I am a Utah Pioneer Daughter. On both sides of my parents I had family who crossed the plains. Some crossed at a great cost, others came across the plains in "comfort" of the train. Some crossed more than once. Some were the first to see the Salt Lake Valley.
I will be forever grateful to these ancestors.
This family joined the LDS church in Norway and were immediately persecuted by their community. When they had saved enough money to send their eldest, Antoinette, they did. She traveled with a small box holding her "extra clothing" and a few items from Norway, to England to New York, then to the Mississippi River where from that point she walked the whole way across the great plains to Salt Lake City. There was one morning where her leg was hurt and a family let her ride in their wagon.
When she arrived in the Salt Lake Valley she only new a handful of English words. She is my hero. She suffered so much and yet, persevered and made a difference.
Her younger brother, Charles, was my Great-Great Grandpa. He was able to come to Utah about eight years later in the "comfort" of the train.
I wish I had a picture of John Daniel Holladay Jr. His story is wonderful as well. His family joined the church from Alabama and they joined the Saints in Nauvoo at the time they were building the temple. He became friends with the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.
When it came time for the Saints to leave for the West, John Daniel, Jr. was part of the advanced party that scouted out the route and was with Brigham Young on that great day when Brigham saw the Salt Lake Valley and proclaimed "This is the Place, drive on."
John Daniel, Jr. then traveled many times between Utah and Illinois helping company after company of Saints come west. It was in one of these trips that he found his wife. His future father-in-law asked him to drive the wagon with his daughter in it and a friendship and eventually a courtship happened.
Oh, how I love these family members who walked the hard road and sacrificed so much for me and my family.