Sunday, June 3, 1849 - Saturday, June 9, 1849
On Sunday the Council met to hear the case of two brethren who ran their horses through the city streets and ran over David Ellsworth's child. They were both fined $25.00 and also told to pay the necessary expenses of the child's injury.
On Monday a forest fire broke out in Mill Creek Canyon, destroying a large amount of timber.
On Thursday the first monthly fast day for the Church was held. A public fast meeting was also held. The first Thursday of each month was appointed to be a day of fast. [Many years later, in 1896 the First Presidency moved this fast day to the first Sunday of the month.]
On Wednesday, the first major pioneer company for the season departed from Kanesville, bound for the Salt Lake Valley. Orson Spencer led the company consisting of about 350 people. At total of about 1,200 pioneers would make their way to the valley during 1849.
Elder Wilford Woodruff read more in local newspapers about the terrible recent flood in New Orleans. He recorded in his journal: "The river had broken through the levies and was almost destroying that city. All the burying grounds were under water. The court houses flooded so that men had to float about on hen coops, pig troughs, crockery crates and any thing they could get onto in order to go from house to house. Alligators and serpents of all kind take up their residency in the city and enter into the houses." He also read a story in the Boston Times reporting that gold had been discovered in the mountains near Salt Lake. The story mentioned that the Saints wished to establish a Territorial Government and were about to send John Bernhisel to petition Congress.
Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, p.247 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 6, p.257 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 209-10 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:456-57 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:108
On Sunday the First Presidency met with the Twelve and the presidents of the Seventy. Mission calls were discussed. It was planned to send Elder Charles C. Rich and others to California. Addison Pratt would return with others to the Society Islands (Tahiti). These brethren would be asked to take their families to California, go to the islands, and then have their families join them later.
On Monday Caleb Baldwin died of a fever at the age of 58. His funeral was held the following day. [Caleb Baldwin had been one of the very early members of the Church. He was baptized on November 14, 1830 by Parley P. Pratt. Brother Baldwin had been imprisoned with the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, in Clay County, Missouri, during the winter of 183839.]
On Tuesday Andrew L. Lamoreaux started with a company of nine men bound for the Green River ferry. They would ferry over emigrants and do blacksmith business with the companies.
On Wednesday Brigham Young an other Church leaders met with Chief Walker. Chief Walker was very friendly and wanted the Church leaders to establish settlements in Sanpitch Valley (Manti). Brigham Young said: "We shall want some of your men to come and pilot some of our men through to your place in the fall. We will school your children here, if they will be willing to go to school. In six moons we will send a company to your place." President Young promised to teach them to raise grain and would also teach them about the Book of Mormon.
On Thursday Hosea Stout and Ephraim Green when to "Dry Cottonwood" to prospect for gold dust. They didn't have any luck.
On Saturday Zina Young had a spiritual experience involving the young Indian girl, Sally, who was living with the Brigham Young family. [Sally had been rescued from some warring Indians and had lived with the Brigham Young family since December 1847.] Sister Zina Young was filled with the Spirit and began speaking in tongues, in Sally's native Indian language. Sally understood every word and the Spirit bore a strong testimony which was "positive proof that could not be denied."
Another large company of pioneers departed from the Council Bluffs area, bound for the Salt Lake Valley. This company of five hundred Saints was led by Allen Taylor.
Elder Wilford Woodruff read an interesting article in the Boston Daily Times regarding the massive emigration taking place by thousands struck with gold fever. A letter from Fort Leavenworth, a month earlier, reported that "the whole region at this moment seems like one tented field for miles and miles in all direction." There were about 50,000 animals (mules, oxen, cattle) on the plains. The government was very worried that many people would starve and die on the way to California.
Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 210-14 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:353 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:109-10 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:458
At the Sabbath meeting held for the city, President Heber C. Kimball prophesied that prosperity would be coming to the Saints and if they did not humble themselves it would be a curse to them.
On Monday, the first "gold diggers," heading to California, came out of the mountains and arrived in the valley. Fifteen-year-old Mosiah Hancock greeted a company from Cincinnati, Ohio. He recalled: "They had mule teams, and seemed to be composed of fair intelligencevery kind and affable in deportment. They asked me of our faith, and I tried to give them the information which they seemed to desire. . . . One of them asked me if I could let them know where they could stay through the night with some woman. I told them that I thought there were none of that kind in the City."
The captain of the company offered Mosiah some somewhat stale bread. Mosiah eagerly said he would accept the gift. "So they got me a sack and gathered up the bread, and I had large sackful to take home. I tried to eat a biscuit on the way, but could eat no more than a half one because it was the first bread I had tasted since Christmas, five long months!"
On Saturday Hosea Stout wrote: "Today men were coming in from the states bound for the gold mines, on horse back & in waggons. They were coming in all day."
Elder Wilford Woodruff bid good-bye to his family and started his journey on a mission to Maine. On Monday night he spent the night at his father-in-law's home in Scarboro. During much of the week he labored in Portland and then continued his journey. On Friday he arrived at the Fox Islands and spent the night with Nehemiah Stone at North Haven. Elder Woodruff had fond memories of these islands. Twelve years earlier he and Jonathan Hale brought the gospel to the islands. They had converted nearly over one hundred people [including the Crockett family!]. On Saturday he wrote in his journal: "Since I was upon this Island before, I have crossed the Atlantic four times and traveled in all about 50,000 miles and I now find myself treading this soil again to visit the few remaining Saints that they may be gathered to Zion.]
Mosiah Hancock Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.43 - p.44 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:353 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:110 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:459-61
Gold seekers on the way to California continued to come into the valley. The emigrants became even more excited about reaching California when they saw gold dust brought back by Mormon Battalion members. Hosea Stout visited their camps. He observed: "They are trading off their waggons. Harness and surplus clothing etc. cheaper than State prices taking exchange horses, mules, saddles, pack saddles, etc. at very high prices." [It has been said that during late 1848 or early 1849 Elder Heber C. Kimball prophesied in a public meeting that soon goods would be sold in the valley cheaper than in eastern cities.]
The arrival of all these emigrants stirred up feelings of gold fever among some of the Saints. At the Sunday public meeting, President Brigham Young had a few things to say to those who wished to leave in search of gold: "I say go ahead, Mormons, but don't come back again. Some will stay there, for it will be a complete slaughter yard. Saints, lay up your treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot corrupt." Among the congregation were some nonmember emigrants. In reference to these emigrants President Young said: "We shall have a host of community here, and it will not do to see them starve. If our neighbors come from the States, we must feed them. Let us have something for them to eat. We did not expect to meet civilization here, but they come and we must feed them, for they expect civilization here. All is right."
Members of the Delaware Mining Company reported that a resident of Fort Laramie had warned them that the Mormons were stirring up the Indians to be unfriendly toward all emigrants. Members of this company signed an affidavit stating: "We found the Indians friendly, and we firmly believed his statement to be false; and as he said he should report it to government, we sign this in favor of the 'Mormons' in Salt Lake Valley, from whom we have received universal kind treatment."
Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who had been rebaptized into the Church, wrote to his brother-in-law, Phinehas Young, who was in Council Bluffs. He said that he had abandoned plans to go to the valley during this year. Among his reasons was the feeling that it wouldn't be a wise year to emigrate because of the large number of gold-seekers on the trail. "At a moderate calculation there are 35,000 yoke of oxen on the road via Fort Laramie, and where is the feed for ten thousand?"
Wilford Woodruff preached to a full house in North Haven, a small island off the coast of Maine. There were twelve members of the Church on the island. On Monday he crossed over to the south island, Vinalhaven and visited the grave of an old friend, John Herretts. There were still about sixteen members on this island. On Tuesday Elder Woodruff went deep sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. He became quite sea sick, strained his stomach, vomited some blood, and was still sick the next day. Later in the week he returned to the mainland.
B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:356 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 215-16 Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, June 24, 1849 in Gunn. Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:353-54 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:461-63