Parley P. Pratt in Winter Quarters and the Trail West



Much has been written about the Mormon pioneer company that went to the Great Basin in 1847. Little has been written about the large immigration group that followed, organized principally by Parley P. Pratt. Returning from England in April 1847, Apostle Pratt, together with John Taylor and Orson Hyde, successfully closed the Joint Stock Company, an ill-fated English trading company started by Reuben Hedlock, Thomas Ward, and Wilford Woodruff. Arriving in Winter Quarters just when Brigham Young and the pioneers were leaving for the West, Parley, and to a lesser extent John Taylor, reorganized and enlarged the companies for emigration west, negotiated with the Omaha and Otoe Indians and the U.S. government Indian agents to protect the Mormons’ cattle from Indian attack, and tried to make Winter Quarters more economically efficient. They also dealt with difficult problems concerning plural marriage and wrestled with the question of leadership and authority in the absence of Brigham Young.


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