Distance: 1,048 miles from Nauvoo
Rescuers helped the members of the Willie Handcart Company to this
small tributary of the Sweetwater River. The exact location of the
camp is unclear as some journals refer to this campsite as Willow
Creek, and others describe it as being actually at the Sweetwater.
For many of the company, the rescuers and their aid came too late,
and scores died in the vicinity of Willow Creek and Rock Creek.
weather grew colder each day, and many got their feet so badly frozen
that they could not walk, and had to be lifted from place to place.
Some got their fingers frozen; others their ears; and one woman
lost her sight by the frost. These severities of the weather also
increased our number of deaths, so that we buried several each day.
"A few days of bright freezing weather were succeeded by another
snowstorm. The day we crossed the Rocky Ridge it was snowing a littlethe
wind hard from the northwestand blowing so keenly that it
almost pierced us through. We had to wrap ourselves closely in blankets,
quilts, or whatever else we could get to keep from freezing.
". . . The night was very severe and many of the emigrants were
frozen. . . . There were so many dead and dying that it was decided
to lie by for the day. In the forenoon I was appointed to go round
the camp and collect the dead. I took with me two young men to assist
me in the sad task, and we collected together, of all ages and both
sexes thirteen corpses, all stiffly frozen. We had a large square
hole dug in which we buried these thirteen people, three or four
abreast and three deep. . . . Two others died during the day, making
fifteen in all buried on that camp ground" (quoted in LeRoy R. and
Ann W. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion , 127-29; paragraphing
courtesy of Infobases, Inc.