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 15, 1847

Summary: Cold wind and rain. Poor feed ahead. Treeless bluffs. Indian camping spots with children.

Journal entry: SATURDAY: This morning is very cloudy and very cold, more like a January morning than a May morning. The wind blows strong from the northeast.

The brethren who killed the buffalo did not bring it to camp last night, but put it in the boat and left it till morning. About half past seven they brought it in and divided it to the captains of ten. At eight o'clock it commenced raining again but abated a little before nine.

At nine o'clock we commenced in moving and after traveling three quarters of a mile began to ascend the sandy bluffs. It commenced raining again and it looks like rain for all day. It is very cold, the wind continues strong.

The road was much of a zig zag over the bluffs, but only about a mile before we descended to the bottom. We traveled a piece farther and at half past ten o'clock it was considered best to turn out the teams until it ceases raining, after traveling two and a quarter miles. We found it unnecessary to double teams while crossing the bluffs and we got over without difficulty, much better than we had anticipated.

About noon it again ceased raining and the signal was given to harness up teams. At half past twelve we proceeded and traveled till a quarter to three, distance four and a half miles, then formed the encampment in a circle about a quarter of a mile from the river. The road has been level but soft and wet, however not bad traveling.

The bluffs are about half a mile to the north and several herds of buffalo grazing on them. Some of the hunters are gone to try and get some meat. The wind still keeps up, and is cold, damp and uncomfortable. The feed appears better here than we have had for several days, and the cattle soon fill themselves which is a comfort and blessing to the camp. Some of the brethren have been lucky enough to pick up a few sticks and dead wood but our chief dependence for fuel is dry buffalo dung which abounds everywhere, but the rain has injured it some for burning.

About two miles back we passed a place where the Indians have lately camped during their hunt. It is plain that whole families are amongst their number as the foot prints and moccasins of children have several times been seen. They evidently make use of the buffalo thing for fuel, and for seats, they dig up sods and lay them in a circle around their fire which is in the center. We have passed a number of these little temporary camping spots this afternoon.

The reason why we did not travel farther was that Elder Kimball, being gone ahead to look out the road, etc., he found as he came near the next bluffs that the feed is all eaten off by the numerous herds of buffalo and found also, that we shall have to travel over the bluffs and they appear wide and would be impossible for the teams to get over them tonight, hence the necessity of stopping here where we have good feed.

The soil on this prairie looks good and rich but there is no timber. In fact there is none in sight, except a small grove on the other side the river about two miles west of the camp. Late at night Porter Rockwell came in and reported that he killed a buffalo. The cutter was sent for it to bring it to camp, Our course this afternoon nearly west.

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.