My husband has an uncle just a bit older than himself. This uncle is like a brother to my husband. He and his sweet wife are the parents of six and the grandparents of thirty-one grandchildren. But all that family is being left behind has they prepare to serve for six months in Wyoming as missionaries. They will help visitors to understand and learn about the Willie Martin Handcart Companies which found themselves in a monstrous snowstorm in October 1856. To read more about the Willie Martin Companies go here.
This map shows where they will be serving. Click here for a larger view. They will be taking their fifth wheel and will be staying at the Sweetwater River near Rocky Ridge where the Willie Company was first rescued.
Here is another map with a closer view of the area.
This story is one of courage, both of the Company members who suffered and died as well as those who headed east from Utah to help rescue them.
Once of my ancestors, Thomas Edwin Ricks, age 28 at the time, was a rescuer, but was just one of many who heeded President Brigham Young's call for help.
This is a story and time which hold great significance for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. New converts, mostly from England, heeded the call to gather to Utah to join fellow saints and many lost their lives. Men willingly went forth with supplies, animals, and wagons in very difficult circumstances to bring them on "home." It is common practice for youth groups to reenact a journey by handcart. It is done in hopes that they will better appreciate sacrifices made by those who have gone before.
Phil and Lynette leave tomorrow and will have the opportunity to share this story with many. I am sure that their experiences will become part of their most precious memories. Glen and I plan to go to Wyoming this July. We may not come across Phil and Lynette but it is time for us to visit this place, hopefully with other family members. We also plan to travel on to Mt. Rushmore before turning back west. Glen has negotiated with a motel in Casper for a discounted rate a block of rooms. Please let us know if you are in for this adventure. Dates are Monday, July 7 - 9, with two nights in Casper. I don't think that there will be any snow :)