On the 9th day of June 1856, the first Mormon Handcart Company left Iowa City led by Captain Edmond Ellsworth. There were 52 handcarts with 275 people. On the 11th day of June, the next company led by Captain Daniel D. McArthur, had 48 handcarts, with 222 people and 4 covered wagons.
These companies suffered many hardships, bad roads with hills and mountains to cross, adverse weather conditions and the other problems that were encountered by the pioneers as they crossed the plains coming west. There were frequent breakdowns of the handcarts as they had been made with green wood. Both the handcarts and wagons were overloaded. Many repairs were constantly needed before they could go on.
Some of the children and elderly people died and were buried on the way. Food was scarce at times, so buffalo meat became a source of survival.
Both parties of the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the 26th of September 1856 and were met by Governor Brigham Young and his councilmen, the Nauvoo Band and others.