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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1861: Emigration Summary

On October 6, 1860, Brigham Young addressed the Saints in the Tabernacle: "The handcart system has been pretty well tried; and if the handcart companies start in proper season and manage properly, I will venture to say that most of them can come in that way more pleasantly than they generally come with wagons. But drawing their provisions, etc., is a hard task, and it would be more satisfactory if we could manage it, to bring in wagons the freight and those who are unable to walk. We now contemplate trying another plan. If we can go with our teams to the Missouri River and back in one season, and bring the poor, their provisions, etc., it will save about half the cash we now expend bringing the Saints to this point from Europe. It now costs, in cash, nearly as much as their teams, wagons, handcarts, cooking utensils, provisions, etc., for their journey across the plains as it does to transport them to the frontiers. We can raise cattle without an outlay of money and use them in transporting the Saints from the frontiers and such freight as we may require. Brethren and sisters, save your fives, tens, fifties, a hundred dollars, or as much as you can until next spring-and send your money, your cattle and wagons to the states, and buy your goods and freight with them. Twenty dollars expended in this way will do as much good as several times that amount paid to the stores here..." In 1860 the handcart period in Utah's history was brought to a close. There were now nearly sixty thousand Saints in the valley and nearly every one had acquired a home, land, livestock and poultry.

Several independent companies came this year.

With the realization of an imminent conflict between the North and the South, President Brigham Young immediately made plans for bringing to Utah the many Saints who had crossed the ocean in 1861, and those who through lack of funds, were waiting in the East. The preceding spring Joseph W. Young had been sent to the Missouri River for the purpose of bringing both converts and needed supplies to the valley in the same season. The success of the Church train experiment of the previous year was pointed to as justifying the expectation that such a plan was practicable. In addition to the four yoke of cattle to the wagon, the plan also included the sending of as many loose oxen to Florence as the year's immigration that came independent of Church aid might want to purchase for their outfit; thus supplying for the people of Utah a market for their surplus cattle and a saving for the Church members from ten to thirty thousand dollars, which had hitherto been paid out yearly in cash for cattle and wagons. Moreover, the arrangement afforded the opportunity of shipping eastward such products as the community had to dispose of, mostly surplus cattle that could be driven down loose with the ox trains, and the provisions of flour and meat that could be sent for the use of the immigrants, and deposited along the line of travel, to be picked up en route when returning. Full instructions were given in the circular sent out by the presidency and nothing essential to the security and efficiency of the trains was overlooked.

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.