Mormon History

New Mormon Zion - 1847

Warsaw Signal December 11, 1847


The St. Louis Republican contains some interesting items of intelligence from the Mormon Colony, now on their way to California. It is derived from a Mr. Little, who had just arrived from the "Great Salt Lake City," the place pitched upon for the new settlement of these people -- and which place he left in August last.

From Mr. Little's statements it would appear that the Mormons must have suffered much from various causes, during their travel westward, and that there is little prospect of their sufferings being at an end -- such is the barren and inhospitable state of the country in which they are intending to pass the winter.

When Mr. Little left, they had engaged in the erection of a stockade fort, to cover some ten acres, as a protection against the Indians -- and within this fort all the dwellings were to be erected. Wood was very scarce in the valley, and the soil, for the most part, exceedingly poor, though small portions of it are fertile. The Republican apprehends that very distressing accounts will be received from the colony in the spring.

Daily Missouri Republican December 15, 1847


Whatever has reference to the movements of this strange and infatuated people seems to be sought for with curiosity, at least if from no better motive. Driven from the home which they had selected in Illinois, they have been wandering in several directions, but the heads of the church have turned their faces towards California, seeking there some immunity from the persecution which attended their career in the United States; but even there, we fear, there is no good will towards them. In California, certainly, they are already looked upon with suspicion, and this suspicion may soon take the shape of bitter persecution, if those who oppose them should obtain the mastery in that country. But our purpose now, is to give information of the progress of the colony which is to be located at the "Great Salt Lake City."

We had a conversation, yesterday, with Mr. Little, who has just arrived from the place we have named. The gentleman left our borders in March last, proceded to the Great Salt Lake, and is now on his return, having left the future home of the Mormons, late in August. We learb from him, that the country selected for the habitation of the Mormons, is about twenty miles east from the Great Salt Lake. In company with others, he explored the valley, and he represents that they found a range of some eighty miles in length, and perhaps ten to twenty miles in width. The preparations for the reception of the advancing copany of Mormons, were not, we should infer, very extensive. A field of about one hundred acres of ground had been planted with corn, potatoes, turnips, and other edibles, but as the rain seldom fell there, they had to resort to the uncertain and laborious process of irrigation. They had engaged in the erection of a stockade, to protect the colony from the attacks of the Indians, covering some ten acres of ground, within which from a hundred and sixty to two hundred dwellings were to be erected. How this is to be done, is at best very uncertain. There is very little woodland in or near the Valley, and this is the greatest difficulty which the colonists have to encounter, both as a means of erecting their houses and for fuel. In time, seeds may be planted and forests grown, but this is a very uncertain dependence. Some parts of the valley have a very fertile appearance, but others, again, are exceedingly poor, and cannot be made to produce any thing. About forty miles from the place selected for the Mormon city, is the homestead of a farmer, whose name we have foregotten, who has peach trees growing, and a garden producing a good many of the vegetables common to this country; with a fine stock of goats, horses, and cattle; but, save this habitation, none other is to be found in that quarter.

On his return route, Mr. Little, who holds, we believe, some high office in the Mormon Church, met the Mormon emigrants in detached parties. He does not speak of their condition very flatteringly, though, with sanguine hopes, they were still moving on to their destination. Many of the heads of the families there, it will be remembered, [were] taken up to fill the California Battalion and are still in California, and the women and children left to get along as they best could. In many cases, little boys were found driving the teams, barefoot, and the advanced parties were reduced to some extremity for the want of food. Two hundred of the oxen used in their teams had died after leaving Independence Rock, from eating some poisonous substance and exhaustion, and they were compelled to get along by using cows in their stead. All were, it is feared, stinted for provisions, and even after their arrival, unless game could be procured by their hunters, there is room to apprehend suffering from starvation -- Mr. Little representing at the same time, that in and around the Salt Lake Valley, very little game was to be found. On the whole, we are fearful that most distressing accounts will be received from this people, by the first arrivals next spring.

Mr. Little met with a good many adventures with the Indians, involving much risk, but as he escaped unharmed, it is hardly necessary to detail them. He has no grear love for any portion of California which he has visited, or of which, in his wanderings, he has had accounts from others; and it is the tenor of his advice to all persons not to set their faces in the direction of California.