Saturday, August 27, 2016

Thomas Bullock's Lucas County journal entries in full

I've spent a lot of time on the Mormon Trail through Lucas County this week, commencing with "Whose grave is in Grave Hollow, you ask" and then "Sister Gabbott: England to Grave Hollow, Part 1" and "Sister Gabbott: England to Grave Hollow, Part 2."

There have been many references in those posts to Thomas Bullock's detailed daily journal of the trek from Montrose on the Mississippi through Lucas County to the Missouri River between Oct. 9 and Nov. 27, 1846. He was traveling with Capt. Orville M. Allen's Poor Camp Company, consisting of  28 wagons, 157 people and their livestock.

Allen's company of refugee Mormons, driven across the Mississippi from Nauvoo during September, 1846, spent three days traveling across Lucas County --- Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 29-31. On Friday, Oct. 30, Sarah Gabbott was crushed and killed at the current site of Chariton by an ox-drawn wagon; on Saturday morning, Oct. 31, she was buried in Grave Hollow to the west.

A condensed segment of Bullock's journal entry for Oct. 30, recounting the circumstances of Sister Gabbott's death, may be found on the Mormon Trail interpretive panel at the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn. But the complete entries are found in print only in a volume entitled "The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock," first published in 1997 and republished during 2001 as Volume I in the series, "Kingdom in the West: the Mormons and the American Frontier." That's Thomas himself, in a photo taken about 1860 in Utah, at the top; the book itself, to the left.

And here are the entries themselves in full, so far as I know the first detailed account ever written of a road trip through Lucas County:

Thursday, 29 October 1846: The Saints had traveled during two days from a camp on the north bank of Soap Creek, north of what now is Unionville, to the site of first Moravia and then Iconium, camping overnight on Wednesday-Thursday perhaps in the extreme southwest corner of Monroe County, which the trail nicked as it passed from Appanoose County into Washington Township, Lucas County. On Thursday, the camp traveled roughly 12 miles from that point to what we call Chariton Point but Bullock called Wild Cat Grove.

"Arose at daylight, but on account of Stephen Perry's 2 yoke of cattle being missing, the Camp did not make a start till 10 o'clock. The Country being all knolly and undulating, the prairie was burnt for scores of miles and appears only one blackened mass. In many places the burnt prairie is covered with the webs of Spiders which has a pretty gauze like appearance. All the Camp had to stop to allow a man to pass, who was going to Garden Grove. We arrived at Wild Cat Grove about Sunset. We had to go more than a quarter of a mile for water and then it was quite black and not fit to drink, (but) afterwards found some holes where we procured a sufficiency. This evening a Beef was cut up and distributed among the Camp. Here are 5 Log houses recently built, occupied by the Saints. The Captain called the entire Camp together and instructed them in their duties. 12 miles."

Friday, 30 October, 1846: The camp got off to a late start on Friday, then from Wild Cat Grove grove at the edge of the high prairie, on a bluff east of the river, traveled northwest to round Chariton Point and descended into the Chariton River valley in order to water its cattle. Sarah Gabbot was killed after her wagon had been pulled by oxen up the hill out of the valley to the west and she was attempting to climb back into it. The Poor Camp Company seems to have continued almost due west, "over hill and dale," descending into Grave Hollow where camp was made and Sister Gabbott's grave prepared during the late afternoon.

"A very cold, brisk wind in the night. Arose by daylight. The Captain ordered the Wagons to be tarred, which was done and (we) started about 11. On the banks of the Charidon (sic) River, G. Wardle asked me if that was not some animal (pointing to an object in the distance). I told him I thought it was a cow, and to tell the Captain. They then started in pursuit, and turned up a young three year old Bull, which was driven into the drove. Here the cattle were all watered in the River. This is the most delightful country we have travelled thro'. (We) then ascended a very steep hill. As soon as brother Gabbut's Wagon had ascended the hill, his Wife Sarah Gabbut (while ) attempting to get into the Wagon, laid hold of a churn dasher which being cracked, gave way, and she fell against the Oxen, which so startled them, that they started off at a full run. She fell to the ground and the wheels of the Wagon passed over her loins or kidneys (about 12 o'clock). She exclaimed "oh dear, I am dying." She lingered until 5 minutes to 1 and breathed her last. This determined the Captain to come to an early camping ground. We continued over hill and dale until we came to one of the tributaries of "White Breast," which runs into the "Des Moine" at 1/2 past 3. The hill opposite us was on fire. Here we found plenty of wood and a clear running stream, and was altogether the best Camping Ground since we left Bonaparte. Laid Sister Gabbut out in her (temple) robes and part (of the company) prepared a grave. 7 miles."

Saturday, 31 October 1846: The Poor Camp Company arose this morning, buried Sarah Gabbott and then climbed out of Grave Hollow, ascending what was described as the steepest hill encountered so far on the trek across Iowa. The company then most likely snaked west-southwest down the narrow ridge from the top of that hill and at some point during the afternoon rejoined the main route of the Mormon Trail, then exited Lucas County west of Last Chance to camp that evening in Clarke County.

"Was a dull cloudy and cold morning. The grave being finished, Sister Gabbut was carried and laid low in her resting place between 8 and 10 o'clock and at 11 we started up the steepest hill yet travelled, and continued over a rolling prairie until we got to White Oak Springs. 10 miles. The road we travelled this day was Serpentine, and at one time had a fine view of the flames rolling over and over again and leaping high in the air as if conscious of its power, and sweeping the dry grass into oblivion, leaving nothing but its black track for a remembrance. The wind was very cold, the clouds dull and heavy and (gave) every appearance of an approaching Snow Storm."

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