Migrations Of The Mormons
Author:      Kane, Thomas L.
Migrations Of The Mormons
1848 
     Among the numerous religious bodies that have grown up in the United
States, the sect of Mormons, officially called "The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints," is perhaps the most unique in its origin and organization,
and the most singular in its history.  The sect was founded in 1830 by Joseph
Smith, of Vermont.  He declared that he had discovered one of its
authoritative writings, the Book of Mormon, at Cumorah, New York.  This book,
he said, was found by him buried in the earth at a place revealed to him by an
angel.  According to the Mormons, the book, written in mystic characters on
golden plates, is a record of certain ancient people - "the long-lost tribes
of Israel," Smith declared - inhabiting North America.  This book is said to
have been abridged by the prophet Mormon, and translated by Smith.  By
anti-Mormons it is supposed to be based on a manuscript romance written by
Solomon Spaulding.
     The Mormon Church is governed by a hierarchy with two orders of
priesthood, a president, two counselors, twelve apostles, and elders and
other officers.  Peculiar as their polity appears, it has proved remarkably
successful in the development of their church and community, notwithstanding
stern hostility and widespread disapproval.  They present an impressive
example of shrewdness, thrift, and administrative skill, resulting in great
material prosperity.  Besides their separate books, they accept the Bible as
authoritative, and many of their doctrines and rites resemble those common to
the Christian sects.  More than anything else, their teaching and their
practice of polygamy have brought them into collision with "Gentiles" and with
the United States Government.
     The first Mormon settlement was at Kirtland, Ohio, the next was in
Missouri.  From those States they were expelled, and in 1840 they founded
Nauvoo in Illinois.  Their later experience, up to their permanent
establishment in Utah, is recounted in the following narrative of the
hardships endured and surmounted by this extraordinary people.  But it should
be added that the cause of the exodus was not, as is generally supposed,
religious persecution.  The leaders of the sect at Nauvoo had set up a bank
without capital and passed thousands of its worthless notes upon the
unsuspecting farmers and traders; and it was this and other crimes that
exasperated the inhabitants of that region to the point of driving away the
whole community of Mormons.
     Once, while ascending the upper Mississippi in the autumn, when its
waters were low, I was compelled to travel by land past the region of the
rapids.  My road lay through the "Half-Breed Tract," a fine section of Iowa,
which the unsettled state of its land titles had appropriated as a sanctuary
for coiners, horse thieves, and other outlaws.  I had left my steamer at
Keokuk, at the foot of the Lower Fall, to hire a carriage, and to contend for
some fragments of a dirty meal with the swarming flies, the only scavengers of
the locality.  From this place to where the deep water of the river returns,
my eye wearied to see everywhere sordid, vagabond, and idle settlers, and a
country marred, without being improved, by their careless hands.
     I was descending the last hillside upon my journey, when a landscape in
delightful contrast broke upon my view.  Half encircled by a bend of the
river, a beautiful city lay glittering in the fresh morning sun; its bright
new dwellings set in cool green gardens ranging up around a stately
dome-shaped hill which was crowned by a noble marble edifice whose high
tapering spire was radiant with white and gold.  The city appeared to cover
several miles; and beyond it, in the background, spread a fair rolling
country, checkered by symmetrical lines of fruitful husbandry.  The
unmistakable evidences of industry, enterprise, and educated wealth,
everywhere, made the scene one of singular and most striking beauty.
     It was a natural impulse to visit this inviting region.  I procured a
skiff and rowing across the river landed at the principal wharf of the city.
No one met me there.  I looked, and saw no one: I heard no movement; though
the stillness everywhere was such that I heard the flies buzz, and the ripples
break against the shallows of the beach.  I walked through the solitary
streets.  The town lay as in a dream, under some deadening spell of loneliness
from which I almost feared to wake it.  Plainly it had not slept long.  There
was no grass growing in the paved ways and rain had not washed away the prints
of footsteps in the dust.
     Yet I went about unchecked.  I went into empty ropewalks, workshops, and
smithies.  The spinner's wheel was idle; the carpenter had gone from his
workbench and left his sash and casing unfinished.  Fresh bark was in the
tanner's vat, and the fresh chopped lightwood stood piled against the baker's
oven.  The blacksmith's shop was cold; but his coal-heap and ladling-pool and
crooked water-horn were all there, as if he had just gone off for a holiday.
No workpeople, anywhere, looked to know my errand.  If I went into the
gardens, clinking the wicket latch loudly after me, to pull the marigolds,
heartsease, and lady's-slippers, and draw a drink with the water-sodden
well-bucket and its noisy chain; or, knocking off with my stick the tall,
heavy-headed dahlias and sunflowers, hunting among the beds for cucumbers and
love-apples - no one called out to me from any opened window; no dog sprang
forward to bark an alarm.  I could have supposed the people hidden in the
houses, but the doors were unfastened; and when at last I timidly entered, I
found dead ashes cold upon the hearth, and had to tread on tiptoe, as if
walking down the aisle of a country church, to avoid rousing irreverent echoes
from the naked floors.
     On the outskirts of the town was the city graveyard.  But there was no
record of plague there, nor did it in any wise differ much from other
Protestant American cemeteries.  Some of the mounds were not long sodded; some
of the stones were newly set, their dates recent, and their black inscriptions
glossy in the hardly dried lettering-ink.  Beyond the graveyard, out in the
fields, I saw, in one spot hard by where the fruited boughs of a young orchard
had been torn down, the still smoldering embers of a barbecue fire that had
been constructed of rails from the fencing around it.  It was the latest sign
of life there.  Fields upon fields of heavy-headed grain lay rotting
ungathered upon the ground.  No one was at hand to take in their rich harvest.
As far as the eye could reach, they stretched away - they, sleeping too in the
hazy air of autumn.
     Only two portions of the city seemed to suggest the import of this
mysterious solitude.  In the southern suburb the houses looking out upon the
country showed, by their splintered woodwork and walls battered to the
foundation, that they had lately been the mark of a destructive cannonade. And
in and around the splendid temple, which had been the chief object of my
admiration, armed men were barracked, surrounded by their stacks of musketry
and pieces of heavy ordnance.  These challenged me to render an account of
myself, and to tell the reason why I had had the temerity to cross the water
without a written permit from a leader of their band.
     Though these men were generally more or less under the influence of
ardent spirits, after I had explained myself as a passing stranger they seemed
anxious to gain my good opinion.  They told me the story of the "dead city":
that it had been a notable manufacturing and commercial mart, sheltering over
twenty thousand persons; that they had waged war with its inhabitants for
several years, and had been finally successful only a few days before my
visit, in an action fought in the ruined suburb; after which, they had driven
them forth at the point of the sword.  The defence, they said, had been
obstinate, but gave way on the third day's bombardment.
     They also conducted me inside the massive sculptured walls of the curious
temple, in which they said the banished inhabitants were accustomed to
celebrate the mystic rites of an unhallowed worship.  They particularly
pointed out to me certain features of the building, which, having been the
peculiar objects of a former superstitious regard, they had as matter of duty
sedulously defiled and defaced.  The reputed sites of certain shrines they had
thus particularly noticed, and various sheltered chambers, in one of which was
a deep well constructed, they believed, with a dreadful design. Besides these,
they led me to see a large and deeply chiselled marble vase, or basin,
supported upon twelve oxen, also of marble and of life size, and of which they
told some romantic stories.  They said the deluded persons, most of whom were
emigrants from a great distance, believed their deity countenanced their
reception here of a baptism of regeneration as proxies for whomsoever they
held in warm affection in the countries from which they had come: that here
parents "went into the water" for their lost children, children for their
parents, widows for their spouses, and young persons for their lovers: that
thus the great vase came to be associated with all their most cherished
memories, and was therefore the chief object of all others in the building,
upon which they bestowed the greatest degree of their idolatrous affection.
On this account, the victors had so diligently desecrated it as to render the
apartment in which it was contained too noisome to abide in.
     They permitted me also to ascend into the steeple to see where it had
been struck by lightning on the Sabbath before; and to look out, east and
south, on wasted farms - like those I had seen near the city - extending till
they were lost in the distance.  Close to the scar left by the thunderbolt
were fragments of food, cruses of liquor and broken drinking-vessels, with a
bass-drum and a steamboat signal-bell, of which, with pain, I learned the use.
     It was after nightfall when I was ready to cross the river on my return.
The wind had freshened since sunset and, the water beating roughly into my
little boat, I headed higher up the stream than the point I had left in the
morning, and landed where a faint glimmering light invited me to steer. Among
the rushes - sheltered only by the darkness, without roof between them and the
sky - I came upon a crowd of several hundred human creatures whom my movements
roused from uneasy slumber.
     Dreadful indeed was the suffering of these forsaken beings.  Cowed and
cramped by cold and sunburn alternating as each weary day and night dragged
on, they were, almost all of them, the crippled victims of disease.  They were
there because they had no homes, nor hospital, nor poorhouse, nor friends to
offer them any.  They could not minister to the needs of their sick; they had
no bread to quiet the fractious, hungry cries of their children.  Mothers and
babes, daughters and grandparents, all alike were clothed in tatters, lacking
even sufficient covering for the fever-stricken sufferers.
     These were the Mormons, famishing, in Lee County, Iowa, in the fourth
week of the month of September, 1846.  The deserted city was Nauvoo, Illinois.
The Mormons were the owners of that city and the smiling country around it.
And those who had stopped their ploughs, who had silenced their hammers, their
axes, their shuttles and the wheels of their workshops; those who had put out
their fires, who had eaten their food, spoiled their orchards, and trampled
under foot their thousands of acres of unharvested grain - these were the
keepers of their dwellings, the carousers in their temple, the noise of whose
drunken rioting insulted the ears of the dying.
     They were, all told, not more than six hundred forty persons who were
thus lying on the river-flats.  But the Mormons in Nauvoo and its environs had
been numbered the year before at over twenty thousand.  Where were they? They
had last been seen, carrying in mournful trains their sick and wounded, halt
and blind, to disappear behind the western horizon, pursuing the phantom of
another home.  Hardly anything else was known of them; and people asked with
curiosity, "What had been their fate - what their fortunes?"
     The party encountered by me at the river shore were the last of the
Mormons that left the city.  They had all of them engaged the year before that
they would vacate their homes and seek some other place of refuge.  It had
been the condition of a truce between them and their assailants; and, as an
earnest of their good faith, the chief elders, and some others of obnoxious
standing, with their families, were to set out for the West in the spring of
1846.  It had been stipulated in return that the rest of the Mormons might
remain behind, in the peaceful enjoyment of their Illinois abode, until their
leaders, with their exploring party, could, with all diligence, select for
them a new place of settlement beyond the Rocky Mountains, in California, or
elsewhere, and until they had opportunity to dispose to the best advantage of
the property which they were then to leave.
     Some renewed symptoms of hostile feeling had however determined the
pioneer party to begin their work before the spring.  It was of course
anticipated that this would be a perilous service; but it was regarded as a
matter of self-denying duty.  The ardor and emulation of many, particularly
the devout and the young, were stimulated by the difficulties it involved; and
the ranks of the party were therefore filled up with volunteers from among the
most effective and responsible members of the sect.  They began their march in
midwinter; and by the beginning of February nearly all of them were on the
road, many of their wagons having crossed the Mississippi on the ice.
     Under the most favoring circumstances, an expedition of this sort,
undertaken at such a season of the year, could scarcely fail to be disastrous.
But the pioneer company had to set out in haste, and were very imperfectly
supplied with necessaries.  The cold was intense.  They moved in the teeth of
keen-edged northwest winds, such as sweep down the Iowa peninsula from the
icebound regions of the timber-shaded Slave Lake and Lake of the Woods.  Along
the scattered watercourses, where they broke the thick ice to give their
cattle drink, the annual autumn fires had left but little firewood.  To men,
insufficiently furnished with tents and other appliances of shelter, wood was
almost a necessary of life.  After days of fatigue their nights were often
passed in restless efforts to prevent themselves from freezing.  Their stock
of food also proved inadequate; and as their constitutions became more
debilitated their suffering from cold increased. Afflicted with catarrhal
affections, manacled by the fetters of dreadfully acute rheumatism, some
contrived for a while to get over the shortening day's march and drag along
some others.  But the sign of an impaired circulation soon began to show
itself in the liability of all to be dreadfully frost-bitten.  The hardiest
and strongest became helplessly crippled.  About the same time the strength of
their draught animals began to fail.  The small supply of provender they could
carry with them had given out.  The winter-bleached prairie straw proved
devoid of nourishment; and they could only keep them from starving by seeking
for the "browse," as it is called, this being the green bark and tender buds
and branches of the cottonwood and other stunted growths in the hollows.
     To return to Nauvoo was apparently the only escape; but this would have
been to give occasion for fresh mistrust and so to bring new trouble to those
they had left there behind them.  They resolved at least to hold their ground,
and to advance as they might, were it only by limping through the deep snows a
few slow miles a day.  They found a sort of comfort in comparing themselves to
the exiles of Siberia, and sought consolation in earnest prayers for the
spring.
     The spring came at last.  It overtook them in the Sac and Fox country,
still on the naked prairie, not yet half way over the trail they were
following between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.  But it brought its own
share of troubles with it.  The months with which it opened proved nearly as
trying as the worst of winter.
     The snow and sleet and rain which fell, as it appeared to them, without
intermission, made the road over the rich prairie soil as impassable as one
vast bog of heavy black mud.  Sometimes they would fasten the horses and oxen
of four or five wagons to one, and attempt to get ahead in this way, taking
turns; but at the close of a day of hard toil for themselves and their cattle,
they would find themselves a quarter or a half a mile from the place they left
in the morning.  The heavy rains raised all the water-courses; the most
trifling streams were impassable.  Wood, fit for bridging, was often not to be
had, and in such cases the only resource was to halt for the freshets to
subside - a matter in the case of the headwaters of the Chariton, for
instance, of over three weeks' delay.
     These were dreary waitings upon Providence.  The most spirited and sturdy
murmured most at their forced inactivity.  And even the women, whose heroic
spirits had been proof against the severest cold, confessed their tempers
fluctuated with the ceaseless variations of the barometer.  They complained
too that the health of their children suffered more.  It was the fact that the
damp winds of March and April brought with them more mortal sickness than the
sharpest freezing weather.
     The frequent burials discouraged and depressed the hardiest spirits; but
the general hopefulness of human nature was well illustrated by the fact that
even the most provident were found unfurnished with burial necessaries, and as
a result they were often driven to the most melancholy makeshifts.
     The usual expedient adopted was to cut a log of some eight or nine feet
long, and slitting the bark longitudinally, strip it off in two
half-cylinders.  These, placed around the body of the deceased and bound
firmly together with withs made of alburnum, formed a rough sort of tubular
coffin, which surviving relatives and friends, with a little show of black
crape, could follow to the hole or bit of ditch dug to receive it in the wet
ground of the prairie.  The name of the deceased, his age, the date of his
death, and the surrounding landmarks were all registered with care.  His party
was then ready to move on.  Such graves mark all the line of the first years
of Mormon travel - dispiriting milestones to failing stragglers in the rear.
     The hardships and trials which they had suffered developed a spirit of
self-sacrifice among these indomitable people.  Hale young men gave up their
own food and shelter to the old and helpless, and worked their way back to
parts of the frontier States, chiefly Missouri and Iowa where they were not
recognized, and hired themselves out for wages, to purchase more.  Others were
sent there to exchange for meal and flour, or wheat and corn, the table- and
bed-furniture and other remaining articles of personal property which a few
had still retained.
     In a kindred spirit of fraternity, others laid out great farms in the
wilds and planted the grain saved for their own bread; that there might be
harvests for those who should follow them.  Two of these, in the Sac and Fox
country and beyond it, Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah, included within their
fences about two miles of land each, carefully planted with grain, with a
hamlet of comfortable log cabins in the neighborhood of each.
     Through all this the pioneers found comfort in the thought that their own
suffering was the price of immunity from similar hardships their friends at
home, in following their trail, would otherwise have had to pay.  But the
arrival of spring proved this a delusion.  Before the warm weather had made
the earth dry enough for easy travel, messengers came in from Nauvoo to
overtake the party with fear-exaggerated tales of outrage, and to urge the
chief men to hurry back to the city that they might give counsel and
assistance there.  The enemy had only waited until the emigrants were supposed
to be gone on their road too far to return to interfere with them, and then
renewed their aggressions.
     The Mormons outside Nauvoo were indeed hard pressed, but inside the city
they maintained themselves very well for two or three months longer.  Strange
to say, the chief part of this respite was devoted to completing the structure
of their quaintly devised but beautiful temple.  Since the dispersion of
Jewry, probably, history affords us no parallel to the attachment of the
Mormons for this edifice.  Every architectural element, every most fantastic
emblem it embodied, was associated, for them, with some cherished feature of
their religion.  Its erection had been enjoined upon them as a most sacred
duty: they were proud of the honor it conferred upon their city, when it grew
up in its splendor to become the chief object of the admiration of strangers
upon the upper Mississippi.  Besides, they had built it as a labor of love;
they could count up to half a million the value of their tithings and freewill
offerings laid upon it.  Hardly a Mormon woman had not given up to it some
trinket or pin-money; the poorest Mormon man had at least served the tenth
part of his year on its walls; and the coarsest artisan could turn to it with
something of the ennobling attachment an artist has for his own creation.
Therefore, though their enemies drove on them ruthlessly, they succeeded in
parrying the last sword-thrust, till they had completed even the gilding of
the angel and trumpet on the summit of its lofty spire.  As a closing work,
they placed on the entablature of the front, like a baptismal mark on the
forehead, these words:
______________________________________________________________
|                                                            |
|               The House Of The Lord:                       |
|                                                            |
|  Built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day         |
|                     Saints.                                |
|                                                            |
|               Holiness to the Lord!                        |
|                                                            |
[------------------------------------------------------------]
     Then, at high noon, under the bright sunshine of May, the next after its
completion, they consecrated it to divine service.  There was a carefully
studied ceremonial for the occasion.  It was said the high elders of the sect
travelled furtively from the camp of Israel in the wilderness, and, throwing
off ingenious disguises, appeared in their own robes of office to give it
splendor.
     For that one day the temple stood resplendent in all its typical glories
of sun, moon and stars, and other abounding figured and lettered signs,
hieroglyphs, and symbols; but that day only.  The sacred rites of consecration
ended, the work of removing the sacrosancta proceeded with the rapidity of
magic.  It went on through the night, and when the morning of the next day
dawned all the ornaments and furniture, everything that could provoke a sneer,
had been carried off; and except some fixtures that would not bear removal,
the building was dismantled.
     This day saw the departure of the last of the elders, and the largest
band that moved in one company together.  The people of Iowa have told me that
from morning to night they passed westward like an endless procession. They
did not seem greatly out of heart, they said; but, at the top of every hill,
before they disappeared, they were to be seen looking back, like banished
Moors, on their abandoned homes and the distant temple and its glittering
spire.
     After this consecration, which was construed to indicate an insincerity
on the part of the Mormons as to their stipulated departure, or at least a
hope of return, their foes set upon them with renewed bitterness.  As many
fled as were at all prepared; but by the very fact of their so decreasing the
already diminished forces of the city's defenders, they encouraged the enemy
to greater boldness.  It soon became apparent that nothing short of an
immediate emigration could save the remnant.
     From this time onward the energies of those already on the road were
engrossed by the duty of providing for the fugitives who came crowding in
after them.  At a last general meeting of the sect in Nauvoo, there had been
passed a unanimous resolution that they would sustain one another, whatever
their circumstances, upon the march; and this, though made in view of no such
appalling exigency, they now with one accord set themselves together to carry
out.
     The host again moved on.  The tents which had gathered on the hill
summits, like white birds hesitating to venture on the long flight over the
river, were struck one after another, and the dwellers in them and their
wagons and their cattle hastened down to cross it at a ferry in the valley,
which they made by night and day.  A little beyond the landing they formed
their companies and made their preparations for the last and longest stage of
their journey.
     Though the season was late, when they first crossed the Missouri, some of
them moved forward with great hopefulness, full of the notion of viewing and
choosing their new homes that year.  But the van had only reached Grand Island
and the Pawnee villages, when they were overtaken by more ill news from
Nauvoo.  Before the summer closed, their enemies set upon the last remnant of
those who were left behind in Illinois.  They were a few lingerers, who could
not be persuaded but there might yet be time for them to gather up their
worldly goods before removing.  Some weakly mothers and their infants, a few
delicate young girls, and many cripples and bereaved and sick people - these
had remained under shelter, according to the Mormon statement at least, by
virtue of an express covenant in their behalf.  If there was such a covenant,
it was broken.  A vindictive war was waged upon them, from which the weakest
fled in scattered parties, leaving the rest to make a reluctant and almost
ludicrously unavailing defense, till September 17th, when one thousand six
hundred twenty-five troops entered Nauvoo and drove all forth who had not
retreated before that time.
     Like the wounded birds of a flock fired into toward nightfall, they came
straggling on with faltering steps, many of them without bag or baggage, beast
or barrow, all asking shelter or burial, and forcing a fresh repartition of
the already divided rations of their friends.  It was plain now that every
energy must be taxed to prevent the entire expedition from perishing.  Further
emigration for the time was out of the question, and the whole people prepared
themselves for encountering another winter on the prairie.
     Happily for the main body, they found themselves at this juncture among
Indians who were amicably disposed.  The lands on both sides of the Missouri
in particular were owned by the Pottawottomis and Omahas, two tribes whom
unjust treatment by our United States Government had the effect of rendering
most hospitable to strangers whom they regarded as persecuted like themselves.
     They were pleased with the Mormons.  They would have been pleased with
any whites who would not cheat them, nor sell them whiskey, nor whip them for
their poor gypsy habits, nor conduct themselves indecently toward their women,
many of whom among the Pottawottomis - especially those of nearly unmixed
French descent - are singularly comely, and some of them educated. But all
Indians have something like a sentiment of reverence for the insane, and
admire those who sacrifice, without apparent motive, their worldly welfare to
the triumph of an idea.  They understand the meaning of what they call a great
vow, and think it the duty of the right-minded to lighten the votary's penance
under it.  To this feeling they united the sympathy of fellow-sufferers for
those who could talk to them of their own Illinois, and tell the story of how
they also had been ruthlessly expelled from it.
     Their hospitality was sincere, almost delicate.  Fanny le Clerc, the
spoiled child of the great brave Pied Riche, interpreter of the nation, would
have the paleface Miss Devine learn duets with her on the guitar; and the
daughter of substantial Joseph la Framboise, the United States interpreter for
the tribe (she died of the fever that summer) welcomed all the nicest young
Mormon women to a party at her father's house, which was probably the best
cabin in that village.  They made the Mormons at home, there and elsewhere.
Upon all their lands they formally gave them leave to remain as long as suited
their own good pleasure.
     The affair, of course, furnished material for a solemn council.  Under
the auspices of an officer of the United States their chiefs were summoned, in
the form befitting great occasions, to meet in the yard of a Mr. P. A. Sarpy's
log trading-house.  They came in grand costume, moving in their fantastic
attire with so much aplomb and genteel measure that the stranger found it
difficult not to believe them high-born gentlemen, attending a fancy-dress
ball.  Their aristocratically thin legs, of which they displayed fully the
usual Indian proportion, aided this illusion.  There is something too at all
times very mock-Indian in the theatrical French millinery tie of the
Pottawottomi turban; while it is next to impossible for a sober white man, at
first sight, to believe that the red, green, black, blue, and yellow
cosmetics, with which he sees such grave personages so variously dotted,
diapered, cancelled, and arabesqued are worn by them in any mood but one of
the deepest and most desperate quizzing.  From the time of their first squat
upon the ground to the final breaking up of the council circle they sustained
their characters with equal self-possession and address.
     I will not take it upon myself to describe their order of ceremonies;
indeed, I ought not, since I have never been able to view the habits and
customs of our aborigines in any other light than that of a sorrowful subject
of jest.  Besides, in this instance, the powwow and the expected flow of
turgid eloquence were both moderated probably by the conduct of the entire
transaction on temperance principles.  I therefore content myself with
observing generally that the proceedings were such as in every way became the
dignity of the parties interested, and the magnitude of the interests
involved.  When the red men had indulged to satiety in tobacco-smoke from
their peace-pipes, and in what they love still better - their peculiar
metaphoric rhodomontade, which, beginning with the celestial bodies, and
coursing downward over the grandest sublunary objects, always managed to
alight at last on their "Great Father," Polk, and the tenderness with which
his affectionate red children regarded him.  All the solemn funny fellows
present, who played the part of chiefs, signed formal articles of convention
with their unpronounceable names.
     The renowned chief Pied Riche - he was surnamed Le Clerc on account of
his remarkable scholarship - then rose and said: "My Mormon brethren, the
Pottawottomi came, sad and tired, into this unhealthy Missouri bottom, not
many years back, when he was taken from his beautiful country, beyond the
Mississippi, which had abundant game and timber and clear water everywhere.
Now you are driven away, the same, from your lodges and lands and the graves
of your people.  So we have both suffered.  We must help one another, and the
Great Spirit will help us both.  You are now free to cut and use all the wood
you may wish.  You can make all your improvements, and live on any part of our
actual land not occupied by us.  Because one suffers, and does not deserve it,
is no reason he shall suffer always: I say, we may live to see all right yet.
However, if we do not, our children will.  Bon jour!"
     And thus ended the powwow.  I give this speech as a morsel of real
Indian.  It was recited to me after the treaty by the Pottawottomi orator in
French, which language he spoke with elegance.  Bon jour ["good day"] is the
French, Indian, and English hail, and farewell of the Pottawottomis.
     Upon the Pottawotomi lands, scattered through the border regions of
Missouri and Iowa, in the Sac and Fox country, a few among the Ioways, among
the Poncas, in a great company upon the banks of the l'Eau qui Coulee (or
Running Water) River, and at the Omaha winter quarters, the Mormons sustained
themselves through the heavy winter of 1846-1847.  It was the severest of
their trials.  This winter was the turning-point of the Mormon fortunes. Those
who lived through it were spared to witness the gradual return of better
times; and they now liken it to the passing of a dreary night, since which
they have watched the coming of a steadily brightening day.
     In the spring of 1847, a body of one hundred forty-three picked men, with
seventy wagons, drawn by their best horses, left the Omaha quarters, under the
command of the members of the high council who had wintered there. They
carried with them little but seed and farming implements, their aim being to
plant spring crops at their ultimate destination.  They relied on their rifles
to give them food, but rarely left their road in search of game. They made
long marches, and moved as rapidly as possible.
     Against the season when ordinary emigration passes the Missouri, they
were already through the South Pass, and after a couple of short days' travel
beyond it entered upon the more arduous part of their journey, which now lay
through the Rocky Mountains.  They passed Fremont's Peak, Long's Peak, The
Twins, and other summits, but had great difficulties to overcome in forcing
their way over other mountains of the rugged Utah range, sometimes following
the stony bed of torrents, the headwaters of some of the mightiest rivers of
our continent, and sometimes literally cutting their road through heavy and
ragged timber.  They arrived at the grand basin of the Great Salt Lake, much
exhausted, but without losing a man, and in time to plant for a partial autumn
harvest.  Another party started after these pioneers from the Omaha winter
quarters, in the summer.  They had five hundred sixty-six wagons, and carried
large quantities of grain, which they were able to sow before it froze.
     The same season these were joined by a part of the battalion and other
members of the Church who came eastward from California and the Sandwich
Islands.  Together they fortified themselves strongly with sun-dried brick
walls and blockhouses, and, living safely through the winter, were able to
reap crops that yielded ample provision for the ensuing year.
     In 1848, nearly all the remaining members of the Church left the Missouri
country in a succession of powerful bands, invigorated and enriched by their
abundant harvests there; and that year saw fully established their
commonwealth of the "New Covenant," the future State of "Deseret." ^1
[Footnote 1: The Mormons repeatedly tried to secure the admission of Deseret
into the Union as a State under that name - said to mean "virtue and
industry." When Utah was organized as a Territory (1850), the Mormon leader,
Brigham Young, was made governor.  In 1857 President Buchanan appointed a
non-Mormon to succeed Young.  This act led the Mormons to rebel, but after a
display of military force by the Government they acknowledged allegiance.  In
1896, polygamy having been prohibited by Congress, Utah was admitted to the
Union.  Since the settlement of the Mormons upon the Great Salt Lake there has
been a large immigration into Utah.  The Mormons have spread beyond that State
into Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, and other parts of the West and Southwest. -
Ed.]

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