07/12/1847 - Crockett
Date: July 12, 1847
West of Fort Bridger, Wyoming:
Wilford Woodruff got up early and rode to Bear River to do some early-morning fly fishing. "For the first time I saw the long looked for Bear River Valley. Yet the spot where we struck it was nothing very interesting. There was considerable grass in the valley & some timber & think bushes on the bank of the river." He found it difficult to fish with the fly because of think underbush, but he wrote: "I fished several hours & had all sorts of luck, good, bad, and indifferent."
The rest of the pioneers started out and traveled down Sulphur Creek and came to the Bear River. [They were about seven miles upriver from present-day Evanston Wyoming.] It was about sixty feet wide and two and a half feet deep. The current was rapid and the bottom was covered with boulders presenting a difficult crossing.
They came to another fork in the road but proceeded to take the road to the right. The road climbed over a ridge and then they descended into a ravine which they followed for several miles. Orson Pratt described: "The country is very broken, with high hills and vallies, with no timber excepting scrubby cedar upon their sides." Erastus Snow added: "There has been a very evident improvement in the soil productions and general appearance of the country since we left Fort Bridger, but more particularly since we crossed Bear River. The mountain sage has in a great measure given place to grass and a variety of prairie flowers and scrub cedars upon the sides of the hills."
The hunter brought in about a dozen antelope which were seen in large numbers. The pioneers came to "The Needles" some rock formations that Orson Pratt described: "The rocks are from 100 to 200 feet in height, and rise up in perpendicular and shelving form, being broken or worked out into many curious forms by the rains. Some quite large boulders were cemented in this rock." [This formation is near the present-day Utah/Wyoming border.]
Brigham Young became very sick with the mountain fever. He decided to stop a few hours to rest. The wagons stopped with him for the noon rest, but after two ours the majority were soon told to continue. Eight wagons stayed behind including Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Lorenzo Young, Ezra T. Benson, and Albert P. Rockwood. Brother Rockwood was also very sick. Orson Pratt wrote: "Here is the mouth of a curious cave [Cache Cave] . . . The opening resembles very much the doors attached to an out-door cellar, being about 8 feet high and 12 or 14 feet wide. . . . We went into this cave about 30 feet, where the entrance becoming quite small, we did not feel disposed to penetrate it any further." Wilford Woodruff added: "Many of us cut our names in it." They named the cave "Redden's Cave, after Jackson Redden, the first of the pioneers to find it. Brigham Young and the others did not come into camp by the evening.
Mormon Ferry, Wyoming:
Many of the brethren prepared to return to Fort Laramie with those sent back from the Pioneer company and the Mormon Battalion. Two buffalo were spotted on the north side of the river coming to the ferry crossing. Luke Johnson and Phinehas Young chased them and soon killed one of them only a half mile from camp. The meat was brought into camp and dried.
On the Platte River, Nebraska:
The Daniel Spencer hundred took its turn this week to lead the more than 1500 pioneers which were all in sight. Eliza R. Snow wrote: "The prairie to day is little else than a barren waste -- where the buffalo seem to roam freely." They traveled about twelve miles and camped. Many were busy smoking buffalo meat and they obtained wood by wading over the river to Grand Island.
Company B, Mormon Battalion, marching to Los Angeles:
Robert S. Bliss wrote: "Marched 16 miles side of the ocean & of it when every few waves would wet our horses feet. I selected a few shells for a memorial of the Great Pacific." They camped near the ruins of the San Juan Mission.
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.
- Watson, ed., The Orson Pratt Journals, 443-45
- Luke S. Johnson Journal, typescript, BYU, 16
- Erastus Snow Journal Excerpts, Improvement Era 15:259
- Albert P. Rockwood Journal, typescript, BYU, 62
- Howard Egan Diary, Pioneering the West, 94-5
- Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:228-29
- Appleton Milo Harmon Goes West, 40
- Journal of William Empey, Annals of Wyoming, 21:139
- Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife, The 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions, 90-1
- Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 184
- The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:111