McBride, H[eber] R[obert], "Tounge nor Pen Can Never Tell the Sorrow: Heber McBride Describes the 1856 Martin Handcart Disaster," Crossroads Newsletter, spring 1994, 3-4.
was taken to Iowa and their we had to stay 3 or 4 weeks before we could start our journey as we were coming with handcarts[.] their seemed to be bad Management some where[.] got started and arrived at winter quarters of Mormon fame now called Florence[.] their we had to stay for 3 weeks through some more bad management[.] their was 7 of us in familey and all we had was one little handcart and that got to be to much for us before we got through[.] their were some wagnos to haul provisions for the Company and if any was sick to haul them and they did for a while but Mother took chills and fever[.] then our trouble began[.] she would walk as far as she could by holding on to the cart then we get her in to one of the wagons[.] the baby [aged two and turned three on the journey] we had to haul all the way[.] the next one was 6 years old then one 8 but they walked all the way till the snow got so deep they coulden they coulden walke but while the weather was good we got along very well but when food got scarce and it began to get cold the men began to give out[.] teams gave out and so many sick and dieing that they couldent all ride[.] then we were reduced to ½ pound of flour a day for grown people and 4 ounces for children under 12 years old[.] Father at last gave out and in the morning Father and Mother would start out to walk till one would give out and sit down or lay down till we came along and get them on the cart and till the other one was give out[.] then the one that was on the cart was rested then we would take the other one and one would walk by holding to the cart and we would not get into camp till after dark and we had to wade all the streams and the weather was getting very cold and snow falling a little everyday or 2[.] one morning I got father in a wagon and that was the last time we saw him alive[.] I went after we got the tent up but it was snowing very hard and I couldent find him so you will have to immagin how we felt[.] their were 3 other men in our tent[.] Wm Barton and wife and 2 children[,] 1 girl like my sister 15 or 16 years old[,] and 2 old men and my F[a]ther all died in one night[.] I think the 2 old men died like Father did[.] I went in the morning and found my father ded and frozzen stif covered in snow[.] whether he was dead and was put there or how he got there will never be known[.] tounge nor pen can never tell the sorrow and suffering[.] my sister[,] I and Mrs Barton got father to the tent[.] their was 2 families their in the snow and hardley anything to eat but their were men enough to bury the dead[.] Aran Jacksons father died at the same time[.] prhaps you know him[,] he lives on the bench there[in Ogden?] 13 men died that one night and all piled into one pit[.] all died by hardship and starvation and the snow and the cold was something awful and our clothing all about dun[.] when we went to bed we dident hav bedding to keep is warm[.] I have wondered many times since how it was we everd lived for my sister and I used [to] pray we could die to get out of our misery[.] the oxen began to die and then was di[s]tributed among the people[,] rawhide and all[.] we was then at the last crossing of the platte river[.] had to stay there several days so many dieng but had to try it again[.] when we got away from the river the snow was not so deep and before we got to sweetwater we met 5 teams from Utah but they came so much farther than they expected to that they were nearly out of provisons but they were workers[.] the[y] put the tents up and got wood and took care of Mother and the 3 little ones[.] we got to Devels [Devil's] Gate[.] it was so cold all day we could hardley make it but when we got there the tents were up and big fires burning[.] Sister and I cried for joy[.] it seemed so nice to have nothing to do but when we got up in the morning the snow was 18 inc[hes] deep and the north wind blowing hard and cold but the men came and took the tent down and fixed our load on our cart and they went ahead and broake the road[.] went about 2 miles and turend and crost s[w]eetwater[.] when we saw that we felt very bad to think we had to ford that stream and I dont think we could have made it in our week[e]ned condition but when we got there we was very much suprised for there were some men there[.] they carried us across[.] we went into a cove in the mountain and got out of the wind and when we got there the tent was up and Mother and Mrs Barton [were] sitting by a good fire[.] the history of the Church says we onley staid their 2 days but that is a big mistake and I dont care who wrote it and I find they pas over the hand cart blunder very light for right their more died than any where on the road[,] for we was reduced to 4 ounces of flour and children 2 ounces[.] just think of it[,] out of a company[of] nearly 500 people[,] 144 dead and it looked like we would all die but some more teams came from Utah [and] then our trouble ended as far as handcarts was conserned for we left them all there[.] soon met more teams then we all got to ride and got to Utah[.] [I] was taken to Sammiul [Samuel Ferrin's] ferrins Ogden Dec 1856 taking about 7 months to make the trip and the family is all alive now in 1923 after all our hardship and our ages range from 68 to 83[.] take what you want from this tho as it may not be just what you want
[Signed] H[eber] R[obert] McBride