Transcript for Jesse B. Martin journals, 1853-1857
The Company of 31 wagons left the Camp and started for florance [Florence] and traveled 3 miles Camped for the night.
we lay in Camp all day. Bro James A. Little Came to Camp and Settled up with the company for their wagons and teams.
this Morning Elder Little Came to Camp and organized the Company. I was Appointed the Captain of the Company after we were organized we got up our Cattle and traveled 4 miles. many of the cattle were quite wild and we had some trouble in getting that distance
we started at 8 o’clock traveled 14 miles Camped 1½ miles west of Moreingo. This night Mary
Ann Jane Dyer was possessed with evel spirits. I Commanded them to tell me their names they said their names was Mammon and butry, after we had Cast them out in the name of Jesus another Came and I asked his name and he said his name was Mortecd Mortical. after he had told me his name, I Commanded him to depart in the name of Jesus Christ and left forth with and she felt much better, and was able to travel the next day.
the Camp started at 8 o’clock and traveled 12 miles no bad luck or accidents to day.
traveled 5 miles and Camped for the day. It was very warm & all the Ladies in the tent catching fleas. In the evening we had [a] meeting which was addressed by Elder Daney & Captain J[esse] B Martin, when this meeting was over, we had a good sing & then after private prayers in our tents, we retired for the night.
This morning we had some very heavy showers and the camp was delayed from starting 2 hours. During this time I took a dozen men & went to fill up a mud hole with brush. this day we travelled 13 miles & passed through Broohly, we camped out on the prairies where [there] was no wood.
This day we Started at ½ past 7 in the morning & left the city of Greenhall on the right of us, & passed through Westfield at 4 o’clock PM at this place Sister Annis Bedford received a letter from the hand cart company announcing that all was well & happy & in good health. We camped about one mile from Skunk River, after toiling up a very step hill. A little dissatisfaction arose in the camp between Elder Charles Root Dana and Brother [John] Primm [Pymm] . Brother Primm thought that his [he] did not assist him sufficiently, being the captain of the first ten—In the evening I spoke to them all after prayers, on the evils of fault finding, with each other, when the spirit of anger was upon them we then retired to rest, after having prayers in our own tent.
This morning there was rain an slight showers but did not hinder us from starting at the proper time. we crossed the Skunk River south & ascended the <hill on the> opposite side which was very steep & 5 or 6 of the brethren assisted the cattle up the hill. We travelled 14 miles. We passed through Newton & saw several apostates who had remained behind last year. Mr. Lloyd & Elizabeth Storer, who came up there this season unknown to the Elders of the Church. We camped 2 miles out of the city & in the evening were very much annoyed and insulted by strangers coming among us & shouted & hollowed like wild creatures.
This morning we got away from our camping ground at ½ 7 & got a good start in the early part of the day. The cattle traveled faster this day than they had ever done before, but only traveled 10 miles on account of scarcity of water for the cattle, some of the saints traveled on ahead of the teams and missed the way; so that when they returned & overtook the teams, they were very much tired and footsore. We passed over north Shunk [Skunk] River.
Arose at 4 & started at ½ past 7. We traveled very fast & at 12 o’clock passed through the township of Bever [Beaver] & camped here for dinner. We crossed Mud [Muddy] creek & four mile creek & after a journey of 17 miles camped about 2 miles from Fort Desmoine [Des Moines] on the Banks of the Desmoine River. This day at about 3 in the afternoon we passed through the town of Sunrise.
This morning we started at the usual time & crossed the River Desmoine for which we paid toll at the rate of 30 cents per waggon, we went through the town which is a very pretty place situated in a valley surrounded by hills covered with timber & flowers which gave it a very romantic appearance. We crossed sand creek & camped for dinner after travelling 7 miles on the banks of the Racoon River just as we had camped the stage coach came up and stopped & two of the American Elders viz Elder J Young & Elder B Young got out and enquired for the Captain of the company, they remained about 2 hours with us & addressed the company, they brought cheering news <from the valley> to many of those traveling [....ward] after which 26-5 was presented to them by the company. We did not travel any further this day.
This morning we started at ½ 7 & traveled much quicker that usual as my team took the lead. One of the oxen whose leg was very sore is now much better & have faith that it will soon be better. I had very much trouble to find water for the cattle to drink & could not do so before we had traveled 12 miles. In the afternoon we traveled 4 miles & making in the whole 11. We camped for the night 2 miles from the town of Adel as we heard that the small pox was raging in that place.
We traveled 2 miles & then forded the North Racoon River & passed through the town, this morning my team was startled by two dogs, which caused them to turn suddenly around & almost upset the waggon. Susan Ann Bennett was in the waggon & fell out but was not very much hurt. We travelled this day 12 miles and were obliged to camp early in the afternoon as a thunder storm came on. I was wet quite through but would not take any thing off for fear of taking cold. The place w[h]ere we camped was called New Ireland
This morning we did not leave our camping ground until about ½ past 11, when we passed over the middle Racoon river. It was very difficult traveling as the rain formed in torrents then blew in our faces and the roads were very soft & miry. We passed the town of Fairview & after travelling 10 miles we camped for the evening.
This day was very wet & we were obliged to remain in camp and could not travel. It was very cold & in the morning we had a small fire in the tent which made it more comfortable. In the afternoon I went out and got some brush to lay on the ground inside the tent.
This morning being favorable for us we prepared for our journey & after trading my lame ox for another one & gave the man 15 dollars to boot, we started at about
12 8 o’clock, we traveled fast, and after traveling 16 miles camped near [blank space]. In the morning we crossed South R Coon River. This day we passed through Dalmanlithia, a small town or village.
This morning I arose with the sun, and got all the people up a little earlier, we started on our journey at 7 o’clock and got on very fast. We travelled 13 miles before dinner. We remained near a creek about 2 hours and then yoked up our oxen and travelled on for 9 miles farther & camped near some timber.
This morning we started at 7 o’clock and after travelling a short time we met 4 of the bretheren from the valley. Their names were as follows, Brother W. Smith, Brother William Lee [blank space] W Carter & J Wakely. They brought good [-] with them respecting the prosperity of those in the vallies & the mountains. We sang some of our songs for them and they in return sang us the missionaries Hand Cart song & gave me a copy of the words. They then went away on their mission to Canada & we set out once more on our journey, we passed through the Grove city, which consisted of three houses & one stable & camped for dinner about 3 miles from the city of [St.] Louis, <as we went through this city>
here we saw two or three stone houses. We passed the river East Mishnabodna [Nishnobotna] & then went by the Indian city as we passed this place, there was one of the wooden houses on fire. We passed over Indian Creek & Spring creek & camped on or about near 3 miles from the city of [St.] Louis, after traveling 18 miles.
This morning we started at 7 o’clock & traveled over the prairie for 10 miles & there camped for dinner. After which we passed on for 6 miles & camped at the end of a wood near a small creek, where we obtained water for our cattle & drinking water at a small spring. We camped at about 4 o’clock & in the evening I called a meeting and several of the Brethren addressed the saints.
This morning we started a 7 o’clock & after travelling through some thick timber & then passed the West Nishanbonda at the place we paid [a] toll at the rate of 30 cents per waggon, we then passed through the city of Macedonia and after traveling 10 miles camped for dinner near a small creek where we got water for ourselves & cattle. At ½ past one we started & travelled 9 miles in the afternoon we passed over silver creek & travelled 6 miles & camped near hagg creek. This day Sister [Charlotte Terrin] Bamford’s [Banford] child died & was buried near this creek. It
was had been afflicted with the black Canker. In the evening at 7 o’clock I went in the stage to Bluff City [Council Bluffs] a distance of 12 miles & lodged in a tavern that night.
I left Bluff City [Council Bluffs] at 8 o’clock & travelled in the stage as far as [illegible] a distance of 6 miles & crossed the River Missouri & went in a coach to Florence 4 miles farther arrived here at 12 o’clock, where I found Elder Munsser starting on business for Elder Snow who had to keep ahead on account of a mob being in persuit of him who wished to kill him. I remained here until 6 in the evening when with Brother John Taylor & Henry Miller, I rode 6 miles through Iowa in their carriage & then returned on foot to my camp, which was situated half a mile to the East of Bluff City.
This morning having a long journey before us, we got started very early at about 6 o’clock, as we travelled very difficult roads & rather quick. One of the Brethrens waggons <named Wilson> overturned into the creek & upset almost everything out of the wagon into muddy water. At the time the accident occurred there were three children in the waggon the youngest a baby was nearly drowned but with care was soon returned to a good degree of health, just before we arrived at the R Missouri one of Brother Gillis’s oxen died, caused by heat & excess of drinking water. We crossed [on] the ferry & all got into camp at about 8 o’clock in the evening.
This day the rations for our journey across the plains were mostly given out by Brother A Munsser[.] I went up into the city & dined with my sister who came from the valley last fall.
We remained in Florence all day. I unpacked my large box and traded it for a freight trunk, it being too heavy for the teams. The sisters were busy washing and the brethren were preparing the waggons for the journey. The day was fine. The sun shown in all its glory, and the air was very hot.
This morning 125 dollars was raised to buy me a horse to guide the company across the plains. I purchased the horse in the afternoon of Bishop Cunningham. We were obliged to remain in Florence all day on account of a severe thunder storm which lasted but greater part of the day. Our tent was flooded in a few minutes and some of the inmates had to leave sitting & remain standing. I for one took my flight to the waggon & there wrote a letter to Mrs W. Norris. This morning I won a watch which had been put up at a
rff raffle. Valued at 12 dollars which I intend as a present for my wife.
This morning we made preparation for starting on our journey, but on account of several oxen being lost[,] we did not get off until the afternoon. We started at ½ past one & as we went along, I called at my sisters and she gave me some butter for the plains & some golden syrup for my wife and some presents of baskets and sweetmeats for my children. As we went over the brow of the hill I passed my grandmothers grave the inscription on it was Biggler. We traveled 6 miles and camped for the evening near Little Papea [Papillion] River
This morning we started at ½ past 6 and travelled in the cool of the day. We passed Great Papea [Papillion] and camped for dinner near a small creek when some men sent out by U.S. Government passed us they were going out to prepare the roads for the mail. We camped in the evening ½ a mile near Elk Horn as a number of Apostates from the valley camped near the Horn. In the evening when I had gone to the ferry, a man came up to the camp & a number of apostates with him swearing & using all manner of threatnings to the saints after I returned a number more came and vowed vengeance on us they declared that if I would shine myself to them they would kill me, but I took myself quietly away to brother Hall’s tent and left them to talk to the winds.
This morning at about 2 o’clock there was a terrible thunderstorm and I was aroused by the captain of the guard who called me saying that the oxen had strayed away[.] I got up and saddled my horse & went in search of them. They were not all found until 2 o’clock in the afternoon, when we yoked up, went down to the river & got ferried over, we then travelled and camped for the night about 1 mile west of the Elk Horn. Many threats had been made by a party taking hops the fery saying they would scatter our cattle & said they had done so the night previous. In the evening at 11 o’clock the same party came with a brolin flute & saxhorn to the mouth of the corral. I arose with my pistols, went round the corral & went to see if the cattle were all right & passed up some of the brethren & when they saw us so diligent they went away no doubt greatly surprised & disappointed.
This morning being fine we started out at the usual time, we went about 1½ miles & crossed leather creek, here, there was an accident occurred. One of brother [George] Swindles axletreas [axletrees] trees broke & delayed us from traveling farther, here brother Gillis’ father was buried and after waiting nearly 8 hours we travelled 11 miles & camped in the flat ground this night we were very much troubled with misquetoes [mosquitoes].
This morning was fine and cool & well adapted for travelling quickly we travelled 12 miles and after passing <b>y
through the [the] City of Fremont where a little boy came to me from the city and requested me to tell his folks living with Samuel Richards that William Burton was all well. We passed over Shell creek & camped there for dinner. In the afternoon we travelled 10 miles & in the evening camped on the banks of the Platte river & were visited in the evening by the men who were out on an exploring expedition.
This morning being favorable we started at 7 o’clock and travelled 10 miles & camped on the banks of the river Platte. In the afternoon our company was overtaken by that of Brother Taylor. I rode on with them to the place where we camped for the night on the Platte River, here the Government men came to see us as they had camped near to us. In the afternoon after I had left my company, there was an accident occurred of brother Pimms’ boy named Austin was kicked by an ox & fell under the wheels of the waggon & his arm was broken & severly bruised, but it was set by one of the brethren named Rogers[.] We traveled 14 miles this afternoon.
This morning we started at 7, the weather was favourable and when we had travelled 6 miles we stopped at a small Lake to water the cattle & then went on 6 miles farther and camped for dinner at Loup Fork. In the afternoon we travelled 10 miles farther & camped near Looking Glass creek. We passed Columbus & there about one dozen men went marching about celebrating the 4th of July.
This morning we started at ½ past 7 & and travelled 10 miles where we camped near a large field cultivated by the bretheren who lived at Bess [Beaver] settlement[.] here we remained 2 hours and then crossed Loup Fork
without accident when Sister [Agnes Mathieson] McQuarry’s thigh was bruised by falling in the water & the wheel passing over her. Brother Taylor’s company passed us here & Brother [James] Carrigan who had been with them since the morning of the 4th went with them 2 miles when Brother Snow & Brother Taylor blessed him & told him to return with their blessings to me & to the camp & thanked us for this kindness & said [text missing]
This morning after a long travel of 12 miles we stopped where there was not any water for the cattle or the saints after remaining here two hours we started again and went 6 miles & found water in a slough. The saints found water to drink about 2 miles off in the river.
This day we travelled 13 miles before we found any water this morning[.] I startled a deer but could not take aim on account of the restlessness of my horse[.] in the afternoon we went 6 miles and passed a grave on the road marked Henry Evans 1853. I passed a sign made by J Evans saying that they passed this place on the 3rd of this month and all the hand cart company were well. We travelled 7 miles.
This morning we commenced our journey at 7 o’clock and travelled 15 miles before we stopped for dinner & then we did not find any water for ourselves or for the cattle but travelled on after resting 2 hours for 5 miles farther where
we fou by turning a little from the pathway, we found a beautiful well of spring water & a sl[o]ugh to water the cattle. I and two of the bretheren went out thinking that we saw a buffalo, but instead of this, we found a yoke of cattle which we supposed to have been lost by the appostates we met at Elk Horn.
This morning we travelled 12 miles and camped for dinner near pra[i]rie creek where we found both wood and water, we remained here, 2½ [hours] and then travelled 6 miles and camped on the same river for the night.
This morning we started at 7 and travelled 10 miles before camping for dinner, we met the bretheren who had been part of the way with brother Taylor’s company[.] in crossing a sl[o]ugh about a mile from wood river, my oxen gee’ed off on the banks & overturned my waggon, but fortunately neither wagon nor goods were injured. In the afternoon, we travelled 8 miles and camped at 7 o’clock near the same river
After a severe thunderstorm, the morning proved fine and favourable for travelling[.] we left camp at about 10 o’clock on account of Br. Turners waggon being mended, which had been broken by overturning into a slough. We travelled 13 miles and camped for dinner near the Platte River[.] We travelled 7 miles and camped near Elm Creek
This morning we had a thunderstorm but again the day was fine & favourable for traveling we left camp at 7 o’clock & went 7 miles, some of the bretheren went hunting Buffaloes. We camped for dinner near a creek, left at 2 o’clock, we travelled 9 miles and camped near Buffalo Creek. Directly after camping a severe & heavy thunderstorm arose which lasted several hours.
At about 2 o’clock this morning the Captain of the Guard roused me saying there was a Stampede among the cattle, but it being very dark we could not go to seek them until daybreak, when I and others of the bretheren went in search of them & recovered all of them 9 excepted, which we were in search of all the day but were unsuccessful.
This morning I and others of the Bretheren went in search of the lost cattle, but were again unsuccessfull. I returned to camp and called a meeting during the time I was taken very sick & was obliged to go into my tent w[h]ere after resting some time I felt much better. I think this was caused by fatigue and being obliged to drink stagnant water. Bro. Rogers and 3 other bretheren were out all night seeking the lost cattle.
This morning we started and after travelling about a mile met the bretheren who were returning after an unsuccessful search for our oxen, we then went five miles farther & crossed Buffalo creek without hinderance or accident[.] We then went on 12 miles farther and camped for the night near the Platte River[.] We had just got comfortably settled & I was returning from meeting three of the sisters when most of the cattle started off and I and some of the bretheren after them. We returned with them but were not sure that we had all of them as it was dark.
This morning I got up very early and found that only one third of the cattle were in the herd, three out of four of mine were gone[.] I and Br. Rogers with Brother [David] Curtis & others of the Bretheren went in search of them & returned when we came to look at them we found 7 missing[.] among them was my lost oxen. Br. [Charles Root] Dana & Rogers and other brethren went in search of them but could not find them we were some sixteen cattle short. In the afternoon I kalled a council meeting which consisted of Elder Dana, [James] Carrigan, [Oliver G.] Workman & [.y...], over which I presided[.] The condition of the camp was taken into consideration & it was found necessary that 3 or four teams should return to Be[a]ver Settlement on account of
the shortness of the weakness of their teams, shortness of their provisions but mostly for the grumbling & the discontented spirit which pervaded throughout their families. Their names are as follows, John Gillis, [blank space] Greener, Thomas H Lat[e]y[.] after which I called a meeting & laid before the saints what I considered the best for the camp. They seemed very dissatisfied & <some of the[m]> left the meeting grumbling. I have felt much depressed in spirit for several days past caused by the divison in camp.
It was decided at the meeting this morning that the before mentioned bretheren should return & sisters and children with one bretheren out of their company should have provisions and go on with us to the valley. The cattle were then brought up into the corral, yoked up & part of them were fastened to the waggons when I was called away to settle a dispute between Captain A [Oliver] G Workman & Father Gibbons. It was about their teams & while they were in the height of it, the cattle were startled & ran with the waggons, crushed them together breaking several yokes, three wagons & killed two persons, Edward Howard, aged [blank space] and John Bamford [Banford] aged [blank space]  and wounding some & breaking the limbs of others. After all was made quiet, the cattle sent to herd, & the wounded taken care of. I called a meeting & talked to the saints ¾ of an hour on the division & rebellion in the camp, showing them that the chastening hand of the Lord was upon us, & that I would not move from that ground unless they would covenant before God to listen & abide my counsel from that place up to the vallies of the mountains. The vote was unamious with the exception of those previously mentioned who did not vote either way. I then told them if they would keep the covenant they had made in humility, they should move from that place in quietness & without stampeding or running off with waggons. Several of the bretheren spoke their feelings & said they would be one with me. We then buried the dead & after this mended several waggons, which had been a little injured formed a corral & then at 8 o’clock sent for the cattle to fasten them up partly outside the waggon & put the others in the corral. I then gave the signal for prayers. we had good time & many of the Bretheren and sisters spoke their feelings & rejoiced in their hearts that such a different spirit pervaded in the camp from what had previously been the case. I felt much better than I had for sometime. I then went into the tent, and
rol had private prayer[.] after this I retired to rest.
This morning we set out on our journey the cattle were quiet & everything happened as I had said it should be, we went about 5 miles, & watered the cattle in a branch of the River Platte in the afternoon[.] we had a very good travel about 11 miles & camped near
skunk creek River Platte where after prayers we corralled the cattle who seemed quiet[,] peaceful & content.
In the morning we had the cattle turned out of the corral, & after prayers commenced our journey, this morning we met three apostates with their waggons & horse harnis. we travelled to the Point of the Bluffs near the R Platte where we camped for dinner, here we remained 1½ hours & then went on 5 miles farther and camped near skunk river, here we had a testimony meeting the bretheren and sisters expressed their feelings with a determination to do better for the future.
This morning we travelled 6 miles & crossed the Skunk creek, we travelled 4 miles farther & camped about ¾ of a mile from the Platte[.] in the afternoon we went 3 miles farther and passed a beautiful cold spring, this day we travelled 17 miles & camped near a clear stream of water where we all camped quite safely & corralled our cattle.
This morning after travelling 5 miles we watered the cattle in the Platte River[.] we then went 6 miles & camped for dinner near the Platte. In the afternoon 3 of the Sue [Sioux] Indians overtook us & followed us to our camp 6 miles farther, this afternoon we passed several creeks. I bought some moccasins & gave the Indians some sugar, Several of the bretheren made them presents of sugar, flour, etc.
This morning we crossed Nouth [North] Bluff Fork at about 10 o’clock[.] here the water was sweet, cold & clear. we went for 8 miles & camped about 2 hours, in the afternoon we went 4 miles: we passed the sandy bluffs east & west foot & camped near the River Platte. We were very much troubled with flies.
This morning we started our journey at about 7 o’clock, but only travelled very slow as the roads were very sandy[.] we travelled about 8 miles & passed sandy bluffs & camped for dinner near the Platte River, a little after 3 o’clock PM we went on our journey & after travelling 4 miles through sand and creeks we camped for the night on the banks of the Platte River.
This morning we commenced our journey at the usual time[.] the roads were rather sandy, we passed through goose creek & also as we went along we passed many springs of clear cold & good water. After this the road was good and the teams went very quick[.] after travelling 8 miles & crossing Rattlesnake creek we camped on the banks of the far famed River Platte on the opposite side of which we could see the cedar trees[.] we remained here two hours and at ¼ past one we set out again & travelled seven miles and camped near the River Platte where there was plenty of good feed and a stream of running water. Soon after we camped, a thunderstorm came on which lasted about two hours.
This morning started at 7 o’clock & crossed the streams & driving a distance of 4 miles, we passed 5 springs of clear water, we then passed on to Wolfcreek crossing camp creek a distance of 6 miles & then camped for dinner. We found the skeleton of a buffaloe’s head on which we found considerable writing by B Ashby who passed that place on the 26th inst several of the women were sick belonging to the handcart company. After dinner I ordered that each person should double team while they went over the sandy bluffs a distance of ¾ of a mile[.] this was done in about 2 hours, we then went on for four miles and camped near a creek where was good feed for the cattle & plenty of water.
This morning after going a little way, we passed watch creek & after going seven miles where we came ash hollow. we met some men returning from California we went 3 miles farther and came to Castle creek, which was situated opposite to Castle Bluffs. In the afternoon we travelled seven miles, we left the main road and went about ¾ of a mile to the left and camped on the banks of the River Platte.
This morning we did not go onto the main road, but kept in a by path along the banks of the Platte, travelled nine miles and camped for dinner on the Platte where we found good feed for the cattle. Twenty or thirty of the sisters disobeyed counsel and took the wrong road & went out of the way two or three miles. We remained here 2 hours & then travelled eight miles, we camped on the banks of the Platte about half a mile from Crabbe [Crab] Creek[.] here we found good feed for the cattle.
This morning we started our journey at ½ past seven. We safely crossed the creek and the early part of the morning the roads were good, but after this they were very sandy, but there was a good breeze which caused it to be much pleasanter for travelling[.] I and some of the sisters went on the bluff to look for the chimney rock but were not successful, however we went again & the second time gained the object in view...this morning we travelled 12 miles & camped for dinner near the Platte where we found plenty of good feed for the cattle; in the afternoon we travelled 11 miles along a good road & camped for the night on the banks of the Platte where we found good feed for our cattle.
This morning when we were at prayers a severe thunderstorm came on which delayed us from starting until nine o’clock. when we set out. we travelled nine miles and camped for dinner on the Platte. That feed here was poor. That afternoon after travelling one mile we came to the Sandy Bluffs fourteen miles from chimney rock. We traveled five miles & camped on the banks of the Platte & drove our cattle on [illegible] island there being no feed whatsoever.
[Scanned images of diary and text transcription also available on "Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869" web site, http://overlandtrails.lib.byu.edu/.]