Country Profile


Approximately 4,000 early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made camp in Nebraska's Native American country at Winter Quarters along the banks of the Missouri in 1846-47. Here, Church headquarters was temporarily established until better weather and preparation allowed the trek westward to continue. Most Church members at this time were scattered throughout several encampments in Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, more than 700 people died that first winter, many from insufficient food and shelter. In April 1847, the camp began their 1,000-mile trek to the Great Basin, mainly following the north bank of the Platte River in Nebraska. A total of 10 wagon trains traveled that year.

Those Church members who lived in Winter Quarters abandoned the encampment in the spring of 1848. A prairie fire burned the deserted settlement in the 1850s. In 1854, the area was occupied by the Florence Land Company and became a preparation stop for pioneer companies. Today, only the pioneer cemetery and a gristmill remain from the Winter Quarters era. Members in Nebraska continue to educate their community about significant Church historical sites.

The pioneer cemetery at Winter Quarters was given to the Church in 1999, ending a $1-a-year lease between the city of Omaha and the Church. The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple was dedicated in April 2001.

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