The pioneers started to cross over the Green River. One of the rafts did not work very well because the logs were waterlogged. They went to work, to construct another raft. The wind blew hard, causing the work to be stopped in the afternoon, and only fourteen wagons were brought across. They tried to swim the cattle across, but had great difficulty. The second raft was completed by the evening.
More of the pioneers came down with Mountain Fever, including Clara Decker Young, John Greene,1 William Clayton, Ezra T. Benson, George A. Smith, George Wardell, and Norton Jacob. Those who had been sick the day before were much better, so it appeared that the violent pain and fever usually only lasted for a day. So far, about twenty of the pioneers had taken ill with the mysterious illness.
Samuel Brannan continued efforts to convince the brethren that California was the land of Zion for the Saints. He told them that John Sutter, of Sutter’s Fort, wished to have the Saints settle near him in the Sacramento region. Brother Brannan tried to paint a bleak picture of the Rocky Mountain region by saying that he saw more timber on the Green River where they now were than anywhere on his route since he left California.
Joseph Hancock killed an antelope.
The ferrymen crossed across fifty‑six wagons for three emigration companies and performed $12.85 worth of blacksmithing. Appleton Harmon wrote: “We were all very tired and wanted rest.” They learned that one company with thirty‑five wagons went up the river and crossed over using one of the rafts that the pioneers had built.
The morning was cold and windy as the second pioneer company worked to cross over the more than five hundred wagons. The river was about a half mile wide and shallow, but the bottoms were full of quicksand. Perrigrine Sessions wrote: “[We] had to drive all our cattle several times across to tamp the quicksand so that we could cross our wagons.” They had to double the teams on the wagons. They traveled away from the river, head back to the Platte. John Taylor’s company went eight miles and Jedediah M. Grant’s company camped three miles behind. A few buffalo were spotted for the first time during the day. Isaac C. Haight wrote: “So we pass over rivers, hills and plains as though all was a smooth plain.”
A son, Don Carlos Johnson, was born to Aaron and Jane Scott Johnson.
“Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 34; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 117; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 182; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:163; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, BYU, 60; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:222; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 216; “Isaac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 41
Forty‑seven wagons crossed over the river during the day. The horse and cattle were taken over the river during the morning with some difficulty. The day was very hot and the mosquitoes continued to be terrible. Several trout were caught near the ferry. One weighed more than seven pounds. Thomas Bullock saw a heap of nine buffalo skulls in one place.
The Twelve and others met in council at a nearby grove and decided to send three or four men back to pilot the next pioneer company along their way. Each of the brethren wrote down their views regarding what counsel should be given to the second pioneer group. Samuel Brannan continued to promote California as the promised land. He said that the oats grew wild and did not need to be cultivated. Clovers grew as high as a horse’s belly. Salmon in the San Joaquin River were 10‑12 pounds.
Captain James Brown’s detachments of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints probably camped at Independence Rock on this day. Abner Blackburn noted that the rock was “a huge mass of granite which covers several acres of ground with hundreds of names marked on its huge sides.”
The Perrigrine Sessions company traveled twenty miles during the day and camped without wood and water. A storm blew through, dropping some much needed rain water, but it also brought wind that beat against the wagons with force. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “The prairie very rolling we only ascend one ridge to come in sight of another, till about 2 o’clock when our gradual descent gave us a view of the tops of trees which skirt the river before us.” The companies traveled six abreast during a portion of the day. A cannon being drawn by the Edward Hunter company was found by Charles C. Rich abandoned on the trail with the wagon carriage broken and the tongue gone. The wagon was repaired and the cannon was brought along. A thunder shower rolled in during the late afternoon.
Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 90; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:222; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 216‑17; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 89; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 182; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 60
A storm delayed the rafting over of wagons, but by the late afternoon, all of the wagons were safely across. One of the rafts was hauled up the east side of the river and stowed for the next pioneer company to use. The pioneers resumed their journey in the afternoon, traveled three miles and camped on the Green River. The grass was good, but there were dense swarms of mosquitoes making it miserable. Most of the camp was recovering from the strange bout of mountain fever that struck almost half of the company. A guide board was put up a mile from Green River that stated it was 340 miles from Fort Laramie.
Norton Jacob recorded: “After arriving in camp, Bro. Heber came to visit me and advised me to be baptised. So I went down to the water and Charles Harper baptised me for the restoration of my health which was confirmed upon me by Brethren Kimball, Doct. Richards, Markum Barney and Charles [Harper]. The administration had the desired effect and broke my fever.”
A meeting was held in the evening and volunteers were asked to go back, meet the second pioneer company, and to act as guides. Preference was given to those who had families in the next company. Those who volunteered were: Phinehas H. Young, Aaron Farr, Eric Glines, Rodney Badger, and George Woodward.2 Brigham Young stated that he wished that a dozen men would have volunteered. Since there were not enough spare horses for each of them, they were given the “Revenue Cutter” wagon to carry their provisions. They started to make preparations to return. President Young announced he would travel with these five men in the morning back to the Green River, but he wanted the company to hold a Sabbath meeting in the morning. “I want to have you pray a little and talk a little and sing a little and have a good long meeting, all except those who guard the teams, I want them to mind their work.”
Captain James Brown’s detachments of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints passed by Devil’s Gate and camped along the Sweetwater. Abner Blackburn wrote that some of the men were afraid to go through Devil’s Gate “for fear they might land in the bad place.” Like the pioneers before them, they traveled around the gate and over a ridge. Brother Blackburn wrote that they came “into a most beautyful valley carpeted with green grass and herds of buffalo and a few elk and some deer grazing on its rich meadows.” He marveled at the mountain of granite that ran parallel with the river without vegetation, and remarked “The like I never seen before. They must have run short of material when it was contracted for.”
Jim Bridger arrived at the Mormon Ferry at 11 a.m., and presented to Thomas Grover a letter of introduction from Brigham Young (see June 29, 1847). With him, were four more Mormon Battalion soldiers who were on furlough and were returning to Council Bluffs. A company of eight bringing mail from Oregon arrived near sundown with pack horses and mules. They had been traveling from Oregon since May 5. A letter was sent with Jim Bridger to be take to Fort Laramie for the next pioneer company notifying them that the ferry was going to be kept in operation until they arrived.
The second company of pioneers again rejoined the trail created by Brigham Young’s company and camped on a stream within view of the Platte River. They traveled about fourteen miles. Brother Russell found a bucket near the trail that he had given to Heber C. Kimball. Martin Dewitt, of the Perrigrine Sessions company, broke his arm during the night, while wrestling. Patty Sessions took out her stove and burned old Indian wickiups in it. Antelope was spotted by some men for the first time.
Seventy‑three-year‑old Sarah Lytle, Nancy Lee, Mary Lane, Julia Woolsey, and some children started out to Winter Quarters with Allanson Allen. Along the way, the wagon tipped over into Mire Creek. Sarah Lytle was terribly injured. Her hips were disjointed and her bowles bruised. The others did not receive any injuries. Samuel Gully, returning from Winter Quarters, delivering the news of the accident to John D. Lee, who immediately sent another wagon and team to bring the sisters and children back to camp.
Roswell Stevens, age seventy-five, died.3
Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 118‑19; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 182; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 60 Journals of John D. Lee, 184; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 38; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 437; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:248; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:223; Whitney, History of Utah, 1:318; “Luke S. Johnson Journal,” typescript, BYU, 15; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 89; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 101
Norton Jacob recognized Independence day in his journal by writing: “This is Uncle Sam’s day of Independence. Well we are independent of all the powers of the gentiles, and that’s enough for us.”
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Charles Harper, and others traveled back to the Green River with the five brethren who were heading back to help guide the second pioneer company. They were instructed to choose one of their number to help guide the members of the battalion.
When they arrived at the river, they saw thirteen horsemen on the other side with their baggage and one of the rafts. To the joy of the brethren, they discovered that the men were members of the Mormon Battalion from Pueblo, led by Sergeant Thomas S. Williams, who had been sent ahead by Amasa Lyman. They were pursuing some thieves who had stolen a dozen horses. The thieves had gone on the Fort Bridger and they hoped to get the horses back. They said that the whole detachment of about 140 men (also women and children) was about a seven days’ journey to the east. One of the soldiers, William Walker, joined the company of five men hoping to meet his family in the second pioneer company.4
Wilford Woodruff wrote: “We drew up the raft & crossed them all over but one who returned with our pilots to meet the company. When we met it was truly a harty greeting & shaking of hands. They accompanied us into camp and all were glad to meet.” The pioneers greeted them with three cheers and “shanking hands to perfection.” Next, Brigham Young led another cheer by shouting, “Hosannah! Hosannah! Give glory to God and the Lamb, Amen.” All joined in the cheer.
While the brethren were away at the river, the rest of the pioneers met for a public worship meeting, in the circle of wagons, under the direction of the bishops in the camp. One of Robert Crow’s oxen died during the afternoon from eating poison weeds.
William Clayton wrote: “On the other side the river there is a range of singular sandy buttes perfectly destitute of vegetation, and on the sides can be seen from here, two caves which are probably inhabited by wild bears. The view is pleasant and interesting.”
The men from the battalion spent the night with the camp. Several traders passed by the camp at dusk. The Twelve met together to read letters from Amasa Lyman and Captain James Brown. These letters were delivered by the advance guard of the battalion. Counsel was given to Samuel Brannan regarding the Saints in California.
Wilford Woodruff concluded the day by writing in his journal: “But I must stop writing. The musketoes have filled my carriage like a cloud and have fallen upon me as though they intend to devour me. I never saw that insect more troublesome than in certain places in this country.”
Abner Blackburn, of the battalion wrote: “There was a couple of young folks5 in the company spooning and licking each other ever since we started on the road. The whole company were tired of it and they were persuaded to marry now and have done with it and not wait until their journeys end.” In the evening, a wedding was held, complete with a wedding feast afterwards followed by a dance or ho‑down. “The banjo and the violin made us forget the hardships of the plains.”
The ferrymen sent back letters with Marcus Eastman, a battalion member heading back to Council Bluffs. He and three other battalion members were traveling with Jim Bridger. Francis M. Pomeroy bought a horse from the company for twenty-five dollars.
It rained for a while in the morning. After it cleared, Patty Sessions took some of the things out of her wagon and discovered that they were becoming damp in the wagon. The second company of pioneers held a celebration to recognize independence day. Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, and John Smith addressed the Saints in a public meeting. The leaders asked the pioneers to work together and to be obedient. They exhorted the Saints against being “cold and careless and neglecting to pray.” They were cautioned to never take the name of the Lord in vain. They were warned to not build large campfires that would attract the Pawnee Indians. It was decided that the companies would travel separately, because it was just impossible to feed and water so many people and animals in one place. They would begin establishing their camps more spread out.
John Lytle arrived from Winter Quarters and found his mother critically ill from the results of her injuries the day before. At noon, a public meeting was held at John D. Lee’s house. He spoke to them about their responsibilities as Saints. Other speakers were Joseph Busby, Brother Baird, Samuel Gully, and Absalom P. Free. Brother John H. Redd was troubled in his mind about going to the west. A storm blew in and it rained during the late afternoon. A steam boat was spotted in the river, late in the evening.
A public meeting was held. Isaac Morley and William W. Major spoke to the congregation. Rain fell in torrents during the afternoon.
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion continued traveling along the Humboldt River toward Fort Hall. One of the men became sick and had to be left behind, but caught up with the company in the evening.
During their march across Nevada, battalion member Amos Cox got into trouble with General Kearny. Private Cox was guarding a water hole to see that no animals watered until all the men had. Sylvester Hulet recorded: “Gen. Kearny rode his horse up and started to water it. Uncle Amos [Cox] pulled his gun and threatened to shoot him unless he took the horse away until all the men had all drunk and filled their canteens. Gen. Kearny then departed but afterwards he had Uncle Amos court martialed and strung up by the thumbs for pulling a gun on his superior officer.”
Independence Day was celebrated by the troops in Pueblo de Los Angeles. All of the soldiers were paraded within the fort at sunrise. The New York band played the “Star Spangled Banner” while the flag was being raised. Afterwards, nine cheers were shouted by all the soldiers. “Hail Columbia” was played and then a thirteen-gun salute was fired by the 1st Dragoons. The companies were then marched back to their quarters and again returned at 11 a.m. They paraded some more, this time before Indians and Mexicans. Lt. Stoneman of the 1st Dragoons read the Declaration of Independence. Colonel Stevenson spoke and named the fort, “Fort Moore.”6 The band played “Yankee Doodle,” followed by a patriotic song presented by Levi Hancock, of the battalion. Colonel Stevenson offered to have the Declaration of Independence read to the Mexicans in Spanish, but they declined the invitation.
Independence Day was also celebrated by the Mormon Battalion at San Diego. Five large guns were fired at sunrise from the fort. The battalion members marched down into the town and gave their officers a salute with their guns. The whole city participated in the celebration. Captain Jesse Hunter and Sergeant William Hyde returned from Los Angeles with orders for Company B to march to Los Angeles, and to leave on July 9. Some of the leading citizens expressed a strong desire for the battalion to stay, but most of the men were still very anxious to be discharged. Captain Hunter was disappointed that he had not been able to raise enough men at Los Angeles to make out a large enough company to reenlist under his command. Robert S. Bliss recorded in his journal:
A few days more & we shall go
To see our Wives & Children too
And friends so dear we’ve left below
To save the Church from Overthrow.
Our absence from them has been long
But Oh the time will soon be gone
When we shall meet once more on Earth
And praise the God that gave us Birth.
Elder Lyman O. Littlefield went to find his Uncle Lyman Littlefield’s house near the Erie Canal. He wrote:
I knocked at my uncle’s abode and a hospitable voice bid me enter. Being seated, the scene presented within the compass of that room, to me was of vast moment. I knew that venerable head was my uncle, that the matron at his side was my aunt, and the young men and the one young lady at the table I felt sure were my cousins! This was an auspicious moment, to occur on the anniversary of our nation’s independence! The memories of childhood were instantaneous in crowding among the most sacred recesses of recollection! My uncle so much resembled my father! I could not wait longer for recognition! The following conversation ensued: “Myself ‑‑ ’Is your name Littlefield?’ Uncle ‑‑ ’Yes, sir.’ Myself ‑‑ ’Have you relatives in the west?’ Uncle‑‑’I suppose I have a brother somewhere in the western country. He went away with the Mormons and I have not heard much about him for twenty years.’ Myself ‑‑ ’What was his given name?’ Uncle ‑‑ ’Waldo.’ Myself‑‑’I am well acquainted with a man out there by that name.’ Uncle ‑‑’That must be my brother. How long have you known him?’ Myself ‑‑ ’My earliest remembrances are of him and my mother.’ Uncle ‑‑ ’You are not his son!’ Myself‑ ‑’I am his second son, Lyman, and was named after my uncle, in whose habitation, and in the midst of these, my cousins, this is a happy moment!’” “As I entered, the family was partaking of an early supper. I had not seen them since a little boy, some twenty years previous to that meeting. To be thus ushered into their presence filled me with emotions of pleasure. Their joy was exhibited as if by an electric wave. Simultaneously, uncle, aunt and cousins sprang from the table to salute me with eager and hurried words of welcome.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:223; “Luke S. Johnson’s Journal,” typescript, BYU, 15; “Charles Harper Diary,” 29; Autobiography of John Brown, 77; Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 563; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 437‑38; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 39; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 91; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 185; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 60‑1; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 218‑19; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:20; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 233‑34; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:110; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:61; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 26; William Clayton’s Journal, 282; “Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888),” 193‑95; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 88; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 165; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 101; Schindler, Crossing the Plains, 219
At 8 a.m., the pioneers continued on their journey despite the fact that many of the brethren were still sick with the mountain fever. Orson Pratt speculated that the fever could be caused “by the suffocating clouds of dust which rise from the sandy road, and envelope the whole camp when in motion, and also by the sudden changes of temperature; for during the day it is exceedingly warm, while snowy mountains which surround us on all sides, render the air cold and uncomfortable during the absence of the sun.”
They followed the Green River for three and a half miles. After resting the animals, they continued on the road which headed west away from the river. They climbed some bluffs and then traveled over rolling hills. At 4:45, after a total of twenty miles, they arrived at Ham’s Fork, a swift stream about 70 feet wide.7 The prickly pear cacti were in bloom, some with yellow flowers, others with red. Rain fell in the evening, but the storms seemed to stay close to the mountains.
The Wallace Company (Abraham Smoot Hundred) had a wagon break down while crossing Wood River. This delay caused them to camp several miles behind the main camp. The rest of the camp reached Grand Island and discovered a guide board left by the first pioneer company that read: “April 29th, 30th, 1847. Pioneers all well, short grass, rushes plenty, fine weather, watch Indians ‑‑ 217 miles from Winter Quarters.” Jesse Crosby wrote:
The whole camp of near 600 wagons arranged in order on a fine plain, beautifully adorned with roses. The plant called the prickly pear, grows spontaneously; our cattle are seen in herds in the distance; the whole scene is grand and delightful. Good health and good spirits prevail in the camp. Our labors are more than they otherwise would be, on account of the scarcity of men ‑‑ 500 being in the army, and about 200 pioneers ahead of us.
The guard met to settle up with Daniel Russell, a member of the High Council who had ten of his cattle found in the corn field. By the city law, he was supposed to pay a fine of ten dollars. He had appealed to the Council and they told him to settle the matter with the guard. Hosea Stout wrote, “So we left it to his own conscience & magnanimity to say what was just as he was one of the council and helped make the law.” He decided to pay ten bushels of corn and ten bushels of buck wheat. The guard accepted this payment.
Brigham Young’s sister, Fanny Young Murray, wrote a letter to Gould and Laura Murray of Rochester, New York:
Brigham and Heber with nearly two hundred of chosen men, left this place on the 14th of April for the Rocky Mountains. We heard from them by way of the far company, when they were fifty miles from this place, since which, we have heard nothing, nor do we expect to until we see them, and that may be a long time, or it may be this fall. They will probably go till they find a place where we can rest for a little season.
She wrote about the troubles with the Omaha Indians:
We do not suffer anything from fear of the Indians, for we know that for their sakes we are suffering all these things, and we are sure that the Lord our God will not suffer them to destroy us. There has been great destruction of life, both with man and beast, since we left Nauvoo, but none of these things move us while we are keeping the commandments of our Lord and Master, for we know that whether we live or die, we are His.
Fanny wrote about Winter Quarters and the Mississippi River:
There have been but two steamboats here this season; this makes the river appear rather lonely, except when the fur boats are scudding down; seven were seen at once, yesterday; we hailed them with joy -- I mean with our eyes, for it looks so lonely to see no raft upon the water. . . . I should like to tell you how many hundred houses we have built, but have not lately ascertained. In March there were about eight hundred, and many have been built since. Some are very good log houses, and others about the medium, and many poor indeed, but better than none. The land is far from being level here, but the hills are really beautiful -- far more so, to me, than level land could be. If you could sail up the river and take a peep at our town, you would say it was romantic and even grand, notwithstanding the log huts.
Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 91; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 438‑39; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:224; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 219; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:265; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 182; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 24‑5; Woman’s Exponent, 14:11:82
After traveling 3 3/4 miles, the pioneers forded Ham’s Fork at a point where it was about forty feet wide and two feet deep. In 1 1/ 2 miles, they came to Black’s Fork and crossed it.
Wilford Woodruff recorded: “Man & beast, Harnesses & waggons, were all covered with dust. . . . The face of the country is the same to day as usual Barren, Sand & Sage, with occasionally A sprinkling of flowers some vary beutiful.”
In thirteen more miles, they recrossed Black’s Fork and camped on the bank. The grass was good and there were many willow trees near camp. William Clayton wrote:
At this place there is a fine specimen of the wild flax which grows all around. It is considered equal to any cultivated, bears a delicate blue flower. There is also an abundance of the rich bunch grass in the neighborhood of the river back and many wild currants. The prairies are lined with beautiful flowers of various colors ‑‑ chiefly blue, red and yellow, which have a rich appearance and would serve to adorn and beautify an eastern flower garden.
The ferrymen took across an emigrant company with eighteen wagons. Three of the wagons left without paying the fifty-cent fee. Another company of twenty‑two wagons went up the river to ford it by raising their wagon beds. The river had been falling fast, making this method of crossing possible.
Across from Grand Island, a daughter, Sarah Ellen Smithies, was born to James and Nancy Smithies at 11 a.m. This delayed the Abraham Smoot Company for a few hours. Patty Sessions wrote: “Go 18 miles camp on the bank of a stream from the Platte River where the Indians had camped. We burnt their wickeups for wood, some waided the river to get wood, brought it over on their backs. The camp did not all get up last night neither have they to night. Smoots Co have not been heard from since Monday, Grants Co did not get up to night.” Jedediah M. Grant’s hundred were delayed because of traffic problems with John Taylor’s company. Abraham Smoot’s company camped at the spot where some of the companies had rested at noon.
A son, Benjamin Leavitt Baker, was born to Simon and Charlotte Leavitt Baker.8
Ellen Aurelia Williams, age six months, died of congestive chills. She was the daughter of Gustavus and Maria Williams.
Sarah Lytle, age Seventy‑three, died of injuries received a few days earlier from a wagon tipping over. She was buried under the direction of Joseph Young.
During the morning, the battalion attended a funeral service for a soldier of the 1st dragoons who had died during the previous evening. He was buried with the honors of war and interred in a Catholic Cemetery.
Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 439; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:224; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 185‑86; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 182‑83; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 39; William Clayton’s Journal, 283; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 297
The pioneers restarted their journey at 7:45 and once again crossed Black’s Fork after traveling about two miles. The wind blew strongly, making the road dusty and unpleasant for traveling. They rested at noon, on the banks of a swift stream.
In the afternoon, they saw a number of Indian lodges on the south side of the road. These were occupied by trappers and hunters who had taken Indians as wives. Children were seen playing around the lodges. Many horses were seen grazing nearby. After crossing four more streams, they arrived at the historic Fort Bridger.
Howard Egan described the fort: “Bridger’s Fort is composed of two log houses, about forty feet long each, and joined by a pen for horses, about ten feet high, and constructed by placing poles upright in the ground close together.” Orson Pratt wrote: “Bridger’s post consists of two adjoining log‑houses, dirt roofs, and a small picket yard of logs set in the ground, and about 8 feet high.” Horace K. Whitney added: “This is not a regular fort as I at first supposed, but consists of 2 log houses where the inhabitants live & also do their trading.” The roadometer indicated that Fort Bridger was 397 miles from Fort Laramie.9
They made their camp about a half mile west of the fort. Some of the pioneers caught several trout in the brooks. Erastus Snow wrote: “It is about the first pleasant looking spot I have seen west of the pass. This is the country of the Snake Indians, some of whom were at the fort. They bear a good reputation among the mountaineers for honesty and integrity.” William Clayton had a different view of their location. “The country all around looks bleak and cold.”
The advance guard of the battalion found the horse thief at the fort who had helped to steal ten of their horses. They had previously recovered eight of the horses and asked about the remaining two. The thief said they were gone to Oregon.
A Captain Magone’s company of thirty‑six wagons was taken across over the river for one dollar each. Captain Magone asked for the names of all the captains of the companies and the number of wagons. He said he would publish this information in a history. There was a Catholic Bishop and seven priests in this company. Eight men from Oregon arrived with pack mules and horses heading east. They were ferried across and they hired the men to do some blacksmithing.
The second pioneer company traveled fifteen miles and found another guide board left by Brigham Young’s pioneers. It said that they had killed eleven buffalo. A wagon ran over one of Perrigrine Sessions’s feet. His foot hurt so much that he could not drive his team. The companies passed by a large prairie dog village. Jesse W. Crosby described these villages: “They are certainly a curiosity to the traveler; they live in cells, the entrance of which is guarded against the rain. Thousands of these little creatures dwell in composts, and as we pass great numbers of them set themselves up to look at us, they resemble a ground hog, or wood chuck, but smaller.” Isaac C. Haight added: “Passed several villages inhabited by dogs a little larger than the squirrel. Some were killed. They are good to eat.”
Sarah Rich recorded:
We came to a land alive with what is called "prairie dogs." They live in holes in the ground, and made the hills resound with their barking all night long. They are about the size of small puppies, and as cunning as they can be. They sat near their holes by hundreds and barked and yelped until the boys got almost up to them, then they dodged into their holes or dens and stuck their heads out again and barked. Some of the men shot at them. They were such handsome little dogs with more fur than hair on them. If we could have caught them alive, we would have tried to tame them just because they were so small and pretty.
During the morning, the Joseph Noble fifty were ordered to leave the “beaten path” and break a new trail. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “It made hard riding for me, yet I felt like submitting to ‘the pow’rs that be’ & endure it altho’ the 2 roads were unoccupied.” Her company passed by the Charles C. Rich Company who was repairing two wagons.
Isaac Morley arrived from Winter Quarters and notified John D. Lee to come to the city on July 10 to reorganize the Summer Quarters company.
On this warm day, Mary Richards took her bed and bedding outside, scaled the bedstead and the log around her bed, and scrubbed the floor. This treatment was needed because she had been bothered by bed bugs.
Daniel Russell, a member of the High Council, went to see Hosea Stout to inform him that he had consulted with the High Council and it had been decided to disband the Winter Quarters police guard led by Brother Stout. This was shocking news, and Brother Stout questioned in his mind if it was true, since Daniel Russell had recent run‑ins with the guard.
A son, Thomas Brigham Wrigley, was born to Thomas and Grace Wilkinson Wrigley.
Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 92‑3; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 39‑40; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 183; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 35; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 186; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:249; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:224; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 439‑40; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 220; William Clayton’s Journal, 285; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:265; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 151; “Isaac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 42; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 75‑6
The morning was cold. Ice formed during the night but melted as soon as the sun rose. By 9 a.m., the temperature stood at sixty‑six degrees. The pioneers decided to spend the day at Fort Bridger, preparing for the rugged roads ahead in the mountains. While blacksmith work was being performed on the wagons and horse shoes, some of the men tried their hand at fishing for trout. Wilford Woodruff wrote about his efforts fly fishing:
The man at the fort said there were but very few trout in the streams, and a good many of the brethren were already at the creeks with their rods & lines trying their skill baiting with fresh meat & grass hoppers, but no one seemed to ketch any. I went & flung my fly onto the [brook] and it being the first time that I ever tried the artificial fly in America, or ever saw it tried, I watched it as it floated upon the water with as much intense interest as Franklin did his kite when he tried to draw lightning from the skies. And as Franklin received great joy when he saw electricity or lightning descend on his kite string, in like manner was I highly gratifiyed when I saw the nimble trout dart my fly hook himself & run away with the line but I soon worried him out & drew him to shore.
Within three hours he had caught twelve large trout.
In the afternoon, Wilford Woodruff went to Fort Bridger and traded a rifle for four buffalo robes. The prices were high, but the robes were of good quality. Howard Egan traded two rifles for nineteen buckskins, three elkskins, and some material for making moccasins. Heber C. Kimball obtained hunting shirts, pants, and twenty skins.
The brethren decided to head to the southwest toward the Salt Lake. They wrote a letter to Amasa Lyman, with the battalion detachment, discussing what should be done with the soldiers.
We understand that the troops have not provisions sufficient to go to the western coast, and their time of enlistment will expire about the time they get to our place; they will draw their pay until duly discharged, if they continue to obey council; and there is no officer short of California, who is authorized to discharge them; therefore, when you come up with us, Capt. Brown can quarter his troops in our beautiful city, which we are about to build, either on parole, detached service, or some other important business, and we can have a good visit with them, while Capt. Brown with an escort of 15 or 20 mounted men and Elder Brannan for pilot, may gallop over to the headquarters, get his pay, rations and discharge and learn the geography of the country. If Captain Brown approves these suggestions and will signify the same to Brother Brannan, so that he can discharge his men and remain in camp; otherwise he [Brannan] is anxious to go on his way.
Andrew Gibbons10 was tried before the Twelve for an assault on George Mills. Both had used abusive language against each other and ended up asking for forgiveness. Brother Gibbons was honorably acquitted. The Council also decided that Sergeant Thomas Williams of the battalion and Samuel Brannan should head back to meet Captain James Brown’s company of the battalion. William Clayton explained: “Inasmuch as the brethren have not received their discharge nor their pay from the United States, Brother Brannan goes to tender his services as pilot to conduct a company of fifteen or twenty to San Francisco if they feel disposed to go there and try to get their pay.”
The men performed $6.40 worth of blacksmithing for emigrant companies and Luke Johnson cleaned teeth and did other dentistry for $3.00.
The pioneers found another buffalo skull with a message that Brigham Young’s company had written to them on May 4. Perrigrine Sessions wrote that this gave the Saints much joy. Brother Sessions spotted some wild or stray horses. Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor caught the horses and they were brought into the camp. The companies crossed several streams and built bridges over a number of them. Buffalo was spotted for the first time.
Before Hosea Stout notified the guard about the order to disband, he went to see the president of the High Council, Alpheus Cutler. Brother Stout could not believe that the order from Daniel Russell to dissolve the guard was true. President Cutler told him that there had been discussion on this subject, but no order to stop the guard has been issued. He told Brother Stout to keep the guard together and the matter would again be discussed at the next High Council meeting.
Hosea Stout wrote:
This was one of the hottest days I ever saw. But in the evening the wind came from the North accompanied by torrents of rain which ran like rivulets down the streets. It bursted in to my house in torrents and filled it up in a few moments untill I had to throw the water out by the bucket full untill we were all completely drenched. This I believe was the hardest rain this season.
Eliza Jane Godfrey, age six months, died of diarrhea. She was the daughter of Joseph and Ann Reeves Godfrey.
The small detachment of the battalion reached a crossroad in present‑day northeast Nevada. The road to the right was a two‑day journey to the Salt Lake. They took the road to the left which headed to Fort Hall. They camped at the headwaters for the Humboldt River.
Henry Bigler wrote: “Our brick masons [Philander Colton, Rufus Stoddard, Henry Wilcox, and William Garner] finished laying up the first brick house in that place and for all I know the first in California. The building, I believe, was designed to be used for a courthouse and schoolhouse. The inhabitants came together, set out a table well spread with wines and different kinds of drinks.”
Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 439‑40; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:225; “Charles Harper Diary,” 29; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 93; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; William Clayton’s Journal, 286; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:265 Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 221; Journal History, 8 July 1847.
Samuel Brannan, Thomas Williams, and possibly a few others returned toward South Pass to meet the detachment of the Mormon Battalion, taking with them a letter from the brethren. Most of the advance party of the battalion remained with the pioneer company, again increasing its numbers.
At 8 a.m., the rest of the pioneers left their camp near Fort Bridger and traveled on rough roads. Erastus Snow wrote: “We took a blind trail, the general course of which is a little south of west, leading in the direction of the southern extremity of the Salt Lake which is the region we wish to explore.” They were barely able to discern the trail left the previous year by the Donner‑Reed party and others. After six and a half miles, they arrived at Cottonwood Creek and rested their teams.
During the warm afternoon, the pioneers ascended a long, steep hill, eight miles from Fort Bridger. The descent on the other side was the steepest and most difficult they had yet come across. They passed some large drifts of snows. Thomas Bullock wrote: “Made two Snow balls, a refreshing bite at this time of year.”
At 3 p.m., the pioneers crossed Muddy Fork, a stream about twelve feet wide, and camped on its banks. Tall grass that resembled wheat was plentiful. The mountain fever continued to afflict the camp. As some of the members got better, others became ill. Wilford Woodruff came down with it and also William Carter.11 Many of the other brethren spent the evening singing hymns for Brigham Young.
Thomas Grover, William Empey, John Higbee, and Jonathan Pugmire (of the battalion) did about $30.00 worth of blacksmithing. Appleton Harmon helped repair Edmund Ellsworth’s wagon. Luke Johnson performed dentistry. Benjamin F. Stewart herded cattle. Francis M. Pomeroy searched for his horse. Edmund Ellsworth and James Davenport were sick.
The Jedediah M. Grant Hundred was delayed because of a broken wagon. They watched the other companies disappear out of sight. The company later caught up and camped on the banks of the Platte. Some of the men went to hunt buffalo during the day, but returned to the wagon without spotting any. The camp had to take a slightly different route than Brigham Young’s pioneer camp, because the waters were higher and more mud slues had to be avoided. Jesse W. Crosby waded across the Platte. He wrote: “Found it one mile wide, three feet deep, one foot on an average, current three miles an hour.” Several of the sisters washed in the warm water and noticed a large pine tree floating down the river.
Mary Richards and Amelia Peirson Richards (wife of Willard Richards) took a walk on the bluffs above Winter Quarters. She wrote: “We gazed with delight upon our city of 8 months growth its beauty full gardins and extensive fields clothed with the fast growing corn and vegetables of every description above all things pleasing to the eyes of an Exile in the Wilderness of our afflictions.”
A daughter, Mary Eliza Johnson, was born to Aaron and Mary Johnson. Mary Amanda Margaret Zabriskie, age five months, died. She was the daughter of Louis C. and Mary Higbee Zabriskie.
The detachment crossed into present‑day Idaho. They traveled thirty miles and camped at Big Spring.
The natives were very busy preparing the town for another Catholic celebration. The battalion received rumors that the Mexicans might try to use the festival to recapture the city by drawing the battalion out of their fort. Several brass cannons were brought in from San Pedro.
Company B took up their march for Los Angeles, departing their home in San Diego for almost four months. Then natives hated to see them leave and clung to them like children. The company traveled twelve miles and camped.
“The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 93‑4; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:249; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:226; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 440‑41; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 222; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 151; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 183; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 35; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:110; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 158; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 297
The pioneers traveled a road that gradually ascended. They passed a spring which they named Red Mineral Spring. It was very red and the water tasted terrible. They soon reached the summit of a ridge. Orson Pratt calculated the elevation at 7,315 feet. They then descended into a valley and halted for the noon rest. Thomas Bullock wrote: “Mr. [Lewis] Myers caught a young ‘War Eagle’ & brought it into Camp to look at. It measured 6 feet between the tips of its wings.”
In the afternoon, the pioneers had to climb another ridge that ran between Muddy Fork on the east and Bear River on the west. The elevation of this summit was believed to be 7,700 feet. They descended into the valley and camped on Sulphur Creek. Thomas Bullock recorded:
Descended by two steep pitches, almost perpendicular, which on looking back from the bottom looks like jumping off the roof of a house to a middle story, then from the middle story to the ground & thank God there was no accident happened. President Young & Kimball cautioned all to be very careful & locked the Wheels of some wagons themselves. It was a long, steep & dangerous descent.
An Indian came from Fort Bridger and camped with the pioneers for the night. Three grizzly bears were spotted but they quickly left and did not bother the camp. Albert Carrington found a vein of stone coal despite statements from explorers who said it would not be found in this region.
Orson Pratt recorded:
Just before our encampment, as I was wandering alone upon one of the hills, examining the various geological formations, I discovered smoke some two miles from our encampment, which I expected arose from some small Indian encampment. I informed some of our men and they immediately went to discover who they were; they found them to be a small party from the Bay of St. Francisco, on their way home to the States. They were accompanied by Mr. Miles Goodyear, a mountaineer. . . . Mr. G[oodyear] informed us that he had just established himself near the Salt Lake, between the mouths of Weber’s Fork and Bear River; that he had been to the Bay of St. Francisco on business & just returned with this company following the Hastings new route [that traveled south of Great Salt Lake into Nevada] that those left in charge at the lake had succeeded in making a small garden which was doing well by being watered.
Goodyear estimated that they were seventy‑five miles from the lake. He described three roads to reach the Salt Lake and spoke of the country. They discussed the tragic circumstances surrounding the Donner‑Reed party who had traveled this road a year earlier. Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that he understood they were mostly from Independence and Clay County Missouri and had been threatening to drive out the Mormons from California.12 Elder Woodruff wrote: “The snows fell upon them 18 feet deep on a level & they died & eat up each other. About 40 persons perished & were mostly eat up by those who survived them. Mrs. L[avinah] Murphy of Tenn whom I baptized while on a mission in that country but since apostitized & joined the mob was in the company, died or was killed & eat up.” They were told that the Donner‑Reed party had lost time quarreling who would improve the roads.
Luke Johnson shot a buffalo about three miles from the ferry. An emigrant company bought the meat from him. The brethren at the ferry purchased $100 worth of goods from a Mr. H. Lieuelling. The ferrymen were interested to find out that he had a roadometer attached to one of his wagons.
The second company of Saints traveled only about eight miles and camped early for the weekend near an island full of willows. Hunters were sent out, hoping to kill some buffalo, but they came back only with some antelope and deer. They were about 252 miles from Winter Quarters and about 700 miles behind Brigham Young’s pioneer company at Sulphur Creek.
An important meeting was held under the direction of Isaac Morley. The objective was to reorganize the companies at Winter and Summer Quarters. This was needed because many of the captains and families had left for the west. James W. Cummings and Benjamin L. Clapp were sustained as captains of hundreds. The captains of fifty chosen were: Jonathan C. Wright, George D. Grant, and Daniel Carn.
A son, Thomas James Foster, was born to George and Jane McCullough Foster.
A son, Isaac Houston Jr., was born to Isaac and Theodocia Keys Houston.13
A bull fight was held on the flat near the town. The battalion remained at the fort, but could still view the sports below the hill. A grand ball was also held and the battalion was invited. But they remained at the fort because of rumors that the Mexicans were trying to draw them out and take over the fort.
As they were marching along the ocean, Robert Bliss and David Rainey noticed something large and white in the distance. They let their animals graze and went to check it out. It turned out to be about one hundred acres of salt, about a half inch deep. Robert Bliss brought back a pint of the beautiful salt. Company B marched thirty miles and arrived at San Luis Rey.
Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 441‑43; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:227; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:250; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 186‑87; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 223; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90; Emigrant’s Guide; Our Pioneer Heritage, 6; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:110; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 297
The pioneers rested for the Sabbath. Some of the brethren rode out to scout the route ahead and found a mineral tar spring fifteen miles from camp. Some of them thought it was oil. It had a very strong smell. Albert Carrington tested the substance and said it was 87% carbon. Some of the men filled up their tar buckets and used it for wheel grease. Others used it to oil their guns and shoes. The substance burned bright like oil. They also found a sulphur spring nearby. William Clayton wrote: “The surface of the water is covered with flour of sulphur and where it oozes from the rocks is perfectly black.”
As the pioneers were getting closer to their new home, some started to feel uneasy about the location. Thomas Bullock recorded: “As I lay in my wagon sick, I overheard several of the brethren murmuring about the face of the country, altho’ it is very evident, to the most careless observer, that it is growing richer & richer every day.” William Clayton also heard this talk: “There are some in camp who are getting discouraged about the looks of the country but thinking minds are not much disappointed, and we have no doubt of finding a place where the Saints can live which is all we ought to ask or expect.”
Miles Goodyear went with Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Joseph Matthews, and John Brown to show them a new road that would be shorter to the Salt Lake valley. After dark, the brethren were called together to decide which of the two roads to take. They decided to take a road that headed to the right that Miles Goodyear recommended.14 The Twelve privately felt that the other route would be safer, but decided to let the voice of the camp decide to avoid further murmuring. A singing meeting was held during the evening.
The brethren ferried across seven hundred fruit trees, which included apple, peach, plum, pear, currants, grapes, raspberry, and cherries. They were owned by Mr. H. Lieuelling of Salem, Iowa.
Phinehas Young, Aaron Farr, George Woodward, Eric Glines, and battalion members William Walker and John Cazier arrived at the ferry. They had been sent back by the pioneers to help pilot the second pioneer company who were about 400 miles to the east. This small group had left the pioneers at Green River on July 4 and had traveled all the way to the Mormon Ferry in just six days, a journey of about 215 miles.
Some of the ferrymen wanted to join this company to meet their families. Since the river was low enough to ford, and most of the Oregon emigrants had already passed, Thomas Grover agreed with this idea. The brethren decided to divide equally all of the provisions that the ferrymen had received. The division amounted to $60.50 each.
Hunters were sent out to hunt buffalo. Eight were later brought in. A public Sabbath meeting was held at 1 p.m.
Sarah Rich wrote in her autobiography:
We journeyed on up the Platte River, came into the buffalo country, seeing many large buffalo. Brother Lewis Robinson was the first one in our company to kill a buffalo. He killed one weighing over a thousand pounds. We all stopped and had a feast all through our camp. We stopped a few days to wash, iron and cook, while the men repaired their wagons, and let their teams rest and recruit up as we were in good food. When all the companies would come up, we would start on again.
The second death on the pioneer journey from Winter Quarters occurred. Ellen Holmes, of the Daniel Spencer company, died. She had been ill for six months.
Elder Orson Hyde preached at a Sunday meeting. His topic was, “There is a way that seemeth good unto man but leadeth unto death.” He said that all disobedient and unruly spirits would be servants in the next world. Friend Gilliam was quite offended by this sermon. In the evening, the High Council met. They discussed Daniel Russell’s order to Hosea Stout to disband the guard. Many of the Council that an order had been issued, because they had never discussed the subject. They all agreed that the guard should still be kept.
The bull fights continued in Los Angeles. Several horses were gored in the games. One of the bulls broke out of its pen and caught Captain Daniel Davis’ six-year-old boy, Daniel, with its horns and was said to have tossed him twenty feet in the air. The little boy was bruised and scared.
The men visited the mission and then marched eleven miles and camped at San Bernardo de Los Floris, near the ocean. They visited a church and Indian village.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:227; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 94; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:139; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 187; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:259; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 224; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:265; William Clayton’s Journal, 289‑90; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 183‑84; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 159; 1997‑98 Church Almanac, 117; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 74
Wilford Woodruff got up early and rode to Bear River to do some early‑ morning fly fishing. “For the first time I saw the long looked for Bear River Valley. Yet the spot where we struck it was nothing very interesting. There was considerable grass in the valley & some timber & think bushes on the bank of the river.” He found it difficult to fish with the fly because of thick underbrush, but he wrote: “I fished several hours & had all sorts of luck, good, bad, and indifferent.”
The rest of the pioneers started out, and traveled down Sulphur Creek and came to the Bear River. It was about sixty feet wide and two and a half feet deep. The current was rapid and the bottom was covered with boulders, presenting a difficult crossing.
They came to another fork in the road and took the road to the right. The road climbed over a ridge and then they descended into a ravine which they followed for several miles. Orson Pratt described their surroundings: “The country is very broken, with high hills and vallies, with no timber excepting scrubby cedar upon their sides.” Erastus Snow added: “There has been a very evident improvement in the soil productions and general appearance of the country since we left Fort Bridger, but more particularly since we crossed Bear River. The mountain sage has in a great measure given place to grass and a variety of prairie flowers and scrub cedars upon the sides of the hills.”
The hunters brought in about a dozen antelope from a large heard. The pioneers came to “The Needles,” some rock formations that Orson Pratt described these formations: “The rocks are from 100 to 200 feet in height, and rise up in perpendicular and shelving form, being broken or worked out into many curious forms by the rains. Some quite large boulders were cemented in this rock.”15
Brigham Young became very sick with the mountain fever. He decided to stop a few hours to rest. The rest of the wagons stopped with him for the noon rest, but after two hours the majority were told to continue. Eight wagons stayed behind, including Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Lorenzo Young, Ezra T. Benson, and Albert P. Rockwood. Brother Rockwood was also very sick.
The rest of the company traveled down a ravine and then crossed over another ridge. They descended into another ravine and camped at the foot of a ledge of rooks.
Orson Pratt wrote: “Here is the mouth of a curious cave [Cache Cave]. . . . The opening resembles very much the doors attached to an out‑door cellar, being about 8 feet high and 12 or 14 feet wide. . . . We went into this cave about 30 feet, where the entrance becoming quite small, we did not feel disposed to penetrate it any further.” Wilford Woodruff added: “Many of us cut our names in it.” They named the cave “Redden’s Cave,” after Jackson Redden, the first of the pioneers to find it. Brigham Young and the others did not come into camp by the evening.
Many of the brethren prepared to return to Fort Laramie with those sent back from the Pioneer company and the Mormon Battalion. Two buffalo were spotted on the north side of the river coming toward the ferry crossing. Luke Johnson and Phinehas Young chased them and soon killed one of them only a half mile from camp. The meat was brought into camp and dried.
The Daniel Spencer Hundred took their turn to lead the more than 1,500 pioneers. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “The prairie to day is little else than a barren waste ‑‑ where the buffalo seem to roam freely.” They traveled about twelve miles and camped. Many of the men were busy smoking buffalo meat. They obtained wood by wading over the river to Grand Island. Isaac C. Haight burned his foot badly.
Sarah Rich wrote:
But while passing through the buffalo country we did not travel fast, for all the men folks seemed to want to kill a buffalo, so they would travel a few miles a camp, and hunt, for it was a new sport for them. Mr. Rich was after a large herd, him and several of our company, riding horse back. They killed three. The first one he wounded; it was a very large one, and it turned upon him and came very near killing the horse he was riding, but Mr. Rich shot again, and killed the buffalo. The next day he killed two more. They dressed them and divided out the meat in the company. The men fixed scaffolds out of willows and spread out the meat cut up in thin slices, and made fires underneath, as one side of the meat would get dry, they would turn it over, and by so doing, it became dry. They called it "jerk" meat. We put it into sacks, and had enough to last us all through and it was the sweetest meat I ever tasted. The children grew fat on it. We also tried out the tallow, for we needed grease for our cooking. Every other company also supplied themselves with "jerked" meat.
Robert S. Bliss wrote: “Marched 16 miles side of the ocean & in it when every few waves would wet our horses feet. I selected a few shells for a memorial of the Great Pacific.” They camped near the ruins of the San Juan Mission.
Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 443‑45; “Luke S. Johnson Journal,” typescript, BYU, 16; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:259; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, BYU, 62; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 94‑5; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:228‑29; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:139; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 90‑1; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 184; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:411; “Isaac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 42; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 74‑5
Two messengers, John Brown and Joseph Matthews, were sent back to meet with Brigham Young back at The Needles. The camp did not want to move on until President Young caught up with them. The messengers returned with Heber C. Kimball and Howard Egan. They reported that Brigham Young was feeling a little better but still could not travel. Albert P. Rockwood was near death and “deranged in mind.”
It was becoming very urgent for the pioneers to complete their journey and to plant a crop as soon as possible in the Salt Lake Valley. The Twelve directed Orson Pratt to lead an advance company of 42 men and 23 wagons through the mountains. They were instructed to make roads to enable the main company to follow later. Heber C. Kimball returned to The Needles. At 3 p.m., this company started their journey and traveled about eight miles and entered Echo Canyon.16
The main company stayed at their camp near Cache Cave. Thomas Bullock went to explore the cave which was thirty‑six feet by twenty‑four feet and was about four to six feet high. Many of the brethren carved their names on the walls. Brother Bullock observed about fifty swallows nests near the roof of the cave.
The hunters brought in twelve antelope. Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards took a walk to search for a spring. They reminisced about their missionary days when Elder Woodruff served at the Fox Islands in Maine, and when they labored together in Preston, England. As the main camp rested in the evening, Thomas Bullock wrote: “Our camp was stiller to night than it has been since we left Fort [Laramie.]”
The ferrymen divided into two companies. The first company would stay at the ferry and the second would journey back to Fort Laramie to meet the second pioneer company. Those who stayed at the ferry were: William Empey, John Higbee (who was sick), Appleton Harmon, Luke Johnson, James Davenport, and Eric Glines (who had come back from the pioneers.) Those who left for Fort Laramie were ferrymen, Thomas Grover, Francis M. Pomeroy, Edmund Ellsworth, and Benjamin F. Stewart. Also returning were: pioneers, Aaron Farr, George Woodward, and Phinehas Young, and battalion members William Walker, John Cazier, and Jonathan Pugmire.
After the brethren left the ferry site, the rest were busy drying buffalo meat.
The “Big Company” of pioneers started the day’s journey at 7 a.m. They crossed a “multitude” of trodden down buffalo paths that led from the bluffs to the river. Isaac C. Haight went to hunt buffalo. He chased a herd but fell off his horse and lost the chase.
It was very hot in Winter Quarters. Hosea Stout’s last living child, Marinda Stout, born at Garden Grove, was very sick and Brother Stout feared that she was dying.
Delia Ann Covey, age one month, died of consumption. Clarinda McCoulough, died of consumption. She was the wife of Levi McCoulough.
The detachment reached the Oregon Trail at noon, and followed it to the east, toward Fort Hall. They reached the Columbia River.
During the day the battalion company crossed over a plain where they saw about twenty thousand cattle and horses grazing. The hills could be seen covered with cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.
Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 445; “Luke S. Johnson Journal,” typescript, BYU, 16; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:229; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, BYU, 62; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 95; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40, 41; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 225‑26; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:266; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 184; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 91; “Isaac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 42
The advance company traveled through Echo Canyon. Orson Pratt wrote: “Our journey down Red Fork has truly been very interesting and exceedingly picturesque. We have been shut up in a narrow valley from 10 to 20 rods wide, while upon each side the hills rise very abruptly from 800 to 1200 feet, and the most of the distance we have been walled in by vertical and overhanging precipices of red pudding‑stone, and also red sand‑stone.” Levi Jackman added: “The valley was fertile but very narrow and the hills on both sides were several hundred feet high. In many places it was difficult passing. A little before night we struck the Weber Fork and camped. We came about 14 miles today.” Their plans were to follow the Weber River to the valley.17
Wilford Woodruff and Barnabas Adams traveled back to the rear company, to see how the sick were doing.18
Thomas Bullock sat in the cool cave all day and caught up on his writing. Many of the other brethren spent the day hunting and killed several antelope.
Wilford Woodruff returned in the evening and brought back news regarding the sick in the rear company. A meeting was called around Willard Richards’ wagon. It was decided to hitch up and move the camp a short distance in the morning.
William Clayton wrote about the mountain fever:
There are one or two new cases of sickness in our camp, mostly with fever which is very severe on the first attack, generally rendering its victims delirious for some hours, and then leaving them in a languid, weakly condition. It appears that a good dose of pills or medicine is good to break the fever. The patient then needs some kind of stimulant to brace his nerves and guard him against another attack. I am satisfied that diluted spirits is good in this disease after breaking up the fever.
Wilford Woodruff and Barnabas Adams visited the rear company of sick brethren. They were pleased to see that Brigham Young was getting better and they ate supper with Heber C. Kimball. Wilford Woodruff planned to bring his carriage from the main camp in the morning for Brigham Young and Albert P. Rockwood to ride in.
Albert P. Rockwood’s fever still raged and he was delirious. He later wrote: “Br Lorenz Young and many others look upon me as dangerous ill. I so considered myself and so told the brethren that if no relief came in 24 hours, they might dig a hole to put me in.”
Howard Egan, Heber C. Kimball, Ezra T. Benson, and Lorenzo Young climbed to the top of a high mountain and offered prayers for the sick and for their families so far away.
The ferrymen started to move their belongings, six miles up the river where the feed was better. An emigrant company arrived and needed some blacksmithing performed. All the blacksmith tools were moved up the river and set up for business. Luke Johnson stayed at the ferry site overnight to guard the rest of the things that had not yet been moved up. During the night, he was bothered by wolves that wanted to eat the buffalo meat. Brother Johnson shot one, reloaded and fired again. “Then the gun burst. It burned his face and arm and hand considerably, and slightly wounded his other arm and hand. A piece of the lock or something passed through his hat with great violence, which closely grazed his head.”
The Jedediah M. Grant Company had difficulties and was delayed. During the night their herd broke out of the yard and crushed two wheels on Willard Snow’s wagon, killed a cow, broke of some horns, and broke the leg of a horse. They had to spend the day repairing Brother Snow’s wagon. The Charles C. Rich company remained behind with them. Abraham Smoot’s company passed them during the day.
The pioneers arrived at the location where the first pioneer company camped on May 9, 1847. They found the post, guideboard, and box with a letter and history of the journey up to that point. The guideboard stated that they were 300 miles from Winter Quarters. The company spotted several herds of buffalo and their hunters were successful in killing some for meat. Jedediah M. Grant showed Eliza R. Snow a buffalo skull on which was written, “All well ‑‑ feed bad ‑‑ we only 300 ms. from W.” It was dated May 9th.
Daniel H. Wells, who was baptized into the Church the previous year, arrived from Nauvoo. Hosea Stout was surprised that he joined the Saints, but he observed that he now appeared to be an influential and faithful member of the Church.19
A son, James Munro Pyper, was born to John and Madaline Gardener Pyper.
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion met several companies of Oregon emigrants. These emigrants were certainly among those who came in contact with the pioneers and may have let the Mormon Battalion members know that they met the pioneers on the Oregon Trail in Wyoming. One of these emigrants wrote that the Kearny party was “anxious to buy provisions but we were afraid to sell. They report peace in California and were anxious to obtain newspapers which were very scarce.”
The company traveled twenty miles and camped at Riota Ranch where there was an excellent spring.
Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 95‑6; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, BYU, 62; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:229‑30; Autobiography of John Brown, 77; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 446; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 225‑26; William Clayton’s Journal, 292; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 39; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40, 41; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:266; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 184; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 520
The advance company journeyed down Weber River, crossing over onto the south bank. After six miles they halted about one mile from the canyon which looked impassable for wagons. Orson Pratt and John Brown rode four miles down the canyon and then returned to camp convinced that this route would be very difficult. While they were gone, Stephen Markham and others searched for the Donner‑Reed trail that cut across the mountains to the south. Orson Pratt and John Brown also went searching for this trail and soon found it, but the grass had grown up, making it very difficult to discern. Orson Pratt followed the trail up a ravine for six miles and then returned to the advance company camp.20
Wilford Woodruff left camp early in the morning, right after breakfast, with his carriage and horses. In two hours he arrived at Brigham Young’s camp. He made a comfortable bed for President Young and Albert P. Rockwood in his carriage, and the rear company started out. Brother Rockwood wrote: “I was very weak & low, not able to set up in the carriage, yet I stood the journey very well. So did B Young.”
At noon, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and others with eight wagons arrived into the main camp. Orders were given for the company to harness up. During this time a refreshing shower cooled them off.
At 3:30 p.m., after four and a half miles, they formed their camp at the foot of some high, red bluffs [Castle Bluffs]. The feed was good and there was a beautiful spring of cool water to the left of the road.
James Davenport and Appleton Harmon were busy doing blacksmith work. Eric Glines traveled down the river for some coal and other items at the ferry site. William Empey and John Higbee dried buffalo meat and tended the cattle.
The companies had to travel over some sandy bluffs, away from the river, in order to avoid swampy land. They camped at a spring of cold water. Patty Sessions put some milk in it to cool. Because of problems with cattle, it was thought best to begin forming the wagon circles as companies of fifty rather than larger groups. Large numbers of buffalo were beginning to be seen.
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion reached Fort Hall. They stopped for just a short time and obtained some bacon. Nathaniel Jones wrote that they saw “a great many emigrants. The road is full of them.”
The battalion recognized that this was their last official day as soldiers in the United States army. Company B marched nine miles, crossed the San Gabriel River, marched nine more miles, and arrived at Los Angeles. Robert S. Bliss wrote: “This is the most beautiful place I ever saw as to some things. The orchards & vineyards are as fine as heart can wish. Here I drinked of the juice of the vine to my satisfaction & eat most delicious pears &c.”
William Clayton’s Journal, 293; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 446; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:230; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, BYU, 63; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 184; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 91; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 36; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40, 41; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21
Orrin Porter Rockwell was sent back to the main camp to report that they thought it best to follow the Donner‑Reed trail over the mountains rather than the Hastings trail down Weber Canyon. While he was away, the advance company started their journey up a small stream, sending ahead a dozen men to work with spades, axes, and other tools to clear the road. After ascending six miles, a five- hundred-foot elevation climb, they crossed over a ridge21 and then descended into a ravine. After two and a half more miles which took four hours to travel, they camped for the night. Levi Jackman and Lyman Curtis were sick.22 After camp was established, Orson Pratt and Elijah Newman walked further down the ravine to examine the road. They saw evidence that the Donners and Reeds had spent several hours’ effort working on the road, but evidently gave up and turned back up the ravine taking a detour.
After a morning rain-shower, the main company started at 8:45 and entered Echo Canyon. They had difficulty crossing the creek and Harvey Pierce’s wagon broke, but was soon repaired. William Clayton wrote: “The mountains seem to increase in height, and come so near together in some places as to leave merely room enough for a crooked road.” Norton Jacob added: “We came into this valley which looks more cheering than the arid desert we have been passing through.”
They halted for the noon rest, deep in Echo Canyon. There was plenty of grass, but no timber except for a few cedar trees on the sides of the mountains. Orrin Porter Rockwell returned from the advance company, reporting their location and the route taken. He explained that they could not follow the Hastings route through Weber Canyon but were instead going over the mountains following the route taken by the Donner‑Reed party. As the animals fed, a few men hiked to the top of one of the mountains on the north side of the canyon. William Clayton said that they “looked like babes in size.”
At 1:40 p.m., the company continued into the canyon which became narrower and narrower. It seemed strange to them that a road could ever be made in the narrow canyon. At some points they could only see two wagons ahead. They crossed the creek several times with some difficulty. Patches of oak shrubbery were appearing and more groves of trees. The elderberries were in bloom. The high red cliffs on both sides were very impressive.
After traveling a total of sixteen miles, they camped for the night in Echo Canyon. William Clayton wrote of the canyon: “We are yet enclosed by high mountains on each side, and this is the first good camping place we have seen since noon, not for lack of grass or water, but on account of the narrow gap between the mountains.” Erastus Snow recorded: “Toward night, for about one‑half or three‑quarters of a mile, the whole camp seemed perfectly immerged in a dense thicket of large shrubbery and weeds with scattering trees which filled the valley. As we emerged from the thicket we passed through some extensive beds of what mountaineers call ‘wild wheat,’ small patches of which we have seen all the way from Bear River.” This grass was as high as ten feet tall near the creek. Solomon Chamberlain broke his wagon two miles back. John Wheeler unloaded his wagon and went back to retrieve the axletree to be mended.
Echo Canyon received its name of course because of the echoes heard. William Clayton wrote:
There is a very singular echo in this ravine, the rattling of wagons resembles carpenters hammering at boards inside the highest rocks. The report of a rifle resembles a sharp crack of thunder and echoes from rock to rock for some time. The lowing of cattle and braying of mules seem to be answered beyond the mountains. Music, especially brass instruments, have a very pleasing effect and resemble a person standing inside the rock imitating every note. The echo, the high rocks on the north, high mountains on the south with the narrow ravine for a road, form a scenery at once romantic and more interesting than I have ever witnessed.
After camp was established, some of the men tried their hand at mountain climbing. William Clayton warned: “The ascent is so steep that there is scarce a place to be found to place the foot flat and firm, and the visitor is every moment, if he makes the least slip or stumbles, in danger of being precipitated down to the bottom and once overbalanced, there is no possibility of stopping himself till he gets to the bottom, in which case he would doubtless be dashed to pieces.”
William Clayton climbed to the top of a mountain and could see the Weber River ahead. To the rear he could only see ranges of mountains. The descent which was a much more difficult task than the climb, but he returned to camp before dark. Wilford Woodruff went one mile more down Echo Canyon and fished in Weber River. He caught a trout for Brigham Young.
About 150 miles behind the main company, the detachments of the Mormon Battalion and the Mississippi Saints were camping on Big Sandy River, east of Fort Bridger. The soldiers celebrated the end of their enlistment in the army with a salute of guns at daylight. John Steele noted that this salute “let every one of Uncle Sam’s officers know we were our own men once more. We still kept up our organization, and respected the command as usual, and was rather better than some had been before.”
In the late afternoon, a wedding was held at the camp. Jacob Cooper and Kittean Hucklebee of an Indiana company were married. Fourteen men arrived at the river crossing, heading east with fifty pack horses and mules. This company had met the pioneers near Fort Bridger.23
The second company traveled about twelve miles and saw thousands of buffalo. Jesse W. Crosby wrote: “On each side of the river, hills, and valleys were literally covered with them.” The grass was very short, eaten by all the buffalo. After camp was established, a herd of buffalo ran into one of the camps among the oxen and cattle. One of the buffalo was shot in full view of the women and children.
Sarah Rich wrote:
Some days we could see herds of thousands together, and several times they would come in large herds crossing just ahead of our teams as hard as they could go, and in such large numbers that the roaring of them would frighten our teams. It was all that the drivers could do to prevent a stampede among our cattle. It was dangerous traveling through this country, but we were preserved from serious accident. It was a grand sight to see these herds of wild animals, thousands of them, racing across the prairies. The sight of our wagons seemed to frighten them, and we were afraid they might attack us in their fright.
The Mormon Battalion members of the Kearny detachment noted that their enlistment was up, but they weren’t discharged and continued serving with the detachment riding to the east.
A daughter, Abigail Harriet Snow, was born to Lorenzo Snow and his wife.
The battalion was mustered and formerly discharged from their year’s service in the United States Army. They received their discharge from their former commander, Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Smith. Azariah Smith wrote: “At 3 o’clock P.m. the five companies of the battalion were formed according to the letter of their company, with A in front and E in the rear, leaving a few feet of space in between. The [notorious] Lieutenant A. J. Smith then marched down between the lines, then in a low tone of voice said, ‘You are discharged.’” The men were pleased that the despised Lt. Smith’s remarks were very short. Captain Daniel Davis, Lt. James Pace, Lt. Andrew Lytle, Levi Hancock and David Pettigrew all made remarks followed by three cheers.
Robert S. Bliss wrote: “I felt to thank my Heavenly Father that I had been preserved to accomplish the work I was sent to do thus far.” The men could not leave for home yet, because they had not yet received their pay. Many of them traveled three miles and camped on the San Pedro River.
Levi Hancock recorded: “The 16 of July has come and what there has passed I cannot tell only there has been a great struggle for power and to get us enlisted again I said I would not and many others say the same such crualty on soldiers I never saw men chained and a ball hung to them and to ware it for 6, 8 or 10 months gagued and imprisoned.”
Those who reenlisted for six months were put under the leadership of Captain Davis and prepared to march to San Diego.
William Clayton’s Journal, 294; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:230; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:360; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 448; Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40-1; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:140; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 91; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185; Jesse W. Crosby Journal, typescript, BYU, 36; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; Eugene E. Campbell, BYU Studies, 8:2:141; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 105; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman, 54; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 39; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Hoshide & Bagley, eds., “The 1847 Donner Camp Diary of Levi Hancock”; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 75
A severe frost fell on the company during the night. Early in the morning, Orson Pratt went ahead on foot to examine the country to see if there was a better route to take down Broad Hollow. He was soon convinced that they had taken the best and only practical route. He met a large grey wolf as he was returning. Orson Pratt gave orders that the company should not proceed further until more labor was performed on the previous day’s road.
While all the men worked, Orson Pratt and John Brown went ahead to explore. They traveled down [East] Canyon Creek for about 3 miles and discovered that this route would be impossible to follow because the creek passed through a very narrow canyon that had a huge boulder at the foot of the canyon. So instead they followed the dim Donner‑Reed trail that climbed up East Canyon for eight miles, crossing the creek thirteen times. The road would require much labor to make it usable by the wagons. They left the horses and climbed a mountain summit which appeared to be two thousand feet higher. Orson Pratt wrote: “The country exhibited a broken succession of hills piled on hills, and mountains on mountains, in every direction.” They returned and found the advance company had gone on about five miles from their morning camp and ended up in East Canyon.
Brigham Young had a rough night and was very sick again. A forge was set up during the morning to repair Solomon Chamberlain’s axletree. The cattle and mules were very uneasy during the morning because they could hear their echoes and must have though these were other animals answering their calls. Nine horses were lost in the morning. It was decided to journey on while some men went back to repair Brother Chamberlain’s wagon and while others hunted for the lost horses.24
At 9:40 a.m., the main company pressed on and soon came to the Weber River. They turned to the right and traveled down the river. The valley had opened up, allowing them to again see snow on the mountain tops.
Brigham Young, so very sick, soon could not endure any more traveling. A camp was selected, a few miles further, on the banks of the river. William Clayton wrote: “The day very hot and mosquitoes plentiful; Several of the brethren have caught some fine trout in this stream which appears to have many in it. In the afternoon Elders Kimball, Richards, Smith, Benson and others went onto a mountain to clothe and pray for President Young. They also prayed for their families far away. Howard Egan recorded: “We had a glorious time, and I thank the Lord for the privilege.” On returning they rolled down many large rocks from the top of the mountain “to witness the velocity of their descent, etc. Some would roll over half a mile and frequently break to pieces.”
In the evening, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Howard Egan rode down the river to investigate the entrance into Weber Canyon. They returned at 10 p.m. after riding eight miles down the river, but they did not reach the canyon.
The men obtained timber to construct a coal pit. In the afternoon, the emigrant company started to move out, leaving just the six ferrymen alone at the river.
During the night, many cattle belonging to one of the companies broke out of their yard. About twenty yoke of oxen could not be found. Patty Sessions wrote of this day: “I gather a few dry weeds, built a little fire on a buffalo dung, broiled some meat for my dinner, drank sweeten ginger and water. I have seen many thousands of buffalo to day. One crossed our track just forward of us. We had a fair view of him.”
Great joy was felt when the company met some trappers heading east. Theses mountain men said they had met Brigham Young’s pioneer company at South Pass. (See June 27, 1847). They also mentioned that several of the pioneers had been left at the North Platte River crossing and were operating a ferry. They said that they had seen as many as forty head of oxen lost by Oregon emigrants, roaming with a herd of buffalo. The trappers also had brought back letters from the Brigham Young’s company of pioneers.
As the pioneer companies were sleeping during the night, they were alarmed by the bellowing of a huge herd of buffalo on the other side of the river.
The detachment came upon some hot springs on the Bear River.25
Alvah Hancock, age fifty-one, died. He was the husband of Juletta Eames Hancock.
Henry Bigler recorded: “All hands were now busy making preparations to leave for their homes wherever that was; whether on Bear River, California, or Vancouver Island up in the British possession. For the truth is we do not know where President Young and the Church is!”
William Clayton’s Journal, 297; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 105; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 449‑50; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 39; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:140; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 91; “William Scearce Journal,” typescript, 1; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, 37
The Advance company rested. The morning was cold, with white frost covering the ground. It became very hot during the day. A meeting was held in the morning at which Orson Pratt gave the company good words of encouragement.
The camp was called together by Heber C. Kimball. He reported that Brigham Young was still very sick. He asked the brethren to stop scattering off hunting, fishing and climbing mountains. Instead on this Sabbath day, he asked them to pray to the Lord that the sickness might be taken from President Brigham Young. Wilford Woodruff testified that the devil was “constantly striving to hinder our progress and thwart the purposes of God and now by causing the president to be sick, hindering our progress in getting through in time to return to our families this fall.”
At 10 a.m., a meeting was held in a small grove of shrubs. Elder Kimball proposed that the main body of pioneers go on ahead to find a place to plant potatoes and other crops. There was very little time to spare. About fifteen wagons would remain behind with Brigham Young. Those who would stay behind would include Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Howard Egan, and others. This proposal was accepted.
At 2 p.m., another meeting was held. Several of the brethren spoke including Elder Kimball, who prophesied wonderful things concerning the camp. The bishops broke bread and the sacrament was administered. William Clayton recorded: “Good feelings seem to prevail and the brethren desire to do right. A number yet continue sick, but we expect all will soon recover.” Erastus Snow wrote: “We had an excellent meeting. The Holy Spirit was upon us, and faith seemed to spring up in every bosom. In the afternoon the President, who had been nigh unto death, was very sensibly better, and the effects of the prayers of the brethren were visible throughout the camp.” President Young had been washed and anointed, fell asleep, and awoke feeling much better.
In the evening Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball and Ezra T. Benson went into a high hill and prayed together. They enjoyed conversing upon things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
The rest of the Oregon emigrants left the ferry crossing. They told the ferrymen that more than a hundred head of cattle had been lost by the last several emigrant company. The ferrymen believed the cause of this loss was from driving the cattle too hard without water.
Patty Sessions baked some mince pies, bread, and meat over buffalo dung. At 11 a.m., a public Sabbath meeting was held. Jedediah M. Grant’s company, twenty miles behind, had lost seventy-five head of cattle two nights earlier and some men were sent out to help find them. The men were told to quit killing buffalo needlessly. They were told this they of action “was a disgrace to the people and displeasing to the Lord.”
At 4 p.m., another meeting was held at which letters from the men at the North Platte Ferry were read. The ferrymen reported that they had ferried across four hundred Oregon emigrant wagons. After the meeting, a baptismal service was held for many of the youth. Confirmations were given and many children were blessed.
Sanford Bingham and Martha Ann Lewis were married.26
John D. Lee was asked to go quickly to Samuel Gully, to administer to him. Brother Gully was cramped up and nearly dying. He soon recovered after the blessing. Others in Summer Quarters had a similar illness. John D. Lee traveled to Winter Quarters because he had been summoned to appear before the High Council.
A Council meeting was held in the morning to consider reports of evils in the settlement of Garden Grove, including stealing and gambling. Orson Hyde pressed to have the whole settlement cut off from them Church. The subject was “warmly debated” and the motion was carried by the majority of the High Council to cut off Garden Grove from the Church.
Later in the afternoon, Isaac Morley spoke at the Winter Quarters stand. In the evening the High Council heard several cases. James Clayton was reprimanded for firing pistols on the Sabbath. John Berry accused John D. Lee of allowing his horse to be lost and said Brother Lee had not reimbursed him for this loss. The High Council heard witnesses and decided that Brother Lee was not at fault but that he should not charge Brother Berry for the use of his own mule or for boarding the horse before it was lost.
The battalion started to receive their pay. They each received $31.50, but did not receive the promised transportation money to return home.
William Clayton’s Journal, 300; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:213; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:361; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 105‑06; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 450; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 91; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:265‑66; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 189‑93; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 40; “William Scearce Journal,” typescript, 1; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 120; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, 37; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:140; Hoshide & Bagley, eds., “The 1847 Donner Camp Diary of Levi Hancock”
Orson Pratt and John Brown left shortly after sunrise to scout the road ahead. They traveled up East Canyon and then climbed four miles up to a ridge. They then left their horses and climbed Big Mountain. Orson Pratt wrote: “Both from the ridge where the road crossed, and from the mountain peak, we could see over a great extent of the country. On the south‑west we could see an extensive level prairie, some few miles distant, which we thought must be near the Lake.” John Brown added: “Here we had a view of the valley for the first time. We went on to the mountain to the right and saw what we supposed to be one corner of Salt Lake.”
After finding the wagon trail used by the Donner‑Reed party to climb Little Emigration Canyon, they head back toward the advance company’s camp. They found them more than six miles further up East Canyon. The advance company had crossed over East Canyon Creek about eight or nine times. Much work had been accomplished on improving the road. The company rejoiced in hearing that the brethren had viewed the valley. Orrin Porter Rockwell returned and reported that the main company of pioneers was only a few miles behind. He brought back instructions from Brigham Young, who said that when they arrived in the valley, they were to turn a little to the north and plant seeds of all kind.27
Brigham Young was feeling much better. The main company departed at 7:45 a.m. on a rough road down Weber River. They were under the leadership of John Pack. After two miles, they forded the river which was only eighteen inches deep. Erastus Snow asked the company to halt until Willard Richards caught up. One of his oxen was missing, but he still wished to be with the main company. They proceeded on until the turnoff to ascend the hills on the Donner‑Reed trail.
The main company found the cutoff and William Clayton put up a sign that read, “Pratt’s Pass to avoid canyon. To Fort Bridger 74 1/4 miles.” The company soon started to slowly make their way up the mountain. The road was rough and crooked, quite dangerous for wagons. At the top of the ridge, William Clayton put up another guide board that read: “80 miles to Fort Bridger.”28 At this point, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Howard Egan rode up from the rear company to view the road. The descent into the next ravine was not very steep, but it was dangerous because of large cobblestones that made the wagons slide.
At 2 p.m., the main company stopped for a rest and then continued on at 3:30. They soon ascended a very long steep hill for nearly a mile, and then they descended another crooked road. At 5:30 p.m., they camped near some willow bushes full of mosquitoes inside East Canyon. Erastus Snow wrote: “Here the road took up the creek south, and the snowy mountains, encircling us on the south and west, rearing their heads above the intervening mountains, showed us plainly that our climbing was not yet at an end.” George A. Smith’s wagon was damaged, but they quickly made a coal pit, and Burr Frost set up his blacksmith tools to reset the tire.
Wilford Woodruff drove Brigham Young in his carriage for five miles and at this point stopped for breakfast. They had driven with the main camp for two miles and then parted. President Young still had a fever but was feeling better. Those traveling with Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff included Ezra T. Benson, Heber C. Kimball, Howard Egan, Lorenzo Young, and his family, Hosea Cushing,29 and Carlos Murray. The company consisted of fifteen wagons. They camped on the Weber River.
The Mormon Battalion detachments and the Mississippi Saints arrived at Fort Bridger. Abner Blackburn wrote: “Old Jim Bridger and his trappers gave us a hearty welcome to our company. He is the oldest trapper in the mountains and can tell some wonderful stories.” John Steele recorded: “Captain Brown invited me to go ahead with him to Fort Bridger. We found the old mountaineer and in conversation he told us we could not live in Salt Lake Valley for it froze every month in the year and he would give us a thousand dollars for the first ear of corn raised there.”
The Kearny detachment met Charles Smith, who had come from California with Samuel Brannan and had recently met with Brigham Young and the pioneers. He shared information about the California Saints and certainly also talked about the pioneers.
Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went hunting. In the afternoon as they were returning without any luck, Brother Johnson’s horse became frightened as they were following a little creek. They soon discovered some bear cubs in a thicket and Brother Johnson dismounted with his 11‑shooter. William Empey later recorded: “The moment he struck the ground, the [mother] bear discovered him & came towards him at the top of her speed with her mouth wide open & each jump accompanied with an awah awah oo.” Luke Johnson stood his ground. When the bear was within twenty feet with three of her cubs at her heels, he aimed and fired. The grizzly bear turned to run, but soon fell dead. Brothers Johnson and Glines returned to camp with the meat, hide, and the exciting tale.
The Jedediah M. Grant Company’s missing cattle could not be found. Some of the other companies continued on and crossed some bluffs. Several oxen were found which had probably belonged to Oregon emigrants. The Grant Company was twenty‑five miles behind the lead companies, stranded without enough oxen.
About this time, George Washington Hill experienced an amusing incident:
In running the buffalo along the [North] Platte there was a buffalo cow, in jumping down the bank broke one of her forelegs. This crippled her, so that we concluded to drive her to camp and butcher her, but when we went into the river to driver her out, she only drove at us. We continued driving until she drove us clear across the river which was about two miles wide, but when she got to the bank she refused to go up, so we threw two lariats on her and undertook to pull her up, but she was too good at holding back. I then went into the river and took my butcher knife and would prod her in the rump, thinking to make her go up that way, but it was no go. Finally, Br. Smoot took a bit of a run and jumped straddle of her, thinking to ride her up the bank, but she kicked so when I was prodding her that she was just as wet as water would make her, which made her so slick he never made any stop on her, but landed head foremost in the river. But she concluded that she had rather go up the bank alone than to be rode up, so up she went charging.
John D. Lee returned to Summer Quarters and found David I. Young near death with the strange disease that had come upon several in the settlement. Brother Young was overcome with joy to see Brother Lee because he wanted Brother Lee to baptize him before he died.30 Brothers Martin and Allen came in to assist, but when they put Brother Young in a chair he was so weak that he kept fainting, so they could not baptize him. Brother Lee promised Brother Young that he would be baptized as proxy for him and told Brother Young to rest. He stopped struggling and soon died.
William Clayton’s Journal, 300; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 450‑51; Autobiography of John Brown, 78; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:231; “Luke S. Johnson Journal,” typescript, BYU, 17; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:361‑62; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 97‑8; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 40; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:140‑41; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 37; “William Scearce Journal,” typescript, 2; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman, 61; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 193‑94; “Incidents in the Life of George Washington Hill,” in Madsen, Journey to Zion, 365
Orson Pratt wrote a letter describing the road and country ahead which he had scouted out the previous day. He left the letter in a conspicuous place for the companies that would follow. The advance company resumed their journey at 9 a.m., being somewhat delayed by the stray cattle that they had had to locate. They climbed the road up Little Emigration Canyon to Big Mountain. Brother Pratt measured the top of the mountain to be 7245 feet above sea level. They descended down the other side and camped at the base of Little Mountain. Levi Jackman wrote: “Our journey for a number of days had been rather gloomy. The mountains on both sides have been so high and the ravines so cracked that we could see but a short distance and it looked as though we were shut up in a gulf without any chance for escape.” They noticed that much of the timber near the top of Big Mountain had been burned by forest fires.
Burr Frost was very busy in the morning repairing wagons that had been damaged coming down the hill into East Canyon.31 The company continued their journey at 11 a.m. Word came from the advance company via one of the Mississippi brethren, Brother Crow, that they were nine miles ahead. Word was pased back that the road ahead was rough. The men in the main company worked hard to continue improving the road for those who would follow. Some of the men in the company had fallen ill and were left behind for the rear company along with three wagons.
After four hard miles, the main company rested their teams and ate dinner. William Clayton wrote: “The road over which we have traveled is through an uneven gap between high mountains and is exceedingly rough and crooked. Not a place to be met with scarcely where there would be room to camp for the dense willow groves all along the bottom.”
They traveled on until after 5 p.m. They had crossed East Canyon Creek eleven times. Brother Clayton commented: “The road is one of the most crooked I ever saw, many sharp turns in it and the willow stubs standing making it very severe on wagons.” The campground in East Canyon was so cramped that the wagons had to huddle very closely together. This was the camp ground used by the advance company the night before.32 They found a letter from Orson Pratt stating that the next campground was eleven miles ahead, over Big Mountain. Willard Richards and George A. Smith decided to send Erastus Snow ahead with a letter for Orson Pratt instructing the two of them to go down into the valley to explore it and find a good place to plant some crops.
The rear company got an early start at 5:30 a.m., thinking it was best to travel in the cool morning. They crossed Weber River and soon came to William Clayton’s guide board directing them up to “Pratt’s Pass.” After another two miles, they stopped for breakfast near a cool brook of water. Howard Egan and a few others went ahead to make further improvements on the road. The company continued on during the day and finally reached East Canyon Creek, where they found brethren who had remained behind because of illness including: Stephen H. Goddard, James Case, Henry G. Sherwood, Benjamin F. Dewey,33 Brother Johnson, and William Smoot. They received word that George A. Smith’s wagon had broken and that Orson Pratt was about eight miles ahead. Brothers Johnson and Sherwood were baptized in the creek for their health. Wilford Woodruff confirmed them.
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion started early and struck out across the mountain away from Bear River.
James Davenport and Appleton M. Harmon went in search of lost cattle. They ran into a company of emigrants who had found the cattle more than ten miles away. Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went out searching for the bear cubs they had seen the day before, but they could not find them.
The Grant Company still could not find the lost oxen. Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor ordered that each company provide some oxen to be used by the Grant Company. Large herds of buffalo could be seen on both sides of the river. The leaders discussed whether they should cross over the Platte because of the numerous buffalo on the north side. The companies traveled on about twelve miles. Brother Noble called his company together in the evening for a prayer meeting.
John Kay, age five months, died of summer complaint [cholera infantum]. He was the son of John M. and Ellen Partington Kay.
Isaac Morley, John D. Lee, Levi Stewart, and Absalom P. Free walked to the south of Summer Quarters about one half mile and selected a location for a new cemetery. In the late afternoon, David I. Young was buried. About half of the settlement attended the funeral.
Those who chose to return to the Saints with Levi Hancock (about 164 men) were organized into groups of hundreds, fifties, and tens. Eight‑two men reenlisted for another six months. Henry Boyle wrote:
While a sufficient number of us have reenlisted to make one company, I did not like to reenlist, but I had no relatives in the Church to return to. I desired to remain in California til the Church became located, for it is impossible for us to leave here with provisions to last any considerable length of time. And if I stay here or any number of us, it is better for us to remain together, than to scatter all over creation.
William Clayton’s Journal, 303; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 98‑99; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:407; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:231; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 230; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 450‑51; Autobiography of John Brown, 78; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 40; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 194‑95; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; “William Scearce Journal,” typescript, 2; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 37; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:141; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185; Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 261
Orson Pratt’s company ascended Little Mountain and then came down on the other side to the creek that runs through Emigration Canyon. They called the stream, “Last Creek.” Erastus Snow arrived during the morning from the main camp with instructions to explore the valley. So Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow rode on ahead down Emigration Canyon. They came to Donner Hill, a hill climbed by the Donner Party to avoid an area of blockage in the canyon.
Orson Pratt wrote:
Mr. Snow and myself ascended this hill, from the top of which a broad open valley, about 20 miles wide and 30 long, lay stretched out before us, at the north end of which the broad waters of the Great Salt Lake glistened in the sunbeams, containing high mountainous islands from 25 to 30 miles in extent. After issuing from the mountains among which we had been shut up for many days, and beholding in a moment such an extensive scenery open before us, we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view.
Erastus Snow added: “On ascending this butte we involuntarily both at the same instant, uttered a shout of joy at finding it to be the very place of our destination, and beheld the broad bosom of the Salt Lake spreading itself before us.”
They immediately descended into the valley and with just one horse between them traveled a circular 12‑mile route exploring the valley. Erastus Snow recorded: “We descended a gradual slope, some four miles towards the center of the valley, and visited several small creeks flowing from the mountains into the Utah outlet [Jordan River,] traveled some ten or twelve miles in the valley, and returned to the company about nine o’clock in the evening.”34
While they were away, the advance company had climbed up Little Mountain. Levi Jackman wrote: “From the top of this hill, like Moses on Pisgah’s top, we could see a part of the Salt Lake Valley, our long anticipated home. We did truly rejoice at the sight.” They descended down into Emigration Canyon and a few also climbed Donner Hill to see a view of Great Salt Lake.
The main company journeyed onward at 6:30 a.m. They crossed East Canyon creek one more time and then started to gradually ascend Big Mountain via Little Emigration Canyon. They spent much time cutting down stumps and moving heavy rocks to improve the road. They saw much timber destroyed by fire near the top.
At 11 a.m., they arrived at Big Mountain Pass and caught their first glimpse of the Salt Lake Valley floor. William Clayton wrote: “From this ridge we can see an extensive valley to the west but on every other side high mountains, many of them white with snow. It seems as though a few hours’ travel might bring us out from the mountains on good road again.”
The road down the other side of Big Mountain was very steep. They had to lock their hind wheels for safety. The road was full of stumps, many of which were removed by the men. They found a bridge over a deep ravine which had been constructed by the advance company. Joseph Rooker tipped over his wagon at this point but did not experience much damage.35 They rested their teams near a spring on the way down as the road leveled out somewhat. They pressed on and during the long afternoon climbed Little Mountain. At 7:30 p.m., they made their camp in Emigration Canyon, only about a half mile behind the advance company.
The rear company with Brigham Young did not travel this day because of sickness. They worked at setting the wheel on John S. Fowler’s wagon. Heber C. Kimball, Ezra T. Benson, and Lorenzo Young explored up East Canyon. Wilford Woodruff went down the creek and caught eight small trout. He wrote: “The country is very mountainous, rough & steep.”
A company of eighteen men with sixty horses and mules heading east came to the river crossing. They reported seeing the pioneer company at Fort Bridger. William Empey wrote: “The remainder part of the day passed away very lonesome, we being in a strange land and far from our homes and families being near to us. We would often talk what we would give if we only knew the situation of them.”
The second pioneer company traveled on. Jesse W. Crosby recorded: “Came in sight of buffalo, almost without number, the river for six miles swarmed with them. As we approached they ran in multitudes over the bluffs.” Some of the companies had to pass directly through the herd. Seventeen yoke of oxen were brought back to the Grant Company to help replace those that were lost. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “This is truly a land of buffalos ‑‑ they are in sight all the time ‑‑ an almost innumerable herd of them came over the bluff today & seem’d about to cross our Camp on their path to the river ‑‑ our hunters met them & they chang’d their course, much to our gratification.” That evening the cattle were very uneasy because of the sounds of numerous buffalo. Patty Sessions wrote: “I went into the waggon, looked out, saw them go round and round like a whirlpool, the men saying they would break and runaway. I knelt down and prayed for the Lord to quiet them. I arose, they were quite still. We went to bed, heard no more from them.”
Don Carlos Smith, age ten months, died of diarrhea. He was the son of George A. and Lucy Smith.
An advance group of former battalion soldiers started their journey to return to their families. Robert S. Bliss wrote: “Just 12 months ago to day we left C. Bluffs for this country & to day the camp commenced to move on for our destined home. [I] was appointed one of the Pioneers to go ahead of the main body, consequently we marched about 8 or 10 miles to day & encamped on the Purbelo River near a rancheros or farm; Some beautiful & picturesque mountains on either side of us.”
William Clayton’s Journal, 304; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 452‑53; Autobiography of John Brown, 78; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:407‑08; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:232; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 40; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:141; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 37; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 120; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 92; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; Journal of Discourses, 12:88‑9, August 11th, 1867
Orson Pratt went to the main camp, a half mile back, to consult with members of the Twelve. It was decided to send a small group down into the valley to find a good place to start plowing and planting. So Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, John Brown, Joseph Matthews, John Pack, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Erastus Snow, and one other man rode down to explore the valley. As they passed by Donner Hill, they determined that the obstructions in the canyon could be removed rather than hauling all of the wagons up the hill as the Donner‑Reed party did the previous year. They left a note on a pole instructing the main company to clear the road.
Orson Pratt wrote:
After going down into the valley about 5 miles, we turned our course to the north, down towards the Salt Lake. For 3 or 4 miles north we found the soil of a most excellent quality. Streams from the mountains and springs were very abundant, the water excellent, and generally with gravel bottoms. . . . We found the drier places swarming with very large crickets, about the size of a man’s thumb. This valley is surrounded with mountains, except on the north: the tops of some of the highest being covered with snow. Every 1 or 2 miles streams were emptying into it from the mountains on the east.
John Brown also noted the crickets and wrote: “There were hosts of black crickets all over the valley and apparently harmless.”
The pioneers discovered some hot springs. Orson Pratt wrote: “We found as we proceeded on, great numbers of hot springs issuing from near the base of the mountains. These springs were highly impregnated with salt and sulphur: the temperature of some was nearly raised to the boiling point.” Erastus Snow added:
It bursts from the base of a perpendicular ledge of rock about forty feet high and emits a volume of water sufficient for a mill. We had no instrument to determine the degree of temperature, but suffice it to say that it was about right for scalding hogs. Here are the greatest facilities for a steam doctor I ever saw. A stone, in the center of the stream before the aperture in the rocks, seemed to say, this is the seat for the patient. At any rate, I tried it, but had little desire to remain long upon it.
After traveling further toward the lake and finding the soil becoming sterile, they returned toward the canyon. Norton Jacob explained: “They got within some eight or ten miles of the Great Salt Lake, but it is hemmed in with small lakes, ponds and pools so that it appears difficult to get near it.”
The main company of pioneers started out at 8:30 a.m., and soon caught up with the advance company working on the road in Emigration Canyon. They soon reached the obstruction in the canyon that caused the Donner‑Reed party to climb Donner Hill. Stephen Markham, like Orson Pratt, determined that the road would be too steep up the hill so instead the men were asked to spend a few hours clearing the obstructions so the road could continue down the canyon.
William Clayton wrote:
While the brethren were cutting the road, I followed the old one to the top of the hill and on arriving there was much cheered by a handsome view of the Great Salt Lake lying, as I should judge, from twenty‑five to thirty miles to the west of us; and at eleven o’clock I sat down to contemplate and view the surrounding scenery. . . . For my own part I am happily disappointed in the appearance of the valley of the Salt Lake, but if the land be as rich as it has the appearance of being, I have no fears but the Saints can live here and do well while we will do right. When I commune with my own heart and ask myself whether I would choose to dwell here in this wild looking country amongst the Saints surrounded by friends, though poor, enjoying the privileges and blessings of the everlasting priesthood, with God for our King and Father; or dwell amongst the gentiles with all their wealth and good things of the earth, to be eternally mobbed, harassed, hunted, our best men murdered and every good man’s life continually in danger, the soft whisper echoes loud and reverberates back in tones of stern determination; give me the quiet wilderness and my family to associate with, surrounded by the Saints and adieu to the gentile world till God says return and avenge you of your enemies.
Brother Clayton descended from Donner Hill into Emigration Canyon. He noted: “The ground seems literally alive with the very large black crickets crawling around up grass and bushes. They look loathsome but are said to be excellent for fattening hogs which would feed on them voraciously.”
After working four hours, the men cleared the way through Emigration Canyon, and the wagons continued their journey. Thomas Bullock wrote:
We succeeded in getting thro’ the narrow spot of the Kanyon about 4 o’clock, when we turned round the hill to the right & came in full view of the Salt Lake in the distance, with its bold hills on its Islands towering up in bold relief behind the Silvery Lake. A very extensive valley burst upon our view, dotted in 3 or 4 places with Timber. . . . I could not help shouting ‘hurra, hurra, hurra, there’s my home at last.
Levi Jackman added: “When we finally got through, it seemed like bursting from the confines of prison walls into the beauties of a world of pleasure and freedom. We now had entered the valley and our vision could extend far and wide. We were filled with joy and rejoicing and thanksgiving.”
They proceeded on into the valley. Thomas Bullock continued:
We descended a gentle sloping table land to a lower level where the soil & grass improve in appearance. As we progressed down the valley, small clumps of dwarf oak and willows appear and the wheat grass grows 6 or 7 feet high. Many different kinds of grass appear, some being 10 or 12 feet high. After wading thro’ thick grass for some distance, we found a place bare enough for a camping ground, the grass being only knee deep, but very thick; we camped on the banks of a beautiful little stream which was surrounded by very tall grass.36
William Clayton recorded: “At this place, the land is black and looks rich, sandy enough to make it good to work. The grass grows high and thick on the ground and is well mixed with nice green rushes. Feed here for our teams is very plentiful and good and the water is also good.”
Orson Pratt and his company returned. The large pioneer company gathered around a campfire to hear his report. He said that his exploration group had found a good spot to plant crops by a creek [City Creek] a few miles to the north. They enjoyed hearing news of the hot springs. A company council meeting was held at Willard Richards’ wagon. It was decided to move to the place found by Orson Pratt in the morning. Also, two men, John Pack and Joseph Matthews, would be sent back to make a report to Brigham Young. The rest would start plowing and planting about ten acres of potatoes.
On this historic first evening in the valley, the men talked about their new home. William Clayton concluded the day with: “The evening was fine and pleasant and the night feels much warmer than in the ravines of the mountains.” Norton Jacob wrote: “We have here mild summer weather. Serene atmosphere; a most beautiful clear sky, with an excessive dry climate and arid soil. If it could receive timely rains, it would be one of the most beautiful fertile regions on the face of the earth.”
All the pioneers noted some disappointment that there was not very much timber in the valley. They realized that they would have to make homes of brick and stone.
Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, and George A. Smith completed a letter that would be taken back to Brigham Young. It included:
The brethren have done a great deal of labor on the road for our Pres. & his company to come over, but after so many wagons passing we presume you will find some repairing necessary, & should you find it very bad we hope you will look upon our labors with a lenient eye, for we have tried to do the best we could. . . . Brothers Pratt & Smith & seven other horsemen explored the valley north of this as far as possible for lime & met the camp on their return at this point. They report some beautiful creeks north of this about 4 miles, whence we propose to remove in the morning & prepare for planting a short distance north of that point. The land becomes more barren; warm, hot sulphur, poison & a variety of other spring around. . . . Timber can hardly be said to be scarce in this region for there is scarcely enough of it to be named, & sage is as scarce as timber, so that if you want to raise sage & greese wood here you had better bring the seed with you from the mountains. In many places the grass, rushes &c. Are 10 feet high, but no more. Mammoth crickets abound in the borders of the valley. There are some sand hill cranes and karobs feed abundant, and of the best quality; water in the creeks passably good. We hardly need enter into particulars at this time as we anticipate you will be here in a day or two and see for yourself and see much more than we have had time to look at. Our prayers are in your behalf continually, that you may be strong in spirit & in boday & come to us speedily.
While most of the pioneers were reaching their new valley home, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and the rest of the small rear company spent a hard day traveling up East Canyon. Wilford Woodruff wrote: “We crossed the creek eleven times in going 8 miles & the worst 8 miles we have had on the journey. Br. [James] Case smashed one of his hind waggon wheels to peaces & we had to wait 2 hours to bring his oxen up.” Elder Woodruff caught two trout in the creek while waiting. The sick men were feeling better.
They found the letter left by Orson Pratt two days earlier which included:
To Willard Richards, G. A. Smith or any of the Saints: From this point it is five miles west to the summit of the dividing ridge [Big Mountain]. The road will be of a moderate descent, and considerable better than the one you have passed over for a few miles back. The ravine up which you will go is without water, except two or three small springs, which soon loose themselves beneath the sol. You will pass through groves of quaking asp, balsam, and cottonwood, more than you have seen for many days.
The Kearny detachment met many emigrants heading to Oregon. Private Nathaniel Jones met an old acquaintance, Orlando Strickland. The detachment reached the Green River and traveled nearly all night.
Two buffalo were spotted toward the mountains in the morning. Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went after then and returned in the late afternoon with some of the meat. A company of ten men from Oregon arrived. They were heading back to the States with about forty ponies and mules. James Davenport stated his intentions to go back to Winter Quarters. He offered to pilot this company back to Council Bluffs if they would sell him a horse. Seeing that James Davenport was about to leave, William Empey, the appointed leader at that time at the ferry said that they must divide up their recent earnings. It amounted to $29.85 for each man. Brother Davenport, who had brought in much of the money through his blacksmithing, accused the brethren of robbing him of his earnings. He neglected to consider that the other men did the cooking, built his fires, and herded his cattle. And not all of the money had been earned through blacksmithing. They tried to convince Brother Davenport and even bought some of the things he could not take with him. Still, he was dissatisfied.
Dead carcasses of thirteen buffalo were spotted, indicating that there were probably Indians nearby. Jesse W. Crosby wrote:
At midday we came in sight of 100 or 110 Indian Lodges. We were no sooner in camp at evening, than they came running on horseback to our camp, about 100 in number. Report rang through the camp that a body of Indians were coming with a Red Flag, but on near approach it proved to be the Stars and Stripes. They are of the Sioux nation ‑‑ the neatest and most cleanly Indians I ever saw. They were friendly; we gave them a feast of bread etc. After firing a cannon, the Indians retired to their lodges about 2 miles distance.
Patty Sessions noted that these were the first Indians that the second company had seen since leaving Winter Quarters. She added: “We have fired the cannon and one six‑shooter for them to see and hear, gave them some bread and they feasted, rode round the camp and then we rang the [Nauvoo] bell, our men paraded and motioned to them to go away.”
Luman Israel Calkins, age one year, died of consumption. He was the son of Luman H. and Methitabel Russell Calkins.
A son, Alfred Welker, was born to James and Annie Pugh Welker.37
Jefferson Hunt led a company of fifty‑one former battalion soldiers out of their camp and headed toward San Francisco, along the coastal route of El Camino Real. Other companies left to follow a route through the central valleys. Levi Hancock moved three miles north of the fort and camped on the San Gabriel River. He was hunting for his horses. Robert S. Bliss and the others who were part of an advance company passed through a valley, reached San Fernando, and camped at the foot of some mountains. A few more men arrived from Los Angeles with news that most of the 164 men led by Levi Hancock would be underway on the following day.
William Clayton’s Journal, 306‑12; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 454‑55, 555; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 107‑8; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:408‑09; Autobiography of John Brown, 78; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 231‑32; “Levi Jackman Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 40; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:232; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Hoshide & Bagley, eds., “The 1847 Donner Camp Diary of Levi Hancock”; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111‑12; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 37‑8; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 92; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 100-01
John Pack and Joseph Matthews left in the morning to give a report to Brigham Young regarding the arrival of the pioneers in the valley. Thomas Bullock included a chart of distances that estimated Winter Quarters as 1,073 miles from Salt Lake Valley.
At the same time, the main camp moved on to “the final location” on the banks of City Creek. The soil was good by the creek and the grass was about four feet high and thick.38
As soon as the camp was formed, the pioneers were called together for a special meeting. Orson Pratt stated that they had been striving for two years to reach this place. He said that they had been greatly blessed in their journey and he proposed that they return their thanks to their Heavenly Father. They all united in a prayer. Orson Pratt thanked the Lord for their preservation and prosperity. He then asked the Lord to bless their labors and to send rain on the land for the crops they would be planting. Elder Pratt consecrated and dedicated themselves and the land to the Lord.
Willard Richards spoke about the need to work faithfully and diligently to plant the potatoes, corn, beans, peas, buckwheat, turnips, and other crops in the ground. He mentioned that in times past there had been a spirit of selfishness among the camp that must now be thrown aside. All must go to work to put in seeds, taking no thought as to who would be the ones to eat the fruits of the labor. If they disputed as to who should eat the crops, their labors would not be blessed. He made reference to the Donner‑Reed party, who quarrelled among themselves and ended up starving. It would be worse for the pioneers unless they worked together for those who would follow after them. Other speakers at this historic meeting included Shadrach Roundy, Seth Taft, Stephen Markham, Robert Crow, and Albert Carrington.
The meeting ended and the men went to work. Committees were appointed to do the various work. Shadrach Roundy, Seth Taft, Stephen Markham, Robert Crow, and Albert Carrington were appointed to find a place to plant the crops. Charles Harper, Charles Shumway,39 and Elijah Newman were put on a committee to stock plows and drags, and enlist men to assist them. Henson Walker,40 William Wardsworth41 and John Brown were to be in charge of moving and rigging up the scythes. Stephen Markham was appointed to attend to the teams and make sure a fresh set of cattle was hitched up every four hours. Almon Williams was asked to oversee the making of a coal pit. George A. Smith asked the men to only use dead timber for their cooking, to leave the live trees alone.
William Clayton wrote:
The brethren immediately rigged three plows and went to plowing a little northeast of the camp;42 another party went with spades, etc., to make a dam on one of the creeks so as to throw the water at pleasure on the field, designing to irrigate the land in case rain should not come sufficiently. This land is beautifully situated for irrigation, many nice streams descending from the mountains which can be turned in every direction so as to water any portion of the lands at pleasure.
The first furrow was turned at noon. William Carter was credited with plowing the first ground. At 2 p.m., work was started on the dam. At 4 p.m., grass was mowed for a turnip patch. At 6 p.m., their prayers were quickly answers as heavy clouds collected and it rained for two hours. Some of their plows broke in the hard ground during the day, but they usually had three plows going at all times. The afternoon temperature was ninety‑six degrees. By nightfall, they had plowed three acres.
In the evening, the camp was called together again. Willard Richards spoke again. They made arrangements to rotate the teams during the next day from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. John Pack and Joseph Matthews returned and reported that Brigham Young’s company was within ten miles and all the sick were doing better.
Brigham Young and the rest of the pioneers started their journey at 6:45 a.m.. Brigham Young recorded this historic journal entry: “July 23rd: I ascended and crossed over the Big Mountain, when on its summit I directed Elder Woodruff, who kindly tendered me the use of his carriage, to turn the same half way round, so that I could have a view of a portion of Salt Lake valley. The Spirit of Light rested upon me, and hovered over the valley, and I felt that there the saints would find protection and safety. We descended and encamped at the foot of the Little Mountain.”43
Howard Egan wrote of the view on Big Mountain: “Here we had a fine view of the snowy mountains and the open country in the distance.” While coming down Big Mountain, the company was kept very busy dodging all the stumps from trees cleared out by the advance companies. Lorenzo Young’s wagon with children was turned over and smashed on a rock. The children were not hurt although part of the wagon load had been dumped on top of them. They were freed by cutting a hole in the wagon cover.
The rear company spent the noon rest at the base of Little Mountain. While there, John Pack and Joseph Matthews arrived from the valley. Wilford Woodruff recorded:
They brought a letter to us & informed us it was only 10 miles to the valley of the Salt Lake or great basin & 14 to their camp. They had explored the country as far as possible & had made choice of a spot to put in seeds. They considered it the greatest grazing country in the world but was destitute of timber as far as they had been. Several fine streams of fresh water cutting through the valley.
After the noon rest, they climbed Little Mountains and descended into Emigration canyon where they made their camp. Howard Egan wrote:
A short time after our arrival at this place, the sky became overcast with clouds, and a strong wind, setting in from the southwest, gives the appearance of a very heavy storm. The grass here is rather tall and rank, though in places is pretty good. The sick are gaining strength as fast as could be expected, considering the fatigue of the journey. The day has been the hottest we have experienced since we left Winter Quarters. There was not a breath of air in the ravine, and the dust was almost suffocating.
Wilford Woodruff climbed the top of a very high mountain. “Was in a high state of perspiration when I reached the top of it.”
James Davenport left the ferry site to return to Winter Quarters. He left dissatisfied and said he would tell the Saints that they had robbed him. An emigration company arrived, heading for Oregon. They had lost oxen and horses, run off by buffalo. In their company was a Mormon widow who was going to Oregon with her brother. She intended to rejoin the main body of the church at an early opportunity. She was acquainted with John Higbee.
It rained during the night and into the morning. The pioneer companies remained in their camps while they waited for the Jedediah M. Grant Hundred to catch up. The Indians again visited the camp in even larger numbers, including women and children. Trading took place for moccasins, buffalo robes, and other items. In the evening a feast and dance were held. The Indians would dance for the Saints and then the Saints would return the compliment by playing violins, fifes, and drums. Cheers were heard throughout the camp. The pioneers fired two cannons and soon all the Indians returned to their lodges in peace. The Grant Company pulled within three miles of the other companies. They had heard the cannons in the distance. As they traveled, they noticed initials inscribed on the sides of a bluff.
A terrible sickness continued to take hold of Summer Quarters. Isaac Morley called the brethren together and asked them to settle all their differences, that unity would prevail in the community. Some members of the settlement had said that they would wait for Brigham Young to return. Brother Morley told them that this was a wrong spirit and if he had to, he would cut some of them off the Summer Quarters branch of the Church. They received the message well and agreed to drop their differences. John D. Lee and his family were suddenly struck down by the illness.44
Robert S. Bliss and the advance company passed over a mule path on a ridge. He wrote: “On either side of us was an awful gulf. My head grew dizzy & I dare not look into the chasms below; We passed in safety down the other side of the Mts to a spring & encamped 8 or 10 miles from our last encampment.” Behind them, the rest of Levi Hancock’s company left the camp north of Los Angeles. They traveled in a scattered state toward General Pico’s ranch of the “arcaldres” which had two large gardens and a vineyard covering two hundred acres. They saw grapes, figs, pears, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, apples, olives, and dates.
William Clayton’s Journal, 312; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 108‑09; “Charles Harper Journal,” 31; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 456‑57; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 233‑34; Erastus Snow in Utah Pioneers, P. 46; Collected Discourses, Vol.1, Wilford Woodruff, July 24, 1888; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:232‑33; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:143; Jesse W. Crosby Journal, typescript, BYU, 38; William Scearce Journal, typescript, 2; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 196‑97; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 186; Hoshide & Bagley, eds., “The 1847 Donner Camp Diary of Levi Hancock”; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 101‑02; The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 317; Collected Discourses, Vol.3, President Wilford Woodruff, June 12th and 13th, 1892
As Brigham Young and the remaining pioneers in Emigration Canyon arose, they discovered that some of the horses were missing. They belonged to Horace K. Whitney, William Smoot, Howard Egan, and Frank Dewey. Howard Egan returned three miles and found them. This group started their journey about two hours after Brigham Young and the others.
Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal:
July 24, 1847: This is an important day in the history of my life and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints. On this important day, after traveling from our encampment six miles through the deep ravine‑valley ending with the canyon through the Last Creek, we came in full view of the great valley or basin [of the] Salt Lake and the land of promise held in reserve by the hand of God for a resting place for the saints upon which a portion of the Zion of God will be built. We gazed with wonder and admiration upon the vast, rich, fertile valley which lay for about twenty‑five miles in length and 16 miles in width, clothed with the heaviest garb of green vegetation in the midst of which lay a large lake of salt water. . . . Our hearts were surely made glad after a hard journey ‑‑ from Winter Quarters ‑‑ of 1200 miles through flats of Platte river and steeps of the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains, and burning sands of the eternal sage region, and willow swales and rocky canyons and stumps and stones ‑‑ to gaze upon a valley of such vast extent entirely surrounded with a perfect chain of everlasting hills and mountains, covered with eternal snows, with their innumerable peaks like pyramids towering towards heaven, presenting at one view the grandest and most sublime scenery that could be obtained on the globe. Thoughts of pleasing meditation ran in rapid succession through our minds while we contemplated that not many years hence and that the House of God would stand upon the top of the mountains, while the valleys would be converted into orchards, vineyards, gardens and fields by the inhabitants of Zion, the standard be unfurled for the nations to gather thereto. President Young expressed his full satisfaction in the appearance of the valley as a resting place for the saints, and was amply repaid for his journey.45
Brigham Young’s journal entry read: “I started early this morning and after crossing Emigration Kanyon Creek eighteen times emerged from the kanyon.”
Howard Egan recorded: “We then left the ravine and turned to the right and ascended a very steep pitch, where we beheld the great valley of the Salt Lake spreading out before us. My heart felt truly glad, and I rejoiced at having the privilege of beholding his extensive and beautiful valley, that may yet become a home for the Saints. From this point we could see the blue waters of the Salt Lake.” Brother Egan climbed a ridge at the mouth of the canyon to get a better view.
The whole surface of the valley appears, from here, to be level and beautiful. The distance from here to the lake is judged to be forty to fifty miles. Throughout the whole extent of the valley can be seen very many green patches of rich looking grass, which no doubt lays on the banks of creeks and streams. There is some little timber also on the streams, and in the direction of the great lake many small lakes appear upon the surface.
Albert P. Rockwood recorded that they shouted “hallelujah” when they came within full view of the valley. Horace K. Whitney wrote: “We passed over a level shelf or bottom for some distance & then descended to the 2nd shelf or bottom below, from whence we had a plain view of the camp of the Saints ahead. After going 7 1/4 miles, we came to it & encamped with the remainder of the brethren.”
Plowing and planting continued in the morning. Potatoes were put into the ground.46 Work continued on damming city creek for irrigation. During the morning, the ditches were filled with water and the newly planted ground was soaked. Corn was also planted. John Pack and Joseph Matthews returned to Emigration Canyon to fix two bridges near the mouth of the canyon.
At 11:45 a.m., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and the rest of the wagons arrived at the City Creek camp. The pioneers rejoiced to see President Young feeling much better.47
Brigham Young later said: “[George A.] Smith came about 3 miles from [City Creek] to meet me . . . I then pointed to a peak on the north and said, ‘I want to go up on that peak, for I feel fully satisfied that was the point shown me in the vision, where the colors fell, and near which I was told to locate and build a city.’”
The brethren together discussed the valley. William Clayton wrote:
There appears to be a unanimous agreement in regard to the richness of the soil and there are good prospects of sustaining and fattening stock with little trouble. The only objection is a lack of timber and rain. The latter God will send in its season if the Saints are faithful and I think yesterday was a proof that He listens to and answers the prayers of the Saints. We can easily irrigate the land at all events which will be an unfailing and certain source of water, for the springs are numerous and the water appears good.
Wilford Woodruff wrote:
As soon as we were located in the encampment, before I took my dinner, having one‑half bushels of potatoes I repaired to the plowed field and planted my potatoes, hoping with the blessings of God at least to save the seed for another year. The brethren had dammed up one of the creeks and dug a trench, and by night nearly the whole ground was irrigated with water. We found the ground very dry. Towards evening, in company with Brothers Kimball, Smith and Benson, I rode several miles up the creek into the mountains to look for timber and see the country, etc. There was a thunder shower and it extended nearly over the whole valley, also it rained some the forepart of the night, we felt thankful for this as it was the general opinion that it did not rain in the valley during the summer time.
Howard Egan added:
This valley is bounded by high mountains, some of them covered with snow, and from what knowledge we have of it at present, this is the most safe and secure place the Saints could possibly locate themselves in. Nature has fortified this place on all sides, with only a few narrow passes, which could be made impregnable without much difficulty. The scarcity of timber has probably been the reason that this beautiful valley has not been settled long since by the Gentiles. But I think we can find sufficient timber up the creeks for present purposes, and also coal in the mountains. The saints have reason to rejoice, and thank the Lord for this goodly land unpopulated by the Gentiles.
Not everyone was pleased with the valley. Harriet Young, tired and recovering from illness wrote: “We arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. My feelings were such as I cannot describe. Every thing looked gloomy and I felt heart sick.”48
Joseph Hancock had been sent up City Creek Canyon to hunt. Norton Jacob recorded: “Brother Hancock returned at evening from up the creek and reported abundance of bear signs and a large quantity of valuable timber on the mountain and in the valley of the creek, rock maple, white oak, fir and norway pine, all of which suitable for sawing into lumber. Killed nothing but a prairie chicken.” Lewis B. Myers and one of Brother Crow’s sons left, taking packhorses to hunt for food for the Mississippi families. They planned to be gone a month, getting their supply of meat for the winter.
Heber C. Kimball announced plans to send an exploring party on Monday to travel north to Bear River and Cache Valleys. Another expedition would be sent south to Utah Lake.
The Kearny detachment including members of the Mormon Battalion passed through South Pass and camped on the Sweetwater.
Four men from California with twelve mules and a horse arrived at the river crossing. They told the brethren that they had met the pioneers on July 10, only four days travel [by horse] from the Salt Lake.49 They also said that they had met the Mormon Battalion soldiers at Green River. A company of sixteen wagons heading to Oregon soon arrived. They believed that they were the last company on the road. They had a terrible problem losing their horses among the thick herds of buffalo. They had lost 17 horses and 40 head of cattle.
About 677 miles behind, the second company of pioneers, unaware that their new home had been found, left their camp at Cedar Bluffs and passed the Indian lodges which were on the other side of the river. Jesse W. Crosby recorded:
Some of our men went over to their lodges and were kindly received and invited to dine, which invitation they accepted. Their meal consisted of dried meal pounded. Our men bought some oxen of them which they had found with Buffalo. All the dishes which the Indians has were earth shells; skins of beasts were used to carry water, corn, etc. . . . This body of which we speak is merely a hunting party ‑‑ 2 or 3 hundred strong, with considerable number of horses, for pack horses.
Eliza R. Snow wrote: “I took a view of their town thro’ a spy‑glass ‑‑ their tents or lodges are small of skins gaily painted.” Many of the Indians followed the companies as they traveled, still trying to make bargains with the pioneers.
Mary Richards wrote: “Weather quite hot, churned. Cleaned the house, baked and braided 1 yard.”
Robert S. Bliss and the advance company arrived at Francisco Ranch, where they bought cattle and more provisions for their journey over the Sierra Nevadas. He wrote: “We are in a delightful Valley surrounded by the Everlasting hills of California; we are now about 180 miles north of San Diego still the sun at noon is almost vertical or overhead but we have the trade winds from the Ocean which makes the atmosphere delightful.”
Other soldiers, a day behind, traveled on a rugged, steep ridge. Daniel Tyler recorded: “Two pack‑animals lost their footing and rolled twenty or thirty feet before they could regain it.”
Elder Lyman O. Littlefield reached Cohose, a little town on the Mohawk River near present‑day Albany, New York. He wrote:
Standing on the Erie Canal, one half mile west of the village, a magnificent scene spread before the beholder. There is a long succession of canal locks. The Cohose Falls, down which the clear waters pour, send upwards a mist of spray to dance in wreaths of playful fantasy in the glancing sunbeams, while the waters of the “old canal” rested in their basins, a few feet below. . . . Night soon hovered over the scene, and Dr. Daniel Olts, of Cortland County, (that state), and myself returned to our boat and passed the evening with our books.
William Clayton’s Journal, 314; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:233‑35; Autobiography of John Brown, 78; “Albert P. Rockwood Journal,” typescript, 63; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 458; Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 564; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 103‑05; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 109‑10; James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 6:265; “Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888),” 196‑97; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 93; Ward, Winter Quarters, 152; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 186; “Excerpts from Journal of Horace K. Whitney,” Improvement Era, July 1947, 447; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 38; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:143; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 306; Hartley, “On the Trail in July,” Ensign, July 1997.
Wilford Woodruff wrote: “This is the first Sunday that the Latter Day Saints ever spent in the Great Salt Lake Valley. We washed, shaved & cleaned up & met in the circle of the encampment.” The Bishops opened the meeting with singing and prayer. Then George A. Smith preached the first sermon standing on a cannon. He proclaimed that the House of the Lord was being established on the tops of the mountains. He was followed by Heber C. Kimball and Ezra T. Benson. They all expressed positive feelings about the valley. Heber C. Kimball made mention of wonderful blessings that they had received during their historic journey. “Not a man, woman, or child has died on the journey, not even a horse, mule, ox, cow or chicken has died during the whole journey.”50 The brethren were encouraged to stay faithful and obey the counsel of their leaders.
At 1 p.m., Heber C. Kimball held a special meeting with those brethren who were part of his family by adoptive sealing. He mentioned that those who planned to spend the winter in the valley might need to return to the Sweetwater to hunt buffalo for winter meat. He also said:
We shall go tomorrow if Brigham is well enough, in search of a better location ‑‑ if indeed, such can be found ‑‑ if not, we shall remain here. There should be an enclosure made for the purpose of keeping the horses and cattle in nights for there are plenty of Indians in the vicinity. I should advise you to keep the Sabbath day holy whether others do or not. . . . If you wish to go hunting, fishing, or to see the country, select a week day and not the Lord’s day for that purpose. Do not let us get giddy and light minded as the Nephites did of old, but strive to work righteousness in the beginning, inasmuch as we have reached the promised land. . . . I am not going to take anything back with me to Winter Quarters except what is actually necessary,‑‑even some of my clothes I shall leave behind. I shall leave Bishop [Edson] Whipple with you. He is quite a steady and economical man, and as such I recommend him to you.
Elder Kimball offered a prayer. Charles Harper recorded: “[It] appeared as though the spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon him, asking Heavenly Father to pour his blessings upon us and our families and that we might be guided by his spirit and be preserved from all evil.”
At 2 p.m., the whole camp was again assembled for another meeting. The sacrament was blessed and passed. They were addressed by Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Lorenzo Young, John Pack, and others. Elder Richards said that in order to go and proclaim the gospel to the Lamanites, it would be necessary for the elders to enjoy the gifts of speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and the discerning of spirits. They would obtain those gifts by following the counsel of their leaders.
Brigham Young, still feeble, was able to share a few thoughts. “Those that do not like our look and customs are at liberty to go where they please, but if they remain with us, they must obey the laws sanctioned by us. There must be no work done on the Sabbath.” He warned them that they would lose five times as much as they would gain by trying to work on the holy day. “As soon as we select a place of permanent location, we shall take the compass and chain and lay out a city and every man shall have his inheritance therein. We shall also lay out ground for cultivation and every man shall have his inheritance and cultivate it as he pleases, only he must be industrious. We do not intend to buy any land or sell any.” He spoke out against dishonesty. If any of the pioneers had found articles of any kind on the road, they must make it known so that they may be returned to the rightful owners. He said that a dishonest man was a curse to the Saints. He anyone tried to keep something that was not his, “it would prove a curse to him, and would be a stain on him and his posterity that never would be wiped out in time and throughout eternity, and the stain never would be wiped out until it was burned out in hell.” He announced that they would have a meeting every Sabbath.
The brethren discussed sending back some wagons to help lighten the loads of the second pioneer company. It was reported that there was much timber in the canyons above the valley, especially in the mountain to the northeast. They decided to delay the start of a northern expedition to Bear River and Cache Valleys because Brigham Young was still ill. A company would be sent to the south to explore Utah Lake.
The detachments of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints probably reached Echo Canyon. Abner Blackburn wrote: “Crossed to Echo Canion, that celebrated place where every noise makes an echo. The boys made all the noise they could going through. It was truely wonderful.”
The Kearny detachment traveled seventeen miles down the Sweetwater and camped. They saw many buffalo and antelope.
The men at the ferry were becoming quite anxious for the second pioneer company to arrive. Little did they know that the company was still far away, about 260 miles down the trail. William Empey wrote: “This day passed of very lonesome as we can get no news of or from the long expected co[mpany] of our brethren & the matter for journalism is rather scarce of this day unless I should record the expressions of anxiety now & then dropped from the brethren of the long looked for appearance of our comp[any] from Winter Quarters.”
In the morning, the second company of pioneers were excited about the arrival of those brethren sent back by the pioneers: Phinehas Young, ferryman Edmund Ellsworth, battalion member Jonathan Pugmire, and six others.53 They held a meeting and read letters from Brigham Young and Willard Richards. William Scearce wrote that it “much rejoiced our hearts to see them and to hear from the brethren ahead.” Eliza R. Snow wrote: “It was truly like clusters of grapes by the wayside.”
Jonathan Pugmire and another man were returning to Winter Quarters, thus many of the pioneers wrote letters for him to take back with them. Phinehas Young was thinking of returning but soon changed his mind.
Elders Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor wrote a letter to Orson Hyde, back at Winter Quarters:
We were agreeably surprised this morning with the arrival of Elder P[hinehas] Young and four others of the Pioneers. We were glad to hear that those of the Mormon Battalion left at Pueblo were enroute to join the Pioneers. We have travelled as expeditiously as could be expected of so large a company, indeed almost as fast as the Pioneers. We have had the pleasure of receiving several letters from different post offices which they have established on their route, giving us the particulars of their journey, the news of course in the wilderness was highly interesting. We have had only two deaths since we left, and those, children; several children have been run over by wagons, but no serious injury sustained. We have been greatly blessed as a camp and people, and bless the God of Israel for this preserving care. Elder Grant’s company had the misfortune to lose thirty‑six head of cattle, besides several milch cows. All the companies assisted in searching for them, and as that was unavailing, they supplied them with thirty yoke of cattle and all proceeded on our journey.
Parley P. Pratt recommended to the companies that they start traveling in fifties. Some of the companies started to move out in the evening.
Benjamin Clapp, Isaac Morley, and William W. Major spoke at a public Sabbath meeting. They instructed the Saints to be faithful and to fulfill their covenants. The Saints were also told to stop taking the name of the Lord in vain.
Orson Hyde proposed to the High Council that the people of Garden Grove, Iowa, should have to enter into a special covenant before they would be allowed back into the church. He wanted them to swear that they had not stolen from anyone since they had left the Mississippi River and that they would inform the leaders about anyone they knew who had stolen goods. The proposal was totally vetoed by the High Council. In the evening a trial was held between a Brother Young and Daniel H. Wells. Brother Young claimed that Brother Wells had brought in a span of mules from Nauvoo that belonged to him.
Levi Hancock passed over the Mountain Ridge. He wrote: “We had got to the top of what is seen we had not got half up and we had to go winding our course around on the tops untill we had gained the summit then turned to the left and went down into another canyon. While on the top the sea breeses blew cool & good we followed down an easterly course and come to the ranch of the Arcaldies.” They found there two companies of men who had previously arrived.54
William Clayton’s Journal, 315‑18; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 110; “Charles Harper Journal,” 31; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 108; Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 565; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:235‑36; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 238; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:143; “Issac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 45; “William Scearce Journal,” typescript, 2; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 93; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 186; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:267; Ward, Winter Quarters, 152‑53; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman, 61‑2; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21; Hoshide & Bagley, eds., “The 1847 Donner Camp Diary of Levi Hancock”; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 95
The pioneers arose early at the sound of the bugle at 6 a.m. and went back to work plowing and planting. Some of those who were still sick went to bathe in one of the warm springs and said the effects were greatly beneficial. Others left in the morning to also try out the springs which were 109 degrees. A company of fifteen men left to make a road to the timber in City Creek Canyon. A tent was raised in a grove near the camp for men to work in making clothes. Robert Baird made buckskin pants and Thomas Cloward mended the pioneers’ shoes. Joseph Matthews and John Brown headed toward the mountain to the west.
It was probably on this morning that a historic event took place. Wilford Woodruff later said:
He [President Young] said to me in the morning, “Brother Woodruff, I want to take a walk.” “All right, “ said I. A number of the Twelve Apostles were there and they got together. He commenced to walk from our encampment across this barren desert, this sage plain without any guide to mark anything appertaining to the future of the children of men in this land. President Young was quite feeble. He wore his little green cloak upon his shoulders and he walked slowly along. As we advanced from below on to the rising ground we came to a certain spot where he stopped very suddenly. He took his cane, which had a spike in the end of it, and stuck it down into the ground, and said, “Here shall stand the Temple of our God.” . . . I asked him to stop there till I could break a piece of sage brush or something that I could drive down into the place. I did nothing else until I put a stake in that spot that he marked with his cane, and then we went on about our business.55
Wilford Woodruff took Brigham Young in his carriage about two miles to the north to choose a nice spot for a garden.
At 10 a.m., an exploring company left the camp consisting of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, Willard Richards, Albert Carrington, and William Clayton. They traveled to the north and climbed the bench of land which would later be called “Capitol Hill.” William Clayton wrote:
We arrived on a beautiful table land, level and nicely sloping to the west. Here we halted to view it and the more we viewed, the better we were satisfied that it is as handsome a place for a city as can be imagined. At the east part there is a considerable creek of clear cold water descending from the mountains and just above this place it branches into two forks, one running northwest the other southwest and the two nicely surrounding this place, and so well arranged that should a city be built here the water can be turned into every street at pleasure.
Brigham Young wanted to climb the peak to the north. His brother, Lorenzo had joined in with the company. William Clayton further recorded this historic climb: “After some hard toil and time we succeeded in gaining the summit, leaving our horses about two‑thirds the way up. President Young felt pretty well fatigued when he got up. Some of the brethren feel like naming this Ensign Peak. From this place, we had a good view of the Salt Lake and could see that the waters extend for a great many miles to the north of us.”
Wilford Woodruff’s record of this hike reads: “We all went onto the top of a high peak in the edge of the Mountain which we considered a good place to raise an ensign upon which we named Ensign Peak or Hill. (I was the first person that ascended this hill.) Brother Young was very weary in climbing the peak, he being feeble.”56
They divided into two groups to descend Ensign Peak. Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Albert Carrington, and William Clayton descended on the northwest corner, while the rest went back down on the east side and visited the warm springs. Elder Kimball’s group had a long hike down. They wound their way around the hill and came to the warm sulphur springs where water was boiling out of a rock at the foot of the mountain.57
After a cool drink of fresh water from a stream, George A. Smith, William Clayton, and Albert Carrington decided to go on and see the river58 which they had seen from the top of Ensign Peak. They found the road used by the Donner‑Reed party and others during the previous year. After traveling about two more miles, they came to the river which was about 80 feet wide and three and a half feet deep at a crossing point. The soil along the river was good. While at the river, they saw Wilford Woodruff’s carriage in the distance heading to the north, so they started to follow it. The carriage headed to a large hot sulphur spring near the mountain. Before George A. Smith’s group caught up, the carriage had already started back toward camp. The group decided to go ahead and visit the hot spring.
William Clayton wrote about this visit to the hot spring:
We arrived at the big spring about four o’clock and making our horses fast, we went down to where it boils out of the rock. This spring is also situated at the foot of the mountains and at the base of a large rock, perpendicular on the west side and gradually losing itself on the east in the mountain. The spring, as I have said, is at the base of this rock. There is a circular hole about four feet wide and a yard high from the top to the surface of the water from whence the water boils out in a considerable stream. The water itself in the spring seems to be about two feet deep. There is a rock at the mouth of the spring where a person can stand and see inside. Standing on this rock with your face near the mouth of the spring a strong warm sulphurous air is felt to come in gusts out of the rock and it is so hot that it requires only a few minutes to start the perspiration. On putting my hand in the spring, I was startled with the heat and found I could not bear to hold my hand in five seconds. It is as hot as the hottest dish water ever used for dishes.
Thomas Bullock also visited this hot springs earlier and wrote: “The water was so very hot that I was unable to bear [keeping] my fingers in four or five seconds.”
The men saw that the spring water formed a little, deep lake, and then flowed in a little stream to the north. They went downstream about a hundred feet, thinking they would dip their feet in the warm water. “But on taking off our boots and socks we found it impossible to hold our feet in it a moment and could barely wash by dashing the water on with our hands and suddenly dipping them in and out. It is supposed this would boil an egg in about ten minutes.”
At 5 p.m., they returned back to the camp, four miles away. They saw that the brethren had finished planting about three acres of potatoes, peas, and beans, and were now planting four or five acres of corn. Two miles to the southeast, some of the brethren started to make a garden.
When Heber C. Kimball had returned to camp in the afternoon, he discovered that he had lost his spy glass during his hike to and from Ensign Peak. He retraced his steps and hiked all the way back up Ensign Peak but could not find it. When he came down, he saw Willard Richards and Ezra T. Benson bathing in the warm springs. He joined them and found the effects of the warm water “pleasant and beneficial.” After the bath, they started back toward camp and Elder Kimball soon found his spy glass near the road.
Brigham Young directed some men to start working on a boat which would later be called “Mud Hen” and would be used to explore the Great Salt Lake.
Joseph Matthews and John Brown returned from the mountains to the west which ended up being about sixteen miles away. They found a horse near the mountain and brought it back to camp. It was believed to be a stray horse from the previous year’s emigrants. The country was quite barren toward the west.
With permission to travel in smaller groups of “fifties,” the companies were free to depart from camp whenever they were ready. They ascended some sandy bluffs during the day, “the hardest sand hill we have found.” Large numbers of Indians were seen traveling on the other side of the river. Eliza Snow, traveling back in the Grant Company wrote: “Many Ind[ians] pass us with tents & baggage fasten’d to mules, horses & on drays form’d of tent poles drawn by horses, mules & dogs. Covers for the little ones made by fastening skins over bows which are fix’d to the upper side of the drays.” Her company traveled into the night under the moon. They passed by the Indian camp. “Come up to the Ind[ian] tents where they come out in scores ‑‑ some shake their blankets which frightens the cattle.”
Isaac Ensign, age sixty-six, died. He was the husband of Mary Bryant Ensign.
William Clayton’s Journal, 318‑23; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:236‑37; Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 565‑66; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 108‑09; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 238‑39; “The Historians Corner,” BYU Studies, 14:1:110; Salt Lake Tribune, 18 March 1910, P. 2.; Deseret News, August 3, 1996; Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, p.231; “Isaac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 45; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 38; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 187; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 93; Our Pioneer Heritage, 16:114‑16; Collected Discourses, Vol.5, Wilford Woodruff, Afternoon, August 29, 1897
Two Ute Indians came into camp during the morning to trade. Jackson Redden traded a gun for a horse and George Grant traded a gun for a pony. The Indians said in sign language that they had a large party of their tribe about forty miles to the south.
At 8:30 a.m., sixteen of the brethren, including the Twelve, riding with one carriage and several mules and horses, traveled toward the Oquirrh mountains to the west. Before they were out of sight, four horsemen were seen coming toward camp. Heber C. Kimball waited until they arrived. The men were Amasa M. Lyman, Rodney Badger, Roswell Stevens, and Samuel Brannan, who arrived in advance of the company from Pueblo that included the Mormon Battalion sick detachments and the rest of the Mississippi Saints. They announced that they left the Pueblo company on the Weber River, and they would be arriving in the valley in a day or two. They were currently improving the roads in the canyons. Elder Lyman mentioned that he heard there was a large company on the way, and they should arrive in 15 or 20 days. Elder Lyman and Brother Brannan joined Heber C. Kimball in the exploring expedition, and they rode off to catch up with the rest of the party.
The men in the camp continued to plow and plant. Five teams were constantly plowing and three teams harrowing. Burr Frost set up his forge to make more plows. A company of men went east to the mountains for some lumber to build a skiff. During the morning, at the request of Brigham Young, Norton Jacob and another man went to explore City Creek Canyon for timber. They found a nice grove of “spruce pine,” rock maple, and white oak. They observed that a forest fire had run through the area during the past year. Brother Jacob also found some good grit for grind stones and some good sandstone that could be using for buildings. They saw signs of elk, deer, and bear.
Howard Egan had received instructions from Heber C. Kimball that Brigham Young’s wagons, along with Elder Kimball’s should be moved across City Creek about three‑quarters miles to the northwest. Brother Egan moved the wagons and tent to this new location. Ezra T. Benson and Willard Richards’ wagons were also moved up.59
The men who had been sent to find timber returned in the evening with some very nice pine logs, twenty inches in diameter, sixty feet long. Two more Indians came to trade. Some of the brethren did not make very good trades. They gave away too many items in exchange for buckskins. Several Indians remained in camp overnight.
As the exploring party led by the Twelve was crossing the Jordan River, Amasa Lyman and the others rode up. At 1 p.m., they all arrived at the base of the Oquirrh mountains. The party went to the north end of these mountains and arrived at the southeast corner of the Great Salt Lake.60
They halted and had a “fine bathing frolic.” Brigham Young was the first to dip his hand into the lake. Erastus Snow wrote: “The water was warm and very clear, and so salty that no fish can live in it. The waters of the ocean bear no comparison to those of the lake, and those who could not swim at all floated upon the surface like a cork, and found it out of their power to sink. When we dressed ourselves, we found our hair and skin perfectly coated with fine salt.” Orson Pratt, being a bit more scientific, wrote: “We all bathed in the salt water, which is fully saturated with salt: its specific gravity is such as to buoy us up in a remarkable manner.” Wilford Woodruff added:
We made up our minds at once that the Great Salt Lake ought to be added as the eighth wonder of the world. . . . It was so strong that if a particle got into the eyes, nose or mouth, it would strangle & put one in pain. . . . A person would float & roll on the top of the water like a dry log & while standing to our waist in water, we could not get our knees to the bottom but would rise to the top like a cork. We found the most beautiful white salt that I ever saw lying in bunches on the shore where the water dryed away.
William Clayton was later told: “One of the brethren lay down on the water and another got on him but could not sink him.”
Heber C. Kimball and others also visited a nearby cave which was 60 feet long. They saw evidence of Indians visiting there and the remains of a campfire. Porter Rockwell went up a high bluff chasing a flock of Mountain Sheep. The brethren then continued their journey around the point of the mountain and entered present‑day Toelle Valley. Orson Pratt recorded: “This valley we judged to be about 12 miles in diameter. On the south there was a small opening, which we supposed might be a continuation of the valley, or an opening into a plain beyond. They observed that there was not much water in the valley and returned to camp for the night at a spring near the point of the mountain.
The Kearny detachment, with several members of the battalion, arrived at Independence Rock. A member of the detachment recorded that he had counted more than 3,500 emigrants on the Oregon Trail, with a ratio of two men for every woman over sixteen.
William Empey, Luke Johnson, and Appleton Harmon went hunting. They took a wagon and headed ten miles up Casper Creek on the North side of the Platte. They saw a large herd of buffalo but could not catch any. Luke Johnson killed two antelope and they returned back to their camp.
The “Big Company” traveled about eighteen miles. Along the way they met another party of Indians who were friendly to the pioneers. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “The Ind[ians] that annoy’d us last night, pass us & strike their tents & travel with us till near night when they fall in our rear & we encamp near them.” Patty Sessions added: “In the forenoon the Indians came some we have not seen before a big chief among them. When we stopped to bait they came like bees. Their lodges were across the river.”
Sister Snow commented: “It commenc’d raining just as we stop’d ‑‑ no time to cook supper ‑‑ I am quite sick this afternoon ‑‑ glad to crawl to bed.” During the day they traveled across from Ash Hollow which was still 650 miles from the Salt Lake Valley. At this point the Grant Company obtained timber to take with them to repair wagons.
William Clayton’s Journal, 324; “Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts,” Improvement Era 15:410; “Norton Jacob Journal,” typescript, 111; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 109‑10; Autobiography of John Brown, 80; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 458‑59; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:238; Journal of Discourses, 15:59‑60, Orson Pratt, December 18, 1870; Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 69‑70; Journal of Discourses, 13:120‑21, George A. Smith, October 9, 1868; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:143; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 38; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 239‑40; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 187; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 93; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 521
Wilford Woodruff realized that he lost his carriage whip during the previous evening’s return to the campsite. He started out on horseback to look for it.
As I got near the place I discovered two objects appear on a ridge before me, about 1/2 a mile distant. I at first took them to be bears but after approaching a little nearer, I discovered about 20 objects appearing over the Hill. I soon saw that they were Indians and as I was unarmed & over 3 miles from camp, I did not consider it prudent to go among them. I wheeled my horse & started on my return in a slow trot.
They soon called after him and one mounted his horse and rode at top speed toward him. He discovered that they were Ute Indians who just wanted to trade. Elder Woodruff let him know that his camp was near and invited him to come to the camp. After arriving in camp, they smoked the pipe of peace and the pioneers left.
They traveled about ten miles to the south along the base of the Oquirrh Mountains. Orson Pratt went up on a rise of ground and could see Utah Lake about twenty miles to the south. He counted nine streams flowing into the lake. He concluded that Utah Valley would also be a fine place for irrigation. The pioneers then turned and headed back to the City Creek camp. They stopped to drink at the Jordan River and soon arrived to their home after a weary ride.
The temperature was 80 degrees at 8 a.m. The men started work on a saw pit to saw lumber for the boat. Joseph Hancock and Lewis Barney returned from a two-day hunting trip to the mountains. They found plenty of good timber for building, but it would be difficult to haul out of the canyons. Howard Egan wrote: “Brother Redden and myself harnessed up a mule that never had been worked, in order to brake him in so he could be used to plow. He worked very well, and we hauled some poles to make a bowery, over our wagons.”
At 3:30 p.m., Brigham Young and the exploration company returned and shared the exciting tale of their journey to the Great Salt Lake. They reported seeing up to one hundred mountain goats, in addition to many sheep and antelope in the hills and valley.
Brigham Young wrote: “Some of the brethren talked about exploring the country further for a site for a settlement; I replied that I was willing that the country should be explored until all were satisfied, but every time a party went out and returned, I believed firmly they would agree that this is the spot for us to locate.”
Erastus Snow later said that Brigham Young proclaimed:
“This is the place where I, in vision, saw the ark of the Lord resting; this is the place whereon we will plant the soles of our feet, and where the Lord will place his name amongst his people.” And he said to that band of pioneers ‑‑ “Organize your exploring parties, one to go south, another north, and another to go to the west, and search out the land, in the length and the breadth thereof, learn the facilities for settlement, for grazing, water, timber, soil and climate, that we may be able to report to our brethren when we return; and when the parties were organized, said he unto them ‑‑ “You will find many excellent places for settlement. On every hand in these mountains are locations where the people of God may dwell, but when you return from the south, west and north to this place, you will say with me, ‘this is the place which the Lord has chosen for us to commence our settlements, and from this place we shall spread abroad and possess the land.’”
Wilford Woodruff stated that President Young said: “Now, brethren, go where you please; go north, go south, go to any part of the country, and when you come back you will say this is the place.”
At some point, Samuel Brannan tried to talk Brigham Young out of the idea of stopping in the Salt Lake Valley. Brother Brannan was convinced that California was the promised land for the Church. Wilford Woodruff later said: “I heard President Young give his answer to Samuel Brannan in the following language, striking his cane into the soil: ‘No, sir; I am going to stop right here. I am going to build a city here. I am going to build a temple here, and I am going to build up a country here.’”
At 5 p.m., Brigham Young called for a meeting of the Council of Twelve Apostles. Eight were present in the valley at that time. Wilford Woodruff recorded this historic meeting:
We walked from the north camp to about the centre between the two creeks when Prest. Young waved his hands & said, “Here is the forty acres for the Temple.” (We had conversed upon the subject of the location for the temple previous to this) & the city can be laid out perfectly square north & south, east & west. It was then moved & carried that the Temple lot contain 40 acres on the ground where we stood.
It was also decided that the city would be laid out into blocks of ten acres. Each block would and consist of eight lots. Each street would be 8 rods (128) feet wide and there should be a side walk on each side 20 feet wide. Each house was to be built on the center of the lot, 20 feet from the front line. President Young remarked that he did not want the houses close together for fear of fire danger. There would be four public squares of ten acres each.
At 8 p.m., all the brethren in the camp were called together on the Temple Square site and addressed by Brigham Young. He asked some of the brethren to express their feelings if this location should be the place for them to build their city. The brethren were in favor of settling at this spot. President Young then shared the plan to divide the city into blocks. He stated other rules for the city:
No house will be permitted to be built on the corners of the streets, neither pretty shops. Each house will have to be built so many feet back from the street and all the houses parallel with each other. The fronts are to be beautified with fruit trees, etc. No filth will be allowed to stand in the city but the water will be conducted through in such a manner as to carry all the filth off to the River Jordan. No man will be suffered to cut up his lot and sell a part to speculate out of his brethren. Each man must keep his lot whole, for the Lord has given it to us without price. The temple lot will be forty acres and adorned with trees, ponds, etc.
A committee was appointed to survey the city. All the proposals were unanimously sustained.61
President Young then launched into a forceful sermon condemning the past actions by the States and the U.S. Government. The Saints had been driven from Illinois and even though the raising of the Mormon Battalion brought temporal salvation, President Polk would be cursed for his desire to waste away the Saints. He blamed the government for the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. If the government ever tried to send troops to interfere with the Saints, they would be very sorry for trying. He pledged to the Lord to prepare to avenge the blood of the prophets and the Saints. He stated that the Saints would embrace the Indians. They would teach them the gospel “and not many generations hence they will become a white & delightsome people and in no other way will it be done.”
President Young lectured the men to be faithful and do their duty. To the women, if they were there, he would want to remind them of a wife’s primary duty, “to take care of her children, keep herself clean and house and keep clothes clean.” He said that he planned to establish a school for his family and hire tutors to watch his children. He spoke of the important need to care for a woman carrying a child. Her husband needs to be considerate and kind. He believed that the spirit entered the embryo when life was first felt and that from that time the infant partook of the mind and nature of the mother. He said that the mother should be very careful about giving into temptations while in this state, because it would also affect the child. She should be calm and composed, and should exercise her mind. The meeting concluded at 10:10 p.m.
The Pueblo company of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints were camping in Emigration Canyon. They spent the day working on the road. Abner Blackburn recorded:
Three of us soldiers undertook to climb a high mountain in sight of the camp to take a view of the surrounding country. We went up until nearly exhausted and kept going until the top was reached. We would not have undertaken the job if we had known the difficulties to be surmounted. Passed the timber line far enough and landed on the summit of the highest peak in sight. It was the grandest view that ever mortal beheld. The air was clear and perfect for a good view ‑‑ the Great Salt Lake glittering under the suns rays, range after range of mountains in every direction, the great desert to the west and Utah Lake to the south east and the mountains beyond. A more sublime view was seldom seen from a mountain top.
There were some very large granite boulders on top which would weigh several tons. We dug and pried them loose. Started them down the mountain. They sped through the air. Some split to pieces and some held together and crashed down the mountain until they reached the timber line. They would strike the fir trees nearly to the top and go right through them and start other rocks and make an awful avalanche. The grouse and wild animals scattered in all directions. Rolling rocks paid us for the feterge of climbing up.
The pioneers reached Ancient Bluff Ruins, about 612 miles from Salt Lake Valley. A violent thunder storm blew in. Sand came down from the hills covering the Saints, animals, and wagons with dust. Patty Sessions wrote: “In the afternoon came up a dreadful wind thunder lightning a very little rain where we were. On the other side of the river the ground was all aflood. We passed over sand bluffs in the wind. The sand and gravel flew in our eyes so we could not see. At times we had to hold our waggon covers to keep them from blowing off.” After the storm cleared out, Isaac Haight climbed one of the bluffs shaped in a form of a pyramid.
The High Council heard a case where some young men were accused of stealing a canoe from Brother Lyman, a fisherman. They had hid it down the river two or three miles and intended to go off with it at night. The council decided to wait for more evidence.62
Sally Fuller Remington, age fifty-six, died of consumption. She was the wife of Joseph Remington. Vansom Pratt, age six months, died of dropsy of the brain. He was the son of Orson and Sarah M. Pratt. Dexter Stillman, age four months, died of consumption. He was the son of Dexter and Barbara Redfield Stillman. Alvah Tippets, age one year, died. He was the son of Alvah S. and Caroline Tippets.
The presidency of Garden Grove received a harsh letter from Orson Hyde. He stated that there were wicked men and women in Garden Grove and if they did not rid themselves of them, they would be considered partakers in their crimes. The presidency immediately took action and cut off eight of the members of the settlement who had been involved in stealing, gambling, and other evils.
Oliver Cowdery wrote to his fellow Book of Mormon witness, David Whitmer: “Let the Lord vindicate our characters, and cause our testimony to shine, and then will men be saved in his kingdom”
Levi Hancock’s company left the Francisco Ranch and ascended another mountain pass. Robert S. Bliss wrote: “Started for home. We ascended one of the most difficult mountains I ever passed. We lost above half our cattle in crossing the Mt & heated some others so they probably die & be of no use to us; we came to the top of the mountain & encamped in a small valley where we got water in the holes of the Rocks for our animals.”
William Clayton’s Journal, 324‑25; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:238‑42; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 459‑60; Autobiography of John Brown, 80‑1; Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 566‑67; Journal of Discourses, 16:208, Erastus Snow, September 14, 1873; The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 317‑318; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 110‑11; Bagley, ed., Frontiersman, 62; Oliver Cowdery to David Whitmer, Ensign of Liberty, 1:92; Collected Discourses, Vol.1, Wilford Woodruff, July 24, 1888; Collected Discourses, Vol.5, Wilford Woodruff, June 22nd, 1897; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:112; “Isaac C. Haight Journal,” typescript, 45; Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 120; Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, 93; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, 1:267; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 240‑44; “Luman Shurtliff Journal, typescript,” BYU, 75; B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:82:282
After a windy night, the morning was refreshingly cool. Thomas Bullock got up early to bathe in the warm springs. He cleared the pool of its scum.
Brigham Young and the Twelve mounted horses and went to Emigration Canyon to greet the Pueblo Company of Mormon Battalion soldiers and Mississippi Saints. They met them at the mouth of the canyon. Wilford Woodruff wrote: “We were truly glad to meet with them.” They continued on up the canyon and met with the officers, James Brown, Nelson Higgins, and Wesley Willis. They determined that there were about 140 members of the battalion and families, and about 100 Mississippi Saints. They had with them 60 wagons, 100 horses and mules, and 300 head of cattle.63
At 10 a.m. a heavy shower of rain fell. Water came roaring down the canyon like a flood gate had been opened. Elder Woodruff wrote: “The first rush of the water came down with a front 3 feet high. Some of the waggons had to stop untill it fell which was but a short time.”
At noon, a few soldiers came into camp and announced that the company would soon be arriving. They were delayed by a broken lead wagon.
At 3 p.m., the Pueblo company of about 240 men, women and children came within sight of the camp. The soldiers were in military order and many of them were mounted. They arrived at 3:30 p.m., marching to the fife and drum, led by the Twelve and officers of the battalion. The newcomers established their camp between the two established camps by City Creek. William Clayton wrote: “The brethren are represented as feeling well and cheerful.” Thomas Bullock recorded: “The brethren were very much rejoiced at getting once more among their friends & a general congratulation took place.”64
Battalion member John Hess wrote: “I had only the outfit of a discharged soldier which consisted of a small tent, a sheet iron kettle, a mess pan, two tin plates, two spoons, two knives and forks and a pair of blankets badly worn, two old quilts, ten pounds of flour and my dear, precious wife Emeline who had been with me through all the trials and the hardships, and had endured them all without a murmur.”65
At 5 p.m. the Twelve returned, then went north to the warm springs and bathed. Afterwards, they returned for supper. After a nice meal, Heber C. Kimball asked Howard Egan to come into his wagon and read the minutes of the last Sunday’s meeting. Then, Heber C. Kimball, Edson Whipple, and Howard Egan took a walk. Brother Egan recorded: “We had a very pleasant evening’s conversation, then joined in prayer and returned to camp about 11 p.m. The evening was pleasant.”
As Luke Johnson was out looking for a lost knife and gun strap, he heard a gun shot toward the camp. He thought that Indians might be attacking and rode with great speed to the camp. He arrived back to the camp and told the others about what he had heard. They quickly loaded their guns and pistols, hid their purses and best goods, and made a protective breast work from some chest and boxes. They made ammunition ready and waited.
Soon, they saw two men on the other side of the river. One of them crossed and came to the camp. Then they saw forty men and about 140 head of animals appear. It was General Kearny, of the U.S. Army! The man who approached them was Brother John W. Binley of the Mormon Battalion. Soon they were delighted to be greeted by other members of the Battalion. John C. Fremont came in sight with about two hundred more animals. It was an impressive sight.
Brother Binley shared the news about the fate of the Donner‑Reed party in the Sierra Nevadas. He said that he helped bury many of them, including a woman whose body had been eaten. They reflected on the terrible, tragic conditions experienced by that emigration party.
Private Nathaniel V. Jones, a battalion member of the Kearny detachment wrote: “Here we found some brethren, that were camped and waiting for their families which were behind, and expected them every hour. This was the first news that I have had correct since I left. They [the pioneers] left there [Winter Quarters] in March. Here we left one party that was unwell, by the name of John Binley.”
The first of the pioneer companies arrived across the river from Chimney Rock. They met a party of men on horseback returning from Oregon. Other companies were traveling as many as twenty miles to the rear. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “The bluffs on both sides of the river are very picturesque ‑‑ As we commence rising the hills, which are said to be the last between this & the Fort [Laramie], we can see a singular appearing bluff which in an inhabited country might be mistaken for a large building.66
A son, Lyman Keyes, was born to William H. and Eliza Herrick Keyes.
David Fullmer, Luman Shurliff, Duncan McArthur, and Brother Hunt left for Winter Quarters to meet with the Church leaders about the problems in Garden Grove.67
Vilate Kimball, after pouring out her soul to the Lord in prayer, wrote the following lines:
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And praise Him for His holy word,
For He hath blessed me from above,
And filled my soul with light and love;
My body, too, He hath renewed,
My path with blessings He hath strewed.
My Lord, go with me through this day,
And may I never cease to pray
For wisdom, faith and righteousness,
And may I never ask amis.
As Levi Hancock’s company traveled through steep mountain ridges and passes, they kept losing their cattle as they would slip and fall down the slopes. It was finally decided that all the cattle should be killed and the meat should be dried for the trip over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Azariah Smith wrote: “We came through and over mountains, and in some places the pass would be so narrow that our pack horses could hardly get through, and on either side some hundreds of feet nearly perpendicular.” Robert Bliss added: “Passed up the mountain through the most difficult pass I every beheld in all my travels.” Levi Hancock recorded: “We have traveled over the worst kind of road between the Mts and over rocks and between them they would tear our horses hoofs to pieces the worst going I ever saw we have now camped and have good feed & water this day made 12 miles and the council is to kill all the cattle tomorrow and dry [the meat].”
William Clayton’s Journal, 326; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:242‑43; Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 460; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 112; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 244‑45; Our Pioneer Heritage, 1:493; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:143; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:22; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 38; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 187‑88; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 96; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:112; Hoshide & Bagley, eds., “The 1847 Donner Camp Diary of Levi Hancock”; Woman’s Exponent, 14:18:138
The Saints continued their efforts to plow and plant. They were planting all kinds of seed. Howard Egan tried on a new pair of buckskin pants made by Robert Baird. He said they were “the neatest and best fit I ever had.”
The Twelve held a large Council Meeting in a tent with Captain James Brown and the other officers of the battalion. It lasted three hours. Brigham Young thought it best to send Captain Brown and some others, piloted by Samuel Brannan, to San Francisco, California, to present himself to the Army and make a report of the state of the battalion left behind at the valley. They also discussed much about what occurred on the battalion march. Dr. Sanderson’s deadly use of medicine was mentioned and the brethren felt he would be cursed for his crimes against the brethren.
After the meeting was concluded, they mounted horses, rode to the warm springs, and also visited the hot spring. They were fascinated by it and believed that the water could cook an egg in a few moments. They returned to camp and the brethren visited with many of the soldiers.
In the evening at 8:00, a general meeting was held for all the brethren in the camp. The meeting was opened with three hosanna shouts (“Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb forever and ever amen”) for the soldiers of the Mormon Battalion. Brigham Young, standing on a wagon made into a platform, expressed his warm feeling toward the battalion. He said they saved the Saints. He rejoiced that they were together again. He explained to the men that it was very necessary to raise the Mormon Battalion because if they would not have complied with the government requisition, “they would have treated us as enemies, and the next move would have been to have let Missouri and the adjoining states loose on us, and wipe us from the face of the earth.”
He stated that Joseph and Hyrum Smith would yet dwell with them on earth in a resurrected state. After the Saints died, they would shortly come forth out of their graves with resurrected bodies that no mob could kill.
He asked the battalion to start construction on a bowery to be put up on the temple lot. They would use it for their meetings. The meeting concluded at 10 p.m.
The Kearny detachment journeyed on. John W. Binley was officially discharged by General Kearny and remained with the ferrymen.
More of the companies passed by Chimney Rock. Eliza R. Snow wrote: “The bluffs truly present views wildly magnificent. We arrive nearly opposite the peak which we saw yesterday morning & encamp.68 The sun has been scorching thro’ the day tho’ the nights are like October.” Others reached Scotts Bluff. Jesse W. Crosby wrote: “Some men went to visit these heights; they found some creatures and killed them; that they called Mountain Goat; they resemble our sheep except the wool.”
George Washington Hill recorded:
Some of us boys concluded to cross the river and ascent the bluffs. Accordingly several of us went over and ascended them to the top and rambled all over the top, finding some mountain sheep on the top of the bluffs. We chased them, thinking that we could make them jump off of the cliffs and kill themselves, but we found out that they could ascent or descend precipitous rocks better than we could. In fact, they would skip up and down cliffs that seemed to be almost perpendicular.
On coming down off of these bluffs, I was coming skipping along from one projection to another. I came suddenly on Parley P. Pratt paralyzed on a cliff. While ascending this precipice, he had happened to look down, and seeing the distance so great below him, he became excited and had stuck his fingers in a crack of the rock and held on for dear life, continuing to look below him. He could not control his nerves, but was trembling like an aspen leaf when I got to him. And seeing the condition he was in, I took him in my arms and carried him by force to a place of safety, thus saving him from falling several hundred feet and dashing himself to pieces. I then remained with him until he arrived safely at the bottom of the bluffs.
Elijah Brailey, age one month, died. He was the son of Jesse C. and Sally Brailey. Robert Harris, age five months, also died. He was the son of Robert and Hannah Eagles Harris.
A son, Daniel Brown Woodland, was born to John Woodland Jr. and his wife.
The men killed all their beef cattle (about twenty‑six) and worked at drying all the meat and packing it away.
William Clayton’s Journal, 327; Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 568; Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 112; “Luman Shurtliff Journal,” typescript, BYU, 75; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:243‑44; Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 245; “Jesse W. Crosby Journal,” typescript, BYU, 38; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:112; “Journal of William Empey,” Annals of Wyoming, 21:143; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 188; “Incidents in the Life of George Washington Hill,” in Madsen, Journey to Zion, 366
In the morning, the men of the Mormon Battalion started construction on the bowery. It was planned to be forty feet by twenty‑eight feet. It was constructed in the northeast part of the Temple Block.69
Tow battalion men were very sick: Thomas Richardson and Solomon Tindall.
About twenty to thirty Shoshone Indians came to camp to trade with the brethren. While there, a dispute arose between two of their young men who started to fiercely fight. William Clayton wrote:
One broke his gun stock on the other’s head and I expected to see a pretty serious affray, many of the others gathering around. Soon an old man came up, father to one of the young men engaged in the quarrel and he used his heavy whip very freely about both their heads and faces. The antagonist of the son struck the old man and he immediately gathered a long pole and broke it over the young man’s head. He succeeded in quelling the broil and gave them a long lecture. They then mostly left and resumed their trading a little distance from the camp.
Later in the day, the brethren learned the cause of the dispute. There were about five Ute Indians at the camp when the Shoshones arrived. One of the Utes had stolen a horse from the Shoshones and they noticed the stolen horse. The thief had traded the horse with the brethren for a rifle, but would not give up the rifle to the Shoshones. Thus, the fight began. After the fight was broken up, the Ute went and hid but later snatched and rode off with another horse belonging to the Shoshones. Four of them went after him, caught up to him in a canyon, and shot him dead and also the horse.
The pioneers watched the Indians eat a new type of food. William Clayton wrote: “When the men returned, they sat down and made a meal of some of these large crickets. They appear to be crisped over the fire which is all the cooking required.”
The Shoshones were displeased that the Saints had traded with the Utes. They told by signs that the land was owned by the Shoshone, not the Utes. They wanted the brethren to buy the land for powder and lead. Brigham Young let the brethren know that he did not intend to buy any of the land from the Indians because “the Lord made the land, there was enough for both them & us.” They would later teach the Indians to cultivate the earth. Orson Pratt believed that they should not feed the Indians at all until they tried to learn to grow crops.
Stephen Markham reported on the progress of planting crops. He said there were thirty‑five acres plowed and about two‑thirds planted. There was already three acres of corn standing two inches above the ground. Some beans and potatoes were also growing after just one week’s labor. John Brown wrote: “Our experiment had already proven the land fertile.” George Billings and John Pack rode back to Emigration Canyon and cut forty‑one logs for building structures.
Orson Pratt started to survey the city. The base line used was the southeast corner of Temple Square. Wilford Woodruff went with several of the brethren down to Jordan River. He threw a net in four times but only caught one fish.
As the second company of pioneers was traveling near Scotts Bluff, they met James Davenport, the blacksmith-ferryman, returning to Winter Quarters with a company of fur traders returning from Oregon. Many of the Saints were very pleased to see him again.
Ephraim Burdick, age nine months, died of “summer complaint.” He was the son of Thomas and Anna Burdick. Mary Lowry Burnham, age eight months, died of summer complaint. She was the daughter of Jacob and Mary C. Burnham.70
While Levi Hancock’s company continued to dry meat, he sent his company of pioneers ahead with an Indian guide. Robert S. Bliss wrote:
Started early, continue up the mountain & reached the divide about 2 o’clock p.m then descended 4 or 5 miles & encamped by a beautiful stream of water. . . . Found the head of a bear which I brought to camp; our Indian pilot said it was the bear that killed a man in this place. While writing, one of our boys said there was a grave within a few rods of our camp. I left writing & visited the grave. I read on a tree at the head of the grave, “Peter Lebeck, killed by a bear, Oct 17th 1837" with a cross over the writing and the letters I‑‑S.
Elder Orson Hyde was on a traveling mission away from Winter Quarters. He later wrote on August 5, “I have been preaching and holding conferences for an extent of 50 miles on both sides of the Missouri River from Council Bluffs to St. Louis, besides laboring with my own hands until I have a field of over 50 acres fenced, and 30 acres in cultivation [near Winter Quarters.]”
William Clayton’s Journal, 327‑28; Our Pioneer Heritage, 8:434; Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:245; Autobiography of John Brown, 81; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:112; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 188; Dennis, ed., Prophet of the Jubilee, 155
1John Young Greene was born in 1826, in New York. He was a nephew of Brigham Young. He drove a team for his uncle. He later served a mission in Denmark. He died in 1880.
2George Woodward was born in 1817, in New Jersey. George would meet his wife in the second pioneer company and go with her to the valley. They settled in the Eighth Ward in Salt Lake City. Later, he helped settle St. George, Utah where he worked as a mason. He died in 1903.
3His son, also named Roswell Stevens served in the Mormon Battalion for a time and he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 27, 1847.
4The members of this advance party of the battalion were: Thomas S. Williams, John Buchanan, Allen Compton, Joel J. Terell, Francillo Durfee, Andrew J. Shupe, Samuel Gould, Benjamin Roberts, James Oakley, George Clarke, Thomas Bingham, William Casto, and William Walker.
5Harley Mowery (age 24) and Martha Jane Sergeant Sharp, widow of Norman Sharp, who died on the way to Pueblo.
6Fort Moore was located above the North Broadway tunnel in Los Angeles. It later was leveled to make way for a playground.
7They camped near present‑day Granger, Wyoming.
8Benjamin’s town of birth is listed as “Dogtown,” certainly a reference to a prairie dog town. Simon Baker was the author’s 4th-Great Grandfather. He was credited for making the first molasses in Utah.
9The Church bought Fort Bridger from Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez in 1855. During the “Utah War,” the fort was burned. The U.S. army assumed ownership a year later. Today the fort is operated by the state of Wyoming as a historical attraction.
10Andrew S. Gibbons was born in 1825, in Ohio. After arriving to the Salt Lake Valley, he returned to Winter Quarters in the fall. He went westward again in 1852 and settled in Davis County. He helped settle Iron County and later St. Thomas, and St. Johns, Arizona. He died there in 1886.
11William Carter was born in 1821, in England. He later served in the bishopric of the Fourteenth Ward in Salt Lake City. He served a mission in Canada and later helped settle St. George, Utah. He died in 1896.
12This information was incorrect. The Donners and Reeds were from Illinois.
13The Houston family later settled in Alpine, Utah, where Isaac Sr. served as bishop until his death in 1856.
14They chose a route traveled by Heinrich Lienhard during 1846 rather than a longer route used by the Donner‑Reed party.
15This formation is near the present‑day Utah/Wyoming border.
16The company consisted of Orson Pratt, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jackson Redden, Stephen Markham, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Joseph T. Egbert, John M. Freeman, Marcus B. Thorpe, Robert Crow, Benjamin B. Crow, John Crow, William H. Crow, William P. Crow, George W. Therlkill, James Chesney, Lewis B. Myers, John Brown, Shadrach Roundy, Hans C. Hansen, Levi Jackman, Lyman Curtis, David Powell, Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay, Joseph Matthews, Gilbert Summe, Green Flake, John S. Gleason, Charles Burke, Norman Taylor, Alexander P. Chesley, Seth Taft, Horace Thornton, Stephen Kelsey, James Stewart, Robert Thomas, Charles D. Barnam, John S. Eldredge, Elijah Newman, Francis Boggs, Levi N. Kendall, and David Grant.
Also traveling with the advance company were Robert Crow’s wife, Elizabeth Brown Crow, and their daughters, Isa Minda Almarene Crow, Isa Vinda Exene Crow (twins, age sixteen), and Elizabeth Jane Crow. Also probably along was Robert Crow’s very pregnant daughter Matilda Jane Therlkill (wife of George) and their children, Milton H. Therlkill (age three) and James William Therlkill (about age one).
17This would have taken them to present‑day Ogden, Utah.
18Barnabas L. Adams was born in 1812, in Canada. After arriving in the valley, he returned to Winter Quarters for his family. They arrive in 1848 and settled in the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. He furnished lumber for the Salt Lake Tabernacle and other public buildings. He died in 1869 from injuries while lifting the bed of a wagon.
19Daniel H. Wells would later serve as a counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency.
20They camped at present‑day Henefer, Utah.
21Hogsback Summit, also known as Heartbreak Ridge.
22Lyman Curtis was born in 1812, in Massachusetts. He was a member of Zion’s Camp. After arriving in the valley, he returned to Winter Quarters in the fall. He brought his family to the valley in 1850. The following year they settled in Santa Clara, Utah. He served a five-year mission among the Indians near Spanish Fork. He died in 1898.
23This company had left Oregon on May 6 and was led by T.G. Drake, who had captained the ship Modeste. They would arrive in St. Louis near the end of August.
24They eventually found them nine miles up Echo Canyon.
25Present‑day Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.
26The Bingham family later settled in Riverdale, Utah, where Sanford served as bishop.
27The advance company probably camped at Large Spring Camp.
28They were on Hogsback Summit.
29Hosea Cushing was born in 1826, in Massachusetts. He brought his family to the valley in 1848 and built a small cabin on the block north the temple grounds. During the Walker Indian War, he became lost in the desert and never fully recovered. He died in 1854.
30David I. Young was a member of the Church, but must have wanted the ordinance performed as a form of last rites.
31In the 1997 reenactment, the pioneers also had trouble descending from Hogsback Summit. A team of mules ran wild down the hill destroying a wagon.
32Large Spring Camp.
33Benjamin Franklin Dewey was born in 1829, in Massachusetts. After arriving in the valley, he would later go to California for the gold fields. He returned two years later and was called to serve a mission in India. He helped settle San Bernardino, California. He helped build the Salt Lake Temple and Tabernacle. He died in 1904.
341867, Orson Pratt said: “Twenty years ago on the twenty‑first day of July, I stood solitary and alone on this great city plot, near the place where now stands Bishop Hunter’s house (this would be on the corner of the block immediately north of the northwest corner of the temple square), being the first man of the Latter‑day Saints that ever stood on this ground: this was in the afternoon of the twenty‑first day of July, 1847. Brother Erastus Snow entered the valley with me in the afternoon. We traveled down to the southeast of the city. Brother Erastus lost his coat off his horse, and went back to hunt it up, and told me if I wanted to look over the country he would wait for me at the mouth of what we now call Emigration Canyon. I started from where we parted, and came up and stood on the bank of City Creek. I gazed on the surrounding scenery with peculiar feelings in my heart. I felt as though it was the place for which we had so long sought. . . . and see if we could find anything of Salt Lake Valley or a country suitable for a location. What did I see when I came into this valley? I saw some few green bushes on yonder bench, but saw but little life throughout the valley, except a certain insect that was afterwards called a cricket. I saw them cropping the few isolated bushes, and gnawing everything green around them.”
35Joseph Rooker was born in 1818. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he was appointed to be one of a committee to take teams to meet oncoming companies. He later settled in Black Rock, Utah. In 1857, he moved to California where he died about 1895.
36This location was about five miles from the canyon at 500 East and 1700 South.
37The Welker family later settled in Bloomington, Idaho, where James Welker erected one of the first sawmills in that area.
38Erastus Snow explained: “The creek divided just below this Temple Block, one branch running west and the other south. It was on the south branch of the creek we formed our camp on the noon of the 23rd.”
39Charles Shumway was born in 1808, in Massachusetts. He later returned to Winter Quarters for his family and returned to the valley in 1849. He started a gristmill in Sanpete, Utah, and later a sawmill in Payson, Utah. He settled in Cache County where his three-year-old daughter was carried off by Indians. He later moved to Shumway, Arizona, on the Little Colorado River. He died in 1898.
40Henson Walker was born in 1820, in New York. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, he returned toward Winter Quarters to get his family. He met them in the second pioneer company and returned with them to the valley. In 1850, he operated the ferry on the Platte River. He settled in Pleasant Grove, Utah, where he served as bishop. He was also the first mayor of Pleasant Grove. In 1863, he presided over the Scottish mission. He died in 1894.
41William Shin Wardsworth was born in 1810, in New Jersey. After his arrival in Utah, he worked at building roads and bridges. He died in Springville, in 1888.
42This was between 200 and 300 South and State Street and 200 East.
43So it appears that Brigham Young uttered his historic words of approval on Big Mountain, on July 23rd. Thirty‑three years later, in 1880, after Brigham Young’s death, Wilford Woodruff told a similar account, but said this event occurred on the 24th at a different place: “When we came out of the canyon into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. While gazing on the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the vision had passed, he said: “It is enough. This is the right place, drive on.” (Utah Pioneers, p. 23).
On July 24, 1888, Wilford Woodruff again told a slightly different version: “When we came upon the bench, where we had a fair view of the valley before us, I turned the side of the vehicle to the west, so that he could obtain a fair view of the valley. President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country before him for several minutes. He then said to me, ‘Drive on down into the valley; this is our abiding place. I have seen it before in vision. In this valley will be built the City of the Saints and the Temple of our God.’”
And a third version given in 1892: “I brought President Young in my carriage into the valley of Salt Lake. He was sick, and he asked me to turn my carriage so that he could get sight of the valley. I did so. He cast his eyes over the valley and looked for some little time. When he got through he said, “Brother Woodruff, drive on. Here is our home. This is the place God has pointed out for us to plant our feet. I have seen this place before.” He began to recover right from that time.”
Finally, a forth version given in 1897: “JULY 24, 1847 ‑‑ I brought President Young in my carriage into the valley of Salt Lake. He was sick, and he asked me to turn my carriage so that he could get sight of the valley. I did so. He cast his eyes over the valley and looked for some little time. When he got through, he said, “Brother Woodruff, drive on. Here is our home. This is the place God has pointed out for us to plant our feet. I have seen this place before.” He began to recover right from that time.”
44This disease would claim the lives of seventeen more members of the Summer Quarters settlement.
45So Brigham Young expressed approval both on Big Mountain and at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. The incident recalled by Elder Woodruff, when the wagon was turned around for Brigham Young, most likely happened on Big Mountain rather than near “This is the Place State Park.”
46This five‑acre potato patch was near present‑day Main Street from about First South to Third South.
47Horace K. Whitney and those who got a late start, arrived about 1 p.m.
48In 1947, the First Presidency of the Church issued this statement: “That little band of weary‑worn travelers gazed upon a barren landscape so uninviting and desolate that one of the three women in the company out of sheer disappointment and hopelessness broke down and wept. Truly to her, and to others of the company, it must have seemed impossible that in such a desert place could be fulfilled the prophecy of their great leader, Joseph Smith, that the Saints “would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”
49This was the group that was traveling with Miles Goodyear.
50Some horses had been lost to the Indians and others died because of accidents.
51Robert Erwing Baird was born in 1817, in Ireland. He settled in Weber County, where he was justice of the peace and Ogden City councilman. He later was the presiding elder of the Lynne District, north of Ogden. He died in 1875.
52Thomas Poulson Cloward was born in 1823, in Pennsylvania. He would later return to Winter Quarters with Brigham Young. In 1852, he brought his family west and settled in Payson, where he set up a shoemaker shop. He died in 1909.
53These six other men were probably pioneers, Aaron Farr and George Woodward, ferrymen, Francis M. Pomeroy, Benjamin F. Stewart, and battalion members, William Walker and John Cazier. Battalion member Marcus Eastman might have been with them too. Thomas Grover probably stayed at Fort Laramie.
54This ranch was located on the Santa Clara River near the present‑day junction of I‑5 and State Highway 126.
55He also noted on another occasion that the place they marked was nearly in the middle of the Temple as it stands today.
56In later years, histories would record that on this occasion the brethren unfurled the American flag as the Ensign of liberty. There is no evidence for this and it is generally considered false. At the time of the Pioneer Jubilee in 1897 the “Salt Lake Herald” erected a tall liberty pole on the top of the mountain from which the “Stars and Stripes” were unfurled. On July 26, 1934, a monument was erected there commemorating the alleged raising of Old Glory.
In 1910, William Smoot, one of the last surviving pioneers spoke of this event: “Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and his associates went up on the hill and toward Ensign Peak which was the name they gave it, as Kimball said: ‘We will someday hoist an ensign here.’ . . . While they were up there looking around they went through some motions that we could not see from where we were, nor know what they meant. They formed a circle, seven or eight or ten of them. But I could not tell what they were doing. Finally they came down in the evening. . . . They hoisted a sort of flag on Ensign Peak. Not a flag, but a handkerchief belonging to Heber C. Kimball, one of those yellow bandana kind.”
On July 26, 1996, near the foot of Ensign Peak a park was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley. He said: “We pray that through the years to come, many thousands of people of all faiths and all denominations, people of this nation and of other nations, may come here to reflect on the history and the efforts of those who pioneered this area. May this be a place of pondering, a place of remembrance, a place of thoughtful gratitude, a place of purposeful resolution.”
57This warm spring was located near present‑day Children’s Museum of Utah. In 1850, a bathhouse 15 X 30 feet was dedicated and a grove of Locust trees planted. Jesse C. Little built a hotel there in the 1850's. James Townsend later leased the Warm Springs until his death in 1886. In 1932 it was named Wasatch Springs Plunge.
59The wagons were moved to the area of present‑day South Temple and Main Street.
60The Donner‑Reed party was at this point on August 15, 1846. Heinrich Lienhard swam in the lake at this point on August 9, 1846. Future San Francisco mayor Edwin Bryant passed this spot earlier, on July 31, 1846. Lansford Hasting preceded them all. He passed by this point, heading east, with James Clyman on June 1, 1846.
61B.H. Roberts later explained: “From time to time modifications were made of this general plan; as, for example, before the survey of the city was completed, it was decided that it would be “more convenient” to have the temple block ten rather than forty acres, in area, and it was reduced accordingly. Also as the city extended into the sharp hills on both sides of City Creek, it was found that the ten acre blocks, with their one and one-quarter acre lots, were inconvenient because of the broken nature of the land in that part of the city; and the blocks were reduced to two and a half acres. Also in the matter of having but four houses built on one side of a block, and these on alternating sides was in time given up; but very generally the first plan was adhered to in the early decades of the city’s history, and even now gives a uniqueness to the city that distinguishes it from other American cities, and very much contributes to that air of spaciousness and breadth of conception in the ground plan of it that prophesies its coming greatness, and is at the same time a testimony of the largeness of the ideas of those who were its founders.”
62When the trial came up again two days later, the young men had already fled.
63They lumped in the wives and children of the battalion members with the totals of the Mississippi Saints. There were probably 190 members of the battalion including, wives and children, and 50 Mississippi Saints.
64The number of Saints now in the Valley was about 400. The battalion still planned to head for San Francisco to be discharged and to receive their pay, but their wagons were broken and their animals were failing, so it was time to rest.
65These new arrivals included a very welcome number of women. Included were these women of the battalion: Ruth Markham Abbott, Susan Smith Adams, Elizabeth Manwaring Allred, Ezadie Ford Allred, Harriet St. John Brown, Agnes Brown, Mary McCree Brown, Eunice Reasor Brown, Mary Bittels Button, Almira Higgins Chase, Jane Wells Cooper Hanks, Emeline Bigler Hess, Sarah Blackman Higgins, Mary Ann Hirons, Celia Mounts Hunt, Matilda Nease Hunt, Fanny Maria Allen Huntington, Sarah Kelley, Martha Jane Sargent, Mary Emeline Sessions, Elizabeth Trains Shelton, Sarah Shupe, Catherine Campbell Steele, Sophia Tubbs, and Isabella McNair Wilkin, and Albina M. Williams.
The soldiers of the battalion who arrived in the valley this day included (note that a few of these men might have arrived earlier): Joshua Abbott, Orson B. Adams, Franklin Allen, James T. Allred, Reuben W. Allred, Jeduthan Averett, Lorenzo Babcock, Samuel Badham, William E. Beckstead, James Bevan, Erastus Bingham Jr. Thomas Bingham Sr., William Bird, Abner Blackburn, Richard Brazier, John Brimhall, Alexander Brown, Daniel Brown, James Brown, James P. Brown, Jesse S. Brown, John Buchannan, Thomas R. Burns, William Burt, Montgomery Button, John M. Bybee, Alva C. Calkins, James W. Calkins, John H. Calvert, James G. Camp, Isaac Carpenter, William H. Carpenter, William W. Casto, James Cazier, John D. Chase, Haden W. Church, Albert Clark, George S. Clark, Allen Compton, George W. Cummings, Josiah Curtis, Edward Dalton, Harry Dalton, James Davis, Ralph Douglas, James Dunn, Francillo Durfee, James C. Earl, David I. Frederick, David Garner, Philip Garner, William W. Gifford, Luther W. Glazier, James H. Glines, John C. Gould, Samuel J. Gould, William Gribble, Ebenezer Hanks, James Hendrickson, John W. Hess, Eli B. Hewitt, Alfred Higgins, Nelson Higgins, Azra E. Hinckley, James P. Hirons, Lucas Hoagland, Elijah E. Holden, Charles A. Hopkins, Henry Hoskins, Schuyler Hulet, Gilbert Hunt, Dimick B. Huntington, Charles A. Jackson, Henry B. Jacobs, Jarvis Johnson, Jesse W. Johnstun, Thomas Karren III, Nicholas Kelley, Loren E. Kenney, Barnabas Lake, Lisbon Lamb, Thurston Larson, David S. Laughlin, Elam Luddington, Maxie Maxwell, Erastus D. Mecham, Peter I. Mesick, Daniel M. Miller, Harley W. Mowrey, William C. McClelland, Jabez T. Nowlin, James E. Oakley, William A. Park, David M. Perkins, Harmon D. Pierson, Judson A. Pierson, Thomas L. Richardson, Benjamin B. Richmond, Benjamin M. Roberts, Caratat C. Rowe, William Rowe, William W. Rust, Henry W. Sanderson, Abel M. Sargent, John Sessions, Albert Sharp, Sebert C. Shelton, Joseph Shipley, Andrew J. Shupe, James W. Shupe, Joseph Skeen, John G. Smith, Richard D. Smith, William Squires, John Steele, Lyman Stevens, Benjamin F. Stewart, James Stewart, Clark Stillman, Dexter Stillman, Myron Tanner, Joel J. Terrell, Hayward Thomas, Nathan T. Thomas, Solomon Tindell, William Tubbs, Madison J. Welch, Almon Whiting, Edmond W. Whiting, Francis T. Whiney, David Wilkin, Thomas S. Williams, William Wesley Willis, George D. Wilson, Lysander Woodworth, Charles Wright, Isaac N. Wriston, and John P. Wriston.
Let us not forget the battalion children who arrived, including: Mary Ann Brown (five years), David Black Brown, John Taylor Brown (one month), Sarah Jane Brown (thirteen years), John Reed Hancock (five years) Nathan Hart, Louisa Button, Almira Higgins, Drusilla Higgins (fourteen years), Wealthy Matilda Higgins, (two months), Mary Hunt (two years), Martha Zina Huntington (three years), Parley Kelly, Sarah Mayfield, Jackson Mayfield, John Mayfield, Andrew Duncan Park (two years), Caroline Sargent (eleven years), Sarah Ellen Sharp (eight months), Carolyne Shelton, Mariah Shelton, Elizabeth Margaret Shupe (four months), Mary Steele (six years), Caroline Marian Williams (four years), and Ephraim Thomas Williams (two years).
The Mississippi company of Saints coming into the valley this day, usually forgotten in history, included this partial list: Absalom Porter Dowdle, Sarah Robinson Dowdle, Sarah Catherine Dowdle (age two months), George Washington Gibson, Mark Sparks Gibson, Robert M. Gibson, Mary D. Gibson, William Gibson (twelve years), Moses Gibson (seven years), Frances A. Gibson (fifteen years), Laura A. Gibson (thirteen years), Manomas L. Gibson (five years), Joseph Smith Gibson, James Harmon, Mary Blanks Harmon, Josephine Harmon (two years), James B. Harmon, Paralee A. Harmon, Sarah E. Harmon, John T. Harmon (three months), John Holladay, Catherine Higgins Holladay, John Daniel Holladay, Karen H. Holladay (seventeen years), Kezia D Holladay (fifteen years), David H. Holladay (Thirteen years), Thomas M. Holladay (eleven years), Leonora Holladay (eight years), Lydia Gibson Hunt, William Decatur Kartchner, Margaret Casteel Kartchner, Allen Freeman Smithson, Letitia Holladay Smithson, John Bartley Smithson (five years), Sarah Catherine Smithson (four years), James David Smithson (two years), Mary Emma Smithson (one year), William Cox Smithson, George W. Sparks, Lorena Roberds Sparks, Benjamin F. Mathews, Temperance Weeks Matthews, and Mary E. Matthews.
66This was Courthouse Rock.
67On the way they would learn that the entire settlement, including themselves, had been cut off from the Church. The misunderstanding would later be resolved and these brethren would return, put the affairs in order at Garden Grove, and re‑baptize all the worthy Saints.
68This was Chimney Rock.
69In 1849 a larger bowery was constructed on the southeast portion of Temple Square. This bowery was 100 feet by 60 feet.
70Jacob D. Burnham was among the pioneers in the valley. He was born in 1820, in New York. He later went to California and died while mining for gold in 1850.