Sunday, July 7, 1850 - Saturday, July 13, 1850
On Monday twenty-six government teams passed by the camp of Peter Maughan's company. On Wednesday the company traveled sixteen miles and counted eleven graves. They camped on the prairie at a place Sister Maughan named, Mosquito Plain, "in honour of the vast numbers of that tormenting little fly."
On Friday tragedy struck the Maughan family. While traveling, the children were seated in the front of wagon, trying to get a good look at a cow that had lost one horn. Little three-year-old Peter leaned forward, lost his balance, and fell in front of the wagon wheel. The first wheel ran over him and he tried to get out of the way of the second, but could not. The wagon stopped just as the rear wheel stood on his little back. The brethren ran up and lifted the wheel, but the little boy was critically injured internally and did not live long.
His grieving mother, Mary Ann Maughan wrote: "We done all that was possible for him, but no earthly power could save him. He did not suffer much pain, only twice for a very little time. The people left their wagons and gathered around mine, and all wept for the dear little boy that we knew must soon leave us. I had talked to him many times to be careful and not fall out of the wagon, or he might be hurt very bad. He only spoke twice. I said to him, 'Pete, did you fall?' and he said, 'Yes,' and seemed to know that he would leave us, and asked for his father. I did not know that his father had fainted, for the Brethren stood to hide him from my sight. On my asking for him, they said he would come soon. As soon as he was able he came to the wagon, covered with dust. But his little boy could not speak to him. He opened his eyes and looked so lovingly at us, then gently closed them and passed peacefully away, and left us weeping around his dear little bruised body."
"Then loving hands tenderly dressed him in a suit of his own white linen clothes. He looked so lovely. I emptied a dry goods box and Bro. Wood made him a nice coffin; and it even was a mournful satisfaction, for we had seen our brothers and sisters bury their dear ones without a coffin to lay them in. We buried him on a little hill on the North side of the road. The grave was consecrated and then they laid him to rest. Some one had made a nice headboard, with his name printed on, also his age and date of death. This was all we could do, and many prayers were offered to our heavenly Father, that he might rest in peace and not be disturbed by wolves. We turned away in sorrow and grief."
Elder Wilford Woodruff's company had been troubled by two teamsters named Graham. Their conduct had been disgraceful. They would steal, lie, swear and "do almost every evil thing in their power." The company finally decided to cast the family out. They left the camp in the morning and traveled ahead. Elder Woodruff commented, "We felt that we had got rid of many evil spirits."
President Brigham Young spoke at the funeral of Cornelius P. Lott, who had come to the valley in the original pioneer company of 1847. He had been a faithful member of the Church since 1834 and had lived with the Saints in Kirtland, Missouri, and Nauvoo. Zina Young commented about President Young's funeral sermon: "It was truly a feast to the soul. He spoke as though it was no sorrow to part with our friends who were faithful."
Almon W. Babbitt wrote from Washington on Sunday, reporting that President Zachary Taylor was not a friend of the Saints. "He did say before twenty members of Congress that he would veto any bill passed, state or territorial, for the 'Mormons,' -- that they were a pack of outlaws, and had been driven out of two states and were not fit for self-government."
Elder Addison Pratt, who had recently arrived in Tahiti wrote on Sunday: "As I was sitting in the meeting house preparing discourses for the day, I heard footsteps at the door, when I looked up, and to my joy and surprise saw Brother Grouard about to step into the door. This was a joyful meeting after a three years' separation. As it was raining very hard at the time he came in, I asked him where he had come from, if he had rained down? 'No,' said he, 'I have been brought here a prisoner by the French and am to have my trail tomorrow morning.' 'For what?' said I. 'That question,' said he, 'I cannot answer, but it is reported that I have been meddling with their government affairs on Anaa. Some natives there, that held offices under the French government, are old members in the church, and have, of a long time held offices in it, wished to go on a mission to some of the neighboring islands, and said they would leave their offices with their son.'" Elder Grouard had consented to this idea and the French believed that he had released them from their government offices. Elder Grouard had come to ask Elders Pratt and Brown to help him. Elder Pratt had a very sore knee but promised to come as soon as possible.
As Elder Pratt was traveling to Papeete, he received a letter from Elder Grouard reporting that he had been freed, and the governor was sending him back to Tubuai. He asked Elder Pratt to come and join him. So he made haste, but when he arrived, he discovered Elder Grouard had already left and that the governor forbid that the other Elders sail to the island. No explanation was given and the governor did not want to see Elder Pratt for a month or more. Elder Pratt felt abused but knew "his hand was in the lion's mouth" and that it was best to just keep still for the present. He returned to Huuau.
The company bound for the Society Islands reached the site of "Tragedy Springs" where three Mormon men had been ambushed and killed by Indians on June 21, 1848. They were Daniel Browett, Ezra H. Allen, and Henderson Cox. Sister Louisa Pratt wrote, "Their graves are near a spring of clear water, and carved on the trunk of a large tree is the account of their sad fate. Many travelers there pause to gaze upon the spot, read the inscription, and sigh over the sorrowful end of their fellow men. The spring thus derived its name, Tragedy." Sister Pratt knew that her husband Addison had been among those who discovered the scene of death on July 16, 1848 while traveling to the valley with a company of Mormon Battalion soldiers. She told her friends that her husband had helped to carve the sign which read: "Sacred Memory of Daniel Browett, Ezrah H. Allen, and Henderson Cox. Who was supposed to have been murdered and buried, by the Indians on the night of the 27th of June 1848."
From 1845 James J. Strang had led several hundred members of the Church away to follow after his teachings. On Monday at a place called Beaver Island, Wisconsin he was crowned as King. Cecelia Hill recorded: "I was present when Strang was crowned King. The ceremony took place in the tabernacle, a building about 80 feet long, constructed of hewn logs, and but partly completed at the time of the coronation. Like any young woman under similar circumstances, I was anxious to be present and managed to get into the tabernacle. At one end was a platform, and toward it marched the procession of elders and other quorums, escorting the King. First came the King, dressed in a robe of bright red, and accompanied by his council. Then followed the twelve elders, the seventy and the minor order of the ministry, or quorums, as they were called. The people were permitted to occupy what space remained in the tabernacle.
"The chief ceremonials were performed by George J. Adams, president of the council of elders. Adams was a man of imposing presence, over six feet tall and towered over the short statured King, who made up in intellect what he lacked in frame. Adams had been an actor, and he succeeded in making the crowning of the King a very imposing ceremony. It ended by placing upon the auburn head of King Strang a crown of metal. The crown was a plain circlet, with a cluster of stars projecting in front."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.377 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:561 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 308, 322 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:119 Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 443-46 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 5, p.343 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 115
The leading pioneer companies reached buffalo country. Sister Mary Ann Maughan recorded, "They are seen by thousands, and this country seems made for them, being high bluffs and deep ravines. . . . Our company saw a moving mass on the bottom near the river. We could not tell what it was, whether Indians or not, but they came rapidly towards the hills; and our train, being a long one, was standing right before them. We soon saw that it was a large drove of buffalo, that had been to the river for water and were returning to the hills. The Brethren stood by their teams, as there was great danger of our oxen stampeding and running away. Mr. Maughan stood in front of our oxen, and the boys by theirs. My wagon being the first one was in the most danger. The large drove came bounding on until the leaders saw their way blocked; then they hesitated a moment and then swerved to the right, and all galloped by in front of my wagon, so we had a good view of the noble creatures."
On Friday the Peter Maughan company crossed over the South Fork of the Platte River. It took half the day to ford the river which was a half mile wide. [The 1850 pioneer companies traveled on the south side of the Platte River unlike the pioneers of previous years who traveled on the north side. Thus, these companies had to ford across the south fork near present-day Ogallala, Nebraska, about twenty miles from Ash Hollow.]
About a weeks' travel to the rear, Wilford Woodruff's company and others held a Sabbath meeting on Sunday. The companies were encouraged by the words of Elder Woodruff and Brothers Whipple and Hardy. On Monday the company reached Fort Kearney. On Monday evening a terrible thunder storm hit. Elder Woodruff wrote, "The lightning struck all around us and while the teams were crossing a slew, the lightning burst into their midst and shocked many persons nd beast and it killed three oxen and one man dead. It was Brother Ridge from Lane End Staffordshire England that was killed and his team. He was buried in the evening." A child of Mrs. Barnes died of cholera.
Back at Kanesville, news was received of the many deaths among the pioneers. Sunday was declared a special day of fasting and prayer in the branches around the Council Bluffs area.
On Sunday the Saints listened to the preaching of Samuel Richards, Ezra T. Benson, and President Brigham Young. Throughout the week the California-bound emigrants came in "thicker and faster."
As the Society Islands missionary families traveled toward Sacramento, they were greeted by Elders Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich. Sister Louisa Pratt commented, "To see their faces and hear their voices proclaiming the truth so far from home, is comforting to the soul." But Sister Pratt was quite disgusted with what she saw so far in California. "Men are reckless in this country. There is a great want of female influence, filth and confusion throughout the whole country." She visited with two California sisters who sold provisions to gold-seeking emigrants. "To be obliged to see drunkenness and hear profane swearing, to earn a livelihood, and that without cessation, how can they endure it!"
John Lindsay and Gilbert Clements had recently been assigned to labor as missionaries in Belfast. Elder Clements wrote a letter to his brother on Wednesday. "I arrived in Belfast, in company with Elder Lindsay, on Thursday, June 20th. We found the Saints in a very lukewarm state, the branch being completely broken up during the last six months; they were wandering about like sheep without a shepherd. We have succeeded, however, in bringing them together; and, after much preaching and teaching, they are beginning to awake from their lethargy, and to feel and enjoy the sweet influences of the Spirit of God.
"One great disadvantage this branch has had to contend with is not having a public place of worship; but I am happy to inform you that this has been removed, as we have taken a commodious chapel in King Street, formerly occupied by the Baptists, which we opened last Sunday, and announced the same by placarding the town. It was well attended, especially the evening service, and on the next morning we had the pleasure to administer baptism to two, who, I have every reason to believe, will be promising members in the kingdom of God...."
On Friday Elder Lorenzo Snow wrote a letter to Franklin D. Richards reporting on his labors in Italy.
"I am alone and a stranger in this vast city, eight thousand miles from my beloved family, surrounded by a people whose manners and peculiarities I am unacquainted. I am come to enlighten their minds, and instruct them in principles of righteousness; but I see no possible means of accomplishment this object. All is darkness in the prospect."
Elder Snow did meet a man from England who he had met before, who was very interested in Elder Snow's labors. But after learning that Elder Snow was a Mormon who believed that baptism was essential for salvation, the man became reluctant to hear any more.
Somewhat discouraged, Elder Snow wrote: "I am now in a Roman Catholic country. Its inhabitants are before my eyes continually. My heart is pained to see their follies and wickedness--their gross darkness and superstition." Elder Snow soon received a letter from Elders Toronto and Stenhouse in Piedmont Valley. The elders were already experiencing some success! Elder Snow decided to join them and started to make preparations to leave Genoa. "I believe that the Lord has there hidden up a people amid the Alpine mountains, and it is the voice of the Spirit that I shall commence something of importance in that part of this dark nation."
Elders John Taylor, William Howell and Curtis Bolton arrived in Paris on Friday, leaving Elder John Pack in Boulogne. The Elders had no literature in French. Elder Bolton, who could speak French, was assigned to start translating portions of the Book of Mormon. Elder Bolton was a good missionary but he still did not have the courage to address a congregation speaking in French.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.378 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.255 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:561-62 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 282 Welsh Mormon Writings from 1844 to 1862, p. 118 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 13, p.315 Eliza R. Snow, Biography of Lorenzo Snow, 120-21 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 310 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 116-17 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:374 Crockett, Church History in Italy
On Sunday the Peter Maughan company reached Ash Hollow, a famous camping spot along the Oregon Trail. Mary Ann Maughan wrote: "When we came in sight of the Hollow, we saw steep precipice and deep ravines; among the rocks are growing Ash and red Cedar. This is a very romantic looking place. When we came to the bottom of this hollow we found a good road and a fine spring of cold water, plenty timber, and some grass." Grass became more sparse as the company traveled further to the west that week. They decided to travel in smaller companies making it easier to find enough grass for the animals. On Tuesday they passed Ancient Bluff Ruins which looked like "castles and fortifications gone to decay."
Traveling about a ten-day distance behind, the Wilford Woodruff company rested on the Sabbath. Many of the oxen had sore necks and lame feet. Sophia Goodridge commented that the company, "received some excellent instructions that served to cheer us on our journey." During the week they reached the "buffalo range" and enjoyed dinners of buffalo meet. Rules were set that the camp could not kill any more buffalo than was needed to eat.
On Saturday Sister Goodridge wrote, "Our wagon wheels are very musical. We had to stop and burn coal. Our men cut wood and started a coal pit. In the afternoon, part of our company remained at the last camping place on account of the excellent hunting. There was no wood there but cedars, which they thought would not make as good coal as the willows. We found this last place grand for wood and water. It is situated on the South Fork of the Platte River. There is quite a large island covered with cottonwood trees, and excellent feed for the cattle."
James H. Martineau, a nonmember emigrant shared his recollections when he entered the valley on Monday. "As our little company, of half a dozen wagons, emerged from the mouth of Parley's Canyon, a vast expanse of gray desert met the eye, enlivened only by a growth of stunted sunflowers upon the slopes or 'benches' at the foot of the mountains. Gray, gray everywhere; nothing but the bluish-gray of sagebrush and greasewood covered the whole face of the land. Not an acre of meadow or green grass to be seen anywhere: the only green visible, being a thin line of willows along the Jordan, or the small streams flowing into the valley from the mountains. . . .
"Although the scene upon entering the valley of the Great Salt Lake was desolate in the extreme, away in the distance was a sight that gladdened the eye and caused tears of joy to flow from more than one of our party. For months had we toiled slowly onward, living upon bacon and flourflour and baconmonth after month. 'And now,' we thought, as we saw the distant houses, 'now we may get something good to eatsome milk, buttergreen vegetables!' What luxuries! Who can appreciate such things until long deprivation has made them precious?"
"We drove through the scattered town of small one story adobe or log dwellings, but saw nowhere a sign displayed to indicate store, grocery or other place of business. . . . No shade trees or orchards were to be seen; if any fruit trees had been planted they were too small to be casually noticed. Some tall native cottonwoods stood along the south branch of City Creek."
On Wednesday, July 24th, the Saints in the valley celebrated the third anniversary of the pioneers coming to the valley. At dawn a cannon was fired. In the morning the Brass and Martial Bands traveled to Temple Square in three grand carriages. One carriage was nine feet wide and twenty-nine feet long drawn by fourteen horses. At 8 a.m. a parade was formed at the bowery. The procession consisted of: The Marital Band, a flag "Truth and Freedom," the Brass Band, Twenty-four young men with a banner, "The Lion of the Lord," Twenty-four young women with a banner, "Hail to our Chieftain," Twenty-four elderly men with a banner, "Stars and Stripes," Twenty-four bishops with banners, and finally the officers of the Nauvoo Legion in uniform with swords.
The parade marched to President Brigham Young's home and were joined by many of the original pioneers of 1847. They were escorted back to the Bowery where a liberty pole was lifted up and a flag was unfurled amidst great cheering, music by the bands, and the firing of nine rounds from a cannon. The escorted party was then led to the Bowery stand.
President Young addressed the congregation: "We are this day assembled to celebrate the third anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers in this valley. Three years this day the camps came together and were located on City creek. We celebrate this day for our convenience, not as a national deliverance or independence. We crave the right to act as free men and free women, and it is our choice to remember that the Almighty delivered this people from peril, want, suffering, mobocracy, and desolation on every hand, and planted us in this peaceful valley, a people who are not afraid to own their God wherever they are. In our exercises this day, we shall take the liberty to exhibit in word our patriotism, independence and good feelings to that government which is said to be free, and extend the arm of protection to every man, woman and child within its corporate powers. Let us remember our obligations to one another, and our obligations to God, and by a life of good acts and deeds, we will accomplish our designs. Inasmuch as your hearts are right before the Lord, you shall be blessed, and I bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
Orations and addresses, interspersed with music and songs, were given throughout the day. Humorous songs were sung by William Clayton, and facetious toasts were given by John Kay. In the evening a grand concert was given at the Bowery "Comic pieces and songs, most of which will be entirely new in this valley, and some original, got up expressly for the occasion," as advertised and announced on handbills signed by William Clayton.
Henry Sterling Bloom, a nonmember skeptic wrote: "They dispensed with their public dinner today on account of pretended povery. A great deal of ostentation and pomp was displayed. They bid open defiance to the United States, her government and her people. They were also very insulting to the emigrants." These views, however, were not shared by all. Both the members and the emigrant visitors had a wonderful time throughout the day.
Louisa Barnes Pratt and the other missionaries bound for the Society Islands arrived in Sacramento. Sister Pratt wrote, "Came down to the Great City, that has made such a raise in the world. A great city it is, for the age of it, but so filthy it is dangerous for people to stop there." The company pitched their tents on the bank of the river, unloaded their wagons, and turned them over to men who had purchased them. Sister Pratt received thirty dollars for the wagon which had been a sleeping room for her children for the past four years. Sister Pratt wrote, "The heat was intolerable, not a tree to shade us from the scorching sun; such excessive heat I am certain I never felt before." The company went into town to buy some provisions to prepare for their passage to San Francisco. The streets were full of old clothes and trash thrown out of the stores.
On Friday, July 26, the first baptism occurred in Sweden. John E. Forsgren arrived in his native land in June and soon traveled to visit his family in Gavle. He found his brother, Peter, gravely ill. John anointed and blessed his brother by the power of the priesthood. Peter soon recovered and was baptized, the first convert in Sweden. Soon after, Elder Forsgren also baptized his sister Christina Erika Forsgren and another person.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.378 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.254 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 12, p. 94 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 2, p. 239 Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, July 24, 1850 (Wednesday) Bloom, Henry Sterling Diary (18501852) Brigham Young, The Man and His Work, p. 150 IMPROVEMENT ERA 1928 IMPROVEMENT ERA 1950 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 117-18 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 309
Sunday, July 28, 1850 - Saturday, August 3, 1850
On Monday Peter Maughan's pioneer company was reunited with several other companies. Sister Mary Ann Maughan wrote, "We held meeting at night, and many spoke of the joy it gave them to meet their Brethren and sisters again in camp. Wall said he felt to rejoice in his heart that we were all met together again. Also spoke in the highest praise of the good conduct of his company, and prayed for the blessing of God to rest upon us." During the week they passed by Scott's Bluff and on Thursday camped within a mile of Fort Laramie. Sister Maughan recorded, "As I am writing in my wagon, have fine view of the fort. Its stars and stripes are waving over the Battlements. There are several buildings there."
Traveling more than a week's journey behind, Elder Wilford Woodruff's company experienced a stampede on Tuesday along the South Fork of the Platte. A man was thrown from his horse and then it ran too close to a team of oxen. A chain reaction occurred and soon 30-40 teams of oxen became frantic and ran at full speed. Elder Woodruff explained, "No person who has not experienced or witnessed one of those dreadful scenes cannot form any correct idea of them. And it is almost impossible to give a correct description of it for to behold 30 or 40 ox teams from two to five yoke of oxen in each team attached to a family wagon of goods and women and children all in an instant like the twinkling of an eye be deprived of all reason sense and government and be filled with madness, frantic and fright and all dart off with lightning speed each running their own way, roaring, bellowing, rolling and tumbling over each other waggons, upsetting, smashing their wheels, axles and tongues, spilling the goods, women, and child in the street for the next teams to trample under their feet."
Sister Woodruff rushed into the scene to try to help women and children. Her life was in great danger. Elder Woodruff rode his horse into the stampede in an effort to save the life of his wife and others. "But I had hard work to save my own life." Sister Woodruff soon found an opening and fled away from danger. Brother Petty's two wagons turned over and Elder Woodruff's wagon crashed into one of them and ran over a child. After the stampede ended, Elder Woodruff went through the camp to survey the damage and see who had been killed or wounded. "I was astonished to find that no one was killed and but one badly wounded and but little damage done to waggons or oxen. And to look it all over it looked like a miracle to see how so many escaped. . . . I was thankful my wife, children, and friends were well and their lives preserved."
The company forded the South Platte on Thursday and they reached Ash Hollow on Friday. Saturday was an extra day of rest spent washing and mending wagons. Sister Lois Goodridge wrote, "Ash Hollow is a beautiful place. Bluffs on both sides of the hollow which appears to have been the bed of a river once, and opens onto the North Fork of the Platte which runs from the east and to the west."
On Wednesday President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and others left home to travel to Sanpete Valley (Manti) where Isaac Morley had established a settlement. They spent the first night at the Cottonwood settlement and on the following day arrived at Fort Utah in Provo. The brethren called for a meeting and gave good instructions to the brethren in Provo.
On Friday, with fresh horses, the party continued their journey. Within two miles of the fort, they passed through a bad mud hole in which a wagon became stuck. But soon they were on their way and they camped that night on Peteetneet Creek (present day Payson). The mosquitoes were terrible, keeping the brethren up much of the night.
On Saturday the party traveled through Juab Valley and entered Salt Creek Canyon. The roads were bad for about six miles and they camped for the night at the last crossing of Salt Creek. It was a beautiful place and the brethren were all well and in good spirits.
During the week, Canute Peterson and others traveled to Utah Valley to prepare for a settlement on Dry Creek (present-day Lehi). Brother Sherwood helped survey nearly three thousand acres of land. The men also traveled to the mouth of American Fork Canyon. [In September David Evans was called to serve as bishop over a new settlement which initially established homes at Snow Springs near the north side of Utah Lake. Thirteen cabins were raised in the form of fort for thirteen families.]
Louisa Barnes Pratt and the other missionaries bound for the Society Islands boarded a dirty river boat which would take them toward San Francisco. On the first day they traveled against the wind and only progressed a couple miles. The boat was tied to a tree for the night and then "the mosquitoes were like sands on the shore." Sister Pratt described this terrible experience. "I wrapt myself in a thick blanket, sat in my chair, and tried to sleep. In spite of all my efforts to cover myself they would find their way to my flesh and being about two thirds larger than common insects of that class they inflicted pain like that produced by the sting of a bee. My feet and ankles became swollen and inflamed as did every part of my body where they bit me. Day after day passed, and not one hour's sleep in a night did I have until I was so exhausted and worn out that i was not able to site up and yet could not lie down having every moment to fight as for my life. I prayed earnestly to be delivered. The children complained most bitterly. We were all troubled and knew not what to do."
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.378 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.257 Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:563-66 Brigham Young, The Man and His Work, p. 151 IMPROVEMENT ERA 1952 Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 20, p.171 Ellsworth, The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, 119