Wagon wheel skull
Wagon Wheel skull
The Pioneers at Fort Harmony




Handcart Pioneers



Benjamin Platt and Mary Greaves

Benjamin Platt was born April 12, 1833 at Freedmill, between Royton and Crompton, Lancashire England. He was the son of Thomas Platt and Sarah Standring.

Mary Greaves was born March 2, 1837 at Crompton, Lancashire, England, daughter of Rebecca Greaves and John Shaw.

They were married April 14, 1856 at the Oldham Church, Lancashire, England. They left England on May 23, 1856, from Liverpool on the Horizon, and along with many of its 856 Saints, became part of the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company. At the last crossing of the Platte River, Benjamin says: "I took off my shoes and stocking and carried my wife over on my back and then went back for my handcart." He crossed the stream five times that night getting his own cart and belongings, then helping others.

On Dec 2, 1856 they left Great Salt Lake City for Fort Harmony. They traveled with Charles W. Dixon. According to the ward minutes they made the trip in ten days, arriving on Dec 12th, along with Charles and Mary Lord, ages 39 and 36, also handcart pioneers. The first night they stayed with James and Pollly Davies. The next day they were sent to stay with the Henry Bailey family. About a week later they were sent to stay with John D. Lee where they found work on Lee's farm, and cooking. Ben was paid $15.00 a month. The Platts were assigned the two-room home on the southwest corner of the Fort. Mary says: "About six o'clock I'd put a big kettle of water on and when it was boiling, I would stir corn meal into it and make mush for the men's supper. I would have to keep stirring it to keep it from scorching." She also helped the Lee wives when large dinners were prepared for guests.

Ben and Mary had two children born at the Fort. John William Platt was born January 17, 1858 at their home in the southwest corner of the Fort. Benjamin Travis Platt was born there on January 1, 1860. During March of 1859 Ben began working with a number of the residences of the Fort to organize another town, called Grafton, on the Virgin River.

Those who left the Fort in the spring of 1860 were Bishop William Reese Davies (his wife Rachel and their children Elizabeth and David); James Davies; Henry Barney (his wife Mercy and their children George, Alma, and Mercy Jane); A.G. Graham; Darius Shirts (his wife Mary Adeline Lee and their baby Don Carlos); Don Carlos Shirts (his wife Elizabeth and their children George, and William); Nathan Cram Tenney. (his wife Olive Strong and their children Ammon Meshach, Nathan Cram, Jr, Olive Eliza, Nancy Ann, Phebe Relief, Abby Celestia, John Lowell, and Samuel Benjamin); and James McFate (his wife Mary and their children Louisa, Hyrum L., Rasmus, Nancy, Martha and Charles).



The Platte River


The Willy Rescue Site