Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1861: New Emigration Policy (Church Trains)

Realizing the great responsibility resting upon the men who had been called year after year to meet the incoming converts, Church authorities published the following epistle February 28, 1861. It was basically the plan used thereafter:

It is desirable that both the oxen sent in teams and those driven for sale should be between the ages of 3 and 8 years inclusive, and be well broke. The wagons should be the best Chicago make, two inch iron axle tree and be in such condition as not to require repair, accidents excepted, during the trip, and be provided with bows and good covers....

Each team should be provided with some eight light thin ox shoes, with the requisite number of nails, that oxen may be shod on the road when necessary, otherwise they would do better without shoes. The teams, wagons, loose oxen, teamsters and their outfits will be inspected by a competent person in G.S.L. City and must pass that inspection previous to being permitted to start the trip.

It is designed to organize the teams in companies of fifty each, each company to be under the charge of a responsible person, as captain, and all the companies to be under the charge of one superintendent or agent. Each company will be furnished with four mounted men, whose duty it will be to take charge of the animals when out of the yoke and see that they have the best grass and water the circumstances will permit. The guards must be assisted in their duties, when necessary, or when they require it, by the company to which they belong. When a man fits out a team to send for the poor and Church freight and then wishes to send one or more teams to freight for himself, he is at liberty to do so by paying his proportion of the expense for wagon master and mounted guard. Persons sending loose cattle for sale will also be required to pay a proportionate share of the expenses incurred in driving, guarding, and selling said cattle. Teams taking flour or other loading for the Church from here to Florence, will be allowed ten dollars a hundred, on labor tithing; and in like proportion for any distance on the route said loading is deposited, as we wish to deposit flour at different points. And for return loading they will be allowed $15 a hundred from Florence to this place, also on labor tithing....

Where there is tithing wheat, the teams from G.S.L. County are expected to haul reasonable loads of tithing wheat to G.S.L. City to be ground into flour to take toward Florence.

In addition to transporting Church freight and the poor brethren and their effects, this plan furnishes an excellent opportunity for individuals to send money, teams, loose oxen, or each or all for the purchase and transportation of wagons, groceries, machinery, and other staple articles for their own use, thus supplying themselves with imported merchandise at the cheapest rate and in a way within their reach. It is expected that the train and loose oxen will start from S.L.C. as early in the spring as the snow in the mountains will permit....

To each wagon, 1 tar can or keg and at least one gallon of wagon grease, 2 good whip lashes, with buckskin to splice and for crackers. For each teamster, 250 lbs. of flour, 40 lbs. bacon, 40 lbs. of dried beef (if to be had) as much butter as each chooses and can take safely. Ten lbs. sugar, 4 lbs. coffee, 1 lb. tea, 4 quarts beans, bar soap, 4 pounds yeast cake (or its equivalent in acid or yeast powder) salt enough for teamster and team, 1 good buffalo robe and 2 good blankets, one gallon of vinegar which should be carried in a stone jug, and some pickles if to be had. 2 good pair of boots or shoes, with grease enough to keep them well greased, 2 pair of good pants, six shirts, 5 pair socks, 3 overshirts and coats enough for comfort with needles and thread for mending. 1 good gun (double barrelled shotgun preferable) with plenty of powder balls and shot, one 2 gallon water can or keg.

It is recommended that six form a mess and that each six get together in their different neighborhoods and agree about furnishing the necessary cooking utensils for their mess, also the necessary medicinal articles such as no. 6 cayenne pepper, purgative pills, or castor oil, pain killer composition, liniment, etc.

Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel H. Wells.

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.