And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! all is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow too;
With the just we shall dwell.
William Clayton penned these words to “Come, Come Ye Saints” while crossing Iowa in the spring of 1846. The anthem became a favorite to the weary saints who had been expelled from their homes in Nauvoo–an anthem of triumph but also one that foreshadowed disaster.
By August of 1846 the Saints had endured a hasty departure from Nauvoo, insufficient provisions and scanty diet, inadequate and improvised shelter and endless spring storms. They were tired. They were weary. They were hungry. “July and August,” Lorenzo Snow recorded in his journal, “witnessed a general and almost universal scene of sickness,” the sick greatly outnumbering the healthy. “It was indeed a distressing scene. A great number of deaths occurred.” (Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri Winter Quarters, 1846-1852, University of Oklahoma Press, 1987 p. 131. [See also pp. 131-147, Sickness and Death at Winter Quarters.])
Theodore and Frances Turley and nine of their ten children were among the Saints settled at Winter Quarters during these trying times. On May 12, 1846, four-year-old Jonathan Turley was laid to rest. In March 1846 Theodore buried a plural wife, Sarah Ellen Clift. And then on August 30, 1847, Frances Amelia took her last weary breath. Those who transcribed her death records listed her cause of death as “disease scurvy.” She was 47 years old.
On the first of December 1847, Theodore and Frances’s daughter, Frances Amelia Daniels, age 23, gave birth to a daughter, also named Frances. The two did not survive. Mother, daughter, and granddaughter, each named Frances, were laid to rest in the same cold grave. Their lives were spent, their souls set free. Theodore lost six members of his family in this place. Daughter Charlotte was seven years old when her dear mother died.
Stated in the burial record for Francis Turley: age 47 yrs., 2 mos., 8 days; wife of Theodore Turley; deceased Aug. 30, 1847; disease scurvy; birthplace Birmingham, Eng.; birth date June 22, 1800; in grave no. 20.
Here is a description of what it’s like to die of scurvy. It makes my heart ache to hold and comfort Frances as she suffered. Some day I will embrace her and thank her for turning toward Zion at any cost.
Scurvy can be found most prevalent in cold environments, and is characterized by a pale and bloated complexion, spongy gums, spots on the skin, offensive breath, hemorrhages, foul ulcers, and extremely offensive stools. As the scurvy advances, respiration is hurried, teeth become loose, gums are spongy, breath is offensive, old wounds reopen, and the amount of urine is small. The intellects, however, for the most part remain clear and distinct. In the last stage of the disease, the joints are swelled and stiff, the tendons of the legs are rigid, hemorrhages break forth, and diarrhea or dysentery may arise. The patient will bruise even with the slightest blow.
Etiology: The scurvy is caused first of all by the lack of fresh food, especially a diet lacking Vitamin C. A diet consisting of salted food will produce this disease. The reason that salted provisions increases the prevalence of the scurvy is because they are drained of their nutritious juices, which then becomes extracted. The disease is more prevalent in cold environments than warm and is caused by cold and moisture, deprivation of fresh provisions, confinement, want of exercise, neglect of cleanliness, labor, fatigue, and sadness.
Treatment: In order to treat the scurvy, the patient must have a diet of fresh vegetables. It is important that the patient partakes of foods that contain native acid such as oranges and lemons. Many plants such as mustard, horseradish and garlic have also proved. The spongy state of the gums is improved by washing the mouth with sufficiently diluted mineral acids.
Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume II.New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.
Modern Day Equivalent: Today it is also knows as the scurvy or scorbutus.
Frances is buried in grave number 20 with her daughter and grandchild, all named Frances. You can see the burial plot above at the bottom three plots from the right.
Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri Winter Quarters, 1846-1852, University of Oklahoma Press, 1987 p. 131. [See also pp. 131-147, Sickness and Death at Winter Quarters.]
Carlyle B. Jensen and Gail George Holmes, A “Grave” Experience at the Mormon Pioneer Winter Quarters Cemetery, Authors Publishers, Oct 1999, p. 18, person number 210. The record is a Commencement to bury in the burying ground at Winter Quarters, North West Corner. Spellings, dates and etc. are as written in the original record – mistakes and all. See also http://www.earlylds.com.
Early Latter-day Saints Database, http://www.earlylds.com, April 2007. [Transcriber’s note: Francis was buried in grave 20 with Francis A. Daniels wife of Cyrus Daniel. Both Francis Daniels and Francis Turley were born in Birmingham, England. Perhaps they are mother and daughter. Also in grave #20 is Francis G. Daniels who apparently was a baby who died at birth. So there may be mother, daughter, and grand-daughter in the same grave.]
Winter Quarters Project, http://winterquarters.byu.edu/, April 2007.
Susan Easton Black and Harvey Bischoff Black, comps., Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848, LDS Church, Salt Lake City, 1990, vol. 26, pp. 695, 696.
To learn more about Winter Quarters and what happened there, visit this website: