The Church Historian's Press

November 1849

1 November 1849 • Thursday

Cleared away & promised to be fine, we packed up & started8; turned back about half mile & then struck over the ridge to the Westward after about a mile’s travel crossed a small spring branch had to climb a good many ridges; passed in a Cedar grove two or three Indian wigwams very comfortably fixed for them, out of Cedar limbs & tops; they seemed to have been not been long untenanted. Struck South West to a gap th in the Mountains, crossed a valley diagonally of several miles width storming in the mountains at the point we calculated to strike; we soon arrived at the gap we aimed for, & in time to get into the rain; heard several peals of thunder travelled some distance up the dry bed of a Creek, struck off over some spurs raining all the time very heavily very miry in consequence & very bad travelling for man & beast; it was very cold & we had to get off <& walk> to keep warm, we were thoroughly drenched & very cold the rain beating in our face; we travelled on in silence every one absorbed in his own reflections which were not very pleasant as our bedding & every thing we had was wet through; upon rounding the point of a rock we discovered the forward part of our company dismounted9 & preparing to Camp, it was an acceptable sight, & we soon drew up under the shelter of some rocks with caves in, which we named the Rock of Refuge, about 15 miles travelling brought us to this place. I had <no> expectation of having so <such> comfortable quarters for the night, the rain subsided as we stopped; we made large fires and dryed our things & made ourselves as comfortable as circumstances admitted for the night. <found water in standing pools close by, about a mile below some running springs>

2 November 1849 • Friday

Continued up the by the side of a dry creek called Dry Sandy, the same we struck the previous evening after about a mile’s travel came to Capt. Smith’s Camp ground; after 2 miles travel came to a small stream impregnated with iron, this sinks in the bed of Sandy; our course still continued up bed of creek for 10 miles from Rock and came to a beautiful spring on our left; before reaching this spring we passed thro’ a fine patch of grass; kept on in a S. W. direction until we came to a narrow pass in a Cañon about 3 miles from spring, & here found plenty of water which arose & sunk in some 300 Y’ds. (The Valley up to this point affording plenty of feed & good land, the mountains destitute of any timber, but cedar & scrub pines & sage,) continuing our course up the Cañon we came to a small valley surrounded by hills or low mountains; we still continued our S. W. course for about 1½ miles we then struck southward still continuing up the bed of Creek for ¾ miles, then entered a narrow cañon on our right filled with cedar; my pack horse here began to fail & Bro. Cain led him along by the halter while I walked behind & drove him; the old fellow had been failing for some time we have been eating out of his pack for some days back; we travelled up this Cañon about 1 mile & then turned our course Southward over the dividing ridge of the Great Basin; here considerable snow had fallen during the night, some still remained upon the ground, after crossing we came to a large Cañon running W. S. W. down which we went until we came to the Devil’s offset as it was called by our boys, we found we could go no further, by this time Bro. Cain & myself were alone with the exception of Bro. Bigelow [Bigler], who had remained with us to help us drive he drove Bro. Cain’s pack animal for us; we were perfectly non-plussed not knowing which shoot to take having lost the trail; upon hunting around awhile we again found it, upon coming <when they came> to the Rock, they had turned back about a ¼ of a mile & struck over the hills to the Southward for about 3 miles, then struck the same Cañon about 100 Y’ds. below the offset (With a little <labor> a road can be made to the left of the Rock for pack animals,) continuing down the Cañon we came to some Rocks resembling the ruins of an ancient Castle; it was growing dark we still continued down hoping every turn to see the fires, until Bro. Bigelow, who was ahead, as we rounded one of the points shouted that he10 smelt the camp, we still could not see the camp but were glad to know we were close to it for we were afraid we would have to Camp by ourselves, on account of not being able to keep the trail in the dark; we found Capt. Smith’s company & ours adjoining upon a plat of grass <containing> about 50 acres of grass, at the lower end of which we found some good springs which supplied us with plenty of good water; this day’s travel amounted to 25 miles. There was an old corn cob found near an Indian Lodge just vacated the fire in which had just been covered up. Some Indians seen at11 a distance. Several Pitch Pines found. The animals were much fatigued with this day’s travel.12

3 November 1849 • Saturday

Remained encamped here until after dinner to rest our animals after the fatigues of yesterday; we expected to reach a valley this evening to camp in.13 Travelled down the Cañon crossed the creek several times, had some bad places, rather miry; Cañon narrow & the Mountains on each side high perpendicular & rocky; there <are> a great many caves & excavations in the sides. Climbed a Mountain, the Cañon being impassable, sides covered with Cedar <ascent> very difficult for our pack animals, travelled thro’ some Cedar Ridges & ascended a very steep rocky Mountain extremely difficult of ascent; upon gaining the summit we found Capt. Smith’s company stopped, busily engaged in fixing a road to descend the Mountain, this was extremely difficult they made it to wind round the side of the Mountain to a spur that descended more gradual to the creek below; great care had to be taken in descending for one false step would precipitate animal & pack down the mountain without any prospect of escaping with life. All arrived at bottom of mountain without any accident. Crossed creek a great number of times it had increased in size very [much] since we left it; arrived at a large bend with a tolerable supply of grass in it; concluded it best to camp for the night as there was no prospect of us reaching the Valley; day had been cloudy & we could not see by the sun the course we were travelling. looked very much like storm. Rained very heavily during night. I thought I would prevent the water running under us, as it had done the last rain, by making a small trench round our bed, but it was not sufficient I made it after the bed was made, & all the water that ran of the robe ran inside the trench under the bed; arose in morning wet through felt very uncomfortable still raining very heavily. Indian wigwam found close by Camp recently vacated the pot, made of earthenware being on the fire, a bow lying close bye, they inhabitants had left upon hearing us. We were <are> now in the Pah-Utah territory & as they were notorious for their depredations, we had to be very vigilant.14

4 November 1849 • Sunday

After rain had subsided packed up & started, animals looked bad in consequence of storm. Still kept down Cañon crossing & recrossing Creek a great many times <some places very bad> upon rounding a point we found the companies all stopped not being able to go any further in the opinion of some; surrounded upon all sides by high Mountains impracticable to cross, several men were sent to the tops of those surrounding us to reconnoitre & see if there was any possible outlet, all returned with unfavorable reports, nothing to be seen but mountains; Capt. Flake & one or two others then descended the Cañon to see if there was any possibility of our being able by laboring a little to make a practicable route for us to descend, the men that had been on the Mountains stating that the Cañon grew wider a little lower & that if we could surmount the obstacles immediately ahead we could still proceed. The Capt. returned, stating that it was extremely rough being very rocky, & a very precipice to ascend, but thought we would be able by rolling a few rocks out of the way to go on; we were glad to hear of this for we had now been standing for about four hours in a drenching rain, every thing we had on us & on our packs being completely drenched. We commenced our descent of the Cañon found it as represented by Capt. F. but thro’ it all without accident until we reached the precipice; the animals with some help from the men with <and> very little unpacking succeeded in reaching the top without accident with the exception of <my pack horse> “old Croppy” as he was called, he succeeded in reached nearly the top of the steepest part when his hind feet slipped & he fell & would have rolled down if I had not caught him as he fell & stayed him, there several close by helping him by the halter; they caught hold <of> him & arrested his downward progress; but we found he was unable to get up where he15 was, and we rolled him over once more to get him on a better spot to raise him & succeeded in doing by helping him & taking his pack off which was very light, about 30 lbs. In his fall he had cut the skin <of the> cap of his knee upon a sharp rock. By helping him he got over into the Cañon again. After about 1½ miles travel reached a place we thought it best to stop at. Tolerable supply of feed for animals. Awakened during <in> night by Bro. Cain, who was on guard telling me that “Croppy” had got in the Creek. 3 of guard drew him out, but he had fell in again & he wanted me to get up & get him out, with some trouble we succeeded in getting him out & on his feet, but he was chilled thro’ & I did not think he would live, he was worn down & very weak. I had sewed up his knee where it was cut.

5 November 1849 • Monday

This morning found “Croppy” in creek drownded.16 Started early, crossed creek a great many times expecting to see a valley every headland we rounded but were disappointed until the afternoon about 3 o’clock we came into a small valley about 20 acres of cultivated land soil sandy old corn stalks lying <round> evidences of cultivation, of last year’s growth we travelled on down creek about three miles & came to another small valley with a standing corn field <ears of> corn taken off stalks standing, Beans, Morning glories, Squash vines, &c &c. all in a good state of cultivation large drains being made for irrigating showing industry & perseverance; the corn afforded our animals good feed for night.17

6 November 1849 • Tuesday

Cañon more open than it had been pleasanter travelling, very large specimans of Cactus or Prickly Pear 4 or 5 inches in diameter also the Prickly Pine as large round the butt as a man’s body it resembled Pine18 apples <in> the leaves the bark was a good deal like oak bark.19 Travelled 12 miles & came to a beautiful grove of Cottonwoods making a fine shade on the banks of Creek, which was considerably smaller scarcely running any, it having been sinking & decreasing gradually for some time back. This day’s travel reckoned at 12 miles. Passed in afternoon a place where Indians had been working; seeds of Bitter Squash spread out to dry being used as we supposed by them for food, some pieces of ox & cow hide recently taken we thought from the animals; a robe made out of rabbit fur was also lying close by, a great many articles of Indian manufacture scattered round. they had fled in great haste upon hearing our advance.

7 November 1849 • Wednesday

A corn field found about 1½ miles below we moved down this morning intending to remain until we found out something of our whereabouts & the best course to take we had nothing to travel by excepts the Compass; we had not been able to find any trail with the exception of Indian trails small ones not leading to any particular spot, running in all directions over the country. Our course had been for the last few days in a Southerly direction; after reaching the corn field we resolved to stay remainder of day & recruit our animals as the fodder was green & made excellent feed for them. It was surprising to see the foliage so luxuriant and green it was more like July than November. We intended to strike Westward about 1 mile below.20

8 November 1849 • Thursday

This morning 6 Emigrants <with 5 horses> overtook us from wagons, the <people with> wagons had all determined to come this route.21 Travelled down creek about a mile & struck over some high hills to the W. & kept in this direction nearly all day. Camped in dry bed of a creek after dark with no water or feed for our animals after 32 miles travel; animals very much exhausted for want of feed & water. Many of [the] men suffered very much for want of water. Capt. Smith’s men many of [them] offering anything they had for it.—A good many gave way to feelings of despondency, the prospects not being very promising of finding for a good distance.

9 November 1849 • Friday

Travelled up Bed of Creek to the Northward expecting to find water at the Mountains; after 10 miles travel we came to the Cañon after about a little travel up which we came to water; both men & animals drank greedily, for all had suffered. Several animals had given out, Capt. Smith’s animals many of them failed. This was called Providence Cañon on account of finding <it> so providentially; it was as sweet water as I ever drank. Upon the foremost ones seeing it the[y] shouted it was answered back the length of the line with rapture. This afternoon two of the men that had overtaken us yesterday morning came in the others 4 were behind with the animals. They started back, after eating dinner with 4 Canteens of water for their comrades but were not able to find them; we were afraid the Indians had laid in ambush & killed them as they had some narrow Cañons to descend, & two of Smith’s men had been back <for a horse but could not find them> & saw 22 or 23 Indians three of them had rifles.22

10 November 1849 • Saturday

This morning there was a call for 5 men to volunteer to go back to find these men if possible five from our co. & five from Smith’s making in all 12 with the two belonging to the co. I offered myself as one; we armed ourselves & started taking a canteen <of water> apiece with us; and met them, coming up, about four miles from Camp; we were glad to see them, as <we> were afraid the Indians had waylaid & killed them; they had found water in a cave about 8 miles below our old camp ground upon this creek bed.

11 November 1849 • Sunday

Started this morning & travelled down bed of Creek about a mile & then struck off to the Westward over some low mountains. This day’s travel was one an uninterrupted succession of hills very fatiguing for both animals and men we did not seem to make much headway as we had to tack round considerable to avoid heavy hills. After travelling until near night we saw a creek to our right down in a Cañon a long distance from where we were by searching awhile we found a place where we could descend; upon examination we found that it was Providence Creek & that we had not gained over three miles by our day’s travel. We all felt low spirited at the result of our hard day’s travel. Bro. Rich said this evening that he was not going to be led round in this manner <any longer,> we should all perish <in the mountains> if there was not an alteration; if he could not have his way he should go back to the wagons as quick as he could. He said if his counsel had been taken we would not have been here.23 I was glad to hear <him> speak as he did for I had seen that he had not taken a very active part in matters, & that Capt. Smith’s opinion had been taken taken in preference to the Generals; it had been his mind to travel on the table land and keep out of the mountains & if <we> could not go that way we could not go at all.24 One of John Dixon’s horses had given out to-day the horse Uncle had bought of G. L.25

12 November 1849 • Monday

Started this morning with the intention of striking for the bottom we took all the water we could carry with us in case we did not reach any this evening. Travelled until evening stopped & fed an hour on excellent grass. Capt. Flake went ahead to see if he could find water and grass to camp. We travelled until about ten o’clock & camped without water and grass. We travelled 32 miles.

13 November 1849 • Tuesday

Started at day light. Bro. Rich went ahead on foot two or three going of us going with him. We climbed several high ridges the prospect was dreary, no signs of water. We travelled until afternoon we began to feel hungry & thirsty, it began to rain a little & increased Bro. Rich stopped the animals on a spot of good grass thinking the wet grass would help them. I felt very weak & faint for want of something to eat. Bro. Rich got at some hard bread he had on his pack mule & gave us all an invitation to eat I thankfully accepted his offer and never felt tasted anything sweeter in my life.26 We started again after stopping about an hour it still continued raining; as we went along every rock that had any water [at] <a hollow with> water standing in <it> was greedily drank by the men, it soon began to stand in puddles on the ground & we soon got satisfied as well as the animals. When it first commenced I turned the rim of my hat up and caught enough in it to afford me occasionally a drink. We camped in a hollow and cooked our supper with rain water & filled every thing that would hold water for the morrow. Never in my life did I see the hand of the Lord more plainly shown than in the present instance (Capt. Smith said to Gen. Rich that the finger of the Lord was in this.) for we must have suffered, had it not been for this, very much & probably have perished for to all appearances there was no water any nearer than Providence Creek. Ceased raining in evening.27

14 November 1849 • Wednesday

Capt. Smith sent out men early this morning to search for water; three of our men started for a range of Mountains west to see if they could find any water or any signs of any coming from them; but could not find any. Capt. Smith’s men found a small spring in the bottom, to the Southward, & thought by digging we might get to water. Started afternoon & went over to the spring it was very weak furnishing enough for us, but the animals finding water enough standing in pools. Grass very good.

15 November 1849 • Thursday

Bro. Rich started for the Mountains West calculating to see what chance there was to go on the other side. He was gone all day, he had three men with him, & did not return until long after nightfall The prospect from the mountain was very dull for us going this route; the country westward was considerably higher than this & very sterile; he thought there was not enough grass for one animal to subsist upon & he did not see any signs of water, the land was undulating spurs putting out from the range North; to the Southward there was a valley <running> to the west that he thought if any route went this way it must be thro’ it; but there was not a good prospect for water thro’ it. He saw a range of Mountains about 80 miles as he supposed from the range he was on; beyond this he saw a large snowy peak looming thro’ the clouds but whether connected with a range or not he could not tell on account of the fog, he judged it to be 150 miles distant. Upon mature consideration he did not think it would be wisdom for him to take the company thro’ & he thought he would strike for the Spanish Trail. The brethren were unanimous in their feeling to go the Spanish Trail.28

16 November 1849 • Friday

Capt. Smith came up to hear the result of Bro. Rich’s view. Bro. Rich stated to him what he had seen & his opinion of the route. Capt. Smith expressed his determination to persevere & swore by the G—ds he would go, if he died in the attempt, & said that if we did not hear from him we might know that he died with his face westward & not before he had eat some mule meat. All the men with the exception of one or two, that belonged to joined our company not belonging to the church left & went with Capt. Smith. We parted with the best of feelings each one believing his way the best.29 Travelled until afternoon stopped & fed about half an hour started and travelled thro’ a narrow Cañon thro’ a mountain sides rising precipitously to several hundred feet camped about a quarter from mouth of Cañon tolerable feed.

17 November 1849 • Saturday

Travelled down bed of Creek until we came to Cañon about three miles long, sides <of solid rock> rising perpendicularly several hundred feet; it was good travelling down the Cañon, upon emerging from it we came to splendid grass & some warm springs of water; we fed our horses an hour & again started the springs soon formed a creek with considerable water in it. Very bad travelling in consequence of the mire. Camped on Creek in good feed; Bro. Fife who had been the Spanish Trail home from California thought it was the Muddy Creek from the looks <its> appearance. Our course Yesterday and to-day had been South East with the intention of intersecting the Trail.30

18 November 1849 • Sunday

Travelled about five miles down the Creek and came in sight of some cattle grazing on the other side of the Creek & seen some men who told <us> Capt. Hunt was here with seven wagons, the rest having left him & gone on our trail; we were glad to hear it & we felt to return thanks to our Heavenly Father for this, we had been all seperated from the Train Capt. Hunt with enough men to go thro’ in safety, & we had seperated from Capt. Smith’s Company just as some of them had ran out of provisions & they were threatening to us[e] their rifles if they could not get any other way; & our agreement with them was to divide with them when they were out. Capt. Hunt was glad to see us & we got some provisions enough to serve us as we thought to the settlements.31

19 November 1849 • Monday

Remained Camped all day to recruit our animals.33

20 November 1849 • Tuesday

Started to-day about noon, we had before us the fifty mile desert.34 we travelled until after night fall when we came to some puddles of water to the left of the road where we watered our animals; the moon shone brightly & made it pleasant travelling; we reached a spot of grass to the right of the road about 25 miles we thought from Muddy & found water among some bushes about a mile & half from feed it was in puddles from the last rain.35

21 November 1849 • Wednesday

We had this morning a gradual ascent of about 12 miles & then descended for a few miles over very rough road & then travelled on a bottom until we struck the Vegus where our folks camped part of day had very rough rocky road, several horses gave out to-day, among the rest John Dixon’s; Bro. Cain & myself stayed with him trying to get it up if possible we drove him on until dark when we found we could not get him up to Camp, we then left him & came into after they had camped an hour or two. The wagons did not come up until near morning.36

22 November 1849 • Thursday

As there was good feed here Bro. Rich thought we had better stay here & let the animals recruit; but after<wards> thought we had better travel about 6 miles to the head of the springs.37

23 November 1849 • Friday

Very Windy this morning too cold almost to ride on horseback, it made it very tedious travelling it seemed a long 14 miles, & we were glad when we struck the creek upon which we camped; it was formed by springs rising immediately above where we were encamped; they were rather warm. The country we passed thro’ to-day was barren & rather rocky; feed this evening was very poor having all been eaten out by the traveller’s animals who were ahead of us.38

24 November 1849 • Saturday

Concluded this morning to go about 3 miles further & encamp for the day upon some good feed that Capt. Hunt had found last evening; we found good grass & a weak spring of water affording grass sufficient to supply Capt. Hunt’s Company & ours.39

25 November 1849 • Sunday

Fine pleasant morning To-day’s travel was rough we camped at a spring to the right of the road upon a grassy ridge affording rather poor pasturage to our animals having been all eaten off; we found some good feed on the side of a Mountain about ¾ of a mile from camp. We had an abundance of wood this evening having plenty of cedar & pine all around us. To-day my mare gave out I had to let her go without anything on her; my things being carried by the brethren of the mess. I had saved her as much as I possibly could having walked principally the whole of the [way] for fear of her failing.40

26 November 1849 • Monday

We had thirty miles travel before us to-day but they road was good & descending; we came before we knew it to some willow trees very large in a bottom where we found a spring of water; this the roadometer made 27 miles some of us when we came here thought it could not be over 22 or 23 miles; but when the wagon came along they set us right; there had been some feed but not very good & it was all eaten. We went to <the> right Northward when we left this spring & after leaving traveling about 3 miles we struck a bottom & after travelling about a mile to the westward; we came to some excellent <bunch> grass of very fine quality; but did not find any water.

27 November 1849 • Tuesday

Bro’s. Fife and [Henry Eliot] Gibson went out this morning & found some water still further west; we went down to it & cooked breakfast. We travelled about 7 miles & crossed a ridge rather bad descending, travelled in the valley about 12 miles & turned to the right & crossed a steep ridge travelled about 5 miles & camped upon a spring with very good feed but very strongly impregnated like all the grass in this country with saleratus.41

28 November 1849 • Wednesday

Remained encamped here all day bought some provisions & beef which from the wagons; we dried the beef.

29 November 1849 • Thursday

Started about noon to the spring on Saleratus Creek a distance of 7 miles; to our right as we travelled we could see about a mile & a half distant the banks crusted white with alkali; we had some very steep descending to get into the bottom where the creek <ran>; never during the whole of the route did <have> I seen a place so sterile & the curse of God so visibly manifested as I did here 42 it seemed as tho’ his strong displeasure had been exhibited; the water was poisonous looking like strong ley more than water. We found the water where we camped passably good; we had to be careful with the animals in crossing & recrossing the creek to prevent them drinking.43

30 November 1849 • Friday

Started very early this morning & travelled down the creek about 10 miles crossing and recrossing repeatedly when we emerged from the Cañon we turned to the left & rounded the point of a Mountain we travelled some distance in very heavy sand making it toilsome for both man & beast we passed thro’ a Rocky Cañon very rough travelling in which we found a weak brackish spring of water not fit for use. About ½ a mile further we came to grass & some very strong Salt Springs not fit for use; we remained here until 3 o’clock when some of the boys found some pools of standing rain water up to the left where we watered our animals; this stretch we called 14 or 15 miles. We travelled this evening & night we had a beautiful moon to travel by the light of, about 28 miles, part of the road was hard & level as a MacAdamised road44 & part quite rough & rocky; we travelled up a Cañon about a mile & camped no feed & had to tie our animals to the bushes; I arrived in Camp about 1 o’clock I was very much fatigued & felt unwell I had the travelled the whole distance on foot <about 43 miles>, with the exception of about45 a mile Wm. [William] Farrer. Farrer let me ride on his mare.

Cite this page

November 1849, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 19, 2024