Chariton River Crossing

Distance: 80 miles from Nauvoo

The main body of the pioneers chose to remain at Chariton to wait out some of the worst weather of the Iowa crossing. The pause allowed Saints scattered along the length of the trail to catch up, completing the organization of the initial pioneer company.

Journal Entries

Courtesy Church History Library and Archives

Orson Pratt

March 22, 1846

The heavy rains had rendered the prairies impassable; and our several camps were very much separated from each other. We were compelled to remain as we were for some two or three weeks, during which time our animals were fed upon the limbs and bark of trees, for the grass had not yet started, and we were a number of miles from any inhabited country, and therefore, it was very inconvenient to send for grain. The heavy rains and snows, together with frosty nights, rendered our situation very uncomfortable. Our camps were now more perfectly organized, and captains were appointed over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens, and over these all, a presidency and counsellors, together with other necessary officers.”

Orson Pratt journal, Mar. 22, 1846, as reprinted in Millennial Star, Dec. 15, 1849, 370.

Zina Huntington Young

“On the banks of the Chariton an incident occurred ever eventful in the life of woman. I had been told in the temple that I should acknowledge God even in a miracle in my deliverance in woman’s hour of trouble, which hour had now come. We had traveled one morning about five miles, when I called for a halt in our march. There was but one person with me—Mother Lyman, the aunt of George A. Smith; and there on the bank of the Chariton I was delivered of a fine son. . . . Occasionally the wagon had to be stopped, that I might take breath. Thus I journeyed on. But I did not mind the hardship of my situation, for my life had been preserved, and my babe seemed so beautiful.”

Zina Huntington Young, in Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877), 328.

Sara Rich

“We left the Chariton on our march towards the Rocky Mountains, leaving all the settlements behind, so from there on we had to pick our way without any road, only as we made it.”

Sarah De Ammon Pea Rich journal, typescript, 57, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.