Saints scattered across prairies

Sunday, May 24:

After a rainy morning at the new Mount Pisgah settlement, the camp horn sounded at noon, signaling the camp to gather together for the Sabbath meeting. Brigham Young and several others spoke, including John Smith, the Prophet Joseph Smith's uncle. The theme of the meeting was on the plan of salvation.President Young also gave some clear instructions. Those who were not completely outfitted with provisions must stay for a season at Mount Pisgah. These words were no doubt disappointing for many of the Saints who wished to travel with the lead company on this historic journey.

Monday, May 25:

Heavy rain fell during the night and into the morning that made traveling difficult for those who were still inching their way across Iowa toward Mount Pisgah. The streams were overflowing onto the bridges, making them impassable.

President Brigham Young met in council with other members of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishop, Newel K. Whitney. President Young suggested that they should again load up wagons with goods to be sent off to trade at the settlements. After provisions and grain were obtained, the wagons should meet the camp at Council Bluffs on the Missouri River.

Tuesday, May 26:

Many families took inventory of their provisions and then came to Brigham Young and the Twelve seeking their counsel whether they should continue on or stay at Mount Pisgah. In one instance, President Brigham Young told Brothers Daniel and Orson Spencer that the Spirit said to him, "Tell Daniel to gather up what teams, tools, seeds, and men he can and go on and let Orson stay and take care of the families and bring them on."

Wednesday, May 27:

Brigham Young wrote to the Church trustees still in Nauvoo to send 20 bushels of New England Yellow Corn to Council Bluffs to be used as seed. Good news reached Mount Pisgah that late in the day, 14 teams would arrive in camp. They had only spent four weeks traveling from Nauvoo. This quick journey was a far cry from the earliest pioneers who had left Nauvoo in February.

At Garden Grove, Hosea Stout battled the elements when an unusually hard rain storm appeared which he said "came down in torrents, wetting almost every thing in the tents." News arrived at his camp that the United States had declared war on Mexico. A great effort was underway to raise troops that would march to Texas.

Thursday, May 28:

The camp was very busy on this warm and pleasant day at Mount Pisgah. Many of the men were hard at work repairing wagons, plowing the soil and building a bridge over Grand River. Weary Saints continued to arrive during the day.

Friday, May 29

Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards went into the woods to hold a council meeting. Afterwards, they went to inspect the progress on the new bridge built over Grand River.

One of the important items of Church property contained in the heavy wagons was the historical records for the Church. On this day Elder Willard Richards, who served as Church historian, delivered into the care of Henry Fairbanks two boxes of records, together weighing 586 pounds.

Saturday, May 30

On this pleasant morning, a special prayer meeting was held three miles north of the camp. Members of the Twelve along with several other leaders gathered together in a tent. In this peaceful setting on the prairie, they unitedly turned their hearts to the Lord in solemn prayer. President Brigham Young, Elder Heber C. Kimball and Elder George A. Smith each offered prayers. They prayed for the Church, for the thousands of Saints who were scattered across the prairies of Iowa. They asked for the Lord's help and guidance to continue their journey. Afterward, President Young recorded in his history, "We returned with renewed assurance that the Lord was with us and were comforted."

Elder John Taylor wrote a letter to his friend Joseph Cain, serving a mission in Liverpool, England. He described for him Mount Pisgah: "The place is situated about forty miles north (west) of the last farm, and is beautifully situated, abundance of wood and water being convenient. We calculate to start from here in a few days for Council Bluffs, and from there to the mountains, that is, the Twelve and their families and such men as they shall select."

Sources: Journal History; MHBY p. 170-72; Aroet Hale Autobiography, typescript, pp. 10- 11; Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, p. 134; William Clayton's Journal, p. 39-40; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, p. 50; The Diary of Hosea Stout 1:163-64; The Instructor, May 1945, p. 217; Dean C. Jessee, "The Writing of Joseph Smith's History," BYU Studies (11:3:469); Preston Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, p. 171.

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