Category Archives: Primary Source

Journal of Orson Pratt

Published / by Grace Fahey / Leave a Comment

Pratt, Orson, “Interesting Items Concerning the Journeying of the Latter-day Saints from the City of Nauvoo, Until Their Location in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake (Extracted from the Private Journal of Orson Pratt),”

 July 21st. No frost this morning, but a heavy dew. We resumed our journey, travelled 2 1/2 miles, and ascended a mountain for 1 1/2 miles; descended upon the west side one mile; came upon a swift running creek, where we halted for noon: we called this Last Creek. Brother Erastus Snow (having overtaken our camp from the other camp, which he said was but a few miles in the rear,) and myself proceeded in advance of the camp down Last Creek 4 1/2 miles, to where it passes through a kanyon and issues into the broad open valley below. To avoid the kanyon the wagons last season had passed over an exceedingly steep and dangerous hill. Mr. Snow and myself ascended this hill, from the top of which a broad open valley, about 20 miles wide and 30 long, lay stretched out before us, at the north end of which the broad waters of the Great Salt Lake glistened in the sunbeams, containing high mountainous islands from 25 to 30 miles in extent. After issuing from the mountains among which we had been shut up for many days, and beholding in a moment such an extensive scenery open before us, we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view. We immediately descended very gradually into the lower parts of the valley, and although we had but one horse between us, yet we traversed a circuit of about 12 miles before we left the valley to return to our camp, which we found encamped 1 1/2 miles up the ravine from the valley, and 3 miles in advance of their noon halt. It was about 9 o’clock in the evening when we got into camp. The main body of the pioneers who were in the rear were encamped only 1 1/2 mile up the creek from us, with the exception of some wagons containing some who were sick, who were still behind.

July 22nd. This morning George A. Smith and myself, accompanied by seven others, rode into the valley to explore, leaving the camp to follow on and work the road, which here required considerable labour, for we found that the kanyon at the entrance of the valley, by cutting out the thick timber and underbrush, connected with some spading and digging, could be made far more preferable than the route over the steep hill mentioned above. We accordingly left a written note to that effect, and passed on. After going down into the valley about 5 miles, we turned our course to the north, down towards the Salt Lake. For 3 or 4 miles north we found the soil of a most excellent quality. Streams from the mountains and springs were very abundant, the water excellent, and generally with gravel bottoms. A great variety of green grass, and very luxuriant, covered the bottoms for miles where the soil was sufficiently damp, but in other places, although the soil was good, yet the grass had nearly dried up for want of moisture. We found the drier places swarming with very large crickets, about the size of a man’s thumb. This valley is surrounded with mountains, except on the north: the tops of some of the highest being covered with snow. Every 1 or 2 miles streams were emptying into it from the mountains on the east, many of which were sufficiently large to carry mills and other machinery. As we proceeded towards the Salt Lake the soil began to assume a more sterile appearance, being probably at some season of the year overflowed with water. We found as we proceeded on, great numbers of hot springs issuing from near the base of the mountains. These springs were highly impregnated with salt and sulphur: the temperature of some was nearly raised to the boiling point. We travelled for about 15 miles down after coming into the valley, the latter parts of the distance the soil being unfit for agricultural purposes. We returned and found our wagons encamped in the valley, about 5 1/4 miles from where they left the kanyon.

Source: Orson Pratt, “Interesting Items Concerning the Journeying of the Latter-day Saints from the City of Nauvoo, Until Their Location in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake (Extracted from the Private Journal of Orson Pratt),” digital copy, LDS Church History Library.

see: Big Mountain 

Primary Source: Brigham Young to Erastus Snow, 1 October 1862

Published / by Jeff T / Leave a Comment

                                Brigham Young to Erastus Snow, 1 October 1862[1]

G.S.L. City, Oct. 1, 1862.

Elder Erastus Snow,

St. George, Washington Co., U.T.,

Dear Brother:

Myself and company reached home in good health and spirits on the 25 ult., having enjoyed a pleasant and I trust mutually beneficial trip.

As I have already informed you, I wish you and the brethren to build, as speedily as possible, a good, substantial, commodious, well finished meeting house, one large enough to comfortably seat at least 2000 persons, and that will be not only useful but also an ornament to your City and a credit to your energy and enterprise.  To assist you in a work so laudable and necessary, I hereby place at your disposal, expressly to aid in building the aforesaid meetinghouse, the labor, molasses, vegetable, and grain tithing of Cedar City and of all places and persons south of that City.

I hope you will begin the building at the [page break] earliest possible date, and be able, with the aid herein given, to speedily prosecute the work to completion.

The immigrating companies arrived in excellent spirits and condition, with oxen looking well.  All are expected to arrive before rough weather, the freight train being in the rear and will probably be in about the 20th of this month.

Our Fair will open tomorrow in the State House (formerly Council House), to which many are now conveying articles.

The weather continues fine, and wood, coal, and harvest are busily being secured.

Your Brother in the Gospel,


[1]Brigham Young Office Files, Box 19, Folder 26 (Reel 28), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

See: St. George Tabernacle