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This is the Place
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Many Mormon Immigrants Delayed Their Journey
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Fillmore
The Founding and Naming of Moab
Hole-in-the-Rock Trek Remains an Epic Experience
What Made the Mormon Landscape Unique?
Snowslides Devastated Northern Utah in 1875
A Fatal Snowslide in Provo Canyon
Those Pioneering African Americans
The Lives of Six Pioneer Girls
He Was an Outsider in Utah But Not For Long
Forty-Niners in Salt Lake Valley
Utah Farmer and the Pike's Peak Gold Rush
Emma Lee Endured Many Hardships in Pioneer Utah
Alice Parker Isom Faced Challenges WIth True Grit
19th Century Utah Women Spun Yarn and Dug Ditches
Hilda Anderson Erickson, Working Woman
Oliver B. Huntington and His Bees
A Policeman's Lot in Early Salt Lake CIty
A Blind Man and His Harp
Fanny Brooks Helped Establish the Jewish Community
Reverend McLeod and Building of Independence Hall
Jenny Baker Stanford Bridged Mormon-Gentile Gap
Welshman Dan Jones Was One of Zion's Busiest Bees
The Case of Grave Robber Jean Baptiste
Slavery in Utah
History of Polygamy
DeserEt
The History of a Pioneer Utah Cottage
The Pioneer's Cost of Living Versus Today's
Coins and Currency
The Sego Lily, Utah's State Flower
Pestiferous Ironclads: Grasshopper Problem in Utah
From Pioneer Fort to Pioneer Park
Ensign Peak
Temple Square
Virgin River Doused Cotton Mission Settler's Hopes
Gardner Mill and the Birth of the Valley's West Side
The United Order Movement
ZCMI
The Beginnings of the University of Utah
Arrival of the Episcopal Church
Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, in Utah
The Pony Express Added a Colorful Chapter in Utah
Mark Twain's Utah
Pony Express in Utah
The Telegraph Was Information Highway of the 1860's
The Steamboat Era Was Glamorous But Brief in Utah
Cowboys and the Cattle Industry
Old La Sal Was Once a Thriving Cow Town
Preston Nutter Made Utah Home of His Cattle Kingdom
Robbers' Roost Was a Haven For Outlaws
Utah Had Hollywood Style Western Gunfights
Just Who Was the Outlaw Queen Etta Place?
Josie Bassett-Jensen's Remarkable Woman Rancher
Military in Utah
Utah War
The Civil War in Utah
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Fort Douglas
Fort Duchesne
Camp Floyd
The Colonel Orders a Grand Review

Thomas G. Alexander
Utah, The Right Place

In the tradition of Dominguez and Escalante, American clergymen led the migrants to the West. Following the visit of a group of northwestern Indians to St. Louis in 1831, Methodist and Presbyterian missionaries left for Oregon beginning in 1834. Catholic missionaries, including the intrepid Jesuit Pierre Jean De Smet, started moving west in 1838 to establish missions in the Coeur d'Alene-Bitter Root region.

Soon settlers followed. Some immigrants, heeding the siren call of Oregon publicist Hall Jackson Kelley, sailed to the Pacific coast. Impressed with the possibilities of the new country, New Englanders organized the Oregon Emigration Society in 1838 to assist in the westward movement.

Following the lead of the missionaries, wagon trains of settlers converged on the Oregon and California Trails. In 1841, some 2,000 people traveled the 1,800 miles to the Willamette Valley and thirty-four went to California. Starting at Independence, Missouri, the immigrants proceeded northwestward to Fort Kearney on the Platte. Following the Platte and North Platte to Fort Laramie, they crossed over South Pass, resupplied at newly established Fort Bridger, and followed the Green and Bear River Valleys to Soda Springs, Idaho, where the routes divided. One trail continued on to Fort Hall and Oregon. The other led southwestward through northwestern Utah to California.

Almost from the beginning, California gained a reputation as America's answer to the European health spa. Touting the future Golden State as a land of perpetual fitness, Antoine Robidoux said that there was "only one man in California who had the ague" (known today as malaria). That man had come, Robidoux said, "from Missouri and carried the disease in his system."  The man was such an oddity, Robidoux continued, that curious people from Monterey walked "18 miles into the country to see him."

Following advice like Robidoux's, two groups that included settlers traveled to California in 1841. Best known is the Bartson-Bidwell party, but that same year the Workman-Rowland Company also traveled to California. In the succeeding years, immigrants crossed northern Utah on the way to California each year.  By 1845, wagons pulled by oxen, mules, or less frequently, horses had become the standard means of transportation, and most parties crossed northern Utah on the California Trail successfully with little difficulty.

 

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