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

June 24, 1847

Summary: While travels go well, the second horse is shot accidentally.

Journal entry: THURSDAY, 24th. Morning fine but cool. It was calculated to make an early start so as to pass the two companies of the Missourians and get the best chance for feed at night, but they started out a half an hour before we were ready.

We proceeded onward at 6:15 and a little over a mile from where we camped, found the river again bending northwest while the road continues near a west course and soon rises a high bluff. On the top of this, we appear to have a level road for many miles, after traveling five miles from morning, we arrived at a level strip of land on the north side of the road where there is plenty of grass and apparently swampy and soft. It extends in the same direction with the road a mile and a half and appears to terminate where the road crosses the lower land although the grass and hollow continue southward for some distance.

Just above where the road crosses at the west end there is some water standing around a small, circular, swampy spot of land probably about a half an acre. Near the edge at the northwest corner is a hole dug which is called the Ice Spring. The water in the hole smells strong of sulphur or alkali and is not pleasant tasting, but under the water which is over a foot - deep there is as clear ice as I ever saw and good tasting. Some of the brethren had broken some pieces off which floated and I ate some of it which, tasted sweet and pleasant. The ice is said to be four inches thick. The water is very cold although the weather is warm. A quarter of a mile farther than there is a spring, there is a small lake or spring of alkali on the left of the road and a little farther, still another lake. The latter is more pleasant tasting than the other, not too strong of sulphur. It tastes very much like lye mixed with salt.

The ground around these lakes is white with alkali or saleratus and a number of the bretheren picked up their pails full but we have learned ought to be used with care, it being so much stronger than common saleratus. If the same quantity is used it makes the bread quite green.

After traveling from the ice spring ten and a quarter miles over a very uneven road, we descended a very steep bluff close in the rear of one of the Missourian companies. The others had halted a few miles ahead and we passed by them. While winding around and descending from this bluff we came in the sight of the river again and about the same time, Elder Kimball picked up an Indian arrow point made of flint stone and nearly perfect. It was almost as white as alabaster.

At 3:30 we tarried a little south from the road and formed our encampment in a line so as to enclose on a bend in the river, having traveled seventeen a three quarters miles without halting on account of there being no water fit for cattle to drink. The feed here is very good and plenty of willow bushes for fuel. The river is about three rods wide and clearer and very cool. The last five or six miles of the road were not so sandy but hard and good traveling. One of the Missourian companies have gone on, but the other camped a piece down the river at the fording place.

A while before dark when the brethren were fetching up their teams, John Holman, while bringing up President Young's best horse, having his loaded rifle in his hand, the horse undertook run back past him and to prevent his running back, he jammed his gun at him. The cock caught in his clothes, the gun went off lodging the ball in the animal's body. It entered a little forward of the nigh hind leg on the under side of his belly making quite a large hole. The horse walked to camp but it is the opinion of many he cannot survive long. He appears to be in great pain, the sweat failing from his forehead in large drops. President Young is evidently filled with deep sorrow on account of this accident but attaches no blame to John who also grieved very much. The brethren generally feel sorrrowful, this being the second horse shot by accident on this mission.

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.