Mary Ann James Dangerfield, Autobiographical sketch, reel 4, box 4, fd. 10, item 1, 2-3.
We were met at Camp Iowa by Elders from Salt Lake, with tents, handcarts and provisions, we were told that all must walk that could and pull our baggage and provisions. The emigrants were divided into four companies. The company in which we traveled was the Willie Company and numbered about 500 souls. We left Camp Iowa July 15th and the first 200 miles of our journey was filled with pleasant memories. After leaving Council Bluffs, Iowa, we started on what is known as the remarkable journey recorded in the annals of history.
Early in September the first frosts of the season came and from then on our sorrows and troubles were far more than our joys. The Indians had been on the war path and we were in constant fear of them. At one time we were almost trampled to death by a herd of buffalo. Provisions became very scarce and we could be allowed but a very little each day. The Indians, drove all the cattle that had been allotted to our company, away, thus leaving us with out meat. The storms increased, and the roads became terrible. The poorly made handcarts were about to fall to pieces[.] much time was spent in fixing them, and very little progress could be made. These troubles happened daily, but the climax for mother came during the first part of October. Father and my oldest brother stopped to help bury a member of our company. Mother waited with them as she was helping to draw the cart with the heaviest load. We children went on with our load until we came to a river which we could not ford. It was snowing and blowing. Fathers strength gave out. He made every possible effort to continue, but without success. Mother was placed in an awful position. Her husband unable to go farther, and her little children far ahead starving and freezing, what could she do? Father said, “go to the children; we will get in if we can”. She hurried on with a prayer in her heart for father’s deliverance and our safty. She found us by the river and with her aid we waded through. Our clothing wet was soon covered with ice, and our shoes frozen on our feet. Camp was reached but we had no one to fix our tent, as father and brother were behind. We watched and listened for their coming, hoping and praying for the best. At last they were brought in but death had claimed our father.
Brother was finally restored. Imagine if you can, my mother only a young woman of forty-one, her husband lying dead in a frozen wilderness with seven little children starved and freezing crying for comfort which she could not give. Her feelings are better imagined than described. Her physical and mental indurance was surely nothing short of merecleous. Relief came, the next morning from Salt Lake. It was surely a God send to get some thing to eat. During the day the dead were cared for the best way they could be, and we continued our journey, leaving the bodies at the mercy of the wild animals. The rest of the journey was terrible, however we had more to eat and certainly helped us to endure the cold and the weary march. We arrived in Salt Lake Nov. 9th 1856.