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 Hyrum Kirkman

Hyrum Kirkman

Birth
Harwood, Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, Greater Manchester, England
Death 8 Dec 1867 (aged 15)
Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Burial Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Plot Blk. 49 Lot 4 Pos. 5
Memorial ID 61749 · View Source
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At the tender age of four years old, Hyrum Kirkman left his native home of Harwood in Lancashire on May20, 1856, with his father Robert Kirkman and mother, Mary Lawson Kirkman, and four brothers Robert (10), John (8), Joseph (6), and James (2) to start their eventful journey. After five long weeks aboard the old sailing vessel "Horizon," they finally arrived in Boston, thence traveling by rail to Iowa, arriving the last day of June.
In Iowa the family joined the Edward Martin Handcart Company which left on September 3, little aware that they would suffer untold hardships - almost beyond mortal endurance.
Young Hyrum started his walk of 1300 miles with over 500 Saints. Before they had been on the road a third of the distance, the handcarts broke down. An early winter set in, progress was slow, the food allowance was reduced and strong men became weak; women suffered terribly. Terrible blizzards raged in October, snow covered mountains had to be climbed, and in the face of freezing weather, bedding and clothing had to be discarded when it was most needed for loads were too heavy. Everyday took its toll of lives, and graves had to be dug in the snow.
Hyrum was witness to the good early days of the trek as well as the indescribable hardships that soon came. In the midst of his suffering and starvation, on October 28th an advance rescue party sent by Brigham Young from Salt Lake City reached these pioneers. The early elation soon dwindled as the pioneers continued on. On November 2nd they reached Devil's Gate and found more of the advance rescue party, but food was still not plentiful. The freezing cold and snows continued to afflict the family. On November 4th, a few miles beyond Devil's gate, the Martin Company was forced off the main trail and into a ravine, now known as Martin's Cove.
Hyrum's brother John later recalled their days in the ravine: "there were so many deaths it looked like an overcrowded grave yard." Their brother John wrote: "No mortal pen could describe the suffering." On November 9th, the storms abated slightly and the Martin Company again headed west.
Three weeks before they left Iowa, Hyrum's mother Mary had given birth to a son, Peter. She was naturally weak with the care of a nursing baby and five other children. Robert Kirkman was weak for want of food, having denied himself for the children, and the terrible strain of the journey was too much for him. One night, November 11, near Bitter Cottonwood Creek he passed away at the age of thirty-three. The baby died the same night. They built a fire to thaw the ground so that a grave could be dug, then with the baby clasped in his arms, they wrapped him in a blanket and laid him tenderly away.
Within hours after the burial, Ephraim Hanks road into camp with fresh buffalo meat. Mary Kirkman had to take up the journey alone with the five other children. They were still 500 miles from Salt Lake in the dead of winter, but it seemed that those remaining received a new lease on life.
After arriving in Salt Lake on November 30th, Hyrum and the remaining Kirkman family was met by William Clyde with an ox team and taken to Springville, staying one night with the Bishop of American Fork, and receiving great kindness. The next day they arrived in Springville, and how kind the people were to the half-starved family. Some of the children's feet were frozen so badly they had to lie
down all the while. Hyrum's younger brother James Kirkman lost half of both feet. Others lost toes from frostbite and suffered badly.
Hyrum's life may have mproved in Springville for a time, but sadly he only lived another 11 years before he died in 1867, just short of his 16th birthday.


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  • Maintained by: Bary Gammell
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 61749
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hyrum Kirkman (28 Jan 1852–8 Dec 1867), Find A Grave Memorial no. 61749, citing Historic Springville Cemetery, Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Bary Gammell (contributor 47586561) .