California Peak Named for Pioneer Woman
January 1995

“California Peak Named for Pioneer Woman,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 77–78

California Peak Named for Pioneer Woman

Latter-day Saint pioneer Melissa Coray was recently honored when a mountain peak in eastern California was named after her. Melissa Coray Peak, a 9,763-foot peak in the Sierra Nevada mountains, honors the memory of Melissa, the wife of Mormon Battalion Sergeant William Coray, and “thousands of emigrant women who endured similar hardships in settling the West.”

Four days after marrying William on 22 June 1846, Melissa left with her husband and marched from Iowa to California. Melissa was a company laundress, and her husband built roads and followed orders as a member of Company B. The group blazed a road through Carson Pass, about fifty miles southwest of present-day Carson City, Nevada.

Map of California

Descendants of Melissa and of other battalion members were among the hundreds attending two activities associated with naming the peak, both sponsored by the Sierra Chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. The first event was a roadside ceremony on U.S. Highway 88, five miles west of the peak. A plaque was unveiled commemorating the “Mormon-Carson Pass Emigrant Trail.” Unveiling the plaque was eight-year-old Melissa Richmond, a fourth-great-granddaughter of Melissa Coray. She is the daughter of Rick and Linda Ann Richmond of the Vienna Ward, Oakton Virginia Stake.

The second part of the commemoration took place twelve miles northeast, still on highway 88. Several addresses were given here, and young men and women from the Fair Oaks California Stake finished a ten-mile pioneer trek at the spot.

Naming the peak has been a three-year project. With the help of the Oregon-California Trail Association and the Forest Service, the Sierra Chapter of the SUP began working with the California Board of Geographic Names in 1991. In October 1993, the California board received federal approval for officially naming the peak after Melissa Coray.

Melissa Coray Peak is a 9,763-foot peak in the Sierra Nevada mountains (see arrow, above). Lake in foreground is Silver Lake. (Photography by Garn Hatch.)

Several addresses were part of a roadside ceremony officially naming Melissa Coray Peak.