The Mormon Pioneer Trail / Tragedy along the Trace - Chariton, IA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 41° 00.880 W 093° 18.480
15T E 474102 N 4540431
This stand-up marker is located on the southwest lawn of the Lucas County Courthouse - 916 Braden Avenue in Chariton, Iowa.
Waymark Code: WMP0R7
Location: Iowa, United States
Date Posted: 06/05/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 4

This stand-up marker is located on the southwest lawn of the Lucas County Courthouse. The left side of the marker is a general description of the Mormon Trail and the right side describes a specific incident along the trail.

Text of the left side:
The Mormon Pioneer Trail

Beginning in February of 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 into a thawing mixture of nearly impassible mud and muck. Their unshakable 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 auto tour route closely parallels this historic route.

(map of the trek)
(map of the US with the states that the Saints trekked through highlighted.)

The Mormon Pioneers struggled across 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 Slat Lake Valley of Utah.

Text of the right side:
Tragedy along the Trail

West of the city of Chariton, one of the scenic roads of Lucas County passes down through an area known as Grave Hollow, a declivity between the wooded hills, gradually sloping down to the Whitebreast River. Grave Hollow came by its name by an unfortunate accident.

A family named Gabbut was making the long trek along the Northern Trace of the Mormon Trail in October, 1846. After crossing the Chariton River, Sarah Gabbut tried to get back into her wagon but slipped and fell. Startled, the oxen bolted and the heavy wagon ran over her abdomen. She lingered for an hour and then died. The company carted her body until the end of the days' travel and buried her at their camp in Grave Hollow.

Accidents with wagons and stock were common along the trail. Such events were usually not fatal for pioneer families, but they did cause many unfortunate injuries during the trek west.

(map of the Counties of Iowa with the Mormon trail and with Points of Interest highlighted)
(Map of Iowa with the Counties that had the Mormon Trail go trough highlighted)

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

(picture of accident along the Trail)

Although oxen moved very slowly, there was no quick way of stopping them. Many women were injured because their long skirts got caught, dragging them under animals or wagon wheels.

(Journal pages on far right side of marker)
Thomas Bullock October 30, 1848

"... his wife Sarah Gabbut attempting to get back into the Wagon, laid hold of a churn dasher which being cracked, gave way, and she fell against the Oxen, which so startled them, that they started off at a full run. She fell to the ground and the Wheels of the Wagon passed over her loins or kidneys. She exclaimed "Oh dear, I am dying." She lingered until 5 min. to q and breathed her last. We continued over hill and dale until we came to one of the tributaries of the "White Breast"... Laid Sister Gabbut out in her robes, and part prepared her grave."

Harriet Kellog, Recollections
"... passing through a fearful gorge named Grave Hollow deriving its name from a circumstance which illustrates the hazards through which the pioneer was obliged to pass, it being the last resting place of a Mormon woman who was killed in making a descent (incorrect) of a hill."

This project was co-founded and produced by the Iowa Mormon Trails Association.
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