Handcarts - The New Plan

Handcarts - The New Plan (HM1MQ5)

Location: Fort Laramie, WY 82212 Goshen County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 12.186', W 104° 33.305'

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Fort Laramie National Historic Site

We cannot afford to purchase wagons and teams as in times past. I am consequently thrown back upon my old plan - to make hand-carts, and let the emigration foot it . . .       Brigham Young, 1855 Between 1856 and 1860, nearly 3,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, pulled their earthly possessions in two-wheeled handcarts from Iowa to Utah. Most "Handcart Pioneers" were poor immigrant converts from northern Europe.A typical fully loaded handcart weighed between 300 and 500 pounds. Costing as little as $10 apiece to build, the handcart was considerably cheaper than the $300 to $500 for a wagon and ox team. Only the better-made handcarts had iron-rimmed wheels, causing at least one elder to question their sturdiness. Church President Brigham Young, however, expressed confidence in the venture's success, observing that the emigrants "can come just as quick, if not quicker and much cheaper - can start earlier and escape the prevailing sickness which annually lays so many of our brethren in the dust."
Tragedy on the Plains
Of the 10 handcart companies attempting the journey, all but two completed the trip successfully. Plagued by a late departure, a shortage of provisions, and an early severe winter storm, the Martin and Willie companies were destined for tragedy. In October 1856, near present-day Casper, Wyoming, over 200 members of these ill-fated companies died. One survivor poignantly described the scene, "Death had taken a heavy toll and the Ravine was like an overcrowded tomb. No mortal tongue could describe the suffering." The handcart era ended after 1860, when church leaders decided to use only wagons and ox teams to haul emigrants and freight west.
HM NumberHM1MQ5
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, August 10th, 2015 at 6:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 536729 N 4672422
Decimal Degrees42.20310000, -104.55508333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 12.186', W 104° 33.305'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 12' 11.16" N, 104° 33' 18.3" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)307
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Unnamed Road, Fort Laramie WY 82212, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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