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Pioneer Date Summary

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04/16/1847 - Crockett

Description: People trying to stay dry and warm at camp. A horse is grazing beside the wagon ignoring the bad weather.
Image courtesy of: Heritage Gateway Project Images, These images have been gathered to support the Sesquicentennial celebration of the immigration to Utah.

Location: Fremont, Nebraska - Location: 41:26:00N 96:29:52W Elevation: 1195 feet

Date: April 16, 1847

Liberty Pole Camp, Nebraska:
The morning was "gloomy, windy, and cold." At 8 a.m., the pioneer company was called together by the bugle. They assembled near the rear of Brigham Young's wagon. A prayer was offered, after which George A. Smith and Heber C. Kimball gave instructions. Elder Smith "spoke upon the necessity of strictness of discipline, for our preservation." Elder Kimball said "if there was any along who did not like to obey the necessary rules of the camp, without murmuring, to turn back now." He reminded them of the deaths that occurred in Zion's Camp led by Joseph Smith because of murmuring against their leader.

The company all knelt down and President Young offered a prayer to dedicate the mission and all that they had to the Lord. Bishop Newel K. Whitney shared some parting remarks for the pioneers, as he was about to return to Winter Quarters. He promised to do all he could back at Winter Quarters to help the families of the pioneers. His heart was full and he had difficulty expressing his feelings as he bid his brothers farewell. He encouraged them to obey counsel and then blessed them "by all his authority." Joseph B. Nobles, who was also returning, expressed his warm feelings and best wishes to the pioneers.

The pioneers were organized into a "military capacity" with Stephen Markham and Albert P. Rockwood to serve as Captains of Hundreds. The Captains of Fifties were: Tarlton Lewis, James Case, Addison Everett, John Pack and Shadrach Roundy. The Captains of Tens were elected and then they selected fifty men to be divided into four watches to stand guard over the camp. The pioneer camp numbered 143 men and youth, three women, and Lorenzo Young's two children, Isaac Perry Decker (age six) and Lorenzo Sobieski Young (age six). There were 72 (or 73) wagons, 93 horses, 52 mules, 66 oxen, 19 cows, 17 dogs, and some chickens.

President Young promised "that if they would abide his council and observe his directions, they should go safe, and they and their teams be preserved from the Indians and from every enemy."

Willard Richards wrote a letter for the Twelve to be carried back to Winter Quarters for Patriarch John Smith, the presiding authority over the community. "Beloved brethren: We have now completed the organization of the Pioneer company, of which we are members, and whom we are about to lead to the mountains, or over the mountains, as we shall be commanded by our leader, in search of a resting place for ourselves, our families and all who desire to follow us and work righteousness; and by doing this, we prove . . . that we are willing to take our full share of trouble, trials, losses and crosses, hardships, fatigues, warning and watching, for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake . . . and if we fail in the attempt, having done all we could, our Father will not leave his flock without a shepherd."

The letter further instructed that the first company to follow after the pioneers was to carry the Nauvoo Temple bell with all the fixtures for hanging. It should be rung at the proper times to call the people to prayers and other duties. "The bell may be needed, particularly in the night, if the Indians hove around, to let them know that you are at your duty." They were warned to not send any companies after July 1, because news had arrived that thirty people in a company [probably the Donner-Reed party] had perished in the mountains.

Heber C. Kimball, quickly wrote a letter to his wife Vilate. "I am well and in good spirits. So is the camp. Now my dear Vilate I Love you as true as I am [capable] of Loving according to my capacity for you do have the Love of my youth which is first Last and now and fore Ever." He sent back money and told her to keep the gifts from Thomas L. Kane, brought by Jesse C. Little. He added, "Kiss and bless those little ones." Howard Egan later read this letter before it was sent and commented: "It portrayed the feelings of his heart and his affection for his family, in the most simple and beautiful language that would touch the soul and cause the heart to rejoice."

Brigham Young wrote a letter to be sent to George Watt in the British Isles. He was asked to purchase 200 pounds of "phonotype" to be used to print a book next year in Winter Quarters. Elder Orson Spencer should assist him in this mission. "By our date you will perceive that we are on our way to find a location for a Stake of Zion, beyond the mountains; but we expect to spend the next winter at Winter Quarters. We have time to say but little; neither is it necessary only our camp is in good health and fine spirits."

At about noon, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Joseph B. Nobles, Newel K. Whitney, Lyman Whitney, Joshua Whitney, Jackson Redden, and William Kimball started their journey back to Winter Quarters. Some of the men were returning to help Brother Little bring his things from Winter Quarters.

The pioneers started their journey again about 2 p.m. Each company of ten traveled together. They traveled about three miles and camped for the night near a good grove of timber and "island of rushes." The wagons were arranged in a line about six hundred yards from the timber. The horses and cattle were taken down to the timber where trees were cut down, a fence made for the horses, and a guard placed around them. William Clayton shared a quilt with Philo Johnson but was very cold during the night. The wind blew very hard.

Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
In the evening, Andrew Lamoreaux invited Mary Richards to attend a going away party at the Council House for Lyman O. Littlefield, who getting ready to leave on his mission to England. She went and danced with several of the brethren including Elder Littlefield. She wrote, "Once he danced proxy for Samuel [her husband away in England.]"

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
At 7:30 a.m., Isaac Morley called the brethren of the new farming settlement together to discuss how to divide up the land. He instructed that John D. Lee, George D. Grant, and himself would be given the first choice of land. The rest would be divided between the others in Summer Quarters. Before he left for Winter Quarters, Brother Morley instructed John D. Lee to organize the settlement into companies of five and to appoint a captain over each.

Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Mr. Russell stood trial and was found guilty for his fight with a Mexican. He was put into irons and the Mexican was set free. A report of the trial was sent to General Kearny in Monterey. A regular mail route had been established between San Diego and Monterey. It took two weeks for mail to make a round trip. Thomas Dunn wrote, "I now hope for some cheering news to enliven and cheer the mind, also to pass the time. For more lonesome days I never saw. Nothing to interest the eye and but little the mind."


  • Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 548-49
  • Brigham Young to Brethren at Winter Quarters, 16 April 1847, LDS Archives
  • Charles Harper Diary, 16
  • Luke S. Johnson, Pioneers Journal of 1847, typescript, BYU, 2
  • William Clayton's Journal, 74-8
  • Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 816-17
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:149
  • Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 23-5
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 150-51
  • Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 118
  • Nibley, Exodus To Greatness, 363-68
  • Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, 152-53
  • Our Pioneer Heritage, 12:349
  • Private Journal of Thomas Dunn, 23-4
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.