This is another in a weekly series of day-by-day summaries of what transpired 150 years ago during the Saints' 1846-47 trek from Nauvoo, Ill., to the Salt Lake Valley. The compiler, David R. Crockett, is a member of the Church Pioneer Sesquicentennial Committee.
Sunday, Oct. 25, 1846:
President Brigham Young spoke at an afternoon meeting in Winter Quarters. He again encouraged the Saints to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. "Revelation required us to worship God one day in seven. . . . It is wisdom to rest on the Sabbath and partake of the Sacrament." He prophesied that within 10 years the tale of their journey and sufferings would be one of the most interesting histories in the world.
As the Saints were retiring for the evening, a cry of "fire" was heard across the city. Lorenzo Dow Young wrote, "I sprang out of bed and looked out and beheld Sister [Mary] Ashby's waggon cover all on fire and she with some of her children in bed in the waggon. I ran to their relief, caught hold of the cover that was in a flame and burned my hands very bad, but succeeded in putting out the fire." Sister Ashby, a recent widow, also burned one of her hands so severely that she could not use it.
Monday, Oct. 26:
A meeting was held in the morning to organize a company of men to build a protective picket fence in Winter Quarters. Bishop Newel K. Whitney returned from purchasing provisions in St. Louis. He reported that many dry goods had to be left at a store in St. Joseph, Mo. The water level on the Missouri River was too low to allow them to be brought up the river by boat. These critical provisions had been purchased with clothing allowance money received by the Mormon Battalion.
Tuesday, Oct. 27:
At sunrise, the brethren in Winter Quarters were called together. Thirty-five teamsters volunteered to go after the goods in St. Joseph. They met at Elder Willard Richards' tent to receive instruction from Bishop Whitney.
Luman Shurtliff, leader of a relief team from Garden Grove, arrived at the Mississippi River on his mission to help rescue the destitute Saints who had been driven out of Nauvoo. He wrote, "As I came onto the highland, in sight of the river and once again saw our lovely city, Nauvoo, I could not help weeping aloud with joy . . . thankful that my life was spared to me that I might again behold the city of the prophets." He saw many makeshift shelters, including "a ragged blanket or quilt laid over a few sticks or brush
thatT comprised all the house a family owned on earth."
Wednesday, Oct. 28:
Sixteen teams crossed the Missouri River, starting their journey to St. Joseph. Elder Orson Spencer left for a mission to England. He had been called to serve this mission several months earlier. However, he had tragically lost his wife and brother to sickness and death as they journeyed across Iowa.
Back at the Mississippi, Luman Shurtliff crossed over the river and went into Nauvoo. He recorded that he "walked up through the thickest part of town, saw but few inhabitants. I went to the temple and took a view of the beautiful homes of the Saints, but are now a desolation. From here I walked to my former place of residence, viewing the premises, shed a few tears over the grave of the partner of my youth and mother of all my children, and bore my testimony that she was a good woman and a kind wife and mother. From here I walked east on Main Street to the east part of the city where the last battle had been fought and viewed the destruction of the mobs and the desolate, deserted village."
Thursday, Oct. 29:
Fourteen additional teams started for St. Joseph. In the evening, the brethren of the Twelve and the high council met together.
Friday, Oct. 30:
In the evening, President Young met with Heber C. Kimball and others to write some letters. They wrote to the Saints gathered in St. Louis, Mo. The brethren in St. Louis were asked to get their families settled with one to two years of provisions, and then come to Winter Quarters.
Saturday, Oct. 31:
Brigham Young helped Willard Richards raise the frame of his octagon-shaped house.
At the Mississippi River, Luman Shurtliff's company loaded "near sixty" of the most needy Saints and started heading west. He wrote, "All the provisions put together would have made only one good meal and were now about to start . . . with this poor sick company on a journey of 170 miles through an uncivilized and mostly uninhabited wilderness. I felt like crying, `O, God, help us' as we left. I looked back and saw a few weeping Saints left behind; how to live through the winter I knew not, but God knew." That night, the Saints in the company "rejoiced like the children of Israel after their deliverance from the Egyptians."
Sources: Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 426-35; The Diary of Hosea Stout, pp. 206-08; "Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young," Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:150; Luman Shurtliff Autobiography, typescript, pp. 67-8; Wilford Woodruff' Journal, 3:94; Philip St. George Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846-1854, pp. 76-83; A Ram in the Thicket: The Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, pp. 110, 219-26; William Coray Journal; Richard O. Cowan and William E. Homer, California Saints, p. 56; Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal.