Vanguards of the Frontier: A Social History of the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountains from the Earliest White Contacts to the Coming of the Homemaker

By Everett Dick | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
MARCHING TO ZION

THE ANTAGONISM of the frontier toward the Mormons, which manifested itself in outbreaks of mob violence from time to time, led to the determination of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to move beyond the borders of civilization to a new Zion. These outbreaks at Nauvoo, Illinois, became so serious and bitter that in the dead of winter, on February 6, 1846, the first company of exiles crossed the Mississippi on the ice, not knowing where they were going. That night they camped in the snow, sleeping in their wagons, and in the morning there were nine new babies in camp. It was intended that each family of five persons should have one good wagon, three yoke of cattle, two cows, three sheep, one thousand pounds of flour, twenty pounds of sugar, one rifle and ammunition, a tent and poles, from ten to twenty pounds of seeds, twenty-five to one hundred pounds of farming tools, cooking utensils, and bedding. Many families were driven out, however, with almost nothing.1

The Saints camped at Sugar Creek, about nine miles from Nauvoo, for the remainder of the month of February. During this period there was much travel back and forth between the camp and the town, for the purpose of disposing of property and purchasing equipment for the journey. Gradually others joined the camp. Great sacrifices of property were made. Orson Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles, owned a dwelling and two lots adjoining the Temple Square in the business section of Nauvoo which he says was considered worth $2,000 before the exodus. He had to accept for this real estate the small sum of $300 in

____________________
1
Christopher Layton, Autobiography ( Salt Lake City, 1911), pp. 26-27.

-205-

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