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William James
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Birth: Feb. 28, 1808
Eckington
Worcestershire, England
Death: Oct. 23, 1856
Sweetwater Crossing
Fremont County
Wyoming, USA

Source of Trail Excerpt:
Dangerfield, Mary Ann James, Autobiographical sketch, in Mormon biographical sketches collection [ca. 1900-1975], reel 4, box 4, fd. 10, item 1, 2-3.


We were met at Camp Iowa by Elders from Salt Lake, with tents, handcarts and provisions, we were told that all must walk that could and pull our baggage and provisions. The emigrants were divided into four companies. The company in which we traveled was the Willie Company and numbered about 500 souls. We left Camp Iowa July 15th and the first 200 miles of our journey was filled with pleasant memories. After leaving Council Bluffs, Iowa, we started on what is known as the remarkable journey recorded in the annals of history.
Early in September the first frosts of the season came and from then on our sorrows and troubles were far more than our joys. The poorly made handcarts were about to fall to pieces… much time was spent in fixing them, and very little progress could be made.
"It snowed day after day and we managed to get a few miles each day. We were sort of dizzy and sleepy a lot of the time so I cant remembered too well just what did happen all of the time.

Copied from Laletas Dixons History of her ancester William James of the Willey [Willie] Handcart. Co. 1856:

"The day we reached the last crossing of the Sweetwater river I will never forget as long as I live. It was a bitter cold morning in October as we broak camp. As usual there were dead to be buried before we could go on. Father and R[e]uben were with the burial detail. Mother who was helping to pull the heaviest cart had stayed behind until they could finish their sad work. After a short services we with light cart went ahead to catch the rest of the company and mother and Rueben started to follow. Father collapsed and fell in the snow. He tried two or three times to get up with mother's help then finaly he asked her to go on and when he felt rested he would come on with R[e]uben. Mother knew in her heart that he had given out but perhaps she said in a few minutes with some rest he could come on[.] she took the cart and hurried to follow us."
"She found us on the river-bank. We were too frightened and tired to cross alone. We had forded this river before many times but it had never seemed so far across. It was about 40 feet I guess to the other bank. Mother soon had us on our way. The water was icy and soon our clothing was frozen to our bodies. Our feet were frozen numb. Cold and miserable we reached the other bank, put on dry clothing and joined the rest of the company."
"When we stopped for the night we made inquiries about our people but nothing had been heard of them. Since there were some who had been a few hours behind us we felt that they would come with the next group. All night we waited for word. Toward morning some of the captains who had gone out to gather up the stragglers came into camp bearing the dead body of my father and the badly frozen body of my brother Rueben. His injuries were so bad that he would suffer from them for the rest of his life. When morning came Father's body along with others who had died during the night were buried in a deep hole. Brush was thrown in and then dirt. A fire was built over the grave to kill the scent to keep the wolves from digging up the remains."
"I can see my mother's face as she sat looking at the partly concious Ruebin [Reuben]. Her eyes looked so dead that I was afraid." She didn't sit long however for my mother was never one to cry. When it was time to move out Mother had her family ready to go. She put her invalid son in the cart with her baby and we joined the train. Our mother was a strong woman and she would see us through anything."


William Woodward's journal: "Thursday 23rd. Ascended a steep hill, travelled about 16 miles & camped on the Sweetwater. Crossed several creeks on the road, several men were near frozen thro the day; two teams loaded with sick did not get to camp till very late. …Crossing the Rocky ridge was a severe & disastrous day to health. The weather was cold & it snowed and blowed some of the time making it bad for the sick who rode in the wagons & for those who pulled the handcarts. (The next day we buried 13 souls near Willow Creek on the banks of the Sweetwater.)"
John Chislett's record: "The weather grew colder each day, and many got their feet so badly frozen that they could not walk, and had to be lifted from place to place. Some got their fingers frozen; others their ears; and one woman lost her sight by the frost."
 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Jane Haynes James (1815 - 1911)
 
 Children:
  Sarah James Carter (1837 - 1922)*
  Emma James Johnson Rowley (1840 - 1926)*
  Reuben James (1842 - 1923)*
  Mary Ann James Dangerfield (1844 - 1928)*
  George James (1849 - 1926)*
  John Parley James (1852 - 1887)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, on Aug. 15 (1992) traveled more than 200 miles through desolate, sagebrush country - about 45 miles of the trip was over rough, rocky dirt roads - to dedicate three monuments …The three monuments, constructed by members of the Riverton stake, and another monument, erected in 1933 by the Lyman (Wyo.) Stake, form a "string of monuments" from Martin's Cove to Rock Creek, a distance of about 100 miles, which pay tribute to the handcart pioneers and their rescuers… The three new monuments, patterned after the one erected 60 years ago, were finished only hours before the dedication ceremonies. … From Rocky Ridge, President Hinckley traveled 15 miles over the original pioneer trail to Rock Creek. Deep ruts left by the westward wagon and handcart companies can still be seen off to the side of the main trail. Rock Creek, where the first monument to the handcart pioneers was erected in the 1930s, is where the Willie company was stranded the second time because of extreme cold, altitude, lack of food and exhaustion. Thirteen members of the company who died during one night are believed buried at this site in a common grave, and two who died the next morning are buried nearby. (By Dell Van Orden, Church News editor Published: Saturday, Aug. 22, 1992)
 
Burial:
Rock Creek Hollow
Atlantic City
Fremont County
Wyoming, USA
 
Maintained by: Bary Gammell
Originally Created by: Matt Misbach
Record added: Oct 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43176176
William James
Added by: Matt Misbach
 
William James
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Matt Misbach
 
 
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- Sunshine
 Added: Nov. 2, 2009
 
 
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