A Mission to California

After discharge, many Mormon Battalion soldiers headed north through the Cajon Pass. By fall, they reached their families in the Salt Lake Valley, which Church members began referring to as Zion.Life in Salt Lake was hard during the first years. The supplies brought by returning soldiers helped. But the soldiers stories of California's mild climate spread. Many of the settlers thought they might do better in California. Some Mormon pioneers left the Salt Lake Valley for the California gold fields.

Brigham Young- Mormon Church President BYU
Jefferson Hunt, Andrew Lytle and other former soldiers, made several trips along the "southern route." They made several trips south to get need supplies for the struggling Mormon settlement at Salt Lake. During one of these trips, Hunt and Lytle organized the first cattle drive north through the Cajon Pass. Church members continued to visit Issac Williams on these southern trips. Williams repeated his offer to sell Rancho del Chino several times.

The Salt Lake settlement began to prosper and Mormon immigrants continued to arrive. Brigham Young, as Church president, began a system of outlying colonies. He sent Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich to California to investigate possibilites for Church growth.

After considering throughout the state, they concluded that Chino would be the best choice. It was close to the port at San Pedro and was accessible to Salt Lake year round. Rich met with Issac Williams and sent a glowing report back to Young.