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

Pioneer Date Summary

Previous | Next

06/20/1847 - Crockett

Date: June 20, 1847

On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
Even though it was Sunday, the pioneers had to move away from their miserable camp ground to find better water and to get the cattle way from the mud holes. They traveled about four miles and stopped for breakfast by a clear stream with good grass. At 8 a.m., the temperature was a warm sixty-one degrees.

After breakfast, they traveled nine miles, crossing over a few small streams and halted for the noon rest at Willow Springs. It was two feet wide, ten inches deep, with water cold as ice. In the afternoon they crossed a rapid stream, ten foot wide Greasewood Creek [present-day Horse Creek], and camped on this stream away from the road. They traveled a total of twenty and one half miles.

Wilford Woodruff and John Brown had been sent by Brigham Young in the morning to go scout the road ahead and didn't return in the evening. This was great worry in the camp about their safety. They blew the bugle and watched for the men until midnight and finally fired the cannon.

Wilford Woodruff had traveled in the morning to the head waters of Willow Spring. They found a doctor there who was taking care of a sick family from Missouri. Elder Smith stayed at the springs to wait for the wagons to arrive, while Elder Woodruff rode on alone. Soon, John Brown joined him and they rode together to a stream about ten miles ahead and then rested their horses to wait for the pioneers. By 4 p.m., the company had still not arrived. They saw two men on horses in the distance and signaled to them, but the men supposed they might be Indians and went away. Elder Woodruff caught up with the men, who were hunters for a Missouri company. These men had not seen the pioneers.

Elder Woodruff wrote: "I then concluded our camp had stopped at the Willow Springs, so Captain Smith, who was the leader of the Mo Company invited us to go on & camp with them for the night as they did not expect to go but a few miles further." They accepted the invitation. But the Missouri company ended up traveling many more miles and camped near Independence Rock, near the Sweatwater River. They ended up about twelve miles ahead of the pioneers. Elder Woodruff recorded: "I found a great difference between the Missouri emigrant companies & our own. For while the men, women & children were all cursing, swearing, quarrelling, scolding, finding fault with each other & other companies, there was nothing of the kind allowed or practiced in our own camp."

The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
Thomas Grover asked William Empey and Benjamin F. Stewart to travel with a wagon and four horses back to Deer Creek, twenty-eight miles, to retrieve some of the coal that had been discovered by the pioneers while camping at that location. William Empey recorded that he did not really want to go because of the dangers from the Indians, but he obeyed his leader and left. They camped for the night two miles from Deer Creek.

Francis M. Pomeroy and Eric Glines were sent a few miles downriver to see if a boat there could be charted to float down to Fort Laramie. They later returned and reported that the boat was on the other side of the river with some men waiting for another company. Appleton Harmon made an ox frame. James Davenport, the company blacksmith, shod three oxen and several horses for some emigrants who had been left behind because one of their women was sick.

West of Fort Laramie, Nebraska:
Amasa Lyman spoke sternly to the detachments of the battalion and the Mississippi Saints. He urged the brethren "to leave off our folly and be men of God." Joel Terrel noted in his journal that Elder Lyman gave them "a good whipping." Even Captain James Brown was affected enough to confess some of his faults.

On the Platte River, Nebraska:
Word reached the companies at the Platte River that Jacob Weatherby had been attacked by Indians. George Wallace tightened the guard in his fifty. A general Sabbath meeting was held for the hundreds of pioneers.

Elkhorn River, Nebraska:
Jacob Weatherby died in the morning from his wound. He was the first person to die in any pioneer company that had left Winter Quarters, and it was the result of an Indian attack. Sarah Rich recorded: "He was conscious until a few minutes before his death, then he dropped off like one going to sleep. As the rest of the company had gone on, they had to bury Brother Wetherby that night. Our folks had raised a Liberty Pole, and he was laid to rest with a few words from C. C. Rich, and prayer by him. He was buried just at dark as we were in fear of Indians, and had to keep out guards all night." The cannon, boat, and Nauvoo Temple bell arrived from Nauvoo at 11 a.m.

Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
A public Sabbath meeting was held. Elder Orson Hyde, the only remaining member of the Twelve at Winter Quarters spoke. He firmly stated that he wanted his word to be law and for his counsel to be followed. "If you would rather have any other one to lead you, you may appoint who every you please. The congregation voted to sustain Elder Hyde as the presiding authority. He then spoke out against counterfeiters and thieves. He asked all though who knew anything about such evils among the Saints to come forth and tell him. He knew that some men had take secret oaths to protect the evil doings, but he stated that they were released from all such unworthy oaths.

Elder Pratt condemned the swearing. He had heard children using the name of the Lord in vain on the streets of the city and had even heard a man who had received his temple ordinances do such an evil thing. He asked the High Council to deal with the man and even disfellowship him from the Church if he continued. Elder Hyde encouraged the Saints to hold schools for their children, where they would learn to behave themselves since their parents evidently could not teach them correctly. His words caused quite a stir and a few people confessed their sins.

A council meeting was held in the evening. Two trials were held regarding cattle recently taken from the corn field. Hosea Stout attended and was criticized for not going with the pioneers as ordered. Isaac Morley reproved him severely. He said he would not have rejected such a call "for kingdoms." Brother Stout was finally permitted to speak. He spoke his feeling plainly and criticized the Church Leaders for the way they had recently treated him and for not following Brigham Young's orders for the organization of the companies. The brethren there counseled together and Orson Hyde proposed that Hosea Stout take ten men as a guard and still overtake the second pioneer camp. Brother Stout agreed to do this, but they changed their minds and it was thought best to keep Brother Stout at Winter Quarters.

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John D. Lee spoke to a gathering of Saints at Winter Quarters on the subject of God's dealings with his people. Other speakers were A.P. Free, L. Stewart, J. Allen, J Busby and others. Later, Brothers Dunn and Martin returned from Winter Quarters and brought news the the mill was clear again. They also reported about the shooting of Jacob Weatherby.

Kearny detachment of battalion in Sierra Nevadas, California:
The battalion members arrived at Bear Valley and found the cabin that was used just four months earlier during the rescue of the Donner-Reed party, stranded and starving up in the mountains. Bear Valley had been used us a staging area to rescue the emigrants. The soldiers found many things left in the cabin. When the Donner-Reed survivors had been brought here in February, there had been two feet of snow on the ground. Their rescuers had shoveled away a large circle and put down pine boughs for the emigrants to sleep on. Some of the emigrants had stayed at the Bear Valley Camp for a couple days before they were taken on to Johnson's ranch. Thirty-six of the eighty emigrants perished.

On the way to New Hope, California:
Addison Pratt was delayed on his journey to the New Hope settlement because he became sick from drinking a mixture of fresh water and sea water. He shoved off again in his boat, passed through the Suisun Bay, and entered the mouth of the San Joaquin River. He wrote: "We commenced ascending the river against a strong current. We had not proceeded far before one of the crew cried out, 'There is an elk, crossing the river!!' I look'd ahead and saw what I thought to be at first sight a bunch of brush afloat, but on closer examination, found it to be a pair of elk horns, the heads and ears were to be seen also, but the rest of him was compleetely under water. We made all speed possible with the boat, but he had got so much the start, and being a good swimmer reach'd the opposite shore before we got within rifle shot of him, and he was soon out of sight in the tulies."

Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
David Pettigrew and Levi Hancock addressed the brethren in a Sunday meeting. Henry Standage wrote: "The brethren truly rejoicing to think that the hour of redemption draweth nigh (15th of July).

Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
The ship "Loo-Choo" came into port. It was a merchant ship with many interesting articles. Some of the men were able to go on board to look around and have dinner. Stephen St. John and another battalion member arrived from Los Angeles.

Covington, Warwickshire, England:
Elder Thomas Smith was arrested and imprisoned at Covington, Warwickshire, England, for casting out evil spirits. After examination, he and Richard Currell, the subject of administration, were dismissed, there being no cause of action.


  • Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 324
  • Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 36
  • Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 427-28
  • Autobiography of John Brown, 76
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:209-10
  • The Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:135
  • Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.70
  • Arrington, Charles C. Rich, 114
  • Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 116
  • Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 197
  • Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:261-62
  • Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 148-49
  • Johnson, ed., "Unfortunate Emigrants," 226
  • The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:19
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 178-79
  • Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 79
  • The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:96
  • Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 228
  • Ellsworth, The Jounals of Addison Pratt, 321

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, crockett@goodnet.com.