Handcart Pioneer Companies

Part of the Mormon migration to Salt Lake City included an experiment of sorts that saw pioneers coming across the Plains in handcarts instead of wagons. The experiment began in 1856 with the Edmund Ellsworth company and ended in 1860 with the Oscar Stoddard Company. The idea was that money could be saved in having pioneers use handcarts instead of wagons. The experiment nearly ended as soon as it began with the tragedies of the Willie and Martin companies, but seeing success it was continued. One source of the names of the rosters comes from the book, Handcarts to Zion by LeRoy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen. The book is still in print and it can be found at Deseret Book and it is the best source of information concerning the handcart experience. An article, Handcart Companies by William G. Hartley provides an excellent overview of the handcart pioneers. An excerpt from Josiah Rogerson describes the construction of the handcarts.

  • Links to Handcart Stories and resources

  • Moved

    The names of handcart pioneers that used to be on
    this page have been incorporated into the
    Mormon Pioneer Search.

    Go to this web page to search for your pioneer.