Zebulon Jacobs journal excerpts in Historical Department journal history of the Church, 1896-2001 July, 1861 July-December, 23 Sept. 1861, 2-11.
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- Source Locations
- Church History Library, CR 100 137
- Related Companies
- Joseph W. Young/Ansil P. Harmon/Heber P. Kimball Company (1861)
- Related Persons
- Zebulon Jacobs
Captain Joseph W. Young's train, loaded with emigrants, which had left Florence, Nebraska, for the Valley, <July 11, 1861> arrived in Great Salt Lake City. Brother Zebulon Jacobs, one of the Church teamsters, <who> traveling <part of the way across the Plains> with said train, kept a daily journal crossing the Plains, from which we cull the following:
Friday, July 5. I left camp (located at the head of Mill Creek, about 2 1/2 miles north-west of Florence) and went to Florence, after a load of Saints (who were intending to cross the Plains in Captain company). The day was very warm, and I was very tired after my day's work.
Saturday, July 6. I went down to Florence after another load of people. In making observations, I saw a number of the emigrants stowed away in every nook and corner. I took my load back to camp.
Sunday, July 7. I went down after another load, <of emigrants> and at night found myself back in camp. The day had been very warm.
Monday, July 8. We stayed in camp until about 2 o'clock p.m., then drove up the cattle, and moved camp a short distance, and then went down after another load of emigrants.
Tuesday, July 9. We stayed around camp all day. The weather was as warm as usual.
Wednesday, July 10. We hauled up another wagon and prepared for starting westward.
Thursday, July 11. We got everything ready and moved half a mile westward, and got the wagons in shape for starting the next morning. That night we had the first death in camp; it was one of the sisters.
Friday, July 12. We traveled about 9 miles and camped.
Saturday, July 13. We traveled 10 miles and crossed the Elkhorn River and camped. We lost one woman and two children by death.
Sunday, July 14. We stayed at this camping ground and buried the woman and two children. It rained most of the day.
Monday, July 15. I got out in the morning to make a start, and the Captain wanted me to trade my ox-team for four mules, which I was not long in doing. I mounted the seat, took the lines and struck out. The roads were very soft on account of the recent rains. We camped that night 2 miles west of Fremont, a small settlement where we first struck the Platte River.
Tuesday, July 16. We traveled 8 miles through very heavy roads.
Wednesday, July 17. This morning, Oscar B. Young and Frank F. Fox began to do the cooking. We went 15 miles, and camped one mile east of Shell Creek.
Thursday, July 18. We traveled 16 miles and camped on the Platte.
Friday, July 19. We traveled 9 miles and came to the Loup Fork Ferry. We got over alright, but I had the pleasure of getting a ducking several times, while helping the wagons over, but I was used to that. We camped a short distance from the stream, so that Captain <Samuel A.> Woolley would have time to move his train out of our way. He had a train of Saints.
Saturday, July 20. We traveled 10 miles and crossed Prairie Creek, and traveled 1 1/2 miles further and camped.
Sunday, July 21. We got up and went in search of wood, but there was none to be found, so we started and traveled 5 miles in the forenoon, and 7 miles further in the afternoon.
Monday, July 22. We traveled 14 miles and camped at 1 o'clock p.m. for the night.
Tuesday, July 23. We traveled 8 miles in the forenoon, and 9 miles in the afternoon and camped. The wood was rather scarce, and the animals had to be watched very closely to keep them out of the corn, being camped very close to some fields.
Wednesday, July 24. This being the anniversary of the coming of the Pioneers into Great Salt Lake Valley, we were up at daylight and called out the "National Guard," which fired a volley of musketry, and any other kinds of guns that were handy. Then the "Martial Band" struck up "Hail Columbia" (the band was composed of tin pails, pans, bake-kettle lids, bells and various other instruments of music); then there was another volley by the Guard; and at sunrise, the firing of cannon (which was about 3 inches in length), and concluded the morning performance with an Indian jig. We traveled 8 miles in the forenoon and 9 miles in the afternoon. At sunset we fired the cannon, and in the evening we had a grand ball at the Bachelors' Hall (which our mess was called).
Thursday, July 25. We were out as usual after the mules, and after hitching them up, we traveled 7 miles and nooned; In the afternoon we traveled 7 miles and camped. Henry Parker also had a mule team, and he and I (Bro. Zebulon Jacobs) had to take care of the mules.
Friday, July 26. After hitching up the cattle and mules, we traveled 5 1/2 miles to Wood River Center, where we stopped long enough to load the provisions that we left on our way down; then we traveled 5 miles further in the afternoon and camped in the evening.
Saturday, July 27. We were out early and caught a string of fish out of the Wood River. We traveled to Nebraska Center, where we watered, and then traveled 5 miles and nooned, where there was only one well, which was hardly enough to supply a train of 80 wagons on such a hot day as this one was. Here the train divided into two parts, Ansel P. Harmon took one train and Joseph W. Young the other until Heber P. Kimball should come up who was still behind. We passed Fort Kearney and camped on a branch of the Platte, making 11 miles in the afternoon. That night Mr. Tanner's <mule> train came up and camped close by. There we saw Sister Faust, who was on her return trip to Salt Lake, having been on a visit to the East.
Sunday, July 28. We traveled a short distance and camped for noon. The day was very warm. We went on to Elm Creek and camped, making 14 miles during the day. In the evening a meeting was called and held in Capt. Kimball's train, it being close to ours. Brothers Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow and Joseph W. Young gave the people good instructions and fatherly advice about crossing the Plains and the course they should pursue to preserve their health and their lives.
Monday, July 29. We traveled 7 miles to Buffalo Creek; had some trouble to find the cattle in the afternoon. We traveled 12 miles and camped. During the day the water was very scarce, and the people got sick with alkali, or something else. They dug holes for water, but it was very unhealthy. That evening I changed from the mess that I was in to that of the Captain's; our mess, up to the time the train was divided consisted of Samuel L. Sprague, jun., Oscar B. Young, Erastus McIntire, Isaac Eades, Zebulon Jacobs, John Titcombe, James Savage, and Frank F. Fox. Samuel L. Sprague, jun., went with Heber P. Kimball's train.
Tuesday, July 30. After gathering up the mules as usual, we hitched up the teams, traveled 9 miles and nooned; in the afternoon we traveled 8 miles, and in the evening "all hands" had a family swim in the Platte.
Wednesday, July 31. I helped to shoe an ox, and witnessed the mosquitoes and horse-flies driving off the horses and cattle, and in gathering <the animals> we kept what is called the dog-trot for about a mile. I finally caught a horse and jumped on him, and with considerable difficulty I succeeded in getting the animals back to camp. Some of the boys were quite sick in the morning. We traveled 9 miles in the forenoon. Nearly all the cattle crossed to an island in the river and made an attack upon a cornfield doing considerable damage. In the afternoon we traveled 7 miles.
Thursday, August 1. We traveled 6 miles over rather sandy roads in the forenoon, and in the afternoon we traveled 9 1/2 miles and camped on Skunk Creek, a marshy little stream.
Friday, August 2. I took my gun out to shoot snipes, and had some trouble to get the animals into camp. We traveled 8 miles to the Pawnee Springs, where we stopped the remainer of the day. This is a beautiful spring of clear, cold water, which tastes good to the weary traveler after following the Platte so many miles. We fixed the feet of the mules, mended harness, played laundress, etc. In the evening a meeting was held in camp, but the mosquitoes were there first and stayed during the services, and finally entertained us with their music all night. I tried to sleep but all in vain.
Saturday, August 3. I waked up the camp with the "martial Band" drove 5 miles to Carron Creek, and waited for the train. This is a very small stream oozing out of the sand-hills to the north of the road. We traveled 4 miles and stopped for noon. In the afternoon we traveled 9 miles and camped one mile west of Mud Creek, a small stream heading in a lot of springs, part of which is called the Pawnee Springs. There we stayed all night having a gay ball in the evening, and being entertained with a large and renowned band of minstrels; they kept us dancing all night. These pests seemed to flourish here pretty well.
Sunday, August 4. We traveled 12 miles to Bluff Fork, where we stayed the rest of the day, and spent the time fishing, but only caught a few chubs. I saw something stirring in the water and noticed a small head and a long neck; I soon saw that it was a plump turtle, which politely walked off with my bait and hook as though he had a right to it. I went back to camp much wiser than when I left. Some of us went in the river to bathe, but we found the mosquitoes there ahead of us, and stayed it out with us. They very soon got rid of us. We held a well attended meeting in the evening, but as the mosquitoes were there in clouds, the people scattered in disgust and sought refuge in their tents, but all to no purpose; the mosquitoes were supreme everywhere.
Monday, August 5. We made an early start in order to cross the sand-hills before the heat of the day. It was very heavy pulling, and after traveling 5 miles, we stopped for noon, where buffalo chips were scarce. We moved on about 2 miles to the foot of another sand-hill and till 5 o'clock p.m., when we started once more, the heat being very oppressive and the sand-hills very bad to cross on account of the loose sand being very deep. It was dark when we camped, and we were again pestered all night by the mosquitoes.
Tuesday, August 6. Continuing our journey we went 6 miles thru heavy sand and nooned on a small creek, which issued out from the hills. While journeying, Brother Henry Parker broke one of his harnesses. In the afternoon we traveled 5 miles to within a short distance of Cold Spring. I think the name of the stream is called Turtle Creek. That night while eating supper, the mules and horses took a notion they would go, and accordingly they went. Some of us started in pursuit, but the night was so dark that we had to take the advantage of the lightning to tell us which way we were going. When we saw something moving in the distance, we immediately started the chase. At last I got lost in a swamp but managed, after much trouble, to get back to camp without finding the animals.
Wednesday, August 7. We were out by daylight looking for the animals. After finding their tracks, we followed them 9 miles, when Jos. W. (Young) and William Riter overtook us, they being on horseback, while we were on foot. Ancel P. Harmon and I took the trail and trudged back to camp, hitched up and started the train, and after going a short distance we saw the animals coming. Joseph W., and Wm. Riter had found them. We changed teams and rolled on our way rejoicing. We traveled 7 miles to a small slough and nooned. In the afternoon we traveled 7 miles and camped on Rattlesnake Creek. The mosquitoes were still plentiful. We were visited by a heavy thunder storm in the night. Rattlesnake Creek is a nice stream which empties into the Platte.
Thursday, August 8. We traveled 6 or 7 miles in the forenoon, and after traveling 7 miles in the afternoon, we reached Turtle Creek, where we camped for the night. There was a nice shower of rain.
Friday, August 9. After enjoying a good night's rest, we were awakened early by the camp band. The mules were gathered and the journey commenced. After traveling 7 miles we nooned, and in the afternoon we traveled another 7 miles. Buffalo timber (chips) here were rather scarce and very damp, owing to the recent shower.
Saturday, August 10. During the night we were visited by a very heavy shower. We took an early breakfast, and together with one of the brethren, I crossed the river and found plenty of chokecherries and currants. After satisfying our own appetites we filled our hats and pockets with berries which we took to camp and distributed them among our fellow-passengers. Finding breakfast ready, we ate heartily. In re-crossing the river we got ducked several times, but hung on to the fruit. We next gathered willows for fuel and after dinner we traveled 2 1/2 miles and camped opposite Ash Hollow, on the ground called Squaw Killer Harney's battle ground, thus named because of his <(Harney's)> killing a number of Indian squaws. The mosquitoes at this place were rather friendly; we are now 378 miles from Florence.
Sunday, August 11. We traveled 7 miles in the forenoon to a small stream and nooned. We traveled ten miles in the afternoon and toward night we were visited by a heavy rain storm. "Chips" were scarce in this locality, and most of us only had a few crumbs for supper. The rain water stood in pools everywhere in the road. The people fared rather "slim" between wet and no wood.
Monday, August 12. Making an early start, we traveled 3 1/2 miles and came to the Platte River, having made a 13 1/2 mile drive without water. After breakfast we moved 7 miles to Crab Creek, where we took dinner and supper. At 4:30 p.m. we rolled out again, and traveled 7 miles and camped rather late in the evening.
Tuesday, August 13. After eating a late breakfast, we traveled over a cobble stone hill and camped for noon, after traveling five miles; in the afternoon we traveled 7 miles, part of the time during a heavy fall of rain.
Wednesday, August 14. Joseph W. Young mended his carriage. In the forenoon we traveled 7 miles and in the afternoon 10 miles; camped for the night on the banks of the Platte.
Thursday, August 15. We gathered our long eared horses and traveled 10 miles and nooned. In the afternoon we traveled 7 miles and camped opposite Chimney Rock.
Friday, August 16. We traveled 8 miles in the forenoon over somewhat sandy roads and in the afternoon traveled 10 miles and camped opposite Scott's Bluff. In wet weather the traveling through this part of the country is very disagreeable owing to the softness of the soil and a number of spring streams which cross the road. I came very near stepping on a rattle snake which scared me but I succeeded in killing it.
Saturday, August 17. As we woke up in the morning all hands began laughing at each other, as our faces were besmeared with tar and wagon grease. Some of the boys from the other camp had paid us a visit and left their compliments upon our faces. We traveled nine miles and nooned on a small creek where several oxen were shod. In the afternoon we traveled 9 miles and camped on the Platte.
Sunday, August 18. We traveled 9 miles in the forenoon and 8 miles in the afternoon, making our night emcampment at a place where wood was plentiful.
Monday, August 19. We traveled 10 miles in the forenoon and 7 miles in the afternoon; we camped for the night on a large sand bank and were visited by heavy showers.
Tuesday, August 20. In the morning the sky was overcast with thick clouds and soon it commenced to rain, which prevented us from starting until 4 o'clock p.m. After that we traveled 6 miles and camped late in the evening.
Wednesday, August 21. During the night considerable rain had fallen. We met Joseph W. Young coming back from Deer Creek. About noon we passed Fort Laramie which is called the half way between the Missouri River and our Mountain Home. It consists of a small collection of buildings forming something like a square which is garrissoned by U. S. troops to protect the emigration from the encroachment of Indians. We traveled five miles, crossed the Platte and camped on the opposite bank. I was in the water most of the afternoon helping the teams across. The weather was cold.
Thursday, August 22. We made an early start and traveled 6 miles in the forenoon through the Black Hills. The roads were rather rough compared to what they were in traveling up the Platte River. In the afternoon we traveled ten miles and formed our encampment late in the evening. We had to go about three-fourths of a mile for water, which we found in the dark. While the mules were drinking I found chokecherries, of which I ate freely. Being on guard, I took the mules up a large ravine and stayed until midnight, when Bro. Henry Parker relieved me.
Friday, August 23. I was out early getting water and cherries. When we rolled out after breakfast, some thirty head of cattle were missing. William Riter and Joseph Weiler stopped to hunt for them, while the company traveled six miles and nooned by a beautiful spring. In the afternoon we traveled 9 miles and camped on the Platte late in the evening.
Saturday, August 24. We traveled 6 miles in the forenoon and stopped for noon close to a large grove of cottonwood, in which a few years ago the Indians waylaid and killed quite a number of white people who were traveling west. In the afternoon we traveled 6 miles, crossed the Platte River the second time, went three miles further and camped by a beautiful grove. When Bro. Parker and I were on guard about 10 o'clock p.m. we saw a man coming toward us. We hailed him the second time but he failed to stop so we stopped him and found that he belonged to Heber P. Kimball's train which was a short distance ahead of us. The boys had induced him to catch rabbits in Yankee fashion by building a small fire and lying down by it with an open sack for the rabbits to run into, and then hit them on the head with a club, now and then giving a low whistle; other boys going out to drive the rabbits in, when, all of a sudden the boys gave a yell. The man thought the Indians were upon him, and off he started at full run. He had run about a mile when we stopped him. The fellow was scared out of his wits. The cause of his scare was this that he knew everything but Yankee tricks. We took him back to his train which was three-fourths of a mile distant. The method of catching rabbits just described was just a trick played on the man.
Sunday, August 25. We started as usual and traveled ten miles in the forenoon. We stopped for dinner a short distance from the Platte, the sun being very warm. In the afternoon we went five miles and crossed the Platte for a third time. Both trains crossed the river the same afternoon and camped on the bank. Meeting was held in the evening.
Monday, August 26. I waked up with a putrid sore throat, but went out to drive up the stock. When hitching up, we saw the remains of Johnston's army on their homeward march after their endeavor to put down the "Mormon" rebellion. We had to wait for them to pass. They were rather a rusty looking lot. We traveled 9 miles and nooned on a bluff. In the afternoon we traveled 7 miles and camped in the hills a long way from the Platte and six miles east of Deer Creek.
Tuesday, August 27. The morning was rather stormy. Continuing our journey we soon reached Deer Creek, and there loaded into our wagons the flour which was left there going east. We traveled 2 1/2 miles further and stopped for noon. In the afternoon we traveled five miles.
Wednesday, August 28. We traveled nine miles through a very hilly country and nooned. This morning some of our cattle were missing and the boys were sent after them; we traveled 7 miles in the afternoon.
Thursday, August 29. We traveled to the Upper Platte Bridge and loaded up the flour which was stored there for our use; went on a short distance further there and camped for noon after traveling 11 miles. Continuing the journey in the afternoon we left "our faithful friend the Platte River" and took to the hills. We made a dry camp at night.
Friday, August 30. Henry Parker and I were sent out in the morning to hunt for mission mules. After finding them and returning to camp it was discovered that quite a number of oxen were missing so we started out again to hunt for them, and after going two or three miles we met Joseph Weiler with the cattle. Our train moved on to Willow Springs Creek, where we nooned after traveling 9 miles. While nooning, Joseph W. Young asked me to go on with him ahead of our train to overtake the emigration and settle up with them for their fare. Consequently, we left the train behind and went on to Fish Creek, five miles, and took supper with Heber P. Kimball. We then moved on and camped with Captain Sam. A. Woolley's train, about 12 o'clock, midnight. We stopped with that train <until daylight.>
Sat. Aug. 31. We went over to Independance Rock, ten miles distant and took breakfast. Here we struck the Sweetwater for the first time and also the Rocky Mountains which looked good to the eye and gladdens the heart, after traveling so long along the monotonous Platte River. The water of a mountain stream is gladly drunk by one who has passed the greater part of his life among the mountains. At Independence Rock I went out hunting sage hens, which I saw flying around, but did not kill any. Continuing the journey, we passed Devil's Gate, through which the Sweetwater flows over large boulders. Traveling on, we overtook Captain Potter's train and took dinner after traveling 25 miles. We then went on, passing the three crossings of Sweetwater and camped after traveling 25 miles in the afternoon. The so-called three crossings of the Sweetwater is a beautiful place, the majestic mountains of rocks on either side making grand scenery. The crossings are close together, two of them only a few rods apart and the other 600 yards off. After going through the narrow place we saw a lake <of fresh water> about 3/4 of a mile to the right.
Sunday, Sept. 1. As soon as it was daylight we gathered the mules and traveled 8 or 10 miles before breakfast; we then went on traveling 23 miles further and took dinner. After that we traveled until sundown and took supper with Louis Silver at the foot of Rocky Ridge. We then crossed the ridge which is rightly named, and crossed Strawberry Creek, Rock Creek and Willow Creek, and finally crossed Sweetwater for the last time and camped a short distance further on, having traveled 27 miles that day.
Monday, Sept. 2. At daylight we resumed our journey, crossed the Divide or South Pass, which divides the waters of the Sweetwater from those on the west, which form the tributaries of
the Green River. We moved on rather rapidly, passed Pacific Creek, Dry Sandy, and went 3 or 4 miles further, stopping for noon, making 22 miles that morning. While nooning the mail-coach came up, and Joseph W. Young took passage in it <for the Valley> leaving me alone. I hitched up, and drove on; crossed Little Sandy and Big Sandy, and took supper at sundown. I then crossed Simpson's or Corral Hollow and camped for the night after dark. During the afternoon I had traveled about 20 miles. I camped alone with my team and wagon.
Tuesday, Sept. 3. Continuing the journey at daylight, I soon overtook Brother Merkley, with whom I conversed a short time, and then drove on 5 miles further, and overtook Captain Ira Eldredge's train, which was just getting ready to start. I delivered up a mare that we found near Fort Laramie. After breakfast I went on and crossed Green River, went down the old road, and out on the bench and stopped for noon. The sun made it hot and uncomfortable. After traveling 20 miles, I reached Ham's Fork, but continued the journey 25 miles further to Black's Fork, where I found Captain Joseph Horne's train, where I joined the people <in that camp> in a dance on the rough floor in the evening.
Wednesday, Sept. 4. In the morning I found my mules missing. Going up Black's Fork about 3 miles I found them, and brought them, together with some more horses that were with them, back to my wagon. I found that they belonged to <Capt. Horne's>
the train. Brother Richard Horne, who had been slightly injured, now became my traveling companion, and I was very glad of his company. We started on and came to Fort Bridger, where we took supper with Daniel Seegmiller. Here we found Captains John R. Murdock and Homer Duncan's trains. After supper we traveled about 8 miles and camped for the night, having traveled during the day 40 miles.
Thursday, Sept. 5. We continued the journey at daylight and traveled on to Soda Springs, <(last Springs) next yellow springs> where we stopped for breakfast. We ate dinner on Bear River, and supper at Cache Cave, whence we drove down Echo Canyon 3 or 4 miles, traveling altogether 45 miles during the day.
Friday, Sept. 6. We continued the journey at the break of day; traveled down Echo Canyon and took breakfast at the mouth of said canyon fed the animals and continued the journey to East Canyon, and <in the> evening rolled in at the ranch of Ephraim Hanks in Parley's Canyon, after crossing Big Mountain. Brother Hanks gave us a square meal for supper.
Saturday, Sept. 7. Continuing the journey we rolled over to Great Salt Lake City, arriving there at 8:30 a.m. and took breakfast at home.