Charlotte Mee, age 20, and Betsy Mee, age 14, traveled to Zion with the Martin Handcart Company. They were headed for Nephi, Utah, where their married sister, Sarah Mee Wright, had immigrated previously. The girls’ father had died in 1845 and their mother in 1848, so the girls had all worked very hard to accomplish their goals.
To complicate things, Charlotte had an accident in 1853 which left her crippled. Charlotte wrote:
“When I was seventeen years old, I sprained or broke some of the ligaments in my ankle and the doctor said I must lose my leg, but I refused to have it amputated. I was forced to use crutches for nearly four years.”
The use of crutches, however, did not keep Charlotte from her commitment to travel over 1,300 miles to her promised land. Besides her crutches, she had to rely on the kindness of her sister, Betsy, as well as the others close to her in the company.
“Part of the way I walked, and part of the way I was hauled in a wagon or handcart. One day I walked and crawled eight miles, and my knees finally bled. We had a very hard trip.”
Charlotte had surgery on her ankle shortly after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. She used her crutches off and on throughout her life.
Charlotte and Betsy both lived long and honorable lives. Betsy had 10 children, six of whom preceded her in death. Her granddaughter wrote:
“Grandmother told me stories and read to me . . . taught me nursery rhymes . . . My most unforgettable picture of my grandmother is seeing her sitting in her rocker at one end of the kitchen range, reading her Bible or Book of Mormon or knitting. She knit socks for all her grandchildren.”
(Leda Thompson Jensen) Betsy lived to be 80 years old.
Charlotte married twice and had only one child who died as a toddler. She wrote: “I have never regretted coming to Zion, even though my life has been one of hardship and trial.” Charlotte lived to be 81 years old.