Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer Date Summary

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07/17/1847 - Crockett

Date: July 17, 1847

Advance Company in Dixie Hollow, Utah:
A severe frost fell on the company during the night. Early in the morning, Orson Pratt went ahead on foot to examine the country to see if there was a better route to take. He was soon convinced that they had taken the best and only practical route. He met a large grey wolf as he was returning. Orson Pratt gave orders that the company would not proceed further until more labor had been performed on the previous day's road.

While all the men worked, Orson Pratt and John Brown went ahead to explore. They followed a creek for about 3 miles and discovered that this route would be impossible to pass through because the creek passed through a very narrow canyon that had a huge boulder at the foot of the canyon. So instead they followed the dim Donner-Reed trail that climbed up East Canyon for eight miles, crossing the creek thirteen times. The road would require much labor to make it usable by the wagons. They left the horses and climbed a mountain summit which appeared to be 2000 feet higher. Orson Pratt wrote: "The country exhibited a broken succession of hills piled on hills, and mountains on mountains, in every direction." They returned and found the advance company have gone one about five miles from their morning camp, and ended up in East Canyon.

Main Company in Echo Canyon, Utah:
Brigham Young had a rough night and was very sick again. A forge was set up during the morning to repair Solomon Chamberlain's axletree. The cattle and mules were very uneasy during the morning because they could hear their echoes and must have thought these were other animals answering their calls. Nine horses were lost in the morning. It was decided to journey on while some men went back to repair Brother Chamberlain's wagon and while others hunted for the lost horses. [They evenually found them nine miles up Echo Canyon.]

At 9:40 a.m., the main company pressed on and soon came to the Weber River. They turn to the right and traveled down the river. The valley had opened up and they could again see snow on the mountain tops.

Brigham Young, so very sick, soon could not endure any more traveling. A camp was selected a few miles further on the banks of the river. William Clayton wrote: "The day very hot and mosquitoes plentiful; Several of the brethren have caught some fine trout in this stream which appears to have many in it. In the afternoon Elders Kimball, Richards, Smith, Benson and others went onto a mountain to clothe and pray for President Young. They also prayed for their families far away. Howard Egan recorded: "We had a glorious time, and I thank the Lord for the privilege." On returning they rolled down many large rocks from the top of the mountain to witness the velocity of their descent, etc. Some would roll over half a mile and frequently break to pieces."

In the evening, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Howard Egan rode down the river to investigate the entrance into Main Canyon. They returned at 10 p.m. after riding eight miles down the river, but did not reach the canyon.

Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The men obtained timber to construct a coal pit. In the afternoon, the emigrant company started to move out, leaving just the six ferryman alone at the river.

On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
During the night, many cattle belonging to one of the companies broke out of their yard. About twenty yoke of oxen could not be found. Patty Sessions wrote of this day: "I gather a few dry weeds, built a little fire on a baffaloe dung, broiled some meat for my dinner, drank sweeten ginger and water. I have seen many thousands of buffaloe to day. One crossed out track just forward of us. We had a fair view of him."

Great joy was felt when the pioneers met some trappers heading east. They said they had met Brigham Young's pioneer company at South Pass. [See June 27, 1847]. They also mentioned that several of the pioneers had been left at the North Platte river crossing and were operating a ferry. The trappers brought back letters from the pioneers.

As the pioneer companies were sleeping during the night, they were alarmed by the bellowing of a huge herd of buffalo on the other side of the river.

Bear River Valley, Idaho:
The detachment came upon some hot springs on the Bear River [Present-day Lava Hot Springs, Idaho].


  • William Clayton's Journal, p.297
  • Norton Jacob Journal, typescript, 105
  • Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 449-50
  • Levi Jackman Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.39
  • Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:140
  • Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185
  • Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, The 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions, 91
  • William Scearce Journal, typescript, 1
  • The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21
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.