Yer turn in the harness, Maw!
February 12, 2003 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Not all the pioneers who pushed west across the U.S. could afford a covered wagon. Between 1846 and 1869, some 300,000 people - mostly Mormons - pulled their belongings in handcarts over 1,000 miles over the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City (and not everyone made it). Reenacting the trek has become popular – very popular.
posted by gottabefunky (9 comments total)
I got a lot of respect for those guys. It's hard to complain about what I've got when I remember what they had. I just wish that there were more opportunities to participate in the reenactments down here in AZ, since it's primarily a Utah thing.

And by the way, it can be dangerous to post threads involving Mormons around here! ;-)
posted by oissubke at 9:57 AM on February 12, 2003

My dad always used 'em as an excuse to not take me camping. "My ancestors walked halfway across the country so that I could live my life in freedom and comfort," he'd say. "It's my patriotic duty -- patriotic duty! -- to sleep in a warm bed."

I did the 50-20 reenactment one year, as a teenager. Apparently at some point in their trek westward some Mormons walked 50 miles in 20 hours. I don't now remember why. But we reenacted it, and dang if that wasn't a long day full of nothing but walking.
posted by lumpley at 10:44 AM on February 12, 2003

wouldn't this have been a better pioneer day link?

ah well. My mom is in DOP [daughters of the pioneers]. Perhaps i should be in Sons of DOP?

the "your ancestors walked across the country" thing comes up a lot in mormon households. As a not-mormon-anymore guy, i do still get a kick out of singing songs to my wife like children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked.... sorta sums it up, yeah?
posted by th3ph17 at 11:35 AM on February 12, 2003

Those wacky Mormons!
posted by kaibutsu at 12:11 PM on February 12, 2003 children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked...

I had forgotten the existance of that song, and being an older primary kid with my friends, singing and walked and walked and walked under our breaths while the rest of the primary went on with whatever the song goes on with.

Dag. Could I have been eleven then, living in downtown Provo? Could be.

Thanks for reminding me, th3ph17. Speaking of it's hard to complain about what I've got, when I remember -- I don't miss those days a bit.
posted by lumpley at 1:33 PM on February 12, 2003

i don't even remember if there were more words...all i remember is the walked and walked repeating over and over again.

a primary [primary is like sunday school.] meme? passed from one group to the next for decades....whether in provo or
posted by th3ph17 at 2:06 PM on February 12, 2003

I looked through the pictures of my sister's family as they did the reenactment... It was enough for me. I lived it vicariously through them in the comfort of my own home. :-)
posted by Plunge at 3:12 PM on February 12, 2003

I googled:
Pioneer Children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked.
Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked.
They washed at streams and worked and played. Sundays they camped and read and prayed.
Week after week, they sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked and walked.

Yep. That's a lot of walking.

It's a weird thing, oissubke. I don't respect the church anymore, but there were my ancestors, walking and walking, founding Utah, having multiple wives, I mean living it. Can I reject the church, but admire them? On the one hand, they were taken-in culties and shoulda been smarter, but on the other hand, they fought and worked and died for their faiths, and that's admirable. Th3ph17, know what I mean?
posted by lumpley at 7:06 AM on February 13, 2003

i totally know what you mean. Mormon is my cultural heritage....not my belief system. I know the jargon, the stories, etc...hell, i was even a missionary 12 years ago. So--like you--i don't have a lot of respect for the theology, i do have a lot of respect for the people (all of my family, etc...) and the history....the handcart companies were badass pioneers.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:53 AM on February 14, 2003

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