Camp of Israel, opposite Chimney Rock,
July 17, 1848.

To Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, Presidency of the Stake of Zion, and the High Council of the City of the Great Salt Lake City, Great Basin, North America.

Dearly beloved brethren:

After a communication to you of 7th October, 1847, which we sent by the hands of Captain Walker, who was on his way to California, we continued our journey without any thing of note taking place until the 18th of October, when our eyes were gladdened by meeting 16 of the brethren who had started from Winter Quarters, with the determination to find out what had became of us, and bring us the news from home, to gladden our hearts and cause our souls to rejoice even as much as our through 16 of the Heavenly messengers had come down to congratulate us on our return from our arduous enterprise and to comfort us in the hour of fatigue.  We at the same time received considerable assistance; in having a few fresh animals to relieve those who had given out from over fatigue and enable us to reach home in safety.  On arriving at the Horn, we were again gladdened by receiving a visit from a considerable number of our brethren who met us there with about 20 wagons and bringing in them a most delicious repast of bread, butter and the delicacies which they had raised upon the land.  We arrived at Winter Quarters on the 31st of October in good health, without having lost a man, or had a limb broken, or even had an animal lost, except those which were through negligence, thus making our return journey in 67 days, and performing one of the most arduous and troublesome journeys ever untaken by man, since the foundation of the world, in perfect peace, union and harmony, and found our families generally in good health.  The city was nearly enclosed with pickets, and the Indians had been tolerably quiet.  We immediately proceeded to get the quorums together and obtained a list of the High Priests and Seventies who were in the city, in order to send a number of them on mission, to gather up the dispersed of Nauvoo and bring them to the vicinity of Winter Quarters, on the Pottawattamie lands in the state of Iowa, to open farms, raise crops, and prepare to make their fit out for the mountains as early as possible.

The crops on the Pottawattamie District and on the Omaha lands had been as great as any that the saints had gathered, under more favorable circumstances in Illinois or elsewhere, and it presented a favorable place for the saints to congregate previous to making their final journey to the mountains.

On the 26th November we wrote Elder Orson Spencer, Liverpool, England; informing him that the way was now open for the Saints in the British Islands to gather to their long desired home and to pass the Saints by way of New Orleans and St. Louis to Council Bluffs and we sent out agents to those places with the necessary instructions to assist them on their journey.

On the 3rd of December we held a conference in Henry Miller’s settlement on the east side of the river, about ten miles south east of Winter Quarters in Silas Richards’ large double log house; they day was spent in preaching and exhorting the brethren; met again on the 4th when the house was so crowded, and many bleating at the windows for room in the sheep-fold, that a motion was made by George A. Smith to adjourn and build a house that would be large enough to accommodate the increasing population.  The site for the new building was chosen, committees appointed to superintend its erection, and in three weeks a commodious log building was on the ground.

On the 11th December, sixteen of the Battalion from California arrived, bringing us the news from your city; they had a hard time on their journey.

On the 17th another company arrived, being the balance of those who had started home.

On the 24th of December conference convened pursuant to adjournment and continued 4 days in the building which was called the Log Tabernacle, and is a well constructed house 60 feet by 40 feet inside and is calculate to seat one thousand persons, besides a recess of 20 feet by 10 for the stand occupied by the councils and clerks and is certainly an ornament to the neighborhood.  At this conference a First Presidency was agitated and agreed upon, when Brigham Young was unanimously voted and received as the First President of the Church; when he nominated Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards as his counselors, which nominations were seconded and carried by unanimous vote.  John Smith was then nominated to be the Patriarch of the whole church in the same capacity as Father Joseph Smith was, as also Brother Hyrum Smith, which was seconded and carried unanimously.

At this time a general Epistle from the council of the Twelve Apostles to the Church of Jesus Christ was written and signed on the 23rd of December, and delivered unto Elders Amasa Lyman and Ezra T. Benson to take to St. Louis for publication, and directions to distribute the same six copies of which we send you.

On 16th of January commenced a Jubilee at the Log Tabernacle, which continued 5 days and was spent in preaching, exhorting and comforting the Saints in the forepart of the day accompanied with music.  In the after part of the day dancing and other recreations.  The brethren enjoyed themselves first rate, a good spirit prevailing all the time.

The brethren got up a petition for a post office to be located in that vicinity which was signed by 1805 male members; the same was forwarded to Washington, and on the 13th March Evan M. Green came to us to report that he had received his appointment as Postmaster for the Kane Post office which was named after our friend Col. Kane.

The brethren also got up a petition to have the Pottawattamie district organized into a county, and Andrew Perkins and Henry Miller went on the mission to Iowa City and returned on 6th March bringing the intelligence that the District had been voted to be organized into a county 14 months previously, and precisely according to the terms of the petition, and that a man had been appointed to organize the county, etc.

On the 6th of April, we met in annual conference at the Log Tabernacle when the First Presidency and Patriarch were acknowledged and received, also the Quorum of the Twelve, the Presidency of Seventies and the Presidents of the other quorums.  Four days were spent in giving council, preaching and exhorting.  During the conference news arrived of a Revolution in France, the flight of the King to England, the establishment of a Republic and the acknowledgement of the same by Great Britain, United States, etc. and peace again restored to France.

On the 21st of April we received intelligence from Elder Spencer that 2 companies of Saints had shipped from England for New Orleans, one vessel with 120 souls under the direction of Elder Franklin D. Richards, and the other under the direction of Elder Moses Martin.

Several bands of the Pawnee Indians visited Winter Quarters during the Winter, being starved out in their villages; they returned home with their animals loaded with corn.

On the 2nd of May six brethren arrived from your city with an Epistle from the Council which was received with gratitude.  The brethren flocked together to hear the intelligence and all are highly gratified; immediately afterwards the saints commenced loading up their wagons to prepare for the long journey which is before them and remove off to the Horn, preparatory to organizing the first company, make a new road from the Tapion to the Horn, where they tarried on the west bank until the 31st of May, when I commenced organizing the people into One Hundreds, Fifties and Tens.

The first company led by Lorenzo Snow left the Horn on the 1st day of June, the 2nd company led by Zera Pulsipher.  On the 2nd, the third company led by William Perkins on 3rd of June and the fourth company led by myself on Monday 5th.  The fifth company which was left at the Horn under the direction of Elder Heber C. Kimball was attacked by the Omaha or Otoe Indians on Tuesday the 6th of June.  Howard Egan was shot in the arm, and brother Ricks was also severely wounded; both are now recovering.  The Indians had four killed and three wounded.  The brethren also lost one ox in the skirmish.

We continued our journey until the 13th of July when we arrived at the Ancient Ruins Bluffs, having traveled 30 days at the average rate of 14 miles per day and having laid by 12 days.  Here we met 18 wagons from the valley, 6 of them without any bow or cover on them, all requiring the ties to be set; the bands on the hubbs nearly all requiring to be cut and replaced and every wagon requiring more or less repairs before they were fit for any thing; we lay by one day to repair them, when 5 wagons came into my corral, 5 into Brother Heber’s corral, and 8 wagons went on to Winter Quarters.

According to your request we forward you the mail, also six of the General Epistles and the statistics of the camps which we trust will give you satisfaction.

It is our intention to be at Green river on or about the 20th of August, at which place we shall be most happy to receive a wagon load of salt, which will be of very great benefit to those saints who will have to return form that place with the return teams to Winter Quarters.  We shall also be very thankful for some salt, as we started with very little, anticipating meeting a goodly number of wagons, and some of them we expected would have brought some salt with them.

If it would be convenient for you to send out a number of teams to meet us at Green river, it would be quite an assistance to us, but if you cannot, we shall make arrangements to build a Fort, leave the goods and the families with them, and we will work ourselves into the Valley by the help and assistance of the Lord as quick as we can; but if you send to us, it will require one hundred wagons at least, well manned with teams and drivers, and well fitted up with covers, so as to leave none behind.

I also wish to inform you, that through the winter the brethren of the Twelve had been very busy.  Elders Hyde and Benson went on a mission to the Eastern States, and Amasa Lyman to the southern States to gather what means they could to remove the Saints from where they were, to the Valley; they had but very poor success, the Saints who had riches, loving them better than the cause of Zion; and the people of the world were very much afraid of their means being turned to a bad advantage, and considered it safer to retrain it in their own possession, but were very profuse in their expressions of commiseration and sorrow.

Elders Willard Richards and Amasa Lyman we expect are on our trail with another large company for the mountains.

Elder Orson Pratt has gone on a mission to the British Islands to relieve Elder Spencer; he has taken his family with him.  Elders Levi Richards, Jeter Clinton, James W. Cummings, John Spiers, William Cutler, Thomas Clark, Milo Andrus, Eli B. Kelsey and William Moss have also gone on mission to England under the direction of Elder Pratt.

Elder Wilford Woodruff is appointed a mission through the Eastern States and Canada, his family going with him to some of the Eastern cities.

Elders Hyde, George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson tarry in Pottawattamie county, Iowa, to superintend the settling of the country, the arrivals from Europe and the States, and the Emigration to the mountains.

I anticipate Elder George A. Smith will overtake us with the mail before we arrive at the Valley.

You must not be disappointed in not seeing the Printing presses, type, paper, mill, irons, mill stones, carding machine, etc., as I had fully calculated on the teams that you sent from the Valley bringing them on.  We have the poor with us; their cry was urgent to go to the mountains, and I could neither close my ears no harden my heart against their earnest appeals.  I could bring my carriage and horses with my swift teams and be with you in 30 days, but I cannot forsake the poor in the hour of need, and when they stand most in need of comfort, I am disappointed in not bringing the presses, etc., but I can not avoid it; it is out of my power to do every thing.

I wish you to send us a mail as speedily as possible, with fresh horses, so that we can forward the mail to Winter Quarters giving the state of the crops, improvements, health, etc.

Great peace, love and union prevails in our midst.  We have been blessed on this journey; not a soul, not an animal in my corral having died, or been lost since leaving the Elk Horn and I can truly say, all is well with us.

I earnestly desire to say to the Saints in the Valley, they who want to serve the Lord, that they are in a good place; and it is my advice that they get cured of their California fevers, as quick as they possibly can, and let neither them, nor any other fevers trouble them any more, for I am well assured that if you do, the Lord will bless you and prosper you; and may His choicest blessings rest upon you; may you be blessed by night and by day, in your outgoings and incomings, in your basket and in your store and may the still whisperings of the Spirit be your constant companion, until I come, is the prayer of your affectionate brother in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Brigham Young
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

P.S.—Do not neglect to send us the load of salt.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 17, 1848, 2-9]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]

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