Quilt Walk Story
Parley P. Pratt and fifty men were sent to explore the southern region, just three years after Mormon President Brigham Young and the saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. On January 8, 1850, while standing atop the hillside overlooking the valley, Pratt dedicated the Parowan Valley as the starting place for the colonization of the southern region.
On January 13, 1851, the first Mormon pioneers arrived in Parowan at what is now known as Parowan Heritage Park. They immediately set about to build a community. Soon after their arrival and for several decades after, pioneers from Parowan were called to establish new settlements in southern Utah, Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada and Oregon.
In March of 1864, fifty-four pioneer families led by Jens Neilson left Parowan and crossed the high plateau to the east to settle what is now known as Panguitch. Land was soon cleared and irrigation ditches and canals were surveyed and dug. However, weather in the high mountain valley did not allow crops to mature that first year.
With fierce winter storms, facing starvation, seven men left Panguitch for Parowan to get supplies for the starving settlers. They drove a light wagon as far as the could before getting bogged down in heavy snow. They laid a quilt down on the snow and knelt down and prayed. While still on their knees on the quilt, the men realized they had not sunk down into the snow. So they began laying a quilt on the snow, walking across it, and then laying another, and so on, all the way across the mountain to Parowan.
Alex Matheson recorded their story: ÔÇťAt one time we were about to give up but we had a little prayer circle and asked God for guidance. We decided if we had faith as big as a mustard seed we could make it and bring back flour to our starving families. So we began our quilt laying in prayerful earnest. In this way we made our way over the deep crusted snow to Parowan. The return trip was harder with the weight of the flour, but we finally made it to our wagon and oxen and on home.ÔÇŁ
The trek became known as the Quilt Walk and cemented a close tie between the two communities.