Our Dalton family in Nauvoo
The Dalton family lived in Nauvoo from about 1843 to 1849, and then was forced to leave with the other Saints to a new life in the Great Salt Lake Valley:
Our Dalton family in Nauvoo arrived at different times. As yet we just don’t know the exact date’s, but we do know they helped in the building the Temple and guarding Joseph Smith.
We do know for sure that John Dalton Jr., Simon Cooker Dalton, Charles Dalton, Charles Wakeman Dalton, Henry Simon Dalton, Henry (Harry) Dalton and Edward Dalton was there at the same time. Also included were some wives and children of the older Dalton’s.
Daguerreotype of Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846 (probably taken by Lucien Foster)
We will let Cousin Leslie Crunk, of the Dalton Family Research Group’s tell of our Dalton’s first arrived in Nauvoo and then when they may have left for Utah.
I assume John Dalton Jr. & Rebecca and all their kids and Henry Simon Dalton all arrived together. John Dalton sold his land in Wisconsin on June 1, 1843. Now, whether he sold the land and then moved, or moved and then sold the land is not known. But, assuming he sold the land and then moved seems most likely. He probably needed the money in hand. So he MAY have arrived in Nauvoo about late June or early July 1843. We know that John bought two lots in Nauvoo but we don't know the dates. We only know that his land did not sell when he moved out of Nauvoo and he turned the land over to the church for $1. But that deed is dated way after he left the state, so it doesn't help pinpoint when he arrived or left Nauvoo.
Simon Cooker Dalton and his wife Anna and their 5 children all came to Nauvoo. Simon received an elder’s license on Oct 30, 1843 in Nauvoo. (Film #0581219 pg 117), so we know he was there by that date. Simon and Anna both received their Patriarchal Blessings on Dec. 27, 1845. They both received their endowments in Nauvoo on January 10, 1846. They were never sealed in Nauvoo. I assume she left shortly after getting her endowments when Simon decided to take a second wife! She left with the 3 youngest children. My understanding is that she went back to Michigan. After that I know next to nothing about her or the children she took with her. Simon and Elnora Berry were sealed in Nauvoo on February 4, 1846.
Charles Dalton and Mary Elizabeth Warner: They had a letter of introduction signed by their bishop or whoever in Albion, Michigan, dated Dec. 18, 1842. Now, whether they left Michigan in December in the middle of winter, we don't know. They may have waited until spring. We do know that Charles bought property on July 31, 1843. My guess is that they arrived as follows: remember this is a guess.
Simon Cooker Dalton
Our Dalton family was always good religious people. From their early start in Lancashire County England and Wales to their Presbyterian period in Pennsylvania up to the time most of them joined the LDS Church in Michigan and Nauvoo. Most of all John Dalton’s descendants still belong to the LDS Church today.
Our Dalton’s probably started hearing about the new gospel in the 1820’s while living in Bradford County Pennsylvania. In the map showing the early Mormon congregation locations in the 1830’s you will notice that Bradford, Tioga and Susquehanna Counties have L.D.S. branches.
Read the history of Harmony, Pennsylvania by Horace H. Christensen in this chapter to see that Joseph Smith was living with Isaac Hale, the father of Emma Hale, Joseph’s first wife.
There may be a personal link to how our Dalton’s heard about the teachings of this new religion. In reading the history of Henry Dalton, remember that Henry moved from Wysox Pennsylvania to Broome Co. New York before 1820. Henry’s first daughter, Jane Lucy was born in Conklin, Broome Co. NY on Oct. 7th, 1821. Also Henry Dalton is listed in the 1820 & 1825 Conklin, Broome Co. census. Conklin NY is only 15 miles from Harmony Pennsylvania and both are located on the Susquehanna River! Remember the best mode of travel in those days was by boat on the rivers, with the Susquehanna River flowing through both Wysox and Harmony. When Henry Dalton moved back to Wysox after 1825 he must have told his family about this new religion that was starting in the NY area.
This article was condensed from a Web Site about the History of the LDS Church.
“All About Mormons.”
Early LDS Church time line:
The establishment of THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints began in the 1820s with events that occurred primarily in New York State. The Prophet Joseph Smith received his first vision in 1820, obtained the gold plates of the Book of Mormon from the hill Cumorah in 1827, received priesthood authority in 1829, and officially organized the Church on April 6, 1830. By the time the Church left New York for Ohio early in 1831, it was organized and its basic direction was clearly established.
In October 1830 four LDS missionaries on their way to preach to the Indians west of Missouri, introduced the restored gospel to the communities of northeastern Ohio. Before they resumed their journey, the missionaries baptized approximately 130 converts, organized the new members into small "branches," and appointed leaders over each group. Approximately thirty-five of these members lived in Kirtland, Ohio, a community directly east of what is today metropolitan Cleveland.
Most of the New York Saints and many of the earliest Ohio converts did not remain in Ohio. In the summer of 1831, Joseph Smith traveled to the Missouri frontier and identified Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as a second gathering place. Latter-day Saints anticipated that a holy city, a New Jerusalem, would be established in a new North American Zion, a city of refuge from tribulations that would afflict the wicked in the last days
Joseph Smith resided in Kirtland until 1838, keeping in touch with Missouri members by mail and messenger, and traveling there five times to instruct Church members on policies, programs, and beliefs.
Although the Latter-day Saints migrated to western Missouri to build a city of peace and refuge, they encountered major hostility. Older settlers considered these newcomers a threat to their own patterns of living. Missourians complained that Mormons sought to influence slaves, that their "eastern" lifestyle was incompatible with the Missouri frontier, that they were an economic and political threat, that their friendship for the Indians threatened the region's security, and that they held unusual religious beliefs. These charges indicate a significant cultural clash between the LDS immigrants and older settlers. Rapid immigration of Latter-day Saints into Jackson County intensified the tensions, resulting in confrontation.
Confronted by overwhelming militia forces, the Latter-day Saints surrendered at Far West and agreed to leave the state. Approximately 10,000 Church members were forced to leave Missouri, most in winter and amid intense hostility. Traveling eastward, they crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois. After suffering immense losses of property and some loss of life, in early 1839 most reached Quincy and other western Illinois communities whose residents offered aid and refuge.
The Saints arranged to purchase land for a new gathering place on both sides of a bend in the Mississippi River north of Quincy. Nauvoo, Illinois, superseded the fledgling community of Commerce and became Church headquarters. Many members also settled across the river in Lee County, Iowa.
Nauvoo, Illinois, headquarters of the Church and home for many of its members from 1839 to 1846, began and ended as a community in exile. In 1838-1839 Latter-day Saints fled from Missouri seeking religious refuge from mob persecution. They found shelter in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, where they established new communities. Joseph Smith named the principal city Nauvoo, meaning, he said, "a beautiful location, a place of rest." When the Saints left Nauvoo for the Rocky Mountains seven years later, they were again religious exiles in search of a home.
The violent deaths of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the age of thirty-eight and his brother Hyrum Smith (age forty-four), Associate President and patriarch of the Church, dramatically ended the founding period of the LDS Church. On June 27, 1844, they were mobbed and shot while confined at Carthage Jail in Hancock County, in western Illinois. Climaxing more than two decades of persecution across several states.
After Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum was murdered, Brigham Young was voted in as the new President on the Church. He knew they had to leave Nauvoo as soon as possible.
The exodus began in February 1846, before renewed hostilities erupted. All during the spring and summer, a flow of wagons moved out across the Iowa prairies. The Latter-day Saints were still unsettled in Iowa when a U.S. military officer arrived on June 26 with a requisition for 500 volunteers to serve in the campaign against Mexico. Though sometimes regarded as an oppressive trial imposed upon the refugee Mormons by the U.S. government, the call actually resulted from secret negotiations with U.S. President James Polk (see Mormon Battalion). Though the battalion took 500 able-bodied men from their midst, it brought a much-needed $70,000, which was used to aid the families of the men and fund the general program of the exodus.
Between 1846 and 1852, Council Bluffs, then known as Kanesville, was the headquarters for a substantial LDS presence in western Iowa. During the exodus from Illinois to the Rocky Mountains in the late 1840s, thousands of Latter-day Saints wintered at the Missouri River. They built temporary settlements at winter quarters on the river's west bank, now Florence, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha. There preparations continued for the great migration to the interior basins of North America. On January 14, 1847, Brigham Young announced a revelation that the Saints should be "organized into companies [of hundreds, fifties, and tens], with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments…of the Lord our God" On April 5, 1847, he led the first pioneer company, departing from Winter Quarters.
After a three-month journey, advance scouts entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Three days later, on July 24, 1847, Brigham Young entered the valley. On July 28 he designated a temple site and announced to the 157 pioneers that "this is the right spot," making it clear that he and the Saints intended a long stay in the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake.
Lets now read some more history of the great city of Nauvoo in which our Dalton family settled in 1843. They thought at the time their travels and hard times were over in this beautiful city on the mighty Mississippi. They were wrong, because the hard times were just about to start.
Nauvoo, Illinois, headquarters of the Church and home for many of its members from 1839 to 1846 began and ended as a community in exile. In 1838-1839 Latter-day Saints fled from Missouri seeking religious refuge from mob persecution. They found shelter in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, where they established new communities. Joseph Smith named the principal city Nauvoo, meaning, he said, "a beautiful location, a place of rest." When the Saints left Nauvoo for the Rocky Mountains seven years later, they were again religious exiles in search of a home.
The community at Nauvoo grew rapidly on land purchased from settlers and speculators willing to sell on contract. Joseph Smith, acting as agent for the Church, bought the Illinois farms of Hugh and William White and investment tracts from Isaac Galland and Horace Hotchkiss-in all, 660 acres. He resold one-acre Nauvoo lots surveyed on the flats along the river, in competition with other LDS developers who platted land on nearby bluffs. A survey established streets three rods wide within city boundaries overlaying existing "paper" towns of Commerce and Commerce City. In December 1840, Nauvoo became a legal entity under the Nauvoo charter, issued by the Illinois legislature and providing the Saints better legal protection than they had ever known. Nauvoo was now home.
As exiled Latter-day Saints from Missouri and Ohio gathered to their new stake of Zion, missionaries in the United States and Great Britain baptized many new converts (see Missions of the Twelve to the British Isles). Encouraged by Joseph Smith, American and Canadian converts moved westward to Nauvoo. Some used canal boats and lake steamers, others covered wagons and horseback, and a few simply walked. Beginning in 1840, thousands sailed the Atlantic from Liverpool, England, and took steamboats up the Mississippi from New Orleans. This was a religious migration, an individual and family response to religious beliefs, aided by Church emigration agents in Liverpool, who organized companies and appointed shepherds for those fleeing to Zion.
Newcomers were welcomed in Nauvoo by friends, relatives, missionaries, and the Prophet Joseph Smith himself. Renting a room or finding other temporary quarters became increasingly difficult during the boom years 1841-1843. As quickly as possible, new settlers hired scarce contractors and craftsmen to build houses. Lumber, harvested from nearby virgin forests or shipped in, and, later, bricks made in Nauvoo, went into hundreds of comfortable but small, new homes. Nauvoo became a boomtown.
Gardens on the city lots furnished vegetables, herbs, fruits, and berries. Meat and potatoes, when available, and corn-ground into meal for boiling, baking, and frying-were staples in everyone's diet. On nearby prairies, farmers plowed, cooperatively enclosed, and then planted hundreds of acres in corn, wheat, and potatoes. LDS tradesmen found ready work in Nauvoo, as did merchants eager to import manufactured goods from St. Louis, Cincinnati, and the East Coast.
Nauvoo boosters and their political opponents in neighboring towns exaggerated their estimates of Nauvoo's population for differing purposes. Illinois census takers in 1845 counted 11,057 residents. Adding growth through late 1845 and including the city's environs boosted the estimate to 15,000 at Nauvoo's peak, almost equal to a faster-growing Chicago.
To meet public needs, civic groups built a music hall and cultural hall, and priesthood quorums planned their own meeting halls. Church-sponsored construction of the Nauvoo house, a grand hotel, and the Nauvoo Temple gave Nauvoo's growth religious meaning.
Though all members contributed as means and faith allowed toward erection of the temple, they did not all live in Nauvoo. Some remained in their hometowns because of economic or family pressures. Others joined the March to Nauvoo but found home-sites and land away from headquarters. On a 13,000-acre, Church-purchased site in Lee County, Iowa, just across the river from Nauvoo, the Saints founded a town called Zarahemla and nine other smaller settlements. Joseph Smith organized an Iowa stake and approved settlement there and in several new towns in western Illinois.
Wherever they lived, Latter-day Saints looked to the Prophet Joseph Smith for religious leadership. His revelations and sermons published in Nauvoo achieved Church wide distribution. For residents, the Prophet offered firsthand preaching, teaching, and counseling. Besides these, his influence in Nauvoo was enlarged through his roles as land agent, mayor, militia leader, magistrate, and merchant. No wonder that after his death and the repeal of its charter, the city was renamed the City of Joseph.
During his last years at Nauvoo, the Prophet unfolded additional aspects of the restored gospel. He responded to questions about basic LDS beliefs with thirteen Articles of Faith, which described fundamental doctrines. He published another revealed scriptural record, the book of Abraham. He taught new insights into the common origins of all mankind and their eternal destiny, particularly in a eulogy for a member, King Follett. Many of the new teachings pointed toward the temple, and looked toward a collective effort to perform ordinances for the salvation of deceased ancestors and the exaltation of faithful Saints. The first baptisms for the dead were done in the Mississippi River, but by late November 1841, proxy baptisms commenced in the temple font. Meanwhile, with the temple not yet complete, several men, including two of the Twelve, received the first temple endowments on May 4, 1842, in an upstairs room at the President's office-store. The following year there wives and other men and women received the same ordinances, providing a corps of initiates to administer temple ordinances to thousands of others in the Nauvoo Temple beginning in December 1845.
The temple was a central focus of Nauvoo religious life. The Saints supported its construction with tithes of time and means, and they longed to receive anticipated temple blessings. For those privileged to live in Nauvoo, the temple and its associated theology gave new and eternal meaning to birth, marriage, life, and death.
Though Joseph Smith's personal leadership dominated Nauvoo's religious life, an institutional structure supported his efforts and carried on after his death in 1844 (see Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith). During the Nauvoo years, the Quorum of the Twelve accepted an increased role. First organized in 1835, members gained experience first as mission leaders in England and then as administrators in Nauvoo. With the First Presidency and other authorities, they shared opportunities to preach scriptural commentaries on Sunday from the stand in the grove near the temple, and to address the Saints at general conferences. Among the most significant meetings in Nauvoo, these April and October conferences brought together thousands of the Saints for business and instruction. Similar gatherings convened elsewhere for scattered branches. Minutes published in the British Millennial Star and Nauvoo Times and Seasons helped keep members elsewhere informed of Church business, membership growth, and preachings. Church periodicals issued the first installments of Joseph Smith's History of the Church, a project he pursued diligently with his clerks from 1838 until his death in 1844.
The women's Relief Society, organized in 1842, administered to the needs of the poor and taught principles of sexual purity. In this, they assisted the bishops of Nauvoo's fledgling wards-new administrative units for tending to temporal needs and monitoring religious worthiness. After Brigham Young and the Twelve succeeded the Prophet as leaders, the seventy and other Melchizedek Priesthood quorums grew rapidly in numbers and importance. The Seventy built a hall, sponsored a library, and prepared themselves for missions and for temple blessings.
While Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo gave primary allegiance to their religious affiliation, their lives reflected experiences typical of others in Jacksonian America. Non-Mormons living in and around Nauvoo joined with them in the celebration of Independence Day. Military processions, band music, patriotic speeches, and other festivities attracted citizens who arrived on horseback and in carriages and riverboats. Christmas observances were highlights for family and friends, with progressive dinners, singing, and dancing. Membership in Mormon Freemasonry lodges, organized in 1841-1842, affirmed group loyalty within the Church and encouraged fraternal ties with others. Contrary to expectations, however, the rapid growth of the lodges created controversy that strained relationships with other masons.
Mormon-American society in Nauvoo, leavened increasingly by a British and Scandinavian immigrant influences, included typical nineteenth-century entertainment and recreational opportunities. Brass bands played at dances and patriotic gatherings, accompanied Church choirs, and performed for temple capstone ceremonies. Adult and youth choirs, instrumentalists, and vocalists entertained and edified at social and religious gatherings. The music performed came out of the host society, though some hymns were newly written for LDS services. Mormon poets regularly memorialized events and people and set significant religious messages to rhyme for biweekly periodicals. Thespians in Nauvoo presented popular theatricals or sponsored traveling performing troupes in the Nauvoo cultural hall. Other occasional attractions included art exhibits, the circus, and riverboat excursions (see Social and Cultural History).
Children had few toys, mostly homemade wagons, tops, and dolls. They enjoyed games such as fox and geese or leapfrog. Youths engaged in pastimes such as playing with marbles, wrestling, foot racing, hunting, fishing, stick pulling, bowling, and baseball. Adults joined in many of these recreational activities and sometimes passed the time with card games, carriage rides, or parlor socials. When not providing necessities, Nauvooans also pursued education and learning. To get basic training in reading, writing, and arithmetic for their families, parents hired tutors or enrolled children in one of dozens of classes offered by Nauvoo's part-time teachers. Tuition was paid through providing teachers board and room and scarce cash. The University of Nauvoo existed only in a few scattered classes. Male adults and younger men organized lyceums and debating societies to develop rhetorical skills. They argued religious as well as political topics to prepare participants for missionary and civic service. Books were scarce in private homes, but a membership lending library offered two hundred donated volumes on science, world religion, history, and literature. Nauvoo's religious and secular newspapers, the Times and Seasons and Nauvoo Neighbor (originally The Wasp), edited by prominent LDS citizens, circulated to Latter-day Saints on two continents. In an "Age of the Common Man," Nauvoo's social and educational life was one of broad enjoyment and participation.
As elsewhere in American society, the family was the focus of everyday life. Women met domestic needs through a combination of their own labor and income from their husbands' work. The family produced and prepared food, though Nauvoo merchants imported or traded many foodstuffs. Women often made everyday clothing, bed coverings, rugs, and such things as towels and curtains from purchased cloth. Furniture, kitchen utensils, and tools for trades were imported or brought along by immigrants. Home remedies, supplemented by priesthood blessings, were administered in faith for healing. Infant mortality was high, and death for all a constant possibility from malaria-like diseases, un-treatable illnesses, and accidents.
For Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, the family took on new religious meaning. Conversion unfortunately often divided families, though letters from Nauvoo nurtured bonds and encouraged reunion. Proxy temple ordinances offered opportunity for uniting families across generations and beyond the grave. Select associates accepted the Prophet's private challenge to make covenants of marriage with plural wives (see Plural Marriage), though the doctrine was not preached publicly until 1852 in Utah. In preparation for the temple, teaching of the doctrine of eternal families added a unique touch to LDS family life. Sealing ordinances for husbands and wives gave marriage and the family in Nauvoo an eternal perspective.
Just when life appeared to be back to normal after the martyrdom, the loss of Nauvoo's charter and mob harassment in 1845 threatened the peace of Joseph Smith's City Beautiful. Political and schismatic opponents predicted "the end of "Mormonism."' Disaffected Latter-day Saints threatened religious unity and offered guardianship and new prophetic leadership in opposition to the Twelve. The Church survived, but Nauvoo's position as the Church center ended. The governing Quorum of the Twelve announced plans at the October 1845 conference to evacuate by the following spring.
Throughout the winter, residents organized for the exodus even as they rushed to complete their temple and receive its ordinances (see Western Migration: Planning and Prophecy). They purchased oxen, made wagons, sold properties, and outfitted themselves for the long trek into the western wilderness as they also prepared temple clothing and did finishing work inside the temple on the hill. Brigham Young and the Twelve appointed agents to dispose of unsold property and organized emigration companies as they oversaw construction details on the temple. By December, just before departure began, thousands of the Nauvoo faithful began to receive their long-awaited temple endowments. Before winter's end more than 6,000 received temple ordinances and thus were willing to leave. After seven eventful years, the Latter-day Saints moved on again, transplanting their covenant society to a new Promised Land.
LDS WORLD Infobase Library; From the Gospel Library/Encyclopedia of Mormonism/
Land Ownership in Nauvoo and Vicinity
By: James L. Kimball, Jr.
The City of Nauvoo was incorporated by the General Assembly of Illinois in December of 1840. Its charter delineated boundaries that made Nauvoo, territorially, the largest city in the state. Roughly six square miles, the city contained 3,733 acres located on a peninsula in the northwestern corner of Hancock County, Illinois. Only a small portion of this was originally divided into lots. Encircled by the Mississippi River on three sides, the area was naturally divided into two geographic regions. From the river's edge the flat sloped gently upward some 65 feet to a bluff, which in turn stretched eastward to the prairie. The northern part of Nauvoo was interspersed with several ravines, springs, and streams, while some 15 or 20 acres on the central western edge was considered wet and swampy. Several large and small thickets of trees speckled both flat and bluff. All these elements lent to the entire area an unusually pleasing aspect. One can easily comprehend why Joseph Smith named the city Nauvoo after a Hebrews term connoting "pleasant." Not surprisingly, the entire peninsula upon which Nauvoo developed had been purchased by speculators by the mid 1830s and three town sites laid out to lure prospective buyers.
Between 1839 and 1846 some 16,000 converts gathered at the site at the behest of their prophet-leader Joseph Smith. To aid the newcomers, many of who were sick and poverty-stricken, Joseph Smith purchased 660 acres from non-Mormons Hugh and William White, Isaac Galland, and Horace Hotchkiss. These lands were then resold in parcels of various sizes to the new arrivals. Additions to the newly plotted town extended the borders of the newly plotted community to the east upon land included in the original charter. Located on the bluffs, these additions were known by the name of their original owner or developer. The largest additions were made by the family of Phineas Kimball of Orange County, Vermont. He and his sons, Ethan and Hiram, were responsible for three additions. Hiram, who acted as a resident agent for the family, was easily the most prosperous and influential. Daniel H. Wells also held sizable tracts of land and was active in Nauvoo governmental functions. His addition to Nauvoo was adjacent to those of the Kimballs. Other additions on the bluffs of the city were Davidson Hibbard (two), Hyrum Smith (two), heirs of James Robison (two), Hugh Herringshaw and Edward Thompson (two), Benjamin Warrington (one), William Spears (one), and George W. Robinson (one).
Nauvoo citizens were natives of almost every state in the Union, Canada, and the British Isles. Nearly one-third of the emigrants spoke with a British accent, but German-speaking Saints also held regular church meetings. Native Norwegian converts came from Norway, Illinois, and at least 21 African Americans resided in Nauvoo, contributing to a diverse ethnic mix. Adults over age 20 tended to be natives of New England and those under 20 of New York and Illinois.
Generally, antebellum towns and villages did not exceed 2,500 in population. This was particularly true in Illinois, where most settlements rarely surpassed 1,000 occupants. After only a few years, however, Nauvoo jumped from a few families to roughly 3,000 people, equaling in size the capital, Springfield, and other comparable communities of the time such as Quincy, Alton, and Peoria. Moreover, given the imperfect and impressionistic nature of 19th-century census data, there remains a remote possibility that from 1843 to 1844, Nauvoo may have rivaled Chicago, the most populous city in the state.
Since Nauvoo's economy did not have much in the way of manufacturing, transportation, or marketing, its chief business item was real estate. Buying, selling, and trading land was a popular business in Nauvoo beginning in 1839.
Collecting money to pay for the land was a problem. At the first general conference held in the Nauvoo area, Lyman Wight preached a sermon encouraging the Saints to pay for the land they had received so that the Church might be in a position to pay its debts to Isaac Galland and others.
Most of the lots in Nauvoo consisted of one square acre. This large plot was designed to provide space for a home as well as a garden large enough to provide for some of the family's food supply. Individuals also owned farms outside of the city on the prairie, including the Joseph Smith farm. The cemetery was located adjacent to the city limits but outside of the territory included in the Nauvoo Charter.
The Judiciary Committee of the Twenty-eighth Congress of the United States received a petition in 1843 to redress the "injuries to persons and properties" of Mormons expelled from Missouri in the 1830s. This database is a listing of residents of Hancock County, Illinois who signed that petition. Compiled by respected family historian Lyman Platt, each record reveals the signatory's name, ward of residence in Nauvoo, and page in the original petition on which their name appears. The original document numbered fifty-nine pages and contained 3400 signatures
Sometimes family member signed the petition sequentially, sometimes not. At times the wife would sign in the doubled-column pages, in the right-hand column, opposite her husband. There are indications that some members of the LDS Church living in Nauvoo at the time did not sign the petition. There is evidence that some adult members of families signed while others did not. It is the conclusion of some researchers that a number of the individuals, whose signatures are included in the petition, were never in Missouri, but they signed it in support of their friends and neighbors, and family members who were. The petition is not divided into any apparent sub-divisions, but based on other studies of Nauvoo and surroundings areas, there is strong evidence that is was taken somewhat similar to the 1842 census of Nauvoo, and is divided as follows:
Nauvoo 4th civil ward, pages 3-8
Nauvoo 3rd civil ward, pages 9-25
Nauvoo 1st civil ward, pages 26-30
Nauvoo 2nd civil ward, pages 31-36
Outlying areas around Nauvoo, probably including Warsaw, pages 37-44
Ramus, pages 45-49
Lima, pages 50-56+
Platt, Lyman. Listing of Latter-day Saints Who Petitioned Congress, 1843. Orem, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 2000.
Edited by Rod Dalton.
Here is our Dalton’s and some of their wife’s family surnames and other related families who signed this petition:
Surname- Given Name Ward Page
Dalton………….Harry 3 22 (John Dalton Jr.)
Dalton…………..John 3 22 (John Dalton Jr.)
Dalton………….Rebecca 3 22 (John Dalton Jr.)
Simon Cooker Dalton & Charles Dalton.
Warner………... Delilah 1 29 (Simon Cooker Dalton &
Warner…………Orange 1 29 Charles Dalton)
Warner……… Rebecca 2 32
Warner……….. Salmon 2 32
Charles Wakeman Dalton.
Bowen……….. Juliaett 3 10
Charles Wakeman Dalton.
Allred ……… Andrew F. 3 24
Allred…………Barton B. 3 24
Allred…………David H. 3 24
Allred…………Green W. 3 24
Allred…………Isaac N 3 24
Allred……….. Orissa A. 3 9
Allred……….. R. A. 3 9
Allred……….. Sally 3 24
Allred ………..William L. 3 24
Allred……….. William M. 3 9
Henry Harry Dalton.
Call………….. Mary 3 16
Meeks……….. Elizabeth 2 33
Meeks……….. P. 2 33
Meeks……….. Sarah 2 33
Meeks………. William 3 19
John Dalton Jr.
Knight………. Clarissa 2 33
Knight………. John 2 32
Knight………. Lydia 4 8
Knight………. Martha 2 32
Knight………. Naomi 4 4
Knight………. Nathan K. 4 4
Knight………. Newel 3 16
Knight ……….Newel 4 8
John Dalton Jr.
Williams……. A. B. 4 8
Williams……. Daniel D. 2 32
Williams……. Francis E. 2 32
Williams……. Gilbert B. 2 32
Williams …….Gustavus 3 10
Williams……. Isaiah 2 32
Williams……. Lucy 2 32
Williams …….Maria A. 3 10
Williams …….Norman S. 2 32
Williams …….Ruth 3 11
Clayton, "Nauvoo Temple History Journal”
All Rights Reserved, 1999 - Lisle G Brown.
1830's - Daniel H. Wells and Catherine Wells purchased 84 acres of land along the Mississippi River from Samuel Gooch, who had received the land through a patent, for $450. The Nauvoo Temple would later stand on part of this property
Winter 1839/40 - Even as the Saints began to settle Commerce, the Brethren "began to talk upon the subject of building a temple, wherein to administer the ordinances of God's house. Several councils were held and a place selected where upon the temple was contemplated to be built."
4 Apr 1840 - Daniel H. Wells, a non-Mormon who joined the Church in 1846, annexed his 84-acre farm on the bluffs overlooking the river bottom below to the city of Nauvoo. The survey, completed between
17-21 Mar 1840, divided the farm into 18 four-acre blocks and 6 two-acre blocks. The future temple would be located in the Wells Addition.
1 Aug 1840 - In Nauvoo the First Presidency issued a general epistle, stating, "...it is necessary to erect a house of prayer, a house of worship of our God, where the ordinances can be attended to agreeably to His divine will, in this region of country."
3 Oct 1840 - In the General Conference of the Church the congregation resolved, "That the Saints build a house for the worship of God, and that Reynolds Cahoon, Elias Higbee, and Alpheus Cutler be appointed a committee to build the same." Men agreed to"tithe" their labor, working one day in ten on the temple. The Temple Committee was charged to superintend the work and oversee the entire operation. They also received donations.
12 Oct 1840 - A limestone quarry in an old stream bed northwest of Nauvoo, but within the city limits, opened. It was located west of Main Street, between Hyrum Street and Joseph Street. Elisha Everett struck the first blow for stone for the temple. William Niswanger operated the quarry, which came to be called the Temple Stone Quarry. Albert P. Rockwood and his assistant Charles Drury supervised the crews cutting the limestone.
31 Dec 1844 - Later, stone from another quarry was also used. Joseph Smith III stated, that the stone for the Temple came from a quarry in the north side of the city along the river bank (the Temple Stone Quarry) and some of them from down the river.
Fall 1840 - Joseph Smith "advertised for plans for a temple. He [William Weeks] said several architects presented their plans, but none seemed to suit Smith. So when he went in and showed his plans, Joseph Smith grabbed him, hugged him and said, 'You are the man I want.' During the course of the temple's construction William Weeks prepared a number of pen and ink, and pencil drawings and plans. Those that survived are housed in the LDS Church Archives. They include drawings of the circular temple's facade, stairways, star stones, circular windows, archways, pulpits, framework for the tower and ceilings, wall plan, interior decorations and furnishings
19 Oct 1840 - Prior to this date the Temple Committee had contacted Daniel H. Wells about land for the temple. Joseph Smith wrote that the Church had "secured one of the most lovely situation [for the Temple] in this region of the Country." He also stated that the Nauvoo Temple was "expected to be considerable larger than the one in Kirtland and on a more magnificent scale."
15 Dec 1840 - Work in the quarry continued, but progress was slow. The workers "tithe" their time, working one day in ten.
15 Jan 1841 - The First Presidency reported, "The Temple of the Lord is in the progress of erection."
19 Jan 1841 - A revelation given to Joseph Smith, in which the Lord approved the place where the Saints intended to erect the temple, for he had chosen it. Although there is no record, prior to this date Daniel H. Wells had apparently agreed to have the temple erected on Block 20 of his sub-division. The exact date when the decision was made to locate the temple in the Wells Addition is not known. Work on the building continued nearly two years before the actual transfer of the deed from Wells to the Trustee-in-Trust was done. The reason for the delay is not known.
The Lord also revealed that he would grant the Saints sufficient time for its construction and that in the finished temple he would "reveal unto the Church things hid from before the foundation of the world."
18 Feb 1841 - Temple Committee having laid out the temple foundation, workmen begin to dig the foundation and basement, starting with the four corners. Joseph Smith desired to have everything ready to lay the cornerstones on 6 April 1841
22 Feb 1841 - To better organize the work the Temple Committee divided the city into four "wards," and assigned the wards to supply workmen on appointed days; they renewed the call for the brethren to labor on the Temple every tenth day.
1 Mar 1841 - Workmen finished digging the foundation and basement, and then begin placing the foundation stones. The foundation walls had no footing, but were laid directly on the clay floor of the excavated basement, about five feet below ground level. The foundation stones were large irregularly shaped limestone blocks, approximately 4.5 to 5.0 feet thick. Perhaps following the Temple Committee's lead, the City Council also divided the city into four wards at Joseph Smith's suggestionPrior to this date the city had been divided into three wards at the October 1839 General Conference
5 Apr 1841 - By this date workmen had laid up enough stone for the basement walls to reach ground level, five-foot high, which was sufficiently complete for laying the cornerstones
6 Apr 1841 -- The four cornerstones were laid in impressive ceremonies. It commenced with Joseph Smith reviewing two cohorts of the Nauvoo Legion at nine A.M. on the parade ground. He then led the Legion, accompanied by "ladies" and "gentlemen" walking eight abreast, to the temple block, arriving at noon. Approximately 10,000 persons attended the services. After a hymn, Sidney Rigdon gave a lengthy oration. After another hymn President Rigdon "invoked the blessings of Almighty God upon the assembly, and upon those who should labor on the building" The First Presidency laid the first cornerstone on the southeast corner of the building. There was then an adjournment for one hour. The congregation reconvened and the High Priests Quorum Presidency laid the southwest cornerstone. The Nauvoo High Council, representing the Quorum of the Twelve who were on missions in England, laid the northwest cornerstone. The Bishoprics laid the northeast cornerstone. Following the ceremony the procession returned to the Legion parade ground where Joseph Smith and John C. Bennet addressed the people. "The assembly then separated with cheerful hearts."
8 Apr 1841 -- At the General Conference Joseph Smith said that working on the temple was as acceptable as preaching the gospel to the world. He called for a renewal of contributions to the Temple and proposed calling agents to gather funds for the Temple. Eight brethren were called to travel for the purpose of collecting the donations: John Murdock, Lyman Wight, William Smith, Henry Miller, Amasa Lyman, Leonard Soby, Gehiel Savage and Zenos Gurley
1 Jul 1841 -- The reported on the progress towards erecting the baptismal font: "The font is intended to be supported by twelve oxen, several of which are in the state of forwardness, and are certainly good representations of the animal, and do great credit to the mechanics carving the same. It is intended to overlay them with gold, and when finished will have a very grand appearance indeed
1 July 1841 - Prior to this day William Weeks had drawn up plans for the font, which Joseph Smith approved. Weeks reported that the font, which would be constructed of wood, would be in the east end of the basement. Weeks began to work on the oxen.
8 Nov 1841 - Joseph Smith "approved and accepted a draft for the font, made by Brother Wm Weeks. Apparently during the initial work on the basement area, workmen dug a ten-foot deep well in the western end of the basement, but apparently it proved inadequate and was not used; it was replaced by a deeper well in the eastern end of the basement. The reported in its 24 Sept. 1846 issue the discovery of the western well in a room "under the portico of the Temple, and situated in a room to which there was no entrance except by an opening made in the floor.
8 Aug 1841 -- William Weeks began work on the font proper.
11 Aug 1841 -- William Weeks turned over the carving of the oxen to Elijah Fordham, who spent the next eight weeks carving the twelve animals. Others may have also helped with carving. John Carling is also mentioned as a carver of the font's wooden oxen.
22 Sept. 1841 -- Since there were insufficient sources of lumber in the vicinity of Nauvoo, The Temple Committee and the Nauvoo House Committee joined together in a $1,500-purchase of a lumber mill from the firm of Crane and Kirtz on Black Water River in Wisconsin, in order to procure lumber for the Temple and Nauvoo House. (Miller. Correspondence, pp. 8-9.) On this date Temple Committee member Alpheus Cutler left with a party of men for the Wisconsin forests to procure lumber for the Temple and Nauvoo House.
25 Sept. 1841 -- Individuals placed items in a cavity in the southeast cornerstone, and it was sealed. The contents are not known.
3 Oct 1841 -- Joseph Smith was called upon to speak about baptism for the dead in General Conference. At the conclusion of his remarks he announced, "There shall be no more baptism for the dead until the ordinance can be attended to in the font in the Lord's House; and the church shall not hold another conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord
31 Oct 1841 -- Hyrum Smith wrote a letter to the Saints living in Kirtland counseling them to come to Nauvoo. His letter also contained the following revelation: "There shall not be a general assembly for a general conference assembled together until the House of the Lord and baptismal font shall be finished, and if we are not diligent the church shall be rejected and their dead also, 'saith the Lord.'
8 Nov 1841 -- At 5 P.M. Brigham Young, acting under Joseph Smith's direction, dedicated the font, which was centered in the basement. The font was enclosed by a temporary frame structure of oak clapboard, its roof being low enough for the timbers of the first floor to be laid above it, so that ordinances could be administered in it, even as work on the Temple progressed, "It [the font] is constructed of pine timber, and put together of starves tongued and grooved, oval shaped, sixteen feet long east and west, and twelve feet wide, seven feet high from the foundation, the basin four feet deep, the molding of the cap and base are formed of beautiful carved work. A flight of stairs in the north and south side leads up and down into the basin, guarded by a side railing. The font stands upon twelve oxen, for on each side and two at each end, their heads, shoulders, and fore legs projecting out from under the font; they are carved out of pine plank, glued together, and copied after the most beautiful five-year-old steer that could be found in the country; the horns were formed after the most perfect horn that could be procured." The font proved to be temporary, as a more durable stone one would later replace it.
Water for the font came from a well dug in the east end of the basement. Hiram Oaks and Jess McCarrol dug this well through ten feet of solid work before striking water. Oaks reported that "when they struck water they lost the drill and water spirited up with great force." He placed his hat over the hole until McCarrol stopped the flow with a wooden plug.
15 Nov 1841 -- The Twelve wrote in an epistle to the Church that the Temple's foundation was laid and the walls of the basement were nearly completed.
21 Nov 1841 -- First baptisms for the dead were performed in the new font by Brigahm Young, Heber C. Kimball and John Taylor
13 Dec 1841 -- In a meeting Willard Richards was appointed Temple Recorder and he opened his office in the small counting room in Joseph Smith's store, where donations were entered into a book called "The Book of the Law of the Lord." The first recorded donation was by John Sanders, who contributed $5.00. The Temple Committee was no longer to receive contributions The Twelve issued a letter, including a plea for participation in building the Temple. 200-300 Elders previously called on missions were reassigned to work on the temple. Winter 1841 By the end of construction on the Temple block in the winter of 1841 the basement wall on the south side had been laid up to the water table and the wall on the north side was about two feet high. The Temple construction remained in that state until the spring of 1842.
May 1842 -- The reported that during the winter month’s workmen,
As many as 100 men at a time, had labored in the temple quarry preparing stone for the
Summer season of labor on the temple site.
Others were employed in hauling the stone to the construction site. The Saints hoped to have the building enclosed by next fall.
14 Feb 1842 -- William Clayton was appointed to assist Willard Richards as Temple Recorder, because of the work load was taxing Brother Richards's time.
21 Feb 1842 -- In a letter to the Saints Joseph Smith called for a more equal distribution of workers, there were often too many on some days and not enough on others, which was retarding the work. He asked that each ward to be more particular in supplying men on their appointed day and that they should bring all necessary tools
23 Apr 1842 -- The stones in the quarry were only rough cut; final cutting and polishing were done at the Temple site. Joseph Smith III described that as boy he saw the rough cut stones hauled "on great carts drawn by oxen, with the stones swinging under the axle of the great high, broad-tired wheels, usually two yokes of oxen drawing them
Although many men donated their teams for work on the temple, for the most part one cart was used to draw the stone to the temple site. Ephrium J. Pearson worked at this task most of the time, and then was replaced by Alma N. Shennnan. Later a second team was used, William H. Dame attending to it.
2 May 1842 -- In a report on the progress of the Temple, the optimistically predicted that the Temple would be enclosed by the Fall, or that the top stones would be laid
2 May 1842 - On this date a second party of men left for the Wisconsin forests to relieve the first party of men.
8 Jun 1842 -- Work commenced in late-Spring 1842 and progress was slow until the arrival during the month of William W. Player, a master stone mason from England, who came specifically to Nauvoo to work on the Temple. On this date he began supervision of the masonry work and under his leadership the work accelerated His assistant was Edward Miller. These men worked from the first of three cranes erected during the temple's construction. The men who attended the first crane were Tarlton Lewis, Archibald Hill, John Hill, Hans C. Hanson and Charles W. Patten. Thomas Travis mixed the mortar, often with the assistance of the "tithing
11 Jun 1842 -- James Whitehead added as a clerk to the Temple Recorders staff. Later John P. McEwan was appointed assistant, this ate William Player also set the first plinth, or moonstone, on the southeast corner. The moonstones were deeply carved relief of a crescent moon, facing downward, with a man's face in profile. Each stone was cut from solid stone.
29 Jun 1842 -- Willard Richards turned over his records, including the Book of the Law of the Lord, to William Clayton, because he was going east to bring his family to Nauvoo
6 Jul 1842 -- A third party of men left for the Wisconsin forests. Reynold Cahoon's two sons, Daniel and Andrew, were slow in cutting the plinths, which stopped work for two weeks. The use of only one crane to lift the stone also delayed the work.
4 Aug 1842 The first raft of lumber, containing some 100,000 feet of lumber, arrived from the Wisconsin pine forests.
20 Aug 1842 -- The Nauvoo High Council resolved that Nauvoo be divided into ten wards, according to the division made by the Temple Committee.
3 Sept. 1842 -- Bishop Whitney came to William Clayton and appointed him the Temple Recorder, because Willard Richards' work as scribe to Joseph Smith did not allow him time to continue as Temple Recorder.
1 Oct 1842 -- Joseph Smith met with Bishop Whitney, the Temple Recorder and the Temple Committee concerning complaints by workers that Temple Committee members had not been making fair disposition of property consecrated to the Temple. After a thorough investigation of the issue, including balancing the Trustee-in-Trust books with the Temple Committee's records, the Prophet expressed his satisfaction with the Committee's work. He told the Committee that they were accountable to no one but him. He also set the men's wages at $2.00 a day. He directed Clayton to publish an account of the meeting in the next . The men also decided to erect a small brick building near the temple for the use of the Temple Recorder and his staff, because of the increased work load. This building, the Temple Office, also came to be commonly called the Temple Store, because it was here that the workers received goods and wages for their labor on the Temple.
11 Oct 1842 -- At the end of the 1842 working season the walls were some four feet high, up to the windowsills, and all the sills were in place, as well as the large sill on the eastern Venetian window. There were also two courses of stone on the plinths.
13 Oct 1842 -- Alpheus Cutler returned with the second raft of lumber, with 90,000 feet of sawed boards from the Wisconsin pine forests.
15 Oct 1842 -- The published William Clayton's notice, which was dated 11 Oct 1842, concerning the 1 Oct 1842 meeting.
23 Oct 1842 -- The Temple Committee at Joseph Smith's suggestion recommended laying a temporary floor in the temple, so that the Saints could meet in the temple instead of the grove to the west
24 Oct 1842 -- Carpenters began laying the temporary floor over the font in the basement
28 Oct 1842 -- Workmen finished laying joists and the temporary floor over the basement and its enclosed font, and then they set up benches for the Saints to sit on
30 Oct 1842 -- The Saints met for the first time in the unfinished temple "and notwithstanding its largeness it was well fill'd." John Taylor was the first to preach in the Temple.
2 Nov 1842 -- The Temple Recorder moved into the small brick Temple Office, and for the next two years contributions were received there.
28 Nov 1842 -- The stonecutters again brought complaints to Joseph Smith against the Temple Committee, who were accused of making unequal distribution of provisions to the workers, as well as allowing Reynolds Cahoon's sons to receive more tools than the others. After a ten hour meeting the Prophet resolved the issues to everyone's satisfaction.
Winter 1842 -- Construction had been generally steady during 1842 and when work on the building stopped during winter months, the walls rose to about four feet above ground level. Workmen continued through the winter quarrying stone for the next year's labor.
4 Feb 1843 -- On this date Daniel H. Wells deeded Block 20. (four one-acre lots, numbers 1 through 4) of the Wells Addition to the Trustee-in-Trust for $1,100, upon which the temple was under construction. There is no indication why the transaction occurred so long after the temple's construction had begun. Block 20 was located between Wells Street on the west, Woodruff (now Bluff) Street on the East, Knight Street on the north and Mulholland Street on the south. The block was near the edge of the bluffs overlooking lower Nauvoo. It was the highest and most visually commanding site in the city. Reportedly, when the Temple was finished its tower could be seen twenty miles away!
6 April 1843 -- During General Conference Hyrum Smith reported on certain men, who were teaching that it was lawful to steal from anyone who did not belong to the Church, provided they consecrate one-third of it to the building of the Temple. He repudiated such doctrine, and Joseph Smith followed him, stating the First Presidency would not tolerate a thief.
7 Apr 1843 -- During the General Conference, held in the unfinished temple--the walls being some four to twelve feet high--controversy arose concerning the solicitation of funds for the Temple and the Nauvoo House. Some persons were collecting funds and not turning them over to the Temple Recorder. William Clayton also charged the Temple Committee with using Temple funds for personal use. Joseph Smith urged that the "trial of the [Temple] committee be deferred to another day when Clayton could present the books with his evidence. Hyrum Smith defended the Committee and the men were sustained in their labors. Joseph Smith further said, "Let this conference stop all agents in collection funds except the Twelve."
12 Apr 1843 -- A further misunderstanding between the Temple Committee and William Weeks retarded progress on the temple. Joseph Smith issued a certificate to William Weeks, stating that "the Temple Committee was to carry out the Prophet's designs and the architect of the Temple in Nauvoo, and that no persons or persons were to interfere with him or his plans in the building of the Temple."
21 Apr 1843 -- Constructed had been delayed because of the illness of William Player, who had been sick all Winter. The necessity of fixing the runways for the crane also hindered the commencement of construction. William Player began to work on this date and continued throughout the rest of the summer.
21 May 1843 -- Joseph Smith preached in the unfinished Temple and the Sacrament was administered for the first time in the Temple.
8 Jun 1843 -- Temple Committee member Elias Higbee died unexpectedly, after an illness of only five days.
15 Jun 1843 -- The reprinted an article from the , giving an account of a lecture by J. B. Newell in which he described the Temple, including a drawing made by him from the architect's sketches. Newell stated that the finished building would be one of "the most beautiful, chaste, and noble specimens of architecture to be found in the world."
16 Jun 1843 -- The Relief Society held its first meeting for 1843 and decided to "offer services and supplies to assist in the Temple building." Many of those Sisters present described how they intended to help.
7 Oct 1843 -- At a special conference (6-9 October 1843), the first held in the Temple, William Clayton again brought charges against the Temple Committee for partiality in the distribution of provisions to the workers. Hyrum Smith rose in defense of the Committee, and the congregation sustained the members in their positions.
9 Oct 1843 -- At the special conference the Temple Committee reported that the lack of teams and provisions was delaying the temple's construction. Alpheus Cutler called for greater exertions, saying that the walls could be completed next year. The Saints voted to "use all the means, exertions and influence in [their] power, to sustain the Temple Committee in advancing the work of the temple
10 Oct 1843 -- Several men had expressed a desire to serve on the Temple Committee, especially Jared Carter, in the place of the deceased Elias Higbee, but on this date Joseph Smith called Hyrum Smith as a member of the Temple Committee
23 Oct 1843 -- Hyrum Smith began his service on the Temple Committee amid the good feelings of the workers.
8 Nov 1843 -- Joseph Smith was making plans for the pulpits and examined materials for them
Winter 1843 -- An early winter brought an end to work on the Temple. During the 1843 construction season the walls had risen to the arches of the first tier of windows all around the building
5 Feb 1844 --Joseph Smith and William Weeks met to discuss the Temple's construction during the coming summer. The Prophet desired "round windows in the broad side of the building." Weeks said that such circular windows "were a violation of all known rules of architecture." The Prophet responded, that he would have circular windows even if the building had to be ten feet higher, and then he said, "I wish you to carry out my designs. I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me."
Mar 1844 -- A second crane was erected and rigged during the month. Elisha Averett was the principal mason who worked from this crane. He was called the "principal backer up," because he laid the inside courses of stone. His assistants were his brothers, Elijah and John, as well as Truman Leonard. Those who hoisted stone on the crane were John Harvey, Thomas M. Pearson, George M. Potter and William L. Cutler.
4 Mar 1844 -- The First Presidency, the Twelve and the Temple Committee met to discuss the Temple's construction. The brethren decide to "let the Nauvoo House stand till the Temple was done and they would put all their forces on the Temple" They also decided to call a special conference for April 6, 1844, where they would "call in the people to fill up the contribution
7 Mar 1844 -- At a general meeting concerning the Temple's construction Hyrum Smith reported that, with the assistance of the sisters, the Temple Committee expected to secure nails and glass, and that the brethren would do the rest. He also reported that work on the Nauvoo House would cease, and they would "take all the hands and finish the Temple [that] summer, or the walls of it, and get the roof on by December, and do the inside next winter; and about a year from this spring they would dedicate it."
7 Apr 1844 -- During General Conference Hyrum Smith indicated that the Church needed 200,000 shingles for the Temple. He continued," I thought some time ago I would get up a small subscription, so the sisters might do something." He then proposed that it would be a privilege for anyone to give a penny a week to buy nails and glass. He felt that this small subscription would bring in more than a large one and that even the poor could participate in building the Temple. He said he need $1,000. The money could be sent to him and he desired to raised the funds by the Fall. He concluded, "I want to get the windows in, in the winter, so that we may be able to dedicate the House of the Lord by this time next year, if nothing more than one room. I will call upon the brethren to do something." It was at this time that the Sisters adopted Hyrum Smith's suggestion for penny subscription fund. After Hyrum Smith's death, his wife, Mary, and his sister-in-law, Mercy F. Thompson, received the donations. The Sisters were very successful in their efforts, raising over $600, but ultimately most of the money was not used for the Temple but to pay Church debts
9 Apr 1844 -- At a special meeting of Elders Brigham Young "referred to the building of the Temple and charged the branches of the Church to send teams and provisions and work continually drawing stone."
11 Apr 1844 -- The year's labor on the Temple commenced with William Player beginning to work on this date.
May 1844 Josiah Quincy, Mayor of Boston, visited Nauvoo and overheard Joseph Smith tell a stone carver that the face on the sunstone was "very near" the face he saw in vision.
12 Jun 1844 -- Joseph Smith told a reporter that the temple's interior structure and arrangement had not been decided.
20 Jun 1844 -- Because of the excitement surrounding the destruction of the press, workmen ceased labor on the Temple.
27 Jun 1844 -- Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith killed by a mob at Carthage Jail. Hyrum Smith was not replaced in the Temple Committee
28 Jun 1844 -- Workmen suspended work on the temple to guard the temple walls.
5 Jul 1844 -- A raft with 87,732 feet of lumber arrived from the Wisconsin pineries; William Clayton took possession for the Trustees. A few days later another raft with 67,952 feet of lumber arrived.
7 Jul 1844 -- In a Sabbath meeting Willard Richards counseled the grieving Saints "to go out and harvest, and the others who stay in Nauvoo to go on with the temple, and make work here in the city" The Saints voted to resume working on the temple
8 Jul 1844 Workmen resume working on the temple.
9 Jul 1844 -- In a letter to the Saints in Great Britain, describing the death of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards and John Taylor wrote that "The murder of Joseph will not stop the work; it will not stop the Temple."
15 Jul 1844 -- Willard Richards, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor and William W. Phelps issued a letter calling on the Saints, "Yea, let us haste to build the temple of our God and to gather thereunto our silver and our gold with us, unto the name of the Lord, and then we may expect that he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths."
18 Jul 1844 -- Following a Thursday fast meeting Zina Huntington Jacobs paid her temple tithing.
29 Jul 1844 -- The sisters in LaHarpe and Macedonia collected funds, the wife of Raymond Clark coordinating the effort, to erect a third crane to help speed the work along. By this date they had raised $194, which was more than enough for the crane.
3 Aug 1844 -- The new crane was put into operation. This crane was used to raise the stone for the greater portion of the upper north wall. Joshua Armstrong, with his assistant Charles R. Dana, was the principal mason who worked from this crane. The men who attended the crane were William W. Dryer, William Austin and Archibald Hill. Later Thomas Japp and William L. Cutler were added to the crane handlers.
14 Aug 1844 -- The Twelve and the Temple Committee met with the stone cutters and the "affect was good."
15 Aug 1844 - The Twelve informed the Church that the temple would be continued to be built according to the pattern which had been started and with all rapidity.
23 Sept. 1844 -- The first sunstone capital stone was placed on the temple walls. Each stone weighed about two tons and cost some $300. Each capital was composed of five stones: the base stone; the sunstone with the sun raising above the clouds; the trumpet stone with two hands holding trumpets; and two cap stones on the top. Benjamin T. Mitchell cut the first sunstone to be placed.
25 Sept. 1844 -- The third crane toppled when raising a sunstone, just missing Thomas Japp, who might have been killed in the accident. The crane was repaired and work continued.
26 Sept. 1844 -- During the month Ira T. Miles, who had sided with Lyman Wight against the Twelve's leadership, arrived in Nauvoo. Rumors spread that he had come to burn the lumber needed for the Temple. Because of this threat to the building, the Twelve and the Temple Committee appointed four night watchmen on the temple walls. The guards were used until the Saints abandoned the building in 1846.
29 Sept. 1844 -- Brigham Young in a Sunday service sermon endorsed the Sisters' penny subscription fund for procuring glass and nails for the Temple.
1 Oct 1844 -- In an epistle to the Church the Twelve reported that the temple walls were ready to receive the arches of the upper story windows and that seven of the capitals had been placed. Work on the interior had commenced with timbers being reared on the inside of the building.
4 Oct 1844 -- William W. Phelps wrote to William Smith that the Temple walls were "up as high as the caps [capitals] of the pilasters, and it looks majestically." He also said that "inside work" on the building was going forward as fast as possible.
28 Oct 1844 -- Brigham Young met with William Weeks and the Temple Committee at the Temple Office to settle differences between the two parties. The nature of the dispute is not known.
2 Dec 1844 -- The Temple Committee reported that all of the capitals were in place, except one which would be placed within the week.
5 Dec 1844 -- The Twelve and the Temple Committee decided to draw the $600 from the Sisters' penny fund, which was raised to purchase nails and glass for the temple, to help pay off debts, so that property owned by the Church would not fall in the hands of the Church's enemies. The Brethren felt that there would be money available when the workmen needed nails and glass.
6 Dec 1844 -- The last of the capital sunstones were placed on the temple walls. There were problems in raising the stone, causing a delay of an hour and a half, when it was finally placed at 10:30 a.m., which closed the construction season for 1844. The last stone had been cut by Harvey Stanley. Twelve of the capitals were still lacking their trumpet stones, which would not be placed until the following spring. The Saints viewed the late arrival of winter as divine assistance in their labors; the season's first snowstorm commenced just two hours after the last sunstone was placed. By morning there was four inches of snow on the ground.
16 Dec 1844 -- A few days previous to this date the Twelve and the Trustees decided to employ fifteen carpenters to prepare timbers during the winter months, so that they could begin to work inside the building, as soon as the temple walls were completed. A carpentry shop was erected on the south side of the lower story of the temple walls on 14 Jan 1844, and on this day the men started to work
31 Dec 1844 -- Bishops Newel K. Whitney and George Miller published the names of 46 men, who were appointed to gather tithes and donations for the temple, and that all those who donated money would be credited in The Book of the Law of the Lord. They asked that "all should double their exertions in order to finish the building of the temple the next season."
1 Jan 1845 -Hovey described the work of the masons in preparing for the next summer work on the Temple: "I, Joseph, and family enjoy the blessings of God, yea even health, I cut stone with all my might on the temple of the Lord this winter. I, Joseph, cut one star and its base and also one window and caps and closures on the temple building.
14 Jan 1845 -- The Twelve reported on the temple progress. They indicated that the masonry work on the walls would be finished early in the year. Carpenters were busy preparing sashes, flooring, seats, etc., with an anticipating of using the building for ordinances next fall. They also reported that the wooden font would be replaced by a limestone font. The decision to replace the font had actually been made during the winter of 1843.
15 Jan 1845 -- Brigham Young visited the Temple Quarry, finding 62 men working with 6 teams of oxen, which was a likely representative of the work going on during the winter months in preparing stone.
21 Jan 1845 -- Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball met with the Temple Committee and William Weeks.
24 Jan 1845 -- The High Priest agreed to postpone the construction of their hall, which was to be a similar building as the Seventy's Hall, so as to complete the upper story of the temple, where they would receive their endowments
25 Jan 1845 -- Heber C. Kimball prayed privately, asking if the Saints would finish the Temple. The answer was, "Verily yes."
28 Jan 1845 -- The Church issued circulars with the names of agents who were to collect funds of the Temple.
8 Feb 1845 -- William Weeks stated that he felt all the stone for the temple would be cut within six weeks.
11 Feb 1845 -- Brigham Young wrote Wilford Woodruff reporting that the stone baptismal font was about to be erected in the Nauvoo Temple, and that the building's "woodwork is progressing rapidly under a temporary roof in the basement story, and we hope to commence the endowments next fall or early in the winter. We will not send many elders to England until after the endowment....The Saints are more engaged than ever to finish the temple, and it is desirable that tithings be forwarded from all branches at the earliest safe convenience."
12 Mar 1845 -- William Player began the working season on the temple.
14 Mar 1845 -- The only fatal accident occurred during the Temple's construction when Moses Horn was struck on the head by a stone and killed, while blasting rock in the Temple Stone Quarry.
15 Mar 1845 -- The Twelve and the Temple Committee decided to build a new drain for the new font, keep the three cranes in operation, as well as to erect a wall on the south side of the temple block. Sisters Mary Smith and Mercy Rachel Thompson published a notice, requesting that all sisters who were holding funds in the penny subscription to forward the money to them, saying that the drive had collected over $1000.
16 Mar 1845 -- In a Sunday sermon Brigham Young called for a renewed effort by the Saints to finish the temple.
17 Mar 1845 -- In obedience to Brigham Young's call, 105 extra laborers and 30 teams commenced working on the temple.
27 Mar 1845 -- William Player placed the final "trumpet stone" of the sunstone capital, all thirty capitals were in place. He also laid the first stringer for the large upper venetian window on the east wall.
1 Apr 1845 -- The reported the beginning of the construction of the wall around the temple block. The wall would have a stone base with a wrought iron fence for security.
3 April 1845 -- Temple guards found a trespasser on the temple block. The intruder was beaten almost to death, a deed which "created considerable warmth of feelings" among the citizenry. Chief of Police Hosea Stout defended his men, declaring they had only done their duty and was supported by Brigham Young.
18 Apr 1845 -- As the workmen were raising a large stone, some 1,500 pounds, the chain broke and it fell fifty feet, but no one was injured.
21 Apr 1845 -- At 3 pm. William Player placed the first star stone in the frieze of the entablature at the southeast corner, "the 'stars' will add much to the beauty of the Temple. The southeast corner was called "Joseph's corner."
29 Apr 1845 -- William Player placed the first circular window in the frieze.
8 May 1845 -- Brigham Young requested the British Saints to "furnish a bell for the Temple," which should be large enough (he suggested about 2,000 lbs.), to be "heard night and day." There is no further information on the bell; when it was delivered to Nauvoo or when it was hung in the tower, but each session of the Endowment was announced with the ringing of the bell when the temple was used for ordinance work during the winter of 1845-1846
16 May 1845 -- William Player set the last star stone on the west side of the southwest corner. During this same time carpenters were raising the timbers for the first floor with a large amount of the walls and body of the building already up. Brigham Young, representing the Twelve, wrote William Weeks directing him to prepare a stone in the west end of the temple with the inscription, "Holiness to the Lord," because it was the one thing lacking in the building.
19 May 1845 -- Stephen Goddard fell headfirst from the temple walls while helping to remove the scaffolding, but his fall was broken by the floor joists which prevented him from tumbling 62 feet into the basement, undoubtedly saving his life. He bled profusely from a head wound. William Clayton and two other brethren laid hands on him, blessed him and he went home.
21 May 1845 -- Stephen Goddard returned to work.
23 May 1845 -- By this date all the stone had been laid up, except the capstone.
24 May 1845 -- A large congregation of Saints gathered at the temple before six A.M. to view the capstone ceremonies. Members of the Twelve were present, as were the Temple Committee, Temple Recorder, and other Church officials. After the band played, Brigham Young, assisted by William Player and other workmen, set the capstone on the southeast corner, completing the outside walls. The services were conducted with great solemnity. President Young stated, "The last stone is laid upon the Temple, and I pray the Almighty in the name of Jesus to defend us in this place, and sustain us until the temple is finished and [we] have all got our endowments." The services concluded with the Hosanna Shout. The workmen were given the rest of the day off. The capstone was set on Joseph's corner (or the southeast corner.) Charles Lambert cut the stone at no charge.
28 May 1845 -- Workmen began to lay the timbers for the attic story and tower.
2 Jun 1845 -- Irene Hascall wrote in a letter, "The roof is partly on. It never went so fast before. Half has been built since Joseph was killed
6 Jun 1845 -- The Twelve overruled William Weeks' plan for semi-circular windows in the pediment, substituting rectangular widows.
17 Jun 1845 -- In a letter to the Saints the Twelve reported that the temple walls were completed, and that the roof was nearly completed. The Twelve also indicated it wanted to follow Joseph Smith's proposal and erected a canvas tabernacle on the west side of the temple. Orson Hyde was to travel east and raise money to purchase the canvas. The tabernacle was to be erected "in front of, and joining the Temple on the west." It was to be about 250 feet long and 125 feet wide. It was designed to seat a congregation of eight to ten thousand persons for "preaching," while the temple was to be "used for the meeting of councils and quorums, and the administrations of ordinances and blessings, and preaching to smaller congregations."
Near his date Orson Hyde left for the East "to obtain cloth for the tabernacle" and Howard Eagan had earlier left for St Louis to purchase hemp for making robes to hold the canvas up.
19 Jun 1845 -- The rafters for the roof are all up and "all things move rapidly and in order about the temple."
26 Jun 1845 -- Workmen laid the first stone for the new font. Men who cut stone for the font were William W. Player, Benjamin T. Mitchell, Charles Lambert, William Cottier, Andrew Cahoon, Daniel S. Cahoon, Jerome Kimpton, Augustus Stafford, Bun Anderson, Alvin Winegar, William Jones and Stephen Halles, Jr. The roof was completed and ready for shingles
27 Jun 1845 -- In a letter to Wilford Woodruff Brigham Young reported that the frame work for the attic was finished and the roof was ready to be shingled the next week. He wrote that the massive framework for the support for the tower had been raised, and the first timbers of the tower had been put up on that date. All of the window frames and sashes were ready for the glass, which was expected in a few days. All of the stone for the font had also been prepared. He also noted that the wall, some eight feet high and five feet thick at the base, around the temple block was being raised, with the north side already completed. This seems to suggest that the initial plans for a wrought iron fence had been replaced with a stone wall.
1 Jul 1845 -- Apparently some Saints were questioning the right of the Twelve to replace the wooden font which had been built under Joseph Smith's directions. In the Brigham Young explained the reason for erecting the stone font and he wrote that the Saints should not wonder at the decision. Just because Joseph Smith had built, a wooden font did not mean that it should be permanent. He stated that he wanted a font that would not "stink" and take so much time in keeping it clean.
6 Jul 1845 -- A report of the temple taken from the , indicated 300 men were laboring on the building
26 Jul 1845 -- Irene Hascall wrote in a letter, "The temple progresses finely; the roof is nearly shingled; the frame work of [the] steeple is nearly as high from the roof as the body of the temple
1 Aug 1845 -- The reported that the roof, composed to white pine singles, was nearly completed. A second roof was also planned, which would be made of zinc, lead, copper or porcelain; a sheet of lead had already been placed over a small section of the wooden shingles.
12 Aug 1845 -- The roof of the Temple was "nearly on."
14 Aug 1845 -- The last shingle was laid on the temple's roof. The issued on this date; its publication was delayed a few hours so that it could report that the last shingles had been placed on the temple roof and that the window frames and sashes were ready to be placed.
16 Aug 1845 -- Orson Hyde posted a notice in ask for donations for the canvas for the tabernacle. If he received more money than needed, he stated the excess would be applied towards the temple. Hosea Stout wrote, "It was decided that there would be a guard kept night and day around the temple, and that no stranger be allowed to come within the square of the temple lot, and also that there be four large lanterns made for the purpose and placed about 25 feet from each corner of the [Nauvoo] temple, to keep a light by night for the convenience of the guard
17 Aug 1845 -- Housea Stout ordered that at the "tolling of the temple bell every man know it as an alarm and repair forthwith armed and equipped to the parade ground
21 Aug 1845 -- Brigham Young wrote Wilford Woodruff that "the Temple is up, the shingles all on, the tower raised and ready to put the dome up. The joiners are now at work finishing the inside.
23 Aug 1845 -- The cupola or dome raised to the top of the temple tower with Bro. Goddard riding it up.
August 23. About sixty or seventy of the workmen celebrated by eating watermelons on the attic. The men hoisted a flag and it stayed until Sunday night
27 Aug 1845 -- Brigham Young wrote in a letter that the dedication of the temple was "expected to take place the 6th of next April ."
4 Sept. 1845 -- By this date Orson Hyde had raised about $1,000 for the canvas to be used for the tabernacle. He hoped to raise more and intended on purchasing the canvas in four or five days before shipping it to Nauvoo
15 Sept. 1845 -- Brigham Young wrote Samuel Brannon that the attic story is about complete.
16 Sept.1845 -- The Twelve called agents to confer with the Catholic Church about purchasing the Temple and other Church properties. They apparently approached Judge Ralston of Quincy, an influential Catholic, about such a transaction.
17 Sept. 1845 -- Orson Hyde shipped 4,000 yards of canvas to Nauvoo, and he left for Nauvoo the next day.
18 Sept. 1845 -- A man was shot at the Temple during night through the carelessness of one of the Temple Guards.
2 Oct 1845 -- Workmen were laying down the first floor for services
5 Oct 1845 -- Sunday services convened in the enclosed temple, with all its windows in, temporary floors laid, benches and pulpits in place. Approximately 5,000 were in attendance. During the services Brigham, in offering the opening prayer, presented "the temple, thus far completed [to the Lord], as a monument of the Saints's liberality, fidelity and faith." He concluded, "Lord, we dedicate this house to thee and ourselves to thee." One participant left the following description of the finished temple's dimensions: The height of the temple from the ground to the top of the eaves 60 feet, from the eaves to the top of the attic story 16 1/2, tower 12 1/2, belfry 20 feet, clock section 10, observatory 16, dome 13 1/2, ball and rod 10, total 158 1/2 feet.
7-8 Oct 1845 -- The only General Conference convened in the enclosed temple. Following the conference, Sunday services were held in the temple, with some interruption for construction, until the Saints left Nauvoo.
8 Oct 1845 -- In a letter the Twelve reported that the font and others parts of the temple were nearly ready to commence ordinance work.
17 Oct 1845 -- Orson Hyde arrived in Nauvoo with 4,000 feet of topsail Russian duck canvas for the tabernacle. The tabernacle was never erected. The canvas was probably used instead for the temporary partitions in the temple attic, erected in December 1845, and ultimately for wagon covers as the Mormons left Nauvoo, beginning in February 1846.
26 Oct 1845 -- Bishop George Miller gave Judges Purple and Ralston of Quincy a tour of the temple. The men later met with Brigham Young. Judge Ralston suggested selling the Church's property to the Catholic Church and that he would use his influence
31 Oct 1845 -- The Church wrote a letter to Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati offering the temple and other Church properties for sale to the Catholic Church. Almon Babbitt, who was to hand to deliver the letter, was empowered to represent the Church.
3 Nov 1845 -- William Weeks requested Norton Jacob to put in the truss timbers for the lower floor of the temple. Jacobs continued to work at the temple through the week
5 Nov 1845 -- Temple Committee and Bishops met with William Weeks concerning details of construction on the first floor. They discussed the design of posts and the number of aisles. They decided to have two aisles.
7 Nov 1845 -- A raft arrived with 100,000 board feet of lumber from the forests, which would be enough to finish the temple.
9 Nov 1845 -- No Sunday service, because the first floor of the temple, which had been laid in October 1842 to protect the font in the basement during construction, had to be taken up to replace rotting timbers.
14 Nov 1845 -- The Twelve met concerning the pulpits in the first floor.
17 Nov 1845 -- William Weeks asked Norton Jacob, who had been assigned to work on the Nauvoo House, to take charge of the framing of the temple tower; Jacobs started the next day.
19 Nov 1845 -- Workmen had nearly completed construction of the attic rooms
20 Nov 1845 -- The reported that the Church intended to rent the temple to any responsible society. It also reported the Saints continued to work on completing the building; they were going to furnish the Temple with carpet and intended to have a bell.
The reported that Babbitt was in the city, meeting with Bishop Purcell concerning the lease or sale of the temple to the Catholic Church.
22 Nov 1845 -- Workers finished plastering the attic story and painters began their work.
24 Nov 1845 -- Painters continued working in the attic, while two stoves were put up in the large room. Others began to clean up the rooms. Work on the font continued with several of the oxen and their tin horns, in place.
26 Nov 1845 -- Painters finished the attic, having put on three coats of white paint. The Twelve thought it was enough for the present.
29 Nov 1845 -- Carpet, lent by members, laid in the main hall of the attic, as well as some of the side rooms.
30 Nov 1845 -- Brigham Young and the Twelve with others dedicated the attic rooms for ordinance work.
1 Dec 1845 -- The Twelve, the Temple Committee and the Trustees met. Agent Almon Babbitt, who had traveled to St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago in seeking buyers for the Temple, reported on his trip, bringing letters from the Catholic Church. Brigham Young read letters from interested Catholic bishops. Babbitt reported that the bishop of Chicago was sending agents to meet with the Twelve.
The reported, "...the suite of rooms in the attic story for the accommodation of the Priesthood, in the ordinances of washings, anointings and prayer, are nearly ready for use; so that the faithful saints begin to rejoice in the Holy one of Israel."
2 Dec 1845 -- Brigham Young received a letter from Duncan and Co, indicating that a firm in Philadelphia was interested in purchasing the Temple. A return letter was drafted saying that if the firm sent an agent the Church would gladly show him the property for sell in Nauvoo. On this date Heber C. Kimball and his son, William, went to Hiram Kimball's home with a wagon to pick up 25-30 potted plants to decorate the attic rooms
3 Dec 1845 -- The Twelve, assisted by others, began to put up canvas partitions in the attic in preparation for ordinance work. The reported on Almon Babbit's trip to Cincinnati to met with the Catholic Church about the sale of properties in Nauvoo, including the Temple, and that he was now in Warsaw, meeting with Bishop Purcell for the same purpose
4 Dec 1845 -- The potted plants were brought up to the attic. Bishop Newel K. Whitney brought in the veil, one used by Joseph Smith and a new one, to the attic
5 Dec 1845 -- All the canvas partitions were now up, and work on three altars was going forward. Heber C. Kimball described the main hall of the attic divided by the canvas partitions: "The Big Hall is converted into Separate rooms for the convenience of the Holy Prieasthood, two large ones and four small ones and a hallway passing through between the Small ones, passing from west done through the Center, & doors into each room."
6 Dec 1845 -- Work on the attic rooms continued.
7 Dec 1845 -- Work on the attic rooms was nearly completed. The rooms were nicely furnished with paintings and maps.
8 Dec 1845 -- Catholic Fathers Tucker and Hamilton passed through Warsaw on their way to Nauvoo.
9 Dec 1845 -- Fathers Tucker from Quincy and Hamilton of Springfield arrived in Nauvoo, under direction of the Bishop of Chicago to investigate the sale of Church property in Nauvoo. They met with the Twelve in the evening.
10 Dec 1845 -- Fathers Tucker and Hamilton were admitted to the Temple. They met with the Twelve and others concerning the sell or lease of the Temple and other properties in Nauvoo. The Twelve made a proposition for them to purchase the Church's property in Nauvoo and lease the Temple from 5 to 35 years; the rent could be paid in part by finishing the Temple's unfinished areas, completing the wall around the Temple block, and maintaining the Temple in good order. The two priests appeared to be very interested in the offer. After the Priests left, the administration of Endowments begun in the attic story.
14 Dec 1845 -- In a Sabbath service in the Temple attic, Brigham Young told those assembled the "perfect order" in laying cornerstones, which had not been strictly followed in the Nauvoo Temple. The order was "for the presidency of the Stake to lay the first or South East corner. The High Council the 2nd or South West corner. The Bishops the North West corner and the Priests the North East corner." After the services the Twelve went down to the first floor and counseled on the arrangements of the pulpits
17 Dec 1845 -- The reported Brigham Young had written in a letter that the Saints had "commenced endowments in the attic story of the Lord's House, and were employed therein night and day; they had, at the date of the letter [17 December 1845] given the endowment to some four hundred persons.
24 Dec 1845 -- The reported that endowments were being given in the
31 Dec 1845 -- The Warsaw Signal reported further on endowments being given in the Temple.
1 Jan 1846 -- Workmen began to plaster the arched ceiling in the first floor hall, the floor having been completely laid. The framework for the pulpits and choirs seats had also been erected.
2 Jan 1846 -- In a meeting in the Temple Brigham Young stated, "We can't stay in this house but a little while. We got to build another house. It will be a larger house than this, and a more glorious one, and we shall build a great many houses...and build houses all over the continent of North America."
4 Jan 1846 -- Brigham Young canceled the weekly Sabbath meetings of those endowed, because the attic floor could not hold the weight of such a large congregation
7 Jan 1846 -- The Twelve received a letter from Father Tucker, saying the Catholic Church could not raise enough money to purchase the Church's property and proposed to lease only one public building, presumably the Temple, but they would not insure it against fire or mobs. The Twelve felt the offer was insulting and decided not to respond to the letter. The altar for administering sealing ordinances was dedicated by Brigham Young. The first sealings of husbands and wives administered. Sealings were performed for living, as well as for the dead, but only where one spouse was living and the other was deceased.
8 Jan 1846 -- The reported on the use of the Temple for endowments, editorializing why the "old and virtuous settlers of Hancock county" were not indignant over the "living corruption among them."
11 Jan 1846 -- First sealings of children to parents administered, but only for the living.
18 Jan 1846 -- The Twelve appointed Almon Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood, John S. Fullmer, Henry W. Miller and John M. Bernhisel Trustees-in-Trust to dispose of Church property, including the Nauvoo Temple. They were also instructed to the complete the first floor of the temple.
20 Jan 1846 -- The reported that "the font, standing upon twelve stone oxen, is about ready" and that the second story floor was being laid
24 Jan 1846 -- Brigham Young at a general meeting of the "official [endowed] members of the Church" in the second floor of the temple nominated Almon A. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood and John S. Fullmer as trustees for the Nauvoo Temple, charging them to finish the building for dedication. The proposal was unanimously approved by those present.
30 Jan 1846 -- Weather vane placed on the steeple of the temple. The weather vane was a "representation of an angel in his priestly robes with a book of Mormon in one hand and a trumpet in the other which, was laid over with gold.
Feb 1846 -- James J. Strang, who claimed to be the successor to Joseph Smith, complained in his newspaper that the temple was being offered to the Catholics as a cathedral or nunnery.
3 Feb 1846 -- Last sealings of children to parents were administered. There were 71 children sealed to their parents, and 130 persons were adopted.
Individuals who had lent furniture, carpet, pictures and other furnishing to decorate the attic floor of the temple began to remove their belongings
7 Feb 1846 -- Last day of endowments given in the attic, as well as the last day that baptisms for the dead were administered. 5,083 persons received their endowments. By this date there had been 15,626 proxy baptisms performed in the temple
7 Feb 1846 -- Last day for sealings of deceased spouses to living spouses in marriage. There were 369 deceased spouses sealed
8 Feb 1846 -- Last sealings of living spouses were administered. There were 2,420 couples sealed. The Twelve met in the attic and Brigham Young dedicated the temple thus far completed, leaving the building in the hands of the Lord.
A fuller account reads: "The Twelve met in the southeast corner, room No. 1, the upper story in the temple, kneeling round the altar and dedicating the building to the most high and asked His blessings upon our intended move to the west, also asking Him to enable them someday to finish the lower part of the building and dedicated it to Him and to preserve the temple as a monument to Joseph Smith, the Twelve, then left
9 Feb 1846 -- The roof caught fire at 3 A.M. from an over heated stove pipe in the attic which ignited drying cloth. The fire burned for half an hour before being put out. The fire burned "from the railing to the ridge about 16 feet North and South and about 10 feet East and West. The shingles on the north side were broken through in many places." There was about $100 worth of damage.
12 Feb 1846 -- In Burlington, Mr. Hager, a local artist, displayed paintings done in Nauvoo, including one of the Temple. In describing the Temple, "he pointed out its beauties and the singularity of its architecture, saying that it was perfectly unique and totally unlike all the orders laid down in the books." He further stated, that in a conversation with Joseph Smith, when ask about the Temple's architectural style, the Prophet was said to have answered, "I know of nothing better than for you to call it 'Jo Smith's order'."
13 Feb 1846 -- Brigham Young and William Weeks signed a certificate officially appointing Truman O. Angel to be Weeks' successor as superintendent over finishing the temple according to the plans and designs given by Weeks to Angel. Soon after this Williams Weeks left Nauvoo. Brigham Young wanted William Weeks to be with the vanguard of pioneers, because he wanted him "to dig deep and the lay the foundation of the Temple for Brigham Young intended by the help of the brethren to build a Temple unto the Lord just as soon as the Saints by a united effort can complete it."
17 Feb 1846 -- Workmen re-laid the burnt part of the temple roof and covered it with lead.
20 Feb 1846 -- Workmen were plastering the attic walls which, had been burnt in the fire
22 Feb 1846 -- During a Sunday meeting of the Saints in the first floor, the floor suddenly settled, causing panic and confusion among those present. Brigham Young tried to calm the congregation, but he could not, and some persons even jumped out the windows. The local press reported on the "Crash in the Temple," stating that the "confusion was tremendous," and some were "badly hurt", and the news made the national press as well
9 Mar 1846 -- The Twelve appointed Orson Hyde to remain in Nauvoo and represent the Church, and to see that, when the first floor of the Temple was completed, the building was dedicated, if the Twelve could not return to do it.
March 1846 -- During the latter part of March and first part of April laborers worked on laying the brick floor in the basement. The floor consisted of red bricks, set in a herringbone pattern
27 Mar 1846 -- Orson Hyde wrote Brigham Young that the Temple would not be ready to dedicate on the Church's sixteenth anniversary, April 6, 1846.
Spring 1846 -- Lucian Woodworth made two daguerreotypes of the Temple. The first was taken from his gallery in lower Nauvoo, showing the Temple in the distance on the bluffs above the city. The second was a close-up view of the Temple. Both daguerreotypes are presently housed in the Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Apr 1846 -- James J. Strang's followers approved resolutions in their conference that the Trustees were illegally formed and that they possessed no legal authority to sell the temple. He cautioned anyone in making a purchase from them. Strang made up a special edition of Voree Herald with the resolutions and his followers distributed the newspaper throughout the region around Nauvoo.
10 Apr 1846 -- The Trustees issued an advertisement in the, offering to lease the temple for favorable terms for twenty years, to be used for educational or literary purposes.
The Trustees published formal announcements in the press of the Temple's three-day dedicatory services, beginning at 11:00 A.M. on 1 May 1846. The public was invited to attend for one dollar in order to help pay the salaries of the workmen who completed the building.
22 Apr 1846 -- Joiners finished their work and during the day workmen swept and cleaned the interior for the dedication. The reported that a wealthy individual was on his way to Nauvoo concerning the sale of properties, including the Temple, but reported that negotiation thus far had not been entirely successful. Although agreement had been reached concerning most of the properties (some 100 lots including the Masonic Hall and arsenal), the Trustees were unwilling to sell the Temple, but were willing to lease it. This the individual found unsatisfactory
23 Apr 1846 -- The reported that "a rich old bachelor from the South" was negotiating for the purchase of the Temple, intending to turn it into "a retreat for poor widows and other females."
26 Apr 1846 -- Brigham Young received a letter from Orson Hyde, who wrote that a wealthy Catholic benefactor had offered to buy the Temple for $200,000. Hyde offered to lease the Temple to him instead, but he refused and the offer fell through. Hyde asked if it might not be better to sell the Church's two temples at Kirtland and Nauvoo, and use the money to help the poor move west.
27 Apr 1846 -- Apparently acting on Orson Hyde's suggestion, the Twelve determined to sell the Temple and use the funds to help the poor move West, reasoning that if no Saints remained in Nauvoo the Temple would be of little use to the Church. Brigham Young wrote a letter to Hyde with the Twelve's decision.
29 Apr 1846 -- The ran an article about a "wealthy gentleman from the South," who had recently been in St. Louis and was on his way to Nauvoo to purchase the Temple as an "asylum for widows and destitute females."
30 Apr 1846 -- At 7:45 p.m. Joseph Young, assisted by twenty-five men who had remained behind to finish the temple, gathered in the first floor hall for a private dedication of the building by the men who had labored so hard to finish the building. During the services Orson Hyde and Wilford Woodruff joined them. The men occupied the priesthood stands, representing the order of the Priesthood. Joseph Young offered the dedicatory prayer. The men ended the services with the Hosanna Shout and retired to the attic, where there was a delightful banquet set for them.
1 May 1846 -- Public dedication of the temple under the direction of Apostles Orson Hyde and Wilford Woodruff. "The Temple was dedicated in the presence of strangers and all who would pay one dollar for admittance." Orson Hyde read the dedicatory prayer
2 May 1846 -- Second day of dedicatory services
3 May 1846 -- The third day of dedicatory services, when the "dedication of the Temple closed." The reporting that 5,000 persons attended on the third day, which was reserved for the Latter-Day Saints. During these services the Saints approved a resolution to sell the Temple and use the funds to help the poor in their move West.
6 May 1846 -- The reported on Strang's resolutions, which claimed that the Trustees had "no right to convey title to any property of the Church and caution[ed] all against buying of them." Strang's assertions made the Trustees' work much more difficult, especially when Strang published information from the Hancock County Book of Mortgages and Deeds, attempting to show that Joseph Smith's successor was the President of the Church, who was the Trustee-in-Trust, and only he had the right to convey title to Church property. Apparently when Strang raised the question of who held legitimate title to the temple, it clouded the issue and often prevented the temple's sale.
13 May 1846 -- The reported on the resolution to sell the Temple on May 3, stating that its sale would "cut off the last and only motive which could exist to induce them [the Mormons] to stay in Nauvoo, or to return to it at any future time." The reported that a gentleman from a southern state was interested in purchasing the Temple.
15 May 1846 -- The Temple Trustees placed the following advertisement in the : "Temple For Sale. The undersigned trustees of the Latter Day Saints propose to sell the Temple on very low terms, if an early application is made. The Temple is admirably designed for literary and religious purposes. Address the Undersigned Trustees, Almon Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood, John Fullmer. Nauvoo, May 15, They also ran the same advertisement in the from May 15 until December 23, 1846, without resulting in a sale of the temple.
16 May 1846 -- The reported on the notice of sell in the , also reporting on the resolution passed at the third dedicatory session to sell the Temple, hopefully to some wealthy individual or corporation
18 May 1846 -- The reported that a "council" in Nauvoo and the "Twelve" had resolved to sell the Temple, in order to raise money for emigration purposes.
21 May 1846 -- The reported on the effort to sell the Temple, stating that the purchaser could acquire it for less than one fourth of the cost to the Mormons to build it. The article reported that the temple was now considered finished and said of the first floor: "The grand hall designed for the congregation is worthy of attention of all architects in originality and taste." It also reported on the dedication of the temple, stating that 5,000 persons were present on the third day, when a vote was taken to sell the Temple; the asking price was $200,000
23 May 1846 -- The notes the advertisement of for the sale of the Nauvoo Temple in the
6 Jun 1846 -- The reported that there were three negotiations underway concerning the lease or sale of the temple.
15 Jun 1846 -- A newspaper reported that a man in Fort Madison, Iowa, expressed no hesitation in saying that the Temple must be destroyed, and he had powder ready for that purpose.
26 Jun 1846 -- The Trustees wrote Brigham Young that Trustees Babbitt and Heywood had started for St. Louis to seek buyers for the temple. A Mr. Paulding was interested in the building, but he was in New Orleans and a deal could not be closed for five to six weeks.
25 Aug 1846 -- Brigham Young sent word to the Temple Trustees not to sell the Temple for less than $100,000
16 Sept. 1846 -- Following the so-called Battle of Nauvoo, the Trustees surrendered the city to the anti-Mormon mob by signing a "treaty," which allowed five Mormons, including the Trustees, to remain in Nauvoo for the disposition of Church and private property, but all other Mormons were required to move as soon as possible.
17 Sept. 1846 -- The anti-Mormon mobs occupied Nauvoo and began the forcible removal of the remaining Mormons from the city. The Trustees gave the keys to the Temple to Henry I. Young, chairman of the Quincy Committee; he promptly opened the building to the mob, who began desecrating the Temple. The Trustees' actions were clearly done under duress.
18 Sept. 1846 -- When the mob occupied the Temple, some of them ran to the tower, where they beat a drum, rang the bell, and shouted for joy. One preacher yelled, "Peace! Peace! Peace! To the inhabitants of the earth, now the Mormons are driven!"
25 Sept. 1846 -- Daniel H. Wells and William Cutler arrived at Winter Quarters with letters concerning the Battle of Nauvoo.
27 Sept. 1846 -- Brigham Young in a letter to the Trustees counseled them to use their best judgment in selling the temple and use the funds to pay the laborers who worked on the temple and to assist the poor. They also asked them to forward the Temple bell to him, as "you will have no further use of the Temple Bell." This was done and the bell was forwarded, because when the pioneer party left for the Rocky Mountains Brigham Young took the bell.
2 Oct 1846 -- Trustee Heywood wrote the Twelve that Mr. Paulding of New Orleans was still considering buying the temple.
5 Oct 1846 -- The reported on the damage done to the temple: holes cut in the floors, names carved in the wood, messages scrawled on the walls, and the font defaced with the oxen disfigured and broken.
20 Oct 1846 -- The Trustees wrote Brigham Young that the mob had given the keys to the Temple to Brother Paine in their behalf. During November the mob left the city, returning to their homes.
6 Nov 1846 -- The Trustees wrote Brigham Young that Mr. Paulding was yet interested and wished a list of all Church property and the lowest prices the Church would accept. The men wrote that they wished to finish their work and leave Nauvoo, because some of the "worst characters" lived in the area
14 Nov 1846 -- The Twelve replied to the Trustee's letters of 20 Oct and 6 Nov 1846, directing them to use all their influence to have all the able bodied men around Nauvoo to form a company and remove to Winter Quarters by March 1847
26 Nov 1846 -- John M. Bernhisel wrote Brigham Young that Isaac Galland had sworn out an attachment on Church property, including the Temple, for $20,000.
7 Jan 1847 -- Brigham Young wrote to three members of the Twelve that the temple had not yet been sold and that Trustee Babbitt had left for Kirtland and points East.
20 Jan 1847 -- The Twelve received a letter from the Trustees which, reported that Isaac Galland had sworn out an attachment on the Temple and Church property for $25,000.
3 Feb 1847 -- Brigham Young received a letter from the Trustees, reporting that Almon Babbitt had written them that he had made an unsuccessful attempt to sell the temple in Baltimore.
20 Mar 1847 -- Having returned from the East, near this date Babbitt wrote Brigham Young that he had been unsuccessful in his efforts and that the Trustees hoped to sell the temple when the Spring came. He inquired what they should do with any surplus.
5 Apr 1847 -- Trustee Babbitt wrote Brigham Young that he arrived in Nauvoo from the East 2 weeks earlier, where he had visited a number of cities, and that he had been unable to find a buyer for the temple. The best he could get was an offer of $100,000 for the temple and the Wells and Kimball properties. He felt that he could get that amount locally. He also reported that Galland had two suits against the Church, one "in Chancery, as well at common law.
13 Apr 1847 -- Near this date the Brigham Young wrote the Trustees to come to Winter Quarters with any surplus funds, as well as all their records and books. He asked whether the Church was so poor that it was now "obliged to sell their Father's house for a morsel of bread," lamenting that any money released from the sale would be used to pay off the unjust suits, liens, and judgments against the Church
12 Jun 1847 -- The reported that the Catholic Church had agreed to purchase the Temple for $75,000.
7 Aug 1847 -- The reported that the sale of the Temple to the Catholic Church had collapsed because of a defective deed, perhaps referring to Strang's assertions or to Galland's liens.
6 Oct 1847 -- Trustee Babbitt arrived at Winter Quarters for consultation with the Twelve, who had recently arrived from the Salt Lake valley
7 Oct 1847 -- The Twelve met with Babbitt and counseled him to sell the Church properties in Nauvoo without delay. Babbitt left for Nauvoo the next day.
19 Oct 1847 -- The reported that during the past year the temple had been on the verge of being sold a number of times, only to have the transfer of title fail, because of a reportedly defective deed.
3 Nov 1847 -- The Twelve met and decided to write the Trustees, recommending that they give the keys to the Temple to Judge Owens and leave the care of the "building itself in the hands of the Lord." They were also to gather all papers and records, and remove to Winter Quarters.
25 Jan 1848 -- In a meeting with Trustee Babbitt, Hiram Kimball and John Snider at Winter Quarters Brigham Young indicated that he really did not desire to sell the temple.
11 Mar 1848 -- The Trustees sold the Temple to David T. LeBaron, the brother-in-law of Trustee Almon Babbitt. for $5,000. During 1848, LeBaron and his brother-in-law, George W. Johnson, conducted visitors through the Nauvoo Temple. LeBaron attended it one day and Johnson the next.
7 Jul 1848 -- Wilford Woodruff stopped in Nauvoo while on the way East and toured the temple, which he found to be in a better state of preservation that he had expected
6 Sept. 1848 -- Lightning struck the weather vane on the cupola with little damage, but left a large scar on the building
27 Sept. 1848 -- A newspaper reported that a Mr. Bower of New York had made a contract to lease the temple for fifteen years and convert it to a college for the Home Missionary Society of New York. The contract was to close on 1 Oct 1848
2 Oct 1848 -- The temple leased to the Home Missionary Society of New York for 15 years.
9 Oct 1848 -- An arsonist set fire to the Temple. The reported that "Great volumes of smoke and flames burst from the windows, and the crash of falling timbers was distinctly heard on the opposite side of the [Mississippi] river. The interior of the building was like a furnace, the walls of solid masonry were heated throughout and cracked by the intense heat. The melted zinc and lead were dropping from its high block during the day." The next morning the walls were still too hot to touch. The building was gutted, only the four walls were left standing
20 Mar 1849 -- The reported that 281 Icarian emigrants had docked at the city wharf on their way up river to Nauvoo. The Icarians moved into Nauvoo shortly thereafter.
2 Apr 1849 -- David T. LeBaron conveyed the fire-damaged Temple to Etienne Cabet, leader of the Icarian Community, for $2,000
10 Sept. 1849 -- John M. Bernhisel on a trip to the East stopped at Nauvoo and left a description of the Temple ruins: "Though the walls of the Temple are standing, yet they are much cracked, especially the east one; and not a vestige of the once beautiful font remains." He reported that no work had been done to repair the structure, except for clearing away some rubbish, and that the lot was used as a sheep fold and cow pen
27 May 1850 -- During 1849-1850 the Icarians had begun to repair the Temple, placing a series of new piers in the basement, planning on refurbishing the building for their use. On this day, as they were working, a tornado suddenly arose and toppled the north wall, leaving the east and south walls severely damaged. The workmen barely escaped with their lives, scrambling out of the ruins in stinging hail, pouring rain, thunder and lightning, all accompanied by violent winds.
28 May 1850 -- Nauvoo city officials "declared that the southern and eastern walls would soon fall down, and that to avoid any serious accident, it was better to destroy them." The walls were then razed, leaving only the west facade standing
Spring 1853 -- Frederick Piercy visited Nauvoo in the spring of 1853 and sketched the temple ruins, which he published in his . This drawing is the only known depiction of the Temple's interior structure.
2 Feb 1865 -- During the intervening years the facade slowly crumbled, until only the southwest corner remained, "towering in sad grandeur above the surrounding buildings" of the Nauvoo business district. Prior to this date the damaged facade was purposely leveled for safety. The reported, "The last remaining vestige of what the famous Mormon temple was in its former glory has disappeared, and nothing now remains to mark its site but heaps of broken stone and rubbish
1876 -- William Adams visited Nauvoo and recorded in his journal, "No remains of the temple, except pieces of wall on the north side of the block could I discovered."
In the late 1800's the temple site was leveled and the property used for a variety of purposes, including a vineyard.
22 Sep 1936 -- Apostle George Albert Smith, historian Andrew Jenson, Wilford C. Wood and John D. Giles of the Utah Trails and Landmark Association visited Nauvoo and inspected the Nauvoo Temple site, apparently with intention of investigating the purchase of the property.
19 Feb 1937 -- Wilford C. Wood and Jack Smith, representing the Mormon Church's interest, inspected the Temple lot and then went to the local bank to negotiate a purchase. At first the bank president, Mr. Anton, asked too much, but Brother Wood was inspired to say, "Are you going to try and make me pay an exorbitant [sic] price for the blood of a martyred Prophet, when you know this property rightfully belongs to the Mormon people?" The statement softened Mr. Anton, who lowered the price to $900. Bro. Wood quickly agreed and purchased part of Lot 2 (northwest quarter) of the Temple lot, which included the old, covered temple well in the Temple's basement. The deed was transferred the next day at the Carthage courthouse
19 Apr 1937 -- Wilford C. Wood, acting on his own, purchased Lot 1 (northeast quarter) of the Temple Lot for $1,100 and turned it over to the Church some six moths later. During the next few years Bro. Wood also purchased three small parcels making up the southern side of Lot 4 (southeast quarter) for the Church.
April 1938 -- Lane K. Newberry, an artist from Chicago who had visited and painted the old buildings of Nauvoo for the past seven years, had a dream of restoring the city to its former grandeur. He approached the First Presidency about restoring Nauvoo. He received their approval and cooperation, in which the Presidency promised to erect a monument on the Temple site
24-25 June 1939 -- Over 700 Latter-day Saints gathered in a conference at Nauvoo, under the direction of Byrant S. Hinckley (Northern States Mission President), commemorating the centennial of the city's founding, as well as the death of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith. The activities sparked a mission to restore Nauvoo. A Sunday service was held on the Temple lot, where President Hinckley spoke about Nauvoo's restoration. Artist Lane related his dream of seeing Nauvoo restored and "the temple rebuilt in full size on this spot where it once stood
1947 -- The Centennial Caravan (duplicating the original company first to enter Salt Lake valley), composed of 143 men, 3 women and 2 "scouts," left the Nauvoo Temple lot in automobiles and headed west in memory of the Mormon pioneers.
Jun 1951 -- Wilford C. Wood acquired another parcel of Lot 2 (northwest quarter) for the Church. The property contained a large home, which the Church turned into a Bureau of Information
22 Feb 1959 -- Richard C. Stratford, acting for the Church, completed acquisition of a narrow right of way, between the northeast and south east quarters, from the telephone company
1961 -- During this year the Church acquired all of the property owned by the Catholic Church, which included all of Lot 3 (southwest quarter) and the rest of Lot 4 (southeast quarter).
Dec 1961 -- Dr. Melvin Fowler, Southern Illinois University, undertook the first archaeological investigation of the Temple site, by digging a preliminary trench, which established the existence of masonry remains below ground
Jun 1962 -- Dr. Fowler with Dee F. Green returned and begun a major archaeological project, uncovering the entire Temple basement, except for a small piece of property owned by the RLDS Church. The dimensions of the building were established and the interior excavated to a depth of five feet. Further work was postponed for three years while archaeological investigations were conducted in other parts of Nauvoo.
27 July 1962 -- Nauvoo Restoration, Inc., usually called NRI, incorporated under the direction of Dr. J. Leroy Kimball, Heber C. Kimball's great-grandson. Dr. Kimball's son wrote, "He proclaimed that to all who would listen that the Temple Block was the "great centerpiece" of the project."
1962 -- By the end of this year the Church had acquired a small piece of property owned by the RLDS Church in Lot 2 (northwest quarter), which completed the acquisition of the entire Temple lot the Church.
Summer 1966 -- Further archaeological investigations of the Temple site were undertaken by Dr. J. C. Harrington, hired as Director of NRI's archaeological program.
Summer 1967 -- Further archaeological investigations of the Temple site were undertaken by Dr. Harrington
Summer 1968 -- Further archaeological investigations of the Temple site were undertaken by Dr. Harrington.
7 Aug 1971. -- Architects, Steven T. Baird and Tim Maxwell, found parts of seven of the original 30 sunstones used in the Nauvoo Temple while investigating the construction of the Icarian Building in Nauvoo. They found five complete stones and two badly broken ones in the building's foundation.
2 Dec 1989 -- The Smithsonian Institute paid $100,000 for the sunstone, owned by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams Counties, Illinois. The only other sunstone was displayed in the Nauvoo City Park.
26 Jun 1994 -- The sunstone, which had been on display in the Nauvoo State Park, was relocated to the Temple Block, amid impressive ceremonies, under the direction of President Howard W. Hunter. The stone was encased in a special glassed-in case to preserve it from further deterioration.
1 Nov 1996 -- A four-foot high ornamental wrought iron fence, replacing a hedge and chain-link fence around the Temple block was completed by the Petersen Engineering and Fabrication of Ogden, all through donated labor.
April 4, 1999 -- Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church, announced in the last session of General Conference, that, because of the generosity of a donor, the Church would rebuild the Nauvoo Temple as a monument to the Mormon pioneers. He anticipated it would not be a busy temple, except in the summer when LDS tourists visited Nauvoo. He stated that architects were working on the project, but that it would take some time to complete. A spokesman for Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. suggested that the reconstruction would "likely cost twenty times" the original construction cost of $800,000. Construction was expected to begin sometime within the next two years.
23 April 1999 -- The First Presidency announced that the Church would accept donations for the construction of the Nauvoo Temple. Members could use the "Other" line on the donation receipt and enter the amount and the "Nauvoo Temple."
1 May 1999 -- In an interview published 1 May 1999, Gorden B. Hinckley indicated that the Nauvoo Illinois Temple would be built upon the original site. The Temple would be constructed of reinforced concrete block in order to meet modern seismic codes, but would be faced with light-gray limestone from the original quarries, as well as others nearby. He said, that no decision had been made yet as to whether the tower would be graced with a reproduction of the original recumbent angel or the statue of the Angel Moroni commonly used today, but all other details of the exterior would be expected to follow the original plans.
6 May 1999 -- Leon Burton, Nauvoo Restoration spokesman, reported that the Temple would cost 16 million dollars, twenty times more than the original 200,000 dollars. The Church would use its own temple architectural department staff, as well as non-Church firms. Work wold also be done by "outside [non-Mormon] contractors," with some labor being performed by Church's own crews.
20 Jun 1999 -- In a meeting between the Nauvoo Restoration and local Nauvoo businessmen, Bob Dewey of the Church Architecture Department, stated that construction bids may go out as early as February 2000, with work beginning on the temple in the spring, weather permitting. Dewey stated that the final design work will be done by Lew Chiadini Associates Architects of Saint Louis, Missouri, and Harry Weiss and Associates. He stated that it was expected that a portion of the Temple will be open to the public, with displays, etc.
Almost all of our Dalton ancestors after they joined the Mormon Church practiced plural Marriage. Here is a little explanation about Polygamy.
Polygamy, or plural marriage, was practiced by a small percentage of the Mormon pioneers and is perhaps the most misunderstood practice of all Mormondom. Supporting plural wives, financially and emotionally, was never an easy thing to do as many men now could attest from being married to only one. The members of the Church followed "the principle," as it was often called, for religious reasons.
Plural marriage served a practical purpose for the Mormon pioneers as well, allowing for women to be cared for even if there were not enough men, as well as lifting the burden of some household responsibilities. A pair of wives who shared a house, for example, shared household responsibilities.
Brigham Young explained part of the purpose of plural marriage in his response to the question: What is the largest number of wives belonging to any one man? Brigham Young said, "I have 15; I know no one who has more; but some of those sealed to me are old ladies who I regard rather as mothers than wives, but whom I have taken home to cherish and support."
Support was a significant part of plural marriage, and before a man was allowed to take another wife, he would have to receive permission from the religious leaders, normally receive approval of his other wife or wives, receive permission from the parents of the potential wife, and show that he was capable of supporting another wife, both financially and emotionally.
Mark Twain's View:
The practice of polygamy was one that caused a great deal of controversy. Laws were passed against polygamy, and Utah was denied statehood for a time because it was still accepted. It was even humanized by Mark Twain, who said in his book, Roughing It:
"With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth, I was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here [to abolish polygamy] -- until I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically homely creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, 'No; the man that marries one of them has done a deed of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure, and the man that marries 60 of them has done a deed of open-handed generosity so sublime that the nation should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence." The numbers of people practicing plural marriage varied throughout the pioneer period. At the height of its practice, approximately one-third of the population was involved in polygamy as husbands, wives, or children in polygamous families.
Throughout the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the subject of polygamy has been a burning issue. During the early 1840s the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, at first privately advocated the practice of plural marriage, calling it a most holy and important doctrine, and teaching that a fullness of exaltation in the hereafter could not be reached without obedience to the principle.
After Smith’s martyrdom in Illinois in 1844, a small group of church leaders who had been entrusted with the teaching of polygamy continued to practice it. When the Latter-day Saints came to Utah in 1847, this group formed the nucleus of leadership for the colonization of the Great Basin. Here, they hoped to practice their religion free of persecution. But even in such a far-flung place they could not escape public outcry when the church officially announced its advocacy of polygamy in 1852.
Polygamy was one of the most memorable, if not flamboyant, tenets of the Mormon church. Church leaders, after more than a century and a half of first defending, then rejecting and finally denouncing the controversial practice, would like to forget it ever happened.
The curious thing about polygamy is that for all the anguish it caused, it was never practiced by more than 20 percent of the Mormon population. "It was not a very easy system to maintain. There were practical difficulties--financial problems, personality conflicts, wives and children not getting along. It was always a difficult system."
Mormon leader Brigham Young had 56 wives, but the average number was three, and an "acceptable number" for men who wanted to get ahead in the church hierarchy was two. Many men took a second wife just to satisfy the letter of the law, because you could not rise in the church-controlled community if you were not a polygamist."
However lukewarm most Mormons may have felt about polygamy, it became a hot political issue almost immediately when in 1849, the State of Deseret, the original Mormon name for Utah, sought annexation to the Union. Most accounts of polygamy in the press of the rest of the nation were inaccurate, portrayed, according to Van Wagoner, as "Mormon harems dominated by lascivious males with hyperactive libidos." But that sensational tableau so gripped the nation that Utahan’s were in almost continual conflict with the federal government. In 1879, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an opinion on polygamy.
In Reynolds vs. the United States, the court declared that laws "cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, but they may with practices." Van Wagoner is convinced that much of the determined Mormon defense of polygamy came from people who, regardless of how they viewed the practice, thoughtless of being dictated to by the federal government. Utah was admitted as a state in 1896, following a public pronouncement by the church president "advising members against contracting new plural marriages," But church-sanctioned polygamy continued on a covert basis until 1904."
When establishing the LDS Church, Joseph Smith recorded numerous revelations he claimed to receive, often in answer to questions about the Bible, which are now included in the Doctrine and Covenants, part of the LDS canon. In answer to his question as to why many of the Old Testament leaders had more than one wife, Smith received what is now known as Section 132. Although the revelation was not recorded until 1843, Smith may have received it in the 1830s and married his first plural wife, Fanny Alger, in 1835. Polygamy was not openly practiced in the Mormon Church until 1852 when Orson Pratt, an apostle, made a public speech defending it as a tenet of the church. From 1852 until 1890, Mormon Church leaders preached and encouraged members, especially those in leadership positions, to marry additional wives.
A majority of the Latter-day Saints never lived the principle. The number of families involved varied by community; for example, 30 percent in St. George in 1870 and 40 percent in 1880 practiced polygamy, while only 5 percent in South Weber practiced the principle in 1880. Rather than the harems often suggested in non-Mormon sources, most Mormon husbands married only two wives. The wives usually lived in separate homes and had direct responsibility for their children. Where the wives lived near each other, the husbands usually visited each wife on a daily or weekly basis. While there were the expected troubles between wives and families, polygamy was usually not the only cause, although it certainly could cause greater tension. Since polygamy was openly practiced for only a short time by Mormons, there were no established rules about how family members should relate to each other. Instead, each family adapted to their particular circumstances.
Reactions from outside the church to statements about polygamy were immediate and negative. In 1854 the Republican party termed polygamy and slavery the "twin relics of barbarism." In 1862 the United States Congress passed the Morrill Act, which prohibited plural marriage in the territories, disin-corporated the Mormon Church, and restricted the church's ownership of property. The nation was in the midst of the Civil War, however, and the law was not enforced. In 1867 the Utah Territorial Legislature asked Congress to repeal the Morrill Act. Instead of doing that, the House Judiciary Committee asked why the law was not being enforced, and the Cullom Bill, an attempt to strengthen the Morrill Act, was introduced. Although it did not pass, most of its provisions later became law. Out of a number of other bills introduced during the 1870s against polygamy, only the Poland Act passed, in 1874. It gave district courts all civil and criminal jurisdiction and limited the probate courts to matters of estate settlement, guardianship, and divorce.
The Mormons continued to practice polygamy despite these laws, since they believed that the practice was protected by the freedom of religion clause in the Bill of Rights. To test the constitutionality of the laws, George Reynolds, Brigham Young's private secretary, agreed to be tried. In 1879 the case reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the Morrill Act: "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and pinion, they may with practices."
In 1882 Congress passed the Edmunds Act, which was actually a series of amendments to the Morrill Act. It restated that polygamy was a felony punishable by five years of imprisonment and a $500 fine. Unlawful cohabitation, which was easier to establish because the prosecution had to prove only that the couple had lived together rather than that a marriage ceremony had taken place, remained a misdemeanor punishable by six months imprisonment and a $300 fine. Convicted polygamists were disenfranchised and were ineligible to hold political office. Those who practiced polygamy were disqualified from jury service, and those who professed a belief in it could not serve in a polygamy case. All registration and election officers in Utah Territory were dismissed, and a board of five commissioners was appointed to direct elections.
Because the Edmund's Act was unsuccessful in controlling polygamy in Utah, in 1884 Congress debated legislation to plug the loopholes. Finally, in 1887, the "hodge-podge" Edmunds-Tucker Bill passed. It required plural wives to testify against their husbands, dissolved the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company (a loan institution that helped members of the church come to Utah from Europe), abolished the Nauvoo Legion militia, and provided a mechanism for acquiring the property of the church, which already was disincorporated by the Morrill Act. The Cullom-Struble Bill with even stricter measures was debated in 1889, but the Mormon Church helped to prevent its passage by promising to do away with polygamy.
All of these pressures had an impact on the church, even though they did not compel the Latter-day Saints to abolish polygamy. Church leaders as well as many of its members went into hiding-on the "underground" as it was called-either to avoid arrest or to avoid having to testify. Mormon Church President John Taylor died while in hiding. His successor, Wilford Woodruff, initially supported the continued practice of polygamy; however, as pressure increased, he began to change the church's policy. On 26 September 1890 he issued a press release, the Manifesto, which read, "I publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriages forbidden by the law of the land." The Manifesto was approved at the church's general conference on 6 October 1890.
Rather than resolving the polygamy question, however, according to one historian: "For both the hierarchy and the general membership of the LDS Church, the Manifesto inaugurated an ambiguous era in the practice of plural marriage rivaled only by the status of polygamy during the lifetime of Joseph Smith." Woodruff's public and private statements contradicted whether the Manifesto applied to existing marriages. As a result of the Manifesto, some men left plural wives; others interpreted it as applying only to new marriages. All polygamous general authorities (church leaders including the First Presidency, Council of the Twelve Apostles, church patriarch, First Council of Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric) continued to cohabit with their wives. Based on impressionistic evidence in family histories and genealogical records, it appears that "most" polygamists followed the general authorities' example.
Neither did all new plural marriages end in 1890. Although technically against the law in Mexico and Canada, polygamous marriages were performed in both countries. Mormon plural families openly practiced polygamy in Mexico; the Canadian government allowed Mormon men to have only one wife in the country, so some men had a legal wife in the United States and one in Canada. In addition, a few plural marriages were performed in the United States.
During the Senate investigation in 1904 concerning the seating of Senator-elect Reed Smoot, a monogamist but a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Mormon Church President Joseph F. Smith presented what historians have called the "Second Manifesto" on 7 April 1904. It included provisions for the church to take action against those who continued to perform plural marriages and marry plural wives. Matthias Cowley and John W. Taylor, both apostles, continued to be involved in performing or advocating new plural marriages after 1904, and, as a result, Cowley was dis-fellowshipped and Taylor excommunicated from the church. In 1909 a committee of apostles met to investigate post-Manifesto polygamy, and by 1910 the church had a new policy. Those involved in plural marriages after 1904 were excommunicated; and those married between 1890 and 1904 were not to have church callings where other members would have to sustain them. Although the Mormon Church officially prohibited new plural marriages after 1904, many plural husbands and wives continued to cohabit until their deaths in the 1940s and 1950s.
Fundamentalist groups who believe that the church discontinued polygamy only because of government pressure continued the practice. As they were discovered by the LDS Church, they were excommunicated. Some of these polygamists have appointed leaders and continue to live in-groups, including those in Colorado City (formerly Short Creek), Arizona, and Hilldale, Utah. Others, such as Royston Potter, practice polygamy but have no affiliation with an organized group.
Journal of Mormon History 5 (1978); Lowell Bennion.
"The Incidence of Mormon Polygamy in 1880: 'Dixie' versus Davis Stake."
Journal of Mormon History – 11. (1984) Jessie L. Embry, Mormon Polygamous Families. Life in the Principle. (1987)
The Mormon Polygamous Passage. (1991) Stanley S. Ivins.
"Notes on Mormon Polygamy." Utah Historical Quarterly 35.
Larry Logue, "A Time of Marriage: Monogamy and Polygamy in a Utah Town."
Journal of Mormon History 11 (1984); D. Michael Quinn.
"LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904."
Mormon Polygamy: A History. (1986)
Source: The History of the LDS Church:
John and Charles' families left Nauvoo at the same time, or at least within a few days of each other, probably sometime between February 8 to 18. They both seem to be traveling with people known to be in the lead wagons - Bishop George Miller, Col. Steven Markham, Elize R. Snow and others -- even Charles Shumway, the first man to leave Nauvoo!
The best I can tell about Simon Cooker Dalton is that he didn't leave Nauvoo until late October 1846, after Elnora delivered a baby in Nauvoo. Since his sons did not go in the Mormon Battalion I assume they are still with him in Nauvoo as well.
Edward Dalton arrived in SLC in July 1847. Harry and Edward were in the Mormon
Battalion group that arrived in the valley just 5 days after Brigham Young on
his first trip into the valley. (Cousins, Harry and Edward Dalton arrived in
SLC after July 24th 1847)
Remember that Brigham Young made two trips to the valley. One in 1847 when he said “This is the place" He only spent a few weeks in the valley and then returned to Winter Quarters. He left Winter Quarters a second time the next spring in 1848. I know it gets very confusing with so many trips and dates to keep straight.
John Dalton arrived next in the valley. He left with Brigham Young's second group known as the "first division" on June 1, 1848 and arrived in SLC Sept. 20, 1848.
Charles Dalton was next. He left Winter Quarters on about July 10, 1848 with the Willard Richards division. He arrived in SLC on October 19, 1848.
Simon Cooker Dalton was next. He probably left Kanesville in early July 1849. Arrived in SLC October 27, 1849 with the Silas Richards division. Charles Wakeman Dalton arrived in SLC in 1849, probably with his father, Simon Cooker.
Henry Simon Dalton was in the Mormon Battalion. He was released in July 1847, but did not return to SLC until about 1849. He got married in CA and had a child as well before joining the saints in SLC.
Please note that our Dalton's lived the very same experiences that the other pioneers did in Nauvoo and then the crossing of the plains.
In 1830 Joseph Smith organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly now know as the Mormons) in a small log cabin in upstate New York. He and the church soon was forced to move to Kirtland, Ohio, because of religious persecution in New York. Shortly they also established church headquarters in Missouri. The natives of Jackson County, Missouri soon formed mobs and drove them north. The governor of Missouri later issued an "extermination" order to his militia to either drive the Mormons out of Missouri or exterminate them. In the middle of winter they, without compensation for their property in Missouri, went back to the Mississippi River, to a swamp in southwestern Illinois. There they drained the swamp and built Nauvoo, largest city in Illinois, rivaling in comforts, finery, education, and skilled workmen cities of the eastern United States. For a time they were well accepted in the state and lived in relative peace. But in 1844 mobs and anti-Mormons from Illinois and their old enemies from Missouri once again raised their bigotry to the hatred level culminating in the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum on June 27, 1844.
The leaders of the mob supposed that this would cause the Mormon church to be dissolved and dwindle away. That did not happen because an inspired Joseph Smith put in a succeeding organization in place before his death. Brigham Young stepped up to be the new leader. When Nauvoo continued to prosper and grow and work continued on the Nauvoo temple, the mobs began their acts of terrorism again. Finally, following implied threats from the Governor, and at the insistence of neighboring communities, the Mormons agreed to start a migration west in the spring of 1846. The mobs became impatient and, violating their own agreement to wait until spring, decided to kill Brigham Young and other leaders. As a result, the the first group left on the February 4, 1846 and soon many wagons were backed up waiting to cross the Mississippi River. The Mississippi froze over a short time later allowing many wagons to cross over on a natural ice bridge. That exodus from Nauvoo continued in large masses until April. The few remaining behind were finally forced out at bayonet point in September. From February to October 1846 the Mormons were scattered all across southern Iowa.
When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began gathering in Nauvoo in 1839 (then called Commerce), fewer than a hundred people lived in that community. For six and a half years, the sound of the axe, the hammer, and the saw, greeted visitors and immigrants. Homes, gardens, schools, hotels, cultural halls, stores, shops, mills, kilns, and gardens filled empty spaces. Farmers, merchants, printers, blacksmiths, doctors, nurses, millers, artists, teachers, hatters, and other craftsmen gathered to create a new environment in western America. At the time of the exodus of 1846 the number of Mormons in Nauvoo had increased to more than 12,000.
Nauvoo was not only one of the fastest growing cities in Illinois in the early 1840s, but it was unusual in other respects. Over 90 percent of its inhabitants were converts to a recently organized religious movement and this religion had a strong impact on the life of the community. Jails were nearly empty and many of the poor were granted opportunities to work and were nurtured by the men and women of the community. Although Nauvoo was primarily a city of Latter-day Saints, people of other faiths were welcomed. Here they built their homes, established their businesses and were granted the right to worship in peace.
Following the death of Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844, Latter-day Saints considered who should serve as the proper successor to the Prophet who had organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 1830. During a meeting held in the east grove in Nauvoo on August 8, 1844, a large majority of the members acknowledged Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, as their divinely called leader. Under the leadership of President Young, converts from the United States, Canada and the British Isles continued to crowd into the rapidly growing city. In addition to directing the continued growth of the city, Brigham Young supervised two other major programs initiated by Joseph Smith, building the Nauvoo Temple and preparing for a migration to the Rocky Mountain country.
A principal activity of the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo from 1841 to 1846 was that of building a sacred temple. The Nauvoo Temple was one of the largest and most unusual structures erected in what was then the American frontier. While converts to this faith were establishing new homes along the Mississippi River, they joined other settlers in the construction of this "House of the Lord." All members were encouraged to devote one out of every ten days towards working on this community project. This building, as described by one visitor, was located on a bluff immediately "opposite the center of the semi-circle [peninsula], and a mile from the river." "The site is beautifully chosen," he added, "as it is in a central and elevated position and can be seen from the river, all around the bend, and from every part of the town." (David White, 1843 letter in Pittsburgh Gazette, 14 Sept. 1843, p. 3.)
In August 1845, the New York Sun reported that, "The building of the Mormon Temple under all the troubles by which those people have been surrounded, seems to be carried on with a religious enthusiasm which reminds us of olden times, by the energy which controls all the movements towards its completion. It occupies the highest and most imposing position in Nauvoo and is built of fine limestone. Has thirty pilasters---six at each end and nine at each side--each surmounted by a capital on which is carved a human face with rays around it and two hands holding trumpets. The Temple is 88 feet by 128 feet; from floor to ceiling is 65 feet; and from the ground to the top of the spire is 165 feet. The baptismal font is in the basement, to be supported by stone oxen. Three hundred and fifty men are zealously at work upon the building, which it is supposed will be finished in a year and a half, probably at a cost of half a million of dollars." (HC 7:434-35. 6 Aug 1845. Quote from New York Sun.) Members of the faith learned from their leaders in Nauvoo that the Temple was not to be a place for public meetings, but was designed to be a place where worthy members could worship, receive temple ordinances, and gain increased spiritual strength.
Before Latter-day Saints completed the Nauvoo Temple, violence erupted. Such violence sometimes occurred when old settlers believed that their traditional life style was threatened. For some, the Latter-day Saints were becoming a political, economic and social threat, and the rising temple became a symbol of the growing power of this new movement. Latter-day Saints were considered different and some were afraid and concerned. To alleviate increased persecution that erupted during the summer of 1845, Brigham Young announced in September 1845 that Latter-day Saints would leave Nauvoo and vicinity in the spring of 1846.After Latter-day Saint leaders resolved to move to western America, Nauvoo became a vast wagon shop, with settlers concentrating on securing lumber and canvass, building wagons and tents, and purchasing additional oxen and horses and supplies. Describing this scene, Bathsheba Smith wrote that in the fall of 1845 Nauvoo became "one vast mechanic shop, as nearly every family was engaged in making wagons. Our parlor was used as a paint shop in which to paint wagons. All were making preparations to leave . . . to seek a home in the wilderness."
While the Mormons prepared to abandon their homes, they increased their efforts to complete their temple. They used their time, money, and materials needed to prepare for the exodus to finish a House of the Lord. Because of this urgency, President Brigham Young directed the building of rooms for temple ordinances in the attic of the Nauvoo Temple. After this attic was dedicated in early December 1845, some 5500 men and women received in the next two months the same blessings members of this faith currently receive in Latter-day Saint temples. President Young delayed his own crossing of the Mississippi River until all who desired and were considered worthy to receive these blessings could receive that endowment. The exodus from Nauvoo began on February 4, 1846. Though the Latter-day Saints had not planned to leave until in the spring of that year, the threat of government intervention and the desire for an advance company to reach the Rocky Mountain country as early as possible that year, led to the winter departure. On the 4th, the first wagons rumbled down Parley Street to a landing near the banks of the Mississippi. There the people were ferried by flat boats across the river to Iowa. A few weeks later, after the river became frozen, a few crossed on a bed of ice. The first wagon trains of Mormon pioneers gathered near the banks of Sugar Creek, located a few miles northwest of Montrose, Iowa. After President Young crossed the river on the 15th of February, he directed a reorganization of this American "Camp of Israel." Pioneers continued to gather there until 1 March, and then the advance company pushed westward across Iowa. Others continued to follow until Iowa was dotted with a long line of wagon trains comprised of Mormon pioneers who were pushing westward to find a place where they could worship in peace. One of these pioneers, Eliza R. Snow, a talented poet and writer, left Nauvoo on February 13. After crossing the Mississippi on a ferryboat, she joined a camp of the Saints where she found wood and water in abundance. "I was informed," she wrote "that on the first night of the encampment of those who preceded us, nine children were ushered into the world; and from that time, as we journeyed, mothers gave birth to offspring under almost every variety of circumstances except those to which they had been accustomed in tents and wagons--in rainstorms, and in snowstorms. I heard of one birth occurring in the rude shelter of a hut--the sides formed of blankets fastened to poles stuck in the ground--a bark roof, through which the rain was dripping: Kind sisters held dishes and caught the water--thus protecting the mother and her little darling from a shower bath on its entrance to the stage of human existence. "Let it be remembered," Eliza added, "that the mothers referred to . . . were not those who, in the wilds of nature, nursed their offspring amid reeds and rushes, or in the obscure recesses of rocky caverns. Most of them were born and educated in the Eastern States--had there embraced the gospel as taught by Jesus and his Apostles and for its sake had gathered with the Saints; and under trying circumstances, assisted by their faith, energies and patience in making Nauvoo what its name indicates, The Beautiful.' . . .
"My dormitory, sitting room, writing office, and frequently dining room, was the buggy in which Mrs. Markham, her little son, David, and I rode. With the best I could do for myself, I frosted my feet which occasioned me considerable inconvenience for several weeks. . . . "From time to time, companies of men either volunteered or were detailed from the journeying camps, and by going off the route, found jobs of work, and obtained food for the people and grain for the teams. . . .Although I had neither fear nor dread of death, I felt as I expressed in the following:
Let Us Go
Let us go--let us go to the wilds for a home
Where the wolf and the roe and the buffalo roam--
Where beneath our own vines, we in peace, may enjoy
The fruits of our labors, with none to annoy."
(Eliza Snow, Writings, Nicholas Morgan, comp. (1957), Pg. 15-18.)
With the exodus of many of the Latter-day Saints, Nauvoo was nearly deserted and portions of the city destroyed. Although both Mormons and non-Mormons who still lived there united under the protection of a local sheriff and some of the state militia, pressure from mobs increased. In September of 1846 the last major group of Latter-day Saints left Nauvoo. The "old citizens" remained, and with the influx of others the town was gradually rebuilt and peace reestablished.
The exodus of the Latter-day Saints from Nauvoo in 1846 initiated one of the largest organized movements of a religious group in world history. It was a movement of more than 10,000 people who lived in or near Nauvoo and who migrated more than 1300 miles to the Great Salt Lake Valley. It was an unusual transplanting of an American city, an American religion, and an entire society with its settlement pattern and its political and social institutions, to make a new home and city in the Rocky Mountains. This episode in American history is an example of a people who conquered the obstacles of life, of a people with a mission.
Written by Dr. Milton V. Backman, Jr., with Dr. Reed Durham and Dr. Charles Tate, Professors, Brigham Young University
Most of the leaders were among the Saints that crossed in early February because many of the mob were seeking to kill them. They went about 9 miles west and set up camp on Sugar Creek. There they stayed until March 1st obtaining provisions and getting organized. They had great difficulties crossing Iowa because of weather and many did not have sufficient supplies. It rained almost continuously for a month and the cold weather caused many hardships. Often stopping to work for provisions or wait out whether they reached a place they named Garden Grove on April 24th, established a large farm, and planted crops on to feed those who were to come later. But this farm would not produce enough so they also established a larger farm at a place they called Mount Pisgah on May 18th. Finally they reached the Missouri River on June 14th, two months later than they had hoped.
Significant Dates of Mormon Pioneer Trek Across Iowa in 1846
First wagons left Nauvoo, Illinois; camped at Sugar Creek, 6 miles west of Mississippi River
February 14, 19
Eight inches of snow, high winds; Mississippi River froze over
"Camp of Israel" left Sugar Creek camp
Camp reorganized at Chariton River
Camped at Locust Creek (near present-day Corydon, IA). William Clayton wrote poem which became the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints"
Temporary settlement of Garden Grove founded
Nauvoo Temple dedicated
Mt. Pisgah, 2nd temporary settlement, founded (near present day Thayer, IA)
Advance company reached Missouri River
Mormon Battalion recruited to fight in Mexican War; left on march to present-day San Diego, CA
Winter Quarters established on both sides of Missouri River
"Battle of Nauvoo"--last of Saints forced to leave Nauvoo
Flocks of quail flew into the camp near Montrose, IA; served as food for starving refugees.
By Dr. Stanley B. Kimball, Professor of History, Southern Illinois University, Trail Development Consultant to National Park Service
February 4, 1846, was the beginning of the Mormon (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) trek across Iowa--that Mormon Mesopotamia between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. They remained some three weeks at their staging ground on Sugar Creek in Lee county, Iowa, six miles west of the Mississippi River. There, on March 1, the Pioneer Company of about 2,000 people and 400 wagons moved out. At that time there were approximately 12,000 Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo proper, not all of whom went west. They had planned to leave Nauvoo "when grass grew and water ran," but rumors of local and Federal interference caused them to leave much too early. The pioneer camp was roughly divided into groups of 10s, 50s, and 100s.
Bad weather and the general unpreparedness of many made the crossing of Iowa difficult and unpleasant, but of the approximately 6,000 Latter-day Saints who died "crossing the plains" between 1846 and 1868 (completion of the transcontinental railroad), relatively few died in Iowa. Some 10,000 Mormon pioneers crossed all or part of Iowa in 1846, eventually establishing about 50 settlements in western Iowa. The main newspaper in western Iowa was the Saints' Frontier Guardian of Council Bluffs, 1849-52. Since many early converts came from Europe, and since all did not go west of the Missouri River, these European "drop outs" contributed much to the social mix and ethnic diversity of western Iowa. The famous Mormon Battalion of the Army of the West during the War with Mexico was enlisted in present-day Council Bluffs. The initial Pioneer trek of 1846 was the beginning of at least ten trails across the lower four ranges of counties in southern Iowa used by the Saints up to at least 1863. The more important of these other trails were two variants of the Pioneer route, the Handcart Trail, the Dragoon Trail, and the Mormon Battalion Trail.
The real meaning, the real importance of the 1846 trek across Iowa, was that it began the movement and the learning experience which eventually brought up to 70,000 west to present-day Utah. The trek west was a rite of passage, a "refiner's fire" welding the new converts together, creating a group solidarity; it was a formative experience. The discipline required by the Iowa trek of 1846 through 1868, and the creating of Zion in the wilderness of present-day Utah commenced the transition of the Latter-day Saints and their leaders from the rather easy going times and manners of Joseph Smith's years in Nauvoo, Illinois, to the centralized and authoritarian leadership of Brigham Young in Utah.
The Exodus was the beginning of the end of what to that time had been essentially a mid-western phenomenon. Thereafter, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became a western-centered movement. Membership is now nearly 10 million in 150 different countries, with more members of the Church outside the U.S. than there are in the U.S.
The crossing of Iowa in 1846 has many "firsts," interesting and important events:
The first real experience in moving large groups of people, wagons, and animals. It was a training time.
The first sustained relations with Indians, the Pottawattamie. Latter-day Saints generally got along well with Indians throughout their westering times because they believed that most Indians were related to the people of the Book of Mormon and held the Indians in higher respect than most other white people did.
The most famous of all Latter-day Saint hymns, "Come, Come, Ye Saints," the "hymn heard round the world," the "Mormon Marseillaise," was written April 15 on Locust Creek in present Wayne Co.
Brigham Young was first sustained as the new President and Prophet of the Church, successor to Joseph Smith in present Council Bluffs during December 1847.
Few years in the Far West were more notable than 1846. That year saw a war start with Mexico, the Donner-Reed party embark on their infamous journey into a frozen world of indescribable horror, and the beginning of the best organized mass migration in American history. The participants of this migration, the Mormons, would establish thriving communities in what was considered by many to be a worthless desert. From 1846 to 1869, more than 70,000 Mormons traveled along an integral part of the road west, the Mormon Pioneer Trail. The trail started in Nauvoo Illinois and traveled across Iowa, connected with the Great Platte River Road at the Missouri River, and ended near the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Generally following pre-existing routes, the trail carried tens of thousands of Mormon emigrants to a new home and refuge in the Great Basin. From their labors arose the State of Deseret, later to become the Utah Territory, and finally the State of Utah.
The Mormon pioneers shared similar experiences with others traveling west: the drudgery of walking hundreds of miles, suffocating dust, violent thunderstorms, mud, temperature extremes, bad water, poor forage, sickness, and death. They recorded their experiences in journals, diaries, and letters that have become a part of our national heritage.
The Mormons, however, were a unique part of this migration. Their move to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake was not entirely voluntary, but to maintain a religious and cultural identity it was necessary to find an isolated area where they could permanently settle and practice their religion in peace. This was a movement of an entire people, an entire religion, and an entire culture driven by religious fervor and determination.
February 4, 1846:
First wagons leave Nauvoo, Illinois, and cross the Mississippi River. "The great severity of the weather, and...the difficulty of crossing the river during many days of running ice, all combined to delay our departure, though for several days the bridge of ice across the Mississippi greatly facilitated the crossing."
The Mormon pioneers learned quickly to be well organized. They traveled in semi-military fashion, grouped into companies of 100s, 50s, and 10s. Discipline, hard work, mutual assistance, and devotional practices were part of their daily routine on the trail. Knowing that others would follow, they improved the trail and built support facilities. Businesses, such as ferries, were established to help finance the movement. They did not hire professional guides. Instead, they followed existing trails, used maps and accounts of early explorers, and gathered information from travelers and frontiersmen they met along the way.
An early odometer was designed and built to record their mileage while traveling on the trail. In the end, strong group unity and organization made the Mormon movement more orderly and efficient than other emigrants did traveling to Oregon and California.
The Mormon pioneer experience is closely tied to the formation, growth, and development of their church, which was founded by Joseph Smith, April 6, 1830, in Fayette, New York. Within a few years it was known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the accounts of Mormon history, Joseph Smith translated a document from golden plates given to him by an angel. This document, The Book of Mormon, became the cornerstone of the new religion, and the name Mormon was applied to those who subscribed to these beliefs.
The church headquarters subsequently moved to Ohio, Missouri, and, in the spring of 1839 to Nauvoo, Illinois. It remained there until 1846, when the church moved beyond the Rocky Mountains into then unsettled Mexican territory in the Great Basin. There, Mormon leaders hoped to be insulated from further harassment, antagonism, and persecution.
Membership grew rapidly from 1830 to 1845, and the church prospered. Hostility, fear, and controversy, however, surrounded the church. The rapid growth of church membership, the financial success of the members and their church, religious beliefs that were outside mainstream Christian tradition, the practice of plural marriage (polygamy), a large well-armed militia, the blurring of lines between church and state, and the perception by some non-Mormons that the church was a threat all fueled intolerance. Hostilities escalated, and on June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by an angry mob while jailed in Carthage, Illinois.
By 1845, the Mormon population in and around Nauvoo had grown to more than 11,000, making it one of the largest cities in the state. In September of that year, foes burned more than 200 Mormon homes and farm buildings outside Nauvoo in an attempt to force the Mormons to leave. A move to the Far West had been discussed by church leaders as early as 1842, with Oregon, California, and Texas considered as potential destinations. In 1844, Joseph Smith obtained John C. Fremont's map and report, which described the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding fertile valleys. Subsequently, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin became the prime candidates for settlement.
The initial movement of the Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake occurred in two segments: one in 1846 and one in 1847. The first segment, across Iowa to the Missouri River, covered around 265 miles. The second segment, from the Missouri River to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, covered about 1,032 miles.
THE TREK OF 1846:
The departure from Nauvoo began on February 4, 1846, under the leadership of Brigham Young, who succeeded Joseph Smith as leader of the Mormon Church. After crossing the Mississippi River, the journey across Iowa followed primitive territorial roads and Indian trails. The initial party reached the Missouri River on June 14 of that year, having taken more than four months to complete the trip. Some of the emigrants established a settlement called Kanesville on the Iowa side of the river. Others moved across the river into the area of present-day (north) Omaha, Nebraska, building a camp called Winter Quarters.
The Mormons left Nauvoo earlier than planned because of the revocation of their city charter, growing rumors of U.S. government intervention, and fears that federal troops would march on the city. This early departure exposed them to the elements in the worst of winter. Heavy rains later turned the rolling plains of southern Iowa into a quagmire of axle-deep mud. Furthermore, few people carried adequate provisions for the trip. The weather, general unpreparedness, and lack of experience in moving such a large group of people, all contributed to the difficulties they endured.
Along the first part of the trail, the Mormons developed skills for moving en masse. They established several semi-permanent camps, including Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah, where they planted crops and built facilities to assist those who followed. It was during this leg of the journey that Brigham Young first organized them into companies of 100s, 50s and 10s. The lessons learned crossing Iowa were used by future companies of Mormons.
June 14, 1846. Brigham Young arrives at the banks of the Missouri River. September 1846. Winter Quarters is set up on the Nebraska shore of the Missouri. Approximately 4,000 people spent the winter here. November 1846. Father Pierre de Smet, a Jesuit missionary visits the Mormons in Winter Quarters and provides information about the Great Basin area. April 5, 1847. The first group, led by Brigham Young, leaves Winter Quarters.
THE TREK OF 1847:
The longest leg of the journey began at Winter Quarters on April 5, 1847, when Brigham Young entered Valley of the Great Salt Lake. The trip went smoother than the previous year's journey because the Mormons were better organized, had better provisions, and began the trek when trail conditions were optimal. The lead pioneer party left with 148 people (143 men, 3 women, and 2 young boys), 72 wagons, 93 horses, 66 oxen, 52 mules, 19 cows, 17 dogs, and some chickens. This handpicked group was organized into two large divisions and further split into companies of 50 and 10. This organizational structure was based on Brigham Young's plan for migrating west. The plan also included details on camp behavior and devotional practices to be followed during the journey.
The trail across the Great Plains traversed hundreds of miles along the north side of the Platte and North Platte rivers. At Fort Laramie the Mormons crossed to the south side of the river, where they joined the Oregon Trail. About 100 miles later, they left the North Platte River at present day Casper, Wyoming. They then followed the Sweetwater River for almost 100 miles and crossed the Continental Divide at South Pass. June 27 1847. Mormons cross South Pass, the Continental Divide. "In advance of us, at a great distance can be seen the outlines of mountains, loftier than any we have yet seen...their summits...covered with snow."
At Fort Bridger, they left the Oregon Trail and struck out on their own following a route first recommended by California promoter Lansford Hastings and pioneered in 1846 by four companies of emigrants bound for California. These four companies blazed two different routes into the Salt Lake Valley. The Mormons followed the faint, year-old track of the ill-fated Donner-Reed party through the Wasatch Mountains.
The final 116 miles, from Fort Bridger to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, were the most difficult. The people were weary, their wagons worn and livestock weakened by almost 1,000 miles of walking. Travel through the narrow, willow-choked canyons and over tree-covered slopes and rocky ridges of the Wasatch Range was so slow that it took the pioneer party 14 days to complete this part of the journey. On July 22, 1847, when Thomas Bullock caught his first full view of the valley he shouted "hurra, hurra, hurra, there's my home at last."
July 24, 1847. Brigham Young arrives in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake "...and beholding in a moment such an extensive scenery open before us, we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view."
The pioneer party began planting late crops as soon as they reached the valley. During the next few weeks, they laid out streets, built temporary shelters, and prepared for winter. Mormon emigrants continued to arrive during the remaining weeks of summer and fall, and approximately 1,650 people spent their first winter in the valley. Shortly after their arrival, Brigham Young and many members of the pioneer party made the return trip to Winter Quarters to be with their families and to help organize the next spring's migration to the valley.
The next 20 years would see about 70,000 Mormons traveling by wagons and handcarts to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Overland wagon travel declined after the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, when emigrants could travel across the plains by rail.
Scandinavian Pioneers pulled their handcarts 1,300 miles across the plains to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
A unique feature of the Mormon migration was their use of handcarts. Handcarts, two-wheeled carts that were pulled by emigrants, instead of draft animals, were sometimes used as an alternate means of transportation from 1856 to 1860. They were seen as a faster, easier and cheaper way to bring European converts to Salt Lake City. Almost 3,000 Mormons, with 653 carts and 50 supply wagons, traveling in 10 different companies, made the trip over the trail to Salt Lake City. While not the first to use handcarts, they were the only group to use them extensively.
The handcarts were modeled after carts used by street sweepers and were made almost entirely of wood. They were generally 6 to 7 feet long, wide enough to span a narrow wagon track and could be alternatively pushed or pulled. The small boxes affixed to the carts were 3 to 4 feet long and 8 inches high. They could carry about 500 pounds, most of this weight consisting of trail provisions and a few personal possessions.
All but two of the handcart companies completed the journey with few problems. The fourth and fifth companies, known as the Martin and Willie companies, left Winter Quarters in August 1856. This was very late to begin the trip across the plains. They encountered severe winter weather west of present-day Casper, Wyoming, and hundreds died from exposure and famine before rescue parties could reach them. While these incidents were a rarity, they illustrate that the departure date from the trail head was crucial to a successful journey.
The Trail Today:
Congress established the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail as part of the National Trails System on November 10, 1978. This historic trail commemorates the 1846-47 journey of the Mormon people from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. The designated corridor is almost 1,300 miles long and is managed as a cooperative effort among private landowners, trail associations, state and local agencies, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service. Land ownership along the trail is comprised of 822 miles (64%) on private land, 264 miles (20%) under federal management, and 214 miles (16%) in state and local ownership. Much of the trail is no longer visible, though some trail segments and sites can be visited. Long stretches of the trail can still be seen in Wyoming. A map of the historic route and sites can be obtained from any one of the mentioned public service organizations. If you want to visit sites on private land you must obtain the landowner's permission.
Fort Laramie was situated about two miles from the south bank of the Platte, on the left bank of the Laramie river, and about a mile and a half from its confluence with the Platte. The Laramie is a mountain stream and its pure, clear water, for the Pioneers, was in pleasant contrast with the muddy, yellow waters of the Platte. It took its name from a French trapper who in the earlier fur-hunting times was killed on the stream by the Arapahoe Indians.
The walls of Fort Laramie were built of clay or unburnt brick, being about 15 feet high, "and of a rectangular construction, measuring on the exterior 116 by 168 feet. Ranges of houses were built in the interior adjoining the walls, leaving a central yard of about 100 feet square. The post belonged to the American Fur Company, and was occupied by about eighteen men with their families under the charge of Mr. Boudeau." A mile further down the river, but nearer to the right bank of the Platte than to the Laramie stream, was "Fort Platte," founded in 1842, but at the time of the arrival of the Pioneers it was vacated and just crumbling into ruins. When it was learned that the north bank of the Platte could be followed no further, the Pioneers obtained the use of a good flat boat from the agents of the American Fur Company at Fort Bridger for the sum of $15.00, and the 2nd, 3rd and part of the 4th of June was occupied in ferrying their seventy-three wagons over to the south bank of the Platte. While the ferrying over was in progress a pit of charcoal was burned and the blacksmiths at three portable forges set to work to repair wagons, shoe horses, etc., preparatory to encountering the harder roads of the mountains; and by the time the ferrying was completed the camp was in condition to resume its journey.
Mississippi Company of Saints:
Arriving on the "Oregon Trail," for the Pioneer company, was like coming back into the world again after a temporary absence--like renewing social relations that had been severed. The first item of news they received from the outside world was conveyed to their camp on the evening of its arrival opposite Fort Laramie. This was by two brethren, Robert Crow and George Therlkill, from what is known in Latter-day Saints annals as the "Mississippi company of saints," which had wintered at Pueblo, two hundred and fifty miles south of Fort Laramie, with the several detachments of the Mormon Battalion that had been invalided and sent there for the winter. Part of this Mississippi company--seven wagons and seventeen people, chiefly the Crow and Therlkill families--had been at Fort Laramie for two weeks, anxiously waiting the arrival of the first company of saints from Winter Quarters with whom they expected to cross the mountains. The rest of the Mississippi company were with the detachments of the battalion at Pueblo and would start for Fort Laramie about the first of June, expecting to follow on the trail of the Pioneer company into the mountains; the battalion detachment, of course, then expecting to go on to California, as per their orders. The Mississippi brethren could give information of the detachments of the battalion at Pueblo, of the four deaths that had occurred, but nothing of the main part of the battalion except its departure from Santa Fe.
The next day Amasa M. Lyman, Thomas Woolsey, Raswell Stevens and J. H. Tipets were designated as a party to go to meet the detachments of the battalion and the remainder of the Mississippi company of saints and hasten their journey to Fort Laramie, in order to follow the Pioneer company into the mountains. This party of four men departed on their mission about midday of the 3rd of June, not without anxious solicitude on the part of the camp for their safety, as it was a dangerous mission owing to hostile bands of Indians on their route.
At Fort Laramie the Pioneer company also learned of the immense emigration en route from the eastern states to Oregon and California that year. While the Pioneer company was still at Fort Laramie a party of four men arrived from St. Joseph, Missouri, having made the journey in seventeen days. They had passed 2,000 wagons in detached companies en route for the west, and some of the advanced companies would reach Fort Laramie within a day or two.
The first and second day out from Fort Laramie the Pioneer company was in contact with two companies of Oregon emigrants, one of which they overtook, consisting of eleven wagons; and one which overtook them, consisting of twenty-one wagons. On the 8th of June they met a small number of wagons loaded with peltries, traveling east from the west side of the Rocky Mountains--these from Fort Bridger. The company--nine in all--was led by Jas. H. Grieve--"from whom we learned," says Brigham Young, "that Mr. Bridger was located 300 miles west, that the mountaineers could ride from Bridger to Salt Lake in two days, and that the Utah country was beautiful." Grieve also told the Pioneers of a boat made of buffalo skins his party had concealed at the crossing of the North Fork of the Platte, near the mouth of the Sweetwater, and gave the Pioneer company permission to use it. A company of about forty men and nineteen wagons was sent forward as an advanced detachment to secure the Grieve boat, build a raft, kill game, and make all preparations for ferrying the whole Pioneer company over the river. On the 9th of June the Pioneers were overtaken by a pack train of from fifteen to twenty horses with a small party of men en route for San Francisco Bay, via the Great Salt Lake. The Pioneers were now passing over the most pleasant part of their journey. Writing of the camp at Deer Creek, half a mile back from the right bank of the Platte, Erastus Snow says: "This is the most delightful place we have seen since we left the states,--a large creek of clear water with a stony bottom, and the way our boys are hauling out the fish is not so slow. Excellent feed, thrifty timber, plenty of game, beautiful scenery; and, added to this, one of our miners had discovered a very excellent bed of bituminous coal up the creek, a sample of which he has brought into camp; also a quarry of excellent sandstone. I have been agreeably surprised in the country of the Black Hills, over which we have traveled a distance of ninety miles from Fort Laramie. Instead of sand and continual barrenness, without water, as I had expected, we have found hard roads through the hills, and at convenient distances beautiful creeks skirted with timber, and bottoms covered with grass, though the country otherwise presents generally a rough and barren appearance."
On the 12th of June the main company of the Pioneers arrived at the Platte ferry, to find that their advanced company was employed in ferrying over the Oregon emigrants, carrying their goods over in the "revenue cutter"--their leather boat, floating over the empty wagons by means of ropes; but the stream was so swift and deep that the wagons would roll over several times in transit in spite of all efforts to prevent it. Ordinarily the Platte was fordable at this point, but this was the season of high water. The brethren received for ferry over the Oregon emigrants "1,295 lbs. of flour, at the rate of two and a half cents per pound; also meal, beans, soap and honey at corresponding prices, likewise two cows, total bill for ferrying $78.00." The ferriage price agreed upon was from $1.50 to $2.00 per wagon, paid in the articles and at the prices named above. "As flour was readily worth $10 per cwt. at that point, it was a good bargain" is one comment, non-"Mormon," however; "We received it as the providence of God in getting the supplies we needed," is what Erastus Snow said of it.
The Pioneer company remained five days at the Platte crossing. They made various experiments in ferrying over their wagons, first stretching a rope across the stream and trying to float single empty wagons over attached to the aforesaid over-stream rope, and drawn by other ropes; but the current, deep and swift, rolled them over and over as if they were logs, much to the injury of the wagons. Then the experiment was made of fastening from two to four wagons together to prevent capsizing in transit, but the mad stream would roll them over in spite of all the ingenuity and care of the men. Then small rafts were tried with a single wagon, but the difficulty of polling a raft in water so deep and swift was so great that frequently they would be swept down from one to two miles, though the stream was not more than from forty to fifty rods wide. The plan that proved the most successful was to use a raft,--of which two were made--constructed with oars, well manned, with which a landing with a single wagon could be effected in about a half a mile. In this way wagons even partly loaded could be ferried over, but most of the goods of the camp were carried across in the leather boat--the "revenue cutter."
Meantime a company of the Pioneers had been at work on the construction of a large ferry boat capable of carrying over loaded wagons for the use of the large companies of saints about now starting from the Elkhorn; besides companies of Oregon emigrants were daily arriving, and very willing to pay from $1.50 to $2.50 per wagon to be ferried over; so that the prospect was that the ferry would be very profitable to those who would establish it. Accordingly a company of ten men--one of whom was a blacksmith--under the leadership of Thomas Grover was left in charge of the ferry, and the main company continued its journey.
At The South
Pass - Summit of The Continent:
The Pioneer Company now followed up the Sweetwater river, which they forded back and forth several times, to the South Pass, along the Oregon route. The name of this noted landmark of the early pioneer days is likely to be misleading since "pass" as marking a continental divide in a mountainous country is generally thought of as some "gorge-like" passageway between abrupt walls of mountains, approached by "winding assents.' The South Pass was nothing like that, "It was with great difficulty," writes Orson Pratt. "that we could determine the dividing point of land which separates the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific.
The South Pass from some fifteen or twenty miles in length and breadth is a gently undulating plain or prairie, thickly covered with wild sage from one to two feet high. The elevation above sea level [ascertained by him by scientific observation] was seven thousand and eighty five feet. The distance of this pass from Fort Laramie as measured by our mile machine [odometer] is two hundred and seventy five and one half miles. Fremont's description of the pass is as follows: "The ascent had been so gradual [i. e. from the place of their encampment of the night before--six miles east of the summit of the pass] that with all the intimate knowledge possessed by Carson, who had made this country his home for seventeen years, we were obliged to watch very closely to find the place at which we had reached the culminating point. This was between two low hills, rising on either hand fifty or sixty feet. When I looked back at them, from the foot of the immediate slope on the western plain, their summits appeared to be about one hundred and twenty feet above. From the impression on my mind at this time, and subsequently on our return, I should compare the elevation which we surmounted immediately at the Pass, to the ascent of the capitol hill from the avenue, at Washington. It is difficult for me to fix positively the breadth of this pass. From the broken ground where it commences, at the foot of the Wind river chain, the view to the southeast is over a champaign country, broken, at the distance of nineteen miles, by the Table Rock; which, with the other isolated hills in its vicinity, seems to stand on a comparative plain. This I judged to be its termination, the ridge recovering its rugged character with the Table Rock. It will be seen that it in no manner resembles the places to which the term is commonly applied--nothing of the gorge-like character and winding ascents of the Allegheny passes in America; nothing of the Great St. Bernard and Simplon passes in Europe. Approaching it from the mouth of the Sweet Water, a sandy plain, one hundred and twenty miles long, conducts, by a gradual and regular ascent, to the summit, about seven thousand feet above the sea; and the traveler, without being reminded of any change by toilsome ascents, suddenly finds himself on the waters which flow to the Pacific ocean."
Stream Of Movement East And West:
The Pioneer Company was now in frequent contact with companies of Oregon emigrants, and occasionally met companies of traders, trappers and mountaineers moving eastward. Near the South Pass, for instance, at which the company arrived on the 26th of June, they met a number of men from the Oregon settlements, led to this point by one Major Moses Harris, who had been a mountaineer for twenty or twenty-five years. He had extensive knowledge of the country from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. "We obtained much information from him in relation to the great, interior basin of the Salt Lake," says Orson Pratt, "the country of our destination. His report like that of Captain Fremont's is rather unfavorable to the formation of a colony in this basin, principally on account of the scarcity of timber. He said that he had traveled the whole circumference of the lake, and there was no outlet to it." Harris had with him "some Oregon newspapers; also [copies of the] California Star, published by Samuel Brannan, the leader of the Brooklyn colony of saints to California.
It was at this encampment also, called by some "Pacific Springs"--"fourteen miles from the last crossing of the Sweetwater"--that the Pioneer company met a somewhat noted mountain character in the person of Thomas L. Smith who had a trading post on Bear river, in the neighborhood of Soda Springs. He described Bear Lake, Cache, and Marsh valleys, all of which he had visited in the course of his trapping and trading expeditions. "He earnestly advised us," says Erastus Snow, "to direct our course northwestward from Bridger, and make our way into Cache valley; and he so far made an impression upon the camp, that we were induced to enter into an engagement with him to meet us at a certain time and place some two weeks afterwards to pilot our company into that country. But for some reason, which to this day has never to my knowledge been explained, he failed to meet us; and I have ever recognized his failure to do it as a providence of the All wise God. The impressions of the Spirit signified that we should bear rather to the south of west from Bridger than to the north of west."
with James Bridger:
On the 28th of June the Pioneers met James Bridger, mountaineer and guide, also a member of the American Fur Company. Himself and two companions were en route for Fort Laramie. He expressed a desire for a conference with President Young and the twelve; they were equally anxious to have an interview with him. An early encampment was accordingly made and the mountaineers invited to spend the night with the camp. Mr. Bridger "being a man of extensive acquaintance with this interior country," says Orson Pratt, "we made many inquiries of him in relation to the `Great Basin' and the country south. His information was rather more favorable than that of Major Harris." "Mr. Bridger camped with us and gave us much information relative to roads, streams, and country generally." "Bridger considered it imprudent to bring a large population into the Great Basin," says President Young, "until it was ascertained that grain could be raised; be said he would give $1,000 for a bushel of corn raised in that basin. President Young replied: "Wait a little, and we will show you."
A Green River
Meeting With Brannan:
At Green river, which the Pioneer company reached on the 30th of June, Samuel Brannan, leader of the Brooklyn colony rode into the Pioneer camp, direct from San Francisco. He and two companions had made the journey via Fort Hall. He brought news from the colony of Brooklyn saints now settling in the San Joaquin valley; of the battalion which had reached the Pacific coast; of the founding of the California Star, a file of sixteen numbers of which he had brought with him; of the richness of California's soil; of her salubrious climate; of the conquest of the country by the United States; and of the Brooklyn colony's anticipation of the arrival of the Pioneers on the Pacific coast doomed, however, to disappointment. The reception given to Brannan was evidently not very cordial. There was recollection of course of the contract he had made with the ex-postmaster general of the United States, Amos Kendall, "A. G. Benson & Co.," which, if carried into effect, would have loaded the material progress of the saints with intolerable burdens. It was in vain that he urged the advantage of the Pacific slope as a place of settlement for the saints, though he remained, and was identified with the activities of the Pioneers, until their movements indicated permanent settlement in what be regarded as a barren waste.
At Green river ferry the Pioneers remained until the 3rd of July, detained by the necessity of making rafts with which to effect the crossing of that stream as its waters were high. The camp moved three miles from the ferry down the right bank and there spent the fourth of July--"Independence Day," some of them noted in their Journals, also "the Lord's Day." At this encampment it was decided that a few of the Pioneers should return eastward to meet the large emigrating companies of saints now en route from Winter Quarters, and act as their guides to Green river. Five volunteered, taking with them the "revenue cutter"--wagon, as it constituted a sort of light wagon and there were not horses enough to spare to mount the "pilots," as the returning company was called.
Contact With A Detachment of The Mormon Battalion:
Brigham Young with Dr. Willard Richards, Heber C. Kimball and others accompanied this party back to Green River ferry. Here they saw a group of thirteen horsemen on the opposite bank with their baggage stacked on one of the Pioneer's rafts preparatory to crossing over the river. It was soon learned that the party was an advanced company of Captain James Brown's Pueblo detachment of the Mormon Battalion, and they were given three cheers. "I led out," says President Young, "in exclaiming `Hosannah! Hosannah! Give glory to God and the Lamb, Amen!' In which all joined simultaneously." The members of the battalion were conducted to the camp where also they were received with great rejoicing. They were in pursuit of horse thieves who had stolen about a dozen of the battalion horses of which they had recovered all but one or two, and they understood that these were at Fort Bridger to which place they were en route. They reported the Pueblo detachment as not more than seven days drive east of the Green river. The incident with names of the members comprising the thirteen men of the battalion is treated as follows in the Journal of Thomas Bullock--which was regarded as the official Journal of the Pioneer camp:
July, 4th 1847:
Accompanied by President Young, Kimball, Richards, the five brethren, appointed to go East to meet the on-coming companies of saints from Winter Quarters, they arrived at the ferry about half past eleven and met 13 of the battalion who had placed their goods on the raft, preparatory to crossing over the river. It was decided that one of them, Wm. Walker, should return with our five men. The presidency and brethren came to camp at a quarter past two--formed a line. President Young spoke a few words; the camp gave three cheers for their safe return, all crying, `Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna, give glory to God and the Lamb, Amen, Amen!' Then dismissed to receive congratulations of the brethren.
Arrival at Fort Bridger:
It was decided by the council at this Green river encampment, after the arrival of the party of battalion members, "that Thomas S. Williams, and Samuel Brannan return and meet Captain Brown and the battalion company from Pueblo; and in as much as they have neither received their discharge nor their full pay, Brother Brannan shall tender them his services as pilot to conduct them to California." Brannan and Williams, however, did not leave the Pioneer camp on their mission until the 9th of July, by which time the camp had arrived at Fort Bridger. This trading post was located on a delta formed by several branches of Black's Fork of Green River. "The Post," says Orson Pratt, "consists of two adjoining log houses, dirt roofs, and a small picket yard of logs set in the ground and about eight feet high. The number of men, squaws and half-breed children in these houses and [surrounding] lodges, may be about fifty or sixty."
Hastings Cut-Off Route:
At this point the Pioneer company left the "Oregon Trail," "taking Mr. Hastings' new route to the Bay of San Francisco, "journalizes Orson Pratt; "this route is but dimly seen as only a few wagons passed over it last season." "We took a blind trail," is Erastus Snow's account of the direction taken on the departure of the Pioneer company from Fort Bridger; "the general course of which is a little south of west, leading in the direction of the southern extremity of the Salt Lake, which is the region we wish to explore. Fortunately for us a party of emigrants bound for the coast of California passed this way last fall, though their trail is in many places, scarcely discernible."
Meeting With Miles Goodyear From Salt Lake Valley:
On the 10th of July the Pioneers came to a small tributary of Bear river, less than two miles from the main stream. The next day being Sunday, the camp rested, as usual. Here they met Miles Goodyear and a small company from the Bay of San Francisco on their way home to the states. They had come via the Weber and what was afterwards called Echo canon, to this point. The party numbering four, was under the leadership of a Mr. Craig. Goodyear had acted as their guide from his trading station, sometimes referred to as his "farm" at the mouth of the Weber river, on the site of the present city of Ogden. In addition to acting as guide to the Craig party, Goodyear had intended to meet the Oregon emigration, with whom he hoped to do some trading. Learning from the Pioneers that the Oregon emigration had largely taken the northern route, he decided to go down the Bear river and intercept their line of travel, while the Craig party pursued its journey eastward. Before leaving the Pioneer camp, Mr. Goodyear had considerable conversation with various members of the company; but respecting Salt Lake valley as a promising place for a settlement "he too," says Erastus Snow, "was unable to give us any hope; on the contrary, he told us of hard frosts, cold climate; [that it was] difficult to produce grain and vegetables in any of this mountain region. The same answer was given to him as to Mr. Bridger, `give us time, and we will show you.'"
Outbreak Of Mountain Fever:
From the arrival of the camp at Green river, various members had suffered from what they called "mountain fever." At the camp on Bear river President Young himself was severely stricken with the malady. The main encampment moved westward, but eight wagons and a number of leading brethren remained at Bear river with the president, expecting to follow in a few hours. Closing his journal entry for the day's march, Orson Pratt says rather sadly--"Mr. Young did not overtake us tonight." His next day's entry in the Journal begins--"Early this morning we dispatched two messengers back to meet Mr. Young, being unwilling to move any further until he should come up." These messengers were Joseph Mathews and John Brown. They found President Young had been too ill to move, but was improving. Heber C. Kimball returned to the main encampment with the two messengers. Many were sick with the fever at the main encampment, and it was thought advisable to stop over for a few days and send forward a company in advance to mark out the road more clearly. "Those of the twelve present," says Orson Pratt, "directed me to take 23 wagons and 42 men, and proceed on the journey and endeavor to find Mr. Reed's [this was Mr. Reed of the Donner party of the previous year] route across the mountain, for we had been informed that it would be impracticable to pass through the canon [i. e. the Weber canon] on account of the depth and rapidity of the water." This doubtless was Goodyear's report, for he had just conducted the Craig party eastward through Weber canon. Here it is necessary to say a word on the routes over which pack companies and companies with wagons had passed into Salt Lake valley. The Bartleson route down Bear river via Soda Springs through Cache valley, is sufficiently described in footnote 37 of this chapter. Of the other two, the one down Weber canon, and the other up Ogden's Fork or Canon Creek, over the passes at the head of it, and down Emigration canon to the south end of the lake more should be said.
Hastings' California Route:
In 1845 Lansford W. Hastings, who first went to Oregon in 1842, thence to California, became an enthusiast on the Americanization of the Pacific coast, especially of California; and at Cincinnati in 1845 published The Emigrant's Guide to Oregon. Describing the most direct route to California, he said: "The most direct route would be to leave the Oregon route about two hundred miles east from Fort Hall; thence bearing w. s. w. to the Salt Lake; and thence continuing down to the Bay of St. Francisco."
In the spring and early summer of 1846 Hastings traversed this route eastward from California, and met the Oregon-California emigrants at Bridger and induced two companies, known as the Young and Harlan companies, to accept his leadership and take this "cut-off." Hastings' associate Hudspeth, led a train of packers known as the Bryant party, over the same route; that is, from Bridger via Echo canon, Weber canon, the south end of Salt Lake, to California. It is said, however, that the Bryant company "left letters advising others with families and wagons not to attempt it [i. e. their route]--letters which are said "not to have been delivered."
The Young and Harlan companies, guided by Hastings in person, "had much difficulty in finding a way for their wagons, lost much of their live stock in the Salt Lake desert, but at last reached the old route and were the last to cross the Sierra"--for the season of 1846.
Donner-Reed Party's Route Through Salt Lake Valley:
The Donner party on reaching Bridger also determined to take "the Hastings' cut off;" and left Bridger on the 28th of July, 1846, only a few days behind the Young and Harlan companies led by Hastings. Before reaching Weber canyon, however, they received a letter from Hastings "advising a change of route to avoid obstacles encountered by the other company in Weber canon." A Mr. James F. Reed of the Donner party--and by some accounted the real head of the party,--with two companions were sent to overtake the advanced companies, obtain additional information and explore the route. Reed and his companions overtook Hastings and his companies at Black Rock at the south end of Salt Lake, and about twelve miles directly west of the present site of Salt Lake City. After consultation had with Hastings, Reed and his companions returned to their encampment at the head of Weber canon. Their march to overtake Hastings and their explorations had occupied a week's time. From what they regarded as the head of Weber canon the Donner-Reed party turned southward, going up the stream which Orson Pratt a year later named "Canon Creek." They crossed over the hills to avoid the deep gorge or canon through which this creek passes, calling it "Reed's Pass;" thence via Big and Little Mountain down Emigration canon into Salt Lake valley, where they picked up Hastings' road around the south end of the lake. The whole of August had been consumed in making the journey from the head of Weber canon to the "open country on the lake shore." The Donner-Reed party numbered 87 persons; 36 being men, 21 women, 30 children, five of the latter being infants; 49 of the whole number belonged to four families, Donner, Graves, Breen, and Murphy. How many wagons were in camp is nowhere stated, so far as I can learn; but since the party, in the main, was made up of well-to-do people, and therefore "well enough provided with the necessary outfit;" and especially was it so with George Donner--from whom the party takes its name--who "was a man of some wealth, and was carrying a stock of merchandize to California for sale"--it is probable, I say, from these circumstances, that the camp had even more than the usual number of wagons with which such companies traveled. From twenty to thirty wagons would certainly be a conservative estimate for a company having in it thirty-six men, with fifty-one women and children, and carrying a stock of goods to California for sale.
The Fate of
The Donner-Reed Party:
This was the party that was caught by the snows in the high passes of the Sierras along the Truckee river and at Lake Tahoe; and which suffered so terribly before relief could reach them. Thirty-nine of the 87 perished, a number of them becoming the victims of the cannibalism of the survivors; and whose remains were strewn about the shores of Lake Tahoe when Samuel Brannan passed that point en route for the Pioneer camp; and whose remains--such as could be found at the time--were buried by General Kearney's party, when passing the lake in June, 1847, en route for the east. Twelve of Kearney's escort, it will be remembered, were members of the Mormon Battalion. The work of burial was "completed in September by the returning Mormons of the battalion."
Orson Pratt's Advance Party Over Reed's Trail:
We may now return to the march of the Pioneer company. Orson Pratt's company of 23 wagons and 42 men, known in our records as "Pratt's advance party," was sent, as we have seen by his own statement, "to find Mr. Reed's route across the mountains." Elder Pratt's company started on the morning of the 14th of July, following what was called the "Red Fork" of Weber river, the creek running down Echo canon. It was followed thirteen miles to its junction with the Weber river. On the 15th the advance party continued down the Weber, "and encamped about one mile above the canon, [about where the present village of Hennefer is located] which at the entrance is impassable for wagons. The road [Hastings'] crossing the river to the right bank makes a circuit of about two miles, and enters the canon at the junction of a stream putting in from the right bank." Orson Pratt and John Brown rode five miles down Weber canon until convinced that it was the "ten mile canon" they had heard of and which the Donner party had been warned against taking by Hastings. Meantime other parties from Pratt's camp, led by Stephen Markham, had followed up the stream on the right bank of the Weber in search of Reed's trail. "Mr. Brown and I also went in search," says Orson Pratt, "traveling along the bluffs on the south. We soon struck the trail, although so dimly seen that it only now and then could be discerned, only a few wagons having passed here one year ago, and the grass having grown up, leaving scarcely a trace." The next day word was sent back to the main camp that Reed's route had been found, "which we had anticipated would be troublesome to find," says Orson Pratt.
The journey was resumed, following Reed's route up a small stream, a company of about a dozen men going in advance of the wagons with spades, axes, etc., "to make the road passable, which required considerable labor." The camp moved about eight and a half miles during the day, their road in the last two miles of the journey leaving the small stream up which they had traveled to cross a ridge into another ravine in which they camped. They spent some four hours in labor with picks and spades on the latter part of the road. After an encampment was made, Orson Pratt and a Mr. Newman went further down the road to examine it. "We found that Mr. Reed's company last season," journalizes Orson Pratt, "had spent several hours labor in spading, etc., but finding it almost impracticable for wagons they had turned up a ravine, at the mouth of which we had camped, and taken a little more circuitous route over the hills." On the morning of the 17th after examining the road over which they had passed the day before for some distance back, and satisfying himself that no more practical route could be found, Elder Pratt directed that the camp spend several hours labor on the road over which they had already passed before resuming their march. Meantime he and John Brown rode on ahead to explore the road they were following. A little over three miles brought them again to what Orson Pratt had called "Canon Creek," and Brown "Big Canon Creek." "We followed the dimly traced wagon tracks up this stream for eight miles," writes Orson Pratt in his Journal, "crossing the same thirteen times. The bottoms of this creek are thickly covered with willows from 5 to 15 rods wide, making an immense labor in cutting a road through for the emigrants of last season. We still found the road almost un-passable and requiring much labor. The mountains upon each side rise abruptly from 600 to 3,000 feet above the bed of the stream. Leaving our horses at the foot, we ascended to the summit of one which appeared to be about 2,000 feet high. We had a prospect limited in most directions by still higher peaks; the country exhibited a broken succession of hills piled on hills, and mountains in every direction."
Having spent two-thirds of the day in working on the road passed over on the 16th, for the benefit of the main part of the camp following them, Pratt's camp had moved but four and a half miles from their encampment of the night before. The 18th of July being Sunday, as usual, camp was not broken, and religious services were held in the morning. The latitude was ascertained to be 40 deg. 54 min. 7 sec.; "A luna observation was taken for the longitude," says Orson Pratt, "I also obtained an observation of the altitude of the moon for the time."
The First View
Of Salt Lake Valley:
Soon after sunrise of the 19th the two Pioneers of this advance company, Orson Pratt and John Brown, started along the route of last year's emigrants [the Donner party] to examine the road and country ahead. They continued along the road over which they had passed the day before and ascertained that it left Canon Creek near the point where they had turned back to camp, and followed a ravine running west. This they ascended for four miles when they came to a dividing ridge from which they "could see over a great extent of country." Here they tied their horses and on foot ascended a mountain on the right for several hundred feet. "On the southwest we could see an extensive level prairie, some few miles distant which we thought must be near the lake." It was; and this is the first view any of the Pioneers had of Salt Lake valley. Returning to their horses the two Pioneers went down the southwest side of the mountain, the descent of which was very rapid. The small stream they were following "passed through a very high mountain," where they judged it impossible for wagons to pass. They found too that near the point they had reached the wagon trail made the year before "ascended quite abruptly," and "passed over a mountain and down into another narrow valley, and thus avoided the canon on the left."--This mountain became known as "Little Mountain;" and the "narrow valley" as Emigration canon. From this point the two Pioneers, Pratt and Brown returned to find their camp which had moved forward six and a quarter miles from their position in the morning. Also to learn that the main Pioneer encampment had nearly overtaken them.
Before beginning the day's journey on the 20th, Orson Pratt wrote a description of the road and country he had reconnoitered the day before, and deposited it in a conspicuous place for the benefit of the main camp soon expected to pass that point. Pratt's camp moved but six miles over the mountains, working the road en route.
On the 21st Pratt's advance company resumed its journey, made five miles and camped for noon, having passed over "Little Mountain," descending on the west side until they came upon a swift running creek to which they gave the name of "Last Creek," later called "Emigration Creek," since it runs down Emigration canon.
The main camp of the Pioneers reached Orson Pratt's camping place of the 19th, on the 20th; and there they found Pratt's description of the road; "on perusal of which," writes Erastus Snow, "Elders [Willard] Richards and [Geo. A.] Smith determined on sending me with a letter to overtake Elder Pratt, and accompany him to the valley and assist in exploring and searching out a suitable place for putting in our seed." Accordingly on the morning of the 21st, Erastus Snow, mounted, rode alone over Pratt's route of the day before and overtook him on the afternoon of the 21st near the foot of the, later called "Little Mountain," which Pratt's company had passed over that day. Leaving the camp to proceed with their task of improving the road down what is now called Emigration canon, Elders Pratt and Snow proceeded down the canon "four and a half miles," where the creek then passed through a gorge, "and issues into the broad valley below." "To avoid the canon [gorge] the wagons last season," says Orson Pratt, "had passed over an exceedingly steep and dangerous hill:"
The First Of
The Pioneers To Enter The Salt Lake Valley:
"Mr. Snow and myself ascended this hill, from the top of which a broad open valley, about twenty miles wide and thirty long, lay stretched out before us, at the north end of which the broad water of Great Salt Lake glistened in the sunbeams, containing high mountainous islands from twenty-five to thirty miles in extent. After issuing from the mountains among which we had been shut up for many days, and beholding in a moment such an extensive scenery open before us, we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view."
The two Pioneers descended the butte at the mouth of the canon, and proceeded over the gentle declivity of the east slopes of the valley to a point on one of the several streams that enter from the east range of mountains, where tall canes were growing, "which looked like waving grain." The course they had followed bore a little southwestward, and on reaching the stream--since called Mill Creek--on the banks of which the canes grew--they remembered that the instructions of President Young had been to turn to the north on emerging into the valley and there plant their seeds.
they turned northward from this point, designing to reach another stream that
they could see emerging from a canon into the valley, along the course of which
a few scattered cottonwood trees and underbrush grew. It was a hot day, that
21st of July, when those two Pioneers entered Salt Lake valley. On the 23rd Orson
Pratt reports the thermometer as standing at 96 degrees. It must have been
about the same on the 21st. The two Pioneers had but one horse between them,
so that they walked and rode in turns. A few miles from the mouth of the canon
through which they had come into the valley, Erastus Snow discovered he had
lost his coat, having taken it off and thrown it loosely before him on the
saddle from which evidently it had slipped to the ground. This occasioned his
return over their trail from what is called Mill Creek, to find it, and
meanwhile Orson Pratt walked northward alone until he arrived at the beautiful
crystal stream that issued from the ravine leading down from the distant
pine-clad mountains to the northeast; and thus became the first of the Pioneers
to stand upon the present site of Salt Lake City. Some are disposed to doubt
the accuracy of this incident but it is well attested. Delivering a
reminiscent discourse on these early scenes in the valley, Orson Pratt on July
21, 1867, Journal of Discourses, Vol. XII, pp. 88, 89, before a large audience
"It is a wonder to me to look upon the great sea of faces now before me in this bowery. Twenty years ago on the twenty-first day of July, I stood solitary and alone on this great city plot, near the place where now stands Bishop Hunter's house (this would be on the corner of the block immediately north of the northwest corner of the temple square), being the first man of the Latter-day Saints that ever stood on this ground: this was in the afternoon of the twenty-first day of July, 1847. Brother Erastus Snow entered the valley with me in the afternoon. We traveled down to the southeast of the city. Brother Erastus lost his coat off his horse, and went back to hunt it up, and told me if I wanted to look over the country he would wait for me at the mouth of what we now call Emigration canon. I started from where we parted, and came up and stood on the bank of City Creek. I gazed on the surrounding scenery with peculiar feelings in my heart. I felt as though it was the place for which we had so long sought."
Elder Pratt's companion, Erastus Snow, rejoining him on Emigration Creek, a few miles below where it issues from the canon of the same name, they returned to their encampment about nine o'clock at night, having made a circuit of some ten or twelve miles in the valley. Their company in Emigration canon, meantime, had moved forward from their noon encampment about three miles, while the main encampment had come up within a mile and a half of Pratt's advance company.
party of Pioneers to enter the Valley:
The following morning--July 22nd--a party of nine, headed this time by Orson Pratt and Geo. A. Smith, the latter from the main encampment of the Pioneers, rode out into the valley to explore it, directing the remainder of the camp to proceed with the road making down into the valley.
Arriving at the gorge at the entrance of the valley, Pratt's exploring party concluded that by cutting away the thick timber and underbrush, together with some digging, a better and safer road could be made than the one leading over the steep and dangerous hill passed over by the Donner party the previous year. A note calling the attention of the working camp to this fact was left in a conspicuous place, and the explorers moved on. "For three or four miles north," writes Orson Pratt, "we found the soil of a most excellent quality. Streams from the mountains and springs were very abundant, the water excellent, and generally with gravel bottoms. A very great variety of green grass, and very luxuriant, covered the bottoms for miles where the soil was sufficiently damp, but in other places, although the soil was good, the grass had nearly dried up for want of moisture. We found the drier places swarming with very large crickets, about the size of a man's thumb. This valley is surrounded with mountains, except on the north: the tops of some of the highest being covered with snow. Every one or two miles streams were emptying into it from the mountains on the east, many of which were sufficiently large to carry mills and other machinery. As we proceeded towards the Salt Lake the soil began to assume a more sterile appearance, being probably at some seasons of the year overflowed with water. We found as we proceeded on, great numbers of hot springs issuing from or near the base of the mountains. These Springs were highly impregnated with salt and sulphur: the temperature of some was nearly raised to the boiling point. We traveled for about 15 miles down after coming into the valley the latter part of the distance the soil being unfit for agricultural purposes. We returned and found our wagons encamped in the valley, about five miles from where they left the canon."
Party of Pioneers To Enter The Salt Lake Valley:
But this encampment was made on the stream first visited by Elders Pratt and Snow, since called Mill Creek. Considerations of President Young's directions to turn northward after emerging into the valley influenced this main encampment as it had done Elders Pratt and Snow the day before, and accordingly in the forenoon of the 23rd, the camp moved between three and four miles north to the banks of City Creek. At that time the stream divided into two branches just below the present temple block, in Salt Lake City, one branch running west and the other turning south. It was on the south branch of the creek that the main Pioneer encampment was formed at noon on the 23rd of July. The camp was called together and, as was most fitting, the Pioneer who had piloted the way so much of the distance in the journey, and especially over the last and most difficult stages of it, and as was his right by virtue of being the senior apostle present, Orson Pratt led in prayer--a prayer of thanksgiving and of dedication: "thanksgiving in behalf of our company," writes the apostle who prayed--"all of whom had been preserved from the Missouri river to this point;" and then the dedication of themselves and the land unto the Lord "and imploring his blessings" upon it. After this there was reenacted the scenes of organized industry we have witnessed at Mt. Pisgah and Garden Grove in Iowa, and at the founding of Winter Quarters--men divided into groups--some to clear the land preparatory to plowing; others to unpack and get ready the plows; others to care for the stock and perfect the camp arrangements. At the first attempt at plowing the ground was found hard and dry, and several plows were broken in the effort. A company was set at work to put a dam in the creek and flood the land--the beginning of Utah irrigation--to be worked out later into scientific systems to bring to pass the redemption of arid and semi-arid regions of America and of the world. In other words modern scientific irrigation had its origin in the Salt Lake valley among the Utah Pioneers. Several acres were plowed that afternoon, and towards evening the valley was visited by a light thunder shower.
Section of The Pioneer Train:
Here we return to bring up the last section of the Pioneer company. As previously stated a half day's drive from the Sunday encampment on Bear river,--made on the 12th of July--found Brigham Young so stricken with fever that it was impossible for him to go further, so that here occurred the first division of the Pioneer camp, by reason of the main body going on six and a half miles for its night encampment, and eight wagons remaining with Brigham Young. The later division by the detachment of Pratt's advance company from the main camp, the march of both divisions, and their reunion just upon entering the Salt Lake valley, has been already detailed.
Brigham Young remained at the noon encampment formed on the 12th until the 15th, when the small number of wagons that made up the last division of the camp, with the sick leader on a bed made up in Wilford Woodruff's carriage--came up to the main encampment, and together in the afternoon moved some distance into Echo canon. On the 16th the drive through Echo canon was made. The canon received its name, as will be supposed by the reader, because of the wonderful reverberations of sounds that are produced in the tortuous windings of the canon's perpendicular walls, and among the crags and peaks rising above them. The report of a rifle, the crack of a whip, the shouts of the teamsters at the ox teams straining at their yokes, the lowing of cows, the rumble of the wagons over rough roads--these sounds were picked up and repeated, echoed and reechoed, from point to point as if every particular crag or angle of the canon had a magic tongue to mock the new sounds made by man's entrance into these solitudes.
At the juncture of the creek running through Echo canon with the Weber, reached early on the 17th, it was again found that President Young's condition was such that he could not travel further, and camp was made. The members of the twelve with this division of the camp retired and held prayer in temple order for President Young and the rest of the sick in camp. The 18th being the "Lord's Day," religious services were held; the sacrament of the Lord's supper administered, and special prayer made in the camp for the recovery of President Young and the sick generally. "We had an excellent meeting," says the chronicler; "the Holy Spirit was upon us, and faith seemed to spring up in every bosom. In the afternoon the president, who had been nigh unto death, was sensibly better, and the effects of the prayers of the brethren were visible throughout the camp."
On the 19th this part of the camp divided again, about forty wagons moving on over "Pratt's route," and fifteen staying with President Young, who, though some better, was not able to renew the journey. He remained in this encampment on the Weber until the 20th, when fifteen miles were covered, and encampment made on Canon Creek, where three other wagons with sick men had camped. Here this company remained over until the 21st, both on account of the sick and to repair wagons that had been damaged by the roughness of the roads. On the 22nd this rear division of the camp made but four miles, which Elder Woodruff declares to be the worst four miles of the journey. The next day, 23rd of July, President Young passed over Big Mountain and from its summit he had a view of part of Salt Lake valley. His account of the incident is as follows:
entrance into the Great Salt Lake Valley:
"July 23rd: I ascended and crossed over the Big Mountain, when on its summit I directed Elder Woodruff, who kindly tendered me the use of his carriage, to turn the same half way round, so that I could have a view of a portion of Salt Lake valley. The Spirit of Light rested upon me, and hovered over the valley, and I felt that there the saints would find protection and safety. We descended and encamped at the foot of the Little Mountain."
The last stage of President Young's great pioneer journey was made on the 24th of July, from his camp at the foot of Little Mountain down into and through Emigration canon, and out into the valley of the great Salt Lake. It was about two o'clock in the afternoon when he and all the rear wagons of the Pioneer company arrived at the City Creek encampment. There appears to have been no special demonstration in the camp upon the arrival of the great leader of the western movement of his people; if there was, all the Journals are silent upon the subject. President Young's own narrative of the day's events is very simple:
"July 24th: I started early this morning and after crossing Emigration Canon Creek eighteen times, emerged from the canon. Encamped with the main body at 2 p. m. About noon, the five-acre potato patch was plowed, when the brethren commenced planting their seed potatoes. At five, a light shower accompanied by thunder and a stiff breeze."
So closes the account of the great Pioneer journey from Winter Quarters, on the banks of the Missouri, to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
History of Fort Laramie:
Fort Laramie was erected in 1834, by William Sublette and Robert Campbell. It was for a time called Fort William, after Sublette. It was established with the design of monopolizing the trade of the Indian tribes from the Missouri on the northeast to the Sweetwater on the west of the Black Hills. In 1835 it was sold to Milton Sublette, James Bridger and three other fur hunters, who had hunted with the American Fur Company. The fort was rebuilt in 1836 by the new owners at an outlay of $10,000; and for a time was called "Fort John," but gradually became permanently known as Fort Laramie. It continued to be a fort of the American Fur Company, until 1849, when it was sold to the United States government and for many years was an important post in the Indian wars of the west.
Mississippi Company of Saints:
The Mississippi company of saints originally consisted of fourteen families from Monroe county, Mississippi, who under the leadership of William Crosby and John Brown left their homes April 8th, 1846, for the west, expecting to fall in with some of the first camps of the saints en route from Nauvoo to the Rocky Mountains. This company arrived at Independence, Mo., in the latter part of May, where they were joined by Robert Crow and family from Perry county, Illinois, and William Kartchner, members of the church, and a small company of non-members of the Latter-day Saint Church, but emigrants en route for Oregon. The united companies had in all twenty-five wagons, and organized for the western journey by choosing William Crosby captain, with Robert Crow and John Holladay counselors. It was not until they had reached the Indian country on the south bank of the Platte that the party for Oregon learned that they were traveling with a party of "Mormons." They soon after discovered that their "Mormon" friends were not traveling fast enough for them and so parted company and went on ahead. They numbered fourteen men, and six wagons. The Mississippi company with the Illinois addition numbered twenty-four men with nineteen wagons. This latter company followed up the south bank of the Platte to within a few miles of Fort Laramie, where, not being able to obtain any definite information concerning the advanced companies of the saints from Nauvoo, they resolved to go no further west that fall, but to seek a suitable location on the east side of the mountains at which to winter and meantime learn something definite as to the movements of the main body of the church. At their last encampment on the Platte they met a Mr. John Kershaw who suggested that the headwaters of the Arkansas river would be the best place at which they could winter as corn was being raised there and it was near the Spanish country where supplies could be had. This was also the destination of Mr. Kershaw who was traveling with two ox teams and was acquainted with the route. Accordingly on the 10th of July they left the "Oregon Trail" and started south and finally reached Pueblo on the 7th of August, where the company went into winter quarters, having made a journey from the initial point in Mississippi of about 1,600 miles.
At Pueblo the Mississippi saints learned that the main body of the church had halted for the winter on the Missouri, and that five hundred of their men had gone into the army of the United States and were en route for California. This of course was the Mormon Battalion. The camp of saints at Pueblo was organized into a branch of the church, and then eight men of their number, including the captain of their company, William Crosby, and John Brown, on the 1st of September, started on the return journey to Monroe county, Mississippi, to bring out their families to join in the western movement of the church in the spring.
The returning party of Mississippi brethren arrived at their homes on the 29th of October, and began preparations to move their families to Council Bluffs. While so engaged messengers arrived from Brigham Young that they leave their families another year in their old homes, but that they fit out and send all the men that could be spared to go west as pioneers. Accordingly a small company of men, including "four colored men servants,"--that is to say, slaves--were fitted out with two wagons, and under the leadership of John Brown were conducted to Council Bluffs, where, after a trying journey, in which two of the colored men died, they arrived a few days before the Pioneer company left winter quarters. Five of the party led by John Brown joined the Pioneer company, viz., himself, Mathew Ivory, David Powell, and the two remaining colored servants, Hark Lay and Oscar Crosby. Hence when the Pioneer company at Fort Laramie, on the 1st of June, 1847, met part of the Mississippi company of saints as stated in the text, it was a happy reunion of long separated fragments of the Mississippi company of saints. The account here given of the Mississippi company of saints is condensed from the Journal of Elder John Brown. Valuable extracts from that Journal will be found in the Improvement Era for July, 1910, compiled by his son, Dr. John Z. Brown.
The Meeting of the Pioneers With Thomas L. Smith:
This Thomas L. Smith is known to fame in the mountain trapper lore as "Peg-leg Smith." He was in Jedediah S. Smith's expedition to California in 1826, and is generally represented as a disreputable character. Linn sarcastically refers to this circumstance of meeting with Thomas L. Smith and the arrangements entered into with him for examining the valley he had spoken of, as an incident "which narrowly escaped changing the plans of the Lord, if he had already selected Salt Lake valley; a remark which discloses the spirit of Linn's work. It has been established in these pages beyond question that the destination of the saints, even before leaving Nauvoo, (and even before Joseph Smith's death) was known to be somewhere within the "valleys of the Rocky Mountains;" but no one ventured to designate any particular spot or valley as the exact place at which settlement would begin. And it was lack of knowledge as to this exact spot or place at which beginning a settlement would be made that was the cause of such expressions as implied doubt as to the destination of the saints. Following are examples of such expressions: "They [the saints] had started out desert ward, for--where? To this question the only response at that time was, `God knows'." Also in speaking of the exodus from Nauvoo, Eliza R. Snow said: "Labors in the temple were closed and the energies of the saints directed towards a hasty flight. Time and circumstances admitted of very little, and in many instances no preparation for a journey of an indefinite length; and to what point we did not know, but go we must. On the first day of March, the ground covered with snow, [this in Iowa] we broke encampment about noon, and soon nearly four hundred wagons were moving to--we knew not where." Erastus Snow says: "When President Young was questioned by any of the Pioneers as to the definite point of our destination, all he could say was, that he would know it when he should see it, and that we should continue to travel the way the Spirit of the Lord should direct us."
Pioneer of the Pioneer Company:
The appointment of Orson Pratt to the leadership of the special party that was to become the pioneer party of the Pioneers in the last stages of their journey, is one that came about by a natural force operating among men, by which men that are fit rise to their proper place. Orson Pratt was appointed to this leadership because in the things now required--engineering skill and science--he had been leading all along. His place was always in the van, and even leading that van, and this from the very nature of the duties required of him, as being placed in charge of and using, the splendid set of scientific instruments carried in the camp--and which he alone, perhaps, could use. Hence it will be found both in his own Journal and in the Journals of others, that he is always in the lead, and consulted with reference to all the engineering problems that confronted the Pioneers on their journey. Of the pioneer journey resembling in some respects a scientific expedition I have already spoken in the text of chapter lxxviii of this History and of Elder Pratt's ascertaining, and registering the latitude, longitude, altitude, geological structure of the country, together with notices of the flora and fauna of the country through which the pioneer route passed. Also in the matter of the construction of the pioneer odometer it is quite probable that the scientific principles on which it was constructed were largely furnished by him. The following entry in his Journal for the 6th of May, would justify such a conclusion:
"For several days past, Mr. Clayton, and several others, have been thinking upon the best method of attaching some machinery to a wagon, to indicate the number of miles daily traveled. I was requested this forenoon, by Mr. B. Young, to give this subject some attention; accordingly, this afternoon, I proposed the following method: Let a wagon wheel be of such a circumference, that 360 revolutions make one mile. (It happens that one of the requisite dimensions is now in camp). Let this wheel act upon a screw, in such a manner, that six revolutions of wagon wheel shall give the screw one revolution. Let the threads of this screw act upon a wheel of sixty cogs, which shall evidently perform one revolution per mile. Let this wheel of sixty cogs be the head of another screw, acting upon another wheel of thirty cogs, it is evident that in the movements of this second wheel, each cog will represent one mile. Now, if the cogs were numbered from 0 to 30, the number of miles traveled will be indicated during every part of the day. Let every sixth cog of the first wheel be numbered from 0 to 10, and this division will indicate the fractional part of a mile, or tenths; while if any one should be desirous to ascertain still smaller divisional fractions, each cog between this division will give five and one-third rods. This machinery (which may be called the double endless screw) will be simple in its construction, and of very small bulk, requiring scarcely any sensible additional power, and the knowledge obtained respecting distances in traveling will certainly be very satisfactory to every traveler, especially in a country but little known. The weight of this machinery need not exceed three pounds."
At the time of his pioneering the way into Salt Lake valley in July, 1847, Orson Pratt was thirty-six years of age, of only medium height, spare-built, but hard and sinewy, capable of great physical endurance, intense and long mental application. Tireless energy was his, and absolute devotion to assigned duty; simple faith mingled with large and absolute trust in God marked the outlines of character in this Pioneer--this apostle of Jesus Christ in the New Dispensation of the gospel.
The Arrival of
Brigham Young in Salt Lake Valley, July 24, 1847:
This is an important day in the history of my life and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On this important day, after traveling from our encampment six miles through the deep ravine-valley ending with the canon through the Last Creek, we came in full view of the great valley or basin [of the] Salt Lake and the land of promise held in reserve by the hand of God for a resting place for the saints upon which a portion of the Zion of God will be built. We gazed with wonder and admiration upon the vast, rich, fertile valley which lay for about twenty-five miles in length and 16 miles in width, clothed with the heaviest garb of green vegetation in the midst of which lay a large lake of salt water of ---- miles in extent, in which could be seen large islands and mountains towering towards the clouds; also a glorious valley abounding with the best fresh water springs, riverlets, creeks, brooks and rivers of various sizes all of which gave animation to the sporting trout and other fish, while the waters were wending their way into the great Salt Lake. Our hearts were surely made glad after a hard journey--from Winter Quarters--of 1200 miles through flats of Platte river and steeps of the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains, and burning sands of the eternal sage region, and willow swales and rocky canons and stumps and stones--to gaze upon a valley of such vast extent entirely surrounded with a perfect chain of everlasting hills and mountains, covered with eternal snows, with their innumerable peaks like pyramids towering towards heaven, presenting at one view the grandest and most sublime scenery that could be obtained on the globe. Thoughts of pleasing meditation ran in rapid succession through our minds while we contemplated that not many years hence and that the House of God would stand upon the top of the mountains, while the valleys would be converted into orchards, vineyards, gardens and fields by the inhabitants of Zion, the standard be unfurled for the nations to gather thereto.
President Young expressed his full satisfaction in the appearance of the valley as a resting-place for the saints, and was amply repaid for his journey. After gazing awhile upon the scenery we traveled across the tablelands into the valley four miles, to the encampment of our brethren who had arrived two days before us. They had pitched their encampment upon the bank of two small streams of pure water and had commenced plowing and had broke about five acres of ground and commenced planting potatoes. As soon as we were located in the encampment, before I took my dinner, having one-half bushels of potatoes I repaired to the plowed field and planted my potatoes, hoping with the blessings of God at least to save the seed for another year. The brethren had dammed up one of the creeks and dug a trench, and by night nearly the whole ground was irrigated with water. We found the ground very dry. Towards evening, in company with Brothers Kimball, Smith and Benson, I rode several miles up the creek into the mountains to look for timber and see the country, etc. There was a thunder shower and it extended nearly over the whole valley, also it rained some the forepart of the night, we felt thankful for this as it was the general opinion that it did not rain in the valley during the summer time."
From July 1, 1847 to July 31, 1847.
Although our Dalton’s did not go on this first journey across the plains, they did travel this same route later on. The reader can visualize how our ancestors must have suffered the same situations as these first Saints.
Of note is on July 29th, 1847 the Pueblo Company of the Mormon Battalion arrived in SLC. Mentioned in the text are our Edward and Henry Dalton who was members of this company.
Source: The LDS Church History.
Thursday, July 1, 1847
On the Green River, Wyoming:
The pioneers started to cross over the Green River. One of the rafts did not work very well because the logs were waterlogged. They went to work, to construct another raft. The wind blew hard, causing the work to be stopped in the afternoon, and only fourteen wagons were brought across. They tried to swim the cattle across, but had great difficulty. The second raft was completed by the evening. More of the pioneers came down with Mountain Fever, including Clara Decker Young, John Greene, William Clayton, Ezra T. Benson, George A. Smith, George Wardell, and Norton Jacob. Those who had been sick the day before were much better, so it appeared that the violent pain and fever usually only lasted for a day. So far, about twenty of the pioneers had taken ill with the mysterious illness.
Samuel Brannan continued efforts to convince the brethren that California was the land of Zion for the Saints. He told them that John Sutter, of Sutter's Fort, wished to have the Saints settle near him in the Sacramento region. Brother Brannan tried to paint a bleak picture of the Rocky Mountain region by saying that he saw more timber on the Green River where they now were than anywhere on his route since he left California.
The ferrymen crossed over fifty-six wagons for three emigration companies and performed $12.85 worth of blacksmithing. Appleton Harmon wrote: "We were all very tired and wanted rest." They learned that one company with thirty-five wagons went up the river and crossed over using one of the rafts that the pioneers had built.
On the Loup Fork, Nebraska:
The morning was cold and windy as the second pioneer company worked to cross over the more than 500 wagons belonging to the second pioneer company. The river was about a half mile wide and shallow, but the bottoms were full of quicksand. Perrigrin Session wrote: "[We] had to drive all our cattle several times across to tamp the quicksand so that we could cross our wagons." They had to double the teams on the wagons. They traveled away from the river, head back to the Platte. John Taylor's company went eight miles and Jedediah Grant's company camped three miles behind. A few buffalo were spotted for the first time during the day.
Friday, July 2, 1847
On the Green River, Wyoming:
Forty-seven wagons were crossed over the river during the day. The horse and cattle swam over the river during the morning with some difficulty. The day was very hot and the mosquitoes continued to be terrible. Several trout were caught in a slue near the ferry. One weighed more than seven pounds. Thomas Bullock saw a heap of nine buffalo skulls in one place. The Twelve and others met in council at a nearby grove and decided to send three or four men back to pilot the next pioneer company along their way. Each of the brethren wrote down their views regarding what counsel should be given to the second pioneer group. Samuel Brannan continued to promote California as being the Promised Land. He said the oats grew wild and didn't need to be cultivated. Clovers grew as high as a horse's belly. Salmon in the San Joaquin River were 10-12 pounds.
Independence Rock, Wyoming:
Captain James Brown’s detachments of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints probably camped at Independence Rock on this day. Abner Blackburn noted that the rock was "a huge mass of granite which covers several acres of ground with hundreds of names marked on its huge sides."
Between Loup Fork and the Platte River, Nebraska:
The Perrigrin Sessions company traveled twenty miles during the day and camped without wood and water. A storm blew through, dropping some much needed rain water, but it also brought wind that beat against the wagons with force. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "The prairie very rolling we only ascend one ridge to come in sight of another, till about 2 o'clock when our gradual descent gave us a view of the tops of trees which skirt the river before us." The companies traveled six abreast part of the day. A cannon being drawn by the Edward Hunter company was found by Charles C. Rich abandoned on the trail with the wagon carriage broken and the tongue gone. The wagon was repaired and the cannon was brought along.
Saturday, July 3, 1847
On the Green River, Wyoming:
A storm delayed the rafting over of the wagons, but by the late afternoon, all of the wagons safely across. One of the rafts was haul up the eastside of the river and stowed for the next pioneer company to use. The pioneers resumed their journey in the afternoon, traveled three miles and camped on the Green River. The grass was good but there were dense swarms of mosquitoes. Most of the camp was recovering from the strange bout of mountain fever that struck almost half of the company. A guide board was put up a mile from Green river that stated it was 340 miles from Fort Laramie. A meeting was held in the evening and volunteers were asked to go back and meet to the second pioneer company to act as guides. Preference was given to those who had families in the next company. Those who volunteered were: Phinehas H. Young, Aaron Farr, Eric Glines, Rodney Badger, and George Woodward. Brigham Young stated that he wished a dozen men had volunteered. Since there were not enough spare horses for each of them, they were given the "Revenue Cutter" wagon to carry their provisions. They started to make preparations to return. President Young announced he would travel with these five men in the morning back to the Green River, but he wanted the company to hold a Sabbath meeting in the morning. "I want to have you pray a little and talk a little and sing a little and have a good long meeting, all except those who guard the teams, I want them to mind their work."
Captain James Brown’s detachments of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints passed by Devil's Gate and camped along the Sweetwater. Abner Blackburn wrote that some of the men were afraid to go through Devil's Gate "for fear they might land in the bad place." Like the pioneers before them, they traveled around the gate and over a ridge. Brother Blackburn wrote that they came "into a most beautiful valley carpeted with green grass and herds of buffalo and a few elk and some deer grazing on its rich meadows." He marveled at the mountain of granite that ran parallel with the river without vegetation, and remarked "The like I never seen before. They must have run short of material when it was contracted for."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Jim Bridger arrived at the Mormon Ferry at 11 a.m., and presented to Thomas Grover a letter of introduction from Brigham Young (see June 29, 1847). With him, was four more Mormon Battalion soldiers who were on furlough and were returning to Council Bluffs. A Company of eight bringing mail from Oregon arrived near sundown with pack horses and mules. They had been traveling from Oregon since May 5. A letter was sent with Jim Bridger to be take to Fort Laramie for the next pioneer company notifying them that they ferry was going to be kept in operation until they arrived.
Between Loup Fork and the Platte River, Nebraska:
The second company of pioneers again rejoined the trail created by Brigham Young's company and camped on a stream within view of the Platte River. They traveled about fourteen miles. Brother Russell found a bucket near the trail that he had given to Heber C. Kimball. Martin Dewitt, of the Perrigrine Sessions company, broke his arm during the night. Patty Session took out her stove and burned old Indian Wickiups in it.
Seventy-three year-old Sarah Lytle, Nancy Lee, Mary Lane, and Julia Woolsey and some children started out to Winter Quarters with Allanson Allen. Along the way, the wagon tipped over into Mire Creek. Sarah Lytle was terribly injured. Her hips were disjointed and her bowels bruised. The others did not receive any injuries. Samuel Gulley, returning from Winter Quarters delivered the news of the accident to John D. Lee, who immediately sent another wagon and team to bring the sisters and children back to camp.
Sunday, July 4, 1847
On the Green River, Wyoming:
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Charles Harper, and others traveled back to the Green River with the five brethren who were heading back to help guide the second pioneer company. They were instructed to have one of their number help guide the members of the battalion. When they arrived at the river, they saw thirteen horsemen on the other side with their baggage and one of the rafts. To the joy of the brethren, they discovered that the men were members of the Mormon Battalion from Pueblo, led by Sergeant Thomas S. Williams, who had been sent ahead by Amasa Lyman. They were pursuing some thieves who had stolen a dozen horses. The thieves had gone on the Fort Bridger and they hoped to get the horses back. They said that the whole detachment of about 140 men (also women and children) were about seven days journey to the east. One of the soldiers, William Walker, joined the company of five men hoping to meet his family in the second pioneer company. [The members of this advance party of the battalion were: Thomas S. Williams, John Buchanan, Allen Compton, Joel J. Terrill, Francillo Durfee, Andrew J. Shupe, Samuel Gould, Benjamin Roberts, James Oakley, George Clarke, Thomas Bingham, William Casto, and William Walker.] Wilford Woodruff wrote: "We drew up the raft & crossed them all over but one who returned with our pilots to meet the company. When we met it was truly a hardy greeting & shaking of hands. They accompanied us into camp and all were glad to meet." The pioneers greeted them with three cheers and "shaking hands to perfection." Next, Brigham Young led another cheer by shouting, "Hosannah! Hosannah! Give glory to God and the Lamb, Amen." All joined in the cheer.
While the brethren were away at the river, the rest of the pioneers met for a public worship meeting, in the circle of wagons, under the direction of the bishops in the camp. One of Robert Crow's oxen died during the afternoon from eating poison weeds. William Clayton wrote: "On the other side the river there is a range of singular sandy buttes perfectly destitute of vegetation, and on the sides can be seen from here, two caves which are probably inhabited by wild bears. The view is pleasant and interesting."
The men from the battalion spent the night with the camp. Several traders passed by the camp at dusk. The Twelve met together to read letters from Amasa Lyman and Captain James Brown, that were brought with the advance guard of the battalion. Counsel was given to Samuel Brannan regarding the Saints in California.
Wilford Woodruff concluded the day by writing in his journal: "But I must stop writing. The mosquito’s have filled my carriage like a cloud and have fallen upon me as though they intend to devour me. I never saw that insect more troublesome than in certain places in this country.
On the Sweetwater, Wyoming:
Abner Blackburn, of the battalion wrote: "There was a couple of young folks [Harley Mowery and Martha Jane Sergeant Sharp, widow of Norman Sharp who died on the way to Pueblo] in the company spooning and licking each other ever since we started on the road. The whole company were tired of it and they were persuaded to marry now and have done with it and not wait until their journeys end." In the evening, a wedding was held, complete with a wedding feast afterwards followed by a dance or ho-down. "The banjo and the violin made us forget the hardships of the plains."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The ferrymen sent back letters with Marcus Eastman, a battalion member heading back to Council Bluffs. He and three other battalion members were traveling with Jim Bridger. Francis M. Pomeroy bought a horse from the company for $25.
Fork and the Platte River, Nebraska:
It rained for awhile in the morning. After it cleared, Patty Session took some of the things out of her wagon and discovered that they were becoming damp in the wagon. The second company of pioneers held a celebration to recognize Independence Day. Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, and John Smith addressed the Saints in a public meeting. The leaders asked the pioneers to work together and to be obedient. They exhorted the Saints against being "cold and careless and neglecting to pray." They were cautioned to never take the name of the Lord in vain. They were warned to not build large campfires that would attract the Pawnee Indians. It was decided that the companies travel separately, because it was just impossible to feed and water so many people and animals in one place. They would have to start camping more spread out.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John Lytle arrived from Winter Quarters and found his mother critically ill from the results of her injuries the day before. At noon, a public meeting was held at John D. Lee's house. He spoke to them about their responsibilities as Saints. Other speakers were Joseph Busby, Baird S. Gully, and A.P. Free. Brother John H. Redd was troubled in his mind about going to the west. A storm blew in and it rained during the late afternoon. A steam boat was spotted in the river, late in the evening.
On the Humboldt River, Nevada:
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion continued traveling along the Humboldt River toward Fort Hall. One of the men became sick and had to be left behind, but caught up with the company in the evening.
Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
Independence Day was celebrated by the troops in Pueblo de Los Angeles. All of the soldiers were paraded within the fort at sunrise. The New York band played the "Star Spangled Banner" while the flag was being raised. Afterwards, nine cheers were shouted by all the soldiers. "Hail Columbia" was played and then a thirteen gun salute was fired by the 1st Dragoons. The companies were then marched back to their quarters and again returned at 11 a.m. They paraded some more, this time before Indians and Mexicans. Lt. Stoneman of the 1st Dragoons read the Declaration of Independence. Colonel Stevenson spoke and named the fort, "Fort Moore." The band played "Yankee Doodle," followed by a patriotic song by Levi Hancock, of the battalion. Colonel Stevenson offered to have the Declaration of Independence read to the Mexicans in Spanish, but they declined the invitation.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Independence Day was also celebrated by the Mormon Battalion at San Diego. Five large guns were fired at sunrise from the fort. The battalion members marched down into the town and gave their officers a salute with their guns. The whole city participated in the celebration. Captain Jesse Hunter and Sergeant William Hyde returned from Los Angeles with orders for Company B to march to Los Angeles, and to leave on July 9. Some of the leading citizens expressed a strong desire for the battalion to stay, but most of the men were still very anxious to be discharged. Captain Hunter was disappointed that he had not been able to raise enough men at Los Angeles to make out a large enough company to re-enlist under his command.[Jesse Hunter would later accept an appointment as an Indian agent at San Luis Rey Mission. He would remain in California and die in 1882 at Los Angeles.] Robert S. Bliss recorded in his journal: A few days more & we shall go To see our Wives & Children too And friends so dear we've left below To save the Church from Overthrow. Our absence from them has been long But Oh the time will soon be gone When we shall meet once more on Earth And praise the God that gave us Birth.
Lockport, New York:
Elder Lyman O. Littlefield went to find his Uncle Lyman Littlefield's house near the Erie Canal. He wrote: "I knocked at my uncle's abode and a hospitable voice bid me enter. Being seated, the scene presented within the compass of that room, to me was of vast moment. I knew that venerable head was my uncle, that the matron at his side was my aunt, and the young men and the one young lady at the table I felt sure were my cousins! This was an auspicious moment, to occur on the anniversary of our nation's independence! The memories of childhood were instantaneous in crowding among the most sacred recesses of recollection! My uncle so much resembled my father! I could not wait longer for recognition! The following conversation ensued: "Myself--'Is your name Littlefield?' Uncle--'Yes, sir.' Myself--'Have you relatives in the west?' Uncle--'I suppose I have a brother somewhere in the western country. He went away with the Mormons and I have not heard much about him for twenty years.' Myself--'What was his given name?' Uncle--'Waldo.' Myself--'I am well acquainted with a man out there by that name.' Uncle--'That must be my brother. How long have you known him?' Myself--'My earliest remembrances are of him and my mother.' Uncle--'You are not his son!' Myself--'I am his second son, Lyman, and was named after my uncle, in whose habitation, and in the midst of these, my cousins, this is a happy moment!'" "As I entered, the family was partaking of an early supper. I had not seen them since a little boy, some twenty years previous to that meeting. To be thus ushered into their presence filled me with emotions of pleasure. Their joy was exhibited as if by an electric wave. Simultaneously, uncle, aunt and cousins sprang from the table to salute me with eager and hurried words of welcome."
Monday, July 5, 1847
On the road to Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
At 8 a.m., the pioneers continued on their journey despite the fact that many of the brethren were still sick with the mountain fever. Orson Pratt speculated that the fever could be caused "by the suffocating clouds of dust which rise from the sandy road, and envelope the whole camp when in motion, and also by the sudden changes of temperature; for during the day it is exceedingly warm, while snowy mountains which surround us on all sides, render the air cold and uncomfortable during the absence of the sun." They followed the Green River for three and a half miles. After resting the animals, they continued on the road, which headed west away from the river. They passed climbed some bluffs and then traveled over rolling hills. At 4:45, after a total of twenty miles, they arrived at Ham's Fork, a swift stream about 70 feet wide. [They camped near present-day Granger, Wyoming.] The prickly pear cactus was in bloom, some with yellow flowers, and others with red. Some rain fell in the evening, but the storms seemed to stay close to the mountains.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The Wallace Company (Abraham Smoot hundred) had a wagon break down while crossing Wood River. This delay caused them to camp several miles behind the main camp. The rest of the camp reach Grand Island and discovered a guide board left by the first pioneer company that read: "April 29th, 1847. Pioneers all well, short grass, rushes plenty, fine weather, watch Indians -- 217 miles from Winter Quarters." [They were about 715 miles behind Brigham Young's pioneer company at Ham's Fork.] Jesse Crosby wrote: "The whole camp of near 600 wagons arranged in order on a fine plain, beautifully adorned with roses. The plant called the prickly pear, grows spontaneously; our cattle are seen in herds in the distance; the whole scene is grand and delightful. Good health and good spirits prevail in the camp. Our labors are more than they otherwise would be, on account of the scarcity of men -- 500 being in the army, and about 200 pioneers ahead of us."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
The guard met to settle up with Daniel Russell, a member of the high council who had ten of his cattle found in the cornfield. By the city law, he was supposed to pay a fine of a total of ten dollars. He had appealed to the Council and they referred him to settle with the guard. Hosea Stout wrote, "So we left it to his own conscience & magnanimity to say what was just as he was one of the council and helped make the law." He decided to pay ten bushels of corn and ten bushels of buckwheat. The guard accepted this payment.
Tuesday, July 6, 1847
On the road to Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
After traveling 3 3/4 miles, the pioneers forded Ham's fork at a point where it was about 40 feet wide and two feet deep. In 1 1/2 miles, they came to Black's Fork and crossed it.
Wilford Woodruff recorded: "Man & beast, Harnesses & wagons, were all covered with dust. . . . The face of the country is the same today as usual Barren, Sand & Sage, with occasionally A sprinkling of flowers some very beautiful."
In thirteen more miles, they re-crossed Black's Fork and camped on the bank. The grass was good and there were many willow trees near camp. William Clayton wrote: "At this place there is a fine specimen of the wild flax which grows all around. It is considered equal to any cultivated, bears a delicate blue flower. There is also an abundance of the rich bunch grass in the neighborhood of the river back and many wild currants. The prairies are lined with beautiful flowers of various colors,--chiefly blue, red and yellow, which have a rich appearance and would serve to adorn and beautify an eastern flower garden."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The ferrymen crossed over an emigrant company with eighteen wagons. Three of the wagons left without paying the fifty-cent fee. Another company of twenty-two wagons went up the river to ford it by raising their wagon beds. The river had been falling fast, making this method of crossing possible.
On the Platte
Across from Grand Island, a daughter, Sarah Ellen Smithies, was born to James and Nancy Smithies at 11 a.m. This delayed the Abraham Smoot Company for a few hours. Patty Sessions wrote: "Go 18 miles camp on the bank of a stream from the Platte River where the Indians had camped. We burnt their wickeups for wood, some waded the river to get wood, brought it over on their backs. The camp did not all get up last night neither have they to night. Smoots Co have not been heard from since Monday, Grants co did not get up to night." Jedediah M. Grant's hundred were delayed because of traffic problems with John Taylor's company. Abraham Smoot's company camped at the spot where some of the companies had rested at noon.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Sarah Lytle, age Seventy-three, died from injuries received a few days early from a wagon tipping over. She was buried under the direction of Joseph Young.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
During the morning, the battalion attended a funeral service for a soldier of the 1st dragoons who had died during the previous evening. He was buried with the honors of war and interred in a Catholic Cemetery.
Wednesday, July 7, 1847
The pioneers restarted their journey at 7:45 and once again crossed Black's Fork after about two mile. The wind blew very strong which made the road dusty and unpleasant for traveling. They rested at noon on the backs of a swift stream. In the afternoon they saw a number of Indian lodges on the south side of the road. They were occupied by trappers and hunters who had taken squaws as wives. Children were seen playing around the lodges. Many horses were seen grazing nearby. Soon they saw American traders as they approached Fort Bridger. After crossing four more streams, they arrived at the historic Fort Bridger.
Howard Egan described: "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." Orson Pratt wrote: "Bridger's post consists of two adjoining log-houses, dirt roofs, and a small picket yard of logs set in the ground, and about 8 feet high. The road ometer indicated that Fort Bridger was 397 miles from Fort Laramie.
They made their camp about a half miles west of the fort. Some of the pioneers caught several trout in the brooks. Erastus Snow wrote: "It is about the first pleasant looking spot I have seen west of the pass. This is the country of the Snake Indians, some of whom were at the fort. They bear a good reputation among the mountaineers for honesty and integrity." William Clayton had a different view of their location. "The country all around looks bleak and cold."
The advance guard of the battalion found the horse thief at the fort who had helped to steal ten of their horses. They had previously recovered eight of the horses and asked about the remaining two. The thief said they were gone to Oregon.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
A Captain Magone's company of thirty-six wagons were crossed over the river for one dollar each. Captain Magone asked for the names of all the captains of the companies, and the number of wagons. He said he would publish this information in a history. There was a Catholic Bishop and seven priests in this company. Eight men from Oregon arrived with pack mules and horses heading east. They were ferried across and hired them men to do some blacksmithing.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The second pioneer company traveled fifteen miles and found another guide board left by Brigham Young's pioneers. It said that they had killed eleven buffalo. A wagon ran over one of Perrigrine Sessions's feet. His foot hurt so much that he could not drive his team. The companies passed by a large prairie dog village. [The first pioneer company passed by this location on May 1, 1847]. Jesse W. Crosby described these villages: "They are certainly a curiosity to the traveler; they live in cells, the entrance of which is guarded against the rain. Thousands of these little creatures dwell in composts, and as we pass great numbers of them set themselves up to look at us, they resemble a ground hog, or wood chuck, but smaller." During the morning, the Joseph Noble fifty were ordered to leave the "beaten path" and break a new trail. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "It made hard riding for me, yet I felt like submitting to 'the pow'rs that be' & endure it altho' the 2 roads were unoccupied." Her company passed by the Charles C. Rich Company who were repairing two wagons.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Isaac Morley arrived from Winter Quarters and notified John D. Lee to come to Winter Quarters on July 10 to reorganize the Summer Quarters company.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
On this warm day, Mary Richards took her bed and bedding outside, scaled the bedstead and the log around her bed, and scrubbed the floor. This treatment was needed because she had been bothered by bed bugs.
Daniel Russell, a member of the High Council, went to see Hosea Stout to inform him that he had consulted with the High Council and it had been decided to disband the Winter Quarters police guard led by Brother Stout. The was shocking news, and Brother Stout questioned in his mind if it was true, since Daniel Russell had had recent run-ins with the guard.
Thursday, July 8, 1847
Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
The morning was cold. Ice formed during the night be melted as soon as the sun rose. By 9 a.m., the temperature stood at sixty-six degrees. It was decided to spend the day at Fort Bridger, preparing for the rugged roads ahead in the mountains. While blacksmith work was being done on the wagons and horse shoes, some of the men tried their hand at fishing for trout. Wilford Woodruff wrote about his efforts fly fishing: "The man at the fort said there were but very few trout in the streams, and a good many of the brethren were already at the creeks with their rods & lines trying their skill baiting with fresh meat & grass hoppers, but no one seemed to ketch any. I went & flung my fly onto the [brook] and it being the first time that I ever tried the artificial fly in America, or ever saw it tried, I watched it as it floated upon the water with as much intense interest as Franklin did his kite when he tried to draw lightning from the skies. And as Franklin receive great joy when he saw electricity or lightning descend on his kite string, in like manner was I highly gratified when I saw the nimble trout dart my fly hook himself & run away with the line but I soon worried him out & drew him to shore." Within three hours he had caught twelve large trout.
In the afternoon, Wilford Woodruff went to Fort Bridger and traded a rifle for four buffalo robes. The prices were high, but the robes were of good quality. Howard Egan traded two rifles for nineteen buckskins, three elkskins, and some material for making moccasins. Heber C. Kimball obtained hunting shirts, pants, and twenty skins.
The brethren planned to head to the southwest toward the Salt Lake. Andrew Gibbons was tried before the Twelve for an assault on George Mills. Both had used abusive language against each other and ended up asking for forgiveness. Brother Gibbons was honorable acquitted. The Council also decided that Sergeant Thomas Williams of the battalion and Samuel Brannan should head back to meet Captain James Brown's company of the battalion. William Clayton explained: "Inasmuch as the brethren have not received their discharge nor their paw from the United States, Brother Brannan goes to tender his services as pilot to conduct a company of fifteen or twenty to San Francisco if they feel disposed to go there and try to get their pay."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The men did $6.40 worth of blacksmithing for emigrant companies and Luke Johnson cleaned teach and did other dentistry for $3.00.
On the Platte
The pioneers found another buffalo skull with a message that Brigham Young's company had written to them on May 4. Perrigrine Sessions wrote that this gave the Saints much joy. Brother Sessions spotted some wild or stray horses. Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor caught them and they were brought in to the camp. The companies crossed over several steams and built bridges over some of them. Buffalo was spotted.
Before Hosea Stout went notified the guard about the order to disband, he went to see the president of the High Council, Alpheus Cutler. Brother Stout couldn't believe that the order from Daniel Russell to dissolve the guard was true. President Cutler told him that there had been discussion on this subject, but no order to stop the guard has been issued. He told Brother Stout to keep the guard together and the matter would again be discussed at the next High Council meeting. Hosea Stout wrote: "This was one of the hottest days I ever saw. But in the evening the wind came from the North accompanied by torrents of rain which ran like rivulets down the streets. It burst in to my house in torrents and filled it up in a few moments until I had to throw the water out by the bucket full until we were all completely drenched. This I believe was the hardest rain this season."
Kearny detachment of battalion in Nevada:
The small detachment of the battalion reached a crossroad in present-day northeast Nevada. The road to the right was a two-day journey to the Salt Lake. They took the road to the left on the California trail which headed to Fort Hall. They camped at the headwaters for the Humboldt River.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Henry Bigler wrote: "Our brick masons [Philander Colton, Rufus Stoddard, Henry Wilcox, and William Garner] finished laying up the first brick house in that place and for all I know the first in California. The building, I believe, was designed to be used for a courthouse and schoolhouse. The inhabitants came together, set out a table well spread with wines and different kinds of drinks."
Friday, July 9, 1847
Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
Samuel Brannan and Thomas Williams, and possibly a few others returned toward South Pass to meet the detachment of the Mormon Battalion. Most of the advance party of the battalion remained with the pioneer company, again increasing its numbers. At 8 a.m., the rest of the pioneers left their camp near Fort Bridger and traveled on rough roads. Erastus Snow wrote: "We took a blind trail, the general course of which is a little south of west, leading in the direction of the southern extremity of the Salt Lake which is the region we wish to explore." They were able to discern the trail left the previous year by the Donner-Reed party and others. After six and a half miles, they arrived at Cottonwood Creek and rested their teams.
During the warm afternoon, they ascended a long, steep, hill eight miles from Fort Bridger. [This was Bigelow Bench.] The descent on the other side was the steepest and most difficult they had yet come across. They passed some large drift of snows. Thomas Bullock wrote: "Made two Snow balls, a refreshing bite at this time of year."
At 3 pm., they crossed Muddy Fork, a steam about twelve feet wide, and camped on its banks. Tall grass the resembled wheat was plentiful. The mountain fever continued to afflict the camp. As some of the members got better, others took ill. Wilford Woodruff came down with it and also William Carter. Many of the other brethren spent the evening singing hymns for Brigham Young.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Thomas Grover, William Empey, John Higbee, and Jonathan Pugmire (of the battalion) did about $30.00 worth of blacksmithing. Appleton Harmon helped repair Edmond Ellsworth's wagon. Luke Johnson performed dentistry. Benjamin F. Stewart herded cattle. Francis M. Pomeroy searched for his horse. Edmond Ellsworth and James Davenport were sick.
On the Platte
The Jedediah M. Grant hundred was delayed because of a broken wagon. They watched the other companies disappear out of sight. They later caught up and camped on the banks of the Platte. Some of the men went to hunt buffalo during the day, but returned to the wagon without spotting any. The camp had to take a slightly different route than Brigham Young's pioneer camp, because the waters were higher and more mud slues had to be avoided. Jesse W. Crosby waded across the Platte. He wrote: "Found it one mile wide, three feet deep, one foot on an average, current three miles an hour." Several of the sisters washed in the warm water and noticed a large pine tree floating down the river.
Mary Richards and Amelia Peirson Richards (wife of Willard Richards) took a walk on the bluffs above Winter Quarters. She wrote: "We gazed with delight upon our city of 8 months growth its beauty full gardens and extensive fields clothed with the fast growing corn and vegetables of every description above all things pleasing to the eyes of an Exile in the Wilderness of our afflictions."
detachment of battalion in Nevada:
The detachment crossed into present-day Idaho. They traveled thirty miles and camped at Big Spring.
Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
The natives were very busy preparing the town for another Catholic celebration. The battalion received rumors that the Mexicans might try to use the festival to recapture the city by drawing the battalion out of their fort. Several brass cannons were brought in from San Pedro.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Company B took up their march for Los Angeles, departing their home in San Diego for almost four months. Then natives hated to see them leave and clung to them like children. The company traveled twelve miles and camped.
Saturday, July 10, 1847
The pioneers traveled a road that gradually ascended. They passed a spring which they named Red Mineral Spring. It was very red and the water tasted terrible. They soon reached the summit of a ridge. Orson Pratt calculated the elevation at 7,315 feet. They then descended into a valley and halted for the noon rest. Thomas Bullock wrote: "Mr. [Lewis] Myers caught a young 'War Eagle' & brought it into Camp to look at. It measured 6 feet between the tips of its wings." In the afternoon they had to ascend another ridge which ran between Muddy Fork on the east and Bear River on the west. The elevation of this summit was believed to be 7,700 feet. [This was the highest point of the pioneer trek.] They descended into the valley and camped on Sulphur Creek. Thomas Bullock wrote: "Descended by two steep pitches, almost perpendicular, which on looking back from the bottom looks like jumping off the roof of a house to a middle story, then from the middle story to the ground & thank God there was no accident happened. President Young & Kimball cautioned all to be very careful & locked the Wheels of some wagons themselves. It was a long, steep & dangerous descent."
An Indian came from Fort Bridger and camped with the pioneers for the night. Three grizzly bears were spotted but they quickly left and did not bother the camp. Albert Carrington found a vein of stone coal which they had been told would not be found in this region.
Orson Pratt recorded: "Just before our encampment, as I was wandering alone upon one of the hills, examining the various geological formations, I discovered a smoke some two miles from our encampment, which I expected arose from some small Indian encampment. I informed some of our men and they immediately went to discover who they were; they found them to be a small party from the Bay of St. Francisco, on their way home to the States. They were accompanied by Mr. Miles Goodyear, a mountaineer. . . . Mr. Goodyear informed us that he had just established himself near the Salt Lake, between the mouths of Weber's Fork and Bear River; that he had been to the Bay of St. Francisco on business & just returned with this company following the Hastings new route [that traveled south of Great Salt Lake into Nevada] that those left in charge at the lake had succeeded in making a small garden which was doing well by being watered." He estimated that they were seventy-five miles from the lake.
Miles Goodyear described three roads to reach the Salt Lake and described the country. They discussed the tragic circumstances surrounding the Donner-Reed party who had traveled this road a year earlier. Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that he understood they were mostly from Independence and Clay County Missouri and had been threatening to drive out the Mormons from California. [This rumor was most likely totally false. The Donners and Reeds were from Illinois.] Elder Woodruff wrote: "The snows fell upon them 18 feet deep on a level & they died & eat up each other. About 40 persons perished & were mostly eat up by those who survived them. Mrs. Lavinah Murphy of Tenn. whom I baptized while on a mission in that country but since apostatized & joined the mob was in the company, died or was killed & eat up." They were told that the Donners-Reed party had lost time quarreling who would improve the roads.
Luke Johnson shot a buffalo about three miles from the ferry. An emigrant company bought the meat from him. The brethren at the ferry purchased $100 worth of goods from a Mr. H. Lieuelling. They were interested to find out that he had a roadometer attached to one of his wagons.
On the Platte
The second company of Saints traveled only about eight miles and camped early for the weekend near an island full of willows. Hunters were sent out hoping to kill some buffalo, but they came back only with some antelope and deer. They were about 252 miles from Winter Quarters and about 700 miles behind Brigham Young's pioneer company at Sulphur Creek.
An important meeting was held under the direction of Isaac Morley. The objective was to reorganize the companies at Winter and Summer Quarters. This was needed because many of the captains and families had left for the west. James W. Cummings and Benjamin L. Clapp were sustained as captains of hundreds. The captains of fifty chosen were: Jonathan C. Wright, George D. Grant, and Daniel Carn.
Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
A bullfight was held on the flat near the town. The battalion remained at the fort, but could still view the sports below the hill. A grand ball was also held and the battalion was invited, but they remained at the fort because of rumors that the Mexicans were trying to draw them out and take over the fort.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
As they were marching along the ocean, Robert Bliss and David Rainey noticed something large and white in the distance. They let their animals graze and went to check it out. It turned out to be about one hundred acres of salt, about a half inch deep. Robert Bliss brought back about a pint of the beautiful salt. Company B marched thirty miles and arrived at San Luis Rey.
Sunday, July 11, 1847
West of Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
The pioneers rested for the Sabbath. Some of the brethren rode out to scout the route ahead and found a mineral tar spring fifteen miles from camp. Some of them thought it was oil. It had a very strong smell. Albert Carrington tested the substance and said it was 87 percent carbon. Some of the men filled up their tar buckets and used it for wheel grease. Others used it to oil their guns and shoes. The substance burned bright like oil. They also found a sulpher spring nearby. William Clayton wrote: "The surface of the water is covered with flour of sulphur and where it oozes from the rocks is perfectly black." As the pioneers were getting closer to their new home, some started to feel uneasy about the location. Thomas Bullock recorded: "As I lay in my wagon sick, I overheard several of the brethren murmuring about the face of the country, altho' it is very evident, to the most careless observer, that it is growing richer & richer every day." William Clayton also heard this talk: "There are some in camp who are getting discouraged about the looks of the country but thinking minds are not much disappointed, and we have no doubt of finding a place where the Saints can live which is all we ought to ask or expect."
Miles Goodyear went with Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Joseph Matthews, and John Brown to show them a new road that would be shorter to the Salt Lake valley. After dark the brethren were called together to decided which of two roads to take. They decided to take a road that headed to the right the Miles Goodyear recommended. [They chose a route traveled by Heinrich Lienhard during 1846 rather than a longer route used by the Donner-Reed party.] The Twelve privately felt that the other route would be safer, but decided to let the voice of the camp decide to avoid further murmuring. A singing meeting was held during the evening.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The brethren ferried over seven hundred fruit trees, which included apple, peach, plum, pear, currants, grapes, raspberry, and cheeries. They were owned by Mr. H. Lieuelling of Salem, Iowa.
Phinehas Young, Aaron Farr, George Woodward, Eric Glines, and battalion members William Walker and John Cazier arrived at the ferry. They had been sent back by the pioneers to help pilot the second pioneer company who were about 400 miles to the east. They had left the pioneers at Green River on July 4 and had traveled all the way to the Mormon Ferry in just six days, a journey of about 215 miles. [Rodney Badger had been sent back with this group, but when this group met the Mormon Battalion detachment near South Pass, he stayed with them to help guide the battalion forward. Battalion member John Cazier joined in with group returning.]
Some of the ferrymen wanted to join this company to meet their families. Since the river was now low enough to ford, and most of the Oregon emigrants had already passed, Thomas Grover consented to this idea. The brethren decided to divide equally all of the provisions that the ferrymen had so far received. They amounted to $60.50 each.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
Hunters were sent out to hunt buffalo. Eight were later brought in. [Sunday hunting had been prohibited in Brigham Young's company but had not yet been discouraged in this second pioneer company.] A public Sabbath meeting was held at 1 pm. Sarah Rich wrote in her autobiography: "We journeyed on up the Platte River, came into the buffalo country, seeing many large buffalo. Brother Lewis Robinson was the first one in our company to kill a buffalo. He killed one weighing over a thousand pounds. We all stopped and had a feast all through our camp. We stopped a few days to wash, iron and cook, while the men repaired their wagons, and let their teams rest and recruit up as we were in good food. When all the companies would come up, we would start on again."
The first death on the pioneer journey from Winter Quarters occurred. Ellen Holmes, of the Daniel Spencer company, died. She had been ill for six months. Ira Eldredge's wagon tipped over, almost killing his little boy, but he escape without injury.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Elder Orson Hyde preached at a Sunday meeting. His topic was, "There is a way that seemeth good unto man but leadeth unto death." He preached that all disobedient and unruly spirits would be servants in the next world. Friend Gilliam was quite offended by this sermon. In the evening, the High Council met. They discussed Daniel Russells order to Hosea Stout to disband the guard. Many of the Council were surprised about this plan, because they had never discussed the subject. They all agreed that the guard should still be kept.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
The bullfights continued in the Pueblo. Several horses were gored in the games. One of the bulls broke out of its pen and caught Captain Daniel Davis' six year-old boy, Daniel, with its horns and was said to have tossed him twenty feet in the air. The little boy was bruised and scared.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
The men visited the mission and then marched eleven miles and camped at San Bernardo de Los Floris, near the ocean. They visited a church and Indian village there.
Monday, July 12, 1847
West of Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
Wilford Woodruff got up early and rode to Bear River to do some early-morning fly fishing. "For the first time I saw the long looked for Bear River Valley. Yet the spot where we struck it was nothing very interesting. There was considerable grass in the valley & some timber & think bushes on the bank of the river." He found it difficult to fish with the fly because of think underbrush, but he wrote: "I fished several hours & had all sorts of luck, good, bad, and indifferent." The rest of the pioneers started out and traveled down Sulphur Creek and came to the Bear River. [They were about seven miles upriver from present-day Evanston Wyoming.] It was about sixty feet wide and two and a half feet deep. The current was rapid and the bottom was covered with boulders presenting a difficult crossing.
They came to another fork in the road but proceeded to take the road to the right. The road climbed over a ridge and then they descended into a ravine, which they followed for several miles. Orson Pratt described: "The country is very broken, with high hills and valleys, with no timber excepting scrubby cedar upon their sides." Erastus Snow added: "There has been a very evident improvement in the soil productions and general appearance of the country since we left Fort Bridger, but more particularly since we crossed Bear River. The mountain sage has in a great measure given place to grass and a variety of prairie flowers and scrub cedars upon the sides of the hills."
The hunter brought in about a dozen antelope which were seen in large numbers. The pioneers came to "The Needles" some rock formations that Orson Pratt described: "The rocks are from 100 to 200 feet in height, and rise up in perpendicular and shelving form, being broken or worked out into many curious forms by the rains. Some quite large boulders were cemented in this rock." [This formation is near the present-day Utah/Wyoming border.]
Brigham Young became very sick with the mountain fever. He decided to stop a few hours to rest. The wagons stopped with him for the noon rest, but after two ours the majority were soon told to continue. Eight wagons stayed behind including Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Lorenzo Young, Ezra T. Benson, and Albert P. Rockwood. Brother Rockwood was also very sick. Orson Pratt wrote: "Here is the mouth of a curious cave [Cache Cave] . . . The opening resembles very much the doors attached to an out-door cellar, being about 8 feet high and 12 or 14 feet wide. . . . We went into this cave about 30 feet, where the entrance becoming quite small, we did not feel disposed to penetrate it any further." Wilford Woodruff added: "Many of us cut our names in it." They named the cave "Redden's Cave, after Jackson Redden, the first of the pioneers to find it. Brigham Young and the others did not come into camp by the evening.
Many of the brethren prepared to return to Fort Laramie with those sent back from the Pioneer company and the Mormon Battalion. Two buffalo were spotted on the north side of the river coming to the ferry crossing. Luke Johnson and Phinehas Young chased them and soon killed one of them only a half mile from camp. The meat was brought into camp and dried.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The Daniel Spencer hundred took its turn this week to lead the more than 1500 pioneers which were all in sight. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "The prairie to day is little else than a barren waste -- where the buffalo seem to roam freely." They traveled about twelve miles and camped. Many were busy smoking buffalo meat and they obtained wood by wading over the river to Grand Island.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
Robert S. Bliss wrote: "Marched 16 miles side of the ocean & of it when every few waves would wet our horses feet. I selected a few shells for a memorial of the Great Pacific." They camped near the ruins of the San Juan Mission.
Tuesday, July 13, 1847
Two messengers, John Brown and Joseph Matthews, were sent back to meet with Brigham Young back at The Needles. The camp did not desire to more on until President Young caught up with them. The messengers returned with Heber C. Kimball and Howard Egan. They reported that Brigham Young was feeling a little better but still could not travel. Albert P. Rockwood was near death and "deranged in mind." It was becoming very urgent for the pioneers to complete their journey and to plant a crop as soon as possible in the Salt Lake Valley. The Twelve directed Orson Pratt to lead an advance company of 42 men and 23 wagons to proceed through the mountains. They were instructed to make roads to enable the main company to follow later. Heber C. Kimball returned to The Needles. At 3 pm., this company started their journey and traveled about eight miles down Red Fork.
[The company consisted of Orson Pratt, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jackson Redding, Stephen Markham, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Joseph Egbert, John S. Freeman, Marcus B. Thorpe, Robert Crow, Benjamin B. Crow, John Crow, William H. Crow, William P. Crow, George W. Therlkill, James Chesney, Lewis B. Myers, John Brown, Shadrack Roundy, Hans C. Hanson, Levi Jackman, Lyman Curtis, David Powell, Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay, Joseph Matthews, Gilbert Summe, Green Flake, John S. Gleason, Charles Burke, Norman Taylor, Alexander P. Chesley, Seth Taft, Horace Thornton, Stephen Kelsey, James Stewart, Robert Thomas, Charles D. Barnam, John S. Eldredge, Elijah Newman, Francis Boggs, Levi N. Kendall, David Grant.
Also traveling with the advance company were Robert Crow's wife, Elizabeth Brown Crow, and their daughters, Isa Minda Almarene Crow, Isa Vinda Exene Crow (twins, age sixteen), and Elizabeth Jane Crow. Also probably along was his very pregnant daughter Matilda Jane Therlkill (wife of George) and their children, Milton H. Therlkill (age three) and James William Therlkill (about age one).]
The main company stayed at their camp near Cache Cave. Thomas Bullock went to explore the cave, which was thirty-six feet by twenty-four feet and was about four to six feet high. Many of the brethren carved their names on the walls. He observed about fifty swallows nests near the roof of the cave.
The hunters brought in twelve antelope. Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards took a walk to search for a spring. They reminisced about their missionary days when Elder Woodruff served at the Fox Islands in Maine, and when they both labored in Preston, England together. As the smaller, main camp rested in the evening, Thomas Bullock wrote: "Our camp was stiller to night than it has been since we left Fort [Laramie.]"
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The ferrymen divided into two companies. The first company would stay at the ferry and the second would journey back to Fort Laramie to meet the second pioneer company. Those who stayed at the ferry were: William Empey, John Higbee (who was sick), Appleton Harmon, Luke Johnson, James Davenport, and Eric Glines (who had come back from the pioneers.) Those who left for Fort Laramie were ferrymen, Francis M. Pomeroy, Edmond Ellsworth, and Benjamin F. Stewart. Also returning pioneers, Aaron Farr, George Woodward, and Phinehas Young, and battalion members William Walker, John Cazier. After the brethren left the ferry site, the rest were busy drying buffalo meat.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The second pioneer companies started the day's journey at 7 a.m. They crossed a "multitude" of trodden down buffalo paths that led from the bluffs to the river. [When the first pioneer company passed this location in May, they saw thousands of buffalo making their way to the river.] Isaac C. Haight went to hunt buffalo. He chased a herd but fell of his horse and lost the chase. The Jedediah Grant company had difficulties and were delayed. During the night their herd broke out of the yard and broke wagons, killed a cow, broke of some horns, and broke the leg of a horse. They had to spend the day repairing their wagons.
It was very hot in Winter Quarters. Hosea Stout's last living child was very sick and Brother Stout feared that she was dying. The company marched twenty miles and camped near Santa Annas Ranch.
Kearney detachment of battalion, in Idaho:
The detachment reached the Oregon Trail at noon, and followed it to the east, toward Fort Hall. They reached the Columbia River.
Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
During the day they had crossed over a plain where they saw about 20,000 cattle and horses grazing. The hills could be seen covered with cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.
Wednesday, July 14, 1847
Advance Company in Echo Canyon, Utah:
The advance company traveled through Echo Canyon. Orson Pratt wrote: "Our journey down Red Fork has truly been very interesting and exceedingly picturesque. We have been shut up in a narrow valley from 10 to 20 rods wide, while upon each side the hills rise very abruptly from 800 to 1200 feet, and the most of the distance we have been walled in by vertical and overhanging precipices of red pudding-stone, and also red sand-stone." Levi Jackman added: "The valley was fertile but very narrow and the hills on both sides were several hundred feet high. In many places it was difficult passing. A little before night we struck the Weber Fork and camped. We came about 14 miles today." Their plans were to follow the Weber River in the valley. [This would have taken them to present-day Ogden, Utah.]
Main Camp near
Cache Cave, Utah:
Wilford Woodruff and Barnabas Adams traveled back to the rear company to see how the sick were doing.
Thomas Bullock sat in the cool cave all day and caught up on his writing. Many of the other brethren spent the day hunting and killed several antelope.
Wilford Woodruff returned in the evening and brought back news regarding the sick in the Rear Company. A meeting was called around Willard Richard's wagon. It was decided to hitch up and move the camp a short distance in the morning.
William Clayton wrote about the mountain fever: "There are one or two new cases of sickness in our camp, mostly with fever which is very severe on the first attack, generally rendering its victims delirious for some hours, and then leaving them in a languid, weakly condition. It appears that a good dose of pills or medicine is good to break the fever. The patient then needs some kind of stimulant to brace his nerves and guard him against another attack. I am satisfied that diluted spirits is good in this disease after breaking up the fever."
Rear Company at the Needles, Utah:
Wilford Woodruff and Barnabas Adams visited the rear company of sick brethren. They were pleased to see that Brigham Young was getting better and they ate supper with Heber C. Kimball. Wilford Woodruff planned to bring his carriage from the main camp in the morning for Brigham Young and Albert P. Rockwood to ride in.
Albert P. Rockwood's fever still raged and he was delirious. He later wrote: "Br Lorenz Young and many others look upon me as dangerous ill. I so considered myself and so told the brethren that if no relief came in 24 hours, they might dig a hole to put me in."
Howard Egan, Heber C. Kimball, Ezra T. Benson, and Lorenzo Young climbed to the top of a high mountain and offered prayers for the sick and for their families so far away.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The ferrymen who remained started to move their things a six miles up there river where the feed was better. An emigrant company arrived and needed some blacksmithing done. All the blacksmith tools were moved up the river and set up for business. Luke Johnson stayed at the ferry site overnight to guard the rest of the things that had not yet been moved up. During the night, he was bothered by wolves that wanted to eat the buffalo meat. Brother Johnson shot one, reloaded and fired again. "Then the gun burst. It burned his face and arm and hand considerably, and slightly wounded his other arm and hand. A piece of the lock or something passed through his hat with great violence, which closely grazed his head."
On the Platte
The Jedediah M. Grant company had difficulties and were delayed. During the night their herd broke out of the yard and crushed two wheels on Willard Snow's wagon, killed a cow, broke of some horns, and broke the leg of a horse. They had to spend the day repairing Brother Snow's wagon. The Charles C. Rich company remained behind with them. Abraham Smoot's company passed them during the day. The pioneers arrived at the location where the first pioneer company camped on May 9, 1847. [This was near present-day Brady, Nebraska]. They found the post, guide board, and box with a letter and history of the journey up to that point. The guide board stated that they were 300 miles from Winter Quarters. [This second company of pioneers were traveling about 700 miles behind Brigham Young's company.] The company spotted several herds of buffalo and hunters were successful in killing some for meat. Jedediah M. Grant showed Eliza R. Snow a buffalo skull on which was written, "All well -- feed bad -- we only 300 ms. from W." It was dated May 9th.
Daniel H. Wells, who was baptized into the Church the previous year, arrived in from Nauvoo. Hosea Stout was surprised to see him join the Saints, but he now appeared to be an influential and faithful member of the Chruch. [Daniel H. Wells would later serve as a counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency.]
West of Fort Hall Idaho:
The Kearney detachment of the Mormon Battalion met several companies of Oregon emigrants. These emigrants were certainly among those who came in contact with the pioneers and may have let the Mormon Battalion members know that they met the pioneers on the Oregon Trail in Wyoming.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
The company traveled twenty miles and camped at Riota Ranch where there was an excellent spring.
Thursday, July 15, 1847
Advance Company on Weber River, Utah:
The advance company journeyed down Weber River, crossing over onto the south bank. After six miles they halted about one mile from the canyon which looked impassable for wagons. Orson Pratt and John Brown rode four miles down the canyon and then returned to camp convinced that this route would be very difficult. While they were gone, Stephen Markham and others searched for the Donner-Reed trail that cut across the mountains to the south. Orson Pratt and John Brown also went searching for this trail and soon found it, but the grass had grown up, making it very difficult to discern. Orson Pratt followed the trail up a ravine for six miles and then returned to the advance company camp. [They camped at present-day Henefer, Utah.]
Main Camp near Cache Cave, Utah:
Wilford Woodruff left camp early in the morning, right after breakfast, with his carriage and horses. In two hours he arrived at Brigham Young's camp. He made a comfortable bed for President Young and Albert P. Rockwood in his carriage, and the read company started out. Brother Rockwood wrote: "I was very weak & low, not able to set up in the carriage, yet I stood the journey very well. So did B Young." At noon, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and others with eight wagons arrived into the main camp. Orders were given for the company to harness up. During this time a refreshing shower cooled them off. At 3:30 pm., after four and a half miles, they formed their camp at the foot of some high, red bluffs [Castle Bluffs]. The feed was good and there was beautiful spring of cool water to the left of the road.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
James Davenport and Appleton Harmon were busy doing blacksmith work. Eric Glines traveled to down the river for some coal and other items at the ferry site. William Empey and John Higbee dried buffalo meet and tended the cattle.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The companies had to travel over some sandy bluffs away from the river in order to avoid swampy land. They camped at spring of cold water. Patty Session put some milk in it to cool. Because of problems with cattle, it was thought best to being forming the wagon circles as companies of fifty rather than larger groups. Large numbers of buffalo were beginning to be seen.
Near Fort Hall Idaho:
The Kearney detachment of the Mormon Battalion reached Fort Hall. They stopped for just a short time and obtained some bacon. Nathaniel Jones wrote that they saw "a great many emigrants. The road is full of them."
Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
The battalion recognized that this was their last official day as soldiers in the United States army. Company B marched nine miles, crossed the San Gabriel River, marched nine more miles, and arrived at Los Angeles. Robert S. Bliss wrote: "This is the most beautiful place I ever saw as to some things. The orchards & vineyards are as fine as heart can wish. Here I drinked of the juice of the vine to my satisfaction & eat most delicious pears &c."
Friday, July 16, 1847
Advance Company on Weber River, Utah:
Orrin Porter Rockwell was sent back to the main camp to report that they thought it best to follow the Donner-Reed trail over the mountains rather than the Hastings trail down Weber Canyon. While he was away, they started their journey up a small steam, sending ahead a dozen men to work with spades, axes, and other tools to clear the road. After ascending six miles, a 500 foot elevation climb, they crossed over a ridge and then descended into a ravine. After two and a half more miles which took four hours to travel, they camped for the night. Levi Jackman and Lyman Curtis were sick. After camp was established, Orson Pratt and Elijah Newman walked further down the ravine to examine the road. They saw evidence that the Donners and Reeds had spent several hour's effort working on the road, but evidently gave up and turned back up the ravine taking a detour.
Main Company in Echo Canyon, Utah:
After a morning shower, the main company started at 8:45 and entered Echo Canyon. They had difficulty crossing the creek and Harvey Pierce's wagon broke but was soon repaired. William Clayton wrote: "The mountains seem to increase in height, and come so near together in some places as to leave merely room enough for a crooked road." Norton Jacob added: "We came into this valley which looks more cheering than the arid desert we have been passing through." They halted for the noon, deep in Echo Canyon. There was plenty of grass, no timber except for a few cedar trees on the sides of the mountains. Orrin Porter Rockwell came back from the advance company, reporting their location and route taken. He explained that they could not follow the Hastings route through Weber Canyon, but were instead going over the mountains following the route taken by the Donner-Reed party. During the noon rest a few men hiked to the top of one of the mountains on the north side of the canyon. William Clayton said that they "looked like babes in size."
Wilford Woodruff continue to drive his carriage containing the sick Brigham Young and Albert P. Rockwood. The rough roads tired out the two sick men.
At 1:40 pm., their journey continued into the canyon, which became narrower and narrower. It seemed strange to them that a road could ever be made in the narrow canyon. At some points they could only see two wagons ahead. They crossed the creek several times with difficulty. Patches of oak shrubbery were appearing and move groves of trees. The elderberries were in bloom. The high red cliffs on both sides were very impressive.
After traveling a total of sixteen miles, they camped for the night in Echo Canyon. William Clayton described, "We are yet enclosed by high mountains on each side, and this is the first good camping place we have seen since noon, not for lack of grass or water, but on account of the narrow gap between the mountains." Erastus Snow described: "Toward night, for about one-half or three-quarters of a mile, the whole camp seemed perfectly immersed in a dense thicket of large shrubbery and weeds with scattering trees which filled the valley. As we emerged from the thicket we passed through some extensive beds of what mountaineers call 'wild wheat,' small patches of which we have seen all the way from Bear River." This grass was as high as ten feet tall near the creek. Solomon Chamberlain broke his wagon two miles back and John Wheeler unloaded his wagon and went back to get the axe tree to be mended.
Echo Canyon received its name of course because of the echoes heard in it. William Clayton wrote: "There is a very singular echo in this ravine, the rattling of wagons resembles carpenters hammering at boards inside the highest rocks. The report of a rifle resembles a sharp crack of thunder and echoes from rock to rock for some time. The lowing of cattle and braying of mules seem to be answered beyond the mountains. Music, especially brass instruments, has a very pleasing effect and resemble a person standing inside the rock imitating every note. The echo, the high rocks on the north, high mountains on the south with the narrow ravine for a road, form a scenery at once romantic and more interesting than I have ever witnessed."
After camp was established, some of the men tried their hand at mountain climbing. William Clayton warned: "The ascent is so steep that there is scarce a place to be found to place the foot flat and firm, and the visitor is every moment, if he makes the least slip or stumbles, in danger of being precipitated down to the bottom and once overbalanced, there is no possibility of stopping himself till he gets to the bottom, in which case he would doubtless be dashed to pieces."
William Clayton finally reached to top and could see the Weber River ahead. To the rear he could only see ranges of mountains. He descended which was a much more difficult task than the climb, but got down before dark. Wilford Woodruff went one mile more down Echo Canyon and fished in Weber River. He caught a trout for Brigham Young.
Big Sandy River, Wyoming:
About 150 miles behind the main company, the detachments of the Mormon Battalion and the Mississippi Saints were camped on Big Sandy River east of Fort Bridger. The soldiers celebrated the end of their enlistment in the army with a salute of guns at daylight. John Steele noted that this salute "let everyone of Uncle Sam's officers know we were our own men once more. We still kept up our organization, and respected the command as usual, and was rather better than some had been before."
In the late afternoon, a wedding was held at the camp. Jacob Cooper and Kittean Hucklebee of an Indian company were married. Fourteen men arrived at the river crossing, heading east with fifty pack horses and mules. This company had met the pioneers near Fort Bridger. [This company had left Oregon on May 6 and was led by T.G. Drake, who had captained the ship Modeste. They would arrive in St. Louis near the end of August.]
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The second company traveled about twelve miles and saw thousands of buffalo. Jesse W. Crosby wrote: "On each side of the river hills and valleys were literally covered with them." The grass were very short, eaten by all the buffalo. After camp was established, a herd of buffalo ran into one of the camps among the oxen and cattle. One of the buffalo was shot in full view of the women and children.
Bear River Valley, Idaho:
The Mormon Battalion members of the Kearny detachment noted that their enlistment was up, but they weren't discharged and continued serving with the detachment riding to the east.
Battalion, in Los Angeles:
The battalion was mustered and formerly discharged from their year's service in the United States Army. They received their discharge from their former commander, Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Smith. Azariah Smith wrote: "At 3 o'clock P.M. the five companies of the battalion were formed according to the letter of their company, with A in front and E in the rear, leaving a few feet of space in between. The [notorious] Lieutenant A. J. Smith then marched down between the lines, then in a low tone of voice said, 'You are discharged.'" The men were pleased that the despised Lt. Smith's remarks were very short. Captain Davis, Lt. Pace, Lt. Lytle, Levi Hancock and David Pettigrew all made remarks followed by three cheers. Robert S. Bliss wrote: "I felt to thank my Heavenly Father that I had been preserved to accomplish the work I was sent to do thus far." The men could not leave for home yet, because they had not yet received their pay. Many of them traveled three miles and camped on the San Pedro River.
Levi Hancock recorded: "The 16 of July has come and what there has passed I cannot tell only there has bin a great struggle for power and to get us enlisted again I said I would not and many others say the same such cruelty on soldiers I never saw men chained and a ball hung to them and to wear it for 6, 8 or 10 months caged and imprisoned." Those who re-enlisted for six months were put under the leadership of Captain Davis and prepared to march to San Diego.
Saturday, July 17, 1847
Advance Company in Dixie Hollow, Utah:
A severe frost fell on the company during the night. Early in the morning, Orson Pratt went ahead on foot to examine the country to see if there was a better route to take. He was soon convinced that they had taken the best and only practical route. He met a large Grey wolf as he was returning. Orson Pratt gave orders that the company would not proceed further until more labor had been performed on the previous day's road. While all the men worked, Orson Pratt and John Brown went ahead to explore. They followed a creek for about 3 miles and discovered that this route would be impossible to pass through because the creek passed through a very narrow canyon that had a huge boulder at the foot of the canyon. So instead they followed the dim Donner-Reed trail that climbed up East Canyon for eight miles, crossing the creek thirteen times. The road would require much labor to make it usable by the wagons. They left the horses and climbed a mountain summit, which appeared to be 2000 feet higher. Orson Pratt wrote: "The country exhibited a broken succession of hills piles on hills, and mountains on mountains, in every direction." They returned and found the advance company have gone one about five miles from their morning camp, and ended up in East Canyon.
Main Company in Echo Canyon, Utah:
Brigham Young had a rough night and was very sick again. A forge was set up during the morning to repair Solomon Chamberlain's axletree. The cattle and mules were very uneasy during the morning because they could hear their echoes and must have thought these were other animals answering their calls. Nine horses were lost in the morning. It was decided to journey on while some men went back to repair Brother Chamberlain's wagon and while others hunted for the lost horses. [They eventually found them nine miles up Echo Canyon.] At 9:40 a.m., the main company pressed on and soon came to the Weber River. They turn to the right and traveled down the river. The valley had opened up and they could again see snow on the mountaintops.
Brigham Young, so very sick, soon could not endure any more traveling. A camp was selected a few miles further on the banks of the river. William Clayton wrote: "The day very hot and mosquitoes plentiful; Several of the brethren have caught some fine trout in this stream which appears to have many in it. In the afternoon Elders Kimball, Richards, Smith, Benson and others went onto a mountain to clothe and pray for President Young. They also prayed for their families far away. Howard Egan recorded: "We had a glorious time, and I thank the Lord for the privilege." On returning they rolled down many large rocks from the top of the mountain to witness the velocity of their descent, etc. Some would roll over half a mile and frequently break to pieces."
In the evening, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Howard Egan rode down the river to investigate the entrance into Main Canyon. They returned at 10 pm. after riding eight miles down the river, but did not reach the canyon.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The men obtained timber to construct a coal pit. In the afternoon, the emigrant company started to move out, leaving just the six ferryman alone at the river.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
During the night, many cattle belonging to one of the companies broke out of their yard. About twenty yoke of oxen could not be found. Patty Sessions wrote of this day: "I gather a few dry weeds, built a little fire on a buffalo dung, broiled some meat for my dinner, drank sweeten ginger and water. I have seen many thousands of buffalo to day. One crossed out track just forward of us. We had a fair view of him."
Great joy was felt when the pioneers met some trappers heading east. They said they had met Brigham Young's pioneer company at South Pass. [See June 27, 1847]. They also mentioned that several of the pioneers had been left at the North Platte river crossing and were operating a ferry. The trappers brought back letters from the pioneers.
As the pioneer companies were sleeping during the night, they were alarmed by the bellowing of a huge herd of buffalo on the other side of the river.
Bear River Valley, Idaho:
The detachment came upon some hot springs on the Bear River [Present-day Lava Hot Springs, Idaho].
Sunday, July 18, 1847
Advance Company in East Canyon, Utah:
The Advance company rested. The morning was cold with white frost covering the ground. It became very hot during the day. A meeting was held in the morning at which Orson Pratt gave them company good words of encouragement.
Main Company on Weber River, Utah:
The camp was called together by Heber C. Kimball. He reported that Brigham Young was still very sick. He asked the brethren to stop scattering off hunting, fishing and climbing mountains. Instead on this Sabbath day, he asked them to pray to the Lord that the sickness might be taken from President Brigham Young. Wilford Woodruff testified that the devil was "constantly striving to hinder our progress and thwart the purposes of God and now by causing the president to be sick, hindering our progress in getting through in time to return to our families this fall."
At 10 a.m., a meeting was held in a small grove of shrubs. Elder Kimball proposed that the main body of pioneers go on ahead to find a place to plant potatoes and other crops. There was very little time to spare. About fifteen wagons would remain behind with Brigham Young. Those who would stay behind would include Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Howard Egan, and others. This proposal was accepted.
At 2 pm., another meeting was held. Several of the brethren spoke including Elder Kimball who prophesied wonderful things concerning the camp. The bishops broke bread and the sacrament was administered. William Clayton recorded: "Good feelings seem to prevail and the brethren desire to do right. A number yet continue sick, but we expect all will soon recover." Erastus Snow wrote: "We had an excellent meeting. The Holy Spirit was upon us, and faith seemed to spring up in every bosom. In the afternoon the President, who had been nigh unto death, was very sensibly better, and the effects of the prayers of the brethren were visible throughout the camp." President Young had been washed and anointed, fell asleep and awoke feeling much better.
In the evening Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball and Ezra T. Benson went into a high hill and prayed together. They enjoyed conversing upon things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The rest of the Oregon emigrants left the ferry crossing. They had discussed with the ferrymen how more than a hundred head of cattle had been lost by the last several emigrant company. The ferrymen believed the cause of this loss was from driving the cattle too hard without water.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
Patty Session baked some mince pies, bread, and meat over buffalo dung. At 11 a.m., a public Sabbath meeting was held. Jedediah Grant's company, twenty miles behind had lost 75 head of cattle two night earlier and some men were sent out to help find them. The men were told to quit killing buffalo needlessly. They were told that such actions "was a disgrace to the people and displeasing to the Lord." At 4 pm., another meeting was held at which letters from the men at the Mormon Ferry were read. The ferrymen reported that they had ferried over four hundred Oregon emigrant wagons. After the meeting a baptismal service was held for many of the youth. Confirmations were given and many children were blessed.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John D. Lee was asked to go quickly to Samuel Gully to administer to him. Brother Gully was cramped up and nearly dying. He soon recovered after the blessing. Others in Summer Quarters had a similar illness. John D. Lee traveled to Winter Quarters because he had been summoned to appear before the High Council.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
A Council meeting was held in the morning to consider reports of evils in the settlement of Garden Grove including stealing and gambling. Orson Hyde pressed to have the whole settlement cut off from them Church. The subject was "warmly debated" but the motion carried by the majority of the High Council to cut off the settlement of Garden Grove from the Church. Later in the afternoon, Isaac Morley spoke at the Winter Quarters stand. In the evening the High Council heard several cases. James Clayton was reprimanded for firing pistols on the Sabbath. John Berry accused John D. Lee of allowing his horse to be lost and had not reimbursed him for this loss. The High Council hear witnesses and decided that Brother Lee was not at fault but should not charge Brother Berry for the use of his mule or for boarding the horse before it was lost.
Mormon Battalion, in Los Angeles:
The battalion started to draw their pay. They each received $31.50, but did not received the promised transportation money to return home.
Monday, July 19, 1847
Advance Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Orson Pratt and John Brown left shortly after sunrise to scout the road ahead. They traveled up East Canyon and then ascended four miles to a ridge. They then left their horses and climbed Big Mountain. Orson Pratt wrote: "Both from the ridge where the road crossed, and from the mountain peak, we could see over a great extent of the country. On the south-west we could see an extensive level prairie, some few miles distant, which we thought must be near the Lake." John Brown added: "Here we had a view of the valley for the first time. We went on to the mountain to the right and saw what we supposed to be one corner of Salt Lake." After finding the wagon trail used by the Donner-Reed party, they head back toward the advance company's camp. They found them more than six miles further up East Canyon. The company had crossed over East Canyon creek about eight or nine times. Much work had been accomplished on improving the road. The company rejoiced in hearing that the brethren had viewed the valley. Orrin Porter Rockwell return and reported that the main company of pioneers were only a few miles behind. He brought back instructions from Brigham Young that when they arrived in the valley, they were to turn a little to the north and plant seeds of all kind.
Main Company on Weber River, Utah:
Brigham Young was feeling much better. The main company departed at 7:45 a.m. on a rough road down Weber River. They were under the leadership of John Pack. After two miles, they forded the river, which was only eighteen inches deep. Erastus Snow asked the company to halt until Willard Richards caught up. One of his oxen was missing, but he wished to be with the main company. They proceeded on until the turnoff to ascend the hills on the Donner-Reed trail. They soon found the cutoff and William Clayton put up a sign that read, "Pratt's Pass to avoid canyon. To Fort Bridger 74 1/4 miles." The company soon started to slowly make their way up the mountain. The road was rough and crooked, quite dangerous for wagons. At the top of the ridge, William Clayton put up a guide board that read: "80 miles to Fort Bridger." At this point, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Howard Egan, rode up from the rear company to view the road. The descent into the next ravine was not very steep, but it was dangerous because of large cobblestones that made the wagons slide.
At 2 pm., the main company stopped for a rest and then continued on at 3:30. They soon had to ascend a very long steep hill for nearly a mile and then descent another crooked road. The descended again and at 5:30 pm. camped at some willow bushes full of mosquitoes inside East Canyon. Erastus Snow wrote: "Here the road took up the creek south, and the snowy mountains, encircling us on the south and west, rearing their heads above the intervening mountains, showed us plainly that our climbing was not yet at an end." George A. Smith's wagon was damaged, but they quickly made a coal pit, and Burr Frost set up his blacksmith tools to reset the tire.
Rear Company on Weber River, Utah:
Wilford Woodruff drove Brigham Young in his carriage for five miles and stopped for breakfast. They had driven with the main camp for two miles but then parted. President Young still had a fever but was feeling better. Those traveling with Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff included Ezra T. Benson, Heber C. Kimball, Howard Egan, Lorenzo Young, and his family, Hosea Cushing, and Carlos Murray. Fifteen wagons were part of this company. They camped on the Weber River.
The Mormon Battalion detachments and the Mississippi Saints arrived at Fort Bridger. Abner Blackburn wrote: "Old Jim Bridger and his trappers gave us a hearty welcome to our company. He is the oldest trapper in the mountains and can tell some wonderful stories."
The Kearney detachment met Charles Smith, who had come from California with Samuel Brannan and had recently met with Brigham Young and the pioneers. He shared information about the California Saints and certainly also talked about the pioneers.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went hunting. In the afternoon as they were returning without any luck, Brother Johnson's horse became frightened as they were following a little creek. They soon discovered some bear cubs in a thicket and Brother Johnson dismounted with his 11-Shooter. William Empey later recorded: "The moment he struck the ground, the [mother] bear discovered him & came towards him at the top of her speed with her mouth wide open & each jump accompanied with an awah awah oo." Luke Johnson stood his ground. When the bear was within twenty feet with three of her cubs at her heals, he aimed a fired. The grizzly bear turn to run but soon fell dead. Brother’s Johnson and Glines returned to camp with the meat, hide, and the exciting tale.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The Jedediah Grant company's missing cattle could not be found. Some of the other companies continued on and crossed some bluffs. Several oxen were found which had probably belonged to Oregon emigrants. The Grant company was twenty-five miles behind the lead companies, stranded without enough oxen.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John D. Lee returned to Summer Quarters and found David I. Young near death with the strange disease that had come upon several in the settlement. Brother Young was overcome with joy to see Brother Lee because he wanted Brother Lee to baptize him before he died. [David I. Young was a member of the Church, but must have wanted the ordinance performed as a form of last rites.] Brothers Martin and Allen came in to assist, but when they put Brother Young in a chair he was so weak that he kept fainting, so they could not baptize him. Brother Lee promised Brother Young that he would be baptized as proxy for him and told Brother Young to rest. He stopped struggling and soon died.
Tuesday, July 20, 1847
Advance Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Orson Pratt wrote a letter describing the road and country ahead which he had scouted out the previous day. He left the letter in a conspicuous place for the companies that would follow. The advance company resumed their journey at 9 a.m., being somewhat delayed by stray cattle. They climbed the road up Big Mountain which Brother Pratt measured to be 7245 feet above sea level. They descended down the other side and camped at the base of Little Mountain. Levi Jackman wrote: "Our journey for a number of day had been rather gloomy. The mountains on both sides have been so high and the ravines so cracked that we could see but a short distance and it looked as though we were shut up in a gulf without any chance for escape." They noticed much of the timber had been burned by forest fires.
Main Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Burr Frost was very busy in the morning repairing wagons that had been damaged coming down the hill into East Canyon. The company continued their journey at 11 a.m. Word came from the advance company via one of the Mississippi brethren, Brother Crow, that they were nine miles ahead. They were told that the road ahead was rough. The men in the main company worked hard to continue improving the road for those who would follow. Some of the men in the company had fallen ill and were left behind for the Rear Company with three wagons.
After four hard miles, they rested the teams and ate dinner. William Clayton wrote: "The road over which we have traveled is through an uneven gap between high mountains and is exceedingly rough and crooked. Not a place to be met with scarcely where there would be room to camp for the dense willow groves all along the bottom."
They traveled on until after 5 pm. They had crossed East Canyon Creek eleven times. Brother Clayton commented: "The road is one of the most crooked I ever saw, many sharp turns in it and the willow stubs standing making it very severe on wagons." The camp ground in East Canyon was so cramped that the wagons had to huddle very closely together. This was the camp ground used by the advance company the night before. They found a letter from Orson Pratt stating that the next campground was eleven miles ahead, over Big Mountain. Willard Richards and George A. Smith decided to send Erastus Snow ahead with a letter for Orson Pratt instructing the two of them to go down into the valley to explore and find a good place to plant some crops.
Rear Company on Weber River, Utah:
The Rear Company got an early start at 5:30 a.m., thinking it was best to travel in the cool morning. They crossed Weber River and soon came to William Clayton guide board directing them up to "Pratt's Pass." After another two miles, they stopped for breakfast near a cool brook of water. Howard Egan and a few others went ahead to make further improvements on the road. The company continued on during the day and finally reached East Canyon Creek, where they found brethren who had remained behind because of illness including, Stephen H. Goddard, James Case, Henry G. Sherwood, Benjamin F. Dewey, Brother Johnson, and William Smoot. They received word that George A. Smith wagon had broken and that Orson Pratt was about eight miles ahead. Brother’s Johnson and Sherwood were baptized in the creek for their health. Wilford Woodruff confirmed them.
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
The Kearney detachment of the Mormon Battalion started early and struck out across the mountain away from Bear River.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
James Davenport and Appleton M. Harmon went in search of lost cattle. They ran into a company of emigrants who had found the cattle more than ten miles away. Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went out searching for the bear cubs they had seen the day before but they could not find them.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The Grant Company still could not find the lost oxen. Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor ordered that each company provide some oxen to be used by the Grant Company. Large herds of buffalo could be seen on both sides of the river. They talked about possibly crossing over the Platte because of the numerous buffalo on the north side. The companies traveled on about twelve miles. Brother Noble called his company together in the evening for a prayer meeting.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Isaac Morley, John D. Lee, Levi Stewart, and A.P. Free walked to the south of Summer Quarters about one half mile and selected a location for a new cemetery. In the late afternoon, David I. Young was buried. About half of the settlement attended the funeral.
Los Angeles, California:
Those who chose to return to the Saints with Levi Hancock (about 164 men) were organized into groups of hundreds, fifties, and tens. Eight-two men re-enlisted for another six months. Henry Boyle wrote: "While a sufficient number of us have re-enlisted to make one company, I did not like to reenlist, but I had no relatives in the Church to return to. I desired to remain in California till the Church became located, for it is impossible for us to leave here with provisions to last any considerable length of time. And if I stay here or any number of us, it is better for us to remain together, than to scatter all over creation."
July 21, 1847
Advance Company near Little Mountain, Utah:
Orson Pratt's company ascended Little Mountain and then came down on the other side to the creek that ran through Emigration Canyon. They called the creek, "Last Creek." Erastus Snow arrived during the morning from the main camp with instructions to explore the valley. So Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow rode on ahead down Emigration Canyon. They came to Donner Hill, a hill climbed by the Donner Party to avoid an area of blockage in the canyon.
Orson Pratt wrote: "Mr. Snow and myself ascended this hill, from the top of which a broad open valley, about 20 miles wide and 30 long, lay stretched out before us, at the north end of which the broad waters of the Great Salt Lake glistened in the sunbeams, containing high mountainous islands from 25 to 30 miles in extent. After issuing from the mountains among which we had been shut up for many days, and beholding in a moment such an extensive scenery open before us, we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view." Erastus Snow added: "On ascending this butte we involuntarily both at the same instant, uttered a shout of joy at finding it to be the very place of our destination, and beheld the broad bosom of the Salt Lake spreading itself before us."
They immediately descended into the valley and with just one horse between them traveled a circular 12-mile route exploring the valley. Erastus Snow recorded: "We descended a gradual slope, some four miles towards the center of the valley, and visited several small creeks flowing from the mountains into the Utah outlet [Jordan River] traveled some ten or twelve miles in the valley, and returned to the company about nine o'clock in the evening."
[1867, Orson Pratt said: "Twenty years ago on the twenty-first day of July, I stood solitary and alone on this great city plot, near the place where now stands Bishop Hunter's house (this would be on the corner of the block immediately north of the northwest corner of the temple square), being the first man of the Latter-day Saints that ever stood on this ground: this was in the afternoon of the twenty-first day of July, 1847. Brother Erastus Snow entered the valley with me in the afternoon. We traveled down to the southeast of the city. Brother Erastus lost his coat off his horse, and went back to hunt it up, and told me if I wanted to look over the country he would wait for me at the mouth of what we now call Emigration canon. I started from where we parted, and came up and stood on the bank of City Creek. I gazed on the surrounding scenery with peculiar feelings in my heart. I felt as though it was the place for which we had so long sought. . . . and see if we could find anything of Salt Lake Valley or a country suitable for a location. What did I see when I came into this valley? I saw some few green bushes on yonder bench, but saw but little life throughout the valley, except a certain insect that was afterwards called a cricket. I saw them cropping the few isolated bushes, and gnawing everything green around them."]
While they were away the Advance Company had climbed up Little Mountain. Levi Jackman wrote: "From the top of this hill, like Moses on Pisgah's top, we could see a part of the Salt Lake Valley, our long anticipated home. We did truly rejoice at the sight." They had descended down into Emigration Canyon and a few also climbed Donner Hill to see a view of Great Salt Lake.
Main Company in East Canyon, Utah:
The main company journeyed onward at 6:30 a.m. They crossed East Canyon creek one more time and then started to gradually ascend Big Mountain. They spent much time cutting down stumps and moving heavy rocks to improve the road. They saw much timber destroyed by fire near the top.
At 11 a.m., they began to arrive at Big Mountain Pass and catch their first glimpse of the Salt Lake Valley floor. William Clayton wrote: "From this ridge we can see an extensive valley to the west but on every other side high mountains, many of them white with snow. It seems as though a few hours' travel might bring us out from the mountains on good road again."
The road down the other side of Big Mountain was very steep. They had to lock their hind wheels for safety. The road was full of stumps, many which were removed by the men. They found a bridge over a deep ravine which had been constructed by the advance company. Joseph Rooker tipped over his wagon at this point but did not experience much damage. They rested their teams near a spring on the way down as the road leveled out better. They pressed on and during the long afternoon ascended Little Mountain and at 7:30 pm. made their camp in Emigration Canyon only about a half mile behind the advance company.
Rear Company in East Canyon, Utah:
The Rear Company with Brigham Young did not travel this day because of sickness. They worked at setting the wheel on John S. Fowler's wagon. Heber C. Kimball, Ezra T. Benson, and Lorenzo Young explored up East Canyon. Wilford Woodruff went down the creek and caught eight small trout. He wrote: "The country is very mountainous, rough & steep."
A Company of eighteen men with sixty horses and mules heading east came to the river crossing. They reported seeing the pioneer company at Fort Bridger. William Empey wrote: "The remainder part of the day passed a way very lonesome, we being in a strange land and far from our homes and families being near to us. We would often talk what we would give if we only knew the situation of them."
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The second pioneer company traveled on as Jesse W. Crosby described "came in sight of buffalo, almost without number, the river for six miles swarmed with them. As we approached they ran in multitudes over the bluffs." Some of the companies had to pass directly through the herd. Seventeen yoke of oxen were brought back to the Grant Company to help replace those that were lost. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "This is truly a land of buffalo’s -- they are in sight all the time -- an almost innumerable herd of them came over the bluff today & seemed about to cross our Camp on their path to the river -- our hunters met them & they chang'd their course, much to our gratification." That evening the cattle were very uneasy because of the sounds of the numerous buffalo. Patty Sessions wrote: "I went into the wagon, looked out, saw them go round and round like a whirlpool, the men saying they would break and runaway. I knelt down and prayed for the Lord to quiet them. I arose, they were quite still. We went to bed, heard no more from them."
Levi Hancock company, north of Los Angeles, California:
An advance group of former battalion soldiers started their journey. Robert S. Bliss wrote: "Just 12 months ago today we left C. Bluffs for this country & to day the camp commenced to move on for our destined home. I was appointed one of the Pioneers to go ahead of the main body, consequently we marched about 8 or 10 miles to day & encamped on the Purbelo River near a rancheros or farm; Some beautiful & picturesque mountains on either side of us."
Thursday, July 22, 1847
Advance Company in Emigration Canyon, Utah:
Orson Pratt went to the main camp, a half-mile back, to consult with members of the Twelve. It was decided to send a small group down into the valley to find a good place to start plowing and planting. So Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, John Brown, Joseph Matthews, John Pack, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Erastus Snow, and one other man rode down to explore the valley. As they passed by Donner Hill, they determined that the obstructions in the canyon could be removed rather than having all the wagons climb the hill like the Donner-Reed party did the previous year. They left a note on a pole instructing the main company to clear the road.
Orson Pratt wrote: "After going down into the valley about 5 miles, we turned our course to the north, down towards the Salt Lake. For 3 or 4 miles north we found the soil of a most excellent quality. Streams from the mountains and spring were very abundant, the water excellent, and generally with gravel bottoms. We found the drier places swarming with very large crickets, about the size of a man's thumb. This valley is surrounded with mountains, except on the north: the tops of some of the highest being covered with snow. Every 1 or 2 miles streams were emptying into it from the mountains on the east." John Brown also noted the crickets and wrote: "There were hosts of black crickets all over the valley and apparently harmless."
The pioneers discovered some hot springs. Orson Pratt wrote: "We found as we proceeded on, great numbers of hot springs issuing from near the base of the mountains. These springs were highly impregnated with salt and sulfur: the temperature of some was nearly raised to the boiling point." Erastus Snow added: "It bursts from the base of a perpendicular ledge of rock about forty feet high and emits a volume of water sufficient for a mill. We had no instrument to determine the degree of temperature, but suffice it to say that it was about right for scalding hogs. Here are the greatest facilities for a steam doctor I ever saw. A stone, in the center of the stream before the aperture in the rocks, seemed to say, this is the seat for the patient. At any rate, I tried it, but had little desire to remain long upon it."
After traveling further toward the lake and finding the soil becoming sterile, they returned toward the canyon. Norton Jacob explained: "They got within some eight or ten miles of the Great Salt Lake, but it is hemmed in with small lakes, ponds and pools so that it appears difficult to get near it."
in Emigration Canyon, Utah:
The main company of pioneers started out at 8:30 a.m., and soon caught up with the Advance Company which was working on the road in Emigration Canyon. They soon reached the obstruction in the canyon that caused the Donner-Reed party to climb Donner Hill. Stephen Markham, like Orson Pratt, determined that the road would be too steep up the hill and instead the men were asked to spend a few hours clearing the obstructions so the road could continue down the canyon. William Clayton wrote: While the brethren were cutting the road, I followed the old one to the top of the hill and on arriving there was much cheered by a handsome view of the Great Salt Lake lying, as I should judge, from twenty-five to thirty miles to the west of us; and at eleven o'clock I sat down to contemplate and view the surrounding scenery. . . . For my own part I am happily disappointed in the appearance of the valley of the Salt Lake, but if the land be as rich as it has the appearance of being, I have no fears but the Saints can live here and do well while we will do right. When I commune with my own heart and ask myself whether I would choose to dwell here in this wild looking country amongst the Saints surrounded by friends, though poor, enjoying the privileges and blessings of the everlasting priesthood, with God for our King and Father; or dwell amongst the gentiles with all their wealth and good things of the earth, to be eternally mobbed, harassed, hunted, our best men murdered and every good man's life continually in danger, the soft whisper echoes loud and reverberates back in tones of stern determination; give me the quiet wilderness and my family to associate with, surrounded by the Saints and adieu to the gentile world till God says return and avenge you of your enemies."
Brother Clayton descended from Donner Hill into Emigration Canyon. He noted: "The ground seems literally alive with the very large black crickets crawling around up grass and bushes. They look loathsome but are said to be excellent for fattening hogs which would feed on them voraciously."
After working four hours, the men cleared the way through Emigration Canyon, and the wagons continued their journey. Thomas Bullock wrote: "We succeeded in getting thro' the narrow spot of the Kanyon about 4 o'clock, when we turned round the hill to the right & came in full view of the Salt Lake in the distance, with its bold hills on its Islands towering up in bold relief behind the Silvery Lake. A very extensive valley burst upon our view, dotted in 3 or 4 places with Timber. . . . I could not help shouting 'hurra, hurra, hurra, there's my home at last.'" Levi Jackman added: "When we finally got through, it seemed like bursting from the confines of prison walls into the beauties of a world of pleasure and freedom. We now had entered the valley and our vision could extend far and wide. We were filled with joy and rejoicing and thanksgiving."
They proceeded on into the valley. Thomas Bullock continued: "We descended a gentle sloping table land to a lower level where the soil & grass improve in appearance. As we progressed down the valley, small clumps of dwarf oak and willows appear and the wheat grass grows 6 or 7 feet high. Many different kinds of grass appear, some being 10 or 12 feet high. After wading thro' thick grass for some distance, we found a place bare enough for a camping ground, the grass being only knee deep, but very thick; we camped on the banks of a beautiful little stream which was surrounded by very tall grass." [This location was about five miles from the canyon at 500 East and 1700 South.]
William Clayton recorded: "At this place, the land is black and looks rich, sandy enough to make it good to work. The grass grows high and thick on the ground and is well mixed with nice green rushes. Feed here for our teams is very plentiful and good and the water is also good."
Orson Pratt and his company returned. The large pioneer company gathered around a campfire to here his report. He said that his exploration group had found a good spot to plant crops by a creek [City Creek] a few miles to the north. They enjoyed hearing news of the hot springs. A company council meeting was held at Willard Richard's wagon. It was decided to move to the place found by Orson Pratt in the morning. Also, two men, John Pack and Joseph Matthews, would be send back to make a report to Brigham Young. The rest of start plowing and planting about ten acres of potatoes.
On this historic evening of the day when most of the pioneer company entered the valley, the men spent the evening discussing their new valley home. William Clayton concluded the day with: "The evening was fine and pleasant and the night feels much warmer than in the ravines of the mountains." Norton Jacob wrote: "We have here mile summer weather. Serene atmosphere; a most beautiful clear sky, with an excessive dry climate and arid soil. If it could receive timely rains, it would be one of the most beautiful fertile regions on the face of the earth."
All the pioneers noted some disappointment that there was not very much timber in the valley. They realized that they would have to make homes of brick and stone.
Willard Richards, and George A. Smith completed a letter that would be taken
back to Brigham Young. It included:
The brethren have done a great deal of labor on the road for our Pres. & his company to come over, but after so many wagons passing we presume you will find some repairing necessary, & should you find it very bad we hope you will look upon our labors with a lenient eye, for we have tried to do the best we could. . . Brothers Pratt & Smith & seven other horsemen explored the valley north of this as far as possible for lime & met the camp on their return at this point. They report some beautiful creeks north of this about 4 miles, whence we propose to remove in the morning & prepare for planting a short distance north of that point. The land becomes more barren; warm, hot sulphur, poison & a variety of other spring around. . . . Timber can hardly be said to be scarce in this region for there is scarcely enough of it to be named, & sage is as scarce as timber, so that if you want to raise sage & greese wood here you had better bring the seed with you from the mountains. In many places the grass, rushes &c. Are 10 feet high, but no more. Mammoth crickets abound in the borders of the valley. There are some sand hill cranes and karobs feed abundant, and of the best quality; water in the creeks passably good. We hardly need enter into particulars at this time as we anticipate you will be here in a day or two and see for yourself and see much more than we have had time to look at. Our prayers are in your behalf continually, that you may be strong in spirit & in boday & come to us speedily.
Rear Company in East Canyon, Utah:
While most of the pioneers were reaching their new valley home, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and the rest of the small rear company spent a hard day traveling up East Canyon. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "We crossed the creek eleven times in going 8 miles & the worst 8 miles we have had on the journey. Br. [James] Case smashed one of his hind waggon wheels to peaces & we had to wait 2 hours to bring his oxen up." Elder Woodruff caught two trout in the creek while waiting. The sick men were feeling better.
Near the Green River, Wyoming:
The Kearny detachment met many emigrants heading to Oregon. Private Nathaniel Jones even met an old acquaintance, Orlando Strickland. The detachment reached the Green River and traveled nearly all night.
Two buffalo were spotted toward the mountains in the morning. Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went after then and returned in the late afternoon with some of the meat. A company of ten men from Oregon arrived. They were heading back to the states with about forty ponies and mules. James Davenport stated his intentions to go back to Winter Quarters. He offered to pilot this company back to Council Bluffs if they would sell him a horse. Seeing that Brother Davenport was about to leave, William Empey, the appointed leader at that time at the ferry said that they must divide up their recent earnings. It amounted to $29.85 for each man. Brother Davenport, who had brought in much of the money through his blacksmithing accused the brethren of robbing him of his earning. He neglected to consider that the other men did the cooking, built his fires, and herded his cattle. And not all of the money had been earned through blacksmithing. They tried to convince Brother Davenport and even bought some of the things he couldn't take with him. Still, he was dissatisfied.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
Dead carcasses of thirteen buffalo were spotted, indicating that there were probably Indians nearby. Jesse W. Crosby wrote: "At midday we came in sight of 100 or 110 Indian Lodges. We were no sooner in camp at evening, than they came running on horseback to our camp, about 100 in number. Report rang through the camp that a body of Indians were coming with a Red Flag, but on near approach it proved to be the Stars and Stripes. They are of the Sioux nation -- the neatest and most cleanly Indians I ever saw. They were friendly; we gave them a feast of bread etc. After firing a cannon, the Indians retired to their lodges about 2 miles distance." Patty Session noted that these were the first Indians that the second company had seen since leaving Winter Quarters. She added: "We have fired the cannon and one six-shooter for them to see and hear, gave them some bread and they feasted, rode round the camp and then we rang the [Nauvoo] bell, our men paraded and motioned to them to go away."
Near Los Angeles:
Jefferson Hunt led a company of fifty-one former battalion soldiers out of their camp and headed toward San Francisco, along the coastal route of El Camino Real. Other companies left to follow a route through the central valleys. Levi Hancock moved three miles north of the fort and camped on the San Gabriel River. He was hunting for his horses. Robert S. Bliss and the others who were part of an advance company passed through a valley, reached San Fernando, and camped at the foot of some mountains. A few more men arrived from Los Angeles with news that most of the 164 men led by Levi Hancock would be underway on the following day.
Friday, July 23, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
John Pack and Joseph Matthews left in the morning give a report to Brigham Young regarding the arrive of the pioneers in the valley. Thomas Bullock included a chart of distances that estimated Winter Quarters as 1073 miles from Salt Lake Valley. At the same time, the main camp moved on to "the final location" on the banks of City Creek. The soil was good by the creek and the grass was about four feet high and thick. [Erastus Snow explained: "The creek divided just below this Temple Block, one branch running west and the other south. It was on the south branch of the creek we formed our camp on the noon of the 23rd.]
As soon as the camp was formed, the camp was called together for a special meeting. Orson Pratt stated that they had been striving for two years to reach this place. He said that they had been greatly blessed in their journey and he proposed that they return their thanks to their Heavenly Father. They all united in a prayer. Orson Pratt thanked the Lord for their preservation and prosperity. He then asked the Lord to bless their labors and to send rain on the land for the crops they would be planting. Elder Pratt consecrated and dedicated themselves and the land to the Lord.
Willard Richards spoke about the need to work faithfully and diligently to get the potatoes, corn, beans, peas, buckwheat, turnips, and other crops in the ground. He mentioned that in times past there had been a spirit of selfishness among the camp that must now be thrown aside. All must go to work to put in seeds, taking no thought as to whom would be the ones to eat the fruits of the labor. If they disputed as to whom should eat the crops, their labors would not be blessed. He made reference to the Donner-Reed party, who quarreled among themselves and ended up starving. It would be worse for the pioneers unless they worked together for those who would follow after them. Other speakers at this historic meeting included Shadrach Roundy, Seth Taft, Stephen Markham, Robert Crow, and Albert Carrington.
The meeting ended and the men went to work. Committees were appointed to do the various works Shadrach Roundy, Seth Taft, Stephen Markham, Robert Crow, and Albert Carrington were appointed to find a place to plant the crops. Charles Harper, Charles Shumway, and Elijah Newman were put on a committee to stock plows and drags and enlist men to assist them. Henson Walker, William Wadsworth and John Brown were to be in charge of moving and rigging up the scythes. Stephen Markham was appointed to attend to the teams and make sure a fresh set were hitched up every four hours. Almon Williams was asked to oversee the making of a coal pit. George A. Smith asked the men to only use dead timber for their cooking, to leave the live trees alone.
William Clayton wrote: "The brethren immediately rigged three plows and went to plowing a little northeast of the camp [between 200 and 300 South and State Street and 200 East]; another party went with spades, etc., to make a dam on one of the creeks so as to throw the water at pleasure on the field, designing to irrigate the land in case rain should not come sufficiently. This land is beautifully situated for irrigation, many nice streams descending from the mountains which can be turned in every direction so as to water any portion of the lands at pleasure."
The first furrow was turned at noon. William Carter was credited with plowing the first ground. At 2 p.m., work was started on the dam. At 4 pm. grass was mowed for a turnip patch. At 6 p.m., their prayers were quickly answers as heavy clouds collected and it rained for two hours. Some of their plows broke in the hard ground during the day, but they usually had three plows going at all times. The afternoon temperature was ninety-six degrees. By nightfall, they had plowed three acres.
In the evening, the camp was called together again. Willard Richards spoke again. They made arrangements to rotate the teams during the next day from 4 a.m. to 8 pm. John Pack and Joseph Matthews returned and reported that Brigham Young's company was within ten miles and all the sick were doing better.
Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Brigham Young and the rest of the pioneers started their journey at 6:45. Brigham Young recorded this historic journal entry: "July 23rd: I ascended and crossed over the Big Mountain, when on its summit I directed Elder Woodruff, who kindly tendered me the use of his carriage, to turn the same half way round, so that I could have a view of a portion of Salt Lake valley. The Spirit of Light rested upon me, and hovered over the valley, and I felt that there the saints would find protection and safety. We descended and encamped at the foot of the Little Mountain."
[So it appears that Brigham Young uttered his historic words of approval on Big Mountain, on July 23rd. Thirty-three years later, in 1880, after Brigham Young's death, Wilford Woodruff told a similar account, but said it occurred on the 24th at a different place: "When we came out of the canon into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. While gazing on the scene before us, he was en-wrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the vision had passed, he said: "It is enough. This is the right place, drive on."
On July 24, 1888, Wilford Woodruff again told a slightly different version: "When we came upon the bench, where we had a fair view of the valley before us, I turned the side of the vehicle to the west, so that he could obtain a fair view of the valley. President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country before him for several minutes. He then said to me, 'Drive on down into the valley; this is our abiding place. I have seen it before in vision. In this valley will be built the City of the Saints and the Temple of our God.'"]
And a third version given in 1892: "I brought President Young in my carriage into the valley of Salt Lake. He was sick, and he asked me to turn my carriage so that he could get sight of the valley. I did so. He cast his eyes over the valley and looked for some little time. When he got through he said, "Brother Woodruff, drive on. Here is our home. This is the place God has pointed out for us to plant our feet. I have seen this place before." He began to recover right from that time."
Finally, a forth version given in 1897: "JULY 24, 1847 -- I brought President Young in my carriage into the valley of Salt Lake. He was sick, and he asked me to turn my carriage so that he could get sight of the valley. I did so. He cast his eyes over the valley and looked for some little time. When he got through, he said, "Brother Woodruff, drive on. Here is our home. This is the place God has pointed out for us to plant our feet. I have seen this place before." He began to recover right from that time."
Howard Egan wrote of the view on Big Mountain: "Here we had a fine view of the snowy mountains and the open country in the distance." While coming down Big Mountain, the company was kept very busy dodging all the stumps from trees cleared out by the advance companies. Lorenzo Young's wagon with children was turned over and smashed on a rock. The children were not hurt although part of the wagonload had been dumped on them. They were freed by cutting a hole in the wagon cover.
The Rear Company spent the noon rest at the base of Little Mountain. While three, John Pack and Joseph Matthews arrived from the valley. Wilford Woodruff recorded: "They brought a letter to us & informed us it was only 10 miles to the valley of the Salt Lake or great basin & 14 to their camp. They had explored the country as far as possible & had made choice of a spot to put in seeds. They considered it the greatest grazing country in the world but was destitute of timber as far as they had been. Several fine streams of fresh water cutting through the valley."
After the noon rest, they climbed Little Mountains and descended into Emigration canyon where they made their camp. Howard Egan wrote: "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."
Wilford Woodruff climbed the top of a very high mountain. "Was in a high state of perspiration when I reached the top of it."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
James Davenport left the ferry site to return to Winter Quarters. He left dissatisfied and said he would tell the Saints that they had robbed him. An emigration company arrived, heading for Oregon. They had lost oxen and horses, run off by buffalo. In their company was a Mormon widow who was going to Oregon with her brother. She intended to rejoin the main body of the church at an early opportunity. She was acquainted with John Higbee.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
It rained during the night and into the morning. The pioneer companies remained in their camps while they waited for the Jedediah Grant hundred to catch up. The Indians again visited the camp in even larger numbers, including women and children. Trading took place for moccasins, buffalo robes, and other items. In the evening a feast and dance was held. The Indians would dance for the Saints and then the Saints would return the compliment by playing violins, fifes, and drums. Cheers were hear throughout the camp. The pioneers fired two cannons and soon all the Indians returned to their lodges in peace. The Grant company pulled within three miles of the other companies. They had heard the cannons in the distance. As they traveled, they noticed initials inscribed on the sides of a bluff.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
A terrible sickness continued to take hold of Summer Quarters. Isaac Morley called the brethren together and asked them to settle all their differences that unity would prevail in the community. Some had said that they would wait for Brigham Young to return. Brother Morley told them that this a wrong spirit and if he had to, he would cut some of them off the Summer Quarters branch of the Church. They received the message well and agreed to drop their differences. John D. Lee and his family were suddenly struck down by the illness. [This disease would claim the lives of seventeen more members of the Summer Quarters settlement.]
Near Los Angeles, California:
Robert S. Bliss and the Advance Company passed over a mule path on a ridge. He wrote: "On either side of us was an awful gulf. My head grew dizzy & I dare not look into the chasms below; We passed in safety down the other side of the Mts. to a spring & encamped 8 or 10 miles from our last encampment." Behind them, the rest of Levi Hancock's company left the camp north of Los Angeles. They traveled in a scattered state toward General Pico's ranch of the "arcaldres" which had two large gardens and a vineyard covering two hundred acres. They saw grapes, figs, pears, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, apples, olives, and dates.
Saturday, July 24, 1847
Emigration Canyon, Utah:
As Brigham Young and the remaining pioneers in Emigration Canyon arose, they discovered that some of the horses were missing, belonging to Horace K. Whitney, William Smoot, Howard Egan, and Frank Dewey. Howard Egan returned three miles and found them. This group started their journey about two hours after Brigham Young and the others. Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal: "July 24, 1847: This is an important day in the history of my life and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On this important day, after traveling from our encampment six miles through the deep ravine-valley ending with the canyon through the Last Creek, we came in full view of the great valley or basin [of the] Salt Lake and the land of promise held in reserve by the hand of God for a resting place for the saints upon which a portion of the Zion of God will be built. We gazed with wonder and admiration upon the vast, rich, fertile valley which lay for about twenty-five miles in length and 16 miles in width, clothed with the heaviest garb of green vegetation in the midst of which lay a large lake of salt water. . . . Our hearts were surely made glad after a hard journey--from Winter Quarters--of 1200 miles through flats of Platte river and steeps of the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains, and burning sands of the eternal sage region, and willow swales and rocky canons and stumps and stones--to gaze upon a valley of such vast extent entirely surrounded with a perfect chain of everlasting hills and mountains, covered with eternal snows, with their innumerable peaks like pyramids towering towards heaven, presenting at one view the grandest and most sublime scenery that could be obtained on the globe. Thoughts of pleasing meditation ran in rapid succession through our minds while we contemplated that not many years hence and that the House of God would stand upon the top of the mountains, while the valleys would be converted into orchards, vineyards, gardens and fields by the inhabitants of Zion, the standard be unfurled for the nations to gather thereto. President Young expressed his full satisfaction in the appearance of the valley as a resting place for the saints, and was amply repaid for his journey."
Brigham Young's journal entry read: "I started early this morning and after crossing Emigration Kanyon Creek eighteen times emerged from the canyon."
Howard Egan recorded: "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 his 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." Brother Egan climbed a ridge at the mouth of the canyon to get a better view. "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."
Albert P. Rockwood recorded that they shouted "hallelujah" when they came within full view of the valley. Horace K. Whitney wrote: "We passed over a level shelf or bottom for some distance & then descended to the 2nd shelf or bottom below, from whence we had a plain view of the camp of the Saints ahead. After going 7 1/4 miles, we came to it & encamped with the remainder of the brethren." [Brother Whitney and those who got a late start, arrived about 1 pm.]
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
Plowing and planting continued in the morning. Potatoes were put into the ground. [This five-acre potato patch was near present-day Main Street from about First South to Third South.] Work continued on damming city creek for irrigation. During the morning the ditches were filled with water and the newly planted ground was soaked. Corn was also planted. John Pack and Joseph Matthews returned to Emigration Canyon to fix two bridges near the mouth of the canyon.
At 11:45 a.m., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and the rest of the wagons arrived at the City Creek camp. The pioneers rejoiced to see President Young feeling much better. They further discussed the valley. William Clayton wrote: "There appears to be a unanimous agreement in regard to the richness of the soil and there are good prospects of sustaining and fattening stock with little trouble. The only objection is a lack of timber and rain. The latter God will send in its season if the Saints are faithful and I think yesterday was a proof that He listens to and answers the prayers of the Saints. We can easily irrigate the land at all events which will be an unfailing and certain source of water, for the springs are numerous and the water appears good."
Wilford Woodruff wrote: "As soon as we were located in the encampment, before I took my dinner, having one-half bushels of potatoes I repaired to the plowed field and planted my potatoes, hoping with the blessings of God at least to save the seed for another year. The brethren had dammed up one of the creeks and dug a trench, and by night nearly the whole ground was irrigated with water. We found the ground very dry. Towards evening, in company with Brothers Kimball, Smith and Benson, I rode several miles up the creek into the mountains to look for timber and see the country, etc. There was a thunder shower and it extended nearly over the whole valley, also it rained some the forepart of the night, we felt thankful for this as it was the general opinion that it did not rain in the valley during the summer time."
Howard Egan added: "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."
Not everyone was pleased with the valley. Harriet Young, tired and recovering from illness wrote: "We arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. My feelings were such as I cannot describe. Everything looked gloomy and I felt heart sick." [In 1947, the First Presidency issued this statement: "That little band of weary-worn travelers gazed upon a barren landscape so uninviting and desolate that one of the three women in the company out of sheer disappointment and hopelessness broke down and wept. Truly to her, and to others of the company, it must have seemed impossible that in such a desert place could be fulfilled the prophecy of their great leader, Joseph Smith, that the Saints "would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains."]
Joseph Hancock had been sent up City Creek Canyon to hunt. Norton Jacob recorded: "Brother Hancock returned at evening from up the creek and reported abundance of bear signs and a large quantity of valuable timber on the mountain and in the valley of the creek, rock maple, white oak, fir and Norway pine, all of which suitable for sawing into lumber. Killed nothing but a prairie chicken." Lewis B. Myers and one of Brother Crow's sons left taking pack horses to hunt for food for the Mississippi families. They planned to be gone a month, getting their supply of meat for the winter.
Heber C. Kimball announced plans to send an exploring party on Monday to travel north to Bear River and Cache Valleys. Another expedition would be sent south to Utah Lake.
South Pass, Wyoming:
The Kearney detachment including members of the Mormon Battalion passed through South Pass and camped on the Sweetwater.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Four men from California with twelve mules and a horse arrived at the river crossing. They told the brethren that they had met the pioneers on July 10, only four days travel [by horse] from the Salt Lake. [This was the group that was traveling with Miles Goodyear.] They also said that they had met the Mormon Battalion soldiers at Green River. A Company of sixteen wagons heading to Oregon soon arrived. They said that they believed they were the last company on the road and that they had had a terrible problem losing their horses among the thick herds of buffalo. They had lost 17 horses and 40 head of cattle.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
About 677 miles behind, the second company of pioneer, unaware that their new home had been found, left their camp at Cedar Bluffs and passed the Indian lodges which were on the other side of the river. Jesse W. Crosby recorded: "Some of our men went over to their lodges and were kindly received and invited to dine, which invitation they accepted. Their meal consisted of dried meal pounded. Our men bought some oxen of them, which they had found with Buffalo. All the dishes which the Indians has were earth shells; skins of beasts were used to carry water, corn, etc. . . . This body of which we speak is merely a hunting party -- 2 or 3 hundred strong, with considerable number of horses, for pack horses. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "I took a view of their town thro' a spy-glass -- their tents or lodges are small of skins gaily painted." Many of the Indians followed the companies as they traveled, still trying to make bargains with the pioneers.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Mary Richards wrote: "Weather quite hot, churned. Cleaned the house, baked and braided 1 yard."
North of Los Angeles, California:
Robert S. Bliss and the Advance Company arrived at Francisco Ranch where they bought cattle and more provisions for their journey over the Sierra Nevada’s. He wrote: "We are in a delightful Valley surrounded by the Everlasting hills of California; we are now about 180 miles north of San Diego still the sun at noon is almost vertical or overhead but we have the trade winds from the Ocean which makes the atmosphere delightful.
Others, a day behind, traveled on the rugged, steep ridge. Daniel Tyler recorded: "Two pack-animals lost their footing and rolled twenty or thirty feet before they could regain it."
Elder Lyman Little field reached Cohose, a little town on the Mohawk River near present-day Albany, New York. He wrote: Standing on the Erie Canal, one half mile west of the village, a magnificent scene spread before the beholder. There is a long succession of canal locks. The Cohose Falls, down which the clear waters pour, send upwards a mist of spray to dance in wreaths of playful fantasy in the glancing sunbeams, while the waters of the "old canal" rested in their basins, a few feet below. . . . Night soon hovered over the scene, and Dr. Daniel Olts, of Cortland County, (that state), and myself returned to our boat and passed the evening with our books."
Sunday, July 25, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
Wilford Woodruff wrote: "This is the first Sunday that the Latter Day Saints ever spent in the Great Salt Lake Valley. We washed, shaved & cleaned up & met in the circle of the encampment." The Bishops opened the meeting with singing and prayer. Then George A. Smith preached the first sermon standing on a cannon. He proclaimed that the House of the Lord was being established on the tops of the Mountains. He was followed by Heber C. Kimball and Ezra T. Benson. They all expressed positive feelings about the valley. Heber C. Kimball made mention of wonderful blessings that they had received during their historic journey. "Not a man, woman, or child has died on the journey, not even a horse, mule, ox, cow or chicken has died during the whole journey." The brethren were encouraged to stay faithful and obey the counsel of their leaders. At 1 pm., Heber C. Kimball held a special meeting with those brethren who were part of his family by adoptive sealing. He mentioned that those who planned to spend the winter in the valley might need to return to the Sweetwater to hunt buffalo for winter meat. He also said: "We shall go tomorrow if Brigham is well enough, in search of a better location--if indeed, such can be found--if not, we shall remain here. There should be an enclosure made for the purpose of keeping the horses and cattle in nights for there are plenty of Indians in the vicinity. I should advise you to keep the Sabbath day holy whether others do or not. . . . " If you wish to go hunting or to see the country, seek a week day for that purpose. Do not let us get giddy and light-minded, as the Nephites did of old, but strive to work righteousness in the beginning."
He asked Robert Baird and Hans Hansen to make garments of buckskins. Thomas Cloward was asked to make shoes, Philo Johnson to make hats. "If you wish to go hunting, fishing, or to see the country, select a week day and not the Lord's day for that purpose. Do not let us get giddy and light minded as the Nephites did of old, but strive to work righteousness in the beginning, inasmuch as we have reached the promised land. . . . I am not going to take anything back with me to Winter Quarters except what is actually necessary,--even some of my clothes I shall leave behind. I shall leave Bishop Edson Whipple with you. He is quite a steady and economical man, and as such I recommend him to you."
Elder Kimball offered a prayer. Charles Harper recorded: "It appeared as though the spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon him, asking Heavenly Father to pour his blessings upon us and our families and that we might be guided by his spirit and be preserved from all evil."
At 2 pm., the whole camp was again assembled for another meeting. The sacrament was blessed and passed. They were addressed by Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Lorenzo Young, John Pack, and others. Elder Richards said that in order to go and proclaim the gospel to the Lamanites, it would be necessary for the elder to enjoy the gifts of speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and the discerning of spirits. They would obtain those gifts by following the counsel of their leaders.
Brigham Young, still feeble, was able to share a few thoughts. "Those that do not like our look and customs are at liberty to go where they please, but if they remain with us, they must obey the laws sanctioned by us. There must be no work done on the Sabbath." He warned them that they would lose five times as much as they would gain by trying to work on the holy day. "As soon as we select a place of permanent location, we shall take the compass and chain and lay out a city and every man shall have his inheritance therein. We shall also lay out ground for cultivation and every man shall have his inheritance and cultivate it as he pleases, only he must be industrious. We do not intend to buy any land or sell any." He spoke out against dishonesty. If any of the pioneers had found articles of any kind on the road, they must make it known so that they may be returned to the rightful owners. He said that a dishonest man was a curse to the Saints. He anyone tried to keep something that wasn't his, "it would prove a curse to him, and would be a stain on him and his posterity that never would be wiped out in time and throughout eternity, and the stain never would be wiped out until it was burned out in hell." He announced that they would have a meeting every Sabbath.
The brethren discussed sending back some wagons to help lighten the loads of the second pioneer company. It was reported that there was much timber in the canyons above the valley, especially in the mountain to the northeast. They decided to delay the start of a northern expedition to Bear River and Cache Valleys because Brigham Young was still ill. A company would be sent to the south to explore Utah Lake.
Echo Canyon, Utah:
The detachments of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints probably reached Echo Canyon. Abner Blackburn wrote: "Crossed to Echo Canyon, that celebrated place where every noise makes an echo. The boys made all the noise they could go through. It was truly wonderful.
The Kearney detachment traveled seventeen miles down the Sweetwater and camped for breakfast. They saw many buffalo and antelope.
The men at the ferry were becoming quite anxious for the second pioneer company to arrive. Little did they know that the company was still far away, about 260 miles down the trail. William Empey wrote: "This day passed of very lonesome as we can get no news of or from the long expected company of our brethren & the matter for journalism is rather scarce of this day unless I should record the expressions of anxiety now & then dropped from the brethren of the long looked for appearance of our company from Winter Quarters."
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
In the morning, the second Company of pioneers were excited about the arrival of those brethren sent back by the pioneers: Phinehas Young, ferrymen Edmond Ellsworth, battalion member Jonathan Pugmire, and six others. [They probably included Aaron Farr, George Woodward, Francis M. Pomeroy, Benjamin Stewart, and battalion members William Walker and John Cazier.] They held a meeting and read letters from Brigham Young and Willard Richards. William Scearce wrote that it "much rejoiced our hearts to see them and to hear from the brethren ahead." Eliza R. Snow wrote: "It was truly like clusters of grapes by the wayside." Jonathan Pugmire and another man were returning to Winter Quarters, so many of the pioneers wrote letters for him to take back with them. Phinehas Young was thinking of returning but soon changed his mind.
Elders Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor wrote a letter to Orson Hyde, back at Winter Quarters: "We were agreeably surprised this morning with the arrival of Elder Phinehas Young and four others of the Pioneers. We were glad to hear that those of the Mormon Battalion left at Pueblo were en-route to join the Pioneers. We have traveled as expeditiously as could be expected of so large a company, indeed almost as fast as the Pioneers. We have had the pleasure of receiving several letters from different post offices, which they have established on their route, giving us the particulars of their journey, the news of course in the wilderness was highly interesting. We have had only two deaths since we left, and those, children; several children have been run over by wagons, but no serious injury sustained. We have been greatly blessed as a camp and people, and bless the God of Israel for this preserving care. Elder Grant's company had the misfortune to lose thirty-six head of cattle, besides several milk cows. All the companies assisted in searching for them, and as that was unavailing, they supplied them with thirty yoke of cattle and all proceeded on our journey."
Parley P. Pratt recommended to the companies that they start traveling in fifties. Some of the companies started to move out in the evening.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Benjamin Clapp, Isaac Morley, and Brother Major spoke at a public Sabbath meeting. They instructed the Saints to be faithful and to fulfill their covenants. They were told to stop taking the name of the Lord in vain.
Orson Hyde proposed to the High Council that the people of Garden Grove, Iowa, should have to enter into a special covenant before they would be allowed back into the church. He wanted them to swear that they had not stolen from anyone since they had left the Mississippi River and that they would inform the leaders about anyone they knew who had stolen good. The proposal was totally vetoed by the High Council. In the evening a trial was held between a Brother Young and Daniel H. Wells. Brother Young claimed that Brother Wells had brought in a span of mules from Nauvoo that belonged to him.
North of Los
Levi Hancock passed over the Mountain Ridge. [Tejon Pass in the Tehachapi Mountains] He wrote: "We had got to the top of what is seen we had not got half up and we had to go winding our course around on the tops until we had gained the summit then turned to the left and went down into another canyon While on the top the sea breezes blew cool & good we followed down an easterly course and come to the ranch of the Arcaldies." They found their two companies of men who had previously arrived. [This ranch was located on the Santa Clara River near the present-day junction of I-5 and State Highway 126.]
Monday, July 26, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
The pioneers arose early at the sound of the bugle at 6 a.m. and went back to work plowing and planting. Some of those who were still sick went to bath in one of the warm springs and said the effects were greatly beneficial. Others left in the morning to also try out the springs which were 109 degrees. A Company of fifteen men left to make a road to the timber in City Creek Canyon. A tent was raised in a grove near the camp for men to work in making clothes. Robert Baird made buckskin pants and Thomas Cloward mended the pioneers' shoes. Joseph Matthews and John Brown headed toward the mountain to the west. It was probably on this morning that an historic event took place. Wilford Woodruff later said: "He [President Young] said to me in the morning, "Brother Woodruff, I want to take a walk." "All right," said I. A number of the Twelve Apostles were there and they got together. He commenced to walk from our encampment across this barren desert, this sage plain without any guide to mark anything appertaining to the future of the children of men in this land. President Young was quite feeble. He wore his little green cloak upon his shoulders and he walked slowly along. As we advanced from below on to the rising ground we came to a certain spot where he stopped very suddenly. He took his cane, which had a spike in the end of it, and stuck it down into the ground, and said, "Here shall stand the Temple of our God." . . . I asked him to stop there till I could break a piece of sagebrush or something that I could drive down into the place. I did nothing else until I put a stake in that spot that he marked with his cane, and then we went on about our business."" [He also noted on another occasion that the place they marked was nearly in the middle of the Temple as it stands today.] Wilford Woodruff also took Brigham Young in his carriage about two miles to the north to choose a nice spot for a garden.
At 10 a.m., an exploring company left consisting of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, Willard Richards, Albert Carrington, and William Clayton. They traveled to the north and climbed the bench of land, which would later be "Capitol Hill." William Clayton wrote: "We arrived on a beautiful table land, level and nicely sloping to the west. Here we halted to view it and the more we viewed, the better we were satisfied that it is as handsome a place for a city as can be imagined. At the east part there is a considerable creek of clear cold water descending from the mountains and just above this place it branches into two forks, one running northwest the other southwest and the two nicely surrounding this place, and so well arranged that should a city be built here the water can be turned into every street at pleasure."
Brigham Young wanted to climb the peak to the north. His brother, Lorenzo had joined in with the company. William Clayton further recorded this historic climb: "After some hard toil and time we succeeded in gaining the summit, leaving our horses about two-thirds the way up. President Young felt pretty well fatigued when he got up. Some of the brethren feel like naming this Ensign Peak. From this place, we had a good view of the Salt Lake and could see that the waters extend for a great many miles to the north of us."
Wilford Woodruff's record of this hike reads: "We all went onto the top of a high peak in the edge of the Mountain which we considered a good place to raise an ensign upon which we named Ensign Peak or Hill. (I was the first person that ascended this hill.) Brother Young was very weary in climbing the peak, he being feeble."
[In later years, histories would be record that on this occasion the brethren unfurled the American flag as the Ensign of liberty. There is no evidence for this and it is generally considered false. At the time of the Pioneer Jubilee in 1897 the "Salt Lake Herald" erected a tall liberty pole on the top of the mountain from which the "Stars and Stripes" were unfurled. On July 26, 1934, a monument was erected there commemorating the alleged raising of Old Glory.
In 1910, William Smoot, one of the last surviving pioneers spoke of this event: "Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and his associates went up on the hill and toward Ensign Peak which was the name they gave it, as Kimball said: 'We will someday hoist an ensign here.' . . . While they were up there looking around they went through some motions that we could not see from where we were, nor know what they meant. They formed a circle, seven or eight or ten of them. But I could not tell what they were doing. Finally they came down in the evening. . . . They hoisted a sort of flag on Ensign Peak. Not a flag, but a handkerchief belonging to Heber C. Kimball, one of those yellow bandana kind."
On July 26, 1996, near the foot of Ensign Peak a park was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley. He said: "We pray that through the years to come, many thousands of people of all faiths and all denominations, people of this nation and of other nations, may come here to reflect on the history and the efforts of those who pioneered this area. May this be a place of pondering, a place of remembrance, a place of thoughtful gratitude, a place of purposeful resolution."]
They divided into two groups to descend Ensign Peak. Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Albert Carrington, and William Clayton descended on the northwest corner, while the rest went back down on the eastside and visited the warm springs. Elder Kimball's group had a long hike down and then wound their way around the hill and came to the warm sulfur springs where water was boiling out of a rock at the foot of the mountain. [This warm spring was located near present-day Children's Museum of Utah. In 1850, a bathhouse 15 X 30 feet was dedicated and a grove of Locust trees planted. Jesse C. Little built a hotel there in the 1850's. James Townsend later leased the Warm Springs until his death in 1886. In 1932 it was named Wasatch Springs Plunge.]
After a cool drink of fresh water from a stream, George A. Smith, William Clayton, and Albert Carrington decided to go on and see the river [Jordan River], which they had seen from the top of Ensign Peak. They soon found the road used by the Donner-Reed party and others during the previous year. After traveling about two more miles, they came to the river which was about 80 feet wide and three and a half feet deep at a crossing point. The soil along the river was good. While at the river, they saw Wilford Woodruff's carriage in the distance heading to the north, so they started to follow them. The carriage headed to a large hot sulfur spring near the mountain. Before George A. Smith's group caught up, the carriage had already head back toward camp. The group decided to go ahead and visit the hot spring.
William Clayton wrote about this visit to the hot spring: "We arrived at the big spring about four o'clock and making our horses fast, we went down to where it boils out of the rock. This spring is also situated at the foot of the mountains and at the base of a large rock, perpendicular on the west side and gradually losing itself on the east in the mountain. The spring, as I have said, is at the base of this rock. There is a circular hole about four feet wide and a yard high from the top to the surface of the water from whence the water boils out in a considerable stream. The water itself in the spring seems to be about two feet deep. There is a rock at the mouth of the spring where a person can stand and see inside. Standing on this rock with your face near the mouth of the spring a strong warm sulphurous air is felt to come in gusts out of the rock and it is so hot that it requires only a few minutes to start the perspiration. On putting my hand in the spring, I was startled with the heat and found I could not bear to hold my hand in five seconds. It is as hot as the hottest dish water ever used for dishes." Thomas Bullock also visited this hot springs earlier and wrote: "The water was so very hot that I was unable to bear [keeping] my fingers in four or five seconds."
They saw that the spring water formed a little, deep lake, and then flowed in a little stream to the north. They went downstream about a hundred feet, thinking they would dip their feet in the warm water. "but on taking off our boots and socks we found it impossible to hold our feet in it a moment and could barely wash by dashing the water on with our hands and suddenly dipping them in and out. It is supposed this would boil an egg in about ten minutes."
[This spring, later known as Beck's Hot Springs, was later destroyed and no longer exists. It was located near the US 89 and I-15 junction. In the early days the property was owned by Richard Jones. He built a resort there serving clubs, weddings and other gatherings. There was boating, bathing, and fishing in the summer, and skating in the winter. In 1883, the property was sold to John Beck. First class hotel accommodations were provided along with private cottages. It was a very popular resort. In 1896, the hotel, swimming pool, laundry, and boiler house were destroyed by fire. The resort was rebuilt, but fire again destroyed it in 1924. There were plans to again revive the resort, but the Utah State Highway Commission notified the owners that a highway would be built there and the land was acquired by the commission in 1953.]
At 5 pm., they returned back to the camp, four miles away. They saw that the brethren had finished planting about three acres of potatoes, peas, and beans, and were now planting four or five acres of corn. Two miles to the southeast, some of the brethren started to make a garden.
When Heber C. Kimball had returned to camp in the afternoon, he discovered that he had lost his spyglass during his hike to and from Ensign Peak. He retraced his steps and hiked all the way back up Ensign Peak but could not find it. When he came down, he saw Willard Richards and Ezra T. Benson bathing in the warm springs. He joined them and found the effects of the warm water "pleasant and beneficial." After the bath, they started back toward camp and Elder Kimball soon found his spyglass near the road.
Brigham Young directed some men to start working on a boat, which would later be called "Mud Hen" and would be used to explore the Great Salt Lake.
Joseph Matthews and John Brown returned from the mountains to the west, which ended up being about sixteen miles away. They found a horse near the mountain and brought it back to camp. It was believed to be a stray horse from the previous year's emigrants. The country was quite barren toward the west.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
With permission to travel in smaller groups of "fifties," the companies were free to depart from camp whenever they were ready. They ascended some sandy bluffs during the day, "the hardest sand hill we have found." Large numbers of Indians were seen traveling on the other side of the river. Eliza Snow, traveling back in the Grant company wrote: "Many Indians pass us with tents & baggage fastened to mules, horses & on drays formed of tent poles drawn by horses, mules & dogs. Covers for the little ones made by fastening skins over bows which are fixed to the upper side of the drays." Her company traveled into the night under the moon. They passed by the Indian camp. "Come up to the Indians where they come out in scores -- some shake their blankets which frightens the cattle."
Tuesday, July 27, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
Two Ute Indians came into camp during the morning to trade. Jackson Redden traded a gun for a horse and George Grant traded a gun for a pony. The Indians said in sign language that they had a large party of their tribe about forty miles to the south. At 8:30 a.m., sixteen of the brethren, including the Twelve, riding with one carriage and several mules and horses, traveled toward the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. Before they got out of sight, four horsemen were seen coming toward camp. Heber C. Kimball waited until they arrived. The men were Amasa M. Lyman, Rodney Badger, Roswell Stevens, and Samuel Brannan, who arrived in advance of the company from Pueblo that included the Mormon Battalion sick detachments and the rest of the Mississippi Saints. They announced that they left the Pueblo company on the Weber River, and they would be arriving in the valley in a day or two. They were currently improving the roads in the canyons. Elder Lyman mentioned that he hears there was a large company on the way, and they should arrive in 15 or 20 days. The report was false. The second company of pioneers was further away. Elder Lyman and Brother Brannan joined Heber C. Kimball in the exploring expedition, and they rode off to catch up with the rest of the party.
The men in the camp continued to plow and plant. Five teams were constantly plowing and three teams harrowing. Burr Frost set up his forge to make more plows. A company of men went east to the mountains for some lumber to build a skiff. During the morning, at the request of Brigham Young, Norton Jacob and another man went to explore City Creek Canyon for timber. They found a nice grove of spruce pine, rock maple, and white oak. They observed that a forest fire had run through the area during the past year. Brother Jacob also found some good grit for grindstones and some good sandstone that could be using for buildings. They saw signs of elk, deer, and bear.
Howard Egan had received instructions from Heber C. Kimball that Brigham Young's wagons, along with Elder Kimball's should be moved across City Creek about three-quarters miles to the northwest. Brother Egan moved the wagons and tent to this new location. Ezra T. Benson and Willard Richards' wagons were also move up. [The wagons were moved to the area of present-day South Temple and Main Street.]
The men sent to find timber returned in the evening with some a very nice pine log, twenty inches in diameter, sixty feet long. Two more Indians came to trade. Some of the brethren were not making very good trades. They were giving away too many items in exchange for buckskins. Several Indians remained in camp overnight.
Near the Oquirrh
As the exploring party led by the Twelve was crossing the Jordan River, Amasa Lyman and the others rode up. At 1 pm., they arrived at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains. The party went to the north end of these mountains and arrived at the southeast corner of the Great Salt Lake. [The Donner-Reed party was at this point on August 15, 1846. Heinrich Lienhard swam in the lake at this point on August 9, 1846.They halted and had a "fine bathing frolic." Brigham Young was the first to dip his hand into the lake. Erastus Snow wrote: "The water was warm and very clear, and so salt that no fish can live in it. The waters of the ocean bear no comparison to those of the lake, and those who could not swim at all floated upon the surface like a cork, and found it out of their power to sink. When we dressed ourselves, we found our hair and skin perfectly coated with fine salt." Orson Pratt, being a bit more scientific, wrote: "We all bathed in the salt water, which is fully saturated with salt: its specific gravity is such as to buoy us up in a remarkable manner." Wilford Woodruff added: "We made up our minds at once that the Great Salt Lake ought to be added as the eighth wonder of the world. . . . It was so strong that if a particle got into the eyes, nose or mouth, it would strangle & put one in pain. A person would float & roll on the top of the water like a dry log & while standing to our waist in water, we could not get our knees to the bottom but would rise to the top like a cork. We found the most beautiful white salt that I ever saw lying in bunches on the shore where the water dried away." William Clayton was later told: "One of the brethren lay down on the water and another got on him but could not sink him."
They bathed near "Black Rock", an isolated rock about ninety feet long and forty feet wide, standing about forty feet above the water, near the shore of the lake. In 1847 they walked to Black Rock on dry ground. In later years the lake level rose around Black Rock. Of this day, George A. Smith later said: "We, that is, a few of the Pioneers, went over in July 1847, to the banks of Salt Lake, to what is called the Black Rock. Some of us went in bathing, and we could walk out to Black Rock, and look down on the water on each side."
This location later became a favorite resort for pleasure seekers. Andrew Jensen wrote: "The first recorded celebration of Independence day by the Utah pioneers was on July 4, 1851, when a procession of 150 carriages left Salt Lake City at 8 a. m. and arrived at Black Rock four hours later. The company included the First Presidency and other Church officials, prominent citizens and friends led by the Nauvoo Legion and a brass band. A new flag, made for the occasion, had been raised on the flag pole at Black Rock and a program of bathing, dancing, speeches, singing, etc., was enjoyed, picnic partaken of and a night encampment made, the return journey not being made until the following morning. Many more excursions of ward and other organizations are mentioned as having been made to Black Rock."
In 1880, Alonzo Hyde and David John Taylor leased the property and made a bathing resort. About one hundred bathhouses were erected, a roofed bowery for a picnic area, board walks near the water, swings and other amusements. A ranch house was made into a hotel. Steamboats were later added as an attraction. When Saltair Pavilion was constructed in 1893, the decline in business caused Black Rock to close.
Heber C. Kimball and others also visited a nearby cave, which was 60 feet long. They saw evidence of Indians visiting there and the remains of a campfire. Porter Rockwell went up a high bluff chasing a flock of Mountain Sheep. The brethren then continued their journey around the point of the mountain and entered present-day Tooele Valley. Orson Pratt recorded: "This valley we judged to be about 12 miles in diameter. On the south there was a small opening, which we supposed might be a continuation of the valley, or an opening into a plain beyond. They observed that there was not much water in the valley and returned to camp for the night at a spring near the point of the mountain.
The Kearney detachment, with several members of the battalion, arrived at Independence Rock.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
William Empey, Luke Johnson, and Appleton Harmon went hunting. They took a wagon and headed ten miles up Casper Creek on the North side of the Platte. They saw a large herd of buffalo but could not catch any. Luke Johnson killed two antelope and they returned back to their camp.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The second company traveled about eighteen miles. Along the way they met another party of Indians who were friendly to the pioneers. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "The Indians that annoyed us last night, pass us & strike their tents & travel with us till near night when they fall in our rear & we encamp near them." Patty Sessions added: "In the forenoon the Indians came some we have not seen before a big chief among them. When we stopped to bait they came like bees. Their lodges were across the river."
Sister Snow commented: "It commenced raining just as we stopped -- no time to cook supper -- I am quite sick this afternoon -- glad to crawl to bed." During the day they traveled across from Ash Hollow which was still 650 miles from the Salt Lake Valley. At this point the Grant Company obtained timber to take with them to repair wagons.
Wednesday, July 28, 1847
Near the Oquirrh Mountains:
Wilford Woodruff realized that he lost his carriage whip during the previous evening's return to the campsite. He started out on horseback to look for it. "As I got near the place I discovered two objects appear on a ridge before me, about 1/2 a mile distant. I at first took them to be bears but after approaching a little nearer, I discovered about 20 objects appearing over the Hill. I soon saw that they were Indians and as I was unarmed & over 3 miles from camp, I did not consider it prudent to go among them. I wheeled my horse & started on my return in a slow trot." They soon called after him and one mounted his horse and rode at top speed toward him. He discovered that they were Ute Indians who just wanted to trade. Elder Woodruff let him know that his camp was near and invited him to come to the camp. After arriving in camp, they smoked the pipe of peace and the pioneers left. They traveled about ten miles to the south along the base of the Oquirrh Mountains. Orson Pratt went up on a rise of ground and could see Utah Lake about twenty miles to the south. He counted nine streams flowing into the lake. He concluded that Utah Valley would also be a fine place for irrigation. The pioneers then turned and headed back to the City Creek camp. They stopped to drink at the Jordan River and soon arrived to their home after a weary ride.
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
The temperature was 80 degrees at 8 a.m. The men started work on a saw pit to saw lumber for the boat. Joseph Hancock and Lewis Barney returned from a two day hunting trip to the mountains. They found plenty of good timber for building, but it would be difficult to haul out of the canyons. Howard Egan wrote: "Brother Redden and myself harnessed up a mule that never had been worked, in order to brake him in so he could be used to plow. He worked very well, and we hauled some poles to make a bowery, over our wagons." At 3:30 pm., Brigham Young and the Exploration Company returned and shared the exiting tale of their journey to the Great Salt Lake. They reported seeing up to one hundred mountain goats, in addition to many sheep and antelope in the hills and valley.
Brigham Young wrote: "Some of the brethren talked about exploring the country further for a site for a settlement; I replied that I was willing that the country should be explored until all were satisfied, but every time a party went out and returned, I believed firmly they would agree that this is the spot for us to locate."
Erastus Snow later said that Brigham Young proclaimed: "'This is the place where I, in vision, saw the ark of the Lord resting; this is the place whereon we will plant the soles of our feet, and where the Lord will place his name amongst his people.' And he said to that band of pioneers--'Organize your exploring parties, one to go south, another north, and another to go to the west, and search out the land, in the length and the breadth thereof, learn the facilities for settlement, for grazing, water, timber, soil and climate, that we may be able to report to our brethren when we return;' and when the parties were organized, said he unto them--'You will find many excellent places for settlement. On every hand in these mountains are locations where the people of God may dwell, but when you return from the south, west and north to this place, you will say with me, "this is the place which the Lord has chosen for us to commence our settlements, and from this place we shall spread abroad and possess the land."'"
Wilford Woodruff stated that President Young said: "Now, brethren, go where you please; go north, go south, go to any part of the country, and when you come back you will say this is the place."
At Some point, Samuel Brannan tried to talk Brigham Young out of the idea of stopping in the Salt Lake Valley. Brother Brannan was convinced that California was the promised land for the Church. Wilford Woodruff later said: "I heard President Young give his answer to Samuel Brannan in the following language, striking his cane into the soil: 'No, sir; I am going to stop right here. I am going to build a city here. I am going to build a temple here, and I am going to build up a country here.'"
At 5 pm., Brigham Young called for a meeting of the Council of Twelve Apostles. Eight were present in the valley at that time. Wilford Woodruff recorded this historic meeting: "We walked from the north camp to about the center between the two creeks when President Young waved his hands & said, "Here is the forty acres for the Temple." (We had conversed upon the subject of the location for the temple previous to this) & the city can be laid out perfectly square north & south, east & west. It was then moved & carried that the Temple lot contain 40 acres on the ground where we stood."
It was also decided that the city would be laid out into blocks of ten acres. Each block would and consist of eight lots. Each street would be 8 rods, 128 feet wide and there should be a side walk on each side 20 feet wide. Each house was to be built on the center of the lot, 20 feet from the front line. President Young remarked that he did not want the houses close together for fear of fire danger. There would be four public squares of ten acres each.
At 8 pm., all the brethren in the camp were called together on the Temple Square site and addressed by Brigham Young. He asked some of the brethren to express their feelings if this location should be the place for them to build their city. The brethren were in favor of settling at this spot. President Young then shared the plan to divide the city into blocks. He stated other rules for the city: "No house will be permitted to be built on the corners of the streets, neither petty shops. Each house will have to be built so many feet back from the street and all the houses parallel with each other. The fronts are to be beautified with fruit trees, etc. No filth will be allowed to stand in the city but the water will be conducted through in such a manner as to carry all the filth off to the River Jordan. No man will be suffered to cut up his lot and sell a part to speculate out of his brethren. Each man must keep his lot whole, for the Lord has given it to us without price. The temple lot will be forty acres and adorned with trees, ponds, etc." A committee was appointed to survey the city. All the proposals were unanimously sustained.
B.H. Roberts later explained: "From time to time modifications were made of this general plan; as, for example, before the survey of the city was completed it was decided that it would be "more convenient" to have the temple block ten rather than forty acres, in area, and it was reduced accordingly. Also as the city extended into the sharp hills on both sides of City Creek, it was found that the ten acre blocks, with their one and one quarter acre lots, were inconvenient because of the broken nature of the land in that part of the city; and the blocks were reduced to two and a half acres. Also in the matter of having but four houses built on one side of a block, and these on alternating sides was in time given up; but very generally the first plan was adhered to in the early decades of the city's history, and even now gives a uniqueness to the city that distinguishes it from other American cities, and very much contributes to that air of spaciousness and breadth of conception in the ground plan of it that prophesies its coming greatness, and is at the same time a testimony of the largeness of the ideas of those who were its founders.'
President Young then launched into a forceful sermon condemning the past actions by the States and the U.S. Government. The Saints had been driven from Illinois and even though the raising of the Mormon Battalion brought temporal salvation, President Polk would be cursed for his desire to waste away the Saints. He blamed the government for the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. If the government ever tried to send troops to interfere with the Saints, they would be very sorry for trying. He pledged to the Lord to prepare to avenge the blood of the prophets and the Saints. He stated that the Saints would embrace the Indians. They would teach them the gospel "and not many generations hence they will become a white & delight some people and in no other way will it be done."
President Young lectured the men to be faithful and do their duty. To the women, if they were there, he would want to remind them of their primary duty, "to take care of her children, keep herself clean and house and keep clothes clean." He said that he planned to establish a school for his family and hire tutors to watch his children. He spoke of the important need to care for a woman carrying a child. Her husband needs to be considerate and kind. He felt that the spirit enters the embryo when life is first felt and that from that time the infant partakes of the mind and nature of the mother. She should be very careful giving into temptations while in this state because it would also affect the child. She should be calm and composed, and should exercise her mind. The meeting concluded at 10:10 pm.
Emigration Canyon, Utah:
The Pueblo Company of the Mormon Battalion and Mississippi Saints were camped in Emigration Canyon. They spent the day working on the road. Abner Blackburn recorded: "Three of us soldiers undertook to climb a high mountain in sight of the camp to take a view of the surrounding country. We went up until nearly exhausted and kept going until the top was reached. We would not have undertaken the job if we had known the difficulties to be surmounted. Passed the timberline far enough and landed on the summit of the highest peak in sight. It was the grandest view that ever mortal beheld. The air was clear and perfect for a good view -- the Great Salt Lake glittering under the suns rays, range after range of mountains in every direction, the great desert to the west and Utah Lake to the south east and the mountains beyond. A more sublime view was seldom seen from a mountain top." "There were some very large granite boulders on top which would weigh several tons. We dug and pried them loose. Started them down the mountain. They sped through the air. Some split to pieces and some held together and crashed down the mountain until they reached the timber line. They would strike the fir trees nearly to the top and go right through them and start other rocks and make an awful avalanche. The grouse and wild animals scattered in all directions.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The pioneers reached Ancient Bluff Ruins, about 612 miles from Salt Lake Valley. A violent thunder storm blew in. Sand came down from the hills covering the Saints, animals, and wagons with dust. Patty Session wrote: "In the afternoon came up a dreadful wind thunder lightning a very little rain where we were. On the other side of the river the ground was all a flood. We passed over sand bluffs in the wind. The sand and gravel flew in our eyes so we could not see. At times we had to hold our wagon cover to keep them from blowing off." After the storm cleared out, Brother Haight climbed one of the bluffs shaped in a form of a pyramid.
The High Council heard a case where some young men were accused of stealing a canoe from Brother Lyman, a fisherman. They had hid it down the river two or three miles and intended to go off with it at night. The council decided to wait for more evidence. [When the trial came up again two days later, the your men had already fled.]
Garden Grove, Iowa:
The presidency of Garden Grove received a harsh letter from Orson Hyde. He stated that there were wicked men and women in Garden Grove and if they did not rid themselves of them, they would be considered partakers in their crimes. They immediately took action and cut off eight of the members of the settlement who had been involved in stealing, gambling, and other evils.
Oliver Cowdery wrote to his fellow Book of Mormon witness, David Whitmer: "Let the Lord vindicate our characters, and cause our testimony to shine, and then will men be saved in his kingdom"
Levi Hancock's company left the Francisco Ranch and ascended another mountain pass. Robert S. Bliss wrote: "Started for home. We ascended one of the most difficult mountains I ever passed. We lost above half our cattle in crossing the Mt & heated some others so they probably die & be of no use to us; we came to the top of the mountain & encamped in a small valley where we got water in the holes of the Rocks for our animals."
Thursday, July 29, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
After a windy night, the morning was refreshingly cool. Thomas Bullock got up early to bath in the warm springs. He cleared the pool of its scum. Brigham Young and the Twelve mounted horses and went to Emigration Canyon to greet the Pueblo Company of Mormon Battalion soldiers and Mississippi Saints. They met them at the mouth of the canyon. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "We were truly glad to meet with them." They continued on up the canyon and met with the officers, James Brown, Nelson Higgins, and Wesley Willis. They determined that there were about 140 members of the battalion and families, and about 100 Mississippi Saints. [They lumped in the wives and children of the battalion members in with the totals of the Mississippi Saints. There were probably 190 members of the battalion including wives and children, and 50 Mississippi Saints.] They had with them 60 wagons, 100 horses and mules, and 300 head of cattle.
At 10 a.m. a heavy shower of rain fell. Water came roaring down the canyon like a floodgate had been opened. Elder Woodruff wrote: "The first rush of the water came down with a front 3 feet high. Some of the wagons had to stop until it fell which was but a short time."
At noon, a few soldiers came into camp and announced that the company would soon be arriving. They were delayed by a broken lead wagon.
A 3 pm., the Pueblo Company of about 240 men, women and children came within sight of the camp. The soldiers were in military order and many of them were mounted. They arrived at 3:30, marching to the fife and drum. They were led by the Twelve and officers of the battalion. The newcomers established their camp between the two established camps by City Creek. William Clayton wrote: "The brethren are represented as feeling well and cheerful." Thomas Bullock recorded: "The brethren were very much rejoiced at getting once more among their friends & a general congratulation took place." [The number of Saints now in the Valley was about 400. The battalion still planned to head for San Francisco to be discharged and to receive their pay, but their wagons were broken and their animals were failing, so it was time to rest.]
Battalion member John Hess wrote: "I had only the outfit of a discharged soldier which consisted of a small tent, a sheet iron kettle, a mess pan, two tin plates, two spoons, two knives and forks and a pair of blankets badly worn, two old quilts, ten pounds of flour and my dear, precious wife Emeline who had been with me through all the trials and the hardships, and had endured them all without a murmur."
These new arrivals included a very welcome number of women. Included were these women of the battalion: Ruth Markham Abbott, Susan Smith Adams, Elizabeth Manwaring Allred, Ezadie Ford Allred, Harriet St. John Brown, Agnes Brown, Mary McCree Brown, Eunice Reasor Brown, Mary Bittels Button, Almira Higgins Chase, Jane Wells Cooper Hanks, Emeline Bigler Hess, Sarah Blackman Higgins, Mary Ann Hirons, Celia Mounts Hunt, Matilda Nease Hunt, Fanny Maria Allen Huntington, Sarah Kelley, Martha Jane Sargent, Mary Emeline Sessions, Elizabeth Trains Shelton, Sarah Shupe, Catherine Campbell Steele, Sophia Tubbs, and Isabella McNair Wilkin, and Albina M. Williams.]
The soldiers of the battalion who arrived in the valley this day included: Joshua Abbott, Orson B. Adams, Franklin Allen, James T. Allred, Reuben W. Allred, Jeduthan Averett, Lorenzo Babcock, Samuel Badham, William E. Beckstead, James Bevan, Erastus Bingham Jr. Thomas Bingham Sr., William Bird, Abner Blackburn, Richard Brazier, John Brimhall, Alexander Brown, Daniel Brown, James Brown, James P. Brown, Jesse S. Brown, John Buchannan, Thomas R. Burns, William Burt, Montgomery Button, John M. Bybee, Alva C. Calkins, James W. Calkins, John H. Calvert, James G. Camp, Isaac Carpenter, William H. Carpenter, William W. Casto, James Cazier, John D. Chase, Haden W. Church, Albert Clark, George S. Clark, Allen Compton, George W. Cummings, Josiah Curtis, EDWARD DALTON, HENRY DALTON, James Davis, Ralph Douglas, James Dunn, Francillo Durphee, James C. Earl, Marcus N. Eastman, David I. Frederick, David Garner, Philip Garner, William W. Gifford, Luther W. Glazier, James H. Glines, John C. Gould, Samuel J. Gould, William Gribble, Ebenezer Hanks, James Hendrickson, John W. Hess, Eli B. Hewitt, Alfred Higgins, Nelson Higgins, Azra E. Hinckley, James P. Hirons, Lucas Hoagland, Elijah E. Holden, Charles A. Hopkins, Henry Hoskins, Schuyler Hulet, Gilbert Hunt, Dimick B. Huntington, Charles A. Jackson, Henry B. Jacobs, Jarvis Johnson, Jesse W. Johnstun, Thomas Karren III, Nicholas Kelley, Loren E. Kenney, Barnabas Lake, Lisbon Lamb, Thurston Larson, David S. Laughlin, Elam Luddington, Maxie Maxwell, Erastus D. Mecham, Peter I. Mesick Daniel M. Miller, Harley W. Mowrey, William C. McClelland, Jabez T. Nowlin, James E. Oakley, William A. Park, David M. Perkins, Harmon D. Pierson, Judson A. Pierson, Thomas L. Richardson, Benjamin B. Richmond, Benjamin M. Roberts, Caratat C. Rowe, William Rowe, William W. Rust, Henry W. Sanderson, Abel M. Sargent, John Sessions, Albert Sharp, Sebert C. Shelton, Joseph Shipley, Andrew J. Shupe, James W. Shupe, Joseph Skeen, John G. Smith, Richard D. Smith, William Squires, John Steele, Lyman Stevens, Benjamin F. Stewart, James Stewart, Clark Stillman, Dexter Stillman, Myron Tanner, Joel J. Terrell, Hayward Thomas, Nathan T. Thomas, Solomon Tindell, William Tubbs, Madison J. Welch, Almon Whiting, Edmond W. Whiting, Francis T. Whiney, David Wilkin, Thomas S. Williams, William Wesley Willis, George D. Wilson, Lysander Woodworth, Charles Wright, Isaac N. Wriston, and John P. Wriston.
[Let us not forget the battalion children who arrived, including: Mary Ann Brown (five years), David Black Brown, John Taylor Brown (one month), Sarah Jane Brown (thirteen years), John Reed Hancock (five years) Nathan Hart, Louisa Button, Almira Higgins Drusilla Higgins (fourteen years), Wealthy Matilda Higgins, (two months), Mary Hunt (two years), Martha Zina Huntington (three years), Parley Kelly, Sarah Mayfield, Jackson Mayfield, John Mayfield, Andrew Duncan Park (two years), Caroline Sargent (eleven years), Sarah Ellen Sharp (eight months), Carolyne Shelton, Mariah Shelton, Elizabeth Margaret Shupe (four months), Mary Steele (six years), Caroline Marian Williams (four years), and Ephraim Thomas Williams (two years)]
The Mississippi company of Saints coming into the valley this day, usually forgotten in history, included this partial list: Absalom Porter Dowdle, Sarah Robinson Dowdle, Sarah Catherine Dowdle (age two months), George Washington Gibson, Mark Sparks Gibson, Robert M. Gibson, Mary D. Gibson, William Gibson (twelve years), Moses Gibson (seven years), Frances A. Gibson (fifteen years), Laura A. Gibson (thirteen years), Manomas L. Gibson (five years), Joseph Smith Gibson, James Harmon, Mary Blanks Harmon Josephine Harmon (two years), James B. Harmon, Paralee A. Harmon, Sarah E. Harmon, John T. Harmon (three months), (two years), John Holladay, Catherine Higgins Holladay, John Daniel Holladay, Karen H. Holladay (seventeen years), Kezia D Holladay (fifteen years), David H. Holladay (Thirteen years), Thomas M. Holladay (eleven years), Leonora Holladay (eight years), Lydia Gibson Hunt, William Decatur Kartchner, Margaret Casteel Kartchner, Allen Freeman Smithson, Letitia Holladay Smithson, John Bartley Smithson (five years), Sarah Catherine Smithson (four years), James David Smithson (two years), Mary Emma SMithson (one year), William Cox Smithson, George W. Sparks, Lorena Roberds Sparks, Benjamin F. Mathews, Temperance Weeks Matthews, and Mary E. Matthews.
At 5 pm. the Twelve returned and then went north to the warm springs and bathed. They returned for supper. After he ate, Heber C. Kimball asked Howard Egan to come into his wagon and read the minutes of the last Sunday's meeting. After that, Heber C. Kimball, Edson Whipple, and Howard Egan took a walk. Brother Egan recorded: "We had a very pleasant evening's conversation, then joined in prayer and returned to camp about 11 p.m. The evening was pleasant."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
As Luke Johnson was out looking for a loft knife and gun strap, he heard a gun shot toward the camp. He thought to himself that Indians might be attacking and road with great speed to the camp. He arrived back and camp and told the others about what he had heard. They quickly loaded their guns and pistols, hid their purses and best goods, and made a protective breast work from some chest and boxes. They made ammunition ready and waited.
Soon, they saw two men on the other side of the river. One of them crossed and came to the camp. Then they saw 40 men and about 140 head of animals appear over the head. It was General Kearny, of the U.S. Army! The man who approached the came was Brother John W. Binley of the Mormon Battalion. Soon they were delighted to be greeted by other members of the Battalion. John C. Fremont soon came in site with about 200 more animals. It was an impressive sight.
Brother Binley shared the news about the fate of the Donner-Reed party in the Sierra Nevada’s. He said that he helped bury many of them, including a woman whose body had been eaten. They reflected on the terrible, tragic conditions experienced by that emigration party.
Private Nathaniel V. Jones wrote: "Here we found some brethren, that were camped and waiting for their families which were behind, and expected them every hour. [They were actually 200 miles down the trail]. This was the first news that I have had correct sine I left. They [the pioneers] left there [Winter Quarters] in March. Here we left one party that was unwell, by the name of John Binley."
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The first of the pioneer companies arrived across the river from Chimney Rock. They met a party of men on horseback returning from Oregon. Other companies were traveling as many as twenty miles to the rear. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "The bluffs on both sides of the river are very picturesque -- As we commence rising the hills, which are said to be the last between this & the Fort [Laramie], we can see a singular appearing bluff which in an inhabited country might be mistaken for a large building [Courthouse Rock].
Garden Grove, Iowa:
David Fullmer, Luman Shurliff, Duncan McArthur, and Brother Hunt left for Winter Quarters to meet with the Church leaders about the problems in Garden Grove. [On the way they would learn that the entire settlement, including themselves, had been cut off from the Church. Misunderstanding would later be resolved and these brethren would return, put the affairs in order at Garden Grove, and re-baptize all the worthy Saints.]
As Levi Hancock's company traveled through steep mountain ridges and passes, they kept losing their cattle as they would slip and fall down the slopes. It was finally decided that all the cattle should be killed and the meet be dried for the trip over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Azariah Smith wrote: "We came through and over mountains, and in some places the pass would be so narrow that our pack horses could hardly get through, and on either side some hundreds of feet nearly perpendicular." Robert Bliss added: "Passed up the mountain through the most difficult pass I every be held in all my travels." Levi Hancock recorded: "We have traveled over the worst kind of road between the Mts. and over rocks and between them they would tear our horses hoofs to pieces the worst going I ever saw we have now camped and have good feed & water this day made 12 miles and the council is to kill all the cattle tomorrow and dry [the meat]."
Friday, July 30, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
The Saints continued their efforts to plow and plant. They were planting all kinds of seed. Howard Egan tried on a new pair of buckskin pants made by Brother Baird. He said they were "the neatest and best fit I ever had."
The Twelve held a large Council Meeting in a tent with Captain James Brown and the other officers of the battalion. It lasted three hours. Brigham Young thought it best to send Captain Brown and some others, piloted by Samuel Brannan, to San Francisco, California, to present himself to the Army and make a report of the state of the battalion left behind at the valley. They also discussed much about what occurred on the battalion march. Dr. Sanderson's deadly use of medicine was discussed and the brethren felt he would be cursed for his crimes against the brethren.
After the meeting was concluded, they mounted horses and rode to the warm springs and also visited the hot spring. They were fascinated by it and felt that the water could cook an egg in a few moments. They returned to camp and the brethren visited with many of the soldiers.
In the evening, at 8:00, a general meeting was held for all the brethren in the camp. The meeting was opened by three hosanna shouts ("Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb forever and ever amen") for the soldiers of the Mormon Battalion. Brigham Young, standing on a wagon made into a platform, expressed his warm feeling toward the battalion. He said they saved the Saints. He rejoiced that they were together again. He explained to the men that it was very necessary to raise the Mormon Battalion because if they would not have complied with the government requisition, "they would have treated us as enemies, and the next move would have been to have let Missouri and the adjoining states loose on us, and wipe us from the face of the earth." This was how the Mormon Battalion saved the Saints.
He stated that Joseph and Hyrum Smith would yet dwell with them on earth in a resurrected state. After the Saints died, they would shortly come forth out of their graves with resurrected bodies that no mob could kill.
He asked the battalion to start construction on a bowery to be put up on Temple Square. They would use it for their meetings. The meeting concluded at 10 pm.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The Kearney detachment journeyed on. John W. Binley was officially discharged by General Kearny and remained with the ferrymen.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
More of the companies passed by Chimney Rock. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "The bluffs truly present views wildly magnificent. We arrive nearly opposite the peak which we saw yesterday morning & encamp [Chimney Rock.] The sun has been scorching thro' the day thro' the nights are like October." Others reached Scotts Bluff. Jesse W. Crosby wrote: "Some men went to visit these heights; they found some creatures and killed them; that they called Mountain Goat; they resemble our sheep except the wool."
The men killed all their beef cattle (about twenty-six) and worked at drying all the meat and packing it away.
Saturday, July 31, 1847
Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
In the morning, the men of the Mormon Battalion started construction on the Temple Square Bowery. It was planned to be forty feet by twenty-eight feet. It was constructed in the northeast part of the Temple Block. [In 1849 a larger bowery was construct on the southeast portion of Temple Square. This bowery was 100 feet by 60 feet.]
A couple of the battalion men were very sick, including Thomas Richardson and Solomon Tindall.
About twenty to thirty Shoshone Indians came to camp to trade with the brethren. While there, a dispute arose between two of their young men who started to fight fiercely. William Clayton wrote: "One broke his gun stock on the other's head and I expected to see a pretty serious affray, many of the others gathering around. Soon an old man came up, father to one of the young men engaged in the quarrel and he used his heavy whip very freely about both their heads and faces. The antagonist of the son struck the old man and he immediately gathered a long pole and broke it over the young man's head. He succeeded in quelling the broil and gave them a long lecture. They then mostly left and resumed their trading a little distance from the camp."
Later in the day, the brethren learned the cause of the dispute. There were about five Ute Indians at the camp when the Shoshones arrived. One of the Utes had stolen a horse from the Shoshones and they noticed the stolen horse. The thief had traded the horse with the brethren for a rifle, but would not give up the rifle to the Shoshones. Thus, the fight began. After the fight was broken up, the Ute went and hid but later snatched and rode off with another horse belonging to the Shoshones. Four of them went after him, caught up to him in a canyon, and shot him dead and also the horse.
The pioneers watch the Indians eat a new type of meal. William Clayton wrote: "When the men returned, they sat down and made a meal of some of these large crickets. They appear to be crisped over the fire which is all the cooking required."
The Shoshones were displeased that the Saints had traded with the Utes. The told by signs that the land was owned by the Shoshone, not the Utes. They wanted the brethren to buy the land for powder and lead. Brigham Young let the brethren know that he did not intend to buy any of the land from the Indians because "the Lord made the land, there was enough for both them & us." They would later teach the Indians to cultivate the earth. Orson Pratt believed that they should not feed the Indians at all until they tried to learn to grow crops.
Stephen Markham reported the progress on planting crops. He said there were thirty-five acres plowed and about two-thirds planted. There was already three acres of corn standing two inches above the ground. Some beans and potatoes were also growing after just one week's labor. John Brown wrote: "Our experiment had already proven the land fertile." George Billings and John Pack rode back to Emigration Canyon and cut forty-one longs for building structures.
Orson Pratt started to survey the city. The base line used was the southeast corner of Temple Square. Wilford Woodruff went with several of the brethren down to Jordan River. He threw a net in four times but only caught one fish.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
As the second company of pioneers were traveling near Scotts Bluff, they met James Davenport, the blacksmith ferryman, returning to Winter Quarters with a company of fur traders returning from Oregon. Many of the Saints were very pleased to see him again.