Mormon Trail

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Nauvoo, Illinois from 1839 to 1845 was a gathering place for members of [http://lds.org The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] (sometimes called "Mormons"). In 1846 hostile neighbors forced an exodus of the main group out of Nauvoo across Iowa to the area near where Omaha, Nebraska would eventually be built. Most Mormon pioneers stayed there in "[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Quarters_%28North_Omaha,_Nebraska%29 Winter Quarters]" and in 1847 completed the journey to Salt Lake City in Utah Territory, their new gathering place.<ref name="PioSto">"The Pioneer Story : The Mormon Pioneer Trail" in ''The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'' at http://lds.org/gospellibrary/pioneer/pioneerstory.htm (accessed 8 July 2011).</ref>  
 
Nauvoo, Illinois from 1839 to 1845 was a gathering place for members of [http://lds.org The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] (sometimes called "Mormons"). In 1846 hostile neighbors forced an exodus of the main group out of Nauvoo across Iowa to the area near where Omaha, Nebraska would eventually be built. Most Mormon pioneers stayed there in "[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Quarters_%28North_Omaha,_Nebraska%29 Winter Quarters]" and in 1847 completed the journey to Salt Lake City in Utah Territory, their new gathering place.<ref name="PioSto">"The Pioneer Story : The Mormon Pioneer Trail" in ''The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'' at http://lds.org/gospellibrary/pioneer/pioneerstory.htm (accessed 8 July 2011).</ref>  
  
Each of the following years until 1869 several areas in [[Kansas|Kansas]], [[Iowa|Iowa]], or [[Nebraska|Nebraska]] were used as staging areas for the four-month trip on the Mormon Trail across the plains into the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountains Rocky Mountains] to Salt Lake City. Several sets of new [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_trains wagon trains] or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handcart_company handcart companies] came each year to Salt Lake City. By the time the [[First Transcontinental Railroad|transcontinental railroad]] was completed to Utah in 1869 about 70,000 pioneers had walked, pulled a handcart, or ridden a wagon or carriage to [[Utah|Utah]].<ref name="PioSto" />
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Each of the following years until 1869 several areas in [[Kansas|Kansas]], [[Iowa|Iowa]], or [[Nebraska|Nebraska]] were used as staging areas for the four-month trip on the Mormon Trail across the plains into the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountains Rocky Mountains] to Salt Lake City. Several sets of new [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_trains wagon trains] or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handcart_company handcart companies] came each year to Salt Lake City. By the time the [[First Transcontinental Railroad|transcontinental railroad]] was completed to Utah in 1869 about 70,000 pioneers had walked, pulled a handcart, or ridden a wagon or carriage to [[Utah|Utah]].<ref name="PioSto" />  
  
=== Route  ===
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'''Other routes to Utah.''' In 1846 a group of 43 from northeast [[Mississippi]] State planned to meet the Nauvoo Mormons on the trail. They arrived in Independence, Missouri on 26 May and made their way to the Platte River. Not finding Brigham Young, these Mississippi Mormons mistakenly concluded they had fallen behind the main group and from there hurried west. Past Chimney Rock in western Nebraska they realized their mistake and agreed to go to Pueblo, Colorado for the winter. These Southern Mormons were not able to meet the main group until 3 June the next year at Laramie, Wyoming. After joining the main group many served as scouts including the first ones into the Salt Lake Valley.
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Some pioneers reached [[Utah]] via [[California]]. A groups of over 530 men called the "Mormon Battalion" were recruited off the Mormon Trail into the U.S. Army to help fight the Mexican War 1846-1847. Most of these men left their families at Council Bluffs, Iowa and marched to Fort Leavenworth Kansas, Santa Fe New Mexico, Tucson Arizona, and San Diego and Los Angeles, California where they were honorably dismissed from service. A few of these men participated in the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848.
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In 1846 another group led by Samuel Brannon with 237 other Mormons sailed for six months on the first family passenger ship to California, the ''Ship Brooklyn'', from New York City around the Horn to Hawaii to San Francisco. Brannon was primarily responsible for publishing the Sutter's Mill gold strike. From California most of these pioneers found their way to Utah in small groups or as individuals with most of the former soldiers hoping to reunite with their families.
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=== Main Route  ===
  
 
The Mormon Trail usually followed the north side of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_River North Platte River] west through [[Nebraska|Nebraska]] and [[Wyoming|Wyoming]] to follow the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetwater_River_%28Wyoming%29 Sweetwater River] farther west. The trail went over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pass South Pass], then worked its way through the mountains. Pioneers crossed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_River_%28Utah%29 Green River] at [http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/lombard_ferry.htm Lombard Ferry], headed for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Fort Bridger], and forded the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_River_%28Utah%29 Bear River] before reaching [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Echo_Canyon.jpg Echo Canyon]. Their last camp on the trail was often near the Old Fort at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.  
 
The Mormon Trail usually followed the north side of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_River North Platte River] west through [[Nebraska|Nebraska]] and [[Wyoming|Wyoming]] to follow the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetwater_River_%28Wyoming%29 Sweetwater River] farther west. The trail went over [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Pass South Pass], then worked its way through the mountains. Pioneers crossed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_River_%28Utah%29 Green River] at [http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/lombard_ferry.htm Lombard Ferry], headed for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger Fort Bridger], and forded the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_River_%28Utah%29 Bear River] before reaching [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Echo_Canyon.jpg Echo Canyon]. Their last camp on the trail was often near the Old Fort at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.  

Revision as of 19:21, 9 July 2011

Sites Along the Mormon Trail.png
The original 1846-1847 Mormon Trail went from Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois to Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. The length of the wagon trail from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City was about 1,300 mile (2,092 km).[1]

Contents

Background History

Nauvoo, Illinois from 1839 to 1845 was a gathering place for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called "Mormons"). In 1846 hostile neighbors forced an exodus of the main group out of Nauvoo across Iowa to the area near where Omaha, Nebraska would eventually be built. Most Mormon pioneers stayed there in "Winter Quarters" and in 1847 completed the journey to Salt Lake City in Utah Territory, their new gathering place.[2]

Each of the following years until 1869 several areas in Kansas, Iowa, or Nebraska were used as staging areas for the four-month trip on the Mormon Trail across the plains into the Rocky Mountains to Salt Lake City. Several sets of new wagon trains or handcart companies came each year to Salt Lake City. By the time the transcontinental railroad was completed to Utah in 1869 about 70,000 pioneers had walked, pulled a handcart, or ridden a wagon or carriage to Utah.[2]

Other routes to Utah. In 1846 a group of 43 from northeast Mississippi State planned to meet the Nauvoo Mormons on the trail. They arrived in Independence, Missouri on 26 May and made their way to the Platte River. Not finding Brigham Young, these Mississippi Mormons mistakenly concluded they had fallen behind the main group and from there hurried west. Past Chimney Rock in western Nebraska they realized their mistake and agreed to go to Pueblo, Colorado for the winter. These Southern Mormons were not able to meet the main group until 3 June the next year at Laramie, Wyoming. After joining the main group many served as scouts including the first ones into the Salt Lake Valley.

Some pioneers reached Utah via California. A groups of over 530 men called the "Mormon Battalion" were recruited off the Mormon Trail into the U.S. Army to help fight the Mexican War 1846-1847. Most of these men left their families at Council Bluffs, Iowa and marched to Fort Leavenworth Kansas, Santa Fe New Mexico, Tucson Arizona, and San Diego and Los Angeles, California where they were honorably dismissed from service. A few of these men participated in the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848.

In 1846 another group led by Samuel Brannon with 237 other Mormons sailed for six months on the first family passenger ship to California, the Ship Brooklyn, from New York City around the Horn to Hawaii to San Francisco. Brannon was primarily responsible for publishing the Sutter's Mill gold strike. From California most of these pioneers found their way to Utah in small groups or as individuals with most of the former soldiers hoping to reunite with their families.

Main Route

The Mormon Trail usually followed the north side of the North Platte River west through Nebraska and Wyoming to follow the Sweetwater River farther west. The trail went over South Pass, then worked its way through the mountains. Pioneers crossed the Green River at Lombard Ferry, headed for Fort Bridger, and forded the Bear River before reaching Echo Canyon. Their last camp on the trail was often near the Old Fort at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.

The Mormon Trail overlapped parts of the Oregon Trail and California Trail which normally stayed on the south side of the North Platte River. The Oregon Trail took a more northerly route after the Green River into Idaho and Oregon. The California Trail continued west from Salt Lake City (or from the Oregon Trail at Fort Hall, Idaho)[3] into Nevada and California.

The exact route of the Mormon Trail varied over the years. Most often it passed through:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints provides an interactive website titled the Pioneer Story, which includes an interactive map of the historic trail, allowing you to search the trail from the beginning or allowing one to go to a specific location along the trail. A variety of personal accounts of some of the pioneers are included with each of the stops along the trek west from Nauvoo, Ilinois to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Connecting migration routes. The Mormon Trail linked to other migration routes at each end. The migration pathways connected at the east end included:

The migration pathways connected at the west end of the Mormon Trail included:

Modern parallels. The modern roads that roughly match the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah are listed in an online edition of a National Park Service publication about the Mormon Trail:

Settlers and Records

For additional sources about finding Mormon Trail pioneers, see the LDS Emigration and Immigration Wiki pages.

Pioneer Databases

Perpetual Emigration Fund. Pioneers who received financial assistance immigrating to Utah were expected to repay their debt. In 1877 a list of persons who still owed money was created. For details see the Perpetual Emigration Fund Wiki page.

Censuses also can be used to identify pioneers who traveled the Mormon Trail:

Local and county histories and biographies in Utah also may help identify additional pioneers. Some Mormon Trail pioneers also settled in Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, or California. For example:

  • Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah : comprising photographs, genealogies, biographies (Salt Lake City, Utah : Utah Pioneers Book, 1913). Digitized edition by BYU Family History Archives.
  • International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah : International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers, c1998). WorldCat entry. FHL Book 979 D36p.
  • Biographical record of Salt Lake City and vicinity : containing biographies of well known citizens of the past and present (Chicago, Illinois : National Historical Record, 1902). WorldCat entry. FHL Film 1000615 Item 2; Book 979.225 D3b.

Settlers along the trail. Only a tiny fraction of pioneers settled along the Mormon Trail before reaching Salt Lake City, mostly in Iowa or the Omaha area. Only a few may have stayed three to five years before continuing to Utah. It was uncommon to remain much longer.

Deaths along the trail. Mormon pioneer companies experienced less than half the mortality rate on the trail compared to the Oregon Trail or California Trail. One of the better indexes about this is:

  • Bashore, Melvin L. [Database of] Mormon Trail Deaths 1847–1868. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Historical Dept., 1998-. Each entry includes the person’s full name, sex, age, death date, death place, source and notes. The Church History Library and Archives staff will search the current database for you.

Written Accounts of the Journey descriptions are found in order by year and pioneer company in Melvin L. Bashore, and Linda L. Haslam, Mormon Pioneer Companies Crossing the Plains 1847–1868. Narratives. 3rd rev. ed. (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Historical Dept., 1990). WorldCat entry. FHL Film 1592752 item 6; Book 289.3016 B291m.

External Links

References

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Mormon Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Trail (accessed 6 July 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Pioneer Story : The Mormon Pioneer Trail" in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at http://lds.org/gospellibrary/pioneer/pioneerstory.htm (accessed 8 July 2011).
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "California Trail" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Route (accessed 9 July 2011).