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September 1858

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1858

9 September

Appointed “to go on a mission to the east”

14 September

Set apart for mission and began journey east. “My family had no place to live in and would have to rent.”

16 September

Echo Canyon, Utah Territory, “adapted for fortification” during Utah War

17 September ff.

Travel east

22 September

Account of dream of hosts of heaven

16 October

Temporarily lost near Beaver River, Nebraska Territory

21 October

Reached Florence (Winter Quarters), Nebraska Territory

25 October

Reached St. Louis

5 November

Submitted article to the editor of the Missouri Republican

9 September 1858 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 9th, 1858. Left Filmore City and traveled along without anything of particular note happening until we reached Payson, about 68 miles from G. S. L. City. At this place, and a while stopping at Bro. Preston’s for noon, we were met by Bro. John M. Bollwinkel, this was on Monday, the 13th. He had left the City on Sunday evening about 9 o’clock and had traveled all night and the next morning until he met us. He brought a carriage to ride in, and <had> been told, when he started, by Pres. Brigham Young to travel day and night until he met me. He brought a letter written by Bro. Carrington which explained the object of the hurry. I had been appointed to go on a mission to the east and the company were waiting at the City for me: they had appointed Monday, the 13th, (the day that I received the note) as the day to start. It had been expected that I would arrive at the City much earlier than I did. Bro. Brigham supposed that Bro. Carrington had written me a letter telling me why I was wanted; and did not know any did anything to the contrary until the day when I was expected when upon inquiry he learned that Bro C. had merely told David, who was coming down with the team to bring me up, that I was wanted and to tell me to come right up. I did all in <my> power to get up speedaly, but I made slow progress, as my wagons were heavily loaded, and I did not suspect that I was wanted to go off. When I learned what was wanted of me, I put a few things in a carpet sack, took a little bedding, my arms, etc: and taking Elizabeth and John Q. in the carriage with me, started in half an hour after I received the note, for the City. We travelled all afternoon, ate supper at Provo and again started at nightfall and reached the City at five o’clock in the morning of the 14th.

14 September 1858 • Tuesday

Tuesday the 14th of Sept 1858. After breakfast I went to see Bro. Brigham. His first remark after the salutations was “Are you ready?” I was told him I was. He then turned to one of the breathern who was standing bye, and said “I told you it would be so.” After a little conversation, he told one of the clerks to hand me my letter of instructions to read, and could ask any questions in relation to it that might suggest themselves to me. (See letter of instructions and other papers) Though I felt very much the responsibility of such a mission, yet I knew that the Lord would give me, if I should be humble and diligent, strength to perform it. I received a blessing and was set apart for my mission under the hands of Bro’s Brigham, Heber, Daniel, C C Rich and Erastus Snow, Bro. Brigham being mouth. Brother Leo Hawkins took down the blessing (See Copy)

Before starting, I prayed with and blessing blessed Elizabeth and John Q. committing them and Sarah Jane1 and all belonged to me into the hands of the Lord. I had not time to give way to my feelings, the call was so sudden and the business entrusted to me so important and so many things to be thought of that my feelings, which would naturally be sorrowfull at leaving family and friends and the society of the saints were kept down. My family had no place to live in and would have to rent; I had not time to do anything in relation to a house and they were left to shift for themselves aided occasionally by Angus and David and my other relative. I ate dinner at Uncle John Taylor’s with Angus and family, and on Tuesday afternoon we started. We camped that evening near the head of Killyon’s Kanyon, a small kanyon leading out of emigration kanyon, and said to be a better road over the little mountain. We fed our animals grain, after they had ran on the side hills till nearley dark, and then tied up for the night. The brethern who were along were Horace S. Eldredge, Fred Kesler, Joseph W. Young, Horton D Haight and Harlow Redfield and family the latter going to the states on his own business. Bro Eldridge had one of his wives and their little girl with him. The brethern expected to return to the valley in the Spring. There were several other brethern, some of whom were ahead and some behind, who were expected to travel with us.

15 September 1858 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept 15th 1858 Started about eight o’clock in the morning crossed the little mountain into Big Kanyon, ascended the Big Mountain without difficulty and there the two brethern who had come along with two church teams to help us, took their teams. and returned. We put on our own teams and descended the mountain and down a little kanyon to east kanyon down which a noble stream ran into the weber. We travelled down this creek about nine miles, crossing it several times and camped near where we leave it. We again tied up our animals for the night, not deeming it safe to let them run for fear they would go back

16 September 1858 • Thursday

Thursday Sept 16 1858. We were joined this morning by Brs. Edwd Stevenson and Dr Whitmore. A large train with six yoke of oxen on a wagon, passed us this morning while we were in Camp. Hitched up and started about eight o’clock, passed up a little kanyon, a little water running in it, fed on the side hills. Crossed some ridges, quite rockey and rough travelling and came into a rather open valley, leading down to the Weber. Crossed the Weber, nearley four miles above where we struck it and soon after camped for noon. Fed flour mixed in water to the mules, that being the feed we had along for our animals. After hitching up we travelled up the Weber a short distance and entered Echo Kanyon, so famous in the history of the late Utah war. It was in this Kanyon, about three miles from its mouth, that the formidable preparations for the defence of the Territory against the attempted invasion by the U S forces, were made by our people last fall and Winter. The Kanyon is admirably adapted for fortification, and our people took every advantage of its natural facilities to make it an almost impregnable barrier in in the way of the advance of an invading foe. Ston[e] Forts were built on the heights commanding the Kanyon, from which bullets and all kind of missiles could be showered without the least danger of their being stormed. Huge Rocks were piled up that with the slightest pry of a handspike could be precipitated into the Valley below. In the Kanyon or Valley trenches were dug clear across from one side to the other which could easily be filled with water, making the road impassable to the enemy and while they would be bridging them or getting across they would be fired upon from the heights above and from covered entrenchments in the Kanyon. A little below these trenches a large dam had been thrown across the Kanyon which was intended to flood the entire Kanyon for some distance up, and, our men had ditches and places of shelter constructed from which they could pour a deadly fire upon the enemy as they advanced. These preparations had the effect last fall of deterring the army from advancing. The road up the Kanyon is ascending, but we found it better than expected. We camped ten miles up the Kanyon and found good feed on the hills. Bro Iverson with a company of Danish Saints numbering probably twenty five in all, on their way to the Valley, camped close by us

17 September 1858 • Friday

Friday, Sept 17th/58. The mail from the States passed us this morning. The principal item of news, we were informed, was the successful laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable and the transmission of messages between the two continents – a truly wonderful achievement. We travelled up the Kanyon road pretty good for ten and a half miles, came to a large hill which we ascended and crossed some rolling country two miles to Cache cave, a little stream and good feed close by. Thence we travelled over ascending ground three miles to a small spring called mountain Spring close to the base of the divide or ridge which separates the waters of Weber and Bear rivers. This Spring is close to road on the right-hand side as we ascend and might be passed unnoticed; feed is good on the hill sides. We nooned here. Stopped about two hours and hitched up and ascended the hill: quite steep: after from two to three miles travel we reached Yellow Creek. Thence we travelled eight and three quarter miles to Bear River passing through a valley containing many springs and good feed. Feed poor at Bear river and we travelled beyond about a mile, ascending the rocky bench from Bear River Valley, and camped at a creek to the left of the road with water standing in pools in its bed, feed on the hills to the right of the road pretty good.

18 September 1858 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept 18th/58. Started at about ¼ of eight, passed sulphur Springs about one mile from where we camped, left the creek an[d] ascended a hill, travelled over rolling ground and ascended a steep hill on the side of which and not far from the top and on the right hand side of the road we found a Spring, known as “Quaking Aspen” Spring, said to be eight miles from Bear River. The top of this hill is the rim of the Great Basin. After we reached the top of the hill or divide we travelled on a ridge called Quaking Asp Ridge for some distance, road tolerable; and then travelled over descending ground to Soda Spring, eight miles from “Quaking Aspen” Spring. The old pioneer trail leaves “Quaking Aspen” Ridge and Spring to the left, or rather right, traveling as we do to the east. of the springs called Soda is very strongly impregnated with Soda, the other is pretty good water. We noon here & feed tolerably good in the hills. Stopped two hours. Started and traveled four miles to Big Muddy Creek, road up hill considerable of the way. Two miles thence to Little; feed not very good on these creeks. A very steep and rocky hill from this latter creek to the bench. Traveled about one mile to a little creek: feed eat off. Thence over pretty good descending road for about nine miles to Fort Bridger: we camped about a mile below on the other side of the Fort. Windy and disagreeable. Had to carry our water about a mile.

19 September 1858 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept 19th/58. Started a little after eight. Traveled six miles to the bend of Black’s Fork, road rather rocky. Thence six miles to the ford of Smith’s Fork; about a mile from thence we camped for noon, at a bend of the creek: feed tolerable for mules among the sage bushes. Ascended a little rocky hill. Came to ford of Black’s Fork, called three miles from ford of Smith’s Fork, two miles farther came to another for[k] of same creek. Thirteen miles from here we came to Black’s Fork which we forded: no feed. We passed a bend, however called two miles from the ford, which leaves only a stretch of eleven miles without water. The road over part this stretch was cut up very much with the heavy trains that had passed: the latter part, however, was quite good. We traveled two miles from the ford of Black’s Fork over to Hains Fork where we found the brethern who had started before us awaiting us. Feed pretty good. We did not camp on this stream at the usual crossing, which was bridged and some few soldiers camped at it, but about a quarter of a mile below.

20 September 1858 • Monday

Monday. Sept 20th/58. We started about half past seven. Came to a bend of Black’s Fork four miles from our camping place. Fifteen miles from this bend or nineteen and a half from the ford, we came to the ford of Green river being the middle road. But about three miles before we reached Green river and about a quarter of a mile to the right of the road, we stopped and turned out; feed excellent, no water. Crossed Green river, fording good, hill steep and rocky to ascend from the bottom to the bench. Thirteen miles from Green river to Big Sandy, a tolerably sized creek, feed eat off. The <road> pretty good between the river and the Creek. Tied up for the night and fed flour. The company was organized this evening by choosing Bro. Horace S Eldredge, Captain; myself chaplain; and Bro Joseph W Young, Sergeant of the guard. The company numbered eighteen men, four woman six children, with eight wagons and a hand cart and thirty four horses and mules.

21 September 1858 • Tuesday

Tuesday Sept 21st. 1858. Fed flour and started early this morning crossing the creek, taking our water with us to cook breakfast at the first feed we came to. Traveled about a mile and a half and found feed to the right of the road. Again started and travel to the Upper crossing of Big Sandy, seventeen miles from the other crossing, road good. Fed flour, feed eat off. Traveled about two miles and nooned where we found feed. Mail passed us from the States, had time to write a few lines to Elizabeth & Sarah Jane telling them I was well etc. From this upper crossing we traveled eight miles over good road to Little Sandy which we crossed; feed eat off. Fed flour and filled our water vessels and went on about five miles to feed on left of the road.

22 September 1858 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept 22nd, 1858. Started at 20 minutes past six O.clock A.M. Road tolerably sandy. Passed the junction of the California and Oregon roads with the Utah. Traveled about fifteen or sixteen miles and struck down to the Pacific Creek where we turned out and stopped an hour or two. Feed tolerably good. We traveled up the creek to the Pacific Springs and fed flour and passed on three miles to the South Pass . which is about twenty five from the Little Sandy. Dry Sandy, as it is termed, is about fourteen miles from Little Sandy and has no water in its bed at some seasons of the year. We found water there, but it was so roiled up by the cattle of the government trains that were camped there when we came along, that we did not let our animals drink.

After passing through the Pass, it commenced raining: we struck off to the Sweetwater, crossed it and camped among the willows, where we and our animals were sheltered from the storm, which lasted only a little while in the evening, and found wood and pretty good feed for the mules. I had a singular dream on the night of Sunday, the 19th, which I omitted to notice in the journal at the proper time: I dreamed that I was traveling as we are now with a good many in company and we had camped. Bro John Young prayed. After he had finished prayer, I looked up to the heavens, and they were full of men all armed. They were exceeding by numerous, and descended to the earth in double file to where we were Standing, and mingled among us. Their countenance were bright and effulgent as the sun; and terrible to look upon. There was one thing that struck me particularly in their mingling with us: though we stood in a crowd and rather closely packed, yet they could pass to and fro among us without suffering any in convenience or with elbowing or jostling any body. About the midst of the dream I was awakened by the sprinkling of rain in my face, a slight shower passing over at the time. I remembered, however, conversing with Uncle John Taylor in my dream about what I had witnessed, and he said that now the power would be with us: the hosts of heaven would be with us, and the nation who were opposing us would speedily go down. The effect of this dream upon me was exceedingly pleasing and I rejoiced in it. I feel that the Lord is not forgetful of the promises and covenants which he has made with us and our fathers.

23 September 1858 • Thursday

Thursday. Sept. 23rd 1858. The morning was fine and the sun shone clearly and refreshingly after the rain of last evening. We started about eight o.Clock; traveled over pretty good road for seven, (passing soon after leaving camp between the twin mounds) when we came to a small creek which we called Skull Creek – Brs Kesler found a skull here – but which is generally known as the last crossing of Sweetwater. We here took the cut off, or the new road leading down the South side of the Sweetwater called the [blank] cut off. We traveled six miles farther and came to Elk creek, where we camped. The feed along this road is very good, not having been ate off by the heavy trains, they having taken the other road. Stopped an hour and a half. I .Traveled over a hilly and somewhat rocky road twelve miles to a small creek, known as Spring Branch[.] Sage for firewood and feed tolerably plentiful[.] Day’s travel estimated at twenty five miles.

24 September 1858 • Friday

Friday Sept, 24th/58. Started at about ¼ past 7. Traveled six miles to Muddy creek, a very clear and limpid creek, not much feed in the bottom but feed in little bottoms adjacent. The road is tolerable from last camp to this point, some few hills, after leaving this creek we ascended a steep and rocky hill. Traveled six miles over pretty road to a small spring creek, water not very good, imprognated with sulpher. Feed good for mules and horses. Rather sandy and hilly road in afternoon; slow traveling. Traveled about thirteen miles and camped with Bro Appleby’s train of six wagons on their [way] from the States to the Valley at a crossing of the Sweetwater. We struck the old road at a point about a mile or two from where we nooned. The old road runs to the north of the cut off. Bro Young from Conn. and family were with the train.

25 September 1858 • Saturday

Saturday Sept 25th. 1858. Crossed the Sweetwater, traveled about eight miles to a Kanyon, crossed twice and after emerging from the Kanyon, crossed the river again and traveled Seven miles to bend of river, where we nooned; feed good. In afternoon road Sandy traveled ten miles and camped at bend of river; feed ate off in bottoms. By hunting among adjacent hills we found excellent bunch grass.

26 September 1858 • Sunday

Sunday Sept 26th/58. Started at ½ past 7. Passed several bends of river; one or two miles after starting, another about six, another about seven. Feed good all along the road[.]

After traveling about twelve miles came to Devil’s Gate: four miles and a half farther turned down to the river and camped for noon . not far from Independence Rock. A very windy, blustry day. Started at about 2 p.m passed the Rock, half a mile farther a trading and mail station, half a mile farther the Saleratus Lake to the right of the road. We could not, get beyond the margin of the lake it was so mirey owing to the late rains, and therefore, could not collect any Saleratus, which is best obtained from the centre of the Lake. nine miles from this to Greasewood Creek, where we camped. Feed tolerable on surrounding bluffs. We have found the feed ate off at the usual camping places by the numerous trains that have passed en route to the Valley and have had to hunt it up on the hills and in places not affording sufficient for a large drove. From the Sweetwater to this point we found the road the most of the way sandy and heavy rolling. I have been writing to Elizabeth and Sarah Jane for a few days back as I could get leisure and to-day enclosed it in an envelope with a letter of Bro Keslers directed to his folks and left it at a station requesting them to give it to the mail carrier. We passed the mail at the Station on the Sweetwater between the Rock and the Saleratus Lake.

27 September 1858 • Monday

Monday, Sept 27/58. Cold night last night. Bro Kesler was sick, several others are complaining. The Stench from the dead cattle with which the road is lined on each side and strewn over every camp ground is so dreadful offensive that in almost any other country it would produce pestilence. We can scarcely travel a hundred yards without having our nostrils assailed by fetid smells from the putrid carcases scattered all over the line of our travel. We started at ¼ to eight. Traveled two miles and passed small creek to the right of the road. Feed good. Passed two small spring creek at interval of three or four miles apart. Descended Prospect Hill, passed down a small valley containing many small springs. Water to all appearances not very good. Feed tolerable. Passed a small clear spring creek, feed ate off, watered our animals and traveled on a mile or over and turned out for noon at good feed by the side of the road; no water. Morning’s travel estimated at 17 miles. Bro James Brown has been sick since last night; after we stopped, he became much worse. We administered to him twice. He was in such pain that we could not travel faster than a walk all afternoon. The road was quite good. Passed Rock Avenue. Traveled about twelve or thirteen miles and camped at Mineral Spring; feed good.

28 September 1858 • Tuesday

Tuesday. Sept 28/58. Started at eight. Road ascending in the beginning afterward descending and generally good until we reached the Ford of the Upper Platte twelve and a half miles from where we last camped. Crossed the river fording pretty good and traveled about a mile and camped here a small creek of clear water for noon. Bro. Brown is some better to day. Started after an hour and half’s rest and traveled four miles to the bridge across the Platte. Here some traders are located and the U S. military are building a station. We left the main road to the right to go to the bridge. Passed a small creek 7 miles from where we nooned. Camped near a small creek 5¼ miles farther; feed for horses and mules good; water not very good. The feed is more green and young than is usual at this time of year on this road; the brethern who have traveled the road repeatedly say that it is abandant in many places now where in former year scarcely a spear was to be seen. About the forth of Sept, we were informed there was snow fell here to the depth of a foot; to this may be attributed the greenness of the feed. This evening I was on guard on the first watch, and was particular by struck with the brilliant appearance of the comet which we have seen in the north western heavens every clear evening since we started. Its tail illuminated a large portion of the heavens, and the evening being dark caused its appearance to be more striking

29 September 1858 • Wednesday

Wednesday Sept 29th/58 Started at ¼ past 7 traveled 5 ¾ miles to a small crooked Creek, with steep banks, but which was bridged. Passed two bends of river; good camping places. After traveling sixteen miles from place of starting, over pretty good road, came to deer creek, where we found a large number of Indians camped, (we did not speak with any of them) also a strore [store], blacksmith shop, and several houses. the whole collection, as I learned from a sign over the door of the store, called “Dacotah City”. Traveled two miles farther and had to turn out where there was no water in consequence of Dr. Whitmore breaking the tongue and iron stays of his wagon. I stopped back, after the company started, with Bro Joseph W. Young to help the Dr. and Edwd Stevenson fix their wagon tongue. The blacksmith was gone off but was expected till afternoon; we tinkered at it for a while and finally concluded to wait for the smith. About dark we learned he was not coming to night and we went to work fixing it ourselves: Br Joseph W. acted as smith and succeeded in patching up an old split ox tongue and making it answer. By the time we returned frm [from] Dacotah City to the wagon (with which Bro Stevenson had remained to guard) and fastened the tongue on, it lacked only a few minutes of eleven p.m. The night was very dark and Cloudy, but about the time we started, the moon rose and we had a little more light. After traveling some little time the moon succeeded in strugling through the clouds, and it became more pleasant. Three miles from place of starting we came to bend of Platte river where the roads forked, the old pioneer trail going over the Black Hills to the right, the new road keeping down by the river. The company took the river road, with the exception of Farther [Father] Gorley from Provo, who was going to the states on business and was packing, he as one supposes by mistake took the other road, we arrived at camp a few minutes before two in the morning. We traveled nine miles from Deer Creek and camped on the Foarche Boise, a fine stream, wood and water tolerably plenty.

30 September 1858 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 30/58. Bro Horton D Haight started off to hunt the old man Gorley. We remained in camp waiting for him; he had been driving the loose <animals> and had two mules and a mare pony with him belonging to our outfit. The old man had kept <on> the old road, thinking that the two roads would come together, again, and Bro Horton followed him. We hitched up and started at about ½ past 2 p.m. and traveled over good road about ten miles to a creek supposed to be La Prele, crossed some hills and came into a very fine bottom, covered with excellent feed; crossed it and came to ford of the Platte, near which we camped. We estimated our afternoon’s drive at 10 miles.

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September 1858, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 25, 2024