A Young Folks' History of the Church
At a conference held in Salt Lake City, October 6, 1849, a number of elders were called
to new mission fields. John Taylor, Curtis E. Bolton, and John Pack were sent to France;
Erastus Snow and Peter O. Hansen to Denmark; John Forsgren to Sweden; Lorenzo Snow
and Joseph Toronto to Italy; Addison Pratt, James S. Brown, and Hiram H. Blackwell, to
the Society Islands. Brother Pratt had but recently returned from a five years mission to
these islands, where twelve hundred souls had been baptized into the Church.
At the April conference, 1851, Edward Hunter was chosen to succeed Newel K. Whitney
as bishop of the Church. There were at that time about thirty thousand people in Utah.
President Young and the Apostles traveled much throughout the Territory, locating
settlements, organizing wards and putting the Church in order. At the October
conference, 1853, some of the leading brethren were called to locate in different parts of
the Territory. Among them were Elders George A. Smith and Erastus Snow with fifty
families who were called to strengthen Iron county, and Elder Lorenzo Snow with fifty
families to go to Box Elder.
In the summer of 1854 the grasshoppers did much damage to the crops, and again in 1855
in many parts these insects took every green thing. This brought on another scarcity.
There was much suffering and again the people were compelled to live on roots. A
number of the brethren had stored up some grain which they now shared with those who
had none. In this way all fared very much alike and the hardships were shared by all.
In the winter of 1856 a very sad thing happened. That year some emigrants came to Utah
in handcart companies. Small, two wheeled carts were made at the place of starting in
Iowa. On these carts were loaded baggage and provisions, and the men and boys pulled
them across the plains. Sometimes the women and girls helped. A few ox teams usually
hauled the heaviest loads in wagons, and in this way the Saints walked and pulled their
carts over the thirteen hundred miles of their journey. This plan succeeded very well for
those who started early and reached the valley in good time, but a number of companies
started too late and were caught in fierce snow storms in the mountains. Many of these
poor travelers died from hunger and cold, and if it had not been for some of the brethren
who came out from Salt Lake to their help, no doubt most of them would have perished.
Topics.—1. Making settlements. 2. Trouble with the Indians. 3. Organizing Utah
Territory. 4. Famine of 1855-6. 5. The handcart companies.
Questions and Review.—1. Where was the second settlement in Utah made? 2. When
and by whom was Ogden settled? 3. Tell about the settlement of Provo. 4. What trouble
did the Provo settlers have? 5. What was President Young's Indian policy? 6. Who was
Chief Walker? 7. What was done March 4, 1849? 8. What did the people wish to name
the state? 9. When was Utah Territory organized? 10. Who was the first governor? 11.
Name the first missionaries to France; to Denmark; to Sweden; to Italy; to the Society
Islands. 12. Tell something about these missions. 13. Tell about the work of the Church
leaders in making settlements, etc. 14. What was the cause of the famine in 1855-6? 15.
What were the handcart companies?