Mary – what we have so far

in process illustration by Kimberli Johnson of Mary and her mother

I’m so excited about this project! The goal of this project is to tell the story of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor and her journey to Utah and do it in a way that is appealing to children of all ages. She was born in England and joined the Martin Handcart Company traveling to Utah in 1856. The fun part of this is that it will be a children’s book with about 30 illustrations. My niece, Kimberli is a talented young illustrator and she has agreed to take on this project.

The scary part of this project is that it looks like I might have to do the writing. I don’t consider myself a writer so this is a stretch for me. I’m hoping that someone will come along who is excited about the book and want to take on the author role. In the mean time it is up to me to move things forward.

Not a lot to show for it yet but the pieces are in place and they will move forward as life let them. We are planning a small square book that we will have printed by blurb. Kim and I have worked up an outline, starting with some ideas that her dad took from reading a history about Mary’s life. And you can see what she has done so far on in the illustration above. Here is an outline of what the book will cover and the illustrations or each spread or page.

  • Illustration #1 cover (Mary)
  • Illustration #2-page 1- title page
  • Illustration #3-pages 2 & 3- Mary Taylor born in England and in small village of Coton-in-the-Elms, that means cottage in the Elms. (image of Mary, her mother & village)
  • Illustration #4 –pages 4 & 5 – When Mary was little her parents, Joseph and Harriet, heard the missionaries tell about Jesus and Heavenly Father’s visit to the prophet Joseph Smith. Her family read about Jesus in the Book of Mormon and all were baptized. (baptism)
  • Illustration #5 – pages 6 & 7 – Mary learns how to sew dresses and marries William Upton They all wanted to go to Zion in America to receive temple blessings, be with the saints, and hear the prophet. The prophet, Brigham Young, had a plan to help Mormons, like Mary, go to Zion for less money. They would pull handcarts, instead of needing horses or oxen to pull wagons. (wedding)
  • Illustration #6 – pages 8 & 9 – In 1856 Mary and her family sailed with other Mormons on the ship Horizon from Liverpool, England to Boston, in America. Some days the seas were rough, making all 856 people seasick, including an old woman who lost her false teeth when she heaved over the ship’s railing. (Horizon)
  • Illustration #7 – page 10 & 11 – Near America, the ship was surrounded by thick fog, because the saints prayed the fog parted just in time for the ship to avoid an iceberg and then the fog surrounded the ship again. (Fog)
  • Illustration #8 – pages 12 & 13 –  From Boston to Iowa City, Mary’s family road in train cars used for cows. When the train stopped one night a mob of angry men surrounded the sleeping Mormons and threatened them but the Lord blessed them so the mob left without hurting anyone. In Cleveland they helped put out a fire. (Train)
  • Illustration #9 – page 14 & 15 –  The weather was hot when Mary’s family loaded a wooden handcart to pull and push across the plains from Iowa to the saints in Zion. They slept in round tents with their feet toward the middle and cooked over fires. (Tents & Camp)
  • Illustration #10 – pages 16 & 17 –  Mary walked all day pushing and pulling a handcart with her mother, father, husband and cousin in the Martin Handcart Company. One day, Indians rode by the handcarts. The Indians did not hurt the pioneers. (Indians & Trail)
  • Illustration #11 – pages 18 & 19 – At Winter Quarters in Nebraska, the pioneers rested for a few days, bought more food, fixed handcarts, and the children swam in the river. (Winter Quarters)
  • Illustration #12 – pages 20 & 21 – It was a long hard journey and Mary would sing the handcart song to help her continue on the long journey, day after day. The pioneers were running out of food. Elder Willard Richards, an apostle, rode ahead to tell the prophet that the pioneers needed help and more food. All the pioneers prayed every day. (Singing & Willard Richards)
  • Illustration #13 – pages 22 & 23 –  Near fort Laramie, more Indians visited Mary and the pioneers. The Indian children shared candied fruit with the pioneer children. At the fort they hoped to buy more food and clothes, but they had sold all the food. (Fort Laramie & Indians)
  • Illustration #14 – pages 24 & 25 – One day as they crossed the Platte River it started to snow hard and it was very cold. Mary and the pioneers had to wade across the river. It was so cold there was ice floating in the river. (Platte River)
  • Illustration #15 – pages 26 & 27 –  When Elder Richards got to Salt Lake City it told the prophet, Brigham Young that Mary and the other pioneers needed food and help. The prophet told the men to gather food and wagons to go save the pioneers and he ended church early. (Brigham Young)
  • Illustration #16 – pages 28 & 29 – Burt Simmons already had a stout carriage full of food. He was ready and left to save the pioneers before the other wagons. (Burt Simmons)
  • Illustration #17 – pages 30 & 31 –  Mary Taylor was very hungry and cold. None of the pioneers had enough food. Some of them died, including Mary’s Father, Mother and her husband. (Death)
  • Illustration #18 – pages 32 & 33 – They stopped for several days to wait for the storm to end in a place now called Martin’s Cove. Burt Simmons and the rescue wagons found Mary and saved the Martin Handcart pioneers. (Martin’s Cove & Rescue)
  • Illustration #19 – pages 34 & 35 – Burt Simmons took Mary home where is wife nursed Mary back to health. (in bed)
  • Illustration #20 – pages 36 & 37 – Later Mary married in the temple and had nine children. She taught them about Jesus and Heavenly Father. (temple & children)
  • Illustration #21 – pages 38 & 39 –  (Mary & Irene sitting between Mary’s knees playing with a doll)
  • Illustration #22 – page 40 – Because Mary joined the saints in Zion, her great, great, grandchildren learn about Jesus in the Book of Mormon and follow the prophet. (posterity – single page)
  • Illustration #33 – back cover (this might actually be part of the front cover Illustration that just wraps around to the back cover)

I’ll post updates as this project moves forward. I can’t wait to see how it develops. Do you have any dream projects like this, that you have done or hope to do?

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One thought on “Mary – what we have so far

  1. Pingback: Mary – three more illustrations | telling family tales

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