Though many in the Martin Handcart company lost their lives during the trek, my ancestors, Henry Augustus Squire and his wife, Sarah Minnie Catlin Squire, and their five young daughters, all survived. A sixth daughter, Echo, was born in Echo Canyon just days before they entered the Salt Lake Valley 150 years ago on Nov. 30, 1856.
They were converts from England. Henry and Sarah had four more daughters born to them in Utah.
In 1866, for reasons not completely clear to us, Henry returned to England and eventually became disaffected from the Church. About a year later, his wife, Sarah, joined him in England, bringing with her the seven youngest daughters, while leaving the three oldest in Utah. Sarah bore two more children in England. She later returned to Utah with several of her children. I descend from the oldest daughter who remained in Utah.
We knew very little about the family's experiences after they returned to England. I searched for cousins there and found that they knew nothing of their Mormon ancestors' experiences or their trek across the plains.
I realized over time that Henry and Sarah had become lost once again not to literal rescuers as members of the Martin Handcart Company but to their posterity.
As the family remembered them, warmth filled my soul and a still, small voice whispered three simple but riveting words: "The rescue continues." And so it has.
The next day, one of the cousins in England e-mailed a transcription of an original document written by Henry Squire's mother. It was a list she had made of her children and their birth dates. To my surprise, it included a child that had not been previously known.
Three weeks later, my family and I completed the temple ordinances for this missing son. We felt an undeniable witness that the work had been accepted.
In the spring of 2003, my husband and I traveled to England to research my family and meet my long-lost Squire cousins. We shared with them a history of the Martin Handcart Company and copies of the Book of Mormon, which pleased them.
I am grateful the gospel heals and unites families on both sides of the veil. The rescue continues. Liz Thomas, Oak Hills 7th Ward, Provo Utah Oak Hills Stake.