Redick Allred and the Handcart Companies

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George Evan Stoddard, son of Elma Marie Skelton, daughter of Ethel Christiana Stevens, daughter of Reddick Elisher Stevens, son of Lucy Adeline Allred, daughter of Redick Newton Allred

October 6, 1856—I attended conference in Salt Lake City, but as the handcart emigration was belated and likely to be caught in the mountains in the snow without provisions and the necessary clothing I responded to a call upon the brethren to assist them in, and on the 7th about 50 men and 20, four-horse wagons with ten tons of flour, and other provisions and clothing left the city. I got a pony to ride from Wm. B. Pace. G.D. Grant camped at the foot of the big mountain with ten wagons and I camped at the east foot of the little mountain with ten wagons.

8th—We crossed the Big Mountain and overtook Bro. Grant on East Canyon at the cottonwood grove. Encamped for the night where we joined his camp and organized. G.D. Grant had been apointed by letter from the President to lead the company and R.T. Burton, clerk. Charles Decker Capt. 1st ten and I of the 2nd ten; Wm. H. Kimball Sergt. of Guard and C.H. Wheelock, Chaplain. It snowed all the afternoon and evening so that I took cold and it gave me a severe pain in my breast that lasted one month that was almost like taking my life.

12th—We reached Bridger where we got seven beef cattle.

13th—Met Capt. A.O. Smoot in advance of the Church trains. In order to obtain supplies he returned with us and on the 15th left with Bro. Wheelock, Joseph A. Young, S. Taylor and A. Garr who were sent ahead to meet the trains. We crossed Green River and on the 16th met Capt. Smoot’s train on Big Sandy where we camped. I suffered much from plurisy or a pain in my breast and side.

18th—We arrived at the South Pass and camped on the Sweetwater 3 miles from the pass. It snowed and was quite cold.

19th—Capt. Grant left me in charge of the supplies of flour, beef cattle, four wagons, the weak animals and eleven men for guard. I killed the beef animals and let the meat lay in quarters where it froze and kept well as it was cold and storming almost every day. We were reinforced by 3 wagons and 6 men loaded with flour.

23rd—I received an express from Wm. H. Kimball in charge of Apt. Willie’s handcart company then at stony point forty miles below in deplorable condition.

24th—I took 6 teams and met them 15 miles below in such a hard west wind that they could not travel faceing the drifting snow even if they had been ready for duty. I found some dead and dying laying over the camp in the drifting snow that was being piled in heaps by the gale thus burying the dead.

Source: Kate B. Carter, compiler. The Diary of Reddick N. Allred. Daughters of Utah Pioneers, February 1956, pp. 344-45.

God offers us counsel not just for our own safety, but for the safety of His other children, whom we should love. There are few comforts so sweet as to know that we have been an instrument in the hands of God in leading someone else to safety. That blessing generally requires the faith to follow counsel when it is hard to do. An example from Church history is that of Reddick Newton Allred. He was one of the rescue party sent out by Brigham Young to bring in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. When a terrible storm hit, Captain Grant, captain of the rescue party, decided to leave some of the wagons by the Sweetwater River as he pressed ahead to find the handcart companies. With the blizzards howling and the weather becoming life-threatening, two of the men left behind at the Sweetwater decided that it was foolish to stay. They thought that either the handcart companies had wintered over somewhere or had perished. They decided to return to the Salt Lake Valley and tried to persuade everyone else to do the same.

Reddick Allred refused to budge. Brigham had sent them out and his priesthood leader had told him to wait there. The others took several wagons, all filled with needed supplies, and started back. Even more tragic, each wagon they met coming out from Salt Lake they turned back as well. They turned back 77 wagons, returning all the way to Little Mountain, where President Young learned what was happening and turned them around again. When the Willie Company was finally found, and had made that heartrending pull up and over Rocky Ridge, it was Reddick Allred and his wagons that waited for them. (See Rebecca Bartholomew and Leonard J. Arrington, Rescue of the 1856 Handcart Companies [1992], 29, 33–34.)

Source: Henry B. Eyring, "Finding Safety in Counsel," Ensign, May 1997, p. 24.

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