Salina Stake Youth Trek 2015

Joseph and Emily Wall

Andrew D. Olsen, author of The Price We Paid tells the story of a brother and a sister that emigrated by their selves from England to Salt Lake City and traveled with the Martin Hand Cart Company.

Joseph and Emily Wall, two siblings who were emigrating on their own, did so with the blessing of their parents. Joseph was 17 and Emily 16 when they left England, the oldest of nine children. Because the family could not afford to emigrate together, Joseph and Emily were sent ahead, and the rest of the family hoped to follow soon afterward.

Before Joseph and Emily left England, Elder Orson Hyde gave them a blessing in which he promised that they would complete their journey safely if they were faithful and obeyed the counsel of those in authority. The fulfillment of this promise would require not only great faith but great sacrifice by Emily to help her brother (Olsen, 2006, p. 39)

After making the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and traveling to Florence NE the following occurred.

Sometime after leaving Florence, they faced a serious challenge. During one of the river crossings, Joseph nearly drowned. When he was going under the water for th third time, he was rescued by someone who grabbed his hair.

Joseph soon became too ill to walk, and company leaders wanted him to stay behind and wait for the next company. Emily refused to leave her brother, so she promised to pull him in the handcart if they would be permitted to continue. With the help of the young girl, Emily pulled Joseph for several [many] days (Olsen, 2006, p. 88).

The rest of the story is found on the family website of the O.C. Brienholt family

"Later, after being stranded and subsequently rescued, Emily became acquainted with one of her rescuers, a young printer by the name of William M. Cowley. In conversation with her, he asked if some day she would marry him. Emily said she didn't know and told him he would have to write to England and get permission from her mother. After being informed that a letter had been written to her mother and that an answer had come saying it was all right for them to be married, provided he was a good man, Emily consented and they were married in 1860. They became the parents of 12 children.

The journey across the plains was a difficult test for all of the people in the handcart companies. As they were promised by Apostle Hyde, Emily and Joseph made it to the Salt Lake Valley. Joseph regained his health after their arrival. Emily endured the extreme hardship of pulling her brother in a handcart, but was sustained by her great faith in the Apostolic blessing received before leaving England" (History of the O.C Breinholt Family).


Olsen, A. (2006). The price we paid: The extraordinary story of the Willie and Martin Handcart pioneers. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book.

History of the O. C. Breinholt Family. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2015, from
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