"Going to hell in a handbasket"

Posted by Bob Motter on May 03, 2002

In Reply to: "Going to hell in a handbasket" posted by Barney on April 19, 2002

: : : Hello,

: : : Can anyone tell me about, "Going to hell in a handbasket," and it's origins???

: : : Thank you!!

: : : Brad

This expression may have come from the mid-19th Century in America during the building of the transcontinental railroad. As the line built from the west to the east, a number of Chinese laborers were employed to assist in building the line through the mountains of the west. In order to do this large amounts of rock had to be dynamited. The Chinese laborers were placed in a wicker chair and suspended over a cliff by a rope. The laborer would bore into the rock and insert the dynamite charges then light the fuse and yell to be pulled back to the top. Dependent on how strong and fast the man on top was at pulling the rope determined if the laborer made it with his life. If not, the laborer was blown to bits. And the term "going or he went to hell in a handbasket" was born.