Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Elizabeth's Story

My daughter told me that I needed to put Elizabeth's story on this blog.  There is some "creative license" in the movie apparently which deviates from the story as we, our family, have it.  Actually, as far as we know, Elizabeth could not read or write.  Interestingly, however, in an account of her terminal illness, a friend wrote that she took Elizabeth some books to read.  Did she learn to read later in life?  Did she know how to write but just never "had time" to sit down and write her experiences?  Or was it too painful to recall? 

Whatever the reasons, her stories have only been passed down orally through the generations.  How I wish that we had her own recorded history of these events!  But since we don't, I will here give the accounts as recorded by others.  Where I have sources, I will indicated them.  If any descendents happen to read this and have different accounts, I would appreciate copies of them and, if they wish, will be happy to post them on this blog.


My own personal experience with Elizabeth's story was from my mother's telling.  As I remember the story as my mother told it:   While in England, Elizabeth was given a blessing by Wilford Woodruff before leaving for "Zion."  In the blessing she was told that she and her children would reach the saints in Utah safely.  Elizabeth left England under the threat of her husband, who was a drunkard.  He had told her that he would kill her if she tried to leave.  As she sat on the train with her two children, Jane and Chris, he boarded and started walking down the aisle of the train looking for her.  He reportedly walked pass her three times, looking directly at her and yet, not recognizing her.  This was the first of the miracles that protected her and her children.  While on the handcart trek across America, the Willie Handcart Company endured great deprevation.  Eventually, there was so little food that without a rescue, they all surely would have died.  During this dire time, Elizabeth was approached by a well dressed man, who handed her a package of something wrapped in newspaper.  When Elizabeth opened the package, it contained some meat.  When she looked up to thank the man, he had disappeared.   The newspaper was from England, dated just a few days before.  (This is what I remember my mother telling me, however, I may not be remembering right. I was, after all, young.   It is very different from the other accounts I will be posting later.  My sister also remembers it a little differently!)  Elizabeth one day put her children in a handcart that was loaded with the sick.  That evening when the company stopped, she went to get them. She found her children nestled among the people in the cart, all of whom were dead. 

Regardless of the exact details, it is very apparent that Elizabeth was a very special daugther of God.  She stayed true to her faith and covenants throughout many challenges, disappointments, trials of great magnitude and life experiences.  The help and protection she received from God is a testimony of her commitment to Him.  Her blessings in trials have lifted the spirits of her posterity.  Her endurance has encouraged the weakest of us.  Her faith has supported not only her descendents but also others who have had the opportunity to hear of her life.  How I love Elizabeth!

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