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

May 10, 1847

Summary: Bad dream, leaving markers, better feed, better meat, and beautiful landscape.

Journal entry: MONDAY: The morning fine but cool. The wind nearly ceased.

Last night I dreamed that I was in company with the camp which was stopping beside a considerable river of deep water. Our horses and cattle were tied to stakes all around the camp to the distance of a quarter of a mile, some good timber thinly scattered around. I thought President Young, Kimball and several others started up the river in a flat boat without stating their object, leaving the brethren to guard the camp, cattle, etc. in their absence. When they had been gone sometime I thought a large herd of buffalo came on full gallop right amongst our horses and cattle, causing them to break their ropes and fly in every direction. The brethren seemed thunderstruck and did not know what to do. Seeing a small skiff in the river, I sprang into it, and a paddle lying in it, I commenced rowing in pursuit of the President. It seemed as though I literally flew through the water passing everything on the way like a railway carriage. In a few minutes I overtook the brethren in the flat boat, took the skiff and threw it on shore and to my astonishment I saw that the skiff was made only of barks and cracked all over, and it seemed impossible to put it in the water without sinking it. The paddle with which I had rowed proved to be a very large feather and I had another feather in my left hand with which I steered the skiff. When I got into the flat boat, I made known what had passed in the camp, but the brethren seemed no ways alarmed. I awoke and behold, it was all a dream.

Dr. Richards is going to deposit a letter in a stick of wood prepared for the purpose near this place in such a manner that the next company will discover it. He fixed it on a long pole and being assisted by President Young and others raised it and fixed it firm in the ground. His distance from Winter Quarters three hundred and sixteen miles.

At nine five the camp proceeded onward. After traveling two miles we crossed a small creek which Elder Kimball named Skunk Creek, easily forded, though the ground was soft on the west side.

About this time the brethren at the head of the camp discovered a strange horse alone on the prairie. Porter and Thomas Brown gave chase to try to catch it.

Brother John Brown states that when the Mississippi company passed on the other side last season, one of the brethren lost a mare and two colts, and this is supposed to be the oldest of the two. When Brother Woolsey and Tippets came through from the battalion last winter they saw the same horse near here.

We traveled till twelve five and finding a little better feed stopped for dinner having traveled a few rods over six miles. The last two miles was over very soft prairie and although the last year's grass has not been burned, the wheels cut through the sod frequently.

At the creek four miles back, some of the brethren shot a buffalo which was brought into camp in the revenue cutter. The meat is said to be good and the fattest we have had

At two we continued our journey. About the same time Porter and Brown returned having failed to catch the horse. After traveling about half a mile we crossed a very bad slough, and beyond that for a mile the ground was wet and soft. The teams began to give out, and at half past four o'clock, the President ordered the wagons to strike for the timber which was a little out of our course, but necessary to favor the teams and obtain wood and water.

We arrived near the timber and camped at four fifty, having traveled since my last guide post a little over nine and three - fourths miles, the last two miles the ground being dry and good traveling. Some of the hunters killed a deer and we had some venison for supper.

Our course a little north of west. Light wind from northwest. The day warm and pleasant. We have a little better feed for cattle, and on the island plenty of brouse for horses, better timber than we have had for some time past. It appears plain that vast herds of buffalo have wintered here, but have mostly left and gone eastward sometime ago, and we have the full growth of this year's grass which is small indeed. The grass evidently springs later the farther west we travel, and nature seems to have taught the wild cattle this lesson, hence their eastward progress. There are some scattering herds of buffalo around, but not nearly so numerous as they were some thirty miles back.

The face of the country here is indeed beautiful, the soil rich on the bottoms, the ragged bluffs on each side of the river have a splendid appearance, and at about ten miles distance, west of where we now are, they seem to circle around until they form a junction. It appears evident also, that we are above the junction of the north and south forks of the Platte,the north fork running nearly northwest and the south fork southwest. Brother Woolsey says these are the forks in reality, but are connected some miles higher up by a slough, and consequently the land between is set down by travelers as the main land rather than as an island.

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.