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

Previous | Next

Pioneer Company, 1847, Establishing a Colony/Returning to Winter Quarters

Date: July 24, 1847

Place of revelation or not, the valley was the first site suitable for Kingdom building that the pioneer leaders had seen since Nauvoo. It was vast and isolated and they set about earnestly and immediately to tame it. As quickly as possible the pioneers laid out a city, planted crops, built homes, a fort, a bowery for worship services, and fences to prepare for the approaching winter; the people were organized into wards (congregations). Thirty-five days after he arrived, Young was ready to return to Winter Quarters. More than 150 pioneers, including all the women and children, remained in the valley when Young and 105 others started their eastward return on August 27th.

En route, the returning pioneers met 1,553 Saints of the Second Division from Winter Quarters heading for the valley. On the evening of October 31st Young and the pioneers with him were back in Winter Quarters, where they spent the winter preparing to move more than 2,400 emigrants west in 1848.

The exodus was successful. By 1860 there were about 30,000 people in Utah; by the coming of the railroad in 1869, there were more than 80,000 in more than 100 settlements. By the time Young died in 1877 he had established some 300 settlements in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, 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.)