April 19, 1847
Summary: Mileage counter idea (odometer), toothache, fishing by boat.
Journal entry: MONDAY. At 5:00 a.m., at the sound of the bugle, I arose my face still paining me very badly. After eating breakfast, I started out on foot, before the wagons started, with my rifle on my shoulder. At 7:15 the wagons began to move and at 7:30 were all formed in double file and proceeded on. After traveling about eight miles we arrived at a number of small lakes, where were many ducks. A number of the brethren shot at them and killed several. At 1:15 p.m. we arrived at a bend in the river where a small stream runs around an island.
We stayed here to feed awhile, having traveled about fifteen miles mostly a western course with the wind south. The roads very good and the country very level on these flat bottoms of the Platte river which bottoms appear to be from ten to fifteen miles wide. Soon after the camp was formed, 0. P. Rockwell, Jackson Redding, and J. C. Little came in from Winter Quarters. They arrived at 2:10. They have found Dr. Richard's mare which was lost east of the Elk Horn and brought her to camp.
They brought me a line from Diantha and one from Ruth and Margaret. In the last was a very gentle piece of information which has caused me to reflect much, and proves to me that Ruth and Margaret's virtue and integrity have for the last year been far superior to mine. In my letter to them I requested them to attend to family prayer in my absence, a thing which I have neglected since leaving Nauvoo, They informed me that they had done that when I was at home but unknown to me, and they had then, and still continue to bear me up before their Heavenly Father. Oh, what integrity, what faithfulness. I feel unworthy to possess two such treasures, but still feel to try to reward them for it, and may my Father in heaven bless them, and all my family and let his angels guard them, and me during my absence that we may all be permitted to meet again and enjoy each other's society in the, world for many years to come, and eternal in the world to come. O! Lord, grant this prayer of thine unworthy servant, and fill my family with peace and union, and open a way that they may have the necessaries and comforts of life, and Thy name shall have the praise, even so, amen.
I received by Porter, some few fish hooks and lines, a ball of fish line and three pencils, but no small hooks nor knives nor wafers.
At twenty minutes after 3:00 p.m. the wagons began to move again, in the same order as this morning and traveled until 6:00 p.m. when we arrived at a very pretty open view of the Platte river, and the encampment was formed in a semi-circle on its banks, having traveled since noon, about five miles, and in the whole day 20 miles, over the same kind of dry, level, sandy bottom. The river here appears to be about a mile wide but very shoal. There is not much timber where we are camped, and the water is pretty muddy.
I walked some this afternoon in company with Orson Pratt and suggested to him the idea of fixing a set of wooden cog wheels to the hub of a wagon wheel, in such order as to tell the exact number of miles we travel each day. He seemed to agree with me that it could be easily done at a trifling expense.
After the encampment was formed, I went to Brother Luke Johnson and asked him to draw my tooth which has pained me so much for a long time. While I was speaking to him Stephen Markham came up, and wanted him to take his team and the Revenue Cutter - the name by which the leather boat is called back about two miles, as they designed to seine in one of the lakes. Brother Luke Johnson drives the team which draws the boat and rides in the boat as in a wagon. I concluded I would go and watch them fish and started out on foot.
I overtook Markham and John S. Higbee and in our conversation I mentioned to Brother John S. Higbee the same idea I had advanced to Orson Pratt, and he also seemed to coincide fully. After arriving at the lake they launched the boat and made three hauls. They only caught a snapping turtle, four small turtles, one duck, two small cat fish, and two creek suckers. They then concluded to return and I started on foot again with two rifles to carry. I got back to camp before they overtook me and being perfectly tired and very footsore, went to bed, but had no rest on account of the severe pain in my head and face.
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.