Transcript for Account concerning Erastus Snow and the Mormon Pioneers, 1920, 45-46


January 10, 1920

One summer's day in the year 1884 I walked up the street with the late Erastus Snow from Z.C.M.I. up to the Eagle Gat[e]. I asked him to tell me the story of his coming into the valley ahead of the Poineers [Pioneers]. This story has been published several times and I need not repeat it.


However, Brother Snow went into considerable detail in telling that President [Brigham] Young, while they were at their camp on the east side of Emigration Canyon mountains, was lying in Elder Woodruff's spring wagon. He said President Young at that time, was on his bed in the wagon, sick with what they called "mountain fever." Rising up and resting his head in his open hand he told Brother Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow to select fifteen or twenty of the young men to go ahead of the company and cut a roadway through the brush so that they could ge[t] their wagons down into the valley. President Young said, "Don't try to build any dugways along the side hills, it will take too long, but just cut the brush in the creek beds and cut an opening where we can get the wagons through quickly. Then when you get through the canyon into the valley, bear to the north and you will find a nice stream of water. Now, as soon as you get your camp established there throw a dam in that creek and flood a few acres of ground and plow it as soon as possible and get your potatoes and other seeds planted."

Standing at the Eagle Gate Erastus Snow said to me: "I don't know how Brother Brigham knew that we should turn to the north and that we should there find a nice stream of water, but we did just as he told us and we pitched camp hurriedly and threw a dam in the creek." (At this time Brother Snow and I were standing right at the Eagle Gate and he pointed to a little southeast of the theater) "Over there in that block is the spot as near as I can tell, where we built the dam, and of course the irrigated land would be below that dam. ["]That," said Brother Snow, "so far as I know, is the first act of irrigation ever performed by the Anglo-Saxon race. We were acting directly under Brother Brigham's instruction when we did it. And so," said he, "when Brother Brigham with the company came into the valley on the 24th of July, we had a few acres of land irrigated, plowed, and some seed in the ground just as he had told us to do."


C[harles] W[ilson] Nibley