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

July 11, 1847

Location: Bear River - 63 miles left, Wyoming - (6 rods wide, 2 feet deep. Swift current - clear and cold water; plenty of timber and grass. Altitude at ford, 6,836 feet.) - [Nine more miles and Brigham Young became sick with tick fever on July 12.] 950 1/4 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: The Western Plains are filled with several different mineral resources for the Pioneers. Which road should we take?

Journal entry: SUNDAY, 11TH. Morning fine with ice a quarter of an inch thick on the water pails. Walked on the mountain east with President Young and Kimball, from whence we had a pleasing view of the surrounding valley which is about ten miles wide. Abundance of timber on the mountains south and southwest and beyond that plenty of snow.

After having prayers, we again descended and at the foot discovered a very strong sulphur spring. The surface of the water is covered with flour of sulphur and where it oozes from the rocks is perfectly black. The water in the creek shows sulphur very clearly and smells bad.

During the day some of the brethren discovered an oil spring about a mile south; The substance which rises out of the ground resembles tar and is very oily. Some have oiled their gun stocks with it and oiled their shoes, others have gone to fill their tar buckets and are sanguine it will answer well to grease wagons. It is somewhat singular to find such a great contrast of substances within so short a distance. Here is pure water, sulphur, and oily tar within a mile of each other, and matter of curiosity all around for the contemplation of the curious.

Porter, Brother Little and others have been out with Goodyear to view the route he wishes us to take. They represent it as being bad enough, but we are satisfied it leads too far out of our course to be tempted to try it. There are some in camp who are getting discouraged about the looks of the country but thinking minds are not much disappointed, and we have no doubt of finding a place where the Saints can live which is all we ought to ask or expect. It is evident the country grows better as we proceed west, and vegetation is more plentiful and looks richer.

After dark, a meeting was called to decide which of the two roads we shall take from here. It was voted to take the right hand or northern road, but the private feelings of all the twelve were that the other would be better. But such matters are left to the choice of the camp so that none may have room to murmur at the twelve hereafter.

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.