Zion’s Camp—Its Journey From Kirtland to Missouri.
Aid for the Redemption of Zion.
About the last of April I received, by letters from friends in the East, and of brethren in Kirtland, the sum of two hundred and fifty-one dollars and sixty cents, towards the deliverance of Zion.
Gathering of Zion’s Camp at New Portage.
May 1.—More than twenty of the brethren left Kirtland for Missouri, according to previous appointment, accompanied by four baggage wagons. They traveled to New Portage, and there tarried with the church until the remainder of the Kirtland company, who were not in readiness to start with them, arrived.
The following letter from Elder Phelps to us, clearly shows the necessity there was of the Saints in Missouri receiving assistance:
Liberty, May 1, 1834.
Dear Brethren—There are great moves in the west. Last week an alarm was spread in Jackson county, the seat of iniquity and bloodshed, that the “Mormons” were crossing the Missouri, to take possession of their lands, and nearly all the county turned out, “prepared for war;” on Saturday and on Sunday took the field, near old McGee’s, above Blue; but no “Mormons” came; neither did Arthur 1 go over to see about his “spilt whisky,” so that the scene closed by burning our houses, or many of them. Our people had about one hundred and seventy buildings in Jackson, and a bonfire of nearly all of them at once made a light large enough to glare on their dark deed and cup of iniquity running over at midnight.
The crisis has come; all who will not take up arms with the mob and prepare to fight the “Mormons,” have to leave Jackson county. I understand some have left the county, because they refused to fight an innocent people. It is said the mob will hold a “general muster” this week, for the purpose of learning who is who. We have reason to believe that they begin to slip over the Missouri, and commit small depredations upon our brethren settled near the river.
It is said to be enough to shock the stoutest heart to witness the drinking, swearing and ravings of most of the mob; nothing but the power of God can stop them in their latter-day crusade against the Church of Christ.
Our brethren are very industrious in putting in spring crops; and they are generally in good health, and the faithful are in strong hope of a glorious hereafter.
I remain yours, etc.,
W. W. Phelps.
Minutes of a Conference of the Elders of the Church of Christ, which Church was organized in the township of Fayette, Seneca county, New York, on the 6th of April, A.D. 1830. 2
President Joseph Smith, Jun., was chosen moderator, and Frederick G. Williams and Oliver Cowdery were appointed clerks.
After prayer, the conference proceeded to discuss the subject of names and appellations, when a motion was made by Sidney Rigdon, and seconded by Newel K. Whitney, that this Church be known hereafter by the name of “The Church of the Latter-day Saints.” Remarks were made by the members, after which the motion passed by unanimous vote.
“Resolved, that this conference recommend to the conferences and churches abroad, that in making out and transmitting minutes of their proceedings, such minutes and proceedings be made out under the above title.
“Resolved, that these minutes be signed by the moderator and clerks, and published in the Evening and Morning Star.
Joseph Smith, Jun., Moderator.
Frederick G. Williams,
Oliver Cowdery, Clerks.
Departure of the Prophet from Kirtland for Missouri.
May 5.—Having gathered and prepared clothing and other necessaries to carry to our brethren and sisters, who had been robbed and plundered of nearly all their effects; and having provided for ourselves horses, and wagons, and firearms, and all sorts of munitions of war of the most portable kind for self-defense—as our enemies are thick on every hand—I started with the remainder of the company from Kirtland for Missouri. This day we went as far as the town of Streetsborough, twenty-seven miles from Kirtland. We stayed in Mr. Ford’s barn, where Uncle John Smith and Brigham Young had been preaching three months before. This day Brothers Brigham and Joseph Young went to Israel Barlow’s, about three-quarters of a mile, and tarried over night. Brother Barlow returned with them in the morning and joined the camp. Brother Brigham Young had taken the families of Solomon Angel and Lorenzo Booth into his house, that they might accompany us to Missouri.
On the 6th we arrived at New Portage, about fifty miles distance from Kirtland, and joined our brethren who had gone before.
My company from Kirtland consisted of about one hundred men, mostly young men, and nearly all Elders, Priests, Teachers or Deacons. As our wagons were nearly filled with baggage, we had mostly to travel on foot.
On the 7th we made preparations for traveling, gathered all the moneys of every individual of the company, and appointed Frederick G, Williams paymaster to disburse the funds thus collected; and Zerubbabel Snow was chosen commissary general. The whole company now consisted of more than one hundred and thirty men, accompanied by twenty baggage wagons. We left but few men in Kirtland, viz.: Elders Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, a few working on the Temple, and the aged.
Organization of Zion’s Camp.
Through the remainder of this day I continued to organize the company, appoint such other officers as were required, and gave such instructions as were necessary for the discipline, order, comfort and safety of all concerned. I also divided the whole band into companies of twelve, leaving each company to elect its own captain, who assigned each man in his respective company his post and duty, generally in the following order: Two cooks, two firemen; two tent men, two watermen, one runner, two wagoners and horsemen, and one commissary. We purchased flour and meal, baked our own bread, and cooked our own food, generally, which was good, though sometimes scanty; and sometimes we had johnny-cake, or corndodger, instead of flour bread. Every night before retiring to rest, at the sound of the trumpet, we bowed before the Lord in the several tents, and presented our thank-offerings with prayer and supplication; and at the sound of the morning trumpet, about four o’clock, every man was again on his knees before the Lord, imploring His blessing for the day.
The March of Zion’s Camp.
On the 8th we recommenced our march towards Zion, and pitched our tents for the night in a beautiful grove at Chippeway, twelve miles from New Portage.
On the morning of the 9th we completed our organization by companies and proceeded onward, and encamped near Wooster; and on Saturday the 10th, passing through Mansfield, encamped for the Sabbath in Richfield township. About one hour after we had encamped, Elders Lyman E. Johnson, Willard Snow and a number of others joined the camp from the north part of Vermont.
Sunday 11.—Elder Sylvester Smith preached, and the company received the Sacrament of bread and wine.
Here we were increased in number by eight brethren, in company of Elder Elias Benner, from Richland and Stark counties, most of whom were Germans.
Incidents in Zion’s Camp.
Monday, May 11.—We left Richfield, traveled about thirty-five miles, passed the Bucyrus, and encamped on the Sandusky plains, at a short distance from the place where the Indians roasted General Crawford, and near the Indian settlements.
On the 13th we passed through a long range of beech woods, where the roads were very bad. In many instances we had to fasten ropes to the wagons to haul them out of the sloughs and mud holes. Brother Parley P. Pratt broke his harness; the brethren fastened their ropes to his wagon, and drew it about three miles to the place of encampment on the Scioto river, while he rode singing and whistling.
Wednesday, May 14.—We passed on to Belle Fontaine, where we discovered refractory feelings in Sylvester Smith, who expressed great dissatisfaction because we were short of bread, although we had used all diligence to procure a supply, and Captain Brigham Young had previously sent two men ahead to provide supplies for his company.
Thursday, May 15.—We forded Mad river, and passing through a beautiful country, encamped a little west of Springfield. This night Moses Martin fell asleep on sentry duty, and I went and took his sword, and left him asleep.
Friday, May 16.—About nine o’clock, while I was riding in a wagon with Brother Hyrum, Ezra Thayer and George A. Smith, we came into a piece of thick woods of recent growth, where I told them that I felt much depressed in spirit and lonesome, and that there had been a great deal of bloodshed in that place, remarking that whenever a man of God is in a place where many have been killed, he will feel lonesome and unpleasant, and his spirits will sink.
In about forty rods from where I made this observation we came through the woods, and saw a large farm, and there near the road on our left, was a mound sixty feet high, containing human bones. This mound was covered with apple trees, and surrounded with oat fields, the ground being level for some distance around.
At dinner time some of the brethren expressed considerable fear on account of milk sickness, with which the people were troubled along our route. Many were afraid to use milk or butter, and appealed to me to know if it was not dangerous. I told them to use all they could get, unless they were told it was “sick.” Some expressed fears that it might be sold to us by our enemies for the purpose of doing us injury. I told them not to fear; that if they would follow my counsel, and use all they could get from friend or enemy, it should do them good, and none be sick in consequence of it; and although we passed through neighborhoods where many of the people and cattle were infected with the sickness, yet my words were fulfilled.
While passing through Dayton, Ohio, great curiosity was manifested, various reports of our numbers and designs having gone before us. Some of the inhabitants inquired of the company where they were from, when Captain Young replied: “From every place but this, and we will soon be from this.” “Where are you going?” “To the West.” 3
Delegation from Dayton.
Some ten or a dozen gentlemen came over from Dayton to ascertain our numbers, which they reported to be at least six hundred. These gentlemen also inquired of almost every man in the camp where he was from and where he was going, and what was his business. They returned to Dayton and reported that every man in the company was a gentleman and gave a respectful answer to every question asked, but they could not ascertain where we were going, or what was our business.
This evening a courtmartial was held in the camp for the trial of Moses Martin for falling asleep while on picket duty. Brother Martin pleaded his own case, saying that he was overcome with fatigue, and so overpowered that he could not keep awake, etc. I decided that he should be acquitted with a warning never to go to sleep again on watch, which was sanctioned by the court, and I took occasion from this circumstance to give the brethren much useful instruction.
The Camp Enters Indiana.
We forded the Miami river with our baggage wagons, most of the men wading through the water. On the 17th of May we crossed the state line of Ohio, and encamped for the Sabbath just within the limits of Indiana, having traveled about forty miles that day. Our feet were very sore and blistered, our stockings wet with blood, the weather being very warm. At night a spy attempted to get into our camp, but was prevented by our guard. We had our sentinels posted every night, on account of spies who were continually striving to harass us, steal our horses, etc.
Difficulties Within the Camp.
This evening there was a difficulty between some of the brethren and Sylvester Smith, on occasion of which I was called to decide in the matter. Finding a rebellious spirit in Sylvester Smith, and to some extent in others, I told them they would meet with misfortunes, difficulties and hindrances, and said, “and you will know it before you leave this place,” exhorting them to humble themselves before the Lord and become united, that they might not be scourged. A very singular occurrence took place that night and the next day, concerning our teams. On Sunday morning, when we arose, we found almost every horse in the camp so badly foundered that we could scarcely lead them a few rods to the water. The brethren then deeply realized the effects of discord. When I learned the fact, I exclaimed to the brethren, that for a witness that God overruled and had His eye upon them, all those who would humble themselves before the Lord should know that the hand of God was in this misfortune, and their horses should be restored to health immediately; and by twelve o’clock the same day the horses were as nimble as ever, with the exception of one of Sylvester Smith’s, which soon afterwards died.
Sunday, May 18.—We had preaching as usual, and the administration of the Sacrament.
About this time the Saints in Clay county, Missouri, established an armory, where they commenced manufacturing swords, dirks, pistols, stocking rifles, and repairing arms in general for their own defense against mob violence; many arms were purchased; for the leading men in Clay county rendered every facility in their power, in order, as they said, “to help the ‘Mormons’ settle their own difficulties, and pay the Jackson mob in their own way.”
Monday, May, 19.—We traveled thirty-one miles and encamped in Franklin township, Henry county, in the beech woods.
Tuesday, May 20.—We encamped near Greenfield, having traveled about twenty-five miles, some part of the way being so bad I walked over the tops of my boots in mud, helping to pull through the wagons with ropes.
Spies from the West in the Camp.
While we were eating dinner three gentlemen came riding up on very fine looking horses and commenced their inquiries of various ones concerning our traveling in so large a body, asking where we were from, and where we were going. The reply was as usual—some from the state of Maine; another would say, “I am from York state;” some from Massachusetts; some from Ohio; and some replied, “we are from the East, and as soon as we have done eating dinner we shall be going to the West again.” They then addressed themselves to Dr. Frederick G. Williams to see if they could find out who the leader of the camp was. The doctor replied, “We have no one in particular.” They asked if we had not a general to take the lead of the company. The reply was, “No one in particular.” “But,” said they, “is there not some one among you whom you call your captain, or leader, or who is superior to the rest?” He answered, “Sometimes one and sometimes another takes charge of the company, so as not to throw the burden upon any one in particular.” These spies, who had come from the west, passed us several times that same day and the next.
Although threatened by our enemies that we should not pass through Indianapolis, we passed through that city on the 21st unmolested. All the inhabitants were quiet. At night we encamped a few miles west of Indianapolis. There had previously been so many reports that we should never be permitted to pass through this place, and that the governor would have us dispersed, that some of the brethren were afraid that we might have difficulty there. But I had told them, in the name of the Lord, we should not be disturbed and that we would pass through Indianapolis without the people knowing it. When near the place many got into the wagons, and, separating some little distance, passed through the city, while others walked down different streets, leaving the inhabitants wondering “when that big company would come along.”
Since the 18th we had followed the national road where it was passable, but frequently we had to take by-roads which were miry and led through thick woods.
Thursday, May 22.—We encamped on a small stream of water in a grove near Belleville.
Friday, May 23.—We encamped about four miles from Greencastle, after a hard drive.
Saturday, May, 24.—We crossed the Wabash river at Clinton in ferry boats, in quick time, and pushed on to the state line, where we arrived late in the evening, and encamped in an oak opening in Edgar county, Illinois.
A Jackson County Spy in Camp.
Sunday, May 25.—We had no meeting, but attended to washing, baking, and preparing to resume our spy journey. A man in disguise, having on an old sealskin cap, came into our camp. He swore we were going up to Jackson county, and that we would never get over the Mississippi river alive. It was evident he was a spy, and I recollected having seen him in Jackson county, Missouri.
Precept vs. Example—a Lesson.
Monday, May 26.—A very hot day. We traveled through Paris and across a sixteen mile prairie; at noon we stopped to bait at a slough, about six miles from the timber, having no water to drink but such as was filled with living animals commonly called wigglers, and as we did not like to swallow them we strained the water before using it. This was the first prairie of any extent that we had come to on our journey, and was a great curiosity to many of the brethren. It was so very level that the deer miles off appeared but a short distance away; some of the brethren started out in pursuit before they were apprised of their mistake as to the distance. We continued our march, pulling our wagons through a small creek with ropes, and came to the house of Mr. Wayne, the only settler in the vicinity, where we found a well of water, which was one of the greatest comforts we could have received, as we were almost famished, and it was a long time before we could, or dared to satisfy our thirst. We crossed the Embarras river and encamped on a small branch of the same about one mile west. In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, “Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.” The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.
I had frequently spoken on this subject, when on a certain occasion I came up to the brethren who were watching a squirrel on a tree, and to prove them and to know if they would heed my counsel, I took one of their guns, shot the squirrel and passed on, leaving the squirrel on the ground. Brother Orson Hyde, who was just behind, picked up the squirrel, and said, “We will cook this, that nothing may be lost.” I perceived that the brethren understood what I did it for, and in their practice gave more heed to my precept than to my example, which was right.
This evening Brother Parley P. Pratt and Amasa Lyman returned from the Eugene branch, Indiana (where I had sent them), with a company of about a dozen men.
A Call to Arms.
The reports of mobs which were continually saluting our ears caused the brethren to be constantly alive to the subject, and about eleven o’clock this evening our picket guards reported that they saw the fires of the mob on the southeast of us. I instantly arose and discovered the mistake; but wishing the brethren to enjoy the scene as well as myself, immediately discharged my gun, which was a signal to call all men to arms. When the companies were all paraded and ready for battle, I pointed them to the reflection of the rising moon resting on points of timber in the east, which gave the appearance of the reflection of the light of a number of camp fires. The scenery was most delightful, and was well worth the trouble of any man rising from his couch to witness, who had never seen the like on the broad prairie before. This circumstance proved that nearly every man in the camp was ready for battle, except Dean Gould, who was not baptized, and Captain Jazeniah B. Smith, who was suddenly taken with the colic, and did not leave his tent. The whole incident was very amusing.
Angels Attend the Camp.
Tuesday, May 27.—Notwithstanding our enemies were continually breathing threats of violence, we did not fear, neither did we hesitate to prosecute our journey, for God was with us, and His angels went before us, and the faith of our little band was unwavering. We know that angels were our companions, for we saw them. 4
We arrived at the Okaw branch of the Kaskaskia, where we found log canoes, which we lashed together, and ferried our baggage across the stream. We then swam our horses and wagons, and when arrived at the opposite shore, the brethren fastened ropes to the wagon tongues and helped the teams out of the water and up the steep, miry banks. Some of the brethren felled a tall tree across the river, on which they passed over, and carried some of their baggage on their backs. While we were passing over, George A. Smith discovered a spring that with a little digging furnished us with an abundant supply of excellent water, which afterwards received the name of “the Mormon Spring.” This afternoon, Elder Solomon Humphreys, an aged brother of the camp, having become exceedingly weary, lay down on the prairie to rest himself and fell asleep. When he awoke he saw, coiled up within one foot of his head, a rattlesnake lying between him and his hat, which he had in his hand when he fell asleep. The brethren gathered around him, saying, “It is a rattlesnake, let us kill it;” but Brother Humphreys said, “No, I’ll protect him; you shan’t hurt him, for he and I had a good nap together.”
Wednesday, May 28.—We passed on as usual, except suffering much from want of water and provisions; and arrived at Decatur township. We encamped on a small stream of water, and here one of Brother Tanner’s horses died.
Thursday, May 29.—Having to buy a horse we were detained until near noon. There was some murmuring among the brethren, many wishing to go on and not tarry with the rest of the company for the day, and some were already started. I sent for them to return and collected the whole company together, and instructed them not to scatter. I told them if they went ahead of the camp in a scattered condition they would become weary, lie down on the ground when their blood was heated, and they would be liable to take diseases, such as fever and ague, which are prevalent in this climate. They would also be in danger of being killed by an enemy, and none of us be the wiser for it.
I then proposed for a diversion that we divide the camp into three parts and have a sham battle, which was agreed to. Brother Roger Orton led one division, Frederick G. Williams another division, while I remained in the camp with the third division. They retired to the woods with their divisions, and soon attacked the camp, which we defended by various maneuvers for some time. Many of our captains showed considerable tact and more acquaintance with military matters than I had expected. Everything passed off with good feelings, although Captain Heber C. Kimball, in receiving a charge, grasped Captain Lewis Zobriski’s sword, and in endeavoring to take it from him, had the skin cut from the palm of his hand. After the sham battle was over, I called the camp together and cautioned the men to be careful in the future and control their spirits in such circumstances so as never to injure each other.
We traveled across the prairie and encamped in a strip of timber. When we stopped to dine, I wrote a letter to the brethren in Missouri, dated “Camp of Israel,” requesting some of them to meet us as soon as possible and give me information of the state of things in Upper Missouri, and sent the letter to Springfield post office by Dr. Frederick G. Williams.
At this place I discovered that a part of my company had been served with sour bread, while I had received good, sweet bread from the same cook. I reproved Brother Zebedee Coltrin for this partiality, for I wanted my brethren to fare as well as I did.
Proposition to Divide Jackson County between Saints and the Mob.
The same day (May 29th) the brethren in Clay county wrote the following letter to his Excellency Daniel Dunklin:
Liberty, Missouri, May 29, 1834.
Sir—Your communication to us of May 2nd, containing or enclosing an order on Colonel S. D. Lucas for the arms which were forcibly taken from us last November, was received on the 15th instant, and the order forwarded to Colonel Lucas at Independence, on the 17th, giving him the privilege of returning our arms at one of the several ferries in this county. His reply to the order was, that he would write what he would do by the next mail, May 22nd. But as he has removed to Lexington without writing, we are at a loss to knew whether he means to delay returning them for a season, or entirely to refuse to restore them.
At any rate. the excitement, or rather spite, of the mob, runs so high against our people, that we think best to request your Excellency to have said arms returned through the agency of Colonel Allen or Captain Atchison. Report says the arms will not be returned, and much exertion is making by the mob to prevent our return to our possessions in Jackson county. We also understand that the mob is employing certain influential gentlemen to write to your Excellency, to persuade us to compromise our matters in difference with the Jackson mob, and probably divide Jackson county. We ask for our rights and no more.
Respectfully, your Excellency’s servants,
W. W. Phelps,
Algernon S. Gilbert,
Passage of Camp through Springfield, Illinois.
Friday, May 30.—Frederick G. Williams and Almon W. Babbitt 5 went ahead of the camp into Springfield in disguise, to learn the feeling of the people and procure some powder. We passed through Springfield; our appearance excited considerable curiosity, and a great many questions were asked. The spies who had followed us so long pursued us very closely, changing their dress and horses several times a day.
Brother Eleazer Miller with others joined the company with three horses about noon, a little east of Rochester. This reinforcement was very seasonable, as many of our horses were afflicted as they very frequently are in changing country, climate and food. Many of the horses after eating the dry corn and prairie grass would be seized with colic and bloat very badly. Brother Ezra Thayre administered medicine mixed in a quart stone bottle, prepared as follows: A threepenny paper of tobacco, half an ounce of copperas and two table-spoonsfull of cayenne pepper, and the bottle filled with water when he could not procure whisky. One-half of a bottle constituted a dose, and would almost invariable cure a sick horse in a few minutes, and is worthy of remembrance. Brother Thayre called his medicine “18 by 24.”
We encamped about three miles from Springfield on Spring Creek. Frederick G. Williams and Almon W. Babbitt returned to the camp with two kegs of powder, and reported that the people were somewhat excited, more however from a curiosity to know where we were going than from a desire to hinder us. A brother came to see us with the news that my brother Hyrum had passed on west the day before with a company, about fifty miles north of us, saying, “he has a fine company, and they all look mighty pert.” I asked him to accompany us to Missouri, but he replied, “I cannot.” He went and stayed at a tavern over night with the spies, who said they followed us three hundred miles on purpose to take some advantage of us.
Arrival at Jacksonville, Illinois.
Saturday, May 31.—In the morning this brother came to me and said: “I would be mighty glad to go with you, but my business is such I cannot. Will a hundred dollars do you any good?” I replied, “Yes, it will, for we are short of money.” He immediately remounted his horse and rode to Springfield, and within an hour after the camp had started he returned and said to me: “I am mighty sorry I cannot go with you. Here is a hundred dollars, and if I had had a few days’ notice I could have got more.”
At noon we halted for dinner. A man, apparently drunk, came to the camp and said he had a large farm and forty cows a little way ahead, and if we would go there, he would give us all we wanted to eat and drink, feed our horses, etc. But I soon discovered that he was more sober than drunk, and that he was probably a spy.
Near night we arrived at a small stream of water about one mile from Jacksonville, where we found a pawpaw bush in the road, which had been dropped by Dr. Frederick G. Williams as a signal for us to camp. I had sent Dr. Williams forward in the morning on horseback to select a camp ground and watch the movements of our enemies. We pitched our tents in the place he had selected.
Agreeable to my instructions, about sunset Brother Roger Orton proclaimed aloud that there would be preaching under the trees within the camp at half-past ten o’clock on the morrow. There was only one stranger in the camp to hear the appointment. Dr. Williams had gone on to Jacksonville with his pill bags to spend the night.
A Puzzling Religious Service.
Sunday, June 1.—We had preaching, and many of the inhabitants of the town came to hear. Elder John Carter, who had formerly been a Baptist preacher, spoke in the morning, and was followed by four other Elders in the course of the day, all of whom had formerly been preachers for different denominations. When the inhabitants heard these Elders they appeared much interested, and were very desirous to know who we were, and we told them one had been a Baptist preacher, and one a Campbellite; one a Reformed Methodist, and another a Restorationer. During the day many questions were asked, but none could learn our names, professions, business, or destination; and, although they suspected we were “Mormons,” they were very civil. 6
Our enemies had threatened that we should not cross the Illinois river, but on Monday the 2nd we were ferried over without any difficulty. The ferryman counted, and declared there were five hundred of us, yet our true number was only about one hundred and fifty. Our company had been increased since our departure from Kirtland by volunteers from different branches of the Church through which we had passed. We encamped on the bank of the river until Tuesday the 3rd.
The Finding of Zelph.
During our travels we visited several of the mounds which had been thrown up by the ancient inhabitants of this country—Nephites, Lamanites, etc., and this morning I went up on a high mound, near the river, accompanied by the brethren. From this mound we could overlook the tops of the trees and view the prairie on each side of the river as far as our vision could extend, and the scenery was truly delightful.
On the top of the mound were stones which presented the appearance of three altars having been erected one above the other, according to the ancient order; and the remains of bones were strewn over the surface of the ground. The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire, and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow. The contemplation of the scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or, at least, in part—one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites. 7
While we were refreshing ourselves and teams about the middle of the day [June 3rd], I got up on a wagon wheel, called the people together, and said that I would deliver a prophecy. After giving the brethren much good advice, exhorting them to faithfulness and humility, I said the Lord had revealed to me that a scourge would come upon the camp in consequence of the fractious and unruly spirits that appeared among them, and they should die like sheep with the rot; still, if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge, in a great measure, might be turned away; but, as the Lord lives, the members of this camp will suffer for giving way to their unruly temper. 8
Proposition of Colonel Ross.
When we arrived at Atlas, I had a conversation with Colonel Ross, a wealthy gentleman of the neighborhood who gave us a flattering account of the country, and wished to employ one hundred men, for which he proposed to make ready payment. He wanted brickmakers, builders, etc.
Here our commissary purchased twenty-five gallons of honey at twenty-five cents per gallon, and a dozen Missouri cured hams, which proved to have been a little injured on the outside. There not being enough to supply one for every company, my company agreed to do without. Our supper consisted of mush and honey, as we had been unable to procure flour on account of the scarcity of mills. After the fatigues of the day it hardly satisfied hunger; but when we had finished, some six of the hams were brought to our tent door and thrown down in anger, the remark being, “We don’t eat stinking meat.” I called on Brother Zebedee Coltrin, our cook, and told him to be quick and fry some ham, as I had not had my hunger fairly allayed for forty-eight hours. He immediately commenced cooking the ham, and for once my company feasted to their full satisfaction.
Report of Luke S. Johnson.
We had just retired to rest when the picket guard announced Luke S. Johnson. He came into our camp and made his report. He had visited a number of influential men, among the rest a Baptist minister, who expressed great anxiety that our company should be stopped, and went to a magistrate to inquire if there was not some law or pretext for stopping us. He, the priest, said to the magistrate, “That company march and have guns like an army. They pitch their tents by the side of the road; they set out guards, and let nobody pass into their camp in the night; and they are Mormons, and I believe they are going to kill the people up in Jackson county, Missouri, and retake their lands.” The magistrate replied, “If you were traveling, and did not wish to put up at public houses, or there were none in the country, would you not camp by the road side in a tent? And if you were afraid that your horses and property would be stolen in a strange country, would you not watch and keep guards?” “Why, yes,” said the priest; “but they are Mormons!” “Well, I can’t hear but they mind their own business, and if you and this stranger [meaning Luke S. Johnson] will mind your own business, everything will be right.” This Baptist priest treated Brother Luke S. Johnson with great politeness. He gave him his dinner, his wife washed his stockings; he gave him letters of introduction to men in Jackson county, and delivered to his charge some letters which he had received from Jackson county, which Brother Luke brought into the camp. He also stated that he had seen a man that morning who informed him that four hundred men were in readiness on the Missouri side, with ten hours’ notice, to use up all the camp, and he was on his way to give them the notice.
A False Alarm.
A little before midnight we heard several guns fired to the west of us, which appeared to be answered by one directly east. There was no settlement west of us nearer than the state of Missouri. This appearing so much like a signal, in addition to the many threats of our being attacked on crossing the Mississippi, I considered sufficient cause of alarm to put out a double picket guard and put the camp in a state of defense, so that every man might be ready at a moment’s notice. It however proved to be a false alarm. 9
Continuing our journey on the 4th, we encamped on the banks of the Mississippi river. At this place we were somewhat afflicted, and our enemies strongly threatened that we should not cross over into Missouri. The river being a mile and a half wide, and having but one ferry boat, it took two days for us to pass over. 10 While some were ferrying, others were engaged in hunting, fishing etc. As we arrived, we encamped on the bank, within the limits of Missouri.
While at this place, Sylvester Smith rebelled against the order of the company, and gave vent to his feelings against myself in particular. This was the first outbreak of importance which had occurred to mar our peace since we commenced our journey. 11