The Confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers
In November 1849 a little-known expedition was sent by Brigham Young to explore southern Utah for possible future settlement. This fifty-man party was led by Apostle Parley P. Pratt.
On Tuesday, January 1, 1850, twenty horse-mounted members of this party made camp near the confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers. This historic event was mentioned in their journals and the union of these rivers can be seen from this mark. After their long difficult winter journeyer that at times requires struggling through snow up to four feet deep, they brought back descriptions and information that soon led to the settling of southern Utah.
In his report to the territorial legislature Pratt wrote:
“I arrived home on Wednesday evening, the 30th of Jan. having been absent ten weeks. The pack company soon after, some with frozen limbs but I believe generally in good health and Spirits.
I now wish to bear witness of the fifty who accompanied me on this expedition, and to have them in honorable remembrance…I Have never seen men placed in circumstances better calculated to try their utmost strength and patience. And at onetime, another half-mile of deep snow intervening between them and camp would have cause every man to sink exhausted without being able to force their way any longer.
They are first-rate men, and I have promised to remember them for the very next undertaking which requires toil, labor and sacrifice.”
I have the honor to subscribe myself your obedience servant,
Parly P. Pratt”