Chivalry

John Stewart, the character whom I represented on the trek, was a large man (about 6′ 4″). His wife, Ann, was a tiny woman. Over the course of the journey, John became very ill. In fact, he was so sick that they thought he was dead and placed him in a pile with the other dead to be buried in a mass grave. At this point, his wife noticed that he was still breathing and dragged him from the pile. With the help of others, she revived him. However, he was so weak that he could not walk. Ann wrapped a shawl around her body and tied their baby, Margaret Ann, to her chest and pulled her husband in the handcart along the journey. The afternoon of our first day, we were at the visitor’s center and Sis. Sillivan, who was Ann Stewart, called me over. She had Margaret Ann wrapped in her apron on her chest and asked me to get into the handcart. She wanted to see what it would be like to pull a grown man in the cart while having an infant tied to her chest. So I got in the cart. As Sis. Sillivan started pulling me around at the visitor’s center everyone started looking at us. Boy did I feel like a heel… None of them had read the history and they didn’t know what we were doing. It was a very humbling experience because I caught a glimpse of how that must’ve made John Stewart feel to have his dear wife pulling him in the handcart. Also, I’m sure Sis. Sillivan gained some insight as to how hard it must’ve been to pull a grown man in the handcart while carrying a baby on her chest. She only pulled the cart about a hundred feet, but that little experience was enough to gain a small understanding of what these two pioneers went through. Consequently, John died not long after getting to the Valley, but Ann and Margaret Ann lived.

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