Date: July 19, 1847
Advance Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Orson Pratt and John Brown left shortly after sunrise to scout the road ahead. They traveled up East Canyon and then ascended four miles to a ridge. They then left their horses and climbed Big Mountain. Orson Pratt wrote: "Both from the ridge where the road crossed, and from the mountain peak, we could see over a great extent of the country. On the south-west we could see an extensive level prairie, some few miles distant, which we thought must be near the Lake." John Brown added: "Here we had a view of the valley for the first time. We went on to the mountain to the right and saw what we supposed to be one corner of Salt Lake."
After finding the wagon trail used by the Donner-Reed party, they head back toward the advance company's camp. They found them more than six miles further up East Canyon. The company had crossed over East Canyon creek about eight or nine times. Much work had been accomplished on improving the road. The company rejoiced in hearing that the brethren had viewed the valley. Orrin Porter Rockwell return and reported that the main company of pioneers were only a few miles behind. He brought back instructions from Brigham Young that when they arrived in the valley, they were to turn a little to the north and plant seeds of all kind.
Main Company on Weber River, Utah:
Brigham Young was feeling much better. The main company departed at 7:45 a.m. on a rough road down Weber River. They were under the leadership of John Pack. After two miles, they forded the river which was only eighteen inches deep. Erastus Snow asked the company to halt until Willard Richards caught up. One of his oxen was missing, but he wished to be with the main company. They proceeded on until the turnoff to ascend the hills on the Donner-Reed trail.
They soon found the cutoff and William Clayton put up a sign that read, "Pratt's Pass to avoid canyon. To Fort Bridger 74 1/4 miles." The company soon started to slowly make their way up the mountain. The road was rough and crooked, quite dangerous for wagons. At the top of the ridge, William Clayton put up a guide board that read: "80 miles to Fort Bridger." At this point, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Howard Egan, rode up from the rear company to view the road. The descent into the next ravine was not very steep, but it was dangerous because of large cobbles stones that made the wagons slide.
At 2 p.m., the main company stopped for a rest and then continued on at 3:30. They soon had to ascend a very long steep hill for nearly a mile and then descent another crooked road. The descended again and at 5:30 p.m. camped at some willow bushes full of mosquitoes inside East Canyon. Erastus Snow wrote: "Here the road took up the creek south, and the snowy mountains, encircling us on the south and west, rearing their heads above the intervening mountains, showed us plainly that our climbing was not yet at an end." George A. Smith's wagon was damaged, but they quickly made a coal pit, and Burr Frost set up his blacksmith tools to reset the tire.
Rear Company on Weber River, Utah:
Wilford Woodruff drove Brigham Young in his carriage for five miles and stopped for breakfast. They had driven with the main camp for two miles but then parted. President Young still had a fever but was feeling better. Those traveling with Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff included Ezra T. Benson, Heber C. Kimball, Howard Egan, Lorenzo Young, and his family, Hosea Cushing, and Carlos Murray. Fifteen wagons were part of this company. They camped on the Weber River.
Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
The Mormon Battalion detachments and the Mississippi Saints arrived at Fort Bridger. Abner Blackburn wrote: "Old Jim Bridger and his trappers gave us a hearty welcome to our company. He is the oldest trapper in the mountains and can tell some wonderful stories."
Bear River Valley, Wyoming:
The Kearney detachment met Charles Smith, who had come from California with Samuel Brannan and had recently met with Brigham Young and the pioneers. He shared information about the California Saints and certainly also talked about the pioneers.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went hunting. In the afternoon as they were returning without any luck, Brother Johnson's horse became frightened as they were following a little creek. They soon discovered some bear cubs in a thicket and Brother Johnson dismounted with his 11-Shooter. William Empey later recorded: "The moment he struck the ground, the [mother] bear discovered him & came towards him at the top of her speed with her mouth wide open & each jump accompanied with an awah awah oo." Luke Johnson stood his ground. When the bear was within twenty feet with three of her cubs at her heals, he aimed a fired. The grizzly bear turn to run but soon fell dead. Brothers Johnson and Glines returned to camp with the meat, hide, and the exciting tale.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The Jedediah Grant company's missing cattle could not be found. Some of the other companies continued on and crossed some bluffs. Several oxen were found which had probably belonged to Oregon emigrants. The Grant company was twenty-five miles behind the lead companies, stranded without enough oxen.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John D. Lee returned to Summer Quarters and found David I. Young near death with the strange disease that had come upon several in the settlement. Brother Young was overcome with joy to see Brother Lee because he wanted Brother Lee to baptize him before he died. [David I. Young was a member of the Church, but must have wanted the ordinance performed as a form of last rites.] Brothers Martin and Allen came in to assist, but when they put Brother Young in a chair he was so weak that he kept fainting, so they could not baptize him. Brother Lee promised Brother Young that he would be baptized as proxy for him and told Brother Young to rest. He stopped struggling and soon died.
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.
- William Clayton's Journal, 300
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 450-51
- Autobiography of John Brown, 78
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:231
- Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 17
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:361-62
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 97-8
- Levi Jackman Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.40
- Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:140-41
- Jesse W. Crosby Journal, typescript, BYU, 37
- William Scearce Journal, typescript, 2
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185
- Bagley, ed., Frontiersman, 61
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 193-94