Sunday, April 7, 1850 - Saturday, April 13, 1850
On Sunday the 20th annual General Conference of the Church continued under the bowery on Temple Square. President Brigham Young spoke on keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
There is not the first man who has gained by laboring on the Sabbath day; necessity does not drive a man to do it, no such thing, but it is their own dispositions, and the spirit that is in them. There is no more necessity to go to the canyons or to hunt your cattle on the Sabbath day, you might as well plow. But some feel that they cannot spare the time on a week day. We have tried it in traveling since we left Nauvoo, and not one time having traveled on that day have we gained by it, but we have lost a day or two the next week to pay for it. What is the harm? It proves that we treat lightly the rules of the God of Nature the God we serve.
On Tuesday evening the former members of the Nauvoo Legion Band met at the home of Robert Burton. William Clayton said, "I have a conscientious notion in organizing this band, which was organized by Joseph Smith under the name of the Nauvoo Band. I have as firm a notion in the organizing of this band as I would have in being baptized. The minute I see any division of this band, that moment I retire, but still do not consider that I leave the Nauvoo Band. My feelings are that we organize as members that stood on the old list." Other brethren expressed their feelings and the Nauvoo Legion Band was again organized with Edward P. Duzette as Chief Musician, and William Pitt as Captain. Eighteen members of the old band were included along with five new members. J. Anderson was sustained as temporary leader of the band until William Pitt arrived at the valley. They band agreed that their uniform would be a straw hat, white dress coat, white pants, a blue sash, and a white scarf.
On Friday, the First Presidency issued the "Third General Epistle" to the Saints scattered throughout the Earth. The leaders shared news from the valley including Parley P. Pratts' recent exploration of the territory of what now is called southern Utah. They gave a weather report, "The snow in the Valley was nearly dispersed in the latter part of February; but frequent falls since, and night frosts through the month of March, prevented ploughing to any great extent, till near the first of April, when the earth was bare."
They reported that many brethren had gone to California in search of gold -- some against the counsel of their leaders. These brethren were encouraged to listen to the counsel of Church leaders in California and to be righteous. If they set their hearts on riches and refused to serve others, they were would "go down to the pit with all idolaters. . . . Gold is good in its placeit is good in the hands of a good man to do good with, but in the hands of a wicked man it often proves a curse instead of a blessing. Gold is a good servant, but a miserable, blind, and helpless god, and at last will have to be purified by fire, with all its followers."
The epistle was concluded with, "Brethren, farewell. May the blessings of heaven and earth be multiplied unto you, and your hearts be warm to receive and improve upon the same in righteousness, and the time hasten that we may meet you in this land of peace, is the constant prayer of your brethren in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen."
Elder Wilford Woodruff held his last meeting with the Saints remaining in the Boston area. On Tuesday, Elder Woodruff leading 100 Saints, road a train and boarded a steamer for New York City. On Wednesday, they were joined by more Saints ready to travel to the valley. The total size of the company was 209 people. They continued on the steamer and arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday morning. "On our arrival we were hurried in the greatest manner to unload our baggage and cart it to the rail road. Here it all had to be weighed over and loaded into cars. An extra train had to be prepared for us." They arrived at the canal at midnight and unloaded their baggage onto three canal boats. "As soon as our passengers and freight were on board our captain started on his journey and we travelled through the night. We found these section boats the most disagreeable part of our journey. We were crowded together like slaves in a ship and not more than half could have the chance ot lie down at all." For three straight days, they traveled on these canal boats. Several company members became sick.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 5, p.227 General Conference, October 1938 James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.2, p.40 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:543-45
On Tuesday wagon trains left the valley to head back east and to go service the ferries across Green River and the Platte River in anticipation of the many emigrants that would be soon arriving from the east. Several large companies were also heading for the gold mines in California.
On Tuesday a bad rain storm hit the valley and it blew the stove pipes off Patty Session's home. That night it snowed.
President Willard Richards delivered an address to the chancellor and regents of the University of the State of Deseret. He suggested that funds be appropriated to qualify teachers for schools and academies. Funds should also be spent on books and other teaching materials. He also felt that the regents should "purge the English language of all superfluous letters, figures and combinations, translate all useful information to be found in dead languages to a living speech; and not labor to obtain empty, high sounding titles, but for the elevation of humanity."
Elder Wilford Woodruff and 209 Saints were on crowded canal boats floating west. On Sunday Elder Woodruff preached to part of the company on one of the boats. He administered to two members who had become ill. On Monday the company arrived at Holidaysburg and boarded a train to take them over some mountains to the next canal. Sister Alexander became very ill and appeared to nearing death. Elder Woodruff laid hands on her, blessed her, and she was well in the morning. On Tuesday evening they arrived at the next canal and again boarded boats. On Thursday they arrived in Pittsburgh. Elder Woodruff visited with several steam boat captains, looking for affordable fares to take the company to St. Louis. He hired Captain Devinney and the company spent the night in his boat. One of the canal boats had not yet arrived and it was soon learned that a hole had been knocked in the boat and it was detained two days to patch the hole. They spent the rest of the week transferring their baggage and provisions to the hull of the steam boat.
On Friday, Elder Lorenzo Snow, on the way to his mission in Italy, came in sight of the shore of England. "I never beheld a more lovely morning. Everything wore an enchanting appearance. A calm serenity rested upon the broad bosom of the waters. Old England lay before me, besprinkled with forms and multitudes of human dwellings, with beautiful hawthorn hedges and newly plowed grounds. Around, about on the water, in full view, were ships of all nations -- some passing in one direction and some in another."
The ship "Josiah Bradlee" arrived in New Orleans with 263 Saints on board under the leadership of Thomas Day. He reported, "The general health and spirits of our company are truly flattering; joy and cheerfulness mark the satisfaction of all, as they open their eyes upon that land which they have longed to see. We are about to prepare, under the guidance of Elder McKenzie, to go up the river."
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 294 Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, 114 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:367 Smart, Mormon Midwife, 145 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 280 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:545-46
On Wednesday, the Saints in the Tooele Valley were organized into a branch of the Church by Elder Ezra T. Benson, with John Rowberry as president.
The weather was stormy in the valley. On Thursday and Friday it rained and snowed all day. It cleared up Saturday and Hosea Stout spent time at home gardening.
Phineas H. Young wrote a letter to his brother Brigham reporting that Oliver Cowdery had died on March 3. Phineas was Oliver's brother-in-law and had been present at his deathbed in Richmond, Missouri. Prior to his death, Oliver Cowdery had been rebaptized on November 12, 1848. He died as a faithful member of the Church. Phineas Young wrote, "Brother Oliver Cowdery is dead. His last testimony will never be forgotten by many. He said to his friends there was no salvation but in the Valley, and through the Priesthood there."
Elder Addison Pratt departed from San Francisco on board the brig "Frederick," bound for his mission in Tahiti. Elder Pratt had worked for several months in the city to raise money for his passage. He wrote in his journal on Sunday, "The wind favouring us, we dropped down with the tide and when we got outside, took the periodical North West wind, which soon carried us off the coast. As the vessel began to roll and pitch, Brother James soon got sea sick." On Tuesday they were already 449 miles south of San Francisco. "We passed quietly along, nothing out of the common monotony of a sea voyage."
Elder Wilford Woodruff and a company Saints started the week on a boat in Pittsburgh, waiting for a delayed group of saints to arrive. They finally arrived on Monday and transferred their baggage to the steamer. All were assigned to their berths. The entire company number 212 Saints. There were nearly 200 other passengers in the steerage and cabins. Their journey continued on Tuesday as they traveled down the Ohio River. The captain and officers on the ship were very kind to the Saints. On Wednesday, Elder Woodruff wrote, "The weather is delightful today. The peach trees are all in bloom upon each side of the river. We are sailing rapidly down the river."
The company arrived in Cincinnati on Wednesday. Elder Woodruff met with the leaders of the branch in the city. Most of the Saints there had left for Council Bluffs, but two more joined Elder Woodruff company. On Thursday the company continued their journey. "We glide smoothly down the river. There is a great rise in the river. The water is up near full banks. We arrived at Louisville in the night and remained until the morning."
Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:367-68 IMPROVEMENT ERA 1911 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 432-33 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:546-47
The weather was pleasant, but windy, during the week. On Monday a cattle sale was held at the "stray pound." These were stray cattle that the authorities had impounded over the months because their owners had left them to wander.
On Thursday the ship "Hartley" arrived in New Orleans with a large company of Saints. David Cook, their president reported, "Our passage was more like a pleasure trip than otherwise, for not one of our sails ever reefed from the day we left Liverpool to the day we arrived in New Orleans. Unity and peace prevailed among the Saints. . . . The captain never was friendly to us because we were 'Mormons.' He gave me liberty to preach once on deck, but since that time has called Joseph Smith everything that was bad. When I asked him if he ever knew him to do anything that was bad, he would tell me he knew nothing of him; so you see what kind of man we had to put up with. But after all the Lord was with us and blessed us all with health and strength."
Thomas McKenzie, the Church's emigration agent at New Orleans added this comment: "The Saints have been warned, time after time, on coming to America to be careful of their diet, and of exposing themselves; yet, as soon as they land they commence eating fresh meat and vegetables, and drinking large quantities of water. The consequence is, that when they start up the river they are taken ill. This can be avoided by obeying counsel. The Saints I think would do well to provide themselves with spices, cayenne pepper, mustard, camphor, and peppermint."
Elder Wilford Woodruff and a company Saints more than 212 Saints continued their journey on a steamer heading toward St. Louis. On Sunday Elder Woodruff wrote, "A hard storm of wind and rain raised a great sea on the river and in turning the boat around to take in some coal, in the midst of the trough & waves of the sea with a heavy load & slender build, she was in danger of breaking in two. She trembled, creaked & bent until many of the passengers were much frightened. She broke one of her stay bolts in two, but after taking in her coal she started out again & traveled several hours in the storm & sea in the midst of danger but before night went in behind an island & tied up for the night." On Wednesday the steamer arrived in St. Louis. Elder Woodruff went to visit the leader of the Church in the city, Nathaniel H. Felt. Elder Woodruff and Brother Felt made a contract with a steamer captain to take the company up the river to Council Bluffs. One of the company, Sister Margaret Bird died on Thursday from Cholera. The city authorities came and buried her. On Thursday evening the company had all transferred over to the steamer "Sacramento" and by nightfall, it departed from the city. On Friday Elder Woodruff wrote, "We travel slow against the current & are loaded to the guards. Some were afraid of the cholera on the boat as we had one death on board. I told the brethren not to have fears about it but to keep clean, exercise, take the air, be faithful, and watch unto prayer and all would be well."
Elder Addison Pratt continued his voyage on the ship "Frederick" bound for his mission to the Society Islands (Tahiti). One of the member of the crew was a Mr. Turnbull who had lived on the Islands. He showed Elder Pratt an article in a magazine published by the London Missionary Society which mentioned the Mormons. It read, "At some of the Islands, very great anxiety was shown by the people to possess the word of God. But how sad it is that the delusions of Mormonism have got such fast hold of the minds of the natives of several of the Islands, where a few of the followers of that strange sect have established themselves."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 9, p.308 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 12, p.449 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:368 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 433 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:547-48