06/27/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 27, 1997
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
On this chilly morning near the continental divide, the pioneers departed from their camp at 7:55 a.m. It was exactly three years since the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martryed in Carthage jail. Most of the brethren wanted to spend the day fasting and praying, but because the Missouri companies were so close and feed was so scarce, they decided to move on, but William Clayton said: "many minds have reverted back to the scenes at Carthage jail, and it is a gratification that we have so far prospered in our endeavors to get from under the grasp of our enemies."
They soon passed the eight men heading back to the states They had twenty horses and mules, loaded with packs, robes and skins. Some of the pioneers sent some letters back with them. In about three miles, they arrived at the spote that Orson Pratt believed was the continental divide. In three more miles they reached Pacific Spring, where Orson Pratt and others had camped for the night. They could clearly see that the streams were running west instead of east, a sign that they had crossed over the divide. Wilford Woodruff felt a historic feeling as he tasted water for the first time in his life that flowed to the Pacific Ocean.
The mountaineer, Moses Harris, decided to travel with the pioneers for awhile. He sold some elk and deer skins to the men and hoped to guide an emigrant company heading west, to Oregon. He told the brethren that the Bear River Valley and the surrounding country including that area near Salt Lake was a poor place to settle. William Clayton recorded: "From his description, which is very discouraging, we have little chance to hope for even a moderately good country anywhere in those regions. He speaks of the whole region as being sandy and destitute of timber and vegetation except the wild sage. He gives the most favorable account of a small region under the Bear River mountains called the Cache Valley where they have practiced caching their robes, etc., to hide them from the Indians. He represents this as being a fine place to winter cattle." He gate the brethren several copies of Samuel Brannan's "California Star." William Clayton wrote: "I had the privilege of perusing several of these papers during the day but found little interesting news."
After crossing a small stream, they stopped for the new rest on its bank. They continued on at 2:25 p.m., traveled until dusk, and camped at Dry Sandy [Little Sandy River.] There was no wood, but some water. Moses Harris continued to talk about the Rocky Mountain region. He recommended that the Saints settle in an area on the Bear River in present-day south-eastern Idaho. William Clayton wrote that it "might answer our purpose pretty well if the report is true. It is about thirty miles long and fifteen miles wide and tolerably well timbered. We generally feel that we shall know best by going ourselves for the reports of travelers are so contradictory it is impossible to know which is the truth without going to prove it."
Harris said that future companies should be able to get through the South Pass [which they just came through] as late as November, but if they should get blocked because of snow there is another way to the Green River. [He described a route throught the future site of Martin's Cove and through the Great Divide Basin. Sadly, the Martin Handcart company would become blocked by snow in this area, in October of 1856. They took refuge at Martin's Cove, a few miles south-west of Devil's gate.]
The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
At 8 a.m. Captain James Brown and other members of the Mormon Battalion sick detachment from Pueblo arrived at the ferry. The ferrymen spent the day ferrying over an emigration company for $16. Another company arrived in the afternoon but refused to pay the fee of 75 cents per wagon. They went up the river about two miles and started to ferry over their wagons with a raft that had been left there by a former company. Seven members of that company returned "sick of rafting" and paid the 75 cent fee. Blacksmithing was peformed for battalion members.
On the Loup Fork, Nebraska:
The large second pioneer company rested on the Sabbath, but because Beaver Creek was so high, they spent time moving many wagons across the stream. A general meeting was held and it was decided to take a sixty-five mile detour from the first pioneer company's trail. The waters of Loup Fork were much higher than when the first company crossed, making it impossible to ford the river where they did, so it would be necessary to travel further up of river.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
At a High Council meeting, John H. Blazzard was tried for taking an ox out the the possession of a guard. The ox had been siezed because it had been found in the corn field. Brother Blazzard had taken it and threatened to fight the guard. He was fined two dollars. Isaac Allred came in from Garden Grove and visited Hosea Stout. It was the first time they had seen each other since Brother Stout had been in Garden Grove the previous year.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
A Sabbath meeting was held at John D. Lee's house. Isaac Morley, visiting from Winter Quarters, addressed the settlement on the subject of sel government. He was followed by talks from John D. Lee and Samuel Gully, and F.W. Cox. After the meeting was closed, several children were brought forth to be blessed. Isaac Morely gave instructions regarding the ordinance of blessing children. All the names, ages, and birthplaces were carefully recorded. Afterward, a rich dinner festival was given by the Lees.
Kearny detachment of battalion, in Nevada:
The detachment came to a hot spring. [Later called Brady's Hot Spring.] Nathaniel V. Jones wrote: "It was a curiosity. The water was thrown out by steam in a solid column four feet high and sometimes higher. The steam could be seen three or four miles off. It would discharge one barrel in one minute. The ground all around there seemed to be hollow underneath, and it was hot for half a mile around. They camped on Mary's River [Humboldt River]. Sergeant Jones observed: "It seems as though the curse of God rested upon this country. It is all a barren unfruitful waste."
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
Henry Standage spent the day in his tent learning Spanish. He commented: "Our officers are becoming more and more like men, giving us as many privileges as they can conveniently. They have not been more than half as strict for a few days past. In fact they seem to realize that their power as military commanders will soon be gone and that their influence will go too." He mentioned that Brothers Andrew Lytle and James Pace had been appointed to lead the men back to the main body of the church. He believe that they were the only two officers who at all times had respect for the Priesthood and treated the men like Fathers. Brothers Steven St. John and Averett returned from visiting San Diego. They reported that company B did not have to build a fort like those at Los Angeles and that they were allowed to work for the citizens for pay when off duty.
Brother Reuben McBride took Elder Lyman O. Littlefield and Brother Fox Painesville, Ohio, where they took passage in a stage for Buffalo, New York, to continue their journey to their mission to England. [Reuben McBride was an official for the Church, left in charge of the Kirtland temple and other Church properties in Kirtland.]
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.
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 86-7
- William Clayton's Journal, 266-69
- Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888), p.193
- Albert P. Rockwood Journal, typescript, BYU, 59
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:218-19
- Jesse W. Crosby Journal, typescript, BYU, 34
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 117
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 38
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 180-81
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:20
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 229
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:264