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

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Suggestions for Further Research on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Readers of the work [HISTORIC RESOURCE STUDY - Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail - Stanley B. Kimball, Ph.D., May 1991- (US Dept. of Interior/National Park Service)] are referred to the bibliography in this study [the actual book by the National Park Service] for a guide to further research.

Despite the extensive literature on the Mormon Trail, much research needs to be done. Generally speaking, we need to know more about every aspect of the Mormon immigration that is treated in this study.

To begin with, there are hundreds of existing trail accounts that need further analysis, and new ones are found frequently. For more than twenty-five years, this author has studied trails used by the Mormons and yet, there is much to be done, especially regarding trail variants and feeder trails. We know little of the Mormon use of some Oregon Trail variants from Independence, Westport, Weston, St. Joseph, Fort Leavenworth, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Bellevue, or a variant north of the Platte River at Fort Laramie, or the Seminoe and Blacks Fork cutoffs.

We know little of the Mormon use of feeder trails like the Santa Fe, Trappers' and Cherokee. We need to know much more about Mormon sea voyages, and their use of canals, lakes, and rivers. We have just touched the surface of their westering by rail experiences, and we need to know much more of their use of various stage routes and federal wagon roads.

Much is waiting to be done regarding the Mormons and the military, the telegraph, the eastbound use of the trail, and "go backs," or disgruntled Mormons who left Utah and returned east. We have only begun to study such social questions of trail values, norms, sanctions, courts, entertainment, single emigrants, the questions of privacy, sanitation, and intimate relations, exceptional behavior, crisis events, Blacks and other minorities, children, sex roles, and the division of labor.

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.)