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 9, 1847

Summary: Poor feed, poor feet, poor buffalo.

Journal entry: SUNDAY: The morning very cold with wind southeast. At seven - fifty we proceeded on three and a half miles, going a little around some of the bluffs until we turned down on a low bottom and very sandy.

We have camped near some islands and can get wood and water, but poor feed for the teams. We arrived here at nine - fifty and shall stay till morning.

Soon as the camp was formed, I went about three quarters of a mile below to the river and washed my socks, towel and handkerchief as well as I could in cold water without soap. I then stripped my clothing off and washed from head to foot, which has made me feel much more comfortable for I was covered with dust.

After washing and putting on clean clothing I sat down on the banks of the river and gave way to a long train of solemn reflections respecting many things, especially in regard to my family and their welfare for time and eternity. I shall not write my thoughts here, inasmuch as I expect this journal will have to pass through other hands besides my own or that of my family but if I can carry my plans into operation, they will be written in a manner that my family will each get their portion, whether before my death or after, it matters not.

The day is very warm and the wind has moved to the west. According to my calculations, we are now 300 miles from Winter Quarters, lacking a few rods. I got a small board and wrote on it : " From Winter Quarters three hundred miles, May 9, 1847. Pioneer Camp all well. Distance according to the reckoning of Wm. Clayton." This was nailed on a post and in the evening I went and set it tip about three hundred yards from here on a bend of the river.

Spent the afternoon reading and writing in Elder Kimball's journal. At three p.m. a meeting was called and the camp addressed by several. President Young took tea with Elder Kimball, and afterwards they started out together with one or two others to look at the country ahead of us. They went a few miles and found a small stream which we shall have to cross. Here they saw multitudes of buffalo coming to water. Porter and Phineas Young went within six or eight rods of them to try to get one, but in the whole herd, they could not find one fit to kill. They are very poor, for there is no feed for them, and in fact they are so numerous that they eat the grass as fast as it springs. There are, however, some good cottonwood groves And good water at the stream. After sundown the wind blew strong from the northwest and the evening was cold and chilly.

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.