Editor's Note: To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Mormon Trail, The Salt Lake Tribune is offering this day-by-day account of the Mormon pioneers' original trek from Winter Quarters, Nebraska, to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Tribune history writer , using diaries, letters, journals and reminiscences that have come to light this century, has fleshed out the following narrative.
July 2, 1847
As the pioneer camp once again began ferrying wagons across the Green River, Brigham Young called a meeting of his captains to decide how best to continue now that the Camp of Israel was on the western slope of the Continental Divide and only weeks away from the Great Salt Lake Valley, barring unforeseen difficulties.
Two rafts ran all day and most wagons were taken across. Wilford Woodruff said the horses and cattle were made to swim over. It was an exceedingly hot day and extremely uncomfortable for those still afflicted with the "mountain sickness" sweeping the camp. "Both man and beast much annoyed by mosquitoes," Woodruff added. He was cheered by word that some pioneers had visited a nearby slough and done some fishing. "Several salmon trout were caught at the mouth of a slough on the Green near the ferry. One weighed seven and one-quarter pounds!"
Norton Jacob, who had worked most of the day yesterday and well into evening on a new raft to replace one that was waterlogged, was taken sick this afternoon. "It is supposed to be produced by a sudden change in climate," he wrote in his journal. "We are now in the heat of summer and while in the mountains we were in the midst of frost and winter. I bathed myself all over with warm water and went to bed in my wagon." Forty-eight wagons were ferried across today.
Thomas Bullock was told by Willard Richards to plant a patch of corn for the next companies. "I planted three patches of early yellow and white corn," he said. When the captains and members of the LDS Council of Twelve Apostles met with Young, it was a consensus to send four or five men back over the trail to meet the oncoming Mormon companies and guide them through to the main party. For the task, the council selected O.P. Rockwell, Phineas H. Young, Eric Glines and George Woodward.
Willard Richards was asked to write a letter to the leaders of the expected companies, explaining the circumstances and offering advice and words of wisdom on how to cope with the rigors of wagon train travel. The four also would take with them a table of distances compiled thus far by William Clayton between landmarks and campsites.
That business having been decided, Sam Brannan took the stump for California. He nettled a few of those on hand when said he had a large box of books on Mormon doctrine, but refused to sell any even though he had more than fifty offers. He insisted on promoting California as a country of seven-month rainy seasons and five-month dry seasons. Barley, he said, has no hull in California; and the Saints needn't cultivate oats there, because they grow wild. Clover is high as a horse's belly and wild horses are scattered over the plains for the taking. There are geese in abundance, salmon in the San Joaquin River weigh ten to twelve pounds, oysters are small and there are no lobsters, crabs in San Francisco Bay.
Brigham Young said little and remained noncommittal. Brannan seemed frustrated. C.C. Rich's company left the second Mormon emigration campground at Loup Fork with the expectation of reaching the main fork of the Platte River; there was no wood or water between the two points.
This evening, Martin DeWitt, twenty-one, of Captain Peregine Sessions' company, fractured his arm while wrestling.