06/19/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 19, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
After waking up to a heavy frost, the pioneer company finally moved on at 7:50 a.m., traveling on the north side of the North Platte River. They passed red buttes and "many rough picturesque sceneries." They ascended a steep mile-long bluff that presented a very nice view. The road down on the other side was crooked and rough.
After traveling twelve miles, they stopped for the noon rest near a spring which was the first water found since the ferry crossing. After a good rest, they continued on. William Clayton wrote: "At the distance of eight miles from the spring there is a steep descent from a bluff and at the foot there is a high ridge of sharp pointed rocks running parallel with the road for near a quarter of a mile, leaving only sufficient space for wagons to pass. At the south point there is a very large rock lying close to where the road makes a bend, making it somewhat difficult to get by without striking it. The road is also very rough with cobble stones."
With well-rested animals, they were able to travel a total of twenty-one and a half miles this day, a new record for the longest distance traveled in one day since leaving Winter Quarters. William Clayton mentioned: "It was remarked by several that their stock had fattened so much while stopping at the ferry, they hardly knew them." They camped near a "small miry stinking crick around which there was many mire holes of the worst sort." Wilford Woodruff wrote: "Our camping place for the night was the most wretched of any ground we have found on the way. President Young thought it might properly be called Hell gate." The water tasted terrible. The cattle would drink a little but would then stop. They were cautious, because they knew that they were near a poison spring which would kill cattle if they took a drink. William Clayton added: "The mosquitoes are very bad indeed at this place which adds to the loathsome, solitary scenery around." The cattle were tied up to keep them from the mire, but three still became stuck.
The hunters brought in a buffalo and several antelope. There was no fuel for fires, except for sage roots. Lewis Myers, the hunter for the Mississippi Saints killed two buffalo, but took only the tallow and tongues and left rest on the ground to rot. About 9 p.m. an alarm was sounded that an ox had mired in the slough. It was almost totally sunk but soon was pulled out.
Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith reported that when they were looking for the night's camp, they saw six men suddenly spring up out of the grass with blankets, like Indians and rode away. The brethren followed them for a short distance until one of the "Indians" signalled them to stop coming. The brethren ignored the signal and continued on. Finally, the "Indians" galloped off at full speed. The brethren were convince that the men were Missourians and were using this trick to scare the brethren away from their camp. Howard Egan wrote, "It is considered an old Missouri trick and an insult to our camp, and if they undertake to play Indian games, they might meet with Indian treatment."
The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
The ferry workers were very busy. They ferried over 16 waggons for the emigrants and then had dinner with them. James Davenport did some blacksmithing for them. They learned that a young man, Wesley Tustin had drown about five miles down the river while swimming a horse across. His body wasn't found. The ferrymen got their things together and prepared for their first night at the ferry without the rest of the pioneers. Including Brother Glines, there were ten of them with three wagons, three horses, one mule, three heifers, and one bull, and five dogs. As of this date, the pioneers had ferried over seventy-five Mormon wagons and sixty-four for Oregon emigrants.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The George Wallace company rolled out of their camp at 9 a.m., and reached the encampment at the Platte River at 5 p.m. They joined another company of fifty to form their first wagon ring. All the livestock were tied inside the circle except for cattle which were sent out to graze. Joseph Kingsbury commented: "We already see the good of this way of encamping . . . if only every man will do his duty."
Elkhorn River, Nebraska:
The Joseph B. Noble fifty moved out. They were part of the Jedediah Grant Company. The Noble fifty consisted of 171 people. The captains of tens were: Asahel A. Lathrop, Robert Pierce, Hazen Kimball, Amos Neff, and Josiah Miller. They traveled fifteen miles to the encampment at the Platte River. They saw that another company had raised a Liberty Pole with a white flag which could be seen for miles.
By the end of the day, a total of about five hundred and seventy-five wagons from Winter Quarters had crossed the river.
Terrible tragedy struck this day. Alfred Lambson and Jacob Weatherby were driving a team of oxen back toward Winter Quarters as couriers when three Indians arose from the grass and halted the wagon. Another brother and two sisters were also in the wagon. Brother Weatherby negotiated with the Indians to let them pass, but the Indians, who were armed, cocked their guns. The two brethren grabbed the guns and their was a struggle. The third Indian, about 15 feet away, fired at Brother Weatherly, severely wounding him. The Indians ran away. Bishop Newel K. Whitney and Alpheus Cutler soon came by and took Brother Weatherby to Elkhorn River about seven miles ahead.
Charles C. Rich stayed at the Elkhorn with his company to wait for the arrival of the artillery from Winter Quarters. At dusk, Newel K. Whitney and Alpheus Cutler brought in the wounded Jacob Weatherby, who was taken into the Rich tent. Sarah Rich wrote: "We all could see that he wouldn't live, so we fixed him a bed in our tent and did all we could to ease his pain. He suffered awful pain through the night."
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Brothers Martin, Houston, Tuttle, and George W. Hickerson departed for Winter Quarters to get provisions. They had to take a new route on a divide because the bridge over Turkey Creek had been washed out. Isaac Morley arrived in the afternoon and told the settlement that he had been to the Elkhorn River and saw about 500 wagons belonging to the second pioneer company, ready to leave for the mountains.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
There was some worry amount the men that the Colonel might invoke some special power to force the battalion into serving six more months.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Robert S. Bliss hoisted a signal flag to notify the town that a ship had been spotted outside the harbor. It was anchored, waiting for a favorable wind to come into port. The men expected the their new Colonel was probably on the ship.
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.
- Arrington, Charles C. Rich, 114
- Journal of Albert P. Rockwood, typescript, BYU, 55-6
- Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:161
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:208
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:167
- William Clayton's Journal, 242-45
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 36
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 116
- Deseret News 1997-98 Church Almanac, 120
- Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.70
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 179
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 79
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:95
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 228
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 178-79
- Black, Pioneers of 1847: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance