Martha Reese Alexander, Biographical information relating to Mormon pioneer overland travel database, 2003-2017.
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I am the daughter of Henry Thomas Reese and Elizabeth Powell Reese. I was born in the town of Pontypool, in South Wales, July 9, 1844. With my sister, Johanna, 2 years older than I, I left the old country on the 4 of May 1863 to come to Utah, setting sail on May 6th on the old ship Amazon. We were 7 weeks on the sea. When we were about half way across, an awful storm struck us, lasting for 2 days and 1 night, and we all thought that we were going to be drowned. The captain came to our Mission President, Elder Richard Palmer, and said, "I understand that you are a religious company and now if you folks have any power with God almighty, it is up to you to save this ship from going down. I have done everything I can, but we are going to sink." So our President ordered all the elders in the company to pray and sing. That is what everyone did, but we had been praying ever since the storm had come up. We never saw the sun for 2 days, but God, our Heavenly Father, came to our aid and we were saved. But we were sure seasick!
Then we landed in New York and were there 2 days passing the examination of the Immigration Authorities. We were 3 months crossing the plains to Utah. We were in Captain Daniel D. MacArthur's company. I was delighted with my trip across the plains. I had the best time of my life. Capt. MacArthur was such a dear, good man and my main companion was a dear sister from our branch called Mary Lewis. She and I were very good singers, and when all was in readiness he would say, "come, girls, let's go", and we used to sing "off, off, to the mountains and away." And he would sing with us. We never thought we were tired. My, how I loved that trip! That is where I learned to dance. It was wonderful to me and I loved to dance.
We arrived in Salt Lake on the 4th day of October, when the people were coming in to conference.