A Young Folks' History of the Church
In the spring of 1834 Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight were sent as messengers from the
Saints in Clay county to Kirtland to tell the Prophet what had happened and to ask for
further advice. Joseph, you may be sure, was very grieved to hear about the sufferings of
the Saints, and he enquired of the Lord what should be done. In answer, a revelation was
given instructing Joseph to gather the young and middle aged men of the Church and
organize them into a company which was to march to Missouri to bring aid to the Saints
and to assist them to again get possession of their homes. Five hundred men were to be
obtained, but one hundred would do if no more could be raised.
Accordingly, Joseph and seven other brethren went two and two through the various
branches in the east asking for means and volunteers for this mission.
New Portage, a village about sixty miles south-west from Kirtland was selected as a
gathering place, and from this point on the 8th of May, 1834, one hundred and fifty men
started for Missouri. They were organized in regular army order, having officers to see
that everything on the march was done properly. Joseph was the leader.
The distance from Kirtland to Missouri is one thousand miles. That long journey was not
an easy one. The wagons were heavily loaded, and as the roads were poor there was very
little riding. Often the men would have to help drag the loads over the bad places. Every
Sunday the camp rested and held meetings. Sometimes the people, suspecting they were
"Mormons" would annoy them, so that guards had to be placed around the camp. People
were also curious to know what this strange company of men was and where it was
going. Spies followed the company for many miles. There were some boys in camp, and
the inquisitive people thought it an easy matter to find out everything from the boys.
"My boy, where are you from?" they would ask.
"From the east," was the answer.
"Where are you going?"
"To the west."
"To see where we can get land cheapest and best."
"Who leads the camp?"
"Sometimes one, sometimes another."
"Captain Wallace, Major Bruce," etc.