Not the End
Sarah Ann Haigh
was the oldest daughter of Elizabeth Simpson Haigh Bradshaw. At nineteen years of age, she traveled to Zion with her twice-widowed mother; brothers, Samuel Haigh, Richard Paul Bradshaw and Robert Hall Bradshaw; and sister, Isabella Jane Bradshaw. As the Martin Handcart Company left Iowa City, the abundance of clothing and other belongings that could not be packed into their handcart were given to the needy or left behind. Sarah's mother was able to save her two wedding dresses and later give them to her daughters. Elizabeth had also been promised in a Priesthood blessing before leaving England that she would take all her children to Zion. This blessing was honored as two of her sons were saved from drowning and death by the power of the Priesthood and Elizabeth's faith. (See painting "I'll Never Let Go") Sarah Ann's faith was also evidenced in her heroic service on October 19, 1856. The Martin Company had arrived at their last crossing of the North Platte River which they had followed for hundreds of miles and crossed many times before in their journey. Of this day, fellow traveler John Jacques wrote:
"That was a bitter cold day. Winter came on all at once, and that was the first day of it. The river was wide, the current strong, the water exceedingly cold and up to the wagon beds in the deepest parts, and the bed of the river was covered with cobble stones. The company was barely over when snow, hail and sleet began to fall, accompanied by a piercing north wind . . ."
Sarah Ann made thirty-two trips across the swiftly running river, carrying sixteen people to safety on her back. She was only about five feet tall herself. The next day, between thirteen and eighteen people died, some being those who had spent their last strength carrying others across this river. Sarah told how the icicles jingled from her wet skirts and mud froze to her feet. In later years she would also tell her children that she had wondered if it was the end and if the Lord had led them over that long hard road just to let them perish in the storm and cold. It was "not the end" for Sarah and her family. The first rescuers from Salt Lake City came nine days later, bringing hope to these starving Saints. Sarah would meet one particular rescuer, Franklin Standley, who would soon become her husband. Franklin died after a few short years and Sarah then married Louis Miller. One of her granddaughters (through Franklin) later wrote of her:
At the present time a large posterity are very proud to be the descendants of Grandma Miller. We are proud of her courage and strength of character, of the culture she brought with her from Old England. This culture showed itself in the very neat way she always kept herself and her home, in her love of beautiful handiwork and dainty nice things, lovely flowers [and] the lovely way she cooked and served her meals. She was a real lady."
Acts 9:36: ". . . this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did."