This is another in a weekly series of day-by-day summaries of what transpired 150 years ago during the Saints' 1846-47 trek from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Salt Lake Valley. The compiler, Alexander L. Baugh, is an assistant professor of Church history and doctrine at BYU.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 1847:
The Saints at Winter Quarters experienced a break in the cold winter weather. Hosea Stout, captain of the community police force, took advantage of a day with warmer temperatures by taking a Sunday stroll. "I took a long walk up the river with my wife among the high bluffs and frightful precipices, which was a fine relief to my mind after being so much hemmed up all winter," he wrote. During their walk, the couple even crossed the Missouri River on foot, it being frozen over with ice, resulting from several weeks of frigid temperatures. Eliza R. Snow also noted, "The weather is fine." However, unlike Brother Stout, she spent most of the day indoors. "
IT attended meeting all day," she wrote.
At the San Luis Rey Mission in California, the Mormon Battalion was called out on dress parade. "This practice was followed up nearly, if not every Sunday until we were discharged," wrote Daniel Tyler. In order to occupy their time, and to keep them in a state of readiness, Col. Cooke and his staff also began conducting military drills. "Day after day the duties of the soldier were performed, drilling, out on detached duty, or marching here, there and everywhere, early and late, by day and by night," wrote company member James S. Brown. Roll was called at daylight, followed by breakfast, drill at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., roll call at sundown, and taps at 9. All of this was done, "just to suit the fancy of some of our officers," Brown continued, "and not always upon real occasion for the [military] movements."
Monday, Feb. 8:
President Brigham Young met with the leaders in his company. Later, in a meeting with the Twelve, Elder Charles C. Rich reported on his recent visit to the members camped at Mt. Pisgah.
At the Ponca settlement, the Saints were organized into an immigrating company by Elders Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow. Titus Billings was elected president, with Erastus Bingham and Joseph Holbrook as his counselors. Hyrum Clark was appointed the captain of one hundred, with David Lewis and Vinson Shurtliff as captains of fifty.
Tuesday, Feb. 9:
The 22 bishops in Winter Quarters and their families enjoyed the first of two evenings of dancing and dining at the Council House.
Wednesday, Feb. 10:
Word reached Church leaders at Winter Quarters that a band of Sioux Indians had raided the Church's herding ground (known as Lathrop's Herd, named after Ashael Lathrop who directed the operation) situated north of Winter Quarters. The warriors, under the leadership of Chief Eagle, had killed and stolen a number of horses and cattle.
Patty B. Sessions, a mid-wife and nurse who was known by many Mormon women as "Mother Sessions," spent a busy day attending to the ill and women in confinement. On this day she wrote: "Visited the sick, did up some caps and called to see Sister Lamb. Put her to bed. Came home, ate breakfast, then went to get someone to take care of Sister Knight. Eliza Mitchell said she would take care of her. I came home very tired."
Thursday, Feb. 11:
The Twelve met in council to discuss the problems associated with the stealing and killing of animals by the local Indian bands at the Mormon herding grounds. A decision was made to send a number of volunteers to bolster Ashael Lathrop and the herdsmen who had been assigned to guard and protect the 1,200 animals.
Friday, Feb. 12:
For the second time in a week, Brigham Young met with the captains in his emmigrating company and preached to them against selfishness and covetousness.
Orson Pratt returned to Winter Quarters after having visited the Saints in the Iowa settlements where he read to them President Young's "Word and Will of the Lord" revelation. At each settlement, the document was "universally" approved. Elder Pratt also organized emmigrating companies at Mt. Pisgah, consisting of about 110 families, and at Garden Grove, made up of 120 families. A smaller company was also organized at the Lost Creek settlement.
Saturday, Feb. 13:
Between 20 and 30 well-armed volunteers under the leadership of Addison Everett left Winter Quarters to assist in the protection of the horses and cattle grazing at the Mormon herding ground. They also hoped to be able to reclaim the animals taken by Chief Eagle and his warriors of the Sioux tribe. Everett carried a letter from Brigham Young to Ashael Lathrop, instructing him how best to deal with the Indians.
Sources: A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, p. 265; The Diary of Hosea Stout, pp. 235-36; Journal History of the Church; Life of a Pioneer, pp. 79-80; Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 521-24; Mormons at the Missouri, pp. 93-94; "Patty Bartlett Sessions Journal," Our Pioneer Heritage 2:61; Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, p. 155; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:126-27.