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Pioneer Date Summary

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05/09/1847 - Crockett

Description: A saddled horse is eating. There is field, farm house, and barn in the background. People are standing in the field.
Image courtesy of: Heritage Gateway Project Images, These images have been gathered to support the Sesquicentennial celebration of the immigration to Utah.

Location: Brady, Nebraska - Location: 41:01:20N 100:22:02W Population (1980): 377

Date: May 9, 1847

On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The morning was very cold. Even though it was Sunday, the camp needed to move because the animals had no grass to feed on. At 7:50 a.m., they they traveled three miles around some bluffs on sandy ground near the river. Luke S. Johnson, Edmund Ellsworth, and others caught a four-year-old Buffalo Bull and guided him to the river for water. They then let him go. The pioneers camped near some islands that had plenty of wood, but the feed was still poor. They took the horses to an island and cut down some cottonwood for them to browse on. [This camp was located near present-day Brady, Nebraska.] Many of the men went down to the river to wash their clothes and themselves. William Clayton wrote: "After washing and putting on clean clothing I sat down on the banks of the river and gave way to a long train of solemn reflections respecting many things, especially in regard to my family and their welfare for time and eternity." At 3 p.m., the bugle sounded calling everyone to a Sabbath meeting. "Revenue Cutter" (the boat wagon) was used as a stand. The meeting was opened by singing "Come all Ye Sons of Zion" and Amasa M. Lyman offered the prayer. Speakers included Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, Ezra T. Benson, and Roswell Stevens. Erastus Snow also spoke, confessed his wrong actions during the week, and asked the brethren to forgive him. Elder Woodruff commented about the meeting, "We had a meeting & a good one. The spirit of God rules over the camp. Peace quietness & contentment seems to pervade almost every breast." The meeting was closed by Thomas Bullock reading the minutes from the last meeting, including the rules of the camp. Thomas Woolsey, Roswell Stevens, and John Tippets were preparing to leave for Pueblo, to deliver letters and give instructions to the sick detachments of the Mormon Battalion and the Mississippi Saints who had spent the winter there. The Twelve met together and decided it was best to delay this journey until the pioneers reached Fort Laramie. A small box was made and nailed to a tall post. A written history of the camp up to this point was placed in the box intended to be read by the next pioneer company. [This was a summary written by Thomas Bullock which can be found today in the LDS Archives.] Also nailed on the post was a sign that read "From Winter Quarters three hundred miles, May 9, 1847. Pioneer Camp all well. Distance according to the reckoning of Wm. Clayton." Some of the brethren rode out to scout the road ahead. They saw large herds of buffalo heading to the river for water. They were amazed to see how lean the buffalo were because there was not enough grass to feed the thousands of buffalo.

Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Hosea Stout let Titus Billings and his family move into one of his houses. They had been so kind to the Stout family during the journey from Mount Pisgah to Council Bluffs when Brother Stout was "so much worn out with sickness, poverty, and distress."

A meeting was held at the stand during the morning. Parley P. Pratt read a letter from Brigham Young and the pioneers written to Saints. Elder Pratt spoke out against the "dullness" of the Saints and their neglect in following the counsel of the Twelve regarding the herding of cattle. He mentioned that some brethren were murmuring that Elder Pratt and Taylor were giving counsel contrary to Brigham Young regarding killing Indians. He stated that no one had ever heard them given instructions to kill Indians. But, they should not let the Indians come into the city and endanger lives. He condemns those who recently stood by and did nothing as the Omahas drove off some of the cattle. Their actions expressed an open invitation to the Indians to come again and take more cattle.

Elder Pratt spoke of an incident when one of the wives of a member of the battalion was having difficulty herding one of her cattle. She asked a brother for help but he refused, told her to get it back herself, and told her to mind her own business. Any man who acted like this should be cursed. Mary Richardes commented, "Brother Pratt seemed to be filled with the good spirit to overflowing."

A meeting was scheduled for the afternoon. More of the Saints were encouraged to attend.

In the afternoon, but Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor spoke to the Saints. The Saints were called upon for a sustaining vote to obey counsel, work together, finish stockading the city, and that none would head west until the stockade was complete. More instructions were given regarding protecting the cattle from the Indians. A company of "ten rough Rangers" was to be raised to guard the herds from the Omahas. They were to be led by Hosea Stout. [The ten men were: Parley P. Pratt, Daniel Russell, John Taylor, David Boss, Daniel Spencer, Alpheus Cutler, Joseph Young, Isaac Morley, George D. Grant, and John Neff.]

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
A Sabbath meeting was held at the home of John D. Lee. Brother Lee said "that peace and union which is so essential to the happiness of all but more especially the Saints, was what he pled for, hoped and prayed for, and that our prosperity and safety depended on it." In the evening a meeting was held to discuss the division of land down in the timber. A few brethren had already staked their claims and this had caused some hard feelings. [The men who stake claims included James Busby, G. Arnold, Thomas Johnson, William Pace, Charles Kennedy, and George Teeples.] The brethren at Summer Quarters were constantly having problems with the division of land.

Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
Most of the histories of the Mormon Battalion state that their only battle was against wild bulls and that they never had to fight against or take any human lives. This is incorrect. On this day, the patrol sent Isaac William's ranch battled against Indians. The patrol surprised a band of Indians in a mountain cave and killed five of them. Benjamin F. Mayfield and Samuel Chapin were slightly wounded by arrows, one on the face and the other in the thigh. The patrol included some Mexican guides who brutally scalped the dead Indians and cut off their ears and noses before the men of the battalion could prevent them. [California law at that time offered a premium on Indian scalps.]

General Kearny arrived at Los Angeles and was greeted by a twenty-one gun salute. He went to the Mormon Battalion camp and met the Mormon soldiers for the first time. He talked with many of them and offered good advise.


  • Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 35-6
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:172
  • Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 14:1021
  • Charles Harper Diary, 21
  • Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 7
  • Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 151
  • Pratt, "Parley P. Pratt in Winter Quarters," BYU Studies, 380
  • William Clayton's Journal, 138-39
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 163-64
  • Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1: 254
  • Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 123
  • The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:16-7
  • Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 573-74
  • Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 222
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.