Utah History to Go
UTAH STATE HISTORY
HOME
FACTS
LESSONS
PEOPLE
PLACES
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
TIMELINE
BIBLIOGRAPHY
CONTACT US
SITE MAP
HISTORY FOR KIDS
Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company
Lesson
Overland Migrations
Bartleson-Bidwell party
Nancy Kelsey
Bryant-Rusell Party
Harlan Young Party
Hastings Cutoff
Donner Party
This is the Place
Mormon History
Pioneers
Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company
Handcart Companies
A Girl Triumphed Over Handcart Tradegy
Many Mormon Immigrants Delayed Their Journey
Settlement and Exploration
Colonization of Utah
Salt Lake City
Bountiful
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

Richard L. Jensen
Utah History Encyclopedia

Initiated in 1849 primarily to help Mormon refugees from Nauvoo, Illinois, migrate to Utah, the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company (PEF) also became a major instrument for gathering Latter-day Saint converts to Utah from abroad. It assisted some 26,000 immigrants--about 36 percent of the approximately 73,000 Latter-day Saints who emigrated from Europe to the United States between 1852 and 1887.

In principle, funds the company expended on immigration were considered loans to those immigrants who benefited from the aid. The repayment of those loans was to provide a perpetual source of assistance for others. In practice, however, only about one-third of the PEF's beneficiaries repaid their loans in full, sometimes with interest; about one-third made partial repayment; the rest repaid nothing. Donations to the PEF in Europe and the United States, although sometimes substantial, were never sufficient to render the assistance Latter-day Saint leaders envisioned. Therefore, infusions of cash, credit, and services from other sources, including commissions received by church agents as passenger brokers, were administered under the auspices of the PEF, which became the primary institution around which Latter-day Saint immigration to Utah from abroad was organized from 1853 to 1856.

By late 1856 emigration had so exhausted the resources of the PEF and strained those of the Mormon Church that Brigham Young insisted that PEF operations be confined to the resources of the company itself. Thereafter, the means made available by donations and repayments enabled the PEF to assist a modest number of emigrants with the cost of their ocean voyage and, beginning in 1869, with railroad fare to Utah. In addition, for six years in the 1860s the pioneer system of labor tithing was tapped by each spring sending ox teams, wagons, and teamsters from Utah to a frontier outfitting point to haul immigrants back. Immigrants who benefited from this assistance by the "Church trains" signed promissory notes to the PEF. Theoretically, the PEF was to repay the church; but in practice this became a church investment that would yield other than monetary returns. Nearly two-thirds of all beneficiaries of the PEF were passengers of the "Church trains."

In 1868, benefiting from a special fund-raising drive and additional resources from Europe, the PEF helped bring 725 immigrants all the way to Utah. The company also aided more than 100 immigrants annually for the entire trip in 1869, 1871 to 1875, and from 1878 to 1881.

Brigham Young was the first president of the PEF. He was succeeded by Horace S. Eldredge in 1870 and by Albert Carrington in 1873. Beginning in the late 1850s, the LDS Church itself assumed primary responsibility for the organization of its immigration, and church immigration personnel were no longer considered mainly PEF agents. The church made other arrangements whereby relatives and friends in the Intermountain West could provide assistance to prospective immigrants in addition to any PEF aid available. By 1869 this private assistance eclipsed PEF aid. The last PEF aid was provided to a small group of Icelandic immigrants in 1887. Thereafter, in accordance with the provisions of the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887, the PEF was disincorporated and its assets were surrendered to the federal government. The assets were mainly promissory notes totaling more than $400,000 but virtually worthless under provisions of the statute of limitations.

See: Gustive O. Larsen, Prelude to the Kingdom (1947); Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom (1958); P.A.M. Taylor, Expectations Westward: The Mormons and the Emigration of their British Converts in the Nineteenth Century (1966); William Mulder, Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia (1957); and Richard L. Jensen, "Steaming Through: Arrangements for Mormon Emigration from Europe, 1869-1887," Journal of Mormon History 9 (1982).

 

 

UTAH CHAPTERS
The Land
American Indians
Trappers, Traders, & Explorers
Pioneers & Cowboys
Mining & Railroads
Statehood & the Progressive Era
From War to War
Utah Today