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Mormon Trail (1847-1868). Highlights of the journey to Zion. Objective. Students will investigate aspects of the Mormon Trail. General Facts about the Mormon Trail. The Mormon Trail is its own trail only in Iowa and parts of Utah.

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Mormon trail 1847 1868

Mormon Trail (1847-1868)

Highlights of the journey to Zion


Students will investigate aspects of the Mormon Trail.

General facts about the mormon trail
General Facts about the Mormon Trail

The Mormon Trail is its own trail only in Iowa and parts of Utah.

Mostly it follows the Oregon Trail and California Trail routes.

The Mormon Trail extends 1,300 miles in Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah.

Congress designated it the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail in 1970s.

The Trail functioned from 1846-1868 — 23 years.

The Trail is not single file; its is a braided rope of trails.

Ave. covered wagon travel time to Utah from Missouri River was 10-12 weeks.

Wagons often traveled 2-4 abreast, not single file.

Most wagons were pulled by oxen, and averaged 12-14 miles per day.

Most Mormon Trail travelers walked rather than ride in the wagons.

Rough estimates are that some 6,000 Mormons died during migrations to Utah.

Where does the mormon trail begin
Where does the Mormon Trail Begin?

  • In the 19th century, most Mormon converts came from Great Britain (about 55,000) and Scandinavia (about 25,000). There were also many other converts who came from Europe.

  • For most thought the Mormon Trail began in Iowa.

  • The Trail went through 4 states: Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah.

Methods of travel
Methods of Travel

  • Covered wagons pulled by oxen.

    • The wagon would be loaded with everything they needed to make the journey and start their new life in the Great Basin.

    • Most walked alongside the wagon.

  • Ship- The Brooklyn was a ship that was chartered by Sam Brannan under the direction of LDS leadership. It was to sail around South America and land in San Francisco.

  • Handcarts- Used by poor Mormon immigrants.

Why use handcarts
Why use handcarts?

  • Severe economic conditions

    • Grasshopper investations and drought reduced payment to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund (PEF)

    • In 1855, large number of European immigrants depleted the PEF

    • Desire to bring more LDS immigrants to Zion

Letter from by to f d richards september 30 1855
Letter from BY to F. D. RichardsSeptember 30, 1855

  • “I have been thinking about how we should operate another year. We cannot afford to purchase wagons and teams as in times past, I am consequently thrown back upon my old plan – to make handcarts, and let the emigration foot it . . . They can come just as quick, if not quicker and cheaper.”

Facts about handcarts
Facts about Handcarts

  • Used from 1856-1860

  • Only a total of ten handcart companies

  • There were about 3,000 of the 70,000 LDS immigrants who crossed the Plains (1847-1868) by handcart, or 4.3%.

  • Normally five people or a family were assigned a handcart and each individual was limited to seventeen pounds of luggage

  • Replaced by Church trains in 1861

General facts about the mormon trail1
General Facts about the Mormon Trail

  • For vast majority, the trek was hard and taxing but not tragic or awful.

  • An average of 14 LDS companies crossed the trail each year.

  • An est. 10,000 LDS wagons crossed the Mormon Trail to Utah.

  • An estimated 70,000 Mormons traveled the Mormon Trail to Utah.

  • By comparison, 300,000 emigrants went to California and Oregon.

  • Ten handcart companies brought some 2,700 Mormons to Utah.

  • Voyages Liverpool to New Orleans averaged 54 days, to NYC 38 days

  • Voyages Liverpool to NYC by steamer averaged 11 days.

  • A church sponsored Perpetual Emigrating Fund provided loans and credits that assisted thousands to afford the sea and land journey to Utah.

Some uncommon aspects of the mormon trail by dr t edgar lyon
Some Uncommon Aspects of the Mormon Trail by Dr. T. Edgar Lyon

  • A religiously motivated migration

  • Economic status of the participants

  • Mormons did not employ professional guides

  • Non-Frontiersmen were quickly transformed into pioneers

  • A migration of families

  • The Mormon trail was a two-way road

  • The magnanimous aspect of the Mormon migration

  • The organization of the Mormon wagon trains

  • Respect for life and death

  • The Mormon migration was the movement of a community

Mormon trail quiz
Mormon Trail Quiz Lyon

About how many hundred miles long was the Mormon Trail?

How many (within 10,000) Saints came to Utah on the Mormon Trail by 1869?

By Comparison, how many people went to Oregon and California on the overland trails?

About how many Mormons died during their journeys to Zion?

How many pioneers came to Utah using handcarts? How many companies?

How many died in the Martin and Willie handcart companies?

How long was the ocean voyage by sail from Liverpool to New Orleans?

How long was the ocean voyage by sail from Liverpool to New York?

How long did the ocean voyage take from Liverpool to NY by steamer?

Why was New Orleans dropped as the arrival point for LDS charter ships from Liverpool after 1854?

Once immigrants reached outfitting points, how did they obtain wagons and teams?

About how many weeks was the typical Mormon Trail wagon trip?

In thousands, about how many Mormon wagon companies used the Mormon Trail (1847-1869)?