The Mormon experiment of sending emigrants across the Plains pulling handcarts was short-lived: Ten companies, between 1856 and 1860, made the trek. The “down and back” companies, reported so well here by Kevin Folkman, took over at that point, with emigrants arriving by railroad once the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869.
So it’s a little surprising to read a letter from one of Brigham Young’s agents in the Midwest *in 1877* asking about the feasibility of reviving the handcart plan:
There are three families of poor Saints here [Omaha] with some six men including grown up boys. They are determined not to winter here again and have themselves proposed to go to Utah with handcarts with such additional help of a pony or two as they may be able to get.
The question that I feel more especially to ask you is, Is it safe for them to travel the road? Two of these families came back from Utah. They have been pretty roughly handled in this country and now would be glad to get back any way they can. Next time perhaps they will stay.
So what do you suppose was the response of Brigham Young? Make your best guess — Did he say yes? no? What was his reasoning? — in the comments, then come back this afternoon at 3:00 (MST) and see how close you came to his answer.
The ‘ninny who best channels the mind of Brigham Young gets bragging rights and a seat at the captain’s table when we get around to holding our first annual Keepa World Cruise.