Transcript for John Brown reminiscences and journals, 1843-1896, Volume 1, 56-70

On the 8th of April we Started from Winter Quarters

on the 11th we crossed the Horn on a raft[.] Next day the Twelve had to return to Winter Quarters[.] I accompanied them back[.] we were gone three days returning back to the Horn the third day[.] the camp had all gone on to the Platt[e] river excepting my teams & G. A. Smith's wagon which were still at the Horn. The men had caught some fish and found a bee tree[.] We served up a fine supper[.] brother O[rson] Pratt[,] [Wilford] Woodruff[,] G[eorge]. A[.] Smith[,] A[masa] Lyman & E[rastus] Snow took Supper with us also breakfast[.] after breakfast next morning brother Pratt took out the Sextant and an observation of the Sun & obtained the true time[.] About this time Pres. Young & [Heber C.] Kimbal[l] whom we had left behind came up[.] we helped them across the river after which we all Followed on after the Camp which was camped on the Platt[e]

On Friday the 16th of April 1847 the Pioneer Camp was organized[.] we had 145 men <3 women & 2 children> & 73 waggons[.] Step[h]en Markham was electeted [elected] Colonel to take command of the whole & Shadrick Roundy and John Pack Major. I was chosen captain of the 13th ten[.] We lay by every Sunday when we could get a good camp & generally hel[d] meeting and received much valuable instruction

On the 21st we passed the Pawnees[.] made them some presents but they were not satisfied[.] we left them mad at the old Mission on the loup[e] fork[.] we got hay to feed our anilmals [animals] on there b[e]ing no Grass yet[.] we had to haul grain for our animals[.] The first attempt to ford the Loup[e] fork was not favourable[.] one team got into the sand & had to be helped out[.] a counsel was called & concluded to build a raft with the leather boat we had along we could cross the height of several wagons was taken over in the boat and the empty wagons drawn through pretty soon. The Sand was packed so that loaden [loaded] wagons could go through safely then we were soon all over[.] Sunday the 21 had meeting[.] The President Spoke he said you see a man full of convenants [covenants] & getting his brethren to covenant with him & you will find a man binding bundles for the flames [followers?] he says brethren learn[.] Next evening the Pawness [Pawnees] stole two horses about dark[.] one for Doct[or] [Willard] Richards & the other for Jesse Little[.] Next day 4 men went back to see if they could find any thing of the lost horses[.] they were charged on by 15 Pawnees who lay in ambush[.] they were armed with guns bows & arrows & striped for fight[.] they halted and Stood their Ground[.] being well armed the Indians came up within a few but they wanted their horses but thinking perhaps it might some of them their lives they finale [finally] fell back & fired a few shots as they retreated but did no damage[.] the reserved their fire[.] they returned to camp which had moved over the Prair[i]e Creek [.] here I accidently fired a Gun & the shot broke a horse leg after Setting a sack of cloth[e]s on fire[.] It was brother [Matthew] Iveries [Ivory's] gun[.] he had put it into the waggon loaded & cap[p]ed[.] I was drawing my coat out which caught the hammer and fired it off in the wagon

May the 1st we came into the buffalo[.] we turned out and killed nine in a little time[.] I was appointed with others to hunt for the camp[.] near the head of Grand Island we met some travelers going down the south side [.] we sent letters back by them

Sunday the 10th of May held meeting[.] brother Kimbal[l] said the Angels were about the camp & when a fa[i]thful Servant of God who was diligent in obeying the [in]structions of the President was in danger Swift messengers would be sent by the Lord saying Go and ward off the destroyer from that servant & let him live for he will do my cause good. There was so much game killed & wasted that the President cal[le]d us all together & gave us a little reproof[.] he said the Spirit that was manifest would kill and waste all the game on the plains[.] he said we had to learn to right without haveing some one to keep us in remembrance of our duty by reproofs & Brother Kimbal[l] to me if a man would not transgress any law he would be free as the water that runs & no blessing could be withheld from

Sunday 23 May lay at the Ancient bluffs ruins[.] held meeting[.] the President preached[.] he said We are forming a Character for Eternity & have been all the time since we received the Gosple [Gospel] & knew the right from the wrong way[.] Hence how careful we should be in all our acts[.] a man of Quick thought and deep meditation that will lay hold & go ahead would grow in the knowledge of the Gosple quicker than one of less perseverance[.] The mind of a faithful Servant of God is ever active & full of Meditation. If the Saints had of obeyed counsel last year and let the authorit[i]es go [o]n a head and left the main camp There could have been 200 men here one year ago as easy as now[.] And the brethren would not have gon[e] in the army[.] for when the officers came to inlist them the reply would have been the Authorities have go over the mountains & we cannot act without them so the thing would have slip[p]ed by but the authorities were there & the call had to be responded to or we never could have gon[e] to California

Sat 29th forenoon rainy[.] about noon we hi[t]ched up to start[.] the President called the camp together in the centre of the carell [corral][.] he got into the boat & said he was in no hurry to Start for he did not intend to go any further while the camp was under the influence of the Spirit that it then was he ascertained that all was present[.] He then went on & said when we were among the gentiles the devil came upon the Saints in the character of a mob but we were out of the reach of the Gentiles so he has to resort to other means[.] consequently he will slip in slyly & steal away the hearts of the Saints with the Spirit of mirthfulness levity and Gaming & the camp had repent of this sin as a Scourge awaits us[.] he said that he would rather go the trip to the mountains with six men or even alone than to go with this whole camp with its present Spirit[.] he did not like the Idea of covenanting but some thing would have to be done if there was not a Speady [speedy] reformation. He then divided the camp each quorem Separate to the self [.] he then asked the twelve if they would repent and turn unto the Lord and remember their former covenants[.] it was answer[e]d in the affirmative & the Same passed all the quorums[.] if any wished to with draw there was opportunity but there was none & those that did not belong to the church could go & welcome & be gove[r]ned by the national laws of Zion[.] but they are not permitted to introduce any thing that is calculated to lead the hearts of the Saints astray[.] They are to reverence the Priesthood & confess that Jesus is the Christ to the Glory of God & this is the meaning of that Scripture which says every knee shall bow & (which alludes to the nations which are under the laws of Zion but do not belong to the Church of Christ at his comeing[.] Brother Kimbal[l] said that what the President was the word of Lord to him And all that would receive it was prpared to occupy the next day which was Sunday in fasting & prayer conferring &.[.] Some confessions we made at that time[.] the next day was observed as proposed[.] We reached Ft John or Laram[i]e on the first day of June[.] here we found brother Crow from Pueblo with Six waggons[.] he had been here two weeks waiting for the first company of Saints to come on. The remainder of the Company at Pueblo were waiting to come with a detachment of the Battallion that wint[e]red there[.] at this place we crossed the river[.] it had to be ferried[.] we got a boat at the fortt [fort]

On the 3 of June brother A[masa] Lyman with three others started for Pueblo to meet the company & bring them along

On the 4th of June we left Fort John brother Crow having joined our camp

On the 7th I killed a black taile Deer which was the first I had ever seen[.] The Oregon emigrants began to pass us[.] we met some traders that had crossed the north Fork in a raw hide boat which they left[.] A company of us was detached & sent on to get the boat before the Emigrants got it[.] we reached the ferry first but could not find any thing of the boat[.] We turned out and killed a fine lot of meat by the time; camp came up. The river was full & very rapid[.] we crossed several companies of emigrants with our leather boat drawing the wagons through the river[.] they paid us provisions which we afterwards needed

On Sunday 13th we held meeting[.] brother Kimbal[l] spoke of the natural alienating principle that was in man that it was natural for men to be & have their concerns to themselves perfectly independent[.] The Oregon emigrants were continually split[t]ing up their companies and if the Saints did not do away with their Selfishness when would they gather together & become one[.] he urged the necessity of abaying [obeying] counsel[.] Brother Joseph once told him to drive his team bretween [between] two trees where one horse could not go through[.] he said he could not[.] Joseph Stareded [stared] at him[.] drive through[.] he jerked his reins & pop[p]ed his whip[.] there[,] Says Joseph[,] that will do[.] I only wanted to have you try[.] The President of the liberty of the Gosple of the Son of God he wished the saints understood it: does it give us liberty to dethrone Jehovah[,] to change the laws of heaven or do any manner of wickedness: No this lends to Servitude and bondage for he that lives in Sin is a servant of sin[.] But the Gosple of peace liberates men from this bondage & here is liberty[.] it takes men out of bondage & adverse circumstances and sets them at liberty[.] This is the liberty of the Gosple not giving men licents to commit Sin but delivering them from the bondage of Sin

We got every across the river Safe excepting the loss of a few waggons & bows and the drowning of one horse belonging to brother Crow. We left a small party to keep the ferry until the families that were following on Should come up

on the 19th we left the river[.] The day before the camp got to Sweet water [Sweetwater] brother Woodruff & myself went ahead of the camp to the rock supposing that the camp would come up but they did not & we stop[p]ed there all night with a company of emigrants. The camp was uneasy about us fearing some evil had happened us[.] Next morning early we went on to Independents Rock & offered up prayer on the highest peak[.] while we were at our devotions, the emigrants were burying a woman close by the rock on the east[.] She had died that morning[.] her name was Rachel Morgan[.] She was the third one of the family that had died Since leaving the States[.] the Sickness was Supposed to be occasioned by cooking their victuals in new brass ware[.] She left three Small children: the camp came up about noon and were glad to see us[.] At Pacific Spring we met a company from Oregon also Major Harris an old Mountaineer from whom we learned a great deal about the country. We also got some Oregon papers & one number of the California star published by Samuel Branon[.] he had gon[e] around to California by water with a company of Saints

On the 30th we reached Green River where we met Samuel Brannan & others from California[.] the river was high[.] We had to make some rafts & ferry it on them[.] we got over with out an accident[.] a great many of the brethren were taken down with the Mountain feaver [fever]

Sunday the 4th of July lay still[.] sent 4 or 5 men back to meet & pilot the companies over[.] Thirteen men of the Mormon Battalion came up under Sergeant T. S. Williams[.] they were gladly received with three cheers & thanks to God that so many of the brethren had returned from the army

On the 7th we reached Fort Bridger[.] met some men returning from Oregon by whom I sent a letter home[.] from here we took the rout[e] to Salt Lake at Bear River[.] we met a company from California[.] Mr Miles Goodye[a]r was in this company. He gave us much information in relation to the country[.] he had a fort near the lake on Weber River

Sunday the 11th lay by[.] brother Jesse Little & myself went on to explore the rout[e][.] the camp did move[.] Next day the President was taken sick & when we nooned near the needle cliffs he stop[p]ed with 8 waggons[.] the camp went on to the cave[.] Tuesday morning the President had not come up. The camp stop[p]ed here & brother Joseph Mathews & myself went back to see what detained him[.] we found him at the same place verry sick[.] Brother Kimbal[l] returned with us to camp and drew out a company of 23 waggons to go ahead and prepare road which now began to be verry rough[.] this detachment was commanded by Elder O. Pratt[.] my company <10> was selected to go among +others

on the 14th we reached the Weber[.] here there was two trails[.] one went down the river through the Canyon & the other turned out to the South[.] Brother Pratt & myself who acted as pilots and pione[e]rs for the camp went down and examined the Canyon but did not find it practicable[.] we then examined the other pass to the south through which a small company of California emigrants had passed the year before but we could Sca[r]cely see their trail

On the 16th we sent a messenge[r] back to the main camp to report progress and bring us word from our brethren

on the 17th moved over onto Big Canyon Creek[.] Brother Pratt & myself going a head to explore the rout[e] which led up the creek in a Southern direction[.] we could scar[c]ely get along for the brush, we went up to where the road leaves the creek and ascended a big mountain on the left of the road[.] we could see nothing but mountains except a beautiful park which lay up the creek

on the 18th (being Sunday) we lay by and held meeting next day

<19th> we went ahead as usual to explore the rout[e][.] went as far as the top of the Big Mountain where we had a view of the Valley for the first [time?][.] we went on to the mountain to the right and ran what we supposed to one corner of Salt Lake, which intelligence we carried back to the camp causing all to rejoice[.] our messenger had returned to us & brought word that the President was better[.] he had Started the main camp on & was still stop[p]ing with a few wagons to rest a little longer telling the brethren when they got into the valley to turn a little north & put in their seeds of all kinds a small quantity of each to try the soil

on the 20 we passed over the big mountain onto another creek which was called Browns creek & the gap in the mountain was <44> called Pratt's Pass

On the 21 we passed over the little mountain on to the last Creek[.] here the main camp came up with us and some two or three of the brethren went a little way into the vall[e]y[.] some of us climbed on to the mountain where we could see the lake verry distinct

On the 22nd of July some 8 or ten of us went into the vall[e]y to explore[.] we found it covered with rich vegetation in the vicinity of the streams & on the low land green & beautiful[.] on the benches the grass was dry with a great variety of Soil watered by beautiful Streams from the mountains and at the foot of the mountains[.] Several hot Springs issued where waters are highly impregnated with Salt Sulphur Sodas & there was a great many black crickets all over the valley[.] they appeared to be harmless[.] in the evening the camp came into the valley

On the 23 we moved north about three miles and camped on the South side of City Creek (a little south of what is now called emigration Street)[.] A meeting was called & arrangements made to put in some seeds[.] Several committees were appointed to attend to the various departments of business[.] All went to work witih [with] a zeal, characteristic of Saints & by night there was Several acres of ground ploughed and other preparations in proper time

Next day being the 24th the President came into camp about noon.

[Brief excerpts from Brown's journal were published in "Pioneer Journeys," Improvement Era, July 1910, 810. An edited version of his journal was published in Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 1820-1896 [1941], 72-78.]