06/12/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 12, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
At 8 a.m., the pioneers continued their journey along the North Platte River. Wilford Woodruff recorded how he was bit by a horse: "I started in the morning to go forward in company with Br. Albert P. Rockwood who was riding President Young's stud when suddenly he sprung upon my horse but instead of striking my horse, he took my knee into his Jaw & bruised me considerable. Sunk one took to the bone through three thicknesses of clothing & one of them buck skin.
After crossing over two creek, they halted for the mid-day rest at noon. One of the creeks was crossed over on a bridge the the advance group of pioneers had previously built.
News came from the advance group at the ferry crossing four miles ahead that they were busy helping two small bands of emigrants ferry over the river. Brother Alexander Chesley had traveled back and reported that they were receiving thirty-four dollars for the service. The goods were loaded in the "Revenue Cutter" and the wagons were pulled over by a rope fastened to the end of the wagon tongue. Frequently the wagons would roll over because of the fierce current. The river crossing was about 100 yards across, and fifteen feet deep. Some of the horses almost drowned as they were swimming across. The payment for the crossing service was made in desperately needed flour. "It looked as much of a miracle to me," wrote Wilford Woodruff, "to see our flour and meal bags replenished in the Black Hills as it did to have the children of Israel fed with manna in the wilderness. But the Lord has been truly with us on our journey and wonderfully blessed and preserved us."
Rodney Badger traded a wagon for a horse, one hundred pounds of flour, twenty-eight pounds of bacon, and some crackers. William Clayton remarked: "The Missourian company seem to feel well toward us and express their joy at having got across the river so soon." They made quite a feast for the brethren to thank them.
Stephen Markham learned from Judge Bowman, the leader of one of the Missouri companies, that his son, William Bowman had been murdered for aiding in the escape of Joseph and Hyrum Smith from Liberty Jail, Missouri, in 1839. The mob had been led by Obediah Jennings. [Jennings was said to be one of the murderers who also participated in the Haun's Mill Massacre.] The Missouri mob had rode William Bowman on a bar of iron until he died. [Hyrum Smith told the tale that while Joseph and Hyrum were being transported from Davies County to Boone County, in a change of venue, Sheriff William Morgan and the guard, William Bowman let them escape. The Sheriff purposely drank freely from a jug of whiskey and three other guards did too. "They also went to bed, and were soon asleep and the other guard went along with us, and helped to saddle the horses. Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the State of Illinois; and in the course of nine or ten days arrived safely at Quincy, Adams county, where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health." The story told in the History of Davies County states: "The sheriff reported that the prisoners had all escaped in the night, taking the horses with them, and that a search made for them proved unavailing. The people of Gallatin were greatly exercised, and they disgraced themselves by very ruffianly conduct. They rode the sheriff on a rail, and Bowman was dragged over the square by the hair of his head." Judge Bowman told Brother Markham that Sheriff Morgan was in Oregon.]
The main pioneer company debated for a half hour whether or not they should cross the river at this point or travel four miles more to join the advance group. They had been able to ford the river on horses, but they decided to travel on.
After four miles, they made a half circle with the wagons on the bank of the river, one half mile east of the ferry location. [Their camp was located in present-day Casper, Wyoming.] The hunter killed three buffalo, a black bear, some cubs, and several antelope. Seeley Owen killed a mountain goat and said that there were plenty in the mountains. Wilford Woodruff visited the camp of some of the traders and saw a bear foot that measured seven and a half inches long.
Tunis Rappleyee and Artemas Johnson were reported missing. Brother Rappleyee returned at 11 p.m. He had foolishly tried to hike up to the mountains to get some snow, but the mountains were much further than he thought. Brother Johnson was found by some of the men. He had become lost while hunting. A company of horseman with the bugler were sent out to search for them. Guns were fired and a large bonfire built to help them find the camp. Erastus Snow recorded the two men's reaction after they finally returned to camp: "Their extreme mortification at being the cause of so much trouble and anxiety in camp served greatly to heighten the merited chastisement which they received from the president. They reported the mountains to be full of bear, elk antelope and sheep, and snow from six to ten feet deep in places." Thomas Bullock said that Tunis Rappleyee said he would not go on another such journey after a snow ball for one hundred dollars."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Eliza R. Snow started her journey to the mountain west. She wrote in her journal: "Bade farewell to many who seem dearer to me than life & seated in the carriage with [Margarent Pierce] & [Edith Evaline Pierce] I took my departure from Winter Quarters." It soon started raining and shortly after that one of the wagons in her company broke their wagon tongue and had to be repaired. They traveled seven miles toward the Elkhorn River and camped with a company of fourteen wagons. Sister Snow continued: "I felt a loneliness for a while after parting with my friends but the spirit of consolation & rejoicing return'd & I journey'd with good cheer." Later, Sister Snow recalled: "Previous to starting for an indefinite point -- probably one thousand miles into the interior, and far from all supplies, the idea of an outfit was a very important consideration. Some of our brethren had purchased and brought from St. Louis a few articles of Merchandise, which supplied our local store with some of the necessaries and comforts for journeying. I was to start immediately, and what about my outfit? Its extent must be determined by the amount of means. On examining my purse, I found it contained one dime -- I was nearly minus ink -- I could not go without that article: one dime was just the price of a bottle, and I made the purchase."
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Because the Winter Quarters mill was no longer functioning, John D. Lee resorted using a mortar with a spring pole to beat corn into meal. There was some trouble in the settlement as the stock were destroying crops.
Elder Lyman O. Littlefield, on the way to England on a mission met up with his companion, Brother Fox. Elder Littlefield wrote of Kirtland at that time: "We found there several members of the Church -- some of them firm in the faith, some rather lukewarm. There were plenty of apostates, the leader of whom was William E. M'Lellin, once one of the Twelve Apostles."
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
John Spidle was thrown from his horse and was badly injured.
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, TucsonAz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 33
- History of the Church, Vol.3, p.321
- Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 72-3
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 424
- Watson, ed., The Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 558-59
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:166
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:201-02
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 191
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 175
- William Clayton's Journal, 233-36
- Journal of Albert P. Rockwood, typescript, BYU, 54
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 177
- Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 17, p.335
- Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888), p.192
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 225