Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Miracle of the Quail

Miracle of the Quail

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 03, 2011

In the fall of 1846, most of the last Mormons in Nauvoo – the sick, the elderly, those too desperately poor to feed themselves – were driven across the river to survive as best they could in a string of scattered camps along two miles of wilderness. Wagons and supplies were on their way back from the main camps of the Saints who had gone ahead, but the “Poor Camp” Saints were on their own for a time. October 9 saw an event remembered as “the miracle of the quail,” depicted in this feature from the April 1955 Children’s Friend, written by Kathryn S. Gilbert and drawn by Erla Young.








A fuller account of the evacuation of the “Poor Camp” and the miracle of the quail can be read here.



  1. That is amazing.

    I wonder what the quail prayed for?

    Comment by SilverRain — February 3, 2011 @ 7:38 am

  2. “Help us nourish and strengthen them and do them the good they need”? Nah, probably not.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 3, 2011 @ 7:40 am

  3. Nowadays, most people in America would not know what to do with a live quail to prepare it for eating.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — February 3, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  4. Bruce, I think the same thing when I read stories of someone helping a starving pioneer family by dropping off a bushel of flour.

    On the other hand, being hungry can make you very creative, like my first experience with a frozen cornish game hen…

    Comment by Clark — February 3, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  5. To the question, what did the quail pray for?

    “Help us nourish and strengthen them and do them the good they need”? Nah, probably not.

    [laughing] That line was a real hoot!

    Anyhow, I enjoyed the cute drawings.

    Comment by David Y. — February 3, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  6. Thanks for the link to the Hartley article. What a nice summary! What a story!

    And about the quail, I’m sure if we were hungry enough, we could figure out what to do with quail, but my children would be weeping copiously in the background about the poor little birds.

    Comment by Researcher — February 3, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  7. I like that drawing of the woman, two quail (already dead, or very tired) in her right hand while another lands on her left.

    Hardy stuff our pioneer mothers were made of. Nowadays it may well be “I am woman, hear me roar” but I’d like to see them dispatching a handful of quail (or chickens or some other bird) for dinner tonight.

    It does seem rather unsporting, though–sort of like Peter telling Sapphira about the men who just carried Ananias out: “The quail that landed here a minute ago are on their way to the stew pot. Don’t crowd them in there, eh?” (She was Canadian.)

    Comment by Mark B. — February 3, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  8. Good question, Silver Rain. The answer is obvious: The quail would have prayed that they would be sent to to someone who needed them and whom they could help.

    Comment by Pamela — July 27, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

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