in this responsibility nothing missed his attention and care.
Provisions for the one thousand souls on the 1,300, and more and more miles on the cars provided, he had to see to and endure the annoyance of at least eight or ten transfers, in several instances from the “respectable passenger car”, to the filthy sheep and cattle pen, (car.) between Boston, and our terminus, Iowa, City, IA, where we arrived on the 7th and 8th and while en-route on the cars, between Chicago and Rock-Island, for some Railroad cause, we had to leave the cars and find lodgings for the whole night in an old warehouse or barn, (the best structure and accommodations that could be found or secured,) where several prowling fiends set fire to the shack, seven times and in several places during the night, notwithstanding the vigilance of our guard, without which the warehouse would have been destroyed and several lives lost.
After arriving at the terminus, and seeing again to the unloading of our luggage, etc. from the cars, and its being hauled to the Camp some four miles distant; his finding us temporary and crowded shelter and lodgings in the limited number of tents there at that time, he may have found and enjoyed a little rest during our detention here for the next 17 and 18 days, some little rest from the care and anxiety he had endured, day and night for the last two months; and yet, we must infer that a man of his experience, that had up to this time traveled more than 5,000 miles, of the wester prairies and deserts, in Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, California, utah and Nebraska, was wracking his brain day and night over the necessity of all possible haste being made in the construction and finishing of our Carts, and to get [a] start [on] our long journey, as soon as possible, knowing and realizing the uncertainty of the coming of the winter storms in the Wind-River and Rocky mountains.
He must have taken part in this construction and labor, for he already foresaw and realized that his was going to be the arduous task of marshal ??, in bringing up the rear and the “cleanings” up of that seasons emigration.
If he ever gave any thought as to his health or fatigue we fail to remember it, and from this on to the end of our fearful journey, (for we saw him almost every hour of every day, and many times during the nights we were on guard,) he was everywhere where he was needed and responded to every call of sickness and death.
When our company was traveling, he was in the front; in the center and in the rear, aiding, assisting, and cheering, in every instance needed.
Starting and leaving our Camp-ground on the 26th of July, our company of over 400, members, received his watch care and services from here through state of Iowa, to Winter-Quarters, where we arrived on the 22nd of August.