May 12, 1847
Summary: Salty dust, rain clouds, fishing, and finally the odometer.
Journal entry: WEDNESDAY: Morning cool, weather fine.
Brother Appleton Harmon has completed the machinery on the wagon so far that I shall only have to count the number of times, instead of the revolution of the wagon wheel.
We started at 9:10, the first mile pretty soft, the rest tolerably hard and very good traveling. We have passed over vast beds of salt, or rather dust with a salt taste. It looks something like dirty flour.
Traveled eight miles in four hours and two minutes, and stopped at 12:48 to feed, nearly opposite two small islands. The feed tolerably good. Our course northwest. Considerable strong wind from southeast covering everything in the wagons with dust and sand. No timber on the bank of the river and but little on the islands.
The hunters report that they have seen many dead buffalo between here and the bluff with the hides off and tongues taken out, a strong proof that Indians have been here very recently, as the flesh looks fresh and lately killed.
The range of bluffs on each side the river extend much farther apart, and near the foot of the south range can be seen timber scattering along, which is an evidence that the south fork ranges in that direction, although some are sanguine that we have not yet arrived at the junction.
At half past three we moved on again and traveled four miles, camped at a quarter to six near a bunch of small islands, and a kind of bayou projecting from the river. Our course this afternoon a little south of west, having come around a considerable bend in the river. The land good and good traveling. Wind Southeast.
Several of the brethren caught a number of small fish in the bayou or lake. The feed here is rather scanty. Heavy clouds are rising in the west and northwest, and a fair prospect for some rain which is much needed. It is now certain that we are about fourteen and a half miles above the junction of the north and south forks of the Platte, and although we have to make a new road all the way, we find no obstacles so far.
Brother Woodruff reports that he has been beyond the bluffs north of the camp and saw upwards of 200 wickeups where the Indians have camped very recently. He found a cured buffalo skin and some pieces of other skins also. The hunters killed a two year old buffalo and brought it to camp.
Brother Orson Pratt reports that when we were five and a half miles back, we were in latitude 41 degrees 9' 44".
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.