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Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1848, Brown, John (Journal Entries)

Trek from Mississippi
It was the decision of Mr. Brown to return to the States with President Young and other brethren in order to bring his wife and others to the valley the following year, 1848. They arrived at Winter Quarters on the last day of October and here he received a letter from his wife, which was the first news he had received from her since he left for the West. She was well when she wrote. He also received the following letter from President Brigham Young giving him an honorable discharge from camp duties.

Winter Quarters, Nov. 4, 1847.
To Elder John Brown,
Beloved Brother:

Permit us to say to your friends and the Saints in Mississippi, Alabama, etc., that Elder Brown has accompanied the Pioneer camp the present season, and has ever been ready to partake of his share of the labors, toils, fatigues, sufferings, privations and expenses, has faithfully performed every duty and proved himself a man of God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed.

The camp having accomplished the object of their mission, were dismissed at this place on the 31st of October, and Elder Brown is honorably discharged from the duties of the camp with this, our testimonial, as a memento of our confidence in him and our affection for him. Elder Crosby and all the Saints in this vicinity will receive such instructions from Elder Brown as will enable them to be prepared with seeds, such as canes, lowland and upland rice, yams and sweet potatoes in all its variety, indigo, ginger, madder, coffee, black pepper, persimmons, oranges, lemons, citrons, grapes, figs, and seeds of all kinds of choice fruits and vegetables of temperate and tropical climates packed in various ways according to their nature, suitable for transportation, such as sealing them hermetically in glass or stone vessels, enclosing them in linen bags, or covering them in dry or moist earth, that they may be preserved until their arrival or grow on their journey as their natures may require, and all things necessary, to gather at this place by the 1st of May next, ready to move over the mountains to "The Great Salt Lake City," which the Lord has designed as the place for the gathering of His people. Give diligent heed to Elder Brown's instructions and the blessings of Heaven and Earth will be multiplied unto you. It is not necessary for us to write particularly to Elder Crosby, who presides in that vicinity as Elder Brown is our letter to him.

We remain your brethren in the bonds of faith, patience and perseverance; in behalf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Willard Richards, Clerk.
Thomas Bullock, Clerk of the Pioneer Camp

A few weeks after my arrival home (in Mississippi) Brothers A. Lyman, Preston Thomas, and Jas. H. Flanigan came. They had been sent out among the branches to gather means to aid the Presidency in removing the Saints to the valley. I gave him $200.00. This winter was spent in making preparations to start early in the spring.

All things being ready, we started on the 10th of March in wet, muddy weather. We had eleven wagons in the company, there being some six families with a number of colored people. About twenty miles out we came to a stream called Bull Mountain, which was very high. We moved up to a new ferry kept by a man named Winters. Early on the morning of the 13th, we commenced crossing. The bottom was very miry. On driving out a few rods from the boat, my team mired down all at once and threw me into the mud and water. Others followed and shared the same fate ... The stream had been so high our mules mired down time and time again, and we had to wade in the mud and water and roll the wagons by hand. On one occasion we had six mules to one wagon and three drivers, one on each nigh mule. The saddle mule with the driver fell and was dragged some two rods by the others. The driver escaped unhurt. After this it was thought advisable to find a different route for the wagons. So we reached and found a good way, and by sundown we had all reached the hill safe and sound.... Our company of eleven wagons attracted as much attention as a menagerie of wild animals. Every man, woman and child, both white and black, gazed at us with astonishment as we passed their habitations.

March 30th: We moved on to the Ohio River, Wilcox Ferry, opposite Metropolis. The river was full, being some two miles wide and still rising very fast. The ferry boat was out of repair and it was supposed that we could not cross for several days. Brothers Lyman and Flanigan, who had been traveling with us with the intention of taking a steamboat at this place, had to abandon the idea. They stopped all night with the ferryman. In the afternoon it commenced raining and continued all the night. The day was spent in calculating which was the best course to take.

April 1st: This morning was clear and calm ... Brothers Lyman and Flanigan crossed the river and took a steamboat.

This day (Sunday) was spent in skiff riding. Among the various calculations about what was the best course to take, it was concluded to get our folks and equipment, except our animals, on a steamboat to be shipped to St. Louis and drive our animals through by land. This was thought to be the best under the circumstances for we could not get across the river for the want of a ferry boat. This evening it was proposed that William Crosby and myself should go up to Paducah and charter a little steamboat called "The Tiger" to take us to St. Louis. We concluded to go on a steamboat and to do this we had to cross the river to Metropolis. So about 10 o'clock at night we got into a small craft and crossed the bottom to the ferryman's house which was situated on a high strip of land immediately on the bank of the river. He had gone to bed and would not take us over that night, so we tarried with him until morning.

This morning (Monday) we concluded to go to Paducah by land. We went back to camp where it was proposed that myself and J. H. Bankhead should get on our horses and go by land ... After a ride of fifteen miles we reached Paducah. "The Tiger" had gone to Smithland where she belonged. There was another little steamer lying at the wharf called "The Transport." After much deliberation the captain agreed to take the company over for $400.00 which was agreed upon.

Wednesday morning it was still raining. After breakfast we commenced to put our things on board. The little boat could not get nearer than half a mile from the hill where we were camped. We formed two companies.... We all worked like heroes and got everything on board and ready to start by dark. A wetter crowd never went on board any ship unless they were picked right out of the water. The boat was small and we filled it with 11 wagons, 30 white persons, 24 colored persons, 1 yoke of oxen and 24 mules ... when I awoke in the morning I found we were going up the Mississippi River. We were quite comfortable on the boat and pretty well prepared to appreciate it, having traveled in mud and rain, camping in wagons and tents for one month.

We concluded that it would be a good plan to send some two or three men to Illinois to buy oxen, as we intended to purchase the remainder of our wagons at St. Louis and commence our journey by land from that place. (Twelve yoke of oxen where finally purchased).

We arrived at St. Louis on April 16th. We had left our oxen on the Illinois side of the river, after which we crossed over in search of the camp. We went to the Postoffice where I found a letter addressed to me from my brother-in-law, William Crosby. It informed us that the camp was seven miles down the river. So we went in search of it and found it by nightfall ... They were well and very glad to see us. John H. Bankhead's wife had given birth to a fine son on board the boat.

Friday, April 21st: We finally got started from camp. We had 21 wagons in the company. We crossed the Missouri River at St. Charles.... Some of us went over the river into town where we saw President Young and Amasa M. Lyman. We found that the first company had not yet gone and the time of their going was not yet known. Brother Lyman had received our flour and groceries which had been sent up the Missiouri River from St. Louis by steamboat. Brother Lyman came back with us to our camp. Brothers Orson Hyde and George A. Smith visited us. We were camped with Brothers Lockhart and Smith of Mississippi. The Powell brothers of Mississippi were camped nearby so the Mississippi Company was quite an admiration, The brethren on the west side of the river who could not go to the mountains were all moving over on the Pottawattamie lands.

Thursday, May 25th: We spent the day visiting. Here I saw Brother Heber C. Kimball. He said, "Brother John, God bless you forever."

Friday, May 26: We went over the river to Winter Quarters.

Saturday, May 27, 1848: I made a report of the Mississippi Company as follows:

The heads of families were: John Powell, Moses Powell, Robert M. Smith, John Lockhart, George Bankhead, John H. Bankhead, John D. Holladay, Francis McKnown, William H. Lay, Elizabeth C. Crosby, John Brown, William Crosby, Ekles Truly. In the company were 56 white persons, 34 colored persons. Their possessions: 28 wagons, 41 yoke of oxen, 22 horses, 32 mules, 48 milch cows, and 100 sheep.

The foregoing comprised the Mississippi company of Saints of 1848. The last part of this company had left Mississippi on March 10th. This company has now performed a journey of 917 miles by land, excepting about 200 miles which a part of the company have traveled by water. There have been no deaths on the way. There was one birth. We had very little sickness. There was no loss of property of any consequence excepting one ox belonging to Brother McKnown which got his neck broke when he was tied up. The company are all well, excepting one case of the chills and fever, and all appear to be in fine spirits. They have a good comfortable outfit and calculate to go over the mountains this season. William Crosby, Captain; John Brown, Clerk. Our camp was some two miles below the ferry and on account of the throng, we could not cross for several days.

Sunday, June 4th: A part of the Mississippi company who were not willing to wait for the second company, crossed the Missouri River last week and left for the Horn to join the first company. They were F. McKnown, John H. Bankhead, George Bankhead and John Lockhart. The rest of our company crossed the river on the 10th.

5th: I went to town in the forenoon. I learned the first companies were leaving the Horn in companies of 100 wagons.

7th: Sister Lay gave birth to a fine son.

10th: We all got across the Missouri River without loss.

July 1st: In organizing the camp, I was appointed Captain of the fourth ten. The list of names of the fourth ten are: John Brown, William Crosby, John D. Holladay, William H. Lay, Ekles Truly, John Powell, Robert M. Smith, Willis Borss, George Wardie, Daniel Tyler and Andrew Lytle.

July 3rd, 4th and 5th: Spent in repairing and fixing up, washing and fishing in the Horn, preparatory to starting.

6th: The second fifty, in which President Richards traveled, came up, crossed the river and camped close by us.

7th: We set out from the Horn. From this time on to the Valley I have kept a minute account of what transpired. The whole camp when organized consisted of 100, divided into two fifties. J.M. Flake was captain of 100; B. L. Adams was captain of the first fifty; Dr. Willard Richards traveled with the second fifty and Amasa M. Lyman with the first. My company was the fourth ten in the first fifty.... We met several companies going back. They all brought favorable news from the Valley. The crops that had escaped the crickets had done well ... We got along fine, lost nothing of any consequence until we reached the Black Hills. Within a few miles of La Prela River my ox-wagon broke down, where it remained all night. Next morning, August 29th, my wife gave birth to a fine son, and I called him John Crosby Brown. We repaired the wagon and came up with the camp. We lost a great deal of stock in this part of the route. We had good weather most of the way. At Bear River we had quite a snowstorm, covering the ground several inches. In crossing Bear River, Brother William Crosby had a wagon break down, in consequence of which my ten had to stay behind one day. We overtook the camp which had tarried a little. Soon after we passed the Needle Cliffs, Brothers A. M. Lyman, John D. Holladay and Captain Flake left us at Bear River and went on horseback to get some teams to help us over the mountains. On the Weber they met us with some help. On the night of October 16th we camped in the mouth of Emigration Canyon in sight of the fort, and the next day most of us moved up to the Cottonwood ... When we came to the valley, we found whooping cough among the children, and my dear little son, who was but two months old, caught it among the rest. He had been healthy and growing but his little system was not able to withstand the disease, together with everything else he had to contend with in this world. So he departed this life on December 21, 1848.... I buried him on my farm on the east hill of the south field, between two cottonwood creeks. My mother-in-law, (Elizabeth Coleman Crosby) who was living with me, died February 13, 1849 and was buried in the same place.

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.