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 1848-1868 Companies

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1863: Emigration and other Events

Emigration and Settlement
The Deseret News of May 18, 1863, noted that 384 wagons, 488 teamsters, 3,604 oxen carrying 225,969 pounds of flour, started east to assist in the immigration of the Saints into Utah; 4,300 pounds of cotton were also sent at this time to be sold. During the first part of the year six chartered ships, bringing 3,646 Latter-day Saint converts from the Old World, landed in the harbor of New York City. Soon the immigrants made their way to Wyoming, Nebraska, where 12 organized companies brought 3,625 across the plains. Each immigration led to the colonization of new settlements, hence, in 1863, President Young called Apostle Charles C. Rich, and others, to found a settlement in Bear Lake County, Idaho. Explorers were sent into Sevier Valley and the towns of Richfield and Salina were located.

Drought/New Governor/Bear River Massacre
A challenging year in Utah's history was 1863. The leaders of the people, both civic and religious, were faced with many serious problems. Because of severe drouth, the greatest they had known since entering the valley, the citizens were called upon to develop ways and means whereby they would have an additional water supply for irrigation. Differences between the citizens of the territory and the territorial governor caused a petition to be drawn up and forwarded to President Lincoln, who replaced Governor Stephen S. Harding, and named James D. Doty as his successor. In January a battle took place in the locality of Cache Valley between Col. Patrick E. Connor, his soldiers and the Indians of the area. Over 300 Indians were killed, including a number of squaws who fought side by side with the braves. Fourteen soldiers lost their lives, four officers and forty-nine men were wounded, of whom one officer and seven men later died.

Make Own Clothing
President Young, who saw the need for improving home manufacture, requested the people to make their own clothing, hats, caps, shoes, etc., thereby helping to build Zion. On September 9, 1863, the Deseret News announced that "The new woolen factory of President B. Young, on Kanyon Creek [Parley's Creek, 20th East and I-80], was put in motion on Monday the 7th. Two hundred and forty spindles were sent humming their cheery music - all managed by a single tender ... We congratulate ourselves on the prospective dawn of a new era in the manufacturing interests of Utah."

President Heber C. Kimball imparted this data to his sons November 10, 1863: "We are making a great deal of home-made cloth this season. I do not know of one of the family, or a man who is laboring for me, but who is clothed, or will be clothed, with a full suit, and some with two, of home-made flannel, and this for 100 persons. We design, also, to make about twenty or thirty pairs of thick jersey blankets, and also flannel for inside wear."

Freighting to Montana
Utah was becoming a trading center. Neff's History has this to say: "Outstanding among middlemen who bought in Utah and sold in Montana was Alexander Toponce, the sagacious trader who descended from Virginia City, Montana, to the City of the Saints in October of 1863. Immediately this enterprising character grasped the financial possibilities in freighting foodstuffs from agricultural Utah to mining Montana. Eight wagons were purchased, each drawn by four yoke of oxen. The train was loaded with flour, tea, butter, picks and shovels. At Brigham City a six hundred pound hog was purchased at six cents the pound, aggregating $36.00 in greenbacks. This pig was disposed of to a Virginia butcher the day before Christmas at a dollar the pound, or $600.00 in gold dust. Toponce returned to Utah in January of 1864 with $20,000 in yellow metal, which metal, he tells us, comprised only a portion of the $125,000 aggregate realized by the several outfits engaged in the similar enterprises."

Uniform Postage Act
On March 3, 1863, a uniform postage act was passed by the Congress of the United States. Heretofore a discriminatory charge had been made on letters going to the Pacific coast, but now, for the first time, the Saints could receive and send a letter for 3 cents.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.