07/04/1847 - Crockett
Date: July 4, 1847
On the Green River, Wyoming:
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Charles Harper, and others traveled back to the Green River with the five brethren who were heading back to help guide the second pioneer company. They were instructed to have one of their number help guide the members of the battalion.
When they arrived at the river, they saw thirteen horsemen on the other side with their baggage and one of the rafts. To the joy of the brethren, they discovered that the men were members of the Mormon Battalion from Pueblo, led by Sergeant Thomas S. Williams, who had been sent ahead by Amasa Lyman. They were pursuing some thieves who had stolen a dozen horses. The thieves had gone on the Fort Bridger and they hoped to get the horses back. They said that the whole detachment of about 140 men (also women and children) were about seven days journey to the east. One of the soldiers, William Walker, joined the company of five men hoping to meet his family in the second pioneer company. [The members of this advance party of the battalion were: Thomas S. Williams, John Buchanan, Allen Compton, Joel J. Terrill, Francillo Durfee, Andrew J. Shupe, Samuel Gould, Benjamin Roberts, James Oakley, George Clarke, Thomas Bingham, William Casto, and William Walker.]
Wilford Woodruff wrote: "We drew up the raft & crossed them all over but one who returned with our pilots to meet the company. When we met it was truly a harty greeting & shaking of hands. They accompanied us into camp and all were glad to meet." The pioneers greeted them with three cheers and "shanking hands to perfection." Next, Brigham Young led another cheer by shouting, "Hosannah! Hosannah! Give glory to God and the Lamb, Amen." All joined in the cheer.
While the brethren were away at the river, the rest of the pioneers met for a public worship meeting, in the circle of wagons, under the direction of the bishops in the camp. One of Robert Crow's oxen died during the afternoon from eating poison weeds. William Clayton wrote: "On the other side the river there is a range of singular sandy buttes perfectly destitute of vegetation, and on the sides can be seen from here, two caves which are probably inhabited by wild bears. The view is pleasant and interesting."
The men from the battalion spent the night with the camp. Several traders passed by the camp at dusk. The Twelve met together to read letters from Amasa Lyman and Captain James Brown, that were brought with the advance guard of the battalion. Counsel was given to Samuel Brannan regarding the Saints in California.
Wilford Woodruff concluded the day by writing in his journal: "But I must stop writing. The musketoes have filled my carriage like a cloud and have fallen upon me as though they intend to devour me. I never saw that insect more troublesome than in certain places in this country.
On the Sweetwater, Wyoming:
Abner Blackburn, of the battaion wrote: "There was a couple of young folks [Harley Mowery and Martha Jane Sergeant Sharp, widow of Norman Sharp who died on the way to Pueblo] in the company spooning and licking each other ever since we started on the road. The whole company were tired of it and they were persuaded to marry now and have done with it and not wait until their journeys end." In the evening, a wedding was held, complete with a wedding feast afterwards followed by a dance or ho-down. "The banjo and the violin made us forget the hardships of the plains."
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
The ferrymen sent back letters with Marcus Eastman, a battalion member heading back to Council Bluffs. He and three other battalion members were traveling with Jim Bridger. Francis M. Pomeroy bought a horse from the company for $25.
Between Loup Fork and the Platte River, Nebraska:
It rained for awhile in the morning. After it cleared, Patty Session took some of the things out of her wagon and discovered that they were becoming damp in the wagon. The second company of pioneers held a celebration to recognize independence day. Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, and John Smith addressed the Saints in a public meeting. The leaders asked the pioneers to work together and to be obedient. They exhorted the Saints against being "cold and careless and neglecting to pray." They were cautioned to never take the name of the Lord in vain. They were warned to not build large campfires that would attract the Pawnee Indians. It was decided that the companies travel separately, because it was just impossible to feed and water so many people and animals in one place. They would have to start camping more spread out.
Summer Quarters, Nebraska:
John Lytle arrived from Winter Quarters and found his mother critically ill from the results of her injuries the day before. At noon, a public meeting was held at John D. Lee's house. He spoke to them about their responsibilities as Saints. Other speakers were Joseph Busby, Baird S. Gully, and A.P. Free. Brother John H. Redd was troubled in his mind about going to the west. A storm blew in and it rained during the late afternoon. A steam boat was spotted in the river, late in the evening.
Winter Quarters, Nebraska:
A public meeting was held. Isaac Morley and William W. Major spoke to the congregation. Rain fell in torrents during the afternoon.
On the Humboldt River, Nevada:
The Kearny detachment of the Mormon Battalion continued traveling along the Humboldt River toward Fort Hall. One of the men became sick and had to be left behind, but caught up with the company in the evening.
Mormon Battalion, at Los Angeles, California:
Independence Day was celebrated by the troops in Pueblo de Los Angeles. All of the soldiers were paraded within the fort at sunrise. The New York band played the "Star Spangled Banner" while the flag was being raised. Afterwards, nine cheers were shouted by all the soldiers. "Hail Columbia" was played and then a thirteen gun salute was fired by the 1st Dragoons. The companies were then marched back back to their quarters and again returned at 11 a.m. They paraded some more, this time before Indians and Mexicans. Lt. Stoneman of the 1st Dragoons read the Declaration of Independence. Colonel Stevenson spoke and named the fort, "Fort Moore." The band played "Yankee Doodle," followed by a patriotic song by Levi Hancock, of the battalion. Colonel Stevenson offered to have the Declaration of Independence read to the Mexicans in Spanish, but they declined the invitation.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, at San Diego, California:
Independence Day was also celebrated by the Mormon Battalion at San Diego. Five large guns were fired at sunrise from the fort. The battalion members marched down into the town and gave their officers a salute with their guns. The whole city participated in the celebration. Captain Jesse Hunter and Sergeant William Hyde returned from Los Angeles with orders for Company B to march to Los Angeles, and to leave on July 9. Some of the leading citizens expressed a strong desire for the battalion to stay, but most of the men were still very anxious to be discharged. Captain Hunter was disappointed that he had not been able to raise enough men at Los Angeles to make out a large enough company to re-enlist under his command.[Jesse Hunter would later accept an appointment as an Indian agent at San Luis Rey Mission. He would remain in California and die in 1882 at Los Angeles.] Robert S. Bliss recorded in his journal: A few days more & we shall go To see our Wives & Children too And friends so dear we've left below To save the Church from Overthrow. Our absence from them has been long But Oh the time will soon be gone When we shall meet once more on Earth And praise the God that gave us Birth.
Lockport, New York:
Elder Lyman O. Littlefield went to find his Uncle Lyman Littlefield's house near the Erie Canal. He wrote: "I knocked at my uncle's abode and a hospitable voice bid me enter. Being seated, the scene presented within the compass of that room, to me was of vast moment. I knew that venerable head was my uncle, that the matron at his side was my aunt, and the young men and the one young lady at the table I felt sure were my cousins! This was an auspicious moment, to occur on the anniversary of our nation's independence! The memories of childhood were instantaneous in crowding among the most sacred recesses of recollection! My uncle so much resembled my father! I could not wait longer for recognition! The following conversation ensued: "Myself--'Is your name Littlefield?' Uncle--'Yes, sir.' Myself--'Have you relatives in the west?' Uncle--'I suppose I have a brother somewhere in the western country. He went away with the Mormons and I have not heard much about him for twenty years.' Myself--'What was his given name?' Uncle--'Waldo.' Myself--'I am well acquainted with a man out there by that name.' Uncle--'That must be my brother. How long have you known him?' Myself--'My earliest remembrances are of him and my mother.' Uncle--'You are not his son!' Myself--'I am his second son, Lyman, and was named after my uncle, in whose habitation, and in the midst of these, my cousins, this is a happy moment!'" "As I entered, the family was partaking of an early supper. I had not seen them since a little boy, some twenty years previous to that meeting. To be thus ushered into their presence filled me with emotions of pleasure. Their joy was exhibited as if by an electric wave. Simultaneously, uncle, aunt and cousins sprang from the table to salute me with eager and hurried words of welcome."
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.
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:223
- Luke S. Johnson's Journal, typescript, BYU, 15
- Charles Harper Diary, 29
- Autobiography of John Brown, 77
- Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 563
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 437-38
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 39
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 91
- Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846-1847 and 1859, 185
- Cook, Joseph C. Kingsbury, 119
- Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, The 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions, 90
- Bagley, ed., Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn's Narrative, 60-1
- Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints, 218-19
- The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:20
- Journal of Henry Standage in Frank Alfred Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 233-34
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:110
- Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler, Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:61
- Private Journal of Thomas Dunn, typescript, 26
- William Clayton's Journal, 282
- Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888), 193-95
- Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 88