Mormon History

Church Growth Due to Foreigners - 1848

Daily Missouri Republican March 15, 1848 

ENGLISH MORMON EMIGRANTS. -- We learn from a reliable source, that several thousand English families, members of the Mormon Church, will arrive at New Orleans during this Spring, on their way to join the settlement formed in the Great Salt Lake Valley. An agent of the Mormon Church has been sent to New Orleans to provide passages for the immigrants on boats to this city, to engage transportation for them up the Missouri to the present encampment of the Mormons on the Missouri river, called "Winter Quarters." This encampment is on lands owned by the Omaha Indians, and in the immediate vicinity of Council Bluffs. From that point, or the vicinity, they expect every spring to send all who are prepared to migrate to the Valley of the Salt Lake.

It is calculated that from eight to ten thousand souls, from England alone, will join the emigrating party this season. In addition, several other large parties are expected from other quarters of Europe. -- At one time it was the intention of the elders of the Church to send these immigrants by vessels to Chagres, and thence across the continent to the Pacific, and by vessels to California; but since they have located their city, in the Great Salt Lake Valley, and determined to build their church there, they have instructed their disciples to take the overland route from the head of navigation on the Missouri. Those coming from beyond the seas will, as far as practicable, take vessels for New Orleans, and thence by boats reach the general rendezvous on the Missouri.

A deputation of the elders now in this city are having printed a large edition of a guide to the route from their present encampment on the Missouri, to their new city near the salt lake. It is a very complete and minute work. They have measured the entire route with great accuracy, and noticed all the points and peculiarities along it. They have given the latitude, longitude, and altitude of all the important points, and noticed all the places where wood, water and grass can be obtained. In fact, we have not at any time seen a more accurate work, or one so well calculated to assist the traveller on his way. In other respects, it is interesting as a scientific topographical survey of a large portion of the salt lake basin.

A party of several thousands will leave the encampment at "Winter Quarters" this Spring, as early as the grass on the plains will permit. It is estimated that there are now upward of twelve thousand souls in the vicinity of this encampment. At least half of these Mormons will set out for their new residence this Spring, and their places will be supplied by the new comers.