05 Eaton

July 24, 1847

July 24, 1847 About 11:45 AM Brigham Young riding in the carriage of Wilford Woodruff entered the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. Wilford would later describe that he stopped there on the benchland and turned his carriage so that the ailing president could look over the Valley. President Young was for a time enwrapped in vision. At last he said, “This is the right place. Drive on.”

From there they turned north and joined a number of their brethren camped near City Creek who had already been in the Valley for two day. When President Young arrived he found the men hard at work, plowing, planting, and constructing irrigation. Some five acres had already been cultivated near Main and First South. The next day was the Sabbath and about 10:00am the men assembled for worship around the cannon. One of the first sermons delivered was by George A. Smith who spoke of Isaiah’s prophecy of the House of the Lord being established in the tops of the mountains. There was much rejoicing and gratitude expressed, not only for having at last found the place which God for them had prepared, but that in the journey that vanguard company had lost not a man, woman, or child.

And what of that place they had found. As they entered what they called “The Great Basin” they saw it ringed with high mountains “like pyramids towering towards heaven” on all sides, some of which were beautifully capped with an abundance of snow. The lake shimmered a dark silvery blue in the distance. The canyons teemed with wildlife, bear, deer, mountain sheep, signs of buffalo, waterfowl, and so much more. Wilford Woodruff described a “vast rich fertile valley clothed with the heaviest garb of green vegetation.” It was not a barren desert wasteland. The soil was a fertile rich loam with just a bit of sand—ideal for growing crops. Grasses so thick as to lose a fox and higher than the stirrups of their saddles covered the valley floor and up into the foothills. Some of the grasses stood 10-12 feet high. The Valley abounded with “the best fresh water springs, rivulets, creeks, brooks, and rivers.” Along these gravel-bottomed water courses willows and shrubs covered both banks. It was indeed as the mountaineers had described “The Oasis of the Wasatch,” a beautiful rich land teeming with promise and prospects.

Mountain men like Jedediah Smith had frequented this area many times before. Native American tribes roamed over the land and within a short time visited the pioneer camp. This was not the United States, but Mexican territory and would remain so until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo ceded it to the United States the following year.

When Thomas Bullock first looked upon the Valley from the east he was constrained to exclaim “Hurrah, Hurrah, hurrah, there’s my home at last.” Wilford Woodruff reflected, “Thoughts of pleasant meditation ran in rapid succession through our minds at the anticipation that not many years hence the House of God would be established in the mountains and exalted above the hills, while the valleys would be converted into orchards, vineyards, fields, etc, planted with cities, and the standard of Zion be unfurled into which the nations would gather.” And indeed they would come driven by faith and dreams of freedom often in extreme peril by land and by sea. Some 70,000 of them would into the Great Basin between 1847 and 1869, and thousands would die along the way buried at sea or in a myriad of unknown and unmarked graves along the trail. The price they paid for their faith is our enduring legacy, our family pride, and the needle of the Liahona that points our eternal course. Pioneer day started in 1849 and it is that we may remember.

2 Responses

  1. Each time I have the privilege of reading about the pioneers,my testimony increases.Am grateful to them.Am enjoying what they endured.

    1. I can’t help but feel such gratitude for all they endured, as they followed their Prophet. Starting with Joseph Smith Jr. At his death the mob claimed that finially this act of the murder of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, would put to rest the Mormon problem. And little did they know the consequences of murdering our Prophet and our Patriarch. They will be held accountable. Wearing false blackened faces will not hide them from The Lord Jesus Christ on Judgement Day!
      Little did they know that it wasn’t Joseph’s Church. This great Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints belongs to The Lord Jesus Christ.
      I am so thankful to know that I had family in Ohio, Missouri, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake as my ancestors followed their Prophet. My great-great grandfather, Stephen Longstroth, worked and helped complete the Nauvoo Temple before they left Nauvoo for their new home in the west. I can only imagine that he also helped with the Salt Lake Temple. These great Amazing people built towns and cities – near and far. They gave to the Immigration Fund to help those trying to come to this new country following in faith, the Prophet they knew they wanted to know and be a part of. They wanted to live, learn, and grow in their knowledge of this wonderful true Church of Jesus Cnrist of Latter Day Saints. It is my hope to have the same strength, fortitude, loyalty, and love of service to neighbors in showing their God they would do all and give all that was required of them, in love and gratitude. They set the standard high, even when the Lord loves and enfolds ALL who come to Him. I hope and pray to the God of our Fathers, that I can give all that I have, down to my last drop of strength, to be obedient to the God who wants His children to call Him Father. I love my Father with all my heart might mind and strength. I have gratitude beyond measure for His Great Plan of Happiness, His Great Plan of Redemption, His Great Plan of Salvation. His Plan works. He is the Beginning and End of Days. I love Him. I love my ancestors who sacrificed beyond anything we can ever imagine, and they deserve great honor. Go find your ancestors and their children. You will also find great JOY! No matter if you’ve had family in the Church since the beginning or are new, you can start your own great and wonderful family history. You will be called blessed for creating a Heavenly Family here on earth!

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