Kanesville & Council Bluffs Winter Quarters & Florence Elkhorn River Crossing Loup Fork Crossing Wood River Crossing Chimney Rock Chimney Rock Scotts Bluff NM Fort Laramie Mormon Ferry Guersey Ruts Site Independence Rock Devil's Gate Pacific Springs South Pass Green River Crossing Church Butte Fort Bridger Muddy Creek Camp Bear River Crossing Echo Canyon Salt Lake Valley Mormon Flat Hogsback Summit       James Bowyer Shelley and most of his were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons. From the time they were first baptized, they would have been encouraged to emigrate to Utah by Mormon Church leaders. Gathering to �Zion� was taught as a religious principle (Arrington 128).

The Cost of Emigrating.

      In 1851, James Bowyer Shelley was just beginning to establish himself in Farmcote, Shropshire, England. On the 1841 Census, he is listed as an agricultural laborer. However, he was farming some land on his own at this time. The 1840 Tithe Map shows that he was farming eleven parcels including arable land and pasture (see Map , Shropshire Records and Research Center). Clearly, the Shelleys had more wealth than typical agricultural laborers in rural England. Perhaps this is why they were able to emigrate to Utah before the Church provided financial assistance.

      The first English converts emigrated in 1850, the year before the Shelley family (Stegner 211). Although the Perpetual Emigration Fund, or PEF, was started in 1849, from 1849 to 1852, the Church was busy helping Mormons who settled in Iowa emigrate to Utah. The church did have PEF agents who handled travel arrangements but the PEF did not yet provide financial assistance to the English converts (Stegner 209). The first company of emigrants assisted financially by the PEF left England the next year in 1852 (Sonne 31).

      In addition to James Bowyer Shelley, the emigration party included James� wife, Elizabeth, and their seven children (William, Thomas, James, John, Joseph, James, and Sarah). It also included Thomas� new wife, Charlotte, and William�s wife, Jane, and their four children (William, Hannah, Stephen, John L.). Altogether, there were fourteen in the party. Martha, James� eldest daughter, along with her husband Edward Alfred Banks and two-year old daughter Emily had never joined the Mormon Church. They stayed in England.

      The cost for PEF passengers prepaying their way in 1854 was �15 for those over 1 year old and �9 for less than one (Piercy 118). Since the wages of an agricultural laborer were about �20 annually, the Shelley family collectively saved many man-years of wages.

      William�s children were all very young, the oldest being just four and the youngest just two months old. Sarah, the youngest of James� children, was eleven when they left.

Thomas and Charlotte Married.

      Thomas Shelley, James� second son, married Charlotte Elsmore in the Church of England at the Claverley Parish Church on January 18th, two weeks before leaving for Utah. Thomas was a Branch President, a leader in the Mormon Church at the time. It may seem strange to us today that a Mormon Elder didn�t marry them. However, the Church of England had virtually exclusive jurisdiction over wills, marriages, and divorces (Pool 112). A nonconformist minister, such as a Mormon Elder, didn�t have the legal right to marry them at that time. Because of this, they got married in the Church of England, which was recognized as a valid marriage by the LDS Church, too.

      It was common for many members to marry after they had departed on the sailing ship for Utah. Sparks recalls in 1853 that she was anxious to marry her fianc�e in Liverpool before leaving but the church leader asked her to wait until the ship left port. Charlotte Elsmore is listed with her maiden name on the sailing ship�s records. Perhaps Thomas and Charlotte had originally planned to marry during the voyage to Utah too. Perhaps they were anxious to start a family because Charlotte became pregnant before they started the trip in February.


      Liverpool, the port city for their journey, is about sixty-two miles to the northwest of Farmcote. By 1840, Liverpool had a population of over 200,000 (Sonne 34). The city had its filth, thieves, and poverty but also its elegant buildings, operas, and social gatherings for the wealthy. Liverpool was the most important seaport for Mormon emigration. It was a busy seaport on the River Mersey with about 20,000 vessels (clipper, square-rigged packet, schooners, barks, barketines, brigs, steamers, tugs, fishing boats) leaving and entering its port each year (Sonne 33). The Shelleys probably traveled by train to Liverpool.

      After arriving in Liverpool, many Saints would buy their supplies just before departing. They would have provided their own cooking utensils for the voyage (boiler, saucepan, frying pan, tin plate, tin dish, knife, fork, spoon, tin or ceramic vessel for water). They also would have brought or bought their own boxes, barrels, and canvas bags to hold provisions (Piercy 21). Sparks bought her tin ware after she arrived.

      Before boarding the sailing ship, all the emigrants had a medical inspection. Woodhouse recalls this �consisted in going to a small square window at an office nearby and there each putting out our tongue, then the inspector stamped our tickets, a stamp for each person.�

Boarding The Ellen Maria.

      Their ship for the voyage was the Ellen Maria, a packet (or passenger) sail ship built in Maine two years before (Sonne 162). Although steamers existed at the time, they were far too expensive for Mormon emigrants to afford. Packet ships were sailing vessels built for speed. The captain was a seasoned officer who kept to a schedule. The first officers were tough and sometimes brutal. The sailors, called �packet rats�, were sometimes inexperienced (Sonne 49). According to a passenger in 1853, the Ellen Maria was a �good looking craft� (Farmer). Walker said it was about 151 feet long and 33 feet wide. According to Piercy, the price of steerage passage to New Orleans ranged from �3 10s to �5 for adults to �3 to �4 10s for children between 1 and 14 (18). Three hundred and seventy eight members boarded the ship. The adult men loaded their own belongings (Piercy 21). [The Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City, Utah has an excellent display on pioneer emigration. In 2001, there was a manifest page for the Ellen Maria framed on the wall that lists the Shelley family out of all the possible foreign emigrants]. Apostle Orson Pratt called George D. Watt as the ecclesiastical leader for the voyage. Among the members on board were Apostle Orson Pratt and his family, who had been the president of the mission in England and adjacent countries since 1848 (Piercy 6). The leadership may not have been as organized as on latter voyages of the Saints from Liverpool. James Cummings, a leader on the Ellen, divided his members into wards each with a president and recommended this organization to the Church Leaders the following month.

Sailing Conditions.

  Steerage passengers on a typical packet ship (Sonne 59).

      Overcrowding was common. To be placed in the same berth, or sleeping compartment, you had to be in the same family. A berth was 6 feet long. 18� of width in the berth was provided for each adult. Unmarried male passengers of the age of fourteen and older were berthed in the fore part of the vessel, separated from the other passengers (Piercy 21). The passengers provided their own bedding (Piercy 18). The toilet and bathing facilities were poor. According to Sonne, ��emigrants preferred American ships that had two heads, or water closets, on each side of the deck. Even then these enclosures could smell like cesspools (86).�

      The Ellen Maria left dock on Feb 1st. Most likely, the Saints waved handkerchiefs to those family members left at the dock. It was also common to start singing songs, such as �Yes My Native Land I Love Thee.� (Hart; Brower). The ship anchored in the Mersey River that night. On the 2nd of February, it departed with �delightful� weather (Watt).

      It was common to find stowaways soon after departing. The following year, 1852, Wilson recalls when a stowaway boy was found on the Ellen Maria. �When we went out to sea three days a stowaway made his appearance on deck. He hid among the coal. He was as black as any niger. He was poorly clad and worse treated all the way. He was a lackey to all the sailors and if he did not move at the moment when ordered he was helped with a kick from the toe of a heavy boot. But he was not entirely annihilated.�

      They soon settled into a daily routine. Most likely, it was similar to other ships containing Mormons. At 6 AM there was a wake up call. The passengers cleaned their part of the ship and threw rubbish overboard. At 7 AM, morning personal prayer was said (Baker) and they ate breakfast. About 8 or 9AM, group prayer was held. At 9PM, lights were put out and another day was finished (Wilson). They held church meetings on Sunday and 2 or 3 additional times each week. Schools for adults and children were frequently held (Piercy 18). On this voyage, they had the extraordinary experience of Apostle Pratt addressing the group at times.

      The government of England required passengers to be supplied each week with 2 � lbs bread or biscuit, 1 lb wheat flour, 5 lbs oatmeal, 2 lbs rice, � lb sugar, 2 oz tea, 2 oz salt and 3 quarts of water daily. Children 14 and under were given half of this ration. The Mormons were given in addition, 2 � lbs sugar, 3 lbs butter, 2 lbs cheese, 1 pint vinegar for each adult weekly and half that amount for each 1 to 14 year old. Members were advised to bring potatoes, ham, dried salt fish, onions, pickled onions, preserves, cayenne pepper, baking powders, mustard, sherbet, carbonate of soda, lime juice, plums, and currants (Piercy 18). Briggs listed the food available on the Ellen, another sailing ship that left the same winter, in detail: �The rations allowed for each one, was 25 pounds of hard biscuit, (so hard, we had to take a hammer to break it), 10 pounds of flour, 20 pound of rice, 50 pounds of oatmeal, 10 pounds of pork, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of molasses, 1 half pound of tea, 2 pounds of cheese, 1 pint of vinegar, and three quarts of water, daily, but the other rations, were for the entire voyage.�

Storms at Sea.

      According to the trip report, there were strong winds on the 5th (Watt). It was perhaps similar to the winds experienced by Farmer two years later on the Ellen Maria. Farmer describes this experience as: �The ship rocking about like a cork and the water coming into the steerage. The hatch had to be put on and kept on for some time. In the afternoon the hatchway was opened and the brethren allowed on deck. At this time the Saints were rolling about, the boxes being turned over, pots capsized and dinners, meat, pudding and all rolling about. Everything one mass of confusion.� Baker describes a storm her ship encountered near the same time the Ellen Maria sailed as: �It was awful, yet grand, to look upon the sea. I could only compare it to the boiling of an immense cauldron covered with white foam, while the roaring of the winds and waves was like the bellowing of a thousand wild bulls.�

Birth and Death at Sea.

      During the ocean voyage there were three births, three marriages, and four deaths (Watt). One of the deaths was the fifteen-month old daughter of Apostle Pratt. It was common for many of the young and old to die during the voyage. These funerals left a deep impression on some of the Saints. Briggs describes the mechanics of these ceremonies during his voyage on the Ellen the same year: �Their bodies were sewed up in canvas, and a heavyweight was tied at their feet, then boards were placed on the side of the ship, in a slanting position, and the bodies were slid down the boards, into the sea.� Wilson, sailing the following year on the Ellen Maria, recalled a death, �She was sewed up in a sheet, a large piece of coal tied to her feet. �While the lowering of her body was being done, we watched her closely till she sank many fathoms down out of sight in the deep blue sea, and if anything is sad and impressive and that is calculated to leave an impression upon the mind, it is a funeral at sea.�

Experiences at Sea.

      The Saints had their good times on the journey too. Most likely, the Shelley family enjoyed singing and dancing. Farmer recalls two years later on the Ellen Maria Mormons playing music and �� we had a dance on the Quarter Deck and several other kind[s] of amusement. The Saints as well as myself enjoyed themselves first rate.� It was also common to see wildlife. Farmer recalls in 1853 in his journal seeing porpoises and a whale.

Water Rationing.

      Because the Ellen Maria was sailing to New Orleans, it undoubtedly became rather hot. Baker sailing on the Bourn the same season said �I came on deck this morning before five o'clock, to enjoy the cool breeze, and see the sunrise. The heat is intense during the day and it is dangerous to be on deck with the head uncovered. Nearly half of our company are effected, more or less, with the prickly heat. The captain has supplied us with a large tub for the purpose of bathing the children, and the little ones are (many of them) dipped in it every morning. The men amuse themselves after another fashion. They put on a thin pair of drawers and pour buckets of water over each other, proving the benefit they receive by the increased healthiness of their appearance.� Earl states the drinking water was so bad they could hardly drink it. It was common to have to ration the drinking water further. Woodhouse, sailing near the same time on the Ellen stated: �On account of the length of the voyage the water went bad and as we were in a tropical climate we felt it severely. Two quarts per day for each adult was the allowance. It should have been three quarts.�

New Orleans.

      After a two-month voyage, the Ellen Maria approached the mouth of the Mississippi River in early April. A tug would have approached and towed the ship to New Orleans. New Orleans is located 110 miles from the Gulf of Mexico (Sonne 91). Many Mormons recorded in their journals, diaries, and histories the various sights as they approach the city between 1851 and 1853. Woodhouse in 1851 said, �The mouth of the river is said to be 20 miles wide, and is mostly filled with dense growth of large bamboo canes, common to the tropics, leaving about six narrow clear channels. The one we entered (the best one) was not more than eight to ten rods wide. For many miles our course lay between the tall line of bamboo, with no signs of solid banks.� Farther north, he saw �The first dwellings � being built on piles, and only accessible with boats. The dwellers business was oyster fishing. The largest oysters I ever saw [were] being caught there. Some of them as long as eight inches and large in proportion.�

      Just before New Orleans, Woodhouse recalls �Below New Orleans were large orange groves� They [oranges] were laying thick on the ground, also a full crop of all sizes and developments yet on the trees. Some of the Negro children threw some on board the vessel.� Baker recalls in 1851, �The houses of the planters are built in the cottage style, but large with verandas on every side, and beautiful gardens. At a little distance are the negro huts. From 30 to 50 on each plantation. They are built of wood with a veranda along the front, painted white, and mostly have either jasmine or honeysuckle growing over them. Each cottage has a large piece of garden ground attached to it in general appearance they are certainly very far superior to the cottage inhabited by the poor in England.� Baker also recalls �Groves of orange trees are very numerous; the perfume from which is very delightful, as the breeze wafts it toward us. Thousands of peach and plum trees are here growing wild and are now in full bloom.� She also recalls seeing wild geese, foxes, raccoons, and storks.

  New Orleans 1853 (Piercy).

  New Orleans docks as they looked in early 1850s (Sonne 90).

      As the ship approached the dock on April 6th, the church leaders most likely warned the Saints about the dangers of �wharf thieves, and also the danger of getting into quarrels in a land where deadly weapons were carried (Woodhouse).� Most likely, many of the Saints slept on the ship until a steamer was ready to take them up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, as they did when the Ellen Maria landed two years later (Farmer). However, the Shelleys had enough money to take a short break in the City. George Shelley states, �Here [New Orleans] they saw many strange sights and products that were new to them. Mother [Charlotte Elsmore Shelley] mentioned in particular large, red tomatoes with which the markets were stocked.� However, they may have just looked at the tomatoes. According to Piercy, Mormon emigrants were cautioned against eating meat and vegetables after the long sea voyage in New Orleans (33).

      New Orleans, the �Paris of the Bayous�, was romantic, colorful, and exciting. It had an economy based on slavery, shipping, and cotton trade (Sonne 91). Many Mormons besides the Shelleys toured New Orleans. Some even lived there until they earned enough money to complete the trip. Many Saints recorded the sites they saw. Baker in 1851 said, �The levee is � completely covered with bales of cotton and other articles of merchandise�� The wharves stretched for miles along the bank of the river (Sonne 92). Baker went on to describe the City in much detail stating, �Some [houses are] as noble in appearance as any in Regent Street [in London]. �The Custom House, churches, and theaters are splendid buildings. �The roads themselves are not kept in order as they are in London. They are not paved. Just now the weather is hot and dry so in crossing them you sink in dust up to the ankles. � The sidewalks are from 16 to 20 feet wide, and very nicely paved with flagstones. They are raised 18" above the carriage road, so that they are always clean and dry. The streets are laid out in exact squares, crossing each other at right angles. The spaces between the streets are called blocks, thus on inquiring for St. Peter Street I was told it was 5 blocks further.� Baker in her journal also described the people, �The higher class of citizens � dress very handsomely in European style �I saw slave girls following their mistresses in the streets, clad in frocks of embroidered silk or satin, and elegantly worked muslin trousers, either blue or scarlet, morocco walking shoes and white silk stockings, with a French headdress, � composed of silk with all the colors of the rainbow � jewelry glitters on their dusky fingers (which are plainly seen through their lace gloves) and in their ears. Their only business in the street seems to be to follow the ladies, who own them, and carry their reticule.� Woodhouse contrasts the residents with the Mormons when he arrived in 1851, �Every person seemed dressed in their Sunday clothes� Quite a contrast to many of our passengers from the farming districts of England, who donned their best knee breeches, tight leggings, laced up heavy nailed boots, smock frocks� to go onshore.�

      New Orleans, being in the south, was entrenched in slavery. This was a new experience for the Mormons passing through. Many of them commented about it. In 1851, Woodhouse recalls, �A row of Negro women with arms around each other, proceeded by a dealer, who was offering them for sale in the street, seemed strange to us. They seemed careless and cheerful.� In the same year, Baker recalls, �I also visited the female slave market � It is a large hall, well lighted with seats all around on which were girls of every shade of color from 10 to 30 � they were singing as merrily as larks.� Baker also stated that she couldn�t enter the male slave market because only men were allowed in.

      There were many unsanitary conditions in New Orleans. Mosquitoes spread disease. Epidemics of Cholera and yellow fever took their toll. �In brief, New Orleans was a city of many facets � a cultural oasis, a thriving business capital, and a pesthole� (Sonne 92).

Taking Steamboat Up Mississippi.

      Within a couple days of anchoring at New Orleans, the US Customs officers would have come on board the Ellen Maria to examine the people and the luggage (Grimshaw; Farmer). A Church leader in the meantime arranged passage for most of the Saints up the Mississippi on a steamboat called the Alexander Scott, one of the largest steamboats on the river. The Alexander Scott was a popular Mississippi steamboat in the 1840s (Sonne 96). It was built in 1842. Its dimensions were 230�x28�x7.8� (Sonne 171). According to Sonne, �This fine side-wheeler [Alexander Scott] had only one deck, a transom stern, a cabin above a plain head, and plied the Mississippi for about twelve years before being dismantled � as indicated in her registrations. In 1851 Mormons paid $2.50 for each adult, including all baggage, and half fare for children (Sonne 96-97).� Cummings booked the Scott the same season for another group. He said: � I would recommend the �Alex Scott� as a good, commodious, and safe boat, commanded by a good captain of the name of Swan. I am persuaded there is no better nor safer boat on the river.�

      Baker describes her steamboat, the Concordia, in detail. The Scott was probably somewhat similar. She said, �It is flat bottomed �The engines and boilers are on the deck, the stokehole quite open on each side and the firemen have an interrupted view of the country. The head of the vessel is pointed the stern circular. There is a clear passage of 8 feet in width all around the boat, except where it is stopped by the paddle boxes, and those have good steps both up and down. From this which is called the lower deck you ascend by a handsome flight of steps to what is called the hurricane deck, which is an open gallery 5 feet wide, entirely round the vessel with a low railing next [to] the water and roofed overhead. There are chairs here for the accommodation of the passengers. On the inner side of this gallery is a row of cabins with two doors each, one opening onto the gallery the other into the saloon, which is 105' in length by 30' in width. Here the cabin passengers dine. The ladies cabin �is splendidly furnished with sofas, rocking chairs, work tables and a piano. The floor, as well as the saloon is covered with Brussels carpeting. There is also a smoke room for the gentlemen, opening out of the saloon forward, into which are card tables, etc., and in front of this there is a large open space. The whole width of the ship roofed over like the gallery and furnished with seats. From this is another staircase, ascending to the upper deck, on which are built several neat cabins for the officers. The one forward encloses the steering wheel. Here stands the pilot completely secured from wind and weather; to the wheel two ropes are attached which are conveyed downward to the lower deck. Each rope is then fixed to a lever which works the rudder. The whole arrangement is very simple and the elevated position of the pilot (40 feet above the lower deck) enables him to see and avoid any collision with snags, which are pretty plentiful still, though the government has done much toward clearing them away, by sending out what they call snag-boats with men in them, to either drag away the snags by force, or let them float off; or by sending down divers to cut them off close to the mud. I do not know whether you know what I mean by snags and sawyers. A snag is a large tree which has either been uprooted by a hurricane or loosened by an inundation and at last been blown into the river. The heaviest part, of course, sinks to the bottom and it becomes fixed in the mud, generally in a nearly upright position and as the foliage decays, the naked trunk remains above the surface of the water. A sawyer is the same thing, with the exception that the top of the tree is below the surface, and of course more dangerous, and steamboats coming in contact with them are likely to have a hole knocked in the bottom in a moment. They then generally sink at once. Scores of steamboats have been lost in this manner. However I have run away from the upper deck, which is not a very pleasant place except in cloudy weather, and you are seated at an elevation of 40 feet from the river, although, on a moonlight night the view is delightful, at least to such an admirer of wild scenery as I am. The tops of the two funnels are 10 feet higher. They are placed forward and when there is a headwind, the upper deck is covered with hot cinders. They burn wood, not coal, and when the steam gets low, or they want to pass a steamer in advance of them, the firemen throw on rosin by shovelfuls.�

      Baker was a wealthy Mormon. Wilson describes a similar but somewhat different steamboat for the lower class passengers, �The steamboats on the river are huge monsters resembling old castles, having good saloon or dining rooms and are very commodious - that is providing you have plenty of money, but [steerage] passengers who are not overly stocked with this commodity must be satisfied with a pallet or a straw mattress laid upon a rack� Yuma prison beds [where he was later in prison for polygamy] are at least a class higher than what I had on the St. Paul.� He also describes vividly how slaves were used to provide the firewood for the boilers, �In those days wood was used for fuel for the steamboats and it was niggers who entirely done the loading of the wood and they worked constant and earnestly, often singing as they marched in single file over the plank to deliver their heavy loads of wood from their shoulders -- being the first men I ever beheld in slavery, who had no liberty, but just to do as they were told or have a raw hide applied to their almost bare backs ��

Drowning of Elizabeth.

      The Shelley family departed New Orleans for St. Louis on April 9th. Wilson describes the Mississippi in 1852 during the same season as: �It is very circuitous, turbid and deep, its current generally is sluggish and some places a mile wide and it has many whirlpools and in some of them it seems as if a small boat would be sucked in.� It was in this murky water near Memphis Tennessee that Elizabeth [Bray] Shelley accidentally fell and drowned. According to Watt, Elizabeth [Bray] Shelley fell into the river on the 14th (Thomas Shelley states the 13th in his �diary� but it probably wasn�t written at the time and is most likely wrong). Watt states, �� in attempting to draw a bucket of water from the stream, while the boat was running ten miles an hour, was suddenly plucked into the water by the force of that mighty current. She floated for a moment, and then sank to rise no more. The engines were stopped immediately, and a boat manned and sent in search of her, but it was unsuccessful in obtaining the body.� Earl states that, �Afterward the body was found and Grandfather Shelley sent the money back for her burial.� Although this could be correct, the location of her grave is not known. It also states in many other biographical sketches the body was never found (although these all seem to copy the same source). It is possible that the boat stopped.

  Memphis 1853 (Piercy).

      Baker describes a similar experience where a passenger falls into the river the same year. However, the man Baker describes was an experienced riverman. She states, �The boat was stopped instantly, and every effort made to save him, but to no purpose. As he sunk he threw out his pocketbook, which was picked up by one of the men, and given into the hands of the clerk, in order to be restored to the relatives of the deceased. It contained his address and $275.00.� According to George Shelley, Elizabeth was also carrying a great amount of money. He states, �Grandfather Shelley had a considerable sum of money when he left England. The purse containing the money was intrusted to the care of Grandmother who secreted it on her person where it remained until the morning of the tragic accident when she turned it over to Grandfather with the request that he take care of it.�

      To the na�ve person, it would appear to be easy to get out of the slow moving Mississippi River. According to Piercy, who wrote his book on pioneer emigration just two years later in 1853, �Women should be careful not to attempt to draw water from the river in buckets. The current is so rapid, that when added to the speed of the steamer through it, it requires the strength of a man to procure the water with safety. Many lives have been lost in this way, which should be a sufficient warning to those who still purpose to ascend these rivers. In most of the boats there are pumps fixed, so that there is seldom any real necessity for drawing water by hand.� Sonne stated that drownings were not unusual (96-97). Kimball (BYU Studies 12) suggests that Elizabeth�s heavy water-soaked skirts drew her under the water.

Riverboat Experiences.

      Theft was quite a concern for the Saints. Farmer relates the following from his trip in 1853, �This evening Elder Kendall desired me to appoint the watch for the night as there was a very unruly crew and things had been taken the night before so it was thought prudent to have a strong watch. We appointed 8 of us �� Later in his journal he states ��before we came to Memphis when they tried to make some more confusion. One of them began to cry and shout so as to alarm all the passengers. I desired all the brethren to keep to their posts for I could see it was a plan made to get us together while the rest stole something. But this they could not do. Brother Wilson informed the mate of their proceedings and when we arrived at Memphis this man was put on shore.� But the attempted theft continued. Farmer recalls, �This evening it was thought wise to have a stronger watch so I appointed 18 men to watch over all the luggage inside and those that were on deck as there were some very suspicious men on board. One man was noticed to try to get under the berths and at other times his mates would try to get all they could.�

      The steamboat would occasionally stop for wood to fuel the boiler. It also stopped at towns or villages where the Saints would buy bread or other food (Farmer).

St. Louis.

  St. Louis 1853 (Piercy).

      On April 16th the Scott arrived at St. Louis. Baker described the food markets available in St. Louis in 1851 as ��extremely good. They open at 4 o'clock every morning except Sunday. All kinds of meat, poultry and fish are very cheap. The fresh meat is good, but not so large and fat as in the English markets. Vegetables and fruits are abundant, and of great variety. Groceries, wines, and spirits are very cheap.� She went on to describe where the Saints met too, �The Mormons have six meeting rooms. They have also the use of the Concert Hall in Market Street on Sunday, which holds three thousand persons, and I could but feel amazed to see that spacious room filled to overflowing and the staircase and lobby crowded with those who could not get inside. They have an orchestral band, and a good choir, ten of whom are trebles.�

      According to Kimball (490), the residents of Saint Louis were generally tolerant of Mormons except for many excommunicated Mormons who lived in the city. Near the time the Shelley family arrived, a local newspaper, the Missouri Republican, published on May 8th, ��Mormon emigrants from England �whose funds generally become exhausted by the time they reach [St. Louis], generally stop here for several months, and not infrequently remain among us for a year or two pending the resumption of their journey to Salt Lake � There are at this time in St. Louis about three thousand English Mormons � they attend divine services twice each Sunday at Concert Hall�We hear frequently of Mormon balls and parties, and Concert Hall was on several occasions filled with persons gathered to witness Mormon theatrical performances (Kimball 509).�

      A disadvantage of being near the Mississippi were the rampant insects and spiders the pioneers experienced. According to Stegner, mayflies stunk up the summer backwaters and chiggers left ankles red, swollen, and itching (101, 229). While on a family trip in the summer of 2002, my three younger children experienced abundant mayflies, that made a tour of a steamboat in Keokuk less pleasant and we heard about chiggers biting the ankle of a girl in our nearby campground.

Robert Campbell, a Side-wheeler, to Kanesville.

      According to George Shelley, �Upon reaching St. Louis, the Shelley family with the exception of William and his wife and four children, purchased mules and wagons together with the necessary supplies and started across the plains �� This is probably wrong. St. Louis was not a starting point for Mormon emigration. Although it would have been possible, according to Sonne the Mormons from the Ellen Maria arrived at Kanesville aboard the side-wheeler Robert Campbell on May 21st (103). Clark states that the water was high enough to proceed up the Missouri on the 13th, just three days before the Shelley family arrived at St. Louis. Crook recalls his group leaving about this time, ��started for Kanesville � Fare five dollars per person. Twenty days on the road, on sandbar three days, very cold, river very low. Had to back down many times. Great amount of snags to be seen. Landed all safe May 2nd.� Dunn recalls his group leaving on the 12th with 225 passengers.

      The emigration map for the Shelley family from Kanesville to the Salt Lake Valley is shown below. Click a point on the trail to go to it.

Prepare for Wagon Train at Kanesville. Map

      In 1851, Kanesville was the staging area for Mormon wagon trains. In December 1847, Brigham Young was sustained as president of the Church in the Kanesville Tabernacle. Winter Quarters, later called Florence Nebraska, on the west side of the Missouri River across from Kanesville was abandoned in 1848 (Stegner 84, 203) and Kanesville was made the new staging area. It flourished through 1851 with Mormon emigrants. Baker describes Kanesville on July 2nd, when the Shelleys were there, as �quite a pretty town, and the surrounding scenery very beautiful (Holmes 258).� The State Legislature changed the name of Kanesville to Council Bluffs in 1853 (Kimball 34).

      However the Shelleys arrived at Kanesville, they stayed there for the months of May and June. According to Brower, her group arrived in Kanesville the same season and ��were assigned, with others, to two log cabins, or rooms where we were to sleep, and to do our cooking at a fire-place, taking our turn with the bake kettle. We made our beds on the floor at night. It was here we learned to wait to be patient and take our turn, as there were so many of us to use that oven. We were a pretty good set of people and did not quarrel.�

  Mormon Cabin Replica at Winter Quarters Nebraska Visitor's Center.

      The time in Kanesville was spent preparing for the trip. According to Piercy, wagons were bought by Church agents in Cincinnati and St. Louis and then shipped to Kanesville by steamboat (19). The wagon bed was 12 feet long, 3 feet 4 inches wide, and 18 inches deep. A full team was one wagon, two yoke of oxen, and two cows (Piercy 19). The wagon was topped with white canvas. The wagon cover as well as the tent was made on their sailing ship voyage to save money (Piercy 19). According to Piercy, the PEF allowed 100 lbs of luggage to anyone above eight and half that to those above 3. Toddlers and infants weren�t allowed any luggage. In addition to luggage, Piercy states each wagon carried 1000 lbs flour, 50 lbs sugar, 50 lbs bacon, 50 lbs rice, 30 lbs beans, 20 lbs dried apples and peaches, 5 lbs tea, 1 gallon vinegar, 10 bars of soap, and 25 lbs salt. Wealthier pioneers sometimes also brought their own food, such as dried herrings, pickles, molasses, more dried fruit, and sugar (Piercy 19).

      The recommended attire for the trip was practical and not the typical movie stereotype of a pioneer. Piercy recommended boots with a second covering on the toes (they get holes extremely fast otherwise), goggles (to protect the eyes from sand, dust, and sunlight), beards for men to protect their faces and India rubber galoshes and very large sun-bonnets for women (Piercy 80).

  Wagon at Scottsbluff NM Visitor Center.

In Alfred Cordon Company.

      The wagon trains were grouped into companies. Within each company there were divisions each containing ten wagons. If a wagon broke, the company continued to the campground but the division stayed until the wagon was fixed (Piercy 83). According to a document found at the Nauvoo Genealogical Research Center in the summer of 2002, James Bowyer Shelley was in the Alfred Cordon company. Perhaps the most detailed account of the journey is from Jean Rio Baker, who although she was in a different company, left just days before the Cordon company. Her account is the best record we have found to date of what the Shelleys experienced.

      Baker left Kanesville on July 5th. In her journal, she recalls Apostle Orson Pratt�s company (who was with the Shelleys on the Ellen Maria), George D. Watt giving a Sunday sermon (who was the president of the Shelleys and other Saints on the Ellen Maria), and Alfred Cordon�s company (the Shelley�s company) on September 10th as being just a little behind them. In addition, her company arrived on September 29th, just days ahead of Cordon�s company on October 3rd. The Shelley family must have left Kanesville soon after July 5th (Holmes 259) in the Cordon company.

      As on the sailing ship, there was good organization during the trip across the plains too. William Clayton described this organization in his 1847 journal, �At 5 o�clock in the morning the bugle is to be sounded as a signal for every man to arise and attend prayers before he leaves his wagon. Then the people will engage in cooking, eating, feeding teams, etc., until seven o�clock, at which time the train is to move at the sound of the bugle. Each teamster is to keep beside his team with loaded gun in hand or within easy reach, while the extra men, observing the same rule regarding their weapons, are to walk by the side of the particular wagons to which they belong; and no man may leave his post without the permission of his officers. �At half past eight each evening the bugles are to be sounded again, upon which signal all will hold prayers in their wagons, and be retired to rest by nine o�clock.�

Steering Oxen.

      As a company started its journey, one of the first needs was to teach the men, �Greenhorns�, how to steer oxen. The driver walked alongside the oxen calling �gee� (right turn) and �haw� (left turn). Piercy recalls, ��Greenhorns� were taught the art and mystery of teaming. These men had, in many cases, never even seen � oxen before. �Elder Miller was here and there and everywhere, giving untrained teams, and teamsters in training, many practical illustrations of the art. �Geeing� and �hawing� were most forcibly taught, and of course learned in proportion to the ability of the pupil. �The consequence is, that whenever a piece of rough or difficult road is encountered, the shouts and cries of �geeing� and �hawing,� and the cracking of the whips, are most terrific. �Nearly every man had the worst team in the company! Some steers would not �gee,� others would do nothing else, and then would come an appeal to Elder Miller � �O, brother Miller, do come here and try to make my lead steer �haw,� for the stupid brute does nothing but run away from me.� �Very well,� brother Miller would say, �but let me see you drive a little first.� Directly this request was made the raw teamster knew he was going to make an exhibition of his ignorance, and sure enough he did so, for instead of keeping behind his leading oxen he went rather before them, which was sure to frighten them and cause them to scamper to the right again. Elder Miller would bring the oxen back, and with his good-humoured smile say � �Now you are a pretty teamster ain�t you, to go and place your ugly body and long dangling whip right before their eyes, instead of keeping back as you ought (Piercy 85).��

Crossing Missouri River by Ferry.

      The journey started by crossing the Missouri River by ferry. Crossing a river by ferry was a demanding task in those days. Piercy stated that one ferry carried two wagons at a time. �The starting point is usually chosen a considerable distance up the stream, so that the current may assist in conveying the boats to the landing place on the opposite side of the river. Ferrying is hard work. When the boat is pushed from the bank the rowers are obliged to ply their oars most vigorously, as it is no slight matter to row across a river a quarter to half a mile wide, with a current running at the rate of 4 or 5 miles an hour. Six or 8 stout fellows are required to do the work (Piercy 81).�

Elkhorn River Ferry. Map

  Elkhorn River 1853 (Piercy).

      A couple days later they arrived at the Elkhorn River. Because the Elkhorn was a small river, they would bring the ferry across with a rope. The men and boys herded the oxen separately across the river. The oxen didn�t always cooperate (Piercy 86). After crossing the Elkhorn, mosquitoes were abundant. Baker writes of fine fishing and �millions of mosquitoes� (Holmes 259). Piercy recalls uninteresting sites together with �a lot of mosquitoes. They are very irritating (Piercy 85).�

Wagon Train Chores.

  Mormon Camp Reenactment.

      After a long day of traveling, the chores weren�t over yet. Huntington recalled from his 1848 trip, �As soon as we had struck our wagon in the corral, unyoke the cattle, gather wood, or buffalo chips for cooking, and usually to save fuel, dig a hole in the ground about 3 feet long, one wide, and 6 inches deep. This prevented the wind from blowing the heat away� The next thing was to get the cows (they were drove all together clean behind all the company) and milk, then drive stakes to tie the cattle to an[d] about this time the drove would come in and then get the cattle and tie them. These were regular and sometimes as many more, according to camping ground, sometimes have to go a mile and a half for water and sometimes had to dig wells. Each ten herded their cattle and every man and boy able to do it took their regular turn according to the number of the ten. In the ten I was in there was an increase until the number of wagons amounted to 24 and 25 persons to herd, and it came each ones turn once in 5 days taking 5 to each days company. The guarding of the camp fell on each man proportionally once in 7 and sometimes 6 nights, and then half the night only. The herding and guarding together with my daily tasks kept me beat down and wore out all the time. The women were as well drove beat down as the men. Sundays were scarcely a day of rest nor could it be if we traveled Monday (Stegner 202).�

      During the first two weeks, Baker�s company was immersed in nature. They learned to enjoy �red-root green as good as spinach�, they traversed deep ravines and swamps, survived violent afternoon thunderstorms, and had their first burial. The body was wrapped in a sheet and buried at the summit of a small hill where there were five other graves. The rough road inflicted a toll on the wagons, especially the critical wheels. Each company had skilled wheelwrights to make the repairs necessary along the way (Holmes 259-261).

Loup Fork. Map

  Loup Fork 1853 (Piercy).

      Two weeks after leaving Kanesville (19th July), Baker arrived at the Loup Fork (Holmes 261). During the next four days as she progressed toward the Wood River, her company pulled wagons through sandy roads and saw frogs, hares, and doves. They also found an elk skull with a message written on it, warning them of an imminent danger of Indians (Holmes 261). Piercy recalls that in this region the roads were difficult but sand and wind made it a major trial. �Veils and goggles were in great demand, for the wind brought the sand into our faces with blinding and choking effect (Piercy 88)�.

A Common Accident.

      An all too common problem was running over a pioneer with a wagon. Piercy describes what happened in his train vividly. �Learning that something was the matter I hastened to the spot, and soon saw that if I did not do something for him his chance of getting his leg set was a very poor one. I therefore took the case into my own hands, and turned surgeon, although I had never before seen a broken limb. In the first place I screwed up my courage to the sticking place and bared both his legs. I then took particular notice of the exact position of the bones in the unbroken leg and the position of the foot, and placed the right leg and foot in exactly the same position, and kept them so by means of 2 boards, which I nailed together. These, with the aid of thin sticks or splinters, bound round the leg, with abundance of rag, seemed to answer the purpose. The continual jolting of the wagon rather retarded his recovery, but I am happy to say he got on very well (Piercy 87).�

Wood River. Map

  Wood River 1853 (Piercy).

      Crossing Wood River was difficult according to Baker. As they approached the river, they crossed three deep ravines, two with water, and one overturned a wagon. Because of the rough approach, she decided to walk across the shallow river (Holmes 261). She said the next day was the hottest day yet. There was a hot wind too. The heat took its toll on the oxen, with many suffering. One of Baker�s oxen fell down and died within minutes (Holmes 262). The day the oxen died, it was the 24th of July. She doesn�t mention any celebration, just a hard day of traveling.

Buffalo and Indians.

      Still following the Platte River, they came near Fort Kearney. The Fort was on the opposite or Oregon Trail side of the river. Both Baker and Piercy saw Buffalo for the first time near this point on the Mormon trail (Holmes 262, Piercy 88). In Baker�s company, they shot one and enjoyed its fresh meat. They also both heard of Indian attacks near here. Baker�s company heard that Orson Hyde, traveling alone somewhat ahead of them, was robbed of nearly everything he had. Piercy, traveling in 1853, recalled, �We had a visitor from the camp ahead, who told us that one of their number, being about half a mile behind camp, was attacked by Indians, who stripped him of his clothes and then gave him a kick and told him to �Puck-a-chee,� which is the Indian word for Begone. It is evidently impossible to know when Indians are near. I have been told that they will follow up a camp for days, keeping on the opposite side of hills, being unseen, yet steeling all, until a favourable opportunity presenting itself for robbing, they pounce on their prey like the tiger from its lair (Piercy 89).

      By July 30th, Baker recalled they were �Much bothered with Buffalo, which are very numerous; strangers are apt to run in among our cattle, terrifying them very much, and it has been all the horsemen to do, to prevent their doing mischief on encamping for the night�(Holmes 263). As the Buffalo became more numerous, the Buffalo chips were commonly used as a replacement for firewood. Piercy states, �There were plenty of buffalo chips there. They are composed of grass, masticated and digested, and dried in the sun. It is a common joke on the Plains that a steak cooked on these chips requires no pepper. It is marvelous the wonders time and circumstances work. Young ladies, who in the commencement of the journey would hardly look at a chip, were now seen coming into the camp with as many as they could carry. They burn fiercely and cook quite as well as wood (90).�

Death on The Mormon Trail.

      Both Baker and Piercy�s companies had deaths. Piercy writes about one death, �The poor mother�s grief was very affecting. What can be more distressing than to see a poor infant struggling with death, and to be utterly unable to render assistance (90).� The child was buried the next day, a Sunday, before they continued their journey. (Although Piercy�s company frequently traveled on Sunday, Baker�s company did not. Whether they traveled on Sunday was probably dependent on their leader and progress on the trail.)

Chimney Rock. Map

  Chimney Rock.

      Near the region where they started following the North Platte River, Piercy wrote about large brilliantly colored grasshoppers that the children gleefully hunted (90). Baker wrote about difficult days crossing sand hills but seeing lizards, snakes, and grasshoppers (Holmes 263). Although Chimney Rock was on the south or Oregon Trail side of the North Platte, Baker wrote about it in her journal on August 9th. It was sufficiently interesting that she climbed a bluff to view it better. She called the scenery grand (Holmes 264). Baker should have also seen the Scotts Bluffs, the current site of Scotts Bluff National Monument, soon after Chimney Rock.

Fort Laramie. Map

  Post Trader�s Store at Fort Laramie (Building existed in 1851).

  Old Bedlam (living space) at Fort Laramie (Building existed in 1851).

  Magazine (ammunition storage) at Fort Laramie (Building existed in 1851).

      Indians visited with Baker�s company as they followed the North Platte. Baker wrote, �Indians with us all day, very fine looking fellows, and very gaily attired, the dresses of the women some of them, nearly covered with beadwork, they came to camp with us, and stayed till dusk (Holmes 265).� On August 16th, Baker�s company was near Fort Laramie. She never specifically mentions the Fort. She does mention a trading post that could have been in or near the Fort. According to Stegner, nearly everyone knew Fort Laramie but some Mormon trains by-passed the Fort after 1850 (141-2). At this point, the Mormons ferried across the North Platte and started following the Oregon trail on the south side of the river.

Guernsey Ruts Historical Site. Map

  K. Shelley at Guernsey, WY wagon wheel ruts site.

      Just after passing Fort Laramie on August 18th, Baker describes difficult roads that damaged many wagon wheels (Holmes 265). They were traveling near or through what is called the �Guernsey Ruts Site�, where it is possible to view ruts cut up to five feet deep in the rock today. Register Cliff is three miles east of the ruts, where hundreds of pioneers left their names, but Baker and Piercy did not mention it.

      To reach these sites today, drive 2.8 miles southeast of Guernsey, WY on US 26. There is a road to Register Cliff. The ruts site is 1.5 miles west of Register Cliff.

Mormon Ferry, Casper, WY. Map

      As they approached the region where Casper Wyoming is located today, they crossed the North Platte more than once. One of those crossings was just North of Casper, where the Mormon Ferry was located. Webber states, �Pioneers easily walked across the river when shallow in late summer but earlier in the year with high water some kind of boating was far more safe. Mormons installed a toll ferry of two 30-foot long dugout canoes lashed together then added planks to make a bed onto which a yoke of oxen, still attached to a wagon, could be coaxed aboard then rowed across the river. This outfit was tied to a large rope that stretched across the river to keep the ferry from drifting downstream. The ferry operated between 1847 and 1851. It was a money-maker for the owners who charged anywhere from $3 to $5 per wagon to cross the river (34).� Today, there are dams up river at Seminoe and Alcova Wyoming that make the North Platte a small stream compared to the substantial river it was in 1851 (Stegner 306).

      As Baker�s company continued along the North Platte, they saw many more Indians being escorted by a government agent to a great counsel of tribes. She wrote, �Our men at once loaded their guns, so as to be in readiness in case of an attack, but on our approaching the Indians, they opened their ranks, and we passed along, without any trouble, the Government agent was with them, in a buggy, and sitting between his knees, was the daughter of the chief, a pretty little creature of about 3 years old, who seemed to be quite pleased at our appearance �They made a grand appearance, all on horseback, and very gaily dressed, some with lances, others with guns or Bows and Arrows, also a number of ponies, carrying their tents and the men passed on one side of us, the women and children on the other but all of them well mounted, their clothing was beautiful trimmed with small beads, altogether it was quite an imposing procession (Holmes 266).�

Independence Rock. Map

  Independence Rock 1853 (Piercy).

      In late August, they would have passed Independence Rock. Baker never mentions it in her Journal. Some members of the original 1847 company wrote their names on it (Stegner 150-151). It was a tourist site even in 1851. Harriet Talcott Buckingham wrote in her journal in 1851 that she searched the numerous names on it in vain, just like today�s tourists, to find a familiar name written on it (Holmes 28). Baker vividly describes the terrain, �We are among the Rocky Mountains, the country is a desert, except here and there a patch of grass, by the side of the small streams, the scenery grand and terrible; I have walked under overhanging rocks, which seemed only to need the pressure of a finger, to send them down headlong, many of them resemble the ruins of old castles, and it needs but a little stretch of the imagination, to fancy yourself in the deserted hall, of a palace or temple, there seems to be much metal among the rocks. I picked up some specimens, which I am told are silver, and Iron ore, also some lumps of coal, which burn brightly, our road is so steep, as to seem almost like going down a staircase; �� The ruins of old castles were perhaps the Scotts Bluffs that they would have passed weeks before, where Scotts Bluff National Monument is located.

Devil�s Gate. Map

  Devil�s Gate.

      On August 31st, George D. Watt, the president of the Ellen Maria packet ship that the Shelleys sailed on, spoke at the Sunday sermon of Baker�s company. It isn�t clear whether Elder Watt was a member of the company or not (Holmes 267). Near this time, Baker�s company started following the Sweetwater River and passed Devil�s Gate, but she never wrote about it. The original 1847 company kicked stones into Devil�s Gate and fired guns to make an echo (Stegner 150-151). Baker mentions their company killing antelope and catching fish, both of which would have supplemented their rations (Holmes 268). As they followed the Sweetwater upstream, they crossed over it many times. A well-known landmark that was passed was Rocky Ridge.

South Pass, Pacific Springs, and Mountain Fever. Map

  Trail near South Pass (continental divide).

  Beginning of Pacific Springs Creek.

      On September 9th, Baker�s company camped at Pacific Springs, just west of the continental divide, which was crossed at South Pass. To reach this area today, drive 28.6 miles east of Farson, WY on Highway 28 to the South Pass overlook exhibit site on the right side of the road. After enjoying the exhibit, take the dirt road on the right. The road is suitable for a passenger car. Keep left at the forks in the road. The Pacific Springs exhibit is on the left at 1.7 miles from Highway 28.

      According to Stegner, at South Pass many members of the original 1847 company became sick with what they called �mountain fever� (Stegner 157). �It [mountain fever] announced itself with a blinding head ache, which was followed by severe pains in the joints and spine, by high fever, and often by delirium. For lack of a more precise name they called it mountain fever, and laid it to the sharp mountain alterations of heat and cold, or to the saleratus they had scraped up and used in baking, or to the inhalation of alkali dust. There is no telling exactly what it was. Altitude sickness does not seem likely, for even on the pass they were only at 7,550 feet (7,085 by Orson Pratt�s barometer), and they had reached that moderate elevation by very gradual stages. Some historians, including Dale L. Morgan, believe it to have been Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or some related tick fever. No one in the pioneer company, and few later, died of it, but the joint pains and headache made riding the jolting wagons a torture.�

      Stegner continues, �John Fowler arrived at the Big Sandy out of his head; several others were down, by morning several more. It was a blessed relief to the sick ones when at noon on June 30 they reached the Green River three miles above the mouth of the Big Sandy and found that the river was too high for fording (Stegner 157).� After Thomas Shelley arrived in Salt Lake, he also stated that he had mountain fever and ��was brought down very low. So weak that I could scarcely get out of the house.�

Robbed by Indians.

      On September 10th, a man visited Baker�s company from Cordon�s company, which the Shelley family traveled within. Cordon�s company was apparently running out of supplies and may have had an encounter with Indians. She wrote, ��2 men came up with us; one from Alred�s, the other from Cordon�s company; they left on account of provisions growing short, and teams giving out; they tell us that the companies were throwing away all that they possibly could spare, in order to lighten the loads, that 19 wagons, had left Pratt�s company, and overtook Cordon�s; they had been visited by an Indian Party, who had robbed 6 of them, bidding the owners defiance, and telling them they had 500 Warriors on the other side of the hill. It seems our people were frightened and suffered them to do as they pleased, except one Englishman, who gave the Indians a sound thrashing with his whip-stock, their 2 men have started without any provision, taking their chance of meeting with other companies, they supped with us, and started on, as they travel in the night only, in order to avoid the high winds, which we constantly have in the daytime, though the nights are quite calm and pleasant. They hope to arrive in the Valley, in time to send out provisions to the various companies, who are behind, who we fear will be much distressed (Holmes 269).�

      Little is known of the Shelley trail experience; however, George F. Shelley states, �The trip across the Plains was rather uneventful. Mother [Charlotte Elsmore Shelley] relates that the roads were rough, and when a hill was encountered that she would push on the back of the wagon to aid the animals. Some Indians and buffalo were seen en route.� Chances are, the experiences with Indians and buffalo were much more exciting than this statement implies. They certainly saw many of both. However, what is interesting is Charlotte pushing on the back of the wagon to aid animals. She wasn�t just a strong twenty-three-year-old woman; she was over five months pregnant when they began the wagon train part of the journey. She must have been a very tough English pioneer woman.

Teamster Strike.

      On September 13th, as Baker�s company approached the Big Sandy River, she writes that there was a strike by some of the teamsters. It is interesting to see the side of the pioneers that shows they had human weaknesses too. �This morning the general strike took place, among Robins�s teamsters, there has been dissatisfaction for some weeks, owing to the scantiness, and inferior quality of their rations, and Mr. Robins, refusing to make any improvement, the men shouldered their blankets, and set off intending to take their chance for provision, on the road, as they go along. An hour afterwards, the camp started, by noon the captain had overtaken the men, and expressed his wish that they would return, in order that there might be an investigation of the matter; they agreed to do so, and we went on till sun-down, and encamped on Big Sandy river, to the great joy of ourselves and cattle, who had not seen grass or water, for 18 miles, one Captain then supplied the mutineers with a tent, and plenty of Buffalo-robes, and we all retired for the night (Holmes 270).�

Green River. Map

  Green River ferry crossing site.

      On September 15th, Baker�s company approached the Green River. To reach the Green River Ferry crossing today, drive 2 miles on Highway 28 east of the junction of 28 and 372. The Green River impressed Baker because; unlike in Nebraska and eastern Wyoming, the trail doesn�t always follow a river. It was an oasis to her, �� passed through some very beautiful country, and we were just the ones to appreciate it, having seen nothing but sand and wild sage, for 300 miles, with now and then a mountain stream to break the monotony of the scene, we forded the river, a wide rushing stream, and clear as Crystal, along the sides the cottonwood trees were numerous, we traveled through this beautiful scenery, for several miles, on looking down the banks, which are very steep, except at the fording place, I observed a white sandy appearance among the pebbles, so being blest with a tolerable share of the failing, of which our first parents left so plentiful a supply to their posterity, I managed to scramble down to the water edge, and on taking up some, first looking at it, and then tasting, I found it to be pure salt, how it got there I cannot imagine, as the water is quite fresh, and we are at an altitude of 6500 feet above the level of the sea. We encamped in a grove of timber, on the banks of this beautiful stream, which seemed like a paradise, after the long stretch of desert country, through which we have been traveling for the last 4 weeks�(Holmes 271).�

Muddy Creek. Map

      After passing the Green River, they crossed the Muddy Creek River. Harriet Talcott Buckingham wrote in her journal about the water they drank from the Muddy Creek River, ��camped upon Muddy Creek a stream was never more rightly named for we could not step upon its margin without sinking into the mire (Holmes 35).�

Church Butte. Map

  Church Butte (viewed from west side).

      An important landmark that guided Alfred Cordon�s company after the first Muddy Creek Crossing was Church Butte.

      To reach Church Butte, drive southwest from Granger, WY. On the right, the old Highway 30 will be encountered, a dirt road that passes many oil company sites. If you�re following the correct road, you will see cement BLM posts marking the Mormon Trail on the side of the road. Drive ten miles west on this road. After passing the butte, the Blacks River is crossed and followed for many miles.

Fort Bridger. Map

  Replica of Fort Bridger building.

      On the 19th, Baker arrived at Fort Bridger where she was able to buy fresh beef of fine quality for ten cents per pound and potatoes for three cents per pound (Holmes 272). Just past Fort Bridger Piercy recalled hearing wolves, �They seemed to wail and gnash their teeth for the fun of the thing. It was, however, no joke to me to be hushed to sleep with such music (Piercy 99).�

Bear River. Map

  Bear River near trail crossing.

      Two days later, Baker�s group arrived at the Bear River. She describes the region�s scenery as �very romantic� and �sublime� but was glad it rained to reduce the choking dust, �We have had gentle but incessant rain all night, to our very great comfort, as the dust has been almost choking us, for the last 3 weeks, with a continued west wind, which just blows in our faces (Holmes 273)�.

  Bear Town marker.

      To reach the Bear River and Mormon Trail crossing today, drive 8 miles south of Evanston, WY on Highway 150. The Bear Town Marker is a few hundred feet south of the river on the left side.

The Mormon Trail in Utah. Map

  Hogsback Summit.

      After passing through Echo Canyon, the trail passed near Henefer, UT. Six miles west of Henefer on Highway 65, is the crest of Main Canyon. This was called Hogsback Summit. It was where the Saints got their first glimpse of the rugged mountain terrain ahead. About 8 miles from the summit, a dirt road goes left for three miles to Mormon Flat in Little Emigration Canyon. Before reaching Mormon Flat, the road follows Canyon Creek. Mormon Flat was where the trail started a major climb up Big Mountain. A hiking trail can be followed to Big Mountain Pass today.

  Canyon Creek in Little Emigration Canyon.

  Mormon Flats: This is where the trail climbed Big Mountain. At the pass, pioneers saw the valley for the first time.

      At the Big Mountain Pass, the Saints saw the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. On September 26th, Baker saw the Salt Lake Valley for the first time but the steep descent remained, �the descent of the mountain was awfully steep and dangerous�so the two ladies, �in the straw� [they both had just given birth] were the only ones who remained in the wagons. When I arrived at the base of the mountain, I turned to look at the coming wagons, and was actually terrified to see them rushing down, though both wheels were locked, but no accident occurred, and we are now at the entrance of a narrow defile between rocks measuring 800 feet perpendicular height, with a serpentine stream running through it, which we shall have to cross 19 times (Holmes 274).� On the next day she notes, ��we came to a deep ravine, over which was thrown an apology for a bridge, we got over without accident, but how it was that there were no wagons overturned or Oxen killed seems almost miraculous. Our road afterwards was through a forest of small timber, which made it very unpleasant traveling �Eliza [who just recently gave birth] has suffered much from the roughness of the road, which has been worse today, than any part of the journey since leaving Kanesville and our Captain gives the comfortable assurance to us, that it will be still worse tomorrow (Holmes 274).�

      On the 28th, the promise from the captain was fulfilled, �Of all the splendid scenery, and awful roads, that have ever been seen since creation I think this days journey has beaten them all, we had encamped last night at the foot of a mountain, which we had to ascend this morning. This was hard enough on our poor worn out animals, but the road after was completely covered with stones, as large as bushel boxes, which our poor oxen, sunk to the knees, added to all this there was the Kanyon Creek, a stream of water running at the bottom of a deep ravine, which intersected our road in such a zigzag fashion, that we had to ford it 16 times at a descent of 15 to 20 feet and of course an equal ascent, and that in some places nearly perpendicular. One of my own teams were forced down a decline, with such rapidity, that one of the oxen fell into the stream, and was drowned before it could be extricated, this makes 6 oxen I have lost on the journey, the mountains on each side of us seem to be solid rock, but in the crevices on their sides trees are growing in abundance, and the tops covered with groves of splendid fir-trees; in some places large pieces of rock have been detached, and have rolled down the mountain side, many of them as large as a small house, in some instances, the rocks lie directly across the road, which occasion much difficulty in travelling, in one spot, the rocks had appearance of a ruinous gateway, through which we had to pass, the opening was very narrow, only one waggon could go along at a time, and that along the bed of Kanyon Creek, which seems to have forced its way through the opening I have described, it then turns off to the side of the road, which is immediately under overhanging rocks for some distance the grandeur of the scenery to my mind takes away all fear, and while standing in admiration at the view Milton�s expressions in his Paradise Lost came forcibly to my recollections � �These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, in wisdom has thou made them all.� � and I seemed to forget all the hardships of our long journey, suddenly I heard a sound as of rushing water, on my left hand, and looking in that direction, I observed that the mountain stream buried itself among some bushes, and sure enough there was the prettiest waterfall I had seen yet. I cannot describe it as it deserves, and alas! I am no artist or I would make a drawing of it; however the cataract in itself, was comprised of 15 separate falls, over as many pieces of rock, the whole perpendicular height, being about 35 or 40 feet, it stuck me with both awe and delight, and I felt as though I would like to have lingered a long time watching it, I dare say many would laugh at me, and they are welcome, if doing so affords them any pleasure; however the shouting of the teamsters, warned me to keep moving, if I did not wish to be left behind. On going about a quarter of a mile from this lovely spot, we came upon 7 waggons all in a row, every one of them with a broken wheel or axle; the sight made our company very careful for fear of being in the same hobble passing there; as well as we could in the narrow road, we came to some others, and soon after some more in the like fix, making in all 17, we picked our way, as well as we could, and at about sunset, we emerged from the Kanyon, and caught a faint view of our destined home; we encamped in a hollow, just at the entrance of the valley, and night came on, before we could obtain a good look about us, I then began to find that I was very tired, so went to the waggon and found Eliza had suffered much, from the jolting of the days travel; thank God however it is over now, and they tell us that 5 miles tomorrow, will bring us into the said Salt Lake City�(Holmes 276-277).�

Salt Lake Valley. Map

  Salt Lake Valley 1853 (Piercy).

      On September 29th, Baker�s company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. She described it as ��laid out in squares, or blocks as they call them here, each containing 10 acres, and divided into 8 lots, each lot having one house �(Holmes 275).� Harriet Talcott Buckingham described Salt Lake in July 1851 as, ��an immense ploughed field but as we approach nearer it is a garden of Luxuriant growth The most pleasing feature of the city is the brooks & water which flow on each side of every street & rows of young cotton wood by the side (Holmes 39).� When Harriet left the Valley the next month, she wrote, �One would hardly think that in four years such improvements could be made. As you enter the valley each way as far as the eye can reach we see fine farms & herds of cattle grazing upon the range & lands so regularly laid out too.�

      James Bowyer Shelley and his family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 3rd. Thomas Shelley states in his diary that, �We came into the valley October 3. On the 6th attended Conference. I saw Brother Brigham for the first time and rejoiced much that I had been counted worthy to be gathered here with the Saints of God.�

      Although they attended a General Conference of the Mormon Church and were spiritually revived, their physical bodies weren�t in great shape. Thomas relates in his diary, �The 24th of October, my wife Charlotte was very sick, delivered of a child [James Edward Shelley]. It was by the power of God through the Holy Priesthood that she was restored. At the same time I was sick with Mountain Fever was brought down very low. So weak that I could scarcely get out of the house.� Their journey was over. The entire trip took about eight months. They had fulfilled the commandment to go to Zion.

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