The 1854 Mormon Emigration at the Missouri-Kansas Border


Mormon studies, Mormon Emigration, Missouri, Kansas


During the nineteenth century, Mormons emphasized the doctrine of gathering to Zion, a concept introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) a few months after it was officially established in Fayette, New York, in 1830 under the direction of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. After Smith’s death, his prophetic successor, Brigham Young, established a new gathering place for the Latter-day Saints in 1847, and thereafter the route to their new American Zion in the Salt Lake Valley was altered.1 Although for the next four years Mormon European emigrants continued to disembark at New Orleans and head up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, instead of continuing north to their previous gathering place at Nauvoo, Illinois, they traveled west on the Missouri River to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and Kanesville, Iowa (later known as Council Bluffs, Iowa), the frontier outfitting points for Mormons during those years.2

Original Publication Citation

Fred E. Woods, “The 1854 Mormon Emigration at the Missouri-Kansas Border,” Kansas History 32, no. 4 (Winter 2009-2010):227-45.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Kansas History




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor