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Thomas L. Kane sketches of Winter Quarters and Mormon Battalion

Thomas Leiper Kane (1822-1883)

Thomas Leiper Kane (1822-1883)

In July 1846, President James K. Polk issued an order for the Mormon Saints to round up 500 men to volunteer to enlist in the U. S. Army to assist in the Mexican American War.  This group became known as the Mormon Battalion.  Little did the Saints know that this was all part of a plan to assist the Saints in their trek west, and was heavily influenced by a man named Thomas L. Kane, who only one month prior had heard the Saints cause and desired to use his influence to assist them in any way he could.

As we commemorate the Mormon pioneers this week, we can also remember Thomas L. Kane and his role in assisting the Saints in finding a refuge in the valleys of the Wasatch Mountains and beyond.  L. Tom Perry Special Collections holds the largest collection of papers of Thomas L. Kane and his family.  Included in these papers is a sketch Kane made the day the Mormon Battalion left Winter Quarters.  This has been digitized, and here is a link to view to item online.

The Kane family papers (Vault MSS 792) is gradually being digitized to allow greater access to this treasure of documents on not only early Mormon Church history, but also sources for research on mid to late 19th Century American history, including the Civil War (Kane fought at the Battle of Gettysburg).  Visit the finding aid for this collection often to see what new items have been digitized from these important collections!

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