Founding a city, fighting fevers

This is another in a weekly series of day-by-day summaries of what transpired during the Saints' 1846-47 trek from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley. The compiler, Bruce A. Van Orden, is a member of the Church Pioneer Sesquicentennial Committee and a BYU associate professor of Church history and doctrine.

Sunday, Aug. 9, 1846:

Brigham Young conducted two general meetings at the proposed location for their new city. He recommended that it be named Cutler's Park after Alpheus Cutler, who suggested the site and who was called to be the president of the high council for the new community. All the high council members were sustained in their callings. These men would also serve in a political leadership capacity as a municipal high council. In his remarks President Young spoke of his vision for a temple in the Rocky Mountains.

President Young and his council drafted a letter to U.S. President James K. Polk. They thanked the president for his answering the petitions of Jesse C. Little and sending 500 men to California under Capt. James Allen. They wrote that President Polk's act "kindled up a spark in our hearts which had been well nigh extinguished

of aT love of a country or rulers, from whom previously we had received but little save neglect and persecution."

They asked that they be able to govern themselves when they arrive in the Salt Lake Valley or Bear River Valley.

The weather was hotter than it had been all summer.

At Fort Leavenworth the Mormon Battlation soldiers held a religious service. George P. Dykes, an enthusiastic, experienced missionary, gave a "military and gospel sermon." Sgt. Tyler wrote, "The weather at this time was extremely warm, the thermometer indicating 101 degrees in the shade and 135 degrees in the sun." He reported that a few men were suffering from "ague and fever," which probably was malaria. One of the sick was Col. Allen, their commanding officer.

Monday, Aug. 10:

Work on the new city of Cutler's Park went on with rapid dispatch. President Young met with the Twelve and the municipal high council. They then made many assignments to the men to make yards for the cattle, build fences, fix the springs and miry places, build cabins, cut hay, and for the marshal to provide 24 men for the police force. President Young pleaded that they be "united in all things" so that "the Lord will take up his abode with us." There was a great deal of discomfort as the men began their work, for it was 100 degrees in the shade.

Tuesday, Aug. 11:

This was another busy work day at Cutler's Park. Brigham Young's company made the city even larger by locating on another ridge. Hosea Stout reported, "When the new camp was formed again it presented a most beautiful large hollow square with pens for our cattle & horses on the outside." President Young directed in council meeting that the camp be numbered into hundreds and tens and that various companies assign men to conduct the specific items of business in an orderly manner.

Parley P. Pratt rode into camp with a total of $5,860 that he had collected from the Mormon Battalion men's uniform allowance.

Wednesday, Aug. 12:

Early in the morning all the men were summoned by the horn. Brigham Young instructed that a roll be taken of all the men, women and children, plus an accounting of all the livestock and wagons in Cutler's Park. The census taking went well and the report came in as follows: Brigham Young's first company, consisting of 12 subdivisions, had 324 men over 10 years of age, over 800 women and children, 359 wagons, 1,264 oxen, 146 horses, 828 cows, 49 mules, and 416 sheep. Heber C. Kimball's second division, consisting of only five subdivisions, had 228 men and boys, 238 wagons, 83 horses, 741 oxen, 105 young cattle, 340 cows, and 244 sheep.

At Fort Leavenworth, Col. Allen's fever still afflicted him, so he authorized Capt. Jefferson Hunt of Company A to be the temporary commanding officer and lead Companies A, B and C on their march toward Santa Fe.

Thursday, Aug. 13:

This was a showery day; it provided a welcome relief from the heat of the previous week. At his council, Brigham Young reviewed all the organizational efforts that had taken place at Cutler's Park. He advised that the cattle be gathered together and carefully herded. This common herd idea would become the regular practice of the Latter-day Saints on the trail and in their eventual new home in Deseret. The council also discussed the propriety of sending Bishop Newel K. Whitney to St. Louis with the battalion monies in order to buy food and supplies there at lower prices. Thus the poor and the army families could be cared for more effectively.

In the evening President Young met with Parley P. Pratt one last time before Elder Pratt embarked again for England. They reminisced about their experiences together on their British Mission six years earlier.

Friday, Aug. 14:

The men at Cutler's Park labored harmoniously to set up their city effectively. Of high priority was the need to gather and haul hay for winter storage.

Companies D and E of the Mormon Battalion marched out of Fort Leavenworth. Col. Allen was left behind because he was still suffering from malaria. He planned to join them later.

Saturday, Aug. 15:

A general "cattle hunt" took place since so many animals had strayed from camp and broken through fences. The stock was scattered throughout the woods, creeks, and ravines for miles around. This action was ordered by Alpheus Cutler. By afternoon almost all the cattle had been successfully rounded up and put back into their proper herds. It was recognized that greater care should be taken to guard the herds at night.

In a council meeting in the evening, President Young set up a committee to visit the Omaha Indian braves who had just returned from their buffalo hunt to negotiate with them the use of their lands. He also directed that the Nauvoo Legion militia be reconstituted and to make a roll of all able bodied men between 18 and 45.

Many people were becoming sick with fevers, likely malaria. Mosquitoes were everywhere and some carried with them the deadly virus. Thomas L. Kane wrote of the condition of the camp, (he himself being one of the many sufferers: "Beside the ordinary suffering from insufficient food and shelter, distressing and mortal sickness, exacerbated. . . . The climate of the entire upper "Misery Bottom," as they

the MormonsT term it, is, during a considerable part of summer and autumn, singularly pestiferous." The fever tended to cause delirium for its sufferers.