History of the Church Series | BYU Studies

History of the Church Series

November 1, 2017
History of the Church Series
Mormon Trail Network in Nebraska, 1846–1868: A New Look
Author Stanley B. Kimball

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Stanley B. Kimball. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

For more than twenty years during the mid-nineteenth century, between 1846 and 1868, thousands of Mormons traversed southern Nebraska, going east and west, utilizing a network of trails aggregating well over 1,800 miles, considerably more than the famous 1,300-mile-long Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.

To date, interest in and knowledge of these Nebraska trails has focused largely on the pioneer route of 1847. But there were many other trails and variants. A new picture of Mormon migration in Nebraska is emerging, showing that state to have been much more widely traveled by Mormons than has heretofore been recognized. We are just now beginning to appreciate the dimensions and magnitude of the Mormon use of Nebraska trails.