In late 1861, Mercy Ann Virgin was only ten days old when her father died tragically in a railroad accident, devastating her family as only the death of a close loved one can. It was a bleak time for the little family, which now consisted of Mercy Ann, her mother Mary and her two brothers, Amos Moses and Nephi Charles. One can only imagine the sorrow Mary must have felt living without her husband in Marston, England near Oxford University.
However, within a few months her resilience, courage and faith came to life as she followed her church leaders’ admonitions to leave England and gather in Zion – the new Zion located in Utah half way around the world.
Undaunted, Mary assembled her three children and began the first leg of their trip to the Port at Liverpool, England. On May 14, 1862, they clambered aboard the ship William Tappscott to begin the perilous journey across the Atlantic. They arrived in the United States weakened, but still determined to face yet another 2,000 miles to reach their objective in the West: Zion!
Joining the Horton D. Haight Company at the frontier’s edge in Nebraska, the overland, westward trek began. Most travelers were required to walk the rough miles alongside the wagons. Amos and Nephi recalled catching a ride only once and often fell behind the wagons, because their little bodies were so fatigued. One evening the boys lagged a good distance from the company, with many speculating their demise by wolves, had the driver of the provisions wagon not located and delivered them to their mother.
Another young immigrant, Ephraim Barton, took a particular interest in the babe Mercy Ann and often carried her as they trudged along. Ephraim, Amos and Nephi traveled together, playing games while searching for firewood and splashing each other in the streams with happy abandon.
Death stalked the family again when cholera swept through the camp as they drew near the Salt Lake Valley. On October 6, 1862, Mercy Ann and Ephraim were laid together in an unmarked grave near the Utah-Wyoming border. With broken hearts, Amos, Nephi and Mary stumbled away from the resting spot of yet another family member, and the young lad who helped bring Mercy Ann so close to Zion.
Mary, Amos and Nephi first saw the Salt Lake Valley on October 19, 1862 – but unknown to them, their travels had not yet ended. Two years later, they moved 150 miles north to the Bear Lake Valley in Idaho. At age ten, Amos learned to hunt and fish – sending furs to markets in the East to help provide for the family. He helped build the Logan Temple by contributing the five dollars he had saved for much-needed shoes, and logged for the structure's wooden walls.
Eventually marrying, Amos and his wife Sarah had ten children. He was a hard worker with an athletic body, and was an accomplished musician, who sang and played the violin for friends and family.
His last days were spent with his youngest daughter, Alicia and her family in Fish Haven, Idaho, along the shores of Bear Lake. Like the Utah desert, Amos' progeny blossomed. More than 500 relatives of Mary, Amos, Nephi, and Mercy Ann remember and honor them and Ephraim – who sacrificed much to fulfill their "Visions of a New Horizon."