Parley P Pratt
Southern Utah Expedition of 1849
Realizing the limited resources for pioneer settlements in the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding settlements in 1849, and the potential of many more immigrants arriving in the next few years, Brigham Young began to search out possible new settlements. Based on reports of Jefferson Hunt, who had traveled through southern Utah in 1847 and 1848, one of the regions which seemed promising was the valleys along the Spanish Trail in southern Utah Territory. The November legislature authorized the establishment of the southern Expedition to investigate such possibilities. The exploring party, which eventually consisted of fifty-five men, was lead by Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt. This expedition and its subsequent report helped influence the creation of dozens of new communities in southern Utah. Among the first were the settlements of Parowan and Cedar City in 1851, in what would become this historic expedition. They are located at Iron Springs, Parowan Gap, and Fremont Canyon.
Parley P Pratt
Parley P. Pratt was well qualified to lead the Southern Utah Expedition in 1849 - 50. He was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in August 1830 and served twelve full-time proselyting missions. In 1834, he accompanied Joseph Smith on the Zion's Camp expedition from Ohio to Missouri to reclaim lost Mormon lands. He was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles in 1835. Pratt came to the Salt Lake Valley with his family in September 1847 and suffered with the small group who spent the first winter there. During 1847 and 1848, he explored the regions surrounding the Great Salt Lake. Pratt continued his role as an explorer when he was chosen by Brigham Young to lead the Southern Utah Expedition.
When the expedition reached Parowan, it was divided into two groups on Christmas Day 1849. Pratt took one party south to explore the regions around the Virgin River. The second group, under the direction of David Fullmer, established a temporary camp at Heap Spring. While the Parowan group waited for Pratt's return, they explored the canyons in the area for natural resources necessary for future settlement. Pratt returned on January 8, 1850.
Under Pratt's direction, a Liberty Pole was erected on the hill to the east of this site. A white flag with one star and the words, "Great Basin" was placed on the pole. A red banner with the caption, "Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor and Freedom to the Saint" was attached to the flag. After this heroic expedition, Pratt served several missions for his Church. He was murdered in Arkansas on May 13, 1856, at the age of fifty.