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Iowa Prairie

Iowa Prairie

In the spring of 1846, amidst severe religious persecution, Latter-day Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo, Illinois. Their ultimate goal was to travel to the Rocky Mountains and establish “Zion”. Traveling across the tall grass prairies of Iowa became a challenge. The first company started their journey on February 6, by crossing the Mississippi River. Due to the cold, snow, and extensive spring rains, their 265-mile journey across Iowa took until June 14 when they arrived on the banks of the Missouri River, near modern-day Omaha, Nebraska. Their travels averaged a mere two-and-a-half miles per day. Commenting on one day’s travels, Brigham Young said, “We crossed only one mud puddle today, it was six miles long.” By starting later in the spring or summer, the journey across Iowa took about a month or less. After a few years, immigrating Saints from the eastern United States and Europe traveled by railroad to Iowa City and then traveled in wagon or handcart trains to the Missouri River.