The Mormon Migration

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Between 1847 and 1868, Mormon emigrants traveling in more than 300 companies departed from various places and headed for the Salt Lake Valley. More than 60,000 LDS Church members travelled in these companies -- some traveling by foot, some in wagons, and some pulling handcarts.

During the 19th century, over 94,000 converts of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church crossed the oceans to gather to Zion(1). In 1840, the first company of immigrant Saints began their journey to Zion. They were followed by a continual flow of immigration for the next 50 years.

The destination of most members who immigrated from 1840 to 1846 was Nauvoo, Illinois. After the Saints were driven west in 1847, the gathering place became the Salt Lake Valley and numerous communities in the Great Basin of the west. Immigrant Accounts of those who travelled not only described their experiences crossing the oceans, but also documents their travels to frontier outfitting posts and their arrival into the Salt Lake Valley. The portion dealing with the Saints crossing the plains (1847–1868) has generally been omitted due to the vast amount of bibliographic material.

With the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, most of the immigrants between 1869 and 1890 went by rail rather than by wagon or handcart. Consequently, the immigration story of many Saints from international ports of departure to entry by train into the Salt Lake Valley during this time has been captured in vivid detail through their journals and biographical accounts.

Not all people who took part in these voyages were members of the LDS church. Some non-members accompanied the Saints for a variety of reasons

Notes by Richard Douglas, 1909-1910.

Article No. 1.... He assisted in ferrying the saints across the river at the time of the expulsion from Nauvoo. Father [Richard Douglas] was in Sugar Creek during the time the church was gathering for the trip to the west. There was a company there called the pioneers, who labored under the direction of Apostle Cha[rle]s C. Rich. They were called the Pioneer Company. There were about twenty seven persons in the company. This company were the men, that built the bridges and very materially assisted the saints after they started west. Father remained in this country about three months and helped make the roads, build the bridges and also to erect the first house that was built at Garden Grove after the Saints left Nauvoo. He assisted also in fencing and planting grain for those that followed of the saints. After laboring for three months with the Pioneer Co. Father received an honorable discharge from Apostle C. C. Rich and returned to Nauvoo.

. . . During the time that his parents were in St. Louis, they accumulated sufficient means to emigrate to Utah and finally started to Utah in connection with his mother, his mother's husband, John Parker and their family, John Pincock and his family and Edmund Robins and his family. There were eleven wagons in all. Their company left St. Louis in the Spring of 1852 and drove overland to Salt Lake valley with ox teams. They landed in Salt Lake valley on the 28th of August, 1852. There were no accidents on the way.

Article No. 3. The following is a brief history of my father's family coming to Utah as given to me by my father himself.

--We left St. Louis for Utah April 14th, 1852. The company consisted principally of our own family. My step-father John Parker was the captain of the company, which consisted of eleven ox teams and wagons all belonging to the family excepting one. Father Parker had two brothers-in-law named Edward and William Carbridge [Corbridge]. Father Parker emigrated [with] William Carbridge from England to Utah.

We travelled all the way with ox teams from St. Louis to Salt Lake City. In the early portion of our trip, we passed through Jackson Co., Mo. from where the Saints had been driven some years before. We crossed the caw river near where Kansas City now stands on a Ferry boat. From there we made our way to Fort Leavenworth where we received our goods, furniture etc. which had been shipped from St. Louis to Fort Leavenworth on steam-boat. We loaded up and started for Salt Lake on the south side of the Platt[e] River arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, August 28, 1852. . . .

The entire company who started from St. Loious [Louis] consisted of John Parker, Edward Carbridge, William Carbridge, Richard Douglas, Edmund Robins, John Pincock, George Douglas, William Parker, Isabel Douglas Pincock, Ann Douglas Robins, Mary Douglas, Vilate Douglas, Elizabeth Parker, Ann Parker, William Parker and Elizabeth Douglas, my wife. Also our two children Ellen and Elizabeth, the children having been born in St. Louis before we started to emigrate.

Ralph Douglas, my older brother was called as one of the Mormon Battalion and made the trip through old Mexico going around through lower California and returned to Salt Lake, then continued his journey on east and brought his family back to Utah landing in Utah in 1850 as Captain of the company. James Douglas, my father's brother was also one of the Mormon Battalion making the same journey that my brother Ralph Douglas made except that he came to Utah the second time and then went west and died in California.

1.  Zion is the central physical location to which Latter Day Saints have gathered; the term has been applied to Kirtland, Ohio; Jackson County, Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; and the Salt Lake Valley;
Zion is a metaphor for a unified society of Latter Day Saints, metaphorically gathered as members of the Church of Christ; in this sense any Stake of the church may be referred to as a "stake of Zion."

See also:
  • List of migrants
  • Richard Douglass

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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024