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History of Mountain Meadow, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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In April 1857 a California-bound wagon train estimated at 40 wagons, 120 to 150 men, women, and children, and as many as 900 head of beef cattle, in addition to draft and riding animals, assembled near the Crooked Creek, approximately four miles south of present-day Harrison, Arkansas. Most of these emigrants were from northwestern Arkansas and were families, relatives, friends, and neighbors. Also included in the group may have been some from Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and northeastern Texas.

When they began their journey, their wagon train was identified by some as the Baker train. En route it was known as the Perkins train; in Utah it became known as the Fancher train. However, there were probably individuals and perhaps elements of other wagon trains that joined the Fancher train along the way. The emigrants arrived in Salt Lake City on or about 10 August--a most crucial stop. There they had to refurbish their equipment, refresh themselves and their stock, and replenish their supplies. They also had to decide whether to take the shorter, cooler northern route or the longer, warmer southern route to California. The lateness of the season was the determining factor. They started on the northern route and then retraced their steps to take the southern route.

Their arrival in Utah could not have been at a more critical time. The once friendly Mormons, usually eager to trade agricultural commodities for manufactured goods, were now hostile and reluctant to trade. War hysteria permeated the area. President Buchanan had secretly dispatched an expedition to Utah to suppress what he believed was a rebellion. Governor Brigham Young subsequently issued a proclamation of martial law on 5 August (reissued on 15 September) which, among other things, forbade people from traveling through the territory without a pass. The citizens of Utah were discouraged from selling food to immigrants, especially for animal use.


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