Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1847 Companies

1841-1850: Immigration, Great Britain
Summary of Church organization to bring converts from the Great Britain to Nauvoo, then to Salt Lake City

1847: April 5 Monday - Six Wagons Slowly Began Epic Journey
Monday. Five wagons begin the trek west after much religious persecution.

1847: April 6 Tuesday - The Trek West Paused for Annual Conference.
Seventeenth Annual Conference of the church where Brigham Young is sustained as President of the church.

1847: April 7 Wednesday - One by One, Four Small Groups of Wagons Headed for the Prairie.
Small groups of wagons begin the trek west, many leaving behind sick families.

1847: April 8 Thursday - Several Small Parties Join on Prairie to Form Large Group.
Small groups of wagons band together. Brigham Young visits with Parley P. Pratt.

1847: April 9 Friday - Largest Group Waited for Brigham Young
A group of 64 pioneer wagons finally head through a swampy area towards the Elkhorn river.

1847: April 10 Saturday - Food was Scarce and Any Creek an Obstacle.
The Pioneers cross the Elkhorn river. Wood from trees is sparse, so campfires are hard to come by.

1847: April 11 Sunday - By Late Afternoon, 72 Wagons had Ferried "The Horn"
The rest of the wagons cross the river and then stop to observe the Sabbath.

1847: April 12 Monday - Brigham and Seven Apostles Left the Company
The main group travels 14 miles to reach the banks of the Platte river and set up camp. They will send scouts ahead on the prarie.

1847: April 14 Wednesday - Four yelling Indians were cause for delay
William Clayton added to the group at the last minute. A rain storm soaks the groups.

1847: April 15 Thursday - Now it was time to face west with a single objective
Brigham says to cease from all music, dance, and light-mindedness. Nine rules are set. Groups of fifty set for sentry duty.

1847: April 16 Friday - Company organized, and rule are reviewed
Group reminded of the rules and organized into groups of ten. Started out at 3:00 p.m.

1847: April 17 Saturday - Pioneers awoke to ice oil water buckets, traveled only 7 miles
Stopped at noon and enjoyed violin music after dinner.

1847: April 18 Sunday - A welcome rest day, and an opportunity to send mail back
A light snow fell. Reading time. Livestock rested. Ox injured.

1847: April 19 Monday - Wagons on the move down all easy corridor
Rockwell brings fishooks, fishing line, and three pencils. Fishing by boat during the evening.

1847: April 20 Tuesday - Chase for deer failed, but fishermen succeeded
More than 200 fish caught. Clayton's bad tooth yanked out.

1847: April 21 Wednesday - Pawnees paid visit to collect tribute, handshakes for all
Gifts of tobacco, fishooks, flour, and salt to the Pawnees. Extra guards. Heavy rain - bad weather.

1847: April 22 Thursday - Sleeping guards were taught lesson by a joke
Sentries posted. Beaver Creek forded. Ropes with 12 men needed for the steep creek bank.

1847: April 23 Friday - He found a way to recoup his final paycheck
Pulling wagons by rope. Two rafts built. Six men stranded in wet clothes.

1847: April 24 Saturday - Fording Loup Fork was a tiring endeavor
Unloaded half the baggage in each wagon to ford the Loup. Saw Jupiter's rings through a telescope.

1847: April 25 Sunday - These Sunday rests actually gained time
No travel this Sunday to rest oxen.

1847: April 26 Monday - Alert guards prevented Indian raid on horses
Sherwood elected as "chief grumbler." Two more horses lost.

1847: April 27 Tuesday - It was slow traveling over dry sand ridges
Left Loup River. Animals suffer from lack of water. Loaded guns are dangerous. Horse theft.

1847: April 28 Wednesday - Some were up early, preparing trail for company
Forded Prairie Creek. Neared Platte River. Trail very dusty.

1847: April 29 Thursday - The bugler roused the camp for an early morning start
Need to find feed for livestock. Horses sick from lack of water. Dust everywhere.

1847: April 30 Friday - Travel was easy this day, but weather caused suffering
Level prairie with buffalo grass. Cooking with buffalo chips. Wind and dust. Dancing to keep warm.

1847: May 1 Saturday - And finally, the first buffalo were sighted
Buffalo are sighted. Eleven hunters chosen for a 3 hour chase. Companies of 10 get the meat divided among them.

1847: May 2 Sunday - Missing "Nimrod" returned safely in morning
Hancock, who is lame and missing after the hunt, returns unharmed. Indians set fire to the grass ahead.

1847: May 3 Monday - Indian scare alarmed pioneer hunting party
Scouts ride ahead to find best path. Mule gets away. Cannon shot to warn Indians.

1847: May 4 Tuesday - Brigham counseled camp on discipline
Wagons travel 5 abreast. Vote to stay on north bank of river.

1847: May 5 Wednesday - Platte island provided safety from fires that devastated area
Five more buffalo shot. Move to island to avoid fire.

1847: May 6 Thursday - A timely light shower dampened prairie fires
Rain. Grass hard to find. Slow travel. Brigham loses spyglass.

1847: May 7 Friday - Brigham grouchy over spyglass loss
Stop the train to retrieve missing glass. Slow travel; animals suffering from lack of food.

1847: May 8 Saturday - The awesome sight of Buffalo blackening the prairie on all sides
Buffalo are somewhat tame. Don't kill what isn't needed. Some buffalo have died of starvation. One wheel revolution is 1/360 of a mile.

1847: May 9 Sunday - Just keeping clean provided some difficulty
Travel for 4 miles on Sabbath because the buffalo had eaten nearly everything. Harriet Young is sick from the smell of dead buffalo.

1847: May 10 Monday - They left a letter for those still to come
Letter left on top of a post. Journal keeping is important. Setting fire to old grass. Ground is soft and wet.

1847: May 11 Tuesday - Captured wolf pups provided caps for men
Wolf pups killed. Water not good from dead buffalos rotting in the stream. Wells provided cold, clean water.

1847: May 12 Wednesday - Vast buffalo herds had just melted away
Valley of dried bones. Dust with a salt taste that looks like dirty flour. Abandoned Sioux Indian camp.

1847: May 13 Thursday - Some took time out to visit Indian village
Cold called for overcoats. Aaron Farr is too loud during prayer. Grass is getting better. Sand is hardest to travel in.

1847: April 05-09 The Great Exodus had a Modest Beginning.
Summary of April 5 - 9, 1897 as pioneers gathered before the first wagon train was to leave for the west.

1847: April 10-16 Ferrying Elkhorn River a Difficult Project Summary of April 10 - 16 1847 where pioneers encountered the first river on the trek from Winter Quarters.

1847: April 17-23 Good Progress Over the Flat Nebraska Plain
Each day they pause for an hour's lunch break.

1847: April 24-30 It was a Struggle to Cross the Loup River
Buffalo chips fuel. Lack of water hard on livestock. Staying close to the river.

1847: May 01-07 - Prairie Fires Make Livestock Feed Scarce
First buffalo sightings. Prairie fires and rain.

1847: May 8-14 - Thousands of Buffalo Consumed the Grass
An ocean of buffalo.

Black Pioneers, 1847
With the Pioneer Company were three Blacks, Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay, and Green Flake.

Brigham Young Description

Brooklyn - Sea Emigration, 1846
Brooklyn - Sea Emigration, 1846. Sam Brannan chartered the ship "Brooklyn" and led over 200 Mormons to California.

Brown, John, 1846-47 Journal Entries.
John Brown helped lead the Mississippi Saints to Grand Island, NE, Ft. Laramie, and Pueblo. He returned home, took 4 blacks to Winter Quarters (1947), two of which died on the way. He and the other two came with Brigham Young's "Pioneer Company" in 1847. He returned to Missssippi and brought his family to Utah in 1848.

Bullock, Thomas, 1847, Return to Winter Quarters
107 men, 36 wagons, 71 horses and 49 mules, left the Valley and returned to Winter Quarters in the fall of 1847.

Burton (Coray), Melissa, Mormon Battalion Wife
One of four women that accompanied the Mormon Battalion all the way to California. Newly married. Was 18 when she walked to California. Walked back to Salt Lake City in 1848. Husband died 3 months later. Married William H. Kimball, Heber's oldest son and managed the stage station at Kimball's Junction (by Park City).

Canal Boats, Lake Boats, and Riverboats
Making the trek sometimes involved using boats.

Council Bluffs Reached
Council Bluffs is east of Winter Quarters.

Decker (Little) (Hanks), Harriet Amelia , 1846 (age 20), Iowa
Harriet married Edwin S. Little, son of Brigham Young's sister. Edwin ended up in the frozen Mississippi River while helping move some of his uncle Brigham's wagons across. He became sick as a result and died at Richardson's Point, Iowa.

Emmett Company, 1844-1847 (Disobedient Group, sort of)
This group left Nauvoo after the death of Joseph Smith (against the wishes of Church leadership). The group ended up on the Missouri River above Council Bluffs and was persuaded to return to the main group in 1847.

Food: Recommended for Trek
Food items recommended by the "Nauvoo Neighbor" newspaper in 1845

Holt, James, 1844-1846, 1852, Emmett and other companies
James Holt was a member of the Emmett Company with 25-30 other families in 1844. He went to Council Bluffs in 1847 and to Utah in 1852. He wrote a about other persons, circumstances, and trail life.

Hunter, Lydia, 1846-47, Mormon Battalion Wife
One of four women that accompanied the Mormon Battalion all the way to California

Immigration, 1841-1850, Great Britain
Overview of Mormon Church organization for immigration from Great Britain, starting in 1841.

Indian Relations in the Missouri Valley
Mormon pioneers had good relations with the Omahas Indian tribe.

Kartchner, Wiliam Decatur, 1846-47 (Mississippi Saint, San Bernardino)
One of the Mississippi Saints. He also wmigrated to San Bernardino and back to Beaver, Utah. Interesting tidbits.

Mormon Emigrants: 1848-1868 - Y.X. Company
Experienced pioneers contracted for a short time to carry mail.

Moses (Davis), Susanna [Susan], 1846-7, Mormon Battalion Wife and son Daniel
One of four women that accompanied the Mormon Battalion all the way to California. Davis County was named after her husband. Daniel was the youngest person with the Battalion.

Non-Mormons - Pioneer Company, 1847
Five non-Mormons came with Brigham Young in 1847 (2 Blacks and 3 Whites).

Organization Improved
The pioneers needed to organize as a group to be successful. Their Iowa migration helped prepare them for the trek across the plains.

Pioneer Company, 1847, Scientific Instuments and Observations Pioneers tried to be accurate in documenting where, when, and how far they traveled.

Pioneer Company, 1847, Part I, Winter Quarters to Kearney, Nebraska
Pioneers hunted to find meat to eat.

Pioneer Company, 1847, Establishing a Colony/Returning to Winter Quarters
Some pioneers were assigned to begin farming as soon as they got to the Great Salt Lake valley, while others were directed to return to help the families come west.

Pioneer Company, 1847, Organization
The first company of mostly men had a great adventure travelling west.

Pioneer Company, 1847, statistics
Pioneer Company Statistics (men, women, children, animals)

Preparations for a "49er
See what a "gold rush" company from New York went through to make the long journey to Calif. One of the members got sick and stayed in Salt Lake City to recuperate. He joined the Mormon Church and died in Utah. That is why we have this account.

Sperry, Charles, 1846, Nauvoo and Iowa
Nauvoo and Mt. Pisgah period described from a young boy's point of view. His mother and brother died. He had fond memories of Mt. Pisgah.

Sperry, Charles, 1847 (age 18), J.M. Grant Co., Life in Utah (1848)
His father joined the Church and took most of the family to Winter Quarters. Before dying there, he asked his family to go to Utah. Charles did, talked of lost or stampeding oxen, brick making the first year in the valley and the struggle for food.

Stark, Daniel, 1846 (age 25) - Ship "Brooklyn" Emigrant
Helped build a large home for Sam Brannan, dug gold for Captain Sutter, emigrated to San Bernardino and back.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Part II, Kearney to Fort Laramie
In the second leg of the first trek, some of the pioneers were asked leave to run errands while others joined the trek.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Part III, Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger
During the third leg of the trek, the pioneers met Jim Bridger and quizzed him about the valley of the Great Salt Lake.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Part IV, Fort Bridger to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake
During the final leg of the first trek, the pioneers broke into 3 groups.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Preparation
Pioneers prepared by gathering things needed to begin new colonies in the west, stocking their wagons carefully.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Staging Ground
The original trek started in small bunches with pioneers hurrying back and forth from their homes and families to the wagon train.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Trail/Divisions and Topography
The Mormon trail can be divided into 4 main sections.

The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Trek Begins
Monday, April 19, 1847 was the official beginning date of the original company.

Trek Commences - Difficulties - Skills Learned
Migrating an entire community took much careful planning, organization skills, and willing followers.

Western Maps Consulted by the Mormons Pioneers studied maps very carefully before deciding which route to use as the Mormon trail.

Western Travel Accounts Consulted by the Mormons
Mormon leaders did their homework before setting out for the west. The studied books written about the terrain and landmarks they would encounter along the way.

Western Travelers Consulted by the Mormons
Mormon trail leaders consulted with mountain men including Jim Bridger as they made their way along the trail.

Winter Quarters Abandoned
After the initial migration from Winter Quarters in 1847, the settlement was quickly abandoned.

Reading Level Key: -Easy  -Intermediate  -Advanced