Pioneer 1847 Companies
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The Pioneer Trek of 1847 - Preparation
Line drawing by Melinda, a ninth grader from Central Davis Junior
Image courtesy of:
Heritage Gateway Project Images,
These images have been gathered to support the Sesquicentennial
celebration of the immigration to Utah.
Location: Winter Quarters - 1014 miles
left, Nebraska - Location: 41:21:41N 95:56:45W Currently the site
of Florence, Nebraska, Winter Quarters was settled in September,
1846 as a temporary resting place for the pioneers. It is located
just west of the Missouri river in Nebraska.
In early January 1847, the pioneer company began in earnest to
prepare to leave for the Rocky Mountains that spring. The traditional
time, the "window," to head west from the Missouri River was sometime
between April 15th and May 30th. This vanguard differed from other
westering Americans in that they were not interested in just getting
themselves west, but in improving the trail for the benefit of the
many thousands of their co-religionists, who would soon be following
them to their new Zion. Among the improvements the pioneers made
were cutting down the banks of deep stream beds so that wagons could
cross them easier, bridging small creeks, marking the trail with
signs, locating good fords, and establishing ferries.
Some idea of the staggering logistics of preparation for such a
venture can be gained from the following inventory, detailed to
the last half-cent, of what Heber C. Kimball assembled and transported
in his six wagons:
Teams belonging to H.C. Kimball: Horses 5, mules 7, oxen 6, cows
2, dogs 2, wagons 6.
List of provisions:
Resource Study - Mormon Pioneer National
- flour 1,228 lbs.
- sea biscuits 125 lbs.
- beans 296 lbs.
- bacon 241 lbs.
- corn for teams 2,869 lbs.
- buckwheat 300 lbs.
- dried beef 25 lbs.
- groceries 2903/4 lbs.
- sole leather 15 lbs.
- oats 10 bus.
- rap 40
- seeds 71 lbs.
- cross-cut saw 1
- axes 6
- scythe 1
- hoes 3
- log chains 5
- spade 1
- crowbar 1
- tent 1
- keg of powder 25 lbs.
- lead 20 lbs.
- codfish 40 lbs.
- garden seeds 50 lbs.
- plows 2
- 1 side of harness leather
- whip saw 1
- iron 16 lbs.
- nails 16 lbs.
- 1 sack of salt 200 lbs.
- saddles 2
- 1 tool chest
- 6 pairs of double harness.
- Total $1,592.87 1/2.
By Stanley B. Kimball, Ph.D., May 1991. (The study focuses
on the history of the trail from its official beginning in Nauvoo,
Illinois, to its terminus in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the
period 1846-1869. During that time, thousands of Mormon emigrants
used many trails and trail variants to reach Utah. This study
emphasizes the "Pioneer Route" or "Brigham Young Route" of 1846-1847.
The sections on Mormon beliefs and motivations for going west
have been omitted. Interested persons can find ample sources for
that information. The footnotes, bibliography, maps, pictures,
pioneer companies by name and dates for the 22-year period, and
historic sites - about 2/3 of the book - have also been left out
for space considerations. Thanks to Dr. Kimball and the National
Park Service for the availability of this information.)