Sunday, February 4, 1849 - Saturday, February 10, 1849
On Sunday Brigham Young addressed the Saints assembled "near the warm side of the fort wall." He knew that many of the Saints had been talking about leaving the valley in the spring. He explained that they should not be afraid of starving during the winter because there was plenty. An inventory of food would be taken. He chastised the butchers for not being willing to accept paper money. They were only accepting gold dust or coined money. He warned the Saints that they should not leave the valley with their gold and silver without permission. They were working together as a community and anyone who tried to leave contrary to counsel would risk having their property confiscated. Everything needed to be done in wisdom and order to allow the pioneer settlement to survive and grow.
President Young announced that no more dances would be held during the winter. The dances had become wild. He called people to repent of trying to take advantage of their brother in business transactions. The Saints needed to continue to humble themselves and thank the Lord for delivering them out of the hands of their enemies.
President Young's talk was powerful although the Saints were uncomfortable because of the cold weather. Hosea Stout recorded that his words were received cheerfully by most of the congregation "but all those who were disaffected or did intend to leave were not well pleased with his discourse."
Monday was the coldest day of the year. It reached ten degrees below zero. George Morris wrote: "I thought that was quite cold enough for we were sleeping in a wagon bed under a single ducking cover at the time with three little children in it." The Bishops went around taking inventory of provisions.
On Thursday Thomas S. Williams returned from a trip to Parley's Canyon. He reported that it was impossible to continue his journey to meet a merchant wagon train camped at Fort Bridger. He reported that the snow was as high "as a horses' neck."
On Friday Brigham Young met with the High Council. The council discussed the valley's food supply, the construction of a bridge over Jordan River, and raising a property tax for roads and bridges. It was also reported that the valley's butchers finally agreed to accept paper currency.
Hosea Stout went the John Neff's mill on Mill Creek. The mill was grinding about twelve bushels per hour.
Elder Orson Hyde published the first issue of a four-page newspaper named "Frontier Guardian."
On Sunday Elder Wilford Woodruff held a sacrament meeting with his family. "We sing and pray and I teach them the things of the kingdom of God." Elder Woodruff ordained his nine-year-old son, Wilford Woodruff Jr. to be a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. "He is a good youth and seems to be under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord. He obeys his parents in all things." Young Wilford was instructed to only use his priesthood in the home while his father was away, for the purpose of administering the sacrament to family members. [In later years policies would be established regarding the ages that young men should be ordained to the Priesthood.]
Thomas Bryant, paymaster for the U.S. Army issued a notice that funds were available to finally pay the Mormon Battalion their additional pay.
On Tuesday the ship "Ashland" sailed, bound for New Orleans, with 187 Saints onboard. John Johnson was their leader. On the next day, the ship "Henry Ware" sailed with 225 Saints led by Robert Martin. Their history records: "As the vessel sailed out of the docks of Liverpool the Saints on board 'unitedly joined in the songs of Zion, while large crowds assembled to hear the joyful strains as they flowed from the hearts that were animated with the brightest hopes.'"
The Contributor, Volume 13, p. 235 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 144 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 342-43 George Morris Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.54 - p.55 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:415
On Sunday Hosea Stout witnessed a miracle at a meeting: "Amasa Lyman has been very sick and had so far recovered that he was here but his lungs being so disordered that he could not speak above his breath. The President [Brigham Young] and several Elders laid hands on him. The President being mouth commanded the disease to be rebuked and pronounced the blessing of health to rest upon him that he should arise and speak to our edification tonight which he did, for in a few moments he arose and addressed for about half an hour. This took place in presence of a large congregation all who can bear testimony of the same."
On Monday the First Presidency met with members of the Twelve for a historic meeting to fill the four vacancies in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, and Franklin D. Richards called and ordained as Apostles.
On Tuesday the Salt Lake Stake presidency was reorganized with Daniel Spencer as president and as his counselors, David Fullmer and Willard Snow. John Young was appointed President of the High Priests Quorum.
Also on that day a committee was appointed to divide the city into various wards. Bishop Newell K. Whitney was appointed chairman of this committee. On Wednesday President Brigham Young met with the committee and it was decided to divide the city into nineteen wards of nine blocks each. Since many people were preparing to move out of the pioneer fort to permanent homesites elsewhere in the valley, it became necessary to also organize wards away from the city.
On Friday the High Council was reorganized and also the Elders Quorum presidency. President Brigham Young instructed Bishop Newel K. Whitney to organize the Aaronic Priesthood by calling teachers to serve under the bishops. President Young said that these teachers were needed "so that the bishops might have their wards perfectly visited . . . and that the high priests might take young men with them, that they might also have experience in teaching."
Regarding the duties of the stake president, President Young said: "He should be present when the lesser priesthood is organized and called together, and give directions in temporal matters, and lay before them the necessities of the place, to build up a city to the name of the Lord. He should see that there are no idlers and no waste, and he should be always on hand."
It was decided how to divide the valley (away from the city) into wards. There would be four wards south of the city and east of Jordan River: Canyon Creek ward, Mill Creek Ward, and two wards on each side of Cottonwood Creek. The Canaan Ward would be organized west of Jordan River. There would be three wards north of the city and east of the Jordan, including a ward at the Brown settlement in present-day Ogden.
The weather during the week was milder. The mud in the fort started the thaw. Hosea Stout remarked that it seemed strange that the soil on the mountains was thawing before the ground on the benches in the valley.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 8, p.260 Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 1, p.387 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 157-58 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 342
Elder John Taylor preached at the public Sabbath meeting about the laws and organizations of the various priesthood quorums. It was also announced that a bathing house would be built at the warm springs.
Also on Sunday President Brigham Young met with the newly reorganized High Priest Quorum. He spoke to them about their duties: "What is the duty, business, and calling of the quorum? It is a theological school, to teach every member the principles of the priesthood and of eternal salvation. It is a school to teach men how to discharge their duties as high priests, to become men of God, acquatainted with God. . . they want to learn how to preach the gospel and to lift the standard to the powers of the earth. Their calling is to preside over those who receive the gospel and to lead them into the celestial gate."
The weather during the week was much warmer. Monday was "warm as summer" and the ground was flooded with water.
Thursday, February 22, 1849 was a historic day. The five wards in the city were divided into nineteen wards. A meeting was held in the home of George B. Wallace. Fifteen of the bishops were set apart at that time including: David Fairbank, John Lowry, Christopher Williams, William Hickenlooper, William G. Perkins, Addison Everett, Seth Taft, David Pettigrew, Benjamin Covey, Edward Hunter, John Murdock, Abraham O. Smoot, Isaac Higbee, Joseph L. Heywood, and James Hendricks. Many counselors were also called and set apart. The bishops were told to fence the city by wards and to provide food for their poor.
[For many years the Salt Lake wards would commemorate this date by holding ward reunions. In 1949 centennial celebrations were held in these oldest wards. Some of these old wards have also recently held celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary.]
On Friday many of the new bishops went to the Church clerk, Thomas Bullock to receive a list of the people residing in their wards.
On Saturday the legislative council passed several laws. If a person was found riding a horse or mule that did not belong to them, and did not have permission from the owner, the person would be fined twenty-five dollars. The same fine would be issued to those who were found driving cattle off of feeding ranges that did not belong to the person.
Other items of business: Horace S. Eldredge was appointed marshal of Great Salt Lake Valley. James B. Porter was granted permission to move his sawmills two or three miles futher up Cottonwood Canyon. Bridges would be build across the creek and other streams.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 9, p.535 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 160-61 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 342-43
On Sunday Brigham Young made some pointed remarks to wayward Saints seeking riches and he let them know where he thought they should go. "I advise the corrupt and all that want, to go to California, and not come back, for I will not fellowship them. I came here to serve the Lord. Prosperity and riches blunt the feelings of man, he trusts in his riches and forgets God, but poverty would make that man humble. . . . When the people can bear riches, they will have them."
The warm weather during the week was a welcome change, but it also caused some problems. As thawing occurred, many of the adobe houses in the fort fell down. On Monday work started on the Council House which was located on the block south of Temple Square, on the corner of Main and South Temple.
On Wednesday word came to the city that Indians had stolen horses and cattle from Tooele Valley and had taken them to Utah Valley. On Thursday a company of about thirty men, under the direction of John Scott, went to pursue the Indians. That night they camped on a blanket of snow on the "Second Cottonwood" River. Hosea Stout wrote: "The night was very cold and the wind penetrating under our bed through the brush rendered our situation very uncomfortable." During the night they received news that the horses had been found, but they were told to still pursue the Indians because of the missing cattle.
On Friday they continued their journey and camped on the Jordan River near present-day "Point of the Mountain." For most of the men, this was their first journey into Utah Valley. Hosea Stout wrote: "The Jordan at the place of our encampment runs through a deep canyon, has a narrow deep channel and swift current, being very different in all respects after it comes into the valley."
On Saturday the company entered Utah Valley and divided into two groups to search for the Indians. One group followed the Jordan to Utah Lake and the other group traveled further to the east, through the Valley. They met each other on Dry Creek and then camped three miles up American [Fork] Creek. [Stay tuned . . . more to come next week about this group's encounter with the Indians.]
On Saturday back in Great Salt Lake City, a committee was appointed to organize boys and men from age fourteen to seventy-five years old into a military organization that would be called the Nauvoo Legion. Plans were also put into place to anticipate the arrival of more Saints from Winter Quarters. Parley P. Pratt was appointed to take charge of the Green River ferry. Porter Rockwell, Charles Shumway, and Edmund Ellsworth were appointed to go to the "Mormon Ferry" on the North Platte River. Allen Compton was assigned to take mail to Winter Quarters.
On Monday a company of 249 Welsh Saints sailed from Liverpool bound for New Orleans. Their leader was Elder Dan Jones. This was the first non-English speaking company of Saints to sail from Europe. Thomas Evans Jeremy later wrote a letter in Welsh to a friend describing the voyage.
"On Monday, February 26th 1849, about 2 p.m. we commenced our journey by going out of the Waterloo Dock and singing The Saints Farewell. During this time my feelings were wrought in a wonderful manner, too much for me to describe on paper. I remember well the sober faces of my faithful brothers . . . who came from Wales, all the way, to bid us farewell.
"When we were being towed out of the dock, I saw my dear brethren following down on the river's bank as far as possible, and I imagined I could hear on the breeze them saying, 'Oh, Father, take care of them, for we cannot go further.'
"After we had gone about thirty miles out to sea, the steamboat left us alone on the great ocean. The wind was against us the first day but the weather was fine. On Tuesday we came in sight of Ireland. The land looked barren and the mountains very high and dwelling houses were numerous skirting the beaches.
"Tuesday and Thursday following, most of us were very much out of sorts through seasickness, but some escaped without any sickness. During these days our dear President, Captain Dan Jones, was very mindful of the sick. He showed his love towards us very much as he would walk back and forth through the great ship, and administer to those that were sick."
The Contributor, Volume 13, p. 235 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 19, p.445 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 161-63 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 343-45