Sunday, May 6, 1849 - Saturday, May 12, 1849
At the Sabbath meeting, President Brigham Young prophesied that they would have an abundant crop this year. He stated that this valley was the only place on earth right now for the Saints to gather. If they were driven from this spot, there would be no other place for them.
President Young and Willard Richards later met together and conversed about times of old. They spoke of Joseph Smith, the gold plates, Hill Cumorah, angels visiting the earth, and Joseph's death. President Young believed that it would not be long until they would see him again. They also discussed sending missionaries to other nations, including Italy and China.
On Monday George D. Grant led a company to pursue some Indians who had stolen some horses.
On Saturday a letter was brought into the city by Louis Vasquez from Fort Bridger. The letter reported that Barney Ward and two others had been trading with the Bannock Indians at their village. They left the village with an Indian and his two horses. Later the Indian had been found murdered near the junction of Hams Fork and Blacks Fork. Mr. Vasquez warned that the Indians were talking of making war with the Saints. President Young didn't trust Vasquez or Jim Bridger. He suspected that these men wanted the Saints to go to battle against the Indians. President Young believed that the Indians would rather have the horses than make war against the Saints.
The high council decided to sent a company of men to explore the area near the Oquirrh Mountains, west of the valley, to see if the region could be farmed and also to find a good place for mining salt.
A steamship heading up the Mississippi River and Missouri River toward St. Joseph Missouri, with many Welsh Saints onboard, was struck with cholera. The William Owens family was tragically struck down with the deadly illness. On Monday little five-year-old Jane Owens died and was buried on the banks of the Mississippi River. Fourteen-year-old William Owens died on Tuesday, along with his nine-year-old sister Alice Owens. On the following day their mother, Eleanor Owens died. Her husband, William Owens died on Saturday. Another sixteen-year-old son, Richard, died six days later. Six family members were all struck down as during their journey to Council Bluffs.
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 200-03 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:352 Regional Studies, British Isles, BlackBritish Saint, p.109
The settlers in Utah Valley had plowed and planted about 225 acres. A town meeting was called at which laws were passed for the colony. Ten additional families recently joined the settlement. The field was divided into forty lots -- one given to each family. Numerous Indians were visiting each day, coming from many places. Brigham Young wrote a letter urging the Provo brethren to quickly finish their fort, to always have guards on duty, and to never allow armed Indians into the fort. He encouraged the brethren to be very cautious and prepared for defense.
There were hundreds of Saints still living in the St. Louis area. Henry Shuler Buckwalter wrote: "I witnessed the great fire at this place which broke out about 9:00 p.m. on the night of the 17th of May, 1849, which continued to burn with great fury throughout the night and until 9:00 a.m. the next morning before a terrible wind which consumed 17 entire blocks of all large buildings in the most business portion of the city; also 30 steamboats were entirely destroyed. Total valuation $20,000,000.... The plague called the cholera was raging here at the same time in all its horrors, having broken out some three of four months before and at this present time, out of a population of 85,000 souls, there were being carried off about 200 a day. After the fire the number of deaths immediately began to fall off and diminish in numbers for about two or three weeks; which was attributed to the purifying of the atmosphere by the great fire."
Elder Wilford Woodruff helped Brother Thomas McKenzie pack up a box containing four hundred pounds of books to be sent for schools in the valley. Elder Woodruff read in the Newspaper about a tragic riot which took place in New York City during the previous week. A mob of 20,000 gathered at the Astor Place Theater to prevent an English actor from taking the stage. The militia was called in and fired on the crowd. Twenty-two people were killed, thirty-three wounded, and fifty-three arrested.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 5, p.457 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 9, p.125 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 203 Wilford Woodruff Journal, 3:448
On Sunday President Brigham Young preached to the Saints on Temple Square. He proposed that a tabernacle be built on the square, big enough to accommodate the entire congregation of Saints.
On Wednesday a snow storm hit the valley. Eliza R. Snow wrote that "it looks like winter." Hosea Stout remarked that the snow was deep on the mountains. Patty Session wrote: "The house leaked bad. It still rains and snows. The snow covers the ground all white. Martha pushed it off of the roof of the house with a rake. Corn up six inches. Peas in bloom all under snow." Zina Young wrote that the snow looked "dubious. The rooms leaked considerable, some very much." Brigham Young needed to move some of his family temporarily into his brother Lorenzo's home.
A council meeting was held on Saturday. A followup report was received regarding the rumor from Fort Bridger that one of the brethren had killed two Indians and stolen their horses. The followup report stated that one of the Indians was seen alive at Fort Hall. Another Indian had indeed been killed, but not at the location previously reported. The brethren concluded that it was likely that the Indian had been killed by Jim Bridger's men.
Brigham Young received a letter from Thomas L. Smith, a mountaineer, who offered to sell two or three hundred dollars in coin.
On Wednesday the snowstorm also hit the Saints settled in Utah Valley. It lasted for three hours. That night a hard frost destroyed most of their crops.
Almon W. Babbit and a company of six men left Kanesville to take mail to Great Salt Lake City.
Wilford Woodruff read in newspapers about the recent tragic fire in St. Louis which claimed twenty lives and destroyed six millions dollars worth of property. He also read about the devastating flood in New Orleans, that the entire city was in danger of being "washed into the Gulf of Mexico."
Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:352 Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 229 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 203 Wilford Woodruff Journal, 3:448 Smart, Mormon Midwife, 131 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:107 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:451
President Brigham Young spoke at the city's Sabbath meeting. He said: "Every man, woman, horse, and ox should rest one seventh part of the time. It is a day of rest, that the people do no labor themselves to death."
Later in the day a council meeting was held. The brethren discussed whether it was prudent to start trading with the Indians. They authorized Alexander Williams and Dimick B. Huntington the trade with the Indians on behalf of the community. No one else would be authorized to do so at this time. On other matters, John S. Higbee wished to be released from his calling in the presidency over the settlement in Utah Valley because his family was in the Salt Lake Valley. Isaac Higbee was appointed to succeed him. Mission calls were discussed. Elder Charles C. Rich and George Langley would be sent to California and Addison Pratt would go back to the Pacific Islands. Also going to the islands would be George Pitkin, Jonathan Crosby, Joseph Busby, John L. Smith, and John Eldridge. Brigham Young discussed sending Elder Parley P. Pratt to Chile.
President Young expressed a desire to see other settlements established. He wanted to send a colony to Sanpitch (Sanpete) valley [present-day Manti] and also down to the Gila River [in present-day Arizona] to raise cotton and sugar cane.
Spring was arriving in the valley. Zina Young wrote: "The house this morning is perfumed with roses. The girls are decked with a variety of flowers. It is truly cheering to see what the Lord has here growing spontaneous to please the eye and gladden the heart. To him doth praise belong forever."
On Saturday Dimick B. Huntington, who recently arrived from Utah Valley, brought three Ute Indians to meet with Brigham Young. President Young expressed his desire to be their brothers and that the Saints would be willing to trade with them.
On Sunday Charles Shumway and his company arrived at ferry crossing and located the boats. They were still in good working order. Brother Shumway wrote a letter to Brigham Young reporting that their journey had been good except that Brother Hambleton had been assaulted by four Crow Indians, who had stolen his horse. Brother Shumway also reported that John Bernhisel, Lorenzo Young, and Shadrach Holdaway had passed them on their journey to the eastern states. They had left the valley on May 4.
On Tuesday the first emigrants bound for the California gold mines reached the ferry crossing. They reported that the Oregon Trail in Wyoming and Nebraska was lined with wagons, thousands of people with gold fever.
Elder Wilford Woodruff received some sad news in a letter from a Brother Gibson in Philadelphia. He learned that Brother William I Appleby had died of cholera, along with a dozen other Saints, while traveling on a steamer from St. Louis to Council Bluffs. Elder Appleby had presided for a time over the Saints in the Eastern States. Elder Woodruff mourned over his good friend. [This news turned out to be false. William I. Appleby would not die until 1870. Elder Woodruff would hear on June 13 that Elder Appleby did not die.]
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 206-08 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:454-55 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:108