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First Encampment in the Salt Lake Valley

On July 22, 1847, the main body of the Mormon Pioneer Company, along with a few of the Mormon Battalion sick detachment and some of the Mississippi Saints, camped near this location. After leaving Emigration Canyon, the group traveled in a southwesterly direction along the south side of Emigration Creek. Near where Emigration and Parley’s Creeks come close together, they camped. Thomas Bullock, the company clerk, recorded in his journal, “…We descended a gentle sloping table land to a lower level where the Soil and grass improved in appearance… The Wheat Grass grows 6 or 7 feet high, many different kinds of grass appear, some being 10 or 12 feet high–after wading through thick grass for some distance we found a place bare enough for a Camping ground, the grass being only knee deep, but very thick; we camped on the banks of a beautiful little stream [Parley’s Creek] which was surrounded by very tall grass…”

Orson Pratt and his exploring expedition, who entered the valley earlier that morning, joined the camp in the evening. A council was held and the decision made to move the next day to a site they had chosen to plant crops, on City Creek two miles to the north. Brigham Young, whose small party was delayed because of illness, did not enter the valley until July 24, going directly to the camp on City Creek.

When surveyed, the area of the first encampment became part of the “Big Field” farming plat. Among those with farms here was Wilford Woodruff, whose two houses still stand a half block north of this site. Beginning in the 1890s, the area was platted and subdivided for residential development. Parley’s Creek still flows through the neighborhood in an underground conduit.

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