Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer Date Summary

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05/14/1847 - Crockett

Description: Modern pioneer relaxing with his banjo.
Image courtesy of: Heritage Gateway Project Images, These images have been gathered to support the Sesquicentennial celebration of the immigration to Utah.

Location: Sutherland, Nebraska - Location: 41:09:25N 101:07:33W Elevation: 2959 feet

Date: May 14, 1847

On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
In the morning the temperature was forty-one degrees. The sky was filled with clouds and some tumbles of thunder could be heard in the distance. At 8 a.m., a heavy shower fell. Just before the rains came, the bugle sounded to gather up the horses and the men ran for cover in the wagons.

At 10:15 a.m., the pioneers moved out. They had to divert away from the North Platte to work their way over and around some bluffs. Orson Pratt wrote, "I ascended some of the highest of these hills, where a beautiful and extended prospect opened on every side. . . . On the west, the roily yellow waters of the north fork were making their way over and between innumerable beds of quicksand, while the rich, level, green, grassy bottoms upon each side, formed a beautiful contrast, extending for miles in length. Here and there small herds of buffalo were grazing upon the hills and in the valleys, and all seemed to conspire to render the scenery interesting and delightful."

William Clayton wrote: "Some of the brethren have discovered fresh tracks where the Indians have gone up this north stream, evidently very lately. But we are satisfied the Lord hears the prayers of his servants and sends them out of the way before we come up to them."

After nine miles, they camped for the night. They were only three miles further up the river than the night before. William Clayton recorded: "The feed for our teams grows much better, and on one of these high sandy bluffs I saw a large bed of flowers, not unlike the violet, and very rich. The sand on the bluffs in some places looks like large drifts of snow, and in other places seems to have deep chasms as if wasted by heavy rains."

Hunters had been sent out during the day and they killed two antelope and one buffalo. Revenue Cutter (the boat wagon) was sent back to collect the meat. During the evening, the sounds of music could be heard in different parts of the camp.

Some felt that Appleton Harmon started to take too much credit for the roadometer that he had constructed under the direction of William Clayton. Brother Clayton had a hard time dealing with this. "I discovered that Brother Appleton Harmon is trying to have it understood that he invented the machinery to tell the distance we travel, which makes me think less of him than I formerly did. He is not the inventor of it by a long way, but he has made the machinery, after being told how to do it. What little souls work."

Indians were detected spying on the camp. During the night, Rodney Badger found an Indian creeping towards the camp on his hands and feet. Brother Badger fired his gun and the Indian immediately ran off. All the horses were brought into the circlet of wagons and the cannon was prepared for use.

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
In the afternoon a number of families arrived from Mount Pisgah including Allen Weeks, George W. Hickerson, James Woolsey, and Levi North. In the evening a celebration was held for these families at John D. Lee's home. They had music and dancing. At the end of the evening, John D. Lee offered a prayer. Also in the evening, McGee Harris returned from Winter Quarters with only a little meal. The mill was very crowded and it was almost impossible to grind any grain.

Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
James Pace and his company returned from their expedition to the mountains without finding any Indian problems. James Pace wrote, "All the Battalion seemed glad that my Indian hunt passed off as well as it did without shedding their blood." The rest of General Kearny's group left during the day, including General Kearny and Colonel Cook.


  • Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 395-96
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:176
  • Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 38-9
  • William Clayton's Journal, 146-47
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 165
  • Yurtinus, Ram in the Thicket, 574
  • Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 222
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.