Reverence at Rock Creek


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Four children from the Willie Handcart Company died and are buried in a common grave at Rock Creek Hollow, near South Pass, Wyoming. They were children of faith, courage and service to others. This painting honors all these children who suffered so much in 1856. It particularly honors Rhoda Rebecca Oakey, age ten, the last member of the Willie Company to die on the trail (Nov. 9, 1856).

Rhoda’s sister, Sarah, reported: We fared fairly well until we reached the deep snow in Wyoming [Rock Creek]. This representation is of Rhoda by the common grave at Rock Creek, bereft of some of her playmates and friends. Sarah remembered, “Though the family suffered many hardships we always held our family prayer….” Rhoda Rebecca had a sweet soprano voice and many evenings after the camp had been set up and supper eaten she would sing the hymn ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints’ which helped lift the weary travelers in camp.

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