Rogerson, Josiah, "Martin's Handcart Company, 1856," Salt Lake Herald, 13 Oct. 1907, 5.
There are several reasons why the emigration of 1856 was augmented in numbers above that of many years previous (and which I will-endeavor to explain, hereafter), but the main reason in memory now was, that hundreds of the first converts to Mormonism, in 1837, 1840 and till 1850, had been so whole-souled in their importunities to President Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards and other prominent elders that first went to England, Scotland and Wales, with the gospel for "deliverance from the British Isles," that President Young became determined to meet the emergency with the handcart experiment.
That we started a month too late, and that the snowstorms in the Wind river and Rocky mountains came on a month earlier than usual and than general, tells the story in a nutshell. Otherwise the fatalities would not have been one-tenth and the results entirely different.
I have before me the very valuable diary of the Mr. J. G. [James Godson] Bleak, church historian of southern Utah, and recorder in the St. George temple for the last thirty or forty years of the sailing of the ship Horizon from Liverpool with 356 Mormons on board and of this number, the list and roster of Martin's handcart company, [John] Hunt and [William] Hodgett's wagon companies, were composed.
"We cast anchor in sight of Boston, Mass., June 28, 1856, got the cars July 2 for Iowa City, Ia., passed through Buffalo, July 4, while the celebration was in full parade, arriving at Iowa City, Ia., Tuesday, July 6, 1856, the end of all railroad tracks then in western America, and made camp on Iowa Hill, three miles from Iowa City in Wednesday, July 9, 1856."
I shall leave Brother [J. G.] Bleak's faithful and accurate diary now, for the present and publish the names of the heads of families and single members of [Edward] Martin's handcart company, as they started from Florence, Neb., Monday, August 25, 1856, and resume in the subsequent chapters with the names of the company that started from Iowa Hill, Ia., July 26, 1856, our daily travels and incidents from there to Florence, Neb.