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Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1848, Bullock, Thomas (Brigham Young's Company)

Second Trek to Salt Lake Valley
Thomas immediately set about [in Winter Quarters] preparing for the second trip to Salt Lake Valley. He records that on certain days he made maps of the Great Salt Lake City. On April 6th he took down the names of the Saints who had promised teams and wagons for the returning company. Thomas was given the responsibility of seeing that the Church records were delivered to the Valley in good condition. They were placed in a separate wagon which was referred to as the "Big Wagon" throughout the journey and were guarded night and day. Thomas and his assistant, William Thompson, were responsible for preparing the mail designated for the Valley. It was his duty to write and find suitable places to leave the messages for companies which would follow. On the 16th of July President Young asked the good scribe to write an epistle to the Saints in the Valley, and informed him that he had been a copyist long enough; henceforth he must write the epistles and letters.

Two days after leaving Sweetwater, on September 3rd, the camp recorder, Thomas Bullock, records this interesting happening:

"Two persons by the name of James B. Shockley and Richard P. Shockley with their families arrived from the Valley with two wagons, three yoke of oxen and two cows on their way to Missouri. President Young gave them a very severe lecture on their going to serve the devil among our enemies. On finishing he told them to go in peace but never to return to the Valley until they knew they were Saints indeed. He gave them twenty-five pounds of meat to feed them."

During the journey Thomas" oxen died and Addison Everett lent him a yoke to finish the journey. On September 20, 1848, the record wagon ran into a stump and the tongue was broken. Since no wagon could pass, repairs were immediately undertaken and as all hands helped, in three-quarters of an hour they were again on their way. In the descent of the mountain the tongue bolt of the wagon broke and once more they halted, camping for the night on the side hill. Again repairs were made and on the morning of September 21st they resumed their journey. The next day Thomas and those traveling with him arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. The two letters that follow, written to Levi Richards, tell of the journey and its successful conclusion, as well as conditions in the new home.

Camp of Israel
north side of Platte
400 miles from Winter Quarters
July 10, 1848

Dear Brother Levi,
This is the first opportunity for me to write a letter to any of my friends, and as you are now my attorney and counsellor in England, I think it right to remember you the first; and as it may be interesting for you and the Saints in England to know a little of our progress, I cheerfully commence the task of communicating.

You are aware that those Saints who had been diligent in accumulating means for their removal from the sound of those who had been their oppressors, and who had driven them from their homes, their city, their temple, their all, had commenced a gathering on the west bank of the Elk Horn, 27 miles from Winter Quarters; to organize, preparatory to their journey into the wilderness over those immense prairies, barren sage plains, sterile lands, and Rocky Mountains: that they might gather into that valley which is hidden up in the bosom of the mountains, on the tops of the everlasting hills, and rear a temple to the Lord God of Israel, where they may hear the word of the Lord, and know His will concerning us.

On the last day of May, our beloved President, Brigham Young, commenced organizing the people into 100's, 50's, and 10's; appointing the officers necessary to manage so large a body of people, and afterwards I succeeded in obtaining the following census of the people and their stock.

Brigham Young's Division:

  Wagons Souls Horses Mules Oxen Cows Cattle Sheep Pigs Chickens
Taylor's (100) 190 597 30 16 615 316 63 134 66 282
L. Snow's(100) 99 321 20 3 308 188 38 139 25 158
Perkins" (100) 57 155 14 0 191 99 34 97 28 94
Pulsipher(100) 51 156 10 0 161 96 49 41 22 71
Total: 397 1229 74 19 1275 699 184 411 141 605
Heber C. Kimball's Division of 226 waggons, with a similar proportion of animals
found 226 662 57 25 737 284 150 243 96 299
Grand Total: 623 1891 131 44 2012 983 334 654 237 904

President Willard Richards and Amasa Lyman will also lead another large company to the mountains.

Thus you see the seed of the gathering has been sown, and three of the reapers are gathering their sheaves into the store-house of the Lord to be hidden up; while the overflowing scourge of the Almighty sweeps the earth of wickedness, and those that forget God.

On the 1st day of June, Lorenzo Snow's company moved off the ground to the Liberty Pole on the Platte, in order to make room for other waggons that came pouring in from Winter Quarters. If any person enquire, "Is Mormonism down?" he ought to have been in the neighbourhood of the Elk Horn this day, and he would have seen such a host of waggons that would have satisfied him in an instant, that it lives and flourishes like a tree by a fountain of waters; he would have seen merry faces, and heard the song of rejoicing, that the day of deliverance had surely come.

On the 2nd day of June, Pulsipher's camp followed on the trail, and we received a visit from Elders Hyde, Woodruff, Benson, and others; by them we learned that the Pawnees and Otoe Indians had a fight in the rear of Winter Quarters, several killed.

3rd. Perkins" camp moves on their journey. Brother Hyde and others return to Winter Quarters.

4th. Meeting at President Young and Kimball's corrals.

Monday, June 5. President Young's company take up their line of march. Lucy, wife of Elisha H. Groves, run over by her waggon, which broke her leg. Camp continues its journey to the Liberty Pole on the Platte, travel 12 miles.

6th. Pass an Indian battle ground. At night, camp on the banks of the river, 13 1/4 miles. At night, the captains of Tens met with the Presidency, to complete the organization of the camp, and appoint the guard to watch both day and night.

We continued our journey without anything particular occurring day by day. Came in sight of buffalo on the 29th June, for the first time this season. Since leaving the Elk Horn, we have travelled 27 days, averaging 14 miles per day; and have rested 10 days, which brings us this day (12th July,) to Crab Creek, 409 1/4 miles from Winter Quarters; we propose travelling about 12 miles to good feed this day.

Last night, at half-past 10, brothers John Y. Green, Isaac Burnham, Joseph W. Young, and Rufus Allen arrived at our camp from the Valley, bringing us the news up to 18th of May last, the day they started; all is well there. The wheat looks well, corn up about 6 inches; of this they cannot say much at present, as there had been scarce any time to form an opinion.

Since they came in, a mail of a few letters has arrived, the latest date is June 9, 1848, from which we learn "The health of our place is good, and has been ever since we have been here. There has been a large amount of spring crops put in, and they were doing well till within a few days; the crickets have done considerable damage both to wheat and corn. The seagulls come in large flocks from the lake, and sweep the crickets as they go; it seems the hand of the Lord is in our favor. O. P. Rockwell has arrived from California in company with Capt. Davis and his company."

In a letter from Elder John Taylor, he writes, "We have been busy since our arrival in building, ploughing, planting, and sowing, and we expect ere you arrive to be enjoyed in the more pleasant work of reaping. I never saw the Saints more diligent than they have been in this valley; enterprise and industry seem to be written on every man's forehead. Barley, oats, rye, buckwheat, and other grains look well; flax, and especially peas, look very promising." He sent a sample of peas, a carrot, and an ear of rye, gathered 22nd May, as a specimen of the first fruits of the valley for the year 1848.

The accounts given by the brethren all confirm the above all are cheering for the honest-hearted Saint, but very disheartening to hypocrites, and those who go to speculate and oppress their neighbours their reign is at an end; as the Poet saith,

We go where hypocrites will fear,
And tremble at the word Of him,
who is appointed here
To wield the two edg'd sword.

In proof of the health of the place, there have been about 15 graves dug, namely: one child drowned; one carried there dead; one died entering the valley, killed by a log falling; one by eating poison roots; two, consumption; one, liver complaint; one, imprudent exposure while in perspiration; children, three; and there may be perhaps three more. To balance this, in one row of eight houses adjoining, in one week there were seven births, and the brethren suppose about 120 births in the 12 months. I will endeavour to send an accurate account hereafter.

There is one grist mill in operation two in progress. Two saw mills running, and three in progress. They have also nearly completed 12 miles of fencing, enclosing all the farming land in one field. Elder P. P. Pratt and family are well, and farming largely in comparison to his help. Daniel Spencer's family are all well, and doing well; live in five log houses, and have 100 acres of grain in the ground, looking well; their fall wheat is up good; spring wheat is also up, and 12 acres of corn looks pretty. Ellen Spencer and James Bullock have visited my office a few minutes since; they are all well in health, and in good spirits; they have had no accident either with themselves, their cattle, or their property, and are going on well. Her cousin, Charles, has brought a waggon and two yoke of oxen, and is going to assist them to the valley. They send their love to their father, and anxiously enquire if they may expect to see him next summer.

You will please remember me to Elders Pratt, Spencer, Clinton, Cummings, Spiers, Whitehead, Robbins, and the rest of the elders who are now on a mission to my native country.

May the Lord bless you, from your brother in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
Thomas Bullock, Clerk of Camp of Israel.

Glorious News From The Salt Lake Valley
On the Sweetwater, East Side of South Pass 789 Miles from Winter Quarters, 24 Aug. 1848

Dear Brother Levi Richards:
Remember me kindly to all the Elders who left Winter Quarters about the same time as you did; I pray that their health, as well as yours, may be good; that you may all be blessed with His Spirit from on high, be prospered on your missions, and return to Zion with songs of everlasting joy.

We have received an epistle from the Council in the Valley, dated August 8, 1848, from which I send you some extracts:

There are 450 buildings in the Fort, besides quite a number of temporary farm buildings, three saw mills in operation, and one partly finished, one temporary grist mill, and an excellent one nearly finished by Brother Neff. Brother Leffingwell put up a threshing machine and fanning mill on City Creek, propelled by water; it will thresh and clean in good order two hundred bushels per day. Our wheat harvest is over, the grain is splendid and clean, but being mostly in shock and stack, we cannot state the number of bushels; however, we are all agreed that the wheat crop has done wonderfully well, considering all the circumstances, and that we can raise more and better wheat to the acre in this valley than in any place any of us ever saw; and the same with all other grains, vegetables, etc., that we have tried.

Wheat ranges at two dollars per bushel, and the best judges think it will be as low as one in a short time. Our main fence is twelve miles long, not quite finished, owing to the press of other matters, but we expect to complete it this week. Three small babes have died since we wrote last week; there has not been at any time what is commonly understood by sickness health prevailing winter and summer. You now learn definitely that our wheat harvest has far exceeded our expectations. Green peas have been so plentiful for a long time that we are becoming tired of them; cucumbers, squashes, beets, carrots, parsnips, and greens are upon our tables as harbingers of abundance in their respective departments, etc.

Brother O. Pratt will be glad to see the following extracts from a letter of P. P. Pratt to President Young:

"I have enjoyed good health all the day in this valley, and have been enabled to labor as hard as I ever did a season in my life; my family are all in usual health; and in good spirits; we are also greatly blessed in gardens, in wheat, in corn, and in all things I have set my hands unto. I have raised some sixty bushels of good wheat without irrigation; a few bushels of rye, and oats, and my corn in the field looks as well as any corn I ever saw in the States. The wheat crop has exceeded all expectation; oats do better than in the States say 60 bushel to one of sowing, on sod ground; every kind of vegetable suited to the northern latitudes does well. They have also found a cut off, avoiding Pratt's Pass to the Willow Springs going up Weber River instead of down it, a good road and saves about seven miles."

Such are the general extracts, which are abundantly confirmed by men who have lived in the Valley; amongst other things they report that Elder Levi Hancock sowed eleven lbs. weight of California wheat on the 14th of April and reaped 22 bushels the latter part of July; he sowed 1/2 bushel of English common wheat on an acre and a half and reaped upwards of 20 bushel; one gram of seven eared wheat produced seventy-two ears. Barley that was sowed ripened and was reaped and carried off the land then irrigated, and produced from the roots a fresh crop, four times the quantity of the first crop. Oats that were sown produced a good crop, was cut down and cleared, the roots again sprung up and produced another beautiful crop. Peas first planted, a good crop ripened, gathered, then planted the same peas, yielded another crop, and again a third crop is now growing. Beet seed planted this spring, produced beets as thick as my leg, which went to seed and yielded a great quantity. Cabbage seed planted this spring produced seed again.

Above all, they report that Mother Sessions has had a harvest of 248 little cherubs since living in the Valley. Many cases of twins; in a row of seven houses joining each other, eight births in one week.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.