The Saints heard Benjamin L. Clapp preach from the Winter Quarters stand. More volunteers were asked to go to St. Joseph to retrieve goods left there by Bishop Newel K. Whitney. Twenty‑one teams were volunteered.
Brigham Young submitted to the congregation a draft of a proposed tabernacle for Winter Quarters. The site for the mill had recently been moved further downstream. Men were asked to volunteer to work on lengthening the mill race.
Major Thomas H. Harvey, Superintendent of Indian affairs, along with Robert Mitchell and Mr. Miller visited with Brigham Young. Mr. Harvey reported that he had received letters from Washington D.C. from the Indian Department. (See September 2, 1846.) These letters stated that the Mormons should leave the Pottawatomie Indian lands, on the east side of the river, by spring. Harvey wanted Brigham Young to move the people off the land during the winter. Harvey also did not like seeing the Church on Omaha lands and asked to know why they stopped at the Missouri River. Brigham Young patiently explained that the U.S. government asked for their best men to serve in the Mormon Battalion. It was impossible for them to move these families because of the shortage of men. Also, Colonel James Allen, representing the government, agreed with their plan to stay on the lands. President Young bluntly told the men that they would not move from either side of the river this winter. Major Harvey asked how long they expected to remain where they were. President Young replied that they would stay until they were ready to go. Major Harvey, somewhat frustrated, asked how long that would be. President Young replied, “it might be two, three, or four years.” He made it clear that the Saints “would not be neither drove or pushed.” Major Harvey acknowledged that the Saints were too strong to be forced off of the land.
After the meeting, Brigham Young reported this visit to the rest of the Council. Willard Richards explained why others did not meet with the Indian Agents. “Indeed, I know not that any member knew of their presence until they were absent, except, [President] Young.” Elder Willard Richards was asked to write to Major Harvey, requesting copies of these letters from the government. William Clayton would be sent to fetch them.
Wilford Woodruff was able to sit up in bed for the first time since his terrible accident. (See October 15, 1846.)
Joshua S. Holman, age fifty-two, died. He was the husband of Rebecca W. Holman. Hannah Smith also died. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Smith. A son, David L. Rolf, was born to Samuel and Elizabeth Rolf.
Almira Angell, age three days, died. She was the daughter of Truman O. and Polly Angell.1
The camp discovered several cattle missing and was delayed until after noon. Finally, after the animals were found, the company continued their journey. The day was bright and pleasant and the company traveled eight miles to the head waters of the Weldon Fork of the Grand River, north of Garden Grove.
In the morning, Colonel Cooke became frustrated with his officers because they could not follow any of his orders correctly. He wrote, “A dumb spirit has possessed all for the last twenty‑four hours. . . . All the vexations and troubles of any other three days of my life have not equalled those of the said twenty‑four hours.” He was frustrated because he ended up making all the arrangements himself to retrieve some cattle back at Socorro. “My attention is constantly on the stretch for the smallest things. I have to order and then see that it is done.” Daniel Tyler wrote: “We found the judgment of Colonel Cooke in traveling much better than that of [Lt.] Smith, in fact, it was first‑class. He never crowded the men unnecessarily.”
The battalion was called together before their march and it was announced that Adjutant George P. Dykes was appointed to be the new commander of Company D.2
The enlisted men (outside of Company D) were very pleased to see this change. Henry Standage wrote: “Very glad of this change, for Lieu. Dykes had been working against the interest of the Battalion all the way.” Others saw this reappointment as a way to cheat Nelson Higgins out of his officer’s pay.
The battalion marched fourteen miles. They encountered some difficult, sandy hills and later camped in a grove of cottonwood in present‑day Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
During the evening, Lt. Smith brought three hundred sheep into the camp. Henry Bigler wrote: “They were a scrubby looking lot of sheep.” Colonel Cooke commented, “I found [them] to be very poor‑‑about half of them lambs, almost worthless.”
Missionary Addison Pratt went with a group of Saints to Temarie to dedicate a new meeting house that they had been working on. There, he met Elder Benjamin Grouard, who had been using his joiner skills for two weeks working on a pulpit for the new house. They administered the sacrament, ordained a number of brethren, and confirmed eleven new converts who had been baptized during the week by Elder Grouard.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 435‑36; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:94; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 105‑06; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 83‑4; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 184‑85; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 180‑81; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 228‑30; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 294
Hosea Stout met with his subdivision to divide the group’s hay according to the amount of labor put into making the hay.
Eleanor Pack Bosley, age thirty-one, died. She was the wife of William B. Bosley. Anna Arrowsmith also died.
After traveling a short distance, the company came across a bridge that was in terrible shape. They decided to stop and fix it before taking the wagon across. They continued on until the late afternoon and found a camp with plenty of wood and water.
Governor Ford and his two hundred troops were still in Nauvoo, allowing the “Jack‑Mormons” to return to their homes. The mob held a meeting in Carthage and passed resolutions that as soon as the State troops left, the “Jacks” would again be expelled ‘less tenderly than before.’ These resolutions were published in the Warsaw Signal and Quincy Whig.
The Mormon Battalion reached a bend in the Rio Grande where it started heading to the southwest. Mountains surrounded the bend. It was reported that the road ahead was good, but there would not be water for nearly eight‑five miles. They crossed the river and saw hundreds of merchants’ wagons. Near the river bottom, they saw a herd of many thousand sheep. Lt. Smith was sent to try to purchase some, to make up for the poor sheep he had bought earlier.
Colonel Cooke received discouraging word from Antonine Leroux, a guide for General Kearny. He reported that the Battalion should not follow the route Kearny took. Instead, they should take a more southerly and lengthy route where the roads should be better. This meant that they had about twelve hundred miles to travel. When they reached a fork in the road, they found a sign left by Kearny pointing to the south that said simply, “Mormon Trail.” The guide also mentioned that the battalion was not fitted out even half as well as General Kearny was. This worried the Colonel. From the Rio Grande, it was about four hundred miles to the Gila River. This portion of the journey would cover much unexplored territory. Colonel Cooke sent his guides to search out the plains ahead.
The battalion marched about eleven miles and camped in an open grove on the river bottom. This camp was near the present‑day towns of Tiffany and Valverde, New Mexico. Colonel Cooke described the landscape: “For the last twenty‑five or thirty miles the timber on the fine wide bottoms of the river has been quite a striking feature in the landscape, otherwise picturesque, with lofty mountains in every direction, blue from distance or haze and capped with snow fields.”
Daniel Tyler wrote: “We saw a number of Mexicans, mounted, with spurs ten to twelve inches long and rowels one to two inches long. These were a source of wonder to us, being the first of the kind we had ever seen.”
The detachment had labored the past two days crossing the high 7,881-foot Raton Pass. They had killed several wild turkeys which provided a great dinner for the weary, sick soldiers.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 449; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 208; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 85‑7; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 185; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 230‑32; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Brigham Young attended Joshua Holman’s funeral. The Council wrote some letters to Orville M. Allen and the leaders of the Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove settlements. The brethren advised them to find good locations for the poor Saints in those settlements, where they would be nearer to places where supplies could be obtained. The supplies near Winter Quarters were expensive and many men were traveling east towards the Des Moines River to get provisions. Rather than increasing the demand for supplies at Winter Quarters, it made sense for the poor to stop in other places. Additional teams were sent to St. Joseph, Missouri, for the goods left there.
The Council wrote a letter to Indian Agent, Major Thomas Harvey, under the signature of Alpheus Cutler. The letter authorized William Clayton as a trusted messenger to obtain copies of the instructions to Major Harvey from Washington D.C. Major Harvey was assured that the Church supported the government. This loyalty was shown when the battalion was raised. By obtaining copies of these instructions from Major Harvey, the brethren said that they could continue to act in concert with the feeling of the government.
Wilford Woodruff was able to dress for the first time since his serious accident of the previous month.
A son, Frederick Flake, was born and died. He was the son of James M. and Agnes H. Flake.
Albert Merrill’s family was having great difficulty away from Winter Quarters. His wife was very sick on this day and his infant son died. He wrote: “He starved to death. His mother’s milk failed and the cows dried up. Our sugar and delicate food gave out and, there not being anything to have for love or money, it perished for good.”
After the company moved out of their camp, it was discovered that someone had been careless and that the prairie had been set on fire. The company traveled fifteen miles to the Thomson fork of the Grand River. The location was excellent with plenty of wood and good water. Captain Orville Allen issued a strong lecture that night, warning the camp against setting the prairie on fire.
John M. Bernhisel returned to Nauvoo after traveling to many cities in Illinois seeking for relief for the Saints who had been driven from the city. He had been frustrated because many expressed sympathy for the treatment that the Mormons had received, but were still too prejudiced against them to provide relief. Nevertheless, he was able to collect about $100. He reported to Brigham Young, “Brother Heywood and I visited the different encampments . . . for the purpose of distributing to the most destitute, and we found some very destitute indeed, and quite a number afflicted with chills and fever. The whole number of families now encamped over the river probably does not exceed twenty; but they must all be removed before the cold weather set in.”
The night had been very cold with a heavy frost. Word came to Colonel Cooke about hostilities between the Mexicans and Americans. Santa Anna had been installed as president and gave an inaugural address that referred to the “audacious and perfidious Americans.” There was unease among the very wealthy merchants in the area and there was suspicion of a conspiracy to rise up and throw off the American rule. Several hundred Mexican soldiers were rumored to be marching north from El Paso to support this uprising. Colonel Cooke discounted the rumored conspiracy, since he considered the priests and wealthy merchants as cowards. But Colonel Cooke was still concerned and called the battalion together to be inspected, to make sure every man was prepared to go into action.
The battalion marched on for fourteen miles. They passed over some bad bluffs with heavy sand. Their camp was established on a high plain, covered with dead grass. Colonel Cooke described the area:
This district, entirely unoccupied, has the great superiority to that above (so thickly inhabited) of forests covering perhaps one‑fourth of the bottoms; and the mountains also, covered with cedar, are very near. . . . We passed cactus plants ten feet high and saw a specimen of an extraordinary variety ‑‑ a bush of many small stems bearing long thorns and also the unusual fruit, covered with a full allowance of the minute prickers.
Thomas Dunn was glad to be in an area less inhabited. “For many of the battalion were sinking into a bad spirit going among the Spaniards in attending to their parties and with bad characters. But now we are out from among them and we had better times and I hope they may continue unto the end.”
In the afternoon, Private James Hampton died unexpectedly. When it was learned that he was dying, the battalion halted for twenty minutes. After his death, his body was placed in a wagon. Levi Hancock wrote: “Thus we lose one here and one there no man has a chance to ride unless they report themselves to the Doct as sick and then the next thing is calomel and what to do I know not. I am called upon daily to lay hands upon the sick.”
Colonel Cooke reduced rations. The enlisted men complained among themselves. Some men believed that Colonel Cooke was doing this to raise his name in the world. They felt he wanted to boast that he performed the trip with fewer provisions than any other man.
The detachment followed the south bank of the Purgatorie for eight miles across high plains. Abner Chase died of fever and chills. He was buried in a beautiful grove along the south side of the river.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 437‑38; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:94; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 87‑9; “Levi Hancock Journal”; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn”; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 232‑35, 272; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 184‑86; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:76; “Albert Merrill, autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 4; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints, Nov 3, 1846
William Clayton started for Trader’s Point to take the letter written the day before to Major Thomas Harvey. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball crossed the river to see Brother W.W. Phelps.
To the west of Winter Quarters, the prairie burned and approached the city, causing great concern. When the fire reached the bluffs above the settlement, it died down and was extinguished. Elder Wilford Woodruff, recovering from his serious accident of the previous month, wrote:
I this day for the first time went out of the waggons with the assistance of two persons. I was enabled to walk to my tent and also to Sister Benbow’s waggon where she lay very sick. Br and Sister Benbow had been with us several days. Sister Benbow was exceedingly low when she came. Hardly expected she would live. Mrs. Woodruff used every exhertion to nurse her up that she might recover.
The Woodruff’s little son, Joseph was also very sick.
Hosea Stout, while feeling quite sick, went into the grove on the west to cut some house logs. This was the first work he had accomplished toward building his family a home.
A son, Ezra Leonard, was born and died. He was the son of Truman and Ortentia Leonard.3
The company arose at 5 a.m. on this cold morning when ice was seen on the stream. Captain Allen marched on ahead to reach Mount Pisgah in order to purchase corn of the cattle. The rest of the company started later on. After just one mile, they discovered that again the prairie was on fire. Thomas Bullock suspected arson from a disgruntled member of the camp. The company arrived at Mount Pisgah, but continued on across the river where they set up their camp for the night.
A daughter, Rosetta Adeline Snow, was born to (future prophet) Lorenzo and Mary Goddard Snow.4
A daughter, Emily Dorcas Emmett, was born to Moses S. and Catherine Overton Emmett.5
Little Malinda Allison Kelly died. She was the daughter of Private Milton and Malinda C. Kelly. The Kellys went to Pueblo as part of the first sick detachment where their daughter was born. Sadly, Private Milton Kelly would also die in a few days.
The mob held a meeting at which they demanded that the “Jack‑Mormons” sell out their property to them at a certain price or they would be expelled anyway.
During the night, George P. Dykes, the officer of the day, passed two men on guard duty. Dykes was generally despised by the battalion and these two men refused to salute him. In the morning, Dykes reported the incident to Colonel Cooke who thought the two men should be shot for disrespect. Instead, they were tied cross‑handed to the rear of an ox wagon and forced to march the entire day in this manner. Bitter feelings toward Lieutenant Dykes increased because of this. William Hyde wrote, “The present prospect seems to be that indignant feelings are arising in the bosoms of many of the Battalion in reference to the course Lieutenant Dykes is pursuing, which will hardly ease.”
The battalion had a difficult eleven‑mile march over stony hills and sandy roads. Colonel Cooke recorded, “The last three miles of road were excessively bad‑‑many steep ascents, with loose stone and sand.” The march took seven to eight hours, included very hard work, pushing and pulling wagons. Brother Thomas Woolsey returned to the battalion. He had been with the first sick detachment that marched to Pueblo from the Arkansas River. He and nine other men had been told to return to the battalion after escorting their families to Pueblo. Brother Woolsey reported that Colonel Sterling Price had given permission for these men to remain with their families in Pueblo. He also reported that General Doniphan and his regiment was on the march, about ninety miles behind.
The battalion camped near a large adobe‑colored pyramid shaped rock about thirty feet tall which some thought was the ruins of an old Nephite structure. Colonel Cooke wrote a description: “On a little hill which juts into the camp stands a large rock of square proportions above thirty feet high, inaccessible in any part; it is a sandy conglomerate and precisely the color of the adobes; has a striking resemblance to the ruins of a church or other large building.” A rumor was circulating that a company of Mexican soldiers was on the way to engage the battalion.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 438‑39, 449; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:94; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 208; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 89‑91; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 181; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 235‑38; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:76 “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints, Nov 4, 1846
Brigham Young helped Willard Richards put up his house. In the afternoon rain fell on the settlement for two hours. Wilford Woodruff’s son, Joseph, continued to be dangerously sick. Elder Woodruff was able to walk to his tent alone without the aid of a staff.
Indian Agent, Thomas Harvey, allowed William Clayton to copy the communications from the war department in Washington, D.C. regarding the Mormon’s stay on Indian lands. Major Harvey sent a letter back with Brother Clayton. Major Harvey mentioned that he had seen for himself the extensive settlement being built with included a mill. He wrote: “No white persons are permitted to settle on the lands of the Indians without authority of the government. Your party being Mormons does not constitute the objection, but the fact of your being their without authority of the Government.”
Hosea Stout spent the day cutting and hauling logs. He became very cold and wet. In the evening, Marshal Horace Eldredge came to get Brother Stout to help him with a domestic problem. A Brother Beers had kicked his wife out of the tent and wanted to drag his family away against their will. They went to the Beers’ tent but found it calm and Brother Beers was sleeping. They decided to let the matter rest until the morning.
A son, George Angell Davis, was born to David V. and Caroline Angell Davis.
Captain Allen raised the camp before daylight for an early start, but he was having a terrible problem getting the brethren to follow his leadership. Animals were lost again and the brethren delayed going to work. Thomas Bullock wrote: “All the preaching and talking of the Captain profiteth nothing. The brethren will not go, but had rather stand with their hands in their pockets and let all the Oxen stand idle waiting to be hitched up. The delightful weather is allowed to pass unused and let slip without making the most of it.” They finally started their journey and traveled six miles over the rolling prairie and camped on the east side of “Mormon Grove.”
The morning was stormy. Colonel Cooke decided to rest the men and the animals after seventeen straight days of marching. The men spent the day washing in the Rio Grande and patching clothes that were worn out.
Colonel Cooke described his camp:
My camp is surrounded by a singularly broken and wild country. In the small open space near the mouth of a dry creek, lofty and irregular hills and bluffs jut in on three sides, and on the fourth is a narrow cottonwood bottom; and a high mountain rises from the opposite bank of the river, and their blue and white tops are visible in every direction. These hills are covered with the dry yellow grama grass and are dotted with cedars.
In the evening Colonel Cooke mustered the soldiers and inspected their arms in case a battle with the Mexicans would soon be necessary. Two shots should be fired as an alarm if Mexicans were seen approaching.
John D. Lee and his small company continued their journey back toward Winter Quarters, bringing with them the pay of the battalion. They were having great difficulty traveling because of poor mules. As they were journeying this day, they came across five mules with ropes. “This was the ram caught in the thicket as 3 of our mules were about past traveling, the 5 just made a change all around which when we had done we thanked the Lord for this peculiar manifestation of his good will & went on our way rejoicing.”
Thomas L. Kane continued to give support to Saints. He wrote a letter to Brigham Young stating that he was about to obtain official sanction for settling on the lands of the Omahas.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 439‑40; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:94; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 208; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1842, 107; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 90‑1; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 238‑39; Brooks, John Doyle Lee, 103; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints, Nov 5, 1846
It rained during the night and into the morning. George D. Grant returned from the rush bottoms to the north. He had traveled over 250 miles up the river.
William Clayton returned from Trader’s Point with the letter from Major Harvey. Brigham Young directed that a reply be sent under the signature of Alpheus Cutler, the president of the High Council. The brethren tried to again explain why they were staying on Indian grounds.
The cause of our stopping here was because our men were called into service by the U. States, and had it not been for this fact we could more easily have been at the foot or over the mountains than to have been where we are. . . . Most of the fifteen hundred wagons now in camp will be off next season, for we are more anxious to be off than any people are to have us. You must also be aware that if [the Mormon Battalion] does not return, before the time originally appointed, that their teams may be compelled to tarry another season.
The letter was closed with an assurance of loyalty towards the country. “It is well known to you, Sir, and to the U.S. that we have been driven from their borders, and yet have enlisted in her defense, and what can be a greater proof of friendship than for a people to lay down their lives for their country.”
William Clayton reported that the Pottawatomie Indian’s had received $43,000 from the government, towards payment for their lands. Major Harvey refused to pay three Mormon Indians who had been adopted by the Pottawatomie tribe.
Brigham Young wrote a letter to Omaha Chief, Big Elk. George D. Grant was appointed to take a barrel of gun powder and about one hundred pounds of lead to the Omahas, to be used for their buffalo hunt. This act of kindness was meant to improve relations between the two people and to help put a stop to the killing of cattle by the Omahas. President Young also offered to have someone repair guns for the tribe if it was needed
In the afternoon, members of the Twelve and High Council traveled up the bluff and met on a point overlooking the north end of the city. They discussed what to do with many rebellious men who were breeding discontent in the Camp of Israel. It was unanimously decided to have the Law of God put in force to deal with them.
Henry Pearson, age sixteen, died of dysentery. He was the son of Ephraim J. and Rhoda Pearson. David L. Rolfe, age five days, died. He was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Rolfe. Hyrum Brigham Noble, age one, also died. He was the son of Joseph B. and Mary Beman Noble.
The company continued their journey in the morning. They had to ascend a very steep hill that gave them difficulties. Soon they reached the last branch of the Grand River and made their camp for the night.
The Nauvoo Trustees wrote a letter to Brigham Young reporting the arrival of Governor Ford and his troops to the city. The Trustees had not been having any success selling the Church property. “We wish to sell and wind up our business and leave this country; we believe there are some of the worst characters in and about Nauvoo.” They reported that the Seventies’ library was packed up as well as the stereotype plates for the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. They explained why Almon W. Babbitt had sent some of the rescue teams back to Winter Quarters. They felt that the remaining poor could better be taken care of by the Trustees.
William Pickett observed that Governor Ford went on a spree during the evening with the mob. First, he attended a supper given by the mob leaders to welcome him to the city. “They are his daily companions, and drinking with them from groggery to groggery is his only occupation at present.”
The “Jack‑Mormons” held a meeting to consider the mob’s proposition to buy out their Nauvoo property. It was resolved that they would keep their property, even at the risk of being driven from the city.
The battalion marched eleven miles over gravel bluffs, up and down many hills, in warmer weather. The men had to make a wagon road for more than a mile around a bend of the river. William Coray wrote: “How the Colonel expects to get to California crossing this river through the sand I cannot imagine, but he is our leader and follow him we will, life or death.”
They camped near the location where General Kearny had a month earlier, left his wagons, taking pack mules for the rest of the journey. Daniel Tyler wrote: “The prospect before us from this point was anything but encouraging. Besides what we had previously endured from hunger and having to help our worn‑out animals pull the overloaded wagons, we now had before us the additional task of having to construct a wagon road over a wild, desert and unexplored country, where wagons had never been before.”
The road ahead did look difficult, especially on half rations. Robert S. Bliss recorded: “We are cheerful & happy notwithstanding we have to carry our guns, accoutrements, napsacks, canteen, haversacks, & push our waggons all day over hills which are not few nor far between & we expect will [be] greater difficulties when we leave this river to cross the mountains.” He also wrote about the wildlife in the area. “We can see large bear tracks & plenty of Beaver signs; Bro. [Elijah] Freeman brought to camp wood cut by the beavers 6 in. through & this was not half so large as they construct their dams with.”
The thorny cactus and bushes started to be a problem. Guy M. Keysor explained: “The shrubbery covering the hills is mostly green and beautiful and much of it is very thorny. Though they are strangers to me by name, by sight they familiarize themselves much faster than I wish. The familiarity and annoying acquaintance they make with my legs every day keeps my clothes in rags and often penetrate the skin.”
The detachment reached Willow Springs on Timpas Creek and believed that they could go no further. Their animals were almost broken. Suddenly a guard detail drove thirty head of oxen into the camp. They belonged to men hauling provisions to Santa Fe for the army. James Brown had the guard distribute the oxen among the teams. Later, when the teamsters rode into camp asking about their oxen, Brown responded:
If they had any cattle in his company they could take them out. They replied that each teamster only knew his own team. After examining our teams, they claimed and took but four of the thirty stray oxen, this still left us with the thirteen yoke of fresh cattle which we considered a divine interposition from the kind hand of God in our behalf, as it seemed about the only chance for deliverance from starvation.
Some of the men thought Captain Brown’s tactics were dishonest.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 439‑43, 448‑49; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 208‑09; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 91‑2; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 182; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 188; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:76; “Guy M. Keysor Journal”; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 239‑41; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
In the morning William Clayton again headed to Trader’s Point to take a letter to Major Harvey. George D. Grant left with him, heading to Big Elk’s village with the gun powder and lead. Wilford Woodruff called on the Elders to administer to his sick son, Joseph.
Mary Spears, age five days, died, probably at Cutler’s Park. She was the daughter of William and Genet Spears.
A thick frost fell over night which looked beautiful in the morning. After they had traveled for twelve miles, they met Lyman O. Littlefield who had come from Winter Quarters with a letter from the Council of the Twelve. The letter instructed him to locate the poor Saints at Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove. Thomas Bullock and a few others were instructed to go on to the main Camp. The brethren in the camp met together to discuss what they should do, given that they were between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs. They decided to press on, to the Nishnabotna River and then send a company of men to get further instruction from the Twelve.
Allen Stout had been repairing his house and taking care of his sick family when he learned that his father‑in‑law was on this road with a sick family. Three of them had already died. Brother Stout set out on foot to meet his father‑in‑law. He found him twenty-five miles to the east.
A daughter, Mary Elizabeth White, was born to Samuel D. and Mary Burton White.6
Ten ladies met with Governor Ford in his camp. They said they were the committee of the “Anti‑Mormon ladies of Hancock County.” They delivered a package containing a petticoat. The officers of the Governor’s troops met in the temple and appointed a committee to draft resolutions to be published which would declare that these ladies did not represent any decent portion of the community, but were employed by “cowardly ruffians.” They also resolved to carry the petticoat out of the camp and burn it to ashes.
The night had been very cold, causing the water to freeze over with a quarter inch of ice. The battalion traveled over high hills of sand that were barely passable. The last one they traveled over was almost a mountain and it took them two hours. They would take one wagon up at a time with as many men as possible on ropes, pulling the wagon. Colonel Cooke was concerned about the men and realized that they were being pushed hard. “Pushing and pulling through deep sand and up hill, with musket and knapsack on, is very severe work.” William Coray wrote: “Every man was willing to take ten days rations on his back if the Col would leave the wagons [behind like General Kearny did].”
Private Milton Kelly, age thirty-eight, died.7
Elder Addison Pratt wrote in his missionary journal:
This is the birthday of my little daughter Frances Stephens. This is the 4th birthday that has past since I have seen her, and more than two years since I have heard from my family. And who can tell what has happened to them in the time. But as I am on the point of starting for home, I trust I shall soon know the truth of many things that have long been vailed in doubt and mystery.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 443‑44, 450‑51; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 92‑3; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 182; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 241‑42; “Allen Stout Journal,” typescript, BYU, 26 ‑ p.27; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 297
At a Sunday meeting, President Brigham Young suggested that the sisters stop selling their gold rings, silk dresses, and other prized possessions, in order to buy provisions. Instead, he advised that they go to work and make willow baskets that could be traded in the settlements. The brethren were asked to make wash boards and tables. President Young also gave a report on the recent exchanges with Major Thomas Harvey on Indian land issues.
Also speaking at this public meeting was, Joseph Young, who spoke on the necessity of prayer. Heber C Kimball preached on economy and “how to kneed up musty flour to make it good.”
In the afternoon, the Presidents of the Seventies met with Brigham Young in his new house. The building had no windows yet, but did have a complete chimney made out of brick obtained from the ruins of the fort at Old Council Bluffs.
President Young related a prophetic dream that he recently experienced concerning the Rocky Mountains. Joseph Young proposed that the Seventies take on the work to complete the mill race, and also give one tenth to sustain the poor in their quorums.
The Council of the Twelve met together. They discussed and made decisions on a number of proposals. All able‑bodied men would be required to work a half day on roads or pay thirty‑seven and a half cents for the work. Hosea Stout was appointed to serve as clerk to the High Council. The bishops were asked to determine how much seed there was in the camp. A careful record would be kept regarding all who were buried in the cemetery.
Reynolds Cahoon entered a complaint against certain individuals who cut timber on a lot he had claimed together with Winslow Farr. The Council settled the matter like King Solomon: Brothers Cahoon and Farr were to cut up the timber and haul it to the wives of the Mormon Battalion.
Wilford Woodruff, still recovering from his accident, could not attend the meeting, but he was able to walk to Willard Richards’ tent during the day. Sister Phoebe Woodruff spent all day and night sitting with their son Joseph who was still dangerously ill.
During the day, the company crossed a very deep river where Brother Gay’s wagon reach broke. They then had to ascend some very steep hills. They camped on the west bank of a beautiful river.
During the night the wind blew hard and it rained into the morning. The battalion had to take down their tents while they were still wet. The roads were terrible and the wind still blew hard which made it very cold. Despite their best efforts, the battalion could only cover five miles in about four hours. Colonel Cooke commented that “it is very discouraging.”
Doctor Sanderson went on ahead and accidentally started a forest fire on a cottonwood bottom, near the river. In the evening, guide Antoine Leroux returned from exploring to the southwest. He had traveled west from the Rio Grande and found some good water holes. He reported that the roads were almost impassable for wagons because of deep sand. Many of the men tried to persuade Colonel Cooke to leave the wagons. He refused and was determined to press on with them.
The detachment reached the Arkansas River, seven miles upstream from Bent’s Fort. The river was only three feet deep. Captain Brown left the company camping there and traveled to Bent’s Fort for provisions.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 444‑46; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:94; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 209; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 93‑4; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 242‑43, 273; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints, Nov 8, 1846
Brigham Young visited Willard Richards and related to him a dream he had during the night about harvesting oats, wheat, and other grains. In the afternoon, Heber C. Kimball’s men returned from the rush bottoms far to the north with letters from Asahel Lathrop who informed the brethren that the cattle were doing well. He mentioned that if more stock was sent, they would have to be moved further north to avoid crowding and confusion.
David W. Clark, age three weeks, died. He was the son of David P. and Sarah E. Clark. George A. Cummings, age eight months, died of chills and fever. He was the son of George W. and Jane Cummings.8
The camp rested for the day because immediately after breakfast it started to rain and continued throughout the day. Orrin Porter Rockwell and others passed the camp during the morning, heading for Winter Quarters.
The battalion spent another difficult day ascending a long hill on very broken ground. They reached the campground where General Kearny had left the Rio Grande.9 One of the men described the landscape as “lonesome and desolate, no insects to be seen, not so much as a bird of any kind. No wonder for the country so lonesome I should not think that any live thing would stay here no longer than it would take them to git away.”
Colonel Cooke examined the mules and found them to all be weak and nearly broken down. There were also twenty‑six men on the sick report, many of them had to be transported in the wagons. The rations were insufficient for the long march ahead.
Colonel Cooke ordered that fifty‑five men return to Santa Fe. This would be the third sick detachment to be separated from the battalion. They would take with them twenty‑six days of rations of flour, but he only wanted to send back one team of oxen. In this way he would reduce the load carried in the wagons, but would still have the livestock.
For those remaining with the battalion, he ordered that the tent poles be left behind. Instead muskets would be used to hold the tents up. He also sent back 21 camp kettles, 26 mess pans, and 31 tents. Looking ahead, Colonel Cooke commented: “The march undertaken is now said to be three hundred miles longer than believed; and such is its character that, making the road as we go, ten miles is sometimes a very hard day’s march ‑‑ equal to at least twenty‑five miles of a good road.”
Betsy Prescindia Huntington, almost three weeks old, died. The Huntingtons were part of the second sick detachment of the battalion. Betsy had been born on the way to Pueblo.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 444‑46; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:94; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 209; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 93‑4; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 242‑43; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Joseph Young was very sick. His brother Lorenzo moved his wagon close to his house so that he could get out of his house, into the wagon, to help take care of Joseph. Wilford Woodruff’s son, Joseph, appeared to be dying in the afternoon and evening, but revived about midnight.
The Presidents of the Seventies met in the evening. They assigned quorum members to visit every house, tent and wagon within their wards to take a census. They were also to notify every able‑bodied Seventy to work on the mill race on Saturday.
Henry Adams, age forty-six, died of dysentery.
Several of the camp members had washed their tents the day before and didn’t want to take them down because of the muddy ground. So the company decided not to travel this day. The brethren in the camp met during the evening to discuss the counsel sent from the Twelve to settle away from Winter Quarters.
In the afternoon, the third sick detachment, consisting of fifty‑five men led by Lieutenant William Willis, departed for Santa Fe. James Pace wrote, “They left us at 3 P.M. with heavy hearts & with feelings that could not be told nor expressed by Man or Mortal.” The rest of the battalion rested in the camp. Colonel Cooke sent guides ahead to explore the route to the west. The Mormon Battalion had now been reduced from over 500 to only 340 men. Henry Standage wrote: “This does in reality make solemn times for us, so many divisions taking place. May the God of Heaven protect us all.” Those who remained were healthy and ready for the gruelling desert march that lay ahead.
The sick detachment traveled about two miles and were visited that night by Jefferson Hunt who spoke words of comfort to the men and administered to the sick.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 446; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:151; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 209; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:95; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 95‑6; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 246‑47; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:42; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 191; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
William Kimball arrived from Nauvoo with fifty letters, several packages and some newspapers.10 News arrived of Governor Ford’s visit to Nauvoo.
In the evening, the High Council met at Brigham Young’s house. Two probate cases were presented. In one case the $37.00 worth of property was to go toward a child. In the other case, the $44.47 was to be paid to those who nursed the deceased.
The Council voted that a new cemetery be established on the second ridge west of Winter Quarters.11
John Cummings, age four, died of chills and fever. He was the son of George W. and Jane Cummings.
The company resumed their journey, leaving two families behind who wanted to stay in a nearby settlement. After traveling for eleven miles, the company camped on the prairie.
Colonel Cooke wanted to leave the wagons behind and instead pack the provisions on the mules and oxen. Henry W. Bigler wrote: “It was laughable to witness the antics of the frightened oxen after their packs were on them. Some of the boys said, ‘They kicked up before and reared up behind,’ bellowing, snorting, jumping up, wheeling around, pawing and goring the ground, but they soon became perfectly gentle.” Colonel Cooke described, “some . . . performed antics that were irresistibly ludicrous . . . such as jumping high from the ground in quick‑step time turning round the while‑‑a perfect jig.”
The battalion had to climb a rocky bluff in the morning, but it was much easier without the loaded wagons. They marched fourteen miles and camped on some hilly ground, a half mile from the Rio Grande. They were in sight of the point of the mountain at El Paso. Three men with measles were sent back to join the sick detachment. Sister Melissa Coray, the wife of William, could no longer ride in a wagon. She rode on a mule all day and by night was very tired.
Captain Brown returned to his company after traveling east to Bent’s Fort. He brought back sixty days rations of pork, flour, rice, beans and other items. The detachment had a wonderful feast.
Elder Addison Pratt mourned the death of Zebe Vahine, a lady who had believed in the gospel but her husband had not let her join the Church. Fifteen days earlier she had given birth to a child that only lived a few days. Her relatives, full of superstition, blamed one another for the death. Then they accused Zebe of stealing some coconut oil. The bickerings became terrible and soon Zebe wished for the spirits to take possession of her body. Apparently she got her wish because she soon became crazy. A Tahitian priest came to cast out the spirit and said there were five devils in her. She became worse. Finally her husband came to Elder Pratt and expressed a desire to join the Church and wanted him to administer to his wife, that he erred in calling in the priest. Elder Pratt insisted that the relatives first come together and work out their differences, which they did. When he came to administer to her, he learned that she had willingly given herself up to the devils and he was discouraged by this news. He administered to her, then fasted and prayed for twenty-four hours, and blessed her again. But it had no effect and she died.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 447‑48; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 182‑83; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 96‑7; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 247‑48, 274; Ricketts, Melissa’s Journey with the Mormon Battalion, 44; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints, Nov 11, 1846; E‑mail from Curtis A. Harper, serving a mission at Winter Quarters; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 298-99
Early in the morning, Wilford Woodruff’s fifteen‑month‑old son, Joseph was dying of canker. Elder Woodruff wrote:
Sister Abbot took the main charge of him during the night as Mrs. [Phoebe] Woodruff’s strength was mostly exhausted. He had suffered much from convulsions during his sickness but he breathed his last and fell asleep this morning 15 minutes before 6 o’clock. And we took his remains to the grave at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We truly felt that we were called to make a great sacrifice in the loss of our son, Joseph.
Brigham Young met with twenty‑six members of the Council of Fifty. He stated that he had foreknowledge that they would go in safety over the mountains, despite any opposition and obstacles that the government and others might put in their way.
In the evening, President Young held a “house warming” party in his newly completed home. John M. Kay sang a few songs and the evening was spent in dancing.
Orson H. Alsworth, age one, died of canker. He was the son of David and Catherine Alsworth. George Sprague, age forty-seven, died. He was the husband of Sarah N. Sprague. Jacob T. Utley, age nine, died of dropsy and measles. He was the son of Samuel and Maria Utley. George Spear, age forty-seven, died. He was the husband of Sarah Spear. A son, Isaiah Barkdoll Lott, was born to Cornelius and Rebecca Fausett Lott.
In the morning Shabne, a Pottawatomie Indian Chief, came into the camp with another Indian and had breakfast. At 10:50 a.m., the camp moved on. They crossed a little prairie and camped after three miles at Sand Stone Springs. In the evening it started to rain and continue all night.
Colonel Cooke awoke to an alarm that horses were heard crossing over the river. But he soon became convinced that it was only the sound of the rapids. The battalion traveled fifteen miles on good roads which was a welcome change. Colonel Cooke wrote, “This forenoon we turned up on the bluff, however, at a canyon, where there was a fine view of a rapid in the river below and apparently a good pass through the mountains to the road on the other side.” They camped on a bluff near present‑day Derry, New Mexico.
James S. Brown wrote:
One day, while passing up a brushy canyon, my place being with the advance guard, in the rear of the road hands, I had occasion to step into the brush by the roadside. While there, out of sight, Col. Cooke and staff and guides came along and stopped right opposite me, so close that I dared not move lest they should see me. As they came up, the colonel inquired of the guides if there were no fruit or berries that men could live on; the reply was no, not a thing. . . . The colonel then asked if there were no trees that had bark something like elm bark, which men could live on for a few days; but the answer was that there was neither fruit, roots, nor bark, that the country was a barren waste. Upon receiving this information, the Colonel exclaimed, “What can we do?” In response, the suggestion was that the guides did not know unless some of the stronger men and mules were sent on a forced march to the first place in California, where they could get a bunch of beef cattle and meet us on the desert with them. There was some further conversation, when it was ended by the colonel exclaiming, with a despairing oath, “I expect the men will starve to death!”
In the evening, several of the men organized themselves into a debating club to pass the time. Henry W. Bigler wrote:
I took part in the debates and although living on soup made from the carcasses of poor given‑out oxen slightly thickened with our scanty supply of flour, we felt well and had good times in our polemic schools and that very day an ox so extremely poor gave out by the way. He was killed and the meat dressed and brought to camp and dealt to the soldiers and we only regretted we did not have full rations even of that as poor as it was.
As the third sick detachment was traveling back to Santa Fe, one of the oxen became stuck in the mud. They tried to pull it out with a rope but accidentally broke its neck. In the evening Private John Green died. At night they scraped a hole in the sand close to the river, wrapped him in a blanket, and put him in the hole. They stripped off some cottonwood bark and fitted it around the grave.
Elder Addison Pratt sailed from Anaa to Tahiti, the first leg of his journey for home in America. He wrote: “I shall never forget the parting with Brother Grouard. He and I have been yoked together in this mission for 3 and a half years.” He reflected on their trials and neglect from their friends in America. They had only received three letters during that long time and felt that the brethren had forgotten about them.
We felt that our Heavenly Father was our only friend left, and then would we seek some lone retreat when we could box down before our God, upon the coral sands in the shade of some lone cocoanut tree and pour out our complains before him. And he had never forsaken us, but has blest our labours and through him we have baptized over a thousand natives, besides a goodly number of Americans and Europeans. And now I leave him in the field to sustain it, by the help of the Lord, while I beg my way to my family and the body of the church . . .
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 452‑53; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:95; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 268; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 97‑8; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 357‑58; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly 5:2:42‑3; Bagley, Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 45; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 191; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints, Nov 11, 1846; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 48; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 299-300
Brigham Young spent the day in council meetings with many of the brethren reading letters that had recently arrived. They studied letters and documents regarding settling on Indian grounds and also read letters from missionaries in England.
The Presidents of the Seventies met and accepted reports from their quorum members. Each quorum was instructed to look after their poor.
Lorenzo Dow Young spent the day sawing out and fitting a window in his log house. He also made a door and a latch. His brother, Joseph, was still very ill. Lorenzo took turns with his wife during the night taking care of him.
A daughter, Melissa Jane Lambson, was born to Alfred B. and Melissa Bigler Lambson.12
The company stayed at the Sand Springs all day and dried out their clothes from the previous night’s rain. In the evening, a camp meeting was held. They were exhorted to be clean, take care of the sick, be unified, and to not waste their provisions.
After following the Rio Grande for many days, it was finally time for the Mormon Battalion to turn southwest and leave the river. Their guides left word that they had found water fifteen miles from the river. The battalion marched up a steep ascent, followed ridges, wound up a long valley, and traveled over a very rocky prairie. After a long day’s march, they finally arrived at the camp. Colonel Cooke wrote, “The water is about one hundred feet lower than the camp, in a rocky chasm difficult of descent for animals; the chief supply is a natural rock‑bound well thirty feet in diameter and twenty‑four feet deep.” They named the well, Foster’s Hole, after Doctor Stephen Foster.13
Colonel Cooke stood on a ledge and directed the watering of animals for two hours. Guy M. Keysor also described the hole.
This cistern is placed at the bottom of a deep ravine surrounded by perpendicular rocks on three sides, many of the overhanging; to get to the bottom of this excavation, a winding course has to be taken & when at the bottom some dozen of steps has to be taken up a natural stone stairway before we can obtain water out the font or cistern. The water has to be dipped out & poured in holes below in order to water stock which makes it very tedious for large companies like ours.
There was no wood to burn nearby, only a few bushes and Spanish bayonets.
The sick detachment found a pair of young steers which made them cheer up. Lt. William Willis wrote, “We looked upon it as one of the providences of our Father in heaven. Thus provided for, we pursued our march.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 453; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:151; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 209; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 257‑58; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 191; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints.
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball helped Willard Richards put up his house during the day. The Council wrote a letter to Reuben Miller, who had recently returned to the Church after following James Strang for several months. They gave him some advice regarding his future plans to preach against James Strang.
The Council also wrote a letter to the Nauvoo Trustees. “If we can raise a sufficient number of effective men to pass over the mountains in time to put in summer crops, we can be prepared with mills, houses, etc., to receive any amount of our families and saints by the spring of 1848, and this is what we are now making all our plans to bend to.” They asked to have all the able‑bodied brethren fit themselves out for the campaign and to be at Winter Quarters by the first of March. Other families should remain in the grain country for a year or should go to the Missouri River and raise grain there. Brigham Young commented that it was high time that Governor Ford began to keep the peace in Nauvoo, but he came much to late. “Who ever saw a fly trap catch flys in winter?”
The letter concluded with, “Many of the brethren are in comfortable habitations and many more will be in a week or two. The weather has been extremely mild, hitherto unknown to this country; no snow, and till last night no frost.”
Amos Babcock, age thirty-seven, died of consumption. He was the husband of Mary Ann Babock.14 Elizabeth Melvil, age twenty-five, died of chills and canker. She was the daughter of Alexander Melvil.
A son, Stephen Muir was born and died. He was the son of William S. and Jane Robb Muir.15
Brother Tubbs caught up with the company but refused to rejoin them because they did not wait for him. He instead pressed on ahead. A company lead by Brother Gates passed them and unfortunately didn’t share any provisions with the poor camp.
Allen Stout sold everything that he could not haul, packed up his family, and started for Council Bluffs. They traveled only two and a half miles.
Colonel Cooke hoped to reach the Mimbres Mountains during the day, but it turned out that his guides did not know exactly how to get there. They did find a stream [present‑day Macho Creek] running from the hills near a fringe of timber. Colonel Cooke commented, “I have no guide that knows anything about the country and I fear such exploring, as we go, will be very slow or hazardous work.” It was decided to send out a company of guides. Each day, one would return to give Colonel Cooke information.
Near their camp that night, was a foundation of an ancient building that consisted of five rooms. Fragments of earthen pottery and broken mortars were found inside. The rations were getting so short that Colonel Cooke ordered an old ox to be killed which had been with the battalion for hundreds of miles. It had given out during the day and men were sent back to get it.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 453; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:151; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 209; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 99‑100; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 257‑58; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 191; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went to bid good‑bye to Bishop George Miller, who was returning to Ponca. They told him that they had nothing against him personally, but that they were disappointed that he did not attend council meetings as he should have and avoided the Church leaders.
When President Young returned home, he found Big Elk, the Omaha chief waiting for him. Big Elk expressed his gratitude for the gun powder and lead sent to him. He also returned two horses that had been found. He stated that his family was very hungry and he hoped to be given a cow. President Young informed him that the Omahas continued to kill their cattle. Big Elk replied that his bad young men were doing it and that they had been chastised for their conduct.
In the evening, the Twelve met with the High Council. Brigham Young was not satisfied with the method used to guard the city. A rotation of volunteer guards was not working. He wanted to establish a full‑time police guard. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Hosea Stout were appointed to select city police.
The Council wrote a letter to Charles C. Rich, the leader of Mount Pisgah. He was asked to appoint a High Council at Mount Pisgah. Elder Rich should not bear the burden of leadership alone. He was to “select faithful men, who have got hearts of mercy and compassion towards their brethren, and especially towards the poor ‑‑ men who will not bear down upon the feelings of the Saints, but be as fathers and saviors to all who are Saints.” After a High Council had been organized and was functioning, Elder Rich was instructed to come to Winter Quarters with his family. Elder Rich was also informed about the plans to send a company of able‑bodied men over the mountains in the spring. They were to put in summer crops, build houses and mills to prepare to receive families the following year. Elder Rich had been collecting tithing at Mount Pisgah. The Council wrote, “It is the feelings of the Council that you distribute it amongst those at Pisgah who are poor and destitute and sick, etc. You will use your judgement in regard to cases of necessity, and make as just a distribution as possible, that the poor may be blest and their hearts made to rejoice.”
The Council also wrote a letter to Elder Jesse C. Little, President of the Eastern States mission. He was asked to return to Winter Quarters, to prepare to go over the mountains in the spring. He was to appoint faithful, trustworthy men to preside over the branches of the Church “men who have got the spirit of God and mercy and compassion; who will defend the truth and walk uprightly as an example to those whom they preside over.” William I. Appleby was appointed to replace Elder Little as the president of the mission.
Late in the evening, Willard Richards wrote a letter to Thomas L. Kane. Elder Richards thanked Colonel Kane for his honorable support in his petitions to the government. “Israel’s God will reward . . . you . . . for the eagle eye with which you watched for the good of suffering virtue.” Elder Richards also informed him about the recent pressure from Major Harvey on the Saints to move off the Omaha Indian land. This continued to be a nagging worry to the leaders of the Church.
Julia Ann Hooker Shumway, age thirty-eight, died of chills and fever. She was the wife of Charles Shumway.
Allen Taylor’s company caught up with Orville Allen and his company. Allen Taylor’s camp had come from the Mississippi in seventeen days. Orville Allen’s company had been on the road for thirty-seven days. The Orville Allen company pressed on and came near the Pottawatomie Indian village. Thomas Bullock wrote: “Came to a bad hole in sight of the Indian Town. Met a many Indians & horses returning from Council Bluffs. . . . Most of the prairies were burnt up and we saw them burning in three different directions.”
Luman Shurtliff’s rescue team arrived in Garden Grove with a company of poor from Nauvoo. He wrote: “In 30 days we had accomplished a journey of 340 miles without means, except the Lord had furnished almost without exertion on our part. Our teams looked well and the teamsters had no sickness and the sick we brought were on the gain except one sister who died soon after we arrived.”
The Mormon Battalion rested in their camp while the guides were sent to do more exploring. The weather was poor, with wind and rain all day. Some snow even fell. Thomas Dunn wrote: “This was a disagreeable day though we were more comfortable in camp than had we been traveling.”
Some of the men went hunting antelope and found many wild grapes upstream. A detail of men went back to retrieve a sick ox. With much coaxing, they were able to bring it into camp where it was then slaughtered for rations. Henry Standage wrote that it was “really the poorest beef that can be imagined and not only is there a lack of fat, but it is covered with sores caused by the blows received from day to day in order to get the poor thing along through the deep sand.” In honor of the ox, the men named the creek, White Ox Creek and the entire valley White Ox Valley.
The sick detachment continued to journey toward Santa Fe. John Tippets wrote, “The days pass of lonesome and melancholy the men are feeble and we git along slow and we have no way to make them comfortable.”
Orson Hyde published an issue of the Millennial Star. He warned the Saints about the activities of Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses, who was in England as a missionary for the Strangite Church. Apparently Martin Harris and his missionary companions were attempting to pass themselves off as legitimate missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Hyde condemned this dishonesty and added: “The very countenance of Harris will show to every spiritual‑minded person who sees him, that the wrath of God is upon him.”16
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 453‑57; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 209‑10; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 101; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 259‑61, 277; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 11; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 184; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 68; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Orson Hyde, “Notices,” Millennial Star 8 (15 Nov 1846):128.
It rained all night and into the afternoon. Orrin Porter Rockwell returned from Mount Pisgah. He brought in ten head of stray cattle that he found on the way.
Mariah Pulsipher Burgess described the trials that she had to face about this time. “I was living in a leaky log cabin without a floor in November when a daughter, Juliett, was born. I was never able to leave my bed.”
In the morning, Hosea Stout met with Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball and made out a list of 24 names to serve in the Winter Quarters police guard.
In the evening, a council meeting was held. A committee was appointed to lay out the new cemetery on the second bluff west of Winter Quarters. The Council discussed the possibility of establishing a settlement on the east side of the Rocky Mountains as a way‑station.
The Council read a letter written by Willard Richards to Thomas L. Kane. Elder Richards thanked Colonel Kane for his honorable support in his petitions to the government. “Israel’s God will reward . . . you . . . for the eagle eye with which you watched for the good of suffering virtue.” Elder Richards also informed him about the recent pressure from Major Harvey on the Saints to move off the Indian lands. This continued to be a nagging concern to the leaders of the Church. He also referred to Winter Quarters. “Many of the families in camp, are now in small log or turf houses, just fit to ward the winter’s blast, and many more will be like situated should the very mild weather continue till winter’s day.” He explained that the timber used by the Saints for their houses was taken from the flood plains near the river. “We consider it far better that these logs be laid in houses to shelter the widow and orphan, than left to snag boats in the Missouri.”
Hosea Stout met with Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball and made out a list of twenty-four names to serve in the Winter Quarters police guard.
James Brinkerhoff, age fourteen months, died of canker. He was the son of James and Sally Ann Brinkerhoff. Louisa Cook, age thirty-five, died of chills and fever, twelve miles up river from Winter Quarters. She was the wife of Aaron W. Cook. Sarah Jane Grover, age one year, died of chills. She was the daughter of Joseph and Sally Grover. Dorothy Pierce also died. She was the wife of Cornell Pierce. A son, Enoch Wright, was born to Jonathan C. and Rebecca Wheeler Wright.17 Patty Sessions helped with the delivery. Also, a daughter, Susan Aseneth Robinson, was born to Joseph L. and Susan McCord Robinson.18
It rained during much of the day, making the ground very muddy. Thomas Bullock commented, “I was wet thro’ before breakfast.” They camped all day on the banks of the river. In the evening a thunder shower rolled in.
Robert S. Bliss wrote:
This day 4 months of our time has past and we commence our march again to our destined home in California. We are now in one of the most beautiful vallies I ever saw, probably 40 or 50 miles in width & how far in length no white man knows, for we are now traveling a route our Pilots never went it; & if we succeed in crossing the mountains on this route it will save 400 miles travel for us. So far we have been blessed beyond our expectations as to water & good roads.
The battalion traveled thirteen miles to the foot of some mountains. They camped near a small swampy hole of water which in later years was known as Cooke’s Spring. Colonel Cooke wrote: “There is an irregular enclosure of rocks piled up (about three feet) on a hill near camp, probably a temporary defense of some of the Indians of the country.”
There was plenty of grass at this camp. The wood was scarce except for brush and soap‑weed which they used for fuel.
Governor Thomas Ford left Nauvoo, but kept forty men at the city to keep the peace. He did not attempt to arrest any of the mob for their lawless actions. He wrote:
We did not think it worth while to arrest any one implicated in previous riots knowing as we did, that, as the State could not change the trial to any other county, no one could be convicted in Hancock. In fact the Anti-Mormons made their boats, that as they are now in the entire possession of the juries and the civil officers of the county, no jury can be obtained there to convict them. In this respect the administration of justice in that county is yet fully as bad as it ever was under the domination of the Mormons.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 457‑61, 482; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 101‑02; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:77; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Hallwas and Launius, Cultures in Conflict, 347; “Mariah Pulsipher autobiography,” in K. Hales, ed., Windows, 181-82
Willard Richards prepared a mail package for Mount Pisgah and Nauvoo. In the evening, Harrison Burgess came for the package. He expected to leave for Nauvoo in the morning.
Wilford Woodruff began working again on building a home. He observed the hard work going on in Winter Quarters.
I have never seen the Latter Day Saints in any situation where they seemed to be passing through greater tribulations or wearing out faster than at the present time. After being exposed to the sufferings of a tedious journey of 10 months in tents and waggons without houses, we are obliged to build a city of log Houses number more than one thousand for the purpose of stoping in about three months & having to go a great distance for timber & wood & get it out of deep ravines and hollows which make it very hard to endure.
Alvy West, age fifty-one, died of fever. He was the husband of Sally West. William S. Woodward, age thirty-seven, died of chills and fever. He was the husband of Mary C. Woodward. A son, Ariah Hussey Brower, was born to Ariah C. and Margaret Hussey Brower.19
A son, Joseph Stephen Southworth, was born to Chester and Mary Byington Southworth.
The company was delayed because of a search for stray cattle, but continued their journey at noon. They had to go three miles around a ridge because a bridge across a creek had been recently burned and destroyed. They supposed that it was done purposely by a former company member who had split from the group. Thomas Bullock wrote: “We camped at dusk near a Grove. Went near a mile to fetch water, thro’ grass from five to seven feet high.”
The battalion marched up a winding valley, over a ridge, and down the other side to an open prairie where they found water in a ravine. Colonel Cooke wrote: “Two new splendid varieties of the cactus are found here: one a solid hemisphere, with ridges and horny hooks three inches long; the other with the leaf seven inches long, also round and ridged, but velvety and variable in color from pink and purple to nearly black.”
West of the camp, along a sandstone outcrop, they found ruins of an ancient settlement. Henry Standage wrote:
Close to our camp is some traces or proof of Nephites once living here. Large entrances into the rocks and several pestles and mortars found made of rock, also some pieces of ancient crockery ware, showing that a people has once lived here who knew how to make such things, whereas the Indians who now inhabit these parts do not understand such things. We found a great many hieroglyphics engraven in rocks, which resembled those found in Pike Co. Illinois. I take this for good circumstantial evidence of the Divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
Henry Bigler described another item of fascination, “Here is a large flat rock with 30 holes cut in it from 12 to 14 inches deep and from 6 to 10 inches in diameter. These we suppose were used to catch water whenever it rained.”20 He continued, “Some of our boys found a lot of antelope and deer skins nicely cured and stored away in some rocks near camp, they perhaps belong to Indians, they were not disturbed, they were left as we had found them.” As they explored a small mountain west of camp, they found what they supposed to be a gold mine which had been worked many years earlier.
William Coray was fascinated by the geology in the area showing evidence of volcanic eruptions. “We could plainly see where the mountains have been rent from each other and thrown up at a tremendous height there is one which Capt Hunter and myself and wives visited south which stands full 2000 feet high slit open at the top a good way down leaving a large cavity through which the air sucks so that it is almost impossible to stand there.”
The second sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion led by James Brown arrived at Pueblo about 2 p.m. and pitched their tents near twenty newly constructed log cabins erected by the first detachment led by Nelson Higgins. One man wrote: “The greetings which occurred between comrades and old friends, husbands and wives, parents and children, when the two detachments met, was quite touching. A thrill of joy ran through the camp which none but those living martyrs can fully comprehend.” Absalom P. Dowdle, of the Mississippi company had been appointed by Elder William Crosby, to preside over the Saints at Pueblo.
Reuben Miller, former Strangite, now back in the Church, wrote a letter to Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. “I have examined myself and believe I acted in honest sincerity. . . . I come before you in all confidence, believing as I do that God has forgiven me.” He recalled Brigham Young’s revelation to him. “You told me I would see my error before six months and would again return to the bosom of the Church.” He asked for permission to do missionary activities among the Strangites.
Elder Addison Pratt arrived in Tahiti. The Saints took him in while he waited for a ship to America. He was frustrated to learn that a package of letters and news from home had arrived, but were on an island called Mauii, where he could not retrieve them. There was a letter from his wife, a letter from Brigham Young, and a letter from the ship Brooklyn.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 461; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:95‑6; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 102‑03; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:43; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:7; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 184; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 362‑63; Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.436; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Anderson, BYU Studies, 8:287; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 301-02
In the afternoon, the Twelve and High Council met together to address some Winter Quarters issues. Members of the High Council were asked to take on more responsibility looking after the Church property in the city. It was voted to fund the historian, Willard Richards, with $100. A committee was appointed to advise the “stray sheep herd committee” to take better care of the animals. If any animals were found running around during they day, they should be treated as strays.
Robert Holeman Pixton, age six weeks, died. He was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Pixton. A son, Isaac Chauncey Haight, was born to Isaac C. and Eliza Snyder Haight.21 Patty Sessions helped with the delivery, assisted by Lydia Cook. Sister Sessions also helped deliver a baby for Sister Brown.
A light snow fell on the camp early in the morning. They decided to stay at this camp all day. Oxen were sent back to help several teams catch up. In the evening, the camp assembled for a meeting. Captain Orville Allen spoke on the duties of the Saints. The company agreed to sort through all their things to find items that could be taken to the Missouri settlements to trade.
The battalion had a difficult and long eighteen‑mile march. It took over eight hours to pull the wagons into the next camp located on a clear stream, which disappeared into the sand. As they neared the camp, one of the soldiers slipped out of ranks to go hunting. He came back with an antelope that made a wonderful supper for a number of men.
Colonel Cooke discovered that his guides should have led the battalion through a gap in the mountains which would have saved them fifteen miles. He thought this probably wasted two days.
Henry W. Bigler wrote:
I am nearly used up, being so weak and not very well. The days are warm and the nights cool. Our teams begin to look better although the grass is dry but we find on examination that the stalks are juicy and we think it does not rain much here and the grass cures on the stalks like hay and our mules and cattle are very fond of it. I see no timber and do not think there is much water in the country.
The Brown company went right to work building log houses for the winter. Many of the men were still so weak that they could only work for an hour or two.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 461‑62; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 103‑04; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:43‑4; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 363‑64; “William Walker autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 21; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Patty Sessions Diary, Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62
In the evening, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Hosea Stout met at Albert P. Rockwood’s tent to organize a “Regular Standing Police Guard” for Winter Quarters. Hosea Stout was unanimously sustained as the captain. Twenty-five men were chosen to serve in the police guard: Jonathan C. Wright, Phinehas H. Young, Isaac C. Haight, Peter W. Conover, William Kimball, George W. Langley, Simeon A. Dunn, James W. Cummings, Perrigrine Sessions, Elijah J. Sabin, George D. Grant, Edmund Ellsworth, Lyman Whitney, Augustus Stafford, Garrett W. Mikesell, Luman H. Calkins, Ira Eldredge, Appleton M. Harmon, Stephen Winchester Jr., Alvah L. Tippitts, Henry Herriman, Elias Gardner, Abraham O. Smoot, John D. Parker, and Daniel Carns.
Many of these men had also served in the “old police” in Nauvoo. Hosea Stout wrote, “Those who dreaded us because of their wickedness there may well have the same fears now. For the same men and the same organization, the same leader, the same circumstances to act on, will naturally produce the same results.” President Young instructed the new organization and mentioned that seven others would probably be added to the force. Hosea Stout made arrangements for guard duty to begin.
Persis Mitchell, age eleven months, died of inflammation of the lungs. She was the daughter of Benjamin T. and Lovina Mitchell.
John D. Lee was nearing the end of his journey. As he was approaching Council Bluffs, he met Sister Nancy Daly, one of his converts on his mission to Tennessee. He wrote, “I met with Sister Nancy Daly, an old acquaintance who wept with joy. I presented her a handsome strand of Mexican beads as a token of friendship.”
The company left camp around 1 p.m. As they traveled, they noticed a wolf on top of a ridge. They traveled over two hills, across fields that had been burned with fire.
Overnight, the water froze one inch thick. The battalion had difficulty getting the wagons across the river and ended up with a broken wagon. Colonel Cooke wrote, “The prairie was pretty firm and very little rolling; but the march was mostly an ascent, and we did not reach camp with the wagons until dusk; the mules were in harness eleven hours. Here there is only a little brush.”
They camped by a Cow Springs, close to a road leading from the copper mines from Janos. The spring was a small swamp of stinking water. The guides brought back word that they could not find water ahead.
The third sick detachment lost two men, Elijah N. Freeman and Richard Carter. Elijah Freeman had taken ill the day before and was being hauled in the wagon. The men could hear his groans as they traveled. During the day, they halted their march when they realized Elijah was about to die. In the night, Richard Carter died. The two men were buried south of Socorro, next to James Hampton, who had died on November 3 as the main companies of the battalion were traveling south. James Scott wrote of this great loss,
Sleep on! No more shall thy peaceful slumbers be disturbed by the shrill notes of the Reveille or the harsh commands of tyrants. . . . Rest from thy labors for a season, and althou Thou art laid in the wild forest in a foreign land. Yet thy names shall be remembered & recorded as Martyrs fallen a sacrifice for the sake of they brethren.
John Tippets added, “at present it is our daily prayer that there will be no more deaths in our midst for truly it is grievous to see our brethren left by the side of the road.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 462; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 211‑12; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 104‑05; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:78 Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 277‑78, 364‑65; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 191‑92; Juanita Brooks, John Doyle Lee, 103; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints.
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went to visit Willard Richards, who was sick. Hosea Stout regulated the police guard, assigning two shifts during the night, six men on each shift. Horace Eldredge wrote, “I got my little family under the first and only roof that had sheltered them since the early spring.”
A meeting was held in the camp. It was decided that their present location would be the best for those brethren who did not have provisions to last all winter. Everyone agreed to this plan. A baptism was held that afternoon. Luther Van Burklow was baptized a member of the Church and ordained an Elder. Harrison Burgess passed through the camp on his way to deliver mail to Mt. Pisgah. During the evening he gave counsel to those brethren who would stay behind.
A daughter, Mary Ann Kington, was born to Thomas Kington and his wife.
A correspondent at Fort Leavenworth wrote to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune. He wrote:
You may depend upon it, Mr. Greeley, these poor creatures (the Latter‑day Saints) have been greatly wronged, and in nothing more than the successful robbery which slander has made of their good name. . . . I had a highly respectable man in my quarters the other day who was at Nauvoo during the final sack of that pretty little town, and who had acquaintances among the leaders of the mob, and tells me that none of them even pretended to believe the charges against the Mormons and said their own beating and robbing and killing, and burning homes, was only because “there was no other way of clearing them out.”
Commenting on the Mormon Battalion, he wrote, “I did not see a finer body, individually or collectively; and their deportment was the subject of universal admirations.” The Times condemned the actions of the mob and criticized the lack of action by Governor Ford. “The executive of Illinois was too cowardly or too indolent, or thought himself too politic to arrest the outrage.”
It was very cold in the morning. Colonel Cooke’s hair froze as he washed it. He decided not to march because the mules were in poor condition. Cooke and some guides hiked up to the top of a hill and started a smoke fire, a signal of distress, hoping to attract attention. Soon the signal was answered by a Mexican trading party. Henry Bigler wrote: “They had seen the signal and came dashing up on their horses, frightening one of our men who happened to be a little ways from camp, gathering wood. He dropped his wood and ran for dear life, to the merriment of all who witnessed it.”
The traders were coming from the San Bernardino Ranch, 70‑80 miles ahead. They reported that there was only one water hole on the way there. They traded mules with the battalion, resulting in eight good mules for the soldiers.
Colonel Cooke held a serious consultation with his guides. He was dumbfounded as to what course to take. Cooke had orders from General Kearny to establish a wagon road between Santa Fe and the Gila River. He was becoming convinced that this was impossible for him to do, given the conditions of this company and mules. After some deliberation, he decided that they should head south to Janos and then find a road toward the west.
Colonel Cooke held a meeting with the Mormon officers and informed them of the new plans to follow the copper mine trail to the Sonoran Mexican settlements. He also complained that rations had been stolen. Jefferson Hunt stated that the rations were not sufficient for the long marches. Cooke decided to increase the rations.
In the evening, David Pettigrew and Levi Hancock visited every man in the camp, requesting that they plead with the Lord to “direct our course for the best, even to changing the mind of the Colonel not to go through the copper mine country.” Henry Bigler explained: “These men were of the opinion that to go through the country where the enemy was stationed without meeting with an engagement would be almost impossible.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 462; Journal History, November 20, 1846; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 212; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 105‑08; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 365‑67; “Extracts from the Journal of Henry W. Bigler” in Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:44; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 205‑06; Horace Eldredge, autobiography in Tullidge’s Quarterly Mag, l:407; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints.
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went to visit Willard Richards, who was sick. Late in the evening, John D. Lee and Howard Egan returned from their mission to the Mormon Battalion.
Ephraim Pearson, age sixty, died of chills and dysentery. He was the husband of Rody Pearson. Robert P. Lamb, age one, died. He was the son of Benjamin R. and Elizabeth Lamb.
The brethren in the company became discontented about the decision to stay behind. Captain Allen collected the goods that were left by the brethren who were going on and put them in the possession of William Meeks, who would be left in charge of the company. In the afternoon, the company divided. Orville Allen, Thomas Bullock and others headed towards Council Bluffs. They camped on the west fork of the Nishnabotna River.
The battalion started their march towards Sonora, Mexico, the route that the guides convinced Colonel Cooke to take. Cooke wrote, “After going a mile and a half [to the southwest towards Janos] I decided to turn to the right and go to the hole of water they had found ten miles on the way to San Bernardino.” Daniel Tyler wrote, “He rose from his saddle and ordered a halt. He then said with firmness: ‘This is not my course. I was ordered to California and . . . I will go there or die in the attempt.’ Turning to the bugler, he said, ‘Blow the right!’” David Pettigrew cried out, “God bless the Colonel!” Tyler wrote: “The Colonel’s head turned and his keen, penetrating eyes glanced around to discern whence the voice came, and then his grave, stern face for once softened and showed signs of satisfaction.”
Most of the men believed that the Lord had directly answered their prayers from the night before. Nathaniel Jones testified: “Some unforeseen power intercepted our course, and we turned to the west across the plains, not knowing whither we went.” William Coray wrote: “At this time particularly, I could see the hand of God displayed in directing our course. If we had gone to Sonora to all human appearance, we would have lost our lives. We being so small a force in comparison to what they could raise.”
Not all the men rejoiced at this change of plans. Some had looked forward to reaching the Mexican settlement where more provisions could be obtained.
The battalion marched on and camped in a valley, at the base of a mountain, where they found water. In the evening, Captain Hunter’s servant, Nathan Young, was caught illegally purchasing meat from Quartermaster Smith’s servant. Colonel Cooke ordered Hunter’s servant to spend the night tied to a wagon wheel.
Joseph William Richards, the younger brother of Franklin D. and Samuel W. Richards, died at the age of seventeen. Daniel Tyler later wrote that Sister Celia Hunt had “often took him nourishment and said comforting words to him, giving him the last food he ever ate a few hours before his death. [She spoke] of him as among the most noble young men she ever knew. He never complained of his lot.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 462‑63; Charles Kelly (ed.), Journals of John D. Lee, 17‑21; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 108‑09; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 207; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:7; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 368‑71; Our Pioneer Heritage, 1:472; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
John D. Lee and Howard Egan returned the night before from their mission to the Mormon Battalion. They brought 282 letters, 72 packages, and the battalion pay consisting of $1277. Brother Lee wrote, “I was astonished when I looked around and saw what serious enterprise and industry had brought to pass within 6 weeks past. A city of at least 400 houses had been erected in that short space of time, through the ingenuity and industry of the Saints. No other people but the Saints of God has ever been known to accomplish as much in so short a time.”
Brother Lee met with President Young in the morning and reported his mission. Lee wrote, “On entering the room, he met and blessed me with the warmth and affection of a father.”
At noon, a meeting was held at the stand. Elder Orson Pratt handed out the mail, filling in for Willard Richards, who was still sick. Marshal Horace Eldredge announced that a city ordinance was in effect that all animals must be put in a pen during the nights. If strays were found, a twenty-five-cent fine would be imposed. Brigham Young announced that a police force had been appointed to protect property. Brethren were needed to complete the mill race as soon as possible before the ground froze.
John D. Lee was concerned about the needy state of some of the Mormon Battalion families. He wished that the bishops would take care of them better. He wrote:
Were I a bishop, I would go to those waggons that are loaded down with flour, pork, and that have been bought with [the battalion money] and would have provision if I had to take an ax and burst their waggons and barrels open if they would not hand it out. The time has now come when we must help each other, and those that do not will regret it in sorrow and deep lamentation.
At 3 p.m., the meeting closed. The presidents of the Seventies were asked to remain. President Young asked for a report from each quorum regarding any destitute families. A report came in that the Omaha Indians had killed four cattle recently. In the evening, John D. Lee met with members of the Twelve and gave a full report of his mission. He reported about the terrible treatment the soldiers had received from Lieutenant Smith and Dr. Sanderson. President Young was outraged and saddened by this news.
A son, Joseph Lafayette Garner, was born to Phillip and Mary Hedrick Garner.22
The company arrived at a settlement consisting of about twenty houses. Thomas Bullock wrote, “My eyes were gladdened.” The rain began to fall during the night.
The battalion marched eighteen miles ahead, winding out of a narrow valley. Colonel Cooke was frustrated with his guides. The trail to the west could not be found and it was no known where water could be obtained ahead. At 4 p.m., a white smoke signal was seen ahead about fifteen miles. The signal was sent up by one of the guides, communicating that water was found ahead. However, it was too late to reach that point this day. The men had to camp without water that night and the night’s meals had to be cooked over weeds.
Henry W. Bigler wrote: “I ate some fruit that grew on a weed, it tasted like dried apples. I soon became very thirsty and oh, how sorry I was to learn there was no water in camp and every canteen empty. . . . Others of the battalion who ate of the fruit that grew on the weed complained of being thirsty and having a sickly feeling.”
Robert S. Bliss added: “The grasshoppers & the butterflies are sporting in the sun‑beams, the mountains are spread around us & seem to hem us in while the valley is as mild as summer.”
A new method had been used to break the trail during the day. Daniel Tyler explained:
Here it was decided and ordered that the men walk in double file in front of the wagons, just far enough apart to make trails for the wheels and that at the end of an hour’s march the leading companies and teams halt and allow the others to precede them and take their turn at breaking the road. This gave all an equal share of the burden. . . . It was much like tramping snow ‑‑ very hard on the men, especially those who took the lead, as we had no road or trail to follow.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 462‑63; Charles Kelly (ed.), Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 17‑21; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 109‑10; Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:45; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 207; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:78; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
The morning was cool and windy. John D. Lee shared with the brethren a letter from some members of the Mormon Battalion to defend his actions during his visit with them. He did this in response to a letter sent by the officers that criticized his behavior. Many sisters stopped by that day to ask about their husbands who were serving in the battalion.
Brigham Young met with several members of the High Council and discussed their duties regarding bearing the burdens of the Church and taking care of the poor. They needed to better magnify their calling and step forward to take the burden of these temporal affairs from the Twelve. They were asked to “call Bishops to an account from time to time and devise ways and means for the poor to sustain themselves by their own labor instead of calling on the rich to hand out what they had.” President Young announced that he planned to totally fund the building of the mill out of his pocket. He also mentioned that Major Harvey was contemplating building a fort in the future near Winter Quarters. President Young prophesied, “That if we follow council it will not be long before we will have no poor among us and there would be thousands and tens of thousands to write, preach the gospel & build temples.”
Hosea Stout hauled in a load of cottonwood limbs for his horses to eat. If they ate these, they only needed about half as much hay as they usually ate.
Thomas Bullock was frustrated with the delays to hunt for cattle. He knew that Willard Richards and the rest of the Twelve needed him in Winter Quarters to assist them in writing. Each day they had to hunt for lost cattle and made very little progress on the road.
The battalion was greeted with a spectacular sunrise. As they marched in the morning, they viewed a deceptive mirage. Colonel Cooke described it as “a vast luminous sea, or lake, to which the outline of the mountain gave a far shore; and then the higher mountains became a grand city, fortified and castellated, and with churches and spires, and the masts and sails of shipping which rested upon the bright and placid bosom of its bay.”
They marched toward the column of smoke created by their guides. Soon they found a road created by the Mexican traders whom they had met earlier. They followed this road to the water, but were disappointed because it was a small hole with only enough water for ten men, not enough for the whole battalion.23 Men would try to lap up the water while on their bellies, or use their spoons to get precious drops of water in between the rocks. The ox teams were instructed to spend the night at this point, but the rest of the battalion marched forward.
Henry Standage wrote: “The Col now ordered the bugle to sound the advance and the front guard started on again without a drink, not knowing how far it was to the next water. . . . I made out by staying till the rear guard had gone by to get a little muddy water, which others begged from me before I had gone one mile.”
They came to an unusual dry lake bed [Playas Lake], thirty miles long, and one mile wide. Colonel Cooke wrote:
At last I struck it and found it the most extraordianry ground that had ever been seen. The dry bottom of a vast shallow lake, of indurated very light‑colored clay, it was nearly as smooth and hard as polished marble! I sent back the sergeant major to direct the wagons to turn out of the trail to this strange plain, which was as easy as a railroad. . . . It gave no track . . . I could hardly realize that it was not ice.
As the cattle were crossing the dry lake, some fell through at some hollow spots and it was very difficult to rescue them. But still, they made great time across this dry lake bed and arrived at a bed of springs at dark. They had traveled almost forty miles without sufficient water for thirty‑six hours. Many of the men did not make it by dark and had to camp several miles behind. Some thoughtful officers filled a keg full of water and, with a mule, marched back to quench the thirst of many men in the rear.
The suffering that day was incredible. James S. Brown wrote:
That was the hardest day for me that came in the experience of the whole journey. . . .My thirst was intense, and it did not seem possible that I could live till morning. It seemed that everyone was traveling as best he could, for the rearguard passed me without taking any notice . . . looking like death, their mouths black, their eyes sunken till it was difficult to recognize them. Some eyes had a stary glare, which looked as if the monster death were close at hand. Yet the men staggered on, their feet hitting each other, tit for tat, as one was dragged past the other.
As James S. Brown was losing his hope that day, his uncle, Alexander Stephens, came to the rescue. His uncle had found some water in the crevice of a rock and filled his canteen. He shared it with James Brown and he soon revived his strength. He pressed on and reached the camp that night. “Wretched, wretched indeed, was the condition of the command that night. It is doubtful whether at any time in the long march the men suffered more than they did then the forty‑eight hours preceding.”
Orson Spencer and Andrew Cahoon arrived in Philadelphia on the way to their mission in England.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 463; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 212‑13; Charles Kelly (ed.), Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 22; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 110‑13; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:78; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 186‑87; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 49‑50; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints.
In the morning, John D. Lee met with Brigham Young. President Young offered to send men to help Brother Lee build his house. He also counseled Brother Lee to send his cattle up to the rush bottoms for the winter. In the afternoon, Brother Lee followed this counsel by sending six mules and fifteen head of cattle to the north with two men from his family.
Two trappers, Justine Grosclaude and Mr. Cardinal, called upon Brigham Young. They shared with him information about the Rocky Mountains. They gave an interesting account of Yellowstone River and sketched a map of the country west of the Missouri and north of Ponca, above the Yellowstone. They encouraged Brigham Young to take a northern route through present‑day Montana. Horace K. Whitney wrote, “They narrated and gave an account of the climate, etc. which was quite interesting indeed.” They claimed to have settled in the area of “the Salt Lakes” for sixteen years. Mr. Grosclaude offered to pilot the Saints over the mountains in the Spring for $200. Mr. Cardinal wanted to hunt for the camp at the price of $200.
Hosea Stout moved his family into their new house. It was a twelve feet by twelve feet log home. The doors and windows had not yet been put in, and the wind blew between the logs, which caused them to shiver all night and get little sleep. But still, they were very happy to be out of their tent for the first time in over nine months. With pride, he wrote: “This day was the first day that my only living child [Louisa] now 7 months & 2 days old, ever was in a house, being born in the wild rude and uninhabited prairies and remained so till now ‘a perfect child of nature.’”
Brother Stout reflected on the recent months:
During which time we have under went almost every change of fortune that could be imagined. One half of my family so dear to me has been consigned to the silent grave & we who yet remain have often been brought to the verge of death. Often in storms & rain have I stood to hold my tent from uncovering my sick family, expecting every moment to see them exposed to the rain & wind which would have been certain death. Often have I lain and contemplated my own sickness & feeble situation, without any thing for myself and family to eat, with death staring me in the face and could only contemplate what would become of them in case I was called away. And worse yet, how often have I beheld my family one by one yielding up the Ghost & bereaving me of every earthly prospect with the melancholy reflection that there was yet more soon to follow. How often in sorrow & anguish have I said in my heart, “When shall my trials and tribulations end?” But admid all these advers changes, these heart wrending trials, not once yet have I ever regreted that I set out to follow the council of the people of God & to obey the voice of the spirit to flee from the land of the Gentiles.
A daughter, Ellen C. Sanders, was born to Ellis M. and Rachel Broom Sanders. Patty Sessions helped with the delivery.24
After a very cold night, the company arose, hunted for cattle, and traveled on by 9 a.m. They crossed the west fork of the Nishnabotna and traveled on to Keg Creek. The day was cold and the freezing wind was painful for the tired travelers.
The battalion stayed in their camp near the dry lake, waiting for the ox teams to arrive from the last spring. Twenty‑one mules were purchased for $716 from some Mexicans. This group at first thought the battalion was an enemy force and started to flee. The men also purchased dried meat. The meat was fat and oily which made them suspect it was horse meat. Henry Bigler wrote, “but let that be as it may, I thought it the sweetest meat I ever ate.”
That morning, James S. Brown was carried by two men to sick call. Dr. Sanderson asked, “What is the matter with you?” Brother Brown explained his sickness. Dr. Sanderson replied that he had never seen a set of men like this before. They wouldn’t report sick until they were nearly dead. Brown answered that he could not walk. The doctor said sharply, “Not a damned word out of you or I’ll make you walk.” He then ordered that Brown be given a dose of castor oil and laudanum which was twice the usual dose. When the steward did as he was ordered, he whispered to Brown that if he did not vomit the medicine, that he would die. Brown did this when he was taken back to his camp, but not before the medicine made him very sick. Men in his own company did not recognize him because he looked so near death.
Henry G. Boyle also was taken violently sick after he drank too much water when very warm and thirsty. The doctor gave him the medicine which Bolye did not swallow and instead later spit into the fire. Brother Boyle was anointed by the Elders and by nightfall was well.25
Elder Orson Spencer met with Thomas L. Kane, friend to the Mormons, in Philadelphia. Colonel Kane told Elder Spencer about his efforts in obtaining permission for the Saints to stay on Omaha Indian lands. He relayed the news that Lyman Wight (the missing apostle) had been among the Creek Indians where he had caused some trouble. The Creeks had driven him away. Lyman Wight’s actions had been the cause of prejudice of many in the government toward the Saints.
Colonel Kane, a Presbyterian, explained that he had been visited by high ranking members of his church. One of the chief priests exclaimed, “What in the name of God are you doing! Do you mean to uphold the Mormon religion? Will you show favor to the Mormons and have no pity upon your own denomination?” But Colonel Kane continued to see that the Church was treated fairly. He told Elder Spencer that many in the Congress still feared that the Saints would “loiter near the bluffs and not go over the Mountains at all.” Elder Spencer assured him that they would go over the mountains as soon as possible.
As Elder Spencer and Colonel Kane parted, Elder Spencer left a blessing on him in the name of the Lord. Colonel Kane shook his hand twice and returned the same blessing to Elder Spencer.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 463‑64; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 22; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 213; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 151; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 113‑15; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 374‑76; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 50‑1; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:46; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 209; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Patty Sessions Diary, Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62
The weather turned cold. Ice was spotted flowing on the Missouri River. Hosea Stout wrote, “Today I sat most of the day shivering over the fire burning and freezing in the house & a hard howling North wind blowing all day.” Eliza R. Snow, staying with the Stephen Markham family wrote: “Brother Markham topp’d the chimney as high as the roof & finish’d chinking the house which prov’d very fortunate for our comfort as the weather which had been very comfortable & fine for this season of the year became very cold and blustering towards night & is piercingly cold today.”
The traders, Grosclaude and Cardinal stayed in camp waiting to travel with John Kay and Samuel Gully to George Miller’s camp, near the Ponca’s village, more than 150 miles up the Missouri. Brigham Young was considering the idea of taking a more northern route across the plains. He sent a letter to George Miller that included, “The thought occurred to us that perhaps Brothers [James] Emmett and [John] Butler might like to explore that country [Yellowstone] this winter to see if there was a chance for a good location or any other speculation in that vicinity and become familiar with routes.”26
In the evening, Brigham Young and Orson Pratt met with the High Council at Horace Eldredge’s house. Also in attendance were all of the bishops from Winter Quarters. President Young recognized that the Winter Quarters wards were too large. He proposed that they be divided and additional bishops called. The current bishops were asked to divide the wards and nominate the new bishops.
A question arose regarding priesthood quorums. Several of the ordained bishops were Seventies. President Young instructed that the Bishopric belonged to the High Priest. Those who had been appointed bishops from among the Seventies must go out of the Seventies Quorum and be in the High Priest’s Quorum.
The brethren in Winter Quarters would be asked to tithe their labor. One day in ten would be for the benefit of the poor, or an equivalent cash donation could be given to his bishop. This labor would be paid for in advance of the other nine days.
Amy Prichard Gardner, age forty-six, died of canker. She was the wife of Elias Gardner.27
The company experienced a very cold night. A running creek was frozen in the morning. They were again delayed because of lost cattle and did not start their journey until 3 p.m. After traveling six miles, they camped at Mosquito Timber. Thomas Bullock wrote, “I saw the Bluffs ahead which made my soul rejoice and be glad, in the prospect of soon being at home again.”
A son, Noah Luman Shurtliff, was born to Luman A. and Altamire Gaylord Shurtliff.28
It was very cold overnight. Colonel Cooke thought it dipped down to ten or fifteen degrees. After a seven-mile march, the battalion reached Granite Pass. They believed that they had arrived at the Continental Divide, or as they called it, the backbone of North America. This was a difficult climb. There, one of the guides went after some grizzly bears that were spotted. Colonel Cooke wrote, “I saw three of them far up among the rocks, standing conspicuously and looking quite white in the sun, whilst the bold hunter was gradually approaching them. Soon after, he fired and in ten seconds again; then there was a confused action, and we could see one fall and the others rushing about with loud and fierce cries that made the mountains ring.” The bear was rolled down the hill and butchered. The men marched on and arrived at Animas Creek, where they found running water. They were very weary after a seventeen-mile march that took nine hours.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 464; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 213‑14; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 146; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 222; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 115‑18; “Journal Extract of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:46; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
John Kay, Samuel Gully, and the two traders started out for Ponca Village. Brigham Young and Willard Richards met with the High Council. President Young ordained several men to serve as bishops in Winter Quarters. The boundaries for the new wards were discussed and the bishops were counseled to try to keep a given city block in the same ward.
Three members of the High Council were released to attend to other business in the Seventies Quorum. They were Jedediah M. Grant, Benjamin L. Clapp and Albert P. Rockwood. The new High Council members were Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, and Henry G. Sherwood.
Hosea Stout worked on his house and filled in many of the cracks between the logs, which made it a little bit warmer inside.
Dolly H. Duncan, age thirty-five, died. She was the wife of William A. Duncan.29
Orville M. Allen’s company of poor Saints from Nauvoo arrived at Council Bluffs. Thomas Bullock wrote:
The boys ran a race to the top of a hill in order to get a peep at the Missouri River. . . . Passed by the Liberty Pole where we had a splendid view of the Missouri River. . . .My soul rejoiced exceedingly in the prospect of my soon arriving at home. I felt at Liberty indeed. Passed under the Bluffs to Miller’s Settlement,30 where we staid about an hour, endeavoring to procure food for our cattle, without success.
They traveled on across a prairie and over a mud slough. A new road had been constructed covered with poles which shook and vibrated the wagons very much. Soon they came to the Missouri River which contained running ice. They camped for the night on the east bank.
John M. Bernhisel wrote a letter to Brigham Young reporting that Governor Ford had left Nauvoo ten days earlier but left sixty of his troops stationed in the city. He reported that a meeting had been held at Carthage by the mob to consider if they should drive off the Governor and the “Jack Mormons.” The proposal was narrowly defeated by six votes. The mob purchased the printing press that had been used for the Nauvoo Eagle. They planned to publish a paper with Dr. Galland as the editor.
Elder Orson Spencer wrote a letter to Brigham Young from Philadelphia reporting his recent meeting with Thomas L. Kane. He wrote, “My own reflection upon the interview with Col. Kane is, that he is filled with the right spirit from head to foot at present.” After Colonel Kane left the Saints, he fell very ill again in Albany, New York and felt that he would die. He made his father, Judge Kane, pledge that he would never suffer any evil to come upon the Saints from the government.
In closing his letter, Elder Spencer wrote about his children.31 “Don’t forget to give a good piece of my love to six little orphan children, somewhat south of you on Main Street; I sometimes think of the Lambs in a stormy day because some of them had not very warm fleeces for cold weather. Tell them I am happy and they must be so too and I will write them before I cross the Atlantic.”
The battalion entered a narrow flat valley and traveled over stony ground. They soon had the benefit of traveling over a well‑worn trail. After a march of twelve miles, they camped on a stream.32 Colonel Cooke mentioned: “The high mountain range to our right is remarkably well wooded.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 464‑65, 482, 488‑91; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 214; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 118‑19; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Sister Jane Benbow died in the evening. Elder Wilford Woodruff wrote: “She drew her last breath & fell asleep and now rests from her labours and her works will follow her. She has administered to my wants and the wants of my brethren the Twelve in a foreign land and done much good for which she shall not lose her reward.”33
Elder Ezra T. Benson arrived home to Winter Quarters late in the evening from his mission to the Eastern States.
James Willard Cummings, age two months, died. He was the son of James and Aura Annett Cummings. William Henry Robison, age forty-four, died. He was the husband of Elizabeth Squires Robison. Don Carlos Whitney, age four, died. He was the son of Alonzo and Henrietta Whitney. A daughter, Mary Lowry Burnham, was born to Jacob and Mary C. Burnham. A daughter, Harriet Fairbanks, was born to John B. and Sarah Van Wagoner Fairbanks.34
The company retrieved water out of the Missouri River, which was about 20 feet below its bank. As usual, they had to search for lost cattle in the morning. They traveled six miles up river to the ferry crossing. Thomas Bullock wrote, “[We] then went on our way to our Camping ground at Sun down, rejoicing that we were now arrived at the end of our journey for this Season.”
The battalion followed a trail for three or four miles and came to a rare patch of swampy ground. The rest of the journey for the day was over a smooth, low table‑land. They passed many prairie dog villages and camped near some running water. Colonel Cooke wrote: “The oaks, first descending from the mountains to the hills, are now beginning to be found even dotting the valleys.” Robert Bliss thought that they passed through “the most beautiful valleys I ever saw.” Henry Bigler added: “The country abounds with plenty of game, hardly ever out of sight of antelope and the black‑tailed deer.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 465; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:96; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 276‑77; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 119; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:78; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly 5:2:46
A case was brought before the High Council. Nancy H. Davison complained that her bishop “would not let her have anything to eat, and that she had nothing to eat, nor her children anything to wear.” The bishop was withholding support because her brother would not pay his tithing. The Council ruled that this was no reason for her to not receive assistance from her bishop.
Mary Richards learned that Elder Ezra T. Benson returned from his mission to the Eastern States. She went to visit the Benson’s, hoping to hear news about her husband Samuel W. Richards, who had traveled to the East before sailing to his mission in England. She was delighted to receive from Elder Benson a package of gifts from her husband including “a work box in which was 2 letters, a satin ribbon & flowers for a bonnet, smelling bottle, 2 white handkerchiefs, . . . and a purse containing 10 dollars.” She wrote, “It was indeed a day of rejoicing to me to hear of the prosperity and well‑being of my dear companion. May heavens richest blessing attend him. Where he roams & return him safely to my bosom.”
Thomas Bullock crossed over the Missouri River and finally arrived at the Camp of Israel in Winter Quarters. He immediately went to see his beloved friend and adopted father, Willard Richards. Elder Richards gave him a father’s blessing. Brother Bullock wrote:
He told me to go to work and build me a log house, as I might as well blister my hands now as at a future period. . . . Went thro’ the City, where, nine weeks ago there was not a foot path or a Cow track, [but] now may be seen hundreds of houses, and hundreds in different stages of completion. [It is] impossible to distinguish the rich from the poor; the Streets are wide and regular and [there is] every prospect of a large City Being raised up here.
Thomas Bullock, who had served the Church faithfully as a clerk, also met with Brigham Young. He wrote that President Young “told me they would not leave me behind any more, and he would take me with him, even if he had to put me in his pocket. I felt to rejoice at our interview.”
Dolinea Adalia Young died. She was the daughter of William and Adalia Young.
The Pottawatomie High Council met at Council Point. Noah S. Buckley was called to serve on the Council.
The battalion marched through a pass in the Guadalupe Mountains and found an old road leading from Janos to San Bernardino. However, they soon came to what looked like a terrible obstacle. Colonel Cooke wrote: “We came to the verge of a great descent which led as far as the eye could read, into mountains and rocks, rough and confused beyond description.” They camped at some water back in the valley. The guides were sent off to determine if there was a better way to proceed. Word came back that the trail ahead was the only road possible, so plans were made how to attack the steep descent. Robert Bliss climbed a hill and saw that they were “hemmed in by mountains on the west, north, and south to all appearances.”
A daughter, Sarah Sharp, was born to Norman and Mary Jane Sargent Sharp.35
Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 122; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 87; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 120‑22; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 378‑79; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:78‑9
In the morning, the Saints at Winter Quarters assembled together for a Sabbath meeting. Elder Heber C. Kimball spoke to the Saints about their trials. “This people no doubt considered themselves oppressed, because of poverty and privation, but not so much as we in times passed have been; and some are almost driven to desperation and become careless and indifferent and forget to pray. This should not be but we should be helps to each other and pray for one another and thereby become saviors on Mount Zion.”
Elder Ezra T. Benson also spoke. He had recently returned from a mission to the Eastern States. He recalled the Lord’s hand in the Battle of Nauvoo: “Miracles were wrought in the deliverance of our brethren in the Battle of Nauvoo, when men stood where bullets flew around them like hail and but few were hurt.” A bullet had struck Brother Hyrum Kimball on the top of his head and knocked him down. “He jumped up and went at it again and likely knocked some sense in.”
Elder Benson was amazed to see the city of Winter Quarters. “Now when I look around and see what has been done within three months past plainly declares that the Lord is with Israel. No people could build up a city of this magnitude in the same time but the Nephites.” While in the east, Elder Benson made a trip to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. He visited with the former Postmaster General, Amos Kendall. He said the Kendall “assured me that he would do all that was in his power for us [the Saints] without charge.”36
Brigham Young next addressed the congregation. He realized that the weather was cold and windy, that the people wanted to go home. He promised to only conduct some necessary business. The mill race needed to be completed quickly, before the ground froze. He had been paying laborers to do the work, but time was now at the essence. He asked that the bishops make work assignments for the next few days. Each day, one third of the brethren should turn out to work on the mill race, without pay. They should be able to complete the work in three days.
At 4 p.m., a council meeting was held at Brigham Young’s house. Elder Ezra T. Benson gave an interesting account of his mission. He reported that James J. Strang and George J. Adams were still trying to pull away Church members.37
Elder Orson Pratt read a letter from Jesse C. Little. Elder Little had seen the letter that was sent to President James K. Polk from the Mormon Battalion members requesting that he appoint Jefferson Hunt or Jacob B. Backenstos as the commander of the battalion. Polk replied that he did not have the power to appoint the commander. Elder Little also reported the Thomas L. Kane continued to have warm feelings toward the Saints and said that he would do all in his power for them in Washington.
In the evening, the Twelve met with the High Council at Horace S. Eldredge’s house. Addison Everett and Thomas Lang were ordained as bishops. President Young instructed the bishops to see that houses were immediately built for the widows. These sisters should stop paying money to have houses constructed.
A report was read regarding the organization of the Winter Quarters police guard. The Council voted to pay each of the police seventy‑five cents per day. Horace S. Eldredge, the city marshal, was appointed to collect a police tax. The tax could be collected in cash or by wood, clothing or provisions.
Prices in the Missouri settlements were greatly inflated. The ferrymen were to be instructed to not allow any more men cross over the river who were going to trade in Missouri. These brethren were first to be instructed how to combat the outrageous prices.
Sister Jane Benbow was buried. John Benbow was too sick to go with the funeral procession to her grave.
Vincent Shurtliff and Jacob Houtz returned from Winter Quarters with supplies and mail. They brought back news of much sickness in the Winter Quarters settlement.
Colonel Cooke sent out a company of twenty‑one men to make or improve the road ahead through the Guadalupe mountains, near the border of present‑day New Mexico and Arizona. The wagons were emptied and the provisions put on 140 mules that were taken down the very steep road ahead. James S. Brown wrote: “I recall that from the lofty eminece we had reached on our march, the descent was very abrupt and difficult, through the rugged defiles to the west. . . . So with the pick‑axe and crow‑bar we commenced to clear the most feasible road down by chopping away the shrubbery and brush and removing that and the rocks.”
Henry Standage added: “I was detailed to go with the mules and returned at dark to the camp, very tired. The path that we travelled today was in reality a rugged one and such as I never wish to travel again and tomorrow we must let the empty wagons down with ropes and any way which may be thought best.”
During the morning Colonel Cooke met with Manuelita, the Apache chief. He tried to convince the chief that both the Americans and the Apaches were on the same side against the Mexicans.
The men were becoming increasingly sick in the colder weather. Few had sufficient clothing to keep warm.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 466, 67; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 25‑9; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 122‑24; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 379‑81; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 54; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 188‑189; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 221
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball crossed the river and went down to Trader’s Point. The weather was quite cold and ice was running on the river.
John D. Lee met with several families that he was looking after, including the family of James Pace, who was away in the Mormon Battalion. They had what could be described as a “Family Home Evening.” Brother Lee shared a message to the group and they later prayed together. He wrote: “The spirit of the Lord softened and cemented our feelings together, till we were almost like angels.”
Horace and Helen Whitney, daughter of Heber C. Kimball, moved into their new log house which she described: “This, like the majority of houses, was covered with sod, and the chimneys were built of the same. The house had one door and one window, with four panes of glass, but no floor.” The sod chimney did not work very well, especially during the cold weather, and the smoke would fill the home. It would later be replaced with a brick chimney. Sister Whitney recalled, “I shed many unbidden tears during the smoking period lasting a month.”
Sarah Leavitt described her temporary living quarters: “The boys made a camp of hay and I crawled into it, glad to get any place of shelter. I had to live there while they built a house and suffered very much for want of proper food and with the cold, as we could have no fire in a hay camp.”
Ezra T. Benson wrote a letter to Charles C. Rich at Mount Pisgah. The brethren had previously requested that Brother Rich appoint a High Council in Mount Pisgah and then to come to Winter Quarters. When Elder Benson traveled through Mount Pisgah, on the way back from his mission, Brother Rich explained to him a dilemma. He was worried about leaving Mount Pisgah without good leadership and he also worried about moving his family during the cold winter days. Elder Benson wrote:
Last evening the Twelve were in Council. I mentioned your case. They told me that they had sent for you to come up here. I told them that you wanted to come in the spring. It will all be right be for you to do just as you want to do. Come now or in the spring. I told our Prest. you were better off for your family & stock where you are than you could be here this winter. He said that he supposed that you would. We all want you here very much and I presume you will come as soon as you can.
Thomas Bullock crossed over the river with his wagon to Winter Quarters.
Mason Lyman Tanner, age five months, died of chills and canker. He was the son of Sidney and Louisa Tanner.
A son, David Duboise Dibble, was born to Philo and Hannah Ann Dubois Dibble.
The empty wagons and packs were sent off in the morning to be taken down the mountain. Colonel Cooke wrote: “The first three‑fourths of a mile was very bad. In one place, particularly, the descent was steeper than I have ever known wagons to make (ropes, of course, were used); one was very near turning over, the hind part over the fore part.” The wagon came loose and rolled down the mountain. It was so badly damaged that it had to be left behind.
James S. Brown described the event:
The wagons were lowered for a distance of half a mile or so, men standing as best they could on the mountain side, letting the vehicle down gradually, then holding it till other men could get a fresh footing and lower it still further. Thus one by one the wagons were let down in safety, all but one. By some mishap that got adrift from the men, and to save their lives they had to let it go until there was nothing of it but scrap iron and kindling‑wood.
Henry W. Bigler recorded, “I think no other man but Cooke would ever have attempted to cross such a place, but he seemed to have the spirit and energy of a Bonypart.”
The battalion descended about one thousand feet, marched for about eight miles, and made their camp in a valley about 150 feet wide, near plenty of water. Later, one of the interpreters reported that he had found a route to Guadalupe Pass, that would have been a much easier way through the mountains. Colonel Cooke continued to be frustrated with his guides for not knowing anything about this territory.
Henry Standage wrote about the battalion’s food supply: “We have been eating worn out oxen for some time, working the oxen as long as they could be made to go and then killing them for the command. The men are literally worn out and eating much meat as we do now, I believe makes men sluggish and feel more like worn out beings through diseased cattle.”
The battalion was near the present‑day New Mexico/Arizona/Mexico boarder. Colonel Cooke described a rock that later was known as “Cooke’s Rock”: “At one spot there is a pass not thirty yards wide on one side. A vast rock over‑hangs the road. Just opposite, on a vertical base of solid rock forty feet high, rests another rock of rounded cubical form of about twenty‑five feet dimension. On its top rests still another of spherical form about twelve or fifteen feet in diameter.”
Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 25‑9 Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 273; Sarah Leavitt History (1919), 36; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:46; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 124‑27; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 189; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 54‑5; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Arrington, Charles C. Rich, 108
1Truman O. Angell was baptized into the Church in 1833. He helped to build the Nauvoo Temple. In 1848 he became the Architect for the Church.
2Nelson Higgins had been in command of this company, but he had left with the sick detachment for Pueblo.
3The Leonard family would later settle in Manti, Utah.
4Rosetta Adaline Snow would be a member of the first Relief Society and first choir in Brigham City, Utah.
5Moses Simpson Emmett was the son of James Emmett. The Moses Emmett family would later settle in Ogden, Utah.
6The White family would later help settle Iron County, Utah.
7Milton Kelly was a member of Company E, and went to Pueblo with his wife as part of the first sick detachment.
8George W. Cummings was away with the Mormon Battalion. He was at this time in Pueblo, part of the second sick detachment. Another son of the Cummings would die in Winter Quarters two days later.
9This camp was located in present‑day, Williamsburg, New Mexico.
10William Henry Kimball was twenty years old. He would later serve a mission to England in 1854. He drove mail between Salt Lake City and Park City from 1870-1885 and helped settle Parley’s Park, Utah.
11This new cemetery is the site of present‑day Mormon Pioneer Cemetery in Florence, Nebraska. The first Winter Quarter’s cemetery was probably just west of this cemetery. When a house was built on the same hill, north of State Street, pioneer graves were found while excavating for a basement. It has also been rumored that when State Street was cut into the hill, graves were found.
12Alfred Boaz Lambson joined the Church in 1843. He was the brother-in-law of George A. Smith. He arrived in Utah, in 1847 and settled in Salt Lake City.
13The hole is now called “Lost Well” and is located at the head of Jug Canyon.
14Amos Babcock served as the Elders Quorum President in Kirtland, Ohio.
15William Smith Muir was away with the Mormon Battalion. He would later work in the mines in California. He would not rejoin his family until 1848. He later served a mission to Scotland from 1850-53.
16Martin Harris’ mission turned out to be a failure. He soon would withdraw from the followers of James J. Strang and helped to establish the short-lived “Church of Christ” along with William E. McLennin in Kirtland, Ohio. (See January 23, 1847.)
17Jonathan Calkins Wright was baptized in 1843 by Hyrum Smith. He served for a time as the city marshal in Nauvoo. He settled his family in Brigham City, Utah, where he served as a counselor to Elder Lorenzo Snow in the presidency of the stake.
18Joseph Lee Robinson joined the Church in 1836. Susan was later baptized in 1839. He was the bishop of the Winter Quarters 7th Ward. Joseph later went to Utah in 1848. He later settled in Farmington served as bishop and then served on the Davis Stake High Council in 1877.
19The Brower family later settled in Grantsville, Utah.
20About ten of the holes have been observed in recent years.
21Isaac Chauncey Haight (Sr.) and Eliza Haight joined the Church in 1839. He served in the Nauvoo Police. He arrived in Utah in September, 1847. In 1853, he was called to take charge of the iron works in Iron County. He moved to Cedar City, Utah, where he was elected mayor. In 1855, he was called to serve as stake president. He later settled in Toquerville, Utah.
22Philip Garner was away with the Mormon Battalion. He went to Pueblo with the second sick detachment because he had fallen into a deep ravine and broke three ribs while on guard duty. He took his family to Utah in 1849. Joseph Garner grew up, married Mary Maria Phillips, and settled in Ogden, Utah.
23This was Leroux’s water hole in the Little Hatchet Mountains.
24Ellis Mendenhall Sanders joined the Church in 1843. He arrived in Utah, in 1848 and later settled his family in St. George, Utah.
25Near this camp, ten years earlier, was a treacherous massacre, known as the Johnson Massacre. An American named Johnson and seventeen others had come from Sonora to plunder the Apaches. Juan Jose, an outlaw Apache had been robbing mails and the Mexican government issued a proclamation that anything taken from the Apache was the rightful property of the captors. Johnson’s company decided to take advantage of the situation. Juan Jose was asked to bring his band, including women and children, into their camp for a feast. Johnson concealed a bomb near some food. About 500 Indians gathered for the feast. At Johnson’s signal gun powders was ignited and many Indians were mangled. The company then fired their guns on the Indians. Juan Jose was killed. Johnson’s party fled and later killed seven of their pursuers.
26Brothers Emmett and Butler never made this exploration.
27Amy was the mother of five children. She joined the Church in 1842. Elias Gardner was a member of the original pioneer company of 1847.
28Luman Shurtliff had recently returned to Garden Grove from rescuing some poor at the Mississippi River. He would later settle his family in Weber County.
29William Duncan would die two months later.
30Miller’s Settlement was later known as Kanesville.
31Their mother, Catharine Spencer, died shortly after leaving Nauvoo. (See March 12, 1846 in volume one.)
32Present‑day Cloverdale Creek.
33John and Jane Benbow were among Elder Woodruff’s converts in England. John Benbow had provided substantial funds to help publish the Book of Mormon in England.
34John Boylston Fairbanks joined the Church in 1843. He settled his family in Payson, Utah, were he was bishop for ten years and a city councilman.
35Norman Sharp had died on the way to Pueblo with the first sick detachment. Mary Sharp had her ten-year-old sister, Caroline Sargent, with her at Pueblo.
36Amos Kendall was involved in the discussions with President Polk and Elder Jesse C. Little regarding raising the Mormon Battalion.
37George J. Adams had been sent to Russia on a mission in 1843. After Joseph Smith’s death, he desired to lead the Church and went east, proselyting for Strang. Later, in 1865, after Strang was killed, Adams appeared in Jonesport, Maine, claiming to be the founder of the “Church of the Messiah.” In 1866, he left with a large group of followers for the Holy Land. They created a settlement in Jaffa, but their northeastern crops failed in the desert climate. Many died of starvation. Adams deserted the colony and the survivors returned to the United States.