THE STORY OF NANCY READER WORKMAN AND SON

THE STORY OF NANCY WORKMAN AND SON

From the chapter “Graves Along The Trail” in the book Heart Throbs of the West”

by Pearl W. Atkinson

Jacob L. Workman and his wife, Nancy Reader, and his family of six boys and one girl, left Nauvoo with the Saints when they were driven from their homes.  The six boys were James Thomas, Jacob Reader, John AIma, William Smoot, Hyrum Parley, and Samuel.  The little girl was Josephine.  They suffered a great many hardships and when they arrived at Mount Pisgah, they were all stricken with a disease.  Their boy Samuel died.  The mother became so ill the father went out for help, but there were not enough well to care for the sick.  He returned without help and found his wife had passed away.  She died November 23, 1846.

He cared for her body as well as he could.  He made a casket from his wagon box and placed her in it.  He dug the grave and then carried her body to the graveside.  Being sick himself and almost exhausted he was unable to lower the casket himself.  After standing for sometime praying for help, a stranger stepped up and asked if he would like some help.  Jacob Workman cried and thanked the stranger.  They lowered the casket and covered the grave, then the stranger left.

The father was grief stricken. He was alone with his five remaining boys and baby girl.  The little girl was only six months old.  When the rest of the family recovered, they came on to Utah.  Hyrum Parley, the youngest boy, took charge of the baby sister.  He carried her on his back a great deal of the way.  They arrived in Salt Lake City, on September 26, 1848, in Lorenzo Snow’s Company.

NOTE:  The child Josephine in this story was the wife of D Oviatt, mother of Hryum Parley Oviatt.

“From far off countries beyond the sea as well as from every state in the Union came men and women, converts to an ideal, to answer the urge of “gathering to Zion.”  Their hope to build a commonwealth.  Each day they were called to give new ideas, new characteristics, new faith, new patriotism, and many to give their all, even their lives.

AND IF’ WE DIE BEFORE OUR JOURNEY’S END, ALL IS WELL.  Such was their faith.  They were a courageous group, these men and women who made the westward trek, for they faced the certainty of death within their ranks, which is always the price of pioneering.  But the same assurance they would find a place where they could live and worship God in peace was worth the price.

Mt Pisgah Monument

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