Passing Through Missouri: Latter-day Saints Transmigration by River and Rail (1838-1868)
Fred E. Woods
The infamous Missouri Executive Order 44 – known as the Extermination Order – was issued by Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs on October 27, 1838, forcing thousands of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to flee western Missouri and seek refuge in Illinois. Many LDS families suffered through the harsh winter of 1838-39 as they traveled east, crossing the Mississippi River, to escape persecution.
Historian Fred E. Woods details the transmigration experiences of Latter-day Saints who would pass back through Missouri, en route to settlement in Salt Lake City, in the three decades following the extermination order. The presentation examines an overlooked period in Missouri and LDS history in which the Latter-day Saints pursued their quest for a homeland over hundreds of miles by river and rail despite an official government death threat to all who dared trespass in Missouri.
Woods has been a professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University since 1998. He specializes in Latter-day Saints emigration studies and is the editor of the Saints by Sea website, which documents LDS maritime immigration to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries.