On Wednesday a company of seven men returned from California. Eliza R. Snow wrote that as she was taking a carriage ride, "when at the distance of perhaps 5 miles, to our unspeakable joy, we met the California boys, 7 of them, part of the company having gone to the Bay & part being back with their cattle which are expected in 3 or 4 weeks." [This company had left the Salt Lake Valley in November, 1847. Among those who returned were Asahel A. Lathrop and Elijah K. Fuller. Orrin Porter Rockwell had been part of this company when they left the valley, but he was returning via the southern route with Mormon Battalion soldiers from San Diego.]
Brothers Lathrop and Fuller reported to the High Council that they had purchased two hundred cows, but lost forty on the way back. Their journey back had taken them ninety days. Their entire company was nineteen people, including five hired Indians.
John Neff was given permission to establish a mill on Mill Creek rather than Big Cottonwood Creek. There were too many rattlesnakes on Big Cottonwood creek. The High Council decided to use the letters "LDS" for the brand on all the animals. Four men were to be hired to serve as guards over the animals in the big field. Robert Peirce, John Vance, and John Neff would be appointed to this job. The High Council meeting minutes also included: "It was decided that all persons be prohibited from selling guns, powder and lead, or any implement of war to the Indians under a penalty of $50.00 for each gun, $1.00 for each charge of powder and lead, and $5.00 for any other implement of War."
On Sunday, Elder Orson Pratt gave a farewell talk to the Saints. He was about to leave on a mission to England. He expressed his great love and repect for the Saints and said "it was with them he wished to live and die." He promised to pray always for them and asked that they do the same for him. Many tears were shed during his talk. In the afternoon, Brigham Young addressed the Saints. He appointed a guard to protect the city both night and day. President Young announced that there would be no more sealings performed until he reached the Valley. He was being asked continually to perform these sealings. No one else would be allowed to perform sealings in Winter Quarters after he left.
On Tuesday, May 9, 1848, the pioneer journey of 1848 officially began as twenty‑two wagons departed from Winter Quarters, starting their journey to the Salt Lake Valley. Hundreds of other Saints were busy all week making preparations to leave.
Amasa M. Lyman returned from a mission to the South. He arrived on the steamer "Mandan" with a company of emigrants from St. Louis and other locations. During his mission he had visited the Saints in Mississippi and obtained funds from William Crosby and John Brown. Mary Richards went to the steamer, hoping that her husband was on it. He was not, but she received word from others that he was on the way home and would soon arrive. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "All is bustle through Winter Quarters. The steamer unloaded flour groceries, freight, baggage. The waggons were busy in spreading it through the town. Several of the Saints took their departure on board the boat." A "going away" party was held on the steamer, on Thursday evening.
Among the departing passengers was Elder Orson Pratt and his family, bound for his mission in England. He carried with him a letter of introduction from Brigham Young which read: "The bearer, Elder Orson Pratt, A. M. Professor of Mathematics and member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, is a gentleman of sterling integrity and unblemished character, and is delegated by the suthorities . . . to solicit and receive donations in money, books, and apparatus for establishing an endowment of an observatory of the first order, at the Great Salt Lake City." [This observatory would be constructed in 1869.]
The ferry was running both day and night transporting people, waggons, and animals across the river. On Saturday some more teams started their journey and camped about four miles west of the city.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.108; Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 30‑1, 223; Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1847‑1850, 104‑05; Ward, Winter Quarters, 215‑16; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:347‑48; Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 1:311; England, Orson Pratt, 142‑43