Alicia Quilley <I>Read</I> Arnold

Alicia Quilley Read Arnold

Limehouse, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
Death 7 May 1922 (aged 81)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Burial Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot J_7_1_2_E
Memorial ID 18636045 · View Source
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Daughter of Samuel George Read and Elizabeth Georgina Quilley

Married Orson Pratt Arnold, 4 Nov 1860, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Children - Orson Pratt Arnold, Clara Arnold, Georgina Arnold, Alicia Arnold, Willard Josiah Arnold, Samuel Read Arnold, Elizabeth Bliss Arnold, Thisbe Evelyn Arnold, Elsie May Arnold

History - The Read family boarded the ship ‘Horizon' on May 22, 1856 at Liverpool England. On May 25, 1856, the ship set sail for America. The entire cost of their passage was $5,400.

When the Martin Handcart company arrived at an area called Keg Creek, a few miles east of Council Bluffs, Iowa, the Read family discovered that their young son Walter was missing from the group.

Samuel and Georgina divided the family money to cover expenses of their individual needs. With the separation of the family upon Walter's disappearance on the plains of Iowa, Georgina Read positioned herself at the shafts in front of the handcart; with Alicia and Thisbe at the rear they pushed and pulled their handcart westward across the plains. Mother Read was the company nurse and carried in her cart many of the herbs and medicines.

One of their greatest tests came in crossing the Platte River near present day Casper, Wyoming. The river was full of floating ice that cut their legs as they pulled the handcarts across it. Alicia was carried across the river on a horse while Thisbe waited her turn. But her mother, knowing darkness was coming, would not wait. Georgina rolled her skirts up high and took off her shoes and stockings and dragged her heavy cart into the water. Thisbe's eyes were attracted back to the river by a shout of alarm. There was a cart half overturned in the river. It was Ma's cart. She was doing her best to right it. Without hesitation Thisbe waded into the river, shoes and all. She put her shoulder under the load, though the cold water lapped her face, cutting her breath off in a way that terrified her. Ma gave a great pull, someone else came quickly to help, and the cart was right side up again and climbing the far bank.

To break the wind as much as possible, Captain Martin had assigned the position for each cart. Georgina pulled her cart to its place and made a fire with the precious sagebrush she had carried for an emergency. Before Georgina even put her own shoes and stockings on, she undressed Thisbe and wrapped her in a blanket from the cart. She carried Thisbe over to a log that had been cleared of snow so she could dry it in the fire's warmth. Neither fire nor being wrapped in quilts relieved Thisbe's quivering body. Georgina, Thisbe and Alicia huddled close together while Georgina tried to keep the fire burning. Thisbe had survived but she was so ill that she was placed in the cart. The next day Alicia and her mother walked onward pulling and pushing the handcart bearing their beloved Thisbe and their meager belongings.

After arriving in the valley, Alicia Quilley Read worked for Brigham Young's families. It was during her work that she became acquainted with Orson Pratt Arnold who was also in the employ of Brigham Young. Orson, when 19 years of age, had been accidentally shot in the leg while serving with Lot Smith's group who were harassing the U.S. Army (Johnston's Army) in Wyoming. Because of this injury, he had a stiff, crippled leg. Orson and Alicia were married 14 November 1860.

Their first home was one small room at the Brigham Young Compound located at the present site of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City. This building was also the former Hotel Utah. Their only furniture was a mattress tick filled with straw. They cooked out-of-doors on a community fire. They later moved to Third East and Second South where they had a home on the west side of the street, and later built another home and barns on the east side of the street. The later home was a lovely gracious home where many influential people came to visit with them.

Alicia had a host of friends and was well respected. She had a rough time coming across the plains but she had not forgotten the things that she had learned in England. Alicia set a fine table and had to have her meals on time. She was noted for her beautiful bonnets that she always wore when she went out.

The whole handcart affair was almost more than Alicia could bear. She refused to talk about it to her children or anyone else. It was just too painful to recollect. She once, however, told one of her grandsons, Paul Sorenson Arnold, that while she was crossing the plains she fainted either from sun or fatigue. When she came to and found that they had revived her with water from a buffalo wallow, she nearly fainted again.

The granddaughter, Rhea Nielsen, of Samuel Milford Read went to visit her great-aunt Alicia. Rhea would go and see her often. Alicia told Rhea many things about Rhea's mother and her family. Alicia would be "Grandma" to Rhea as she had no grandchildren at that time.

One day Rhea went to see Alicia as she had been quite ill. Rhea asked her how she felt and Alicia said that she was very tired as she had traveled across the plains again in her dreams. Alicia went on to tell Rhea the story. Rhea regretted not taking a single note down in writing.

In 1985 Rhea told David Arnold White, great grandson of Alicia, what she remembered of the Martin Handcart story:

"When they reached Martin's Cove near the Sweet Water. They only had a little melted snow water and no food. Their leader would use a short horse whip on anyone who laid down in the snow.

When her mother laid down by Thisbe he came over and starting hitting her with the whip shouting: "Stand up, get back on your feet!"

Grandma Alicia grabbed his arm to stop him and he turned, "Do you want her to die girl? She will if she lays down and goes to sleep she will never wake up."

After a few more hits, Alicia got on her feet.

A while later Eph Hanks drove into their camp with the buffalo he had killed and the supplies in his wagon. Thisbe later became one of Hanks plural wives."

Utah Death Certificate

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Edward Martin Company (1856), Approximate age at departure: 15

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  • Created by: SMSmith
  • Added: 26 Mar 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 18636045
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alicia Quilley Read Arnold (20 Oct 1840–7 May 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 18636045, citing Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .