Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer Date Summary

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04/17/1847 - Crockett

Location: Fremont, Nebraska - Location: 41:26:00N 96:29:52W Elevation: 1195 feet

Date: April 17, 1847

On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The pioneers woke up to a very cold morning -- twenty six degrees. Ice at least a half inch thick was found on their standing water. They started out at 9 a.m., and traveled on a difficult sandy road. The wind was blowing very hard as they traveled through present-day Fremont, Nebraska. At noon, after about seven miles, they camped by a cottonwood grove. Because there was no grass, the pioneers chopped down hundreds of trees for the teams to feed on. They prepared to stay over at this camp on the next day, Sunday. The wagons were formed into a long line, parallel to the river. A small lake was found nearby, but the water was poor. [The campsite was near the present-day Ames Post Office, near the Platte River.]

In the afternoon, some traders arrived from the west, from the Pawnee Village. They shared with the pioneers dried buffalo meat warned them that they were two days journey from a large body of Pawnees. The traders had a wagon loaded with buffalo robes and they camped nearby.

At 5 p.m., the bugle was sounded, and the pioneer camp was called together for a meeting. The company was further organized into a military regiment. Brigham Young was elected Lieutenant General of the company. Stephen Markham, Colonel, Shadrach Roundy and John Pack, majors. The captains of tens were also re-elected into this organization: Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Phinehas H. Young, Luke S. Johnson, Stephen H. Goddard, Charles Shumway, James Case, Seth Taft, Appleton M. Harmon, John Higby, Norton Jacob, John Brown and Joseph Matthews. Thomas Tanner was elected Captain of the Cannoniers and Thomas Bullock as the clerk of the Company.

Brigham Young instructed: "After we start from here, every man must keep his loaded gun in his hand, or in the wagon where he can put his hand on it at a moment's warning. If they are cap locks, take off the cap and put on a little leather to keep wet and etc. out. If flint locks, take out the priming and fill the pan with twine or cotton," He further reminded the men that the wagons must travel together, not separate as was previously done. He instructed the Captains of Tens to no longer permit a man to leave their ten to go off and shoot prairie chickens, ducks, or deer, for fear that the Indians would harm them.

In the evening, Ellis Eames and Hans C. Hansen entertained the camp with music from their violins. William Clayton wrote, "All peace and quietness." Brother Eames prepared to return to Winter Quarters because of sickness. Howard Egan, however, felt that the true reason was that "he is weak in the faith."

Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Some of the brethren who had been visiting the pioneers on the Platte River arrived back in Winter Quarters. They reported that the pioneers were about 75 miles to the west.

Charles C. Rich left Winter Quarters to return on business to Nauvoo. His wife Sarah Rich wrote that he left, "committing his family into the hands of the Lord, at the same telling the family, 'If you pray for Sarah D. (his wife, meaning me) that I would see that they would have enough to eat until his return.' He was not able to leave enough on hand to last until he could return, and had no means to buy with, but on his going back at that time depended our prospect to go with the first company across the plains."

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
The morning was very cold, the ice an inch thick. John D. Lee called the camp together to discuss guarding the cattle during the nights to keep them secure against the Indians. They decided that a fence should be built to keep in the herd.


  • Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 549
  • William Clayton's Journal, 78-9
  • Luke S. Johnson, Pioneers Journal of 1847, typescript, BYU, 2
  • Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 25
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:149-50
  • Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 16
  • Levi Jackman Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.26
  • Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.66
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 150-51
  • Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:247
  • Knight and Kimball, 111 Days to Zion, 31
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, crockett@goodnet.com.