By Ken Verdoia
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Additional info for Utah: The Struggle for Statehood
While the Mormons studied his Emigrant's Guide in preparation for their journey, another party accepted Hastings's urging to try the "Hastings Cutoff"... with tragic results. In 1846 the Donner-Reed party struggled through the difficult canyons of the Wasatch Mountains, tiring their animals and taking up precious time. They then became mired in the salt flats, losing more time and many of their possessions. The ill-fated group subsequently entered the Sierra Nevada dangerously late in the season.
The Mormons were then driven at gunpoint from their settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846. These events, along with other examples of what the group perceived as overt persecution and open hostility, convinced church leadership they had to remove themselves from the United States. While Smith died three years before the Mormon trek to the Great Basin, he had a profound influence on the relocation of his church and the development of life in what would become Utah. His "Plat of the City of Zion" was part of a design for building a unique religious society, and it influenced many of the decisions made by Brigham Young in laying out Great Salt Lake City.
I thank them for their support. Cheryl Gustafson deserves thanks for days of legwork in tracking down photographs. Nichole Bywater Coombs did valuable work on the index in a brief amount of time. I reserve special mention for my very special colleague, Nancy Green, who constantly amazed me during the research and writing of this project as she routinely tracked down a missing picture or encouraged a better way to deliver a thought. I have taken the liberty of dedicating this book to my daughters, Amanda and Stephanie, as a reminder that history is something we should lovingly share with each succeeding generation.
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