06/23/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 23, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
The morning was pleasant and warm as the pioneers continued their journey at 6 a.m. They crossed a shallow stream and several miles later stopped to rest the animals on the bank of the Sweetwater. All morning they could see the rocky mountains covered with snow. Erastus Snow wrote: "This granite ridge, or chain of gray rock, which is almost entirely naked, still continues on our right, and running parallel on our left, at a distance from five to twenty miles, is another ridge of snow-capped hills which seem to be chiefly covered with timber. In the distance, at the west of us, appears the towering heights of the Wind river chain of the Rocky Mountains, covered with immense patches of snow."
They passed by the grave of a Matailda Crowley who died on July 7, 1846. William Clayton wrote: "On reflecting afterward that some of the numerous emigrants who had probably started with a view to spend the remainder of their days in the wild Oregon, had fallen by the way and their remains had to be left by their friends far from the place of destination, I felt a renewed anxiety that the Lord will kindly preserve the lives of all my family, that they may be permitted to gather to the future home of the Saints, enjoy the society of the people of God for many years to come, and when their days are numbered that their remains may be deposited at the feet of the servants of God, rather than be left far away in a wild country. And oh, Lord, grant this sincere desire of thy servant in the name of Thy Son Jesus. Amen."
At 1:10, they continued on and after about seven more miles camped camped for the night at 6:20 p.m. [They camped just west of present-day Jeffrey City, Wyoming.] Willford Woodruff commented, "We had a very sandy draggin road all day." They traveled on an alternate road rather than the main Oregon trail which crossed over the Sweetwater several times.
They camped between two Missouri companies, a few miles away and Burr Frost did some blacksmithing for them.
The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
Eric Glines departed on a mule for the pioneer camp. He was ferried across the river. James Davenport did some blacksmithing for a Mr. Hiss who was working the ferry up the river. Four Frenchmen with six pack horses and a squaw arrived in the evening. They had come from Fort Laramie and reported that the Mormon Battalion soldiers from Pueblo had arrived and would be arriving in a few days.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The George Wallace fifty reached Shell Creek. [Brigham Young's pioneer company was at this location on April 20. The distance from Winter Quarters was sixty-two miles. They crossed over the creek on a poor bridge and located a vast prairie dog village nearby. In William Clayton's emigrant guide he wrote: After this you will probably find no water for twelve miles, without turning considerably from the road.]
The companies traveled two abreast, instead of five. The Joseph Noble fifty camped a half mile behind John Taylor's company and five miles behind Parley P. Pratt. Eliza R. Snow recorded: "Our place is very delightful -- a short grass which is a sweet treat for the herd overspreads an extensive plain -- the river forming almost a half circle, while rich clusters of trees are to be seen in every direction."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Hosea Stout spent the day trying to gather men and horses for the war party against the Omahas. He was having trouble getting men to donate horses, so he told Brother Higbee to not allow any horses across the river until enough horses had been raised for the expedition. This helped to motivate some men to lend their horses and selves to the cause.
New Hope, California:
Addison Pratt started to help harvest the wheat. At noon he went to take a nap under an oak tree, which was the only rest he could find because of the terrible mosquito problem during the night. He described: "The spring floods had drownded out a part of their wheat crop and had left innumerable stagnant pools where those musketoes bred. Had it not have been for the musketoes, I should have enjoyed myself well there, as there was an abundance of wild game, such as elk, antelope, deer, grisly bears, beaver, otter, racoons, wolves, foxes, wild-cats, hares, skunks, a great variety of wildducks, and plenty of California quails, a variety of other animals too tedious to mention, besides a good supply of rattlesnakes, and in the rivers were an abundance of fish."
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
A detail working at the fort raised up a liberty pole.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Colonel Stevenson addressed the battalion company. Robert S. Bliss wrote: "Gave us the praise of being the best company in the Southern Division of California; the most inteligent & correct soldiers. Said we were universally esteemed & respected by the inhabitants & in short we had done more for Clifornia than any other people." He then started efforts to reenlist the men for six more months. Captain Jesse Hunter supported the idea of reenlistment if the army would send them to Bear Valley or San Francisco after the six months were up. Twenty of the men agreed to reenlist. Other men wanted to wait until they received counsel from their priesthood leaders, Levi Hancock and David Pettigrew. With only twenty men signed up, more would be needed to be raised at Los Angeles. Jesse Hunter, William Hyde and Horace Alexander agreed to join Colonel Stevenson with recruiting efforts at Los Angeles. Colonel Stevenson wrote a letter to Colonel Mason and reported his frustration at reenlisting the Mormons. He reported that they were "entirely under the control of their leaders [Levi Hancock and David Pettigrew] who were the chief men; and but for them, at least three companies would have re-enlisted."
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.
- Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 6, p.279
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 117
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 83-4
- Albert P. Rockwood Journal, 57
- Wilford Woodruff's, Journal, 3:214
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:168
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 37
- The Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:135
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 200
- William Clayton's Journal, p.258
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:263
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 180
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 228
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:96
- Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 593
- Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 87
- Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 333-34