With History of the Saints entering its third season this November, we wanted to start off telling a story that we know is close to the hearts of many Latter-day Saints: The trek of the handcart companies. The information about them is abundant and we’ve interviewed many scholars on the subject, including Alexander Baugh; Andrew D. Olson, author of The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers; Lyndia Carter; William G. Hartley; Jolene S. Allphin, Author of Tell My Story, Too-A Collection of Biographical Sketches of Pioneers and Rescuers of the Willie, Martin, Hodgett and Hunt Companies, 1856; Mel Bashore; Al Christy and others. It’s probably the greatest number of interviews we have done on one subject.
These episodes of History of the Saints will cover the entire handcart movement, as well as some of the wagon companies that went with them, not just the Martin and Willie Companies. There were ten companies of about 3000 people total. That’s only around ten percent of the Mormon Migration, yet those handcart pioneers seem to occupy a special place in the hearts of many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.