06/03/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 3, 1847
On the North Platte River, Wyoming:
During the cold morning, the pioneers started to ferry the wagons across the North Platte River. The wind blew strongly upriver, which actually made the crossing easier. A wagon could be ferried over in about fifteen minutes. The blacksmiths continued their hard work repairing wagons and shoeing horses. They set up their shops in the desereted Fort Platte. Charles Barnum did some washing for Wilford Woodruff. It was the first time Elder Woodruff washed his clothes since leaving Winter Quarters.
At 11:15 a.m., Amasa Lyman, Roswell Stevens, John Tippets, and Thomas Woolsey started their journey toward Pueblo to meet the men and families of the battalion sick detachments. They would carry 349 letters to the soldiers. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and Orson Pratt rode with them as far as Laramie Fork. They sat down on a large fallen tree and listened to President Young issue instructions. There were worries that Captain James Brown was leading the battalion members to Santa Fe, rather than to the north. Firm instructions were given that the battalion men must not follow Captain Brown to Mexico, rather they should follow the pioneers over the mountains. If the officers would not support this plan, Amasa Lyman would need to have those officers replaced by men who would support this plan. If the main companies of the battalion were still at Santa Fe, they should also be retrieved and be brought back. They knelt down, dedicated their mission to the Lord, and blessed each man. [Captain Brown was leading the battalion detachment north, and not toward Mexico.]
Porter Rockwell, Thomas Brown, Joseph Matthews, and John Brown went ahead on horseback to scout the road for the pioneer company.
At 1:40 p.m., a loud thunderstorm rolled through. Rain fell for two hours. During the storm, the horses were secured inside the desereted Fort Platte on the south side of the river. After the storm the wagon crossings continued. They were able to get a wagon across in eleven minutes. At 7 p.m., again the work had to stop because of another storm, leaving about seventeen wagons on the other side.
Four men had been spotted the previous evening arriving at Fort Laramie on pack horses. They came from the fort to visit, and informed the pioneers that they were from St. Joseph, Missouri. They reported that twenty wagons were about three miles to the east. Their company had traveled from Missouri in only seventeen days and had passed about 600-700 wagons during their journey west. They estimated that there would be about 2000 wagons leaving the states this season, heading for Oregon and California. A company would probably arrive at Fort Laramie on each of the next three days.
Appleton Harmon and others visited a French/Sioux burial. He recorded the Indian burials: "They had set four forks into the ground about seven feet high and placed poles across, and made a scaffold on which the corpses were deposited, wrapped in a skin, a pillow under each head ornamented with beads." Wilford Woodruff wrote: "The French were buried in the ground, strong pickets around, with a cross at the head being Catholics.
Elder Lyman Littlefield continued his journey to his mission in England. He wrote "The scenery along the Ohio River in many places was very fine. Cincinnati is certainly a very tidy place, with streets clean and neat. We left Cincinnati June 3rd. At the junction of the Erie and Cleveland canals we parted company with Brother Campbell, daughter and sister Polly Thompson. They followed up the Erie canal and we the Cleveland. We had to pack our trunks three-fourths of a mile before we could find a tavern, which gave us a relish for our bed."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
The weather was pleasant. Mary Richards stewed some apples, picked some goose berries, and made some pies. She visited friends who were preparing to leave with the next pioneer company. Four Omaha Indians came near Winter Quarters and presented a letter from Big Elk stating that he was going out against the Pawnees and wanted to know if and when he could meet with brethren and receive permission to enter the city. In the evening, a problem with the police guard arose. A meeting was called by Marshall Horace S. Eldredge at Isaac Morley's shop. The marshall wanted to induce the police to reduce their wages. They firmly refused. Brother Eldredge then accused the police of not doing their duty. Hosea Stout told him the police matters were none of his business. While they were having a heated discussion, Elders Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor arrived. Hosea Stout immediately stopped talking and the brethren told him to continue. But the matter was dropped and the brethren had come to ask about some property which had been stolen from the other side of the river. Nothing was known about the property.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
The Catholics celebrated Saint Mary's birthday. Henry Standage recorded: "The inhabitants of [Los Angeles] have been sweeping the public square from 2 days past, and this morning they erected 4 stages, one in each corner of the square, also erecting an altar at each place, making it of green bushes, and decorated with roses, strips of white cloth and very handsome serape or a kind of outside covering thrown around the man while on horesback, were thrown on the ground." The mass started at 10 a.m. Colonel Stevenson ordered that one of the cannons be brought to the square to show the Mexicans that they would be protected during their celebration. After the mass, the priest came out to the square to perform certain rites at each of the altars. A band belonging to the New York Volenteers played while a procession marched from corner to corner. All the people continuously showered roses down on the priest's head. The cannon fired at intervals as the procession moved from place to place.
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.
- Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 63-4
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 28
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 417
- Excerpts from the Hitherto Unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney, Improvement Era, June, 1947, 407
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:194-95
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 178-79
- Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888), p.191 - p.192
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 224
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 176
- Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 145