Several Years ago, when I first began to study the handcart story, I took what I knew and wrote a musical about the Martin Handcart Company. I included the story of William Ashton1, who lost his wife and three children on the trail. He was not there when his oldest daughter passed away, as he left the company in Laramie and joined the military. He fulfilled he five yer commitment, but instead of going to Utah to see if any of his children survived, he returned to England, and only came to Utah several years later.
I also tell the story of Isaac Wardle, who was a young man upon the trek. It talks about his conversation, using the version of my great aunt Mary Rupp who said he was the first of the family to be baptized. This doesn't appear to be true, but he was the first to travel to Utah. Isaac is know for having chopped down several trees in Martin's Cove, which helped establish the exact location.
I also included other characters, and combined some characters for the sake of casting. The story included John Jacques, Edward Martin, Brigham Young, Franklin Richards, Elizabeth Jackson and Peter McBride.
It also included several songs, "Your Heart Will Burn" is the conversation story, "See Them for Real" is the Martin's Cove song, "Get Them Here" is Brigham Young recruiting the rescuers. Of course there are traditional songs, "The Handcart Song" and "Come, come Ye Saints." Probably the best song is an instrumental Mark wrote, "The Campfire Song."
There are actually two versions, the original was a two act musical. Admittedly this version has some historical errors. I have Langley walking, which was actually Tamar Loader, Elizabeth Ashton dying at sea rather than in Boston Harbor as is accurate (I discovered this after the musical,) and I had the trumpeteer play "Taps" which was not written until the Civil War. I am sure there are more mistakes.f I also add a love interest which was fictional, although the parties did in fact marry on board the Horizon. We performed this as a ward.
However I wrote a shorter readers theater version which we performed for the 150 year anniversary of the handcarts. This version is more historically accurate. It includes quotes from many different handcart pioneers. Much of the music is the same, but not as much of it.
At any rate, if anyone wants to read these I could copy and mail for the approximate cost of shipping and copying. I would guess this would be $20 for either the musical or the readers theater. If you want both, shipping would be less so that would probably come out as $30. If you want without the music the cost would be $5 less as there would be less copying. The lyrics are in the script.
You can contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org Please put handcart in the subject so I can see what it is very quickly and respond quickly.
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