05/10/1847 - Crockett
Location: Maxwell, Nebraska - Location: 41:04:44N 100:31:28W Elevation: 2711 feet
Date: May 10, 1847
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The morning was cold -- thirty-three degrees. The pioneers built large fires and wore overcoats as they went about their morning routine. Wilford Woodruff recorded: "Before leaving the camp ground, a letter was written to the next camp, put into a small box nailed to a post 12 feet long, one end put firm in the ground, the other end erect in the air as a guide board containing the following words: 'Open this box and you will find a letter. 316 miles to Winter Quarters. Bound westward. Pioneers. Lattitude 41 degrees." Also on the pole was put the humorous inscription, "Platte Post Office." Included with the letter was a written history of the camp up to this point. [This was a summary written by Thomas Bullock which can be found today in the LDS Archives.] They also included a copy of the camp rules which Brigham Young called "scripture."
The camp was on the move at 9 a.m. After two miles, they crossed a 15-foot wide creek that Heber C. Kimball named Skunk Creek. Shortly thereafter, they spotted a wild horse. John Brown stated that when the Mississippi company traveled on the other side river during the last season, one of the brethren lost a mare and two colts. He believe that this was the oldest of the two. When Thomas Woolsey and John Tippets returned from Pueblo during the winter they saw the same horse near this location. Porter Rockwell and Tom Brown tried to chase it but it ran away at great speed. The buffalo were not as numerous as days past, but the grass was still very scarce.
During the morning, Orson Pratt was requested by Brigham Young to think about the odometer idea of William Clayton. In the afternoon, Elder Pratt offered a detailed design of such a machine. Appleton M. Harmon went to work and constructed such an odometer.
In the afternoon, they traveled an additional four and a half miles, making ten miles total for the day. As they traveled, they set on fire some dead grass which would help new grass to grow for the next company. Wilford Woodruff commented, "It made a great fire indeed." At 4 p.m., Brigham Young's weary teams gave out. Others also experienced this problem. The pioneers helped each other reach the next camp by an island of cottonwoods.
Orson Pratt recorded: "The timber on the small islands, and on the shore of the river, is more plentiful than usual. In the deep ravines, between the hills on the opposite side of the river, there appears to be clumps of small timber, resembling in the distance cedar, or small pines.
The hunters brought in one buffalo, a deer and a hare. The meat was distributed throughout the camp.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Hosea Stout and his ten "tough rangers" mounted up and rode to the north through the hills hunting for Indians who might be trying to steal cattle. They circled to the south and found a large number of Indians six or seven miles southwest of town who traveling toward Winter Quarters. Hosea Stout recorded: "Supposing them to be Omahas going to the flat to drive cattle from thence, I sent two men to notify the herdsmen there to drive in their herds, while we stayed on the hill to watch them least they should go around on the ridge & drive cattle from thence." They intercepted the Indians and discovered that they were Otoes. There were more than forty of them and they were led by "Captain Caw" who knew Brother Stout. "They all seemed to want to shake hands with me. I suppose he told [them] who I was. The whole bottom was full of cattle, at this time all in a tumult running & driving dust flying to get to town so I sent a man to tell them to stop while we all turned out our horses to graze with the Ottoes for they had horses. After grazing a while, we came into town about three o'clock & they went to the council house & put up for the night. A church ox was given to them for their supper." The Otoes further discussed having the Saints help them haul corn.
Lyman Littlefield stopped and visited with Mary Richards. She had thought that he had left for his mission a week earlier and joked with him as if he had already returned from England. "I asked him several questions about his journey how he found and left the folks in England if my Husband was well, if he had got letters for me &c &c to which he smiled and answered as if he knew all about them." Mary and Jane Richards had a wonderful visit with Elder Littlefield during the evening. "We had a very pleasent visit with him and told him a great many things to tell our Husbands which he said he would remember to do." Elder Littlefield blessed both sisters and then stood up to leave. "Jane proposed that we each send a Kiss by him to our Husbands which he seemed pleased to convey and asked permission to take one for himself which we permited him to do."
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
McGee Harris returned from Winter Quarters and reported that he was not able to have any wheat ground because the mill was being repaired. This meant that most of those in Summer Quarters would have to go without bread for awhile.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
The battalion paraded for General Kearny and were inspected by Colonel Stevenson. Nathaniel Jones wrote that General Kearny "made a great many remarks concerning us, and spoke of us in the highest terms, so much so that I thought it was flattery. He promised to represent our conduct to the President and in the halls of congress, and give us the justice that we merited. He promised us some clothing and advised us to re-enlist into the service for twelve months, and many other things." Three men from each company were ordered to be part of a detail to escort General Kearny. Nathaniel Jones was one of these men chosen for this mission.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Henry Bigler and others took a job to cut wood for burning bricks six miles out in the country. They were paid two dollars per cord. The ship "Congress" returned to San Diego.
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., The Orson Pratt Journals, 391-92
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:172-73
- Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 36-7
- William Clayton's Journal, p.141-42
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 151-52
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 164
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1: 254-55
- Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 124
- Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler, Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:61
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:17
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:93