After Smith’s death and the split of the Mormon Church, Nauvoo became an increasingly hostile environment for the religious community. Let by the prophet Brigham Young, members of the LDS Church decided to leave Illinois (and the rest of the United States) and move west of the country’s borders. In 1844, only 2000 Americans lived in California and almost none in present-day Utah. Both areas were under the control of the Mexican government. Utah was first settled in the late 1840s by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after leaving Nauvoo
beginning in 1846, two years after Joseph Smith’s death. The first group of Mormons who left Nauvoo traveled across Iowa to the Missouri River and set up Winter Quarters in June 1846 while trying to determine where they were going to go. While there, Mormons learned three important lessons. First, they learned to plant crops for future travelers so there would be food waiting when the next wave arrived from Nauvoo. Second, the Mormons organized Mormons migrants into companies in order to better care for everyone during the trek west. Third, they learned what time of year to leave that would allow for the best weather and food sources during the trip. The first Mormon settlers created the state of Deseret in 1847 and unsuccessfully applied for statehood in 1849. The first Mormon settlers created the state of Deseret in 1847 and unsuccessfully applied for statehood in 1849. What was the geographical path for Mormon migration during the antebellum period? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Overland Trails A series of overland trails helped American settlers move west and settle new areas, especially during the 1840s. The Santa Fe Trail was the first of these trails. Established in 1821, the Santa Fe Trail ran from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe (now in New Mexico) in Mexican territory for trade. The Oregon Trail ran from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City in the Oregon Territory. About 5000 people went West on this trail by 1845. Wagon trains were organized in military fashion into
companies with a “pilot,” who was usually a former fur trader or someone who had made the trip before. Trains moved about 15 miles a day along the Platte River until crossing the Continental Divide in Colorado. Then the wagons followed other rivers through the Rockies, arid areas, and into the Blue Mountains in Oregon. The Mormon Trail ran from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Winter Corners in western Iowa before following a similar path as the Oregon Trail until heading south into what is now Utah. The California Trail also followed the Oregon Trail until reaching modern day Idaho and then split south to Sutter’s Mill (modern day Sacramento). About 3000 people migrated to California along the California trail prior to 1848 when thousands more flooded west because of the discovery of gold.
- Summer '19
- Professor Obura Oluoch