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 10, 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 Pioneers travel over the mountainous Continental Divide!

Journal entry: SATURDAY, 10TH. Started this morning at eight o'clock, weather warm with tolerably high wind - After traveling three and a half miles we passed a small copperas spring at the foot of a mountain a little to the left of the road. The water is very clear but tastes very strong of copperas and alum and has a somewhat singular effect on the mouth. It runs a little distance over the red sand which abounds in this region and where it is saturated with water almost looks like blood at a little distance. After passing this spring the road winds around the foot of mountains gradually ascending for sonic distance till finally arriving on the summit of a high ridge. Here Elder Pratt took a barometrical observation and found the height to be 7,315 feet above the level of the sea.

On arriving at the west side of the ridge two and a half miles from the last mentioned spring we found a very steep, rough place to descend and found it necessary to halt and fix the road. About half way down there is a place over huge rocks, leaving barely enough room for a wagon to get down, but by labor it was soon made passable. A little farther, the brethren had to dig a place considerably to make a pass between the mountains. President Young and Kimball labored hard with a number of others and in about a half an hour made a good road. At twenty miles from Fort Bridger, passed another spring and a little farther after arriving on the bottom land, the road turns nearly south through a beautiful low bottom filled with grass.

At 1:45 we halted for noon, having traveled nine miles. Latitude 41' 14' 21'. After halting an hour and a half we proceeded again and after traveling three and a half miles began to ascend the dividing ridge between the Colorado waters and the great basin. This mountain is very high and the ascent steep, rendering it necessary to make a crooked road to attain the summit. The height is 7,700 feet according to Elder Pratt's observations. The surface at the top is narrow. Here three bears were seen to run over a still higher mountain on the left.

The descent was very steep, having to lock the wagons for half a mile. We then decended and traveled on the bottom a few miles between high rugged mountains till the road seems suddenly to be shut up by a high mountain ahead. The road here turns suddenly to the left and goes east about 200 yards then winds again southwest. After ascending and descending another high ridge, we crossed a small creek about ten feet wide and at 7:45 formed our encampment on the southwest banks, having traveled this afternoon nine miles and during the day eighteen over the most mountainous course we have yet seen.

After camping, Mr. Miles Goodyear came into camp. He is the man who is making a farm in the Bear River valley. He says. it is yet seventy - five miles to his place, although we are now within two miles of Bear River. His report of the valley is more favorable than some we have heard but we have an idea he is anxious to have us make a road to his place through selfish motives. Elder Pratt has found a beautiful spring of clear, sweet, cold water about a hundred yards southwest from the camp. Water excellent.

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.