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The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901 by William Alexander Linn

Part 9 out of 15

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and have the power of deciding what process shall be executed by
said military force.

"We recommend to you to place every possible restraint in your
power over the members of your church, to prevent them from
committing acts of aggression or retaliation on any citizens of
the state, as a contrary course may, and most probably will,
bring about a collision which will subvert all efforts to
maintain the peace in this county; and we propose making a
similar request of your opponents in this and the surrounding

"With many wishes that you may find that peace and prosperity in
the land of your destination which you desire, we have the honor
to subscribe ourselves,



On the following day these commissioners made official
announcement of the result of their negotiations, "to the
anti-Mormon citizens of Hancock and the surrounding counties."
They expressed their belief in the sincerity of the Mormon
promises; advised that the non-Mormons be satisfied with
obtaining what was practicable, even if some of their demands
could not be granted, beseeching them to be orderly, and at the
same time warning them not to violate the law, which the troops
left in the county by General Hardin would enforce at all
hazards. The report closed as follows:--

"Remember, whatever may be the aggression against you, the
sympathy of the public may be forfeited. It cannot be denied that
the burning of the houses of the Mormons in Hancock County, by
which a large number of women and children have been rendered
homeless and houseless, in the beginning of the winter, was an
act criminal in itself, and disgraceful to its perpetrators. And
it should also be known that it has led many persons to believe
that, even if the Mormons are so bad as they are represented,
they are no worse than those who have burnt their houses. Whether
your cause is just or unjust, the acts of these incendiaries have
thus lost for you something of the sympathy and good-will of your
fellow-citizens; and a resort to, or persistence in, such a
course under existing circumstances will make you forfeit all the
respect and sympathy of the community. We trust and believe, for
this lovely portion of our state, a brighter day is dawning; and
we beseech all parties not to seek to hasten its approach by the
torch of the incendiary, nor to disturb its dawn by the clash of

The Millennial Star of December 1, 1845, thus introduced this


"The following official correspondence shows that this government
has given thirty thousand American citizens THE CHOICE OF DEATH
or BANISHMENT beyond the Rocky Mountains. Of these two evils they
have chosen the least. WHAT BOASTED LIBERTY! WHAT an honor to
American character!"

CHAPTER XX. The Evacuation Of Nauvoo--"The Last Mormon War"

The winter of 1845-1846 in Hancock County passed without any
renewed outbreak, but the credit for this seems to have been due
to the firmness and good judgment of Major W. B. Warren, whom
General Hardin placed in command of the force which he left in
that county to preserve order, rather than to any improvement in
the relations between the two parties, even after the Mormons had
agreed to depart.

Major Warren's command, which at first consisted of one hundred
men, and was reduced during the winter to fifty and later to ten,
came from Quincy, and had as subordinate officers James D. Morgan
and B. M. Prentiss, whose names became famous as Union generals
in the war of the rebellion. Warren showed no favoritism in
enforcing his authority, and he was called on to exercise it
against both sides. The local newspapers of the day contain
accounts of occasional burnings during the winter, and of murders
committed here and there. On November 17, a meeting of citizens
of Warsaw, who styled. themselves "a portion of the anti-Mormon
party," was held to protest against such acts as burnings and the
murder of a Mormon, ten miles south of Warsaw, and to demand
adherence to the agreement entered into. On February 5, Major
Warren had to issue a warning to an organization of anti-Mormons
who had ordered a number of Mormon families to leave the county
by May 1, if they did not want to be burned out.

Governor Ford sent Mr. Brayman to Hancock County as legal counsel
for the military commander. In a report dated December 14, 1845,
Mr. Brayman said of the condition of affairs as he found them:--

"Judicial proceedings are but mockeries of the forms of law;
juries, magistrates and officers of every grade concerned in the
civil affairs of the county partake so deeply of the prevailing
excitement that no reliance, as a general thing, can be placed on
their action. Crime enjoys a disgraceful impunity, and each one
feels at liberty to commit any aggression, or to avenge his own
wrongs to any extent, without legal accountability . . . .
Whether the parties will become reconciled or quieted, so as to
live together in peace, is doubted . . . . Such a series of
outrages and bold violations of law as have marked the history of
Hancock County for several years past is a blot upon our
institutions; ought not to be endured by a civilized people." *

* Warsaw Signal, December 24, 1845.

Meanwhile, the Mormons went on with their preparations for their
westward march, selling their property as best they could, and
making every effort to trade real estate in and out of the city,
and such personal property as they could not take with them, for
cattle, oxen, mules, horses, sheep, and wagons. Early in February
the non-Mormons were surprised to learn that the Mormons at
Nauvoo had begun crossing the river as a beginning of their
departure for the far West. "We scarcely know what to make of
this movement," said the Warsaw Signal, the general belief being
that the Mormons would be slow in carrying out their agreement to
leave "so soon as grass would grow and water run." The date of
the first departure, it has since been learned, was hastened by
the fact that the grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, in
December, 1845, had found certain indictments for counterfeiting,
in regard to which the journal of that city, on December 25, gave
the following particulars:--

"During the last week twelve bills of indictment for
counterfeiting Mexican dollars and our half dollars and dimes
were found by the Grand Jury, and presented to the United States
Circuit Court in this city against different persons in and about
Nauvoo, embracing some of the 'Holy Twelve' and other prominent
Mormons, and persons in league with them. The manner in which the
money was put into circulation was stated. At one mill $1500 was
paid out for wheat in one week. Whenever a land sale was about to
take place, wagons were sent off with the coin into the land
district where such sale was to take place, and no difficulty
occurred in exchanging off the counterfeit coin for paper . . . .
So soon as the indictments were found, a request was made by the
marshal of the Governor of this state for a posse, or the
assistance of the military force stationed in Hancock County, to
enable him to arrest the alleged counterfeiters. Gov. Ford
refused to grant the request. An officer has since been sent to
Nauvoo to make the arrests, but we apprehend. there is no
probability of his success"

The report that a whole city was practically for sale had been
widely spread, and many persons--some from the Eastern
states--began visiting it to see what inducements were offered to
new settlers, and what bargains were to be had. Among these was
W. E. Matlack, who on April 10 issued, in Nauvoo, the first
number of a weekly newspaper called the Hancock Eagle. Matlack
seems to have been a fair-minded man, possessed of the courage of
his convictions, and his paper was a better one in, a literary
sense than the average weekly of the day. In his inaugural
editorial he said that he favored the removal of the Mormons as a
peace measure, but denounced mob rule and threats against the
Mormons who had not departed. The ultra-Antis took offence at
this at once, and, so far as the Eagle was supposed to represent
the views of the new-comers,--who were henceforth called New
Citizens,--counted them little better than the Mormons
themselves. Among these, however, was a class whom the county
should have welcomed, the boats, in one week in May, landing four
or five merchants, six physicians, three or four lawyers, two
dentists, and two or three hundred others, including laborers.

The people of Hancock and the surrounding counties still refused
to believe that the Mormons were sincere in their intention to
depart, and the county meetings of the year before were
reassembled to warn the Mormons that the citizens stood ready to
enforce their order. The vacillating course of Governor Ford did
not help the situation. He issued an order disbanding Major
Warren's force on May 1, and on the following day instructed him
to muster it into service again. Warren was very outspoken in his
determination to protect the departing Mormons, and in a
proclamation which he issued he told them to "leave the fighting
to be done by my detachment. If we are overpowered, then recross
the river and defend yourselves and your property."

The peace was preserved during May, and the Mormon exodus
continued, Young with the first company being already well
advanced in his march across Iowa. Major Warren sent a weekly
report on the movement to the Warsaw Signal. That dated May 14
said that the ferries at Nauvoo and at Fort Madison were each
taking across an average of 35 teams in twenty-four hours. For
the week ending May 22 he reported the departure of 539 teams and
1617 persons; and for the week ending May 29, the departure of
269 teams and 800 persons, and he said he had counted the day
before 617 wagons in Nauvoo ready to start.

But even this activity did not satisfy the ultra element among
the anti-Mormons, and at a meeting in Carthage, on Saturday, June
6, resolutions drawn by Editor Sharp of the Signal expressed the
belief that many of the Mormons intended to remain in the state,
charged that they continued to commit depredations, and declared
that the time had come for the citizens of the counties affected
to arm and equip themselves for action. The Signal headed its
editorial remarks on this meeting, "War declared in Hancock."

When the news of the gathering at Carthage reached Nauvoo it
created a panic. The Mormons, lessened in number by the many
departures, and with their goods mostly packed for moving, were
in no situation to repel an attack; and they began hurrying to
the ferry until the streets were blocked with teams. The New
Citizens, although the Carthage meeting had appointed a committee
to confer with them, were almost as much alarmed, and those who
could do so sent away their families, while several merchants
packed up their goods for safety. On Friday, June 12, the
committee of New Citizens met some 600 anti-Mormons who had
assembled near Carthage, and strenuously objected to their
marching into Nauvoo. As a sort of compromise, the force
consented to rendezvous at Golden Point, five miles south of
Nauvoo, and there they arrived the next day. This force,
according to the Signal's own account, was a mere mob,
three-fourths of whom went there against their own judgment, and
only to try to prevent extreme measures. A committee was at once
sent to Nauvoo to confer with the New Citizens, but it met with a
decided snubbing. The Nauvoo people then sent a committee to the
camp, with a proposition that thirty men of the Antis march into
the city, and leave three of their number there to report on the
progress of the Mormon exodus.

On Sunday morning, before any such agreement was reached, word
came from Nauvoo that Sheriff Backenstos had arrived there and
enrolled a posse of some 500 men, the New Citizens uniting with
the Mormons for the protection of the place. This led to an
examination of the war supplies of the Antis, and the discovery
that they had only five rounds of ammunition to a man, and one
day's provision. Thereupon they ingloriously broke camp and made
off to Carthage.

After this nothing more serious than a war of words occurred
until July 11, when an event happened which aroused the feeling
of both parties to the fighting pitch. Three Mormons from Nauvoo
had been harvesting a field of grain about eight miles from the
city.* In some way they angered a man living near by (according
to his wife's affidavit, by shooting around his fields, using his
stable for their horses, and feeding his oats), and he collected
some neighbors, who gave the offenders a whipping, more or less
severe, according to the account accepted. The men went at once
to Nauvoo, and exhibited their backs, and that night a Mormon
posse arrested seventeen Antis and conveyed them to Nauvoo. The
Antis in turn seized five Mormons whom they held as "hostages,"
and the northern part of Hancock County and a part of McDonough
were in a state of alarm.

* The Eagle stated that the farm where the Mormons were at work
had been bought by a New Citizen, who had sent out both Mormons
and New Citizens to cut the grain.

Civil chaos ensued. General Hardin and Major Warren had joined
the federal army that was to march against Mexico, and their cool
judgment was greatly missed. One Carlin, appointed as a special
constable, called on the citizens of Hancock County to assemble
as his posse to assist in executing warrants in Nauvoo, and the
Mormons of that city at once took steps to resist arrests by him.
Governor Ford sent Major Parker of Fulton County, who was a Whig,
to make an inquiry at Nauvoo and defend that city against
rioting, and Mr. Brayman remained there to report to him on the
course of affairs.

What was called at that time, in Illinois, "the last Mormon war"
opened with a fusillade of correspondence between Carlin and
Major Parker. Parker issued a proclamation, calling on all good
citizens to return to their homes, and Carlin declared that he
would obey no authority which tried to prevent him from doing his
duty, telling the major that it would "take something more than
words" to disperse his posse. While Parker was issuing a series
of proclamations, the so-called posse was, on August 25, placed
under the command of Colonel J. B. Chittenden of Adams County,
who was superseded three days later by Colonel Singleton. Colonel
Singleton was successful in arranging with Major Parker terms of
peace, which provided among other things that all the Mormons
should be out of the state in sixty days, except heads of
families who remained to close their business; but the colonel's
officers rejected this agreement, and the colonel thereupon left
the camp. Carlin at once appointed Colonel Brockman to the chief
command. He was a Campbellite preacher who, according to Ford,
had been a public defaulter and had been "silenced" by his
church. After rejecting another offer of compromise made by the
Mormons, Brockman, on September 11, with about seven hundred men
who called themselves a posse, advanced against Nauvoo, with some
small field pieces. Governor Ford had authorized Major Flood,
commanding the militia of Adams County, to raise a force to
preserve order in Hancock; but the major, knowing that such
action would only incense the force of the Antis, disregarded the
governor's request. At this juncture Major Parker was relieved of
the command at Nauvoo and succeeded by Major B. Clifford, Jr., of
the 33rd regiment of Illinois Volunteers.

On the morning of September 12, Brockman sent into Nauvoo a
demand for its surrender, with the pledge that there would be no
destruction of property or life "unless absolutely necessary in
self-defence." Major Clifford rejected this proposition, advised
Brockman to disperse his force, and named Mayor Wood of Quincy
and J. P. Eddy, a St. Louis merchant then in Nauvoo, as
recipients of any further propositions from the Antis.

The forces at this time were drawn up against one another, the
Mormons behind a breastwork which they had erected during the
night, and the Antis on a piece of high ground nearer the city
than their camp. Brayman says that an estimate which placed the
Mormon force at five hundred or six hundred was a great
exaggeration, and that the only artillery they had was six pieces
which they fashioned for themselves, by breaking some steamboat
shafts to the proper length and boring them out so that they
would receive a six-pound shot.

When Clifford's reply was received, the commander of the Antis
sent out the Warsaw riflemen as flankers on the right and left;
directed the Lima Guards, with one cannon, to take a position a
mile to the front of the camp and occupy the attention of the men
behind the Mormon breastwork, who had opened fire; and then
marched the main body through a cornfield and orchard to the city
itself. Both sides kept up an artillery fire while the advance
was taking place.

When the Antis reached the settled part of the city, the firing
became general, but was of an independent character. The Mormons
in most cases fired from their houses, while the Antis found such
shelter as they could in a cornfield and along a worm fence.
After about an hour of such fighting, Brockman, discovering that
all of the sixty-one cannon balls with which he had provided
himself had been shot away, decided that it was perilous "to risk
a further advance without these necessary instruments."
Accordingly, he ordered a retreat and his whole force returned to
its camp. In this engagement no Antis were killed, and the
surgeon's list named only eight wounded, one of whom died. Three
citizens of Nauvoo were killed. The Mormons had the better
protection in their houses, but the other side made rather
effective use of their artillery.

The Antis began at once intrenching their camp, and sent to
Quincy for ammunition. There were some exchanges of shots on
Sunday and Monday, and three Antis were wounded on the latter

Quincy responded promptly to the request for ammunition, but the
people of that town were by no means unanimously in favor of the
"war." On Sunday evening a meeting of the peaceably inclined
appointed a committee of one hundred to visit the scene of
hostilities and secure peace "on the basis of a removal of the
Mormons." The negotiations of this committee began on the
following Tuesday, and were continued, at times with apparent
hopelessness of success, until Wednesday evening, when terms of
peace were finally signed. It required the utmost effort of the
Quincy committee to induce the anti-Mormon force to delay an
assault on the city, which would have meant conflagration and
massacre. The terms of peace were as follows:

"1. The city of Nauvoo will surrender. The force of Col. Brockman
to enter and take possession of the city tomorrow, the 17th of
September, at 3 o'clock P.m.

"2. The arms to be delivered to the Quincy Committee, to be
returned on the crossing of the river.

"3. The Quincy Committee pledge themselves to use their influence
for the protection of persons and property from all violence; and
the officers of the camp and the men pledge themselves to protect
all persons and property from violence.

"4. The sick and helpless to be protected and treated with

"5. The Mormon population of the city to leave the State, or
disperse, as soon as they can cross the river.

"6. Five men, including the trustees of the church, and five
clerks, with their families (William Pickett not one of the
number), to be permitted to remain in the city for the
disposition of property, free from all molestation and personal

"7. Hostilities to cease immediately, and ten men of the Quincy
Committee to enter the city in the execution of their duty as
soon as they think proper."

The noticeable features of these terms are the omission of any
reference to the execution of Carlin's writs, and the engagement
that the Mormons should depart immediately. The latter was the
real object of the "posse's" campaign.

The Mormons had realized that they could not continue their
defence, as no reenforcements could reach them, while any
temporary check to their adversaries would only increase the
animosity of the latter. They acted, therefore, in good faith as
regards their agreement to depart. How they went is thus
described in Brayman's second report to Governor Ford: *

* For Brayman's reports, see Warsaw Signal, October 20, 1846.

"These terms were not definitely signed until the morning of
Thursday, the 17th, but, confident of their ratification, the
Mormon population had been busy through the night in removing. So
firmly had they been taught to believe that their lives, their
city, and Temple, would fall a sacrifice to the vengeance of
their enemies, if surrendered to them, that they fled in
consternation, determined to be beyond their reach at all
hazards. This scene of confusion, fright and distress was
continued throughout the forenoon. In every part of the city
scenes of destitution, misery and woe met the eye. Families were
hurrying away from their homes, without a shelter,--without means
of conveyance,--without tents, money, or a day's provision, with
as much of their household stuff as they could carry in their
hands. Sick men and women were carried upon their beds--weary
mothers, with helpless babes dying in the arms, hurried away--all
fleeing, they scarcely knew or cared whither, so it was from
their enemies, whom they feared more than the waves of the
Mississippi, or the heat, and hunger and lingering life and
dreaded death of the prairies on which they were about to be
cast. The ferry boats were crowded, and the river bank was lined
with anxious fugitives, sadly awaiting their turn to pass over
and take up their solitary march to the wilderness."

On the afternoon of the 17th, Brockman's force, with which the
members of the Quincy committee had been assigned a place,
marched into Nauvoo and through it, encamping near the river on
the southern boundary. Curiosity to see the Mormon city had
swelled the number who entered at the same time with the posse to
nearly two thousand men, but there was no disorder. The streets
were practically deserted, and the few Mormons who remained were
busy with their preparations to cross the river. Brockman, to
make his victory certain, ordered that all citizens of Nauvoo who
had sided with the Mormons should leave the state, thus including
many of the New Citizens. The order was enforced on September 18,
"with many circumstances of the utmost cruelty and injustice,"
according to Brayman's report. "Bands of armed men," he said,
"traversed the city, entering the houses of citizens, robbing
them of arms, throwing their household goods out of doors,
insulting them, and threatening their lives."

CHAPTER XXI. Nauvoo After The Exodus

Brockman's force was disbanded after its object had been
accomplished, and all returned to their homes but about one
hundred, who remained in Nauvoo to see that no Mormons came back.
These men, whose number gradually decreased, provided what
protection and government the place then enjoyed. Governor Ford
received much censure from the state at large for the lawless
doings of the recent months. A citizens' meeting at Springfield
demanded that he call out a force sufficient "to restore the
supremacy of the law, and bring the offenders to justice." He did
call on Hancock County for volunteers to restore order, but a
public meeting in Carthage practically defied him. He, however,
secured a force of about two hundred men, with which he marched
into Nauvoo, greatly to the indignation of the Hancock County
people. His stay there was marked by incidents which showed how
his erratic course in recent years had deprived him of public
respect, and which explain some of the bitterness toward the
county which characterizes his "History." One of these was the
presentation to him of a petticoat as typical of his rule. When
Ford was succeeded as governor by French, the latter withdrew the
militia from the county, and, in an address to the citizens,
said, "I confidently rely upon your assistance and influence to
aid in preventing any act of a violent character in future."
Matters in the county then quieted down. The Warsaw newspapers,
in place of anti-Mormon literature, began to print appeals to new
settlers, setting forth the advantages of the neighborhood. But a
newspaper war soon followed between two factions in Nauvoo, one
of which contended that the place was an assemblage of gamblers
and saloon-keepers, while the other defended its reputation. This
latter view, however, was not established, and most of the houses
remained tenantless.

Amid all their troubles in Nauvoo the Mormon authorities never
lost sight of one object, the completion of the Temple. To the
non-Mormons, and even to many in the church, it seemed
inexplicable why so much zeal and money should be expended in
finishing a structure that was to be at once abandoned. Before
the agreement to leave the state was made, a Warsaw newspaper
predicted that the completion of the Temple would end the reign
of the Mormon leaders, since their followers were held together
by the expectation of some supernatural manifestation of power in
their behalf at that time* Another outside newspaper suggested
that they intended to use it as a fort.

* A man from the neighborhood who visited Nauvoo in 1843 to buy
calves called on a blind man, of whom he says: "He told me he had
a nice home in Massachusetts, which gave them a good support. But
one of the Mormon elders preaching in that country called on him
and told him if he would sell out and go to Nauvoo the Prophet
would restore his sight. He sold out and had come to the city and
spent all his means, and was now in great need. I asked why the
Prophet did not open his eyes. He replied that Joseph had
informed him that he could not open his eyes till the Temple was
finished."--Gregg, "History of Hancock County," p. 375.

Orson Pratt, in a letter to the Saints in the Eastern states,
written at the time of the agreement to depart, answering the
query why the Lord commanded them to build a house out of which
he would then suffer them to be driven at once, quoted a
paragraph from the "revelation" of January 19, 1841, which
commanded the building of the Temple "that you may prove
yourselves unto me, that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever
I command you, that I may bless you and cover you with honor,
immortality, and eternal life."

The cap-stone of the Temple was laid in place early on the
morning of May 24, 1845, amid shouts of "Hosannah to God and the
Lamb," music by the band, and the singing of a hymn.

The first meeting was held in the Temple on October 5, 1845, and
from that time the edifice was used almost constantly in
administering the ordinances (baptism, endowment,etc.). Brigham
Young says that on one occasion he continued this work from 5
P.M. to 3.30 A.M., and others of the Quorum assisted.

The ceremony of the "endowment," although considered very secret,
has been described by many persons who have gone through it. The
descriptions by Elder Hyde and I. McGee Van Dusen and his wife go
into details. A man and wife received notice to appear at the
Temple at Nauvoo at 5 A.m., he to wear white drawers, and she to
bring her nightclothes with her. Passing to the upper floor, they
were told to remove their hats and outer wraps, and were then led
into a narrow hall, at the end of which stood a man who directed
the husband to pass through a door on the right, and the wife to
one on the left. The candidates were then questioned as to their
preparation for the initiation, and if this resulted
satisfactorily, they were directed to remove all their outer
clothing. This ended the "first degree." In the next room their
remaining clothing was removed and they received a bath, with
some mummeries which may best be omitted. Next they were anointed
all over with oil poured from a horn, and pronounced "the Lord's
anointed," and a priest ordained them to be "king (or queen) in
time and eternity." The man was now furnished with a white cotton
undergarment of an original design, over which he put his shirt,
and the woman was given a somewhat similar article, together with
a chemise, nightgown,, and white stockings. Each was then
conducted into another apartment and left there alone in silence
for some time. Then a rumbling noise was heard, and Brigham Young
appeared, reciting some words, beginning "Let there be light,"
and ending "Now let us make man in our image, after our
likeness." Approaching the man first, he went through a form of
making him out of the dust; then, passing into the other room, he
formed the woman out of a rib he had taken from the man. Giving
this Eve to the man Adam, he led them into a large room decorated
to represent Eden, and, after giving them divers instructions,
left them to themselves.

Much was said in later years about the requirement of the
endowment oath. When General Maxwell tried to prevent the seating
of Cannon as Delegate to Congress in 1873, one of his charges was
that Cannon had, in the Endowment House, taken an oath against
the United States government. This called out affidavits by some
of the leading anti-Young Mormons of the day, including E. L. T.
Harrison, that they had gone through the Endowment House without
taking any oath of the kind. But Hyde, in his description of the
ceremony, says:--

"We were sworn to cherish constant enmity toward the United
States Government for not avenging the death of Smith, or
righting the persecutions of the Saints; to do all that we could
toward destroying, tearing down or overturning that government;
to endeavor to baffle its designs and frustrate its intentions;
to renounce all allegiance and refuse all submission. If unable
to do anything ourselves toward the accomplishment of these
objects, to teach it to our children from the nursery, impress it
upon them from the death bed, entail it upon them as a legacy." *

* Hyde's "Mormonism," p. 97.

In the suit of Charlotte Arthur against Brigham Young's estate,
to recover a lot in Salt Lake City which she alleged that Young
had unlawfully taken possession of, her verified complaint (filed
July 11, 1874) alleged that the endowment oath contained the
following declaration:-- "To obey him, the Lord's anointed, in
all his orders, spiritual and temporal, and the priesthood or
either of them, and all church authorities in like manner; that
this obligation is superior to all the laws of the United States,
and all earthly laws; that enmity should be cherished against the
government of the United States; that the blood of Joseph Smith,
the Prophet, and Apostles slain in this generation shall be

As soon as the agreement to leave the state was made, the Mormons
tried hard to sell or lease the Temple, but in vain; and when the
last Mormon departed, the structure was left to the mercy of the
Hancock County "posse." Colonel Kane, in his description of his
visit to Nauvoo soon after the evacuation, says that the militia
had defiled and defaced such features as the shrines and the
baptismal font, the apartment containing the latter being
rendered "too noisome to abide in."

Had the building been permitted to stand, it would have been to
Nauvoo something on which the town could have looked as its most
remarkable feature. But early on the morning of November 19,
1848, the structure was found to be on fire, evidently the work
of an incendiary, and what the flames could eat up was soon
destroyed. The Nauvoo Patriot deplored the destruction of "a work
of art at once the most elegant in its construction, and the most
renowned in its celebrity, of any in the whole West."

When the Icarians, a band of French Socialists, settled in
Nauvoo, they undertook, in 1850, to rebuild the edifice for use
as their halls of reunion and schools. After they had expended on
this work a good deal of time and labor, the city was visited by
a cyclone on May 27 of that year, which left standing only a part
of the west wall. Out of the stone the Icarians then built a
school house, but nothing original now remains on the site except
the old well.

The Nauvoo of to-day is a town of only 1321 inhabitants. The
people are largely of German origin, and the leading occupation
is fruit growing. The site of the Temple is occupied by two
modern buildings. A part of Nauvoo House is still standing, as
are Brigham Young's former residence, Joseph Smith's "new
mansion," and other houses which Mormons occupied.

The Mormons in Iowa were no more popular with their non-Mormon
neighbors there than were those in Illinois, and after the
murders by the Hodges, and other crimes charged to the brethren,
a mass meeting of Lee County inhabitants was held, which adopted
resolutions declaring that the Mormons and the old settlers could
not live together and that the Mormons must depart, citizens
being requested to aid in this movement by exchanging property
with the emigrants. In 1847 the last of these objectionable
citizens left the county.

BOOK V. The Migration To Utah

CHAPTER I. Preparations For The Long March

Two things may be accepted as facts with regard to the migration
of the Mormons westward from Illinois: first, that they would not
have moved had they not been compelled to; and second, that they
did not know definitely where they were going when they started.
Although Joseph Smith showed an uncertainty of his position by
his instruction that the Twelve should look for a place in
California or Oregon to which his people might move, he
considered this removal so remote a possibility that he was at
the same time beginning his campaign for the presidency of the
United States. As late as the spring of 1845, removal was
considered by the leaders as only an alternative. In April,
Brigham Young, Willard Richards, the two Pratts, and others
issued an address to President Polk, which was sent to the
governors of all the states but Illinois and Missouri, setting
forth their previous trials, and containing this declaration:--
"In the name of Israel's God, and by virtue of multiplied ties of
country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our
favor. Will it be too much for us to ask you to convene a special
session of Congress and furnish us an asylum where we can enjoy
our rights of conscience and religion unmolested? Or will you, in
special message to that body when convened, recommend a
remonstrance against such unhallowed acts of oppression and
expatriation as this people have continued to receive from the
states of Missouri and Illinois? Or will you favor us by your
personal influence and by your official rank? Or will you express
your views concerning what is called the Great Western Measure of
colonizing the Latter-Day Saints in Oregon, the Northwestern
Territory, or some location remote from the states, where the
hand of oppression will not crush every noble principle and
extinguish every patriotic feeling?" After the publication of the
correspondence between the Hardin commission and the Mormon
authorities, Orson Pratt issued an appeal "to American citizens,"
in which, referring to what he called the proposed "banishment"
of the Mormons, he said: "Ye fathers of the Revolution! Ye
patriots of '76! Is it for this ye toiled and suffered and bled?
. . . Must they be driven from this renowned republic to seek an
asylum among other nations, or wander as hopeless exiles among
the red men of the western wilds? Americans, will ye suffer this?
Editors, will ye not speak? Fellow-citizens, will ye not awake?"*

* Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 193.

Their destination could not have been determined in advance,
because so little was known of the Far West. The territory now
embraced in the boundaries of California and Utah was then under
Mexican government, and "California" was, in common use, a name
covering the Pacific coast and a stretch of land extending
indefinitely eastward. Oregon had been heard of a good deal, and
it, as well as Vancouver Island, had been spoken of as a possible
goal if a westward migration became necessary. Lorenzo Snow, in
describing the westward start, said: "On the first of March, the
ground covered with snow, we broke encampment about noon, and
soon nearly four hundred wagons were moving to--WE KNEW NOT

* "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 86.

The first step taken by the Mormon authorities to explain the
removal to their people was an explanation made at a conference
in the new Temple, three days after the correspondence with the
commission closed. P. P. Pratt stated to the conference that the
removal meant that the Lord designed to lead them to a wider
field of action, where no one could say that they crowded their
neighbors. In such a place they could, in five years, become
richer than they then were, and could build a bigger and a better
Temple. "It has cost us," said he, "more for sickness, defence
against mob exactions, persecutions, and to purchase lands in
this place, than as much improvement will cost in another." It
was then voted unanimously that the Saints would move en masse to
the West, and that every man would give all the help he could to
assist the poorer members of the community in making the

* Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 196. Wilford Woodruff, in an
appeal to the Saints in Great Britain, asked them to buy Mormon
books in order to assist the Presidency with funds with which to
take the poor Saints with them westward.

Brigham Young next issued an address to the church at large,
stating that even the Mormon Bible had foretold what might be the
conduct of the American nation toward "the Israel of the last
days," and urging all to prepare to make the journey. A
conference of Mormons in New York City on November 12, 1845,
attended by brethren from New York State, New Jersey, and
Connecticut, voted that "the church in this city move, one and
all, west of the Rocky Mountains between this and next season,
either by land or by water."

Active preparations for the removal began in and around Nauvoo at
once. All who had property began trading it for articles that
would be needed on the journey. Real estate was traded or sold
for what it would bring, and the Eagle was full of advertisements
of property to sell, including the Mansion House, Masonic Hall,
and the Armory. The Mormons would load in wagons what furniture
they could not take West with them, and trade it in the
neighborhood for things more useful. The church authorities
advertised for one thousand yokes of oxen and all the cattle and
mules that might be offered, oxen bringing from $40 to $50 a
yoke. The necessary outfit for a family of five was calculated to
be one wagon, three yokes of cattle, two cows, two beef cattle,
three sheep, one thousand pounds of flour, twenty pounds of
sugar, a tent and bedding, seeds, farming tools, and a rifle--all
estimated to cost about $250. Three or four hundred Mormons were
sent to more distant points in Illinois and Iowa for draft
animals, and, when the Western procession started, they boasted
that they owned the best cattle and horses in the country.

In the city the men were organized into companies, each of which
included such workmen as wagonmakers, blacksmiths, and
carpenters, and the task of making wagons, tents, etc., was
hurried to the utmost. "Nauvoo was constituted into one great
wagon shop," wrote John Taylor. If any members of the community
were not skilled in the work now in demand, they were sent to St.
Louis, Galena, Burlington, or some other of the larger towns, to
find profitable employment during the winter, and thus add to the
moving fund.

On January 20, 1846, the High Council issued a circular
announcing that, early in March, a company of hardy young men,
with some families, would be sent into the Western country, with
farming utensils and seed, to put in a crop and erect houses for
others who would follow as soon as the grass was high enough for

This circular contained also the following declaration:--

"We venture to say that our brethren have made no counterfeit
money; and if any miller has received $1500 base coin in a week
from us, let him testify. If any land agent of the general
government has received wagon loads of base coin from us in
payment for lands, let him say so. Or if he has received any at
all, let him tell it. These witnesses against us have spun a long

This referred to the charges of counterfeiting, which had
resulted in the indictment of some of the Twelve at Springfield,
and which hastened the first departures across the river. That
counterfeiting was common in the Western country at that time is
a matter of history, and the Mormons themselves had accused such
leading members of their church as Cowdery of being engaged in
the business. The persons indicted at Springfield were never
tried, so that the question of their guilt cannot be decided.
Tullidge's pro-Mormon "Life of Brigham Young" mentions an
incident which occurred when the refugees had gone only as far as
the Chariton River in Iowa, which both admits that they had
counterfeit money among them, and shows the mild view which a
Bishop of the church took of the offence of passing it:-- "About
this time also an attempt was made to pass counterfeit money. It
was the case of a young man who bought from a Mr. Cochran a yoke
of oxen, a cow and a chain for $50. Bishop Miller wrote to
Brigham to excuse the young man, but to help Cochran to
restitution. The President was roused to great anger, the Bishop
was severely rebuked, and the anathemas of the leader from that
time were thundered against thieves and 'bogus men,' and passers
of bogus money .... The following is a minute of his diary of a
council on the next Sunday, with the twelve bishops and captains:
"I told them I was satisfied the course we were taking would
prove to be the salvation, not only of the camp but of the Saints
left behind. But there had been things done which were wrong.
Some pleaded our sufferings from persecution, and the loss of our
homes and property, as a justification for retaliating on our
enemies; but such a course tends to destroy the Kingdom of God."

As soon as the leaders decided to make a start, they sent a
petition to the governor of Iowa Territory, explaining their
intention to pass through that domain, and asking for his
protection during the temporary stay they might make there. No
opposition to them seems to have been shown by the Iowans, who on
the contrary employed them as laborers, sold them such goods as
they could pay for, and invited their musicians to give concerts
at the resting points. Lee's experience in Iowa confirmed him, he
says, in his previous opinion that much of the Mormons' trouble
was due to "wild, ignorant fanatics"; "for," he adds, "only a few
years before, these same people were our most bitter enemies,
and, when we came again and behaved ourselves, they treated us
with the utmost kindness and hospitality."*

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 179.

How much property the Mormons sacrificed in Illinois cannot be
ascertained with accuracy. An investigation of all the testimony
obtainable on the subject leads to the conclusion that a good
deal of their real estate was disposed of at a fair price, and
that there were many cases of severe individual loss. Major
Warren, in a communication to the Signal from Nauvoo, in May,
1846, said that few of the Mormons' farms remained unsold, and
that three-fourths of the improved property on the flat in Nauvoo
had been disposed of.

A correspondent of the Signal, answering on April 11 an assertion
that the Mormons had a good deal of real estate to dispose of
before they could leave, replied that most of their farms were
sold, and that there were more inquiries after the others than
there were farms. As to the real estate in the city, he

"It is scattered over an area of eight or ten square miles, and
contains from 1500 to 2000 houses, four-fifths of which, at
least, are wretched cabins of no permanent value whatever. There
are, however, 200 or 300 houses, large and small, built of brick
and other desirable material. Such will mostly sell, though many
of them, owing to the distance from the river and other
unfavorable circumstances, only at a very great sacrifice." *

* "A score or more of chimneys on the northern boundary of the
city marked the site of houses deliberately burned for fuel
during the winter of 1845-1846." --Hancock Eagle, May 29,1846.

A general epistle to the church from the Twelve, dated Winter
Quarters, December 23, 1847, stated that the property of the
Saints in Hancock County was "little or no better than
confiscated." *

* See John Taylor's address, p. 411 post.

CHAPTER II. From The Mississippi To The Missouri

The first party to leave Nauvoo began crossing the Mississippi
early in February, 1846, using flatboats propelled by oars for
the wagons and animals, and small boats for persons and the
lighter baggage. It soon became colder and snow fell, and after
the 16th those who remained were able to cross on the ice.

Brigham Young, with a few attendants, had crossed on February 10,
and selected a point on Sugar Creek as a gathering place.* He
seems to have returned secretly to the city for a few days to
arrange for the departure of his family, and Lee says that he did
not have teams enough at that time for their conveyance, adding,
"such as were in danger of being arrested were helped away
first." John Taylor says that those who crossed the river in
February included the Twelve, the High Council, and about four
hundred families.**

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 171.

** "February 14 I crossed the river with my family and teams, and
encamped not far from the Sugar Creek encampment, taking
possession of a vacant log house on account of the extreme
cold."--P. P. Pratt, "Autobiography," p. 378.

"Camp of Israel" was the name adopted for the camp in which
President Young and the Twelve might be, and this name moved
westward with them. The camp on Sugar Creek was the first of
these, and there, on February 17, Young addressed the company
from a wagon. He outlined the journey before them, declaring that
order would be preserved, and that all who wished to live in
peace when the actual march began "must toe the mark," ending
with a call for a show of hands by those who wanted to make the
move. The vote in favor of going West was unanimous.*

* "At a Council in Nauvoo of the men who were to act as the
captains of the people in that famous exodus, one after the other
brought up difficulties in their path, until the prospect was
without one poor speck of daylight. The good nature of George A.
Smith was provoked at last, when he sprang up and observed, with
his quaint humor, that had now a touch of the grand in it, 'If
there is no God in Israel we are a sucked-in set of fellows. But
I am going to take my family and the Lord will open the
way.'"--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," p.17.

The turning out of doors in midwinter of so many persons of all
ages and both sexes, accustomed to the shelter of comfortable
homes, entailed much suffering. A covered wagon or a tent is a
poor protection from wintry blasts, and a camp fire in the open
air, even with a bright sky overhead, is a poor substitute for a
stove. Their first move, therefore, gave the emigrants a taste of
the trials they were to endure. While they were at Sugar Creek
the thermometer dropped to 20 degrees below zero, and heavy falls
of snow occurred. Several children were born at this point,
before the actual Western journey began, and the sick and the
feeble entered upon their sufferings at once. Before that camp
broke up it was found necessary, too, to buy grain for the

The camp was directly in charge of the Twelve until the Chariton
River was reached. There, on March 27, it was divided into
companies containing from 50 to 60 wagons, the companies being
put in charge of captains of fifties and captains of
tens--suggesting Smith's "Army of Zion." The captains of fifties
were responsible directly to the High Council. There were also a
commissary general, and, for each fifty, a contracting commissary
"to make righteous distribution of grains and provisions." Strict
order was maintained by day while the column was in motion, and,
whenever there was a halt, special care was taken to secure the
cattle and the horses, while at night watches were constantly
maintained. The story of the march to the Missouri does not
contain a mention of any hostile meeting with Indians.

The company remained on Sugar Creek for about a month, receiving
constant accessions from across the river, and on the first of
March the real westward movement began. The first objective point
was Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River, about 400 miles
distant; but on the way several camps were established, at which
some of the emigrants stopped to plant seeds and make other
arrangements for the comfort of those who were to follow. The
first of these camps was located at Richardson's Point in Lee
County, Iowa, 55 miles from Nauvoo; the next on Chariton River;
the next on Locust Creek; the next, named by them Garden Grove,
on a branch of Grand River, some 150 miles from Nauvoo; and
another, which P. P. Pratt named Mt. Pisgah, on Grand River, 138
miles east of Council Bluffs. The camp on the Missouri first made
was called Winter Quarters, and was situated just north of the
present site of Omaha, where the town now called Florence is
located. It was not until July that the main body arrived at
Council Bluffs.

The story of this march is a remarkable one in many ways. Begun
in winter, with the ground soon covered with snow, the travellers
encountered arctic weather, with the inconveniences of ice, rain,
and mud, until May. After a snowfall they would have to scrape
the ground when they had selected a place for pitching the tents.
After a rain, or one of the occasional thaws, the country (there
were no regular roads) would be practically impassable for teams,
and they would have to remain in camp until the water
disappeared, and the soil would bear the weight of the wagons
after it was corduroyed with branches of trees. At one time bad
roads caused a halt of two or three weeks. Fuel was not always
abundant, and after a cold night it was no unusual thing to find
wet garments and bedding frozen stiff in the morning. Here is an
extract from Orson Pratt's diary:-- "April 9. The rain poured
down in torrents. With great exertion a part of the camp were
enabled to get about six miles, while others were stuck fast in
the deep mud. We encamped at a point of timber about sunset,
after being drenched several hours in rain. We were obliged to
cut brush and limbs of trees, and throw them upon the ground in
our tents, to keep our beds from sinking in the mud. Our animals
were turned loose to look out for themselves; the bark and limbs
of trees were their principal food." **

* Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p. 370.

Game was plenty,--deer, wild turkeys, and prairie hens,--but
while the members of this party were better supplied with
provisions than their followers, there was no surplus among them,
and by April many families were really destitute of food. Eliza
Snow mentions that her brother Lorenzo--one of the captains of
tens--had two wagons, a small tent, a cow, and a scanty supply
of provisions and clothing, and that "he was much better off than
some of our neighbors." Heber C. Kimball, one of the Twelve, says
of the situation of his family, that he had the ague, and his
wife was in bed with it, with two children, one a few days old,
lying by her, and the oldest child well enough to do any
household work was a boy who could scarcely carry a two-quart
pail of water. Mrs. F. D. Richards, whose husband was ordered on
a mission to England while the camp was at Sugar Creek, was
prematurely confined in a wagon on the way to the Missouri. The
babe died, as did an older daughter. "Our situation," she says,
"was pitiable; I had not suitable food for myself or my child;
the severe rain prevented our having any fire."

The adaptability of the American pioneer to his circumstances was
shown during this march in many ways. When a halt occurred, a
shoemaker might be seen looking for a stone to serve as a lap
stone in his repair work, or a gunsmith mending a rifle, or a
weaver at a wheel or loom. The women learned that the jolting
wagons would churn their milk, and, when a halt occurred, it took
them but a short time to heat an oven hollowed out of a hillside,
in which to bake the bread already "raised." Colonel Kane says
that he saw a piece of cloth, the wool for which was sheared,
dyed, spun, and woven during this march.

The leaders of the company understood the people they had in
charge, and they looked out for their good spirits. Captain
Pitt's brass band was included in the equipment, and the camp was
not thoroughly organized before, on a clear evening, a dance--the
Mormons have always been great dancers--was announced, and the
visiting Iowans looked on in amazement, to see these exiles from
comfortable homes thus enjoying themselves on the open prairie,
the highest dignitaries leading in Virginia reels and Copenhagen

John Taylor, whose pictures of this march, painted with a view to
attract English emigrants, were always highly colored, estimated
that, when he left Council Bluffs for England, in July, 1846,
there were in camp and on the way 15,000 Mormons, with 3000
wagons, 30,000 head of cattle, a great many horses and mules, and
a vast number of sheep. Colonel Kane says that, besides the
wagons, there was "a large number of nondescript turnouts, the
motley makeshifts of poverty; from the unsuitable heavy cart that
lumbered on mysteriously, with its sick driver hidden under its
counterpane cover, to the crazy two-wheeled trundle, such as our
own poor employ in the conveyance of their slop barrels, this
pulled along, it may be, by a little dry-dugged heifer, and
rigged up only to drag some such light weight as a baby, a sack
of meal or a pack of clothes and bedding." *

* "The Mormons," a lecture by Colonel T. L. Kane.

There was no large supply of cash to keep this army and its
animals in provisions. Every member who could contribute to the
commissary department by his labor was expected to do so. The
settlers in the territory seem to have been in need of such
assistance, and were very glad to pay for it in grain, hay, or
provisions. A letter from one of the emigrants to a friend in
England* said that, in every settlement they passed through, they
found plenty of work, digging wells and cellars, splitting rails,
threshing, ploughing, and clearing land. Some of the men in the
spring were sent south into Missouri, not more than forty miles
from Far West, in search of employment. This they readily
secured, no one raising the least objection to a Mormon who was
not to be a permanent settler. Others were sent into that state
to exchange horses, feather beds, and other personal property for
cows and provisions.

* Millennial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 59.

A part of the plan of operations provided for sending out
pioneers to select the route and camping sites, to make bridges
where they were necessary, and to open roads. The party carried
light boats, but a good many bridges seem to have been required
because of the spring freshets. It was while resting after a
march through prolonged rain and mud, late in April, that it was
decided to establish the permanent camp called Garden Grove.
Hundreds of men were at once set to work, making log houses and
fences, digging wells, and ploughing, and soon hundreds of acres
were enclosed and planted.

The progress made during April was exasperatingly slow. There was
soft mud during the day, and rough ruts in the early morning.
Sometimes camp would be pitched after making only a mile;
sometimes they would think they had done well if they had made
six. The animals, in fact, were so thin from lack of food that
they could not do a day's work even under favorable
circumstances. The route, after the middle of April, was turned
to the north, and they then travelled over a broken prairie
country, where the game had been mostly killed off by the
Pottawottomi Indians, whose trails and abandoned camps were
encountered constantly.

On May 16, as the two Pratts and others were in advance, locating
the route, P. P. Pratt discovered the site of what was called Mt.
Pisgah (the post-office of Mt. Pisgah of to-day) which he thus
describes: "Riding about three or four miles over beautiful
prairies, I came suddenly to some round sloping hills, grassy,
and crowned with beautiful groves of timber, while alternate open
groves and forests seemed blended into all the beauty and harmony
of an English park. Beneath and beyond, on the west, rolled a
main branch of Grand River, with its rich bottoms of alternate
forest and prairie."* As soon as Young and the other high
dignitaries arrived, it was decided to form a settlement there,
and several thousand acres were enclosed for cultivation, and
many houses were built.

* Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 381.

Young and most of the first party continued their westward march
through an uninhabited country, where they had to make their own
roads. But they met with no opposition from Indians, and the head
of the procession reached the banks of the Missouri near Council
Bluffs in June, other companies following in quite rapid

The company which was the last to leave Nauvoo (on September 17),
driven out by the Hancock County forces, endured sufferings much
greater than did the early companies who were conducted by
Brigham Young. The latter comprised the well-to-do of the city
and all the high officers of the church, while the remnant left
behind was made up of the sick and those who had not succeeded in
securing the necessary equipment for the journey. Brayman, in his
second report to Governor Ford, said:--

"Those of the Mormons who were wealthy or possessed desirable
real estate in the city had sold and departed last spring. I am
inclined to the opinion that the leaders of the church took with
them all the movable wealth of their people that they could
control, without making proper provision for those who remained.
Consequently there was much destitution among them; much sickness
and distress. I traversed the city, and visited in company with a
practising physician the sick, and almost invariably found them
destitute, to a painful extent, of the comforts of life."*

* Warsaw Signal, October 20, 1846.

It was on the 18th of September that the last of these
unfortunates crossed the river, making 640 who were then
collected on the west bank. Illness had not been accepted by the
"posse" as an excuse for delay. Thomas Bullock says that his
family, consisting of a husband, wife, blind mother-in-law, four
children, and an aunt, "all shaking with the ague," were given
twenty minutes in which to get their goods into two wagons and
start.* The west bank in Iowa, where the people landed, was
marshy and unhealthy, and the suffering at what was called "Poor
Camp," a short distance above Montrose, was intense. Severe
storms were frequent, and the best cover that some of the people
could obtain was a tent made of a blanket or a quilt, or even of
brush, or the shelter to be had under the wagons of those who
were fortunate enough to be thus equipped. Bullock thus describes
one night's experience: "On Monday, September 23, while in my
wagon on the slough opposite Nauvoo, a most tremendous
thunderstorm passed over, which drenched everything we had. Not a
dry thing left us--the bed a pool of water, my wife and
mother-in-law lading it out by basinfuls, and I in a burning
fever and insensible, with all my hair shorn off to cure me of my
disease. A poor woman stood among the bushes, wrapping her cloak
around her three little orphan children, to shield them from the
storm as well as she could." The, supply of food, too, was
limited, their flour being wheat ground in hand mills, and even
this at times failing; then roasted corn was substituted, the
grain being mixed by some with slippery elm bark to eke it out.**
The people of Hancock County contributed something in the way of
clothing and provisions and a little money in aid of these
sufferers, and the trustees of the church who were left in Nauvoo
to sell property gave what help they could.

*Millennial Star, Vol. X, p. 28.

** Bancrofts "History of Utah," p. 233,

On October 9 wagons sent back by the earlier emigrants for their
unfortunate brethren had arrived, and the start for the Missouri
began. Bullock relates that, just as they were ready to set out,
a great flight of quails settled in the camp, running around the
wagons so near that they could be knocked over with sticks, and
the children caught some alive. One bird lighted upon their tea
board, in the midst of the cups, while they were at breakfast. It
was estimated that five hundred of the birds were flying about
the camp that day, but when one hundred had been killed or
caught, the captain forbade the killing of any more, "as it was a
direct manifestation and visitation by the Lord." Young closes
his account of this incident with the words, "Tell this to the
nations of the earth! Tell it to the kings and nobles and great

Wells, in his manuscript, "Utah Notes" (quoted by H. H.
Bancroft), says: "This phenomenon extended some thirty or forty
miles along the river, and was generally observed. The quail in
immense quantities had attempted to cross the river, but this
being beyond their strength, had dropped into the river boats or
on the banks."*

* Bancroft's "History of Utah," p. 234, note.

The westward march of these refugees was marked by more hardships
than that of the earlier bodies, because they were in bad
physical condition and were in no sense properly equipped.
Council Bluffs was not reached till November 27.

The division of the emigrants and their progress was thus noted
in an interview, printed in the Nauvoo Eagle of July 10, with a
person who had left Council Bluffs on June 26, coming East. The
advance company, including the Twelve, with a train of 1000
wagons, was then encamped on the east bank of the Missouri, the
men being busy building boats. The second company, 3000 strong,
were at Mt. Pisgah, recruiting their cattle for a new start. The
third company had halted at Garden Grove. Between Garden Grove
and the Mississippi River the Eagle's informant counted more than
1000 wagons on their way west. He estimated the total number of
teams engaged in this movement at about 3700, and the number of
persons on the road at 12,000. The Eagle added:--

"From 2000 to 3000 have disappeared from Nauvoo in various
directions, and about 800 or less still remain in Illinois. This
comprises the entire Mormon population that once flourished in
Hancock County. In their palmy days they probably numbered 15,000
or 16,000."

The camp that had been formed at Mt. Pisgah suffered severely
from the start. Provisions were scarce, and a number of families
were dependent for food on neighbors who had little enough for
themselves. Fodder for the cattle gave out, too, and in the early
spring the only substitute was buds and twigs of trees. Snow
notes as a calamity the death of his milch cow, which had been
driven all the way from Ohio. Along with their destitution came
sickness, and at times during the following winter it seemed as
if there were not enough of the well to supply the needed nurses.
So many deaths occurred during that autumn and winter that a
funeral came to be conducted with little ceremony, and even the
customary burial clothes could not be provided.* Elder W.
Huntington, the presiding officer of the settlement, was among
the early victims, and Lorenzo Snow, the recent head of the
Mormon church, succeeded him. During Snow's stay there three of
his four wives gave birth to children.

* "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 90.

Notwithstanding these depressing circumstances, the camp was by
no means inactive during the winter. Those who were well were
kept busy repairing wagons, and making, in a rude way, such
household articles as were most needed--chairs, tubs, and
baskets. Parties were sent out to the settlements within reach to
work, accepting food and clothing as pay, and two elders were
selected to visit the states in search of contributions. These
efforts were so successful that about $600 was raised, and the
camp sent to Brigham Young at Council Bluffs a load of provisions
as a New Year's gift.

The usual religious meetings were kept up during the winter, and
the utility of amusements in such a settlement was not forgotten.
Ingenuity was taxed to give variety to the social entertainments.
Snow describes a "party" that he gave in his family mansion--"a
one-story edifice about fifteen by thirty feet, constructed of
logs, with a dirt roof, a ground floor, and a chimney made of
sod." Many a man compelled to house four wives (one of them with
three sons by a former husband) in such a mansion would have felt
excused from entertaining company. But the Snows did not. For a
carpet the floor was strewn with straw. The logs of the sides of
the room were concealed with sheets. Hollowed turnips provided
candelabras, which were stuck around the walls and suspended from
the roof. The company were entertained with songs, recitations,
conundrums, etc., and all voted that they had a very jolly time.

In the larger camps the travellers were accustomed to make what
they called "boweries"--large arbors covered with a framework of
poles, and thatched with brush or branches. The making of such
"boweries" was continued by the Saints in Utah.

CHAPTER III. The Mormon Battalion

During the halt of a part of the main body of the Mormons at Mt.
Pisgah, an incident occurred which has been made the subject of a
good deal of literature, and has been held up by the Mormons as a
proof both of the severity of the American government toward them
and of their own patriotism. There is so little ground for either
of these claims that the story of the Battalion should be
correctly told.

When hostilities against Mexico began, early in 1846, the plan of
campaign designed by the United States authorities comprised an
invasion of Mexico at two points, by Generals Taylor and Wool,
and a descent on Santa Fe, and thence a march into California.
This march was to be made by General Stephen F. Kearney, who was
to command the volunteers raised in Missouri, and the few hundred
regular troops then at Fort Leavenworth. In gathering his force
General (then Colonel) Kearney sent Captain J. Allen of the First
Dragoons to the Mormons at Mt. Pisgah, not with an order of any
kind, but with a written proposition, dated June 26, 1846, that
he "would accept the service, for twelve months, of four or five
companies of Mormon men" (each numbering from 73 to 109), to
unite with the Army of the West at Santa Fe, and march thence to
California, where they would be discharged. These volunteers were
to have the regular volunteers' pay and allowances, and
permission to retain at their discharge the arms and equipments
with which they would be provided, the age limit to be between
eighteen and forty-five years. The most practical inducement held
out to the Mormons to enlist was thus explained: "Thus is offered
to the Mormon people now--this year --an opportunity of sending a
portion of their young and intelligent men to the ultimate
destination of their whole people, and entirely at the expense of
the United States; and this advance party can thus pave the way
and look out the land for their brethren to come after them."

There was nothing like a "demand" on the Mormons in this
invitation, and the advantage of accepting it was largely on the
Mormon side. If it had not been, it would have been rejected.
That the government was in no stress for volunteers is shown by
the fact that General Kearney reported to the War Department in
the following August that he had more troops than he needed, and
that he proposed to use some of them to reenforce General Wool.*

* Chase's "History of the Polk Administration," p. 16.

The initial suggestion about the raising of these Mormon
volunteers came from a Mormon source.* In the spring of 1846
Jesse C. Little, a Mormon elder of the Eastern states, visited
Washington with letters of introduction from Governor Steele of
New Hampshire and Colonel Thomas L. Kane of Philadelphia, hoping
to secure from the government a contract to carry provisions or
naval stores to the Pacific coast, and thus pay part of the
expense of conveying Mormons to California by water. According to
Little, this matter was laid before the cabinet, who proposed
that he should visit the Mormon camp and raise 1000 picked men to
make a dash for California overland, while as many more would be
sent around Cape Horn from the Eastern states. This big scheme,
according to Mormon accounts, was upset by one of the hated
Missourians, Senator Thomas H. Benton, whose Macchiavellian mind
had designed the plan of taking from the Mormons 500 of their
best men for the Battalion, thus crippling them while in the
Indian country. All this part of their account is utterly
unworthy of belief. If 500 volunteers for the army "crippled" the
immigrants where they were, what would have been their condition
if 1000 of their number had been hurried on to California ? **

* Tullidge's "Life of Brigham Young," p. 47

** Delegate Berahisel, in a letter to President Fillmore
(December 1, 1851), replying to a charge by Judge Brocchus that
the 24th of July orators had complained of the conduct of the
government in taking the Battalion from them for service against
Mexico, said, "The government did not take from us a battalion of
men," the Mormons furnishing them in response to a call for

Aside from the opportunity afforded by General Kearney's
invitation to send a pioneer band, without expense to themselves,
to the Pacific coast, the offer gave the Mormons great, and
greatly needed, pecuniary assistance. P. P. Pratt, on his way
East to visit England with Taylor and Hyde, found the Battalion
at Fort Leavenworth, and was sent back to the camp* with between
$5000 and $6000, a part of the Battalion's government allowance.
This was a godsend where cash was so scarce, as it enabled the
commissary officers to make purchases in St. Louis, where prices
were much lower than in western Iowa.** John Taylor, in a letter
to the Saints in Great Britain on arriving there, quoted the
acceptance of this Battalion as evidence that "the President of
the United States is favorably disposed to us," and said that
their employment in the army, as there was no prospect of any
fighting, "amounts to the same as paying them for going where
they were destined to go without."***

* "Unexpected as this visit was, a member of my family had been
warned in a dream, and had predicted my arrival and the
day."--Pratt, "Autobiography," p. 384.

** "History of Brigham Young," Ms., 1846, p. 150.

*** Millennial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 117.

The march of the federal force that went from Santa Fe (where the
Mormon Battalion arrived in October) to California was a notable
one, over unexplored deserts, where food was scarce and water for
long distances unobtainable. Arriving at the junction of the Gila
and Colorado rivers on December 26, they received there an order
to march to San Diego, California, and arrived there on January
29, after a march of over two thousand miles.

The war in California was over at that date, but the Battalion
did garrison duty at San Luis Rey, and then at Los Angeles.
Various propositions for their reenlistment were made to them,
but their church officers opposed this, and were obeyed except in
some individual instances. About 150 of those who set out from
Santa Fe were sent back invalided before California was reached,
and the number mustered out was only about 240. These at once
started eastward, but, owing to news received concerning the
hardships of the first Mormons who arrived in Salt Lake Valley,
many of them decided to remain in California, and a number were
hired by Sutter, on whose mill-race the first discovery of gold
in that state was made. Those who kept on reached Salt Lake
Valley on October 16, 1847. Thirty-two of their number continued
their march to Winter Quarters on the Missouri, where they
arrived on December 18.

Mormon historians not only present the raising of the Battalion
as a proof of patriotism, but ascribe to the members of that
force the credit of securing California to the United States, and
the discovery of gold.*

* "The Mormons have always been disposed to overestimate the
value of their services during this period, attaching undue
importance to the current rumors of intending revolt on the part
of the Californians, and of the approach of Mexican troops to
reconquer the province. They also claim the credit of having
enabled Kearney to sustain his authority against the
revolutionary pretensions of Fremont. The merit of this claim
will be apparent to the readers of preceding
chapters."--Bancroft, "History of California," Vol. V, p. 487.

When Elder Little left Washington for the West with despatches
for General Kearney concerning the Mormon enlistments, he was
accompanied by Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a brother of the famous
Arctic explorer. On his way West Colonel Kane visited Nauvoo
while the Hancock County posse were in possession of it, saw the
expelled Mormons in their camp across the river, followed the
trail of those who had reached the Missouri, and lay ill among
them in the unhealthy Missouri bottom in 1847. From that time
Colonel Kane became one of the most useful agents of the Mormon
church in the Eastern states, and, as we shall see, performed for
them services which only a man devoted to the church, but not
openly a member of it, could have accomplished.

It was stated at the time that Colonel Kane was baptized by Young
at Council Bluffs in 1847. His future course gives every reason
to accept the correctness of this view. He served the Mormons in
the East as a Jesuit would have served his order in earlier days
in France or Spain. He bore false witness in regard to polygamy
and to the character of men high in the church as unblushingly as
a Brigham Young or a Kimball could have done. His lecture before
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1850 was highly colored
where it stated facts, and so inaccurate in other parts that it
is of little use to the historian. A Mormon writer who denied
that Kane was a member of the church offered as proof of this the
statement that, had Kane been a Mormon, Young would have
commanded him instead of treating him with so much respect. But
Young was not a fool, and was quite capable of appreciating the
value of a secret agent at the federal capital.

CHAPTER IV. The Camps On The Missouri

Mormon accounts of the westward movement from Nauvoo represent
that the delay which occurred when they reached the Missouri
River was an interruption of their leaders' plans, attributing it
to the weakening of their force by the enlistment of the
Battalion, and the necessity of waiting for the last Mormons who
were driven out of Nauvoo. But after their experiences in a
winter march from the Mississippi, with something like a base of
supplies in reach, it is inconceivable that the Council would
have led their followers farther into the unknown West that same
year, when their stores were so nearly exhausted, and there was
no region before them in which they could make purchases, even if
they had the means to do so.

When the Mormons arrived on the Missouri they met with a very
friendly welcome. They found the land east of the river occupied
by the Pottawottomi Indians, who had recently been removed from
their old home in what is now Michigan and northern Illinois and
Indiana; and the west side occupied by the Omahas, who had once
"considered all created things as made for their peculiar use and
benefit," but whom the smallpox and the Sioux had many years
before reduced to a miserable remnant.

The Mormons won the heart of the Pottawottomies by giving them a
concert at their agent's residence. A council followed, at which
their chief, Pied Riche, surnamed Le Clerc, made an address,
giving the Mormons permission to cut wood, make improvements, and
live where they pleased on their lands.

The principal camp on the Missouri, known as Winter Quarters, was
on the west bank, on what is now the site of Florence, Nebraska.
A council was held with the Omaha chiefs in the latter apart of
August, and Big Elk, in reply to an address by Brigham Young,
recited their sufferings at the hands of the Sioux, and told the
whites that they could stay there for two years and have the use
of firewood and timber, and that the young men of the Indians
would watch their cattle and warn them of any danger. In return,
the Indians asked for the use of teams to draw in their harvest,
for assistance in housebuilding, ploughing, and blacksmithing,
and that a traffic in goods be established. An agreement to this
effect was put in writing.

The arrival of party after party of Mormons made an unusually
busy scene on the river banks. On the east side every hill that
helped to make up the Council Bluffs was occupied with tents and
wagons, while the bottom was crowded with cattle and vehicles on
the way to the west side. Kane counted four thousand head of
cattle from a single elevation, and says that the Mormon herd
numbered thirty thousand. Along the banks of the river and creeks
the women were doing their family washing, while men were making
boats and superintending in every way the passage of the river by
some, and the preparations for a stay on the east side by
others--building huts, breaking the sod for grain, etc. The
Pottawottomies had cut an approach to the river opposite a
trading post of the American Fur Company, and established a ferry
there, and they now did a big business carrying over, in their
flat-bottom boats, families and their wagons, and the cows and
sheep. As for the oxen, they were forced to swim, and great times
the boys had, driving them to the bank, compelling them to take
the initial plunge, and then guiding them across by taking the
lead astride some animal's back.

Sickness in the camps began almost as soon as they were formed.
"Misery Bottom," as it was then called, received the rich deposit
brought down by the river in the spring, and, when the river
retired into its banks, became a series of mud flats, described
as "mere quagmires of black dirt, stretching along for miles,
unvaried except by the limbs of half-buried carrion, tree trunks,
or by occasional yellow pools of what the children called frog's
spawn; all together steaming up vapors redolent of the savor of
death." In the previous year--not an unusually bad one--one-ninth
of the Indian population on these flats had died in two months.
The Mormons suffered not only from the malaria of the river
bottom, but from the breaking up of many acres of the soil in
their farming operations.

The illness was diagnosed as, the usual malarial fever,
accompanied in many cases with scorbutic symptoms, which they
called "black canker," due to a lack of vegetable food. In and
around Winter Quarters there were more than 600 burials before
cold weather set in, and 334 out of a population of 3483 were
reported on the sick list as late as December. The Papillon Camp,
on the Little Butterfly River, was a deadly site. Kane, who had
the fever there, in passing by the place earlier in the season
had opened an Indian mound, leaving a deep trench through it. "My
first airing," he says, "upon my convalescence, took me to the
mound, which, probably to save digging, had been readapted to its
original purpose. In this brief interval they had filled the
trench with bodies, and furrowed the ground with graves around
it, like the ploughing of a field."

But amid such affliction, in which cows went unmilked and corpses
became loathsome before men could be found to bury them,
preparations continued at all the camps for the winter's stay and
next year's supplies. Brigham Young, writing from Winter Quarters
on January 6, 1847, to the elders in England, said: "We have
upward of seven hundred houses in our miniature city, composed
mostly of logs in the body, covered with puncheon, straw, and
dirt, which are warm and wholesome; a few are composed of turf,
willows, straw, etc., which are comfortable this winter, but will
not endure the thaws, rain, and sunshine of spring." * This city
was divided into twenty-two wards, each presided over by a
Bishop. The principal buildings were the Council House,
thirty-two by twenty-four feet, and Dr. Richard's house, called
the Octagon, and described as resembling the heap of earth piled
up over potatoes to shield them from frost. In this Octagon the
High Council held most of their meetings. A great necessity was a
flouring mill, and accordingly they sent to St. Louis for the
stones and gearing, and, under Brigham Young's personal direction
as a carpenter, the mill was built and made ready for use in
January. The money sent back by the Battalion was expended in St.
Louis for sugar and other needed articles.

* Millennial Star, Vol. IX, p. 97.

As usual with the pictures sent to Europe, Young's description of
the comfort of the winter camp was exaggerated. P. P. Pratt, who
arrived at Winter Quarters from his mission to Europe on April 8,
1847, says:--

"I found my family all alive, and dwelling in a log cabin. They
had, however, suffered much from cold, hunger, and sickness. They
had oftentimes lived for several days on a little corn meal,
ground in a hand mill, with no other food. One of the family was
then lying very sick with the scurvy--a disease which had been
very prevalent in camp during the winter, and of which many had
died. I found, on inquiry, that the winter had been very severe,
the snow deep, and consequently that all my four horses were
lost, and I afterward ascertained that out of twelve cows, I had
but seven left, and, out of some twelve or fourteen oxen, only
four or five were saved."

If this was the plight in which the spring found the family of
one of the Twelve, imagination can picture the suffering of the
hundreds who had arrived with less provision against the rigors
of such a winter climate.

CHAPTER V. The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains

During the winter of 1846-1847 preparations were under way to
send an organization of pioneers across the plains and beyond the
Rocky Mountains, to select a new dwelling-place for the Saints.
The only "revelation" to Brigham Young found in the "Book of
Doctrine and Covenants" is a direction about the organization and
mission of this expedition. It was dated January 14, 1847, and it
directed the organization of the pioneers into companies, with
captains of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, and a president
and two counsellors at their head, under charge of the Twelve.
Each company was to provide its own equipment, and to take seeds
and farming implements. "Let every man," it commanded, "use all
his influence and property to remove this people to the place
where the Lord shall locate a Stake of Zion." The power of the
head of the church was guarded by a threat that "if any man shall
seek to build up himself he shall have no power," and the
"revelation" ended, like a rustic's letter, with the words, "So
no more at present," "amen and amen" being added.

In accordance with this command, on April 14* a pioneer band of
volunteers set out to blaze a path, so to speak, across the
plains and mountains for the main body which was to follow.

* Date given in the General Epistle of December 23, 1847. Others
say April 7.

It is difficult to-day, when this "Far West" is in possession of
the agriculturist, the merchant, and the miner, dotted with
cities and flourishing towns, and cut in all directions by
railroads, which have made pleasure routes for tourists of the
trail over which the pioneers of half a century ago toiled with
difficulty and danger, to realize how vague were the ideas of
even the best informed in the thirties and forties about the
physical characteristics of that country and its future
possibilities. The conception of the latter may be best
illustrated by quoting Washington Irving's idea, as expressed in
his "Astoria," written in 1836:--

"Such is the nature of this immense wilderness of the far West;
which apparently defies cultivation and the habitation of
civilized life. Some portion of it, along the rivers, may
partially be subdued by agriculture, others may form vast
pastoral tracts like those of the East; but it is to be feared
that a great part of it will form a lawless interval between the
abodes of civilized man, like the wastes of the ocean or the
deserts of Arabia, and, like them, be subject to the depredations
of the marauders. There may spring up new and mongrel races, like
new formations in zoology, the amalgamation of the 'debris' and
'abrasions' of former races, civilized and savage; the remains of
broken and extinguished tribes; the descendants of wandering
hunters and trappers; of fugitives from the Spanish-American
frontiers; of adventurers and desperadoes of every class and
country, yearly ejected from the bosom of society into the
wilderness . . . . Some may gradually become pastoral hordes,
like those rude and migratory people, half shepherd, half
warrior, who, with their flocks and herds, roam the plains of
upper Asia; but others, it is to be apprehended, will become
predatory bands, mounted on the fleet steeds of the prairies,
with the open plains for their marauding grounds, and the
mountains for their retreats and lurking places. There they may
resemble those great hordes of the North, 'Gog and Magog with
their bands,' that haunted the gloomy imaginations of the
prophets--'A great company and a mighty host, all riding upon
horses, and warring upon those nations which were at rest, and
dwelt peaceably, and had gotten cattle and goods."'

"What about the country between the Missouri River and the
Pacific," asked a father living near the Missouri, of his son on
his return from California across the plains in 1851--"Oh, it's
of no account," was the reply; "the soil is poor, sandy, and too
dry to produce anything but this little short grass afterward
learned to be so rich in nutriment, and, when it does rain, in
three hours afterward you could not tell that it had rained at

* Nebraska Historical Society papers.

But while this distant West was still so unknown to the settled
parts of the country, these Mormon pioneers were by no means the
first to traverse it, as the records of the journeyings of Lewis
and Clark, Ezekiel Williams, General W. H. Ashley, Wilson Price
Hunt, Major S. H. Long, Captain W. Sublette, Bonneville, Fremont,
and others show.

The pioneer band of the Mormons consisted of 143 men, three women
(wives of Brigham and Lorenzo Young and H. C. Kimball), and two
children. They took with them seventy-three wagons. Their chief
officers were Brigham Young, Lieutenant General; Stephen Markham,
Colonel; John Pack, First Major; Shadrack Roundy, Second Major,
two captains of hundreds, and fourteen captains of companies. The
order of march was intelligently arranged, with a view to the
probability of meeting Indians who, if not dangerous to life, had
little regard for personal property. The Indians of the Platte
region were notorious thieves, but had not the reputation as
warriors of their more northern neighbors. The regulations
required that each private should walk constantly beside his
wagon, leaving it only by his officer's command. In order to make
as compact a force as possible, two wagons were to move abreast
whenever this could be done. Every man was to keep his weapons
loaded, and special care was insisted upon that the caps, flints,
and locks should be in good condition. They had with them one
small cannon mounted on wheels.

The bugle for rising sounded at 5 A.M., and two hours were
allowed for breakfast and prayers. At night each man was to
retire into his wagon for prayer at 8.30 o'clock, and for the
night's rest at 9. The night camp was formed by drawing up the
wagons in a semicircle, with the river in the rear, if they
camped near its bank, or otherwise with the wagons in a circle, a
forewheel of one touching the hind wheel of the next. In this way
an effective corral for the animals was provided within.

At the head of Grand Island, on April 30, they had their first
sight of buffaloes. A hunting party was organized at once, and a
herd of sixty-five of the animals was pursued for several miles
in full view of the camp (when game and hunters were not hidden
by the dust), and so successfully that eleven buffaloes were

The first alarm of Indians occurred on May 4, when scouts
reported a band of about four hundred a few miles ahead. The
wagons were at once formed five abreast, the cannon was fired as
a means of alarm, and the company advanced in close formation.
The Indians did not attack them, but they set fire to the
prairie, and this caused a halt. A change of wind the next
morning and an early shower checked the flames, and the column
moved on again at daybreak. During the next few days the
buffaloes were seen in herds of hundreds of thousands on both
sides of the Platte. So numerous were they that the company had
to stop at times and let gangs of the animals pass on either
side, and several calves were captured alive.* With or near the
buffaloes were seen antelopes and wolves.

* "The vast herds of buffalo were often in our way, and we were
under the necessity of sending out advance guards to clear the
track so that our teams might pass." Erastus SNOW, " Address to
the Pioneers," in Mo.

At Grand Island the question of their further route was carefully
debated. There was a well-known trail to Fort Laramie on the
south side of the river, used by those who set out from
Independence, Missouri, for Oregon. Good pasture was assured on
that side, but it was argued that, if this party made a new trail
along the north side of the river, the Mormons would have what
might be considered a route of their own, separated from other
westward emigrants. This view prevailed, and the course then
selected became known in after years as the Mormon Trail
(sometimes called the "Old Mormon Road"); the line of the Union
Pacific Railroad follows it for many miles.

Their decision caused them a good deal of anxiety about forage
for their animals before they reached Fort Laramie. It had not
rained at the latter point for two years, and the drought,
together with the vast herds of buffaloes and the Indian fires,
made it for days impossible to find any pasture except in small
patches. When the fort was reached, they had fed their animals
not only a large part of their grain, but some of their crackers
and other breadstuff, and the beasts were so weak that they could
scarcely drag the wagons.

During the previous winter the church officers had procured for
their use from England two sextants and other instruments needed
for taking solar observations, two barometers, thermometers,
etc., and these were used by Orson Pratt daily to note their
progress.* Two of the party also constructed a sort of pedometer,
and, after leaving Fort Laramie, a mile-post was set up every ten
miles, for the guidance of those who were to follow.

* His diary of the trip will be found in the Millennial Star for
1849-1850, full of interesting details, but evidently edited for
English readers.

In the camp made on May 10 the first of the Mormon post-offices
on the plains was established. Into a board six inches wide and
eighteen long, a cut was made with a saw, and in this cut a
letter was placed. After nailing on cleats to retain the letter,
and addressing the board to the officers of the next company, the
board was nailed to a fifteen-foot pole, which was set firmly in
the ground near the trail, and left to its fate. How successful
this attempt at communication proved is not stated, but similar
means of communication were in use during the whole period of
Mormon migration. Sometimes a copy of the camp journal was left
conspicuously in the crotch of a tree, for the edification of the
next camp, and scores of the buffaloes' skulls that dotted the
plains were marked with messages and set up along the trail.

The weakness of the draught animals made progress slow at this
time, and marches of from 4 to 7 miles a day were recorded. The
men fared better, game being abundant. Signs of Indians were seen
from time to time, and precautions were constantly taken to
prevent a stampede of the animals; but no open attack was made. A
few Indians visited the camp on May 21, and gave assurances of
their friendliness; and on the 24th they had a visit from a party
of thirty-five Dakotas (or Sioux who tendered a written letter of
recommendation in French from one of the agents of the American
Fur Company. The Mormons had to grant their request for
permission to camp with them over night, which meant also giving
them supper and breakfast--no small demand on their hospitality
when the capacity of the Indian stomach is understood).

Little occurred during May to vary the monotony of the journey.
On the afternoon of June 1 they arrived nearly opposite Fort
Laramie and the ruins of old Fort Platte, a point 522 miles from
Winter Quarters, and 509 from Great Salt Lake. The so-called
forts were in fact trading posts, established by the fur
companies, both as points of supply for their trappers and
trading places with the Indians for peltries. On the evening of
their arrival at this point they had a visit from members of a
party of Mormons gathered principally from Mississippi and
southern Illinois, who had passed the winter in Pueblo, and were
waiting to join the emigrants from Winter Quarters.

The Platte, usually a shallow stream, was at that place 108 yards
wide, and too deep for wading. Brigham Young and some others
crossed over the next morning in a sole-leather skiff which
formed a part of their equipment, and were kindly welcomed by the
commandant. There they learned that it would be impracticable--or
at least very difficult--to continue along the north bank of the
Platte, and they accordingly hired a flatboat to ferry the
company and their wagons across. The crossing began on June 3,
and on an average four wagons were ferried over in an hour.

Advantage was taken of this delay to set up, a bellows and forge,
and make needed repairs to the wagons. At the Fort the Mormons
learned that their old object of hatred in Missouri, ex-Governor
Boggs, had recently passed by with a company of emigrants bound
for the Pacific coast. Young's company came across other
Missourians on the plains; but no hostilities ensued, the
Missourians having no object now to interfere with the Saints,
and the latter contenting themselves by noting in their diaries
the profanity and quarrelsomeness of their old neighbors.

The journey was resumed at noon on June 4, along the Oregon
trail. A small party of the Mormons was sent on in advance to the
spot where the Oregon trail crossed the Platte, 124 miles west of
Fort Laramie. This crossing was generally made by fording, but
the river was too high for this, and the soleleather boat, which
would carry from 1500 to 1800 pounds, was accordingly employed.
The men with this boat reached the crossing in advance of the
first party of Oregon emigrants whom they had encountered, and
were employed by the latter to ferry their goods across while the
empty wagons were floated. This proved a happy enterprise for the
Mormons. The drain on their stock of grain and provisions had by
this time so reduced their supply that they looked forward with
no little anxiety to the long march. The Oregon party offered
liberal pay in flour, sugar, bacon, and coffee for the use of the
boat, and the terms were gladly accepted, although most of the
persons served were Missourians. When the main body of pioneers
started on from that point, they left ten men with the boat to
maintain the ferry until the next company from Winter Quarters
should come up.*

* "The Missourians paid them $1.50 for each wagon and load, and
paid it in flour at $2.50; yet flour was worth $10 per
hundredweight, at least at that point. They divided their
earnings among the camp equally."--Tullidge, "Life of Brigham
Young," p. 165.

The Mormons themselves were delayed at this crossing until June
19, making a boat on which a wagon could cross without unloading.
During the first few days after leaving the North Platte grass
and water were scarce. On June 21 they reached the Sweet Water,
and, fording it, encamped within sight of Independence Rock, near
the upper end of Devil's Gate.

CHAPTER VI. From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley

More than one day's march was now made without finding water or
grass. Banks of snow were observed on the near-by elevations, and
overcoats were very comfortable at night. On June 26 they reached
the South Pass, where the waters running to the Atlantic and to
the Pacific separate. They found, however, no well-marked
dividing ridge-only, as Pratt described it, "a quietly undulating
plain or prairie, some fifteen or twenty miles in length and
breadth, thickly covered with wild sage." There were good pasture
and plenty of water, and they met there a small party who were
making the journey from Oregon to the states on horseback.

All this time the leaders of the expedition had no definite view
of their final stopping-place. Whenever Young was asked by any of
his party, as they trudged along, what locality they were aiming
for, his only reply was that he would recognize the site of their
new home when he saw it, and that they would surely go on as the
Lord would direct them.*

* Erastus Snow's "Address to the Pioneers," 1880.

While they were camping near South Pass, an incident occurred
which narrowly escaped changing the plans of the Lord, if he had
already selected Salt Lake Valley. One of the men whom the
company met there was a voyager whose judgment about a desirable
site for a settlement naturally seemed worthy of consideration.
This was T. L. Smith, better known as "Pegleg" Smith. He had been
a companion of Jedediah S. Smith, one of Ashley's company of
trappers, who had started from Great Salt Lake in August, 1826,
and made his way to San Gabriel Mission in California, and thence
eastward, reaching the Lake again in the spring of 1827. "Pegleg"
had a trading post on Bear River above Soda Springs (in the
present Idaho). He gave the Mormons a great deal of information
about all the valley which lay before them, and to the north and
south. "He earnestly advised us," says Erastus Snow, "to direct
our course northwestward from Bridger, and make our way into
Cache Valley; and he so far made an impression upon the camp that
we were induced to enter into an engagement with him to meet us
at a certain time and place two weeks afterward, to pilot our
company into that country. But for some reason, which to this day
never to my knowledge has been explained, he failed to meet us;
and I have ever recognized his failure to do so as a providence
of an all-wise God."*

* "Address to the Pioneers," 1880.

"Pegleg's" reputation was as bad as that of any of those reckless
trappers of his day, and perhaps, if the Mormons had known more
about him, they would have given less heed to his advice, and
counted less on his keeping his engagement.

With the returning Oregonians they also made the acquaintance of
Major Harris, an old trapper and hunter in California and Oregon,
who gave them little encouragement about Salt Lake Valley, as a
place of settlement, principally because of the lack of timber.
Two days later they met Colonel James Bridger, an authority on
that part of the country, whose "fort" was widely known. Young
told him that he proposed to take a look at Great Salt Lake
Valley with a view to its settlement. Bridger affirmed that his
experiments had more than convinced him that corn would not grow
in those mountains, and, when Young expressed doubts about this,
he offered to give the Mormon President $1000 for the first ear
raised in that valley. Next they met a mountaineer named
Goodyear, who had passed the last winter on the site of what is
now Ogden, Utah, where he had tried without success to raise a
little grain and a few vegetables. He told of severe cold in
winter and drought in summer. Irrigation had not suggested itself
to a man who had a large part of a continent in which to look for
a more congenial farm site.

Mormons in all later years have said that they were guided to the
Salt Lake Valley in fulfilment of the prediction of Joseph Smith
that they would have to flee to the Rocky Mountains. But in their
progress across the plains the leaders of the pioneers were not
indifferent to any advice that came in their way, and in a
manuscript "History of Brigham Young" (1847), quoted by H. H.
Bancroft, is the following entry, which may indicate the first
suggestion that turned their attention from "California" to Utah:
"On the 15th of June met James H. Grieve, William Tucker, James
Woodrie, James Bouvoir, and six other Frenchmen, from whom we
learned that Mr. Bridger was located about three hundred miles
west, that the mountaineers could ride to Salt Lake from Fort
Bridger in two days, and that the Utah country was beautiful." *

* Bancroft's "History of Utah," p. 257.

The pioneers resumed their march on June 29, over a desolate
country, travelling seventeen miles without finding grass or
water, until they made their night camp on the Big Sandy. There
they encountered clouds of mosquitoes, which made more than one
subsequent camping-place very uncomfortable. A march of eight
miles the next morning brought them to Green River. Finding this
stream 180 yards wide, and deep and swift, they stopped long
enough to make two rafts, on which they successfully ferried over
all their wagons without unloading them.

At this point the pioneers met a brother Mormon who had made the
journey to California round the Horn, and had started east from
there to meet the overland travellers. He had an interesting
story to tell, the points of which, in brief, were as follows:--
A conference of Mormons, held in New York City on November 12,
1845, resolved to move in a body to the new home of the Saints.
This emigration scheme was placed in charge of Samuel Brannan, a
native of Maine, and an elder in the church, who was then editing
the New York Prophet, and preaching there. Why so important a
project was confided to Brannan seems a mystery, in view of P. P.
Pratt's statement that, as early as the previous January, he had
discovered that Brannan was among certain elders who "had been
corrupting the Saints by introducing among them all manner of
false doctrines and immoral practices"; he was afterward
disfellowshipped at Nauvoo. By Pratt's advice he immediately went
to that city, and was restored to full standing in the church, as
any bad man always was when he acknowledged submission to the
church authorities.* Plenty of emigrants offered themselves under
Orson Pratt's call, but of the 300 first applicants for passage
only about 60 had money enough to pay their expenses,

* Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 374.

Although it was estimated that $75 would cover the outlay for the
trip. Brannan chartered the Brooklyn, a ship of 450 tons, and on
February 4, 1846, she sailed with 70 men, 68 women, and 100

* Bancrofts figures, "History of California," Vol. V, Chap. 20.

The voyage to San Francisco ended on July 31. Ten deaths and two
births occurred during the trip, and four of the company,
including two elders and one woman, had to be excommunicated "for
their wicked and licentious conduct." Three others were dealt
with in the same way as soon as the company landed.* On landing
they found the United States in possession of the country, which
led to Brannan's reported remark, "There is that d--d flag
again." The men of the party, some of whom had not paid all their
passage money, at once sought work, but the company did not hold
together. Before the end of the year some 20 more "went astray,"
in church parlance; some decided to remain on the coast when they
learned that the church was to make Salt Lake Valley its
headquarters, and some time later about 140 reached Utah and took
up their abode there.

* Brannan's letter, Millennial Star, Vol. IX, pp. 306-307.

Brannan fell from grace and was pronounced by P. P. Pratt "a
corrupt and wicked man." While he was getting his expedition in
shape, he sent to the church authorities in the West a copy of an
agreement which he said he had made with A. G. Benson, an alleged
agent of Postmaster General Kendall. Benson was represented as
saying that, unless the Mormon leaders signed an agreement, to

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