Saturday, April 18, 2015

Peter McBride: Mormon Handcart Pioneer

Peter McBride, from Scotland, traveled with the Martin Handcart Company with his family.  He was six.  His father served the company as the music leader.  Upon arriving by train at Iowa City, Iowa, some of the company walked to the pioneer camping site that evening.  They were caught in a tremendous down pour.  Peter was walking with his older brother Heber.  What should have been a short walk, took considerably more because of the mud.  They became disoriented, and would not have found the camp except for the campfires they could see after dark.
Like most young boys, Peter was lively.  His father would pass away after the last crossing of the Platte while the company was in the Red Buttes area.  After his father was buried Peter could not be consoled.  Finally he was able to get out, "My fish hooks are in my father's pocket and I want them back.
After making it to Martin's Cove, the wind blew all the tents down one night.  As the company leaders inspected how many had perished during the night, when they come upon the McBride tent which had fallen the wondered how many were dead inside.  Peter's brother explained they had all gotten out.  However when she realized her younger brother had not, she indicated he must have perished.  Peter tells the story this way:

The wind blew the tent down. They all crawled out but me. The snow fell on it. I went to sleep and slept warm all night. In the morning I heard someone say, "How many are dead in this tent?" My sister said, "Well, my little brother must be frozen to death in that tent." So they jerked the tent loose, sent it scurrying over the snow. My hair was frozen to the tent. I picked myself up and came out quite alive, to their surprise.  (McBride, Peter, CH)

Peter must have been a bright spot on a trip which such suffering.

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