The River Was Wide

$10.00$555.72

This is the short description that shows up in the store.That was a bitter cold day. Winter came on all at once, and that was the first day of it. The river was wide, the current strong, the water exceedingly cold and up to the wagon beds in the deepest parts, and the bed of the river was covered with cobble stones.

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Description

On the 19th of October the company crossed the Platte for the last time… That was a bitter cold day. Winter came on all at once, and that was the first day of it. The river was wide, the current strong, the water exceedingly cold and up to the wagon beds in the deepest parts, and the bed of the river was covered with cobble stones. Some of the men carried some of the women over on their backs or in their arms… The company was barely over when snow, hail and sleet began to fall, accompanied by a piercing north wind.” -John Jacques (1827-1900), Martin Handcart Company</blockquote George Padley was among those who carried others across the icy North Platte River on Oct. 19, 1856. His sweetheart and fiancé, Sarah Ann Franks, was one that George took great care to look after and assist in every way. George had also taken his turn staying up nights guarding the cattle. With the shortened rations and severe exposure, George developed pneumonia. Over two weeks later, on November 4, George would be carried by others across the Sweetwater and into Martin’s Cove for shelter. Just prior to his death at this place, George approached Mary Taylor, a 31-year-old widow in the company and said, “Mary, I feel so weak. Will you make me a little gruel?” She said that she would, but her feet were frozen so badly that the captain of their group insisted that George get his own fuel to make enough fire to prepare the meal. George did gather the fuel and Mary made him some gruel. George drank it and retired to bed and died sometime during that night. Sarah Ann could not bear the thoughts of George’s body being placed in a shallow grave and subjected to the depredations of the wolves. She left behind her warm paisley shawl in which George’s body was wrapped and hung in a tree for protection to await a proper burial in the Spring and a glorious resurrection at some time in the future.

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