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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

The Migration To Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Organization Of The Church
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



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
children.*

* 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
which President Polk was a "silent partner," by which they would
"transfer to A. G. Benson and Co., and to their heirs and
assigns, the odd number of all the lands and town lots they may
acquire in the country where they settle," the President would
order them to be dispersed. This seems to have been too
transparent a scheme to deceive Young, and the agreement was not
signed.

The march of the pioneers was resumed on July 3. That evening
they were told that those who wished to return eastward to meet
their families, who were perhaps five hundred miles back with the
second company, could do so; but only five of them took advantage
of this permission. The event of Sunday, July 4, was the arrival
of thirteen members of the Battalion, who had pushed on in
advance of the main body of those who were on the way from
Pueblo, in order that they might recover some horses stolen from
them, which they were told were at Bridger's Fort. They said that
the main body of 140 were near at hand. This company had been
directed in their course by instructions sent to them by Brigham
Young from a point near Fort Laramie.

The hardships of the trip had told on the pioneers, and a number
of them were now afflicted with what they called "mountain
fever." They attributed this to the clouds of dust that enveloped
the column of wagons when in motion, and to the decided change of
temperature from day to night. For six weeks, too, most of them
had been without bread, living on the meat provided by the
hunters, and saving the little flour that was left for the sick.

The route on July 5 kept along the right bank of the Green River
for about three miles, and then led over the bluffs and across a
sandy, waterless plain for sixteen miles, to the left bank of
Black's Fork, where they camped for the night. The two following
days took them across this Fork several times, but, although
fording was not always comfortable, the stream added salmon trout
to their menu. On the 7th the party had a look at Bridger's Fort,
of which they had heard often. Orson Pratt described it at the
time as consisting "of two adjoining log houses, dirt roofs, and
a small picket yard of logs set in the ground, and about eight
feet high. The number of men, squaws, and halfbreed children in
these houses and lodges may be about fifty or sixty."

At the camp, half a mile from the fort, that night ice formed.
The next day the blacksmiths were kept busy repairing wagons and
shoeing horses in preparation for a trail through the mountains.
On the 9th and 10th they passed over a hilly country, camping on
Beaver River on the night of the 10th.

The fever had compelled several halts on account of the condition
of the patients, and on the 12th it was found that Brigham Young
was too ill to travel. In order not to lose time, Orson Pratt,
with forty-three men and twentythree wagons, was directed to push
on into Salt Lake Valley, leaving a trail that the others could
follow. From the information obtainable at Fort Bridger it was
decided that the canon leading into the valley would be found
impassable on account of high water, and that they should direct
their course over the mountains.

These explorers set out on July 14, travelling down Red Fork, a
small stream which ran through a narrow valley, whose sides in
places were from eight hundred to twelve hundred feet high,--red
sandstone walls, perpendicular or overhanging. This route was a
rough one, requiring frequent fordings of the stream, and they
did well to advance thirteen miles that day. On the 15th they
discovered a mountain trail that had been recommended to them,
but it was a mere trace left by wagons that had passed over it a
year before. They came now to the roughest country they had
found, and it became necessary to send sappers in advance to open
a road before the wagons could pass over it. Almost discouraged,
Pratt turned back on foot the next day, to see if he could not
find a better route; but he was soon convinced that only the one
before them led in the direction they were to take. The wagons
were advanced only four and three-quarters miles that day, even
the creek bottom being so covered with a growth of willows that
to cut through these was a tiresome labor. Pratt and a companion,
during the day, climbed a mountain, which they estimated to be
about two thousand feet high, but they only saw, before and
around them, hills piled on hills and mountains on
mountains,--the outlines of the Wahsatch and Uinta ranges.

On Monday, the 18th, Pratt again acted as advance explorer, and
went ahead with one companion. Following a ravine on horseback
for four miles, they then dismounted and climbed to an elevation
from which, in the distance, they saw a level prairie which they
thought could not be far from Great Salt Lake. The whole party
advanced only six and a quarter miles that day and six the next.

One day later Erastus Snow came up with them, and Pratt took him
along as a companion in his advance explorations. They discovered
a point where the travellers of the year before had ascended a
hill to avoid a canon through which a creek dashed rapidly.
Following in their predecessors' footsteps, when they arrived at
the top of this hill there lay stretched out before them "a
broad, open valley about twenty miles wide and thirty long, at
the north end of which the waters of the Great Salt Lake
glistened in the sunbeams." Snow's account of their first view of
the valley and lake is as follows:-- "The thicket down the
narrows, at the mouth of the canon, was so dense that we could
not penetrate through it. I crawled for some distance on my hands
and knees through this thicket, until I was compelled to return,
admonished to by the rattle of a snake which lay coiled up under
my nose, having almost put my hand on him; but as he gave me the
friendly warning, I thanked him and retreated. We raised on to a
high point south of the narrows, where we got a view of the Great
Salt Lake and this valley, and each of us, without saying a word
to the other, instinctively, as if by inspiration, raised our
hats from our heads, and then, swinging our hats, shouted,
'Hosannah to God and the Lamb!' We could see the canes down in
the valley, on what is now called Mill Creek, which looked like
inviting grain, and thitherward we directed our course."*

* "Address to the Pioneers," 1880.


Having made an inspection of the valley, the two explorers
rejoined their party about ten o'clock that evening. The next
day, with great labor, a road was cut through the canon down to
the valley, and on July 22 Pratt's entire company camped on City
Creek, below the present Emigration Street in Salt Lake City. The
next morning, after sending word of their discovery to Brigham
Young, the whole party moved some two miles farther north, and
there, after prayer, the work of putting in a crop was begun. The
necessity of irrigation was recognized at once. "We found the
land so dry," says Snow, "that to plough it was impossible, and
in attempting to do so some of the ploughs were broken. We
therefore had to distribute the water over the land before it
could be worked." When the rest of the pioneers who had remained
with Young reached the valley the next day, they found about six
acres of potatoes and other vegetables already planted.

While Apostles like Snow might have been as transported with
delight over the aspect of the valley as he professed to be,
others of the party could see only a desolate, treeless plain,
with sage brush supplying the vegetation. To the women especially
the outlook was most depressing.





Next: The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri

Previous: The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains



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