Pioneer Stories - Foundation for the Future
Pioneers - 2018

Days of '47 Events

Days of '47 Parade and Marathon Route Road Closures

Pioneer Stories - Foundation for the Future

We have exciting things planned for the 2018 version of The Days of ’47 celebration, from the Royalty Pageant and Parade, to the Rodeo and all the other colorful events. Our 2018 celebration will be full of thrills and spills. Schedule your summer plans to take advantage of our many activities — most of which are free to the public. Grab your hat, pull on those boots and c’mon down!

Days of ’47 Rodeo

For more information on the Days of '47 rodeo click here.

Days of ’47 Parade

The Days of ’47 Parade will be held on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018, in downtown Salt Lake City beginning at 9:00 am. For a new adventure, bring the kids, the sleeping bags and the hot dogs downtown on the evening of the 23rd. You can camp out on Salt Lake City streets along the route that evening. This is the biggest sleepover your family and friends will ever experience! Remember to bring enough water to keep everyone hydrated.

Click here for more about The Days of ’47 Parade.

An Introduction to The Days of ’47, Inc.

Celebrate the arrival of the first pioneer settlers to the Salt Lake Valley! The Days of ’47, Inc. remembers Utah’s early and current pioneers with a variety of events beginning with nominations for Pioneers of Progress awards and culminating with an all-day extravaganza with a Sunrise Service and Parade in downtown Salt Lake City on July 24th, 2018, a state-wide holiday, followed by our Rodeo that evening at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Bring your family and friends to the 2018 festivities. Most are free!


Mercy Ann Virgin came into this world on December 20, 1861, a mere ten days before her father was crushed and killed in a railroad accident. The bereft little family then consisted of Mercy Ann and her two brothers, Amos Moses and Nephi Charles, along with their mother, Mary Ann. Without her husband, but anxious to follow her new faith’s encouragement to “Gather in Zion,” Mary Ann assembled her meager possessions and her three young children, embarking upon a grief-filled trek from their home in Marston to the port at Liverpool, England. On May 14, 1862, they clambered aboard the ship William Tappscott as it began the perilous journey across the Atlantic to the New World.

The sea battered both the ship and the 800 passengers who were bound for new lives in the western wilds. They arrived at New York’s bustling harbor weakened from lack of fresh food and clean water. Ever faithful but without alternatives, the children and Mary Ann stoically turned toward their goal which lay more than 2,000 miles to the West: Zion!

The infant Mercy Ann struggled with the constant changes in location, deprived of dependable food sources and constantly moving from one difficult circumstance to the next. Upon reaching the frontier, the family joined the Horton D. Haight Company. Amos and Nephi later recalled riding only once during the entire trek and the boys often became so tired they lagged behind. One evening found them very distant from the Company and it was speculated they would have been lost or devoured by wolves if the provisions wagon had not found and delivered them to their mother.

A young man from the Company, Ephraim Barton, took a particular interest in the babe Mercy Ann and often carried her as they trudged mile after mile. He watched over her, worried for her and gave her all the attention their struggles allowed. Ephraim joined Amos and Nephi and the boys laughed together, played games while searching for firewood and splashed each other through streams in happy abandon whenever the chance arose. Mercy Ann grew under Ephraim’s watchful eye and the family enjoyed great companionship and enthusiasm with their fellow travelers.

But the scene again turned tragic when cholera swept through the camp as they laboriously drew near the Salt Lake Valley. All four remaining family members – who had begun their journey from England a brief five months earlier – were laid low by the debilitating disease. Ephraim also suffered from cholera and the travelers’ condition deteriorated rapidly on the desolate and windy plains of Wyoming. On October 6, 1862, scarcely two weeks before the Company entered the Salt Lake Valley, Mercy Ann and Ephraim were laid together in an unmarked grave near the Utah-Wyoming border. Amos, Nephi and Mary Ann stumbled away from the resting place of yet another family member and the young lad who had helped bring Mercy Ann so close to their ultimate goal.

They first saw the Salt Lake Valley on October 19, 1862 -- but their travels had not yet ended, even so. Two years later, they moved 150 miles north to the beautiful Bear Lake Valley in Idaho with its bitingly cold winters. To support his mother and younger brother, ten year old Amos learned to hunt and fish -- sending furs to markets in the East. Amos helped build the Logan Temple by contributing five dollars which had been saved over a lengthy period for much-needed shoes and other essentials, and also by working in the nearby canyon to provide the structure’s logs. His rich tenor voice was often lifted in song, his violin was his favorite instrument and he engaged in sports of all types -- staying active throughout his life. Eventually marrying, Amos and his wife Sarah Francis had ten children.

My father Leon, also Amos’ grandson, wished many years later that he had listened more closely to Amos recount his life experiences while Amos lived in the same house. Poor in worldly terms but wealthy in spirit, Amos was buried in 1942 at St. Charles, Idaho, after spending his final years with his youngest daughter, Alicia Naomi Virgin Howell, and her family.

Like the Utah desert, Amos’ progeny blossomed. There are doctors, lawyers, miners, carpenters, accountants, scientists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs among them. Boundless blessings are enjoyed by Amos’ successors -- the same family of which Mercy Ann was, and is, a part. Pioneers, every one. Even the little ones lost -- but not forgotten – before the journey was through.

Through the years, the story of Mercy Ann and Ephraim has been oft repeated as an example of steadfast pioneer courage. During the last family reunion he attended, my Uncle Donovan delighted in retelling the devotion Ephraim showered on Mercy Ann. Then, with a twinkle, he added his belief that a member of Mercy Ann’s family eventually married a member of Ephraim’s family – a fittingly warm result of a budding friendship forged on the barren plains and forbidding mountains between Illinois and the Salt Lake Valley. Mercy Ann and Ephraim paved the way for more than 500 relatives who remember them and other pioneers who left secure homes in lands afar to fulfill their “Visions of a New Horizon”.

Background Information About Our Annual Celebration

On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and a determined company of Mormon pioneers realized their dreams upon entering the Great Salt Lake Valley, thus becoming the vanguard of one of the greatest treks in American history. Pulling handcarts or driving wagons with oxen or horses, thousands of pioneers carried a firm commitment to America’s belief in freedom of religion as they slowly trudged across the plains to a vast desert landscape that became known as the Utah Territory. Coming together from many nations, they sought to create a new life. This trek of the early Utah pioneers exemplifies the courage, foresight and faith that continue to inspire modern-day pioneers.

By remembering those remarkable 1847 pioneers and all those who followed, The Days of ’47 seeks to make their accomplishments and hardships live today through a variety of activities and celebrations each year. We believe the example of past and present pioneers’ courage creates a vision for our combined future that everyone can follow while we continue recognizing Pioneers — Pushing toward our Future!

The Days of ’47, Inc. is a private, nonprofit, all-volunteer, charitable corporation to honor Utah’s early and modern pioneers and to keep their pioneering spirit alive.

Contact Information

The Days of ’47, Inc.
P.O. Box 112287
Salt Lake City, UT 84147-2287
801-257-7959 (administration) (email)

If you call us, please leave a message along with your phone number. We cannot return your call if we do not have a phone number!

For an ADA accommodation, contact Kathi at 801.257.7959.

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