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Mormon Historical

   Orville M. Allen
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Tip: Return to your last location

"Nauvoo War Victims"

The first wave of Mormons continued to leave Nauvoo through May 1846.  By late summer, 10,000 had made it to the Missouri River.  Around 600-800 remained behind, being unable to afford the journey.  Referred to as the "Nauvoo War," in mid-September, mobs came and escorted the others at gun-point and bayonet point across the Mississippi to Montrose, Iowa, denying them even bare-necessitates.  They were stranded, poor, some sick, and had to wait for others to return to help them travel further.

In late September, Thomas L. Kane visited the "poor camps" finding around 640 people waiting for assistance.  He described the situation as, "Dreadful indeed, was the suffering of these forsaken beings.  Crowed and cramped by cold and sunburn, alternating as each weary day and night dragged on, they were, almost all of them, the crippled victims of disease.  They were there because they had no homes, nor hospital nor poor-house nor friends to offer them any.  They could not satisfy the feeble cravings of their sick; they had not bread to quiet the fractious hunger cries of their children.  Mothers and babies, daughters and grandparents, all of them alike, were bivouacked in tatters, wanting even covering (blankets) to comfort those whom the sick shiver of fever was searching to the marrow."

On September 9th, the Winter Quarters brethren commissioned Orville M. Allen to take men, teams, and wagons to rescue the victims.  The group started on Monday, September 14th, and arrived on Tuesday, October 6th.  Along the way, the rescue team encountered Hyrum Smith's wife, Mary Fielding Smith and her son Joseph F.  Owning land on the Iowa side, she was able to raise funds to purchase supplies, wagons, and teams to make the journey across Iowa with her party of 27.  To help the victims, Mary provided some flour and $15 to cover additional expenses.

Upon the rescue team's arrival on October 6th, plans were made for the return.  The rescue team did not have the resources to transfer all of the people in one trip.  The first group consisting of 157 left on October 9th in 28 wagons.

James Murdock and Allan Taylor headed a second rescue team sent from Winter Quarters in October.  Almost all remaining church members were assembled and returned to Winter Quarters.

Several other church members hid out in surrounding areas near Nauvoo, and also across the river in Montrose, Iowa.  Many remaining members eventually made it to the Missouri River, Winter Quarters, and on to Salt Lake Valley.

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