Mormon History

Western Mormon Migration - 1846/1847

Daily Missouri Republican – February 19, 1846

We have information, that from one thousand to fifteen hundred Mormons are encamped at Montrose, Iowa, preparatory to their march westward. -- Some dount is thrown over their destination and many believe that they will not go to Oregon or California, but stop after proceeding six or eight hundred miles into the Indian country. It was originally intended that none but young men should compose the advance company, but as soon as they commenced preparations for crossing, they were joined by a large number from the country, and by many who were not detained by their families, or the condition of their affairs. The Mormons in Nauvoo appear to manifest less disposition to move, and fears were beginning to be entertained by the anties, that they would not go at all, especially as they were making no preparations to do so.

Our informant thinks it very probable that the party assembled at Montrose, from their number and manner of living, will exhaust their stock of provisions before they commence their march, or so reduce it as not to leave a sufficiency for their support until they reach their destination and raise a crop. In the event of beginning their march upon too short an allowance, there must be great suffering in the party.

It is believed that the Twelve are anxious to commence the march early, as they feel very insecure in their present position. The new prophet, Strang, of Wisconsin, is making many converts, especially among the men of substance -- those who have property and standing -- and do not like to endure the toils and privations of a trip to the wilderness.

Major Warren still maintains his guard of fifty men, but entertains the belief that, as the spring advances it may become necessary to increase the number. The recent indiscreet action of some of the anti-Mormons in going round and warning families to leave, would seem to justify this apprehension.

Warsaw Signal – March 11, 1846


It was thought that the Mormons who were encamped on Sugar Creek, in Iowa, during the recent severe weather, would suffer much from cold and exposure; but it appears that they were well sheltered by a large tent, and had a good band of music, plenty of young girls, and passed the tme very agreeably. Every one who was heard to complain or murmer was immediately sent back to Nauvoo and informed that they should not go to the Land of Promise, until they could learn to put up with hardships without grumbling. This was a wise step, as it kept disaffection from spreading in the camp.

The Saints who started in this expedition provided themselves well with young females. Indeed a gentleman who recently visited Nauvoo informs us that many men left their wives in Nauvoo and took with them young girls.


Warsaw Signal – March 18, 1846


A FRACUS IN THE MORMON CAMP. -- We learn that on the day previous to the departure of the Saints from their encampment, on Sugar Creek in Iowa, Brigham Young gave a great feast to the head men of the Church. They were served with all the luxuries that could be procured while their poor followers were compelled to appease their hunger with parched corn and corn bread. This partiality so incensed some of Brigham's body guard that they determined to have revenge. Accordingly they broke up his carriage and cut to pieces his harness. -- Brigham, on learning what had been done and who were engaged in the act, had the culprits tied and severely whipped. This they bore with Saintly submission, afterwards all things jogged on in harmony.


Warsaw Signal – March 25, 1846


The Mormon Expedition is now encamped about ten miles from Keosauqua Iowa, and about fifty miles from Nauvoo. From their encampment empty wagons are daily returning to Nauvoo and some persons have returned on foot. The notorious O. P. Rockwell and Jack Redding have returned. On their way being asked why they came back, they said they were after some scalps.

The Mormons have now been encamped at Keosuqua several days. Their men hire themselves out to the farmers and they seem disposed to remain for some time. There is some mystery in this movement, and much curiosity to know what it means. We suspect that the secret lies here. When the Twelve arrived at Keosauqua they learned that Bill Smith had returned and was figuring largely in Nauvoo. They also learned that the Strangites had gained considerable strength after they left. They therefore, determined to halt and send back empty wagons for more provisions and also sent back their bullies, Rockwell and Redding to frighten certain obnixious persons out of Nauvoo.

In the mean time a revelation, by Orson Hyde, has been published, in which he denounces Strangism in the strongest manner. It is evident that Smith and Strang are giving the Twelve much trouble and if accounts from Nauvoo can be credited, will soon contend for the mastery in the Holy City.

Many of the teams that return from the camp cross over to the Island, instead of going to the City. This looks suspicious, for this Island is the theatre of more villainy than the City itself.

There have been a large number of births in the Mormon camp. The children nearly all died or were put to death. They were buried under brush heaps near the camp.


Lee County Democrat – April 11, 1846


The Mormons we learn are now daily crossing the Mississippi in large numbers en route for their anticipated home in Oregon of California. Some are seceding from the Church and returning to the east, and dispersing throughout the country; while many are wending their way to the city of Voree, in Wisconsin, to place themselves under the head and guidance of the new Prophet, and true successor to Jo Smith, James J. Strang. At all events, their movements seem to indicate that they have at length become satisfied, that an attempt longer to remain in Nauvoo, would be fraught with consequences dangerous to their organization, and their security as a people.


Daily Missouri Republican – May 28, 1846


MORMONS. -- The persons appointed for the purpose, by Maj. Warren, have reported that the number of Mormons who left Nauvoo during the week ending on the 4th inst., may be set at thirteen hundred and fifty souls. The ferry at Nauvoo was kept running day and night, crossing thirty-five times in twenty-four hours; at Fort Madison about thirty-five trips were made in a day; some were crossing at Nashville, and some going by the river. The number of "new settlers," is estimated at two hundred heads of families. Three-fourths of the improved property on the "flats," has changed hands, on the hill the proportion of sales is not so great. Very few farms remain to be sold. The Hancock Eagle makes the total number of teams now on the opposite side of the river about fourteen hundred. They are designed to accomodate from seven to eight thousand persons. Some of them have pushed forward to the Des Moines river, and some are encamped on Sugar creek, but the slopes of the hills and the prairie opposite Nauvoo, are still ditted with clusters of tents and wagons. The Eagle thinks that twelve thousand have left the State, and that, in a few weeks, it may be announced that "the Mormons have left the State."


Warsaw Signal – July 14, 1846


The leaders of the Mormons were at Council Bluffs. About one thousand wagons, belonging to Mormons, had arrived there, and they were waiting for the remainder to come up, when they intended to proceed to Great Pawnee Island, on the Platte, and there encamp for the winter. They had already commenced crossing the Missouri at the Bluffs. Messrs. Vasquez & Bridger, from Fort Hall, on Green river, one of the extreme western posts in the mountains, arrived at Fort John before Mr. Papin and his party left, and reported all quiet in that country.


Daily Missouri Republican – July 15, 1846


Late from the Mormon Camp: -- The Hancock Eagle, of Friday last, notices the arrival there of Mr. S. Chamberlain, who left the most distant camp of the Mormons at Council Bluffs on the 26th ult, and on his route passed the whole line of Mormon emigrants. He says that the advance company of the Mormons, with whom were the Twelve, had a train of one thousand wagons, and were encamped on the east bank of the Missouri River, in the neighborhood of the Council Bluffs. They were employed in the construction of boats, for the purpose of crossing the river

The second company had encamped temporarily at station No. 2, which has been christened Mount Pisgah. They mustered about three thousand strong, and were recruiting their cattle preparatory to a fresh start. A third company had halted for a similar purpose at Garden Grove, on the head waters of Grand River, where they have put in about 2000 acres of corn for the benefit of the people in general. Between Garden Grove and the Mississippi River, Mr. Chamberlain counted over one thousand wagons en route to join the main bodies in advance.

The whole number of teams attached to the Mormon expedition, is about three thousand seven hundred, and it is estimated that each team will average at least three persons, and perhaps four. The whole number of souls now on the road may be set down in round numbers at twelve thousand. From two to three thousand have disappeared from Nauvoo in various directions. Many have left for Council Bluffs by the way of the Mississippi and Missouri riversΡothers have dispersed to parts unknown; and about eight hundred 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 between fifteen and sixteen thousand souls, most of whom are now scattered upon the prairies, bound for the Pacific slope of the American continent.

Mr. Chamberlain reports that previously to his leaving, four United states military officers had arrived at the Mount Pisgah camp, for the purpose of enlisting five hundred Mormons for the Santa Fe campaign. They were referred to Headquarters at Council Bluffs, for which place they immediately set out. It was supposed that the force would be enrolled without delay. If so, it will furnish Col. Kearney with a regiment of well disciplined soldiers who are already prepared to march.

Mr. Chamberlain represents the health of the traveling Mormons as good, considering the exposure to which they have been subjected. They are carrying on a small trade in provisions with the settlers in the county, with whom they mingle on the most friendly terms.


Warsaw Signal – July 21, 1846


MORMONS ON THE FRONTIER. -- We learn that about two thousand Mormons have settled on the disputed tract between Missouri and Iowa, and have put in a crop of two thousand acres. This settlement is about one hundred miles west of this place.

The Saints have built houses sufficient to accommodate the whole company, and from appearances it would seem that they designed to remain.

There is a great scarcity of provisions amongst them, but those of them who wish to work can find amongst the neighboring farmers plenty of employment to get good wages.

The people, in the neighborhood are divided in their feelings towards the saints. They as a matter of course tell all manner of absurd stories about their persecutions in Hancock County, and these together with their sufferings have gained for them some sympathy amongst some of the people; but there is another class who look on them with distrust and desire them to get away as soon as possible.


Warsaw Signal – July 28, 1846


TRUE PORTRAIT. -- A correspondent of the Pittsburgh Chronicle, writing from Savanah, Mo., on the Western frontier, in speaking of the Mormons, says:

"I wonder if you have a correct idea of a Mormon? If you have not, just imagine a man possessing all the qualities of a murderer, robber, swindler, libertine and fanatic and you will have a Mormon. I used to think they were rather abused and ill-treated, but now I think they richly inherited all the bad treatment they ever got.

Those numerous hordes of Mormons that started this spring for Oregon, have stopped among the Indians some distance above here, and are putting in a crop this summer. It is thought, and pretty well known for certain, that they are tampering with the Indians to engage them against the whites. It is thought as soon as they can induce the Indians to join their clans, their nefarious design is to commit depredations on our frontiers, especially since the war in the South has drawn from along here the most active of its defenders."


Quincy Whig – March 10, 1847


THE MORMONS IN IOWA. -- The ruling passion appears to be strong with the people wherever they locate. The editor of the Burlington Hawkeye, corresponding with his paper from Iowa City, notices an arrival at that city of a delegation of the brethren, under rather unfavorable auspices. Iowa, from present appearances, is in a fair way to become as much excited on the subject of Mormon thieving, as were the "wicked populous" of Hancock. The Gentiles of Iowa ought to be ashamed of themselves for "persecuting" the Saints for stealing their property. Where is the author of the "Leading Causes?"

We had quite an influx of distinguished strangers on Friday night. They proved to be a delegation of seven Mormon horse theives, store breakers, and counterfeiters from Van Buren and Davis counties. They were accompanied by the Sheriff, guards, lawyers and witnesses, which made the company quite large. The prisoners were all manacled, and the music they made with their chains as they came by my room in going up and down stairs was much less harmonious than that made by the Swiss Bell ringers I do assure you. They came up on a writ of habeas corpus and were examined before Judge Mason on Saturday. All but one were remanded back to jail, unless they are able when they get to Van Buren to give bail. Van Buren and the contiguous counties have been much infested the present season with these prisoners and their accomplices. Fifteen, I believe, have been arrested. A large number of horses have been stolen and the people in that region have become much excited about it. Those Mormons who have settled in large numbers in Davis county, while professedly on their way to California, as well as those who have stopped in Van Buren and other counties, are likely to give the people of the Des Moines Valley as much trouble as they did the folks in Hancock county, Illinois. A part of their religion, is to rob the Gentiles, and yet the New York Tribune undertakes their vindication! They are complete outlaws and the "Republic" of Des Moines Valley will be apt to treat them as such if they don't behave themselves."


Daily Missouri Republican – March 23, 1847


The St. Joseph Gazette of the 15th inst., states that there was a prospect of a serious difficulty between the Indians and the Mormons, who are located in their territory. The old charge is made against the Mormons, of depredations on Indian property, and they are required to make reparation, and to leave immediately. The Mormons are not disposed to accede to these terms, and a collision is like to ensue.


Daily Missouri Republican – September 15, 1847


THE MORMONS. -- A passenger in the Lake of the Woods, from Upper Missouri, informs us that the Mormons are in a flourishing condition, in their new location on the fine lands of the Pottawotomie purchase, on both sides of the river, above Council Bluffs. They have planted immense fields of corn -- to the extent, it is estimated, of 30,000 acres -- and other grain, and produce. They have built, also, a town, called "Winter Quarters," which already contains a population of some seven thousand souls. This town is entirely picketed in. It is represented, that the Mormons are on friendly terms with the Indians, and rarely molest them, although they are accused of occasionally stealing cattle.

Immense herds of Buffalo were seen on the plains, and crossing the Missouri, at the mouth of a stream called Stillwater.


Daily Missouri Republican – October 28, 1847


LATER FROM THE SALT LAKE. -- Mormon Location, &c. -- We yesterday saw a person direct from Council Bluffs, who states that on the day he left, a rumor [sic] came in, who was sent on in advance by the Mormon "Twelve," who were on the route back from the Salt Lake. They sent a small party to the Bluffs twenty days in advance of the main returning party, in order to have fresh teams, provisions, &c. sent them, as they did not intend to burthen themselves with a full outfit back.

Our informant says that the Mormons have located their grand gathering place about half way between the Utah and Salt Lake... They are in the midst of the Blackfeet, Utah and Crow tribes of Indians, who are said to be peaceable, and favor this settlement.

The main body of emigrating Mormons, which started from the Bluffs in June last, had advanced about two hundred miles beyond the South Pass, by the latter end of July, and were passed at Green River at that time. They had got on without difficulty to that point, and were passing on to their location.