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Genoa, NE, Supply Station and Ferry Boat, Part 3 (1 Apr 1859-20 Jul 1859)

Genoa, NE, Supply Station and Ferry Boat, Part 3 (1 Apr 1859-20 Jul 1859)

Joel Hills Johnson, Presiding (his journal entries)

Friday April 1st, 1859, very cold and stormy this morning. Stopped at home all day. My health improving.

Saturday 2nd, high wind and stormy all night, deep snow drifts, high winds and snow flying at a dreadful rate this morning. Very cold, no wood to build a fire, and at 11 o'clock had to go to bed to keep from freezing. Got up from bed about 2 o'clock, found the storm had ceased and old Sun had popped out from behind the clouds and began to smile again. Went and borrowed an axe and chopped some wood and built a fire in the stove and felt quite at home again, although the snow had drifted two or three feet in every direction.

Sunday 3rd, cold north wind with severe winter weather. I think this must be one of the countries that we read of (as the saying is) where people are frozen stiff from October until May and then eaten up with flies and mosquitos from May until September.

Had meeting at my house as usual. Brothers R. Shackleton, M. Jones and myself occupied the time in speaking to the people. Had good liberty with good attention from the people. Prayer meeting was appointed at 4 o'clock but is was so windy and cold that I did not attend.

Monday 4th, this morning clear and cold; winter weather in very deed. My health mending slowly; feel able to attend to business if the weather would permit.

Tuesday 5th, this morning cold wind in the northwest, but towards evening the wind changed into the south. Stopped at home all day. The teachers met at my house in the evening and gave their reports of the different wards, which were satisfactory.

Wednesday 6th, it is just two years today since I left home, which time seems very long. Today we launched the ferry boat and in the evening the police met at my house to transact some important business.

Thursday 7th, very cold this morning. Went to the ferry but it was so cold that the men at work on the ferry house had to leave and go home. The cold increased towards night and finally turned into another snow storm.

Friday 8th, went to the ferry and crossed over the river with about 20 of the brethren to make a road across the bar to the south bank but didn't finish it.

Saturday 9th, went over the river and finished the road across the bar.

Sunday 10th, had meeting at my house. Brothers Powell, Haaleatt and Bradshaw occupied the time in speaking. At 4 o'clock attended prayer meeting at Bro. Sinclair's.

Monday 11th, went to the river and returned. Stopped at home the rest of the day.

Tuesday 12th, went to the ferry and stopped at home the balance of the day.

Wednesday 13th, at work at the ferry all day.

Thursday 14th, this morning went to the ferry in company with Thomas Davis and John Evans, whom I had engaged to run the ferry and ferried over a few gold diggers and then ferried over some of the boys that had volunteered to form a settlement at Wood River, who were on their way to the place.

Friday 15th, this morning cold winter weather again, the wind blowing a heavy gale from the northwest. Went to the river with five of six hands to work at the ferry, but it was so cold the men would not work and came home.

Saturday 16th, clear and cold winter weather. Men refuse to work on account of cold. Stayed at home all day and shelled corn. In the evening the Elders Quorum met at my house and were reorganized as Brother Dalrymple, their president, had resigned his office and Brother Peck, his first counselor, had been dropped for non attendance.

Sunday 17th, had meeting at my house. Several of the Brethren spoke and had a good time. A 4 o'clock attended prayer meeting at Brother Sinclair's.

Monday 18th, went to the ferry with several hands and changed one end of the rope lower down the stream, and repaired the landing on both sides.

Tuesday 19th, went to the ferry in the morning and thought to cross the river but the skiff was on the other side so I returned home.

Wednesday 20th. Went over the river in company with Brothers Hudson, Bradshaw and several others and laid out a city plat about three miles below the ferry landing and dedicated and named it Loup City.

Thursday 21st, cold north wind. Stayed home all day.

Friday 22nd, stayed at home all day. Read over some letters that I received last Tuesday from my family. Felt quite lonesome.

How lonesome and lonely my fate, With loved one and home far away. Like on without kindred or mate In prison, who longs for the day When liberty shall obtain And meet with His loved ones again.

Saturday 23rd, visited about town some and stayed at home the balance of the day.

Sunday 24th, had meeting at my house. Brothers D.S. Jones and N. Sharp spoke to the people, after which I made a few remarks upon various subjects. Had a good time.

Monday 25th, at home all day.

Tuesday 26th, at home trying to settle with Shackleton and Pilling.

Wednesday 27th, went to the mill to so some business with Shackleton and Pilling, but did nothing and came home.

Thursday 28th, stayed home all day.

Friday 29th, stayed at home and made soap.

Saturday 30th, hauled some hay and did some business about town.

Sunday 1st of May 1859, this morning very rainy, wind in the northeast. My health tolerably good, much better than it has been for many months, for which I feel thankful to my Heavenly Father.

No meeting today on account of stormy weather. Spring cold and backward, not flowers enough to crown a May Queen within ten miles of Genoa. My prospect of getting home this summer to my family is very poor for want of means, which fills my heart with sorrow.

Monday 2nd, stormy all day. Stayed at home most of the day.

Tuesday 3rd, was called up very early this morning by Bro. Thomas Davis from the ferry who stated the river had risen very much and the boat and the rope were in danger. We called out some hands and went down and found that the fastening post for the rope on the bar had moved and the rope had swayed or lowered into the current which was very strong. This would crowd the rope down to its full stretch and then would swing back, making a terrible swishing and foaming. About a dozen men got hold of the lever of the capstan, or fork, and brought the rope out of the water again.

Wednesday 4th, stopped at home all day, changing some of my corn into another crib. I find out for a certainty that I have many foes in and about Genoa who have been made so by Cotton's influence and are determined to do me all the injury they can.

Thursday 5th, occupied the forenoon in moving corn. In the afternoon went to Bro. Foremaster's and blessed an infant child.

Friday 6th, went to the ferry and made some arrangements to repair the damage done by the late flood in the river.

Saturday 7th, went to the river with 15 or 16 hands and commenced repairs of the ferry, which is nearly ruined. The road across the bar which had cost much labor and expense has all washed away, and will cost 50 dollars or more to make it good. This is very discouraging as the ferry has already cost $400 and with little prospect of making expenses or having anything to go home with, but I feel in my heart to say:

Sunday 8th, had meeting in the bowery for the first time since last fall. Several of the Brethren spoke after which I made some remarks. Had a good time.

Monday 9th, finished repairing the ferry and stretched the rope across the river again and ferried over the two emigrant teams.

Tuesday 10th, went to the ferry and found that a bar had formed in the river so the boat could not cross.

Wednesday 11th, got men to go and haul some timber on to the bar about ten rods below the crossing of the ferry to make a new fastening for the rope.

Thursday 12th, went with five or six men and framed and put up a new fastening for the rope on the south side of the river.

Friday 13th, changed the rope to a new place and tried the boat but found that a bar had also formed at the place and could not cross.

Saturday 14th, went to the river much discouraged and sought for a place to cross and found that the bar had washed out from the old place. I then went to work and moved the rope back to its old fastenings and cross over six wagons in quick time.

Sunday 15th, had no meeting on account of the stormy, bad, weather.

Monday 16th, went to the ferry and crossed over a few wagons.

Tuesday 17th, went to the ferry and crossed over nine wagons in the forenoon and in the afternoon repaired the road on the bar.

Wednesday 18th, went to the mill and did some repairs.

Thursday 19th, went to the ferry and crossed over four wagons.

Friday 20th, went to the mill in the morning and at noon returned to the ferry and crossed over 14 emigrant wagons.

Saturday 21st, went to the ferry in the morning and worked repairing the boat until noon then returned home.

Sunday 22nd, had meeting in the bowery. Brothers Backwit and Sproul spoke to the people after which I made some remarks. Had a good time.

Monday 23rd, stayed at home all day. Bought a sack of flour and a few other things of some of the returning immigrants.

Tuesday 24th, went to the ferry and crossed over a few immigrant wagons.

Wednesday 25th, crossed a few wagons.

Thursday 26th, very windy. Crossed five wagons.

Friday 27th, made 55 trips with the ferry at an average of one dollar per trip.

Saturday 28th, went to the ferry early in the morning and crossed over seven wagons and about noon crossed over five wagons from this place for Utah and in the evening 12 or 15 emigrant wagons.

Sunday 29th, had a meeting in the bowery. Several strangers present. Brother Onlicet addressed the people and I followed him.

Monday 30th, went to the ferry and crossed over a few wagons and river rose in the afternoon so I could not ferry.

Tuesday 31st, went to the ferry and found a large crowd of emigrants waiting to get over. Crossed over seven or eight wagons and to my great astonishment the rope parted in the middle of the river and let the boat go down the stream. It was a one inch and three-fourths sea grass rope, and sufficient to hold any stream boat in the same current that ever floated in the Missouri River. On examination I found that it had been rotten by acids of some kind being poured upon it. This, I had no doubt, was done by Gabriel Cotton or some of his associates in trying to break me down. I, however found a man among the emigrants who said he could splice it and I set him to work. I then had to get new pulleys made of sufficient size to run over the splice.

Wednesday June 1st, 1859, this day commences my 29th year since I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This morning went to the ferry early and took down the new pulleys, and by 10 o'clock had the rope stretched across the river and crossed over more than 50 wagons before dark.

Thursday 2nd, went to the ferry and crossed today about 50 wagons.

Friday 3rd, went to the ferry and crossed over a few wagons.

Saturday 4th, went to the ferry and crossed eight or ten wagons.

Sunday 5th, had meeting in the bowery. Brothers Carter and W.E. Jones spoke to the people after which I made a few remarks.

Monday 6th, went to the ferry and crossed over five or six wagons.

Tuesday 7th, went to the ferry and crossed over several wagons, among the rest two from Salt Lake City. Wednesday 8th, went to the ferry and repaired the landing and the road on the bar.

Thursday 9th, stayed at home.

Friday 10th, got some hands and commenced taking my potatoes out of the pits.

Saturday 11, went to the ferry and crossed over six wagons and came home and finished getting the potatoes from the pits.

Sunday 12th, had meeting in the bowery. Elders George Thomas and D.S. Jones occupied the time in speaking.

Monday 13th, stayed at home.

Tuesday 14th, stayed at home.

Wednesday 15th, Captain Haight's church train of 73 wagons arrived and camped at the mill. Went down and visited them.

Thursday 16th, crossed over 32 wagons of Captain Haight's train.

Friday 17th, crossed over the balance of the train.

Saturday 18th, did some business with Brother Pyper and went over the river to see the train start about 1 o'clock. I came in contact with Cotton again today, who gave me many threats, as usual, when he meets me alone.

Sunday 19th, many of the brethren went out with team today to meet the handcart company that was soon expected in. No meeting today on account of foul weather.

Monday 20th, went to the ferry and commenced crossing over Brother Brown's company of 60 wagons. About 4 o'clock the rope came in two near the north side landing(having rotted off by acids being put upon it by some fiend in human shape). The boat was loaded with one wagon and yoke of cattle and about 40 or 50 men, women, and children when the rope parted.

The boat went whirling down stream by the swift current for several rods until some of the men on board caught the longest end of the main rope and pulled it in shore on the south side, otherwise no one knows how far the boat might have gone down the stream and how many lives might have been lost. After the boat and all were landed safe, we got a man to splice the rope and we then stretched it across the river again and crossed over three wagons before dark.

Tuesday 21st, went to the ferry this morning and assisted in crossing over the balance of Brother Brown's company and about noon commenced crossing over the handcart company. While crossing the third wagon, the rope parted again near the south landing, but the boat was pulled ashore on the north side by hands catching the longest end of the main rope. It was rotted off as usual by acids. The cords were fastened and stretched across the river again quickly and the handcart company was all crossed over before dark, free of expense.

Wednesday 22nd, went to the ferry and crossed over 12 emigrant's wagons, after which I crossed over Captain Lemon's train of Church wagons, 18 in number.

Thursday 23rd, in the forenoon took a load of corn and potatoes over the river to Captain Lemon's train. In the afternoon got some help and shelled 20 bushels of corn.

Friday 24, stayed at home and shelled 20 bushels more corn.

Saturday 25th, expected to get my corn ground today but found the mill was out of order and could not grind, so stopped at home all day being very unwell.

Friday 26, had a meeting in the bowery. Brothers Pilling, Jones, and Slight spoke but very short, after which I made some remarks. I saw in the congregation some of the men that have ever tried to run over the rights of the Saints in Genoa by trying to break up the institutions established t make a resting place for the Saints who might come this far and could go no farther on their way to their mountain home. They would do such things as jump their land or timber claims, pour acids upon the ferry rope, thereby endangering the lives of the Saints who are crossing the river on their way to their mountain home. They would report all manner of falsehoods that their evil imaginations could invent to bring them in collision with their neighbors abroad. Their only object attending the meeting was to make a man an offender for a word and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate that they might carry out their hellish designs against myself and the Saints in Genoa as above mentioned. Like all other false brethren and apostates that have ever infested the Church since it had a beginning on earth, these apostates worked.

Monday 27th, stopped at home all day being quite unwell.

Tuesday 28th, this morning went to the mill in company with Brothers Thusen and Welsh, who went down to finish the bolt. After giving them some directions, I returned home. Received a letter today from my son Seth and was very glad to hear from home.,

Wednesday 29th, this morning Brother Hudson came from Florence. I went to see him and he told me that all manner of lies and falsehoods were in circulation against me at Florence, put afloat by enemies in Genoa and the disaffected one who have left and gone down and that much injury was being done to me by their lies and falsehoods, forming prejudice against me in the minds of the authorities below. May God have mercy on them, and bring them to see their sin and folly before they wake up in everlasting burnings.

Thursday 30th, went to the mill this morning with Brothers Thusen and Welsh and gave them some instructions about the bolt and other matters and then returned home where I stopped the balance of the day, being quite unwell.

Friday, July 1st, 1859, felt quite unwell through fatigue in attending to business, fighting mosquitoes and flies, anxiety of mind, etc. Went to the mill towards evening to see how the hands come on with the work and found the bolt nearly finished.

Saturday 2nd, stopped at home all day, quite unwell. In the evening I called a meeting of some of the brethren to investigate some complaints against me about the mill and was exonerated from all blame.

Sunday 3rd, Captain Neslin's company of 53 wagons hove in sight. Many of the saints went down to visit them. No meeting in the forenoon, went myself to the ferry and assisted to cross them over the river. At 4 o'clock attended prayer meeting the bowery.

Monday 4th, Captain Stephenson's company of 51 wagons arrived. The Saints met in the bowery and celebrated the American Independence. A part of Captain Stephenson's company was crossed over in the afternoon. I have crossed the Saints by companies at 75 cents per wagon (except the extreme poor, the crippled and the widow who were crossed free).

Tuesday 5th, went to the mill with Shakleton and Pilling to settle some difficulty in regard to the stones, they having accused me of buying an old worn out pair of stones on purpose to cheat and rob them. The quality of the stones was left to Brother Mace, an old experienced mill wright and miller. He decided that if the stones were put in order that they would more than answer the requirements of the contract. So I was exonerated from all blame.

Wednesday 6th, stopped at home, troubled with some complaint in the kidneys.

Thursday 7th, went down t the ferry. Very lame in the back.

Friday 8th, stopped at home all day, very lame.

Saturday 9th, very lame indeed. Rode down to the ferry and crossed over Brothers Neff and Thomas Davis. Bid them farewell.

Sunday 10th, had meeting in the bowery. Brothers Hugg and Roach occupied the time in the morning, after which I made some remarks.

Monday 11th, went to the ferry and crossed over Brother Armstrong's company of 6 wagons.

Tuesday 12th, went to the ferry and crossed over brother Wright's company of 8 wagons. Today received a letter from my wife Janet and another from my son Sixtus informing me that Nephi was on his way to assist me.

Wednesday 13th, stopped at home to arrange things preparatory to going below to settle my business.

Thursday 14th, packed up some boxes of goods to take below.

Friday 15th, the Governor of the Territory, in company with General Thayer commanding a detachment of U.S. dragons and Militia, called on our settlement on their return from an expedition against the Pawnee Indians to chastise them for some depredations which they had committed on white settlements. It seems that the Government in a treaty with them had extinguished their title to their lands by agreeing to pay them certain yearly sums in cash, goods, etc. The sum of $24,000 they were to receive early last spring which the Government neglected to pay while the Indians were depending upon it to live upon and not receiving it brought them from starvation, which brought the indignation of the whites upon them while some of the poor Indians were killed and a cry was raised against them. This brought out the Governor, General Thayer with detachments of Dragoons and Militia in an expedition against them which will cost with the little stealing and plundering that the Indians did some 24 or 25 thousand dollars.

The Pawnees had stared on a buffalo hunt when the brave band of warriors overtook them in making a treaty of peace with the poor savages they had to give up some of their men as prisoners of war and relinquish the payment then due of $24,000, which Government ought to have paid them in the spring. This would have prevented all the difficulty but the poor savages must bear all the blame, have several of their men killed and lose $24,000 of their honest dues to satisfy the averice of a few poor, miserable, lazy scamps. This shows the rottenness and corruption of the American Government.

Saturday, 16th, started for Florence in company with Mr. Charles Sanders. Stayed all night Peter Morie's, a few miles below Columbus.

Sunday 17, went as far as Emerson's and stopped all night.

Monday 18th, started in the morning and went as far as North Bend and met Brothers Eldridge, Goddard, Young and others on their way home to the mountains; so I concluded to come back with theme to settle some business that could not be dispensed with. Came as far as Peter Morie's and camped for the night.

Tuesday 19th, got home a little before noon. Called a meeting in the evening. Brother Eldridge spoke to the Saints, gave them some instructions and told them that he was satisfied that I had done the best I could for the people of Genoa and that I must be released from my labors and return home. Wednesday 20th, Brother Eldridge called a meeting a gain in the morning at 5 o'clock in which I was honorably released from my labors in Genoa and Brother Poppleton was appointed to take the Presidency until a man could be sent from Salt Lake.

This Journal transcribed by Bertha McGee (Joel's great grandaughter), her daughter Linda, and Linda's husband Chuck Harrington, and Bertha's son Scott. [If you want further information, contact Scott by e-mail smcgee@genealogy.org]

Source: Miscellaneous personal histories This information has been gathered by various people interested in Utah history. These are unpublished biographies.