Sunday, August 5, 1849 - Saturday, August 11, 1849
On Tuesday, the first of the 1849 Mormon Pioneer companies arrived at the valley. This company was led by Howard Egan and consisted of 57 people and 22 wagons. It had left Kanesville, Iowa on April 18, 1849. The new arrivals were greeted with enthusiasm and they brought letters from loved-ones in Iowa.
Among those who came in with the Howard Egan company was a non-Mormon merchant -- Mr. Pomroy. He had thirty-four wagons loaded with goods and groceries. He had originally set out with a California company but ran into difficulties, got left behind, and joined up with the Egan company on July 20th. Word started to spread that Mr. Pomroy had been among those who had driven the Saints from Missouri. Mr. Pomroy was told to leave the valley in peace, but he demanded a hearing on the manner and was told one would be held on the following Sunday.
During the week, Patty Sessions's husband, David, brought home several California emigrants for supper. They were all headed for the gold mines. The emigrants were grateful for the meals and paid Sister Sessions about thirty dollars.
Elder George A. Smith's pioneer company of 244 people ran into a terrible storm on Friday evening, August 10. Their history recorded: "The company had traveled twelve miles over a sandy road, and had just formed their corral of wagons, when a heavy storm burst upon them. From about five o'clock p.m. until midnight there was one constant and incessant deluge, as it were. The rain fell in torrents, the lightnings flashed in vivid glare, the thunder rolled in rumbling and terrific peals, the winds howled through the camp of canvass, spread to the enraged elements, and many were the mothers and infants that received the cold drops through their frail coverings, and reposed in their saturated beds without murmuring, as it was heaven's will. The cattle bent to the storm as they stood upon their feet, and sometimes gently tried a chain or rope by which they were made fast. The guards wet and dripping, paced the camp in their several rounds, cried the hours, exposed to the furious and pitiless storm. However, after about seven hours, the elements having spent their fury, a calm subsided, and in the morning the camp arose to behold a beautiful clear sky and shining sun, cattle all safe, and cheerful and smiling countenances in the camp, and plenty of water around the same. Such is what in those days was termed a prairie thunder shower."
Elder Wilford Woodruff bid good-bye to the Saints on Prince Edward Island. He wrote: "I took the parting had this morning with Brother Joseph Russell. He is truly a man of faith and great kindness. We have had an interesting time together. When we parted he gave me a suit of new clothes and other presents, paid al my expenses while together and gave me money to help me home. May the Lord bless him and reward him fourfold."
Elder Woodruff started his journey back to Maine. While on a boat heading for Portland the seas were very rough. He wrote: "It was very rough and a storm through the evening and night. Nearly all were sick on board. I took care of a family of five small children all sick at a time with their mother until 2 oclock at night. I was then taken sick and had to leave them. I was very sick the latter part of the night." He arrived at Portland on Friday and then took a train for Boston. He experienced a happy reunion with his wife and family.
Smart, Mormon Midwife, 134 Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 230 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:475-77 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:355-56 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 237
President Brigham Young addressed the Saints on Sunday. He testified about the divine mission of Joseph Smith who had sealed his testimony with his blood. President Young again explained the folly of those who were running after gold, neglecting their farms and homes. He said, "It is our duty to know our business today and to do it."
In a meeting with the bishops, President Young expressed a desire to see the Council House finished which was being constructed on the block south of Temple Square. He also stated that wagons and teams would need to be sent eastward to assist the 1849 pioneers on their way to the valley. The bishops agreed to furnish 52 teams.
The case against a Mr. Pomroy was presented at a public meeting. He was a non-Mormon merchant from Missouri who had come in with the Howard Egan company during the previous week. Rumors had spread that Mr. Pomroy had been among those who had driven the Saints from Missouri. Several came forward to testify that Mr. Pomroy had in fact assisted the Saints, rather than persecuted them. During that tragic time in Missouri he had to send away his family and property to keep them safe from the mob because he had treated the Saint kindly. A unanimous vote was cast in favor of the innocence of Mr. Pomroy.
During the week Sister Eliza R. Snow visited with several California emigrants. She observed that merchant shops were "open in every direction."
Honesty was a problem for some in this pioneer community. Patty Session caught two men (members of the Church) stealing melons from a garden.
Sister Zina Young, one of Brigham Young's wives, and a school teacher, prepared on Monday to visit Fort Utah in Provo where her brother, Dimick Huntington lived. Prior to leaving the pioneer fort in Great Salt Lake City, she visited with Jesse Turpin who had been run over by a wagon several days earlier. He was confined to bed but was getting better.
Sister Young and her two young boys rode with her seventeen year old nephew, Allen Huntington, on their journey to Provo. She recorded, "When we left the fort we traveled for miles through a field of grain. I was much surprised to see what a world of it. In the afternoon Allen bought two water melons. They were a treat. Camped on dry creek 15 miles from home. I had set up but little of the way and had the teeth ache. Had a comfortable night's rest. In the morning my face was very much swelled. Got for Allen a soldier's breakfast, bread and meat. I soaked a cracker for mine in cold water."
On Tuesday, after a very weary journey, Sister Young arrived at Fort Utah on the Provo River. She had a wonderful visit with the family.
The Ezra T. Benson company of 1849 pioneers consisting of 182 people and 63 wagons was 280 miles from Winter Quarters. On Sunday evening they joined together in singing songs of Zion. Their company had not experienced any deaths thus far. There had been two births and two marriages since the commencement of the journey.
Elder Wilford Woodruff spent much of the week reading and replying to letters which had arrived during his mission to Canada. Of particular note was a letter from Alexander Badlam, a nephew of Samuel Brannan. Brother Bedlam had sailed from Boston on the ship "Corsiar," in February 1849. The ship had sailed to Panama, where Brother Badlam then traveled across the isthmus and then sailed to San Francisco on the whaler "Collony." He had gone to California in an attempt to get some gold from his uncle to help his pay off his deep debts. Brother Badlam wrote a letter to Elder Woodruff reporting that he had arrived at San Francisco after just a one hundred day journey. He had met with Samuel Brannan but had not yet obtained the gold he needed. Samuel Brannan had given him a few hundred dollars, some valuable land and buildings, but left his nephew to work for himself in obtaining the additional funds he needed.
THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 13, p. 236 - 237 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 237 Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 230 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:356 Smart, Mormon Midwife, 134 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:113-14 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:477 Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, 304
At the Sunday meeting, Elder Parley P. Pratt spoke on the law of tithing. He explained that the law required the Saints in the valley at that time to give one day in ten to the Lord in addition to a tenth of their increase of grain, herds, fowls, etc. The tenth day could be paid for in cash -- one dollar for each tenth day. The Saints were asked to be paid up in their tithing by October General Conference.
On Monday General John Wilson of the U.S. military arrived in the valley with a small military escort. He was on the way to California to take his post as the Indian Agent for California. General Wilson mentioned that the Zachary Taylor administration favored the idea of admitting a large western state into the union which they believed would be a non-slave state.
President Taylor asked General Wilson to inform the Saints that he fully appreciated their situation and that he considered that they had been unjustly dealt with. He promised to use his power to help the Saints as much as he could.
The brethren didn't embrace the idea of one large western state. They instead favored being in a state separate from California. But they agreed to an idea for one large state until 1851. At that time they wanted the state divided into a western state and an eastern state.
On Friday W. W. Phelps climbed Mount Nebo, (near present-day Nephi) and made meteorological observations. Also a company of U.S. Topographical Engineers arrived at the valley. They were going to survey the lakes and rivers in the valley.
Sister Zina Young opened up a school at Fort Utah. She was visiting Provo for a month.
On Sunday, Isaac Morley, Seth Taft and Charles Shumway arrived at the Sanpete Valley (present-day Manti), leading a company of Saints who planned to settle in the valley. The group was treated kindly by the Indians in the area.
Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, November 19, 1849 (Monday) B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.89, p.437 Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 1, p.408 THE CONTRIBUTOR, VOLUME 2, p. 178 Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, 2:356 Diary of Zina D.H. Young, in Journal of Mormon History, 19:2:114
President Brigham Young addressed a congregation on Sunday afternoon. He spoke about those who had persecuted the Saints. "It was not the people of the United States that persecuted us, but sin that dwells within them." But he believed that United States would face grave difficulty in the future. "Wo to the United States! I see them going to death and destruction. I see them greedy after death and destruction. Our duty is to let our light shine, to hand out the words of eternal life, and save those that can be saved. The Lord Almighty has brought out the work and will carry it on. It requires perfect obedience to the law of God, which is the Priesthood. It is a perfect code of laws, a universal system of worlds."
President Young met with the bishops in the valley. He wished to receive a report regarding their efforts to raise teams to go meet the pioneer companies heading toward the valley. They reported that 27 wagons and 206 yoke of cattle were ready to start. David Fullmer was chosen to lead the teams. They were to depart on Monday. Brother Fullmer was instructed to travel to pioneer companies led by Elder George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson. He should keep traveling until he reached the farthest camp, those who were in the rear, and help all of them reach the valley, "leaving no Saint behind, no matter who he or she might be."
On Tuesday Captain Howard Stansbury arrived in the city heading an expedition to explore and survey the Great Salt Lake. He was a member of the topographical corps of the U.S. Army. Captain Stansbury called upon Brigham Young and explained the mission of his exploration party. President Young had been worried that the government had sent this survey party to divide up the land and stake claims for the government. Captain Stansbury explained that this was not their intent. The brethren met together and voted to support the expedition and render assistance if needed. [Albert Carrington assisted in this exploration. They were the first to travel all the way around the Great Salt Lake by land.]
On Saturday the First Presidency traveled north to Brown's Fort [present-day Ogden] and spent the night.
Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.128 Harwell, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 237-39