NAUVOO FAREWELL; THE EXODUS BEGINS
The Saints Abandon Their Properties and Trek West, Searching for Safe haven in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake
Taking advantage of a most unusual late 24th of February winter blast that froze the Mississippi, many hundreds of Latter-day Saints and wagons crossed the mile wide river to join with Brigham Young's Camp of Israel companies starting to assemble at Sugar Creek, a day's journey into the Iowa Territory.
"In this scene, their dawn departure halted momentarily on the Iowa side of the river while adjusting a harness, a small family wistfully looks back at Nauvoo (the City Beautiful), their home, the temple, farewell to thee; then onward to Sugar Creek, to Winter Quarters, the West." ....... Artist Frank M. Thomas
These members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are suffering the violence of having been expelled from their homes by bands of rogue, armed militia, an act mirroring their plight years earlier in Missouri. Their Hancock County, Illinois, neighbors' extreme intolerance of the Mormon religious beliefs had become harsh enough to force an early spring exodus upon the almost 14,000 inhabitants of Nauvoo, Illinois.
The "Saints" abandoned all of their properties, then, braving exposure to the winter weather, trekked west in hope of finding a safe haven in the Rocky Mountains, a land where they could peaceably live their religion, a place far beyond the borders of the United States of 1846. Pioneers, instilled with faith in a loving God, they bravely stepped forth into an American saga of epic proportions.
Note: The artist's wife, Patreecia, was the model painted as pioneer wife and mother. She is a Leavitt, a 2nd great granddaughter of Jeremiah II and Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt, who, in 1846, were forced from their farm in Nauvoo, to endure untold hardships on a journey to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Progenitor to many of today's LDS Church populace in the western U.S. and Canada, Jeremiah II died in Bonaparte, Iowa, leaving his bereaved wife and large family to continue west. Jeremiah Leavitt II is also a 2nd great grandfather to Utah's Governor Michael Leavitt.
This painting described as "monumental" in size, has been exhibited by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the entry foyer of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Salt Lake City. It became (winter of 1997/98) a part of the Religious Art of Utah juried art show, at the Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah. It then was exhibited in the Utah Heritage Center ("This Is The Place Monument") for seven months in 1999/2000.
In May 2000 it was released to the Nauvoo Temple purchasing agent for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. It is seen today in the Manti LDS Temple, the Nauvoo LDS Temple and the large original painting is found exhibited in the Nauvoo Visitor's Center, Nauvoo, Illinois.
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