During the years 1856 to 1860 there were ten handcart companies heading west to the Salt Lake Valley. What many people may not know was that there was an 11th company heading east pulling handcarts. Who was this 11th handcart company?
a. Brigham Young used handcarts on his return journey to Winter Quarters in 1847
b. An 1855 test to determine if the handcarts would work
c. The Mormon Battalion used them going from California to Utah
d. A number of Elders heading east on missions in 1857
b. Brigham Young
As related by Samuel P. Orton
In 1856 I crossed the plains in Captain Edward Bunker’s handcart company. We got along very well until we ran short of flour; our rations being a quarter of a pound of flour per day without trimmings. Being young and healthy, I became very weak, and I prayed to the Lord that I might die; but my prayers were not answered. One day, about this time, there came an old buffalo past our camp; we killed him and I being very hungry ate some of the meat while it was warm. This nearly killed me. I was so sick I had to leave my cart and walk behind the company.
All at once a voice spoke to me and said, “Samuel are you here?” I said, “Yes, I am here,” and turned to see who it was that spoke to me, but saw no one. This set me to thinking what I was here for, and what I was going to Utah for. I wanted to know if the Gospel was true, and if the Father and the Son did appear to Joseph Smith and reveal it to him, and if Brigham Young was his lawful successor. If so, I wanted to see when I got To Salt Lake City that halo of light around the head of President Young that we see in pictures around the head of the Savior. While this train of thought was passing through my mind I had caught up with the company, feeling quite well, as my sickness had left me. We soon after met a team from Salt Lake City with some flour for us; so we got along all right during the rest of the journey. We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 5th of October. The next morning, it being Conference, I went to meeting in the old Bowery, and took my seat about the middle of the building. The people were coming in “pretty lively.” I was watching to see if there was any one that I knew, but saw no one. Then on looking toward the stand I saw President Young there with the rays of light around his head as I had asked to see while on the plains, and the same rays seemed to faintly encircle the brethren on each side of him. Then the same voice that spoke to me on the plains, said to me plainly: “Now Samuel if ever you apostatize, here is your condemnation.” I looked around me to see if any of the people heard the voice, but I thought they did not. This has ever since been a very valuable testimony to me.
Instuctor, May 15, 1906.