, "a few small potatoes, from the size of a pea to that of
half an inch in diameter." This was the entire harvest of 84 acres
The PrattTaylor Company, starting in anticipation of harvesting a
crop at the destination, faced a winter of living on the cereal grains in
the wagons. There was no turning back, with weak teams and heavy loads.
At South Pass they were 799 miles from Winter Quarters, but only
231downhillfrom the Salt Lake Valley.
In writing the British Saints from the Valley, Taylor wasted no time
I might talk of trials, afflictions, and so forth, but what avails it?
They are the common lot of manthey are momentary and pass away, and are not
to be compared to the glory that is and shall be revealed; and I have not time
to think, speak, or write about such things . . . .
God bless the British elders, priests, teachers, deacons and members,
even all that are honest in heart, in time and all eternity, worlds without
end, amen, is the prayer of your friend in Jesus.John Taylor (9)
 (1) JH.
(2) Life In Utah, Philadelphia, 1870.
(3) The Mormons, Philadelphia, 1850.
(4) Life, p. 188.
(5) MS, 1 Nov. 1848.
(6) 18 Aug. 1847.
(7) MS, 1 Nov. 1848.
(8) CHC 3:295. See also Reva Stanley, who says, "Parley had married
two women without first asking Brigham's consent, and this was the act
which infuriated Brigham most." (The Archer of Paradise, Caldwell, 1937)
(9) MS, 1 Nov. 1848.
 Chapter 9
On 7 December 1847, John Taylor reported conditions at Great Salt
Lake City, Great Basin, North America:
Beloved Brethren, . . . The valley in which we reside lies between the
Great Salt and the Utah lakes, in latitude 41 degree and longitude 112 degree.
It is from 60 to 70 miles long and from 20 to 30 wide; there is a range of
mountains running on each side of the valley north and south, the tops of
which are perpetually covered with snow; at the south end is Utah Lake, and at
the north end about twenty miles from here is the Great Salt Lake. Besides
this there are many small limpid streams flowing out of the mountains, and
emptying into the Jordan, which will prove very valuable for the watering of
stock, for water power, and the irrigation of land if necessary.
There are also an abundance of springs; among those we have close to the
city a warm spring, which is impregnated with sulphur and other minerals
possessing great medicinal properties, and flowing in sufficient quantities to
turn a mill. A saw mill is now being erected near its mouth, leaving the
spring for bathing purposes; besides this there is a hot spring about three
miles north, which throws out a great volume of boiling water.
The land is generally rich and fertile, perhaps as much so as any in the
world, and our best agriculturists believe that it will yield an abundant
increase of every kind of grain, not excepting rice; there are various
opinions as to its adaption to the culture of cotton and some other southern
products, the validity of which can only be tested by time.
 We have ploughed and sown, since our arrival here, about 2,000 acres of
wheat, and great numbers of ploughs are incessantly going, and are only
prevented by the inclemency of the weather, which occasionally is too severe .
. . . The climate, so far as we have become acquainted with it, is beautiful.
Timber in the immediate vicinity is not very abundant, but we have found
sufficient for building and fuel for some time to come; we also anticipate
finding coal . . . . Salt can be procured in great abundance at the Salt Lake;
and there is a kind of clay equal to the best.... We expect to put in, in the
spring, about 3,000 acres of corn and other grain, and we have with us almost
every variety of seeds of vegetables, as well as of shrubs, fruits, and
flowers. There is sufficient feed for our cattle, sheep and horses, without
cutting any hay, during the winter; our cattle are fattening all the time,
living alone on the grass they get, which is highly nutritious, and equal if
not superior to most of our tame grasses. The fresh grass is now beginning to
grow, and is in some places from 4 to 6 inches high; we anticipate a very
We have built our houses for the present in the shape of a large fort;
but expect as soon as practicable to build our houses on our lots in the city;
the houses now erected and in progress amount to about 700, and are built some
of logs, some of sawed timber, and some of a des bois, or sundried brick.
The city plot is about two miles square; it is laid out in blocks of ten
acres, and the streets are eight rods wide, and cross each other at right
angles. The lots for each individual are an acre and a quarter, and those that
are worthy receive them freely as their inheritance together with what land
they can till. We have no land to sell, neither can any, other person
speculate on their inheritance, for it is the Lord's, and while the Lord gives
us free possession like the gifts of air, light, water, and life, it is free.
 There is a lot set apart for the erection of the temple, containing ten
acres, laid out on the bank of a beautiful creek that runs through the centre
of the city. When the pioneers arrived here, they went forward and were
baptized near the temple lot, and thus renewed their covenant before the Lord;
since then we have followed their example . . . .
And now, beloved brethren, although I have been writing in a great
measure on temporal things, yet my mind dwells not so much on hills, vales,
brooks, lakes, houses and land, as it does on the things pertaining to the
kingdom of Godthe building up of Zionthe gathering together of God's
electthe fulfilment of the propheciesthe blessing, glory, and exaltation
of His Saints . . . . And as when I was with you, so now when absent, I pray
God the eternal Father so to influence the hearts of men in authority, that
your way may be opened to gather with the Saints of the Most High, that you
may partake of the ordinances of the Lord's house, and finally be counted
worthy to possess thrones, principalities, powers, and dominions in the
Eternal World. (1)
A code of laws was needed for the new community. Patriarch John
Smith wrote of the problem:
. . . We found it somewhat difficult to establish order, peace and
harmony among the Saints after so much mobbing, robbing and traveling through
such a dreary country. The minds of many became restless; not having much
faith, the fear of starving, etc., came upon them. And in addition to this,
there was a company of soldiers arrived here destitute of sustenance; they,
together with those who were here before in like circumstances, created
On 27 December 1847 the High Council of Great Salt Lake City enacted
the first laws of the region, "for the peace, welfare, and good order of
 Ordinance 1st, Concerning Vagrants.
Whereas it is of the utmost importance that every man in our community
use the utmost exertion to cultivate the earth in order to sustain himself or
family in a new location. . . . therefore should any person or persons be
convicted . . . of idling away his or their time, . . two or more trustees
. . . take charge of all the property of . . . thus convicted
. . . .
Ordinance 2nd, Concerning disorderly or dangerous persons and disturbers
of the peace.
Any person convicted of violence on person or property, threatening or
riot, shall be sentenced to receive a certain number of lashes on the bare
back, not exceeding 39, or be fined in any sum not less than five dollars, nor
exceeding five hundred dollars . . . .
Ordinance 3rd, Concerning Adultery and Fornication.
Any person or persons convicted of the crime of Adultery or Fornication
shall be sentenced to receive a certain number of lashes on the bare back, not
exceeding 39, and be fined in a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars . . . .
Ordinance 4th, Concerning Stealing, Robbing, Housebreaking, or
maliciously causing the destruction by fire of any property.
Any person or persons convicted of any of said crimes shall be sentenced
to receive a number of lashes on the bare back, not exceeding 39, and to
restore fourfold . . . .
Ordinance 5th, Concerning Drunkenness, and etc.
Any person or persons convicted of Drunkenness, Cursing, Swearing, foul
or indecent language, unnecessary firing of guns, or in any other way
disturbing the quiet or peace of the community, shall be fined any sum not
less than 25 dollars. (3)
The settlers supplemented the cereals they had brought in their
wagons with thistle roots, sego bulbs, wild horseradish and other things.
In experimenting with wild roots, some took sick; one man died. By
December, the Missouri Republican reported,
Seed potatoes were selling at ten dollars per bushel, peas at fifty cents
per pound, and other things at about the same rates . . . . (4)
A charge was preferred against David Lewis by Charles Shumway for taking
his seed corn and beans and eating some without his leave . . . . David Lewis
sentenced to five lashes on the bare back at the bell post. (5)
On New Year's Day, 1848, Parley Pratt reported:
Here life was as sweet and the holidays as merry as in the Christian
palaces and mansions of those who had driven us to the mountains. (6)
However, before the month was over an event transpired that was to
shatter the isolation of the Saints and radically alter the course of
history in the Great Basin.
Monday, Jan. 24. On this date gold was discovered on the South Fork of
the American River, California, by Mr. James W. Marshall and six Mormon boys,
formerly members of the Mormon Battalion, but now employees of Capt. John A.
Sutter and James Marshall, who were building a saw mill on the south fork of
the American River. (7)
In anticipation of an early spring, the settlers put in crops. Then,
on April 1st, Isaac C. Haight reported:
During the week snow fell to the depth of a foot, and some of our houses,
which were flatroofed, leaked  very badly and made it very unpleasant
for the occupants. The wheat which was sown last fall looks very discouraging
for a crop, but we trust that the Lord who has brought us here will sustain us
and not permit us to perish.
It turned bitterly cold two days later; then the following week more
snow fell. It melted, and on May 1st the grass was green, settlers
planting again. On May 6th came a killing frost. John Taylor reported to
Brigham Young and the Twelve on May 22:
Beloved Brethren: After a long absence and separation, I take my pen to
address you, and I say peace be unto you, to the Camp of Israel and to the
whole of the household of God . . . .
We have been busy since our arrival in building, plowing, planting and
sowing, and we expect e'er you arrive to be engaged in the most pleasant work
of reaping. I never saw the Saints more diligent than they have been in this
valley. Enterprise and industry seems to be written on every man's forehead.
We do not expect to reap an abundant harvest but if we get from ten to fifteen
bushel of wheat to the acre on an average, we will not complain. If we do
anywhere in the neighborhood of this, we shall have sufficient to supply our
own wants and lend a helping hand to our brethren who are coming out . . . .
Crickets and other insects in some isolated districts have been very
destructive to the rising vegetation, but their ranges are limited and their
operations not such as to create any general alarm.
We have had a great quantity of rain this spring.... Indeed, some people
began to pray for rain before they ascertained that their houses were not
waterproof, and almost wished that they had deferred their supplications a
little longer . . . .
 I need not tell you that the Saints are anxiously looking for your
arrival, and none will be more pleased to see, to shake hands, and to
associate with his brethren than your humble servant. We have been separated
for some time and I long once more to meet in your councils. God bless you,
brethren, forever and ever, in time and all eternity, worlds without end,
Brigham Young replied from Chimney Rock, where the Camp of Israel
was enroute to the valley. Dated 17 July 1848, the letter was addressed
to "Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, Presidency of the Stake of Zion, and
the High Council of the Great Salt Lake City, Great Basin, North
Dearly beloved Brethren: . . . On 11th December, sixteen of the Battalion
from California arrived , bringing us news from your city
. . . .
On the 24th of December conference convened . . . and continued four days
in the building which was called the Log Tabernacle . . . . At this conference
a First Presidency was agitated and agreed upon, when Brigham Young was
unanimously voted and received as the First President of the Church; when he
nominated Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards as his counselors, which
nominations were seconded and carried by unanimous vote . . . .
On the 16th of January commenced a Jubilee at the Log Tabernacle, which
continued five days and was spent in preaching, exhorting and comforting the
Saints in the forepart of the day accompanied with music. In the after part of
the day dancing and other recreations. The brethren enjoyed themselves first
rate, a good spirit prevailing . . . .
Several bands of the Pawnee Indians visited Winter Quarters during the
winter, being starved out of their  villages; they returned home with
their animals loaded with corn . . . .
You must not be disappointed in not seeing the printing presses, type,
paper, mill iron, mill stones, carding machine, etc. . . . We have the poor
with us; their cry was urgent to go to the mountains, and I could neither
close my ears nor harden my heart against their earnest appeals . . . . I
cannot forsake the poor in the hour of need, and when they stand most in need
of comfort. I am disappointed in not bringing the presses, etc., but I cannot
avoid it . . . .
Great peace, love and union prevails in our midst. We have been blessed
on this journey; not a soul, nor an animal in my corral having died nor been
lost since leaving the Elkhorn, and I can truly say all is well with us.
I earnestly desire to say to the Saints in the Valley, they who want to
serve the Lord, that they are in a good place; and it is my advice that they
get cured of their California fever as quick as they possibly can. . . . for I
am well assured that if you do, the Lord will bless you and prosper you; and
may His choicest blessings rest upon you; may you be blessed by night and by
day, in your outgoings and incomings, in your basket and in your store, and
may the still whisperings of the Spirit be your constant companions . . . .
Parley Pratt and John Taylor, having supervised the settlement in
the valley during the first year of settlement, relinquished authority to
the First Presidency when Brigham Young's company of the Camp of Israel
arrived 20 September 1848.
The following summer, John Taylor clipped a dispatch from the New
York Tribune, written by a traveler who arrived in the valley enroute to
the gold fields:
 Judge our feelings when, after some one thousand two hundred miles of
travel through an uncultivated desert, and the last hundred miles of the
distance among lofty mountains and narrow and difficult ravines, we found
ourselves suddenly and almost unexpectedly in a comparative paradise . . . .
Houses of wood and sundried bricks were thickly clustered in the vale
before us, some thousands in number, and occupying a spot as large as the city
of New York. They were mostly small, one story high, and perhaps not more than
one occupying an acre of land. The whole space for miles, excepting the
streets and houses, was in a high state of cultivation. Fields of yellow wheat
stood waiting for the harvest and Indian corn, potatoes, oats, flax and all
kinds of garden vegetables were growing in profusion . . . . At first sight of
all these signs of cultivation in the wilderness, we were transported with
wonder and pleasure. Some wept, some gave three cheers, some laughed, and some
ran and fairly danced with joy, while all felt inexpressibly happy to find
themselves once more amid scenes which mark the progress of advancing
However, members of the goldseeking company were puzzled to find no
business district in the mountain metropolis.
No hotel, signpost, cake and beer shop, barber's pole, markethouse,
grocery, provision, dry goods, or hardware store distinguished one part of the
town from another; not even a bakery or a mechanic's sign was anywhere
discernable. . . . However, on inquiry I found that a combination of seemingly
unavoidable circumstances had produced this singular state of affairs. There
were no hotels because there had been no travel; no barber's shop because
everyone chose to shave himself; . . . no centre of business because all were
too busy to make a centre. There was an abundance of mechanic's shops, of
dressmakers, milliners, tailors, etc., but they needed no sign, nor had they
time to paint or erect one, for they were  crowded with business. Besides
their several trades, all must cultivate the land or die, for the country was
new, and no cultivation but their own within a thousand miles. Everyone had
his lot and built upon it, everyone cultivated it, and perhaps a small farm in
the distance. . . .
The country settlements extended nearly a hundred miles up and down the
valley. This territory, state, or as some term it, "Mormon Empire," may justly
be considered as one of the greatest prodigies of the age; and, in comparison
with its age, the most gigantic of all republics in existence, being only its
second year since the first seed of cultivation was planted, or the first
civilized habitation commenced.
"If these people were such thieves and robbers as their enemies
represented them in the States," the correspondent said, "I must think
they have greatly reformed in point of industry since coming to the
mountains." On Sunday, "Mr. Brigham Young, president of the society,"
exhorted his people to "stay home and pursue a persevering industry,
although a mountain of gold were near them." He "boldly predicted" the
overthrow of the nation which had killed the prophets and persecuted the
He said, God had a reckoning with that people, and gold would be the
instrument of their overthrow. The Constitution and laws were good, in fact
the best in the world, but the administrators were corrupt, and the laws and
Constitution were not carried out, therefore they must fall . . . .
Such, in part, was the discourse that we listened to in the stronghold of
the mountains. The Mormons are not dead nor is their spirit broken. And if I
mistake not there is a noble, daring, stern, and democratic spirit dwelling in
their bosoms, which will people these mountains with a  race of
independent men, and influence the destiny of our country and the world for a
The Saints had settled the valley when it was Mexican territory; but
by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, it became part of the United States.
On 5 September 1849 John Taylor applied for American citizenship.
A week later, he received a missionary call.
To all persons to whom this letter shall come, Greetings:
Know ye that the bearer, John Taylor, true and faithful brother and Elder
in Israel, and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the last days,
has been appointed and delegated, by the Authorities of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latterday Saints, in General Conference . . . on a mission to
France. To open the door of life and salvation to the people of that Kingdom.
To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and administer in all the ordinances
thereof pertaining to his mission, and in connection with the brethren of his
Quorum to preside over all the affairs of the Church in all the world, to open
the door of life to the inhabitants thereof. And he is authorized to collect
tithing, and to receive donations for the perpetual fund for the gathering of
the poor Saints. And we call upon all Saints and upon the inhabitants of the
earth, to receive our beloved Bro. Taylor, as a messenger of the living God,
offering life and salvation to men; and inasmuch as you shall . . . assist him
on his journey and mission, you shall in no wise lose your reward . . . .
(1) MS, 1 Nov. 1848.
(2) JH, Letter to George A. Smith, 5 March 1848.
 (4) JH, 10 May 1848.
(5) JH, 14 May 1848.
(7) Unless otherwise noted, this and other quotations of this
chapter are from the JH.
 Chapter 10
THREE MINISTERS OF BOULOGNE
John Taylor left the valley 19 October 1849, with a party of 35,
which included missionaries called to England, France, Denmark and
We left on six days notice, wound up our business affairs, bid farewell
to our wives and families, and started without purse or scrip in an inclement
season of the year to cross a howling wilderness, having to cope with the
mountain storms, the wintry blasts and the savage Indian . . . .
However, he minimized the rigors of the trip, saying, "Our journey
on the whole, considering the season, has been a pleasant one," and that
"Nothing very remarkable occurred on our journey out, except what is
common in Indian country."
Not so, his missionary companion, Curtis E. Bolton, whose journal is
a veritable catalogue of hardship and misfortune: