Sunday November 7 ‑ Saturday, November 13, 1847

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

On Sunday, the Saints in the fort woke up to three inches of snow on the ground.  On that day, five wards were organized in the fort.  The bishops were:  Joseph B. Nobles, Tarlton Lewis, John S. Higbee, Jacob Foutz, and Edward Hunter.  On Tuesday, the High Council discussed raising funds to purchase the property of Miles Goodyear, located to the north on Weber River.  On Saturday, Jefferson Hunt asked permission from the Council to return to California with a small company.  His request was granted.  Patty Sessions wrote:  “The ground is getting bare, it has been covered with snow nearly for ten days.  Warm and pleasant yesterday and today.”

Robert Bliss, a battalion soldier who had recently arrived in the valley wrote: 


From the 27th of Oct to the present time employed my time in assisting Mr.  Turner in building a house; we go 12 miles to a canyon of the mountains for timber & obtain beautiful fir which makes find cabins to live in.  There has arrived 556 wagons this season besides the soldiers of the battalion & we have nearly enclosed by blocks of buildings about 40 acres or 4 ten‑acre lots built around each 10 acres.  There are from 2 to 5 miles north of us many warm & hot springs & several small lakes full of ducks & geese.  . . . The Great Salt Lake is 20 miles from us laying west & north from the town; Salt is so plenty we can go to the lake & shovel it up & soon load waggons & the water of the lake is so salt that 4 barrels of water will make by boiling one barrel of find table salt as good as can be made.


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

On Sunday, a meeting was held in the Winter Quarters Council House.  Brigham Young recorded that Orson Pratt “gave an account of the pioneer journey and described some of the lakes and valleys of the mountains.”  Other meetings were held in the various wards.  The Saints eagerly listened to the pioneers relate accounts of their journey to the mountains and back.  Mary Richards wrote:  “Bro [Stephen] Goddard who was one of the pioneers came and spent the AM with us.  He told us many things concerning the valley and their journey which were very interesting and sung us some of the journeying songs.”

The first snow fell on Monday morning.  Orson Hyde gave a report of his mission to England, to the Twelve.  The Council voted to vacate Winter Quarters in the spring and go westward.  Bishop George Miller and James Emmett were disfellowshipped from the Church.

During the week, a group of Omaha Indians passed through town on their way north.  William Kimball recovered a horse from them which had been stolen.  Some of the Indians lingered around town begging and stealing.

On Wednesday, the Twelve heard a report about the Oneida Indians, who were friendly to the Saints.  They desired mechanics, farmers, teachers, and missionaries.  Alpheus Cutler was appointed to see what help could be provided.  The Council discussed distributing the Nauvoo library, which had been brought to Winter Quarters.

On Saturday, W.W.  Phelps reported that he had obtained a printing press and paper to be taken to the valley.  The Twelve discussed sending the members of their quorum again out into “the vineyard.”



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.95‑6; Smart, Mormon Midwife,  102; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 211; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:290; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 286‑87; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 76‑77; Ward, Winter Quarters, 179‑80; The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:127


                                                                     Sun. November 14 ‑ Saturday, November 20, 1847

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

Among the duties of the High Council at that time was to judge divorce cases.  Battalion member James R. Hirons and his wife, Mary Ann Jameson Hirons had separated.  They had spent the previous winter at Pueblo with the sick detachment.  Sister Hirons' father, Charles Jameson presented a petition to the High Council to decide on the disposition of the property.  After hearing testimony, Charles C. Rich said:  “My decision is:  give the woman half the blankets and the cow and let Hirons see that she is supplied with breadstuffs until after harvest.”  City marshal, John Van Cott, was ordered to see that the decision was carried out because James R. Hirons was about to leave for California.

On Monday, the High Council discussed sending an expedition to California.  Asahel A. Lathrop, Orrin Porter Rockwell, and Elijah K. Fuller were appointed to go to California, to purchase goods for the Saints.  They were each given a blessing for their mission.  This group would travel with battalion soldiers, including Jefferson Hunt.  The expedition consisted of eighteen men.  The brethren took instructions to the battalion members still in California:  “We counsel all of you not to re‑enlist as soldiers . . . But as fast as you are liberated from your previous engagements, and as you circumstances will permit repair to this place, bring with you all you can of things that will be of value.”  Part of the company left on Wednesday, the rest of them left on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Jesse W. Crosby wrote:  “Snow fell four or five inches deep, frost pretty severe.  Thus far in November, since our arrival all have been busily engaged in hauling wood, timber, building houses, sewing wheat.”

On Saturday, Captain James Brown of the Battalion, returned from his brief trip to California.[1]  Captain Brown reported that he had government authority to act as deputy quartermaster or agent to dispose of the government property in the valley.  He had brought back with him pay for the battalion soldiers and requested that he receive 10% of all the pay as a fee for his labor in getting the money.  The Council agreed to this plan.  They also authorized Henry G. Sherwood and Captain Brown to purchase Miles Goodyear's property on the Weber River.[2]


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

An outdoor meeting was held at the Winter Quarters stand.  The Twelve gave an account of their journey to and from the Great Basin.  Brigham Young suggested to that those who could not move west during the spring should vacate Winter Quarters and move to the east side of the river, into Iowa.  The government continued to pressure the leaders to get off the lands of the Omaha Indians.  The proposal was sustained.

Brigham Young spoke out against the way dances were being conducted in Winter Quarters.  He said that the Bishops would control the dancing.  They needed to be present at all such parties held in the various wards.

On Monday, Orson Pratt introduced a subject to be discussed.  What were the rights and standing of President Brigham Young and what were the rights of the Quorum of the Twelve?  Other members of the Twelve shared their views.  On Tuesday, the Twelve voted that President Young should have the right to reprove, rebuke, exhort, and to teach as led by the Holy Ghost.

Mary Richards wrote:  “Weather rather cool.  Was pressing the juice out of pumpkins, and boiling it down to make pumpkin butter of or with it.  I found it most too hard work for me.  Evening felt very tired.”  She forgot her weariness when she received a letter from her missionary husband, Samuel W. Richards.  She wrote that the letter “made my heart swell with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all his goodness both to my husband and me.  Oh that his mercies may continue toward us, so that we may be preserved to meet again, and enjoy the pleasure of knowing that we have his approbation in all we do and say.”

On Friday, the Twelve met in the council house and selected twenty‑seven brethren to be called on missions to preach the gospel.  Those selected included Luman H. Calkins, Jonathan C. Wright, Elisha H. Groves, and James W. Cummings.

On Saturday the police learned that an unlawful dance was being held because there was no bishop present.  An officer was sent to disperse break up the party.  The people went home.  Many of them had not heard of the new law.



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.96‑7; Dewey, Porter Rockwell, 144‑45; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 77; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:290‑91; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 286‑87; Ward, Winter Quarters, 180‑81; History and Journal of Jesse W. Crosby, typescript, BYU, 46


                                                                     Sun. November 21 ‑ Saturday, November 27, 1847

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

Eliza R. Snow wrote on Thursday, “For some days past, the brethren have been ploughing & dragging with the ground cover'd with snow.  This day they commence baptizing.”  On Friday, she was rebaptized along with about twenty others, as a sign of rededication in their new valley home.

On Saturday, Abner Blackburn and Lysander Woodworth charged Captain James Brown for not supplying them with beef according to a contract agreed to for services during their recent trip to and from California.  After considering the case, the High Council rules that Captain Brown should furnish them four hundred pounds of beef each and if that was not enough, he should give them enough to last until spring.

Robert Bliss, a discharged member of the battalion wrote, summarizing the previous two weeks:  “The weather has been generally fine with the exception of a few warm snow storms.  The snow fell from 6 inches to 12 inches in depth.  The snow is now nearly gone & it is warm like summer.  We have moved into our cabbin in the fort & I am as comfortably situated as I could expect, but still am lonesome on account of being absent from my family.  I pray God to bless them in my absence until I can go to them in the spring.”


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

On Sunday, the Twelve held an outdoor meeting at the Winter Quarters' stand.  Brigham Young was feeling ill.  Orson Pratt gave a powerful talk on the resurrection.  Wilford Woordruff commented:  “He showed that however miraculous it might appear unto us, it was just as easy for God to perform this work as it was to run water into wine or make bread without flour to feed a multitude.”  Elder Woodruff testified to the congregation that the words spoken by Elder Pratt were true.

A case was presented before the Twelve involving Hosea Stout (leader of the police) and Brother Murdock.  Two weeks earlier, a confrontation occurred as the police were driving stray cattle into the stray pen.  Charles W. Patten, Brother Murdock and others confronted Hosea Stout's group.  Brother Stout recorded that “the result was quite a knock down.”  Brother Murdock was charging Brother Stout with assault.  At the trial, John L. Butler testified that “he could hear the licks distinctly which sounded like beating an old dry buffalo skin.”  Brother Stout believed this to be a lie, that he only struck Brother Murdock once across the arm.  After the trial, the house was cleared.  President Young met with the police and gave them words of encouragement for trying to maintain the law in the city.

On Monday, the Twelve met together and wrote a letter to Oliver Cowdery (one of the three witnesses).  They exhorted him to be rebaptized.

On Tuesday, the Twelve and the Presidents of the Seventy spent much time selecting brethren to be called on missions.  They chose 30 High Priests and 80 from the Seventies.

On Thursday, The Twelve met with the captains of the emigrating companies to give them further instructions for their organizations.  They also wrote a letter to Nathaniel H. Felt, president of the St.  Louis Branch.  He was encouraged to send the Saints to Winter Quarters who were ready to emigrate.

On Friday, Brigham Young wrote a letter to Orson Spencer in England.  Elder Spencer was sent to England a year earlier.  President Young wrote about the pioneer journey and their labors in the Salt Lake Valley.  A group of Omaha Indians set up camp in a field to the south, near the city.  Hosea Stout, William Meeks, and T. Rich were sent to order them away by sunset.  The Indians quickly left.

On Saturday, Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith crossed over the Missouri River and rode to Miller's Hollow.  They spent the night at Brother Guyman's home.  A member of the Mormon Battalion, who was part of the Kearney detachment, related his account of the journey.



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.97; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 212; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:291‑92; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 77‑8; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 288‑89; The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:127


                                                                   Sunday November 28 ‑ Saturday, December 4, 1847

Great Salt Lake City, Utah:

On Sunday, President John Smith and his counselors were appointed as a committee to regulate the prices for grinding and other services in the community.  The price of twenty cents per bushel was later established.  Brother Crismon would perform the grinding and keep a detailed account of the transactions.  President Smith and his counselors were also appointed to locate a road east from the fort and one block south, and to build a bridge over the “third creek from City Creek.”  Men would be organized to provide the labor.  A road would also be constructed to the north canyon.  The roads would be four rods wide (64 feet).  On Wednesday, William William Leffingwell was granted permission to build a turning lathe on City Creek.

Robert S. Bliss summarized the previous two weeks in his journal.  “We have had find weather, a light frost nights, but warm days insomuch that grass is now growing so that cattle &c are doing well.  The ground has not been froze except in places where the sun cannot come.  If this weather continues a short time there will be probably 1000 acres of wheat sown & some corn ground.  Plowed besides onions, lettuce &c put in Gardens.  The prospect looks fine for this people here.”


Winter Quarters, Nebraska:

William Clayton wrote:  “During the last 4 weeks, I have spent part of the time writing and part attending on my family.  Gloomy prospects seem to thicken around my family and it requires a constant effort to keep pace with crowding scenes of suffering and sorrow.  . . . We have had two rain storms which beat into the houses and wet every thing.”  His brother James Clayton became very ill and died on Monday.

On Sunday, across the river at Miller's Settlement (later called Kanesville) a Sabbath meeting attended by a large congregation was held at the meeting house.[3]  Speakers included Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith.  At Winter Quarters, the other members of the Twelve met with the High Council in the morning.  Theodore Turley and Joseph Fielding were sustained as members of the High Council.  In the evening Brigham Young spoke to the Seventies and High Priests about plans to move across the river, back into Iowa, and then prepare for the journey to the mountains.

On Monday at Winter Quarters, a meeting was held for those who had been recently called to go out on preaching missions.  Brigham Young instructed them.

On Tuesday, the Twelve met in council.  Wilford Woodruff recorded this historic entry in his journal:  “The subject of appointing three of the Twelve as the Presidency of the Church.  Brother Young said by pursuing this course it would liberate the quorum of the Twelve that they might go to the Nations of the earth to preach the gospel.  Many remarks were made upon the subject.”

On Wednesday, Brigham Young and the other members of the Twelve crossed the Missouri River, into Iowa and preached to the Saints at Council Point.

On Friday, the Twelve held a conference with the Saints in Miller's Settlement.  Sessions were held in the morning and in the afternoon.  The Saints received instructions from five members of the Twelve.  Brigham Young recorded:  “I introduced the subject of organizing a carrying company hence to the Salt Lake country, for the purpose of taking as many thither as possible.”  He called on the bishops to help assist about three hundred poor families on the west side of the river.

The conference continued on Saturday.  The block meeting house was so crowded, that after President Young made his remarks, the conference was adjourned for three weeks.  The conference sustained a proposal to build large log meetinghouse (Kanesville Tabernacle) for the people to meet in.  Henry Miller was appointed to supervise a building committee.  About two hundred volunteers were quickly raise to go to work immediately on the building.  The building size was planned to be 65 by 40 feet.  Brigham Young told the conference that they should not be surprised if a city should be built at this location.  The Twelve selected a site for the tabernacle and then traveled to Ezra Chase's settlement for the evening.



Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.97‑98; The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:127; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:292‑94; Holmes, “The First Mormon Tabernacle is Rebuilt in Kanesville, Iowa” in The Nauvoo Journal, Volume 8, Fall 1996; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 78‑9; An Intimate Chronicle, 394



[1]He had left the valley with Samuel Brannan on August 8.

[2]This was in present‑day Ogden, Utah.

[3]This blockhouse was built in 1837 by U.S.  Dragoons.