06/13/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 13, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
The morning was very pleasant. A prayer meeting was held at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m., a preaching meeting was held. The first speaker was Heber C. Kimball, who spoke of the natural alienating principle in man. It was natural for man to be concerned about themselves and independent. This could be seen in looking at the Missouri emigrant companies that were continually dividing themselves into smaller companies. But the Saints needed to put away their selfishness and become one. He urged the brethren to obey council. He told a story about Joseph Smith. "Brother Joseph once told me to drive my team between two trees where one horse could not go through. I said I could not. Joseph stared at me. 'Drive through.' I jerked my reins and popped my whip. 'There,' said Joseph, 'that will do. I only wanted to see you try.'" Elder Kimball also used one of his favorite analogies -- the potter and clay. Every man had the privilege of being exalted to honor and glory if he did not mar in the hands of the potter. William Clayton said his remarks were "very touching and appropriate to our circumstances."
Brigham Young next spoke to the camp. He spoke on the liberty of the gospel. He showed how living the gospel had blessed their lives. He said that some wanted their liberty to ignore the camp rules, to curse, swear, run to the mountains, but would that be liberty? No, it would lead to death, not life. "This is the liberty of the gospel: Not giving men license to commit sin, but delivering them from the bondage of sin." The way to best worship God was to be obedient. They could clearly see the difference between their camp and the Missouri emigrant camp. Those ruffians would be forgotten, but the Saints, if faithful, would inherit the earth and increase in power and glory.
Orson Pratt exhorted the camp to give heed to President Young's teachings and "to improve our time in treasuring up useful knowledge that we ought not to spend a moments time needlessly." They were to avoid "all excesses of folly of every description, inasmuch as it disqualifies from the society of just men and angels."
In the afternoon, the captains met at President Young's wagon to plan how to get the company across the river. A few men were to cross the river and make rafts that would be used to help haul over the wagon contents. It was also decided to send men to the mountains, seven miles away, to obtain poles for the river crossing. These poles would be used to lash two or four wagons together to prevent them from rolling over like the Missouri company wagons. The men departed on horses and soon arrived at the mountains where they found plenty of snow. They washed their faces with the snow and came back with the poles and some snow at 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, Brigham Young and others took the boat into the river to ascertain its depth which was four to six feet deep. Some of the men from the advance group at the river crossing ahead came into camp and presented flour and bacon to the leaders. Brigham Young instructed that the provisions be divided up throughout the camp. The Missouri emigrants had been very generous in their payment for the ferry service. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "It looked as much of a miracle to me to see our flour and meal bags replenished in the Black Hills as it did to have the children of Israel fed with manna in the wilderness. But the Lord has been truly with us on our journey. . . . Great good will grow out of this mission if we are faithful in keeping the commandments of God."
The lead pioneers also displayed a bear paw which Thomas Bullock wrote would "give any man an ugly clutch, or the ball of his foot would give a man a very ugly box on the ear, & may the Lord preserve me from such animals." William Clayton wrote, "The day has been very hot, more like a summer day than any we have yet had on the journey. The ground seems to be alive with the large crickets, and it is said that the bears feed on them and pick them up very fast. A person who has never seen them could form no idea of the vast numbers of crickets in this region."
The Sick Detachments on the way to Fort Laramie, Wyoming:
Amasa Lyman spoke to the soldiers and Mississippi Saints exhorting the brethren to "leave off card playing and profane swearing and return to God."
West of Winter Quarters, in Nebraska:
Eliza R. Snow, traveling with the Pierces, continued her journey toward the Elkhorn River. She met Parley P. Pratt returning for business at Winter Quarters. She wrote: "Arriv'd at Horn just before sunset -- my feelings were very peculiar thro' the day -- it verily seem'd that the glory of God rested down on the wagons (21 in No.) and overspread the prairie."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
Many of the Saints continued to roll out of Winter Quarters, to gather at the Elkhorn River, to organize for the next pioneer company. Andrew J. Allen wrote: "We started on the 13th of June, 1847. I had two ox teams. One of my sisters, Marthy went with me. My wife and her were the only help I had to help me drive the team. I had four small children. My two brothers not being able to get a fit out could not go on and we had to part for the time being." Sister Phoebe Woodruff, wife of Wilford Woodruff recorded that she left Winter Quarters with her nineteen-day old baby. "I began the journey to follow the pioneers. . . . I started with dear old father, Aphek Woodruff, blessed be his name, for in the hands of the Lord, he was the means of saving my life." William Casper recorded: "According to plans, on June 13, 1847, I took two yoke of oxen, Casper's wagon, his cow, bedding, provisions for over a year in a desert home, placed Sister Sarah Ann and babe on the spring seat of the wagon, with faith that the goodbyes were for but a year when we would all be together again." Leonard Harrington also left: "I started from Winter Quarters on the 13th of June, with my family, consisting of four (as we had previously taken a little girl 11 years old by the name of Emma Blocksom), with one wagon, three yoke of oxen, two cows, one mare and colt, provisions for a year and a half, some seed grain, clothing, farming tools, etc." A Council meeting was held in the evening. An order was given to keep all cattle out of the corn field. The owner of any cattle or horses found in the field would pay a fine of a dollar for each. Alpheus Cutler and Hosea Stout were authorized to raise as many men to guard the city as they thought proper. A letter arrived from the Pioneer company that was sent from the head of Grand Island on May 4. [When the pioneers came upon some traders heading east, across the river on the Oregon Trail, they stopped the wagons and quickly wrote fifty-two letters to be taken back to their loved-ones.]
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
At 3 p.m., the Saints gathered at John D. Lee's house for a Sabbath meeting. They were addressed by Levi Stewart, Brother Johnson, and Brother Lee. After the meeting was adjourned at 5 p.m., all the other brethren were asked to remain to discuss some business. They needed to discuss what should be done to protect the crops that were being over-run by the cattle. Brother Lee said, "I will say that there has not been a day nor a night but what there has been more or less stock turned off our crops." The brethren discussed the problem for an hour and voted to better pen up the cattle.
Elder Lyman O Littlefield, on the way to his mission in England wrote: "Being anxious to see the inside of the temple, on Sunday 13 I went to meeting, feeling doubtful whether I would have another opportunity, as M'Lellin had possession of the key. A man by the name of Knight -- who joined J[ames] J. Strang but at that time a follower of M'Lellin -- occupied the stand. He dwelt upon the abominations he said the Church had entered into, in consequence of which the Saints had been driven into the wilderness to suffer. M'Lellin followed him and talked of the secret orders which he falsely said were in the Church -- said they were contrary to the Book of Mormon, said David Whitmer was the man to lead the Church, that Joseph Smith transgressed about the year 1831, and only had power left with God to appoint another in his stead, which he said Joseph did in 1844 by appointing David Whitmer. To confirm this he referred to a conversation he had in Pittsburg with Benjamin Winchester. After meeting I was shown through the interior of the temple. I also went upon the top or roof of that noble structure where a delightful view was obtained of Kirtland and the surrounding country."
Kearny detachment of the battalion, Sacramento California:
The detachment arrived at the American Fork River and crossed it about one and a half miles from Sacramento. There they met a man who was a member of the Church. Nathaniel V. Jones wrote: "Sutter's Fort is one and one-half miles from the crossing; there are twenty-five soldiers stationed at this place. Crossed the river just at night. This is called St. Clare Fort."
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
A general inspection was held by Colonel Stevenson in the morning of arms and quarters. In the afternoon, as Henry Standage was going to water his mare, a Mexican woman scared his mare purposely which caused Henry to be thrown and injured. Some of the men were working on a ranch for a man named Isaac Williams to cut grain and to dig a mill race.
- Journal of Albert P. Rockwood, typescript, BYU, 54
- Journal of William A. Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:132
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:203-04
- Autobiography of John Brown, 76
- Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 73
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 33
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 191
- William Clayton's Journal, 236-37
- Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 1, p.103
- Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 10, p.234
- William Casper, Biography, typescript, Pg. 3
- Leonard Harrington, Journal, Utah Hist Quarterly 8:13
- Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888), p.192
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:260
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 175-77
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:18
- Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 323
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 226
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.