Mount Pisgah Cemetery State Preserve - near Talmage, Iowa
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 41° 03.055 W 094° 06.023
15T E 407526 N 4544992
Quick Description: This 9 acre Iowa State Preserve (this is what Iowa calls a State Historical Park) is located 1.5 miles northeast of Talmage, Iowa, on Mount Pisgah Road.
Location: Iowa, United States
Date Posted: 5/16/2020 8:00:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM12FKH
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member coisos
Views: 0

Long Description:
My Commentary:
The site is marked with a roadside pullout - it doesn't have State Park signage in the traditional sense - it has a historical marker for the signage. The site contains a picnic shelter, separate picnic table, grill, and pit toilet facilities. The site itself honors the members of the Latter Day Saints who left Nauvoo in 1848 and built a temporary waystation here at Mount Pisgah until 1852. The site contains a 12 foot tall obelisk honoring 63 Latter Day Saints who were known to be buried at the site.

The site of Mount Pisgah (Iowa) is now marked by a nine-acre (3.6 ha) Mount Pisgah Cemetery State Preserve, which contains the 12-foot high obelisk, exhibits, historical markers, and a reconstructed log cabin. However, little remains from the 19th century except a cemetery memorializing the those emigrants who died while passing through or residing in the community.

While sign states the loss of 300-800 souls, only about 60 are listed on the monument, about 92 are identified with FindAGrave, so that actual fatality rate maybe only about 150. Many of those interned in this region are listed on Mount Pisgah Monument.

The creation of this monument in 1888 denotes this place as the first historical landmark of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and predates any other historical site preservation efforts. It is now part of their Mormon Trail series of landmarks.

The community had been beset by illness. Many Saints, in their weakened condition following months of rigorous travel, died while at Mount Pisgah. Although estimates vary, at least 80 people died within their first year of residence. The cemetery at the top of the hill likely includes the graves of about 150 Latter-day Saints, although only 63 names are listed on the monument. William Huntington, the community’s first branch president, is among those buried there, as is Joseph Knight, a close associate and early supporter of Joseph Smith. Children were particularly vulnerable. The infant children of two future Apostles were laid to rest in the cemetery: Leonora Charlotte Snow (1847-1847), six-month-old daughter of Lorenzo and Charlotte Squires Snow, and Isaac Phineas Richards (1846-1846), son of Franklin D. and Jane Snyder Richards, who died the same day he was born. While friends and family continued to mourn their loved ones, most people forgot the cemetery as Latter-day Saints abandoned the wagon road across Iowa in favor of other routes.

- Familypedia on Mount Pisgah



The Mount Pisgah Monument is located in a small cemetery on the route of the Mormon Trail near the town of Thayer, Iowa. The cemetery likely includes as many as 150 Latter-day Saint pioneers who lived in the temporary settlement of Mount Pisgah between 1846 and 1852. The original grave markers are long gone, but a 12-foot-high obelisk memorializes those who died at Mount Pisgah and provides the names of 63 of those interred there. Interpretive markers and a reconstructed pioneer-era log cabin can be found in an adjacent state preserve.

Mount Pisgah was one of three temporary way stations Latter-day Saints established in central Iowa during the exodus from Nauvoo. Between 2,000 and 3,000 pioneers lived in Mount Pisgah at its height, and thousands more stopped there briefly on their way west. Although the community provided refuge and a chance for the Saints to rest and prepare for their journey further west, illness was rampant and the death rate was high. Mount Pisgah and the other settlements in central Iowa were completely abandoned in 1852, when Church leaders called Latter-day Saints still residing in the Midwest to gather to Utah.

- Latter Day Saints History of Mount Pisgah



Mount Pisgah Cemetery State Preserve is a small portion of a historic cemetery associated with a way station established by the Mormons as they migrated westward across Iowa during the mid-1800s. This 1-acre preserve is located in Mount Pisgah Park, twelve miles east of Creston in Union County. The 300 to 800 wooden markers that once marked the graves scattered on the hillside have long since disappeared but a monument now honors all who died here. Named for a biblical mountain, this area was dedicated as a historical state preserve in 1971.

In the mid-1840s, social turmoil forced Mormons to leave Nauvoo, Illinois. On February-5, 1846, a mass exodus began. The travelers battled weather, fatigue, starvation, and disease on their trip across the tallgrass prairie of Iowa en route to Salt Lake City. They were not prepared for the hardships that they encountered on their journey and many died along the way. The springlike weather they first experienced changed quickly as snow fell and temperatures plummeted. The Mormons averaged only three miles per day during the first month as they struggled against the cold and snow. By the end of March, spring rains and thawing replaced the snow and cold, but the prairie became a sea of mud. Many of the horses could not pull the heavy wagons through the mud.

More than 2,000 Mormons pitched their tents at Mount Pisgah in 1846, the first pioneer settlement in Union County. Temporary shelters were dug in the hillsides until log cabins could be built and blacksmith shops constructed to repair the wagons. The settlers found it impossible to break the tough prairie sod, and hundreds of acres of trees were girdled and cleared before crops could be planted. The lack of food and inadequate shelter took its toll on the new settlement, and more than 160 people died during the first six months.

- Iowa State Preserve Listings Mount Pisgah Cemetery



(side 1 of obelisk monument)
This Monument Erected A.D 1888 In memory of those members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who died in 1840, 1847, And 1848, Denying their exodus to seek a home beyond the Rocky Mountains. Interred here is William Huntington The first Presiding Elder of the temporary Settlement called PISGAH. Lenora Charlotte Snow Daughter of Elder Lorenzo & Charlotte Squires Snow Isaac Phinehas Richards Son of Elder Franklin D and Jane Snyder Richards

(side 2 of obelisk monument)
Betsey Gurley Shipley. Nephi Shipley. David McKee. Polly Sweat. Louisa Cox. Eliza Cox. Henry Davis. Joel Campbell. Emily Whiting. Elisha Whiting. Sally Whiting. Widow Hewl Whiting. Elizabeth Daniels. Rebecca Adair. Lane Ann Mangum. Jemima Mangum Adair. William Jefferson Adair.

(side 3 of obelisk monument)
Ezra T.B.Adair. Nancy Workman. Samuel Workman. Samuel Steele. Simeon Thayer. Cloah Thayer. Jessy Hitchcocke Wife. Clark Hallet. Phebe Hallet. Ann Gould Hallet. Louses Hallet 8. 2 other children. Sarah Hulet. Sarah Ann Hulet. Noah Rogers. Amos Philemon Rogers. Mary Briant Ensign. Margaret Josephine Billingsley.

(side 4 of obelisk monument)
Hyrum Spencer. Alvah Hancock. Gardner Edmison. Philinda Galvin Jordin. Joseph Smith Billingsley. Elkano Keller. Mrs. Baldwin and Baby. Mr. Hess Mr. Hays) Buried on west side of river. Joseph Merryfield. Mr. Cook. Wife of Mr. Brown. Mr. Thompson. William Selvannies Bishop. Joseph Franklin Bishop. Angelin Carter. Stranger not in the book. Henry Judson. Alexander Guy. Benjamin Guy. Emma Jane Johnson. Martha A Dunn.

- Obelisk Text



(Text of the front side of the marker)
Mt. Pisgah - Mormon
Pioneer Way Station

Between 300 and 400 Mormon pioneers perished
here from 1846 to 1852. Having been driven
from their homes by armed mobs, they stopped
here on their westward trek, named it Mt.
Pisgah after a Biblical mountain range, and
established a way-station. Thousands of acres
were cleared, buildings built, and caves dug
for shelter until log cabins were constructed,
but lack of food and adequate shelter took
their toll. In spite of these hardships Mt.
Pisgah became a stopping place for an almost
endless train of westward-bound Mormon pioneers
until 1852 when the last Latter-day Saints
left and the site was bought by a Henry
Peters and named Petersville.

The original community was located on
the slope and flatlands east of this spot. The
cemetery extended down the hill to the west,
north and south beyond the railroad tracks.
Headstones were long ago removed or destroyed
by the elements, but the large monument
was erected in 1888.

(Text of the reverse side of the marker)
Chief Pied Riche
Tells the Spirit
of Mt. Pisgah


Soon after the Mormons arrived
here the renowned Indian Chief
Pied Riche came to bid them welcome
and tell them how the Pottawatomie
Indians had likewise been driven
from their homeland in what is now
Michigan. "We must help one another,
and the Great Spirit will help us
both. Because one suffers and does
not deserve it is no reason he
shall suffer always. We may live to
see it right yet. If we do not,
our children will."

- Marker Text



Who placed it?: Latter-day Saints

When was it placed?: 1888

Who is honored?: Mormon Pioneers who lived and died at Mt' Pisgah

Website about the Monument: [Web Link]

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