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Library debuts Mormon Battalion exhibit

NEWTON, Utah — Nearly 60 years ago, nine buses drove through America's Southwest carrying descendants of Utah pioneers.The

symbolic journey carried two meanings: to commemorate the march of the

Mormon Battalion in the 1840s and to help mark California's discovering

of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848 and the state's admittance to the

Union in 1850.Among them was J.J. Larsen, a Newton resident who

would die 18 years later but leave at least one tangible piece of the

commemorative journey for his granddaughter to find several decades

later: his uniform.Now, the uniform hangs in a new exhibit in

the Newton Town Library honoring members of the Mormon Battalion —

especially those with descendants currently living in Newton.

Over the past several months, Larsen's

granddaughter, Ruby Woodward, and assistant librarian Cleo Griffin have

researched stories of those who marched in 1846 and 1847 from Council

Bluffs, Iowa, to Los Angeles, collected items from that time period and

searched for photos of ancestors of current residents. Those photos now

hang in the display and details of their history during the march are

scattered through the exhibit.