Sunday, December 2, 1849 - Saturday, December 8, 1849
It was a cold snowy week in the valley. Patty Session had a difficult week with the cold and also because of a disagreement with her husband. She wrote: "I slept but little last night. I got up and read to pass away time. Snows all day. I have ot take care of the cow and fire. My feet is wet all day."
On Saturday a Legislature meeting was held with those who had been appointed to serve in officers of the provisional state government. The Senate consisted of fifteen members and the House of Representatives had thirty members. The Saints in the valley were still hopeful that the Congress would approve their petition to approve a territorial or state government.
Early in the week, the Jefferson Hunt company came in sight of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Addison Pratt wrote about an experience he and his missionary companions had while traveling up a six-mile ridge. "One of my oxen began to fail and laid down in the yoke two or three times when we unyoked them and he soon laid down again and refused to get up. When I gave orders to have him shot, at that, [Elder Blackwell] who was driving team, threw down the whip, and exclaimed, "I am discouraged!! We shall never get to the top of the hill in this world." I laughed at him and told him I thought him a bold fellow to be sent on a mission to a foreign land, to get discouraged at the death of an ox, that I did not intend to get discouraged if I saw them all dead, but pick up what I could carry and go ahead. Brother Pomeroy joined with me and laughed at him too, when he picked up the whip and drove on."
On Thursday the company reached the Mojave River. There they met a starving emigrant company with a dozen wagons. They had been living off their dead cattle. The Hunt company shared some of their flour and food with this poor company.
Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:359 Smart, Mormon Midwife, 140 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 400-02
On Sunday the first Sunday School of the Church was organized by Richard Ballantyne in his adobe house located on the northeast corner of First West and Third South. About twenty children ages eight through thirteen assembled in his home located in the Fourteenth Ward. Brother Ballantyne led the boys and girls in singing and then dedicated the room in prayer to be used for the Sunday School. During this first class, Brother Ballantyne related the story of the birth of Jesus.
On Sunday a portion of the Jefferson Hunt company started their journey up to Cajon Pass. George Q. Cannon later wrote, "As we were trudging wearily along, ascending the Cajon Pass of the Sierra Nevada, we met Brother Henry Gibson, who had gone ahead with the other part of the company, coming back to hunt a mule which had strayed off. He told us the welcome news that we would find a wagon loaded with provisions at the camping place in the kanyon on the other side of the Pass. The wagon had been loaded and sent out by Mr. Williams, for the purpose of selling food to the people who were coming in. This intelligence imparted new strength to us, and made us almost forget our fatigue."
Henry Bigler added, "We gained the summit after traveling about 15 miles. Before arriving at the top of the mountain we stopted a few minutes to rest whare the sun shone warm and the snow was going off."
On Monday the company marched down the canyon, crossing the stream many times. They reached Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday.
Jefferson Hunt, with Addison Pratt were still back on the Mojave River. By Saturday they left the river and started heading toward the mountains. Elder Pratt wrote, "As we drew near the pass, could see a notch in the Sierra Nevada range, that there was nothing beyond it higher than the ground we stood on, and the clouds beyond it looked as if we were coming to a jumping off place."
John Taylor, Lorenzo Snow, and other missionaries arrived in Kanesville after a long journey from the valley. Lorenzo Snow wrote, "On arriving at Kanesville, we were saluted with shoutings, firing of cannon, songs of rejoicing, and other demonstrations of welcome. During the few days of our stay, we experienced universal kindness from the Saints."
Elder Francis M. Lyman, General Conference, October 1899 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 16, p.60 Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, 112 The Journals of George Q. Cannon, Volume 1, 72-5 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 406
Many workers continued to labor diligently on the Council House located south of Temple Square. Their efforts were aided on this week by warm weather which thawed the recent snow.
Zina Young, wife of Brigham Young, had an exciting day on Monday: "Long to be remembered day. I commenced to cook by my self on a little box stove. Washed and retired to rest a weary traveler." On Tuesday and Wednesday she sewed for a man in exchange for a pair of pants for her boys. On Thursday she made some bed curtains, and on Friday her roof was repaired.
On Sunday Jefferson Hunt and his group reached to top of Cajon Pass. It had started snowing before daylight and during the morning was still falling fast. Addison Pratt wrote, "After passing over some rough ground, we came to a divide, which is a sharp ridge between two ravines that led into the pass, and the road led down this. It is a crooked and steep place to descend and with much difficulty we descended to the bottom of it without upsetting our waggons. The snow was still falling fast and we were much troubled to keep the road."
On Friday they finally reached Rancho Cucamonga. "Immense herds of cattle and horses were to be seen in every direction feeding upon the young grass that was starting up in consequence of the recent rains. The buildings of this ranch, or cattle farm, are on a hill that overlooks the valley and affords a beautiful prospect."
The group was anxious to catch up with Charles C. Rich's company who were waiting for them at William's Ranch located near present-day Chino. So on Saturday they started off again and journey ten miles across the valley. They found Elder Rich, George Q. Cannon, and others, who were glad to see them. Henry Bigler recorded, "We found Bro. Rich & the brethren all quartered with a room all ready provided for us to go in to and plenty of provisions we will now begin to live."
Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:115-16 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:359 The Journals of George Q. Cannon, Volume 1, 75 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 406-08
On Christmas Eve the city became a noisy place as a holiday celebration commenced. A cannon was fired. Guns and pistols were fired in every direction. This happy celebration continued through most of the evening.
On Christmas Day one hundred fifty people who had received invitations, assembled at the home of President Brigham Young for a Christmas feast. "The tables were twice filled by the company and all were feasted with the good things of the valley. When the tables were removed, dancing commenced, which was continued with energy, without interruption, except for supper, until a late hour."
The Christmas holiday was a lonely time for some. Patty Session had been having a severe problem was numbness in her side and hand. She was alone in her home on Christmas Day. She wrote, "I feel very lonesome. My health is poor, the numbness is not much better. I make sweet cake, have mince pie. I am so lonesome. I can eat but little."
The Council House was ready for its roof. On Wednesday afternoon the first beam was lifted into place.
Elder Wilford Woodruff spent Christmas day traveling to visit Saints in Connecticut. He wrote: "I rode with Brother Doolittle in an open waggon to Naugatuck through the snow which was blowing in our faces. It was much the coldest day we have had this year. We suffered much. Came near freezing. We spent the night with Brother Woster." On the following day he preached to a some group of Saints including a few who had come from England.
Jefferson Hunt's group, including Charles C. Rich, George Q. Cannon, Henry Bigler, Addison Pratt, and other missionaries, rested from their long journey at Williams Ranch. The weather was rainy and they believed that it would be best to rest a little while before continuing they journey.
They wanted to have a Christmas feast, so a company was sent out to hunt for some wild game. Addison Pratt wrote, "I was one of the party and got one brant, two ducks and a curlew. The rest got none, but as beef is plenty and cheap, we made that answer for what was lacking. We had plum duff, made by Brother Pomeroy, and the dinner went off well."
Henry Bigler had been having problems with one of his eyes. On Christmas he wrote, "This evening after prayers I got Bros. Rich and Pratt to lay hands on me. When they layed hands on me, their hands felt hot to my head, after which I felt easy and rested well all night." On the following day he added, "My eye does not pain me any for which I feel thankful to the Lord."
The ship "Zetland" arrived at New Orleans on Monday with 250 Saints on board. They were led by Elder Samuel H. Hawkins. Elder Thomas McKenzie greeted them and he made arrangements for their continued journey to Kanesville. Some of the Saints tried to get employment in New Orleans in order to earn money for the rest of the journey. However at that time there was high unemployment in the city with many men walking the streets trying to find work.
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 271 Smart, Mormon Midwife, 141 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:504 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 409, 557 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 280
New Year's day parties were held throughout the city on Tuesday, as the Saints entered into the 1850's. Brigham Young held a party for members of the Twelve and their first wives. Some elderly members were also invited.
On Wednesday Zina Jacobs Young celebrated her son Zebulon's eighth birthday by making a cake and giving him a pair of shoes. She hoped that his feet would be shod with righteousness and that he would "shun all evil until he and his ancestors and posterity arrive in the Celestial Kingdom of our God." She prayed, "O Father will thou direct and keep him in the way that he should go both now and forever and give me wisdom I humbly pray." [Zebulon Jacobs would later serve a mission to Great Britain and lived to be eighty years old. He died in 1922.]
On Saturday the Legislature met together and drafted laws for the territory. The area was divided up into electoral districts.
Elder Wilford Woodruff concluded his 1849 journal by documenting some of the signs of the times witnessed by many during the year. He wrote, "What 1850 will bring to pass time must determine but it is certain it will be full of the events of the times. The history of each year is important now. Plagues, war, fire & pestilence & famine will lay many low in death. Who will live? I am expecting to start in April to lead a company to the [Council] Bluffs & on to the valley. The dangers are many I shall have to go through but I pray my Heavenly Father to protect & sustain me & those who should go with me that we may reach [it] in safety."
Elder Woodruff also left a prayer in his journal, "I also pray to the Lord to preserve & bless the Twelve and all the Elders of Israel who go on foreign missions. And bless the Presidency with the power of God, & cause Zion to arise and put on her beautiful garments. . . . O Lord Hasten the gathering of Israel who are cast out and the dispersed of Judea. May the Lamanites soon blossom like the rose. May the Zion of God who has risen and gone up into the mountains be clothed upon with righteousness and the power of God. May the Church become prepared like a bride prepared for the Coming of the Bridegroom. And may the people no only have cause to rejoice in the Holy One of Israel during the AD 1850, but through all time and all eternity."
The year-end membership statistics of the Church in the British Isles reported 479 branches with 26,012 members.
Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:359 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:116 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:521-22 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 272