What Could They Take?


When the Saints were preparing to leave Nauvoo for the long, difficult journey west, many choices about what to take and what to leave had to be made. Many items were vital not only for the trek but for survival when they reached the Salt Lake Valley. Seeds, tools, and equipment would be needed to rebuild homes and establish farms in the wilderness. Families had to leave whatever wouldn’t fit in their wagons. Many cherished possessions had to be left behind. Pictured are some of the things a family of five needed for the wilderness journey. The approximate amount of each item they were allowed to take is noted where possible.

strong wagon box

seeds (25 pounds/11.5k)

sugar (100 pounds/45 k)

flour (1000 pounds/450 k)

bacon or dried beef (a few pounds/k)

pumpkin (20 pounds/9k)

cornmeal

sheep (3+)

tent

dried apples (15 pounds/7 k)

cows (3—two for milk)

fish hooks and lines (4–5)

dried peaches

oxen (2–3 yoke)

soap (20 pounds/9k)

ax

beans (1 bushel)

rope

spices—cinnamon (1 pound/.45 k), cloves (1/2 pound/225 g), nutmegs (12)

rifle (1 per man), gunpowder (1 pound/.45 k), and lead (4 pounds/1.8k)

tin cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons

cayenne pepper (1 pound/.45 k)

rice (10 pounds/4.5 k)

salt (25 pounds/11.5 k)

bedding

pulley

medicines

shovel

dipper

hammer

scythe

butter churn

plow

dutch oven

large skillet

molasses

copper washtub

water barrel

grinder

hook

candle mold

block and tackle

lard

 

clothing

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dick Brown