The Blue Angel

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Joseph A. Young arrived as the leader of the [express] relief party sent from the valleys by President Brigham Young – he rode a white mule down a snow covered hill or dug way. The white mule was lost sight of on the white background of snow, and Joseph A. with his big blue soldier’s overcoat, its large cape and capacious skirts rising and falling with the motion of the mule, gave the appearance of a big blue winged angel flying to our rescue.

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From riding express in October 1856 to locate the Willie, Martin, Hodgett and Hunt Companies and let them know that rescue wagons were coming, to carrying express reports back to Salt Lake City in November, to shoveling snow and breaking trails into December to get the last immigrants safely in to the Valley, Joseph Angell Young traveled over 800 miles and is mentioned often in these pioneer diaries. One of the most poignant of these accounts was written by 16-year-old Albert Jones of the Martin Handcart Company:

It was at this place* that Joseph A. Young arrived as the leader of the [express] relief party sent from the valleys by President Brigham Young – he rode a white mule down a snow covered hill or dug way. The white mule was lost sight of on the white background of snow, and Joseph A. with his big blue soldier’s overcoat, its large cape and capacious skirts rising and falling with the motion of the mule, gave the appearance of a big blue winged angel flying to our rescue.

The scene that presented itself on his arrival I shall never forget; women and men surrounded him, weeping and crying aloud; on their knees, holding to the skirts of his coat, as though afraid he would escape from their grasp and fly away. Joseph stood in their midst drawn up to his full height and gazed upon their upturned faces, his eyes full of tears. I, boy as I was, prayed “God bless him.”

*Bessemer Bend, N. Platte River, near present day Casper, Wyoming, Oct. 28, 1856, where the Martin Company had been stranded for several days.

Numbers 20:16: And when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel…

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