Daniel Wood journals, circa 1862-1900, 33-54.
View this source online
[This document is a reminiscence of Daniel Wood, who traveled in 1848. However, throughout his record, he inserts descriptions written by a few other men who traveled during 1847, making it seem as though Wood actually traveled in 1847, which he did not. Those inserted descriptions written by someone other than Wood himself are italicized.]
Early in the spring of 1848 as soon as animals could find their living on the prairie a large body of the Saints were ready to start for Salt Lake Valley[.] Companys were formed composed of one hundred wagons having a Captain over the whole then there were two Captains of fifty each[.] then again there were Captains of tens themselves included I was organised in a Company having Zerah Pulcipher as our Captain and a man by the name of Benbo was captain of our fifty and I was Captain of the other[.] we started out and had not traveled far when I broke the dead bolt that passes through the tongue and front point[.] I had to return and hunt up a black smith Shop which with some dificulty found and got my bolt fixed and returned and rigged up and started to follow the Company which I soon over took[.] after traveling a short time we came to Elk Horn which is the first river west of Missouri[.] it is not very wide but deep and dificult to ford west wise[.] The most of one day in getting all our Company across[.] We traveled on day after day for a short time then we came to the Loup Fork a little before night and camped on the bank of the river[.] Captain Pulcipher called the company together in council[.] I knew there was a little dissatisfaction in the Company. This Benbo was a son-in-law of Capt. Pulcipher and his Company would come into mine and Capt Pulcipher was not pleased about it and he called the Council on that account and he tried to throw both fifty's into one and have Benbo capt over them both[.] He asked me what I thought of it and I told him I would see in the morning[.] then we made a general turn out to hunt a ford across the river[.] it was about one quarter of a mile wide but not very deep but was very subject to changes on account of having a great deal of quick sand in its bottom[.] we found a ford and staked it out and the next morning looked it over again and found some places where the sand had washed away and so we had to find a new ford[.] the crossing over this river took us the largest part of the day[.] after we had all got over, President Young's train came up and camped on the opposite side[.] I took my carriage and crossed over again to see him and he then requested me to go back and see where H. C. Kimballs train was[.] I accordingly went and after traveling several miles I got to his Camp[.] I was accompined by D. H. Wells and after a short time we started back and when we got to the river we found that President Young's had crossed over and camped on the opposite side other side. Capt Pulcipher and Benbo had moved off about one half a mile but my Company stayed on the bank of the river and I asked them why they did not move off and camp with Capt Pulciphers Company and they said they intended to Camp where I did. I went and saw President Young and he requested me to drive into his Company[.] so I drove into his Company and all my Company followed me we stayed there a day or two[.] The President had about three hundred wagons in his Company and when we moved on again you may depend we moved slow with such a great body of teams and wagons and we traveled but a short distance in a day[.] I was still a Captain of 50 and it would take us a long time to correll our wagons[.] some times we would be out of sight of the head teams when they would commence to correl and I being the hind most team would have to wait a long time. We some times tried how quick we could correl our Company[.] I reccollect one evening Squire Wells rode out to see how quick the Companys would correl[.] so when the Company ahead of us got correlled I told my Company to see how quick they could correl[.] so we drove up and those that had cows leading aside of their oxen unhitched them & we correlled our wagons in abt six minutes.
When the evenings was fine we frequently would get round our Camp fires in groups and have some songs and music to cheer us in our journeying of which the following is a sample: By a gifted poetess Miss E[liza] R Snow...
So next morning every thing being ready we resumed our journey[.] it was a standing rule to have prayer Morning and evening through all the Camps[.] we were all well except Daniel C. Wood Son of Peninah Wood" Hoe" [who] at that time was about one year and a half old. From his birth he had been rather delicate and often ailing he had been subject to fevers and cankers[.] his delicate health during our journeying caused his mother a great deal of anxiety and trouble. Our train being large as a consequence our motion was slow in passing bad places there would be some time lost[.] our roads some times were mostly some times very sandy. at other times we would have good roads. Fuel to cook with was pretty scarce about this part of our journey[.] After a few days travel we came to (Prarrie [Prairie] Creek) where we remained a short time to wash and cook and make necessary repairs[.] then we traveled to (Wood River)[.] this is a beautiful place for Camping the water is good and plenty of Wood. Game is rather scarce[.] some times we would see a few Antelope at some distance. I remember one time when John my Son was out with a few others hunting[.] they saw a herd of Antelope running[.] they continued to run about one quarter of a mile then they stopped[.] John lifted up his gun and said as he did so he was going to let drive at the pile which he did without drawing sight on any one particularly and killed one of them[.] this was some help to us in our living[.] Ducks, geese &c were very seldom seen at this part of our journey[.] indeed there is
We left Wood river[,] roads better than usual[.] our course lay up the (Platte) or [(]Nebraska) river[.] we frequently had no wood to cook our food and we[re] compelled to gather Buffalo Chips[.] Buffalo excrement dried which burns very well making a bright red fire when thoroughly lighted[.] they burn very much like dried turf or "bog peat"[.] To the Emigrants crossing these plains they are a Blessing for if it were not for them we frequently would have to go without fire as there is no wood or other fuel adjacent to the road. In our journeying up the Platte the Buffalo were in sight looking like black clouds some herds estimated to number several thousand[.] A few men would go out and kill what we wanted to use in the Camp.
There are quite a number of
Some of the Bluffs are very picture esque in their appearance[.] one is called Ancient Bluff ruins resembling old ruins as the name implies. Another place of considerable interest to the traveler is (Chimney Rock) which is seen a great distance off[.] it is situated on the south side of the platte[.] Captain Stanbury thus describes it[.]
this singular conformation has been undoubtedly at one time a portion probably a projecting shoulder of the Main Chain of Bluffs bounding the valey of the platte and has been separated from it by the action of the water. It consists of a conical elevation of about one hundred feet high[.] its forming an angle of about forty five degrees with the horizon[.] from the apex rises a nearly circular and perpendicular shaft of clay
About fifteen miles further west on the same side of the river as Chimney Rock is Scotts Bluffs which attracts the attention of the traveler and which have been described as follows.
The Bluffs on the opposite side of the river exhibit themselves in a great variety of forms[.] presenting seems remarkably picturesque and interesting in their appearence. There can be seen towers and castels of various forms and heights[.] perpendicular walls some of whose outlines are circular[,] others rectilineal. Deep notches both semicircular and rectangular seem to be excavated in their summits[.] many of these scenes closely resemble the artificial works of man thrown partially in to disorder and confusion by some great convulsion of nature.
I have rather over look[ed] a few circumstances which occured in our travels[,] that is the[y] occured before we traveled as far west as the descriptions I have given of the natural Pictures to be seen adjoining the road which are interesting to the admirer of nature beauties; which I will now refer to. Before we traveled a great distance on the plains it was evident that it was not good policy to travel in very large Companys as there was a great many hindrances incidental to a large Company which would not occur in a small one[.] Therefore President Young directed that the Companys break up into smaller Companys of about fifty wagons in a Company which proved to be a great improvement. My Son Daniel C. Wood of whom I have written above being sickly continued to grow worse and a swelling commenced on his back and continued for some time to increase in size and it made him very restless and a great deal of trouble to his mother[.] Our people thought if it broke inside it would kill him[.] after we had done every thing within our power for him I was impressed to go oft to nature's solitude and pray for him so I told my Son John to look after the teams and I started and went entirely out of sight of the camp and I knelt down and prayed and pleaded with my Heavenly Father that he would restore my Son to health. My heart seemed melted within me and I felt as though the Angels of God were near me to Bless and I presume my feelings are simular to Jacobs of old who "He" said "surely this is the gate of Heaven[.]" I received a testimony that my Son would recover, then I with gratitude in my heart started to over take my Company which I soon over took and told my Family that Daniel would recover.
Some short time after the swelling broke out side and his mother said it ran over a pint of matter run out of it. He was reduced very low but "he" began to recover. We continued our journey up the Platte some times having to cross Bluffs of sand then down again on the Plat[te] which somtimes was pretty good and then again not so good. After passing Scotts Bluffs we had some heavy sandy roads to pass which were very laborious and fatiguing to our teams[.] the next place we came to that tended to break the monotony of our journey was Fort Platte which had been a bandoned and was fast crumbling to decay. It is situated on the south bank of the north Fork of the Platte and about a half a mile east of the Laramie Fork where it empties into the Platte. Fort Laramie is distant about two miles west of Fort Platte, and is thus described by Mr "Orson Pratt"
Fort Laramie is situated on the left bank of Laramie Fork about one and a half mile from its confluence with the North Fork. Its walls are built of clay or unburnt brick being about 18 feet high and of a rectangular construction measuring on the interior 111 by 168 feet[.] Rangers of houses are built in the interior adjoining the walls leaving a central yard of above 100 square feet. This post belongs to the American Fur Company and is now occupied by about eighteen men with their Families under the charge of Mr. Bordeau.
A few other items pertaining to Fort Laramie by a later author I think will be interesting.
Fort Laramie was formerly known as fort John and was established by and owned by the American Fur Company for the protection of their trade. Its walls are built of adobe or sunburnt brick being about 15 feet high and of a rectangular construction inclosing a court of about 130 feet square. The walls form a portion of a range of houses opening on the inside. In 1849 it was sold to the U. States and was improved and extended by the erection of additional quarters for the troops of which about 100 with officers and are generaly stationed there[.] Opposite the Fort is old Laramie Ferry considered the best crossing of the Platte river on the route to the south pass. The properties of the ferry have also a black Smiths Shop and do considerable business in supplying Emigrants with horses, mules, grain and out fitting goods &c. The road on the other side of the Platte crosses the Laramie Fork one mile below the Fort. Laramie river is a small
We ferryed the Platte and resumed our journey on the right bank of the river the road led over some steep Bluffs and after winding among them we again desended to the river bottom down a very steep hill[.] Our road for several days may be called hilly[,] the projecting spires of the Black Hills[,] quite a number of small streams with considerable timber skirting their banks intersected the road. Wild sage begins to luxuraiate as the altitude of the Country increases. We passed along till we came to the upper ferry of the Platt where the road closes the river and leaves the Platte [This] is 124 miles west of Laramie. We then left the Platte and traveled across the Country which was some what broken and hilly first twelve miles there is no water. then 9½ miles further we came to the second water which is but a small stream with very little feed in its vicinity. The road passes near to what is called "Saleratus Lakes" which look from a distance like frozen lakes having a little coating of snow. We collected a guantity of Saleratus which is very white and pure considering it is gathered off the surface of the earth.
The feed in the neighborhood is different to any that we had the former part of the journey and it required great care to keep our cattle from killing themselves by eating too much of the Salt grass which abound in this locality.
The distance between the North Fork of the Platte and Sweet water River is some 38 or 40 miles. This is a beautiful clear stream in the latter part of the summer and I presume is named "Sweetwater" because it contrasts so favorably with the very inferior waters that is found between the Platte and this stream. We traveled a short distance up this stream and came to "Rock Independence[.] " here we encamped. In the evening after having been in some time I awoke and heard the sound of singing which sounded so pleasent and heavenly[.] I got up and went to where I heard it and found quite a number up on the top of "Rock" I soon joined their Company and we remained there singing and enjoying ourselves till about Midnight. Some few miles from this "Independent Rock" is a very remarkable place called the "Devils Gate" a description of which by Captain Stansbury I here insert.
A short distance beyond [Rock Independence] was a range of Granite hills stretching entirely across the valey and continous with a range extending to the north. Through this range the Sweet water passes in a narrow cleft or gorge about two hundred yards in length called the "Devils Gate"[.] The space between the cliff on either side did not some places exceed 40 feet. The height was from 300 to 400 feet, very nearly perpendicular and on the south side over hanging. Through this romantic pass the river brawls and frets over broken masses of rock that obstruct its passage affording one of the most lovely[,] cool and refreshing retreats from the eternal sunshine without that the imagination could desire. It is difficult to account for the river having forced its passage through the rocks at this point as the hills a very short distance to the south are much lower and according to present appearance present by no means such serious obstacles [as] had been here encountered.
It is probable that when the cannon [canyon] was formed stratified rocks obstructed it in that direction and that these rocks have since disappeared by slow disintegration. The granite rocks of the pass were traversed in many places by dikes of trap, which were in some instances twenty feet thick whose direction was east and west. South of the pass at its eastern extremity stratified rocks consisting of conglomerate were observed in a nearly horizontal position without exhibiting the least evidence of having been disturbed by the igneous rocks around which they were placed[.] indeed they could be traced in close contact with the granite without any displacement of the strata proving that their formation must have been subsequent to that of the granite from the disintegration of which they were composed. The conglomerate is of the same character as that which was observed before coming upon the carboniferous rocks. The rocks were not observed to have any marked dip[.] It is highly probable that they belong to a period subsequent to that in which the carboniferous rocks were formed and that the eruption of granite took place after the latter formation but before that of the conglomerate. No dikes of trap were observed in the granite except inthe immediate vicinity of the "Devils Gate."
I will now give you a short description of the valy of the Sweet water coppied from Mr. O. Pratts notes.
The valley of the Sweet water varies in bredth from five to eight or ten miles bounded upon the north and south by mountainous ridges insolated hills and ragged summits of massive granite varying from 1200 to 2000 feet in height. those upon the southern boundary being the hi[gh]est and are partially covered with snow and well timbered with pine while those on the north are entirely bare with the exception of here and there an insolated pine or cedar in the cliffs or benches of the hills. The river seems to hug the base of the hills on the north and although its general course is to the east it's short and frequent meanderings give it a serpentine appearence[.] it's average breadth is about 60 feet[.] it's average depth about 4 feet with a rapid current; [in the latter part of summer it is not so large] It's bottoms consist of fine sand and gravel while the bottom land for a few rods upon each bank generally affords sufficient grass for the Emigrants, but the rest of the plain for several miles in width is of a sandy barren sterile aspect with scarcely any vegetation but artemesia or wild sage, which seems here to flourish in great abundance growing in places to the enormous size of 8 or 10 inches in diameter and 8 or 10 feet in height. There is no timber upon the Sweet water and we are dependent all together upon the drift wood, Buffalo excrement and artemesia the latter burns extremely well with a clear bright flame
While traveling through the valey of the Sweet water we traveled but short stages in order to let our teams recruit. There were quite a number of cattle died[.] I lost one ox and another was taken sick. I gave him a dose of Salt Petre which several of my Company thought the medicine would be sure to kill him but he recovered though he was unfit for work for some time. I had an old dog along with me who drove the ox along as well as a man could do it. He would follow the ox where ever he went and if it got a little to far from the road he would turn him toward it and thus he drove it for several days. we had no trouble keeping the ox up with the train. We saw quite a number of Buffalo in this valley and several were killed, I went out hunting one day and shot a Buffalo Cow which was halled to camp and divided amongst the Company. The Sweet water is well fitted with fish from which the Emigrants frequently got supplies[.] One method we took to catch the fish was the following[.] we took a sheet and stretched it close to the bottom keeping the two corners hiest up the stream close to the stream bottom of the stream[.] Then we would lift up the other two corners and hold them about the surface of the water then two or three would enter the stream a little distance above and travel down ward driving the fish toward the sheet which we would then lift up closing it together so as to entrap the fish[.] we some times were quite successful with this make-shift-of-a-net which added considerable to our comfort in living.
There is a spring called "Sulphur Spring" and by others "Ice Spring" about thirty miles east of the last crossing of the Sweetwater that by digging into it at any time of the year ice can be found[.] we tried the experiment and found lumps of ice about a foot under the surface.
The road crosses and recrosses the Sweetwater a number of times. The last crossing is about 8 miles from what is called the "South Pass." This part of the Country is thus described by the last quoted author.
My self with several others came on in advance of the Camp and it was with great difficulty that we could determine the dividing point of land which separates the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific. This Country called the "South Pass" for some 15 or 20 miles in length and breadth and is a gently undulating plain or prairie thickly coverd with wild sage from one to two feet high. On the highest part of this plain over which our road passes and which seperates the waters of the two Oceans is a small dry basin of 15 or 20 acres destitute of wild sage but containing good grass. From this basin about half a mile both to the east and to the west the road gently rises about forty or fifty feet either of which elevations may be considered as the hi[gh]est on our road in the Pass. On the western elevation the barometer stood at 23.101
We pursued our journey being now on the west side of the dividing ridge with every day bringing us nearer our long wished for destination[.] we traveled over a very good inclined road and came to Little Sandy. A little incident of domestic life occurred here which I still remember which though simple I will here relate. We carried a cat along with us which rode in one or the other of our wagons[.] she got so accustomed to our camping life that as soon as the teams would stop at night she would jump out of the wagon and run around with the children and when we started to travel on she was always in the wagon so that we took no trouble to watch her but at Little Sandy she disappeared and we could not tell what became of her. However after we arrived at Salt Lake City we found her with Kittens in the possession of another man. He was not very willing to give her up as cats were valuable here at that time but after a little I got my cat back again.
We left little Sandy and traveled about 8 miles and reached "Big Sandy". thence onward over pretty good roads to "Green River" distance about 25 miles. This is quite a large stream. It's dimensions are given on the last day of June 1847 as follows. Green River is very high there being in the Channel 12 to 15 feet of water[.] the width of the water is about 180 yards with a very rapid current." It is always as large as these dimensions given. toward the last of summer and in Autumn it is fordable having a good bottom. This may be called the head waters of Colorado which empties in to the gulf of California.
The road follows up the right bank of the river some six or seven miles then leaves "Green River" and passes over a sandy undulating plain about 17 miles to "Black's Fork" which we forded and a few miles further arrived at and forded "Hams Fork". One mile and a half further we again strike "Blacks Fork" and from this point about 13 miles further "Blacks Fork" is again forded to the left bank after some further crossing and recrossing we finally arrived at Fort Bridger 109½ miles from the "South Pass"
To give a little idea of the labor which had to be done by the Pioneers the year before I came through also the description of the Country is more minute than I probably would give therefore Mr. O. Pratts description is here inserted.
We continued gradually to ascend [from Fort Bridger] and in 6¼ miles came to a small Brook formed by a spring and melting snow which lay in places upon it's banks. In about ¾ of a mile crossed this brook and ascended a long steep hill for about a half a mile at the top of which I obtained the latitude. descending 400 or 500 feet and crossed the stream about 15 feet wide which was 41 degrees. 16 minutes. 11 seconds after which a road led across a comparatively level table land for 2 or 3 miles. We then descended 150 or 200 feet down a very steep hill. We traveled 5½ miles from the station where I took the latitude, descending 400 or 500 feet and crossed a stream about 15 feet wide and 1½ feet deep, very clear water[.] this is said to be a branch of Muddy Fork. Some few willows upon its Banks. We encamped on the left bank for the night, it being 13 miles from Bridger's. The grass is good[.] there is a quantity of large grass which very much resembles wheat having heads and nearly as tall[.] our animals are very fond of it. We discovered now and then a little of this kind of grass on the "Sweet water" but as we continue our journey it increases in quantity. There is another species of fine tender grass which the animals are also extremely fond of. We saw today considerable ceder upon the hills on each side of our road[.] it is low and crubby. No game to be seen. A short distance from where we encamped, we saw an abundance of fine grit sand stone of very excellent quality for grindstones. We commenced gradually to ascend passing a small spring which we called Red mineral Spring from the extreme redness of the soil out of which it issued; its taste was very disagreeable, and no doubt poisoness on account of the great percentage of leopperas which it contained; from the taste, I should judge that it also contained considerable alum. After a journey of five miles we attained the summit of a ridge between two branches of "Muddy Fork". The barometer height above the sea 7315 feet. From this summit we commenced descending for about 1 mile and came upon a small level valley from 30 to 50 rods wide. there was some water in some places in this valley proceeding principally from mineral Springs. From the ridge we had descended 300 or 400 feet we followed up this valley to the south west and halted for noon 3 miles from the last named ridge, latitude 41 deg. 14 minutes 21 seconds. We continued on for five miles our road acending gradually for a while and then quite abruptly until we attained the summit of the dividing ridge between the waters of the "Gulf of California" and those of the Great Salt Lake or the branches of "Muddy Fork" on the east and Bear River on the west. The barometric elevation of this ridge above the sea is 7700 feet being 615 feet higher than the South Pass at the head of the "Sweet water." From this summit we commenced descending very abruptly at first and then more gradually. We continued down this narrow valley in a south westerly direction for about 4 miles on running water but some standing in pools, the grass was good. From this ravine we crossed a slight elevation on the left, and descended gradually upon a small tributary to "Bear River"; here we encamped for the night. About 25 rods south of this stream coming out of the Bluffs on the left bank is a most excellent cold spring of pure water, good grass. Some few willow, with the wild sage was our fuel as usual. On the side of the hills to the north west about 110 rods are some few cedars. We are now five miles from the summit of the last dividing ridge. We traveled 18 miles to day. Just before our encampment as I was wandering alone upon one of the hills examining the various geological formations. I discovered a smoke some two miles from our encampment, which I expected arose from some small Indian encampment. I informed some of our men and they immediately went to discover who they were[.] They found them to be a small party from the Bay of Saint Francisco on their way home to the States. They were accompanied by Mr Miles Goodyear, a mountaineer, as far as this point, where Mr. Goodyear lurning [learning] from us that the Oregon emigration was earlier than usual and that they instead of coming by way of Bridger had taken a more northern route concluded to go down Bear River and visit them for the purpose of trade.
Mr. Craig and three others proceeded on their journey for the States. Mr. Goodyear and two Indians went down bear river. The morning is clear calm and pleasent although it was cold during the night forming considerable ice[.] about ½ mile south we discovered a mineral tar Spring and a few rods to the north east some Sulpher Springs At this point the roads fork a few wagon tracks bearing to the south while a few others bore down the small creek on which we were encamped. This morning we resumed our journey taking the right hand fork of the road down the creek which represented as being the nearest and 1¾ miles brought us to Bear river Ford. The river here is about 60 feet wide 2½ feet deep a very rapid current and the bottom completely covered with rounded boulders some of which were about as large as a human head. The height above the sea is 6836 feet. Some speckled trout were caught in the stream this morning. The road again forks at this place. We took the right hand which bore a few degrees south of west. For about 2 miles our road gradually ascended and crossing a ridge we commenced descending following down for several miles a ravine in which there was little water. Plenty of grass of an excellent quality is found in almost every direction. The country is very broken with hills and vallies with no timber excepting scrubby cedar upon their sides. Antelope again appear in great abundance but rather wild[.] some 10 or 12 were brought in camp by our hunters in the course of the day. The road is exceedingly difficult to find excepting in places where the grass has not completely obscured it. We halted for noon a little east of a jutting stone formation. This ledge is on the right of the road which passes along its base. The rocks are from one hundred to two hundred feet in height & rise up in a perpendicular and shelving form being broken or washed out into many curious forms by the rains. Some quite large boulders were cemented in this rock[.] Mr. B. Young being sick concluded to stop a few hours and rest[.] several wagons stopped with him for company the rest being requested to move on. We continued down the ravine but a short distance where it empties its water into a small tributary of Bear river Which we crossed and again began to ascend for some distance when we crossed another ridge and descend rather abruptly at first but afterwards more gradually into another ravine at the head of which was a good spring of cold water we continued descending this ravine until towards evening when we encamped at the foot of a ledge of rocks on the right. Here is the mouth of a curious cave in the center of a coarse sand stone parting to the south and a little inclined from the perpendicular[.] the opening resembles very much the doors attached to an outdoor cellar being about 8 feet high and 12 or 14 feet wide We called reddins cave as a man by that name being one of the first in our company who visited it[.] we went into this cave about 30 feet where the entrance becoming quite small we did not feel
July 14th We resumed our journey[.] traveled about 6¾ miles and halted for noon[.] latitude 41 deg. 1 minute 47 seconds. In the after noon traveled about 6¼ miles further which brought us to the junction of Red and Weber's Fork[.] our journey down Red Fork has truly been very interesting and exceedingly picturesque. We have been shut up in a narrow vally from 10 to 20 rods wide while upon each side the hills rise very abruptly from 800 to 1200 feet and the most of the distance we have been walled in by vertical and overhanging precipices of red pudding stone and also red sand stone dipping to the north west in an angle of about 20 degrees[.] the valley of the red fork being about south west[.] these rocks were worked into many curious shapes probably by the rains. The country here is very mountanious in every direction. Red Fork towards the mouth
July 17th A severe frost during the night. Early this morning I started out alone and on foot to examine the country back to see if there was not a more practicable route for the Companies in the rear than the one we had come[.] I was soon satisfied that we had taken the best and only practicable. Met a large grey wolf about 4 rods from me. I returned to camp and counselled the company not to go any further till they had spent several hours labor on the road over which we passed yesterday afternoon and all who were able to work laboured about two thirds of the day upon the same and leaving orders for the camp to wards
July 18th. Sunday[.] the morning is cold and the ground whitened with frost[.] We remained in our encampment to day. Attended meeting in the forenoon[.] latitude 40. deg 54 min 7 seconds. A lunar observation was taken for the longitude[.] I also obtained an observation of the altitude of the moon for time.
July 19th The morning cold and frosty but in the middle of the day it is exceedingly warm. Mr. Brown started soon after sunrise to examine the road and Country ahead. We continued along the road which we explored the day before and ascertained that the road left Kanyon Creek near the place where we stopped the day before and run along in a ravine to the west. we ascended this ravine gradually for 4 miles when we came to the dividing ridge. Here we fastened our horses and ascended on foot a mountain on the right for several hundred feet. Both from the ridge where the road crosses and from the mountain peak We could see over a great extent of the Country. On the south west we could see an extensive level prairie some few miles distant which we thought must be near the Lake[.] We came down from the horses
20th The morning is frosty[.] I wrote a description of the road and country which we had traversed for several miles a head and left the same deposited in a conspicuous place for the benifit of the Camp which were soon expected to pass[.] We resumed our journey about 9 oclock in the morning being hindered more than usual by some cattle which had strayed off a short distance. We traveled today about 6 miles over the mountains labouring diligently upon the road. The barometrical observations on the dividing ridge were 23:139, attached thermometer 80 deg. detached thermometer 76 deg. giving for the height of the same above the sea 7245 feet
July 21st No frost this morning but a heavy dew. We resumed our journey[.] traveled 2½ miles and ascended a mountain for 1½ miles[.] descended upon the west side one mile[.] came upon a swift running creek where we halted for noon[.] we called this (Last Creek)[.] Brother Erastus Snow having over taken our camp from the other Camp which he said was but a few miles in the rear and my self proceeded in advance of the camp down Last Creek 4½ miles to where it passes through a kanyon and issues into the broad open Valley below. To avoid the Kanyon the wagons last season had passed over an exceedingly steep and dangerous hill. Mr Snow and myself ascended this hill, from the top of which a broad open valley about 20 miles wide and 30 long lay stretched out before us at the north end of which the broad waters of the Great Salt Lake glistened in the sunbeams containing high mountainous island from 25 to 30 miles in extent. After issuing from the mountains among which we had been shut up for many days and beholding in a moment such an extensive scenery open before us we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view. We immediately descended very gradually into the lower parts of the valley and although we had but one horse between us yet we traversed a circuit of about 12 miles before we left the valley to return to our camp which we found encamped 1½ miles up the ravine from the valley and 3 miles in advance of their noon halt. It was about 9 oclock in the evening when we got into camp. The main body of the pioneers who were in the rear were encamped only 1½ miles up the creek from us with the exception of some wagons containing some who were sick who were still behind.
July 22nd This morning George A. Smith and myself accompanied by seven others rode into the valley to explore leaving the camp to follow on and work the road which here required considerable labor for we found that the Kanyon at the entrance of the Valley by cutting out the thick timber and under brush connected with some spading and digging could be made
July 23rd This morning we dispatched two persons to President Young and the wagons which were still behind informing them of our discoveries and explorations[.] The Camp removed its position 2 miles to the north where we encamped near the bank of a beautiful creek of pure cold water. This stream is sufficently large for mill sites and other machinery. Here we called the camp together and it fell to my lot to offer up prayer and thanksgiving in behalf of our Company all of whom had been preserved from the missouria river to this point and after dedicating ourselves and the land unto the Lord and imploring His Blessings upon our labours we appointed various committees to attend to different Branches of business, preparatory to putting in crops and in about two hours after our arrival we began to plow and the same after noon built a dam to irrigate the soil which at the spot where we were ploughing was exceedingly dry. Towards evening we were visited by a thunder shower from the west not quite enough rain to lay the dust.
Our two messengers returned bringing us word that the remainder of the wagons belonging to the Pioneer Company were only a few miles distant and would arrive the next day.
At 3 p.m. the thermometer stood at 96 deg.
July 24th This forenoon commenced planting our potatoes; after which we turned the water upon them and gave the ground quite a soaking. In the afternoon the other camp arrived and we found all the sick improving very fast, and were so as to be able to walk around. Towards evening another thunder shower from the south west, but not enough rain to benefit the ground.
From the above descriptions you will be able to form a little idea of the difficulties which had to be surmounted in traveling through the mountains; which was but little better the year following when I came through. However at this time (1869) the face of the Country has been changed. Good roads have been made and the Trail Road has been completed into this valley showing what the skill and energy of man can accomplish. From the above description of the mountain passes and the steep almost perpendicular sides of the mountains—I do not suppose you can imagine the grandeur and sublimity of the scenes which burst on the view at every turn. to be fully realised it must be looked upon.
When I arrived at (Weber River) I learned that President Young had had to leave a wagon on (Bear River) about 40 miles back so I concluded to send a team back to bring up the wagon for him so I sent a man who was driving team for me to be with one of my teams to go and hall [haul] The wagon to (Weber) and I and my Family tarried at Weber River) until he performed the trip which caused me a little behind my Company in arriving at Salt. Lake. City. Shortly after our arrival we traveled some 8 miles north of Salt. Lake. City to prepare for the winter.