Salt Lake City Utah, USA
This story was published by The Ensign Magazine, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In 1880, Arabella “Belle” Smith became a member of a group of pioneers traveled to settle the San Juan Mission in the southeastern part of Utah. However, their situation looked grim with a fast approaching winter and a large group of people who did not have the supplies to wait through it. The company decided to take a risky short cut instead. The short cut was the Hole-In-The-Rock, a narrow crevice in the wall of Glen Canyon. It was a very precarious route to take, with a 2,000 foot drop at a 45 degree angle. The company worked hard to widen the hole, make a trail down, and set up a ferry to cross the river at the bottom. In order for covered wagons to go safely down the steep path, the wagon breaks were put on and several men would pull the wagon back with ropes and chains to keep it from careening down the slope at breakneck speeds. Elizabeth M. Decker wrote that the first wagon to go down had ten men pulling it back. Joseph Stanford Smith helped others with their wagons all day long. His wagon and family were the only ones left, but despite Stanford’s assistance, the rest of the company seemed to have forgotten his family and ferried across the river. Stanford did not believe they could go down the slope alone, but his wife, Arabella, said that she would pull the wagon back. They left their three children to wait and hooked up a horse to the back of the wagon to help Arabella.