Surprise Finding: Mortality rate of the Mormon handcart trek across the West was lowtags: Mormon
The final stanza of the Mormon pioneer anthem "Come, Come Ye Saints" directly confronts the prospect of dying on the trail: "And should we die, before our journey's through…"
Now new research shows that pioneer mortality rates were not much greater than national averages at the time.
This may come as a surprise to modern Mormon youth who've participated in handcart treks.
"The youth go out and learn that a lot of people died and they push the handcart and after three days they think they are practically dead," said retired historian Mel Bashore. "But most people traveled in wagons to Utah. The whole Mormon trail movement that spanned 20 years was a really successful endeavor."
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