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 19, 1847

Summary: Who leads? Who follows? Worst road and weather of the trip so far. Wolf Creek named.

Journal entry: WEDNESDAY: It has rained a little most of the night and still looks gloomy, cloudy and like for a rainy day.

Inasmuch as the feed is not good here, it was thought best to move on before breakfast a few miles and seek better feed. We started out at 5:05, the second division having the fight to lead, but a part of the first division being ready a little before all the second were ready, they rushed on their teams, drove fast and those of the second division behind had to leave the track and run their teams to take their places.

We traveled two and three quarters miles, our course eleven and one forth degrees north of west, and then crossed a stream three feet wide, and one quarter of a mile farther crossed another four feet wide. Our route lay within about one quarter of a mile from the bluffs and a mile from the river which takes a bend south from where we camped last night and runs close to the bluffs on the south side. We then turned our course to a little west of northwest as the river bends again to the bluffs on this side, and traveled a quarter of a mile farther and hatted for breakfast at 6:20, having traveled three and a quarter miles.

The main body of the camp have stopped a quarter of a mile back, being three miles from where we started this morning. The road is mostly sandy, tall grass of last year's growth. The two streams we passed seem to form many ponds of clear water extending at short distances from each other from the bluffs to the river.

Elder Kimball has been ahead over the bluffs to took out the road. It continues to rain a little occasionally with light north wind. Elder Kimball found that the bluffs project entirely to the river and are very sandy, but we can cross them without going out of our course.

At twenty minutes to nine, we proceeded onward a little and then waited till the rest of the wagons came up. At the distance of nearly a mile and a half, we crossed a stream about twenty feet wide, not very deep, neither very good to cross, and exactly at the distance of a mile and a half, we arrived at the foot of the bluffs and began to ascend without doubling teams. Some of the teams stuck by, but by the assistance of the extra men, they all got up.

The bluffs are very high, sandy and rough, and the sand cuts down considerably, making it heavy on teams. These bluffs are three quarters of a mile from the east foot to the west foot following our trail which is nearly straight. About 200 yards from the west foot of the bluffs, we crossed another stream five feet wide.

It has rained heavily all the time since we started after breakfast and continues. Consequently at half past ten the camp formed into platoons and then halted to wait for more favorable weather, having traveled six miles today over the worst road we have had from Winter Quarters, rendered worse, doubtless, by the heavy rains.

About half past two the weather looked a little more favorable and orders were given to move on. We started at five minutes to three, about which time it again rained heavily. We traveled two miles and then formed our encampment in a semicircle on the banks of the river, having traveled two miles and through the day, eight miles. The first mile this evening was over very soft prairie, the last hard and good.

The rain still continues to pour down heavily and this has been the most uncomfortable day we have had and the hardest on our teams. The brethren, however, feel well and cheerful. The ox teams are improving in their condition, but the horses do not stand it as well.

The stream at the east foot of the last mentioned bluffs was named Wolf creek from the following circumstance: When Elder Kimball went ahead this morning to search out a road, he went up the creek about a mile and around over the bluffs to find, if possible, a better road than the one close to the river. While he was searching; about a mile north from the river he went down into a deep hollow surrounded by high bluffs and as he was riding alone at the bottom, he turned his head to the left and saw two very large wolves at about five rods distance gazing at him. One of them he said was nearly as large as a two year old steer. When he saw these he looked around on the other side and saw several others about the same distance from him, very large ones, and all gazing fiercely at him. This startled him considerably, and more especially when he reflected that he had no arms. lie made a noise to try to scare them away but they still stood, and he concluded to move away as soon as he could. They did not follow him and he saw a dead carcass near, which satisfied him that he had interrupted their repast. On mentioning this circumstance to President Young, they named the creek "Wolf Creek."

He traveled back and forth over ten miles searching out a road before breakfast. He also went out again afterwards and got badly wet. He then concluded to change his clothing and remain in his wagon. The evening is very cool and cloudy with wind from the northeast. The rain had ceased about six o'clock, but it still looks stormy.

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.