14 die during the week

Sunday, Nov. 29, 1846:

The Saints at Winter Quarters assembled together in the morning for a Sabbath meeting. Elder Heber C. Kimball spoke of their recent trials. "This people no doubt considered themselves oppressed, because of poverty and privation, but not so much as we in times passed have been; and some are almost driven to desperation and become careless and indifferent and forget to pray. This should not be but we should be helps to each other and pray for one another."Elder Ezra T. Benson, who had recently returned from a mission to the East, next arose. He was amazed to see the city of Winter Quarters. "Now when I look arround and see what has been done within 3 months past plainly declares that the Lord is with Israel. No people could build up a city of this magnitude in the same time but the Nephites


Brigham Young kept his remarks short, because of the cold, windy, weather. He said that the mill race needed to be completed quickly, before the ground froze. He asked that the bishops make work assignments for the next three days, to work on the mill. In the evening, he further instructed the bishops to see that houses were immediately built for the widows, saying these dear sisters should not have to use their own money to have houses constructed.

Monday, Nov. 30:

Horace and Helen Whitney, moved into their new log house at Winter Quarters. Sister Whitney recalled: "This, like the majority of houses, was covered with sod, and the chimneys were built of the same. The house had one door and one window, with four panes of glass, but no floor." The sod chimney didn't work very well, especially during the cold weather, and the smoke would fill the home. The sod chimney would later be replaced with a brick chimney. Sarah Leavitt described her temporary living quarters: "The boys made a camp of hay and I crawled into it, glad to get any place of shelter. I had to live there while they built a house and suffered very much for want of proper food and with the cold, as we could have no fire in a hay camp."

Tuesday, Dec. 1:

Elder Willard Richards gave out notices to the Twelve and high council, inviting them to a gathering on Thursday, to help him put the roof on his unusual octagon-shaped house. Elsewhere in the city, Cyrus Daniels grieved over the loss of both his wife, Francis, and their one-day-old baby. They were two of at least four Saints who died in Winter Quarters on this day.

Wednesday, Dec. 2:

The Mormon Battalion arrived at the San Bernardino Ranch ruins. As the battalion members approached, they were very surprised to see bulls running wild on the prairie. This ranch had been abandoned around 1831, when it was attacked by Apache Indians who took away many of the 80,000 head of cattle. A large number of the animals were left to run wild, and over the years had multiplied in large numbers. Col. Cooke immediately sent out hunters to obtain meat for their dwindling food supply.

Thursday, Dec. 3:

The weather had turned quite cold. Much ice was seen flowing fast on the Missouri River, causing the ferry to close down for the day. The leaders turned out in force to help Willard Richards put a roof on his octagon house. They first covered it with straw and then shoveled on about 45 loads of dirt. Brigham Young thought that it resembled "a New England potato heap."

A meeting of the seventies was held at President Zera Pulsipher's house. The seventies previously had been charged to take care of the poor within their quorums. However, because there had been numerous bishops recently called, it was decided to refer the poor to the appropriate bishop. The seventies were still responsible to make sure that the poor were receiving needed attention.

Friday, Dec. 4:

In the evening, the Winter Quarters High Council met in Willard Richards' new home. The council voted that those who hauled Church wheat from Missouri could receive half of the wheat as payment for their service. Any excess money in the wheat fund was to be used in support of the Mormon Battalion wives. The Church beef committee was instructed to provide some beef for the police. This was greatly appreciated. The police, serving the city, had been living on bread and water. Hosea Stout wrote about further trials experienced by the police guard. "Brother J[onathan] C. Wright & I[saac] C. Haight each lost one of their children who had been sick. They were of the police and on guard. Such is the adversity attending police duty."

The death of 11-year-old Harriet Pond was also one of at least five in the city during the day. Within a five-day period, Brother Stillman Pond lost three of his daughters, who died of "chills and fever." Ursulia Hascall later wrote in a letter, "I suppose you have heard of the deaths in Brother Ponds family. The children are all dead but Elizabeth and Loenza." She explained that the family became ill before coming to Winter Quarters, while Brother Pond worked to earn some money in an unhealthy location. "Lowell died before they arrived, the rest lived to get here and then dropped away one after another. Sister Pond has not recovered and I fear she never will." Sister Pond would later die in May 1847.

Saturday, Dec. 5:

In the afternoon, the first snow of the season fell in Winter Quarters.

More than 14 deaths occurred in Winter Quarters during the week. John R. Young, 9 years old at the time, later recalled: "Our home was near the burying ground; and I can remember the small mournful-looking trains that so often passed our door."

After a 14-mile march, the Mormon Battalion reached a sulphur spring near contemporary Agua Prieta, Mexico. Col. Cooke wrote: "The wild cattle are very numerous. Three were killed today on the road and several others by officers. . . . It is thought that as many as five thousand cattle water at this spring. They are much like the buffalo in their habits, etc.; are rather wilder and more apt to attack individuals."

Sources: Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 466-70; Journals of John D. Lee, pp. 25-9; The Diary of Hosea Stout 1:215-16; Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal; Sarah Leavitt History, p. 36; Truman Angell autobiography in Our Pioneer Heritage 10:201; Memoirs of John R. Young, Utah Pioneer 1847, p. 41; Philip St. George Cooke Journal in Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846-1854, p. 122-35; A Ram in the Thicket: The Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, pp. 379-90; Journal of Henry Standage in The March of the Mormon Battalion, pp. 188-91; The Journal of Robert S. Bliss in Utah Historical Quarterly 4:79; Life of a Pioneer, pp. 54-5; Wallace Stegner, The Gathering of Zion, pp. 107-08.

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