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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Organization Improved

As the camp moved west some changes and improvements in organization became necessary. Only the fundamental arrangement of the trek had been effected at Nauvoo and Sugar Creek. For various reasons, many of the original families had returned to Nauvoo, and bad roads and weather had scattered others.

On March 7th the camp reached a place they called Richardson's Point, which became the second rest stop in Iowa. The pioneers stayed here until March 18th. At Richardson's Point they lightened the loads of some of the wagons by burying some cannon balls and shot in the ground, intending to get them at some other time.

On March 22nd on the Chariton River, near present-day Sedan, Appanoose County, the remaining emigrants were called together and urged to maintain better order. To this end they regrouped into three companies, each consisting of one hundred families. All three companies were then subdivided into fifties and then tens, each unit led by a captain, the most important leaders of which were those of the six groups of fifty--Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Haws, John Taylor, and George Miller. This Chariton camp became the third temporary camping place in Iowa. The pioneers remained there from March 22nd through March 31st.

Thereafter, the line of march continued somewhat to the southwest until the companies found themselves on Locust Creek, either close to or in Missouri, where they made a fourth temporary camp. At that time, since the Missouri boundary was about 10 miles north of where it is today, some of them actually dipped into what was then Putnam County, Missouri.

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.)