Monday, June 29, 2015

Martin Company Handcart Pioneer: George Harrison, 14

While traveling on the Ship Horizon, George took interest in the “big Mulatto” who was making pancakes.  He watched him flip the cakes, and then asked for a turn which was granted.  George remembers the company singing the handcart song as they left Florence, Nebraska.  However the company lingered near Winter’s Quarter, and George and his older brother Aaron and some other boys decided to go swimming.  The Missouri was too swift, so they found a slough.  However this turned out to have unhealthy water and George and some of the boys took sick, Aaron did not.  George had to ride in the sick wagons.  In crossing the plains, George became sicker and sicker.  Aaron, his brother, joined the army at Fort Laramie.  When they further lightened their loads, George made a decision he too was extra weight and determined to unload himself.  He started back up the trail, maybe to get back to his brother Aaron.  He remembered they had passed an Indian camp, and went there for assistance.  They gave him food, which he ate ravenously.  He then passed out.  His father came looking for him.  The Indian woman was married to a French trapper.  The convinced his father he best stay with them, as he could not walk.  The convinced his father of this.  He remained the winter with them, but they visited a trading post, where Johnston’s Army was camped.  There he ran into his brother and they had a nice reunion.  He took a job to help the camp cook, and said goodbye to his adopted “red mother.”  There was a sad parting. 
He traveled with Johnston’s Army, and entered the valley with them.  They made their base at Camp Floyd.  When his father, having heard of their arrival, went to visit George and his brother Aaron, George presented him with $85.  He had not spent any of his earnings.  He would continue working at the camp until the army abandoned it five years later at the outbreak of the Civil War.  He was able to help support his family in this way.

Taken from “Tell my Story Too” by Jolene S. Allphin 

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