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James Kirkwood's Geni Profile

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James Kirkwood

Birthdate: (11)
Birthplace: Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland
Death: Died in Fremont County, Wyoming, United States
Cause of death: Exposure, exhaustion
Place of Burial: Fremont County, Wyoming, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Kirkwood and Margaret Wood
Brother of Margaret Kirkwood; Robert Campbell Kirkwood; Thomas Kirkwood; Katherine Kirkwood; Joseph Smith Campbell Kirkwood and 1 other
Half brother of Harriett Robinson

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About James Kirkwood

James Kirkwood (1845 - 1856), son of Thomas Kirkwood and Margaret Cuisbuill, was born 13 February 1845 at Glasgow, Scotland. He died enroute to Utah at the age of 11 on 24 October 1856.

Journey to Utah

"Let me tell you of James Kirkwood. James was from Glasgow, Scotland. On the trip west, James was accompanied by his widow mother and three brothers, one of whom, Thomas, was nineteen and crippled and had to ride in the handcart. James’ primary responsibility on the trek was to care for his little four-year-old brother, Joseph, while his mother and oldest brother, Robert, pulled the cart. As they climbed Rocky Ridge, it was snowing and there was a bitter cold wind blowing. It took the whole company twenty seven hours to travel fifteen miles. When little Joseph became too weary to walk, James, the older brother, had no choice but to carry him. Left behind the main group, James and Joseph made their way slowly to camp. When the two finally arrived at the fireside, James “having so faithfully carried out his task, collapsed and died from exposure and overexertion.” - Elder James E. Faust, November 1992 Ensign

Sources

Son of Thomas Kirkwood and Margaret Campbell

History - James and his family joined the Church in their native Scotland and made plans to immigrate to Utah to be with the Saints. His father and sister died in 1852, but his mother Margaret and three brothers (Robert 21, Thomas 19, and Joseph 5) worked hard to fulfill their dream of coming to Zion. They sold many precious possessions to finance their journey.

Thomas' legs had been injured as a boy and had never healed properly. Unable to walk, the family knew he would have to be pulled in the cart with their few belongings and meager food rations. Robert helped his mother with the heavy load, and James was given charge of making sure little Joseph kept up with the family.

By the time the company reached Rocky Ridge, young Joseph's feet had been frozen and he was unable to walk. There was no room for him in the cart, so James carried him the tortuous 15 mile forced march—sometimes putting him down when his arms were weary, but always picking him back up without complaint.

Early in the hours of October 24, 1856, James finally arrived at camp with his little brother and found his mother and brothers waiting up for them with a welcome fire burning. The excursion was too much for James' starving, weakened body. He carefully lowered Joseph into his mother's care, sat down by her and quietly died. He and 12 others were buried in a common grave later that day. Young Joseph, his remaining brothers and their mother survived the grueling ordeal and blessed James for his sacrifice the rest of their days. “Greater love hath no man than this . . ..

President James E. Faust . . . "Let me tell you of James Kirkwood. James was from Glasgow, Scotland. On the trip west, James was accompanied by his widowed mother and three brothers, one of whom, Thomas, was nineteen and crippled and had to ride in the handcart. James' primary responsibility on the trek was to care for his little four-year-old brother, Joseph, while his mother and oldest brother, Robert, pulled the cart.

As they climbed Rocky Ridge, it was snowing and there was a bitter cold wind blowing. It took the whole company twenty seven hours to travel fifteen miles. When little Joseph became too weary to walk, James, the older brother, had no choice but to carry him. Left behind the main group, James and Joseph made their way slowly to camp. When the two finally arrived at the fireside, James "having so faithfully carried out his task, collapsed and died from exposure and overexertion." Inscription: In memory of those members of the Willie Handcart Co. whose journey started too late and ended too early and were buried here in a circular grave October 24 & 25, 1856. [Fifteen people are named, with their ages given. James Kirkwood was 11 years old.]

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James Kirkwood's Timeline

1845
February 13, 1845
Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland
1856
October 24, 1856
Age 11
Fremont County, Wyoming, United States
October 25, 1856
Age 11
Fremont County, Wyoming, United States