06/24/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 24, 1847
On the Sweetwater, Wyoming:
The camp started their journey at 6 a.m. in order to stay ahead of the Missouri companies, but discovered that these companies had left a half hour earlier. After about five miles they reached Ice Springs, which was a boggy marsh. Albert P. Rockwood described: "The spring was a muddy, sulfry, cold and black nasty water that woozed through the mire and formed a small crick below. About ten inches below the surface of the ground was a thick layer of ice about 18 inches thick. The water made from the ice is clear and pure. This I consider one of the greatest curiosities on our journey." William Clayton added: "Some of the brethren had broken some pieces off which floated and I ate some of it which tasted sweet and pleasant." Ponds with various minerals were found close by. Some filled cups full of salt that was very pure.
They skipped the noon halt because the country was so barren and sandy. Three Missouri companies traveled close by all day. They camped on the banks of the Sweetwater near some patches of willows. The teams were exhausted. The Oregon companies camped nearby.
In the evening, nineteen-year-old John Holman's gun accidentally went off and shot Brigham Young's best horse. [He called it his John Horse]. It died a few hours later. Charles Harper explained. "He [Brother Holman] was driving the horse up toward the camp and poked the muzzle of the gun to the horse when the cock caught his clothes and instantly discharged. The ball entering his flank." Brother Holman has horrified and very upset. President Young and Albert Rockwood tried to comfort him, but had little success. President Young told him that it was nothing but a horse. Brother Rockwood told him it was lucky that it was not a good man and he should be thankful that it was not more serious. William Clayton commented: "President Young is evidently filled with deep sorrow on account of this accident but attaches no blame to John who seems grieved very much. The brethren generally feel sorrowful, this being the second horse shot by accident on this mission."
The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
Two men arrived in a carriage to have some blacksmith work done. They mentioned that several companies were on their way from Fort Laramie, including the brethren from the Mormon Battalion who had spent the winter at Pueblo.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
Trouble arose on the trail of the second pioneer company. John Taylor was trying to travel ahead and ordered Jedediah M. Grant to stop his team and let him pass, but he refused, stating that he was under the direction of John Young. [John Young had been appointed by Brigham Young to be president over the camp.] Elder Taylor then ordered Brother Young to halt or he would be charged for disobedience before a Council. The order was ignored. Elder Taylor went back and told the Captains of Tens to stop because their leaders were in rebellion. They stopped and Elder Taylor went on to catch up with Parley P. Pratt's company.
That evening charges were brought against Brothers Grant and Young. Elder Parley P. Pratt, the ranking member of the Twelve preached about the government of the camp. Charles C. Rich said that he "gave us a good lecture." Brothers Young and Grant asked forgiveness from Elder Taylor for their insult to him and everything was finally settled. It was decided to no longer travel more than two abreast along the trail.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Hosea Stout started at sunrise with a company of men to head to Bellevue to meet with Robert Mitchell and offer their services to go apprehend the murderer of Jacob Weatherby. As they traveled, more men joined in and the finally numbered fifty-three. At about the halfway point, they stopped to organized the company. Jesse P. Harmon and Alexander McRae were appointed Lieutenants and over two divisions. Hosea Stout appointed a picket guard to be sent ahead to meet with Mitchell. This guard consisted of Thomas Rich, Daniel Carns, William Meeks, James W. Cummings, Luman H. Calkins, and George D. Grant. They arrived at Bellevue and the main body of the company waited while the others went into town. After awhile, Hosea Stout led the rest to wait at the Cold Spring Camp. This was the first camp used when the Saints crossed the Missouri almost a year earlier. He wrote: "Here we quenched our thirst and regaled & refreshed ourselves well. This place looked now deserted, desolate, and lonesome & the Spring almost entirely filled up but the water clear and pure as ever. They then returned to Bellevue and the vanguard group soon returned. They reported that Mitchell came across the river from Trader's Point with Orson Hyde. Mitchell was unaware about the 100 men that Orson Hyde desired to be raised. They told Mitchell that they were ready and willing to help him apprehend the murderer. Mitchell backed off and said he was only a Pottawatomie Indian agent, that Major Miller dealt with the Omahas. He said he could only help them as a favor, but could not act as a government official. Besides, the Omahas were away on a hunt. So, the company of men, disgusted with Mitchell's lack of help, left to return to Winter Quarters.
John D. Lee and others west to Old Council Bluff to get a load of bricks from the fort ruins. On the way, they stopped to build a bridge over South Mire Creek. The day was very warm. They returned at dusk.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
The Mexicans at the Pueblo celebrated St. John's Day. Henry Standage wrote: "Quite a holiday even for the Indians. Horse racing, bull fighting, gambling . . . are the chief amusements today and I must say that the Spaniards in California are the greatest horsemen I ever hear of. . . . Their great exploits with the lasso in catching wild horses and cattle are astonishing. . . . They will when on full gallop stoop and pick up a lasso from off the ground or even a piece of money without either halting or dismounting. . . . I saw a game played by these Spaniard, . . . a rooster was buried in the sand save his head only. The Spaniards rode by in turns on full gallop trying at the same time to pick up the cock, several being successful and none falling from the horse."
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Battalion officer, Robert Clift, was appointed alcalde [justice of the peace] in San Diego.
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, TucsonAz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Daniel Spencer Diary, typescript, LDS Archives
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 180-81, 290
- Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 358
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 117
- Arrington, Charles C. Rich, 116
- Albert P. Rockwood Journal, typescript, BYU, 58
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 431
- Luke Johnson's Journal, typescript, BYU, 13
- Charles Harper Diary, 27
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:214
- William Clayton's Journal, 261-63
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:263-64
- The Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:135
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 180
- Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler, Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:61
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 228-29