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John Smith Company

1860

John Smith

359 individuals and 39 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Florence, Nebraska (now Omaha).

View a list of individuals known to have traveled in this company.

Sources

  • "Accidentally Shot," Deseret News [Weekly], 29 Aug. 1860, 208.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Arrival of Companies," Deseret News [Weekly], 5 Sep. 1860, 212.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Arrival," The Mountaineer, 4 Aug. 1860, 198.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "From the Frontiers," Deseret News [Weekly], 4 July 1860, 141.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Incoming Emigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 8 Aug. 1860, 180.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Late from the Immigration," Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, 20 Oct. 1860, 669.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Latest from the Emigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 1 Aug. 1860, 172.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Latest from the Plains," Deseret News [Weekly], 8 Aug. 1860, 180.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "Names of Emigrants," The Mountaineer, 18 Aug. 1860, 3-4.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "News From the Plains," The Mountaineer, 11 Aug. 1860, 202.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "The Companies on the Plains," Deseret News [Weekly], 15 Aug. 1860, 188.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • "The Immigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 15 Aug. 1860, 189.

  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • Burton, Richard F., The City of the Saints, and Across the Rocky Mountains to California [1971], 180.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Utah State University, Merrill Library, Logan, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • Jenkins, David, [Reminiscences], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 15:45-46.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Judd, Lois Gunn, [Reminiscences], in Our Pioneer Heritage, 20 vols. [1958-77], 4:59.
  • Source Location
  • Brigham Young University Idaho, David O. McKay Library, Rexburg, Idaho
  • Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Laie, Hawaii
  • Dixie State College, Val R. Browning Library, St. George, Utah
  • Emery County Library, Castle Dale, Utah
  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • Provo City Library at Academy Square, Provo, Utah
  • Snow College, Lucy A. Phillips Library, Ephraim, Utah
  • Southern Utah University, Sherratt Library, Cedar City, Utah
  • St. George-Washington County Library, St. George, Utah
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Utah State University, Merrill Library, Logan, Utah
  • Weber State University, Stewart Library, Ogden, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • Judd, Lois Gunn, When I crossed the plains, 1-2. (Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.)
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Pioneer Memorial Museum (Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum), Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Maeser, Reinhard, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography [1928], 34-36.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • Moss, Fanny Watson, Autobiographical sketch.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City
  • Rutherford, Sarah Evans and Ann Hughes Treharne, Reminiscences, in Mormon biographical sketches collection [ca. 1900-1975], reel 11, box 14, fd. 11, item 9, 1-2.
  • Trail Excerpt
  • Source Location
  • Church History Library, Salt Lake City

Summary

John Smith was Presiding Church Patriarch. In autumn 1859, he traveled from Salt Lake City to eastern Iowa in a mule-drawn wagon. From there he visited his Smith relatives in Nauvoo, Illinois. Upon returning to Florence, Nebraska Territory, he found people much disturbed by rumors concerning the supposed intentions of his cousin, Joseph Smith III, who had just accepted the position to be president of the Reorganized Church. Patriarch Smith helped other groups prepare for the westward journey before taking the lead of his own company. His was an ox team-company, but milk cows also served as draft animals. There was also one mule-drawn wagon. Some in the company had previously crossed Iowa in wagons. Some were heeding the advice of Church leaders who had advised them to move west in order to avoid involvement in the soon-to-begin Civil War.

Among those in the company were Germans and English, while others were from Scotland and Wales. Educator Karl G. Maeser and his family were in this company. Maeser had just finished an assignment as president of the Philadelphia Conference. He led a group of emigrants to Florence and was appointed chaplain of Smith's company. Whooping cough broke out among the children before the company headed west. Many of the sick had to walk, despite their already exhausted condition. When these lagged behind, wagons doubled-back to assist them. Several children died of this dread disease before they reached Fort Laramie.

The company left Florence on June 15. Several were heartsick at having to leave cherished possessions behind because of weight restrictions in the wagons. On July 1 an 80-year-old man died. Then an infant died on July 10 and another on the 15th-the latter somewhere between Ash Hollow and Scott's Bluffs.

When the company passed Wood River Center on July 3, a local newspaper reported that there were 350 people and 39 wagons in the company. Shortly afterward the oxen stampeded, but Captain Smith and other men on horseback quickly brought the animals under control again, but in the confusion, several people were injured. On July 14, they were just 10 miles behind the emigrant company led by James D. Ross. On July 27 both Ross and Smith had reached Fort Laramie. At the Upper Platte bridge, one of the men in the company met an old friend who invited him to stay for dinner. He promised to help him catch up with the company before nightfall. Ignoring Captain Smith's advice to the contrary, he lingered longer than he should have. When he tried to find the company, he got lost, unwittingly wandering in a huge circle back to his friend's place. Captain Smith had to send men back to find the man.

When they reached Deer Creek on August 5, Ross's company was about a day behind. The heat greatly affected the oxen and once the company traveled by moonlight in an effort to find water. When the animals' feet became sore, they had to be re-shod. They crossed Green River on a ferry. On August 17, Captain Smith had to leave the company in order to rush his sister, Lovina Smith Walker, and her son, Hyrum Smith Walker, to Salt Lake. Hyrum had received a gunshot wound in the arm. They reached Salt Lake City on August 25. Two days later, Captain Smith headed back to his company. The main body of the company, numbering only 20 wagons, finally reached Salt Lake City on September 1. Prior to this many had left the train, heading for various other destinations. Deaths in the company numbered nine.