- Ann Aldred Polit Williamson 48, Ellen 23, Elizabeth Ann 19, Mary 16, William 13, John 11 , and Betsy age 3 are all listed as members of the ill fated Martin Handcart company of 1856, lead by Edward Martin. The handcart company departed Iowa City, Iowa 28 July 1856 and arrived in SLC Utah 30 Nov 1856, Father and Husband, James Williamson was not listed as a member of the company. See Mormon Overland Travel 1847-1868 at http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/
On 25 May 1856, the ship Horizon, departed Liverpool, England. The Horizon was commanded by a Captain Reid, and the "Mormon company" aboard this vessel was under the direction of Edward Martin. Aboard the Horizon there were 692 adults, 136 children and 26 infants, totaling 854 passengers. The majority of the Mormon immigrants aboard were funded by the Perpetual Emigration Fund of the L.D.S. Church. The ship Horizon reached Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, on 30 June 1856. It is felt the Williamson family was aboard the Horizon. Edward Martin was returning from a mission to the British Isles and had been ask to lead the Mormon Immigrants to Utah.
The crossing to Boston Harbor took thirty-four days as the "Horizon" proved to be an excellent sailing ship. Although during much of the voyage, head winds predominated, the ship pushed continually westward against the head winds by tacking to port and starboard as required. It was considered to be a good crossing.
The railway cars waiting the company to take them on to Iowa City, Iowa, proved to be little more than box cars with seats built up inside. No one complained for they were the means of moving rapidly to their next destination It took about four days to span the distance to the end of the railway. The gathering place was on the plains a few miles beyond Iowa City. The James G. Willie company; they had arrived in America three weeks ahead of the "Horizon" on the ship "Thornton." And was still in Iowa City
The trek from that point on was to be by handcart, but the handcarts being constructed in Iowa were not ready when they arrived. They were almost a month behind schedule.
The Martin Handcart Company and stopped at Fort Laramie. The fort was located along the Platte River about two-thirds of the way to Salt Lake City. The Martin group arrived seven days later at the Fort than the Willie Company. The company remained overnight and was on their way early the next morning.
The season for leaving was becoming very late but with luck they would make it through before the winter storms would close the roads and mountain passes ahead. By the second week in October they were still hundreds of miles from Salt Lake. They had not yet crossed the steepest ranges or the highest passes and everyone was growing trail weary. When Captain Martin ordered a reduction in both the daily flour ration and the weight of baggage per person on the carts, it meant for some of them, discarding extra blankets and clothing.
In the two days following, they were confronted with the first severe storm of the season, hail, sleet, and snow accompanied by a frigid north wind. The mistake in throwing away both blankets and clothing was immediately recognized. That night as the damp ground froze solid, more than a few of them wondered about the immediate future and hoped that that was just a single change in the weather to be followed by the return of warmer days.
During the next week the cold became so intense that scores of men, women, and children in the company suffered its effects and became too weak to continue the journey. It is amazing that despite the cold weather and the continued storms, so many survived. Approximately four hundred fifty of the six hundred who started the journey lived to reach the valley. After overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, the company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley the first week in December.
The immigrants were quickly taken into the homes of the settlers and made as comfortable as possible. Many had frozen fingers, toes, and feet. All of them suffered malnutrition. The entire Williamson family survived.
1860 Census lists: James Williamson age 55, Ann 52, John 18, William16, Betsy 7 Iron County Utah, Red Creek, Post office as Parowan. Two married Daughters are also listed on the same census page Ellen (Williamson) WATTS age 28, and Elizabeth (Williamson) JOSE age 26 The Census indicates all WILLIAMSONS were born in England. (ELK 12 Nov2004)
1870 Census Paragonah, Iron County Utah indicates Ann Williamson 63 is living with son John 25, and daughter Betsy age 17. This same census also indicates her husband James Williamson is living with another wife Isabella age 50, and what appears to be his step daughter Emma Scofield age 16
1880 Census Bluff, San Juan County Utah lists Silas S. Smith Sr. 49, and Silas Jr. age 26 , his wife Betty W.26 (A Total of 16 Smiths, and other families in route to settling in the San Luis Valley Colorado where Silas was to become the first Stake President about 1883)
1900 Silas S Smith Jr. is listed as the Census taker in Manassa, Conejos, Colorado.
1900 Census Colorado, Conejos county, Manassa lists Silas S. Smith Jr. age 46, b Jul 1853, wife Betsy W. 46 b Jan 1853; Nor age 16, b Sep 1883; John W. 13 b Jul 1886; James A. 11 b May 1889; and Don S. b Sep 1894. Silas Smith Sr. age 69 is listed on the same census page.
1910 Census (28 April) Rexburg Idaho Lists Silas S. Smith Jr. 56, wife Betsy W 57, John W 23 , James A 20 , and Don S. 16. Also living with them is Son-in Law John S. Knight 27, his wife Betsy L. S. 27, Lenoria C. (f) 6., John A. 5, and Arzella (f) 2 (Newel will be born 5 weeks later on 1 June 1910)
1920 Census, Idaho, Madison county, Rexburg lists: Betsy W. age 66; living with her is son Don S. 25, wife Adella22; and Darrell S. age 1 3/12