Today is Pioneer Day in Utah, a day when Utahns reflect on the sacrifice that brought 70,000 people 1,300 miles across the United States into present-day Utah. My own family was part of this group. In fact, there's a wonderful quote from Brigham Young about the Asays when he bumped into them while traveling in Southern Utah. He critiqued their sloth in still living out of their wagons, but said they made him the best fish dinner he'd had. Some things never change.... :-)
As I look back on what my family and others did, I'm impressed by how hardship focused and shaped the thoughts and feelings of a people. While some of the pioneers suffered greatly in making the trek, for others it was more hearty inconvenience and discomfort. But for all, it was a formative time.
Years later, a group that hadn't been through the ordeal criticized those who had for foolishly leaving late in the year, such that the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were caught in a terrible winter. Here's the response from one who had lived through it:… Read more