Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites
Seminary Sam is shown with some of his new friends in Sister
Turner's Senior Cordova Early Morning Seminary class in Rancho Cordova,
California. Rancho Cordova is near the cities of Sacramento and Coloma, California.
One thing more remains to be mentioned in connection with the Mormon
Battalion--the part its discharged members took in the discovery of
gold in California. ...a number of the
Mormon Battalion members found employment at Sutter's Fort, with Mr.
John Sutter himself... his foreman, a Mr. James William Marshall... took in hand the
task of building a sawmill. After considerable exploration the
requisite combination of water power, timber, and the possibility of
easy access to the fort, was found in the Coloma valley...
about forty-five miles due east of Sutter's Fort.
In the latter part of August, or the first of September, Mr.
Marshall with a party of about a dozen white men, nine of whom were
discharged members of the Mormon Battalion, and about as many
Indians, went to Coloma valley and began the construction of the
proposed mill. A brush dam was built in the river and a mill race
constructed along a dry channel, to economize labor. The largest
stones were thrown out of this, and during the night the water would
be turned in to carry off the dirt and sand.
On the 24th of January "while sauntering along the tail race
inspecting the work, Mr. Marshall noticed yellow particles mingled
with the excavated earth, which had been washed by late rains."
Sending an Indian to his cabin for a tin plate, Marshall washed out
some of the soil and obtained a small quantity of yellow metal.
During the evening he remarked to his associates of the camp that he
believed he had found gold, which was received with some doubts, the
expressions being, "I reckon not;" and, "no such luck!"
But Henry W. Bigler, one of the battalion members, made the
following entry in his Journal that day:
"Monday 24 [January]: This day some kind of metal was found in
the tail race that looks like gold."
B. H. Roberts,
Comprehensive History of the Church,
Vol. 3, p. 361-362
shown above are replicas of 1849 $5 and $10 gold coins that were
minted in Salt Lake City out of gold brought to Utah by members of
the Mormon Battalion.
Seminary Sam is shown
standing in an old gold mining car with his friends Laurin and Becky.
Laurin and Sister Turner pose with Seminary Sam
in front of the Old Coloma post office.
Sam and two friends are shown climbing the
crumbling old jail walls
in Coloma. John Marshall's camp was located nearby.
Sam briefly spent some time in "jail" for picking a flower.
A visit from Rebekah cheered him up.
Seminary Sam is shot
out of an old cannon on his way to visit the next historic buildings
Seminary Sam and
friends are shown at the "Mormon Cabin" in
Coloma. President Ezra Taft Benson attended the dedication of this cabin.
It is a replica of where some returned members of the Mormon Battalion
stayed while mining for John Marshall.
The only way historians had of
ascertaining the actual date of the discovery of
gold in California, which led to the
Gold Rush of 1849, was an entry in John Bigler’s
journal. Aren’t we fortunate that this member of the Mormon
battalion kept a journal!
Seminary Sam and two friends are shown standing
on "Mormon Bridge" -- so named to acknowledge the role that the
church played in the settlement of this area of California.
MORMON ISLAND is the name given to a small island on the south fork
of the American River about half way between Coloma and Sutter’s
Fort, in Sacramento County, California.
Encyclopedic History of the Church,
Sam bids farewell to his new friends, he is held for ransom by the "bunny
Seminary Sam traveled to Palo Alto, California to spend time
with Sister Allen's Early Morning Seminary class. Sister Allen's
class took a 'field trip' to church history sites in San Francisco.
The first Latter-day Saint settlers in California located at Yerba
Buena, a port connected with the mission and presidio San Francisco....
By 1845 the mission, founded in 1776, had fewer than one hundred
people living in the area. After Elder Sam Brannan and 238 Saints
arrived there on the ship Brooklyn on July 31, 1846, Latter-day
Saints for a time predominated in Yerba Buena. About twelve families
of the Brooklyn Saints founded the first Mormon colony in
California, the short-lived agricultural community of New Hope
(1846-1848), on the Stanislaus River in central California.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1
Samuel Brannan's chartered
ship, the “Brooklyn,” sailed from New
York harbor on February 4, 1846
-- which was the same day that
Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois began their exodus
The Brooklyn Saints were a group of some 220 Mormons residing in the
eastern United States who traveled by sea to California. Following
Brigham Young's advice to go west, they united under the leadership
of Samuel Brannan and made a 17,000-mile voyage from New York City
to California. Of the Latter-day Saints going westward in 1846--the
Camp of Israel that went to the Great Salt Lake Valley, the Mormon
Battalion, and the Mississippi Saints--the Brooklyn Saints alone
traveled by sea.
Historical Atlas of Mormonism, p.
Believe it or not... This is a picture of the
actual location where the Brooklyn landed. It is now about 4
blocks from the water because through the years San Francisco
has filled in a lot of the waterfront area to create more
land for buildings.
The plaque (shown above) is located near where
the Brooklyn docked. It was placed there in 1940
by the Daughters of the Utah
Pioneers, and it states:
Commentating the landing at this point of the
ship Brooklyn, July 31, 1848, a 370 ton vessel carrying Mormon
colonists and crew of nearly 300 under the leadership of Samuel
In the hold was a printing press, 179 books for
educational purposes, two complete flour mills, plows, harrows and a
supply of implements for settling the new country.
After seeing how beautiful California was, Sam
Brannan became convinced that the Saints should leave Utah and
settle in California.
In the spring of 1847 Elder Brannan crossed the Sierra Nevada
mountains and traveled east by way of Fort Hall as far as Green
river, where he met President Brigham
Young and the other pioneers, and used every influence in his power
with the president to have the Saints settle in California, instead
of Salt Lake Valley. Being unable to change the president in his
course, Elder Brannan returned to California, disappointed, and then
turned his attention to financial matters.
LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p.
It is important to note that when gold was discovered in California
in 1848, the Mormons were in a position to acquire a giant's share
of the precious metal. Six members of the Church were working with
James Marshall when the discovery was made, and they, with some of
their companions, discovered other rich deposits, including the
fabulous Mormon Island. In addition to the men working with
Marshall, over sixty of their Mormon Battalion comrades were
employed by John A. Sutter in the immediate vicinity. Nearly one
hundred discharged members of the Battalion were working in the San
Francisco Bay region and were among the first to reach the gold
fields. Sam Brannan, who announced the discovery in San Francisco,
advised his Mormon colony, who had come to California on the ship
Brooklyn in 1846, to go to the gold areas. More than three hundred
Latter-day Saints were at work on Mormon Island by July, 1848,
according to William Tecumseh Sherman, who accompanied the governor
of California on a tour of the gold fields.
Eugene Edward Campbell,
BYU Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 19
Sister Allen's Seminary class took Seminary Sam
to visit another historic church site. President Wilford Woodruff,
the fourth president of the church, died in San Francisco (in the
home shown above) in 1898.
In August 1898,
President Woodruff was in poor health and
went to San Francisco for better weather. He stayed at the home of
Colonel Isaac Trumbo at 1533 Sutter
Street. On August 27, he addressed the
Bohemian Club, and the next day he spoke
to the Saints in San Francisco. He passed away in this house on September
2, 1898. His body was taken back to Salt Lake City in a special rail
Sister Allen's class found this house
accidentally in January 2002 when one of their
class members, Alex Jugant, was running the Olympic Torch on its way
to Salt Lake City. They
went to watch Alex run, and he
ran by this historic
home. They noticed the plaque while they
were waiting to see Alex run past.
Sam is shown posing with Sister Allen's Seminary
class in front of the home where President Wilford Woodruff died.
President Wilford Woodruff made the following
statement about Sam Brannan:
President Young was inspired to come here [to
Utah], and he was inspired to work after he got here, and
when Samuel Brannan, who took the ship Brooklyn from New York to San
Francisco, loaded with Latter-day Saints, came to this barren
country and met with the pioneers, he looked upon the desolation and
barrenness, and tried with all the power he had to persuade
President Young not to stop here, but to go on to California. I
heard President Young give his answer to Samuel Brannan in the
following language, striking his cane into the soil: "No, sir; I am
going to stop right here. I am going to build a city here. I am
going to build a temple here, and I am going to build a country
The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff,
Robbie Pendleton and John Hyde
are showing Seminary Sam the plaque that
is in the front of the home where President
The last stop for the day was the Oakland
Temple which was dedicated in November 1964. (Sam is very
tiny, but he is standing in front of the fountain.)
Some of the Saints who
came on the Brooklyn moved to Oakland because it has better weather
and flatter land for farming. They started a community there that
they called Brooklyn--named for the ship in which they had traveled
There is a large plaque
at the Oakland Temple to commemorate the Brooklyn. It lists the
names of all the passengers, including "Atlantic" and "Pacific" who
were two children born during the journey.
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© Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights