Major Howard Egan Family Foundation

Sailor Rope Maker Captain in Nauvoo Legion Bodyguard to Joseph Smith Mormon Battalion Envoy Captain of the 9th 10 of the original 1847 Pioneer Vanguard Company Gold Rush Trading Post Owner Trail Blazer Cattle Drover Major in Utah War Pony Express Rider & Superintendent of Line from Salt Lake to California Stage Station Owner Friend & Missionary to Indians Salt Lake City Policeman Bodyguard to Brigham Young
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Ron Barney talk

Howard Egan’s Role in and Diary Account of
the 1847 Pioneer Company
By Dr. Ronald O. Barney
Note: The following are excerpts from Ronald Barney’s talk:
Mormon TrailHoward Egan’s role in the Pioneer Vanguard Trek in 1847 has been particularly delightful for me. My interest in this Trek began about 40 years ago. I think a good case could be made that it is the most important Mormon story. I don’t have time in the 25 minutes that I have tonight to expand and defend that position, but over and over again I see evidence of it. I started in my personal interest and research in that Vanguard Brigade, as I call it, with writing the biography of my great, great grandfather, Lewis Barney, who was in the 12th Ten in the Vanguard Brigade. Norton Jacob was the captain of that particular Ten, and in 2005 I edited his diary for publication. In the process of doing so I read every diary that had been written by participants in the1847 trek. From that I have concluded that comparably to the Jewish reverence of Moses as the pivotal point in Judaic history, wherein thereafter they became a people, I believe that it is similarly a very defendable position for Brigham Young, in his role as the leader of the group that fled the Midwest to find some respite in the inner mountain west.

Heber C. Kimball,Brigham Young’s right-hand man, in the middle of this trek, wrote in his diary this statement: “The mission we are now engaged in is the greatest I have ever seen since I have been in the church.”

George A. Smith, a cousin to Joseph Smith, a man who in 1854 succeeded Willard Richards as the historian of the LDS Church, in a letter that he wrote in 1859 to the great Latter Day Saint benefactor, Thomas L. Kane, said: “I am compiling the history of [the] exodus from Nauvoo to the east valleys of the mountains in 1846. … This part of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be not only presented as one of the most striking and prominent events in the dealing of God with this people in their rise and progress, but it will stand in bold relief as the main key of the American history of the 19th Century.”

Wilford Woodruff, one of the participants in the vanguard Trek to Utah, wrote of it as one of the most stirring and prominent events in the dealings of God with this people in their rise and progress. And on the commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the Mormon arrival in the great Salt Lake Valley, Daniel H. Wells, then a member of the first presidency of the LDS Church said, “This day in reality is the anniversary of our birthday as free people.”


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