Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aunt Sarah Maxfield Lemon Reminices

This is by Maida ~ Ira Arthur Maxfield's Wife

"On of the most interesting events she had treasured in her mind was the rescue and bringing in of the belated Martin Handcart co. and her family's part in it. This is the way she told it to me.

The Maxfield family, Aunt Sarah with her brothers and their parents, John Ellison and Sarah Elizabeth (Baker) Maxfield, had settled and were living on a farm in or near the Jordan area and had horses and vehicles there. When the word reach the Valley that a company of pioneers, pulling handcarts, were stranded and in dire circumstances, back on the Sweetwater and much help needed to rescue them, the Maxfield men began to get ready to go to their aid.
While they were preparing, the women were not idle. The mother hurriedly mixed up great batches of sweet cookie dough, then placed each on a table, or as Aunt Sarah described it, this could have been a sturdy meat cutting block, and gave each of the children a wood flat paddle. Then their job was to go round and round and paddle the dough out flat. They made a real game of it, dancing and singing as round the job they went. When the dough was made thin all over, Mother would fold it over and over, then they would repeat the paddling. This was the 'leavening' to make them light. Finally, the thin dough was pricked and baked, after being marked into squares. (I can remember eating these 'sweetcrackers' during my chldhood and they were so light and delicious. I was glad to know how they were made.)MBM
When supplies and warm quilts, etc. were all packed in, (it was November), the older brothers left the farm and drove to the City to join many others, who had likewise prepared to go to the rescue and aid the Saints who were suffering so, to the Valley.
Then were the days of waiting while the horses of the rescue teams were making their way through the deep snow over the mountains; hard on horses and men. Of course, Aunt Sarah then knew nothing of how terrible was the suffering and anxiety of those Saints on the Sweetwater until those willing and brave men arrived in that camp of sickness, cold, hunger and death. How much those people paid to gather to Zion!
Then Aunt Sarah related how they waited, watched and prayed to see their brothers returning, until one day word came the rescue party and those that survived of that ill-fated handcart company were nearing the Valley. After watching so long, with their noses pressed against the windows, there they were! A dark line in the snow, like a long snake, became visible making its way down the hill from Emigration Canyon. (They arrived 30 November, 1856.)
This brought great joy to those in the Valley. Again everyone was busy getting the big sleighs ready with straw and warm rocks and quilts. Then away went Father John Maxfield and a young son James, just nineteen years old, to see what they could do to help some of those grateful people.
When they returned, in the welcomed warmth and comfort of the family sleigh was a mother, widowed by her husband dying from that awful ordeal at that last campsite, and her two daughters. There were: Mary Matilda (Blanchard) Clifton, widow of Robert Clifton, and their two daughters; Sophia, age 12, and Ann, age 7. (Their eldest daughter Rebecca, age 20, remained in Council Bluffs because her shoes were worn out. She was to come later, but remained there and married.)
Aunt Sarah's brother James carried little Ann into the house in his arms, then stood her on a table and had her sing for them. He, at that time, made the remark that she was the girl and he would marry her one day.
The Cliftons were cared for for a time at the Maxfield home until they could settle somewhere. Mary M. Clifton later married a Mr. Thompson. The daughter Sophia married a Godfrey.
James Appleton Maxfield married first Sophia Johnson and had four children. After Sophia's death he did marry Ann Clifton, the little girl he had carried into the Maxfield home many years ago."

John Ellison Maxfield and Sarah Elizabeth Baker were my great, great, great grandparents. ~ Carla


Blogger elliott said...

Wow. That's an amazing story.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this story. I am a descendant of Robert Clifton and Mary Matilda Blanchard and their daughter Sophia. We've found very few details about them except that Robert had died near Martin's Cove. It was nice to find some details about them coming into the Salt Lake Valley. Daughter Rebecca is on most indexes for the Martin Company, so your indication of her staying in Council Bluffs and being married is new to me and of great interest. Any other details you can provide would be most welcome.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Bee-Gee's Rock! said...

What a wonderful story. I am also a great-great-great-great granddaughter of John Ellison and Sarah Elizabeth Baker-Maxfield, through Elijah Hiett and Elcy Alcy Tanner-Maxfield. I've never heard any stories of my family before this. What a treasure! Thank you so much. I'd love to know where you found these and if you have more. please write to me

2:57 PM  

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