AN OUTSTANDING AND HISTORICAL GROUP OF DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE PERPETUAL EMIGRATION FUND DURING THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE MORMOM CHURCH.
The Perpetual Emigration Fund financed an extensive Mormon Church-directed program based on missionaries promising wondrous opportunities in Utah Territory to poor European converts who would sign a bond promising repayment of emigration costs to the Church.
Included in this extraordinary group of documents are 43 different orders varying from $80 to $848 for delivery of oxen, wagons and provisions for a wagon train leaving Atchison, Kansas Territory, on an 1855 overland trail journey to Salt Lake City. Several are autograph letters signed by Erastus Snow, including one shipping a yoke of cattle, "if they live to go through," to his wife. Another has Snow's note relating to shipping "Doc Bernhisel's store and fixtures" on the wagon train. One is a scarce substitution order, and another a rare receipt for team and provisions to be used as an order. Three orders provide for passage of lone women on the wagon train.
There are also also four extensive lists of settlers indebted to the Perpetual Emigration Fund showing wagon entry dates, those who married (several polygamous), and so on. Among other documents is a long list of personal debts transferred to Brigham Young (Trustee) as a donation in 1860; three estate records showing passage and freight emigration balances settled by transfer of decedent's clothing and sundries to the Fund; a list of individuals payments not credited to Fund (1862); a list of 109 persons made by captain of wagon train in 1854, of indebtedness to Fund for flour supplied on the western trek; an 11-page trial balance sheet for Perpetual Emigration Fund in 1857; and an 1871 letter soliciting funds for passage of federal law lowering emigration tax.
Extensive holdings of early original Mormon documents are seldom available, and this is a most unusual opportunity to acquire a well-rounded group involving a fascinating and little known area of wagon train emigration to the Western frontier