Preparations for trek continue

Sunday, Feb. 21, 1847:

Blowing and drifting snow kept many of the Saints at Winter Quarters indoors throughout much of the day and most Sabbath meetings were not held. Hosea Stout wrote, "This morning the snow had blown and drifted untill it was near half way to the top of my door & I could scarcly get it opened & had to throw away the snow to make roads before I could get around. It was decidedly one of the deepest snows that had fallen for some years & is still blowing and drifting all day. Eliza R. Snow noted, "[The] snow last night drifted in hills several feet in height. The water is plentifully dripping thro' the tent cloth which lines our clapboard roof."In spite of the severe weather, the high council held a meeting to discuss the problems associated with the construction of the mill dam built on Turkey Creek, north of the main settlement. The dam had partially given way due in part to the recent severe weather and frost. It was determined that it would take at least two days to repair the structure. Albert Perry Rockwood was put in charge of the project.

Monday, Feb. 22:

During the previous week, when Brigham Young was ill, John D. Lee had taken him for a carriage ride around the Mormon settlement. On this occasion, President Young returned the favor. "[At] 4 [p.m.] . . . President B. Young came in a sley [sleigh] and took me with him around the city," Lee wrote. The two men also conversed about the upcoming journey to the west. "[He] told me that he wished me to . . . assist Bro. J. [Jedediah] M. Grant to organize his company." Later, President Young met with the presidents and captains of the first division who gave reports concerning the progress their men were making in preparation for the westward trek.

Tuesday, Feb. 23:

In a meeting with the Twelve, President Young related a vision he had of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Among other things, the martyred prophet instructed his successor, "Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right." He continued, "They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts . . . .

Later, Brigham Young attended a dinner and social at the Council House, put on by the bishops, for the benefit of the poor.

Wednesday, Feb. 24:

For the second time in less than two weeks, Willard Richards wrote a letter to Col. Thomas L. Kane respecting the Mormon situation at Winter Quarters. In the letter, Elder Richards gave details concerning the layout of the settlement and the measures taken by the Saints to protect themselves against some of the warring Indian tribes in the area. "Most of the lots south of Hyrum Street have been vacated by locating the buildings on [the] said street so as to form a line of defense against the Indians on the south," Richards reported. He also dispelled any of the purported rumors then afloat that the Mormons had entered into a league with the Indians against the United States and noted that the willingness of the Saints to provide an enlistment of more than 500 men for service in the Mexican War and the devoted services of the same, was evidence that the Saints were on the side of the government.

Thursday, Feb. 25:

Brigham Young conducted business as president of the Twelve. Willard Richards prepared two letters for the president, one to Jesse C. Little, the Mormon representative in Washington, D.C., and the other to Alexander Badlam in Boston. (Both letters were drafted on the 25th, but dated the 26th).

In the letter to Elder Little, he was advised to leave Washington and join the Saints at Winter Quarters, which then consisted of 41 blocks and 820 lots containing some 700 houses.

Friday, Feb. 26:

In a meeting with Brigham Young and the Twelve, and Bishop Newel K. Whitney, William Clayton and Jedediah M. Grant, the western migration was discussed, including the final destination, methods of irrigation, procurement of seeds, the possible construction of rawhide boats to be taken along, and the need for a flag.

Saturday, Feb.27:

President Young met with the company officers of the first division and several decisions were reached. First, it was decided that the division be made up of 50 wagons (horse or mule teams), with each manned by three men. Since the planting of crops would be one of the main responsibilities of the advance company, John D. Lee reported that each team was to carry "400 lbs. horsefeed, 300 lbs. provisions and cooking utensils, 1.5 bushel seed corn, 1 bushel oats, 1 bushel white beans, 1 peck of peas, 1 do[z.] potatoes, .5 bushel flax seed, 1 peck of hemp seed, .5 do[z.] barley 1 do{z.] millet and garden seed of every description," in addition to plows and farm implements.

Preparations were to be completed by March 15.

Sources: The Diary of Hosea Stout, p. 236-37; Journal History of the Church; Journals of John D. Lee, pp. 97-104; Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, pp. 112-113; Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 528-31; The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, p. 155; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:138-39.

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