by - June 29, 2009

So, I just got back yesterday from Wyoming. I had such a great time and learned so much. We got to hike up Rocky Ridge and go to 6th crossing. We also went to Martin's Cove hiked into the cove. There are so many amazing stories but I learned one that was simply amazing.

In 1856 Brigham Young held the general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He announced that the Willie and Martin handcart company were still out on the trail very late in the season and that they needed help from their fellow brothers and sisters. This is the story:

Brigham Young, Salt Lake City 
5 October 1856 
General Conference of the Church

"I will now give this people the subject and the text for the Elders who may speak to-day and during the conference. It is this. On the 5th day of October, 1856, many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with handcarts, and probably many are now seven hundred miles from this place, and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. The text will be, 'to get them here.' I want the brethren who may speak to understand that their text is the people on the plains. And the subject matter for this community is to send for them and bring them in before winter sets in. 

"That is my religion; that is the dictation of the Holy Ghost that I possess. It is to save the people. This is the salvation I am now seeking for. To save our brethren that would be apt to perish, or suffer extremely, if we do not send them assistance. 

"I shall call upon the Bishops this day. I shall not wait until tomorrow, nor until the next day, for 60 good mule teams and 12 or 15 wagons. I do not want to send oxen. I want good horse and mules. They are in this Territory, and we must have them. Also 12 tons of flour and 40 good teamsters, besides those that drive the teams. This is dividing my texts into heads. First, 40 good young men who know how to drive teams, to take charge of the teams that are now managed by men, women and children who know nothing about driving them. Second, 60 or 65 good spans of mules, or horses, with harness, whipple trees, neckyokes, stretchers, lead chains, &c. And thirdly, 24 thousand pounds of flour, which we have on hand. . . 

"I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains. And attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, or temporal duties. Otherwise, your faith will be in vain. The preaching you have heard will be in vain to you, and you will sink to Hell, unless you attend to the things we tell you" (quoted in LeRoy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion [1960], 120-21).

29 men were part of the first rescue team. In that group there was a man by the name of Ira Nebeker. He was seventeen years at the time that Brigham Young called the members of the church to action. He was seven when his family had crossed the plains in 1847. They were one of the first to make it to the Salt Lake Vally. Ira was a part of the 29 of the first rescue team. Later hundreds more followed.

When Ira had crossed the plains in 1847 his father was one of the Captains. It just so happens that his father is my Great Great Great Great Grandfather. So that makes Ira my Great Great Great Uncle.

It was amazing to discover that my relatives took such a part in the history of the church.

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