Settlements Outside of Map Area
Genoa (Beaver Creek), Nebraska, was founded by Mormons as a stop on The Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company (Y X) in 1857. It was abandoned in 1859 when the town Genoa was given to the Pawnee for their reservation headquarters and the Mormons were forced to leave. This list of those who signed a petition and came from Jessica Lawson in Genoa, Nebraska. The Genoa Museum also has the original of Henry Hudson 's diary on display. (1)
Location of Genoa, Nebraska, map courtesy wikipedia.org
"The valiant group [of Mormons traveling to the Salt Lake Valley] made their way to the bank of the Platte River which would be their guide for the next 600 miles. The trail wasn't a narrow pathway in the same sense as a road. It was a corridor which might be a few dozen yards wide to several miles in width depending on the terrain. The oxen dictated the traveling speed and could only make about two miles an hour; slower than a man could walk. The Mormons eventually arrived at Beaver Creek south of Genoa. The stream was 20 feet wide and two feet deep. However, the west bank was very deep. A rope was hooked to the tongue of each wagon and 12 men hauled the wagons across one at a time. The Loup River posed another obstacle. The crossing site had sandbars, quicksand and a rapid current that reached waist-high in places. The river was 400 yards wide and split into two streams by a large sandbar in the middle. They had to unload the wagons and carry their goods across. The empty wagons were then pulled over by a rope. Once everything was loaded back in the wagons the company traveled south where they spent the weekend. This was the period that the Mormons passed the present site of Genoa.
"It was decided by some to locate in this area. Under the leadership of Henry and Sarah Hudson, founders of Genoa, a colony was set. The following is a description of Genoa from Henry Hudson's diary:
'The city of Genoa is about 102 miles from Florence (Omaha), contains about 400 acres, 10 acres to a block, 8 lots in a block, 18 rods long, 9 rods wide; the streets cross at right angles 4 rods wide. It has bluffs to the north gradually descending to the east, south and west. The ground is higher in the center of the public square and you have a view of the east some 20 miles. To the south the Loup fork can be seen with ever shifting sandbars, spotted with islands of cottonwoods, box elder, willow and some cedar; farther in the distance are the bluffs dividing the Loup and Platte Rivers.'
"Great haste was made to plow, plant, and fence their fields. More than 2000 acres were enclosed with ditches and a sod fence. The city of Genoa was settled by the Mormons in 1857 and was incorporated in 1884. Wagon ruts can still be seen carved into the prairie by the wheels of the travelers' caravan." (2)
- "Genoa, 1857-1859," Winter Quarters Project Archive, Brigham Young University.
- Genoa, Nebraska Historical Facts, "The Mormons," http://www.ci.genoa.ne.us/Hist.htm.
"Lamoni, 113 m. (1,126 alt., 1,739 pop.), was platted in 1879 as a colony for members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [not to be confused with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], who had come to Iowa from Missouri and Nauvoo, Ill. The founding was accomplished by the Order of Enoch, a corporation formed for the purpose of purchasing and developing lands for church settlements. The place was named for a 'righteous kin' recorded in the Book of Mormon.
"In 1881, the Herald, official church publication, was moved here from Plano, Ill.
Graceland College Image Source: http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ia/ppcs-ia.html
"Graceland College (1895) makes Lamoni an educational center for the denomination, but the church offices have been removed to Independence, Mo. Fourteen college buildings, including several cottages, have been erected around the highest point of a 70-acre campus. A 300-acre tract of farm land, adjacent to the campus, provides employment for students, and supplies the kitchen with poultry and fresh dairy, garden, and orchard products. The institution . . . became a junior college in 1915; in 1923-24 the third year of instruction was added. Annual events include the presentation of some oratoria by the Graceland Oratorio Society.
"At 117 m. US 69 crosses the Missouri Line, 124 miles N. of Kansas City, Mo." (1)
Location of Lamoni, Iowa, map courtesy of wikipedia.org.
- The State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State, Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Iowa American Guide Series, Illustrated (New York: Viking Press, 1941), 393.
Lost Camp is located “…exactly five miles south of Highway 34 at Osceola on Highway 69…about thirty miles east of Mt. Pisgah” (1).
“Lost Camp was located northwest of Garden Grove, six miles south of present‑day Osceola” (2).
“It was a branch of the church during 1846-1847”(3).
The inscription on the Mormon Trail Marker near Osceola, Iowa says, “In 1846, seven Mormon families became separated from the larger body of migrants. They stopped for the winter in present-day Green Bay Township, Clarke County, and established what was known as ‘Lost Camp’. These families remained in the area until 1854 when they resumed to the trek to Utah” (4).
“Six or seven comprising those of two Langwells and two Conyers and two or three others had stopped in the middle of Green Bay Township and settled down under the slope of a hill as if to avoid detection. A large body of Mormons had stopped at Garden Grove for the winter, but these few families had lost their way and settled at this location, which they appropriately named Lost Camp” (5).
Jonathan C. Wright left Kanesville in January or February of 1848 for a mission to the east. He went to Mt. Pisgah, Lost Camp, Chariton Point, Lone House, Soap Creek, and Iowaville (6).
Margaret Merrill gave birth to a son in the back of her family’s wagon. Albert, her husband, tried to keep up with the company, but after four miles, it became clear that his wife could not handle the jolts coming from the wagons. The company pressed on ahead and the Merrill family camped on the prairie. To complicate matters even more, Albert Merrill caught a fever and could do nothing to help himself or his family. When she tried to take care of her husband, Margaret came down with a cold and was no longer able to take care of her baby. This was the state Parley P. Pratt, who was on his way to Europe to serve a mission, found the Merrill family. He sent some men to drive their team to Garden, but instead the men took the Merrill family to a place called Lost Camp (7).
Albert Merrill, 7/17/1816; Margaret Ann Richison Merrill, 11/15/1816; Clarence Merrill, 5/18/1843; Franklin Merrill, 3/17/1843; Albert Merrill Jr., 10/10/1848; Margaret Merrill, 12/19/1850. It would appear that the Merrill family lived in Lost Camp until they continued their journey to the Salt Lake Valley. On June 7, 1852, the Merrill family, as members of the Thomas C.D. Howell Company departed for Utah. They arrived on September 2, 11-12, 27, 1852 (8).
John Longley (9)
Samuel Kendall Gifford (10)
- Kimball, Stanley B. The Mormon Trail Network in Iowa 1838-1863: A New Look. 422. Web. https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/5232/4882
- Kimball, 422.
- Hartley, William G. Latter-day Saints at Iowaville, Iowa: 1846-1851. 41. Web. http://files.lib.byu.edu/mormonmigration/articles/latterdaysaintsatiowavilleHartley.pdf
- http://books.google.com/books?id=H4YUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA459&lpg=PA459 &dq=%22lost+camp%22+iowa&source=bl&ots=GyKXdtn4On&sig=U5ufjCqG3 _moQ3eyoHtCPd8I5W4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xbp6Uq3zN8GLjALn6oDICQ&ved =0CEkQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22lost%20camp%22&f=false
Location of Genoa, Nebraska, map coutesy wikipedia.org
In 1844 James Emmett led a group West. He told the group he had been instructed by Joseph Smith, before the Prophet's death, to lead an advance party out of Nauvoo. The group dwindled in numbers because of various problems (see William Hartley's My Best for the Kingdom: History and Autobiography of John Lowe Butler for details ). Eventually a much smaller group wintered in 1845-46 at Ft. Vermillion in South Dakota. In the summer of 1846 the James Emmett Company was merged into George Miller 's Company. Most of the Emmett Company remained with Miller and went to Ponca. Lyman Hinman and Gardner Potter went with Jacob Gates to Pawnee Camp.
A few members of the Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George Miller/James Emmett companies stayed at the Pawnee Station which is a few miles west of current day Genoa, Nebraska, instead of going to the Ponca Camp in current day Niobrara, Nebraska. They arrived in August of 1846 and were recalled to Winter Quarters, arriving there in October, 1846. This list came from the life of Fielding Garr (Fielding Garr, 1794-1855 and His Family: Early Pioneers on Antelope Island by A. M. Cutler.)
Badger, Rodney (Young)
Garr, Fielding (Young)
Gates, Jacob (Young)
(Emmett) Mitchell, William
Potter, Gardner (Emmett)
Shepherd, Ransom (Young)
LocationCompanies organized by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball at the Cold Springs Camp combined with George Miller 's Company and became the advance parties for the Church. They made their start from Kanesville, Iowa, in July 1846, and they made the first wagon wheel marks up the Platte Valley. In early August, they had halted near a Pawnee Village, with its extensive corn fields stretching for miles around it. While in camp at Pawnee Station, presumably near Columbus or Genoa, where soldiers were stationed, they contracted with the government to harvest a crop of small grain and corn which had been put in by laborers, but who, becoming frightened by the Pawnees, had fled. While thus engaged in the close of the harvest, a courier from Kanesville arrived with orders not to proceed farther, as it was feared they could not reach their destination before winter set in, and they should seek winter quarters.
After considering their options, a High Council headed by George Miller voted to go north to winter with the Ponca or Punca Indian Tribe on the Niobrara (Running Water, Swift Water) River. Ponca Indians, visiting the Pawnee Village, told President Miller their own camp, 150 miles north, was a good wintering place because of great quantities of rushes on which cattle could feed. Miller accepted the offer and on August 13, 1846, ordered the Knight‑Miller wagon train to start its eleven‑day trek northward, guided by Poncas.
On the 19th, the train crossed the Elkhorn into buffalo country, and the next day Brother Emmet killed two buffalo. On the 22nd, they camped on a "rich, green pasture" by a stream where "our women made ready a dish of buffalo meat of which we partook, a rich repast quite new to most of us. It tasted very good (1)."
They "saw numerous herds of buffalo passing to and fro about us in plain view." Hunters in the group became animated and acted "more wild than the buffalo." Newel believed "the red men are the rightful owners," so Saints needed to honor "their usages and customs." To keep the Indians' confidence and friendship, Newel influenced the other captains to ban hunting until Indians gave them permission (1).
On August 23 the company arrived at the Ponca settlement at Running Water. Newel wrote:
“We came to Running Water a little after noon. We had been here but a short time when we discovered a number of Indians riding over the bluffs swiftly towards us, which plainly indicated their village near. The Indians flocked in multitudes around us, all eager to see us and our cattle, sheep, hens, pigs, and in fact, almost everything we had was entirely new to them. They are a nation that have had very little intercourse with the whites and knew very little of civilization (1).”
Three wagon companies of some 500 people were encamped 120 miles up the Missouri River from Winter Quarters among the Ponca Indians. Ponca Camp, as it was called, was led by Bishop George Miller and a 12-man high council, all of whom were in constant contact with President Young and the rest of the Twelve at Winter Quarters. Newel Knight, longtime friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith since their residence in New York in the 1820s, was a high councilor at Ponca Camp. He kept a journal and made a list of the members of the Brigham Young Company.
On August 28, 1846, the camp moved to the selected location. That night a child died of scarlet fever. On the 29th, Newel spent most of the day in council. President Miller called on him "to lay before the council such matters as demanded our immediate attention for the general benefit." Newel proposed work projects for cutting hay, fortifying themselves, and herding cattle away from the settlement (1).
Should each company of ten work separately or should the whole company work unitedly? President Miller proposed separate work, and his proposal won by one vote. Then the council agreed on a plan for the fort. Again, according to Newel, “The houses to be so compact that we can form a blockade between them so that no enemy can get in but by the gates. The fort will comprise six acres, in the form of a hollow square, and build our schoolhouses in the center of the square (1).”
During the last day of August, Newel directed the laying of 112 stakes marking each lot of the fort. Meanwhile a group armed with scythes, rakes, and pitchforks began making hay, while other men cut house logs. Some men also sowed discord, evidently unhappy with the site, so that by evening, President Miller said anyone who wanted to find a better location could leave. The next day Brothers Lathrop and John Kay led a party away to find a better site.
On September 2, 1846, by invitation, the council visited the Poncas where "the old chief" said the Mormons could settle upriver if they wished. As soon as this news reached the Saints' camp, Newel said, they insisted on looking for a better location upriver. President Miller favored more looking, Newel counseled Saints to stay put (1).
When President Miller blew the horn for the people to assemble, the council laid their views before the brethren in favor of the present location. Newel penned, “my first objection to moving was that we have cut considerable hay and house logs, which will probably be lost in case we move, and it is so late in the season before we can collect our cattle and get settled in a new place, the probability is it will be too late to cut hay, as the season is very dry and the grass is fast drying, so that we can have nothing for our Milch [milk] cows and cattle that we shall sometimes want to keep at home or for any of our stock in case of storms or emergencies that may arise. Another objection is [that] this place is so situated that in case any of us shall stop here to raise a crop next year, the advantage for farming far exceeds that above; water is also much more convenient here. There is an excellent mill site, there is also a good steamboat landing at Missouri River less than half a mile from our ford. These last mentioned privileges we cannot have at the above place. The grazing facilities of this place are far superior to those of the new location (1).
Brother James Emmet spoke next in favor of moving. President Miller then said that all who were in favor of moving, go immediately to their wagons. Most of the people quickly fled from the spot. The usual labor of the brethren was dispensed with some went hunting, some this way and some that, union and order seemed to be forgotten by many, while others were weighed down with grief and sorrow.
This evening Lathrop and Kay returned. They did not bring a cluster of grapes to represent the goodness of the land they had searched out, as did Caleb and Joshua. They slew a buffalo and came loaded with meat, which satisfied the appetites of some. For, since they have been restrained from wasting the buffalo, they, like unto the children of Israel, have lusted for flesh, yet if we were to place confidence in signs and figures as the ancients used to, slaying a buffalo and fetching it to be devoured would not represent peace and safety [for] those that followed the men who slew it (1).”
During the next three days the camp divided. President Miller left for the upriver site with a small group, but "most of them thought they could do better to go down the river, from the report Lathrop gave of the place." So, Newel called the people together "and after reasoning the matter with them, the most of them concluded to move up, where we moved a little before sundown on the 7th of September." The next day they laid out the fort and began constructing cabins. Meanwhile Lathrop and Richardson sought recruits to move down the Missouri, claiming the council approved and blessed their course, which Newel and the council refuted in an express letter to Brigham Young on September 9 (1).
On September 7, 1846, Newel moved with the others upriver where the company laid out another fort and started building cabins again. By the end of the month President Miller and the council locked horns. Newel earlier noted that President Miller had a "harsh manner" that "soured people." On September 12, 1846, Newel said the "united action of the council has measurably affected a union with the people. Lathrop and Richardson have persisted in leaving, but few families are with them (1)."
While Saints held a Sabbath meeting on the 13th, Sioux braves rode up for a visit. "After the meeting we met and smoked the pipe of peace with them," Newel said, "and our prayer is that the Lord will open the hearts of that nation that they make a covenant of peace with us (1)."
When Sioux warriors killed some cattle, President Miller became irate, and said hard things designed to divide the people and ordered that "his" group separate their cattle from the rest. He has regarded the council, which has in some degree disaffected the people towards him.
The next day the council felt it was necessary for the general good of the people that something should be done to restrain President Miller from the course he was pursuing." They invited him to their meeting. He came, acknowledged the council, probably was dissatisfied with his herding decision, and justified himself. Newel spoke, “I arose and made a statement of what I considered to be the order and duty of this council; they all agreed with me and acknowledged that this course had not been observed, which gives rise to disorder. I told them that as the house of God was a house of order, I thought he would require this council to act in that sphere, and if we have not order and union in our councils, we cannot expect to establish it in our camp, for which cause I am not satisfied with President Miller's doing in some respects. Not that I would find fault with or injure him, yet I am aware that the cause we are striving to promote demands our united efforts, and as the voice of this council is not valid without the sanction of our President, so his voice is not without a majority of the council. This is one thing that I am not satisfied with President Miller for-- he has repeatedly wholly disregarded the council and required the people to observe rules and regulations made and given by himself independent of this council, which as I said, has been a determent to the peace and wellbeing of this community (1).”
About October 9,  the council made three decisions which members voted to sustain. First, they sent Brothers Clark, Shirtclif [Shirtliff] and Houtz to Winter Quarters to recruit provisions. Second, they decided to build a gristmill, so Newel looked for and found a rock to make a millstone and brought timber to the mill site. Third, they sent a small party to Fort Laramie to find a wagon route there, who were Brothers Holbrook, Matthews, and Emmet.
On December 26, 1846, the Indians set fire to the prairie. The fires threatened Ponca Camp’s 110 hewn-log cabins. Everyone fought off the fires and saved the fort, but the Saints lost stacks of hay and some wagons. After the fire danger passed, Newel Knight, exhausted by the labor, became very ill. On January 1, 1847, he seemed to sense his death might be near. “I scarcely know why I am thus anxious, why this world appears so trifling, or the things of the world. I almost desire to leave this tenement of clay, that my spirit may soar aloft and no longer be held in bondage, yet my helpless family seem to need my protection, for their sakes, and if I yet have more to do on the earth or can do more good to the living than to the dead, I am willing to remain yet longer in the flesh (1).”
On January 3, 1847, he administered to the sick, and the next day he penned his final entry. In it he told about the Church meeting in which he was restrained by the spirit from speaking on the sacred doctrinal topic of the law of adoption, and that instead the spirit guided him to preach a need for wandering Israel to cleanse hearts, bodies, garments, houses, and all so they have claim not only on the angels of heaven but also to have "the Lord's presence go before us, while we are journeying in the wilderness (1)."
Newel Knight died on January 11, probably of pneumonia, one of approximately 17-23 Saints who died and were buried in the camp’s burying ground two miles west of the fort.
In 1908, a son, Jesse Knight, erected a stately monument at the Ponca Camp site just west of present Niobrara, Nebraska, to honor Newel and others buried there that winter of 1846–47.
Photos from: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19353195/newel-knight
A 1946 Memorial program listed others that died at Ponca Camp. Research has corrected the names and added other possible burials (3).
|Name||Birth Date||Death Date|
|Hyrum Call||3 Dec 1845||15 Jun 1846|
|Cyril Moroni Call||6 Feb 1838||15 Jun 1846|
|Cynthia Johnson Drake||1 Aug 1824||Sep 1846|
|William Calvert||1 Mar 1805||Sep 1846|
|William Calvert, Jr.||12 Dec 1832||Sep 1846|
|Anne Hamaker Calvert||22 Feb 1805||2 Sep 1846|
|Lucian Gardarus Noble||26 Dec 1837||28 Sep 1846|
|Benjamin Franklin Mayer||16 Mar 1842||29 Sep 1846|
|Catherine Shumway||28 Sep 1846||29 Sep 1846|
|Hirum Brigham Young Noble||6 May 1845||6 Nov 1846|
|Samuel Calvert||22 Nov 1834||1846|
|Hannah Draper||5 Nov 1816||1846|
|Sarah Elsa Dame||29 Nov 1846||Jan 1847|
|Sarah Susannah Crandall||24 Mar 1825||5 Jan 1847|
|Newel Knight||13 Sep 1800||11 Jan 1847|
|Sophie Andrews Dame||1 Apr 1818||31 Jan 1847|
|Joseph Emett||15 Jan 1847||1 Feb 1847|
|Lucy Brass Bronson||26 Jun 1795||7 Feb 1847|
|Ann Geldard Boyes||5 Apr 1798||14 Feb 1847|
|Sarah Margaret Tolman||28 Mar 1847||12 Apr 1847|
Lathrop’s CampAshael Lathrop and John Mohurn Kay left Ponca Camp for a location further down on the Elkhorn River. Richardson and Solomon Hancock went down there later. It is proposed that about fifty persons went there.
Fort Vermillion’s CampIn 1844, James Emmett led a group West. The group dwindled in numbers because of various problems. Eventually a much smaller group wintered in 1845-46 at Fort Vermillion in South Dakota. In the summer of 1846, the James Emmett Company remained with Miller and went to Ponca Camp. Lyman Hinman and Gardner Potter went with Jacob Gates to Pawnee Camp (2).
- Knight, Newel, 1800-1847. Newel Knight's journal [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified], [19--?], https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/record/915aa4ae-2faa-48b8-b33e-a92b2553614c/0?
- Hartley, William George, 1942-2018. My best for the kingdom: history and autobiography of John Lowe Butler, a Mormon frontiersman / William G. Hartley Salt Lake City: Aspen Books, c1993 printed by Publishers Press 1st printing, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/record/e69a919a-dac0-4802-af5e-0ed95486b2b5/0?view=summary (accessed: September 2, 2022)
- https://www.josephknightfamily.org/deepLinks/_5_Dedication_of_the_Newel_Knight_Grave_Monument (accessed: September 2, 2022)
Zarahemla is within Lee County, Iowa and was founded by the Latter-Day Saints in the early 1840’s. The settlement was inspired by a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. after Joseph’s visit in 1839 when he crossed the Mississippi River to look over the land West of Nauvoo. He said that a “town for Mormons should be developed just West of Montrose and given the name Zarahemla”(1). Almost a year later in March 1841 the Doctrine and Covenants 125:1-3 Revelation concerning Iowa reads:
1 What is the will of the Lord concerning the saints in the Territory of Iowa?
2 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I say unto you, if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, if they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come.
3 Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.
The construction of Zarahemla was quickly accomplished after this revelation but the Saints stay was brief. George W. Gee surveyed the city under Joseph’s direction and in a short period of time an Iowa Stake was soon couched on the western side of the Mississippi River. There were over 300 members of the church settled in Zarahemla by August 7, 1841. Within the surrounding areas of Zarahemla, the Iowa Stake totaled around 750 members of the church (2). About 30 houses were built in Zarahemla but by 1846 the Saints deserted the area (3). In the end abandoning Zarahemla was to be a good thing because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the land share holders of the Half-Breed Tract which deposed any person not mentioned therein, the Mormons (4). Persecution and the big push West aided in the build up and desertion of this town.
This site was one of the two stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at the time (it is also one of the eleven pre-Utah Stakes). John Smith was called to be the Stake President over eight Branches. However, the Stake was dissolved into Branch status within 27 months of its inception (5). This could be due to the gathering to Nauvoo or the legal issues the Zarahemla Mormons faced with their neighbors.
Reactions to settlement revelations and calls to resettle can be seen in William Clayton’s diaries which speak of the conferences in relation to building up the Zarahemla ( Iowa) Stake.
8 April 1841, Thursday
Thursday. President Rigdon delivered a discourse on baptism for the dead, showing the propriety and absolute necessity of such an ordinance. After preaching a many were baptized for their dead relatives and many for the remission of sins. At this conference a Revelation was read (given January 19, 1841) containing instructions to build the temple boarding house called the Nauvoo house and many other important items. A short revelation was also read concerning the saints in Iowa. The question had been asked what is the will of the Lord concerning the saints in Iowa. It read to the following effect—Verily thus saith the Lord let all those my saints who are assaying to do my will gather themselves together upon the land opposite Nauvoo and build a city unto my name and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it. And all who come from the East and West and North and South who have desires let them settle in Zarahemla that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come and you have Haun’s Mill for a sample. Many of the brethren immediately made preparations for moving in here but not on account of its being so late in the season President John Smith advised to get through with planting and then proceed to move in (6).
Other experiences occurred in William Clayton’s life concerning Zarahemla and the settlement thereof as on August 30, 1841 Clayton was “advised by Brother Kimball to buy 2 city lots and move into the city of Zarahemla (according to a previous revelation) on the 30 th I went over to President John Smiths and bought two (7).”
Several church authorities visited the new town and various church issues were dealt with and discussed there. “Elders William Law and Hyrum Smith preached at Zarahemla” on May 2, 1841 (8). Little is mentioned of their words but this experience was significant enough to mention in the Clayton diaries. In August 1841 the Zarahemla Conference Elder George A. Smith began the meetings with the news of Elder Don C. Smith’s death (the Editor of the Times and Seasons). Elder John Taylor then addressed the members. Several men were called to be leaders in the wards and Stake, which was newly renamed the Zarahemla Stake: most notably Joseph Meacham, John Smith, William Clayton, and George W. Gee (9).
The bill below shows another purpose for Zarahemla which was to take care of those persons in need. Sara King Hillman at the age of 43 was a widow who struggled with her sons Ira and Silas. This deed for land in Iowa gave Sara the assurance of a place to stay and the security of land without payments. Whether there were many other cases like Sara or not it shows the generosity of Joseph Smith and the difference in the population of Zarahemla, wealthy and poor (10).
Amidst the many trials the Saints faced many miracles occurred in and near Zarahemla like the Miracle of the Quail; Healings of July 22, 1839; and the prophecy of the Rocky Mountains in connection with the Saints (11). Even though trials had brought them there miracles seemed to lighten their heavy loads.
Some hardships of the settlers can be seen in their diaries. William Clayton “struggled to farm, be the Branch Clerk, having poor health. Nieghbors helped out by building a fence around his crop but cows knocked it down. December 14, 1841 he returned to Nauvoo (12). Trails continually pushed the Saints away from the new settlement because they had the option of their old home in Nauvoo to fall back on. Without another Mormon settlement so close by the Saints may have made a better home out of Zarahemla than they did in the early 1840’s.
Zarahemla was a place of charity, leadership, obedience, trial, miracles, and prophecy. Many issues plagued the Saints therein and soon drove them back to Nauvoo and eventually to the Great Basin in Utah.
- Baugh, Alexander. Historic Markers in Montrose and Keokuk; www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/publications/studies_fall2003/MHS_Fall2003_Markers.pdf, page 179.
- Uncle Dale’s Old Mormon Articles: Philadelphia Quaker Papers, http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/PA/PQkr1800.htm
- Zarahemla, http://search.ldslibrary.com/article/view/2553808.
- Baugh, Alexander. Historic Markers in Montrose and Keokuk; www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/publications/studies_fall2003/MHS_Fall2003_Markers.pdf, page 181.
- Kimball, Stanley B., “Nauvoo West: The Mormons of the Iowa Shore,” BYU Studies 18 (Winter 1978): 132-142; Manuscript History of the Church in Iowa, Church Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah; ed. Watson, Eldon Jay, Manuscript History of Brigham Young: 1801-1844 (1968).
- Editor Allen, James B. and Thomas G. Alexander, Manchester Mormons : the journal of William Clayton, 1840 to 1842 (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1974), page 208; http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/clayton-diaries.
- Ibid, page 216.
- Ibid, page 212.
- Times and Seasons Volume 2, Number 22; http://www.centerplace.org/history/ts/v2n22.htm
- Editor Garr, Arnold K., Donald Q. Cannon, Richard O. Cowan. Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2000, page 655-56.
- Editor Allen, James B. and Thomas G. Alexander, Manchester Mormons: the journal of William Clayton, 1840 to 1842 (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1974), page 49.
List of Community Residents forthcoming