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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

The Migration To Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Organization Of The Church
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



From The Mississippi To The Missouri








The first party to leave Nauvoo began crossing the Mississippi
early in February, 1846, using flatboats propelled by oars for
the wagons and animals, and small boats for persons and the
lighter baggage. It soon became colder and snow fell, and after
the 16th those who remained were able to cross on the ice.

Brigham Young, with a few attendants, had crossed on February 10,
and selected a point on Sugar Creek as a gathering place.* He
seems to have returned secretly to the city for a few days to
arrange for the departure of his family, and Lee says that he did
not have teams enough at that time for their conveyance, adding,
"such as were in danger of being arrested were helped away
first." John Taylor says that those who crossed the river in
February included the Twelve, the High Council, and about four
hundred families.**

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 171.

** "February 14 I crossed the river with my family and teams, and
encamped not far from the Sugar Creek encampment, taking
possession of a vacant log house on account of the extreme
cold."--P. P. Pratt, "Autobiography," p. 378.


"Camp of Israel" was the name adopted for the camp in which
President Young and the Twelve might be, and this name moved
westward with them. The camp on Sugar Creek was the first of
these, and there, on February 17, Young addressed the company
from a wagon. He outlined the journey before them, declaring that
order would be preserved, and that all who wished to live in
peace when the actual march began "must toe the mark," ending
with a call for a show of hands by those who wanted to make the
move. The vote in favor of going West was unanimous.*

* "At a Council in Nauvoo of the men who were to act as the
captains of the people in that famous exodus, one after the other
brought up difficulties in their path, until the prospect was
without one poor speck of daylight. The good nature of George A.
Smith was provoked at last, when he sprang up and observed, with
his quaint humor, that had now a touch of the grand in it, 'If
there is no God in Israel we are a sucked-in set of fellows. But
I am going to take my family and the Lord will open the
way.'"--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," p.17.


The turning out of doors in midwinter of so many persons of all
ages and both sexes, accustomed to the shelter of comfortable
homes, entailed much suffering. A covered wagon or a tent is a
poor protection from wintry blasts, and a camp fire in the open
air, even with a bright sky overhead, is a poor substitute for a
stove. Their first move, therefore, gave the emigrants a taste of
the trials they were to endure. While they were at Sugar Creek
the thermometer dropped to 20 degrees below zero, and heavy falls
of snow occurred. Several children were born at this point,
before the actual Western journey began, and the sick and the
feeble entered upon their sufferings at once. Before that camp
broke up it was found necessary, too, to buy grain for the
animals.

The camp was directly in charge of the Twelve until the Chariton
River was reached. There, on March 27, it was divided into
companies containing from 50 to 60 wagons, the companies being
put in charge of captains of fifties and captains of
tens--suggesting Smith's "Army of Zion." The captains of fifties
were responsible directly to the High Council. There were also a
commissary general, and, for each fifty, a contracting commissary
"to make righteous distribution of grains and provisions." Strict
order was maintained by day while the column was in motion, and,
whenever there was a halt, special care was taken to secure the
cattle and the horses, while at night watches were constantly
maintained. The story of the march to the Missouri does not
contain a mention of any hostile meeting with Indians.

The company remained on Sugar Creek for about a month, receiving
constant accessions from across the river, and on the first of
March the real westward movement began. The first objective point
was Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River, about 400 miles
distant; but on the way several camps were established, at which
some of the emigrants stopped to plant seeds and make other
arrangements for the comfort of those who were to follow. The
first of these camps was located at Richardson's Point in Lee
County, Iowa, 55 miles from Nauvoo; the next on Chariton River;
the next on Locust Creek; the next, named by them Garden Grove,
on a branch of Grand River, some 150 miles from Nauvoo; and
another, which P. P. Pratt named Mt. Pisgah, on Grand River, 138
miles east of Council Bluffs. The camp on the Missouri first made
was called Winter Quarters, and was situated just north of the
present site of Omaha, where the town now called Florence is
located. It was not until July that the main body arrived at
Council Bluffs.

The story of this march is a remarkable one in many ways. Begun
in winter, with the ground soon covered with snow, the travellers
encountered arctic weather, with the inconveniences of ice, rain,
and mud, until May. After a snowfall they would have to scrape
the ground when they had selected a place for pitching the tents.
After a rain, or one of the occasional thaws, the country (there
were no regular roads) would be practically impassable for teams,
and they would have to remain in camp until the water
disappeared, and the soil would bear the weight of the wagons
after it was corduroyed with branches of trees. At one time bad
roads caused a halt of two or three weeks. Fuel was not always
abundant, and after a cold night it was no unusual thing to find
wet garments and bedding frozen stiff in the morning. Here is an
extract from Orson Pratt's diary:-- "April 9. The rain poured
down in torrents. With great exertion a part of the camp were
enabled to get about six miles, while others were stuck fast in
the deep mud. We encamped at a point of timber about sunset,
after being drenched several hours in rain. We were obliged to
cut brush and limbs of trees, and throw them upon the ground in
our tents, to keep our beds from sinking in the mud. Our animals
were turned loose to look out for themselves; the bark and limbs
of trees were their principal food." **

* Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p. 370.


Game was plenty,--deer, wild turkeys, and prairie hens,--but
while the members of this party were better supplied with
provisions than their followers, there was no surplus among them,
and by April many families were really destitute of food. Eliza
Snow mentions that her brother Lorenzo--one of the captains of
tens--had two wagons, a small tent, a cow, and a scanty supply
of provisions and clothing, and that "he was much better off than
some of our neighbors." Heber C. Kimball, one of the Twelve, says
of the situation of his family, that he had the ague, and his
wife was in bed with it, with two children, one a few days old,
lying by her, and the oldest child well enough to do any
household work was a boy who could scarcely carry a two-quart
pail of water. Mrs. F. D. Richards, whose husband was ordered on
a mission to England while the camp was at Sugar Creek, was
prematurely confined in a wagon on the way to the Missouri. The
babe died, as did an older daughter. "Our situation," she says,
"was pitiable; I had not suitable food for myself or my child;
the severe rain prevented our having any fire."

The adaptability of the American pioneer to his circumstances was
shown during this march in many ways. When a halt occurred, a
shoemaker might be seen looking for a stone to serve as a lap
stone in his repair work, or a gunsmith mending a rifle, or a
weaver at a wheel or loom. The women learned that the jolting
wagons would churn their milk, and, when a halt occurred, it took
them but a short time to heat an oven hollowed out of a hillside,
in which to bake the bread already "raised." Colonel Kane says
that he saw a piece of cloth, the wool for which was sheared,
dyed, spun, and woven during this march.

The leaders of the company understood the people they had in
charge, and they looked out for their good spirits. Captain
Pitt's brass band was included in the equipment, and the camp was
not thoroughly organized before, on a clear evening, a dance--the
Mormons have always been great dancers--was announced, and the
visiting Iowans looked on in amazement, to see these exiles from
comfortable homes thus enjoying themselves on the open prairie,
the highest dignitaries leading in Virginia reels and Copenhagen
jigs.

John Taylor, whose pictures of this march, painted with a view to
attract English emigrants, were always highly colored, estimated
that, when he left Council Bluffs for England, in July, 1846,
there were in camp and on the way 15,000 Mormons, with 3000
wagons, 30,000 head of cattle, a great many horses and mules, and
a vast number of sheep. Colonel Kane says that, besides the
wagons, there was "a large number of nondescript turnouts, the
motley makeshifts of poverty; from the unsuitable heavy cart that
lumbered on mysteriously, with its sick driver hidden under its
counterpane cover, to the crazy two-wheeled trundle, such as our
own poor employ in the conveyance of their slop barrels, this
pulled along, it may be, by a little dry-dugged heifer, and
rigged up only to drag some such light weight as a baby, a sack
of meal or a pack of clothes and bedding." *

* "The Mormons," a lecture by Colonel T. L. Kane.


There was no large supply of cash to keep this army and its
animals in provisions. Every member who could contribute to the
commissary department by his labor was expected to do so. The
settlers in the territory seem to have been in need of such
assistance, and were very glad to pay for it in grain, hay, or
provisions. A letter from one of the emigrants to a friend in
England* said that, in every settlement they passed through, they
found plenty of work, digging wells and cellars, splitting rails,
threshing, ploughing, and clearing land. Some of the men in the
spring were sent south into Missouri, not more than forty miles
from Far West, in search of employment. This they readily
secured, no one raising the least objection to a Mormon who was
not to be a permanent settler. Others were sent into that state
to exchange horses, feather beds, and other personal property for
cows and provisions.

* Millennial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 59.


A part of the plan of operations provided for sending out
pioneers to select the route and camping sites, to make bridges
where they were necessary, and to open roads. The party carried
light boats, but a good many bridges seem to have been required
because of the spring freshets. It was while resting after a
march through prolonged rain and mud, late in April, that it was
decided to establish the permanent camp called Garden Grove.
Hundreds of men were at once set to work, making log houses and
fences, digging wells, and ploughing, and soon hundreds of acres
were enclosed and planted.

The progress made during April was exasperatingly slow. There was
soft mud during the day, and rough ruts in the early morning.
Sometimes camp would be pitched after making only a mile;
sometimes they would think they had done well if they had made
six. The animals, in fact, were so thin from lack of food that
they could not do a day's work even under favorable
circumstances. The route, after the middle of April, was turned
to the north, and they then travelled over a broken prairie
country, where the game had been mostly killed off by the
Pottawottomi Indians, whose trails and abandoned camps were
encountered constantly.

On May 16, as the two Pratts and others were in advance, locating
the route, P. P. Pratt discovered the site of what was called Mt.
Pisgah (the post-office of Mt. Pisgah of to-day) which he thus
describes: "Riding about three or four miles over beautiful
prairies, I came suddenly to some round sloping hills, grassy,
and crowned with beautiful groves of timber, while alternate open
groves and forests seemed blended into all the beauty and harmony
of an English park. Beneath and beyond, on the west, rolled a
main branch of Grand River, with its rich bottoms of alternate
forest and prairie."* As soon as Young and the other high
dignitaries arrived, it was decided to form a settlement there,
and several thousand acres were enclosed for cultivation, and
many houses were built.

* Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 381.


Young and most of the first party continued their westward march
through an uninhabited country, where they had to make their own
roads. But they met with no opposition from Indians, and the head
of the procession reached the banks of the Missouri near Council
Bluffs in June, other companies following in quite rapid
succession.

The company which was the last to leave Nauvoo (on September 17),
driven out by the Hancock County forces, endured sufferings much
greater than did the early companies who were conducted by
Brigham Young. The latter comprised the well-to-do of the city
and all the high officers of the church, while the remnant left
behind was made up of the sick and those who had not succeeded in
securing the necessary equipment for the journey. Brayman, in his
second report to Governor Ford, said:--

"Those of the Mormons who were wealthy or possessed desirable
real estate in the city had sold and departed last spring. I am
inclined to the opinion that the leaders of the church took with
them all the movable wealth of their people that they could
control, without making proper provision for those who remained.
Consequently there was much destitution among them; much sickness
and distress. I traversed the city, and visited in company with a
practising physician the sick, and almost invariably found them
destitute, to a painful extent, of the comforts of life."*

* Warsaw Signal, October 20, 1846.


It was on the 18th of September that the last of these
unfortunates crossed the river, making 640 who were then
collected on the west bank. Illness had not been accepted by the
"posse" as an excuse for delay. Thomas Bullock says that his
family, consisting of a husband, wife, blind mother-in-law, four
children, and an aunt, "all shaking with the ague," were given
twenty minutes in which to get their goods into two wagons and
start.* The west bank in Iowa, where the people landed, was
marshy and unhealthy, and the suffering at what was called "Poor
Camp," a short distance above Montrose, was intense. Severe
storms were frequent, and the best cover that some of the people
could obtain was a tent made of a blanket or a quilt, or even of
brush, or the shelter to be had under the wagons of those who
were fortunate enough to be thus equipped. Bullock thus describes
one night's experience: "On Monday, September 23, while in my
wagon on the slough opposite Nauvoo, a most tremendous
thunderstorm passed over, which drenched everything we had. Not a
dry thing left us--the bed a pool of water, my wife and
mother-in-law lading it out by basinfuls, and I in a burning
fever and insensible, with all my hair shorn off to cure me of my
disease. A poor woman stood among the bushes, wrapping her cloak
around her three little orphan children, to shield them from the
storm as well as she could." The, supply of food, too, was
limited, their flour being wheat ground in hand mills, and even
this at times failing; then roasted corn was substituted, the
grain being mixed by some with slippery elm bark to eke it out.**
The people of Hancock County contributed something in the way of
clothing and provisions and a little money in aid of these
sufferers, and the trustees of the church who were left in Nauvoo
to sell property gave what help they could.

*Millennial Star, Vol. X, p. 28.

** Bancrofts "History of Utah," p. 233,


On October 9 wagons sent back by the earlier emigrants for their
unfortunate brethren had arrived, and the start for the Missouri
began. Bullock relates that, just as they were ready to set out,
a great flight of quails settled in the camp, running around the
wagons so near that they could be knocked over with sticks, and
the children caught some alive. One bird lighted upon their tea
board, in the midst of the cups, while they were at breakfast. It
was estimated that five hundred of the birds were flying about
the camp that day, but when one hundred had been killed or
caught, the captain forbade the killing of any more, "as it was a
direct manifestation and visitation by the Lord." Young closes
his account of this incident with the words, "Tell this to the
nations of the earth! Tell it to the kings and nobles and great
ones."

Wells, in his manuscript, "Utah Notes" (quoted by H. H.
Bancroft), says: "This phenomenon extended some thirty or forty
miles along the river, and was generally observed. The quail in
immense quantities had attempted to cross the river, but this
being beyond their strength, had dropped into the river boats or
on the banks."*

* Bancroft's "History of Utah," p. 234, note.


The westward march of these refugees was marked by more hardships
than that of the earlier bodies, because they were in bad
physical condition and were in no sense properly equipped.
Council Bluffs was not reached till November 27.

The division of the emigrants and their progress was thus noted
in an interview, printed in the Nauvoo Eagle of July 10, with a
person who had left Council Bluffs on June 26, coming East. The
advance company, including the Twelve, with a train of 1000
wagons, was then encamped on the east bank of the Missouri, the
men being busy building boats. The second company, 3000 strong,
were at Mt. Pisgah, recruiting their cattle for a new start. The
third company had halted at Garden Grove. Between Garden Grove
and the Mississippi River the Eagle's informant counted more than
1000 wagons on their way west. He estimated the total number of
teams engaged in this movement at about 3700, and the number of
persons on the road at 12,000. The Eagle added:--

"From 2000 to 3000 have disappeared from Nauvoo in various
directions, and about 800 or less still remain in Illinois. This
comprises the entire Mormon population that once flourished in
Hancock County. In their palmy days they probably numbered 15,000
or 16,000."

The camp that had been formed at Mt. Pisgah suffered severely
from the start. Provisions were scarce, and a number of families
were dependent for food on neighbors who had little enough for
themselves. Fodder for the cattle gave out, too, and in the early
spring the only substitute was buds and twigs of trees. Snow
notes as a calamity the death of his milch cow, which had been
driven all the way from Ohio. Along with their destitution came
sickness, and at times during the following winter it seemed as
if there were not enough of the well to supply the needed nurses.
So many deaths occurred during that autumn and winter that a
funeral came to be conducted with little ceremony, and even the
customary burial clothes could not be provided.* Elder W.
Huntington, the presiding officer of the settlement, was among
the early victims, and Lorenzo Snow, the recent head of the
Mormon church, succeeded him. During Snow's stay there three of
his four wives gave birth to children.

* "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 90.


Notwithstanding these depressing circumstances, the camp was by
no means inactive during the winter. Those who were well were
kept busy repairing wagons, and making, in a rude way, such
household articles as were most needed--chairs, tubs, and
baskets. Parties were sent out to the settlements within reach to
work, accepting food and clothing as pay, and two elders were
selected to visit the states in search of contributions. These
efforts were so successful that about $600 was raised, and the
camp sent to Brigham Young at Council Bluffs a load of provisions
as a New Year's gift.

The usual religious meetings were kept up during the winter, and
the utility of amusements in such a settlement was not forgotten.
Ingenuity was taxed to give variety to the social entertainments.
Snow describes a "party" that he gave in his family mansion--"a
one-story edifice about fifteen by thirty feet, constructed of
logs, with a dirt roof, a ground floor, and a chimney made of
sod." Many a man compelled to house four wives (one of them with
three sons by a former husband) in such a mansion would have felt
excused from entertaining company. But the Snows did not. For a
carpet the floor was strewn with straw. The logs of the sides of
the room were concealed with sheets. Hollowed turnips provided
candelabras, which were stuck around the walls and suspended from
the roof. The company were entertained with songs, recitations,
conundrums, etc., and all voted that they had a very jolly time.

In the larger camps the travellers were accustomed to make what
they called "boweries"--large arbors covered with a framework of
poles, and thatched with brush or branches. The making of such
"boweries" was continued by the Saints in Utah.





Next: The Mormon Battalion

Previous: Preparations For The Long March



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