06/14/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 14, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
At first light, the pioneers started to ferry the wagon contents across the river in Revenue Cutter. A raft was also used, but the current was so strong that it was determined not to be safe to take provisions across on the raft. A rope was stretched across the river at the narrowest place, two wagons were lashed together with poles, and the pioneers attempted to float them across the river. When the wagon wheels hit sand near the other side, the strong current rolled over John Pack's wagon, breaking the wagon bow and causing other damage. They next tried to lash four wagons together, and again tried to drag them across with the rope. This method worked much better. The wagons reached the other side in safety but one of the poles broke.
Howard Egan wrote: "Not having poles or rope enough to lash them, we thought we would try one wagon alone. Some of the brethren thought that if some person would get in the wagon and ride on the upper side, it would prevent it from turning over. I volunteered to go across in it. Soon after we pushed off, Brother Gibbons jumped in the river and caught hold of the end of the wagon. When we got out about the middle of the river, the wagon began to fill with water, and roll from one side to the other, and then turn over on the side. I got on the upper side and hung on for a short time, when it rolled over leaving me off. I saw that I was in danger of being caught in the wheels or the bows, and I swam off, but one of the wheels struck my leg and bruised it some. I struck out for the shore with my cap in one hand. The wagon rolled over a number of times and was hauled ashore. It received no damage, except the bows were broken."
Luke Johson recorded: "I swam mine over but took the cover and bows off. It turned clear over twice and came out right side up, nothing broke but the tongue bolt that broke in tow and half lost." Others lost plows, axes, and irons that had been left in wagon boxes.
They soon concluded that the safest way to take the wagons across would be to ferry them over on rafts. They understood that this method would take much time. The journey would be delayed for several days. Two or three rafts made of pine poles were completed and used for this purpose. Many of the men worked all day in the water. Only twenty-four wagons were taken across during the day.
A very heavy thunder storm blew in at 3:30 p.m. with hail and severe wind. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "We had just drawn Dr. Richards two waggons of his goods on the shore & loaded them into his waggons with all speed. Just got through as the storm struck us. I sprung into my carriage & tied all down tight but the rain, wind & hail beat upon me so heavy that I had to lay out most of my strength to hold my waggon cover on. Both hail & rain came inside my carriage untill my bed & things were nearly drenched. It only lasted 7 minutes but was very severe." The horses panicked and ran two or three miles away during the storm. William Clayton recorded: "After the storm was over the ferrying was continued, getting my trunk, etc., and the loads in Brother Johnson and Harmon's wagons over, and also Harmon's wagon, Johnson's being got over just before the storm. It took till nearly ten o'clock to get the loading into the wagons and get regulated. The river has been rising all day and has risen very fast since the storm. The men have tried hard, much of the time being in the water and sometimes up to their armpits which is very fatiguing indeed."
Elkhorn River, Nebraska:
About 200 wagons were camped side by side. As the second large company of pioneers continued to gather, the men stayed very busy building rafts, crossing over wagons, bridges, fires, and preparing for the long journey ahead. Eliza R. Snow crossed over the river on a raft in the afternoon. She and her close friends continued to meet together and experience the gift of tongues.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
One of Brigham Young's wives, Harriet Cook Young, wrote a letter to her husband that included: "I feel my weakness at this time, and my inability to perform this task well, but knowing that my greatest fault has been not placing the confidence in you that I ought, I am determined to lay too with all my might and overcome it." She mentioned that their infant son, Oscar Brigham, was recovering from a severe burn. "Oscar is well and playful as ever. . . . His arm is almost well. He can use it well as the other. He was burnt bad but I am glad it was no worse."
The Charles C. Rich family, numbering seventeen people including teamsters left Winter Quarters. They traveled three miles and camped for the night. Brother Rich returned to Winter Quarters in the evening to "urge forward the artillery."
Hosea Stout moved into the recently vacated home of Abraham O. Smoot which was much more comfortable than the Stout's former home. Despite the warning about cattle destroying corn, a large herd was brought in from the corn. The owners were not pleased because they would have to face up to the penalty. The stray pen was full during the night. A guard was placed at it to keep the cattle from being taken away without paying a fine.
Kearny detachment of the battalion, Sacramento California:
The men each received one horse for the journey east, over the mountains. They dried some beef during the day. Nathaniel Jones commented on the Sacramento area: "We are thirty-five miles from the head of the bay. Corn does not do so well unless it is watered. Mechanics wages are very high, also all kinds of common labor. Land can be bought for twenty-five cents per acre, wheat one dollar per bushel."
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
John Allen, a disgraced soldier, had his head half shaved was drummed out of town. He was marched between four sentinels with drummers and fifers in the rear. He was marched through town at the point of a bayonet as the musicians played the "Rogues March." He would not be allowed to return until the war was over. If he did, he would be locked up in irons for the duration.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
A great celebration was held because of the happy news received that General Zachary Taylor was victorious over thousands of Mexicans. It was reported that American forces would soon reach Mexico City. The cannon was fired from both the fort and the town. Robert S. Bliss remarked, perhaps with a smile: "The Catholic Church had a few less Glass than usual when we ceased firing. The ceremony was concluded at sun down by firing the guns & lowering the flags with 3 Cheers."
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.
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 34
- Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 73-4
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 425
- Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 12
- Jessee, Brigham Young's Family: The Wilderness Years, 41
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:204-05
- The History and Journal of Jesse W. Crosby, typescript, BYU, 33
- William Clayton's Journal, p.237
- Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.69 - p.70
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:260
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 178
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:18
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 226
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:95
- The Private Journal of Thomas Dunn, typescript, 25
- Arrington, Charles C. Rich, 113