07/11/1847 - Crockett
Date: July 11, 1847
West of Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
The pioneers rested for the Sabbath. Some of the brethren rode out to scout the route ahead and found a mineral tar spring fifteen miles from camp. Some of them thought it was oil. It had a very strong smell. Albert Carrington tested the substance and said it was 87 percent carbon. Some of the men filled up their tar buckets and used it for wheel grease. Others used it to oil their guns and shoes. The substance burned bright like oil. They also found a sulpher spring nearby. William Clayton wrote: "The surface of the water is covered with flour of sulphur and where it oozes from the rocks is perfectly black."
As the pioneers were getting closer to their new home, some started to feel uneasy about the location. Thomas Bullock recorded: "As I lay in my wagon sick, I overheard several of the brethren murmuring about the face of the country, alth' it is very evident, to the most careless observer, that it is growing richer & richer every day." William Clayton also heard this talk: "There are some in camp who are getting discouraged about the looks of the country but thinking minds are not much disappointed, and we have no doubt of finding a place where the Saints can live which is all we ought to ask or expect."
Miles Goodyear went with Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little, Joseph Matthews, and John Brown to show them a new road that would be shorter to the Salt Lake valley. After dark the brethren were called together to decided which of two roads to take. They decided to take a road that headed to the right that Miles Goodyear recommended. [They chose a route traveled by Heinrich Lienhard during 1846 rather than a longer route used by the Donner-Reed party.] The Twelve privately felt that the other route would be safer, but decided to let the voice of the camp decide to avoid further murmuring. A singing meeting was held during the evening.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The brethren ferried over seven hundred fruit trees, which included apple, peach, plum, pear, currants, grapes, raspberry, and cheeries. They were owned by Mr. H. Lieuelling of Salem, Iowa.
Phinehas Young, Aaron Farr, George Woodward, Eric Glines, and battalion members William Walker and John Cazier arrived at the ferry. They had been sent back by the pioneers to help pilot the second pioneer company who were about 400 miles to the east. They had left the pioneers at Green River on July 4 and had traveled all the way to the Mormon Ferry in just six days, a journey of about 215 miles. [Rodney Badger had been sent back with this group, but when this group met the Mormon Battalion detachment near South Pass, he stayed with them to help guide the battalion forward. Battalion member John Cazier joined in with group returning.]
Some of the ferrymen wanted to join this company to meet their families. Since the river was now low enough to ford, and most of the Oregon emigrants had already passed, Thomas Grover consented to this idea. The brethren decided to divide equally all of the provisions that the ferrymen had so far received. They amounted to $60.50 each.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
Hunters were sent out to hunt buffalo. Eight were later brought in. [Sunday hunting had been prohibited in Brigham Young's company but had not yet been discouraged in this second pioneer company.] A public Sabbath meeting was held at 1 p.m.
Sarah Rich wrote in her autobiography: "We journeyed on up the Platte River, came into the buffalo country, seeing many large buffalo. Brother Lewis Robinson was the first one in our company to kill a buffalo. He killed one weighing over a thousand pounds. We all stopped and had a feast all through our camp. We stopped a few days to wash, iron and cook, while the men repaired their wagons, and let their teams rest and recruit up as we were in good food. When all the companies would come up, we would start on again."
The first death on the pioneer journey from Winter Quarters occurred. Ellen Holmes, of the Daniel Spencer company, died. She had been ill for six months.
Ira Eldredge's wagon tipped over, almost killing his little boy, but he escape without injury.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Elder Orson Hyde preached at a Sunday meeting. His topic was, "There is a way that seemeth good unto man but leadeth unto death." He preached that all disobedient and unruly spirits would be servants in the next world. Friend Gilliam was quite offended by this sermon. In the evening, the High Council met. They discussed Daniel Russel'ls order to Hosea Stout to disband the guard. Many of the Council were surprised about this plan, because they had never discussed the subject. They all agreed that the guard should still be kept.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
The bull fights continued in the Pueblo. Several horses were gored in the games. One of the bulls broke out of its pen and caught Captain Daniel Davis' six year-old boy, Daniel, with its horns and was said to have tossed him twenty feet in the air. The little boy was bruised and scared.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
The men visited the mission and then marched eleven miles and camped at San Bernardo de Los Floris, near the ocean. They visited a church and Indian village there.
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.
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:227
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 94
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40
- Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:139
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 187
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:259
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 224
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:265
- William Clayton's Journal, 289-90
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 183-84
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111
- Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion, 159
- 1997-98 Church Almanac, 117
- Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.74