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Mormon Historical

   Orville M. Allen
   Ezra T. Benson
   Oliver Cowdery
   Orson Hyde
   Alexander Hunter
   J. E. Johnson
   Thomas L. Kane
   Heber C. Kimball
   Jesse Little
   Amasa Lyman
   Henry W. Miller
   James Murdock
   John Neff
   Orson Pratt
   Parley P. Pratt
   Dr. Willard Richards
   George A. Smith
   Joseph Smith
   Mary Fielding Smith
   Hyrum Smith
   Allan Taylor
   John Taylor
   Jacob Weber, Sr.
   Lyman Wight
   Wilford Woodruff
   Brigham Young

Tip: Return to your last location
Tip: Return to your last location

"Winter Quarters III"

Later Developments

Mormons continued to depart for the Great Salt Lake Valley throughout summer 1847 as more stragglers arrived from the east.  Winter Quarters continued to grow and make advances.  The population grew to around 5,000 at its maximum population during the winter of 1847/1848.

Some Mormons stayed in the Winter Quarters area beyond the original two year agreement.*  Around 2,000 left for Salt Lake Valley during the summer of 1848.  Those that didn't move on to Utah had to move back across the Missouri.  They settled in Kanesville, and in nearby communities.  Eventually, Winter Quarters was abandoned altogether.  Prairie fires destroyed some homes and buildings; Indians and Riverboat "wood-hawks" scavenged wood from cabins and buildings until any resemblance of a town ever existing there was eliminated except for the mill and cemetery.  The mill was even left in a state of disrepair for a period.

Nebraska Territory

In 1854, the Indian treaty ended, the lands were ceded to the United States, and the natives moved to Kansas.  A short time later, Nebraska became a territory of the U.S. open for settlement.  There was a good chance that a railroad was heading this way.  The same community that had now been abandoned by the Mormons was again considered a valuable place for a startup town.  The river had a rock bottom, perfect for building a bridge across the river capable of supporting a railroad.  Enterprising young men living in Council Bluffs took the gamble and invested in the future of a new town that turned out to be Florence, a town that has a proud history all its own.

The Mormons continued to arrive at and leave the Winter Quarters, Kanesville, and Ferryville area for the next few years.  Mormons traveling west paused at Winter Quarters only momentarily in the years following to take in a perspective of their predecessor's history.  Ferryville, carrying on the tradition like Winter Quarters, became the most important outfitting place before heading west past the Rocky Mountains.  Not only Mormons, but many other travelers used the same outfitting companies that had developed at Winter Quarters and Ferryville.

The railroad race might have been lost in Florence to its closest neighbor to the south through questionable tactics but Florence continued to grow, and has many important historical sites to prove it.  The settlers that chose Florence, and continue to until this day are the same type of people with tenacity and a willingness to build a proud community.  If the Mormons left nothing more than an idea that this land was livable, it is all that we need to continue the spirit you can find there today; you will undoubtedly find much more.  These words are but a smattering of seeing things first-hand.  Knowing a bit of the history will give you a respect filled with emotion when you visit the community that is proud of its history and its earliest pioneers.

T.O.C.          Next

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