Week 30: Health

Horace Bradley Rust, my 2nd cousin, 4 times removed, was born in Danville, Vermont, in 1836. Why do I care to write about him? Because he died in 1850 somewhere along the Pioneer Trail from Iowa to Zion, Utah. He was one of about 600 documented children who died while traveling with their Mormon parents to a meeting and settlement in Utah. I wondered what might have caused his death.

Horace and I are related through our 4th great-grandparents, Elisha Smith and his wife Sarah Huse Smith. Two of their daughters, Mary “Molly” and Anna, were 3rd great-grandmothers to Horace and me. I wrote about Captain Elisha Smith in CONFLICT.

Joseph Smith, one of the founders of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saints was born in Vermont and was active in establishing Mormon churches in Vermont including Danville. So I imagine that Horace’s parents were part of the church and joined in the emigration from Vermont to the Midwest where groups of the faithful gathered and joined the William Snow/Joseph Young 1850 Company to make the historical trek to Zion, UT.



The company of travelers moved as a group and suffered many illnesses and deaths along the way. Horace was 13 when they embarked on the journey from what is now Council Bluffs, Iowa. Within the year he died from cholera, an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea.

42 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post but the size of the company more than tripled as it made its way across the plains. It was initially organized near the Missouri River. Along the way the wagon master would make entries in the journal. You can read more about this pioneer journey at this link:


A memorial to the 684 children who died on this journey has been dedicated in Salt Lake City, UT. You can see and read about the memorial at this link:


My cousin, Horace Bradley Rust, is honored on one of the stones in the Memorial Park, dead at age 14.

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