After the exodus from Missouri, many of the Saints went to Iowa

When the saints left Missouri in 1839, a large number of them went to Iowa, where they purchased large tracts of land and established several settlements in what was then the territory of Iowa.

From 1839 to 1846, Lee County in southeastern Iowa grew in population from about 2,840 to 12,860.Two places where the saints settled are mentioned in Section 125: Zarahemla and Nashville.

Zarahemla, evidently named after one of the cities of the Book of Mormon, was founded in 1839. It was located "opposite the city of Nauvoo" (D&C 125:3), near Montrose and about a mile from the Mississippi River.

A sizeable stake of Zion was organized in Zarahemla. At a conference on Aug. 7, 1841, 326 of the 750 members attending the conference lived in Zarahemla.

Under the date of Jan. 6, 1842, Joseph Smith recorded: "Conference held at Zarahemla, at which the stake was discontinued; a branch was organized in place thereof, and John Smith appointed president." (History of the Church, 4:493.), By that time, most of the saints had moved to Nauvoo.

Zarahemla was abandoned in 1846 when the saints left on their westward journey in 1846.

A footnote in the Commentary on the Book of Mormon by Hyrum M. Smith and Janne Sjodahl contains this information about Nashville:

"A little town, pleasantly situated on the Mississippi River, at the head of Des Moines Rapids, in Lee County, Iowa, three miles by rail southeast of Montrose, and eight miles north of Keokuk, was purchased by the Church, together with 20,000 acres of land adjoining it, June 24, 1839. . . . It continued to exist as a `Mormon' town until the general exodus in 1846."


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Information compiled by Gerry Avant

Sources: History of the Church, by Joseph Smith; Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, by Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl; A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants, by Daniel H. Ludlow.