Pioneer Stories



Martin Handcart Company Rescuers:

A video & narrative from President Gordon B. Hinckley: Martin Handcart Company Crossing the Sweetwater


1856 Pioneers:

Independence Rock Water Color
View of Camp from Independence Rock

Stories of Favorite Pioneers

John Parry-George A. Smith/Dan Jones Company (1849)

Tabernacle Choir Director

More Info

MaryAnn Openshaw-Martin Company (1856)

Mary Murray Murdoch “Wee Granny”-Martin Company (1856)

James & Joseph Kirkwood-Willie Company (1856)

Emily Hill: Willie Handcart Company

On Aug. 2, 1856, some residents of a smallIowatown approached two young women who were traveling with the Willie Handcart Company. The two young women were the Hill sisters, ages 20 and 23. The younger of the two was named Emily.

The townspeople attempted to entice these attractive young women away from the company, using written messages that they delivered to the two sisters. Their messages promised all of the comforts and conveniences that life had to offer if they would simply abandon their trek toZion.

Notwithstanding they were worn and weary from their 4,000 miles of travel over the past three months, which began in Liverpool, England, they resisted.

On Oct. 19, 1856, Joseph A. Young was the first rescuer to reach the Willie Handcart Company. Young had been a missionary inEnglandand had known Emily there. Eventually recognizing that the starved figure with a gaunt face standing before him was Emily, Young burst into tears. He gave Emily an onion from his pocket and told her to eat it. Instead, she saved it and unselfishly gave it to a man, near death, lying on the ground by a fire. This man credited Emily’s act of kindness with saving his life.

Emily Hill later authored a poem which became the words to the beloved LDS hymn “As Sisters In Zion.”

-Source: Deseret News March 15, 2011 by: john Enslen- The story of the woman who penned ‘As Sisters in Zion’ lyrics

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