Parsons, Mary C[hristine] Johnson, "A Handcart Survivor," Deseret Evening News, 29 June 1897, 8.
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Her feet dropped off and her limbs were amputated above the ankles and then at the knees.
Koosharem, Piute Co.,
Utah, June 24, 1897.
To the Editor:
Reading an article in the News from "A Handcart Pioneer," has led me to write the following, as I am a living witness of those memorable days. My father and mother both died on the Missouri river, at Mormon Grove. The oldest child was in Utah, the other five were distributed in different places. My lot fell with unfeeling guardians.
The summer following my parents' death, 1856, I think in July, we started with our handcarts for Salt Lake City, under command of Captain Hunt. As soon as President Brigham Young learned that there were companies on the road, he started teams and supplies to meet us. They found us camped at the two old log cabins on the other side of Devil's Gate. I was a 7 year-old orphan, without a relative near. My guardians were careless and unfeeling, and perhaps I was a child that did not complain; but, however, when we arrived at those old log cabins my feet were found to be frozen very badly. While there they were thawed out and turned black. The rest of the way I was taken care of by kind friends; all was done that was possible under the circumstances, but my feet both dropped off before we got to the city, which was in December, if I remember correctly. My legs were amputated above the ankles, and then at the knees. My two brothers had reached Salt Lake City in November. How well do I remember our meeting. I told them not to cry so, for I would have my feet again when I got to heaven. I have walked on my knees for forty years; during that time I have had three operations performed at the knees, the last one by Dr. Seymour B. Young a young man a year ago last November. I was married in 1868 I am the mother of seven children, four sons and three daughters, five of whom are now living. The family I came with soon left the Church and returned East.