Sweetwater River

Distance: 964 miles from Nauvoo

Sweetwater, copyright © by Harold I. Hopkinson. Used by permission.

It was a high, dry, and difficult 50-mile overland journey from the North Platte to the Sweetwater. Immigrants traveling to Salt Lake followed the Sweetwater for some distance toward South Pass.

Journal Entries

Abner Blackburn

Summer 1847

“The Sweetwatter River rippeled along in its course from the lofty sumit of Fremonts Peaks [in] the Rocky Mountains. . . . All the companyes lay over to rest a few days in this lovely place [with] the hunters after game and sight seers on the mountains. Continued our journey up this stream with a gradual asscent untill we reached the summit or the South Pass.”

Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, ed. Will Bagley (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992), 60.

Samuel Gifford

"The horror that reigned in camps ahead of us cannot be described. Sometimes for miles could be seen, feather beds, blankets, quilts, and clothing of every kind strewed over the plains, also wagon tires and irons of every description, gun barrels, stoves, etc. etc. The botom of the Sweetwater was also lined with wagon tires, chains and other irons. And fresh graves could be seen in every direction.

We met some missionaries going east who said they met companies of the gold emigration that were driving twelve abreast, hurrying to get away from the Cholera" (Samuel Kendall Gifford Reminiscences, 1864, typescript, Family and Church History Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [microfilm], 8).