Sunday, January 6, 1850 - Saturday, January 12, 1849
On Sunday evening the bishops, high priests, and their families met with President Brigham Young. Many of the children were blessed and President Young gave some counsel to the sisters present.
Later in the week a public meeting was held under the bowery to discuss a proposal to build a damn across the Jordan River. Brigham Young recommended that a dam be built for irrigation and to propel machinery. Three thousand dollars was appropriated for the construction of a dam across the river. George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson were appointed to serve on a committee to build the dam.
News arrived from Utah Valley that the Indians were again stealing horses and cattle. Hostilities were increasing and one Indian had been killed.
Elder Parley P. Pratt was leading an exploring expedition in Southern Utah. His company consisted of about fifty men. In December they had visited the new settlement in Manti and then made their way south, reaching the site of present-day Parowan by Christmas Day. At that point, because of worn-out oxen, they divided into two groups. Elder Pratt took nineteen men with him to explore further to the south, while the rest of the brethren stayed with the cattle. Elder Pratt and his pack company explored the Virgin and Santa Clara River valleys.
The weather seemed like early spring. Buds were on the trees and new grass was springing up. During the previous week they started their return journey to the north and passed through the valley which would later be named "Mountain Meadows." On Monday they were again reunited with the brethren at Center Creek, at the present-day site of Parowan. On Tuesday the company raised up a forty-foot liberty pool, flew a flag, and held a public dinner. They fired a cannon in celebration of the return of Elder Pratt's company. Later in the week the entire company began their long journey home. On Saturday they reached the present-day site of Beaver.
Elder Wilford Woodruff received a letter from the valley. He rejoiced to hear the latest news. The brethren let him know that new settlements had been established in Ogden and Manti. He learned that the Nauvoo Legion had been organized again and that a new large bowery had been constructed. Baths were begin built at the warm springs and good progress was being made on the Council House. He learned that several members of the Twelve had been called on missions to foreign nations.
Elder Woodruff received specific instructions to gather up all the Saints in his area and to bring them to the valley. He was also to bring equipment to establish wool and cotton factories, and an iron foundry. Elder Woodruff spent the rest of the week writing numerous letters to the Saints scattered in the East.
On Friday the ship "Argo" sailed from Liverpool with 402 Saints on board. They were under the leadership of Jeter Clinton. A Sister Jackson later related an experience on the ship as it neared Cuba, bound for New Orleans. "When the Argo was nearing the shores of Cuba, in a pitch dark night, the captain expressed fears that the ship might be wrecked, as he knew that land was near. Suddenly a heavenly light, which for a few seconds illuminated the surroundings, revealed to the captain the fact that a large rock rose boldly out of the ocean, right in front of the ship, only a short distance away. With considerable presence of mind, and quick as thought, the captain gave orders to change the course of the vessel, and thus escaped what might have proven a terrible disaster a few minutes later."
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 274, 277-80 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:359 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:116 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:525-28 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 12, p.448 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 280
On Sunday a meeting was held in Brigham Young's home. A number of children were blessed. In the evening, sister Zina Young enjoyed an evening visiting her sister. They had a good supper and enjoyed singing some German songs. A severe snow storm hit the valley starting on Wednesday. It continued throughout the rest of the week.
Elder Parley P. Pratt and his exploring company continued their journey back home. During the week they traveled between the site of present-day Beaver to Chalk Creek, the site of present-day Fillmore. At this point they encountered much snow. It continued to fall hard and made it impossible to travel any further with wagons and teams. It was decided to leave David Fullmer and some young men in charge of the wagons and cattle. Elder Pratt and twenty-three others would continue home on horses and mules. The bulk of the provisions would remain with the stranded company. They would have enough to be comfortable until the weather improved.
Elder Charles C. Rich, Jefferson Hunt, Addison Pratt, young George Q. Cannon, and other men departed from William's ranch to continue their journey toward San Francisco. On Monday they reached the San Gabriel Mission. Addison Pratt described, "At this mission of San Gabriel, the vineyard was large, but the grape vines are mostly dead, and the stumps of them are still standing, and are generally large as a man's thigh. Some part of the orchard is in a tolerable state of prosperity, and in it are orange, lemmon, lime, fig, palm, apricot, pomegranate, peach, pear, apple and a great abundance of olive trees, and now the olive trees are loaded with fruit, and so are the orange trees." On Tuesday the company camped on the San Pedro River at Los Angeles. Addison Pratt wrote, "This town is situated under some bluffs in the river bottoms, and is surrounded by most splendid vineyards. The town is built of abodes, and gives it a dirty appearance. There are a few tolerable buildings owned by some American merchants."
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 280-81 Smart, Mormon Midwife, 142 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:117 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 414-18
The snow finally stopped falling, but it was the deepest snow ever seen by the Saints since they entered the valley. During the week the wind blew hard causing large snow drifts to gather. Zina Young wrote, "Never did I see the winds higher or the snow fly so tremendous. A boisterous prince must have ruled the elements this day."
On Thursday Brigham Young invited many sisters to dine at his home. In particular, he invited the wives of missionaries who were away serving the Lord, including several wives of the Twelve. He sent five sleighs to drive through the storm, to bring the ladies to the feast. Seventy sisters sat at the first table. There was music and dancing all evening. Sister Young observed, "While the elements rages without, peace was enjoyed with in."
On Friday the weather improved. Hosea Stout recorded: "Weather calm but my house well supplied with snow which took all the fore noon to regulate. The weather is now clear & warm like a summer day except the mountains of snow which lies over the Valley. The greatest contrast in weather is yesterday & today."
On Saturday President Brigham Young met with his counselors and other leaders to discuss building projects in the valley. They appointed Truman O. Angell as the Church architect. Brother Angell been in charge of the completion of the Nauvoo Temple and had been involved in other building projects in the Salt Lake Valley.
Acting in his role as governor, Brigham Young approved several ordinances including the establishment of various roads, irrigation of several creeks, and approved a bounty on killing wolves.
Elder Parley P. Pratt and his company struggled though deep snow, trying to make their way back to the Salt Lake Valley. At times the snow was waist-deep. Their horses became exhausted. They ended out the week camped three miles from Salt Creek. On Saturday Elder Pratt recorded: "In the morning we found ourselves so completely buried in snow that no one could distinguish the place where we lay. Some one rising, began shoveling the others out. This being found too tedious a business, I raised my voice like a trumpet, and commanded them to arise; when all at once there was a shaking among the snow piles, the graves were opened, and all came forth. We called this Resurrection Camp."
Charles C. Rich's company crossed the Santa Clara River on Monday. Soon they came in view of the ocean. Addison Pratt wrote, "Many of our company had never seen the ocean before, and to them it was a grand curiosity. There were some humpback whales spouting near the shore." That night they camped at the San Buena Ventura Mission.
On Wednesday they passed some large whale carcasses or bones which was very fascinating to them. They continued across some beautiful plains and reached the town of Santa Barbara. They didn't stop, but continued on and camped in a meadow. "After we laid down at night it commenced raining and as we had no tent, nor any house near, there was no better chance than to lie still till the water began to stand in puddles in our bed, when we got up and cut some poles, and spread blankets on them and made the best lee we could."
On Saturday they reached the Santa Ynez mountains and climbed a steep rugged road. They crossed the Santa Rosa River and camped at the Santa Ynez Mission.
Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, p.138 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 274-76 Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 368 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:360 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:117 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 419-21
There continued to be great concern about the Indian uprising in Utah Valley. Much later, President Brigham Young eventually learned what was the true cause for the recent troubles. It all started because two brethren had killed an Indian while confronting him about a stolen shirt. After the Indian was killed, it was said that the two men opened up the body, filled it with rocks, and then sunk the body in the Provo River near Box Elder Island. [Later Indian legends told how the ghost of this Indian would appear each year on the bank of the river, remove rocks out of his bowels, throw them in the river, and then he would disappear.]
As hostilities increased, the settlers at Utah Fort made a law that no Indians could enter the fort. To make matters worse, Old Elk, one of their chiefs, was sick with measles, and came to the fort for medicine. One of the brethren took him by the nape of his neck and kicked him out the fort. The Indians became outraged and stole three cows that night. The residents of Fort Utah asked for help. President Young was hesitant to send men to war against the Indians, but on Thursday Isaac Higbee arrived and reported that 50-60 head of cattle and horses had been stolen. The Indians were threatening to kill all the settlers in Utah Valley. President Young finally agreed to have an order issued for fifty mounted men to proceed to Fort Utah, in Provo.
Daniel H. Wells, Major General of the Nauvoo Legion, issued the order which instructing the men to defend Fort Utah, put a stop to the hostilities, and if necessary kill Indians who would not agree to stop fighting. They were instructed to "see no violence is permitted to women and children."
Conditions became desperate for Elder Parley P. Pratt's company returning from their expedition. They were almost out of provisions and were hampered in their travel by deep snow. It was decided to send Elder Pratt, Chauncy W. West, and Dimick B. Huntington ahead to Provo. They would then send back provisions. The snow was so deep that Elder Pratt and Brother West had to pound down a trail with their feet to make passage easier for the animals. On Sunday night they arrived at Summit Creek with frozen feet. On Monday morning they ate their last biscuit, traveled all day, and finally reached Provo at dark. A rescue party was quickly organized and sent south for the rest of the company. They found them at the site of present-day Payson.
Parley P. Pratt, after resting two days, continued his journey to Great Salt Lake City. He wrote, "After riding thirty-six miles on a mule, I took supper with a friend in Cottonwood, and, leaving the mule, started at sundown and walked the other ten miles which brought me once more to my home." On Saturday he gave a report of his expedition to Brigham Young.
On Monday Charles C. Rich's company camped at William G. Dana's ranch. Mr. Dana had a large estate under huge eucalyptus trees. Casa de Dana was a frequent stopping place for travelers. On Wednesday the company passed the mission of San Luis Obispo, and on Thursday arrived at the deserted Santa Margarita Mission. On Saturday several of the men went out on a hunt and came upon an unexpected beast. Addison Pratt recorded, "Towards evening one of the brethren were out hunting and came acrost a grisley bear. He was such a formidable looking animal that he dared not shoot at him, but came to the camp for help, when a party of us turned out and went to the spot, but the bear had left before we got there. We saw its tracks, and the impression of its feet were sank in the earth as much as an ox of 800 lbs. weight would have been, and they were very large."
THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 9, p. 122 B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.90, p.467 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 2781-85 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:360-61 Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 369 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 421-24