A Brief History of the Mormon Trail
Joseph Smith (1805-1844) founded the Mormon religion in Fayette, New York in 1830. He wrote the Book of Mormon after translating buried gold tablets that he was shown by an angel. This new religion gathered many new members and they were not well tolerated. The members of this Mormon community would leave New York and head to Kirtland, Ohio about 1831 in the hope that could practice their faith without persecution.
The continued persecution of their religion would once again force the Mormon community to leave Ohio in 1838 and they headed to Far West, Missouri. It was here in Missouri that the Mormon religion received its new name, the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints. From August 1838 to November 1838, with the political and religious tensions running high between the Church and those who had already settled in Missouri a war broke out. As a result, all the members of the Church, (close to 10,000) were force to flee and would settle in and around the area of Nauvoo, Illinois.
In 1846, a large group of the Mormon Pioneers fled from Nauvoo as they were forced out by their malicious neighbors for religious persecution into what was then the Iowa and Nebraska territories. Iowa became a state in December of 1846 and Nebraska in 1867. The area in Nebraska to which the Mormons fled is was called "Winter Quarters" but is now Omaha.
The Mormon Trail led from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah and was about 1,300 miles long. The trail was divided into two sections the first being from Nauvoo to Omaha in 1846 and the second being from Omaha to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
They crossed the plains of the mid-west, with its rugged terrain and crossed over the Rocky Mountains. They traveled by foot, pushed handcarts and wagons pulled by oxen. This migration west was often perilous. They endured all manner of weather conditions, hunger, diseases, death and exhaustion. Despite all of these hardships my ancestors believed in their faith and continued until they reached Utah.
When you go to www.FamilySearch.org and go to the drop down menu for "Memories" you will find many stories from these pioneering families recounting their journey on the Mormon Trail. I have read diary excerpts of my ancestors and I look forward to sharing some of these excerpts in future postings.
The first of these pioneers reached Utah on July 24th, 1847. They were led by Brigham Young and as he and the others looked at the valley below they knew they new that they had found their home. Between the years of 1847 and 1868 nearly 70,000 people came from the Eastern part of the United States and from Europe to be free of religious persecution. In Utah every July 24th, these amazing pioneers are celebrated on Pioneer Day.
Under the guidance of Brigham Young, these amazing men, women and children settled the West. This was a journey that was long and difficult for many perhaps more so for those who came for Europe and would have endured long weeks at sea and then the journey through the United States. They carried their faith and beliefs to new settlements through out the Western United States, Canada, Mexico and the Hawaiian Territory. They built homes, businesses, cities and cultivated the land through hard work, their courage and their faith.
The 1846 Trek-Mormon Pioneer Historic Trail (US National Park Service), National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/mopi/historyculture/history1.htm accessed 29 August 2014
The 1847 Trek-Mormon Pioneer Historic Trail (US National Park Service), National Park Service, ww.nps.gov/mopi/historyculture/history2.htm accessed 29 August 2014
Bruner, Rachel. Mormon Trail of the Pioneers. About.com. http://lds.about.com/od/pioneers/p/mormon_trail.htm?p=1 accessed 29 August 2014
Culture-Mormon Pioneer Historic Trail (US National Park Service),
National Park Service http://www.nps.gov/mopi/historyculture/index.htm
accessed 29 August 2014
"Mormon Trail", FamilySearch.org. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Mormon_Trail accessed on 29 August 2014
Wikipedia contributors. "Mormon Trail." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Trail accessed on 29 August 2014
Wikipedia contributors. "Joseph Smith." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith#Life_in_Ohio_.281831.E2.80.9338.29 accessed 29 August 2014