Emigration Route of European Mormons

So long as Nauvoo had been the place of gathering, New Orleans was the port at which they landed, and the Mississippi the route of their journey inland. Essentially the same route was re-established in 1848, with the addition that emigrants either went overland on the Mormon Road from near Keokuk to Council Bluffs or, like Piercy, took a Missouri River steamboat from St. Louis to the frontier. But in 1854 Brigham Young wrote to Franklin Richards, in charge of the English mission, instructing him to abandon the Mississippi River route because of the cholera and malaria on the river, and ship his passengers to Philadelphia, Boston, or New York, from which Church agents would send them by train to Pittsburgh, by Ohio River steamboat to St. Louis, and by Missouri River boat to some staging point. Because of this change, Kanesville fell into disuse as the jumping-off place. During 1854, Westport (essentially Kansas City) was the assembly point for the plains journey; in 1855 Mormon Grove, just outside of Atchison, Kansas, about midway between Westport and St. Joseph; from 1856 through 1858, either Iowa City, the first capital of Iowa, or Florence, Nebraska, which had grown up on the ashes of Winter Quarters. After 1858 all Mormon trains staged at Florence until the extension of the Union Pacific westward from the Missouri allowed a longer and longer train ride into the plains. In 1864, 1865, and 1866 emigrants rode the cars as far as Wyoming, Nebraska, in 1867 they could ride as far as North Platte, in 1868 to the city of Laramie and later to Benton, Wyoming, along a route that diverged from the old Mormon Trail at the forks of the Platte and crossed the mountains considerably to the south of South Pass.