07/20/1847 - Crockett
Date: July 20, 1847
Advance Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Orson Pratt wrote a letter describing the road and country ahead which he had scouted out the previous day. He left the letter in a conspicuous place for the companies that would follow. The advance company resumed their journey at 9 a.m., being somewhat delayed by stray cattle. They climbed the road up Big Mountain which Brother Pratt measured to be 7245 feet above sea level. They descended down the other side and camped at the base of Little Mountain. Levi Jackman wrote: "Our journey for a number of day had been rather gloomy. The mountains on both sides have been so high and the ravines so cracked that we could see but a short distance and it looked as though we were shut up in a gulf without any chance for escape." They noticed much of the timber had been burned by forest fires.
Main Company in East Canyon, Utah:
Burr Frost was very busy in the morning repairing wagons that had been damaged coming down the hill into East Canyon. The company continued their journey at 11 a.m. Word came from the advance company via one of the Mississippi brethren, Brother Crow, that they were nine miles ahead. They were told that the road ahead was rough. The men in the main company worked hard to continue improving the road for those who would follow. Some of the men in the company had fallen ill and were left behind for the rear company with three wagons.
After four hard miles, they rested the teams and ate dinner. William Clayton wrote: "The road over which we have traveled is through an uneven gap between high mountains and is exceedingly rough and crooked. Not a place to be met with scarcely where there would be room to camp for the dense willow groves all along the bottom."
They traveled on until after 5 p.m. They had crossed East Canyon Creek eleven times. Brother Clayton commented: "The road is one of the most crooked I ever saw, many sharp turns in it and the willow stubs standing making it very severe on wagons." The camp ground in East Canyon was so cramped that the wagons had to huddle very closely together. This was the camp ground used by the advance company the night before. They found a letter from Orson Pratt stating that the next campground was eleven miles ahead, over Big Mountain. Willard Richards and George A. Smith decided to send Erastus Snow ahead with a letter for Orson Pratt instructing the two of them to go down into the valley to explore and find a good place to plant some crops.
Rear Company on Weber River, Utah:
The rear company got an early start at 5:30 a.m., thinking it was best to travel in the cool morning. They crossed Weber River and soon came to William Clayton guide board directing them up to "Pratt's Pass." After another two miles, they stopped for breakfast near a cool brook of water. Howard Egan and a few others went ahead to make further improvements on the road. The company continued on during the day and finally reached East Canyon Creek, where they found brethren who had remained behind because of illness including, Stephen H. Goddard, James Case, Henry G. Sherwood, Benjamin F. Dewey, Brother Johnson, and William Smoot. They received word that George A. Smith wagon had broken and that Orson Pratt was about eight miles ahead. Brothers Johnson and Sherwood were baptized in the creek for their health. Wilford Woodruff confirmed them.
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion started early and struck out across the mountain away from Bear River.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
James Davenport and Appleton M. Harmon went in search of lost cattle. They ran into a company of emigrants who had found the cattle more than ten miles away. Luke Johnson and Eric Glines went out searching for the bear cubs they had seen the day before but they could not find them.
On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The Grant company still could not find the lost oxen. Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor ordered that each company provide some oxen to be used by the Grant company. Large herds of buffalo could be seen on both sides of the river. They talked about possibly crossing over the Platte because of the numerous buffalo on the north side. The companies traveled on about twelve miles. Brother Noble called his company together in the evening for a prayer meeting.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Isaac Morley, John D. Lee, Levi Stewart, and A.P. Free walked to the south of Summer Quarters about one half mile and selected a location for a new cemetery. In the late afternoon, David I. Young was buried. About half of the settlement attended the funeral.
Los Angeles, California:
Those who chose to return to the Saints with Levi Hancock (about 164 men) were organized into groups of hundreds, fifties, and tens. Eight-two men reenlisted for another six months. Henry Boyle wrote: "While a sufficient number of us have reenlisted to make one company, I did not like to reenlist, but I had no relatives in the Church to return to. I desired to remain in California til the Church became located, for it is impossible for us to leave here with provisions to last any considerable length of time. And if I stay here or any number of us, it is better for us to remain together, than to scatter all over creation."
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.
- William Clayton's Journal, p.303
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 98-99
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:407
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:231
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 230
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 450-51
- Autobiography of John Brown, 78
- Levi Jackman Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.40
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 194-95
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:21
- William Scearce Journal, typescript, 2
- Jesse W. Crosby Journal, typescript, BYU, 37
- Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:141
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 185
- Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 261