Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1860 (age 40), Stoddard, Oscar O. (Captain - Last Handcart Company)

Oscar Orlando Stoddard, captain of the tenth and last handcart company to cross the plains to Utah, was born December 20, 1830 in New York. The company was comprised of 126 converts with six wagons and left Florence, Nebraska July 6, 1860 arriving in Salt Lake Valley on the 24th of September. Mr. Stoddard was appointed by George Q. Cannon Emigration agent for that year. In his diary he states, "there were also with us, traveling with their own team, Stephen Taylor and family, also a brother Paul and family from South Africa followed us and joined us about the third day out, and by the advice of Brother Cannon, Brother Paul was chosen chaplain over the English speaking portion of the company; Brother Christian Christiansen having been chosen chaplain of the Scandinavian and Swiss portion. Having traveled down the Platte on the north side and found it to be rough, hilly country and bad for the handcarts between Laramie and the upper crossing, I thought I would try and cross the North Platte at Laramie and travel up the south side of it; and, as there were some in the company who were timid about crossing with their handcarts, I was in a quandary what to do about it. We camped four miles below Laramie and during the night I dreamed I saw ourselves camped on the other side of the river, and when I told my dream, it seemed to allay all fears, so we started at sunrise and moved camp up the river till opposite Laramie, then the Sisters did their washing while we overhauled our provisions, issued rations increasing the rations of flour from one pound a head per day, which had been issued up until that time, to one and one-quarter pounds, then hunted up a ford and prepared to cross. We hitched up when ready and drove one wagon over unloaded. It came back and took in the loads of the handcarts, and then went over with them leaving the empty carts to haul by hand, I helping to haul over the first one myself. We landed on the 8th Ward Square in Salt Lake City on the 24th day of September, 1860, having just dealt our one week's rations.... Provisions were distributed among them as needed or required, so they were well received, and, I must say, according to the best of my understanding and knowledge, this was the last hand-cart company and it came across the plains in as good condition as any one of them."

Mr. Stoddard was a native of New York state where he was born December 30, 1821. He passed away in Utah September 9, 1896.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.