Saturday, June 9, 2012

Determination Wins The Day...!

When you make up your mind about getting a thing done, it will get done!

As the old saying goes " a thing perceived can be achieved!" If these folks had nothing else, they had the conviction of purpose. Time and time again, it has been shown that a group of people sharing the same vision can create miracles!

Jun 9, 1856:
Mormon handcart pioneers depart for Salt Lake City

In an extraordinary demonstration of resolve and fortitude, nearly 500 Mormons leave Iowa City and head west for Salt Lake City carrying all their goods and supplies in two-wheeled handcarts. Of all the thousands of pioneer journeys to the West in the 19th century, few were more arduous than those undertaken by the so-called Handcart Companies from 1856 to 1860.

The secular and religious leader of the Mormons, Brigham Young, had established Salt Lake City as the center of a new Utah sanctuary for the Latter-day Saints in 1847. In subsequent years, Young worked diligently to encourage and aid Mormons who made the difficult overland trek to the Great Salt Lake. In 1856, however, a series of poor harvests left the church with only a meager fund to help immigrants buy wagons and oxen. Young suggested a cheaper mode of travel: "Let them come on foot with handcarts or wheelbarrows; let them gird up their loins and walk through and nothing shall hinder or stay them."

Amazingly, many Mormons followed his advice. On this day in 1856, a band of 497 Mormons left Iowa City, Iowa, and began the more than 1,000-mile trek to Salt Lake City. They carried all their goods in about 100 two-wheeled handcarts, most of which were heaped with the maximum load of 400 to 500 pounds. Each family usually had one cart, and the father and mother took turns pulling while any children old enough helped by pushing.

The handcart immigrants soon ran into serious problems. The Mormon craftsmen who had constructed the handcarts back in Iowa City had chosen to use wooden axles instead of iron in order to save time and money. Sand and dirt quickly wore down the wood, and water and heat made the axles splinter and crack. As the level terrain of the prairies gave way to the more rugged country of the Plains, the sheer physical challenge of hauling a 500-pound cart began to take its toll. One British immigrant who was a skilled carpenter wrote of having to make three coffins in as many days.

Some of the pilgrims gave up. Two girls in one handcart group left to marry a pair of miners they met along the way. The majority, however, struggled on and eventually reached the Salt Lake Valley. Over the course of the next four years, some 3,000 Mormon converts made the overland journey by pushing and pulling heavy-laden handcarts. Better planning and the use of iron axles made the subsequent immigrations slightly easier than the first, and some actually made the journey more quickly than if they had used ox-drawn wagons. Still, once the church finances had recovered, Young's followers returned to using conventional wagons. The handcart treks remained nothing less than heroic. One Mormon girl later estimated that she and her family had each taken over a million steps to reach their goal, pushing and pulling a creaking wooden handcart the entire way

The brave folks that undertook this trip with all the unknowns were, in my opinion, the prime example of what America was all about! Average people, true to their vision, fighting against all odds and with limited resources...somehow managed to accomplish their goals! Not only that, they became an inspiration for hundreds of others in the process!

Coffee on the patio this morning. I have some peach cake on the side, if you'd like!

11 comments:

The Griper said...

if times don't start getting better economically we may end up seeing something like that again.

Duke said...

Not too many people today would be that tough, most today think their life is unbearable if the A/C goes out.

Momlady said...

People were a lot tougher back then.

Sixbears said...

That's an awful lot of work to go to a place that isn't exactly the land of milk and honey.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Wonder if anyone kept a diary? It would be interesting to read about the day to day travels and problems.
Thanks for the history lesson - never knew people pushed carts all that distance.
Peach cake?? Yum!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Very interesting. I didn't know about the "cart" migrations. Where there is a will there is a way, but some ways are better than others. I don't see anything wrong with carts but wouldn't some goats or cows or something hooked up to them have worked better or at least helped?

John said...

Nothing was just given to them.

JOJO said...

There are a few books about this on the market. It is an amazing story. Answer to Phyllis yes they kept diarys. These people struggled more than any wagon trains. Maybe it was their faith that kept them going..

Peach cake? I don't think I have ever had peach cake before. On my way.

HermitJim said...

Hey Griper...
You may be right about that, my friend! Let's hope it doesn't come to that!

Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Duke...
Folks are going to have to start getting mentally tough! Prepping means the physical as well as the pantry!

Thanks for coming over this morning!


Hey Momlady...
That was long before folks became addicted to the "boob tube" and staying inside!

Certainly more physical than we are today, for the most part!

Thanks, lady, for dropping by!


Hey Sixbears...
They probably had no idea what awaited them in Utah! Their religious leaders said go...so they did!

Scary how some folks follow so blindly, isn't it?

Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Phyllis...
I think several books were made from diaries of some of the travelers.

Like JoJo said, many books were written about this by folks who had seen the journals.

Thanks for coming over this morning!


Hey Dizzy...
Seems like it would have been easier to me as well!

Maybe they just didn't have the money! Long trip on foot!

Thanks for coming by, my friend!


Hey John...
They earned whatever awaited them in Utah! I hope they were happy when they got there!

Guess to some folks the grass is always greener somewhere else!

Thanks for the visit!


Hey JoJo...
Faith and fortitude had to be what kept them from turning back!

You'll like this cake, sweetie! Thanks for coming by today!

Stephanie in AR said...

Hermit I would love some coffee & peach cake! It's been a long time since we visited last, it's good to have time to get caught up with old friends. It's amazing what willpower & determination can do isn't it?

HermitJim said...

Hey Stephanie...
It has been way too long, girl! How have you been?

Determination can certainly move mountains!

Thanks so much for coming over this morning!