Thomas Sleight journal excerpts in Historical Department journal history of the Church, 1896-2001 July, 9 August 1860, 1B-1G.
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The following is a copy of the daily journal <kept by>
of Elder Thos. [Slight] Sleight <(now of Bear Lake Valley Idaho)> who crossed the plains in Capt. W. Walling's train which was the first company of emigrants crossing the plains that season in 1860:
Wednesday, May 30. Our train left Florence, Neb. [Nebraska] with 30 wagons Warren Walling, Captain; A. [G. W.] Russell, chaplain. Prior to starting the following rules were agreed upon by the company. "Rules to be observed by the camp. Traveling must be in single file in close order; halting at noon and camping at night must be as the captain orders or directors. Each man must take his turn in herding the stock at noon and night, and guarding camp at night, four in each place, two to each watch. The chaplain shall call the camp to prayers morning and night and preside at worshiping assemblies. All must have their guns and amunition in order to protect any or all against any foe."
Thursday, May 31. Crossed the Elk Horn River and camped at Raw Hide.
Friday, June 1. Traveled to Barker and camped.
Saturday, June 2. Reached Shell Creek. <A> child
died belonging to Bro. [Hyrum Bowles] Morse <died>.
Sunday, June 3. Drove to Clear Creek.
Monday, June 4. Came to a clear stream called the Looking Glass.
Tuesday, June 5. Crossed the Loupe Fork on ferry boat at Genoa and camped. Leaving Genoa was like leaving home. Three years ago, I with three or four hundred people reached this place and commenced to plow and fence. A townsite was surveyed, about a mile square with streets 8 rods wide. Ten acre blocks, 8 lots in a block. There was but one log house between us and Omaha, 100 miles east. We lived here until August, 18
59 <60>, when a government Indian agent ordered us to vacate. One month was allowed us to move our fences, hay and grain, stacks over the imaginery line about 80 rods east. If anything was left after that date, it was Uncle Sam's. He said we were on Indian soil.
Wednesday, June 6. Traveled west and camped at the Lone Tree.
Thursday, June 7. We were now between two rivers, and as we did not travel the same ground as the pioneers for a long distance, I quoted no camping ground for several days. They crossed the Loupe Fork about 40 miles above. We left the hilly region on the north, and the low country west and south was a hazy sea of earth and sky, not a tree to relive the monotony. We used the buffalo excrement for fuel.
Friday, June 15. Traveled
on <to> Buffalo Creek. Saw several buffaloes. Tried to shoot some, but they were too wise for us.
Sunday, June 17. Traveled until 10 a.m. Met 34 wagons from Salt Lake. Jos. Young <captain> with some Mormon missionaries bound for England, held a meeting; after dismissal we yoked up and were on our road again.
Tuesday, June 19. Traveled to Skunk Creek.
Wednesday, June 20. Met two wagons, H.G.Giddings and family. Camped on the Platte river where two were baptised.
Thursday, June 21. Met quite a number of Sioux Indians on horses; there were fine looking men and proud of it, quite friendly. Heavy roads and sand hills. Had a dance at night.
Friday, June 22. Met several Indians. Came to some very heavy sand hills. A California train passed us. Made a fair drive.
Saturday, June 23. Crossed several creeks, small cedar trees grew on the other side of the river. Cloudy day.
Sunday, June 24. Came to some rock bluffs, traveled till noon and then stopped for the day. Good feed for the cattle. Heavy rain at night.
Monday, June 25. Cloudy. Came to some very heavy sand hills. Had to double teams; crossed before dinner and camped on the Platte.
Tuesday, June 26. Cloudy. Passed a few Indians and their tents, some traders with them. Passed Ash Hollow before dinner, it being on the south side. Passed Castle Ruins. Or stock doing well. Camped about 3 miles from the river. Dug wells for water.
Wednesday, June 27. Very warm and cloudy. Passed some very heavy sand hills; had to double teams. Camped on the river.
Thursday, June 28. Rain in the morning. Passed high bluffs on the right hand side. "Chimney Rock" in sight. In the afternoon met five wagons returning from Salt Lake. Camped on the river.
Friday, June 29. Fine day. Mostly good road. Got opposite Chimney Rock; I should judge about three miles away. It is on the south side of the Platte. It is quite a peculiar sight. Any amount of alkali around here. Camped about a mile from the river. A cool breeze from the south; thunder storm in the night.
Saturday, June 30. Warm day, passed nine California wagons and some lodges of Indians. Did a little trading. Camped on the river, a few miles east of Scotts Bluffs, 65 miles from Laramie.
Sunday, July 1. Passed Scotts Bluffs before noon. Good road. Very hot in the afternoon, thunder shower in the evening. Camped at a spring two miles from the river. Good feed. Full moon; Laramie's Peak in sight.
Monday, July 2. Pleasant day, camped on the river.
Tuesday, July 3. Heavy winds. Came within four miles of Laramie.
Wednesday, July 4. Cannons roared from the fort. Several of us fired our guns in honor of the day. Passed the fort in the morning, it is on the south side of <the> river. Looked a nice place. Some of the boys went to the fort. Passed it a few miles and camped. Very warm. Health of the camp good.
Thursday, July 5. Traveled over some very rough road. Bro. [Warren Reed] Tenney's wagon broke down. We commenced to travel the Black Hills. Traveled all day. Very hot. Camped on the river. Traders live here. Feed poor.
Friday, July 6. Laid by for the day mending wagons. Some Californians passed us.
Saturday, July 7. Roads some better. Traveled all day without feed. Very dusty; cold in the morning. Camped on Mice Creek. Some Indians and traders here. Picked up a man left on the road yesterday.
Sunday, July8. Traveled one half day, reached the river. Drove our stock on the other side to feed. Little rain in the night.
Monday, July 9. Good roads. Cold in the morning. Reached some rugged bluffs, in the afternoon we struck the Platte again. Feed scarce.
Tuesday, July 10. Hot in the middle of the day. Found rough hills, came to the river and crossed.
Wednesday, July 11. Some very heavy sands. Came to a low bottom on the Platte. Cold in the evening.
Thursday, July 12. Passed Deer Creek in the morning. There is a ferry here and a few houses on the south side of the river. Heavy sandy roads. Day stormy. In the evening passed Poison Springs and camped.
Friday, July 13. Laid by to rest our stock and ourselves. Hares and rabbits in abundance.
Saturday, July 14. Heavy sandy roads. Passed the lower Platte bridge. Camped in a bend of the river. Good feed. Here we got some saleratus of excellent quality.
Sunday, July 15. Passed the upper bridge; sandy roads. Camped at Mineral Springs.
Monday, July 16. Good roads, made a long drive. Reached Grease Wood Creek. Good water. Passed Willow Springs. Cow a little sick. Passed several people from Utah and Oregon.
Tuesday, July 17. Heavy sandy roads. Reached Independence Rock at noon, went on top of it. Camped by a rocky mountain west of Devil's Gate.
Wednesday, July 18. Very dusty. Camped on the Sweet Water.
Thursday, July 19. Crossed the Sweet Water twice in the afternoon. There is a trading post here. We came in sight of the Rocky Mountains. The sun tried to show its face this morning, but failed. Something intervened between us and it, looks curious may be eclipsed.
Friday, July 20. Laid by for the day. Heavy thunder in the afternoon, rain in the night.
Saturday, July 21. Passed Ice Springs; there are two roads here, one going north, the other west. We took the west. Heavy roads because of rain, we traveled all day without a halt, out custom is to bait two hours at noon.
Sunday, July 22. Fine morning. We drove before breakfast. A rolling country. Passed a small stream early in the morning. Camped in a small valley. The country here is of volcanic nature. A little circumstance occurred here that raised the camp at night. I was on guard; about midnight I heard the clattering of the hoofs of a horse a long distance off. Our wagons were in a circle each side of the road. The night was still as death. When in hailing distance, I shouted, "Who comes there?" The latter stopped immediately. A voice was heard, "Pony Express." "Come on." The clatter started afresh. He rode on a gallop through the camp, many wondering what was up.
Monday, July 23. <Fine day.> Country rolling. Drove till we reached the Sweet Water, about one o'clock. Laid by for the day, good feed.
Tuesday, July 24. Fine day. Passed a station where the old road comes in. There were two Mormon boys here trading stock. Camped about 5 miles from the Pacific Springs.
Wednesday, July 25. Started from the summit of the Rocky Mountains. Traveled a few miles and ate dinner at Pacific Springs. Started again at 12 o'clock and reached William Creek at 10 o'clock in the evening. Heavy rain in the afternoon and night. Good roads. Feed scarce.
Thursday, July 26. Traveled 5 miles and camped for the day. Feed poor. Very showery, streams of water now races for the Pacific Ocean.
Friday, July 27. Still on the desert, after a short drive crossed the Big Sandy. Made our way till afternoon; camped on the road. A merchant passed us, gave us news from the trains behind; all well. Fine day. Feed scarce.
Saturday, July 28. Traveled and struck the Big Sandy about 10 o'clock. Traveled up it a few miles and camped.
Sunday, July 29. An ox, (the first of our train) owned by Dr. Davis died at this place. Made Green river about one o'clock. Ferry over fare one dollar a wagon. Made about 10 miles. Camped on the Bluffs.
Monday, July 30. Struck Black's Fork at noon; passed over Hams Fork. Camped on Black's.
Tuesday, July 31. Made one drive today.
Wednesday, Aug. 1. Good roads. Came within four miles of Ft. Bridger.
Thursday, Aug. 2. Passed Fort Bridger early in the morning. Pretty place. Stopped for dinner a few miles past it. Four of the boys stayed here to work. Eight men and two wagons started to the city with a sick girl. Weather pleasant.
Friday, Aug. 3. Hard day's travel; ascended to the highest point on our way between the
Atlantic <Great Interior Basin> and the Pacific. Night very cold.
Saturday, Aug. 4. Traveled about 2 miles and camped for the day. Feed good. Two of the boys from Salt Lake stayed here to feed their stock. A fine cow died.
Sunday, Aug. 5. Met several of Uncle Sam's men and wagons. Struck Echo Canyon in the afternoon. Traveled a considerable distance; roads good. We left another dead cow at our camp ground this morning.
Monday, Aug. 6. Find day. Captain Stoke passed us with 8 wagons loaded with goods. Got out of Echo Canyon in the afternoon. The people at this station told us of a different route, so we changed our course and camped about 3 miles up <the> Weber River.
Tuesday, Aug. 7. traveled up the river past several farms. Camped at the mouth of Three Mile Canyon.
Wednesday, Aug. 8. Rough road up the canyon. Passed the summit, reaching Parley's Park about noon. This is a stock ranch, the keepers and their stock looked well. We were made welcome. Camped very late at the foot of a little mountain.
Thursday, Aug. 9. Very hot. Down hill all the way. Roads rough. Reached Salt Lake City about 4 p.m. Pres. Young with a Bro. Spencer visited us in his carriage after our arrival. They congratulated us upon our safety and welcomed us to the city. Bro. Spencer kindly offered us his pasture for the cattle, which was
much appreciated. Altogether it was a pleasant trip, we had no trouble in the camp nor nor out. We were surely blessed of the Lord to whom we sought daily for protection for ourselves and cattle, and we gave Him the glory. In the 70 <seventy> days travel we made about 1000 miles."