The Mormon Trail
From 1847 to the 1860s, the Mormon migration along the Great Platte River Road marked a distinctive chapter in the history of westward expansion. In contrast to the random migrations of individual families or companies that characterized much of the activity to California or Oregon, the Mormon migration was the organized movement of an entire people to a new place of refuge in the mountains of the far west.
Seeking to escape religious persecution that had followed them in the east, the pioneer Mormon company traveled the Great Platte River Road in the spring and summer of 1847. The group purposefully stayed on the north side of the Platte instead of using the more heavily traveled Oregon Trail on the south side.
On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young's pioneer party founded Salt Lake City, a magnet that drew an estimated 60,000 Latter-day Saints to Utah along the Platte River Road for the next 20 years.
[Illustration captions, from left to right, read]
Some Mormon companies were so poor they pulled crude handcarts the 2,000 miles to Salt Lake City
[On bison skull] Pioneers Camped here June 3d/47 making 15 miles today. All well. Brigham Young
Advance parties of the migration left messages on buffalo skulls for those who would follow.
Several historical sites in Nebraska commemorate the Mormon migration.
Organized in 1830 in upper New York State by the first Mormon prophet leader, Joseph Smith, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints later built the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, before their expulsion by mobs in 1845 and 1846.
Brigham Young became the leader of the Mormons after the death of Joseph Smith in 1844. He directed the exodus to Utah.
More than 2,000 Mormons died along the trail. Rebecca Winters' grave, near modern Scottsbluff, is one of the few that has been preserved and marked.
Erected by Nebraska Games and Parks Commission and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mormon Pioneer Trail marker series.
Location. 40° 49.309′ N, 98° 17.725′ W. Marker is near Grand Island, Nebraska, in Hall County. Marker is on Interstate 80 at milepost 316.5, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is on the Rest Station's west wall. Marker is at or near this postal address: Grand Island I-80 Rest Area Westbound, Doniphan NE 68832, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Also see . . . Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. (Submitted on December 17, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 195 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.