Pioneer moments: A biscuit a day

When Ann Bond was 8 years old, her parents heard the gospel message, were baptized, sold most of their possessions and immigrated to America from England.

On July 30, 1856, they joined a wagon train at Iowa City under the leadership of William Benjamin Hodgetts, and operated one of 30 wagons in the group headed for the Salt Lake Valley.A heavy early snowstorm on Oct. 20 caused death and much suffering among the travelers. The available food was insufficient for those in the group.

Along the way when rations were limited to a biscuit a day, Ann's parents feared for their seven children's lives. Ann's mother cut up an empty sugar sack and gave a small piece of the cloth to each child, daily, to hold in their mouths. It was hoped that there was enough sugar among the threads to give the children some energy.

After traveling some distance, Ann's father began to fear that they would run out of flour. He called the children together and said: "Children, the flour we have on hand, I fear, will not hold out. Mother and I have come to the conclusion that we will have to allow half a biscuit a day." The younger children, not understanding, were continually begging for more bread. It nearly broke their parents' hearts to hear their piteous pleading.

While walking Ann became exhausted and could not walk fast enough to keep her feet from freezing. In the bitter cold, the tears rolled down her cheeks from the pain of her frozen feet, but she kept walking.

When the train camped, she was put in the wagon and her boots were taken off. Her feet were black from the cold. Her parents did all they could to ease the pain. They were afraid her feet would have to be amputated.

From the wagon her parents took precious souvenirs, famous oil paintings and a new cooking stove and left them along the way so she could ride.

The family arrived in Salt Lake City in November 1856. Because Ann's feet were frozen so badly, it was some time after their arrival before she was able to get around. However, they never had to be amputated.

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