Charlotte Dansie joined the LDS Church in her native England and, in 1862, set out for Utah with her husband, Robert, and their five children. They sailed from Liverpool on May 12, arriving in New York on June 25. The trip had already been a difficult one for many, including Charlotte Dansie. The converts rode a train to Florence, Nebraska. On August 2, they left Florence in the company of Captain Ansel P. Harmon.
On the night of September 12, Charlotte Dansie went into premature labor. A son was born, but died soon thereafter, as did Charlotte. Her grandchildren could tell the story they had often heard: "before grandmother died, she was in such pain that she told him she could stand her suffering no longer and asked him to pray to God that she might be released and return to her maker. Grandfather did pray and it was only a matter of minutes until both she and the baby died." Robert placed a string of blue beads around Charlotte’s neck and covered the body of his wife and child with a trunk lid hinged with brass images of the British lion.
The president and chaplain of the company, John D. T. McAllister wrote: "At 7 ½ o’clock, a few of us went ahead to dig a grave for the body of Sister Charlotte Dansie, wife of Robert, age 32, who died this morning of a ‘Miscarriage’ and general debility. One mile brought us to the Summit or pass. Three more we made the Pacific Springs, one mile farther we crossed the Pacific Creek and dug the grave on the right of the road. While digging the grave, Captain Harmon rode up and informed us that Caroline Myers, aged 25 was dead. She died of Bilious fever just after the wagons left camp. We widened the grave for both bodies. We stopped there three hours then traveled 11 miles to Dry Sandy."
In 1939, some of Charlotte’s descendants went looking for the grave. Near Pacific Springs, they encountered a Mexican sheepherder. The men described their mission and the sheepherder said he had heard of a grave containing two adults and a child nearby that had been opened up by some other sheepherders. Questioned further, he finally confessed to having opened the grave himself and handed over a string of blue beads before leading them to the grave. There, they found copper rivets, brass hinges with the British lion and old pieces of leather scattered around the grave.
Convinced they had found their grandmother’s grave, the second generation of Dansie descendants dedicated a marker on the site in October 1939. One of Charlotte’s children, 81-year-old Sarah Ann, lived long enough to witness the event, attended by more than 80 of Charlotte’s relatives. In 1958, President Eisenhower authorized the Secretary of the Interior to convey 1¼ acres of land to be used as a Grave Site Memorial to Charlotte Dansie. The deed is held by the Dansie Family Organization.
Permission must be obtained to cross private land near Pacific Springs to access the site. [Terry DelBene of Rock Springs BLM would be able to give directions to site.]
National Park Service
Comprehensive Management Plan