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Page 4

Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites

(Note: You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)


Council Bluffs, Iowa
(formerly Kanesville)

Sister Rickabaugh's Glenwood, Iowa Seminary class hosted Seminary Sam's visits to Kanesville, Iowa; Winter Quarters, Omaha, and Ashland, Nebraska.

Miller's Hollow was one of the larger settlements on the Iowa side of the river and was later named Kanesville in 1848. In 1852, it was renamed Council Bluffs.

This Mormon Trail sign is on the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Iowa on the site of the "mustering in" (enlistment) of the Mormon Battalion. This is where about 489 men, 12 teens (aides to officers), and about 20 wives (laundresses) volunteered in July 1846 to serve the United States Army during the war with Mexico.

This was also the site of the Grand Encampment for the Latter-day Saint wagon trains crossing southern Iowa during 1846 exodus from Western Illinois and South East Iowa which stretched nine miles from the Missouri River along either side of the present Hwy #92 to the Iowa School for the Deaf.

This picture shows (left to right): Sister Rickabaugh, Megan, Jessica (with Seminary Sam), and Andrea on the front row. Steven, Kevin, Keegan, Jon and Sister Deitchler on the Mustering Grounds of the Mormon Battalion.

This plaque at the Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds reads:

Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds

One of the most remarkable infantry marches in American history began here in July 1846 with the mustering of the Mormon Battalion. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) responded to the request from President James K. Polk to serve the United States in the war with Mexico. The 500 volunteers were among thousands of Mormons who had left Nauvoo, Illinois that year and were moving west in search of a new home. The Battalion demonstrated the patriotism of the Mormons and also enabled them to earn money for their westward trek. Accompanied by a number of wives and children who served as laundresses and aids, the Battalion marched south to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to be equipped, then on through Santa Fe, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona to the Pacific Coast-more than 2,000 miles in six months. Although not required to engage in combat, the Mormon Battalion made an important contribution in opening new roads to California and the Pacific coast. Their commanding officer, Lt. Col. Phillip St. George Cooke, said of their achievement, "History may be searched in vain for and equal march of infantry."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Placed in 1989

The Kanesville Tabernacle was originally built in 1847.  In 1848,  Brigham Young was sustained there as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 The Tabernacle was rebuilt in 1997 and took 6 months to build. It was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley in 1997 during the Grand Encampment and Re-enactment of the Mormon Battalion. Some of the logs were hewn to resemble the original by LDS missionaries on their Preparation Days. There were many who volunteered their time.

The logs are from cottonwood trees that came from Weeping Water, Nebraska. It is 40 feet wide and 60 feet long. The fireplace was built out of sod.

The original Tabernacle was built during the winter months on top of an old spring. Henry Miller began work on December 6, 1847 and finished it in three weeks with the help of 200 men. The logs were green and had not been properly dried. When warm weather came, the walls shrank 1 feet when the cottonwood timbers dried. The original tabernacle lasted only two years.

Kevin, Bishop Jankiewicz, Kyle, Jon, Jessica, Megan, Andrea, Keegan and Steven (standing by Seminary Sam) are pictured above.

Glenwood Seminary students are shown standing by the statue of Henry William Miller (1807-1885).

"President Young and others from Utah had returned temporarily to Winter Quarters by the fall of 1847.  On 4 December, while trying to conduct an overcrowded conference on the Iowa side in the blockhouse, President Young proposed that a large log house be built in Miller's Hollow for temporary use.... Henry W. Miller and about 200 workmen immediately went to work, felling cottonwood trees, cutting them into logs, and fashioning them into a tabernacle-all within three weeks time. Miller's workmen finished the large building just in time for the historic conference held 23-27 December, which some 1,000 Saints attended."

William G. Hartley, ""Pushing on to Zion: Kanesville, Iowa,
1846-1853," Ensign, August 2002, p. 14

Seminary Sam is shown resting on a statue called "The Family, an Everlasting Heritage" by Bill L. Hill. It is located on the grounds of the Kanesville Tabernacle. A plaque at the statue reads:

The Family, an Everlasting Heritage 
by Bill L. Hill

This monument is erected to the honor and memory of those great souls, our pioneer fathers and mothers, who hewed the stone and laid the foundation of spiritual kingdom and civilization that has since become a world-wide entity.

The sculpture focuses on the Mother as the eternal and pivotal influence of love and service, not only within the family unit, but also within the spiritually strong society that grew from these pioneers. A strong family unit is the strength of any community and nation even today.

This picture of Brigham Young being sustained as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hangs over the sod fireplace in the Kanesville Tabernacle.

This wagon is a replica of the many wagons that rolled across Iowa and on to Utah. It is displayed in the Kanesville Tabernacle. Seminary Sam has climbed onto the wagon and is ready to cross the Plains.



Florence, Nebraska
(formerly Winter Quarters)

Seminary Sam is shown resting on the Florence Mill marker. The marker reads:


On this lot stands the old mill built during the westward migration of the Mormons purchased by Jacob Weber in 8160 now owned and operated by his descendants. 

This tablet is erected by Major Isaac Sadler Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution

The Florence Mill historical marker reads:

The Florence Mill

The Florence Mill, one of the earliest in Nebraska, was constructed by the Mormons at Winter Quarters during the winter of 1846-1847. Supplying both flour and lumber, the water-powered mill enabled the Mormons to cope more readily with the adverse conditions encountered during their stay in Nebraska. In 1847-1848 groups of Mormons began to leave this area for the Salt Lake Valley and as a result, Winter Quarters and the mill were abandoned. In 1856, Alexander Hunter began to operate the mill. Its products helped fill the demands created by the growing town of Florence, established in 1854 on the old site of Winter Quarters. By 1870, Jacob Weber had acquired the operation. Flour became its most important product, and by 1880 steam had largely replaced water as the motive force. The mill was further modified in later years to meet changing demands, and it continued to operate under the direction of second and third generation members of the Weber family.
Spanning more than a century, the history of the Florence Mill reflects the important contribution of the milling industry to the development of Nebraska.

Florence Historical Foundation Historical Land Mark Council

One of the early needs of Winter Quarters was a flour mill. On September 22, 1846, the Municipal High Council decided to build a mill and appointed Brigham Young as the supervisor. The mill was constructed at the north end of Winter Quarters. The creek that supplied the water power for the mill was called Turkey Creek (some refer to it as Mill Creek) which now runs through an underground culvert. Parts of the original mill still stand at the northern end of Florence and have been moved about 2 blocks southeast of the original site.

No trip is complete without a trip to the Winter Quarters Bookstore. The mural shown below is on the side of the bookstore.

Glenwood Seminary students pose alongside the mural on the wall of the Winter Quarters Bookstore in Florence, Nebraska. Florence was formerly known as Winter Quarters.

The picture above shows flowers at the Winter Quarters Temple.

Sam poses thoughtfully near pioneer graves in the cemetery that is located on the grounds of the Winter Quarters Temple.

Glenwood Seminary students are shown in front of the handcart sculpture in the front of the Mormon Trail Center. The Mormon Trail Center was dedicated in 1997 by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

This replica of the Nauvoo Temple is located in the as we enter the Mormon Trail Center.

Glenwood Seminary students pose with Seminary Sam at the William Clayton display. Brother Clayton wrote "Come, Come Ye Saints." Here he tells the story of how "All is well!"

The Mormon Pioneer Ceremony is located across the street from the Mormon Trail Center. The Winter Quarters Temple is built on the sacred ground of the cemetery (just south of the cemetery).

The monument shown above pays tribute to those who died at Winter Quarters. A plaque at the monument reads:

"It has been referred to as the tragedy of Winter Quarters but there was no tragedy here, for tragedy spells defeat and disaster. This was the Victory of Winter Quarters, for here was faith and hope and charity raised to their loftiest pinnacles while greed and selfishness were brought low. There are times and places in the life of every nation when great spiritual heights are reached, when courage becomes a living thing, when faith in God stands as the granite mountain wall firm and immovable, while hardships, want, hunger, sickness, sorrow and death beat down to crush. Winter Quarters was such a time and place for the Mormon people."

Heber J. Grant
At the unveiling of the Winter Quarters Monument
September 20, 1936



Omaha, Nebraska
(formerly Mormon Ferry)

The original Mormon Ferry was located on the east bank of the Missouri and crossed to approximately "L" street in present day Omaha on the west bank.

The ferry was later moved north in 1846 to facilitate movement to Winter Quarters. The North Mormon Ferry was located just north of the Mormon Bridge on highway I-680. A small community on the Iowa side of the north ferry was called Ferryville.



Ashland, Nebraska

The John McBride Belnap Pioneer Memorial is located in Ashland, Nebraska.

The marker above is dedicated to the memory of John McBride Belnap. It reads:

In Honor of John McBride Belnap

Second son and child of Gilbert Belnap and Adaline Knight, Mormon Pioneers, who was born 11 May 1849 in Fremont county, Iowa. He departed for Utah with his parents and his older brother Gilbert Rosel Belnap, age 3, on 15 June 1850 in a wagon built by his father in the Warren Foote Company, 2nd Fifty, 5th Ten, over which his father was Captain. In the same ten in another wagon were his maternal grandmother, Martha McBride Knight Smith Kimball, age 45, and his Uncle James Vinson Knight, age 16. 

Less than one week after crossing the Missouri River near Plattsmouth, Nebraska. John took ill with cholera during the evening of 21 June 1850 while the 2nd Fifty was encamped on the east side of the Saline Ford.
About the same time his mother and grandmother also contracted cholera, although they later recovered John died in the latter part of the night on 22 June 1850. His body was wrapped in a blanket and placed inside his father's oak tool chest. He was buried in the morning on the east side of Salt Creek in an unmarked grave dug by his father at the time of his death. John was just learning to talk when his mother would hold to his baby dress to keep him from falling out of the wagon. John would say "take care." The rest of his family continued west arriving in the Salt Lake Valley on 17 September 1850. Two weeks later they moved to Ogden, Utah. Members of Gilbert Belnap's family were instrumental in settling parts of Northern Utah and Eastern Idaho.

Erected and dedicated 27 April 1997
by descendants of Utah Pioneer Gilbert Belnap.
Belnap Family Organization

The Ox Bow Trail Marker-reads:

The Ox-Bow Trail

This marker sits astride the Ox-Box Trail, also known as the Old Fort Kearny or Nebraska City Road. Beginning in the 1840's, this route carried thousands of emigrants and millions of pounds of freight destined for the settlements, mining camps, or military posts of the west. Many travelers were Mormons bound for the Great Salt Lake Valley. The trail, looping north to the Platte from such Missouri River towns as Plattsmouth and Nebraska City, resembled an Ox-Bow, after which it was named. Just west of here was an important ford across Salt Creek, where limestone ledges form a natural tow-water bridge. Travel over the trail declined in the mid-1860's with the development of more direct routes from the Missouri to the Central Platte Valley.
The water supply for the City of Lincoln comes from wells in the Platte Valley near here. In 1932 this pumping station was built and a 36 inch water main laid to Lincoln. A treatment plant and an additional 48 inch main were added in the 1950's.

Saunders county Historical Society
Ashland Chamber of Commerce
Nebraska State Historical Society



Seminary Sam's journeys are continued on page 5.


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Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights reserved.