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

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Winter Quarters Abandoned

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.

After the dreary winter of 1846-1847 passed, the Mormon Pioneer advance party readied to continue west during the spring of 1847. And after they successfully planted a colony in what is now Utah, Young and other leaders returned to Winter Quarters to lead a much bigger group west in 1848. Thereafter, Winter Quarters was quickly abandoned. The Mormons who did not go west at that time tended to congregate near what was to become Council Bluffs, Iowa, until such time as they could continue on west. Some Mormons remained in western Iowa until at least 1853. They founded a newspaper, the Frontier Guardian (1849-1852) and made money helping with church migration and, as previously noted, also catering to the needs of thousands of other Americans traveling to Oregon and California.

Source: Historic Resource Study - Mormon Pioneer National 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.)