Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crossing the Plains, 1848

Yesterday I was thinking about John Tanner's sources on FamilySearch and realized no one had added original pioneer overland travel documents, so I pulled up the Church History Library Catalog and pulled up the Camp of Israel Schedules and Reports and pulled up Willard Richard's 1848 emigration division.

The only revelation given to Brigham Young which is included in our scriptural canon is Doctrine and Covenants 136. He was told:
 2 Let all the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and those who journey with them, be organized into companies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God. 
 3 Let the companies be organized with captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, and captains of tens, with a president and his two counselors at their head, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles. 
 4 And this shall be our covenant—that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord. 
 5 Let each company provide themselves with all the teams, wagons, provisions, clothing, and other necessaries for the journey, that they can....
 7 Let each company, with their captains and presidents, decide how many can go next spring; then choose out a sufficient number of able-bodied and expert men, to take teams, seeds, and farming utensils, to go as pioneers to prepare for putting in spring crops. 
 8 Let each company bear an equal proportion, according to the dividend of their property, in taking the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the families of those who have gone into the army, that the cries of the widow and the fatherless come not up into the ears of the Lord against this people....
As you look at the records of the first pioneer companies, you can see how the pioneers put revelation into practice. Here is the record of the Amasa Lyman group in the Willard Richards company.

On the first page note Amasa Lyman and his first wife Louisa Maria Tanner and her children along with his plural wives and a few other family members. On the second page note the Duncan, Clark, Hakes, Tanner, and Adams families. My youngest was fascinated to see the children listed with their ages, and was sad to learn that 6-year-old Sidney Tanner did not survive the journey. 


  1. Replies
    1. And the comment made about the Tanners was that they were very well outfitted. I often think of the tragedy of burying their six year old on the Plains.