LEVI SAVAGE'S JOURNAL
June 15, 1856, Sunday, Brother Hunt’s, New
York. This morning I attended meeting. The most of the congregation were the
Saints that arrived last night in the Ship “Thornton.” We also had good
meetings in the afternoon and evening.
June 16, 1856, Monday, Brother Hunt’s, New
York. Today I went to Castle Garden and visited the Saints that have lately
arrived. They are generally well and in good spirits. A large number of them
intend to cross the plans with handcarts and will take the cars for their place
of outfit, called Florrance, formerly winter quarters.
June 18, 1856, Wednesday, Steamer, New Jersey.
This morning I commenced to prepare to start for home in company with about 500
Saints who are in the charge of Elders Willey and Atwood. Elders Willey and
Atwood were obliged to stop a few days to attend to some business,
consequently, they gave me charge of the Saints until they overtook us. At five
o’clock p.m. we set sail up the North River, and at ten p.m. arrived at the
depot where we took the cars for Duncurk.
June 19, 1856, Thursday. Elders Willey and
Atwood overtook us. We took the steamer to Toledo, touching at Sandusky City,
where I took leave of then nearly being in good health and spirits. I took the
cars for Greenfield, Ohio where I met with a number of my relatives. They were
extremely glad to see me. This is my birthplace. I have circled the globe.
July 10, 1856, Thursday, Camp of the Saints.
This morning at about eleven o’clock I arrived in good health and spirits in
Iowa City, and soon after found myself’ in the camp of about 1,500 Saints. The
camp is situated two and one-half miles west of the above-mentioned city. Here
I met with President D. Spencer, Elders D. Tiler, J. Furgerson, and others. The
Saints, though some exposed to the weather, are generally well and in good
spirits. A considerable number are preparing to go with handcarts.
July 11, 1856, Friday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. Today agreeable to council, I reported myself to Brother Daniel Spencer,
the agent for forwarding the Saints. He requires my assistance, and I
commenced. . . .
July 12, 1856, Saturday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa City. . . . . This evening the Saints were called together in the capacity
of a business meeting and organized into companies for traveling. I was
appointed captain over the second hundred in Elder Willey’s company.
July 13, 1856, Sunday, Camp of the Saints,
near Iowa City. We assembled and partook of the Sacrament, and then had an able
discourse from Elder Tiler. Many strangers present. A good spirit prevailed.
Only one drunken man made a little disturbance.
July 14, 1856, Monday, Camp of the Saints,
near Iowa City. Today we spent in preparing to start. Agreeable to council, we
sold all luggage over 17 pounds per person. This makes us rather destitute for
wearing apparel and bedding.
July 15, 1856, Tuesday, Camp of the Saints,
near Iowa City. Today Sister Hurren was delivered of a fine daughter. She is
very feeble. It was thought the child would die soon after it was born, but I
administered to it and it soon revived. A few in the camp are suffering from
diarrhea. We spent the day in preparing for our journey.
July 16, 1856, Wednesday, Camp of the Saints,
About four o’clock p.m. our oxen being yoked, our handcarts were started, drawn
by old and young, male and female, all in good spirits and receiving a hearty
cheer by our friends that are left behind.
July 18, 1856, Friday, Camp of the Saints.
Today we traveled about eight miles. Some few of the Saints are sick, but
generally are enjoying good health and spirits. Our teams were very awkward and
the teamsters more awkward than the oxen.
July 19, 1856, Saturday, Camp of the Saints.
Today we traveled about twelve miles. The weather was very warn and the roads
very dusty. Some of the Saints, both old and young, were nearly overcome, yet
they endured much better than could be expected. Surely the blessings of the
Lord were with us.
July 20, 1856, Sunday, Camp of the Saints.
Today we remained in camp. Many of the inhabitants here visited us. Some of
them manifested a very envious spirit. Last evening, just before we camped, a
man by the roadside said to Brother Willey that he would come and tear our
tents down, if it should take fifty men to accomplish it. Some of our visitors
manifested a spirit that was willing, to carry his threats into execution. They
endeavored to get into an argument. At half past two o’clock we held a meeting
and told the people some of our faith and beliefs. Also, our determination to
carry out, or obey, the commandments of God regardless of the consequences. We
said that it was our privilege, according t o the laws of the land, to worship
God as we pleased, and no man had any business to interfere with us. After
meeting they were perfectly docile and soon returned home. The night past
July 21, 1856, Monday, Camp of the Saints. At
seven o’clock a.m. we started and traveled seven miles, then camped for the
remainder of the day and night. We did our washing. Our sick are improved, and
the Saints that remain generally manifest a good spirit. Yesterday some turned
back, six in number.
July 23, 1856, Wednesday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. This morning the Saints arose in good spirits and started their journey.
The weak are getting strong. The lame and aged get along exceedingly well.
About twelve o’clock a.m. Sister Mary Williams, aged 50 years, was taken up
from the side of the way insensible. At first she was supposed to be overcome
with the heat. After this, it was ascertained that she had been eating a
quantity of green plums and crabapples. She died about five o’clock p.m. At
dark having laid by, in consequence of the excessive heat, several hours in the
middle of the day, we pitched our tents. All arrived safe in camp, although
somewhat fatigued by the journey and the heat, though in good spirits.
July 24, 1856, Thursday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. This morning we moved about one mile ahead, made a coffin for the corpse
of Sister Mary Williams, put it in, and buried it in a gentile burial ground. I
got some blacksmithing done, sixty-five cents worth. Several in camp are
severely ill. Our rations are very short, viz. 10 ounces flour per one day, 10
ounces pork per 28 days. Also short rations of tea, coffee, sugar, rice and
apples. It is not enough. There is some complaining. The inhabitants are
generally very kind, but others manifest none of the spirit.
July 25, 1856, Friday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. This morning we started early. We had a cool breeze of wind all day. We
traveled about 12 or 14 miles and camped by a small creek (Bear Creek) that is
destitute of wood. This afternoon the Sheriff of the county came to search our
wagons for women, that they said a man in Brooktin accused us of having. They
searched our wagons and went off satisfied that it was not so.
July 26, 1856, Saturday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. Last evening some persons came in hearing of the camp and commenced
singing bawdy songs, then called over some names and commenced singing again
and going away until the sound died in the distance. We heard no more of them.
This morning at four o’clock we arose at the sound of the bugle, as usual. We
got our breakfast and commenced preparing to start. About this time it
commenced to rain. This made very heavy traveling and much fatigue. Sister
Cooper fainted by the way. We traveled about eleven miles and camped for the
night on Sugar Creek.
July 27, 1856, Sunday, Camp of the Saints,
Skunk River. This morning we moved five miles and camped on this creek for the
day. A goodly number of the citizens came to new our camp and hear preaching. A
few ruffians also came. One of them picked up a hatchet and put it into his
pocket. This caused some angry words. During the day and evening they made
great threats of disturbing us, but they did not put their threats into
execution. We were prepared to defend ourselves. Afternoon I preached to an
attentive congregation. A good spirit prevailed.
July 28, 1856, Monday, Camp of the Saints, two
miles from Nuton, Iowa. This afternoon we have had a very hilly road. We passed
through Nuton about four o’clock p.m. By the appearances, one would suppose
that the inhabitants of the town and surrounding country were roadside to see
us pass. We had been informed that the inhabitants were prepared to mob us as
we passed, or were encamped; but, we passed through fearlessly, and no one
molested us but gazed with apparent surprise. We traveled fourteen miles.
July 29, 1856, Tuesday, Camp of the Saints,
Skunk River, Iowa. Today we traveled 12 miles. The roads were good. Some of the
Saints are ailing, sore-footed and lame, but generally manifest a good spirit.
July 30, 1856, Wednesday, Camp of the Saints,
Skunk River, Iowa. About eleven o’clock last evening Brother Hurren’s daughter,
aged two weeks, departed this life. Her death was caused by the canker. This
morning we buried her, then started and traveled to Fort DeMoine twenty miles.
Many of the Saints were nearly overdone by the long march. We did not get into
camp until after dark.
July 31, 1856, Thursday, Camp of the Saints,
Walnut Creek, Iowa. This morning we moved from Fort DeMoine to a mile out and
camped until afternoon, then traveled four miles more. Here a large number of
ruffians came determined to disturb our camp. We kept a strong guard and no one
entered our camp. They dispersed about twelve o’clock.
August 1, 1856, Friday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. Today we traveled about twelve miles. We intended to go twenty, but the
march was too long. Some of the aged and infirmed went forward several miles
and were obliged to come back. We sent the mule team after them.
August 2, 1856, Saturday, Camp of the Saints,
Middle Coon River, Iowa. Today we traveled sixteen miles. The people are
August 3, 1856, Sunday, Camp of the Saints,
South Skunk, Iowa. At four o’clock this morning the Saints in camp were called
up. They got breakfast, attended prayers and at seven o’clock were on our way
again. We traveled ten miles and camped about twelve o’clock. Here we remained
and rested the remaining part of the day. We had many visitors, male and female
citizens of the country. They were very civil.
August 4, 1856, Monday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. At four o’clock a.m. we were called up. We had breakfast, had prayers and
at half past six were on our way. We marched seventeen miles and encamped by a
small creek. There was little timber, except a few willows which served to make
fires for cooking. Just before camping we had a little rain.
August 7, 1856, Thursday, Camp of the Saints,
Iowa. This morning we all arose early, had breakfast, attended prayers and
started. We traveled seven miles to a small village called Indian Town. We
drove through about a mile and took dinner. Here we met with a brother from
Pennsylvania by the name of Joseph Seltcer. He gave Brothers Willey, Atwood,
Woodard, Chislet, Cox and myself dinner. He is strong in the faith and intends
to dispose of his property and gather with the Saints this fall. From here we
traveled six miles and encamped by a small creek. There was sufficient brush
for cooking. As we passed through Indian Town several of the Saints stopped and
purchased some necessary provisions. Among these was Brother I. Smith who in
making change accidentally left his purse with six sovereigns, one Mexican
dollar, one half-dollar, and one ten cent piece in it. Endeavors were made by
search warrant to obtain it, but failed. This operation detailed Elder Woodard
and others with the mule team in town all night.
August 9, 1856, Saturday, Camp of the Saints,
Cass Creek, Iowa. This morning, as usual, we arose early, had breakfast,
attended prayers and were on our way at quarter after seven o’clock a.m. We
traveled ten miles to Silver Creek and dined. Here Brother Garner, his daughter
and son left us. His wife remained and traveled with us. From this place we
went to Cass Creek six miles further and encamped for the night. This afternoon
we had a small shower of rain.
August 10, 1856, Sunday, Camp of the Saints,
Musket Creek, Iowa. Today we remained in camp until four o’clock p.m. Then we
started and traveled ten miles and encamped on this creek at dark. This
afternoon Brother Garner, with his son and daughter, returned and desired to go
on with us. He said that he was sorry and should ask forgiveness for he had
been wrong and would do better for the future. Upon these considerations, I
consented to take him along. He had endeavored with great inducements to
persuade his wife to stop with him. He was unable to do so. This, I believe, to
be the greatest cause of his wishing to continue with us.
August 11, 1846, Monday, Camp of the Saints,
Florance, Nebraska Territory. This morning we arose early, got our breakfast,
attended prayers and started. After traveling about three miles we came to
Bluff City. Here, like all other towns through which we have passed, the people
thronged the street sides and gazed upon us with apparent great surprise. They
were civil, except a few fellows who endeavored to make sport of us, the
crippled and lame not excepted. They were reprimanded by the better chaps. Here
we met Elder McGaw, the Emigrating Agent at Florance. As he returned to
Florance he came to a house near which some of our company had stopped for
refreshments. Here some of the gentiles and apostates commenced to abuse the
Saints and curse the handcart system and those that instituted it. Brother
McGaw stood in defense of the system. Saints and servants. Consequently got
into a fist fight with them. He whipped one or two of them, but received no
material injury to himself except getting his hair well pulled. We moved to the
Missouri River, ferried over and encamped just after dark. The last handcart
company left here for Salt Lake about three weeks since.
August 12, 1856, Tuesday, Camp of the Saints,
Florance, Nebraska Territory. Today we commenced preparing for our journey and
ascertaining who wishes to go on this fall and who wishes to remain here. Many
are going to stop. Others are faltering and I myself am not in favor of, but
much opposed to, taking women and children through when they are destitute of
clothing, when we all know that we are bound to be caught in the snow and
severe cold weather long before we reach the valley. I have expressed my
feelings, in part, to Brothers McGaw, Willey and Atwood. Bother Atwood said to
me last night, that since he had been a member of this Church, with all of his
experience, he had never been placed in a position where things appear so dark
to him, as it does to undertake to take this company through at this late
season of the year.
August 13, 1856, Wednesday. Florance. Nebraska
Territory. Today we continued preparations for starting. Evening we held
meeting in camp. Brother Willey exhorted the Saints to go forward regardless of
suffering even to death. After he had spoken, he gave me the opportunity of
speaking. I said to him that if I spoke I must speak my mind, let it cut where
it would. He said certainly to do so. I then related to the Saints the
hardships that we should have to endure. I said that we were liable to have to
wade in snow up to our knees and shovel at night, lay ourselves in a thin
blanket and lie on the frozen ground without a bed. I said that it was not like
having a wagon that we could go into and wrap ourselves in as much as we like
and lay down. “No,” said I, “we are without wagons, destitute of clothing and
could not carry it f we had it. We must go as we are. The handcart system I do
not condemn. I think t preferable to unbroken oxen and experienced teamsters.
The lateness of the season was my only objection to leaving this point for the
mountains at this time. I spoke warmly upon the subject, but spoke truth, and
the people, judging from appearance and expressions, felt the force of it.
(However, the most of them determined to go forward, if the authorities say
so.) Elder Willey then spoke again in reply to what I had said, evidently
dissatisfied. He said that the God that he served was a God that was able to
save to the utermost. He said that was the God that he served, and he wanted no
Job’s comforters with him. I then said that what I had said was the truth, and
if Elder Willey did not want me to act in the place where I am, he is at full
liberty to place another man in my stead. I would not think hard of him for it,
But, I did not care what he said about Job’s comforters, I had spoken nothing
but the truth and he knew it. Elder Atwood then spoke mildly and to the
purpose. He said that he had been listening to what had been said. He exhorted
the Saints to pray to God and get a revelation and know for themselves whether
they should go or stay, for it was their privilege to know for themselves. The
meeting was dismissed, all manifesting a good feeling and spirit.
August 14, 1856, Thursday, Florance, Nebraska
Territory. Today continued preparing for our journey. This morning I met
Brothers George Grand and Vancott. I was glad to see them. They have been a few
days dam the river on business and returned last evening.
August 15, 1856, Friday, Florance, Nebraska
Territory. Today we continued preparations for starting. I wrote a letter to my
brother Alanson. Evening we held meeting. Elders McGaw, Kimble, Grant, Vancott
addressed the Saints, exhorting them to go forward regardless of the
August 16, 1856, Saturday, Little Papaw,
Nebraska. This afternoon at four o’clock the first and second hundreds moved
out five miles to this creek.
August 17, 1856, Sunday, Little Papaw,
Nebraska. This morning I wrote a letter to my brother Alanson in Illinois and
one to Joseph Bouton in Connecticut. I then went back to town with six men and
got thirty-seven beef and milk cows. Our wagons are loaded with thirty-five and
forty hundred of provisions, and we yet want twenty-five hundred or more and
have no wagon, nor can we purchase one to haul it in.
August 18, 1856, Monday, Big Papaw, Nebraska.
This morning Brother McGaw and William Kimble came and supped with a few of the
Saints. At four o’clock we moved on to this creek five miles. Brother McGaw and
Kimble accompanied us to this place, then returned.
August 19, 1856, Tuesday, This morning we
moved on and ferried over the water and drove on about two miles and encamped.
We left a cow behind this morning that she might find her calf which she had
hidden. We left a man to bring her up. He came away and left both cow and calf.
August 20, 1856, Wednesday. This morning I
took the mule and went back twelve miles to get the above-mentioned cow, but
not the calf. At two o’clock p.m. we moved on twelve miles to the Plat. The
weather denotes a storm. It rained a little. We met some emigrants from
California. They did not come through Salt Lake City.
August 21, 1856, Thursday, Plat River. Today
we traveled up the Plat bottom to another bend in the river for twelve miles.
The grass was high. The roads were sandy and the weather very warm. At one
o’clock we arrived at the river much fatigued. Here we took refreshments,
divided the cows to each hundred, and at six o’clock started. We drove four or
five miles and encamped without wood or water.
August 22, 1856, Friday, Plat River. This
morning we started at sunrise. We traveled four or five miles to Shell Creek.
There we took breakfast, bought a few articles of a man by the name of Isaac
Albertson, then across the bottom to another bend in the Plat, a distance of
twelve or fifteen miles. We arrived about six o’clock p.m. and encamped for the
August 23, 1856, Saturday, Soap Fork. Today we
ferried the Soap Fork.
August 24, 1856, Sunday, Soap Fork. Today we
traveled fifteen miles, camped by this river; caught some fish.
August 25, 1856, Monday, Soap Fork. This
morning three cows were missing. Brother Griffins stopped back for them. He
found only one. Ye traveled fifteen miles, encamped just at sunset, Just before
this, we had a small shower of rain.
August 26, 1856, Tuesday, Soap Fork. This
morning all had moved off the ground, when I observed that the king bolt of the
last wagon was broken. This detained us until nine o’clock a.m. We then moved
on and overtook the company. After traveling about twelve miles we encamped on
this River. This evening I caught a fine mess of catfish.
August 27, 1856, Wednesday, Soap Fork. This
morning we left the Soap Fork at twelve o’clock. We came to some wells, from
this over sandy roads to a pond of poor water, having traveled about fifteen
miles, we encamped. Captain Bunker’s Company passed us.
August 28, 1856, Thursday, Wood River. Today
we crossed Privy Creek about twelve o’clock, From this point Brother Siler and
I went in search of buffalo. We saw four and shot at them, but got none. The
handcarts and teams moved on to Wood River some eight or ten miles. Brother
Siler and I joined the carts about two miles from the River. The team did not
get to camp until after dark. They left old Brother Haly behind a mile and a
half or two miles distant. They sought for him, but in vain. He lay out all
night and encountered a heavy rainstorm.
August 29, 1856, Friday, Wood River. This
morning all healthy men in camp were requested by Brother Willey to go in
search for Brother Haly. We found him about a mile and a half from camp, wet
and cold but in good spirits. We started at twelve o’clock a.m. We traveled
five or six miles and came upon 800 Pawnee Indians. They are hunting buffalos.
Yesterday they killed 90. We bought some meat of them. They informed us of a A.
Babel’s teamster being killed by the Cheyenes. A woman that was with them was
carried captive and her child, six months old, killed. The U.S. Troops followed
and killed some of them.
August 30, 1856, Saturday, Wood River. This
morning the Indians came to the camp early to trade more. At seven o’clock a.m.
we were underway. At twelve a.m. we stopped to dine. Here we saw two oxen in
the yoke at a distance. Brother I. Elder and myself went on horseback and got
them. They were very winded. We had a hard run for them. From this we traveled
until near six p.m. and encamped, having traveled about fifteen miles. A.
Babel, whose teamsters were killed and who stopped back on business has just
overtaken us. I have not spoken to him yet.
August 31, 1856, Sunday, Drycreek and Platte
River. This morning Mr. A. Babel left us and went to Fort Carney. He brought an
elderly sister from Florance intending to take her to the Valley, but the
robbery committed upon him by the Indians decided him against taking her. He
hired Brother Siler to take her. We traveled eighteen miles. Had a good
September 1, 1856, Monday, Buffalo Creek.
Today we traveled about eighteen miles. This evening we killed a buffalo and a
cow for beef. The cow was shot eleven times before she fell. I have never seen
a beast so murdered before. Brother Willey had some disagreeable words
concerning brother Silers driving his teams after the handcarts and in front of
the handcart teams. I objected to his driving there, it being to use as a
traveling camp for our sick. Brother Willey says he shall drive there. He has
driven there from Florance except two days.
September 2, 1856, Tuesday, Buffalo Creek.
Today we traveled thirteen miles, encamped at four o’clock. Plenty of buffalo
in sight. Some of the brethren shot at them but got none.
September 3, 1856, Wednesday, near Chutak
Lake. This morning just after daylight Sister Ingra, aged 75 years, who had
been sick and deranged, and had been drawn in a handcart from Iowa City, died.
She suffered much. The camp moved on while Elder Willey and others remained
behind and burled her. At twelve o’clock the brethren killed two buffalo near
the road. We took the meat on handcarts. Traveled sixteen miles and encamped
without wood. Cooked our food with buffalo chips (dry dung). Brother I. Elder
and I went on horseback and endeavored to get a buffalo calf or cow. The old
bulls would not let us have any. They formed themselves in battle array, ready
to receive their enemy. Their large herds are to be seen in all directions. We
did not get to camp until after dark.
September 4, 1856, Thursday, Near Chutah Lake.
Sometime last night thirty of our best working cattle left us. We had a guard
around then, but no one knows when or where they went. I and a number of the
brethren, spent the day unsuccessfully hunting them. As I passed down the river
I saw Brother Smoot’s train on the opposite side south. We had an awful storm
September 5, 1856, Friday, Near Chutah Lake.
Today we also searched for the cattle without success. Brothers Atwood, Siler
and Jolts visited Brother Smoot’s company across the Platte. I came to camp at
dark and found Brothers Smoot and Rockwell. I was glad to see them. They
stopped with us all night.
September 6, 1856, Saturday, Near Chutah Lake.
This morning Brothers Elder and Smith started back toward Florance after the
stray oxen. The remainder of us removed the camp, half at a time, about three
miles. About three o’clock p.m. Brothers Smoot and Rockwell left us to overtake
their train which is supposed to be moving fifteen miles ahead.
September 7, 1856, Sunday, Near Chutah Lake.
This morning four men from California were seen encamped near us. Brother
Willey, myself and others visited them. The names of three of them are as
follows: James H. Hurn (He said they had left a horse about eighteen miles back
and I could have him if I could find him.), Franklin Hawkins, and John Hawkins.
They were short of provisions. They intended to go to Varney, then to Missouri,
We spent a part of the day in a meeting, preaching to the people. The remainder
of the day was spent in repairing our handcarts and yoking unbroken cows.
September 8, 1856, Monday, Platte River. This
morning a discharged soldier, from Laramie, came into camp and reported two
families from Salt Lake killed by the Indians. One of their names was Thomas
Margrets. They were all well known by many of the Saints in this camp. We put
from our wagons on to our handcarts about forty hundred of flour, hitched up
our teams and got underway about eleven o’clock. We went ten miles and camped
by the Platte. Numbers of the sick did not get in until sometime afterwards.
Our wild cows broke extraordinarily well. Surely the hand of the Lord is with
September 9, 1856, Tuesday, Platte River. This
morning we started rather late. We had heavy sandy roads, traveled about twelve
miles and encamped at four o’clock p.m. on Skunk Creek. Our teams, as well as
the Saints, were very tired.
September 10, 1856, Wednesday, Platte River.
Today we had sandy roads. We traveled fourteen miles and encamped at the Cold
September 11, 1856, Thursday, Platte River.
Today we have had good roads. Crossed several creeks, over which the most of
the women and children were carried by Brothers Willey, Atwood and others. All
in good spirits and but few are sick. The flour on some of the carts draws very
September 12, 1856, Friday, North Bluff Fork.
This morning we started at half past eight and traveled eleven miles; crossed
this creek about four o’clock p.m. Soon after this Brothers F. D. Richards, D.
Spencer, S. Welock, Wm. Kimble and others came up with us; also, Brothers Elder
and Smith, who went in search for our cattle. It was a joyful meeting. No one
has heard of, or seen, our cattle. This evening, by moonlight, we held meeting.
President Richards and otters spoke and congratulated the Saints on their
arduous journey and the blessings they should hereafter receive. We had a good
September 13, 1856, Saturday. This morning,
agreeable to Brother Richards’ request, and Brother Willey’s orders, we arose
at four o’clock, had breakfast, and made ready for starting at seven o’clock
a.m. At this time our tears being hitched to our wagons and our handcarts
packed ready for starting. Very unexpected to me, I perceived a meeting of the
Saints was called, not on the campground as usual, but a short distance one
side. I supposed it was for prayers. After singing and prayers Brother Richards
commenced to speak, and I soon perceived that the meeting was called in
consequence of the wrong impression made by my expressing myself so freely at
Florance concerning our crossing the plains so late in the season. The
impression left was that I condemned the handcart scheme, which is very wrong.
I never conveyed such an idea, nor felt to do so, but, quite to the contrary, I
am in favor of it. Also, the meeting was called, more particular in consequence
of someone, unknown to me, informing Brother Richards of the disagreeable words
that took place between Brother Willey and myself concerning Brother Siler’s
teams traveling between the handcarts and fund wagons, which I supposed was
settled. When I asked Brother Willey’s and the Saints’ forgiveness for all that
I had said and done wrong, Brother Richards reprimanded me sharply. Brother
Willey said that I had manifested a bad spirit from Iowa City. This is
something unknown to me and something he never before expressed. I had always
the best of feelings toward him and supposed he had toward me until now, except
in the case of Brother Siler above-mentioned. After meeting President Richards
and company left us intending to arrive in Salt Lake City in time for October
Conference. Agreeable to his council, we crossed the river on to the south side
and encamped. The water was shallow, but it required a strong team to draw our
wagons through the sandy bed of the river, a mile distant.
September l4, 1856, Monday, Platte River.
Today we traveled up the Platte bottom twelve miles and camped by the River
September 15, 1856, Monday, Platte Hills. This
forenoon we traveled up the bottom on good roads. Afternoon we commenced to
ascend the bluffs. The ascent was sand; it caused very hard pulling. As we
arose the summit, three Indians came to us. They were apparently friendly and
said that the Cheyenes and Sioux would kill us all. They said that they had
some five days ago fell upon a large train. What damage was done we did not
ascertain, and we have only the Indians to confirm it at best. At sundown we
camped around a small buffalo wallow which had been recently filled with rain.
We were all much fatigued with our day’s journey. We chained our oxen to the
wagon for there was neither bread nor water, and we had some fears of the
Indians. We set a strong guard. About two o’clock a .m. an alarm was made. I
immediately got out of bed, but seen nor heard nothing of Indians. Some said
they saw one and heard the voices of others.
September 16, 1856, Tuesday, Platte Bluffs.
This morning the camp was called by the sound of the bugle at three o’clock and
moved before daylight. We traveled some ten miles, in which distance we
descended through a rough canyon to the Platte where we took breakfast at ten
o’clock a.m. Here we remained until two p.m. when we moved up the river three
or four miles and encamped for the night. Both people and teams are much
fatigued by the heavy sandy roads.
September 17, 1856, Wednesday, Platte River.
This morning, just before the camp got underway, a cold and strong wind arose
from the northwest. This, together with the heavy sand, made our progress very
slow and extremely laborious. Several were obliged to leave their carts and
they, with the infirmed, could scarcely get into camp. Our teams also, at
times, could scarcely move. We traveled about ten miles.
September 18, 1856, Thursday, Ash Hollow. This
morning we got underway as usual and traveled four or five miles to where the
road ascended the bluffs. There we dined, then doubled our teams, and ascended
the long, steep hill. Immediately we reached the summit, we commenced
descending into a hollow and encamped at the mouth by the Platte. At dinner
Sister Reade, who Brother Babel left with us, was missing. It was ascertained
that she was ahead, but she is not in camp and no one knows where she is. She
is bound to stay out overnight.
September 19, 1856, Friday, Mouth of Ash
Hollow. Today we remained in camp to repair our carts. Some were broken and
others have the axels badly worn. Brother Chislet, with a company of brethren,
went in search of Sister Reade. About eleven o’clock a.m. they returned and
reported they had followed her footsteps seven or eight miles, mingled with
Indian footsteps and suppose that the Indians have gotten her. President Willey
was not fully satisfied and determined to go himself. He chose me and ten
others. We found her steps as reported, but I was satisfied that she had not
been disturbed by Indians. She had taken the road up Ash Hollow, going back to
South Fork of the Platte, About five miles out we found her steps going back,
but it soon left the road. Dark came and we returned to camp. When we arrived
we found she had just been brought in by some of the brethren who had gone to
the canyon for timber. She was nearly exhausted, having been thirty-six hours
without food and water. The weather is extremely warm.
September 20, 1856, Saturday, Platte River. At
two o'clock p.m. having repaired our carts, we started and traveled six or
eight miles. The air is cool and this evening a mist of rain commenced to fall
September 21, 1856, Sunday, Platte River. Last
night was very rainy and disagreeable, also wet and cold today. Many are sick
and stopping back to get in the wagons. The roads are very sandy. We could
scarcely move. Sister Season’s little boy, two years old, died at eleven
o’clock last night. The weather is yet cold and damp. Traveled twelve miles.
September 22, 1856, Monday, Platte River. This
forenoon a mist of rain was still falling. Afternoon the clouds broke a little.
The rain stopped and it became a little warmer. We have traveled about twelve
miles today. Brother Empy departed this life at half past one p.m. One of his
hands and arm was nearly covered with sores. I should suppose hereditary. He
has been having the ague some time past, but no one thought him dangerous.
September 23, 1856, Tuesday, Platte River.
This morning was cold and foggy. The Saints slow in rising and getting
breakfast early, notwithstanding Brother Willey’s repeated order to arise at
the sound of the bugle (daylight). Apparently not realizing the necessity of
our making as much distance as possible in order to reach the Valley before too
severe cold weather, some complain of hard treatment, because we urge then
along. Many hang on to the wagons. This afternoon we came in sight of Chimney
Rock and camped within ten miles of it. Have traveled sixteen miles.
September 24, 1856, Wednesday, Platte River
near Chimney Rock. Today we traveled sixteen miles. Camped near Chimney Rock. I
thought we were nearer last night to it than we are. We have fair weather.
September 25, 1856, Thursday, Platte River.
Today we traveled about sixteen miles and at five o’clock encamped a short
distance above Rubadore’s Last Trading Post. Just before we arrived at the post
we found and caught a large dark bay horse. He is very thin in flesh and has
been left, no doubt, by some company passing to or from Great Salt Lake, or
September 26, 1856, Friday, Platte River.
Today we traveled fourteen miles without water. Some of our oxen nearly gave
out. We camped at Rubadore’s Old Trading Post. When we stopped at twelve
o’clock a.m., Sister Ann Briant, who had been ill for sometime, but not thought
dangerous, was found dead in the wagon in a sitting posture, apparently asleep.
Her age is seventy years next month.
September 27, 1856, Saturday, Platte River.
Today we traveled about twelve miles. The old appear to be failing
September 28, 1856, Sunday, Platte River,
Twenty Miles From Laramie. Today we traveled sixteen miles. At twelve o’clock
we met a company from Salt Lake going to the States. I think mostly apostates.
Benjamin Brackenbary was with them. They said Babbitt was killed by the
Indians. Just before camping some soldiers that were camped near the road took
the horse that we had caught.
September 29, 1856, Monday, Five Miles Below
Fort Laramie. Today we traveled about fourteen miles. Brother Woodard and
Brother Elder went to the fort. Brother Richards has no cattle provided for us
here and no other provisions made.
September 30, 1856, Tuesday, Fort Laramie.
Today we moved on six miles, camped two miles from the fort.
October 1, 1856, Wednesday, Platte River. This
morning Brother David Reader was found dead in his bed. He has been ill for
some time. He had no particular disease, but of debility. He was a good man and
a worthy member of the Church. Brother Siler and company stopped here to
recruit and strengthen his teams, and to join the first wagon company that
arrives here bound for the Valley. Our camp moved on, and Brothers Willey,
Atwood, myself and others went to the Fort and purchased provisions. They are
extremely costly. I stopped all night with Brother Siler and company.
October 2, 1856, Thursday, Early This Morning.
I returned to the Fort to make the sale of my watch. It cost me $20 and I sold
it for $11 and purchased a pair of $6 boots and other articles. I then
proceeded to overtake the camp. On my way I met a company of Elders from the
Valley bound to the different nations of the earth to preach the gospel. I met
Brother P. P. Pratt in camp. He spoke cheeringly to the Saints. Today Brother
Reade died of a disease of the heart. He is age 64.
October 3, 1856, Friday, Platte River. Today
we left the River, crossed over the hills; it is said to be twenty-two miles to
food and water. We traveled until eight o’clock p.m. and camped within a half
of a mile of a spring, but no feed for our cattle. We were all fatigued.
Brother Ingra, aged 68, died just after we camped.
October 4, 1856, Saturday. This morning at ten
o’clock we started and traveled about five miles to a small creek and encamped.
We took an estimate of our provisions and reduced our rations to twelve ounces
per day. The Pacific Springs is the only place that we are sure of meeting
supplies. Brother Benjamine Culley, aged 61 years, and David Gadd, aged 2
years, died. They were buried at dawn. Some stealing is practiced by some,
consequently, we put all the provisions into three wagons and placed a guard
October 5, 1856, Sunday. Eight o’clock this
morning we got underway. Have good roads, traveled about sixteen miles and
camped by the Platte. The weather is very fine.
October 6, 1856, Monday, Platte River. Today
we traveled sixteen miles. Our rations are now reduced to an average of twelve
ounces of flour per head. We are not certain of supplies before arriving at the
October 7, 1856, Tuesday, Platte River. Today
we traveled fourteen miles. The weather is good.
October 8, 1856, Wednesday, Deer Creek. This
morning when we arose, we found the best ox on our train dead. In the weak
state of our team, the loss impaired us much. At nine o’clock a.m. we moved. We
traveled fifteen miles. Our old people are nearly all failing fast. A four-mule
team, an express from Laramie, is camping near us. They passed us this
October 9, 1856. Today we moved sixteen miles.
October 10, 1856, Friday, Last Crossing of the
Platte. At about twelve o’clock we passed the Platte Bridge. Here we got
thirty-seven buffalo robes, which President Richards purchased for us. We moved
on five miles, crossed the river and encamped. Our teams are very weak.
October 11, 1856, Saturday, Mineral Springs.
Today we traveled twelve miles. Three of our working cows gave out and one
died. The remainder of our oxen were nearly overcome.
October 12, 1856, Sunday, Small Creek. Today
we left out of the yoke some of our cows that were nearly exhausted. Last night
our cattle had good feed, and they traveled much better today than yesterday.
One of the cows that was overcome with work could not be gotten within a mile
of camp. Brother Willey ordered several of the brethren to go back and kill her
for the people to eat (if they wanted it). They struck her twice in the head
with an axe. She got up and ran into camp, where she was shot and dressed. The
people have sharp appetites.
October 13, 1856, Monday, Greenwood Creek.
Today we have traveled thirteen miles. The nights are cold. The days are warm
October 14, 1856, Tuesday, Independence Rock.
Today we traveled twelve miles. We crossed the Sweet Water River at the second
October 15, 1856, Wednesday, Sweet Water.
Today we traveled fifteen and a half miles. Last night Caroline Reeder, aged
seventeen years, died and was buried this morning. The people are getting weak
and falling very fast. A great many are sick. Our teams are also failing fast,
and it requires great exertion to make any progress. Our rations were reduced
last night, one quarter, bringing the men to ten ounces and the women to nine
ounces. Some of the children were reduced to six and others to three ounces
October 16, 1856, Thursday, Sweet Water. This
morning we had three deaths and one birth. We have traveled eleven miles today.
Our oxen are much worn down and our loadings were used daily by the weak and
October 17, 1856, Friday, Sweet Water. At two
o’clock this morning Brother William Philpot died and was buried before we
started. At ten o’clock the camp moved. We traveled ten miles and encamped at
October 18, 1856, Saturday, Fourth Crossing of
the Sweet Water. Today we traveled eight miles; camped; killed a beef, and
prepared for a sixteen mile drive to water. The air is cool, but fair.
October 19, 1856, Sunday, Fifth Crossing of
the Sweet Water. At half past ten o’clock we started. In about one hour we
encountered a very severely cold and blustering snowstorm. It lasted for one
hour. The poorly clad women and children suffered much. At twelve o’clock we
net Brother Wheelock and company who have come to our relief. He reported forty
wagon loads of flour one day in advance of us. This was joyful news to us for
we had eaten the last pound of flour, having only six small beefs and 400
pounds of biscuits to provision over 400 people. After a short meeting in which
Brothers Wheelock and I. Young spoke cheeringly to the Saints, we moved on. The
wind continued strong and cold. The children, the aged, and infirmed fell back
to the wagons until they were so full that all in them were extremely
uncomfortable. Brother Knockles, aged 66 years, died during the day in a
handcart hitched behind one of the wagons. Sister Smith and Daniel Osborn, age
eight years, died in the wagons. They had been ill for some tune. The carts
arrived at the River at dark. One wagon, it being dark, took another road and
did not get into camp until eleven o’clock p.m. They were nearly exhausted and
so were myself and teamsters.
October 20, 1856, Monday, Sixth Crossing of
the Sweet Water. This morning when we arose, we found several inches of snow on
the ground and is yet snowing. The cattle and people are so much reduced with
short food and hard work that except we get assistance, we surely cannot move
far in this snow. Brothers Willey and Copt and Elder started on horseback about
ten o’clock to search for the wagons that Wheelock reported a short distance in
our advance. This morning we issued the last bread, or breadstuffs, in our
possesion. It continued snowing severely during the day. We expected Brother
Willey would return this evening, but he has not come.
October 21, 1856, Tuesday, Cross of the Sweet
Water. This morning about eleven o’clock Brother Willey returned, with Brother
George Grant, having a good supply of teams, wagons and provisions, and some
clothing. A desirable relief. Here we buried several persons.
October 22, 1856, Wednesday. We prepared for
starting and commenced moving about twelve o’clock. Brother Grant took a good
portion of the teams and continued his journey to meet Brother Martin’s
company. Brother William Kimble took charge of our company. We traveled about
ten miles and camped at the foot of what is called the Rock Ridge. I had charge
of the teams. Because of their reduced strength and heavy loads, a 1arge number
of sick and children were in the wagons. I did not arrive in camp until late at
night. The wind blew bleak and cold and firewood very scarce. The Saints were
obliged to spread their light bedding on the snow, and in this cold state
endeavored to obtain a little rest. Sister Philpot died about ten o’clock p.m.,
leaving two fatherless girls. Several others died during the night.
October 23, 1856, Thursday Morning. We buried
our dead, got up our teams and about nine o’clock a.m. commenced ascending the
Rocky Ridge. This was a severe day. The wind blew hard and cold. The ascent was
some five miles long and some places steep and covered with deep snow. We
became weary, set down to rest, and some became chilled and commenced to
freeze. Brothers Atwood, Woodard and myself remained with the teams. They being
perfectly loaded down with the sick and children, so thickly stacked I was
fearful some would smother. About ten or eleven o’clock in the night we came to
a creek that we did not like to attempt to cross without help, it being full of
ice and freezing cold. Leaving Brothers Atwood and Woodard with the teams, I
started to the camp for help. I met Brother Willey coming to look for us. He
turned for the camp, as he could do no good alone. I passed several on the road
and arrived in camp after about four miles of travel. I arrived in camp, but
few tents were pitched and men, women, and children sat shivering with cold
around their small fires. Some time lapsed when two teams started to bring up
the rear. Just before daylight they returned, bringing all with them, some
badly frozen, some dying and some dead. It was certainly heartrendering to hear
children crying for mothers and mothers crying for children. By the time I got
them as comfortably situated as circumstances would admit (which was not very
comfortable), day was dawning. I had not shut my eyes for sleep, nor lain down.
I was nearly exhausted with fatigue and want of rest.
October 24, 1856, Friday. This morning found
us with thirteen corpses for burial. These were all put into one grave. Some
had actually frozen to death. We were obliged to remain in camp, move the tents
and people behind the willows to shelter them from the severe wind which blew
enough to pierce us through. Several of our cattle died here.
October 25, 1856, Saturday. We commenced our
march again. From this I have not been able to keep a daily journal, but
nothing of much note transpired, except the people died daily. Theophilus Cox
died on the morning of the 7th of November, on the Webber, was carried to
Cottonwood Grove, East Canyon Creek, and there buried. We overtook Brother
Smoot’s company in emigration on the 9th. That afternoon we arrived in Great
Salt Lake City and deposited the people among the Saints, where they were made