The justly famed hardcart pioneer, Levi Savage, made the following entry in his journal:
Platte R. Wednesday 1st Oct 1856
Today This morning, Brother David Reader was found dead in his bead. He has ben ill Some time. He had no pertient deseas. But debility He was a good man and a worthy member of the Church.
Robert Reeder gives us precious added insight into the nature of a Mormon pioneer's "debility":
My father, David Reeder, would start out in the morning and pull his cart until he would drop on the road. He did this day after day until he did not rise early October 1, 1856.
I thankfully acknowledge my pioneer ancestry, those of the tall ship and of the handcart, those of the last wagon, and those of the first.
I am grateful, humbled, to know that my grandfather, David Reeder, belonged to the Willie Handcart Company. I am far more grateful to know that he lived and died "a worthy member of the Church."