Harold Schindler, Mormon Trail Series
Editor's Note: To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Mormon Trail, The Salt Lake Tribune is offering this day-by-day account of the Mormon pioneers' original trek from Winter Quarters, Nebraska, to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Tribune history writer Harold Schindler, using diaries, letters, journals and reminiscences that have come to light this century, has fleshed out the following narrative.
July 13, 1847
When the Camp of Israel awoke to the sound of the horn this morning, the pioneers were dismayed to discover that Brigham Young had not caught up with them. He had decided not to move from the previous camping place at the Needles because of a severe attack of a " mountain fever." It was almost noon before Heber C. Kimball and Howard Egan rode up to say that Young had been insensible and raving last night, but felt somewhat better this morning. A.P. Rockwood, who had been sick "almost unto death" these past few days, was showing little signs of improvement. William Clayton described him as "quite deranged."
Kimball's instructions to the main camp were simply that a company of twenty or so wagons with forty men under Orson Pratt should proceed to the Weber River in an effort to locate James F. Reed's wagon route of the year before (Donner-Reed party). Were that not possible, Pratt was to find a way through Weber Canyon; and if that was impractical, he was to scout out a pass over the mountains to Great Salt Lake Valley.
John Brown and Joseph Mathews rode into the Needles camp early this morning to report the location of the main camp to Brigham Young, who was drifting feverishly in and out of lucidity. Kimball selected the following pioneers to form the advance company under the command of Pratt, aided by Stephen Markham:
O.P. Rockwell, Return Jackson Redden, Nathaniel Fairbanks, Joseph Egbert, John S. Freeman, Marcus B. Thorpe, Robert Crow, Benjamin B. Crow, John Crow, Walter Crow, William H. Crow, George W. Therlkill, James Chesney, Lewis B. Myers, John Brown, Shadrach Roundy, H.C. Hansen, Levi Jackman, Lyman Curtis, David Powell, Oscar Crosby, Hark Lay, Joseph Mathews, Gilbroid Summe, Green Flake, John S. Gleason, Charles Burk, Norman Taylor, A.P. Chesley, Seth Taft, Horace Thornton, Stephen Kelsey, David Grant, James W. Stewart, Robert Thomas, C.D. Barnum, John S. Eldredge, Elijah Newman, Francis Boggs and Levi N. Kendall.
"Having been informed that it would be impracticable to pass through Weber Canyon on account of the depth and rapidity of the [river], we started about 3:00 p.m. and went down Red Fork [Echo Creek] about eight and three-quarters miles and camped."
Meanwhile, Wilford Woodruff, who had spent most of yesterday morning wading the Bear River with a fishing rod in an attempt to lure wily trout from its waters, reported himself quite unwell today with "sore throat, mouth, and lips." And Albert Carrington ruefully recorded the fact that his wagon group "began on our last sack of flour."