The year 2006 marks the sesquicentennial of the Martin and Willie
Handcart Company treks to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Members of the
Willie Company sailed from Liverpool, England, in May of 1856, and
arrived in Salt Lake the following November. With limited funds and
resources, these faithful Saints made the journey to the Valley
pulling handcarts and walking, consequently enduring some of the
greatest hardships of all the pioneers who followed Brigham Young's
call from the Lord to gather in the West. In an attempt to bring some
of the personal, daily experiences of the Willie Company in particular
to interested viewers, BYU Studies has produced a day-by-day web
chronology of their journey from Liverpool to Salt Lake City, based on
research by Paul D. Lyman.* While navigating through these pages,
viewers can read from the following sources:**
Willie Company Journal: Complete text of the company journal with an
entry for every day of the journey.
Paul Lyman Commentary: Fully documented historical commentary,
including links to the full-text journals of William Woodward, Peter
Madsen, and Levi Savage.
John Chislett's Firsthand Account: Summary of the entire journey
written 15 years after Chislett arrived in Salt Lake City.
The goal of this project is to allow the reader to understand and to
experience the Willie Company's day-by-day trek to Salt Lake City.
Because the story is portrayed here as a narrative, the events should
be read chronologically, and we encourage viewers to go back and look
at previous days. Some of the journal entries used archaic words or
phrases or referred to other people or to events that were well known
in 1856, but are not commonly known today. These words, phrases, names
and events are explained in the commentary after their first
Whether you know a little or a lot about the pioneers, this chronology
of the Willie Handcart Company will give new insights into their
experiences, hardships, and faith. Even stories and events that are
already familiar may strengthen your testimony and understanding when
considered in this new, fuller context.