Camp Near the Missouri — Preparations at Winter Quartrs — Departure of the Pioneer Band — Elkhorn Rendezvous — Route and Routine — Incidents of Journey — Approach to Zion — in the Cañon — Hosanna! Hallelujah! — Entry Into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake — Ploughing and Planting — Praying and Praising — Site for a City Chosen — Temple Block Selected — Return of Companies to Winter Quarters — Their Meeting With the Westward-Bound — General Epistle of the Twelve.
In the spring of 1847 we find the saints still in camp in the vicinity of the Missouri. Considering what they had been called upon to undergo, they were in good health and spirits. There is nothing like the spiritual in man to stimulate and sustain the physical; and this result is equally accomplished by the most exalted piety of the true believer, or by the most stupid fanaticism or barbaric ignorance; for all of us are true believers, in our own eyes. There is nothing like religion to sustain, bear up, and carry men along under trying circumstances. They make of it a fight; and they are determined that the world, the flesh, and the devil shall not conquer.
In the present instance it was of course a miracle in their eyes that so many of their number were preserved; it was to this belief, and to the superhuman skill and wisdom of their leader, and partly to their own concert of action, that their preservation was due.
Frequent meetings had been held by the council to consider plans for further explorations by a pioneer
A call was made for volunteers of young and able-bodied men, and in April
a company was organized, with Brigham Young as lieutenant-general, Stephan
Markham colonel, John Pack major, and fourteen captains. The company
consisted of 143 persons, including three women, wives of Brigham Young,
Lorenzo Young, and Heber C. Kimball. They had 73 wagons drawn by horses
and mules, and loaded chiefly with grain and farming implements,2
and with provisions which were expected to last them for the return
Early in April a detachment moved out of Winter Quarters for the rendezvous on the Elkhorn, and on the 14th the pioneer band, accompanied by eight members of the council,3 began the long journey westward in search of a site for their new Zion. If none were found, they were to plant crops and establish a settlement at some suitable spot which might serve as a base for future explorations.4
The route was along the north branch of the Platte, and for more than 500 miles the country was bare of
1The octagon house of Dr Richards in which the council met is described as a queer-looking thing, much resembling a New England potato-heap in time of frost. 'Council voted a load of wood for each day they met in his house.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 2.
2Woodruff's Journal, MS., Apr. 17, 1847.
3John Taylor, Parley Pratt, and Orson Hyde were engaged in missionary work abroad. Pratt's Autobiog., 383.
4The impression was that they would reach as soon as possible 'the foot of the mountains somewhere in the region of the Yellowstone River, perhaps at the fork of Tongue River, say 2 days' ride north of the Oregon road, and a week's travel west of Ft Laramie…I informed Bishop Miller that when we moved hence it would be to the great basin.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 79. No one knew whither they were going, not even the leaders. 'We have learned by letter to Elder G. D. Watt that a company left Council Bluffs for the mountains on the 12th of April to seek a location for a stake in Zion.' Millennial Star, ix. 235. 'The pioneers started for the mountains to seek out a resting-place for the saints.' Brown's Testimonies for the Truth, 26. In Niles' Register, lxxii. 206 (May 29, 1847), we read: 'Their intention is to proceed as far as possible up to the period of necessary planting-time, when they will stop and commence a crop. The leaders will make but a short delay at this point, and will proceed over into California and communicate with or joia the disbanded forces of the Mormon battalion, whose period of service will expire about the 1st of July next.' 'When President Young was questioned by any of the pioneers as to the definite point of our destination, all he could say to them was, that he would know it when he should see it.' Erastus Snow, in Utah Pioneers, 33d ann., 44.
|p. 254||vegetation. Roused
by the call of the bugle at five o'clock in the morning, they assembled
for prayers; then they breakfasted, and upon a second call of the bugle at
seven o'clock they started, and travelled about twenty miles for the day.
At night the note of the bugle sent each to his own wagon to prayers and
at nine o'clock to bed. They rested on Sunday, giving up the day to
fasting and prayer. They were careful in marching to preserve order, with
loaded guns and powder-horn ready. And the better to present a compact
front, the wagons were kept well together, usually two abreast where the
ground would permit, and the men were required to walk by the wagons.
They felled cotton-wood trees for their horses and cattle to browse upon, and at last were obliged to feed them from the grain, flour, and biscuit they carried, subsisting meanwhile themselves on game and fish. In the valley of the Platte roamed such vast herds of buffaloes that it was often necessary to send parties in advance and clear the road before the teams could pass. At night the wagons would be drawn up in a semicircle on the bank, the river forming a defence upon one side. The tongues of the wagons were on the outside, and a fore wheel of each was placed against the hind wheel of the wagon before it; all the horses and cattle were brought inside of the enclosure. The corral thus formed was oblong, with an
|p. 255||opening at either
end, where was stationed a guard. The tents were pitched outside of the
In crossing the Loup River on the 24th, they used a leathern boat made for this expedition, and called The Revenue Cutter. On the 4th of May letters were sent back to Winter Quarters by a trader named Charles Beaumont. On the 22d they encamped at Ancient Bluff Ruins. Here the spirits of the people reached such high hilarity that their commanding officer was obliged to rebuke them, whereupon all covenanted to humble themselves.6
Early in June they reached the Black Hills by way of Fort Laramie.7 Here they rested for two or three
5Woodruff's Journal, MS., April 19, 1847. On May 4th they 'established a post-office and guide system for the benefit of the next camp following. Every ten miles…we put up a guide-board.'
6'I have told the few who did not belong to the church that they were not at liberty to introduce cards, dancing, or iniquity of any description.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 90.
7Fort John, or Laramie, was occupied by 'James Bordeaux and about eighteen French half-breeds and a few Sioux…There had been no rain for the last two years…Two or three of us visited Mr Bordeaux at the fort. (cont.)
|p. 256||weeks to build
ferry-boats and recruit their animals. Grass was now plentiful; most of
the brethren depended upon their rifles for food, and after having
prepared sufficient dried meat for the rest of the journey, they continued
on their way.
No sooner had they crossed the river than a horseman, who had followed their trail from Laramie, rode up and begged them to halt, as near by was a large company bound for Oregon, for which he asked conveyance over the stream. The pioneers consented, stipulating that they should receive payment in provisions. Other parties following, the larder of the saints was replenished.8
Travelling rapidly, and a little to the south of what was known as the Oregon track,9 the Mormons arrived at South Pass in the latter part of June, about the time when the tide of emigration usually passed the Missouri. Thence skirting the Colorado desert and reaching the Green River country, the monotony was broken. Here the brethren were met by Elder Brannan, who had sailed from New York for California in the ship Brooklyn, the previous February, with 238 saints, as before mentioned. He reported that they were all busy making farms and raising grain on the San Joaquin River.10 As several of the present
(7cont.) We paid him $15 for the use of his ferry-boat. Mr Bordeaux said that this was the most civil and best-behaved company that had ever passed the fort.' Id., MS., 1847, 91.
8Snow, in Utah Pioneers, 44. 'Capt. Grover and eight others of the pioneers were left at North Platte ferry and ford to ferry the companies that should arrive, and especially to ferry the emigration from Winter Quarters.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847.
9'Making a new road for a majority of more than one thousand miles westward, they arrived at the great basin in the latter part of July.' General Epistle of the Twelve, in Millennial Star, x. 82. 'He [Brigham] and the company arrived on the 24th of July, having sought out and made a new road 650 miles, and followed a trapper's trail nearly 400 miles Smith's Rise Progress, and Travels, 16; see also Tullidge s Life of Young, 161. Remy says that an odometer was attached to a wheel of one of the wagons, and careful notes taken of the distances. Jour. to G. S. L. City, i. 433-4. 'As I remember, there was no trail after leaving Laramie, going over the Black Hills, except very rarely. For a short distance before reaching the Sweetwater, we saw a wagon truck; it was a great surprise and a great curiosity.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1848
10Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 95; Tullidge's Life of Young, 166.
|p. 257||company were ill
with mountain fever, they encamped for a few days. Thirteen battalion
brethren who were out searching for stolen cattle now surprised them, and
Brigham led in three hearty cheers.11
Again en route, passing through the Green River country, they reached Fort
Bridget. Soon after leaving this point the real difficulties of the
journey commenced. Led, as the saints relate, only by the inspiration of
the Almighty.12 Brigham and his
band crossed the rugged spurs of the Uintah range, now following the rocky
bed of a mountain torrent, and now cleaving their way through dense and
gnarled timber until they arrived at Echo Cañon, near the eastern slope
of the Wasatch Mountains, where for a brief space the main body rested,
the president and many others being attacked with mountain fever.13
Impatient of the delay, Brigham, after a formal
11'I exclaimed, "Hosanna! hosanna! give glory to God and the lamb, amen!" in which they all joined.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 96. 'Left Phineas Young and four others, who had volunteered to return to guide the immigrants.'
12Smith's Rise, Progress, and Travels, 16. 'For,' says the author, 'no one knew anything of the country.' Snow, in Utah Pioneers, 33d ann., 44, remarks: 'The president said we were to travel "the way the spirit of the Lord should direct us."' Snow states that James Bridger, who had a trading post which still bears the name of Fort Bridger, when he met the president on the Big Sandy River about the last of June, and learned that his destination was the valley of Great Salt Lake, offered $1,000 for the first car of corn raised there. 'Wait a little,' said the president, 'and we will show you.' Again, on p. 45 he says that, being encamped on what is now known as Tar Springs, the pioneers were met by a mountaineer named Goodyear, who had wintered on the site of the present city of Ogden, after planting brain and vegetables in the valley, but with meagre results. The mountaineer's report was very discouraging, but to him also Brigham replied, 'Give us time and we will show you.' There is no evidence that as yet the president knew anything about the Salt Lake Valley except what he heard from Bridger and Goodyear, or had gleaned from the reports of Frémont's expedition. 'On the 15th of June met James H. Grieve, Wm Tucker, James Woodrie, James Bouvoir, and six other Frenchmen, from whom we learned that Mr Bridger was located about 300 miles west, that the mountaineers could ride to Salt Lake from Fort Bridger in two days, and that the Utah country was beautiful.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 92. 'Half-mile west of Fort Bridger some traded for buckskins, their clothing being worn out.' Id., 97. Note also the following: 'Met Capt. Bridget, who said he was ashamed of Frémont's map of this country. Bridger considered it imprudent to bring a large population into the great basin until it was ascertained that grain could be raised.'
13'We had to stop at Yellow Creek and again at the head of Echo Cañon, stopping and travelling as the sick were able to endure the journey, until we reached the Weber at the mouth of Echo Cañon, and shuck our camp a fear miles below, the present railroad station.' Utah Pioneers, 33d ann., 45.
|p. 258||meeting, directed
Orson Pratt14 to take the
strongest of their number and cut through the mountains into the valley,
making roads and bridges as they went. After crossing what were designated
as Big and Little mountains, the party, consisting of some forty-two men
having twenty-three wagons, encamped in Emigration Cañon.15
Thus the saints are reaching their resting-place. Their new Zion is near at hand; how near, they are as yet all unaware. But their prophet has spoken; their way is plain; and the spot for them prepared from the foundation of the earth will presently be pointed out to them. The great continental chain is penetrated. In the heart of America they are now upon the border of a new holy land, with its Desert
14'Voted, that Orson Pratt take charge of an expedition to go on and make a road down the Weber River.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 97. O. Pratt was appointed to take 23 wagons and 42 men, and precede the main company. Church Chron., 65. Erastus Snow says, in a discourse on the Utah pioneers, delivered in the tabernacle July 25, 1880: 'I well remember, as we called at the wagon to bid the president good-by, Brother Willard Richards…asking if he had any counsel to give to guide our movements…Resting his elbow on the pillow with his head in his hand, he spoke feebly,…"My impressions are," said he, "that when you emerge from the mountains into the open country you bear to the northward, and stop at the first convenient place for putting in your seed."'
15'The emigration route previous to 1847 was via Laramie through South Pass to Big Sandy River. Then to avoid a desert stretch, down the Big Sandy to its junction with Green River, and across, then up Black's Fork to junction with Ham's Fork, and thence up Black's Fork to Fort Bridger. The Mormons here took the road made by Hastings and the Donner company in 1846, bearing almost due west, crossing Bear River, down Echo Cañon to junction with the Weber. The Mormons here chose the Donner trail, which passed up the Weber southerly from Echo about twelve miles, then westerly into Parley's Park, then across the hills northerly to the head of Emigration Cañon, then into the valley. As the Donner company had passed over this route more recently than any other, it seems to have been followed as probably the best, and was usually travelled for many years. In 1847, when the Mormons entered the valley, there were three wagon routes into it. The first, down Bear River from Soda Springs, through Cache Valley—Capt. Bartlett's route in 1841, followed by Frémont in 1843: the second, Hastings' California emigration through Echo and Weber cañons in 1846; and the third, the Donner route of 1846, described. The Mormons found a plain road into a fertile, unoccupied country;…its isolation alone was the cause of its non-occupation.' McBride's Route of the Mormons, MS. This manuscript, to which among other favors I am indebted to Judge McBride, throws fresh light on the question of passes and routes in early times. The author, one of the first to enter Utah, was second to none in ability and position at a later period.
|p. 259||and Dead Sea, its
River Jordan, Mount of Olives, and Gallilee Lake, and a hundred other
features of its prototype of Asia.
Through the western base of the mountains extends the cañon, the two sides of which are serrated by a narrow stream, which along the last five miles flings itself from one side to the other a score or two of times, in places tumbling over bowlders, again quietly threading its way over a pebbly bottom, but everywhere cutting up the narrow and rugged gorge so as to make it most difficult and dangerous of passage.
The primeval silence is now broken; the primeval songs are now disturbed by sounds strange to the surrounding hills, accustomed only to the music of running water and the notes of birds and wild beasts. There is the rumbling of the caravan as it comes slowly picking its way down the dark ravine, the tramping of the horses upon the hard ground, and the grinding of the wheels among the rocks as they plunge down one bank and climb another, or thread their way along the narrow ledge overhanging an abyss, the songs of Israel meanwhile being heard, and midst the cracking of whips the shouts now and then breaking forth of a leader in Israel awe-struck by the grandeur of the scene, "Hosanna to the Lord! hosanna to the creator of all I hallelujah! hallelujah!"
Emerging from the ravine upon a bench or terrace, they behold the lighted valley, the land of promise, the place of long seeking which shall prove a place of rest, a spot whereon to plant the new Jerusalem, a spot of rare and sacred beauty. Behind them and on either hand majestic mountains rear their proud fronts heavenward, while far before them the vista opens. Over the broad plain, through the clear thin air, bathed in purple sunlight, are seen the bright waters of the lake, dotted with islands and bordered by glistening sands, the winding river, and along the creek the broad patches of green cane which look like waving corn. Raising their hats in reverence
|p. 260||from their heads,
again hosannas burst from their lips, while praise to the most high
ascends from grateful hearts.
It was near this terrace, being in fact a mile and a half up the cañon, that Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow, with their detachment of pioneers, encamped on the 20th of July, 1847. Next day, the ever-memorable 21st, to reach this bench, whence was viewed with such marvellous effect the warm, pulsating panorama before them, Pratt and Snow crept on their hands and knees, warned by the occasional rattle of a snake, through the thick underbrush which lined the south side of the mountain and filled the cañon's mouth, leaving their companions on the other side of the brush. After drinking in the scene to the satisfaction of their soils, they descended to the open plain, Snow on horseback, with his coat thrown loosely upon his saddle, and Pratt on foot. They journeyed westward three miles, when Snow missing his coat turned back, and Pratt continued alone. After traversing the site of the present city, and standing where later was temple block, he rejoined his comrade at the mouth of the cañon. Together they then returned to camp late in the evening and told of their discoveries.
The following morning the advance company, composed of Orson Pratt, George A. Smith,16 and seven others, entered the valley and encamped on the bank of Cañon Creek. They explored the valley toward the lake, and about three miles from the camp found two fine streams with stony bottoms, whose banks promised sufficient pasturage. Proceeding northward, they found hot springs at the base of the mountain spur. Upon their return they were greeted by the working camp five miles from the mouth of the cañon, at what was subsequently known as Parley Cañon
16Geo. A. Smith says in his autobiography that on this journey he walked 1,700 miles and rode some 800 miles on horseback. He had 25 lbs of flour, which he used by the cupful for those who were ill; for six weeks he was without bread, and like the rest of the company, lived on buffalo meat and other game.
On the 23d the camp moved some two or three miles northward, the site
chosen being near the two or three dwarf cotton-woods,18
which were the only trees within sight, and on the bank of a stream of
pure water now termed City Creek, overgrown with high grass and willows.
Pratt called the men together, dedicated the land to the Lord, and prayed
for his blessing on the seeds about to be planted and on the labors of the
saints. Before noon a committee returned a report that they had staked off
land suitable for crops; that the soil was friable, and composed of loam
and gravel. The first furrow was thereupon turned by William Carter, and
through the afternoon three ploughs and one harrow were at work. A dam was
commenced and trenches cut to convey water to the fields. Toward evening
their energetic labors were interrupted by a thunder-storm.19
The ground was so dry that they found it necessary to irrigate it before
ploughing, some ploughs having been broken; and it was not until after the
arrival of Brigham that planting was begun.
The coming of the leader had been impatiently awaited, although in their ambition to have as much as possible accomplished, the time quickly passed. Brigham was slowly following with the remainder of the company, and was still so weak as to be obliged to be carried on a bed in Wilford Wordruff's carriage. As they reached a point on Big Mountain where the view was unbroken, the carriage was turned into proper position, and Brigham arose from his bed and surveyed the country. He says: "The spirit of light rested upon me and hovered over the valley, and I felt that there the saints would find protection and
17Parley was always quite popular among the brethren, though his judgment was not always the best.
18'My poor mother was heart-broken because there were no trees to be seen; I don't remember a tree that could be called a tree.' Clara Young s Experiences, MS., 5.
19'July 23d, 96° Fah. A company commenced mowing the grass and preparing a turnip-patch.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 99.
Woodruff in describing the scene says of Brigham: "He was enwrapped
in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision,
and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion…planted in the
valley."21 Then Brigham said:
"It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on." Toward noon
on the 24th they reached the encampment. Potatoes were planted in a
five-acre patch of ploughed ground, and a little early corn.22
Their first impressions of the valley, Lorenzo Young says, were most disheartening.23 But for the two or three cotton-wood trees, not a green thing was in sight. And yet Brigham speaks almost pathetically of the destruction of the willows and wild roses growing thickly on the two branches of City Creek, destroyed because the channels must be changed, and leaving nothing to vary the scenery but rugged mountains, the sage bush, and the sunflower. The ground was covered with millions of black crickets which the Indians were harvesting for their winter food.24 An unusual number of natives had assembled for this purpose, and after dinner gathered about the new-comers, evincing great curiosity as to their plans.
Lumber was made in the cañons, or from logs drawn thence, with whip-saws, through the entire winter;
20Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 99.
21Woodruff, in Utah Pioneers, 1880, 23. See also Wroodruff's Journal, MS.; Clara Young's Experiences, MS.; Utah Early Record, MS.; Pioneer Women, MS.; Taylor's Rem., MS.
22'I had brought a bushel of potatoes with me, and I resolved that I would neither eat nor drink until I had planted them.' Woodruff, in Utah Pioneers, 1880, 23. 'I planted the first potato…in Salt Lake Valley,' says Geo. A. Smith in his autobiography.
23Mrs Clara Decker Young speaks of the distress she suffered at leaving Winter Quarters, where there were so many people and life so social; but that when she finally reached her destination she was satisfied. 'It didn't look so dreary to me as to the other two ladies. They were terribly disappointed because there were no trees, and to them there was such a sense of desolation and loneliness.' Experience of a Pioneer Woman, MS., 5.
24'The Indians made a corral twelve or fifteen feet square, fenced about with sage brush and grease-wood, and with branches of the same drove them into the enclosure. Then they set fire to the brush fence, and going amongst them, drove them into the fire. Afterward they took them up by the thousand, rubbed off their wings and legs, and after two or three days separated the meat, which was, I should think, an ounce or half an ounce of fat to each cricket.' Early Experiences of Lorenzo Young, MS., 4.
|p. 263||afterward, on
account of alarm at the apparent scarcity of timber, restrictions were put
upon the manner of cutting and quantity used. Certain fines were imposed
as a penalty for disobedience; for fuel only dead timber was allowed, and
while there was sufficient, the restraint excited some opposition.25
The next day was the sabbath; and as had been the custom at Nauvoo, two
services were held, George A. Smith, followed by Heber C. Kimball and Ezra
T. Benson, preaching the first sermon, and in the afternoon the meeting
was addressed by Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, and Willard Richards. One
cause for thankfulness was that not a man or an animal had died on the
journey. The sacrament was administered, and before dismissing the saints,
the president bade them refrain from labor, hunting, or fishing. "You
must keep the commandments of God," he said, "or not dwell with
us; and no man shall buy or sell land, but all shall have what they can
cultivate free, and no man shall possess that which is not his own."
On the 27th,26 the president, the apostles, and six others crossed a river which was afterward found to be the outlet of Utah Lake, and thence walked dry-shod over ground subsequently covered by ten feet of water to Black Rock, where all bathed in the lake, Brigham being the first to enter it.27 The party returned to camp on the following day, when a council was held, after which the members walked to a spot midway between the north and south forks of a neighboring creek, where Brigham stopped, and striking the ground with his cane, exclaimed, "Here will
25'Taylor and Pratt took the lead; through them this understanding about the timber occurred.' Nebeker's Early Justice, MS., 4.
26On Monday, the 26th, the president and his apostles ascended Ensign Peak, so called on account of a remark made by Brigham: 'Here is a proper place to raise an ensign to the nations.' Ibid. See also Utah Early Records, MS., 4; Woodruff's Journal, MS.; Nebeker's Early Justice, MS. Woodruff was the first who stood on the top of the peak.
27On this day was commenced the first blacksmith's shop, the property of Burr Frost.
|p. 264||be the temple of
our God."28 This was about
five o'clock in the afternoon. An hour later it was agreed that a site
should be laid out for a city in blocks or squares of ten acres, and in
lots of an acre and a quarter, the streets to be eight rods wide, with
sidewalks of twenty feet.
At eight o'clock on the same evening a meeting was held on the temple square, and it was decided by vote that on that spot the temple should be built,29 and from that spot the city laid out.
On the 29th of July a detachment of the battalion, which had wintered at Pueblo,30 to the number of 150, under Captain James Brown, arrived in the valley; they were accompanied by fifty of the brethren who had started the year previous from the Mississippi. On the following evening a praise service for their safe arrival was held in the brush bowery,31 hastily
28'This was about the centre of the site of the Temple we are now building.' Utah Pioneers, 33d ann., 23.
29'Some wished for forty acres to be set apart for temple purposes, but it was finally decided to have ten acres;…the base line was on the south-east corner, and government officials afterward adopted it as the base meridian line.' Taylor's Reminiscences, MS., 21. When the elders arrived from England they brought with them to Winter Quarters, just before the starting of the pioneers, 'two sextants, two barometers, two artificial horizons, one circular reflector, several thermometers, and a telescope.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 82. Thus Orson Pratt was enabled to take scientific observations. He reported the latitude of the north line of temple square, which was ten acres in size, to be 40° 45' 44" N., and its longitude 111° 26' 34" w. From George W. Dean's Observations in 1869, taken at the temple block, the results were lat. 40° 46' 2", long. 111° 53' 30". Rept Coast Survey, 1869-70. In taking lunar distances for longitude, it is usual to have four observers, but Orson Pratt had no assistant; hence probably the discrepancy. On August 16th it was determined that the streets around the temple block should be called respectively North, South, East, arid West Temple streets, the others to be named, as required, First North street, Second North street, First South street, Second South street, etc.
30Says Mrs Clara Young: 'Before reaching Laramie three of tire pioneers were sent to Pueblo to tell the families there to strike their trail and follow them to their settlement.' Ex. of a Pioneer Woman, MS., 7. 'The men of this detachment were on their way to San Francisco, but their wagons breaking down and their cattle being in very poor condition, they were compelled to turn aside and await further orders.' Utah Early Records, MS., 8.
31For many years these boweries of trees and brush had been constructed when any large number of the people needed a temporary place of shelter. This one was 40 x 28 feet. Col Markham reported at this meeting 'that 13 ploughs and 3 harrows had been stocked during the past week, 3 lots of ground broken up, one lot of 35 acres planted in corn, oats, buckwheat, potatoes, beans, and garden seed.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 103-4. 'On the 20th H. G. Sherwood, in returning from an excursion to Cache Valley, brought an (cont.)
|p. 265||constructed for the
purpose by the battalion brethren.
During the next three weeks all were busily at work, tilling the soil, cutting and hauling timber, making adobes, and building, ambitious to accomplish as much as possible before the main body of the pioneer band should start on its return journey to report to the brethren and to promote further emigration. The battalion brethren moved their wagons and formed a corral between the forks of City Creek. Brigham exhorted the brethren to be rebaptized, himself setting the example, and reconfirming the elders. On the 8th of August three hundred were immersed, the services commencing at six o'clock in the morning. During the month twenty-nine log houses had been built, either with roofs or ready for the usual substitute, a covering of poles and dirt. These huts were so arranged as to carry out their plan of forming a rectangular stockade,32 the president and Heber C. Kimball being the first to take possession of their dwellings.
On the 17th of August twenty-four pioneers and forty-six of the battalion set out on their return to Winter Quarters.33
On the afternoon of the 22d a conference was held, at which it was resolved that the place should be called the City of the Great Salt Lake. The term 'Great' was retained for several years, until changed by legislative enactment. It was so named in contradistinction to Little Salt Lake, a term applied
(31cont.) Englishman with him, named Wells, who had been living in New Mexico for some years.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 109. On the 21st A. Carrington, J. Brown, W. W. Rust, G. Wilson, and A. Calkins made the ascent of the Twin Peaks, 15 miles south-east of the stockade, and the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range, its elevation being, as they reported, 11,219 feet. These were probably the first white men who ascended this mountain.
32They were 8 or 9 feet high, and 16 or 17 feet long, by 14 wide. Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 110. 'We were the first to move into the fort; our house had a door and a wooden window, which through the day was taken out for light, and nailed in at night…There was also a port-hole at the east end of the fort, which could be opened and closed at pleasure…We had adobe chimneys and a fire-place in the corner, with a clay hearth.' Young's Pioneer Women, MS., 6.
33'With 34 wagons, 92 yoke of oxen, 18 horses, and 14 mules, in charge of Shadrach Roundy and Tunis Rappelye. Lt Wesley Willis was in charge of the battalion men.' Richards' Narr., MS., 13-14.
|p. 266||to a body of water
some two hundred miles to the south, situated in what was later known as
Iron county, near Parowan, and which has since almost disappeared. The
stream connecting the two great lakes was named the Western Jordan, now
called the Jordan, and the whole region whose waters flow into the lake
was distinguished as the great basin.34
On the 26th a second company, consisting of 107 persons,35
started for Winter Quarters. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball set forth
on horseback a little in advance of the others, but turning back, they
waved their hats with a cheery "Good-by to all who tarry," and
then rode on.
"We have accomplished mere this year," writes Wilford Woodruff, "than can be found on record concerning an equal number of men in the same time since the days of Adam. We have travelled with heavily laden wagons more than a thousand miles, over rough roads, mountains, and curious, searching out a land, a resting-place for the saints. We have laid out a city two miles square, and built a fort of hewn timber drawn seven miles from the mountains, and of sun-dried bricks or adobes, surrounding ten acres of ground, forty rods of which were covered with block-houses, besides planting about ten acres of corn and vegetables. All this we have done in a single month."36
At Winter Quarters active preparations had been making for following the pioneers at the earliest opportunity. Throughout the spring all was activity. Every one who had teams and provisions to last a year and a half was preparing to move, and assisting those who were to remain to plough and sow. Parley P. Pratt, having returned37 from England shortly
34'It was also called The Great North American Desert.' Taylor's Rem., MS., 22.
35With 36 wagons, 71 horses, and 49 mules.
36Woodruff's Journal, MS., 78.
37'I found my family all alive and dwelling in a log cabin; they had, howerver, suffered much from cold, hunger, and sickness…The winter had been (cont.)
|p. 267||before Brigham's
departure, was left in charge of the first companies ordered westward. On
the 4th of July, 1847, they set forth for the Rocky Mountains, numbering
in all 1,553 persons.38
A complete organization of the people was effected, according to a revelation of the Lord made through Brigham on the 14th of January, 1847.39 They were divided into companies, each with one hundred wagons, and these into companies of fifty wagons, and ten wagons, every company under a captain or commander. Two fifties travelled in double columns if practicable. When a halt was called the wagons were arranged as in the march of the pioneers, forming a temporary fort, with its back opening upon the corral formed by the two semicircles. The cattle were then driven into the corral under charge of the herdsmen. When ready to march, the captain of each ten attended to his company, under the supervision of the captain of fifty. Advance parties each day selected the next camping-ground. In the absence of wood, fires were made from buffalo chips and sage brush. The wagons had projections extending over the sides, making the interior six feet wide. Hen-coops were carried at the end of each wagon, and a few young pigs were brought for use in the valley. Great care was used to prevent a stampede of the animals, as they appeared to recognize the peculiarities and dangers of the new country and
(37cont.) very severe, the snow deep, and consequently horses and cattle had been lost. …My wagons were overhauled and put in order, tires reset, chains repaired, yokes and bows arranged in order, wagon bows made and mended.' Pratt's Autobiog., 397-8. 'The companies were organized by Elder P. P. Pratt and myself, as near as we could in accordance with instructions left by Pres. Young.' Taylor's Rem., MS., 7.
38This company is distinguished as the first immigration. It was supplied with 580 wagons, 2,213 oxen, 124 horses, 887 cows, 358 sheep, 716 chickens, and 35 hogs. Utah Early Records, MS., 17. Smith says about 700 wagons. Rise, Progress, and Travels, 16. Kearny's and Frémont's parties met Pratt's companies at Loup River; and according to Martin's Narr., '42 in Cal., MS., 122, John Young was appointed president and John Van Cott marshal.
39This was called 'the word and will of the Lord concerning the camp of Israel.' Like all revelations, it was in scriptural phraseology, and very explicit in its directions. It was also read by Brigham to his people in Salt Lake City on the 1st of August.
|p. 268||were easily
alarmed. The organization and order in the camp was so perfect that not
unfrequently half an hour after a halt the people sat down to a
comfortable meal of fresh bread and broiled meat.40
At the beginning of their journey, jealousy, bickering, and insubordination arose among them, and a halt was called for the purpose of holding a council and adjusting matters. For several hundred miles they followed the trail of the pioneers, and now were approaching the president and his men, who, encamped between Green River and the Sweetwater, had sent forward two messengers41 to ascertain the progress and condition of the company. Upon hearing of the difficulties that had arisen, Brigham sent for Pratt and censured him severely for defects in the management of the party at the start, and for misunderstandings on the road. Pratt humbly acknowledged his faults and was forgiven. While the president and council were at prayer, the Sioux improved the occasion by stealing a number of horses, which proved a serious loss.
Pratt now returned to his command, and without special incident reached the Salt Lake settlement on the 19th of September; the companies arriving in detachments at intervals of several weeks.
Brigham's band was scantily provisioned for the journey to Winter Quarters.42 The number that had already gathered at Salt Lake had drawn heavily on the pioneers' resources, and they set out depending for subsistence on game and fish. They travelled more rapidly in returning,43 although most of them were compelled to walk. A few days after the Indian depredation
40From account of their journeyings furnished me in Taylor's Rem., 7-12.
41O. P. Rockwell and E. T. Benson.
42Among them was a party of battalion men who were entirely destitute except for a very small quantity of beef, which was soon exhausted. General Epistle of the Twelve, in Millennial Star, x. 83.
43'Camped on the south side of the Platte. We were 42 days in going to the valley from this point, and only 23 days in returning.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 115.
|p. 269||mentioned during
the council, the Mormons were attacked by a large war party of Sioux, who
again carried off many horses. The meeting of the battalion and pioneer
brethren with Parley Pratt's company was an occasion of rejoicing to all.44
On the 7th of September the former arrived at the Sweetwater. Here, with
the assembled companies, a jubilee was held and a feast of good things
prepared. While the men cut down brush and constructed a bowery, the
women, with great trouble, unpacked their dishes and table furniture,
delighted at the opportunity of assisting at such an event. A fat heifer
was killed, and whatever luxuries were in camp were now produced. A slight
snow fell, but in no degree marred their merriment; the feast was followed
by music and dancing, and by accounts of the pioneers' experiences in
entering upon and settling their new Zion; after prayer the company
dispersed.45 The remnants of the
banquet were left with the eastern-bound train, and as they separated each
bade the other God speed. A fortnight before reaching Winter Quarters a
small delegation met Brigham's company with most welcome supplies. On the
31st of October, when within one mile of the settlement, Brigham called
his men together, praised them for their good conduct, blessed and
dismissed them. They drove into town in order an hour before sunset. The
streets were crowded, and friends pressed forward, shaking hands as they
passed through the lines.46
During this season an abundant harvest had been gathered by the brethren at their encampments near
44'Met Spencer's advance company Sept. 3d, with 76 wagons; we had a joyful meeting; on the 4th met encampment of 75 wagons; on the 5th 162; and on the 8th met the last company of saints.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847.
45'All felt greatly encouraged. We now knew for the first time our destination; we had talked of California, and knew not until now where we should settle.' Horne's Migrations, MS., 22.
46'We were truly rejoiced once more to behold our wives, children, and old friends, after an absence of six months, having travelled over 2,000 miles… and accomplished the most important mission in this last dispensation.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 1847, 122.
|p. 270||the Missouri,
though sickness was an ever-present guest; and many of their number who
could least be spared were scattered throughout the world as missionaries
in Europe, and as far westward as the Sandwich Islands, as soldiers in
California, or as laborers wherever they could find a livelihood in the
western states. The winter was passed quietly and in content, most of the
saints preparing for their migration in the spring. Meanwhile, on the 23d
of December, 1847, a general epistle of the twelve was issued to the
brethren and to the gentiles. In this it was stated that they were at
peace with all the world, that their mission was to extend salvation to
the ends of the earth, and an invitation was extended to "all
presidents, and emperors, and kings, and princes, and nobles, and
governors, and rulers, and judges, and all nations, kindreds, tongues, and
people under the whole heaven, to come and help us to build a house to the
name of the God of Jacob, a place of peace, a city of rest, a habitation
for the oppressed of every clime." Then followed an exhortation for
the saints to gather unto Zion, promising that their reward should be a
hundred-fold and their rest glorious. They must bring "their gold,
their silver, their copper, their zinc, their tin, and brass, and iron,
and choice steel, and ivory, and precious stones; their curiosities of
science,…or anything that ever was, or is, or is to be for the
exaltation, glory, honor, and salvation of the living and the dead, for
time and for all eternity."47
Such a gathering of saints and gentiles would of itself have constituted an earthly Zion, especially for the president and the twelve, who held virtual control over their brethren's property. Among the gentiles one would think that such rhodomontade could not fail to bring discredit on the Mormon faith and the Mormon cause, but no such result followed. As will be mentioned later, their missions were never more prosperous than during the years when at their new
47The full text of this epistle is given in the Millennial Star, x. 81-8.
|p. 271||stake of Zion the
saints were employed, not in adorning their temple with gold, silver, and
precious stones, but in building rough shanties, hewing timber, hoeing
corn, and planting potatoes.
The trite maxim commencing Æquam memento was one which the saints had taken well to heart, and on few was the mens æqua in arduis more firmly stamped than on the brow of him who, on christmas eve, the day after his invitation to the princes and potentates of all the earth, was appointed president of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. And while in adversity there were none more steadfast, it must be admitted there were few in whom success developed so little of pride and of vainglory. From this time forth Brigham Young was to the saints as a prophet—yea, and more than a prophet: one on whom the mantle had fallen not unworthily. By his foresight he had saved his people from dispersion, and perchance his faith from annihilation. Hounded by a mob, he had led his followers with consummate tact throughout their pilgrimage, and in a wilderness as vet almost untrodden by man had at length established for them an abiding-place.
After the departure of Brigham from Salt Lake, John Smith, the prophet's uncle, was nominally president of the camp;48 but upon the arrival of John Taylor and Parley P. Pratt their precedence was acknowledged and they were placed in charge.49 There were no laws until the latter part of this year, though certain penalties were assigned for certain crimes and executed by the people. As there was no jail, the whipping-post was substituted, but used only two or three times. In such cases the high council tried the
48Affairs were controlled by the high council, consisting of twelve high-priests. Salt Lake City was a stake of Zion, with president and other officers. 'At the conference on Oct. 3d Father John Smith was elected president of the stake of Zion and patriarch of the church. Brigham Young was sustained as president of the whole church.' Hist. B. Young, MS., 117.
49Nebeker's Early Justice, MS., 4.
|p. 272||prisoner, and
sentenced him. "President Young was decidedly opposed to
whipping,"50 says George Q.
Cannon, "but matters arose that we considered required punishment at
During this period men and women voted by ballot in matters relating to government. Women had already voted in religious meetings by the uplifted hand, but this is probably the first instance in the United States where woman suffrage was permitted. Utah at that time, however, was not a part of the United States, and before its admission as a territory the privilege was withdrawn.52
50'I had to chastise one in that way for stealing.' Id., MS., 4.
51'For instance, one of our best men now, who was then young, was accused of riding on horseback with a girl in front of him. This was looked upon as indecorous. He and others guilty of the same thing were severely reprimanded.' G. Q. Cannon, in Taylor's Rem., MS., 12-13.
52Taylor's Rem., MS., 14. Herewith I give a list of the Utah pioneers of 1847: Adams, Barnabas L.; Angel, Truman O.; Allen, Rufus; Attwood, Millen; Badger, Rodney; Barney, Lewis; Barnham, Charles D.; Benson, Ezra T.; Billings, Geo. P.; Boggs, Francis; Brown, Geo.; Brown, John; Brown, Nathaniel Thomas; Bullock, Thos; Burke, Charles; Burnham, Jacob D.; Byard, Robert; Carrington, Albert; Carter, William; Case, James; Chamberlin, Solomon; Chessley, Alexander P.; Clayton, William; Cloward, Thos P.; Coltrin, Zebedee; Craig, James; Crosby, Oscar; Curtis, Lyman; Cushing, Hosea; Davenport, James; Dewey, Benjamin F.; Dixon, John; Driggs, Starling; Dykes, William; Earl, Sylvester H.; Eastman, Ozro; Egan, Howard; Egbert, Joseph; Eldredge, John S.; Ellsworth, Edmund; Empey, William A.; Ensign, Datus; Everett, Addison; Fairbanks, Nathaniel; Farr, Aaron; Fitzgerald, Perry; Flake, Green (colored); Fowler, John S.; Fox, Samuel; Freeman, John M.; Frink, Horace M.; Frost, Burr; Gibbons, Andrew S.; Gleason, John S.; Glines, Eric; Goddard, Stephen H.; Grant, David; Grant, Geo. R.; Greene, John Y.; Grover, Thomas; Hancock, Joseph; Hanks, Sidney A.; Hanson, Hans C.; Harmon, Appleton M.; Harper, Charles A.; Henrie, William; Hewd, Simeon; Higbee, John S.; Holman, John G.; Ivory, Matthew; Jackman, Levi; Jacobs, Norton; Johnson, Artemas; Johnson, Luke; Johnson Philo; Kelsey, Stephen; Kendall, Levi N.; Kimball, Ellen S. (wife of H. C. K.); Kimball, Heber C.; King, William A.; Klineman, Conrad; Lark, Hark (colored); Lewis, Tarlton; Little, Jessie C.; Losee, John G.; Loveland, Chancey; Lyman, Amasa; Marble, Samuel H.; Markham, Stephen; Matthews, Joseph; Mills, George; Murray, Carlos; Newman, Elijah; Norton, John W.; Owen, Seely; Pack, John; Pierce, Eli H.; Pomeroy, Francis M.; Powell, David; Pratt, Orson; Reddin, Jackson; Rappelye, Tunis; Richards, Willard; Rockwell, Orrin P.; Rockwood, Albert P.; Rolfe, Benjamin W.; Rooker, Joseph; Roundy, Shadrach; Schofield, Joseph S.; Scholes, George; Sherwood, Henry G.; Shumway, Andrew P.; Shumway, Charles; Smith, George A.; Smoot, Wm C. A.: Snow, Erastus; Stevens, Roswell; Stewart, Benjamin F.; Stewart, James W.; Stringham, Briant; Summe, Gilburd; Taft, Seth; Tanner, Thomas; Taylor, Norman; Thomas, Robert T.; Thornton, Horace M.; Thorpe, Marcus B.; Tippitts, John H.; Vance, William P.; Walker, Henson; Wardel, George; Weiler, Jacob; Wheeler, John; Whipple, Edson; Whitney, Horace K.; Whitney, Orson K.; Williams, Almon L.; Woodard, George; Woodruff, Wilford; Woolsey, Thomas; Wordsworth, (cont.)
|p. 273|| On
the 16th of November, O. P. Rockwell, E. K. Fuller, A. A. Lathrop, and
fifteen others set forth for California to buy cows, mules, mares, wheat,
and seeds· They bought two hundred head of cows at six dollars each, with
which they started from California, but lost forty head on the Mojave;
being ninety days on the return trip. During the autumn, several parties
of the battalion men arrived from California, bringing a quantity of
wheat. Captain Grant came to Salt Lake City from Fort Hall in December to
arrange for opening trade between the two points. After due discussion,
the matter was referred to the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In regard to affairs at Pueblo and on the Missouri, I am indebted for further and later information to my esteemed friends Wilbur F. Stone and William N. Byers of Colorado. A detachment of the Mormons that wintered at Pueblo underwent many hardships, and there have been found relics in that vicinity, in the shape of furnace and cinders, significant of their industrial occupation at the time.
On the Missouri, the Indians, who at first had so heartily welcomed the saints during the year 1847, complained to the government that they were intruding on their domain. The government therefore ordered away the Mormons, but gave them permission to occupy lands on the east bank of the river for five years. There they built a town, named Kanesville, opposite Omaha, and occupied the best part of the country up and down the left bank of the river for a distance of twenty miles in each direction. Many of them lived in dugouts, that is, artificial caves made by digging out a space for occupancy in the bank of the river or on the side of a bluff. Most
(52cont.) William; Young, Brigham; Clarissa D. (wife of B. Y.); Young, Harriet P. (wife of Lorenzo D.); Young, Isaac P. D.; Young, Lorenzo D.; Young, Lorenzo Z.; Young, Phineas H.
|p. 274||of them were
farmers, and they had three or four grist-mills and two or three
The first emigrants did not stop on the east side of the river, but passed over at once on arrival, making their first settlement, as before mentioned, at Winter Quarters, situated six miles from the present city of Omaha, at the north end of the plateau, nearly all of which they ploughed up in the spring of 1847, and planted seed corn brought by those who the previous winter had returned to the Mississippi to work for wages. Hereabout they built many log houses, Brigham having a little cluster of them for his wives in a cosey nook apart from the others.
On their final departure for the west, the Mormons left a few of their number under A. J. Mitchell, who was assisted by A. J. Smith. They lived on the east side of the Missouri at first, and had a ferry across the river as early as 1851, with other ferries west, one at Loup Fork, and one on the Elkhorn. A large emigration up the river from New Orleans set in about this time. In the spring of 1852 the steamboat Saluda, having six hundred souls on board, was blown up at the mouth of the Platte.
In 1854 the lands of the Omahas, on the west side of the river, came into market, through a treaty made during the summer of that year with the natives, who ceded that section to the United States. Mitchell and Smith then moved to the western side, and changed the name of Winter Quarters to that of Florence, at the same time selling their interests on the eastern side to the gentiles, who changed the name of Kanesville to that of Council Bluffs.
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