Housley, George Frederick, [Reminiscences], in Life histories of George Frederick Housley and Maria Christina Jacobsen Housley.
"In the year of 1865 , I with mother left our native land England, with about 600 others for our America "The Zion of Our God," on the good ship "Horizon," spending five weeks in our voyage to Boston. Where we took passage on a steamboat to Iowa. Awaiting there for three weeks for our hand-carts to be made that were to carry our "all" across the vast stretch of the plains to Utah. Each family supplying themselves with the necessary food for their journey if they were well. At Iowa City, where we were camped, a gentleman told me that we would starve to death if we went there at this season. One of our people and his family decided to stay over. I became tempted to do likewise and upon telling my mother that we better stay she became much depressed in spirit and told me to wait a little while. During the time she prayed to Our Heavenly Father for guidance. One fellow traveler, after deciding to stay, sent out one day in the woods to hunt for game, and while away was seized with fever and ague. He hurried home and upon entering the tent where mother I were awaiting him, he laid upon the cot and commenced singing in poetry and rhyme, telling mother to take me with her to the valley and that we should get through alright. Mother told me she had made it a matter of prayer and by this means her prayers were answered. I told her then that we would go to the valley at all hazards because I was satisfied all would be well.
"Upon the company starting we were in line with our cart and ready. All went well as we joyously sang, "For some must push and some must pull as we go marching up the hill. As merrily on the way we go, until we reach the valley, Oh!" As days wore on, our spirits lagged as we became weary. Some of our people became sick and were compelled to ride, thus compelling others to be more heavily loaded. Provisions commencing to get scarce as the days wore on, necessitating our captain to put us on shorter rations. Many dying by the wayside where they were buried each night where we camped and their graves were left unmarked except by our tears. At this season and at this part of the plains it commenced getting cold, and were again placed on shorter rations of 4 ounces of flour to each person per day. We traveled to the Sweet Waters River where we camped, being so weak and exhausted that it was almost impossible to move . Many of our people while there died of starvations while others froze to death by the wayside.
"A man from London by the name of Stone, while trying to get to an Indian camp was devoured by wolves; when found by some of our camp, nothing was left of him but his legs inside his boots.
"Receivers were sent out from the Valley to assist us in and could not find us, thinking we were lost on the plains the rescue party concluded to return to the Valley. But one of their number stated that he would go to the States but what he would find us. About noon a horseman was seen coming into our camp, and he looked like an angel to us poor starving emigrants who had eaten nothing but flour for three days. With words of encouragement he entreated us to make another start. But, many, while their will was good, their strength failed them and they dropped and froze to death by the way.
"The relief party returned and met us and assisted us with some provisions. But scores of our brethren and sisters died and were left in unmarked graves by the wayside. At this time I was permitted to sleep in a tent with two of my companions. Each of them dying by my side where I slep by them 'till morning when they were taken away and buried."In a later trip across the plains to assist the emigrants at one of our camps I saw many of the bones of my companions that had been dug up by the wolves. At the time of my companions death I became despondent through weakness that I longed for death and tried to hide myself from the company that I might die, but one of the brethren returning back for something, found me sitting behind the rock where I had hoped to die. He took me along with him for a day before we caught up with the company. I was permitted to sleep in a wagon that night, where I slep with a dead man all night.
"The next day we were permitted to see and enter into the Valley (November 29, my birthday). Although I was too weak to walk, my feet being much swollen I wrapped them in my mother's shaw until we were taken care of by kind friends who were awaiting us. But brother Slack, our kind friend, would not allow me only a limited amount of bread as he was afraid it would kill me. But after they had gone to meeting I finished up the whole pot pie which had been prepared for the family, and I am alive yet and I have been hungry to this day."
"President Parkinson of the Hyrum Stake was present at the reunion and when he heard of the hardships, suffering and hunger George went through, he made arrangements with the Church authorities to grant this couple the privilege of receiving their second endowments. After they received theirs, Mary Ann stood proxy for George's first wife, who received their second endowments of the 28th of July 1910. This is a privilege and blessing that only a few people have had since the Church was organized....An adendum was added: "One time while visiting in Mapleton at his son Ben's home, he and my Grandfather—Marshall Franklin Allen—were reminiscing over old times. Grandfather Allen told of one time when "Brother Brigham" had called him to accompany several other young men in going out to meet the Hand Cart Company, to take them some provisions and assist them into the Valley. As he knelt in prayer the evening before going, he said that he told the Lord that it was a foolish thing to do, going out in such weather and with no roads to follow. But while he was still in the act of prayer, it was made known to him that he should go. It was also made known that he would be able to save many of their lives. After search many hours the rescue party became discouraged. Thinking the Hand Cart Company had been lost on the plains, they decided to return to the Valley. Grandfather said, "I told them I would go 'til I reached the States but what I would find them" About noon they found a group of handcarts with their poor, starving people. Thinking there may be more farther back, he rode on for some distance. He saw a dark spot among some rocks. Upon investigating, he found it to be a young man. He wrapped his blankets around him and helped him onto his horse. Then Grandfather Housley spoke up and said—"The horse had one white leg, a white strip in it's forehead and the rest of it was coal black." Grandfather Allen said, "Yes." Grandfather Housley said, "It was a bright plaid blanket." Grandfather Allen asked, "How do you know?" Grandfather Housley said, "Because I was the one you found!" Then he stood up and said, "And I want to tell you, if it hadn't been for the prayers of my mother and the faith of the Saints, I would not have lived 'till you found me and I never would have reached the Valley!"