Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer Date Summary

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04/11/1847 - Crockett

Location: Elkhorn River Crossing - 986 miles left, Nebraska - (nine rods wide, three feet deep) - 27 miles from Winter Quarters. Seven miles south and further west, over the Elkhorn River, members of the first company camped here April 11, 1847.

Date: April 11, 1847

Elkhorn River, Nebraska:
During the morning, about 20 wagons crossed over the river. Soon Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball arrived with their companies. Work continued to take their wagons across this first major obstacle to the pioneer company. The wagons were taken across the river on rafts pulled across by ropes attached to cattle on the opposite side of the river. Thomas Bullock and Willard Richards carefully counted seventy-two wagons that crossed. They swam the horses and cattle across the water which was about four feet deep. At this point the pioneer company numbered 136 pioneers, three women and two children. Willard Richards was among the last to cross because he was looking for his "lead mare" that had wandered away.

Horace K. Whitney wrote: "Went about a mile, after crossing, down the stream, and camped for the night--the wagons formed in a line, our horses being hitched to stakes and fed on cottonwood trees."

Heber C. Kimball commented on the decision to travel on Sunday. "It was not our intention to have encroached on the Sabbath, but the camps were in a disordered state, some being on one side of the 'Horn,' and some on the other, and it was thought wisdom to get them together, lest they should be attacked by Indians and be unprepared for defense."

In the evening, one of the pioneers was very ill. Wilford Woodruff and Ezra T. Benson laid their hands on him and blessed him to recover. Brigham Young called together a meeting and asked the pioneers to vote whether they should travel fourteen more miles on the next day or stay where they were. The Twelve expected to return to Winter Quarters to meet with John Taylor who should arrive back from his mission. The pioneers voted to go ahead because it was considered wise to get across some lowlands along the Platte River before the water level rose too high. Heber C. Kimball encouraged the pioneers to keep the Sabbath day holy. He asked that they would not hunt or fish on the Sabbath "as this was a day set apart for the service of the Lord and not for trivial amusements."

Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
A Sabbath meeting was held at the Winter Quarters stand. Parley P. Pratt spoke and shared a history of his travels while on his recent mission to England.

William Clayton was worried about previous threats from Hosea Stout to take his life after the Twelve left. Winslow Farr stopped by during the evening and warned Brother Clayton to be on his guard.

Eliza R. Snow wrote a poem:

The Twelve: To Prest. B. Young
They have gone -- they have gone new privations to share
Gone as Abraham went when he knew not where
They have gone line the deer when pursued in the chase
To secure to the saints a safe hiding place.
Why? O why must they go to the depth of the wild
Where benign cultivation of late has not smil'd
Wherefore thus on a pilgrimage must they go forth
And forsake all the comforts and blessings of earth?
They are call'd to be saviors, and saviors must flee
To a wilderness home for security
While the anger of nations is raging abroad --
While the Gentiles are feeling the judgments of God.
They have gone -- they have gone; may the Spirits sweet voice
Whisper comfort and peace that their hearts may rejoice:
May an angel of presence on each one attend
To protect from all ill and preserve to the end.
And when God shall direct may they retrace their track
And to these Winter Quarters in safety come back
That the saints who shall tarry may be of good cheer
When with heartfelt rejoicings we welcome them here.

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John D. Lee, A.P. Free, Alfred D. Young, and Brother Houston walked about two miles below the farm to look at the possibilities of expanding the farm to that land. They found a good field of good soil. To start the work of clearing the land, they set the old grass on fire.

Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
Company C was ordered to be ready for a march to go guard Cajon Pass. Lieutenant Rosecrans was to lead the men to this pass in the Sierra Nevada range about 80 miles to the east. Because of rumors of danger, they were to guard the pass against the advance of an enemy force.

Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Robert Bliss wrote: "San Diego is a small town built after the Spanish fashion with a public square & house of worship, 3 or 4 stores & as many Groceries. Our Flag waves in center of the town & another one on the Fort above the town; the shipping lies 5 miles South of town & the Breakers of the Sea are in Sight West 4 miles & the roar of the same would not let us sleep were we not used to the noise of a still night. There is a toluble Harbour & perfectly secure for vessils from a Storm; between us & the coast west is another bay but not Sufficient water at the Bar for vessils to pass in; here are Seals, Walrus, Whales &c on this coast."

About forty to fifty Indian came into town and had a "frolick." They spent the day gambling, singing, drinking, fighting. Robert S. Bliss commented that "it was quite amuseing to see them." A number of sailors were put under guard for fighting.


  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:147
  • "Excerpts from the hitherto unpublished Journal of Horace K. Whitney," Improvement Era, 50:203
  • William Clayton's Journal, 73
  • Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:247
  • Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 365-66
  • Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 14:634-35
  • Pioneering the West, 21
  • Jenson, Day By Day With the Utah Pioneers, 7
  • Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 357
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 147-48
  • Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 217
  • The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:90-1
  • John Brown, Giant of the Lord, 92
  • The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91
  • Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 165
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.