06/22/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 22, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
The pioneer company traveled ten miles in the morning along the Sweetwater. Orson Pratt described: "The valley of the Sweet Water varies in breadth from 5 to 8 or 10 miles, bounded upon the north and south by mountainous ridges, isolated hills, and ragged summits of massive granite, varying from 1200 to 2000 feet in height, those upon the southern boundary being the highest, and are partially covered with snow and well timbered with pine, while those on the north are entirely bare." There was no timber near the river.
In the morning, Lorenzo Young broke an axeltree, the first one that was broken since leaving Winter Quarters. Harriet Young wrote: "We got behind 3/4 of a mile and one of our axeltree broke on the naked prairie without a stick of timber or anyone to help us. Mr. Young unharnessed one of his horses and started for the camp. I was alone; felt somewhat lonesome, but Bro. [William Henrie] came back and staid with me. We looked round the waggon to see if we could find anything to hold up the wheel. We found a piece of timber that was calculated for a whip stock. We unloaded the hind part of the waggon, raised it up, lashed on the timber and was harnessing Bro [Henrie's] mare, when Mr. Young came back. He harnessed his horse and we started for camp. We had not proceeded far before we met Bros. Brigham, Woodruff, Benson and John Holman with his team."
While the camp stopped for the noon rest, an emigration company with ten wagons passed by. In the afternoon, the pioneers overtook and passed them. They informed the pioneers about the drowning of a young man at the lower ferry on the Platte after the pioneers left. They also said that they encountered a grizzly bear near Independence Rock.
They crossed several creeks and had a mishap at one of them, as described by William Clayton: "After traveling five and three quarters miles crossed a creek about six feet wide and a foot deep. The bank on each side is very steep and sandy, making it difficult for teams to get up. Here Sterling Driggs had his harness broken to pieces by his horses springing suddenly when attempting to rise out of the creek. They cleared themselves from the wagon which was hauled up by a yoke of oxen so as not to hinder the rest from crossing."
After a total of 20 3/4 miles, they camped near the river, under a 200-foot butte. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "Br Kimball & myself went to the top of it & looked down upon the camp & it looked heavenly. We offered up our prayers & the Spirit of the Lord rested upon us. We descended again to the Camp. The moon shone beautiful.
The mosquitoes were very troublesome at sundown. Lewis Barney and Joseph Hancock each killed an antelope during the day. One company of Oregon emigrants were camped three miles ahead and another one three miles behind. Charles Harper repaired Lorenzo Young's wagon in the evening.
The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
The brethren worked on the new ferry site. William Empey and Benjamin Stewart returned from Dear Creek with a load of coal. They put up a sign at Deer Creek that read: "To the ferry twenty-eight miles. The ferry good and safe. Manned by experienced me. Blacksmithing, horse and ox shoeing done. Also a wheelwright." Brother Empey and Stewart went up to the former site to get two wagons. They returned in the evening. Eric Glines decided that he would go ahead and overtake the pioneer company and travel with them afterall. He admitted that he did wrong in staying behind and said he would make a confession to Brigham Young.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The massive second pioneer company began to roll west along the Platte River. They journeyed in columns five abreast and traveled all day for about fifteen miles. They camped in their fifties and formed half moons by the river. They watered their cattle "in the river by the light of the moon and then took them out to feed a while."
Sarah Rich wrote: "We had to place our strong guards at night, so you can judge the feeling of women and children traveling through an Indian country, not knowing what moment we might be attacked, by wild savages, and not very strong in number of men, for there were more women and children than men in our camp. We realized that we must be humble and prayerful, and put our trust in the Lord. It was through His mercy and care that the people on this dangerous journey were saved. We prayed to the Lord in faith, and He answered our prayers; for He will hear those that trust in Him and obey his laws as given through his prophets."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Hosea Stout was called to attend a High Council meeting in the evening to consider a letter received from Orson Hyde stating the that should make a demand on Indian agent, Robert Mitchell to apprehend the Omaha Indian that shot Jacob Weatherby. Brother Hyde asked the one hundred men be raised at Council Point and fifty at Winter Quarters to be put under the command of Hosea Stout with the intention of making war on the Omahas if they would not give up the murderer, and also the one who killed the man who had been found near the Elkhorn River. Mr. Mitchell should make the demands on the Omahas. The High Council decided to follow Elder Hyde's requests and ordered Hosea Stout to raise the company. Brother Stout immediately went to work.
Kearny detachment of battalion in Sierra Nevadas, California:
The detachment came to the sad site where the Reeds suffered in cabins on the east end of Donnor Lake. General Kearny called for a halt and detailed men to bury the bodies which had been buried in the snow, but were now exposed on the ground. It was very obvious that the poor, starving emigrants had resorted to cannibalism. While they were working at burying the bones, Colonel John C. Fremont passed by. Nathaniel V. Jones wrote" After we had buried the bones of the dead . . . we set fire to the cabin. I started about two in the afternoon came seven miles and camped. One mile above here there was another cabin and more dead bodies but the General did not order them buried. [This was the Donnor camp.]
On the way to New Hope, California:
Addison Pratt started with Brother Isaac Goodwin on foot to walk the sixteen miles remaining to the New Hope farm. [This settlement was located between present-day Stockton and Modesto, California.] They soon came upon a herd of antelope which "ran away with almost the speed of flight." Brother Pratt wrote: "I had never seen one before, and I was delighted with their appearance." Brother Goodwin shot one, skinned it, and hung the heavy meat in a large oak tree. As the continued on, they saw many elk horns on the ground. Brother Goodwin mentioned that he had seen as many as five hundred elk at one time on that prairie.
After they crossed the Lynsey Lake prairie, they came to the barren, sandy, Stanislaus Prairie. The day was hot and Brother Pratt became very thirsty. Since they were only half way, Brother Goodwin went on ahead to bring back water to the fatigued Brother Pratt. When Brother Pratt came within sight of a house at New Hope, he was greeted by Brother Goodwin with a milk jug and water. They were taken into the house of Thomas Tompkins, another Church member who made the voyage on the Brooklyn. As the sun set, "the musketoes began to gather in such multitudes that they seem'd to threaten a complete extraction of all our blood." They kept them awake all night.
William Smith, the brother of the prophet, Joseph Smith, wrote a letter to Orson Hyde, pleading that he be allowed to be rebaptized into the Church and be restored to his former position as one of the Twelve Apostles: "I hope Brother Brigham will forgive me for I have said many hard things concerning him and yet I know him to be a man of God he shall never complain of me hereafter for I have decreed that my toung shall no more speak evile of the ruler of my people." [William Smith asked again in 1855, but Brigham Young probably did not reply. In 1856, William wrote a bitter letter, but again asked for reconciliation later. In 1860, William Smith was rebaptized by J.J. Butler and he stated intentions to go to Utah, but he stayed behind as the RLDS church finally convinced Joseph Smith III to be their president.]
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 37 Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 429
- Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 13
- Charles Harper Diary, 27
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:168
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:213-14
- Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:162
- Albert P. Rockwood Journal, typescript, 57
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 82-3
- William Clayton's Journal, 246-58
- Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.71
- D. Michael Quinn, BYU Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, p.205
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 117
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:19
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:262-63
- Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 332-33
Source: 150 Years Ago Today ©These materials have been created by David R. Crockett. Copies of these materials may be reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit must be given to David R. Crockett. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of Mr. Crockett, Tucson Az, firstname.lastname@example.org.