This Week in 1856 – Nebraska – Mary Taylor

From John Jacques

The company moved on the day named, from Florence to Cutler’s Park, two and a half miles, and camped stayed there the nest day and night, and left the next morning. While there, Almon W. Babbit, dressed in corduroy pants, woolen over-shirt and felt hat, called as he was passing west. He seemed in high glee, his spirits being very elastic, almost mercurial. He had started with one carriage for Salt Lake, with the mail and a considerable amount of money. He was very confident that he should be in Salt Lake within 15 days. He intended to push things through vigorously, and sleep on the wind.

On leaving Florence, the loads on the handcarts were greater than ever before, most carts having 100 pounds of four, besides ordinary baggage. The tents were also carried on the carts. The company was provisioned sixty days, a daily ration of one pound of flour per head, with about half a pound fro children.

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary

28 August 1856:

We started at 8 o’clock. Stopped at the Big Papeon, for dinner, a distance of three miles; started again at one o’clock. Traveled today 15 miles. Six o’clock, we camped at the Elk Horn.

29 August 1856:

Began to ferry at 8 o’clock, across the Elk Horn, and had all ferried across about 12 o’clock; 132 handcarts, 180 head of cattle, 8 wagons. We had our dinner and started about two o’clock; traveled three miles, mostly through a sandy road and arrived at the Raw Hide Creek where we camped for the night.

30 August 1856:

Started about 8 o’clock and traveled until about 1 o’clock, when we camped for the day upon the banks of the Platte River.

31 August 1856:

Sunday. We started today about 7 o’clock and left the river a little on our left, but being high to the banks of the river, the road was very sandy, which made it hard pulling. We camped again about two o’clock upon the banks of the Platte River.

1 September 1856:

Started about 7 o’clock. The road was not so sandy as yesterday. Started again and at 1 o’clock we stopped for dinner at Shell Creek. Started again at 2 o’clock, and therefore, we were obliged to stop on the prairies before we got to the river. There is no wood upon the prairies, only at rivers and creeks, and having nothing cooked, we were obliged to line down without supper. Traveled about 20 miles. We were a little tired.


This week in 1856 – Arrival in Florence – Mary Taylor


From Samuel Openshaw’s Journal

19 August 1856:

We started at twenty minutes to 8 o’clock, and traveled until 11 o’clock, when we stopped two hours for dinner. Started again, traveled 21 miles and pitched our tents at 6 o’clock, close by the River.

20 August 1856:

We started at 8 o’clock from the Jordan Creek and passed through Nobotomy, and over Silver Creek. Stopped on hour for dinner at Mud Creek. We started again at one o’clock, traveled 21 miles and pitched our tents at 5 o’clock at Keg Creek.

21 August 1856:

We started at 8 o’clock from Keg Creek and traveled 9 miles. Stopped for dinner at the Big Mosquito Creek, upon the same spot where the Saints were driven from Nauvoo in the depths of winter, without food or house or anything to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather. When the American’s demanded from the Saints five hundred men, to enlist in the American cause for the Mexican war, it was from Council Bluffs, about 7 miles. Camped about 7 o’clock, where we found a beautiful spring.

22 August 1856:

We started at 8 o’clcok, and traveled about four miles when we arrived at the Missouri River, where we were ferried across to Florence. We went to the top of a hill where we could view the country all aournd, and the Missouri River to a great distance. Every place we came through, we were admired by the people very much. Some looked upon us as if we were deceived, others who were old apostates, came with all the subtilty of the devil, and all the cunning they have gained by their own experience, trying to turn the Saints to the right hand or to the left, but thanks be to God, few or none adhered to their advice.

23 August 1856:

Rested here today.

24 August 1856:

Sunday. A cow was killed today, and was divided among us, one half pound each. A meeting at 11 o’clock, and 4 o’clock. Elder Wheelock and others addressed us.

25 August 1856:

About one p.m., we moved about three miles and passed over the spot of land where so many Saints died, and were buried, after being driven from Nauvoo in the depths of winter. Men, women and children, driven on these plains to die from starvation. Their bodies are now moulding in the dust while their spirits are done to await the day of recompense and reward. Camped in sight of the Missouri River.

From John Jacques:

The company left Florence on the 25th of August, to make a journey of 1,000 miles, half of it over the mountainous backbone of the continent, in an inclement season of the year, with an early and severe mountain winter rapidly approaching.



This Week in 1856 – Between Iowa City and Florence Nebraska – Mary Taylor


From Samuel Openshaw’s Journal:

5 August 1856:

We started about 8 o’clock this morning, but the road through the wood was full of stumps of trees. We had not got out of the wood, before we ran our handcart against a stump, and broke the wheel off. We took our luggage and placed it on the ox teams. We then tied our cart ups with ropes and overtook the rest about two o’clock, where they were camped for dinner. We got a new axle tree on, and traveled about two miles farther, where we camped for the night.

6 August 1856:

We were told we should start at seven o’clock this morning, but a thunderstorm delayed us until 12 o’clock. I was so weak, that I was unable to pull the handcart, therefore, I went to drive the team for rather. We traveled about ten miles, part by the light of the moon, pitched our tents about ten o’clock among the prairie grass.

7 August 1856:

We started about 7 o’clock this morning and traveled through a beautiful country, where we could stand and gaze upon the prairies as far as the eye could see, even until the prairies themselves seemed to meet the sky on all sides, without being able to see a house. I thought, how many thousands of people are there in England who have scarce room to breathe and not enough to eat. Yet all this good land is lying dormant, except for the prairie grass to grow and decay. We traveled about 15 miles, and pitched our tent about two o’clock p.m.

8 August 1856:

We traveled about 18 miles up hill and down. In fact it has been so all day. We started about seven o’clock this morning, passed through the town of Newton, which contains 1200 inhabitants, traveled two miles farther, and pitched our tents in a valley by the side of a woods, through which a creeks runs.

9 August 1856:

We started about 10 o’clock and traveled through woods and across creeks. We stopped for dinner about two o’clock, at the edge of a wood where we found plenty of ripe grapes. We started again at three o’clock. We had not gone far before a thunder storm came upon us, and we got a little drenched in the rain. We pitched our tents about six o’clock, close by a creek.

10 August 1856:

Sunday. Traveled none today. We washed ourselves in the river Skunk, which is a beautiful water, running as clear as crystal upon a sandy bottom, which appeared like the waters of Silon (?). Eliza began to be very badly. We had a meeting in the afternoon, and partook of the Sacrament. Elder Tyler addressed us.

11 August 1856:

A brother and a child were buried this morning, which delayed camp until half past ten o’clock. We had to wait until the coffin was made. We traveled about 14 miles and pitched our tents about four o’clock.