October 1864

1 October 1864 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 31st <Octr 1st>/64. We started after breakfast. I felt that our trip, if made successfully, must be made by faith and through the protecting care of our Heavenly Father. Last night’s occurrences and the shooting killing of a man and the wounding of two others near this spot the night before has caused a fear to fall upon almost every person, and shows very plainly that the Indians are daring and mean mischief to all whom they can attack with impunity. We changed horses at Willow Island, [blank] miles from Plum Creek, and near to the spot where the wagon and men of John Y. Green was attacked and massacred by the Indians. From here we drove about 30 miles to Gilman’s Ranch before changing again, passing Midway Station. We passed a number of teams and soldiers on the road this afternoon. We reached Cottonwood station which is about 1½ miles or 2 miles from the Fort. At the Fort I met with Capt. Porter, who was is out with his men for 60 days in pursuit of Indians, and whom I formerly knew in Omaha, where he acts as the Agent of the Hannibal & St. Joseph RRoad. At Cottonwood Mr. Otis had <to> stop, rather unexpectedly to him, to attend to some business. He kindly gave us a letter to the Agents & Employees of the line informing them that we were “especial friends” of Mr. Holladay’s and that they were to use every exertion to make our trip to Salt Lake “comfortable, safe & pleasant.” We regretted to part with [him] as he is a clever, gentlemanly man and a pleasant companion to travel with. We had an excellent meal at this Station. We were joined here by a young man from Philadelphia & an acquaintance of Bro Saml Y. Fenton, by the name <of John Thos. Bladen,> who is going on to Denver. Our escort of two soldiers from this place were two boys, the youngest of which might have readily passed for 13 or 14 and the eldest for 16 or 17 and I do not think they were much older. They slept in the boot all the way. The driver said he would as soon have two cats along as guards as to have them. It really seems farcical to send such boys with a coach as an escort against Indians.

2 October 1864 • Sunday

Sunday, Octr 2nd/64. Rained in the night and was very dark, and we did not make such good time.

Breakfasted at Alkali, changed at Diamond Spring and one or two other places and reached Julesburg at about 5 p.m. We telegraphed from here to President Young. Here we took supper and were joined by a young man by the name of Wm H Adams, a dentist, from Great Salt Lake City and a member of the Church, who had been down to the States on business and was now returning. At the second place where we changed after leaving Julesburg, <28 miles> the driver found one of his horses sick and refused, despite our remonstrances, to go any further until morning.

3–5 October 1864 • Monday to Wednesday

Monday, Octr 3rd/64. We left a sick German here this morning who joined the Stage yesterday. <Last night was> A very cold night, there being <was> considerable ice this morning. We travelled the 22 miles to the Valley Ranch, where we changed horses & drivers. We took supper at the place where we changed the second time after leaving Valley Ranch – a distance of 29 miles from the latter place. Changed twice once before reaching the Junction. We changed horses and driver here, and several times between there & Latham, which place we reached between 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning of

Tuesday, Octr. 4/64. The last night was very cold, and there was considerable frost. The Black Hills lay before us this morning in great beauty and grandeur, from the summits half-way down being covered with snow. The coach that we should have connected with left here at 10 o’clock last night, and we are now under the necessity of waiting here, much as we dislike to do so, until this evening before we can go on. I have showed Mr. Otis’ letter; but the Agent says he has no power to vary from the specific instructions which he has received. Had some conversation with Mr. McIlvain, the Agent, who is sick abed with the pleurisy. He is a liberal-minded man, and entertains very favorable views of us and our proceedings. A Denver Coach, a Salt Lake Coach and an Eastern Coach came in between 5 and 6 p.m., and we started West about 7 p.m. Changed mules once; at the second place where we ought to have changed animals, two of the mules were gone and the driver declined going any further until morning. The name of this place is LaPorte, and it is 35 miles from Latham. We reached here a little after one in the morning of

Wednesday, Octr 5/64. Bro. John W. Young and Bro. Sharp and myself bought us each a buffalo robe apiece here. After breakfast we started with four mules instead of six. Passed Virginia Dale & <Cooper’s Creek> and other places where we changed teams and <& at the two former places> drivers. We ate supper at Big Laramie. Our night’s ride was a very rough one and I did not sleep any.

6 October 1864 • Thursday

Thursday, Octr 6/64. Conference day and how much I wish we were at-home to participate in the precious privileges of this season. We breakfasted at Elk Mountain Station near Fort Halleck, and here met the coach going East which left Salt Lake City on Sunday. We drove to North Platte, <30 miles> changing once on the road, and reached there about noon. Here we changed coaches, having entered upon another division of the road. Jack Gilmore, the division Agent from this Point to Green River, was here and accompanied us. We crossed the North Platte by fording. From this point to Green River is a complete desert, with an oasis here and there and the water is very bad. At Pine Grove Station the surroundings are rather pretty and antelope and elk abound. We changed horses here and once before reaching here. We crossed Bridger’s Pass, 26 miles from North Platte, and Sulphur Springs in the night. Near these latter Springs we presume we passed Bro. Warren S Snow’s train, in which were Bro’s. John M. Kay, Geo. Halliday, Thos O King and a portion of the Saints which crossed from London to New York in the Amazon. A cold night.

7 October 1864 • Friday

Friday, Octr 7/64. We passed a large company of Saints <in camp> this morning <who are> travelling under Capt. Wm Hyde, among the Elders <persons> with him were Elders Neslin, McCune, John L. Smith, Louis A. Bertrand, Parley P. Pratt and Alex Ross. There had been forty deaths in the company since they started and many were still suffering from a species of typhus fever. They were exceedingly glad to see us and it was almost with difficulty that we could tear ourselves away from them. Bro. Hyde came up, having been out with the stock, just before we started. His health is not very good; but has been full as good or better since he has been on the road as it was at-home.

We travelled on and reached the head of Bitter Creek about 2 p.m. We had to wait here for our sometime for the mules to be brought up to carry us forward, and while we were waiting here, Bro. Hyde drove up in his carriage. His company were following up & would be here by 8 p.m. We found Bro. Wimmer here with provisions & help for the companies. We slept but little to-night, the road being rough.

8-9 October 1864 • Saturday to Sunday

Saturday, Oct. 8/64. We travelled rather slowly to-day, and lost the six hours start that we had at when we left North Platte. We met the Coach which left Salt Lake City on Thursday, and Mr. Gilmore, the Agent, returned with it and we pursued our way towards Green River.

We reached Green River about 1.30 p.m. We met several brethren here who had come out with flour and help for the companies. Three of them waded the river to see us: Bro’s. James Lamb, Hy. Luke & Philip Smith. The former had crossed the plains with me in 1860 and we were glad to meet one another. We urged them to make their flour as secure as possible here and for the rest to go on with all the help they could to meet the trains and assist them. Now, that we are across Green River and are in our own Territory I feel much better than I have felt. It seems as though we are near home. Green River does not look so well here as it does above where I have crossed it. The country here is very desolate looking and there is scarcely any timber fringing the water. Passed Bro. Houtz’ mule train after starting. Changed animals two or three times and reached Millerville at 2 o’clock in the morning of

Sunday, Octr 9/64. The two coaches from the City <one of> which was due <in> this the morning night and the other this morning had not come to hand and there were no animals or driver to take us on further. Bro. John W. Young offered our last night’s driver $5 to take our coach on to Fort Bridger – 12 miles distant – which he did, after breakfast. We learned here that the first coach due had broke down at Yellow Creek.

We left Fort Bridger between 2 & 3 p.m. Changed horses several times and changed our driver at Bear River, where we took supper.

10 October 1864 • Monday

Monday, Oct. 10/64. We found ourselves at the mouth of Echo Kanyon on the Weber this morning at daylight. By offering the driver a premium of $5 he agrees to drive us in at extra speed so that we can reach the City before sundown. The morning is very cold. Inquired at Coalville for Bro. Wm Peck. He is the husband of my wife, Sarah Jane’s sister Olive, and my wife’s mother is living with him. My wife also spent the <last> winter here with her Mother. He lives so far off the road that it is out of my power to see him if I keep on with the Stage. The road is pretty rough up Silver Creek. I am surprised at the improvements there have been made in Weber Valley and throughout this section. The grain stacks of hay and grain to be seen on all sides, give evidence that Nature has bountifully repaid the labor of the husbandman. Passed Bro. Wm H Kimball’s place and called into see him. He is the eldest son of President Heber C Kimball. During the troubles with the United States in 1857-8 he was appointed General of the Standing Army which we were raising. Being an adjutant of that organization, and my time being almost solely occupied with that business, I had frequent opportunities of seeing Bro. Wm H Kimball. I admired him very much, & then thought him that he was one of the most promising men in the Church. I was much shocked at seeing him this morning and witnessing the change which had taken place, and of which I had heard considerable. He was considerably the worse for liquor, though quite early in the day, and his face was <so> very much bloated as to <have> changed the his features & their expression. He seems to have become a regular sot, and keeps a small grocery, where he peddles liquors &c. When I saw the wreck of this once noble man I felt very sad and I deeply sympathized with this family who must feel deeply his degradation. Oh how cursed are the effects which follow this baneful habit!

We changed horses at a Station about two miles from Wm H Kimballs and drove slowly from there until we reached the divide; from there we drove rapidly to Hardy’s Station (belonging to Leonard W. Hardy) where we again changed horses. The road down Parley’s Kanyon was very dusty and full of chuck holes. We had Capt. Baldwin inside with us from this last Station to the City. He spoke very favorably of the energy and progress of the people. The view which gladdened our eyes as we emerged out of the Kanyon on to the bench was very beautiful and heart-cheering – a four years’ absence enabled me to appreciate it and to gaze upon it with delight. I could see many new buildings which had been erected since I left home, conspicuous among the rest was the Theatre – a very fine structure. In passing through the streets, there were very few points which I recognized. Emigration Street, every stone of which I was formerly so well acquainted with that, had I been dropped there, I could have told where I was by the appearance of the ground, I we travelled on for several blocks without my recognizing it. We were carried to the Stage Office and from there up to the President’s Office. Main or Whiskey Street has undergone great changes since I left home. It looks more like the Street of a Gentile City than one <a street> in Zion. Gentiles throng it & many of their evidences of civilization are to be seen all around. Bro’s. W. S. Godbe and Jennings have two <a> magnificent Store each on the opposite corners of this Street and 2nd South Temple Street. Bro. Jennings’ is finished and occupied; Bro. Godbe’s will not be ready for use for a month yet. President Young was not at the Office; he and the leading brethren were at a Party at the Social Hall which was convened for the purpose of having the Members of Zion’s Camp meet together. It was Thirty years had elapsed since that Camp had journeyed up to Missouri, for led by the Prophet Joseph, for the redemption of Zion. Our meeting with President Young, was most warm and the brethren, was most warm and cordial. He embraced us very heartily and bade us welcome home in an affectionate manner <terms.> The brethren prepared food for us, which we ate, being the first meal we had had to-day. Uncle John Taylor came, with other brethren, and sat with us while we ate. The President desired us to go home and clean ourselves and come back to the party and bring our wives with us. I was taken down in a carriage and received a fond welcome from my wife, Elizabeth and the my children, John Q. and Abraham H. and our adopted daughter, Rosey, and Grandma Goodfellow. My wife Sarah Jane and my son Franklin J. and my brother Angus, who wa is up from the South at to attend Conference, also came in and I met them with pleasure. The folks felt that they would rather stay at home, under the circumstances, than go to the Party, so I went alone. The party was a very pleasant one and much good instruction was given. Bro. Brigham called on myself and Bro. John W. Young to speak. We did not separate till about 2’ o’clock in the morning of Tuesday the 11th of October. The meeting was adjourned to meet <until> that day next year.

Cite this page

October 1864, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 27, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1860s/1864/10-1864