Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer Date Summary

Previous | Next

05/12/1847 - Crockett

Location: Hershey, Nebraska - Location: 41:09:31N 101:00:08W Elevation: 2901 feet

Date: May 12, 1847

On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The pioneers arose to clear skies and a temperature of forty-one degrees. Appleton M. Harmon completed the roadometer and attached it to a wagon in the morning. William Clayton wrote: "I shall only have to count the number of miles, instead of the revolution of the wagon wheel." It worked well and showed that the company traveled eight miles during the morning. The wind kicked up dust which was bothersome to the travelers.

They saw signs that Indians had been in the area recently and concluded that this was the reason why buffalo had been so scarce for the past two days. Erastus Snow recorded: "We passed today the corpses of about one hundred buffaloes, lately slaughtered by them [the Indians]. They have taken only the hides, tongues, marrow-bones, and here and there a choice piece of meat, leaving the buffalo for the wolves, which are by no means scarce or backward in waiting upon themselves. Most of the buffaloes that we have seen on this route seem to be poor, and we find many carcasses of those that have died this spring; and in several instances we have found them so feeble that our boys, who love the sport, have caught them by the tail and horns and handled them as they would any domestic animal."

In the afternoon they traveled four more miles and stopped at a clear stream, fifteen feet wide. In the stream they found a number of small fish which several of the men caught with hooks. In the distance ahead, they could see the bluffs that rise up on the land between the north and south forks of the Platte River. William Clayton commented: "Our course this afternoon a little south of west, having come around a considerable bend in the river." [This indicates that their camp was located across from present-day city of North Platte, Nebraska.]

Wilford Woodruff wrote of his discoveries: "I found on the Bluff their [the Indians] medicine bag tied to a stick 6 feet long stuck up in the bank. It was what is called kinikinnick composed of tobacco & bark to smoke. I also found a saddle tied to a large buffalo dung I supposed to show the next party which way the Buffalo had gone." While Elder Woodruff was chasing after his horse, he came upon a deserted Sioux encampment which had been recently used during the buffalo hunt. He judged that there had been about 400 lodges. "There was Acres of ground covered with Buffalo wool where they had dressed their skins. They left much stuff scattered over the ground such as peaces of dressed Buffalo & wolf skins, moccasins."

Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Orson Hyde arrived home from his mission to England. He had sailed from England on February 23.

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
The settlement was very busy plowing and planting. Samuel Gully returned from Winter Quarters and reported that the mill was again in operation.

Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
One hundred twenty New York volunteers came in from Monterey.

Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
News had arrived of the battle with the Indians experienced by some of the battalion from Los Angeles (See May 9). They learned that six of the Indians had been killed and three of the battalion were wounded.


  • Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 393-94
  • Elden Watson (ed.), Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 554
  • Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:159
  • Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 14:1022
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:173-74
  • William Clayton's Journal, p.143
  • The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:93
  • 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.