William H. Miles diary, 1861 July-August and 1862 May-July, fd. 2, 8A-8G.
View this source online
- Source Locations
- Church History Library, MS 4246 2
- Related Companies
- Sidney Tanner Company (1861)
- Related Persons
- David Robertson Burnett
- [Brother] Covington
- William Cowley
- William Davis
- John Druce
- Ann Jack McFarlane Erskine
- Archibald Erskine
- [Brother] Hamer
- John Jackson Hunt
- George Hymers
- Mary Ann Hibbett Jeffery
- Thomas Alfred Jeffery
- [Brother] Jeweller
- Lashbrook Laker
- William Hart Miles
- George Canigh Moore
- George Sharrett Moore
- Mary Ann Davis Moore
- Olivia Sophia Moore
- James Moses
- [Brother] Murret
- Henry William Nichols
- William Orton
- Hiram Parrish
- Elijah Francis Pearce
- Frederick Thomas Perris
- [Brother] Pettit
- Robert Price
- [Sister] Raynor
- Ira Beckwith Reed
- [Brother] Rodgers
- Bernard Herman Schettler
- Marcus De Lafayette Shepherd
- [Brother] Skinner
- [Brother] Slade
- [Sister] Slade
- [Sister] Stokes
- [Brother] Stone
- Sidney Tanner
- [Brother] Vine
- [Brother] Would [or Wood]
July 1861 Tuesday 9—Left home this morning and went to the Shop to prepare for starting for the valley, got all my baggage up to the depot, and then returned to the house to take leave of my family. My wife prepared my supper, and I then took my leave of all, my family. They accompanying me to the front door—gave each an affectionate kiss, and left with sorrowful feelings, nevertheless, with a consciousness that I was fulfilling a duty, which, if I remain faithful would save myself and them. The last words of my wife were, with faltering voice, "When will we see you again?" I replied, "I will see you again sometime". Met Brother O[rson] Pratt at the railroad depot and left at 5 P.M. by N.Y. and Erie Railroad.
Wednesday 10—Traveled last night and slept on the cars, very comfortable. Reached Toledo in the Evening. Traveled all night.
Thursday 11—Reached Chicago about 5 A.M. Took breakfast and left to go into the city to get a rope to secure my trunk which was coming to pieces by the rough usage on the route. Cars started for Quincy, Illinois, about ¼ to 9 o'clock, again on the cars all night. This route shows a very beautiful country, crops fine all through the route, prairie lands beautiful.
Friday 12—Reached Quincy, Illinois, this morning early—about 4 o'clock. Took the boat for Hannibal—found no cars running to Saint Joseph—owing to the railroad bridge at or near Palmyra being burned. Track torn up and the road in possession of the Secessionists. We were promised a passage next day by waiting. We remained at the hotel by the depot, all night, after getting $15 each paid back for our ticket to take the road across Iowa, in case of the track not being clear for cars to run.
Saturday 13—This morning finding no certain prospect of going today, we took the 7 o'clock boat for Kiokuk [Keokuk], where we took the railroad to Eddysville, 92 miles from there by stage across to Council Bluffs,—arrived at Eddysville this evening at 8 O'clock. After supper took the stage and road all night.
Sunday 14—Afternoon about 2 o'clock arrived at Des Moines City—laid over at a hotel until next morning. This is a fine flourishing place on the river of same name on the skirts of fine Prairie land.
Monday 15—Left Des Moines City at 7½ o'clock, traveled by stage, changed at different places on the route. Passed through several towns today.
Tuesday 16—Arrived in Florence with Orson Pratt. Find all the Emigration gone except a few scattering ones, with the mule teams of Sidney Tanner and camped one mile from Florence. Stopped at the hotel.
Wednesday 17—(Went to Omaha[.] bought a few articles and beans for Company) this was crossed out. [sic] Engaged passage to valley in Sidney Tanner's mule train.
Thursday 18—Went down to Omaha[.] bought 63 lbs beans for the Company, also a hat and two flannel shirts for self.
Friday 19—Went to Omaha today with William S. Godbe and returned late, rained, and stopped at the hotel again. Purchased mosquito netting for $1.50—gave half away in the Company.
Saturday 20—Left Florence Camp and traveled 23 miles and camped on the Elkhorn River. Some few Indians came into the camp.
Sunday 21—Started at 7 o'clock, made 29 miles today and camped on the Platt[e] River, mosquitoes and fllos [flies] very troublesome. Pawnee Indians came into camp, asked for some food. From Florence to Elkhorn country somewhat hilly, no wood of any consequence. From Elkhorn to Platt[e] River more level, no trees to be seen for miles, few houses on the road.
Monday 22—Made 25 miles and camped on the Platte River. Weather pleasant, flies plentiful and hard on the teams. Camped at Noon among the willows. Beautiful ground for camping on the Platte, in the evening called the camping ground "Bid Bend".
Tuesday 23—Left camp at 7 o'clock. 8 miles to Loupe [Loup] Fork where the wagons are ferried across a swift stream of about 100 feet and ford the rest of the distance. Camped in the Cottonwood grove. Wind very high. Beautiful clear day. Seen but two Indians today. Left Loupe [Loup] Fork at 2½ o'clock. Camped at 7 o'clock after 20 miles travel upon the banks of the Platte. Good nights rest after a cool and refreshing bath in the river. Country flat and level. Not much timber.
Wednesday 24—Left camp at 8 o'clock, wind high, clear and cool. Went 10 miles—12¼ o'clock—camped for dinner on the banks of the Platte river. Character of the country same. Seen but few houses perhaps one in five or ten miles. The river is near half mile in width at this place. Went some 10 miles and camped.
Thursday 25—Left camp at 7 o'clock, went 13 miles and camped. Poor place for wood, made fire of willow brush—two miles beyond the lone tree station. Prospect of rain. This is the sixth day, noon—125 miles from Florence, made 15 miles afternoon. I walked 10 miles, level good road, and camped at 7 o'clock. Mosquitoes thick here. Light fall of rain during night. 140 miles beyond Florence.
Friday 26—Started trains at 7 o'clock, traveled 13 miles. Crossed Wood River and camped southside of same. Passed this forenoon in sight about 8 or 10 houses, many of them are built of Sods, of grass, and roofed of the same. We are camped at 12 o'clock, opposite a very fine field of corn on our left and our right, what is termed Wood River, a stream about 10 feet wide and 3 feet deep. Many wild plums along the water. Off again at 5 minutes past 2 o'clock and after 12 miles camped near Wood River. Fair day.
Saturday 27—Left camp at 7 o'clock and 20 minutes. Camp up with Johnson Company of Ox trains at Johnson Printing Office. Saw Brother and Sister Jeffries, Brother and Sister Frakine, Brother Slade and wife, Sister Stokes, Brother Davis and other New York Saints and camped 8 miles beyond. Camp 13 miles this A.M. Overtook Hasman's train of 71 wagons. Schotlor, Stone and family, Moore and family, and Brothers Pratt and Snow are with this train, and camped 7 o'clock near together. 195 miles from Florence. Wood scarce, plains more hilly, soil sandy, weather hot—scarce any air stirring. 13 miles P.M.
Sunday 28—Left at 7 o'clock—traveled 4 hours and overtook Wooley's train of about 50 wagons, chiefly Danish and Swedes. Brother Pratt and Snow came up and exchanged a passenger, Sister Allen for Hannah Pegg, camped from half-past one to 3½ o'clock. Wood and water scarce. We traveled again until 7 o'clock, 25 miles.
Monday 29—Left camp at 8 o'clock[.] made about 12 miles. Camped on the Platte. No wood[.] mosquitoes plenty. Stood guard last night over the mules for the first time—2 hours. Nothing of interest transpired. Traveled in the p.m. about 10 miles. Camped close to the Platte. High wind. Bathed—mosquitoes fewer.
Tuesday 30—Left camp at 7 o'clock, found wood at a camp on road—went about 12 miles. Camped near a mile to the river. We are today about 270 miles on the way. Camped on the beautiful ground, again on the river. Wind blow fresh and drove away the mosquitoes which were numerous. Brother Skinner was taken very sick and for a time was delirious—better in the morning. His complaint was induced by too much exposure to the sun and severe pain in the bowles [bowels], like cramp or colic.
Wednesday 31—Left camp at 7½ o'clock—traveled through the sand hills where the flies are thick and hard on the mules. Camped at 12 o'clock—moved off at 2½ o'clock and camped at 8 o'clock among the sand hills. Water good from a fine Spring, bubbling up out of the sand along side of what is called a slew. Large green flies very hand [hard] on the mules. We are here 4 or 5 miles from river—about 300 miles from Florence. After singing praying by Brother Skinner retired to tent. Felt a little unwell this evening.
August Thursday 1—Left at 7½ O'clock[.] traveled until 11½ o'clock. Reached North Fork and camped near the river. 5 or 6 of our company crossed over for wood—as this is about the last we shall have for near a week. Roads sandy and heavy. A grave was seen today of June 29, 1861 of a young man 22 years, shot by accident, name, S. Welles. Said to be this day 300 miles from Florence—traveled 10 miles today.
Friday 2—Left camp at 8 o'clock[.] traveled over level plains until 11½ o'clock. Camped. Three Indians rode up on ponies afterward three boys—sons of one of them, afterward 8 more warriors came into camp—stood off a short time until they felt assured of friendship, when they came up and sat down in a circle and smoked the pipe of peace, passing it from one to another. They followed us when we moved off until we came to a stream about 3 miles distant, sat down, and witnessed the crossing of the teams, and then crossed and left. They were Sioux. We camped again at 5 o'clock on the Platte. Fine breeze.
Saturday 3—Did not start today until near 9 o'clock. We had to go through sand hills 6 or 7 miles and camped at 11½ o'clock near a spring of pure cold water, bubbling up from the bottom of a hole dug by someone here. Also we found the skull of a Buffalo written on by a Company that had passed on Monday 29th com. 5th report 2 accidents.—no wood brush and b[uffalo] chips for fuel—started at 1½ o'clock and camped at 5½ o'clock—made about 18 miles. Very sandy, hilly road—mosquitoes as thick as ever. Met one wagon 3 pack mules from California—out of provisions—gave them some.
Sunday 4—Left at 8 o'clock and had a very bad sandy, hilly road. One wagon upset and detained our train half a day. Encamped at noon at a Spring of water boiling up out of the sand. Only made about 8 or 9 miles today. Came up a shower in the distance. Continued windy and cloudy. Mosquitoes plenty.
Monday 5—This morning, cool and pleasant with prospect of rain. Left camp at 8 o'clock. Nothing of interest to note, road along the bottom chiefly with some heavy sandy road and the mosquitoes were plenty. Camped in the evening at the worst place yet for these pests of man and beast. Curiosity of another boiling Spring…[sic] Sunday evening camping.
Tuesday 6—Today started at ¼ 8 o'clock—went about 12 miles and camped after passing some heavy sand hills. Eldredge's train passed the place of our camping on 3d August. We receive communications from forward trains written on Buffalo skulls. Weather more cool and pleasant. Few mosquitoes as yet. Bluff on opposite side river high and bold. River ¾ mile wide, but little wood seen yet, bluffs somewhat rocky. Camped in the evening at 6 o'clock.
Wednesday 7—Today started at 7½ o'clock and traveled about 18 miles. Camped in the evening without supper owing to a heavy thunder storm coming on and wetting all the fuel.
Thursday 8—Started at 8 o'clock and traveled about 22 miles. Saw 7 Indians and squaws with a pack horse from Laramie. The country is more hilly and rocky. Camped this evening on the Platte—but few mosquitoes. A good nights rest. Fair day.
Friday 9—Started at 7½ o'clock and camped at 12 o'clock. No wood yet to be seen. Near Chimney Rock—was seen this morning in the distance. It is expected we will be at Laramie by Wednesday next. Afternoon the wind blew up somewhat fresh. We traveled from 3 to 7 o'clock—4 hours—about 10 miles—and camped. Came up a thunder storm and rained part of the night, the rain leaking into my bed a little during the night. The following was crossed out—(An unpleasant remark about putting up the tent was made to me by Bro. To which I do not feel is justifiable—let it go.) [sic]
Saturday 10—Left camp 7¼ o'clock and past the Court House Rock as it is called. I made a sketch as we passed in the front part of this book. We camped again at 11¼ o'clock. Came up while at dinner a thunder storm—wood is scarce—a very little wet wood could be had by crossing river on the Islands. B. Chips are wet and fire made with difficulty. Laid up this afternoon to allow time for washing and resting mules.
Sunday 11—Left camp at 6:50 saw 2 Indians with 5 ponies at 8:45 who rode along side of the road a short distance and then took off over the hills. Chimney Rock at 10½ o'clock. We camped opposite for dinner. Fine clear day, not too hot, just right for traveling. Stormed again at 5 o'clock. We camped then also.
Monday 12—Left at 7½ o'clock. Camped at 1½ o'clock near Scotts Bluff. Chimney Rock seen plain <at> about 20 miles distant.
Tuesday 13—Left camp at 7 o'clock and camped again at 12 o'clock in sight of Laramie Peak. Chimney Rock was seen this morning at starting. 30 miles distance[.] traveled this day about 18 miles and camped on the Platte River.
Wednesday 14—Left camp 6:45 a.m. and camped again at 11 o'clock. Indians came into camp with Squaws and children. Made about 22 miles today. Wrote a letter to Sarah J. Miles.
Thursday 15—Left camp at 7 o'clock and went 12 miles and camped on the Platte near opposite Laramie. Wrote a letter to R. Graham, also, to F.K. Benedict and expected to have mailed in Laramie, but owing to a mistake was not mailed. Went over myself and got bread and cheese, etc, and walked with Brother Cowley 8 or 10 miles to camp. We forded the river twice today. Some Indians came into camp today. Wouldn't it be pleasant if kindred spirits were together more. I cannot abide anything low and vulgar. I have not so learned Christ and His Gospel. Hasten, O Lord, the day when Thy Saints shall be Saints indeed.
Friday 16—Left camp 7½ o'clock—forded river and traveled about 10 miles and camped ¼ mile from the water. Very hot day, not much air stirring. Started again 2 o'clock. We are now surrounded by hills—considerable wood begins to appear, chiefly pine. We camped at 5 o'clock at a new mail station.
Saturday 17—Left camp at 7¼ o'clock and camped again at 11 o'clock. Brother Pratt, Snow, Young, and Scovell came up with us and stayed until we started, when all but Scoville pushed on to overtake the trains at Deer Creek. 3½ o'clock camped at a Canyon, a small stream of water, hills of red rock all around.
(made 22 miles this day—Sunday.) and camped near a station. We gathered some fruit, such as currants and choke cherries. Laramie Peak still in full view. High wind, cool and pleasant. No service of any kind today.
Monday 19—Left camp at 7¼ o'clock, pushed on, making 22 miles without camping, until we arrived at a mail station 20 miles east of Deer Creek, where we found water in the creek, but nearly dry. Pasture rather poor, plenty of currants, red, yellow, black and blue. Gathered a good many and had them stewed. Choke cherries in any quantity also. I guarded mules from 6 until 8 o'clock—a mile from camp.
Tuesday 20—Joseph Young returned from Deer Creek by stage and stopped to know if we wished any flour—going back to the other trains. Rained morning, detaining the train until near 3 o'clock when we left and went 6 miles and camped. Rained nearly all night. The last camp ground was called Big Cottonwood Station.
Wednesday 21—Left camp about 11 o'clock—in consequence of the rain—making roads heavy. Bated at noon for an hour, we passed Deer Creek about 5 o'clock. I mailed a letter to Al. S. Miles for my family. Many Indians camped at this place. We traveled 6 miles from last place and camped on the Platte near a Cottonwood timber. Nights are becoming quite cold, nearly a frost. Pleasant through the day, but roads muddy.
Thursday 22—Left camp at 6:45 o'clock—very foggy morning. Traveled until we came within 1½ miles of the bridge over the Platte, and camped at 7 o'clock after making about 23 miles. Fine clear day.
Friday 23—Left camp at 6 o'clock. Crossed over the bridge and met the Utah Army about 2 miles west and camped on the Platte at a mail station, for the last time the River will be in sight. Camped at 12 o'clock, left at 2 o'clock. Hiram Parrish absconded to the Army. I drove the team, and we camped at 7½ o'clock. Wind high, stood guard with Shephard from 12 to 6 o'clock, traveled near 30 miles today. Camped at a mail station near a stream of water. At this place found a mule in a quicksand and got him out.
Saturday 24—Left camp 8 o'clock—made 13 miles—camped at 1 o'clock, near a small clear stream and laid over during afternoon.
Sunday 25—Left at 7½ o'clock—camped on the Sweet water. Left at 3 o'clock and camped. Passing Independence Rock and Devil's Gate. Beautiful place for camp, fine weather. Moderagely [moderatelyl] cold at night, warm in the daytime. Road sandy half the way. Traveled this day 23 miles. Passed Salesators [Saleratus] Lake, Independance [Independence] Rock and then Devil's Gate.
Monday 26—Left camp at 8 o'clock. Fair day. Camped again on the Sweet Water at 12½ o'clock. Left at 4 o'clock and camped at 7 o'clock, making about 20 miles. Road sandy part of the way. Not many hills. We are now said to be about 310 miles from the City of Gre[at] Salt Lake. Had a good comfortable place to camp, near some roc[k]y mountains on the Sweetwater river. Very grand mountain scenery ever since we left Independence Rock. Clouded up with indication of rain.
Tuesday 27—No rain during the night, but still cloudy. We left camp at 7½ o'clock and made about 20 miles today. Caught up with Reid and Willey's train. Camped at noon alongside of Sweetwater in a Canyon—a great rocky mountain on one side (which I tried to climb to the top)[.] Traveled 9 miles afternoon and camped near Willey's and two miles a head of Reid's—found Mills, Musgrave, Leaman, Thorne, and Palmer in Willey's camp and Pettits, Druces, Hunts, Moses, and Would in Reid's—visited them. They left at 2 o'clock in morning. We camped on the Sweetwater—all right. Ellen still sick, Anna no better.Wednesday 28—Left camp 6½ o'clock and went 18 miles to 1 o'clock. Passed over two or three very high hills. Part road good, some sandy., and camped—then made about 8 miles to Sweetwater and a large flat bottom off the old road. The Independent Companies went the other road, but, we could discern Eldriges Company from the top of the hill, on the other road, about 6 or 8 miles distant. Concluded to lay by half a day and let the animals recruit. Good feed being plenty in this valley. Distance to the valley about 270 miles.
Thursday 29—This morning made a net of the mosquito bar and went fishing in the Sweetwater. Caught about 200 lbs very fine suckers. Had dinner upon them and at 1½ o'clock started. Left the Sweetwater to go over the rocky ridge—traveled about 15 miles and reached Strawberry Creek at 8 o'clock—dark—and camped without supper. Mountains in sight with some snow, frost during night. The teams stopped about 3 miles from camp at a store, to get some flour and feed, which had been left on going down, this is the worst part of the road to be traveled over, between here and SL
Friday 30—Left camp at 8:45 o'clock and crossed the Rock Creek. Two steep hills came down, road smooth, and gravelly—arrive at the upper crossing of Sweetwater and camp for dinner at 1 o'clock, fine cool day, just comfortable for travel. Eldredge's Company had camped at above place last night, willow wood here, feed plenty, made 12 miles this morning. Afternoon went 6 miles further on the old Mormon Route and camped on a hill near the Sweetwater. Cold night, frost.
Saturday 31—Left camp at 7½ o'clock and reached Pacific Springs at 10½ o'clock. Gathered a few cornelian stones about 3 miles from the Springs on the road. This is the point where water commences to flow to the Pacific Ocean. After leaving, about five miles we passed Eldreges train. Saw Vine, Pearce, Jeweller, Orton, Burnett, Skerry, Covington and Murrot. We camped at the station making 18 miles today. The train passes us going forward 14 miles to little Sandy.
September Sunday 1—Left at 7½ o'clock, camped at Little Sandy, 14 miles—again at 4 o'clock, camped at Big Sandy, 9 miles. Found Eldridge's Company at each place. Godbe overtook us, road good.
Monday 2—Left at 7 o'clock, camped at Big Sandy at noon. Ice froze on pail, 19 miles this a.m. 9 miles P.M. Camped on Green River. Road sandy and stoney. Cottonwood groves all around, we are now in Utah. 150 miles to S.L. City. Here in crossing, Green river, got my forefinger of my right hand broken by a blow from butt of a whip intended for a mule which I had been driving becoming unmanageable.
Tuesday 3—Left at 7½ o'clock over rough stormy road. Sun hot, sage not so large. Now plenty weather at night—not so cold as at Big Sandy. Farther south, we went 11 miles, and had a dry camp in the sand. Leave 2½ o'clock for Ham's Fork—20 miles distant from Green River. We camped at Ham's Fork at 7 o'clock. Had watermelon from valley. Weather pleasant—not too cool.
Wednesday 4—Left camp at 7½ A.M. and passed Horn's Company two miles from our camp. Learned of the death of Sister Raynor from Brother Nichols, Dadman, and Hymas. Camped at noon at Black[s] Fork. River 14 miles. Went four miles in afternoon and camped about 5 o'clock on Black Fork.
Thursday 5—Left camp at 6:45 A.M. Made 14 miles to Bridger. Camped for dinner. Captain Martindale's Company there. Brother Shelton, Spencer, and Laker was in it. Made 13½ miles on the new road from Bridger and camped in the evening at 8 o'clock near Milo Andrus Company, after passing down a large hill in the canyon near the camp. Saw Brother Hamer and family, Perris, Price, Rodgers. Part of road passed rather stoney. It is said we are about 100 miles from the City. Weather fine, cold with frost at night.
Friday 6—Left camp at 8 o'clock—passed over a good smooth road and nooned in a good bottom for feed, 12 miles. Made about 9 miles p.m. and camped on the Bias [Bear] River in a fine valley—4 or 5 miles wide and 6 or 8 long. Sister Hodges from Andrus Company called upon me today noon—I did not recognize her until she told her name.
Saturday 7—Started at 6:40 o'clock and after passing over a pretty high mountain, camped at 11½ o'clock on a dry creek—obtained sufficient water in the bed of the creek. ¼ mile distant for dinner. In the morning about 72 miles to City. Again at 3 o'clock started down Chalk Creek Canyon and made about 8 miles. Camped in a canyon narrow part, high rocks on the right hand sides rising 300 or 400 feet perpendicular. Mountains on the other. Scenery grand and picturesque. Brother Shephard killed two prairie lions.
Sunday 8—Left camp at 8 o'clock a.m. Made 8 or 9 miles over a pretty rough road for deep, steep ditches, etc. Some part of the road good and level, fine clear weather, strong breeze sweeps up through the Canyon. We camped for dinner (12½ o'clock) at the foot of a very beautiful valley—and very good feed. Scenery beautiful. Made about 4½ miles afternoon and camped.
Monday 9—Started at 7 o'clock and went over the seven crossings about two miles to the Weber River—a good many settlements along here. Came down the Weber to Silver Creek Canyon, 7 miles, and camped above the mouth of same. 35 miles from here to city. Start at 2½ o'clock and camp again at 7 o'clock.
Tuesday 10—Came out this morning into Parley's Park and passed over some good road which had recently been mended—but found the road at this end very rough, crooked, etc. Camped in the Canyon at noon, and evening had to make 12 miles to city.
Wednesday 11—Came 12 miles this morning and got into the City about 1 o'clock. The view of the City at the bench at the mouth of the Canyon was very fine, and soul inspiring. After being on the plains, and narrow mountain passes for 7 long weeks I rejoiced that I had arrived at the end of my journey. But, there was one thought which crossed upon my mind—my Dear family. Where had I left them, and under what circumstances[.] It is for the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am here. May God bless them, and restore them to me, is my daily prayer.