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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended January 05, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 02Jan01

By Kent Larsen

Mormon Trek To San Bernardino Re-enactment Planned

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- The 800-mile trek from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino by 437 Mormon colonists will be replicated this coming summer as part of the commemoration of the founding of San Bernardino. The little-known 1851 trek was taken at the instruction of LDS Church president Brigham Young, who wanted to establish an outpost to secure a Mormon supply line to the Pacific.

"This is a unique story in the history of the West, yet nobody knows about it," said Marilyn Mills, co-director of the Heritage Trails Celebration, who will take part in the planned trek. More than 200 LDS Church members dressed in pioneer clothing and traveling in covered wagons will leave Salt Lake City on April 25th and travel to San Bernardino through the deserts of southern Utah, Nevada and California. They expect to arrive in San Bernardino at the end of June. After they arrive, the organizers will hold a three-day festival at Glen Helen Regional Park.

The organizers say this is an important part of Southern California history also. "This was the first Anglo American settlement in Southern California," said Nick Cataldo, a past president of the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society. The group established a town that attracted freed slaves, former slaveholders, Jewish merchants, trappers, prospectors, Spanish landowners and Native Americans.

In the six years after the arrival of the Mormon pioneers, San Bernardino grew to a prosperous town of 3,000. However, the Mormon participation soon waned. Faced with US troops coming to Utah in 1857, Brigham Young called the settlers back to Salt Lake City to defend the community. Two-thirds of the Church members obeyed and returned, while those remaining either left the Church or were excommunicated. Church members didn't return to San Bernardino for sixty years.

"That's the most striking feature" of the Mormon immigration to Southern California, said Donald Waldie, a social historian and author. "The Mormons came, settled down and then went back. The history of California is much different than that."


Reliving a Mormon Journey
Los Angeles Times 30Dec00 N6
By William Lobdell
The Faithful Will Travel From Utah to San Bernardino to Mark Pioneers' 1851 Trek

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