The site of Mount Pisgah (Iowa) is now marked by a nine-acre (3.6 ha) Mount Pisgah Cemetery State Preserve, which contains the 12-foot high obelisk, exhibits, historical markers, and a reconstructed log cabin. However, little remains from the 19th century except a cemetery memorializing the those emigrants who died while passing through or residing in the community.

While sign states the loss of 300-800 souls, only about 60 are listed on the monument, about 92 are identified with FindAGrave, so that actual fatality rate maybe only about 150. Many of those interned in this region are listed on Mount Pisgah Monument.

1st LDS Church Historical Site[]

The creation of this monument in 1888 denotes this place as the first historical landmark of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and predates any other historical site preservation efforts. It is now part of their Mormon Trail series of landmarks.

The community had been beset by illness. Many Saints, in their weakened condition following months of rigorous travel, died while at Mount Pisgah. Although estimates vary, at least 80 people died within their first year of residence. The cemetery at the top of the hill likely includes the graves of about 150 Latter-day Saints, although only 63 names are listed on the monument. William Huntington, the community’s first branch president, is among those buried there, as is Joseph Knight, a close associate and early supporter of Joseph Smith. Children were particularly vulnerable. The infant children of two future Apostles were laid to rest in the cemetery: Leonora Charlotte Snow (1847-1847), six-month-old daughter of Lorenzo and Charlotte Squires Snow, and Isaac Phineas Richards (1846-1846), son of Franklin D. and Jane Snyder Richards, who died the same day he was born. While friends and family continued to mourn their loved ones, most people forgot the cemetery as Latter-day Saints abandoned the wagon road across Iowa in favor of other routes.

Monument Inscriptions[]

East Site (Front)[]


East side -- Front of Granite Shaft (centered as written below):

This Monument ERECTED A.D. 1888, In memory of those members of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints WHO DIED in 1846, 1847, AND 1848,

Dureing their ex-odus to seek a home beyond the Rocky Mountains

Interred here is WILLIAM HUNTINGTON the first presiding Elder of the temporary Settlement called PISGAH.


(On Base of Granite Shaft):


South Side[]


South side -- of Granite Shaft (centered as written below):

  1. Betsy Carley Shipley
  2. Nephi Shipley
  3. David McKee
  4. Polly Sweat
  5. Louisa Cox
  6. Eliza Cox
  7. Henry Davis
  8. Joel Campbell
  9. Emily Whiting
  10. Elisha Whiting
  11. Sally Whiting
  12. Widow Head Whiting
  13. Elizabeth Daniels
  14. Rebecca Adair (age 70)
  15. William P. Mangum (age 7)
  16. Lane Ann Mangum (age 11 months)
  17. Jemima Mangum Adair (age 38)
  18. William Jefferson Adair (age 16)

West Side[]

West Side -- of Granite Shaft (centered as written below):

  1. Ezra T.B. Adair (age 2)
  2. Nancy Workman
  3. Samuel Workman
  4. Samuel Steel
  5. Simeon Thayer
  6. Jessy Hitchcock & wife
  7. Clark Hallet
  8. Phebe Hallet
  9. Ann Gould Hallet
  10. Louese Hallet & 2 other children.
  11. Sarah Hulet
  12. Sarah Ann Hulet
  13. Noah Rogers
  14. Amos Philemon Rogers
  15. Mary Briant Ensign
  16. Margaret Josaphine Billingsley

North Side[]

North Side -- of Granite Shaft (centered as written below):

  1. Hyrum Spencer
  2. Alvah Hancock
  3. Gardner Edmison
  4. Philanda Calvin Jordin
  5. Joseph Smith Billingsley
  6. Elkano Keller
  7. Mrs. Baldwin and Baby
  8. Mr. Hess - buried on w. side of river
  9. Mr. Hays - " " " "
  10. Joseph Merryfield
  11. Mr. Cook
  12. Wife of Mr. Brown
  13. Mr. Thompson
  14. William Selvanies Bishop
  15. Joseph Franklin Bishop
  16. Angelia Carter
  17. Stranger. Not in the church
  18. Henry Judson
  19. Alexander Gay
  20. Benjamin Gay
  21. Emma Jane Johnson
  22. Martha A. Dana

Log Cabin Signage[]

The following is posted in the Log Cabin near the old cemetery:


A Mormon community of 2,000 once flourished here while preparing to follow

Brigham Young to Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 1846 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) began their historic trek from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Basin of the Rocky Mountains. Having been cruelly driven from their homes in Nauvoo, they settled Mount Pisgah, Iowa, while preparing for the western trek. The name was given to this locality by Apostle Parley P. Pratt. Mormon leader Brigham Young arrived here May 18, 1846. Soon after, temporary farms were sectioned off and planting began. Other migrating Mormons quickly arrived in this community until the population had swelled to over 2,000. The mortality rate was quite high due to exposure and hardship suffered as the result of being driven from Illinois. Over 150

persons died here during the first six months.

In July of 1846 the Church was called upon by the Federal Government to raise 500 young men to march to Mexico and participate in the war being conducted there. Brigham Young himself acted as temporary recruiting officer under the authority of United States Army officers. Losing many of Mount Pisgah's able-bodied men placed an even greater hardship on those who remained. Nevertheless, in the fall of 1846 it was reported the Mormons at Mount Pisgah were "enjoying peas, cucumbers, and beans; that corn had silked out and buckwheat was in flower. There was a good prospect for crops of

potatoes, melons, pumpkins, and squash."

In 1852 this settlement was abandoned. The Latter-day Saints were advised by Church leaders in Utah to unite there with the rest of their people. A granite shaft has been raised over the old cemetery and upon it are engraved the names of those pioneers who gave their lives during the great Mormon

exodus west.


See Also[]