Brass band lifts pioneers' spirits

Sunday, March 1:

The weather finally moderated on this day. Thus, even though it was the Sabbath, Brigham Young determined that the camp would move out by noon. There had already been too many delays at Sugar Creek. By 4 p.m. 500 wagons were on their way, traveling in a northwesterly direction. The camp moved five miles in beautiful weather.

Monday, March 2:

This morning the camp moved to the east bank of the Des Moines River. The camp would travel a few days along the river to take full benefit of the water and fuel. The wagons encountered numerous tedious hills this day. With the warming temperatures, the hills were also muddy, making progress difficult. Nevertheless most wagons in the camp made about eight miles.

The camp was cheered in the late afternoon, however, when Captain William Pitt's Brass Band played many favorite tunes. The band was made up primarily of British immigrant musicians. One of their number was William Clayton, the clerk of the Quorum of the Twelve. The Saints enjoyed the music, so they lit huge bonfires and sang and danced throughout the whole evening.

Tuesday, March 3:

The camp moved on eight miles, passing through Farmington and going on for another four miles. At 2 p.m., they made camp, joining Bishop George Miller and his group who had left Sugar Creek on Feb. 25.

President Young chastised the men who could not quit swearing, that they should decide to leave the Camp of Israel if they could not control their tongues.

William Pitt's Brass Band again played throughout the evening.

Wednesday, March 4:

William Clayton recorded the following in his journal: "This morning we concluded to stay a day and fix up some wagons which were broken. A number of the citizens from Farmington came to the camp and gave a very pressing invitation for the band to go to Farmington and play some. . . ." Hosea Stout, captain of the guard, spoke with his men at length on the policy of working "our way and thus relieve the Church from the expense of supporting us when we were not traveling. . . ."

Brigham Young and his council decided to send Bishop Miller and some of his group northwest another 12 miles to establish another camp. Counsel was also given to divide the main camp into "hundreds and fifties."

Thursday, March 5:

President Young concluded that his Hundred would lead out that day. Before leaving, he gave instructions to the camp. Every wagon should be identified with the initials of the captain's name. He gave suggestions about lightening some of their loads. He declared that good economy, virtue and industry were better than "gold or silver."

Brigham Young and his Hundred proceeded northwest along the Des Moines River and through the settlement called Bonaparte. Then they forded the river at the mill site where the water was only two feet deep. They then proceeded up a difficult bluff. Because the weather had moderated, the snow and frost had melted, creating difficult muddy conditions. Frequently wagons sunk down to the axles in the mud. The teams had also not eaten that day, because corn had not been waiting for them as expected at the mill. The horses were let loose on the prairie to pick at the dry grass.

Later in the afternoon this Hundred pressed forward another seven miles, making 12 in all for the day, a record so far. Most spent the night in their wagons because the ground was too wet to pitch tents.

Friday, March 6:

Brigham Young's Hundred tarried this day to make further decisions and to allow the other wagons to catch up with them.

Bishop Miller came into camp and reported that his group had found an excellent large encampment another 14 miles distant. The bishop also had considerable corn to pass around the needy camp.

In the evening the leading Brethren were introduced to a physician named John D. Elbert who lived in the vicinity. We read in Brigham Young's journal: "Dr. Elbert stated that when the first news reached them that the Mormons were about to pass through that section of country there was great excitement among the inhabitants, on account of the prejudices which had been created by false and alarming reports, fearing that they should be swallowed up alive, but the more recent reports of the honest dealing of the Camp had caused those feelings to subside and the citizens concluded to let the Mormons pass in peace, that he had appropriated one quarter section of land seven miles ahead for an encampment."

Saturday, March 7:

Many in the camp were able to move on this day. Brigham Young met some of the others at Dr. Elbert's property, but since it was such a pleasant day, he decided that his Hundred would go farther.

President Young went on to camp at Richardson's Point, about four miles shy of Bishop Miller's camp on Fox River bottom. The location was dry and pleasant. Richardson's Point became the Saints' second rest camp, Sugar Creek being the first. They were now 55 miles from Nauvoo. They planned to stay only two days here so all the wagons could catch up, but this would not turn out to be the case.

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