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Looking at Nauvoo near this time, the new Prophet and President of the Church, Brigham Young, declared, Our homes, gardens, orchards, farms, streets, bridges, mills, public halls, magnificent temple and other public improvements, we leave as a monument to our patriotism, industry, economy, uprightness of purpose and integrity of heart, and as a living testimony of the falsehood and wickedness of those who charge us with idleness, dishonesty and disloyalty to the Constitution of our country. (qtd. in Sorenson 987) The night that they crossed the river, there were a number of deaths. In addition to the deaths, incredibly, there were nine births (Sorenson 986-987). The Saints would next meet at Sugar Creek, seven miles west of the Missouri. Sorenson explains that Brigham Young played an important part here, including providing great assistance in organizing the Saints into groups. At Sugar Creek, many things happened, including the distribution of clothing, food, and other items. The responsibilities of well digging and road and bridge building were delegated (Sorenson 987). Sugar Creek was a good stop for the Saints, but not a permanent one. Soon the Saints were on their way westward, ending up at Winter Quarters. Sorenson explains that Brigham Young led the first trek west when the weather finally let a group leave. The relatively short treks that followed were conducted in a brilliant manner. Those who were first on this new journey were more than simp- ly the first ones on the trail. Their duties included planting crops for the travelers who were to follow them and building bridges, roads, campsites, and rafts for river crossings. The treks that followed were not easily complet- ed, especially by inexperienced travelers. In addition to this, there were approximately 15,000 people who end- ed up moving along this path. It is no wonder that the event took months to complete. However, amid so much success and triumph, there was sadness, illness, and death. This trail was not easy for many to follow (Sorenson 987-988). This journey would serve a purpose other than simply getting the Saints to their destination. Our Her- itage shares that the 310-mile trek from Nauvoo to their eventual destination at Winter Quarters helped train the Saints in how to be successful in their journey to the Rocky Mountains. This upcoming destination was around 1,000 miles from Winter Quarters, but they were able to complete the travel in less time than it took to travel from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters (Our Heritage 71). The time that the Saints spent at Winter Quarters was difficult to endure. Our Heritage shares that Win- ter Quarters, along the Missouri River in western Iowa, was the largest settlement. It was here that around 3,500 of the group settled down temporarily. There were other camps nearby, such as Kanesville, which had approximately 2,500 inhabitants. In Winter Quarters and the surrounding area, the Saints experienced difficul- ties, both in summer and in winter. During the summer, malarial fever took its toll; while in the winter, cholera, scurvy, and other trying health issues wreaked havoc. The numbers of those who died reached hundreds (Our Heritage 71-72). Life was hard, but the Saints managed to survive and move onto other hardships. Soon after the Saints had settled at Winter Quarters, other undesirable news reached the camp. Sorenson explains that the United States Government requested 1,000 men for the Mexican War. This number exceeded that which individual states had to provide and could cause serious problems for the Saints later on in their journeys to the Rocky Mountains. Fortunately, a friend of the Saints, Captain Allen, arrived with the news that the number had been reduced to 500 men. The Church agreed and set about the task of collecting enough numbers to meet the requirement. Brigham Young himself would take on much, if not most, of the responsibil- ity of finding these men, and the number was met about twenty days later due in part to the encouragement from the men’s wives and mothers (Sorenson 989). As Our Heritage explains, these men, known as the Mormon Battalion, would later depart with over 600 men, women, and children. These Saints would travel over more trail than many of the Mormon Pioneers, journeying approximately 2,030 miles to California. After these men were discharged, some would work in California for a time. Some were even at Sutter’s Mill when the discovery of gold occurred there in 1848 (Our Heritage 73). The Saints had hit yet another hardship in the request that they send men to fight in the Mexican War. However, the Saints met this challenge well and responded by send- ing over 500 men to war as their country had asked. 32
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