Kirtland Camp Historical Marker dedicated

By Ann Plumb

A historical marker was dedicated on June 5, honoring a group of migrant pioneers to the Missouri area.  Created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the marker honors Kirtland Camp as the first mass migration of the church. President Michael D. Call of the Far West Missouri Stake offered remarks and dedicated the marker. Jenn and Ethan Brown sang a duet of “Faith in Every Footstep.”  Catherine Hamilton also shared remarks. Neal and Catherine Hamilton, of Mooresville, graciously allowed the Church of Jesus Christ to place the marker on their property. The dedication was attended by 25 people.

Catherine Hamilton and Michale D. Hall at the marker dedication.

In 1838 there were Saints both in the Kirtland Ohio area and in North-Western Missouri. In January of 1838 leaders, Joseph Smith Jr. and Sydney Rigdon moved to Missouri. This move encouraged a body of Saints, from 170 households, to begin preparations to move to Missouri. After months of preparation, a group of about 500 Saints began their journey in July of 1838.   Many of the Saints were poor and needed to work along the way to finance their trip. In fact, they built a portion of the Springfield-Dayton Turnpike in Ohio. They also built dykes and levees. 

Members of the camp committed to live by a constitution that provided guidelines regarding the organization and conduct of the company. The Saints covenanted to abstain from “ tobacco, tea, coffee, snuff or ardent spirits of any kind.”

On September 29, 1838, the group camped one mile outside the newly laid out town of Chillicothe. The company stopped and camped at a location near the marker. They completed their journey to Adam-ondi-Ahman on October 4, 1838. Their stay in Missouri was short-lived, however, as they encountered opposition and left the state in January of 1839. Kirtland Camp was the first of many migrant companies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and taught its leaders how to organize and move large groups of people.

The historical marker is located at the intersection of Highway 36 and Livingston 405 on the south side of Highway 36.