Preparations for Westward Journey—The Final Word: The Church Must Leave Illinois—Detail of the Plans—American Government Fails in the Case of the Latter-Day Saints
Salt Lake Valley Considered as place of Settlement.
“Tuesday, September 9, 1845.—Forenoon, unwell. Two p.m. General Council [Council of Fifty] met. Resolved that a company of 1500 men be selected to go to Great Salt Lake valley and that a committee of five be appointed to gather information relative to emigration and report the same to the council.
Wednesday, 10.—I dreamed last night that I was chased by a mob to a place like a barn full of corn or grain, one chased me so close that he got into the same room with me and it was Thomas Ford, who appeared only two and one-half feet high, I took his wrist between my fingers and stepped to the door and knocked down one after another of the mob with him till I discovered he was dead.
News arrived that the mob are burning the houses of the brethren at Yelrome.
Death of Miner R. Deming.
Thursday, 11.—I received a letter from Sheriff J. B. Backenstos announcing the death of General Miner R. Deming, who died at half past ten o’clock yesterday of congestive fever; during his illness his life was repeatedly threatened by the mob, he was prevented from sleeping at night by their yells and hideous screams, as they kept up a continual row in the streets of Carthage near the general’s residence which greatly aggravated his fever, and doubtless caused his death.
I answered Sheriff Backenstos’ letter assuring him of our regret at the loss the cause of liberty, law, and order had sustained in the unexpected death of General Deming, and informed him of the burning of the houses of the citizens of Morley Settlement by the mob yesterday, and requested him to take immediate steps to suppress the mob, advised him to inform the governor that he may take the necessary measures to protect the lives and property of the people in this country.
A messenger from Lima reports eight houses burned.
The Twelve met in council; it was agreed to dispatch a messenger to the Lima branch and counsel the brethren to propose to sell their property to the mob and bring their families and grain here, and to send a messenger to Michigan to advise the brethren to sell their farms for stock, sheep, etc., also to Ottawa and recommend the brethren there to gather all the hay they can.
Prayers were offered up that the Lord would give us wisdom to manage affairs with the mob so as to keep them off till we can accomplish what he requires at our hands in completing the Temple and Nauvoo House, also for wisdom to manage the affairs in regard to the western emigration.
A selection was made of members of the council to start westward next spring.
Friday, 12.—Nine a. m., council met at Historian’s Office, wrote and dispatched the following letter by James H. Woodland:—
Brigham Young’s Letter to Solomon Hancock
‘Nauvoo, Sept. 12, 1845.
President Solomon Hancock,
Dear Brother: We have received your communication of last eve and taken it into consideration in council, and decided that it is wisdom for you to remove the women and children from Yelrome as fast as you can with what teams you have got, and we will send you more as fast as we can, and not only remove the women and children but your grain and let all the brethren stay there and keep ‘bachelor’s hall’ and watch movements of the mob.
The object of our enemies is to get opposition enough to raise popular excitement but we think it best to let them burn up our houses while we take care of our families and grain.
Let the sheriff of Hancock county attend to the mob, and let us see whether he and the Jack-Mormons, so-called, the friends of law and order, will calmly sit down and watch the funeral processions of Illinois liberty; if so, they will all fall under the same condemnation. At a future day our course will be plain.
Be calm and patient till all things are ready. What is a little property or a few lives, compared with the properties and lives of a great people, and the house and ordinances on which the salvation of that people depend?
You will employ the best scribe you have, or half a dozen of them, if necessary, to pen minutely all the movements of the enemy and friends, what houses are burned, by whom, at what hour, who were present, and who saw them do it, etc.: even every particular and forward us a daily copy, if opportunity permits.[Signed] Brigham Young, President.
W. Richards, Clerk.’
Solomon Hancock’s Answer to Brigham Young
By letter from Solomon Hancock, Yelrome, we learn that the mob have burned all the houses on the south side of the branch [brook], and left last evening for Lima, said they would return this morning as soon as light, and swear they will sweep through and burn everything to Nauvoo. Colonel Levi Williams is at the head of the mob.
The following notice was issued by the council:
‘Nauvoo, Sept. 12, 1845.
To the Brethren in and About Nauvoo, Greeting:
Aid Sent to Morley Settlement.
The Council of the Church requests every man who has a team to go immediately to the Morley Settlement, and act in concert with President Solomon Hancock in removing the sick, the women, children, goods and grain to Nauvoo.[Signed] Brigham Young, President
W. Richards, Clerk.’
The brethren at Yelrome made the following proposition to the mob:—
‘Yelrome, Sept. 12, 1845.
Conciliation Offered to the Mob.
We the undersigned, a committee appointed by the Morley and Hancock Settlement (a branch of the Mormon Church); Whereas there seemingly exists some difficulty between said body and anti-Mormons, we, as representatives of said body, wish to make some propositions so as to make peace; we wish to sell our deeded lands as well as our improvements as low as it could be reasonably expected, reserving to ourselves the crops now on the premises; and will take in exchange, working cattle, beef cattle, cows, sheep, horses, wagons, harness, store goods, and any available property and give possession as soon as our crops can be taken care of and we receive pay for the same; the whole of which may be purchased from the undersigned acting as committee or from owners.
An extra Nauvoo Neighbor was issued giving an account of the burning; and appealing to the citizens to come forward and magnify the laws.
Journey West to be made on the Apostle’s Plan—”All things in common.”
Saturday, 13.—Brother H. C. Kimball and Andrew Perkins visited me. Brother Perkins wanted to know something about our going west; I told him that those who went must expect to go on the Apostles’ doctrines and no man say aught that he has is his own, but all things are the Lord’s: and we his stewards, and every man receive his stewardship.
George W. Lang reported that he had been among the mob at Green Plains and Lima. Esquire Hill of Lima told him they did not design gathering in large bodies, but go on as they had done and finish burning Yelrome, then attack some other place and drive the Mormons all into Nauvoo, then they had further plans to move them from there by help from abroad.
Afternoon, I visited the sick and met the Committee on Emigration and others at Brother Daniel Spencer’s. Father Bent was instructed to organize a company of 100 families.
Arrest of George Miller—Resistance.
George Miller said he went to Carthage with his wife and was transacting business at the county clerk’s office, when he was arrested by Michael Barnes, constable, and taken before Captain Robert F. Smith, justice of the peace; was charged with treason and as the state was not ready for trial, and the offense not bailable, Captain Smith ordered him to be committed to jail, upon which Miller told him there was not enough men in the little town to put him in jail. Said he had served the United States government in two wars—had made the roads into this country and had killed snakes, and it was an imposition for these slinks that followed his tracks to charge him with treason, but if they wished to have an examination, he would come and attend court, but would not go into that jail alive. Upon which Esquire Smith took his verbal recognizance for his appearance at Carthage the next Saturday.
Sunday, 14.—* * * I prophesied we would have a winter of peace in Nauvoo.
I said, in relation to the mob burning houses, I was willing they should do so, until the surrounding counties should be convinced that we were not the aggressors, peradventure they may conclude to maintain the supremacy of the law by putting down mob violence and bringing offenders to justice.
Resolution to Help the Saints from Yelrome to Nauvoo.
I counseled the brethren to bring their families and grain here, and called for volunteers with wagons and teams to aid in removing the saints to this place; one hundred and thirty-four teams were procured and started forthwith. The brethren agreed to continue until they had brought in all their families, effects and grain of the saints in the settlements attacked by the mob.
I received a letter from John Loveless and Westley Knight informing me that the Highland branch was embodied [organized] by order of the sheriff to protect their property.
Substitution of Military Measures for Civic Municipal Organization
As the repeal of our City Charter had deprived us of our military organization, the following was issued by the council:—
‘To Charles C. Rich:
President of all the Organized Quorums of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hancock County.
Greeting: You are hereby instructed to hold the same [i. e. quorums of the priesthood] in readiness for all duties that shall be necessary in all emergencies.
Done at the ‘City of Joseph’ this 14th day of September, A. D. 1845.[Signed] Brigham Young, President.’
Monday, 15.—Seven a.m., the police met at my house and put me up a stable.
Sheriff Backenstos went to Warsaw and tried his best to summon a posse to stop the burning but could not raise one.
Forty-four buildings have been burned by the mob. Several houses have been burned in the Prairie branch, Green Plain precinct.
Arrest of Prominent Citizens of Nauvoo Attempted.
Michael Barnes a constable from Carthage, and his brother came into Nauvoo with writs for H. C. Kimball, Willard Richards, John E. Page, Daniel Garn, Wm. and George A. Smith, and myself, issued by Captain Smith of the Carthage Greys, on the complaint of—————Backman. The charges were for aiding and abetting Joseph Smith in treasonable designs against the state, for being officers in the Nauvoo Legion, for building an arsenal, for keeping cannon in times of peace, for holding a private council in Nauvoo, and for holding correspondence with the Indians.
He called on General Miller and made known his business. Miller told him he would get the men together and they would meet him at the Masonic Hall at 4 o’clock p.m. The constable said he did not wish to see Wm. Smith, but was anxious for all the others; before the time appointed he concluded to leave the names of the parties with General Miller and requested them to meet the justice at A. G. Fellow’s house on the Prairie four miles this side of Carthage.
I wrote Elder Samuel Brannan in regard to the continuation of the New York Messenger as follows:
Publication of Eastern Papers Referred to the Brethren in the East.
‘Do as you and Brother Pratt think best, only do not think to sustain it [the Messenger] from the tithing. On your circumstances and whether the subscription list will warrant its continuation or not.
I wish you together with your press, paper, and ten thousand of the brethren, were now in California at the Bay of San Francisco, and if you can clear yourself and go there, do so.’
Steps Attempted at the Maintenance of “Law and Order”.
I received a letter from J. B. Backenstos, dated, Carthage, September 15th, in which he stated his inability to raise law and order citizens to quell the mob and requested us to hold two thousand well armed men in readiness for immediate service at any hour that he may call for them and added that if we will not defend our own lives and property that we cannot reasonably expect any considerable support from those citizens commonly called ‘Jack-Mormons’. ‘Colonel Levi Williams has ordered out his brigade of militia, I am certain the turnout will be slim, we must whip them.’
In reply I advised him to wait a few days and see if there are any law and order citizens in the county that are not Mormons, and if it proved there were none else to stand up for the Constitution and laws of the state, it would then be time enough for us, as the old citizens had heretofore advised us to ‘hold still’! ‘Keep cool’! ‘Be quiet’! etc., etc., we were determined to do so.
The first regiment, second cohort of the Nauvoo Legion met and organized, choosing the old officers, to place themselves in readiness to act at the sheriff’s call.
‘There is grain enough growing within ten miles of this city, raised by the saints, to feed the whole population for two years if they were to sit down and do nothing but gather it in and feast upon it, and worship God. We expect to bring it all into the city or near it and the people too. The mob seem determined to drive us to our duty in gathering, and then drive us to carry the fulness of the gospel from among them and carry it to Israel. We are all well.[Signed] [Brigham Young].’ * * *
Sheriff Backenstos Expelled from Carthage.
Tuesday, 16.—Sheriff Backenstos arrived in great haste and somewhat excited, said that the mob had driven him from his house in Carthage yesterday, and he went to Warsaw and stayed over night. He soon ascertained that the people were so enraged at him for trying to stop the house-burning that there was little probability of getting away alive, but finally prevailed on an influential mobocrat to escort him out of Warsaw this morning, who came with him about three and a half miles and on leaving cautioned him that if he saw two men together to avoid them for there were deep plans laid to kill him. Soon after he was pursued by a party of the mob on horseback, three of whom took the lead, one of the three had a swifter horse and gained a hundred yards in advance of his party in a short time when his horse stumbled and threw his rider. Backenstos maintained his speed, driving as fast as his horse could go.
The mob took the nearest road to cross his track and on his arrival at the old railroad crossing, the mob were within about 200 yards, they being on horseback and he in a buggy, they had gained on him considerably.
Orrin P. Rockwell and John Redding were refreshing themselves near the crossing as they had been out to bring in some of the burnt-out families who were sick, and on looking up saw Backenstos coming down the hill at full speed, and asked what was the matter. Backenstos replied the mob were after and determined to kill him and commanded them in the name of the people of the state to protect him. Rockwell replied, fear not, we have 50 rounds (two fifteen-shooter rifles besides revolvers).
Killing of Frank Worrell.
Sheriff Backenstos then turned to the mob and commanded them to stop, and as they continued to advance raising their guns, he ordered Rockwell to fire; he did so aiming at the clasp of the belt on one of the mob, which proved to be Frank Worrell, who fell from his horse and the rest turned back and soon brought up a wagon and put his body into it.
* * *
Tuesday, 30.—Met in General Council at the Seventies’ Hall. * * *
Outfit Required for the Westward Journey for a Family of Five Persons.
Parley P. Pratt said he had made a calculation for an outfit that every family of five persons would require: one good wagon, three yoke of cattle, two cows, two beef cattle, three sheep, one thousand pounds of flour, twenty pounds of sugar, one rifle and ammunition, a tent and tent poles; and that the cost would be about $250.00 provided the family had nothing to begin with, only bedding and cooking utensils; and the weight would be about twenty-seven hundred including the family, and calculating them to walk considerably would reduce it to about nineteen hundred weight.
It was decided that all the council [i. e. of the Twelve] were to go west with their families, friends and neighbors.
Interview of Church Authorities with Commanding General Hardin et. al.
General C. C. Rich reported that General J. J. Hardin with his troops had arrived in the city and were on the square northeast of the temple, waiting an interview with the Twelve and authorities of the place. Also that Sheriff Jacob B. Backenstos and Judge Stephen A. Douglas were at Elder Taylor’s and wished to see me as soon as possible. Council adjourned.
I went with the Twelve to Elder Taylor’s and saw Judge Douglas and Sheriff Backenstos.
They said it was hard to make the people, the other side of the Illinois river, believe that it was not the Mormons that were burning houses in Hancock county.
They wished us to go and see General Hardin. In company with H. C. Kimball, W. Richards, John Taylor, George A. Smith and Amasa M. Lyman, I went on to the hill and met General Hardin and staff surrounded by his troops, four hundred in number. He read us his orders from the governor to come here and keep the peace if he had to keep the county under martial law: said he wished to search for the bodies of two dead men who were last seen in Nauvoo and it was supposed they had been murdered.
I told him he was welcome to search for dead bodies or anything else he pleased. He inquired if I knew anything about them or of crimes having been committed in Nauvoo. I replied I knew nothing of the kind, but that I had reliable information that some hundred houses had been burned in the south part of the county and probably if he would go there, he would find the persons who had done it.
I tendered him the hospitality of the city and a home at my house, to which he replied drily, ‘I always stay in camp.’
General Hardin marched his troops to, and searched the Temple, Masonic Hall, Nauvoo House, and the stables of the Mansion.
There were deposited some forty barrels of wild grape wine in the Masonic Hall which attracted the attention of some of the searchers and caused some delay.
While searching the Mansion stables, they found where a horse had been bled and sent for the landlord and demanded an explanation; after being shown the horse, the General and Judge Douglas ran their swords into the manure, as though they expected to prick some dead bodies and make them squeal. Almon W. Babbitt told them they must think we were fools to bury dead men in a stable when it was so easy to throw them into the Mississippi river, which was only a few rods off. They then marched off and camped on the south side of the city.
Caleb Baldwin was arrested and taken into camp, and examined as a witness. Most of the questions asked were designed to find out where the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were buried.
* * *
Plans of the Saints’ Proposition to Remove from Illinois.
Wednesday, October 1, 1845.—Met in council at Elder Taylor’s. General John J. Hardin, Hon. Stephen A. Douglas and J. A. McDougal were present.
E. A. Bedell, Esqr., asked General Hardin for three or four men to go to Warsaw and make arrests, which request was granted.
I asked the gentlemen present as to their feelings as friends and neighbors, and in relation to our propositions for removal.
General Hardin said he would do all in his power by counsel, etc., to help us, and approved of our proposed location at Vancouver’s Island. He thought it desirable for our sakes that we should remove, also for the peace of the county.
Judge Douglas said Vancouver’s Island was claimed by the United States, and he felt sure there would be no objection to its settlement, or to the settlement of Oregon.
General Hardin proposed that we should appoint trustees-in-trust to sell our property.
Propositions of the Saints Admitted to be “just and fair”.
I proposed a committee of the whole on both sides, and informed them that we were not sowing any winter wheat, and a greater testimony of our intentions to remove should not be asked.
Judge Douglas said, all competent men must admit that the propositions of the committee of citizens of Nauvoo were just and fair.
General Hardin said he was satisfied we intended to remove but had not the assurance we could go if our property could not be sold.
We received the following:
Letter from the Quincy Committee
‘Nauvoo, October 1, 1845.
To the First President and Council of the Church at Nauvoo:
Church Leaders Requested to Place Terms of Departure in Writing.
Having had a free and full conversation with you this day in reference to your proposed removal from this county, together with members of your church, we have to request you to submit the facts and intentions stated to us in the said conversation to writing, in order that we may lay them before the governor and the people of the state. We hope that by so doing it will have a tendency to allay the excitement at present existing in the public mind.
We have the honor to subscribe ourselves.
Respectfully yours etc.[Signed] John J. Hardin,
W. B. Warren,
S. A. Douglas,
J. A. Mcdougal.’
Thursday, 2.—The council received the following from Camp Mississippi:
‘To the First President and High Council of the Church of the Latter-day Saints:
Acquiesence of the Citizens of Illinois to the Agreed Removal of the Saints.
Since our conference with you yesterday, we have arrived at this place and have held free conversation with the anti-Mormons of this and the surrounding counties. We have read to them your statement made to us on the 1st instant.
We have informed them that you individually made similar statements to us, with the most solemn protestations of truth, and with every appearance of earnest determination to carry out your expressed intentions in good faith.
In the Resolutions which were adopted yesterday, in this place, by the delegates from nine counties, (the citizens of Hancock being excluded from the meeting), it was resolved (as we are informed, not having seen a copy of the Resolutions), to accept your proposition to remove in the spring.
Since we have made public the statement by you made to us, there seems to be a general acquiescence in it by citizens of other counties, and of this, so far as to agree to restrain and withhold all further violence, and that you be permitted to depart in peace next spring.
We are convinced that affairs have reached such a crisis, that it has become impossible for your church to remain in this country.
After what has been said and written by yourselves, it will be confidently expected by us and the whole community, that you will remove from the state with your whole church, in the manner you have agreed in your statement to us.
Should you not do so, we are satisfied, however much we may deprecate violence and bloodshed, that violent measures will be resorted to, to compel your removal, which will result in most disastrous consequences to yourselves and your opponents, and that the end will be your expulsion from the state.
We think that steps should be taken by you to make it apparent that you are actually preparing to remove in the spring.
By carrying out, in good faith, your proposition to remove as submitted to us, we think you should be, and will be permitted to depart peaceably next spring for your destination, west of the Rocky Mountains.
For the purpose of maintaining law and order in this county, the commanding general purposes to leave an armed force in this county which will be sufficient for that purpose and which will remain as long as the governor deems it necessary. And for the purpose of preventing the use of such force for vexatious or improper objects, we will recommend the governor of the state to send some competent legal officer to remain here, and have the power of deciding what process shall be executed by said military force.
We recommend to you to place every possible restraint in your power over the members of your church, to prevent them from committing acts of aggression or retaliation on any citizens of the state, as a contrary course may, and most probably will bring about a collision which will subvert all efforts to maintain the peace in this county; and we propose making a similar request of your opponents in this and the surrounding counties.
With many wishes that you may find peace and prosperity in the land of your destination, which you desire, we have the honor to subscribe ourselves,[Signed] John J. Hardin,
W. B. Warren,
S. A. Douglas,
J. A. Mcdougal.’
Friday, 3.—The following Resolutions by the citizens of Quincy were published in the Quincy Whig, October 1st:—
Resolutions in the Quincy Whig
‘First, Resolved, That we accept and recommend to the people of the surrounding counties to accept the proposition made by the Mormons to remove from the state next spring: but we accept it as an unconditional proposition to remove. We do not intend to bring ourselves under any obligations to purchase their property or to furnish purchasers for the same, but will expect them to dispose of their property and remove at the time appointed.
Secondly, That we do not endorse the enumeration of grievances made by the Mormons in their printed proposition to remove, or in any degree yield our assent thereto: that we do not believe them to be a persecuted people, but believe whatever grievances they may suffer to be the legitimate consequences of their own conduct.
Thirdly, Resolved, That it is now too late to attempt the settlement of the difficulties in Hancock county upon any other basis than that of the removal of the Mormons from the state.
Fourthly, Resolved, That whilst we shall endeavor by all means in our power to prevent the occurrence of anything which might operate against their removal, and afford the people of Nauvoo any ground of complaint, we shall equally expect good faith upon their part; and if they shall not comply with their own propositions, the consequences must rest upon those who violate faith. And we now solemnly pledge ourselves to be ready at the appointed time to act as the occasion may require, and that we will immediately adopt a preliminary military organization, for prompt future action if occasion should demand it.
Fifthly, Resolved, That we respectfully recommend to the people of the surrounding counties, to wait with patience the time appointed for removal, and that if in their opinion the Resolutions passed by this meeting are such as the occasion requires they adopt them and send copies to the church authorities at Nauvoo.
Sixthly, Resolved, That in our opinion the peace of Hancock county cannot be so far restored as to allow the desired progress to be made in preparing the way for the removal of the Mormons while J. B. Backenstos remains sheriff of said county and that he ought to resign said office.
Seventhly, Resolved, That we recommend to all parties in Hancock county that they suspend all legal prosecutions for alleged offenses during the present state of excitement; and that all should be permitted to return to their homes in peace.
Eighthly, Resolved, That in our opinion it will only be necessary for the people of Nauvoo to appoint commissioners on their part to whom applications for the purchase of real estate may be made, and that there is no necessity to appoint commissioners on the other side.
Ninthly, Resolved, That in order to manifest our sympathies with the unoffending poor, the widow and orphans of Nauvoo, a committee of twenty with a treasurer, be appointed by the chairman, whose duty it shall be to receive subscriptions from all those desirous of contributing pecuniary aid for such persons and that the amount collected be paid over to such persons as they shall appoint to receive it upon their being ready to start upon their journey of removal.
Tenthly, Resolved, That we expect as an indispensable condition to the pacification of the county that the old citizens of Hancock county be permitted to return to their homes unmolested by the present sheriff, and the Mormons for the offenses alleged against them, and that any attempt on their part to arrest or prosecute such citizens will inevitably lead to a renewal of the late disorders.
Eleventh, Resolved, That the judge of this judicial circuit be requested not to hold any court in Hancock county this fall, with a view to prevent unnecessary excitement and collision in said county, which might inflame the passions of its citizens and so endanger its peace, it being well known that the unpleasant difficulties already existing there have entirely prevented the due impartial administration of justice.
Twelfth, Resolved, That this meeting deem it proper to recommend that a small military force be stationed in Hancock county until next spring to prevent depredations upon private property and preserve the peace of said county and that it be respectfully yet earnestly recommended to the executive of this state to furnish the same for the purpose above named.’
Additional Resolutions Adopted at the Same Meeting
‘Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed for the purpose of adopting and carrying into operation a volunteer military organization for Adams county, and said committee are hereby authorized to do all things lawful, necessary and proper for the purpose of preparing such a force, without delay, to be used to preserve the peace of this and the adjoining counties.
Resolved, That the committee appointed to visit Nauvoo deserve and receive our warmest thanks, for the prompt, able and efficient manner in which they discharged the duties confided to them.
Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting be and he is hereby vested with full power and authority to call an adjourned meeting at any time he may deem the public exigencies require it.
Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the city papers and copies thereof transmitted to the governor of the state, and to the church authorities of Nauvoo by the chairman and secretary of this meeting.’
A Prophecy of Good.
Saturday, 4.—Attended General Council at Seventies’ Hall. While riding to the hall with Elders H. C. Kimball and W. Richards, Elder Richards prophesied that we should have means to move all the poor and want for nothing. Elder Kimball said, amen.
The correspondence from General Hardin and suite, the governor, and the Resolutions by the citizens of Quincy were read to the council.
Resolution to Cease Publishing the Nauvoo Neighbor and the Times and Seasons.
I proposed that we cease publishing the Nauvoo Neighbor and save our paper inasmuch as our papers rarely get beyond the hands of our enemies. Any information we want to send abroad we will publish in circulars and extras.
Elder Richards moved that the next number of the Times and Seasons close that paper and that the minutes of the conference be published in the Nauvoo Neighbor.
I proposed that we appoint a committee of three to select and preserve the statements of the press of the United States concerning us, and proposed that Elders Parley P. Pratt, Orson Spencer and Wm. W. Phelps be a committee to write a pointed document relating to the treatment we have received from the United States. 1
The committee who were appointed by the President to acquire and lay before the council all the necessary information in regard to the outfitting of families for emigration west of the mountains submit the following report obtained from calculation and from the best works on the subject:
Requirements of Each Family of Five for the Journey across the Plains
‘Each family consisting of five adults, will require 1 good strong wagon, well covered. 3 good yokes of oxen between the ages of four and ten. Two or more cows. One or more good beeves, some sheep if they have them.
One thousand pounds of flour or other bread stuff and good sacks to put it in.
One bushel of beans.
One hundred pounds of sugar.
One good musket or rifle to each man.
One pound of powder and three lbs. lead (or perhaps more).
Two lbs. tea, 5 lbs. coffee.
Twenty-five pounds of salt.
A few pounds of dried beef, or bacon, as they choose.
A good tent and furniture to each two families.
From ten to fifty pounds of seed to a family.
And from twenty-five to one hundred pounds of farming or other tools.
Clothing and bedding to each family of five persons not to exceed five hundred pounds.
One or more sets of saw and gristmill irons to each company of one hundred families.
Cooking utensils to consist of a bake-kettle, frying-pan, coffee pot, tin cups, plates, and forks, spoons, pans, etc., etc., as few as will do.
A few goods to trade with the Indians.
A little iron and steel, a few pounds of nails.
Each wagon supposed to be loaded on the start with one ton without the persons or twenty-eight hundred including them.
If going to the coast it is not necessary to carry seed wheat, oats or grass. Nor are cattle and sheep absolutely necessary except to live on while upon the journey, as the country abounds in both cattle and sheep. A few horses will be necessary for each company. Also a few cannon and ammunition for the same. The journey to the coast will require some four or five months, being upwards of two thousand miles.
There was also added two sets of pulley blocks and rope for crossing rivers to each company.
Two ferry boats to each company.
One keg of alcohol of five gallons for each two families.
Ten pounds of dried apples for each family.
Five pounds of dried peaches.
Twenty pounds of dried pumpkin.
Two pounds of black pepper.
One pound of cayenne.
One-half pound mustard.
Twelve nutmegs. One fish seine for each company. Hooks and lines for each family.’ ”
1. This was in harmony with the revelation which was given some five years earlier to the Prophet Joseph Smith in which a commandment was given for the gathering up of all the libelous and damaging falsehoods that had been stated against the church by their enemies (See D&C 123, March, 1839).