Sunday April 1, 1849 - Saturday, April 7, 1849
On Wednesday two inches of snow fell in the valley, but it melted quickly the following day.
On Thursday President Brigham Young wrote a letter to Samuel Brannan in California. Brother Brannan had been the leader of the Saints who sailed to California on the ship "Brooklyn" and settled in the San Francisco area. The letter would be taken to him by Elder Amasa Lyman. President Young wrote: "I do not doubt that you have been blessed abundantly and now shall have it in your power to render most essential service. I shall expect ten thousand dollars, at least, your tithing, on the return of Elder Lyman." He also requested Brother Brannan to send additional funds to help support the Twelve. A promise was given: "When this is accomplished you will have our united blessing, and our hearts will exclaim, 'God bless Brother Brannan, and give him four fold for all that he has given us.'" Also a warning was issued: "But should you withhold when the Lord says give, your hope and pleasing prospects will be blasted in an hour you think not of, and no arm to save."
On Friday, April 6, the General Conference of the Church began. It had to be adjourned early for the day because of rain, and because only a few people attended. On Saturday a large congregation assembled. They listened to speakers including Elders Amasa Lyman, Heber C. Kimball, and John Taylor.
A General Conference was also held at Kanesville. Church leaders called on the brethren to provide teams to haul a carding machine, printing press, and other church property to the Salt Lake Valley.
On Monday, 358 Saints on the ship "Zetland" arrived in New Orleans. Their leader was Orson Spencer. During the voyage four children died and three were born. Three ladies married sailors immediately after arriving in New Orleans. On Thursday the company boarded the steamship "Iowa" bound for St. Louis.
On Tuesday the brethren in Utah Valley started to build "Fort Utah" near Provo River. The Fort would consist of a stockade fourteen feet high with log houses inside. "The fort ran east and west, its dimensions being about twenty by forty rods. There were two windows for each roomone to the front, and the other to the rear. As the settlers had no glass for windows, coarse cloth was used as a substitute. There were gateways at the east and west ends of the fort; and at the southeast corner was a large corral in which the cattle were kept at night. Within the corral was a guard house. The logs for the fort were obtained from Box Elder Island, a forty-acre tract lying between two channels of Provo River about a mile west of the fort."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 3, p.483 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.404 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 180-83 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 12, p.446 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 234 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 9, p.125 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 350
The closing session of the General Conference of the Church was held at 10 a.m. The conference sustained the General Authorities of the Church. Three Bishoprics were set apart. The Twelve met together and discussed bringing companies of mechanics and artisans from the British Isles to the valley.
The brethren talked about times past, when certain people in Quincy, Illinois had persecuted the Saints. President Brigham Young prophesied about Quincy, "that our children would take the children of the benevolent in that place in their arms."
Elder Charles C. Rich was appointed to go establish a settlement near San Francisco. Elder Amasa Lyman was set apart for his mission to California.
On Monday the First Presidency issued the "First General Epistle of the First Presidency" from the Great Salt Lake Valley to "the saints scattered throughout the Earth." In the very long letter they shared some news from the valley:
"The winter of 18489 has been . . . like a severe New England winter. Excessive cold commenced on the 1st of December, and continued till the latter part of February. Snow storms were frequent, and though there were several thaws, the earth was not without snow during that period, varying from one to three feet in depth, both in time and places. . . . Three attempts have been made by the brethren with pack animals or snow shoes to visit Fort Bridger, since the snow fell, but have failed; yet it is expected that Compton will be able to take the Mail east soon after April Conference. . . .
"The valley is settled for twenty miles south and forty miles north of the city. The city is divided into nineteen wards; the country south into three wards, and north three wards, and over each is ordained a bishop, with his counsellors. . . . The wards of the city, generally, consist of nine blocks, each three squares, and each ward will be fenced by itself this season, on the plan of a big field, for the purpose of saving time for cultivation. . . .
"There have been a large number of schools the past winter, in which the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, German, Tahitian, and English languages have been taught successfully. . . .
"The Saints in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, will continue to gather on the Pottawattamie lands [in Iowa], and prepare for their future journey agreeable to our previous instruction. Notwithstanding, if there are young or single men, or men of families who can be spared from Pottawattamie, to come on here this season, and raise grain, build houses, etc. it would be well for them to come. . . .
"That the Saints may be faithful in every good word and work, and be diligent in all things, and yet not by haste and waste, which bringeth destruction; and, inasmuch as they cannot be prepared to come to this place this season, let them be persevering in making preparation, and wait their time in patience, and it shall be well with them. . . ."
Sister Naamah J. C. Twiss wrote a letter to her family and friends: "You would like to know how I like the Valley. I think when I can look outdoors and behold the wheat and corn and potato fields together with the fine gardens covered with melons, squashes, peas, and beans, vegetables of all kinds then I think I shall like the Valley very much. But as yet I cannot see any thing but a great Valley surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. No, not even a maple tree that is so dear to me at this time in the year, and I hope you will not forget to eat a cake of sugar for me."
On Friday Amasa Lyman and Orin Porter Rockwell started their journey for California. Earlier in the week Sister Lyman wrote: "We baked the last of our flour today, and have no prospect of getting more till after harvest. . . . April 13th Brother Lyman started on a mission to California with Orin Porter Rockwell and others. May the Lord bless and prosper them and return them in safety. He left us without anything from which to make bread, it not being in his power to get it. Not long after Amasa had gone, Jane James, the colored woman, let me have two pounds of flour, it being half of what she had."
On Saturday Allen Compton left the Valley to take mail back to the States.
John S. and Isaac Higbee informed Brigham Young that there had been an Indian battle in Utah Valley on Thursday. The Wanship and Goship attacked Little Chief's camp near the fort on the Provo River. Several Indians were wounded and some horses driven away. Little Chief requested help from the Saints to retrieve the horses.
Sister Amanda Rogers wrote a letter to her son Samuel, who was in the valley. She included this note: "We have sold our improvements for a yoke of oxen and are making all calculations to make our way to the valley this season, if we do not meet with any disappointment. I think we shall be there next fall. We shall not come as well prepared as we would like, but we will do the best we can. . . . If there are teams sent from the valley to meet the company, we would like to have you send us two yoke of oxen if you can spare them, if you can't send two, send one."
The ship "Henry Ware" with 225 Saints on board arrived in New Orleans on Sunday. Their history included: The emigrants had enjoyed good health on the voyage, except a little sea sickness. The weather was very good most of the time. At New Orleans Brother Lucius N. Scovil directed the clearing of the luggage at the custom house, and the removal of the same to the steamer Grand Turk, on board of which the company sailed for St. Louis in the evening of April 11th."
On Friday, the passengers who sailed on the "Zetland" arrived in St. Louis on the steamboat "Iowa." During their journey up the Mississippi River, cholera broke out among the passengers. There were seven deaths including two Saints who were buried on island "82." When the boat arrived several passengers were still sick and two more died the following day.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 8, p.505 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 3, p.168 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.404 Improvement Era 1940 The Contributor, 13:234-5 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 194
On Monday, Thomas S. Williams returned from Fort Bridger. Brother Williams had received permission in March 1848, to go to the Green River area to trade with emigrants. Brother Williams reported that the winter had been very severe at Fort Bridger. The traders staying there had suffered starvation and resorted to eating the dead cattle. He said the snow was fifteen feet deep near Cache Cave [located near the present-day Utah/Wyoming border.]
Brother Williams reported to Brigham Young that different bands of Ute Indians were urging those in the Utah Valley to attack the Provo River settlement. Brigham Young quickly wrote to John S. Higbee in Provo, advising the settlers to quickly complete their fort. They should place their cannon on top of the fort and post guards at night. If the Indians continued to be friendly, they should teach them to raise grain. Dimick B. Huntington wrote back and reported that there were quite a few Indians around the Provo River settlement, but they appeared to be friendly.
On Friday morning, Little Chief passed through the valley on his way to attack Wanship because they had stolen horses during the previous week. Another chief was with him who lived on Spanish Fork River.
On Thursday the first pioneer company of the season departed from Kanesville, Iowa. The company consisted of 57 people and was led by Howard Egan. More than 1,250 Saints would make their way to the valley during 1849.
Elder Wilford Woodruff visited Saints living in New Jersey. On Sunday he preached to the Saints in Hornerstown and on Monday road with two men to Toms River. He wrote about his journey: "Our road lay through a level pine forest about 30 miles almost one universal sand bed. There is a small village in the midst of the pine forest called Manchester. I rode on a load of plank 3,500 lbs drawn by four mules with wide tire yet they sunk into the sand over the belly which made hard travelling."
On Friday Elder Woodruff baptized the Wycolf family in Hornerstown. They had believed in the gospel for many years and had even been visited by Joseph Smith. He also traveled to Newark and Bloomfield.
The ship "Hartley," with 220 Saints on board continued to approach New Orleans. On Sunday a baby boy was delivered by Sister Hall. On Thursday, little Elizabeth Slinger died. She was placed in a tin coffin, made from tea canisters, which then was enclosed in a wooden coffin. This was done so she could be buried in New Orleans. On Friday four sailors were baptized. One of them was George Percy, who planned to continue traveling with the Saints to Kanesville.
Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 350 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 194-95 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:439-40 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 12, p.447
During the Sabbath public meeting, President Brigham Young spoke out against evil in the world: "The whole world is in heathen darkness, they have eyes and see not, ears and hear not. I can give you a key -- they do not acknowledge the truth when it comes, whether it comes by dreams, visions, or naturally. When light is presented to me, I say light; and when truth and righteousness, I say truth and righteousness. The world is just so ignorant, that they do not know who gives light, God or the devil." It was announced that Wednesday would be a fast day, and that the sacrament should be observed in the various wards.
The weather was very warm. On Thursday it reached 83 degrees. The dreaded crickets started to appear again and were thick is some places.
On Saturday the canal committee reported to the High Council. They had levelled and surveyed a route for a canal from Mill Creek to the northeast corner of the city. W.W. Phelps was appointed "surveyor general" and "chief engineer."
Also on Saturday the Nauvoo Legion was again organized with Daniel H. Wells as Major General, and as Brigadier Generals, Jedediah M. Grant, and Horace Eldredge. Hosea Stout recorded that something unusual took place: "John Pack and John D. Lee were each put in nomination for Majors by regular authority and both most contemptestously hissed down. When any person is thus duly nominated I never before knew the people to reject it. But on this occasion it appears that they are both a perfect stink in everybody's nose. The reasons of which is not needful to relate."
[Apparently this negative reaction stemmed from the recent hunting contest at which John D. Lee's group was proclaimed the winners. Originally the hunt was to only last until the first of February. At that point John Pack's team was winning. But then the contest was extended and John D. Lee's group eventually won. The losers were supposed to provide a dinner for all the hunters. This was never done. No compromise could be reached between the two men to share the cost for the dinner. The whole event left bitter feelings.]
On Sunday Elder Wilford Woodruff walked from Bloomfield to Newark. He then organized a branch of the Church in Newark, New Jersey. On Monday he traveled into New York City and later in the week went to Haverstraw, New York. There, he spent the night at the home of Brother John Druce. The Druce family was very upset about their home which was known as "Haunted by the Dead." Elder Woodruff dedicated the house and rebuked all spirits which were not of God to depart out of the house." The family felt much better and were not troubled anymore.
The steamer "Dhacota" ran up against a snag and sank in the Missouri River. There were forty Saints on board, led by George P. Dykes. There was one death, a child that was smothered. All the luggage was lost along with letters and packages. Teams were sent from Kanesville to aid these Saints.
The ship "Hartley" with 220 Saints on board arrived in New Orleans. Lucius N. Scovil met the company.
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 195-96 The Contributor 13:235 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 351 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:440-41 Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 228
On Thursday the Saints fasted. The first Thursday of every month was appointed to be a day of fasting.
On Friday, John M. Bernhisel and Lorenzo Young departed from the valley on a journey back to the states. Brigham Young accompanied the brethren about three miles up the canyon. John Bernhisel was taking a petition to Washington D.C. requesting that the "Deseret" territory be established. He also carried with him a letter for Stephen A. Douglas requesting assistance. The brethren were to take instructions to Charles Shumway, who was on the way with others to the Upper Platte ferry. These ferry workers were asked to stay there until all the Saints traveling west that season crossed over the river.
On Saturday the recently recommissioned Nauvoo Legion met on Temple Square to drill. Six companies of infantry and three companies of cavalry trained. Afterwards they all marched to the stand and were addressed by Jedediah M. Grant.
On Saturday Elder Elijah Malin died of cholera. Elder Malin had been called on a mission to Pennsylvania in April 1848. He labored faithfully and was returning to his family in Council Bluffs. While traveling on a steamboat near Louisville, Kentucky, Elder Malin was stricken with cholera and suffered greatly during the journey to St. Louis. Soon after arriving he died.
Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses for the Book of Mormon, wrote a letter to his brother-in-law, Phinehas Young of Council Bluffs. Brother Cowdery had several months earlier rejoined the Church. He had contemplated traveling to the valley during 1849, but had decided against it. He wrote:
"Every day confirms me in the opinion I had formed before your arrival, that it would be bad policy for the Saints to think of starting for the valley this spring. I know the personal anxiety of many to go, but have heretofore felt a deep solicitude to be with them, but I do not know what would induce me to start with my little family now. The idea of being crowded in and mixed up with companiesthousands of gold hunters, would impel me to wait another year, as a preference if I could not go this fall. . . . I frequently thought of dropping a line to the leading brethren at the Bluffs, on the subject of the vast number of gold hunters who are calculating to go up on our 'trail,' but on further reflection have concluded that they must be fully advised, and any suggestion from me might be of no service."
Elder Wilford Woodruff preached to the New York Saints on Sunday. On the following day he traveled to New Haven Connecticut and organized a branch of the Church. He appointed Sherman Barnes to be the presiding Elder. During the rest of the week Elder Woodruff visited with other Connecticut Saints and even took a little time off to do some trout fishing. On Saturday he returned to Boston by train and was reunited with his family for the first time in more than a month.
Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, in Gunn (1962), p.257 LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 3, p.674 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 197-200 Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 228 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:441-43