A number of missionaries heading for the Pacific Coast traveled through the Wyoming country in the 1830s. Reverend Samuel Parker preached Wyoming’s first sermon at the 1835 Green River rendezvous. Trapper guides led missionaries Henry Harmon Spalding and Marcus Whitman, accompanied by their wives, over the Oregon Trail in 1836. A Jesuit priest, Father Pierre Jean de Smet, celebrated Wyoming’s first Roman Catholic mass in 1840. During the 1840s an increasing stream of emigrants made their way through Wyoming on the way to settlement in Oregon or California. A party led by John Bidwell left the Oregon Trail at Bear River and crossed the desert to California in 1841, inaugurating the California Trail.
Expeditions guided by mountain men and led by Lieutenant John Charles Frémont explored the Wyoming country in 1842 and 1843. Frémont published glowing reports of its beauty. In 1847 another trail through the region was pioneered by Mormon emigrants headed for the Great Salt Lake. With the discovery of gold in California in 1848, many thousands more headed westward. The trails through Wyoming had become essential links between the Far West and the states to the east. From 1841 to 1868 an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 emigrants traveled through Wyoming, although very few stayed. "Wyoming" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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