First Mormon Immigrants from England

With that energetically pushed exodus, the first phase of the Gathering was over, the Nauvoo refugees finally gathered in. And as early as September 3, 1850, as if to prefigure the future, there had arrived in the valley a train composed of thirty-one wagons of English converts led by Abraham Smoot. They brought Captain Pitt’s Brass Band to the mouth of Emigration Canyon for that one, and fired off the artillery, and held a feast and a dance. For these were European paupers, the so-called “Poor Company,” the first of the English poor to be brought to Zion under the protection of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund. Not many like them would follow until the Pottawattamie lands were cleared, but after 1852 most of the companies that traveled the Mormon Trail would not be American frontier farmers with pioneering skills in their hands and muscles, but English millhands and miners, Corn Law paupers, incipient Chartists, Scandinavian farmers, German servant girls—the industrially dispossessed, the chronically unemployed, the widowed, the orphaned, those for whom Zion in the tops of the mountains was a far golden word, a pillar of fire or cloud, a star shining in the West. More than ever, because of their weakness and inexperience, they had to be brought across an ocean and a continent not by their own spontaneous efforts, but by the systematic effort of experts.