. . . Missionaries of the Mormon faith came to Manchester. Mother and father attended meetings they held in one of the halls. Afterwards they brought the gospel into our house and taught it to us and our neighbors. As a result my parents and a good many of their friends were converted. Finally they and all of us children who were over eight years old were baptized and made members of the new church. They became very unpopular with some of their friends, but were willing to stand the jibes and persecutions for the sake of what they felt was the truth.
The talk then was all about getting to Zion. Three times every Sunday we would go to church. I always knew when the missionaries would be at our home for dinner because mother would always set a large mince pie in the oven for when we arrived home. Oh, it was good after the walk and the long meeting. A great many people joined the church. The question was how to get them to Utah. There were hardly enough teams to carry all the emigrants. Finally, however, it was decided to form handcart companies to cross the plains from the end of the railroad in Iowa to the valleys of the mountains. The plan looked hard, but not impossible, and the people were so eager to get to Zion with the Saints that nothing seemed too difficult. Would not the Lord open the way?
We joined a company made up of 856 Saints, men, women, and children, on the good ship Horizon at the Liverpool Harbor and a Mr. Reed was captain of the vessel. We embarked on this sailing vessel May 25, 1856. For 35 days we were on the ocean having a pleasant trip. We had a meeting frequently and we would often join them in singing so that the time did not seem so long. It was while I was on board this ship that I got my first desire to be a cook. One day I stood watching the ship's cook, a big Mulatto, making pancakes. I became so interested watching him pour out the batter and flip the cakes that I asked him to let my try it. "Sure , enuf, boy!" he said, and I was given my first experience in cooking. At the end of the [p.106] voyage we landed in Boston. After a short stay there, we boarded the train for Iowa. We were on the train for a week and ten days. The cars were so crude and the railroad so rough we were all tired out when we arrived in Iowa City, Iowa. But our difficulties were not over when we reached the end of the railroad. They were only just begun. Thirteen hundred or more miles of journey over the plains and mountains lay before us. We must walk all of this weary way and push or pull our handcarts. Our thoughts were all centered on getting to Zion.
Our handcarts were not ready which caused a delay of three weeks. We were camped on the banks of the Iowa River. While there we had a terrible rain storm which nearly washed us away, the water poured into our tent until we were all drenched. Father and mother had to work hard to keep it from drowning my little baby sister. Finally the day came when we were ordered to pack our bedding and food onto the handcart and take up our march. Some of the leaders advised against our going, but their advice was not followed. Everybody wanted to get to the Valley and go they would at all costs; so off we started with our handcart train stringing along over the old rolling hills of the Iowa trail towards the Rocky Mountain valleys. They journeyed through Iowa to Florence, Nebraska.
In August (25) they made the start across the plains. When at the command of Captain Martin and Tyler our caravan started westward, this refrain of the "Handcart Song" was ringing all along the line: "Some must push and some must pull. As we go marching up the hill, as merrily on our way we go. Until we reach the valley , Oh".
Nearly two hundred carts filled high with food, clothing, bedding and utensils, and a number of ox drawn covered wagons too, were scattered along the caravan. . . . [p.107] [THE MARTIN COMPANY ARRIVED IN SALT LAKE CITY ON NOVEMBER 30, 1856 (CHURCH ALMANAC, 1997-98, p. 172)].
BIB: Harrison, George, [Autobiography], Treasures of Pioneer History, comp. By Kate B. Carter, vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1953) pp. 106-07. (CHL)