Another start by others of the pioneer company was made from Winter Quarters for the rendezvous to the westward. With the expectation that the pioneer camp could be moved forward from the Elk Horn, more of the members chosen for the trip had left Winter Quarters, but the departure was delayed by an important event. This was the return from England of Parley P. Pratt. Those of the Twelve who had left for the Elk Horn, hearing of Mr. Pratt’s arrival, turned back to again enter the place they had expected not to see for many months to come.    

Parley P. Pratt arrived in Winter Quarters on April 8, Thursday, and his return was hailed with joy by the people. That evening a council was held at the office of Dr. Williard Richards, and Mr. Pratt made quite a lengthy report upon the general condition of affairs of the church in the English mission. A portion of the report was the recital, in detail, of the abolishment of the Joint Stock company and the excommunication of Hedlock, Ward and others, the speculative promoters of the scheme. He also gave a detailed history of all church events in England, and this, with the messages from relatives or friends from across the Atlantic, caused the meeting that evening to be a most happy one.           

In the meantime the preparations for departure of the whole body were being continued at Winter Quarters and on the Elk Horn and the organization was being perfected. The pioneer band was nearly completed, but there were still many who had not been chosen, and these were anxiously awaiting, with eager anticipation, the call which would include them in the company. Brigham Young had carefully prepared some instructions which he intended to read to the members when the start was actually made. In substance these preliminary rules were as follows:

The pioneers were to travel in one body and avoid separation. Each man was to walk with a loaded gun in his hand (most of the pioneers walked across the plans to Utah) but if a teamster, he was to have it handy in his wagon, loaded and ready for instant use. If the gun were a caplock the owner was to take off the cap and put on a piece of leather to exclude the moisture or dirt; if a flintlock, the filling was to be removed and the pan was to be filled with tow or cotton.          

The men were ordered to keep beside the wagons and not leave them without permission. The wagons were to be driven two abreast where possible, and in case of an attack by Indians they were to travel four abreast or even five abreast if they could.           

The bugle call would be sounded at 5 a.m. each day, when all were to arise, assemble for prayers, feed the stock and get breakfast. At 7 a.m. the start was to be made, and noon rest was to be taken where water and fodder were found. At 8:30 p.m. at the sound of the bugle, each was to leave the campfire for prayers in his own wagon, and at 9 p.m. “taps” would sound and all but the sentries were to retire to rest.

[Transcribed by Pat Bishop and Mauri Pratt; May 2012]

“Fifty Years Ago Today.”, Unknown newspaper, unknown date.

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