Lapish, Hannah, [Journal], in Handcart Stories, 37-40.
“Emigrating to America (from England) we embarked May 30, 1857 on the ship "Tucsarora" at Liverpool and arrived in Philadelphia July 3, 1857. This being the year of the great panic, my husband [Joseph Lapish], together with others, went to Richmond, Virginia, to obtain employment and in the meantime I took in sewing from a knitting factory which proved quite providential at the time as I was left with a three months old babe. After the elapse of three months I joined my husband in Richmond where we resided about three years. During our residence at that place the so-called Harper Ferry raid occurred, and during the excitement we received a letter from Geo. Q. Cannon counseling us (according to instructions which he had received from President Brigham Young), to leave for the West, as war in the East seemed inevitable. We were told to leave by hook or crook and I have always claimed that we left by the latter. We joined a number of the other Saints at Philadelphia and traveled to Florence, Nebr. where we joined Captain Daniel Robinson’s [Robison’s] handcart company and started on our journey to Utah on June 7, 1860. I had two children at the time, one [Laura Jane] about two and one half years old and the other [Emily Virginia] but six months. Try to imagine if you can a mother with a babe at her breast undertaking a journey of hundreds of miles on foot. But even that babe seemed to understand something of the life going on about her. Why, do you know that if she were in the middle of enjoying her dinner and she heard that bugle blow, she would stop, for she knew she must be put into the cart. I couldn’t carry her—indeed no, and she certainly knew it.
“Of course it was a dreadfully hard journey and like the other companies we suffered from lack of food. One day on the journey there was a great deal of suffering owing to the scarcity of provisions and as we were near a trading post, I decided to see what I could do. I left the rest of the company and went to a store where I offered the proprietors my jewelry in exchange for a little flour which at that time and place was $10.00 per hundred. I soon observed that he was not going to make the exchange and as I turned around I saw a very tall man, perhaps a trapper or a miner, dressed in beaded buckskin suit standing in the store. He eyed the jewelry which I had in my hand and finally said. “What do you want for that thing” (meaning the jewelry). For a moment I hesitated and then the answer seemed to come to me by inspiration, “700 pounds of flour, Sir”. I answered. He took the jewelry and sent the flour to the camp. I gave it to the commissary of the handcart company who dealt it out judiciously to the hungry travelors, the last measure, half a pint for a person, being distributed on the day we crossed Green River. While we were being ferried across that stream a shout of joy went up from our company as the word was passed that a relief train sent by the Church authorities had just arrived with provisions for us. With this relief our main troubles were over and we arrived safely in Salt Lake City August 27, 1860. Our company was one of the last companies to make the journey in that pathetic way—pushing handcarts across the western prairies and mountains. We are the crusaders of the 19th century.<p“I remember one stampede that occurred. We had all settled down quietly for a rest when the cattle became frightened and like wild animals, roaring and bellowing, rushed toward a small opening in the enclosure made by our wagons and handcarts. On they rushed until they came to a river and then instead of stopping some of those fool oxen swam the stream. We had quite a time getting them back. We had to try several times before we could find a man or two who could swim the stream to get them and then of course the oxen didn’t want to swim back. A stampede was a dreadful thing and we were all very much frightened.
“I remember so well some of the stories of the ill-fated company of 1856. One woman told me that she was so exhausted that she felt she could not move another step but still they kept beating and whipping her so that she would move along and not freeze to death. Finally she took hold of the back of one of the provision wagons and it seemed as if her hands froze there. She could not get away and although nearly dead, she was compelled to continue her journey. Many people of course gave up and froze to death. Some were without shoes. There is one lady, Mrs. Armstrong [Isabella Siddoway Armstrong], who tells how she and her little brother walked barefooted in the snow and how at the end of a day’s journey, she used to sit down and pick the tiny pebbles and bits of wood out of the cuts in her brother’s feet. The trail was marked with blood. I can appreciate that more than you can because when my shoes wore out I got some Indian Mocassins and they were wet through and through many times—wet not with water but with blood. We handcart people will never outlive the memory of those experiences.”