This Day in History… July 24, 1847

Brigham Young Establishes Mormon Homeland in Salt Lake City, Utah 

U.S. #950

After 17 months of travel searching for a new home for his persecuted people, Brigham Young found Utah’s Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847 and proclaimed, “This is the place” (as pictured on this stamp).

The Church of Christ (later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was founded in 1830 when Joseph Smith published his Book of Mormon. The religion grew fast in his New York community and spread to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, it included controversial practices, including polygamy, that made its followers targets of mob violence.

Following Smith’s death, Brigham Young became the church’s new leader and vowed to find a new home for all his fellow Mormons, in “a place on this earth that nobody else wants.” He led a convoy of more than 10,000 followers and set up camp in Iowa. Young then took a smaller detachment of 148 people across the Rocky Mountains. As soon as he reached Utah’s Great Salt Lake Valley, he knew it was his people’s future home. Young and his followers immediately began building the town, and by 1869 it was home to some 80,000 Mormons.

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