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Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16 - Margaret Alice McBride

Margaret Alice McBride is another of my ancestors who traveled to Utah in the Martin Handcart Company. I was reading through some genealogy and stories that my sister sent me this year for Christmas, and I stopped for a moment to read about her life. I laughed at the very end of this story as it talks about a letter that was written about her that said, "Your good sister (Margaret Alice) is physically all well, but has lost her memory almost entirely." Now I know where I got the memory loss genes.... from my relative Margaret.

Margaret Alice was the youngest in the family of Robert McBride 3rd and Margaret Ann Howard. Born June 29,1853, in Southport, Lancashire, England, and given her mother's name, she came to be affectionately known as "Little Maggie." She was just short of three years old, when her parents finalized preparations to migrate to America. Boarding the ship May 13, 1856, they landed in Boston Harbor June 30, the day after her third birthday.

Little Maggie shared in the arduous journey across the plains and mountains into Utah, much of which has been outlined in the accounts of the lives of her parents and other family members. At the tender age of three years it is doubtful that she would remember very much about those significant events. There were many children in the Martin Handcart Company, and they were given all the care limited facilities could afford. Any old enough to go it on foot were required to do so. Little Maggie, a mere toddler, always had her special place atop the equipment on the handcart. At times she, with other children, rode in the wagons when crossing rivers or in other difficult or dangerous situations.

The mother, Margaret, suffered much illness during the trip, and of course the father, Robert, lost his life. Much of the care of Maggie fell to Janetta and the other youngsters, a duty they willingly shared. Even with all the attention the family could give her, Maggie suffered a great deal. The rigors of traveling and camping in a hostile wilderness, the bitter cold, lack of food and clothing, took their toll. The tot barely survived. After suffering from hunger and exhaustion, she would cry herself to sleep. Seldom is one of such tender years required to undergo the privations she did.

Even after arriving in Utah, life for Margaret Alice remained a struggle for many years. Those early years were spent in the small town of Eden, Weber County. Here she attended school and received what education the Western Frontier made available. Closely associated with the church, she learned at an early age to love the gospel and to cherish all the church had to offer. It seems that the trauma of crossing the plains and finally getting settled in Eden had welded the McBride family firmly together. Little Maggie held a special place in the hearts of those who survived with her. Loved and cherished by them, she grew to be a beautiful and talented young lady.

Margaret Alice married Erastus White Snow, son of Apostle Erastus Show, August 3, 1874, at age twenty. They were sealed on that date in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, as no temple had been completed in the church at that time. Shortly thereafter they moved to St. George, Utah, where they made their home for the next ten years. During this period five children were born to them, three of whom died in infancy. Their first, Maggie May, lived only one month; their third child, Clifford, lived two years, nine months; and their fourth, Herbert, lived just short of one year. Both boys mentioned died of diphtheria on the same day, May 5, 1882. These were trying times indeed for the young mother. From dates of events taken from the life of her mother (Margaret Ann), it appears that the latter was visiting with Maggie and Erastus Snow in St. George: one time when their first boy, Junius Claude, was born, January 2, 1877, and another time when the two younger boys died, May 5,1882. The mother's presence there may have helped young Maggie bear up under some difficult times.

In the year 1884, Margaret Alice and Erastus moved to Provo, Utah, with their two children, Junius Claude and Ethel. In Provo two more daughters were born, Edna, January 10, 1885, and Lucille, February 12, 1887. Sometime after the birth of Lucille, the Snow family moved to Salt Lake City. The purpose and circumstances of this move are not known. However, soon thereafter, Margaret Alice was left a widow with their four surviving children. Erastus died March 20, 1888, in Salt Lake city. (He was thirty-nine. Cause of death not known.)

A few years after her husbands death, Margaret married Antone T. Christensen. They lived in Salt Lake City until their children were married, then the couple moved to California (after 1912.

Upon the death of her sister, Janetta Ann Ferrin, Margaret was notified of her passing by a letter from their brother, Peter Howard McBride. Margaret's reply has been preserved. Written from Ocean Park, California dated January 22, 1925, the letter is informative about her condition at that time. Reproduced here, her letter reveals that she is happy and in good health (then seventy-one years old), although possessed with a certain longing to be nearer other family members, or return to "Zion."

A bit of correspondence adds to the record. This one written by Maggie's husband, Antone, upon the death of Peter's wife, Ruth Dated April 30, 1932, at Long Beach, California, Brother Christensen offers condolences, then speaks thus of his wife's condition: “Your good sister (Margaret Alice) is physically all well, but has lost her memory almost entirely. But she is loving, good and kind and I am caring for her the best I know how. Let us hear from you again soon” Your Brother and Sister, AT. Christensen

From this we gather that they were then living in Long Beach California, with Margaret's health beginning to fail, possibly from stroke. Apparently her condition worsened, rendering her physically debilitated. Margaret passed away in Long Beach, July 25, 1934.

All this information was found at

1 comment:

  1. I ran across this site this evening and was pleased to read the story of Maggie. Thanks for sharing it. My great-great grandmother is Janetta. What an incredible family and their trials continued long after the journey was over. I stand in awe of Janetta and the McBride family. Thanks again.


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