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

Margaret Clark Journals

July 5, 1997

Location: Green River Crossing, Wyoming - Between Simpson's Hollow and Granger.

Summary: A wonderfully historic but long, hot day

Journal entry: The wagon train moved from Simpsons Hollow to the Green River Crossing today. It was an unusual day for travel. It wasn't the usual get-up-and-go day where you could just get it over with. Today was a special commemorative day of people and dignitaries and dedications and memories.

But to begin, I have to tell you that a lady walked up to Art today and handed him $40. She said that she felt very obligated to help pay for the tire he blew out there on the Rock Creek shuttle. That was the day we (the wagon train) lost at least 40 tires to blow-outs and flats.

This morning the walkers and handcarters left camp early at 6AM. They walked for about 10 miles. At that point the bus and several vans were there to pick all of the people up and bring them back to Simpsons Hollow for a special program. Simpsons Hollow is famous in Mormon History.

During the Utah War of 1857, the United States government, after receiving erroneous information about a Utah uprising, sent 2500 army personnel to Utah to quell the Mormons. The wagons and men got as far as this point, Simpsons Hollow, when the Utah Mormon men arrived from Salt Lake from the opposite direction with instructions to slow the army's progress. It seems strange to me that today we would honor and dedicate an area where we openly rebelled against the government. And then when I re-think the events, it was the only thing our Mormon ancestors could have done.

After being abused and killed for years, the Mormons finally found refuge and safety in the West. Ten years after their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, to find the government coming after them again with one of the largest gatherings of army men ever assembled, was truly a frightening and devastating prospect. The wisdom and courage of the men who stopped this army is nothing more than heroic.

The Mormons rode up to the supply wagons that were aiding the Army, asked the drivers to step down so they would not be hurt. They then burned the wagons. This they did over and over again and basically stopped the forward movement of the army. There was not one life lost during the "Utah War." The army had to stayover the winter at Ft. Bridger. During this winter encampment, there was enough time to straighten out the misunderstanding, thanks to the Mormons friend, Thomas Kane, and stop the army's intended purpose....of taking care of those Mormons, once and for all.

Today many people gathered here at Simpsons Hollow to honor the men who were instrumental in stopping the US Army. Pres. Hinckley arrived about 11AM. We also had representatives from the US Congress, the BLM, and the state of Wyoming. After the speeches and music, there was a re-enactment of a wagon burning. The leader of the Mormon group in 1857 was a man by the name of Lot Smith. Many of his descendants were here today to be part of this event honoring his tenacity and bravery. Our neighbors, Jon and Ann Smith, came from Cedar City to be a part of this event. Jon is actually a great grandson; coming from the line of Lot Smith's eighth and last wife.

The wagons from the wagon train had left camp about 10AM and pulled up behind the re-enactment location. So as we sat down in the Hollow where the pavilion was located and looked up on the hill towards the place of the dramatization, the wagon train was a backdrop for the scene. It was really a beautiful sight. But the day was so hot, and the wagons sat there in the sun for over 2 hours.

After the program was over, the wagon train took off, the walkers were shuttled back down the road to where they had left the handcarts, and the rest of us tried to get to our vehicles through the traffic jam. Welcome to the 1997 Wagon Train! But it was a very interesting program, it is always good to see our prophet, Pres. Hinckley, and I was amazed at how many people came to this event.

Maren walked 10 miles this morning, so decided to stay with Sarah and me this afternoon. After yesterday's walk, my ankle is very sore, so I opted to not walk. What a luxury we have as 1997 wagon train members. If we don't feel well or have other problems or commitments for the day, we can opt not to walk or go at all. Our ancestors could not choose not to go, unless they wanted to be left behind. I am really glad I did not have to be an 1800s pioneer. They had a hard life.

This afternoon, Art, Sarah, Maren and I sat in our motorhome, hotter than blazes. All we could think about were the walkers and that they now had to pull those handcarts through that sagebrush wasteland, in the dust and heat of the hottest time of the day.. We tried to imagine what they would want the very most, right now. We all agreed it had to be ice cream. We all got the same idea at the same time.

It was 20 miles back to Farson to the best ice cream place in hundreds of miles. We hurried back and found the line of people to get ice cream was way out the front door and wrapped around the corner of the building.

While Art went to get gas for the car, Sarah, Maren and I went to the back door and asked if we could buy two 3-gallon containers of ice cream. The owner was there and happy to oblige us. He also gave us cups and spoons. He had a big box of spoons and took handsful of spoons and just dumped them into a plastic bag, not needing to count them out. We guessed we probably had enough. We had 200 cups and a container of chocolate chip and strawberry ice cream. I handed the owner the $40 that Art had been given this morning. It came to $39.90. I told them to keep the change.

It was about 35 miles to catch up with the walkers on their march today, so we took off. When we caught up with them they were having a potty break and lunch. It was about 3:30. It was so much fun to start dishing up ice cream and and watch the expressions on their faces. It was surprise and wonder all wrapped up together. I hope it boosted their 20-plus mile day.

We had fed everyone ice cream and had about 2 scoops of chocolate chip left. I had 2 spoons left. We asked if everyone had had some and everybody said yes. I rather jokingly called out that there had to be two people who hadn't eaten because I still had two spoons. No one answered so we gave away the last ice cream.

As we were cleaning up and the handcarts started pulling out, Sarah and I looked up and watched BC and Amy walk over the distant ridge. They had gone down to the river to cool their feet while they ate their lunch. They had not had ice cream. We looked at each other in total disbelief!

At the next potty break, Jolene and the food wagon had lemonade, Kool-aid and bananas. It was such a hot, dry day. And so very, very long. It was another mile and a half to the Green River and across to camp. Everyone was glad to get to camp. But those of us who could, quickly left for the town of Green River or Rock Springs or anywhere. The mosquitoes here at the Green River were absolutely the worst we had seen anywhere. We were eaten alive! They had no gall. They just swarmed and landed anywhere and everywhere. It was total torture.

We drove into Green River with whoever wanted to come, and went to a campground. We were so grateful for showers and an escape from the mosquitoes. Besides, church was scheduled for tomorrow here in Green River, and we would be close for that. How did those Pioneers ever stand those mosquitoes? I'm sure having fires helped them. We cannot have fires. And maybe the accumulation of dirt and dust was a deterrent. I just know I wasn't going to stay out there and suffer for two days.

I have lost my desire to be an 1850 Pioneer. I have seen just a little bit of their problems and trials in these last few months and I think, in spite of 1997 stresses, I would not want to go back. I am grateful to take what I have and feel very blessed with that that I have. HappyNetTrekking!