07/10/1847 - Crockett
Date: July 10, 1847
West of Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
The pioneers traveled a road that gradually ascended. They passed a spring which they named Red Mineral Spring. It was very red and the water tasted terrible. They soon reached the summit of a ridge. Orson Pratt calculated the elevation at 7,315 feet. They then descended into a valley and halted for the noon rest. Thomas Bullock wrote: "Mr. [Lewis] Myers caught a young 'War Eagle' & brought it into Camp to look at. It measured 6 feet between the tips of its wings."
In the afternoon they had to ascend another ridge which ran between Muddy Fork on the east and Bear River on the west. The elevation of this summit was believed to be 7,700 feet. [This was the highest point of the pioneer trek.] They descended into the valley and camped on Sulphur Creek. Thomas Bullock wrote: "Descended by two steep pitches, almost perpendicular, which on looking back from the bottom looks like jumping off the roof of a house to a middle story, then from the middle story to the ground & thank God there was no accident happened. President Young & Kimball cautioned all to be very careful & locked the Wheels of some wagons themselves. It was a long, steep & dangerous descent."
An Indian came from Fort Bridger and camped with the pioneers for the night. Three grizzly bears were spotted but they quickly left and did not bother the camp. Albert Carrington found a vein of stone coal which they had been told would not be found in this region.
Orson Pratt recorded: "Just before our encampment, as I was wandering alone upon one of the hills, examining the various geological formations, I discovered a smoke some two miles from our encampment, which I expected arose from some small Indian encampment. I informed some of our men and they immediately went to discover who they were; they found them to be a small party from the Bay of St. Francisco, on their way home to the States. They were accompanied by Mr. Miles Goodyear, a mountaineer. . . . Mr. G[oodyear] informed us that he had just established himself near the Salt Lake, between the mouths of Weber's Fork and Bear River; that he had been to the Bay of St. Francisco on business & just returned with this company following the Hastings new route [that traveled south of Great Salt Lake into Nevada] that those left in charge at the lake had succeeded in making a small garden which was doing well by being watered." He estimated that they were seventy-five miles from the lake.
Miles Goodyear described three roads to reach the Salt Lake and described the country. They discussed the tragic circumstances surrounding the Donner-Reed party who had traveled this road a year earlier. Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that he understood they were mostly from Independence and Clay County Missouri and had been threatening to drive out the Mormons from California. [This rumor was most likely totally false. The Donners and Reeds were from Illinois.] Elder Woodruff wrote: "The snows fell upon them 18 feet deep on a level & they died & eat up each other. About 40 persons parished & were mostly eat up by those who survived them. Mrs. L[avinah] Murphy of Tenn whom I baptized while on a mission in that country but since apostitized & joined the mob was in the company, died or was killed & eat up."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Luke Johnson shot a buffalo about three miles from the ferry. An emigrant company bought the meat from him. The brethren at the ferry purchased $100 worth of goods from a Mr. Quelling. They were interested to find out that he had a roadometer attached to one of his wagons.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The second company of Saints traveled only about eight miles and camped early for the weekend near an island full of willows. Hunters were sent out hoping to kill some buffalo, but they came back only with some antelope and deer. They were about 252 miles from Winter Quarters and about 700 miles behind Brigham Young's pioneer company at Sulphur Creek.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
An important meeting was held under the direction of Isaac Morley. The objective was to reorganize the companies at Winter and Summer Quarters. This was needed because many of the captains and families had left for the west. James W. Cummings and Benjamin L. Clapp were sustained as captains of hundreds. The captains of fifty chosen were: Jonathan C. Wright, George D. Grant, and Daniel Carn.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
A bull fight was held on the flat near the town. The battalion remained at the fort, but could still view the sports below the hill. A grand ball was also held and the battalion was invited, but they remained at the fort because of rumors that the Mexicans were trying to draw them out and take over the fort.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
As they were marching along the ocean, Robert Bliss and David Rainey noticed something large and white in the distance. They let their animals graze and went to check it out. It turned out to be about one hundred acres of salt, about a half inch deep. Robert Bliss brought back about a pint of the beautiful salt. Company B marched thirty miles and arrived at San Luis Rey.
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, TucsonAz, email@example.com.
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 441-43
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:227
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:250
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 186-87
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 223
- Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, The 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions, 90
- Emigrant's Guide, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 6
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:110
- Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 297