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New book from BYU Studies chronicles day-by-day experience of Willie Handcart Company

BYU Studies has published a new book, “The Willie Handcart Company: Their Day-by-Day Experiences, Including Trail Maps and Driving Directions,” which provides a detailed account of the Willie Handcart Company and its ill-fated journey across the wintry plains of Wyoming in 1856.

This is the first book to identify certain portions of the trail, and it contains 89 new maps that show the route the immigrants traveled between New York and Utah.

To illuminate the Willie Company’s daily experiences, author Paul D. Lyman includes portions of journals, personal histories, newspapers, maps, and other historical documents. He also has compiled new, detailed maps that show the company’s daily path and campsites.

“These maps and modern driving routes will be a valuable resource for groups who organize pioneer treks or for those who want to experience any portion of the journey firsthand,” said Lyman.

Susan Easton Black, professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, said, “’The Willie Handcart Company’ contains both familiar and relatively unknown accounts of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who sacrificed everything to follow the 19th-century call to gather to Zion. Paul D. Lyman has created a valuable resource for scholars, family historians and everyday readers.”

The goal of this book is to help the reader understand the Willie Company’s day-by-day trek to the Salt Lake Valley. The book provides background facts, explaining what they were doing and seeing.

“Regardless of where readers live in America, they can be near to where these pioneers were, see or imagine what they might have seen and feel what they surely felt,” said Lyman. “No other book has ever combined these elements and made them available for all to experience.”

The book is available at the BYU Bookstore and at For more information, contact Kaylene Vest,, (801) 422-5194; or Paul Lyman,, (435) 896-8667.

Writer: Kaylene Vest

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