The Mississippi Saints
In the mid-1800s a small group of Church members lived in Monroe County, Mississippi. Most of these members were successful farmers and businessmen. They joined the Church primarily due to the missionary efforts of John Brown, also a southerner from Tennessee.
Shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, John was called to Nauvoo by Brigham Young. Brigham asked John to return to Mississippi and to prepare those saints to go West to join the main company of saints near the Platte River and to continue West with the main company. The Mississippi Saints had chosen John’s father-in-law, William Crosby, to be their leader. Preparations were made and forty-three persons left for the West. Although not all of the Mississippi Saints left—John Brown would be back in the fall to take them out West.
Even though these Mississippi Saints left after Brigham Young and the main body of saints, and that they had to travel further than Brigham, they reached the Platte River before Brigham. However, they thought that they were late and had missed Brigham and his group, so they quickly headed West in hopes to catch up to the Saints led by Brigham Young.
Because of the skillsets, the preparedness, and the willingness to follow the prophet, these Mississippi Saints traveled faster than most pioneer companies and relatively had an easier time migrating West. Also, on their journey west, the Lord brought to them some other travelers that brought to the group additional skill sets and knowledge that helped these saints.
On their trip West they were led to Fort Laramie—a “wretched species of a fort…and dilapidated.” They settled in and immediately started to renovate some of the old buildings, added several new homes and even built a meeting place. These modifications and additions proved not only to be a benefit for these saints but created a place of recovery for many of the sick of the Mormon Battalion—which proved to save their lives.
In 1847, under Brigham Young’s direction, John Brown and a few able-bodied men joined Brigham’s vanguard company, the company sent ahead of the main body and headed to the Salt Lake Valley—arriving there on July 22. They quickly planted potatoes, beans, and buckwheat which were planted by the time Brigham arrived on July 24th. Also, true to Southern tradition, these Mississippi Saints mowed the grass and planted a turnip patch.
Because these men and women were marvelous frontiersmen, resourceful colonizers, shrewd traders and faithful in following the prophet, these Mississippi Saints were asked to also settle in Southern California, founding San Bernardino. After about seven years, most obeyed Brigham’s call to return back to Utah during the so-called “Utah War.” Then later, they were asked to pack up again to help in colonizing other areas in Southern Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Idaho.
So, is it possible for history to repeat itself where the Lord would call a people that are industrious, skilled in various ways of being self-reliant and able to settle new communities? Is it possible that one of those people is you?