Beck, Margaret Simmons Bennett, Sketch of Life of Margaret Simmons Bennett Beck, 3-4.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
- Source Locations
- Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City
- Related Companies
- Israel Evans Company (1857)
When spring came the Lord continually opened the way for us in our journey westward, and by the 18th of May we were in Iowa City ready to begin the long journey across the plains.
We crossed the plains in the first Handcart Company 1857. Our family consisted of my Father, Mother, my sisters, Catherine, and Hannah, and I. At that time I was nine years old; Kittie was seven, and Hannah was 18 months old.
The handcarts were brought and in a small grove near Iowa City preparations were made for our journey of fifteen hundred and thirty-five miles. Israel Evans of Lehi was our Captain, with Benjamin Ashby was his assistant. Israel Evans proved to be a splendid Captain, taking the best of care of the immigrants, laboring faithfully from early morning until late at night, always selecting the best of camping places, and caring constantly for the health and comfort of his company. One day az we were nearing Salt Lake Valley I had a very sore foot. I remember that Captain Evans lifted me up on his own mule, put me in the saddle, and got a girl named Annie Neal [England] to lead the mule over the mountain.
While on the prairie one day sister Kittie fell asleep by the roadside. We traveled on, leaving her to be picked up by the wagon which accompanied us as it came by. But when we camped at night the wagon had not brought Kittie! Mother was almost frantic. A search party went to seek her and found that a strange company had picked her up, and they restored her to us.
Our company left Iowa, so history says, the latter part of May and arrived at Florence on the 13th of June. My sister Annie was placed in the handcart with a shade over her; Father and Mother pulled the handcart loaded with food, cooking utensils, etc., while my sister Kittie and I walked behind, usually holding to the back of the cart. Thus we traveled with a company of 149 souls from Iowa City to Florence, and thus we traveled from Florence to Salt Lake. A mule team wagon was provided to carry our tents and heaviest provisions.
Our cloesest companions while crossing the plains were the members of the family of Brother William Ball, former members of the "Old Kent Road Branch." Carrie [Caroline Simmons] Ball, a girl of eleven, and "Bill Ball" or William Simmons were good company for us girls. Ball's folks and ours have always been great friends. Among those of the company who located in Lehi were the Joseph Slater Family, W. L. Hutchins [Hutchings] and family, and the Clayton family. Sister Martha Durton was a daughter of the Claytons.
There was only one death in our company, and that was of an infant. We had the usual experiences of camping out, of wading streams, and of seeing great herds of buffaloes. Johnson's Army, too, followed close behind us most of the way.
We arrived in Salt Lake City September 11, 1857.