A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
settlement was called Garden Grove. Soon it was as lively as a hive of bees. Hundreds of
men were busy making fence rails and fences, building houses, digging wells, clearing
land, and plowing. Meetings were held often and the people were instructed and
encouraged. Parley P. Pratt and a small company were sent ahead to find another location
for a settlement. They found a beautiful place about thirty miles from Garden Grove,
which they called Mount Pisgah. Here houses were also built, and farms and gardens
planted. As many of the Saints were poor and sick they rested at these two settlements
while the main body went on.
From Mount Pisgah the country was wild Indian lands, there being no white settlements
or roads. The spring rains had now moderated so that the roads were better. On June 14th
President Young and the leading companies arrived at the Missouri river, where a stop
was made. Most of the companies came up in July. A camp was made on the east side of
the river on some high land called Council Bluffs.
This was on Indian land, but the travelers were received kindly and given permission to
President Young intended to send a body of picked men into the Rocky Mountains as
soon as possible to locate a gathering place. They were to push on ahead that summer and
put in crops. Arrangements were being made to this end, when something happened that
put a stop to the plan. This was the call for the Mormon Battalion, about which I will tell
you in the next chapter.
After five hundred of their best men had marched away to fight the battles of their
country, it was impossible for the Saints to get to the mountains that year. So it was
decided to make a third stopping place and remain there during the winter.
There being a good location for a town on the west bank of the Missouri river, that place
was selected and named Winter Quarters. The town was laid out regularly into streets,
and log houses were built. Some made dugouts in the sides of the hill, which were quite
comfortable during the cold winter. As the Indians were troublesome on that side of the
river a stockade was built around the town. By December, 1846, five hundred and thirty-
eight log houses and eighty-three sod houses were built, inhabited by three thousand four
hundred and eighty-three people. The town was divided into twenty-two wards, each
presided over by a bishop. A large log house was built in which meetings and parties
The food of the people that winter consisted largely of corn-bread and pork. President
Young had a grist mill built, but before that time many ate boiled wheat, and ground their
corn in coffee mills.
Because of hardships and poor food there was much sickness at all the settlements.
Graves marked the prairie for hundreds of miles. At Winter Quarters alone over six
hundred were buried.
The poor Saints who were left at Nauvoo were not forgotten. After they had been driven
from Nauvoo, they were met by teams from Winter Quarters, and all who wished to go
were taken to the camps of the Saints.