The Dangers of Migration

Nellie Pucell Unthank

Traveling across the continental United States was no small feat considering the people walked and carried all of their belongings, in handcarts, from one side of the US to the other. Harsh weather and bitter cold affected the Mormons during their migration. Walking for extended periods of time for months on end greatly affected a majority of the LDS pioneers. Disease spread amongst the groups of pioneers and tales arose of Native American attacks of the migrants.

An example of the dangers of the Mormon migration is Nellie Pucell Unthank.

Statue of Nellie on our very own SUU campus

Also known as Ellen, Nellie is one of the famous stories of migrants who endured a large amount of hardships but ultimately made it to Utah and was grateful for the journey and the opportunity to practice her religion peacefully. Along the way, Nellie’s parents became irreversibly sick from the cold and, as a ten year old, had to bury her own parents. The cold also devastatingly affected Nellie as she was diagnosed with frostbite on her feet and lower legs. The only solution, at the time, was amputation of her legs from knee down with a saw, and without any anesthesia. The wounds never healed properly and thus Nellie was cursed with a constant pain from waddling. However, Nellie never regretted her migration and believed it was fully necessary for her religion.




"Ellen 'Nellie' Pucell Unthank: A Brief Biography", Family Search, 24 July, 2014.