The Mormon Pioneer Trail - Talmage, Iowa
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 41° 03.050 W 094° 06.023
15T E 407526 N 4544983
Quick Description: This National Park Service Tablet is located near the parking lot of the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery State Historical Preserve near Talmage, Iowa.
Location: Iowa, United States
Date Posted: 7/22/2009 7:19:25 PM
Waymark Code: WM6VAV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 9

Long Description:
Text of the left side of the tablet:

The Mormon Pioneer Trail
Beginning in February 1846, the vanguard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) struggled across southern Iowa on the way to their "New Zion" in the Rocky Mountains.

The trek from Nauvoo, Illinois to Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa tested the endurance of humans, animals and equipment. The frozen landscape of an Iowa February soon turned a thawing mixture of mud and muck. Their unshakeable faith and determination sustained them, however, and thousands of men, women, and children arrived at the Missouri River having completed this first portion of the journey west under extremely difficult conditions.

After wintering in the present-day Omaha/Council Bluffs district; the Saints continued across Nebraska and Wyoming to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Today, a marked 1,624 mile long auto tour route closely parallels this historic route.

The Mormon Pioneers struggled across the Iowa prairies, traversed the Great Plains of Nebraska, climbed the backbone of the continent at South Pass Wyoming, and descended the Pacific slope of the Rocky Mountains to the Great Salt Lake Valley of Utah.

(map of the Mormon National Historic Trail)

Center of the NPS Tablet

What's in a Name?
In the Bible, Mount Pisgah is the place from which Moses saw the promised land. As Parley P. Pratt approached the crest of the hill upon which you are standing, he saw the beautiful Grand River Valley below him and felt he could see the Mormon "Zion".

Pratt was sent by the Pioneer party to find a location for the second semi-permanent camp in Iowa. Here, three thousand acres of land were cleared, log homes and other buildings appeared, and crops were planted. A natural year-round spring and the Grand River provided excellent water sources for the Mormon Pioneers.

Perhaps Pratt was not actually viewing the promised land from this hilltop, as the name Mount Pisgah suggests. However, the beauty and abundance of this site provided a welcome respite for the Pioneers after three and a half months of struggling through the Iowa mud.

The arrow indicates your present location and the dots mark the sites of other panels across the state. For a brochure with more detailed route information, contact the nearest tourist information office.

(map of the Mormon Historical Trail through Iowa)

Right Side of the NPS Marker

Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography
"Riding about three or four miles through beautiful prairies, I came suddenly to some round and sloping hills, grassy and crowned with beautiful groves of timber; while alternate open groves and forests seemed blended in all beauty and harmony of an English park. While beneath and beyond, on the West, rolled a main branch of grand River, with its rich bottoms of alternate forest and prairie. As I approached this lovely scenery, several deer and wolves, being startled at the sight of me... bounded away... Being pleased and excited at the varied beauty before me, I cried out, "this is Mount Pisga.""

Eliza R.Snow, June 4, 1846
"Mov'd into a house built of logs,some peal'd & some with bark on... the roof form'd by stretching the tent cloth over the ridge pole & fastening at the bottom of the outside..."

Orson Pratt
May 19, 1846
"We concluded to form another settlement here, for the benefit of the poor, and such as were unable, for the want of teams, to proceed further. Accordingly, the camp commenced building houses, ploughing, planting, and fencing in farms..."

These excerpts, selected from thousands of faded Pioneer journals, tell us how it was on the trail for the Mormon Pioneers, who in spite of daily toil, hardships, and death, left us a thousand windows into the past.

(illustration of a cave dugout and two men building split log fencing)

(metal tag on case)
Exhibits funded in part by the AMCA Humanities Board and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Visit Instructions:
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wildernessmama visited The Mormon Pioneer Trail - Talmage, Iowa 12/26/2010 wildernessmama visited it