Teri Vance
Linda Graeber poses with an unfinished Nevada Sequicentennial quilt at the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Carson City Wednesday.
Brad Coman | Nevada Appeal

Mormon pioneers, migrating west to escape religious persecution, are credited with creating Nevada’s first non-native establishment in what is now Genoa.

“Two members of the Mormon Battalion, Abner Blackburn and Hampton Beatie, established a temporary trading post on the west side of Carson Valley,” according to the Nevada Division of State Parks. Mormons continued to settle in the state, including the first to build permanent residence in Las Vegas.

That heritage will be celebrated during a free community barbecue in honor of the state’s sesquicentennial at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building, at 411 Saliman Road, 1-4 p.m. Nov. 1.

“The history of the LDS Church members runs deep in the history of Nevada, back to when it was part of the Utah territory,” said Curtis Palmer, a member of the committee organizing the barbecue. “The Mormons were among the first white settlers to Nevada.”

The barbecue, open to the public and an official NV 150 event, will have food, live entertainment and activities for children. It will also feature demonstrations on searching family history.

“People can find out where some of their roots come from,” Palmer.

A quilt show will also be on display, showcasing heirloom quilts from church members in the region.

“These are quilts that have been passed down generations,” said Linda Graeber, chairwoman of the quilt committee. “They’ve been passed through families within the community. It ties the history together.”

The featured quilt — made by area quilters for the celebration — highlights Nevada in the center with blocks representing each community surrounding it. “The quilts represent the idea of going back in time,” Palmer said. “Back in those days, they were critical for survival.”

Palmer said he hopes Nevada Day revelers will stop by the church after the annual parade downtown.

“It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors and find out what we’re all about,” he said. “And it’s a family-friendly way to celebrate Nevada’s 150th birthday. We’re proud of that, and we’re proud of our heritage.”