Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Charles S. Peterson


Charles S. Peterson


Ross Peterson


Ron Smith


The purpose of this thesis was to trace the pattern of Mormon immigration from Europe and the eastern United States during the decade of the 1860s. Although the initial Mormon migration of 1847 has recieved extensive attention from historians, later organized movements into the Great Basin by immigrant Mormon groups has remained virtually untouched. This thesis traces the formation, organization, and implementation of the church train emigration from Europe and the eastern United States. Also, it details its organization from the church hierarchy, as well as the extensive participation by the Mormon population as a whole.

A primary focus of the thesis centered on the pervasive comraderie and sacrifice of the Mormons living in Utah. With the pragmatic leadership of Brigham Young, coupled with the superb organizational apparatus of the church train system, the Mormon church was afforded the opportunity to aid more than twenty thousand converts to immigrate to Utah Territory from 1861-1868.

In addition, this study concerned itself with an unprecedented occurrence in the field of nineteenth century transportation. By utilizing the church train system adroitly, the Mormons were the first and only organization to journey both to and from the Missouri River (with large emigrant companies), in one season. This was an extremely important breakthrough in nineteenth century transportation and deserves greater attention from historians.

The history of the church train emigration was both unique and successful. It presents a prime example of Mormon organizational abilities in the face of complex and difficult impediments.



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