Heber C. Kimball journal in Heber C. Kimball papers, 1837-1866.
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- Church History Library, MS 627
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- Brigham Young Vanguard Company (1847)
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The Journal or History of H[eber] C[hase]. Kimball during the progress of the Pioneer Company to West of the Rocky mountains to seek out a home and resting place for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On the 5th day of April 1847 I started out with 6 of my teams, and went out about 4 miles, where I formed into an encampment with several others of my division. The same day I returned back home and remained in Winter Quarters during the conference on the 6th. The saints came together and most of the Twelve being present, the meeting was opened and some business transacted, appointing John Smith as president, the Twelve all being acknowledged in their standing as usual as the Twelve Apostles, and as the leaders of the Church, and Brigham Young as their president. The High Council[,] the First Presidency of the Seventies, and Bishop Whitney &c were also acknowledged and sustained in their standing as formerly. The meeting then received some instructions from President Young, and adjourned as the weather was cold, sine die.
The remainder of the day I was in counsel with my brethren. On the 7th and 8th I was still making preparations for my journey and called my family together, and spent some time in giving them instructions of their duties, blessing of them, and dedicating and consecrating them to the Most High God. On the 8th, Brother Parley arrived in Winter Quarters, having returned from his mission to England, in good health and spirits. The Twelve who had departed, hearing of his arrival, returned back to Winter Quarters, and in the evening held a council at Dr. Richards office, and it was a time of rejoicing with us, in beholding our beloved brother and companion in tribulation, giving us a history of his mission to England, and the success, peace and prosperity of the Saints in England, which seemed to be more favorable than ever it had been at any other time. They had annihilated the Joint Stock Company, cut Ruben Hedlock and Ward off from the Church, who were the instigators of it, being the men that we had left to preside over the Church, had called the Elders of Israel from their duties of preaching life and salvation to the inhabitants of the earth, and set them to preaching up Joint Stockism in order to get gain, in order that they might fat themselves. Now the scenery is changed, and the Elders are all preaching the Everlasting Gospel, and have entirely baptized anew many of the conferences, and an entire reformation has commenced; and may the Lord God of Israel roll it forth, until Israel shall be saved.
On the 9th the Twelve started again on their journey. My son William carried out President Young, Bishop Whitney and myself in my carriage and horses. The whole Camp, after our arrival to them, started out and went to within four miles of Pappea [Papillion], being about fourteen miles from Winter Quarters, and camped for the night. I lodged in the wagon with President Young, as he had fitted up a wagon for him and me to lodge together through the journey. In course of the evening Bishop Whitney and myself went some distance upon the prairie, where we bowed down before the Lord, and both offered up our prayers to the Most High God, in behalf of the Pioneers and the Twelve, that they might be protected. and upheld, and sustained by the Almighty; that his Angels might go before them to lead them, to a land where the Lord should designate to be a resting place for His people Israel, and also in behalf of our families, our wives and our children, and all Israel that are left behind, that salvation may rest upon them, life, peace and prosperity may abide with them. We then returned to camp and retired to bed. Next morning we arose, hitched up our teams, and went on to the Pappea, which signifies the great Butterfly, At this place, we had to rise a steep bank on the west side, and we were under the necessity of hitching a rope into the neap of our wagon tongues and helping the teams to draw up their loads. We all got over in safety, and passed on to within about 6 miles of the "Elk Horn," where we encamped again for the night by the side of a small grove of timber, on the Bluffs of the "Elk Horn." Everything passed of[f] finely through the day. In the evening Dr. Richards horse strayed off and could not be found. Nothing particular passed through the evening, but some of the boys danced a little to amuse themselves. All passed off very peaceably and with good feelings, and we retired to bed, and rose early in the morning all well and in good spirits. The Dr sent out several persons in search of his horse, but they could not find him. I having a spare horse let him have him to put before his cattle and help him to the "Horn." Brother Young let George A[lbert]. Smith have a yoke of cattle as one of his teams failed him. We started and went on to the Horn and arrived there in the forenoon of the 11th which was the Sabbath day. About one-half of the teams had passed over the Horn, when we arrived. We continued ferrying over, by placing our wagons on a raft that had been constructed by some of the first pioneers that went on. This river is about nine rods across, and the water about four feet deep, and a very beautiful stream, with abundance of fish. By 4 o clock we were all passed over safe and encamped on the west side of the Horn River. The surrounding country in the neighborhood of this ferry on the Horn, is one of the most beautiful I ever saw. On the east side are a rolling ridge of nice bluffs, on the sides of which the timber grows beautiful, especially some cedar groves[.] From these bluffs there is a beautiful view of the great Platte River and its course for many miles, the junction of the Horn and Platte rivers being only about 2½ miles South of where we crossed. The even bottom prairies coursing along the side of the Platte for many miles in width makes the whole view one of beauty and sublimity which can rarely be surpassed. This day there were 72 wagons crossed the Horn, three of which afterwards returned to Winter Quarters, leaving 69 to go out with the Pioneers, and to each wagon two men. After I arrived in camp, one of my hunters, John S[omers]. Higbee, having killed a crane, a racoon and caught a number of fish, he presented me with a very nice one, which made us an excellent supper. This evening there was a guard appointed by Colonel [Stephen Avon] Markham to guard the Camp. The brethren retired to bed pretty early as every one were fatigued by the days journey. It was not our intention to have broached on the Sabbath, but the Camp were in a disordered State, some being on the one side the Horn and some on the other, and it was thought wisdom to get the Camp together lest they should be attacked by the Indians and unprepared for defence. The night passed in perfect peace and silence.
Monday, April 12th. All arose enjoying health and good spirits. The brethren were called together, and it was decided that the Camp tackle up their teams, and proceed on about 12 miles further, as we had fears that there would be rain, in which case the roads for that distance would have been extremely bad. A little before 9 o clock the Camp was all under way, with the instructions, when they landed to see that the blacksmiths were set to work and all the loose tires set, and all wagons that needed repairing, to be repaired. About the same time all the Twelve that were in Camp started back to "winter quarters," in company with Bishop Whitney and 10 or a dozen others, under the expectation of meeting with Elder Taylor on his arrival from England. We reached Winter Quarters about 4 in the afternoon, a distance of about 35 miles, finding our families all well and in good spirits, but Elder Taylor had not reached as yet. I went to work immediately after I reached home, raised two yoke of cattle and a wagon, fitted it up with flour and meal and other articles of provisions for to start immediately on to the Camp. I got brother Appleton [Milo] Harmon to drive the team. In the evening the Twelve met in council at Dr. Richards office, and transacted much business, in behalf of the saints. We went home and rested ourselves.
Tuesday, April 13th, 1847. Used every diligence to start our teams. Sometime in the afternoon started four ox teams, as follows, one of President Young's, one for Dr. Richards, one of David Grants [Grant] , the other my own, and several cows. This day brother Young, and Bishop Whitney and myself were in the store in company with brother W[illia]m Clayton. We then and there beset him to go with us to the mountains. He most cheerfully volunteered to go, in case his family could have some assistance. This was agreed to. He remarked that he was destitute of means to fit himself out for the journey. I replied I would see that he had a proper fit out to go on. He then and there proposed to give up all the papers, records, &c, pertaining to the Church business, and also to give account to Bishop Whitney in regard to the business on the store books, &c Just at night this date Elder Taylor arrived; accordingly the Twelve assembled at Dr. Richards, and there received his arrival. We had much joy and satisfaction to behold him again and to hear of his prosperity in his mission. He brought and delivered to us a box of Mathematical instruments, containing a Quadrant, a Sextant, barometer, thermometer, &c They also brought with them two thousand two hundred and sixty nine dollars for the Church. Also 12 Setts of knives and forks and carving knives, being a hundred and forty-four articles. A set being sent to each one of the Twelve, stating that E[lde]r Hyde was bringing President Young and myself, each a splendid chronometer gold watch. This money you may be assured came in a time when we needed it the most, and we bowed before the Most High God and offered up our thanksgiving to his name, for these and all other blessings, brother Young being mouth. We then adjourned and returned home as it was then twelve o clock.
14thApril 1847. Having got all things prepared and my ox teams being gone sometime, at 2 o clock P.M. I bid farewell to my family and committed them to the care of my heavenly father; I entered the carriage in company with my son, William, Ellen Sanders [Kimball], and brother William Clayton, to make a final start for West of the mountains. My son William going to carry us out to the Camp; the others going on with the Pioneer Company. Bishop Whitney, his son Joshua, and Lyman Whitney also started in a wagon to accompany us to the Camp. After traveling about 15 miles we overtook George Rhodes, who was taking a cow to the Camp which had strayed them and gone back to Winter Quarters. When we arrived at the Pappea [Papillion Creed] we picked up some wood and put into our wagons, knowing that we should not get to the Elk Horn and there being no more timber till we get there. We went on about 2 miles and about sundown we turned out to stay for the night; besides some small holes of water, not very good. We soon made up a fire, cooked our victuals and eat a hearty supper. We then bowed before the Lord, myself being mouth, and committed ourselves, our families and the Saints to God, and soon after retired to rest. William Kimball, George Rhodes, and Lyman Whitney took turns in standing through the night to guard our horses against the Indians. The evening was very pleasant, but cool.
Thursday, 15th. We arose early this morning, attended to our teams, cooked our breakfast and eat, then bowed before the Lord in prayer, brother Whitney being [mouth.] The morning fine but chilly. At half past 7 we proceeded on our journey and arrived at the Elk Horn at half past 11. Here we overtook President Young, George A. Smith, Amasa [Mason] Lyman and Ezra T[aft]. Benson and others who had just got their wagons across the river. At 12 we were all safely over and proceeded onwards to the Camp, where we arrived at 3 p.m. being about 12 miles from the Elk Horn and 47 from Winter Quarters. The brethren in the Camp were gladdened on our arrival all feeling anxious to proceed with as little delay with as little delay as possible
Friday16 This morning is gloomy, windy and cold. About 8 o clock the Camp were called together behind President Youngs wagon to organize for the journey. I made some remarks, exhorting the brethren to be humble and faithful on this mission for great things depend on it, both to ourselves, our families, and the whole Church. Bishop Whitney also spake very feelingly to the brethren, and very forcibly, and covenanted to remember the Camp before the Lord continually, and requested that we should remember him. After some remarks by several others, and the number of brethren in Camp being counted over, we proceeded to organize in the following order: 2 captains of hundreds or divisions, viz. Stephen Markham and A[lbert]. P[erry]. Rockwood; 5 captains of fifties, viz. Addison Everett, Tarlton Lewis, James Case, John Pack and Shadrack [Shadrach] Roundy; 14 Captains of Tens, viz. 1 Wilford Woodruff. 2 Ezra T. Benson. 3 Phineas H[owe]. Young. 4 Luke Johnson. 5 Stephen H[ezekiah]. Goddard. 6 Charles Shumway. 7 James Case. 8 Seth Taft. 9 Howard Egan. 10 John Pack, 11 John S[omers]. Higbee. 12 Norton Jacobs [Jacob], 13 John Brown. 14 Joseph [Lazarus] Mathews.
The names of the individuals who compose this pioneer Camp of Israel, are as follows.
1st Ten. Wilford Woodruff
John S[herman]. Fowler
Jacob [D.] Burnham
Joseph [Teasdale] Egbert
John M[onroe]. Freeman
Marcus B. Thorpe
George A[lbert]. Smith
2 Ten. Ezra T[aft]. Benson
Barnabas L[othrop]. Adams
Amasa [Mason] Lyman
Sterling [Graves] Driggs
George [Washington] Brown
John Jesse C[arter]. Little.
3. Ten. Phineas H. [Howe] Young
John Y[oung]. Green[e]
Truman O[sborn]. Angell
Lorenzo [Dow] Young
Albert P[erry]. Rockwood
Joseph S[mith]. Schofield.
4th Ten. Luke Johnson
John [Greenleaf] Holman
Edmund [Lovell] Ellsworth
[Sidney] Alvarus Hanks
George R[oberts]. Grant
Samuel [Bradford] Fox
Tunis Rappleyee [Rappleye]
[Eli] Harvey Pierce
5th Ten. Stephen H[ezekiah]. Goddard
Henry G[arlie]. Sherwood
Sylvester H[enry]. Earl
Samuel H[arvey]. Marble
William A[dam]. Empey.
6th Ten. Charles Shumway
Andrew [Purley] Shumway
Chancy [Chauncey] Loveland
Erastus [Fairbanks] Snow
William [Shin] Wordsworth
William [Perkins] Vance
Simeon [Fuller] Howd
7th Ten. James Case
William [Cochran] A. Smoot
Franklin B[enjamin] Dewey
Franklin G. Losee
[Horace] Datus Ensign
Franklin B. [Benjamin Franklin] Stewart
[Horace] Monroe Frink
Eric [M.] Glines
Ozro [French] Eastman.
8th Ten. Seth Taft
John S. Eldridge [John Southerland Eldredge]
Charles D. [Jacob D.] Burnham
Almon M[ack]. Williams
Robert T. Thomas
James W[esley]. Stewart
Levi N[ewell]. Kendall
9th Ten. Heber C[hase]. Kimball
William A. King
Thomas [Polsin] Cloward
Robert Byard [Baird]
George [Pierce] Billings
10tth Ten. Appleton M[ilo]. Harmon
Carlos [G.] Murray
Horace K[imball]. Whitney
Orson K[imball]. Whitney
Orrin P[orter]. Rockwell
Nathaniel Thomas Brown
R[eturn]. Jackson Redding [Redden]
Francis M[artin]. Pomroy [Pomeroy]
Aaron [Freeman] Farr
11th Ten. John S[omers]. Higbee
Conrad Klineman [Kleinman]
John H[arvey]. Tippets
Benjamin [Williams] Rolfe.
12th Ten. Norton Jacobs
Charles A[lfred]. Harper
Stephen [Avon] Markham
Andrew [Smith] Gibbons
John W[esley]. Norton.
13th Ten. Shadrach Roundy
Hans C[hristian]. Hanson [Hansen]
Mathew [Hayes] Ivory
Hark Lay (black)
Oscar Crosby (black).
14th Ten. Joseph [Lazarus] Mathews
Gilbird [Gilbard] Summe
John [Streater] Gleason
Cha[rle]s. [Allen] Burke [Burk]
Alexander P[hillip]. Chesley
Green Flake (black)
Total number of men started to go with this pioneer Camp of Israel, 144. Also Harriet Page Young, wife of Lorenzo Young, Isaac Perry Decker Young & Sabisky L. [Lorenzo Sobieski] Young. Ellen Sanders [Kimball] and Clarissa Decker [Young] , making a total of 149 souls, who have mostly left their families and friends in Winter Quarters, and started out as pioneers to prepare the way, and look out a home for the Saints beyond the Rocky Mountains, where they can build and inhabit, plant and eat the fruits of their labors, and serve God according to his laws, administering the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood, without being interrupted by mobs, or banished by the wicked governors of the land.
Before the meeting closed President Young said he wanted to have a standing guard of fifty men who would attend to their duty, and guard the Camp at nights the whole journey. Brother Stephen Markham was appointed captain of the guard and received orders to select 50 men out of the Camp to compose this guard, men whom he could depend on to do their duty. It was considered necessary to have two watches each night, and twelve men each watch. Bro. Markham then selected the following men for a standing guard:
Stephen H[ezekiah]. Goddard
Charles D. Barnham
Sylvester H. Earl
George R. Grant
William P. Vance
Samuel H. Marble
John W. Norton
Francis M. Pom[e]roy
Horace M. Frinks
Hans C. Hanson
William A.O. Smoot
Barnabus L. Adams
Alexander P. Chesley
Appleton M. Harmon
Gilbird [Gilbard] Summe
Conrad H. Klineman [Kleinman]
Andrew S. Gibbons
William A. King
John H. Tippets
After the organization was over it was thought best to go on a few miles to get better feed for our teams. We accordingly made preparations. Having previously agreed with Bishop Whitneys son John, that if he would keep a journal I would furnish him a book on purpose, I wrote a caption and blessing in a small book and sent it to him by his brother Joshua. At 2 o clock P.M. I parted with W[illia]m. Kimball, brother Whitney, Lyman Whitney, Joshua Whitney, George Rhodes and Joseph B. Nobles, who returned to Winter Quarters and the Camp proceeded on our journey about 3 miles and camped about half a mile from timber, where is plenty of cottonwood for brouse, and some rushes for cattle.
Saturday 17. This morning is very cold with strong northwest wind. At 9 o clock the camp proceeded on about 7 miles farther, and at 12 o clock, camped near a cottonwood grove, The brethren went to work cutting down trees for brouse and soon fell hundreds of them. We have to fetch our water beyond the Island from the river about half a mile. There is a lake close by but the water is not good. This afternoon Pres[iden]t Young, myself, the rest of the Twelve and some others got together and talked over the propriety of organizing the Camp in military order, so as to be better able to defend ourselves in case of an attack from the Indians. We concluded we would call the Camp together and have them organized in this manner. Accordingly at 5 P.M. the horn was sounded, the brethren came together, and Prest Young made known the object of the meeting. The brethren voted to organize in military order, and we proceeded as follows, each appointment being made by the unanimous vote of the Camp. President Young, Lieutenant-General. Stephen Markham[,] Colonel. John Pack & Shadrach Roundy, Majors. The Captains of Tens who were appointed at yesterday's organization to remain Captains of Tens in this, except John Pack, who in consequence of his being major, Appleton M. Harmon was appointed Captain over the 10th Ten in his stead. Thomas Bullock was appointed clerk of the Camp, Thomas Tanner Captain of the Cannon with the privilege of selecting 8 men of his own choice to form the gun division. Prest Young then stated to the brethren the following regulations to be observed hereafter by the Camp, to wit. Every man to keep his loaded gun in his hand, or if a teamster in his wagons, where he can put his hand on it at a moments warning. If the guns have cap locks, take off the cap and put a little leather on the tube to keep wet out[.] if flint locks take out the priming and fill the pan with tow or cotton. The wagons must keep together when traveling, and not separate so much as we have previously done. Every man to walk beside his own wagons and not leave it only by permission. About 4 o clock one of the large traders wagons, direct from the Pawnee village, passed us on its homeward route to Council Bluffs, and camped about a quarter of a mile below us. After dark Brothers Eames and Hanson played some on their violins and some of the brethren amused themselves a little in the dance. Bro. Eames called at my wagon and said he intended to go back to Winter Quarters with the traders, on account of his health, being troubled with bleeding at the lungs, &c I saw he was determined to go back, and I did not feel like saying much to him on the subject. By request of President Young I went and slept with him in his wagon.
Sunday 18 The morning very cold. Wind south and southeast. We have had a very light shower of snow. I dictated a letter to my wife Vilate and put in the hands of Brother Eames to carry back to Winter Quarters. He started back about 8 o clock. At 10 o clock 7 more large traders wagons passed us and stopped to feed at the same place where the other one stopped, and soon after 4 pack mules passed to the same spot. They are all laden with furs, peltry, &c, and say they have come from the Pawnee village in two days. I spent the forenoon dictating matter for this journal, while brother [William] Clayton wrote for me. In the afternoon the weather was more pleasant, the wind south. About half past 4 o clock as Brother James Case was felling a cottonwood tree, the wind struck it just as it began to fall and threw it in a contrary direction to what he intended, and to his sorrow one of the limbs struck an ox somewhere near the head and knocked him down. A number of the brethren soon ran together, and raised him from under the tree. He did not appear seriously hurt, except his right eye which was thrown into the lower corner of its socket and the ox to all appearance totally blinded on that eye. However, in about 10 minutes after they raised him, his eye returned to its place, and no doubt he will soon be entirely well again.
At 5 o clock Prest Young, myself and some others of the Twelve met the officers of the Camp and president Young told the captains the order of traveling for the Camp hereafter, which was communicated to the companies of tens by their respective Captains as follows. At 5 in the morning the bugle is to be sounded as a signal for every man to rise and attend prayers before he leaves his wagon. Then cooking, eating, feeding teams, &c, till 7 o clock, when the bugle will again sound a signal for the camp to proceed on their journey. Each teamster to keep beside his own team, with his loaded gun in his hand or in his wagon close at hand. The extra men, each to walk opposite his wagon on the off side, with his loaded gun on his shoulder. No man to leave his wagon without permission from his captain. In case of any hostile appearances or attacks from Indians, the wagons to travel in double file. The order of encampment to be in a circle, with the mouth of the wagons to the outside of the circle and each off forewheel of a wagon to lock into the nigh hind wheel of the wagon ahead, so as to make a perfect fence all around. All horses, mules, cattle, &c, to be tied inside the circle. At half past 8 the bugle to be sounded as a signal for all to retire to their wagons, attend prayers and be in bed by 9 o clock, at which time the Camp is expected to be still, except the standing guard on duty.
Monday 19 The morning fine and pleasant, At half past 7 we continued our journey, the wagons traveling in double file by way of experiment, to see how we could work in case of necessity. Our route lay beside a number of small lakes, where there were many ducks. The brethren shot some of them. At a quarter past 1 o clock we arrived at a bend of the river, or rather where a part of the river runs round an Island forming a nice bend. At this place we stopped to feed and rest our teams, having traveled about 15 miles, nearly a west course, wind south. The country level, and the roads good. These bottoms appear to be from 10 to 15 miles wide, and are very level and handsome. At 10 minutes after 2, O. P. [Orrin Porter] Rockwell, J. C. [Jesse Carter] Little, and [Return] Jackson Redding returned to Camp from Winter Quarters. They went back to fetch some of Brother Little's clothing, &c They have brought Dr. Richards mare, which was lost near the Horn river, and supposed to have been stolen by the Indians. They found her near the Horn, which has caused the hearts of the brethren to rejoice, especially Brother Richards, for she is a good mare. After resting our teams and taking a little refreshment, we pursued our journey at 20 minutes after 3 P.M. in the same order we traveled this morning. We traveled about 5 miles further, over the same kind of dry, level, sandy prairie, and at 6 P.M. formed our encampment in a semi-circle, on the banks of the river, where we have a pleasant view of the majestic "Nebraska" or Platte River, which at this place appears to be about a mile wide but very shoal. There is but little timber near our camp, and the water is very muddy. A while after the encampment was formed John S. Higbee, S. Markham and Luke Johnson took the Revenue Cutter, and went back about 2 miles to a lake where Brother Higbee thought they might catch some fish; but after drawing 3 times they returned to Camp with a large snapping turtle, 4 small turtles, a small duck, 2 small cat fish, and 2 creek suckers. There are many lakes in the neighborhood, but the brethren have not caught many fish yet. The evening was fine and very pleasant.
Tuesday 20th The morning fine and pleasant, except a strong west wind. We had a couple of ducks and a snipe for breakfast, which one of the brethren presented to us. We proceeded on our journey at half past 7 in single file, and after traveling about 5 miles arrived at a small Creek, called Shell Creek, about 6 or 8 feet wide, with a poor bridge over it; the water clear and good. All the wagons got safe over at half past 9. We then passed through a small grove of timber and enter again on the wide, even prairie. After traveling about 5 miles further, we stopped to rest our teams and let them feed, beside a small slough or lake on the south side of the road, president Youngs division being formed in a line about a quarter of a mile west of our division. While we were resting, we saw 3 deer going from the river to the north about half a mile from the Camp. Porter Rockwell and Thomas Brown mounted their horses and gave chase to them. They followed them about 5 miles to a creek and some timber and there left them as they could not come near enough to shoot any of them. The wind has gone down and it is now warm and pleasant, except the dust which rises from under the wagon wheels as they roll along. At 1 P.M. we started again, the horse teams taking the lead. About the same time John S. Higbee, Luke Johnson, S. Markham and some others started ahead with the Revenue Cutter to try and get some fish in some of the lakes, with which this region seems to abound. We traveled on at a nice pace until 5 o clock and then stopped on the banks of the river near a cottonwood grove, having traveled since noon about 10 miles and through the day 20 miles, the road good and pleasant traveling. Soon as the encampment was formed brother [Thomas] Tanner set up his forge and set quite a number of wagon tires before dark. About 6 o clock the fishermen returned bringing about 200 very nice fish, which were distributed equally round the camp, one large one to each person, and the brethren enjoyed a first rate supper on fish. The evening was very calm and pleasant. The fish were caught in a lake about 2 miles west from here, and no doubt there are many fish in these handsome small lakes.
Wednesday 21 Took breakfast on fish and Coffee. Some signs of rain and the morning cool, wind northeast. At 7 o clock the teams commenced moving, the Ox teams taking the lead. Soon after we had a light shower of rain. At a quarter to 9 an Indian was seen on horseback riding towards the wagons at full speed. When he got to the wagons he seemed well pleased and very friendly, wanting to shake hands with every one in the company, but the brethren were mostly shy, knowing that the Pawnees will show every mark of friendship, and at the same time be watching and laying plans to steal our horses &c Soon after this one came, 6 or 8 others were seen running on foot from the timber southwest and making towards the wagons. The brethren generally observed the orders given on the 17th, each man walking beside his wagon with his gun on his shoulder. At 10 o clock we arrived at a fork in the road and the wagons halted to know which road to take. Prest Young referred to James Case who has lived in the neighborhood for some time as government farmer to the Pawnee nation. Brother Case stated that the left hand road led to a ford in the Platte River, but if we took that road we should have to pass through the village where the Pawnee Nation are now located, and are mostly at home, in consequence of Sarpeys being there trading with them. The right hand road, he stated, led to the old village and mission station on the Loup Fork, and the road is good to the mission station. It was considered wisdom to keep clear of the Indians as much as possible, and consequently decided to take the north fork of the road. We proceeded accordingly and at 12 came in sight of the Pawnee Village, in an open spot, on the south bank of the Loup Fork, the timber extending for some distance from the village east and west. The village appeared to be about three quarters of a mile from the road we were on. At half past 12 we were opposite to the village and could then see distinctly upwards of 100 lodges, set pretty close together, and appeared to be ranged in parallel lines, and set in good order. These lodges are apparently all made of skins, their houses or cabins having been burned at the old village last fall by the Sioux. According to Brother Claytons account of the distances, this village is 109 miles from Winter Quarters, very pleasantly situated, with a handsome prairie extending for miles on the north.
We proceeded onwards until 1 P.M. and then stopped to feed besides a long, narrow lake, close by the river, and which seems more like a branch of the river than a lake, the island between being covered with tolerable good timber. As soon as the wagons were formed in a semi-circle on the banks of the lake a guard was placed to watch the Indians and take care of our teams. Many of the Indians had forded the river and followed us to where we stopped, among the number was the grand chief of the Pawnee Nation, named "Shefmolan". He presented several certificates signed by travelers who had previously passed through the Pawnee country, all setting forth that the Pawnee chief was friendly, and that they had made him presents of a little flour, powder, lead, &c His object appeared to be to obtain something from the Camp. I made him a present of some salt, some tobacco, &c, and prest. Young also gave him some powder, lead, salt &c Many of the brethren also contributed a little flour, &c But with all this the old chief did not appear satisfied. He seemed to intimate that he expected larger presents from such a large company, and also said he did not like us to travel through their country, he was afraid we should kill their buffalo and drive them off. This was interpreted by a Young man of the tribe who can talk a little English. Brother Shumway told him in reply that we did not like buffalo &c, but still he did not appear satisfied. There was not the least appearance of hostility, but on the contrary, all who came appeared friendly and pleased to shake hands with us. There were a number of the squaws on the opposite side of the lake, apparently digging for roots, they did not seem to notice us but kept busy at work. Brother Shumway says there are about twelve thousand of the Pawnees in this neighborhood, and it is reported there are as many as five thousand warriors among them, but we did not see many, compared with this number. Sarpey is at their village trading, and it is uncertain whether he will endeavor to use an influence for us or against us. We have no fears, however, because their only object appears to be to plunder, and it is the calculation of the brethren to be on the alert, and well prepared by night and by day.
At a quarter past 2 P.M. we again renewed our journey, the ox teams taking the lead. The weather had been calm and pleasant for a few hours, but a little before 2 o clock some heavy clouds began to gather, and we hear the distinct rumbling of thunder, which seemed to approach rapidly nearer to us, and about half past 2 the rain began to descend heavy, accompanied by fierce flashes of lightning and heavy peals of thunder which continued till 4 o clock, when a strong north wind blew up, the rain and thunder ceased, and it turned very cold. We continued our journey till half past 5 and then formed the encampment on the banks of the "Loup Fork" of the Platte River, having traveled today about 20 miles, our course west and northwest, the road good and level. After the encampment was formed and the teams turned out, the brethren were called together, and addressed by president Young in reference to what passed at the Pawnee Village, their apparent dissatisfaction &c, and recommended that we have a strong guard over our horses, and around the Camp through the night. He then called for volunteers to stand guard and about 100 volunteered, and in the number nearly all the Twelve. Prest. Young and myself both volunteered and stood the first part of the night till 1 o clock. It was very cold indeed and about the middle of the night it rained again. The guard was divided into two companies of fifty each, one company to stand one half the night, the remainder the balance of the night. Out of each company a picket guard was selected and stationed some distance from the Camp, the others standing around the wagons &c We considered this precaution necessary to prevent the Indians from breaking upon us suddenly, should they attempt it, and scare our horses so as to steal them. The night was very cold with a strong northeast wind all the night.
At this place the bluffs come within about 3 miles from the river on the north side. The grass is short but good. The buffalo grass is plenty, but is very short, and curls much like the hair on a buffalo robe and about the same length. The spring grass dont seem to be so early here as at the Elk Horn, and the last years growth not being burned off will be rather a disadvantage to the spring company. We have noticed all the way from the Horn on these bottoms that the ground is full of wild onions, which appear far richer and larger than the wild onions generally are. There is not much prospect that corn would grow here, as the land is very dry, loose, sandy and appears poor. The country is beautiful and pleasing to the eye of the traveler, notwithstanding there is only the same kind of scenery from day to day, namely on the left the majestic Platte, with its muddy waters rolling over the universal beds of quicksands, the river frequently hid from view by the many handsome cottonwood groves, before and behind on the right and left a vast, level prairie, and on the right at a distance the continued range of majestic bluffs. There is a loveliness and beauty connected with the scenery from day to day, but the country is not at all calculated for farming purposes, not only on account of the scarcity of timber, but also on account of the sandy nature of the whole surface of land.
Thursday 22nd. Morning fine, but cool. We have not been troubled by the Indians, and all is peace and quiet around the Camp. The cannon was unlimbered last night and placed outside the wagons, ready for action in case of necessity. There was some merry jokes passed this morning on account of two of the picket guards losing their guns and Col. Markham losing his hat during the night. It is reported that they were found asleep on their posts, and those who found them asleep took their guns &c to stir up their minds by way of remembrance, and to shew what the Indians might do while they were sleeping on guard. It is easy to suppose that after the brethren have traveled 20 miles in the day, taken care of their teams, made fires, and cooked their victuals &c and stood guard night after night, that it will require some energy to keep themselves awake.
At half past 7 we continued our journey. About ¼ of a mile from where we camped, passed a splendid bed of rich nettles, growing on a sloping bank at the edge of the timber on the left. Our road lays along pretty heavy timber, and near a west course. After traveling 2 miles crossed "Looking Glass" "creek", a small stream about a rod wide, but easily forded. About 4 miles further we crossed what appeared to be a range of mounds extending about a quarter of a mile in length from southwest to northeast. On the top of one is an Indian's grave, from whence is a splendid view of the surrounding country for many miles. From southwest to southeast the course of the Loup Fork for many miles is plainly seen. West and northwest a body of timber about four miles distance. The bluffs on the north appear about 7 miles distant, and the intervening space is composed of vast prairie, a little rolling, but plainly visible, especially on the route which we have come as far as the eye can see. After traveling four miles further we arrived at the timber mentioned above at a quarter past 12.—and found that it lay on the banks of "Be[a]ver River." Here we stopped to feed our teams, having traveled about 10 miles since morning. This stream is about from 20 to 25 feet wide, with tolerable good timber lining its banks on both sides. The banks at the fording place being steep and high, a number of the brethren took their spades and leveled it down some so as to make it better for the teams. The water is about 2 feet deep, or a little over. At 2 o clock we harnessed up and commenced crossing the river, the ox teams first. A number of the brethren stood on the opposite bank with a long drag rope, which they hitched into the tongues of the wagons and helped to pull them up the bank. By this means the wagons were all got safely over at half past 2, and we continued our journey till half past 5 when we arrived at the old Pawnee Village and mission station, being about 7 miles from "Bever River," and 134 miles from Winter Quarters. The country over which we traveled this afternoon is considerably uneven, with many steep pitches and rises, though no impediment to travelers. The grass is longer than it was back and there is abundance of rosin weed, which proves that the soil is good and would yield a good crop of corn, no doubt. The missionary station was deserted last fall, after the Sioux had burned the Pawnee Village, and Bishop Miller and his company were employed to carry the property and effects of the missionaries to Bellevue on the Missouri River. It is a very pleasant place for a location being shielded on the north and west by high bluffs. On the south at ¾ of a mile distance runs the Loup Fork of the Platte, and at a quarter of a mile distance to the south, formerly stood the government station and the old Pawnee Village. To the east is a splendid descending, rolling prairie, and a large patch of ground fenced in with rails, around the station, where they have had corn growing, the last years stalks being still mostly standing. The "Plumb Creek" runs from the north, between the bluffs, within a few rods west of the house formerly occupied by the missionary, and thence to the Platte. There is considerable timber on its banks. To the north, following the course of this creek, lays a deep ravine a few rods wide at the bottom, and winding with the river between the bluffs in a zig-zag direction. The Sioux have invariably made a practice of coming down this ravine when they have made an attack on the Pawnees, and it is admirably calculated to screen an enemy from observation until they arrive within a short distance of the station. There are seven good log houses here including the missionarie's house, all apparently designed to be ultimately made comfortable, but have not been completely finished. There are several hay stacks standing, a good quantity of corn fodder, large quantity of iron, both old and new, several plows and a drag, 2 rotary stoves &c &c In fact there is iron, plows &c, of considerable value but it is considered not worth the expense of hauling back to the bluffs on account of the distance. Brother James Case lived at the Government Station a quarter of a mile south, and had a salary of $300 a year for his services as government farmer to the Pawnees, but at the payment at Council Bluffs, last November, when Major Harvey learned that Brother Case had become a Mormon, he very politely dismissed him from the government service only paying him a small portion of his wages then due. The Sioux have laid this station in ashes, not a building, nor part of a building being left standing, although there were a number of good houses, and a good blacksmith shop. Around this station also there are extensive corn fields, with acres of corn stalks still standing. The missionary station was not injured by the Sioux, nor even anything on the premises. A while before dark the president called the Camp together, and cautioned the brethren not to carry anything away from here, of the iron, plows &c, not to the value of one cent, but the hay and fodder we will use and feed to our teams. He said he had no fears of the Pawnees troubling us here, but we had better be on our guard against the Sioux who might possibly follow their old trail down the ravine and steal our horses. A strong guard was stationed round the Camp, and a picket guard also to watch the ravine. The cannon was unlimbered and placed so as to command the ravine fully, after brother Tanner had drilled his men for more than an hour taking them through the various evolutions of leveling, loading, firing &c, only however in form not reality.
Friday 23rd The morning pleasant but cool & chilly. At ¼ to 8 started on horseback in company with Prest. Young and others, to look out a fording place where we can cross the Loup Fork. We traveled about 4 miles and selected a place about a quarter of a mile below the West Pawnee Village, and concluded we should have to make rafts to get our provisions &c over. Having decided to cross at this place we returned back to the Camp and arrived at a quarter to 12 o clock. The brethren were called together and informed as to where we intend to cross, and then Tarlton Lewis was appointed to superintend the building of the raft, and to take as many men with him as he would need. President Young then stated to the brethren in regard to the Plows, Iron &c laying on the ground here, that the Government are owing Father Case considerable money for services, and Brother Case has the privilege of taking this property in part payment if he sees proper. Brother Case is willing to do so, and if the brethren want the plows, or iron &c they can have it by applying to Brother Case, who will give them half for hauling it over the mountains, and he will write to the government officers, informing them how much he has taken in part of his pay. When this was made known the brethren went to work and gathered all the plows, iron &c which they could find and which was considerable, giving account of the same to brother Case and put it into their wagons to haul for the halves. By this means Brother Case will be sure of part of his pay, and many of the brethren get a good plow and a good bar of iron. After eating a little dinner we started with the wagons, and crossed Plumb Creek, which is about 4 or 5 feet wide. After traveling two miles we passed another creek about 8 or 10 feet wide and not so easily forded on account of quicksands. Two miles further we arrived at the crossing place on the Loup Fork. There is a vast quantity of land this side of Plumb Creek under cultivation, but not fenced. There has evidently been a good crop of corn raised from it last year as the stalks are still standing. The land looks rich and good, and lacks timber only to make it a splendid farming country. The day is very warm and no wind. At 20 minutes after 3 we arrived at the river, and found the brethren waiting for instructions about the raft. The majority seemed to think that a raft would be of no use, as the current is very swift, and there are so many sand bars. It was finally concluded to attempt to ford it and take a part of our loads at a time. A number of the brethren had waded across in several places and pointed out the road they considered would be safest to take. Leaving the "Revenue Cutter" on the north side, bro. Luke Johnson started first, and although he had only the running gears of a wagon and no box, it was with difficulty he got over. Elder Orson Pratt followed next with a part of his load. When he got in about a rod, his horses began to sink some in the quick sand, and could not draw the carriage after them. A number of the brethren jumped into the river, myself amongst the number, and we lifted the wagon out of the hole and started it again, keeping close to it and helping all we could till the horses got it safe on the first sand bar which is near half way across. They then stopped to rest awhile. When I jumped into the river I was astonished at the strength of the current, for it was all I could do to stand on my feet. After resting his horses a little while, Brother Pratt started again, but when he got about half way over his horses sunk again in the sand so bad that one of them fell down, apparently through being exhausted. We ran to assist him and got the horses from the carriage and led them to the sand bar on the other side. Prest. Young when he saw the difficulty started in the boat and took Brother Pratts load out of his carriage and dragged it to a safe place on the sand bar opposite. After the carriage was unloaded the brethren took the drag rope and hitched it to the tongue and drew it safe to the sand bar, after much exertion and hard labor, wading against the strong current. I returned to the wagons with president Young in the boat, being much fatigued with my journey across. Several other wagons went across, after this, being assisted by the brethren on foot, but although they got over safe, we saw that it was wearing the men and teams down and they could not long endure it, president Young gave orders that no more wagons should cross tonight, but let the wagons move to the ridge a little higher up the river there camp till morning, and in the meantime endeavor to devise means to cross more safely and with less labor. The wagons went on accordingly and at half past 5 the encampment was formed on the banks of the river.
The water in the river dont appear in any place but little over two feet deep, but it is almost a continued bed of quick sand clear across, which makes it dangerous to teams and wagons both. The wagons make a noise when crossing the quick sands, as though they were rolling over a very rough stone pavement and it seems as though they would shake to pieces. The Camp is formed on a high table of land about a quarter of a mile from the sight of the Pawnee Village, the scenery around is as beautiful as heart could desire. From this place we can see the timber on the main Platte river, the intervening bottom prairie appears very level.
After dark the Captains of Tens were called together, and the subject talked over as to how we shall proceed tomorrow. It was voted that we build two rafts, about 16 feet long each, Tarlton Lewis to superintend the building of one and Thomas Woolsey the other. In the morning let the boat be set to running and carry as many loads to the opposite sand bar as possible. Then Brother Markham to get the teamsters together and have them drive their teams over and back to try if the sand will pack and be more solid, then take the empty wagons over as fast as we can. It has been remarked by several that, by traveling over the quick sands with horses &c it packs down and becomes good traveling. Several of those who went over with the wagons believe this from to days experience and will give it a fair trial tomorrow.
Saturday 24 Morning fine but cool. One of Brother Phineus [Phineas] Youngs horses was choked to death last night, which was a cause of mourning to the Camp. He was tied in a ravine near a deep hole, washed out by heavy rains, and had either stepped back into the hole, or else had rolled over. The rope by which he was tied was just long enough to reach to the hole and when he fell in, the whole weight of his body lay on the rope which was tied round his neck and must have killed him almost instantly. None of the guards noticed him till he was found this morning. About 8 o clock we commenced unloading wagons and ferrying the loads to the sand bar in the boat. At the same time some of the teams were driven across and back, and soon after empty wagons were taken over without difficulty. It was soon discovered that the road grew better, no doubt by the sand packing solid, and by doubling teams we commenced taking loaded wagons across. At 3 o clock P.M. the last wagon was safely across on the solid sand bar, and about 4 o clock all were safely landed on the south bank of the Loup Fork, without any accident or loss, which was a matter of rejoicing to all the camp. About a quarter to 4 the Camp proceeded on to find better feed, as this place is mostly sand and no grass, and also find a good place to tarry over tomorrow, and give the teams a chance to rest and recruit, for they, as well as the men are tired down by wading against the strong current of water and traveling over the soft quick sand all day. The bottom land on this side the Loup Fork is far more sandy than on the other side. The grass appears higher but not so thick on the ground. The bluffs on the other side look beautiful from here, and the Indian graves on the top of the bluffs look very plain. We traveled about 3 miles and formed our encampment in a semi-circle on the west bank of a small lake and about twenty rods from the river. We have pretty good feed here and intend to stay till Monday. Several of the brethren went to fishing in the lake and caught many small sun fish. Brother Clayton caught some and Brother Egan cleaned and cooked them for supper. They tasted good and palatable for a change. Bro. Higbee took his seive and tried the lake but there was so much grass in the bottom he caught none. We have good reasons to believe that the Indians are following us and watching our movements continually, as their footprints have been seen on the bluffs south, apparently quite fresh. We have no fears, but consider it necessary to keep a good look out to prevent them from stealing our horses. The cannon was again unlimbered and prepared for emergencies. The evening was very fine and pleasant, and the Camp all feel well and cheerful.
This morning I requested brother Clayton to go over to the old village and take a sketch of it. I went to see it last evening and was amazed at the order and extent of this piece of Indians labor. I copy a description of the village from brother Claytons journal as follows:—[2½ blank pages]
Sunday 25th Morning very pleasant, wind southwest. We are now camped near the Loup Fork, but are only about 14 miles from the main Platte River. It is said that if we follow this fork a hundred miles further, we shall then not be over thirty miles from the main branch. Early this morning four antelope were discovered grazing on the opposite side of the river about a mile and a half northwest from Camp. About 4 o clock P.M. Brother Elijah Newman was baptized in the lake by Elder Tarlton Lewis for the benefit of his health. He has been afflicted with the black scurvy in his legs, and confined to his bed for some time. When he went to the water to be baptized, it appeared difficult for him to walk even with two sticks, but after going through the ordinance and having hands laid on him, he walked back to his wagon without either staff or assistance of any kind, and seemed much better. About 5 P.M. a meeting was called opposite to the presidents wagon, and the brethren were addressed by several of the Twelve, and then instructions given by Prest. Young, chiefly in reference to the guard, and the folly of conforming to gentile military customs on an expedition of this nature, and requiring to give pass words when they passed the guards after dark. A while after the Twelve and some others assembled opposite the presidents wagon to take into consideration the propriety of appointing some hunters, to hunt for the camp, as we expect to see buffalo before many days are over. It was ascertained in the first place that there are 8 spare horses in camp, which are not used as team horses. We then selected 8 men to hunt on these horses, for the good of the camp, viz., Thomas Woolsey, Thomas Brown, John Brown, Porter Rockwell, John T. Higbee, Joseph Mathews. We then selected 11 men to hunt on foot beside the above.
It was also voted that all the Twelve have the privilege of hunting when they have a mind to. After a few remarks and cautions in regard to hunting the wild buffalo, the brethren were dismissed. The evening was very fine and pleasant.
Monday 26. About half past 3 this morning an alarm was given, and all the brethren called up on account of some Indians having been discovered crawling up near some of the horses. John Eldridge and two others who were on guard at the northeast corner of the encampment noticed all at once that one of the horses began to flounder as though he was frightened. They went to the place and at a little distance heard the grass rustle and shake as though some large animal was creeping slowly through. They suspected it to be wolves, and each fired his arms, but only one gun went off, when they saw six Indians spring up within a few rods of them, and run from the camp. Another gun was fired at them, but evidently did not harm them. It appears that the Indians have watched our movements and took advantage of the darkness between the setting of the moon and daylight to steal our horses. When this was made known an extra guard was placed around the camp till daylight, and a charge of canister shot put in the cannon ready to meet them if they renew the attempt. However, there was no further disturbance through the remainder of the night. The air was very cold and frosty. After daylight the fresh footprints of the Indians could be plainly seen where they had come down under the bank of the river and in some places they had stepped into the river for want of foot room. The Indians had a good privilege of stealing horses as the camp was formed in a semi-circle and some of the horses tied outside the wagons, but the vigilance of the guard frustrated them, and we are in hopes that the prompt reception they met with will have a tendency to deter them from making the attempt again. Orders were given for the companies of tens each to assemble in front of their wagons for prayer this morning, which was done. At 8 o clock we pursued our journey, president Young, myself, G.A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and others took our horses and went ahead to hunt out the best routes as there is no road here. The horse teams traveled first to break and tramp the strong grass, so that it will not hurt the Oxens feet. The hunters started out in different directions keeping within a few miles of the wagons. We traveled till half past 11 and then halted to feed having traveled about 7 miles. We stopped beside some ponds of water. From this place which is somewhat elevated, can be seen the remains of an old village or Indian fort, on the other side the river, in a direction northwest from us. The country looks beautiful, a little rolling and bounded by ranges of uneven bluffs. The land is sandy and looks very poor. The sun very hot, not much wind. The wind appears very dry in this region and has a tendency to parch our lips and make them very feverish and sore.
At ¼ to 2 we proceeded onward, but traveled very slow. We crossed two soft swampy places though not very bad, which are the first swamps we have passed since we left the Elk Horn. The prairie is more uneven than on the other side of the river, and having to make an entire new road it makes it hard on our teams. We traveled till ¼ to 6, a distance of about 7 miles, and then formed our encampment on the banks of a small creek with a gravel bottom. Our camp is formed in a deep hollow, which is so low that the wagons cannot be seen at a quarter of a mile distance. There is no new grass here, and the last years growth not having been burned off makes but poor feed. We have crossed a number of trails today, all running towards the river, which some suppose to be buffalo trails. In some places there are 8 or 9 together, and in others more and some less. One place 28 was counted, all about half a yard apart. The hunters have seen no buffalo and not much game of any kind. Brother Woolsey killed a very fine goose. There is no timber on the creek, only a few small willows. We are about half a mile from the river, and there is little timber on the banks of the river. Our course today has been about southwest. About a mile back from this place we discovered the remains of an Indian village, situated on the banks of the river, on a high bench of land. There has been houses or lodges on it, in former days, but are now entirely destroyed. The entrance to these lodges have all fronted to the southeast similar to those described on the 24th inst. There has evidently been a garden around the village, as the ground has been broke and has the appearance of having been cultivated, though now grown over with high weeds.
Soon after we started this morning, Brother Benson discovered that one of the iron axles to his wagon was broken nearly off close to the shoulder. He moved the loading from over that wheel, so that there was no weight on it, and has traveled with it so all day. Soon as we camped this evening the wagon was unloaded, the axle taken off, brother Tanners forge set up, fire made, and the axle welded and repaired, ready to put on the wagon again, all in the short space of one hour after the encampment was formed. The axle was welded by Burr Frost, assisted by brother Tanner. About sundown Joseph Mathews sent his negro to fetch up his horses, but the negro being gone longer than brother Mathews expected, he started out also. About 8 o clock while some of the brethren were dancing, brother Mathews returned and raised an alarm saying that the Indians had ran away with brother Little's horse. He stated that when he found his man and they had caught his horses, they saw at a distance a horse walking towards the river, which they recognized as Brother Littles horse. Brother Mathews started on a trot to try to head it and turn it back to camp, but as soon as he attempted this the horse started on a gallop, and as he increased the speed of his horse, the other also increased and went to the river at full gallop. This satisfied him that there was an Indian on the horse, although he could not see him. When he finished his story, prest. Young, myself and nearly thirty others armed ourselves and mounted horses and started out in pursuit. Dr. Richards mare was found to be missing at the same time. We went along the banks of the river and on the prairie some miles, but could neither see nor hear anything like a horse. About 11 o clock we returned to Camp, satisfied that the horses are gone, which caused us sorrow, as they are good horses, and we have none to spare. The brethren have been warned repeatedly not to let their horses stray so far from camp. We trust this will be a warning to the camp to be more careful.
Tuesday 27th. The morning fine and pleasant. The guard fired two guns in the night, at what they supposed were Indians, but it is pretty certain they were wolves. Some of the brethren went to the river to see if they could find the tracks of the last horses. Porter Rockwell discovered the footprints of a horse, which by appearances had been going at great speed, near the banks of the river. He traced it some distance in a large willow grove, but having no arms, he considered it unsafe to go farther, and returned to Camp.
At ¼ to 8 we pursued our journey having concluded to take a course directly to the main Platte as near south as we could. At the same time, Porter Rockwell,
At ¼ past 3 we proceeded onward. Just as we started John Brown, Roswell Stephens and Elder Woodruff all shot at an antelope and killed him, after dressing it they put it into one of the wagons and proceeded on. The antelope seems to be a specie of animal between a goat and a deer. The back is brown, the belly white, hair stiff and wiry. Antlers branching but not so long as a deer. They run very swift, even more so than the deer. The afternoon was very hot and much dust blew into the wagons. After traveling 2 miles some of the ox teams gave out, and the drivers had to stop and let them graze. The rest went on to a small creek of water, where they found the grass tolerably good and formed our encampment at half past 5 having traveled this afternoon about 4 miles and during the day 16 miles, our course south. Prest. Young and several others took their mules and horses back to assist those whose teams had gave out. Luke Johnson shot a very large rattlesnake which attempeted to bite him, brought it to camp and opened it for the oil, which is said to be good for sore legs. Roswell Stephens killed a hare, very much resembling the English hare in size and shape, only a little more gray in color. Soon after the camp was formed we had a shower accompanied with lightning, thunder and strong wind. There is the appearance of more rain which is very much needed indeed. At half past 6 the brethren who started back this morning to hunt the lost horses returned and reported that they went back to within about 2 miles of where we camped over Sunday, and while riding along, and looking off towards the river, they saw something moving in the high grass at the foot of a large kind of mound or knoll. They proceeded towards it, supposing it to be a wolfe. When about 12 or 14 rods from the place they stopped and Porter got off his horse to shoot at it. When he got his gun to his shoulder, 15 Indians sprang to their feet, all naked except their breech cloth, and all armed with either a rifle or bows and arrows, and some having both his rifle in hand and slung across their shoulders. Their bows strung tight with the arrow ready to let fly. Each had about 20 spare arrows. Porter mounted his horse again as some of the Indians advanced towards them but the brethren motioned them to keep back and told them to puccachee, and held their rifles and pistols in a position to fire at them if they continued to advance. When the Indians saw this they began to cry out, "bacco", "bacco," the brethren replied they had no tobacco. One of the Indians then advanced close to brother Mathews horse, motioning to shake hands with Brother Mathews as though he wanted to prove his friendship. But Thomas Brown saw that the Indians eyes were fixed more on the horses bridle than on Mathews, and seeing that he intended to seize the bridle as soon as he could reach it, Brown cocked his pistol, pointed at the Indian, shouting if he did not leave he would kill him, at which the Indian seeing the pistol ready at him retreated. The Indians then motioned as though they wanted the brethren to go further down the river, but expecting there were more of them in the timber a piece off they turned their horses to come back, and as quickly as they did this the Indians fired 6 rifles at them, and retreated. The brethren instantly faced about, as though they were going to shoot, but the Indians fled rapidly to the timber below. The brethren did not shoot at the Indians even when fired at, judging it wisdom to be as calm as possible, lest the tribe should revenge themselves on the companies which follow after. They saw the tracks of the lost horses and the marks where the larriette had dragged, and returned, satisfied that the Pawnees had got them, and no doubt also intended to get the horses on which these brethren rode, but they met with too stern a reception to risk an attempt. Some of these Indians, were recognized as being of the number who visited us when near their village, They must have noticed the horses very particularly to select two of the best in camp. The brethren ran great risks in going so far, but the Lord kindly returned them safely back to us, without accident or harm.
About the same time these brethren arrived in camp, and while they were making their report, a loaded gun accidently was discharged inside a wagon. The fire from the powder set the clothing on fire in the wagon but was soon extinguished. The ball struck the foreleg of Brother Barneys horse and broke it off a little below the shoulder. Those present at the time of the accident state, that when the rain commenced, some of the men put their loaded guns into Brother John Brown's wagon with the cap on, and laid it on Brother Browns coat. When the rain came he caught hold of his coat to put it on, and by some means the cock of the gun caught in the coat and raised it sufficiently to go off when it slipped from the hold. The horses leg was broken about half way between the knee and upper joint. There were several men standing around at the time, and the ball passed close by one of them, but fortunately none was injured. This was a good horse and was in Col. Markhams team, brother Barney having loaned it to him. The team is broke up, unless some of the brethren can spare a horse to put in. This makes 4 of the best horses lost within the last 4 days, but the last circumstance is by far the most painful. Brother Brown made me a present of a little antelope meat. About dark the wind shifted to the north and blew strong a while and we had a little more rain.
Wednesday 28 Morning fine and pleasant. No trouble from the Indians. Strong cool wind from N.E. There are many wolves and some antelope around here, but no buffalo to be seen yet. Orders were given for no men to leave the wagons, except the hunters. We spent a little time digging down a place on the side of the creek for the wagons to cross. This creek is named prairie creek. At 9 o clock the wagons commenced crossing, and at 10 all were safely over, and we proceeded on our journey, Prest. Young, and myself and several others going forward to select the best road. While the wagons were crossing the creek Luke Johnson shot Brother Barneys horse, choosing rather to have it put out of its misery than to leave it to starve to death or be worried by the wolves. Our course for the first 7 miles a little E. of S. over a very level prairie, green with grass. There are many wild onions growing on this prairie, very large and strong, much larger than any we have seen anywhere on this journey. At the distance of 7 miles we turned our course about S.W. being then within about a mile of the main Platte river and opposite to the lower part of Grand Island, supposed to be about 14 miles from the foot of it. We have traveled till half past 2 and then halted to feed, distance this morning of about 11 miles. The roads are dry and the strong winds raise it in clouds blowing it into our wagons covering everything. and making the men almost black. We are now near to timber and plenty of grass for our teams.—At 4 P.M. we continued our journey and traveled till 6. distance of about 4 miles and during the day 15 miles. We formed our encampment about a quarter of a mile from timber, but there is plenty of nice green grass to fill our teams. The water is also clear and of a very good taste. We had some fresh antelope meat for supper, which is very tender and sweet, and makes a very good dish. The evening is cloudy and cold.
Thursday 29 The grass being pretty well eaten off by our stock, it was concluded best to make an early start, before breakfast and travel a few miles, to where we can find more grass. Accordingly, the camp was up early and started out at 5 o clock. The morning was very cool. Traveled till half past 6. distance of about 3 miles, and then came to a halt. It appears there is not much rain in this region and not much dew to make the grass grow. We had a goose to breakfast which Brother Woolsey killed. He took breakfast with us. The bread which I had baked before we left Winter Quarters is getting quite dry and mouldy, but it does not hurt the taste much. At 20 minutes past 8 we proceeded onward. After traveling 2 miles we crossed a very pretty stream of good water about 10 feet wide on an average, but at the fording place it is about a rod wide. This stream is laid down on the maps as wood river. The fording of this stream is not the least difficult, but it hindered us some. All got over safely, and we then traveled on a table of prairie gently ascending for 4 or 5 miles, but very even and good traveling. At 1 P.M. halted beside a small Lake of clear water to let our teams rest and feed, distance of about 10 miles. Wind strong from the south. One of E[lde]r Pratt's horses is very sick, supposed to be the bots. He has laid down in the harness several times during the last three hours and seems to be in great pain. Soon as we stopped the brethren went to doctoring him and he soon appeared to feel easier. It is no wonder that wagons shrink and tires get loose, for the wind is extremely dry and parching, there is no moisture in it. Even the wood &c inside of our wagons shrink up and crack very bad. At half past 2 we continued our journey and traveled till half past 6 over tolerable level prairie, a distance of about 8 miles, making 18 miles today. Course nearly S.W. The wind strong from the S.W. till sundown and then shifted to N.E. The clouds of dust rising from under the wagon wheels and the feet of horses, mules, oxen &c make it almost enough to suffocate us, and covers everything in the wagons. I rode in my wagon this afternoon and let E[lde]r Clayton have my horse to ride. Many antelope have been seen, but none killed by the hunters. They appear very wild indeed. Our encampment was formed close to Grand Island, on which we found abundance of green rushes for our teams. We have also seen this evening a number of places where a white substance seems to ooze out of the ground, and it looks as if large quantities of flour had been spilt, and mixed with dust. On tasting it we found it to be salt although not nearly so strong as our common salt. Er Pratts horse is better and the day has passed without accident. The evening fine and pleasant.
Friday 30 The morning cool and pleasant. The teams appear to have filled themselves well with the rushes. At 20 minutes past 8 continued our journey, myself, Prest. Young, Amasa Lyman and others going forward to point out the road. Our course lay on the bottom prairie about ¾ of a mile north of Grand Island. The prairie level and green with grass. There are many wild geese all around, and buffalo chips plentiful but no sign of buffalo having been here lately. There are numerous patches of blue grass, which from all appearances the buffalo are fond of, as we see the chips most numerous on these patches. There are also many patches of the real buffalo grass, which is a very short kind of grass, grows thick on the ground, and curls very much like the hair on a buffalo robe, and much resembles it only in color. About a mile from where we camped last night we passed a place where the Indians have camped probably during their hunt. They appear to have been very numerous for their camp has covered a number of acres. We followed an Indian trail about 5 miles, but at that distance it was so much grown up as to be scarcely discernible. The wind blows strong from the north, and the dust and sand rises in large clouds, making it very disagreeable for the teamsters. The atmosphere dull and cloudy. At a quarter to 12 we halted for noon, beside a small creek of clear good water, having traveled about 8 miles, course about west. The grass along this creek is long and plentiful. We are about half a mile distant from Grand Island.
At 20 minutes past 1 o clock we continued our journey, the wind blowing very strong from the north. The weather has changed and is now very cold and gloomy. Our route lay on a very level prairie at some distance from the river. After traveling about 8 miles we turned onto the lower bench of prairie and formed our Camp soon after 5 P.M. Our course this afternoon was a little South of West. The encampment was formed in an imperfect circle, in such a manner as to have all the wagon mouths from the wind, and the brethren having to change their general course of camping[.] it took nearly an hour before all the wagons got into the circle. We are about a mile from water and a mile and a half from timber, with very little grass for our teams. The evening so cold that every man wants an overcoat on, or a good buffalo robe to keep him warm, but all feel cheerful, and some are engaged in wrestling to warm themselves. Some of the brethren have brought a little wood in their wagons, but many are without which caused us to try the buffalo chips, which lay in great plenty on this prairie, for the first time. When properly managed we found this a very good substitute for wood. I invented a new kind of furnace to burn it in which answers very well. It is made as follows. I first dug a hole in the ground about 15 inches long, 8 inches wide and 8 [inches] deep, into which the dried chips were piled for the fire. Then at each end and about 3 inches from this one I dug another hole about the same size and depth, and at the bottom of the partition made a hole about 3 inches in diameter which made a good draft. Across the top of the middle one I placed some wagon hammers to set the cooking vessels on, to prevent their pressing on the chips so as to make them solid, and give the fire free circulation underneath. By this means we soon had a good fire, and could do our cooking about as well as with wood. The chips when perfectly dry burn like dry peat or turf, and makes about as hot a fire. Some of the brethren dug a well opposite president Youngs wagon, and about 4 feet deep and found a good spring of cold water, which saved us the trouble of carrying it so far. I suffered much this afternoon from cold while riding on horseback to hunt out the best road &c Brother Hansen played on his violin, and some of the brethren danced to keep themselves warm. This was about as cold a night as we have had on this journey.
May 1847 Saturday 1st The morning very cold indeed, most like a winters morning. We started on our journey at 20 minutes to 6 before breakfast to see for better feed for our teams. Soon after we started 3 objects were seen on the bluffs to the north, supposed to be about 6 miles distance, and by the telescope were discovered to be buffalo. This seemed to cheer the brethren very much as many longed to give them a chase. Joseph Hancock started out on foot and soon after O. P. Rockwell, Thomas Brown and Luke Johnson started on horses to try to kill some of them. We traveled about 6 miles and at a quarter after 8 halted for breakfast. Soon after the brethren started out another herd of buffalo were seen to the North West at the foot of the bluffs apparently about 8 miles off. Some of the brethren counted 74 with their telescopes. Three of the brethren immediately started on their horses in pursuit of the latter herd, but long before the brethren got near them, they began to move away over the bluff. At ¼ past 10 we continued our journey, keeping near the river. After traveling about 4 miles we arrived at a small lake on our right, which evidently connects with the river in high water. About this time the hunters returned and reported that they had seen large herds of buffalo on the back side of the bluffs. Luke Johnson shot at one and dropped him on his knees, but he rose again while Luke was re-loading his rifle, and mingled with the herd and they did not get him. They then, seeing another herd farther to the west, started in pursuit. When they arrived pretty near them the whole herd cantered off, turning to the south and soon joined the herd which Higbee and Woolsey were trying to get a shot at. Luke Johnson lost his cap in the chase, when he went back to look for it, he could not find it not knowing exactly where he lost it. Brother Higbee stated that when they went after the latter herd, he had a good chance to shoot one of the buffalo, but Brother Woolsey told him to hold on, and they would pick out a good one, and both shoot at it at the same time. While they were making their selection, and had fixed on a cow which looked tolerably fat, the other herd came galloping down and the whole took flight and went around the bluff, up a ravine and were soon out of sight, although they could see others further ahead, they concluded they would return to the wagons and take some breakfast and then if advisable start out again. While they were making their report another very large herd was seen still farther to the west apparently grazing at the foot of the bluffs and about 6 or 8 miles distant. President Young selected 11 of the hunters, and gave them some directions to go and chase the latter herd. Some of the brethren counted over a hundred distinctly and say there are many calves among them. The brethren all felt considerable animated to see so many of the wild buffalo grazing so near, and these being the first seen on this journey, and to many of the brethren the first ever seen on this journey, and to many of the brethren the first ever seen in their lives, it may readily be guessed that every eye was stretched toward the scene of action, all anxious to get as good a view of the chase as the distance would allow. The teams moved slow, being suffered to go mostly at their own speed and frequently stopping a few minutes. When the hunters were within from 1 to 2 miles from the herd two of the dogs gave chase to an antelope, which started up a little distance from the wagons, and took its course direct for the herd of buffalo. One of the dogs followed till the antelope went into the midst of the herd, and when the buffalo saw the dog, they commenced cantering and gathering into a close huddle, and there then appeared to be over two hundred of them, many coming up from the hollow, which we could not see till they ascended the bluff. The dog evidently frightened at the ferocious and savage appearance of the wild animals, stopped and retraced his steps to camp. At this time the hunters were pretty near the herd. Feeling as though I would like to join in the hunt and assist in getting some meat, I immediately mounted my horse, took Brother Egan's fifteen shooter, and started on a keen gallop after the other hunters. The brethrens feelings, who were left with the wagons, were now strung up to the highest pitch; a feeling of exciting interest appeared to prevail throughout the camp, having read and heard so much of the mad ferocity of the buffalo when hotly pursued.
(For the reason indicated below Elder Heber C. Kimball did not write in his journal from May 2nd, 1847 until May 20th inclusive. The Pioneers, however, continued their march along the north side of the Platte River passing Grand Island and then continuing along the North Fork of the Platte until they came to Ash Creek or Ash Hollow, where they arrived May 20th, 1847. From this point we continue with the journal of Elder Kimball. Editor's note.)
Friday 21stThe morning, very fine and pleasant, though tolerably cool. Er[.] Clayton has put up another guide board at this place, with the following inscription on it, viz.
From Winter Quarters 409 miles.
From the junction of the N. & S. forks 93¼ miles.
From Cedar Bluffs (S. side the river 36½ miles.
From Ash Hollow (S. side the river 8 miles.
Camp of Pioneers, May 21,1847.
N.B. According to Fremont this place is 132 miles from Laramie.
The Bluffs opposite are named Castle Bluffs.
At 25 minutes to 8 we continued our journey. We found the prairie tolerably wet, many ponds of water standing which must have been caused by a heavy fall of rain, much more heavy than we had two days ago. However, it was not very bad traveling. We made a pretty straight road this morning, myself and some others going ahead as usual to look for the best route. We travelled about a mile from the river. The bluffs on the north of us, appear to be 5 miles from our road, not very high and the ascent apparently gradual. At a quarter past 11 we halted for dinner having traveled 7¾ miles, a north, northwest course, the day very warm, and no wind, which is quite a contrast to the weather we have had for the few days past. A little before the wagons arrived to where we had selected to stop for dinner. president Young and myself being together, we saw something running in the grass a little distance from us, we rode up to see what it was and discovered a nest of Young wolves. I got off my horse and caught one by the tail, but having no weapon in my hand, president Young held it by the tail while I picked up a stick, struck it on the back of the head and killed it. Going a little farther we saw another. I chased it and killed it with my whipstock. We saw several others and one large old one, but they all made their escape and got into their hole. Latitude 41 24' 05"
At half past 1 we again proceeded on our journey. We found the prairie wet, and the ground covered with tall grass of last years growth. After traveling 4¾ miles, we arrived at a range of low bluffs, projecting to within about a rod of the river which forms a large bend to the north opposite the bluffs. I saw that there was room enough for a road under the bluffs, but on going a piece further found the bottom wet and soft. I returned and led the wagons over the bluffs, bending a little further north. We travelled over the bluffs a little over a quarter of a mile and then turned on the bottom again. These bluffs are low and almost as level as the bottom prairie. After crossing the bluffs we found the route better traveling, the prairie being hard. About a mile west from the foot of the bluffs we saw a very large bone, nearly petrified into stone, and at first sight resembled a stone more than anything else, but on examination, it shows plain that it had sometime been a bone of a very large animal. Many are of the opinion that it has been the shoulder bone of a mammoth. A little piece beyond this Brother Woodruff killed a badger which was put into one of the wagons. We also saw a very large rattlesnake at the edge of the bluffs. Going ahead still in company with several others two miles farther we discovered a person riding at the foot of the bluffs west of us, which we could hardly believe was not one of the brethren, as we believed there were none ahead of us. We soon discovered that he was an Indian, and about the same time he discovered us. He rode towards the bluffs where we saw another one running from us as fast as possible. This last one was a squaw and was frightened when she first saw us. We made motions for them to come to us, when they both came a little distance and then motioned us towards them. We went and found they were Sioux, hunting and that there are more of them back of the bluffs. Seeing some of the wagons coming near I rode back and stopped them till the rest came nearer up, as some were far behind. I then went to president Young and told him about the Indians. We concluded it was best to turn off a little towards the river and camp for the night. We proceeded on accordingly and formed our encampment in a circle placing the wagons close together, leaving only two gaps to take the horses out and in. The encampment was formed at half past 5, having traveled 7¾ miles this afternoon and 15½ during the day. As the camp was forming the two Indians came nearer and some of the brethren met them, but President Young gave orders not to admit them into the Camp. They soon turned and rode off over the bluffs. The man has got a good cloth coat on and both the horses are team horses and have no doubt been stolen from some of the travelers. We could see several other Indians and their horses on the bluffs with spy glasses, and no doubt there is a band of them not far distant.—The day has been very warm, and some of the teams gave out. We can see some timber on the bluffs, on the other side of the river, some miles ahead, which is the first timber we have seen for more than a week, except some small Cedar, and the timber in Ash Hollow. All on the south side the river. The feed here is not very good, and we are near a mile from the river, and will either have to dig wells or carry water some distance.
When at supper Lorenzo Young brought and showed us 2 very large ducks, which he has just killed at one shot with his rifle. E[lde]r Clayton remarked tonight that it was going to be difficult for him to keep up my journal on account of having to help make a map of the country for Dr. Richards. I felt anxious to have my journal kept up daily and proposed to him to leave a space sufficient for the past history, and commence from today, keep it up hereafter and fetch us the rest as fast as possible. I let him have a candle to write at night. [The] evening is very pleasant, indeed. The moon shines bright, and there is no wind.
Saturday 22nd The morning very pleasant, warm and no rain. We have not been disturbed by the Indians, all is peace in the Camp. At 8 o clock we continued our journey, making a more crooked road than usual, having to bend south to near the banks of the river, the prairies somewhat soft and a little uneven. After travelling 5½ miles we crossed a very shoal creek about 20 feet wide, which was named Crab creek, because some of the brethren saw a very large crab in it. The bluffs and river about a mile apart, but on the other side the bluffs recede two miles back from the river, and have lost their craggy and steep appearance, the ascent being gradual, while on this side they begin to be rocky, craggy, and almost perpendicular, though not very high. We travelled till half past 11 and then halted for noon, the distance being 7¼ miles, the road on this side Crab creek much better than on the East side, our course about W.N.W., with a light breeze from the East. Myself and a number of the other brethren going ahead of the wagons as usual to look out the best route. A mile East of Crab Creek is a dry creek about 30 feet wide, down which from appearances a heavy stream runs at some season of the year, perhaps during heavy storms, the water running from the bluffs swells it to a considerable height, and it is certain there are tremendous storms frequently in this region. A while after we halted, Porter Rockwell came into Camp, and said he had been on the high bluff about a mile to the N.W., and had seen the rock called Chimney Rock from it, which appeared a long distance off. We have been in hopes to come in sight of it today, and most of the brethren feel anxious, in order to ascertain more certainly the correctness of Fremonts distances. Er[.] Clayton went to the bluff with his telescope to look at the rock and he has given a short description of the place where he went. I will copy from his journal which is in the following language "At half past 12 I started out alone, found the distance to the foot of the bluff a good mile, the ascent gradual. Standing at its base, the bluff looks very high and rough, many huge rocks having broke from the summit from time to time and rolled down a long distance, I found the ascent very steep and lengthy in comparison to its appearance from Camp. When I arrived on the top I found a nice, slightly arched surface of about a quarter of an acre in extent, but barren, and very little grass on it, huge, comparatively smooth rocks peeping through the surface, on one of which I wrote with red chalk, "Wm. Clayton, May 22, 1847." On the highest point I sat down and took a view of the surrounding country which is magnificent, indeed. On the south, at the distance of 2 miles from the river there is a range of Cedar trees on the bluffs, which very much resemble some of the parks and seats of gentry in England. East, I could see where we camped last night, the high grass being burning. N.E., N. & N.W. alternately appeared high, swelling bluffs and valleys, as far as the eye could see, or the glass magnify. West the course of the Platte for 10 or 15 miles, and at about 4 or 5 miles distance, a large bend to the north brings it in contact with the bluffs on this side. At the distance, I should judge about 20 miles, I could see "Chimney Rock" very plain with the naked eye, which from here, very much resembles the large factory chimneys in England, although I could not see the form of its base. The rock lays about due west from here. After gratifying my curiosity, and seeing the men collecting their teams for a march, I descended on the west side of the bluff. The descent at this point looks more alarming than at the other, the side being very steep, and all along huge rocks standing so critically, that to all appearance a waft of wind would precipitate them to the prairie below with tremendous force. In one place in particular a ponderous mass of rock appears to hang from the edge of the bluff, without any visible means of being retained in its position, and by gazing at it a little while, it is easy to imagine you can see it move, and ready to overwhelm you instantly. At a little distance from the base of the bluff, I turned to gaze on the romantic scenery above, and was struck at the appearance of a large rock, projecting from one corner, which very much resembled a frogs head of immense size, with its mouth partly open. The thought was, these bluffs ought to be named, and what name more appropriate than "Frogs head Bluffs.''
The camp continued on the journey at half past 1. After traveling ¾ miles, we crossed a dry creek about 6 rods wide; a quarter of a mile further, another 5 feet wide, and half a mile further still, another about 6 rods wide, on an average. These all appear to be the sources of heavy streams of water at some seasons of the year. Myself and several other brethren being ahead of the wagons, we saw we should have to cross a range of rugged sandy bluffs, inasmuch as they extended to the bank of the river. After searching out the best place to go over I rode back just in time to put the wagons on the right track. A little to the west of where the wagons turned off to go over the bluffs is a very high ridge of gravel or cobble stones, varying in size from 50 lbs. weight, to the smallest pebble. On the top the ridge is crowning and not over 4 or 5 feet wide, and probably 150 feet long. Er Pratt named these "Cobble Hills". At the north foot is what might be named a clay bank, being composed of a light colored, sandy clay, and forms a kind of large table. A little distance farther we crossed another dry creek about 8 rods wide and then ascended the bluffs. The ascent is pretty steep for near half a mile, but hard and not difficult to travel. The wagons had to wind about some to keep round at the foot of the highest bluffs, crossing the dry creek 3 times before we emerged to the banks of the river. We crossed another dry creek, pretty steep on each side, and then found ourselves once more on the prairie bottom. These bluffs are 2¼ miles from the East to the West foot, following our trail. The wind has blown from the South East near all day until about 4 o clock, when a dead calm succeeded. In the west a heavy thunder cloud has been gradually rising since soon after noon, and lately the vivid streaks of lightning were observed in the distance. At 20 minutes to 5 the wind struck suddenly from the North West, the blackest part of the cloud then laying in that direction, which threatened us with a heavy shower. However, we had only a few drops, and it then turned off in an Eastward direction. The scenery after this was sublime beyond description, the sun peering out from under the heavy clouds, reflected long bright rays upwards, which were imitated in the East, like the reflection observed in a looking glass. The romantic bluffs on the north, presenting an appearance like the ruins of an ancient City, the lightning playing in the South East, all tended to fill the thoughtful mind with pleasing reflections, on the goodness and majesty of the creator and governor of the universe, and the beauty of the works of his hands. At a quarter to 6 the encampment was formed in a circle, within quarter of a mile of the banks of the river, having traveled this afternoon 8¼ miles, and during the day 15½ making the distance from Winter Quarters 440 miles in 5 weeks and 3½ days from the time I bid a final farewell to my family to start on this mission. There is no feed on the higher prairie but on the lower it is pretty good. While I was looking out for the prospect of feed, I felt the buffalo gnats bite my ears and sides of my face very bad, which soon rose in pimples, and itched like the mosquito bite.
We have noticed today a great many petrified bones, some very large ones all turned into solid, hard stone, which proves that the atmosphere is pure, and the country doubtless very healthy, but is not calculated for farming purposes, on account of the poor, sandy soil, and no timber at all on this side of the river. We have noticed a great variety of shrubs, plants and flowers, all evidently peculiar to this region of country and mostly new to us, many of which have a very strong, pleasant smell. In some places the air appears impregnated with the rich odors arising from them. Among the rest are numerous beds of the Southern wood. There are also vast beds of flinty pebbles of various colors, many as white as alabaster.
While crossing the bluffs this afternoon Carlos Murray discovered a grey Eagles nest in a small Cedar tree. On looking in it he saw a large Young Eagle, but did not take it away. About half an hour afterwards, George R. Grant and Orson Whitney passing over the same bluff, saw the nest, took out the Young eagle and brought it to camp. It is considered to be from 4 to 6 weeks old and although the feathers on its wings have scarcely commenced growing, it measures 46 inches from tip to tip of the wings when extended outwards; its head, about the size of a mans fist, and its beak over an inch deep. The brethren calculated to keep it, and no doubt it will be very large and powerful when fully grown.
Several of the brethren went to view the bluffs after the shower, and describe them as being very high and much resembling the ruins of an Ancient City. One of the brethren discovered a cave in one of the bluffs, but having no torch did not enter it sufficient to tell the depth of it. Er Pratt reports that he saw on the top of one of the bluffs a hole in a rock 15 inches in diameter and a foot deep with five inches of very cold, clear water in it. He supposed it to be a spring. Between the bluffs he discovered a very nice stream of pure, good water, and tracing it to its source found it to proceed from a very large spring. Dr. Richards named these bluffs "Ancient ruins bluffs," [Ancient Bluff Ruins] from their appearance being much like the ruins of an Ancient City, with its castles, walls, fortifications, towers, &c[.] A little to the left from the Camp is a small peak, very much resembling Chimney Rock, but much smaller. The whole scenery around is one of romantic beauty which cannot be fully described with pen or tongue.
Some time last night a large black dog, half wolf, supposed to belong to the Indians, came to camp. He has followed the wagons all day, but not venturing very near them. Many rattlesnakes have been seen today and a number killed. There appears to be a den of them somewhere among these bluffs, for there are a great many of them, which makes it dangerous for the brethren to move about much. The evening was spent very joyfully by most of the brethren, it being very pleasant, the moon shining bright. A number of the brethren amused themselves by dancing till the bugle sounded at 9 o clock for bedtime.
Sunday 23rd The morning very fine and pleasant. After breakfast I started out in company with President Young, E[lde]rs Richards, Pratt, Woodruff, Smith and Benson, to view the bluffs &c, on the north. We found them romantic indeed, and took much pleasure in viewing them. Arriving on the top of the highest one which is probably half an acre in extent, on the surface, Brother O. Pratt hung the barometer in a small cedar tree at the East end of the peak to ascertain the height of the bluff. He found it to be 235 feet above the surface of the river, but did not calculate the height above the sea on account of vacuity in the atmosphere, which betokens strong wind. Brother Woodruff wrote the names of all the quorum of the Twelve present on a buffalo's head and set it up on the South West corner. Brother John Brown also wrote his name on it. Having viewed the scenery till we were satisfied, and being near time for meeting, we returned to the Camp. We saw brother Nathaniel Fairbanks who had just returned from the bluffs, having been bit on the back of the leg by a large rattlesnake. He appeared very sick indeed. Luke Johnson was attending on him. Feeling very unwell, I retired to my wagon to rest. Some of the brethren have seen an adder near the Camp about 18 inches long. At 12 o clock the Camp were called together for meeting and addressed by Erastus Snow for a short time, then followed by president Young. The president said there are many items of doctrine which he often felt like teaching to the brethren and there is much for them to learn, but as to administering sealing ordinances, &c this is no time nor place for them; they belong to the house of God and when we get located we shall have opportunity to build a house &c He expressed himself well satisfied with the conduct of the Camp in general. He is pleased to see so much union, and disposition to obey counsel among the brethren, and hoped and prayed that it may continue and increase. He is satisfied with the progress we have made on our journey. We have traveled as fast as our teams could bear; we have done all we could and if we don't accomplish the journey as soon as we expected we will still feel satisfied for we do as fast as we can and intend to. He is satisfied that the brethren went into the army; it is all right, but he hopes we shall no more be under the necessity of taking up the sword against our fellowmen, but if the Gentiles follow us to destroy us we will defend ourselves. He wants the brethren to seek after knowledge and be faithful—acknowledge God in all things but never take his name in vain, nor use profane language. If all the knowledge in this Camp was put together, and Brother Joseph were here in our midst, his knowledge would circumscribe the whole of it[.] he could wind it round his little finger, say nothing about the knowledge of Angels, or of Gods. There is much for us to learn, and a faithful man who desires eternal glory, will seek after knowledge continually, and his ideas and faith is never suffered to rust, but is always bright, but there are some who do not treasure up the knowledge which they receive, they consider them as small things, and are all the time asking, "Do give us something new." They are like the two Irishmen who heard that money was so plentiful in America that they could pick it up in the streets and started to get some. When they landed in New York and were walking up the street one of them accidentally found a dollar and picked it up, but his companion said to him, "Faith, Jim, throw it down again and lets go where they are more plentiful." He did throw it down but it is a chance whether they ever found any more. So it is with those who are not careful to preserve the knowledge they get. It is doubtful whether they get any more. For his part he has always grasped at every particle of knowledge he could get, no matter how small, and hugged it to his bosom. He has sought to gain all he can, but has been careful to keep what he got and never refused small things. By gaining many small particles and putting them together, in time they become quite a large pile &c He expressed his warm feelings towards all the brethren, and prayed them to be faithful, diligent, and upright, for we are now sowing seed, the fruits of which will be plucked in after many days whether good or bad.
Er G.A. Smith and several others made a few remarks, expressive of their feelings respecting the importance of this mission &c after which the president stated that he wants the brethren to understand there will be meeting at 11 o clock and have the sacrament administered. He wants the brethren to attend, all that can, and not ramble off and fatigue themselves, but let us use the sabbath as a day of rest. He enjoined it upon Bishops Tarlton Lewis, Shadrack [Shadrach] Roundy, John S. Higbee, and Addison Everett to see that the proper necessaries were prepared for administering the Sacrament. After some enquiry had been made for lost property, the meeting was dismissed.
A while after meeting walked out with Er Clayton behind a low bluff about a quarter of a mile from Camp. We sat down together and he read to me the history of the last four days travels out of his journal, which I considered good. We then kneeled down together and each poured out our desires in prayer to our eternal father that he will preserve us faithful and upright, that we may be permitted to return to our families in peace, that the Camp may be blessed and all the Saints, and that he will preserve and comfort our dear families during our absence from them &c While we were kneeled down a gust of wind from the North West (a heavy black cloud having been gradually rising in the West and North West all the afternoon) struck my hat and carried it away. When we got through it was out of sight. We followed the direction of the wind, and when on the top of the ridge saw it a long distance flying before the wind towards the river. We both ran after it as hard as we could, and after chasing it over half a mile caught it a little distance from the river. We then returned to Camp, the wind blowing tremendous hard. About 5 o clock it seemed to increase to a perfect gale and about 7 o clock it began to rain very heavy, large drops descending, accompanied by hail; but did not continue very long. The lightning and thunder continued sometime but not very severe. The weather turned very cold indeed. We saw the necessity of having good stout bows to our wagons and the covers well fastened down, for the stoutest seemed in danger of being torn to pieces, and the wagon being blown over.
Bro. Fairbanks is out of danger and considerably better. A while before the rain commenced, being called upon, I went over to his wagon, and with President Young and Elder Benson laid hands on him.
Luke Johnson and Thomas Bullock have been on the bluffs to view the scenery, the latter was very near being bit by a rattlesnake, but Luke shot it. They discovered a very large petrified bone near to one of the bluffs, and dug at it some time to get it up but did not succeed. They report that it was two foot across, but the length they could not discover. They broke off some pieces and brought them to Camp. They are very white and solid. It is quite evident from the number of large petrified bones found in this region, that at some time there have been animals here, far larger than any we know of as existing at the present time.
Monday 24 The morning fair, but very cold indeed, the wind still blowing strong from the North West. At 25 minutes past 8 we continued our journey and traveled over level prairie 10 miles, then halted to feed at a quarter to 1. The bluffs on the north about 2 miles from our road and the river about a mile. About noon the weather began to moderate and grow warmer. While we halted two Indians came to Camp, we supposed their object being to get the dog, which has followed us to this place. They tarried a little while and then went away taking the dog with them.
At 3 P.M. we proceeded onward and traveled till 6, distance 6½ miles, and during the day 16½ which is the farthest distance we have traveled in a day for some time. Several of the horse teams gave out, and the horses are evidently failing daily, but our oxen are gaining. Mules stand the journey well, and in fact all the teams considering the scarcity of grass. About half past 5 we discovered a party of Indians on the opposite side the river moving the same way we were going. When we formed our encampment they crossed over and came out a quarter of a mile west of the Camp. Several of the brethren went to them, and one of the brethren was sent with a white flag. The Indians carried a United States flag. When they saw our flag they began to sing as they rode through the river, and also hoisted their flag as we supposed in token of peace. It was soon ascertained that their object was to obtain something to eat. A number of them came to camp to view it. They were conducted round by Er Sherwood and Col[onel]'s Markham and Rockwood. Several 6 shooter pistols were exhibited to them and a fifteen shooter, showing them how many times each would shoot. They were conducted round to the cannon, and the brethren went through the evolutions to show them how fast they could load and fire it. They appeared to notice this more than anything else. Among the number who visited the Camp was their chief, bearing the United States flag. They all appear well dressed in blankets and robes, variously ornamented with beads and paintings. All look clean and neat and are very noble looking men. Some had nice large shells suspended from their ears, and all well armed with rifles, muskets, &c Their moccasins are very neatly made, clean, sit tight to the foot and ornamented with beads, and to view them from head to foot, for neatness and cleanness they will vie with the most tasteful whites. They are of the Sioux tribe, 35 in number, including men, women and children, all mounted on ponies. They presented two recommends certifying as to their friendship &c, one signed by Pappau, the other not signed. The brethren contributed some food for them and sent it over to them as they are camped for the night. Our course today has been near West, with a cool wind. The evening fine but sufficiently cold to freeze clothing stiff which was laid on the grass to dry. I have felt very unwell all day and kept mostly in my wagon. Opposite the Camp on the South side the river, is a very large Rock, very much resembling a castle of four stories high, but in a state of ruin. A little to the East of it, stands a rock which looks like a fragment of a very thick wall, a few miles to the West Chimney Rock appears in full view. The scenery around is indeed pleasant and romantic.
After the Indians had viewed the Camp they returned to the rest of their party, Elder Sherwood accompanying them, who soon after came back to Camp, the chief and his squaw accompanying him with the intention of abiding with us through the night. The brethren fixed up a tent for them to sleep under. Porter Rockwell made them some warm coffee and they were furnished with some victuals. The old chief amused himself for some time in viewing the moon through a telescope.
The evening is very fine but cool. A sufficient guard was placed around the Camp and we retired to rest, realizing that the Lord is good to us, and His mercies are over us all the day, for which we feel to praise Him.
Tuesday 25 The morning fine and very pleasant. Most of the Indians, men, women and children came early to camp on their ponies and marched round, mostly trying to obtain something to eat. Several little barters were made with them by the brethren for moccasins, skins, &c John S. Higbee traded ponies with one of them. They have some good ponies, and some inferior ones. They seemed very happy and cheerful, and took pleasure in viewing the Camp.
At 20 minutes past 8 we proceeded onwards. After we started the Indians left us and crossed the river again. One mile from our encampment we began to ascend a low range of bluffs to avoid a large, high, sandy ridge, which projects to the river. Traveled over the bluffs three-quarters of a mile and then took the lower prairie. At 20 minutes to 10 we halted to let the teams graze, the feed being good and plentiful, having traveled 2½ miles, mostly N.W. round a bend of the river. The sun very hot, roads sandy and heavy. The river is probably ¾ of a mile wide here, and on this side there are many small islands.
At ¼ past 11 continued our journey, and traveled till half past 1, distance 4¾ miles over a very soft, wet, level prairie. We then halted again to feed and rest our teams as they have had hard drawing all day. We have seen no game for a few days past, except a few antelope and hares. The buffalo appear to have left this region, and in fact there are no signs of there having been many here for years. The feed is poor, mostly last years growth, and very short. One of the hunters killed an antelope which was brought to Camp and divided to the Captains of tens. At 3 P.M. we proceeded again and traveled till a quarter to 6, distance 4¾ miles and during the day 12 miles. The 3 first miles this afternoon were good traveling, but the last part has been wet and soft, numerous ponds of water standing all round, caused by heavy rains. We have camped on a very wet spot, but the feed being poor where it was drier, it was decided to stay here for the benefit of teams. Our course has been about N.W. Very little wind and the day very warm. Chimney Rock appears very plain and seems to be not over two miles distant, but is no doubt near 5 miles from us. Another antelope was killed and brought in by the hunters. Er O. Pratt is taking an observation to ascertain the height of Chimney Rock. The evening very pleasant, and many of the brethren spent it in dancing till 9 o clock. The latitude 4¼ miles back from here 41. 41'. 46".
Wednesday 26 The morning very fine and pleasant. At 8 o clock we again continued our journey, Er Orson Pratt taking observations to tell the distance Chimney Rock lay from our road. Yesterday morning Brother S. Markham traded a mule, which was foundered and unable to work, to one of the Indians for a pony. Brother Pack put him in harness in the lead in the afternoon and again this morning. When crossing a soft, wet spot, the whipple tree unhitched from the neap of the wagon tongue and struck his legs, which frightened him and made him start off as hard as he could gallop towards the forward wagons. The dogs met him and chased him through the line of our teams and back again, causing the teams to run off at each side of the road. It threw part of the Camp into confusion a few minutes, but fortunately no accident occurred to anything. The horse was caught and again put to the wagon and the camp again moved onwards. After traveling 4‚Öù miles we passed the meridian of Chimney Rock, having traveled since we first saw it 41½ miles. At 12 o clock we halted to feed having traveled this A.M. 7¼ miles, course N.N.W. the road very straight and hard, except in a few spots, where the water stands, caused by late, heavy rains. We turned our course a little south at noon to get grass, as the higher prairie is very barren. Porter Rockwell has killed 2 antelope and John Brown 1, which are brought into Camp dressed and divided amongst the companies of tens as usual. Er Pratt found that Chimney Rock is 250 feet high from its base to its summit and the distance from our road at the nearest point is 3 miles. The latitude at noon halt 41. 45'. 58"
At 25 minutes past 2 continued our journey, making a road nearer the river than the morning. The road somewhat crooked but good traveling. At the distance of 5 miles from noon halt we turned directly south to avoid a bad slough, and proceeded a quarter of a mile, then formed our encampment at 5 o clock, near the river. The last quarter of a mile formed our encampent at 5 o clock, near the river. The last quarter of a mile was not reckoned in the days travel, which exclusive of that is 12¼ miles, course N.N.W. The feed here, good and sufficient to fill our teams. Brother Joseph Hancock killed an antelope, which was divided round. Soon after the encampment was formed walked a little up the river with President Young and brother Clayton. The latter read to us some of the minutes of the Nauvoo Council, We were joined by Dr. Richards, and tarried till about 7 o clock, at which time a heavy black cloud was fast approaching from the west, and was soon followed by strong wind and rain, which, however, lasted only a short time. The evening afterward warm and pleasant though somewhat cloudy.
Carlos Murray has been trying to raise the Young Eagle caught on Saturday. After stopping tonight he put it under George Billings' wagon, and awhile afterwards the men ran the wagon back, one of the wheels on its head, and killed it dead. After dark I walked a little while, and during the time I was away Ellen Sanders went to bed leaving a candle burning in the sconce. She went to sleep and when I returned I found the wagon full of smoke, which startled me very much. After opening the wagon mouth and letting some of the smoke out I saw the rib of wood which runs lengthways across the bows was all on fire, over where the candle stood. I put it out as quick as possible and saw that the rib was burned off, and a small hole burned through the cover. I regarded this as a miracle that the whole was not in flames as it must have burned some time. I feel that the Lord has answered my prayers in this thing, for I have felt to pray all the time that the Lord would preserve our wagons from accidents by fire.
Thursday 27th. The morning very fine. We have had a number of romantic sights on our journey, but it is doubtful whether we have had a more sublime view than that which presents itself this morning. Chimney Rock, seems but a few miles from the southeast; opposite to us are various shaped, broken and detached bluffs, high sandy and rocky. To the S.W. Scotts Bluff, rise majestically, and the rays of the morning sun striking these several ridges, gives them a beautiful appearance beyond description. The prairie from miles in the course we have to travel looks perfectly even and nice as far as the eye can see. The bluffs to the north of us are low and of a gradual ascent, at about 3 or 4 miles distance from the river. Er Orson Pratt has taken observations this morning to measure the width of the river and found it to be exactly 792 yards.
At 10 minutes to 8 we continued our journey and followed the banks of the river till ¼ to 12. when we halted to feed, having come 8 miles. The route was very good, prairie hard and fine traveling, although a little crooked. Porter Rockwell has killed 2 more Antelope and Amasa Lyman 1, which were divided as usual. There are some heavy thunder clouds in the South and West and a nice breeze from N .E.
At 2 P.M. we continued our journey, still keeping near the banks of the river, over the same kind of dry, level prairie. We made a very straight road this afternoon. After traveling 4‚Öõ miles, passed the meridian
-- of the northernmost peak of Scotts bluff, being exactly 19¾ miles from the meridian of Chimney Rock. These bluffs are very high, steep and broken, and like many others, resemble ancient ruins. They are probably 2 miles in length from North to South, but not very wide. We traveled till a quarter to 5. then formed our encampment in a circle near the river, which from this place seems to bend in a northern direction for some distance, having come this afternoon 5¾ miles and during the day 13¾ miles, mostly N.W. Myself and brother Woodruff pointed out the road this forenoon and this afternoon I heard Brother Clayton read some of this journal.
The evening is cold, wind N.E. and it rains some. Feed is good, and the Camp generally well and in good spirits. Some are spending the evening dancing, but I feel as though they dance away too much time, and wish they would be a little more sober lest the Lord scourge the Camp for giving way to levity, and trifling away so much of the time in nonsense and folly. I told Brother Whipple my feelings in regard to their mock trials, and that I feared they will lead to serious consequences. He said he had the same conviction and I trust they will leave off such things.
Friday 28 The morning cool, damp, cloudy and some rain. Wind N.E. At about 8 o clock Col's Rockwood & Markham called the brethren together and asked the question, shall we go on in the rain, or wait until it is fair? They all felt to wait for fair weather and it was decided accordingly. I walked round to some of the wagons in my division and found several groups playing cards. I called at Appleton Harmons wagon and found them playing. I told them my mind about such things, and told them my disapprovation in language not to be misunderstood. Also referred to their dancing and acknowledging themselves "niggers," their mock trials &c and reasoned with them on the subject, trying to show them that it would lead to serious results if they did not quit. I also warned them against using profane language, and persuaded them to conduct themselves like men of God, or they would be sorry for it.
About 10 o clock the weather appeared more favorable, and the bugle was sounded to gather up the teams. At 11 we continued our journey taking a N.N.W. course to go round the bend in the river. I went on foot some and about a mile from where we started we arrived at the mouth of a very nice stream of clear spring water about 8 or 10 feet wide, but not deep. The bottom was nice gravel. We saw several "Be[a]ver dams" on its banks, and multitudes of nice fish, trout, suckers, dais &c about 8 inches to a foot long in the deepest places of the creek. Some of the brethren traced it to its head, and found it about 3 miles long, rising from numerous springs, the head one being very strong, and rising out of a low kind of circular swamp about 6 foot in diameter. The water is cold and of a pleasant taste. I named this spring creek. After traveling 4 miles we arrived at the foot of the bluffs where we found it very sandy and heavy on teams. After traveling about a mile on this sand we turned our course to S. of W. and descended on a dry level prairie, perfectly barren, but hard and good traveling. At 9 miles distance descended on a still lower bench of land which was wet and soft, though not bad to travel. We found plenty of grass in the wet places. At a quarter to 5 formed our encampment near the river having travelled 11½ miles to day. The feed here is not good, land sandy, little fresh grass, and last years grass still standing. We have seen a few small trees on the Islands in the middle of the river but none on this side. Drift wood, pine and cedar is tolerably plentiful. While Porter Rockwell & Thomas Brown were out hunting, about 5 miles north of here the latter saw 5 or 6 mounted Indians, and from the fresh footprints of their ponies, they concluded there is a hunting party near. We have seen vast beds of the Southern wood and prickley pear on the sandy land not only today but for many days travel. The brethren have picked considerable plantain leaves for greens. The evening dull, cloudy and very cold with strong N.E. wind. I have kept mostly to my wagon, occasionally walking where the road was heavy. I retired to bed early. A while after I got to bed president called me and said he wanted me to go and sit with him awhile. I got up, dressed and went over to his wagon. We set [sat] up till after 12 o clock talking over matters pertaining to the situation of the Camp, the conduct of some of the brethren, and what it would lead to if suffered to continue longer. It was concluded best to put a stop to it before we proceed any farther, as the thing appears about ripe enough to be burst easy, and be turned to a blessing to the Camp. I slept with President Young in his wagon.
Saturday 29 The morning cold wet and cloudy, with wind from N.E. it is considered not wisdom to proceed on untill the weather moderates and clears up. At 10 o clock the weather looked more favorable, and at half past 10 the bugle sounded, as a signal for the teams to be got together. After the teams were harnessed the brethren were called together to the boat in the circle of wagons. President Young taking his station in the boat, ordered each Captain of ten to lead out their respective companies, and get all their men together, which being done, he called upon the clerk to call over the names of the camp, to see if all were present. Joseph Hancock and Andrew Gibbons were reported to be absent hunting. Brothers Elijah Newman and Nathaniel Fairbanks were confined to their wagons, but answered to their names; the remainder all present.
President Young then addressed the meeting as follows.—
"I remarked last Sunday that I had not felt much like preaching to the brethren on this mission. This morning, I feel like preaching a little, and shall take for my text that as pursuing our journey with this company with the spirit they possess, I am about to revolt against it." This is the text I feel like preaching from this morning, consequently I am in no hurry.
In the first place, before we left Winter Quarters, it was told to the brethren, and many knew it by experience, that, we had had to leave our homes, our houses, our lands, and our all because we believed in the gospel as revealed to the saints, in this generation. The rise of the persecutions against the [C]hurch, was in consequence of the doctrines of eternal truth taught by Joseph. Many knew this by experience. Some lost their husbands, some lost their wives, and some their children through persecution; and yet we have not been disposed to forsake the truth and turn and mingle with the gentiles; except a few who have turned aside, and gone away from us, and we learned in a measure the difference between professing religion, and a possesion of religion.— Before we left Winter Quarters, it was told to the brethren that we were going to look out a home for the saints, where they would be free from persecution by the gentiles, where we could dwell in peace, and serve God according the Holy Priesthood; where we could build up the kingdom, so that the nations would begin to flock to our standard.— I have said many things to the brethren, about the strictness of their walk and conduct when we left the gentiles, and told them that we would have to walk uprightly, or the law would be put in force &c Many have left and turned aside through fear, but no good, uprightly honest man will fear. The gospel does not bind a good man down, and deprive him of his rights and privileges. It does not prevent him from enjoying the fruits of his labors. It does not rob him of blessings. It does not stop his increase. It does not diminish his Kingdom, but is calculated to enlarge his Kingdom as well as to enlarge his head. It is calculated to give to him privileges, and power, and honor and exhaltation and every thing which his heart can desire in rightousness all the days of his life, and then, when he gets exhalted into the eternal world, he can still turn round and say, it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive the glory and honor, and blessings which God hath in store for those that love and serve him.— I want the brethren to understand, and comprehend the principles of eternal life, and to watch the spirits—be wide awake and not be overcome by the adversary. You can see the fruits of the spirit, but you cannot see the spirit itself; with the natural eyes you behold it not. You can see the result of yeilding to the evil spirit, and what it will lead you to, but you do not see the spirit itself, nor its operations, only by the spirit that's in you. Nobody has told me what has been going on in the Camp, but I have known it all the while. I have been watching its movements, its influence, its effects; and I know the result if it is not put a stop to. I want you to understand, that inasmuch as we are beyond the power of the gentiles, where the devils have tabernacles in the priests and the people, but we are beyond their reach, we are beyond their power, we are beyond their grasp, and what has the devil now to work upon? Upon the spirits of men in this camp; and if you don't open your hearts, so that the spirit of God can enter your hearts, and teach you the right way, I know that you are a ruined people. I know that you will be destroyed and that without remedy: and unless there is a change, and a different course of conduct, a different spirit to what is now in the camp, I go no further. Consequently I am in no hurry this morning.
Give me the man of prayer, give me the man of faith, give me the man of meditation, a sober minded man, and I would far rather go amongst the savages with 6 or 8 such men, than to trust myself with the whole of this camp, with the spirit they now possess.—Here is an opportunity for every man to prove himself to know whether he will pray and remember his God without being asked to do it every day; to know whether they will have confidence enough, to ask of God that they may receive, without any telling them to do it. If this camp was composed of men who had newly received the gospel, men who had not received the priesthood, men who had not been through the ordinances in the temple, and who had not had years of experience,—enough to have learned the influence of the spirits, and the difference between a good and an evil spirit, I should feel like preaching to them and watching over them and teaching them all the time day by day. But here are the Elders of Israel, men who have had years of experience, men who have had the priesthood for years, and have they got faith enough to rise up and stop a mean, low, grovelling, covetous, quarrelsome spirit? No, they have not; nor would they try to do it unless I rise up in the power of God and put it down. I dont mean to bow down to the spirit that's in this camp and which is usankling in the bosom of the brethren, which will lead to knock downs and perhaps to the use of the knife to cut each others throats if it is not put a stop to. I dont mean to bow down to the spirit which causes the brethren to quarrel, and when I wake up in a morning, the first thing I hear is some of the brethren jawing each other and quarrelling because a horse has got loose in the night. I have let the brethren dance, and fiddle, and act the nigger night after night to see what they will do, and what extremes they would go to, if suffered to go as far as they would, but I dont love to see it. The brethren say they want a little exercise to pass away time, evenings, but if you cant tire yourselves bad enough with a days journey without dancing every night, carry your guns on your shoulders, and walk, and cary your wood to camp, instead of lounging and laying sleeping in your wagons, increasing the load, untill your teams are tired to death and ready to drop into the earth. Help your teams over mud holes and bad places instead of lounging in your wagons, and that will give you exercise enough without dancing. Well, they will play cards, they will play checkers, they will play dominoes, and if they had the privilege and were where they could get whiskey, they would be drunk half their time and in one week they would quarrel, get to high words, and draw their knives to kill each other. This is what such a course of things would lead to. Dont you know it? Yes well then, why dont you try to put it down.
I have played cards once in my life since I became a Mormon, to see what kind of a spirit would attend it, and I was so well satisfied, that I would rather see the dirtiest thing in your hands that you could find on the earth, than to see a pack of cards in your hands.
You never read of gambling, playing cards, checkers, dominoes &c in the scriptures, but you do read of men praising the Lord in the dance, but who ever read of praising the Lord in a game at cards. If any man had sense enough to play a game of cards, or dance a little, without wanting to keep it up all the time, but exercise a little and then quit it and drink no more of it, it would do well enough. But you want to keep it up till midnight, and every night, and all the time. You don't know how to control yourselves. Last winter when we had our seasons of recreations in the Council house, I went forth in the dance frequently, but did my mind run on it? No. To be sure when I was dancing, my mind was on the dance, but the moment I stopt in the middle or the end of a tune, my mind was engaged in prayer and praise to my heavenly father, and what ever I engage in, my mind is in it while engaged in it, but the moment I am done with it, my mind is drawn up to [an….].
The devils which inhabit the gentile priests are here. The tabernacles are not here, we are out of their power, we are beyond their grasp, we are beyond the reach of their persecutions, but the devils are here, and the first you'll know if you dont open your eyes and your hearts, they will cause divisions in our camp, and perhaps war, as they did the lamanites, as you read in the Book of Mormon.
Do we suppose that we are going to look out a home for the saints, a resting place, a place of peace, where they can build up the kingdom and bid the nations welcome, with a low, mean, dirty, trifling, covetous, wicked spirit dwelling in our bosoms? It is vain! Vain!! Some of you are very fond of passing jokes, and will carry your jokes very far; but will you take a joke? If you dont want to take a joke, dont give a joke to your brethren. Joking, nonsense, profane language, trifling conversation and loud laughter, dont belong to us. Suppose the Angels were witnessing the hoe down the other evening, and listening to the haw haw's[.] Would they not be ashamed of it? I am ashamed of it. I have not given a joke to any man on this journey nor felt like it; neither have I insulted any man's feelings, but I have hollowed pretty loud and spoke sharp to the brethren sometimes, where I have seen their awkwardness at evening into Camps. The revelations in the bible, in the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, teaches us to be sober; and let me ask you elders that have been through the ordinances in the Temple, what were your Covenants there? I want you should remember them.
When I laugh I see my folly, and my nothingness and weakness and am ashamed of myself. I think meaner and worse of myself than any man can think of me, but I delight in God and in his commandments, and delight to meditate on him and to serve him, and I mean that every thing in me shall be subject to him, and I delight in serving him.
Now let every man repent of his weaknesses, of his follies, of his meanness, and every kind of wickedness; and stop your profane language and your swearing, for it is in this camp and I know it. I have said nothing about it but I now tell you, if you don't stop it you shall be cursed by the almighty, and shall dwindle away and be damned. Such things shall not be suffered in this Camp. You shall honor God and confess his name, or else you shall suffer the penalty.— Most of this Camp belongs to the church, nearly all; and I would say to you brethren, and to the Elders of Israel, if, you are faithful, you will yet be sent to preach this gospel to the nations of the earth, and bid all welcome wether they believe the gospel or not, and this Kingdom will, reign over many who do not belong to the church, over thousands who do not believe in the gospel. Bye and bye, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, and acknowledge, and reverence, and honor the name of God and his priesthood, and observe the laws of the kingdom, whether they belong to the church and obey the gospel, or not, and I mean that every man in this Camp shall do it. This is what the scripture means by every knee shall bow &c and you cannot make any thing else of it.
I understand there are several in this camp who don't belong to the church. I am the man who will stand up for them and protect them in all their rights; and they shall not trample on my rights, nor on the priesthood. They shall reverence and acknowledge the name of God and his priesthood, and if they set up their heads and seek to introduce iniquity into this Camp, and to trample on the priesthood, I swear to them they shall never go back to tell the tale, I will leave them where they will be safe. If they want to retreat they can now have the privilege, and any man, who chooses to go back, rather than abide the law of God can now have the privilege of doing so, before we go any further.
Here are the Elders of Israel who have got the priesthood, who have got to preach the gospel, who have to gather the nations of the earth, who have to build up the Kingdom, so that the nations can come to it; they will stoop to dance as niggers; (I dont mean this as speaking disre[spe]ctfully of our colored friends amongst us by any means.) they will hoe down all, turn summersets, dance on their knees, and haw, haw out loud; they will play cards, they will play checkers and dominoes; they will use profane language, they will swear. Suppose when you go abroad to preach the people ask you, what you did when you went up on this mission, to seek out a home for the whole church; what was your course of conduct, did you dance? Yes. Did you hoe down all? Yes. Did you play cards? Yes. Did you play checkers? Yes. Did you use profane language? Yes. Did you swear? Yes. Did you quarrel with each other? and threaten each other? Why, Yes. How would you feel? What would you say for yourselves? Would you not want to go and hide up? Your mouths would be stop'd, and you would want to creep away in disgrace.
I am one of the last to ask my brethren to enter into solemn covenanants, but if they will not enter into a covenant to put away their iniquity, and turn to the Lord and serve him, and acknowledge and honor his name, I want them to take their wagons and retreat back, for I shall go no further under such a state of things. If we dont repent and quit our wickedness, we will have more hinderances than we have had, and worse storms to encounter.
I want the brethren to be ready for meeting tomorrow at the time appointed, instead of rambling off, and hiding in their wagons to play cards &c I think it will be good for us to have a fast meeting tomorrow and a prayer meeting:—humble ourselves and turn to the Lord and he will forgive us."—
He then called upon all the High Priests to step forth in a line in front of the wagon, and then the Bishops to step in front of the High Priests, which being done he counted them and found them to number 4 Bishops, and 15 High Priests. He then called upon all the seventies to form a line in the rear of the High Priests. On being counted, they were ascertained to number 78. Next he called on the Elders to form a line in the rear of the wagon. They were 8 in number. There were also 8 of the quorum of the Twelve present.
He then asked the brethren of the quorum of the Twelve, "if they were willing to covenant to turn to the Lord with all their hearts, to repent of all their follies, to cease from all their evils, and serve God according to his laws: If they were willing, to manifest it by holding up their right hand. All the Twelve held up their right hand in token that they covenanted. He then put the same question to the High Priests and Bishops, next to the seventies, then to the Elders, and lastly to the other brethren. All covenanted with uplifted hand without a dissenting voice.
He then addressed those who are not members of the church, and told them they should be protected in their rights and privileges, while they would conduct themselves well, and not seek to trample on the priesthood, nor blaspheme the name of God &c
He referred to the conduct of Benjamin Rolfe's two Younger brothers, in joining with the Higbee's and John C. Bennett, in sowing discord and strife among the saints in Nauvoo, and remarked that there will [no] Bro Bennet scrapes be suffered here.
He spoke highly of Benjamin Rolfe's conduct; although not a member of the church, and also referred to the esteem in which his father and mother were held by the saints generally. In conclusion he very feelingly and tenderly blessed the brethren and prayed that God would enable them to fulfil their covenant, and withdrew to give chance for others to speak, if they felt like it.
I arose to make some remarks in confirmation of what president Young had said. I observed that I agreed with it all, and received it as the word of the Lord to me, and it is the word of the Lord to this Camp if they will receive it. I remember the time when the Camp went up to Missouri, and Joseph had plead with the brethren day after day to quit their iniquity but they seemed to disregard his teachings until the Lord sent a scourge into the Camp, and the brethren began to die off, until we buried 18 in a short time. I have been watching the motion of things, and the conduct of the brethren for some time, and I have seen what it would lead to. I have said little, but thought a great deal. It has made me shudder when I have seen the Elders of Israel descend to the lowest dirtiest things imaginable—the tail end of everything, but what has passed this morning will make it an everlasting blessing to the brethren, if they will repent and be faithful and keep their covenant. This is one of the most important missions this church every undertook, and I never can rest satisfied untill my family are liberated from the gentiles and their corruptions, and established in a land where they can plant and eat the fruits of their labors, but I nor my family have never had the privilege of eating the fruits of our labors yet, but when this is done I can lay my body down and rest in peace if it is necessary, but not till then. If we will serve the Lord, and remember his name to call upon him, and be faithful, we shall not one of us be left under the sun, but shall be permitted to return and meet our families in peace, and enjoy their society again, but if this camp continues the course of conduct they have done, the judgements of God will overtake us. I hope the brethren will take heed to what President Young has said and let it sink deep in your hearts.
E[lde]r Pratt, wanted to add a word to what has been said. Much good advice has been given to teach us how we may spend our time profitably, by prayer, meditation &c But there is another idea which he wants to add. There are many books in the Camp, and worlds of knowledge before us which we have not yet obtained, and if the brethren would devote all their leasure time to seeking after knowledge, they would never need to say they had nothing to pass away their time. If we could spend 23 hours out of the 24 in gaining knowledge and only sleep one hour out of the 24 all the days of our lives there would still be worlds of knowledge in store for us yet to learn. He knows it is difficult to bring our minds to dilligent and constant studies, in pursuit of knowledge, all at once, but by steady practice and perseverance, we shall become habituated to it, and it will become a pleasure to us. He would recommend to the brethren, besides prayer and obedience;—to seek after knowledge continually and it will help us to overcome our follies and nonsense—we shall have no time for any such things.
Er Woodruff said he remembered the time when the Camp went up to Missouri to redeem Zion, when brother Joseph stood up on a wagon wheel and told the brethren that the decree had passed and could not be revoked, and the destroying angel would visit the Camp, and we should die like sheep with the rot; after he had repeatedly warned the brethren of their evil conduct and what it would lead to, but they still continued in their course. It was not long before the destroying Angel did visit the Camp, and the brethren began to fall as brother Joseph had said. We buried 18 out of our number in a short time, and a more sorrowful time I never saw. There are nine brethren here who were in that Camp, they all recollect the circumstance well, and will never forget it. He has been thinking, while the president was speaking, that if he was one who had played Cards or Checkers, he would take every pack of Cards, and every checker board and burn them up, so that they would no longer be in the way to tempt us.
"Col. Markham acknowledged that he had done wrong in many things. Before he came into the church he had always been in the habit of indulging himself with every thing his heart desired, and he knows he has done wrong on this journey; he knows his mind has become darkened since he left Winter Quarters. He hopes the brethren will forgive him, and he will pray to God to forgive him, and try to do better." While he was speaking he was very much affected indeed and wept like a child. Many of the brethren felt much affected, and all seemed to realize for the first time the excess to which they had yeilded, and the awful consequence of such things if persisted in. Many were in tears and felt humbled.
President Young returned to the Boat as Col. Markham closed his remarks, and said in reply, that he knew the brethren would forgive him, and the Lord will forgive us all, if we turn to him with all our hearts, and cease to evil.
The meeting was then dismissed each man retiring to his wagon, and being half past 1 o clock, we again pursued our journey in peace, all reflecting on what has passed this morning, and many expressing their gratitude for what has transpired. It seemed as though we were just commencing on this important mission, and all realizing the responsibility resting upon us, to conduct ourselves in such a manner that, the journey may be an everlasting blessing to us, instead of an everlasting disgrace.
No loud laughter was heard, no swearing, no quarrelling, no profane language, no hard speeches to man or beast, and it truly seemed as though the cloud had burst, and we had emerged into a new element, a new atmosphere, a new society and a new world. We travelled ¾ miles about a N.N.W. course, and then arrived at the foot of a range of low bluffs which project to within about ten rods of the river, the river forming a large bend to the north at this point. At the foot of the bluffs the road was sandy and very heavy on our teams. Like all other sandy places it was perfectly barren, being only a tuft of grass here and there. After passing over the sand we changed our course to a little North of West, not however leaving the bluffs very far. The river bends again to the South. We then found the ground hard and good to travel over, but perfectly bare of grass for upwards of a mile. At 5 o clock it commenced raining very heavy, accompanied by lightening and thunder, and strong North East wind. It also turned considerably colder again.
At half past 5 we formed our encampment on the edge of the higher bench of prairie. The feed is tolerably good in the bottom, but here there is none at all.
We have passed a small grove of tolerable sized trees, all green, growing on the many Islands in the river, but there is no timber yet on this side of the river. The brethren pick up drift wood enough to do our cooking.
The distance we have travelled today is 8½ miles, and during the week 74½, making the total distance from Winter Quarters 514½ miles. There is a creek of clear water about 200 yards from the Camp, from which the brethren obtain all they want for cooking, &c
Sunday 30 The morning fair and more pleasant, although there is yet appearance for more rain. At 9 o clock most of the brethren retired a little south of the Camp, and had a prayer meeting, and as many as chose to, expressed their feelings. At a little before 12 they met again at the same place to partake of the sacrament. Soon afterwards all the members of the Council of F [blank space] or R. of G. in camp, except Thomas Bullock, (who was in camp and not notified), went out on the bluffs, and selecting a small circular, level spot, surrounded by bluffs, and out of sight, we clothed ourselves in the priestly garments, and offered up prayer to God, for ourselves, for this Camp, and all things pertaining to it, the brethren in the army, our families, and all the Saints; President Young being mouth. We all felt well and glad for this privilege of assembling ourselves together in a retired spot for prayer. The names of those present, being all members of the above council, are, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Amasa Lyaman, Ezra T. Benson, Phineas H. Young, John Pack, Charles Shumway, Shadrack [Shadrach] Roundy, Albert P. Rockwood, Erastus Snow, William Clayton, Albert Carrington and O. P. Rockwell. The two latter having no clothing with them, they were appointed to stand guard at a little distance to prevent interruption.
When we left the Camp there was a heavy black thunder cloud rising from the southwest, and to all appearance it might rain any minute, but the brethren believed it would not rain till we got through, and if it did, we chose rather to take a wetting than to be disappointed of the privilege. It kept off remarkably, till we got through, and got our clothes on, but soon after began to rain, and after we arrived at Camp it poured down considerably heavy, accompanied by strong wind.
I have never seen the brethren so still and sober on a Sunday since we started on the journey as they are today. There is no jesting, nor laughing, nor nonsense. All appear sober and seem to remember their covenant which makes things look far more pleasant than they have done heretofore.
After we returned we ate a little dinner, and then Elder Clayton came to my wagon and read the minutes of yesterday's proceedings. We were joined by President Young and soon after by Lorenzo and Phineas Young. We spent a few hours together in conversation on our journey, the route, &c About 5 o clock I went out in company with President Young, Ezra T. Benson and a few others to a high bluff about 3 miles north of the Camp to pray. From this bluff we could see the Black Hills very plain, although they appear a long distance off. We returned to Camp a little before dark all well, and feeling well and soon after retired to bed.
Monday 31st The morning fine but cool. At a quarter past 8 we proceeded onward, found good, level travelling, the day cool and pleasant. Soon after starting we struck on a wagon track which we are satisfied leads to Fort Laramie. After travelling 4 miles passed some high, sandy bluffs. A little after 12 o clock we turned off a little to the south of west, and at half past 12 halted for noon at the edge of a lower bench of land where there is some short green grass for our teams.
The land we have travelled over this morning is naked and barren, our general course west of northwest, distance 9½ miles, high wind from northwest. Elder Pratt took an observation while halting and found the Latitude 42°.4'. 30".
At 3 P.M. we resumed our journey, the wind has ceased and the weather warm. We travelled till a quarter to 7 and then formed our encampment on the east bank of a shoal stream about 10 feet wide, and is doubtless the "Raw Hide" as stated by Mr. Grosclaude. Distance this afternoon 7¼ miles, during the day 16¾. Our course this afternoon a little north of west, the last 4 or 5 miles has been sandy, the ground uneven and very heavy on our teams. The country looks perfectly barren, in many places there is nothing but a few weeds and "garlick." Some of the brethren picked considerable garlick to cut. About 4 miles back we passed some timber on this side of the river, which is the first we have seen on this side since the 10th instant, being a distance of 215 miles without timber for fire only drift wood, and much of the time little of anything but dried Buffalo chips. The feed is poor except near the river and on the low land. John S. Higbee killed a "long tailed deer," and some of the brethren wounded two others. The tail of this one is over half a yard long and is the first one I ever saw of the kind. We had some of it for supper and it is very good. A while after we camped I walked out with President Young to the bluffs from whence we again saw the Black Hills in the distance. We bowed before the Lord and offered up our prayers together as usual.
The month of May has passed over, and we have been permitted to proceed so far on our journey being 531¼ miles from our families in Winter Quarters, the Camp generally enjoying good health and spirits, and although some things have passed among some of the brethren which has merited chastisement, we have the privilege at the closing of the month of seeing a better feeling, a more noble spirit, and a more general desire to do right, than we have before witnessed. I feel to give thanks to my Heavenly Father for His continued mercies to me and my brethren, and the whole of this Camp, and feel to pray that His Spirit may fill our hearts continually, and His angels administer comfort, health, peace and prosperity to all our families, and all the Saints, and permit us to prosper on our journey and enable us to fulfil this mission in such a way that it may be an everlasting blessing to us, to our families, and all the Saints of God. Even so let it be, O Lord, Amen and Amen.
Tuesday [June] 1st The morning very fine and pleasant. All is still and quiet as a "summer's morning," the Camp well and in good spirits, a feeling of union, peace and brotherly love seems to dwell in every breast. At 9 o clock we continued our journey. I rode on my horse about 2 miles and then let Brother Clayton ride it and retired to my wagon. Brother George A. Smith started this morning to fulfill a prophecy delivered by President Young at the Pawnee Mission station, viz., that he should yet be able to walk a days journey and carry his gun. He has started this morning to walk all day and carry his gun in his hand. At half past 11 we halted for noon, having come 4½ miles over good, hard prairie. At half past 1 we proceeded again finding the road more uneven and sandy. About 4 o clock we came in sight of Fort Laramie, which appeared to be about 4 miles to the southwest. Brother Clayton being ahead with my horse, I got Thomas Browns and started on with President Young, having first ordered the wagons to halt; to see for a camping ground and make our calculations as to how to proceed &c We found Ers Woodruff and Clayton looking for feed about a mile from the river, where it was tolerably good and good timber for burning coal, and we intend to burn a pit before we leave Laramie.
We saw some timber about a mile further to the west and President Young said he felt like going over there. We accordingly went and found good timber and tolerable good grass, near the place where they have ferried across the river.
While we were examining the place, we observed two men riding from the Fort which is about 2 miles distance from the river. They rode hard towards us, and soon after some others were seen coming on foot. Brother John Brown came up to us about the same time the men arrived at the river, and inasmuch as we expected that some of the brethren from Pueblo would have arrived at the Fort, Brother Brown hailed them, and they made themselves known as a part of the Mississippi Company, lately arrived from Pueblo, having been two weeks at the Fort. Luke Johnson being here with the cutter, the brethren launched it in the river, and Luke, John Brown, Porter Rockwell and Joseph Mathews went over and at the same time having concluded to camp at this place, President Young and myself went back to fetch up the wagons.
We arrived back at the river and formed our encampment at a quarter to 6 in the form of a V enclosing the timber in the center of the Camp, having travelled this afternoon 7½ miles and during the day 12, making the total distance from Winter Quarters to Fort Laramie 543¼ miles. We have been on the journey 7 weeks lacking half a day and have travelled but 5¾ miles on Sundays during the whole journey. We have arrived so far without any serious accident befalling the Camp, except the loss of two horses by the Indians and two killed. We have been prospered on our journey; the Camp are all in better health than when we left Winter Quarters, and we see daily that the Lord blesses us and directs our movements by inspiring his servants with his spirit, leading us as seemeth him good, and as is for our good and prosperity.
On our arrival back we found that Brother Crow and his son-in-law had come over in the boat. Brother Crow reports [blank space] deaths in the Pueblo detachment of the brethren in the Army since brother Tippets and Woolsey left viz., Melcher Oyler, [blank space] Scott, Arnold Stevens and [blank space]. He says Solomon Tindall was also on the point of death and considered beyond recovery. They had not heard anything from the other portion of the Mormon Battalion since their departure from Santa Fe. The Pueblo brethren were expecting to receive their pay and discharge and start for this place at the latest by 1st June and will probably be here in two weeks. He further stated that 3 traders from the mountains arrived here 6 days ago, having come from "Sweet water" in 6 days and nights. They travelled day and night with horses and mules to prevent their starving to death as there is no feed up there. Two of their oxen had already died of starvation when they left, the snow being then two feet deep on the Sweet Water. This shows us that we have been wise in not hurrying and are plenty soon enough yet.
The road today has been mostly sandy and heavy on teams with but little feed in any place. The country begins to have a more hilly and mountainous appearance. Some of the "Black Hills" show very plain from here, the timber is mostly large Ash; and considerable Cotton Wood on the banks of the river; Pine on the bluffs. In one of the large Ash Trees. in the midst of the Camp is an Indian babe, buried, or rather deposited in a skin of some kind and lashed by thongs between two of the upper limbs of the tree. This is the way they bury their dead in some instances. In others they build a kind of scaffold by fixing upright poles in the ground and laying cross pieces on the top which forms a scaffold on which the dead are deposited. 2 of this kind of graves are seen from here on the other side of the river.
Wednesday 2nd Morning pleasant. At 9 o clock I started over the river in company with President Young and a number of others to pay a visit to the Fort, and try to learn something concerning the road from here, the country &c Er Pratt measured the width of the river with the sextant at this place, and found it to be 108 yards. The water is deep in the channel, and runs at the rate of about 4 miles an hour. After we landed on the opposite side, we walked up to the remains of "Fort Platte, which stands about 200 yards from the River. The outside walls are mostly standing and perfect, but the inside is in ruins, having been burned down some years ago. The walls are built of "Daubies," or Spanish Brick, being large pieces of flat tempered clay, dried in the sun, and apparently laid one on another without mortar or cement. The dimensions of this Fort outside from east to west 144 feet and from north to south 10.3 feet. There is a large doorway fronting to the south which led to the dwellings 14 in number, built in the form of a parallelogram leaving a large space in the center. The space occupied by the dwellings is not quite half of the whole Fort. Fronting to the east is another large door, which opens on a space 98¾ feet by 47, in which it is probable they have kept horses &c At the northwest corner is a tower projecting out from the line of the walls 6 feet each way, or in other words it is 12 feet square, with four port holes for small cannon. At the northeast corner has been another projection, extending eastward 29 feet 6, and is 19½ feet wide. The walls all around are 11 feet high and 2½ feet thick.
After taking the dimensions and viewing this Fort, we went on to Fort Laramie, which was about 2 miles further west. This latter Fort is said to have been first built of wood 13 years ago and named Laramie, but being destroyed was afterwards built up of "Daubies" 7 years ago, and named Fort John. It stands on the north bank of the "Laramie Fork" a stream 41 Yards wide according to measurement with the sextant by Er O. Pratt. The current is very swift, but not deep and easily forded, and is said to abound with fish. We went inside the Fort and were politely welcomed by Mr. Bordeau, the principal officer or governor. He conducted us up a flight of outside stairs into a comfortable room, and being furnished with seats, we sat down to rest, president Young and others entering into conversation with Mr. Bordeau. From him we learned that we cannot travel over 4 miles further on the north side of the Platte before we come to bluffs which cannot well be crossed with loaded wagons. He says the road westward [is better] on this side the river, than the road we have already travelled being hard and not sandy. Feed scarce, mostly laying in small patches near the river and on creek bottoms. They send their furs &c to Fort Pierre on the Missouri river, a distance of 400 miles by land, and receive all their stores and provisions by the same wagons on return except their meat, which they kill, being buffaloes within 2 days drive. They have tried making a garden and planted corn, which did well enough the first year, but afterwards they could raise nothing for want of rain. They have had no rain for 2 years until a few days ago. They have a Flat Boat, which will carry 2 wagons easy, which we can have the use of for 15 dollars, or he will ferry us over for 25 cents a wagon which would amount to 18 dollars, and inasmuch as we have men enough we decided to hire the boat and work it ourselves.
From the door of this room, we could see the same black hill we saw on sunday evening and which is said to be the Laramie Peak. We could see the snow laying on its summit very plain with the naked eye. We could also see several ranges of high hills in the distance which are said to be parts of the "Black Hills."
After conversing and viewing as long as we felt like it, we went across the square to the trading house, which lays on the north side of the western entrance. The trader opened his store and we went in. There was but few goods of any kind and little or no groceries except salt. From the trader we learned that they trade solely with the Sioux Indians. The Crows come here for nothing but to steal horses &c A few weeks ago a party of Crows came down and stole 25 horses, being all they had at the Fort, although they were within 300 yards of the Fort at the time and a guard around them. The Sioux will not steal from white men on Sioux lands. On being asked the price of several articles we learned that Flour is worth 25 cents a pound, meal 6 cents, Sugar and Coffee a dollar, Tobacco a dollar and a half. A pair of Mocassins a dollar, a Lariette a dollar, a hickory wiper, or ramrod for a rifle a dollar, and whisky 32 dollars a gallon. Their spring stores have not yet arrived. Their wagons have been gone 45 days on their way to Fort Pierre, and they have sent by them 600 bales of robes with 10 robes in a bale.
They have a Blacksmith shop on the South side of the western entrance, but very little iron. There are [blank space] dwellings inside the Fort besides that of Mr. Bordeau, and it is said about 20 men and some women and children, mostly half breeds and Indians. The south part of the Fort is occupied for stables. After viewing inside the Fort we went out by the western entrance to look at the Boat. Er Pratt measured the width of the Laramie Fork and found it to be 41 yards. He also took the Latitude and found it 42.12'.13". The Longitude he found to be after 6 careful observations 104.11'.53" differing considerably from Fremont.
Several of the brethren busied themselves by picking up beads from the ant hills. It appears the Indians lose them from their robes &c and the industrious ants pick them up and pile them with pebble stones on their nests, probably to prevent the high winds from disturbing them.
After we were satisfied with visiting and Er Pratt had finished his observations, we all got into the Flat Boat and had a very pleasant, though very swift ride about 3 miles to the junction with the Platte. Most of the brethren then got onshore and towed it up to Camp, where we arrived at 2 o clock. In the afternoon went out with the Twelve a little distance from Camp and held a council relative to brother Amasa Lyman's going with the brethren to Pueblo to conduct the brethren up &c It was finally decided that he go, which pleased him as we knew he wanted to go. Brother Higbee and several others went out with the cutter to the Laramie Fork to try to catch some fish and about 6 o clock they returned with about 60 or 70 not very large ones, which were divided among the brethren. A number of the brethren spent the afternoon in digging the river banks so as to make it better getting down and up, to and from the ferry. The evening fine and pleasant, and all was peace in the Camp.
Thursday 3rd Morning cold with strong S.E. wind. The first division commenced ferrying our wagons over the river about 5 o clock in the morning. After I got my wagons over I got a letter wrote to Brother James Brown at Pueblo informing him of my arrangement to bring his family on this spring and several others also. At ¼ past 11 the brethren, Amasa M. Lyman, Thomas Woolsey, John H. Tippetts, and Roswell Stevens, started for Pueblo. President Young, myself, Dr. Richards and O. Pratt accompanied them about a mile to the Laramie Fork, where we held a short council and then bowed before the Lord and dedicated the brethren to him &c At 12 they forded the river and started on, having to travel about 15 miles before they would find wood or water. We returned back to Camp. Soon after we arrived a heavy thunder cloud was seen rising in the west, and at half past 1 it commenced raining very heavy, accompanied by hail, lightning and very loud thunder, which continued till half past 3, when it cleared off again. During the storm the ferrying ceased, but commenced again as soon as it was fair. We secured our horses in the old Fort during the storm, lest they should scatter off. At 5 o clock the first division were all over, having made some trips across the river and back in 13 minutes. Brother Thomas Grover had command of the Boat during this time. After they got over brother John S. Higbee took charge of the Boat and commenced ferrying the 2nd division over, and the brethren labored hard desiring to get all the wagons over today. They made some trips in 10 minutes, and one in less than 9 minutes across the river and back with a loaded wagon and team. About 7 o clock it commenced to rain again from S.E. and rained heavy, consequently the ferrying ceased for tonight, leaving 3 companies, or about 15 wagons on the other side, but all the wagons would have been over if the weather had not been stormy. The Blacksmiths have had their forges up in the old Fort, shoeing horses, repairing wagons &c all the day.
We have heard a report that there are 2000 wagons within a few days drive of Laramie, on the road to Oregon, but we think the report is greatly exaggerated. There is a Company of 18 wagons camped about 3 miles below, and some of the men from the company have been at the Fort. They say they have counted over 500 wagons on their way. They have lost 4 horses by the Caw Indians. We have seen several "magpies" around here, which are the first seen on this journey.
The altitude of Fort Laramie, according to Er Pratts observations is 4090 feet, above the level of the sea. Fremont makes it 4470 feet.
Friday 4th Morning fine and very pleasant. We had a good view of Laramie Peak, the atmosphere being clear. At 20 minutes to 5 the brethren commenced ferrying again and got the last wagon over and all safe at 8 o clock.
Er Clayton put up a guide board on the north side of the river with the following distances wrote on it, viz.
"To Winter Quarters, 543¼ miles
To Junction of the Forks, 227½ miles
To Ash Hollow, 142¼ miles
To Chimney Rock, 70¼ miles
To Scotts Bluffs, 50½ miles
W. Clayton, June 4, 1847."
After the wagons were all over, the brethren rowed the boat to the mouth of the Laramie Fork, then hitched two yoke of cattle to it and drew it up to Laramie, one yoke of cattle going on each side of the river. At 9 o clock I started in company with president Young, Dr. Richards, A. P. Rockwood and Thomas Bullock, on foot to the Fort to pay a final visit before we start, settle for the use of the Boat &c We got brother Crows Company in motion and at a little after 11 we returned to Camp to proceed on our journey, having learned from the men who have been over the mountains that the Bear River Valley is a good country, well watered, plenty of timber, good grass, light winters, very little snow, and abundance of fish in the streams, especially spotted trout. There are also plenty of Antelope, Elk and Deer, but no Buffalo.
At half past 11 brother Crows company arrived with their wagons and were numbered in the 2nd division. At 12 we pursued our journey again following the old Oregon Road. We travelled till 20 minutes past 1 near the river and then halted on some good grass to let our teams feed, having come 3 miles. The weather very warm though many light clouds flying. The bluffs come near the river, and are very high, steep, and composed of sandy rock.
At half past 2. continued our journey, found the road sandy and very uneven. At the distance of 7¾ miles from Laramie, we descended a very steep hill. All the wagons had to be locked which detained us some time, but all got down safe. We went on half a mile further and then formed our encampment in a circle at half past 5 having travelled 8¼ miles today. While we were forming our camp we had a smart shower, accompanied by lightning and heavy thunder.
I will now give the list of the names of those who have joined the Pioneer Camp, being brother Crows Company.
Benjamin B. Crow
Elizabeth Jane Crow
William Parker Crow
Isa Vinda Exene Crow
Ira Minda Almarene Crow
John McHenry Crow
Walter H. Crow
George W. Therlkill
Matilda Jane Therlkill
Milton Howard Therlkill
James William Therlkill
Lewis B. Myers
Total number 17 making the total number of souls in this Pioneer Camp 161, exclusive of four gone to Pueblo. Lewis B. Myers is represented as knowing the country to the mountains, having previously travelled it. He is come as a guide and hunter for brother Crows company, the latter furnishing him with a horse and ammunition, and he furnishes them with all the meat they want. By this company there is an addition of 5 wagons[,] 1 cart, 11 Horses, 24 Oxen, 22 Cows, 3 Bulls, and 7 Calves.
Inasmuch as there have been some changes in the number of horses and mules, I will endeavor to give them, and also the total number of stock in this Camp when we started from Fort Laramie, or Fort John.
2 Horses killed by accident.
2 Horses stolen by the Pawnees at Gravel Creek.
1 Mule traded for a pony by S. Markham.
3 Horses and 1 Mule gone with the brethren to Pueblo.
1 Horse traded by O. P. Rockwell for 3 Cows and 2 Calves.
1 Horse traded by J. Pack for 3 Buffalo robes.
1 Horse traded by T. Brown for a pony at Laramie.
1 Pony traded by J. S. Higbee to the Sioux for a pony.
Total number of each now in Camp
77 wagons and 1 cart.
90 Head of oxen
Saturday 5th. Morning pleasant though cloudy. I had a conversation with George S. Billing about the way he treated his team and counseled him to be more gentle with them &c
When nearly all the teams were ready to move, it was made known that several Oxen were missing, but after some labor they were found again, and at half past 8 we resumed our journey. After traveling a little over 4 miles we ascended a steep bluff. The road runs on the top of it about half a mile in a very crooked direction; the surface in some places is hard rock and very uneven, which shakes and jars the wagons very bad. In one place there is a little descent, and at the bottom a very sharp turn in the road over rough rock. Here Brother Crow's cart turned over, without damaging anything, but it was soon righted again. At the west foot is a steep, sandy descent, but not difficult. About half a mile from the west foot of the bluff last mentioned the road turns nearly west and leaves the river. Where we turned off we crossed a low, wide, gravelly channel, where it appears quite a large stream has sometime run, though now perfectly dry. The road after this is considerably crooked and uneven. At 25 minutes to 12 we halted opposite and near by the warm spring mentioned by Fremont, having traveled 6½ miles. This spring lays on the bank of the same channel above mentioned, and is large, the water clear and soft, but considerably warmer than the river water. Soon after we halted 2 mounted men came down to the spring from above. They represented that they are in a company of 11 wagons, which left Fort John this morning by the other road, which they say is shorter, being only 10 miles to the warm springs, while the road we have come is 14¾. This company are going to Oregon they say.
Er Pratt took an observation at the springs and found the Latitude 42.15'.06". About half an hour after we had halted we had a very pleasant shower.
At 20 minutes to 2 we resumed our journey. After traveling 1 mile we turned through a narrow pass to the North West, between two high bluffs, and a quarter of a mile further began to ascend a long, steep bluff, being a quarter of a mile from bottom to top, and very rocky and difficult for our teams. After reaching the top the road is more even and good, though still ascending a quarter of a mile further. We then traveled on the high ridge 5¼ miles, the road very good though considerably rolling. The descent is gradual and lengthy. At 4¼, miles we passed a large lone rock on the left of the road, it standing far distant from any other rock. At 5¼ miles we descended again from the bluff as above mentioned. At the foot of this range of bluffs the road again crosses the same wide, gravelly channel, and traveled on and alongside it a mile, then descended a little, to the level prairie again. At half past 6 we formed our encampment on the west bank of a small stream, and near a very good spring of clear cold water, having traveled this afternoon 10½ miles and during the day 17 miles.
The bluffs we have passed today are mostly very high, rocky and broken, with Pine timber growing on most or near all of them. We have plenty of good feed for our teams, also wood and water. The Missourians have camped near the river about a quarter of a mile back. They say that 2 more companies arrived at Fort John this morning when they were leaving.
Er Clayton has undertaken to put up a guide board every 10 miles through the journey. He has put up two today. After dark we had some more rain accompanied by lightning and thunder.
Sunday 6th June 1847. Morning cloudy, cool, and like for rain. At 8 o clock the Missourians passed by us again. They have plenty of teams and stock with them. At 9 o clock the brethren mostly assembled outside the Camp for prayer, the orders having been given to keep this day in fasting and prayer as last Sunday. At 11 o clock 4 men came up, being part of a company a little back also on their way to the west of the mountains. Some of these four are recognized as taking part against us in the difficulties in Missouri, and the brethren judged from their appearance that they feared being known and trembled very much while our brethren were talking with them. These men say that the old settlers have all left Shariton [Chariton] county, except 2 Tavern Keepers. At 11 past 11 as the Camp assembled again for meeting it began to rain heavy, accompanied by lightning and heavy thunder, which caused the meeting to break up rather abruptly. During the storm the Missouri company passed by us having 19 wagons and 2 Carriages. Most of them have 5 yoke of oxen to each wagon and few, less than 4 yoke to a wagon. They have also a large drove of Cows, horses and Young Cattle with them. They have also a guide with them who lives on the St. Marys River on the Columbia. He says we shall find water again at 6 miles distance and after that no water for as much as 15 miles further. On this representation it was concluded we had better go on to the next creek this afternoon as we could not well reach the second creek in 1 day.
Soon after 12 the weather cleared off, and was pleasant, except a strong west wind; and at half past 2 we again proceeded onward. After traveling ¾ of a mile we again crossed the same stream on which we camped. 2 miles further found a very sudden bend in the road which turns to the South and at about 200 yards distance, as suddenly to the North, occasioned by the water having at some time washed a deep gulch where the road ought to be. A mile beyond this at 4 o clock the wagons came to a sudden halt while Prest. Young, myself, and Brother Woodruff went ahead to look for a camping ground as we discovered the Gentile camp a little distance ahead of the wagons. We went beyond their Camp and found a good place to Camp on a bend of a creek, where is plenty of feed, and wood and water. We then went back to conduct the wagons up. At a quarter past 5 we arrived on the ground and formed our encampment in a circle about half the wagons, on each side the road leaving a space sufficient to pass through on the road if necessary. The distance we have traveled is 5 miles, over a very crooked road, mostly running in a South West and West course. The soil on the lowlands looks rich, but on the higher benches poor and barren. After we camped Burr Frost set up his anvil and pieced a carriage spring for the gentile company and also did some other little jobs before dark. The evening fine except strong west wind.
Monday 7th We were permitted to behold another fine morning. At ½ past 6 the gentile company again passed through, and at 10 minutes past 7 our Camp proceeded again.
Dr Richards left a letter in a guide board at 30 ¼ miles from Fort John, giving a history of our journey thus far, for the benefit of the next company of Saints when they arrive here. I rode forward of the wagons on horse back in company with President Young about 5 miles and we then let Ers Pratt & Clayton take our horses, while we continued on foot. At 11 o clock we halted to feed on the west bank of a very small stream of water which appears to rise from springs near by. There is a small spring a few rods north of where the road crosses. The distance we have traveled this morning being 7¾ miles, mostly a N.N.W. course, the road more even and good to travel. There is little feed except the creek sides and not much where we have halted, but sufficient to fill our teams in a short time. Soon after we halted another company of Emigrants passed by, having 13 wagons, mostly 4 yoke of Cattle to each wagon and a nice drove of Cows and Young Cattle. They say they are from Andrew County, Missouri.
At 25 minutes to 1 P.M. we again proceeded forward. At a quarter of a mile began to ascend a bluff which was a quarter of a mile to the top, the ascent gradual and tolerably steep. From the top of this bluff we had a very pleasant view of the country for a great many miles. Laramie Peak to the South West appears only a few miles distant. From that to the West, North and Northwest, a very extensive view of a beautiful country as far as the eye could see. It appears on viewing the Laramie Peak that the "Black Hills" of which this is a part so named from the vast forests of Pine trees and Cedar which grow on them mostly from the base to the summit, and the trees being a dark green gives the hills a very black appearance when viewed at a distance. The Pine appears to live and grow in the most rocky places and abounds on the highest hills, while on the lower bluffs it is but sparcely scattered, and on the low lands, which generally look of a rich soil there is [n]one. The Peak is very high, broken and rough. The snow is still plainly visible and no doubt lays in large drifts in the deep ravines. The bluff which we crossed was half a mile over from the S.E. to the N.W. point, and at that distance we began to descend and had to lock the wagons in several places. The descent is rendered difficult by the many large cobble stones which lay in the road, but the spare men gathered up many and threw them off the road which will make it much better for other companies. At half past 3 we arrived at the "Horse Shoe Creek" and formed our encampment on the bottom land, in a grove of large timber having traveled this afternoon 5¼ miles over a crooked road and during the day 13 miles. I came ahead of the wagons to look out a camp ground and finding plenty of rich feed for our teams I saw it would be well for us to camp here. I also discovered a very large spring of clear pure water, about 8 feet in diameter and over 2 feet deep. I named this spring as my spring having discovered it before any of the rest of the brethren. There are quantities of wild mint growing on its banks. The Horse Shoe Creek is also very clear and is said to have trout in it. The feed is more plentiful here than any we have received on the journey. We have passed some groves of wild currant bushes in full bloom, during the day, and the prickly pear and wild sage abound on all these high sandy lands. On our arrival here we saw the Gentile companies about 2 miles ahead still going on. While forming our encampment a thunder shower came on which lasted about an hour. During the latter part of it, it rained very heavy, accompanied by hail, snow, lightning and thunder. The hunters have killed a long tailed deer and an antelope which were divided and distributed as usual. Bro. Crows hunter also killed a deer, and Brother Rockwood went to ask if they were willing to divide according to the law of the Camp. Bro. Crow informed him that the man they employed was not a member of the Church and he would not feel willing to help kill meat only for their family, inasmuch as Brother Crow & he have made a bargain, the former furnishing a horse & ammunition, the latter agreeing to furnish all the meat the family will need. They have no flour nor breadstuff, and are not prepared to go on equal shares according to the laws of the Camp. Some of the Gentiles killed an antelope, took off the hind quarters and left the rest on the ground. Bro. Pack picked it up and put it in his wagon. After we stopped Brother Crow came near meeting with an accident while endeavoring to yoke up a pair of wild steers. It took a number of the brethren to hold them by lariettes tied to their horns. They fought round until the lariettes wound round the legs of the nigh ox, winding Brother Crow up with it, until both were thrown down. Some of the men ran and cut the lariette so as to rescue Bro. Crow and he got away without much injury.
After supper I walked out in company with bro. Clayton to search some wild "Sicily". We were joined by Elder George A. Smith and conversed together till near dark, then returned to our wagons.
We found that the leaders expected at this Fort from "Sweet Water" were camped within a mile west, of us. Some of them visited our Camp after dark.
Tuesday 8 Morning fine though cool. At half past 7 we proceeded on our journey crossing the "Horse Shoe Creek" which is about a rod wide. We traveled 2¼ miles, winding round the foot of high bluffs, and then began to ascend them. We found this ascent the most difficult of any we have ever had, being ¾ of a mile in length, and in that distance there are 7 very steep places to rise, on most of which we had to double teams. Just as we began to ascend this hill, we saw a Buffalo about half a mile to the South, which is the first we have seen since about the 21st of May. 2½ miles from the East foot of this bluff we passed over a small creek nearly dry, and then ascended another high bluff but not near so bad to rise as the other one. At a quarter to 12, we halted for noon near a very small creek with but little water in it, having traveled 6¾ miles over hills and valleys, the roads being very crooked. About half an hour before we halted Harriet Crow got run over by one of their own wagons. The teams had stopped a little near the descent from the bluffs, and she stepped on the wagon tongue to get a drink. The cattle started suddenly and threw her under the wheel which passed over her leg below the knee, running down part of her leg and over her foot and toes. She screamed and appeared to be in great agony—we thought first her leg was broke, but were soon satisfied to the contrary. Her foot was badly bruised, but not broke. One of the females washed her foot with camphor; she was then lifted carefully into the wagon and we proceeded onward. When we halted she appeared to have less pain, and we think it will soon be well.
Elder Pratt took an observation at this place & found the Latitude 42.29.'58."—
At 20 minutes to 2 we again started on. After travelling a little over 1½ miles we passed another small creek, then ascended another high bluff. We found this ridge more uneven than the others, being a succession of hills and hollows for 5 miles. The road however was good and hard. While travelling on the top, the wind blew very strong from the west, and was so cold as to make it very uncomfortable. The road on the ridge was very crooked but the general course nearly north. From the top we again had a view of a vast surface of country, which to the north looks tolerably even, but on the South and South West very hilly and broken. At 5 miles we began to descend gradually which descent continued for several miles further. At 10 minutes past 6 we formed our encampment on the west bank of the Labont [La Bonte] River in the timber, having travelled this afternoon 8¾ miles and during the day 15½. This stream is about 30 feet wide and 2 feet deep with a very swift current.
The evening is very cold and appears like for rain. The hunters have brought in a deer and an antelope. Soon after we camped the men who are expected at Fort Laramie from "Sweet Water" came into Camp. Their camp is about a mile west of us. The feed here is not very plentiful, and we decided to start in the morning before breakfast and go on a little further.
Wednesday 9th. We started at ¼ past 5 and travelled a mile and a half near the Labont [La Bonte] River. At ¼ to 6 we halted near the traders camp, where is tolerable good feed. A number of the brethren had prepared letters to send back by these men who say they are going to Fort Pierre on the Missouri River. They say they have left a kind of ferry made of skins, hung up in a tree where we shall cross the river which they say is about 70 miles from here. They gave Brother Crow the privilege of taking it in preference to the Gentile companies, if he would go ahead of them. We, therefore, concluded to sent a company ahead of us as Pioneers to get the Boat and also prepare a raft ready for us by the time we get there. These men say that the water is high and we cannot ford the river. A company was selected to go on, and they started, being 5 wagons from the first division and 14 wagons from the second division. Tarlton Lewis went to superintend the building of the raft. At a quarter to 8 we proceeded forward again. After travelling about a quarter of a mile crossed a very steep gulch, which was difficult also to rise. After we crossed 4 men passed us with horses and pack mules, bound for west of the mountains. They say they have some of them come from Pueblo and are going to Green River, the others from "Santa Fae" [Santa Fe] and going to Francisco.
We found the road very uneven and crooked as yesterday. At 3¾, miles passed another branch of the Labont [La Bonte], a stream about 10 feet wide, but not deep, the descent and ascent being very steep, most of the teams requiring help to get up. For half a mile before we crossed this stream and 3½ miles after our road layover a kind of bright red earth or sand, which had a very singular effect on some of our eyes. Most of the rocks and bluffs in the neighborhood are of the same red color, though generally a darker red. About 1¼, miles west of the last stream, Prest. Young and myself saw a toad, which had horns on its head, and a tail about 3 inches long. In color it resembled a lizard and runs very swift on the ground like a lizard. Its hide or shell seemed hard, and on each side its body there was a row of short, sharp pricks, almost like the point of a small bone in a fish. At 20 minutes to 1 we halted for noon having travelled 10 miles since breakfast; the day fine and a nice west breeze. The road very crooked, hilly and mostly rocky, many large cobblestones covering the bluffs, the land barren and scarce any feed for our teams. The ground in many places where it is sandy appears alive with a very large kind of crickets, which are so numerous that it is scarcely possible to walk without stepping on them. The Bears are said to feed on these crickets and eat them voraciously. We have but little water at this place for ourselves or teams.
At half past 2 we continued our journey. A little East of the Creek Er Clayton put up a guide board showing 70 miles from Fort John. We found the road much better this afternoon, not being so uneven, and tolerably straight, except on rising a bluff 1 mile west from the Creek. At 6¼, miles from noon halt we passed over a small stream of water, and at ¾ of a mile further passed over the same stream again. At a quarter past 6 we formed our encampment on the east banks of a stream about a rod wide, 2 foot deep and a swift current, having travelled 8 miles this afternoon and during the day 19¼ miles. There has been an antelope and a deer killed by the brethren. We have a good place for feed, but the higher land is barren, abounding in wild sage only. There are still some high bluffs around, but the country west appears more level. The evening was fine but cool. The wild sage smells very strong of Turpentine and Camphor. There is abundance of wild mint on this stream, which smells natural and very strong. There is cotton wood and other timber grows on the banks of the stream and it is a good place to camp for a large company.
Thursday 10 Morning calm and very pleasant. At half past 7 we continued our journey. After passing the stream on which we camped we found very good road. At 4½ miles crossed a small creek about 3 foot wide, but only a few inches deep and not much water to depend on. A mile further crossed another creek about 5 foot wide and plenty of water, which was clear and good. At 20 minutes past 11 we halted for noon on the east bank of a stream about 30 feet wide and tolerably deep with a rapid current, having travelled 8¾ miles. We have had several long, steep bluffs to ascend and descend, and at two of the creeks it was difficult for teams to get up the steep bank without help. Our road crooked, mostly winding northward. Edmund Ellsworth shot an antelope which was divided amongst their ten. There is good feed on this creek and plenty of timber. We have learned that the creek on which we camped last night is named the a lapierre [A La Prele], and about a mile South from where the road crossed it, it runs through a natural tunnel under the high, rocky bluffs about from 10 to 20 rods as near the brethren who saw it could judge. The tunnel is high enough for a man to stand upright inside, and when standing at the mouth, they could barely see the light at the other entrance. There were 2 other antelope brought into Camp during the halt, two of which the brethren carried on their backs about 5 miles.
I have learned today from one of the mountaineers that there is already one man living in the Bear River Valley and is to work making a farm.
At a quarter to 2 we proceeded again, and found the road more even and very good travelling, mostly running to the North West. At 3¾ miles we again struck the river, having travelled 77 miles since we left its banks on Saturday last, winding around and over the hills, bluffs and valleys since that time, and some of the time evidently being as much as 30 or 40 miles from the river, thereby making the distance shorter than it would be to follow on its banks, and no lack of feed or water. After arriving at the river the road was more even, but sandy and hard for the teams. There are also some low spots where the water stands confined making it considerably soft. From the time we left the creek at noon till we halted at night there was scarcely any grass to be seen, the land being very barren. At a quarter to 6 we crossed another stream about 30 feet wide and 2 foot deep, a very swift current and clear water. This stream is named on Fremonts map "Deer Creek". There is plenty of timber on its banks and abundance of rich grass for our teams. We formed our encampment in a circle on the west bank of the Creek in a grove of large timber, having travelled this afternoon 9 miles and during the day 17¾ miles, the last 15 miles being near a west course. About a mile before we arrived at this creek we passed a sick horse, supposed to have been left by some of the companies ahead. Col. Markham bled it in the mouth, but found they could do nothing to fetch it on and left it.
In the evening I walked down to the river with Prest. Young and the rest of the Twelve. We saw a number of the brethren fishing and amongst the rest, Elder Clayton. He had already caught 4 very fine ones. Er Carrington told us that he had discovered a coal mine about a quarter of a mile South of the camp. He represents the coal of a good quality and the bed to all appearances large. This place would make a very beautiful farm, there being enough of rich land to sustain several families, and from the appearance of the soil I am convinced it would yield almost any kind of common grain.
We returned to the Camp at dark. Brother Lewis Barney killed an antelope and not being appointed an hunter, according to the remarks of some of the brethren, he had a right to divide his meat as he saw fit. He made me a present of a nice hind quarter which we took and cut up and salted ready for drying. About 10 o clock Brother Clayton returned with 22 very nice fish, which would probably average about half a pound weight each. They are exactly like the herring fish so common in England. The evening was very fine and pleasant.
Friday 11th Morning fine and numerous birds warbling their innocent songs makes it truly pleasant. At 25 minutes to 8 we continued our journey along the banks of the river, which appears some wider here than at Fort Laramie. At 2½ miles passed a deep ravine the banks on both sides being very steep. After travelling 4¼ miles brother Clayton put up his 10th guide board being 100 miles from Fort John, and we have travelled it in 2¼ hours less than a week. At 10 minutes to 12 we halted for noon in a Grove of timber where there is plenty of good feed for a large company. The land over which we have travelled has generally been level but sandy and scarce any grass, the road some crooked. About a mile back we turned round to the South in consequence of the water having washed a deep gulch. The road runs about a mile round and then comes opposite to where it first turns and not over a quarter of a mile distant in a straight course. There has been 3 antelope killed by the brethren and brought to Camp. Brother Joseph Hancock also killed one, but being far from the wagons he could carry only half of it, and left the remainder on the ground. At 2 o clock we started again, and after travelling 1 mile we crossed a very crooked, muddy creek, about 12 feet wide and over a foot deep. The descent and ascent were both difficult on account of having to turn short in the middle of the stream. There is plenty of feed on its banks but no wood. 5¾ miles further we crossed another muddy creek about 3 feet wide, and very soft on the sides. The balance of the road was good but considerably crooked. About 5 o clock the prest and myself being ahead we caused the wagons to halt, on account of seeing some of the gentiles camped in the timber about half a mile ahead of us. We learned that there is no place to camp beyond them unless we go some miles further, and we concluded to turn square off to the river, which was about half a mile from the road. The encampment was formed at 6 o clock having travelled this afternoon 6¾ miles and during the day 17, exclusive of the distance we turned out of the road to Camp. We have good feed and plenty of timber. To the South is a very high range of hills, or more properly a mountain, which looks pretty even and lengthy. There are numerous patches of snow plainly visible to the naked eye, all along the edge of the top of the mountain. Some have doubted its being snow, but a while after we camped one of the men came down from the mountain bringing a bundle of snow tied up in his shirt. He belongs to the gentile company ahead of us. He gave Brother Rockwood a snow ball, who brought it to camp and I saw the snow myself. The mountain dont appear very high, seem to be within a couple of miles from us, but it is reported that it is 8 or 10 miles to it, and very high from the base to the summit.
We have learned from the camp ahead that the regular place to cross the Platte is about 12 miles further, and that our brethren and 2 companies have gone on there. These men have got a Flat Boat and design crossing here, having already commenced. They report that they have killed 3 Bears between here and the mountain. They have also killed a Buffalo. There have been 4 more antelope killed by the brethren, making 8 during the day. The evening fine and pleasant.
Saturday 12. Morning very fine, with a nice East breeze. Col. Markham made known that he has learned this morning that Obadiah Jennings was the principle agent in the killing of Wm. Bowman in Missouri. Bowman was one of the guard who let Joseph & Hyrum and others free when in custody in Missouri, and from some cause the mob suspected him and rode him on a bar of iron till they killed him.
At a quarter past 8 we again moved onward. At 1½ miles we crossed a deep gulch, pretty difficult to descend but not bad to ascend. 1¾ miles further crossed a small creek about 2 feet wide, where the brethren had some of them been sent ahead to build a bridge. 1 mile beyond this we crossed another muddy stream about 5 feet wide and 1½ feet deep. At a quarter to 12 we halted for noon after crossing another deep hollow, having travelled 7¾ miles over a sandy, barren prairie. In some places we found the road soft, being a kind of low clay land where the rain seems to lay in ponds. The road was also considerable crooked, the day fine and warm. During the halt Col. Rockwood called up the brethren to fix a better crossing place over another deep hollow just beyond us. While they were at work Col. Markham and James Case went down to the river and waded their horses across to see if they could find a place where we could ford the river. They found the water about 4½ foot deep, consequently we could not ford it here. About the same time Brother [Alexander Philip] Chessley came in from the brethren who left us on Wednesday morning to build a raft. He reported that the water was very deep where they were and the current very swift. They have engaged to ferry the Gentile company over, and draw their supply wagons across with ropes, but they roll over and over breaking their bows &c When we learned this report I went to the river with Brother Chessley and others, to decide whether it would be wisdom to try to cross here. There appears to be a place where it has been forded in low water. Col. Markham and father [James] Case rode over again, but on taking a vote of the brethren present it was decided to go on and try the other crossing place. The teams being all ready, at half past 2 we started on. At 3¼ miles we crossed a muddy creek about 5 feet wide, and ¾ of a mile further we encamped on the banks of the river. We formed our encampment in a large semicircle to give better chance for our horses to feed. We have travelled 11¼ miles today, making us 124 miles from Fort John. We are about half a mile from the other brethren at the place where they ferried the Missourians over the river. There is plenty of good feed for our teams but it is some distance to wood. The river is much wider here than at Fort John and deep, but the brethren say it has fell a foot since they arrived. We learned from the brethren that they arrived here yesterday about noon. 2 of the companies of the Missourians arrived here about the same time and offered to pay the brethren $1.50 per load if they would ferry their goods and wagons over, to which the brethren agreed, and were to receive their pay in flour, meal, bacon &c They went to work forthwith and labored diligently, and by the time we arrived they had gone [got] them nearly all over, without accident except some of the wagon bows broke by their rolling over in the water, caused by the swiftness of the current. They carried the goods over in the cutter and drew the wagons over by a rope stretched to the opposite shore. The brethren had received quite a quantity of flour at $2.50 per hundred, and some meal and bacon in all amounting to $34. Some of the blacksmiths also made about $6.00 by repairing their wagons. Rodney Badger traded wagons with one of them and got another wagon as good as his, except the tire wants setting. He also got a horse, one hundred pounds of flour, 28 lbs. of Bacon and some Crakers to boot. It is estimated that the surplus property is worth as much as his wagon. We regard this circumstance as providential inasmuch as some of our Camp were already destitute of breadstuffs. The provisions were divided round amongst the companies of tens. The brethren also saved one of the Young mens lives yesterday by the cutter. He undertook to swim across the river with his clothes on, but when he got into the swift current it washed him down and he began to get frightened, and moaned for help. Some of the brethren went in the cutter and dragged him to shore in time to save him. These things seem to have given this Missouri camp very friendly feelings towards us and they have treated the brethren kindly.
The brethren have killed 3 buffalo, a black bear and 3 cubs and 9 antelope since they left us on Wednesday. They say the buffalo are very plentiful beyond this mountain. According to the ideas of some traders who are camped here, the buffalo are making to the East beyond these hills, which they represent as a certain sign that the Indians are on Sweet water hunting them. They also state that there are two tribes of Indians in the old Park about 40 miles South making a war treaty together and preparing to go to war against some other nations of Indians.
I rode up, in company with President Young and others to see the brethren and also to view the place where they are ferrying. The river is narrower where they are than it is opposite to our Camp, but a very deep and strong current. We finally concluded to try to cross opposite to our Camp. After we returned we learned that Artemus Johnson and Tunis Rappleyee [Rappleye] are missing. The former started out hunting this morning, the latter went to get some snow after we arrived here. A company was sent out on horses after dark with the bugle to try and find them. Brother Rappleyee got in alone about 11 o clock being guided by the fires. Brother Johnson was found on the mountain, and the whole party returned safe some time after midnight. The brethren generally agree in saying that it is at least 8 or 10 miles to the top of the mountain although it does not look more than 2 miles from Camp.
Sunday 13 Morning fine and pleasant. At 9 o clock many of the brethren met within the camp for prayer meeting. I joined them, together with most of the Twelve. I feel like exhorting the brethren to diligence and faithfulness on this mission, and above all things to avoid every thing which would lead to divide and disunite us. I endeavored to show them by the similitude of the Potter and the clay that the Lord designs to exalt us all to stations of honor and glory, if we will be passive in His hands, if not we shall mar in the process and be thrown back on the wheel again. I felt well while speaking to the brethren and have a great desire to do them good and to see them united and faithful.
President Young then followed and made some remarks on the liberty of the Gospel, showing that it gives to every man full liberty and freedom to do everything that will tend to benefit and exhalt him, but not to infringe on his brothers rights, nor transgress the law of God. He said the liberty of the Gospel will not allow the brethren to kill the works of Gods hands to make waste of flesh &c
Er Pratt then exhorted the brethren to endeavor to avoid all lightness and folly, and cultivate principles of industry and intelligence. Folly and lightness tend to disqualify us for the society of just men and angels, hence the necessity of being sober and prudent in our course. The remarks were good and the brethren seemed to acquiesce in them, and I pray that we may all grow in wisdom and virtue and knowledge day by day, that this mission may resound to the glory of God and prove an everlasting blessing to all this Camp and to the whole Israel of God.
At half past 12 the meeting was dismissed and after dinner a number of the first division went to the mountain with axes, teams and wagons to get poles to build a raft. A company was detailed from the second division to go over the river and build a raft, which was completed and floated across to this side before 6 o clock. Those who went to the mountain for poles did not get back till near dark on account of the long distance. They report that there is abundance of splendid pine timber at the foot of the mountain and it is so thick with fir poles that a deer can scarcely get through. The poles and timber are straight as an arrow.
Monday 14 Morning cloudy and cool. At 6 o clock the first division commenced unloading their wagons and ferrying the loads over the river in the cutter, and soon afterwards commenced rafting the empty wagons over. The current being very swift and the river wide it was found to be slow work. About 8 o clock the second division attempted to take their goods over on a raft, but it being considered some unsafe on account of our provisions getting wet after taking two trips with the raft we quit and concluded to wait until we could have the cutter. We then took our best ropes, all I had, and tying them together stretched them across the river from shore to shore. We lashed two empty wagons together, attached them to the ropes, and some of the brethren on the opposite side began to draw them across, letting them drift with the current to prevent breaking the ropes. When the wagons struck on the bottom near the opposite shore, the strength and force of the water rolled the wagon on the upper side over the other one, breaking the bows considerable, besides losing some Iron &c which brother Pack neglected to take out of his wagon, to the amount of about twenty dollars. The other wagon had the reach and some of the bows broke. We then concluded to try the experiment by lashing four wagons together abreast of each other and drag them over the same way. These were dragged over safe, except the upper one which reeled over in consequence of the poles breaking by which it was lashed. It was righted again and all got out without damage. We next concluded to try one wagon alone, but as soon as the current struck it, it rolled over and over and broke near all the bows. Seeing that this method was dangerous to our wagons and it might cost us more time repairing damages than to raft them over, we concluded to take the slowest but the safest method. By rafting, the wagons go over safe and dry, but it will probably take us 3 or 4 days to get all over. The wind now blows strong from the South West which seems much to our disadvantage. At half past 3 we had a very heavy thunder storm. The rain was heavy indeed accompanied by hail and the wind blew a perfect gale. I had selected a place about half a mile above Camp to ferry our wagons over, and before the storm commenced, had got one of mine over but the loading was yet on this side. After the storm had blown over we went to work again and got the loading over which belonged to the wagon over the river in care of brother Johnson. We also took the wagon and load over in the care of brother Appleton Harmon. It was after 9 o clock before the brethren finished these two loads and the wagons, and all were pretty well fatigued. I went over with the first wagon and helped to pole it over and was surprised at the difficulty on account of the current. The river has been rising all day, but more rapidly since the storm. Many of the brethren have been in the water all day and much of the time up to the armpits, wading against the current which is hard labor indeed. At night it was ascertained that the first division have got 11 wagons over and the 2nd division 12 making a total of 23 wagons during the day. The loads are mostly taken over in the cutter and it was soon seen that one man can carry the loading over in the cutter, with a little help loading and unloading and towing up the boat, faster than the rest can get the wagons over on the rafts.
Tuesday 15 Morning fine but very windy. We continued rafting the wagons over, but got along more slowly than yesterday, on account of the high wind. We also concluded to build 2 more rafts larger than the first ones which were finished a while after noon. After dinner Brother Crows company got their horses together and their cattle to make them swim the river. After some time and much noise they began to swim over. They had neglected to take the lariette off the horses, and the buffalo horse was soon seen to be drowning. Some of the brethren immediately went to its relief with the cutter and succeeded in dragging it to the shore, but it was perfectly dead. His natural make hurt him from swimming for even when running his head was always down like a buffalo and he could not keep it out of the water. The cattle all got over safe. We had some conversation this evening in regard to leaving some brethren here to keep a ferry until the next company of the brethren arrived, so as to assist them and in the meantime the brethren will be able to make enough by ferrying the Gentiles over to fit out a number of families with provisions &c We have partly come to the conclusion to do so.
We have been told today by one of the Missourians that there is a large company of wagons coming up on the north side of the Platte River above Grand Island. If this be true they are doubtless brethren and we have hopes that they will be able to overtake us before we get through. The day has continued windy and some appearance of being stormy. We have got about 20 more wagons over without loss or accident.
Wednesday 16 Morning fine with strong west wind. The rafting was continued again with energy and diligence. Some of the brethren have gone back about 3 miles to make two canoes, on which we design to build a good raft for a ferry. Another company have also gone up the river about half a mile to dig out and make puncheons to lay on the raft. The rafting continued all day, but the brethren had to toil hard against the strong wind blowing down stream. When they started over with Brother [Stephen Hezekiah] Goddards large wagon, James Craig and Woodsworth [William Shin Wordsworth] managing the raft, Craig fell overboard and had to swim back to shore. Brother Woodsworth being left alone on the raft, in spite of his best efforts the wind and current soon drifted him below the landing place, and before assistance could be got to him in the cutter, he was drifted down near two miles. They, however, got it safe to shore without accident. We have had 3 rafts at work today, two of them being worked by oars, which are far better than poles in the strong current. At the close of the day there were still a number of wagons left on the South shore. Those which have been ferried over could not easily be counted on account of their being scattered all along the banks of the river for as much as a mile. About dusk the brethren who went down the river returned with two good canoes about 25 feet long each, and will soon be finished ready to be put together and will make a very good raft. When the brethren have ferried the next company over and come on, they are instructed to cache the boat so that we have the use of it again another season, when we bring our families.
Thursday 17 Morning fine but windy and cold. The rafting was continued at an early hour. Two companies of the Missourians have arrived and made application to be ferried over at a dollar and a half a wagon. Brother Rockwood made a contract with the first company who arrived to raft them over as soon as we got through. When the second company came up having 10 wagons they offered to pay each man engaged on the raft, being ten in number, 50 cents each man extra, if they would set their company over first, but Brother Rockwood scrupled to break his contract with the first company, but he received a hint that this was Col. Markham's day for the use of the raft and of course brother Markham had made no contract and could do as had a mind to. Brother Markham took the hint and accepted the last offer.
Soon after noon our brethren had got the last wagon over safe, prest. Youngs wagon and my own being about the last brought over. We felt thankful and glad when we saw all the wagons and effects safe on the north shore. The brethren then commenced rafting the Missouri company over at $1.50 per load in provisions at Missouri prices and fifty cents extra for each raftsman in what they had a mind to for their own benefit. The afternoon was cold indeed. Soon as we got our wagons over, orders were given for all the camp to bring their wagons together and form at the upper ferry, 125 miles from Fort John. It was near dark before the Camp was formed. The ferrying was continued all night until daylight at which time near all the wagons of the 2 companies were over.
Friday 18 Morning very cold and windy. The brethren are still some to work at the new raft, others rafting the gentile companies over. We concluded not to go on today, but assist in finishing the raft, and also wait till the brethren get their pay for ferrying these companies. We also want to give the brethren some instructions relative to the ferry &c The afternoon was very warm.
In the evening the Twelve retired a little distance from Camp, accompanied by some others, and made known the names of the brethren selected to tarry at this ferry. The names were read by brother Bullock as follows:—Thomas Grover, John S. Higbee, Luke Johnson, Appleton Harmon, Edmond Ellsworth, Francis M. Pomeroy, William Empey, James Davenport & Benjamin F. Stewart. Thomas Grover was appointed captain by unanimous vote, after which President Young referred to Brother Eric Glines who had made application to tarry here. Prest. Young said he had no counsel for him to tarry, but he might do as he had a mind to. Some explanation followed from Brother Glines, but, the unanimous feelings of the brethren were to have him listen to counsel and go on with us. Prest. Young preached a short sermon for the benefit of Young Elders. He represented them as being continually grasping at things which are ahead of them and which belong to others, instead of seeking after and bringing up those which are behind them. The way for Young Elders to enlarge their dominion and power is to go to the world and preach as they have done, and by that means they can get a train after them, and bring it up to the House of the Lord with them &c
The letter of instructions was then read and approved of by those who tarry and the council was dismissed. When I returned to my wagon, I learned that brother Clayton had caught and brought me 65 very nice fish which will weigh on an average over half a pound each.
Saturday 19 Morning fine but cool. At 10 minutes to 8 we started on our journey again in good health and spirits, and our teams in very good order. It was remarked by several that their stock had fatted so much during our stay here that they scarcely knew them. The grass in this region appears to be good and very rich. The first 6 miles of the road was nearly in a westward direction over several pretty high bluffs. At that distance the road bends suddenly to the south and rises a very high hill which is upwards of a mile from the foot to the summit. There is some interesting scenery on the top of this ridge especially a range of rough, coarse sandy rocks of a very dark color, rising abruptly above the surface of the land in huge masses and ranging east and west. The descent on the south side was rough, crooked and uneven. About half way down there is a bed of white earth, strangely mixed with black and yellow. In one place you can pick up within the space of a yard small, smooth rocks of each color, forming a singular contrast. As you approach nearer the low land again the road grows still more uneven; there are also several steep pitches and rises near the bottom of the hill. At 1 o clock we halted for noon on a spot of good grass and about a quarter of a mile from a small spring of water rising out of gravelly channel which runs by here. This is the first place where we have found water since leaving the ferry, the distance being 11¼ miles. There is no timber nearer than the hills at about 2 miles distance, where some pine can be seen growing or Cedar but not much of it. The "Red Buttes" are nearly opposite to this place laying towards the South East and appear to be two high bluffs of red earth or sand presenting a very singular and interesting appearance. After stopping here an hour we concluded to harness up and move on to the spring. We however passed the spring and went on further, and at the distance of ¾ of a mile from where we halted there is a large lake of water arising from springs, where we could see the water boil up from the sand. There is plenty of good grass near this lake, and is a good place to camp only lacking timber.
After watering our teams at 10 minutes to 3 we resumed our journey bearing near a south west course over gently rolling prairie. After travelling 8 miles we passed down a bluff where the descent is very steep, and near the bottom the road passes between two ridges of rough rocks running parallel to each other about 6 or 8 rods apart for near a quarter of a mile, forming a kind of narrow avenue or gateway. At the foot there is large rock laying close to the road, where it makes a sudden bend, making it somewhat difficult to get by without running the wagons against it. The road is also made very rough by cobblestones.
At 20 minutes to 8 we formed our encampment on a small, low, swampy bottom surrounded by high bluffs having travelled this afternoon 10¼ miles and during the day 21½ which is the longest distance we have travelled in one day since leaving Winter Quarters, and this is considered decidedly the worst place for a camp ground we have had on the journey, but we were obliged to take it, for we have passed neither wood, grass nor water since leaving the lake at noon, the land being perfectly sandy and barren and scarce anything to be seen growing but wild sage and a small prickly shrub. There is some grass in this place for our teams, but no fuel, only wild sage, and a few buffalo chips, with which the brethren have learned to do their cooking without any difficulty.
There are two small streams of water running through this valley, one comes from the northwest and is pretty good water, the other descends from the southwest and is so bad that even the cattle refuse to taste it. It is strong of alkali and sulphur and smells bad. Its banks are so perfectly soft and swampy that a horse or an ox cannot go down without sinking almost overhead immediately in thick, filthy mud. It is one of the most horrid, swampy, filthy, stinking places imaginable and ought by all means to be avoided as a camping ground if possible. It was found necessary to keep a guard to prevent the cattle from getting mired, and orders were given to drive them down a little east where feed is pretty good and the land not so swampy. The mosquitoes are very bad indeed, which seems to add to the loathsome, solitary scenery around.
While riding ahead this afternoon to look for a camping ground I saw six buffalo. They appear more tame and can be killed without much difficulty. After we camped Porter Rockwell returned from hunting and reported that he had killed a fat buffalo about 2 miles from camp and wanted a team to fetch it in. The brethren were rather slow to volunteer on account of both men and teams being tired with the long days journey. Finally one of the brethren took his wagon and went for it. They returned some time after dark. Myers has also killed two buffalo, but took out only the tallow and tongues, leaving the rest on the ground. John Norton and Andrew Gibbons left the Camp at noon to hunt, expecting we should stay at the springs till Monday. Gibbons has not been seen or heard of since. Norton has returned and reported that he killed a buffalo near the springs and returned thither for a wagon to bring it to camp, but when he found the wagons gone he followed after and left the buffalo. He arrived in Camp about dark. At 9 o clock an alarm was made that one of the oxen was mired and was near covered in the filthy mud. A number of the brethren went and soon got him out again. Truly, this is a gloomy, cheerless, filthy place, most dangerous for cattle, and unhealthy for families. By a little contrivance it can be avoided as a campground as will be seen by tomorrows minutes.
Sunday 20 Morning fine and pleasant but mosquitoes very troublesome. Two more oxen were found almost buried in the mud, and it seemed to be an universal feeling to leave this place as early as possible. Accordingly at a quarter past 5 we proceeded on. The first mile was over rough road and several steep pitches which the brethren fixed some, a number going ahead of the wagons for that purpose. After travelling 3¾ miles we halted for breakfast at 7 o clock beside a small, clear stream of spring water about a foot wide, with plenty of grass on its banks, but no wood.
Last evening while riding ahead with brother Benson to look out a camping ground, we came within a quarter of a mile of this place, but not near enough to see it. A while before we arrived here as we were riding slowly along we saw six men suddenly spring up from the grass about half a mile to the left of the road. The men were clothed in blankets, some white and some blue, and had every appearance of Indians which we supposed them to be at first sight. They had horses, and mounting them started on in a direction parallel with the road. We kept on our course without seeming to pay much attention to them. In a little while one of the supposed Indians left the rest and rode towards us, motioning with his hand as though he wanted us to go back. We however kept on our steady course. When he saw us still coming towards him, he wheeled his horse, joined the other five, who all put spurs to their horses and were soon hid from our view by a small rise in the land. As soon as they disappeared we spurred on and rode to the ridge where we saw a camp of the Missourians about a quarter of a mile to the left of the road, the six Indians were just entering the camp as we came in sight of it. We were now satisfied that the supposed Indians were of the Missourians camp, and they had taken this course to scare us back from this camp ground. We regard it as an old Missouri trick and an insult to the camp. When we related the story to president Young he felt as we did, and should they attempt any more to play Indian tricks on us, it is very likely they will meet with Indian treatment. Their camp left here as we came in sight this morning, and we feel now to press on our way and crowd them and if possible get the Indians in our rear so that we can watch them to better advantage.
We learned from one of the emigrants who belongs to a company several miles in our rear, that Andrew Gibbons tarried with them over night. When he returned to the spring, found us gone and the Missourians camped there he told them of the dead buffalo killed by John Norton. They went and fetched what meat they wanted and feasted on it, brother Gibbons joining with them and faring well.
At a quarter past 9 we proceeded on our journey, and after traveling 3 miles arrived at the "Willow Spring" where we halted a little to water. This spring is about 2 foot wide and the water 10 inches deep, perfectly clear, cold as ice water and of a very good taste. There is a willow grove extending for some distance above and below it, which would answer well enough for camping purposes. The grass is good and plentiful and it is one of the loveliest camping spots we have seen on the road. The land over which the stream runs below the spring is soft and somewhat swampy, it is considered that cattle would be apt to mire some. The spring is situated between two very high hills and lays about three rods to the right of the road. It is shielded from the sun by a bank about 8 feet high, covered with willows.
A little before we arrived at the spring there are two very deep ravines to cross which requires some care in teamsters to prevent accident. After passing them a quarter of a mile we began to ascend a very high hill which is one mile from the foot to the top and the ascent pretty steep. The summit of the hill is nicely rounding and considered to be much the highest we have travelled over. From the top can be seen a vast extent of country to the South, West and North. For about 20 or 30 miles to the south appears to be a tolerably level bottom over which our future road runs. Beyond this there are vast ranges of high hills, whose summits are nicely variegated with snow. In the distance to the southwest can be seen a small body of water which we suppose to be a part of the sweet water river. To the west the ridges of rocks or hills appear some nearer, probably not over 15 miles from us. On the north we can see hills for a long distance. The ones opposite the "Red Buttes," near the spring where we halted yesterday noon appears only a few miles distance, but all the region in sight appears destitute of that idol of industrious farmers, "timber". The view from this hill is one of romantic beauty, which cannot easily be surpassed, and as President Young remarked would be a splendid place for a summer mansion to keep a tavern. The road descends from the southwest of the hill, and we found it to be just one mile down to the foot. At the distance of ¾ of a mile further we found a good place for feed, being plenty of grass but no water. A mile and a quarter still further we crossed a very bad slough which is about a rod across, and where the roads runs 3 foot deep in water and mud. Most of the wagons crossed a little to the right of the road and found it not so difficult to cross, yet very soft. There is also plenty of grass at this place but it is not a good place to camp. A mile beyond the swamp we ascended a very steep bluff, though not very high, and the descent on the southwest is also very steep. At a quarter to 3 we halted to feed in a ravine where is plenty of grass for teams and a good stream of water about 300 yards south from the road. We have travelled this forenoon 9 miles mostly over sandy, barren land, being no grass only in the places above mentioned. During the halt it was voted that President Young take the lead with his wagon, and try to proceed a little faster.
At 5 o clock we resumed our journey, president Youngs wagon going forward, all others keeping their places. I would here remark that the order of our travelling has been as follows, each company of 10 takes the lead in their turn. The first 10 in the first division takes the lead one day; then on the second day it falls in the rear of the first division, and the second 10 takes the lead; and so continues until each company of 10 have led the camp one day, falling in the rear of the division the day after. The first division then falls in the rear of the second division, which also begins to take the lead of the road by companies of ten, the same as the first division. When each ten have had their day, the second division again falls in the rear of the first which commences in the same order again. Thus giving each company an equal privilege of travelling one with the other sometimes in the front, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes in the rear of the whole. After travelling 2½ miles we descended to the bottom land again and saw a small stream a little to the left of the road, where is also plenty of grass. 1¾ miles further we crossed a creek of tolerably clear water 6 foot wide and one foot deep, but neither grass nor timber on its banks. After travelling 7 miles this afternoon we left the road turning to the left and at 20 minutes past 8 formed our encampment on a ridge near the last mentioned creek where is good feed, having travelled this afternoon 7¼ miles (exclusive of allowance for turning off the road), and during the day 20 miles. We had been in hopes to have reached the Sweet water but it appears we are yet some miles from it. The whole country around is entirely destitute of timber, not a tree to be seen, nor a shrub larger than the wild sage, which abounds in all this region of country. Some anxiety is felt on account of the absence of Elders Woodruff and John Brown. They started ahead this morning with instructions to go on about 15 miles, and if they found a good place to camp, to stay till we arrived. They have not been seen or heard of since. It is supposed they have fell in with some of the companies either forward or back, and have concluded to tarry with them overnight.
Monday 21st Morning warm and very pleasant. At 25 minutes to 9 we proceeded on our journey and after travelling 3¼ miles arrived on a bed of saleratus which is a quarter of a mile wide, and in the neighborhood are several lakes of water mostly a brackish taste. The land around these alkali lakes is low and somewhat swampy, sending forth a very nauseus smell. The beds of saleratus have a smell something like quick lime, but the saleratus itself is said to raise bread equal to the best bought in eastern markets. Lorenzo Young gathered a pail full in a short time with a view to test its qualities. It is easy to gather a pail full in a few minutes, and apparently many wagon loads might be gathered without much difficulty. When pulverized it looks very clean and nice. We are now convinced that the water we saw yesterday from the hill, and which we supposed to be the Sweetwater, must have been some of these lakes, they being high show a long distance but the river is not in sight yet. It has been reported by travellers that these are poison springs, but it is probable that all the poison there is about them, is their saltness, causing cattle to drink freely when thirsty and can get no other water, and the more they drink the more thirsty they are untill they burst themselves, which is said to be the effect produced by drinking the poisonous water. Passing on a little further is another large lake to the left, and then one on the right of the road of the same nature, their banks mostly white with saleratus. At 12 o clock we arrived on the banks of the Sweetwater, having travelled 7½ miles over a very sandy road, destitute of wood, water or grass. Myself and some others rode ahead to look out a place to halt. We found a suitable place a little South West of the Rock Independence, near the place where we will have to ford the river, and when the wagons came in sight we made motions by waving our hats for the Ccmp to come to us. Our signs, however, were unobserved and they halted for noon about 2 miles below us. We accordingly returned to them, after viewing the noted rock and made our report. The distance from the upper ferry on the Platte River to our noon halt is 49 miles by the roadometer. There has formerly been a ford at this place, but of late the emigrants have forded about 2 miles above here. At this spot the river is probably 7 or 8 rods wide and over 3 foot deep at the ford, but in some places it is much deeper. The current is very rapid, the water a little muddy but pleasant tasted. On the banks of the river there is plenty of good grass, but no timber, except one solitary tree near the camp.
After we halted Sister Harriet Young made some bread by using this lake saleratus. When it was baked it was nice and light as bread could be, and has no unpleasant taste. She says that the saleratus is so much stronger than that bought at stores, that a person only needs to use about half as much of this as the other for the same quantity of flour. A number of the brethren have gone back to fill their pails, and it will be a considerable help to many on this tedious journey. The day is very hot and no wind, which makes it unpleasant travelling. Soon after we arrived here Elders Woodruff and Brown again joined the Camp, and reported that they had spent the night in one of the gentile camps which is some miles ahead of us.
There are many high hills or ridges of the granite rocks in the neighborhood, especially on the east and west; all entirely destitute of vegetation. They present a very wild and desolate, as well as romantic appearance.
The Camp proceeded onward again at 3 P.M. and at the distance of 114 miles arrived at the noted "Rock Independence." Inasmuch as I visited while here before the Camp arrived, I will now endeavor to describe it. It lays on the north bank of the river somewhat shaped like the following [oval figure drawn] the extreme south east corner extending to within about 3 rods of the river, and running in a direction North West, while the river at this place, runs in near a west course. It is composed of the naked granite, same as the other ridges in this region, is probably 400 yards long 80 yards wide and 100 yards perpendicular height, as near as we could guess. The ascent is very difficult at any point. Travellers appear to have ascended mostly at the South East corner, where there are some hundreds of names of persons who have visited it, both male and female, painted on the projecting surfaces, some with black, some with red and some with yellow paint. About half way up there is a cavern about 12 feet long, three feet wide at the bottom, but at the top about 10 feet wide and 8 feet high, formed by a very large, heavy mass of rock, having some time fell over an opening or cavity, leaving scarce room for a man to enter. However, there are three places by which it may be entered, though not without some difficulty. There are a number of names inside the cavern painted on with black paint, or the grease off a wagon wheel, doubtless being the names of persons who have been inside. On the top of the rock the surface is a little rounding, something in shape of a large mound with large masses of loose rock laying scattered round. Proceeding forward when about one third of the length you descend to a much lower surface, which continues some distance and then rises high again to about the same height with the first section. On the top there are a number small pools of water no doubt collected during heavy falls of rain or snow, and having no outlet to run off, stands until it evaporates into the atmosphere. Some of the pools are 8 inches deep, the water tastes like common rain water. We found more difficulty in descending from the rock than ascending, on account of its being very hard and slippery, and having nothing to hang on to, and a visitor has got to be careful, or he will descend quicker than is pleasant, and be in great danger of having bruised if not broken limbs. The brethren put up a guide board opposite to the Rock with this inscription on it, "To Fort John 175¼ miles. Pioneers, June 21-1847. W.R.
After travelling along the banks of the river 1 mile west of the Rock we forded the stream and found it near three foot deep in the channel. All the wagons got over without difficulty, or much loss of time. We then continued a south west course 4½ miles further and arrived at "Devils Gate" which lays a little to the west of the road. A quarter of a mile beyond this the road passes between two high ridges of granite, barely leaving a surface of about 2 rods of level ground on each side the road. The road then bends to the west and a quarter of a mile further passes over a small creek 2 foot wide, bad crossing on account of its being deep and muddy, and requiring caution in the teamsters to prevent accident. Before the Camp arrived at Devils Gate prest. Young, myself and some others being ahead on horseback, we went to view this noted place and followed up the river expecting to pass through the Gate to the other side, but in this we were disappointed and found it impassable with horses. At this place the river passes between two high, granite hills or ridges, for about 200 yards. The rock on the East side is perpendicular, and was found by a barometrical measurement by Elder Orson Pratt to be 399 feet 4½ inches high. The one on the west side is about the same height, but not perpendicular, but bending a little from the river gradually to the top. The river has a channel of about 3 rods in width through this pass which increases its velocity, and dashing furiously against the huge fragments of rock which has fell from the mountain into the channel makes a tremendous roar which can be heard for half a mile. One of the brethren fired his rifle in the pass at the foot of the rock, the report very much resembled the report of a [canno…] others tumbled fragments of rock from a projection at the south entrance about 150 feet high which when dashing into the water caused a very loud rumbling hollow sound, echoed from rock to rock. The scenery is one of romantic grandeur, and seems wonderful how the river could ever find a channel through such a mass of heavy solid rock.
At 25 minutes to 7 we formed our encampment on the banks of the river having travelled this afternoon 7¾ miles and during the day 15¼. The feed here is good and plentiful and a little cedar can be obtained for fuel at the foot of the rocky ridge about a ¼ of a mile back. The view of the surrounding scenery from this evenings encampment is one of sublime beauty. To the east, south and south west the sweet water mountains tower majestically up in the air, and are variegated with patches of snow, they lay I should judge from 20 to 30 miles distance from the river. To the west are also hills and ridges, interspersed as far as the eye can see, except the land immediately on the river, which appears level for many miles. These high, barren, rocky ridges on the north side of the river appear to continue for a great many miles.
Tuesday 22 Morning pleasant. At 20 minutes past 7 we continued our journey and at the distance of 200 yards crossed a very crooked creek about 6 foot wide, its waters descending from the south west. After traveling 3 miles over heavy, sandy road, we crossed another creek about 6 foot wide and 3¾, miles further a creek 2 foot wide. Somewhere near this last creek Lorenzo Young broke one of his axle trees, which detained him sometime. One of the Missouri companies came up soon after the accident and took his load into one of their wagons, and by splicing a stick of wood on his axle tree he was enabled to follow on to camp. At 5 minutes to 12 we halted on the banks of the river, having travelled 10 miles, over a very sandy, barren, land, being no grass only on the creek and river banks. During the halt Elder Pratt took an observation and found the Lat. 42°. 28'. 25". President Young went back to meet Lorenzo, but soon learned that he was coming on with the Missouri Company, who were then not far behind. He immediately turned about and on arriving in camp gave orders to harness up and proceed immediately so as to keep ahead of the other company who say they have travelled from Independence Rock without halting. However before we got ready to start they passed through and got ahead of us. The day has been hot and scarce any wind stirring. At 25 minutes past 2 we started again, finding the road leaving the river. At half a mile we passed a very large lake on our left which covers an area of over 80 acres of land. Its banks are mostly white with the alkali or saleratus. After passing this lake the road runs near south passing between high sand bluffs, after which it again bends gradually toward the west and descending a steep bluff over very heavy sandy land. After travelling 5¾ miles crossed a creek 6 foot wide and a foot deep. The banks on each side are very steep
on each side and sandy, making it difficult for teams to get up. Here Sterling Driggs had his harness broke to pieces, by his horses springing suddenly when attempting to rise out of the creek. They cleared themselves from the wagon, which was hauled up by a yoke of oxen, so not to hinder the rest from crossing. The banks of this creek are thickly lined with high sage, instead of grass on account of which I named it Sage Creek. After passing it, 1¾ miles we again arrived on the banks of the river and continued to travel near to it. At 2 miles further crossed a creek 3 foot wide but not much to be depended on for water. At 10 minutes to 8 we formed our encampment at the foot of a very high graveIly bluff near to the river, having travelled this afternoon 10¾ miles and during the day 20¾ over mostly a very sandy road. This is a very good place to camp being plenty of grass for our teams. From this place the country appears fortified by hills and mountains, especially towards the west. Lewis Barney and Joseph Hancock have each killed an antelope, but there are no signs of buffalo lately.
After we had camped I walked on the high bluff with Er Woodruff. We found it steep and hard labor to get up. When we arrived at the top we could see very little farther than when on the level on account of the mountains. We however kneeled down together and offered up our prayers for the camp, the saints, and especially our dear families.
Wednesday 23rd Morning fine and warm. At 7 o clock we resumed our journey. A little way from the camp to the left of the road is a grave, and a board stuck up with these words wrote on it: "Matilda Crowley, B. July 16‚Ä¢1830 & D. July 7‚Ä¢1846.
After travelling 1½ miles we crossed a very shoal stream of clear cold water about 5 foot wide, but little grass near it, but considerable bitter cotton wood timber, on account of which some of the brethren named it "bitter cotton wood creek". It is probable that this stream has its rise from the melting of snow on the mountains, and if so could not be depended on for a camping ground one month hence. After passing this creek the river runs between some of the high, rocky ridges, the road at the same time bending a little southward, passing on the south side of the ridge. After travelling 5 miles beyond the last mentioned creek, we again descend to the banks of the river, at which point is considerable grass suitable for a camp ground. We travelled till 5 minutes past 11 on the river banks then halted for noon as the road and the river again separated a little further. The land continues very sandy making it hard on teams, our course about west, the day very warm with a light south breeze. We have travelled this morning 8½ miles.
There are some small cedar on the rocky bluffs, which is the only timber seen since we left the Bitter Cotton wood. The Latitude of this place according to Er Pratt 42°. 31'. 20". At 10 minutes past 1 we continued our journey and after traveling half a mile found the river again turn between the Granite ridges in a northwest direction, and seems but to have a narrow space to pass through in several places, the road at the same place turns south to go around the ridges for over a mile, and then again winds gradually round to the west. At the base of these ridges is extremely sandy & heavy on teams. On arriving at the south side of the ridge we were suddenly cheered with a very plain view of the "Wind River Chain" of the Rocky Mountains, towering high up in the air and pretty white with snow. Some of the peaks project much higher than the general outline of the ridge, and the whole forms a very rough and broken appearance. At the distance of 6¾ miles from our noon halt we once more arrived on the banks of the river, and continued to travel on its banks till 20 minutes past 6, at which time we formed our encampment having travelled this afternoon 8½ miles and during the day 17 miles. As usual there is plenty of grass on the river banks, but no wood. There are dry buffalo chips and wild sage which answers pretty well for cooking. The land invariably, except the banks of the river, sandy and destitute of vegetation, except the wild sage. These granite ridges continue on the north side of the river from the Rock Independence to this place. Here they appear to recede from the river a few miles and then cease abruptly.
There are two of the Missouri companies camped near us, one about half a mile the other a mile to the west. We are told that we have now got to travel about 18 miles before we can get water after we leave this place. It is reported that a man belonging [to] one of these Missouri companies left his company a few days ago and went ahead to examine the rout &c On the arrival of his company at this place they found him in one of these rocky hills, hid up for fear of Indians. He says he has been to the pass and that we shall find water about 14 miles from there. He has travelled from the "pass" in two nights and hid up in the day time to avoid being seen by Indians. He has however seen no Indians. He thinks it is not over 28 miles from here to the "Pass". After we had camped Burr Frost put up his forge, set some wagon tire and repaired the wheels of a wagon for one of the Missourians.—There are no buffalo to be seen yet and but little game of any kind. Lewis Barney has killed 2 antelope and the brethren generally get one or two every day.
Thursday 24 Morning fine but cool. We had designed to make an early start so as to get ahead of these other companies, and get the best chance for feed at night, but they started out half an hour before we were ready. We proceeded at ¼ after 6 and at a little over a mile from where we camped found the river bending again to the north west, while the road continues near a west course, and soon rises a high bluff. After arriving on the top the country appears level for many miles. After travelling 5 miles this morning we arrived at a low but level strip of land on the north side of the road, where is plenty of grass, and the land apparently moist and swampy. It extends and runs parallel with the road a mile and a half, when the road crosses it, the swamp turning to the southward. Just above where the road crosses there is some water standing around a small circular swampy spot of land, probably about half an acre. Near the edge at the north west corner is a hole dug which is called the "Ice Spring" the water in the hole and around smells strong of sulphur or alkali and has a very unpleasant taste. Under the water which is over a foot deep there is a bed of clear ice as I ever saw, and of a sweet pure taste. Some of the brethren broke pieces off which floated on the top, and on eating it, it tasted sweet, and refreshing. The ice is said to be 4 inches thick but may be more. The water on the top as may be supposed is very cold although the weather is very warm. A quarter of a mile beyond the Ice Spring, there are two alkali springs forming each a small pool on the left of the road. The one to the west is some more pleasant tasted that the other not being so strong of sulphur. It tastes very much like lye water mixed with salt. The ground round these pools is white with alkali or saleratus, and a number of the brethren soon filled their pails. By experience we have learned that this native saleratus is so much stronger than the common, that if the same proportion is used it makes the bread turn of a light green color something like diluted copperas, hence the necessity of using it cautiously. After travelling from the Ice Spring 10¼ miles, over a very uneven road, we descended a very steep bluff close in the rear of one of the Missouri companies, the other having halted a few miles back wherever we passed by them. While winding round and descending this bluff we came in sight of the river again, and about the same time I picked up a very nice Indian arrow point made of white flint stone and nearly perfect. At half past 3 we arrived on the banks of the river and turned off the road a quarter of a mile to the south where we formed our encampment in a line so as to enclose a bend in the river, having tavelled 17¾ miles without halting, on account of there being no water fit for cattle to drink. The feed here is very good and plenty of willow bushes for fuel, the river about 3 rods wide, more clear and very cool. The last 5 or 6 miles was not so sandy, but hard and good travelling. One of the Missouri companies is gone on, the other is camped half a mile below at the ford.
A while before dark when the brethren were driving up their teams, John Holman, while bringing up President Young's "John horse", having his loaded rifle in his hand, the horse undertook to pass him and go back, and unthinkingly to urge the horse forward he jammed his rifle at him. By some means or other the cock of the rifle caught in his clothes, causing the rifle to explode discharging the ball into the horses body. It entered a little forward of the nigh hind leg on the under side of his belly, making quite a large hole, through which he bled freely. He walked to camp after the accident, but it is the opinion of most of the brethren that he cannot survive long. He appears to be in great pain, the sweat falling from his forehead in large drops. President Young is evidently filled with deep sorrow on account of this accident, but attaching no blame to John Holman, who appears grieved bad enough. The brethren generally feel sorrowful on account of this accident being one of the best horses in camp, and the second killed by accident with rifles on this mission.
Friday, 25. Morning fine but very cool. President Youngs horse is dead. At 20 minutes to 7 we pursued our journey fording the river at quarter of a mile below where we left the road last night. We found it near 3 foot deep at this place and the current very swift. After proceeding half a mile beyond the ford we crossed a stream about a rod wide, which appears to come from the north east and empties into the river a little further up. Half a mile beyond this stream we turned from the river to the North west and began to ascend a very high bluff, which we found pretty steep and over a mile and a half to the top. The road then again gradually winds round towards the river and begins to descend over hill and hollow, and at 4¼ miles from where we camped descends to the river again, and continues a ¼ of a mile on its banks. Here would be a pretty good place to camp being sufficient grass for a larger company. After travelling a quarter of a mile near the river we encounter another high, sandy ridge the road turning north to cross it. The descent on the west side is very steep & unpleasant. At 1¼ miles from where we left the river last we again arrive on its banks. It is the opinion that by fording the river twice at the foot of the ridge we could save a mile, and they suppose the river is fordable. Col. Rockwood has paid particular attention to the place and reports that 1 hours labor each for 100 men would dig down the foot of the ridge so as to make it good passing and save rising the ridge and a miles travel without fording the river. After leaving the west foot of this hill crossed a stream about 25 feet wide and again a quarter of a mile further the same only about 6 foot wide. On examining we found it to be a branch of the river running round a piece of land about a quarter of a mile across and forms a semicircular island. The high, sandy bluffs on each side of the river seem now to approach much nearer to each other and leave only a small strip of low land on the river banks. At 20 minutes past 11 crossed a creek 2 foot wide, then halted for noon having travelled 8¾ miles the wind blowing very strong from the north west making it cold and unpleasant travelling and filling wagons with dust. Latitude at this halt 42°.28'.36".—
At 20 minutes past 1 we proceeded again, the road running on the river banks two miles then turns to the north west and we begin to ascend a succession of hills one after another for 3 miles further. Wind round and over hill and valley, in some places over a good hard road, and in other places over rocks, and loose fragments of rock, making it severe on wagons and requiring great care in teamsters. About half a mile north of the road at the top of this ridge there is a heavy bank of snow, which some of the brethren went to visit, and amused them selves by snow balling each other. Bro. Carrington says there is every appearance of a rich lead mine in the same place having examined the place minutely. After arriving on the summit of these ridges we begin to descend gradually over rolling land, but the descent is not near equal to the ascent. At the distance of 7¼ miles from noon halt, we crossed a narrow wet swamp, pretty difficult for the teams to get the loads over without help, and 1¼ miles beyond the swamp, a creek 1 foot wide. A quarter of a mile further another creek, two foot wide. These all unite in one about 200 yards to the left below the middle creek, and then appear to pass under a snow bank, which at present forms a kind of a bridge over the creek. At ¼ to 7 we formed our encampment on the north banks of a creek about 3 foot wide, having travelled this afternoon 11½ miles and during the day 20¼. This creek is very clear and cold. Its banks are well lined with willows and about a mile below the camp there is a grove of white poplar, in which house logs might be obtained 16 foot long and a foot through. There are several banks of snow a little to the north, and some of the brethren have found ice 4 or 5 inches thick, and brought a quantity of it to camp. On the banks of the creek there are some groves of gooseberry bushes, with small green berries on them. There are also some strawberry roots and flowers, and a little white clover has been found; but there is no appearance yet, of the great abundance of such things as travelers have represented. The land appears some more likely to yield the nearer we approach to the mountains, but all calculations for farming in this region would be likely to fail on account of the scarcity of timber and the coldness of nights. It would only be natural to suppose that the nights are very cold here, while so much snow lays around. It requires considerable clothing to keep comfortable, and the days are equally hot. Some of the brethren have travelled along the banks of the Sweet water river and represent it as tumbling and foaming over rocks, and descending very rapid on account of the great rise of ground from our noon halt to this place. They say it runs within a mile and a half south of the camp, but it may be only a branch of the river, as we are evidently not near the main branch yet.
There is one of the gentile companies camped a mile below, making the third company we have passed lately, and it is the intention to keep ahead of them and thus have the advantage of selecting the best feed and camp grounds. The night was indeed exceeding cold.
Saturday 26 Morning very cold and considerable ice in water pails. At 20 minutes to 8 have crossed the creek and pursued our journey. At 1 mile passed a small creek which arises from springs a little south of the road where is a grove of small timber. Er Pratt has gone ahead with the barrometer to try to find the culminating points as highest dividing ridge of the South Pass, as we are now evidently at the east foot of the pass. Fremont represents that he did not discover the highest point on account of the ascent being so gradual that he was beyond it before he was aware of it, although in company with a man who has travelled it back and forth for seventeen years. At 2¾ miles beyond the last named small creek, we crossed the branch of Sweet water which is about 2 rods wide and 2 foot deep, the water clear and cold. This would be a good camping ground were it not so very cold. As it must be, from the fact that large, deep banks of snow, are now laying on its banks both above and below the road. Where the snow dont lay there is good grass and plenty of willow groves for fuel. 2¼ miles beyond this branch, we crossed another stream about 3 feet wide on an average, though at the ford, it is near 3 rods wide and two foot deep. This water is also very clear, and the banks well lined with willows and grass. It is considered a superior place for a camping ground than at the last creek.
I rode ahead this afternoon in company with Er Pratt and went about 6 miles further than the camp. Er Pratt has found the dividing ridge which is between where he is and the camp. We also found a small stream which we ascertained to be the head waters of the Pacific, the stream running towards the west. At this place Er Pratt was camped for the night in company with some travellers who are direct from Oregon and bound for the United States. Amongst this company is a Mr Harris who has lived in Oregon some years and is well informed in regard to the country and also the region of the salt lake having travelled much all through this region of country. He appears a very candid man and quite intelligent. I returned back to camp and arrived a little after dark and met a company just starting out to hunt us.
Sunday 27 Morning fine but cold. Started forward at 8 o clock, and in a little while met the traders being 8 men and about 25 horses and mules, mostly laden with packs of skins, robes &c Several of the brethren sent letters back by them. At 2¾ miles arrived at the dividing ridge of the "south pass" at which place Er Pratt took a Barometrical observation and found the altitude to be 7085 feet above the level of the sea. This spot is 278½ miles from Fort John, where the Indian and Oregon territories boundary line runs due north and south. At 2 miles further we arrived where Er Pratt camped last night on the head water of the Pacific, and although the stream is very small we have the satisfaction of seeing the waters run westward instead of eastward. The face of the country west from here, looks level, except for in the distance where another range of high mountains shows very plain, their surface white with snow. There is good grass here, but no timber, nor in fact any in sight except on the mountains.—Since leaving the south pass we have proceeded considerable, winding ground and between high bluffs or hills, but the road is good. Er Harris returns with us today and then waits for the Oregon companies his object being to pilot them through to Oregon. He has found out a new route to Oregon, much south of the old one, which has caused much dispute in the Oregon paper; his names is extensively known throughout Oregon.
He brought a pile of the Oregon Paper, commencing with Feb 11th 1847 and five following numbers which a number of the brethren read. He also presented a number of the "California Star," published at Yerba Buena, by Samuel Brannan and edited by E. P. Jones. From Mr Harris's description of the Bear River valley and the neighborhood of the Salt Lake, we have little room to hope, for even a moderate good country any where in those regions. He represents the whole region as being sandy and destitute of timber and vegetation except the wild sage. He gives the most favorable account of a small region under the Bear River mountains called the Cach[e] valley, where they have practised caching their robes &c, to hide them from the Indians. He [said] this is a splendid place to winter cattle, having spent several winters there himself. It is a place where trappers frequently winter to recrud their horses and mules.—After halting sometime we proceeded on and crossed the stream which is about 3 foot wide, then halted for noon on its banks at 10 o clock having travelled 6¼ miles[.] the day warm. Latitude at half 42°.18ŒÑ.58Àù.
At 25 minutes past 2 we started again and proceeded over gently rolling land, and good hard road, till 20 minutes to 7 when we formed our encampment on the west banks of the "dry Sandy" having travelled this afternoon 9 miles and during the day 15¼. The country west still appears destitute of timber and the view is very extensive; there is very little grass to be seen any where and not much near the creek. There is but little water in the creek at first sight but by digging and tramping on the quick sand sufficient can easily be obtained to supply a large company. I rode ahead of the wagons and have been about 2 miles west of this and there is no chance for a better camp ground than this within that distance.
This day is the aniversary of the death of our beloved brethren Joseph and Hyrum the prophet and patriarch to the whole church, being 3 years since they were cruelly massacred in Carthage Jail. It was generally the minds of the brethren to spend the day in fasting and prayer but the gentile companies being close in our rear and grass scarce, it was considered wisdom to keep ahead for the benifit of our teams. Many remarks have passed during the day concerning the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum and although still feel their loss, yet we cannot but rejoice that we are now so far on our way to the wilderness, that the Lord hath prospered our journey and that we are allready measurable beyond the jurisdiction and reach of our persecutors, with a prospect of soon seeing our families, friends, and the saints located in a place of peace and safety.
Mr. Harris continued to give us information of the country, and also traded some with the brethren. He has got a quantity of robes & skins with him.
Monday 28 Morning fine but cool. Many of the brethren are training with Mr. Harris for Buck Skin pants, Jackets[,] shirts &c, and also buck skins. He sells his skins at a high price, the buck skins at from $1.50 to $2.00 a pair of pants $3.00 &c He will take rifles, powder, lead, caps or calico and domestic shirts in exchange, but puts his o[w]n price on all articles, and it is difficult to obtain even a fair trade on such terms. He is well versed in trading.
At half past 7 we proceeded on our journey[.] Mr. Harris waiting here for the other companies. After Travelling 6 miles arrived at the forks of the road, one continuing a west course, the other south west. The former one is the old Oregon road, the latter or left hand road is the one leading to California by the Salt Lake and which is our road. This junction of the forks is 297½ miles from Fort John. The road then lays over a barren, desert country yielding nothing but wild sage with occasionally a solitary grass root and weeds. We travelled over this kind of land till half past 1 when we halted for noon on the East banks of the little sandy having travelled 13½ miles, without signs of wood, water, or feed for teams. This stream is about 20 feet wide on an average, but at the ford over 3 rods wide, 2½ feet deep, muddy water and swift current. There is not much grass here, and no timber, except willow bushes. Here are a variety of roots bearing handsome colored flowers. One of the brethren has picked up a large piece of petrified wood. It resembles the outside layer of a cotton wood tree, next to the bank, and appears to have rotted and broke off alive then petrified and turned to a solid, heavy, hard flintstone, but retaining its original shape and appearance.
At ¼ past 4 we commenced fording the river, and found it no ways difficult untill a number of the wagons had got over, and the banks began to be soft and muddy. Several of the latter teams required help.
At ¼ to 5 all were safe over with no loss except two tin buckets of no worth. We then proceeded on expecting to go about 8 miles further, but after travelling a little over a mile, we were met by Er G[eorge] A[lbert] Smith who had been ahead, and having met Mr Bridger of "Bridgers Fort" returned with him and introduced us to him.
Mr Bridger is on his way to Fort John on business and is accompanied by two men. Being informed that we had designed calling on him at this place to make some inquiries about the country &c he said if we would turn off the road here and camp, he would tarry with us till morning. A camping spot being selected we turned off the road a ¼ of a mile and prepared our encampment near the "Sandy" at 4 o clock having travelled this afternoon 1¾ miles, exclusive of allowance for turning off the road and during the day 15¼ miles.
There is plenty of grass and willows at this place. A while after we camped the "Twelve" and several others went over to Mr. Bridger who was camped near the river, to make some enquiries concerning our future route, the country &c However we soon found from his conversation that we were not likely to obtain any very definite intelligence of the country from the very mixed and imperfect manner in which he gave his description. The sum of the information derived from him is in substance as follows:
We will find better grass as we proceed further west. He is going to Fort Laramie having previously made a contract to sell a number of robes &c His traders have gone to fill the contract but having started later than they intended[.] the men at Laramie had taken advantage of the delay and he is going to see to the business himself. There is no blacksmithy shop at his Fort at present[.] there was one but it was destroyed. Here has near a hundred wagons gone on the Hastings write [right] through the Kanion on Webers Fork. They crossed Blacks fork and go a little south of west from his place and pass under a range of the mountains which cross Green river. The river runs over an extent of country of about 400 miles. It is impossible for wagons to follow down Green river, neither can it be followed with Boats. Some have gone down with canoes but had great difficulty getting back on account of the rapid current and very rough channel. We cant pass the mountains close to the river even with horses. For some distance beyond this chain of mountains the country is level, and still further beyond that it is hard black rock, which shines as if it was glazed when the sun shines on it, and it is so hard and sharp it will cut a horses feet to pieces. When we get below the mountain the Green river falls into a level country for some distance after which it winds through a mountainous country perfectly baren, till it empties into the Gulf of California.
From Fort Bridger to the Salt Lake, Hastings said was about one hundred miles. He has been through to the Lake as much as fifty times, but can form no correct idea of the distance. Mr. Hastings route leaves the Oregon trail at his place. We can pass the mountains further south, but in some places we would meet with heavy bodies of timber and would have to cut our way through. In the Bear River valley there is oak timber, sugar trees, cotton wood and pine. There is not an abundance of sugar maple but as splendid pines as he ever saw. There is no timber on the Utah Lake only on the streams which empty into it. In the outer of the Utah Lake into the Salt Lake, there are three streams empties which are well timbered. In the vallies south east of the Salt Lake there is abundance of blue grass and red and white clover. The outlet of the Utah Lake does not form a large river or either a rapid current, but the water is muddy and low banks.
Some of his men have been round the Salt Lake in canoes. They went out hunting and had their horses stole by the Indians. They then went round the Lake in canoes hunting Bever, and were three months going round it. They said it was 550 miles around.
The Utah tribe of Indians inhabit around the Utah Lake, and are a bad people; if they catch a man alone they are said to rob and abuse him, if they don't kill him; but parties of men are in no danger. They are mostly armed with guns. There was a man opened a farm in the Bear river valley, the soil is good and likely to produce corn, were it not for the excessive cold nights, which he thinks would prevent the growth of corn. There is a good country south of the Utah Lake, or south east of the great basin. There are three large rivers which enter into the Sevier Lake, and which are not known of by travellers. There is also a splendid range of country on the north side of the California mountains, calculated to produce every kind of grain and fruit, and there are several places where a man might ride from it over the mountains to the Calafornia settlements in one day. There is a vast abundance of timber and plenty of coal. There is also plenty of coal in this region near the mountains.—North of the California mountains there is a Walnut, Oak, Hickory, Ash and various kinds of good timber on and in the east of the great basin. There can be a wagon road made through to it, and no lack of water. The great desert extends from the Salt Lake to the Gulf of California, which is perfectly barren. He supposes it to have been an arm of the sea. The three rivers before mentioned are south west of the desert. There is a tribe of Indians in that country who are unknown to either travellers or geographers. They make farms and raise abundance of grain of various kinds. He can buy any quantity of the very best of wheat there. This country lays south east of the Salt Lake. There is one mountain in that region, and the country adjoining it, which he considers that if ever there was a promised land, that must be it. There is a kind of Cedar grows on it, which bears fruit something like juniper berries, of a yellow color, about the size of an ordinary plum. The Indians grind the fruit and it makes the best kind of meal. He could easily gather a hundred bushels off of any tree. He has lived on them and used to pick his hat full in a very short time. There are a great many little streams heads in this mountain, and many good springs. It is about 20 days travel with horses from the Salt Lake, but the country to it is bad to get through, and over a great part of it there is nothing for animals to subsist on[.] He supposes it is accessible from the Texas country. On one of the rivers there is a splendid copper mine[.] a whole mountain of it. It also abounds with gold and silver, and also a good quick silver mine. There is Iron, Coal &c The land is good and the soil rich. All the vallies abound with bitter simmons, and grapes which will make the best kind of wines.—He never saw any grapes in the Utah Lake, but there are plenty of cherries and berries of several kinds. He thinks the vallies of the Utah Lake, is the country in the vicinity of the Salt Lake, and the country is still better the farther south we go, untill we reach the desert which is upwards of 200 miles south from the Utah Lake. There is plenty of timber on all the streams and mountains, and abundance of fish in the streams. There is timber all around the Utah Lake, and plenty of good grass—not much of the wild sage, only in small patches. Wild flax grows in most of the vallies, and where that grows is generally the richest land.
He passed through that country a year ago last summer, in the month of July, and they generally had one or two showers every day, sometimes a very heavy thunder shower, but not accompanied by strong wind.
By following under the mountain south of the Utah Lake, we find another river which empties into another Lake about 50 miles south of the Utah Lake.
We shall find plenty of water from here to Bridgers Fort except after we cross Green river and travel 5 miles down it, we shall then have to travel 18 or 20 miles without water but there is plenty of grass. After crossing Green river we follow down it 4 or 5 miles to the old station, then cross over to a stream which heads in the mountain west. The station is more than half way from here to his place, we shall have no streams to ferry between here and the Fort except Green river.
The Indians south of the Utah Lake, and on this side the desert, raise corn, wheat, and other kinds of grain and produce in abundance. The Utah abound more on the west of the mountains near the Salt Lake, than on the east side ten to one; but we have no need to fear them for we can drive the whole of them in 24 hours, but he would not kill them, he would make slaves of them. The Indians south of the Utah Lake raise a good corn, wheat and pumpkins as were ever raised in old Kentucky.
The Rivers of a lead mine between the lead mines and Fort Laramie, on a timbered creek near the Horse Shoe Creek. He has found lead there and thinks there is considerable silver in it. It can be found in a cave on the side of the mountain not far from the road."
Such was the information we received from Mr Bridger but we are convinced that many of his stories are greatly exaggerated. He mingled his descriptions so much that it was scarce possible to form an idea of what he meant. Prest. Young, having provided supper for Mr Bridger and his men the council dismissed and we retired to our wagons Mr B. going to supper with president Young. The evening was very fine and musquitoes troubled me.
Tuesday 29 Morning very pleasant afterward very hot. We started at 20 minutes to 8 and travelled over very good roads, though barren land, till ¼ to 11 then halted for noon on the banks of the big sandy, having travelled 6¾ miles. The second division forded the river before halting, but the first division halted on the north side. This stream appears to be about 7 rods wide at this place, and about 2 foot deep in the channel, but it is not gene
At half past one we again proceeded Prest. Young and some others going ahead in the cutter wagon to look out a camping ground for night. Our course still lay about south west, the road generally good over gently rolling, hard, sandy land, and in some places the surface is covered with loose fragments of hard rock. After travelling 9½ miles prest. Young rode up and reported that we would have to go at least 11 miles further before we could get feed. It was then a quarter after 6 o clock and the teamsters urged on their teams a little faster in order to get through. The most of the road after this for 4 miles was very hilly and uneven, and in some places the loose fragments of rock made it very bad travelling, but many of the rocks were thrown out of the road by the extra men. The weather grew cooler towards evening, some large clouds rising in the west, which favored the teams considerable. At 5 minutes past 9 we found ourselves on the low land on the banks of the river again where we formed our encampment, having travelled since noon 17 miles and during the day 23¾ which is the longest distance we have travelled in any one day since leaving Winter Quarters. The camp was formed by moonlight. There seems to be plenty of grass but no wood. Many of the brethren have gone down sick within the past three days, and a number more this evening. They generally begin with headache, succeeded by violent fever, and some go delirious for some time. Brother Fowler was seized this afternoon and this evening is raving and insensible. It is supposed by some that this sickness is caused by too free a use of the mineral saleratus or alkali, and it is considered poisinous. Some consider that we enhale the affluvia arrising from it, which has the like effect. Still others who consider that this disease is incident to the country, and there may be other causes. It is noticed that it is generally most severe on those who have been much in the water as many were at the Platte ferry. This and the damp of climate, the excessive cold nights and hot days, change of water &c seems to be more consistent reason for the occasion of this fever than any of the others. Whatever may be the cause of it, the fever itself is severe while it lasts, but we have had no cases considered dangerous as yet.
Wednesday 30 This morning was very warm. Several others of the brethren were reported to be sick. Prest. Young, myself and some others went ahead again in the cutter wagon to view the road, first a place to halt &c The camp started at ¼ past 8. We found the roads very good, but sandy, covering every thing in the wagons with dust. At half past 11 we arrived on the banks of Green river having travelled 8 miles, making the total distance from Fort John to Green river 338½ miles. We formed our encampment in a line amongst the timber so as to enjoy the benifet of the shade. This river is about 1 or 18 rods wide and to deep to be ferried. Its banks are well lined with cotton wood, but some large enough to make a corrall. There are also many wild apple trees, and rose bushes abound bearing quantities of very pretty roses now in full bloom. There is a narrow strip of land on each side the river probably about a mile wide which seems it might do very well for farming, but not so much farming land here as has been frequently represented by travellers. The grass grows good and plentiful but it appears to be pretty much eat off at this place, but it is said there is any quantity about a mile up the river.
After dinner the divisions each selected their men, who commenced immediately building two rafts, one for each division, and soon after Er Samuel Brannan arrived in camp having come from the Pacific Coast to meet us, obtain council &c He is accompanied by a "Smith" and another Young man. This smith is the one who lived with sister Emma after the death of brother Joseph, and was one who took such a bitter cause against the Twelve. He is well known as a bogus make and was connected with Jackson, Hentow, Bouney and Dr Williams. For some cause or other he had moved to California and become acquainted with Er Brannan and accompanied him in his expedition to meet the pioneers.
They have come by the way of Fort Hall, and learned from the emigrants that we had taken this rout hence they turned off at the forks and overtook us here. They have brought several files of the California paper with them. They had 11 deaths on board the ship during their voyage over, the others are doing well making farms and raising abundance of grain.
In the afternoon the Twelve assembled together and listened to Er Brannans report and learned more particularly the situations of the saints at San Francisco.
Towards evening a shower blew up from the east. We had no rain however but very high wind. The first division finished their raft before dark, the other is not quite ready yet. At dusk I walked up the river with prest. Young to look at the raft which the second division are building.
Thursday 1st [July] When we arrived here yesterday there were two men on the other side the river. They had come back to hunt cattle. One of the gentile camps are about 4 miles before. When they had got through ferrying they cut their raft loose and let it float down the river, because some on this side wanted to cross.
This morning was fine and the brethren commenced ferrying the wagons over but soon afterwarads a strong wind arose which was a great detriment to the ferrying. The raft built by the second division did not work well because the logs were water soaked and we concluded to go to work and build another one. After a hard days toil we succeeded in getting only 14 wagons over. Several more of the brethren are taken sick and the fever seems to rage in camp. We are told that there is much sickness in the gentile camp behind and some deaths, but hither to we have had no deaths, neither do we fear that we shall. Those who were taken sick first, are mostly getting better, but they amaciably complain of a lingering sickness and the effects of this fever seems bad to work off.
Several of the brethren have caught some very nice fish in a creek a little below the camp on the north side the river.
Friday 2nd The day was more pleasant. The second division finished their raft and at 9 o clock commenced ferrying. My wagons and president Youngs wagons were got over safely and many other were got over during the day. There was only about 20 wagons left on the north side the river at night. In the afternoon the Twelve got together and held a council. We concluded to send 3 or 4 of the brethren back to meet the next company and serve as pilots to them. A letter of instructions was ordered to be wrote, giving them an outline of our travel, &c and instructions for them, showing them how to travel to the best advantage. We are well convinced that a company of fifty wagons is quite plenty to travel together, both on account of the scarcity of grass, and we have proved that small companies will travel several miles further in a day than large companies can do.
Saturday 3rd The morning some inclined to be stormy. The brethren resumed their ferrying, and about the same time several started down the river to look out a place to camp, for we calculate to go on a few miles so as to shorten the next days journey. A little before noon the last wagon was got over, and all our cattle and horses &c without the least accident having happened for which we feel thankful. Just as the brethren finished ferrying it commenced raining, accompanied with thunder and high wind which continued for some time. About noon the brethren who went to look out a camp ground returned and reported that there is a suitable place about 4 miles from here. Orders were given to harness up and proceed and at ¼ past 3 the camp was once more in motion. We travelled 3 miles and then formed our encampment on the banks of the river. As we approached this place the cattle, horses and men were covered with musquitoes. I don't recollect of ever seeing more in any place in my life, making the teams uneasy and very disagreeable for men.
There is plenty of grass here for our teams and it is our intention to remain here till monday morning. In the evening the brethren were called together and addressed by president Young in relation to trading at Fort Bridger, advising them not to be over anxious and through [throw] their property away and above all not to interfere with others trades, but be wise and prudent.
5 of the brethren were selected to go back and meet the next company viz. Phineas Young, Aaron Farr, Eric Glines, Rodney Badger and George Woodward. They have the privilege of taking the cutter wagon instead of each an horse which cannot well be spared out of the camp. It was considered better to send men back whose families were coming on than those who had no families, but the matter was left to the choice of the brethren and the above selected by unanimous vote.
Sunday 4th The morning fine and warm. Orders were given to the brethren to assemble for prayer and the Bishops instructed to take charge of the meeting. The brethren who are returning, having got their letter and all things prepared started out, prest. Young, myself and a number of otheres going with them to ferry them over the river and bring the raft back to this side. We have left one raft on this side and one on the other, drawing both out of the water, so that on which ever side they may be wanted first, they will be ready. On arriving at the river we were pleased to meet 12 of the soldiers from Pueblo coming after the camp. Mr. Walker was among the number and he returned with Aaron Farr to go and meet his wife. After getting brethren safe over, bringing the raft back and drawing it on shore and bidding the brethren good bye we returned to camp accompanied by the soldiers. We arrived in camp at half past 2 and the brethren formed in a line in front of the presidents wagon where they were welcomed by the rest of the brethren who all seemed glad to see them. We gave three cheers in honor of their safe arriveal after which prest. Young suggested that we would give glory to God which was done by loud Hosanna's.
This spot where we are now camped is opposite to the junction of the big sandy and Green rivers. On the other side the River there is a range of singular sandy Buttes perfectly destitute of vegitation and on the sides can be seen from here two caves, which are supposed to be inhabited by wild Bears. The view is very pleasant and interesting.
During the afternoon one of brother Crows Oxen was found to be poisoned by eating some kind of weed or plants which grows here. He was badly swelled and I understand was dead when found.
The report of the soldiers is not very favorable and it appears there has been considerable wrong practised by both officers and men.
Monday 5thAt 8 o clock we pursued our journey, many of the brethren still being sick though generally improving. After travelling 3½ miles on the banks of the river the road then leaved it binding westward after ascending a small rise of land we had a very pleasant view of the Bear River mountains, far off in the south west, their summits capped with snow. We found the land over which we travelled some rolling, destitute of grass, and several very steep places to descend.
At ¼ to 5 we arrived on the banks of "Black Fork" and found our encampment having travelled 20 miles, the last 16½ miles without seeing any water. This stream is about 6 rods wide, very swift urrent but not deep. The bottom land on each side the riveer are pleasantly situated but there is very little grass at this place.
Here is one place in the road where we might have save a cook in the road of near a mile in length by digging down a bank which would probably have detained us about 20 minutes but it was not noticed till much of the wagons had passed over.
Tuesday 4th Morning very pleasant. We started onward at 10 minutes to 8 and after travelling 3¾ miles crossed "Hams Fork" a rapid stream about 3 rods wide and 2 feet deep, with abundance of high bunch grass on its banks and a good place for camping. 1½ miles we crossed Blacks fork again which appears to be about 8 rods wide and 2½ foot deep, but little grass near it. We then leave the river and wind over an uneven road with many pitches, caused by the washing of heavy rains, the land generally barren. After travelling 11 miles beyond the last mentioned stream, crossed a small creek about 2 foot wide but no grass. At 4 o clock we crossed back over Blacks fork and formed our encampment on its banks having travelled 18¼ miles. At this place there is a fine specimen of the wild flax which grows plentifully on the low land. It is considered equally as good as any that's cultivated[.] bears a delicate blue flower. There is also abundance of the rich bunch grass, on the river banks and many wild currents. The praries are decorated with beautiful flowers of various colors, chiefly blue, red and yellow, which have a rich appearance and would to adorn and beautify an eastern flower garden.—
Wednesday 7th This morning we resumed our journey at 25 minutes to 8 and after travelling 2½ miles forded Blacks Fork once more. There also is abundance of good grass, wild flax and handsome flowers. After travelling 2¾ miles further forded a stream about 2 rods wide and 2 foot deep, very swift current and plenty of the bunch grass on its banks. At 12 o clock we halted for noon on the banks of the last mentioned stream having travelled 9 miles over pretty rough road, the day very windy, covering every thing with dust. Some of the wagons have gone on, expecting to reach Bridgers Fort before they halt.
At 20 minutes to 2 we again moved forwards and found the road more even, though in many places very rough with cobble stones. After travelling 7½ miles we arrived opposite to 9 Indian Lodges, erected about a quarter of a mile south of the road. Here we halted awhile and learned that Tim Goodall is here, one of the trappers who passed us at the Platte ferry. There are not many Indians here, but they appear to have a great many handsome ponies. After halting about half an hour we continued our course and after fording four creeks, on an average about a rod wide we arrived at "Fort Bridger" which is proved by the Roadmeter to be 397 miles from Fort John.
We went on half a mile beyond the Fort, crossing 3 more creeks, and formed our encampment having travelled this afternoon 8¾ miles and during the day 17¾. Grass is very plentiful in this neighborhood, and much higher than we have generally found it on the road. The whole region seems to be covered with rapid streams all bending their way to the principal fork. They doubtless originate from the melting of the snow on the mountains and roar and foam down their cobbley bed till they empty into Blacks Fork. There is also considerable shade timber in this region especially on these streams.
"Bridgers Fort" is composed of two double log houses about 40 feet long each. Connected to them in the north is a pen for horses composed of upright poles placed close together and about 10 feet high. This is all the appearance there is of a Fort. There are several Indian Lodges on the West of the Fort. The Indians around are said to be of the Snake tribe. The Latitude of Fort Bridger is 41°.19ŒÑ.13Àù, and its height above the level of the sea according to Er Pratts observations is 6665 feet. It is doubtless a very cold region and little calculated for a farming country. To the west is a pretty high mountain which appears well covered with timber. The country all round looks bleak and cold.
Thursday 8 Morning fine with high wind. We have concluded to remain here today and set some wagon tire, repair wagons and do some trading. Many of the brethren went to the Fort and trading their rifles and some clothing for Buck Skins. I sent brother Egan with two rifles and he got 20 pretty good buck skins for them which I considered was a pretty good trade.
The day continued warm and very high wind. Some of the brethren caught some very nice fish in the creek close by camp. In the evening we held a council and listened to some complaints made by George Mills against Andrew Gibbons, it appears both was in fault and they were advised to be more careful and not get angry &c It was decided for Er Brannan and Thomas Williams to return from here to meet captain Brown and the brethren from Pueblo. In as much as the brethren have neither received their discharge nor their full pay from the United States, brother Brannan goes to tender his services as pilot to conduct a company of 15 or 20 to San Francisco, if they feel disposed to go their and try to get their pay. He will bear a letter of instructions to the brethren, giving them our feelings on the subject.
Friday 9 This morning we again resumed our journey at 8 o clock. Brothers Brannan and Williams at the same time starting back to meet the company. We found the road was rough. After travelling 6¼ miles we arrived at some springs and there halted a while to rest our teams. We then proceeded on and after travelling ¾ of a mile further began to ascend a long, steep hill, near the top of which and at 8 miles from Fort Bridger Er Pratt took an observation and found the Latitude to be 41°.16ŒÑ.11Àù. We found the top of this ridge tolerably level for several miles, after which we desended to the lower land again. The descent from this hill is the steepest and most difficult we have ever met with, being lengthy and almost perpendicular. At 3 o clock we crossed the "muddy fork" a stream about 12 feet wide and formed our encampment on its west banks having travelled since the halt 6¾ miles and during the day 13 miles. The day has been warm, windy and dusty. Here is a good chance for our teams to fill themselves in the abundance of tall bunch grass.
Saturday 10 This morning we resumed our journey at 8 o clock, the weather warm and windy. After travelling 3½ miles, we passed a small copperas spring at the foot of the mountain, a little to the left of the road. The water is very clear but tastes very strong of copperas and alum, and leaves a very singular feeling in the mouth after tasting it. It runs a little distance over the red sand which abounds in this region, and where it is saturated with water almost looks like blood at a little distance. After passing this spring the road winds around the foot of mountains, gradually ascending for some distance, till finally it leaks to the summit of a high ridge, where Er Pratt took a Barometrical observation and found the lattitude to be [blank space] feet avobe [above] the sea. On arriving at the west side of the ridge 2½ miles from the last mentioned spring, we found a very steep, rough place to descent. We halted sometime to fix the road. About half way down is a place where the road runs over huge rocks, leaving barely room for a wagon to get down, but by the labors of the brethren it was soon made possable. A little further we had to dig down a pretty high bank which occupied some time, prest. Young and myself assisting in digging. About a quarter of a mile from this place and 20 miles from Fort Bridger passed another copperas spring and a little beyond that on arriving on the bottom land again the road turns near south through a beautiful low bottom filled with grass. At ¼ to 2 we halted in this bottom for noon having travelled 9 miles. Latitude of this halt 41°.14ŒÑ.21Àù.—
After halting an hour and a half we proceeded again and at 3½ miles began to ascent the dividing ridge, between the Colorado waters and the Great Basin. This mountain is very high and the ascent steep rendering it necessary to make a crooked road to gain the summit. According to Er Pratts observations the height of this ridge is [blank space] feet above the level of the sea. The top is narrow, and on the left is another mountain as much higher than this as this is higher than the valley. 3 bears were observed running up the side of the mountain but they escaped from the hunters. On descending again on the west side we found it very steep having to lock the wagons for over half a mile. On arriving at the foot of the ridge we travelle[d] on the bottom a few miles between high rugged mountains till the road seems suddenly to be also up by a high mountain ahead. Here the road turns suddenly to the left and goes east about 200 yards then winds round another ridge till it takes a south west course. After rising and descending another high ridge we crossed a small creek about 10 feet wide and at a quarter to 8 formed our encampment on the south west banks having travelled this afternoon 9 miles and during the day 18 miles, over the most mountainous country we have hitherto seen. After we had camped Mr Miles Goodier came into camp. He is the person who is living on the farm in the Bear river valley. He says it is 75 miles to his place from here although we are now within two miles of Bear River. His report of the valley is more favorable than some we have heard. He says the road is better to go by his place to the Salt Lake than it is to follow the Hastings route but we are some inclined to believe that he is anxious to have us make a road to his place through selfish motives. Er Pratt has found a beautiful spring of clear cold water, about a hundred yards south west from the camp. The water is very pleasant tasted.
Sunday 11 Morning fine, with ice a quarter of an inch thick on the water pails. Prest. Young and myself went to the top of a mountain on the east of the camp, from whence we had a pleasing view of the surrounding valley, which appears to be about 10 miles wide. There seems to be abundance of timber on the mountains south and south west and beyond that plenty of snow. We bowed ourselves before the Lord and offered up our prayers president Young being mouth. We then descended on the south side and wound round to the foot on the west side where we discovered a very strong sulpher spring, the surface of the water is covered with flower of sulpher and where it oozes from the rock there is a kind of very black substance adheres to the rock. The water in this creek shows that there is much sulpher in it and it smells bad. During the day some of the brethren discovered an oil spring about a mile south of the camp. The substance which rises out of the ground bears a strong resemblance to tar and is very oily. Some have oiled their gun stocks with it, others their shoes and it has the appearance of common whale oil. Many are gone to fill their tar buckets, and are sanguine that it will answer well to grease wagon wheels.
It appears singular to see such a contrast of matter collected within rock a short distance. Pure water, sulpher and oil or tar within a mile of each other, and other matters of contemplation all around for the contemplation of the curious. Porter Rockwell and brother Little have been out with Mr Goodier to view the route he has suggested for us to take. They do not give a very encouraging report of it nor of the appearance of the country through which we have yet to pass. There are some in camp who seem to be getting discouraged with the appearence of the country. But we have no doubts but we shall yet find a suitable place for the saints to locate. It is evident that the country grows better as we proceed west, vegetation is more plentiful and appears much richer.
After dark a meeting was called and the report of bro. Little concerning the road &c laid before the brethren. It was voted to take the right hand or north road, but the general feelings of the Twelve was to follow the other road. Such matters are generally left to the choice of the brethren so that they may have no cause of complaint.
Monday 12 Morning cloudy and cool. We pursued our journey at ¼ past 7 and as 1¼ miles rose a very steep, low fill, narrow but very steep on both sides. Half a mile further and we forded the "Bear River" a very rapid stream about 6 rods wide and 2 foot deep, bottom full of large cobble stones, water clear, banks lined with willows and a little timber good grass, many strawberry vines and the soil looks rich and good. About half a mile beyond the ford we passed over another ridge, and again descended into and travelled up a beautiful narrow bottom, covered with grass, and looks fertile, but destitute of timber. 4¾ miles beyond "Bear River" passed a small spring of good, clear cold water.—At 10 minutes past 12 we halted for noon in this narrow pass, near a rigdge [ridge] of high, broken rocks having travelled 9¾ miles.
A while before we halted president Young was taken very sick indeed, and seemed to continue growing worse for sometime. When the camp started onward again prest. Young was too sick to be moved and we concluded to tarry where we are untill he gets some better. There are 8 wagons stopped here 3 of which are mine[.] all the rest are gone on. The prest. was insensible part of the afternoon and evening and was very sick. Brother Rockwood is also a very sick man and is mostly insensible with fever.
Tuesday 13 Prest. Young and Col. Rockwood remain very sick. John Brown and Joseph Mathews returned to us this morning and reported that they were 6¾ miles ahead of us. I returned with these brethren accompanied by brother Egan and when I arrived amongst the brethren we called a meeting and I proposed the idea of a company going ahead with Er Pratt to hunt out the route and also improve and make a good road if possible. This was agreed to and soon after dinner of [sic] 42 men started with Er O[rson] Pratt at their head, having 22 wagons for the above purposes. About ¼ of a mile west from this camp there is a cave in the rocks sabout 30 feet long 20 feet wide and 5 foot high. About 3 o clock brother Egan and myself returned back to our camp accompanied by George A. Smith, we found prest. Young a little better.—
Wednesday 14 Morning pleasant. Ers Woodruff and Barney Adams came from the other camp to see the sick who are much better. It was concluded for Er Woodruff to bring his carriage in the morning to carry prest. Young, as he thinks he will be able to ride some then. Went to the top of a mountain accompanied by Ers Benson, L[orenzo]. Young and Egan where we offered up our prayers in behalf of the sick and also for our families and the saints &c Elders Woodruff and Adams took supper with me and then returned back to their camp.
Thursday 15 About 8 o clock Er Woodruff arrived with his carriage and soon afterwards our company proceeded on towards the other camp. We arrived at 12 and gave orders to have their teams got up and go a few miles further. During the time the brethren were getting up their teams we had a very refreshing shower. At half past 1 we proceeded onward, and after travelling 2 miles from Back Cave passed a spring of very good water, at the foot of a high hill a little to the right of the road. At half past 3 we formed our encampment at the foot of some high red bluffs having travelled to day 11¾ miles. Feed here is plentifull and there is a spring of good cold water a little to the left of the road. Evening fine and pleasant.
Friday 16 This morning we had two pleasant showers accompanied by pretty loud thunder. At ¼ to 9 we proceeded again the sick being still some better. We passed through a narrow defill between very high mountains and after travelling 1¾ miles crossed a deep ravine where many of the teams wanted help to get over and ½ a mile further crossed the creek. We found this crossing place very bad, one of the wagons broke down and we made a new place to cross which detained us about an hour.
After crossing this creek the mountains are higher and nearer together leaving but a narrow pass for the creek and a road. At half past 12 we halted to feed having travelled 6¾ miles. During the halt O.P. Rockwell came back from Er Pratts company and reported that it is about 25 or 30 miles from here to the Kanion. They have found the mountain road avoiding the Kanion and expect to reach the summit of the ridge today noon.
At 20 minutes past 2 we were on the way again. We found the space between the mountains very narrow and had to cross the creek a number of times, in several places we found the crossing bad. After proceeding a few miles we passed through some groves of Oak shrubbery. In the same region there are also many wild gooseberries, Hop vines, Elder bushes and black brick. In some places the road runs close to the foot of high, perpendicular, red mountains of rock, supposed to be from 600 to 1000 feet high. At a quarter to 7 we formed our encampment having travelled this afternoon 9½ miles and during the day 11¼. We are enclosed by high mountains on each side and this is about the only good camping ground we have seen since noon not for lack of grass or water, but not being sufficient room to place our wagons. The grass on the creek at this place is as much as 8 or 10 feet high and plentiful.
Prest. Young is quite fatigued with the days journey and feel so well. [sic]
Saturday 17 Prest. Young has had a very sick night. One of the black smith's forge's was set up and some wagons repaired. At 20 minutes to 10 we resumed our journey and after travelling 1 mile arrived at the red fork of Weber River which is about 4 rods wide, 3 foot deep, the water very clear and swift current. Its banks are lined with cotton wood, birch and thick underwood.
Prest. Young found that he should not be able to travel today, and several of us went ahead a little to look for a place to camp, and having reported the camp proceeded to the spot w[h]ere we formed our encampment having travelled 2½ miles. Prest. Young was very sick indeed, and a while after we camped myself, Ers Richards, G[eorge] A. Smith, E[zra]. T[aft]. Benson & others went on a high mountain East of the Camp, and there clothing ourselves we offered up our prayers for Prest. Young especially and for the sick generally.
In the evening I rode out with G.A. Smith & H[oward]. Egan to go and see the Kanion, but it was further than we expected, and night coming in we returned back to camp without seeing the Kanion. We got back to camp about 11 o clock.
Sunday 18 This morning prest. Young is some better. I called the camp together and advised the brethren to meet together for prayer, instead of rambling off, some hunting, some fishing, some climbing mountains &c The brethren agreed to do it and immediately went to building a bower for that purpose. At 10 o clock the brethren mostly assembled and united in prayer exhortation &c I then proposed that all the camp, except 8 or 10 wagons & sufficient men to attend on Prest. Young, proceed tomorrow and make their way to the end of the journey, and when they find a good place go to plowing and planting potatoes, buck wheat &c in order to save our seed. The proposition met the minds of the brethren and decided accordingly.
At 2 o clock the brethren met again and the Bishops attended to administering the sacrement after which myself and several others of the Twelve exhorted the brethren to faithfulness, dilligence &c
The day was very hot and prest. Young yet remains very sick.
Monday 19 Morning pleasant. Prest. Young some better. The portion of the camp that are going ahead 41 wagons started at ¼ to 8 leaving 15 wagons behind. 3 of my wagons are gone and 3 remain here. The balance concluded to moved lower doun [sic] the river and at ½ past 9 we started and went a mile and a half and again camped. Soon as we got our teams turned out myself, G.A. Smith, E.T. Benson, W. Woodruff and H. Egan rode after the other company to view the road &c We passed Er Snow with his wagon broke down, and on arriving at the top of the mountain came up with the camp. We went on about 3 miles further and then returned to our camp, G.A. Smith going on with the camp ahead.
We found the flies very troublesome to our horses as we returned and the country rough and mountainous we arrived at Camp about half past 4 and I suppose had travelled about 20 miles. We found prest. Young some better and the sick are generally recovering.
I felt fatigued and wore out with riding and, with constant exercise riding ahead to select camping places &c, but my health continues good.
Tuesday 20 Prest. Young's health improving. We concluded to go on a piece and travel in the cool of the morning. We started at half past 5 and after travelling 1 mile forded the river. We found it good to ford and a hard bottom, the water about 2 foot deep. ¾ of a mile beyond the ford we arrived at a guide board put up by some of the brethren ahead, with the following inscsription on it. "Pratts Pass to avoid the Kanion. From Fort Bridger 74¼ miles." At this point the road turns south west and travelling 2 miles further we halted for breakfast near a cool stream of clear water.
There is a considerable grass here, some wood and it wood be a pretty good place to camp. After halting an hour and a half we proceeded onward. I rode ahead with brother Benson to see for a campground and after arriving on the top of the mountain prest. Young found he would not be able to go much further, we therefore selected our camp ground and having reported we continued on a few miles further, and finally formed our encampment on Kanion Creek having travelled 12½ miles over very uneven road and passed over two high hills.
There are 3 wagons here who started with the other company viz. bro Goddard, Case & Wm. Smoot. They have stopped on account of sickness. This is a pretty good place to camp, being plenty of grass & good water. The creek is about 2 rods wide and 18 inches deep. High mountains on all sides and about a mile below here the creek passes through a round Kanion.
Wednesday 21 Pres. Young feels quite feeble this morning by the fatigue of yesterdays journey, consequently it was considered best to remain here till tomorrow. I went in company with bro. E Benson and Lorenzo Young to visit the Kanion below. We found that the creek runs between high mountains for near half a mile. We walked down it about half way but could go no further[.] The water rushes between the rocks and in some places under them with tremendous force. In some places the water is 6 or 8 feet deep. We returned back to camp and found prest. Young much better. Er Sherwood and the other sick brethren are also better.
Thursday 22 At half past 7 we proceeded on our journey the sick being considerable better. After travelling about 2 miles further Case rode up and reported that one of his wagon wheels had broke down, we therefore after travelling about a mile further formed our encampment on the same creek. I went back in company with brothers Benson and Egan to assist brother Case. On arriving at his wagon we cut a pole, lashed it uner the wagon and putting brother Bensons horse ahead of brother Case's hauled the wagon to camp. After arriving at the camp we took the load and put it into other wagons and proceeded on again. After having traveled about 3 miles further we crossed a very bad slough where one of Lorenzo Young's horses mired. We proceeded a little further and found a letter left in a stick by Er O. Pratt giving us information where they were and what kind of road we had yet before us. We went on about a quarter of a mile further and camped for the night having travelled about 7½ miles over a very rough and crooked road, mostly through thick bushes of willows and having allready corssed this creek 12 times.
Friday 23rd We proceeded onward at ¼ to 7 and after crossing the creek once more, turned off suddenly to the west and began to ascend a high mountain, the road passing up a ravine and gradually though rapidly ascending. The road in some places is rough and rocky and on side hills which makes bad travelling. The road lays through many thickets of underbrush, and forests of hemlock and popler trees. After travelling 4¼ miles we arrived at the summit of the mountain from whence we had a fine view of the snow mountains and the valley of the Salt Lake in the distance south west
We found it necessary to lock both hind wagon wheels going down this hill the descent being very steep. It also winds over a very rough road caused by stumps of trees left where the road has been cut through timber[.] a mile from the top is a bridge over a ravine, and at this place Lorenzo Youngs wagon turned over. His two little boys where [were] in the wagon, but they were taken out by cutting a hole through the wagon cover and were not hurt. Half a mile below this we arrived at a good spring which is the head of a creek which runs near south west from here. We crossed this creek 6 times, and found the road generally rough. After travelling 3 miles from the spring we arrived on an open prairie near a good spring and halted for noon having travelled 8¾ miles. While we were halting John Pack and Joseph Mathews rode up. They roported both companies of the brethren to be about 14 miles ahead encamped in a valley about 25 miles from the Salt Lake, which could be seen in the distance to the North West.
When they left this morning the brethren were preparing to move a few miles further and then stop and commence planting. He brought a letter from O. Pratt, G.A. Smith and W. Richards giving an account of the roads, the general features of the country &c
After halting about 2 hours we proceeded onward the road leaving this creek (Browns Creek) and ascending another steep hill by a winding road. We found it a mile and a half to the top. Here John Pack and Joseph Mathews left us to return to the forward Camp. We found the descent pretty steep, and the sides of the hill thick with Service berry bushes. At 5 o clock we encamped at the base of the hill on the banks of "last creek", a small clear stream of cool water, having travelled this afternoon 3 miles and during the day 11¾. Sometime after our arrival at this place the sky became overcast with clouds and has the appearance of a very heavy storm.
The grass here is rather tall and rank though in places it is pretty good. The sick are gaining strength as fast as can be expected considering the fatigue of the journey. This day has been the hottest day we have experienced since we left Winter Quarters, and the hardest days travel on our horses. There was not a breath of air in the ravines, and the dust was almost suffocating.
Saturday 24 We started early this morning and found the road very rough and uneven to the mouth of the Kanion which is 4¾ miles from where we started. We ascended a steep pitch, from whence we beheld the Great valley of the Salt Lake spreading before us, and soon after we came in sight of the other camp. We found the balance of the road good and rapidly descending for several miles. We arrived amongst the brethren at a quarter past 12 having travelled today 12¾ miles, making the total distasncse from Fort Bridger 116 miles and from Fort John 573 miles.