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Church History

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Pioneer Ideas

Brigham Young sought ways to lower the tremendous cost of sending immigrants and freight across the plains. In 1860 he asked agents to investigate the idea of sending commercial boats farther up the Yellowstone River than they had ever gone before, perhaps within 400 miles of the Salt Lake Valley. He understood that this would be difficult because such boats would have to be able to travel in very shallow water—or, as Brigham Young put it, the enterprise would “require boats that can run where the ground is a little damp.”


Brigham Young letter to William H. Hooper, Mar. 8, 1860, Brigham Young Office Files, Church History Library, Salt Lake City