Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, eds., A Woman’s View: Helen Mar Whitney’s Reminiscences of Early Church History (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997), 339–410.
Our Travels beyond the Mississippi
Appearing from 1 December 1883 to 15 November 1884, the articles in this chapter describe the difficult journey across Iowa to Winter Quarters. Helen Mar Whitney begins by telling her readers that “camp life in February was quite a novel experience.” Utilizing public Church documents, Col. Thomas Kane’s published HISTORICAL DISCOURSE, and diaries of Jane B. Taylor, Horace K. Whitney, Heber C. Kimball (now being kept by Peter Hanson), and Brigham Young, she provides information on Sugar Creek, William Pitt’s band, Samuel Brannan, William Smith, the science of “oxology,” Garden Grove, Mount Pisgah, Council Bluffs, Cutler Park, Native Americans, sympathetic Iowans, the Iowa trail, Thomas Kane’s visit to the Latter-day Saints’ camps, the call of the Mormon Battalion, and the farewell festivities in connection with the Battalion’s departure.
While relying heavily on her husband’s journal, Helen takes opportunity to intersperse his citations with her own remembrances, often recalled as a result of reading her husband’s diary entries.
Camp-life in February was quite a novel experience, and might be called a pleasant one at Sugar Creek when compared with what was laying before us; more especially the youthful portion—they feeling no particular responsibilities resting upon them, nor any great hardships as yet. The band played every evening, and Hans C. Hanson, an adopted son of my parents, was very fond of playing his violin. My husband would often join him with his flute, and there being quite a number of young people in my father’s family we could form a cotillion or French four by the big log fire, and often we did so at evening, and danced to amuse ourselves as well as to keep our blood in proper circulation. I there took my first lesson in the Danish waltz. The weather was so cold that it was impossible to keep warm without exercise. Many declared that they had never suffered so much from the cold as they did at Sugar Creek, and we were informed that nine children were born the first night the Saints camped there. Feb. 5th, 1846. The inspiring music by William Pitt’s brass band, which was organized into companies of tens to travel together, often gladdened the hearts of the Saints, and helped greatly to keep their spirits from sinking. They appointed Wm. Cahoon and Howard Egan captains over them.
Before starting from Sugar Creek the following memorial was addressed “To his excellency Governor of the Territory of Iowa:
“The time is at hand in which several thousand free citizens of this great republic are to be driven from their peaceful homes and firesides, their property and farms, and their dearest constitutional rights, to wander in the barren plains and sterile mountains of western wilds, and linger out their lives in wretched exile, far Beyond the pale of professed civilization, or else be exterminated upon their own lands by the people and authorities of the state of Illinois. As life is sweet, we have chosen banishment rather than death, but, sir, the terms of our banishment are so rigid that we have not sufficient time allotted us to make the necessary preparations to encounter the hardships and difficulties of these dreary uninhabited regions. We have not time allowed us to dispose of our property, dwellings and farms, consequently many of us will have to leave them unsold, without the means of procuring the necessary provisions; clothing, teams, etc., to sustain us but a short distance Beyond the settlements; hence our persecutors have placed us in very unpleasant circumstances.
“To stay is death by fire and sword; to go into banishment unprepared is death by starvation. But yet, under these heartrending circumstances; several hundreds of us have started upon our dreary journey, and are now encamped in Lee County, Iowa, suffering much from the intensity of the cold, some of us are already without food, and others have barely sufficient to last a few weeks; hundreds of others must shortly follow us in the same unhappy condition. Therefore,—
“We, the presiding authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a committee in behalf of several thousand suffering exiles, humbly ask your excellency to shield and protect us in our constitutional rights, while we are passing through the territory over which you have jurisdiction. And, should any of the exiles be under the necessity of stopping in this territory for a time, either in settled or unsettled parts, for the purpose of raising crops, by renting farms or upon public lands, or to make the necessary preparations for their exile in any lawful way, we humbly petition your excellency to use an influence and power in our behalf, and thus preserve thousands of American citizens, together with their wives and children, from intense suffering, starvation and death. And your petitioners will ever pray.”
In the diary of President Young was written as follows: “Our homes, gardens, orchards, farms, streets, bridges, mills, public halls, magnificent temple and other public improvements, we leave as a monument of our patriotism, industry, economy, uprightness of purpose, and integrity of heart, and as a living testimony of the falsehoods and wickedness of those who charge us with disloyalty to the constitution of our country, idleness and dishonesty.”
On the first day of March the majority of the companies left their encampment. The following is copied from Sister Jane B. Taylor’s journal:
“Sabbath morning. March 1st, a meeting was called for the purpose of giving general instructions to the brethren regarding their journey. Bro. Kimball exhorted the Saints to be diligent in prayer to Almighty God all the day long. He called especially upon heads of families to attend daily to family worship, and to give heed to counsel, assuring them that if they did so God would bless them, and angels of God would go before them, and would be the breakers up of our way. He left the camp with family shortly after meeting was dismissed—Brigham’s family towards evening.”
There was a great amount of sympathy manifested by the people as we traveled through Iowa. Many visited our camps, and wherever the companies stopped our men were able to find employment. The splendid music made by the Nauvoo Brass Band quite surpassed anything that had been heard in that part and they were cordially invited to play at every settlement, and requested to give a number of concerts—this they did after consulting the Presidency, and for which they were generously recompensed. Thus we see that God did fulfill the predictions made that day by my father, and truly His angels went before us, and He was the breaker up of our way.
It will be remembered by those familiar with our history that a letter was received about this time from Samuel Brannan, containing a copy of rather a strange agreement between him and a Mr. A. G. Benson, which he desired the authorities to sign. This, it seems, was read at a council held by a number of the apostles in a valley half a mile east of the camp. Sam. Brannan was scheming for nought but worldly profit, and wanted the Latter-day Saints who had been exiled to join him, and a host of political demagogues to assist them in their plans to settle upon the seashore, then to rob them, after which the armies of the U.S. could compel them to submit. Brannan already had charge of the company of Saints who went around in the ship Brooklyn, whose sad story “the half had not been told.” The idea of our deliverance coming through such a source. Ex-Postmaster Kendall and Benson, his agent, and others had hoodwinked Brannan into the belief that “unless the leaders of the Church signed an agreement with them, to which the president of the United States,” he said, was a “silent party,” the government would not permit the Mormons to proceed on their journey westward. This agreement required the pioneers “to transfer to A. G. Benson & Co., and to their heirs and assignees the odd numbers of all the lands and town lots they may acquire in the country where they may settle.” In case they refused to sign the agreement the president, it was said, would issue a proclamation, setting forth “that it was the intention of the Mormons to take sides with either Mexico or Great Britain against the United States, and order them to be dispersed.” This was one of the plans instituted by Lucifer, who wanted to reconcile God and Baal, but we had wiser heads, who understood their duty better. President Young and his brethren were determined to carry out the plan previously laid out by Joseph Smith; and they saw the wisdom of settling in a country where they could be out of the reach of ruthless and exterminating mobs, until Zion had increased and put on her strength. The apostles did not desert their people to run from their enemies, as advised by Mr. Benson, to avoid being arrested; but it was in God that they trusted, and to Him alone the pilgrims looked for that protection which had been withheld from them by their own countrymen. And it was Him who led and placed them here upon the “mineral backbone” of the continent, and this fact, with the wonderful prosperity that has attended the Latter-day Saints, makes it a constant eyesore to “Uncle Sam.”
In that first exodus there was such a great desire among the people and such a determination to emigrate with the first company that there were hundreds started without the necessary outfit. They could neither procure sufficient teams nor provisions, which retarded our progress, and was the cause of a greater amount of suffering than there would otherwise have been. And my father, in speaking of it, said, under the circumstances it would take years to reach the mountains.
Our difficulties commenced the first day that we started from Sugar Creek; and my trials as well. My father had one large family carriage in which mother and the children and most of the women folks were obliged to ride or else walk, as his wagons were all so heavily loaded; I did not consider that my marrying had lessened my claims, nor given anyone else the right to my place by the side of my mother, and it was something of a surprise and a trial to my faith to find that my father’s family had become so large that he had not conveyances for them. One of his wives (Christine Golden) who came from Philadelphia and was living with the family of Bro. Jedediah Grant at Sugar Creek, was unknown to me until I met her there. She was a very proud-spirited woman, and that morning father sent her to his carriage, but finding it crowded full she turned without a word and went and rode that day with Sister Grant. After becoming acquainted we made our confessions, and many a time we have referred to that day and laughed heartily over it, as well as other things that once vexed and tried us. At every bad place the teams had to be doubled, and the first day we were detained, it seemed to me hours, while they crossed over a deep ravine and drew the loaded wagons up a steep hill on the other side. The rest had all got out of the carriage, and while I sat holding the reins the wind was so cold and piercing that it seemed to me as if I should perish. We only made six miles and encamped for the night on a small creek about fifteen miles from Farmington. “The same evening President Young arrived with the remainder of the camp, except the artillery, which came up later in the evening.” (H. K. Whitney Journal.) The snow had to be cleaned away to pitch the tents, and our beds were made upon the frozen ground. We were not blessed with a stove in our tent that night and it was impossible to get warm by the campfire; so that night I laid nothing off, not even my hood or josie. But the weather moderated before morning and the backbone of winter was broken. We started from there about noon and traveled only seven miles in consequence of the badness of the road. We passed through Farmington on the 3rd and encamped three miles Beyond—making ten miles that we traveled that day—the mud made traveling almost impossible. We overtook President Young here, also Bishop Miller, who with his company had been encamped about a week.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 13,
1 December 1883, pp. 102–3
Wednesday, 4th, we remained in our tents. Early that morning the band came and played for the benefit of President Young and brethren. In the afternoon, they having received an invitation from the people of Farmington to play, went after obtaining the mind of the President, where John Kay, our favorite songster, sang one of his best, “The sea, the sea.” They were treated with the greatest respect and kindness, and given an excellent supper at the Gait House, and afterwards escorted a mile towards the camp. My husband and brother William accompanied the band, and according to the former record they “returned to camp about 9 p.m. This day Bishop Miller left camp and went ahead to seek a new place. Brother Kimball’s family and our own all continue well, hearty and in good spirits.”
The following little incident occured in the early part of our journey. Two or more of father’s young wives were walking behind the wagons when night overtook them and the wagons being out of sight, and, not daring to proceed alone, they stopped at a farmhouse where they were kept all night and treated to the best the house afforded. The nicest room they had—belonging to their only son—was given them to sleep in, and after breakfast he escorted them to the camp, which though but a little distance off was hidden under a high hill to the left of the road. Father had cautioned his wives and folks from about lingering behind, and this had a tendency to make them remember it.
My husband wrote, “Thursday, 5th, struck our tents about ten a.m.—had not proceeded more than ten or fifteen rods when the axletree of one of father’s wagons was broken, in consequence had to leave it behind and put the load on our other wagons. I went two miles ahead on horseback to a little place called Bonaparte—at this place we crossed the Des Moines River and camped after going a short distance, having made only three miles this day. I then proceeded two miles further to Brother Kimball’s encampment, who with several others, including the artillery, had stopped on the open prairie.
“Friday, 6th. After having struck our tents * * * Bro. Kimball and family went on, I waited till our folks came up and proceeded about six miles to Indian Creek, where we arrived at two p.m., and took up our quarters for the night—they having made eight miles today—very bad muddy going.
“Saturday, 7th. Before starting this morning a man living in the neighborhood, four miles south of Keosauqua, by the name of Co-chrun, came to our camp and laid claim to a yoke of father’s oxen, saying that they had strayed or been stolen from him three years previously. To avoid disturbance father paid him $30 in gold, and about 10 o’clock a.m. struck our tents and traveled about nine miles and encamped on a small creek by the side of the road.”
Towards morning father was sent for to return to Bishop Whitney’s camp. Next day Bro. Markham arrived, bringing the news of the birth of a son to my father’s wife, Sarah Ann. This was the eighth day of March, and the child was called David, as also the valley where he was born. Next day towards evening father and President Young went to Bishop Whitney’s camp and blessed the child. The same evening Bro. Wm. Clayton with the band came up and camped with us, for which we were all glad, as they entertained us every evening when in camp. This place where we were camped was called Richard’s Point, on the borders of a small wood. The majority of the camp of Israel were there, where we were obliged to remain over a week in consequence of stormy weather.
My husband wrote.—”The number of souls in Zion’s Camp, this side of the Mississippi, at the present time somewhat exceeds 2,000. Wm. Kimball conveyed Sarah Ann in an easy carriage to the camp this day. Before leaving the Valley of David father (Bishop Whitney) had the good luck to exchange a of horses for two yoke of oxen and thirty bushels of corn, with a man living in the vicinity.”
The band having received an invitation from the people of Keosauqua to come to and play, they went on the 10th and 11th, and the courthouse was crowded with an appreciative audience. They received an invitation to repeat their concert the next evening, which they did, were also invited by the citizens to take a ride on a “light boat,” and as they neared the landing a cannon was fired twice. At this place they cleared about $30. Concerning that place Horace says in his journal: “This place, the county seat of Van Buren County, lies about ten miles east of our present encampment on the Des Moines. Wednesday, the 11th, in accordance with the invitation the band went again to Keosauqua, Wm. and myself accompanied them.
“Thursday, 12th. Very stormy—the rain has fallen almost incessantly since Tuesday last. Today received a letter from Watterman Phelps, stating the general news in Nauvoo, among which was that Wm. Smith and George A. Adams had arrived there and were about to organize the church—that John E. Page and Rufus Beach had joined the Strangites—that Luke Johnson was again received into the church on Sunday, the 8th—that Col. Kane was there and was to leave in the 10th inst—that the ice had got out of the river and the steamboats were running, etc., etc.”
This was quite a newsy letter, and all these things were interesting to a people who were traveling away from their homes, never more to behold them. But there was no mourning nor lamentations, we felt too glad to have made our escape. And the first evening after the warm sun had dried the earth, the young people were out dancing by moonlight—determined upon being happy, or at least to snatch all the pleasant moments and enjoy them as they came along. Some of the camp were already prostrated with chills and fever in consequence of want and exposure. It now rained almost incessantly, and Bishop Whitney’s daughter Sarah Ann, was in a critical state part of the time while there. And Mother Whitney, who stayed with her daughter, and, like all the rest was exposed to cold and wet, took the rheumatism, and it settled in her left wrist, which had been broken the previous winter by jumping from a buggy when the horse became frightened one evening as she was returning from the temple. She could not be convinced that it was broken, although the bishop’s father, who was a doctor, told her that it was broken, and that she ought to have a doctor to set it, he being then too old to attend to it himself. Her hand and arm commenced to wither away, and one day while on the journey Father John Smith called to her tent to see her, and noticing her hand and wrist enquired into the cause and seemed to feel greatly interested in her behalf. He called for a bottle of consecrated oil and administered it with prayer and mighty faith, and he prophesied that flesh should come upon that arm and hand, which was literally fulfilled, though the wrist was out of place.
Horace continues.—”Richard’s Point, where we are now located, is situated on Chequest Prairie, and here we are likely to remain for some time at least, as the roads are almost impassable.
“Friday 13th. The clouds having cleared away this morning the weather assumes a more smiling aspect, which, after three days incessant rain, is very acceptable.
“Saturday 14th. O. P. Rockwell and Edwin Cutler started on horseback for Nauvoo to carry letters. Lyman Whitney and myself took a short excursion into the country for the purpose of trading for oxen—returned, having partially affected an exchange.”
The weather having continued favorable there was a fair prospect of our being able to resume our journey in a day or two, but on the 17th it commenced clouding up, and before midnight began a slow, drizzly rain, which continued the remainder of the night, so we remained there till the 19th. The quadrille band went to Keosauqua on the same day by invitation, to hold another concert. The weather continued showery till the 18th, when it cleared off pleasant. Horace wrote the same day. “The corpse of Bro. Edwin Little was brought into camp and interred today. He was taken sick here a few days ago, and was conveyed into the country in order to have a skillful treatment and to be shielded from the inclemency of the weather; but not withstanding all was done for his relief that human aid could afford, he died today while in the wagon on the way to the camp. His disease was the quick consumption. He appeared to be reconciled to his death, and died in the full faith of the gospel.
“Thursday 19th. This morning about eleven o’clock struck our tents and proceeded on our journey. * * * The weather fine, though rather cool—the roads quite smooth—traveled about twelve miles and pitched our tents on a small creek which also bears the name of Chequest, on the land of a widow—name unknown. We are now traveling through Davis County, which joins Van Buren County. Brother Kimball’s family and ours are well—Sarah Ann gaining rapidly.
“Friday 20th. Our route being chiefly on the prairie the roads were very bad; crossed Fox River today, traveled fourteen miles and encamped about four p.m. in the edge of a small piece of timber—very poor muddy place, being destitute of a name, consequently gave it one, viz., Slough of Discontent. The prairie through which we have been traveling today, and shall for a day or two, is called the ‘New Purchase,’ on the ‘Fox Divide.’
“Saturday 21st. Started at half past nine, proceeded eleven miles and encamped on the edge of the timber about four miles from the River Chariton.” That evening the band overtook us, and before retiring they played a few tunes before President Young’s tent and father’s. Oh, what dismal days those were! And the next day was Sunday—cloudy and disagreeable—as we started in the morning and crossed the bottom, which intervened between us and the Chariton River. We had considerable difficulty in crossing that stream, on account of the steepness of the descent on its banks. After crossing there was a very bad hill to ascend, and they were obliged to double teams in both places, besides the assistance of a number of men to hold back, and push up hill. This labor consumed the greater part of the day. We encamped on the top of the hill in a small piece of timber. How fresh in my mind are some of those tedious days of rain, sleet and mud, and sometimes hunger, for already were our rations poor and pinched, it being the intention at that time to cross over the Rocky Mountains the same year. One important event transpired that dismal morning, while we were crossing the bottom between our camping ground and Chariton River, which was indelibly written upon my memory. We passed the wagon of Sister Zina D. H. Young, which had halted upon the east bank, where she had a beautiful son born, and he was named Chariton. I have never met that son nor heard his name without its reminding me of Chariton River, and the circumstances attending our sojourn there. The following, written by Sister Zina, is worthy of a place in our history:
“I had been told in the temple that I should acknowledge God even in a miracle in my deliverance in woman’s hour of trouble, which honor had now come. We had traveled one morning about five miles, when I called for a halt in our march. There was but one person with me—Mother Lyman, the aunt of George A. Smith; and there, on the bank of the Chariton, I was delivered of a fine son. On the morning of the 23rd Mother Lyman gave me a cup of coffee and a biscuit. What a luxury for special remembrance! Occasionally the wagon had to be stopped, that I might take breath. Thus I journeyed on. But I did not mind the hardship of my situation, for my life had been preserved, and my babe seemed so beautiful.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 14,
December 15, 1883, pp. 110–11
I remember how nearly forlorn I felt some of the time during those dismal, stormy days; being in Bp. Whitney’s camp I was separated from my dear mother by an almost impassable road of mud, and was all of a quarter of a mile away from father’s camp. So one morning I undertook the disagreeable and perilous journey on the back of a little white Ginnie, which Father Lot had given to one of the Bp’s little boys in Nauvoo, and, by the by, she had carried me over the Mississippi the last time that I crossed it to Sugar Creek, accompanied by Horace on his pony.
Ginnie stood about three feet from the ground, and the mud being so deep, I felt some dubiety about our accomplishing the journey that day in safety, but being stimulated by a touch of homesickness I persevered without regard to appearance or the mud, with which I was generously bespattered. On the opposite side of the road from father’s camp was the camp of the Nauvoo Brass Band, and O! their woebegone appearance I could never forget; and how I looked over at them with a pitying gaze from the door of my mother’s wagon. They were actually swamped in mud; but what was most surprising, under the circumstances, not a sad face did I behold. The women were out around, and would give me a cheerful nod as they were attending to their domestic duties, and all the camps were in a similar condition. The following incident was related to me concerning Br. Wm. Pitt and wife, who, like some of the rest, were sick with the ague, caused by the cold and wet weather, and one night they were left behind in the mud, and were not missed till late the next morning when some of the band went back and found them. Those were sorry times, but who, besides the Latter-day Saints, can understand or explain the reasons for such patience, and even cheerfulness under like circumstances, having been expelled, though they were law-abiding citizens, from their homes, and at that time of the year, enduring such hardships and privation, that would have disheartened any but the true Saints, who were willing to make sacrifice and to be tried, even though it be seven times in the furnace of affliction.
“Monday 23rd,” Horace wrote, “This afternoon, about two o’clock, had quite a hailstorm, * * continued storming with rain and hail alternately through the day and night. Yesterday Bro. John Butler came from Bishop Miller’s camp, which is seven miles ahead—he seems to like to be in advance of the main body, as he always pulls up stakes at our approach, and goes ahead with his company. Brother Butler thinks it would be a good idea to go back twenty miles or so in order to get on a road which goes through the settlements, as the country through which we are traveling affords scarcely any provender for our cattle, some of them having had no sustenance for two days, with the exception of what they could browse in the woods.
“On Tuesday we had snow which continued with little cessation through the day. In the afternoon,” wrote Horace, “Bros. Pond and Burns went into the country about eight miles and bought twenty bushels of corn at twenty five cents a bushel—rather scarce at that price. * * Today saw three deer carried by our tent that had been killed by the hunters—first that we have seen on our journey.
“Wednesday 25th. Continued snowing through the day till evening, when it cleared off pleasant. This afternoon Brother Pond took my colt and two of our team horses into the country with the intention of exchanging them for oxen.
“Thursday 25th. Tolerably fair today—hail fell a little this afternoon—saw Bp. Miller, P.P. Pratt, O. Pratt and George A. Smith pass by our tent on their way home; they came up from Bp. Miller’s camp by request to hold council.
“Friday 27th. * * This forenoon Bro’s Brigham and Heber went ahead seven miles to Father John Smith’s camp, where they were met by Bp. Miller and where he had formerly been encamped, but which he had left and gone a few miles ahead. Here they proceeded to make a new organization of the companies. B. Young, H. C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, John Taylor, Peter Haws and Bp. Miller, who had formerly been captains of companies were promoted to the office of president, and their places filled by others. In our company the vacancy of the office of captain was filled by Stephen Markham, an able and efficient officer. In each company there was appointed two commissaries and a clerk. In our company the leading commissary is David Yearsley. His business is to go ahead and engage grain, procure jobs for the company, etc. Our distributing commissary is Jedediah M. Grant, whose business it is to distribute corn, oats, etc., when brought into the camp. Our clerk is John Pack, whose business it is to record all essential matters pertaining to the company.
“Saturday, 28th. Today a council was held, but little was done except ratifying what was done yesterday at Father Smith’s camp. * * The roads are improving, though there are some very bad places ahead yet, as we learn from our men who occasionally go out in pursuit of game, which in this section consists principally of deer and turkeys. There has been a number of them already brought into camp.”
Bishop Whitney disposed of a feather bed at this place valued at $9.00 in exchange for a cow, with a man living six or seven miles in the country. Brother Pond returned, having disposed of the colt and another team horse for two yoke of oxen. He had been over in the state of Missouri where he made the trade, and one of the oxen proving lame Brother Pond swapped him for another, giving $9.00 “to boot.” On the 31st O. P. Rockwell returned from Nauvoo. My husband and brother Wm. received some papers from Phineas Kimball, brother-in-law to Sarah M. Kimball. Porter started back to Nauvoo in a few days.
Wednesday, April 1st, Horace wrote, “Brigham, with all the camp except our fifty, started on their journey—intend going only six miles to Father Smith’s camp, where they are to wait until we come up in order to hold a council. Today father’s company employed themselves in making ox yokes and doing other chores necessary for the journey. * * * This evening wrote a letter to Nauvoo for H. C. Kimball.”
Thursday, 2nd. “About half past eight struck our tents and proceeded to Father Smith’s camp on Shoal Creek, where we found Bro. Brigham. * * When we arrived they were holding council. Bro. Kimball went to it and returned with the news that we were going on; consequently his company—the artillery and some others went on five miles farther and encamped on Prairie Creek, a branch of Shoal Creek, leaving Bro. Brigham’s company behind—were piloted a short distance by Bishop Miller and another brother, who then rode on to their camp. * * Took leave of Porter at Brigham’s camp, who returns to Nauvoo today the bearer of several letters. This day quite cloudy, but no rain. * Before leaving Shoal Creek camp unloaded one of my wagons and sent it after corn with another, putting the load on one of the other wagons. Crossed the Missouri state line this afternoon.
“Friday, 3rd. This morning soon after breakfast Brigham’s company overtook us—after stopping a few minutes went on to Bishop Miller’s camp, where they intend to feed. During last night three of our oxen strayed away, consequently were detained after the rest of the company had left. I proceeded on foot to Bishop Miller’s camp—had not gone far before it commenced raining, which continued through a greater part of the day and night.” Some of our experience during those days could not be written, neither could time erase them from my memory. This day that he last mentions the road lay over a prairie, and the earth being soft and inundated with the previous rains, all that could were obliged to walk to favor the poor animals. Our feet would sink into the deep mud at every step, and some of us came near being minus of shoes; as for umbrellas, they were rare articles, and we had the cold, pitiless rain beating down upon us all the way till we were chilled and shaking with the cold, and were very grateful to find a shelter and a comfortable fire in Bishop Miller’s tent, where something warm was given us to drink before ascending the steep hill on the opposite side of Shoal Creek. Bishop Miller was encamped on the south fork of that stream, and father took his company on to the top of the hill, where we encamped. Horace continues, “Thinking the rain might hinder father from coming on, I started back, had not gone far before I met Brother Johnson (of the artillery) who informed me that father had recovered his cattle, the men sent out in pursuit having found a man in the act of driving them off, * * being about twelve miles from here, he is said to have been seen in our camp this morning. Father started about one o’clock and arrived here at three p.m., and encamped with Bro. Kimball’s company. We had not been here more than two hours before the team that had been sent out in pursuit of corn arrived, bringing fifty-one bushels. After ascending the hill Brigham with his company continued on. * * * Joseph Kingsbury broke one of the thills of his buggy this morning soon after starting, occasioned by the horse jumping suddenly.
“Saturday, 4th. From the rain of the previous day and night the little creek on which we are encamped is much swollen; continued raining through the day and night, consequently had to remain with pitched tents.
“Sunday, 5th. This morning the sun arose in unclouded splendor. Brother Kimball called the people of the camp together and exhorted them to the observance of several duties which had hitherto been neglected—one of which was that the captain of each ten should call his company together and partake of the sacrament, which was accordingly done.”
On waking next morning we found it raining, and continued on without cessation till evening, when it had the appearance of clearing off, but all at once, as Horace describes it, “the sky was obscured with dark heavy clouds, the distant roaring of the wind was heard, which accompanied by a cold rain, soon burst upon us with all its fury, blowing off hats and caps, and prostrating the tents, of which but few were found standing in the morning. Though the storm, or rather hurricane, continued the most of the night, but little other damage was sustained, except the inconvenience of being wet by the constant dripping of the rain through the covers of the wagons, where we slept, or rather, passed the night.”
I remember this very well. The camps were about ready to retire to rest when the storm overtook us; some were in the act of evening worship and others were preparing their beds or closing their tents and wagons for the night, when the hurricane overtook us “as a thief in the night,” and not a wagon cover or tent could withstand it except the ones that were fastened down. Those who had no covering sought shelter with the ones that had till morning, when the tents were pitched and things righted. Next day it was very cold and windy, though tolerably fair. The day previous men had again been sent into the country for corn.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 15,
1 January 1884, pp. 117–18
On the 7th a message came from President Young, who was twelve miles ahead, requesting my father and the rest to come on. That day Horace succeeded in getting a wagon for us and also a gentle yoke of oxen. Previously we had had no place in particular. I had traveled mostly with my mother, and our lodging had been, like that of hundreds of others, on the ground. But here was a new lesson for Horace, who from a schoolboy in Kirtland had done little else but printing and school teaching—yoking up and driving oxen he had never before undertaken. On the 9th, after leaving this place, he wrote, “Started this morning about eight o’clock—took my first lesson in the science of oxology.” On taking the ox whip to drive, the first thing he did was to go on the wrong side, and then had to endure the roars of laughter from several of the boys who were standing ready to witness his first effort, but some of them were quite as green as himself in the practice of ox driving. But after seeing his chagrin one of them took the whip and drove a little ways to give him an idea how it was done, and he soon became as handy in yoking, unyoking and driving ox-teams as any of the boys, and even some of our sisters were schooled in the same science before we got to our journey’s end, as numbers of our brethren who came out from Nauvoo as teamsters, returned after a little, some of them taking their teams with them, after we had obtained some from other quarters. We had doors, generally, cut on the left side of the wagon covers. Boxes and bags of grain, etc., were packed in the rear part of our wagon, upon which our bed was made. We had our provision chest in front, which served as a table, and between was just room for my chair—this being my only piece of furniture—the most of our household chattels having been left in our house in Nauvoo. I could now knit and read as we traveled, and Horace could read or play his flute as he liked, and none, I think, but those who had a like experience can form the slightest idea of the appreciation and happiness it gave us, to have a little wagon all to ourselves, which, under the circumstances, was next thing to paradise.
“On taking the team to drive,” Horace says, “I went into Brother Kimball’s company—had not gone far before it commenced to rain, which continued through the day and night—traveled seven miles and encamped about six p.m. on the open prairie, in one of the most disagreeably muddy places I remember ever to have seen—drove our horses and cattle about a mile to the nearest wood, which consisted, principally, of elm trees, and afforded them an excellent opportunity of browsing. Some of father’s teams got stuck in the mud, and had to stop a mile or two back, and none reached us except Joseph Kingsbury with the buggy, the one horse wagon, and Sarah Ann’s wagon. Bro. Pond broke his harness in attempting to extricate himself from a mud hole. Bro. Lorenzo Young and others of our company were unable to come up, as also Parley P. Pratt and his company.”
The muddy camping place, mentioned by Horace, was one not easily to be forgotten. The dismal places were the ones that seemed to impress themselves the most indelibly upon my memory, but this one really had its pleasant side, for I remember how grateful I felt there to be under a tight wagon cover, where we were comfortable and secure from the cold and beating rain, which, falling upon the cover, served as a kind of lullaby to soothe us to sleep. And in the morning my cousin Netty, the head cook, brought us some warm eatables, requesting me to stay in the wagon, as she would rather bring our breakfast to us than have me bothering around in the mud, to which arrangement we very cheerfully submitted.
“Friday, 10th,” wrote Horace, “This morning found the rain had not ceased falling, but on the contrary, pouring down with redoubled vigor. Getting our cattle from the woods, we started about noon, doubling our teams, when it cleared off—leaving Joseph C. Kingsbury behind, as also three of Bro. Kimball’s teams in the care of Hans C. Hanson—traveled three miles and a half and encamped at three p.m. on the East Fork of Locust Creek, near where Brigham had previously encamped—one of the most beautiful locations for an encampment my eyes had ever beheld, in fact it seemed as if expressly designed for our use, and in contrast with the place where we had last stopped, a perfect paradise.
“Saturday, 11th. Bro. Kimball’s horses, ox teams and men, including myself, went back after the wagons left behind. Wm. Kimball put four of his horses on Sarah Ann’s wagon, and one ox team was taken back a mile further to pull one of father’s teams out of a mud hole, and the folks all got to the camp about half past three o’clock—the same time we did with the ox teams. When we arrived found Brigham here with two other brethren—they were in council. Bro. B’s camp is two miles from here. * * Today made a coal pit that we might be able to do some blacksmithing.
“Sunday, 12th. * * A meeting was called at 11 a.m., present, B. Young, H. C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, O. Pratt, A. Lyman, G. A. Smith, J. Taylor, Bishops Whitney and Miller, and several others. Bro. Young spoke; gave some good instruction, and concluded with apian for our future movements—that was to send fifty men ahead to the source of Grand River, and then to make some improvements—fence in about two miles square—build some huts, plant some grain and garden seeds, then save their garden seeds, which would not otherwise keep any length of time—after that for the main body to follow them—from here we are to take a northwest course till we arrive at the head of Grand River—from there proceed to Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, then over the mountains, leaving behind at our new settlements those that have not the means to prosecute the journey, thereby furnishing a sojourning place for those who may hereafter come on from the states. Bro. Brigham and the brethren with him went back to their camp after having taken dinner. In the afternoon Bro. Kimball called a meeting; gave some good advice to the brethren—partook of the sacrament and dismissed with prayer. * * * The weather has continued fine since Friday last. Today a number of our teams, also two of Bro. Kimball’s, went to bring up the remainder of our company, viz: Bro. Lorenzo Young, Lyman Whitney, and a wagon that father had left behind. We are now in Putman Co., Missouri.
“Tuesday, 14th. Struck our tents and proceeded to Bro. Brigham’s camp, * * where we arrived late in the day. * * Had to double our teams some distance across the bottom, as also the hill on which we encamped. * * Soon after arriving went to Brother Willard Richards’ tent, which is called the post office of the camp of Israel, where Charles Decker had just arrived from Nauvoo, bearer of a number of messages and letters.” That evening the band also came up and they played for President Young and father before retiring. All remained at this place till Thursday, except Bishop Miller and company, they went ahead next morning. Horace wrote:—”This afternoon the pioneers of our company, consisting of about twenty men, with others from Bro. Brigham’s camp, started for the head of Grand River. * * Bro. Kimball gave them a good deal of advice, such as never to involve themselves in any quarrels, strifes or contentions with the inhabitants, but on the contrary, to court their favor by every possible means in their power. Bro’s Kimball and Markham accompanied them a short distance on their route, and gave them other good counsel. * * Hans Hanson took his cow and went with them.”
As I learned, through the mail, that Wm. Clayton was the father of a child by his wife, Diantha Farr, who was left with her parents in Nauvoo. I bore the tidings to Wm., whose delight knew no bounds, and that evening Horace, myself and a number were invited over to their camp, Wm. being one of the band, whose encampment was only a short distance from ours, and which event Horace mentions thus: “In the evening there was a grand christening held at Bro. Clayton’s camp, in celebration of the birth of his child in Nauvoo. * *
“Thursday 16th. Left our encampment at half past 9 a.m., proceeded about six miles and encamped at 2 p.m. on the prairie near where Bro. John Taylor and George A. Smith had encamped the night previously. Today eight rattlesnakes were killed by our company, and two of the oxen in the same were bitten. One of Wm. Kimball’s horses lips was swelled considerably, supposed to be occasioned by the bite of a rattlesnake. Today is the first time we have seen any of these reptiles on our journey.”
I remember that day, and of seeing our men killing snakes in the grass, where our tents were afterwards pitched, and it was enough to give one nervous spasms to see them, and then to think of sleeping in the neighborhood of such dangerous enemies.
Horace continues:—”As we progress on our route game grows quite plenty, more especially deer and turkeys, of which there are several almost daily brought into our camp; vegetation, also, is now commencing to spring up around us, which we consider quite a blessing, as we have had no corn for our cattle for two or three days. Brother Brigham and the band are encamped within half a mile of our place—on arriving here had to drive our cattle a mile or two to give them a good chance to feed.”
On the morning of the 17th our company proceeded about eight miles and encamped in a grove of hickory on a stream called Medicine Creek, named by the Indians, no doubt. Prest. Young, Bp. Whitney and others, with the band, had encamped three quarters of a mile ahead, and father, learning this, determined to go on.
Horace says:—”We started about five p.m., and after descending the hill and crossing the creek we were detained by the fire on the prairie about three quarters of an hour, and a number of us were obliged to stand by with sticks to whip out the fire in order to make ourselves a road or passage through it; we then went on without interruption to the place where the rest of our company were encamped. Here, also, we overtook Bp. Miller’s company. Our two principal hunters, Bro’s Higher and Smith, went out before starting this morning, and cut down two bee trees, bringing into the commissary three pails full of first rate honey—they also killed two deers and turkeys during the day, which was distributed to the company.”
Saturday, 18th. Father started his wagon and we went two miles and camped, when he returned to a council, Horace says, which “consisted of the principal authorities of the Church, together with the captains of tens, fifties, hundreds, etc. Their decision was in accordance with the former suggestions of Prest. B. Young. Council being over father, with his family started and came up with us, Bro. Brigham remaining behind, as also Bp. Miller and the band. Bro. Taylor is encamped within a short distance of us—took a short fishing excursion down the creek this evening—caught three fish but not very large ones; some few catfish. This afternoon they sent into the country for corn.
“Sunday, 19th. Fine weather this morning, Porter and Edwin Cutler came from Nauvoo with the mail today; left there last Thursday. Some families have started and are starting from there all the time. This afternoon, at four o’clock, a meeting was called between Bro. Taylor’s and our camp. Bro’s Taylor and Kimball spoke at some length, giving a great deal of good instruction, cheering up the heart of all. Bro. Kimball told us it would be necessary to allow only one half pound of breadstuff per day to each individual for 500 days in going 1,500 miles over the mountains. Had a letter from our pioneers, stating that they had a job to do of building a jail and storehouse, worth $250, on the East Fork of Grand River, thirty miles from here. Yesterday wolves were seen around the camp.
“Monday, 20th. Beautiful day, the birds begin to sing, grass to grow, and everything assumes a pleasant aspect. Bro. Pack came in with one of the teams sent out after corn. * They had to pay 20 cts. per bushel. Brother Spencer, who has been a long way back, just came up with us this afternoon. In the last mail Bro. Kimball received a number of the Hancock Eagle. He and father went back today to attend the general council.
“Tuesday, 21st. Bro. Hosea Cushing and Wm. King, who had been adopted into father’s family, came in, bringing twenty-two bushels of corn. My brother Wm. not returning with them prevented father from starting that day. Bro. Brigham and Bp. Miller and companies passed us that morning. An Indian was seen for the first time passing through our camp—there was said to be an Indian encampment somewhere in that vicinity—were out hunting. Bro. Pond and Durfee, who came that far with their teams to assist Bp. Whitney, were released that day with their teams to return to Nauvoo to their families. That evening it commenced raining, and continued most of the night, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Father and Bp. Whitney arranged their loading while there—taking out some things to dispose of for provisions to the inhabitants. Horace wrote four letters for my father to send back by Porter—namely: to two of his wives, Sarah Noon and Amanda Gheen, Bro. Winchester, Bro’s O. Hyde and W. Woodruff.
“Thursday, 23rd,” Horace wrote, “This afternoon Wm. came back, having explored most of the country as far as Grand River—saw our pioneers there, who, he says, find plenty of work to do—cattle are rather scarce there, an Oregon company having traversed the region round and engaged above 500 yoke of cattle previous to his arrival. Bro’s Pond, Porter, Wm. Cutler and Father Durfee started back today, taking two buggies with them. Porter took my watch with him to get fixed. About three o’clock p.m. we started and went four miles, and encamped about dusk on the edge of a ravine in the open prairie, where there was beautiful feed for our oxen and horses, the grass being of very high and thick growth.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 16,
16 January 1884, pp. 126–27
Horace mentions Bro. William Cahoon with part of the band being encamped within a short distance of us, also speaks of Bro’s John Taylor and Spencer having gone ahead. “Here,” he says, “it commenced raining soon after our arrival, which however, did not last long. Bro. Perry left us also today and went back to Nauvoo.”
Next day Bro. Markham came back from his camp, which was three miles ahead, with fifteen or sixteen yoke of oxen to assist them along, which was very acceptable, as during the last night four of my father’s horses had strayed away, and a number of the boys had gone out in pursuit of them—we went on to Bro. Markham’s camp and stopped. The horses were found at the place where the boys had last bought corn, some fifteen miles distant from camp; probably they remembered it and went back for another feast.
The same day Horace wrote: “Brother Dalton’s horse was bitten today by a rattlesnake. We have a civilized Indian of the ancient Delaware tribe with us, who is of great use to us in such cases. Also this morning noticed a heifer, belonging to Bro. John Pack, which had been bitten. These reptiles are getting so plenty as to be quite dangerous for those traveling on foot, though I believe, as yet, no person has been bitten. The other day one of Bro. Kimball’s horses being bitten he laid his hands on the part affected, and rebuked the sickness occasioned by the poison, in the name of the Lord, and of as much utility, as it is to a human being, both being creatures of His creation, both, consequently, having a claim to His attention.
“Saturday, 25th. Traveled about seven miles and encamped on quite a large creek, the name unknown—called it Mt. Pleasant. This day, by the advice of Bro. Kimball, Helen and myself commenced ‘keeping house,’ or tent rather, by ourselves; taking Hosea Cushing, Wm. King, Jeannette Murray, Bro. Francis Whitney and little Heber, thus, by this means, more equalizing the number for the other tents—rained a little during the night. * * Today news came from Brigham that he was five miles ahead on one of the forks of Grand River, and that the calculation was to commence splitting rails, etc., in order to enclose some farms, also to lay out a town plat etc.”
“Sunday, 26th. This morning, notwithstanding our beautiful location, we were forced to go ahead, in consequence of there being no good range for our cattle to feed. * * Before starting heard Bro. Scott telling a circumstance that happened about fifteen mile from here in the Welder Settlement—this man, Welder, being notorious for his mobocratic principles. A portion of the artillery had gone there and taken jobs of work—they had earned about $26—when they were visited by a committee, professing to be a deputation of the people, who told them they must leave immediately. The man who owed them $26 seemed disposed to pay them, but on manifesting a disposition to do so he was told by his neighbors that he should “pack his duds and leave”; accordingly he paid them nothing—traveled five miles and overtook the remainder of Zion’s Camp. At this place the fitting out of those who intend going over the mountains will take place. Bro. S. Roundy came from Nauvoo that day, bringing the mail. Bishop Whitney received a letter from Thos. Burdick, dated April 22nd, at Nauvoo, stating that he had just received a letter from Reuben McBride, in Kirtland, announcing the death of Grandfather Whitney. The same day, by the kindness of one of the artillery, our company were provided with some fresh pork, some of the company having killed a wild hog in that vicinity of which they saw quite a drove.
“Monday, 27th,” continues Horace, “on waking this morning found it raining, which continued through the day and night, a cold, drizzly rain; consequently the brethren could not do much at splitting rails etc. There are a hundred men assigned to this business, ten laying up rails, forty-eight to building houses, twelve to each house; ten herding cattle, twelve digging wells, ten building a bridge across the river for us to pass on our journey west; ten or twelve stocking ploughs and making drags, five or six blacksmith shops, the remainder to attend to the business of farming, etc.”
It seems that for two days there was not much done on account of the rains, which continued incessantly day and night till Wednesday evening, when it cleared off pleasant. By the last mail father had received a letter from Bro. Joseph L. Heywood, at Nauvoo, announcing the sale of our place there for thirty-five yoke of oxen, to which Horace wrote an answer on the 28th.
The next day he wrote: “A meeting was called about noon in order to do some businesss, necessary to fitting out an expedition over the mountains. Bro. O. Pratt made an estimate of the number of wagons, grain, implements of farming, such as hoes, shovels, etc., that would be necessary for one hundred men on this expedition.
“The first of May,” Horace wrote, “we are now engaged repairing the wagons that we intend taking with us when we shall start again. The weather has been so inclement since our arrival that our stay here will necessarily be prolonged Beyond the time originally intended.”
He also speaks of his father and mother, Prest. Young and wife Mary Ann, and my father and mother going to Lorenzo Young’s tent that same day to dine, where they had quite a family meeting. While stopping there there was not more than one or two days till about the 13th that we did not have a shower; some of the time hail and rain, and on the night of the 5th had a heavy thunderstorm, and there was some sickness in consequence, but we had very few deaths in our camp during that part of our journey, for which we had great cause to be thankful. Numbers of the brethren, who had come that far with teams and to drive, return to Nauvoo.
“Tuesday, 4th,” Horace says, “one of father’s horses, on being driven up tonight, was discovered to be very badly bitten in two or three places on the head. We immediately resorted to our family horse physician, the Delaware, who has been very successful hitherto,” but on the 7th, it seems, the horse died, contrary to their expectations. “This,” Horace wrote, “was owing to the inattention on the part of the boys, who neglected to take care of him. Father considers it quite a loss as it breaks up one of his teams.
“Friday, 8th. * * Jacob Frazier came in with five yoke of Bro. Kimball’s oxen and went to drawing rails this afternoon. The brethren finished their fencing today, having enclosed 300 acres, leaving a surplus of 10,000 rails; they have besides a sufficient number of house logs cut to build 30 or 40 buildings. This afternoon Andrew Cahoon came in from Nauvoo—brought the mail, the 5th number of the Eagle for Brigham, and the news that Porter was arrested, while asleep, by Backenstos in Nauvoo for the murder of Worrel—that he was taken to Carthage, stood trial on the charge and was acquitted. He was no sooner liberated, however, than he was taken up on another accusation—that of threatening a man’s life, and committed to Quincy Jail there to await his trial.
“The wife of Bro. Breen, captain of a company of pioneers, died, and was buried here yesterday.
“Saturday, 9th. Beautiful day—about noon I started out and got the cattle—put four yoke on my wagon, three on Bro. Smither’s and horses to the carriage, and went out three or four miles and encamped where our cattle have been kept—took the little tent with us. Wm. Kimball and King went with us and helped us drive the teams. We got here about sunset. We are in a short distance of a hut which the boys built the other day, where John Forsgreen and Jacob Frazier stay nights. There is a wolf s den about a quarter of a mile from here, which Wm. found the other day—the boys chased a wolf into it and put fire to the entrance, but could not scare the wolf out, and on repairing there the next day discovered the sticks they had made it of carefully laid aside. Beside Helen and myself there are six of us, John, Jacob, Jeannette, Sister Smither and her two children.
“Sunday, 10th. * * There were some resolutions passed at the meeting—one was, that the land which had been enclosed, and all that pertains thereto, should be considered as belonging to the Church or Church property, each man or family is allowed a certain portion of land to till, and if he neglects it, it is to be taken from him and given to another. Father Burt is to be left as president of the Stake of Zion assisted by two counselors. Jedediah Grant preached in the forenoon upon the first principles of the gospel.”
This day the sky was cloudless and beautiful, and I was happy because the few days spent there were so quiet and peaceful, and I looked forward with a feeling of dread to the time that it must be broken in upon and again be forced to mingle with the crowd and unavoidable noise and bustle of a large camp. Our tent was pitched on a gentle slope, and below, some distance away, was a crystal stream of water babbling over the rocks down through a little grove of trees and willows, where I accompanied Horace the next day, Sunday, to fish, taking along our books to read. This was his favorite pastime, and in which he indulged every opportunity. This was the most delightful spot we had seen, the whole landscape around us was lovely, they called it rolling prairie, and it had such a variey of hills and dales, all dressed anew in their bright velvety robes of spring.
The first morning I took an early stroll to enjoy the scene, and I was almost enchanted as I stood there alone gazing at the glorious sight as the sun was peeping over the hills—and to lend more to the scene of enchantment here came a beautiful fawn and also an antelope, skipping fearlessly over hill and dale and out of sight, with naught to disturb them nor the peace and tranquility of my thoughts, but the knowledge that the spell was so soon to be broken.
I was a romantic girl, not yet eighteen, and naturally an admirer of the beauties of God’s handiwork, and I thought, like the “Minstrel,”
“O nature, how in every charm supreme! Whose votaries feast on raptures ever new! O, for the voice and lire of seraphim, To sing thy glories with devotion due!”
Next day another fishing excursion was taken, where Horace caught a dozen or more. These substantials were very acceptable, as we had had no meat, except a little that had been given to us and some we had borrowed a few days previous, for a number of weeks, but had subsisted principally on sea biscuits and that sort of fare. When the sun did shine the heat was intense, and the reason for my remembering it was that we were compelled to walk all that was possible to favor the teams, as they were fast giving out, and the most aggravating part was the slow progress that we made, it taking us over three months to accomplish what would have been a week’s journey under ordinary circumstances.
Sometimes our camping place would be in sight of the one that we had started from in the morning, being on the prairie and having to follow the crooked ravines, there being no roads or bridges unless we stopped to build them. The most trying part of the journey, at least to me, was when we had to walk, and the scorching sun at times beating down upon us, until my little strength and patience would be quickly exhausted. There were times when we girls would drop down by the roadside and vow that we would not rise again till we saw the tents pitched, then we would take a straight line to the camp. I had not yet obtained sufficient religion to assist me and as my strength failed me so did my faith, but when the teams were ahead our only alternative was to get up and travel on. But after they decided to peddle off such things as they could not take with them over the mountains and we got more teams and provisions, we were much more comfortable. I shall never forget how I feasted at Garden Grove upon my
mother’s first white bread and fresh churned butter. I had been famishing for a fortnight or more for the want of nourishment, or the lack of appetite to eat such as was set before us. At Garden Grove we had our first trial at eating cakes made of parched cornmeal, one meal of which sufficed me. At the beginning of our journey the crackers went very well for lunch, but after laying in the boxes, as they did through that long siege of wet weather, they became more or less mouldy and tainted with the pine wood, so that the greater part were fit only to be thrown away.
I remember one evening at our pleasant camping place, after leaving the main camp, when our little circle had knelt for prayers, I happened to bow by the bag of parched meal, and the effect was so unpleasant I could not center my thoughts upon worship, so I arose quietly and moved to the opposite end of the tent. Some were considerably reduced in flesh by this time. But at this place Bishop Miller and a number of the brethren went out peddling. The quadrille band, Bro. James Smithers among the number, had gone on the same business in order to make exchanges for teams, flour, bacon, and other provisions, which the camp stood in great need of.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 17,
1 February 1884, pp. 135–36
The evening of the 12th it clouded up and rained some during the night, just at dusk came father, Bro. Jedediah Grant, and their families with others of the camp, with the loud ge-ha’s of teamsters and yells of herdsmen, driving, unyoking and taking off their teams and other like noises which brought confusion, when the charm was broken, and lo, my bliss had departed. Next day we had rain and sunshine alternately through the day till evening, when a tremendous cold rainstorm came on and lasted a good part of the night. Bro. Grant’s tent was blown down in the gale. President B. Young and company had passed us that day. Some of fathers men who had been out trading reached camp that morning, bringing 10 bushels of meal and 1,000 weight of bacon, which these pioneers had earned. Father had purchased two wagons, and before starting from Garden Grove our small one was exchanged for a larger one, and this day they had some sea biscuits taken out and articles of greater weight put in to equalize the loads, making the whole load about 1148 pounds, also another yoke of oxen was added. The same day Horace wrote: “I fished a little again today, caught a large catfish and two or three small ones called pont.” According to his journal we started Friday, 15th, and though the weather was fair found the roads somewhat muddy; after traveling about five miles we met Bro. James Smithers and the rest of the band returning from their trading expedition, as also Bishop Miller, with some of his company, who had also been out trading—went on about six miles further and encamped—the sun about an hour high—on the edge of a ravine having made eleven miles today. Bro. Kimball styles it the cream of all the encampments we have hitherto had, in consequence of the beautiful ‘rolling’ prairie and the rich verdure for our cattle that abounds in such plenty around us. Saw what is called the ‘Oregon Trail’ today. * * Dr. Richards is encamped with us tonight.”
The next day, according to the record, we traveled about eleven miles and encamped on the prairie on a stream which father named “Crooked Creek.” The morning of the 17th was cloudy and rained a little. We traveled about two and a half miles and found President Young encamped on a small creek in a valley. We went on a little way and pitched our tents on the top of a hill, when father, Brigham Young, Amasa Lyman, George A. Smith and one or two others went ahead on horseback to survey the road, and finding a good place to camp about three miles ahead, returned and concluded to go on for fear it might rain. We made about five miles that day. Bishop Whitney and family overtook us at the place where we last stopped, and we were rejoiced to see them. He had lost some of his horses and been detained at Garden Grove. We felt considerably worried about Mother Whitney’s health in consequence of her arm which was gradually perishing away, and it pained her so that it affected her whole system, but we found her getting better and in pretty good spirits, and also Bro. Joseph C. Kingsbury, who had been quite sick. Sister E. B. Whitney (the present editor of the EXPONENT) was the faithful nurse and companion of Mother Whitney in those troubling times, and continued to be like a loving daughter to her until she was laid in her last resting place. Bro. Soloman Hancock came up the same day bringing news that there were 200 tents pitched at Sugar Creek of those that had crossed the river since our departure. They were four weeks from Nauvoo. Monday morning, 18th, the brethren had to build a bridge before starting and had to stop and build another in the afternoon. We traveled ten miles and encamped at evening in a grove on the brow of a hill—a small bottom intervening between us and the middle fork of the Grand River, which abounded in fish, such as sunfish and catfish. Here we were to remain some time and make another farm for the saints that were to follow us. This was called Mt. Pisgah.
Horace wrote: “Tuesday, 19th. This morning Bro. Wm. King and myself with six yoke of oxen and one wagon started back to Garden Grove, to bring up some provisions which we expected to get of Bro. Yearsley. Met Lyman Whitney and Wm. Pitt; after going about ten miles met Bro. Jacob Hutchinson, who was in search of his horse. Lyman did not find his, but went on without him; got to the farm Wednesday about noon. Bro. Yearsley not at home—waited for him till Friday, when we started back—the creeks all high, and some scarcely fordable—reached home on Monday evening, accompanied Bro. Markham, Cahoon and several others—brought back the worth of President Young’s in his wagon and our own. * * While we were gone met a great number of emigrants just from Nauvoo—some three weeks from there * * in fact they are coming daily as fast as they can get ready. Bro. Kimball talks of building three houses here and Brigham two.”
While they were absent two Indians came to our camp belonging to the Pottawatomie tribe, who said they had lost their horses, one of which had been caught by one of the company a few days previous—they were glad to recognize the horse. They had been sent as messengers to their station on the west fork, about fifty miles hence, to make arrangements about paying for the cultivation of the land—they returned, bringing word that the chief himself would come to us and settle the terms thereof. Also learned through them that Lyman Wight was about one hundred miles from there, but could not tell the direction. Here Bishop Whitney’s driver (Jacob Frazier) was very sick, which Horace mentions—also speaks of two deaths in Bishop Miller’s company—Bro. Wm. Edwards’s and Bro. Turley’s child. He says, “Bro. W. Huntington has been appointed president over those who remain here, assisted by Ezra T. Benson and Charles C. Rich. * * Bro. Holman was the first man to put a plough into the ground here, notwithstanding he does not intend to remain. Bro. John Taylor has just returned from Nauvoo—he says that has got to be a wicked place. He makes the calculation that there are about six hundred wagons on the way between here and Nauvoo—there are all sorts of reports afloat there respecting us, such as that we have been mobbed, etc.
“Tuesday, 26th. Tolerable fair today, built a yard this afternoon to put our cattle in nights. Bro. Wm. Clayton came up this evening—Mother Whitney’s arm is getting better; she has bound on it the skin of a rattlesnake. Bro. George Herring, a Mohawk Indian, arrived here today, he having been sent for, some time since, by the brethren. He came from Council Bluffs—says there are a number of the brethren of Emmet’s company waiting for us at the state line, that some had taken jobs of work near a settlement of the Pottawattamie Indians, about two thousand in number; that the Indian agents, by the orders of the governor of Missouri, are enjoined not to let any whites stop among them, but more especially to prohibit the ‘Mormons’ from doing so, also that they, the Mormons, should not be suffered to settle this side of the Rocky Mountains. Bro. Herring also told us that the United States had declared war against Mexico. We hail all such things as happy events, because when the Gentiles are embroiled among themselves they have less leisure to persecute the Saints of God.”
This may be considered, by some, an unkind feeling, but note the orders received by those agents concerning us, and the unnatural treatment we have received from the hands of our government, which should have protected and succored us, but instead have allowed us to be persecuted, harassed and driven from state to state, and our men to be imprisoned and many slain, and also innocent women and children murdered in cold blood, and a whole people to be exiled and driven into an almost unknown wilderness, without the inquiry or understanding of the facts concerning us, and all the suffering that we were daily enduring as consequence, could they realize this, and how sorely we felt it, and then take it home to themselves, they would wonder at our patience, and that we did not join hands with the poor Indians, who would have been too glad—or with the Mexicans to fight against the nation, who had driven us out from their midst, hoping as they did and expecting that we should perish or be scattered to the four winds, regardless of our feelings and rights, and had it not been that our people were true Christians we would long since have followed our natural instinct, as others have done, who, though professing so much more enlightenment, have shown how much they were lacking in that same spirit of Christianity, which has ever governed and controlled the Latter-day Saints, of whose inner lives and faith they know nothing until they are willing to become, as Jesus said, “Like little children, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Wednesday, 27th.” Horace wrote, “on rising this morning found it raining. * * Today father presented me with a pistol. * Brigham, Heber, father and some others went on horseback to find a suitable place for crossing the river when they shall start—they returned, having found a place where they intend to build a bridge.
“Thursday, 28th. Somewhat cloudy, but no rain. One of Bro. Kimball’s horses, Prince, on being found and brought up from the prairie this morning was discovered to be bitten by a snake. I went fishing, and found Clayton at it also; caught quite a number of sunfish and pont, etc. * * The brethren here are busily engaged, some ploughing and putting corn into the ground, others building fences and houses, making ploughs and ox yokes, etc., while the rest are herding the cattle. * * *
“Friday, 29th. Weather pleasant—the brethren have nearly completed the bridge; Bro. Brigham chastened the people last Sunday at meeting because a great many manifested a disposition to tie the hands of the Twelve, as it were, neglecting to put in crops here and wanting to go ahead, when they have not the means to do so. Bro. Brigham gave them the choice of two things to do; either to fit themselves out and go ahead and leave the Twelve here, or by using their utmost exertion fit out the Twelve and let them go into the wilderness and establish the Kingdom. Bro. Kimball said if the people chose to have the Twelve stay here, they, the Twelve, would go into the foreign countries and preach the gospel and raise up a body of people who would be willing to abide by counsel and act as becomes the Saints of God.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 18,
15 February 1884, p. 138
Sunday, the 31st. A general conference had been appointed, but as the meeting was about to commence a heavy storm arose which caused the people to disperse. They met again in the afternoon, but the rain prevented them from effecting much, and it continued through the day and night.
This day, Horace wrote, “Bro. Noah Rogers expired today after an illness of ten days. He, Bro. Grouard, Bro. Addison Pratt and Bro. Hanks, were the first to introduce the gospel to the inhabitants of Toobouia and Tahiti Islands, belonging to the Society Group in the Pacific Ocean. Bro. Rogers was gone about three years, during which time he, with his brethren, accomplished a great work and were the means of bringing many to a knowledge of the truth. He has left a large family to mourn his loss, but one great consolation to them will be the fact that he died in full faith of the gospel. And with the hope of a glorious resurrection, having the conscious satisfaction that through his instrumentality, been led into the “straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life.”
Monday, the 1st of June. It continued raining till about noon, when it cleared off. This is my mother’s and President Young’s birthday. Horace wrote that he had watched part of the night with Jacob Frazier, who was getting better; was very cold weather indeed for the time of year. He says, “Horace Rockwell arrived here today from Nauvoo, bringing the mail; he left the city last Wednesday—brought me a paper, (Hancock Eagle), from Waterman Phelps, by reading which I found that Porter had taken a change of venue to Joe, Davies County, and is to be tried at Galena on Monday, the 8th inst. The rumors we have heard of his being shot in his unsuccessful attempt to escape from Quincy Jail are entirely groundless—on the contrary, he has made no attempt to escape, and has declared that were ever so good an opportunity to present itself he would not avail himself of a chance to escape, but would await his trial. Rockwell says there did not seem to be much hostility manifested towards him, Porter, where he had been, but rather a feeling of curiosity to behold such a noted individual, and that he had a great number of visitors, who daily flocked to see him. He is treated kindly, uniformly, both by the officers of the law and the people.
“Tuesday, the 2nd. * * Struck our tents—sun about an hour high—crossed the river, went two miles and encamped on the prairie. Brigham is three miles ahead, he having started yesterday. * * * The roads somewhat muddy, but improving.”
It rained a little during that night—just as we were about starting next morning a young Indian, belonging to the Pottawatomie tribe, rode up on a pony—he had a young spotted fawn in his arms, which father bought of him, giving him a dollar in silver, but it died in a couple of days after. We overtook President Young before his tents were struck, stopped there about three hours, where Bishop Whitney overtook us, having come that morning from Mt. Pisgah. “The whole camp proceeded six miles,” wrote Horace, “and encamped on the prairie near some timber, making in all nine miles today. This morning, before starting, wrote two letters for Bro. Kimball, one to the trustees in trust, the other to Sister Mary Smith, Hyrum’s widow; he intends sending them by Bro. Markham. Bro. Kimball gave him an order on the trustees for four yoke of oxen, he having given up his team to him.”
The next day was cold and cloudy, accompanied by quite a sharp wind. We started quite early that morning, leaving Bishop Whitney behind—he had lost his cattle during that night. We went about eight miles and halted about noon, where we saw some fine looking Indians on horseback. We went ten miles further and encamped on the prairie, which we were told was eighteen miles long, being the distance we had accomplished that day; the longest day’s journey since we left Nauvoo. We had just encamped when Bro. A. Fielding overtook us and remained with us all night. He was to start next day for Nauvoo. A day or two previous to this my husband’s sister, Sarah Ann, commenced tenting with us, and we continued together till houses were built at Winter Quarters.
“Friday, the 5th,” Horace wrote, “somewhat obscured by clouds this morning, and a little rain, but it soon cleared off cloudless and beautiful. Wrote a letter this morning for Bro. Kimball to Bro’s Huntington, Benson and Rich, at Mt. Pisgah, requesting four yoke of cattle. Started about eight, and about ten o’clock struck the Indian trail leading from Raccoon Fork to Council Bluffs, passed through some very romantic spots and quite a diversity of scenery to what we have hitherto seen on our passing route ‘o’er hill and through brake and bush.’ We saw the remains of a good many Indian wigwams, which had the appearance of being constructed some time since. They were composed of boughs of trees curiously interwoven. Just before reaching our place of encampment for the night we saw a large number of them which had fallen down and were dried, and as we intended going on a little further before stopping, and there being nothing but prairie before us as far as the eye could extend, everyone gathered a bundle for firewood. Wm. found a small breastplate that had evidently been lost by an Indian. We traveled about fourteen miles today—father has not come up with us. We encamped on a small creek, and Brigham also within a short distance from us.
“Saturday, the 6th. Rained a little during the day, traveled about fourteen miles and encamped on the bottom in the vicinity of quite a large creek. The wagons were all arranged successively in a circle of about a quarter of a mile in circumference, thus making an enclosure for our horses; just as we were encamping father, with his team, came up. * * Would have overtaken us before had they not stopped to repair a wagon.
“Next day being Sabbath a meeting was called at ten o’clock. Brigham and father spoke at some length, exhorting the people to the observance of the ordinances and commandments of God. A number of Indians and squaws, Pottawatomies, who were camped some four or five miles from us, came to see us mounted on their ponies and horses, and decorated and painted in their gay and peculiar style. We started in the afternoon and went about seven miles, and encamped just about sunset on a small creek near the timber, President Young arranging his wagons on one side of the road, and father his on the other. This was a beautiful day for traveling, the roads being very good. Here one of Brother Dike’s oxen had its neck broken—being turned loose in the yoke. Bishop Miller built a bridge here and we saw on a tree, before crossing, an inscription done with a knife, ‘Lost Fork Bridge.’
“On the 8th,” Horace says, “Started about eight this morning, traveled about four miles and came to a river. * * which we crossed on a bridge and passed through the village where the Chief of the Pottowatomies resided. Immediately after crossed the same stream again, which bears the name of Manottawa, or the ‘Sleeping Rock.’ probably originating from some wild legend or tradition of the Indians. Here we stopped about an hour and baited our cattle; during which time we were visited by a great number of the tribe, both Indians and squaws. The chief went to Brigham and wanted him to pay them for the grass which the cattle eat; this request they were probably ‘put up to’ by some of the whites, enemies to our people. While we stopped here we had the amusement of seeing two or three horse races. They have very fine horses and ponies among them, as we found out to our satisfaction by running with them—traveled fourteen miles and encamped on another small creek near the timber. Father and Brigham had already arrived here and encamped. At this place, just before descending the hill to the river, we saw an Indian burial ground, which we distinguished by a white flag that we saw fastened to a tree. The Indians appeared to be in quite a destitute condition, offering us various ornaments, such as beads, wampum and other trinkets in exchange for food. Father called his portion of the camp together and admonished them to get their firelocks ready in case of emergency. The names of the ones who never had been organized were called over; these were fourteen, it seems, of whom Brother Alva Tibbitts was appointed captain.” Horace continues:
“Thursday, the 9th. Beautiful day! Started about eight this morning. * * Towards evening arrived at a spot something like an inclined plane, situated on a small creek and cavironed by trees on each side. On account of the uncommon beauty of the place Brother Kimball named it ‘Paradise.’ We then crossed the creek, ascended the hill and proceeded about a mile and encamped on another creek in the vicinity of timber; here found a beautiful spring of water, which rivaled in sweetness any I ever saw.”
Here we found Bro. Lorenzo Young, who, as a rule, camped a little distance from the rest to favor Sister Harriet Young, who was a constant sufferer from asthma, and desired to be quiet, which was out of the question in a large camp, and as young as I was she had my sympathies. We learned from Uncle Lorenzo that President Young had encamped three miles ahead, where Bishop Miller and company were engaged in building a bridge, so we stopped here, having traveled about thirteen miles.
Next morning a number of our camp went to assist in building the bridge. Father and Bishop Whitney drove over to see the President, and in the afternoon he came back in his carriage with Sister Mary Ann Young. He, with father and Bishop Whitney, mounted their horses, while sister Young, my mother and Mother Whitney got into the carriage and went after strawberries. They returned towards evening bringing three or four quarts.
Horace wrote: “Tonight we boys returned, having finished the bridge. Had quite a pleasant time this evening, which we spent in dancing on the green grass till bedtime; the bright orb of night shining in all its glory over our heads.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 21,
1 April 1884, pp. 161–62
We started from this place about eight a.m., and on ascending the opposite hill saw that President Young had not yet started, so our company stopped and waited till their teams had got out of the way, when we went on, crossing the bridge which they had just built. “This,” Horace says, “like the one at the ‘Sleeping Rock,’ had no other foundation than flood wood.”
We passed through the timber, and after crossing a small bottom and ascending a hill on the opposite side of the river, there we saw a grave, which was covered with logs and laid up in an oblong form and about three feet high, something like a log building. The stream we crossed was called by the Indians the “Nishinie Botany Run.” We were told that the grave we saw was that of one of the brethren in Bro. Wright’s company. We stopped again about noon and baited our cattle while waiting for a bridge to be finished, and camped that night on a “divide” near timber, with quite a large creek on one side and a branch of the same on the other. Here we met Bro. Cummings, who had come from Council Bluffs the day before, with the information that Bro. Emmet’s company were thirty miles below the Bluffs on the river, and had taken jobs of work there in order to get provisions to prosecute their journey. He also said that twelve wagons, “Mormons” had come up from St. Louis, and that a U. S. officer had told them that he was ordered to prohibit all suspicious persons from crossing the State line, hinting that the “Mormons” were the persons meant.
Friday, 12th. We were not able to start till nearly noon, having to build another bridge. Early in the morning father called the people of the camp together and selected twenty-five men to go to work at the bridge. President Young and Bishop Miller also assisted; they were encamped within a short distance of us.
“Saturday, 31st,” Horace wrote, “we were detained this morning about the same length of time we were yesterday morning in building a bridge—we then started—the weather sultry. We stopped about two o’clock p.m., baited our cattle, and had to drive them about a mile to water, in fact there had been so much dry weather and so little rain in this part that there is a great drought throughout the country. * * * Bro. Kimball went ahead to look out a good camping ground, he returned, having found one, and we all started and went a mile and a half further—somewhat out of our way in order to have a good place for our cattle.”
According to Horace’s journal we were now in sight of Council Bluffs on “Musquito Creek,” where they had to stop to build another bridge before we could proceed further, and then we had to retrace our steps and travel six miles round to accomplish the two miles across the river.
Horace wrote: “Traveled about ten miles today. We found another beautiful spring of water in this place, in fact the ground here appears to be full of springs. The scenery around us is entirely different from that through which we have hitherto been traveling, abounding in hills and dales and murmuring rivulets and considerably resembles that of the New England states.”
The heat of the weather was now at its height, and the whole country around abounded in strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, and other fruit indigenous to the country; and the day following our arrival there, a number of our girls went out strawberrying. This was Sunday, and father rode over about a mile to President Young’s camp, and learned there that Bishop Miller had been to see the agents, who agreed to furnish spokes and pitch for the building of a ferry boat; if, after the church had all crossed, they would give it up to them. They wished us to have nothing to say to the Indians in the way of tampering with them. Our companies had no disposition to do this, but it was nothing strange that they should view us, or any other white people, with suspicion, for they had generally been mean and dishonest in their dealings with the Indians; besides they had been warned by a Unites States officer to beware of us, but we had too much at stake to take advantage of the tribes, traveling as we were through their territories.
There were certain ones in camp at the early start who received severe rebukes from the presidency for being dishonest. One was the case of a young man in Bishop Miller’s camp, who undertook to pass counterfeit money in pay for cattle, etc. The bishop wrote to President Young to excuse the young man, but wished him to make restitution to Mr. Cochran, the man who had been cheated by him—but for which the bishop received an awful rebuke, and was ordered to restore the property. It was soon discovered that such characters were not wanted among us, nor were they to be sustained in the camp, for the most strict laws and rules were laid down in their council held at Chariton, where they organized the camp. Here are a few words from President Young’s remarks, made on the following Sabbath: “I told them I was satisfied that the course we were taking would prove to be the salvation, not only of this camp, but of the Saints left behind; but there had been things done which were wrong. Some pleaded our suffering from persecution, and the loss of our houses and property, as a justification for retaliating upon our enemies, but such a course tends to destroy the kingdom of God.”
The whole of the camp started in the afternoon and encamped on the bank of the Missouri River about a mile above the trading houses, where we saw a number of Indians and half-breeds, who were riding about accompanied by the agent, trading horses at the settlement below.
“Soon after our arrival,” Horace wrote, “the brethren met in council on the bank of the river, to lay down certain rules for our observance while we remain here. They are as follows: Every fourth man is to assist in building the boat; one or two out of each ten to herd cattle; while others are to go out in the country to trade for provisions. There was a committee of three appointed, viz., father, Brother Rockwood and Bishop Miller, to wait on the agents and ascertain the prices of things; meanwhile no man is permitted to have any traffic with the inhabitants or Indians without having permission so to do from the proper source.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 22,
15 April 1884, p. 170
The following are incidents of our camp life on the Missouri River. Monday, 15th, Horace speaks of going to a stream nearby to assist the girls in washing. Those uninteresting and unpleasant incidents I remember very distinctly, though I might have passed them over had he not made mention of this circumstance. As cleanliness is next to godliness, and having abundance of time when the weather permitted, we had no good reason for neglecting this duty. And we had plenty of boys ready and willing to hitch up a team to take us to the water if any distance away from camp; if so, we would take a picnic or send back for a warm dinner. The boys would spend their spare time fishing or as they felt inclined till the washing was done. Though our washing was not so very extensive, it was hard enough with the sun beating down, and so breathless and sultry that it appeared as though we must melt down under it, and this was not a pleasant thing to anticipate. I was not a strong girl—having grown up like a shaded plant I had little strength, and was what is generally termed lazy; one of the worst ills, I think, that can afflict humanity, if I may judge from my own experience. But we had ample time to do our washing, ironing and mending, also our sewing, besides making our daily toilet. And even our fashionable dressmakers found employment as the warm weather came on. Father had two or three wives who had learned the trade, and the same number who understood tailoring, and one of them had been brought up to the corset making trade, and all of them were trained up to some kind of useful industry, and were virtuous and worthy women, and, as a general rule, they sought the interests of one another. All had their trials and temptations—being new beginners in what might be termed an adverse school, which was calculated to bring into action faculties that might forever have lain dormant—testing everyone’s nature, showing up their weak points and bringing them to the surface, to be thrown off, and learn each one to govern themselves, which was the very thing to make them saints or sinners. The “Mormon” companies were all orderly, and were truly models by the side of those who followed in their trail who were not governed by the same strict rules and religious motives and principles that our people were. Our salvation, both temporal and spiritual, depended upon this course, and our history is a wonder and a marvel to those who have taken the trouble to hunt us and review it in all its ups and downs. And my reasons for writing what many, no doubt, think rather dry and prosy reading, concerning the journey and sojourn of the Latter-day Saints in the wilderness in the year 1846, over a country which could be easily traveled in a week or ten days under ordinary circumstances, but which took us six months to accomplish, are to give to the generations that have grown up since, a little idea of the trials and hardships of those long and tedious days and months that were spent by the pioneers in making roads, building bridges and houses and making farms, etc., etc., for the comfort of the ones who were to follow; and our experience, I think, comes nearest to that of the children of Israel after their departure out of the land of Egypt than any other people of whom we have any record, though I believe that we were a more patient people. And who have been as miraculously saved from death in many forms than they were? And the same God has fought for us while we have held our peace, and has brought us deliverance every time; and it is our wish and purpose to trust Him still.
Wednesday, the 17th, Horace, with some of my father’s men and W. Markham, started on a trading expedition, also some of Bishop Whitney’s men with teams. They went into Atchison Co., Missouri, where they threshed out about 120 bushels of wheat, sent it to mill about twenty miles below there to be ground, and brought back about 6,300 pounds, also shelled out a quantity of corn and brought with them—also some seed wheat. Howard Egan, who was father’s principal agent, had preceded them two or three days. They were absent two weeks and returned on the 17th of July, finding President B. Young and father absent, having gone back for the purpose of raising volunteers for the Mexican expedition. From the 17th Horace had to depend on Peter Hanson’s journal for facts occurring during his absence.
Peter wrote on the 17th, “Today, by invitation, B. Young, Bro. Kimball, Dr. Richards, Bp. Whitney and some of the band came down in carriages to the settlement to take dinner. The agent, the principal Indian chief and a number of others were there and appeared delighted with our music. This evening our company was enlarged by five families from Michigan. We learn that Elder Orson Hyde and John Taylor have just come up with their companies.” Peter speaks of the abundance of strawberries found at that place. There was a carriage load of us went with mother on the 19th some distance from camp where they grew so thick that we could not help stepping on them. The heat was intense, being in a small valley in the woods, and having no water, only what we carried in a jug. I had been picking for quite a time and the berries looking so delicately tempting I kept reaching for them until I fell helpless, though not senseless. But the rest having gone farther away from the carriage than myself, I was alone and had to lay there till I recovered enough to crawl to the carriage where, though famishing for a cooling draught, I found nothing but tepid water. Towards sundown it grew cooler, and feeling better, I went out again. President B. Young came down with a carriage load of his family about that time and we picked berries till dusk, when we returned to camp. We had filled all our pails and pans full and eaten till we were clogged and wanted no more strawberries that year. That day an invitation had been received from the agent for the camp and Wm. Pitt’s band to spend the day at the Point. This was delightful, especially to the young people, and though I was very unwell through the night, it was out of the question for me to forego such a pleasure. This was the first time that our chests had been disturbed or opened since packing them in Nauvoo, being the first time that we had needed anything but common apparel. And it was really delightful to once more see the inside of our chests and to bring out the pretty bonnets, laces, ribbons, parasols and kid shoes, etc., that had been packed away, and to think that we were again to attend a ball. And I rather think we astonished the good folks at the Point to see so many well dressed and merry hearted boys and girls and gentle people who were exiles from civilization. Peter Hanson, in his description, says of them, “They were mostly French, half breeds and Indians—the ladies of all are very interesting and quite neat in their personal appearance. Music and dancing were had, and one of the Indian ladies wished to have an introduction to Brother Kimball, that she might dance with him.” This was Le Clerc’s daughter, the educated chief of the Pot-towatomie tribe. She was a spoiled child, and had married a young white man of very immoral habits. She had been educated in a western city and dressed with taste and was quite accomplished in the art of coquetry and the bewitching graces characteristic of the fashionable belle of society. All of the inhabitants were warm-hearted and treated us with great hospitality. The gaiety and excitement of the day with the dancing was too much for me and I was taken home very sick, and remained so for three or four days; and afterwards received quite a reproof from my father, when I had recovered enough to bear it, for my foolishness. My husband being absent, he felt it his duty to chasten his daughter, whose only plea was ignorance and a passionate love of the dance. But the lesson came too late only as a warning with a heavy penitence for past folly. At this place we had some windy, dusty and stormy days. Five families came from Michigan—and also a large camp, called the Mississippi company, overtook us there.
Sunday, 21st, two meetings were held and a number of Frenchmen and Indians came up on horseback in the afternoon. We were camped on the Bluffs, nine miles from the Point.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 23,
1 May 1884, p. 182
Tuesday, 23rd,” Peter continues, “cold, windy and rainy today—Brother Joseph Toronto, the only Italian in the Church, made mother (Vilate Kimball) a present of some oranges, lemons and wine; he had come from the city of Joseph, Nauvoo, in nine days. Helen has been quite sick, but is getting well. It being still cold and rainy on the 24th we were glad to make use of a stove in the tent. Bro. K. is writing a letter to Nauvoo—called this place Heber’s rest.”
Thursday, 25th. News was received from the “Society Islands” of branches being built up, and that the queen and all the heirs to the crown had been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The 26th. A council was held, and next day, Saturday, father and President Young went back three miles. While gone they visited fourteen camps of the Saints. The same day men were sent ten miles to build a bridge, that those returning from trading in the Platt Co. could thus save fifteen miles journey; and on the 29th two men with six yoke of oxen were sent to meet and assist them.
“Sunday 28,” Peter continues, “meeting held at our largest tent this morning, a large number of Bro. Kimball’s family being present, and some other. He preached to them, exhorting them to love one another, with a great deal of other good advice. The sacrament was then administered and the meeting closed. Bro. Kimball then went to public meeting, which was opened by prayer by O. Hyde. B. Young then spoke at some length; spoke of the necessity of guarding our sheep from the wolves.”
Thursday, 30th. The camps commenced moving back to the old camping ground on the river; Peter says the reason for this was that the Twelve had received intelligence that four officers had come from Fort Leavensworth to Mt. Pisgah, and were now on the way to request us to let our able bodied young men enlist and go to Santa Fe to fight against the Mexicans, and then go to California to get a location for the rest of the “Mormons” in remuneration for their services, and says, “After we had started today a messenger came up to tell us that the said officers had arrived at the camp on the hill.
“Wednesday, July 1st. This morning the presidency went to the Bluffs to see said officers. Council was held and the request to raise 500 volunteers from among us, taken into consideration. * * If they could not raise that number they did not want any. The presidency agreed to do it on condition that the people were willing.
“In the afternoon father came back,” Peter says, “and started to cross the river, but on getting to the ferry we could not cross, so went back 3/4 of a mile and encamped on a small elevation of ground under the beautiful shade of an old elm tree. * * * Col. Scott and Dr. Willard Richards are camped here with us.” The mosquitoes being so troublesome near the river obliged us to move back, and as we were far from water they accordingly dug a well closeby.
As it was nearly dusk when they concluded to move from the river, and being very weary, I, with one or two others, had accepted an invitation from the chief’s daughter to accompany her home; and when returning, finding the wagons gone and not feeling strong, she urged me to return and stop the night, which invitation I accepted, though I spent a somewhat nervous and wakeful night, but when morning came I felt more at ease. I learned that her parents had separated, as her mother was now living with her and did most of the work. Though dressed in her native costume she looked neat, and kept the house tidy, and could cook equal to the white women. This was quite a wood country, which abounded in blackberries and other wild fruit, and as they were getting ripe we went out in the morning and picked what we wanted to eat, after which she showed her taste and skill in braiding my hair in broad plats, after the latest French style, and put it up a la mode, and after dinner accompanied me to camp. While stopping at this place I went, by invitation, with one or two of my father’s young wives, to take tea with the wife of the interpreter, who gave us a little of the history, not only of the chief and his daughter, but of the Indian tribes the Sioux and Pottawatomies, who were at war with each other. And it was only the evening of the 6th that a Pottawatomie Indian came to our camp on horseback, bringing a message, which he could only make known by signs. The import of it was that the Sioux Indians had killed a Pottawatomie, and he wanted our people to assist them in fighting the Sioux, and thus revenge their comrade’s death.
On the morning of the 3rd father and President B. Young started for Mt. Pisgah on the recruiting business. When the news first came to us of the war between the United States and Mexico we little dreamed of the requirement that the government were about to make at our hands, and congratulated ourselves that being expelled from their midst we should travel undisturbed Beyond the Rocky Mountains, where we should hear no more contentions, turmoils and strife, and we had cause to look upon this demand with suspicion, especially after the threat which was thrown out in the letter received from Sam Brannan just previous to starting on our journey. But our people proved their loyalty by kissing the hand that had driven them into the wilderness, where it was hoped, by the majority, we should utterly perish, and it was thought that by taking from us 500 of our young, able bodied men in the Indian country that it would cripple us so much that it would insure our utter destruction; but there a few honorable men like Colonel Thomas L. Kane, who, like true-hearted countrymen, rendered all the assistance that was possible to the Saints in this, their most trying hour.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 24,
15 May 1884, p. 186
Previous to this an express had been sent by the president to Mt. Pisgah to raise one hundred men for the expedition over the mountains, and the day before their arrival brother Woodruff had called for mounted volunteers, when “sixty at once stepped out into line” But the day following the people there were thrown into consternation by the sudden cry, “The United States troops are upon us!”
But it soon proved to be Captain James Allen with three dragoons—who, after making known his business in the high council at that place, was furnished with a letter of introduction to the President and authorities at Council Bluffs and Brother Woodruff dispatched a messenger to prepare them for the business of this government agent.
On the 7th of July they began crossing the Missouri River. That day Horace and the other boys returned from their trading trip in the Platt country, having met with no other accident than the breaking of a yoke and a wagon tongue, the latter happened to Hans Hanson while alone on the prairie. There was but one boat and that capable of holding only three wagons at a time. Our cows were driven across on the 8th, and we came down to the landing in the afternoon, but a number of teams were ahead of us, and we had to wait till one a.m. before we could commence crossing over. Horace wrote:
“Thursday, 9th. We were blessed with a fine moonlight night, which aided us greatly in crossing. This morning drove our oxen into the river to swim them across, but they would not go, on account of the reflection of the sun’s rays upon the water, which dazzled their eyes, consequently had to take them over in the boat—at about five o’clock had everything over but two oxen which were missing. Had a very hard rain while we were going out to the camp—four miles from the river, where we all arrived tonight pretty well fatigued. We just learned that Bishop Miller, who has gone ahead, has had his horses stolen.
“Friday, 10th. Rainy this morning. Father came up today, he crossed soon after we did, but stayed in the woods last night, and was detained some time, having lost some of his cattle, but he found them again. * * Joseph Herring, an Indian of the Mohawk tribe, has just come from the southwest; he tells us that there is a civil war among the Cherokees on account of one party of them selling land to the United States. He had to escape to save his life, and had travelled 200 miles on his pony in three days. This afternoon we moved about 1/4 of a mile Beyond and located ourselves on a small rise of ground—being much more commodious and cleanly than the place where Brigham is. * * Very good springs of water in the vicinity. Quite a large creek about 1/4 of a mile distant. The Indians have cornfields immediately around us, and on that account we have to keep close watch on our horses and cattle lest they should break into them.”
I remember the scenes he describes and the camping fires; also of going to the creek mentioned to do our washing, as well as the cornfields that we passed, they being the first we had seen; and of our purchasing some of the ears to roast. It looked good to us to once more see vegetation and cultivated land, or anything resembling civilization after traveling as we had and camped for so long a time upon wild prairie land. It was to us like an oasis to the weary traveler in the midst of a wilderness, and reminded us of our western homes, where the tall cornfields waved o’er our heads, and where we had learned the art of making hoe cake, which was our “daily bread” with hominy and the luxurious gravy from transparent pork.
Here we first met our staunch young friend, Col. Kane, who came to our camp on the 12th, being Sunday, and made a speech that evening concerning the recruiting orders given to Capt. Allen to raise a regiment of volunteers from among the “Mormons” on such conditions that it would be an advantage to us. Brothers O. Pratt and G. A. Smith also made appropriate speeches, ratifying what Col. Kane had said. “This young man,” wrote Horace, “appears to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring about our salvation at the present time. The United States’ fleet have taken possession of the coast of California. By doing this we establish a certain claim on the land, and once there ours will be the majority of people.”
We learned that father and B. Young were at the camp on the Bluffs, and that they were all full of life and bustle—that over 300 had enlisted. Those who could went to see them, some in carriages and some on horseback. My mother went with others of our family and I was to have gone horseback, but the boys all wanting to go, and not having horses enough, I stayed back—Horace and others returned that evening, but father and mother remained. We learned that one hundred men were yet wanting to complete the recruiting list.
The following is from the life of Brigham Young:
“Brigham Young, while believing the battalion call to be a test of loyalty, hastened with Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards to Mt. Pisgah, 130 miles, to execute the ‘demand,’ as they deemed it, for a battalion of their picked men to serve their country. They immediately sent messengers, with official dispatches from their high councils, to Nauvoo, Garden Grove, and the regions around, calling to headquarters their old men and able-bodied boys to supply the place of their picked men going for the service of their country.
“Returning to Council Bluffs, they gathered the ‘Camp of Israel’ to enroll the companies of volunteers. While Major Hunt of the volunteers, was calling out the first company, Brigham Young conversed with Col. Kane in Bro. Woodruff’s carriage about the affairs of the nation, and told him the time would come when the Mormons would have to ‘save the government of the U.S., or it would crumble to atoms.’
“Forty minutes after twelve of the same day, July 15th, the elders and the people assembled in the Bowery. President Young then delivered to the congregation a simple but earnest speech, in which he told the brethren, with a touch of subdued pathos, ‘not to mention families today;’ that they had ‘not time to reason now.’ ‘We want,’ he said, ‘to conform to the requisition made upon us, and we will do nothing else until we have accomplished this thing. If we want the privilege of going where we can worship God according to the dictates of our own consciences, we must raise the battalion. I say it is right; and who cares for sacrificing our comfort for a few years? * * * * * I want to say to every man, the Constitution of the United States, as formed by our fathers, was dictated, was revealed, was put into their hearts by the Almighty, who sits enthroned in the midst of the heavens; although unknown to them, it was dictated by the revelations of Jesus Christ; it is as good as ever I could ask for. I say unto you, magnify the law. There is no law in the United States, or in the Constitution, but I am ready to make honorable.’
“Thursday, 16th. (Horace wrote) A meeting was called at our camp—the people were told to choose whether they would go over the mountains with Bishop Miller to Grand Island or to go back on the other side of the river—the most of them were for going on with Miller. There was also a call made for more volunteers for the war. Brother Kimball, father and Brigham started to go over the river to the Bluffs—there to hold another council—then they intend with some of the Twelve to go up the river some distance to seek a location for us this winter. Wm. and wife, Helen, Sarah Lawrence, Harriet Sanders and myself accompanied them to the Bluffs. * * After going about a mile and a half from the ferry on the other side, the brethren were met by a number of the Twelve and others going down to the village; being near Bro. George A ‘ s camp they stopped there and held council. I rode on with the girls and we reached the camp.”
Here we found a number of our old acquaintances—among them were Bros. Robert Pierce and Cooledge and families. This camp was much larger than ours and consisted principally of those who left Nauvoo long after our departure. Horace, myself, and Sarah Lawrence stopped with Bro. Cooledge’s folks that night. Horace wrote: “Friday, 17th. A meeting was called this morning and considerable business done—there was quite a subscription taken in behalf of Bro. Yokum, who lost a limb in the Missouri persecution and had suffered a great deal—some gave him money, some flour, etc. * * * Wm., myself and the girls took a short ride into the country this forenoon, and about three p.m. started for home, which we reached about sunset.” The next day President B. Young and father went some fifteen or twenty miles up the river in search of a suitable place to winter, but not finding any they came back, previously sending on six men in search of some good place.
Sunday, 19th. They held a meeting in order to find out who were going over the mountains and who were not going to Grand Island.
“They made out some fifty wagons which,” Horace says, “were to go ahead—join Miller and proceed with him over the mountains. Brigham spoke severely of brethren, who being set to watch cattle, fell asleep at their posts and suffered them to roam into the Indian’s cornfields, * * and those found guilty of like acts again should be expelled from the camp of Israel, for they were a perfect disgrace to us.
“Monday, 20th. * Brother James Smithers and Jacob Hutchinson went over the river to join the rest of the band in a party which they held over there today.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 1,
1 June 1884, p. 2
This was the farewell ball which Col. Kane so touchingly described to the “Historical Society of Pennsylvania.” My parents and a great number were there, both old and young, but there were also many more who did not attend it. There were not horses enough for all to ride, and we being among the number who remained behind were determined to make a party, too, and accordingly the boys got a quantity of bushes and made a bower before our tent, and commenced dancing about noon and continued till supper time. We then adjourned till evening, when we met and danced till about ten o’clock, and then dismissed, having had a good time, and all expressing themselves satisfied with our scene of festivity. We could furnish our own music, and we often danced “by the light of the moon,” which was then shining upon us in all its glory like one bright chandelier. I remember many an evening after the cares and bustle of the day were over, when numbers of the youth would gather outside the tents, and as chairs were rare luxuries, the majority resorted to wagon tongues, ox-yokes, provision chests and that sort of appliances in camp life, where we enjoyed a quiet entertainment of songs, music, etc. Horace excelled as a flutist, and the sweet strains that flowed soft and mellow from his instrument was owning much to his father’s training. When a small boy, in Kirtland, he was presented with a fife by Orson Hyde, who was then a clerk in his father’s store, but his incessant practice wearied his father and everybody within the hearing of it. And seeing his determination to learn the instrument his father bought him a flute the next time he went to New York for goods. John F. Boynton, one of the first quorum of the twelve, who stopped at his father’s a great deal, gave him his first lessons on the flute, and his father would always correct him if he heard him play otherwise than smoothly. He also possessed an excellent voice for singing, as well as a generous supply of wit and humor, and telling anecdotes was one of his best fortes; and there were others of this class as well as some superior lady singers, and by this means we often drove away, dull care and cheered the aged and the drooping hearts, making lighter their burdens. One of the best songs that we used to hear was the “Jewish Maid,” which one of our girls could sing as sweetly as did Miss Devine at the Point, the evening before the departure of the battalion boys, which was referred to by the late Thomas L. Kane, but who, it seems, was unable to obtain the song except the following lines, which he gives as “a version of the text touching to all earthly wanderers.”
“By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept,
We wept when we remembered Zion.”
Bro John Kay was the first to introduce this song to us in Nauvoo, but the chorus was changed, and instead of singing
“No more shall the children of Judah sing,”
“Again shall the children of Judah
Sing the lays of a happy time.”
This was sung according to the faith of the Saints, who did not weep when they “remembered Zion,” for Zion they had brought with them.
The same day that we held our festival we were visited by two men from the village, who came on horseback, their names being Beach and Harding. They were old residents there. Mr. Beach informed us that the name of the creek in that vicinity was “Butterfly.”
The day following the folks returned home and brought the news that four companies started from the village that day, and the fifth was to start on the morrow. It is not pleasant to dwell on the dark side, nor is it my intention now to rehearse the scenes of sorrow and additional suffering of wives and children, which was forced upon them by the cruel requisition made upon our people at that time by this government, after suffering us to be ruthlessly driven out from their midst, I will only mention the case of Sister Ed. Martin, which may illustrate, the pitiful condition under which many more were left with families.
Brother Martin had just buried a newborn infant, and left his wife sick, not knowing who was to take care of her, and there was no time to make any arrangement for her comfort, and they had to leave all in the hands of God and their friends. And who are more capable of singing and sensing the full meaning of the sweet and touching song, “Hard times, hard times come again no more” than the ones who remember those gloomy days and scenes of want and suffering that were experienced by the Saints who were left in Winter Quarters.
The following is from my husband’s journal.
“Wednesday, 22nd. Rained a little this morning. * * Continued storming through the day. I went ahead on the road about a mile to watch the Indian cornfields, lest the cattle shall break into them. These are to be found on either side of the Butterfly Creek for some distance up and down that stream. In the making of these fields they have not used the plough, but selecting the softest ground, which is to be found on the margin of these streams, with little or no sod. They have simply cut down the weeds with their hoes, and then put in their corn. In this way they leave it, giving it no farther attention till they are ready to harvest it, or rather when they return from their hunting expeditions they resort to their fields for roasting ears, which they are very fond of. If any is left after that they bury it deep in the ground, where it remains during the winter. I had considerable difficulty in keeping the cattle away from the fields. * * * Quite a number of teams from Brigham’s camp, as well as our own, started today, and I had all I could do to keep the cattle of our camp from crossing the creek and following them off.
“About noon Bro’s B. Young and Kimball and Dr. Richards passed by me in a carriage on the way to the Elk Horn, * * in order to survey the face of the country. Those six men who had been sent up the Missouri River to select a location returned, and reported that they had been some distance up the river, but had been entirely unsuccessful in finding a suitable place to winter, the country being no more favorable for that purpose than the place where we now are. Accordingly, Brigham advised the brethren in council on Monday last, at the Bluffs, to disperse themselves among the hills and bottoms and remain there this winter.
“While out today I set my hook and line and caught six very fine catfish, one of which weighed four or five pounds. * * * Bro. Kimball exchanged his horse, Charley, for one yoke of oxen, a cow and heifer, and another old horse for another yoke of oxen. Today Hans was fitted out with a wagon and team to accompany his father-in-law over the mountains.
“This company started the next day, but coming to the creek they were obliged to build a bridge before crossing, the late rain having considerably swollen the stream—consequently had to camp. * * * Bro. Kimball and Brigham returned today from the Elk Horn. * * Just as Bro. Kimball arrived Bro’s Woodruff, Taylor, Little and Home came here in pursuance to previous arrangements to hold council. They remained with us all night. Bro. Kimball rode over to the creek to organize that company before they go on. He appointed Hiram Clark captain of fifty, and Bro. A. Billings and N. B. Bartholomew as his counselors. We hear that a number of Indians rode over to look at their com this afternoon, and on discovering it to be trodden down by the cattle, were very angry; and for fear that they might retaliate by taking some of our cattle every man in the camp was ordered out to assist in driving in the cattle and yoking them up, which was done.”
On the morning of the 24th the Twelve and Bp. Whitney met in council pursuant to appointment. Father sent most of the camp ahead that day, in order to build a bridge over the Elk Horn, this being one of the objects of the council. Horace says:
“Today our cattle remain yoked, and two men are sent out to herd them. I went myself on that duty this afternoon—the bridge they have built is a very good one—but three or four families remain besides Bro. Kimball’s and father’s.”
The next day being July 25th, Horace wrote:
“This being the 23rd anniversary of my birthday mother, Sarah Ann and Orson took supper with us at Bro Kimball’s tent. Today Bro. Orson Hyde moved back over the river, where he intends to leave his family till his return from England, whither he is immediately going with Bros. Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor. Bro. Woodruff is about moving over this side of the Missouri River. * * About eleven o’clock at night it commenced raining and continued about half an hour accompanied by considerable thunder and lightening. We hear that one of the soldier brethren has died since their departure from the village. He is said to be the son of the late General Dunham, of the Nauvoo police, who died about a year ago, while on a mission among the Indians.
“Saturday, 26th. Fair weather—Bro. Kimball and father sent four yoke of oxen each to the river to assist Bro. Woodruff up. Bro. Coolidge with his omnibus came in the afternoon, Bro. Hosea Cushing driving it for him, he being quite sick at this time. Wm. Kimball and some of the rest of the boys got back from the river, where they went this afternoon, about two o’clock in the morning, bringing up the remainder of Bro. Coolidge’s wagons. Bro. Brigham, Kimball and father went over the river today. * * Bro. Harrison Burgess took the lead of a meeting which was held here today under our bower in front of the tent, by Bro. Kimball’s request.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 2,
15 June 1884, p. 10
On the 27th Horace mentions the boys and girls going fishing. “At the same time,” he says, “we saw a number of team crossing the bridge on their way back. There were ten wagons, which proved to be the property of men who had left the Pawnee village about 120 miles above there, in consequence of the hostility of the Indians, where they had lived a number of years. They were going to the village below on the west side of the river, where a number of their company had preceded them. Among those we saw were four wagons and six men belonging to Bishop Miller, who are taking a load back for them, and receive in payment for the same three hundred bushels of grain, mostly wheat. * * The occasion of their leaving is this—a hostile tribe of Indians called the Punkaws, who are constantly roving about and are much addicted to thieving, have lately made their appearance at the Pawnee village, and molested them so much with their thieving operations and otherwise, that they are obliged to leave, the Indians having previously stolen all their horses. The settlement of men who have thus left, formerly consisted of eight families, viz: three missionaries, three farmers, one blacksmith, and a schoolteacher commissioned by government; the schoolteacher had under his direction some twenty Pawnee children, who have left with him to go down to the said village, and whom he is educating at the expense of the government. Some of Bishop Miller’s men told me that the Pawnee village was totally deserted, they having gone out on a hunting expedition. They told me furthermore that they are living on the ‘fat of the land,’ there being plenty of garden sauce, such as potatoes, onion, peas, etc., which the settlers had left behind, not being able to bring them away.”
We had been deprived of vegetables from the time that we had left the states, and it had already begun to tell upon us, though we had no idea then of the scourge and suffering that were lying before us; but we will not “cross the bridge till we come to it.” There was a piece of unexpected good fortune happened to Bishop Whitney which Horace relates:
“When father’s boys went down into the country some time after provisions he sent $89 for the same, but through the mismanagement of the agent he did not get more than half he wanted, and consequently would have been unable to prosecute the journey had it not been that the Lord, seemingly on purpose to repair this misfortune or injury, put forth His hand in his behalf. The circumstances were these: Bro. Hyde being about to depart for England, just before crossing the river again with his family, let him have two yoke of oxen, ten barrels of flour, and a bushel and a half of beans, which, to use his own phrase, ‘has completely set me on my feet again,’ and he is now fitted out to his heart’s content. * * At the same time Bro. Parley P. Pratt gave him $30 in gold for the same amount of money. *
“Tuesday, 28th. Beautiful morning. About 2 p.m. it commenced raining, and continued showering through the day and night, accompanied by considerable thunder and lightning—it seemed to pour down almost perpendicularly and in perfect torrents, so that there was not a wagon but what the rain penetrated through the cover thereof and wet all the bed clothing, etc.”
This was one of the trials calculated to test one’s patience, a virtue which had been considerably exercised during the five months that we had spent picking and plodding our way under difficulties which no language can describe, therefore must leave it for imagination to do, though Horace gives no slight idea: “Wednesday, 29th. This morning fine and pleasant, the atmosphere sweet and pure, in contrast to the sultry heat of yesterday; almost every wagon in camp was unloaded, in order to dry the things therein. * * Bros. Kimball and Brigham went over the river today to make some arrangements for the brethren starting for England. * * They intend starting tomorrow. Since we have been lying still our cattle have suffered from the ‘footale,’ caused either by the mud or grass getting between their hoofs; while traveling we have never been troubled with it.”
The remedy made use of was to pour melted rosin into the hoof, afterwards pulling a rope backwards and forward through it to get out the filth. Rather a rough remedy this. We had showers at intervals for two or three days and nights, and on the 30th Horace wrote:
“During the storm on Tuesday evening an ox belonging to Bro. Eldredge was struck by lightning and instantly killed. Father Lott came up today, bringing considerable church property, with some cattle and sheep, etc.” and that my father and mother went over the river to visit a farm the same day, returning at evening and bringing quite a quantity of green corn—first we had seen that was fit to eat. He wrote:
“Another meeting was held this morning, and a number of teams sent down to help those who are crossing the river all the time, and are constantly swelling the size of our camp with their numbers.”
Next morning another meeting was called and a number of men who had not yet been were sent to the river to work. Father and President Young went also. While they were there the steamboat “General Brooks” came down the river and stopped at the village on our side about two miles below the ferry. Bros. Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, John Taylor, R. Pierce and Little came over in a skiff and took in Bros. Brigham and Kimball and went down the river to overtake the boat, but when they got to the village the steamboat had left, consequently Bros. Taylor, Hyde and Pratt were obliged to go down in a flatboat in company with some missionaries till they can overtake a steamboat.”
“Saturday, August 1st. * * * * Another lot of men were sent down to the river this morning with teams. * * Today a number of the Otoe Indians were here, they had a lot of corn with them which they had stolen from the cornfields of the Mohawks close by here. The Otoes are a mean, thieving race, and are also very cunning, which they showed particularly in this case, knowing that the taking of the corn would be laid onto us by the Mohawks. Father, mother and little brother are very sick today. Father took cold sitting up and watching with mother, who was very sick during last night, but is a little better today.
“Sunday, 2nd. Brothers Brigham and Kimball and some others took a trip up the river on this side today to find out a nearer road to the place where they want to go, they returned and held a council. *
* It is contemplated to start on tomorrow or next day and to go to some place to settle down and prepare for winter.
“Today, by Bro. K.’s advice and arrangement, the family was divided into three messes, making it more agreeable and convenient for all. * * Today put up my little tent again * * * Sarah Ann, Helen, Mary Houston, George Billings and myself are to occupy it.
“Monday, 3rd. The weather still fine. * Brother Kimball sent ten yoke of oxen down to the river to help up Bro. Clayton and family. *
* Bro. Brigham let Bro. Kimball have a quantity of beef today, an ox of his having jumped off a bridge and broken his neck this forenoon.
* The same day he called the people of the camp together and told them the intention of moving in the morning, and received their vote and acquiescence in the same. Among other things he informed them that they had no doubt of finding some good location. We started next morning and traveled eight miles and encamped on the prairie.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 3,
1 July 1884, p. 18
President Young and company did not overtake us till Thursday, the 6th. Father encamped the day before near a spring at the head of a ravine with some timber nearby—having traveled but thirteen miles in two days. On the second day we were joined by Colonel Kane who, Horace wrote, “had been to Grand Island, where he received a letter from President Young informing him that the brethren had given up the idea of moving up that way, so he thought he would return. There is a mound in the vicinity, about 1/4 of a mile off, which Bro. Kimball and Col. Kane have noticed in a short ramble which they took last evening; and the Col. expressed a desire that some of the men should take spades in the morning and see what could be found by examining it.”
President Young, my father and others rode ahead on the 6th to make a survey of the country to see if they could find some good place to stop, and visited some springs a mile or two from camp.
Horace continues; “Some of the boys today dug into the before mentioned mound, where they found the ‘skeleton form’ of an Indian, apparently having been buried for some time; they also found with it quite a quantity of beads, brass trinkets, etc., which formerly in life adorned his person. Col. Kane has carefully wrapt up the bones and the cranium, which he intends taking with him to Philadelphia for the inspection of some professional friend of his, who is versed in the science of craniology. The boys received $2.00 divided among them for their services. * * * Father and mother are gaining rapidly.
“Friday, 7th. * A council was held today in Brother Jedediah Grant’s tent—the result was, that we are to remain where we are, as a no more commodious place can be found, and form in a hollow square. * * Twelve men chosen by the council as a committee to act for and make arrangements in behalf of the camp, who are to see executed the order of the council—make arrangements for the winter, etc. John Davenport took two yoke of oxen and went back to the big springs, our former camping place, after Brother Clayton.
“Saturday, 8th. Still warm and sultry. Today the wagons were arranged as contemplated in the form of a hollow square—this brought us further on the hill, and a considerable greater distance from water. * * Father and Bro. Kimball’s companies occupy one end entire of the square—today the teams were engaged in hauling trees to make a bowery the whole length of our wagons, which we worked at till past eleven o’clock at night and nearly completed it. Trees were also drawn for the purpose of building a bower in the center of the square. They also intend fencing in the camp so that the cattle cannot get outside. There was a lamb run over by one of our wagons while moving today, and broke his leg—this is the second time within a week we have been indebted to accident for fresh meat.
“Sunday, 9th. Brother Kimball called his family together to hold a private family meeting, a number of others however attended. Brother Kimball spoke at some length, and was followed by father and Jedediah M. Grant. * * The sacrament was administered and the meeting dismissed. Council meeting was held and Brigham spoke at some length concerning the twelve men who were chosen to form a church council, and were to act as city council, also high council to the Church. Father Cutler was appointed president thereof by unanimous vote; Samuel Russell, clerk; and Horace S. Eldridge, marshal. President Young named our place ‘Cutler’s Park.’ The clerk then read a letter written to President Polk—vote unanimous for it to be sent—the expediency of remaining in a large camp was spoken of as affording less chance for the natives to rob and plunder from us—also the propriety of securing the permission of the Lamanite chief before cutting their timber. Col. Kane is quite sick and moved a little way onto the prairie by himself.
“Monday, 10th. * This morning some of the people constituting this end of the camp and those immediately belonging to Bro Kimball’s family were called together for the purpose of making arrangements about cutting hay for the winter. The calculations are made to cut 800 tons, which divided among the sixty-four men, when counted, made 12 1/2 tons apiece. There were also estimated 350 head of cattle, 31 horses and mules, and 48 sheep. Today we busied ourselves in completing the fence on this end of the ground and in finishing the bowery. * * * Col. Kane was brought again into camp last evening very ill indeed; he was taken to Bro. Grant’s tent. * * Forty wagons (including Bros. Herriman’s and Peck’s families, who went on to the Elk Horn some time ago), came up while here.”
On the 14th some of the brethren went to cutting and drawing house logs, and one or two commenced digging a well. In two days they had dug to the depth of twenty-eight feet without finding water. They also commenced building a house for the purpose of storing away provisions and other things, that they might have the use of the wagons to haul hay with, etc.
Horace continues: “A council of a number of the Twelve and the authorities of the Church was held at father’s tent this evening respecting our arrangements for the winter, etc. Twenty-five men were lately appointed to stand on guard night and day to keep the cattle out of the woods, that they may not get into the pea vines, which we depend upon considerably for our cattle this winter.
“Wednesday, 12th. Cool and pleasant—the people collected between this and Brigham’s camp to receive letters from their friends in the army. Our camp as well as Brigham’s is now completely fenced in.”
He again speaks of Col. Kane’s sickness and of him sending to Fort Leavenworth after a physician of his acquaintance. On the evening of the 13th he wrote:
“A meeting was called in the center of the square, where captains and foremen were chosen for the purpose of superintending the cutting of hay. There were the names of sixteen companies or parties read over. Bro. K.’s and father’s companies constituting the 1st division of the whole camp of Israel. A report of the council was then read by Bro. Grant, requesting the people to turn out en masse tomorrow morning, gather in all their cattle, yoke them, let them remain in their yokes until further orders, meanwhile furnish them with new cut grass; also to sharpen their scythes and axes, and hold themselves in readiness to commence the work of haying. These orders were carried out the next morning—hunting, yoking and confining their cattle in yards, etc. * *
“Sunday there were meetings held in the woods about a mile and a half from camp. Porter arrived this evening after an absence of four or five months—ten days from Nauvoo. He was lately liberated at
Galena, no one appearing against him. He brought my watch which he took with him to get repaired when he last left us. Brought also a number of ‘Eagles’ issued July 31st, and letters. * * In the paper is announced the death of its late editor, Dr. Wm. E. Matlock, of whom the obituary article speaks in the highest and most praiseworthy terms.
“Monday, 17. * Myself and three others engaged in digging the well, but yet no water. * * The physician who was sent for by Col. Kane arrived from Leavenworth this afternoon in company with Mr. Fleming, who lives at the village below. The doctor said that his patient was recovering rapidly. The two gentlemen came to my tent this evening, when we sent for Bros. Wm. Pitt, James Hutchinson and James Smithers, who brought their instruments and entertained us until 11 o’clock with a variety of charming music. The doctor said it was the best music he had heard in this country.”
I remember many of the incidents mentioned above, particularly the musical entertainment at our tent. The first time we met Col. Kane was on the 5th of August, just after our wagons were formed in a circle so as to make an enclosure for horses. The meeting was somewhat peculiar.
My sister-in-law and I being more than weary that day with the sun beating down and not a shade of any kind to screen us from its scorching rays, we were considerably out of sorts, and were just giving expression to some of our thoughts and feelings, in consequence of the unpleasant circumstances to which we were subjected, through the heartlessness of those who were allowed to wrong and oppress the weak, etc., and wondering when these trials would cease or where our lots were to be cast, etc. We were going on in this strain while washing the dust from our hands and faces preparatory to getting dinner. But our conversation came to a sudden stop, for as I went to the tent door to dash out some water, who should I see but a young stranger standing in a listening attitude by the side of his carriage, which stood hardly a yard away from our tent. He looked up as I threw out the water, and I felt my cheeks crimson as our eyes met; and I made a hasty retreat, wondering who he was and what we had said that he could take advantage of, if so disposed. Neither of us were aware of the Col.’s arrival in camp, and this young man looked a mere stripling, being delicate in form as well as features. But we soon learned who he was. He came, as it were, like an angel of mercy, and one whom the Lord, no doubt, raised up to act as a mediator in behalf of a homeless and afflicted people.
In the trouble of 1858, called the “Mormon Rebellion,” but more correctly “Buchanan’s Blunder,” Col. Kane appeared again as an ambassador, though he was then in feeble health and worn down with travel. At the conclusion of Governor Young’s remarks in their council, he said, “Friend Thomas, the Lord sent you here and He will not let you die—no, you cannot die till your work is done. I want to have your name live to all eternity. You have done a great work, and you will do a greater work still.” Afterwards when asked by Elder Staines why he wished to be introduced as Dr. Osborne, he replied, “My dear friend, I was once treated so kindly at Winter Quarters that I am sensitive over its memories. I knew you to be a good people then, but since I have heard so many hard things about you, that I thought I would like to convince myself whether or not the people possessed the same humane and hospitable spirit that I found in them once. I thought, if I go to any of my great friends of Winter Quarters, they will treat me as Thomas L. Kane, with a remembrance of some services which I may have rendered them. So I requested to be sent to some stranger’s house as ‘Dr. Osborne,’ that I might know how the Mormon people would treat a stranger at such a moment as this, without knowing whether I might not turn out to be either an enemy or a spy. And now, Mr. Staines, I want to know if you could have treated Thomas L. Kane better than you have treated Dr. Osborne?”
“No, Col.,” he replied, “I could not.” “And thus, my friend,” added Dr. Osborne, “I have proved that the Mormons will treat the stranger in Salt Lake City, as they once did Thomas L. Kane at Winter Quarters.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 7,
1 September 1884, pp. 49–50
Colonel Kane, as before stated, was convalescent. The only cause of his sending to Fort Leavenworth for a physician was his anxiety for his Mormon friends, fearing that a relapse might take him off, and his death might be laid to their charge. He came among us with the intention of learning the facts concerning the strange people who had been so terribly persecuted, and were now exiles from their homes, and the spots doubly sacred—the resting place of their dear ones, and after all the sorrows and suffering endured at the hands of the government, they had willingly responded to the first call.
Thus was explained the act of his standing eavesdropping by the side of our tent, on his first arrival at the camp. There was nothing that seemed to escape his notice. The little children who came around Brother Jedediah’s tent, where he was nursed during his sickness, were objects of interest. One of Mother Whitney’s little ones, a beautiful, fair, curly haired boy, who was just recovering from a severe illness, was one that attracted his attention. As he was only a few rods from us the child was often seen at the tent door where he lay, or as he sat under the bower outside.
The next spring there came to his friends numerous and various tokens of remembrance. Among them was a box containing fishing tackle, etc., which was sent to the little fair-haired Whitney boy; also the old nurse who was living in Bishop Whitney’s family—Aunt Sabry Granger—was remembered to a large box of superior black tea. As she parted with a portion of it, my mother purchased a few pounds, and I, being among the invalids, was daily treated to this delicious beverage. None were forgotten who had made his acquaintance, or done him the slightest favor. The presents, though, did not arrive till after the pioneers had left.
I take the following extracts from Colonel Kane’s Historical Discourse, delivered March 26th, 1850, as he gives the most interesting and accurate description of what he termed the “tabernacle camps.”
“The character of their everyday life, its routine and conduct, alone offered any exclusive or marked peculiarity. Their romantic devotional observances, and their admirable concert of purpose and action, met the eye at once. After these the stranger was most struck, perhaps, by the strict order of march, the unconfused closing up to meet attack, the skillful securing of the cattle upon the halt, the system with which the watches were set at night to guard them and the lines of the corral—with other similar circumstances indicative of the maintenance of a high state of discipline. * * * * The most striking feature, however, of the Mormon emigration was, undoubtedly, their formation of the tabernacle camps and temporary stakes or settlements, which renewed in the sleeping solitudes, everywhere along their road, the cheering signs of intelligent and hopeful life.
“I will make this remark plainer by describing to you one of these camps, with the daily routine of its inhabitants. I select, at random, for my purpose, a large camp upon the delta between Nebraska and Missouri, in the territory disputed between the Omaha and Otto and Missouri Indians. It remained pitched here for nearly two months, during which time I resided in it.
“The wagons, as they arrived, took their positions along its four sides in double rows, so as to leave a roomy street or passageway between them. The tents were disposed also in rows at intervals between the wagons. The cattle were folded in high fenced yards outside; the quadrangle inside was left vacant for the sake of ventilation, and the streets covered in with leafy arbor work, and kept scrupulously clean, formed a shaded cloister walk. This was the place of exercise for slowly recovering invalids, the day-home of the infants, and the evening promenade of all.
“From the first foundation of the camp all its inhabitants were constantly and laboriously occupied. Many of them were highly educated mechanics, and seemed only to need a day’s anticipated rest to engage them at the forge, loom, or turning lathe, upon some needed chore of work. * * * I have had a piece of cloth, the wool of which was sheared, and dyed, and spun and woven during a progress of over three hundred miles.
“The chiefs were seldom without some curious affair on hand to settle with the restless Indians; while the immense labor and responsibility of the conduct of their unwieldly moving army, and the commissariat of its hundreds of famishing poor also devolved upon them. They had good men they called bishops, whose special office it was to look up the cases of extremest suffering, and their relief parties were out night and day to scour over every trail. * * * * *
“A strong trait of the Mormons was their kindness to their brute dependents, and particularly to their beasts of draught. They gave them the holiday of the Sabbath whenever it came round. I believe they would have washed them with old wine after the example of the emigrant Carthaginians, had they had any. * * The great mass of these pilgrims of the desert were made up of poor folks, who had fled in destitution from Nauvoo and been refused a resting place by the people of Iowa.
“It is difficult to fully understand the state of helplessness in which some of these would arrive after accomplishing a journey of such extent, under circumstances of so much privation and peril. * * * *
“Beside the common duty of guiding and assisting these unfortunates, the companies in the van united in providing the highway for the entire body of emigrants. The Mormons have laid out for themselves a road through the Indian Territory, over four hundred leagues in length, with substantial, well built bridges, fit for the passage of heavy artillery, over all the streams except a few great rivers, where they have established permanent ferries. The nearest unfinished bridging to the Papillon camp was that of the ‘Conne a Cerf,’ or Elk Horn, a tributary of the Platte, distant, maybe, a couple of hours’ march. Here, in what seemed to be an incredibly short space of time, there rose the seven great piers and abutments of a bridge, such as might challenge honors for the entire public-spirited population of Lower Virginia. The party detailed to the task worked in the broiling sun, in water Beyond depth, and up to their necks, as if engaged in the perpetration of some pointed and delightful practical joke. The chief sport lay in floating along with the logs, cut from the overhanging timber up the stream, guiding them till they reached their destination, and then plunging them under water in the precise spot where they were to be secured. This the laughing engineers would execute with the agility of happy diving ducks.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 8,
15 September 1884, p. 58
In describing the ferry over the Missouri near the Pottawatamie village, he says, “A heavy freshet had at this time swollen the river to a width, as I should judge, of something like a mile and a half, and dashed past, its fierce current rushing gurgling and eddying as if thrown from a mill race, or scriptural fountain of the deep. Its aspect did not invite the oxen to their duty, and the labor was to force them to it. The driver’s was the sought after post of honor here; and sometimes, when repeated failures have urged them to emulation, I have seen the youths in stepping from back to back of the struggling monsters, or swimming in among battling hoofs, display feats of address and hardihood, that would have made Franconi’s or the Madrid bullring vibrate with bravoes of applause. But in the hours after hours that I have watched this sport at the ferry side, I never heard an oath or the language of quarrel, or knew it provoke the least sign of ill feeling.
“After the sorrowful word was given out to halt, and make preparations for winter, a chief labor became the making of hay; and with every day-dawn brigades of mowers would take up the march to their positions in chosen meadows—a prettier sight than a charge of cavalry—as they laid their swarths, whole companies of scythes abreast.
“When they set about building their winter houses too, the Mormons went into quite considerable timbering operations, and performed desperate feats of carpentry. * * It was wonderful to notice the readiness with which they turned their hands to woodcraft; some of them, though I believe these had generally been bred carpenters, wheelwrights, or more particularly boat builders, quite outdoing the most notable voyageurs in the use of the ax. One of these would fell a tree, strip off its bark, cut and split up the trunk in piles of planks, scantling, or shingles, make posts and pins, and poles—everything almost of the branches, and treat toil, from first to last, with more sportive flourish than a schoolboy whittling his shingle.
“Inside the camp the chief labors were confined to the women. From the moment, when after the halt, the lines had been laid, the springs were dug out and the ovens and fireplaces built, though the men still assumed to set the guards and enforce the regulations of police, the empire of the tented town was with the better sex. They were the chief comforters of the severest sufferers, the kind nurses who gave them in their sickness those dear attentions with which pauperism is hardly poor, and which the greatest wealth often fails to buy. And they were a nation of wonderful managers; they could hardly be called housewives in etymological strictness, but it was plain they had once been such, and most distinguished ones. Their art availed them in their changed affairs. With almost their entire culinary materials limited to the milk of their cows, some store of meal or flour and a very few condiments, they brought their thousand and one recipes into play with a success that outdid for their families the miracle of the Hebrew woman’s cruse.”
As he says, we could “make butter on a march by the dashing of the wagon, and so nicely to calculate the working of harm in the jolting heats,” that as soon after camping as the fire could be prepared the “well-kneaded loaf was ready for the bake kettle or reflector, which commodities were well suited to the wants and necessities during our camp life.
“The first duty of the Mormon women was, through all changes of place and fortune, to keep alive the altar fire of home. Whatever their manifold labors for the day, it was their effort to complete them against the sacred hour of evening fall. For by that time all the outworkers, scouts, ferrymen or bridgemen, roadmakers, herdsmen, or haymakers, had finished their tasks and come into their rest. * * But every day closed as every day began, with an invocation of the Divine favor; without which, indeed, no Mormon seemed to dare to lay him down to rest. With the first shining of the stars laughter and loud talking hushed, the neighbor went his way, you heard the last hymn sung, and then the thousand-voiced murmur of prayer was heard, like babbling water falling down the hills.
“There was no austerity, however, about the religion of Mormonism. Their fasting and penance, it is no jest to say, was altogether involuntary. They made no merriment of that. * * They had the sort of strong-stomached faith that is still found embalmed in sheltered spots of Catholic Italy and Spain. * * It mixed itself up fearlessly with the common transactions of their everyday life, and only to give liveliness and color.
“If any passages of life bear better than others a double interpretation, they are adventures of travel and of the field. What old persons call discomforts and discouraging mishaps, are the very elements to the young and sanguine of what they are willing to term fun. The Mormons took the young and hopeful side. They could make sport and frolic of their trials and often turn right sharp suffering into right round laughter against themselves.” * * *
August 20th. Horace mentions the choir of singers meeting at Bro. Wm. Clayton’s tent to practice, also of a council being held that day; among the rest was considered the propriety of sending for goods and other things, by Bro. Whitney who was preparing to go to St. Louis for this purpose. On the 21st he wrote “Brigham and Dr. Richards with Brother Kimball and father spent the most of the forenoon at my tent in talking over the affairs of the Church, etc.”
The 22nd I well remember it being my 18th birthday. That day Horace wrote a letter of exhortation and advice left by my father to his family to be read to them that evening as he, with President B. Young, W. Richards and one or two others, went over the river to hold meetings next day it being Sunday. The same day Horace mentions the following event.
One night while the brethren were encamped in the woods on the route to Leavenworth, a terrible storm or hurricane arose, which surpassed anything of the kind within the memory of the inhabitants.
But what surprised them all was that although showers of limbs of trees were constantly falling around them, the space within which they were encamped, was in perfect calmness and security. * * * *
“A man by the name of Griffin called and brought intelligence from Bro. Miller’s camp. He related to us an anecdote concerning two of the brethren who went out on mules armed and equipped as a kind of a scouting party were surprised by a party of Indians of the Punkaw tribe who dragged them from their mules, took from their arms and were about to confine them when one of the mules suddenly turned and kicked one of the party over—this circumstance distracting their attention afforded the men a chance to escape which they quickly did afoot, leaving their mules etc., behind in the hands of the Indians. The brethren returned to their camp, and in two days after their mules came in with their saddles and bridles on—the reason was supposed to be that they broke away from the Indians and they could not retake them. Brother Griffin also told us that eight chiefs of the Punkaw tribe came to the Pawnee village (where the brethren are encamped) to smoke the ‘pipe of peace,’ with the Pawnees, who were out on a hunting excursion. As they did not return, after waiting for some time, the Pawnee chief told Bro. Miller that they would conduct him to a good place (one of the villages) to pass the winter, which they did, it being fifty miles north on the route to Fort Laramie. They went with them and found it a beautiful place indeed, abounding in rushes, pea-vines, etc., etc. The Indians appeared to be very friendly and offered them corn, or anything else they wanted and told them they were welcome to put up buildings and remain as long as they chose.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 9,
October 1, 1884, pp. 65–66
On the 25th there came six Indian chiefs to President Young’s camp to see him on business, but he and father were still on the other side of the river raising means of the brethren to send to St. Louis by Bishop Whitney, who was to start in about one week.
“Thursday, the 29th,” Horace wrote, “misty and cloudy. The haying business going on as usual. Bro. Kimball, Wm. Porter and Brigham got back today—council held this evening. Besides the six chiefs there are about 150 Indians in the vicinity, wanting to make some arrangements with the brethren about the possession of the land we are now occupying, on which they are to hold council tomorrow morning.”
Friday morning, pursuant to agreement, a council was called. Horace says, “An aged chief, almost blind, arose and requested that all those who had anything to say about the land business would speak. Accordingly a number of brethren spoke. The amount of whose words were these: That we had been driven like themselves, the Lamanites, and now desired a resting place with them for a little season, and would render them any favor in our power except assisting them to war against other tribes, which would involve the shedding of blood. After the brethren had all got through speaking the old chief arose and said: ‘Have you done?’ refusing to make any reply, or until that was the case. On receiving a token of assent, he arose and said: ‘I love your words and will do you all the good I can, for we have been pushed and driven, too, by the nations around us, and should have come out in open war against them long ago had not our grandfather, the president, said, “live in peace!’” He furthermore said that the land that we are now on is in dispute between this tribe (the Omahaw) and the Otoes, who, he said, were a thievish race, but if we would move up the river about ten miles to the old fort of Council Bluffs, where the tribes formerly met in council and transacted business with the agents of the U.S., then we might have peace and liberty with them; we might make fields for them, and they in return would let us have young men to assist us in herding our cattle. He furthermore said we were welcome to build houses and winter there, and remain as long as we chose with them, for they had undisputed title to the land in the vicinity of it, and there were greater conveniences there than here—plenty of water, wood, etc., close at hand. The conclusion of the council was that some of the brethren would go up and see the country before deciding to move.
“Saturday, 26th. Fine day. * * Bro. Brigham, Kimball and wife, father and mother, took supper at my tent this evening, and conversed on several things connected with father’s going to St. Louis. Brigham told us that he had received news of the death of Father Huntington. He died at Mt. Pisgah. * * We hear that Captain Allen, who was appointed to the command of the regiment of Mormon soldiers, has lately died at Fort Leavenworth.
“We had previously heard, through Brother Sherwood, of the death of Father Bent, who died at Garden Grove. The hardships and privations of our people were beginning to tell upon the old and the young, and various sized mounds had already marked their lonely trail. The days were still very warm and many of the Saints were being brought into camp in a very sick and distressed condition. The nights, though, were beginning to be cold, and we had begun to have frequent rains, which increased the sickness among us.
“Sunday, 30th. Wm. Kimball, with two other boys, went back to Musquieto Creek to help Bishop Hunter up, who was quite sick.”
A meeting was held in the morning at the stand in the wood, and in the afternoon another meeting was called at five p.m., under the bower near our tent. Horace says: “Father John Smith spoke at some length. He was followed by Elder O. Pratt, who, in a clear and concise manner, pointed out to the brethren the advantage of our closing with the offer of the Omahaw Indians, and moving up the river to the Old Fort. Father Cutler spoke a few words—the amount of it was that the brethren were not to discontinue the haying business because they thought they were going to move away, but to ‘rush ahead’ and do all they could.
“President Young then spoke at some length on the order of the government of the kingdom of God. He said no man was fit to act as governor or ruler until he had first proved himself worthy of his office, by showing himself ready and willing to be governed. He also said that it was necessary we should move as speedily as possible to our winter quarters, in order that we may be engaged in the building of houses, which it is necessary should be immediately commenced. * * Bro. John Pack’s youngest child, an infant, died today.
“Monday, 31st. Beautiful morning. * * Brigham, Heber, father, Fathers Cutler and Cahoon, with several others, some on horseback, others in wagons, started to go up the river to look out our winter location. This evening Wm. arrived with the carriage, bringing Bishop Hunter with him. His family have stopped for the night eight or nine miles back; they will be up tomorrow. Porter is at the river assisting Bro. Woodworm’s folks across, who are all quite sick.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 10,
15 October 1884, p. 75
The father of Zebedee Coltron died in our camp on the night of the 31st, also another man who had traveled with Dr. Patten. On the evening of September 1st Brother Woodworth and family arrived; all sick. They encamped outside of the square a little distance from our tent. We had a temporary bedstead prepared and took their daughter, Flora Gove, into our tent, where I nursed her until she recovered her strength. Her husband was also sick with fever; she had lain helpless for many days, and her heavy raven locks were so matted together that it took me hours to comb them out. We had lived neighbors in Nauvoo, and were old schoolmates. She was older than myself and was sealed to the Prophet Joseph as his wife. This happened before I was aware of the principle. A young man boarding at her father’s, after the death of Joseph not a member of the Church had sought her hand, in time won her heart, and in a reckless moment she was induced to accept his offer and they eloped to Carthage, accompanied by a young lady friend, and were there married by a justice of the peace. Flora was never happy with him as he hated the Mormons, and she felt condemned for the rash step she had taken. She made this confession to me while I was nursing her, and said she desired to cling to Joseph hereafter.
They settled at the “Point,” and she paid me a visit the following winter. She still expressed herself as strong in the faith of the gospel, also her great desire to cleave to the Prophet. I never saw her again as she died at that place, leaving two or three children. Joseph Smith gave her father the title of “pagan prophet.” He came with his family to the valley, where he left them and went to California and never returned. Her mother was a true saint and a very gifted woman, well known and respected by thousands of the Saints in Utah.
I have given this little incident in the life of Flora truthfully, and it ought to teach a lesson to those who read it, for no Latter-day Saint can find happiness in marriage with an unbeliever as soon as the illusion which bewildered them wears off; they find no true companionship, and remorse will come, though, alas, too late to retrace their steps.
On Monday the 31st Horace mentions President Young, H. C. Kimball, Bishop Whitney, Fathers Cutler and Cahoon and several of the high council, some on horseback, others in wagons, starting up the river to look out the winter location. They traveled 25 or 30 miles the first day and encamped on the “Horn.” The next morning they retraced their steps toward the old fort of Council Bluffs. Coming to a creek they had to make a bridge, after crossing which, instead of ascending the ridge on the right hand, they kept on through the bottom, which was covered with very high grass, which soon grew so thick that they got entangled in it and were forced to cut a passage in some places; it was so high, too, that they could not see over it, although they stood up on their horses. After pursuing this route for some time in momentary danger of getting “swamped,” they at length emerged from it and went upon the bluff, which was so steep that they had to dismount from their horses and let them ascend by themselves. * * They saw the “fort” in the distance, apparently about six miles off—they soon came to another brook or ravine, where they were again obliged to build a sort of bridge—throwing in stuff of different kinds that they might be enabled to cross. The sun was about an hour high when they arrived at the “fort,” which consisted of the ruins of a few old buildings the principal of which was the “magazine”—the walls were of stone, about eight feet high, which had formerly been arched over with brick, but had mostly fallen in—they went on about a mile further and encamped for the night at the head of a ravine. * * The next day they returned home but little satisfied with the result of their journey.
On the same day Horace says, “A committee of three, viz.: Orson Pratt, J. M. Grant and Brother Bird were sent to confer with the Omahaws and the Otoes concerning our remaining on the land here.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 11,
1 November 1884, p. 87
On the 3rd the committee sent to confer with the above named tribes brought in their report of the same. “They had seen the chiefs of the Omahas, Big Elk and Standing Elk, his son, who signed the article which they had drawn up requesting their consent to remain one or two more years. Both tribes are very anxious to have all the improvements we shall leave behind. The Otoes were anxious that we should not close with the offer of the Omahas and go up the river, because there they would have no clue to the improvements we shall make, whereas if we stay where we are they consider themselves entitled to everything we shall leave behind. A committee was appointed by the council to look out a good place for cattle and to see about the removal of the ferry up the river near here.”
On the 5th my father accompanied by Bros. O. Pratt, W. Woodruff, J. M. Grant, Horace Eldredge and several others, set out in pursuit of a new ferrying place. A committee met them from the other side of the river by agreement. “They took a leather boat,” says Horace, “belonging to Brother Horace Eldredge, which they had brought with them, and two of them, Bros. Kimball and O. Pratt, went over to see the committee. On getting over they found five of the brethren, Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, Phinehas Richards, Wm. Snow and Bro. Miller, waiting for them—they all got into the boat with them and went back, making seven in all, there being a heavy wind upstream; the waves were very high, they were in momentary danger of upsetting, as Brother Kimball said who steered the boat, but they landed safely without any accident at the place from whence they started.”
Here, at the mouth of the creek, they build a brush bridge—two of them, Brother Kimball and Wm. Snow, rode up the river about two miles to see if they could find any better place for the ferry than here—they returned, not having found any, consequently it was agreed to establish it here. One or two of the brethren then took the others back over the river in the leather boat, and they then returned. He says, “The brethren up to this date have cut from 1500 to 2000 tons of hay, the most of which is already stacked.” He also mentions the arrival of Uncle Joseph Young and family that evening. There were then rising of 800 wagons in the three camps, which were situated in the form of a triangle.
On the morning of the 8th Bishop Whitney and Bros. Woolley and Van Cott started for St. Louis to purchase goods, also Wm. Kimball, Colonel Kane, Daniel Davis and Orson K. Whitney started for Nauvoo.
On the 11th Wm. returned with O. P. Rockwell, the latter having started for Mt. Pisgah. “They came to bring back some bed clothes, etc., belonging to Bro. Jedediah M. Grant, that were taken away by Col. Kane. They had gone about fifteen miles on their route from the village when he (the Colonel) told them he did not feel able to go through by land, consequently they came back and put him on board the steamer ‘General Brooks,’ letting Wm. take his horse, and agreed to meet him at Nauvoo, in which if he failed he was to keep the horse.”
Saturday, 12th, a council was held, at which the following resolutions were made:
1st—That all dogs should be tied up at sunset and not released till the next morning at sunrise.
2nd—That no firing of guns should be permitted within hearing of the camp either by night or day, and that such things should cease wholly at sunset.
3rd—That no timber should be cut down for fuel which would answer the purpose for building, and that when anyone wanted wood they were to apply to Stephen Winchester and Father Eldredge, who would instruct them when and where to fell trees. It was particularly enjoined on the brethren to spare the walnut trees, which had been already cut down in great numbers to procure walnuts.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 13, no. 12,
15 November 1884, p. 91