Transcript for William L. Spicer Binder biography and journal, undated, 8-19
July 8th: The company left early this morning by passenger train for Iowa City. Myself and several others of the bretheren remained with the luggage and assisted to load it on the train. We had to guard the luggage all night.
July 9th: Left by first train this morning having the luggage in charge for Iowa City. Large forces of armed men were here on their way to Kansas. A political trouble was disturbing the peace of the State. Lizzie was on a visit from the Camp to the City. I proceeded to the Camp ground which lay about 3 miles from the City. There were about 2000 Saints camped here awaiting for their outfit. We were detained here awaiting the completion of some hand-carts untill the last of July, during which time I assisted John Watkins to build a lime kiln for Mr. Burns who lived about 5 miles from the camp ground. I obtained $4½ dollars for my labor which enabled me to send about fifty pounds of freight to Salt Lake City. Most of our clothing we had to give away here for the want of means to pay the freight on it to Utah. We experienced several severe thunder storms while we were camped here.
Sunday 28th July: Our company was fully and completely organized with Elder Edward Martin as captain and Daniel Tyler his assistant and several men appointed as captains of hundreds. Our traveling accomodation were one tent and three hand carts for every fifteen persons. Our tent which was the 2nd was occupied by Bro. Richard Collin[g]s and family, Bro John Watkins and family, Sr. Patching, Sr. White and myself and wife Lizzie. We were pleased with the arrangement seeing that we had all been long acquainted with each other. Today being Sunday we held meeting and much good instruction was given by Elder Martin.
July 29th: Removed camp one mile.
July 30th: Did not move camp today. Myself and wife went to Iowa City and purchased a baking skillet which we hauled on our handcart.
July 31: Did 6 hours guard duty last night, or went on guard with that understanding, but no relief coming I stood guard all night.
July 31: Returned from guard duty early. Immediately after breakfast myself and several others went in search of a yoke of cattle (belonging to Daniel Tyler) that was missing. After being absent several hours we returned unsuccessful. Travelled about 5 hours this afternoon.
August 1st: Travelled 6 miles today. Wheather intensely hot.
August 2nd: Made 10 miles today. Wheather cloudy and cool which was preceeded by a heavy thunder storm lasting about 2 hours. Arrived in camp at 7 p.m. and immediately afterwards went on guard and remained there all night. Wheather very cold and chilly all night.
Aug. 3: Travelled 7 miles today. Soon after we had started from camp we saw a bright luminary decend very rapidly and when within about 50 feet of the surface of the earth it suddenly disappeared. The object was seen by all the camp. The wheather was very hot.
August 4th: Travelled 8 miles. Wheather continues very warm.
August 5th: Travelled 12 miles today. Wheather a little cooler.
August 6th: Travelled 8 miles today. Wheather pleasant.
August 7th: Travelled 16 miles. A very pleasant day.
August 8th: Travelled 21 miles today. Roads very rough and hilly laid by 2 hours in the middle of the day for rest.
Saturday August 9th: Did guard duty last night 6 hours. A beautiful morning at day-break, but very cool. Broke up Camp about 10 a.m. travelled about 7 and rested for noon. After resting and eating we travelled 4 miles further, encountering some very rough and stormy wheather.
Sunday August 10th: We did not travel today. Pres. Martin called the Saints together in the afternoon and held Meeting. Elder Daniel Tyler addressed the Saints upon the subject of the gathering. Bro. Normin[g]ton’s child died today from diareaha.
Monday 11th: Travelled 12 miles today. Bro John Wright died from ague and fever.
Tuesday 12th: Passed through Fort Des Moine today about 10 a.m. This is a small town on the Des Moines River, while crossing the river the inhabitants redicule our mode of travel and made some very unkind remarks about us, but we gave them to understand that we were fulfilling the commandments of God and while they scoffed the Saints rejoyced. Travelled 14 miles today.
Wednesday 13th: A very beautiful day and the travelling was easy and comfortable on account of the road being hard and level. Travelled 18 miles in 6 hours. Pres. Martin issued a small quanity of bacon to each of the passengers “by way of a treat” as he termed it.
Thursday Aug. 14th: A very good road for travelling today and we made 15 miles crossing through two rivers. The water was about 20 inches deep. Bro. Paul’s child died from weakness and diareah.
Friday 15th: Travelled 10 miles today, the country was very hilly. Elders J.D.T. McAllister, James Ferguson, Chancy G. Webb, and Dan Jones came into camp immediately after we had pitched our tents. They met us with cheerful congratulations. Elder Ferguson presented Bro. Spencer’s love and good feeling to the Saints. These bretheren being the assistant imigration agents took occasion to instruct and council the Saints; were much pleased with the spirit and feeling that the Saints manifested.
Saturday 16th: The Elders left the camp this morning proceeding on their way homeward. We had good roads today and were able to make 17 Miles in 6-½ hours.
Sunday 17th: Travelled 18 miles today. Wheather threatening for rain, had just time to pitch our tents before a thunder storm of 4 hours duration visited us. Passed a very fine spring today, over which was suspended a small flag with an inscription upon it. We did not learn the purport [purpose] of it.
Monday Aug 18th: Travelled 24 miles today, wheather cool and dry which made it very pleasant.
Tuesday August 19th: Travelled 21 miles today making a halt of only one hour at noon. The roads were rough and hilly. Passed through an Indian village. My wife Lizzie was very sick.
Wednesday Aug. 20th: Travelled 20 miles, laying by 1 hour for rest and dinner and arriving at Camp at 6 p.m. Did camp dut[y] for 6 hours.
Thursday Aug. 21st: Travelled 20 miles. A most beautiful morning for travelling. President Martin called a meeting of the company just before breaking up camp and informed the Saints that we should reach Council bluffs and instructed the company to keep together. We rested for noon at Misquito [Mosquito] Creek about 2 hours. I visited the spot where the Mormon Battalion enlisted, under the United States flag for the Mexican War. This occasion revived in my memory the circumstance of the American Nation demanding of a persecuted and oppressed people 500 of their able-bodied men; husbands and sons, who ever true to their country and God responded to the call. Although the object of wicked rulers was to break up the Saints-camp and scatter defenceless women and children to the cruel elements and to the ravaging Indians. God, whose business it is to provide for His Saints, was ever gracious and kind and preserved his little ones. We passed through Council Bluffs at 3 p.m. and camped about 4 miles from the Missouri River for the night. Elders F. D. Richards, Danl. Spencer, C. H. Wheelock and several other returning missionaries arrived soon after we camped.
Friday Aug. 22nd: Journeyed to the Missouri River which we crossed by ferry boat, which occupied about 6 hours. We arrived in Florence the location of the exiled Saints, and which was known as Winter Quarters. Pres. F. D. Richards called a meeting of the Saints and addressed them upon subjects of importance to the children of God. Bro. Wheelock and Spencer also delivered addresses, and many blessings were promised the Saints upon conditions of implicit obeidence to the Servants of God who would take charge of the company across the plains.
Sunday Aug. 24th: Two meetings were held during the day and much valuable instruction was given by the bretheren who addressed the Saints. Received 1” beef from the E. Agents.
Monday Aug. 25th: We had been very busy since Friday night fitting out for the remainder of the journey. Our company was here increased to double the size that it was while crossing from Iowa City to Florence. Elder martin’s company now consisted of his own and Captain Haveri [Haven], he having refused to conduct the emigrants any further without he had issued a certain amount of provisions which he deemed necessary for the journey. Our company now numbered nearly 700 souls, which made an immence string of handcarts when they were travelling.
Monday Aug. 25th: Moved from Florence about 3 miles, passed through the ground which was occupied with the graves of the Saints who fell martyrs to the Truth in 1846 when they were driven from Nauvoo.
Tuesday August 26th: Was occupied the whole of the day in assisting to repair hand-carts,
Wednesday Aug 27th: Travelled 4 miles today.
Thursday Aug 28th: Arrived at the Elk Horn river at night where we camped on the East side. Journeyed about 20 miles today.
Friday Aug. 29th: Ferried the Elk Horn River this morning and was the most of the [day] engaged at it and camped about three miles from the river. Wheather temperate.
Saturday Aug. 30th: Travelled about 12 miles, heat excessive, roads very sandy and heavy. Arrived at the Platte River where the company camped for the night.
Sunday Aug. 31st: Travelled 13 miles today: roads very heavy being sandy a good portion of the way. Wheather very sultry.
Monday Sept. 1st: Travelled 10 miles and rested 1 hour for while we took dinner. Made 10 miles more and were compleed [compelled] to camp without wood or water on the prairie. We got our tents pitched about 8 o’clock[.] Passed an immence prairie fire today, which was over a mile in breadth.
Tuesday Sept. 2nd: The company struck tents at 5 o’clock this morning and travelled 2 miles before breakfast to obtain wood and water. After breakfast we made 10 miles which brought us to the Loop [Loup] Fork a tributary of the Platte river. We commenced ferrying the river and a portion of the company camped on the West side of it.
Wednesday Sept. 3rd: Nearly the whole of the day occupied in ferrying the remaining portion of the company over the river.
Thursday Sept. 4th: The wheather was very favorable today and we travelled about 15 miles.
Friday Sept. 5th: A very heavy thrunderstorm occurred while we were travelling this morning which compelled us to camp. We camped by Hunt’s wagon company.
Saturday Sept. 6th: We met a large body of Pawnee Indians numbering about 800 souls. Principaly Cheifs and warriors. The Sioux and Pawnee tribes were at war with each other and it being customary with Indians to make secure there Squaws and papooses (wives and children) before entering upon their war campaign. The object of the present company of Pawnees was travelling East and nearer to the White’s settlements was to hide their wives and children and such of them that were unfit for war. The warriors were well armed with rifles and bows and arrows and many peculiar looking instruments. Weapons of war peculiar to the Indian Nations: they manifested quite a friendly feeling to our company. Travelled 7 miles today.
Sunday Sept. 7th: Travelled 7 hours today making 12 miles. Immediately after we camped the late presidency of the European Mission[,] Elders Franklin D. Richards and Daniel Spencer accompanied by many returning missionaries visited our company. They were on their way home and all enjoying excellent health and spirits. A meeting was held and the bretheren gave much good instruction <to> the Saints. After spending about 3 hours with the company they proceeded on their journey homeward.
Monday Sept. 8th: Today we were compelled to travel a long tedious journey, roads were very heavy and some parts of it very sandy. From eight in the morning untill 9 in the evening (with the exception of one hour for nooning) was occupied in travelling and we made 24 miles. Wheather was very hot
Tuesday Sept. 9th: Travelled 16 miles today, wheater very hot and sultry. We were over taken by a very heavy thunderstorm: previous to the rain the lightening was terrific for two hours.
Wednesday Sept. 10th: Travelled 16 miles today: the atmosphere was much cooler after the storm. Camped on Wood River.
Thursday Sept. 11th: A beautiful fine day, roads excellent and hard as well as level. Made about 14 miles at noon we rested where had occurred a fortnight previous an Indian massarcre. The particulars of which we did not learn. A report reached us tonight that A. W. Babbitt and party who were travelling to Utah by Stage Coach had been attacked by a party of Sioux Indians.
Friday Sept. 12th: The wheather was excessively hot today. The company was detained today through a cripple stopping behind and only travelled 7 miles.
Saturday Sept. 13th: Travelled 23 miles today. Wheather very favorable and roads good. Bro Welsh died today and also Bro. Edmonds while in the act of drawing his hand-cart. Both of the bretheren were drawn to camp and buried. Camped by the side of Buffalo Creek and Platte river also very near to Captain Hodgetts wagon company.
Sunday Sept. 14th: Wheather most excessively hot which prevented the company travelling several hours: only made 14 miles today. Captain Hodgetts company camped with us tonight. I had a very severe attach of diarrhea today.
Monday Sept. 15th: Wheather a little cooler today was able to travel tolerably comfortable and made 22 miles. Saw a large herd of Buffalo today also a good many Elk. At the evening meeting Pres. Martin received a communication from Pres. F. D. Richards which he read to the company. It contained very positive instructions to him with regard to selecting map [camp] grounds and to use his best excertions to prevent the company from scattering in consequence of there being several parties of hostile Indians lurking about the emigrant trail. Information came in his letter that Thomas Margetts and wife had been murdered by Indians while on their return from Utah to the States, also a man woman and child from a returned emigrant party. Our company was within a little distance of the scene of the massacre.
Tuesday Sept. 16th: Travelled 10 miles this morning and camped for the day. Wheather very hot.
Wednesday Sept. 17th: A remarkable change in the wheather today, it is cold and windy. Sr. Hartley died today. Pres. Martin relieved me of the sack of flour that I had hauled on my handcart from Florence for the company’s use.
Thursday Sept. 18th: Wheather milder today but the roads were very sandy. Sr. [text missing] died at noon today. Travelled 20 miles today. A Brother Hartly, son of the sister who died yesterday attempted to commit suicide today, cause unknown.
Friday 19th: Travelled 14 miles today. Wheather temperate.
Saturday 20th: Wheather cool and rained most of the day: roads very sandy. Bro. [Charles] Woodcock died this morning.
Sunday Sept. 21st: Was detained a good part of the day through rain. Travelled only 10 miles. The first misfortune that had happened to my handcart since we left Iowa City occurred today. I was overloaded with luggage and my handcart broke down, it was repaired before we left camp.
Monday Sept. 22: Wheather good today. Travelled 8 miles, Bro Joseph Archers [Akers] died, diarrhea and dropsy.
Tuesday Sept. 23rd: Travelled 12 miles today through very deep sand. Passed the place where had been an Indian Massacre or massacre of whites by indians. Mr. Thomas Margetts an Apostate who was returning to the States with a woman, they were both massacred here and their vehicles burned; a Mr. [text missing] escaped and succeeded in getting to Fort Larimie [Laramie] as well as the remnants of the burnt carriages. We saw scattered about some female’s clothing and hair. We could not help a feeling of horror passing through us and naturally concluded that we were amongst the hostile tribes.
Wednesday Sept. 24th: Travelled only a few miles today, sand very deep, which made the roads heavy. Pres Martin had strong suspicions that we were surrounded by hostile Indians. For as soon as it was dusk we heard a most horrible yelling and barking like the hills were filled with the savage. Feeling that the company was in danger, and realizing, that eternal vigilence is the price of liberty Pres Martin instituted double caution and formed a large correll whith the handcarts, and having all the cattle driven therein; placing every man on guard duty all night, and by using the caution our camp was unmolested and our stock was safe. Although we were very much fatigued and hungry the next morning, having had no fires the night previous.
Thursday 25th: Roads were very heavy and sandy during the forenoon but the afternoon’s travel found good hard level roads. Some chiefs from the Ch[e]yenne tribe of Indians visited our camp. They appeared friendly and kind. Wheather good today: travelled 12 miles.
Firday 26th Road very heavy, travelled 8 miles. Srs. Hartley [Mary Hartle] and [Lucy Meadmore] Holl[e]y died this evening.
Saturday 27th: Roads heavy today sand very deep. Travelled 7 miles. Diarrhea and Flu ve[r]y bad on me today.
Sunday 28th: Travelled 14 miles today. Wheather favorable[.] 2 deaths today names not known to me.
Monday 29th: Wheather cool today: road excellent. Travelled 17 miles[.] Two deaths.
Tuesday 30th: Two deaths early this morning. Old Father Verner [Richard Venner] was one of the persons who died. Wheather good: travelled 12 miles.
Wednesday Oct 1st: Travelled 20 Miles, good wheather.
Thursday Oct. 2nd: Travelled 18 miles, good wheather, but very hot.
Friday Oct. 3rd: Wheather cooler. Passed Chimney rock about noon. Travelled 18 miles.
Saturday Oct. 4th: Passed by Scots-Bluffs on the South side of them and missed a party of missionaries with whom was Elder P. P. Pratt. We very much regretted not seeing them.
Oct. 5 & 6 & 7: We travelled very close to and camping each night on the banks of the Platte River and we arrived at Fort Larimie [Laramie] on the 8th. Fort Larimie is a military post kept up at the expence of the Government for the protection of Emigrats. We met Captain Hunt’s wagon company here. For which occasion we felt highly pleased. There being many dear old friends among them that we knew. Our friends Spicer and wife and Mary La-trealle were here. Our company was detained at the fort a good part of the day.
Oct. 9th: Travelled 3 miles and camped on the Platte while Pres. Martin was attending to business at the Fort.
Oct. 10th: Travelled 14 miles.
Saturday Oct. 11th: Travelled 15 miles today. Four deaths occurred this morning. I did not obtain the names in consquence of being so hurried in our camp duties.
Sunday Oct. 12th: Travelled 8-½ miles and camped about 3 p.m.
Monday Oct. 13th: Travelled 18 miles, wheather tomporate.
Tuesday Oct. 14th: Travelled 20-½ miles cooler wheather and very fine.
Wednesday Oct. 15th: Bro. [text missing] [Robert Mattinson] died this morning, travlled 15 miles, wheather very good and pleasant.
Thursday Oct. 16th: Travelled 18 miles, wheather very good and roads excellent.
Friday Oct. 17th: Travelled about 5 miles when we arrived at a good camping place. At this place the authorities of the camp deeming it advisable to lighten up our luggage issued orders to emigrants to reduce the amount of their personal luggage to 10 lbs. per head; this action of the Elders in charge seemed to us a terrible hardship, as we were only very scanitily provided with clothes and bedding and to stand by and see our bits of clothing and bedding burned on the spot, caused anything but a good feeling to exist in our hearts towards our leaders. Already the snow clouds were making their appearance on the Black Hills.
Saturday Oct. 18th: I did not record the number of miles done by the company today, wheather colder.
Sunday Oct. 19th: We travelled along the South side of the Platte for a number of miles, and Captain Hunt’s company immediately behind ours. About noon we commenced to cross the Platte River, at the point known as the “Upper Crossing” in the Emigrant’s guide. Bro. William Spicer an acquaintance of some years standing came up to us from Hunt’s company, to the crossing and very kindly assisted a number of women and children by carrying them across the river on his back and among the number was my dear wife Lizzie and for which token of respect and friendship we were very grateful. On this occasion I drew the handcart through the stream by myself, heretofore Lizzie had invariably been by my side and assisted. I experienced the water was very cold and the “Black Hills” presented a threatening appearance with black storm clouds. Lizzie had reached the north side of the stream. [end of journal]