For years the writer has been very interested in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His work as a teacher, employed by the LDS department of education, has been with the youth of the church. His teaching experience has taken him through a chronological consideration or sequence of events of the church from its origin down to the present. However, the absence of historical data during the period of 1846-1852 grew into a problem in the writer's mind. After reading in the histories of the church a brief paragraph about Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah, two temporary stopping places of the saints, and a little more about Kanesville, Iowa, the writer began to wonder why so little attention had been paid to each of these settlements. If two thirds of the exiled saints remained at these three way stations for six years from 1846 to 1852, what did they do there? What was their contribution to mormon emigration during these six years?
It appeared to the writer that historians had either bypassed, or covered important details and events too briefly. The illustrious and striking history of Nauvoo, Illinois, by way of comparison lasted only six years. Suffering and hardships at Winter Quarters had likewise been given full credence by historians. The attention of readers had then been shifted to the new Mecca, Salt Lake Valley, because leadership of the church had been established there after 1847.
Why should the period of church history 1846-1852 be so full and eventful yet the Iowa sojourn, lasting the same number of years, be devoid of accomplishment and color? How could Orson Hyde, with his counselors George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson, preside over 10,000 members of the total church population at these scattered settlements during this period without these years likewise being eventful and rich in achievement?
Life and many contributions of these Iowa settlements, Garden Grove, Mount Pisgah, and Kanesville, though temporary in nature, had been overlooked. Despite underestimating these way-stations in Iowa, they, and especially Kanesville, located on the Missouri River became, the funnel through which that vast stream of Mormon emigration was routed to Salt Lake Valley. The things which transpired in Iowa have not been fully told and, in the opinion of the writer, justify a more thorough study.
College and Department
Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Webb, L. Robert, "The Contributions of the Temporary Settlements Garden Grove, Mount Pisgah, and Kanesville, Iowa, to Mormon Emigration, 1846-1852" (1954). Theses and Dissertations. 5199.
Mormon Church, History, 1846, Iowa