06/25/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 25, 1847
On the Sweetwater, Wyoming:
Before moving out, several of the brethren had to cross the river to fetch cattle that mixed in with the Missouri companies' herd. The pioneers resumed their journey at 6:40 a.m. They forded the Sweetwater which was about three feet deep. Next, they had to climb a very high bluff, one and a half miles to the top. For this vantage point, Howard Egan was able to spot Edson Whipple's lost yoke of oxen. He went back and helped George Billings find them. They caught up with the main camp after they halted for the noon rest.
The wind was blowing strong from the northwest, making it cold and unpleasant to travel. At 1:20 p.m., the proceeded on, and began to ascend hill after hill for three miles. Wilford Woodruff said that it was the "highest and longest hill that we have passed over on the journey." On the way up, they found snow banks about 300-400 feet long and up to ten feet deep. William Clayton commented: "Some of the brethren went to visit and amused themselves by snowballing each other." Elder Woodruff wrote: "They brought some to me & I ate some. . . . We are so near the top of the mountains & surrounded with snow that the air feels like winter." Erastus Snow added: "We began to gather our vests, then our coats, and finally, before night, our overcoats, and were cold at that."
They passed by the three Missouri companies during the day. They had to cross a swampy place and then formed the encampment on the north side of a creek. They had traveled more than twenty-one miles during the day. The camping spot was excellent, plenty of water, wood, and grass. [During the day the pioneers passed by the site where the Willie handcart company would be rescued in 1856. Seventy-seven people perished in the company.]
Thomas Bullock wrote: "One of the brethren brought into camp two solid lumps of ice, gave on lump to the Doctor [Willard Richards] and Sister Lorenzo Young gave him [the doctor] 1/3 pound of butter . . . which he put some ice to, making it hard and cold and having some light bread made, had a perfect feast in the wilderness."
The Mormon Ferry, Nebraska:
The men were busy ferrying over some emigrants. They were experiencing some competition from the upper ferry. They had offered to let a company use their ferry free of charge, but they still asked they still hired the brethren to do the job. Appleton Harmon explained: "We agreed to ferry them for fifty cents a wagon, thinking that if we gave the upper ferry no chance of employment they would not remain long." The wind picked up, and they had to halt the ferry in the afternoon. At 5:30, John Higbee discovered the body of Wesley J. Tustin floating down the river. He had drowned on June 19 at the upper ferry. Captain Vaughn of an Oregon emigrant company retrieved the body. On the body was found a pocket knife and $1.60 which Captain Vaughn said he would forward to the young man's parents.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
In the morning when Charles C. Rich went to hitch up his team of oxen, an accident occurred. Sarah Rich wrote: "My husband was trying to hitch up an unruly ox, and the ox jumped over the wagon tongue, falling on my little son Joseph, and it came very near killing him. We were very much worried about him but he soon got over his hurt."
Sister Rich described the company challenges as they traveled up the Platte River. "We were detained a good deal by having to repair bridges that the pioneers had left ahead of us in the spring, had made for President Young and some of the Apostles and others who had gone ahead to pick out a location for our final stopping place. We were now following in their trail traveling up the Platte River. Timber was sometimes very scarce and hard to get. We managed to do our cooking with what little we could gather up in camp."
The Joseph Noble company held a meeting in the morning before traveling on. Eliza R. Snow commented that "the wind & dust almost intolerable" as they traveled twelve miles during the day.
The George Wallace company started late because their cattle had become mixed up with another company's cattle. Many of the brethren were angry as they had to separate the oxen. Joseph Kingsbury was irritated at the "slothfulness of some individuals."
[During the day, the companies passed by the site of the new Pawnee Village where Brigham Young's company had encountered many Pawnee on April 12, 1847. Evidently the Pawnee were away on a hunt or had moved the village because no mention is made of encounters with large groups of Indians.]
The pioneer companies reached the Loup Fork and camped on its bank for the evening near Looking Glass Creek. Five men from the Pawnee Mission ahead visited the pioneers on the way to Council Bluffs. They warned the Saints that there was a Indian war party prowling through the country that might give them trouble. Sarah Rich commented: "Our companies would generally camp close together, and when we would stop to camp, would sometimes fire a canon, as those Indians were very much afraid of the big gun, as they called it."
It was a very warm day. John D. Lee went for more brick at Old Council Bluff. At 5 p.m., Isaac Morley, Brother Whiting, and F.W. Cox arrived from Winter Quarters. They relayed news that a force of men had been ordered to be raised and marched to Bellevue. They had been met coldly and Indian agent Robert Mitchell had said that Jesus Christ could not hinder the Omahas from killing the cattle.
Kearny detachment of battalion, in Nevada:
The detachment traveled twelve miles down the Truckee River and saw plenty of Indians.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Colonel Stevenson left for Los Angeles accompanied by Jesse Hunter, William Hyde and Horace Alexander. During the day an Indian was tied to a gun and given 50 lashes by order of Lt. Cliff. Robert S. Bliss comments, "Poor fellows, they are the greatest slaves I ever saw here and in the most abject poverty occasioned by Catholic religion & I have no doubt God who is just will bring the Spanish nation to an account for their abuse to the Lamanites from the days of Montezuma until the present time; when he weighs the nations in the balance then we who have suffered so much will bring in our acct."
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, 84-5
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:215
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:246-47
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:20
- Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.72
- Jesse W. Crosby Journal, typescript, BYU, 34
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 117
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 180-81, 290
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 202
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:96
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 37
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 180
- William Clayton's Journal, 263-66