William Clayton diaries, 1846-1853, Folder contents: (2) Volume 2, 1847.
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- Source Locations
- Church History Library, MS 1406
- Related Companies
- Brigham Young Vanguard Company (1847)
- Related Persons
- Barnabas Lathrop Adams
- Rufus Allen
- Truman Osborn Angell
- Millen Atwood
- Rodney Badger
- Robert Erwin Baird
- Lewis Barney
- Charles David Barnum
- Ezra Taft Benson
- George Pierce Billings
- Francis Boggs
- Samuel Brannan
- George Washington Brown
- John Brown
- Nathan Thomas Brown
- Thomas Bullock
- Charles Allen Burk
- Jacob D. Burnham
- Albert Carrington
- William Carter
- James Case
- Solomon Chamberlain
- Alexander Philip Chesley
- William Clayton
- Thomas Poulson Cloward
- Zebedee Coltrin
- James Craig
- Oscar Crosby
- Lyman Curtis
- Hosea Cushing
- James Davenport
- Isaac Perry Decker
- Clarissa Clara Young
- Benjamin Franklin Dewey
- John Dixon
- Starling Graves Driggs
- William Dykes
- Ellis Augustus Eames
- Sylvester Henry Earl
- Ozro French Eastman
- Howard Egan
- Joseph Teasdale Egbert
- John Sunderlin Eldredge
- Edmund Lovell Ellsworth
- William Adam Empey
- Horace Datus Ensign
- Addison Everett
- Nathaniel Fairbanks
- Aaron Freeman Farr
- Perry Fitzgerald
- Green Flake
- John Sherman Fowler
- Samuel Bradford Fox
- John M. Freeman
- Horace Monroe Frink
- Burr Frost
- Andrew Smith Gibbons
- John Streator Gleason
- Eric McArthur Glines
- Stephen Hezekiah Goddard
- David Grant
- George Robert Grant
- John Young Greene
- Thomas Grover
- Joseph Hancock
- Sidney Alvarus Hanks
- Hans Christian Hansen
- Appleton Milo Harmon
- Charles Alfred Harper Sr.
- John Somers Higbee
- John Greenleaf Holman
- Simeon Fuller Howd
- Matthew Hayes Ivory
- Levi Jackman
- Norton Jacob
- Artemus Johnson
- Luke Samuel Johnson
- Philo Johnson
- Stephen Kelsey
- Levi Newell Kendall
- Ellen Sanders Kimball
- Heber Chase Kimball
- William Arridus King
- Conrad Kleinman
- Lisbon Lamb
- Hark Lay
- Tarlton Lewis
- Jesse Carter Little
- Chauncey Loveland
- Amasa Mason Lyman Sr.
- Samuel Harvey Marble
- Stephen Markham
- Joseph Lazarus Matthews
- George Mills
- Carlos G. Murray
- Elijah Newman
- John Wesley Norton
- Seeley Owen
- John Pack Sr.
- Eli Harvey Peirce
Tuesday 13 At home most of the day. Thomas & James started for the farm. Evening went to the store & told Brigham & Heber about Hosea Stout’s calculations, &c
Wednesday 14 This morning severely pained with rheumatism in my face. At 11 o clock Brigham & Dr [Willard] Richards came. B. told me to rise up and start with the pioneers in half an hours notice. I delivered to him the records of the K of G. and set my folks to work to get my cloth[e]s together to start with the pioneers. At 2 o clock I left my family and started in Heber’s carriage with Heber and Wm. Kimball and Ellen Sanders[,] Bishop Whitney and [Amasa] Lyman went out with us in another wagon. We went about 19 miles and camped on the pra[i]rie. After supper Heber prayed and we retired to rest.
Thursday 15 After eating & prayers by Bishop Whitney started at half past 7 and got to the Elk Horn at 11½ . We were all across at 12 and there we overtook Brigham, G. A. Smith, E. T. Benson and Amasa Lyman. We arrived at the Pioneers Camp about 3 P.M. This Camp is about twelve miles from the Elk Horn and about 47 from Winter Quarters. I spent the evening with Aaron Farr, Horace Whitney & Jackson Redding.
Friday 16 This day is gloomy, windy and cold. About 8 the Camp were called together and organized. 2 Captains of 100s viz Stephen Markham and A. P. Rockwood were appointed, also 5 captains of 50s and 14 Captains of 10s. There are 143 men and boys on the list of the pioneer company[,] three women and Lorenzo Youngs two children. 73 Wagons. O. P. Rockwell has gone back to camp with J. C. Little, Bishop Whitney, Lyman, Wm., Kimball and J. B. Noble return from here to Winter Quarters.
The following is a list of all the names of this Pioneer Company; To wit
1 Wilford Woodruff
2 John S. Fowler
3 Jacob Burnham
4 Orson Pratt
5 Joseph Egbert
6 John M. Freeman
7 Marcus B. Thorpe
8 George A. Smith
9 George Wardle
10 Thomas Grover
11 Ezra T. Benson
12 Barnabas L. Adams
13 Roswell Stevens
14 Amasa Lyman
15 Sterling Driggs
16 Albert Carrington
17 Thomas Bullock
18 George Brown
19 Willard Richards
21 Phineas H. Young
22 John Y. Green
23 Thomas Tanner
24 Brigham Young
25 Addison Everett
26 Truman O. Angell
27 Lorenzo Young & wife
28 Bryant Stringham
29 Albert P. Rockwood
30 Joseph S. Schofield
31 Luke Johnson
32 John Holman
33 Edmund Elsworth
34 Alvarus Hanks
35 George R. Grant
36 Millen Atwood
37 Samuel Fox
38 Tunis Rappleyee
39 Harvey Pierce
40 William Dykes
41 Jacob Weilar
42 Stephen H. Goddard
43 Tarl[e]ton Lewis
44 Henry G. Sherwood
45 Zebedee Coltrin
46 Sylvester H. Earl
47 John Dixon
48 Samuel H. Marble
49 George Scholes
50 William Henrie
51 William A. Emp[e]y
52 Charles Shumway
53 Andrew Shumway
54 Thomas Woolsey
55 Chancey Loveland
56 Erastus Snow
57 James Craig
58 William Wordsworth
59 William Vance
50 Simeon Howd
61 Seeley Owen
62 James Case
63 Artemas Johnson
64 William A Smoot
65 Franklin B. Dewey
66 William Carter
67 Franklin G. Losee
68 Burr Frost &
69 Datus Ensign
70 Franklin B. Stewart
71 Monroe Frink
72 Eric Glines
73 Ozro Eastman
74 Seth Taft
75 Horace Thornton
76 Stephen Kelsey
77 John S. Eldridge
78 Charles D. Barnham
79 Almon M. Williams
80 Rufus Allen
81 Robert Y. Thomas
82 James W. Stuart
83 Elijah Newman
84 Levi N. Kendall
85 Francis Boggs
86 David Grant
87 Heber C. Kimball
88 Howard Egan
89 William A. King
90 Thomas Cloward
91 Hosea Cushing
92 Robert Byard [Baird]
93 George Billings
94 Edson Whipple
95 Philo Johnson
96 William Clayton
97 Appleton M. Harmon
98 Carlos Murray
99 Horace K. Whitney
100 Orson K. Whitney
101 Orrin P. Rockwell
102 Nathaniel Thomas Brown
103 R. Jackson Redding
104 John Pack
105 Francis M. Pomeroy
106 Aaron Farr
107 Nathaniel Fairbanks
108 John S. Higbee
109 John Wheeler
110 Solomon Chamberl[a]in
111 Conrad Clineman [Kleinman]
112 Joseph Rooker
113 Perry Fitzgerald
114 John H. Tippets
115 James Davenport
116 Henson Walker
117 Benjamin Rolfe
118 Norton Jacobs
119 Charles A. Harper
120 George Woodward
121 Stephen Markham
122 Lewis Barney
123 George Mills
124 Andrew Gibbons
125 Joseph Hancock
126 John W. Norton
127 Shadrack Roundy
128 Hans C. Hanson
129 Levi Jackman
130 Lyman Curtis
131 John Brown
132 Mat[t]hew Ivory
133 David Powell
134 Hark Lay [Wales]
135 Oscar Crosby
136 Joseph Mat[t]hews
137 Gilbirid [Gilbard] Summe
138 John Gleason
139 Charles Burke
140 Alexander P. Chessley
141 Rodney Badger
142 Norman Taylor
143 Green Flake
144 Ellis Eames
72 Wagons. 93 Horses, 52 Mules, 66 Oxen, 19 Cows, 17 dogs and 5 Chickens.
The names of the females in this camp are[:]
Harriet Page Young, Clarissa Decker, and Ellen Sanders [Kimball]. The names of the children
The following are the names of the Captains of 50s as appointed at this organization, viz Addison E. Everett, Tarlton Lewis, James Case, John Pack & Shadrack Roundy.
The Captains of 10s are as follows.
1 Wilford Woodruff
2 Ezra T. Benson
3 Phineas H.Young
4 Luke Johnson
5 Stephen H. Goddard
6 Charles Shumway
7 James Case
8 Seth Taft
9 Howard Egan
10 Appleton M. Harmon
11 John S Higbee
12 Norton Jacobs
13 John Brown
14 Joseph Mat[t]hews
(For the names of the guard and the gun division see under date of April 30th)
Stephen Markham was appointed the Captain of the Guard, and ordered to select out of the Camp, fifty men for guard, such as he had confidence in who are to be considered as a standing guard, to attend to the wagons each night, 12 of them to stand at a time, and to have 2 sets each night, that is, 12 each watch to stand half the night. In cases where the horses and cattle are tied some distance from the wagons at night an extra guard is to be selected from the balance of the company or Camp. The standing guard not being permitted to leave the immediate neighborhood of the wagons. After the organization was over, I wrote a letter to Diantha [Clayton], and put it into the hands of Bishop Whitney, together with the one I received yesterday from father & I. McEwan, also the one from Ellen to James. Up to 12 o clock M. I had no w[h]ere to put my Trunk and clothing, and did not know what to do with them. However soon after Heber told me to put them in Appleton M. Harmons wagon, which was done. At 2 the Camp started out to proceed on the journey. I bid farewell to Bishop Whitney and his brother Lyman and son Joshua, who all returned from this place, also Wm. H. Kimball and Joseph B. Nobles. We travelled about 3 miles and encamped in a line about 600 yards from timber, where there is plenty of Cotton Wood and some rushes. This night I slept with Philo Johnson, but having only one quilt, and the night severely cold, I suffered much, and took a very bad cold. The country in the neighborhood of the Elk Horn is one of the most beautiful I ever saw. The bluffs on the East are nicely rolling & beautiffuly lined with timber, and some very nice Cedar Groves. From these bluffs a little below the Ferry you can see the meanderings of the Platte River, and the beautiful level bottom on the north of it about 15 miles wide for many miles up the river. The Horn is a beautiful River about 150 feet wide and about 4 feet deep.
Saturday 17 This morning the weather is severely cold, with a strong wind from the North & North West. We started out at 9 o clock and travelled till near 12 the distance being about 7 miles. We camped close by a cotton wood grove, and the brethren fell hundreds of them to feed their teams & save corn. There is a small lake close by but the water is not good & the brethren go to the river about half a mile. At 5 P.M. the Camp were called together and organized in military order as follows[:]
Brigham Young, Lieut. General. Stephen Markham, Colonel.John Pack and Shadrack Roundy, majors. The Captains of 10s to be captains of 10s in this order, except John Pack, who being appointed Major, Appleton M. Harmon was appointed captain in his stead. Thomas Bullock, clerk of the camp. Thomas Tanner captain of the cannon with the privilege of choosing 8 men to manage it in case of necessity. The president then said, after we start from here, every man must keep his loaded gun in his hand, or in the wagon where he can put his hand on it at a moments warning. If they are cap locks, take of[f] the cap, and put on a little leather to keep wet &c out. If flint locks, take out the priming and fill the pan with twine or cotton &c
The wagons must keep together when travelling, and not separate as they have previously done, and every man to walk beside his own wagon, and not leave it only by permission. A while before evening one of the traders wagons came from the Pawnee village, loaded with furs & peltry, and camp about ¼ of a mile below us. At night Eames & Hanson played some on their violins. All peace and quietness. At night I slept with Egan in Hebers wagon, Heber being gone to sleep with Prest. Young.
Sunday 18. This morning I wrote a letter for Heber to his wife Vilate which was sent by brother Ellis Eames who has concluded to go back on account of poor health, spitting blood &c He started back with the traders wagon about 8 o clock A.M. The wind this morning E. & S.E. and very cold, with a slight shower of snow. At 10 A.M. 7 more traders wagons came in and stopped about ¼ of a mile below us, soon after 6 mules loaded with robes and furs. These traders say they have come from the Pawnee village in two days. Brother Roundy got some Buffallo meat from them and gave me a little, which I thought tasted very good. I commenced writing Hebers journal & wrote considerable. He wants me to right [write] his journal all the journey. I also wrote considerable in this book. P.M. the weather more moderate and pleasant, the wind has changed near South and the sun shines. I walked with Horace Whitney to the river which is about half a mile. At 4½ P.M. father James Case was cutting a cotton wood tree to brouse his horses, and just as it fell the wind struck it and threw it directly contrary to the direction he intended to fall. The consequence was, one of the limbs struck an ox on the neck and knocked him down. His right eye was knocked down in the socket out of sight. The ox dont seem seriously hurt otherwise. About 10 minutes after it was done the eye turned back to its place, and the ox seems to have sustained little injury. At 5 o clock The officers of the camp met with Prest. Young, and he told the order for travelling and camping hereafter, which was communicated to the companies by the Captains of 10s as follows. At 5 in the morning the bugle is to be sounded as a signal for every man to arise and attend prayers before he leaves his wagon. Then cooking, eating, feeding teams &c till 7 o clock at which time the Camp is to move at the sound of the bugle. Each teamster to keep beside his team, with their loaded gun in their hands or in their wagons where they can get them in a moment. The extra men, each to walk opposite his wagon with his loaded gun on his shoulder, and no man to be permitted to leave his wagon unless he obtains permission from his officer. In case of an attack from Indians or hostile appearances, the wagons to travel in double file. The order of encampment to be in a circle with the mouth of the wagon to the outside, and the horses and stock tied inside the circle. At 8½ P.M. the bugle to be sounded again, at which time all to have prayers in their wagons and to retire to rest by 9 o clock. To night I went to bed about 7½ o clock suffering severely with pain in my head & face. I slept with Philo Johnson.
Monday 19 At 5 A.M. at the sound of the bugle I arose, my face still paining me very bad. After eating breakfast I started out on foot, before the wagons started with my rifle on my shoulder. At 7¼ the wagons began to move and at 7½ were all formed in double file and proceeded on. After travelling about 8 miles we arrived at a number of small lakes, where were many ducks. a number of the brethren shot at them and killed several. At 1¼ P.M. we arrived at a bend in the river where a small stream runs round an Island. We stayed here to feed awhile having travelled about 15 miles mostly a western course with the wind South. The roads very good and the country very level on these flat Bottoms of the Platte river which bottoms appear to be from 10 to 15 miles wide. Soon after the camp was formed O. P. Rockwell, Jackson Redding & J. C. Little came in from winter quarters. They arrived at 10 minutes after 2. They have found Dr Richards mare which was lost east of the Elk Horn and brought her to camp. They brought me a line from Diantha and one from Ruth & Margaret, in the last was a very gentle piece of information which has caused me to reflect much, and proves to me that Ruth and Margarets virtue & integrity has for the last year been far superior to mine. In my letter to them I requested them to attend to family prayer in my absence, a thing which I have neglected since leaving Nauvoo. They informed me that they had done that when I was at home but unknown to me, and they had then, and still continue to bear me up before their heavenly [Father]. O what integrity, what faithfulness. I feel unworthy to possess two such treasures, but still feel to try to reward them for it, and may my father in heaven bless them, and all my family and let his angels guard them, and me during my absence that we may all be permitted to meet again and enjoy each others society in the world for many years to come, and eternally in the world to come. O. Lord, grant this prayer of thy unworthy servant, and fill my family with peace and union, and open a way that they may have the necessaries and comforts of life, and thy spirit to brood over them, and thy name shall have the praise, even so Amen.
I received by Porter [Rockwell] some few fish hooks and lines, a ball of Fish line and 3 pencils, but no small hooks, nor knife nor wafers. At 20 minutes after 3 P.M. the wagons began to move again, in the same order as this morning and travelled until 6 P.M. when we arrived at a very pretty open view of the Platte river, and the encampment was formed in a semicircle on its banks, having travelled since noon about 5 miles and in the whole day 20 miles, over the same kind of dry, level, sandy bottom. The river here appears to be about a mile wide but very shoal. There is not much timber where we are camped, and the water is pretty muddy. I walked some this afternoon in company with O. Pratt and suggested to him the idea of fixing a set of wooden cog wheels to the hub of a wagon wheel, in such order as to tell the exact number of miles we travel each day. He seemed to agree with me that it could be easily done at a trifling expense. After the encampment was formed, I went to brother Luke Johnson and asked him to draw my tooth which has pained me so bad for a long time. While I was speaking to him Stephen Markham came up, and wanted him to take his team and the “Revenue Cutter”, (the name by which the leather Boat is called) —back about 2 miles, as they designed to draw in one of the Lakes. Brother Luke Johnson drives the team which draws the boat and rides in the boat as in a wagon. I concluded I would go and watch them fish and started out on foot. I overtook Markham & John S. Higbee and in our conversation I mentioned to Brother John S. Higbee the same idea I had advanced to O. Pratt, and he also seemed to coinside fully. After arriving at the lake they launched the boat and made three hauls, they only caught a snapping Turtle, four small Turtles, one duck, 2 small cat fish, and 2 creek suckers. They then concluded to return and I started on foot again with 2 rifles to carry. I got back to camp before they overtook me and being perfectly tired and very footsore, went to bed, but had no rest on account of the severe pain in my head and face.
Tuesday 20. Arose at 5½, my head & face very bad indeed. I ate but little breakfast although we had a couple of ducks and a snipe. We started out at 7½ the morning pleasant except a strong West wind. At 9¼ arrived at Shell creek, which is about 6 or 8 feet wide, and a poor bridge over it, but all the wagons got well over. This is about 6 miles from where we camped last night. We then passed throu a small grove of timber, and enter again upon the wide, open prarie bottom[.] At 11½ we stopped beside a small slough or lake to feed and eat &c being 5 miles from Shell creek. While stopping here, 3 deer passed about half a mile west of the wagons. O.P. Rockwell & Thomas Brown chased them on horses 4 or 5 miles, but did not succeed in taking any of them. The wind has fell considerable and it is very warm and dusty. At 1 P.M.. started again, the horse teams taking the lead, travelled about 10 miles further and encamped near a cotton wood grove on the banks of the river. The encampment was formed about half past 5. Tanners bellows & anvil were set up & a number of tires set before dark.
John S. Higbee, Luke Johnson, S. Markham and some others, started ahead of the Camp about noon, and went about 2 miles farther than this place to a lake, with the boat & Seine. They took over 200 very nice fish, and arrived with them about the time the camp was formed. The fish were distributed around the Camp according to the number of Persons in each wagon, generally two to a wagon, and the brethren enjoyed a good supper on fish. I went to the river and washed my feet which were very dusty and sore. I also washed my socks as well as I could in cold water without soap. After brother Luke Johnson had got through distributing fish, I went and asked him to draw my tooth. He willingly agreed, and getting his instruments, I sat down in a chair, he lanced the gum, then took his nippers and jerked it out. The whole operation did not take more than one minute. He only got half the original tooth, the balance being left in the jaw. After this my head and face pained me much worse than before. I eat but little to supper and then lay down, but could not sleep for pain till near morning. The evening was very calm & pleasant.
Wednesday 21 Arose at 5, my face easier, but swelled and my gums raw. Took breakfast on fish and coffee, but ate no bread, it being very dry and hard. I could not bear to put it in my mouth. At 7 started on foot, the ox teams being gone ahead. Some appearance of rain, and a slight shower fell. Wind North East and pretty cool. At ¼ to 9 an Indian rode up to the first wagon and appeared very friendly. Soon after 6 or 8 others came running on foot. They came from the timber about a mile to the left. At 10 we arrived at a fork in the road, the one on the left leading to the new Pawnee village, and the one to the right leaving the village some distance to the South. A consultation was held by Prest. Young with father Case relative to the roads, crossing the river &c when it was concluded to take the right hand road. We proceeded accordingly, and at 12 came in sight of the new Pawnee village, in an open spot on the South bank of the loop fork, between 2 bodies of timber. The village appeared to be about ¾ [mile] South of the road we were on. At 12½ we were opposite the village, and could then see distinctly upwards of 100 lodges, set pretty close together, and appeared to be ranged in several lines and set in good order. We proceeded untill we arrived at a long narrow lake by the side of the timber and near to the river. At 1 P.M. the encampment was formed on the bank of the lake and a guard instantly placed at the passes, as, many of the Indians had followed us, although they had to wade the river, but it is very shoal. One of the Indians presented several certificates from persons who had previously travelled through their village, all certifying that the Grand Chief of the Pawnees was friendly disposed, and they had made him presents of a little powder, lead, salt &c Heber gave them a little tobacco & a little salt & President Young gave to the chief, some powder, lead, salt and a number of the brethren gave a little flour each. The old chief however did not seem to think the presents sufficient, and said he did not like us to go west through their cou[n]try, he was afraid we should kill their Buffalo and drive them off. Brother Shumway told him we did not like Buffalo, but this [does] not appear to give him much satisfaction. However there was no appearance of hostility. In fact all that came to camp seemed highly pleased to shake hands with our brethren and would run from one side to another so as not to miss one. A number of the squaws were on the opposite side of the lake with mattocks, digging roots. Brother Shumway says their are about twelve thousand of the Pawnees in this neighborhood, and it is reported that there are five thousand warriors. We did not see many of them. Sarpy [Sarpee] 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 plunder, and it is the calculation to be well prepared by night and day. During the resting hour I spent the time writing in my journal. At 2¼ P.M. the ox teams started out again and the horse teams soon after. The weather had been calm and pleasant for a few hours, but about 2 or a little before, some heavy clouds began to gather, and thunder was heard at a distance. About ½ after 2 the rain began to descend heavy, accompanied by heavy peals of thunder and vivid lightning which continued till about 4 o clock. A strong north wind blew up, the rain & thunder ceased and the weather grew very cold. We traveled till 5½ and the encampment was formed on the Loop fork of the Platte river. After the encampment was formed & teams turned out, the brethren were all called together & some remarks made by president Young, advising them to have a strong guard round the Camp tonight. He called for volunteers to stand guard and about 100 volunteered amongst whom were all the twelve except Dr. Richards. This guard were divided into two companies of fifty each, one company to stand the first half the night, and the remainder the last half. Those of the twelve who stood took the first watch till 1 o clock. Brigham and Heber both stood on guard. Out of the companies a party were stationed as a picket guard some distance from the Camp, the balance stood near the camp. The night was very cold, with a strong wind from the North East, and in the middle of the night, it rained considerable. Our course this morning was about West. This afternoon north West. We are now within about 3 miles from the bluffs on the north. We have travelled today about 20 miles, the roads being good and very level. The grass here is short but looks good. The Buffallo grass is very short and curly like the hair on a buffalo robe. The spring grass dont seem to be as early here as at the Elk Horn, and the last years growth not being burnt off, will be rather a disadvantage to the spring companies.
I have noticed all the way on this bottom from the Elk Horn that the ground is full of wild onions, which appear far richer and larger than any wild onions I ever saw. I have no idea that corn would grow here for the land is very dry and loose and sandy, and appears poor. The country is beautiful and pleasing to the eye of the traveller, although you can only see one kind of scenery for several days.
Thursday 22nd Arose soon after 5 o clock, my face very painful again caused by the cold. There has been no trouble from the Indians and all is peace and safe. The cannon was prepared for action, and stood all night just outside the wagons. There was considerable joking this morning on account of two of the picket guard having their guns stole and Colonel Markham having his hat stole. They [The] owners were found asleep while on guard & those who found them so, took their guns to be a warning to them, but it is difficult for men to keep awake night after night, after traveling 20 miles in the day, taking care of teams, cooking &c
At 7½ the Camp proceeded again. I went ahead on foot. About ¼ of a mile from where we camped is one of the prettiest beds of nettle I have seen for some time. Our road this morning lays besides pretty heavy timber, and about a west course. After travelling two miles, crossed Looking Glass creek, a small stream about a rod wide, but easily forded. I still went ahead on foot & at 9¾ sat down on an Indian grave, on top of a mound from whence is a splendid view of the surrounding country for many miles. From South East to South West you can see the course of the Loop fork for a number of miles. North West a level prarie about 4 miles and then a range of timber. The Bluffs on the north about 7 miles distant, and on the East a level prarie for about 20 miles. At this place there is a range of what appears to be mound[s] about a quarter of a mile long, running from North East to South West.
At 12¼ we arrived on the East bank of “Be[a]ver river”, having travelled about 10 miles. This stream is about from 20 to 25 feet wide, swift current, clear water and pleasanted tasted, the banks tolerably well lined with timber. Here we stopped to feed. Some of the brethren went to fix the fording place a little, the banks are steep on each side and the water a little over two feet deep. At 2 P.M. started again the ox teams first. When passing the river a number of the brethren stood on the West bank with a long rope which was hooked to the wagon tongue and they assisted the teams up the bank. The wagon I rode in crossed at 20 minutes after 2 and in a little while all were safely over. We proceeded on till half past 5 when we arrived at the Pawnee Missionary station which is about 7 miles from “Beaver river”. The country this afternoon was more uneven there being many steep pitches and rises. The grass appears longer and there is much rosin weed. The soil looks black and no doubt would yield a good crop of corn. This missionary station was deserted last fall, and brother Millers company being camped here, they carried the missionaries and their effects to Bellvue on the Missouri river. This is a very beautiful place for a location. On the North and West it is surrounded by bluffs, on the South by the Loop [Loup] fork at about ¾ of a mile distance. East, by descending prarie. The “Plumb [Plum] Creek” runs through it, and but a few rods from the missionaries house. Its banks are lined with a little timber. There is also a steep bank on each side, and between these banks in the valley which is a few rods wide the sioux have practiced coming down when they have made their attacks on the Pawnees. The ravine is certainly well calculated to shelter an enemy from observation when designing to make a sudden attack.
There are a number of good Log houses here, considerable land under improvement, enclosed by rail fences, and a good quantity of hay and fodder, large lots of Iron old & new. several plows & a drag, all apparently left to rot. Also 2 stoves &c The government station is a quarter of a mile below, or south where father Case lived as government farmer and received $300, a year for it, but when Major Harvey learned at the last pay day, which was last November that father Case had joined the Mormons he very politely dismissed him from government service.
The Sioux came down some time ago and burned up the government station houses, blacksmith shop & everything, but the missionary station they did not touch.
This place according to my account is 134 miles from winter quarters, and a lovely place to live.
Before dark the president called the Camp together, and told them they might use the fodder and hay for their teams, but forbid any man carrying any thing away even to the value of one cent. He said he had no fears of the Pawnees troubling us here, but we had better be prepared lest the Sioux should come down and try to steal horses. A guard was elected and a picket guard to watch the ravine to the North. The cannon was also prepared and brother Tanner drilled his men to use it till dark. At 9 I retired to rest and slept well through the night. The variation of the compass is about 12 degrees at this place. The latitude [blank space]
I again introduced the subject of fixing machinery to a wagon wheel to tell the distance we travel, describing the machinery and the time it would take to make it &c several caught the idea and feel confident of its success.
Friday 23rd Arose this morning at half past 5, my face bad again through sleeping cold. The air chilly but a very pleasant morning. President Young, Heber and others are gone to the river to ascertain where we can best ford it. There is a ford a little distance from here, and another about 4 miles above but the latter is in the neighborhood of another band of the Pawnees and they are desirous to avoid it if possible. They started out on horseback at a quarter to 8 and the camp remain here till they return. Some are working, some fixing wagons etc. The day is now warm and very pleasant. I went to Plumb [Plum] Creek and washed my feet which are very sore. The brethren returned at a quarter to 12 and reported that we would have to go about 4 miles and there build a raft. Tarlton Lewis was appointed to superintend the building of the raft. Prest. Young then stated in regard to the plows, Iron &c which lays around here, for the government is owing father Case considerable for services, and he has the privilege of taking this for his pay. He will do it and if the brethren want the Iron &c they can have by hauling it, one half, and father Case the other half, and he <(Case)> will write and inform them what he has done. I started on foot about 12 o clock and viewed the ruins of buildings &c which the Sioux have burned. There is a large quantity of good bar Iron, and a number of plows, which they brethren put into their wagons on the terms proposed by father Case. 2 miles from Plumb [Plum] Creek, passed another Creek not very good to ford, although it is narrow but sandy. Two <2> miles further arrived at the intended crossing place, but the prospect looks dull for rafting on account of Sand bars and very rapid current. My feet were so sore and blistered I could not walk for some time after I got there. The sun is very hot and no wind. At 20 minutes after 3 the wagons arrived and prepared to ford the river. Luke Johnson was the first who went over, leaving the boat on this side, and although he had no load, nor even a wagon box, it was with difficulty he got over. Orson Pratt started next with a part of his load. When he had got in about a rod his horses began to sink some in the sand and they could not draw. A number of the brethren jumped in and lift[ed] at the wheels &c till they got him to the bar in the middle. He then started for the other bar and about half way across his horses sank in the quick sand so bad that one of them fell down. A number of the men immediately went to his assistance & took them off the wagon and led them across to the sand bar. Prest. Young went over in the boat and took the loading out of the carriage into the boat. The carriage was drawn to the sand bar by men with a long rope. The brethren then assisted Elder Woodruffs team over in the same way, also John Packs & Wordsworths. Prest. Young then ordered that no more wagons should
The country here is indeed beautiful and appears rich, but there is very little timber. After crossing plumb [Plum] creek, there is plowed land for near two miles on the right but not fenced. It appears to have yielded a good crop of corn. The land on the left to the river is level and beautiful for a farm. We are now camped about a quarter of a mile from the old Pawnee village on a splendid table of land, level and pleasant as heart could desire. It is not much over ¾ of a mile wide and sheilded on the north by beautiful rolling bluffs and on the South by the Loop [Loup] fork of the Platte. From this bank can be seen the timber on the banks of the main Platte, the bottom from here to it appears very level. There is something romantic in the scenery around here and the prospect cannot well be exagerated.
In the evening the Captains of tens were called together and a vote taken to build 2 light rafts, Tarl[e]ton Lewis to superintend one and Thomas Woolsey the other. As many loads of property as can be carried over in the boat will be done, and the teams with empty wagons will ford it. It is said that by going over several times with teams the sand will pack down and be good crossing, several of those who have been across believe this from todays experience, and they calculate to give it a fair trial tomorrow. Amongst the rest of those who waded the river to help the wagons over, brother Kimball joined and assisted one team to the other side and then returned in the boat with Prest. Young.
Saturday, 24th Arose soon after 5. Morning fine but cool. One of Phineas Youngs horses was choked to death last night. It appears he was tied to a stake with a chain near a steep hole in the ravine, and either stepped back or lay down and rolled over into the hole, and the chain being short he was choked to death, having no power to extricate himself, This is a grievous loss for their are no more teams in the camp that what are absolutely necessary, and in fact there are hardly enough to get along very comfortable. By request of brother Kimball, I went up to the old Indian village immediately after breakfast to take a view of it, and write a description as near as circumstances would permit which is as follows.
This village is situated on the north bank of the Loop [Loup] Fork of the Nebraska or Platte River, about 4 miles South West of the mission Station on Plumb [Plum] Creek and 138 miles from winter quarters. The Pawnee nation is divided into four bands, each having their separate chiefs, but all subject to one grand chief. The names of the bands are the Grand Pawnee, the Loup, the Tappas, and the Republican. When the nation settled in this region the Grand Pawnees and the Tappas located on the west bank of Plumb [Plum] Creek and the Loups located on this spot and were afterwards joined by the Republicans. When the Sioux made war on the Indians at the first settlement and destroyed their village, the Grand Chief saw that his party were unable to cope with their hostile foes alone, and it was concluded that the four bands should locate together on this spot, but notwithstanding this, the Sioux succeeded in burning this village last summer during the absence of the Pawnees when on their hunt. They rebuilt most of it again, but last fall the Sioux made another attack and burned the whole village except one dwelling or lodge, which is not harmed. There are 3 or 4 others but partially destroyed, the rest are entirely demolished and levelled with the ground. The Pawnees then moved to the place where we passed them a few days ago, and are dwelling in their lodges made of hides &c The name of the Grand Chief is Shefanolan, who is also the superior chief of the Pawnee band. All documents or treaties made by the nation are signed by this chief and the nation is then bound by them. The
chief of the Loup band is named Siscatup, the other chiefs, father Case did not recollect their names. From him I obtained this information. There is a party of the Loup band on the main Platte, some distance from here, who have never yeilded to the government treaties, but stand out from the rest of the nation and spend their time mostly in plundering other tribes as well as travelers. They frequently go as far as the Cherokee nation to rob and plunder. All the Pawnee nation are noted for their love of plundering travellers of their horses and mules, but not often any thing else.
On the East and west of the village is a beautiful level bench of prarie extending many miles, and to the ridge of bluffs which run East and west touching within a mile of the village. On the top of the bluffs can be seen a number of Indian graves. To the North West about a mile distant, and at the foot of the bluffs is an extensive corn field, the stalks still standing. On the South is a beautiful view of the nice level prarie extending to the main branch of the Platte, the timber on the banks can be faintly but plainly seen. The Loup Fork is probably about 400 yards wide at this place and very shoal, except a narrow channel near the shore on this side which is probably three foot deep. The bottom is mostly quick sand and not safe
travelling fording. About half the surface from bank to bank is sand bars which appear above the surface of the water mostly on the South side. There are several small Islands and a little timber to the right or west. The village occupies a space of about 40 acres of land, and is mostly enclosed by a ditch about 5 feet wide, and a bank inside the ditch about 4 feet high, running from the bank of the river, round the village till it again strikes the bank, and when perfect, has formed a good fortification. A number of lodges are built outside the ditch on the East and, on account of a want of room inside when the bands from the other village joined them. The village is composed of about 200 houses or lodges, varying in size but all similarly constructed, as appears from the remnants of some left standing. I sit in the one left unharmed, while I take this sketch, which is said was owned by the chief Siscatup, and as the lodges are all constructed in the same manner, only differing in size, I will endeavor to describe the way in which this is built. In the first place the earth is dug out a little slanting to the depth of about 18 inches in the form of a perfect circle about 44 feet in diameter. This forms the floor of the dwelling. Then there are 17 crotch posts let into the floor in a direction slanting outwards so that the top of the crotch is about perpendicular with the outside of the circle, the foot being set about 18 or 20 inches from the base of the circle. These posts are arranged at about equal distances from each other round the circle. In the crotches poles are laid across from crotch to crotch, and are sufficiently high for the tallest man to stand upright under them. At the distance of 18 or 20 inches from the outside the circle are many smaller poles let into the surface of the ground, on an average of about a foot apart and lean inward so that the top of the poles rests on the cross pieces which are supported by the crotches. The space between the foot of these poles and the edge of the circle forms a bench for seats entirely round the house, and there is room sufficient for more than a hundred men to seat themselves in it very comfortable. On the outside of these last mentioned poles are laid a number of still smaller poles horizontally from bottom to top from about 9 inches to a foot apart, these are lashed fast to the upright poles by thongs made of bark. On the outside of these is laid a thick layer of long prarie grass and occasionally lashed through to the upright poles also. The whole is then covered with earth about 2 feet in thickness at the bottom and gradually thiner towards the top. This forms an enclosure when completed around the whole area about 7 feet high, a place being left sufficiently large for the door. The next process is to place erect 10 upright poles or crotches, very stout being about a foot in diameter nearer the centre of the Circle than the first crotches about 7 feet. These are set perpendicular, deep in the ground and also arranged at about equal distances from each other, and form a strong foundation to support which is the design and use to which they are appropriated. On the top of these pillars are also horizontall poles laid strong and firm, the top of the pillars being about 11 or 12 feet above the floor. Long, small poles are then laid from the outside horizontal poles over the inner ones and sufficiently long to meet at the top within about 2 foot of each other forming a hole for the smoke from the fire to ascend through. These long poles are laid pretty close together all round the building, and across them smaller ones are lashed with bark as in the first instance, only they are much closer together. The operation of lashing on a layer of long grass and finally covering the whole with earth completes the roof of the building. The door or entrance is a long porch formed by placing in the earth four upright posts or crotches far enough apart to extend outwards from the circle about 18 or 20 feet. There are 4 upright crotches on each side the porch and in the crotches, poles are laid horizontally as in the other parts of the building. The process of lashing sticks across, then a thick coat of long grass and lastly a stout coat of earth the same as other parts of the building. The roof of the porch is flat and is about 7 feet high and 6 feet wide. The porch is dug down about half as deep as the main building, making a short step at the mouth of the porch and another one at the entrance into the house. The fire has been made in the centre of the house directly under the hole in the roof.
At the farther side of the building exactly opposite the porch, is a projection of the sod left, about a foot from the outside the circle which is said to have been the seat of the chief, and over which hung his medicine bag and other implements
The crotches are arranged so that there is a free passage to the centre of the hall from the porch one standing on each side at the entrance about 6 feet apart and the others appear to be arranged from them.—The smaller houses have not so many pillars as this one. Some have 8 in the centre and 16 outside the circle. Others have 4 in the centre and 10 outside. The entrances are also smaller in proportion, but all are constructed on the same principle. It looks a little singular to note that nearly all the entrances to these lodges front to the south east, except in one or two instances where they front in other directions for lack of room. It is probable that this is done to avoid the effects of the severe cold north west winds so prevalent in winter. Adjacent to each lodge is a stable or pen, which has been designed for keeping their horses in. These are mostly left un[h]armed. They are constructed by placing poles upright in the ground from two to three inches in diameter as close together as possible and about 10 feet high. About 5 or 6 feet above the ground cross poles are laid horizontally, and each of the upright poles are firmly lashed to the cross poles by strips of bark, so as to make them firm and secure them from being moved out of their place. The stables are mostly built square, with a door left on one side sufficiently large to admit a horse. There are some circular stables but not so many as the square ones. The horses appear to have been penned in by placing loose poles across the door way, for there is no other signs of a door visible.
Around each lodge there are also several Cachets where corn and other necessities are deposited. The Cachets are large holes dug in the ground, or rather under the ground the entrance being only just large enough to admit a common sized man. They are made pretty much after the shape of a large demijon. The Cachets are generally about 6 feet high inside and about 15 feet in diameter; there is a gradual slope from the mouth to the extreme corner, a little bowing which forms the roof. The surface of the earth above at the mouth being about 2½ or 3 foot deep. Some of these are said to be capable of holding a hundred bushels of corn, and when filled there is a thick coat of grass laid on the top and the mouth then filled up nicely with earth, and when finished a stranger would not have the least suspicion that there was a storehouse full of corn under his feet.
I finished taking the foregoing sketch soon after noon, and then had intended to go on the bluffs and examine the Indian Graves, but it being very warm, and perceiving the teams crossing the river very rapidly I returned, and found most of the teams over. They commenced crossing about 8 o clock, some unloaded their goods on the bank, which were carried in the boat to the sand bar, the teams going down to the ferry to cross. After a few wagons had gone over it was perceived that they went over with less difficulty, and by doubling teams they soon took over the loaded wagons without much difficulty. I prepared to wade over the river in as much as the wagon I am with was gone over, and in fact all Hebers wagons were over except one, but Jackson Redding brought me Porter Rockwells horse to ride over, and I mounted and proceeded. I found the current strong indeed, and about as much as a horse could do to ford it without a load. I soon got over safe, and wet only my feet. At 3 P.M. the last wagon was over on the solid Sand bar, and about 4 o clock all the wagons and teams were safely landed on the bank on the South side of the loop fork, without any loss or accident, which made the brethren feel thankful indeed. A little before 4 the wagons started on to find a better place to Camp and feed for our teams where we can stay comfortable untill monday and give the teams a chance to rest, for they as well as the men are much tired by wading against the strong current on the quick sand. The bottom land on this side is more sandy than on the other side, but 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 show very plain. We went on about 3 miles and Camped beside a small lake near the river. I travelled this on foot. Soon as we arrived Porter Rockwell discovered that there were many sun fish in the Lake. I took a couple of hooks & lines, handed him, and went to fishing myself with the other and we had some fine sport. I caught a nice mess which brother Egan cooked for supper, and although they were small they made a good dish. Many of the brethren caught a good mess each. Brother Higbee came down with the seine, and made two hawls but caught none on accou[n]t of the grass in the bottom of the Lake. We have good reasons to suspect that we are watched by the Indians as their footsteps have been seen on the bluffs South apparently very fresh, but the guard are faithful and we have no fears. The cannon was prepared again, so as to be ready in case there should be an attack. Evening I walked over to O. Pratts wagon, and through his telescope saw Jupiter’s four moons very distinct never having seen them previously. I went over to my wagon and looked through my glass and could see them with it, but not so distinct as with Orson’s.
The evening was very fine and pleasant. About 10 o clock retired to rest in good health and spirits, thankful for the mercies of the day thats past.
Sunday 25th. Arose soon after 5, shaved and changed some of my clothing. The morning very pleasant, wind West. Our course for the last 7 miles has been about South West. We are about 14 miles from the main branch of the Platte river, and it is said that if we travel on this fork one hundred miles further, we shall then be not over 30 miles from the main branch. This morning saw four Antelopes on the other bank of the river about a mile and a half north west. P.M. Elijah Newman was baptized by Tarl[e]ton Lewis in the Lake for the benefit of his health. Brother Newman has been afflicted with the black scurvy in his legs and has not been able to walk without sticks, but after being baptized and hands laid on him he returned to his waggon without any kind of help seemingly much better. Soon after 5 P.M. a meeting was called at the wagon of Prest. Young, and remarks made by several, and instructions by Prest. Young chiefly in reference to the guard and the folly of conforming to gentile military customs on an expedition of this nature. After dark the twelve and some others met together opposite the presidents wagon, to select men to go a hunting Buffallo &c as we proceed on the journey. It was ascertained that there are 8 horses in the company which are not attached to teams. Then 8 men were selected to ride on horse back viz Thomas Woolsey, Thomas Brown, John Brown, C.P. Rockwell, John S. Higbee, Joseph Mathews. [blank space] Then there were selected 11 men to hunt also on foot viz. John Pack, Phineas H. Young, Tarl[e]ton Lewis, Joseph Hancock, Edmund Ellsworth, Roswell Stevens, Edson Whipple[,] Barnabas L. Adams, Benjn. F. Stewart, Jackson Redding and Eric Glines.
It was also voted that all the twelve have the privilege of hunting when they have a mind to. After some remarks and cautions in regard to chasing the wild buffallo, the company were dismissed, and I retired to rest soon after 9 o clock, the evening being very fine and pleasant.
Monday 26 This morning about half past 3 an alarm was sounded. I immediately got
ofut [out] of the wagon, and learned that three of the guard who were stationed to the North East of the Camp had discovered some Indians crawling up towards the wagons. They first received alarm from the motions of one of our horses, and noticing this they went towards the spot, and listening, heard something rustle in grass; they first suspected they were wolves and fired at them. Only one gun went off and six Indians sprang up and ran from within a few rods of where they stood. Another gun was then fired at them and the Camp alarmed. A strong guard was placed all round, and a charge of cannister put in the cannon. The day was just breaking when this took place and the moon had just gone down. The air being extremely cold and fires put out I retired into the wagon till morning and arose again at half after five. After daylight, the footsteps of the Indians could be plainly seen, where they had come down under the bank & sometimes stepped into the water. No doubt their object was to steal horses, and they had a fair privilege, if the guard had been found asleep for the Camp was only formed a half circle and some horses tied outside. However the prompt reception they met with will have a tendency to show them that we keep a good watch and may deter them from making another attempt. Orders were given for the tens to assemble for prayers this morning, instead of two in each wagon, which was done. Prest. Young told me this morning, that as soon as my health will permit, he wants me to assist brother Bullock in keeping minutes &c as bro. Bullock is hard run, having to take care of a team and attend to other chores.
The camp started out about 8 o clock. I started at 7½ on foot and travelled four miles, then waited for the wagons. There is no road here, consequently, Prest. Young, Kimball, G.A. Smith, A. Lyman & others went a head on horse back to point out the road. The horse teams travel first to break the strong grass so that it will not hurt the Oxens feet. The hunters started out in different directions keeping only a few miles from the wagons. We travelled about 7 miles and then stopped
This morning brother Benson discovered that one of the Iron axles of his wagon was broke, he moved the load so that there was no weight on the part which was broke, and travelled with it all day. This evening the wagon was unloaded, the axle taken off, brother Tanners forge set up and the axle welded and fixed ready to put to the wagon again in the short space of one hour after the encampment was formed. The welding was performed by brother Burr Frost. About 8 o clock Joseph Mathews came into Camp from seeking his horses and stated that an Indian had rode a horse off a little before and he supposed it was Brother Little’s horse, which was missing. Dr[.] Richards mare was also missing. Brother Mathews stated that he went out to see for his Black man who was out watching his team, and as he arrived he saw brother Little’s horse as he supposed going towards the river. He ran towards it to turn it back to camp, but as soon as he commenced running the horse sprang to a gallop, which made him suppose there was an Indian on him, but he could not see the Indian. As soon as he gave the alarm 5 or 6 of the brethren mounted their horses, and pursued on the course pointed out to the river, but could neither see nor hear a horse nor Indian. When they returned, Presit. Young & Kimball and a number of others went out on horseback and searched till near 11 o clock, but likewise proved unsuccessful. The brethren have been repeatedly warned not to let their horses go far from their wagons, but every time we stope they can be seen around for more than 2 miles. These are 2 good horses and the owners feel bad enough, but it will be a warning to others to be more careful.
Tuesday 27th Arose soon after 5. The morning fine and pleasant. During the night the guard fired twice but they supposed they were wolves they fired at. I went back to old Indian village before breakfast, and also with O.P. Rockwell, to see if any tracks of the lost horses could be found. He followed one track some way into a bunch of willows, but having no arms we returned. At ¼ to 8 the wagons commenced moving & travelled till ¼ after 2 being about 12 miles, nearly a South course, the design being to go to the main branch of the Platte. Prest. Young, Kimball, and others went forward again to point out the road. O. P. Rockwell & some others started back to hunt the horses about the time we started. The land today has been very rolling and unbroken. It is also very sandy and dry. After travelling about 4 miles through dead grass we found a large space where the grass had been burned off. Here it is quite green and there is quantities of Buffallo dung, which proves that we are not far distant from some of them. The hunters have been out again but have not discovered any. There are a great many lizards on these sand ridges, but they are of a small size. Prest. Young & Kimball discovered a “dog town” a piece back, and many little prarie dogs. In one hole was a very large rattle Snake, and around the holes many small
owles owls which seems to correspond with what travellers have said previously—that the prarie dog, rattlesnake, and owls all live in the same hole together. The sun is very hot but there is a nice West wind although it is dry and parches our lips. When we stopped at noon the brethren dug several holes and obtained a little water, as there is none here above the surface, but they could not obtain any for the cattle & horses. At ¼ after 3 the teams commenced to move again. Just as they started, John Brown, Roswel[l] Stevens and brother Woodruff all shot at an Antelope. They all hit him and killed him. Having skinned it they put it into one of the wagons. The afternoon was very hot and the roads very dusty. After travelling about 2 miles some of the ox teams gave out and had to stop and feed. The rest went on till they found a small branch of water and the grass being very good we stopped for the night at half past 5 having travelled about 4 miles, course about South. Prest. Young and several others went back with mules & horses to assist the teams up which are behind. Luke Johnson shot a very large Rattlesnake and brought it to camp for the oil. Roswel[l] Stevens killed a hare, the nearest like the English hares of any I have seen in this country. Soon after we arrived here it began to lighten and thunder some and we had a light shower with a very strong wind. There is an appearance of more rain which is very much needed indeed. At half after 6 O.P. Rockwell, Joseph Mathews, John Eldridge and Thomas Brown returned from hunting the two lost horses. They reported that they went back to within about 2 miles of where we encamped on Sunday and looking off towards the river they saw something move in the grass at the foot of a high nole [knoll]. They proceeded towards it thinking it was a wolf, when within about 12 or 14 rods Porter stopt to shoot at the supposed wolf. The moment he elevated his rifle, 15 Indians sprang to their feet, all naked except the breech cloth, and armed with rifles and bows and arrows. Each man having a rifle slung on his back, and his bow string tight in his hand and about twenty arrows. The Indians advanced towards them, but the brethren motioned and told them to [illegible] and held there rifles and pistols ready to meet them. When the Indians saw this they began to hollo ‘bacco’ ‘bacco’. The brethren told them they had no tobacco. One of the Indians came close beside J. Mathews horse to shake hands with Mathews, but kept his eye on the horses bridle. When nearly within reach of the bridle Brown cocked his pistol and pointed at the Indian shouting if he did not leave he would kill him, at which the Indian seeing the pistol ready to fire retreated. The Indians made signs to get the brethren lower down the river but the brethren turned their horses to come to camp thinking it unsafe to go near to the timber where they expected more Indians lay in ambush. When the brethren turned to come back the Indians fired 6 shots at them with their rifles, and the brethren immediately faced about at which the Indians fled towards the timber below. The brethren did not shoot at the Indians, even when the Indians shot at them. They saw the tracks of the horses which are missing and returned satisfied that Pawnees have got them, and no doubt intended to get the horses on which the brethren rode, but they met with too stern reception to risk an attempt. Some of these same Indians were amongst those who came into camp when we stopped for dinner near their village, and proves that they eyed the horses pretty close, and also proves that they have followed us close ever since. The brethren ran great risks indeed, but got safe back to camp without harm.
About the same time the brethren returned, a gun accidently went off and broke the nigh fore leg of Brother Markhams horse. Those who saw the accident state, that when the rain came on some of the men put their guns in John Browns wagon, loaded & with caps on. Brother Brown threw his coat on the guns, and soon after went to get his coat and plucking it up, some part of the coat caught the Cock of the gun and raised it so that when the coat slipped off, the gun went off, and the ball struck the horses leg on the back side about half way between the knee and upper joint. The bone was broke entirely off. There was several men and horses close by the wagon at the time. The wagon was set on fire but soon put out with little damage. This makes 4 of the best horses lost within the last four days, but the last circumstance is by far the most painful, and breaks up bro. Markhams team. Bro. Brown made Heber a present of a little antelope’s meat. About dark the wind moved to the north & blew strong a little while & we had a little more rain.
Wednesday 28th Morning fine and pleasant. No disturbance from Indians. The wind blew strong from the north East which makes it much cooler. There are many wolves & antelope around here, but no buffallo has been seen as yet. Orders were given this morning for no man to leave the wagons except the hunters. The brethren had to make a road down to the small creek near which we camped, which occupied till about 9 o clock, when the wagon commenced crossing; the last wagon crossed at 10 o clock and then the camp proceeded on. Prest. Young, Kimball, and several others going before to point out the road. While the wagons were crossing the creek brother Luke Johnson shot the horse dead which had her leg broke last night. The horse belonged to bro. Barney, but was in Markham’s team and was a good one, but they concluded it was better to shoot her than leave her alone to the mercy of the Indians. Our course for the first 7 miles was a little East of South, over a very level prairie and green with grass. The largest wild onions grow here I have ever seen. After travelling about 7 miles we turned South West, being within a mile of the main Platte and opposite to Grand Island. We travelled till half past 2 and then stopped to feed having come about 11 miles today. The roads extremely dusty and the strong wind blows it into the wagons and everything is covered. We are now near to timber and a good chance for grass for the cattle. At 4 P.M. we moved again and travelled till 6, having traveled about 4 miles, and during the day about 15 miles.
We have camped about a quarter of a mile from the timber and there is plenty of grass to fill the stock to night. The water is also clear and cool and good tasted. The evening is cloudy and very cool, which affects my head some. Suppered on some antelope and went to bed early.
Thursday 29 The wagons started at 5 o clock this morning, before breakfast to find more grass as this is all eat off. We travelled till 6½ being about three miles and then turned out the teams to feed. The morning very cool. There seems to be very little rain in this country and no dews. Breakfasted on Goose and mouldy bread. At 20 minutes after 8 the teams started again and after travelling about 2 miles, came to a very pretty stream
Friday 30 Arose at half past 5. Morning cool and pleasant. The teams have filled themselves with rushes[.] Started at 20 minutes to 8 and soon after the Camp started I started ahead on foot and have travelled about 5 miles. The prairie level and green with grass. We travel on the first bench about ¾ of a mile north of the timber on Grand Island. There are many wild geese on the prarie, also buffallo dung but none very recent. There are immense patches of blue grass which from appearances the buffallo are fond of. There is also numerous patches of buffallo grass which is very short, thick on the ground and curly like the hair on a buffalo’s hide, 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 no doubt during their hunt. They must have been very numerous for their camp has covered a number of acres of ground. Prest. Young & Kimball and A. Lyman are gone ahead on horse back to look out the road. We have thus far followed the Indian trail, but it is now so grown over and so old it is scarce discernable. The wind blows strong from the North and the dust is very bad. The atmosphere is dull and cloudy. Our course to day has been about West. At a quarter to 12 we stopped to feed beside a small creek of clear, good water, having travelled about 8 miles. The grass along this creek is long and plentiful. We are about half a mile from Grand Island.
Having the privilege of copying from brother Bullocks journal I will now record the names of the standing guard as organized April 16th also the men selected by brother Tanner to form the gun division as ordered Saturday Apl 17th.
Tarleton Lewis, Stephen H. Goddard, Seeley Owens, Thomas Woolsey, John G. Luce, Horace Thornton, Charles D. Barnham, Sylvester H. Earl, George Scholes, Rufus Allen, William Empey, John Holman, George R. Grant, William P. Vance, James Craig, Datus Ensign, William Dykes, John Dixon, Samuel H. Marble, Artemus Johnson, Norton Jacobs, Addison Everett, William Wordsworth, John W. Norton, Francis M. Pom[e]roy, Lyman Curtis, Horace M. Frink, Erastus Snow, Hans C. Hanson, William A.C. Smoot, Barnabas L. Adams, Rodney Badger, Charles Burk, Alexander P. Chesley, Appleton M. Harmon, David Powell, Joseph Mathews, John Wheeler, Gilbrird Summe, Mathew Ivory, Edson Whipple, Conrad Klineman, Joseph Rooker, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Ozro Eastman, Andrew S. Gibbons, William A. King, Thomas Tanner, Hosea Cushing, and John H. Tippets.
The names of the gun detachment are as follows[:]
Thomas Tanner, Captain; Stephen H. Goddard; Seeley Owens, Thomas Woolsey, John G. Luce, Horace Thornton, Charles D. Barnham, Sylvester H. Earl, George Scholes & Rufus Allen.
At 20 minutes after 10 o clock started again, the wind blowing from the north tremendous strong, and clouds of dust rose from under the wagon wheels[.] It has turned very cold and gloomy. We travelled again over a level prarie some distance from the river, and turned of[f] to Camp under the bench soon after 5 P.M. having travelled about 8 miles, our course a little South of West. The wagons were formed in an imperfect circle, in such a manner as to have all the wagon mouths from the wind, which took near an hour to form the encampment. We are about a mile from water and a mile and a half from timber, with very little grass for our teams. It is now so cold that every man wants his overcoat on & a buffalo robe over it. We have had no accident and the brethren feel well, some wrestling to keep themselves warm. Some have had the good luck to bring a little wood with them, but it seems as though many will have a cold supper and some perhaps little or nothing as they have no bread cooked. 8 P.M. the camp have found a good substitute for wood in the dried buffallo dung which lies on the ground here in great plenty, and makes a good fire when properly manage[d]. E[lde]r Kimball invented a new way of building a fire to cook on, and which is well adapted to the use of this kind of fuel. He dug a hole in the ground about 8 inches deep, 15 inches lond [long] and 8 inches wide. Then at each end of this hole he dug another about the same dimensions as the first, leaving about 3 inches of earth standing between the middle and two end holes. At the of these partitions he made a hole through about 3 inches in diameter to serve as a draught. In the bottom of the middle hole the fire and fuel was placed, and across the top two wagon hammers to set the pots & pans on, so that the fire could have free circulation underneath. By this method much cooking was done with very little fuel.—To save the trouble of carrying water so far a well was dug in a short time about 4 feet deep and good water obtained. After supper I went & picked us some dried buffallo dung, (politely called buffallo chips) to cook with in the morning. Brother Hanson played some on his violin and some of the brethren danced to warm themselves. I went to bed early to get warm but having only one quilt for covering I suffered much with cold. Er Kimball rode ahead again on horse back & suffered some from cold.
Saturday 1st The morning very cold indeed. Inasmuch as there is little grass for the cattle, the camp started out at 20 minutes to 6 and travelled till a quarter after 8 about 6 miles before breakfast. Soon after we started this morning three buffallo were seen grazing on the bluff about 6 miles distance. I could see them very plain with my glass. O.P. Rockwell, Thomas Brown & Luke Johnson started on horse back to try to kill some. Soon after they went, another herd of buffallo were seen to the North West at the foot of the bluffs about 8 miles off. I counted with my glass 72 and Orson Pratt counted 74. Three of the brethren went on their horses after the latter herd: I watched the movement with the glass & saw that sometime before the brethren got to them the buffallo fled and were soon after
camp rest and came in a direction towards the camp on a gallop. President Young seeing this ordered a halt and the wagons to get close together, lest the buffallo should, in their fury and excitement, venter [venture] through between the wagons and do much mischief. However they were discovered by some of the hunters nearer the camp and some foot men who gave chase to them and changed their course when within about a mile from the camp. At this time I had a very good view of their shape, color and appearance when running which I shall endeavor to describe hereafter. Er Kimball arrived in time to aid in the chase of these three which lasted some time. The hunters made choice of a large and very furious bull, and worked with him some considerable time, shooting him through several times, but all this did not seem to impede his progress. O.P. Rockwell said he had heard it said that a buffallo could not be hurt with a ball shot at his head. Having a fair chance with this one, he determined to satisfy himself, and his shaggy head savagely. The brethren John Porter John Pack & several others came up to the camp after dispatching the bull and reported two other cows killed and three calves. This was a little before 5 o clock. When it was ascertained for a certainty that one was killed the “Revenue Cutter” was unloaded and sent to fetch it to camp. When Er Kimball & others came up the presit. requested some of the brethren to unload their wagons and go and fetch the others reported to be killed, while the camp wagons would strike towards the river and camp for the night. The chase lasted from soon after 1 till 4 o clock. Soon four wagons were unloaded the brethren leaving their loads on the ground in care of a guard, and were ready to start out. Having a great desire to see a buffallo in his natural state, and my feet being very sore, and the distance to the bluffs being over three miles I got into brother Aaron Farrs wagon, he being one who unloaded to fetch in the meat, and we started for the one shot down by Er Kimball, he and O.P. Rockwell following on horse back. On our route we met Luke Johnson & two other hunters returning. Luke had a calf tied on his horse, himself on foot. When we arrived at the cow, we found that three of the brethren had come on foot and already got the hide off except the head. She was soon cut in two, put in the wagon, with the rest of the meat, hide & head and we started for the next cow which was about ¾ of a mile distant. This cow would probably weight on foot, about 700 lbs. She was not very fat but the meat looked nice & clean. When we arrived at the next cow, we found several of the brethren at work with her, they had got her hide off and soon had her in the wagons. We then proceeded to Camp and got in soon after sun down. The meat was unloaded in the semicircle opposite the presidents wagon, and placed on the hide which was spread on the ground for the purpose of keeping it clean. The brethrens faces beamed with joy to see the meat begin to come into camp, and with some astonishment to view the size and ferocious appearance of the head, which still had the hide on. Soon after the other wagons came in and each deposited their loads in the same place. Joseph Mathews came in about the same time & reported that he had killed another calf after chasing it three miles, making the total number killed in the first days buffallo hunt by the Camp of the Latter day Saints, as already reported as follows 1 Bull, 3 Cows & 6 Calves, a circumstance far exceeding our expectations and best hopes, and all without the slightest accident or loss to man or property, except Luke Johnsons Cap & a ramrod to a rifle. Their is however one shade of suspense caused by the intelligence that Joseph Hancock has not returned to camp. He started out on foot when the three buffales was first discoveries this morning and has not been seen or heard, of for sometime. Considerable feare are entertained for his safety, from the fact that he is lame, and it is evident, or at least considered so, that there are Indians near, because a large smoke as of prarie burning has been seen all the afternoon within some 6 or 8 miles to the west and must have been set on fire by somebody and the probability is, it is Indians although none has been seen for several days. The meat was cut up into quarters and distributed one quarter to each company of ten, leaving some to be distributed in the morning, and in a short time every fire was loaded with it, and the Camp had a good feast on the fruits of todays labors.
Soon after the hunters started out at noon we came to a long rang[e] of “dog towns”, and saw many of the little prarie dogs playing round their holes. The extent of this dog down [town] is yet unknown, for we have travelled over, and parall[el]ed with it, about 5 miles this afternoon, and they seem to extend still farther west. In some places the town is near two miles broad, in others not so much, and must contain thousands of the little dogs. I could not get near enough to see their form distinctly, for they are so quick into their holes when anything approaches, you can only have a partial view of them. They appear to be about as long as a common gray squiril but more chunked, a larger body and chubbed head. The tail is short, more resembling that of a dog, their color light brown. Their bark resembles the chirp of an English throstle, and something like the chirp of the squirrel. They appear to live on grass, as it is all eat off close to the ground throughout the extent of their dog town, and the ground looks naked & barren as a desert. Several of the brethren shot at the dogs but failed in killing any. We had a north wind this afternoon and cold weather, our course being nearly West, over a level prarie, not far distant from the Island. Since noon we travelled about 8 miles, and the encampment was formed at half past 6 near a small lake, about a mile above the head of Grand Island. The grass is not so good here as it has been back, and but a poor chance for the cattle &c to fill themselves.
The appearance of the wild buffallo at a distance is somewhat singular. The color of the back & about half way down the sides is a light brown, the rest is a very dark brown. The shoulder appears slightly rounding and humped. When running, the large shaggy head hangs low down, about half way in height between the ground and the top of the shoulder. They canter like any
Oxe ox or cow, but appear far more cumbersome and heavy, especially about the fore parts, which look larger than they really are on account of the long, thick matty hair. They run tolerably fast, but a good horse will easily gain on them. They will run a long time without diminishing their speed. Their meat is very sweet, and tender as veal.
Sunday 2nd This morning is fine but cold. Ice about half an inch thick. Sometime in the night a buffallo and calf came within a short distance of the wagons. The guard discovered them and shot at the calf, wounding it in the hind leg. They caught it alive and tied it up near the wagons but concluded finally to kill and dress it. About 6 o clock we were gladdened to see Joseph Hancock come into Camp with a piece of buffallo meat. He reported that he killed a buffallo yesterday back on the bluffs, and there being no one with him he concluded to stay by it over night. He made a fire and scattered a little powder round his buffallo to keep off the wolves. Some visited him during the night, but were awed by the fire. After he had told his story and taken breakfast, he started in company with 4 or 5 other brethren to fetch in the meat on horseback, as no wagon could get over the bluffs to it. They found that the wolves had devoured much of it, the balance they brought along with them. They also killed two antelope and brought with them to camp. The total number of buffallo now caught is 5 large ones and 7 calves. Edmund Ellsworth killed one of the prarie dogs and brought into camp. It looks much like a squirril, only the body is thicker & the tail short and no bush on it. The day grew pleasant till about noon, when it became cloudy and cold. Presit. Young, Kimball and others started out to look out a camp ground where better feed can be obtained for our stock. They returned a little after two and gave orders to go on a few miles. There has been a number of buffallo seen in different directions, one grazing within ¾ of a mile from camp, but orders were not to hunt or shoot today. At ¾ the camp started & travelled two miles, over dog towns as yesterday. At a little after 4 we camped beside a long lake of shoal, clear water near the banks of the Platte. This lake is about 3 rods wide and connects with the river. The Platte appears about 2 miles wide at this place but very shoal and muddy. There is no timber, but plenty of grass mostly last years growth. The weather is more temperate and the wind ceased. Prest. Young, Kimball & others went on to look out a crossing place over this lake &c On their way, they fell in with a buffallo cow & calf and chased the[m] some to get a view of her but not to kill. On their return they said we should tarry here tomorrow & have some blacksmith work done and probably hunt some. Half of the hide off the bulls face was brought into camp. On examination I found the mark where Porter shot at his head: The ball made a small hole, barely cutting through the outer surface or grain of the hide which was near an inch thick. The hair near the top of the head is about a foot long.
Monday 3rd This morning cold and ice in the water pails. The hunters are going out on foot. Tanner & Davenport are fixing their forges to do some repairing, shoeing &c At about 9 the hunters twenty in number, started out with two wagons which had been unloaded for the purpose. At the same time 15 of the brethren on horse back started west to examine the route &c At half past 2 the party who went to look out the rout returned and reported that brother Emp[e]y had discovered a large war party of Indians while he was chasing an antelope. The Indians are in a hollow about 12 miles distant and about 300 in number, some on their horses and some standing beside them holding the bridle. The company also saw nearly 20 scattering Indians about 4 miles from here. When this report was made, orders were given to dispatch a number of the brethren on horses, well armed to warn the hunters and tell them to come to camp. In about half an hour 23 men started out on this mission. Before they reached the bluffs which are about 4 miles from here, some of the hunters were on their way to camp, having seen only one buffallo during the day. In a little time all the hunters were notified & on their way back. They arrived about 6 o clock, having got 3 antelope, and the horsemen who went after them got two calves, which were all brought in, and the day passed without accident. Some of the brethren saw some objects at a distance, which, by their motions they were satisfied were Indians. The day has been fine but cool & cloudy, with, occasionally a few drops of rain. A number of wagon tire has been set & other blacksmithing, washing, drying meat &c done. The wind near South. The cannon was unlimbered at night and prepared for action in case it should be needed.
Tuesday 4th The morning fine but cool, wind about South West. Two horses ran east as much as 6 or 8 miles & was pursued by the brethren and brought back. Wm. Smoot was thrown from a horse and his senses knocked out of him by the fall. He soon recovered and appears to have sustained no injury.
At half past 7 the Camp was called together and received instructions from president Young, especially in regard to leaving the wagons and scattering off hunting without counsel. He strongly urged the brethren not to do it any more and said if they did some of them would be caught by the Indians and if not killed would be severely abused. The instructions and regulations given April 17th were read and enjoined upon the camp to be observed more strictly. It was decided that the cannon wagon should be unloaded, the box put on another w
gagon so that the cannon can be always ready for action. An addition of 10 volunteers was made to the standing guard, and ordered that all horses and mules should be tied inside the circle at night, and cattle & cows outside within a few rods of the wagons. A guard to be placed around the cattle when turned out to graze. It is thought best to travel with the wagons 4 abreast and the cannon to go in the rear.
At 9 o clock the wagons commenced moving and passed over the lake near its junction with the river, at which place it is about 10 or 12 feet wide.
After travelling about half a mile the camp stopped some time waiting for some wagons behind. While stopping 3 wagons were discovered on the opposite bank of the river, considered to be traders going back to Council Bluffs. The river is about 2 miles wide and no person here acquainted with it, consequently no one attempted to go over, which many desired. About 11 o clock we proceeded five wagons abreast so as to be better prepared for defence should the Indians attack us. After travelling about two miles, one of men from the wagons on the other side the river overtook us and we halted to see him. He said there are only 9 of them. They have been to Fort Laramie for furs and are going to counsel [Council] bluffs. This is the sixteenth day since they left the Fort with Ox teams. He says the road is good on the other side, and the river easily forded, not being more than knee deep in the deepest place, and a good bottom. He cheerfully agreed to carry letters back for us but could not wait long. I wrote one to my family and in about half an hour a pretty large mail was made up to send back to winter quarters, and may the Lord grant that it may arrive safe. Brother Johnson bought a buffallo robe of the man for about a pound and a half of coffee, and another brother bought another for a pound of sugar and a little Pork. I feel my mind releaved by this unexpected privilege of writing back to my dear family, and hope they will have the pleasure of perusing its contents. At 20 minutes after 1 the bugle sounded for a march, & the messenger is returning with the letters and a bag of provisions on his shoulder which the brethren have given him for carrying the letters. We travelled about 4 miles further and at half after 3 stopped to let the teams feed on a small spot where the fire has not touched, the rest having all been burned off within a few days. We have travelled to day only about 6 miles, having stopped much.
The country is still very level and nice travelling only for the dust. The wind South and our course nearly West. When the trader went back over the river Thomas Woolsey, John Brown and John Pack accompanied him on horses to speak with a person whom brother Woolsey is acquainted with. They returned soon after we stopped to feed and say that the river is very good to cross, not being more than 2 foot deep in the deepest place, and the bottom good. The horses broke through but very little. The traders say furthermore that if we continue on this side we shall have to cross the river twice where the water is much deeper and cannot be crossed only on a Ferry.
There is a good travelled road also, which would be an advantage we have not got on this side.—During the time we stopped to feed a guard was placed around the cattle and horses to keep them from straying far from the wagons. The men were called out and drilled with their loaded guns in the circle formed by the wagons. Some objects are seen grazing about 4 miles west of us thought to be buffalo 13 in number. Some of the hunters are going out to give them a chase, and try to kill some of them. At a quarter after 5 the camp were called together and bro. Brown reported what the traders said about the route &c as above. The subject was then talked over and when it was considered that we are making a road for thousands of saints to follow, and they cannot ford the river when the snow melts from the mountains it was unanimously voted to keep on this side as far as Fort Laramie at least. Soon after this we started on again. Saw a lone buffallo but a short distance from us but it galloped across the river. Saw also a number of antelope and some deer. About 7 o clock we passed a spot where the Indians have camped and must have been many of them. A while after sun down we arrived at a creek of good water, and camped for the night having travelled about 9 miles today. The prarie level but all the grass burned off, except in small patches. We have camped on a small spot, which has escaped the fire. Er Kimball who was one of the hunters who started out at 4 o clock said the objects seen from camp were antelope, but he had seen a herd of buffallo about a mile ahead of where we now are. He named this creek, buffallo creek.
Wednesday 5th The morning fine and very pleasant. Saw two small herds of buffallo a few miles from camp. At half past 7 continued our journey. I went on foot about 2 miles and then stopped to count the horses, mules, oxen &c and afterwards walked on again to the first wagons. Here Er Kimball offered me his horse to ride. I then went ahead with the horsemen. We soon after came to a very bad slough and had to bear off to the north to find a place to cross it. The prairie after we crossed this slough, about a mile wide from the river was very soft and it was necessary to bear still further to the north. The horses feet cut through the sod and the ground appeared wet under, though there has been no rain for sometime. At half past 11 we stopped to feed on a small patch of unburnt grass, having come about 9 miles, course about West with a very strong S. wind. There were two buffallo within about half a mile from camp, grazing. Some of the brethren went to view them, but the orders of the day are not to kill anything which the men cannot carry to camp. There are no appearences of Indians near except the prairie which is still burning ahead of us, supposed to be set on fire by them. About 1 P.M. continued our journey and travelled till 3 when some of the hunters came in bringing a live buffallo calf, also one they had killed. They reported that John Brown, Jackson Redding and John S. Higbee,
Thursday 6th This morning at ¼ before 5 Prest. Young called to the camp and proposed to go on to w[h]ere we can find feed for the teams. The brethren assented and he gave orders to start as quick as possible. However some must feed their teams a little corn, some milk their cows &c and it took till near half past 6 to get started. During the night the Lord sent a light shower of rain which has put the fire out except in one or two places, and made it perfectly safe travelling. We have had a strong S.E. wind through the night but the morning is calm & pleasant. We travelled about two miles and stopped on the unburned grass to feed at a quarter to 7. Several antelope were surrounded by the brethren and some shot at them, killing 1, the rest made their escape. We can see several large herds of buffallo, within about two miles of the camp and many calves amongst them. Prest. Young & Kimball rode ahead to find a place to stop for feed. The ground is hard & good traveling. At a quarter to 9 proceeded onward Prest. Yound [Young] and Kimball going ahead to point out the road. Our course about North West the wind strong from W. We travelled near the river. Saw 13 elk together, also many antelope and numerous herds of buffallo on both sides of the river. J[ackson]. Redding shot an antelope which Luke Johnson chased near the wagons. A young buffallo Calf followed Luke to the camp, but the president advised him to leave it as it is only a few days old. We stopped near the river at a quarter to twelve having travelled about 6 miles. We find a little more grass here but the numerous herds of buffallo keep it cut off close to the ground, nearly all the way we have travelled today. The President gave orders that no more game should be killed untill further orders. It appears we have got as much meat in camp as can be taken care off [of]. While we were stopping for noon some of the cows moved off towards a large buffallo herd, and when Prest. Young & Kimball started ahead after dinner they discovered the cows near the buffallo. Bro. Woolsey went to turn them back, but he had to run his mule some distance before he could prevent the cows from mingling with the buffallo. They brought the cows back to the wagons and then proceeded ahead again. One part of the horsemens business to day has been to drive the buffallo out of our track, jud[g]ing it unsafe to risk them between the wagons and the river. The camp proceeded on at half after 1 and in about 2 miles found a Lake of clear water. Here we discovered the horsemen coming back, and found that the president had lost his large Spy Glass while chasing the Cows from the buffallo herd a second time. He did not find it. We travelled slow this afternoon, some of the horses and oxen having gave, out in consequence of lack of feed to sustain them. We travelled till half past 6 and camped near some Islands in the river, having travelled about 7 miles this afternoon and 15 through the day, our course a little W. of N.W. Wind about West. Some think we have travelled 18[,] some 20 and some even 25 miles to day, but from the number of times we stopped and the slowness with which the teams moved I feel satisfied that 15 miles is plenty. About ¾ of a mile back we saw a buffallo cow which appears to be sick. She fought the dogs some time and then lay down, & the brethren went close to her, some venturing to feel and handle her. I was within 6 or 8 feet of her and had a good view as much as I wanted. She has lost all her hair and looks very poor & weak. President ordered that the brethren leave her and not disturb her, and she was left laid down but it is doubtful the wolves will kill & eat her before morning. When the brethren went back to hunt the spy glass they found that the wolves had killed the Calf and nearly eat it up. What they had not eat, they carried off with them. We have never been out of sight of herds of buffallo today, and from where we are camped, I am satisfied we can see over five thousand with the glass. The largest herd we have yet seen is still ahead of us. The prairie looks black with both on this and the other side the river. Some think we have passed fifty, and some even a hundred thousand during the day, or have seen them. It is truly a sight wonderful to behold, and can scarce be credited by those who have not actually seen them.
Friday 7th This morning the wind N.W. and almost as cold as winter. The buffallo vastly numerous all around. About 8 o clock the camp were called together and measures taken to raise more team[s] to put to the Cannon, as some of the horses and even cattle have gave out. The Prest. chastised E[rastus]. Snow for not attending to the cows yesterday causing the presit. to lose his spy glass, it being brother Snows turn to drive the cows according to his own voluntary agreement. At a little before 11 o clock, Porter Rockwell, Thomas Brown and Joseph Mathews started back to hunt the spy glass, and soon after they left, the Camp proceeded onward. The day was cloudy and very cold. Our course about N.W. We travelled about 7 miles and camped at 2½ near several small Islands, on the banks of the river. About 4 Porter and the others returned having found the spy glass, which was a source of joy to all the brethren. At half past 6 the companies were called out to drill. I have been very sick all day with the bowel complaint and have suffered much.
Saturday 8th Morning cold but fine. Started out at 9 o clock and travelled till 1 P.M. distance 7½ miles, course a little West of N.W. The praries on both sides the river are litterally black with buffallo, and to try to say as to what number we have seen this morning would be folly. I should imagine that at a moderate calculation we have seen over fifty thousand. They are more tame than they have been and will stand till the wagons come within two hundred yards of them. Porter has shot one about two years old, the meat looks nice. There is no difficulty in getting meat enough. It is with some difficulty that the horsemen can drive them away from the track as fast as the wagons come up. It is very warm to day, and no wind. I have counted the revolutions of a wagon wheel to tell the exact distance we have travelled. The reason why I have taken this method which is somewhat tedious, is because there is generally a difference of 2 and sometimes 4 miles in a days travel between my estimation and that of some others, and they have all thought I underrated it. This morning I determined to take pains, to know for a certainty how far we travel to day. Accordingly I measured the circumference of the nigh hind wheel of one of brother Kimballs wagons being the one I sleep in, in charge of Philo Johnson. I found the wheel exactly 14 feet 8 inches, in circumference, not varying one eighth of an inch. I then calculated how many revolutions it would require for 1 mile and found it precisely 360 not varying one fraction which somewhat astonished me. I have counted the whole revolutions during the days travel and I find it to be a little over 11¼ miles. (20 revolutions over.) The overplus I shall add to the next days travel. According to my previous calculations, we were 285 miles from winter quarters this morning before we started. After travelling 10 miles, I placed a small Cedar post in the ground with these words wrote on it with a pencil. "From Winter Quarters 295 miles, May 8/47. Camp all Well. W. Clayton." Some have past the days travel at 13 and some 14 miles, which serves to convince more strongly that the distances are overrated. I have repeatedly suggested a plan of fixing machinery to a wagon wheel to tell the exact distance we travel in a day, and many begin to be sanguine for carrying it into effect, and I hope it will be done.
Our course this afternoon has been N.W. no wind and the praries as bare as a poor English pasture, the grass being eat off by unincountable herds of buffallo. No pen, nor tongue can give an idea of the multitude now in sight continually, and it appears difficult to keep them away from the wagons. Two calves have been killed and brought to camp. and multitudes would be killed if the Prest. did not prohibit the brethren from killing them only as we need the meat. Truly, the “Lords cattle upon the thousand hills are numerous.” We are now camped on banks of the river, within a quarter of a mile from where the range of bluffs, which have appeared exceedingly ragged all day; strike the river, and when we move again we have got to cross over them. Prest. Young and Kimball have been back on the bluffs on foot some distance and report that as far as they can see the grass is eat perfectly bare, and the prospect for feed for our teams is poor indeed. There are several buffallo lays dead around here, whether dead from old age, or by the hands of hunters, or of starvation, it is unknown. Many of the brethren have to cook their victuals on dry buffallo dung, their being no wood near
Sunday 9th The morning very cold with wind S.E. At ten minutes to 8 we proceeded on 3½ miles, going a little round some of the bluffs untill we turned down on a low bottom and very sandy. We have camped near some Islands and can get wood and water, but poor feed for the teams. We arrived here at 10 minutes before 10 and shall stay till morning. Soon as the camp was formed, I went about ¾ of a mile below to the river, and washed my socks, towel and handkerchief as well as I could in cold water without soap. I then stripped my cloth[e]s off and washed from head to foot, which has made me feel much more comfortable, for I was covered with dust. After washing and putting on clean clothing I sat down on the banks of the river and gave way to a long train of solemn reflection, respecting many things, especially in regard to my family and the welfare for time and eternity. I shall not write my thoughts here, inasmuch as I expect this journal will have to pass through other hands besides my own or that of my family, but if I can carry my plans into operation they will be wrote, in a manner that my family will each get their portion, whether before my death or after it matters not.
The day is very warm and the wind has moved to the West. According to my calculations, we are now 300 miles from Winter quarters lacking a few rods[.] I got a small board and wrote on it "From Winter Quarters 300 miles, May 9, 1847. Pioneer Camp all well. Distance according to the reconing [reckoning] of Wm. Clayton."
This was nailed on a post and in the evening I went and set it up about 300 yards from <:here> on a bend of the river. Spent the afternoon reading and writing in Elder Kimballs journal. At 3 P.M. a meeting was called and the Camp addressed by several. Prest. Young took tea with Er Kimball, and afterwards they started out together, with one or two others to look at the country ahead of us. They went a few miles and found a small stream which we shall have to cross. Here they saw multitudes of buffalo coming to water. Porter & Phineas Young went within 6 or 8 rods of them to try to get one, but in the whole herd, they could not find one fit to kill. They are very poor, for their is no feed for them, & in fact they are so numerous that they eat the grass as fast as it springs. There is however some good cotton wood groves, and good water at the stream. After sundown the wind blew strong from the N.W and the evening was cold and chilly.
Monday 10th The morning fine but cool: The wind nearly ceased. Last night I dreamed that I was in company with the Camp which was stopping beside a considerable river of deep water. Our horses and cattle were tied to stakes all around the Camp to the distance of a quarter of a mile, some good timber thinly scattered around. I thought Prest. Young, Kimball and several others started up the river in a flat boat, without stating their object, leaving the brethren to guard the Camp, cattle &c in their absence. When they had been gone sometime I thought a large herd of buffalo came on full gallop, right amongst our horses and cattle, causing them to break their ropes and fly in every direction. The brethren seemed thunderstruck and did not know what to do. Seeing a small skiff in the river, I sprang into it, and a paddle laying in it I commenced rowing in pursuit of the Prest.. It seemed as though I literally flew through the water, passing every thing on the way like a railway carriage. In a few minutes I overtook the brethren in the flat boat, took the skiff and threw it on shore and to my astonishment I saw that the skiff was made only of barks and cracked all over, and it seemed impossible to put it in the water without sinking it. The paddle with which I had rowed proved to be a very large feather and I had another feather in my left hand with which I steered the skiff. When I got into the flat boat, I made known what had passed in the camp, but the brethren seemed no ways alarmed, I awoke and behold, it was all “a dream”.
Dr. Richards is going to deposit a letter in a stick of wood prepared for the purpose, near this place in such a manner that the next company will discover it. He fixed it on a long pole and being assisted by Prest. Young & others raised it and fixed it firm in the ground. His distance from Winter Quarters 316 miles. At 5 minutes after 9 the camp proceeded onward. After travelling 2 miles we crossed a small creek which Er Kimball named “Skunk creek”, easily forded, though the ground was soft on the west side. About this time the brethren at the head of the Camp discovered a strange horse, alone in the prairie. Porter and Thomas Brown gave chase to try catch it. Brother John Brown states that when the Mississippi company passed on the other side last season, one of the brethren lost a mare and two colts, and this is supposed to be the oldest of the two. When Bro. Woolsey and Tippets came through from the Battalion last winter they saw the same horse near here. We travelled till 5 minutes after 12 and finding a little better feed stopped for dinner having travelled a few rods over 6 miles. The last 2 miles was over very soft prarie, and although the last years grass has not been burned, the wheels cut through the sod frequently. At the Creek four miles back some of the brethren shot a buffalo which was brought into camp in the “Revenue Cutter.” The meat is said to be good and the fattest we have had. At 2 we continued our journey. About the same time Porter & Brown returned having failed to catch the horse. After travelling about half a mile we crossed a very bad slough, and beyond that for a mile the ground was wet and soft. The teams began to give out, and at half past 4 the Prest. order[ed] the wagons to strike for the timber which was a little out of our course, but necessary to favor the teams and obtain wood and water. We arrived near the timber and camped at 10 minutes to 5 having travelled since my last guide post a little over 9¾ miles, the last 2 miles the ground is dry and good travelling. Some of the hunters killed a deer and we had some vension to supper. Our course a little N. of W. Light wind from N.W. The day warm and pleasant.
We have a little better feed for cattle, and on the Island plenty of brouse for horses, better timber than we have had for sometime past. It appears plain that vast herds of buffalo have wintered here, but have mostly left and gone eastward sometime ago, as we have the full growth of this years grass which is small indeed. The grass evidently springs later the farther west we travel, and nature seems to have taught the wild cattle this lesson, hence their eastward progress. There are some scattering herds of buffallo around, but not near so numerous as they were some thirty miles back. The face of the country here is indeed beautiful, the soil rich on the bottoms, the ragged bluffs on each side the river have a splendid appearance, and at about 10 miles distance, west of where we now are they seem to circle round untill they form a junction. It appears evident also that we are above the junction of the north and South forks of the Platte, the north fork running nearly N.W. and the South fork S.W. Brother Woolsey says these are the forks in reality, but are connected some miles higher up by a slough, and consequently the land between is set down by travelers as the main land rather than as an Island.
Tuesday 11 The morning cold. Wind east; Camp well. at 7 went with a number of the brethren who were going to dig some wolves out of a hole about a quarter of a mile from camp. They dug out 4 and brought them alive to camp. They are probably 6 or 8 weeks old and about the size of an English hare, very vicious. At half past 9 the camp moved onward over a very nice level, dry prarie for 5 miles. Amongst the timber on the Island could be seen many small Cedar trees. At the end of 5 miles we had to pass over a small ridge of low, sandy bluffs, which extend to the river. After passing nearly over the bluffs we stopped half an hour to water the teams, and eat a little dinner, then proceeded on three miles further and passed over a creek of clear water, but cannot be very good in consequence of so many dead buffallo laying in it. We proceeded on half a mile and finding tolerable good feed stopped for the night, having travelled 8½ miles today. Weather fine, wind S. & S.E. course a little W. of N.W. We have seen few buffalo today, but there are signs of thousands having wintered in the neighborhood. The country looks beautiful, soil rich, only lacking timber. After the Camp was formed, it being half a mile to water[,] the brethren dug two wells, and about 4 feet deep found plenty of good water. One of the wells is reported to run a pail full a minute. Bro. Appleton Harmon is working at the machinery for the wagon, to tell the distance we travel, and expects to have it in operation tomorrow, which will save me the trouble of counting, as I have done, during the last 4 days. Took supper on some duck presented to Er Kimball by George Billings.
Wednesday 12 Morning cool, weather fine. Brother Appleton Harmon has completed the machinery on the wagon so far that I shall only have to count the number of miles, instead of the revolution of the wagon wheel. We started at 10 minutes after 9, the first mile pretty soft, the rest tolerable hard and very good travelling. We have passed over vast beds of salt, or rather dust with a salt taste. It looks something like dirty flour. Travelled 8 miles in four hours and two minutes & stopped at 12 minutes after 1 to feed, n
At half past 3 we moved on again and travelled 4 miles, camped at a quarter to 6 near a bunch of small Islands, and a kind of Bayou projecting from the river. Our course this afternoon a little South of West, having come round a considerable bend in the river. The land good and good traveling[.] Wind S.E. several of the brethren caught a number of small fish in the Bayou or Lake. The feed here is rather scant. Heavy clouds rising in the West and North West, and a fair prospect for some rain which is much needed. It is now certain that we are about 14½ miles above the junction of the North and South forks of the Platte, and although we have to make a new road all the way we find no obstacles so
far far. Bro. Woodruff reports that he has been beyond the bluffs North of the Camp, and saw upwards of 200 wickeups [wickiups] where the Indians have camped very recently. He found a cured wolfe skin, and some pieces of other skins also. The hunters killed a two year old buffalo, & brought to Camp. Er O. Pratt reports that when we were five and a half miles back, we were in Latitude 41¬∫ 9’ 44” distance to day 12 miles.
Thursday 13 This morning cold and cloudy, cold enough for overcoats and buffalo robes. The buffalo which was killed yesterday was cut up and divided this morning amongst the companies of tens. Some feelings are manifested this morning between brothers Thomas Tanner and Aaron Farr, on account of the former taking the latter prisoner and putting him under a guard part of the night. Perhaps Aaron was a little out of order in conversing loud after the horn blew for prayers, but I think brother Tanners angry spirit more blameable. At 9 we moved onwards nearly a west course 4 miles and at 11 stopped to feed teams, at a spot which is a little better than we generally have. The wind strong from N. & N.E.
At half past 12 we proceeded on again and travelled till 4 o clock, distance 6¾ miles. At this distance we arrived at a stream about 6 rods wide which appears to come from the North East, the water in appearance like the Platte, the bottom of the river quick sand. Water in the middle about 2 feet deep; at the sides quite shoal. It appears that travellers have never discovered this stream, for it is not noticed in any works that we have seen. We crossed it without difficulty and camped on its banks. The weather is cloudy and very cold, with a strong North wind. Prest. Young and Kimball rode ahead as usual to look out the road. They report that the bluffs half a mile West come clear to the river, and are considerable high. They found several ranges of them, and finally found a valley running between some of the ranges through which we can pass by going about a mile round from our course. This stream according to measurement, 25¼ miles above the junction of the two forks and 341 miles from Winter Quarters, by estimation. Prest. Young named it the North Bluff Fork. [blank space] A while before we arrived here four of the brethren went to chase a few buffalo which were laid down at the foot of the bluffs, but they did not get any. Prest. Young & Kimball saw a very large Rattle Snake near the river. Er Kimball says the largest he ever saw in his life. I saw a small green snake to day, very pretty, the back light green, and the belly a pale yellow. Prest. Young & Kimball suffered severely with cold while riding over the bluffs to look for a road. Had to use buffalo dung for cooking there being no timber.
Friday 14th The morning cloudy and very cold. In the West could occasionally be seen streaks of lightning and the distance thunder heard. At 8 o clock the dark clouds having approached nearer it commenced raining pretty heavy, accompanied with lightning and thunder. The president ordered the horses got up just before the rain commenced, and after the storm ceased, we started onward at a quarter past 10. After travelling about a mile we passed among and around the high bluffs, our course lying nearly in a North direction for some time, then turning South and on again approaching the river, early South East. When within about ¾ of a mile from the river, we stopped to feed at 20 minutes to 2, having travelled 6¼ miles. We have got on the level bottom again and are probably not more than 3 miles in a direct line from where we started this morning. Prest. Young & Kimball went forward to point out the route, which is very good to travel although considerably uneven. Brother Higbee killed an antelope and wounded another which made its escape while he was loading his rifle. We have better feed here than we have had for some time. We had a little more rain just as we came to an halt. We have not had much wind this morning but it is now increasing from the North. It is some warmer than this morning. The atmosphere is cloudy and looks as if we might have more rain. The land between the two forks for about 25 miles is perfectly flat and very level, without timber. The bluffs then rise suddenly apparently in a line from fork to fork. There are many buffallo back in the vallies between the bluffs & although there is no sign of the prarie having been burned[,] it is evident the buffalo have kept it cut clean off, but have moved back and East probably since the Indians have been hunting them. Some of the brethren have discovered fresh tracks where the Indians have gone up this north stream, evidently very lately, but we are satisfied the Lord hears the prayers of his servants and sends them out of the way before we come up to them. At 3 o clock we proceeded on our journey, keeping above the lower prarie, which appeared soft and swampy. Our road was very uneven. We went two and a half miles and at half past 4 stopped to learn the report of those gone ahead to look out the road. There is another high range of bluffs about half a mile west of us, extending to the River. Er Kimball went across the several ranges of bluffs to the west side, and hunted for a road in various directions, but there did not appear to be any possibility of finding a road between the bluffs, without going many miles round. President Young and he conclude it would be best to Camp where the wagons are and in the morning cross right over the bluffs by doubling teams, accordingly the encampment was formed about 5½, having travelled 8¾ miles to day. Our course this afternoon nearly West wind S. E. The feed for our teams grows much better, and on one of these high sand bluffs I saw a large bed of flowers, not unlike the violet, and very rich. The sand on the bluffs in some places looks like large drifts of snow, and in other places seems [to have] deep chasms as if it had been wasted by heavy rains. The atmosphere is still cloudy but not so cold as it had been. The hunters have killed 2 buffalo, 3 Antelopes, and 1 badger during the day, which will be very acceptable. It was dark when the hunters returned to give the information. The Revenue Cutter was sent after the meat, which was reported to be a mile and a half distant. It was late when they returned. There was an alarm made by the guard in the night, supposing the Indians were near. The Camp were aroused to secure their horses, but we had no further trouble about them.
I discover that brother Appleton Harmon is trying to have it understood that he invented the machinery to tell the distance we travel, which makes me think less of him than I formerly did. He is not the inventor of it, by a long way, but he has made the machinery, after being told how to do it. What little s[h]ould work.
Saturday 15 This morning is very cloudy and very cold, more like a January morning than a May morning. The wind blows strong from the North. The brethren who killed the buffalo did not bring it to Camp last night, but put it in the boat and left it till morning. About half past 7 they brought it in and divided it to the Captains of Ten. At 8 o clock it commenced raining again but abated a little before 9. At 9 o clock we commenced moving and after travelling ¾ of a mile began to ascend the sandy bluffs. It commenced raining again and looks like for rain all day. It is very cold, the wind continues N. The road was much of a zig-zag over the bluffs, but only about a mile before again we descended to the bottom. We travelled a piece farther and at half past 10 o clock it was considered best to turn out the teams untill it ceases raining, after travelling 2½ miles. We found it unnecessary to double teams while crossing the bluffs, and we got over without difficulty, much better than we had anticipated. About noon it again ceased raining and the signal was given to harness up teams. At half past 12 we proceeded and travelled till a quarter to 3, distance 4½ miles, then formed the encampment in a circle, about a quarter of a mile from the river. The road has been level but soft and wet, however not bad travelling. The bluffs are about half a mile to the north and several herds of buffallo grazing on them. Some of the hunters are gone to try and get some meat. The wind still keeps up, and is cold, damp and uncomfortable. The feed appears better here than we have had for some days, and the cattle soon fill themselves, which is a comfort and blessing to the Camp. Some of the brethren have been lucky enough to pick up a few sticks and dead wood, but our chief dependence for fuel is dry buffalo dung, which abounds every where, but the rain has injured it some for burning. About 2 miles back we passed a place where the Indians have lately camped during their hunt. It is plain that whole families are amongst their number as the foot prints and mocasons of children have several times been seen. They evidently make use of the buffalo dung for fuel, and for seats they dig up sods and lay them in a circle around their fire, which is in the centre. We have passed a number of these little temporary camping spots this afternoon. The reason why we did not travel farther was that Er Kimball being gone ahead to look out the road &c he found as he came near the next bluffs that the feed is all eat off by the numerous herds of buffalo and found also that we shall have to travel over the bluffs and they appear wide and would be impossible for the teams to get over them tonight hence the necessity of stopping here where we have good feed. The soil on this prairie looks good & rich but there is no timber. In fact there is none in sight except a small grove on the other side the river about 2 miles west of the Camp. Late at night Porter Rockwell came in and reported that he killed a buffalo. The cutter was sent for it to bring it to Camp. Our course this afternoon near West.
Sunday 16 Morning fine but chilly and cold. Wind north. Eric Glines killed an antelope near the Camp which on being opened was found to contain two large young ones, apparently read to be brought forth. The buffalo was cut up and distributed around the Camp. Soon after breakfast, Prest.Young, El[der]s Kimball, Woodruff and Benson went on horseback to look out the best road over the bluffs. They returned at half past 12 and reported that we can pass through a valley between and around the bluffs, which will be about 4 miles across them. About 5 P.M. several buffalo were seen making their way from the bluffs towards our horses, some of which were very near them. Brother Eric Glines started out with the intention of driving the buffalo away, and bringing the horses nearer Camp. When he got near the buffalo did not seem much disposed to move and he shot at one of them and wounded him. He moved a little further and brother Glines followed him and shot three times more at him. The buffalo then ran about 40 rods, fell, and soon expired. I went to look at him. He is a large one, judged to weigh about 700 lbs and in pretty good order. I left the brethren skinning him and returned to camp where a meeting had been called at 5 o clock, and the brethren addressed by Ers Richards, Markham, Rockwood & Kimball, chiefly on the subject of obeying council, and Er Kimball remarked in regard to hunting on the Sabbath, He would not do it even in case of necessity, but he did not feel disposed to find fault with the brethren. The laws and regulations for the Camp of April 18 were then read by brother Bullock and the meeting dismissed.—About noon to day brother Appleton Harmon completed the machinery on the wagon called a "roadometer" by adding a wheel to revolve once in ten miles, showing each mile and also each quarter mile we travel, and then casing the whole over so as to secure it from the weather. We are now prepared to tell accurately the distance we travel from day to day, which will supercede the idea of guessing, and be a satisfaction not only to this Camp, but to all who hereafter travel this way. I have prepared another board to put up here, on which the distance from Winter Quarters is marked at 356¾ miles. I have also wrote on it that the last 70 miles are measured, and we shall continue to measure and put up guide posts as often as circumstances will permit through the journey. The whole machinery consists of a shaft about 18 inches long placed on gudgeons [cudgels], one in the axle tree of the wagon, near which are six arms placed at equal distances around it, and in which a cog works, which is fastened on the hub of the wagon wheel, turning the shaft once round every six revolutions of the wagon wheel. The upper gudgeon plays in a piece of wood nailed to wagon box, and near this gudgeon on the shaft a screw is cut. The shaft lays at an angle of about 45 degrees. In this screw a wheel works, on an axle fixed in the side of the wagon , of 60 cogs, and which makes one revolution each mile.
I On the shaft on which this wheel runs, four Cogs are cut in the fore part which plays in another wheel of 40 cogs which shows the miles and quarters to ten M[iles]. The whole is cased over and occupies a space of about 18 inches long, 15 inches high and 3 inches thick.
After the meeting was dismissed the cutter was sent to fetch the meat in, killed by brother Glines. They soon returned and the meat was distributed as usual. Presit. Young & Kimball have walked out together towards the bluffs. After supper Er Whipple made me a present of a half a candle made from buffalo tallow, by the light of which I continue this journal. Although as may be expected the buffalo are generally poor at this season of the year, yet brother Whipple has obtained sufficient to make two candles from his portion of meat received yesterday morning. The candle burns very clear and pleasant[.] The tallow smells sweet and rich, I imagine it has a more pleasant smell than the tallow of domestic cattle.
Monday 17 The morning very cold and chilly, wind N.W. Dr. Richards left another letter on the Camp ground for the benefit of the next company. The letter is secured from the weather by a wooden case, and placed so that the brethren can hardly miss finding it.
We started on our journey at 13 minutes after 8 o clock. After travelling a mile and a half we arrived at the foot of another range of bluffs which extend to the river, and began to ascend about ¼ of a mile north from the river, the road also turning to the north. A quarter of a mile further, crossed a stream of spring water about 3 feet wide. The road for a little distance on both sides the stream is rough, sandy and crooked. We then turn westward, and pass over a number of bluffs as there was no chance to go around them, without going miles out of our course. On these sandy bluffs, there are very many small Lizards, about 4 or 5 inches long from nose to the end of the tail, which is 1½ inches long. The body looks short and chunky and is of a light grey color with two rows of dark brown spots on each side of the body, which makes it appear striped. The head is shaped something like the head of a snake. They appear perfectly harmless and are pretty in appearance. After travelling 2¼ miles beyond the last mentioned stream we arrived at the west foot of the bluffs. The last part of the road very sandy and there are several very steep places of descent. However all the teams got safe over without difficulty. At the west foot of the bluffs there appears more grass than any where we have yet seen, although the buffalo have eat it off considerable. Within a quarter of a mile from the bluffs, we crossed two small streams of spring water, and at a mile from the foot of the bluffs, we crossed a stream of spring water about 4 foot wide with a very rapid current. The whole of this bottom seems full of springs and we have to keep near the bluffs to make a good road to travel, and in fact, we find it more or less soft and springy even close to the bluffs. A mile and a quarter west of the last mentioned spring is another small stream of very clear spring water. The others are rather muddy by running over sandy land. They all appear to have their rise in the bluffs, a short distance from our road. At 25 minutes to 12 we stopped to feed having travelled this morning 6¾ miles. Our course West, weather fine, warm, and
At 2 o clock, we proceeded onward. After travelling ½ a mile, we arrived at a very shoal stream of clear water about 30 feet wide but not over 3 inches deep in the
sta Channel, which is about 3 feet wide. We forded very easily and then passed over a short range of low sandy bluffs about a quarter of a mile wide and then entered on level prarie again, but we found it very soft and springy. Within two and a half miles from the last mentioned stream we passed two others, one very small, the other about 4 foot wide. They both doubtless rise from springs at the foot of the bluffs. About 3½ o clock, word arrived that a buffalo was killed by the hunters about a mile from the road. Two men were sent to skin and dress it. About the same time the Revenue Cutter arrived with with two more buffalo, one said to have been killed by Luke Johnson and the other by John Brown, also an antelope killed by A. Lyman[.] The wagons halted at a quarter to 4, took the meat out of the boat, which immediately returned to fetch the other buffalo, which was killed by Porter Rockwell. The meat was cut in quarters and put into the wagons and at half past 4 we again moved forward and travelled till 10 minutes to 6 and camped on a nice dry bottom prairie, where the grass is shorter than that we have passed all day. We travelled this P.M. 6 miles and during the day 12¾ miles about a West course. We are some distance from water but several wells were soon dug and good water obtained, at about four foot deep. Soon after we camped[,] the boat came in with the other buffalo and the meat was all distributed equally around the Camp, but it appears that some have already got more than they need and feel unwilling to take a good fore quarter. The bluffs on the opposite side the river project to the river for some distance opposite this place. Latitude 41¬∫ 13' 20”.
Tuesday 18th The morning fine and very pleasant. At 7 o clock the Prest. called the Captains of tens to his wagons and gave them a pretty severe lecture. He referred to some who had left meat on the ground, and would not use it because it was not hind quarter. Some would murmur because a fore quarter of meat was alloted to them &c which is not right, for God has given us a commandment that we should not waste meat, nor take life unless it is needful, but he can see a disposition in this Camp to slaughter every thing before them yea if all the buffalo & game there is on our route was brought together to the Camp, there are some would never cease until they had destroyed the whole. Some men will shoot as much as thirty times at a rabbit if they did not kill it, and are continually wasting their ammunition, but when they have used all they have got, they may have the pleasure of carrying their empty guns to the mountains and back, for he will not furnish them. We have now meat enough to last some time if we will take proper care of it. As the horsemen, there are none with the exception of Brothers Kimball and Woodruff and Benson, that ever take, the trouble to look out a good road for the wagons, but all they seem to care about is to wait till their breakfast is cooked for them and when they have eat it, they mount their horses and scatter away, and if an antelope comes across the track, the whole of us must be stopped perhaps half an hour while they try to creep up near enough to kill it, but when we come to a bad place on the route all the interest they have is to get across the best they can and leave myself and one or two others to pick out a crossing place and guide the Camp all the time. Such things are not right, and he wants them to cease and all take an interest in the welfare of the Camp, be united and receive the meat as a blessing from God and not as a stink offering from the devil. It is not necessary to preach to the Elders in this Camp, they know what is right as well as he does, and he will not preach to them all the time. Let the Captains do the best the[y] know how and teach their men to do likewise.” The meeting dispersed, the meat was taken care of and at a quarter past 8 we started out again, and travelled 3¼ miles nearly a
north west course over a very hard prarie, and good travelling and then arrived at a nice stream, with with a little buffalo chips makes a good fire for cooking. Latitude noon 41° 13’ 44".
Rattlesnake creek was so named from the following incident. Prest. Young as he rode up to the banks of the Creek, discovered that his horse stepped within a foot of a very large Rattle Snake. He turned his horse away without harming it. Soon afterwards, one of the brethren came up on foot and stepped within two foot and a half of it. It immediately coiled up and sprang at him and would have struck him (as it sprang 2½ feet) had he not jumped to one side. He took his rifle and shot the snake dead. Latitude [blank space].
The head of Cedar Bluffs as named by Fremont is 3 miles west of where we camped last night.
At 5 minutes past 1 P.M. we continued our journey our route laying near the banks of the river which seems narrower here. After travelling 3½ miles we crossed a stream about 6 feet wide, and ¾ of a mile further another stream of tolerably deep clear water about 5 foot wide. This stream is very crooked and seems to run from the bluffs to the river in a perfect serpentine or zig zag direction. Soon after starting this afternoon we discovered some dog towns. the grass eat perfectly bare all around. The feed is growing worse again, evidently eat off by the buffalo. At noon a heavy black cloud rose up in the west and we had a little rain, accompanied by lightning and distant thunder. After passing the last mentioned creek about a mile we had to change our course to near north west on account of a bend in the river. We travelled till half past 5 and formed our encampment on the west bank of a running stream about 8 foot wide & 1 foot deep which is 5 miles from Crooked Creek, making our afternoons travel 9¼ miles and the days travel 15¾. The bluffs and the river here are about a quarter of a mile apart, the river very wide, feed poor, plenty of float wood, pine & Cedar for fuel. The weather calm and warm, though cloudy. After encampment was formed went with Elder O. Pratt to Dr. Richards wagon to enter into arrangements for making a map of our route. The Dr wants me to do it, assisted by Er Pratts observations. He handed me Fremonts map, and I retired to my wagon to commence operations, but soon found that the map does not agree with my scale nor Er Pratts calculations. I then proposed to Er Pratt to wait until we get through the journey and take all the necessary data, and then make a new one instead of making our route on Fremonts. The subject is left here till morning. After supper I took my candle and finished this days journal. At dark Col. Markham called the Camp together to tell the brethren their duty, in regard to travelling, guarding teams, and standing guard at nights. The old laws of April 18 were talked over and additional bye laws added, but not being present, I did not hear them, neither can I learn any thing from those who were present, for they all say, that there were so many little matters touched upon, and so many resolutions passed that they remembered only one and that is, when any man goes out of the sound of the horn to fetch in his team and sees another mans horse or mule or ox, a little beyond or near his, he shall drive it also to Camp, and if he neglect to do so, he shall be sent back to do it, if it require an escort to make him.—About 7 o clock the wind shifted round to the north and blew strong and cold.
Wednesday 19 It has rained a little most the night, and still looks gloomy, cloudy and like for a rainy day. Inasmuch as the feed is not good here, it was thought best to move on before breakfast a few miles and see for better feed. We started out at 5 minutes past 5 the second division having the right to lead, but a part of the first division being ready a little before all the 2nd were ready they rushed on their teams, drove fast and those of the second division behind had to leave the track and run their teams to take their places. We travelled 2¾ miles, our course 11¼ degrees N. of W. and then crossed a stream 3 foot wide, and ¼ of a mile further crossed another 4 foot wide. Our route lay within about ¼ of a mile from the bluffs, and a mile from the river which takes a bend South from here we camped last night and runs close to the bluffs on the S. side. We then turned our course to a little West of N.W. as the River bends again to the bluffs on this side, and travelled a quarter of a mile further and halted for breakfast at 20 minutes after 6 having travelled 3¼ miles.
The main body of the Camp have stopped a quarter of a mile back, being 3 miles from where we started this A.M. The road is mostly sandy, tall grass of last years growth, the two streams we passed seem to form many ponds of clear water extending at short distances from each other from the bluffs to the river. Er Kimball has been ahead over the
bloofs bluffs to look out the route. It continues to rain a little occasionally, with north wind light. Er Kimball found that. The bluffs project entirely to the river, are very sandy, but we can cross them without going out of our course.—At 20 minutes to 9, we proceeded onward a little and then waited till the rest of the wagons came up. At the distance of near a mile and a half, we crossed a stream about 20 feet wide, not very deep, weither neither very good to cross, and exactly at the distance of a mile and a half, we arrived at the foot of the bluffs, and began to ascend without doubling teams. Some of the teams stuck by by the assistance of the extra men they all got up. The bluffs are very high, sandy and rough, and the sand cuts down considerable making it heavy on teams. These bluffs are ¾ of a mile from the East foot to the West foot following our trail which is nearly straight. About 200 yards from the West foot of these bluffs we crossed another stream 5 foot wide. It has rained heavy all the time since we started at breakfast, and continues, consequently at half past ten the Camp formed into Platoons, and then halted to wait for more favorable weather, having travelled 6 miles to day, over the worst road we have had from Winter Quarters, rendered worse, doubtless by the heavy rains. About half past 2 the weather looked a little more favorable, and orders were given to move on. We started at 5 minutes to 3 about which time it rained again heavy. We travelled 2 miles then formed our encampment in a semicircle on the banks of the river having travelled 2 miles and through the day 8 miles. The first mile this evening was over very soft prarie, the last hard and good! The rain still continue to pour down heavy, and this has been the most uncomfortable day we have had and the hardest on our teams. The brethren however feel well and chearful, the ox teams improving in their condition, but the horses dont stand it as well. The stream at the East foot of the last mentioned bluffs was named “Wolfe Creek”, from the following circumstance. When Er Kimball went ahead this morning to search out a road, he went up the Creek about a mile and around and over the bluffs to find a better road if possible than the one close to the river. While he was searching about a mile north from the river he went down into a deep hollow, surrounded by high bluffs, and as he was riding along at the bottom turned his head to the left and saw two very large wolves at about 5 rods distance gazing at him one of them he said was near as large as a two year old steer. When he saw these he looked round on the other side and saw several others about the same distance from him, very large ones, and all gazing fiercly at him, this startled him considerably and more especially when he reflected that he had no arms. He made a noise to try to scare them away but they still stood, and he concluded to move away as soon as he could. They did not follow him and he saw a dead carcass near which satisfied him that he had interrupted their repast. On mentioning this circumstance to president Young they named the Creek wolfe Creek. He travelled back and forth over 10 miles searching out a road before breakfast. He also went out again afterwards and got badly wet. He then concluded to change his cloth[e]s and remain in his wagon. The evening is very cool, cloudy and wind from the North East. The rain has ceased about 6 o clock but it still looks stormy.
Thursday 20th The morning fair, but cloudy, light wind from N.W. and cold. At ¼ to 8 we started out again but had not travelled over a quarter of a mile before the Roadometer gave way on account of the rain yesterday having caused the wood to swell and stick fast. One of the Cogs in the small wheel broke[.] We stopped about half an hour and Appleton Harmon took it to pieces and put it up again without the small wheel. I had to count each mile after this. ¾ of a mile from where we camped we crossed a creek 8 feet wide and 2½ feet deep. We then changed our course to about South West a mile or so following the banks of the river, as the ground was wet and swampy nearer the bluffs. The river then winds round about three miles in a bend and then strikes a little North of West. The bluffs on the north appear to be about two miles from the river. We travelled till ¼ past 11 and then halted to feed, having travelled 7¾ miles over tolerable good road though at the commencement somewhat soft. On the opposite side the river the bluffs project near its banks. They are rocky and almost perpendicular, beautified by Groves of Cedar for miles. Opposite to where we are halted, we can see a ravine running up the bluffs and at the foot a flat bottom of about 15 acres. At the farthest side of this bottom is a grove of trees not yet in leaf. Brother Brown thinks they are Ash and that the place is what is called “Ash hollow”, and on Fremonts map “Ash Creek”. We all felt anxious to ascertain the fact whether this is Ash hollow or not, for, if it is the Oregon trail strikes the riyer at this place, and if it can be ascertained that such is the fact we then have a better privilege of testing Fremonts distances to Laramie. We have already discovered that his map is not altogether correct, in several respects, and in one particular, in not showing the correct windings of the river and the distance of the bluffs from it. I suggested the propriety of some persons going over in the Boat and brother John Brown of course suggested to Prest.Young. The Boat was soon hauled by the brethren to the river, and Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman, Luke Johnson and John Brown started to row over, but the current was so exceeding strong the oars had no effect. John Brown then jumped into the river which was about 2½ feet deep and dragged the Boat over[,] the others assisting with the oars. After some hard labor they arrived on the opposite shore and went to the hollow. They soon found the Oregon trail & ascertained that this is Ash hollow, brother Brown having travelled on that road to near Laramie last season with the Mississippi company and knew the place
place perfectly well. They gathered some branches of wild cherry in full bloom, rambled over the place a little while and then returned to Camp. About the same time the Camp prepared to pursue their journey. The brethren arrived made their report and at a quarter to 2 P.M. we proceeded onward. From the appearance of the bluffs ahead, our course this afternoon will be West, North West. A light breeze from N. W. Soon after we started one of the brethren killed a large Rattlesnake within a road [rod] of the road made by the wagons, and on the side where the cows travel[.] He killed it to prevent its injuring the cows & threw it away from the road. In the river 1¼ miles above “Ash Hollow” there are several small Islands on which grows many trees of Cedar. One of these Islands is perfectly green over with Cedar and looks beautiful. The bluffs also on the South side the river continue to be lined with Cedar appearently for two miles yet and are very high & almost perpendicular, running pretty close to the river. On this side the river the bluffs seem to bear farther to the north being about 3 miles appearently from the river, and a few miles farther West they are as much as 5 miles from the river. After travelling 3¼ miles from noon, we crossed a tributary stream running into the Platte, in a very crooked direction, being from 4 to 8 rods wide and 2½ feet deep most of the way across, the bottom quick sands, current rapid and water sandy color like the Platte. Some had to double teams to get over, but all got over safe. We proceeded on about 4 miles further & found that the river bends considerable to the north, the bluffs also bend to the South, so that the low bluffs in front almost reach the banks only barely leaving room for a road. We went a little further and camped for the night at half past 5 having travelled this afternoon 8 miles, making 15¾ miles during the day. Er Kimball and several others went forward on horses to pick out our road as usual. I have seen several kinds of herbs growing to day which appear new to me. One looks like penny royal, smells almost like it, but taste hot and like the Oil of cloves. Er Kimball and others saw a very large wolfe about half a mile west, and he appeared to be following them to Camp. They turned and rode up to him and round him flshed struck their pistols at him but they did not go off[,] being damp. He finally made his escape. The large stream we crossed this afternoon is named Castle Creek from the bluffs on the opposite side, which much resembles the rock on which Lancaster Castle is built. The bluffs are named Castle Bluffs. We had a light shower this afternoon, but the evening is fine, though very cool.
Friday 21st The morning very fine and pleasant though tolerably cool. I put up a guide board at this place with the following inscriptions on it
“From Winter Quarters 409 miles.
”From the junction of the N&S. Forks 93¼ miles.
”From Cedar Bluffs (S. side the river) 36½ miles.
“Ash Hollow (S. side the river) 8 miles.[”]
According to Fremont, this place is 132 miles from Laramie. N.B. The bluffs opposite are named [“]Castle Bluffs.” At 25 minutes to 8 we continued our journey. We found the prarie tolerably wet, many ponds of water standing which must have been caused by a heavy fall of rain, much more heavy than we had back. However it was not very bad travelling. We made a pretty straight road this morning, at about the distance of a mile from the river. The bluffs on the north appear to be 5 miles or over from our road. At ¼ past 11 we halted for dinner having travelled near 7¾ miles, course N.N.W. very warm, no wind. Prest. Young & Kimball rode forward to pick the road, and near this place they saw a nest of wolves, caught and killed two with sticks. 4 or 5 others escaped to their hole.—At half past 1 we proceeded onward, and found the prairie wet, and grass high of last years growth. After travelling 4¾ miles we arrived at a range of low bluffs projecting to the river which at this place is a bend to the North. There is however a bottom of about a rod wide between the bluffs and the river, but as it is wet and soft, it was preferred to cross over the bluffs, by bending a little more to the north. We travelled on the bluffs a little over a quarter of a mile and then turned on the bottom again. The bluffs are low and almost as level as the bottom. After we crossed the bluffs we found the route better. We saw about a mile this side the foot of the bluffs a very large bone almost petrified into stone. Most of the brethren believe it to be the shoulder bone of a mammoth, and is very large indeed. About this time a badger was brought to the wagons which brother Woodruff had killed. As I was walking along and looking over the river I heard a rattlesnake and looking down saw that I had stepped within a foot of it. It rattled hard but seemed to make away. We threw it away from the track without killing it. At 5 o clock Er Kimball rode up and stopped the forward teams till the last ones got nearer saying that some Indians had come down from the bluffs to the brethren ahead. When the rest of the wagons came up we moved on a quarter of a mile further and formed our encampment in a circle with the wagons close together as possible at half past 5 having travelled 7¾ miles this afternoon making 15½ through the day. As the Camp was forming the two Indians came nearer being a man and his squaw. They represented by signs that they were Sioux and that a party of them are now on the bluffs north of us and not far distant. By the aid of glasses we could see several on the bluffs with their ponies, evidently watching our movements. This man was hunting when first seen and appeared afraid when he saw the brethren. The squaw fled for the bluffs as fast as her horse could go, but by signs made to them they gathered courage and came up[.] Prest. Young gave orders not to bring them into camp, but they soon rode off to the bluffs. The man has got a good cloth coat on and appears well dressed. The horses they rode are said to be work horses which makes us suspect they have stole them from travellers.
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 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. We are near a mile from water and the brethren have to dig wells to obtain a supply for cooking. The feed here is very poor, not much but old grass. Our course this afternoon has been a little N. of W. Lorenzo Young shot two very large ducks with one ball, and brought them to Camp. Elder Kimball proposed to night that I should leave a number of pages for so much of his journal as I am behind in copying and start from the present and keep it up daily. He furnished me a candle and I wrote the journal of this days travel by Candle light in his journal, leaving 56 pages blank. The evening was very fine and pleasant. The Latitude at noon halt 41¬∫ 24' 5".
Saturday 22nd Morning beautiful, warm, and no wind. 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 prarie somewhat soft and a little uneven. After travelling 5½ miles we crossed a very shoal creek about 20 feet wide. 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, cragged and almost perpendicular though not very high. We travelled till half past 11 and then halted for noon, having travelled 7¼ miles, the road on this side the creek being better. Our course about W.N.W. with a light breeze from the East. Er Kimball and others ahead as usual. The creek above mentioned was named “Crab Creek”, because some of the brethren saw a very large Crab in it. A mile East of this creek is a dry Creek, down which, from appearances, a heavy stream runs at some seasons 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 here. A while after we halted Porter Rockwell came in and said he had been on the high bluff, about a mile N.W. of us, 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 to day and feel anxious, in order to ascertain more certainly the correctness of Fremonts distance. In order to satisfy myself, although my feet were blistered and very sore I determined to take my telescope and go on the bluff to ascertain for myself whether the noted rock could be seen or not. At half past 12 I started out alone. I found the distance to the foot of the bluff a good mile the ascent gradual. From the foot 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
We have noticed to day a great many petrified bones, some very large, all turned into Solid, hard stone, which proves that the atmosphere is pure and the country would doubtless be healthy, but is not calculated for farming purposes on account of the poor sandy soil, and no timber at all on this side the river. I have noticed a variety of shrubs, plants and flowers, all new to me to day, many of which have a very pleasant smell, and in some places the air appears impregnated with the rich odours arising from them. Among the rest is numerous beds of the Southern wood. There are also vast beds of flinty pebbles of various colors, some as white as alabaster.
About half past 6 I observed a group of brethren standing together inside the Camp. I went up and saw a young Eagle taken out of its nest on one of these high bluffs, by George R. Grant and Orson Whitney. Although it is very young and its feathers scarcely commenced growing it measures from the tips of its wings when stretched 46 inches. Its head near the size of my fist and looks very ferocious.
After this I went with John Pack and Horace Whitney to the bluffs. On our way we saw a large wolfe, about as large as the largest dog in Camp. He was within a quarter of a mile from Camp. After travelling about a mile we arrived at the foot of a stupendous mass of rocks, almost perpendicular, with only one place where it was possible to ascend. We went up with difficulty, and by using our hands and knees gained the top[.] We had to walk over a little space which was only about 3 feet wide, on the east side a perpendicular fall of about 60 feet. Although from the Camp this peak looks only large enough for a man to stand upon, we found it large enough to seat comfortably about 20 persons. The top is composed of large rocks and very uneven. The praries below looks a long distance under foot from this peak. Descending we viewed the surrounding scenery which looks more like the ruins of an Ancient City, with its Castles, Towers, Fortifications &c on all sides, and a dry stream coming through the centre. We proceeded to the next high rock, and found it very difficult of ascent. The top is nearly level and very pleasant. We discovered several other varieties of shrubbery, all smelling pleasant and strong. We saw that a horse has sometime stood on the top but how he got there we could not easily determine. At the East end there is a Cedar tree flat on the top and on the underside almost looks like an umbrella. We made a calculation of the height of this bluff as well as we could and concluded it must be at least 200 feet higher than the river. The surrounding country can be seen for many miles from its summit, and chimney rock shows very plain. We descended at the East end and arrived in Camp at dark well satisfied with our journey. Some of the brethren have discovered a cave in one of these bluffs, and one went into it a little distance but it being very dark and having no torch he did not venture far. 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 5 inches of very cold good water in it. He supposed it to be a spring. Between the bluffs they also discovered a spring of pure cold water of a very good taste.
Last night a large black dog, half wolfe, supposed to belong to the Indians, came to the Camp. He has kept within two hundred yards of the wagons all day, and has followed us to this place. There has been many Rattlesnakes seen today and six or seven killed. In fact this place seems to abound with them.
The evening was spent very joyfully by most of the brethren it being very pleasant and moonlight. A number danced till the bugle sounded for bed time at 9 o clock. A mock trial was also prosecuted in the case of the Camp vs. James Davenport, for blockading the highway and turning ladies out of their course. Jackson Redding acted as the presiding judge. E. Whipple attorney for defendant and Luke Johnson attorney for the people. We have many such trials in the Camp which are amusing enough and tends among other things to pass away the time cheerfully during leasure moments. It was remarked this evening that we have one man in Camp, who is entitled to the credit of being more even tempered than any of the others, and that is father Chamberl[a]in. He is invariably cross and quarrelsome, but the brethren all take it as a joke and he makes considerable amusement for the Camp.
Opposite the encampment there are quite a number of small Islands, but no timber on any of them.
Sunday 23rd The morning very fine and pleasant. Brother Egan commenced washing very early on the banks of the river. He kindly volunteered to wash my dirty cloth[e]s which I accept as a favor. After breakfast President Young, Ers Kimball, Richards, Pratt, Woodruff, Smith & Benson and
with by a rattlesnake. He went on the bluffs with Aaron Farr and B. Rolf, and as they jumped off from the bluff, the snake bit him, the others having jumped over him further. He said that in two minutes after he was bit his tongue began to prick and feel numb. When he got to Camp his tongue and hands pricked and felt numb as a person feels their feet sometimes when they are said to be asleep. The brethren immediately applied some tobacco juice and leaves, also turpentine, and bound tobacco on his leg which was considerably swollen. We laid hands on him and Luke Johnson administered a dose of Lobelia in number six, after he had taken a strong drink of alcohol and water. The Lobelia soon vomited him powerfully. He complains much of sickness at his stomach and dimness in his eyes. He appears to be in much pain.
While the brethren of the quorum of the Twelve were on one of the high detached bluffs, they found the skeleton of a buffalo's head. Brother Woodruff wrote the names of all the Quorum of the Twelve present and set it upon the South West corner of the bluff. John Brown also wrote his name on it. Er Pratt took the altitude of the bluff and found it to be 235 feet above the surface of the river. He did not calculate the height above the sea, owing to the state of the atmosphere. He however predicted wind from the same cause. At 12 o clock the camp was called together for meeting and after singing and prayer addressed by E. Snow, followed by Prest. Young. The latter said there was many items of doctrine which he often felt like teaching to the brethren, 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 satisfied with the conduct of the Camp in general. He is pleased to see so much union, and disposition to obey council among the brethren, and hoped and prayed that it may continue and increase. 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 was here in our midst, he could comprehend the whole of it and wind it round his little finger, say nothing of the knowledge of Angels, and above that the knowledge of the God. There is much for us to learn and a faithful man who desires eternal glory will seek after knowledge all the time, and his ideas are never suffered to rust but are always bright. He will not throw away the knowledge of small things because they are familiar, but grasp all he can and keep doing so, and by retaining many small things he will thus gain a large pile &c
He expressed his feelings warmly towards all the brethren, and prayed them to be faithful, diligent and upright, for we are now sowing seed, the fruit of which will be plucked in after days w[h]ether good or bad. G. A. Smith made a few remarks, also several others of the brethren. The President then stated that on Sunday next he wants the brethren to understand that there will be meeting at 11 o clock and the sacrament administered, and he wants the brethren to attend, all that can, and not ramble off and fatigue themselves, but use the Sabbath as a day of rest. He enjoined it upon Bishops T. Lewis, S. Roundy, J. L. Higbee and A. Everett to see that the proper necessaries were prepared for the sacrement.
The meeting was then dismissed.
A while after meeting I walked out with Er Kimball a piece from the Camp. We sat down and I read to
About 5 o clock the wind blew a perfect gale and continued till seven, when it commenced to rain very heavy, large drops descending, accompanied with hail, which however did not continue very long, but the wind continued near all night. The lightning and thunder continued some time but not very severe. We saw the necessity of having good stout bows to our wagons, and the covers well fastened down, for the very stoutest seemed in danger of being torn to pieces, and the wagons blown over. When the wind commenced blowing so strongly it turned very cold, and long before dark I went to bed to keep warm. Bro. Fairbanks seems considerably better. This evening President Young, Kimball and Benson laid hands on him and he seemed much better afterwards.
Monday 24 The morning very cold indeed, strong wind from N.W. At 25 minutes past 8 we continued our journey and travelled over level prarie 10 miles, then halted to feed at ¼ to 1. The bluffs on the north about 2 miles from us and the river 1. About noon the weather began to moderate and grow warmer. While we were resting two Indians came to Camp, their object evidently 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 again proceeded and travelled till 6 distance 6½ miles, during the day 16½. Several of the horse teams gave out and they are evidently failing but the oxen are gaining daily. The 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 west. When we formed our encampment they crossed over the river. Some of the brethren went to meet them carrying a white flag with them. When the Indians saw the flag, some of them began to sing, and their chief held up a U.S. flag. It was soon ascertained that their object was to obtain something to eat. A number of them came to the Camp and were conducted round by Cols. Markham and Rockwood. They were shown a 6 and 15 shooter also the cannon and the gunners went through the evolutions a number of times which seemed to please them very much. They are all well dressed and very noble looking. Some having good clean blankets, others nice robes, artfully ornamented with beads & paintings. All had many ornaments on their clothing and ears, some had nice painted shells suspended from the ear. All appeared to be well armed with muskets. Their mocasons were indeed clean and beautiful. One had a pair of mocasins of a clear white, ornamented with beads &c They sit [fit] very tight to the foot. For cleanness and neatness, they will vie with the most tasteful whites. They are 35 in number, about half squaws and children. They are Sioux and have two recommends certifying as to their friendship &c The brethren contributed something to eat which was sent to them. Our course today has been near west, with a cool wind. The evening fine but cold enough to freeze cloth[e]s stiff which are laid on the grass to dry. Er Kimball has been quite unwell all day, and mostly kept to his 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 a rock stands 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 pleasant & romantic.
After the Indians had viewed the Camp, they returned to their horses and the rest of the party who have camped on the bank of the river about a quarter of a mile west of us. Er Sherwood returned with them and soon after came back accompanied by the chief and his squaw who signified a wish to abide with our camp tonight. The brethren fixed up a tent for them to sleep under, Porter Rockwell made them some coffee, & they were furnished with some victuals. The old chief amused himself very much by looking at the moon through a telescope for as much as 20 minutes.
Brother Fairbanks is much better this evening. Last night Luke Johnson discovered a very large petrified bone in the neighborhood of the bluffs, as much as two foot wide, but he could not ascertain the length of it. After laboring some time ineffectually to dig it up he broke off two pieces and brought them to camp. They are very white and hard.
It is now 11 o clock. I have been writing in Er Kimball’s journal since dark, and have but little chance to write as much as I want in my own and his both, but I feel determined to do all I can to keep a journal of this expedition, which will be interesting to my children in after days and perhaps to many of the saints. The evening is very fine but cool, and I retire to rest with the feeling of God bless my dear family.
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 for mocasins, skins &c John S. Higbee traded ponies with one of them. They have some good ponies and some inferior ones, but both male and female are neatly dressed and very tidy. They look cheerful, and pleased to witness the Camp &c At 20 minutes past 8 we proceeded onward. After we started the Indians left us and went over the river. One mile from where we started we began to ascend a low rang[e] of bluffs to avoid a large, high sandy ridge which projects to the river. We travelled ¾ of a mile and descended again to the level prarie. At 20 minutes to 10 we halted to let the cattle & teams graze, the feed being good & plentiful, having travelled 2½ miles, mostly N.W. round a bend of the river. The sun is very hot, the roads sandy & hard teaming.
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 travelled till half past 1 distance 4¾ miles, over a very soft, wet, level prairie. We then halted to feed and rest our teams, as they have been hard drawn near all day. We have seen no game for several days, except a few antelope & hares. The buffallo appear to have left this region, and in fact there are little signs of there ever being many here. 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 started again and travelled till a quarter to 6 distance 4¾ miles, and during the day 12 miles. for 3 miles of the first of this afternoon we had good road, but the last part has been very 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 for the benefit of teams. Our course has been about N.W. very little wind and the day very warm. Chimney Rock shows very plain, and appears not more than two miles distance, but is no doubt 5 miles distance or over. Another antelope has been killed and brought in by the hunters. Er O. Pratt is taking an observation to ascertain the height of Chimney rock which from the place where we are camped has this appearance [illustration].
The evening was very pleasant and the brethren passed away their time till after 9 o clock dancing. Porter Rockwell shot the two antelope spoken of above. He also shot 2 wolves. Latitude 6¼ miles back, 41¬∫ 41' 46”.
Wednesday 26 The morning very fine and pleasant. I have spent the morning working on Dr Richards map. At 8 o clock continued on our journey Er Pratt taking observations to tell the distance our road lays from Chimney rock. Yesterday morning, Stephen Markham traded a mule which was foundered and unable to work, to one of the Indians for a pony. They put him in the harness a little, towards evening and again this morning. When crossing a muddy soft place the whipple tree unhitched and struck against his heels. He ran full gallop towards the head teams, and twice through the line of wagons causing several teams, horses and oxen both to spring from the road and run some distance before the men could stop them. After running near a mile some of the brethren caught him, brought him back and put him to the wagon again without any accident except a little injury to the harness. After travelling 4-5/8 miles we arrived at a point directly north of Chimney Rock which we ascertained by the compass, having travelled since it was first discovered 41½ miles. We proceeded till 12 o clock and halted to feed having travelled 7¼ miles, a N.N.W. course, the road very straight and hard except in a few spots, where the water stands caused by late heavy rains. We turned south a little to get to grass, as the higher prarie is barren, and scarce any grass on it. Porter Rockwell has killed 2 antelope and John Brown 1 which are brought into camp and being divided amongst the companies as usual. Er Pratt found that Chimney Rock is 260 feet high from its base to its summit and the distance from our road at the nearest point 3 miles. The Latitude at noon halt 41° 45' 58".
At 25 minutes past 2 resumed our journey making our road nearer the river than this morning. The road some what crooked but good travelling. After travelling 5 miles turned directly South to avoid a bad slough, and went a quarter of a mile then formed our encampment
Joseph Hancock killed an antelope, which was brought into Camp and distributed. Soon after we camped walked out to the bank of the river with Prests. Young & Kimball to read to them some of the minutes of the old Council. We were joined by Dr Richards, and tarried till 7 o clock, at which time a heavy black cloud was fast approaching from the west, and was soon followed by a strong wind and a little rain, which lasted only a short time. The evening afterwards warm and pleasant though somewhat cloudy.
Carloss [Carlos] Murray has been trying to rear the young Eagle caught on Saturday. After stopping tonight, he put it under a wagon, and a while afterwards the men ran the wagon back [and] one of the wheels [ran] over its head and killed it dead. I wrote in Hebers journal till half pa[s]t 10 and then went to rest.
Thursday 27 The morning very fine. We have seen a number of romantic spots on our journey, but I considerer our view this morning more sublime than any other. Chimney rock lays S.E. opposite, detached bluffs of various shapes and sizes. To the S.W., Scotts Bluffs look majestic and sublime. The prarie over which our route lays very level and green as far as we can see. Bluffs on the north low, about 3 miles distant. The scenery is truly delightful beyond imagination. I have finished making Dr Richards map to Chimney Rock. Er Pratt has measured the width of the river at this place by the sextant, and found it to be exactly 792 Yards. At 10 minutes to 8 we continued our route and travelled near the banks of the river till ¼ to 12, being 8 miles. The route very good, hard and good travelling although a little crooked. Porter Rockwell has killed two antelope and
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, over the same kind of dry level prarie, keeping not far distant from the banks of the river, and making a straight road. At the distance of 4-1/8 miles passed the meridian of the northern most peak of Scotts bluffs being 19¾ miles from the meridian of Chimney Rock. These bluffs are very high, steep, and broken, like many others, resembling ancient ruins. They are probably 2 miles from North to South extremity, but not very wide. We travelled till a quarter to 5 and formed our encampment in a circle near the banks of the river, which from this place seems to bend for some distance to the North, having travelled this afternoon 5¾ miles, and during the day 13¾ mostly N.W. Er Kimball and Woodruff pointed out the road this forenoon. P.M. Er Kimball rode with me in Johnsons wagon while I read some of his journal to him. The evening is very cold, wind N.E. and rains some. Feed is good, and the Camp generally well. Another antelope was brought in by the hunters.
The Latitude of the northernmost peak of Scotts Bluffs 41° 50’ 52”
Friday 28 The morning cool, damp, cloudy and some rain. wind N.E. At about 8 o clock the brethren were called together and the question asked, shall we go on in the rain or wait until it is fair. All agreed to stay till it was fair. I went to writing in Hebers journal and wrote till near 11 o clock. Er Kimball came to the next wagon where some of the boys were playing Cards. He told them his views & disapprobation of their spending time, gaming, and dancing, and mock trials &c and especially the profane language frequently uttered by some, He reasoned with them on the subject and showed them that it would lead from bad to worse if persisted in untill the consequences would become serious. He exhorted them to be more sober and wise. It growing fair we started out at 11 o clock, our first 4 miles being N.N.W. in consequence of a bend in the river. We travelled beside a creek of very clear water about a mile. It rises about 4 miles N.W. of w[h]ere we camped last night, and runs in a crooked direction till it empties in to the river about a mile West of the Camp. It rises from springs, as was proved by Horace Whitney who traced it to its source, where is a spring rising out of a circular kind of wet swamp about 6 foot in diameter. The creek is about 8 foot wide but not deep, the bottom is gravelly. Near where it empties into the river, they discovered a large number of spotted trout, suckers and dais of a good size. The water tastes very good and cold. At the distance of 4 miles we arrived and traveled at the foot of the bluffs, which was sandy and heavy on teams. We soon turned from the bluffs onto a level barren prarie, hard and good travelling. At 9 miles descended on a lower bench of prarie, where we found it wet and soft though not bad rolling. At ¼ to 5 formed our encampment near the river having travelled 11½ miles the last 7 a little S. of W. The feed here is not very good. Drift wood tolerable plentiful. We have seen a few small trees on the Islands today, but none on the north bank. Vast quantities of Southern wood and prickley pear grow on these sandy praries, where there is no grass. The evening cloudy and dull, with cold N.E.wind. While Thomas Brown and Porter Rockwell were out hunting about 5 miles North of here, the former saw 5 or 6 Indians about a quarter of a mile from him. They also saw many new foot prints of horses, which shows that there is a hunting party near.
Saturday 29 The morning cold, wet and cloudy, with wind from N.E. We shall not travel unless it grows fair and better weather. I spent the morning writing in Er Kimballs journal but felt very unwell having taken cold yesterday and been sick all night. About 10 o clock the weather looked a little better 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. 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. He then called on 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 in substance 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 to 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 on 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 to leave our homes, our houses, our lands and our all because we believed in the gospel as revealed to the saints in these last days. The rise of the persecutions against the Church, 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 have learned in a measure, the difference between a professor of religion, and possessor 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 to 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, upright, 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 heart. It is calculated to give to him privileges, and power, and honor, and exhaltation, and every thing which his heart can desire in righteousness all the days of his life, and then, when he gets exalted 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 eye 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 thats in you. Nobody has told me what has been going on in the Camp, but I have known it all the while.
The I have been watching its movement, 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 devil has 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 dont 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. I am in no hurry. 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 six or eight 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 my 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, groveling, 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 wrankling in the bosoms 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 quarreling 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 carry 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 don' you try to put it down. I have played cards once in my life since I became a Mormon to see what kind of 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 heard of praising the Lord in a game at cards?
If any man had sense enough to play a game at Cards, or dance a little without wanting to keep it up all the time, but exercise a little, and then quit it and think 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 dont know how to control yourselves. Last winter when we had our seasons of recreation 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 whatever I engage in my mind is on it while engaged in it, but the moment I am done with it, my mind is drawn up to my God.
The devils which inhabit the gentiles 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, the other evening, 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 mans feelings, but I have hollowed [hollered] pretty loud and spoke sharp to the brethren when I have seen their awkwardness at coming into Camp. The revelations in the bible, in the book of Mormon, and 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 nothingness, and weakness, and 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 everything 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 swearing and your profane language, for it is in this camp, and I know it, and have known it. I have said nothing about it, but I now tell you, if you dont 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 belong 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 whether 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 anything else of it.
I understand there are several in this Camp who do not 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 our 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 kow 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 debasing the negroes, 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 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 stopt, and you would want to creep away in disgrace.
I am one of the last to ask my brethren to enter into solemn covenants, 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 keep their wagons and retreat back, for I shall go no farther 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 their
number number to be 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. 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. Every man held up his hand in token that he covenanted. He then put the same question to the High Priests and Bishops, next to the seventies, and 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 then referred to the conduct of Benjamin Rolfe's two younger brothers, in joining with the Higbees and John C. Bennett in sowing discord and strife among the Saints in Nauvoo, and remarked that there will be no more Bennett Scrapes suffered here. He spoke highly of Benjamin Rolfe's conduct, although not a member of the church, &c also referred to the esteem in which his father and mother were held by the Saints generally.
He then very tenderly blessed the brethren and prayed that God would enable them to fulfill their covenants and withdrew to give chance for others to speak if they felt like it.
Er. Kimball, arose to say that, that he agreed with all that president Young had said. He recieve it as the word of the Lord to him, and it is the word of the Lord to this camp if they will receive it. He has been watching the motion of things, and the conduct of the brethren for some time and has seen what it would lead to. He has said little but thought a great deal. It has made him shudder when he has seen the Elders of Israel, descend to the lowest, dirtiest things imaginable, the tail end of every thing, but what has passed this morning will make it an everlasting blessing to the brethren, if
Er 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 prayers, and 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 obtained, and if the brethren would devote all their leasure time to seek 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 of 24 all the days of our life, 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 it.
Er Woodruff said he remembered the time when the Camp went up to Missouri to redeem Zion, when brother Joseph stood upon 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 in a short time and a more sorrowful time I never saw. There are 9 here who were in that Camp and 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. He had always indulged himself before he came into the church, with every thing he 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 yielded, and the awful consequence of such things if persisted in. Many were in tears and felt humbled. Prest. Young returned to the boat as brother 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 do 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 today, 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, of new atmosphere, and a new society. We travelled 6¾ miles about a N.N.W. course, and then arrived at the foot of the low bluffs, which extend within about 10 rods of the river, the latter forming a large bend northward 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 lightning and thunder, and strong N.E. wind. It also changed considerably colder again. At half past 5 we formed our encampment on the edge of the higher bench of prarie. The feed is tolerable good on the bottom, but here there is none at all.
We have passed a small grove of tolerable sized trees, all green, growing on the Islands in the river, which are tolerably many near here, but there is no timber yet on this side the river. The brethren pick up drift wood enough to do their cooking. I spent the evening writing in this journal till half past 12 o clock, but felt quite unwell. The distance we have travelled to day is 8½ miles, during the week 74½, making us 514½ miles from Winter Quarters. There is a creek of clear water about 200 yards to the South from which the Camp obtains what they want.
Sunday 30 The morning fair and somewhat more pleasant, although there is yet appearance for more rain. I felt quite unwell through the night and also this morning, having severe pain in my bowels. At 9 o clock most of the brethren retired a little South of the Camp and had a prayer meeting, and as many as choose to, expressed their feelings. At a little before 12 they met again in the same spot to partake of the sacrement. Soon afterwards all the members of the council of the F of K. of G. in the Camp except brother Thomas Bullock, went 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, this Camp and all 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. The names of those present, members of the above council are Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff,
George A. Amasa Lyman, Ezra T. Benson, Phineas H. Young, John Pack, Charles Shumway, Shadrack Roundy, Albert P. Rockwood, Erastus Snow, myself, Albert Carrington and Porter Rockwell. The two latter having no clothing with them stood guard at a little distance from us to prevent interruption. When we started for the bluffs, there was a heavy, black thunder cloud rising from the South West, 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 choose rather to take a wetting than to be dissappointed of the privilege. It kept off remarkably till we got through, and got our clothes on, but soon after it began to rain and after we got to Camp it rained considerable, accompanied by strong wind. I never noticed the brethren so still and sober on a sunday since we started as to day. There is no jesting, nor laughing, nor nonsense. All appear to be sober and feel to remember their covenant, which makes things look far more pleasant than they have done heretofore.—I spent most of the afternoon in Er Kimballs wagon, with Er Kimball, Prest. Young, Lorenzo and Phineas Young. Read the minutes of President Youngs discourse of yesterday. About 5 o clock Prest. Young; Kimball, Benson & others walked out together to the bluffs. They invited me to go with them but I was so afflicted with Cramps in my bowels I could scarcely walk, and after drinking a cup of tea prepared by Ellen Sanders I went to my wagon and retired to bed early. The evening more pleasant with a light shower occasionally. Er Kimball, Prest. Young, and others saw the “black hills” in the distance from a high bluff.
Monday 31 The morning fine but cool. I feel quite unwell yet, and have been sick all night. At a quarter past 8 we proceeded onward, found good, level traveling. the day cool and pleasant. We soon struck a wagon trail, which evidently leads direct to Fort Laramie. At 4 miles passed some high sandy bluffs. Travelled till
Started again 3 P.M. weather warm and wind ceased. At ¼ to 7 formed our encampment on the East bank of a shoal stream about 10 feet wide, having travelled this afternoon 7¼ miles, and during the day 16¾. Our course this afternoon a little N. of W. About 4 miles back passed some timber on this side the river which is the first since the 10th instant, being a distance of 215 miles without wood for fire only drift wood, and much of the time little but buffalo chips. The last 4 or 5 miles has been sandy, the ground uneven and very heavy on our teams. The country looks perfectly barren, in some places nothing but a few weeds and “garlick.” Some of the brethren picked considerable of the latter to eat. The feed here is very poor indeed, but a little better than for 4 miles back. John S. Higbee has killed a deer, and some of the brethren wounded two others. This deer which brother Higbee killed is of the “long tailed” species, having a tail more than half a yard long, and is the first one I ever saw of the kind. A while after we camped Prest. Young & Kimball went to the bluffs and again saw the Black hills in the distance. They bowed before the Lord and offered up their prayers together.
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 good spirits; and although some things have passed which have 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 humble myself and give God thanks for his continued mercies to me and my brethren, and may his spirit fill our hearts, and his angels administer comfort, health, peace and prosperity to all our families and all the saints, henceforth and forever. Amen.
Tuesday June 1st The morning very fine, warm and pleasant. All is still and quiet as a “summers morning”, the Camp well and in good spirits and a feeling of peace, union and brotherly love seems to dwell in every breast. My mind revolves back upon by gone days, and then to the present, and I truly feel thankful to my God for his mercies to me and for the privileges I now daily enjoy. The idea of dwelling with my family in a land of peace, in the midst of the saints of God is better felt than described, but the mild, still scenery of this morning puts me in mind of it. At 9 o clock we pursued our journey, the stream we passed over is called by Grosclaude The “Raw Hide." Er Kimball let me have his horse to ride. I went in company with George A. Smith who was on foot carrying his gun in fulfilment of President Youngs prophecy at the Pawnee Mission station. The wagons went on till half past 11 and then halted for noon, we were about a mile a head of them. The distance they travelled was 4½ miles. At half past 1 started out again and travelled till a little after 4 and saw Fort Laramie about 4 miles to the South West. Er Kimball, & Prest.Young then came up to where brother Woodruff and I were looking out for feed, and we started on, president Young having stopped the wagons, and went to the ford opposite to the Fort. It was finally concluded to form our encampment here on the banks of the river. Several men soon came down from the Fort which is about two miles from here, and made themselves known as a part of the Mississippi company from Pueblo. They have been here two weeks. It caused us much joy to meet with brethren in this wild region of country, and also because we should have some news from the brethren in the army. Luke Johnson being up here with the boat and several others coming up the[y] got the boat into the river to go over and see the brethren., and Luke Johnson, John Brown, Joseph Mathews and Porter Rockwell started over and about the same time Prests. Young and Kimball started back to bring the camp up. When the brethren got over the river
They also reporded that three traders from the mountains arrived here six days ago, having come from “Sweet water” in 6 days and nights. They travelled day and night with horses and mules to prevent thier starving to death as there is no feed up there. 2 of their oxen had died already &c The snow was two foot deep at Sweet water when they left, so that we are evidently plenty soon enough for feed.
At ¼ to 6 the wagons arrived and formed encampment on the banks of the river, in the form of a V having travelled this afternoon, 7½ miles and during the day 12, making the total from Winter Quarters to Fort Laramie 543¼ miles and we have travelled it in 7 weeks lacking half a day, but we have travelled but a few miles on sundays. We have arrived so far on our journey without accident except the loss of two horses by 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 the movements of this camp as seemeth him good and as is for our good and prosperity. The road to day 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 Ash, and cottonnwood on the low bottoms near the river. There is some Cedar on the bluffs. In one of the large Ash trees in the middle of the Camp is an Indian babe or “pappoose”. It cannot be said to be buried, but deposited, being first wrapped round with a skin and then tied between two of the highest limbs of the tree. This is said to be the way they bury their dead. The bark is all peeled off the tree below, I supposed to prevent the wolves from getting up.
Wednesday 2 The morning pleasant. About 9 o clock, started over the river in company with the Twelve and others to view the Fort and also learn something in regard to our journey &c Er Pratt measured the distance across the river at this spot and found it to be 108 yards. The water is deep in the channel and the current runs about 4 miles an hour.
After crossing we went up to the remains of an old Fort, called “Fort Platte” which is near the banks of the river, and the outside walls still standing but the inside is in ruins, having been burned up. The walls are built of “daubies” [adobies] or Spanish brick, being large pieces of tempered clay dried in the sun, and apparently laid one on another without mortar or cement. The dimensions of this Fort outside is from East to West 44 feet, and from North to South 103 feet. There is a large door fronting to the South which has led to the dwellings which have been 14 in number, built in the form of a parrallellogram, leaving a large space in the centre. The space occupied by the dwellings is not quite half of the whole Fort. Fronting to the East is another large door which enters to a large open space 98¾ feet by 47 feet where it is supposed they have used for keeping horses &c At the N.W. 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 port holes for cannon. At the N.E. corner has been another projection extending eastward 29.6 foot and is 19½ feet wide. The walls are 11 feet high and 30 inches thick.
We took the dimensions of this with a tape line and then proceeded to “Fort Laramie” about 2 miles further West. This latter Fort was first built of wood,
John Laramie William, but being destroyed was afterwards built 7 years ago with “daubies” and named Laramie John. It stands on the bank of the Laramie Fork a stream 41 Yards wide, a very swift current, but not deep. We tarried a little while with the Mississippi brethren who have camped close by the Fort, and then went inside. We were politely welcomed by Mr Bordeau[x] who appears to be the principal officer. He conducted us up a flight of stairs into a comfortable room and being furnished with seats we rested ourselves. Prest. Young and others entering into conversation with Mr Jas. Bordeau. From him we learned that we cannot travel over four miles further on the North side the Platte before we come to bluffs at wh which cannot be crossed with loaded wagons. The road is better on this side on, than the one we have traveled being hard and not sandy. Feed scarce mostly laying in little patches near the river. They send their Furs to Fort Pierre on the Missouri river a distance of 400 miles by land, and receive all their stores and provisions by the same teams back except their meat which they kill, being buffallo 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 untill a few days ago. They have got a flat boat which will carry 2 wagons easy, which we can have for fifteen dollars, or he will ferry us over for $18 or 25 cent a wagon.” From the door of this room we could see the same black hill seen on sunday evening and which is Laramie Peak. We could see the snow laying on it very plain. We can also see several ranges of high hills in the distance, which are no doubt parts of the Black hills. 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 Prest. Young entered into conversation with him. They trade solely with the Sioux. The Crows come here for nothing but to steal[.] A few weeks ago a party came down and stole 25 horses, all that they had at the Fort although they were within 300 Yards of the Fort at the time and a guard round them. The Sioux will not steal on their own land. A pair of Moccassins worth a dollar, a Lariette a dollar, a pound of tobacco a dollar and a half and a gallon of whiskey $32.—They have no sugar, Coffee nor spices as their spring stores have not yet arrived. They have lately sent to Fort Pierre 600 bales of Robes with 10 robes in each bale. Their wagons have been gone 45 days &c The blacksmith shop lays on the South side the Western entrance. There are [blank space] dwellings inside the Fort, beside that of Mr. Bordeau’s—The South end is divided off and occupied for stables &c There are about [blank space] souls at this Fort mostly French, half breeds and a few Sioux Indians. Er Pratt measured the river and found it 41 Yards. He also took the latitude which was 42¬∫ 12' 13". Brother Bullock told me that several of the brethren had picked up a number of beads off the ant hills. Curiosity led me to go and examine and I found it even so. It appears that the ants gather all the small pebbles they can carry and build them over their hills to prevent the strong winds from blowing them away, and amongst the rest they pick it up beads which have lost of[f] the Indians moccasins, robes &c I picked up quite a a number. Bro. Bullock and I took the dimensions of the Fort which will be given in another place. We then got on board the Boat and had a pleasant ride about 3 miles down the Laramie Fork to its mouth, the current being very swift. At the mouth the brethren mostly got on shore and towed the boat up to Camp. After dinner I went over again in the Cutter who was going to fish with the Seine in the Laramie Fork. I picked up many beads near the old Fort. They caught 60 or 70 small fish, sammon [salmon], suckers &c and about 6 o clock we returned to Camp. The Twelve have decided that Amasa Lyman shall go with brothers Woolsey, Tippets and Stevens to Pueblo. They start tomorrow. Longitude at Fort Laramie 104° 11' 53".
I have seen three birds here which very much resemble the English Magpie in size, shape and color, In fact I know of no difference between the two.
We passed a number of Currant bushes about four miles back, quite thick with young, green currants.
On the morning of the 4th June, I put up a guide board on the north side of the river, at the Ferry with the following inscription on it, viz.
Winter Quarters 543¼ M[iles].
Junction of the Forks 227½ [miles]
Ash Hollow 142¼ [miles]
Chimney Rock 70¼ [miles]
Scotts Bluffs 50½ [miles]
W. Clayton June 4. 1847.
Er Pratt took the altitude of Fort Laramie and found it to be 4090 feet above the level of the sea. Fremont makes 4470 differing 380 feet.
Thursday 3rd The morning cold with strong S.E.wind. The first division commenced ferrying over the river at 5 o clock and took a wagon over every fifteen minutes. After breakfast I went over and wrote a letter for Er Kimball to James Brown at Pueblo, then walked up to a high bluff on the N.W. to view the country, but not being able to see far from it, I went to another over
a a mile further northwest. Although this last was very high I could see nothing but a succession of high ranges of bluffs as far as I could see, except the narrow space through which the river winds its course. Seeing some heavy thunder clouds rising very rapidly from the N.W. I returned to camp and arrived just before the rain commenced. Ers A. Lyman, Thomas Woolsey, John H. Tippets and Roswell Stevens, started at ¼ past 11 [blank space] on horses and mules for Pueblo. Prest. Young, Kimball, Richards & Pratt accompanied them to the Laramie Fork, and their held a council, Kneeled down and dedicated them to God and blessed them. The four then forded the river and went on their journey, the others returned to Camp. At half past 1 it commenced raining heavy, accompanied with hail, lightning and very loud thunder, which lasted till half past 3 o clock. During the storm the horses were mostly secured in the old Fort. The ferrying ceased till it was fair again, and about 5 the first division were all over. The boat was then manned by the second division John S. Higbee Captain. They averaged a wagon across in 11 minutes and one in 10 minutes 20 sec[.] The quickest trip made by the first division was thirteen minutes. About 7 o clock it commenced raining again from S.E. and rained heavy, consequently the brethren quit ferrying, leaving 3 companies of about 15 wagons on the other side. All the wagons would have been got over today if it had not been stormy.
There is a report come in that there are 2000 wagons on the road to Oregon but a little distance behind, but we are satisfied the report is magnified. There are 18 wagons camped about 3 miles below and one of the men who has come to the Fort, says that they have counted over 500 wagons. They have lost 4 horses by the Caw Indians.
Friday 4 Morning very fine. Laramie Peak shows very plain. The brethren commenced ferrying at 20 minutes to 5 and at 8 o clock the last wagon was over. I walked up to a high bluff with Carloss Murray and picked up some stalactites, clear as crystal supposed to be Isinglass. The bluff is very high and almost perpendicular, and dangerous to get the crystals.
At 9 o clock Prest. Young, Kimball, W. Richards, A.P. Rockwood and T. Bullock walked up to Fort Laramie and returned soon after 11. They have learned very favorable reports about Bear River Valley, being well timbered, plenty of good grass, light winters, little snow, and abundance of fish especially spotted trout in the streams. About half past 11 o clock brother Crows company came down and joined in with the second division, and at 12 we started on our journey again, following the Oregon Road. We travelled 3 miles and at 20 minutes past 1 halted near some good grass to let our teams feed. The weather is very warm though many light clouds are flying. The bluffs come near the river and are very high, steep, and look like sand. During the halt I went up on a very high bluff near by, with my glass. I found it very difficult of ascent[.] From the top I could see Laramie Peak very plain, and also some hills a long
q way further to the N.W. The country looks very hilly as far as can be seen & the snow on the Peak shows quite plain.
At half past two we continued our journey & found the road Sandy and very uneven. At the distance of 7¾ miles from Laramie we descended a very steep pitch or hill. All the wagons had to be locked and we were sometime all getting down. We went on half a mile further and formed our encampment in a circle at half past 5 having travelled 8¼ miles today. At half past 5 we had a shower accompanied with a little lightning & heavy thunder.
I will now give the list of names of brother Crows Company who have joined the Camp today to go with this pioneer Camp. They are as follows:—
Robert Crow, Elizabeth Crow, Benjamin B. and Harriet Crow, Elizabeth Jane Crow, John McHenry Crow, Walter H. Crow, Geo. W. Therlkill, Matilla Jane Therlkill, Milton Howard Therlkill, James William Therlkill, William Parker Crow, Isa Vinda Exene Crow, Ira Minda Almarene Crow, Archibald Little, James Chesney & Lewis B. Myers. 17 in number, making the total number of souls in this Pioneer Camp, after deducting 4 gone to Pueble [Pueblo] 161. Lewis B. Myers is represented as knowing the country to the mountains, having traveled it, and I am told that he came as a guide to brother Crow.
They have 5 wagons, 1 Cart, 11 Horses, 24 Oxen, 22 Cows, 3 Bulls and 7 Calves.
Inasmuch as there has been some changes in horses and mules, I will endeavor to state them and give the number we start with from Fort Laramie.
Two Horses killed by accident.
Two horses stolen by the Pawnees at Gravel Creek;
1 mule traded for a pony by brother Markham
3 horses & 1 Mule gone with the brethren to Pueblo.
1 Horse traded by O.P. Rockwell for 3 Cows & 2 Calves
1 Horse traded by John Pack for 3 Buffalo robes.
1 Horse traded by T. Brown for a pony at Laramie
1 Poney traded by J. S. Higbee to the Sioux for a poney.
These changes with the addition made by brother Crows company make the number as follows
Mules 51 Head of Oxen 100
Chickens and wagons 77 and 1 Cart.
Saturday 5th The morning pleasant though somewhat cloudy. Er Kimball gave George Billings a lecture about abusing his team, kicking them &c He gave George some very good advice. The horn sounded early to start, but we were detained till half past 8 on account of several oxen being missing. About that time they were found and we pursued our journey. After travelling a little over four miles we ascended a steep bluff. The road runs on the top of it a little distance in a very crooked direction, the surface in some places being hard, uneven rock, which shakes and jars the wagons very much. In one place is a little descent and at the bottom a very sharp turn in the road, over rough rock. Here brother Crows cart turned over, however it was soon righted and no injury done to any thing. At the West foot is a steep, sandy descent but not difficult. The bluff is half a mile across. About half a mile from the West foot we turned from the river nearly a West course, and crossed a low gravelly channel where it appears the river has run sometime and perhaps does now in high water. The road after this is considerably crooked and uneven. About a mile and a quarter further we descended again on the same gravelly channel and travelled up it a piece and at 25 minutes to 12 halted for noon opposite a very large spring, noticed by Freemont. The water of this spring is very clear and soft, but considerably warmer than the river water. We have travelled this morning 6½ miles. Just as we halted two men came down from the other road, on mules to water. They are in company with 11 wagons and bound for West of the mountains. They say the other road from Laramie is only 10 miles to the spring while our road has been 14¾ miles.
About half an hour after we stopped we had a nice shower. The 1st division halted about a quarter of a mile back from here. Latitude at the warm springs 42° 15' 06".
While we were halting the company above referred to passed down the bluffs and went ahead of us. They have got many cows &c with them. At 20 minutes to 2 we resumed our journey. After travelling a mile we turned in a narrow pass to the North West between two high bluffs and traveled on a quarter of a mile further, then came to where the road rises a very high, steep bluff. At the foot is a short sudden pitch and then a rugged ascent for a quarter of a mile.
The bluff is rocky and many large cobble stones lay in the road which made it hard on teams. Appleton Harmon took one of his yoke of cattle and assisted George Billings to the top and brother Johnson took Appletons steers and put them forward of his and brought up his wagon. Appleton and Johnson then took the 3 yoke of Oxen and fetched up Appleton wagon, which threw us nearly in the rear of all the wagons, none of the rest doubling teams. After arriving on the top the road was good but still rising for a quarter of a mile further. We travelled on the high land 6¼ miles, which was very good travelling though considerable rolling. 4¼ miles from the top of the last mentioned bluff we passed a large lone rock, standing far away from any other. At 5¼ miles we descended again from the bluff, the descent being steep and lengthy, but sandy and good to travel. At the foot of the bluff we again crossed the gravelly channel and travelled on and alongside about a mile, then descended a little to the bottom prarie again. At half past 6 we formed our encampment on the west bank of a small stream and near a very good spring of cold water, having travelled this afternoon 10½ miles and during the day 17 miles.
I have put up two guide boards to day one at l0 and the other at 20 miles from “Fort John” or Laramie, but the former name is on the guide boards. The bluffs we have passed today are mostly very high, rocky and broken, with pine growing on most or near all of them. We have pretty good feed here and plenty of wood and good water. The gentile camp is a little
Sunday 6th Morning cloudy, cool, and like for rain. At 8 o clock the 11 wagons passed us again. At 9 the brethren assembled for prayer meeting a little from the Camp, but many kept about their wagons, some washing and some at other things. At 11 o clock, four Missourians came up mounted, being part of a company a little behind. Some of these are recognized by the brethren, and they seem a little afraid and not fond of our company. They say the old settlers have all fled from Shariton [Chariton] Missouri only 2 tavern keepers, and I feel to wish that their fears may follow them even to Oregon. At half past 11 just as the brethren again assembled for meeting it commenced raining heavy, accompanied with lightning and heavy thunder, which caused the meeting to break up abruptly. During the storm the Mo. company passed by us, having 19 wagons and 2 carriages[.] Most of their wagons have 5 yoke of Cattle to each and few less than 4. They have many cows, horses and young cattle with them. They have a guide with them who lives on the St Marys River at the Columbia. He says we shall find water again about 6 miles from here and then no more for 15 miles further. It was then considered wisdom to move on this afternoon as we could not well reach the second watering place in one day. Soon after 12 the weather cleared off, the sun shone and looks like for being fine. The wind blows strong from the West.
At half past 2 the Camp began to move forward. About ¾ of a mile we crossed the same small stream again, and 2¼ miles further arrived at a sudden bend in the road to the South about 200 yards and then as suddend [suddenly] to the North the same distance, occasioned by the water having washed a deep gulf where the road ought to run. A mile beyond this the wagons came to a halt, in a body of timber and brushwood at 4 o clock, and halted while the brethren on horseback viz Ers Young, Kimball & Woodruff went ahead to look for a camping ground. They returned at 20 minutes to 5 and the Camp proceeded on. Having proceeded a quarter of a mile we passed the camp of 19 wagons close by the timber a little South of the road. Several of the men came to look at the roadometer having heard from some of the brethren that we had one. They expressed a wish to each other to see inside and looked upon it as a curiosity. I paid no attention to them inasmuch as they did not address themselves to me. At a quarter past 5 we formed our encampment in an oblong circle, at the foot of a low bluff on the West and close by water having travelled 5 miles.
The feed here is very good and plentiful. Wind strong from the West. Road very crooked, mostly a South West and west course. Plenty of timber all along and the soil looks good on the low lands.
One of the men in the company of the 19 wagons told G.A. Smith that he had broke his carriage spring and seemed much troubled to know what to do to get along. He asked George if there was any man in our company who could fix it. George told him there was. After we were camped Burr Frost set up his forge, and welded the spring ready to put on before dark.
Monday 7th Morning fine. Er Pratt gave me some instructions on the use of the Sextant, and showed me how to take an observation. He has promised to learn me to take observations and calculate Latitude & Longtitude and I intend to improve the opportunity. At half past 6 the Missouri company passed through again, and at 10 minutes past 7 we commenced our onward course. Dr Richards left a letter in a guide board 30¼ miles to Ft. John. I walked about 5 miles mostly in company with Er Pratt, conversing on astronomy and philosophical subjects; Er Kimball then let me have his horse to ride. We travelled till 11 o clock and then halted to feed on the West bank of a small stream and spring of clear water, having travelled 7¾ miles, mostly a N.N.W. course. The road more even and good travelling. Soon after we halted another company of Missourians passed us having 13 wagons and mostly 4 Yoke of oxen to each. They say they are from Andrew Co. Missouri.
At 25 minutes to 1 P.M. we moved forward. At a quarter of a mile began to ascend a bluff which was a quarter of a mile from the bottom to the top, the ascent gradual and tolerably steep. From the top of this hill we had as pleasant a view of the surrounding country as I have ever witnessed. Laramie Peak appears only a few miles to the South West, and from that round to the West, North, and North East, a very extensive view of a beautiful country for many miles, indeed as far as the eye could extend. From a fair view of the Peak I am satisfied that the “Black Hills” of which, this is a prominent part, are so named from the vast forests of Pine trees, covering their surface, and being of a dark green color makes the hills appear black even when within a few miles of them. The Pine grows in the most Rocky places, and abounds on the highest hills, while on the lower bluffs it is sparcely scattered and in the bottom land, which looks rich and good there are none. We have passed many noble trees, and there is no lack of good Pine timber in this region.
The Peak is very high, and very broken and craggy, the snow still lays on its summit and plainly visible with the naked eye. The ridge over which we passed was half a mile over from the S.E. to the N.W. foot, at that distance we began to descend and had to lock the wagons in several places. The descent is rendered unpleasant by the many large cobble stones scattered in the road. Many of the brethren threw them out of the road as we went along and the road is much improved. They have also dug down some places and levelled others which will make the road much better for other companies. At half past 3 we arrived at the “Horse Creek” and formed our encampment on the bottom land, near the timber, or rather in the midst of a grove, of ash, cotton wood &c having travelled 5¼ miles this afternoon over a crooked road and during the day 13 miles. On this camp ground is one of the clearest and largest springs of water I have seen for a long time. Er Kimball having discovered it calls it his spring, or “Hebers Spring”. The creek is also clear and said to have trout in it. The feed is much better and more plentiful than we have ever met with on this journey. There is abundance of wild mint and Sage growing here; the mint seems to perfume the air. The Sage grows in abundance on all this sandy land. There are also many wild currant bushes in full blow and prickley pears all along the road. The other companies were all within two miles when we arrived here, but mostly going on a few miles further. A little before we stopped we had a thunder storm which lasted upwards of an hour. During the latter part of it, it rained very heavy accompanied by hail, and thunder & lightning. Our hunters have killed a long tailed deer and an Antelope which were distributed as usual. Bro. Crows hunter also killed a deer, but they are unwilling to conform to the rules of the Camp in dividing and reserve it all to themselves. Bro. Crow observed that if they got more than they could use they would be willing to let the Camp have some. Some of the other companies killed an Antelope, took off the quarters, and left the balance on the ground. Bro. Pack picked it up and brought it along. After we stopped Bro. Crow came near meeting with an accident while endeavoring to yoke up a pair of wild steers. It took a number of men to hold them, having lariettes on their [saddle] horns. They got the larriets entangled round their legs and bro. Crows also, throwing one of the steers down and he fast with it. They cut the rope and he was liberated without injury. Myers the hunter roasts the young antlers of the deer and eats them.
In regard to bro. Crows meat &c I afterwards learned that the whole family had to depend on Myers for what they eat having no bread stuff, nor any thing only what he kills, and the little flour and meal paid to him for a part of the ferryage, he having a small claim on Bordeau[x]. After supper walked out with Er Kimball and was joined by George A. Smith. Bro. George told me of a good opportunity of sending a letter to my family by some traders who are expected down every day and I feel to improve the opportunity. We had a very strong wind at night, so much that I could not write.
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 travelled 2¼ miles, winding round the foot of high bluffs and then began to ascend them. We found this ascent the worst we have ever had, being three quarters of a mile up and having in that distance 7 very steep rises. On most of them the teams had to double. We saw a buffalo about a 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 the last bluff we
ascended another one 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 travelled 6¾ miles over hills and vallies, the roads being very crooked. About half an hour before we halted, Harriet Crow got run over with one of their wagons. The teams had stopped near the descent from the bluffs and she stepped on the wagon tongue to get a drink. The cattle started suddenly, threw her under the wheel which passed over her leg below the knee and downwards passing over her foot above the toes. She screamed and appeared in great agony. We thought her leg was broke, but were soon satisfied to the contrary. Her foot was badly bruised but I think there was nothing broke. One of the women washed it with camphor, she was then lift into a wagon and we proceeded on. Latitude 42° 29' 58".
At 20 minutes to 2 we proceeded. After travelling a little over a mile and a half we passed another small creek, and again ascended a high bluff. We found this ridge more uneven than the other being a perfect succession of hills and hollows for 5 miles. The road was good and hard. While travelling on the top the wind blew very strong from the west and it was so cold that we suffered some. The road over was indeed very crooked, but mostly bending to the North. We could see a long distance from the top. The country to the North looks more even but South and South West very hilly and broken[.] At 5 miles we began to descend gradually, and while watching the roadometer I discovered it did not work right, which made me pay more attention to it. At 10 minutes past 6 we crossed a stream about 30 feet wide and near two foot deep, with a very swift current. It is named on Fremonts map as Labant [La Bonte] river.
We formed our encampment on the west bank in the timber, having travelled this afternoon 8¾ miles and during the day 15½ . The evening is very cold, and much appearance of rain. Porter Rockwell has killed a deer and some one else an Antelope. Porter says he has been on the Platte which is about 4 miles from here following the Labont*[.] Soon after we stopped, the men came into camp who were expected to carry a letter. They are camped about a mile West of us. I finished my letter to my family by candle light, as it is in contemplation to start in the morning before breakfast and go a few miles to better feed.
Wednesday 9nd Arose at 20 minutes past 4 and at ¼ past 5 we moved onward keeping near the Labont. At ¼ to 6 halted for breakfast beside the traders camp having come a mile and a quarter. I sent my letter to them by Aaron Farr, a number of the brethren also sent letters. While we halted I got the roadometer fixed again, and also put up a guide board marked "To Fort John 60 miles”. These traders or mountaineers said they had left a kind of ferry made of 3 buffalo skins hung in a tree on the Platte, and wanted brother Crows company to have it. It was decided to send a company ahead to overreach the Missouri companies, and get the ferry before they could arrive, and also build a raft for us to cross on, kill game &c The men say it is about 70 miles to where we cross the river. 19 wagons were sent ahead and about 40 men to attend to this business. All of brother Crows company went, Aaron Farr, J. Redding, the cutter &c being 5 wagons from the 1st division and 14 from the 2nd[.] They started about half an hour before we started. We proceeded at a ¼ to 8 and immediately after starting had to cross a very steep gulf, being difficult for teams to get up, though not lengthy. Soon after this 4 men passed us with Pack horses and Mules. They say they are from Pueblo and going to Green River; they told others they were from Santa Fa [Fe] and going to Francisco. We found the road very hilly, uneven and crooked as yesterday. At 3¾ miles passed over a branch of the Labont, a stream about 10 feet wide but not deep. The descent and ascent being very steep, most of the teams requiring assistance to get up. For half a mile before we crossed this stream and 3½ after, our road lay over a kind of red earth or sand, about the color of red precipitate. Most of the rocks and bluffs are of the same red color, only a deeper red. It affected my eyes much from its brightness and strange appearance. About 1¼ miles West of the creek President Young and Kimball saw a large toad which had a tail, and horns on its head. It did not jump like a toad but crawled like a mouse. This was seen near a large pile of rock or rather a hill. At 20 minutes to 1 we halted for noon having come 10 miles since breakfast. There is little water here for the teams. The day fine, nice west breeze. Road very crooked, hilly, and mostly rocky, many large cobble stones covering the bluffs, the land barren and little grass. The ground here is covered with large crickets which are so numerous, to walk without stepping on them is almost impossible.
At half past 2 we were on the move again. I put up another guide board a little East of the Creek. (“70 miles”). We found the road much better this afternoon, not being so uneven, and tolerably straight except a bluff to rise a mile from the creek. At the foot of this bluff I saw a toad with a tail like a lizard, about 3 inches long. It had no horns but there was the appearance of horns just coming on each side of the head. It resembled a lizard in color, tail and motion, when running swiftly through the grass. Its hide appeared hard and on its sides appeared numerous little sharp pointed fins or pricks. In other respects it resembled any common toad.—At a quarter past 6 we formed our encampment on the East banks of a stream about 2 rods wide, two foot deep and swift current
Thursday 10. The morning calm and very pleasant. There is wild mint grows on the bank of this stream in great plenty. and abundance of wild sage on all the higher land. The mint smells natural, but the sage smells strong of Turpentine and a little like Camphor. Started at half past 7 and found good roads. At 4½ miles passed over a small Creek about 3 foot
The creek on which we camped last night is named A. La. Pierre [Prele], and about a mile from where the road crosses, it runs through a tunnel from 10 to 20 rods, under the high rocky bluffs. The tunnel is high enough for a man to stand upright in it, and when standing at the entrance can see the light through on the other side. It seems as though this tunnel has been formed by some strange feat of nature. Several of the brethren went to see it.
Edmund Elsworth Lewis Barney and another brother each killed a deer
We have learned today from one of the travelers that their is one man living and making a farm in the Bear River valley.
At a quarter to 2 we continued our journey. Found the road some more even and very good travelling. I put a guide board this morning at 80 miles from Fort John, and this afternoon after travelling 3¼ miles I put up another mark 90 miles. Just as I finished setting it, looked forward and saw the Platte river again. After descending half a mile we were on its banks being 77 miles since we left it on Saturday last and after having wound round among the hills and bluffs all the way since. When we arrived near the river the road was more level but sandy and harder on our teams. There are also some low places where the water stands, making it soft, but scarcly any feed for teams since we left the Creek at noon. At a quarter to 6 passed another stream about 30 feet wide and 2 foot deep, swift current and clear water
Some of the brethren
Friday 11 Arose at 4 o clock to try and get some more fish. Morning fine and warm but caught only 4. I procured a sample of the stone coal from G.A. Smith. It looks good. This place reminds me of England the calm, still morning with the warbling of many birds, the rich grass, good streams, and plenty of timber make it pleasant.
At 25 minutes to 8 we again continued our journey, along the banks of the river, which appears some wider here than at Laramie. At 2½ miles we passed a deep hollow, the banks on both sides being very steep. At 4¼ miles put up a guide board at 100 miles from Laramie, having travelled it in a week lacking 2¼ hours. 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 since morning has
Several of the brethren have taken interest in the guide boards, and wherever they now see a piece of a board sufficiently large, they pick it up and preserve it. By this means we have now got enough to last 200 miles. The distance we have travelled since morning is 9¼ miles, being 105 miles in the week including Sunday, or 100 miles in six days. About half an hour after we halted brother Joseph Hancock came in with the hind quarters of an antelope which he killed about 3 miles back. He could not carry the remainder and left it on the ground.
At 2 o clock we started again. 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 bad, on account of a crook from one to the other. There is plenty of feed on its banks, but no wood. 5¾ miles further another muddy creek about 3 foot wide and bad to cross on account of the clay being very soft on its banks. The balance of the road good but considerable crooked.
At half past 5 o clock we came to a halt on account of seeing a number of wagons about a half a mile ahead which proved to be two of the Missouri companies, camped on the banks of the river and preparing to cross here. It was also ascertained that there is no camping place beyond them unless we go some distance. It was decided to turn off to the river opposite where we are and camp for the night, and the wagons proceeded accordingly. We went half a mile from the road and formed our encampment near the river where is plenty of timber at 6 o clock having come on the road this afternoon 7¾ miles and during the day 17 miles, exclusive of the distance we turned off to Camp. The feed here is good and plentiful. The region on the banks of the river is pretty level, but a few miles to the South there are very high bluffs. Very little chance for feed only in places on the banks of the river and generally where there is timber.
These Missouri companies inform us that the regular crossing place is 12 miles further and that our brethren are gone on there and also the balance of the Missouri companies. These men have got a light flat boat with them, and have already got one load over. They say they have killed 3 Bears between here and the bluffs. They have also killed a buffalo. There have been signs of Bears seen by our brethren a number of times, but no Bears for a certainty. We have only seen one Buffalo since we left Laramie, untill today but several has been seen.
One of the Missourians brought a snow ball from the hill on the South. He gave Rockwood a piece of it, and he brought [it] to Camp. Er Kimball and several others saw it which now convinces us
that snow is yet laying on these high bluffs.
Saturday 12. Morning very fine, and nice East breeze. Bro. Markham has learned this morning that Obadiah Jennings was the principal in killing Bowman in Missouri. Bowman was one of the guard who let Joseph and Hyrum and the others get away when prisoners in Missouri. The mob suspected him and rode him on a bar of Iron till they killed him.
At a quarter past 8 we continued our journey. At 1½ miles crossed a deep gulph pretty difficult to descend but not bad to ascend. 1¾ miles further crossed a small creek about 2 feet wide on a bridge which the brethren fixed, having started ahead of the wagons for that purpose. 1 mile beyond the last we crossed another muddy stream about 5 feet wide and 1½ feet deep. At a quarter to 12 we halted after crossing another large ravine, having travelled 7¾ miles, over a sandy, barren prarie. In some places it is soft although the soil is much like clay in appearance. Road somewhat crooked, the day fine and warm. During the halt brother Rockwood called upon the brethren to help fix another ravine immediately West of us, many turned out and it was soon done.
James Case and S. Markham went to the river opposite here to see if it could be forded. They waded their horses over and found the water about 4 foot 6 deep in the channel and the current very swift, and of course it could not be forded with loads in the wagons, but the loading would have to be ferried in the Boat. They made a report of this kind on their return to Camp and about the same time brother Chessley [Chesley] came down from the brethren ahead, and reported their progress and the nature of the crossing place &c A number of the brethren, in company with Er Kimball & Chesley went to the river opposite the Camp to decide whether to cross here or go on. Bros. Markham & Case again went over, but it was finally concluded to go up to the other Ferry. We accordingly started at half past 2. I went ahead on foot. At 3¼ miles crossed a creek about 5 foot wide. At half past 4 the encampment was formed on the banks of the river having come 4 miles and during the day 11¼ miles. It is about half a mile from our Camp to the place where they ferry. I arrived at the brethrens camp at 4 o clock, and learned that they arrived here yesterday about noon. 2 of the Missouri companies arrived about the same time. The brethren concluded that a raft would be of no use on account of the swiftness of the current. The missouri company offered to pay them well if they would carry their company over in the Boat and a contract was made to do so for $1.50 per load, the brethren to receive their pay in flour at $2.50 per hundred. They commenced soon after, and this evening finished their work, and received their pay mostly in flour, a little meal and some bacon. They have made $34.—with the cutter all in provisions which is a great blessing to the Camp inasmuch as a number of the brethren have had no breadstuff for some days. During the afternoon yesterday one of men of the Missouri company undertook to swim across the river with his cloth[e]s on; when he reached the current he became frightened and began to moan. Some of our men went to him with the cutter and arrived in time to save his life. The Missouri company seem to feel well towards us and express their joy at having got across the river so quick. Rodney Badger exchanged wagons with one of them, and got a wagon as good as his own, only the tire wants setting. He got a horse, 100 lbs Flour, 28 lbs of Bacon and some crackers to boot. The provisions & horse are considered to be worth as much as his wagon.
Since the brethren arrived here they have killed 3 Buffalo, a grisley [grizzly] Bear and 3 cubs, and 2 antelope. The Buffalo are very fat and the meat is good & sweat [sweet]. According to the idea of some French travellers camped here the Buffalo are making down East behind the hills opposite here, which they say is a certain sign that the Indians are on sweet water hunting them. The brethren say that the Buffalo are very plentiful back of these hills.
When I returned to Camp I learned that Tunis Rappleyee and Artemas Johnson were missing, the former having started for the hills to get a little snow; the latter having been hunting all day. A company were sent out with the Bugle to hunt them. Brother Rappleyee returned about 11 o clock. Johnson was found by the brethren who returned still later. All agreeing with the report that the hills are 8 or 10 miles distant although they dont appear more than 1 mile.
There was 4 antelope killed by the brethren but divided according to the feelings of those who killed them.
Sunday 13 The morning fine and pleasant. At 9 o clock the brethren assembled in the circle for prayer and after they had spent some time Er Kimball arose and addressed them, exhorting them to be watchful, and humble—to remember their covenants and above all things avoid everything that would lead to division &c He made use of the similitude of the potter & the Clay to show that every man had the privilege of being exhalted to honor and glory if he did not mar in the hands of the potter, but would continue passive &c His remarks were very touching and appropriate to our circumstances. Prest. Young followed next on the “liberty of the gospel” showing that it guarantees all the fulness of liberty to every man which unto tend to his salvation and increase, but does not give us liberty to break the laws of God, to wander off to the mountains and get lost, nor to kill the works of Gods hands hands to waste it &c
He was followed by Er Pratt on the subject of our avoiding all excesses of folly of every description, inasmuch as it disqualifies from the society of just men and angels. He exhorted the brethren to be watchful and to seek after wisdom & knowledge.
The meeting dismissed at half past 12 and a company were then dispatched to get poles to lash the wagons together to prevent their rolling over when crossing. Another company were sent over the river to build a raft to cross over provisions &c The brethren are gone to work and are diligently preparing to cross the river tomorrow. The day has been very hot, the most like a summers day of we have had on the journey. The ground seems to be alive with the large Crickets, and it is said that the Bears feed on them and picks them up very fast. A person who has never seen them could form no idea of the vast numbers of crickets in this region. I spent the day writing in Er Kimballs journal. Phineas Young came in from the mountain having killed a deer.
Monday 14 Morning cloudy and cool. At 4 o clock the first division commenced ferrying their goods over the river in the Cutter and some afterwards commenced taking the wagons across on a raft which proved to be very slow work. The second division also began to take their goods over on a raft but the current was so strong they only took two loads over in it and then quit. The second division then got a rope stretched across the river from shore to shore, and lashing 2 wagons fast together to keep them from rolling over they dragged them over by the roap [rope], letting them drift with the current to save breaking the roap. When the wagons struck on the sand on the other side the upper one keeled over and finally rolled over the other one, breaking the bows considerable and losing Iron, &c in the wagon to the amount of $30. belonging to John Pack. The other wagon had the reach broke and some of the bows. They next lashed 4 wagons together abreast and dragged them over the same way. All got over well except the upper one which turned on its side but was righted again without damage. They next tried one wagon alone, but as soon as it got into the current it rolled over and over, breaking the bows pretty bad. The plan of taking one wagon at a time on a raft is the safest, no accident having happened with it and the wagons get over dry, but it is very slow and would take us 3 or 4 days to get all the wagons across. The wind blows strong from the South West which is much to our disadvantage. At half past 3 we had a very heavy thunder storm. The rain was heavy indeed accompanied by hail and as strong a wind as I ever witnessed. After the storm was over the ferrying was continued, getting my trunk &c and the loads in brother Johnsons and Harmons wagons over and also Harmons wagon, Johnsons being got over just before the storm. It took till near 10 o clock to get the loading into the wagons and get a little regulated. The river has been rising all day and has risen very fast since the storm. The men have toiled hard, much of the time being in the water and sometimes up to the arm pits which is very fatiguing indeed. When they quit at night the first division had got 11 wagons over and the 2nd division 12 making 23 wagons after a very hard days labor. There was no difficulty in getting the freight over for 1 man can carry it in the cutter faster than all the rest of the camp can get the wagons over.
The morning fine but very windy. The brethren continued ferrying wagons over on the raft and also built two other rafts. The wind being so high they could not get along very fast. In the afternoon they commenced driving some of the horses and cattle belonging to brother Crows company over. They neglected to take the Lariettes off the horses, and the buffalo horse was soon seen to be drowning. Some of the men immediately went to it with the skiff and dragged him to the shore but could not succeed in bringing him to life. His natural make seemed to hurt him from swimming. The rest all got over safe. The cattle got over safe also, but the current was very strong, the wind high and the river rising which made it look dangerous to swim the cattle across.
It was concluded today to leave several brethren here to make a Boat and keep a ferry till the next company comes up. By that means they will probably make enough to supply a large company with provisions.
We have learned from a Missourian that there is a large company of emigrants coming up on the North side of the Platte above Grand Island. These are doubtless some of our brethren, and if so they will probably reach up with us before we get through.
The day continued windy and some inclined to storm, but they succeeded in getting near 20 wagons over before night.
Wednesday 16 The morning fine, but strong west wind. The brethren continue ferrying. A company have gone back
to Deer Creek
Thursday 17 The morning fine but windy and cold. The brethren renewed the ferrying early and soon after noon they had got the last wagon safe over which was a matter of rejoicing to all the Camp. 2 companies of the Missourians had arrived and made application to be set over at a dollar and a half a load. When the contract was made with the first company to be set across as soon as our wagons were over the other company of 10 wagons offered to pay the brethren 50 cents per man extra if they would set them over first making 5 dollars over the stated price for ferriage being 10 of the brethren to work at it. Col. Rockwood had made a contract to the above effect with the first company and did not like to break it. However he received a hint that this was Col. Markhams day for the use of the boat, and consequently Colonel Markham had a right to take the last offer if he choose. He took the hint and they went to work forthwith at a dollar and a half a wagon in provisions at Missouri price and 50 cents extra per man in what they preferred for themselves.
The afternoon and evening was very cold indeed, with a very strong wind. After Prest. Young & Kimball got their wagons over being about the last, orders were given for the Camp to come together and form the wagons in a circle near the ferry. It took till near dark before all the wagons got up. The ferrying was continued all night and till day light at which time many of the Missourians wagons in the two companies were over.
Friday 18 Morning very cold and windy. The brethren continued working at the new boat, others continued ferrying the Missourians Wagons over. It was concluded not to start today but wait and assist in finishing the boat, and also to take the provisions on which will be realized from these two companies. After dinner I went with brother Pack to fish in the last creek we crossed about a mile and a half distance. We found the fish numerous and had good luck. I caught 65 very nice ones which would average half a pound weight each. About 6 o clock I started back but found I had got more than I could easily carry to Camp. However when I got about half way brother Cloward met me and helped to carry them. We arrived at the Camp about sundown pretty well tired. The afternoon was very warm and pleasant.
When we arrived the Twelve and some others were going to council. I went with them. The names of those who are appointed to tarry were read over as follows. Thomas Grover, John S. Higbee, Luke Johnson, Appleton M. Harmon, Edmund Ellsworth, Francis M. Pom[e]roy, William Empey, James Davenport, and Benjamin F. Stewart.
Thomas Grover was appointed their Captain.
The President then referred to brother Eric Glines who was wishful to stay but the president said he had no council for him to tarry, but he might do as he had a mind to. Some explanations followed by Glines, but the unanimous feeling of the brethren was to have him go on. The president preached a short sermon for the benefit of the young Elders. He represented them as being continually grasping at things ahead of them which belong to others, instead of seeking to bring up those which are behind them. He said the way for young Elders to enlarge their dominion and power is to go to the world and preach and then they can get a train and bring it up to the house of the Lord with them &c
The letter of instructions was then read and approved by the brethren and the council was then dismissed.
Saturday 19. Morning fine but cool. At 10 minutes to 8 the camp started out again, in good health and spirits, and the teams in very good order. It was remarked by several that their stock had fatted so much while stopping at the ferry they hardly knew them. The grass appears to be rich & good. The first 6 miles of the road was nearly in a west direction over several considerable high bluffs. At that distance the road turns suddenly to the South and rises a very high bluff, which is upwards of a mile from the foot to the summit. There is some interesting scenery on the top of this bluff; especially a range of rough, course [coarse] sandy rocks of a dark brown 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 and about half way down, was a bed of white earth, mixed with black in places and others yellow. In one place you can pick up small fragments of rock of each color within a yard of each other. Towards the foot the road is still more uneven, and there are several steep pitches and rises. At 1 o clock we halted for noon on a spot of good grass about a quarter of a mile from a small spring, which is the first water we have come to since leaving the ferry, which is 11¼ miles. There is no timber nearer than the bluffs, probably 2 miles distant and that is small Cedar and little of it. The “Red Buttes” are nearly opposite to this place, towards the South East, and appear to be two high bluffs of red earth or sand presenting a very singular, yet interesting appearance.
After stopping about an hour it was decided to move on to the spring, and we started accordingly, found it to be a small stream of water rising out of the quick sands. At the distance of 12 miles from the ferry there is quite a lake of water, supposed to be supplied by springs, indeed we could see the water boil up out of the mud in several places. The grass on the banks of this Lake is good and plentiful, but no timber within two miles or upwards.
After watering teams at the Lake, at 10 minutes to 3 we resumed our journey bearing near a South West course over rolling prairie. At the distance of 8 miles from the spring there is a steep descent from a bluff, and at the foot there is a high ridge of sharp pointed rocks running parallel with the road for near a quarter of a mile, leaving only sufficient space for wagons to pass. At the South point there is a very large rock lays, close to where the road makes a bend making it somewhat difficult to get by without striking it. The road is also very rough with cobble stones.
At 20 minutes to 8 we formed our encampment in a small spot surrounded by high bluffs, having traveled this afternoon 10¼ miles and during the day 21½ which is the longest distance we have travelled in one day since we left Winter Quarters, and this is considered by all to be the worst camping ground we have had on the journey but we were obliged to take it for there is neither wood, grass, nor water since we left the spring, the land being perfectly sandy and barren, and nothing growing but wild sage and a small prickly shrub something like sohins on the moors in Lancashire England.
There is some grass in this place for our teams, but, no wood. The brethren have to make use of the wild sage and buffalo chips to do their cooking. There are two small streams of water, one appears to come from the North West and is not very bad water; the other is from the South West and is so bad that cattle will not drink it. It is strong of salt or rather saleratus and smells extremely filthy. Its banks are so perfectly soft that a horse or Ox cannot go down to drink without sinking immediately near overhead in thick filthy mud, and is one of the most horrid swampy, stinking places I ever saw. It was found necessary to keep a guard out to prevent the cattle from getting into it and orders were given to drive them down a little East where feed is pretty good and not so dangerous of miring. The musquitoes are very bad indeed at this place which adds to the loathsome, solitary scenery around.
Porter Rockwell returned from hunting soon after we had camped and reported that he had killed a fat buffalo about 2 miles off. A team was sent to fetch in the meat which did not return till long after dark. Er Kimball saw 6 buffalo while riding ahead to look out a camp ground. They are represented as being more tame.
Myers killed 2 buffalo, but took only the tallow and tongues and left the rest to rot on the ground.
John Norton and Andrew Gibbons left the Camp at the springs and went out to hunt expecting we should stay there till Monday. Gibbons has not been seen or heard of since. Norton has returned and reports that he killed a buffalo and left it back not far from the spring. About 9 o clock there was an alarm that an ox had got mired. He was near covered, but soon got out again.
Sunday 20 Morning fine, musquitoes very bad. Two more oxen found almost buried in the mud and all hands appeared wishful to leave this place, and at a quarter past 5 o clock we moved out. The first mile was bad travelling being several steep pitches in the road, making it dangerous for axle trees. A number of the brethren went ahead with picks and spades and improved the road some. After travelling 3¾ miles we halted for breakfast at 7 o clock, beside a small, clear stream of spring water about a foot wide, but plenty for camping purposes. The feed on its banks good and plenty but no wood yet.
Er Kimball states that when he and Er Benson were riding ahead last evening to look out a camping ground they came within a quarter of a mile of this place, but were not near enough to discover the water. A while before they arrived here as they were riding slowly along they saw six men suddenly spring up from the grass to the left of the road. The men were clothed in Blankets some white and some blue, and had every appearance of being Indians, and the brethren thought they were Indians. The six mounted their horses and started on in a direction parrallel with the road. The brethren also kept on their course. In a little while one of the supposed Indians left the rest and rode towards the brethren and motioned with his hand for them to go back. They however kept on and paid no regard to his motion. When he saw them still coming he wheeled round and joined the others who all put spurs to their horses and were soon out of sight behind a higher peice of land. Soon as they were out of sight, Er Kimball & Benson spurred their horses and rode to the ridge, and as they arrived there they discovered a Camp of the Missourians about a quarter of a mile to the left of the road, and the six Indians were just entering the Camp. The brethren were now satisfied that these Indians were Missourians and had taken this plan to keep us back from this good camp ground. It is considered as an old Missouri trick and an insult to the camp, and if they undertake to play Indian again, it is more than likely they will meet with Indian treatment. Their camp left here a little before we arrived this morning and it is now President Youngs intentions to press on a little faster and crowd them up a little.
We have learned from one of the emigrants a few miles in our rear that Andrew Gibbons tarried with their camp over night. When he returned to the spring & found our camp gone and the Missouri camp there, he told them of the dead buffalo killed by Norton. They went and fetched what meat they wanted and feasted on it, he joining with them and faring well.
At a quarter past 9 we proceeded on our journey. After travelling 3 miles we arrived at the “Willow Spring”, and halted a little while to get water. This spring is about 2 foot wide and the water 10 inches deep, perfectly clear, cold as ice water, and very good tasted. There is a Willow grove extending for some distance above and below it which will answer very well for firing purposes. The grass is good and plentiful ant [and] it is one of the loveliest camping spots I have seen on the road, though the land where the stream runs below the spring is soft and some danger of cattle miring. The spring is
A little piece before we arrived at the spring there are 2 very deep ravines to cross which requires some care in teamsters to prevent accident. At a quarter of a mile beyond the spring we began to ascend a very high hill which was one mile from the foot to the top and the ascent pretty steep.
The summit of this 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 spotted with snow. In the distance to the South West 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 nearer probably not over 15 miles from us. On the North we can see hills a long distance. The one opposite Red Buttes, near the spring where we halted yesterday noon appears only a few miles distance.
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 tavern. We then descended on the South West corner of the hill and found it to be just one mile further to the foot. At the distance of ¾ of a mile further we found a good place for feed, being plenty of grass but
After traveling 2½ miles we descended to the bottom land again and saw a small stream a little to the left of the road where there is plenty of grass. 1¾ miles further we crossed a creek of tolerably clear water about 6 foot wide and 1 foot deep, but neither grass nor timber on its banks. After travelling 7 miles this afternoon we turned off from the road to the left and at 20 minutes past 8 formed our encampment on a ridge near the last mentioned creek where there is good feed, having travelled this afternoon 7¼ miles (exclusive of allowance for turning from 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 and will answer for cooking when nothing else can be found.
Some anxiety is felt on account of the absence of Er 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. 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 over night.
Monday 21 Morning very fine and warm. From this place we can see a huge pile of rocks to the South West a few miles. We have supposed this to be the rock Independance [Independence]. After breakfast I went to view it and found that it was a vast pile of rocks extending from South to North about 500 hundred feet and in width, 100 feet. The rocks are large & seem piled on one another with the edges up. There is no earth on the ridge, but a little drift sand in which there is currant and rose bushes growing. I saw a large mouse on the top which had a long bushy tail like a squirrel. It sat up and acted in every respect like a squirrel, but in size and color resembled a mouse.
At 25 minutes to 9 the camp proceeded onward. After travelling 3¼ miles we arrived on a bed of Saleratus which was a quarter of a mile across and on which was several Lakes of salt water. This place looks swampy and smells bad. The beds of Salteratus smell most like 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. Large quantities may be gathered in a short time, and when pualized [pulverized] it looks clean and nice. We are now satisfied that the water we saw from the hills yesterday must have been some of these lakes as the sweet water is not yet in sight, but these being high, show at a long distance. The water is not very salt[y] but brackish and tastes sickly. It is reported by travellers that these are poison springs, but is probable that all the poison there is about them is their salt causing cattle to drink freely when they can get no other water, and the more they drink, the more thirsty they are till they burst themselves, which is said to be the effect of drinking the poison, viz. to burst them.—As we passed along a little further we saw another large lake to the left and one to the right of the same nature, their banks mostly white with Saleratus.
At 12 o clock we arrived on the banks of the “Sweet Water”, having travelled 7½ miles over a very sandy road, destitute of wood, water or grass. The distance from the upper ferry on the Platte river to this place is 49 miles by the roadometer. There has formerly been a ford here but lately emigrants have found a better ford higher up the river. At this place 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 still. The current is very swift the water a little muddy, but pleasant tasted. By watching it close it is easy to see on the surface numerous small bright particles floating, which at first sight might be supposed to be salt, however the water itself has not the least saline taste. On the banks of the river there is plenty of good grass but destitute of wood, there being only one solitary tree to be seen, and that stands beside this fording place. The only chance for fuel appears to be the wild sage and other small shrubbery occasionally growing in spots on the low banks. After we halted sister Harriet Young made some bread using the lake saleratus, and when baked was pronounced to rise the bread and taste equal to the best she had ever used, only requiring a little less of this than the common saleratus. A number of the brethren went back during the halt and filled their pails with it, calculating to make use of it during our future journey.
The day has been very hot and no wind which makes it unpleasant travelling. Er Woodruff & Brown again joined the camp on our arrival here and reported that they had spent the night in one of the gentile camps, who are now some miles ahead of ours.
There are many high hills or ridges of the granite rock in the neighborhood especially in the East and west, all entirely destitute of vegetation, and present a very wild and desolate, as well as romantic appearance. I cannot describe their appearance only by saying that it seems as though giants had, in byegone days taken their wheelbarrows of tremendous size and wheeled up in large heaps masses of heavy clay which has consolidated and become solid hard rock.
The rock Indepen[den]ce lays a little West of where we have halted, and after dinner I went to view it as well as many others. It lays on the North bank of the river in this shape [drawing of the rock] The extreme South East corner reaching to within about 2 rods of the river and running in a direction North West while the river at this place runs near a west course. It is composed of the same barren granite with other masses in this region, and is probably 400 yards long, 80 yards wide and 100 yards in perpendicular hight as near as I could guess. The ascent is difficult all round. Travellers appear to have ascended mostly at the South East corner where there are some hundreds of names
painted 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 and 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 sometime fell ove[r] an opening or cavity leaving scarcly room enough 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, wrote on with black paint, doubtless, being the names of persons who have visited it. On the top of the rock the surface is a little rounding, something like a large mound with large masses of loose rock laying scattered round. Proceeding forward you descend, when near half way of the length, to a considerably 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 of small pools of water, no doubt collected during heavy rains, and having no chance to run off, stands until it evaporates into the atmosphere. Some of the pools are 8 inches deep, and tastes like rain water. It is more difficult descending from the rock than to ascend it on account of its being hard and slippery and nothing to hang on to, and a visitor has got to be careful or he will arrive on the ground with bruised limbs.
At 3 o clock P.M. the[y] started on and on arriving at the rock found it to be 1¼ miles from noon halt. We put up a guide board opposite the rock with this inscription on it. “To Fort John 175¼ miles. Pioneers June 21. 1847. W.R.[”] The letters W.R. are branded on all the guide boards, because it was the Dr.’s request to have a mark so that the saints might know them and his brand is generally known by the saints.
After travelling on the banks of the river 1 mile beyond the rock we forded over and found it near 3 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 opposite to Devils Gate which lays a little to the West of the road, and a quarter of a mile beyond this the road passes between t[w]o high ridges of granite 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 but bad crossing on account of its being deep and muddy requiring caution in the teamsters to prevent accident. President Young, Kimball and others went to view the North side of “Devils Gate” and returning reported that the Devils would not let them pass, or meaning that it was impossible to go through the “Gate Way,” so called. We proceeded on a little further and at 25 minutes to 7 formed our encampment on the bank 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 at the foot of one of the rocky ridges about a quarter of a mile back for fuel. After we had camped I went back to view the “Devils Gate” where the river runs between two high rocky ridges for the distance of about 200 yards. The rock on the East side is perpendicular and was found by a Barometrical measurement by Er Pratt to be 399 feet 4½ inches high. The one on the West side is about the same height but not perpendicular, 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 swiftness and dashing furiously against the huge fragments of rock which has fell from the mountain makes a roar which can be heard plainly in the Camp.
One of the brethren fired off his rifle at the foot of the rock and the report resembled much that of the report of a cannon. Others tumbled fragments of rocks from a projection at the entrance about 150 feet high, which made a very loud rumbling sound caused by the echoes. 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.
The view from this evenings encampment over the surrounding country is sublime. To the East, South, and South West the Sweet Water mountains tour [tower] high and appear spotted with snow and about from 20 to 30 miles distant from the river, to the West are also hills and ridges interspersed as far as the eyes can see, except the land immediately on the river which appears even for many miles. These high, barren, rocky ridges on the N. side of the river seem to continue for many miles.
Tuesday 22 Morning fine. At 20 minutes past 7 we continued our journey, and about 200 yards from where we camped crossed a very crooked creek about 6 foot wide, descending from the South West. After travelling 3 miles over heavy, sandy roads we crossed another creek about 6 foot wide and 3¾ miles further a creek 2 foot wide. Somewhere near this last creek brother Lorenzo Young broke one of his axle trees which detained him sometime. One of the missourian companies came up soon after the accident and took his load into one of their wagons and by splicing a piece of wood on his axle tree was enabled to follow our 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 creeks and river banks. During the halt Er Pratt took an observation and found the Latitude of this place 42¬∫. 28.’25”. President Young went back to meet Lorenzo but soon found he was coming on with the Missouri[a]n company who were approaching near to us. He immediately turned about and on arriving back gave orders to get up the teams and proceed so as to keep ahead of the other company who say they have travelled from Independence rock without halting. However they passed before we could start and got ahead of us. The day has been hot and little wind.
At 25 minutes past 2 we started again, finding the road again 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 roads runs South, passing between high sand bluffs after which it again turns round gradually towards the west and descending a steep bluff over very heavy, sandy land. After travelling 5¾ miles crossed a creek about 6 foot wide and a foot deep. The bank on each side is very steep 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 as not to hinder the rest from crossing.
The banks of this creek are well lined with sage instead of grass, which is very large and thick on the ground, on account of which Er Kimball named this sage creek. After passing this creek 1¾ miles we again arrived
on the banks on the banks of the river, and continued to travel near to it. At 2¾ 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 gravelly bluff and near the river having travelled this afternoon 10¾ miles and during the day 20¾ miles over mostly a very sandy road. This is a very good camp ground being plenty of grass for our teams, which is well worth travelling a few miles extra. From this place the country seems fortified by hills and mountains, especially on the West.
Lewis Barney and Joseph Hancock have each killed an antelope during the day, but there appears to be no buffalo in the neighborhood.
Wednesday 23 Morning fine and warm. After breakfast I went to the top of the high bluff expecting to get a good [view] of the country west, but was dissappointed in consequence of the many ridges or bluffs but a little distance beyond us. At 7 o clock the camp moved forward, and immediately after saw a grave yard on the left of the road, with a board stuck up with these words wrote on it. “Matilda Crowley. B. July 16. 1830 & D. July 7. 1846.” On reflecting afterward that some of the numerous emigrants who had probably started with a view to spend the remainder of their days in the wild Oregon, had fell by the way and their remains had to be left by their friends far from the place of destination I felt a renewed anxiety that the Lord will kindly preserve the lives of all my family, that they may be permitted to gather to the future home of the saints, enjoy the society of the people of God for many years to come and when their days are numbered that their remains may be deposited at the feet of the servants of God, rather than be left far away in a wild country, and oh Lord grant this sincere desire of thy servant in the name of thy son Jesus. Amen.
After traveling one and a half miles we crossed a very shoal stream of clear, cold water about five feet wide. There is buttle little grass here but a number of Bitter Cottonwood trees growing on its banks. There being no name on the map to this creek it was named “Bitter Cotton Wood Creek” to designate it in our future travel. It is probable that this stream is caused by the melting of the snow on the mountains, and if so would not be depended on for a camp ground late in the summer. After passing this creek the river runs between some of the high rocky ridges, the road at the same time binding [bending] a little Southward to pass around them.
After travelling 5 miles beyond the last mentioned creek we again descend to the banks of the river where would be a pretty good camp ground, although the grass is not so plentiful as in many other places on the banks of the river. We travelled till 5 minutes past 11 on the river banks, then halted for noon as the road and river separate a little further and probably we would not find grass again for a number of miles. The land continues very sandy making it hard on teams, our course about West. the day very warm, with a light South breeze. 8½ miles
There are some small cedar trees on the rocky bluffs which is the only timber seen since we passed the Bitter Cotton Wood. Latitude of this place 42¬∫ 31’ 20”.
At 10 minutes past 1 we continued our journey and after proceeding half a mile found the river turns between the granite ridges in a North West direction and seems but to have a narrow space in several places to pass through, the road at the same place turns south to avoid the ridges, for over a mile and then bends to South West for some distance further. The road at the foot of these rocky hills is extremely sandy and heavy travelling. On arriving at the south side of the hills 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 perfectly
As usual there is plenty of grass on the river banks but no wood. There are some dry buffalo chips and wild sage which answer tolerably well for cooking. The land over which we have travelled except in the several places above mentioned is perfectly barren except wild sage which abounds but there is scarce a spear of grass to be seen.
These granite ridges continue from the Rock Indepen[den]ce to this place, mostly on the North side the river. Here they receed from the river a few miles and then cease.
There are two of the Missouri companies camped, one about half a mile and the other a mile west of us, as we are given to understand we have got a long distance to travel without grass or water. It is stated that a man from one of these companies left his company a few days ago and went ahead to examine the rout &c On their arrival here they found him in one of these rocky hills, hid up for fear of the Indians. He reports that he has been to the “Pass” and that we shall find water about 14 miles from here. He has come from the Pass in two nights and hid up in the day time to avoid Indians, but has seen none. He says it is not over 28 miles to the “Pass” from here.
After we camped, Burr Frost
sett set up his forge and set some wagon tire and repaired the wheels of the wagon for one of the Missourians. There are no Buffalo to be seen yet, and not much game of any kind. Lewis Barney killed 2 antelope and the brethren mostly killed one or two every day.
The sweet water mountains do not appear very high, but have considerable snow laying on them in some places. They appear to run nearly parrallel with the river at about from 20 to 30 miles distance to the South.
Thursday 24 Morning fine but cool. It was calculated to make an early start so as to pass the two companies of the Missourians and get the best chance for feed at night, but they started out half an hour before we were ready.
We proceeded onward at ¼ past 6 and a little over a mile from where we camped found the river again bending North West, while the road continues near a West course and soon rises a high bluff. On the top of this we appear to have a level road for many miles. After travelling 5 miles from morning we arrived at a level strip of land on the North side of the road where is plenty of grass and apparently swampy and soft. It extends in the same direction with the road a mile and a half and appears to terminate where the road crosses the lower land although the grass and hollow continues southward for some distance. Just above where the road crosses at the West end there is some water standing around a small, circular, swampy spot of land, probably about a half an acre. Near the edge of the North West corner is a hole dug which is called the Ice Spring. The water in the hole smells strong of sulpher or alkali and is not pleasant tasted, but under the water which is over a foot deep there is as clear ice as I ever saw and good tasted. Some of the brethren had broke some pieces off which floated and I eat some of it which tasted sweet and pleasant. The Ice is said to be 4 inches thick. The water is very cold although the weather is warm. A quarter of a mile further than the spring there is small Lake or spring of Alkali on the left of the road and a little further still, another Lake. The latter is more pleasant tasted than the other, not being so strong of Sulpher. It tastes very much like lye water mixed with salt. The ground around these lakes is white with Alkali or Saleratus and a number of the brethren picked up their pails full, but we have learned that it ought to be used with care, being so much stronger than common saleratus, if the same quantity is used it makes the bread quite green. 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 had halted a few miles and we passed by them. While winding round and descending from this bluff we came in sight of the river again, and about the sametime Er Kimball picked [up] an Indian arrow point made of flint stone and nearly perfect. It was almost white as alabaster.
At half past 3 we turned a little South from the road and formed our encampment in a line so as to enclose a bend in the river having travelled 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 and more clear and very cool. The last 5 or 6 miles of the road was not so sandy but hard and good travelling.
One of the Missourian companies have gone on, but the other camped a piece down the river at the fording place.
A while before dark when the brethren were fetching up their teams, John Holman, while bringing up Prest. Youngs best horse, having his loaded rifle in his hand, the horse undertook to run back past him, and to prevent his running back, he jammed his gun at him. The cock caught in his cloths, the gun went off lodging the ball in his [the animal’s] body. It entered a little forward of the right hind leg on the under side of his belly making quiet a large hole. The horse walked to camp but it is the opinion of many 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 attaches no blame to John, who seems grieved very bad. The brethren generally feel sorrowful, this being the second horse shot by accident on this mission.
President Young’s horse is dead. The morning is fine but very cool. At 20 minutes to 7 we pursued our journey fording the river a quarter of a mile below where we left the road last night. We found it near 3 foot deep still, 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 gradually binds round towards the river and begins to descend over hill and hollow, and at 4¼ miles from where we camped strikes the river again and continues a quarter of a mile on its banks. Here would be a pretty good place to camp being sufficient grass for a large company. After travelling a quarter of a mile near the river we encounter another high Sandy ridge, the road again winding to the north to cross it. The descent on the West side is very steep and unpleasant, we strike the river again after travelling 1¼ miles from where we last left it, but it is the opinion of many that by fording the river twice at the foot of the ridge we could save a mile and they think it can be forded. Col. Rockwood has paid particular attention to the place and reports that 1 hours labor 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 ridge we crossed a stream about 25 feet wide, and again a quarter of a mile further the same only about 6 feet 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 forming a semicircular Island. The last crossing was soft on both banks. The high sandy bluffs on each side the river seem to approach much nearer to each other and leave only a small strip of low land on each bank. At 20 minutes past 11 passed a Creek 2 foot wide and halted for noon, making it cold and unpleasant travelling, and filling the wagons with dust. The Latitude at this halt by Er Pratts observation is 42¬∫. 28’. 36”.
At 20 minutes past 1 we proceeded again, our road running on the river banks 2 miles, then turns to the North West and we begin to ascend a succession of hills, one after another for 3 miles further, winding round and over hill and vally, 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 themselves by snowballing each other. Bro. Carrington says there is every appearance of a rich lead mine in the same place having examined the place minutely. The brethren brought some snow to the wagons and we eat some of it, which tasted refreshing in the heat of the day. After arriving on the top of these ridges we began 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 teams to get the loads over without help, and 1¼ miles beyond the swamp a creek, a foot wide, and a quarter of a mile further still another one 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 5 foot wide having travelled this afternoon 11½ miles and during the day 20¼. This creek is very clear water 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 may 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 yet no appearance of the great abundance of such things, as travellers have represented. The land appears some more likely to yeild 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.
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, but in the middle of the day it is equally hot.
Some of the brethren have travelled up 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 the ground from noon halt to this place. They say it runs within a mile and a half south of this but it is probable it is only a branch of it as we are evidently not near the main branch yet.
There is one of the gentile companies camped about a mile below, making the third company we have passed lately, and it is the intention to keep ahead of them and have the advantage of the good feed and camping grounds.
Saturday 26 Morning very cold, and considerable ice froze in the water pails during the night. At 20 minutes to 8 we 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 small grove of small timber. Er Pratt has gone ahead with the Barometer to try to find the culminating point, or highest, dividing ridge of the South Pass, as we are evidently at the East foot of the Pass. Freemont [Fremont] represents that he did not discover the highest point on account of the ascent being so gradual that they were beyond it before they were aware of it, although in company with a man who has travelled it back and for[th] for seventeen years.
At 2¾ miles beyond the last small creek, we crossed the branch of the sweet water about 2 rods wide and 2 foot deep, the water clear and cold. This would be a good camp 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 8 feet wide on an average, though where the ford is, it is near 3 rods wide and 2 foot deep. This water is also very clear and the banks well lined with willows and grass. It is considered a superior camping ground to the one back.
There seems to be a great many Antelope at the foot of the mountains, which is about all the game to be seen.
After crossing the last stream we rise another high range of hills, over a good road, gently rolling. From the top is a very pleasant view of the surrounding country but all entirely destitute of timber except on and at the base of the mountains, many miles distant from the road. We have also a good view of “Table Rock” to the South West as well as the high, broken, white capped chain of the Wind River mountains on the North.
At 20 minutes to 1 we halted on the main branch of the sweet water having travelled 11 miles. The river here is about 3 rods wide, 3 foot deep and current very swift. The water is clear and cold as the snow which lays on its banks in places 6 or 8 feet deep. This is a lovely place for a camp ground, being abundance of good rich grass about 8 inches high and plenty of willows for fuel. Some of the boys and girls amused themselves by snow balling each other, on one of the large snow banks a few rods below the camp. Soon after we halted Eric Glines came up, having left the brethren at the Upper Ferry on the Platte River on Wednesday morning. He camped one night alone, the other nights he camped with Missourians. He does not assign any reason why he followed us, but evidently considered to repent and obey council than to continue obstinate and rebellious. The weather now is warm and pleasant, and but little wind.
At 20 minutes past 2 we moved onward, ascending again on pretty high land, where we found good travelling. The Latitude at our noon halt was 42¬∫. 22.’ 42”.—After travelling 7 miles this afternoon we arrived on a level spot of lower land, and some grass, and inasmuch as we have found no stream as laid down of Freemonts map since leaving the Sweet Water, neither is there much appearance of any for some miles further the wagons halted, while Prest. Young and some others went over the ridge to the North to look for a camp ground, as some of the brethren said the Sweet Water was close by. Prest. Young soon sent a message for the Camp to proceed, leaving the road and taking a North West course. At ¼ to 7 we formed our encampment on the banks of the sweet water, at the distance of a little over a quarter of a mile from the road, having traveled this afternoon 7¼ miles and during the day 18¼. This is a good place to camp being plenty of grass and willows.
There are many small pebbles of hard flint rock on the flat land a little back and some almost clear as glass.
Ers Kimball, Pratt and some others are some miles ahead, and not having returned at dark, a number of the brethren were sent to meet them. They soon returned in company with Er Kimball who reported that he had been on as much as 6 miles to the head waters of the Pacific. That Er Pratt was camped there with a small parties of men direct from Oregon and bound for the United States. It is now ascertained that we are yet 2 miles short of the dividing ridge of the South Pass by the road. This ridge divides the head waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific, and although not the highest land we have travelled over, may with propriety be said to be the summit of the South Pass. The Wind River Mountains appear very high from this place, but on the South there is very little appearance of mountains, Table Rock itself appearing but a little elevated.
Sunday 27 Morning fine but cold. The ox teams started at 5 minutes to 8 and the remainder a while after. We soon met 8 of the Oregon men on their way back, having over 20 horses and mules with them mostly laden with packs of robes, skins &c Several of the brethren sent letters back by them. At 2¾ miles arrived at the dividing ridge where Er Pratt took a Barometrical observation and found the Altitude 7085 feet about [above] the level of the sea. This spot is 278 ½ miles from Fort John and is supposed to divide the Oregon and Indian Territery by a line running North & South. At 2 miles further we arrived at where Er Pratt camped last night at the head waters of Green River, and although the stream is small we have the satisfaction of seeing the current run West instead of East. The face of the country West looks level except far in the distance where a range of mountains peers up, 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 “Pass”, we have descended considerable, winding round and between high bluffs or hills but the road is good. One of the Oregon men is returning with us today and then intends to wait for the next companies &c and act as pilot for them. His name is “Harris” and appears to be extensively known in Oregon and the subject of much dispute on account of having found out a new route to Oregon, much South of the old one. He appears to be a man of intelligence and well acquainted with the western country. He presented a file of the, Oregon papers, Commencing with February 11th, 1847, and five following numbers for our perusal during the day. He also presented a number of the “California Starr” published at Yerba Buenna by Samuel Brannan and edited by C.P. Jones. I had the privilege of perusing several of these papers during the day but found little interesting news. Mr Harris says he is well acquainted with the Bear River Valley and the region around the salt Lake. From his description which is very discouraging we have little chance to hope for even a moderate good country any where in those regions. He speaks of the whole region as being Sandy and destitute of timber and vegitation 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 practiced Caching their robes &c to hide them from the Indians. He represents this as being a fine place to winter cattle. After halting some time we proceeded on and crossed the stream which is about 3 foot wide, then halted on its banks at 12 o clock, having traveled 6¼ miles, the day warm.
The Latitude at this halt was 42¬∫. 18’. 58”.
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 traveled this afternoon 9 miles and during the day 15¼. The country West for many miles appears destitute of timber and the view is very extensive. There is very little grass to be seen any where and not much near this 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. Er Kimball has been on the road near 2 miles further, but discovered no chance for a camping ground better than this.
Mr Harris has described a valley 40 miles above the mouth of Bear River, and 30 miles below the Beer [Bear] Springs which might answer our purpose pretty well if the report is true. It is about 30 miles long and 15 miles wide, and tolerably well timbered. We generally feel that we shall know best by going ourselves for the reports of travellers are so contradictory, it is impossible to know which is the truth without going to prove it.
It is 3 years today since our brethren Joseph and Hyrum were taken from us, and it was a general feeling to spend the day in fasting and prayer, but the gentile companies being close in our rear and feed scarce it was considered necessary to keep ahead for the benifit of our teams, but many minds have reverted back to the scenes at Carthage Jail, and it is a gratification that we have so far prospered in our endeavors to get from under the grasp of our enemies.
Monday 28. Morning fine but cool. Many of the brethren are trading with Mr Harris for pants, Jackets, shirts &c made of Buck skins and also the skins themselves. He sells them high. The skins at 1.50 and 2 dollars a pair of Pants 3 dollars &c He will take rifles, powder, lead, caps or calico & domestic shirts in exchange but puts his own price on both sides and it is difficult to obtain even a fair trade.
At half past 7 we proceeded on our journey, Mr Harris waiting for the other companies. After travelling 6 miles the road forks, one continuing a west course, the other taking a South West course. We took the left hand road, which leads to California. This Junction of the road is 297½ miles from Fort John. We then continued to travel over a desert land yeilding nothing but wild sage and occasionally a grass root and weeds untill half past 1 when we arrived and halted for noon on the East banks of the little Sandy, having travelled 13½ miles, without signs of wood, water or feed for our teams. This stream is about 20 feet wide on an average, but at the fording place over 3 rods, 2½ feet deep, muddy water and swift current. There is not much grass and no timber except willow bushes. There is a variety of roots bearing very 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 bark, and appears to have rotted and broke off short, then petrified, and turned to a solid, heavy hard flint stone, 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 2 tar buckets, considered to be 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.A. Smith, who introduced us to Mr Bridger of “Bridgers Fort” on his way to Fort John in company with two of his men. Mr Bridger being informed that we had designed to call at his place to make some enquiries about the country &c he said if we would turn off the road here and camp, he would stay with us all morning. A camping place being selected we turned off from the road about a quarter of a mile and formed our encampment near the “Sandy” at 6 o clock, having travelled this afternoon 1¾ miles, exclusive of allowance for leaving the road and during the day 15¼ miles. We have pretty good feed here, enough to fill the team well.
A while after we camped the Twelve and several others went to Mr Bridger to make some enquiries, Concerning our future route, the country &c It was impossible to form a correct idea of either, from the very imperfect and irregular way he gave his descriptions, but the general items are in substance as follows.
”We will find better grass as we proceed further on. His business is to Fort Laramie. His traders have gone their with robes, skins &c to fill a contract, but having started later than they intended the men at Laramie have taken advantage of the delay, and he is going to see to the business himself. There is no blacksmith shop at his Fort at present; there was one, but it was destroyed. There has been near a hundred wagons gone on the Hastings route through Webers Fork. They crossed the Blacks Fork and go a little South of West from his place and pass under the mountains which cross Green river. The Green river runs over an extent of country of 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 rapid current and rough channel. Cant pass the mountains close to the river even with horses, For some distance beyond this chain of mountains the country is level, and beyond that it is hard black rock which looks as if it was glazed when the sun shines on it, and 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 barren to the Gulf of California.
From Bridgers Fort to the Salt Lake, Hastings said was about one hundred miles. He has been through 50 times but can form no correct idea of the distance. Mr Hastings route, leaves the Oregon route 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 plenty of splendid Pine as he ever saw. There is no timber on the Utah Lake only on the streams which empty into it. In the Outlet of the Utah Lake [which runs] 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, neither 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 Be[a]ver and were three months going round it. They said it was 550 miles round it. The Utah tribe of Indians inhabit around the Utah Lake and are a bad people, if they catch a man alone they are sure to rob and abuse him, if they dont 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 where 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 unknown to 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 pass from it over the mountains to the California 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 Walnut, Oak, Ash, Hickory and various kinds of good timber on and in the neighborhood of the mountains, and streams South 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 county lays South East of the Salt Lake. There is one mountain in that region, and the country adjoining it, which he considers 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 from one 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, nothing for animals to subsist on. He supposes there might be access to it from Texas.
On one of the Rivers there is a splendid Copper mine, a whole mountain of it. It also abounds with gold and Silver and a good quick silver mine. There is Iron, coal &c The land is good. And the soil rich. All the vallies abound with a bitter simons and grapes which will make the best kind of wines.
He never saw any grapes on the Utah Lake, but their are plenty of cherries and berries of several kinds. He thinks the Utah Lake is the best country in the vicinity of the Salt Lake and the country is still better the further South we go untill we meet 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—F not much of the wild sage only in small patches. Wild Flax grows in most of the vallies and they are the richest lands.
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 enters 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 beyond it, we shall 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 mountains West. The station is more than half way from here to his place. We shall have no stream to ferry between here and the Fort except Green River.
The Indians south of the Utah Lake and this side the desert raise corn, wheat and other kinds of grain and produce in abundance. The Utahs 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 as good Corn, wheat and pumpkins as was ever raised in old Kentucky.
He knows of a lead mine between the mountains and 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 obtained from Mr Bridger, but we shall know more about things and have a better understanding when we have seen the country ourselves. Supper had been provided for Mr Bridger and his men and the latter having eat the council dismissed, Mr B. going with Prest.Young to supper, the remainder retiring to their wagons conversing over the subject touched upon.
The evening was very fine and musquitoes numerous.
Tuesday 29 Morning very pleasant till the sun got up a little, then 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 have passed over the river, 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 generally so wide but deeper. There is some timber on its banks and plenty of grass in places for teams.
At half past 1 we again proceeded, president Young and some others going ahead in the cutter wagon to lookout a camp 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 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 6 miles further before we could get feed. It was then ¼ after 6 o clock, but the teamsters spurred up in order to get through. The most of the road after this for 4 miles was very hilly and uneven and in places the loose fragments of rocks made it very bad travelling, but many were thrown from the road by the spare men[.] The weather grew cooler towards evening, some large clouds rising in the West which favored the teams considerable. At 5 minutes pat 9 we found ourselves on the low lands on the banks of the river again and formed our encampment having travelled since noon 17 miles and during the day 23¾, which is the greatest days journey we have made since leaving Winter Quarters. The camp was formed by moonlight. There seems to be plenty of feed for teams but no wood for fuel. Many of the brethren have gone down sick within the past three days and a number more this evening. They generally begin with head ache, succeeded by voilent [violent] fever, and some go delirious for a while. Bro. Fowler was seized this afternoon and this evening is raving. It is supposed by some that this sickness is caused by the use of the mineral Saleratus or Alkali picked up on the lakes and surface of the land, and it is considered poisonous. Some consider also that we enhale the effluvia arising from it, which has the like effect. It appears to be an article which ought to be used with great care if used at all. There has been no cases considered dangerous yet, nor any of long duration.
Wednesday 30. Morning hot. We resumed our journey at ¼ past 8, several others of the brethren being reported sick. Prest. Young, Kimball and others rode ahead again. We found the roads very good, but sandy filling the wagons with dust. At half past 11 we arrived on the banks of Green River having travelled 8 miles, and formed our encampment in a line under the shade of the Cotton wood timber. This river is about 16 to 18 rods wide and altogether to[o] deep to be forded. Its banks are well lined with Cotton wood but none large enough to make a canoe. There are also many patches of wild apple trees and rose bushes abound bearing pretty roses. This river is 338½ miles from Fort John or Laramie. There is a narrow strip of land which might answer for farming, on each bank of the river. The grass grows good and plentiful, but still not so much so as has been represented. After dinner the brethren commenced making two rafts one for each division, and a while afterwards Er Samuel Brannan arrived, having come from the Pacific to meet us, obtain council &c He is accompanied by “Smith” of the firm of Jackson, Heaton & Bonney, bogus matters of Nauvoo. There is another young man in company with them. They have come by way of Fort Hall and brought several files of the California Star with them. They had 11 deaths on board their ship during their voyage over, the others I understand are doing well, raising grain &c
Towards evening a shower blew up from the west & although we had no rain we had tremendous wind. The first division finished their raft before dark. There is a slough a little down the river where some of the brethren have caught some very nice fish, but the musquitoes are so very troublesome it is difficult abiding out of doors.
Thursday July 1st This morning found myself laboring under a severe attack of the fever, accompanied with violent aching in the head and limbs. The brethren commenced ferrying but got only 14 wagons over on account of the very high wind
Friday 2nd The day was more pleasant and the ferrying continued more rapidly. I got over the river before noon but remained very sick. P.M. the Twelve had a council and decided to send 3 or 4 men back to serve as guides to the next company.
Saturday 3rd The morning more unfavorable. The brethren got the last wagon over before noon, no accident having happened, and about the time they finished it commenced raining, accompanied with thunder and wind. It was concluded for some of the brethren to go on and look out a camp ground a few miles ahead, so as to shorten the distance of the next days travel. The brethren returned about noon and gave orders to harness up and proceed, and at ¼ past 3 we moved forward and went on three miles, then formed encampment in the midst of an army of musquitoes. These insects are more numerous here than I ever saw them any where, every thing was covered with them, making the teams restive in the wagons. There is plenty of grass for teams, and it is the intention to tarry here till Monday morning. At night Prest. Young gave the brethren some instructions about trading at Fort Bridger, and advised them to be wise &c
5 men were selected to go back and meet the next company, viz Phineas Young,
Sunday 4th The morning fine and warm. The five brethren have started back to meet the other company. Prest. Young, Kimball and others went back with them to ferry them over Green River. Some of the brethren assembled for meeting in the circle. At 2½ P.M. the brethren returned from the ferry, accompanied by twelve of the Pueblo brethren from the army. They have got their discharge and by riding hard overtook us. They feel well and on arriving in camp gave three cheers, after which Prest. Young moved that we give glory to God which was done by hosannas.
Wm. Walker was with them but has gone back with the four brethren to meet his wife.
The 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 probably inhabited by wild Bears. The view is pleasant and interesting.
During the afternoon one of brother Crows Oxen, was found to be poisoned through eating some kind of a weed, and was much swollen. I understand it was dead when they found it.
Monday 5th At 8 o clock we pursued our journey, many of the brethren still being sick though generally improving. After travelling 3½ miles on the bank of the river, the road then leaves it binding westward. We have now a very pleasant view of the Bear River mountains, far to the South West, their summits capped with snow. We found the land some rolling, destitute of grass, and several very steep places to descend.
At ¼ to 5 we arrived on the Banks of “Blacks Fork” and formed our encampment having travelled 20 miles, the last 16½ without sight of water. This stream is about 6 rods wide, very swift current but not deep.
The bottoms on each side are very pleasant, but yet not much grass for teams.
There is one place in the road where we might have saved a crook of near a mile by digging down a bank which would probably have detained us about 20 minutes, but it was not discovered till most of the wagons had passed over.
Tuesday 6 Morning very pleasant. We started on our journey at 10 minutes to 8, and after travelling 3¾ miles crossed “Hams Fork” a rapid stream, about 3 rods wide and two foot deep and would be a good place to camp being abundance of high bunch grass on its banks. 1½ miles further we crossed Blacks fork 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 uneven road with many pitches, caused by heavy rains washing, the land generally barren. After travelling 11 miles beyond the last 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 all round. It is considered equal to any cultivated, bears a delicate blue flower: There is also abundance of the rich bunch grass in the neighborhood of the river bank, and many wild currants. The praries are lined with beautiful flowers of various colors, chiefly blue, red and yellow, which have a rich appearance and would serve to adorn and beautify an eastern flower garden.
Wednesday 7 This morning we proceeded at 25 minutes to 8, and after travelling 2½ miles forded Blacks Fork once more. Here 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, also lined on its banks with bunch grass. At 12 o clock we halted for noon on the banks of the last stream having travelled 9 miles over pretty rough road, the day very windy and filling the wagons with dust. Some of the wagons have gone on expecting to reach Bridgers Fort before they halt.
At 20 minutes to 2 we moved forwards and found the road more even, though in many places rendered bad, by the cobble stones. After travelling 7½ miles we arrived opposite to 9 Indian Lodges, erected on the South of the road. Here we halted a while and found Tim Goodale [Goodall] 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. We then continued on and after fording four creeks on an averagged about a rod wide we arrived at “Fort Bridger” which is proved by the roadometer to be 397 miles from Fort John. We went half a mile beyond the Fort and formed our encampment after crossing 3 more creeks, having travelled this afternoon 8¾ miles and during the day 17¾. The grass is very plentiful in this neighborhood and much higher than we have generally seen it. The whole region seems filled 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 down their cobbly beds till they join Blacks Fork.
”Bridgers Fort” is comprised of two double Log houses about 40 feet long each and joined by a pen for horses about 10 feet high, constructed by placing polls upright in the ground, close together, which is all the appearance of a Fort in sight. There are several Indian Lodges close by, and a full crop of young children playing round the door[.] These Indians are said to be of the Snake tribe. the Utahs inhabiting beyond the mountains. The Latitude of Fort Bridger is 41¬∫ 16’ 13” 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 farming purposes.
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 but high wind. It is concluded to stay a day here to set some wagon tire &c Many have gone to trade their rifles and some clothing for Buck Skins. H. Egan traded two rifles and got 20 pretty good Skins for them. The day continued warm with high wind. Evening there was a council, and some complaints listened to from George Mills against Andrew Gibbons. It was decided for Thomas Williams and S. Brannan to return from here and meet Captain Browns company from Pueblo. Inasmuch as the brethren have not received their discharge nor their 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. Williams came clothed with authority to arrest Tim Goodale and one of his men for stealing a horse at Pueblo, but he can get no encouragement from president Young to make the attempt.
Friday 9 We started at 8 o clock, the brethren who go back bidding good bye to the camp proceeded in their back Journey, while we moved westward over pretty rough road. After travelling 6¼ miles we arrived at the springs and halted a while to rest our teams. We then proceeded on ¾ of a mile and 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 41”.16’.11”.
Arriving on the top we found the table tolerably level for several miles then began to descend to the bottom again. The descent from this hill is the steepest and most difficult we have ever met with, being long and almost perpendicular. At 3 o clock we crossed the “Muddy Fork”, a stream about 12 feet wide and formed our encampment on the West banks, having travelled since the halt 6¾ miles and during the day 13. Here is plenty of tall bunch grass and a pretty good chance for our teams. The day has been windy, warm and dusty.
Saturday 10 Started this morning at 8 o clock, weather warm with tolerable high wind. After travelling 3½ miles, we passed a small “Copperas” spring, at the foot of a mountain a little to the left of the road. The water is very clear, but tastes very strong of copperas and aluim, [alum] and has a somewhat singular effect on the mouth. 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 round the foot of mountains, gradually ascending for some distance, till finally arriving on the summit of a high ridge. Here Er Pratt took a barometrical observation and found the height to be 7315 feet above the level of 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 descend, and found it necessary to halt and fix the road. About half way down there is a place over huge rocks, leaving barely room for a wagon to get down, but by labor it was soon made passable. A little further the brethren had to dig a place considerable to make a pass between the mountains. Prest. Young & Kimball labored hard with a number of others and in about a half an hour made a good road. At 20 miles from Fort Bridger passed another spring, and a little further after arriving on the bottom land the road turns near south through a beautiful low bottom, filled with grass. At ¼ to 2 we halted for noon having travelled 9 miles. Latitude 41¬∫ 14’ 21”.
After halting an hour and a half we proceeded again and after travelling 3½ miles began to ascend 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. The height is 7700 feet according to Er Pratts observations. The surface at the top is narrow. Here 3 bears were seen to run over a still higher mountain on the left. The descent was very steep, having to lock the wagons for half a mile. We then descend and travel on the bottom a few miles between high rugged mountains till the road seems suddenly to be shut up by a high mountain ahead. The road here turns suddenly to the left and goes east about 200 yards then winds again South west. After rising and descending another high ridge, we crossed a small creek about 10 feet wide and at ¼ to 8 formed our encampment on the South West banks having travelled this afternoon 9 miles and during the day 18, over the most mountainous country we have yet seen. After camping, Mr Miles Goodier [Goodyear] came into Camp. He is the man who is making a farm in the Bear River valley. He says it is yet 75 miles to his place, although we are now within two miles of Bear River. His report of the valley is more favorable than some we have heard, but we have an idea he is anxious to have us make a road to his place through selfish motives. Er Pratt has found a beautiful spring of clear, sweet, cold water about a hundred yards S.W. from the camp. Water excellent.
Sunday 11 Morning fine, with ice a quarter of an inch thick on the water pails. Walked on the mountain East with President Young & Kimball, from whence we had a pleasing view of the surrounding valley, which is about 10 miles wide. Abundance of timber on the mountains South & South West, and beyond that plenty of snow. After having prayers we again descended and at the foot discovered a very strong sulpher spring. The surface of the water covered with flower of sulpher and where it oozed from the rock perfectly black. The water in the creek shows sulpher very evident and smells bad. During the day some of the brethren discovered an oil spring about a mile South. The substance which rises out of the ground resembles tar and is very oily. Some have oiled their gun stocks with and oiled their shoes. Others have gone to fill their tar buckets and are sanguine it will answer well to grease wagons.
It is somewhat singular to find such a great contrast of substances within so short a distance. Here is pure water, sulpher, and oily tar within a mile of each other, and matter of curiosity all round for the contemplation of the curious. Porter, Bro. Little & others have been out with Goodier to view the route he wishes us to take. They represent it as being bad enough, but we are satisfied it leads to[o] far out of our course to be tempted to try it.
There are some in camp who are getting discouraged about the looks of the country, but thinking minds are not much dissapointed and we have no doubt of finding a place where the Saints can live, which is all we ought to ask or expect. It is evident the country grows better as we proceed west, and vegitation is more plentiful and looks richer.
After dark a meeting was called to decide which of the two roads we shall take from here. It was voted to take the right hand or northern road, but the private feelings of all the twelve was that the other would be best. But such matters are left to the choice of the camp so that none may have room to murmer at the Twelve hereafter.
Monday 12 Morning cloudy and cool. We pursued our journey at ¼ past 7. At 1¼ miles rose a very steep, low hill narrow but very steep on both sides. ½ a mile further crossed the Bear River, a very rapid stream about 6 rods wide and two 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 pretty good. About half a mile beyond the ford passed over another ridge and again descend into and travelled up a beautiful narrow bottom, covered with grass, and fertile but no timber. 4¾ miles beyond Bear River passed a small spring of good, clear cold water. At 10 minutes past 12 halted for noon in the same narrow bottom near a ridge of high, rough rocks to the right having travelled 9¾ miles. There is scarce any wagon track to be seen, only a few wagons of Hastings company having come this route, the balance went the other road and many of them perished in the snow, being late in the season and much time lost quarrelling who should improve the roads &c There is a creek of clear water close by, deep but scarce any current. President Young was taken very sick awhile before we halted.
After resting two hours the camp moved on again, except Prest. Young & Kimballs wagons, who concluded to remain there today on account of the Prests. sickness. After travelling 1½ miles we crossed the creek at the foot of a high mountain, and a little further crossed back again. A mile further began to ascend a long steep hill, narrow on the summit and steep descent. We then wind round between high hills till arriving again on a narrow rich bottom. At the foot of the hill we crossed last there is a spring of very good cold water, and in fact there are many good springs all along the road. At 6 o clock we formed our encampment near a very small creek and a good spring having travelled this afternoon 4¾ miles and during the day 16½. There is an abundance of grass here and the country appears still to grow richer as we proceed west, but very mountainous. There are many antelope on these mountains, and the country is lovely enough but destitute of timber.
About ¼ of a mile West from the Camp is a Cave in the rock about 30 feet long, 15 feet wide and from 4 to 6 foot high. There are many martins rest at the entrance and on observing them close, can be seen myriads of small bed bugs. It is supposed from appearances that there is some property cached in the cave. Soon after we camped we had a light shower accompanied by thunder. This country evidently lacks rain, even the grass appears parched up.Tuesday 13 A while before noon Er Kimball & Howard Egan arrived, from the company back. A meeting was called but suddenly dispersed by a thunder shower. After the rain ceased, Er Kimball proposed that a company start from the camp with Er Pratt to proceed on to the Weber River Canion [Canyon] and ascertain if we can pass through safely if not to try and find a pass over the mountains. He reported that president Young is a little better this morning, but last evening was insensible and raving. Col. Rockwood is also very sick and quite deranged.
A company of 22 wagons, mostly ox teams started on soon after dinner in company with Er Pratt, and soon after Er Kimball and Egan returned to the back company. The day has been very hot and sultry and musquitoes are very troublesome.
Wednesday 14 The day has been very hot with occasionally a light, breeze. Several of the brethren have been out hunting & brought in several antelope which appear to abound in this region. Bro. Woodruff and Barnabas Adams went back to the other wagons this morning. They returned at night and reported that president Young is considerably better, but brother Rockwood remains very sick. There is one or two new cases of sickness in our camp, mostly with fever which is very severe on the first attack, generally rendering its victims delirious for some hours, and then leaves them in a languid weakly situation. It appears that a good dose of pills or medicine is good to break the fever. The patient then needs some kind of stimulant to brace his nerves and guard him against another attack. I am satisfied that diluted spirits is good in this desease after breaking up the fever. At night had a light shower.
The following is a list of the names of those who are gone on to look out and make a road &c viz.
Orson Pratt, commander of Company, Stephen Markham, aid, O.P. Rockwell, Jackson Redding, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Joseph Egbert, John S. Freeman, Marcus B. Thorpe, Robert Crow, Benjamin B. Crow, John Crow, Walter H. Crow, Walter Crow, George W. Therlkill, James Chesney, Lewis B. Myers, John Brown, Shadrack Roundy, Hans C. Hanson, Levi Jackman, Lyman Curtis, David Powell, Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay [Wales], Joseph Mathews, Gilbert Summe, Green Flake, John S. Gleason, Charles Burke, Norman Taylor, A.P. Chesley, Seth Taft, Horace Thornton, Stephen Kelsey, James Stewart, Robert Thomas, C.D. Barnham, John S. Eldridge, Elijah Newman, Francis Boggs, Levi N. Kendall, David Grant.
First Division 7 wagons 15 men
Second division 16 wagons 27 men besides Crows family of women and children.
Total 23” wagons 42 men
Thursday 15 Morning pleasant but cloudy. At 12 Prest. Young, Kimball and all the rear wagons arrived, eight in number. The Prest. is much better. Bro. Rockwood is considerably better. Orders were given for this company to harness up, and during the time till we started onward at half past 1 we had a very refreshing shower. After travelling 2 miles we passed another spring of 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 high red bluffs having travelled 4½ miles, and enjoyed 2 more pleasant showers. Feed here good, and a beautiful spring of good, clear, cold water a little to the left of the road. The evening fine and pleasant.
Friday 16 This morning we have had two pleasant showers accompanied by pretty loud thunder. At ¼ to 9 we proceeded onward passind [passing] through a narrow ravine between very high mountains. After travelling 1¼ miles passed a deep ravine where most of the teams had to double to get up. ½ mile further crossed the creek, and found the crossing place very bad. Harvey Pierce broke his wagon reach and bolster. The wagon had to be unloaded; but with little delay was soon repaired during which time a number of brethren fixed a new place to cross the creek. After passing this place, following the course of the creek the mountains seem to increase in height and come so near together in some places, as to leave merely room enough for a crooked road. At half past 12 we halted to feed having travelled 6¾ miles and are yet surrounded by high mountains. As we halted O.P. Rockwell came up from Er Pratts company. He reports that it is about 25 or 30 miles to the Kanion [Canyon]. They have found the road leading over the mountains to avoid the Kanion and expect to be on the top to day noon.
The day is fine and pleasant with a nice breeze. Grass plentiful and pretty high, but no timber yet except small Cedar on the sides of the mountains. Numerous springs of clear water all along the base of the mountains.
During the halt two of the brethren went to the top of the mountain on the North of the Camp. They looked like babes in size.
At 20 minutes past 2 we proceeded onward and found the pass between the mountains growing narrower, until it seemed strange that a road could ever have been made through. We crossed the creek a number of times and in several places found the crossing difficult. After proceeding a few miles we saw patches of Oak shrubbery, though small in size. In the same place and for several miles there are many patches or groves of the wild currant, Hop vines, Elder and Black Birch. Willows are abundant and high. The currants are yet green and taste most like a gooseberry, thick rind and rather bitter. The hops are in blossom and seem likely to yeild a good crop. The Elders which are not very plentiful are in bloom.
In some place[s] we had to pass 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 16¼ We are yet enclosed by high mountains on each side and this is the first good camping place we have seen since noon, not for lack of grass or water, but on account of the narrow gap between the mountains. Grass is pretty plentiful most of the distance and seems to grow higher the further we go west. At this place the grass is about 6 feet high and on the creek 8 or 10 feet high. There is one kind of grass which bears a head almost like wheat and grows pretty high, some of it 6 foot. There is a very singular echo in this ravine the rattling of wagons resembles carpenters hammering at boards inside the highest rocks. The report of a rifle resembles a sharp crack of thunder and echoes from rock to rock for sometime. The lowing of Cattle and braying of mules seems to be answered beyond the mountains. Music especially brass instruments has a very pleasing effect and resembles a person standing inside the rock imitating every note. The echo, the high rocks on the north high mountains on the South, with the narrow ravine for a rock forms a scenery at once romantic and more interesting than I have ever witnessed.
Soon after we camped I walked up the highest mountain on the South. The ascent is so steep that there is scarce a place to be found to place the foot flat and firm and the visiter is every moment if he makes the least slip or stumble of being precipitated down to the bottom, and once overbalancing, there is no possibility of stopping himself till he gets to the bottom, in which case he would doubtless be dashed to pieces. After resting about half a dozen times a [I] arrived at the top and found the ascent equally steep all the way up. In many places I had to go on my hands and feet to keep from falling backwards. From this mountain I could see the red fork of Webers River about a mile west of the Camp, looking back I could see the road we had come for several miles; but in every other direction nothing but ranges of mountains still as much higher than the one I was on as it is above the creek. The scenery is truly wild and melancholy. After surveying the face of the country a little while I began to descend and found the task much more difficult than ascending, but by using great care and taking time I got down without accident a little before dark.—Solomon Chamberl[a]in broke his forward axle tree about two miles back. A wagon was unloaded and sent back to fetch him up. He is yet very sick.
Saturday 17. Arose to behold a fine pleasant morning my health much better. This is my thirty second birthday being now 33 years old. My mind naturally reverts back to my family, and my heart is filled with blessings on their heads more than my tongue is able to express. The richest blessings that ever were bestowed upon the head of woman or child could not be more than I desire for them, whatever be my own lot.
Prest. Young is reported as having had a very sick night. A forge was set up and some repairs done to wagons and brother Chamberlins repaired also. The cattle & mules seem very uneasy and continue lowing and braying all the morning. I suppose it is in consequence of the singular echo, they no doubt thinking they are answered by others over the mountains.
At 20 minutes to 10 the camped renewed our journey and 1 mile further arrived at the Red fork of the Weber River. We also seem to have a wider space to travel through and now turn to the right in a west course the ravine having run mostly South West. The distance we have travelled through this narrow pass is 23 miles. Yesterday was the first day we have been out of sight of snow a whole day since we arrived at Fort John. We could not see it for the high mountains although surrounded by it. On arriving at this stream we see it again on the mountains to the East.
This stream is about 4 rods wide, very clear water and apparently about 3 foot deep on an average. Its banks lined with cotton wood and birch, and also dense patches of brush wood, willows, rose bushes, briers &c By stepping to the top of a small mound at the bend of the road the mouth of the Kanyon [canyon] can be seen very plain, as also the mountains, between which we pass to avoid it. The Kanyon appears to be about 8 or 10 miles West of us. I should judge not over that.
Prest. Young being so very sick, found he could not endure to travel further. Accordingly Ers Kimball and some others went to select a camping ground and soon returning reported a place a little further. The camp moved on and formed encampment on the banks of the river having travelled 2½ miles, the day very hot and musquitoes abundantly plentiful. Several of the brethren have caught some fine trout in this stream, which appears to have many in [it].
In the afternoon Ers Kimball, Richards, Smith, Benson and others went onto a mountain to clothe and pray for president Young, who continues very sick. On returning the[y] rolled down many large rock[s] from the top of the mountain to witness the velocity of their descent &c Some would roll over half a mile and frequently break to pieces.
John Nixon [Dixon] found and brought to camp a very singular kind of thistle, which I have never seen before nor recollect ever of reading of the like. He found it in the low land near the camp and says there are many more like it. It is a great curiosity and worthy of description. The stem is about 4 foot long about 6 inches wide and a quarter of an inch thick. It is formed of a double leaf or case and when broke is hollow, although the stem lays close together, perfectly flat. It is ornamented by narrow leaves from 4 to 6 inches long, the sides thickly set with prickles, from bottom to top. These leaves are but sparsly scattered all along up the stem. The top is a kind of crown and bush formed by the same kind of prickley leaves and is about 10 inches long by 5 inches broad, forming a very handsome head or crown, but the great curiosity of this thistle is a perfect resemblance of a snake coil’d round and round the crown as though in the act of guarding it against foes. The head of the snake lays on the top of the crown at one end and is ornamented by a small bunch of flowers like common thistle flowers growing on the snakes head. The body then coils round the crown to the other end and back again, the tail ending on the under side of the crown and directly under the snakes head. At the extremity of the tail is a bunch of small burrs cover’d with prickles something resembling the rattles on a rattlesnakes tail. The body of the snake is formed of the same kind of substance with the thistle itself, and has a very singular appearance. It seems that 2 of the great enemies of mankind have combined, the most bitter and destructive guarding the more innocent. The serpent tempted the woman causing her to sin, in consequence of which the earth was cursed, and decreed to produce thorns & thistles &c, but this is the first time I ever saw the snake guard the thistle.
In the evening Ers Kimball, G.A. Smith and Howard Egan rode down the river to visit the Kanyon. They returned about 10 o clock and said they had been 8 miles down the river, but at that distance did not arrive at the Kanyon and being late they concluded to return to camp.
Sunday 18 This morning the camp was called together and addressed by Er Kimball. He reports Prest. Young as being a very sick man. He proposed to the brethren, that instead of their scattering off, some hunting, some fishing, and some climbing mountains &c that they should meet together and pray and exhort each other, that the Lord may turn away sickness from our midst and from our president that we may proceed on our journey. It was decided to assemble at 10 o clock and at the sound of the bugle the brethren met in a small grove of shrubbery which they have made for the purpose opposite the wagons. During the meeting Er Kimball proposed to the brethren that all the camp, except Prest. Young’s and 8 or 10 other wagons with brethren enough to take care of him &c proceed on tomorrow and go through, find a good place, begin to plant potatoes &c as we have little time to spare. The proposition was acceeded to by unanimous vote, and after a number had expressed their feelings the meeting adjourned till 2 o clock at which time they again assembled and listened to remarks from a number of the brethren. Er Kimball again gave much good instruction and prophecied good things concerning the camp. The Bishops broke bread and the sacreent was administered. Good feelings seem to prevail and the brethren desire to do right. A number yet continue sick, but we expect all will soon recover. The day is very hot with very little air moving. Er Kimball consented for me to go on tomorrow with the company that goes ahead.
Monday 19 Morning fine and warm, Prest. Young considerably better. At ¼ to 8 we started onward leaving prest Yougy [Young] & Kimball’s wagons and several others. We found the road very rough on account of loose rocks and cobble stones. After travelling 2¼ miles, we forded the river and found it about 18 inches deep, but forded without difficulty. Soon after we were over Er Snow came up and said the camp were requested to halt awhile till Dr Richards came. One of his oxen is missing and he wishes to go on. We concluded to move on a little to where the road should turn off between the mountains to avoid the Kanion. Er Pratt went 3 miles out of his road and had to return again. ¾ of a mile from the ford we found the place to make the cut off and there halted a while. I put up a guide board up at this place marked as follows “Pratts Pass to avoid the Kanion. To Fort Bridger 74¼ miles.[”] Brother Pack having charge of the company concluded to move on slowly and be making our way up the mountains. We accordingly started and after travelling a mile from the forks began to ascend and wind round the mountains, we found the road exceeding rough and crooked and very dangerous on wagons. 3½ miles from the forks of the road the brethren made a bridge over a small creek over which we crossed having passed a number of springs near the road. 2¼ miles further we arrived on the summit of the dividing ridge and put up a guide board “80 miles to Fort Bridger.” At this place Ers Kimball, Woodruff & G.A. Smith and H. Egan rode up to view the road &c The descent is not very steep but exceeding dangerous to wagons being mostly on the side hill, over large cobble stones, causing the wagons to slide very bad. After travelling a little way G.A. Smiths wagon wheels gave way, going down a steep pitch. The spokes are loose in the hub, and work about so that when the wagon slides the[y] dish inward &c At 2 o clock, we halted beside a small creek to water teams, having travelled 10½ miles over exceeding rough road. A wagon was unloaded and sent for G.A. Smiths loading which is reported to be 2 miles back. While they were gone many turned out their teams to graze. At ½ past 3 the men returned with the wagons, putting the loading into several so as to proceed, and at 25 minutes to 4 we started forward the road turning suddenly to the right for about ¾ of a mile and then a South West course again. Here we ascend a very long steep hill for near a mile, then descending by a very crooked road. I think a better road might be made here and this high hill avoided and save a miles travel. After travelling a little over 3 miles we crossed a creek about a rod wide and 18 inches deep, pretty steep going down but good going out. We went on a little further and at half past 5 camped on a small spot surrounded by willow bushes full of musquitoes, having travelled this afternoon 3¼ miles and during the day 13¾. The day has been hot and no wind. Teams sweat much and it has been a pretty hard days travel. There is not much grass here, but is said to be more plentiful a little further. Several accidents have happened to wagons today but nothing serious except brother G.A. Smiths. Dr Richards wagons arrived in camp at the same time the rest did. The sick are getting better.
In the evening the brethren picked up a lot of dry willows and made a coal pit to set G.A. Smiths tire before we can leave tomorrow. The evening and night was very cold.
Tuesday 20. This morning fine and warm. The coal pit is burned and Burr Frost set Er Smiths wagon tire and did various other repairing to a number of other wagons which occupied till near 11 o clock, about which time the camp started onward. One of brother Crows men returned from Er Pratts company and reported that their camp is about 9 miles from here. He is hunting stray cattle. He says the road is very rough from here and about a mile beyond where they are camped the road begins to ascend over a high range of mountains. Er Pratt has been to the top but cannot see the Salt Lake from there. Their company is gone on. I walked ahead of the camp near four miles and picked many gooseberries nearly ripe. They are very plentiful on this bottom. The brethren spent much time cutting brush wood and improving the road. After travelling 4 miles halted about half an hour to water teams and eat dinner. The road over which we have travelled is through a narrow gap between high mountains and is exceeding rough and crooked. Not a place to be met with scarcly where there would be room to camp for the dense willow groves all along the bottom. We then proceeded on and travelled over the same kind of rough road till a little after 5 o clock, then encamped on a ridge having travelled today 7¼ miles. The last 3 miles has been the worst road of the two, being through willow bushes over twenty feet high also rose and gooseberry bushes, and shaking poplar, elm and birch timber. Although there has been a road cut through it is yet scarcly possible to travel without tearing the wagon covers. We have crossed this creek which Er Pratt names Kanion [Canyon] Creek, 11 times during the day, and the road is one of the most crooked I ever saw, many sharp turns in it, and the willow stubs standing making it very severe on wagons. As we proceed up the gap between the mountains seems to grow still narrower untill arriving at this place where is room to camp but little grass for teams. There are many springs along the road but the water is not very good. In one place about a mile back is a very bad swamp where the brethren spent some time cutting willows and laying in to improve it. We have got along today without much damage which is somewhat favorable for the road is awful. At this place the ground around is represented as being swampy and dangerous for cattle. It is reported that there is no place to camp beyond this till where Er Pratts company camped and that is so small they have to huddle the wagons together. The land continues sandy yet except in the low moist places where it looks black and good. There is some pine occasionally in sight on the mountains but timber here is scarce. We have passed through some small patches today where a few house logs might be cut, but this is truly a wild looking place.
Wednesday 21 We started onward at half past 6 the morning fine and pleasant. We crossed the creek once more and about half a mile from where we camped, the road turns to the right leaving the creek and ascending the mountains gradually. Much time was necessarily spent cutting down stumps, heaving out rocks and levelling the road. It is an exceeding rough place. There are several springs at the foot of the mountain and one a mile from the top which runs above the ground a little distance, then sinks under again. The last half mile of the ascent is very steep and the nearer the top the worse it grows. There is considerable timber up this gap but mostly destroyed by fires. We saw a prarie pheasant while going up and some wild gooseberries. At 11o clock the teams began to arrive on the dividing ridge and in less than an hour all were safely up. From this ridge we can see an extensive valley to the west, but on every other side high mountains, many of them white with snow. It seems as though a few hours travel might bring us out from the mountains on good road again.
We halted on the ridge a little while and then prepared to descend, many locking both hind wheels, a precaution not at all unnecessary. We found the road down exceeding steep and rendered dangerous by the many stumps of trees left standing in the road. The brethren cut many of them up which delayed us much. About a mile down is a bridge formed of small trees laid one on another to fill up a deep ravine. It is steep on both sides and here Joseph Rooker turned his wagon over, however without much damage. A mile and a half from the top is a spring and small stream of very good cold water where we halted to let teams drink. This would make a tolerable good camp ground in case of necessity. After this the road is not so steep but is very rough winding between high hills or mountains, through willows and brush wood and over soft places, crossing the creek a number of times. At 4½ miles from the top of the ridge we arrived at a good spring of cold water, plenty of grass and a good place to camp. Our teams have now been in the harness about 10 hours without eating and the feeling of many was to stay here, but some wanted to go on and we continued, turning suddenly to the right a little below this spring we begin to ascend another high ridge and while ascending, some of the teams began to fail. There are a great many service berries on this ridge, growing on what we supposed to be wild apple trees. The berries are good and rich when ripe. The descent from this ridge is not nearly so steep as the other one, yet many locked both hind wheels. After descending we found another small creek and a very rough road again. At half past 7 we formed our encampment near the creek having travelled 14 miles in 13 hours. There is but little grass here, and a poor chance for cattle. O. Pratts company are camped half a mile ahead of us and our camp was formed by Col. Markham. He says they have had many new cases of sickness, but mostly getting better. The Cannon is left back on the other side of the mountains. About a mile back from this place there is a small grove of Sugar Maple, and considerable other timber along the creek. There are also beds of nice green rushes in several places.
Thursday 22 This morning is cloudy and some like for rain. We started on at half past 8 and soon came up with Er Pratts company. There was several bad places in the road where the brethren spent considerable time fixing them. As we near the mouth of the Kanion there is a small grove of Elder bushes in bloom, and considerable Oak shrubbery. We named this a Kanion because of the very high mountains on each side, leaving but a few rods of a bottom for the creek to pass through and hardly room for a road. It is evident that the emigrants who passed this way last year must have spent a great deal of time cutting a road through the thickly set timber and heavy brush wood. It is reported that the[y] spent 16 days in making a road through from Weber river which is 35 miles but as the men “did not work a quarter of their time” much less would have sufficed. However it has taken us over three days after the road is made although a great many hours have been spent in improving it. In this thick brush wood and around here there are many very large Rattlesnakes lurking, making it necessary to use caution while passing through. After travelling 1¾ miles we found the road cross the creek again to the South side and then ascends up a very steep high hill. It is so very steep as to be almost impossible for heavy wagons to ascend and so narrow that the least accident might precipitate a wagon down a bank of 3 or 400 feet in which case it would certainly be dashed to pieces. Col. Markham and another man went over the hill and returned up the Kanion to see if a road cannot be cut through and avoid this hill, while passing up a Bear started near them but soon was out of sight amongst the very high grass. Brother Markham says a good road can soon be made down the Kanion, by digging a little and cutting through the bushes some 10 or 15 rods. A number of men went to work immediately to make the road which will be much better than to attempt crossing the hill, and will be sooner done. [blank space] Agreeable to president Youngs instructions Er Pratt accompanied by George A. Smith, John Brown, Joseph Mathews, John Pack, O.P. Rockwell and J.C. Little started on this morning on horses to seek out a suitable place to plant some potatoes, turnips &c so as to preserve the seed at least.
While the brethren were cutting the road I followed the old one to the top of the hill, and on arriving there was much cheered by a handsome view of the great Salt Lake laying as I should judge, from 25 to 30 miles to the West of us, and at 11 o clock I sat down to contemplate and view the surrounding scenery. There is an extensive, beautiful, level looking valley from here to the Lake, which I should judge from the numerous deep green patches must be fertile & rich. The valley extends to the South probably 50 miles where it is again surrounded by high mountains. To the South West across the valley at about 20 to 25 miles distance is a high mountain extending from the South end of the valley to about opposite this place where it ceases abruptly leaving a pleasant view of the dark waters of the Lake. Standing on the Lake and about due west there are two mountains and far in the distance another one which I suppose is on the other side the Lake, probably from 80 to 100 miles distance. To the North West is another mountain, at the base of which is a long ridge of what I should consider to be rock salt from its white and shining appearance. The Lake does not show at this distance a very extensive surface, but its dark blue shade resembling the calm sea looks very handsome. The intervening valley appears to be well supplied with streams, creeks and Lakes, some of the latter are evidently salt. There is but little timber in sight anywhere, and that is mostly on the banks of creeks and streams of water, which is about the only objection which could be raised in my estimation to this being one of the most beautiful vallies and pleasant places for a home for the saints which could be found. Timber is evidently lacking but we have not expected to find a timbered country. There may be timber on the mountains which the long distance would render impossible to be seen with the naked eye, but the mountains through which we have passed have very little timber on them. In some places may be seen a grove of small fir, or Cedar or Pine, and in the vallies some Cotton wood and other small timber. There is doubtless timber in all the passes and ravines where streams descend from the mountains. There is no prospect for building log houses without spending a vast amount of time and labor, but we can make Spanish brick and dry them in the sun; or we can build lodges as the Pawnee Indians do in their villages. For my own part I am happily dissappointed in the appearance of the valley of the Salt Lake, and if the land be as rich as it has the appearance of being I have no fears but the saints can live here and do well while we will do right.
When I commune with my own heart and ask myself whether would I choose to dwell here in this wild looking country amongst the saints—surrounded by friends though poor enjoying the privileges and blessings of the everlasting priesthood, with God for our King and father, or dwell amongst the gentiles with all their wealth and good things of the earth, to be eternally mobbed, harassed, hunted—our best men murdered, and every good mans life continually in danger the soft whisper echo’s loud and reverberates back in tones of stern thou quiet determination, Give me the quiet wilderness and my family to associate with, surrounded by the saints, and adieu, adieu to the Gentile world till God says return and avenge you of your enemies. If I had my family with me, Oh, happy could I be for I dread nothing so much as the journey back again, and when I think of the many dangers from accident which families travelling this road are continually liable to and especially this last mountain road from Weber river it makes me almost shudder to think of it and I could almost envy those who have got safe through having their families with them, yet they will doubtless have a hard time of it the coming winter. Brother Crows family especially have very little bread stuff with them, they say enough to last them two months, and they are dependent on the success of their hunter for support through the winter.
This valley appears to be fortified by mountains, except on the banks of the Lake, on many of which there is still snow laying in large quantities. It is certain that good lime stone abound in these ridges and it is supposed coal can be found with little labor.
From this hill I passed down the Creek which we named the “last Creek” about a mile and there saw a bed of bull rushes of the largest kind I ever saw; some of them being fifteen foot high and an inch and a half in diameter at the bottom. The grass on this creek grows from 6 to 12 feet high and appears very rank. There are some ducks around and sand hill cranes. Many signs of Deer, Antelope and Bears but not many have been seen here. There has been fresh Buffallo signs seen a few days travel back, but those animals evidently but stay in this region unless some come to winter. The ground seems literally alive with the very large black crickets crawling round, up grass and bushes. They look loathsome but are said to be excellent for fatt[en]ing hogs which would feed on them voraciously. The Bears evidently live mostly on them at this season of the year.
After spending about 4 hours labor the brethren succeeded in cutting a pretty good road along the creek and the wagons proceeded on taking near a South West course. We found the land descend gradually but very rapidly all the way. At half past 5 we formed our encampment on a creek supposed to be Browns Creek having travelled 7¼ miles today. We are now 5¼ miles from the mouth of this Kanion making the whole distance of rough mountain road from the Weber River to the mouth of the Kanion on this side a little less than 35 miles, and decidedly the worst piece of road on the whole journey. At this place the land is Black and looks rich, sandy enough to make it good to work. The grass grows high and thick on the ground and is well mixed with nice green rushes. Feed here for our teams is very plentiful and good and the water is also good. There are many Rattlesnakes of a large size on this valley and it is supposed they have dens in the mountains. The land looks dry and lacks rain, but the numerous creeks and springs must necessarily tend to moisten it much. The grass looks rich and good. A while after we camped Er Pratt and company returned and reported that they had been about 15 miles north from here and this region is as suitable a place to put in our seeds as they have seen. Approaching nearer the Lake, the Land is mostly sunken and many small lakes, in it. A few miles north of this, is a good place to camp and a good spot to break up and plant potatoes, sow our seeds &c There is a little timber on the creek.
From 12 to 15 miles north at the foot of the mountain the[y] saw many hot sulpher springs issuing from the rocks, as many as fifty in number. One of them, the largest, falls out of the rocks and then forms a pool apparently 10 feet deep and a rock is in the centre. The water of this is so hot a person cannot bear his hand in but a very few seconds. It is strong of salt and sulpher and the bottom appears green as though it was covered with verdigris.
A council was held at the Dr Wagon and decided to move tomorrow early to the place designated, also to send two men back to the president and company to report progress &c then to commence forthwith and plow and plant about 10 acres with potatoes this week if possible, and thus continue till the seed is secured. John Pack and Joseph Mathews were selected to return to President Youngs company. The evening was fine and pleasant and the night felt much warmer than in the ravines in the mountins.
Friday 23rd This morning Ers Pack and Mathews started to meet the president and at the same time the camp moved on to the final location. We travelled 2 miles and then formed our encampment on the banks of the creek in an oblong circle. The grass here appears even richer and thicker on the ground then where we left this morning. The soil looks indeed rich, black and a little sandy. The grass is about 4 foot high and very thick on the ground and well mixed with rushes. If we stay here three weeks and our teams have any rest they will be in good order to return. Soon as the camp was formed a meeting was called and the brethren addressed by Er Richards, mostly on the necessity and propriety of working faithfully and dilligently to get potatoes, turnips &c in the ground. Er Pratt reported their mission yesterday, and after some remarks the meeting was dismissed. At the opening the brethren united in prayer and asked the Lord to send rain on the land &c The brethren immediately rigged 3 plows & went to plowing a little North East of the Camp. Another party went with spades &c to make a dam on one of the creeks so as to through the water at pleasure on the field, designing to irrigate the land in case rain should not come sufficient. This land is beautiffuly situated for irrigation being many nice streams descending from the mountains which
Saturday 24 The plowing is renewed and many are gone to planting potatoes. There is one dragg going. Others are still at work on the dams. John Pack and Joseph Mathews retuned at dark last night and reported the president and company a few miles up “last creek”. They have gone back this morning to fix two bridges at the mouth of the Kanion. The day is fine and hot with a nice breeze. At a quarter to 12 Prest. Young & Kimball arrived and the wagons also began to arrive at the same time. The Prest. seems much better, and the sick generally are getting better. Most of the brethren express themselves well pleased with the place, but some complain because there is no timber. There appears to be an unanimous agreement in regard to the richness of the soil and the good prospects of sustaining and fatt[en]ing stock with little trouble. The only objection is a lack of timber and rain. The latter God will send in its season if the saints are faithful and I think yesterday was a proof that he listens to, and answers the prayers of the saints. We can easily irregate the land at all events which will be an unfailing and certain source for water for the springs are numerous and the water appears good.
About 5 o clock we were favored with another nice shower accompanied with thunder and some wind. It continued raining till near near; the balance of the evening fine. Er Kimball says that it is contemplated to send out an exploring party to start on monday and proceed north to the Bear river and Cach[e] vallies. They design taking several wagons with them and Prest. Young and Kimball accompanies the expedition. Another company is to start at the same
[Edited versions of Clayton's trail diary have been variously published: William Clayton's Journal: A Daily Record of the Journey of the Original Company of "Mormon" Pioneers from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake , 74-327; An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, ed. George D. Smith , 295-365; "The Journal of William Clayton," Heart Throbs of the West, 12 vols. [1939-51], 6:197-312; "An Interesting Journal," Juvenile Instructor, 1 July 1886, 202-3; ibid., 1 Aug. 1886, 230-32; ibid., 15 Aug. 1886, 246; ibid., 1 Sept. 1886, 258-59; ibid., 15 Sept. 1886, 281; ibid., 1 Oct. 1886, 290-91; ibid., 15 Oct. 1886, 310-11]