Jun 25, 2008

Aunt Faith

by Faith St. Clair

I had been wandering in the woods for two days after spending a day and a night with my butchered husband, finding the strength to bury him and then spending a few more hours unable to leave him. If it wasn't for the hunger, lack of provisions or shelter, the fear that the Indians would return, and a two-month old infant to care for, I might have laid right down next to him and waited for the good Lord to take me from my suffering.

But a voice spoke to me and told me to gather my legs beneath me and walk. "You are saved as a beacon to your posterity. March on, Faith, to the place in the West that I have prepared for you and your family. March on toward truth."

So it was that I began wandering, not knowing which way was West, but hoping to find fellow Saints, before long, that could help me. And they did.

There was a Smithson handcart company of 14 families, 250 souls in all, that I saw traversing in the distance. I made haste, as best I could, to catch up with them. I told them of my struggles - that I had been in the woods caring for my infant when the Indians murdered my husband and took our wagon and provisions, leaving me alone and with nothing to secure my survival.

The Wylie family, with 11 children, took me in. Even though I had nothing to offer them, they said I could journey with them to the Salt Lake Valley and counted me as one of their own. I became their "Aunt Faith".

The journey was hard. My feet hurt and blisters and sprains surmounted almost past my ability to overcome them. And although the Wylies took me in, I felt like a burden. I couldn't do enough to repay them. I couldn't give enough to replace their kindnesses. The children took care of my little Celeste on days and moments that surpassed my abilities to do so. There were people parishing all around us - babies, Pa's and Ma's and strong youthful boys. Burials happened on an almost daily basis. But we were spared.

We made it to the Salt Lake Valley. We survived! Our struggles, however large they seemed at the time, appear as small mites compared to the spreading of this true gospel for which we did suffer. It has been revealed that this work will go throughout every land and every ear shall hear that Christ's restored gospel is here on this earth in its fullness.

I had better gird up my weary loins and start with my 2008 pioneer experience by knocking on my neighbor's door and letting them know of this great news!


  1. Wow. Very intense. So, is this the account of someone you were perhaps named after? The struggles of the pioneers do make our own pale in comparison, don't they? Thanks for sharing this. I would have liked to know a little bit more about who she was in reference to you. Nice job.

  2. Stories like that can't be made up can they? Thanks for sharing it. Uplifted me today...and I needed that.

  3. I would never have survived as a pioneer. Wow! is this from a journal? Is this something you're writing? How did she know when she saw the handcart company in the distance that it was the Smithson group?
    What a legacy.

  4. I just returned from a Pioneer Trek and was assigned as an Aunt to a family. The staff took me a few miles up the road and left me and my baby in the woods. The story of how I got there, I made up, as I flagged down the company and sought refuge and assistance with the journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

    Personally, I am a convert to the church, and enjoyed the opportunity to unite with my gospel ancestors during this re-enacted pioneer trek. It was hard. It was humbling. It was inspiring.

  5. Well, that was very interesting. I was a "Ma" on a trek a few years ago and Jim has been on 2 of them. Our daughter and son-in-law just got back from taking their youth from Henderson, NV all the way to Martin's Cove in WY for a trek.

    Did you know that the writer's prompt for the next ANWA newsletter is exactly what you just did? Since too few of the ANWA sisters read this blog, you should submit it to Karen, the newsletter editor, for the Aug. issue. It's perfect!!

    Take care.

  6. Wow! Henderson to Martin's Cove??? That's like some 800 miles!!

  7. Well, they took buses to Martin's Cove and then they trekked for 4 days there, camping and then moving on to the next location... didn't mean to sound like the entire trip was a trek, sorry!! or were you just teasing me?

  8. Faith, this is an amazing story. I just finished reading "These is My Words" and your piece is every bit as compelling. I look forward to our trek experience in a couple of weeks. I am practicing this week by tending my brother's 6 children for 10 days.

  9. That really got to me Faith! I pray that I can endure like my faithful ancestors. I owe them and my posterity a life well lived.

    Thanks for the lift!


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