After travelling over the mountains one day we met with some of our brethren from the Valley. This was a time of rejoicing. Captain Brown who left us at Santa Fe with the sick which went by the way of Fort Kearney and a few brethren with him from the Valley, brought news that we were not to go to the Valley, and told us we had better stay another year in California. So the company divided right where we met each other; some went on to Winter Quarters; some to the Valley, and some turned back. Daniel Browett, Slater, Cox, Levi Roberts and myself turned back to Sacramento and went to work for Mr. Sutter who treated us very kindly. I sent a mule to my wife with Brother Harris, which she got….

We all went to work at the same place for Captain Sutter. We took the work of cutting a millrace. Brother Browett went [p.379] to work with the millwright, this was in September and later on in the fall, I and two others took sick with the bilious fever. We were so sick we couldn't help each other to a drink of water. We lay under some ties and had to crawl around with the sun to keep from making us chill…. Our appetites were very poor, and our food was flour, water and squash. Had it not been for the thoughts of my wife and family I could have died, but we all three recovered after awhile and went to work on the millrace again and worked all winter. Sometime in the winter two of the brethren who were working for Mr. Sutter in the mountains found gold in a tailrace they were making. Mr. Sutter let me see the first gold they found before sending it to San Francisco to get it tested. In May 1848 some of the brethren and myself made a trip in the mountains to try and find a road over (instead of going down Truckee River, as we had to cross it about 20 times) but when we got in the mountains we found so much snow we had to return, and on our way back I stopped at what we called the Mormon Island, where there was some of the brethren at work getting gold, Brother Sidney Willis and his brother; also Brother Hudson. I stayed here for a short time and got some gold.

HASKELL: George Niles

President Young told the men; "There would be no death from fighting befall you, if you keep the Lords Commandments. "There shall be no fighting except with wild beasts." The wild beasts turned out to be wild bulls of which there were several injuries and mules gored. The Battalion shot over twenty bulls before they quit charging the men, mules, and horses.
George Niles Haskell enlisted at the age of 49. They journeyed on to Winter Quarters where he took his wife, one girl and a son and proceeded on to Kegs Creek, where he left them with friends and acquaintance. Malinda had married prior to this time. The men then left for Fort Leavenworth where they received their gear and proceeded toward Mexico.
The family was to await the return of George Niles Haskell and the military pay from the Army was used to help to support them. President Young made arrangements with the Army and Govt. to remain here on Indian Land for the duration. George was Private #46 of Company B. Many of the Mormons traveled to the Missouri River with the enlisted men. He had enlisted for a year, 16 July 1846 to 16 July 1847.


From History of Utah, Vol.4 By Orson F. Whitney A native of the Empire State, and member of the mormon battalion, a settler in Utah in 1847, Bishop, civic official and promoter of various enterprise’s, the name of Myron Tanner stands out prominently in the list of Utah county’s leading citizens and business men. He […]

Guardians of the Pioneer Heritage

This article originally appeared in Vol.55, No.1 (2008) of pioneer magazine. by Orson D. Wright, 1972 sup President THE HISTORY OF THE sons of utah pioneers On May 10,1869, the Union Pacific Railroad met the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Golden Spike was driven, marking the completion of the two railroads. This union gave Utah […]

HESS, John W.

This article originally appeared in Vol.65, No.2 (2018) of pioneer magazine. John W. Hess was born to Jacob and Elizabeth Foutz Hess on August 24, 1824, in Franklin County Pennsylvania. In 1832 the family had moved to Richland County, ohio. He writes: “In March, 1834, my Father, Mother, three eldest sisters and myself, were baptized […]

TWITCHELL, Ephraim & Phoebe Melissa Knight

One day Branch President Ephraim Twitchell was traveling from Sacramento a long way by wagon. The last day of his journey he was traveling late, after dark. He did not stop because he was almost home. He was alone in his wagon, when suddenly there was a man sitting beside him on the spring seat. He just appeared from nowhere. He told Ephraim that he should take his family from San Juan Bautista and go to San Bernardino. Ephraim responded that they had not been in San Juan very long and that his children had their friends there. He noted that he did not think he could get them to go with him. The man beside him replied, "Yes, you can, and you must go to San Bernardino or you will lose them." When Ephraim turned to answer him he was not there. He had disappeared just as he had appeared -it seemed like just out of thin air. Ephraim knew the gospel very well and remembered their story in the Book of Mormon about the three Nephites. He thought this must be the answer-the messenger was one of the three Nephites. He then saw a beautiful new coat that the messenger had left on the spring-seat beside him. He thought the messenger had really been there-that he had not just imagined or fantasized. Ephraim went home and told his wife, Melissa. They talked about the move. They prayed about it for a couple of days. They knew they must go to San Bernardino, California. Every one of their children and one nephew, John Newton Twitchell, the oldest son of Jasper Twitchell went with them. Anciel Ephraim's oldest son came a year later.

Mormon Battalion 1950 Reenactment

This article originally appeared in Vol.55, No.1 (2008) of pioneer magazine. by Jay W. Smith, 2007 sup President Three years after the sons of utah pioneers celebrated the Centennial Year of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in Salt Lake Valley with a reenactment of that first trek, a similar partial reenactment of the mormon […]

Memories from Woods Cross

This article originally appeared in Vol.65, No.2 (2018) of pioneer magazine. by Leonore Ellis Peterson In the spring of 1846, Woods Cross was a quiet valley with a lazy river fed by babbling mountain streams. There were thick clumps of willows, clusters of sagebrush and wild rosebushes, and tall wild grasses waving in a gentle […]

AVERETT, Elisha – A Pioneer and His Fife


Farmington UT

This article originally appeared in Vol.65, No.2 (2018) of pioneer magazine. by Glen M. Leonard The settlement of Farmington began in the late fall of 1847 when four men brought several hundred head of cattle to winter on the areas grasslands. The herd consisted of surplus cattle whose owners in the Salt Lake Fort paid […]

PRESTON, William Bowker

from History of Utah, Vol.4 by Orson F. Whitney The present incumbent of the office of Presiding Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a native of Franklin County, virginia, where he opened his eyes to the light of this world on the 24th of November, 1830. He is therefore almost […]

WOOLSEY, Thomas: Mormon Battalion Volunteer

On 15 Jun 1856 they left their all to overtake the first covered wagon train of Mormons, to cross the plains that year. The oldest daughter was sick with chills and fever when the journey began, and had to be carried from the house to the wagon. Her father's brother who did not belong to the LDS church and was opposed to their leaving their home, predicted she would not live to go far, but Elder Hickerson promised her she would not have another chill, and she never did.

BINGHAM, Sanford

Submitted by John Elggren, Great-Great-Grandson of Benjamin Franklin Lewis      Sanford Bingham, first son of Erastus and Lucinda (Gates) Bingham, born in Concord, Essex, Vermont, 3 May 1821. He married (1) Martha Ann Lewis, daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Joanna (Ryon) Lewis and (2) Agnes Ann Fife, daughter of Adam and Ellen (Helen) (Sharp) Fife. […]


This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 1990 issue of pioneer magazine by Thomas A. Woolsey, a great-grandson It was a sharp, cold winter day in winter quarters – Monday, February 15, 1847. President brigham young called members of his family and seven of the Quorum of the Twelve to an important meeting in his […]

ALLEN, Elijah

After he was discharged from the Battalion, he worked at the San Gabriel Mission in California. He went gold hunting on the way to Utah with other battalion members. When he reached the Salt Lake Valley, he traded a sack of gold dust for 20 acres of land.


He discovered that the Mormons were a religious people, however, at that time he cared nothing for religion. “The Methodists and the Presbyterians had been trying to convert me to their faith. I came to the conclusion that religion of every kind was a hoax, and that none was right, and that all preachers of religion were hypocrites, and were preaching for money and popularity.”