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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



The Camps On The Missouri








Mormon accounts of the westward movement from Nauvoo represent
that the delay which occurred when they reached the Missouri
River was an interruption of their leaders' plans, attributing it
to the weakening of their force by the enlistment of the
Battalion, and the necessity of waiting for the last Mormons who
were driven out of Nauvoo. But after their experiences in a
winter march from the Mississippi, with something like a base of
supplies in reach, it is inconceivable that the Council would
have led their followers farther into the unknown West that same
year, when their stores were so nearly exhausted, and there was
no region before them in which they could make purchases, even if
they had the means to do so.

When the Mormons arrived on the Missouri they met with a very
friendly welcome. They found the land east of the river occupied
by the Pottawottomi Indians, who had recently been removed from
their old home in what is now Michigan and northern Illinois and
Indiana; and the west side occupied by the Omahas, who had once
"considered all created things as made for their peculiar use and
benefit," but whom the smallpox and the Sioux had many years
before reduced to a miserable remnant.

The Mormons won the heart of the Pottawottomies by giving them a
concert at their agent's residence. A council followed, at which
their chief, Pied Riche, surnamed Le Clerc, made an address,
giving the Mormons permission to cut wood, make improvements, and
live where they pleased on their lands.

The principal camp on the Missouri, known as Winter Quarters, was
on the west bank, on what is now the site of Florence, Nebraska.
A council was held with the Omaha chiefs in the latter apart of
August, and Big Elk, in reply to an address by Brigham Young,
recited their sufferings at the hands of the Sioux, and told the
whites that they could stay there for two years and have the use
of firewood and timber, and that the young men of the Indians
would watch their cattle and warn them of any danger. In return,
the Indians asked for the use of teams to draw in their harvest,
for assistance in housebuilding, ploughing, and blacksmithing,
and that a traffic in goods be established. An agreement to this
effect was put in writing.

The arrival of party after party of Mormons made an unusually
busy scene on the river banks. On the east side every hill that
helped to make up the Council Bluffs was occupied with tents and
wagons, while the bottom was crowded with cattle and vehicles on
the way to the west side. Kane counted four thousand head of
cattle from a single elevation, and says that the Mormon herd
numbered thirty thousand. Along the banks of the river and creeks
the women were doing their family washing, while men were making
boats and superintending in every way the passage of the river by
some, and the preparations for a stay on the east side by
others--building huts, breaking the sod for grain, etc. The
Pottawottomies had cut an approach to the river opposite a
trading post of the American Fur Company, and established a ferry
there, and they now did a big business carrying over, in their
flat-bottom boats, families and their wagons, and the cows and
sheep. As for the oxen, they were forced to swim, and great times
the boys had, driving them to the bank, compelling them to take
the initial plunge, and then guiding them across by taking the
lead astride some animal's back.

Sickness in the camps began almost as soon as they were formed.
"Misery Bottom," as it was then called, received the rich deposit
brought down by the river in the spring, and, when the river
retired into its banks, became a series of mud flats, described
as "mere quagmires of black dirt, stretching along for miles,
unvaried except by the limbs of half-buried carrion, tree trunks,
or by occasional yellow pools of what the children called frog's
spawn; all together steaming up vapors redolent of the savor of
death." In the previous year--not an unusually bad one--one-ninth
of the Indian population on these flats had died in two months.
The Mormons suffered not only from the malaria of the river
bottom, but from the breaking up of many acres of the soil in
their farming operations.

The illness was diagnosed as, the usual malarial fever,
accompanied in many cases with scorbutic symptoms, which they
called "black canker," due to a lack of vegetable food. In and
around Winter Quarters there were more than 600 burials before
cold weather set in, and 334 out of a population of 3483 were
reported on the sick list as late as December. The Papillon Camp,
on the Little Butterfly River, was a deadly site. Kane, who had
the fever there, in passing by the place earlier in the season
had opened an Indian mound, leaving a deep trench through it. "My
first airing," he says, "upon my convalescence, took me to the
mound, which, probably to save digging, had been readapted to its
original purpose. In this brief interval they had filled the
trench with bodies, and furrowed the ground with graves around
it, like the ploughing of a field."

But amid such affliction, in which cows went unmilked and corpses
became loathsome before men could be found to bury them,
preparations continued at all the camps for the winter's stay and
next year's supplies. Brigham Young, writing from Winter Quarters
on January 6, 1847, to the elders in England, said: "We have
upward of seven hundred houses in our miniature city, composed
mostly of logs in the body, covered with puncheon, straw, and
dirt, which are warm and wholesome; a few are composed of turf,
willows, straw, etc., which are comfortable this winter, but will
not endure the thaws, rain, and sunshine of spring." * This city
was divided into twenty-two wards, each presided over by a
Bishop. The principal buildings were the Council House,
thirty-two by twenty-four feet, and Dr. Richard's house, called
the Octagon, and described as resembling the heap of earth piled
up over potatoes to shield them from frost. In this Octagon the
High Council held most of their meetings. A great necessity was a
flouring mill, and accordingly they sent to St. Louis for the
stones and gearing, and, under Brigham Young's personal direction
as a carpenter, the mill was built and made ready for use in
January. The money sent back by the Battalion was expended in St.
Louis for sugar and other needed articles.

* Millennial Star, Vol. IX, p. 97.


As usual with the pictures sent to Europe, Young's description of
the comfort of the winter camp was exaggerated. P. P. Pratt, who
arrived at Winter Quarters from his mission to Europe on April 8,
1847, says:--

"I found my family all alive, and dwelling in a log cabin. They
had, however, suffered much from cold, hunger, and sickness. They
had oftentimes lived for several days on a little corn meal,
ground in a hand mill, with no other food. One of the family was
then lying very sick with the scurvy--a disease which had been
very prevalent in camp during the winter, and of which many had
died. I found, on inquiry, that the winter had been very severe,
the snow deep, and consequently that all my four horses were
lost, and I afterward ascertained that out of twelve cows, I had
but seven left, and, out of some twelve or fourteen oxen, only
four or five were saved."

If this was the plight in which the spring found the family of
one of the Twelve, imagination can picture the suffering of the
hundreds who had arrived with less provision against the rigors
of such a winter climate.





Next: The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains

Previous: The Mormon Battalion



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