Not all could leave in the spring

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, Ill., to the Salt Lake Valley. The compiler, Alexander L. Baugh is an assistant professor of Church history and doctrine at BYU.

Sunday, March 7, 1847:

At a Winter Quarters Sabbath-day meeting, Elder Wilford Woodruff addressed his ward concerning the obligation to share provisions with the less-fortunate members, noting to those present that he promised to do the same. True to his word, immediately following the meeting, Elder Woodruff took to his bishop 30 pounds of flour, a half-bushel of meal, four pounds of sugar, and some other commodities, then spent the rest of the day visiting and administering to the sick, and distributing the food.

A large band of Omaha Indians were observed about the settlement but nothing of note or concern transpired.

Monday, March 8:

Brigham Young met with the officers in the first division. He "spoke at length on the present circumstances of the people" and chastised the captains of his division "for neglect of duty" in failing to get their wagons and teams ready and outfitted. Church leaders were also aware that only a portion of the Church membership would be able to make the overland journey that spring, and that the greater part would not move out until the following year or until preparations were such that they could emigrate. Since most of the leadership would be in the vanguard company, President Young recognized the need to set some guidelines concerning those who were left behind and voiced what he believed would be the best policies for those who would remain at the Missouri River settlements another year.

Tuesday, March 9:

Andrew L. Lamoreaux, Alexander McRae, and 14-year-old Rodney Swasey arrived at Winter Quarters bringing word concerning the latest activities taking place in Nauvoo. They also brought a packet containing 18 letters from the few Saints who continued to reside there. From these men, Church leaders learned that several changes had taken place in the nearly evacuated community. They stated that Nauvoo appeared run down and looked like a forsaken city.

One-third of the brick homes had been occupied by new move-ins, the Seventies Hall had been converted into a school, and six taverns had opened up. In addition, anti-Mormon mobs had physically harassed a number of Mormons and harangued members still residing there.

In the evening, the Twelve dined at the Willard Richards home, after which they held a meeting to discuss with Bishop Newel K. Whitney the temporal needs of the people.

Wednesday, March 10:

President Young continued to meet with the leadership of the Church to discuss and address what policies should govern those who remained at the Missouri. On this date, the president noted, "I met with the Twelve and others this evening when instructions for the benefit of those who remained in Winter Quarters were talked over."

Thursday, March 11:

In the morning, President Young, Heber C. Kimball, Ezra T. Benson, Alpheus Cutler, Daniel H. Spencer, George A. Smith and John D. Lee rode outside the settlement in search of a location that could be cultivated for a general Church farm during the coming year. A suitable area was located south of Winter Quarters, consisting of about 1,000 acres.

In the afternoon, the Twelve and several others, including Levi Richards, Luke Johnson, and Lyman O. Littlefield, met to discuss several matters of business. Following the meeting the leaders dined at Elder Willard Richards' octagon-shaped home. Elder Wilford Woodruff noted that he "assisted" Elder Richards in eating a sweet potato pie. Following dinner, the leaders retired to the historian's office to conduct additional business.

Friday, March 12:

In the evening, the Twelve held a ball at the Council House that lasted until between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. This was the last party held for the Twelve prior to their departure that would begin next month for the West.

Saturday, March 13:

In an afternoon meeting of the Twelve and 14 other leading men, the discussion focused once again on "the government and direction of the affairs after the Pioneers should leave." Because of the warring condition of some of the local tribes it was decided that the settlement should be stockaded and that the guard, headed by Hosea Stout, should be kept up.

Sources: The Diary of Hosea Stout, pp. 240-41; Journal History of the Church; Journals of John D. Lee, pp. 112-20; Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 534-37; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 3:140-41.

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