My Dear Beloved Son and Daughter, William and Mary Coupe, I now sit down and take up my pen to write a few lines to you, hoping that when you may receive them they may find you and all your family in good health and all your dear brothers and sisters that may still be living these few lines come with my kind love to you all.Stephen Coupe, letter undated.
In 1859 my 4th great grandfather Stephen Coupe crossed the plains of America to Salt Lake City as one of the 353 individuals that made up the James S Brown company wagon train. His journey began in 1856 when he sailed on the ship Horizon from Liverpool.
On the twenty-fifth of May 1856, the ship Horizon, Captain Reed, sailed from Liverpool for Boston, with 856 Saints on board, under the presidency of Elders Edward Martin, Jesse Haven and George P. Waugh. The following elders, who had held responsible positions in the British Mission also sailed in this ship: Thomas B. Broderick and John Toone (both from Utah), John Jaques
, Robert Holt, Thomas Ord, James Stones, Henry Squires and Robert Evans. Of the emigrants six hundred and thirty-five were P. [Perpetual] E. [Emigration] Fund emigrants and two hundred and twenty-one ordinary, including seven cabin passengers. Among the number were Samuel Pucell and family who had given the first sixpence to the Mormon elders when they first went to England in 1837.
On the thirtieth of June the steamer Huron towed the Horizon to Constitution wharf, at Boston, where the emigrants debarked. They then took cars for Iowa City, crossing the Hudson at Albany and passing through Buffalo on the fourth of July. The company arrived in Iowa City on the eighth of July.”Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII, pages 377, 542, 536, 554
I was born in Bolsover, Derbyshire Co. England on September 14, 1853. My parents were Jeremiah Stokes and Fanny Walker. My Father was a mason and owned a boarding house at Bolsover. They accepted the gospel and came to America on May 1856. We were five weeks crossing the ocean on the ship Horizon. I was two years old… We lived in Boston for three years, my father and brothers did mason work. When I was five years old in 1859 we came to Utah with the James Brown Company we had one wagon and two oxen. Mr. Christ drove the team for father and Steve Coupe was with us an old man who came from England with us. My brother Robert and his wife Ann Wilson and son Franklin one month old, three was 13 of us. We walked a great deal of the way. We Arrived in Salt Lake City in September 1859. I am the last surviving child of Jeremiah and Fanny Walker Stokes. I am 85 years old and in good health and cheerful spirits. (Related to Nina Stoker Erickson great niece on December 26,1938)– From the life of Fanny Stokes, told by Fanny Stokes to Nina Stoker Erickson great niece on December 26,1938.
The following is the Trail diary, Captain James Brown’s wagon company, 1859 June-August, 9. This is the actual journey Stephen was part of.
June 13, 1859: Camp near Florence, Nebraska.
Elders Eldredge, Cannon, and Young organized the company as follows; James [Stephens] Brown, 3rd President and Captain, Brother [William Henry] Wright, Chaplain and John H[ardingham] Gordon, Secretary, also six Captains of Tens and a Sargent of Guard. The Company consisted of 353 souls, including men, women, and children. The number of wagons, 59, Yoke of Oxen, 114, Horses 11, Cows 36, loose cattle 41, total head of cattle 316. After starting out 34 persons were added to our number and seven wagons, 9 yoke of cattle, 9 cows, and 5 horses, making a total of 387 souls, 66 wagons and 415 head of cattle. The company started out in excellent spirits, weather fine, camped at the Papio [Papillon Creek], having traveled a distance of 13 miles without accident occuring.
Tuesday: June 14, 1859
Rolled out all is well, halted at noon at the Elk Horn for refreshments, proceeded on our journey and camped at Raw Hide Creek. Hurrying traveled 18 miles experiencing only one or two trifling accidents. The wagons each night being arranged in beautiful order. After supper the company being called together were addressed by the Captain on matters relating to cattle, wagons and etc. Meeting dismissed by singing and prayer.
Wednesday June 15, 1859
Company started cheerfully on their way, the weather being pleasant. Halted at noon for refreshments and started again traveling until about six o’clock, and then camped. Making a distance of 19 miles. After supper preaching and instructions by the brethern, Captain being indisposed, I should think from over exertion, who I must say is a prompt and energetic man and prudent with all and in every respect qualified to lead a company of Saints across the plains.
Thursday, June 16, 1859
Started at the usual hour, all well. Had a fine shower of rain. Camped at noon for refreshments, proceeding on our way. Travelled 15 or 16 miles. No accident occuring. Camped for the night. After the supper the Saints were all called together and addressed by Captain Brown who gave some valuable and important instruction relating to our condition and circumstances.
Friday, June 17, 1859
Rolled out, all well, had a fine shower which made it pleasant to travel, had one or two slight accidents. Camped at noon; started on again and made during the day a distance of 18 or 19 miles, camped near the Platte. After supper the Saints were called together and addressed by Captain Brown on matters pertaining to safety and well being.
Saturday June 18, 1859.
Moved out of camp, all well. A heavy shower of rain fell which cooled the atmosphere, making it pleasant to travel, made 8 or 9 miles. Camped on Platte River bottom early to give saints an opportunity to wash and clean up. After supper the Saints were called together and addressed by Capt. Brown informing the Saints that an opportunity would be afforded to all who desired to be baptised or rebaptised. After giving some further instruction meeting dismissed by prayer.
Sunday, June 19, 1859
Moved out of camp, all well, a heavy rain fell which prevented us from starting at the usual hour, it turned out a very pleasant day and we made travel of 15 miles, camped at the Looking Glass Creek. After supper meeting as usual.
Monday, June 20, 1859
Traveled out well, reached Genoa a distance of 6 miles, a few teams crossed the ferry at Leop[Loup] Fork, when the rope broke which caused a little delay. Through the promptness and energy of Captain Brown the rope was repaired and all the teams got over safely by 1 o’clock the following day. Camped at night at south Big Fork, part of the Company on the opposite shore.
Tuesday, June 21, 1859
All the teams crossed the ferry, all safe, the cattle being swam over. Camped all day. The Saints enjoyed themselves in the evening fun, with dance as a general thing harmony prevailing.
Wednesday, June 22, 1859
Rolled out well, traveled 16 or 18 miles without accident occuring. Camped at evening. Meeting as usual, and as a general thing a good spirit prevailing.
Thursday, June 23, 1859
Rolled out well, traveled over a heavy road, having a great many sloughs to pass over, halted at noon for rest and refreshment, started again on our journey and made over 20 miles. A meeting was held in the evening addressed by Captain Brown on various subjects of importance relating to our present condition, dismissed by prayer.
Friday June 24, 1859
Started out in good health and spirits, cattle and team in good condition. Part of the road being sloughs and the remainder of the days journey being over sand hills. Made a distance of 20 miles. Camped for the night, meeting as usual, and all is well.
Saturday, June 25, 1859
Had some delay in moving out in consequence of cattle straying away or stampeding in the night. Moved out at 12 or 1 o’clock travelled over a heavy, sandy road, in one place the teams had to doubled, all got over safely only one accident occuring during the day, that of an axle breaking. Camped at Prairie Creek having traveled a distance of 12 to 16 miles. At night a meeting was held. The President addressing the Saints on the necessity of being united and willing to aid each other and to put away all selfish feelings, he did not want to see any bad feelings existing in the camp, it is not characteristic of the Gospel also gave further instruction respecting teams and etc.
Sunday June 26, 1859
Camp moved out, all well. Traveled over heavy road, made a distance of 15 miles, camped at Prairie Creek. Meeting [a]t night addressed by Captain Brown on the necessity of keeping an efficient guard around the camp and etc. And the Captains of the tens spoke their feelings and felt happy and well satisfied in having such a good Captain and felt to carry out his instructions in all things. Dismissed with prayer.
Monday June 27, 1859
Started out at the usual hour, all is well. Experiencing a very hot and sultry day. Camped at noon for refreshments and rest. Within 6 miles of Wood River. Moved on again and crossed the bridge over Wood River, one slight accident occuring, that of Brother Goodurin’s wagon slipping off the bridge. The wagon was speedily unloaded and got out alright without anything being broken or damaged. Camped for the night. Meeting as usual addressed by Captain Brown, who was pleased with the energy and perseverance shown by the Brethern in getting the teams over sloughs and out of mud holes. There was a decided improvement in this particular and also pleased at the willingness manifest by the brethern to assist each other; let this spirit and feeling continue that we may enjoy the blessings of heaven. He gave further instructions in relation to being in Indian country, and the manner in which we should treat them so as to be able to travel through their midst in peace and safety. Dismissed by prayer. Traveled 20 miles. A party of Indians paid our camp a visit and through Captain Brown partook of our hospitality and were all well pleased. The Captain conversing with them in their own language.
Tuesday, June 28, 1859
Rolled out, all well and in good spirits. The weather being hot and dusty and water scarce for cattle. Halted in the afternoon for two hours. Moved on again, the weather being a little more pleasant. Traveled during the day a distance of 22 miles. After supper the Captain addressed the company. Thanking God for his v[m]ercies toward us and unprec[ed]ented prosperity which had thus far attended us and made some further and appropriate remard[k]s in relation to our present circumstances and also cautioning the Brethern to be faithful, prompt and trustworthy in the discharge of all the duties devolving upon them, especially that of guarding the camp and the cattle, as we are now in the Indian country and must of necessity be watchfull over our loved ones and our property, and by prayer for the blessings of God. A motion was made and carried that Chaplain Wright be appointed to take charge of all property that may be found in the camp. Dismissed by singing and prayer.
Wednesday, June 29, 1859
Moved out a little earlier than usual. Company all well. During the forenoon march a man with a child in his arms in attempting to get out of his wagon while traveling, fell under the wheel and both were run over, but strange to say no bones were broken. Halted after noon for rest and dinner, the day being warm and dusty. Moved out again and traveled during the day 20 or 22 miles. Meeting as usual, the Captain called upon some of the officers to address the meeting, some few spoke their feelings, being gratefull for the mercies of Heaven exorting the Saints to faithfullness and obedience and bearing testimony to the truth of Mormonism. The President then spoke at some length in an interesting manner, touching on items of principle and doctrine and imparting valuable council and instruction on matters pertaining to our present position, and again requested and counciled the brethern and sisters not to stray away from the camp any distance. It being imprudent and unsafe, as it is very easy for a person to loose themselves in the vast prairies and being in a savage country might loose their lives. And another thing, I do not want to have the entire camp delayed in consequence of people straying away, as our time is valuable, and after this council and advice, I will not hold myself responsible if any should wander away from the camp and loose themselves. Another thing as we are now in the buffalo country, I would request that the brethern do not shoot these animals for mere sport and leave their carcasses to stink on the plains, it is displeasing to our Heavenly Father for his people to unwantenly [wantonly] shed the blood of any animal. After making some further remarks on this subject it was moved and carried that all our hunting movements be governed and directed by President Brown. Meeting dismissed by prayer.
Thursday, June 30, 1859
Started out, all is well and in fine spirits, as a general thing. The day rather hot and dusty; traveled 12 to 18 miles and camped at Buffalo Creek at an early hour so the company might have an opportunity to wash and trim up. Meeting at night as usual. Called to order by the Chaplain with singing and prayer. Captain Brown addressed the meeting saying he felt grateful to our Heavenly Father for His protecting care and choice mercies towards us. He also imparted some valuable and important instructions, and in the course of his remarks requested the Saints to be prudent and careful and to eat sparingly of Buffalo meat when we got it. As it is possible we shall have some in a day or two, and if we indulge too freely in the use of it in the unprepared state of our systems it would in all probability produce sickness and death, therefore take friendly council and act with discretion in this matter. The Captain also laid before the brethern the order and system of marching, corralling and etc. and wished it to be distincly understood that no team should stop after starting out in the morning and noon to water cattle, without a special order. As it would produce confusion and disorder and requested every team to keep their proper position from the time of starting till the time to correll. That all our traveling might be in order and in harmony.
Friday, July 1, 1859
Rolled out at an early hour, the day very hot and sultry. A party of Indians came up to us, all of them well mounted on horseback. Saw many Indians hunting buffalo. It was exciting and to many a novel scene. Halted for noon, no water for the cattle. Resumed our march. The day continuing hot and dusty. Camped at night near Platte having traveled a distance of 20 or 25 miles. In the evening a meeting was called and addressed by Captain Brown who urged the Saints to soak their wagon wheels, water them well and tighten them up, that we may not have tires coming off and to set on the way. Attend to it night and morning, whenever necessary and wished the Captains of tens to see that their companies dispense with all superfluous and unnecessary weight, as we will find the road tedious and heavy on our teams in their heavily ladne[laden] condition, and I want to see you all get safely through and to spare no teams and dispence with riding, all that can possibly walk, let them walk, those that are sick and infirm we must look after and care for, and exorted the brethern and sisters to faithfulness and humility and to do the will of Heaven and be united in all that is good and righteous that the blessings of God may continue to be and abide with us, and at last be received with the Redeemer in the Kingdom of God.
Saturday, July 2, 1859
Started on our travels at the usual hour, and as a general thing well and in good spirits. The day was warm and sultry; halted at noon for two hours resumed our march. Had some sandy road to travel over. Made a distance of 14 to 16 miles without accident or delay. Camped at night near the Platte. Meeting as usual with singing, prayer by Captain Kent. The Captain then addressed the meeting feeling in his heart to thank God for His mercies and protection and the prosperity thus far attending us.
Sunday, July 3, 1859
Moved out of camp, all well. Made on drive of about 4 miles and laid by for the rest of the day that the cattle might have rest and the Saints to worship God, during the day preaching and instruction. The ordinance of baptism was administered to about 30 people. A general time of rejoicing was experienced in the camp.
Monday, July 4, 1859
The company moved out of camp, all well and in excellent order, traveled along the river road. The day was warm and a good portion of the road rather heavy. Make [Made] a distance of 12 or 15 miles. The Captain addressed the saints in the evening, acknowledging the loving kindness and protecting care of our Heavenly Father toward us, and felt pleased in the order in which the brethern moved camp. Requested the teamsters to be attentive to their cattle and water their own teams and avoid in the future whipping their whole herd into the water and jumping them off steep banks as by so doing the cattle may be seriously injured. Another thing, when any of the brethern or sisters who are in camp first find a cool spring or well of water, do not wash your feet or le gs in it after you have gotten all you want, thus depriving those behind of the refreshing beverage. Meeting closed after making some further remarks on various items of business pertaining to the camp.
Tuesday, July 5, 1859
Rolled out, all well, halted at noon for rest and refreshments, the day was pleasant but the roads heavy. Traveled about 18 or 20 miles. Meeting in the evening. Instructions by President on matters relating [sentence unfinished]
Wednesday, July 6, 1859
Camp moved out all well. Roads heavy in the morning, halted at noon, resumed our journey and camped in the evening near an Indian village. Traveled during the day 18 miles. A large number of Indians paid a visit to camp and were kindly received by the Captain who entered into a friendly conversation with the Chief, Little Thunder. The Captain requested the brethern and sisters to give them such articles of provisions as they could spare, and some coffee and sugar. The Indians were seated in a circle and conducted themselves with order and decorum and appeared well pleased with the bountiful supply of edibles furnished them. In the evening the Captain spoke to the brethern on various items of business. He trusted in the future the brethern would keep better order in crossing mud holes and sloughs and to keep the track marked out and not to scatter about so. He also requested the Saints to be more punctual and attentive at attending meetings. If the brethern and sisters appreciated this privilege he wished them to manifest it. It was moved and carried that the meetings be continued and that we come together at the sound of the horn. The Captain requested the brethern in their trade with the Indians not on any account were they to exchange powder caps, or lead, as these things were prohibitive and allowed only to the licensed trader. After imparting some other instructions, the meeting was dismissed.
Thursday, July 7, 1859
Rolled out at the usual hour, all well with one or two exceptions. Traveled over a heavy road, halted at noon, resumed our journey over sand hills, it being the worst road yet traveled by us, having in quite a number of cases to double the teams. Captain Brown wagon got upset, but was unbroken and was soon in motion again. It was the hardest day yet experienced by the cattle. The Captains addressed the Saints in the evening. Imparting instructions and council. We traveled during the day about 8 or 10 miles.
Friday, July 8, 1859
Camp moved out at usual hour, some few indisposed. Traveled during the day over a heavy sand. The day was hot making it hard on man and beast. Made a travel of 10 or 12 miles. The Captain addressed the brethern and sisters in the evening, imphatically showing the necessity of obeying council if we wished to be prospered and received the blessing of heaven, and also requested the brethern to lighten up their wagons and dispence [sentence unfinished]
Saturday, July 9, 1859
Rolled out at the usual hour, some few indisposed, one bad case of sickness. Road continued sandy and heavy. Traveled until noon and rested the remainder of the day having traveled about 5 miles. One death occurred. After camping Captain Brown was seriously sick having well high [nigh] exhausted his strength resulting from the duties of the camp devolving on him.
Sunday, July 10, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour, all well with the few exceptions, the cattle were some what worn down with the previous hard traveling over the sand. Made a drive during the day of 8 or 9 miles and camped the rest of the day to refresh the cattle and those that felt wearied with travel, and that we might have an opportunity to worship God. Captain Brown’s health was still feeble, but improving. A meeting was called after dinner and addressed by Elder Littlefield on various items of doctrine relating to the gathering of the Saints. The trials and persecutions to which they had and were subject and their final triumph and resurrection from the dead.
Monday, July 11, 1859
Started out of camp at the usual hour as a general thing all well. Traveled during the day about 18 miles. Meeting at night. Instructions and council by the Captain and by the brethern.
Tuesday July 12, 1859;
Moved out of camp at the usual hour. Had hard traveling over sand for a short distance. Halted at noon, after dinner resumed our journey having traveled about 12 miles. One of my cattle footsore. Meeting at night addressed by Captain Brown on items of instruction and council relating to our wagons and teams and ect.
Wednesday July 13, 1859;
Moved out at an early hour, generaly well, some cattle footsore. The day extremely hot. Halted at noon. Resumed our journey, made a distance during the day of 18 miles, left behind one of my leading oxen in consequence of lameness in the feet. Meeting at night, in which the Captain gave instructive and appropriate address which if carried out faithfully would result in our benefit and well being.
Thursday July 14, 1859;
Rolled out at the usual hour, some cattle footsore, with a few exceptions all well. Met a company of apostates returning from Utah to the States. The day exceedingly hot, halted at noon for about three hours, resumed our journey. Made a good march in the afternoon having traveled about 18 or 20 miles. The captain addressed the brethern and sisters in the evening, thanking God for His mercys toward us, and pleased to see the brethern and sisters give heed to his council and instructions imparted to them the previous night. He exorted the Saints to faithfullness and to exersise patience and humility that the blessings of Heaven might rest upon us and furthermore requested the teamsters to pay strict attention to their teams and see that the cattle draw in proportion to their strength, that we may get safely through with our teams.
Friday July 15, 1859;
Rolled out at the usual hour, all well with a few exceptions. The morning was extremely hot and dusty. Halted at noon. Resumed our journey and the afternoon was pleasant to travel, although the roads were heavy, made a march during the day of 22 or 23 miles. No meeting at night in consequence of being late in getting into camp. Two Sweedish sisters and one brother strayed away and lost themselves among the hills. Found the camp in the morning having suffered considerable during the night.
Saturday July 16, 1859;
Moved out at the usual hour. All well with a few exceptions. Halted at noon the day being warm and some portions of the road sandy and heavy on the cattle. Camp in sight of Chimney Rock, the scenery today is beautiful and quite romantic. Traveled during the day about 20 miles. Camped late in the evening and no meeting.
Sunday July 17, 1859
Rolled out of camp at the usual hour. Made but one drive. Camped opposite Chimney Rock, having traveled about 15 miles. Meeting in the evening Captain Brown delivered an interesting and thrilling discourse to an attentive audience, showing emphatically that the Gospel we had embraced was true, and the glory, honor, and dominion that the meek and faithful Saints will enjoy, when the earth should become celestialized and made fit abode for the rightous. The Captain said he had an item of business to present and wished the attention of the brethern and sisters. From the report I have received from the Captains it appears that Brother [Charles] Clifton had entered into a contract with Brother Gerrard to take him and his wife and two children to the valley, and that Brother Clifton now showed a disposition to break that contract and further more entirely disregarded the authority placed over him and the council given to him from time to time, and that Brother Goodwin had colleagued with Brother Clifton for the purpose of disanulling the contract by entering into a sham arrangement with Brother Clifton to purchase his team at Laramie. Thus entirely throwing Brother Gerrard and his family on the mercy and generosity of this company. Now Brothers and sisters I feel to use my perogative as Captain of this company and insist on the contract being fulfilled to the letter and not allow Brother Clifton to leave this Company until justice is done Brother Gerrard. Men that will break their contracts, disobey council set in defiance the authority placed over them and colleague together for the purpose of defrauding a brother and causing confusion and dissension, have no business in the Kingdom of God or in the camps of Israel and I exort such to repent and humble themselves before the Almighty if they value their standing in the Kingdom of God, Brother Goodwin said he was sorry if he had offended the brethren by any remarks he had made in upholding Brother Clifton to free himself from the contract he had made with Brother Gerrard and for the future he would have to do or say in their case and wished to continue in the Church and go on to the valley in Captain Brown’s Company. It was then moved and carried unanimously that Brother Goodwin having apologized be received in full fellowship and continue in our Company. Brother Clifton said he had no wish to leave the Church or the Company with which he was traveling to Utah and would endeavor to fulfill his agreement with Brother Gerrard. It was then voted and carried that Brother Clifton be continued on in our company and continue in full fellowship in the church. The meeting dismissed by prayer. The Captain spoke to the Captains of ten after the meeting requesting them in all cases when prefering a charge against an individual to present it in writing, that the evidence against the accused might be clear and demonstrative and without variation and clashing.
Monday July 18, 1859
Started out at the usual hour, health in camp generaly good, some few cattle sorefooted. Made two easy drives making a distance of 14 to 16 miles. Meeting in the evening addressed by the Captain on guard duty.
Tuesday July 19, 1859
Started out earlier than usual, good many cattle sore footed, one of my oxen hurt his foot badly. Halted at noon, resumed journey having traveled during the day 22 miles.
Wednesday July 20, 1859
Moved out of camp at an early hour. All well with a few exceptions. Roads good and traveling pleasant. Halted at noon, resumed our journey and traveled during the day over 20 miles. Prayer meeting at night.
Thursday July 21, 1859
Rolled out at the usual hour, generaly all well. Captain Brown’s colt died from the effects of a snake bite. Camped at noon, resumed our journey passed over some heavy sandy road. Camps at night with[in] 8 or 9 miles of Fort Laramie, having traveled during the day about 20 miles. The Captain addressed the meeting in the evening in an interesting manner on the restoration of the gospel and the gathering of the Saints, refering in a feeling manner to the privations of the Saints while crossing the plains to find a home in the wilderness and the sufferings they had to endure in the valleys of the mountains in their then desolate and barren condition. The Captain also requested the Captains and the officers of the company to be wary and vigilant, we are now among mountaineers and Indian traders and it behooves us to keep strict and watchful guard over our cattle and property, for some come among us with various pretences their object at the same time being to plunder and steal.
Friday July 22 1859
Moved out at the usual hour, generaly all well, camped at noon at Fort Laramie, after dinner resumed our journey traveling about 3 or 4 miles having made a march during the day of 13 or 14 miles. A heavy rain fell in the evening, however a meeting was called at which Captain gave some instructions relative to our next days proceedings, and refered to some petty thefts that had been committed in the camp, and in strong terms denounced such actions. It is not characteristic of our Holy religion and such individuals is not wanted in the valleys of the mountains. If they are ashamed to acknowledge their guilt and ask forgiveness, place the articles from where you took them and make a full restoration. We want to feel secure and our propert[y] safe and it is camp freed from thieves, such mean indispicable characters is not wanted and if any are caught in the act they will be severly punished.
Saturday July 23, 1859
Made a short drive of 4 or 5 miles to obtain a good camp ground to rest our cattle and to attend to their sore feet and necks. To lighten up our loads and prepare for a new start.
Sunday July 24, 1859
Rested all day. The campground was a most delightful place and the camp presented a beautiful appearance, nearly all the wagons having flags hoisted in comme[mo]ration of the 24th of July. The appearance presented was novel and picturesque. Meeting was held twice during the day, nearly all the saints expressing their gratitude to God for His mercies toward us, and their good feelings toward Captain Brown.
Monday July 25, 1859
Rolled out of camp at the usual hour. Some few cattle lame and roads being over gravel and rock. Ascended the comb of the mountains, where we had to double teams it being very steep and high and rocky. All got up without accident. The scenery was wild, presenting high rocky mountains, deep ravines and old water courses. We had a hard days travel. Camped late at night near the Church train and the Lemon train. Having accomplished a distance of 15 to 16 miles. No meeting.
Tuesday July 26, 1859
Moved out at the usual hour, some few cattle sore footed. The roads generally good, In some places the country beautiful and had the appearance of land under cultivation in the distance. Traveled during the day about 18 miles. Meeting at night, preaching and instruction.
Wednesday July 27, 1859
Started at the usual hour. As a general [t]hing all well. The roads exceedingly good and the scenery romantic. Made one drive, the day being hot and sultry, traveled about 13 miles. Meeting at night. The Captain delivered an instructive and interesting discourses on the principles of our Holy religion, beautifully portraying the Glory and grandeur of the ressurrection from the dead. The brethern were again urged to lighten their wagons all they could, that our cattle might not be to severly taxed, for we will find some hard roads and we will need our cattle when we get through. And I perceive the necessity of getting through as quick as we can without injury to our cattle. Then we must perserve [persevere] if possible. There are some in our company whose supply of provisions is scanty and I do not wish to see suffering on the journey and we must not as long as there is sufficient in camp to supply the wants of all.
Thursday July 28, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour. Some few cattle unwell. The day excessively hot, halted at noon for rest and passtime. Resumed our journey, during the afternoon drive Brother Birdnor’s [Nehemiah Wood Birdno or Beirdneau] ox died cause unknown. Traveled about 16 or 18 miles. Teaching and instruction at night.
Friday July 29, 1859
Started out at the usual hour. Many of the cattle sore footed. The road hilly and rough. One of Captain Brown’s cattle died. Traveled over a hilly road making a distance of 18 miles.
Saturday July 30 1859
Rolled our [out] at the usual hour. Health of the cattle sore footed. The road hilly and rough. One of Captain Brown’s cattle died. Traveled over a hilly road making a distance of 18 miles.
Sunday July 31, 1859
Camp lay still all day to refresh the cattle, attend to the sores and the sickness, and to worship God. During the day we held three meetings and enjoyed the Spirit of God in our midst. Two oxen died today. [illegible]
Monday August 1, 1859
Rolled out early, health of camp generally good. Traveled over a heavy sandy and hilly road. Made a distance of 18 miles. Two of my cattle affected with pole evil, another fell down with exhaustion three or four times during the day, but through the blessings of Heaven I got along alright. The Captain addressed the saints and imparted a great many items of instruction, and was pleased at the brethern improved in consulting. It was necessary for we are now on the borders of the Shoshone and some other tribes of Indians, and we must preserve our cattle, and wishes those brethern who had dogs to keep them chained up, that they might not annoy the brethern and sisters. [-] nuisance once stampede the cattle, and the people must not through [throw] paper out of their wagons while traveling as doing so might occassion a stampede.
Tuesday August 2, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour, health generally good, some cattle sore footed. The day very hot. The roads very heavy sand and hard on the cattle. One of my leaders dropped down four or five miles, but through the mercies of Heaven, I kept up with the train without much delay to the company. Made a travel of about 16 miles. Meeting at night. Addressed by the Captain who imparted some valuable instructions in relation to our journeys to the valley, and seeing as there is two heavy trains on the opposite side of the river, and the Church train and also Lemons a short way in advance I do not feel disposed to race with them.
Wednesday August 3, 1859
Moved out in good order, traveled over a heavy, hilly, sandy road, making about 6 miles in our days journey.
Thursday August 4, 1859
Moved out at the usual hour, had a good road to travel, camped at noon, renewed our journey and camped, traveling about 14 miles. At noon Presidents Eldridge and Cannon came up with us, and camped with us at night, and addressed the company on matters relating to our personal and mutual welfare and safety. And counciling the saints to avoid gathering on the way any old iron or any other undesirable thing. Loading down their teams and thus jeporadising [jeopardizing] their property and prayed the blessings of God to be upon the company and give heed to the councils and instructions of the captains and we would gather in safety in the valley of the mountains. Captain Brown addressed the Saints for a short time, feeling happy and thankful to have with us Brothers Eldridge and Cannon and encouraged with the council and instructions imparted. He then gave instructions to the Saints relative to our next days march, and as we were called the “Independent Company” he wanted us to enter the valley of the mountains entirely on our own resources, not wishing to call upon the brethern if it could be avoided. When by economy and frugality we can enter without assistance.
Friday, August 5, 1859
Rolled out at the usual hour, health of the company good, traveling over a somewhat hilly road, compelled to make but one drive in consequence of not having a good watering place. Traveled about 16 miles. Encamped near Church train at Williams Springs. Some 3 or 4 cattle gave out during the day. Two of my own fell from fatigue but soon up again and plodded on our way. The Captain thought my case almost a miracle, seeing my oxen had been so very lame, working them all the time and then improving. The Captain addressed the company in the evening and requested the Captains to have a double guard put on duty and to double their diligence for we were now among the mountains and soon would be among the Snake Indians. We would have to be wary and watchful and see to the preservation of our stock and effects.
Saturday, August 6, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual time. Health generally all well, have some hard traveling, camped at an early hour at Greenwood Trees, found an excellent place for the cattle to graze. Traveled about 14 miles. On guard at night.
Sunday, August 7, 1859
Rolled out of camp at an early hour, generally all well. Got easily over the sand, a road which was considered as hard to travel if not the worst between Florence Neb. and utah. Arrived at Independence rock. Nooned and resumed our journey. Encamped about a mile west of Devils Gate having traveled about 19 miles. The Captain addressed the company and wished the tens to be respectful to their captains and obey them when they were requested to do anything.
Monday August 8, 1859
Started on our journey at the usual hour, health of camp generally good. The roads in very good condition, traveled during the day about 19 miles. One or two of my cattle still lame but improving. Broke a yoke while crossing the Sweetwater [River]. Captain Brown advised the Saints in various items of business and the condition of many of the company who were or soon would be suffering for the want of food.
Tuesday, August 9, 1859
Started out the usual hour, health of the camp generally good.
Wednesday, August 10, 1859
Moved out of camp, generally all well. Roads pretty good, traveled about 16 miles.
Thursday, August 11, 1859
Moved out of camp, all well, roads generally good, traveled about 20 miles.
Friday, August 12, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour. The roads exceedingly rough and hilly. One of my cattle sore footed, traveling considerable time behind train. Traded for a yoke of steers. Took the wrong road, night very cold, camped on a high hill. The Captain sent three men to guide us to camp, retraced our steps reaching camp about 2 o’clock in the morning. Traveled during the day 18 or 20 miles.
Saturday, August 13, 1859
Started out at the usual hour, traveled over pretty heavy roads, made a distance of 14 to 16 miles. Camped at a good place for water and feed.
Sunday, August 14, 1859
Laid by all day to refresh the cattle and to give the saints a chance to wash and fix up. Meeting in the evening, an interesting and instructive address delivered by the Captain, he also referred to the complaining and whining of some who had been throwing out insinuations in relation of the money received for the purchase of a horse.
Monday, August 15, 1859
Started out of camp at an early hour, generally all well. Made a drive during the day of 23 miles. Made Pacific Springs at noon. Resumed our journey and made a dry camp at night. Road hard and gravely.
Tuesday, August 16, 1859
Moved out of camp at day break, generally all well. Made a drive during the day of 20 miles. Six head of cattle died one of my cows among them.
Wednesday, August 17, 1859
Rolled out at day break, a large number of cattle unwell, 2 died during the day. Traveled about 20 miles.
Thursday, August 18, 1859
Moved out of camp, health generally good, some few cattle lame and sick. Crossed the Green River without accident and in good time, camped near the river. The company traded off a good many cattle making very good bargins, traveled about 6 miles during the day.
Friday, August 19, 1859
Having a good place to improve the cattle we did not start until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Traveled about 6 or 8 miles and again camped for the night, at a good camping ground. The Captain addressed the Saints in the evening and refered to the conditions of many of the company who were suffering for food. Many of them probably had not taken the council given at Genos but now they were here must not suffer for want of food if it is in the camp. If flour and bread stuffs can not be had we will kill an ox and supply them with beef so that they may be kept from starving. I wish the captains of them to see to those under their care that they do not go to bed without food, and further more to pay attention to the sick and those worn down from travel, and when the roads are good let them ride.
Saturday, August 20, 1859
Started out at an early hour, generally well, made a drive of 14 or 15 miles and camped for the night.
Sunday, August 21, 1859
Moved out of camp at an early hour, nooned at Blacks Fork, resumed our journey having made a drive of 18 miles.
Monday August 22, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour, health of camp generally good, some in want of food. One or two cattle died during the day. An oxen that belonged to Brother Goodwin that I had been using for one week took sick and died of Murrain. This left me short, and as the company was on the march at the time they all left me behind. We knelt down and prayed for guidance and as we again were on our feet one of my teamsters spied an ox away in the distance. Two of the boys went after it and drove him up, after some difficulty in getting him yoken we were able to pursue our journey, we reached camp at noon.
Tuesday, August 23, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour, roads generally good, descended one exceedingly steep and graveled hill, one wagon broke down. I had to leave one of my cows behind because of sickness. Traveled during the day 18 miles. The Captain called the company together and laid before them the destitute condition of many in the camp who actually were suffering from the lack of food. They were disappointed in getting flour at Fort Bridger, so some other plan must be adopted to relieve them. I for one feel disposed to make a free donation and to share my provisions or flour with those who are suffering as long as it lasts. I do not want the brothers to do any further begging either in our camp or the camps that are often near us. We will take care that the sick and the suffering do not perish as long as food can be had in camp or with in our reach.
Wednesday, August 24, 1859
Started out of camp at an early hour, nooned at Bear River, I was detained here in consequence of having trouble with my cattle. Traveled in the evening about 8 miles making during the day a distance of 20 miles.
Thursday, August 25, 1859
Moved out of camp at the usual hour. Entered Echo Canyon at about noon. It is certainly one of the most singular looking places a person could imagine. Rocky mountains piled high on either side.
The following are highlights from the personal account of James Stephens Brown (Captain):
James Stephens Brown was born July 4, 1828 in Davidson County, North Carolina. When he was three years of age his parents moved from North California to Brown County, Illinois. It was here that the parents became converts of the Latter-day Saint Church. The family moved to Iowa where James, after hearing the leaders of the Church with regard to the raising of the Mormon Battalion, was baptized and immediately enlisted with that group in Company D and made the historic trek to the West Coast. After arriving in Utah he did extensive missionary work and also brought many emigrants to Utah. The following, relative to the trip in 1859, was taken from his journal:
On Sunday, June 12th, Elders Eldredge and Cannon visited the camp and held a meeting, then organized the company, naming James S. Brown for president and captain, the selection being unanimously sustained. George L. Farrell was made sergeant of the guard, William Wright, chaplain, and John Gordon, secretary. A captain was appointed over each ten wagons, namely: first, Win. Steel; second, W. Williams; third, Christopher Funk; fourth, Newbury; fifth, Kent; sixth, Girldens. These names were suggested by Messrs. Eldredge and Cannon, and were unanimously sustained by the company of three hundred and fifty-three souls. The outfit consisted of fifty-nine wagons and one hundred and four yoke of oxen, eleven horses, thirty-five cows, and forty-one head of young cattle that were driven loose. We had provisions for seventy-five days.
One June 13, 1859, the company set out for Salt Lake City, Utah. There were nine different nationalities of people represented, namely: English, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, Danish, Swedish, Norwegians and Icelanders; we also had some Americans from the Eastern, Middle and Southern States, all mixed together. Many of them had never driven an ox one mile in their lives, and the result was almost like herding a train on the plains. If it had not been for G. L. Fartell, James Nickson, Samuel Garnet and Willis Brown, all excellent ox teamsters, besides some five or six others that were quite handy, we would doubtless have had most destructive stampedes. As it was, the company did not have any serious mishaps. In a few days the train became regulated and we had more system and order in travel. For the first five or six days of the journey the stock seemed in danger of being destroyed by flies and mosquitoes, and the people suffered much from the same cause. On the 18th we passed Captain Rowley with the handcart company.
On June 19th the camp stopped on the Loup Fork, a tributary to the Platte River. There was a small town there called Columbus. On the 20th the company moved up the river and camped on a small stream, Looking Glass Creek. That afternoon I baptized and re-baptized eighty souls, and other Elders confirmed them, while some men of the company bridged the stream. On the 21st we proceeded to Genoa Ferry, where we were joined by Captain Walding’s company of thirty-seven souls and ten more wagons, increasing my company to three hundred ninety people, with sixty-nine wagons, with cattle and other property in proportion. At that place we chartered the ferry boat from J. Johnston and did the work ourselves. We paid seventy-five cents a wagon, and it took fifteen hours hard labor to cross. The stock all swam safely over, and the company proceeded up the river.
9 We met with a company of Sioux Indians on the 24th. These formed a line of battle across the road ahead of the company, and sent two men to meet us. I was traveling in advance of the company, and although I had never been among the Sioux Indians in my life for an hour, nor had I ever been where I had an opportunity to study their language, I had not the slightest difficulty in talking to them, or they to me. Consequently, I learned at once that these Indians were on the war path, and were hunting the Omahas and Poncas. They were hungry and said they must have food from the company; so they were told to form a line parallel with the road, and to keep one-fourth of a mile back, so as not to stampede the train or frighten the women and children. They were allowed to send two men on foot to spread blankets where the company could put such food as we had to spare.
Meanwhile, I gave orders to the sergeant of the guard, G. L. Farrell, and the several captains to draw up in close order, have every teamster in his place, and all the women and children in the wagons, and for each man to have his gun where he could lay his hand on it without a moment’s delay. Each family was to place some food on the blankets by the roadside. Not one team was to stop without orders. The wagons were to be corralled as quickly as possible, if they must be, at the first signal from the captain to do so; for the Indians appeared very warlike in their paint and feathers.
When the red men learned that it was a company of Mormons they had met, they readily complied with the captain’s terms, and a number rode up and shook hands. As the company passed their lines of not more than one hundred and fifty warriors, there came fourteen buffalo in sight, quite close, and attention was turned to them so much that the Indians took what the company had placed on their blankets and we passed on without further interruption.
It was about this date that the teamsters had become acquainted with their teams and the latter acquainted with their drivers, so that things began to work more orderly than before. The camp was called together every evening for prayers, and for instructions for the next day.
About the 26th the company started across from the Loup Fork of Wood River. That night the stock took fright and gave some trouble before they were recovered; but the next morning the company resumed its journey, leaving Wood Birdno to pursue two valuable young fillies, one his own and the other belonging to Capt. Brown. Br. Birdno did not overtake the company till the fifth day.
One evening the company camped on a tributary of the Platte River, where Almon W. Babbitt was killed by the Sioux Indians some eighteen months or two years before. The company crossed the stream and camped just opposite where that terrible tragedy occurred, and just as the cattle were being unyoked the Sioux Indians flocked into camp, all well-armed warriors. I saw that it was quite possible that they meant mischief, as there were no Indian families in sight; so I called to the company to continue their camp duties as if nothing unusual had happened, but for every man to see to his firearms quietly and be ready to use them if an emergency should arise. Then I turned to the chief, and it being again given to me to talk and understand the Indians, I asked what their visit meant, if it was peace, that they go with me to the middle of the corral of wagons and smoke the pipe of peace and have a friendly talk, as myself and people were Mormons and friends to the Indians, and that I wished them to be good friends to me and my people.
The chief readily responded, and called his peace council of smokers to the center of the corral, where they seated themselves in a circle. I took a seat to the right hand of the chief and then the smoking and talking commenced. The chief assured me that their visit was a friendly one, and to trade with the emigrants. I inquired of him why, if their visit meant peace, they all came so well armed. He answered that his people had just pitched camp a short distance back in the hills, and not knowing who we were had come down before laying down their arms.
By this time it seemed that there were about three Indians to one white person in the camp. I told the chief that it was getting too late to trade, my people were all busy in camp duties, and I was going to send our stock to where there was good feed for them. It was my custom, I said, to send armed men to watch over them, and the guards always had orders to shoot any wild beast that might disturb them, and if anybody were to come among the stock in the night, we thought them to be thieves and our enemies. If they attempted to drive off our stock, the guards had orders to shoot, and our camp guards also were ordered to shoot any thief that might come prowling around camp at night. I said that, as we did not desire to do the Indians any harm, we wished the chief and his men to go to their camp, as it was now too late to trade, but in the morning, when the sun shone on our tents and wagon covers, not when it shone on the mountain tops in the west, they could leave their arms behind and come down with their robes, pelts and furs and we would trade with them as friends; but he was not to allow any of his men to visit our camp or stock at night. The chief said that was heap good talk, and ordered his people to return to their own camp. They promptly obeyed, to the great relief of the company, which had been very nervous, as scarcely one of them except myself had ever witnessed such a sight before.
Next morning, between daylight and sunrise, the Indians appeared on the brow of the hill northeast of camp. There seemed to be hundreds of them formed in a long line and making a very formidable array. Just as the sunlight shone on the tents and wagon covers they made a descent on us that sent a thrill through every heart in camp, until it was seen that they had left their weapons of war behind, and had brought only articles of trade. They came into the center of the corral, the people gathered with what they had to trade, and for a while great bargaining was carried on. For once I had more than I could do in assisting them to understand each other, and see that there was no disturbance or wrong done in the great zeal of both parties.
The trading was over without any trouble, and there was a hearty shaking of hands, and the company resumed its journey up the river, passing and being repassed by numerous companies moving west to Pike’s Peak and to Utah, California or Oregon. There were gold seekers, freighters, and a host of families of emigrants and as the company advanced to the west we met many people going to the east. They were traveling all ways, with ox, horse and mule teams, as well as by pack trains of horses and mules; while some were floating down the Platte River in small row boats.
I have omitted many dates, but feel that I must say that some time in July we came up with Captain Horton Haight, who started two weeks ahead of us, with a Church train of seventy-one wagons of freight. Both trains passed Fort Laramie that same day. Mine camped seven miles above the fort on the river, where we laid over the next day, and had our wagons unloaded and thoroughly cleaned from the dust and dirt; then they were reloaded so as to balance their loading anew. All sick cattle were doctored, while the female portion of camp washed and did considerable baking. The next day we proceeded on to the Black Hills, in good spirits, the people generally well and encouraged. The road then began to be rough and gravelly, so that the cattle began to get sore-footed, and that changed the tone of feelings of some of the people.
We went on in peace over hills and dales to the Sweetwater, thence up that stream to what we called the last crossing, where we stopped one day, and again overhauled our load, doctored sick cattle, baked, etc. From there we crossed the summit of the great Rocky Mountains to Pacific Springs, so called because their waters flow down the plains and saleratus deserts, to the Little Sandy, then to what was called the Big Sandy, and thence to Green River, the last hundred miles being the most soul-trying of the whole journey, owing to being sandy and poisonous to the stock. We traveled day and night, all that the cattle could endure, and, in fact, more than many of the people did endure without much complaint and fault-finding.
After a day’s rest on the Green River, however, and being told that there was no more such country to cross, the train entered on the last hundred and fifty miles of the journey, crossing over to Ham’s Fork, then to Fort Bridger on Black’s Fork, and on to the two Muddy’s and to Quaking Asp Ridge, the highest point to be crossed by the emigrant road. From there we went down into Echo Canyon, thence to Weber River, crossed it and over the foothills to East Canyon Creek and to the foot of the Big Mountain, where we met Apostles John Taylor and F. D. Richards. A halt was called to listen to the hearty welcome and words of cheer from the Apostles. Then the company passed over the Big Mountain to the foot of Little Mountain, where we camped. Many of the people were sick from eating chokecherries and wild berries found along the roadside.
2 Next day we proceeded to the top of Little Mountain. When I saw the last wagon on the summit, I left the Sergeant G. L. Farrell, in charge, and went ahead to report the approach of my company and their condition, as there were one hundred or more without food for their supper. I called first on General H. S. Eldredge, and took dinner with him. He received me very kindly, and accompanied me to President Brigham Young’s office. The President welcomed us as cordially as a father could. After he had inquired and was told the condition of the company, he sent word to Bishop Edward Hunter to have the tithing yard cleared for the cattle, to have cooked food for all who needed it, and to have the company camp in Union Square.
When steps had been taken to carry out these orders, I called on my father-in-law in the Fourteenth Ward, where I learned that my family was well. Then I went back, met the company on the bench east of the city, and conducted it down to the square where we found Bishop Hunter and a number of other Bishops and people of the several wards, with an abundance of cooked food for supper and breakfast for the whole company. Several of the Twelve Apostles were on the ground to bid the company a hearty welcome, and delivered short addresses of good cheer.
Next morning, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Charles C. Rich and Erastus Snow of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Hunter and other prominent officers of the Church, came to the camp, called the people together, and again bade the Saints welcome to our mountain home. They advised the people where to go, and what to do to support themselves for the winter.