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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1864: Emigration and other Events

In the year of 1864 nearly three thousand converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sailed from Europe to America under the direction of missionaries who were returning to their homeland. The outfitting station located at Wyoming, Nebraska, was the point from which they departed for the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, in nine organized and several independent companies. In comparing the number of 1864 immigrants with those who came the year before, a decrease of approximately 1,000 Saints could be noted, but it must be remembered that the Great Civil War was raging in the east, and the devastation was so great that many were reluctant to sail to the shores of the country that was "tearing itself apart." Belligerent conditions existed in many other parts of the world as well. Such countries as Poland, Algeria, Tunis, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, China, Japan, Afghanistan, and 20 countries in Africa, were living in a "barbarous state of war." Such conditions discouraged many from leaving the comparative safety of their homeland, regardless of their strong desire to join "the gathering." Nevertheless, in keeping with President Young's oft-quoted desire that the in-coming Saints be given every assistance in their journey over the Plains, the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company sent 170 wagons, 1,717 oxen and 277 men to the Missouri River to aid those who had come in spite of the depressing world situation.

By 1864 the expansion of Zion was taking place with considerable rapidity. Hundreds were heeding the words of the missionaries abroad and were leaving their native soil to seek a new life in the valleys of the mountains. To provide for these incoming Saints, scouts were continually being sent out to locate good water sources and land upon which the newcomers could settle and build homes.

Conditions in Zion were excellent. The winter had been long and cold, but the mountains were filled with snow and the Saints looked forward to a bounteous harvest. News from the different settlements indicated that the same happy situation existed throughout the territory. From Washington County in the far south came word that the fruit trees were "already groaning beneath their burdens of fruit." And in the extreme north, Rich County reported that "everything is growing fast and we are pleased to report that the wheat crop in most of the settlements is good. The potato crop is said to look exceedingly well." President Charles C. Rich brought to President Brigham Young specimens of turnips, beets, carrots, onions, wheat, corn, and meshanic potatoes that had been grown in Rich County. They were well grown, mature and, according to the report, "very good".

The Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society (started State Fairs) Organized
The Deseret News of April 20th noted that there were two societies organized in the city known as the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society and the Gardeners" Club, for the good of the entire people. On August 31st a letter from Spanish Fork to The Deseret News indicated that "The Gardeners" Club at this place is in a prosperous condition. Members are active and striving to compete with each other in specimens and soon we shall be able to come up with similar clubs in our sister cities. Our crops are good, owing to an abundance of water that we are blessed with. Our small grain is pretty much secured and everything is moving on finely."

The year of 1864 showed a decided growth in home industry.

Mining and Smelting Start
In the summer of 1864 the Jordan Mining Company was incorporated by General Connor under the laws of California and work by means of a tunnel was commenced on the mine at a cost of $60 per foot. The first smelter furnace in the territory was erected at Stockton by Gen. Connor and the Rush Valley Smelting Company was organized at the same time by the military officers at Camp Douglas. During the summer and fall of 1864 numerous mining claims were located.

But the Saints, fearing that the discovery of mineral treasures would result in an influx of people not sympathetic to the Mormon cause, refused to admit that any great treasure existed. Quoting George A. Smith, from a letter of January 29, 1864: "The humbug in relation to mines continues, and no gold turns up that any of us have been able to see as yet; and we exercise what faith we can that the Lord will continue to hide the treasures in the earth. At the present time it is the great and grand hope of our enemies, both in and outside of the Territory, that the discovery of gold will so flood this country with desperadoes, as to annihilate the Saints, without expense to the national treasury...."

Early in January the Union Vedette, which was published at Camp Douglas, was succeeded by the Daily Vedette. Utah Settlements of 1864

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.