She Came in 1851

Jean Rio Baker was her name,

Her descriptive diary brought her fame.

‘Tho she had servants and position

And was an accomplished musician;

Forsook her home, her friends and all,

With family answered to God’s call.

To join the Saints in the U.S.A.

On the George W. Bourne , she sailed away.

A widow, who’s trials were not foreseen

Bought passages for seventeen.

An Aunt, an Uncle and several others

Including one of her husband’s brothers.

Life was not easy for her family,

The youngest child, she buried at sea.

When finally she did reach this land

She still had miles of mud and sand.

Of mountains, rivers and deserts to cross

In wind and rain and heat and frost.

She struggled long and tedious hours

But still saw beauty in sky and flowers.

The death of oxen did not discourage,

She traveled on with endless courage.

When finally they did reach the valley

To earn a living, she did not dally.

Tried making hats and bought some land;

At farming thought to try her hand.

Alas, the ground would not produce;

She then put sewing skills to use.

Found a companion to ease the strife

Again she married, ‘tho late in life.

But fate; unkind, swift, and fierce

Took away her Edward Pearce.

To Brigham Young, in her hour of need,

Sold her precious piano (her heart did bleed).

Discouraged, tired and alone,

She left her humble Rockies home.

Joined two sons, whose faith had faltered,

In California: her life was altered.

Spent her years, ‘til health was failing.

Caring for the aged and the ailing.

Descendants many, she has inspired,

Touched and humbled; she’s much admired.

Jean Rio Baker was her name,

Her priceless diary brought her fame.

May Baker Winkel © 1996