James Kirkwood (11) had a great responsibility to look after his younger brother, Joseph Smith Clements Kirkwood (5) in their immigration with the Willie Handcart Company in 1856. The Kirkwoods made a 15-mile journey in a storm. James and Joseph became separated from their mother and fell behind. Margaret waited for her sons by a small fire until late that night.
Separated from the family, James Kirkwood carried his brother through a blizzard at the Rocky Ridge crossing. James finally brought his little brother into the camp at Rock Creek and collapsed from exhaustion. With determination, he had faithfully carried out his task and saved his brother.
The biography of Joseph by his daughter, Mary, states: “Next morning when arriving in camp the brother James fell dead due to starvation and cold. He was buried on the banks of the Sweetwater in a grave with twelve others.”