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 2, 1847

Summary: No Sunday hunting. Move for feed. Hard-headed buffalo.

Journal entry: SUNDAY: This morning is fine but cold. Ice about half an inch thick.

Sometime in the night a buffalo and calf came within a short distance of the wagons. The guard discovered them and shot at the calf, wounding it in the hind leg. They caught it alive and tied it up near the wagons but concluded finally to kill and dress it.

About six o'clock we were gladdened to see Joseph Hancock come into camp with a piece of buffalo meat. He reported that he killed a buffalo yesterday back on the bluffs, and there being no one with him he concluded to stay by it over night. He made a fire and scattered a little powder around his buffalo to keep off the wolves. Some visited him during the night, but were awed by the fire.

After he had told his story and taken breakfast, Brother Hancock started in company with four or five other brethren to fetch in the meat on horseback, as no wagons could get over the bluffs to it. They found that the wolves had devoured much of it, but the balance they brought along with them.

They also killed two antelope and brought them into camp.

The total number of buffalo now caught is five large ones and seven calves.

Edmund Ellsworth killed one of the prairie dogs, and brought it to camp. It looks much like a squirrel, only the body is thicker and the tail short and no bush on it.

The day grew pleasant till about noon, when it became cloudy and cold. President Young, Kimball and others started out to look out a camp ground where better feed can be obtained for our stock. They returned a little after two and gave orders to go on a few miles.

There have been a number of buffalo seen in different directions, one grazing within three quarters of a mile from camp, but orders were not to hunt or shoot today.

At three - fifteen the camp started and traveled two miles over dog towns as yesterday. At a little after four p.m. we camped beside a long lake of shoal, clear water near the banks of the Platte. This lake is about three rods wide and connects with the river. The Platte appears about two miles wide at this place but very shoal and muddy. There is no timber but plenty of grass, mostly last year's growth.

The weather is more temperate and the wind ceased. President Young, Kimball and others went on to look out a crossing place over this lake, etc. On their way, they fell in with a buffalo cow and calf and chased them some to get a view of them but not to kill.

On their return they said we should tarry here tomorrow and have some blacksmith work done and probably hunt some. Half of the hide off the bull's face was brought into camp. On examination I found the mark where Porter shot at his head. The ball made a small hole, barely cutting through the outer surface or grain of the hide which was near an inch thick. The hair near the top of the head is about a foot long.

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.