[typed pages from Dave Lehmann, transcribed by Russ Kirkman, added to
web pages 14-aug-1999]
[I have left in the typos, and hopefully not added more - rk]
SKETCH OF THE LIFE
MARY LAWSON KIRKMAN
HER SON---JOHN KIRKMAN
Read in the meeting of the Aaron Johnson Camp
No. "2, Daughters of Utah pioneers, March 13,1930.
Sketch of the Life of Mary Lawson Kirkman by her son, John Kirkman.
Robert and Mary Kirkman were born in Laneshire, England, in 1823,
and were among the early converts to the church.
After their conversion, belonging to the same branch, they formed
an acquaintance which ripened into love, soon they were parents of
five little children.
As was usual with the Saints in foreign lands, they had the
spirit of gathering to Zion. Many of the English Saints had heard
that some of the pioneers had walked beside the oxen over the plains
and when Presidend Young suggested that they form hand-cart companies
with a few wagons to carry supplies, hundreds of Saints were anxious
to emigrate, especially whenit was stated that they could travel all
the way from the British Isles to Salt Lake City for $45.00. President
Young's advice was to start early and all would be well.
My Father and Mother with their five little children, Robert,
Joseph, Hyrum, and James left their native home in Lancashire on
May 26,1856 to start their eventful journey. After five long weeks
aboard the old sailing vessel "Horizon", we finally arrived in Boston,
thence traveling by rail to Iowa, arriving the last day of June. On
arriving their the Saints found a shortage of hand-cartsand tents,
consequently they were delayed until more could be provided. There
were five companies left with hand-carts for Zion, the first three
had many hardships but made the journey fairly well. The last two
"The Martin" Which left September 3 and the "Willie" which left Iowa
August 19, suffered untold hardships almost beyond mortal endurance.
It was this first company that my Dear Father and Mother and family
travelled with. (Father came with Martin Company.)
Elder Levi Savage advised the Saints not to undertake the journey
so late in the season, as he knew the dangers that would be met, but
he was over ruled, he said, "What I have told you is true, but I will
go with you and help you all I can."
My Father had been offered a position for the Winter so decide
stay in Iowa until the Spring, but the Saints came so many times to
see my parents and urge them to travel with them, so after talking
it over with Mother he said, "Well, we'll go with them live or die".
We started on our perilous journey of 1,300 miles with ever
five-hundred Saints; before we had been on the road a third of
the distance, the hand-carts broke down, being made of unseasoned
wood, and poorly put together, others were overloaded.
An early winter set in, progress was slow, and soon previsions
began to give out. Smaller grew the allowance and strong men
became weak, women suffered terribly. Terrible blizzards raged,
snow covered mountains had to be climbed, and in the face of freezing
weather, bedding and clothing had to be discarded when it was most
needed, for the loads were to heavy. Every day took its toll of lives
and graves had to be dug in the snow.
Before we left Iowa my Dear Mother had given birth to a son
"Peter", Mother was naturally weak with the care of a nursing baby
and five other children to care for. Father was weak from want of
food, haveing denied himself for us, and the terrible strain of the
journey was too much for him; one night near the Sweet water he
passed quietly away at the age of 33. Our little baby brother died
the same night, they built a fire to thaw the ground so that a grave
could be dug, then with my baby brother clasped in his arms, they
wrapped him in a blanket and laid him tenderly away.
My Darling Mother had to take up the journey alone with us five
children; provisions had almost gone, desolation reigned. The
Company passed off the main road to what was named Martin's Ravine,
to escape the terrible blizzards and storms for we had little
clothing and had given up all hope; death had taken a heavy tool, the
ravine was like an overcrowded tomb, no mortal pen could describe
the suffering; such was the condition when word was received that
help was on the way.
President Young learning of our condition, sent and advance guard
of two young men, Joseph A. Yourd and Stephen Taylor. More welcome
messengers never came from the courts of glory.
Soon help came with food and clothing. We were still 500 miles
from Salt Lake City in dead of Winter, it seemed these remaining
had received a new lease of life-for one-fourth of the company
had already passed away during the journey.
After arriving in Salt Lake, which was November 30, 1856, we
met by William Clyde with ox team and taken to Springsville staying
one night with the Bishop of American Fork and receiving great
kindness. Next day we arrived in Springville and and how kind the
people were to us half starved people.
Some of the Children's feet were frozen so badly they had to
down all the while. My brother James lost half of
both feet, others lost toes from frost bites, and suffered very badly.
The goods people of Springsville will never be forgotten for their
kindness to us and my Darling Mother.
Father Bird, Father of Richard Bird, who was our family Dr. came
our home every day for months and dressed the wounds with the help
of Mother. Brother and Sister Devonish, Agos Warren Benjamin Blanchard,
with many others, supplied all our needs. Mother's time was taken up
caring for the family.
In the Spring of 1857 Mother married Charles Hulett. He was a
fine man and provided us with a good home, and took good care of us.
Mother had two children by him, Margaret and Frances, He died in
A few years later she married Joseph Cook, and had one child
who married Myron L. Crandall.
She was a good kind devoted Mother, full of faith, and in spite
all her suffering and sacrifice, she never uttered a complaint.
There was one thing she could never endure and that was the sight
of a hand-cart, it brought back such sad memories of the past, and
she could never be induced to join in any hand-cart prade. Her life
in Springville was of the noblest; she took part in Church work,
particularly the "Relief Society", and was always loving and
sympathetic to those in need.
When the Primary Associations were organized in Springville,
November 23, 1878, she was selected President of the Second Ward
Association and chose as her connselors, Sarah Manwaring and
Elizabeth Brammal with Susanna Wakefield as secretary. She held
this position until December 1, 1880, resigning to do work in the
She passed away March 1899, at the age of 76, after a well spent
She was the Mother of nine children, her posterity numbers 42
grand children, 140 great grand children, 6 great-great grand
children, making a total to-day of about 198.
Why should I not call Springville my home town, it has so many
things that are Dear to me. Mother is laid to rest here, two
brothers, one sister, and our Step-Farther, Charles Hulett, who
was so kink to us, and gave us a good home, helping us in time of
need; and many other old friends and neighbors, who I labored with.
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