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The Trek

West

John Kirkman

Journal Entry: Martin's Cove

"Before we left Iowa my dear Mother had given birth to a son, Peter. She was naturally weak with the care of a nursing baby and five other children. Father was weak from want of food, having denied himself for us. The terrible strain of the journey was too much for him and one night, near the Sweetwater, he passed quietly away at the age of 35. Our little brother, Peter, 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 were almost gone, desolation reigned.

"The company passed off the main road to '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 toll and the Ravine was like an overcrowded tomb. No mortal tongue could describe the suffering. Such was the condition when word was received that help was on the way."

(Virginia Kirkman Nielson, A Pioneer Woman of Faith and Fortitude, Mary Lawson Kirkman [Ephraim, Utah: October, 1994], 4.)

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