Douglas County 20 Mile Camp
In 1846 the unsettled area that is now Parker, Colorado, consisted of wild open plains, inhabited only by local Indian tribes and passing trappers and traders. The Crosby-Brown Company, otherwise known as the Mississippi Saints, and detachments of the Mormon Battalion of Iowa Volunteers camped here along Cherry Creek. The route along the creek was then known as the old "Trappers Trail" and later became known as the "Cherokee Trail."
Brigham Young had agreed to meet the Mississippi Saints on the Oregon Trail as he trekked with the Advance Pioneer Company. In July 1846, the Mississippi group discovered that they had been missed. As winter approached, they traveled on to Pueblo, Colorado. There, under a cottonwood tree, Sarah Emma Kartchner was born; the first Caucasian child born in the unorganized territory.
That year, at the dawn of the Mexican/American War, 500 Mormon men volunteered in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to serve in the United States Army of the West (Infantry) under General Stephen W. Kearney. Having suffered severe religious persecution, the Mormon men welcomed the opportunity to move west as they defended their country. On the Santa Fe Trail, three sick detachments were sent to Pueblo to winter and recuperate, aided by the Mississippi Saints.They spent nearly a year in Colorado, making them the first group
to establish a religious colony in the West since the eighteenth century.
In early May 1847, seventeen members of the Robert Crow and George Therikill families left Pueblo before the rest of the Battalion. They traveled through present-day Parker on their way to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. These families were ultimately among the first pioneers to enter the Valley of the Great Salt Lake with Orson Pratt's Advance Company on 22 July 1847. There were six women with them: Elizabeth Brown Crow, Elizabeth Jane, twins Isa Vinda Exene and Ira Minda Almarene Crow, Mathilda J. Crow Therlkill and
Harriet Blunt Crow.
On 24 May 1847, the sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion received their orders and "took up a line of march" to meet Brigham Young's company at Fort Laramie, accompanied by the remaining Mississippi Saints. Their substantial wagon train included 60 wagons, 350-375 people, 300 cattle and 100 horses. They encountered severe thunderstorms and hail.
After seeking shelter, they camped once again on Cherry Creek. During that time, a child, John Taylor Brown, was born. He is believed to be the first Caucasian born in what is now Douglas County, Colorado.