Sunday, June 2, 1850 - Saturday, June 8, 1850
Throughout the week California-bound emigrants continued to arrive in the valley. On Saturday Thomas Williams arrived to the valley from Kanesville, Iowa, bringing the mail.
During the week the 1850 Mormon Pioneer trek official began. There would be about 1,800 Saints traveling to the valley during the summer. On Monday Milo Andus started, leading a company of 206. On Friday Benjamin Hawkins led his company west. Jacob Hamblin was among those who crossed the Missouri River on Friday. His company consisted of 100 wagons with 3-9 people in each wagon.
Peter and Mary Maughan were part of the Warren Foote company. Their company gathered at the Missouri River on Hams Fork, making preparations for their departure.
Sophia Lois Goodridge recorded that her company left Kanesville on Friday and traveled ten miles to Margarets Creek, " a very beautiful shady spot. We heard the wolves howl in the night for the first time. Our horses were frightened." On Saturday the company traveled to Bethlehem, Iowa, where they would be organized. Sister Goodridge wrote, "We enjoyed ourselves very much at the last two places we camped. Had two violins in our ten. Had some music and dancing. Good feed for the cattle and good water."
The Church-owned newspaper, "Frontier Guardian" published an article entitled "Emigration", which gave the following report: "Our own Emigration to Salt Lake Valley will amount to about 700 wagons as nearly as we, at present, can determine. They take two new carding machines in addition to one sent last year, besides much other valuable machinery. They also take about 4,000 sheep and 5,000 head of cattle, horses and mules. With the facilities for improvement that are already in the Valley, and those that are now going, we may expect to see that hitherto desolate region, growing rapidly into importance, and consideration. Success to the West, and to western enterprize, to western men and measures! Let the wilderness and the solitary place be glad for them, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose."
Sister Louisa Barnes Pratt was with a company camped on the Humboldt River in Nevada, travelling to California. She was going to join her husband on his mission to the Society Islands. She reflected that it had been seven years since her husband left on his first mission to the Islands. "Had I known on that day what seven years experience would bring to me it seems to me, one glimpse of it would have struck me out of existence in an instant. It was wisely hidden from me. Sorrows mountains high have rolled over me, and yet I have withstood all the storms of adversity, am still alive and on my way to the Islands of the seas, to teach the poor, dark people the gospel that has cost me so much."
Jacob Hamblin, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 9 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.374 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.254 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 112
During the week, the 1850 pioneer trek came into full swing as many companies crossed over the Missouri River on the ferry and started their trek for the west. The crossing point this year was about eighteen miles south of Kanesville.
The following is a partial list of surnames of the pioneers of 1850. If you find one of your family names, for more details check a list of pioneer men at http://www.ldsworld.com/gems/150/1850/list
Adams, Allen, Allman, Andrus, Atwood, Babbitt, Bair, Bateman, Batty, Baum, Belnap, Bidwell, Bigelow, Bills, Bird, Birkbeck, Black, Blair, Blodgett, Boyce, Branch, Brinkerhoff, Browning, Bryce, Burgess, Burns, Buys, Calder, Caldwell, Cambell, Cannon, Carter, Cheever, Chidester, Clift, Clinton, Cluff, Clyde, Cole, Coltrin, Colvin, Conder, Condie, Coon, Coray, Cowan, Cowley, Cragun, Crandall, Curtis, Dailey, Dalton, Daniels, Davis, Day, Dille, Dobson, Dudley, Durfee, Duke, Eames, Eardley, Elder, Emery, Evans, Farr, Farrer, Felt, Field, Fish, Fisher, Foote, Fordham, Forsyth, Foy, Fugate, George, Gifford, Goodrich, Guymon, Hall, Hamblin, Hardy, Harris, Hatch, Herrick, Hicks, Hill, Hinckley, Holdaway, Holland, Hoyt, Hutchinson, Hunt, Hussey, Jenkins, Jenkinson, Johnson, Jones, Judy, Kearns, Kennedy, Keyes, Keysor, Knight, Larson, Lambert, Lee, Lewis, Lish, Lisonbee, Lovell, Lunt, Luke, Mallory, Martineau, Maughan, Markham, McArthur, McBride, McClennan, McDonald, McGary, McGregor, McKee, Merrill, Miller, Moesser, Moon, Morgan, Mulliner, Murdock, Needham, Neeley, Nelson, Noble, Ostler, Pace, Packard, Packer, Parker, Parrish, Patten, Peacock, Pearson, Penrod, Perkins, Perry, Petty, Porter, Rawson, Redfield, Remington, Riddle, Roberts, Robertson, Robison, Rose, Ross, Roylance, Sabin, Severe, Sharp, Silcock, Simkins, Simmons, Sleight, Smith, Snow, Snyder, Spafford, Spencer, Stevens, Stewart, Stocking, Stone, Stuart, Taylor, Terry, Thomas, Thornton, Tracy, Tuttle, Van Orden, Wall, Watson, Watts, Wells, West, Whitaker, Wight, Wilkins, Williamson, Wilson, Winn, Woodland, Woodruff, Worthen, and Young.
On Thursday Warren Foote had brought his teams within a mile of the ferry, just in time to attend a meeting for organizing a company. Elder Orson Hyde was the presiding authority. Brother Foote recorded, "Brother Hyde arose and after looking over the congregation, said, 'I nominate Brother Warren Foote for captain of hundred.' This was so unexpected to me, I must confess that I was completely dumbfounded. It was voted unanimously. Then Brother Hyde nominated Otis L. Terry captain of first fifty. Voted unanimously. He was as much taken by surprise as I was. Elder Hyde then asked for some one to nominate a captain of the second fifty, and some one nominated William Wall. It was voted unanimously."
As the pioneer companies approached the Platte River, cholera struck and several people died including John Shipley and Willis Johnson. Jacob Hambin wrote, "This was truly a mournful scene to see, women mourning for their husbands and children for their fathers. But we were obliged to leave them on the plains, burying them as decent as we could."
A company of missionaries heading east, led by Isaac Haight encountered the terrifying disease of cholera near Scotts Bluff. Robert L. Campbell recorded, "Several of the missionaries were attacked with cholera, but through the ordinance of laying on of hands, were healed, although they were then daily meeting and passing through companies in which cholera was making dreadful ravages; the late immigrants were mostly from Missouri and Illinois."
On Friday, printers Brigham H. Young and Horace K. Whitney were very busy setting the type for the first issue of the Deseret News. Thomas Bullock acted as proofreader. At 5:20 p.m., the first impression was made of the issue. On Saturday the newspaper was made available to the public under the direction of editor, Willard Richards. It was a weekly paper of eight pages, the sheets were 7 1/2 by 10 inches.
Here is an excerpt of the first issue: "We propose to publish a small weekly sheet as large as our local circumstances will permit, to be called the Deseret News, designed originally to record the passing events of our state and in connection, refer to the arts and sciences, embracing general education, medicine, law, divinity, domestic and political economy and everything that may fall under our observation, which may tend to promote the best interest, welfare, pleasure and amusement of our fellow citizens. We hold ourselves responsible to the highest Court of truth for our intentions, and the highest Court of equity for our execution. When we speak we shall speak freely, without regard to men or party, and when, like other men, we err, let him who has his eyes open, correct us in meekness, and he shall receive a disciple's reward."
There was also to be a concert the evening the News appeared. The editor says: "We anticipate a rich treat this evening (June 15) at the bowery. The object of the concert is highly patriotic, and worthy the attention of every individual." The object of the concert was to raise funds for a new carriage for the martial band. Over a thousand people were present to hear the music, everybody was pleased and the carriage for the band was made.
On Friday Elder Erastus Snow arrived in Copenhagen with George P. Dykes and John Forsgren. They were met on the wharf by Peter O. Hansen who had arrived a month earlier. Elder Snow recorded, "After a few days' rest Elder Forsgren was appointed to proceed to the north of Sweden and visit the land of his nativity. At the time I knew not a word of the Danish language, but I applied myself to study and daily intercourse with the people, and being aided by Brother Hansen, I soon acquired a sufficient knowledge of the language to enable me to commence the work of translating the Book of Mormon. . . ."
On Saturday, Lorenzo Snow departed Liverpool for his mission to Italy. While in England Elder Snow felt impressed to call Thomas B. H. Stenhouse to accompany himself and Joseph Toronto to Italy. Elder Stenhouse accepted the call and left behind his wife and friends in England. Elder Snow watched this parting moment and thought, "Did the people of Italy but know the heart-rending sacrifices we have made for their sakes, they could have no heart to persecute." They would travel through Paris, and the south of France. Then sail on the waters of the Mediterranean toward Genoa, Italy.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 8, p.264 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 8, p.262 Jacob Hamblin, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 9 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 6, p.309 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 308 Journal of Warren Foote, LDS Archives
On Sunday Wilford Woodruff's company finished crossing over the Missouri River. They camped on a hill but had trouble with rattlesnakes. On Friday Elder Woodruff organized his company and gave them instructions. He spoke out against any drunkenness, swearing, gambling, and whipping oxen. On Saturday his company started their journey west, traveled eight miles and camped on Squaw Creek.
Ahead on the Platter River, other companies continued to be stricken with cholera. James McDonald helped to dig a grave to bury one of the victims. Before the day was over he was stricken with cholera and died that night. In the morning his body was wrapped in a quilt and buried near the second crossing of the Platte. A chest of drawers was broken up and placed over his body before the shallow grave was filled in. His wife Sara was grief-stricken, but with the help of her friends, continued the journey.
Sister Mary Maughan recorded, "We were called to bury two of our company who died of cholera this morning, a man named Brown and a child. There are more sick in the camp. Have been in sight of the Platte river all day. Traveled 15 miles, camped on Salt Creek. Soon some of our company came up with another child dead. They buried it at twilight on the bank of the creek. There are more sick. It makes us feel sad thus to bury our friends by the way."
On the following morning her company buried three more children, all belonging to the same family.
On Sunday a Baptist minister was permitted to preach at the meeting on Temple Square. President Brigham Young and Elder George A. Smith replied. It was a very interesting meeting. Zina Young wrote that "it was the most spirited meeting I have been to of late."
Sister Louisa Barnes Pratt was with a company camped on the Humboldt River in Nevada, traveling to California. She was going to join her husband on his mission to the Society Islands. Her company held a Sabbath meeting attended by some nonmember emigrants. Brothers Clark and Busby spoke and bore their testimonies. After the meeting two men said they were from Nauvoo. Sister Pratt wrote, "The very sound of the name [Nauvoo] thrills through my nerves, recollection of the past rushes to my mind."
Sister Pratt's company pressed on through a "country of desolation" and on Wednesday started traveling away from the river, toward the desert. They filled everything they could find, with water.
On Tuesday Elder John Taylor, Elders Curtis E. Bolton and William Howells, arrived at the small seaport town of Boulogne Sur Mer in the north of France, where for the first time on French soil missionary work was started. Elder Taylor reported, "Our first object was to call upon his honor the mayor, to find out our privileges, and to ascertain whether we could have an opportunity to preach publicly, or not. Monsieur Le Maire received us very courteously, and wished to know if we had any papers; I showed him a letter I had from the governor of Deseret, and signed by the secretary of state; he told me that was sufficient. I gave him to understand that we wished to preach the gospel, that we had no political object in view, but simply came as ministers of the gospel; that our principles taught us to uphold all laws, government, and authority wherever our lots might be cast; that we wished to be acquainted with the laws and usage of this country, in order that we might not infringe upon them and had called upon him as chief officer of the town for information. He told me that if we preached in a consecrated church, nothing more would be requisite; but that if we preached in another hall that it would be necessary to address a note to him specifying our intentions and the doctrine we should preach and mentioning the hall and our residence and that he would give us the necessary liberty. I thanked him for the information."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 4, p.207 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:557-58 IMPROVEMENT ERA 1950 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 308 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 113 Autobiography of Mary Ann Weston Maughan, LDS Church Archives
Hundreds of families, members of the 1850 pioneer companies, continued their journey west along the Platte River. This year's trek was unlike any of the previous years' experience as the dreaded cholera ravaged through the companies.
Peter Maughan's company buried three more members on Sunday. Mary Ann Maughan recorded her companies feelings on Monday, "This morning is wet and uncomfortable. It was thought best to remain in camp. Some are washing and baking, all were busy. About noon it cleared up and we had a public meeting in camp. Some fasted and humbled themselves before the Lord and prayed that He would remove disease from us. Brother Crandall said in four days five of his family had been taken from their midst and requested the Brethren to pray that the other members of his family might be spared." Sadly, the mother of this family died the following day and was buried in the evening at Pleasant Point. That night, Sister Spafford, mother of nine children died.
On Monday in Jacob Hamblin's company Abel T. Sergeant and his son died, along with two other children. Captain Aaron Johnson called his company together and two were chosen to offer prayers to the Lord for the welfare of the Saints. On Thursday two sisters died, Captain Johnson's wife, and Daniel Hunt's wife.
Sophia Lois Goodridge's company travel behind others. They came across many fresh graves dug by the pioneers who had recently buried their family members. "Passed five graves; they died the 15th of June. They all had grave tablets made of wood rudely hewn with the name engraved with a knife. A verse was written on the grave of Mr. Done, which was very touching. . . . We traveled ten miles today. Passed three graves, no names on them. Came up with a Government company. One man was sick with cholera, died, was buried in the forenoon. In the afternoon we passed three more graves, no names, died June 22."
On Saturday Sister Goodridge recorded, "Our company all in good spirits this morning, and I feel grateful to my Heavenly Father for his kindness in preserving our lives and health thus far, and that He has preserved us from accident and danger of every kind. We traveled four miles and camped on the open prairie without wood or water, except that we brought with us. There is nothing to see but one endless sea of grass, waving and rolling like the waves of the sea, and now and then a tree."
Sister Maughan wrote on Saturday, "At noon the last wagon came up with a corpse, a Sister Beal. I heard that she had been sick for sometime. They buried her on the bank of the creek called Clear Water and baptized more for their health. That evening some Elders camped with us. They were missionaries on their way to England."
On Thursday many of the Saints in the valley started to harvest wheat and peas.
Sister Louisa Barnes Pratt was with a company traveling to California. She was going to join her husband on his mission to the Society Islands. Her company had to stop for a day to settle some difficulties. She wrote, "Got them all settle, retired to a grove and made a swing. Had a large rope suspended from a high tree. The moon arose about nine, in all its beauty. I have never witnessed grander scenery. The towering trees, the murmuring waters, the clear blue sky bespangled with stars, the grand queen of night, all combined to make the scene striking lovely."
On Tuesday, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph Toronto, and Thomas B. H. Stenhouse arrived in Genoa, Italy. They were the first missionaries to labor in that country. They noticed immediately the influence of Catholicism throughout the city and realized that the work would be challenging. At the end of the week, Elder Snow assigned Elders Toronto and Stenhouse to labor in Piedmont Valley, at the foot of the Alps. In this region was a Protestant community of about 21,000 people known as the Waldenses, or Waldensians. These people spoke French with a mixture of Italian. Elder Snow felt impressed that the elders would find success in their labors among the people of that valley.
Elder John Pack arrived on Wednesday joining Elders John Taylor, Curtis Bolton and William Howell. John Taylor wrote, "Soon after his arrival we went on to the seashore towards evening, and separated from the world, called upon God for his assistance."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.375 Jacob Hamblin, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 9 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.254 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:558 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 114 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 309 Autobiography of Mary Ann Weston Maughan, LDS Church Archives Crockett, Church History in Italy
Sunday, June 30, 1850 - Saturday, July 6, 1850
Over eight hundred pioneer wagons filled with Saints continued their journey across Nebraska.
Sophia Lois Goodridge reported that a little boy, Joseph Green died on Monday. He was the third member of his family to die within five days. She wrote, "Our camp felt afflicted and distressed. We felt like humbling ourselves before the Lord, and pray that He might turn from us the sickness and distress among us. We therefore met together, the speakers exhorting us to be diligent in our devotions and united. A vote was taken to that effect. They called upon the Lord in prayer that he would bless and preserve us on our journey to the Valley. We then started on our journey rejoicing." They soon met a group of eight missionaries from the valley, led by Isaac C. Haight, on the way to their mission in England. "We were very glad to see them. They brought cheering news from the Valley, which caused us to rejoice."
The Peter Maughan company also was afflicted with tragedy. On Sunday Sister Crandall died, the seventh death in the family of fifteen. The company continued their journey. On Monday they passed through a Pawnee Indian village. Mary Ann Maughan recorded: "There were about 200 wigwams, some of them large. They are neatly woven into wicker work with stick and dried grass. They belong to the Pawnees, who are gone farther down the river, as the immigrants' teams destroyed their crops. We passed 4 graves."
On Thursday, July 4th, they heard guns fired in celebration at Fort Kearney, far ahead in the distance. On Saturday they passed nine graves during the day, most of them containing children. They ended the week camped within sight of Fort Kearney on the other side of the river.
Wilford Woodruff's company traveling behind, further to the east, lost their company captain. On Sunday, Joseph Hall drank some bad water and within an hour was sick with the cholera. He died twelve hours later. Elder Woodruff wrote, "We dug Captain Hall's grave. He had 4 men with him who made a covenant together that should any one of them die on the road they would not bury them the same day so to be true to their covenant they remained with the body through the day." The rest of the company continued and met the group of missionaries from the valley. They reported that there had been sixty-two deaths in the pioneers companies ahead.
On Sunday President Brigham Young preached in the Bowery on Temple Square. The meeting was attended by many nonmember emigrants. President Young said, "In any other community the size of this, in any part of the earth, you would see several grog-shops, drunkenness, a little fighting in the streets, lawyers running about with books under their arms, and constables hailing men; but here there is no such thing." To the visiting emigrants, he said, "Friends, help us to gather our harvest, and then you can have grain or flour to help you on your journey. Be kind to each other and take a good feeling with you, and be kind and familiar to each other, and, brethren, if a man is without bread, and you have only one meal of food, divide with the stranger, and don't let him go away hungry."
On Independence Day, the Saints held a celebration on Temple Square. At 2 p.m. the Nauvoo Legion marched in and waited for President Young to arrive. As he approached, Daniel H. Wells led those assembled in giving three cheers for the Governor. The band played some tunes and President Young offered a very energetic speech. After the celebration, the General Assembly of the State of Deseret met to conduct some business. The imposed sales taxes on liquor and other items, but declared that useful items such as groceries, medicines, iron and steel would be exempt from sale taxes. In the evening a general concert was held at the bowery attended by hundreds.
On Thursday Parley P. Pratt opened a tool road through Golden Pass (Parley's Canyon). The toll was 75 cents for a wagon drawn by two animals, and 10 cents for each additional draught, pack or saddle animal. The Newark Rangers, of Kendall County, Illinois, was the first company to follow Elder Pratt through the pass, which opened a new road through the mountains from the Weber river to Salt Lake Valley.
Samuel H. Woodson was awarded a contract to carry mail from Independence to Great Salt Lake City. The service began on Monday. Woodson was assisted by Ephraim K. Hanks and Charles H. Decker to assist him.
A company of missionary families, consiting of twenty-one people bound for the Society Islands started to ascend the mountains to California. This group included the Thomas Tomkins family, Louisa Pratt and four daughters, Jonathan Crosby family, Joseph Busby family, Samuel McMertry family, Sidney Hanks, Simeon Dunn, Julian Moses, and Hiram Clark.
As the company prepared to travel over the most difficult portion of the road over the mountains, men were sent ahead to explore. While they waited, many emigrant came into the camp half-starved. The Saints fed them and Brother Moses preached a gospel sermon.
As they pressed on, Sister Louisa Pratt wrote: "Seven miles we traveled through the canyon a road too intolerable to think of. No person looking at the opening would suppose for a moment that wagons could pass without being broken in ten thousand pieces. But we came over safely, not a think broken. In crossing a bridge where the water was running very swiftly one of the cows fell off and floated down the river as fast as the current could carry her. The men ran with a [rope], hauled her out badly bruised."
On Friday they passed over the first mountains. "Snow, rocks and much perpendicular heights, declinities deep and dangerous, yet we got safely over, with only a few trifling accidents. I rode up the mountain on horse back. With great exertion I clung to the horse. I rode down in the wagon which fatigued me more than walking would. Is it possible that men can love gold to that degree that they will climb these mountains to obtain it?"
Jonathan Crosby added: "We camped on the top of the Sierra Nevada Mountains after passing over snow said to be forty feet deep on the 4th of July. Ice froze that night half an inch thick. Next day, before 12 o'clock, we got to where there was no snow and did not freeze at all."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 3, p.335 Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, July 4, 1850 (Thursday) Brigham Young, The Man and His Work, p. 148 - 149 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 2, p. 238 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.255 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.375 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:559-60 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 308, 322 Jonathan Crosby Autobiography, Utah State Historical Society, p.31