Saturday, July 4, 2015

Martin Company Handcart Pioneer: Jeanetta Ann McBride, 16

Jeanetta was the oldest child in her family, and as a young woman was given much of the duty of the children, especially when her mother became ill and had to be carried on the handcart.  Jeanetta and her next younger brother, Heber, also became responsible for pulling the handcart.  Heber said mother would start out every morning and walk as far as she could until she gave out.  She would then lie on the ground until Father, Jeanetta and Heber came along with the handcart and they would put her in a carry her on the cart from there.  Father also became worn down and could no longer pull the cart.  Of the younger children, two would hold onto the cart as they walked.  The youngest, four-year-old Margaret Alice would ride in the cart.  Heber noted, “Jeanetta had all the worry of taking care of us children.  She carried water from the river for cooking purposes, her shoes gave out and she walked through the snow barefoot, actually leaving bloody tracks in the snow.”  The day after the last crossing of the Platte, Jeanetta’s father would succumb to the elements.  The family continued on as best they could.  At one point the tent in which they were staying blew down at night.  The family all left the tent, with the exception of little Peter, six.  The next morning as the leaders came to the tent the wondered how many were frozen in the tent.  Jeanetta reported they had all gotten out, then realized she hadn’t accounted for Peter.  She worried he must be frozen.  However when they pulled the tent up, the discovered Peter, who had slept warm through the night.  However his hair was frozen to the tent, and they had to help get it lose.

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