Mormon handcart pioneers

Mormon Handcart Pioneers

Mormon handcart pioneers

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The Mormon handcart pioneers were participants in the migration of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS Church) to Salt Lake City, Utah, who used handcarts to transport their belongings. "The Awful March of the Saints," American Heritage, Fall 2008. The Mormon handcart movement began in 1856 and continued until 1860.

Motivated to join their fellow Church members in Utah but lacking funds for full ox or horse teams, nearly 3,000 Mormon pioneers from England, Wales, Scotland and Scandinavia made the journey from Iowa or Nebraska to Utah in ten handcart companies. The trek was disastrous for two of the companies, which started their journey dangerously late and were caught by heavy snow and severe temperatures in central Wyoming. Despite a dramatic rescue effort, more than 210 of the 980 pioneers in these two companies died along the way. John Chislett, a survivor, wrote, "Many a father pulled his cart, with his little children on it, until the day preceding his death."

Although fewer than 10 percent of the 1847–68 Latter-day Saint emigrants made the journey west using handcarts, the handcart pioneers have become an important symbol in LDS culture, representing the faithfulness and sacrifice of the pioneer generation. They continue to be recognized and honored in events such as Pioneer Day, Church...
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