Sunday, May 5, 1850 - Saturday, May 11, 1850

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and others crossed the Jordan River with surveying instruments to find a place for a dam. They spend two days examining the river and banks. A committee appointed to build the dam determined that not enough money had been appropriated for the project.

Copenhagen, Denmark:

On Saturday, May 11, Peter O. Hansen arrived in Copenhagen from America. He was the first missionary to serve in that country. Elder Hansen was a native of Denmark. In June he would be joined by Erastus Snow and George P. Dykes.

Pacific Ocean, on the way to Tahiti

On Monday porpoises were spotted off the bow of the ship and the captain harpooned one. Later in the week, Elder Addison Pratt tried his hand at fishing. "While I was on Anna, some native brethren gave me some fishhooks made of pearl shell of different kinds, on to represent a flying fish, and when the vessel is going through the water at the rate of 3 or 4 knots, and this hook is skillfully skated along the surface of the water it very easily deceives those kinds that chase the flying fish. . . . Today there came around a shoal of albarcore. I went out on the bowsprit and caught the first one. There were five caught, part were boneaters. These made us all a good fry."

On Saturday as they neared the equator, the winds were light and the sea was smooth. Elder Pratt's companion, James Brown had been terribly seasick, but felt somewhat better. Elder Pratt wrote, "Brother Brown and myself are all the cabin passengers there are, and as the officers and crew are very kind to us, we should enjoy ourselves first rate, could Brother Brown get over his sickness."

On a steamboat heading up the Missouri River:

Elder Wilford Woodruff and a company Saints more than 212 Saints continued their journey on a steamer heading toward Council Bluffs. On Sunday the passed Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. Brother and Sister Branch's son, Irvin Harry Branch, died. He had been sick with a bad fever for ten days. On Monday the boat stopped for two hours at Bloomfield. Brother Branch went to the grave yard with three other brethren and buried his child.

On Tuesday a cold rain fell all day. Many of the Saints were suffering from stomach problems. Elder Woodruff wrote, "We have thus far been blessed while on this river which is full of snares and dangers, and I pray the Lord to preserve us to the end." On Wednesday the travelling was slow. They passed a large prairie containing a flock of swan which was a curious sight to many. On Thursday the boat passed the banks of Jackson and Clay Counties, Missouri. Elder Woodruff's thought about the Saints who had suffered through so much persecution in that area.

On Saturday, the boat steamed past Fort Leavenworth and they stopped at Weston to deliver some freight. The captain tried to run the river during the night but ran into several snags. On Saturday the company arrived at St. Josephs, Missouri. This city was full of people preparing to travel to the west in search of gold.


 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 20, p.431 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 294 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 433-35 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:549-50 

Sunday, May 12, 1850 - Saturday, May 18, 1850

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

On Sunday President Brigham Young reproved the Saints for not paying their tithing. He mentioned that many of the emigrants had received financial help to travel to the valley, yet they were unwilling to pay back those who had helped. He wanted the Saints to be faithful in this area.

On Monday the bishops in the valley met together and agreed to send ten teams with grain to help the settlers in Manti who had run out of food.

On Wednesday Hosea Stout and Ezra T. Benson went to Cottonwood, located about seventeen miles from the city. Brother Stout had sowed 2 1/2 acres of wheat at that location and the crop was doing well. He felt that the area where he had his farm was the best in the valley for growing crops.

Pacific Ocean, on the way to Tahiti

On Monday, the ship "Frederick" bound for Tahiti, crossed the equator. On Wednesday Elder Addison Pratt (on the way back to his former mission field) accompanied by his missionary companion James Brown, tried their hand at fishing. Elder Pratt caught eleven fish including one weighing 30 pounds. One "got away" which they claimed was about 75 pounds. On Saturday they neared the Marquises Islands. Elder Pratt wrote, "The inhabitants of these islands are represented as a treacherous set of cannibals. Missionaries have been among them, but I believe none have stayed long."

St. Joseph, Missouri:

Elder Wilford Woodruff and a company Saints more than 212 Saints continued their journey on a steamer heading toward Council Bluffs. On Sunday they departed from a brief stay at St. Joseph, Missouri, where they observed thousands of people getting ready to travel west to the gold fields in California. Elder Woodruff wrote, "We see them [gold seekers] on both sides of the river to day in the woods and on the prairie preparing to start out. It is a pleasant day. I sat on deck and looked at the travelling caravans through my glass."

On Monday the steamer stopped while everyone went out to help cut and gather firewood. On Tuesday the passengers were asked to go on shore and walk up the bank of the river to lighten the boat as it tried to pass many sand bars. On Wednesday the steamer arrived at Fort Kearney, and on Thursday they arrived at Kanesville. Elder Woodruff went to see Elders Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt. They spent Saturday evening in long conversation. The two fellow apostles gave reports to Elder Woodruff to take on to President Young in the valley. Elder Hyde reported on the condition of the Saints in Kanesville and Elder Pratt reported on the Saints in England.


 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:369 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:550-52 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 294 

Sunday, May 19, 1850 - Saturday, May 25, 1850

Provo, Utah:

Peter W. Conover traveled from Fort Utah to Great Salt Lake City and reported to Church leaders that several Indian chiefs were gathering at the Fort to make a treaty of peace with General Daniel Wells. On Monday Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Daniel H. Wells traveled to Fort Utah to meet with the Indians. When the brethren arrived, they were disappointed with the conduct of many of the Saints in the settlement. The families there had let their youth wrestle, gamble, and race horses with the Indians. The brethren felt that because of this conduct, it was useless to ask the Indians to promise to behave better than those within the Fort. The Saints there were asked to repent and improve.


On Friday Addison Pratt arrived at Papeete, Tahiti, on his second mission to the Society Islands, accompanied by Elder James S. Brown. Elder Brown was very happy to arrive, especially since he had been seasick during the entire voyage. Elder Pratt observed, "He has been so nervous that when he lay in his berth at night, he imagined his flesh had worked loose from the bones, and the calves of his legs were rolling about his shinbones, without control. I began to feel quite concerned about him, but I dared not let him know it, for fear he would get discouraged. But the sight of land has the desired effect upon him, and he is all life and animation today, which much relieves my mind."

Elder Pratt was delighted to again see the islands where he had labored for many years in the past. "In my estimation, nothing can surpass the beauty of the scenery about Papeete. The troubled ocean, outside of the reef, that is ever heaving the sheet of surf, that breaks in such snowy whiteness upon the coral reefs that surround the harbour, and the smooth water that represents a sea of glass inside of it, and the stately ships that are lying so undisturbedly at anchor, the two crescent points, covered with evergreen coconut trees, that helps to give that beautiful semicircular shape to the harbour, and the houses of the town that dot the beach."

Elder Pratt soon met Haametua, one of his first converts on Tubuai. Haametua was full of joy to see the missionary who taught him the gospel. He reported that Elder Benjamin Grouard, the elder who had been in charge of the mission, was on Tubuai, building a ship to be used by the missionaries to travel between islands. On Saturday Elder Pratt traveled to Huuau and visited with faithful Saints.

Kanesville, Iowa:

On Sunday a conference of the church was scheduled. Prior to the general session, Elders Wilford Woodruff and Orson Hyde met with the High Council. The High Council was encouraged to visit the various branches to determine the spirit of the people. Elder Hyde pointed out that many poor had recently arrived to the settlement and must be cared for. Three men were appointed as a committee to help the poor find places to stay.

The general session was held. Elder Hyde spoke and remarked that the priesthood and Saints held the keys of blessing in their own hands. They had only seen any rain once since last fall. The ground was parched up and dry. He promised the Saints that if they would open their doors, receive and administer to the poor, that the rains would come.

Elder Orson Pratt spoke at the afternoon session. He gave a report of his mission to England and stated that the Church was starting to see an increase of opposition. He also spoke about the signs of the times and the city of Zion. Elder Woodruff next spoke and reported on his two-year mission to the east. He said he had received council from Brigham Young to stretch out his arms and to gather all he could find to go to the valley. He said, "and when the Lord tells me to do any thing or I receive counsel through the proper source, I go at it with all my might. And I can neither eat, drink or sleep in peace except the work that is required of me to be performed is progressing about right." There had been concerns expressed regarding all the poor people Elder Woodruff had recently brought to Kanesville from the East. Elder Woodruff said if it was a mistake to bring them, it was an error of the head and not of the heart.

The conference was concluded with prayer and "and though there had not been a shower of rain but once since last fall and the bow had not been seen since last year, yet as soon as the meeting was dismissed the clouds gathered, the rain poured down, and the bow appeared. And it was a matter of observation with many of the world as well as the Saints."


 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 295 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:553-55 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 435-41 

Sunday, May 26, 1850 - Saturday, June 1, 1850

Nauvoo, Illinois

The burned shell of the Nauvoo Temple was owned by the "Icarians," a group of French immigrants. They intended to put a roof back on the building and use it as a seminary for their people. The Icarian construction work was underway with a plan to convert the basement area to communal kitchens and dining rooms. But on Monday a windstorm or cyclone further destroyed the weakened structure, blowing down the north wall. The sound of the crashing wall could be heard for three miles.

The Missouri Republican reported, "The storm burst forth so quickly and with such violence that the masons, overtaken unawares in the Temple, had not time to flee before the northern wall, sixty feet high, bent down over their head, threatening to cursh and bury them."

Emile Vallet, who was with the masons working in the basement, described the tragedy:

At 3 o'clock p.m. a distant report of thunder announced the approach of a storm. At their request I stepped out to ascertain whether it was a severe storm or not. Seeing only an insignificant cloud, I reported no danger. We continued to work. . . .Suddenly a furious wind began to blow; four of the masons fearing the non-solidity of the walls, left to seek shelter elsewhere. Seven of us remained, taking refuge in the tool room on the south side. If there is a Providence it was on our side, for hardly had we taken our position than the tornado began to tear small rocks from the top of the walls and flew in every direction. We became frightened. Some proposed to run away, others opposed it on the ground that it was dangerous, as those loose rocks could fall on our heads and kill us. Before we had decided whether we should stay or run, one of us that was watching exclaimed: "Friends, we are lost, the north wall is caving in!" And so it was. A wall sixty feet high was coming on us, having only forty feet to expand. We fled to the southwest corner, deafened with terror.

On Tuesday the Icarian general assembly met and unanimously resolved that in order to avoid any serious accident, the southern and eastern walls should be pulled down. Only the west wall would remain standing.

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

The first group of California-bound emigrants arrived in the valley on Monday. They reported that they had left behind thirty wagons on the road loaded with grain for their animals.

Upper Platte Ferry, Wyoming

Issac C. Haight, and a company of elders heading for a mission in England arrived at the Upper Platte ferry. They helped the brethren located there finish and launch two ferry boats. The company then continued on toward Fort Laramie can found "the roads completely alive with California immigrant companies and their stock. At some encampments there were left pieces of harness, shett iron stoves, casks, carpenters tools, chains, etc."

Kanesville, Iowa:

Those planning to be part of the 1850 pioneer companies were very busy preparing for the journey. Brethren were purchasing oxen, paying $45-$80 per yoke.

Liverpool, England:

Elder John Taylor and Curtis E. Bolton arrived in Liverpool on Monday. They were on their way to serve a mission to France.

Washington, D.C.:

A Mr. Dillon from France visited with Brother John M. Bernhisel, who was in Washington D.C. Mr. Dillon was the French consul general assigned to reside at San Francisco. He wanted to obtain more information about the Saints because there had been much interest in France about the Saints' valley community. Brother Bernhisel gave him several Church publications and Mr. Billon in return supplied a letter of introduction to be used by Elder John Taylor to contact a newspaper in Paris.

Huuau, Tahiti:

On Sunday, Elder Addison Pratt preached a sermon to a large congregation. He struggled somewhat speaking the Tahitian language since he had been away for three years. After the meeting, he baptized two youth, members of a family head had converted during his last mission to the islands. Elder Pratt wrote about the beautiful island, "This month on Tahiti is the same season of the year that November is in the United States, and is the best month in the year for fruit. And within a stone's throuw of the house are trees loaded with bread fruit, oranges, viiaples, cocoanuts, goovers, papaw, pineapples, bannans, limes, and citron lemons. Our house is loaded with fruit in the most lavish abundance, all the time."


 David R. Crockett, "The Nauvoo Temple: 'A Monument of the Saints'", Nauvoo Journal, Fall 1999. "Communism: History of the Experiment at Nauvoo of the Icarian Settlement" The Nauvoo Rustler (Nauvoo, n.d.) 8-9. Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 295-297, 308, 320 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:556 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 441