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Our Family Genealogy Pages

Alice Fish Walsh


Told by her grandson, Arlie Campbell, in the Jacob Strong Family reunion August 19, 1978 at the home of Elmer Strong.

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As has been announced, I am a grandson of Jacob Strong from his second marriage to Alice Fish Walsh. There are only five of his grandchildren still alive: Sybil who lives in Salt Lake, William who lives in Provo, Vernon who lives in Idaho Falls, Mildred who lives in Riverside, Boxelder County, and I live in Pleasant View, Weber County.

I'd like to confine my remarks largely to my grandmother who was the second wife of Jacob Strong. I think I know more about her than probably any of you, because she lived with us in the declining years of her life for over 20 years. My mother took care of her until she died. She was born in 1829 in Lancashire, England in a little town called Over Darwen. And according to the brief account, which my mother wrote concerning her, she started to work in a mill when she was nine years old. When she was sixteen years old, she joined the Church. The young lady that interested her in Mormonism later apostatized but she remained true. Now I know very little about that early part of her life. She married William Walsh. He lived in a little town about seven miles away from Over Darwen called Accrington I don't know how they met. I don't know anything about the romance, but they were married in—if my figures are correct—1850.

At that time, you students of history will remember that England was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. And many things which were done in the mills and the factories were done by hand. But when the Industrial Revolution came to England machinery replaced a lot of that, and thousands of the people were turned out of work. When the brethren, the Elders, went to England to preach the Gospel—Heber C. Kimball Franklin D. Richards, George Q. Cannon, I believe, and others--they received a hearty response and many hundreds of people were converted to the Church. And in part, that was due to the fact that many of these people who were out of work clamored to go to Zion where they could receive no only their spiritual salvation, but in this new world their temporal salvation... and many people came.

William Walsh and his wife Alice--her name was Alice Fish Walsh--they decided to come to Zion. That was in the year of 1856. It took about a month for the ships to sail from Liverpool to New York or Boston. Now the particular ship, which they came on was called "The Horizon”--but it was late in starting. Some of these delays were due to the inability to procure ships and for other reasons. And this ship was late and it landed in Boston--1 haven't the date--but anyway this ship encountered heavy weather. A very severe storm came. Instead of crossing in a month, it took them six weeks. They landed in Boston--William his wife Alice, and three small children: Robert who was five years old, John who was four, and Sarah who was eight months of age. They went by train from Boston to Iowa City: and if I understand it correctly, many of those people traveled on flat boxcars. When they came to Iowa City that was the farthest point that the railroad went which is in the east part of me state of Iowa. And from there... first let me say this... I'm getting ahead of my story. On the voyage across the ocean an epidemic of measles broke out and their three children encountered measles. The two youngest ones survived and recovered pretty well; but the oldest one, Robert, he recovered in part, but he never was well after that. When they came to Iowa City--from there on--they had to travel by handcart. It was 277 miles from Iowa City to Florence which is now Omaha. It took them about a month to make that trip. When they got to Florence, Nebraska it was getting fairly late. They joined what was known as the Martin Handcart Company. There were 576 in that company and there were horses, and cattle, and some wagons; but most of them had to push or pull handcarts across the state of Iowa to Florence, Nebraska. This party was headed by Brother Edward Martin. He was a missionary who was returning from England. They were late starting. One reason was because they didn’t have enough handcarts completed so there was a delay to secure handcarts. But anyway, they started out to Fort Laramie they crossed the Platte River, and eventually up to Independence Rock (I'm sure many of you know where that is.) In the meantime, if you understand the geography of the country, they were going uphill, approaching the Continental Divide and winter set in early. As a result, many of them couldn't stand the cold. They didn't have enough clothing or enough food and there were deaths on the way. But when they got over to what is known as Devil's Gate...I asked Grandma once, I said, "Where was it you were snowed in?" "At Devil's Gate." Now that was about five miles west of Independence Rock where the Sweetwater River cuts through the mountains and leaves a kind of gateway there. They were snowed in there. In the meantime, their son, Robert, died somewhere along the way. We don't know exactly where and it began to snow and the temperature dropped to zero and their food supplies were running short and they went through a terrible ordeal. And one night her husband William Walsh. Was required to stand guard to protect their cattle from the Indians. The next morning they found him frozen to death. Well, there was a large grave dug--eleven brethren were buried in that grave because that many more had died that night.

In the meantime, Franklin D. Richards, who was returning from his mission and Daniel Spencer and some others were hurrying on, by buggy, and wagon to Salt Lake. When the word came to Brigham Young of the condition of these handcart victims... there was another party ahead of them 15 or 20 miles known as the Willey Handcart Company—they were close to the Continental Divide but they were all in about the same circumstances. It was on October the 6th, they were having General Conference, as soon as Brigham Young got that word, he said, “We will omit the afternoon meeting. I want 60 men with wagons and teams to be ready tomorrow to go to bring aid to those suffering handcart victims." And as, to make a long story short, those brethren eventually came and they found these people in a deplorable condition: cold for the lack of clothing, and their food supplies were running short... I said to Grandma once, (as I said she lived with us for 20 years as I was growing up) she said to me, "When those brethren came, with a report that there would be some to come and rescue us," she said, "I was sitting on the ground. The brethren had fixed a kind of a tent—put up a pole and put some quilts and wagon covers over it—and I was sitting under there, it was snowing, I had a child on each knee, and when I saw those brethren come," she said, "it was like angels from Heaven."

To make a long story short, eventually the brethren came and they were taken into Salt Lake City. They were 325 miles from Salt Lake where they were snowed in there at what we call Martin's Cove. My wife Gladys and I drove up there a few years ago to see the place. It's about 65 miles directly north of the city of Rawlings Wyoming--close to the geographical center of the state of Wyoming.

Grandma said that when they arrived in Salt Lake, her feet were frozen and when she took off her shoes, skin and flesh came off with her shoes. Brigham Young got up and said, “I don't want these handcart victims to be put in a place by themselves or in a building, I want the Bishops of the various wards to come and take some of them into their homes and the sisters prepare food for them (they were all hungry) and dress their wounds and take care of them." And Jacob Strong was one who came--and as the story goes--I'm not sure whether they were in a building or not--but as the story goes--his first wife pointed out my grandmother and said, "I think we'll take that one with the buck teeth." I never knew that Grandma had buck-teeth because all the years that I knew her she had dentures.

Now I don't know exactly where Jacob Strong’s home was at that time and I presume some of you people do. My mother in her brief sketch of the life of Grandma Strong said she thought it was directly diagonally across from the old 10th Ward meeting house--wherever that was. I don't know exactly where it was. But anyway, a year later Jacob Strong married her. He already had one family and my mother had nieces and nephews who were older than she was. One of them was Sarah Elizabeth Strong who married Joe Alvord of West Weber.

Well, as a result of that second marriage, there were three children born: my mother was the oldest and her name was Lucinda Strong; and then there was William Jacob Strong (Uncle Will); and then there was Alma Ether Strong (Uncle Alma) and I remember all of them very well. Now Alma's family has moved to California and we've lost track of them—least I have—and I was told that all his children have died, I don't know. They're all dead—now all of them. Of Uncle Will's family, four of them are alive. There's Sybil, Will, Vernon and Mildred.

My mother married Scott Campbell and they had three children--three boys--and I'm the youngest and the remaining one. But after Grandma married Jacob Strong, and their children grew up, eventually she broke up housekeeping and she went to live with the various ones of their children. When Uncle Will died in nineteen hundred and three, he was only forty years old. He left Aunt Emma with a family of eight children--she couldn't very well take care of Grandma; Uncle John Walsh, who was me little boy who crossed the plains, lived in Farmington, and his wife was in poor health--and she couldn't very well take care of Grandma; Aunt Sarah Swift lived at 928 East 4th South--and she couldn't very well take care of her because she was a widow; so she came to live with us. And I can't remember exactly when it was. Now Uncle Will died in nineteen hundred and three...well, I think Grandma was starting to live with us around the turn of the century... I don't know the exact time.

I want to tell you something about my Grandma and I'll make it brief. As I say, she lived with us for over 20 years. Shortly after the turn of the century, about nineteen hundred and four, my father bought a home--an old house there in North Ogden--first house he owned. Mother went down and cleaned up the place…he built a little addition on it...but outside of that adjoining the living room there was a small room...I think it had been a pantry at one time…but Mother put a bed in there and that was Grandma's bedroom. I remember that distinctly. We lived there five years. Eventually Father had obtained some little success in the fruit business and he built a fine home up on the next street. This new home that he built at that time was one of the finest homes in North Ogden. There were three upstairs rooms and my mother fitted up a little room--a beautiful little room for Grandma to live in. But because of her rheumatism, which she had all the years that I knew her, she couldn't move around very much. And in spite of the fact that the house had central heating, she couldn't keep warm. And I can remember her more than once coming down and saying, "My feet are like chunks of ice."

I can remember a number of characteristics of her. She had a little rocking chair that she sat in the large kitchen because it was warmer than the rest of the house. And this lime rocking chair squeaked as she rocked back and forth. She was hard of hearing. She couldn't hear the squeaks, but the rest of us could. And when we three boys would come in the house and we'd be scuffling or carrying on or making a noise, she would chastise us. And more than once I've heard her say, (and this is an old English truism) "Children should be seen and not heard!" But anyway, she was ambitious. In spite of the rheumatism she insisted on helping my mother do the dishes—wipe the dishes after every meal. And then she'd work with her hands. She would mend socks; she would patch clothing; and she was always ambitious. She was clean. She kept her body clean.

As she grew older--and she lived to be 94 years old--as she grew older she had difficulty climbing up the stairs to the upstairs bedroom. So father fixed up the first-level front room of their house. It's a nice house, and that front room--we used to call the parlor--had big window looking out on the street. He put a coal stove in that so she could stoke up that room as hot as she wanted to. And those last years…and I don't know how many years there least 10 years, maybe more...that she lived in that front room--she kept warm. And that was the most enjoyable part, I think of her life. She died in that room eventually.

Since that time I have thought of a hundred questions I wish I had asked her: about her life, about her early life, about crossing the plains, and various other things. But when we're young we don't think about those things.

After she came here, her sister, who was living in England (evidently she was the only one in the family who joined the Church) wrote her a letter and tried to prevail upon her to return to England-mat's where she belonged. But she wouldn't go. She said, "No, I have no regrets that I have come to Zion.”