The weather was clear and warm. The wind kicked up later in the day. During the morning, Wilford Woodruff sat and had a portrait taken which was to be put into a book with other portraits of the Twelve. Hosea Stout went digging for “Hartachokes.”1
In the afternoon, the Twelve met with Joseph A. Stratton, who had recently arrived from St. Louis, where more than two thousand Saints were spending the winter. The minutes of the St. Louis Conference were read. Brother Stratton read all the names of the St. Louis Branch.
Brigham Young officially turned the Winter Quarters flouring mill over to John Neff, who had recently purchased it for $2,600.
In the evening, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards read newspapers and met with brethren who came to visit. They were particularly interested in newspaper articles about the war with Mexico. A special council meeting was held at the home of city marshal, Horace S. Eldredge. Rodney Badger confessed that he had stolen a horse from a Missourian. The council decided that he should take two men with him, return the horse, and pay all the expenses and damage.2
A letter of recommendation was composed to the Nauvoo Trustees for W.W. Phelps. Brother Phelps was about to travel to the east to procure a printing press for Winter Quarters. Included in the letter from the Twelve was recent news.
The Council, with as many as can fit themselves out, will start as pioneers in a few days, to find a location west of the mountains, leaving their families here till they have prepared a place, then come and take them forward. Brethren who have small families, and means to take with them from 300 to 500 lbs., of bread stuff per soul, will follow our trail, when grass will warrant; others will tarry here, raise grain, and prepare for another spring’s march; and no doubt many will gather in this place this season and be preparing for their departure for the wilderness. . . . Any company of seventy‑five men, with or without families, can leave this place for the west as late as the first of July, if they have good teams and eighteen month’s provisions.
A daughter, Julia Pratt, was born to Parley P. and Sarah Huston Pratt. Patty Sessions helped with the delivery. Joseph E. Walker, age two months, died of cold. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Walker.
During the morning, John D. Lee laid the foundation for two houses. Afterwards, he started heading back to Winter Quarters (about thirteen miles to the south.) He arrived at 4 p.m. Brother Lee gave Charles Shumway a span of mules, a wagon, and grain to help them prepare for the pioneer journey.
Mary Richards continued her journey to return to Winter Quarters with the Duel family. They arrived at a large settlement of Saints about four miles east of Keg Creek and camped with Brother Allen. Mary Richards wrote in her journal, “After supper I took a short walk from the waggon, and kneeled down under a tree and offered up a prayer.”
The battalion drilled as usual. News arrived from San Luis Rey Mission that Private David Smith died there on March 23, 1847. He was part of the small detachment of sick and others left behind to guard the mission. The men blamed the death on medicine administered by Doctor Sanderson before he left the mission. Private Smith’s illness had become worse. Two days before his death he was speechless. Daniel Tyler commented, “He died as he had lived, true to his God, his country and his religion.”
It rained and was quite cool. This was refreshing to the men and the first rain seen for many weeks. Azariah Smith wrote, “I feel very lonesum and want to see home but comfort myself thinking that it is only a little more than three months more till our discharge.” A “Young Men’s Club” was organized for lecturing, debating, and reciting poetry. An express came in from Monterey, covering 1,000 miles in just ten days. The express delivered government papers.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 544; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:145; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 140‑41; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:245; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 115; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 349‑50; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 216; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 23; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 82; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 135; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 274; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 77
Signs of spring continued to be seen at Winter Quarters. The Missouri river had risen two feet from continued thawing upriver. The cottonwood trees were budding and grass was starting to spring from the ground. The men in the city were busy moving houses into a stockade line.
A meeting was held at the Winter Quarters stand to divide the city into lots for planting. Bids were accepted to fence in these lots.
Brigham Young met with the Twelve, Bishop Newel K. Whitney, and Bishop George Miller. Bishop Miller expressed his views that the Saints should emigrate to Texas instead of the Great Basin. He wanted to head south to make a treaty with Mexico and to obtain land for the Church. President Young wrote: “I informed Bishop Miller that his views were wild and visionary, that when we moved hence it would be to the Great Basin, where the Saints would soon form a nucleus of strength and power sufficient to cope with mobs.” Hosea Stout recorded: “A very few words from different ones on the subject caused him [Miller] to confess the impractibility of his plans.”
John D. Lee spent the day working to have wheat and corn ground at the mill for the pioneer company. Brother McGee Harris generously donated eighteen pounds of bacon and ten bushels of corn for the pioneer company.
The Sessions family also donated provisions for the pioneers. They gave them twenty-four pounds of pork and two bushels of corn. They sold seventy-five pounds of beef to Jesse C. Little.
Mary Richard continued her journey with the Duel family. They crossed Keg Creek where they found quite a few Saints settled and then continued on for sixteen miles. They spent the night camped by a “Widow Smith’s” house, where there was a large settlement of the Saints. Mary Richards wrote: “I went and kneeled down under [a tree] poured out my soul in prayer to Heavenly Father that he would protect and preserve me and my dear Samuel [away on a mission to England] from every danger and permit us to live long upon the earth and do much good in our day and generation, and be blessed with all things that our hearts should desire in righteousness.”
The battalion drilled again. Henry Standage took time to wash his clothes. An Indian was sent to San Luis Rey Mission to instruct the men of the battalion stationed there to go to Los Angeles.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 544; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 140‑41; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:245; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 115; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 216; Bigler, Chronicles of the West, 52; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:14; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 77
Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal:
It was a busy day with me preparing to start on the journey. We are now about to start on the pioneer journey to go to the mountains of Israel to find a location as a resting place for the Saints. . . . I have never felt more weight upon my mind at this time while leaving my family to go on a mission than now. My prayer to God is that He will sustain myself & family to meet again on earth as he hath done in the many mansions I have taken on the earth in the vineyard of the Lord.
Horace K. Whitney recorded: “It is the intention to start most of the teams on Monday, who are to go up to the Elk Horn River and then wait till all shall come up.” A conference was planned in Winter Quarters for April 6th. Levi Jackman, one of the pioneers, left this day with his team, heading for the Elk Horn River.
John D. Lee distributed flour to pioneers and to wives of battalion members. He then took one of his teams to travel back to Summer Quarters. Rodney Swasey went along with him to bring the team back. After they had passed the fort ruins at Old Council Bluff, they met Isaac Morley and Edwin D. Woolley. They traveled together but experienced an accident when they crossed over the bridge on Mudd Creek. His wagon broke through part of the bridge, injuring one of his mules. It took them three hours to free the wagon. By that time, Brother Pace had come up from Winter Quarters on the way to the farm with his family. They all decided to camp for the night by Mudd Creek.
About this time, Brigham Young’s brother Lorenzo came to a decision that he could not leave his sick wife Harriet behind, while he went ahead with the pioneers. Lorenzo asked permission to bring her along. President Young strongly objected, but Lorenzo finally decided that he would not go without Harriet. President Young needed his brother to be part of the pioneer company and he eventually gave his permission. Harriet could not be the only sister in the company and after consultation, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball decided to each take a wife on the journey. Clarissa Decker Young3 and Ellen Sanders Kimball4 would also make the trek. Lorenzo Young5 would also take his son Lorenzo S. Young6 and his stepson, Perry Decker7 (Harriet’s son).
A son, Garret W. Mikesell, was born to Garret W. and Ruth Cunningham Mikesell. A son, John Smith, was born to George A. and Bathsheba Wilson Smith.
Mary Richards and her group passed by an Indian burial ground. Mary stopped to take a look. “One grave was covered with logs laid in the form of a small crib. The bones was laid on the out side of the ground. While passing one of the wigwaams an Indian peaked out & called to me and said ‘say Squaw come in.’” Mary continued on her journey toward Winter Quarters. They met Reuben W. Allred going to Keg Creek in a carriage, expecting to return to Winter Quarters the next day. Mary agreed to travel with Brother Allred to visit the Bird family and then to return with him to Winter Quarters. She bid good‑bye to the Duel family who had been so kind to her, and then went and spent a very pleasant night at the Birds’ home.
A son, Samuel David Carson, was born to William H. and Corilla Egbert Carson.
Robert Bliss, while thinking about his family whom he had left at the Missouri River, wrote: “As our time passes away I think of home the More & wish for the time to come when I can once more live with my Family & friends far away.”
After spending one week in Louisville collecting donations for Garden Grove, Luman Shurtliff made arrangement to leave for Cincinatti, Ohio. He first obtained letters of introduction from editors of the Louisville newspapers and then boarded a boat in the evening. He was quite sick and could not eat.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 544; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:145; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:202; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 142‑43; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 26; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 11; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 73
The first two pioneers to leave Winter Quarters, Tarlton Lewis and Stephen H. Goddard, arrived on the east bank of the Elkhorn River. They began to build a raft that would be used to ferry the pioneer wagons across.
Hosea Stout wrote that the day was “Dark, Damp, Warm, Pleasant.” In the morning, Orson Pratt and Ezra T. Benson preached at a Sabbath Service. Wilford Woodruff did not attend the meeting because he was busy with a baptismal service down by the river. He baptized three members of Brother Dewey’s family and also confirmed them.
John Y. Greene arrived with mail from Nauvoo, Mount Pisgah, and other places in between. Thomas Bullock made a copy of John C. Fremont’s topographical map of the road to Oregon which would be valuable to the pioneer company. Lyman Stoddard was given a letter of recommendation and certificate of authority to enable him to preach on Pottawatomie Indian lands. The bishops were asked to work with the presidencies of the emigration companies to help supervise the stockading of the city. Brigham Young proposed that eight to ten men go and raise a crop for the Omahas to keep them away from the Winter Quarter’s crops in the fall.
Mary Richards returned to Winter Quarters after a six-week visit with families in Iowa. She found her mother‑in‑law, Wealthy Richards, quite sick and feeble. Joseph Stratton met Mary and mentioned that he had brought her some letters from St. Louis. One was a letter that her husband, Samuel W. Richards, had written to her parents in St. Louis, which had been forwarded to her. Mary wrote: “I was glad to have one line more from my dear Absent Husband for near six months had past since I had a line from him.”8
The Twelve wrote a long letter to Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the Prophet. It began, “Beloved mother in Israel, Our thoughts, our feelings, our desires and our prayers to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, are often drawn out in your behalf, and we can truly say, unceasingly; for we can never forget our beloved brother Joseph.” They were not sure where Mother Smith was, but they wanted to be sure to tell her about the pioneer plans:
We are speedily to depart from this place, with other pioneers, and go westward over the mountains, as we shall be led by the spirit of the lord, to find a location for a stake of Zion, we felt that we could not take our leave without addressing a line to mother Smith, to let her know that her children in the Gospel have not forgotten her. . . . If our dear Mother Smith should at any time wish to come where the Saints are located, and she will make it manifest to us, there is no sacrifice we will count too great to bring her forward, and we ever have been, now are and shall continue to be, ready to divide with her the last loaf.
Eliza Jane Sanders, age three, died. She was the daughter of Moses M. and Amanda Sanders. John Smith, born the day before, died. He was the son of George A. and Bathsheba Wilson Smith.
John D. Lee escorted Isaac Morley and Edwin Woolley to examine the location chosen for the Brigham Young family farm. “Father” Morley approved of the location chosen and spoke to the family members assembled there. He appointed John D. Lee to preside over the farm in his absence and asked that they settle together in a block and fortify it against possible Indian aggression. He mentioned that Brigham Young would likely visit the site before he left with the pioneers. John D. Lee was authorized to survey the location and to divide and assign lots to the brethren. John D. Lee, Alfred D. Young and Miles Anderson measured the land consisting of 140 acres. During the night a heavy rain storm blew in, dumping rain on the campers all night.
In the afternoon, Captain Jefferson Hunt led a dress parade of the battalion companies. About twenty ladies from Los Angeles were present. These ladies later visited with Susan Davis and Phebe Brown. Henry Standage observed that these Los Angeles ladies were the most richly dressed of any women he had yet seen.
Robert Bliss, while thinking about his family whom he had left at the Missouri River, wrote: “I think my Family with the first Camp is on their way by this time for California. I pray the Eternal Father to Bless them & give them a safe & pleasant Journey.” Thomas Dunn had similar feelings: “The hours seem to pass slowly the nearer the time of our discharge appears. My mind is almost constantly reflecting on my wife and little one who are anxiously looking for my return to their embrace.”
A meeting was held at which Sergeant William Hyde preached to the men from the scriptures. Many of the non‑Mormon citizens, officers, and sailors of the ships attended.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 545‑46; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 350‑52; James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 1:319‑21; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:145; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 142‑43; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:246; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:59; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 216; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 23; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 115‑16
The weather was cloudy, with occasional thunder showers on this historic day. Heber C. Kimball officially started the pioneer journey. He left Winter Quarters with six teams, traveled four miles to the west and made an encampment for the night near the hay stacks.9 Elder Kimball wrote about this historic day: “On the 5th day of April, 1847, I started with six of my teams and went out about four miles, where I formed an encampment with several others of my division. The same day I returned home.”
Wilford Woodruff intended to start the journey but delayed his start because of heavy rain during the morning. Horace K. Whitney loaded his wagon during the afternoon after the skies cleared.
A letter was received from Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees. He stated that he had visited many cities in the east and that $100,000 was the largest offer that he had received for the temple and Church property. In addition, forty law suits had been issued against the Church for debts claimed during the Kirtland period.
In the evening, Mary Richards went to visit her uncle Willard Richards’ family. In the office she was read the letter written to Lucy Mack Smith. Elder Richards asked Mary about her visit with the Burtons on the Nishnabotna River. He then spoke of the Richards family and told Mary, “You have been a good girl. You have not come a whining around because your husband is gone but you have endured his absence patiently and you shall be blessed for it. I know your desires are to do right, and to do whatsoever is right in the sight of God.” Elder Richards said that he was going to talk to Brigham Young about sending her husband, Samuel W. Richards, home from his mission in England. Mary made it clear that she wanted him to come home when his mission was through, not because she missed him so much. “I want to see him so bad I scarcely know how to wait til the time comes, but I trust the Lord will give me strength and patience to endure all things through which I may be called to pass.” Later in the evening, after talking with President Young, Willard Richards told Mary that Samuel would be given permission to return home in the fall.
John H. Williams, age six, died. He was the son of Peter and Elizabeth Williams.
John D. Lee and others cut down trees for their cattle to browse on. They also built a bridge over a small stream to help them haul timber back to the farm site.
Colonel Mason arrived at the mouth of the San Pedro river in a ship and a letter was brought to Captain Jefferson Hunt from Monterey. This letter probably spoke of two cannons that would soon be arriving. They had been taken from Fremont’s rebellious volunteers.
Henry W. Bigler wrote: “Spent the day mending my ragged clothes, made a pair of trousers out of old sail duck or sail cloth.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 546; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 144; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:145; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails, 54; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 1; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 117; Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 363; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:59; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 216; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 147
Levi Jackman arrived at the Elkhorn River where he found four other pioneer teams who had left Winter Quarters ahead of him. He crossed the river on a raft and set up camp to wait for the remainder of the pioneers to arrive from Winter Quarters.
A short General Conference of the Church was held at 10 a.m. Wilford Woodruff wrote: “The sun shone bright, the Heavens smiles upon us. Our hearts were made glad. President Young spoke to the people good doctrine.” Brigham Young spoke of those who persecuted the Church. He said that if the mob gave back one hundredth part of what they had stolen, it would be enough to “carry us over the mountains.” He prayed that their enemies’ hearts would be softened. He warned the people to avoid the evils of dancing because such evils would be a snare, and instead they should sing hymns.
William W. Phelps presented the leaders of the Church for a sustaining vote. Brigham Young was sustained as President of the Church and of the Twelve Apostles. The other members of the Twelve were also sustained: Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and Ezra T. Benson. Lyman Wight was not received unanimously, but his case was held over to another time. Elder Wight had been away for months in Texas. Heber C. Kimball said that he had seen Elder Wight in a dream. He had become stuck in the mud up to his knees and was pulled out with the help of the brethren.10
Other positions sustained: Willard Richards as Church Historian and John Smith as Patriarch in the Church. As members of the High Council: Alpheus Cutler, President, George W. Harris, Isaac Morley, Reynolds Cahoon, David Russell, Alanson Eldredge, Thomas Grover, Henry G. Sherwood, Cornelius P. Lott, Winslow Farr, Ezra Chase, and Phinehas Richards. As Presidents of the Seventies: Joseph Young, Benjamin L. Clapp and Jedediah M. Grant. As Presiding Bishop, Newel K. Whitney. Bishop George Miller’s name was not presented for vote.
Mary Richards attended this conference and wrote: “Bro B[righam] & Kimball gave us much good instruction in regard to the future proceeding of the Camp in this place etc. after which we were dismissed with the Blessings of the Lord.” Erastus Snow added his impressions of the conference: “Spent a few hours in the exchange of feeling and in exhortation, and in transacting some important business, and adjourned by advice of President Brigham Young, as the most part of the pioneer company were about ready and anxious to be on their journey westward.”
William C. A. Smoot, one of the pioneers, left Winter Quarters to head for the Elkhorn River to stand guard.
Amy Sumner Porter, age thirty-two, died of scurvy. She was the wife of Chauncy W. Porter.
Summer Quarters was measured off and divided into city plots. John D. Lee called the family together and they discussed whether the land should be pooled together as a family or divided up privately. Those who wanted the land pooled together were: Alfred D. Young, David Young, James Woolley, Henry Woolley, George Laub, Allen Weeks, William Allen, T. Allen, Levi North, George W. Hickerson and some others. T. Johnson, William Pace, and Miles Anderson wanted private ownership. There were some sharp words spoken during the discussion and John D. Lee had to reprove some of the men. Brothers Harris, Simeon Dunn and James Busby soon arrived at the camp.
Luman Shurtliff continued to labor in collecting donations for the destitute Saints at Garden Grove, Iowa. He wrote:
I called on one wholesale merchant who refused me money, finally hunted up some men’s hats that were out of style and gave me two dozen. These hats sold in upper Missouri for three dollars each. Sometimes I would get a box of soap, sometimes a pair of boots or a coat or pants or dishes or a looking glass. At one place I got a gross of spoons, a gross of knives and forks. I made many trips a day to my room which was four pair of stairs up. On an average my travel was about two miles each load. I was walking and talking all day and this affected my lungs and I was failing fast.
A wagon was sent to the coast, to load provisions from a ship. Colonel Cooke issued an official order to discontinue the post at San Luis Rey Mission. “1st Lieutenant, Oman, Mormon Battalion, will march his detachment, composing its garrison, to this city without delay. He will drive here all the public mules and bring with him other public property in his charge.”
Elder Addison Pratt, on the first leg of his voyage to home from his long mission, noted in his journal that this was his daughter Lois’ tenth birthday. He wrote:
Again is my dear family brought fresh to my mind by this anniversary. And to reflect that I am now on my way to them is a pleasant thought. But the next thought that arises is, Where are they?11 Or where am I to find them? It is true I have started for California, in hopes to find them there. But as I have not heard a word from them since August, 1844, who can tell me that I am to find them there?
Orson Hyde arrived in New York from Liverpool.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 546‑47; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 144; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:146; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 73; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 117; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:246; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 26; Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 14:633; Knight and Kimball, 111 Days to Zion, 5; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 164; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217 Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 275; Ellsworth, ed., The Journals of Addison Pratt, 325; Norton Jacob Journal, typescript, 44; Wight, The Wild Ram of the Mountain: Lyman Wight, 266-82
At about noon, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, and others started their historic pioneer journey for the Rocky Mountains. Norton Jacob recorded: “I left my family and started on the great expedition with the pioneers to the West.” Wilford Woodruff left with his company of eight wagons. He wrote: “When we were on the top of the ridge west of the city, I took a view of the Place & looked at my wife & children through my glass. I then led the company to the old camp ground12 from thence on the Ponkan road about 7 miles & camped for the night 10 miles from Winter Quarters.” Soon, Orson Pratt arrived with his company, followed by Brigham Young and his company. They all camped together with about twenty‑five wagons near a west branch of Little Papillion Creek. Heber C. Kimball was still camping about four miles to the east at the haystacks.
Albert P. Rockwood was in Brigham Young’s division. He reported that they left Winter Quarters at 2:15 p.m., passed through Cutler’s Park and then camped at the headwaters of the creek that flows into the Missouri near Old Council Bluff. They found Wilford Woodruff and others already camping at this location. The afternoon turned cold, causing Brother Rockwood to put on his mittens and buffalo warmers. Stephen Markham drove in after sunset hauling the cannon.
The brethren had to quickly adapt to being without their wives. Albert Rockwood wrote: “For the first time on the journey I experienced the inconvenience of not having a wife to git my supper, for just as I was to set to supper, I had the misfortune to tip over a nice pan of milk in my wagon, this put me to the inconvenience of making other arrangements for my refreshments.” The camp retired by 9 p.m. with one guard to watch the horses and mules.
Lorenzo Dow Young, his wife Harriet, and their children, left Winter Quarters at about 4 p.m., with their milk cow in tow. They only traveled about a half mile and camped for the night. Thomas Bullock, with Willard Richards’ teams left Winter Quarters at 5 p.m., traveled by the cemeteries and camped on the prairie. The pioneers took with them a package of nearly four hundred letters for the Mormon Battalion. The wind blew quite hard during the night.
For many of the pioneers, it was very difficult to leave their families behind. Sylvester Henry Earl wrote: “It is hard to leave my family here, sick and among howling wolves and the roaming savages of the west, but the servants of the Lord says go, and I feel as ever to leave all for the Gospel and the salvation of the people.”
Fourteen‑year‑old Andrew Purley Shumway wrote:
When father told me he was selected to go I burst into tears. My mother having just died, it seemed more than I could endure to be left. This affected my father very much and he went and told President Brigham Young how I felt and that I wished to go with him. The President said: ‘Let him go, it will be all right.’ The news gave me great joy. Brother John D. Lee furnished us with a span of mules and a light wagon for the journey.13
Heber C. Kimball held a meeting with his family. He warned them against those who might try to come in the family and sew discord among them while he was gone. He told them to place their complete confidence in Bishop Newel K. Whitney while he was gone, that he was “a worthy, good and exemplary man.” Horace K. Whitney recorded: “He [Elder Kimball] told his wife Vilate that if any person should presume to come into his house and speak against him, or any member of his family, while he was gone, to arise and command them to leave the house, in the name of Heber C. Kimball!”
Ezra T. Benson and Lyman O. Littlefield visited with Mary Richards. Elder Littlefield informed her that he was about to leave for England in a few days and would take letters or anything that Mary wished to send to her husband, Samuel W. Richards.
Jacob, a twenty-three-year-old black servant of John Bankhead died of winter fever.
The day was spent in cutting and hauling timber for houses. John D. Lee, Alfred D. Young, and several of Brother Lee’s wives, raised the body of one house. Isaac Houston and Jacob F. Secrist arrived from Winter Quarters. Brother Houston reported that the rest of the pioneers were leaving Winter Quarters during the morning. Brigham Young and Isaac Morley intended to visit Summer Quarters on the following day.
A petition was organized by the enlisted men to be presented to the battalion officers asking for the discharge of the battalion, since the war appeared to be over. Most of the men signed it, but the officers rejected it because they wanted to extend the service of the battalion to build forts for the army for further pay. The enlisted men were very angry at this. Nathaniel Jones wrote: “This evening the officers met and counselled together about the matter, and the honorable body threw the bill under the table.” The officers who supported the petition were: Daniel Davis, James Pace, Andrew Lytle, and Samuel Thompson. Those who argued against it were: Jefferson Hunt, Lorenzo Clark, George Rosecrans, and George Dykes.
Two cannons were brought from the San Gabriel Mission. They had been taken from Colonel Fremont’s volunteers and were to be guarded by the battalion. Two wagons returned from San Pedro loaded with flour and clothing.
Azariah Smith wrote: “I and Thomas [Dutcher] went down to the Coast again, and there are fish in the Ocean which have a stinger on the tail. We went in swimming and one of them stung Thomas on the foot, and he was in great pain four or five hours when it ceased to pain him, and got well.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 546‑47; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 144‑45; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:146; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:155; Egan, Pioneering the West, 21; Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:532, 543, 8:243; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 3; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 117; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:14‑5; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217; Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 364; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 82; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 1
Wilford Woodruff noted history when the first game was killed in the camp of the pioneers ‑‑ a squirrel. He proposed that since it was the first fruits of the journey, that it be presented to Brigham Young for breakfast, which it was. Lorenzo Dow Young’s family arrived at the camp. They visited with Charles and Vilate Decker, Lucy Decker Young and Margaret Peirce Young. Thomas Bullock arrived in camp in the morning and counted three carriages and twenty‑eight wagons.
Brigham Young and Isaac Morley left for Summer Quarters. Wilford Woodruff and several others spent the day hunting. He noted that they “caught nothing but weary limbs & wet feet.” Albert P. Rockwood headed back to Winter Quarters to retrieve some things for Brigham Young.
Brigham Young and his company returned from Summer Quarters in the late afternoon. Young fourteen‑year‑old Rodney Swasey (the boy who had been hung by his heels by a mob near Farmington, Iowa, see March 9, 1847) received news that his stepfather and mother had been freed from prison by the mob. He wished to return to them instead of going with the pioneers. John D. Lee agreed to let Thomas Woolsey take his place. Amasa Lyman had brought word that Parley P. Pratt had returned to Winter Quarters from his mission. Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, John Young, Amasa Lyman, Isaac Morley, and others left for Winter Quarters and arrived by sunset.
When Wilford Woodruff returned to the camp from hunting, that evening, he received word that the rest of the Twelve had headed back on horses to Winter Quarters. It was too late for Elder Woodruff to make the trip that night.
At about noon, Brigham Young and Isaac Morley arrived with George D. Grant, Charles Kennedy, John Young, Joseph Young, and President Young’s son. They were pleased with the farm location that was chosen. President Young and his brother John laid down to rest for a while after the long ride and then arose to a great meal. President Young gave some instructions regarding the assignment of lots and then invited John D. Lee to return to Winter Quarters with him to help Thomas Woolsey fit out for the pioneer journey. They left at 2:40 p.m., and returned to the pioneer camp.
Howard Egan arrived at Heber C. Kimball’s camp at the haystacks, about three miles east of Winter Quarters. Horace K. and Orson F. Whitney also arrived at this camp, accompanied by Heber C. Kimball and his wife, Ellen. Soon, Orrin Porter Rockwell arrived on horseback with news that Parley P. Pratt had arrived home from England. Brother Egan traveled back to Winter Quarters with Heber C. Kimball, Ellen Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, and Horace K. Whitney.
In the morning, Erastus Snow, ready to leave his family, called them together and “dedicated them to the Lord.” He encouraged them to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to pray always. He laid his hands on his children and blessed them, beginning with the youngest, three‑month‑old Mahonri, and ending with his oldest daughter, six-year-old Sarah. He administered to his wife Artimesia, who was ill and then committed his family into the care of Caleb Edwards. Brother Snow then joined James Craig to journey to the pioneer camp. They arrived that evening, just as the Twelve and others were returning to Winter Quarters on horseback. Brother Snow joined them in returning to the city.
Parley P. Pratt returned home from his mission in England at noon. During the past few days he had been cared for each night by many Saints as he made the final leg of his journey from Mount Pisgah. Elder Pratt wrote:
I crossed over the ferry at noon of a fine April day, and came suddenly upon my friends and family. . . . I found my family all alive, and dwelling in a log cabin. They had, however suffered much from cold, hunger and sickness. . . . One of the family was then lying very sick with scurvy. . . . I found, on inquiry, that the winter had been very severe, the snow deep, and consequently, that all my horses (four in number) were lost.
Elder Pratt only had seven cows left and four oxen.
In the evening, the Twelve returned to meet with Elder Pratt. He gave a report of his mission at Willard Richards’ office. Heber C. Kimball recorded his warm feelings on this occasion: “It was a time of rejoicing with us to behold our beloved brother and companion in tribulation.”
Elder Pratt reported that the British Mission had been “set back in order” and that he had collected tithing, 469 sovereigns in gold, from the British Saints. This money would soon arrive with John Taylor along with astronomical and other instruments that would be useful to the pioneers. Parley P. Pratt recorded: “The President and Council seemed well pleased with our mission and management. They expressed an earnest wish for me to accompany them on the pioneer trip to the mountains; but my circumstances seemed to forbid, and they did not press the matter.” The Twelve decided by vote that the pioneers should move on from their camp seven miles out, to cross the Elkhorn River. The Twelve would return on next Tuesday to meet Elder Taylor and retrieve the instruments.
John Knowls died of scurvy. He was the husband of Hannah Knowls.
Teams were sent to retrieve seven more cannons from the San Gabriel Mission.
In the afternoon, a signal was issued from the fort, announcing the arrival of the ship, Barnstable. It sailed in from San Francisco with 40 barrels of flour for company B. An express arrived, with letters from Colonel Cooke and General Kearny, stating that the battalion should be paid soon and that they should receive full rations of flour when the ship arrived. The pay was desperately needed to buy clothing.
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 357‑58; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:146‑47; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 145‑46; Egan, Pioneering the West, 21; Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 14:633‑34; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:155; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 4; Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p.364; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:60; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” 23; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 2
Brigham Young met with the Twelve at 8 a.m. to hear more about Parley P. Pratt’s mission. Elder Pratt mentioned that the British Parliament supported an idea to colonize the Saints on Vancouver Island at the expense of England. He also related news of the Mexican War. He heard while at New Orleans that Zachary Taylor’s army had been hemmed in by Santa Ana, cutting off their supplies. Taylor refused to surrender and a battle took place.
At noon, Brigham Young and the other members of the Twelve rode out to the pioneer camp. William Kimball (Heber’s son) drove the Kimball’s carriage containing Brigham Young, Newel K. Whitney (going for the ride), Willard Richards, and Heber C. Kimball.
Mary Richards went to see Parley P. Pratt, hoping that he might have a letter for her from her husband. She was disappointed that he did not have one, but Elder Pratt told her that Samuel was doing well on his mission in England. Eliza R. Snow was quite sick in bed. Sister Swan brought her “a fine mess of wild onions.” Sister Snow wrote: “The weather . . . is now fine‑‑cattle have been brows’d for several days, in marshy places the grass affords them a fresh bite.”
William Clayton and the Quadrille Band crossed over the Missouri River on the ferry. They played in the boat as they crossed, but when they made a return trip, the wind was so strong that it made the crossing dangerous.
Wilford Woodruff mounted his horse in the morning and started to ride back to Winter Quarters to meet with the Twelve. The rest of the pioneers engaged in a little dancing to pass the time. When Elder Woodruff was within a half mile of the city, he met the rest of the Twelve heading toward the camp. He turned his horse around and returned to camp with them.
At 1:50 p.m., George A. Smith and Luke S. Johnson brought word that the Twelve were on the road and the pioneer company should be ready to move out of camp when they arrived. Orson Pratt gave orders for the teams to be hitched up.
When the Twelve arrived at 3 p.m., the camp consisting of sixty‑four wagons resumed their journey. John D. Lee, who was along for the ride, commented about the procession, “When the waggons were all on the road in a line they made a sublime appearance.” There was one bad muddy spot that required some doubling of teams but most of the wagons made it through by being pulled with ropes by about thirty pioneers. Brother Lee parted with the pioneers in the afternoon. He now had second thoughts about not joining them. “I should like to have been in Co[mpany] with them, had wisdom ordered it so.”
The pioneers continued along a crooked route to a location fourteen miles west of Winter Quarters, near a beautiful spring, “in a little valley where there was no wood, but water, and a sprinkling of grass.”
Albert P. Rockwood commented: “I looked hard to see if any timber could be seen. None was visible except the tops of a small grove to the south, the face of the country is high rolling prairie.”
Brigham Young and Willard Richards cut grass with their knives to provide feed for their horses. Heber C. Kimball lodged in Brigham Young’s wagon. They had prepared the wagon so that they would be able to both sleep in it throughout the journey.
Heber C. Kimball recorded:
In the course of the evening Bishop Whitney and myself went some distance upon the prairie, where we bowed down before the Lord and both offered up our prayers to the Most High God in behalf of the pioneers and the Twelve, that they might be protected and upheld and sustained by the Almighty; that His angels might go before them to lead them to a land which the Lord should designate to be a resting place for His people, Israel; also in behalf of our families, our wives and children, and all Israel that are left behind.
Wilford Woodruff camped about three miles ahead. Erastus Snow also went further. He recorded: “Went up the divide near the Missouri waters a few miles, and bore off to the west and camped in the open prairie about ten miles from our first encampment.” Others, including Howard Egan and Charles Harper, camped near this location on the prairie.
At about 6 p.m., John D. Lee arrived back to Summer Quarters with David Young and Rodney Swasey. Charles Kennedy and George Laub had moved their property to the camp.
James Brown and Nelson Higgins returned from Santa Fe. They reported that there was no one there who had the power to discharge the Pueblo detachment, or give them any orders to leave until General Kearny returned from California. John Steele recorded that they “brought some barrels of whiskey from Taos that they paid $2.50 and sold it at $8 per gallon and the boys are getting themselves drunk as fools.”
Some of the men went to put flour which had arrived the previous day on the ship Barnstable, in the storehouse. Robert S. Bliss wrote, “We are getting acquainted with the Spaniards here they are very friendly & intelligent, many of them they live like gentlemen.” The Indians were their servants and their sport was to ride on horseback with lassos. He added, “Figs are now full size on the trees & pears & peaches are as large as the end of my finger.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 547; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:147; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; William Clayton’s Journal, 73; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:634; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 146‑47; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 356; Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 365; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 5; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 118; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 164; “John Steele Diary”; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,”typescript, BYU, 3
The weather was still very nice, but cool. Because of no timber, the pioneers had to gather up weeds to burn in the morning to warm themselves. They broke camp at 7:30 a.m. and traveled toward the Elkhorn River. They used a bridge to cross over the Big Papillion Creek.
Wilford Woodruff arrived at the Elkhorn River and crossed over his teams on rafts before dusk. The river was about 180 feet across. Other companies, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball’s did not quite make it to the river crossing. They stopped about six miles short and camped on the prairie, near a ravine with water. Bishop Newel K. Whitney was still traveling with the company.
Because there was no wood to cook with in the morning, Erastus Snow crossed Big Papillion Creek, found some scattered cottonwood trees, and a portion of the company stopped to cook breakfast. The rest continued on toward the southwest and arrived at the Elkhorn at noon. Brother Snow crossed his teams over during the evening. A guard of eight men were posted because some Indians had been seen “prowling around.”
Norton Jacob also arrived at the Elkhorn. He wrote: “We were in sight of the Elk Horn River, and the valley of the great Platte, affording a full view of the river as it stretched away from many miles to the west, like a line of silver glistening in the setting sun, through the scattered timber upon its banks.”14
A meeting of the police guard was held at Hosea Stout’s home. Concerns were expressed because the police had only received about half of their pay and it did not appear that there was further tax money to continue to pay the police. They were concerned about their families and wondered if they should start spending time planting crops for the summer. It was agreed that this matter should be brought before the High Council on the following day.
Mary Richards was very busy. She wrote that she “gave our tent a regular cleaning out.”
At 6 a.m., John D. Lee, Brother Jacob F. Secrist, Alfred D. Young, George Laub, and D. Young started to clear off a garden spot. At 10 a.m., Brother Lee sent a team to gather bricks at the fort ruins, at Old Council Bluff. Rodney Swasey left Summer Quarters to return to his parents. Families continued to arrive, including Allen Weeks, Charles Kennedy and N. Knight. At 2 p.m., Jacob F. Secrist left for Winter Quarters in search of a team to go to Missouri for seed potatoes.
Private Mervin S. Blanchard, age twenty-two, of the Mormon Battalion, died at Pueblo. He had been sick for a long time. He was the son of Simeon and Eunice Blanchard.
Lt. Sylvester Hulet submitted his resignation of his commission so he could return to his family.15 Henry Standage commented, “Our Commanders are softening their hearts very fast, more willing to listen to our petition [to be discharged.]”
Henry Bigler went with several men six miles out to cut wood for burning bricks.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:147; Egan, Pioneering the West, 21; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:634; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 6; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails, 54; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:246; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 118; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 356‑57; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:61; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 148; Jenson, Church Chronology, April 10, 1847; Our Pioneer Heritage, 1:505; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 147‑48; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 4
During the morning, about twenty wagons crossed over the river on rafts made from dry cottonwood logs. Soon, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball arrived with their companies. The men worked hard to take their wagons across this first major obstacle to the pioneer company. The wagons were taken across the river on rafts pulled across by ropes attached to cattle on the opposite side of the river. The trip across took about five minutes for each wagon. Thomas Bullock and Willard Richards carefully counted seventy‑two wagons that crossed. They swam the horses and cattle across the water which was about four feet deep. At this point the pioneer company numbered 136 pioneers, three women, and two children. Willard Richards was among the last to cross because he was looking for his “lead mare” that had wandered away.
Horace K. Whitney wrote: “Went about a mile, after crossing, down the stream, and camped for the night ‑‑ the wagons formed in a line, our horses being hitched to stakes and fed on cottonwood trees.”
Heber C. Kimball commented on the decision to travel on Sunday. “It was not our intention to have encroached on the Sabbath, but the camps were in a disordered state, some being on one side of the ‘Horn,’ and some on the other, and it was thought wisdom to get them together, lest they should be attacked by Indians and be unprepared for defense.”
Albert P. Rockwood proudly wrote in his journal that he preferred to walk. He stated that he “had not rode the first rod in my wagon.” He thought it best to walk than to burden his mules with the extra weight.
In the evening, one of the pioneers was very ill. Wilford Woodruff and Ezra T. Benson laid their hands on him and blessed him to recover. Brigham Young called together a meeting and asked the pioneers to vote whether they should travel fourteen more miles on the next day or stay where they were. The Twelve expected to return to Winter Quarters to meet with John Taylor who was to arrive back from his mission. The pioneers voted to go ahead because it was considered wise to get across some lowlands along the Platte River before the water level rose too high. Heber C. Kimball encouraged the pioneers to keep the Sabbath day holy. He asked that they refrain from hunting or fishing on the Sabbath “as this was a day set apart for the service of the Lord and not for trivial amusements.”
A Sabbath meeting was held at the Winter Quarters stand. Parley P. Pratt spoke and shared a history of his travels while on his recent mission to England.
William Clayton was worried about previous threats from Hosea Stout to take his life after the Twelve would leave. Winslow Farr stopped by during the evening and warned Brother Clayton to be on his guard.
Eliza R. Snow wrote a poem:
The Twelve: To Prest. B. Young
They have gone‑‑they have gone new privations to share
Gone as Abraham went when he knew not where
They have gone like the deer when pursued in the chase
To secure to the saints a safe hiding place.
Why? O why must they go to the depth of the wild
Where benign cultivation of late has not smil’d
Wherefore thus on a pilgrimage must they go forth
And forsake all the comforts and blessings of earth?
They are call’d to be saviors, and saviors must flee
To a wilderness home for security
While the anger of nations is raging abroad ‑‑
While the Gentiles are feeling the judgments of God.
They have gone ‑‑ they have gone; may the Spirit’s sweet voice
Whisper comfort and peace that their hearts may rejoice:
May an angel of presence on each one attend
To protect from all ill and preserve to the end.
And when God shall direct may they retrace their track
And to these Winter Quarters in safety come back
That the saints who shall tarry may be of good cheer
When with heartfelt rejoicings we welcome them here.
A son, Edward H. Martin, was born to Edward and Alice Martin. Gardner Clark, age fifty-six, died of scurvy. He was the husband of Delecta Clark.
John D. Lee, Absalom P. Free, Alfred D. Young, and Brother Houston walked about two miles below the farm to look at the possibilities of expanding the farm to that land. They found a field of good soil. To start the work of clearing the land, they set the old grass on fire.
Company C was ordered to be ready for a march to go guard Cajon Pass. Lieutenant Rosecrans was to lead the men to this pass in the Sierra Nevada range about 80 miles to the east. Because of rumors of danger, they were sent to guard the pass against the advance of an enemy force.
Robert Bliss wrote:
San Diego is a small town built after the Spanish fashion with a public square & house of worship, 3 or 4 stores & as many Groceries. Our Flag waves in center of the town & another one on the Fort above the town; the shipping lies 5 miles South of town & the Breakers of the Sea are in Sight West 4 miles & the roar of the same would not let us sleep were we not used to the noise of a still night. There is a toluble Harbour & perfectly secure for vessils from a Storm; between us & the coast west is another bay but not Sufficient water at the Bar for vessils to pass in; here are Seals, Walrus, Whales &c on this coast.
About forty to fifty Indians came into town and had a “frolick.” They spent the day gambling, singing, drinking, fighting. Robert S. Bliss commented that “it was quite amusing to see them.” A number of sailors were put under guard for fighting.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:147; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; William Clayton’s Journal, 73; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:247; Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 365‑66; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:634‑35; Egan, Pioneering the West, 21; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 7; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 357; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 147‑48; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90‑1; John Brown, Giant of the Lord, 92; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 165; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 4
The pioneer camp traveled fourteen miles up the north bank of the Platte River. The men were impressed by the width of the Platte River. It was wider than they had expected. After the camp was established, a meeting was held in the evening. It was decided that Thomas Grover, Henry G. Sherwood, and Stephen Markham should lead the pioneer company until the Twelve returned. Brother Markham gave some instructions about guarding the camp. James Case and Jackson Redden were appointed to scout ahead on the following day. The meeting was closed with prayers and then the pioneers enjoyed some music and dancing. After the guard was established for the evening, Brother Markham asked the men to have prayers together in their meal groups (messes).16
Brigham Young, the other members of the Twelve, Erastus Snow, John Brown, Norton Jacob, Albert P. Rockwood, Bishop Newel K. Whitney, and others crossed back over the Elkhorn and traveled back to Winter Quarters, hoping to meet with John Taylor the following day. Norton Jacob made the return trip to fetch his rifle and cow. The only wagons that remained at the Elkhorn were those belonging to George A. Smith and John Brown. Part of the company traveled by horseback on an Indian trail which saved 15 miles of traveling. The wagons had to travel thirty‑five miles along the established roads which did not follow a direct route.
William Clayton spent the day at home. Thomas and James, members of his family, were cutting wood and preparing to go to Summer Quarters. The High Council decided to levy another tax to continue to fund a police guard.
In the evening, after all of them had arrived at the city, the Twelve held a Council meeting. They discussed what to do with the tithing money that Parley P. Pratt had collected in England. Various individuals were mentioned who needed assistance. Brigham Young was appointed by the Council to distribute the funds. A letter was written to Orson Spencer in England asking him to release Franklin or Samuel Richards, Lucius N. Scovill and others who could be spared. “But if not in accordance with the spirit of time, let them wait in patience, and they shall have their rewards.” They shared with Orson Spencer the most recent news:
The Council, Parley P. Pratt excepted, left 69 pioneer wagons and teams on the west side of the Elk Horn this morning, prosecuting their journey for the Great Basin, in search for a location for a stake of Zion. We expect to overtake them in two or three days, and point the site as the Spirit directs, and return in the fall, and in the spring following take out our families.
The Council approved the call of Lyman O. Littlefield to serve a mission in the British Isles. Thomas Bullock was asked to keep the official journal of the Pioneer journey. The meeting concluded at midnight. George A. Smith wrote: “I went to bed feeling much tired and bruised by riding horseback thirty‑five miles on a rough going nag.”
John Patten, age sixty, died of scurvy. He was the husband of Hannah Ingersoll Patten. William J. Lance, age three months, died. He was the son of Jacob and Mary Lance.
John D. Lee was busy working on his cabin. He also cleared off some of the land for a garden, but had to spend one quarter of the day pulling cattle out of a mire. James Leavens and Brother Markham arrived on their way to the cattle herd further up the Missouri River. The river was very full of water, nearly level with its banks.
A son, Samuel Nebeker, was born to John and Lurena Fitzgerald Nebeker.
Company C marched toward Cajon Pass under the leadership of Lt. George W. Rosecrans. Lt. James Pace hated to see the battalion divided up into so many groups. He recalled the counsel from Brigham Young to never divide the battalion. Colonel Mason visited the battalion at Los Angeles and praised them. He said that they were “the best volunteers of any he had ever seen in the manual of arms.”
Thomas Dunn wrote about a little bit of trouble in town. A sailor, Mr. Russell and a Spaniard argued over a debt of $1.50.
Some conversation ensued after which Russell fired a pistol at the Spaniard, but did not hit him. He [the Mexican] then caught a stone and threw at Russell but missed him. He next threw a cow’s foot which knocked Russell from his horse. The citizenry gather round the two. They were immediately arrested, Russell was put in irons.
Luman Shurtliff packed up all the goods he had collected in the city for the Saints at Garden Grove, and hired a man to haul the things to a boat which would leave the following day, bound for St. Louis.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 547; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:147; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 149; “Charles Harper Diary,” 15; Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 22; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 73; Autobiography of John Brown, 73; William Clayton’s Journal, 74; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:243; “Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences,” 190; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails, 48; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:633; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:247; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 358‑59; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 23; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 568; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:15; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 5
The pioneers spent the day setting up three blacksmith forges. The blacksmiths were James Davenport, Thomas Tanner, and Burr Frost. Clara Decker Young washed and Harriet Young cleaned her wagon. Howard Egan spent the day fixing Heber C. Kimball’s wagon. Charles Harper put two new axletrees on it. The men who were sent to scout the road ahead returned in the evening and reported that the road ahead was bad. They would not be able to travel on it if more rain fell. Stephen Markham called the pioneer camp together to give some instructions about obeying counsel and following the first principles of the gospel. He spoke about the purpose of life and the premortal world of spirits. He testified that they had chosen to come to the earth during this dispensation to a choice lineage. Charles Harper wrote that the sermon was not very edifying to the men. After the preaching, Brother Markham assigned the night guard. The camp said their prayers and retired to their beds.
Wilford Woodruff was very busy painting a wagon that he planned to sell. He obtained another horse to take on the pioneer journey. The Twelve were very busy trying to find additional teams.
Willard Richards wrote a letter to the Nauvoo Trustees. He gave some direct counsel regarding the question if the temple should be sold for a very low price. “Has the Lord turned bankrupt? Or are his children so needy that they are obliged to sell their Father’s house for a morsel of bread?” Besides, if the temple was sold, the money would be sought by those filing unjust lawsuits. “We wish you were here ready to go with us to a place of peace and safety, and then we would all be ready to do each other good, and in a situation to roll on the great cause of Zion.” Then, speaking of the deserted city of Nauvoo: “And if we get no other reward for past labors, we have left monuments which will memorialize the diligence of the Saints forever‑‑a greater glory than safes of gold.”
Heber C. Kimball asked Appleton M. Harmon to go with the pioneers to drive an ox team for him. Brother Harmon consulted with his father, quickly situated his family, and left Winter Quarters with Addison Everett, Norton Jacob, and Roswell Stevens. They left in the afternoon, traveled four miles, and camped in a hollow for the night.
William Clayton visited with Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball in the Winter Quarters store and told them about his worries that Hosea Stout was plotting to take his life after the Twelve would leave.
At about 5 p.m., Thomas Bullock and George D. Grant left Winter Quarters with Willard Richards’ extra teams. They crossed over Turkey Creek by the mill, went through the woods, and camped on the prairie at some crossroads.
At about sunset, John Taylor returned from his mission to England and arrived back in Winter Quarters. He brought with him two sextants, two barometers, two artificial horizons, one circle of reflection, several thermometers and a telescope. The instruments were packed up to be taken by the pioneers. Elder Taylor and Parley P. Pratt gave a report of their mission. The brethren expressed joy and satisfaction on hearing the good report regarding the state of the Church in England.
As he retired for the night, Wilford Woodruff wrote: “I spent the remainder of the night at home, the last night I shall spend at Winter Quarters for a long time.”
Wilbur Earl, age eleven months, died of scarlet fever. He was the son of Wilbur and Harriet Earl. Harriet Shumway, age three years, died of canker. She was the daughter of Charles and July Shumway.
Alfred D. Young brought in a nice turkey from his morning hunt. John D. Lee broke two plows. One of them was sent back to Winter Quarters for repairs, the other was fixed and he plowed a field for some early potatoes and garden seed. A large herd of cattle was driven through the new settlement, on the way to Winter Quarters. They were driven by Winslow Farr, Brother Blozard, Brother Allen, Brother Merchants, and others. John D. Lee sent Brother T. Johnson to the upper herd for his cattle. They were located about 25‑30 miles up the river.
During the afternoon, the small detachment left at San Luis Rey arrived as ordered.
The Sailors from the ships continued to get into trouble. One was put into stocks for being drunk and showing insubordination. Another was marched back to his ship and put under guard.
Luman Shurtliff arrived at Louisville and collected all of the goods that he had left there. He was feeling very sick and had pains in his stomach. Even medicine made him feel worse.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 547; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:148; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:817; Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, 14:155; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 15; William Clayton’s Journal, 74; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 149; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 73; Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 22; “Charles Harper Diary,” 15; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:243; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 359‑60; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 6
It rained for a while in the morning but later cleared. John S. Higbee, Jackson Redden, and others went up the Platte River to find a place to fish. They returned in the evening with two dozen fish. Howard Egan’s horses strayed. He took one of Brother Redden’s horses, traveled back toward the Elkhorn river and found them. He only succeeded in catching one of them.
A council meeting was held in the morning and then preparations were made by the pioneers for their final departure from Winter Quarters. Wilford Woodruff called his family together, blessed his wife and children and “left them in the hands of the Lord.”
George A. Smith wrote in his journal, “Took my leave of my family and started for my camp about 9 o’clock a.m. Left my youngest child, Nancy Adelia with inflammation of the brain; it was the opinion of most that she would not live but a few hours. Two others of my family were sick. I left corn meal enough to last my family three days, but no other provisions.”
Members of the Twelve and other pioneers started their journey to overtake the pioneer company. One group, including Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Erastus Snow, Amasa M. Lyman, John Brown and others, traveled on horseback on the Indian trail and soon reached the Elkhorn river. They crossed over on a raft and camped two miles below the ferry, near the Platte River. They had a “splendid supper” of catfish, pork, and beans.
Back at Winter Quarters, Brigham Young and Willard Richards visited William Clayton at 11 a.m. They told him to “rise up” and leave with the pioneers in a half hour. President Young also took time to stop and say good‑bye to Eliza R. Snow.
Albert P. Rockwood and Phinehas Young left Winter Quarters driving the “boat wagon.” This was a large leather boat, also called “Revenue Cutter” which had been used to cross the Missouri River. It was placed on the running gears of Brother Black’s wagon.
Another group left Winter Quarters at 2 p.m. and traveled in the carriages and wagons, went about nineteen miles and camped on the prairie. This group included Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, William Kimball, Ellen Sanders Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, Ezra T. Benson and William Clayton.
Margaret Sheets, age three months, died. She was the daughter of Elijah F. and Margaret Sheets. Catherine Stevenson, age seventy-seven, died of scurvy.
Appleton Harmon, Addison Everett, Norton Jacob, and Roswell Stevens arose and made their breakfast in their camp four miles west of Winter Quarters. As they were preparing to leave, they discovered four Omaha Indians on the ridge south of them. The Omahas soon came into the pioneers’ camp and started begging for food. The pioneers tried to explain that they were going where no food could be obtained and needed everything that they had. Norton Jacob wrote that they “were very saucy because we would not give them our provisions.” The Indian’s insisted and threatened to shoot a cow. Brother Harmon gave them each an ear of corn, but they refused to leave until they were each given another ear.
Once they left, the pioneers started their journey. They traveled about twenty‑one miles. During their travels, Brigham Young and about twenty others passed them on horses. Brother Harmon’s company continued to travel after dark until they caught up with Brigham Young’s group. They camped in a deep hollow by the road.
The Omaha Indians also bothered Thomas Bullock and George D. Grant’s company that morning. Brother Bullock wrote: “While I was in the act of hitching my cattle, four Omaha Indians came rushing down upon us, waving their standards covered with turkey feathers and hallooing and yelling like savages.” The cattle broke away from the wagon and ran two to three miles back toward Winter Quarters. Brother Bullock was able to turn them back after losing an hour. During that time one of the Indians drew his bow and arrow and threatened to shoot one of the oxen. The brethren had to give the Indians some bread to appease them. But even after that, one Indian wanted to take the front of Brother Bullock’s wagon cover to make a headdress. Brother Bullock would not let him and he went away angry.
The brethren quickly hitched their wagons and moved on. They stopped to feed their cattle at Little Papillion Creek, went on and crossed Big Papillon Creek. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Ezra T. Benson passed them at 6 p.m. The Bullock company stopped at the next creek to establish the night’s camp. But Albert P. Rockwood and Lorenzo D. Young came by in the “boat wagon” so the Bullock company pressed on and reached Brigham Young’s camp which was on the bluffs, about five miles up the Elkhorn from the river crossing.
Gerry Putney, age thirty-eight, died of scurvy. He was the husband of Eley Putney.
The day was spent building and planting. At about dusk, David Young arrived with his two sisters.
William Garner baptized a marine from the Congress named Beckworth. The men believed that this was the first person baptized in California.17 Henry W. Bigler wrote: “By this time we had become very short of everything and no money to buy more and everything we had in the clothing line was in rags. We were forced to cut up our tents to make shirts and pants and this too, contrary to the wishes of our Captain.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 548; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:148; Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 23; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 150; William Clayton’s Journal, 3:74; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 15; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 166; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 361‑63; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:243; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 10; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:60; Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 73
The group of pioneers traveling with Brigham Young arrived at the Elkhorn River at 9:15 a.m. While waiting for his turn to cross, Albert P. Rockwood wandered around and found some sandstone on which he engraved his name for others to later see. The company was all across the river by 11:30 a.m. and then journeyed west along the Platte River bottoms. They overtook and were joined by Wilford Woodruff and Orson Pratt. Thomas Bullock and George A. Smith’s wagons became stuck in the mud, but were pulled out by doubling the teams. At about 3:30 p.m., all arrived at the pioneer camp established on the Platte River. Most of the pioneers arrived during the afternoon.
The morning was cool and pleasant. Howard Egan and William A. King18 conducted a search for Brother Egan’s lost horse. It was finally found ten miles from camp. Some of the pioneers traveled back to the Elkhorn to fish.
After Brigham Young arrived into the camp, he had supper with his brother, Lorenzo. During the evening, Elder Jesse C. Little arrived in the camp from his mission to the Eastern States. He had been presiding over the Church in the East and had been asked to join the pioneer company. He had arrived at Winter Quarters, left all his things, and rushed to join the pioneers. He brought news of their friend Thomas L. Kane, who sent presents for the Twelve. Wilford Woodruff received a “Patent Life Preserver and Stop Compass.”
The camp was called together as usual to assign the guard, but they were so slow in assembling that President Young stood upon a wagon tongue and called out, “Attention, the Camp of Israel!” This time, the brethren quickly assembled. President Young spoke to them about being faithful, humble and prayerful on the journey. He cautioned the camp to be on their guard against possible Indian raids. It was rumored that the Indian Agents and Protestant missionaries were stirring up the Indians to steal horses and goods from the Saints. The pioneers should retire early to bed each night and rest on the Sabbath. Their lives should be conducted in such a way that they would be able to claim the blessings of Heaven. They should cease playing music, dancing and lightmindedness.
A number of rules were established. 1‑ A bugle would blow each morning at 5 a.m. Each man was to arise, pray, take care of the teams, get breakfast, and be prepared to travel by 7 a.m. 2‑ Each man was to have a loaded gun within reach while walking beside their team. 3‑ The camp would halt at noon to rest the animals and to eat a pre‑cooked lunch. 4‑ In the evening, the wagons were to be in a circle, with the animals inside. 5‑ The bugle would blow at 8:30 p.m. Everyone was to return to their wagon, pray, fires put out, and be in bed by 9 p.m. 6‑ The camp would travel together and no one would stray very far away. 7‑ No one would be idle and each should look after his brother’s cattle. 8‑ Guns should be taken care of and protected. 9‑ A guard would attend to the cannon in the rear and see that nothing was left behind.
Hosea Stout crossed over the Missouri River to find a yoke of his oxen that was in the “stray herd.” He located the animals which he had lost back in July while at “Hyde’s Ridge” (Mosquito Creek Camp). He visited with his in‑laws who were preparing to put in crops.
Mary Richards wrote a letter to her missionary husband, Samuel, in England. She planned to give it to Elder Lyman O. Littlefield to take with him to England. She had not received a letter from her husband in eight months. “Has my husband forgotten me? Has he no spare moments to spend in communicating his thoughts & wishes to me? . . . had you but known what we have had to pass through this Winter and how long and dreary it has seemed to me, without a home save a tent and without my greatest comfort, that is your society.” She wrote of Samuel’s seventeen-year-old brother, Joseph Richards, who died while serving in the Mormon Battalion: “I loved brother Joseph. He seemed near & dear to me. I cannot tell why it is that so lovely a young man should be taken away in his bloom but ‘tis good to be resigned to the Will of Heaven. Oh! How much his death caused me to think of my Samuel and pray that his life might be spared to him.”
Isabella Bullock, age two, died of scurvy. Jane Jones, age one month, died. She was the daughter of Richard W. and Ann Jones.
A number of men worked together to enclose a nice piece of ground for a garden spot. In the afternoon, Isaac Morley, the leader of the settlement, arrived from Winter Quarters.
A son, Benjamin Franklin Hall, was born to Benjamin K. and Katherine Sawyer Hall.
The Providence, with Elder Addison Pratt on board, crossed over the equator. Elder Pratt was returning home from his mission. For the past ten days the winds had been light, but on this day the winds increased.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 548‑49; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:148‑49; Knight and Kimball, 111 Days to Zion, 25; Luke S. Johnson, “Pioneers Journal of 1847,” typescript, BYU, 1; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 23; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:244; Kelly, ed. Journals of John D. Lee, 150; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 363; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:247; Ellsworth, ed., Journals of Addison Pratt, 326 ; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 6
The morning was “gloomy, windy, and cold.” At 8 a.m., the pioneer company was called together by the bugle. They assembled near the rear of Brigham Young’s wagon. The company all knelt down in a circle with President Young in the center. He offered a prayer to dedicate the mission and all that they had to the Lord, after which George A. Smith and Heber C. Kimball gave instructions. Elder Smith “spoke upon the necessity of strictness of discipline, for our preservation.” Elder Kimball said “if there was any along who did not like to obey the necessary rules of the camp, without murmuring, to turn back now.” He reminded them of the deaths by illness that occurred in Zion’s Camp led by Joseph Smith because of murmuring against their leader.
Bishop Newel K. Whitney shared some parting remarks with the pioneers, as he was about to return to Winter Quarters. He promised to do all he could back at Winter Quarters to help the families of the pioneers. His heart was full and he had difficulty expressing his feelings as he bid his brothers farewell. He encouraged them to obey counsel and then blessed them “by all his authority.” Joseph B. Nobles, who was also returning, expressed his warm feelings and best wishes to the pioneers.
The pioneers were organized into a “military capacity” with Stephen Markham and Albert P. Rockwood to serve as Captains of Hundreds. The Captains of Fifties were: Tarlton Lewis, James Case, Addison Everett, John Pack and Shadrach Roundy. The Captains of Tens were elected and then they selected fifty men to be divided into four watches to stand guard over the camp. The pioneer camp numbered 143 men and youth, three women, and Lorenzo Young’s two children, Isaac Perry Decker (age six) and Lorenzo Sobieski Young (age six). There were 72 (or 73) wagons, 93 horses, 52 mules, 66 oxen, 19 cows, 17 dogs, and some chickens.19
President Young promised “that if they would abide his council and observe his directions, they should go safe, and they and their teams be preserved from the Indians and from every enemy.”
Willard Richards wrote a letter for the Twelve to be carried back to Winter Quarters for Patriarch John Smith, the presiding authority over the community.
Beloved brethren: We have now completed the organization of the Pioneer company, of which we are members, and whom we are about to lead to the mountains, or over the mountains, as we shall be commanded by our leader, in search of a resting place for ourselves, our families and all who desire to follow us and work righteousness; and by doing this, we prove . . . that we are willing to take our full share of trouble, trials, losses and crosses, hardships, fatigues, warning and watching, for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake . . . and if we fail in the attempt, having done all we could, our Father will not leave his flock without a shepherd.
The letter further instructed that the first company to follow after the pioneers was to carry the Nauvoo Temple bell with all the fixtures for hanging. It should be rung at the proper times to call the people to prayers and other duties. “The bell may be needed, particularly in the night, if the Indians hove around, to let them know that you are at your duty.” They were warned to not send any companies after July 1, because news had arrived that thirty people in a company had perished in the mountains.20
Heber C. Kimball, quickly wrote a letter to his wife Vilate. “I am well and in good spirits. So is the camp. Now my dear Vilate I Love you as true as I am [capable] of Loving according to my capasity for you do have the Love of my youth which is first Last and now and fore Ever.” He sent back money and told her to keep the gifts from Thomas L. Kane, brought by Jesse C. Little. He added, “Kiss and bless those little ones.” Howard Egan later read this letter before it was sent and commented: “It portrayed the feelings of his heart and his affection for his family, in the most simple and beautiful language that would touch the soul and cause the heart to rejoice.”
Brigham Young wrote a letter to be sent to George Watt in the British Isles. He was asked to purchase 200 pounds of “phonotype” to be used to print a book next year in Winter Quarters. Elder Orson Spencer should assist him in this mission. “By our date you will perceive that we are on our way to find a location for a Stake of Zion, beyond the mountains; but we expect to spend the next winter at Winter Quarters. We have time to say but little; neither is it necessary only our camp is in good health and fine spirits.”
At about noon, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Joseph B. Nobles, Newel K. Whitney, Lyman Whitney, Joshua Whitney, Jackson Redden, and William Kimball started their journey back to Winter Quarters. Some of the men were returning to help Brother Little bring his things from Winter Quarters.
The pioneers started their journey again about 2 p.m. Each company of ten traveled together. They traveled about three miles and camped for the night near a good grove of timber and an “island of rushes.” The wagons were arranged in a line about six hundred yards from the timber. The horses and cattle were taken down to the timber where trees were cut down, a fence made for the horses, and a guard placed around them. William Clayton21 shared a quilt with Philo Johnson22 but was very cold during the night. The wind blew very hard.
In the evening, Andrew Lamoreaux invited Mary Richards to attend a “going away party” at the Council House for Lyman O. Littlefield, who was getting ready to leave on his mission to England. She went and danced with several of the brethren including Elder Littlefield. She wrote, “Once he danced proxy for Samuel”23
Julia Ann West, age one year, died of consumption. She was the daughter of Sharlott Ameila West.
At 7:30 a.m., Isaac Morley called the brethren of the new farming settlement together to discuss how to divide up the land. He instructed that John D. Lee, George D. Grant, and himself would be given the first choice of land.24 The rest would be divided between the others in Summer Quarters: Joseph Busby, G. Arnold, Simeon A. Dunn, Edwin D. Woolley, William Pace, Thomas Johnson, Miles Anderson, Absalom P. Free, Josiah F. Martin, William Martin, McGee Harris, Levi Stewart, Isaac Houston, N. Knight, Samuel Gully, and Moses M. Sanders. Before he left for Winter Quarters, Brother Morley instructed John D. Lee to organize the settlement into companies of five and to appoint a captain over each.
Mr. Russell stood trial and was found guilty for his fight with a Mexican. He was put into irons and the Mexican was set free. A report of the trial was sent to General Kearny in Monterey. A regular mail route had been established between San Diego and Monterey. It took two weeks for mail to make a round trip. Thomas Dunn wrote, “I now hope for some cheering news to enliven and cheer the mind, also to pass the time. For more lonesome days I never saw. Nothing to interest the eye and but little the mind.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 548‑49; Brigham Young to Brethren at Winter Quarters, 16 April 1847, LDS Archives; “Charles Harper Diary,” 16; Luke S. Johnson, “Pioneers Journal of 1847,” typescript, BYU, 2; William Clayton’s Journal, 74‑8; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 816‑17; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:149; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 23‑5; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 150‑51; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 118; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 363‑68; Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, 152‑53; Our Pioneer Heritage, 12:349; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” 23‑4 ; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 7-8
The pioneers woke up to a very cold morning ‑‑ twenty-six degrees. Ice at least a half inch thick was found on their standing water. They started out at 9 a.m., and traveled on a difficult sandy road. The wind was blowing very hard as they traveled.25 At noon, after about seven miles, they camped by a cottonwood grove. Because there was no grass, the pioneers chopped down hundreds of trees for the teams to feed on. They prepared to stay over at this camp on the next day, Sunday. The wagons were formed into a long line, parallel to the river. A small lake was found nearby, but the water was poor.26
In the afternoon, some traders arrived from the west, from the Pawnee Village. They shared with the pioneers dried buffalo meat and warned them that they were a two-days journey from a large body of Pawnees. The traders had a wagon loaded with buffalo robes and they camped nearby.
At 5 p.m., the bugle was sounded, and the pioneer camp was called together for a meeting. Albert P. Rockwood paraded the first division and Stephen Markham paraded the second. Brother Rockwood reported to Brigham Young that the camp was ready for orders. The company was further organized into a military regiment. Brigham Young was elected Lieutenant General of the company, with Albert P. Rockwood as his aid. Stephen Markham, colonel, Shadrach Roundy and John Pack, majors. The Captains of Tens were also re‑elected into this organization: Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Phinehas H. Young, Luke S. Johnson, Stephen H. Goddard, Charles Shumway, James Case, Seth Taft, Appleton M. Harmon, John Higbee, Norton Jacob, John Brown and Joseph Matthews. Thomas Tanner was elected Captain of the Cannoniers and Thomas Bullock as the clerk of the company.
Brigham Young instructed: “After we start from here, every man must keep his loaded gun in his hand, or in the wagon where he can put his hand on it at a moment’s warning. If they are cap locks, take off the cap and put on a little leather to keep wet and etc. out. If flint locks, take out the priming and fill the pan with twine or cotton.” He further reminded the men that the wagons must travel together, not separate as was previously done. He instructed the Captains of Tens to no longer permit a man to leave their ten to go off and shoot prairie chickens, ducks, or deers, for fear that the Indians would harm them.
In the evening, Ellis Eames and Hans C. Hansen entertained the camp with music from their violins while some of the brethren danced.27 William Clayton wrote, “All peace and quietness.” Brother Eames prepared to return to Winter Quarters because of sickness. Howard Egan, however, felt that the true reason was that “he is weak in the faith.”
Some of the brethren who had been visiting the pioneers on the Platte River arrived back in Winter Quarters. They reported that the pioneers were about seventy-five miles to the west.
Charles C. Rich left Winter Quarters to return on business to Nauvoo. His wife Sarah Rich wrote that he left,
committing his family into the hands of the Lord, at the same telling the family, “If you pray for Sarah D. (his wife, meaning me) that I would see that they would have enough to eat until his return.” He was not able to leave enough on hand to last until he could return, and had no means to buy with, but on his going back at that time depended our prospect to go with the first company across the plains.
Nancy Adelia Smith, age one, died. She was the daughter of George A. and Nancy Clement Smith. Cornelia M. Pitt, age one year, died. She was the daughter of William and Cornelia Pitt.
The morning was very cold. The ice was an inch thick. John D. Lee called the camp together to discuss guarding the cattle during the nights to keep them secure against the Indians. They decided that a fence should be built to keep in the herd.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 549; William Clayton’s Journal, 78‑9; Luke S. Johnson, “Pioneers Journal of 1847,” typescript, BYU, 2; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 25; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:149‑50; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 16; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 26; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 66; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 150‑51; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:247; Knight and Kimball, 111 Days to Zion, 31 ; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 10
The morning was “snowy, blustering, and cold.” Ellis Eames left the pioneer company to return back to Winter Quarters. He traveled with the traders who had camped nearby and took letters back for some of the pioneers. The rest of the camp rested on this Sabbath day. Horace K. Whitney wrote, “Today being set apart by the Lord for his people to rest, we do not intend to travel.”28
The Twelve took a walk out to view the country. Near the bank of the river, they sat down under a grove of plum bushes and talked about the safety of the camp. They decided that for each camp, the wagons should be arranged in a circle and that all the fires should be outside the circle. The horses and cattle would be put inside the circle.
At 10 a.m., seven more traders’ wagons arrived from the west, loaded with buffalo robes and furs, heading toward Council Bluffs. They shared with the pioneers some buffalo meat. They had with them a Mexican who had been held a prisoner by the Pawnee Indians for some years. The Pawnees had killed everyone in his company except him. The traders had rescued him by trading with the Pawnee a horse in exchange for his freedom. The traders were hopeful that the government would reward them and send the man back to Mexico. The weather cleared in the afternoon.
At 4:30 p.m., James Case was chopping down a cottonwood tree when the wind blew it the wrong way.29 One of the limbs struck an ox on the neck, knocked it down, and poked an eye but it seemed to recover all right.
At 5:00 p.m., the officers gathered to meet with Brigham Young to officially write the rules for governing the camp.
At 8:30 p.m. the bugle would sound and all should retire to their wagons and bow before the Lord and offer up their supplications before going to bed, and all fires should be put out; also the bugle would sound at 5 a.m., when all would arise and offer up their thanks to the Lord, and at 7 o’clock be ready to start. All the spare hands were to walk by the off side of their wagons with their rifles loaded.
Wilford Woodruff wrote about the Platte River:
It is the most singular river I ever beheld. It is from a quarter to a mile wide & its shores & bed one universal body of quick sand. It is a rapid stream yet many places a person can wade across it. Frequently nearly the whole bed of the river is covered with but few inches of water & at other places it is deep & Rapid. Notwithstanding it is quick sand. Horses & cattle can walk down to the edge of the river & drink like walking on the edge of a smooth sea beach & some times while walking on the apparent hard beach or bed of the river a man or hose will suddenly sink into the quick sand & the more he struggles to get out the more he will sink & will soon perish if assistance is not near. Many horses & men have been lost in this way on the Platte.
A Sabbath meeting was held in the morning. John Taylor gave a history of his journey and mission to England. He told the assembly how the Saints in England were being drained of their money by the Joint Stock Company under the pretense that it would help them emigrate to America. Reuben Hedlock had taken the money for his own use. Elder Taylor reported that this association had been dissolved.
Hosea Stout attended a meeting at the Council House. He listened to the reading of a letter from the Twelve written on April 16. The High Council then discussed problems with the Omaha Indians driving off the Saints’ cattle. Hosea Stout recorded:
They will lay around in the grass and groves untill an opportunity offers and then sally forth and drive all the cattle in their power, even some times they will rush in among the herds, when there is no men present and attempt to drive them off before our eyes or they will appear on horse back and run all the cattle that stray off, away. The amount of cattle killed by them the past winter & spring is incredible.
In the evening, Mary Richards took a walk with Lyman O. Littlefield, who was about to leave on his mission to England. Sister Richards wrote, “Spent the evening very pleasantly. I tried to appear as happy as possible so that he might carry the news to my Samuel, thinking perhaps it might add to his comfort to know that I was well and appearing happy.”30
Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, and others left Winter Quarters to rejoin the pioneer company.
Arvin Weeks, age one year, died of scurvy. He was the son of William and Caroline Weeks. Hariet Cummings, age three, died of scurvy. She was the daughter to George and Jane Cummings.
A cattle drive passed by on the way to Winter Quarters from the northern herding grounds. John D. Lee found a few of his cattle in the herd. In the afternoon, he started for Winter Quarters with four yoke of oxen to obtain provisions and to move some of the families in his care up to Summer Quarters. Moses M. Sanders and G. Lemons went with him. They arrived at Winter Quarters after dark but could find very few provisions. A young man from the other side of the river informed them that a load had just come in from Missouri.
A meeting of the Seventies was held, presided over by Stephen M. St. John. A quorum was organized and business was attended to. John Allen was cut off from the Church. The leaders strongly condemned the practice of stealing public property, drunkenness, swearing, and other sins. They all voted to put down these vices.
Some of the men attended a Catholic meeting.
Elder Addison Pratt, in a ship that crossed the equator a few days earlier, viewed the North Star for the first time since 1843. He was anxious to return home from his long mission and wrote: “This reminds me that I am drawing near my native latitude.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 540; Luke S. Johnson, “Pioneers Journal of 1847,” typescript, BYU, 2; William Clayton’s Journal, 79‑81; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:203; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:151; Howard Egan’s Diary, Pioneering the West, 25‑6; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 151‑52; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:250; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 119; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:15; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 218; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 82; Ellsworth, ed., The Journals of Addison Pratt, 326 ; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 10-11; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 78
The pioneer camp arose at 5 a.m. to the sound of the bugle. At 7:20 a.m., the company was in motion with orders to travel in double file. They passed through a large battle field where they observed a mass grave about one quarter mile wide. Howard Egan wrote, “We passed over a beautiful level prairie in sight of the Platte river, and passed a number of small lakes between us and the river. The brethren shot a number of ducks as we passed along.” Two of the ducks were presented to Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.
At 1:30 p.m., after thirteen miles, the company stopped to rest the cattle near a bend in the river. The wagons were formed into a circle. Jesse C. Little, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jackson Redden, and Thomas Brown returned from Winter Quarters carrying many letters from loved‑ones. On their return they had found Willard Richards’ lost mare. George A. Smith received word that his youngest child, Nancy Adelia Smith died on the 17th.
William Clayton recorded his feelings when he received letters from his wives Ruth and Margaret.
In my letter to them I requested them to attend to family prayer in my absence, a thing which I have neglected since leaving Nauvoo. They informed me that they had done that when I was at home but unknown to me, and they had then, and still continue to bear me up before their Heavenly Father. Oh, what integrity, what faithfulness. I feel unworthy to possess two such treasures.
Jesse C. Little brought more gifts from Thomas L. Kane for the Twelve. Wilford Woodruff received a pocket compass which delighted him. William Clayton received from Porter Rockwell a few fish hooks, lines, and three pencils.
Appleton M. Harmon described this stopping point: “The flat here is from twelve to fifteen miles wide interspersed with numerous small lakes or sloughs. The river is full of islands with several channels. In places, the water is only from four to six feet lower than the bottom, or flat.”31
At 2:40 p.m. the journey started again. William Clayton recorded: “I walked some this afternoon in company with Orson Pratt and suggested to him the idea of fixing a set of wooden cog wheels to the hub of a wagon wheel, in such order as to tell the exact number of miles we travel each day. He seemed to agree with me that it could be easily done at a trifling expense.”
About another eight miles further, at 6 p.m., a camp was established near a grove of timber on the bank of the Platte. The wagons were arranged in a semi‑circle against the river to enclose the horses and cattle. The wagon tongues faced outward and the front wheel of each wagon was placed against the rear wheel of the wagon next to it. Wilford Woodruff described: “The river was about one mile wide where we camped & on the north side joining by our encampment. It was deep & rapid.”
William Clayton went to Luke S. Johnson, to have him examine a tooth which had caused Brother Clayton pain for some time. While there, Stephen Markham came to use the boat wagon named “Revenue Cutter” in a lake two miles down the river. John S. Higbee, Stephen Markham, William Clayton (keeping his tooth for now) escorted the boat, to try their hand at fishing. As they walked, William Clayton shared his idea for an odometer with Brother Higbee. Brother Higbee also agreed that it was a great idea. “After arriving at the lake,” wrote Brother Clayton, “they only caught a snapping turtle, four small turtles, one duck, two small cat fish, and two creek suckers.”
A special meeting was held at Samuel Russell’s home. In attendance were Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, John Smith, W.W. Phelps, Hosea Stout, and others. The killing of cattle by the Omaha Indians was getting worse every day. Elder Pratt stated that the Saints would face starvation unless the Indians stopped their attacks. It had been thought that the Indian Agents had been stirring up the Omahas against the Saints in order to convince the Saints to depart from the Missouri River. Elder Pratt reported that he had met with Indian Agent John Miller. Agent Miller said he understood that the Saints could not leave immediately. A committee was appointed to go meet with Omaha Chief Big Elk. This committee consisted of Alpheus Cutler, Daniel Spencer, Cornelius P. Lott, and W.W. Phelps. All the brethren agreed that harsher measures were needed to stop the depredations by the Omahas.
Eliza R. Snow wrote in her journal: “The atmosphere chang’d to soft fanning breeze of Spring. My strength returning.” She referred to the “City Difficulties” involving the Omahas. They continued to “kill our cattle & molest the men ‑‑ having strip’d & badly injur’d a man & woman at the upper herd. Our brethren are seeking some measures to prevent further trouble.”
John D Lee went over the river to buy corn and bacon. Then, with the help of Bishop N. Knight and Andrew Lamoreaux, they loaded up the provisions in two canoes and made it back across, rowing against a strong current. At noon, Brother Lee departed from Winter Quarters, heading to Summer Quarters, taking with him Woolsey and Lytle families. At 11 p.m., they finally reached their destination. Julie Woolsey delivered a baby one hour later. She had gone into labor before they left that day at Winter Quarters, but prayers were offered that the delivery would be delayed until they reached Summer Quarters. The prayers were answered.
A daughter, Amanda Milissa Norton, was born to James W. and Nancy Hammer Norton. Carolina Earl, age two, died of scarlet fever. She was the daughter of Wilbur and Harriet Earl.
Robert S. Bliss stood guard over two Indians in stocks and one white man in irons. He wrote, “A ship is in sight this morning coming towards this port with a fair wind to enter the Harbour there is 3 now laying in port.”
Luman Shurtliff arrived by boat to St. Louis from his trip to Louisville and Cincinnati to gather donations for the poor at Garden Grove. He wrote, “I landed at St. Louis and walked to Dr. Richardson whom I knew. When he first saw me he said, “Why, Brother Shurtliff, you are a sick man. You must have something done for you or you will not get home.” He gave me some medicine which had a good effect. I went on board the boat and at eve started up the river.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 540; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:156; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 26; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:152; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 16; William Clayton’s Journal, 81‑84; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 73; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 152; Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies 24:3:375; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:250‑51; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 166; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 369‑70; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 125
The pioneers arose at 5:30 a.m., ate breakfast, and were on the trail at 7:30 a.m. The wind kicked up sand and dust on the wagons as they traveled. Wilford Woodruff recorded: “There are many water fowls about the Platte such as ducks, geese, brant, but the most numerous of all are the sand hill cranes which fly in large flocks on every side of us.” They passed by numerous islands in the river. One of them was about ten acres, covered with timber.
At 9:15 a.m., after traveling about five miles, they arrived at Shell Creek, which was about eight feet wide. They found a poor bridge which had been built over it. They managed to get all the wagons safely across using the bridge. After passing through a small grove of trees, they came out on a wide, open prairie. They were fascinated by a large prairie dog village that covered about six acres. “They were about the size of a cat,” wrote Albert P. Rockwood, “and looked much like a ground squirrel or wood chuck. They bark like a lap dog.”
At 11:30, after traveling another five miles, the company rested near a muddy lake. While there, three deer were spotted. Orrin Porter Rockwell and Thomas Brown tried to chase after them on their horses, but did not succeed in catching them.32 John S. Higbee, Luke S. Johnson, and Stephen Markham left while the company was still resting, to go ahead with the boat wagon, hoping to catch fish ahead. Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff went forward to scout the road.
At 1:00 p.m., the main group of pioneers continued their journey. The road was dry and level with an occasional gopher hole to bump the wagon wheels. Some of the holes were six feet across with three‑inch ridges. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went on ahead to choose the next camping site. After about ten more miles, making twenty total, the night’s encampment was established at 5:30 p.m near a cottonwood grove on the banks of the Platte River. The wagons were arranged in a semicircle next to a small island near the bank of the river. The teams were turned loose to feed on the island for the night. Cottonwood trees were cut down for the horses to browse on. Additionally, each horse was given about three quarts of corn.33
The men who had gone ahead with the boat wagon soon returned with about 213 nice fish which had been caught with a net. The fish were distributed around the camp, about two to each wagon. Many enjoyed cooking fish for supper. In the evening, Thomas Tanner set up his portable forge and set several wagon tires.
William Clayton wrote:
I went to the river and washed my feet which were very dusty and sore. I also washed my socks as well as I could in cold water without soap. After Brother Luke Johnson had got through distributing fish, I went and asked him to draw my tooth. He willingly agreed and getting his instruments, I sat down in a chair, he lanced the gum, then took his nippers and jerked it out. The whole operation did not take more than one minute. He only got half the original tooth, the balance being left in the jaw. After this, my head and face pained me much more than before. I ate but little supper and then lay down, but could not sleep for pain till near morning.
Because the camp was only about eight miles from the Pawnee Village, it was thought wise to raise a patrol guard for the night. Many of the men took time during the late evening to write letters to their wives. They planned to send these letters back with the traders at the Pawnee Village.
Brigham Young wrote a letter to his wife Mary Ann Angell, back at Winter Quarters.
The camp is in good health and first rate spirits. They have never felt better in their lives. I think my health has very much improved yesterday and today. You mentioned in your letter that you heard I lay on the ground the night I left home. I did but do not think it hurt me, but when I arrived in camp I found my self completly tired out. I thank you a thousand times for your kind letters to me, more especially for your kind acts and still more for your kind heart.
He added a note to his sons Joseph (age 12) and Brigham Jr. (age 10). “My son Joseph you must not go away from home and Brigham also must stay at home. How do you suppose I would feel when I come home and find one of my children destroyed by the Indians? I pray this may not be the case.”
Thomas Bullock wrote a letter to his wife which included:
Driving a 2 yoke ox‑team is a different kind of work than I am used to and having to tend to the cattle myself, leaves me little time to read. I was glad to hear from you the second time, but sorry to hear by G. A. Smith that my little Charles is worse. Get into your new house and be happy and contented until I come for you next fall. I have just washed my shirt and sox in the wilderness fashion. I have taken a bath also. President Young says I did right in making 2 copies of the route and leaving them behind. He has just been instructing me of God’s works in the eternity of space. He has ordered me to ride as much as possible. I have just been in his carriage and a very comfortable place he has got and I am glad for it. Take care of the waterbottle and find the other one if possible. Be a good girl and take care of yourself and my children.
Howard Egan wrote to his wife Tamson:
I never in my life had such feelings while away from home as I have on this trip. I cannot say that I feel sorrowful because I am where I delight to be in the society of my Father Heber [C. Kimball] where I can receive instruction and counsel from his lips. My health has been very good since I left home and we are all getting along first rate, we are about 100 miles from Winter Quarters tonight. We travel at the rate of 20 miles per day; the roads are very good and it is a beautiful country. Tamson I feel sorrowful when I reflect on your situation for I know your feeling when I am away from you, but I feel easy when I realize that you have a kind and generous hearted mother who will do all that she can for the comfort of those around her.34
An early morning meeting was held by Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor to discuss the best way to protect the herds from the Omahas. It was decided that each bishop would establish a herd for his ward. Armed guards would be appointed to defend the cattle against the Indians. The bishops were also asked to count the cattle that had been killed, so that a report could be sent to Omaha Chief, Big Elk. Hosea Stout was ordered to take ten men on horseback to travel around the country to search for any Omahas. They were to whip any that they found hiding, thus hoping to steal cattle. Brother Stout did as he was asked, armed with horse whips, but returned in the afternoon without finding any Indians.
The High Council wrote to Daniel Spencer and Daniel Russell across the river, asking them to haul corn for the Omaha Indians from Waldo’s ferry on the Nishnabotna River to Bellevue.
Mary Richards received word that Joseph Cain had a chest brought from England for “Mary and Jane Richards,” from their husbands, Samuel and Franklin Richards. Mary quickly went to Jane’s house but was very disappointed to learn that the key to the chest was still on the other side of the river. She did enjoy hearing Brother Cain talk about her missionary husband and that Samuel and Franklin Richards were loved by the British Saints. After a two‑hour visit, Joseph Cain left. In the evening, the key arrived and Mary had a wonderful time reading three letters from her husband and looking at the gifts that he had sent back for her.
During the night, Hosea Stout was awakened by Thomas Clark, who reported that a large number of Indians were in the city. The police guard was immediately gathered. They patrolled the town for several hours but did not find the reported group of Indians.
John D. Lee and others worked to put a roof on one of the cabins. They also finished the chimney, and plowed a garden. In the evening, the brethren met at John D. Lee’s house to discuss building a lot to secure the cattle. A place was chosen. A heated discussion began about the policy of dividing up the land. Some of the men were dissatisfied about the fairness of the division. Brother Lee spoke firmly that the men should sustain the decision of the leaders. “Unless we are united we cannot prosper and that [I] would sooner undertake to fortify against the Indians with 20 families well united than to risk 100 that are not.” Soon good feelings again were established.
Lydia Hunter, wife of Jesse Hunter, gave birth to a son whom they named Diego. He was believed to be the first child born to American parents in San Diego. Another ship arrived in the harbor.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 540; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 152‑53; Luke S. Johnson, “Pioneers Journal of 1847,” typescript, BYU, 2; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:818; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:152‑53; Howard Egan’s Diary, Pioneering the West, 26‑7; “Brigham Young’s Family: The Wilderness Years,” The Exodus and Beyond, 40; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 119; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:251; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:238, 14:505; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 135; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 12-13
The weather was cloudy and cooler. The ox wagons started their journey on the trail at 7:30 a.m. The horse teams left two hours later. At 8:55 a.m., an Indian appeared on a mound about five miles ahead, mounted on a pony. He went out of sight, then came back, and approached the pioneers at full speed. He was greeted warmly and soon seven others approached on foot from some timber about a mile to the left. They went from wagon to wagon, shaking hands as the pioneers passed, and said “How de do!” About two miles later, a wheel on one of Heber C. Kimball’s wagons fell off and some of the wagons halted for fifteen minutes while it was repaired.
At 10 a.m., they reached a fork in the road. Brigham Young consulted with James Case, who had worked in this area for the government during the past summer. The road on the left led to the new Pawnee Indian Village. The one of the right bypassed the village and headed up the Loup Fork, toward the Pawnee Mission, which had been sacked by the Sioux in June. They chose to take the road to the right. At 12:25 p.m., the pioneers came within sight of the new Pawnee Indian Village, on both sides of the Loup Fork. It consisted of nearly one hundred lodges made from skins, close together, in several neat rows.
Peter Sarpy, from Trader’s Point, was in the village bartering for their buffalo robes in a new trading post. Wilford Woodruff wrote, “We drove on by the villages & they soon began to sally out to come to us. We camped in a half moon, the bank of the river forming a parallel line in front. The Indians to the number of about 200 on the south side of the river came down to the shore. Some waded over. About 75 came into camp including the grand Chief of the Nation with many war Chiefs.” Levi Jackman described the Indians:
The Pawnees are much fairer complexioned than most other Indians. They had their heads shaved with the exception of a strip about two inches wide from a little back of their foreheads to the back of their necks and that was about two inches long and stuck straight up resembling a rooster’s comb. Their dress was a breach clout and a buffalo skin or robe, a blanket to throw over their shoulders. Some had leggings.
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball gave them some gifts, but the Indians were not satisfied. Erastus Snow wrote: “President Young proposed to shake hands and part in friendship, but he [the chief] refused, and appeared very angry. Upon inquiring into the cause of his passion, he stated, through his interpreter, that the heap (presents) was too little. . . . He said we would kill and drive away their buffalo, and that we should go back.” The brethren ignored their threats and continued the journey at 2 p.m., traveling northwest, up the Loup Fork ‑‑ a river that empties into the Platte River. Soon, a severe thunderstorm rolled in and the rain fell in torrents for thirty minutes. After about ten more miles, they established their next camp on the Loup Fork, north of Looking Glass Creek. William Clayton wrote: “The country is beautiful and pleasing to the eye of the traveler, although you can only see one kind of scenery for several days.”
At sundown, the bugle was sounded, calling the men to a meeting. Stephen Markham organized a huge detail to stand guard during the night. They were deeply concerned about the Indian threat and believed that the traders and Missourians were stirring up the Indians against the pioneers. Fifty men would stay up during the first half of the night, and fifty would guard the camp during the early morning hours. The cannon was prepared for action. Small companies of picket guards were stationed away from the camp with mules to help them detect any approach by the Indians. It was a “bitter cold” night. As Wilford Woodruff stood guard, he rolled himself up in a buffalo skin for protection against the rain and wind. Erastus Snow recorded: “The Indian fires we saw all around us and near our camp opposite on the south side of the Loup Fork, but a few guns and other demonstrations let them know that we were on hand.”
Alpheus Cutler, W.W. Phelps, Daniel Spencer, and Cornelius P. Lott went to the Omaha Indian camp, on the Papillion Creek. They first met with Indian Agent, John Miller, and then entered the camp to meet with Indian Chief Big Elk. Daniel Spencer spoke thirty minutes, explaining the Saints’ grievances. Big Elk admitted that the young braves were killing the Saints’ cattle, but countered with a complaint that the Saints had destroyed the Omahas’ timber. “You can’t raise up our timber, can’t raise up our dead men; so, you are the aggressors.” Big Elk complained that the Saints had still not left his lands. Brother Spencer explained that the government had taken 500 of their men for the Mormon Battalion. Big Elk responded: “If your father the great president [Polk] employ 500 men to fight his battle let him appropriate your lands. We don’t pay his debts.” The Indian Agent, John Miller, was of no help. He told the Omahas that they were justified, especially if the Mormons did not deliver the corn that they had promised. Big Elk stated that the Mormons could stay on the land if they hauled their corn. He said he would stop his braves from stealing the cattle.
It was an exciting day for Mary Richards. She delivered to her family several gifts, which had been sent by her missionary husband, Samuel W. Richards. Her tent was busy all day as people called to see the gifts she had received in the trunk from England. She enjoyed reading Samuel’s letters over and over again to her friends and family. Her sister‑in‑law Jane, invited her to come to her home, where recently returned missionary Joseph Cain was visiting. “He stayed about an hour, we had another good talk with him about Samuel and F[ranklin] and he seemed to take pleasure in talking to us about them.”
Eliza Oakey, age twenty-seven, died of scurvy. She was the wife of Edward Oakey.
At 5:30 a.m., a war party of forty Omaha Indians rushed down upon the camp and made angry signs that the settlers were tilling their land. They demanded a beef steer. When the ten brethren refused, three of the Indians were told by their leader to go butcher a beef. John D. Lee ran into their midst with a long pole and warned them if they did shoot any cattle, he would kill “every devil of them.” When the chief saw that Brother Lee was serious, he stopped the three men and held out his hand in friendship. They promised peace and said they were in pursuit of the Sioux. Brother Lee gave them some bread and gun powder as a token of peace. Later, after the Indians left, it was discovered that they had killed seven cattle the day before, and that they were killing cattle daily near Winter Quarters.
Reuben Miller wrote a letter to Brigham Young asking for him to support Brother Miller’s personal mission to combat the apostate Strangite movement.
Brother Young, my object is to do good and be useful in the day and generation in which I live, magnify my priesthood, and assist to build up the kingdom of God, and truly as far as in me lies be a servant of the Lord. Therefore I consider it right to use all honorable means to redeem the Saints from the spiritual darkness in which the devil has thrown them and bring them back to the true fold and the principles of immortal glory.
Brother Miller asked for direction and reported that the Strangites were planning a mission to England, to lead away more of the Saints. Brother Miller (who had for a time followed after James J. Strang and then returned to the Church) wished to publish a full account of Strang’s secret ceremonies.35
Luman Shurtliff landed at Keokuk and arranged with a member of the Church to transport the goods he had collected to the poor at Garden Grove. Brother Shurtliff wrote:
While he was preparing, I went to Nauvoo and found two letters from my folks. They were well and got along better than I expect for which I felt thankful. Most of the city of Nauvoo was deserted. It was without house or inhabitant. No home or fence or any improvement marked my home except the cellar over which one year ago a good brick house stood. This is all that was now left to mark the place of my labors for six years. The little group of young trees at my place still remained in which the grave of my wife and child was made manifest by a rock which I placed deep in the earth on end, rising above the surface to mark the place of their remains. I felt sorrowful to see the destruction of so many years of labor of the persecuted Saints. Hundreds of buildings were torn down and taken away. With feelings much better felt than described, I turned from the view for the fourth time bidding adieu to all things dear and interesting to me in the once beautiful Nauvoo.
Paymaster Jeremiah Cloud returned from Monterey with gold to pay the battalion. The men were anxious at the thought of finally being paid again.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 540; Howard Egan’s Diary, Pioneering the West, 26‑7; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:154‑55; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 126‑27; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:204; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 17; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:818; William Clayton’s Journal, 85‑88; Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 17; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 27; Richard Lloyd Anderson, BYU Studies, 8:3:287; Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies, 24:3:376; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 120; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 154‑55; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 73‑74; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 218
There was much joking in the morning because during the night some of the men had fallen asleep at their guard post and other men would steal their guns. Even Stephen Markham’s hat was taken. The pioneer company traveled two miles and then crossed over Looking Glass Creek at 8:24 a.m. The stream was only about fifteen feet across. They observed many otters on the water. Numerous swallows were seen flying and an eagle’s nest was spotted. William Clayton went ahead on foot and stopped to see the view on top of a high mound, the site of an Indian grave.
After eight miles, at noon, they stopped to feed the horses and cattle at a stream called Beaver Creek, which was about thirty feet wide and two feet deep. The temperature was sixty‑eight degrees. Many of the men went to work on preparing the banks of the creek to cross. At 2 p.m., the company hitched up and started again. Their first obstacle was to cross over Beaver Creek. The opposite side of the creek was so steep that it required twelve men, pulling on ropes, to bring the wagons up the banks.36
Howard Egan wrote: “This afternoon we traveled through a beautiful country, with the Loup Fork on one side and a ridge on the other and groups of trees that resembled orchards in an old settled country.” Norton Jacob agreed: “This country is so beautifully adapted to cultivation that there is driven from the mind all idea of its being a wild waste in the wilderness. The fields in the woods and the habitations of men one is continually looking out for.”37
The pioneers arrived at the Pawnee Missionary Station and set up camp for the night. Howard Egan described the land: “There is quite a large farm fenced in and some very good buildings on it. We had plenty of corn fodder and hay for our teams. It is the prettiest location that I have seen this side of the Mississippi River.”38
William Clayton added these words about the settlement:
The Plumb Creek runs through it, and but a few rods from the missionaries’ house. Its banks are lined with a little timber. . . . There are a number of good log houses here, considerable land under improvement enclosed by rail fences, and a good quantity of hay and fodder, large lots of iron, old and new, several plows and a drag. All apparently left to rot. There are also two stoves, etc.
Lorenzo Young also wrote about the missionary settlement: “I went and viewed the houses where they once dwelt, but it looked lonesome, and I thought those that were driven from there had suffered something as well as us. It is a pleasant location, and people could live at home if they could be let alone.”
At 6 p.m., George A. Smith had a mishap with his horse. Thomas Bullock recorded:
As George A. Smith was watering his horse, he [the horse] sprang suddenly, throwing George against the bank, the horse having his hind foot on G.A.’s foot, & his fore foot on G’s breast, in which situation he continued until the brethren took the horse off him. It was very fortunate that the place was muddy, so he escaped with only a few bruises, having his life lengthened out & spared to him, for further usefulness.
Captain Thomas Tanner drilled his men in the use of the cannon.39 A meeting was held and Brigham Young forbade the men from taking anything from the mission. However, since James Case had been in charge of this mission for some time, and the government owed him money, he was permitted to sell things from the mission to the men and report to the government. A guard of only twenty men was raised for the night. They no longer feared that the Pawnee would trouble them, but they were worried that the Sioux might try to steal some horses. At 7 p.m., the temperature was sixty degrees. William Clayton again spoke with some of the men about constructing an odometer to measure the distance traveled each day. Several of the men thought it was a great idea and were confident that the machine could be constructed.
The High Council met at the Council House in the evening to receive the report of the committee that visited with the Omaha Indians. They reported that the Indians said they would stop killing the cattle if the Saints would haul two hundred dollars worth of corn from Missouri which Indian Agent John Miller had bought for them. Parley P. Pratt asked the members, “Will we haul the corn or not?” No firm answer was given. Elder Pratt said that he wanted a better way of herding their cattle to help find a peaceful solution to the problem with the Omahas. If their cattle continued to be killed, harsh measures would be needed.
The David Sessions family had a wonderful family dinner. Patty Sessions wrote: “I was almost overcome again. My children were soon (all that were living) seated around the table with their Father and Mother. We rejoiced together and thanked the Lord.”
Richard Cormack died.
Colonel Cooke gave orders to have James Pace lead a company of twenty‑nine men to relieve Company C stationed at Cajon Pass. That detail was to return to Los Angeles to receive their pay of forty‑two dollars. The official order read: “1st Lieutenant Pace, of Mormon Battalion, will march to‑morrow morning with twenty‑seven non‑commissioned officers and men, with rations for thirty days, to the Cajon Pass, where he will relive Company C, Mormon Battalion, and occupy the same position and perform the same duties of defending the pass from the passage of hostile Indians.”
In the evening, Captain Jefferson Hunt called the men together for a Church meeting. David Pettigrew and Levi Hancock preached on “the necessity of keeping ourselves from being polluted and remember our covenants and told those who had sinned to sin no more.” Captain Hunt was the concluding speaker.
Howard Egan’s Diary, Pioneering the West, 27‑8; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:155‑56; “Charles Harper Diary,” 17; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:156; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 17; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:818; William Clayton’s Journal, 88‑91; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 127‑28; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:251; Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies, 24:3:376; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 218; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 278; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 51-2; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 78
The morning was cold, thirty-four degrees. The pioneers stayed in camp during the morning while Brigham Young, and others went to Loup Fork to try to find a place where the wagons could cross. They understood there was a good place about four miles up the river that had been used by George Miller the previous summer. But that crossing was thought to be near another band of Pawnees, so they hoped to use a different crossing point. In the mean time, the rest of the men spent time fixing wagons and washing. Others filled their bed ticks with fresh hay.
The pioneers’ scouting team consisted of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Amasa M. Lyman, Luke S. Johnson, Albert P. Rockwood, James Case, Jackson Redden, Orrin Porter Rockwell, and Joseph Matthews. Wilford Woodruff reported that the scouts “went down the stream some distance & several men waded across the stream & found the water so deep & so much quick sand we concluded to drive higher up to the old Pawnee Village.”
Brigham Young and his company of scouts returned at 11 a.m. and informed the camp about the new plans. He felt that James Case was justified in taking much of the plows and iron at the missionary settlement as compensation for the pay that the government owed him. A large quantity of iron was loaded into various wagons. All spare hands went to work with shovels to grade the hill down to the creek.
Thomas Bullock went to see the deserted Pawnee Mission.
It consists of two double log houses and six single smaller houses with pig pens & ashes cribs to each set, also two ricks of good hay, & a yard to enclose corn fodder, several yards to enclose horses & cattle, two fields fenced in with posts & rails where corn had grown last year. Also fruit trees & a beautiful little creek of Soft Water running behind the same, the whole making a very pleasant retired spot for a farm.
The pioneer company crossed Plumb Creek at 12:10 p.m. After two miles, Albert P. Rockwood looked back and saw heavy smoke rising from the last campground.40 Brigham Young ordered Brother Rockwood and Jackson Redden to return and put out the fire. When they arrived, they found several of the brethren working hard to put out the fire by raking away all the dry stuff near the fire. It had already burned down some fencing and was making its way to stacks of hay and houses. Luckily, they soon had it under control and it was extinguished.
After the pioneers passed by beautiful plowed fields, they soon came to Cedar River which was difficult to ford because of the sand. Soon they came to the proposed crossing at Loup Fork. It looked like it would be difficult because of the sandbars and the rapid current. There were two channels of water with a sand bar in the middle. The water was only three to four feet deep in the deepest spots, but there were many places full of quicksand.
Luke Johnson was the first to try crossing. He unloaded “Revenue Cutter” (the boat) and tried to pull across only the running gear of the wagon. He made it with great difficulty. Orson Pratt tried to cross with a small load. He had only gone a few yards when his horses began to sink in the sand. William Clayton wrote: “A number of brethren jumped in and lifted at the wheels, etc., till they got him to the bar in the middle. He then started for the other bar and about half way across his horses sank in the quicksand so badly that one of them fell down.” The horses were taken off the wagon and led across to the sand bar. Heber C. Kimball recorded: “When I jumped into the river I was astonished at the strength of the current.” Wilford Woodruff also struggled to get across, as his cattle and wagon sank into the sand. “The horses were taken from the waggons the load taken out & carried to shore by hand & the waggon drawn out by the help of me.”
Brigham Young tried to get his carriage across by having men pull it with a long rope. After awhile, Brigham Young realized that this crossing point would not work and ordered that no more wagons should be taken over. Instead, they would move up the river about a quarter mile and camp for the night. This plan left six men, including Wilford Woodruff and Orson Pratt, stranded over on the other side of the river without men to guard them from the Pawnee. They organized themselves into two groups of three to stand guard during the night. Wilford Woodruff wrote, “I stood guard in my wet clothing one half the night and slept in them the other half.”
The rest of the pioneer company camped very close to the old destroyed Pawnee village, forming a semicircle on a bluff by a stream. In the evening the captains of tens were called together to vote on building two light rafts, sixteen feet long. Tarlton Lewis would superintend the building of one, and Thomas Woolsey the other. The leather boat would be used to carry over as many loads as possible and teams would pull over empty wagons. It was believed that after several wagons were taken across that the sand would become firm.
Some of the men went to explore the ruins of the Pawnee Village. Charles Harper wrote: “I went to the ruins together with many of the brethren to get wood to cook our suppers. We surveyed the ground where the city once stood. The houses or wigwams were nearly all burnt. They had the appearance of having been large and commodious.” Brigham Young added: “Dr. Richards reported that he had rode through the Pawnee town about half a mile west of us and had seen the ruins of 175 houses or lodges averaging from twenty to sixty feet in diameter, all of which had been burnt to the ground. . . . The town had been partially fortified by an embankment of earth and sod about four feet high, having a ditch on the outside.”
The only lodge that was not burned had belonged to the Pawnee Chief. Levi Jackman described the lodge:
The one remaining was about 45 feet on the inside and about 15 feet high in the center. They were built round with a row of posts about seven feet high, standing nearly straight up and down. On the top of these posts were plates to support the upper part. The timbers were put on those plates running quite steep to the top, leaving a hole in the center for the smoke to go out. The fire being in the center of the lodge, from the east side an entry was made running out about 20 feet and of good width.
Brigham Young sent five men across the river in the boat to help protect Wilford Woodruff’s small group. The river was about a quarter mile across at this point.
At Brother Leonard’s home, a meeting was held, presided over by Brother Sessions. Many sisters including Eliza R. Snow attended. The Spirit was strong. They prayed, prophesied, and spoke in tongues.
Hosea Stout weighed his baby. She was 19 pounds. One year ago he had weighed all of his children, included his two little boys who later died on the trek across Iowa. On this day he wrote, “I weighed all my children this day one year ago, she weighed then 8 pounds and the others O! where are they now!! hush.”
The men were busy clearing land, hauling logs, and building cabins. Brothers Potter and Dalton came from Winter Quarters and reported that a treaty had been made with the Omahas. The terms called for the Saints to pay them five hundred bushes of corn as soon as it could be hauled from Missouri. If this was done, the Saints could use their land and the Omahas would stop killing their cattle.
Twins, Triphena and Mary Fullmer, were born to Almon L. and Sarah Follett Fullmer.41
A detachment led by James Pace started out for Cajon Pass, to relieve Company C. Nathaniel V. Jones recorded: “They had bought themselves some horses and Col. Cooke came out just at the time they were starting, and ordered them all back, took all their horses from them, sent them off on foot and ordered their horses sold to the highest bidder, which was done accordingly.” After they left, Colonel Cooke sent word to the rest of the battalion that they would be moving to another camping location for their safety. The Missouri Volunteers had threatened to harm the Mormon Battalion. The men moved to a green about one half mile below the Pueblo.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 551; William Clayton’s Journal, 91‑94.; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:156‑58; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:204; “Charles Harper Diary,” 17; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:819; Heber C. Kimball Diary, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, 30:78‑9; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 128‑30; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 28; Leonard J. Arrington, BYU Studies, 20:1:45; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 166; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:251; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 155; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:15; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 218; “Journal of Albert P. Rockwood,” typescript, BYU, 16
As the pioneers arose for the day, they discovered that one of Brigham Young’s horses had choked to death during the night. It had been chained to a stake and had stepped back into a hole, causing the chain to pull tight. This was a significant loss.
Lorenzo Young got up early and rode into the old Pawnee Village. Lorenzo wrote: “It looked desolate, I assure you. It is beautiful for situation. I counted 30 skulls that lay on the ground to bleach, beside a number of graves. My feelings were peculiar. While walking among the ruins I picked up a skull bone and took to camp and showed it as a curiosity.” Thomas Bullock also was in the village and added: “Some of the brethren went thro’ their burial ground & saw about 40 skulls & bones scattered about, no doubt dug up by Wolves. I went up the high hill about a mile North & went round several graves on the highest tip. There were also graves scattered about on the side of the hill.”
William Clayton described his visit to the village:
On the east and west of the village is a beautiful level bench of prairie extending many miles, and to the ridge of bluffs which run east and west touching within a mile of the village. On the top of the bluffs can be seen a number of Indian graves. To the northwest about a mile distant, and at the foot of the bluffs is an extensive corn field, the stalks still standing. On the south is a beautiful view of the nice level prairie extending to the main branch of the Platte, the timber on the banks can be faintly, but plainly seen.
After William Clayton finished a sketch of the village, he went back to camp because he saw that the pioneers had started to cross the river. About thirty men were busy making rafts, but the others wanted to try another method to take the wagons over the river. The goods were unloaded from the wagons and put into the boat, “Revenue Cutter” to be taken across. Horses and cattle were driven back and forth across the river to pack down the sand. Stakes were driven at intervals across the river to guide the teamsters to cross where the sand was firm. After awhile, they were able to take loaded wagons across by doubling teams.
William Clayton wrote:
I prepared to wade over the river, inasmuch as the wagon I am with was gone over, and in fact, all Heber’s wagons were over except one, but Jackson Redden brought me Porter Rockwell’s horse to ride over, and I mounted and proceeded. I found the current strong indeed, and about as much as a horse could do to ford it without a load. I soon got over safe and wet only my feet. At 3:00 p.m. the last wagon was over on the solid sand bar, and about four o’clock all the wagons and teams were safely landed on the bank on the south side of the Loop Fork without any loss or accident, which made the brethren feel thankful indeed.
Thomas Bullock added: “The last Wagon crossed over at 20 minutes to 3, thus passing our greatest obstacle on our route without any accident for which blessing from our Heavenly Father all the camp felt to render thanks & praise to the Lord, & rejoicing at the prosperity of our journey to this place.”
Shortly after this, one of the completed rafts, which no longer was needed, floated down the river and arrived at the crossing. The pioneers started their journey to find the next encampment. Both men and animals were very tired from the crossing of Loup Fork and looked forward to resting on the Sabbath. Howard Egan wrote: “I thank the Lord the morrow is a day of rest.” The trail was sandy, but the grass appeared higher on this side of the river. They passed the remains of several Indian wickiups. After about three miles, they camped by a small lake, not far from the river. Porter Rockwell discovered that there were sun fish in the lake. The men caught many nice fish and had a great supper.
Fresh foot prints were discovered on the bluffs to the south, so the pioneers knew that they were being watched. The cannon was again prepared to guard the camp.
William Clayton wrote: “Evening I walked over to Orson Pratt’s wagon, and through his telescope saw Jupiter’s four moons very distinctly never having seen them before. I went over to my wagon and looked through my glass and could see them with it, but not so distinct as with Orson’s.”
A meeting was held at the Council House to meet with the Otoe Chief, Big Caw. The land on the west of the Missouri was disputed between the Otoes and the Omahas. The Otoe chief stated that the Saints were on their land and he was satisfied with letting the Saints stay where they were, because he knew they were his friends. He felt strongly that the Saints should not give payment to the Omahas, instead he wished the Saints would haul corn for the Otoes, but if they did not want to, it would be all right. He had hard feelings against the Omahas and condemned their actions in killing the Saints’ cattle. The Otoes went to Hosea Stout’s home to spend the night.
After Big Caw left, the council discussed the Otoes’ proposal and voted to haul corn for both the Otoes and the Omahas, agreeing that “$60 to $80 is nothing to get peace for we lose that amount in two or three days by their killing our cattle!!”
John Taylor and Sophia Whitaker were married.
At 5 p.m., Cornelius P. Lott and nine other men arrived at Summer Quarters on their way to provide more protection for the herds against the Omahas.
Colonel Cooke issued a new order:
The Mormon Battalion will erect a small fort on the eminence which commands the town of Los Angeles. Company A will encamp on the ground to‑morow forenoon. The whole company will be employed in the diligent prosecution of the labors for one week, but there will be a daily detail of non‑commissioned officer and six privates for the camp guard, which, with the cooks absolutely necessary, will not labor during their detail. The hours of labor will be from half past six o’clock until 12 o’clock, and from 1 o’clock until 6 o’clock.
Elder Addison Pratt’s ship, Providence, came within sight of Hawaii. He wrote: “A pleasant sight to see land again.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 551‑52; William Clayton’s Journal, 94‑102; Howard Egan’s Diary, Pioneering the West, 29; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:156; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 131‑32; Ellsworth, ed., The Journals of Addison Pratt, 326; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 155; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:252; Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies 24:3:377; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 279; Albert P. Rockwood Journal, typescript, BYU, 16
Because it was the Sabbath, the camp rested and an order was issued that there was to be no fishing or hunting. Only necessary labor was to be performed, such of tending the cattle. Thomas Bullock recorded: “All was harmony, peace, & love, and an holy stillness prevailed throughout the day. The principal sounds heard were the tinkling of cow bells & the screams of wild geese as they flew past our camp.”
Wilford Woodruff was fascinated to see some antelope and elk for the first time in his life.
William Clayton wrote: “Afternoon Elijah Newman was baptized by Tarlton Lewis in the lake for the benefit of his health. Brother Newman has been afflicted with the black scurvy in his legs and has not been able to walk without sticks, but after being baptized and hands laid on him he returned to his wagon without any kind of help seemingly much better.”42
In the late afternoon, the camp was called together near Brigham Young’s wagon. The meeting was opened by a choir singing, “This Land was Once a Garden Place.” After a prayer offered by Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young invited anyone who wished to speak, to do so. William Henrie was the first to speak. He gave thanks to God for the blessings that they were enjoying.43
Erastus Snow remarked that he had never been more happy in his life, that he had no thoughts of turning back. He prophesied that future generations would read about their historic trek in the camp journal. It was clear that the Spirit of the Lord was in the camp because of the peace and union felt by all.
James Case expressed similar feelings. He said this was “new business” to him as a recent convert, but he never felt so well in his life. During the previous year, he had traveled with the Presbyterian missionaries to this location, but they were constantly contending. This pioneer camp traveled in peace and harmony.
George A. Smith spoke about his experience marching with Zion’s Camp in 1834. He made mention of Joseph Smith’s teachings regarding the evil of killing animals just for the sake of destroying them. During his talk, a wolf walked boldly across the prairie near the camp. The irony of this event was felt by the men as they listened to Elder Smith’s counsel against needless killing.
Brigham Young stated that he was well pleased with the proceedings of the camp thus far. He testified that the Lord was leading them and would continue to lead them if they were faithful. He then turned to some camp business. He asked for a daily report to be made, to take roll in the companies twice per day, to make sure that no one was missing. He chastised the guards for their carelessness, resulting in the death of his horse. He felt that the guards were so busy working with passwords, countersigns, and technical formalities that they had lost sight of their main duty. He asked that all the technicalities like passwords by set aside in this camp because everyone knew each other.
President Young remarked that some believed that the Twelve were oppressing the people. He testified that the Twelve were doing all that they could to remove the yokes of oppression from the people rather than putting more on their shoulders. He further testified that he knew that they were being led by the Spirit of God and that if the camp continued faithful, they would be healthy and be able to perform their mission.
President Young, probably with a smile, appointed Henry G. Sherwood to “murmer for the camp and no man had a right to murmer unless authorized to by him.”44 Norton Jacob wrote: “Well, this arrangement of making him chief grumbler of the camp had an effect in putting a check upon some persons, especially one by the name of [Solomon] Chamberlain who had all the time been quarreling with his team or somebody or another, but after this he was tolerable decent.”45
Joseph Matthews closed the meeting by sharing an experience from earlier in the day.46 He and three others went across the river at the place where they forded it the day before. His horse got caught in the quicksand which nearly dumped bother of them in the river. He lost his gun in the “scrape” and considered himself blessed to have his life preserved and also the life of his horse.
In the evening, under moonlight, another meeting was held, at which Brigham Young proposed that every five wagons cook their meals together in order to save labor. A company of seventeen hunters was organized to hunt during the week. Seven of them would hunt on horseback, ten of them on foot. No longer would every man be allowed to run ahead with his gun, scaring away all the game. The Twelve could hunt whenever they wished.
Hosea Stout took Chief Caw to Alpheus Cutler’s home for breakfast. The High Council met with the Otoes in the morning at 8 a.m. They told them that they were willing to help them haul corn. The Otoes were pleased and asked for gifts. John Taylor gave them some calicos. Daniel Spencer and Hosea Stout gave them a small sack of crackers.
At 11 a.m., a meeting was held at the Winter Quarters stand. John Taylor shared more experiences from his mission to England. Parley P. Pratt discussed with the Saints a significant problem that had recently arisen. Many of the Saints were fleeing across the Missouri River into Iowa, feeling that it was a safer place because of the recent Indian problems. Elder Pratt gave a report regarding the meetings with the Indian tribes and the High Council’s decision to use more force to protect the Saints’ interests. If the Omahas attacked their cattle, they were to “whip the Indians with a hickory but don’t kill them.”
Elder Pratt condemned those who were diverting their attentions from preparing for the migration to the West.
The Lord had called us to gather & not scatter all the time except when counselled to do this is the object of God. . . . Ye who want to scatter go and scatter to the four winds for the Lord can do without you and the church can do without you for we want the pure in heart to go with us over the mountains. . . . Strain every nerve to go on in the Spring. Wake up & go if you possibly can. Those who remain don’t farm one here & one there, for union is needed & we are weak having so many men drawn from among us. So be united.
Lorenzo Brown recorded that William McCarey, the black/Indian musician from New Orleans had still been promoting himself as Adam. He had recently left the Saints to return to his tribe because of a sermon preached by Orson Hyde against his doctrine. He had convinced some others to follow after him, across the river, to Mosquito Creek.
Elder Pratt ordered that no one could cross over the river on the ferry without a certificate from Isaac Morley. He hoped that this policy would stop those who fleeing from the city.
Eliza R. Snow wrote a poem in for Lyman O. Littlefield, who was about to leave on a mission to England.
Go, brother, go forth in the spirit of Jesus,
Enrobed with salvation, encircled with power;
Go forth as a herald and publish glad tidings ‑‑
Go call to the nations and tell them the hour.
Go, brother, be humble ‑‑hold fast your profession ‑‑
Continue to cling to the strong “iron rod:”
‘Twill lead thro’ the mists and the clouds of thick darkness,
To the fountain of light and the glory of God.
Go, brother, thy country has chased thee in exile,
With an oft oppress’d people, the Saints of the Lord;
Who are passing the furnace of deep “fiery trials,”
Rejoicing in hope of the “better reward.”
Go, brother, go tell our dear brethren in Europe
The suff’ring and patience and faith of the Saints,
Who, for righteousness sake, on the earth are but strangers ‑‑
But God is their Lord, and their spirit ne’er faints.
Go, brother, and say to the Saints that are faithful
That God is preparing a kingdom of rest;
And when they have pass’d thro’ the tide of affliction,
With the fullness of blessing they’ll truly be blest.
Go, Brother, be faithful, and God will protect you
And bear you in safety across the great deep;
And your guardian angel will bring you instruction,
And whisper sweet comfort to you when you sleep.
Go, brother, and when from the friends now around you,
You are breathing the air of a far distant clime,
Look oft in the mirror of your recollection
And the sweet sounding harp‑strings of friendship will chime.
May the God of our fathers preserve you from evil,
And fill you with wisdom and light evermore;
And when you with honor have finished your mission,
Return you in peace to America’s shore.
Company A moved into town to start building a fort. Rumors were afloat about an expected attack from Mexicans and Indians during the night. Colonel Cooke ordered Jefferson Hunt to have the battalion ready to form a battle line at a moment’s notice. Most of the men were up all night because they believed that they would be attacked. A dispatch was sent via pony express to Cajon Pass ordering all the men stationed there to return to Los Angeles.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:159; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:204; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:156; “Charles Harper Diary,” 18; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:820; Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 4; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 132; Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888), 208; Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies 24:3:378; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 375; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:244, 252; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 279; Norton Jacob Journal, typescript, BYU, 56-7; Albert P. Rockwood Journal, typescript, 18-19;
At about 3 a.m. an alarm was sounded, indicating that Indians were attacking the camp. Luke S. Johnson’s journalist recorded:
About 3 O clock the guards perceived 6 Indians making for the camp as fast as possible. The guards stept out of the way untill they crept up close to camp. The guards then fired twice, snapt a pistol once, but did not hit them. They retreated back. Suddenly the bugle gave the alarm. Every man in camp was soon up with his rifle. Col Markum then ordered a strong guard to be placed around the camp.
After examining the tracks, it was determined that the Indians were Sioux. Thomas Bullock recorded this version of the incident:
John Eldredge47 says he thought he saw a couple of Wolves coming to the Camp within four rods & determined to have some fun, run as if to chase them, when they rose up on their feet & turned out to be two Indians. He levelled his pistol but it did not go off. He then called to [Levi] Kendall48 & [Stephen] Kelsey49 who fired their Guns, four other Indians having jumped up & run. A general alarm being raised nearly all men were found to be at their posts, under their commanders of Tens who continued on Guard till Sunrise.
At 8 a.m., the camp was on the move. There was no road to travel on, so Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman and others scouted ahead for the best route to follow along the south banks of the Loup Fork. The horse teams traveled first to break the strong grass so that it would not hurt the oxen’s feet. Wilford Woodruff and others went off hunting. They saw eight deer and four antelope, but could not catch anything. The country was beginning to change. The large trees had disappeared and instead they saw small scrubby trees and willows near the river. The pioneers had to cross many mud sloughs and small ridges. The company went seven miles and then stopped at 11:30 a.m. near some ponds to feed the teams. About one hundred Indians trails were crossed during the day. They could see “an old dilapidated Pawnee Indian village” across the river.
Ezra T. Benson discovered that one of his iron axles was broken. He shifted the load in the wagon so that very little weight would be but on the broken portion, and traveled this way the rest of the day.50
At 1:45 p.m., they continued the journey. After a few miles they saw another deserted village across the river. At 6:15, they established the night’s camp a half mile from the Loup Fork, near a small gravel creek named Elk Sand Creek. Some signs of buffalo were found for the first time. William Clayton recorded:
About a mile back from this place situated on a high bench of land on the banks of the river is the remains of an Indian village, the houses or lodges being all down and no appearance of timber left. The entrances to these lodges all face to the southeast, the same as those back at the other village. There has evidently been a garden around the village as the land has been broken and bears marks of cultivation.
In the evening, Ezra T. Benson unloaded his broken wagon, the axle was taken off, and Thomas Tanner’s forge set up. William Clayton reported: “The axle was welded and fixed ready to put on the wagon again. This work was done in the short space of one hour after the encampment had been formed, the welding being done by Burr Frost.”51
Wilford Woodruff wrote: “Just at dusk, a tremendious alarm was given through the camp that Indians had cralled up & taken Porter Rockwell & his horse & made off with him. Many men mounted their horses & made off after him with all speed but it was soon discovered that Rockwell was in the camp but two horses were gone.” These horses belonged to Willard Richards and Jesse C. Little. Because they ran off at full speed, it was thought that they were stolen by Indians. Men were sent out to find them. They searched long and hard, aided by a bright half moon, but returned at 11 p.m. without finding them.
Howard Egan wrote:
About 3 o’clock Brother [Joseph] Matthews was out hunting his horses and saw a horse at a distance, supposing it to be Brother Little’s, went toward him. Before he got near him the horse put off at full speed toward the river. He then supposed there was an Indian on him. He returned to the camp and gave the alarm, when five or six men jumped on their horses and followed in the direction, but could not see or hear anything of the Indian.
William Clayton summarized: “The brethren have been repeatedly warned not to let their horses go far from their wagons, but every time we stop they can be seen around for more than two miles. These are two good horses and the owners feel bad enough, but it will be a warning to others to be more careful.”
Hosea Stout and Horace Eldredge rode to Bellevue to take a letter to the Indian Agent, John Miller. They arrived at noon, but Miller was not at home, so they left it with his clerk who seemed pleased at the proposal to haul corn for the Indians. Hosea Stout recorded some alarming news:
While there, we were informed that four Omaha women went out near to the big spring where we first camped after crossing the river [Cold Spring Camp] to get some corn and while there were attacked by some Sioux . . . who killed two and wounded one more of the women. They fled to the village and gave the alarm whereupon 150 Omahas & Otoes started after them on horse back and over took & killed seven, who they found in a deep ravine. There were two Omahas killed in the conflict, one by an Otoe through mistake.
While returning to Winter Quarters, Hosea Stout saw the war party on the prairie returning to Bellevue.
George Eddins, age thirty-eight, died.
At 11 a.m., Isaac Morley and Charles Bird arrived from Winter Quarters. They reported that the chief of the Otoes had met with the leaders. The Otoes had emphasized they owned the land, not the Omahas. The Otoes requested the Saints to help them haul corn.
Luman Shurtliff left the Mississippi River with Brother Tidwell and two yoke of oxen, taking the provisions collected, and headed for Garden Grove.
Samuel Brannan, Charles Smith, and another man left Sutter’s Fort with mules and horses loaded with provisions, hoping to locate the pioneers heading for California. They also carried copies of the California Star. “At first they were somewhat fearful they might meet the same fate as the Donner party in the high Sierras, but they made the forty‑mile crossing of the Truckee Pass in about 26 hours ‑‑ the same pass that had trapped the ill‑fated Donner party. Sam in his writings, gave credit to his Heavenly Father who, he said, led them on their way.’”
Companies D and E received six month’s pay of $42. The two companies joined Company A on the hill where they were building the fort. The pony express returned after delivering the dispatch to the companies at Cajon Pass, ordering them to return. The express traveled 120 miles in just sixteen hours.
Lydia Hunter, wife of Captain Jesse C. Hunter died at 10 p.m.. She had given birth to a son six days earlier. Juanita Wrightington, a local lady, agreed to take care of the infant.
Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 4; Howard Egan’s Diary, Pioneering the West, 29‑30; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:820; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 74; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:160; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 156‑57; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 133‑34; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 252 Our Pioneer Heritage, 3:480, 2:516; William Clayton’s Journal, 105; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 219; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:17; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 24; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 136
Before breakfast, William Clayton and Porter Rockwell went back to see if they could find the tracks of the two lost horses. One of the trails was found, but they returned to camp because they were not armed. At 8:30 a.m., the wagons rolled out of camp. They crossed the creek, left the Loup Fork, and started heading southwest toward the Platte River. The country was dry, sandy, and barren. Not a tree could be seen.
William Clayton wrote: “President Young and Kimball discovered a dog town a piece back, and many little prairie dogs. In one hole was a very large rattlesnake, and around the holes many small owls which seem to correspond with what travelers have said previously ‑‑ that the prairie dog, rattlesnakes, and owls all live in the same hole together.”
After traveling twelve miles, the pioneers stopped at 2:30 p.m. near a ravine to rest and feed the animals. The afternoon was hot, eighty-six degrees. They had to dig wells to find water. From this point they could see a good view of the Platte River in the distance. Orrin Porter Rockwell, Thomas Brown, Joseph Matthews, and John Eldredge were sent back in an attempt to find the lost horses.
At 3:15, the wagons were on the move again. The afternoon was hot, eighty‑seven degrees. The roads were dusty. Wilford Woodruff and others shot an antelope. “Just as we were starting in the afternoon, we rose a small bluff & saw two Antelope before us in the valley. . . . Br Brown first fired upon him. Another man & myself fired also. We all hit him with our balls but he did not fall.” They rode up, finished it off, skinned it, loaded the meat into the wagons and continued on. This was the first antelope killed by the pioneer company.
The night’s encampment was formed at 5:30 p.m. near a beautiful prairie stream. They had difficulty finding wood for fire. Some of the ox teams had failed during the day from lack of water, so horses had to be sent back to help them catch up.
Soon, Porter Rockwell and the others returned from their search for the horses. They found the trail of the two horses and came within a mile of Saturday’s camp. They noticed something black just ahead of them in the tall grass. Thomas Bullock gave this action‑packed version:
Porter Rockwell thought he saw a Wolf, determined to shoot it, descended from this horse, levelled his gun to fire, which brought up the resurrection of 15 Pawnee Indians, who [were] running to seize his & Mathews’ horses; Rockwell jumped on his horse & levelled his pistol, which caused them to draw back. The 15 Indians were armed with Bows & Arrows & Guns, Ready for fight, but were bluft by the 4 brethren. The Indians got enraged, retreated about 50 yards, & fired 6 Guns at the brethren, sending the balls whistling close by their heads.
Nothing was seen of the lost horses and it was concluded that the Indians had stolen them. Some of these Indians were recognized as the same Pawnees who greeted the pioneers near the Pawnee village and had eyed the horses. They had probably followed the pioneers closely for days.
John Brown wrote of an accident that caused the loss of the fourth horse in four days. “I accidentally fired a gun and the shot broke a horse’s leg, after setting a sack of clothes on fire. It was Brother [Matthew] Ivory’s gun.52 He had put it into the wagon loaded and capped. I was drawing my coat out which caught the hammer and fired it off in the wagon.” The horse belonged to Lewis Barney.53 The fire was quickly put out.
Luke Johnson shot a very large rattlesnake which he then brought into camp to be used for oil. Roswell Stevens killed a hare.54 A storm blew in during the evening. The wind blew very hard. All the men had to lock the wagon wheels to prevent them from rolling during the storm. There were much lightning and thunder, but very little rain.
Hosea Stout and the city marshal, Horace Eldredge, went to the ferry and told Brother Higbee (the ferry operator) not to take anyone across who had not paid their city tax. Brother Stout explained, “for there were now great numbers going off through disafection & we took this plan to secure their portion of supporting the police. Some paid it willingly while others made bitter complaints.”
Rumors were received that Company C and James Pace’s detachment had been attacked by Mexicans at Cajon Pass.
James S. Brown wrote that Company C and James Pace’s detachment left Cajon Pass as ordered. They were not attacked by Mexicans but were pursued by another hostile force.
On our march out, the wild cattle, which were there by thousands, became excited and began to bellow and crowd toward us. We could see them for miles coming on the run. They closed in quickly until we were surrounded by them on three sides, with a deep gulch or very brushy ravine on the fourth. We retreated in double‑quick time to this gulch, and were compelled to remain in what shelter it afforded until the next day, before we could pass on in safety.
Sister Lydia Hunter was buried. William Hyde spoke on the resurrection. She was buried near the harbor, at Point Loma where fallen soldiers had been buried.
Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 30; Autobiography of John Brown, 74; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:820‑21; “Charles Harper Diary,” 19‑20; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 134‑35; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:161‑62; Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 4; William Clayton’s Journal, 107‑11; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1: 252‑53; Brown, Giant of the Lord, 92‑3; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 24; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 136; Albert P. Rockwood Journal, 19-20, 22;
At 6 a.m., the temperature was fifty‑nine degrees. During the morning, Brigham Young decided to have the wounded horse put out of its misery. Luke S. Johnson shot the horse. Rodney Badger55 provided a replacement horse for Lewis Barney. Orders were given during the morning for no man to leave the wagons except the hunters. The men had to grade a road down to the small creek nearby, so the wagons could cross it. They continued in this work until 9 a.m., when the wagons started crossing. Albert P. Rockwood wrote: “Some buffalo made their appearance in sight of the camp for the first time on our journey.”
The pioneers traveled to the Platte River and rested the animals on the banks near Grand Island at 2 p.m. Many deer were seen running across the large Island. Levi Jackman recorded: “The bottom had the appearance of a vast green sea; no timber in sight only a narrow strip on our left along the river shore.” The roads were extremely dusty and a strong wind blew it into the wagons, covering everything.
They traveled six more miles and at 6 p.m., established a camp on Wood Creek. A circle was formed and the horses put inside. Brigham Young advised the hunters to not go on Grand Island for fear of an Indian ambush.
Erastus Snow wrote: “The country we have passed over today is the most beautiful I ever beheld. A continuous, unbroken plain covered with green grass, from one to six inches high, as far as the eye can see in all directions, without any timber or other objects to obstruct the view, except the timber on Grand Island, south of us.”
Phinehas Young returned to camp at sunset after exploring Grand Island. He said that the Island was four miles wide at this point and that there was a road near the center of the island that appeared to travel nearly the whole length of the island.
In the evening Luke S. Johnson gave Thomas Bullock a bunch of rattles taken from the huge four‑foot snake that he had killed the day before. The oil was taken out and rubbed on Zebedee Coltrin’s black leg which helped a great deal.56
Ann Agatha Walker Pratt wrote in her history:
My wedding day was April 28, 1847. I married Brother Parley P. Pratt, an Apostle in the Latter‑day Saint church ‑‑ a very fine man, a true and loving husband always. My husband, being in charge of the company, was extremely busy mending wagons, hooking up yoke‑bows, making boy‑keys, or pins to hold the bows in the yokes, hunting up the cattle, mating them, finding chains, especially lock‑chains, for, bear in mind there were no brakes to hold wagons back going down steep hills in those days. These and a hundred other things occupied his time. Meanwhile we were busy making and mending wagon covers and in every way aiding and assisting to prepare for the long and toilsome journey.
Parley P. Pratt and Martha Monks were also married this day. Walter Elias Gardner and Martha Ann Tuttle were married.
A meeting was held in the evening at John D. Lee’s house. The brethren discussed how they should herd their cattle. It was proposed that one big herd be created for the safety and protection of the animals. After debating for two hours, the men agreed to appoint N. K. Knight to superintend the herd. In exchange, the other brethren would till his land. The boys in the settlement would aid Brother Knight with the herd.
A son, Joseph Heber Rogers, was born to Russell and Lydia Trumbull Rogers.
Twenty‑eight men from each company were assigned to work on the fort. The day was very busy for some. Henry Standage stood guard through the night, worked on the fort ten hours, paraded with his arms, and did his own cooking. He wrote:
The fact is if our Battalion Officers who profess to be our brethren would act as fathers to us we could have easier times but they seek to please the Gentiles and to gain favor at our expense. Our officers will even find fault with us even in these times, for not having our guns in good bright condition when it was impossible for us to do in consequence of our being tented out and crowded 9 into a tent calculated at first for only 6. Being compelled to leave our guns outside the tent or lay them on the ground in the night time.
In the evening, Company C and Lt. James Pace’s detachment arrived safely from Cajon Pass.
Henry Bigler commented on “something of a human form” who was seen on the streets of San Diego begging for food. He claimed to be one of Fremont’s men and said he had been traveling in the Rocky Mountains for years. One of his shoulders was disabled and he had a wound in his head. Horace M. Alexander recognized him from Missouri. The man acknowledged that he was one of the mob who massacred the Saints at Haun’s mill in Missouri. He begged for forgiveness.
Robert S. Bliss wrote in his journal while sitting on a ten‑pounder gun above San Diego:
The prospect is delightful the Town is below me still farther South lies the Ships in the Harbour & farther still lies the Ocean; North & West lay another Bay & still farther West the Pacific with its Breakers is in Sight for many leagues at Sea. Yesterday the Congress Sailed on a short Cruise. She will be back in a few days; East 2 leagues is the Mission we quartered when we first Came to the Coast in Sight of the Fort; I also can see far to the South a number of Islands where I am told Walrus & Seals abound; It is rumored that a body of 1500 Mexicans are coming here to take the country from us if they do they will have to fight hard for our Guns are loaded ready to apply the match any moment.
Elder Addison Pratt’s ship dropped anchor in the harbor of Honolulu. He wrote: “I have been on shore and had a ramble. This place is verry much altered since I was here in the year 1822. The town is laid out in streets mostly crossing at right angles, and the houses are mostly well built, considering the climate and materials.”
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:162; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:821; Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 31; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 29; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:244; William Clayton’s Journal, 111; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 158; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:16; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 219‑20; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5: 60 Elsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 326; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” 22
The bugle sounded at 4:15 a.m., and the pioneer company started their journey at 5 a.m. in search of better feed for the animals. After three miles, they stopped and ate breakfast at 6:30 a.m. They saw bunches of prickly pear cactus. The temperature was sixty‑one degrees. Hunters went over to Grand Island and saw about 30 antelope and 8 deer. Four geese were shot.
After a couple more miles, they crossed Wood Creek and continued their journey west along the Platte across from Grand Island. Thomas Bullock wrote, “We saw fruit trees in bloom & Cotton Wood & other trees in leaf.”
After about five more miles, they rested the animals near a lake for the noon break. Ten more miles were traveled in the afternoon. As they traveled, some of the men started prairie fires to burn the dry grass so that new green grass would grow for those who followed. Levi Jackman recorded: “The day was very warm and the dust arose in a dense column along the whole line. It had been so for a number of days which made it very disagreeable.” William Clayton added:
One of Orson Pratt’s horses is very sick, supposed to be the bots. He has lain down several times in the harness within the last three hours. I am not astonished, as the wagons and everything else is shrinking up, for the wind is perfectly dry and parching; there is no moisture in it. Even my writing desk is splitting with the drought. . . . The clouds of dust were almost sufficient to suffocate everyone.
Erastus Snow commented: “It (Platte Valley) is mostly covered with rushes and the timber usually found on the islands and bottoms of all these western streams.” Wilford Woodruff added, “We find places on the main land bordering upon Grand Island covered with white substance resembling salt & taste quite saltish.”
Thomas Woolsey found a piece of pine board floating down the river. The men wondered where it came from.57
A meeting was held at the stand to sell prized lots of land near the south end of the city. The lots would go to the highest bidders who in turn would make fences. Mary Richards went to John Taylor’s home to pick up some writing paper that her missionary husband had sent back with Elder Taylor from England. Sister Richards thought that Elder Taylor would visit her as he had promised to do for all the wives of the missionaries. He explained that he was afraid to visit the sisters because they kept falling in love with him. Sister Richards replied, “I expect it is some what dangerous, but I should be happy to have you bring Sister Taylor with you when you come to see me, and if I should happen to fall in love with you, I will try to keep it to my self.” Sister Taylor said the problem was that many of the Sisters were inviting him over without inviting her.
Hyrum O. Turley, age four months, died of croup. He was the son of Theodore and Ellen Turley.
A daughter, Mary Etta Stringham, was born to William and Eliza Lake Stringham.
Twenty-eight volunteers arrived from Santa Barbara, bringing the battalion some cartridges.
Robert S. Bliss wrote: “This morning arose Early & saw a ship standing in for the Harbour she soon cast anker as the Wind was unfavorable. We expect our paymaster is on board & we shall be payd some money for our services for the first time since leaving Santafee.”
“Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 14:821; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:162; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 136; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 31; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 29; William Clayton’s Journal, 112; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4;92; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 121; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:253; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” 23
The morning’s journey started at 8:20 a.m. It was a chilly day, with temperatures down into the low forties. William Clayton remarked: “About a mile from where we camped last night, we passed a place where the Indians have camped no doubt during their hunt. They must have been very numerous for their camp has covered a number of acres of ground.”
After eight miles, the company nooned at a small creek with a gravel bottom, about a half mile from the river. They named it “Grass Creek.” Horace Whitney wrote: “The grass here is of the highest and most luxuriant growth we have yet seen ‑‑ There have been three fresh buffalo tracks seen today by the hunter.” Buffalo bones were seen in every direction.
When they started again at 1:20 p.m., the wind was blowing very strong, and it felt quite cold. They traveled eight more miles and camped in a circle about two miles away from the river near a bluff without wood or water. The circle that was formed was “imperfect” because each wagon was faced so that the wind would be against it. It took more than an hour to form the camp.58
For the first time they picked up dry buffalo dung (chips) which made a good fire. A well was dug and water was found. Thomas Bullock explained that holes were dug for the fires. “At Luke Johnson’s fire I saw a Buffalo Skull made a chimney ‑‑ the smoke coming out of two holes between the horns, combined the useful & ludicrous.”
It was a cold evening. William Clayton wrote: “It is now so cold that every man wants his overcoat on and a buffalo robe over it. We have had no accident and the brethren felt well, some are wrestling to keep themselves warm.” Brigham Young gave permission for the men to have a dance and to enjoy themselves because it was hard to stay warm. Hans C. Hansen provided the tunes on his violin. Many of the men had a difficult time sleeping because of the cold.
Some of Peter Sarpy’s teams came in from the Pawnee village, where they had seen the pioneer company. William Kay helped move Mary Richards into a house on the south picket line. This was the first house she lived in since leaving Nauvoo a year earlier. During all that time, she had lived in a tent. She wrote, “After I got to the house, I got dinner and Brother Kay eat with us. After which I helped cord the bedstead, move the bed, and regulated some of the things, felt some tired.”
Many of the men continued to work on the fort. David Pettigrew preached to the men about the evils of drinking. Jefferson Hunt informed the men about some good news. A sutler traveling with the New York Volunteers had just arrived with many clothes for sale. General Kearny had sent word that these clothes could be purchased at a reduced price. Since this was the end of the month, the battalion was mustered.
Robert S. Bliss recorded, “To day is our muster day according to Law which makes the fifth must from the time entered the Service; We have to muster once more to conclude the year & then we hope to go Speedily to our Familys & the Church.”
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:163; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 136‑37; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 31; “Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, 50:204; William Clayton’s Journal, 113‑16; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:253; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 121; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 220; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4;92; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, BYU, 23
1This was the Jerusalem artichoke, a large sunflower. The roots were good in combating the malnutrition problems in Winter Quarters. Many people continued to suffer from scurvy.
2Rodney Badger was later in the original pioneer company. He later served as sheriff in Salt Lake County. In 1853, he drowned while trying to rescue a family whose wagon capsized in the Weber River.
3Clarissa Decker Young was born in 1828, in New York. She was the daughter of Harriet Young, by her first husband, Isaac Decker. Clarrisa was a wife of Brigham Young. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, she spent the first winter there, while Brigham Young returned to Winter Quarters. She died in 1889.
4Ellen Sanders Kimball was born in 1825, in Norway. She later lived in Salt Lake City, where she bore five children, three who died as children. She died in 1871.
5Lorenzo Dow Young was born in 1807, in New York. In 1849, he went back to Missouri and obtained 500 sheep and 80 cattle. He settled on the west side of Jordan River and started a sheep and cattle ranch. In 1851, he was called as the bishop of the Eighteenth Ward, and served for twenty-seven years. He died in 1895.
6Lorenzo Sobieski Young was born in 1841. After arriving in the valley, he learned horticulture from his father and became a farmer. He lived in Huntington, Utah. He died in 1904.
7Isaac Perry Decker was born in 1840. He was the son of Harriet Decker Young, by her first husband, Isaac Decker. After arriving in Utah, they spent the first winter in the city fort. Lorenzo later built the family a home near the Eagle Gate, in Salt Lake City. Perry later settled in Provo. He died in 1916, the next to last surviving original pioneer.
8Samuel W. Richards was currently serving a mission in England.
9A marker is located at the intersection of Old 36 and 72nd street near the North Omaha Airport.
10Lyman Wight and his small colony of Mormons were at Austin, Texas. Their mill spring dried up in October, so they were in the process of moving to a site near Fredericksburg, Texas, on Grape Creek. In May, 1847, as Grape Creek started to dry up, they moved to a site closer to Fredericksburg, on the Pedernales River. A destitute German colony lived in Fredericksburg. The Saints made special efforts to help the Germans.
11They were in Winter Quarters.
13Andrew Purley Shumway was born in 1833, in Massachusetts. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he returned with his father to Winter Quarters for the rest of the family. In 1856 he was called on a mission to England, but soon returned because of the “Utah War.” He settled in Mendon, Utah, and died at Franklin, Idaho, in 1909.
14The Elkhorn River crossing was just north of the US 6 bridge, near Waterloo.
15It appears that the resignation was not accepted because Hulet would later be chosen to help escort General Kearny to take John C. Fremont back to Fort Leavenworth for court martial.
16This camp was about three miles southeast of present‑day Fremont, Nebraska. It was later named the “Liberty Pole Camp” by the Second Company of pioneers on June, 1847. It was about one‑quarter mile from the Platte River, and west of US 77.
17They probably did not consider that the ship Brooklyn had arrived in California the previous year. The Brooklyn Saints probably had plenty of missionary opportunities.
18William A. King was born in 1821. He only stayed a short time in the Salt Lake Valley and then returned to Winter Quarters. It is believed that he died in Boston, Massachusetts, in about 1862.
19The orginal pioneer company of 1847 at this time consisted of: Barnabas Lothrop Adams, Rufus Allen, Truman Osborn Angell, Millen Atwood, Rodney Badger, Robert Erwin Baird, Lewis Barney, Charles D Barnum, Ezra Taft Benson, George Pierce Billings, Francis Boggs, George Washington Brown, John Brown, Nathaniel Thomas Brown, Thomas Bullock, Charles Allen Burke, Jacob D. Burnham, Albert Carrington, William Carter, James Case, Solomon Chamberlain, Alexander Phillip Chesley, William Clayton, Thomas Polsin Cloward, Zebedee Coltrin, James Craig, Oscar Crosby, Lyman Curtis, Hosea Cushing, James Davenport, Isaac Perry Decker, Benjamin Franklin Dewey, John Dixon, Starling Graves Driggs, William Dykes, Ellis Eames, Sylvester Henry Earl, Ozro French Eastman, Howard Egan, Joseph Teasdale Egbert, John Sunderland Eldredge, Edmund LoveIl Ellsworth, William Adam Empey, Horace Datus Ensign, Addison Everett, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Aaron Freeman Farr, Perry Fitzgerald, Green Flake, John S. Fowler, Samuel Bradford Fox, John M. Freeman, Horace Monroe Frink, Burr Frost, Andrew Smith Gibbons, John Streater Gleason, Eric Glines, Stephen H. Goddard, David Grant, George Roberts Grant, John Young Greene, Thomas Grover, Joseph Hancock, Sidney Alvarus Hanks, Hans Christian Hansen, Appleton Milo Harmon, Charles Alfred Harper, William Henrie, John S. Higbee, John Greenleaf Holman, Simeon Fuller Howd, Matthew Hayes Ivory, Levi Jackman, Norton Jacob, Artemas Johnson, Luke S. Johnson, Philo Johnson, Stephen Kelsey, Levi Newell Kendall, Heber Chase Kimball, Ellen Sanders Kimball, William A. King, Conrad Kleinman, Hark Lay, Tarlton Lewis, Jesse Carter Little, Franklin G. Losee, Chancey Loveland, Amasa Mason Lyman, Samuel Harvey Marble, Stephen Markham, Joseph Matthews, George Mills, Carlos Murray, Elijah Newman, John Wesley Norton, Seeley Owen, John Pack, Eli Harvey Peirce, Francis Martin Pomeroy, David Powell, Orson Pratt, Tunis Rappleye, Return Jackson Redden, Willard Richards, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Albert Perry Rockwood, Benjamin Williams Rolfe, Joseph Rooker, Shadrach Roundy, George Scholes, Joseph Smith Schofield, Henry G. Sherwood, Andrew Purley Shumway, Charles Shumway, George Albert Smith, William Cochran Adkinson Smoot, Erastus Snow, Roswell Stevens, Benjamin Franklin Stewart, James Wesley Stewart, Bryant Stringham, Gilbroid Summe, Seth Taft, Thomas Tanner, Norman Taylor, Robert T. Thomas, Horace Thornton, Marcus B. Thorpe, John Harvey Tippets, William Perkins Vance, Henson Walker Jr., George Wardle, William Shin Wardsworth, Jacob Weiler, John Wheeler, Edson Whipple, Horace Kimball Whitney, Orson K. Whitney, Almon S. Williams, Wilford Woodruff, George Woodward, Thomas Woolsey, Brigham Young, Clarissa Decker Young, Lorenzo Dow Young, Harriet Page Wheeler Young, Lorenzo Sobieski Young, and Phinehas Howe Young.
20Probably the Donner‑Reed party
21William Clayton was born in 1814, in England. He served as a secretary to Joseph Smith. He composed the hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints” the previous year, in Iowa. He later served a mission to England. On his return, he was treasurer of Z.C.M.I. He died in 1879.
22Philo Johnson was born in 1814, in Connecticut. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he went to work making adobe bricks for houses. He later moved to Payson, Utah, and made thousands of hats. He died in 1896.
23Samuel was her husband away in England.
24This policy would create much contention for many months in the settlement.
25They passed through present‑day Fremont, Nebraska.
26The campsite was near the present‑day Ames Post Office, near the Platte River.
27Hans Christian Hansen was born in 1806, in Denmark. He was a popular musician in Utah. He later settled in Salina, Utah. He served a mission to Denmark in 1862-63. He died in 1890.
28Horace Kimball Whitney was born in 1823, in Kirtland, Ohio. He was the son of Bishop Newell K. Whitney. He traveled in the pioneer company with this brother, Orson K. Whitney. Horace was a gifted musician and learned the printer’s trade. He set the type for the first edition of the Deseret News and had a management position for the paper, for twenty-one years. He died in 1884.
29James Case was born in 1794, in Connecticut. In 1846, he worked for the government at the Pawnee Mission and was baptized by the Saints who went there with George Miller. In 1855, he served as a missionary to the Indians. He presided over the Creek Nation. He died soon after returning from his mission in 1858.
30Her husband, Samuel W. Richards was away in England on a mission
31Appleton Milo Harmon was born in 1820, in Pennsylvania. He constructed the roadometer, under the direction of William Clayton. He was among those asked to remain at the Mormon Ferry, on the North Platte River. There, he remained until the pioneers returned from the valley in the fall. He then worked at For Laramie as a blacksmith until the following spring and returned to Winter Quarters, bringing his family to the valley. He served a mission to England in 1850. He later helped build sawmills and a furniture factory at Toquerville, Utah. He died in 1877.
32Orrin Porter Rockwell was born in 1815, in New York. He was one of the very early members of the Church. He gained much influence with the Indians and was a terror to lawless individuals. He rode for the pony express and his house near the point of the mountain in Utah was a station. He died in 1878.
33This encampment was south of present‑day Monroe, Nebraska.
34Howard Egan was born in 1815, in Ireland. In 1849-50, he traveled to California to buy livestock and supplies. In 1860, he became a pony express rider. He served as a member of the Salt Lake City police force. He contracted pneumonia while guarding Brigham Young’s grave and died in 1878.
35When this letter finally reached the Twelve, Willard Richards wrote a firm reply asking Brother Miller to stop wasting his time and to return home to the Saints.
36They crossed over Beaver Creek about a mile south of the present‑day city of Genoa, Nebraska
37Norton Jacob was born in 1804, in Massachusetts. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he returned to Winter Quarters for his family, who he brought to the valley the following year. He buried a son during the journey. He later worked on the temple and on the mill at Mill Creek. He later moved to Heber City and served as justice of the peace. He died in 1879.
38The corn and hay had been gathered by Jacob Gate’s group during the previous fall.
39Thomas Tanner was born in 1804, in England. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he built a blacksmith shop and later was the foreman of the Church public works’ blacksmith shop. He died after a fall in 1855.
40Albert Perry Rockwood was born in 1805, in Massachusetts. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he returned with Brigham Young to Winter Quarters. He brought his family west in 1849. He served in the Territorial Legislature. He was warden of the state penitentiary. He died in 1879.
41Both the twins died soon after birth.
42Elijah Newman was born in 1793, in Virginia. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he helped to build the first fort, and made the gates for the structure. He helped settle Parowan, Utah, where he served as justice of the peace. He died in 1872.
43William Henrie was born in 1799, in Pennsylvania. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he helped explore Cedar Valley, Tooele Valley, and the territory in Utah between Salt Lake and the Santa Clara River. He was one of the founders of Bountiful and built a sawmill there. He died in 1883.
44Henry G. Sherwood was born in 1785, in New York. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he made a drawing of the first city survey on a sheepskin. He became a member of the High Council. He helped colonize San Bernardino, California. He later became a pony express agent. He died in 1857.
45Solomon Chamberlain was born in 1788, in Connecticut. He was one of the earliest members of the Church in 1830. He was the oldest member of the pioneer company. In 1850, he left for the gold fields in California, but soon returned. He died in 1862.
46Joseph Lazarus Matthews was born in 1809, in North Carolina. He later helped colonize San Bernardino, California. He then settled in Santaquin, Utah and served a mission to the Southern States. He moved to Pima, Arizona, where he died in 1886.
47John Sutherland Eldredge was born in 1831, in New York. He served as a teamster and was sixteen years old at the time. He served a mission to Australia in 1852 and returned on the ill-fated Julia Ann. He survived the shipwreck and returned to the valley in 1856. He settled in Charleston, Utah. He died in 1873.
48Levi Newell Kendall was born in 1822, in New York. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he returned to Winter Quarters in the fall and then went back to the valley the following year. He later settled in Springville, Utah, where he helped build canyon roads and irrigation canals. He died in 1903.
49Stephen Kelsey was born in 1830. He was one of the teen-age young men in the company and he was also a nonmember, but was baptized when he reached the Salt Lake Valley. In the fall of 1847, he returned to Winter Quarters and discovered that his mother and sister had died. He brought his four sisters west the following year and later went to California after gold. He later settled in Brigham City, Utah and then in Paris, Idaho. He died in 1900.
50Ezra Taft Benson was born in 1811, in Massachusetts. He was a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. After arriving in the valley, he was sent back to help the second pioneer company. He then served a mission to the eastern states. In 1856, he was president of the European Mission. In 1860, he presided over the Saints in newly settled Cache Valley, Utah. In 1864, he cleared up problems in the Hawaiian Mission. He died in 1869. He was the great-grandfather of the thirteenth president of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson.
51Burr Frost was born in 1816, in Connecticut. He later set up a blacksmith shop in Salt Lake City. He made the first nails from iron ore, in Parowan, Utah. In 1852-54, he served a mission to Australia. He died in 1878.
52Matthew Ivory was born in 1800, in Pennsylvania. He stayed in the Salt Lake Valley after arriving there with the pioneers. He served a mission to New Jersey. He was killed while fitting millstones in Beaver, Utah, in 1885.
53Lewis Barney was born in 1808, in New York. He later established a lumber business in Provo, Utah. He lived in Arizona and Colorado and died in 1894.
54Roswell Stevens was born in 1808, in Canada. He was a member of the Mormon Battalion for a time, but returned from Santa Fe with John D. Lee. He would later help the battalion from Pueblo reach the Salt Lake Valley. He settled in Alpine, Utah and later in Weber County. He helped settle Bluff, Utah, where he died in 1880.
55Rodney Badger was born in 1823, in Vermont. Before arriving to the valley, he would later be sent back to guide the second pioneer company. He joined this company including his wife on the Sweetwater. They arrived in the valley on October 2, 1847. He served in the bishopric of the Salt Lake Fifteenth Ward and was Sheriff of Great Salt Lake County. He drowned in 1853, while trying to help a family across the Weber River.
56Zebedee Coltrin was born in 1804, in New York. He was one of the early members of the Church. He would later return to Winter Quarters for his family. They arrived in 1851 and settled in Spanish Fork. He served as one of the seven presidents of the Seventy. He died in 1887.
57Thomas Woolsey was born in 1806, in Kentucky. He served in the Mormon Battalion, but returned from Pueblo to Winter Quarters with mail. Later in the pioneer trek he was sent to help guide the battalion at Pueblo, to follow the pioneers. After arriving in the valley, he returned to Winter Quarters, where he was appointed to look after the Saints there. He returned to the valley in 1852. He died in 1897.
58The camp was located about five miles east of present‑day Kearney, Nebraska. Not far from this site, on the south side of the river, the Oregon Trail converged with the Platte.