06/15/1847 - Crockett
Date: June 15, 1847
On the Oregon Trail, Wyoming:
The pioneers tried to continue to ferry across the wagons, but had a very difficult time because the river level had risen from the recent rains and the winds were high. Two more rafts were constructed. In the afternoon, only 25 additional wagons were ferried across, during which time more rain fell. The method used to get the wagons across was to load them on a raft, pull the raft upstream more than a mile with oxen, and then with oars row across, landing at the opposite side across from the initial starting point.
William Clayton wrote: "In the afternoon they commenced driving over some of the horses and cattle belonging to Brother Crow's company. They neglected to take the lariats off the horses and the buffalo horse was soon seen to be drowning. Some of the men immediately went to it with the skiff and dragged him to the shore but could not succeed in bringing him to life."
Another company of Missouri emigrants with eighteen wagons arrived at the river crossing and wanted the brethren to also help them across. It was decided to leave behind about ten brethren at this point to establish a ferry until the second pioneer company arrived. By providing a ferry service for the hundreds of Oregon emigrants on the trail, many provisions could be obtained as fees for this service. The reports received from emigrants convinced the brethren that the second pioneer company of Saints might already be as far as Grand Island. [This was not so, they were still gathering near the Elkhorn River.]
The Sick Detachments on the way to Fort Laramie, Wyoming:
The detachment were met by a Sioux Indian war party. Joel Terrell recorded that the Sioux "made a very hostile appearance being mounted on horseback well armed with bows, arrows, guns, and spears. There was not far from 100 that seen us at a distance supposed us to have been the Crow Indians with whom they were at war but finding the mistake they all commenced shaking hands with us and you may depend they went the whole hog at that. They gladly escorted us to Laramie."
Elkhorn River, Nebraska:
Sarah Rich, wife of Charles C. Rich, recorded: "We traveled about fifteen miles and overtook Brother [John] Taylor's company, and on the 15th we reached Elkhorn River and the main camp crossing the river. It took a long time to cross over, there were so many wagons and stock here." About 300 wagons crossed over by noon.
A Liberty pole was erected on the west side of the Elkhorn. Parley P. Pratt began to organize the huge company of 1,561 people leaving Winter Quarters to be part of the second pioneer company. He organized the company in a different manner initially proposed by Brigham Young. Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, and John Smith were appointed to preside over the spiritual affairs of the camp. Edward Hunter and Daniel Spencer would be counselors to John Smith. Jedediah M. Grant, Willard Snow, and Abraham O. Smoot were called to be captains of Hundreds. John Van Cott was appointed marshal of the camp and Charles C. Rich at the head of the military organization. William Staines was appointed as the camp historian.
Elder Pratt explained why the organization of the camp had to be modified: "Captains of hundreds, of fifties &c appointed last winter, are not here, some coming on, some [not]. Now I think it is best to act according to our circumstances." He said that yes, they could stay another week and debate how the camp should be organized, but he believed they should not wait any longer. He understood that President Young wanted the company to be organized on adoptive family lines, but this was no longer practical. "Now act in cooperation & union with us & we will deliver you up to those whom you belong. You will not be hurt any nor loose any rights of yours."
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
In the evening, Hosea Stout received an express written by Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor at the Elkhorn River. "The Council here has made the following vote which is here copied . . . that Hosea Stout be sent to mount his horse and come on immediately to act in his appointment as Captain of the Guard." They mentioned that he was sustained in the public meeting held earlier in the day. They expected to see Brother Stout in the camp within 24 hours from the time he received the note.
This greatly frustrated Hosea Stout, who had asked the brethren many times if he should plan on coming with the second company. Because they wouldn't give an answer, he had gone ahead and bought a new house. "I was now cited to mount my horse & leave home as a runaway & leave my family without any means for their substinance or provisions for myself only their blank promise to 'sustain me as a people' which was weak indeed and go & take my place as captain of the guard." His pride had been hurt. He felt abused and neglected. He was inclined to refuse the order, but decided to sleep on it.
Kearny detachment of the battalion, Sacramento California:
The detachment left Sacramento, starting their journey toward the mountains. They traveled fifteen miles and camped.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
In the evening, some of the men heard an extract read from a journal belonging to a member of the Donner/Reed party. Henry Standage remarked that this member suffered so much in the mountains on their way to this country, having been caught in deep snows in the mountains and forced to eat their animals and afterwards the hides also, many dying and some forced to eat the bodies of the dead. Much suffering experienced by them all."
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.
- Journal of Albert P. Rockwood, typescript, BYU, 54-5
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:205
- Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 12
- William Clayton's Journal, p.238-39
- Levi Jackman Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.36
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 34
- Sarah Rich Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p.69 - p.70
- Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 559
- Stephen F. Pratt; BYU Studies Vol. 24, No. 3, pg.386
- Brooks, On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1:261
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 226-27
- Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 324-25
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:18