Brigham Young Enters the Salt Lake Valley
Gospel Art Picture Kit
In 1846, under the leadership of President Brigham Young, the Latter-day Saints journeyed west from Nauvoo across Iowa to the Missouri River, where they established a temporary home known as Winter Quarters.
In April 1847, President Young led an advance group of 143 men, 3 women, and 2 children west to locate a new settlement where Church members could live and worship in peace. This advance group, which included eight of the Twelve Apostles, took with them 72 wagons, 66 oxen, 89 horses, 52 mules, 19 cows, and 17 dogs. Well organized and united in purpose, they made good progress across Nebraska and Wyoming, reaching the present-day Wyoming-Utah border on 12 July.
At about this time President Young became ill and could not travel. Most of the group continued on, while President Young and others who were sick rested and then traveled as they could. On 21 July, Elder Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow entered the Salt Lake Valley and spent the day exploring it. Meanwhile President Young, still sick, made his way toward the valley riding in Elder Wilford Woodruff’s carriage. On 24 July they came into full view of the valley. Regarding this moment, Elder Woodruff later recalled:
“While gazing upon the scene before us, [President Young] was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the vision had passed, he said, ‘It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on’ ” (quoted in “Pioneers’ Day,” Deseret Evening News, 26 July 1880, 2).
The journey of about 1,000 miles from Winter Quarters was over, and President Young soon regained his health. The advance group and those who followed wasted no time in establishing their new community. Over the next 20 years, thousands of Latter-day Saints traveled over the Mormon Trail to settle in the Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding regions. (See William G. Hartley, “Gathering the Dispersed Nauvoo Saints, 1847–1852,” Ensign, July 1997, 19–22.)
After traveling across Iowa in 1846, the following year the Latter-day Saints were ready to continue their journey west in search of a safe home. During the spring and summer of 1847, President Brigham Young led an advance group of 148 pioneers about 1,000 miles to the Salt Lake Valley. Before reaching the valley, however, President Young and others became ill. On 24 July, from a bed made up in Elder Wilford Woodruff’s carriage, President Young had his first full view of the valley. Having seen the valley before in a vision, President Young declared the site to be “the right place” for the Saints’ new home. In the years ahead, thousands of Church members would come to settle in the Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding area.
Artist, Glen S. Hopkinson
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