Scotts Bluff

Distance: 738 miles from Nauvoo

Courtesy of the Church History Museum

Scotts Bluff is named for Hiram Scott, a Rocky Mountain Fur Company trapper abandoned here by his companions when he became ill. Numerous accounts of his tragic death were noted by early travelers along the Platte River. As with many other landmarks along the Platte, virtually all those who kept journals mentioned it, including Latter-day Saints, most of whom were traveling on the north side of the river. Also located near the site is the grave of Rebecca Winters, a Latter-day Saint mother who fell victim to cholera in 1852. The gravesite was recently moved and rededicated.

Journal Entries

Wilford Woodruff

August 14, 1850

"Traveled to Scotts [Bluff] and Elder Alexander Badlam and myself explored Scotts Bluffs from top to bottom for about 10 miles. They had many grand formations of nature. In some places, we rolled off large rocks of near a ton's weight that would go thundering down the mountain and into the vale beneath, levelling the cedars to the earth and starting the wolves from their hiding places as it bounded on its way for half a mile from its starting place."

"After spending several hours of hard labor, though pleasant, among those grand, lofty ruins or bluffs, we left them and returned to camp. We passed Burdoe's trading post. He enquired for me but I did not see him. Brother Carrier turned his wagon bottom side upwards down a bluff, broke things bad. The Indians tried to raise a stampede among us but did not do it. Traveled 20 miles and camped" (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 1833-1898, typescript, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. [1983], 3:568).

Priscilla Merriman Evans

“Some Indians came to our camp and my husband in a joking way told one of the Indians, that he would trade me for a pony; he thought no more of it, but the Indian came with the pony and it was no joke to him. There was no place to hide and the captain was called to help settle it.”

Priscilla Merriman Evans, in Kate B. Carter, comp., Heart Throbs of the West: A Unique Volume Treating Definite Subjects of Western History, 12 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1948), 9:9.

Asa S. Hawley


“The cholera broke out in our camp and many died. The most sorrowful to me was the death of Sister Winters, one of God’s noble and courageous women. We buried her on the Platte River opposite Scott’s Bluffs. Great was our sorrow in having to leave her there. She has gone to her rest.”

Asa S. Hawley autobiography, typescript, 2, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

Mary Ann Stucki

Summer 1860

“Father had bought a cow to take along, so we could have milk on the way. . . . He thought he would make a harness and have her pull the cart. . . . One day a group of Indians came riding up on horses. . . . [They] frightened the cow and sent her chasing off with the cart and children. . . . The cow fell into a deep gully and the cart turned upside down. Although the children were under the trunk and bedding, they were unhurt.”

Mary Ann Hafen, Recollections of a Handcart Pioneer of 1860: A Woman’s Life on the Mormon Frontier (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983), 22–23.