A Note regarding the Manuscript

“A Note Regarding the Manuscript,” in Rescued: The Courageous Journey of Mary Goble Pay, ed. Clark B. Hinckley (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book), 17‒22.

Several different, though very similar, typewritten transcriptions of Mary Goble’s autobiography have been in private hands as well as in the Church History Library for many decades. It was not until 2011, when Patricia Henriksen Stoker (a great-granddaughter of Mary Goble) was researching the life of Mary Goble Pay for a chapter in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, volume 2,[1] that Mary’s original handwritten manuscript became available to a broader group. This manuscript is referenced herein as the holograph, and it has some significant variations from the typewritten manuscripts. The holograph is written in a ledger book and begins with the title “Nephi, City Feb. 1903.” The pages of Mary’s history match the handwriting found on a letter written by Mary Goble Pay in the Church History Library (included herein as appendix 2). The ledger book was in the possession of Dora Bowers (a granddaughter of Mary Goble Pay) and her husband, Jacob Bowers, who graciously allowed Patricia Stoker to scan the pages. A careful transcription was done by Ashley and Christine Bowers and, independently, by Patricia Stoker.

Another handwritten manuscript of Mary’s autobiography is contained in a small notebook with a printed cover: “Collegiate No. 1110 Composition Book.” The notebook measures 6½ by 8¼ inches and contains fifty sheets. On the cover is the name Vera Pay Larsen. Inside the front cover is a handwritten note: “Vera Pay Larsen was Mary Goble Pay’s granddaughter who prevailed upon Mary Goble to write her story.” The handwriting is not that of Mary Goble Pay but presumably is that of Vera Pay Larsen. This manuscript is in the possession of the author and is referenced herein as the Larsen manuscript.

There are at least two versions of early typewritten transcripts of Mary’s autobiography. One consists of ten pages, single-spaced. It carries the title “LIFE OF MARY GOBLE PAY.” Copies of this document were produced on a mimeograph machine and circulated among the descendants of Phillip LeRoy Pay, Mary’s youngest son. Some extant copies have handwritten notes that appear to be in the handwriting of Phillip LeRoy Pay’s wife, Georgetta Paxman Pay. This document is referenced herein as the Pay transcript and is virtually identical to the Larsen manuscript, suggesting that the Larsen manuscript may have been the basis for the Pay transcript (and for other copies of Mary’s autobiography including those mentioned below).

A second typescript version consists of nineteen typewritten pages on lined paper, each with the word “FAMILY” printed in the right-hand top corner of odd-numbered pages, and “HISTORY” printed in the left-hand top corner of even-numbered pages. The document is titled “Mary Goble Pay.” It is in the possession of the Jacob Bowers family. This transcript is referenced herein as the Bowers transcript. It has only minor variations from the Larsen manuscript and the Pay transcript.

At least three additional transcripts, essentially identical to the Pay transcript, are housed in the Church History Library.[2]

The Larsen manuscript and the various transcripts are nearly identical in content and structure and include information not contained in the holograph. Three types of differences are noted:

  1. The Larsen manuscript and the various transcripts reflect punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure changes designed to make the document more readable and to flow somewhat better than the holograph.
  2. The Larsen manuscript and the various transcripts alter the order of certain portions of the holograph. This was probably done to try and place some events in their proper sequence.
  3. The Larsen manuscript and the various transcripts add some important information not contained in the holograph. This additional information may be based on oral information that was known to family members.

A side-by-side comparison of the excerpts of the holograph relating to Mary’s emigration experience and corresponding excerpts of the Larsen manuscript, the Pay transcript, and the Bowers transcript is included as appendix 1. Published versions of Mary’s autobiography appear to be derived from the Larsen manuscript or one of the mentioned typescripts.[3]

The text of this book follows the holograph, edited for punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure (including the insertion of words to clarify meaning). Additional information found in the Larsen manuscript and the Bowers and Pay transcripts is included in the annotations and for convenience is referred to as being from the Larsen manuscript, although these additions are also in the Pay transcript and, with one exception, the Bowers typescript.

Many of the details of Mary’s narrative can be corroborated using other primary contemporary documents and reminiscences, though occasionally there is some variance in the details in the accounts of participants. Some of the information included in the annotations and notes is based on what may be considered primary documents but not firsthand accounts—essentially recollections of children and grandchildren based on family stories. And some details are educated guesswork. For example, there is no primary contemporary source that identifies Willow Springs as the place where Mary was lost in the snow, but a review of the position of the company each day makes this the likely spot because it fits the description of events.

Chronology of Mary Goble’s Journey

1843 2 June Born in Brighton, Sussex, England.

1855 5 Nov Baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1856 19 May Leaves Brighton and travels to London.

20 May Travels from London to Liverpool.

25 May Sails from Liverpool on board the Horizon.

2 June Turns thirteen years old while at sea.

30 June Disembarks in Boston.

4 July Passes through Buffalo, New York, via train.

8 July Arrives at Iowa City, Iowa.

13 July Joins fifth wagon company organized at Iowa City under Captain Dan Jones.

19 July Sister Fanny (age twenty-three months) dies of measles at Iowa City.

1 Aug After twenty-five days in Iowa City, leaves with the Hunt wagon company at 4:00 p.m. and travels two miles.

28 Aug Hunt company arrives at Florence.

31 Aug Hunt company leaves Florence.

24 Sept Baby sister Edith born.

7 Oct Goble’s wagon damaged in cattle stampede.

19 Oct Arrives at the last crossing of the Platte; blizzard during the night.

2 Nov Around this date, Mary is lost in snow, and her toes freeze.

3 Nov Edith dies at Greasewood Creek.

5 Nov Arrives at Devil’s Gate. Brother James dies while at Devil’s Gate.

11 Dec Mother dies between Big and Little Mountains at about 4:00 in the afternoon; arrives in Salt Lake about 9:00 p.m. at night.

12 Dec Toes amputated by Dr. Williams.


[1] Christine B. Bowers, Virginia H. Pearce, and Patricia H. Stoker, “Angels Shall Minister unto You,” in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, volume 2: 1821–1845, ed. Richard E. Turley Jr. and Brittany A. Chapman (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011).

[2] The three are catalogued as MS 11650, MS 13811, and MS270.07 P343 199.

[3] Cracroft and Lambert give their sources as Leon Pay, “members of the Pay family,” and “Arthur Coleman’s compilation, Pay-Goble Pioneers of Juab County, Utah, copyright 1968 by Arthur Coleman.”