Exploration and Survey...
(Philadelphia: Lippincott & Grambo, 1852, 55)
(The 1855 edition used for this e-text)
EXPLORATION AND SURVEY
V A L L E Y
GREAT SALT LAKE OF UTAH,
A RECONNOISSANCE OF A NEW ROUTE THROUGH
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
BY HOWARD STANSBURY,
CAPTAIN CORPS TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY.
PRINTED BY AN ORDER OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & Co.
E X P E D I T I O N
VALLEY OF THE GREAT SALT LAKE
U T A H:
A DESCRIPTION OF ITS GEOGRAPHY, NATURAL HISTORY, AND
MINERALS, AND AN ANALYSIS OF ITS WATERS:
Authentic Account of the Mormon Settlement.
ILLUSTRATED BY NUMEROUS BEAUTIFUL PLATES,
FROM DRAWINGS TAKEN ON THE SPOT.
A RECONNOISSANCE OF A NEW ROUTE THROUGH
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS,
TWO LARGE AND ACCURATE MAPS OF THAT REGION.
BY HOWARD STANSBURY,
CAPTAIN CORPS TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY.
LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & Co.
[ 77 ]
At our encampment on Bear River, near this Butte, abundance of speckled trout were caught, resembling in all respects the brook trout of the States, except that the speckles are black instead of yellow. An ox, which had strayed from some unfortunate emigrant, was found on the bank of the stream, in such capital condition that he was shot for food, and such portions as we could not carry with us were most generously presented to a small en campment of Shoshonee Indians, whose wigwams were erected among the bushes on the opposite side of the stream. It was curious to see how perfectly every portion of the animal was secured by them for food, even the paunch and entrails being thoroughly washed for that purpose. The squaws acted as the butchers, and displayed familiar acquaintance with the business, while the men
78 FROM FORT BRIDGER TO GREAT SALT LAKE CITY.
lounged about, leaning lazily upon their rifles, looking listlessly on, as if it were a matter in which they were in no manner interested. They had quite a large number of horses and mules, and their encampment betokened comparative comfort and wealth.
The bottom of Bear River is here four or five miles in breadth, and is partially overflowed in the spring: the snow lies upon it to the depth of four feet in the winter, which prevents the Indians from occupying it during that season of the year, for which it would otherwise be well adapted.
In leaving Fort Bridger, we passed over horizontal lias beds. About six miles to the north of the road, the country appeared to be much broken up, and not solely by the action of water. The strata seemed dislocated and inclined, presenting much the same appearance as those near Laramie. Near this point, Fremont states that he found coal, which probably has been thrown up here. At Ogden's Hole, on the eastern slope of the Wahsatch Mountains, we found the ranges of hills to be composed of the carboniferous strata, thrown up at a very considerable angle; and at Bear River, near our encampment of to-day, they were almost perpendicular, the later strata being deposited by their side in an almost horizontal position, with a very slight dip to the southeast. At this latter point, the older sandstones were cropping out at an angle of 35 degrees; and on the opposite side of the river, the same strata were seen with a dip in the contrary direction, the valley being evidently an anticlinal axis.
Wednesday, August 22. -- Crossing the broad valley of Bear River diagonally, we forded that stream, and struck over a point of bluff into a valley, the course of which being too much to the south for our purpose, we passed over to another, and followed it to its head, where it opens upon a long ridge, running to the south-west. Instead of following the ridge, (which I afterward found should have been done,) we crossed over two more ridges into a third valley, -- in which was a small rapid stream running into Bear River. Fearful of getting too far south, I ascended the western bluff of this stream, in hopes of finding a valley or ridge the course of which would give us more westing; but the country, in that direction, was so much broken that we were forced still farther to the south, and struck upon the heads of Pumbar's Creek, a tributary of the Weber River, which latter discharges its waters into the Great Salt Lake. This valley, our guide insisted, would lead us in the right direction, and it was concluded to follow it down,
PUMBAR'S CREEK -- RED CHIMNEY FORK. 79
which we did for about four miles, and bivouacked for the night. We continued down this valley until the middle of the following day, when, instead of the broad open appearance which it had at first presented, it soon began to contract, until it formed a canyon, with sides so steep that it was scarcely passable for mules. A blind Indian-trail wound along the hillside, at an elevation of several hundred feet above the stream, into which a single false step of our mules would instantly have precipitated us. It required no small exertion of nerve to look down from this dizzy height into the yawning gulf beneath. After following the canyon some ten miles, we came to a broad valley Coming into it from the left, which the guide declared headed in the ridge from which we had descended yesterday, and to the eastward of the route we had taken. As all prospect of a road by the valley of Pumbar's Creek was now out of the question, I determined to follow up this valley and ascertain whether a route could not be obtained in that direction. This was accordingly done, and we found it to be as the guide had stated. This branch of Pumbar's Creek, which we called Red Chimney Fork, from the remarkable resemblance of one of the projections of the cliffs to that object, we found to have a very moderate descent from the ridge to its mouth, with plenty of room for a road, requiring but little labour to render it a good one. The timber is small and consists of oak, blackjack, aspen, wild-cherry, service-berry, and box-elder of large size. In many places it is quite abundant.
On Pumbar's Creek, the hills were composed of strata of marble and metamorphic sandstone, inclined at an angle of 80 degrees to the north-east. Lower down, the horizontal strata were found lying by the side of these inclined rocks. On Red Chimney Fork, the strata were nearly horizontal, consisting principally of layers of red sandstone conglomerate, formed from metamorphic rocks with calcareous cement, and white sandstone with layers of conglomerate interposed. Near its junction with Pumbar's Creek, strata of slaty shales occurred, Cropping out at an angle of 70 degrees.
Below the Red Chimney Fork, the valley of Pumbar's Creek opens sufficiently to allow the passage of a road through the bottom; but, as its course was leading us from our intended direction, we availed ourselves of a ravine, which, a mile below, comes into it from the north-west, and followed this up to its head, thus attaining the height of the general level of the country. The ascent is quite regular, but the road would have to be made all
80 FROM FORT BRIDGER TO GREAT SALT LAKE CITY.
the way up, and a considerable quantity of small cotton-wood timber cut out. The upper strata on this branch appeared to be nearly analogous to those met with on Red Chimney Fork. We followed this ridge or table in a north-west direction for several miles, when we became involved among numerous ravines which ran to the south, and were too deep and abrupt to be available. In order to avoid them, the trace must be thrown so much to the north, that even were a road practicable up to this point, it would be entirely too crooked; and great difficulty, moreover, would have to be encountered in crossing the immense ravines which lay at the eastern base of the ranges bordering the Salt Lake. Some of these ravines run down into Ogden's Creek, and others into Bear River below the point at which we crossed it. Time would not admit of my pursuing the examination farther in this direction. My train had left Fort Bridger several days before me, and would be awaiting my arrival at Great Salt Lake City to commence the survey which was the more immediate object of the expedition. I, therefore, although with the greatest reluctance, concluded to make the best of my way to the lake, passing through Ogden's Hole, and thence crossing the high range dividing it from Salt Lake Valley, by a pass which the guide informed me existed there. We accordingly changed our course, and turning down a steep, narrow ravine for wood and water, encamped. The night was very cold, and ice formed in the buckets nearly an inch thick. We constructed a semicircular barricade of brush to keep off the wind, and, by the aid of a large fire of pine-logs, passed the night very comfortably.
The soil on the ridge passed over to-day, seemed formed principally from red sandstone, and the boulders are primitive. The country is much better wooded, the timber being willow, aspen, and, in the ravines, tall firs and pines. The geranium was abundant: two or three yellow compositae and asters were observed.
Sunday, August 26. -- Morning very cold. Ther. at sunrise, 16 degrees. Our provisions being nearly exhausted, I determined to go on for at least a part of the day, although contrary to my usual practice, this being the first Sabbath on which any travelling has been done since the party left the Missouri. After following some miles down the ravine upon which we had encamped, we struck upon an Indian lodge-trail, leading either to Cache Valley or to Ogden's Hole. This we followed in nearly a southerly direction, crossing many deep hollows and very steep ridges, up which we had to scramble, leading our mules, (it being impossible to ride,)
INDIAN SIGNAL-FIRES -- OGDEN'S HOLE. 81
until we struck upon the head of a broad, green, beautiful valley, with an even, gentle descent, which led us, in about three miles, down to Ogden's Creek, just before it makes a canon, previous to entering Ogden's Hole. There we encamped for the remainder of the day, with abundance of excellent grass, wood, and water. The same alternations of red and white sandstone appeared here as were seen on the Red Chimney Fork.
Just before descending into this valley, we had observed from the high ground, the smokes of numerous Indian signal fires, rising in several directions -- an intimation that strangers had been discovered in their country. A strict watch was therefore maintained during the night, lest our animals should be stolen. Wild cherries were found in tolerable abundance, and the trail was strewn over with their smaller branches, thrown away by the Indians, who had evidently passed only a day or two before, in considerable numbers.
Monday, August 27. -- We followed down Ogden's Creek about a mile, when we found that the broad valley was shut up between two ranges of hills, or rather mountains, leaving a fiat, low, level bottom, densely covered in places by willows, through which the stream meanders from side to side, for three miles, washing alternately the base of either range. After passing through this canyon, the ridge separated, and before us lay a most lovely, broad, open valley, somewhat in the shape of a crescent, about fifteen miles long, and from five to seven miles in width, hemmed in on all sides, especially on the south and west, by lofty hills and rocky mountains, upon the tops and sides of which the snow glistened in the rays of the morning sun. The scene was cheering in the highest degree. The valley, rich and level, was covered with grass; springs broke out from the mountains in every direction, and the facilities for irrigation appeared to be very great. Ogden's Creek, breaking through its barriers, flows in a crystal stream at the base of the mountains on the south, for rather more than half the length of the valley, when it forces a passage through the huge range which divides this "gem of the desert" from the Salt Lake Valley, by a canyon wild and almost impassable. On the north, a beautiful little brook, taking its rise in the elevated ground separating this from Cache Valley, washes the base of the western hills, and joins Ogden's Creek just before it enters the canyon, after passing through which the latter discharges its waters into the Weber River, a tributary of the Great Salt Lake. Numerous bright little streams of pure running water were met with in abundance,
82 FROM FORT BRIDGER TO GREAT SALT LAKE CITY.
rendering this the most interesting and delightful spot we had seen during our long and monotonous journey.
Rather more than half-way between the canyon of Ogden's Creek and the north end of the valley, a pass is found by which a crossing of the mountain into the Salt Lake Valley can be effected. The ascent of the western side is, for the first four or five hundred yards, very abrupt and rocky, and would require a good deal of grading to render a road practicable; but after this, little or no labour would be necessary, except to cut away the brush, which, in places, is quite thick. The length of the pass is about three miles, and the height of the range through which it makes the cut, from eight hundred to a thousand feet above the valleys on each side. The valley of Ogden's Creek, or Ogden's Hole, (as places of this kind, in the nomenclature of this country, are called,) has long been the rendezvous of the North-west Company, on account of its fine range for stock in the winter, and has been the scene of many a merry reunion of the hardy trappers and traders of the mountains. Its streams were formerly full of beaver, but these have, I believe, entirely disappeared. Some few antelope were bounding over the green, but the appearance of fresh "Indian sign" accounted for their scarcity.
During our ride through the valley we came suddenly on a party of eight or ten Indian women and girls, each with a basket on her back, gathering grass-seeds for their winter's provision. They were of the class of "root-diggers," or, as the guide called them, "snake-diggers." The instant they discovered us, an immediate and precipitate flight took place, nor could all the remonstrances of the guide, who called loudly after them in their own language, induce them to halt for a single moment. Those who were too close to escape by running, hid themselves in the bushes and grass so effectually, that in less time than it has taken to narrate the circumstance, only two of them were to be seen. These were a couple of girls of twelve or thirteen years of age, who, with their baskets dangling at their backs, set off at their utmost speed for the mountains, and continued to run as long as we could see them, without stopping, or so much as turning their heads to look behind them. The whole party was entirely naked. After they had disappeared, we came near riding over two girls of sixteen or seventeen, who had "cached" behind a large fallen tree. They started up, gazed upon us for a moment, waved to us to continue our journey, and then fled with a rapidity that soon carried them beyond our sight.
WAHSATCH MOUNTAINS -- SALT LAKE VALLEY. 83
In the pass through which we entered Ogden's Hole, the carboniferous rocks were again found, thrown up at an angle of 70 degrees or 80 degrees, with a dip to the north-east. On the western side of the high range of hills which extended to the north-west and formed the eastern boundary of Ogden's Hole, the edges of the strata cropped out as if a great fault had been formed at the point of elevation. No debris of primitive rock were discovered, nor was any observed in place during the whole journey from Bridger's Fort. In the pass leading to Salt Lake, through the Wahsatch range, the rock were metamorphic. Some beautiful specimens of marble were observed, and also some white crystalline sandstones. The strata again appeared on the western side of the range, and were inclined to the north-east about 70 degrees. The chain evidently was not formed on a central axis. No fossils were collected during this part of the journey, as we travelled rapidly, and the means of transporting them were necessarily limited.
Descending the pass through dense thickets of small oak-trees, we caught the first glimpse of the GREAT SALT LAKE, the long-desired object of our search, and which it had cost us so many weary steps to reach. A gleam of sunlight, reflected by the water, and a few floating, misty clouds, were all, however, that we could see of this famous spot, and we had to repress our enthusiasm for some more favourable moment. I felt, nevertheless, no little gratification in having at length attained the point where our labours were to commence in earnest, and an impatient longing to enter upon that exploration' to which our toils hitherto had been but preliminary.
Emerging from the pass, we entered the valley of the Salt Lake, and descending some moderately high table-land, struck the road from the Mormon settlements to the lower ford of Bear River, whence, in two or three miles, we came to what was called Brown's Settlement, and rode up to quite an extensive assemblage of log buildings, picketed, stockaded, and surrounded by out-buildings and cattle-yards, the whole affording evidence of comfort and abundance far greater than I had expected to see in so new a settlement. Upon requesting food and lodging for the night, we were told to our great surprise that we could not be accommodated, nor would the occupants sell us so much as an egg or a cup of milk, so that we were obliged to remount our horses; and we actually bivouacked under some willows, within a hundred yards of this inhospitable dwelling, turning our animals loose, and guarding them
84 ARRIVAL AT GREAT SALT LAKE CITY.
all night, lest, in search of food, they should damage the crops of this surly Nabal. From a neighbouring plantation we procured what we needed; otherwise we should have been obliged to go supperless to bed. I afterward learned that the proprietor had been a sort of commissary or quartermaster in Colonel Cook's Mormon Battalion, in California, and had some reason to expect and to dread a visit from the civil officers of the United States, on account of certain unsettled public accounts; and that he had actually mistaken us for some such functionaries. Subsequent acts of a similar nature, however, fully evinced the ungracious character of the man, strongly contrasted as it was with the frank and generous hospitality we ever received at the hands of the whole Mormon community.
The following day we reached the City of the Great Salt Lake, and found that the train had arrived safely on the 23d, and was now encamped near the Warm Springs on the outskirts of the city, awaiting my coming.
The result of the reconnaissance we had thus completed was such as to satisfy me that a good road can be obtained from Fort Bridger to the head of the Salt Lake; although I incline to the opinion that it should pass farther north than the route taken by me, entering the southern end of Cache Valley, probably by Blacksmith's Fork, and leaving it by the canon formed by Bear River in making its way from that valley into the lake basin. A more minute examination than the pressure of my other duties allowed me time to make will, I think, result in the confirmation of this view and the ultimate establishment of this road. Should such prove to be the case, it will, in addition to shortening the distance, open to the emigration, at the season they would reach it, the inexhaustible resources of Cache Valley, where wood, water, abundance of fish, and the finest range imaginable for any number of cattle, offer advantages for recruiting and rest possessed by no other point that I have seen on either side of the mountains.
Before reaching Great Salt Lake City, I had heard from various sources that much uneasiness was felt by the Mormon community at my anticipated coming among them. I was told that they would never permit any survey of their country to be made; while it was darkly hinted that if I persevered in attempting to carry it on, my life would scarce be safe. Utterly disregarding, indeed giving not the least credence to these insinuations, I at once called upon BRIGHAM YOUNG, the president of the Mormon church and
RUMOURED HOSTILITY OF THE MORMON AUTHORITIES. 85
the governor of the commonwealth, stated to him what I had heard, explained to him the views of the Government in directing an exploration and survey of the lake, assuring him that these were the sole objects of the expedition. He replied, that he did not hesitate to say that both he and the people over whom he presided had been very much disturbed and surprised that the Government should send out a party into their country so soon after they had made their settlement; that he had heard of the expedition from time to time, since its outset from Fort Leavenworth; and that the whole community were extremely anxious as to what could be the design of the Government in such a movement. It appeared, too, that their alarm had been increased by the indiscreet and totally unauthorized boasting of an attache of General Wilson, the newly-appointed Indian Agent for California, whose train on its way thither had reached the city a few days before I myself arrived. This person, as I understood, had declared openly that General Wilson had come clothed with authority from the President of the United States to expel the Mormons from the lands which they occupied, and that he would do so if he thought proper. The Mormons very naturally supposed from such a declaration that there must be some understanding or connection between General Wllson and myself; and that the arrival of the two parties so nearly together was the result of a concerted and combined movement for the ulterior purpose of breaking up and destroying their colony. The impression was that a survey was to be made of their country in the same manner that other public lands are surveyed, for the purpose of dividing it into townships and sections, and of thus establishing and recording the claims of the Government to it, and thereby anticipating any claim the Mormons might set up from their previous occupation. However unreasonable such a suspicion may be considered, yet it must be remembered that these people are exasperated and rendered almost desperate by the wrongs and persecutions they had previously suffered in lllinois and Missouri; that they had left the confines of civilization and fled to these far distant wilds, that they might enjoy undisturbed the religious liberty which had been practically denied them; and that now they supposed themselves to be followed up by the General Government with the view of driving them out from even this solitary spot, where they had hoped they should at length be permitted to set up their habitation in peace.
86 SALT LAKE CITY -- BRIGHAM YOUNG.
Upon all these points I undeceived Governor Young to his entire satisfaction. I was induced to pursue this conciliatory course, not only in justice to the Government, but also because I knew, from the peculiar organization of this singular community, that, unless the "President" was fully satisfied that no evil was intended to his people, it would be useless for me to attempt to carry out my instructions. He was not only civil governor, but the president of the whole Church of Latter-Day Saints upon the earth, their prophet and their priest, receiving, as they all firmly believed, direct revelations of the Divine will, which, according to their creed, form the law of the church. He is, consequently, profoundly revered by all, and possesses unbounded influence and almost unlimited power. I did not anticipate open resistance; but I was fully aware that if the president continued to view the expedition with distrust, nothing could be more natural than that every possible obstruction should be thrown in our way by a "masterly inactivity." Provisions would not be furnished; information would not be afforded; labour could not be procured; and no means would be left untried, short of open opposition, to prevent the success of a measure by them deemed fatal to their interests and safety. So soon, however, as the true object of the expedition was fully understood, the president laid the subject-matter before the council called for the purpose, and I was informed, as the result of their deliberations, that the authorities were much pleased that the exploration was to be made; that they had themselves contemplated something of the kind, but did not yet feel able to incur the expense; but that any assistance they could render to facilitate our operations would be most cheerfully furnished to the extent of their ability. This pledge, thus heartily given, was as faithfully redeemed; and it gives me pleasure here to acknowledge the warm interest manifested and efficient aid rendered, as well by the president as by all the leading men of the community, both in our personal welfare and in the successful prosecution of the work.
LOWER FORD OF BEAR RIVER. 87
From the crossing, the emigrant road pursues a W. N. W. course, until it intersects that from Fort Hall. The ford of Bear River at this point is not very good. The banks are high and steep on both sides, and the stream, which is about two hundred and fifty feet wide, is quite rapid. The bottom is a hard, firm gravel. In the spring and early part of summer, the waters are too high to admit of fording, and temporary ferries become necessary. Leaving the emigrant road at this point, our route may be described, generally, as following up the Malade (called by Fremont the Roseaux) to its head; thence crossing a high dividing ridge, we fall upon the heads of the Pannack, a tributary of the Port Neuf, (which latter is an affluent of Lewis's Fork of the Columbia,) and
88 FROM GREAT SALT LAKE CITY TO FORT HALL.
following down its valley to within five miles of Fort Hall, we cross the Port Neuf, and passing over a wide level plain, reach that celebrated trading-post. But this line is deserving of notice rather more in detail About two miles above the ford, Bear River, in emerging from Cache Valley, breaks through the chain forming the eastern boundary of the valley of Salt Lake. The range, which here sinks quite suddenly, for a short distance to the south of the canyon or gate through which the river has forced its passage, consists of low, rounded hills, which present no trace of rock on the surface. The river indeed appears to cut through rock, but an opportunity did not occur to ascertain this by actual observation. After crossing and following up its right bank for two and a-half miles, we left the river, and struck into a broad and beautiful valley, formed by the Roseaux, or Malade, which, flowing from the north, discharges itself into Bear River some miles below the ford. The valley is five or six miles wide, and its western boundary is formed by a chain of high, rounded hills, being the continuation of a lofty rocky promontory, projecting into the north end of the Lake. The eastern boundary of this valley is formed by the continuation, in a northern direction, of the Wahsatch range, which divides it from the Bear River and Cache Valley. Ascending the valley, these mountains rise to a considerable height, the strata dipping to the north-east, and the direction of the chain inclining to the west. The valley of the Malade is extremely level, free from underbrush, with very little artemisia, and affords ground for an excellent wagon-road. Water to-day was found in quantities sufficient for the animals, at points conveniently distributed, and grass was abundant. Several fine springs were passed, in which the water was cold and clear. Continuing up the valley until four o'clock, we came to a superb little stream, coming out of the eastern mountain, running with great swiftness over a bed of breccia, and discharging a large quantity of clear, cold water. The fall was great and the quantity of water ample for the irrigation of a very large farm, for which the lay of the land offers great facilities. Here we encamped, with plenty of fine grass. Distance from the city, one hundred and three miles; and from Bear River ford, twenty-four and a-half.
Thursday, September 20. -- Our march to-day was only eleven miles, owing to the necessity of making a road across a small stream with steep banks, which comes through a depression in the eastern hills, through which a road from Sheep Rock, near the
VALLEY OF THE MALADE. 89
Soda Springs, had been partially explored by Mr. Owen, whose wagons had come through it some two weeks since, on their way to Salt Lake City. He describes the country as rough and rolling, with several high and steep ridges to be crossed. The road to-day has been level, with wood and water abundant. Encamped on the left bank of the Malade, here six feet wide and two feet deep.
Friday, September 21. -- Following up the left bank of the Malade for four miles, we crossed a small swift fork coming in from the north-east, affording abundance of water for irrigating a considerable extent of its valley on each side. The valley of the Malade is becoming gradually narrower and the hills lower. Crossing another fork from the east, we strike upon "Hedspeth's Cut-off," which leads from Sheep Rock, near the Soda Springs, to the Mormon road at Goose Creek. Distance, one hundred and twenty-five and a-half miles.
The valley of the Malade seems to be formed principally of whitish clay, in which, however, no good section was found, so that it is uncertain whether it presents any stratification. Occasionally ridges of limestone and conglomerate push out from the side of the mountains; and in one instance the river was found flowing over a bed of breccia. The rock on the west side of the valley consisted of dark compact limestone, with a dip of 20 degrees to the south-west. Shortly after reaching the Cut-off, a belt of high hills extended across the valley from east to west, composed of dark limestone containing a considerable number of fossils. These hills we ascended by one of the handsomest passes I had seen in the country. The inclination in no instance exceeds 5 degrees; the soil is hard and porous; the natural road perfectly drained. The length of the pass is four miles, from the summit of which we descended to the east fork of the Malade, upon which we encamped, with intensely cold, pure water, willows for firewood, and good grass. In the pass some specimens of obsidian and volcanic debris were collected, evidently of secondary formation, and not conformable with the limestone ridges. Trachytic rock was also found on the side of the stream, forming a considerable hill, and overlaid by dark limestone.
Saturday, September 22. -- Directly after starting, crossed the east fork of the Malade, and still following the Cut-off, the track of which is hard and well beaten, we ascended another pass, in a north direction, very similar in its character to that we came up yesterday. From the top of this pass, which is the dividing ridge
90 FROM GREAT SALT LAKE CITY TO FORT HALL.
between the Malade and the waters of the Port Neuf, the road descends by a gentle slope to the dry bed of a small stream, which forms a narrow gorge; emerging from which, and proceeding north, we descended to a small stream forming one of the heads of a branch of the Port Neuf. It flows at the foot of a spur of the range of hills which constitute the dividing ridge between it and the Pannack, (another affluent of the Port Neuf,) and rises in a broad valley lying to the westward of the road. It is bounded on the west by a high range of hills extending to the southward, and in that direction forming the "divide" between the waters of the Malade and those of the Pannack.
The secondary or lower hills in this valley seem to be composed principally of white clay containing volcanic debris. Crossing the stream, we left the cut-off altogether, and turning to the left, crossed over this ridge, which, where we crossed it, is very high and steep, and a mile and a-half in width.
Descending its western slope, we struck upon the heads of one of the main forks of the Pannack, down which an excellent road can be obtained without difficulty, the descent being moderate and the ground generally level. Descending the valley of this stream, we encamped on its right bank with plenty of grass, fine cool water, and a profusion of willows for fuel. Day's march, fifteen miles.
At the dividing ridge between the waters of the Port Neuf and the Malade, the direction of the stratification has evidently changed. Near the south end of the pass, an escarpment of dark limestone is seen on the eastern side, lying on and conformable with layers of feldspathic rock. A short distance farther on, the same rock is again seen, overlaying the dark limestone, and with a dip of about 50 degrees to the north-east. From this point the centre of elevation, consisting evidently of this hypogene rock, appears to take a direction to the north-west, striking the chain of hills continued from the west side of the valley of the Malade. It is plainly to be seen that this has been a region of great disturbance, which did not cease until a period subsequent to the deposition of the secondary rocks that repose on the limestones, although not conformable with them. Passing this ridge, several high conical hills were observed on the right, which seemed to be formed of secondary rocks, the stratification of which was apparently much more horizontal than that of the limestones. The dividing ridge between the Port Neuf and the Pannack is composed of dark lime
VALLEY OF THE PANNACK. 91
stones, altered shales, and veins of the same feldspathic rock noticed in the pass. The strata were inclined east by north, at an angle of 70 degrees. The ridge seems to run a little west of north, until it disappears in the valley of the Snake River. Upon the summit of this "divide" was found what was at first thought to be altered coal, but upon farther examination it appeared to be an aluminous rock, containing but a small trace of carbonate of lime. Its colour was black, hardness greater than that of feldspar, and the form a rhombic prism. The limestone was crystalline, and contained numerous specimens of shells and corals, but in so altered a state that it was impossible to determine them.
The length of the fork of the Pannack which we descended is sixteen miles. It pursues a westerly direction, until it joins the main stream, which latter flows from the southward, through what appeared to be a well-defined valley. The ground for a road is excellent, with only one or two exceptions, which are not of a serious character.
On descending the dividing ridge in which it heads, the rocks were hidden by a black, rich soil; occasional boulders of granite were seen on the surface, but no section could be obtained until we came to a gorge about five miles down the valley. here the river cuts through a much lower ridge of hills, composed of limestone, dipping to the east, at an angle of about 63 degrees below this the stream has cut its bed through secondary hills formed of argillaceous sandstone and clay, both of which are white, and mixed with pieces of obsidian and occasional boulders of serpentine: still lower down the valley, a section in a ravine to the right of the road, discovered some rocks which might almost be considered cretaceous; alternating with white argillaceous sandstone, they contained a considerable quantity of organic remains, principally coral, but so much altered by heat that it was impossible to determine them with precision. The dip of these strata was about 40 degrees north-east. The beds were covered by the remains of disaggregated conglomerate, composed principally of porphyry and granite. Proceeding down the stream, metamorphic sandstones, crystallized almost to the whiteness of white quartz, were found, forming escarpments of the lower hills; a short distance below this point, a ridge of hills, composed of limestone, shales, and red sandstone, extended across the valley; they were all much inclined, with a dip to the east. At this point, where the river cuts a passage through this chain, a mass of feldspathic rock was seen. The dip
92 FROM GREAT SALT LAKE CITY TO FORT HALL.
of these strata and also of the crystalline sandstone was about E. S. B., at an angle of from 60 degrees to 70 degrees.
From the junction of the two forks, the valley changes its direction to the N. N. W., which it maintains until it merges in that of the Port Neuf, a distance of eighteen miles; it becomes broader, the bottoms are high, hard, very level, and entirely covered with artemisia. Coarse red metamorphic sandstone was found on the side of the valley at this point, with a considerable dip to the north-east. Clayey shales also occurred; and, from the appearance of the soil, a great deal of argillaceous rock, must exist in the vicinity. Five miles below the forks, a remarkable isolated hill stands on the western side of the valley, called by the traders the "Windmill Rock." Here a dike of trap was met with, running north-east and south-west, forming the axis of a chain extending across the valley, and of which the isolated hill seemed to form a part. The dike constituted the summit of a high hill on the east side of the river: on the west side, the same rock was found, but not so high. Metamorphic sandstone (red) was found overlaying the trap, and what appeared to be porous basalt was found in considerable abundance: no section of the stratification of the sandstone could be obtained.
Beyond this point, the valley of the Pannack gradually sinks down into that of the Snake River. The hills that enclose it are not high, and seem formed almost wholly of white clay; at least, this was the only soil exposed, even in some very deep ravines. The same character of soil is found on the whole country this side of Snake River.
Twelve miles from the forks, we leave the Pannack, which there makes a curve to the westward, around the point of a ridge which is quite low, and the ascent gentle and regular. Upon reaching the level of the table-land, nothing was to be seen, as far as the eye could reach, but the eternal artemisia, which had taken complete possession of this barren, dreary waste, and extended quite to the Port Neuf. Upon reaching this stream, we struck upon the emigrant road by Fort Hall to California; and descending a bluff, or rather a cliff, two hundred feet in height, and composed entirely of argillaceous soil, we crossed the Port Neuf and entered the valley of the Columbia. From the top of the bluff, an extensive level plain, clothed with grass, is spread out before us, like a beautiful picture; while the fringe of heavy timber, stretching far away to the north and west, indicates the position of Lewis's Fork of the great river of the West. Five miles to the
VALLEY OF LEWIS FORK OF THE COLUMBIA. 93
north, Fort Hall, with its whitewashed walls, is plainly in view. The "Three Buttes" rise in the distance, while the Port Neuf, with its bright, sparkling waters, flows at our feet. The scene was one of surpassing beauty, and richly repaid us for our dreary ride across the desert plain of sage.
The Port Neuf, where we forded it, is a fine, clear, bold stream, one hundred yards wide and three feet deep, with a moderately rapid current and pebbly bottom. The plain between it and Snake River presents a level bottom, formed principally of decomposed vegetable mould, reposing on sandy loam and gravel. Numerous springs of cold, pellucid water, abounding in speckled trout of delicious flavour, break out in every direction, giving rise to many little streams, which rapidly increase in size and afford great facilities for irrigation as well as for the construction of mills. Passing over this delightful plain, we left Fort Hall on our left, and five miles beyond it terminated our journey, at Cantonment Loring, our point of destination.
I was most courteously received by Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Porter and the officers of his command, which consisted of two companies of the regiment of Mounted Rifles, left here by Colonel Loring on his way to Oregon, with the view of selecting a permanent post for the protection of the vast emigration across the continent. The troops were quartered in tents, but were busily engaged in the erection of quarters, of a more substantial character, for the winter.
The result of this exploration has been to demonstrate the entire practicability of obtaining an excellent wagon-road from Fort Hall to the Mormon settlement upon the Great Salt Lake. With the exception of the ridge dividing the waters of the Pannack from those of another affluent of the Port Neuf, the line traced is unexceptionable, and offers facilities for the best natural road I ever saw. Although when we passed there had not been even a track broken, so favourable is the surface of the country that I transported my provisions over it without the slightest difficulty, loading my wagons with not less than thirty-five hundred pounds each. The ridge referred to can, by a little labour, be rendered easy to cross; and even as it is, offers but little obstruction. In seasons of high water, Bear River and the Port Neuf would have to be crossed by ferries; or, should the travel ever demand it, timber for the construction of bridges could be obtained in the vicinity of both localities.
94 RECONNOISSANCE OF CACHE VALLEY.
The supply-train from Fort Leavenworth, with my provisions, had not arrived at the post, as I expected, and I was consequently detained until the 6th of October, when, having obtained them, I set out on my return. The frank and generous hospitality we received during our stay at the post demands a grateful acknowledgment.
Returning, I was accompanied by Colonel Porter, with a small escort, as far as the crossing of Bear River. Re was desirous that we should make conjointly a reconnaissance of Cache Valley, to ascertain its fitness for the location there of a permanent military post.
Following the same route which I had taken when coming up, we arrived at Bear River on the evening of the 11th, and encamped. The examination of Cache Valley occupied several days. Crossing over the range of low, rounded hills through which Bear River has cut a passage, we entered this beautiful and picturesque valley, which was then covered with a profusion of rich green grass, and adorned and diversified by numerous clumps of willows. Our attempt to cross it directly was frustrated by meeting with a deep, quiet stream, called the Muddy, which rises in the hills dividing the southern end of the valley from Ogden's Hole, and winds through the tall grass without banks, until it discharges its waters into Bear River, just before that stream enters the valley of the Salt Lake. We were in consequence driven some eight miles to the south, and effected our crossing where the valley is full of swampy springs, affording abundance of good sweet water, and excellent grass. Speckled trout of large size abounded in the streams. After crossing the Muddy, we skirted the eastern side of the valley for thirty-five miles in a northerly direction, crossing successively Blacksmith's Fork, Logan's Fork, Right Fork, Gros Bois, and Rush Creek, all tributaries of Bear River, which latter stream traverses the valley from the north, until it breaks through the range forming its western boundary and enters that of the lake. The streams on the east side take their rise in a heavy range running to the north and constituting the eastern limit of the valley, which has an average width of about ten miles. The canyons which they form before leaving the mountains abound in timber, consisting principally of cotton-wood, with some maple. They afford desirable facilities for irrigation, presenting at the same time advantageous sites for the erection of mills. These ravines abound in fine timber in quantities sufficient for fuel and building purposes.
CACHE VALLEY. 95
As the object of the reconnaissance was principally to ascertain what were the capabilities of this valley to afford sustenance for a military post, if established in its vicinity, the examination was but a general one, and was not directed to the selection of any particular portion of it for such a purpose. At the time the reconnaissance was made, all the information that could be obtained from the oldest mountain-men, induced both Colonel Porter and myself to believe that it was one of the most eligible spots in the whole country for wintering stock. It had been a rendezvous for the American Fur Company for many years, and stock had been wintered there by them with great advantage. The snow was seldom deep, and the cattle not only retained their flesh, but grew fat during the winter. So flattering were the appearances, and so great the advantages offered by this lovely valley, that nearly the whole number of cattle and mules belonging to the cantonment were, upon the return of Colonel Porter to that post, driven down here under the care of a proper guard, to be wintered. The season, however, proved unusually severe; the snow fell in the valley to a depth unprecedented; and more than one-half of the herd, in which were included some of my own animals, perished in consequence. The fact of the liability of the valley to a similar occurrence in future will doubtless have its due influence in finally deciding upon its eligibility as the best site for a post in the vicinity of Salt Lake.
The soil of the valley is very rich, being principally alluvial, with a great deal of vegetable mould. Facilities for irrigation are very great, and water could be commanded to a large extent for farming purposes. Any amount of hay might be cut without in the least interfering with the range for cattle. The only objection to this, as a most desirable spot for settlement, is the danger from snow; and even this might be in a great degree obviated, by the erection of suitable sheds for protection of the stock during the more severe portions of the seasons. These seldom last beyond a few weeks.
Should the road to which I have already adverted be established from Fort Bridger, through the valley of Blacksmith's Fork, it would at once attract to it the travel to Oregon and California; a fact which would have its due weight in the selection of a site for a military post for the protection of this part of the country.
The advance of the season precluded the making of much geological examination beyond the immediate vicinity of the route travelled, which led through the valley at the base of the ranges. The only rocks met with were those composing the lower hills,
96 CACHE VALLEY.
which consisted principally of conglomerates overlaying some argillaceous sandstones and beds of white and red clay. The conglomerates on the lower hills were formed principally of dark limestone, much worn. On the higher benches, large boulders of feldspar were found. Albite and serpentine also occurred, and metamorphic sandstones, some of which were very beautifully veined, as if the strata had been disturbed before they had hardened.
Returning to the southern end of the valley, we again struck the Muddy, and followed it up to where it forks, amid the hills forming the "divide" from Ogden's Hole. The eastern fork makes an impassable canon, but we followed up the west fork about four miles, whence we crossed the Wahsatch range, and descended into a beautiful, level, circular valley, about a mile in diameter, hemmed in by an amphitheatre of lofty and steep mountains. Several fine springs head in this singular little hollow, which uniting and emerging on the south-west side, form the head of Box-elder Creek, a tributary of the Salt Lake. The pass or gorge through which this little stream rushes down the mountain to the plains below is steep, rugged, and very narrow, being in places scarcely passable for mules. I had hoped it would afford a passage over the range for wagons, but this I soon found to be impracticable. Descending this wild pass for about two miles, we reached the lake valley, and repaired to our camp on Bear River.
In crossing the Wahsatch range at this point, the lower hills on the eastern side were composed of broken conglomerate. Large boulders of serpentine were met with on the surface, and also altered sandstones and limes tones. Ascending from Cache Valley, the dark limes tones were found cropping out, but the surface was so completely covered with vegetable soil that no section could be obtained. The limestones seemed to form the summits of the highest elevation of the range, but as we passed through the deep gorge of Box-elder Creek, this could not be positively ascertained. No trap was observed, but large boulders of granite were seen in the sides of the pass. The rocks had been so much worn, and the surface was so covered by fallen masses, that no section of the stratification was visible.
(The remainder of this text is still under construction.)
I had hoped, from the representations which had been made to me of the mildness of the two previous winters, that we should be able to keep the field the greater part, if not the whole of the season; but, in the latter part of November, the winter set in with great and unusual severity, accompanied by deep snows, which rendered any farther prosecution of the work impracticable. I was therefore compelled to break up my camp, and to seek for winter quarters in the city. These were not obtained without some difficulty, as the tide of emigration had been so great that houses were very scarce, and not a small portion of the inhabitants, among whom was the president himself, were forced to lodge portions of their families in wagons.
Upon terminating the field-work for the season, I despatched three men, one of whom was my guide and interpreter, with a small invoice of goods, to trade for horses among the Uintah Utahs, with directions to await my orders at Fort Bridger. Reports afterward reached us that a bloody fight had taken place between the Sioux and the Yampah Utahs, which latter tribe reside in the vicinity of the Uintahs, and great fears were entertained that the little party had been cut off by one or the other of the contending tribes. Such a calamity, aside from the loss of life, would have been of serious consequence to the expedition, as the horses I expected to obtain were almost indispensable to the return of the party to the States, the number of our animals having been much diminished by death and robbery.
It may as well be mentioned here, that the party thus despatched subsequently joined me in the spring, as soon as the melting of the snows rendered communication with Fort Bridger practicable,
PROGRESS OF THE SURVEY IN 1849. 121
bringing with them a drove of twenty-five horses. They had met with very rough usage from the Indians, having been robbed of a number of their horses, beside the whole of what remained of their goods, and narrowly escaped with their lives.
From the report by Lieutenant Gunnison of his operations during my absence, I make the following synopsis. A thorough exploration was made, with the view of ascertaining the points for such a base line as would best develop a system of triangles embracing both the Salt Lake and Utah valleys.
A line was selected, and carefully measured by rods constructed for the purpose, and tripod stations erected over the termini, which were marked by metal points set in wooden posts sunk flush with the surface of the ground. The length of the base is thirty-one thousand six hundred and eighty feet.
Fourteen principal triangulation stations were erected, consisting of large pyramidal timber tripods, strongly framed, to be covered, when required for use, by cotton cloth of different colours, according to the background. The triangles extended to the south shore of Utah Lake, and embraced an area of about eighty by twenty-five miles.
A survey and sounding had been made of the Utah Lake, and also of the river connecting it with Salt Lake: this operation requiring a line to be run of one hundred and twenty-six miles, principally by the back angle, with the theodolite.
Although such a result, from less than two months' labour, would be entirely satisfactory under ordinary circumstances anywhere, and would reflect credit on the energy and capacity of the officer in charge of the work, yet it may be remarked that it would be very unfair to judge of it by a comparison with similar results obtained in the Eastern States. There, all the accessories to such a work, especially water and timber, are abundant, and generally at a convenient distance: here, on the contrary, both are very scarce and hard to be obtained. All the water, for instance, used both for cooking and drinking, that was consumed on the base line, (requiring seven days of incessant labour in its measurement,) had to be transported upon mules from the river, which lay a mile east of its eastern terminus; and the force employed in the erection of most of the triangulation stations had to be supplied in a like manner. But the principal difficulty was the scarcity of timber. Wood grows nowhere on the plains; all the wood used for cooking in camp, and all the timber, both for posts on the base line and
122 WINTER IN SALT LAKE CITY.
for the construction of the stations, had to be hauled from the mountains, in many cases fifteen or twenty miles distant, over a rough country without roads. Almost every stick used for this purpose cost from twenty to thirty miles' travel of a six-mule team. This, together with the delays of getting into the canons, where alone the timber can be procured, cutting down the trees, and hauling them down the gorges by hand to the nearest spots accessible to the teams, involved an amount of time and labour which must be experienced before it can be appreciated. All this had to be done, however, or the prosecution of the work would have been impracticable.
Before leaving the Salt Lake City for Fort Hall, I had engaged the services of Albert Carrington, Esq., a member of the Mormon community, who was to act as an assistant on the survey. He was without experience in the use of instruments; but, being a gentleman of liberal education, he soon acquired, under instruction, the requisite skill, and, by his zeal, industry, and practical good sense, materially aided us in our subsequent operations. He continued with the party until the termination of the survey, accompanied it to this city, and has since returned to his mountain home, carrying with him the respect and kind wishes of all with whom he was associated.
The winter season in the valley was long and severe. The vicinity of so many high mountains rendered the weather extremely variable; snows fell constantly upon them, and frequently to the depth of ten inches in the plains. In many of the canyons it accumulated to the depth of fifty feet, filling up the passes so rapidly that, in more than one instance, emigrants who had been belated in starting from the States, were overtaken by the storms in the mountain gorges, and forced to abandon every thing, and escape on foot, leaving even their animals to perish in the snows. All communication with the world beyond was thus effectually cut off; and, as the winter advanced, the gorges became more and more impassable, owing to the drifting of the snow into them from the projecting peaks.
We remained thus shut up until the third of April. Our quarters consisted of a small unfurnished house of unburnt brick or adobe, unplastered, and roofed with boards loosely nailed on, which, every time it stormed, admitted so much water as called into requisition all the pans and buckets in the establishment to receive the numerous little streams which came trickling down
MORMON BED-ROOMS. 123
from every crack and knot-hole. During this season of comparative inaction, we received from the authorities and citizens of the community every kindness that the most warmhearted hospitality could dictate; and no effort was spared to render us as comfortable as their own limited means would admit. Indeed, we were much better lodged than many of our neighbours; for, as has been previously observed, very many families were obliged still to lodge wholly or in part in their wagons, which, being covered, served, when taken off from the wheels and set upon the ground, to make bedrooms, of limited dimensions it is true, but yet exceedingly comfortable. Many of these were comparatively large and commodious, and, when carpeted and furnished with a little stove, formed an additional apartment or back building to the small cabin, with which they frequently communicated by a door. It certainly argued a high tone of morals and an habitual observance of good order and decorum, to find women and children thus securely slumbering in the midst of a large city, with no protection from midnight molestation other than a wagon-cover of linen and the aegis of the law. In the very next enclosure to that occupied by our party, a whole family of children had no other shelter than one of these wagons, where they slept all the winter, literally out of doors, there being no communication whatever with the inside of their parents' house.
The founding, within the space of three years, of a large and flourishing community, upon a spot so remote from the abodes of man, so completely shut out by natural barriers from the rest of the world, so entirely unconnected by watercourses with either of the oceans that wash the shores of this continent -- a country offering no advantages of inland navigation or of foreign commerce, but, on the contrary, isolated by vast uninhabitable deserts, and only to be reached by tong, painful, and often hazardous journeys by land -- presents an anomaly so very peculiar, that it deserves more than a passing notice. In this young and progressive country of ours, where cities grow up in a day, and states spring into existence in a year, the successful planting of a colony, where the natural advantages have been such as to hold out the promise of adequate reward to the projectors, would have excited no surprise; but the success of an enterprise under circumstances so at variance with all our preconceived ideas of its probability, may well be considered as one of the most remarkable incidents of the present age.
A brief reference to the early history of this people, and to the
124 EARLY HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
events and motives which led to their planting such a settlement in the midst of a barren wilderness, may not be without interest.
The City of the Great Salt Lake, the capital of the settlement, was founded in 1847, by a religious community of people known among us by the name of Mormons, but who style themselves the "Latter-day Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ." It is situated in lat. 40 degrees 46 minutes north, and long. 112 degrees 6 minutes west, at the foot of the western slope of the Wahsatch Mountains, an extensive chain of lofty hills, forming a portion of the eastern boundary of what is known in our geography as the "Great Basin."
The origin of this new religious sect in our country is well known, and therefore it will only be necessary to advert to it very briefly. It was first organized in 1830, under the auspices of Joseph Smith, the founder; and, after a temporary residence in Kirtland, Ohio, was removed to Jackson county, Missouri, where by divine revelation "the saints" were directed to build a magnificent temple, the pattern of which was to be revealed from on high. The corner-stone of this edifice was laid, but the builders were eventually driven from the State by an armed mob. They next removed to Illinois, where, upon the bank of the Mississippi, they built a flourishing city, which they called Nauvoo. They lived here until 1844, when they became obnoxious to the inhabitants of that State also, and were finally attacked by an enraged multitude, and their prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum, murdered in the jail of Carthage. During the year 1845, these persecutions continued; and threats of greater outrages being held out, the Mormons found their situation no longer tolerable within the boundaries of that State, and at length, in a solemn council, determined to abandon their homes in their city of Nauvoo, and to seek, in the wilds of the Western wilderness, a spot remote from the habitations of men, where, secure from lawless violence, they might worship according to the rites of the new religion they had introduced.
Into the particular causes which led to the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri and Illinois it is not the province of this report to inquire. The facts have long been before the country, and its judgment has been passed upon them; but the results of the persecutions to which they were subjected have been as curious as they were wholly unlooked-for.
The Mormons having resolved to emigrate, preparations for the journey were immediately commenced, by hastily and at much
EXODUS FROM ILLINOIS. 125
sacrifice exchanging such property as they could dispose of for animals, wagons, and breadstuffs; and in the beginning of February, 1846, a large proportion of the community crossed the Mississippi from Nauvoo, and formed a rendezvous near Montrose, in Iowa. Here they remained, exposed to intense cold and deep snows, until March, when, being joined by several hundred wagons and a large number of women and children, they organized their company under the guidance of Brigham Young, president of the church, and successor of Joseph Smith their founder and seer.
In their progress westward, through the northern part of Missouri, they were again driven from that State, by violent threats, into the southern borders of Iowa, whence, after much hardship and suffering, they reached, in the course of the summer, the banks of the Missouri, beyond the limits of the States. Here they enclosed land and planted crops, leaving some of their number to reap the fruits, which were to be applied to the sustenance of other companies, that were to follow as soon as they should be able to provide the means. They were about crossing the river to pursue their journey westward, when an officer of the United States Government presented himself, with a requisition for five hundred men to serve in the war with Mexico. This demand, though sudden and unexpected, was promptly and patriotically complied with; but in consequence, the expedition was broken up for the season. Those that remained, being principally old men, women, and children, prepared to pass the winter in the wilds of an Indian country, by cutting hay and erecting log and sod huts, and digging as many caves as time allowed and their strength enabled them.
During this winter, owing to the great privations incident to such a life, and to the want, in many instances, of the most common necessaries, great numbers sickened and died: their cattle, too, were stolen by the Indians, or perished by starvation.
In the succeeding spring of 1847, the people were again organized for their journey; and on the 8th of April, a pioneer company, consisting of one hundred and forty-three men, seventy-two wagons, and one hundred and seventy-five head of horses, mules, and oxen, with rations for six months, agricultural implements and seed-grain, manfully set out in search of a home beyond the Rocky Mountains.
Pursuing their route up the left bank of the Platte, crossing at Fort Laramie, and passing over the mountains at the South Pass, the advanced guard at length reached the valley of the Great Salt Lake, on the 21st of July. On the 24th, the presidency and the
126 SETTLEMENT OF SALT LAKE VALLEY.
main body arrived. A piece of ground was selected, consecrated by prayer, broken up, and planted; and thus, in 1847, was formed the nucleus of what, in 1850, was admitted as a Territory of the Union, and which bids fair ere long to present itself at the door of the national legislature for admission as one of the States of the confederacy.
In a short time after the arrival of the pioneer company, ground was surveyed and laid out into streets and squares for a large city; a fort or enclosure was erected, of houses made of logs and sun-dried brick, opening into a large square, the entrance to which was defended by gates, and formed a tolerably secure fortification against Indian attacks. In October following, an addition of between three and four thousand was made to their number, by the emigration of such as had been left behind, and the fort was necessarily enlarged for their accommodation. Agricultural labours were now resumed with renewed spirit; ploughing and planting continued throughout the whole winter and until the July following, by which time a line of fence had been constructed, enclosing upward of six thousand acres of land, laid down in crops, besides a large tract of pasture land. During the winter and spring, the inhabitants were much straitened for food; and game being very scarce in the country, they were reduced to the necessity of digging roots from the ground, and living upon the hides of animals which they had previously made use of for roofing their cabins, but which were now torn off for food. But this distress only continued until the harvest, since which time provisions of all kinds have been abundant.
This year, (1848,) a small grist-mill was erected, and two saw-mills nearly completed. The following winter and spring, a settlement was commenced on the banks of the Weber River, a bold, clear stream which breaks through the Wahsatch Mountains, forty miles north of the city, and discharges its waters into the Salt Lake.
Upon Ogden Creek, an affluent of the Weber, a city has since (1850) been laid out, and called Ogden City, and is already surrounded by a flourishing agricultural population.
In the autumn, another large immigration arrived under the president, Brigham Young, which materially added to the strength of the colony. Building and agriculture were prosecuted with renewed vigour. Numerous settlements continued to be made wherever water could be found for irrigation. A handsome council-house was commenced, to be built of red sandstone procured
CIVIL GOVERNMENT -- STATE OF DESERET.. 127
from the neighbouring mountain, and two grist-mills and three saw-mills, added to those already in operation. The winter of this year was much more severe than the preceding one, and snow fell on the plain to the depth of ten inches.
In the following spring (1849) a settlement was commenced, and a small fort built near the mouth of the Timpanogas or Provaux, an affluent of Lake Utah, about fifty miles south of the city. During this summer, large crops of grain, melons, potatoes, and corn were raised, and two more saw-mills erected.
The colony had now become firmly established, and all fear of its ability to sustain itself were, from the overflowing abundance of the harvest, set at rest. Nothing could be more natural than that the people should turn their attention to the formation of a system of civil government. Hitherto they had been under the guidance of their ecclesiastical leaders only, and justice had been administered upon principles of equity simply, enforced by the government of the church alone. This would answer very well while the community remained small, and consisted only of those who acknowledged the binding force of spiritual rule in matters purely temporal also. But, as the colony increased, it was not to be expected that it would continue to consist solely of members of the church, willing to submit to such a jurisdiction, without the sanctions of an organized civil government.
A convention was therefore called "of all the citizens of that portion of Upper California lying east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, to take into consideration the propriety of Organizing a Territory or State government."
The convention met at Great Salt Lake City, on the 5th of March, 1849, and on the 10th adopted a constitution, which was to remain in force until the Congress of the United States should otherwise provide for the government of the territory. It "ordained and established a free and independent government, by the name of the STATE OF DESERET;" fixed. the boundaries of the new State; provided for the election of governor, senators, representatives, and judges: all of whom, as well as the other officers created by it, were required to take an oath to support the constitution of the United States. On the 2d of July, the legislature, created by the organic law, met, elected a delegate to Congress, and adopted a memorial to that body, in which, among other things, they state that "the inhabitants of the State of Deseret, in view of their own security, and for the preservation of
128 CITY OF THE GREAT SALT LAKE..
the constitutional right of the United States to hold jurisdiction there, have organized a provisional State government, under which the civil policy of the nation is duly maintained." "That there is now a sufficient number of individuals residing within the State of Deseret to support a State government." They therefore asked "that, if consistent with the constitution and usages of the Federal Government, the constitution accompanying the memorial be ratified, and that the State of Deseret be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with other States" -- "or such other form of civil government established, as Congress in its wisdom and magnanimity might award."
A constitution and petition for a Territorial organization had been previously forwarded to Congress; but in consequence of information received afterward, a memorial for a State government was substituted in its room. Such is a brief sketch of the origin and progress of this colony, and the condition in which we found it upon our arrival in August, 1849.
A city had been laid out upon a magnificent scale, being nearly four miles in length and three in breadth; the streets at right angles with each other, eight rods or one hundred and thirty-two feet wide, with sidewalks of twenty feet; the blocks forty rods square, divided into eight lots, each of which contains an acre and a-quarter of ground. By an ordinance of the city, each house is to be placed twenty feet back from the front line of the lot, the intervening space being designed for shrubbery and trees. The site for the city is most beautiful: it lies at the western base of the Wahsatch Mountains, in a curve formed by the projection westward from the main range, of a lofty spur which forms its southern boundary. On the west it is washed by the waters of the Jordan, while to the southward for twenty-five miles extends a broad level plain, watered by several little streams, which, flowing down from the eastern hills, form the great element of fertility and wealth to the community. Through the city itself flows an unfailing stream of pure, sweet water, which, by an ingenious mode of irrigation, is made to traverse each side of every street, whence it is led into every garden-spot, spreading life, verdure, and beauty over what was heretofore a barren waste. On the east and north the mountain descends to the plain by steps, which form broad and elevated terraces, commanding an extended view of the whole valley of the Jordan, which is bounded on the west by a range of
CITY OF THE GREAT SALT LAKE. 129
rugged mountains, stretching far to the southward, and enclosing within their embrace the lovely little Lake of Utah.
On the northern confines of the city, a warm spring issues from the base of the mountain, the water of which has been conducted by pipes into a commodious bathing-house; while, at the western point of the same spur, about three miles distant, another spring flows in a bold stream from beneath a perpendicular rock, with a temperature too high to admit the insertion of the hand, (128 degrees Fahr.) At the base of the hill it forms a little lake, which in the autumn and winter is covered with large flocks of waterfowl, attracted by the genial temperature of the water.
Beyond the Jordan, on the west, the dry and otherwise barren plains support a hardy grass, (called bunch-grass,) which is peculiar to these regions, requiring but little moisture, very nutritious, and in sufficient quantities to afford excellent pasturage to numerous herds of cattle. To the northward, in the low grounds bordering the river, hay in abundance can be procured, although it is rather coarse and of an inferior quality.
The facilities for beautifying this admirable site are manifold. The irrigating canals, which flow before every door, furnish abundance of water for the nourishment of shade-trees, and the open space between each building, and the pavement before it, when planted with shrubbery and adorned with flowers, will make this one of the most lovely spots between the Mississippi and the Pacific. One of the most unpleasant characteristics of the whole country, after leaving the Blue River, is the entire absence of trees from the landscape. The weary traveller plods along, exposed to the full blaze of one eternal sunshine, day after day, and week after week, his eye resting upon naught but interminable plains, bald and naked hills, or bold and rugged mountains: the shady grove, the babbling brook, the dense and solemn forest, are things unknown here; and should he by chance light upon some solitary cotton-wood, or pitch his tent amid some stunted willows, the opportunity is hailed with joy, as one of unusual good fortune. The studding, therefore, of this beautiful city with noble trees, will render it, by contrast with the surrounding regions, a second "Diamond of the Desert," in whose welcome shade, like the solitary Sir Kenneth and the princely Ilderim, the pilgrim, wayworn and faint, may repose his jaded limbs and dream of the purling brooks and waving woodlands he has left a thousand miles behind him. The city was estimated to contain about eight thousand inhabitants,
130 PROVISIONAL STATE GOVERNMENT.
and was divided into numerous wards, each, at the time of our visit, enclosed by a substantial fence, for the protection of the young crops: as time and leisure will permit, these will be removed, and each lot enclosed by itself, as with us. The houses are built, principally, of adobe or sun-dried brick, which, when well covered with a tight projecting roof, make a warm, comfortable dwelling, presenting a very neat appearance. Buildings of a better description are being introduced, although slowly, owing to the difficulty of procuring the requisite lumber, which must always be scarce and dear in a country so destitute of timber.
Upon a square appropriated to the public buildings, an immense shed had been erected upon posts, which was capable of containing three thousand persons. It was called "The Bowery," and served as a temporary place of worship, until the construction of the Great Temple. This latter is to surpass in grandeur of design and gorgeousness of decoration all edifices the world has yet seen; and is to be eclipsed only by that contemplated in Jackson county, Missouri, -- to be erected when "the fulness of time shall come," and which will constitute the head-quarters or central point, whence light, truth, and the only true religion shall radiate to the uttermost parts of the earth. A mint was already in operation, from which were issued gold coins of the Federal denominations, stamped, without assay, from the dust brought from California.
The provisional State government, with all the machinery of executive, legislative, and judicial functionaries, was in regular and harmonious action, under the constitution recently adopted. The jurisdiction of the "State of Deseret" had been extended over and was vigorously enforced upon all who came within its borders, and justice was equitably administered alike to "saint" and "gentile" -- as they term all who are not of their persuasion. Of the truth of this, as far at least as the gentiles were concerned, I soon had convincing proof, by finding, one fine morning, some twenty of our mules safely secured in the public pound, for trespass upon the cornfield of some pious saint; possession was recovered only by paying the fine imposed by the magistrate and amply remunerating the owner for the damage done to his crops. Their courts were constantly appealed to by companies of passing emigrants, who, having fallen out by the way, could not agree upon the division of their property. The decisions were remarkable for fairness and impartiality, and if not submitted to, were sternly enforced by the whole power of the community. Appeals for
UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE. 131
protection from oppression, by those passing through their midst, were not made in vain; and I know of at least one instance in which the marshal of the State was despatched, with an adequate force, nearly two hundred miles into the western desert, in pursuit of some miscreants who had stolen off with nearly the whole outfit of a party of emigrants. He pursued and brought them back to the city, and the plundered property was restored to its rightful owner.
While, however, there are all the exterior evidences of a government strictly temporal, it cannot be concealed that it is so intimately blended with the spiritual administration of the church, that it would be impossible to separate the one from the other. The first civil governor under the constitution of the new State, elected by the people, was the president of the church, Brigham Young; the lieutenant-governor was his first ecclesiastical counsellor, and the secretary of state his second counsellor: these three individuals forming together the "presidency" of the church. The bishops of the several wards, who, by virtue of their office in the church, had exercised not only a spiritual but a temporal authority over the several districts assigned to their charge, were appointed, under the civil organization, to be justices of the peace, and were supported in the discharge of their duties, not only by the civil power, but by the whole spiritual authority of the church also. This intimate connection of church and state seems to pervade every thing that is done. The supreme power in both being lodged in the hands of the same individuals, it is difficult to separate their two official characters, and to determine whether in any one instance they act as spiritual or merely temporal officers.
The establishment of a civil government at all, seems to me to have been altogether the result of a foreseen necessity, which it was impossible to avoid. As the community grew in numbers and importance, it was not to be expected, as has been before remarked, that the whole population would always consist solely of members of the church, looking up to the presidency, not only as its spiritual head, but as the divinely commissioned and inspired source of law in temporal matters and policy also. It became necessary, therefore, to provide for the government of the whole, by establishing some authority which could not be disputed by any, and would exercise a control over them as citizens, whether they were members of the church or not; and which, being acknowledged and recognised by the Government of the United States, would be supported by
132 CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL REVENUE.
its laws and upheld by its authority. The civil government, therefore, was wholly precautionary, and only for such gentiles as might settle among them, the power and authority of the church over its members being amply sufficient where they alone were concerned. In the organization of the civil government, nothing could be more natural than that, the whole people being of one faith, they should choose for functionaries to carry it into execution, those to whom they had been in the habit of deferring as their inspired guides, and by whom they had been led from a land of persecution into this far-off wilderness, which, under their lead, was already beginning to blossom like the rose. Hence came the insensible blending of the two authorities, the principal functionaries of the one holding the same relative positions under the other. Thus the bishop, in case of a dispute between two members of the church, would interpose his spiritual authority as bishop for its adjustment, while in differences between those not subject to the spiritual jurisdiction, and who could not be made amenable to church discipline, he would act in the magisterial capacity conferred upon him by the constitution and civil laws of the State. Thus the control of the affairs of the colony remained in the same hands, whether under church or state organization; and these hands were, in a double capacity, those into which the constituents had, whether as citizens or as church-members, themselves chosen to confide it.
The revenue of the new State seemed to partake of the same double character; the treasures of the church being freely devoted, when necessary, to the promotion of the temporal prosperity of the body politic. These are derived from a system of tithing, similar to that of the ancient Israelites. Each person, upon profession of his faith, and consequent reception into the bosom of the church, is required to pay into "the treasury of the Lord" one-tenth of all that he possesses; after which, he pays a tenth of the yearly increase of his goods; and in addition contributes one-tenth of his time which is devoted to labour on the public works, such as roads, bridges, irrigating canals, or such other objects as the authorities may direct. The whole amount thus collected goes into the coffers of the church, and is exacted only from its members. A tax is also laid upon property as with us, which is levied upon all, both "saint" and gentile, and which constitutes the revenue of the civil government. All goods brought into the city, pay as the price of a license, a duty of one per cent., except spirituous liquors, for
TAXES -- PROSPERITY OF THE COLONY. 123
which one-half of the price at which they are sold is demanded: the object of this last impost being avowedly to discourage the introduction of that article among them. It has, indeed, operated to a great extent as a prohibition, the importer, to save himself from loss, having to double the price at which he could otherwise have afforded to sell. The result of this policy was, when we were there, to bring up the price of brandy to twelve dollars per gallon, of which the authorities took six; and of whisky to eight dollars, of which they collected four dollars. The circulating medium is principally gold of their own coinage, and such foreign gold as is brought in by converts from Europe.
Notwithstanding this heavy, and as it would be to us, insupportable burden upon industry and enterprise, nothing can exceed the appearance of prosperity, peaceful harmony, and cheerful contentment that pervaded the whole community. Ever since the first year of privation, provisions have been abundant, and want of the necessaries and even comforts of life is a thing unknown. A design was at one time entertained (more, I believe, as a prospective measure than any thing else) to set apart a fund for the purpose of erecting a poorhouse; but after strict inquiry, it was found that there were in the whole population but two persons who could be considered as objects of public charity, and the plan was consequently abandoned.
This happy external state, of universally diffused prosperity, is commented on by themselves, as an evidence of the smiles of Heaven and of the special favour of the Deity: but I think it may be most clearly accounted for in the admirable discipline and ready obedience of a large body of industrious and intelligent men, and in the wise councils of prudent and sagacious leaders, producing a oneness and concentration of action, the result of which has astonished even those by whom it has been effected. The happy consequences of this system of united and well-directed action, under one leading and controlling mind, is most prominently apparent in the erection of public buildings, opening of roads, the construction of bridges, and the preparation of the country for the speedy occupation of a large and rapidly growing population, shortly to be still further augmented by an immigration even now on their way, from almost every country in Europe.
Upon the personal character of the leader of this singular people, it may not, perhaps, be proper for me to comment in a communication like the present. I may nevertheless be pardoned for saying,
134 BRIGHAM YOUNG -- TREATMENT OF EMIGRANTS..
that to me, President Young appeared to be a man of clear, sound sense, fully alive to the responsibilities of the station he occupies, sincerely devoted to the good name and interests of the people over which he presides, sensitively jealous of the least attempt to undervalue or misrepresent them, and indefatigable in devising ways and means for their moral, mental, and physical elevation. He appeared to possess the unlimited personal and official confidence of his people; while both he and his two counsellors, forming the presidency of the church, seemed to have but one object in view, the prosperity and peace of the society over which they presided.
In their dealings with the crowds of emigrants that passed through their city, the Mormons were ever fair and upright, taking no advantage of the necessitous condition of many, if not most of them. They sold them such provisions as they could spare, at moderate prices, and such as they themselves paid in their dealings with each other. In the whole of our intercourse with them, which lasted rather more than a year, I cannot refer to a single instance of fraud or extortion to which any of the party was subjected; and I strongly incline to the opinion that the charges that have been preferred against them in this respect, arose either from interested misrepresentation or erroneous information. I certainly never experienced any thing like it in my own case, nor did I witness or hear of any instance of it in the case of others, while I resided among them. Too many that passed through their settlement were disposed to disregard their claim to the land they occupied, to ridicule the municipal regulations of their city, and to trespass wantonly upon their rights. Such offenders were promptly arrested by the authorities, made to pay a severe fine, and in some instances were imprisoned or made to labour on the public works; a punishment richly merited, and which would have been inflicted upon them in any civilized community. In short, these people presented the appearance of a quiet, orderly, industrious, and well-organized society, as much so as one would meet with in any city of the Union, having the rights of personal property as perfectly defined and as religiously respected as with ourselves; nothing being farther from their faith or practice than the spirit of communism, which has been most erroneously supposed to prevail among them. The main peculiarity of the people consists in their religious tenets, the form and extent of their church government,
JOSEPH SMITH -- BOOK OF MORMON. 135
(which is a theocracy,) and in the nature especially of their domestic relations.
With regard to the first of these, it is not my design to give more than a brief outline, referring the theological student to a treatise on this subject, about, as I understand, to be published by Lieutenant Gunnison, who was attached to the party, and who has paid especial attention to this subject.
The claim of the Mormons is, that they constitute the only true church now upon the earth, that all other denominations of Christians, so called, are out of the true path to heaven, which can only be attained through the administration of the ordinances of their church, by the "Melchisedec priesthood." This, they assert, was removed from the earth some eighteen hundred years ago, since which period, as they insist, no true church has existed, until, in 1826, their founder, Joseph Smith, was visited by an angel from heaven. This favoured man was instructed by the heavenly messenger in the way of truth, and led to a spot where, concealed in a stone box buried in the earth, were a number of records, written upon golden plates, and in a language called by him the "reformed Egyptian." From this box a portion of the records were taken by the angel and given to Joseph, upon whom was also conferred the "power and gift of revelation," by which he was enabled to translate the writing graven upon the plates. This he did, and gave the result to the world, as the "Book of Mormon." Joseph, they say, was also ordained to the "Melchisedec priesthood," with the power of knowledge in all languages, the gifts of the Spirit, and the authority of "binding and loosing." He and an associate were constituted apostles to preach the "gospel," and to establish among the nations the "church of Jesus Christ of the latter-day saints." In 1830, a church was organized, consisting of six members only, which has since grown so as to count its disciples by hundreds of thousands.
The Bible used by the Protestant Christian world is acknowledged by them to be of Divine origin and authority, but they assert that it has been much corrupted and interpolated, so much so as to require in part a new translation, which has been accordingly completed by their prophet Joseph, directly inspired for the purpose, and the book is soon to be published. They claim for the "Book of Mormon" the same Divine origin, and hold it to be equally authoritative with our Scriptures as a rule of faith and practice. In addition, they have the direct revelations which have heretofore been made to the seer, and which are recorded in the "Book of
136 PRIVATE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS.
Doctrines and Covenants;" and they also continue to receive, as intimations of the Divine will, such communications as are now made to his successor from time to time, for their guidance, not only in matters of faith and doctrine, but in those also of worldly policy and the concerns of every-day life. In the gift of miracles, and healing of the sick by the laying on of hands by the elders of the church, they are firm believers; and I have met more than one who has assured me not only that they had been eye-witnesses of the miraculous cures thus performed, but had themselves been the subjects of them.
The mode of worship is, in its general arrangement, the same as that adopted by most Protestant denominations who do not use printed ritual; to wit, singing, prayer, and a sermon or exhortation from the pulpit. A band of music is stationed behind the choir of singers, and not only aids in the devotional services, but regales the audience before and after the close of the exercises.
But it is in their private and domestic relations that this singular people exhibit the widest departure from the habits and practice of all others denominating themselves Christian. I refer to what has been generally termed the "spiritual wife system," the practice of which was charged against them in Illinois, and served greatly to prejudice the public mind iii that State. It was then, I believe, most strenuously denied by them that any such practice prevailed, nor is it now openly avowed, either as a matter sanctioned by their doctrine or discipline. But that polygamy does actually exist among them cannot be concealed from any one of the most ordinary observation, who has spent even a short time in this community. I heard it proclaimed from, the stand, by the president of the church himself, that he had the right to take a thousand wives, if he thought proper; and he defied any one to prove from the Bible that he had not. At the same time, I have never known any member of the community to avow that he himself had more than one, although that such was the fact was as well known and understood as any fact could be.
If a man, once married, desires to take him a second helpmate, he must first, as with us, obtain the consent of the lady intended, and that of her parents or guardians, and afterward the approval of the seer or president, without which the matter cannot proceed. The woman is then "sealed" to him under the solemn sanction of the church, and stands, in all respects, in the same relation to the man, as the wife that was first married. The union thus formed is considered
PLURALITY OF WIVES. 137
a perfectly virtuous and honourable one, and the lady maintains, without blemish, the same position in society to which she would be entitled were she the sole wife of her husband. Indeed, the connection being under the sanction of the only true priesthood, is deemed infinitely more sacred and binding than any marriage among the gentile world, not only on account of its higher and more sacred authority, but inasmuch as it bears directly upon the future state of existence of both the man and the woman; for it is the doctrine of the church, that no woman can attain to celestial glory without the husband, nor can he arrive at full perfection in the next world without at least one wife: and the greater the number he is able to take with him, the higher will be his seat in the celestial paradise.
All idea of sensuality, as the motive of such unions, is most indignantly repudiated; the avowed object being to raise up, as rapidly as possible, "a holy generation to the Lord," who shall build up his kingdom on the earth. Purity of life, in all the domestic relations, is strenuously inculcated; and they do not hesitate to declare, that when they shall obtain the uncontrolled power of making their own civil laws, (which will be when they are admitted as one of the States of the Union,) they will punish the departure from chastity in the severest manner, even by death.
As the seer or president alone possesses the power to approve of these unions, so also he alone can absolve the parties from their bonds, should circumstances in his judgment render it at any time either expedient or necessary. It may easily be perceived, then, what a tremendous influence the possession of such a power must give to him who holds it, and how great must be the prudence, firmness, sagacity, and wisdom required in one who thus stands in the relation of confidential adviser, as well as of civil and ecclesiastical ruler, over this singularly constituted community.
Upon the practical working of this system of plurality of wives, I can hardly be expected to express more than a mere opinion. Being myself an "outsider" and a "gentile," it is not to be supposed that I should have been permitted to view more than the surface of what is in fact as yet but an experiment, the details of which are sedulously veiled from public view. So far, however, as my intercourse with the inhabitants afforded me an opportunity of judging, its practical operation was quite different from what I had anticipated. Peace, harmony, and cheerfulness seemed to prevail, where my preconceived notions led me to look for nothing
138 PRACTICAL WORKING OF THE SYSTEM.
but the exhibition of petty jealousies, envy, bickerings, and strife. Confidence and sisterly affection among the different members of the family seemed pre-eminently conspicuous, and friendly intercourse among neighbours, with balls, parties, and merry-makings at each others' houses, formed a prominent and agreeable feature of the society. In these friendly reunions, the president, with his numerous family, mingled freely, and was ever an honoured and welcome guest, tempering by his presence the exuberant hilarity of the young, and not unfrequently closing with devotional exercises the gayety of a happy evening.
There are many other curious points contained in their religious creed, but it is not my purpose here to write a theological treatise upon their views. The effect of the system, as may be well supposed, is to render the people in a high degree separate and peculiar; and to prevent, not only all amalgamation, but even any intimate association, with other communities.
To this irreconcilable difference, not in speculative opinions only, but in habits, manners, and customs necessarily growing out of them, may, I think, in a great measure, be attributed the bitter hostility of the people among whom they formerly dwelt, and which resulted in their forcible expulsion. The same causes of social incompatibility which existed then, exist now, and in much greater strength -- the community being freed from the pressure of public opinion that then surrounded them; and, although the freest toleration is (no doubt sincerely) proclaimed toward any who may choose to settle among them, yet I do not see how it is possible for the members of any other Christian societies, all of which are theoretically and practically opposed to their views, to exist among them, without constant collision, jealousy, and strife. The result, therefore, must be the establishment here of a people of one faith, the fundamental principles of whose civil government will, under the lead of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, be framed to accord with that faith, to build up and support it, and to exclude from all participation in its administration every element that does not fully coincide with its requirements. When what is now but a Territory shall have become a sovereign State, with the uncontrolled power of making its own laws, this will undoubtedly be done; and we shall then see in our midst a State as different from the rest of the Union in faith, manners, and customs, as it is widely separated by the vast plains and inhospitable deserts that surround it. That such a State will soon be formed, no reflecting
PROSPECTIVE STATE OF DESERET. 139
man can well doubt, who has witnessed the indomitable energy, the unity and concentration of action, together with the enthusiastic spirit of proselytism which seems to possess the entire Mormon community. Their zeal for increasing their sect has already filled the world with their missionaries; and has, within the space of four years, and in defiance of obstacles that would have appalled most ordinary adventurers, collected a population of some twenty thousand souls, all breathing the same spirit, animated by the same hope, bound by the same views, and unitedly engaged, heart and hand, in providing means by which converts to the faith may be transported from all parts of the world to this great head-quarters of the church, "the fountain where truth flows from the lips of the prophet of God, and where true liberty can only be enjoyed by the saints."
A large and constantly increasing fund has been created among them, called "The Perpetual Emigration Fund," which is devoted exclusively to this object, and receives liberal contributions from the "saints," both in this country and in Europe; it being the authorized teaching, all over the world, that it is as much a duty binding on every "saint" "to build up the valleys of the mountains," by assisting forward those brethren who are too poor to provide an outfit for themselves, as it is to be baptized for the remission of sins. The effects of this widely diffused spirit of propagandism are already seen in the number of converts that have been made in most of the countries of Europe, as well as in the Sandwich Islands, and even here in our own country, with all of whom it is made a cardinal point to "gather to the mountains."
Measures are being taken to open a southern route, by which the converts coming from abroad may cross the Isthmus of Panama, and, landing at San Diego, may thence reach the land of promise by a comparatively short and easy transit, without being subjected to the hazard of a sickly voyage up the Mississippi, or to the tedious and expensive journey across the plains. In the mean while, preparations are industriously making in the valley for the reception and immediate accommodation of the coming tide, by the building of houses, sowing large quantities of grain, the erection of mills, the establishment of manufactures, the importation of labour-saving machinery, and the establishment upon a solid basis of the means of education. The manifest object of these harmoniously concerted movements is to concentrate, as speedily as practicable, in "the valley of the mountains," a number sufficiently
140 SOIL -- WATER -- IRRIGATION.
great to entitle the present Territory of Utah to demand from the General Government admission into the Union as one of the sovereign States of the confederacy, and thus to secure to themselves unmolested the right to carry out in practice the peculiar principles of their creed. That their wishes in this respect will be shortly realized may be considered certain.
Let us now look for a moment at the sources which can be made available for the sustenance of a population so numerous as it is thus confidently anticipated will ere long be congregated within the limits of the "Basin State." Situated so far inland, without water communication with any part of the continent, and isolated by the very nature of the surrounding regions, it will readily be seen that the new State must necessarily depend, in a great measure, for its support, upon means within itself. Agriculture and the raising of stock must therefore be the principal basis of its prosperity. For both these purposes the country which they have settled is, fortunately, well adapted. The land available for the first of these objects, though limited in extent when compared with the vast deserts which intervene, is still ample for the support of a large, though not very dense population. Owing to the almost total absence of rain, from May to October, the dependence of the farmer must be entirely upon irrigation. The means for this are supplied from the reservoirs of snow which accumulate in the gorges of the mountains, furnishing, during the whole of the summer, abundant and never-failing streams, which assume in some instances the character of rivers of considerable magnitude.
The soil, formed chiefly from the disintegration of the feldspathic rock, mixed with detritus of the limestone, of which the mountains are principally composed, is of the most fertile character. Owing to its loose and porous texture, it absorbs water very readily and in large quantities. Consequently, the streams which come rushing down the mountain-sides, when they reach the plain below, begin to dwindle into insignificant rivulets, and soon sink and are entirely lost. Many never reach the base of the mountain at all, being absorbed by the soil; and even in the islands of the lake there are to be found, near the summits, roaring torrents, which, ere making half the descent of the mountain, so completely disappear as to leave not even a dry bed or channel to show they had ever reached the water below. Cultivation is therefore circumscribed within very narrow limits, being generally restricted to a Strip of from one to two miles wide, along the base
PRODUCTIONS -- UTAH VALLEY. 141
of the mountains, beyond which the water does not reach. The extensive plains between the mountain ranges, although composed of soil nearly equal in fertility, are at present useless for the purposes of agriculture, from the want of water. The smallness of the area suitable for cultivation is, however, compensated by the prodigious productiveness of the soil, which, together with the climate, is peculiarly favourable to the growth of wheat, barley, oats, and all the cereal grains. I brought with me, for distribution, a portion of a crop of wheat, which had produced, upon three and one half acres of ground, the enormous yield of one hundred and eighty bushels, from a single bushel of seed. In situations peculiarly favourable for watering, the average yield of all lands properly cultivated may be very safely estimated at forty bushels. Maize, or Indian corn, has not as yet proved so successful, owing to the early frosts occasioned by the vicinity of the mountains; but beets, turnips, melons, and especially potatoes, exceed in increase even the most sanguine anticipations. The quality of the latter is fully equal, if not superior, to the best Nova Scotia varieties.
On the eastern side of the Salt Lake Valley, the land susceptible of irrigation stretches along the western base of the Wahsatch Mountains, from about eighty miles north of Salt Lake City to about sixty south of it, the latter portion embracing, toward its terminus, the fertile valley of Lake Utah. This is a beautiful sheet of pure fresh water, thirty miles in length, and about ten in breadth, surrounded on three sides by rugged mountains and lofty hills, with a broad grassy valley sloping to the water's edge, opening to the northward. Through this opening flows the river Jordan, by which its waters are discharged into the Great Salt Lake. The lake abounds in fine fish, principally speckled trout, of great size and exquisite flavour, which afford sustenance to numerous small bands of Utahs.
The Jordan, in its passage, cuts through a cross range of mountains that divides the two valleys, making a deep canyon, in which are rapids. At most seasons of the year a skiff can be safely floated down these boiling waters, if managed with sufficient skill to avoid striking the projecting rocks. The fall continues abrupt for one mile, and the river could here be led along the escarpment of the western hills as far as to a point opposite the mouth of the Little Cotton-wood, and thence on a curve to Spring Point, at the north end of the Oquirrh Mountain, thus probably bringing under irrigation about eighty square miles of fertile land.
142 PROGRESS OF NEW SETTLEMENTS.
Near the eastern shores of Lake Utah, a site for a city has been selected on the left bank of the Provaux or Timpanogas River, an affluent of the lake, which is to be called Provaux City. From Ogden City on the north, all the way to this latter "Stake of Zion," the base of the Wahsatch range is studded with flourishing farms, wherever a little stream flows down the mountain-side with water sufficient for irrigating purposes; while in the gorges and canons of the mountain are erected the saw and grist mills. Of the former, sixteen, and of the latter, eleven have been completed, and others are in the process of erection.
To the south of Lake Utah, on one of its tributaries, another city has been founded, called Paysan, and a hundred and thirty miles farther, on the road to California, another, named Manti, in what is called San Pete Valley. Still farther south, near Little Salt Lake, two hundred and fifty miles south of the city, a fourth, called Cedar City, has been laid out, in a spot possessing the advantages of excellent soil and water, plenty of wood, iron ore, and alum, with some prospect of coal. It is the ultimate object of the Mormons, by means of stations, wherever the nature of the country will admit of their settling in numbers sufficient for self-defense, to establish a line of communication with the Pacific, so as to afford aid to their brethren coming from abroad, while on their pilgrimage to the land of promise. These stations will gradually become connected by farms and smaller settlements wherever practicable, until the greater part of the way will exhibit one long line of cultivated fields from the Mormon capital to San Diego.
The mode adopted for the founding of a new town is peculiar and highly characteristic. An expedition is first sent out to explore the country, with a view to the selection of such points as, from their natural advantages, offer facilities for a settlement. These being duly reported to the authorities, an elder of the church is appointed to preside over the little band designated to make the first improvement. This company is composed partly of volunteers and partly of such as are selected by the presidency, due regard being had to a proper intermixture of mechanical artisans, to render the expedition independent of all aid from without. In this way the settlement at San Pete was begun, sixty families leaving in a body, under one of the high officers of the church, and that in the month of October, undergoing all the rigours of cold and snow, to establish another "stake" in the wilderness. In December of the following year, another expedition,
MANUFACTURES -- EDUCATION. 143
similarly composed and commanded, succeeded, with one hundred and thirty men and families, in planting the settlement at Little Salt Lake, which is represented as being now in a very flourishing condition. The succeeding March, a third party, with a hundred and fifty wagons, left the capital for the purpose of establishing a settlement in the southern part of California. It was to be situated at no great distance from San Diego, and near Williams's ranche and Cahone Pass, between which and Little Salt Lake it is designed to establish other settlements as speedily as possible. By means of these successive places of refreshment, the incoming emigration from the Pacific will be enabled to "go from strength to strength" till they reach the Zion of their hopes.
At Salt Lake City itself energetic measures are being taken for opening a Woollen factory, the raw material being furnished from sheep raised in the valley, to the grazing of which the mountain slopes are admirably adapted, and whose production has already attracted the attention of this energetic and far-seeing people. A pottery for the manufacture of earthenware is completed; and cutlery establishments have been successfully commenced. Extensive arrangements are going forward for raising the sugar-beet, which, under such favourable circumstances, can not but prove successful; and ere long it is confidently anticipated that a sufficient quantity of sugar will be manufactured from it to meet all their wants. At present they are supplied with this article and other groceries, as well as with dry-goods and clothing, from extensive stocks brought in by enterprising merchants from the States; but the policy of the people is to provide for their own wants by their own skill and industry, and to dispense, as much as possible, with the products of the labour of others.
While all these exertions are making for the physical development of a new empire among the mountains, the mental elevation of the people by education has been by no means lost sight of. Liberal appropriations of land and money have been made for the establishment of an university, the grounds for which are laid out and enclosed, being situated on one of the terraces of the mountain overlooking the city. A normal school, designed for the education of those who desire to become teachers, is already in successful operation. School-houses have been built in most of the districts, both in the city and country, which are attended by old as well as young, and every effort is made to advance the mental improvement of the people.
144 PUBLIC SENTIMENT AMONG THE MORMONS.
When it is remembered that within the space of four years this country was but a wild and dreary wilderness, where the howl of the wolf and the yell of the miserable Indian alone awoke the echoes of the mountains, and where the bear, the deer, and the antelope roamed securely over what is now a compact and populous city; that the physical obstacles to the occupation of a region so unpromising were sufficient to discourage the most sanguine imagination and to appal the stoutest heart, -- the mind is filled with wonder at witnessing the immense results which have been accomplished in so short a time, and from a beginning apparently so insignificant.
Apprehensions have been entertained as to the expediency of giving any countenance to the founding, in our midst, of an association of men so peculiar in views, and so distinct in principles, manners, and customs, from the rest of the American people. Serious doubts, too, have been expressed in regard to the policy of appointing Mormons to offices of high trust in the administration of the affairs of the newly-erected territory; and direct charges have been widely published, seriously affecting the patriotism and personal reputation of the Mormon leaders, as well as the loyal feelings of the people toward the General Government. Such doubts and apprehensions are, in my judgment, totally groundless, and the charges I believe to be either based upon prejudice or to have grown out of a want of accurate information. A residence of a year in the midst of the Mormon community, during the greater part of which period I was in constant intercourse with both rulers and people, afforded much opportunity for ascertaining the real facts of the case.
That a deep and abiding resentment of injuries received and wrongs endured in Missouri and Illinois pervades the whole Mormon community, is perfectly true; and that among many of the less informed, and, I regret to add, some even whose intelligence and education ought to have enabled them to form more correct opinions, this exasperation has extended itself to the General Government, because of its refusal to interpose for their protection at the time of these difficulties, is also true; but, from all that I saw and heard, I deem it but simple justice to say, that notwithstanding these causes of irritation, a more loyal and patriotic people cannot be found within the limits of the Union. This, I think, was emphatically shown in the promptitude and cheerfulness with which they responded to the call of the Government to furnish a
LOYALTY OF RULERS AND PEOPLE. 145
battalion for service during the Mexican war. While in the heart of an Indian country, and on the eve of a long and uncertain pilgrimage into an unknown wilderness, they were suddenly called upon to surrender five hundred of their best men to the hazards of a hostile campaign, and to the exposure and vicissitudes of a march of two thousand miles across trackless deserts and burning plains, to fight the battles of their country. Their peculiar circumstances presented almost insuperable objections to a compliance with the requisition, yet not the slightest hesitation was evinced. "You shall have your battalion at once," was the reply of President Young, "if it has to be a class of our elders;" and in three days the force, recruited principally among fat hers of families, was raised and ready to march. Here certainly was no evidence of a lack of patriotism. *
* The following extract from a sermon of Brigham Young to his people will, I think, confirm the correctness of my views as to the sentiments of the Mormon leaders, at that time, on this subject: "I want to say to every man, the constitution of the United States, as formed by our fathers, was dictated, was revealed, was put into their hearts by the Almighty, who sits enthroned in the midst of the heavens; although unknown to them, it was dictated by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and I tell you, in the name of Jesus Christ, it is as good as I could ever ask for." "I say unto you, magnify the laws. There is no law in the United States, or in the constitution, hut I am ready to make honourable."
Many more expressions of a like character might he quoted, but the above are sufficient to show what were the opinions of the rulers. The following language, used by General D. H. Wells, at the celebration of the fourth anniversary of the advent of the Mormons into the Valley, will show, I think, what was the feeling of the people: --
"It has been thought by some, that this people, abused, maltreated, insulted, robbed, plundered, murdered, and finally disfranchised and expatriated, would naturally feel reluctant to again unite their destiny with the American republic." * * * "No wonder that it was thought by some that we would not again submit ourselves (even while we were yet scorned and ridiculed) to return to our allegiance to our native country. Remember, that it was by the act of our country, not ours, that we were expatriated; and then consider the opportunity we had of forming other ties. Let this pass, while we lift the veil and show the policy which dictated us. That country, that constitution, those institutions, were all ours; they are still ours. Our fathers were heroes of the Revolution. Under the master spirits of an Adams, a Jefferson, and a Washington, they declared and maintained their independence; and, under the guidance of the Spirit of truth, they fulfilled their mission whereunto they were sent from the presence of the Father. Because demagogues have arisen and seized the reins of power, should we relinquish our interest in that country made dear to us by every tie of association and consanguinity?" * * * "Those who have indulged such sentiments concerning us, have not read Mormonism aright; for never, no never, will we
146 BRIGHAM YOUNG.
Whether in the pulpit, in public addresses, in official documents, or in private intercourse, the same spirit of lofty patriotism seemed to pervade their whole community. At the same time, it should not be concealed that a stern determination exists among them to submit to no repetition of the outrages to which they were subjected in Illinois and Missouri; but, on the contrary, to resist by force and to the last extremity, from whatever quarter, any such interference with what they consider their civil and religious rights, guarantied to them, as to other citizens, by the constitution of the United States. Vain-glorious vaunts may indeed have been sometimes made by individuals whose knowledge and judgment were not equal to their religious zeal, as to the ability of the community to maintain itself in the fastnesses of the mountains, even against the military forces of the Government; but we know that there are in every society men whose valour is ever great in proportion to the remoteness of the danger. I have no idea that any such collision was ever seriously anticipated.
Upon the action of the Executive in the appointment of the officers within the newly-created Territory, it does not become me to offer other than a very diffident opinion. Yet the opportunities of information to which allusion has already been made, may perhaps justify me in presenting the result of my own observations upon this subject. With all due deference, then, I feel constrained to say, that in my opinion the appointment of the president of the Mormon church, and head of the Mormon community, in preference to any other person, to the high office of Governor of the Territory, independent of its political bearings, with which I have nothing to do, was a measure dictated alike by justice and by sound policy. Intimately connected with them from their exodus from Illinois, this man has been indeed their Moses, leading them through the wilderness to a remote and unknown land, where they have since set up their tabernacle, and where they are now building their temple. Resolute in danger, firm and sagacious in council, prompt and energetic in emergency, and enthusiastically devoted to the honour and interests of his people, he had won their unlimited
desert our country's cause; never will we be found arrayed by the side of her enemies, although she herself may cherish them in her own bosom. Although she may launch forth the thunderbolts of war, which may return and spend their fury upon her own head, never, no never, will we permit the weakness of human nature to triumph over our love of country, our devotion to her institutions, handed down to us by our honoured sires, made dear by a thousand tender recollections."
Such, surely, is neither the language nor the spirit of a disloyal people.
BRIGHAM YOUNG. 147
Confidence, esteem, and veneration, and held an unrivaled place in their hearts. Upon the establishment of the provisional government, he had been unanimously chosen as their highest civil magistrate, and even before his appointment by the President, he combined in his own person the triple character of confidential adviser, temporal ruler, and prophet of God. Intimately acquainted with their character, capacities, wants, and weaknesses; identified now with their prosperity, as he had formerly shared to the full in their adversity and sorrows; honoured, trusted, the whole wealth of the community placed in his hands, for the advancement both of the spiritual and temporal interests of the infant settlement, he was, surely, of all others, the man best fitted to preside, under the auspices of the General Government, over a colony of which he may justly be said to have been the founder. No other man could have so entirely secured the confidence of the people; and this selection by the Executive of the man of their choice, besides being highly gratifying to them, is recognised as an assurance that they shall hereafter receive at the hands of the General Government that justice and Consideration to which they are entitled. Their confident hope now is that, no longer fugitives and outlaws, but dwelling beneath the broad shadow of the national aegis, they will be subject no more to the violence and outrage which drove them to seek a secure habitation in this far distant wilderness.
As to the imputations that have been made against the personal character of the governor, I feel confident they are without foundation. Whatever opinion may be entertained of his pretensions to the character of an inspired prophet, or of his views and practice on the subject of polygamy, his personal reputation I believe to be above reproach. Certain it is that the most entire confidence is felt in his integrity, personal, official, and pecuniary, on the part of those to whom a long and intimate association, and in the most trying emergencies, have afforded every possible opportunity of forming a just and accurate judgment of his true character.
From all I saw and heard, I am firmly of opinion that the appointment of any other man to the office of governor would have been regarded by the whole people, not only as a sanction, but as in some sort a renewal, on the part of the General Government, of that series of persecutions to which they had already been subjected, and would have operated to create distrust and suspicion in minds prepared to hail with joy the admission of the new Territory to the protection of the supreme government.
148 NATIVE TRIBES.
The native tribes with whom we came in contact in the valley were the most degraded and the lowest in the scale of being of any I had ever seen. They consisted of the "root-diggers," a class of Indians which seemed to be composed of outcasts from their respective tribes, subsisting chiefly upon roots dug from the ground, and the seeds of various plants indigenous to the soil, which they grind into a kind of flour between two flat stones. Lizards and crickets also form a portion of their food. At certain seasons of the year they obtain, from the tributaries of both the Salt Lake and Lake Utah, a considerable quantity of fish, which they take in weirs or traps, constructed of willow-bushes. Those that we saw were branches from the Shoshonees or Snakes, and from the large and warlike tribe of Utahs, which latter inhabit a large tract of country to the southward. They are known among the traders by the designation of "snake-diggers," and "Utes;" those of the latter tribe, which inhabit the vicinity of the lakes and streams and live chiefly on fish, being distinguished by the name of "Pah Utahs," or "Pah Utes," -- the word Pah, in their language, signifying water.
While engaged in the survey of the Utah Valley, we were no little annoyed by numbers of the latter tribe, who hung around the camp, crowding around the cook-fires, more like hungry dogs than human beings, eagerly watching for the least scrap that might be thrown away, which they devoured with avidity and without the least preparation. The herdsmen also complained that their cattle were frequently scattered, and that notwithstanding their utmost vigilance, several of them had unaccountably disappeared and were lost. One morning, a fine fat ox came into camp with an arrow buried in his side, which perfectly accounted for the disappearance of the others.
After the party left Lake Utah for winter quarters in Salt Lake City, the Indians became more insolent, boasting of what they had done -- driving off the stock of the inhabitants in the southern settlements, resisting all attempts to recover them, and finally firing upon the people themselves, as they issued from their little stockade to attend to their ordinary occupations. Under these circumstances, the settlers in the Utah Valley applied to the supreme government, at Salt Lake City, for counsel as to the proper course of action. The president was at first extremely averse to the adoption of harsh measures; but, after several conciliatory overtures had been resorted to in vain, he very properly determined to
MORMON TROUBLES WITH THE UTAHS. 149
put a stop, by force, to further aggressions, which, if not resisted, could only end in the total destruction of the colony. Before coming to this decision, the authorities called upon me to consult as to the policy of the measure, and to request the expression of my opinion as to what view the Government of the United States might be expected to take of it. Knowing, as I did, most of the circumstances, and feeling convinced that some action of the kind would ultimately have to be resorted to, as the forbearance already shown had been only attributed to weakness and cowardice, and had served but to encourage further and bolder outrages, I did not hesitate to say to them that, in my judgment, the contemplated expedition against these savage marauders was a measure not only of good policy, but one of absolute necessity and self-preservation. I knew the leader of the Indians to be a crafty and blood-thirsty savage, who had been already guilty of several murders, and had openly threatened that he would kill every white man that he found alone upon the prairies. In addition to this, I was convinced that the completion of the yet unfinished survey, of the Utah Valley, the coming season, must otherwise be attended with serious difficulty, if not actual hazard, and would involve the necessity of a largely increased and armed escort for its protection. Such being the circumstances, the course proposed could not but meet my entire approval.
A force of one hundred men was accordingly organized, and, upon the application of President Young, leave was given to Lieutenant Howland, of the Mounted Rifles, then on duty with my command, to accompany the expedition as its adjutant: such assistance also was furnished as it was in my power to afford, consisting of arms, tents, camp-equipage, and ammunition.
The expedition was completely successful. The Indians fought very bravely, but were finally routed, some forty of them killed, and as many more taken prisoners; the latter, consisting principally of women and children, were carried to the city and distributed among the inhabitants, for the purpose of weaning them from their savage pursuits, and bringing them up in the habits of civilized and Christian life. The experiment, however, did not succeed as was anticipated, most of the prisoners escaping upon the very first opportunity.
On the 22d of February, about three P. M., a slight shock of an earthquake was felt in the southern part of the city, the vibrations
150 ZOOLOGICAL SPECIMENS -- THERMAL WATERS.
being sufficient to shake plates from the shelves and to disturb milk in the pans.
Advantage was taken of the confinement of the party to winter quarters to observe for the latitude, to arrange and plot the notes of the survey as far as it had advanced, and to collect and prepare specimens of the zoology of the valley. These specimens have since been classified and arranged with characteristic ability by Professor Spencer F. Baird, of the Smithsonian Institution, whose report on that subject is hereto appended. Specimens of the different thermal waters, also, were collected and brought safely as far as Pittsburgh; but, in their transportation thence by the express line, most of the vessels containing them were unfortunately broken, and their contents lost. This was a subject of much regret, as interesting results had been anticipated from the analysis. Such as escaped destruction have been carefully analyzed by Dr. L. D. Gale, of Washington, and the results will be found in Appendix F.
During the winter, a large boat was built for the survey of the Salt Lake. This was an achievement of no little difficulty, as almost every stick of timber used in the construction had to be procured from the canyons of the mountains, piece by piece; and the planking, although of the best material the country afforded, was so "shaky" and liable to split and crack, that it was totally unfit for the purpose. Had time permitted, it had been my purpose to procure, before setting out, a couple of Francis's metallic life-boats for this service, which would have saved much time and labour. The experience of the exploring expedition to the Dead Sea has fully proved the entire fitness of these boats for service of this nature; and the ease with which they can be transported in sections, and be put together for instant use, will doubtless render them hereafter an indispensable part of the equipment for every exploration of a similar character. Where the use of wagons is practicable, these boats can readily be mounted on wheels and made to answer the purposes of a wagon-box; and where this is not the case, their arrangement into sections will allow of their being packed and transported on the backs of mules with but little inconvenience.
(The remainder of this text is still under construction.)
Howard Stansbury (1806-1863) entered the U.S. government service as a civil engineer in 1828. Ten years later, he joined the newly formed Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, carrying out projects in the Great Lakes Region, in New Hampshire, and in Mexico during the war with that nation. In 1849 he led an expedition to survey and map the Great Salt Lake valley and to determine the capacity of the Mormon community there to provide food and supplies to overland travelers. During a conference with Brigham Young, he allayed unease about his work. He and his second in command, Lt. J. W. Gunnison, provided widely read reports on the flora and fauna of Utah, and on the early LDS settlers in the region. In the 1850s, he conducted surveys of Minnesota military roads and the Great Lakes. The lasting effects of his surveys were considerable. Years after his death, the Union Pacific Railroad followed the course he laid out.