Pub­lic in­vited to hand­cart pre­sen­ta­tion by his­to­rian


Hand­cart travel the way it was done in 1856 to 1860 is the theme of an up­com­ing lec­ture spon­sored by the Springville Se­nior Cit­i­zens.

It will be held Wed­nes­day Aug. 3, at 6 p.m. at the Se­nior Cen­ter, 65 E. 200 South, Springville. This event is free and the pub­lic is in­vited.

The hand­cart ex­pe­ri­ence catches the hearts and imag­i­na­tions of many who have an­ces­tors who came west by that unique mode of travel. Even for those with no fam­ily or re­li­gious ties to those pi­o­neers, the idea of im­mi­grants tak­ing scant pro­vi­sions so they could push and pull hand­carts across the plains to be­gin a new life in what they be­lieved was Zion is in­trigu­ing.

Lyn­dia Carter, an avid his­tor­i­cal re­searcher, writer and lec­turer, will take her au­di­ence along that long and dif­fi­cult trip to Utah us­ing the par­tic­i­pants’ own words to piece to­gether the day-to-day drama and drudgery of the hand­cart era.

Trav­el­ing on foot was not unique to the Mor­mon hand­cart im­mi­grant ex­pe­ri­ence. Nearly ev­ery­one head­ing west­ward ex­cept for the young, el­derly and ill walked most if not all the dis­tance to Ore­gon, Cal­i­for­nia, Utah and other ar­eas. The ex­er­tion of pulling and push­ing a hand­cart was ex­haust­ing la­bor com­pounded by a lack of sup­plies, in­ad­e­quate cloth­ing, ex­treme heat, storms and hor­ren­dous cold. Cer­tainly, in Carter’s opinion, they went the hard way. It was in­ex­pen­sive, but it was the only way they could af­ford to “gather to Zion.” They paid the price with ef­fort and per­se­ver­ance.

This method of trans­porta­tion, last­ing three years, in­volved only about 3,000, or 5 per­cent, of the 60,000 Mor­mons who mi­grated to Utah be­tween 1847 and 1869 be­fore the build­ing of the transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­road. About 2,000 came in 1856, the first year this trans­porta­tion method was used. The re­main­der com­ing in 1857, 1859 and 1860 (none in 1858). Carter is a stick­ler for his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy, and the hand­cart pi­o­neers’ real, fac­tual sto­ries in their own words and with­out em­bel­lish­ment are cap­ti­vat­ing.

Lyn­dia McDowell Carter is a for­mer Utah his­tory and English teacher. She is deeply in­volved in sev­eral his­tor­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and keeps ac­tive study­ing his­tory and do­ing re­search and writ­ing as well as speak­ing ba­si­cally on a full- time ba­sis. She has writ­ten a num­ber of ar­ti­cles for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions and is cur­rently work­ing on manuscripts for a few books on the hand­cart pi­o­neers. She has been a con­sul­tant for and has ap­peared in sev­eral TV doc­u­men­taries on over­land mi­gra­tion, Utah his­tory and the hand­cart story.

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