William Clayton records in his journal that when the first group of Saints in Brigham Young’s 1847 came across something that tasted sweet and pleasant on the trail shortly after they left the Sweet grass River. What was it?
b. A dead buffalo
A That they would die
Heber Robert McBride was born in Churchtown, England, May 13, 1843. He was 13 years old at the time of the handcart ordeal. After their family emigrated to America, they joined the Martin Handcart Company. There were 7 in the family. Heber was the oldest boy and he and his sister, who was 3 years older, had to pull their handcart all the way to Salt Lake. Their mother, who became very ill, would start out in the morning walking but before long she would give out and lay down and wait until her children came along and then they would put her on the cart and haul her until they came to camp for the evening.
Their father began to fail rapidly and after a while he could not pull the handcart any further. In Heber’s Journal he records, “. . .there was 3 younger children than me and [one] so small she had to ride all the way for she was only about 3 years old the other 2 being boys managed to walk by holding on the handcart no tongue nor pen could tell what my Sister and me passed through our parents both sick and us young- it seemed as though death would be a blessing for we used to pray that we might die to get out of our misery. . .”
After arriving in Salt Lake City, Heber settled in Eden, in Ogden Valley. In 1865 he was called by Brigham Young to help rescue a group of immigrants stranded in the same general area where so many members of the 1856 handcart companies perished. In 1901 he moved to Alberta, Canada where he raised two families and passed away in 1925 at the age of 82.
Stewart E. Glazier and Robert S. Clark, Journey of the Trail (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997), 57.