Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer Date Summary

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05/26/1847 - Crockett

Date: May 26, 1847

On the North Platte River, Nebraska:
The morning weather was clear and calm -- fifty-eight degrees. Thomas Bullock wrote: "While I was engaged filling up the Doctor's [Willard Richards] Water Bottle, my Ink Bottle fell out of my pocket into the Well, there being about four feet of Water in it. I went to work, emptied the Well, descended, and after groping some time in the mud bottom, I again found it safe & sound."

The pioneers broke camp at 8 a.m. and after traveling four and three quarters miles, the pioneers arrived directly across the river from from Chimney Rock. Orson Pratt calculated the height to be 260 feet. After about two more miles, they stopped for the mid-day rest.

Wilford Woodruff recorded: "Just before camping at noon while travling on a smooth prairie, an accurance took place which like to have proven of serious consequence to our camp. An Indian Horse that was bought of the Sioux ran away with a singletree to his heels & gave a tremendious fright to the cows, oxen & horses that were attached to the waggons. And in an instant, a dozen or more waggons were darting by each other like lightning & the horses & mules flying as it were over the ground. Some turned to the right & some to the left. Some run into other waggons. The horse & mule that Br Fowler was driving leaped with all speed. With Br Little hold of the lines & Br Fowler hold of the bits they darted by my carriage like electricity & came within one inch of a collision with my wheels. . . . Br Fowlers waggon continued to roll regardless of rough or smooth ground for about fifty rods. . . but all was soon stoped & returned to their lines without any accident to any team of waggon which appeared to me truly a miricle. . . . It give us something of an idea what an Indian yell would do in such an encampment with teams hitched to waggons. A person can hardly conceive of the power that is manifest in animals especially mules when in such a fright. But I felt thankful that no accident happened."

William Clayton gave this account: "Yesterday morning Stephen Markham traded a mule which was foundered and unable to work to one of the Indians for a pony. They put him in the harness a little towards evening and again this morning. When crossing a very soft place the whipple tree unhitched and struck against his heels. He ran full gallop towards the head teams and twice through the line of wagons causing several teams, horses and oxen both, to spring from the road and run some distance before the men could stop them. After running nearly a mile some of the brethren caught the pony brought him back and put him to the wagon again without any accident, except a little injury to the harness."

In the afternoon, the company traveled five more miles and then camped in a circle by the river at 5 p.m. Orson Pratt wrote: "The prairie still wet; grass a little better than usual. Grasshoppers seem to be an inhabitant of their country; I noticed that there were plenty in dry places. Prickly pears are becoming more numerous." Four antelope were killed by the hunters during the day and distributed throughout the camp.

Right after the camp was established, a heavy black cloud arose from the west. The wind blew hard, but only a few drops of rain fell. A sad accident occurred. Some of the brethren were moving George Billings' wagon and ran over the young eagle and killed it. [This eagle had been taken out of its nest on May 22.] William Clayton explained: "Carlos Murray has been trying to rear the young eagle caught on Saturday. After stopping tonight, he put it under a wagon and a while afterwards the men ran the wagon back, one of the wheels ran over its head and killed it."

Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
Brothers Busby and Johnson returned from Winter Quarters and reported that two steamboats had arrived at Winter Quarters on the 24th and the this day. Goods and passengers had been unloaded. At dusk, John D. Lee called the the settlement together for a meeting. They adopted some resolutions. No cattle were to be turned loose in the settlement. Calves were to be kept from doing any mischief. A fence should be made on the west line of the settlement. Charles Kennedy's land was to be fenced in on Saturday. John D. Lee's company would fence the lower line of the farm.

Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Robert S. Bliss wrote: "To day is my guard tour. I have sent to the Rancheros for 1 mule & 1 mare for my journey home; I look forward to my discharge with much anxiety."


  • Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 408
  • Diary of Howard Egan, Pioneering the West, 50
  • Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 23
  • Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:184-85
  • William Clayton's Journal, 184-86
  • Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 168
  • Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 172
  • The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:94

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.