04/19/1847 - CrockettLocation: North Bend, Nebraska - Location: 41:27:43N 96:46:46W Elevation: 1272 feet
Date: April 19, 1847
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The pioneer camp arose at 5 a.m. to the sound of the bugle. At 7:30 a.m., the camp was in motion with orders to travel in double file. Howard Egan wrote, "We passed over a beautiful level prairie in sight of the Platte river, and passed a number of small lakes between us and the river. The brethren shot a number of ducks as we passed along." Two of the ducks were presented to Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.
At 1:30 p.m., after thirteen miles, the company stopped to rest the cattle near a bend in the river. The wagons were formed into a circle. Jesse C. Little, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Jackson Redden, and "the notorious" Thomas Brown returned from Winter Quarters carrying many letters from loved-ones. On their return they had found Willard Richards' lost mare. George A. Smith received word that his youngest child, Nancy Adelia Smith died on the 17th.
William Clayton recorded his feelings when he received letters from his wives Ruth and Margaret. "In my letter to them I requested them to attend to family prayer in my absence, a thing which I have neglected since leaving Nauvoo. They informed me that they had done that when I was at home but unknown to me, and they had then, and still continue to bear me up before their Heavenly Father. Oh, what integrity, what faithfulness. I feel unworthy to possess two such treasures."
Jesse C. Little brought more gifts from Thomas L. Kane for the Twelve. Wilford Woodruff received a pocket compass which delighted him. William Clayton received from Porter Rockwell a few fish hooks, lines, and three pencils. Appleton M. Harmon described this stopping point: "The flat here is from twelve to fifteen miles wide interspersed with numerous small lakes or sloughs. The river is full of islands with several channels. In places, the water is only from four to six feet lower than the bottom, or flat."
At 2:40 p.m. the journey started again. William Clayton recorded: "I walked some this afternoon in company with Orson Pratt and suggested to him the idea of fixing a set of wooden cog wheels to the hub of a wagon wheel, in such order as to tell the exact number of miles we travel each day. He seemed to agree with me that it could be easily done at a trifling expense."
About another eight miles, at 6 p.m., a camp was established near a grove of timber on the bank of the Platte. [This camp was between present-day North Bend and Schuyler, Nebraska.] The wagons were arranged in a semi-circle against the river to enclose the horses and cattle. The wagon tongues faced outward and the front wheel of each wagon was placed against the rear wheel of the wagon next to it. Wilford Woodruff described: "The river was about one mile wide where we camped & on the north side joining by our encampment. It was deep & rapid."
William Clayton went to Luke S. Johnson to examine a tooth which had caused him pain for some time. While there, Stephen Markham came to use the boat wagon named "Revenue Cutter" in a lake two miles down the river. John S. Higbee, Stephen Markham, William Clayton (keeping his tooth for now) escorted the boat, to try their hand at fishing. As they walked, William Clayton shared his idea for an odometer with Brother Higbee. He also agreed that it was a great idea. "After arriving at the lake," wrote Brother Clayton, "they only caught a snapping turtle, four small turtles, one duck, two small cat fish, and two creek suckers."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
A special meeting was held at Samuel Russell's home. In attendance was Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, John Smith, W.w. Phelps, Hosea Stout, and others. The killing of cattle by the Omaha Indians was getting worse every day. Elder Pratt stated that the Saints would face starvation unless the Indians stopped their attacks. It had been thought that the Indian Agents had been stirring up the Omahas against the Saints in order to convince the Saints to depart from the Missouri River. Elder Pratt reported that he had me with Indian Agent John Miller. Agent Miller said he knew the Saints could not leave immediately. A committee was appointed to go meet with Omaha Chief Big Elk. This committee consisted of Alpheus Cutler, Daniel Spencer, Cornelius P. Lott, and W.w. Phelps. All the brethren agreed that harsher measures were needed to stop the depredations by the Omahas.
Eliza R. Snow wrote in her journal: "The atmosphere chang'd to soft fanning breeze of Spring. My strength returning." She referred to the "City Difficulties" involving the Omahas. They countinued to "kill our cattle & molest the men -- having strip'd & badly injur'd a man & woman at the upper herd. Our brethren are seeking some measures to prevent further trouble."
John D Lee went over the river to buy corn and bacon. Then, with the help of Bishop Knight and Brother Lameraux, they loaded up the provisions in two canoes and made it back across, rowing against a strong current. At noon, Brother Lee departed from Winter Quarters, heading to Summer Quarters, taking with him Woolsey and Lytle families. At 11 p.m., they finally reached their destination. Julie Woolsey delivered a baby one hour later. She had gone into labor before they left that day at Winter Quarters, but prayers were offered that he delivery would be delayed until they reached Summer Quarters. The prayers were answered.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Robert S. Bliss stood guard over two Indians in stocks and one white man in irons. He wrote, "A ship is in sight this morning coming towards this port with a fiar wind to enter the Harbour."
St. Louis, Missouri:
Luman Shurtliff arrived by boat to St. Louis from his trip to Louisville and Cincinnati to gather donations for the poor at Garden Grove. He wrote, "I landed at St. Louis and walked to Dr. Richardson whom I knew. When he first saw me he said, "Why, Brother Shurtliff, you are a sick man. You must have something done for you or you will not get home." He gave me some medicine which had a good effect. I went on board the boat and at eve started up the river."
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.
- Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 540
- Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young, Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:156
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 26
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:152
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 16
- William Clayton's Journal, 81-84
- Luman Shurtliff Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.73
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 152
- Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies Vol. 24, No. 3, pg.375
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:250-51
- Beecher, The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 166
- Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 369-70
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:91