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

William Clayton Journals

April 26, 1847

Summary: Assigned to help with documenting trip. Some horses stolen. Breaking a new road.

Journal entry: MONDAY: This morning about 3:30 an alarm was sounded. I immediately got out of the wagon and learned that three of the guard who were stationed to the northeast of the camp had discovered some Indians crawling up towards the wagons. They first received alarm from the motions of one of our horses, and noticing this they went towards the spot and listening, heard something rustle in the grass; they first suspected they were wolves and fired at them. Only one gun went off and six Indians sprang up and ran from within a few rods of where they stood, another gun was then fired at them and the camp alarmed. A strong guard was placed all around, and a charge of cannister put in the cannon. The day was just breaking when this took place and the moon had just gone down.

The air being extremely cold and fires put out, I retired into the wagon till morning and arose again at half past five. After daylight, the footsteps of the Indians could be plainly seen where they had come down tinder the bank and sometimes stepped into the water. No doubt their object was to steal horses, and they had a fair privilege if the guard had been found asleep, for the camp was only formed in a half circle and some horses were tied outside. However, the prompt reception they met with will have a tendency to show them that we keep a good watch and may deter them from making another attempt.

Orders were given for the tens to assemble for prayers this morning, instead of two in each wagon, which was done. President Young told me this morning that as soon as my health will permit, he wants me to assist Brother Bullock in keeping minutes, etc., as Brother Bullock is hard run, having to take care of a team and attend to other chores.

The camp started out about 8:00 a.m. I started at 7:30 on foot and traveled four miles, then waited for the wagons. There is no road here, consequently, President Young, Kimball, G. A. Smith, A. Lyman and others went ahead on horseback to point out the road. The horse teams traveled first to break the strong grass so that it will not hurt the oxen's feet. The hunters started out in different directions - going only a few miles from the wagons.

We traveled about seven miles and then stopped at 11:30 o'clock beside a few little holes of water to rest and feed teams, etc. From this place which is somewhat elevated, can be seen the remains of an old village or Indian fort, over the river about northwest from here. The country looks beautiful, somewhat rolling and bounded uneven bluffs. The land looks poor and sandy. The sun is very hot and not much wind. I find it has a great tendency to make sore lips, parched up and feverish.

At 1:45 all the wagons were on the way again. We traveled about seven miles. We crossed two slough or soft places though not very bad. They are the first since we left Winter Quarters. The roads are more uneven than on the other side the river. We had to make a new road all day.

At 6:15 the encampment was formed on the east banks of a small creek with a very gravelly bottom. The wagons are formed in a deep hollow and so low that they cannot be seen at a quarter of a mile distance. There is no fresh grass here, neither has the old grass been burnt off. We have crossed a number of trails today which some say are buffalo trails. They all run towards the river, and in some places there are 8 or 9 others, not more than two, and so on, together running about a half a yard apart. The hunters have seen no buffalo.

Woosley killed a goose. There is no timber here, only a willows. We are about a half a mile from the river. There doesn't seem to be much timber on the river.

Our course today has been about southwest. About a mile back from this place situated on a high bench the banks of the river is the remains of an Indian villiage, the houses or lodges being all down and no apperance of timber left. The entrances to these lodges all face to the southeast the same as those back at the other village.

There has evidently been a garden around the village as the land has been broken and bears marks of cultivation.

This morning Brother Benson discovered that one of the iron axles of his wagon was broken, and he moved the load so that there was no weight on the part which broken, and traveled with it all day. This evening his wagon was unloaded, the axle taken off, Brother Tanner's forge set tip, and the axle welded and fixed ready to put to the wagon again. This was done in the short space of one hour after the encampment was formed. The welding was performed by Brother Burr Fost.

About eight o'clock Joseph Mathews came into camp from seeking his horses and stated that an Indian had rode a horse off a little before and he supposed it was Brother Little's horse, which was missing. Dr. Richards' mare was also missing. Brother Mathews stated that he went out to seek for his black man who was out watching his teams and as he arrived he saw Brother Little's horse as he supposed going towards the river. He ran towards it to turn it back to camp, but as soon as he commenced running, the horse sprang to a gallop, which made him suppose there was an Indian on him although he could not see the Indian.

As soon as he gave the alarm five or six of the brethren mounted their horses, and pursued on the course pointed out to the river, but could neither see nor hear a horse or Indian. When they returned, President Young and Kimball and a number of others went out on horseback and searched till near eleven o'clock, but likewise proved unsuccessful.

The brethren have been repeatedly warned not to let their horses go far from their wagons, but every time we stop they can be seen around for more than two miles. These are two good horses and the owners feel bad enough, but it will be a warning to others to be more careful.

Source: William Clayton's Journal

Published by the Clayton Family Association, and edited by Lawrence Clayton. To the best of our research, this contents of this book are no longer under copyright.