The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were ready to make the trek to the Rocky Mountains in April 1847. The Latter-Day Saints had set up a small town in Nebraska and named it, Winter Quarters. The purpose of Winter Quarters was to re-group, prepare for the rest of the journey, and provide provisions for future Saints coming through.
The Elkhorn River in Nebraska was another starting point for the Saints. The meeting point at Elkhorn River is about twenty miles west from Winter Quarters. This was the spot where wagons groups were made, along with rules and information given to the groups starting the next long stretch of the journey.
Elkhorn was the unmarked boundary line between the Omaha and Pawnee tribes.
Crossing the Elkhorn River was not an easy task either. The wagons had to be taken across the river on rafts. The river was about 150 wide!
Imagine being at the beginning of this new section of the journey to the Rocky Mountains, and knowing this is the beginning of the end of the journey, no more waiting. All these people were following the prophets call to gather in Zion. As the song says, these faithful Latter-Day Saints, went forward with “faith in ever footstep, they followed Christ the Lord.”
As the Saints gathered at Elkhorn River it was probably exciting and nerve wracking time. These faithful members were at another point of ‘no return.’ Every step was further away from what they had known their whole lives. This new land was going to bring new adventures, hardships, faith, and courage to the pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. These pioneers faced it all! The lessons learned on this trek are still teaching generations of Latter-Day Saints hundred of years later. The sacrifices of the “Mormon Pioneers” built a strong people of God, and future generations are forever indebted to their sacrifices!