Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer Date Summary

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07/31/1847 - Crockett

Date: July 31, 1847

Salt Lake Valley, Utah:
In the morning, the men of the Mormon Battalion started construction on the Temple Square Bowery. It was planned to be forty feet by twenty-eight feet. It was constructed in the northeast part of the Temple Block. [In 1849 a larger bowery was construct on the southeast portion of Temple Square. This bowery was 100 feet by 60 feet.]

A couple of the battalion men were very sick, including Thomas Richardson and Solomon Tindall.

About twenty to thirty Shoshone Indians came to camp to trade with the brethren. While there, a dispute arose between two of their young men who started to fight fiercely. William Clayton wrote: "One broke his gun stock on the other's head and I expected to see a pretty serious affray, many of the others gathering around. Soon an old man came up, father to one of the young men engaged in the quarrel and he used his heavy whip very freely about both their heads and faces. The antagonist of the son struck the old man and he immediately gathered a long pole and broke it over the young man's head. He succeeded in quelling the broil and gave them a long lecture. They then mostly left and resumed their trading a little distance from the camp."

Later in the day, the brethren learned the cause of the dispute. There were about five Ute Indians at the camp when the Shoshones arrived. One of the Utes had stolen a horse from the Shoshones and they noticed the stolen horse. The thief had traded the horse with the brethren for a rifle, but would not give up the rifle to the Shoshones. Thus, the fight began. After the fight was broken up, the Ute went and hid but later snatched and rode off with another horse belonging to the Shoshones. Four of them went after him, caught up to him in a canyon, and shot him dead and also the horse.

The pioneers watch the Indians eat a new type of meal. William Clayton wrote: "When the men returned, they sat down and made a meal of some of these large crickets. They appear to be crisped over the fire which is all the cooking required."

The Shoshones were displeased that the Saints had traded with the Utes. The told by signs that the land was owned by the Shoshone, not the Utes. They wanted the brethren to buy the land for powder and lead. Brigham Young let the brethren know that he did not intend to buy any of the land from the Indians because "the Lord made the land, there was enough for both them & us." They would later teach the Indians to cultivate the earth. Orson Pratt believed that they should not feed the Indians at all until they tried to learn to grow crops.

Stephen Markham reported the progress on planting crops. He said there were thirty-five acres plowed and about two-thirds planted. There was already three acres of corn standing two inches above the ground. Some beans and potatoes were also growing after just one week's labor. John Brown wrote: "Our experiment had already proven the land fertile." George Billings and John Pack rode back to Emigration Canyon and cut forty-one longs for building structures.

Orson Pratt started to survey the city. The base line used was the southeast corner of Temple Square. Wilford Woodruff went with several of the brethren down to Jordan River. He threw a net in four times but only caught one fish.

On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
As the second company of pioneers were traveling near Scotts Bluff, they met James Davenport, the blacksmith ferryman, returning to Winter Quarters with a company of fur traders returning from Oregon. Many of the Saints were very pleased to see him again.

While Levi Hancock's company continued to dry meat, he sent his company of pioneers ahead with an Indian guide. Robert S. Bliss wrote: "Started early, continue up the mountain & reached the divide about 2 o'clock p.m then descended 4 or 5 miles & encamped by a beautiful stream of water. . . . Found the head of a bear which I brought to camp; our Indian pilot said it was the bear that killed a man in this place. While writing, one of our boys said there was a grave within a few rods of our camp. I left writing & visited the grave. I read on a tree at the head of the grave, "Peter Lebeck, killed by a bear, Oct 17th 1837" with a cross over the writing and the letters I--S."


  • William Clayton's Journal, p.327-28
  • Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 8, p.434
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:245
  • Autobiography of John Brown, 81
  • The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:112
  • Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 188

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.