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

General Information

Previous | Next

Genoa, NE, Supply Station and Ferry Boat, Part 2 (Dec 1858-Apr 1859)

Genoa, NE, Supply Station and Ferry Boat, Part 2 (Dec 1858-Apr 1859)

Joel Hills Johnson, Presiding (his journal entries)

(These journal entries cover 22 Dec 1858 to 31 Mar 1859)

Wednesday 22nd, health very poor. Stayed at home through the day.

Friday 24th, stayed at home during the day. Assisted to make a cellar for potatoes.

Saturday 25th, today being Christmas, Brothers Hudson, Sprowl, and families with Mrs. Saunders and daughter, came in by invitation to spend the day with us. We had a good time and enjoyed ourselves at first rate. In the evening attended the Elders Quorum meeting; gave them some instructions and had a good time.

Sunday 26th. had meeting at Brother Dalrymple's with Cotton and some of the apostates present. Spoke to the people myself. Had a tolerable good time. In the evening attended prayer meeting at Brother Sinclair's.

Monday 27th, stayed at home. In the evening called some the brethren together and formed them into a sort of police to watch the movements of Cotton of apostate party who had sworn to take my life.

Tuesday 28th, stayed at home taking in corn and potatoes.

Wednesday 29th, received corn and potatoes.

Thursday 30th, attended to business at home through the day and in the evening attended prayer meeting at Thomas Davis'

Friday 31st, attended a party in the evening at Brother Page's. Several were in and we had a very good time, but I went home before the party broke up on account of poor health.

Saturday, January 1, 1859, went to a small party at Brother Hudson's.

Sunday 2nd, attended meeting at Brother Dalrymple's in the morning and in the evening at Brother Sinclair's.

Monday 3rd, health very poor, having take a very bad cold. The police came together at my house in the evening to talk over matter of general interest in regards to Genoa and the Cotton Faction.

Tuesday 4th, very unwell. The High Priests Quorum met at my house i the evening the tried to settle some difficulty between Brother Hudson and Nathan Davis. Continued in session until 12 o'clock and accomplished neither.

Sunday 9th, quite sick. Been so all week, not able to attend any business or meeting.

Monday 10th, very warm pleasant weather. Still sick and not able to do anything.

Sunday 16th, had meeting at my house both morning and evening. Very sick through the week.

Tuesday 18th, the High Priests quorum met at my house in the evening. Took up the subject again of the difficulty between Brothers Hudson and Davis. It was shown that Brother Davis had made improper statements against Brother Hudson and was not willing to take the back. Therefore, he was disfellowshipped from the quorum.

Friday 21st, very warm pleasant weather. Health continues very poor, so scarcely on the mend that I can hardly discover improvement.

Sunday 23rd, had meeting at my house in the morning. Brother Hudson and William Jones spoke to the people. Had a very good time.

Monday 24th, very warm weather. My health continues very poor with little of no change.

Tuesday 25th, the Bishops and Teachers met at my house in the evening and reported the conditions of the several wards. All seemed to be flourishing except a few apostates and grumblers who are trying to deal all the mischief they possibly can.

Wednesday 26th, the police met at my house in the evening. After a reorganization, I gave them some instructions in regard to securing thieves and watching meddlers, busy bodies, etc.

Thursday 27th, commenced snowing last evening and continues very cold and stormy today. My health continues very poor, so much that I am unable to do business.

Sunday 30th, had meeting at my house. Several of the Brethren spoke. Had a very good time. My health continues very poor.

Tuesday, 1st February 1859. High priests Quorum met a my house in the evening. Daniel Baxter was cut ff from the Church for treating the teachers with contempt by not answering their questions and ordering them out of the house.

Wednesday 2nd, very cold and windy. Health not much better.

Sunday 6th, my health a little better. Had meeting at my house. Had a very good time.

Tuesday 8th, the teachers met at my house in the evening and reported that while visiting Nathan Davis, he charged the council with being led by an evil influence and that the President was sustained by little, nasty lying spirits. He was, therefore, notified to appear before a special council to be called on Friday next to answer the charge.

Friday 11th, the council met at my house in the evening. The case of Nathan Davis was brought on, charged with saying that the council was led by an evil influence. When they disfellowshipped him from the Quorum, the charge was sustained, and he was cut off from the Church.

Sunday 13th, had meeting at my house and had a good time.

Monday 14th, warm weather this morning. Lucy Carroll left me and went with Nathan Davis to his sister's at Shell Creek. She was of no account and went off without provocation. She heard that her father had left the church and was going to the gold mines and she wanted to go with him.

This morning I sent out three letters to Utah by mail, on to B.F. Johnson, one to James H. Martineau, and one to Sixtus E. Johnson. This evening the high priests quorum met at my house. A good spirit prevailed among the Brethren.

Wednesday 16th, very warm. Snow fast thawing. My health mending very slowly.

Thursday 17th, walked about town a little today for the first time for nearly three months. Very warm. Snow nearly all melted today.

Friday 18th, warm but cloudy. My health improves slowly. The police met in the evening at my house. After they got through with their business I gave them some instructions and a first rate feeling was manifest among them.

Saturday 19th, wind changed last night to northwest and quite cold this morning. I find that I have taken cold. My cough increased considerably. Elder Quorum met at my house in the evening. I gave them some instructions.

Sunday 20th, held meeting at my house. Very much crowded. Several of the Brethren were called to speak, after which I spoke some time on the order of the Priesthood and had a very good meeting.

Monday 21st, quite unwell. Exercised too much yesterday in speaking and took cold.

Tuesday 22nd, the teachers met at my house in the evening. Heard the reports from the different wards and gave them instructions.

Wednesday 23rd. the police met at house in the evening. Heard their reports and gave them some instructions.

Thursday 24th, very stormy. My health very feeble, indeed. Stopped at home all day.

Friday 25th, Margaret left today to go to Florence and Crescent City. Went with Brother Joseph Hough in company with Sisters Larsen and Isabael Sprowl. I called a special meeting in the evening of the Brethren to attend to some important business in reference to the timber claims.

Saturday 26th, health very poor indeed; also very lonesome, no one being about the house except when some one happens to call on business. Elders Quorum met at my house in the evening. Ordained three into the quorum. All spoke except one. All expressed good feelings. Sent most of the boys today to build cabins on the timber claims below the mill and also over the river for we found our that apostates who had been cut off from the church were about to secure of jump all our timber, thereby running over the rights of the Saints and leaving them entirely destitute.

Sunday 27th, had meeting at my house. Several of the Brethren spoke. Had a good time. The boys who were appointed to go over the river yesterday to secure our timber claims did not succeed to get over because they could not get their canoes and other things ready in time. They had to watch their canoes all night to keep them out of the hands of our enemies.

They thought that they might as well cross the river today as sit all day on the bank to watch their canoes, tools, provisions, blankets, etc, which had been on the bank ready to go all night. They therefore put over two men all safe and returned for the rest, but in taking their guns, tools, provisions, bedding, etc., it loaded them down too heavy and the canoes (for they had two lashed together) sank in the middle of the stream. The stream was very rapid with ice running. They turned over and sundered, or parted, upsetting all that was in them into the stream. Six of them, after a long struggle with the ice and current, made the shore, while Brother S.C. Larsen was carried with the current and drowned.

Some of those men, after they reached the shore, were so benumbed with the cold that they could not walk without help. Brother Larsen's body could not be found. He was a good man and a Saint indeed and died a martyr for the cause of truth, having lost his life by trying to secure the rights of the Saints when these rights were being taken from them by wicked apostates who were seeking to bring the poor saints in Genoa into poverty and distress. After the accident there were eight brethren over the river without food or blankets, with nothing but an axe and a few matches except the clothing on their backs. Six of them were wet and nearly perished and they could have no assistance until a boat could be made, for the canoes were lost. Therefore the boat builders and carpenters went to work (it being nearly evening) to construct a new boat and labored nearly all night.

Monday 28th, today the carpenters got the boat finished about 3 o'clock and took it to the river and took our provisions, blankets, etc, to make the boys comfortable.

Tuesday March 1st, 1859, today Brothers Lewis Miller and Patrick Carroll made two trips over the river to take over more of the boys, provisions, etc. While returning on the last trip, when a few rods from the shore, the boat struck a snag and capsized, throwing two brethren into the river. They lost the boat, but caught by the snag, the current being very swift, with ice running and they knowing that no possible assistance could be rendered from either side, stripped off everything they had on but their shirts and stuck out for the nearest shore which they gained in so benumbed a state that they had to be helped on the shore.

They were on the south side with the other boys and no clothing. The boat floated a few miles down the river and drifted near the shore and was caught by one of the brethren who followed it and brought it back. Received some letters today from my family.

Wednesday 2nd, tremendous cold rain storm. No crossing the river today. It having rained all night and broken up with ice which is running at a rapid rate with the water very high. Last night the Brethren met at my house and concluded to have a larger boat build, which they commenced today.

Friday 4th, very pleasant. From letters received from home I find my presence is needed there, but must abide the Lords time. My foes are many but I fear them not.

Saturday 5th, very pleasant and warm. My health about the same. Stopped at home all day. Commenced a letter to my wife Janet and did other writing.

Sunday 6th, had meeting at my house. Brother's Bradshaw and Hudson spoke to the people. Very cold weather and stormy.

Monday 7th stayed at home all day.

Tuesday 8th, stayed at home all day, reading and writing. Posted my letters to my wife Janet. Few of the teachers met at my house in the evening, but made no report and did no business on account of most of the being over the river.

Wednesday 9th, stopped at home. My health very poor. Margaret came home towards evening.

Thursday 10th, very stormy all day and at night the storm increased almost to a hurricane, blowing snow into every crack and crevice of the house.

Friday 11th, many cattle were found this morning blocked in with snow and had to be shoveled out. The storm continued until nearly noon when it abated.

Saturday 12th, quite pleasant all day. Stayed at home. Health mending slowly.

Sunday 13th, cold and stormy this morning. Had meeting at my house. Several of the Brethren spoke and we had a good time. In the evening storm increased to a hurricane and blew all night.

Monday 14th, this morning again almost everything was blocked with snow banks. Many families had to have the banks shoveled from their doors before they could get out of their houses and many cattle had to be dug out of the snow banks.

Tuesday 15th, clear and warm. Snow melting very fast. My health on the mend.

Wednesday 16th, looking after things about home.

Thursday 17th, started to go over the river but the north wind blew so cold that I returned.

Friday 18th, went over the river to look at the land and found it first rate and concluded to sent over a few families to make claims.

Saturday 19th, bought 40 bushels of corn from Christopher Ceaston and measured it into my crib. In the evening the Elders quorum met at my house. I gave them some instructions upon several subjects. Had a good time.

Sunday 20th, had meeting at my house. Several of the Brethren spoke. In the afternoon the Brethren met at my house to take into consideration the forming of a settlement over the Loup Fork and at Wood River. Took the names of volunteers for each place.

Monday 21st, went down to the river when the ferry boat is building.

Tuesday 22nd, stayed at home. In the evening the teachers met at my house. Heard their reports from the different wards. Gave them some instructions, etc. Today ends the 56th year of my birth.

Wednesday 23rd, 1859, this is my 57th birthday.

Thursday 24th, went down the river to make some arrangements about the ferry boat and stopped there a part of the day but the wind was so cold I had to return.

Friday 25th, went to the river again with Margaret to assist in picking oakum to caulk the boat. The Pawnee Indians, several hundred in number, crossed the river today. It was quite a large novelty to see them taking over their buffalo skin boats, the men, two or three in number, swimming ahead with lines towing the boats and the squaws hanging on behind with nothing but their heads out of the water, and that nearly as cold as could be without ice. It was amusing to see sometimes eight or ten of the boats on the stream at once and hear 50 to 60 voices, male and female, shouting as they plunged along through the cold water.

Saturday 26th, stayed at home in the forenoon to keep the Indians from stealing property, but they succeeded in stealing an ox which I had borrowed. In the afternoon, the Indians left and I went to the river to pick oakum for the boat.

In the evening the Elders Quorum met at my house. Henry Peck and Bro. Sultzer were on trial for disobeying counsel in dealing with and going hunting with Cotton. They, however, made satisfaction and were retained in fellowship.

Sunday 27th, had meeting at my house. Brothers W.E. Jones, Thomas Slight, and myself occupied the time in the meeting.

Monday 28th, cold and stormy. Stayed at home.

Tuesday 29th, went to the river to see about the ferry.

Wednesday 30th, went over the river with Brother T. Bradshaw to look out a town site. Found a beautiful place on the bluff about a mile back from the river and about two or three miles below the ferry with a beautiful farming district east and south. Returned home towards evening, very much fatigued on account of a long walk, cold, and wind.

Tuesday 31st, went to the river at the ferry and picked oakum in the forenoon and in the afternoon helped to stretch the rope across the river. This was accomplished with good success and without accident by the middle of the afternoon, at which time the wind changed into the north and blew almost a hurricane and tremendous cold. I nearly perished returning home in the evening.

This Journal transcribed by Bertha McGee (Joel's great grandaughter), her daughter Linda, and Linda's husband Chuck Harrington, and Bertha's son Scott. [If you want further information, contact Scott by e-mail smcgee@genealogy.org]

Source: Miscellaneous personal histories This information has been gathered by various people interested in Utah history. These are unpublished biographies.