West from Fort Bridger and Trailing the Pioneers

J. RODERIC KORNS and DALE MORGAN, eds. West from Fort Bridger: The Pioneering of Immigrant Trails across Utah, 1846-1850. Utah State University Press, 1994. Revised and updated by Will Bagley and Harold Schindler.

PETER H. DELAFOSSE, ed. Trailing the Pioneers: A Guide to Utah’s Emigrant Trails, 1829-1869. Utah State University Press, 1994.

For the earliest pioneers making the overland journey to the west coast, Utah was a problem that most chose to go around. By providing excerpts from early explorers’ journals and reports, West from Fort Bridger documents the pioneering of emigrant trails (146–50) that did cross Utah. The editors include notes and commentary to clarify the journal entries.

West from Fort Bridger, first published in 1951, has a tangled genealogy. In 1941, Dale Morgan started an eight-year correspondence with J. Roderic Korns, a Salt Lake businessman, and Charles Kelly, an amateur explorer who rediscovered the Salt Desert trails in the 1920s. The three men performed the research at the heart of the book and argued out facts, theories, discoveries, and problems through “hundreds of pages of letters.” When Korns died in July 1949, Dale Morgan compiled and published the book in the name of his friend. It was an instant success but was published in a very limited edition, and it has always been difficult to find.

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