Pioneering the West, 1846 to 1878: Major Howard Egan's Diary, edited and compiled by William M. Egan (1917), 21-105.
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- Church History Library, 978 E28p 1917
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Thursday, April 8th, 1847.– We started for the west to find a home for the Latter-day Saints, and went out as far as the Haystacks, about three miles, where the rest of the boys had already preceded us. Brigham Young's camp was about four miles ahead. Soon after we arrived, Porter Rockwell came up on horseback and informed us that P. P. Pratt had just arrived at Winter Quarters from England, and that O. Hyde and John Taylor were soon expected. We went back home in the carriage to pass the night, in company with Heber, Bishop Whitney, Sister Kimball and Horace.
Friday, April 9th. – It was fine weather for traveling, and we went back to where we left our wagons and continued our journey. Wm. Kimball went with us and intends going as far as the "Elkhorn.'' We went about four miles and came to Brigham Young’s camp, but did not stop, going on three miles further and encamped for the night, having made ten miles.
Saturday, April 10th. – It was a fine day, as usual, and we traveled fifteen miles and encamped on the prairie near a ravine, which supplied us with water, for the night, we being now six miles from the ''Horn" river.
Sunday, April 11th. – There was fine weather, and we started in good season and arrived at the ''Horn" about 2 o'clock p. m. There were 72 wagons crossed the river on a raft drawn by cattle with ropes on either side. Brother Bullock, Dr. Richards’ clerk, took down the number of the wagons as they passed. We went down the river about a mile, after crossing, and encamped for the night. Father (H. C. Kimball) told the brethren of his company that he hoped that they would not go hunting or fishing today, for if they did they would not prosper, as this was a day set apart for the service of the Lord and not for trivial amusements.
Monday, April 12th. –It was fair weather, and Pres. Brigham Young, Father (Heber C. Kimball), Bishop Whitney and a number of others went back to Winter Quarters, the rest of us going on, by counsel, in order to cross an extensive bottom of twelve miles before the water should rise and the roads get muddy. Accordingly we went on and encamped on the banks of the Platte river, the width of which much surprised me. it being larger than I had anticipated. Here we intend to remain until the Twelve Apostles return. The brethren were called together this evening by S[tephen]. Markham, who stated to them that it was the wish of the Twelve that some men familiar with the route should go ahead and survey the track. Accordingly, Father (James) Case, J[eturn]. [Jackson] Redding and two others will start tomorrow for that purpose.
Tuesday, April 13th. – This morning was warm and pleasant, the wind being west. The blacksmiths put up their forges, three in number, Brothers [James] Devenport [Davenport], [Burr] Frost and [Thomas] Tanner, and commenced setting tires and shoeing horses. With the assistance of the boys I propped up my wagon box and took out the running gears, and Brother [Charles Alfred] Harper went to work and put in two new axeltrees. Those who went to hunt out the road returned this evening and reported unfavorable, as there was a low, flat bottom that could not be crossed in wet weather. It has the appearance of rain this evening. The wind shifted to the east and it looked cloudy. Brother S. Markham called the brethren together and gave some general instruction and placed the guard.
Wednesday, April 14th. – This morning it was raining, but about 10 a. m. it cleared off, there being high winds and somewhat cloudy. J[ohn]. Higby, J. Redding and four or five others went up the river with the seine to hunt a place to fish, and returned in the evening with about two dozen fish. My horses strayed away and I took Brother Redding's horse and went across towards the ''Horn" and found them, one of which I succeeded in catching; the other I could not, but had to return without her to the camp.
Thursday, April 15th. –This morning was cool and pleasant. Brother [William Arridus] King and myself started early in search of my horse and found her ten miles from the camp. Some of the brethren went across to the ''Horn" to fish. About 3 p. m. the Twelve, Brother [William] Clayton, Brother Whitney, Brother [Jesse Carter] Little, from New Hampshire, Brother Bullock, Wm. Kimball and others returned to the camp and we commenced forthwith to rig up our wagons. About sundown President Young called the brethren together and instructed them to have a care of their teams, and cease all music, dancing and lightmindedness; and instructed them, exhorted them to prayer and faithfulness. He also stated that the traders and missionaries were stirring up the Indians to plunder us of our horses and goods. He said that if we were faithful and obeyed counsel the Lord would bless us and we should pass through safe.
Tuesday [Friday], April 16th. –This morning the wind was north and it was cloudy. Brothers Little, [Albert Perry] Rockwood and Redding went to Winter Quarters to bring on Brother Little's things. At 7:30 the brethren were called together in order to organize them. The meeting was opened by prayer by President Young, after which G[eorge]. A[lbert]. Smith made some remarks; also H. C. Kimball, N. K. Whitney and others. The camp was divided into two divisions, 72 in each division; A. P. Rockwood captain of the First and S. Markham of the Second Division. Night guard was started and on the 17th the camp was organized under regiment. On the 18th the Council of Captains made laws regulating the camp as follows:
LAWS OR RULES.
1. –After this date the horn or bugle shall be blown every morning at 5 a. m., when every man is expected to arise and pray; then attend to his team, get breakfast and have everything finished so that the camp may start by 7 o'clock.
2. –Each extra man is to travel on the off side of the team with his gun on his shoulder, loaded, and each driver have his gun so placed that he can lay hold of it at a moment's warning.
Every man must have a piece of leather over the nipple of his gun, or if it is a flintlock, in the pan, having caps and powder flask ready.
3. –The brethren will halt for an hour about noon, and they must have their dinner ready cooked so as not to detain the camp for cooking.
4. –When the camp halts for the night, wagons are to be drawn in a circle, and the horses to be all secured inside the circle when necessary.
5. –The horn will blow at 8:30 p. m., when every man must return to his wagon and pray, except the night guard, and be in bed by 9 o'clock, at which time all fires must be put out.
6. –The camp is to travel in close order, and no man to leave the camp twenty rods without orders from the Captain.
7. –Every man is to put as much interest in taking care of his brother's cattle, in preserving them, as he would his own, and no man will be indulged in idleness.
8. –Every man is to have his gun and pistol in perfect order.
9. –Let all start and keep together, and let the cannon bring up the rear, and the company guard to attend it, traveling along with the gun, and see that nothing is left behind at each stopping place.
The number of oxen in the camp 66, horses 89, mules 52, cows 19, dogs 17. Teams belonging to H. C. Kimball: Horses 5, mules 7, oxen 6, cows 2, dogs 2, wagons 6. List of provisions: Flour 1228 lbs., meat 865 lbs. sea biscuit 125 lbs., beans 296 lbs., bacon 241 lbs., corn for teams 2869 lbs., buckwheat 300 lbs., dried beef 25 lbs., groceries 290¾ lbs., sole leather 15 lbs., oats 10 bus., rape 40 lbs., seeds 71 lbs., cross-cut saw 1, axes 6, scythe 1, hoes 3, log chains 5, spade 1, crowbar 1, tent 1, keg of powder 25 lbs., lead 20 lbs., codfish 40 lbs., garden seeds 50 lbs., plows 2, bran 3½ bus., 1 side of harness leather, whip saw 1, iron 16 lbs.,
nails 16 lbs., 1 sack of salt 200 lbs., saddles 2, tool chest worth $75, 6 pair of double harness worth about $200, total amount of breadstuff 2507 lbs. at $55.40, 241 lbs. of bacon at 6c. $14.46;
2869 lbs. feed corn $28.69; 300 lbs. seeds $3.00, 300 lbs. buckwheat $6.00. 25 lbs. dried beef $3.12½. groceries $35, sole leather $4, oats $4, rape $10, seeds $10, hoes $2, axes $8, keg of powder $10, lead $2, codfish $2, 200 lbs. salt $8, tool chest $75, cross-cut saw $5, whip saw $5. scythe $2, hoes $1.50, 5 log chains $20, spade $2, crowbar $3, 2 plows $24, side of harness
leather $4. 16 lbs. iron $2, 16 lbs. nails $2, tent $10, harness $20, 5 horses $360, 7 mules $350, 6 wagons $600, 2 saddles $30, bran $1, 3 yoke of cattle $120, 2 cows $24. Total $1592.87½.
After the organization we prepared for traveling. Brother Whitney, Wm. Kimball and Lyman Whitney prepared to return home. Father Kimball took William into the wagon and blessed him. William was very much affected. About 3 p. m. we moved off and traveled three miles and encamped for the night. About dark the wind blew up from the north very cold. We took our horses and cattle down in the timber and cut down trees and made a fence to put our horses in, and placed a guard around them, selected for that purpose, aside from the regular camp guard.
Saturday, April 17th. –This morning was cold and the wind northwest. At 9 o'clock we started on our journey, the wind blowing very strong, which made it very disageeable, as it was a sandy road. We came seven miles and encamped near a beautiful grove of cottonwood. This evening a trader from the Pawnee village encamped near us. He had one wagon loaded with buffalo robes. At sundown the bugle sounded for the brethren to come together. President Young said it was necessary to have a military organization before we left this place. It was moved and carried that the two divisions be formed into one regiment, under Colonel Markham. There were also two majors appointed, John Pack and Shadrack Roundy, and Thomas Tanner to take command of the camp. Each captain was to command his own ten in case of an attack from the Indians.
Father (Heber C.) Kimball has taken Brother William Clayton into his mess. Sister Ellen Sanders and myself, with others, make up the mess, and I thank the Lord for the privilege of being one of the number and enjoying the society of my father Heber. Ellis Ames returned from this place in consequence of sickness, so he said, but I think he is weak in the faith.
Sunday, April 18th. –This morning there was high winds from the south and very cold. Today, being the day set apart by the Almighty God for His people to rest, we do not intend to travel. Three wagons loaded with furs passed this morning; also four or five pack mules, a short time afterward, going to the settlements. H. C. Kimball wrote a letter to his companion this morning and sent it by Brother Ames, the contents of which I heard read and it done my heart good. It portrayed the feelings of his heart and his affection for his family, in the most simple and beautiful language that would touch the soul and cause the heart to rejoice.
The wind continued to blow so hard, and it was so cold, it was thought wisdom not to call the brethren together to have meeting. The Twelve retired back in the woods to council one with the other. About sundown President Young called the Captains together and gave them the following instructions: At 8:30 p. m. the bugle would sound and all should retire to their wagons and bow before the Lord and offer up their supplications before going to bed, and all fires should be put out; also the bugle would sound at 5 a. m., when all would arise and offer up their thanks to the Lord, and at 7 o'clock be ready to start. All the spare hands were to walk by the off side of their wagons with their rifles loaded. The weather continues very cold.
Monday, April 19th.–This morning the weather was fair, calm and pleasant. At 5 a. m. the bugle sounded for all hands to turn out and return thanks to the Lord. At 7:30 the camp was in motion with orders to travel in double file. We passed over a beautiful level prairie in sight of the Platte river, and passed a number of small lakes between us and the river. The brethren shot a number of ducks as we passed along. At 1:30 p. m. we stopped to feed near a bend in the river, after traveling thirteen miles. While there O. P. Rockwell, J. Redding, Brother Little and Thomas Brown arrived from Winter Quarters and brought a number of letters for the brethren. I received one from Brother Jacob Feryier, who has my thanks for his kindness. I also heard that my family was all well, which I thank the Lord for. At 2:40 p. m. we started on our journey and came eight miles and encamped in a circle, in order to have our horses and cattle in the center to secure them from the Indians, with the guard placed outside of the wagons. This evening looks cloudy and the wind blows fresh from the north. Brother John Rigby and several others went down the river two miles with the boat and seine to seek a place to fish, and after being gone about two hours returned with only two fish. I had the pleasure this evening of sitting in Brother Horace Whitney's wagon to write. Brother Harper gave Father (Heber C.) Kimball two ducks he shot today. Brother Kimball gave one of them to President Young. Brother Hanson [Hans Christian Hansen] also let him have two snipes.
Tuesday, April 20th.–This morning I arose at 4:30 a. m. and took my horses out to feed and then commenced getting breakfast at 6:30. We made a first-rate breakfast of our wild fowls. At 7:30 we started, it being clear weather but very high winds from the southwest. We traveled about six miles and crossed a small stream called Shell creek, about two miles from the Platte river, then went on about four miles and stopped to feed, which made ten miles this forenoon. Three deer ran past our camp within a half mile. Brothers Porter and Brown ran them with their horses, but could not get within gunshot of them. J. Higby, L[uke]. Johnson and S. Markham and some others started a half hour ahead this morning, with the boat and seine and three wagons with them, to fish. President Young and H. C. Kimball went ahead this afternoon to pick out a camping place. About 4:30 p. m. we arrived at the spot, after traveling ten miles. It is a beautiful place near the banks of the river.
We took our horses across a small branch of the river, where there was plenty of cottonwood for them, and then put our oxen and cows inside of the circle. Those who went fishing returned with a large quantity of fish that they caught in a small lake one mile above where we are encamped. I cooked one for supper, a large buffalo fish. President Young came into our wagon and ate supper with Father (Heber C.) Kimball. This evening the wind blows fresh from the northwest. Father Kimball sits close by me writing a letter to his companion. It is about 10 p. m.; Dr. [Willard] Richards has just come to our wagon to inquire for Brother Markham. They thought, as the Pawnees were encamped only eight miles from us, it was necessary to have a patrol guard out tonight.
Wednesday, April 21st. –It is cloudy weather and has the appearance of rain, with wind from the northeast. At 7 a. m. the bugle sounded for the ox teams to start, and at 7:30 we started. The horse teams started about two hours after we started. We met five or six Pawnee Indians. We traveled about eight miles and came in sight of the Pawnee village. Two of the chiefs and a number of the Indians came to our camp. Father Kimball gave them some tobacco and salt. President Young gave them some powder and lead and other things. They manifested some dissatisfaction because they did not receive more presents, and told us we must go back. We paid no attention to them. At 2 p. m. we continued our journey and traveled ten miles. About twenty minutes after we started we had a severe thunderstorm and rain fell in torrents, which lasted about thirty minutes, and it blew a gale all the afternoon from the northwest. At 5 p. m. we encamped near the Loop Fork, which is a large stream that empties into the Platte. About sundown the bugle sounded for all the brethren to come together. Colonel Markham called off 100 men to stand guard, 50 the first part of the night and 50 the latter part. Porter Rockwell took charge of ten men as picket guard. I stood guard until 10 p. m. It was a bitter cold night.
Thursday, April 22d. –It continues cold with wind northeast. We traveled two miles and crossed a small stream called the Looking Glass creek. We went on eight miles and stopped to feed near a stream called Bear creek, making ten miles this forenoon. At 2 o'clock we hitched up and started. We were under the necessity of having men on the opposite side of the creek we were crossing, with a rope to help our wagons up, as the bank was so steep we could not get up without help.
This afternoon we traveled through a beautiful country, with the Loop Fork on one side and a ridge on the other and groups of trees that resembled orchards in an old settled country. We came seven miles and stopped at the old Missionary station that was vacated last summer. The Sioux Indians drove them off. There is quite a large farm fenced in and some very good buildings on it. We had plenty of corn fodder and hay for our teams. It is the prettiest location that I have seen this side of the Mississippi river. In the latter part of the day the wind moderated and this evening it is warm and pleasant. Captain Tanner exercised his men at the cannon. President Young called the brethren together and forbid them taking anything off of the premises. Twenty men was thought sufficient tonight to guard the camp.
Friday, April 23d. –This morning was warm and pleasant. Brigham, Heber and others started on at 7:45 a. m. to look out a fording place to cross the Loop Fork. While they were gone Sister Ellen [Sanders] and myself took the opportunity to wash. They returned at 11:45 a. m. and reported that we could go about four miles and build a raft. Tarlton Lewis was appointed to build it. About 1 o'clock the wagons started and we crossed a small creek, soon after, called Plum creek. We traveled about two miles and crossed another stream. I could not find out the name. Father Kimball said to call it Looking Glass creek, because it was very clear.
At 3 p. m. we arrived at the fording place and found that a raft could be of no use and concluded to ford it. Luke Johnson was the first that crossed the river. He took the boat off and crossed with an empty wagon. Brother Orson Pratt took out part of his load and got about half way across and could not get any further. Four or five of us waded out to his assistance. The water in some places was waist deep. Brigham came as near as he could with the boat and we took the valuable part of his load and put it on board and went on a little farther, when one of his horses fell down. It was with difficulty we saved them. We loosened them from the wagon and hauled it over by hand. Brothers Pack and [Wilford] Woodruff crossed safe. President Young ordered them to stop crossing wagons today. We went about a half mile up the river and encamped till morning, which was at 5:30 p. m. The day was very hot.
A little after dark President Young called the captains together to council which was the best way to cross the river. Brother Rockwood motioned to build three rafts to take across the goods, and the empty wagons to ford the river. Brother Kimball motioned to build one first and try it before there was any more built, as it was doubtful whether there could be any used. Brothers Lewis and [Thomas] Woolsey were appointed to take charge of building the raft. Brother Markham was to go and pick out the best fording place and stake it out, and drive all the loose cattle over. The leaders informed us that the sand would pack down and make better traveling.
Saturday, April 24th. –This morning one of President Young's horses was found dead. He was chained near a large hole and fell in and choked himself. The morning was very pleasant. H. C. Kimball and Lorenzo [Dow] Young went up the river about a mile to see if they could find a better fording place. I was requested to go along with them. Brother [George] Woodard and myself went across the river, but found some places very difficult for crossing. On our return we found they had commenced crossing wagons, about 8 a. m. We took half the load out of some of our wagons and doubled our teams and crossed without any difficulty. Brother Kimball marched in the water with the rest of us. At 3 p. m. all the wagons were over on the sandbar safe, and at 4 o'clock all were over safe. We started on again and traveled about three miles southwest, up the river. It was a sandy bottom and more bare of grass than on the other side. We encamped on the west side of a small lake, near the river. There was plenty of sunfish in it. Brother Clayton caught a mess for us and they were first-rate. All hands were tired working, crossing over the river. I thank the Lord the morrow is a day of rest.
Sunday, April 25th. –This morning we had fair weather with wind south. We took all our teams out to feed and left some hands to watch them. At 5 p. m. a meeting was called at the wagon of President Young. Remarks were made by several and instructions given by President Young, chiefly in reference to the folly of conforming to Gentile customs, on an expedition of this nature. There were eight men selected to hunt on horses, also to hunt on foot.
Monday, April 26th.–This morning about 3:30 an alarm was given. The guard on the northwest corner of the camp discovered some Indians crawling up to the wagons. They fired at them, when six Indians jumped up and ran. All hands were up and prepared for action in a few minutes, under their respective captains. Nothing more was seen of the Indians. At 8 a. m. the camp started. There is no road here, consequently President Young, Kimball and some others went ahead on horseback to hunt out the best track. We traveled about seven miles and stopped at 11:30, near some holes of water, to feed our teams. At 1:45 all the wagons were on the way. At 6:15 we encamped near a small creek, having come seven miles, which makes fourteen miles today.
About 3 o'clock Brother [Joseph Lazarus] Matthews was out hunting his horses and saw a horse at a distance, supposing it to be Brother Little's, went toward him. Before he got near him the horse put off at full speed toward the river. He then supposed there was an Indian on him. He returned to the camp and gave the alarm, when five or six men jumped on their horses and followed in the direction, but could not see or hear anything of the Indian. When they returned President Young and Kimball with some others went out on horseback in search of him and traveled till 11 o'clock, but could not see anything of him and returned. Dr. Richard's horse is gone.
Tuesday, April 27th.–At 8 :30 a. m. the wagons commenced moving off. We traveled twelve miles and stopped about 2:15 p. m., coming nearly a south course. O. P. and others went back to look for the horses that were lost. We stopped at noon near a ravine, where feed was very good but no water. We dug about four feet and got a little water for our horses. At 3:15 the teams started again. Brother Woodruff and two others shot an antelope. President Young and Kimball are still ahead. We traveled four miles and encamped at 5:30 for the night. Soon after we arrived it began to thunder and lightning, and gave us a light shower with very heavy wind. Those who went to hunt the horses returned. They reported that they went back near where we were encamped April 26th, and saw fifteen Indians well armed. They endeavored to get near enough to get hold of the horses by pretending friendship, but the brethren would not let them come near. One of the brethren cocked his pistol and pointed it at one of them, when they all ran. After they got off a little distance they turned and fired a shot at the brethren. They did not see the lost horses and the shot did not take effect. About the time the brethren returned, a rifle accidentally went off, which was in Brother Brown's wagon, and broke the right fore leg of a horse. That makes four of the best horses in the camp lost in the last four days.
Wednesday, April 28th. –This morning was fine and pleasant, and we commenced crossing a small creek about 9 a. m. The last wagon got over at 10 o'clock. President Young and Kimball went ahead to point out the track. While we were crossing the creek Luke Johnson shot the horse that had its leg broken. We traveled about a south course about eleven miles and stopped to feed near the main Platte river about 2:30. At 4 p. m. we started again and traveled four miles and encamped about 6 o'clock, having traveled fifteen miles today. The evening was cool and cloudy.
Thursday, April 29th. –The morning was cool, and we started to find better feed for our horses, traveling three miles, and stopped at 6:30 to breakfast. At 8:20 we started and traveled about two miles and crossed a very pretty stream of water. We stopped at 1 p. m. near a lake to feed, having traveled about ten miles. At 2:30 we started again and traveled about eight miles, when we stopped at 6 o'clock. The wind was southwest and cold.
Friday, April 30th. –The morning was cool and pleasant. At 8:20 a. m. we again started, stopping at 12 noon to feed, near a small creek, having traveled eight miles. At 1:20 p. m. we started again, the wind blowing tremendously strong from the north and very cold. We traveled about eight miles and stopped about 5 p. m. and encamped about two miles from the river near a bluff, with neither wood nor water. We picked up some dry buffalo dung, which made a very good fire, and we dug a well and found plenty of water.
7. –LARAMIE PLAINS, MAY, 1847.
Saturday, May 1st, 1847. –This morning was very cold and, as feed was very poor, it was now thought best to start before breakfast, which was done at 5:20 a. m., stopping at 8:15 to feed, having come six miles. Soon after we started this morning we saw three buffaloes about two miles off on the bluffs. Three of the brethren went in chase of them on horseback. We could see a large herd of buffaloes a few miles ahead. At 10:15 we again started. Those who started after the buffalo early this morning returned, but they did not kill any. There were seven or eight hunters picked out to charge on the large herd, some being footmen scattered out. Before the brethren got to them they got started by one of our dogs that ran an antelope near them. H. C. Kimball now started across and headed them off and killed the first one, and helped to kill two others. Soon after, H. C. Kimball, S. Rockwood and others returned, and one of our teams that George Billings drove, was sent out with two others to bring in the buffalo meat. There was one bull, three cows and six calves killed.
Brother Joseph Hancock went off early this morning on foot and has not been seen or heard from up to this evening. During the afternoon we traveled eight miles, and encamped about 6:30 near a small lake about a mile above the head of Grand island. This day we traveled about eighteen miles.
Sunday, May 2d, –This morning is cold but clear weather, and the ice is about an inch thick. A buffalo calf came within a short distance of the camp last night and one of the guards shot it in the thigh and brought it into the camp alive. Just before breakfast Brother Hancock came into camp and reported that he had shot a buffalo yesterday afternoon and got lost. He was about four miles from the camp, built a fire and cooked supper; returning on horseback, he shot an antelope on the way. This morning we cut up a quarter of a buffalo cow and salted it down.
I started in company with President Young, [Nathaniel] Fairbanks and others ahead to hunt a camping ground where we could have better feed. We returned a little after 2 o'clock p. m. and ate dinner. At 3:15 we started, and traveled two miles over a prairie dog town. A little after 4 o'clock we encamped near a long lake of clear water. President Young and Kimball with some others went ahead three or four miles to view the country. All hands were employed putting up racks to dry the buffalo meat.
Monday, May 3d. –This morning was cold, and there was ice in the water buckets. The hunters are going out this morning on foot. Brothers Tanner and Davenport put their forges up to repair some of the wagons. We had some of the tires set on Brother [ Hosea] Cushing's wagon. There was a small party sent on horseback to hunt the route. At 2:30 p. m, the horsemen returned and reported that Brother [William Adam] Empey had discovered a large war party of Indians in a hollow twelve miles from the camp. There were orders given for a company of horsemen to start, to call the hunters back to the camp. About 6 o'clock the last of them got in safe, bringing two antelope and two calves. The cannon was taken out in front of the wagons and prepared for action. There was a round fired about 9 p. m.
Tuesday, May 4th. –This morning was fine but cool, wind being about southwest. About 7:30 a. m. the camp was called together and instruction was given bv President Young in regard to leaving the wagons, and scattering off hunting, without council. A company of ten men was added to the guard. About 9 o'clock the wagons commenced to cross the lake, near the river. The wagons were placed four abreast with the cannon in the rear, and traveled so for about half a day, in order to be prepared if attacked by the Indians. Soon after we started we discovered three wagons on the opposite bank of the river. They were traders going to Council Bluffs. There were nine men in the company and were from Fort Laramie. One of the men came across to see us. He agreed to carry letters for us to the settlements. Brother Brown and two others went across the river to carry the letters to his wagon. The river is about two miles wide at this place but is good fording. I finished writing the letter I commenced some time since, before they went, and sent it to my wife. We gave the man some bread and bacon to last him to the settlements. He said he had not eaten any bread for a long time.
About 1:20 p. m. we again started and at 3:30 we stopped to feed, having traveled six miles. While our cattle were feeding the company was called out to drill. We again started and traveled about three miles and encamped near a creek of good water. The prairie burned nearly all over. Some few spots were left that the fire had not touched. The wind was south and very dusty.
Wednesday. May 5th.–This morning was fine and very pleasant. At 7:30 a. m. we started and traveled over a low, soft prairie and at 11:30 we stopped to feed. We had come about nine miles in a west course, a very strong wind from the south blowing. At 1 p. m. we continued our journey. Between 3 and 4 o'clock President Young and Kimball, who had been ahead, returned and ordered the teams to go back about half a mile to a small island and encamp for the night, in consequence of the prairie being on fire ahead. This day there was one cow and six buffalo calves killed.
Thursday, May 6th. –This morning it was thought best to start before breakfast and go to where we could find better feed, and at 6:30 we started. Last night the Lord sent a light shower, which put the fire out and made it perfectly safe to travel. We came about two miles and stopped to feed. At 8:45 we again started, President Young and Kimball still going ahead on horseback. We traveled about six miles and found a little more grass. The feed is very scarce, as the numerous herds of buffalo eat it close to the ground.
There were orders given that no more game should be killed, as there was sufficient meat in the camp. While we were stopping for noon some of our cows took after the buffalo. President Young and Kimball rode after them and drove them back. At 1:30 p. m. we started on and traveled about two miles and found a lake of pure water. President Young returned to look for his spyglass he had lost. We encamped at 6:30 near an island in the river, having come about fifteen miles.
Friday, May 7th.–This morning the wind was northwest and very cold. The camp was called together and measures taken to raise some horses to haul the cannon, as some of the horses and cattle had given out. President Young scolded E[rastus]. Snow for not taking better care of the cows yesterday. O. P. Rockwell went back this morning to hunt President Young's spyglass. About 10 o'clock the camp started. We traveled about eight miles and encamped about 2.30 near several islands in the river. About 4 p. m. Porter returned. He found the spyglass. At 6:30 the company was called out to drill.
Saturday, May 8th.–The morning was cold but fine, and we started at 9 o'clock. We came seven and a half miles and stopped at 1 p. m. to feed. The prairie on both sides of the river is literally covered with buffalo. This evening we encamped near the river. We took some of our horses on a small island in the river. Feed is very scarce and very little wood. We have to use buffalo chips to cook with. The bluffs ahead appear to run down to the river.
Sunday, May 9th. –This morning is very cold and the wind southeast. At 7:50 we proceeded on and traveled three and a half miles, going a little around some of the bluffs, and turned down again towards the river on a low sandy bottom. We encamped near some islands and have plenty of wood, but poor feed. We took our horses on the island and cut down cottonwood for them. I went to the south end of the island and washed myself and changed my clothes. At 3 p. m. the bugle sounded for the brethren to come together for meeting. Prayer was offered by brother [Amasa Mason] Lyman. Brothers Woodruff, Pratt, Benson and Stevens spoke, and they gave us some very good instructions. Soon after meeting President Young, Kimball and some others went a few miles west to view the country.
The evening was cold, with strong wind from the northwest. President Young ate supper with H. C. Kimball. Ellen tried to bake some bread, but could not, the wind blew so. I have to sleep on a chest in the front part of the wagon, crossways, and cannot stretch myself nor keep the clothes over me. It was so cold tonight, and the wind blowing in the wagon, so I went to bed with Brothers King and Cushing.
Monday, May 10th.–This morning was cool and calm. I got up this morning at 4 a. m. I had the best night's rest I have had for some time. I made a fire and put the bread down to bake, then went to Brother Johnson's wagon to write up my journal, as I have not much time to do it during the day or evening. I have to catch most of the time after taking care of my horses. When the weather gets warmer, I hope I shall be able to write some, early in the mornings. I have so little time, it accounts for my not writing much. Brother Clayton has kindly let me have his journal to take minutes from until I can get time to keep it up every day, which I am very thankful for.
Dr. Richards has deposited a letter in a board prepared for that purpose, nailed to a long pole, with the distance marked on it of 316 miles from Winter Quarters. He was assisted by President Young and others. At 9 :05 a. m. the camp proceeded onward. After traveling about two miles we crossed a small creek, which Brother Kimball named Skunk creek. About this time we discovered a stray horse coming toward us. The brethren tried to catch it, but he was so wild they could not get near him. We traveled until 11:55 and found a little better feed, then stopped for dinner, having come about six miles. The prairie is low and soft, which makes very heavy traveling. Some of the brethren shot a buffalo today. At 2 p. m. we continued our journey, and after traveling a half mile we crossed a very bad slough. About 4 p. m. President Young's team gave out, and many others also. H. C. Kimball rode up to us and told Brother H. Cushing to take off two of his mules and go back to help President Young up. At 4:50 we encamped near an island where we had plenty of cottonwood for our horses. The feed is a little better this evening, for which we thank the Lord. This day we traveled about ten miles. Some of the hunters killed a deer. The evening is warm and pleasant, and the wind light from the northwest.
Tuesday, May 11th. –The morning is cold with east wind. It appears to me that vast herds of buffalo have wintered around this place, but have mostly left and gone eastward some time ago, as we have the full growth of this year's grass, which is very short. This morning we overhauled our wagon, and took part of our load and placed it in Brother Cushing's wagon. At 9:30 a. m. we again started, President Young and Kimball going a half hour ahead of us. Our Ten took the lead today, which brought my wagon first. We traveled five miles and stopped at 12:20 for a half hour to water and take some dinner. We traveled on three miles further and crossed over a creek of clear water. We traveled on a half mile and stopped, the feed being pretty good, making eight and one-half miles today. The water being a half mile off, the brethren dug two wells about four feet deep and found plenty of good water. This evening I felt quite sick, having a very bad cold.
Wednesday, May 12th.–The morning was very cool, and we started at 9 :10 a. m. and traveled eight miles, and stopped at 1:12 p. m. to feed. The roads are prettv good and the feed is a little better. There is a strong wind blowing from the southeast. H. C. Kimball informed me today that we had passed the junction of the forks of the river two days ago. The hunters report that they have seen many dead buffalo between here and the bluffs with the hides off and the tongues taken out, which proves that Indians have been here recently, as the flesh looks fresh as if lately killed. The range of bluffs on each side of the river extends much farther apart, and near the foot of the south range can be seen scattering timber, which is an evidence that the south fork runs along there in the distance. At 3:30 we again started and traveled four miles, and encamped again at 5:45 near a group of small islands. This evening is cloudy and it looks like rain. Brother Clayton thinks we are about fourteen miles above the junction of the north and south forks of the Platte river. Some of the hunters killed a buffalo this evening and the remnants were sent out after.
Thursday, May 13th. –This morning is very cold and cloudy with wind northwest. I went out early to take care of my horses, and went in sight of an Indian camp ground. There appeared to be two or three hundred wickiups and, from the appearance of things, I supposed that they had not been gone long from there. At 9 a. m. we started and traveled four miles, nearly a west course, and stopped at 11 a. m. to feed our teams. The grass continues to get better. The buffalo are not so plenty here, which accounts for the feed getting better. The wind is blowing very strong from the north and northeast. At 12:30 we again moved onward and traveled ten and a quarter miles and stopped on the west side of a large stream about six rods wide, which runs from the northeast and empties into the North fork of the Platte river. The bottom is quicksand and difficult to cross unless it is crossed over quick. It is about two feet deep.
We are encamped within a quarter of a mile of the Platte, and the feed is better here than any we have had since we left Winter Quarters. I feel much better today, and I thank the Lord for it. This stream is not laid down on the map. President Young and Kimball traveled ahead as usual, and they reported that the bluffs run down to the river, but they discovered that we could go around the bluffs by going a mile around. We are about twenty-five and a quarter miles above the junction of the North and South forks, and 361 miles from Winter Quarters, according to Wm. Clayton's account.
Friday, May 14th.–The morning is cloudy and very cold, and streaks of lightning can be seen occasionally in the west. About 8 o'clock it commenced to rain very heavy, accompanied with thunder and lightning. Just before it commenced raining the bugle sounded to gather up our horses. After the storm ceased we started onward at 10:15, and after traveling a mile we passed between the high bluffs, our course being north for some time. After traveling about six and a quarter miles we stopped to feed at 1:40 p. m. within three-quarters of a mile the river. We are on the large low bottoms again, and not more than three miles from where we started this morning. President Young and Kimball went ahead to look out the route.
Brother Higby killed an antelope and a badger. We had a shower just before we stopped, and now the weather is some warmer. At 3 p. m. we proceeded on our journey. We went two and a half miles and stopped at 4:30. President Young and Kimball returned and thought it was best to encamp, as there were high ranges of bluffs west of us that extended down to the river. We made about eight and three-quarters miles today. The revenue cutter has been dispatched after two buffaloes and two antelope that have been killed by the hunters. There was an alarm given by the guard last night a little before 12 o'clock, and one of them fired at an object he thought to be an Indian, and those who had horses outside of the circle were called up to bring them in. It is my opinion that the guard was mistaken, as we could not see any sign of Indians, neither could we see any tracks in the sand the next morning.
Brother Wm. Clayton has invented a machine, and attached it to the wagon that Brother Johnson drives, to tell the distance we travel. It is simple yet is ingenious. He got Brother Appleton Harmon to do the work. I have understood that Brother Harmon claims to be the inventor, too, which I know to be a positive falsehood. He, Brother Harmon, knew nothing about the first principles of it, neither did he know how to do the work only as Brother Clayton told him from time to time. It shows the weakness of human nature. I will give a description of it hereafter. The camp are all well.
Saturday, May 15th. This morning is cloudy and very cold and feels like a morning in January, the wind blowing strong from the north. The brethren who killed the buffalo did not bring it to the camp last night. They put it in the boat and left it until morning. It was with difficulty that they found their way to camp, as it was so dark. They brought it in about 7:30 this morning and divided it to the Captains of Ten. At 8 o'clock it commenced raining, but cleared off a little before 9, when we started. After traveling about three-quarters of a mile we began ascending the sandy bluffs and it commenced raining again, making it very cold and disagreeable. The road was much of a zigzag one over the bluffs. We traveled about a mile, the sand being very deep and heavy pulling for the horses, and when we ascended a sand bluff we discovered the bottoms just below. We traveled on the bottoms a little way, when it was considered best to turn out our teams and not travel in the rain. It was 10:30 when we stopped.
My wagon being heavily loaded, Brother Kimball told me to take the mules Brother Johnson worked ahead of his cattle and put them before my horses. We traveled about two and a half miles. About noon it cleared off again and the signal was given to gather up our teams, and at 12:30 we proceeded on our journey and traveled until 2:45, the distance being four and a half miles. About three miles ahead the bluffs appear to run down to the river. The feed is good, but wood is very scarce and the buffalo chips are not a very good substitute for wood when they are wet. This morning I baked some bread and fried some antelope meat, made some coffee and had a very good breakfast, all cooked with wet buffalo chips.
Sunday, May 16th.–The morning was cold and the wind was still blowing from the north. The buffalo that was killed yesterday evening was divided this morning to the Captains of Tens.
This forenoon my time was principally occupied baking bread and drying beef. President Young and Kimball with several others went ahead on horseback to explore the country, and returned this afternoon, reporting that we pass over the bluffs by going about four miles.
The bugle sounded this afternoon for the brethren to come together for meeting. Brothers H. C. Kimball, Dr. Richards, Markham and Rockwood spoke. The principal part of the time was occupied in exhorting the brethren to faithfulness, and also to obey the council of those whom God had placed in the Church to lead and direct the affairs of His Kingdom. Brother Kimball spoke in his usual and interesting and impressive manner, exhorting the brethren to adhere to council and to be humble and prayerful, and the Lord would continue to bless us, and we should be healthy, and not one of us should fall by the way. He also stated that he had traveled much, but never witnessed so much union as there was in the camp. He advised the brethren not to hunt on the Sabbath day, when there was plenty of meat in the camp, but said he had no fault to find. He believed that everybody was trying to do the best they could. He said that if we were faithful the angel of the Lord would go before us and be around about us to ward off the harm of the destroyer. He knew the Lord was with us, that our teams were gaining strength and the prayers of the Saints were answered. He had prayed that the Indians would turn to the right and to the left that we might pursue our journey in peace, and asked the brethren if they could get sight of an Indian near? Their answer was, No. He also cautioned them not to use profane language, as the angel of the Lord would turn away from a man that would swear and take the name of the Lord in vain. The Lord loves a faithful man as a father loves a faithful son. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon him and he spoke with power, which cheered my soul.
A number of buffalo herds are in sight, and some of them are making down the bluffs toward our horses. Brother Eric Glines went out to stop them, but thev still kept on, when he fired three shots at them, all the shots taking effect on one, which ran a little way and then fell. Francis (Boggs) came with an antelope. The revenue cutter went out and brought the buffalo in, and it was divided among the camp, I have the pleasure this evening of writing by the light of a candle made by Brother Edson Whipple out of buffalo tallow, and it burns beautifully. The evening was calm and pleasant, and the rules and regulations for the camp (of April the 18th) were read by Brother Bullock. President Young and Kimball took a walk to the bluffs about dark, and returned and went to President Young's wagon and remained in council until after 10 p. m.
Monday, May 17th.–The morning was cold and chilly and the wind was northwest. Dr. Richards left another letter on the camp ground for the benefit of the next company, putting it up the same as the others. About 8:13, after traveling about a mile and a half, we arrived at the range of bluffs, which extended to the river, came about a quarter of a mile and crossed a stream of fresh spring water about three feet wide. When we first ascended the bluffs our course was north for a short distance, but we then turned westward and passed over a number of sand bluffs. After traveling two and a half miles beyond the above mentioned stream we arrived at the west side of the bluffs, the last part of the road being very sandy with several very steep pitches to go down. The teams got over without any difficulty. The grass is very good west of the bluffs, and about a mile from the bluffs we passed three streams of spring water. The whole of the bottoms seem to be full of springs. We have to keep near the bluffs, the bottoms are so soft and wet. About 11:45 we stopped to feed, having traveled abont six and three-quarter miles; we encamped about half a mile west of a stream of spring water, which we crossed. Brother Redding and myself went back to get some water. We went to the head of the stream and found five boiling springs, boiling up several inches. One of Brother Phineas Young's horses got mired in a swamp where he went in to feed. The brethren hauled him out with ropes.
This forenoon is warm and pleasant, the first warm day we have had for some time. At 2 p. m. we proceeded on our journey and traveled about half a mile, when we came to a stream of pure water about thirty feet wide and very shallow, and there was no difficulty in crossing it. We passed over same safe, some hills a quarter of a mile further, and then came to level prairie again, which is low and soft. We crossed a number of small streams which rise from springs near the bluffs. About 3 o'clock word came that there was a buffalo killed by the hunters about a mile from the camp and two men were sent out to dress it. About the same time the revenue cutter arrived with two buffaloes and an antelope. The meat was taken out of the boat, and a fresh team put on and sent after the other buffalo. At 4:30 the wagons moved onward and traveled until 6 o'clock, when we encamped on the wide bottom plain. We have traveled today about twelve and three-quarters miles in about a west course. We are about a half mile from the river. Brother Harris and myself went down to the river and brought up a keg of water. The brethren dug several wells. Soon after we arrived the boat came in with the other buffalo. The meat was divided equally among the companies. We are in latitude 41 degrees 12 minutes 50 seconds.
Tuesday, May 18th. –The morning was fine and pleasant and at 7 o'clock President Young called the Captains of Tens together and gave them instructions not to let their men kill any more game, as we had more on hand now than we could take care of, and for them not to take life merely to grattify their propensities. He also stated that life was as dear to the animal, according to their understanding, as it was to us. That if the horsemen hunters would go ahead and hunt out the road they would be of more utility to the camp than pursuing every band of antelope that passed the camp; that there were men among us in responsible positions who cared no more for the interest of the camp than the horses that they rode; that the spirit of the hunter as was now manifested would lead them to kill all the game within a thousand miles as inconsistently as the butcher would apply the knife to the throat of a bullock. President Young, after some other remarks, dismissed the captains, telling them that they must lead their men by their own good example, for the men would do well if the captains would set them the proper pattern.
Soon after meeting was dismissed the bugle sounded to collect our teams. At 8:15 a. m. we proceeded on our journey, Brigham, Heber and some others going on ahead on horseback. After traveling three and three-quarters miles a west course we arrived at a stream twenty or twenty-five feet wide and about eighteen inches deep, with a very strong current. We gave it the name of Rat Bank creek. From this stream we traveled near the bank of the river, about a northwest course. At 11:10 a. m. we stopped to feed, having traveled about six and a half miles. This afternoon has been very hot. We saw several spots of small cedar trees growing in the sandy crevices of the rocks opposite here, the head of Cedar bluffs, as named by Fremont, is three miles west of where we were encamped last night. We continued our journey, our route lying near the banks of the river. This forenoon we crossed a number of small streams. We had a little rain this afternoon, accompanied with lightning and distant thunder. This afternoon we traveled nine and a half miles, and during the day fifteen and three-quarters miles. The feed is not very good here.
This evening Colonel Markham called the camp together to remind them of their duty in regard to traveling and getting up their teams. After some other instructions the meeting was dismissed. The wind changed to the north and blew up cold and cloudy.
Wednesday, May 19th. –This morning was cloudy and it rained considerable last night. About 10 o'clock I got up to put the harness under the wagons. H. C. Kimball's saddle and other things which would get damaged by rain, when I discovered Brother Jackson Redding, who was captain of the guard, going around with some of his men picking up the harness and other things and putting them under cover. Captain Redding is a faithful, praiseworthy man and a man who works for the good of the camp.
As the feed is not good here it was thought best to move on a few miles before breakfast and find better feed. We started out about 5:05 and crossed two small streams, traveling three and three-quarters miles and stopped to eat breakfast. Some of the teams are a quarter of a mile ahead of the main body of the camp. H. C. Kimball and Brother Woolsey went ahead to hunt a place where the feed was good. As they neared the bluffs they discovered that the feed was not so good, and Brother Kimball sent Brother Woolsey back to tell the brethren to stop, while he went on to look out the road through the bluffs. He returned just before we started. After traveling about ten miles alone, he saw a number of wolves, some of them being very large. He tried to scare them, but they would not move out of their tracks, and he had no firearms with him. If he had been afoot I presume they would have attacked him. Brother Kimball has rode so much ahead to look out the way for the camp he has almost broke himself down and is pretty near sick, but his ambition and the care he has for the camp keeps him up.
At 8:40 we again started, came about three miles and began to ascend the bluffs, which are very steep and sandy. Just before we came to the bluffs we crossed a stream about twenty feet wide. We traveled a winding course of about three-quarters of a mile through the bluffs, came 200 yards from the west side and crossed another small stream. It has rained heavy all the time since we started after breakfast. About 10:30 the camp halted, having traveled six miles. About 2:30 the weather looked a little more favorable, and we started at 2:55. Soon after we started it commenced raining again very heavy. We traveled two miles and encamped for the night on the banks of the river, having come eight miles today. The small stream that we crossed west of the bluffs we named Wolf creek. The evening was cold and cloudy, but it cleared off about 6 o'clock.
Thursday, May 20th. –The morning was cloudy with light winds from the northwest and cold. We started about 7:45, and soon after passed Brother Clayton's wagon. He and Brother Harmon were repairing the roadometer, which had suffered by the rain and broke one of the teeth out of the small wheel. Three-fourths of a mile from where we started we crossed a stream eight feet wide and two and a half feet deep. About 11:15 we halted to feed, having traveled seven and three-quarters miles, the latter part of the road being very good. The bluffs on the south side of the river project near to its banks. They appear rocky, and several beautitul groves of cedar are growing on them. Brothers O. Pratt, L. Johnson, A. Lyman and J. Brown went across the river in the boat and discovered we were opposite Ash Hollow, where the Oregon road crosses to the North fork of the Platte. Brother Brown found the grave where he helped to bury an emiGrant last summer when he was going west. The boat returned and we again moved onward. Some of the brethren killed a large rattlesnake. This afternoon about three and a half miles from where we stopped for noon we crossed a stream six or eight rods wide and two and a half feet deep, the bottom being quicksand and the current swift. At 5:30 we encamped, having come eight miles, which makes fifteen and three-quarters miles during the day. The road has been very good this afternoon, and the feed is pretty good. We had a light shower this afternoon, but the evening is pleasant.
Friday, May 21st. –The morning was very calm and pleasant, but tolerably cool. At 7:35 we proceeded on our journey. Brother Clayton put up a guide board this morning with the following inscription on it: "From Winter Quarters, 409 miles; from the junction of the North and South forks of the Platte, 93¼ miles; Cedar Bluffs on east side of the river, and Ash Hollow 8 miles; Camp of Pioneers, May 21st, 1847. According to Fremont, this place is 132 miles from Laramie. N. B. –The bluffs on the opposite side are named Castle Bluffs.''
We found the prairie very wet and many ponds of water standing, which must have been caused by the heavy falls of rain. At 11:15 we stopped for dinner, having traveled seven and three-quarters miles in a north-northwest course, it being warm and calm.
President Young and Kimball rode ahead to pick out the road. Near this place they saw a nest of wolves. Thev killed two of them and three others escaped to their holes. Brother Kimball caught one of them by the tail and killed him. At 1:30 we proceeded on our journey, and found the prairie very wet and high grass of last year's growth. Brother Clayton saw a very large rattlesnake. At 5 o'clock Brother Kimball stopped the forward teams to let the rear teams get up, saying that he saw Indians come down from the bluffs. When the last wagons got up we traveled on a quarter of a mile and encamped in a circle, the wagons close together. We have come seven and three-quarters miles this afternoon, which makes fifteen and a half miles during the day.
While we were forming our camp an Indian and his squaw came near the camp. They were Sioux. They made signs that there was a party of them on the bluff north of us, not far distant. President Young ordered them not to bring them into the camp. The Indian was well dressed. Their horses appear to be work horses, which I presume they had stolen from some travelers. The day has been quite warm and some of our teams lagged a little. Brother Cushing drove my team this afternoon, while I rode in Brother King's wagon and drove some for him. The feed is not so good here, there being considerable old grass. This evening is very pleasant. The latitude at noon was 41 degrees 24 minutes 5 seconds.
Saturday, May 22d, –This morning is calm and pleasant; all is peace and quietness in camp. At 8 o'clock we started on our journey, and having to bend to the banks of the river made our road much more crooked than usual. The prairie was soft and uneven. We traveled about five and a half miles and crossed a very slow stream about twenty feet wide. The bluffs are about a mile from the river, and on the south side about two miles. At 11:30 we stopped to feed, having come about seven and a quarter miles, the latter part of the road being much better. Our course was west-northwest, and a light breeze from the east was blowing. Brother Kimball and others go ahead as usual to look out the road. The stream last crossed was named Crab creek, as some of the brethren had seen a very large crab in it.
While we were stopped Brother Clayton went up on the bluffs, which were very high and romantic in their appearance. He said he could see Chimney Rock with the naked eye very plain. He judged it to be about twenty miles distant. We started again at 1:30 p. m. and crossed a number of dry creeks today from one rod wide to six, all appearing to have been very rapid streams some seasons of the year. We found the prairie so much broken between the bluffs and the river that it was impassable with wagons. We traveled a winding course between the bluffs of about two and a quarter miles, and again emerged on the bottoms. Between 4 and 5 o'clock this afternoon the clouds gathered very black from the west, streaks of lightning can be seen and the distant rumbling of thunder can be heard. It has the appearance of a tremendous storm. About
5 p. m. the wind blew up strong from the northwest and the storm passed to the northeast of us. At 5:45 we encamped in a circle within a quarter of a mile of the river, having come eight and a quarter miles this afternoon, which makes fifteen and a half during the day. I saw a very large rattlesnake this afternoon.
Wood is very scarce. We find a few sticks along the bank of the river, which has been drifted there by high water. We have not seen any buffalo for a number of days, and very little game of any kind. Some of the brethren brought a young eagle into camp, which they took out of its nest on the top of one of the high bluffs. It measured forty-six inches from tip to tip of its wings when stretched out. The bluffs and peaks have a very remarkable appearance, the tops being like the ruins of some ancient city with its castles, towers and fortifications. I had no time to examine them. Brother Clayton has given a full description of them, which is very interesting. This evening is very pleasant and all is peace and harmony. The feed is not very good. The inside of our circle is a solid bed of sand, and there were four rattlesnakes killed in the camp.
Sunday, May 23d. –This morning is very fine and pleasant. I went down to the river before sunrise and made a fire and washed some clothes. President Young, Kimball and others walked up to the bluffs to view them, and returned about 11:30. Brother Clayton saw an adder about eighteen inches long. Brother Nathaniel Fairbanks came into camp, having been bit on the leg with a rattlesnake. He had been up on the bluffs, and he said he felt the effects of it all over his body. Three minutes after he was bit he felt a pricking in his lungs. They gave him. a dose of Lobelia and some alcohol and water. He is suffering much from pain.
Brother O. Pratt said the highest bluff was 235 feet above the surface of the river. At 12 o'clock the horses were all tied up and the brethren called together for meeting. After singing and prayer, Brother E. Snow made some remarks, followed by President Young. We had a first-rate meeting. Brother Young gave us some glorious instructions, which done my soul good. He said he was perfectly well satisfied with the conduct of the camp and the spirit which they manifested toward him and toward one another and all things were going right. Brother George A. Smith and others made some remarks. Brother Young notified the four Bishops present to prepare to administer the sacrament on next Sunday at 11 o'clock. Soon after the meeting the wind blew up very cold from the northwest, thick black clouds gathered all around us, and about 7 o'clock rain began to pour down, accompanied with thunder and lightning and hail for a short time. We feared for some time that our wagcn tops should blow off. The rain ceased about 10 p. m. and the wind continued to blow nearly all night. We found all things safe in the morning, not sustaining any damage whatever.
Monday, May 24th. –The morning was very cold, the wind continuing northwest. At 8:35 a. m. we started and traveled over a level prairie somewhat sandy. At 10:45 we stopped to feed, having come ten miles. About noon the weather moderated a little. Two Indians came across the bluffs to our camp on foot. They made signs that we should give them something to eat and they would go away. Some of the brethren gave them some bread. They started up the river a little way and crossed over. At 3 p. m. we proceeded on our journey and traveled until 6 o'clock, six and a half miles. This afternoon several of the horse teams gave out. Just before we stopped, a party of Indians was discovered on the opposite side of the river. After we camped, which was a quarter of a mile from the river, we discovered the Indians had a flag flying, which is their mode of finding out whether they would be admitted in the camp or not. President Young sent a man up the river with a white flag, when they all crossed the river on their ponies, some of them singing. They were thirtv-five in number. Some of them were women. They were all well dressed and behaved themselves better than any Indians I have ever seen before. Four of their chiefs came down to the camp. Colonels Markham and [Henry Garlic] Sherwood showed them around the camp. They took some provisions to those who were encamped up the river, and gave the chiefs their supper at the camp. The brethren put up a tent for the head chief and his squaw to sleep in. The evening was pleasant, and we left our horses out until 11 o'clock to feed, with a guard to watch them. H. C. Kimball’s health is very poor and he is unable to ride ahead, but is confined to his wagon most of the time.
Tuesday, May 25th. –The morning was fine and pleasant. All the Indians, both men and women, came into camp this morning. Some of the brethren traded horses with them and bought moccasins from them. At 8:20 we proceeded on our journey. Soon after we started the Indians left us. Thev appeared to be well satisfied. They crossed the river and went in the direction thev came from. After traveling one mile we ascended a sandy ridge, traveled about three-quarters of a mile over very deep sand and came on the bottoms again. We came two and a half miles and stopped to feed at 11:15, several small ponds of water being there. We continued our journey at 1:30 p. m., having come four and three-quarters miles over a low, soft prairie bottom. By the appearance of it there must have been very heavy rains ahead of us. The traveling was very heavy for our teams, but at 3 p. m. we started on again and traveled until 5:45, having come four and three-quarters miles, and twelve miles during the day. We encamped about two miles from the river. The brethren dug a number of wells and found very good water. Our camp ground is very low and wet, which makes it very disagreeable. The evening was very pleasant and the brethren were in good spirits.
Wednesday, May 26th. –This morning was calm and pleasant, and at 8 a. m. we proceeded on our journey. After traveling between four and five miles we came to a point directly opposite Chimney Rock. We had traveled forty-one and a half miles since it was first seen with the naked eye. At 12 o'clock we stopped to feed, having come seven and a quarter miles in a north-northwest course. This forenoon the roads were good. Brother Kimball rode ahead to look out the way. The hunters brought in four antelope to camp today.
Brother Pratt ascertained Chimney Rock to be 260 feet high. It is in about latitude 41 degrees 42 minutes 58 seconds. At 2:25 we again started and traveled near the river. We came five miles and encamped on the bank of the river about 5 p. m., having come twelve and a quarter miles during the day. The feed is better than we have had for a number of days, but wood was very scarce. Soon after we encamped, a heavy black cloud arose in the west, which had the appearance of a heavy storm[.] The wind blew up very strong from the northwest, accompanied with a few drops of rain. About 6 o'clock it cleared off and we had a beautiful evening. Some of the brethren were moving Brother George Billings' wagon and run the wheel over the young eagle and killed it. Brother Billings discovered that the end of an axeltree was broke, and Brother Harper went to work on it.
Thursday, May 27th. –This morning was very fine and the scenery was beautiful. The bluffs north of us are about three miles from the river, the prairie is level and the feed very good. At 7:50 a. m. we proceeded on our journey along the bank of the river and stopped to feed at 11:45, having come eight miles. O. P. Rockwell killed two antelope and brought them into camp and they were divided. There are some heavy thunder clouds in the south and west. At 2 p. m. we again moved westward, the prairie being level and the road very good. We passed Scott's bluffs, which is nineteen and three-quarters miles from Chimney Rock, between 3 and 4 o'clock. At 4:45 we encamped a short distance from the river, having come five and three-quarters miles, which makes thirteen and three-quarters miles during the day. Brother Pratt measured the North fork of the Platte river with his sextant and found it to be 792 yards wide. The north peak of Scott 's bluffs is in latitude 41 degrees 50 minutes 52 seconds.
Friday, May 28th. –The morning was cool and damp, cloudy weather, and some rain with wind northeast. At 8 a. m. the brethren were called together and the question proposed, whether we should go on or wait for fair weather. All agreed to wait for fair weather. About 11 o'clock it cleared off, and we gathered up our teams and started.
Before we started Brother Luke Johnson and myself went up the river about three miles with the cutter in search of wood. We came to a beautiful clear stream of water about eight feet wide, and saw large numbers of small fish in it. It is not very deep, has a gravel bottom and the water tastes very good. It is about three miles long, rises from springs and runs in a line with the river for some distance, then takes a turn to the south and empties into the river.
Part of the road today was sandy. At 4:45 we encamped near the river, having come eleven and a half miles. The feed is not so good here, but driftwood is tolerably plenty. The evening was cold and the weather dull and cloudy, with wind northeast. O. P. Rockwell and Thomas Brown went out hunting north of the bluff. The latter saw five or six Indians and the signs of a large company.
Saturday, May 29th. –This morning was cold, wet and cloudy, with wind northeast, but about 10 a. m. it cleared off. At 10:30 the bugle sounded to get up our teams. After we got all ready to start there was notice given for the brethren to come together to the boat in the center of the ring. President Young, taking his station in the boat, ordered the Captains of Tens to call out their respective companies and see if all their men were present. He then ordered the clerk to call all the names to see if they were all present. Joseph Hancock and Andrew Gibbons were reported to be absent hunting. President Young arose and addressed the meeting" as follows : (Reported by Brother Wm. Clayton, who has kindly permitted me to copy it from the journal.)
Pioneer Sermon by President Young.
"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 the 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 the brethren, and many knew it by experience, that we had to leave our homes, our houses and lands, our all, because we believed in the Gospel as revealed to the Saints in these last days. The rise of the persecution against the Church was in consequence of the doctrine 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 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 a possessor of religion, before we left Winter Quarters.
''It was told the brethren that we were going to look out a home for the Saints, where they could 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 we would have to walk uprightly or the law would be put in force, and many have turned aside through fear.
"The Gospel does not bind a good man down, and deprive him of his rights and privileges; it does not deprive him of 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 exaltation, and everything which heart can desire in righteousness all the days of his life. And then, when he gets exalted in the eternal worlds, he can still turn around 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 who love and serve him.'
''I want the brethren to understand and comprehend the principles of Eternal Life, and watch the Spirit, 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 yielding to the evil spirits and what it will lead you to, but you do not see the spirit itself, nor its operations only by the spirit that is in you.
"Nobody has told me what was going on in this camp, but I have known it all the while. I have been watching its movements, its influence, its effects; and I know the result of it, if it is not put a stop to. I want you to understand that, inasmuch as we are beyond the power of the Gentiles, where the devils have tabernacles in the priests and all 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 the men in this camp. And if you don't open your hearts so that the Spirit of God can enter your hearts and teach you the right way, I know that you are a ruined people, I know that you will be destroyed and that without remedy. And, unless there is a change and a different course of conduct, a different spirit to that which there is now in this 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 discretion; a sober-minded man, and I would rather go among 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 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, contentious, 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 don't mean to bow down to the spirit there is in this camp, and which is rankling in the bosoms of the brethren, which shall lead to knockdown, and perhaps to use the knife to cut each other's throats, if it is not put a stop to. I don't mean to bow down to the spirit which causes the brethren to quarrel–and when I wake up in the 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 would do, and what extremes they would go to, if suffered to go as far as they would; but I don't love to see it. The brethren say they want a little exercise to pass the time evenings; but if you can't tire yourselves enough with a day's journev, without dancing every night, carry your guns on your shoulders and walk, and carry your wood to camp, instead of lounging and sleeping in your wagons, increasing the loads until your teams are tired to death and ready to drop to the earth. Help your teams over mudholes 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 privileges, and were where they could get whisky, they would be drunk half of their time, and in one week they would quarrel, get to high words, and draw their knives to kill each other. That is what such a course of things would tend to. Don't you know it? Yes. Well, then, why don't you try to put it down"? I have played cards once in my life, since I became a 'Mormon,' to see what kind of a spirit would attend it, and I was so well satisfied that I would rather see the dirtiest thing in your hands that you could find on the earth, than to see a pack of cards in your hands. You never read of gambling, playing cards, checkers, dominoes, etc., in the Scriptures. But you do hear of men praising the Lord in the dance, but who ever heard of praising the Lord in a game of cards? If any man had sense enough to play a game of cards, or dance a little, without wanting to keep it up all the time; but exercise a little and then quit it, and think no more of it, it would be well enough. But you want to keep it up till midnight, and every night, and all the time. You don’t how to control yourselves.
''Last winter when we had our season 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 stopped in the middle or the end of a time, 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 Gentile priests are here. Their 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 we shall know, if you don't open your eyes and your hearts, they will cause division in our camp, and perhaps war, as they did the former Saints, as you read in the 'Book of Mormon.'
"We suppose that we are going to look out a home for the Saints, a resting place, a place of peace, where we can build up the Kingdom and bid the nations welcome, without 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 joke very far, but will you take a joke? If you don't want to take a joke, don't give a joke to your brethren. Joking nonsense, profane language, don't belong to us. Suppose the Angels were witnessing the hoedown the other evening, and listening to the haw-haws, would they not be ashamed of it? I have not given a joke to any man on the journey, nor felt like it. Neither have I insulted any man's feelings, but I have bellowed 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 that you should remember them. When I laugh I see my folly and nothingness, and weakness, and am ashamed of myself. I think meaner and worse of myself than any 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 weakness, 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. I know it and have known it. I have said nothing about it; but I tell you, if you don't stop it, you shall be cursed by the Almighty, and shall dwindle away and be damned. Such things shall not be suffered in this camp. You shall honor God and confess His name, or else you shall suffer the penalty.
''Most of this camp 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 the Gospel to the nations of the earth, and bid all welcome, whether they believe in 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. By and by 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 Scriptures mean by 'Every knee shall bow,' etc., and you cannot make anything else out of it.
["]I understand that there are several in this camp, who do not belong to the Church. I am a man who will stand up for them, and protect them in all their rights; and they shall not trample on the rights of others, nor on the Priesthood. They 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 return they can now have the privilege; and any man, who chooses to go back, rather than abide the laws of God, can now have the privildge of doing so before we go further.
"Here are the Elders of Israel who have got the Priesthood, who have 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 like nigers. I don't mean this as debasing the nigers by any means. They will hoedown, all turn summersets, dance on their knees, and haw-haw out loud. They will play cards, and 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 location for the whole Church? What was your course of conduct? Did you dance? Yes. Did you play cards? Yes. Did you play checkers? Yes. Did you use profane language? Yes. Did you swear? Yes. Did you gamble with each other and threaten each other?
Yes. How would you feel? What would you say for yourselves? Would you not want to go and hide up? Your mouth would be stopped, and you would want to creep away in disgrace.
''I am one of the last to ask my brethren to enter into a solemn covenant, but, if they will not enter into a solemn covenant to put away their iniquity, and turn to the Lord, and serve Him, and acknowledge and honor His name. I want them to take their wagons and return back, FOR I SHALL NOT GO ANY FARTHER under this state of things. If we don't 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 appointed time, instead of rambling off and hiding in their wagons to play cards, etc. I think it will be good for us to have a fast meeting tomorrow, and a prayer meeting, and humble ourselves and turn to the Lord, and He will forgive us."
He then called upon all the High Priests to step out in a line in front of the wagon; and then the Bishops to step out in front of the High Priests. He then counted them and ascertained their numbers to be four Bishops and fifteen High Priests. He then called for all the Seventies to form a line in the rear. There was seventy-eight in number. The Elders were then called out in line.
Their number was eight. There was also eight of the Twelve.
He then asked the brethren 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 hands. Every man raised his hand. He then put the question to the High Priests, and Bishops, to the Seventies and Elders, and last to the other brethren. All covenanted with uplifted hands, without a dissenting voice. He then addressed those who were 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, etc.
He then referred to the conduct of Benjamin Rolfe's two younger brothers in joining with the Higby's and John C. Bennett in sowing discontent 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, and 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 a chance to others to speak, if they felt like it.
Brother Heber C. Kimball arose and said: that he agreed to all that President Young had said. He received it as the word of God to himself, and it was the word of the Lord to this camp, if they would receive it. He had been watching the motions of things and the conduct of the brethren for some time, and had seen what it would lead to. He had said little but had thought a good deal. It had made him shudder, when he had seen the Elders of Israel descend to the lowest and dirtiest things imaginable–the last end of everything. But what had passed this morning would be an everlasting blessing to the brethren, if they would repent and be faithful and keep their covenants. He could never rest satisfied until his family were liberated from the Gentiles and their corruptions, and established in a land where they could plant and eat the fruit of their labors. He had never had the privilege of eating the fruits of his labors yet, neither had his family, but when this was done he could sleep in peace, but not until then.
He said: ''If we will serve the Lord and remember His name to call upon Him, we shall not one of us be left under the sod, but shall be permitted to return and meet our families in peace, and enjoy their society again. But, if this camp continues the course of conduct they have done, the judgment of God will overtake us. I hope the brethren will take heed to what President Young has said, and let it sink deep into their hearts."
Brother Kimball made some very feeling remarks, with some instructions, that have not been written. He blessed the brethren in the name of the Lord, and he appeared to be very much affected and very humble.
Elder Orson Pratt wanted to add a word to what had been said. ''Much good advice has been given to teach us how we may spend our time profitably–by prayer, meditation, etc.–but there is another idea which I want to add: There are many good books in the camp and worlds of knowledge before us, which we have not attained, and, if the brethren would devote all their leisure time to seeking after knowledge, they would never need to say, they had nothing to pass away their time. If we could spend twenty-three hours of the twenty-four in gaining knowledge, and only sleep one hour, all the days of our lives, there would be worlds of knowledge in store yet for us to learn.
''I know it is difficult to bring our minds to dilligent and constant study, in pursuit of knowledge all at once, but by steady practice and perseverance we shall become habitual to it, and it will become a pleasure to us. I 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."
Elder Woodruff said: ''He remembered the time Zion's camp went up to Missouri to redeem Zion, when Brother Joseph Smith stood upon a wagon wheel and told the brethren that the decree had passed and could not be revoked; that: the destroying angel would visit the camp; and the brethren began to feel what Brother Joseph had said. We buried eighteen in a very short time, and a more sorrowful time I never saw before. There are nine men here that were in that camp, and they all recollect the circumstances well, and will never forget it. I was thinking while the President was speaking; that, if I was one who had played cards or checkers I would take every pack of cards, and checker board and burn them up, so that they would not be in the way to tempt us."
Colonel Markham acknowledged that he had done wrong, in many things. He had always indulged himself before he came into the Church, with everything he desired and he knew he had done wrong on this journey. He knew his mind had become darkened since he left Winter Quarters. He hoped the brethren would forgive him, and he would pray to God to forgive him, and he would try to do better. While he was speaking, he was very much affected indeed, and wept like a child.
Many of the brethren were very much affected, and all seemed to realize for the first time, the spirit to which they had yielded, and the awful consequences of such things, if persisted in. Many were in tears and felt humble. President Young returned to the boat as Brother Markham closed his remarks, and said in reply:
''That he knew that 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 returned to his wagon.
At 1:30 p. m. we again pursued our journey in peace, all reflecting on what had been said today, and many expressing their gratitude for the instructions they had received. It seemed as if we were just starting on this important mission, and all began to realize the responsibility resting upon us, to conduct ourselves in such a manner, that this mission may prove an everlasting blessing to us, instead of an everlasting disgrace. No loud laughter was heard, nor swearing, no profane language, no hard speeches to man or beast; and it seemed as if the cloud had broke and we had emerged into a new element, and a new atmosphere, and a new socity.
We traveled six miles about a north-northwest course, and then arrived at the foot of the low bluffs, which extended within ten 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 is entirely barren, there 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 tends again to the south, where we then found the ground hard and good to travel over, but perfectly bare of grass for about a mile.
At 5 o'clock it commenced raining very hard, accompanied with lightning and thunder and a strong northeast wind. It also changed to considerable colder again. At 5:30 we found our encampment, near the highest bench of the prairie. The feed is not very good on the bottoms, and here there is none at all. We have passed a small grove of tolerable sized trees, all green, growing on an island in the river. There is no timber on this side of the river. We picked up driftwood enough to do our cooking. The distance we have traveled today is eight and one-half miles, and during the week seventy-four and one-half miles, making us 514½ miles from Winter Quarters. There is a creek of clear water about 200 yards to the south of us from which we obtain our water.
Sunday, May 30th. –The morning was fair and pleasant, and about 9 a. m. the brethren met together a little south of the camp, and had a prayer meeting. Many of the brethren expressed their feelings warmly, and confessed their faults one to another. Between 11 and 12 o'clock the meeting was dismissed, and the brethren gathered up their horses and tied them, and met again about 12 o'clock, and partook of the Sacrament. The Twelve with some others went north of the bluffs and had a meeting. All conducted themselves peaceably and quiet today. They seem to have profited by the instructions we got on Saturday. We had some rain this afternoon, but the evening is pleasant.
Monday, May 31st. –This morning was cool but pleasant, and at 8:15 we proceeded on our journey over a good hard road. At 12:30 we stopped to feed, having come nine and one-half miles. At 3 p. m. we again started, coming seven and one-quarter miles and stopped at 6:45 and encamped near a stream about a rod wide, the feed being very poor. We came sixteen and three-quarters miles today. This afternoon we passed some timber on this side of the river, the first we had seen since the 10th inst. (being a distance of 215 miles), except a little driftwood the brethren have picked up. The road has been very sandy. Some of the brethren killed a deer this afternoon, and wounded two others. Last Sunday President Young and Kimball saw the Black Hills. The camp are all well and in good spirits.
8. –PLATTE RIVER CROSSINGS, JUNE, 1847.
Tuesday, June 1st, 1847. –The morning was very fine, warm and pleasant, and at 9 o'clock we proceeded on our journey. At 11:30 we halted to feed, having come about four and one-half miles. At 1:30 we started on again and continued until 4:15, and came in sight of Fort Laramie, about four miles southwest of us. At 5:45 the wagons formed an encampment in the form of a V, having traveled seven and one-half miles.
Six wagons, which are a part of the Mississippi Company, that wintered at Pueblo, are here. They have been here two weeks, and they report that the remainder of their company were coming on with a detachment of the "Mormon Battalion," who expected to be paid off and start for this point about the first of June. Two of the brethren came across the river to see us, and they report that nothing has been heard from the main body of the Battalion and that there has been three or four deaths at Pueblo. They said that three traders from the mountains arrived here six days ago, having come from the Sweet Water in six days and nights, traveling day and night with horses and mules to prevent them from starving to death. Two of their oxen had died for want of feed. The snow was two feet deep at the Sweet Water. It is evident that we are early enough for the feed.
I make the distance from Winter Quarters to Laramie 541¼ miiles, which is two miles less than Brother Clayton, and we have traveled it in seven weeks, lacking half a day, and have not traveled but a few miles on Sundays. We have come this far without accidents, except the loss of two horses stolen by the Indians, and two killed. The Lord has blessed and prospered us on our journey, and the camp enjoys better health than they did when they left Winter Quarters. The country begins to have a more hilly and mountainous appearance, and some of the Black Hills show very plainly from here. The timber is mostly ash and cottonwood on the low bottoms on the river, but there are some cedar groves on the bluffs. There is an Indian baby wrapped around with skins, deposited in the branches of a large ash tree, which is in the center of our camp. It is said that this is the mode of burying their dead. The bark is peeled off of the tree to prevent the wolves climbing up.
Wednesday, June 2nd. –The morning was pleasant, and about 9 o'clock the Twelve and some others went across the river to view the fort, and inquire something concerning our route. Brother Pratt measured the distance across the river and found it to be 108 yards. The water is deep in the channel, and the current runs about three and one-half miles an hour. There is an old fort near the bank of the river on the other side, and the outside walls are still standing, but the inside is ruins, having been burned. The walls are built of Spanish brick, which is large pieces of tempered clay dried in the sun, and laid up like brick with mortar. The dimensions of this fort, outside, from east to west, is 144 feet, and from north to south 103 feet. There is a large door fronting the south, which led to the dwellings, fourteen in number when burned.
Fort Laramie is about two miles from the Platt[e], situated on the bank of a stream, called by the same name, which is forty-one yards wide with a very swift current, but not very deep. The brethren, who went to the fort, were informed that we could not travel more than four miles further on the north side of the Platte, the bluffs being impassable with wagons; also that the first year corn was planted there it done very well, but none could be raised since for want of rain as it had not rained for two years there until a few days ago. They, at the fort, have a very good flat boat, and will let us have it for $15, or ferry us over for $18, or 25c per wagon. The trade of this place is principally with the Sioux Indians. The Crow Indians came here a few weeks ago and stole twenty-five horses, which were within 300 yards of the fort and a guard around them. The lattitude of this place is 42 degrees 12 minutes and 13 seconds.
When the brethren returned they brought the boat with them. Some of the brethren went fishing this afternoon with the seine, in the Laramie Fork, and caught sixty or seventy small fish. The Twelve have decided that Brother Amasa Lyman should go with R[oswell]. Stevens, John Tippets and T. Woolsey to Pueblo.
Thursday, June 3rd. –This morning was cold with a strong southeast wind, and the first division commenced crossing their wagons early. The wind blowing strong up the river, made it easier crossing. They ferried a wagon over in fifteen minuets. The blacksmiths got their forges up, and went to work repairing wagons and shoeing horses. At 11:15 the brethren started for Pueblo on horseback. President Young, Kimball, Richards and Pratt accompanied them to the Laramie Fork and there held a council, kneeled down and dedicated them to the Lord and blessed them. At 1:40 p. m. it commenced raining, accompanied by hail and lightning with very loud thunder, which lasted until 3:30. During the storm the horses were secured in the old fort, and the ferry ceased running. About 5 o'clock the first division was over. The boat was then manned by the second division, lead by John S. Higby. They averaged a wagon across in eleven minutes.
About 7 o'clock it commenced raining again with wind southeast, which stopped the ferry, leaving three companies of about fifteen wagons on the other side. Four men have arrived from St. Joseph, Mo., who report that twenty wagons are three miles below and 600 or 700 were passed on the road. They think that there will be about 2000 wagons leave the states this season for Oregon and California. The Crow Indians stole four of their horses.
Friday, June 4th. –The morning was very fine, and Laramie Peak shows very plain. The brethren commenced ferrying at 4:30, and at 8 o'clock President Young, Kimball and others went up to Fort Laramie, returning about 11 o'clock. They heard very favorable reports from the traders about Bear River valley, being well timbered and plenty of grass, light winters and very little snow; also fish in abundance in the streams. About 11:30 Brother Crow's company came and joined the second division.
At 12 o'clock we again started on our journey, following the wagon road, and at 1:20 we halted to feed, having come three miles. The bluffs are very high and come near the river. At 2:30 we continued our journey and found the road very uneven and sandy. About seven and three-quarters miles from Laramie we descended a very steep pitch, or hill, and had to lock our wheels for the first time for six weeks. At 5:30 we encamped, having come eight and one-quarter miles during the day. About the time we encamped we had a very heavy thunder shower.
I will give the names of Brother Crow's company. They are as follows: Robert Crow, Elizabeth Crow, Benjamin Crow, Harriet Crow, John McHenry Crow, Walter H. Crow, William Parker Crow, Isa [Ira] Venda Exene Crow, Ira Minda Almerene Crow, George W. Therlkill. Matilda Jane Therlkill, James William Therlkill, Milton Howard Therlkill, Archibald Little, James Chesney and Lewis B. Myers, seventeen in number, making 161 souls in the Pioneer company, deducting the four that have gone to Pueblo. L. B. Myers is represented as knowing the country to the mountains, having traveled it before. They have five wagons, one cart, eleven horses, twenty-four oxen, twenty-two cows, three bulls and seven calves. The number of animals in the camp are ninety-six horses, fifty-one mules, ninety oxen, forty-three cows, nine calves, three bulls, sixteen chickens, sixteen dogs, seventy-nine wagons and one cart.
Brother Clayton put up a signboard at the ferry: Inscription, "Winter Quarters 561¼ miles." Brother O. Pratt took the altitude of Fort Laramie and found it to be 4090 feet above the level of the sea. Fremont makes it 4470, a difference of 380 feet. The longitude of Fort Laramie is 104 degrees 11 minutes 53 seconds.
Saturday, June 5th. –The morning was pleasant though somewhat cloudy, and the bugle sounded early to start, but we were detained until 8:30 on account of several oxen being missing. After traveling a little over four miles we ascended a steep bluff, where the road runs on top of it for a short distance in a winding direction. The surface in some places is very rough, and many places are covered with ledges of rocks, which shakes our wagons very much. In descending there is a short turn near the bottom, where Brother Crow's cart turned over, though there was no damage done. After winding our way around and through sand and over rocks we came to a very large spring, the water of which was warm and soft.
At 11:35 we stopped to feed, the grass being very short. We had come six and one-half miles. About a quarter of a mile ahead we discovered a company of eleven wagons bound westward. They came on to our road from a south direction, where the road forks. One runs to Fort John (Laramie) and the other that we came on runs by the old fort. They say the road they came on is ten miles to the spring, and the one we came on is fourteen and one-quarter miles. While we were stopped we had a fine shower. At 1:40 we proceeded on our journey. The latitude of the warm spring is 42 degrees 15 minutes 06 seconds.
After traveling a mile we turned in a narrow pass to the northwest between two high bluffs, and after traveling half a mile further we came to where the road rises a very high, steep bluff, at the foot of which is a short sudden pitch, and then a rugged ascent of a quarter of a mile. When we arrived at the top, we found the road tolerably good, but still rises for a quarter of a mile. After traveling five and one-quarter miles we descended the bluff, the road being sandy though pretty good. At 6:30 we encamped on the west bank of a small stream and near a spring of very good water, having come ten and one-half miles.
Brother Clayton put up a guide board every ten miles. The feed is very good here and there is plenty of wood. The Oregon company is encamped about a quarter of a mile back. Brother Kimball has traveled ahead this afternoon and picked out this camp ground, which is the best we have had for a long time. About dark it rained, accompanied with thunder and lightning. Tomorrow is set apart as last Sunday was for prayer and fasting. It is reported that there are three or four companies between here and Fort John (Laramie), which was formerly called Laramie. The camp are all well and in good spirits and the Lord continues to bless us.
Sunday, June 6th.–This morning is cool and cloudy and looks like rain. At 8 a. m. the eleven wagons that camped back a little ways passed us again. At 9 o'clock the brethren assembled for prayer meeting, and we had a very good meeting. Brothers E. Snow, Little and others occupied the time. The meeting was dismissed a little before 11 a. m. Three or four men came to camp on horseback and reported that their company was a short distance back. They had encamped at the warm springs last night.
At 11:40 the brethren assembled for preaching, when it commenced raining very heavy, accompanied with lightning and thunder. While it was raining the Oregon company came up, and they had nineteen wagons and two carriages. They have a guide, who says he shall find water six miles ahead and no more for fifteen miles. Between 12 and 1 o'clock the weather cleared off, and it was thought best to travel six miles this afternoon, in order to shorten our day's travel tomorrow, and at 2:30 we moved forward, crossing the stream three-quarters of a mile ahead. Brother Young, Kimball and Woodruff went ahead to look for a camp ground. We came a little over four miles to where the company of seventeen wagons were encamped, south of the road, and at 5:30 we encamped, having come five miles. The feed is very good and a stream of water is running near the camp and there is wood in plenty. The company of eleven wagons are encamped a short distance ahead of us, but, notwithstanding, we have much the best camping ground. Brother Frost put up his forge and done some blacksmithing. There is a strong wind blowing from the west.
Monday, June 7th. –The morning was fine and we took our horses out early, about half a mile east, where the feed was very good. At 6 :30 the Oregon company passed us and at 7:10 we again commenced our journey. At 11 o'clock we halted to feed on the west bank of a small stream, the grass being short. We had come seven and three-quarters miles in a course north northwest, and the road was even and good traveling. Soon after we halted another Oregon company of thirteen wagons passed us. They say they are from Andrew County, Missouri. At 12:40 we proceeded onward and after traveling a short distance we came to a hill, which was a quarter of a mile from the bottom to the top, the ascent being gradual.
From the top of this hill, we had a very pleasant view of the surrounding country, the scenery being truly romantic. The country is very much broken, with a forest of pine covering the surface. From this hill we have a fine view of Limavama Peak, and there appears to be snow on the top of it. At 3:30 we arrived at Horse Shoe Creek and formed our encampment in the center of a grove of ash and cottonwood, having traveled five and one-quarter miles over a crooked road, and during the day thirteen miles. We have the best feed we have had since we left Winter Quarters, and the most pleasant camp ground. There is a beautiful large spring of cold water here also.
Brother Kimball picked out this camp ground and found the spring and called it Heber's Spring. The creek is also clear and is said to have trout in it. There is an abundance of wild mint and sage growing here. Just before we stopped a very heavy thunder shower blew up, and while we were forming our encampment the rain poured down in torrents, accompanied with thunder and lightning, which lasted a little over an hour. The hunters killed a deer and an antelope this afternoon. The evening is very cool.
Tuesday, June 8th. –The morning was fine, though it continues cool. At 7:30 a. m. we started on our journey, crossing the creek, which is about a rod wide, and we traveled two and one-half miles winding around the high bluffs and then began to ascend them. This is the worst bluff we have had to ascend since we started. It is nearly a half mile, and three very steep pitches to go up, and most of the teams had to double. From the top of this hill we saw a buffalo south of us, which is the first we have seen since the 21st of May. Two and a half miles from the foot of this bluff we passed over a small creek, nearly dry, and then ascended another high bluff.
At 11:45 we halted for noon near a small creek, with very little water in it. We came six and three-quarters miles this forenoon. One of Brother Crow's daughters got run over by one of their wagons, the wheel passing over the leg, but there was no bones broken. At 1:40 we proceeded on our journey and after traveling a mile and a half we crossed a small creek, and again ascended a high bluff. This afternoon there was a strong wind from the west, and it was very cold. The country is very much broken and our road is very crooked and tending to the north. After traveling five miles we began to descend gradually, at 6:10 we crossed a stream about forty feet wide and about two feet deep, the current being very swift. It is called on Fremont's map Fabant river. We traveled this afternoon eight and three-quarters miles, and during the day fifteen and one-half miles. The evening is cold and has the appearance of rain.
The hunters killed a deer and an antelope. O. P. Rockwell says he has been to the Platte river, and it is about four miles from here. Soon after we stopped three traders came into the camp. They were part of the company that lost their cattle in the snowstorm on the Sweet Water [Sweetwater].
Wednesday, June 9th.–The morning was very pleasant, and the feed being scarce, it was thought best to start before breakfast, and at 4:45 we moved onward. At 5:45 we halted for breakfast near the traders' camp, having come one and one-quarter miles. It was thought best to send a small company ahead to build a raft, as the traders say it is about seventy miles to where we cross the Platte. They left some hides at the crossing, that they used on a wagon box, which answered for a ferry boat. They told Brother Crow that he might have them, if he could get there before the Oregon company.
There was nineteen of the best teams with about forty-nine men sent ahead; five wagons from the first division and fourteen from the second. They started about half an hour before we did. About 7:45 we proceeded onward, and soon after we started we came to a gully, which was very difficult to cross. Four men on their work horses and mules passed us. They said they were from Pueblo and were going to Green River. We came three and one-quarter miles and crossed a stream about ten feet wide, the banks of which, on either side, were very steep. Some of the teams required help.
This forenoon the soil we have passed over looked red as far as the eye could reach, and most of the rocks and bluffs were of the same color. President Young and Kimball saw a large toad about a quarter of a mile from the camp that had a tail and horns, though it did not jump like a toad, but crawled like a mouse. At 12:40 we halted for noon, having come ten miles since breakfast. Feed is scarce and there is very little water. Our road has been crooked, and hilly, and mostly rocky. The ground is literally covered with large crickets. At 2:30 we were on the move again. The road has been much better this afternoon. At 6:15 we encamped on a stream about a rod wide, two feet deep, with a very swift current. We have traveled eight miles this afternoon, and during the day nineteen and on[e]-quarter miles. The feed is good. A number of antelope have been killed today. The evening was fine and pleasant.
Thursday, June l0th.–The morning was calm and very pleasant. At 7:30 we moved on and came four and one-half miles and crossed a small stream, passed on a little farther and crossed another creek some larger. At 11:20 we halted for noon on the east side of a stream about thirty feet wide and tolerably deep with a rapid current, having come eight and three-quarter miles. We had several long steep bluffs to ascend and descend, and it was very difficult to cross some of the creeks without help. We saw one of the Oregon companies a few miles ahead of us. Our road has been crooked and mostly winding northward. The creek where we camped last night is called La Pine. About a mile from where the road crossed it, it runs through a tunnel from ten to twenty rods under the high bluffs. The tunnel is high enough for a man to stand upright in it, and the light can be seen through from the other side.
At 1:45 we continued our journey, with more even ground and good traveling. This afternoon we came in sight of the Platte river. We left it last Saturday and since then we have been winding through valleys and over bluffs all the way to here. As we near the river the road is more level, but sandy. At 5:45 we crossed a stream about thirty feet wide and two feet deep, the current being swift and the water clear, with plenty of timber on its banks, and the feed very good. We encamped on its west bank, near a grove of large timber. We traveled nine miles this afternoon, and during the day seventeen and three-quarters miles.
In this stream there is plenty of fish. Brother Clayton caught twenty-four with a hook and line, that would weigh sixteen pounds, all herring. Some of the brethren caught a few catfish. Some of the camp found a bed of stone coal about a quarter of a mile up stream. The hunters killed a number of antelope this afternoon. The evening was warm and pleasant. I noticed that Brother Ellsworth brought an antelope into camp this evening and it was cut up and divided among their own Ten by Brother Rockwood. A few days since Brother Rockwood gave Brother Crow a lecture for not dividing an antelope among the camp, when Brother Crow's companions are short of provisions, and only have five ounces to a person per day. If this is consistency I don't know what consistency is.
Friday, June 11th. –The morning was very pleasant. I stood guard the later part of the night, in the place of some of the brethren that have gone ahead. About 3 o'clock this morning I commenced cleaning the fish Brother Clayton caught. I fried them and we had a firstrate breakfast. This is the first place I have seen since we left Winter Quarters, where I should like to live. The land is good and plenty of timber and the warbling of the birds make it very pleasant. At 7:35 we proceeded on our journey, along the bank of the river, which appears wider here than at Laramie. We came four and one-half miles and Brother Clayton put up a guideboard, "100 miles from Laramie," which we came in a week lacking two and one-quarter hours. At 11:50 we halted for noon in a grove, where the feed is very good.
The road this forenoon was generally level and sandy, but there was very little grass. We have traveled nine and one-half miles this forenoon. At 2 o'clock we started again, and after traveling one mile we crossed a very crooked, muddy stream about twelve feet wide and one foot deep, came five and three-quarters miles and crossed another creek. At 5:30 we came to a halt, and we saw a number of wagons encamped about a mile ahead. After waiting about half an hour, Brother Kimball, who was ahead, returned and reported that there was no feed ahead for three miles.
The company ahead is one of the Oregon camps. They are making a raft to cross here. They say the regular crossing place is twelve miles ahead. We turned off to the river about a half mile from the road near a grove, the feed being tolerably good. We encamped about 6 o'clock, having come six and three-quarters miles, and seventeen during the day. Brother Kimball reports that he and some of the brethren tried to find a fording place to cross the river, but were unable to do so.
Some places the water was deep enough to swim their horses. The brethren killed three antelope today.
Saturday, June 12th.–The morning was very fine with a light breeze from the east. Brother Markham has learned, this morning, that Obediah Jennings was the principal in killing Bowman in Missouri. Bowman was one of the guard of Joseph and Hvrum Smith and the others that got away when prisoners in Missouri. The mob suspected him, and they rode him on a bar of iron until they killed him.
At 8:15 we started on our journey and came one and one-half miles, where we crossed a deep ravine with a steep bank that was very difficult to ascend. We came one and three-quarters miles and crossed a creek about two feet wide on a bridge, which the brothren had made. One mile from this we crossed another creek about five feet wide and one and one-half feet deep. At 11:45 we halted for noon, having come seven and one-quarter miles, over a sandy, barren prairie. Here the brethren tried to find a fording place. They succeeded in riding across the river, but it was considered unsafe to cross with our wagons, as the current runs very swift. The brethren turned out this noon to dig down the banks of a deep ravine, and made it passable for wagons in a short time.
At 2:30 we again started, came about three and one-quarter miles and crossed a creek about five feet wide. At 4:30 we encamped on the bank of the river, having traveled about six miles this afternoon, and during the day eleven and one-quarter miles. Our camp is about half a mile below the camp of the brethren who went ahead. They arrived here yesterday about noon, and two of the Missouri companies arrived soon after. The brethren made a contract with them to ferry our wagons over for $l.50 each, and take their pay in flour at $2.50 per hundred. They crossed the last of them this evening. The bill amounted to $34. They received their pay mostly in flour, but some little in meal and bacon. Brother Badger traded a wagon with one of them. He got a horse and 100 pounds of flour, twenty-eight pounds of bacon, and some crackers to boot. The horse and provisions were worth as much as his wagon.
Since the brethren arrived here, they have killed three buffalos, one grizzly bear, three cubs and two antelope. The buffalos are very fat and the brethren say they are very plenty back of the hills. Brother J. Redding [Redden] made H. C. Kimball a present of a large cake of tallow, and dried some beef for the benefit of the camp. Tunis Rappleyee and Artemus Johnson are missing this evening. A company was sent out in search of them. Brother Rappleyee returned about 11 o'clock at night. He said that he started to go up to the mountains to get some snow, about 5 o'clock, thinking he would be back before dark, but he found the hills to be eight or ten miles off. Johnson was found by the company. He went out hunting and got lost. They returned still later.
Sunday, June 13th. –The morning was fine and pleasant. At 9 o'clock the brethren assembled for meeting. Some of the brethren freed their minds, and Brother Kimball arose and addressed them, exhorting them to be watchful and humble, and remember their covenants, and above all things to avoid everything that would tend to a division. He gave some very good instruction and council. Brother Pratt made some remarks, followed by Brother B. Young and others. The captains or Tens were notified to meet at Brother Young's wagon. It was agreed to take the wagons over on rafts and the provisions in the cutter.
I went across the river with five or six men and built a raft, while some of the brethren went up to the mountain to get some poles. The day has been very warm and more like a summer day than any we have had since we left. The ground here is covered with crickets.
Monday, June 14th. –The morning was cloudy and cool. The first division commenced ferrying their provisions over the river in the cutter, and the second division with the raft, but the current was so strong it was not safe to take provisions over on the raft, and we only took two loads. The second division then stretched a rope across the river at the narrowest place, and lashed two wagons together, and made the rope fast, to them to float them across. When the wheels struck the sand on the other side, the current being so strong, it rolled them one over the other, and breaking the bows, and loosening the irons, etc., to the amount of $30. belonging to Brother John Pack. We next lashed four together, abreast and dragged them over as before, with poles each side of the wagon, and then long poles to reach across endways. They all got over safe. One of the poles broke and let the upper one turn on its side, but there was no damage done.
Not having poles or rope enough to lash them, we thought we would try one wagon alone. Some of the brethren thought that if some person would get in the wagon and ride on the upper side, it would prevent it from turning over. I volunteered to go across in it. Soon after we pushed off, Brother Gibbons jumped in the river and caught hold of the end of the wagon. When we got out about the middle of the river, the wagon began to fill with water, and roll from one side to the other, and then turn over on the side. I got on the upper side and hung on for a short time, when it rolled over leaving me off. I saw that I was in danger of being caught in the wheels or the bows, and I swam off, but one of the wheels struck my leg and bruised it some. I struck out for the shore with my cap in one hand. The wagon rolled over a number of times and was hauled ashore. It received no damage, except the bows were broken. We then thought it the safest way to take the wagons over on a raft, notwithstanding it is very slow, and will take three or four days.
The wind blows very strong from the southwest, which is very nearly down stream. We have cattle on the other side to tow the raft up. The current and the wind being against us, we have to tow our raft up about one mile above, where we load the wagons. At 3:30 we had a very heavy thunder storm, the rain pouring down in torrents, accompanied with hail, and the wind blew a perfect gale. After the storm was over we continued ferrying the wagons over. The river is rising very fast. After toiling all day nearly up to our armpits in the water, we got over eleven wagons in the afternoon, making twenty-three during the day.
Tuesday, June 15th.–The morning was fine but very windy, and we continued ferrying over our wagons. We took Brother George Billing's wagon over this morning. The brethren have built two more rafts. The wind continues to blow down stream, which makes it very hard work to cross with the rafts. This afternoon Brother Crow's company commenced swimming their horses over. They forgot to take the rope off of one of the horses, and after he got out in the middle of the river, they discovered that it was drowning. They pulled to him with the cutter and dragged him ashore, but he was dead. They supposed that he got the rope around his legs and could not swim. It was concluded today to leave about ten of the brethren here, to build a boat and keep a ferry, until the next company comes up. Brother Kimball told me to have a wagon and six mules ready to start early in the morning after a log to make a canoe. The wind continued to blow nearly all day. We succeeded in getting twenty wagons over today.
Wednesday, June 16th.–This morning was fine, with a strong wind from the west. I got Brother [Zebedee] Coltrin's wagon and Brother [John Streator] Gleason's mules, and a pair of mules belonging to Brother [Green] Flake, drove by a colored man, and a pair that Brother Billings drives, and delivered them to those who were going after the timber for the boat. The first division sent a wagon. There was about twenty men went, principally those who had their wagons across the river. I understand there is a contract made to ferry over a company of wagons at the same rate the others were crossed.
Two men came up from a small company below, who they say belong to a company ahead. They stopped at Ash Hollow in consequence of some of them being sick. They also wished to be ferried over. There was a small company sent up the river this afternoon to get out timber for the boat. I crossed the river this forenoon and eat dinner with Brother Whipple. My health is not very good, having worked in the water for two days, and in the course of it I caught cold, and have pains in my bowels. The wind blows very strong this afternoon from the west. The brethren that went down the river, returned this evening, and brought two canoes twenty-five feet long and partly finished.
Thursday, June 17th. –The morning was windy and cold, and all hands were engaged ferrying. We hauled our three wagons down to the river and unloaded Brother King's wagon and lashed the wagons, and took the loading over in the cutter. We took a part of the loading out of Brother Kimball's wagon, and took it over on the large raft, Brother Hansen and myself pulling it over. The wind blowing very strong down stream made it very difficult to cross. President Young also crossed his wagon this forenoon.
Early this morning we tried to swim our horses across, but the water being so rough we could not get them in. Soon after noon we got the last of our wagons over. Two of the Oregon companies arrived, and the brethren made preparations to cross them at $1.50 per wagon. The brethren suffered much working in the water, for it is very cold. Our wagons formed in a circle, this afternoon, near the ferry. We got our horses up this afternoon to swim them across, but Brothers Young and Kimball thought it was too cold, and the wind blowed too strong, and they told us to leave them until morning. A company of men are working at the canoes.
Friday, June 18th. –This morning was calm but very cold. The brethren had worked all night and ferried over one company of ten wagons and part of another. They paid the brethren $5.00 extra for working in the night. We went across the river early, and swam our horses over. The camp concluded not to start today, but stop and help to finish the boat, and wait for the pay we were to get for ferrying the companies over. Brother Clayton crossed the river this afternoon and went back to the last creek we crossed, about one and one-half miles, and caught sixty fish that would weight about half a pound apiece.
The new canoe was launched this afternoon, and the brethren commenced ferrying over the company of Missourians. The boat would carry a common sized wagon and its load, and it works very well considering the wood is green. There has been a small company of the brethren appointed to remain at this place until the next company of Saints comes up, and then to come on with them. They are to take charge of the boat and cross all wagons they can until the brethren arrive, at $1.50 per wagon. About dark this evening the Twelve and those who were appointed to remain, went off a little ways from the camp to council. The names of those who were to stop were read over as foIIows:
Thomas Grover, John S. Higbee, Luke S. Johnson, Appleton M. Harmon, Edmund Ellsworth, Francis M. Pomeroy, William Empey, James Davenport and Benjamin F. Stewart. Thomas Grover was appointed their captain. The President then referred to Eric Glines, who wanted to stay, but the President said he had no council for him to stay, but he might do as he pleased. Some explanation followed by Glines, but the unanimous feelings of the brethren were for Glines to go on. The President preached a short sermon for the benefit of the young Elders. He represented them as eternally grasping after something ahead of them, which belonged to others, instead of seeking to bring up those who were behind them. He said the way for the young Elders to enlarge their dominions and to get power, is to go to the world and preach the gospel, and then they can get a train and bring it up to the house of the Lord with them, etc.
The letter of instructions was then read and approved by the brethren. The council was then dismissed. This evening Brother Rockwood divided some of the provisions which was realized for ferrying, among some of the Tens. Brother Kimball let the brethren have a coil of rope to use on the boat, worth about $15. He got 263 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of meal and twenty-seven pounds of soap toward the pay. There has been provisions enough received for ferrying to last this camp for about twenty-three days, which is a great blessing, which we should all be thankful to the Lord for. At the rate they sell provisions at Fort Laramie, what we received would cost about $400, which was earned in about a week, besides ferrying our own wagons over.
Saturday, June 19th. –The morning was fine but cool, and at 7:50 a. m. we proceeded on our journey, all enjoying good health. The first six miles we traveled about a west course, over several high bluffs, where the road turns to the south and rises a high bluff about a mile long. The whole face of the country as far as the eye can extend, appears to be barren and very much broken. The descent on the south side of the bluff was crooked and uneven. At 1 o'clock we halted for noon on a spot of good grass, about a quarter of a mile from a good spring, which is the first water we have come to since we left the ferry, which is about eleven and one-quarter miles. There is no timber nearer than the bluffs, which is about two miles. The Red Buttes are nearly opposite this place in a southeast direction.
After stopping about an hour it was thought best to move on to the spring. We found it to be a small stream of water rising out of the quick sand. About twelve miles from the ferry there is a lake, supposed to be supplied by the spring. We could see the water boiling out of the mud in several places. The grass on the banks of this lake is very good. After watering our teams we proceeded on our journey, at 2:50 p. m., bearing a southwest course over a rolling prairie. About eight miles from the spring there is a steep descent from a bluff, and at the foot there is a ridge of sharp-pointed rocks, running parallel with the road for nearly a quarter of a mile, leaving only a narrow space for the wagons to pass and the road is very rough.
At 7:40 we encamped on a small spot, surrounded by high bluffs, having traveled ten and one-quarter miles and during the day twenty-one and one-half miles. Our camp ground this evening is the poorest we have had for some time; very little grass and no wood and bad water. The country is sandy and barren, very little vegetation growing here. There is plenty of wild sage, and several low marshes near our camp ground, where our cattle get mired. O. P. Rockwell came into camp and reported that he had a fat buffalo about two miles from the camp. A team was sent out to bring it in, which did not return for some time after dark. Myers killed two buffaloes and took the tallow and tongues, and left the meat to rot on the prairie. J. Norton and A. Gibbons left the camp at the springs and went out hunting, expecting that we would remain there until Monday. Gibbons has not been heard from since. Norton has returned and reported, that he had killed a buffalo back near the springs.
Sunday, June 20th. –The morning was fine. We found two oxen almost buried in the mud. At 5:15 we left this miserable place. The first mile was very bad traveling, there being several steep pitches to pass over. A number of the brethren went ahead with picks and spades to improve the road. We traveled three and three-quarters miles and halted at 7 a. m. for breakfast near a small stream of clear spring water. The feed is good but there is no wood. Brother Kimball and [Ezra Taft] Benson state that, when they were riding ahead last evening to find a camp ground, they saw six men suddenly spring up out of the grass, with blankets, that looked like Indians. They turned their
horses and rode in a parallel direction to the road. The brethren also kept on their course. After going a short distance one of the supposed Indians left the rest and rode toward the brethren and motioned with his hand for them to go back. They went, on and paid no regard to him. When he discovered that he could not bluff them off, he turned his horse and run for the others, and all put spurs to their horses and galloped off. They soon descended a ridge and were soon out of sight. Brothers Kimball and Benson run their horses to the top of the ridge and discovered a camp about a mile off. The brethren were satisfied that those Indians were Missourians, and that they had taken this plan to keep us back from this camp ground. It is considered an old Missouri trick and an insult to our camp, and if they undertake to play Indian games, they might meet with Indian treatment.
Their camp left here a little before we arrived this morning. It is President Young's intention to press on a little faster, and crowd them up, to see how they will like it. We have learned from one of the emiGrants in the rear that Andrew Gibbons staid with them last night, and that when he arrived at the springs he found a Missouri company there and us gone. He told them where the buffalo was and they went and got it. At 9:15 we proceeded on our journey, and after traveling three miles we arrived at the Willow Springs and halted a little while to water. The spring is about two feet wide and the water about ten inches deep; clear, and as cold as ice. The grass is very good here and it is a very good camp ground. About a quarter of a mile beyond the spring we ascend a hill, which is about one mile from the foot to the top of it, and the ascent very steep.
From the top of the hill snow can be seen on the top of the mountains a long distance off. The Red Buttes appear only a few miles distant. Three-quarters of a mile further we found good feed, but no wood or water. We traveled one and one-quarter miles and came to a heavy slough. About a mile from this place we ascended a very steep bluff, and at 2:45 we stopped to feed in a ravine, where the grass is very good and a good stream of water about a quarter of a mile south of the road, but there is no wood. We have traveled nine miles this forenoon over a barren, sandy country, there being no feed only in spots as above mentioned. At 5 o'clock we proceeded on our journey, and after traveling two and one-half 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 feed.
We crossed a stream one and three-quarters miles further, of clear water about six feet wide and one foot deep, but there is neither grass nor timber on its banks. After traveling seven miles this afternoon we turned off of the road to the left, and at 8:20 we found our camp ground, as selected bv Brother Kimball, on a ridge near the above mentioned creek, about a quarter of a mile from the road. Our travel this afternoon was seven and one-quarter miles, exclusive of turning off from the road, and during the day twenty miles. There is no wood and we have to use the sage roots for cooking, as it grows wild in abundance in this region. Brothers Woodruff and J. Brown went ahead this morning and have not been seen or heard of since.
Monday, June 21st.–The morning was very fine and warm, and at 8:35 a. m. we proceeded on our journey. After traveling three and one-quarter miles we came to a bed of saleratus, which was a quarter of a mile across, and on which were several lakes of salt water. This place looks swampy and smells bad. Lorenzo Young gathered a pailful in a short time, and tested its qualities, which he considers very good. It is reported by travelers that there is poison springs in this region, but we have not yet seen any. It is probably the brakish water, which tastes some of saleratus, that make them call it poison springs. We passed along a little further and saw two more lakes of the same nature, with the banks mostly white with saleratus. At 12 o'clock we arrived on the bank of the Sweet Water, having come nine and one-half miles over a very sandy road, destitute of wood, water and feed. The distance from the upper ferry on the Platte is forty-nine miles. There has formerlv been a ford here, but latelv it has been crossed about a mile higher up. The river is probably about seven or eight rods wide and about three feet deep at the fording place, but much deeper in other places. The current runs very swift and the water tastes good, but is some muddy.
On the river there is plenty of good grass, but no wood. There is plenty of wild sage, which answers for fuel. Brother G. Billings and [Robert Erwin] Baird went back about a half mile and got a bucket of the saleratus. Brother Kimball was ahead looking out a camp ground and he and Brother Richards were close to Independence Rock, about a half mile ahead, when they waved their hats for us to come on there, but we did not see them. The day has been very hot and no wind, which makes it very unpleasant traveling. Here Brothers Woodruff and Brown passed the camp. They had passed the night with one of the Oregon companies.
There are many huge hills or ridges and masses of granite rock in this neighborhood, all destitute of vegetation, and presenting a very wild and desolate as well as romantic appearance. The brethren killed two snakes here. Some of the brethren went ahead to view Independence Rock, which is about a half mile west of where we are encamped. The river runs within about three rods of the rock and runs about a west course, while the rock runs a northwest direction. It is a barren mass of bare granite, more so than any others in this region, and is probably 400 yards long and 80 yards wide, and about 100 yards perpendicular height, as near as Brother Clayton could judge. The ascent is very difficult all around, but the southwest corner appears to be the easiest to ascend. There are hundreds of persons who have visited it and painted their names there with different colored paint, both male and female.
At 3 p. m. we proceeded on our journey. Brother Clayton put up a guide board opposite the rock with the following inscription: "To Fort John, 175¾ miles. Pioneers, July 21st, 1847, W. R." Dr. Richards requests that his brand be put on all the signboards that the Saints might know them, as his brand is generally known by the Church. After traveling one mile beyond the rock we crossed the river, all the wagons crossing without difficulty. We then continued a southwest course and traveled four and one-half miles when we were opposite to the Devil's Gate, which is a little west of the road. We traveled a quarter of a mile further, where the road passes between two high ridges of granite rocks, leaving a surface of about two rods of level ground on each side of the road. The road then bends to the west, and a quarter of a mile further we passed over a small creek about two feet wide, but very bad to cross, it being deep and muddy.
We proceeded on a short distance and found our encampment at 6:35 on the banks of the river, having traveled seven and three-quarters miles this afternoon and during the day fifteen and one-quarter miles. The feed is very good here, but wood is scare. I went to view the Devil's Gate, and while ascending the rocks I fell in with some of the brethren, and we went up in company. Where we arrived at the top of the east rock we found it perpendicular. The river runs between two high rocky ridges, which were measured by Brother Pratt and found to be 399 feet 6½ inches high and about 200 yards long. The river has a channel of about three rods in width through the pass, which increases its swiftness, and it dashes furiously against the huge fragments of rocks, which has fell from the mountains, and the roaring can be heard a long distance. It has truly a romantic appearance, and the view over the surrounding country is very sublime. The Sweet Water [Sweetwater] mountains show high and appear spotted with snow. Mountains can be seen from twenty to thirty miles distant. West of us, covered with snow, the high barren rocky ridges on the north side of the river, seem to continue for many miles.
Tuesday, June 22nd. –The morning was fine, and at 7:20 we continued our journey, and when about 200 yards from where we camped we crossed a very crooked creek, about six feet wide, descending from the southwest. After traveling about three miles over a very heavy sandy road, we crossed another creek, about two feet wide. Brother Lorenzo Young broke an axletree, which detained him for some time. One of the Oregon company came up, and one of them took Brother Young's load into his wagon, and spliced his axletree, which enabled him to follow the camp. At 11:55 we halted on the bank of the river to feed, having traveled ten miles over a very sandy, barren land, there being no grass only on the banks of the creeks and the banks of the river. During the halt Brother Pratt took an observation and found the latitude to be 42 degrees 28 minutes 24 seconds.
The Oregon company passed us while we were getting up our teams. At 2:25 we started again, the road leaving the river, and traveled about a half mile, passing a large lake on our left.
After traveling five and three-quarters miles we crossed a creek about six feet wide and a foot deep, the banks on either side being steep and sandy. The banks of the creek are lined with wild sage, which is very large and thick, instead of with grass. Brother Kimball named it Sage Creek. After passing the creek one and three-quarters miles we again arrived at the banks of the river, and continued to travel near to it, and on three and three-quarters miles we crossed a stream three feet wide, but not to be depended on for water. At 7:50 we encamped at the foot of a very high gravely hill and near the river, having traveled this afternoon ten and three-quarters miles, and during the day twenty and three-quarters miles, mostly over a sandy road. The feed is very good here, and is well worth traveling a few miles further for. Brothers [Lewis] Barney and Hancock have each killed an antelope today, but there appears to be no buffalo in the neighborhood. The camp is all well and we continue to be prospered on our journey.
Wednesday, June 23rd. –The morning was pleasant and warm, and we proceeded on our journey soon after 6 o'clock and traveled one and one-half miles, where we crossed a very shallow stream of clear cold water, about five feet wide. There is but little grass here, but there is a number of bitter cottonwood trees growing on its banks. There being no name on the map for this creek, it is called Bitter Cottonwood Creek. It is probable that this stream is caused by the melting snow on the mountains, and, if so, it should not be depended upon for a camp ground in the dryer summer.
After traveling five miles beyond the last mentioned stream, we again descended to the banks of the river, where there would be a very good camp ground. We traveled until 11:05 on the bank of the river, and then halted for noon, as the road and the river separated at this point and the road was very sandy. Our course has been about south. The day has been very warm with a high south breeze. At 1:10 we continued our journey, and after traveling six and three-quarters miles we came to the banks of the river, and at 6:20 we encamped, having made eight and one-half miles this afternoon and seventeen miles during the day. There is plenty of grass on the river banks, but no wood. There is two Oregon companies about a mile ahead of us. Brother Frost set up his forge after we stopped and done some work for the Missourians. The Sweet Water [Sweetwater] Mountains appear very plain from here, and all of the mountains that are in sight are all covered with snow.
Thursday, June 24th. –This morning was fine but cool. We proceeded on our journey at 6:15, and after traveling a little over five miles we came to a swampy place, where there is some water standing, and there is a hole here called the Ice Spring, the ice in it being about four inches thick, and the water tastes good. A short distance further we passed two lakes on our left, the water of which tastes soft and is not fit for use. After traveling ten and one-quarter miles from the Ice Spring, over a very uneven road, we descended a very steep bluff, close in the rear of an Oregon company. The other company baited a few miles back and we passed them.
At 3:30 we turned a little south from the road and found a camp ground, and formed a line so as to close a bend of the river. We came seventeen and three-quarters miles without stopping. The feed is good here, and there are plenty of willows, which answers for fuel. The river is about three rods wide, and the water clear and cool. A little before dark, when the brethren were driving up their teams, one of President Young's best horses got shot. While driving him up he tried to run back, when John Holman reached out his gun to stop him. The cock caught in his clothes and it went off, the load entering the horse's body. The horse walked to camp, but it is thought by many it cannot live. The ball entered a little forward of his right hind leg, and he appears to be in much pain.
Friday, June 25th.–The morning was fine but cool. The President's horse is dead. At 6:40 we started on our journey, and forded the river a quarter of a mile below where we camped, the water being about three feet deep and the current very swift. We traveled about a half mile and came to a stream about a rod wide and a foot deep. It appears to come from the north and empty into the river. About a half mile beyond this stream we turned to the northwest and began to ascend a very high bluff, it being over one and one-half miles to the top of it. I was informed, while crossing the river, that Brother Whipple could not find a yoke of his oxen. I went up to the top of the bluff and looked back to the north and discovered two oxen lying down in a ravine near the river. I went back and, while preparing to ford the river, I discovered Brother George Billings hunting for them, and called to him to come and get them.
I remained at the river until he drove them up, the camp being about three miles ahead. I staid with them for about four and one-quarter miles from where we encamped. We came to the river, and traveled a little further, ascending a very steep, sandy ridge, and after leaving the west foot of the ridge we came to a stream about twenty-five feet wide, and a quarter of a mile further we crossed the same, which was only six feet wide. The last crossing the banks were very soft. About 12 o'clock we caught up with the camp, they having halted for noon, having come eight and three-quarters miles. The wind was blowing very strong from the northwest, making it cold and unpleasant traveling. Brother Pratt took an observation at this place and found the latitude to be 42 degrees 28 minutes 36 seconds.
At 1:20 we proceeded on our journey, the road running on the river bank for about two miles, when we began to ascend hill after hill for three miles. After traveling seven and three-quarters miles over a very uneven road we came to a low, swampy place which was very difficult to cross. About one and one-third miles beyond the swamp a creek, about a foot wide, was crossed and another a quarter of a mile further about two feet wide. At 6:45 we formed our encampment on the north side of a creek about five feet wide, having come this afternoon eleven and one-half miles and during the day twenty and one-quarter miles. This is a good camp ground, with wood, water and grass in plenty.
Saturday, June 26th. –The morning was very cold and we had a severe frost last night. At 7:40 we crossed the creek and proceeded on our journey, and after traveling one mile we passed a small creek south of the road and two and one-half miles beyond we crossed a branch of the Sweet Water about two rods wide and two feet deep, with willows growing on the banks, making it a very good camp ground. After crossing the last stream, we crossed another high range of hills, from which we had a good view of Table Rock to the southwest, and the high broken chain of mountains of the Wind River on the north. At 12:40 we halted for noon on the main branch of the Sweet Water [Sweetwater], having traveled eleven miles.
The river here is about three rods wide and three feet deep and the current is very swift, the water being very clear and cold. The snow lays on its banks in some places six and eight feet deep. This is a lovely place for a camp ground. Some of the younger folks amused themselves snowballing each other on a large bank of snow. Eric Glines came into camp soon after we halted, having left the brethren at the upper ferry on the Platte River. At 2:20 we proceeded on our journey, ascending a high hill, and found the road pretty good –latitude 42 degrees 22 minutes 62 seconds. After traveling seven miles we arrived on a level spot of low land, where we found some grass and halted, while President Young and some others went over the ridge to look out a camp ground. Brother Young sent back word for the camp to come on. Leaving the road and traveling a northwest course we found our camp ground, at 6:45, on the banks of the Sweet Water about a quarter of a mile from the road, having come this afternoon seven and three-quarters miles, and during the day eighteen and three-quarters miles. This is a good camp ground, there being plenty of grass and willows.
Brothers Kimball, Pratt and some others went ahead and about dark Brother Young told me I had better get up a horse, as there was a small company going in search of them, and he wanted me to go along with them. We got about a mile from the camp and met Brother Kimball traveling on foot, who informed us that Brother Pratt and the others were encamped about six miles ahead, with a small party of mountaineers, who were going to the states. The word came to Brother Kimball that there was no prospect of finding water without traveling some distance ahead. He was to go ahead and find a camp ground, and if the teams were tired they could stop and feed, and then go on again, but finding a good camp ground over the bluffs to the right, it was thought best to stop for the night. Brother Kimball not seeing the camp coming up, started back alone with any fire arms and traveled six miles after dark.
The brethren made a fire on the ridge south of the camp, which he saw some distance off. When he got to camp he was about tired out, as he had traveled on foot about fifteen miles in the afternoon, which blistered his feet very bad. It is ascertained that we are about two miles from the descending ridge of the South Pass by the road. This ridge divides the headwaters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific, and, although not the highest land we have traveled over, may with propriety, be said to be the summit of the South Pass.
Sunday, June 27th. –The morninig was fine, but cold. The ox teams started at 7:55 and the horse teams soon after. The camp passed the eight men that were going back. Thev had twenty horses and mules, mostly laden with packs, and some of the brethren sent letters back by them. We went two and three-quarters miles and arrived at the dividing ridge. Brother Pratt took a barometrical observation and found the altitude to be ….. This spot is 278½ miles from Fort John (Laramie) and is supposed to divide the Oregon and Indian Territories by a line running north and south. Between two and three miles further we arrived at the place where Brother Pratt and company camped last night, at the head waters of Green River, and, although the streams are small, we have the satisfaction of seeing the currents run west instead of east.
There is good grass here, but no wood. One of the mountaineers is traveling with us today. He wants to pilot some of the companies to Oregon. He has two pack mules loaded with skins to trade. His name is Harris. He gives a very discouraging account of Bear River Valley and the surrounding country. He said: ''It is destitute of timber or vegetation, and the country is sandy, nothing growing there but wild sage." We crossed the stream, which is about three feet wide, and stopped on its bank to feed about 12 o'clock, having come six and three-quarter miles. The latitude of this place is 42 deg. 18 min. 58 sec. At 2:25 we started on again, the roads being pretty good. At 7:20 we encamped on the west bank of the Dry Sandy, having traveled nine miles, and during the day fifteen and a quarter miles. There is no wood here and but little water, and the feed is poor.
Monday, June 28th. –The morning was fair, and many of the brethren are trading with Mr. Harris for buckskins. I tried to trade with him, but I considered them too high. He sold them from $1.50 to $2.00, and made into pants $3.00 and $4.00. At 7:30 we proceeded on our journey, Mr. Harris waiting for the Oregon company to come up. After traveling about six miles the road forked, one continuing a west course and the other taking a southwest course. We took the left hand road to California. The junction of the road is 297½ miles from Fort John (Laramie).
About 1:40 we arrived at the Little Sandy and stopped on its east bank to feed, having traveled fourteen and a quarter miles without seeing wood or water or feed for our teams. This wide on an average, but at the fording place it is over three rods wide and two and a half feet deep, the water being muddy and the current swift. At 5:15 we commenced fording the river, and at 5:45 all the wagons were over safe, with no other loss than two tar buckets. After traveling a short distance we were met by Mr. Bridger, the principal man of the fort which bears his name, on his way to Fort John, accompanied by two men.
As we wished to make some inquiries about the country, he said if we would encamp he would stay with us all night. We turned off the road a quarter of a mile and encamped near the Sandy at 6 o'clock, having come a mile and three-quarters, and during the day fifteen and a quarter miles. We found the feed pretty good. Soon after we encamped the Twelve and some others went to Mr. Bridger to make some inquiries about the country. I understand that it was impossible to form a correct idea from the very imperfect and irregular way in which he gave the description. My health has been very poor for the last two days. I have been afflicted with a very severe headache, but feel a little better this evening. As I had not washed my clothing for some time, I was under the necessity of washing this evening, and did not get through until after dark. After I ate supper I went down to where Mr. Bridger was encamped, and from his appearance and conversation, I should not take him to be a man of truth. In his description of Bear River Valley and the surrounding country, which was very good, he crossed himself a number of times. He said that Harris knew nothing about that part of the country. He says there is plenty of timber there; that he had made sugar for the last twenty years where Harris said there was no timber of any kind. But it is my opinion that, he spoke not knowing about the place, that we can depend on until we see for ourselves. Brother King is sick and there are many in the camp complaining. Brother Kimball does all in his power for the comfort of those that are sick around him.
Tuesday, June 29th. –The morning was very pleasant, and we started at 7:40 a. m., traveling over a very good road, though a barren land. At 10:45 we halted for noon, near the banks of the Big Sandy, having traveled six and three-quarters miles. Most of the second division stopped on the other side of the river, the first division stopping on the north side. The stream appears to be about seven rods wide at this place and two feet deep in the channel. There is some timber on its banks and pretty good feed.
At 1:30 we again proceded on our journey, the road being tolerably good. After traveling nine and a half miles Brother Young, who has been ahead, rode back and told the camp that they would have to travel at least six miles before they could find feed. It was then 6:15, but at 9:05 we found ourselves again on the low lands near the banks of the river. We traveled since noon seventeen miles, and during the day twenty-three and three-quarters miles. The feed is very good here. The brethren found some willows about a mile from the camp, which answered for cooking.
Wednesday, June 30th. –The morning was hot, but at 8:15 we proceeded on our .journey. Several of the brethren were reported sick, and not able to drive their teams. The brethren are all taken alike, with violent pains in the head and back and a very hot fever. Some think it is caused by using the salaratus that was picked up on the lakes. At 11:30 we arrived on the banks of the Green River, having traveled eight miles. It is about as wide as the Platte, and the current is swift. After dinner the second divsion was called together, and twelve men selected to build a raft. The first division also went to work to build a raft.
There were men picked out to guard the cattle and some to burn charcoal. Brothers George Billings and Whipple are very sick. Brother Kimball told me to baptize Brother Billings, as he had a very high fever. He got relief immediately.
This afternoon Brother Samuel Brannon arrived from the Bay of San Francisco and had two men with him. One of them I have seen in Nauvoo. His name is Smith. Brother Brannon sailed with a company from New York. He reported them all doing well. There has been some few deaths among them. He gives a very favorable account of the country. About dark the brethren completed the rafts.
9.–ROCKY MOUNTAINS, JULY, 1847.
Thursday, July 1st, 1847. –This morning was pleasant, and the brethren commenced crossing wagons. The raft made by the second division did not work well, the logs being water soaked. They went to work to make another raft. The wind blew high today and we only got fourteen wagons across. Brother Clayton was taken very sick this morning.
Friday, July 2nd. –The morning was calm and pleasant. I crossed the river early this morning, and helped the brethren finish the raft, and about 9 o'clock we commenced crossing the wagons. The Twelve had a council and decided to send three or four men back to pilot the next company up.
Saturday, July 3rd. –The morning was pleasant, and about noon we got the last wagon over. We hauled one of the rafts up on the east side of the river for the next company. Brothers Young and Kimball went ahead to look out a camp ground. The brethren returned soon after noon and gave orders for us to harness our teams, and at 3:15 we again proceeded on our journey, coming three miles and encamping on the river. The feed was good. The brethren were called together this evening and volunteers called for to go back to meet the companies, when the following persons offered their services: Phineas Young, Aaron Farr, Eric Glines, Rodney Badger and George Woodard. As there were not spare horses enough in the camp for each man to ride, President Young let them have a light wagon to carry their provisions.
Sunday, July 4th. –The morning was fine and pleasant, and the five brethren started back to meet the camps. President Young and Kimball and others went back to the ferry with them. While they were absent some of the brethren assembled in the circle for meeting. At 2:30 the brethren returned from the ferry, accompanied by twelve of the brethren from Pueblo, who belonged to the army. They report the remainder of the company about eight days' travel behind. One of Brother Crow's oxen was found dead this afternoon. My health is very poor, for I have taken cold from working in the water, which has brought on the mountain fever again. It is a distressing complaint, and I took a lobelia emetic this evening, and H. C. Kimball administered to me, which relieved me some.
Monday, July 5th. –At 8 o'clock we proceeded on our journey, though there are many of the brethren sick. I spent a very sick night. We traveled three and a half miles on the banks of the river, at which point the road leaves the river and bends to the westward. At 4:45 we arrived at Black 's Fork and encamped, having come twenty miles, sixteen and a half of it without water. This stream is about six rods wide and the current is very swift. There is a place where we might have saved a mile by digging down a bank. We have passed over several steep places today.
Tuesday, July 6th. –The morning was very pleasant, and at 7:50 we started on our journey. We traveled four and three-quarters miles and crossed Haw's [Ham’s] Fork, a rapid stream about three rods wide and two feet deep. It would be a good camp ground, as the feed is good. We came a mile and a half further and crossed Black's Fork, a stream about eight rods wide and two and a half feet deep. There is but little grass on its banks. After traveling eleven miles beyond the last stream we crossed a small creek about two feet wide. At 4 o'clock we crossed Black's Fork again, and encamped on its banks, having come eighteen and one-quarter miles.
Wednesday, July 7th. –We proceeded on our journey at 7:45 a. m., and after traveling two and one-half miles we crossed Black's Fork again. There is an abundance of good feed here, and a large quantity of wild flax, also beautiful flowers growing. We traveled two and three-quarter miles further and crossed a stream about two rods wide and two feet deep, the current being very swift. At 12 o'clock we halted for noon on the banks of the last stream, having traveled nine miles over a very rough road. The wind blows strong, which makes it dusty and disagreeable traveling.
At 1:40 we started again, and after traveling seven and a half miles we came in sight of a number of Indian lodges on the south side of the road. The most of them are occupied by half-breed traders. There are also American traders here. One of them, Mr. Goodall, was one who passed us at the Platte River. We continued on and crossed four streams that would average about a rod wide, the current being very swift, when we arrived at Fort Bridger, which is 397 miles from Fort John. We came about half a mile past the fort and encamped, after crossing three more creeks. This afternoon we traveled eight and three-quarters miles, and during the day seventeen and three-quarters miles. Grass is much higher at this place than we have generally seen it. The whole region seems to be filled with rapid streams, all bending their way to the principal fork. They all, doubtless, originate from the melting snows in the mountains.
Bridger's Fort is composed of two log houses, about forty feet long each, and joined by a pen for horses, about ten feet high, and constructed by placing poles upright in the ground close together. There are several Indian lodges close by, and a full crop of young children, playing around the doors. The Indians are said to be the Snake tribe. The latitude of Fort Bridger is 41 deg. 19 min. 13 sec., and its height above the level of the sea, according to Elder Pratt's observation, is 6665 feet.
Thursday, July 8th. –The morning was fine, but the wind was high. It was thought best to stop here today to set some wagon tires, and let the brethren have an opportunity to trade. I traded off two rifles, one belonging to Brother Whipple and one to Brother G. Billings, for nineteen buck skins and three elk skins and some other articles for making moccasins. A council met and settled some difficulty between George Mills and Andrew Gibbons. It was decided that Thomas Williams and S. Brannon should return from here and meet Captain Brown's company from Pueblo.
Friday, July 9th. –We started at 8 o'clock on our journey westward, the road being rough. We traveled six and a half miles and arrived at the Springs, where we halted to rest our teams. We then proceeded on three and a quarter miles and began to ascend a long, steep hill, near the top of which Brother Pratt took observations and found the latitude to be 41 deg. 16 min. 11 sec. It is eight miles from Fort Bridger. The descent from the top of this hill is the steepest and most dificult we have ever met with, it being long and almost perpendicular. At 3 o'clock we crossed the Muddy Fork, a stream about twelve feet wide, and encamped on its banks, having traveled six and three-quarters miles, and during the day thirteen miles. There is plenty of tall bunch grass here. The day has been warm and dusty.
Saturday, July 10th. –At 8 o'clock we proceeded on our journey, and after traveling three and a half miles we passed a small copperas spring at the foot of a mountain, a little to the left of the road; and two and a half miles from this spring we found a very steep and rough place to descend, and found it necessary to stop halfway down and repair the road. About twenty miles from Fort Bridger we passed another spring, came a short distance further and arrived at the bottom, where the grass was very plentiful. At 1:45 we halted for noon, having come nine miles, which is in latitude 41 deg. 14 min. 21 sec. In about an hour and a half we again proceeded on our journey, and traveled three and a half miles, where we began to ascend the dividing ridge between the waters of the Colorado and the Great Basin. This mountain is very high, and the ascent is very steep.
The descent was very steep, and we had to lock our wheels for about a half mile, where we traveled on the bottom a few miles between high, rugged mountains. After rising another high ridge, we crossed a small creek about ten feet wide. At 7:45 we encamped on its banks, having traveled this afternoon nine miles, and during the day eighteen miles, over the most mountainous road we have yet seen. Soon after we encamped Mr. Miles Goodier [Goodyear] came into our camp. He is the man who is settled near the Salt Lake. He thinks it is about seventy-five miles from here to his place. He gives a favorable report of the country. There is a beautiful spring of water 100 yards south-west of our camp.
Sunday, July 11th. –The morning was very cool, and we found ice in our water pails. During the day some of the brethren found an oil spring, about one mile south of the camp. It resembled tar and is very oily. Porter Rockwell and Brother Little and some others went with Mr. Goodier to look out the road. After dark the brethren were called together to decide which road they would take, as there are two roads. They decided to take the right hand road.
Monday, July 12th. –The morning was cloudy and cool, and we proceeded on our journey at 7:30, traveled one and one-quarter miles and ascended a very steep hill, and a half mile further we crossed Bear river, a very rapid stream about six rods wide and two feet deep, the banks of which were lined with willows and a little timber. About half a mile from the ford we passed over another high ridge, and descended into a narrow bottom, which appeared fertile, there being plenty of grass, but no timber. Beyond Bear river three-quarters of a mile we passed a spring of clear, cold water, and at 11:50 we halted for noon, having come nine and three-quarters miles.
President Young was taken sick this forenoon. After resting two hours all the camp, except eight wagons, proceeded on their journey. President Young not being able to go on, Brother Kimball's three wagons remained behind. Brother Rockwood is also very sick.
Tuesday, July 13th. –This morning was pleasant. Brother Brown and Brother Mathews returned and reported that the camp was six and three-quarters miles ahead. Brother Kimballand myself returned with the brethren to the camp. Brother Young and Brother Rockwood remained very sick today. When Brother Kimball arrived at the camp, he called a meeting andproposed that a company go ahead with Elder Pratt to hunt out the road. Soon after dinner a company of twenty wagons, with Brother Pratt at their head, prepared to go ahead. About a half mile west from the camp there is a cave in the rocks about forty feet long and fifteen feet wide and about five feet high. At 3 o'clock we returned back to the camp, accompanied by George A. Smith.
The following is a list of the names of those who have gone ahead: Orson Pratt (commander of the company), Stephen Markham (aid), O. P. Rockwell, J. Redding, Nathaniel Fairbanks, James [Joseph] Egbert, John S. Freeman, Marcus B. Thorpe, Robert Crow, Benjamin B. Crow, John Crow, Walter H. Crow, George W. Thirlkill, James Chesney, Lewis B. Myers, John Brown, Shadrack Roundy, H. C. Hansen, Levi Jackman, Lyman Curtis, David Powers, Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay, Joseph Mathews, Gilbert Sumner [Gilbard Summe], Gilbroid Sumne, Green Flake, John S. Gleason, Charles Burke, Norman Taylor, A. P. Chesley, Seth Taft, Horace Thornton, Stephen Kelsey, David Grant, James W. Stewart, Robert Thomas, C. D. Barnum, John S. Eldredge, Elijah Newman, Francis Boggs, Levi N. Kendall.
First division ........................................... 7 wagons 15 men
Second division ......................................16 wagons 27 men
Total ........................................23 wagons 42 men
Wednesday, July 14th.–The morning was pleasant. Elder Woodruff and [Barnabus Lathrop] Adams came from the other camp to see the sick, who were getting better. Brothers Woodruff and Adams ate supper with Brother Kimball. Brother Woodruff is going to bring his carriage in the morning for Brothers Young and Rockwood to ride in, as they think they will be able to go ahead in the morning. I went on the top of a high mountain with Brothers Kimball, Benson, and L. Young and offered our prayers to the Almighty God in behalf of the sick and for our dear families.
Thursday, July 15th.–The morning was cloudy. About 8 o'clock Elder Woodruff arrived with his carriage, and we started soon after, and at 12 o'clock we arrived at the camp ahead, when orders were given for the brethren to gather up their teams, and at 1:40 we proceeded on our journey. Just before we started we had a refreshing shower. After traveling two miles we passed a cool spring of water at the foot of a hill to the right of the road. At 3:30 we encamped near the foot of a high red bluff, having traveled four and a half miles. We had two more beautiful showers this afternoon. The feed is good here, and a good spring of water to the left of the road.
Friday, July 16th.–This morning we had two pleasant showers, accompanied with loud thunder. At 8:45 we proceeded on our journey, and traveled through a narrow ravine (Echo canyon), between very high mountains. After traveling one and one-half miles we passed a steep ravine, where most of the teams had to double to get up. A half mile further we crossed the creek and found the crossing very bad. [Eli] Harvey Peirce broke his wagon reach and bolster. While they were repairing the wagon, the brethren found a better place to cross the creek. At 12:30 we halted to feed, having traveled six and three-fourths miles.
O. P. Rockwell returned from Brother Pratt's company, and reported that it is about twenty-five or thirty miles to the canyon, they have found, that leads to the cut-off over the mountains. They expect to arrive at the top of the mountains today. At 2:20 we proceeded on our journey. The road winds through a narrow bottom, bounded by high mountains on each side, towering some hundreds of feet above our heads, our road sometimes running over small hills, and through dense thickets of willows. At 6 p. m. we encamped, having traveled nine and one-fourth miles, and during the day sixteen and three-fourths miles. A short distance ahead can be seen Weber fork.
Saturday, July 17. –It was a bright and beautiful morning, and we started about 8:30 a. m. The ten to which Father [Solomon] Chamberlain belongs (eleventh ten), remained behind until his wagon was repaired. We descended a sloping hill, and came to the Weber fork, and turned short to the right, came a mile and a half and encamped on its banks, about 10 a. m., having traveled about two and one-half miles. The reason of our stopping so soon was in consequence of President Young being suddenly taken quite ill, and could not endure to travel any farther today.
The river is bounded in places by high banks, being lined on either side with dry and green cottonwood trees. The grass is very good on the bottom. I went in company with Elders Kimball, G. A. Smith, Dr. Richards, Brother Benson and others, nine in all, to the top of a very high mountain, and clothed ourselves to pray for President Young and others that were sick, and for our families, etc., etc. We had a glorious time, and I thank the Lord for the privilege. About 6 o'clock, Brother Kimball requested me to ride ahead with him and three or four others to see the canyon, which we supposed to be about seven miles from the camp, but when we arrived there it was dark and we could not see much. The evening turned very cold and we started for the camp and arrived about 10:30 p. m.
Sunday, July 18th. –It was a pleasant morning, and the camp was called together before breakfast, at Dr. Richard's wagon, when Brother Kimball addressed them. He told them that President Young was very sick, and it was his mind that the brethren should stay in the camp and not go out hunting or fishing, but have a meeting, and offer up our prayers in behalf of President Young and others who were sick and afflicted. It was motioned that the brethren meet at 10 a. m., the meeting to be conducted by the bishops. We had a very good meeting. It was decided that the camp move on in the morning, except a few wagons to remain with Brother Young; and the first good place they could find they were to put in seeds, such as potatoes, in order to save the seed –buckwheat and all kinds that would grow this season of the year. After an hour's intermission the brethren came together again and partook of the Sacrament. Brother Kimball gave us some good instructions, which done my soul good, and we had a very good meeting.
Monday, July 19th. –The morning was pleasant, and the portion of the camp that were going ahead, forty-one wagons, started at 7:45, leaving fifteen wagons to remain. Three of Brother Kimball's wagons remained behind and three went ahead. Dr. Richards lost one of his steers, and had to remain behind until we started, which was about 9:30. We traveled about a mile and a half and encamped. Soon after we stopped I rode ahead, with Elder Kimball, George A. Smith, Benson and Woodruff, to view the country About two miles ahead we caught up with Dr. Richards' teams and one mile further we found Brother E. Snow with his wagon broke down. We traveled about four miles further and came up with the camp, about 1 p. m. near the top of the mountain. We saw two springs on our way up, and crossed a small stream a number of times.
We descended the hill about two miles and then turned off to the right, and ascended a hill to see what direction the road ran. About two miles from the summit of the mountain, the road turned suddenly to the westward. Here Brother G. A. Smith left us and went on with the camp, and we returned to our camp. We found the flies very troublesome to our horses as we returned. We reached the camp about 4:30, having traveled about twenty miles. Brothers Cushing, [Carlos G.] Murray and some others rode ahead to see the canyon. The brethren have caught a number of trout. President Young is some better this evening. Elder Kimball's health is pretty good, but he is generally reduced, and fatigued by anxiety and riding and looking out roads, etc. All the sick are recovering. The evening is pleasant. In the canyon is a stream of water confined, flowing between rocks.
Tuesday, July 20th.–This morning was pleasant. President Young's health continues to improve, and it was thought best to travel in the cool of the morning, so we started at 5:30, came about one mile and crossed Weber river, which is about five or six rods wide and about two feet deep, and is a beautiful clear stream. We traveled about three-fourths of a mile and came to a guide board, put up by Willam Clayton, with the following inscription on it: "Pratt's Pass, to avoid the canyon; 74¼ miles from Fort Bridger." Here the road turns to the southwest. We traveled about two miles further and stopped to get breakfast, near a cool, clear stream of water. The feed is pretty good here, and there is some little wood, and it is a pretty good camp ground.
After one and one-half hours' stop, we again proceeded on our journey. I went ahead with four or five others to repair the road. We traveled about six miles, and encamped in a valley that is bounded in on all sides by mountains. There is plenty of feed and water here, and some willows and sage roots that answers for fuel. Elder Kimball and Benson went ahead to see if they could not travel much farther. The brethren returned about 3:30 and reported that they found a good camp ground about three and one-half miles ahead, where there was three wagons encamped. Brother [Stephen H.] Goddard, Father Case and William Smoot, who remained behind in consequence of sickness.
We started about 4:30 and traveled about a quarter of a mile and began to ascend a long winding hill, the road bending to the south; we then descended a hill which was very rough. We passed over a number of steep pitches, the road bending to the west for a short distance, and then to the south again. We then came to a beautiful stream, about two rods wide and eighteen inches deep, which we crossed twice in traveling about one-fourth of a mile, and encamped on its banks. The feed is good here, and the banks of the stream are lined with willows. It is reported that Brother Pratt's company is about eight miles ahead, and Brother G. A. Smith's wagon is broke down.
For about five miles, it is said, the road is very bad. We traveled today twelve and one-half miles.
Wednesday, July 21st. –The morning was warm and pleasant. Brother Young was not able to travel today, being much fatigued by yesterday's travel. Brothers Kimball, Benson and L. Young rode out to survey the country, and returned this afternoon. They had been to the canyon, which is about seven and one-half miles from here. The stream that we are encamped on, I understand, is Ogden's fork (East Canyon creek). Its course here is about north, but a short distance below, it turns suddenly to the west, and runs between two mountains, for a half mile it is very narrow. The brethren went down it about half way on foot and could not go any further. The water rushes between the rocks, and some places under them, and is six or eight feet deep in places. President Young is much better this evening, and will probably be able to travel tomorrow. Father Sherwood and the other brethren that are sick are much better. I spent part of this afternoon washing clothes. Brother Biard [Baird] and myself stood guard the better part of the night, last night.
Thursday, July 22nd. –The morning was cloudy. President Young is some better, and Father Sherwood is doing well. About 7:30 we again proceeded on our journey, about a south course, and traveled about two miles when Father Case rode up and reported that one of his wagon wheels had broken down. About a mile further we stopped. I went back in company with Brothers Kimball and Benson to help Father Case up. Brother Kimball cut a pole and we lashed it under the axletree, and put Brother Benson's horse ahead of the others and hauled him up. We had a light shower this forenoon. The brethren took out most of Father Case's load and we proceeded on our journey, having crossed Ogden's fork four times this forenoon. The road is stoney and rough. This afternoon we crossed the stream seven times, the road winding through a long narrow ravine, and over hills, and through dense thickets of willows and cottonwood groves. We came about eight miles and crossed a very bad slough. One of Brother Young's horses mired down. He had to unhitch him to get him out.
We then ascended a steep hill and found a billet, left by Brother Pratt, which read as follows: "July 20th, Canyon Creek, Tuesday morning: To Willard Richards, G. A. Smith or any of the Saints: From this point it is five miles west to the summit of the dividing ridge. The road will be of a moderate descent, and considerable better than the one you have passed over for a few miles back. The ravine up which you will go is without water, except two or three small springs, which soon loose themselves beneath the soil. You will pass through groves of quaking asp, balsam, and cottonwood, more than you have seen for many days. From the dividing ridge, you will make a more rapid descent. The hill for a short distance will be quite steep, though straight and smooth. We have descended worse since we left Fort Bridger. You will go down about six miles when you will find a camping place, the grass being middling good. You will find a small spring about 100 rods after leaving the dividing ridge, which soon loses itself in the soil. The bed of the stream remains mostly dry for two or three miles, where you will strike a stream nearly one-third as large as the one where I leave this note. Your road in descending will lead through quite a timbered forest, of principally aspens, but some underwood of oak and small maple. The soil is extremely rich. About one and one-half miles beyond the camping ground, above mentioned, you will find quite a lengthy hill, to avoid passing through a rough rocky canyon. You will then descend in a ravine for three or four miles onto a broad and comparatively level valley, and which is probably an arm of prairie, putting up among the mountains from the western outlet. Most respectfully–Orson Pratt."
"Elders Amasa Lyman, Charles C. Rich, and the saints: I leave you an extract of a letter from Orson Pratt found at this camping ground, for your benefit and guidance. Yours very truly, Thomas Bullock, Clerk of Pioneer Camp."
We then descended a steep hill and encamped on the banks of Ogden's fork about a quarter of a mile beyond where we found the letter, having traveled seven and one-half miles. The sick are getting better this evening.
Friday, July 23rd.–The morning was warm and pleasant, and we proceeded on our journey about 6:45, the road leaving the stream here and turning short to the west, and passing up a ravine, about a west course over a gradual ascent. The road is rough, rocky, and sideling in many places, and leads through dense thickets of underbrush, and quite a forest of hemlock and poplar trees. At length, after traveling about four miles, we attained the summit of the hill. Here we had a fine view of the snowy mountains and the open country in the distance. We have passed two or three springs during our travel this forenoon. We have begun to descend a long steep hill (Big mountain), part of the way we had to chain both wheels. The descent is winding over a rough road, there being many stumps to annoy us.
About half way down Brother L. Young's ox wagon turned over. His two little boys were in the wagon at the time, but providentially escaped uninjured, though part of the load, having been disarranged, rolled upon them, stopping up the entrance, but they were liberated by cutting a hole in the wagon cover.
As we descended, the road bearing to the south, we crossed a small stream six times, which ran along the base of the hill through a ravine (Parley's canyon), and after having come six and one-half miles down a gradual descent we encamped on an open area of ground, spoken of by Orson Pratt, as being an arm of prairie, putting up among the mountains from the western outlet, about 12 o'clock, having come this forenoon about eight and one-half miles.
While we were stopped here, J. Pack and Joseph Mathews rode up on horseback. They reported both companies of the brethren to be about fourteen miles ahead, encamped in a valley about twenty-five miles from Salt Lake, which could be seen in the distance to the northwest. When they left this morning the brethren were preparing to move four miles farther, and then stop and commence planting. They say the soil is very rich and fertile. They also brought a letter from
O. Pratt, G. A. Smith and W. Richards to President Young, giving an account of the road and the general features of the country, etc.
After a halt of about two hours we again proceeded on our journey, going south of west a short distance, the valley becoming more confined in its limits as we advanced, until we began to ascend a long steep hill, which is about one and one-half miles to the top. Here Brothers Pack and Mathews left us and went ahead. We began to descend a long steep hill (Little mountain), bearing a southwest course. The most of the way we had to chain both wheels. As we descended the above hill we saw an abundance of service berries. At 5 p. m. we encamped at the base of the hill, on the banks of a small clear stream of cool water (Emigration Canyon creek). Its banks are thickly skirted with quaking asp and cottonwood trees. We have come this afternoon three miles, and during the day eleven and one-half miles.
A short time after our arrival at this place, the sky became overcast with clouds, and a strong wind, setting in from the southwest, gives the appearance of a very heavy storm. The grass here is rather tall and rank, though in places is pretty good. The sick are gaining strength as fast as could be expected, considering the fatigue of the journey. The day has been the hottest we have experienced since we left Winter Quarters. There was not a breath of air in the ravine, and the dust was almost suffocating.
SEC. III.–WHAT WAS DONE AT SALT LAKE AND RETURN TRIP.
Saturday, July 24th. –The morning was pleasant. In getting up our horses we discovered that some were missing, two of Brother Whitney's and two of Brother Smoot's. The camp started, leaving Brothers Whitney's and Smoot's wagons behind. I rode ahead about a mile and could not find them, nor see any tracks. I then returned and went back about three miles and found them. After I got to the wagons, Brother Whitney and I got on our horses and rode ahead. The road was rough and uneven, winding along a narrow ravine, crossing the small stream, which we last encamped on, about fifteen or twenty times. We then left the ravine and turned to the right and ascended a very steep pitch, where we beheld the great valley of the Salt Lake spreading out before us.
My heart felt truly glad, and I rejoiced at having the privilege of beholding this extensive and beautiful valley, that may yet become a home for the Saints. From this point we could see the blue waters of the Salt Lake. By ascending one of the ridges at the mouth of this canyon, the view over the valley is at once pleasing and interesting. These high mountains on the east side, extending to the head of the valley, about fifty miles to the south, many of them white on the tops and crevises with snow. At the south end is another mountain, which bounds the valley in that direction, and at its western extremity it is joined by another range, forming its western boundary to the valley and extending in a northerly direction until it ceases abruptly nearly west of this place. The valley between these mountains is judged to be twenty-five to thirty miles wide at the north end of the last mentioned mountain. The level valley extends to the Salt Lake, which is plainly visible for many miles in a western direction from this place.
In the lake, and many miles beyond this valley, are two mountains projecting high in the air, forming a solemn but pleasing contrast with the dark blue waters of the lake. Beyond these two mountains and in the distnnce, in a direction between them, is another high dark mountain, suposed to be on the western boundary of the lake, and judged to be eighty to one hundred miles from here. At this distance we can see, apparently, but a small surface of the water, extending between this valley and the mountains referred to, but that surface is probably thirty miles wide. Looking to the northwest, another mountain appears, extending to the north till hidden by the eastern range. At the base of this mountain is a long ridge of white substance, which from its bright shining appearance is doubtless salt, and was probably caused by the dashing of the waves, and then hardened by the sun.
The whole surface of the valley appears, from here, to be level and beautiful. The distance from here to the lake is judged to be forty to fifty miles. Throughout the whole extent of the valley can be seen very many green patches of rich looking grass, which no doubt lays on the banks of creeks and streams. There is some little timber also on the streams and in the direction of the great lake many small lakes appear upon the surface, the waters of which are doubtless salty.
From a careful view of the appearance of the valley from this place, it cannot be concluded to be otherwise than rich and very fertile.
After leaving the canyon about two miles we came in sight of the other camps, a few miles to the west. Proceeding on we found the road descending gradually but very rapidly. At 11:45 we arrived at the camp of the brethren, having traveled nine and one-fourth miles today, making the total distance from the guide board at Pratt's Pass to this place 41¼ miles, and from Fort Bridger 115½ miles, and from Fort John (Laramie), 512½ miles.
On our arrival among the brethren we found them busily engaged in plowing and planting potatoes. They have already plowed a number of acres, and got considerable planted. Others of the brethren are engaged in building a dam on the creek to turn the water on the land, so as to supply the lack of rain by irrigation, for which this place is admirably adapted, on account of the many streams descending from the mountains. The descent being rapid, the water courses can easily be turned to any portion of the land at pleasure and little labor.
About 5 o'clock this evening the sky became overcast with clouds and the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance, and to all apearance there was a heavy storm approaching. The wind blew up strong from the southwest, when it began to rain, the wind changing to the north, but the heaviest of the storm passed to the southwest of us. Nothwithstanding, we had a sufficient rain to moisten the soil, which is quite encouraging to us.
This valley is bounded by high mountains, some of them covered with snow, and from what knowledge we have of it at present, this is the most safe and secure place the Saints could possibly locate themselves in. Nature has fortified this place on all sides, with only a few narrow passes, which could be made impregnable without much difficulty. The scarcity of timber has probably been the reason that this beautiful valley has not been settled long since by the Gentiles. But I think we can find sufficient timber up the creeks for present purposes, and also coal in the mountains. The saints have reason to rejoice, and thank the Lord for this goodly land unpopulated by the Gentiles.