The Handcart Song

Music By: Traditional tune, Oh Susanna, arranged by Michael Smurthwaite
Voices: Unison
Lyrics By: Elder Philip Margetts
Description: Elder Philip Margetts emigrated from England to Great Salt Lake City in 1850. In 1857,a group of 77 missionaries left Salt Lake to fill missions abroad pushing handcarts toward Florence, Nebraska. Elder Margetts, a pioneer actor, wrote the following song which was sung along the way to encourage the travelers.

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1. No purse, no scrip they bear with them, but cheerfully they start,

And cross the plains a thousand miles, and draw with them handcart:

Ye nations list! the men of God, from Zion now they come,

Clothed with the Priesthood and the pow’r, to gather Israel home!


Oh! then cheer up ye Elders, you to the world will show

That Israel must be gathered soon, and oxen are too slow.


2. Ye pious men whose sympathy is touch’d for fallen man,

A pattern now is set for you, just beat it if you can;

Here’s men who’re called to go abroad the Gospel to impart,

They leave their friends and homes so dear and start with their hand-cart. (chorus)


3. Now competition is the rage, throughout the world ’tis true,

To head the “Mormons” they must rise far earlier than they do,

For “Mormonim” it is sound, without a crack or flaw,

They know the arts and sciences, and they’re learning how to draw. (chorus)


4. Then come ye faithful ministers, with blessings now we’ll go,

To gather out the honest hearts from darkness and from woe;

Our strength increasing day by day, as from this land we part,

We’ll bless the day that we were called to go with our hand-cart! (chorus)


5.Some folks would ask, Why do you start with carts, come tell, I pray?

We answer: when our Prophet speaks, the Elders all obey;

Since Brigham has the way laid out that’s best for us, we’ll try;

Stand off ye unenlightened folks, the hand-carts now or die. (chorus)