Amy Loader

Amy LoaderAmy Loader was born to John Britnell and Sarah Wirford on April 2, 1802 in Kingston Blound, Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire, England.1 Amy was married to James Loader on September 9, 1821. Together they had four sons and nine daughters at the estate of Sir Henry Lambert in England, where James had worked as foreman and head gardener for 35 years. James was fired from his job as a consequence of the family joining the Church in 1850.

 In November 1855, the Loaders left for America on the “John J. Boyd” with at least six of their unmarried children.2 Their oldest daughter, Ann (Dalling), had already emigrated with her husband and was awaiting their arrival in Utah. The Loader family first went to Williamsburg, New York, where they all worked for a time. In June of 1856 they left for Iowa where they joined their daughter, Zilpah, her husband, John Jacques, and their one-year-old daughter, Flora. Zilpah was expecting another baby, which was born in August. This new baby, Alpha, survived as (eventually) the longest-lived member of the Martin Company, but little Flora did not survive the trek, dying about a week before reaching the valley.3

Recorded dreams and heavenly visions sustained and comforted this family, as well as Amy’s great strength and cheerfulness, manifested again and again over the 1,300 miles. This was especially true when James and baby Flora died.4 One morning the Loaders woke up starving, with nothing to eat until they were given their ration of 4oz. of flour. Amy asked her daughters to help her make a fire, yet all were too tired to get up. Despite her daughters’ reluctance, Amy showed no anger, impatience, or frustration. Instead, always resourceful, she thought of another plan to get her daughters moving.5 Amy told her daughters, “Come, girls. This will not do. I believe I will have to dance [for] you and try to make you feel better.” Amy began to dance for her daughters but slipped and fell on the frozen snow. As her daughters rose to make sure she wasn’t hurt, Amy said, “I thought I could soon make you all jump up if I danced [for] you.”6

Amy’s descendants wrote of her, “Amy Britnell Loader protected, sustained and cheered her children and others without complaining and manifested great faith in God…. She endured [the journey] bravely, although it made her a sorrowing widow. She has lived a life of usefulness to the present time, yet still a widow, for she could never believe there was a man left in the world equal to her husband.”7

Amy Britnell Loader and her children reached the Valley safely. They settled Pleasant Grove, Utah which is where Amy Britnell Loader died on July 24th 1885.8

[1] Amy Britnell Loader,

2 Pioneer Story 27, Amy Britwell Loader (Martin Company), BYUIForever,

3 Amy Britnell Loader,

4 Amy Loader – Perspective,

5 Handcart Pioneers – The Love of James and Amy Loader, Susan Dayley,

6 ‘This Will Never Do’, May 28 2011, Church News

7 Pioneer Story 27, Amy Britwell Loader (Martin Company), BYUIForever,

8 Amy Britnell Loader,