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 17, 1847

Summary: Leaving another message. Lots of small streams. Who gets the most "equal' part of the buffalo?

Journal entry: MONDAY: The morning very cold and chilly, wind northwest. Dr. Richards left another letter on the camp ground for the benefit of the next company. The letter is secured from the weather by a wooden case, and placed so that the brethren can hardly miss finding it.

We started on our journey at 8:13 a. m. After traveling a mile and a half, we arrived at the foot of another range of bluffs which extend to the river, and began to ascend about a quarter of a mile north from the river, the road also turning to the north. A quarter of a mile farther, we crossed a stream of spring water about three feet wide. The road for a little distance on both sides the stream is rough, sandy and crooked.

We then turned westward, and passed over a number of bluffs as there was no chance to go around them without going miles out of our course. On these sandy bluffs, there are very many small lizards about four or five inches long from nose to the end of the tail, which is an inch and a half long. The body looks short and chunky and is of a light grey color with two rows of dark brown spots on each side of the body which make it appear striped. The head is shaped something like the head of a snake. They appear perfectly harmless and are pretty in appearance.

After traveling two and a quarter miles beyond the last mentioned stream, we arrived at the west foot of the bluffs. The last part of the road very sandy and there are several very steep places of descent. However all the teams got safely over without difficulty.

At the west foot of the bluffs, there appears more grass than anywhere we have yet been, although the buffalo have eaten it off considerably. Within a quarter of a mile from the bluffs, we crossed two small streams of spring water and at a mile from the foot of the bluffs, we crossed a stream of spring water about four feet wide with a very rapid current. The whole of this bottom seems full of springs and we have to keep near the bluffs to make it good road to travel, and in fact, we find it more or less soft and springy even close to the bluffs.

A mile and a quarter west of the last mentioned spring is another small stream of very clear spring water. The others are rather muddy by running over sandy land. They all appear to have their rise in the bluffs a short distance from our road.

At 11:35 we stopped to feed having traveled this morning, six and three quarters miles. Our course west, weather fine, warm, and little wind. While we were resting, one of President Young's horses (in care of Phineas) mired down in a soft slough. A number of men soon collected and with a rope dragged it out, washed and rubbed it, and all was well again. Latitude 41 degrees 12' 50".

At two o'clock, we proceeded onward. After traveling a half a mile. we arrived at a very shoal stream of clear water about thirty feet wide but not over three inches deep in the channel which is about three feet wide. We forded it very easily and then passed over a short range of low sandy bluffs about a quarter of a mile wide and then entered on level prairie again, but we found it very soft and springy.

Within two and a half miles from the last mentioned stream we passed two others, one very small, the other about four feet wide. They both doubtless rise from springs at the foot of the bluffs.

About ten minutes after three o'clock, word arrived that a buffalo was killed by the hunters about a mile from the road. Two men were sent to skin and dress it. About the same time the revnue cutter arrived with two more buffalo one said to have been killed by Luke Johnson and the other by John Brown, also an antelope killed by Amasa Lyman. The wagons halted at a quarter to four, took the meat out of the boat, which immediately returned to fetch the other buffalo which was killed by Porter Rockwell. The meat was cut in quarters and put into the wagons and at half past four o'clock we again moved onward and traveled till 5:50 p. m. and camped on a nice dry bottom prairie where the grass is shorter than that we have passed all day.

We traveled this afternoon six miles and during the day twelve and three quarters, about a west course. We are some distance from water but several wells were soon dug and good water obtained at about four feet deep.

Soon after we camped the boat came in with the other buffalo and the meat was all distributed equally around the camp, but it appears that some have already got more than they need and feel unwilling to take a good forequarter.

The bluffs on the opposite side the river project to the river for some distance opposite this place. Latitude 41 degrees 13' 20".

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.