Elizabeth Simpson Haigh Bradshaw was born February 10, 1808 to Thomas Simpson and Ann Briggs in Bolton, Lancashire, England. At age nine, Elizabeth was left an orphan, along with several of her siblings. They were reared by her father's sister. In 1836, Elizabeth married William Haigh, with whom she had two children. After he died in 1840, Elizabeth encountered missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1841, she received a patriarchal blessing, and against persecution and ridicule from even her family, she decided to join the Church. On March 11, 1844, she married Richard Bradshaw. They were ready to leave for Utah, until they heard the news of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's martyrdoms and were told to wait. Richard died in December 1849, leaving Elizabeth with five children, one of which was a newborn baby. In May of 1856, Elizabeth sailed to America on a voyage of six weeks. She and her family arrived in Boston and from there, took a train to Iowa, where they waited for handcarts to take in order to cross the plains. Elizabeth and her family joined the Martin and Tyler Handcart Co., arriving in Salt Lake City on November 30, 1856. Her family thereafter resided in Cache Valley, living in a log building. Elizabeth died in 1873 in Hyrum, Utah.
Part of the J. Allen Parkinson collection, this is a three-page typescript biography written by Elizabeth's granddaughter, Saraha Astle Call. It is located in the third folder of the collection, which is labeled, Biographies, Ba-By. The manuscript begins by introducing Elizabeth's family as having come from a heritage of clockmakers, they apparently being the inventors of the grandfather clock. The manuscript goes on to portray the resistance Elizabeth faced in joining the Church, for even as she was on the ship to go to America, her brother attempted to persuade her to stay, promising to take care of her and her children. In Iowa, while packing to go across the plains, Elizabeth gave several items away to those in need, though she kept her two wedding dresses, which she later gave to her daughters. The handcart company began its trip with faith and prayers, and among its group were several different nationalities. As they traveled, the people faced several hardships and saw many burials and deaths. At one point, the manuscripts relays that Elizabeth's eldest daughter helped the company by carrying sixteen people across a river. Similarly, the manuscript provides a story during which Elizabeth attempted to carry her six-year old son on her shoulders across a very strong river, and she was caught and dragged downstream. People shouted for her to let him go and save herself, but she did not, and eventually was able to get out. Afterwards, Elizabeth related to the people that in a blessing, she had been promised to take all her children to Zion. Another exhibition of her faith was when her son was brought into camp and pronounced dead; Elizabeth not believing it, had him bless by elders, and he recovered. Another example of the hardships the people faced were the rationing's of food, because of how little they had; for Elizabeth's six-year-old son, she was allotted only two tablespoons of flour. After arriving in the valley, Elizabeth's home is described as having a dirt roof and floor, with only a sheep skin covering for a bed.