New Year’s Day 1847 was ushered into Winter Quarters by the firing of the cannon three times on the hill above the city. The Saints celebrated this holiday with respectable order. No other guns were fired in the city. It was a very cold day and about an inch of new snow fell.
Wilford Woodruff spent much of the day arranging his huge journal from 1834 to 1846. He went through it and totaled up some interesting figures. During this period he had traveled 61,692 miles, including four trips across the ocean, baptized 634 people, administered to 364 sick people, blessed 194 children, had ten mobs raise up against him, wrote 1,040 letters, and received 699 letters.
In the afternoon, William and Diantha Clayton went to her parents home (William and Olive Farr) and had a nice roast turkey dinner. At 4 p.m., Brother Clayton met the band at the basket shop and played for an hour and a half. The basket-makers gave each band member a basket for a present. In the evening, the band played for a party at Heber C. Kimball’s home. Brigham Young attended and there was much dancing.
Elisa Mitchell, age forty, died. She was the wife of William C. Mitchell. A son, Horace Martin Alexander, was born to Horace M. and Nancy Walker Alexander.1
John D. Lee made the wise decision to not go out into the bitter cold. Instead he was invited by his host, Mr. Abbott to stay the day in his warm house. Later in the afternoon, Brother Lee went into Savannah, Missouri to do some trading.
The anti‑Mormons gave a “grand military and civic ball” at the Mansion House. Thomas S. Brockman, who led the mob in the Battle of Nauvoo, hosted the celebration.
The day was unusually warm. The battalion could not find water for the mules until 1 p.m. They met two families traveling east, including the family of William Money. Mrs. Money was caring for her five‑day‑old child. Mr. Money reported that the water holes made by General Kearny ahead were dry and full of sand. They also brought news of war between the Mexicans and General Kearny’s forces. It was rumored that there were casualties on both sides. Mr. Money also mentioned that a ship from New York (the Brooklyn) had landed at San Francisco Bay with a large company of Mormons. He reported that they were “well situated.”
The battalion marched for ten miles. They camped near the river about four and a half miles north of present‑day Dateland, Arizona. Colonel Cooke decided to convert some poor wagons into a boat, by lashing two wagon boxes together. He wrote: “In this I shall put all the baggage that I can risk, and after a trial, probably much more. The Gila is a rapid stream of clear water, in places three or four feet deep, and here about one hundred and fifty yards wide.” Henry Standage commented on this scheme: “This plan will certainly lighten the loads for the mules and enable them to travel faster, but I am of the opinion it is very risky.” The boat was pitched and tested, but it leaked. It was hoped that it would not leak as bad in the morning.
Little seventeen‑month‑old Parley Hunt, a son of Captain Jefferson Hunt died. His twin sister, Mary lived on. Their mother, Celia Hunt had been sent to Pueblo with the first sick detachment. Jefferson Hunt was still with the battalion in Arizona.
On the road from Pueblo, Colorado to Winter Quarters:
Battalion members, John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey camped for the night on the south fork of the Platte River, near an Indian trading fort.
About 130 former Church members, currently following after James J. Strang, held a New Year’s feast at which they dedicated a small log dwelling for Strang.
Samuel Brannan, leader of the Saints who arrived in California on the Brooklyn, wrote a letter to the brethren in England. He reported: “Since our arrival the colony generally has enjoyed good health. In relation to the country and climate we have not been disappointed in our expectations, but, like all other new countries, we found the accounts of it much exaggerated; so much so that we would recommend to all emigrants hereafter to provide themselves with thick clothing, instead of thin.” He mentioned that they were anxiously waiting the arrival of the main body of Saints, believing that California would be chosen for the gathering place. These California Saints were busy putting in crops for the expected emigrants to use. He believed that Brigham Young was probably wintering in present‑day Wyoming, at the headwaters of the Platte. He planned to send a company in the spring to meet the main body of the Church.
He wrote of the infamous Governor Lilburn Boggs, former governor of Missouri, who had recently arrived at California. “Governor Boggs is in this country, but without influence, even among his own people that he emigrated with. During an interview I had with him a few days since, he expressed much dissatisfaction with the country and spoke strongly of returning back in the spring. He says nothing about the Mormons, whether through fear or policy I am unable to say.”
Brother Brannan reported that prices were very high, but there was plenty of employment, especially for mechanics. He planned to start a newspaper the following week which had the sanction of Colonel John C. Fremont who was the new governor of California.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 491; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:111‑112; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 223; William Clayton’s Journal, p.68; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:32‑3; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 185‑87; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 200; Ricketts, Melissa’s Journey with the Mormon Battalion, 59; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 443‑44; Van Noord, King of Beaver Island, 64; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 302‑04, 324
While William Clayton was working on the books in the Winter Quarters store, his nine‑year‑old daughter came and told him that her mother (Ruth Clayton) needed him to come home. Little Moroni had fallen into the fire and was burned badly on the left side of his head and face. There were large blisters around his eye. Brother Clayton immediately applied oil to the wounds.
Hosea Stout wrote in his journal a long summary of the current conditions in Winter Quarters. Most of the brethren had moved their families into houses. The city was divided into twenty‑two wards. He felt that the bishops were doing their duty better than he even knew bishops to do before. The poor were being cared for. The Seventies Quorum had a willow basket factory in full operation, employing between twenty and thirty people. The herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were wintering well. The weather had been very mild with very little snow. “The place has the appearance of a log town, some dirt roofs, & a number of caves or ‘dug outs’ made in the banks sometimes called ‘Dens’ & such like names. The town would be hard to set on fire & burnt down for there are so many ‘dirt toped & dirt houses.’”
Lorenzo Dow Young crossed the river and started to travel to Oregon, Missouri for another trading excursion.
Amanda Rogers wrote a letter to her son, Samuel Hollister Rogers, serving in the Mormon Battalion:
My dear Son: As I have just learned that I have an opportunity of sending a letter over the river to the office I gladly improve it to let you know our circumstances. But I have hard news for you your father is dead, he died the 1st day of October. I hardly know how to name the disease. He and Mark went about ½ miles to draw a load of hay, was taken sick and never was able to get back. He died the 9th day. He never complained of a headache or any such thing, he said he thot he should get well. He had his senses perfectly well all the time. He went to sleep a little in the afternoon every day for the five last days. I could not wake him up until some time in the night. The last day went to sleep as usual died about 8 o'clock in the evening. We feel very lonesome. I assure you we desire your company very much, but as it is ordained otherwise we are willing to put up with it as it is the way we have to get along.
As to provisions since we have been left alone, it is much better than I expected. We have not wanted for bread. I do not feel that we shall. Mark takes hold like a man since his father died. He has built a house with our help, quilting and sewing. He has now gone to Missouri to work and buy some corn and such like things. Russel and Theodore have gone with him . . .
Give yourself no uneasyness about our getting along, for I think the way will open for us. We are on the side of the river. The reason we are here is because there were twelve men chosen for High counselors and your father was one of them and this seems to be his place, and we thot it would be better for us to stay here this winter. . . .
I have not time to write much. The church is building a mill and thinking of building a carding machine in the spring. The Indians and half breeds on this side of the river are very friendly. The Indians on the other side appear to be so but will steal everything they can lay their hands on. . . .
Do not forget your duty toward God. I exhort you to be faithful till we again do meet. I do remember you before the throne of Grace every day, for if anybody was near my heart it is you, although you are ever so far distant from me. So be of good cheer, let this comfort your heart.
John D. Lee left Savannah, Missouri to start his journey back home. Mr. Abbott had been very kind. He had boarded them free of charge. The Lee company traveled seven or eight miles and then camped in some timber.
Colonel Cooke had 2,500 pounds of provisions, baggage, and other items placed into the makeshift boat. The plan was for the boat to float all the way to the Colorado River crossing. The battalion marched on for eleven miles to a stony mound that was later called Texas Hill. By nightfall, the boat had not yet arrived and the men began to worry. They later learned that it was stuck on a sandbar and had to have the provisions unloaded.
The rescue party arrived at Turley’s camp to take the sick, who had been left at Turley’s Ranch, to Pueblo.
On the road from Pueblo, Colorado to Winter Quarters:
Battalion members, John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey continued their journey down the south fork of the Platte River in present-day northeastern Colorado. Brother Tippets wrote:
We encountered a cold wind which blew fiercely in our faces. We had to seek shelter under the bend of the river, where we spent the rest of the day and night with a very scanty fire as there was no wood on these plains. The extremities of the tails of our mules were frozen. The ice on the river froze ten inches thick in twenty minutes. We traveled now nearly two hundred miles on the open plains, as absolute strangers to the country. We knew not what to do nor what course to take, only to continue traveling down the Platte River.
“Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:153; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 48; William Clayton’s Journal, p.68; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 444‑45; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 324; Our Pioneer Heritage, 3:167-68
Members of the Twelve preached at various wards in Winter Quarters. Elder Wilford Woodruff preached to a ward that met at John Van Cott’s house. Elder Woodruff administered to two who were sick. Mary Richards attend her ward’s meeting at the home of John Scott. Heber C. Kimball spoke on the duties of families. He exhorted husbands to watch over their wives and children, and to instruct them in the gospel, “not with severity, but with meekness & forbearance.” Wives were to be subject to their husbands and should watch over their children and set good examples for them.
William Clayton worked in the store all day. In the evening Heber C. Kimball, his wife Ellen, Sister Whitney and others came in to trade. They remained until 10 p.m.
The Seventies met in the unfinished Council House. The High Council met in Willard Richards’ octagon house, along with several members of the Twelve. They discussed completing the work on the Council House. The High Council and bishops were asked to assemble on the next day with their tools to finish the work on the building.
A choir practice was held in the evening, conducted by Stephen H. Goddard.
The battalion marched for eleven miles and camped near the Gila River. Along the way, they saw petrified bones of an animal larger than an elephant which they supposed was an ancient mammoth. Col Cooke wrote: “If this river was frequented by mammoths, their extinction seems to have been followed by that of every other living thing. One may travel a day without seeing an animal, a reptile, creeping thing, and insect.” There was not grass at their camp, so they cut down some cottonwood trees for the mules to eat the bark.
Colonel Cook was angry to find out that Company D was consuming more than their allotted rations. At this rate, he felt the men would starve before reaching California. The boat had not arrived, so men were sent up the river to discover the reason for the delay. The boat had run aground and it was doubtful that it would be coming any further.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 491‑92; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:115; William Clayton’s Journal, p.69; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 104; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 445‑46; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:52
The day was “cold and blustering.” Snow fell overnight, covering the ground. Eliza R. Snow commented, “The weather today will pass for winter.”
Brigham Young and Willard Richards wrote a letter to Charles C. Rich at Mount Pisgah. They informed Elder Rich of the current plans for the westward movement in the spring and asked him to come to Winter Quarters to prepare to be part of this advance company.
Our Council met at Christmas and decided to send on a Pioneer company as early as possible, with plows, seeds, grain, etc., and make preparations for eatables at the foot of the mountains on this side and when the grass starts we will follow as many as can go. Your name is among the number and we want you to go with us. Gird up your loins, Brother Rich, put on your armor, cheer up your heart, and being filled with Almighty faith, prepare for the battle as fast as possible. If you are sick, be made well. If you are weak, be made strong. Shake yourself like a mighty man; make the forest echo to the sound of your voice and the prairies move at your presence. Teach the Saints wisdom and knowledge, that they may come to understanding, and exercise themselves in faith, patience, meekness, brotherly love, kindness hope, charity and endurance unto the end and they shall be saved, and whether they remove from hence, this season or next, it mattereth not, for if they abide counsel it shall be well with them.
He was also asked to bring the late William Huntington’s family with him to Winter Quarters. Brigham Young also added: “We have had quite a reformation at this place of late, which has caused good feelings to prevail in the breasts of the Saints. The health of the Saints is much improved lately. The Bishops are diligent in watching over the several wards; preaching and prayer meetings are multiplied. . . . The weather has been very mild this season, and very little crossing (the Mo. river) on the ice.”
Sister Harriet Young stayed very busy while her husband, Lorenzo, was away trading in Missouri. She wrote: “Susan washed clothes. I washed yarn. I sold 2 lb. of butter to Bro. John [Green] also 2 lb. to Sister Powers. Sent some onions and a piece of pork to Bro. Dunkin.”
Hosea Stout went to Elder Richards’ house and was pleased when President Young invited him to be in the pioneer company that would leave in the spring. A council meeting was held in the evening.
John D. Lee dressed and weighed pork that he purchased near Savannah and then continued his journey back toward Winter Quarters. His company traveled eighteen miles and stayed the night at a Mr. A. McCoy’s house. They ate dinner with the family and then bedded down in their wagon.
Newel Knight was very sick. He could not arise in the morning. He said to his wife, “Lydia, I believe I shall go to rest this winter.”
A daughter, Margaret Mace, was born to Wandle and Margaret Merkle Mace.
The battalion marched over a bluff and camped at the foot of a “volcanic peak of rocks some five hundred feet high.” [Present‑day Antelope Hill.] Several men enjoyed climbing this hill and rolled down a huge rock which crashed to the bottom with a tremendous noise.
There was no grass in that area for the mules, so they were sent off to the river bottoms to graze, guarded by forty‑two men. Colonel Cooke also sent six men back to retrieve the supplies which were on the failed boating experiment.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 492; Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 1:307; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:115; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 49; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 223; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:154; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 151; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 446‑47; Newel Knight Autobiography in Classic Experiences, 104
Wilford Woodruff spent the day hauling hay. He sent three bushes of meal to Brother Mercer, who was taking care of his herd in the rushes to the north. Hosea Stout went to Orson Pratt’s house to arrange for $87.00 pay for the police guard. He also received some provisions for himself and an order for a few things in the store. He wrote: “These things greatly relieved me for I was in want very much. I spent the remainder of the day, after taking my wife to the store, in notifying the police to go and get their pay.” Mary Richards also visited the Winter Quarters store. She purchased some cloth to make some clothes. Sister Richards then went to the Alfred B. Lambson home to visit with Sister Melissa B. Lambson where she had a wonderful time. William Clayton worked in the store all day, and in the evening met with the band.
A council meeting was held in the evening. The night turned bitter cold with snow and a blustery wind. Hosea Stout recorded that the wind was “blowing from the north howling through the city & spreading a lonely gloom on all nature which I seldom feel. This is the first snow that really deserves the name which has fell this year.”
Margaret Blackhurst, age forty-two, died. A daughter, Permelia Marciana Pendleton, was born to Joseph T. and Mary Pendleton.
A son, Seth James Wixom, was born to Solomon and Harriet Teeples Wixom.2
John D. Lee traveled eighteen more miles toward Winter Quarters, returning from his trading expedition. The roads were very bumpy because of the hard, frozen ground. He camped for the night at a Mr. Mathews’ home. At 7 p.m., it started to snow and became bitter cold.
Newel Knight awoke with a severe pain in his right side and also a high fever. He believed that he did not expect to recover.
The battalion marched twelve miles toward the Gila Mountains. Colonel Cooke wanted to avoid the sand bluffs, so they camped away from the Gila river. Doctor Stephen Foster returned to report that he had to abandon all of the provisions that were loaded on the boat which had become stuck on sand bars. Most of them were more than thirty miles back. Because these provisions were lost, Colonel Cooke had to reduce rations.
Many of the men enjoyed weighing themselves on a scale. Nathaniel V. Jones recorded that he at this time weighed 128 pounds. He had lost 70 pounds since starting the march.
The rescue party continued to travel toward Pueblo with the few sick men from the battalion who had been left behind at Turley’s Ranch near Taos. George D. Wilson was one of these men. He wrote on this day:
On the road to Pueblo, not being able to eat my blood weak and my feet frozen and a pack load to carry, at 4 oclock I sunk down exhausted in the wilderness prairie. The cold winds blowing and no man near but God was my friend and I lived through it. Travelled until late in the evening and found the camp by the sound of the gun. This was the nearest death by cold and sickness and oppressions and the narrowest escape of my life and also like David to cursing my enemies that they might fall into the same pit they had digged for my soul.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:115; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 49 Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 223; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 104‑05; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 447‑48; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:10; William Clayton’s Journal, 69
This day was the coldest day so far of the winter season. The temperature dipped to two degrees below zero. It was so cold that Harriet Young had to take into the house a sheep with a young lamb. Hosea Stout wrote: “We were very uncomfortable all day in despite of our best fires and passed off the day to the best advantage to be comfortable.”
Brigham Young wrote a letter to Thomas Alvord, answering questions regarding sealings.
When a man hears the Gospel and obeys it and lives up to all the law of the Gospel, his wife and children are his, in time and in eternity; but if the husband reject the Gospel and the wife receives it, she can claim all the children that have died in infancy, or without law, or if she can prevail on them to embrace the Gospel, she can hold them or claim them as her children in time and in eternity.
In the evening, Wilford Woodruff ordained Abraham O. Smoot as a bishop. Elder Woodruff had been filling in for Brother Smoot acting as bishop of the ward while Brother Smoot was away.
The Twelve met at Ezra T. Benson’s home and “chatted on the first or most interesting subjects” that came before them. They discussed the missions of Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor in England, and discussed the gathering of the Saints and “the opening up of their way from the four quarters of the Earth to the final place of their destination.”
Cynthia Soule Dykes, wife of George P. Dykes gave birth to a daughter, Rachel Dykes, her twentieth child.
It was thirteen below zero where John D. Lee was staying. He decided to not travel this day. It was considered unsafe to stray more than one mile from a warm fire. He sold some things to help pay for some expenses. The storm started to abate about noon.
The battalion traveled twelve difficult miles along the Gila River and camped at Devil’s Point, near the Gila Mountains. No timber could be seen on the mountain slopes nearby. The battalion rations were becoming dangerously low. Walter Davis shot a huge pelican and made a hat out of the gullet.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 493‑95; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:115; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 49‑50; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:154; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 223; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 239
The temperature fell to eight degrees below zero. Hosea Stout wrote: “Towards day, the howling north wind, which had not yet ceased to blow, began to howl with renewed strength and filled our little shanty full of its cold and piercing breath. The weather had increased in coldness & when morning light came, I found one of those intolerable cold clear days that bids the most industerous to cease his labours & keep within.” Mary Richards had a difficult day in the cold: “Had only wood enough to make one fire. Got breakfast, which took us til noon then being froze out with the cold, I went to sister Jane’s. When I got there my hands & feet ached severely. Felt quite unwell all day from the effects of the cold.”
The Twelve wrote a letter to Orson Hyde, John Taylor, and Parley P. Pratt in England. “We have upwards of seven hundred houses in our miniature city, composed mostly of logs in the body, covered with puncheon, straw and dirt, which are warm and wholesome; a few are composed of turf, willows, straws, etc., which are very comfortable this winter, but will not endure the thaws, rain and sunshine of spring like stone, burnt clay, or even hickory.” The mill was nearly ready for operation and the Council House was almost ready to received dirt on the roof. Willard Richards’ octagon house was described as:
a queer looking thing, six rods east of President Young’s and very much resembling a New England Potato heap in the time of frost. . . . Since our buildings were completed, many of the saints have turned their attention to manufacture of willow baskets, hundreds of dollars worth have already been completed and there is a prospect of quite an income from this source in the spring. Other articles are also commencing, such as washboards, half bushels, etc.
They shared with them the current plans for a pioneer company that were discussed at the long council meeting, at Christmas.
The Pioneer Company of some two or three hundred, more or less, would be fitted out as early as circumstances would possibly permit so as to be at the foot of the Mountains somewhere in the region of Yellowstone River, perhaps at the Fork of Tongue River, say two days ride north of the Oregon Road, and a week’s travel west of Fort Laramie, with plows, corn, beans, etc. prepared to raise a summer crop, for some thousand or two of the Saints who should follow after them as soon as grazing would permit.
William Clayton went to Sister Buel’s house for a supper of turkey. Afterwards he went to Leonard’s and played for them with Jacob Hutchinson and James Smithies.
John D. Lee had a very difficult day traveling back toward Winter Quarters. It started off fine, with a little trading in Lindon, Missouri. But after four more miles, the front right wheel fell off his wagon and the axle‑tree broke. To make matters worse, Charles Decker, also in his company, ran his wagon off a fourteen‑foot high bridge. The wagon box broke and the goods were broken and scattered all around. They worked until midnight loading the provisions back in a wagon.
Colonel Cooke sent men ahead to cut a road through dense undergrowth around Devil’s Point. The battalion marched for seven miles. A broken wagon had to be abandoned. The mules had to swim across the river in order to find some grass. The pontoon boats arrived just in time to ferry the guards across.
Levi Hancock described the land: “It is broaken up and it looks as if it had bin turned topsey turvy.” The companies’ provisions were weighed and it was discovered that only nine days’ rations were on hand and they were still at least twelve days from the first settlement in California.
Sometime in January, James J. Strang visited Fulton, hoping to convince Emma Smith to join with the Strangites. In particular, he was interested in getting fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith III involved with the Church. Strang went with William Marks to a local hotel where young Joseph Smith was attending a party. Marks introduced Strang to Joseph. Strang explained that he was leading a large group of Saints who rejected Brigham Young’s authority and that he would like Joseph to join their cause. Joseph could not be persuaded to have anything to do with the movement, without his mother Emma’s approval. Strang tried to visit Emma Smith, but she made it clear that she had no intention of affiliating with any “so-called Mormon church” and would not allow her children to do so.3
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 495‑500; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 50; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 223; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:115; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 105; William Clayton’s Journal, p.69; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 449‑50; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:53; Launius, Joseph Smith III, Pragmatic Prophet, 53
The day was relatively warmer, but still very cold. The Twelve finished their letter to their quorum members in England. They wrote about the fallen condition of Nauvoo, how Governor Ford had recently quartered troops there and attended parties with the mob. They also spoke of the apostate movements. “Rigdonism is unknown, and the probability is, that Rigdon himself is about ready to deny the faith. Strang is very little better off, indeed not so well, for he has already denied his faith, or changed and altered it so many times that no man can tell what he does believe.”
Brigham Young wrote a letter to Cornelius P. Lott, who was on his way about seventy miles to the north, where Asahel A. Lathrop was wintering President Young's herds at the rushes. Brother Lott was advised to return because of the inclement weather. President Young also wrote to the herdsmen on both sides of the Missouri. He mentioned that two Indian horses had been found by herdsman near the site of the recent Omaha massacre. The brethren were asked to return the animals immediately.
Wilford Woodruff ran a stove pipe through the roof of his house and put some turf on the roof to help the insulation. Brother Fowler returned from a 20‑day trading expedition. He brought back 40 gallons of honey, 900 pounds of pork, 40 pounds of lard, butter, one yoke of cattle, and other items.
Joseph Herring, an Indian member of the Church complained to Hosea Stout in a half‑drunken state that he was dissatisfied with the Twelve. He swore to take Wilford Woodruff's life. Brother Herring was supposed to return to his tribe to bring his people west in the spring. But he stated that he intended to take some teams and never return.
A son, Moroni Young, was born to Brigham and Louisa Beaman Young.4 Also, a son, Gilbert Rosel Belnap was born to Gilbert and Adaline Belnap. A daughter was born to George B. and Melissa Wallace. A son, Martin Lewis Bird, was born to Charles and Mary Kennedy Bird.
The mules were brought back over the river in the morning. It was so cold that they had icicles hanging on them. The battalion marched for sixteen miles and arrived at the mouth of the Gila River, where it flows into the Colorado River. Colonel Cooke wrote: “The country around the two rivers is a picture of desolation; nothing like vegetation beyond the bottoms of the rivers. Black mountains with wild‑looking peaks and stony hills and plains fill the view.”
The rations had been cut back so low that the men felt like they were starving. William Coray wrote: “The men are nearly starving for bread . . . prices are offered for a morsel. The beef which was the only means for sustainence at this time was of the poorest quality; a man would have been fined in any place but this, to have sold such beef. Notwithstanding the intense suffering of the men, there was not much grumbling at all.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 499‑500; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:115‑16; Brooks ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 224; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 198; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 451
The weather was still bitter cold. In the morning the temperature stood at ten degrees below zero. Brigham Young performed a marriage for Isaac Grundy and Elizabeth Hendricks in Wilford Woodruff's octagon.
Joseph Herring continued to stay at Hosea Stouts' home, drunk, and speaking out against the Church leaders. In the evening Hosea Stout reported to Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball about the problems with Brother Herring and his threats to murder Wilford Woodruff. They all went over to Elder Woodruff's home to warn him. The house was so full that the brethren went out for a walk to Ezra T. Benson's home. Hosea Stout told Elder Woodruff about the danger. When Brother Stout returned home, he found out that Joseph Herring had got into a fight with Brother Blazzard. Brother Herring stated that he was going to get a bowie knife to kill Brother Blazzard. Hosea Stout, Isaac Haight, and James Cummings followed after him. Brother Herring went to several homes, breathing threatening words against the Twelve, and ended up at Brigham Young's home at 11 p.m. President Young conversed with him for about an hour. Finally, Joseph Herring left, went to bed, and was watched very closely by the guard.
Wilford Woodruff had been plagued with some nightmares. He described one experienced on this night:
I went to bed, fell asleep, and dreamed some Indians came into my house with axes with the intent to kill me. I got away from them, went into the street and there two men, one and Indian, stabbed me with knives in the side. I hollowed murder and some came to my assistance and I awoke. These dreams mean something. Some person or persons are plotting against my life and I am warned against the plots of my enemies.
John D. Lee continued his journey back to Winter Quarters. He traveled eighteen miles and crossed over the Nishnabotna River at Worlden's Ferry. He camped at a grove on the prairie near a lake. He joined his camp with Brother Winchester who had already made up some warm fires.
The battalion took up their march very early. It took them six hours to cover the ten miles to the Colorado River [Pilot Knob] crossing.5 The mules were very weak and failing. The rations were becoming very low. The provisions that had been abandoned by the makeshift boats still had not arrived. Henry Bigler commented: “Our beef is so poor that it is jelly‑like and the hide full of grubs.”
Colonel Cooke wrote:
The Rio Colorado here resembles the Missouri in size and color of the water. It has immense bottoms difficult to pass; they are of rich soil. I believe it to be the most useless of rivers to man; so barren, so desolate and difficult, that it has never been explored; running through volcanic mountains and sand deserts, at places through chasms of vertical rock perhaps five thousand feet deep.
Levi Hancock had a more positive vision of the possibilities of this area that later became Yuma, Arizona: “I believe this is good land if it could be watered, and labor would make it as the garden of Eden.”
A guide was sent over the river to set the thickets on fire, to help establish a road for the following day. Forty men were assigned to gather “tornillo,” the fruit from the mesquite growing along the river. They brought in between twelve and fifteen bushels to feed the mules. The men tried to supplement their rations by grinding up these seeds to make cakes of meal. This proved to be nutritious, but caused constipation. Henry Bigler wrote: “There was one difficulty with this fruit and that was it bound the boys who eat of it so tight that some of them became frightened and thought they never would be delivered without sending for Doctor Sanderson!”
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 501; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:116; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 51; Brooks ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 223; Our Pioneer Heritage, 3:496; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 199‑200; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:53; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 452‑53; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and other Great Western Trails, 227
On this bitter cold Sunday morning, the temperature was thirteen degrees below zero. The Twelve preached at various wards.
In the evening, the High Council met at Elder Richard's octagon. There were fewer than seven members present. They discussed at length whether business should be conducted without seven members as stated in the Doctrine and Covenants. Elder Willard Richards pointed out that they were not in a stake of Zion, but rather in a traveling council. “If men are sick or necessarily detained, other men can act for them.” Elder George A. Smith agreed. “If you will take the Twelve for a pattern, I will give it to you. If there are only 2 of them present and there is business to be done, they go to work and do it.”
The city assessor was given authorization to go over the Missouri River and collect taxes to pay the police. Bishop Joseph Knight reported on the funds he had collected on the west side of the river to help the poor.
Hosea Stout had a long conversation with Brigham Young about Joseph Herring. Brother Stout was asked to keep a sharp lookout to make sure Brother Herring did not commit any violent acts.
Ellen Corlass, the daughter of Helen and Henry Corlass, died.
John D. Lee traveled thirty‑one miles north, toward Winter Quarters, returning from his trading expedition. He crossed over Keg Creek and later arrived at the mouth of Mosquito Creek which was almost frozen.
The pontoon boat caught up with the battalion in the morning. The men were ordered to cross the Colorado quickly, but the wind made the crossings difficult. They used the pontoon boat and wagon boxes to ferry over the baggage. Two of the mules were drowned while crossing. Colonel Cooke decided to continue the crossings into the night.
Daniel Tyler described the crossings which averaged one and a half hours:
The crossing ranged down the river, which was over half a mile wide, hence the ford was nearly a mile long, including two channels, in the middle of which it was difficult to reach the bottom with our tent poles. Planks from wagon‑ boxes left on the road were laid on top of the wagon‑beds and a portion of the provisions placed upon them, and hauled over by the mules, which had to swim in the deepest portions of the river.
John Brown started his journey of more than a thousand miles toward Winter Quarters. He was joined by Daniel H. Thomas and Brother Crismon. John Brown wrote: “We concluded to send some six pioneers, one of whom was to take charge of the whole, being mostly black servants. It fell to my lot to go and superintend the affair. William Crosby to send one hand; John H. Bankhead one; William Lay, one, and John Powell, one, and I was to take one besides myself.”
General Stephen Kearny entered Los Angeles peacefully after defeating a force at the San Gabriel River.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 501; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 51; Brooks ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 225‑26; Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:429; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 200‑01; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:53; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 240; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 453‑54, 496
A council meeting was held all day at the home of Ezra T. Benson which was attended by the Twelve and several others. Brigham Young related a dream:
I told the brethren I dreamed of seeing Joseph, the Prophet, last night and conversing with him, that Mother Smith was present and very deeply engaged reading a Pamphlet, when Joseph with a great deal of dignity turned his head towards his mother partly looking over his shoulder, said, “Have you got the word of God there?” Mother Smith replied, “There is truth here.” Joseph replied, “That may be, but I think you will be sick of that pretty soon.”6 Joseph appeared to feel extremely well, was sociable and laughed heartily.
The Council spoke about the organization of the emigration companies. They also discussed threats from their persecutors and prayed that they would be delivered from their hands.
John D. Lee arrived at Trader's Point and bought $158.45 worth of groceries from Peter Sarpy. He reached Winter Quarters in the afternoon and reported to Brigham Young regarding the purchases that he had made in Missouri on behalf of the Church. President Young was pleased with Brother Lee's actions.
Eliza R. Snow wrote a poem at the request of Phoebe Woodruff, who was still mourning over the loss of three children.
Mourn not for them, their bodies rest
So sweetly in the ground‑‑
And they'll awake to life again
At the first trumpet's sound.
Mourn not for them for they are now
The purest pleasures heav'n can boast
They're privileg'd to share.
Mourn not for them‑‑they're not as when
Caress'd upon your knee;
They now are noble spirits, and
Disrob'd of infancy.
Mourn not for them: the helpless state
Which they submitted to
Was for the body's sake, but more
To prove their love for you.
Mourn not for them: they laid aside
Their dignity to come
And visit you & stay on earth
Until they were call'd home.
Mourn not for them: they a will return
With grace & honor crown'd
To bless your household & spread
Cynthia Dykes, age forty-six, died from her recent childbirth. She was the wife of George P. Dykes who was away with the Mormon Battalion. Also, Eliza Mitchell, wife of William C. Mitchell died.
A daughter, Emma A. Smith, was born to John A. and Ann Anderson Smith.7
Newel Knight, one of the earliest members of the Church, died at the Ponca fort, more than 150 miles up the Missouri River from Winter Quarters. During his sickness, probably pneumonia, the Elders would administer and pray for Brother Knight and each time his health would rally for a time. His wife Lydia wrote:
I felt at last as if I could not endure his sufferings any longer and that I ought not to hold him here. I knelt by his bedside, and with my hand upon his pale forehead asked my Heavenly Father to forgive my sins, and that the sufferings of my companion might cease, and if he was appointed unto death, and could not remain with us that he might be quickly eased from pain and fall asleep in peace. Almost immediately all pain left him and in a short time he sweetly fell asleep in death, without a struggle or a groan, at half past six on the morning of the 11th of January, 1847. His remains were interred at sunset on the evening of the day he died.8
The battalion continued to cross over the Colorado River all night. Because they were so low on rations, Colonel Cooke felt it important to not stay another day at the river, and instead push on fifteen miles to the next camp at a well. He was frustrated with the slow process of crossing the baggage and sheep over the mile‑wide river. When Colonel Cooke crossed over at 9 a.m., he found the men taking their time cooking and doing as they pleased. A wagon belonging to Company C became stuck in the middle of the river. Finally, at 10 a.m., the march onward resumed while others stayed behind and struggled to get the sheep over the river. The fires that had been started the day before to clear out some mesquite continued to rage around the men, at times within a few feet. They pressed on to the south of the Imperial Sand Dunes which Robert S. Bliss described: “To the right of us is a sandy desert, I suppose like the Deserts of Africa or Arabia; there is nothing that looks like living in this country.” Many of the mules gave out during the difficult day's march. Some of the men did not make it to the next camp. Two of the wagons had to be left behind and the baggage packed on mules.
When Colonel Cook arrived at the well, he discovered there was not a drop of water. He was informed that the next water was twenty‑four miles to the west! Cooke ordered men to start digging a well. Soon they struck damp sand and then water, but the hole would quickly cave in because of the soft sand walls. It was decided to use the washtub belonging to a Captain Davis' wife, to sure up the walls of the well. But this idea failed and no good water was obtained. Another well was attempted, but they struck only muddy clay after ten feet of digging. Yet another well was started and this time good water was found. Colonel Cooke wrote: “It [this news] threw a radiant glow of light over all the gloom which was settling deeply on every avenue where hope had lingered.” He later reflected: “I viewed this, as in other instances, a Providential deliverance.”9
Lewis Bidamon, one of the “new citizens” of Nauvoo had retreated to his former home of Canton, Illinois, after the fall of Nauvoo to the mob. On this day, he wrote a letter to Emma Smith, in Fulton Illinois, asking if he could rent the mansion house.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 501‑02; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 51‑2; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:116; Beecher ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R..Snow, 152; Newel Knight Autobiography in Classic Experiences, 104; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 202‑07; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 454‑57; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:82; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 224; Newell and Avery, Mormon Enigma, Emma Hale Smith, 242-43
The weather was a little more comfortable. The Missouri River was frozen so hard that wagons could bring over large loads of wood across on the ice. Brigham Young visited Abraham O. Smoot and made several visits to the bishop’s store where John D. Lee was invoicing goods.
William Clayton’s wife, Ruth Moon Clayton went into labor during the morning. William had to go to the bishop's storehouse to work on the books and balance the accounts with John D. Lee. Soon Brother Clayton was called home and he found out that Ruth gave birth to a son, Newell Horace Clayton, at 5 p.m. Sister Clayton had experienced a difficult labor, but was doing better. In the evening, Brother Clayton went with the band to Brother Johnson’s where they played for a party until 11 p.m. He wrote: “The house was very much crowded and not much room to dance, but they kept it up freely.”
Also in the evening, Mary and Jane Richards attended a meeting at Daniel Allen’s house where they heard Elder Wilford Woodruff preach on the resurrection of the dead. He said that if the Saints felt that the journey was too hard for them to endure, he would advise them to pray to the Lord to grant them a burial with the Saints of God. Their posterity would believe that they died in full belief of the Gospel of Christ. When the servants of God returned to their burial place in the morning of the Resurrection, they would be called forth. If instead these Saints chose to go to Missouri and were buried there, “he did not know who would be to the trouble to go there and hunt them up, for they would never once think that a Saint of God would be buried there.”
Hope Chamberlain, age sixty-three, died of consumption. She was the wife of Solomon Chamberlain. He later wrote, several years later: “The wife of my youth died at Winter Quarters just before I started to the valley with the Pioneers. I said, then all my happiness as to the things of this world is gone, and so it has proved to this time. I am now alone, except my little daughter 8 years old. I have endeavored to magnify my calling as well as I knew how.”
Harriet A. Hart, age thirteen days, died. She was the daughter of Joseph and Clarissa Hart.
Reuben Miller, former Strangite who returned to the Church, continued to make progress convincing these former Saints that James J. Strang had misled them. On this day Lester Brooks wrote from Ohio to Voree, Wisconsin, that on a recent visit to New York, he found the Strangite branch in a “most stupid condition. They have a pamphlet written by Reuben Miller against Brother Strang. They are inclined to think there is something quite wrong.”
The battalion spent the morning drawing up buckets of water from the well for the mules and sheep. By 10 a.m., the rear company arrived into camp. Many of the animals still needed to be fed and watered, so Colonel Cooke decided to leave two of the companies behind and go forward with the other three. Because they were so low in provisions, empty wagons were left behind. The entire battalion was down to only seven wagons. They traveled ten miles to a location without water, but there was some dry grass for the animals. The cattle and sheep were nearly starved.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 502; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 52; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846‑1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 105‑06; William Clayton's Journal, p.69; Anderson, BYU Studies, 8:3:288; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 208‑09; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:82; “Solomon Chamberlain Autobiography,” BYU, 16
Wilford Woodruff spent the day cutting up beef and pork, and helping out around the house. In the evening he attended a meeting at Brother Ensign's house.
Mary Richards wrote about her activities: “Got breakfast, washed the dishes, made the bed . . . sewed a little on my garment. PM baked a loaf of breads & cleaned a hogs face and put it to boil, & made a pot pye for supper then washed the dishes & spent the Eve sewing.”
Rachel Dykes, age seven days, died. She was the daughter of George P. and Cynthia Dykes.10 A son, Newton Daniel Hall, was born to Newton D. and Sarah Busenbark Hall. Ann Eliza Mann, age forty, died.
A son, Hyrum Bennion, was born to Samuel and Mary Bushell Bennion.11
The battalion marched at sunrise. Colonel Cooke wished that they could march earlier than that, but it was impossible to distinguish and harness the mules in darkness. They marched for thirteen miles in seven hours, arriving at Alamo Mocho wells. The wells were between twelve and fifteen feet deep. Colonel Cooke wrote:
The water is very bad and warm, and the supply is scanty and slow. And now, after eight hours, the watering is still going on. The poor animals, after drinking, seemed unsatisfied and had to be driven away toward the green bushes, on which they might browse. . . . I have caused a detail of men to work constantly at the wells, in giving water to all animals that come up, night and day.
Colonel Cooke decided to abandon two more wagons, bringing their total down to only five. He wanted to leave them all behind, but General Kearny had ordered him to make a road and he was determined to succeed. Apparently one of these wagons was the wagon Melissa Coray had been riding in. Paymaster Jeremiah Cloud offered to let Sister Coray ride his horse the rest of the way to the California settlements.
Californians (Mexicans) who fled Los Angeles, surrendered to John C. Fremont and signed the Cahuenga Capitulation. They agreed to deliver up their arms and to no longer fight the Mexican War.
The officers of the sick detachments called all the battalion members together to establish some new rules that were considered oppressive by the men. There was to be no card playing, dancing, and no speaking against an officer. Even the laundresses could not complain against an officer or she would be discharged. An 8 p.m. curfew was set and if broken, the offender would be sent to the guard house and tried of court martial the next day.
Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:116; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 106; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 209‑12; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 309, 458‑59, 496; Ricketts, Melissa's Journey with the Mormon Battalion, 61
In the afternoon, members of the Twelve met with Hosea Stout in council at Heber C. Kimball’s home. President Brigham Young proposed that letters be written to instruct the brethren how to organize companies for emigration. He proposed that Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow form a company named number three. They should appoint a presidency, captains of hundreds, fifties, tens, and a clerk. Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff should form company number four. Amasa Lyman and George A. Smith should form company number five.
At this point, President Young received the word and will of God through revelation concerning the emigration of the Saints. This revelation later became known as Doctrine and Covenants section 136. The Council adjourned at 4:30 p.m. but came back together at 7 p.m., at Elder Ezra T. Benson's home. President Young continued to dictate the revelation. At 10 p.m., the Council retired except for President Young and Willard Richards, who went to the Octagon to finish writing this inspired document.
Hosea Stout expressed his feelings about the revelation:
Such was the “Word & Will” of the Lord at this time, which was to me a source of much joy and gratification to be present on such an occasion and my feeling can be better felt than described for this will put to silence the wild bickering and suggestions of those who are ever in the way & opposing the proper council. They will now have to come to this standard or come out in open rebellion to the Will of the Lord which will plainly manifest them to the people and then they can have no influence.
The revelation was clear, the Lord stated that the Camp of Israel would be under the direction of the Twelve Apostles.
1 The Word and Will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel in their journeyings to the West:
2 Let all the people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints, and those who journey with them, be organized into companies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God.
3 Let the companies be organized with captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, and captains of tens, with a president and his two counselors at their head, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles.
4 And this shall be our covenant‑‑that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.
5 Let each company provide themselves with all the teams, wagons, provisions, clothing, and other necessaries for the journey, that they can.
6 When the companies are organized let them go to with their might, to prepare for those who are to tarry.
7 Let each company, with their captains and presidents, decide how many can go next spring; then choose out a sufficient number of able‑ bodied and expert men, to take teams, seeds, and farming utensils, to go as pioneers to prepare for putting in spring crops.
8 Let each company bear an equal proportion, according to the dividend of their property, in taking the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the families of those who have gone into the army, that the cries of the widow and the fatherless come not up into the ears of the Lord against this people.
9 Let each company prepare houses, and fields for raising grain, for those who are to remain behind this season; and this is the will of the Lord concerning his people.
10 Let every man use all his influence and property to remove this people to the place where the Lord shall locate a stake of Zion.
11 And if ye do this with a pure heart, in all faithfulness, ye shall be blessed; you shall be blessed in your flocks, and in your herds, and in your fields, and in your houses, and in your families.
12 Let my servants Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow organize a company.
13 And let my servants Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff organize a company.
14 Also, let my servants Amasa Lyman and George A. Smith organize a company.
15 And appoint presidents, and captains of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens.
16 And let my servants that have been appointed go and teach this, my will, to the saints, that they may be ready to go to a land of peace.
17 Go thy way and do as I have told you, and fear not thine enemies; for they shall not have power to stop my work.
18 Zion shall be redeemed in mine own due time.
19 And if any man shall seek to build up himself, and seeketh not my counsel, he shall have no power, and his folly shall be made manifest.
20 Seek ye; and keep all your pledges one with another; and covet not that which is thy brother's.
21 Keep yourselves from evil to take the name of the Lord in vain, for I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.
22 I am he who led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; and my arm is stretched out in the last days, to save my people Israel.
23 Cease to contend one with another; cease to speak evil one of another.
24 Cease drunkenness; and let your words tend to edifying one another.
25 If thou borrowest of thy neighbor, thou shalt restore that which thou hast borrowed; and if thou canst not repay then go straightway and tell thy neighbor, lest he condemn thee.
26 If thou shalt find that which thy neighbor has lost, thou shalt make diligent search till thou shalt deliver it to him again.
27 Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward.
28 If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
29 If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.
30 Fear not thine enemies, for they are in mine hands and I will do my pleasure with them.
31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.
34 Thy brethren have rejected you and your testimony, even the nation that has driven you out;
35 And now cometh the day of their calamity, even the days of sorrow, like a woman that is taken in travail; and their sorrow shall be great unless they speedily repent, yea, very speedily.
36 For they killed the prophets, and them that were sent unto them; and they have shed innocent blood, which crieth from the ground against them.
37 Therefore, marvel not at these things, for ye are not yet pure; ye can not yet bear my glory; but ye shall behold it if ye are faithful in keeping all my words that I have given you, from the days of Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus and his apostles, and from Jesus and his apostles to Joseph Smith, whom I did call upon by mine angels, my ministering servants, and by mine own voice out of the heavens, to bring forth my work;
38 Which foundation he did lay, and was faithful; and I took him to myself.
39 Many have marveled because of his death; but it was needful that he should seal his testimony with his blood, that he might be honored and the wicked might be condemned.
40 Have I not delivered you from your enemies, only in that I have left a witness of my name?
41 Now, therefore, hearken, O ye people of my church; and ye elders listen together; you have received my kingdom.
42 Be diligent in keeping all my commandments, lest judgments come upon you, and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you. So no more at present. Amen and Amen.
The battalion marched seventeen miles. They passed over an area of flat, baked clay that must have been covered by water. There was not a bush or weed for miles. At one point they crossed over a trail made by thousands of animals that had recently been driven from California to Sonora. The men made their camp near a mesquite thicket in the vicinity of the present‑day Mexicali, California. The battalion was becoming dangerously low on provisions. They hoped that their guide, Leroux, would soon return from the west with relief.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 502; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 229; Doctrine and Covenants, Section 136; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 212‑13; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 459‑60
The Council of the Twelve met at Ezra T. Benson's home. They decided that the “Word and Will of the Lord,” received the previous day, should be presented for sustaining vote before the Councils of the Church.
There was a bad snow storm during the day and the weather was colder. Hosea Stout wrote: “This was one of the most cold & disagreeable day ever met with The wind in the North beating a driving snow which almost entirely obstructed the sight.” Mary Richards hung out some cloths on a line. They froze before she could even finish hanging them. Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young and several of the bishops worked on the Council House making doors and plastering the walls. Work continued until midnight.
Eliza R. Snow went to Brigham Young’s home to stay for a week, probably to help Louisa Beaman Young with her new baby, Moroni Young. While there, she heard President Young bless his new son.
Norton Jacob, following the counsel of Heber C. Kimball, went to visit Brother Joe Ricks, who was settled on the west branch of the Nishnabotna River. Brother Jacob asked Brother Ricks for assistance to enable him to go with the advance pioneer group in the spring. Brother Ricks readily agreed to send a two horse team with him and promised to take care of Norton Jacob’s family while he was away with the Twelve.
In the evening, Brigham Young went to the Octagon and conversed with William G. and Ute Perkins on the principles of adoption and the Levitical Priesthood. He told them that no son of Levi had yet been found in these last days to minister at the altar.
A daughter, Jan Lettice Edwards, was born to Caleb G. and Cynthia Shephard Edwards.12 A daughter, Clarinda H. Johnson, was born to Benjamin F. and Flora Gleason Johnson. Lyman Pond, age six, died. He was the son of Stillman and Mariah Pond.
The battalion marched before the sunrise. Robert Bliss described their bleak circumstances: “. . . continued our slow march over the plains with poor prospects . . . our men have not half enough to eat & what we do eat is poor but we are kept from starving so far we look to Him who is able to help us in this time of Want.”
The men marched for about eight miles and to their joy, were greeted by Major Jeremiah Cloud, who announced that the relief detail was up ahead. Major Cloud also brought a letter with sad news of General Kearny's recent battles. He reported that a battle was fought at San Pascual on December 6. (See December 6, 1846.)
The battalion reached Pozo Hondo, where they received forty‑two mules and ten beef cattle from the relief detail. The new mules were very wild and difficult to control. The starving battalion welcomed the new supply of beef which they quickly cooked. After a brief rest, they marched on for eleven miles and camped near present‑day route 80 between Dixieland and Plaster City, California. No water was found that night.
Nine wagons arrived from Bent’s Fort with sixty days’ rations for the sick detachments of the battalion. Daniel Tyler wrote that they were able “to experience the contrast between short food and hard labor and full rations and no labor.” A daughter, Phoebe Isabell Williams, was born to Thomas S. and Albina Merrill Williams. The Williams family was part of the second sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 503; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:117; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 229; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 106; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 152; “Norton Jacob Autobiography,” BYU, .45; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 460‑62; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:84; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:11; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 196
The weather continued to be very cold. The Twelve met with the Municipal High Council. Brigham Young advised the brethren to start obtaining wagon timber that can be seasoned for a year. Elder Willard Richards read “The Word and Will of the Lord” which had been received two days earlier. Reynolds Cahoon proposed that the communication be received as a true revelation from the Lord. Isaac Morley seconded the motion. Alanson Eldredge stated that it was plain to his understanding. Isaac Morley expressed approval. Winslow Farr said that it reminded him of the first reading of the Book of Mormon. He was perfectly satisfied and knew it was from the Lord. Daniel Russell said he felt just as he did after the first Mormon sermon that he had ever heard. Thomas Grover testified that it was the voice of the Spirit. Other members of the High Council also voice approval. They unanimously voted to accept it.
Hosea Stout explained the procedures that were followed: “I will just state that it is in the order of the Priest Hood to lay a revelation before all the authorities for their sanction before it is considered binding. In this case it was done & received as above.”
In the evening, the Twelve met with the Presidents of the Seventies. They also voted unanimously in favor of the revelation. President Young proposed that the Twelve start to call brethren to assist them in organizing their respective companies.
President Young also gave some instruction on doctrinal matters. He stated that a body that was pure enough to receiving the Spirit of the Lord could withstand any evil spirit. Such a body was also susceptible to converse with angels at any time. He addressed the subject of adoption sealing to the Twelve. Some people were worried that they would lose some glory if they were sealed to a member of the Twelve. He stated, “A Saint's kingdom consisted of his own posterity, and to be sealed to one of the Twelve did not diminish him, but only connected him according to the law of God by that perfect chain and order of Heaven, that will bind the righteous from Adam to the last Saint.” The important thing was to be sealed so that Adam could claim all as members of his kingdom.
Harriet Young worried about her husband Lorenzo Dow Young, who was still away from Winter Quarters on a trading expedition. “I feel lonesome, for I fear those that are absent are suffering with the cold.”
A son, Samuel E. Eggleston, was born to Samuel and Lurania Burgess Eggleston.13 A son, James William Lance, was born to Jacob and Mary Marsh Lance.
At the herding grounds, Asahel Lathrop and John Lowry wrote a letter to Brigham Young stating that the Sioux chief, Eagle, was in the area with three bands of Indians. They had stolen several horses and killed about thirty head of cattle and horses. The brethren reported in the letter that a council had been held with Chief Eagle who returned four of the stolen horses. But the Indians soon stole them again. Eagle stated that the Sioux intended to kill the rest of the Omahas when spring came, but wanted the brethren to tell the Pottawatomie chiefs that they were at peace with them. One of the herdsman had moved their horses fifteen or twenty miles away, but the Indians discovered them and stole nine of them. Because of all these difficulties and losses, the brethren at the herding grounds finally concluded to send the remaining cattle back to Winter Quarters. They were also out of bread stuff and medicine for their sick.
Colonel Cooke started the battalion marching at 2 a.m. under the stars. They were very anxious to reach water and needed to march while it was cool. As daylight approached, it became “exceedingly cold, too much so to ride.” The guide became lost and the teams were nearly exhausted. By 10 a.m., it became very hot and by 11 a.m., the lead group reached Carrizo Creek, a clear, running stream. One company did not reach the camp until sunset because their mules entirely gave out. A relief group had to be sent back to assist them. Henry Standage was part of the last company. He wrote, “saw many of the brethren laying by the road side begging for water and many mules give out.” William Coray recorded: “Nothing could have saved our lives but the unseen hand of Almighty God, as the most of us were without bread stuff entirely.”
Colonel Cooke wrote: “The last, worst desert is passed in safety, but with great suffering. . . . Thus, without water for near three days (for the animals) and encamping two nights in succession without water, the battalion made, in forty‑eight hours, four marches of eighteen, eight, eleven, and nineteen miles, suffering from frost and from summer heat!” Sixteen mules had died over this period and the sheep were still miles behind. Even the new wild mules suffered because they refused to drink water from buckets.
Nine Mexicans from Tucson overtook the battalion. They had followed them with the permission of Colonel Cooke to seek a better life in California. They were nearly starved and had been living off the dead battalion mules. One of the men reported that the Mexican army did not return to Tucson until three or four days after the battalion left the city.
Colonel Cooke reported: “A great number of my men are wholly without shoes, and use every expedient, such as rawhide moccasins and sandals, and even wrapping their feet in pieces of woolen and cotton cloth.” Daniel Tyler added: “Others improvised a novel style of boots by stripping the skin from the leg of an ox. . . . Others wrapped cast‑off clothing around their feet, to shield them from the burning sand during the day and the cold at night.”
Daniel Tyler was very sick on this day and had been riding on a poor government mule. He had so much pain in his back that at times he would have to stop and lay on the ground. At one point, he was thought to be dead because his mule got loose and marched alone into camp. But thankfully Sergeant Tyler was rescued by some of the other men.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 503‑05, 523-24; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:154; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 229; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 215‑17; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 202; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 244‑45; Ricketts, Melissa's Journey with the Mormon Battalion, 61
The weather was bitter cold, seventeen degrees below zero. The various wards held their Sunday meetings. One of the wards met in the Council House for the first time.
Brigham Young and several other members of the Twelve met with many of the Seventies and High Priests. Willard Richards read “The Word and Will of the Lord” and it was unanimously accepted by those present.
Brigham Young recorded in his history:
I addressed the Assembly showing that the church had been led by Revelation just as much since the death of Joseph Smith as before, and that he was as great and good a man, and as great a Prophet as ever lived upon the earth, Jesus excepted. Joseph received his apostleship from Peter and his brethren, and the present apostles received their apostleship from Joseph the first apostle and Oliver Cowdery, the second Apostle.
Other business was conducted at this meeting. Several of the Seventies volunteered to split and hew wood to lay a floor in the Council House on Monday. Also, a list of Brigham Young's emigration company was read.
The Twelve met with the High Council. The Council asked President Young to take charge of the Council House. A committee was appointed to look after Sister Magdalena Durfee's children.14 They read two articles written by Thomas L. Kane that had been published in a Pennsylvania newspaper. They were very pleased by the things written about his stay with the Saints.
On this day, Vilate Kimball wrote a poem for her husband, Heber C. Kimball:
No being round the spacious earth
Beneath the vaulted arch of heaven,
Divides my love, or draws it thence,
From him to whom my heart is given.
Like the frail ivy to the oak,
Drawn closer, by the tempest river,
Through sorrow's flood he'll bear me up
And light with smiles my way to heaven.
The gift was on the altar laid;
The plighted vow on earth was given;
The seal eternal has been made,
And by his side I'll reign in heaven.
In the morning, the battalion discovered that many of the new wild mules had escaped from the guards. This delayed the march until 9 a.m. When they finally did get underway, the march was long and difficult. Colonel Cooke wrote that it was the worst road since they had left the Rio Grande. In the early afternoon, they reached a place called Palm Springs. The men were fascinated by the palm trees. It was the first time they had ever seen such trees. There was no grass for the mules at this spot, so they pressed on.17
At nightfall, the first wagon arrived at Vallecito. Colonel Cooke wrote: “The men arrived here completely worn down. They staggered as they marched, as they did the day before.” One of the companies received their last rations of pork and flour. They would have to eat beef for breakfast.
Captain James Brown called the battalion members together. He told the men that they were likely to be detained in the army after their year was up and that he had been promised that he would be the one to raise another battalion. John Steele wrote: “I think he is very much troubled with the big head.”
General Kearny met with Governor John C. Fremont. Kearny was frustrated that Fremont refused to obey his orders. Fremont made Los Angeles his capital and stationed his California Volunteers at San Gabriel, north of Los Angeles.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 505‑06; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 52‑3; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly 14:154; Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 335; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 217‑20; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:84; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 309-10, 496-97
The temperature fell to twenty degrees below zero. Harriet Young wrote that it was “tedious cold.” Her husband, Lorenzo Dow Young returned from a trading expedition “almost frozen.” She added: “we rejoiced to see him alive, for was afraid he would perish.”
Even in the bitter cold, Wilford Woodruff still worked on his house. With the help of others, he dug earth out of a bank and covered the roof.
The Indian church member, Joseph Herring, who had been breathing out threats against the Twelve, was excommunicated from the Church.
At 6 p.m., Brigham Young preached in the Council House to about three hundred me were in his “company.” These included his family organization, those who had been adopted by him. He recorded: “I warned all who intended to proceed to the mountains that iniquity would not be tolerated in the Camp of Israel. I did not want any to join my company unless they would obey the Word and Will of the Lord, live in honesty and assist to build up the kingdom of God.” He stated that he did not have enough cattle for the journey, but had not fears. “When Joseph and Hyrum and others were in prison I said I knew that they would be delivered safely out of the hands of the Missourians. I know that every man who puts forth this means to build up this kingdom will receive a hundred fold.”
A daughter, Emily Percinda Crisman, was born to Charles and Mary Hill Crisman.
A daughter, Sarah Jane Fullmer, was born to David and Sarah Banks Fullmer. David Fullmer was serving as the president of the Garden Grove settlement.
The battalion rested at Vallecito for the day, cleaning their guns and washing their clothes. Many of the men had not arrived the previous night and came straggling into camp during the morning. Some had spent the night at the Palm Springs. The battalion flock of eighty‑eight sheep was herded into camp at midday. Because the rations were so low, Colonel Cooke ordered beef cattle to be killed, and issued double rations in the morning. Only eight wagons were left.
Colonel Cooke received a letter written by Captain Montgomery of the ship Portsmouth, which had greeted the Saints on the Brooklyn when they arrived in San Francisco Bay the previous July. Captain Montgomery was currently serving as the governor of San Diego. He wrote that he welcomed the approach of the battalion. He warned Colonel Cooke about several leaders of the Californian Mexicans who had “broken their parole” and were expected to try to march to Sonora along the battalion's route.
In the evening, Colonel Cooke wrote: “The men who this morning were prostrate, worn out, hungry, and heartless, have recovered their spirits tonight [and] are singing and playing the fiddle.”
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 506‑07; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:154; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:118‑19; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 230; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 220‑21
In the evening at the Council House, Heber C. Kimball organized his extended, adopted family, consisting of about two hundred people, into a company for the journey to the west. Wilford Woodruff also organized his family consisting of forty men. Twenty‑four were present. He wrote: “Those that Joined me entered in a covenant with uplifted Hands to Heaven to keep all the commandments & Statues of the Lord our God and to sustain me in my office.”18
Also in the evening, Mary and Jane Richard were at Maria Wilcox’s home where they had a good supper. Afterwards, Maria played several tunes on her accordion that all enjoyed.
The new mules again strayed during the night which delayed the march. They traveled uphill into a narrow canyon [present‑day Box Canyon]. After a few miles, the lead companies came to a halt as they came to a rugged mountain. Colonel Cooke pressed them on to climb up to a 200‑foot gap. Large stones were rolled out of the way. They next came to a canyon that was even worse, with a narrow pass and difficult rocks. Using axes, they pounded, broke, and split rocks to increase the pass opening for the wagons. They had to continue this labor for several hours.19 One of the big wagons had to be taken apart in order to fit through a narrow opening. They ascended a sandy stream to a mountain top and ended up camping for the night without water in present‑day Blair Valley. A beef was killed for supper
Henry Boyle reflected on the day's labor: “Never have I seen men work with more courage than here exhibited, considering our circumstance. Our flour is all gone, long since, and we have nothing but the poorest kind of beef, and but little of that, as may be judged, when a beef is killed nothing of it is left ‑‑ hyde & entrails all disappear.”
Private John Perkins, a member of the second sick detachment of the battalion, died after a lingering illness. Also, about this time the men at Pueblo started to practice squad drills. There had been rumors that Mexicans and Indians were intending to attack Pueblo. Preparations for defense were being made.
Mexicans and Indians revolted against their American rule in Taos, located about 150 miles southwest of Pueblo. They stormed the home of Governor Charles Bent, butchered him, and killed about 12‑15 other Americans. The battle would continue for two days.
Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, and twelve others left England on the ship America bound for New Orleans. They chartered the second cabin. Parley P. Pratt wrote:
We bid adieu to our warm hearted and affectionate friends in England, and embarked on this ship. Our company consisted of fourteen persons in all, composed of returning Elders and a few families or individuals who were emigrating with us. We were very comfortable in our own little cabin, where we had our own provisions, and set our own table, hiring the ship’s cook to do our cooking. We sailed on January 19th, but we soon met a gale of wind, which was directly contrary to us.
John Taylor later wrote: “I had strange presentiments before we went on board, of danger or ship‑wreck ‑‑ the spirit did not manifest which.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 507; Roberts, The Life of John Taylor, 182; Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 354; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:119; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 106; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 221‑24; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 299, 466‑68; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 196; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and other Great Western Trails, 229
The weather was more comfortable. A council meeting was held at Heber C. Kimball’s house. The names of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball’s companies were read off. Isaac Morley was appointed president of the first company (Brigham Young’s company), Reynolds Cahoon and John Young were appointed counselors.
As evening approached, Harrison Burgess arrived from Nauvoo with many letters and packages. The business of the council was put aside in order for them to read over the newspapers and letters. The Trustees informed the leaders that a Dr. Galland had sworn out a lien on the temple and other Church property for $25,000. This was just one of many annoying harassments that the Church had to continually deal with. Daniel H. Wells wrote from Burlington, Iowa, sending a letter of introduction for William E. Clifford, a non‑Mormon citizen of Nauvoo who had defended the Saints. Mr. Clifford had recently been forced to leave Nauvoo. The brethren were also excited to read three issues of the Millennial Star, edited by Orson Hyde in Liverpool, England. Wilford Woodruff mentioned: “We had quite a treat.”
The battalion marched before sunrise, anticipating a difficult march over a rocky hill. After about an hour, they were able to get the wagons over by pulling them and lifted them over rocks with ropes. The road on the other side was excellent. After another five or six miles they arrived at San Felipe, the site of a deserted Indian village. At this point, two of the beef cattle were killed for breakfast. In the afternoon, they marched up a pass and established camp at some good water in upper San Felipe Valley. Robert S. Bliss wrote: “For the last week we have been among Mts. but we have come today where grass is growing two or three inches in some places high. The country looks better as we approach the sea.”
Word came from Jerome Zabrisky, that part of Corporal William S. Muir’s detachment, sent back to retrieve more of the lost flour from the ill‑fated boat scheme, were back at Vallecito with more than four hundred pounds of flour. Guides were sent back with mules to help them bring the flour forward.
Colonel Cooke considered whether he should march the Battalion to the pueblo at Los Angeles rather than on to San Diego as previously ordered. San Diego was at peace, but there were reports of battles at the pueblo. Colonel Cooke decided to march the battalion to Warner's Ranch and then on to Los Angeles.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 507; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:119; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 224‑27; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly 5:84
The Twelve met at Ezra T. Benson's home to read newspapers and converse on the gospel. John Van Cott delivered another package which contained issues of the Millennial Star and other newspapers which were brought from Hunsucker's Ferry Post Office, in Missouri.
In the evening the Twelve met with the High Council and bishops. They read newspapers late into the night.
A son, Charles Wilson, was born to Bushrod W. and Catherine Anderson Wilson.20
The battalion marched ahead on this cold, cloudy morning. Colonel Cooke wrote: “The path ‑‑ now a road ‑‑ winds amid a forest of large evergreen oaks. Cold as it was, the fresh, deep, green grass was springing everywhere from the ground.” As they traveled down the road, Colonel Cooke stopped and drilled the men while they waited for the wagons to catch up. After several more miles, they finally reached Warner’s Ranch, which would later be a famous stopping place on this southwestern route. It was also the first house that the men had seen since they had arrived in California. William Hyde wrote: “The valley was cheering beyond description to the weary and fainting soldiers.” The men rejoiced as they realized that they had reached their goal of California. Private Henry Bolyle recorded: “What to us could be more lovely or more cheering at the present time, A hearty ‘thank God’ come from every bosom.”
Colonel Cooke met Mr. Warner.21 They discussed the need to take in many of the cattle and mares that were running wild in the area. At this time there were about four hundred Indian and thousands of cattle overrunning his land. He wished to reduce their number. Warner also shared the news that General Kearny had captured Los Angeles and was struggling for power with John C. Fremont over who should govern. Colonel Cooke purchased three head of cattle from Warner. There was very little breadstuff in the area to purchase.
Colonel Cooke asked Anonion, the Indian chief in the area, to provide twenty men to accompany the battalion to Los Angeles, to assist in cattle guarding, driving, and to act as scouts.
Colonel Cooke assessed the condition of his battalion. “I consider it absolutely necessary to rest here tomorrow, not only on account of the weak and exhausted condition of the men, but to carry out my objects of collecting the general’s mules (and my strays at Santa Isabel), and also to enable the party with the flour to overtake me. The men are weak for want of food. I have issued two and a half pounds of meat, but it is poor and the proportion of bone is great.”
William Coray was impressed by the local Indian’s skill with the cattle. “. . . the Indians on horseback throwing the lassoes and catching cattle by the head and legs and throwing them and holding them down by having the lasso wound round and round the horn of the saddle. Their skill beat any thing I ever saw; they throw with so much certainty.”
Elder Addison Pratt was still on the islands, hoping to soon return home, but without the means to secure passage on a ship. In the mean time, he continued to preach the gospel and visit friends. On this day he was traveling between two small islands in a canoe with a native. The sea became rough and when they came in sight of their destination, the breakers were frightfully rough. He wrote: “Haametua is an experienced fisherman and a bold daring man about the reefs, but I saw he was in great dougt as to our lives. He says to me, ‘Let us pray.’ I lookt around, and as I thought it would endager our situation still more to lay down our paddles, I replied that I did not cease to pray and he must not. He said that was good.” They were soon assisted by men on shore and attempted a very dangerous landing. Their canoe sank but they were helped to shore by the natives. Elder Pratt wrote: “I lookt back upon the breakers and saw how miraculously the Lord had saved us from a watery grave, the tears of gratitude rolled down my face in streams.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 507; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 224‑27; Hill, The History of Warner's Ranch and its Environs; William Coray Journal; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 204; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 468‑72; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 68; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 311-13
The wind was blowing very hard this day. Several families had to take down their tents to prevent them from being blown to pieces. Brigham Young wrote to Joseph A. Stratton, the president of the Church branch at St. Louis, Missouri, asking him to invite as many brethren there as possible to settle their families and come alone to Winter Quarters to prepare for the pioneer journey to the west. There were about 1,500 Saints spending the winter in St. Louis. Brigham Young had hoped that the pioneer company might be able to leave in March but he wrote to Brother Stratton that it was “very uncertain whether the Pioneers will leave here before April.”
As Mary Richards was home cleaning house and sewing, Ababil Abott stopped by to inform her that John Van Cott had brought a letter for Sister Richards from Missouri. Mary quickly went to the Van Cott home and found the rare letter to be a note from her brother John’s wife, Ellen Briggs Douglass Parker, informing her that the family was doing well. Eliza R. Snow visited Eliza Ann Whitney, who was quite ill and in her late months of pregnancy. They spent a very interesting evening together.
William Clayton went with Jacob Hutchinson to a party at the Packer’s where they “played for the party in the smoke till near midnight.”
Abigail Jeffers Sprague, age seventy-four, died of old age. She was the wife of Hezekiah Sprague.
Freeman Nickerson, age sixty‑nine, died.22
The battalion rested near Warner’s Ranch. There was a hot spring nearby, Calienta, that sent up clouds of steam that could be seen from a half mile away. The men enjoyed bathing in the warm water that in some places was “hot enough to scald a swine.” At its hottest point, it was 170 degrees. The local Indians would cook food in the hottest portion of the springs by placing it in baskets to be dipped in the water. Daniel Tyler wrote: “Strange as it may appear, it was asserted, not only by Warner, but by eye‑witnesses of our own men, that during cold nights, the Indians (who were nearly nude) slept with their bodies in the warm stream while their heads lay upon the soddy banks.”
Many of the men were trying to make deals with Mr. Warner for food. Men in one company purchased a roasting hog. William Coray wrote: “I can say candidly that I have never eaten anything that tasted as good before . . . the brethren’s wants were not satisfied and it hurt my feelings to see them beg for food.”
James S. Brown wrote about his activities of the day:
Some of us wandered off up the creek in hopes of finding wild fruit or game. We came to a small camp of Indians who were engaged in hulling and leaching live‑oak acorns, then pounding them to a pulp in stone mortars; this was boiled to a thick mush in home‑made earthen pots. The writer bantered one of the old ladies for about three or four quarts of that cold‑ochre much, by offering her the belt that held his pantaloons in place. She accepted the offer, and he, being without proper utensil to receive his purchase, substituted his hat for a pan, and the mush was scooped into it. Then when he found himself in the dilemma of his pantaloons threatening to desert him, he seized the alternative of holding up that portion of his attire with one hand, and carrying his hat and its contents in the other, and proceeded to camp, where his purchase was divided and devoured as a sweet morsel.
The quartermaster was able to trade for twenty‑two good beef (eighty‑eight poor sheep and some money.) The men's rations were increased to four pounds of beef per day.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 508‑09; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 161; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R..Snow, 153; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 107; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 230; William Clayton's Journal, 71; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 472‑73; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 204; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 70; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 250
Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve attended a meeting with the Council of Seventies in the new Council House. After the meeting was opened with prayer, the names of each member of the Seventies were read and a report was given regarding each of their labor in laying the Council House floor. Brigham Young mentioned that some seats were still needed and other items to make the room comfortable. Twelve men volunteered to offer their services to gather and make these items on the following Monday. Arrangements were made to hold several dances and festivals in the building during these cold winter days. Socials would be held on the following Tuesday and Wednesday. Those who had given their service to build the Council House were invited to bring their “sweetmeats, nuts and cakes, that their hearts may be made glad while they dance before the Lord.”
The Seventies conducted some business. John D. Lee was honorably released as the general clerk and recorder because his services were needed elsewhere. A unanimous vote of thanks was offered for his fine service.
Brigham Young sent for the band, who were given seats in the southern portion of the building. President Young then gave the assembly some instructions. “I told the brethren and sisters I would show them how to go forth in the dance in an acceptable manner before the Lord. I then knelt down and prayed to God in behalf of the meeting imploring His blessings to the rest upon those present and dedicating the meeting and house to the Lord.” The band then started playing a lively tune. John D. Lee wrote, “and in a moment the whole house appeared to me to be filled with the melodious sounds of the inspired harps of Heaven.” The dance was started by Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Joseph Young, and Orrin Porter Rockwell.
Joseph Hovey wrote this account:
Brother Brigham said he was going to have the first dance and his brethren with him so they would set a pattern for the rest. They called for the band, and on they came forthwith. Brother Brigham organized a number of couples and set the band to playing a tune, after which we kneeled down and prayed to the God of Heaven. I can truly say that the prayer that was offered up and the music and the dance were controlled with the Spirit of God which caused me to shed a flow of tears for joy . . . Truly I was led to say this was the way the ancient fathers praised the Lord in dance.
The evening was very enjoyable. At 10 p.m., President Young retired and the music ceased at 11 p.m.
Mary Richards had to contend with one of the most annoying trials of these cold winter days ‑‑ a smoky house. The sod chimney at times worked poorly, especially on cold days, not allowing the smoke to escape. Sister Richards wrote: “The house smoked so bad that it was almost imposable to keep any fire.”
Francis Boggs, age fifteen months, died. He was the son of Francis and Evelina Martin Boggs.
A daughter, Leonara Charlotte Snow, was born to Lorenzo and Charlotte Merrill Snow.
In the early morning, Colonel Cooke met with Baupista, an Indian chief of the Cahuillo nation. The Cahuillo had somewhat taken the side of the Californians (Mexicans) during the recent hostilities. They had also been driving off some of Warner’s cattle had been causing trouble. Colonel Cooke encouraged Baupista to “settle his people to their usual pursuits for a regular livelihood.” He was warned that “Americans were pouring in from every quarter and would forever govern the country.” They would aid the Indians who behaved. Baupista was asked “to settle down and be more quiet, and to drive in all the captured horses, etc., to Warner.”
The battalion started their march toward the pueblo at Los Angeles. They traveled twenty-four miles and camped in a valley. In the afternoon the rain began to fall heavily for several hours. Four or five beef cattle were killed for supper. At dark, Corporal William S. Muir and his small detachment arrived into camp with the flour shipment that had been stranded at the Gila because of the ill‑fated boating attempt.
Nathaniel V. Jones wrote: “There was an Indian came to us that night who appeared very friendly and he would not leave us that night, but laid all night on the ground before our tent, and it rained and the wind blew a gale until morning, then we gave him some meat for which he appeared very thankful.” The storm during the night was terrible. Most of the tents were blown down. The William Coray family tent blew down and William Coray had to plead hard to be allowed to bring his wife, Melissa, into the public wagon “because the boys knew it disturbed them from their warmest sleep and they remonstrated against our coming to this tent, but we finally prevailed.”
A conference was held at which former apostle and excommunicant from the Church, William E. McLellin and Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses, organized a following of about forty people into “The Church of Christ.”23
Orson Spencer arrived to preside over the British Mission. A false report of his death had preceded his arrival. An announcement of his death was even published in the Millennial Star. Franklin D. Richards had been appointed to take temporary charge of the mission. The elders were overjoyed when Orson Spencer arrived safely.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 509; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 55‑6; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:123; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 107; Our Pioneer Heritage, 5:352; Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 948; Wayne Gunnell “Martin Harris,” 55; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 231‑32; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:11; Ricketts, Melissa's Journey with the Mormon Battalion, 63; Whitney, History of Utah, 4:322; “Autobiography of Joseph Hovey,” BYU, 43
Sabbath meetings were held in the various Winter Quarters wards. Joseph Hovey wrote about his meeting:
A revelation was read which had been given previous concerning us being driven out from our inheritance of our fathers and concerning the keeping of our covenants and organizing into companies to journey in the spring. Also to humble ourselves and to keep all the commandments of God. If we felt like it we could praise the Lord by song, dance and playing on instruments.
Daniel Spencer was married to Emily Thompson Spencer. Brigham Young performed the ceremony. Emily had been the wife of Daniel’s late brother, Hiram Spencer.24 After this ceremony, Brigham Young sealed Claudius V. Spencer to Maria Antinetta Spencer (his cousin). Claudius was the son of Daniel Spencer.25 A celebration was then held complete with a wedding cake. Brigham Young also sealed Elijah F. Sheets and Margaret Hutchinson.26
In the evening, Brigham Young attended the Municipal High Council meeting at the Council House. He was concerned about fire safety in the city, and encouraged the bishops to see that all the houses in their wards were not fire-hazards. The straw roofs needed to be covered with dirt. “If anyone suffers, all the community suffers loss.” The Council additionally voted that all the gun powder in Winter Quarters be delivered to Hosea Stout, the captain of the police, for safekeeping, that it might not be accidentally “blown up.” There was much discussion on this point and later the vote was rescinded.
Bishop George Miller returned from the Missouri settlements from a trading expedition to buy goods for the Ponca settlement. In the evening, Wilford Woodruff had an interview with him. He probably informed Bishop Miller about the change in plans resulting from the revelation received on January 14.
Charity Campbell, wife of Nathaniel Campbell, died. Elizabeth Young, age sixty-two, died of dropsy. She was the wife of David Young.
A terrible rain continued all day. During the night, many of the cattle and mules strayed past the guards who had a difficult time seeing the animals in the rain. Henry Bigler wrote: “The wind blew a hurricane. Hardly a tent was found the next morning standing. Sam Hill, how it did rain! It was cold, and it seemed that it would kill every animal in the camp. A good many hats were lost.” James S. Brown recalled: “The flat was so flooded that we awoke to find ourselves half‑side deep in water.”
Word was spread throughout the camp that the flour had arrived from the Gila River. Men were assigned to distribute the flour to their companies. James S. Brown was one of them.
At the door of the tent where the flour was being divided we met Col. Cooke, who was sitting with his head down, as if in deep study. Some of the boys had found a fiddle that had fared better than its owner, and near by one of the struck up the tune of “Leather Breeches Full of Stitches,” or some similar lively air. Immediately, a number of men formed a couple of French fours and began dancing in water half to their shoe tops. The colonel caught the sound, started up and inquired what it was. Someone replied, “Oh, nothing, only the boys dancing and making merry over the prospect of getting a little flour.
The colonel shrugged his shoulders and remarked, “I never saw such a damned set of men before in my life. If they can get out somewhere so they can dry their clothes and have a little flour they will be as happy as gods!”
The battalion marched a few miles to find a better spot of brush and trees for the animals to feed on, near Wild Horse Peak. The loads carried by the men and in the wagons were heavier than usual because many things were saturated with rain water. Many of the men traveled wrapped in wet blankets.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 509‑10; Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1138; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 58; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:123; Brooks ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 230; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 232‑33; Gudde, Bigler's Chronicle of the West, 46; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 476; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 70‑1; “Joseph Hovey Autobiography,” BYU, 43
Brigham Young met with his emigration company to organize it further. Ezra T. Benson asked the company if they wished to appoint their own officers, or if they want President Young to make the appointments. The company chose the latter. Isaac Morley was appointed president of the company with Reynolds Cahoon and John Young as counselors. Captains of hundreds included: Daniel Spencer, Edward Hunter, and Willard Snow. Captains of fifties included: Jacob Gates, Erastus Snow, Ira Eldredge, James W. Cummings, Joseph B. Noble, Benjamin L. Clapp, Benjamin Brown, and Charles Bird.
President Young instructed the company about Church Government and the appointing of leaders. He said that the right to appoint captains of hundreds and fifties belonged to the people. He explained there would be a time in the future of the Church when it became so large that it would be impossible for one man to appoint officers.
The Captains of the companies were asked to choose names to fill up their companies. Captains of tens were to take an inventory of property to make sure the wives of the Mormon Battalion soldiers could be taken with them if possible. After the company was fully organized, they would determine who should go ahead as pioneers and who would follow later. Houses at Winter Quarters would be moved into a line to form a stockade for protection for those who had to stay behind for another year.
Orson Pratt was appointed to go on a mission to Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove, to organize the Saints and present to them the “Word and Will of the Lord.” Ezra T. Benson was to do the same at Ponca. Charles C. Rich was appointed to take command of the military.
Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve later met at the Octagon to write an epistle to the Saints at Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove.
Wilford and Phoebe Woodruff watched over Margaret Sheets, who was very ill. During this time, Elder Woodruff wrote a letter to Joseph Stratton, who was serving as the Church leader over the Saints in St. Louis, Missouri.
Conditions at Garden Grove were becoming desperate. The Saints were very low on provisions. A meeting was held at which Luman Shurtliff and Daniel S. Hunt were chosen to take a petition signed by a Garden Grove committee, to a number of settlements to the east where others may have provisions that could help the starving Saints at Garden Grove.
The petition included:
Be it known to all persons to whom this instrument shall be presented that we about 600 persons (Latter‑day Saints), late citizens of Hancock County, Illinois, were driven from our houses and farms by the hands of our enemies and compelled to leave most of the necessaries of life, driven across the Mississippi River at the point of the bayonet into Iowa and are now encamped on the Pottawattamie lands, Iowa Territory. Most of our brethren who had teams and provisions have gone further west. We are poor, many of our number are widows and orphans, made such by our late exposure. Most of us are nearly destitute of clothing; in fact, we have scarcely sufficient to cover our nakedness in such circumstances with only a scant supply of corn for the winter and remote from settlement that unless we receive assistance from some source, many of us must assuredly perish. We are therefore induced to appeal to the sympathy of the free and benevolent part of the community for assistance. We therefore invite you to stretch forth your hands with liberality and give to our agents such things as you have which will make the poor widows’ and orphans’ hearts rejoice and thank God of heaven and his blessings will rest upon you with fourfold for all you give to the poor persecuted but honest, virtuous and industrious people.
The committee that signed this petition was: John Topham, William Storrel, Lorenzo Johnson, Thomas McChan, and William Carson.
A daughter, Elizabeth Ann Neeley, was born to Lewis and Elizabeth Miller Neeley.
A son, Almon Whiting Babbitt, was born to Almon W. and Julia Johnson Babbitt. The Babbitt family was still in Nauvoo because Brother Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, was still trying to sell Nauvoo property.
In the morning, the creek was still “belly deep” but the battalion marched on for twelve miles toward the Temecula Valley. As they approached the valley, they noticed about 150 Indian warriors in single file across the road with a glitter of arms, spears, and other weapons. The men were greatly alarmed and thought that the Indians might be allies of the Mexicans. The Indians, on the other hand, thought the battalion might be the Mexicans. James S. Brown explained:
Every officer took his place, the command dressed in proper order, and, as we advanced, comrades looked into each other's faces as if to say, ‘How do you feel about it?’ On asked Alexander Stephens the question, and received a prompt reply, ‘First‑rate. . . . If we must die, the sooner the better, for it seems that we must be worn till we starve and die anyhow. I do not fear death a particle.’ Others were heard to say as much, and although the ashy look of death shone in many faces, from the privations undergone, I do not think there was a tremor in any heart, or a single man who showed the white feather. As we drew near the force in our path, there was a dead silence, as if awaiting the order to wheel into line and open fire, for we were within rifle range.
At that moment, two Indians rode up and the Colonel sent forward two interpreters. The confusion was cleared up quickly and the Indians welcomed the soldiers. This Indian party had come to this place to bury their dead from a massacre earlier in the month by the California Mexicans. About one hundred warriors had been killed about two weeks earlier.
In the evening, a messenger arrived with news from General Kearny. The war in California was over and the battalion was to meet General Kearny at San Diego instead of pressing on, to Los Angeles. This brought great joy to the men. Robert Bliss wrote: “God be Praised for his protection over us according to the Word of his Servant the Prophet.”
A messenger, John Albert, arrived and reported that Mexicans and Indians had attacked Taos [New Mexico] about 150 miles to the southeast. (See January 19, 1847.) He reported that they massacred almost every white man including Charles Bent, the governor of the province and Simeon Turley, a rich rancher who had taken in some battalion members. John Steele wrote: “The man who brought the news said he believed he had killed eight Spaniards himself and got there in two days on foot with a narrow escape, several balls being shot through his hat.”
This caused great fear to come into the hearts of the Saints at Pueblo. They sent a messenger to Bent’s Fort to relay the news and expected that they would probably have to abandon their fort at Pueblo. However, a return message later was received that stated that the quartermaster at Bent’s Fort could not authorize their removal. Those orders could only be issued from Santa Fe.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 510‑11; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:123‑24; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 58‑9; Our Pioneer Heritage, 1:505; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 69; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 298, 476‑78; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 233‑34; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:85; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 72
Heber C. Kimball met with and organized his emigration company. Alpheus Cutler was elected president, with Winslow Farr and Daniel Russell as counselors. The captains of hundreds chosen were: Henry Herriman, Isaac Higbee and Shadrach Roundy. The captains of fifties were: John Pack, George B. Wallace, Levi E. Riter, and Milo Andrus. The captains of tens would be appointed by the captains of hundreds and fifties.
Elder Kimball proposed that his company build a house for Bishop George Miller in the event that he would return to Winter Quarters from Ponca, to take his place as bishop with Bishop Newel K. Whitney. The brethren agreed to build this house.27
Orson Pratt left Winter Quarters to visit Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove. He was to share with the “Word and Will of the Lord” and to organize them into companies.
In the afternoon, the Seventies had a “picnic dancing party” at the Council House for those who had worked on the building. Brigham Young and Ezra T. Benson also attended. William Clayton and the Quadrille Band provided the music. Mary Richards was invited to attend by Stephen Goddard, the Winter Quarters Choir Director. She was delighted to accept this invitation to be escorted to the dance. The dance was started according to the pattern that Brigham Young had established the previous Saturday. Mary Richards wrote:
Bro[ther] G[oddard] took me on to the floor the first dance. Here for the first time I joined with those who praised God in the dance when this figure was formed it being the first, and Bro [Albert P.] Rockwood being at the head. According to order, we all kneeled down and he offered up a prayer. We then arose & danced the figure and so praised God in dance . . . had a very pleasent part and some good refreshments. About 11 oclock every man took his partner or partners & marched 3 times round the room. We were then dismised with the blessings of God.
At 5 p.m., John D. Lee had a long conversation with Brigham Young regarding using the battalion money to buy goods. Brother Lee was troubled because the goods purchased with the money were being sold at a higher price in order to liquidate the debt for the flouring mill. President Young assured Brother Lee that he had done well and that all would turn out all right. As soon as the mill was in operation, it would generate additional funds to help the Saints as a whole.
Sophronia Harmon Kimball, age twenty-two, died of chills and fever. She was a wife of Heber C. Kimball and a daughter of Jesse P. and Anna Harmon.
In the morning, the men watched the Indians bury their dead and then they took up their journey for San Diego. They traveled through present‑day Rainbow, California and had to climb a steep and winding ravine. They later had to ford San Luis River and Henry Bigler recorded: “In fording a creek that was flush from the late rain and ran swift as a mill tail and pretty rough, every officer except the Colonel got a complete ducking. Their mules fell from under them. The guides did not escape and every soldier had to wade. It was rather a wet time.”
After sixteen miles, they camped on the banks of the San Luis River, about two miles east of the deserted San Juan Ranch. Henry Standage wrote: “Vegetation is flourishing, grass and clover high enough for excellent feed. I gathered some mustard this evening for greens.” Robert S. Bliss was equally delighted: “I picked mustard from 5 to 10 inches high for our supper & where the spring birds are from the Goose to the Hummingbird the most delightful country I ever was in.” A large herd of cattle was discovered and Colonel Cooke ordered that some of them be taken for food.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 511; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 59‑60; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 107; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 231; William Clayton's Journal, 71; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 205; Gudde, Bigler's Chronicle of the West, 47; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:85; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 298, 478‑79
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Ezra T. Benson met with the presidents and captains of the emigrating companies to help them further organize their groups.
Another Seventies party was held in the Council House. Two parties had been scheduled because of the large numbers who had helped with the Council House. William Clayton recorded: “At 2 p.m. at the Council House with the Quadrille Band and played for another company of those who had assisted in building the house. We had plenty of refreshments and a very sociable party as on yesterday. Broke up again about midnight.”
Willard Richards wrote a very long letter on behalf of the Twelve, to be taken with Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow to the Ponca settlement, consisting of 396 Saints, including 98 men. It was full of counsel and news.
We send this by our well beloved brethren, Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow, who will read to you “The Word and Will of the Lord” given at Winter Quarters of the Camp of Israel, January 14, 1847, concerning the travels of the saints westward. Brethren, this is a subject that has long attracted our attention, and concerning which we have thought and felt deeply. . . . While we were contemplating and praying and councilling on this all important subject, the Word and Will of the Lord, as you will hear from Brother Benson, was received, and it has been presented to all the authorities of the different Quorums of the Priesthood and Church assembled at this place, and received their united and unanimous sanction, and consequently has become a law unto all saints as well unto ourselves as unto those unto whome this Epistle is directed, and we improve this, the earliest opportunity to make known to you the truth received, and our action thereon.
News was shared of the recent organization of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball's companies. This organization would next determine who, within these companies, would be ready to depart in the spring with an advance group of pioneers to find a place for a summer crop. Then they would determine who should follow later in the season. Those who remained would continue to prepare to leave the following year and would take care of the teams during the next winter. “This is to be a pattern for each company; thus with a little time and patience, and a great deal of active industry, every man and woman will be found in their own order and place amidst the inhabitations of the righteous, just where they want to be; and just where they must be, if they find salvation in this generation.”
The wives of the battalion members would be taken along to meet the returning battalion, eliminating the need for those soldiers to return all the way to the Missouri to retrieve their families.
It was recognized that the Ponca Saints were at a location where they could not stay for a long period of time. They were admonished to prepare to move as a body to some place where they could put in spring crops with others from Winter Quarters, probably up the Platte River.
The Ponca Saints were informed in this letter that Bishop George Miller was to return to Winter Quarters with his household, and would travel with the pioneers in the spring. John Kay was asked to return with Bishop Miller, “and bring his songs with him . . . we like a little music as well as you. Come brother Kay and give us a song.”
Recent news was shared from Nauvoo. Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, had traveled to New York in an attempt to sell Kirtland and Nauvoo property. There had been few or no sales. “A kind of general peace prevails in Hancock [County], on the principle that the saints have left, and sinners have it their own way.”
No news had been received recently regarding the Mormon Battalion or the Mexican War. The Winter Quarters flouring mill would be ready for operation as soon as the weather warmed up.
They wrote of the splinter groups. “Sidney Rigdon, like the lost wandering bee, has returned to the old hive . . . a Campbellite.”28 They also wrote of James J. Strang and his followers who were not doing well. William Smith, the excommunicated brother of the prophet, was following after him. Even John C. Bennett had taken up with Strang. Reuben Miller had found the error of his ways and had published a pamphlet which was convincing many people of the false teachings of Strang.
Lucy Mack Smith was reported to be in Knoxville, Illinois with her son William. It was rumored that she had taken up with Strangism, “but we think it will not be long” because they believed Strang's church would soon fall. “It would rejoice our hearts if mother Smith was with us so that we could minister to her necessities.”
They shared news from the United States, the wars, killing, destruction, progress, and scientific advancements. News had also been received from England regarding the arrival of Orson Hyde and other members of the Twelve.
The long epistle was closed with: “May the God of Elijah hasten the time when we shall be together in some pleasant place, where we can build a Temple unto his name and administer in those ordinances which will restore us to his presence.”
William A. Duncan, age forty-three, died of dropsy. His wife, Dolly Hollingsworth Duncan, died two months earlier.
The battalion resumed their march at noon. They came to the deserted San Luis Mission and saw several Indian huts nearby, but no houses. There was a beautiful vineyard of about 20 acres.29 Colonel Cooke described: “This is a fine large church of . . . brick, with an immense quadrangle of apartments with a corridor, and pillars and arches on each side within and on one face without.” Robert S. Bliss added: that it was “one of the most splendid Churches I ever beheld among the Spanish nation & evidently a Nunery for many years 30 porches in front.” While at the mission, a message was received from General Kearny instructing the battalion to set up quarters in a Catholic Church, five miles from San Diego.
At 1 p.m., the battalion saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Henry Standage wrote that it “was a great sight to some, never having seen any portion of the Briny deep before.” Colonel Cooke wrote: “The sun was sinking beyond, and so placid was the sea that it shone a vast space of seemingly transparent light, which, by contrast, gave to the clear sky a dusky shade. What a strange spectacle was that!” Henry Boyle added: “When our columns were halted, every eye was turned toward its placid surface, every heart beat with muttered pleasure, every Soul was full of thankfulness, every tongue was silent, we all felt too full to give shape to our feeling by any expression.” Daniel Tyler recalled:
Prior to leaving Nauvoo, we had talked about and sung of “the great Pacific sea” and we were now upon its very borders, and its beauty far exceeded our most sanguine expectations. Our joy, however, was not unmixed with sorrow. The next thought was, where, oh where were our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, and children whome we had left in the howling wilderness, among savages, or at Nauvoo, subject to the cruelties of the mobs?
They marched on and camped near the seashore. Many were kept awake by the sound of the surf.
Tensions were high as the Saints continued to worry about a possible attack on their settlement by those who had caused the recent massacre at Taos. All the cattle were rounded up and driven to the north for safety. Log cabins were moved together to create a stockade. Guards kept watch night and day and the families were ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 511‑18; Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, 391; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:124; William Clayton's Journal, 71; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 205; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 300, 479‑482; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 235‑37; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:85; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 73; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 252‑53; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and other Great Western Trails, 231
Three inches of snow fell on Winter Quarters. Hosea Stout wrote: “This morning there was a fine white, soft, warm snow which had fallen last night, accompanied by a south wind. The snow continued to fall untill near 12. The wind was mild and no way uncomfortable. It was truly a beautiful morning.”
The Twelve, Seventies, and their wives spent the day in the Council House “singing, praying, dancing and making merry before the Lord.” William Clayton recorded: “At the store till noon, and then at the Council House with the Quadrille Band playing for the third party of those who had assisted in building the house, together with the poor basket makers.”
John D. Lee and M. Anderson took a span of mules and rode to the settlements on the Boyer River (across the Missouri and up the river) to obtain money for the Church.
At 6 p.m., the Twelve met with the High Council to conduct some business. At 8 p.m., the Twelve took their families to the Council House and danced until 2 a.m.
Nancy Walker Alexander, age twenty-nine, died. She was the wife of Horace M. Alexander.
A son, William Alma Perkins, was born to Ute and Ann Warren Perkins. A daughter, Emily Persinda Tyler, was born to Daniel and Ruth Welton Tyler.30
The battalion marched very early. Such a heavy dew had fallen during the night that the tents were as soaked as if it had rained. They marched past several houses during the day. They also observed thousands of cattle and horses that were running wild. Farms looked desolate because of the recent war. Henry Standage wrote: “It is now spring though in January ‑‑ everything seems to rejoice; the grass, the trees, weeds, the birds on the trees, all seem to rejoice.” They traveled within sight of the ocean all day and after fifteen miles and reached San Diequito Valley in the afternoon. All of the officers asked for permission to go into San Diego on the following day. The roar of the ocean could again be heard all night.
Henry Bigler observed: “Carcasses do not seem to rot in these countries as soon as they do in the United States, but literally dry up like a mummy, and I do not know but the people live longer for I have seen some Mexicans and Indians who looked to me as if they were as old as the everlasting hills.”
George D. Wilson pressed charges against Lieutenant William Willis for not providing the amount of rations that the law required. Captain James Brown heard the case but refused to hear Wilson’s witnesses. He decided the case in favor of Lt. Willis.
Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor had left Liverpool on the ship, America, bound for New Orleans, on January 19. Parley P. Pratt wrote:
We soon met a gale of wind, which was directly contrary to us. This gale continued for nine days, without any cessation or abatement, during which time we were beating in a land‑locked channel between Ireland and England, without gaining fifty miles on our course, being in imminent danger of being cast away on a lee shore. During all this time our Captain lay sick in his berth with a fever on the brain, and much of the time in a state of mental derangement. We frequently watched with him, and in his rational moments he would converse a little. He said his family lived in America, and he much wished to get to them, but was very positive he should never see them more, having been for many days oppressed with a sure and certain presentiment that he should never reach America alive. We, in reply, allowed that presentiments of that kind were possible, and sometimes true, and to be depended on, but not always. And Brother Taylor and myself assured him, as men of God, that his present presentiment was false, and that both him and his vessel would reach America in safety. This we assured him over and over again, from day to day. After nine days of severe struggle with the wind and waves, the mate and supercargo becoming discouraged, and the men worn out, they counselled with us and concluded to put back into the port of Liverpool, which was accordingly done after some difficulty and delay.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 512; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 61; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:124; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 205‑06; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 237; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 306, 482; Gudde, Bigler's Chronicle of the West, 47‑8; William Clayton's Journal, 72
It was a clear warm day, with soft snow falling. Hosea Stout wrote, “A man could take comfort in life. Every thing seemed to smile.”
George Miller started out for Ponca. Elders George A. Smith and Amasa M. Lyman returned to Winter Quarters after a trip visiting various camps of the Saints between Winter Quarters and Macedonia Camp. They had held eight meetings and “found the brethren in a cold and indifferent state, when compared with the brethren in Winter Quarters.”
It was the first anniversary of the marriage of Samuel and Mary Richards. Samuel W. Richards was far away in England on a mission. Mary wrote about her activities this day: “We had a little snow after getting my breakfast & doing up my work I went up to our tent. Found a good fire in the stove was there all alone for several hours, writing a letter to my far absent husband. Felt very lonely although it seemed good to be alone awhile communicating my thoughts to that absent friend who is dearer to me, yes far dearer than all others.”
In the evening Mary Richards went with Elsy Snyder and Maria Wilcox to a Choir sing along at the Council House. “There were more of Choir tonight at the Council house than had been seen together since we left Nauvoo.” They sang for an hour and then danced late into the night. Members of the Twelve joined in the festivities. Wilford Woodruff wrote, “We felt to praise the Lord in our hearts.”
But despite this festive time, Mary Richards longed for her husband. “My thoughts were wandering on by gone days & I could not help recalling to mind the many changes that had taken place since that night a year ago. Then was I happy in the Sociaty of the only one I ever loved but now more than 5000 miles separates us from each other, and the ever restless ocean rolls between us but hope still wispers we shall meet again.”
William Smith, age forty-eight, died of chills. He was the husband of Ann Smith.
John D. Lee addressed the Saints at Boyer River on “the organization and the necessary requisites to prepare us to build up Zion.”
The battalion marched early and on this historic day, achieved a goal that they had looked forward to for many months ‑‑ they arrived at San Diego, California. Their march of 103 days covered about 1,400 miles. Colonel Cooke set up his headquarters at the deserted San Diego Mission, about five miles from the village of San Diego. They could see several ships at anchor in the bay of San Diego.
Sergeant Nathaniel V. Jones described the mission:
The mission of San Diego is beautifully situated on a gentle elevation of table land . . . with a plaza in front and a little over one story high. The walls are of unburnt brick whitewashed both on the outside and inside, the building is covered with concave tile which are laid on and last fast. The burial ground is on the east side, the church on the west. . . . The rooms are dark and damp with brick floors. There are two beautiful vineyards on the flat in front of the building. They are interspersed with olive trees and in the front of the vineyard on the left are two beautiful palm trees with a large wine press in the front corner.31
In the evening, Colonel Cooke went to San Diego and reported to General Kearny that a wagon road had been made all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The battalion ended up with only seven wagons.
Reflecting on the battalion's accomplishments, Sergeant Jones wrote: “We have opened roads through impassable mountains and trackless deserts, without wood, water, or grass and almost without provisions. We now find ourselves without clothes and worn down with fatigue. For nearly thirty days we have had nothing but beef and not enough of that all the time.”32
After visiting with friends on shore, John Taylor and Parley P. Pratt again prepared to set sail for America. Orson Hyde planned to stay behind for a few days to take care of some business in the Church office. On this day, Parley P. Pratt wrote a letter that was later published in the Millennial Star:
Beloved Brethren ‑‑ Having been so crowded with business and care on my late departure from your shores for my home in the distant wilds of western America, I had no time to say farewell, or to leave my blessing with you in a formal manner as a whole, although expressed frequently in our farewell meetings. I have, therefore, providentially returned to your midst, after nine days of seafaring life, in order to take a fair start, and to say farewell through the medium of the Star. I feel the most perfect satisfaction with the manner of our reception and entertainment among you as men of God. I also feel that we have, as far as time would permit, accomplished the work for which we came, and that the utmost success and prosperity has attended our labors. . . . We have also been received and entertained in the most kind and hospitable manner in every place we have been permitted to visit. We have been lodged, fed, comforted and cheered as if we had been angels of glad tidings, and we feel the utmost satisfaction in expressing our most grateful thanks for all the kindness and assistance rendered unto us while in your midst; . . . Ye sons and daughters of Zion, be of good cheer; for God will deliver you in due time, and gather in one the children of God. Pray for us and for the camp of the Saints in the wilderness. Farewell.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 512; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 61; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:124; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 107‑08; Brooks ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 232; Parley Pratt Autobiography, 325‑26; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:85; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:13; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and other Great Western Trails, 304
During the early morning hours, Hosea Stout stood guard at the home of Wilford Woodruff because Joseph Herring had still been threatening Elder Woodruff’s life. After Brother Stout’s shift, the assigned police guard did not arrive. Brother Stout had received several reports that this brother had not been showing up for his guard duties and this time he witnessed it firsthand. In the morning, he counseled with Brigham Young on the matter.
Members of the Twelve met together to read letters from Elders Hyde and John Taylor in England, Joseph A. Stratton in St. Louis, and Orson Spencer in Philadelphia.33 A conference of Seventies was held in the Council House.
Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow started for Ponca. Orrin Porter Rockwell and Samuel Gully also went taking teams to Ponca, to help George Miller bring his family back to Winter Quarters. Erastus Snow wrote: “We had light wagons and horses that carried our provisions and horse feed with us. We bore northwest on to the Elkhorn River and followed up the same several days.”
In the evening, the delinquent policeman met with Hosea Stout and the marshal. He confessed his neglect to duty but still pled innocence and ignorance, that his intentions were good. He expected that with this confession, all would be made right. Brother Stout wrote: “We told him that he must be dropped from the police, and all his wages not be paid, be forfeited, which was the lightest decisions which we could give & if he could not abide that he could have it investigated before the Council and abide their decision be that better or worse.” He agreed to abide by this decision and forfeited $19.75.
Elijah Bailey, age eight months, died of a concussion. He was the son of Jerrey C. and Sarah Bailey.
John D. Lee met with Ruth Stewart who had an estate of $4,000 in Alabama. She asked Brother Lee to handle the estate. He took the papers and promised to bring the matter before the Church leaders soon. He borrowed $60 which he promised to pay back. He returned to Winter Quarters and saw John Berry, who had just arrive from Mt. Pisgah.
A son, Joseph Thomas Winkless, was born to Thomas and Mary James Winkless.34
The battalion rested in their camp between two vineyards in front of the San Diego Mission. Henry Bigler reported: “The soldiers busy cleaning out the mission rooms. They were very dirty and full of fleas as they have not been occupied except by Indians for some time.” The men were still lacking in provisions, but were looking forward to the arrival of a ship with food that should be arriving any day from the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). Captain Jefferson Hunt wrote a letter to General Kearny stating that the battalion were destitute of clothing, shoes, and had very little food. In the evening, a company of General Kearny’s men arrived. General Kearny had left during the day on a ship bound for Monterey.
Colonel Cooke issued a historic order in recognizing the accomplishments of the Battalion:
The lieutenant colonel commanding, congratulates the battalion on their safe arrival on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and the conclusion of their march of over two thousand miles.
History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry. Half of it has been through a wilderness, where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for want of water, there is no living creature. There, with almost hopeless labor, we have dug deep wells, which the future traveler will enjoy. Without a guide who had traversed them we have ventured into trackless tablelands where water was not found for several marches. With crowbar and pick and axe in hand, we have worked our way over mountains, which seemed to defy aught save the wild goat, and hewed a pass through a chasm of living rock more narrow than our wagons. To bring these first wagons to the Pacific, we have preserved the strength of our mules by herding them over large tracts, which you have laboriously guarded without loss. The garrison of four presidios of Sonora concentrated within the walls of Tucson, gave us no pause. We drove them out, with their artillery, but our intercourse with the citizens was unmarked by a single act of injustice. Thus, marching half naked and half fed, and living upon wild animals, we have discovered and made a road of great value to our country.
Arrived at the first settlements of California, after a single day's rest, you cheerfully turned off from the route to this point of promised repose, to enter upon a campaign, and meet, as we supposed, the approach of an enemy; and this too, without even salt to season your sole subsistence of fresh meat.
Lieutenants A. J. Smith and George Stoneman, of the first dragoons, have shared and given invaluable aid in all these labors.
Thus volunteers, you have exhibited some high and essential qualities of veterans. But much remains undone. Soon, you will turn your attention to the drill, to system and order, to forms also, which are all necessary to the soldier.
Yerba Buena was officially renamed to San Francisco, California.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 518‑19; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 61‑2; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 232; Our Pioneer Heritage, 3:498; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:120; Gudde, Bigler’s Chronicle of the West, 48; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:85; “Erastus Snow, autobiography,” typescript, 101
Meetings were held in the various wards. Lorenzo Dow Young and his wife Harriet decided to stay home and rest. The Youngs had spent all week laboring very hard butchering hogs. Wilford Woodruff preached in the 14th Ward. Mary Richards attended her ward's meeting. She recorded: “Brother Curtis preached to us & said we were now enjoying a day of Jublee, but days of trouble were yet before us in which we should be tried in every thing, but if we endured our trials patiently, our reward would be great.”
Brigham Young was very ill with a bad cold. In the afternoon a meeting was held in the Council House. William W. Major from London preached. Also in the afternoon, John D. Lee sent off several men for Missouri on a trading expedition with a wagon and four mules. These men were George Laub, T. Johnson, and William Woolsey.
Brigham Young got out of his sick bed to perform the marriage of William F. Carter and Hannah Cordelia Meecham.
The High Council met in the evening and appointed Bishop Newel K. Whitney to supervise the cutting of timber on the east side of the Missouri River. He would make sure that no wood would be wasted. A choir practice (singing school) was held at George D. Grant's school room.
Several of the men went into San Diego and marveled at the ships anchored in the harbor. Henry Standage wrote: “I got permission to go to San Diego, for the purpose of procuring if possible a pair of shoes, being barefooted, and destitute of many things. Could not so much as purchase an ear of corn or anything else in the bread line. . . . No shoes to be had or much else.”
Orders arrived from General Kearny that the battalion was to march back to San Luis Mission until Kearny returned from his trip to Monterey. General Kearny’s detachment of dragoons would march with them. Henry Standage commented: “It does seem as if we never should have rest while in the service of the U.S.”
A conference of the Church was held at St. Louis. It was reported that there were 1,478 members present. Hundreds of Saints had been gathering at St. Louis from various places in Illinois, other States, and England.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 518‑19; Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:155; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 61‑2; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:125; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 108; Kimball, BYU Studies, 13:4:507; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 208‑09
1Horace Martin Alexander Sr. was away serving in the Mormon Battalion. He later settled his family in Springville and Parowan, Utah. He served a mission to the Southern States in 1875.
2Solomon Wixom joined the Church in 1832. He later settled his family in Brigham City Utah, and then Paris, Idaho.
3Strang did win the following of William Marks and would hold a series of meetings in the Marks home. They would invite Joseph Smith III to attend, but he never did. A small congregation of Strangites would be established in Fulton.
4Moroni would die in Winter Quarters on August 10, 1847.
5This crossing is in present‑day Yuma, Arizona, eight miles down river from the I‑8 bridge.
6It had been reported the Lucy Mack Smith was with her son, William, who was following after James J. Strang. Strang claimed to be Joseph Smith’s true successor.
7John Smith joined the Church in 1844, in Ontario Canada. He would later arrive in Utah, in 1848. He served as a counselor in the bishopric of the Mill Creek ward in 1854-59. He later moved his family to Tooele, Utah.
8More than sixty years later, Newel Knight's son, Jesse Knight, erected a sixteen foot marble monument near the Ponca Fort site in honor of his father and others who died their during the winter of 1845‑46.
9This site was later known as Cooke's Well and is located two miles north of present‑day Paredones, California.
10George P. Dykes was away in the Mormon Battalion.
11Samuel Bennion joined the Church in 1842, in England. He gathered with the Saints in Nauvoo and left in May, 1846. He stopped with his family in Garden Grove. He arrived in Utah in 1847 and later settled in Taylorsville. He then presided over the North Branch of the West Jordan Ward for many years and later became the bishop.
12The Edwards family later settled in Ephraim, Utah.
13The Eggleston family would later settle in Ogden, Utah, where Samuel served as a counselor in the Ogden 2nd Ward.
14Magdalena’s husband, Edmund Durfee had been murdered by the mob before the Saints left Nauvoo.
15William Hyde (Sr.) was away serving in the Mormon Battalion. The family arrived in Utah in 1849. William was called on a mission to Australia in 1852. He later was the first Bishop of Hyde Park, Utah.
16George Washington Langley served in the police guard. He was the first man to be buried in the Salt Lake cemetery.
17In 1853, a geologist described these springs. “Three or four palm trees, each about thirty feet high, are standing on the bank from which the spring issue. They are much injured by fire and the persevering attacks of emigrants, who have cut down many of the finest of the group, as if determined that the only trees that grace the sandy avenue to the Desert, and afford a cool shade for the springs, should be destroyed.”
18These men were: Wilford Woodruff, Aphek Woodruff, John Fowler, Abraham O. Smoot, William C. A. Smoot, John Grierson, Chancy W. Porter, John Benbow, Simeon Blanchard, Jacob Burnham, Little John Utley, Samuel Turnbow, Elijah F. Allen, Ezra Clark, Edward Stevenson, Zera Pulsipher, John M. Wolley, Albert Dewey, William Stewart, Thomas Clark, and Hezekiah Peck.
19These cuts in the rock are still visible today. They can be viewed from an observation platform and from a path that leads down to them. There is a marker that recognized the Mormon Battalion's work there.
20The Wilson family later went to California and helped settle San Bernardion.
21Jonathan Trumbull Warner was born in Connecticut. In 1830 he went west and in 1831 he arrived in Los Angeles, California, where he became a successful merchant. He became a Mexican citizen and changed his name to Juan Jose Warner. In 1845 he established his 44,000 acre ranch and built an adobe house. The ruins of the ranch can be seen on San Diego County Road S2, less than a mile from the junction with State Highway 79, about 13.5 miles north of Santa Ysabel.
22Freeman Nickerson was baptized in 1833 by Zerubbabel Snow. In 1838 he organized a branch of the Church in Pittsburgh consisting of forty members. He later was one of the early settlers of Nauvoo and served various missions.
23David Whitmer, still in Missouri, was chosen as the president of the church. The members believed in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament, but expressed disbelief in many of the revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The organization, failed as McLellin desired to establish headquarters at Kirtland, Ohio, and David Whitmer refused to leave his home in Richmond, Missouri. He soon afterwards denounced “McLellinism” as an error and the movement dispersed.
24Hiram had died the previous August at Mount Pisgah.
25The Claudius Spencer family later settled in Salt Lake City, where Claudius served as a member of the city council. He later filled two missions to Great Britain and two in the United States.
26Elijah Funk Sheets joined the Church in 1840, Margaret in 1845. Elijah and Margaret were married by Wilford Woodruff on January 16, 1846 as Elijah was returning from a mission in England. Margaret Sheets soon died a few days after they were sealed. She had given birth to a daughter on Christmas Day. Elijah later arrived in Utah, in 1847. He served as the Bishop of the Salt Lake 8th Ward for more than forty‑five years.
27George Miller was currently in Winter Quarters, about to journey back up to Ponca, over 150 miles up the Missouri River. Bishop Miller had just returned from a trading expedition and was informed about the new revelation (D&C 136). Brigham Young released him from his leadership over the Ponca settlement. He was asked to settle his affairs there and return to Winter Quarters to attend to his duties as a second Presiding Bishop in the Church. Bishop Miller was very outspoken and independent. Many people doubted if he would humble himself to accept this counsel. Hosea Stout recalled some of Brigham Young's words regarding Bishop Miller's “stubbornness and insubordination.” He wrote: “He [President Young] said that there was some men who had to be coaxed along with a lump of sugar to keep them from running off to the Gentiles & bringing persecution on us; But he said they would yet deny the faith & he would be glad how soon, for he would not coax much longer.”
28Actually, Sidney Rigdon was still leading his small following in the “Church of Christ” at Antrim Township in Pennsylvania. In December, 1846 he had been prophesying that the end was immediately coming, that a “conflict would rage till the streets were drenched with blood.” During this month of January, 1847, his group met serious financial problems as foreclosure proceedings started against his farm. One evening he gathered his followers for an all‑night prayer vigil, praying that God would hasten the second coming of Christ. Things wouldn't improve. Rigdon would lose the farm, and the church would soon dissolve.
29The San Luis Mission was founded in 1798. This mission has been restored and is located four miles east of Interstate 5, on Mission Avenue in Oceanside. There is a marker near the main entrance that mentions the Mormon Battalion.
30Daniel Tyler was away serving in the Mormon Battalion.
31The mission was built in 1760 by Franciscan Father Junipero Serra.
32At 2510 Juan Street in San Diego is the Mormon Battalion Memorial Visitors’ Center. There is also a monument nearby at Presido Park with five memorial plaques.
33Orson Spencer by this time was in England.
34Joseph Winkless later would grow up and be the superintendent of construction that built the Grand Theater and other buildings in Salt Lake City, Utah.