Sunday January 2 1848 ‑ Saturday, January 8, 1848

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

A “burying ground committee” was instructed to quickly find a location for a cemetery.  During the week three‑week‑old Young Brigham Carrington, infant son of Albert and Rhoda Carrington died.  Midwife Patty Sessions helped deliver three babies during the week.

On Thursday, Eliza R. Snow spent an enjoyable time at the home of Elder John Taylor.  She wrote:  “His conversation very interesting.  He compared our getting along in this kingdom to going down the Missouri River on a raft, where the snags before beheld at a distance, seemed thick & impassable but a way was found to row past them as they approached them one by one & when it became dark he always tied up his raft & lay still till the day dawned.”


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

On Sunday Thomas Kington arrived from the Garden Grove settlement, in Iowa.  During the past year there had been problems in the settlement.  Brother Kington met with the Twelve and it was decided to send Lucius Scovil and Elisha Groves to go back with Brother Kington to Garden Grove, to settle some further problems.

On Wednesday a case came before the High Council involving the Emmett company.  In 1844, James Emmett led a company of 150‑200 Saints out of Nauvoo toward the west.  They had faced many hardships, visited from time to time by messengers sent by Brigham Young.  Eventually they were brought back to the main body of the Saints.  During much of this time they attempted to live with all things in common.  James Emmett had put them under covenant that when they reached their journey's end that all the property would be divided equally.  Brigham Young wrote:  “I advised that all of Emmet's company have the property refunded to them as soon and as far as could be; and told them that the covenants made by Emmet and his company were not valid, having been dictated by a false spirit and that no man had a right to make a covenant binding the people of God, except he had the keys of the Priesthood and that covenant was dictated by revelation from God.”  The council decided that any property that was in dispute should become property of the Church.[1]

On Friday a feast was held for the Twelve and their wives.  Samuel Woolley prepared two large fat wild turkeys and other wonderful food.  Wilford Woodruff wrote:  “We had an interesting feast & conversation upon a variety of subjects among which was the spirit of God and Holy Ghost.  It was remarked that the Spirit of God enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world.  And when a man was baptized for the remission of sins & hands laid upon him for the gift of the Holy Ghost, that blessing was sealed upon him & tarried with him if he was faithful & as light would receive light & truth embrace truth the more of the Holy Ghost A man had the more power he would have & the more of the Holy Ghost would still cleave unto him.”



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.99; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:307‑08; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 83; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 294‑95; Smart, Mormon Midwife, 105‑06; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 216


                                                                       Sunday January 9 ‑ Saturday, January 15, 1848

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

On Sunday the High Council made plans to build a pole fence for the herd.  “Decided to begin at the Fort with a pole fence and build all we can till crop time and keep at it between times till it is finished.  After leaving the city plot, the fence to be pole and ditch.”  On Monday they discussed where further farm land would be assigned to the emigration divisions.  They decided that the farm land should be located to the south and southeast, as near to the Fort as possible.  Water rights were discussed and a plan put in place have the bishops regulate the gardens.

Lorenzo Dow Young wrote on Monday:  “This day finished sowing winter wheat; the weather is warm and pleasant; the grass is growing finely.”

On Saturday Parley P. Pratt requested that President John Smith allow Hazen Kimball to take his (Brother Kimball's) family to California with Captain Walker.  Brother Kimball was granted permission but was told to not lead any other families away from the valley.


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

On Monday the Twelve wrote an epistle to the Saints on the eastern banks of the Missouri River, asking them to donate provisions for the police.  In the letter they wrote:  “It is well known to many of you, the circumstances underwhich the great body of the Church located here [in Winter Quarters]; the many inconveniences & privations we have suffered through being huddled together in such large numbers, having the great majority of the poor, and the destitute thrown on our hands ‑‑ the many families of our [Mormon Battalion] brethren to take care of . . . also, the large amount of able bodies and expert men drawn from this Camp to be Pioneers, in search of a home for all the Saints . . . and the many heavy losses we have sustained through Indian depredations, and destruction of our cattle.  . . . One of our Bishops has 301 individuals dependent on him for their daily bread.”  The Twelve stated that $800 was due the police for their service, but the Church did not have the funds.  Donations of clothing, provisions, cattle, and waggons were requested.  “The Brethren in making this petition to you, realize that the comparatively advantageous circumstances which surrounds you, will warrent you in being liberal and benevolent.”

On Wednesday, Wilford Woodruff wrote:  “I took my family out to ride in the carriage.  I rode through the great corn field ‑‑ 2 1/2 miles through it.  Saw large flocks of prairie chickens.  I shot one and brought it home.”

The Twelve wrote several letters.  Brigham Young wrote to Elder William I. Appleby in Philadelphia [actually still on the way], instructing him to send twenty German spelling, grammar books, and dictionaries to Winter Quarters.  They would be used by elders to start learning the German language.  Heber C. Kimball wrote a long letter to Emma Smith and her son, Joseph Smith III.  A letter was received from Indian Agent John Miller, prohibiting the Saints from moving their log cabins at Winter Quarters across the Missouri River.

On Saturday, Brigham Young crossed over the river to attend a Jubilee feast planned by the Seventies for the coming week at the tabernacle in Miller's Hollow.  In the evening a house that belonged to the Cutler family burned down.


St. Louis, Missouri:

Amasa Lyman and William I. Appleby on their way to missions in the south and east were in St.  Louis.  They raised money from the Saints their for their travel costs and to print 3,500 copies of the “General Epistle of the Twelve” which had been penned during December, 1847.  It was printed in the office of the “St.  Louis Republican.”



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.100; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:308; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 84; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 295‑97; Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:164; Bennett, We'll Find The Place, 308


                                                                      Sunday January 16 ‑ Saturday, January 22, 1848

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

The captains of hundreds reported to the High Council that they had measured off land to be used for farms.  Each group had 450‑900 acres.  Lorenzo Dow Young wrote:  “From the first of this month till now, the weather has been warm and pleasant.  It seems like April in the east.”


Miller's Hollow, Iowa:

A wonderful series of meetings started across the Missouri River from Winter Quarters.  On Sunday Wilford Woodruff wrote:  “I took my wife & children into my carriage & crossed the river on the ice and rode to the Log tabernacle to attend the meeting.”  At 11 a.m., a five‑day “Seventies Jubilee” commenced in the log tabernacle.  Elder Woodruff spoke on “being one in all things” and the building up of Zion.  President Brigham Young taught the people that the Holy Ghost could teach any member of the Church, but would never tell a member that they should dictate and direct their file leader in the Church.  He warned the people that they should always attend to their Church duties.  “If this people holding the priesthood should settle down and go to cultivating the earth and entirely neglect the preaching of the gospel, the earth would open and swallow them up and hide them from his sight.”

On Monday the meetings continued in the morning.  President Young spoke on the subject of dancing.  He taught that dancing was not an ordinance of the gospel or of the House of the Lord.  But he said that dancing was good in its proper place.  “Everything that is calculated to fill the soul with joy is ordained of God and proper for the Saints if they acknowledge God in all things and do not sin.”  He added, “You will never see any music or dancing in Hell, neither joy or gladness will be there but these things will be in heaven.”  The afternoon and evening was spent in dancing.  Elder Woodruff wrote:  “The old gray‑headed man, with the young man, maiden and children went forth in the dance together & praised the Lord in the dance and all was peace and harmony.”

On Tuesday some business was conducted.  Two petitions were drawn up.  The first would be presented to the Legislature of the State of Iowa to obtain a tract of land (probably for the future site of Kanesville) and organize a county ‑‑ Pottawattamie Country.  This petition of 1,805 signatures would be delivered by Andrew H. Perkins and Henry W. Miller.  The second petition was a request to the postmaster general to start a post office near the log tabernacle.  It was proposed that a semi‑weekly mail service be started, with a connecting route to Austin, Missouri.  The afternoon and evening was again spent in singing and dancing.

On Wednesday a new congregation gathered at the tabernacle.  Because so many people wanted to attend these meetings, different branches were given permission to assemble and take their turn participating.  The afternoon and evening were passed away with singing and dancing.  Several officers from Fort Kearny attended the festivities.

The “Jubilee” was concluded on Thursday.  Elder George A. Smith counseled the Saints to not settle on the Missouri River bottoms, but rather locate their families on the bluffs, where there was plenty of timber.  He also advised the Saints to pay their tithing.  In the evening, at the conclusion of the usual singing and dancing, President Young asked that the dancing stop.  “For if you get up parties all over the country here and go to dancing, sin and iniquity will grow out of it.”  He commended them for their good behavior at the dances held during the previous week.  He said, “the Spirit of the Lord has been here.”

The brethren and their families returned to their homes in Winter Quarters on Friday.  They met Almon W. Babbitt and others who had arrived from Nauvoo with newspapers from the East.  They also received word of Emma Smith's marriage to Lewis C. Bidamon.



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.101; Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:164‑65; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:311; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 84; Bennett, We'll Find The Place, 294


                                                                      Sunday January 23 ‑ Saturday, January 29, 1848


Sutter's Mill, California:

During the fall, John A. Sutter, of Sutter's Fort, hired about eighty discharged Mormon Battalion Soldiers for various projects. One project was to build a sawmill in the mountains at Coloma, on the south fork of American River. Work began on September 29, 1847 under the direction of James Marshall. The Mormon Battalion workers at this site included: Henry Bigler, Azariah Smith, Alexander Stephens, James S. Brown, William Johnstun (he was away during this week). Also working at the site were LDS members William W. Barger and the Peter Wimmer family.

On Monday, January 24, 1848, Henry Bigler wrote this historic journal entry: "This day some kind of metal that looks like gold was found in the tail race." Azariah Smith added: "This week Mr. Marshall found some pieces of (as we all suppose) gold, and he has gone to the Fort, for the purpose of finding out. It is found in the raceway in small pieces; some have been found that would weigh five dollars."

James S. Brown later recorded:


Mr. Marshall came along to look over the work in general, and went to where the tail race entered the river. There he discovered a bed of rock that had been exposed by the water the night before. . . . Mr. Marshall called me to him as he examined the bed of the race, and said: 'This is a curious rock.' Then he probed a little futher, and added: 'I believe it contains minerals of some kind, and I believe there is gold in these hills.


 James Marshall arose early the next morning at the site. The other men ate their breakfast and joked about Marshall's hopes of finding a gold mine. But later, Marshall showed them the contents of his old wool hat. James S. Brown wrote: "On looking into his hat I discovered ten or twelve pieces or small scales of what proved to be gold. I picked up the largest piece . . . held it aloft and exlaimed, "Gold, boys, gold!" At Sutter's Fort, it was confirmed that indeed the metal was Gold. Sutter asked Marshall and the workers at the mill to keep the discovery a secret until the land could be secured. Marshall returned to the mill and shared the exciting news. The men had been gathering gold throughout the week and collected about one hundred dollars worth.


Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

On Sunday, Charles C. Rich reported to the High Council that mountaineer, Joseph R. Walker wished to raise about twenty‑five men from among that Saints to help him make a new road to California. Captain Walker was currently on the Green River, heading toward the valley. He believed that a new route could be made to the San Francisco Bay area that would only require twenty days of travel time.

President John Smith said that there were a number of brethren that had business to conduct in California, so if a company of volunteers could be raised, they would be allowed to go. The Bishops would see how many wished to volunteer and the property that they wished to take with them would be examined.

On Tuesday an ordinance was passed by the High Council to keep loose animals off the fields of winter wheat. On Saturday Alanson Eldredge was given permission to establish a tanning site on Big Canyon Creek.


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

On Sunday evening, Elders Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff spoked to a large assembly. Elder Pratt shared some thoughts about astronomy. He was of the opinion that God did not create things out nothing. "That matter is eternal & infinite without end." He advised the brethren to devote their leasure time to reading and study "and fulfill the commandments which says we should treasure up wisdom and knowledge by faith and by study out of the best books."

Elder Woodruff exhorted the people to hold meetings every Sunday in the various wards. In addition, a prayer meeting should be held on a week night. He taught that the Spirit of the Lord and the spirit of the devil could not dwell together in a person for very long. After a short time, one would govern the person and the other would leave. He warned the people against quickly judging any matter without hearing both sides of the issue.

On Monday a case was heard before the Twelve and High Council involving Edwin D. Woolley vs. the Winter Quarters Police. The police charged that Brother Woolley had been using seditious language against the Church authorities. Brother Woolley didn't agree with a few policies including allowing the police to carry hickory clubs, that no party could be held without a bishop presiding, and that the police would not allow a man to let his own cattle into his own crops. The brethren determined that while Brother Woolley had strong feelings on some of these matters, he did not have the spirit of sedition in his heart. Brigham Young explained that these laws were for the unruly and the duty fell on good men to keep order. Brother Woolley made a confession that he had spoken improperly, in a moment of passion. He was forgiven by the Council and the matter was settled.

Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, and Levi Richards visited Brother Lyman Hinman's family to administer to them. Elder Woodruff wrote: "The whole family was sick & had been troubled with evil spirits. We prayed with this family & laid hands upon 7 that were sick of the Household. The spirit of the Lord was with us & we rebuked the sickness & commanded the evil spirits to depart & [pronounced] a blessing upon the family.

During the day on Tuesday, the police clean all the public guns. Hosea Stout wrote: "The Council House looked more like a gun smith establishment than anything else." In the evening the Twelve met together to discuss matters taking place in Nauvoo. Brigham Young said that he no longer wished the temple to be sold.



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.101‑02; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:311‑15; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1:300; Henry W. Bigler Journal in Carter, The Mormon Battalion, 48; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 108‑09; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 96‑101; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion: US Army of the West, 197‑99


                                                                      Sunday January 30 ‑ Saturday, February 5, 1848

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

The High Council authorized Archibald and Robert Gardner to build a sawmill on Mill Creek. They were cautioned to not interfere with irrigation. A committee was appointed to report on the timber that was cut for logs, poles, fuel, and other purposes. Because of a shortage of logs, an order was issued that no man would build with logs without permissions from the authorities.

Eliza R. Snow recorded some feelings about selfishness she observed: "Alas! that Saints of God can be so full of selfishness as to sacrifice the source of others' happiness to gratify their own enthusiastic notions. Strange that any should seek to shorten the arm that has been extended to lift them out of affliction."


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

On Sunday Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal: "We had one of the most terrible storms we have had for several years. It has been exceedingly warm for many days. The wind blew hard from the North, commenced raining & freezing, then snowing & exceeding cold & the storm lasted through the day and night which blew snow into many houses. It was also tedious upon cattle." The storm lasted until late in the night.

On Thursday a feast was held at the home of Curtis E. Bolton for those who defended Nauvoo in the "Battle of Nauvoo" which took place on September 12, 1846. During the battle, though significantly outnumbered, the band of brave defenders held off the mob, and only three of the defenders lost their lives. On the day of the battle, the defenders wore a red badge on their left arm. The same badges were worn at this feast. Heber C. Kimball spoke to the gathering, following by Colonel Johnson. Then it was a time for feasting, music, singing, and dancing. The Saints thanked the Lord for their deliverance from the mobs.

William Clayton was preparing to leave for St. Louis to publish his "Latter‑day Saint's Emigrant's Guide from Council Bluffs to Great Salt Lake City." This important pamphlet would be an important source to guide pioneer companies to the valley. Brigham Young wrote a letter of introduction for him to the branch president in St. Louis, Nathaniel H. Felt.

Mary Richards wrote on Friday: "About noon today I left Sister Goddard's for home, having spent two weeks with her and never was I more kindly treated. It seemed to me that the good Spirit of the Lord continually dwelt under that roof and blessed us with its cheering presence. I was contented and happy for all around me seemed happy and I could not be otherwise. I rode home with Brother Perry. We crossed the [Missouri] River on ice which cracked and was broken in many places, but through the goodness of God, we arrived home in safety and found the folks all well."


Sutter's Mill, California

On Wednesday, John Sutter arrived at the mill to see for himself the gold mine that had been discovered. Before he arrived, the Mormon been seeded the area with gold they had already found, in an attempt to make sure that Sutter was pleased. He was, and offered them all gifts.



Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:315‑16; Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.102; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 86; Ward, Winter Quarters, 189; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 109‑10



[1]James Emmett was no longer in Winter Quarters and had been disfellowshiped in November, 1847, shortly after Brigham Young returned from the valley.