WHO WERE THE PIONEERS?
]HE Pioneers of Utah, specifically speaking, were a little band of pilgrims
who, under the leadership of Brigham Young, crossed the great plains
from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains in the spring and summer of
\ 847. They were the vanguard of the expatriated Mormon community, who, after
their exodus from Illinois, were resting at Winter Quarters (now Florence, Neb-
raska,) and at other scattered camps among the prairies of Iowa.
The purpose of the Pioneers�who began their pilgrimage about the middle
of April�was to find a home for their people in the region of the Rocky Mount-
ains. They accomplished that purpose, when from the summit of Big Mountain
on the 23rd of July their leader caught his first glimpse of the Valley declared by
him to be the place pointed out by Providence where his exiled people should
permanently pitch their tents.
The Pioneers at starting numbered J48 souls, including three women and
two children; but on the way the census of the camp underwent various changes.
It was increased at Fort Laramie by a number of emigrants from Mississippi, a
portion of a small company who had passed the winter at Pueblo. This company
numbered about sixty souls, but only seventeen of them joined the Pioneers and
journeyed with them to the Mountains. At Laramie four of the Pioneers were
despatched to Pueblo to lead the main body of the Mississippians westward; nine
were left in the Black Hills region to manage a ferry for the emigration that was
following, and five returned from Green River to meet their families in that
emigration. At this point twelve members of the Mormon Battalion, from Pueblo,
joined the Pioneer camp; as did Samuel Brannan, of the ship "Brooklyn," who
after landing his New York colony at San Francisco Bay and settling them on
the San Joaquin River, had hurried overland with one or two companions to meet
President Young and persuade him to plant his colony on the Pacific Coast. At
Fort Bridger, Brannan and a few others returned toward South Pass to meet
the Mississippians and other members of the Battalion who were following in the
wake of the Pioneers.