Preface -- vii

Introduction -- ix

October, 1845

The Twelve meet with the Quincy Committee--1; General Conference in the Nauvoo Temple--8; Captains of Hundreds appointed--19; Map of Hancock County -- 22; Nathan Bigelow accidentally shoots Lt. Everett -- 30; State troops march to Nauvoo to arrest Twelve--32;.Henry Sherwood and John Fullmer return from Emmett Company--37


November, 1845

Joshua Smith poisoned and dies at Carthage--45; Orson Pratt gives farewell talk to Eastern Saints--49; William Rice and Samuel Hicks' houses burned by mob--52; Edmund Durfee murdered by mob--56; Dedication of Nauvoo Temple attic--67.


December, 1845

Nauvoo Temple attic prepared for ordinances--70; Temple ordinances begin in Nauvoo Temple--78; Mob fooled, wrong "Brigham Young" arrested--98; State troops enter city looking for stolen goods -- 107.


January, 1846

Temple workers injured -- 119; Police confront state troops -- 123; Brigham Young's vision of ensign to be raised--124; Temple work commences day and night -- 130; Nauvoo Trustees sustained -- 133; Strangite missionaries in Nauvoo -- 135; Reports received that government would keep Saints from leaving -- 137; Weather vane put on temple -- 139.


February, 1846

Decision made to start the exodus immediately--142; Charles Shumway first to cross over the Mississippi River--144; Ship Brooklyn sets sail from New York--145; Final day of temple ordinances--148; Temple roof accidentally set on fire--151; Thomas Grover's oxen and wagon fall in river--152; Nine babies born?--158; Brigham Young crosses over the Mississippi--161; Camp of Israel organized at Sugar Creek--164; Weather turns cold, eight inches of snow falls--167; Panic in temple, floor settles--171; Saints cross over frozen Mississippi River--176.


March, 1846

Map of journey from Montrose to Richardson’s Point--182; Camp of Israel leaves Sugar Creek Camp--183; Lick Creek Camp--185; Reed's Creek Camp--187; Indian Creek Camp--191; Mississippi River crossings are again made by boat--191; Richardson's Point Camp--197; William Pitt's band plays in Keosauqua--202; Nauvoo "Day of Pentecost"--211; Brigham Young's nephew, Edwin Little dies--216; Evan's Camp--217; Davis County Camp--219; Coffman's Settlement--220; Chariton River Camp--221; Zina Huntington Jacobs' baby born--222;  John Butler and James Cummings leave to retrieve Emmett company--239.


April, 1846

Map of journey from Sugar Creek to Mount Pisgah--241; Shoal Creek Camp--242; Hickory Grove Camp--244; Locust Creek Camp--249; April General Conference in Nauvoo--255; Wilford Woodruff arrives in Nauvoo--264; William Clayton composes "Come, Come, Ye Saints"--267; Rolling Prairies Camp--270; Pleasant Point Camp--272; Camp Creek Camp--279; Pleasant Grove Camp--280; Muddy Creek Camp--282; Garden Grove--283; John Butler and James Cummings arrive at Camp Vermillion--286; Private dedication of Nauvoo Temple--294.


May, 1846

Public dedication of Nauvoo Temple--295; Orrin Porter Rockwell arrested in Nauvoo--297; Brooklyn arrives at Island of Juan Fernandez--301; Wilford Woodruff crosses over the Mississippi River--310; Hickory Thunder Camp--313; Thomas L. Kane meets the Mormons for the first time--314; Willow Bridge Camp--317; White-breast Creek Camp--318; Mount Pisgah--321.


June, 1846

Map of journey from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs--343; West Fork of Grand River--348; President James K. Polk authorizes raising a Mormon Battalion--348; Broomberry Hill Camp--351; Shoal Creek Camp--353; Reno Camp--355; Pleasant Valley Camp--358; Manottawa Creek Camp--361; Pottawatomie Indian Village--361; Middle branch of Nishnabotna--363; West branch of Nishnabotna--366; Keg Creek Camp--367; Mob gathers at Golden Point--368; Mosquito Creek Camp--369; Arrival to Missouri River--372; Camp of Israel headquarters moved back to Mosquito Creek Camp--379; Party at Trader's Point--384; Ship Brooklyn arrives at Sandwich Islands (Hawaii)--385; U.S. Captain James Allen arrives at Mt. Pisgah--396; Brethren decide to raise Mormon Battalion--405; Parley P. Pratt almost drowns--406.


Bibliography -- 409

Topic Index -- 417

Name Index -- 421


On April 6, 1980, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrated the sesquicentennial anniversary of the organization of the Church in Fayette, New York.  The 150th Annual General Conference of the Church originated from Fayette, New York, in the recreation of the Peter Whitmer farm house, on the precise location where the Church was organized on April 6, 1830.  As the conference concluded, President Spencer W. Kimball said:


Viewed in perspective, 150 years isn't really a very long time, even in human history. It is but a brief moment in eternity. . . . One cannot study the history of the Church without being  impressed with how steadfast the majority of the Saints have always  been in the midst of difficulty.


I suppose my fascination for following the history of the Church exactly 150 years ago, originated with this historic conference.  Since that time, the Church has recognized other sesquicentennial anniversaries, including in recent years, the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  I am amazed how quickly the time seemed to pass between these two observances.  Yet it is even more amazing when we consider just how much was accomplished in the fourteen-year time-span between 1830 and 1844.

In 1997, a grand celebration will be held to recognize the sesquicentennial anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.  Throughout the world, Latter-day Saints and others are preparing for this celebration by learning about these pioneers 150 years ago.  In the October, 1996 General Conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard, Chairman of the Church Pioneer Sesquicentennial Committee stated:


Brothers and sisters, join with us and begin now to prepare for a spiritual journey next year by walking in the footsteps of our beloved pioneers in every land.  We must be sure that the legacy of faith received from them is never faith lost.  Let their heroic lives touch our hearts, and especially the hearts of our youth, so the fire of true testimony and unwavering love for the Lord and his Church will blaze brightly within each one of us as it did our faithful pioneers.


In addition, President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church, shared these remarks in his closing address:  “All of us need to be reminded of the past.  It is from history that we gain knowledge which can save us from repeating mistakes and on which we can build for the future.”

In October of 1995, I conducted an experiment on the computer internet.  I wished to share my enthusiasm for this wonderful history with a number of my friends and associates via this electronic media.  On October 21, 1995, I composed an article that looked back 150 years ago from that very day, and described the events experienced by the Saints in Nauvoo on October 21, 1845.  This article was read by about one hundred people.  I decided to continue this research and writing effort for a week or two.  The reaction was overwhelming.  The pioneer spirit took hold and I was sent daily notes asking me to continue writing this day-by-day pioneer experience.

I continued these daily writings, and have been doing so for over a year.  On February 8, 1996, I joined forces with a close internet friend, David Kenison, of Orem Utah, to establish an internet electronic mail (e-mail) distribution list that we named, LDS-Gems.  Thousands of Church members are finding their way onto the computer internet, hoping to find useful information.  David Kenison and I wanted to provide a resource where uplifting information, including items of Church History, could be distributed and read, free of cost, by anyone connected to the internet.  So in February 1996, I started to distribute these “150 Years Ago Today” articles to those subscribed to LDS-Gems.  The LDS-Gems e-mail list started with about 100 subscribers, and has exploded to more than 75,000 subscribers as of April 2000, growing at a rate of 1000 new subscribers per week.

Also in February 1996, I became acquainted with Bruce Van Orden, Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, and member of the Church Sesquicentennial Pioneer Committee.   He informed me that he would soon be publishing a similar day-by-day series in the Church News, published by Deseret News, in Salt Lake City.  We started to freely share information and worked together on this project.  In later months, as Bruce Van Orden went on assignment to the BYU Jerusalem Center, I was asked by the Church Sesquicentennial Pioneer Committee to keep the series going, in the Church News.  I did so, by additionally writing a less-detailed version of this day-by-day pioneer experience.

Over the months, I received frequent requests to compile the LDS-Gems articles into a book that could be kept and shared with others who did not read it on the computer internet.  This privately published compilation is the result of these requests.

There are several people who need special thanks for making this publication possible.  First and foremost is my patient wife, Linda Crockett.  Long and late-night hours were spent at the computer to research and write this series.  Her understanding and support is not unlike the patience and faith demonstrated by the pioneers of old.  David Kenison must be thanked for his encouragement to continue this effort, during times of exhaustion when I was tempted to “take down the tent” and “turn the wagon” away from this time-consuming endeavour.  Bruce Van Orden’s pioneer enthusiasm and great suggestions were especially helpful.   I appreciate the help from the Institute of Religion at the University of Arizona for making their library facilities available for my research.  I thank David Kenison, and Scott and Doug McGee, who assisted me to edit these articles into hopefully a readable form.  An undertaking such as this private publication is bound to have errors.  I hope you can forgive these errors and feel the spirit that comes from reading about this sacred history of these dedicated pioneers.


This day-by-day history commences on October 1, 1845.  Under the dedicated leadership of Brigham Young and the other Twelve Apostles, the Saints living in Nauvoo, Illinois continued to build up their city and their temple after the tragic deaths of the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.  The work of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ continued to roll forth to the nations.  Nauvoo Illinois, on the banks of the Mississippi River, also known as “The City of Joseph,” was the gathering place for the Saints.

In September 1845, persecution again started to rage, as many houses and buildings owned by Church members were burned to the ground by lawless mobs, desiring to drive the Saints from Illinois.  Within only three days, more than forty buildings were destroyed in small Illinois communities away from Nauvoo.  Hundreds of men, women, and children fled to the city of the Saints for protection.

October 1845 opens with the announcement of the historic decision to leave Nauvoo and head for the western wilderness.  Comfortable homes would be left behind and substituted with wagons, tents, and campfire smoke.  Eliza R. Snow, “Zion’s poetess” expressed the feelings of these Saints in exile through verse:


We better live in tents and smoke

Than wear the cursed gentile yoke--

We better from our country fly

Than by mobocracy to die . . .


Our homes were dear--we lov’d them well

Beneath our roofs we hop’d to dwell,

And honor the great God’s commands

By mutual rights of Christian lands


Our persecutors will not cease

Their murd’rous spoiling of our peace

And have decreed that we must go

To wilds where reeds & rushes grow.


These Saints in exile would press forward in faith, hoping for a better day, with an understanding of the great work that the Lord had for them to accomplish. Isaac Chauncy Haight wrote: “Here we are exiled from the United States and without a home, dwelling in tents and wagons exposed to the inclemency of the weather.  We are even like the Saints of old having no abiding city but are wanderers and pilgrims on the earth but we count the present suffering not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to his Saints.”