When 16 year old Emily Hill was growing up in England, she learned of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the gathering of the Saints in "Zion." Despite fierce opposition, she and her sister Julia determined to leave their home and family and somehow make their way to America. After sailing the Atlantic in May 1856, they traveled by handcart with the James G. Willie company to Utah. The journey was difficult, and Emily said many backed out within a few days, but she was determined to pull her handcart all the way to the Salt Lake Valley.
In her own words: "My sister broke down and was unable to walk and I remember asking myself (footsore and weary with the first week of walking and working) if it was possible for me, faith or no faith, to walk twelve hundred miles further," Emily wrote. "The flesh certainly was weak, but the spirit was willing. I set down my foot that I would try, and by the blessing of God I pulled a handcart a thousand miles and never rode one step."
Emily was a poet and wrote about her experiences on the plains. In one poem she titled "Hunger and Cold," Emily honored the rescuers who helped the Willie company at Sixth Crossing:
"Oh, soft were their hearts who with courage like steel, Left their homes in the Valley our sorrow to heal," Emily wrote. "God bless them for heroes, the tender and bold, Who rescued our remnant from hunger and cold."
Years later, Emily wrote the words to the well-known LDS Hymn, "As Sisters in Zion" (Hymns, no. 309)