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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pioneers: James Kirkwood

James Kirkwood (11) had a great responsibility to look after his younger brother, Joseph Smith Clements Kirkwood (5) in their immigration with the Willie Handcart Company in 1856. James’ mother, Margaret, a widow of four years and her son Robert (21) tugged the handcart which carried their crippled son and brother, Thomas (19), along with their meager belongings. In the blizzard crossing Rocky Ridge on Oct. 23, 1856, James and Joseph became separated from the family and did not arrive in camp until very late.

Robert and Margaret had struggled through the blizzard with Thomas in the handcart and were able to arrive safely at Rock Creek, although Margaret had one eye freeze and would be blind the rest of her life in that eye. Margaret kept her small fire going, watching and waiting faithfully for her young sons. James’ strength in saving his younger brother was spent upon arrival at Rock Creek. Joseph’s biography states: "...when arriving in camp the brother James fell dead due to starvation and cold. He was buried on the banks of the Sweetwater in a grave with twelve others." Joseph’s rescued life continued until April of 1933, just short of his 77th birthday.
Doctrine and Covenants 88:133 Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, ...in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable, to be your friend and brother through the grace of God in the bonds of love...
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