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Ash Hollow

Distance: 646 miles from Nauvoo

Pioneer Trail


Ash Hollow, its original beauty ruined by thousands of passing emigrants, was noted by countless diarists. Many commented that Sioux Indians often were at the site and in September 1855, General William S. Harney with a command of 600 soldiers attacked an encampment of approximately 250 Sioux. Harney’s soldiers killed 86 men, women, and children, took 70 captives, and looted and burned the encampment’s tipis. Ash Hollow also was a significant cholera graveyard during the gold rush years.

Journal Entries

William I. Appleby

24 August 1849

Ten and a half miles traveled to-day; roads quite good; pasture but middling; weather continues hot. Encamped opposite to Ash Hollow on the banks of the north fork of the Platte. I was busy preparing dispatches for the city in the valley of the Great Salt Lake to send by Brother Campbell. Near by where we encamped were the bones of Indians, sculls, buffalo robes, etc., supposed to have died of cholera last spring and the flesh eaten off by the wolves (Journal of William I. Appleby, 24 Aug. 1849, as reprinted in the Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 27 Oct. 1849, 10–11).


Wilford Woodruff

5 August 1845

The first division left according to my coun[sel] though with great reluctance. I spent the day at Ash Hollow mending waggons. We had good Cold spring water in this Hollow which was a great Benefit to the camp As most of the water we had to drink on the way was either slew [slough] or Platt[e] water And seemed to be unhealthy (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 1833–1898, typescript, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. [1983], 3:566).