Transcript for Joseph Lawson papers

Having again left my Mother's house to journey to the valley of the mountains on the 16th March 1855, I tarried in Liverpool until the 31st on which day I left in company with the saints who sailed on the Ship Juventa for Philadelphia and arrived there on 5th May from there in company with those who journeyed across the Allegheny Mountains. We started for Pittsburg where we arrived on 10th and left there by steamer for St. Louis on the 11th where we arrived on the 19th. Attended meeting with the saints on 20th being Sunday where I felt to be refreshed by hearing the voice of Brother Erastus Snow, one of the 12 Apostles, speak concerning the rolling forth of the Kingdom of God on the earth in this age and dispensation.

After having journeyed so far and endured the privations and comforts of the same, I felt to be refreshed. Indeed I must say the more I travel and endeavor to do what is right the more I feel my own failings of weakness and liability to err and depart from the ways of the Lord and how often, yea how often do I know that the hand of the Lord sustained me yea all the day long and in the night season have I been refreshed. I do pray that the Lord will continue his goodness to me and preserve according to his loving kindness and the order of his Kingdom yea the rolling forth of it on the earth I do pray for so that I may be accounted worthy of salvation; and be enabled to be useful in the same on the earth even so amen. Having commenced only to write this on the 6th June arriving our stay at the place of preparation for the plains via Mormon Grove, 6 miles from Atchison on the Missouri River-Kansas Territory. We left St. Louis on 21st and arrived here on the 27th. Stayed here until 7th June on which day we started; that is myself, Brothers [John W.] Coward and Rimmer in company with 53 wagons being the 1st company for the season. Traveled until Sunday the 10th on which day we rested; or at any rate we did not journey. I feel in the company of saints to praise the Lord and thank Him for his goodness in preserving me in commission with his people. The place we rested is called Big Grasshopper Creek. Commenced traveling on Monday and continued until Saturday evening on 17th crossed big blue river—

18th met missionaries from Salt Lake Valley who left there on 7th May. Tenth—rested this day and praised the Lord. Nothing particular has occurred on our journeying until 21st which day rested to repent and refresh ourselves according to letter of instructions from Brother Snow, to tarry or journey slowly until 3 other companies will join us.

22nd—found a cow, the milk of which we needed and felt thankful.

23rd—Traveled slowly and halted about 2 o'clock.

24th—Rested this day. I felt thankful and to rejoice. Had a good meeting with the spirit of the Lord in our midst. Having at many times found myself in a desponding and wicked mood I have felt myself to be humble and more determined to the will of my Father in Heaven and more things I have to write about and will with the help of the Lord write more fully about. Had some dealings with a ? on this day. I will postpone to note the proceedings until a future time.

25th—Traveled about 10 or 12 miles and halted about 1 o'clock p.m. as a herd of buffalo appeared in proximity for hunting. The brethren availed themselves of the same and killed one. Which was divided among the company.

26th—journeyed about the same as yesterday. Hunted and killed some 3 or 4 buffalos which was divided as before.

27th—Rested this day.

28th—Journeyed and halted much the same as the 27th.

29th—Rested until evening and traveled all night a distance of some 30 miles.

30th—Reached Platt River this morning about 6 o'clock and rested the remainder of day.

1st July—Journeyed to Fort Kearney being Sunday as we wanted good camping ground. Met a company 6 wagons who waited for us.

2nd—Rested this day and had a little business in purchasing and trading.

3rd—Traveled a distance of about 15 miles, halted at pretty good camping ground. Killed a buffalo.

4th—Rested this day from traveling. Got a blacksmith forge put up and commenced burning charcoal, also overhauling all things we had; made some extra ox yokes; killed a buffalo.

5th—Continued as yesterday.

6th—The same.

We have been drilled with exercise as soldiers for self defense; from time to time and has observed generally prayers and the order of our organization with respect to myself and my brothers and sisters. The only fault is in ourselves; and must say that in weakness I feel myself to be the weakest and the mercy and long suffering of the Lord is great. Of this I speak according to knowledge and I hope the Lord will remember me continuously in mercy and that not only my own prayer but the prayers of all the faithful may become effectual. May the Lord roll forth his work in its time and enable me in connection with his people to improve and endeavor to do his will in righteousness on the earth, even all things according to the order of His Kingdom. May it roll forth, oh Lord roll it forth until all shall become obedient to its laws and precepts. On this I want to write more fully the thought and aspirations of my heart but the Lord knows the thoughts of my heart and I pray that in the name of Jesus I may have the Holy Spirit to continue with me and that I may become more in favor with God and the things of his Kingdom by having faith, virtue, patience and power to increase and learn all things good and useful. I have more things on my mind that I cannot explain but I hope and pray for health and strength with a desire to do right and to be better than I am. Oh Lord may I then have respect with confidence and faith in and for the order of thy Kingdom and worthy of salvation in the same from day to day so that I may become an Israelite indeed and of a truth.

7th—Continued to rest and wait for the word to go on.

8th—Being Sunday, we had our meetings and endeavored to enjoy ourselves.

9th—Still waiting. This afternoon the 3rd Company arrived, gave report of great mortality in their company. 9th—This afternoon we again commenced to journey and traveled a distance of about 8 miles. We had no report of 2nd and 1st companies arriving: of the 2nd, the 3rd gave reports of 2nd being in the neighborhood of Fort Kearney and said that the 4th would not reach us sooner than 12 days or more.

10th—Traveled about 12 miles and camped. We herded the cattle all night.

11th—Had the vote of this Company to travel we journeyed about 18 miles, nothing particular occurs worthy of observation.

12th—Traveled about 20 miles.

13th—Much the same or as some would have it 2 or 3 more.

14th—Traveled about 24 miles this day. 15th—Being Sunday we traveled about 8 miles and camped between 9 and 10 o'clock,,,, rested and found it refreshing and necessary. Killed a buffalo.

16th—Continued our travel.

17th—The same.


19th—The same and crossed the Platt River, also reached Ash Hollow.

20th—Traveled along the North Fork where was plenty of sandy ground. In Ash Hallow was a quantity of cedar also a certain fruit called choke cherry and another something like black currants or gooseberries. Grapes were also plenty but not ripe.

21st—Continued our travel and camped about 5 o'clock p.m.

I have washed myself several times in the rivers in the evening which was refreshing. I was called to offer up our evening prayer and must say I felt my weakness and debility and do hope and pray unto the Lord that I may be strengthened.

22nd—Being Sunday we halted. I went out on cattle herd and must say I felt grieved that our organization is not carried out with a better spirit because I was not relieved for more that an hour after the time specified and appointed which makes me feel bad. On this as well as almost all other occasions the same I pray that the Lord will enable me to possess myself in patience and to do right in His sight and to acknowledge His goodness to me. Yea I hope He will be merciful unto me and enable me to do and learn my duty before Him.

23rd—We started off this morning in pretty good time. As we were starting out of camp, 5 horses came in which had left the 2nd Company about 30 or 40 miles behind. We left a note on the road. Had a pretty good travel.


24th—had some words this morning relative to driving the loose cattle when the Captain of the Company told me that if I refused driving stock in my turn and when asked to do so that I should be cut of the Church.  Reached Chimney rock this evening. 

25th— went up to see it and considered it a curiosity.  Passed through Scotts Bluff had a long journey this day. 

26th—started with a fine morning saw about 14 antelopes (?) of a drove had a pretty good travel. 

27th— continued the same and

28th— reached Laramie thought of halting for a day or two but grass is not very plenty.  Some letters and papers was received brought in by Salt Lake Valley mail -   we gathered 8 or 10 quarts of currants which are very good boiled with sugar. 

29th—being Sunday we did not rest much as we attended to washing.  [?]  with shooing and overhauling the cattle – had no sacrament but a fellowship meeting this evening. 

30th— this day as we had a lame ox; we traded him of for another and gave 15 dollars for the exchange had a mistake in roads also  which did not give us a very good days journey.  A man was missed this evening from camp. 

31st— this morning we did not move until horse [?] as sent to hunt for the missing man.  He was found at a trading post some 8 or 9 miles of.  Proceeded on our journey about 9 or 10 o clock.  The hills appear in this neighborhood pretty well studded with cedar and pine trees.  

August 1st— continued on our journey and met with a company of 5 or 6 wagons traveling with them on another route by which we intend to shorten the distance of travelling. 

2nd— continued on [?] nothing particular occurs more than we continue on our journey and travel peaceably along which gets more interesting and we have reason to thank ;the Lord that we meet with no accident to detain us alarm us. 

3rd— continued on same route,

4th— got into the regular road and camped this evening at deer creek.  We intended to stop here for a day or two but grass being scarce we cannot stop longer than tomorrow – being Sunday.  

5th— being a fine day we attended to washing ye and I feel to praise the Lord for all his goodness in preserving me from evils may his name be honored by me and my generation from this time forth and for ever yea in his goodness will I delight even so amen.  I have felt a severe pain in (?) side of my cheek and consequently I have not felt well and is obliged to rest. 

6th— – obliged to lie up in the wagon as I think from the pain I suffer that my check will gather as it is much inflamed from a cold.  Continued until about the 15th – very painful in the wagon not being able to rest night or day until it broke had to poultice the same from time to time and I must say that I am reduced very week and from the 5th up to 19th I have not walked much or taken much interest in the things around me and consequently I have not noted much. 

20th— reached big sandy creek picked up in this neighborhood several pretty stones. 

21st— Brother Coward left us this day and took with him about 30 lbs luggage – continued our journey until we reached green river on 23rd – nothing particular occurs – only we journey along pretty well and I feel like noticing the different dates of arriving at different places.

On 10th— we reached sweetwater and 17th we arrived at pacific springs. 

25th— – we arrived at Fort Bridger about noon and halted until Sunday being the day following.  Here has commenced a settlement of the saints who received us kindly.  A fat ox was killed which was mostly purchased by our camp.  Two wagons load of flour has arrived here from the valley which is offered for sale @ $8.00 per 100 lbs – it is a blessing to those who stand in need of the same and I must say I feel thankful that the Lord causes his people to feel energetic enterprising and perservering in doing that which will causes love and union to exist among them.  I have to complain of my own weakness and pray that the Lord will strengthen me in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

27th—  we rested and got cattle shooed ye until this day afternoon and Proceeded on our journey about 12 miles met 8 waggons flour same as before.  Continued  on our journey pretty well for some days the road is rather rough nothing particular occurs until passing through Echo Kanyon.  On 30th we had some breaking down of 2 or 3 wagons which caused a little detention however on 31st we were all right again and proceeded on our journey.  On 1st on which day some more breakdowns occurred being so near the valley of the Mountains or our place of destination nothing particular was thought of it except the ten too which the wagon belonged stopped to see to the repairs of the wagons injured continued our journey until 3rd on which day the majority or all with one or two exceptions arrived in the vallies of the mountains or Great Salt Lake City.   One of our wagon wheels broke down about 6 or 7 miles from the city.  Sister Greenway and my self stopped by the wagon until Brother Rimmer went into the city and seen Brother Coward who came out with another wagon to take us in.  On the 4th toward sun down we reached the city.  I felt thankful we had got over our journey so well as we did.   In it I feel to acknowledge the hand of the Lord my God, yea he has preserved and been merciful unto me all the day long.  We stopped at Brother Cowards and rested.  On Sunday 9th myself and Sister Greenway was married by Bishop Hoagland of the 14th Ward of this city in presence of Brothers Coward and Channcery (?)  We continued to stop at Brother Cowards for which I felt thankful as I was not aware of any other place we had to go.