“Of greater significance was the closing of two missions in the West, Carson Valley in present-day Nevada and San Bernardino on the Coast. Begun by private individuals in 1849, . . . by 1858 450 people hd settled in [Carson valley, Genoa, or Mormon Station]. Young did not hesitate to break up the colony in August 1857. A similar policy was carried out in San Bernardino. Filling the vital position as the Mormon’s only access to the sea, it had grown rapidly in population and wealth after its founding in 1851, until it had become a town of at least 1,500 people, perhaps even twice that figure. At the end of the summer of 1857, Young instructed the residents to sell their property and return to Salt Lake City.
There is some disagreement over the real purpose of this disruption of settlements established at much expense and labor. According to one interpretation, Young had always opposed the work of colonization, especially in San Bernardino, for he feared that Mormons located too far from the central offices of the Church would lose the earnestness of their faith. . . . A more plausible explanation lies in theMormon’s need for supplies, primary ammunition and weapons. . . .[T’]he Church could acquire desperately needed stores if its people sold their property and with the revenue purchased powder and arms on the West Coast.”