Margery Smith was a 51-year-old widow from Dundee, Scotland, who was emigrating with five children and a close friend of the family, Euphemia Mitchell. Margery’s oldest son, Robert Bain, had emigrated in 1854, where he went to Lehi, Utah, and farmed as a sharecropper. In a letter to his mother, Robert encouraged the rest of the family to emigrate.
After they saved enough for their journey, they spent six weeks on the ocean to New York, 10 days on trains and steamboats to Iowa City, and 3 weeks camped in Iowa City, the Willie Company Saints began the handcart portion of their journey on July 16, 1856.
In October, Margaret became very sick and her daughter Betsey was burdened with worry. Margaret said “do not feel like that; pray for me. I have been out yonder in the snow praying to the lord to spare our lives, that we might get through to the Valley.”
Betsey and her 6 year old brother, Alex, walked together. With innocence and impatience Alex had said he wished that when they reached Green River that they could see their brother…not long after a wagon pulls up to them, stared at them briefly and then yelled for his oxen to stop. “It was then we knew him,” Betsey wrote. “He jumped off the wagon and caught his sisters in his arms as they came up with the cart. How we all wept with joy!” Robert asked where his mother and sister Mary were, they said they were behind somewhere.
I…drove on to find Mother laying in the sagebrush nearly gone. I gathered her up in my arms and got her in the wagon. My heart overflowed with love and gratitude to God. My mother said to me, “I couldn’t be more happy and thankful to see you than if I were to be in the highest kingdom in heaven.” God had preserved them…in the midst of death, and I had been able to find them. The bread and butter in my wagon was a sweet morsel to them. Mother gained in health every day.