Full Chisel Blog

February 21, 2008

Of the Period

Filed under: — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:02 pm

This is a page of information about the period, some of which is made up of whole cloth, and I will note that but because it may be in the first person it is easy to identify.  Original materials will be used when possible and what is composed is based upon the best information available.



  1. Furnishing Zion

    A couple weeks out of Winter Quarters I was assigned to a group that made sure the wheels on the wagons stayed tight. The dryer mountain and eventual desert climate quickly shrinks the wood in the wheels leaving the iron tires loose. When camped near water the wagons drivers were encouraged to park their wagons in to water to swell the wood. Water was hauled in buckets to soak them when no near by streams were available. With only one blacksmith for each wagon train it was a while before he could get to all the loose iron tires.

    Our group would also collect extra cooking grease after meals and mix it with wood ash to make the grease for the wagon wheels. Buckets hung under each wagon, when a wheel began to squeak, a daub of grease in the appropriate location lessened the noise. Old grease and sand were scraped away and new grease applied, this kept the hubs from being scoured and worn by the abrasive grit.

    The wagons still creaked, the running gear groaned, the hardware rattle and the harness slapped, the horses snorted and the oxen bellowed. No wonder the saints frequently sang hymns to cover the noise of travel.

    One morning a bitter cold feeling in my legs awakened me. They tingled and felt likes needles and pins stabbing them. My feet had gotten wet in a late river crossing and I had not changed and dried out as we stopped late that night. I crawled to the fire pit and tried to stir the embers to life to no avail. I reached for my possibles bag; my flint and steel inside. I struggled to unwrap them from their case and fumbled with the char cloth, then got it to the top of the rock. The steel was bitter cold and difficult to touch and hold, my skin stuck to the frigid metal.

    A few swipes in the air then the flint contacts the steel and scrapes off thin shavings that burns from the friction. Hottest sparks always curl up. A deep orange glow in the burnt linen cloth, a puff of breath and a warming glow follows. In a bird’s nest of tow or cedar bark, a quick breathe and fire. An hour later and I was warm enough to tend to the morning chores, the animals, and wagons, hitch the team and prepare for the days journey. Many seeing my smoke stopped and took fire for their families.

    Everything was covered with fine sand and dust. Shovels full were swept from the wagon, shaken from the clothing and bedding every day. Many meals had grit that crunched and cracked as you ate. The accompanying condiment was wood ash that whipped into your meals by the constant winds.

    The smell of smoke made the meals taste better than any other meal I had before. Together with the anticipation of the new future waiting ahead were treasures sweet and well worth the endurance and sacrifice necessary to do our sacred work.

    Early every morning I had to prepare my team and wagon, round up my livestock, collect my belongings and be on my way. My animals, family and myself fed, watered and prepared for the trail ahead another 20 miles if we are fortunate. Those early cold mornings, the teams were warm, the harness cold. After placing the cold leather harnesses on the team I would rub them down to warm my hands and get the team ready for a full hard days work.

    Hoping not to leave anything behind I search the campsite for any forgotten item. As we have found many objects left behind by those before us. Some were too big for their owners to continue to carry and too large for us to salvage. Discarded furniture is a convenient source of firewood, broken apart and burned to cook more than one evening meal.

    The last pitch into the valley was the worst, up and over the steep saddles over Big Mountain down and over the small pass on Little Mountain. The animals were spent, the wagons and supplies all but used up. The saints persevered and arrived in their promised land and prepared to make the desert blossom like a rose and fulfill the prophecy of rebuilding Zion. Even though it was hot and dry coming down Emigration canyon it was no problem keeping the wheels wet as we crossed the creek 16 times.

    After 111 days on the road to the Promised Land and after 3 months and 3 weeks we had arrived in Zion. I received my inheritance of land and water rights to which I was entitled but which I was unable to farm. My first task was to make furniture as everyone entering the valley needed at least some type of furniture. The saints were discouraged from bringing bulky furniture as it could be made when they arrived and were encouraged to bring the essentials such as tools, utensils and other items that could not be made in Zion.

    My first pieces were of green wood and wagon boxes, it was only the following year I had a sufficient amount of dry wood to meet my orders. I am still required to use green wood but use it to my advantage. As you know we lack the hardwoods available to us on the East coast or in Europe, everything out here are softwoods, pine, spruce, cedar and fir. There are a few hardwoods in the gallery forests along stream banks and river bottoms, but not enough to meet the demand. Some big leaf maple was used for furniture and drawer sides. So the furniture is usually pine and it is painted or painted and grained to imitate fancier woods and decorate in the latest fashion. Brother Brigham told the saints to have items shipped from the States to be in hardwood shipping crates, which could then be fashioned into furniture.

    Early on I had to cut my own wood. I would wait until the fall when the sap is down in the trees. I would select the straightest trees and fell them. I would remove the branches and buck them to the length to fit the sawmill carriage. Now you can’t easily move those heavy trees this time of year so you have to wait until winter when the ground is frozen solid.

    Now this time of year you can easily slide the logs over the snow and ice. A team of horses, oxen don’t do well in the mountains are choke chained up to a log and it is snaked down the mountain over the ice and snow to the sawmill pond.

    Now that time of year the sawyer isn’t going to be doing any milling as his pond is froze solid, the only thing he can do is ice skate. I leave my logs together with my order which he will custom cut for me.

    Now come springtime with the freshet, the water flows over the wheel powering his saw and the miller cuts my logs up into the boards and scantling I need. He sticks up my lumber and it begins to dry

    Now that time of year I can not get a team and wagon up to get the lumber as the roads are too wet and muddy. I wait until summer when the roads are dry, then drive up get the boards and bring them back to the shop. The sawyer keeps a ‘custom’ from 10 to 20% of the lumber he saws up in exchange for his services, so I do not have to pay cash.

    Now I can’t use the boards then I must put them up in the wood shed or rafters of the shop to dry or season for a season, for one year. Some boards I can use green but must wait until next year to be able to use the rest of the boards. So I need to keep a constant supply of dry, seasoned wood on hand to meet the increasing demand for furniture from the growing number of folks entering the valley every day.

    As there is a shortage of hard coin, I do take barter and trade for my furniture, anything of value, I had my house built by the Carpenter, Mr. MacDonald, in trade for millwork, sashes, doors and moldings for several of his projects. Demands for furniture are such as I can provide my workmen with land, houses and even farm goods, produce and groceries in trade for their services in my shop.

    This keeps me and the tradesmen in my shop with plenty of food, the excess I sell for cash or trade. I also trade for lumber and scantlings from others from their own trees they have had sawn up at the mill. Because the trade was so lucrative I never again need to cut down my own trees. Repairs done in a neat and proper manner and Cash orders attended to promptly.

    The best part of what I do is to provide people with the furniture of the finest quality and latest style they need to carry on a comfortable and normal life. It is rewarding work. The worst part of my job and a sight I do not like to see is when someone walks in with a knotted length of rope or perhaps a short corn stock. They are here for one reason and one reason only, a coffin. These I make on the shortest possible notice with the greatest dispatch. A longer length of knotted rope indicates an adult’s coffin, which is difficult enough. But a small piece of string or yarn or a short length of corn stock indicates a child, always an arduous and difficult task. And far too many of them.


    Comment by admin — February 21, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  2. Money, Hard Coin, Gold, Silver and Copper, Specie, Card Money, Paper Money, Currency, Notes, Scrip and Shinplasters

    Because of the scarcity of United States minted coin, foreign coins were legal tender. French louis, English guineas, German talers, Dutch ducats and Spanish coins especially the milled dollar were officially sanctioned until 1857
    One real = bit or $0.12½ or a piece of eight (Spanish dollar cut into 8 pieces)
    Half real – medio = $0.06 ¼
    Doubloon = 16 Spanish dollars or $15.00 in New York currency
    Mille (mill) = 1/1000th dollar
    15:1 ratio between gold and silver (varied up to 15¾ to 16)
    1837 the value of gold is set at $20.67 an ounce (1934 set at $35.00 ounce)
    Notes from ‘Wildcat Banks’ flooded the market prior to 1830 and were more common than silver coins. When the banks collapsed in 1836-37 most became worthless.
    January 18, 1837 the fineness of coins was set at 900 thousands fine as the purity level of coins
    1840 ‘Jackson Tokens” and fractional notes of banks and commercial establishments was the era of the ‘shinplasters’, often poorly secured and quick to depreciate.
    1849 to silver half dollars were worth $1.03½
    Spring 1853 content of silver dollar worth more than face value
    Three-cent postage stamp caused the creation of the three-cent piece in 1851
    Feb 21,1853 reduced weight of fractionsls (not the dollar), now worth less than face value and the free coinage of silver was prohibited.
    Law of 1857 reforms copper coinage, new cent (smaller) and no more ½ cent.
    Spanish and Mexican and old copper cents and ½ cents in circulation to be called in and exchanged for U.S. silver coins and new cents.
    1864 to 1873 2-cent piece (first coin with IN GOOD WE TRUST).
    Silver 3-cent piece 1851 to 1873
    Nickel 3-cent piece 1865-1889
    Half-dime 1794-1873
    1866 nickel
    Twenty-cent piece 1875-1878

    Gold dollars from 1849-1889
    $3.00 Gold Coin 1854-1889
    $4.00 Gold Stella1879-1880

    Quarter Eagle $02.50
    Half Eagle $05.00
    Eagle $10.00
    Double Eagle $20.00 1850-

    Mormon Gold coins were issued from 1849-1860 in $2.50, $5.00, $10.00 and the $20.00, which was the first gold coin of this value issued in the United States.

    United States Mints
    C Charlotte, North Carolina 1838-1861 (gold coins only)
    CC Carson City Nevada 1870-1893
    D Dahlonega, Georgia 1838-1861 (gold coins only)
    D Denver, Colorado 1906-
    O New Orleans, Louisiana 1838-1909
    P Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1793-
    S San Francisco, California 1854-
    W West Point, New York 1984-

    Comment by admin — February 24, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

  3. Period Prices in Utah prior to the Transcontinental Railroad

    Bureau (chest of drawers) 25.00
    Repairing wagon 2.00
    Cradle 6.00
    High Post Bed 35.00
    Pair of tables 30.00
    Breakfast table 9.00
    Breadboard .75
    Rolling pin .25
    High Post Bed 15.00
    Trundle bed 5.00
    Crib 6.00
    Large Wardrobe 23.00
    Bedstead 6.00
    Large Panel bureau’s neat 14.00
    Small do 4.00
    Dining table 4’ 10.00
    Breakfast do, 3’-4” 6.00
    Corner cupboard 14.00
    Coffin 6’ long raised lid 8.00
    Congress Chair 5.00
    Side Chair (Windsor Chair) 4.00
    Fancy Chair 6.00
    Fancy Childs Chair 3.25 ½

    Cupboard lock .69
    Dozen table hinges 4.68
    4 chest locks .50
    Dozen escutcheons .12 ½
    Set casters .37 ½
    Cupboard lock .31 ½
    Cupboard lock .25
    Nails-.05 in Phila., after freight 1.30 per pound
    Linseed Oil (gallon) 5.00

    Adobe bricks (to the U.S. Army) .01875 each
    Firewood 1.00 per cord
    Hive of bees $100.00
    Honey (wholesale $0.50) 1.00 per pound
    120-130 lbs honey per year per hive
    (20 lbs of honey for every pound of wax)
    Saddle Horse 25.00
    Pack Mule 25.00
    First class lodging 5.00 per week
    Lodging .50 per night
    Baths .25 each
    Grover & Baker’s noiseless family
    sewing machine 75.00 and upward

    Golden Pass Road, (toll road blasted by Parley P. Pratt down Parley’s Canyon, shorter and easier than the route down Emigration Canyon, Utah, 1860’s):
    $1.00 per wagon
    .50 wagon or carriage drawn by 1 animal
    .75 conveyance by 2 animals
    .10 Draft, pack or saddle animal
    .05 each head of loose stock
    .01 per head of sheep

    10 yards Stair Carpet 11.00
    3 yards Floor Oil Cloth 4.50
    Broom 1.25
    Ralph Ramsey, 12 stools 18.00
    do do , 1 Table 27.00
    8 yards Crum cloth 4.00
    10 yards Crum cloth 3.00
    6 yards Crum cloth 1.50
    12 John Cottam Chairs
    6 chairs 19.00
    6 chairs 21.00
    Dining Tables With fly joined legs &
    2 circular ends (Wm. Bell) 48.00
    Large Cupboard 4 doors, 2 drawers 37.80
    2 Wash Stands 39.00
    5 Bedsteads 75.00
    1 Kitchen Sink
    Making Sink 12.00
    Charter Oak Stove #9 120.00
    Zinc Sheet (for under stove) 6.00
    Cloth for cleaning clock 2.50
    2 machein needls (sewing machine) .25

    I just noticed most of the prices are for furniture, imagine that?


    Comment by admin — March 2, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  4. Apples
    Heirloom Apples, for those of you making tool handles.

    1. American Golden Russett
    2. American Summer Pearmain
    3. Baldwin*
    4. Bee-hive*
    5. Bell Flower*
    6. Belleflower (yellow)*
    7. Belmont or Gate*
    8. Benoni
    9. Bevan’s Favorite
    10. Big Red*
    11. Black’s Annett
    12. Bohannon
    13. Broadwell
    14. Buckingham
    15. Caroline Greening*
    16. Carthouse
    17. Cooper
    18. Danvers Winter Sweet*
    19. Deseret Apple*
    20. Dominie
    21. Dutch Mignonne
    22. Earlier Chandler
    23. Early Ive*
    24. Early Pennock
    25. Early Strawberry
    26. Fall Cheese*
    27. Fall Pippin*
    28. Fameuse (snow apple)
    29. Findley
    30. Fort Miami
    31. German Bough*
    32. Golden Russet*
    33. Golden Sweet or Sweet Harvest*
    34. Gravenstein
    35. Green Newtown Pippin*
    36. Green Winter *
    37. Harvest (Yellow H, Early H)*
    38. Hawley*
    39. Holland or Golden Pippin*
    40. Hubbardston Nonsuch*
    41. Jeniten*
    42. Jersey Blue*
    43. Jersey Sweet
    44. Jonathan*
    45. July Apple*
    46. Keswick Codlin
    47. Ladies’ Sweeting*
    48. Lady Apple (Pomme d’Apie)
    49. Large Fall*
    50. Large Sweet Bough
    51. Large Yellow or Sweet Bough*
    52. Late Strawberry*
    53. Limber Twig
    54. Lowell*
    55. Maiden’s Blush*
    56. Michael Henry Pippin
    57. Milam
    58. Minister*
    59. Mountain Chief*
    60. Newown Spitzenberg*
    61. Northern Spy*
    62. Ortley ( White Belleflower )
    63. Peck’s Pleasant*
    64. Pennsylvania Read Streak
    65. Phillips’ Sweating
    66. Porter*
    67. Pride of the Valley*
    68. Pryor’s Red
    69. Rambo*
    70. Rawles’ Janet
    71. Red Astrachan*
    72. Red Canada*
    73. Red Juneating or Strawberry Apple*
    74. Red Ute*
    75. Rhode Island Greening*
    76. Ripston Pippin*
    77. Rome Beauty
    78. Roxbury or Boston Russett*
    79. Roxbury Russet*
    80. Sine qua Non*
    81. Small Fall*
    82. Smith’s Cider
    83. Smokehouse
    84. Sour Harvest*
    85. Spitzbergen Esopus*
    86. Stoneburg*
    87. Sweet Pairmain*
    88. Summer Pairmain*
    89. Summer Queen
    90. Summer Rose
    91. Talman’s Sweeting*
    92. Tart Bough*
    93. Twenty Ounce*
    94. Vandervere
    95. Wagner*
    96. White June (Juneating)*
    97. William’s Favorite*
    98. Willow Twig
    99. Wine Apple
    100. Wine Sap*
    101. Winter Brown*
    102. Winter Pearmain*
    103. Yellow Harvest or Prince’s Harvest*
    104. Yellow Newtown Pippin*

    * documented in the Utah Territory prior to 1860.
    All others documented in America prior to 1860


    Comment by admin — March 4, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  5. Trees of Deseret as of 1857

    Conifers (Softwood) Gymnosperm:

    Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata)
    Limber Pine (P. flexilis)
    Lodge pole Pine (P. contorta)
    Pinion Pine (P. edulis)
    Ponderosa Pine (Western Yellow Pine (P. ponderosa)
    Red Pine (Extinct)
    Single Leaf Pinion Pine (P. monophylla)
    White Pine (White Bark Pine) (P. albicaulis)
    Douglas Fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii)
    Silver (Grey) Fir (Abies alba)
    Sub Alpine Fir (A. lasiocarpa)
    White Fir (Abies concolor)
    Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
    Englemann Spruce (Picea engelmannii)
    Common Juniper (Juniperus communis)
    One-Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma)
    Rocky Mountain Juniper (Western Red Cedar) (Juniperus scopulorum)
    Utah Juniper (J. utahensis)

    Deciduous (Hardwood) Angiosperm:

    Alder (Thin Leaf Alder, Mountain Alder) (Alnus tenuifolia)
    Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
    Big Leaf Maple (Acer grandidentatum)
    Box Elder (Acer negundo)
    Canyon Live Oak (Golden cup Oak) (Quercus chrysolepis)
    Curly Leaf Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
    Fremont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii)
    Gambrel Oak (Quercus gambrelii)
    Knowlton Hop hornbeam (ironwood) (Ostrya knowltonii)
    Lance leaf Cottonwood (Populus X acuminata)
    Mountain Ash (Sorbus sitchensis)
    Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus)
    Narrow leaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)
    New Mexican Locust (Robinia newmexicana)
    Net Leaf Hackberry (Celtis reticulata)
    Peach leaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides)
    Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
    River Birch (Water Birch, Red Birch) (Betula occidentalis)
    Rocky Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum)
    Sandbar Willow (Salix exigua)
    Wild Pussy Willow (Salix wolfii)

    The pioneers brought with them a variety of useful & decorative trees in the form of nursery stock and seed. Fruit and nut trees as well as ornamental trees such as columnar poplars & oaks were introduced early on. Osage orange brought as dry root saplings, for broken wagon wheel spoke replacement and if not used was planted in hedgerows.
    Russian olive, tamarisk, tree of heaven and Chinese elm were introduced much later, are aggressive and threaten native habitat.

    Comment by admin — March 7, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

  6. The History up to 1857 (plus)

    1801-1809 Thomas Jefferson, 3rd Pres.
    1804 -American Cheese, processed cheddar cheese
    1804-1806 Capt. Meriwether Lewis & Lt. Wm. Clark Expedition mapping the Louisiana Purchase (1803)
    1807-Robert Fulton’s steamboat Claremont on Hudson River
    1809-1817 James Madison, 4th Pres.
    1812-United States fights its second war with England
    1814 Eli Terry pillar & scroll clock with wooden gears, interchangeable parts
    1817-1825 James Monroe, 5th Pres.
    1819 Pattern Lathe, Thomas Blanchard, shoe lasts, wagon spokes and gunstocks.
    1819-first steamship crossing of the Atlantic Ocean
    1820 steel pen, Joseph Gillott $36.00 gross in Birmingham in 1820, 2.00 in 1830, 1.50 1832 and .12 1860
    1821-Electric dynamo discovered by Michael Faraday
    1825-1829- John Quincy Adams 6th President
    1825-Erie Canal opens
    1829-1837-Andrew Jackson 7th Pres.
    1830 -Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    1831-steam locomotive developed
    1830-1870 narrow growth ring in trees, indicating drought.
    1836 -Colt revolver patented
    1836-Texas independence after Alamo
    1837-Morse code – telegraph
    1837 -Gold price set at $20.67 an ounce (15 to 1 ratio to silver)
    1837-1841 Martin Van Buren, 8th Pres.
    1838-Steel Moldboard Plow, John Deere (from John Lane 1833)
    1839-Buckboard wagon
    1838-Daguerreotype camera developed
    1841-William Henry Harrison, 9th Pres. (died 1 month after lengthy inauguration speech in the rain)
    1841-1845 John Tyler, 10th Pres. (Tippecanoe & Tyler Too!)
    1844-(Corcoran Mill) metal turbine wheel, Uriah A Boyden of Mass. Poncelette wheel
    1844-Joseph Smith assassinated, Carthage, Ill., presidential candidate
    1844-Fremont map printed (used by Brigham Young)
    1844-first telegraph
    1845-Irish potato famine (Lumper potato)
    1845-1849 James K. Polk, 11th Pres
    1846-Mexican War
    1846-Mormon Battalion, longest military march in U.S. Army history
    1847-first law of thermodynamics formulated by Joule
    1847-Pressure cooker
    1847-First Postage Stamp (Washington & Franklin)
    1847-American Medical Association (AMA) – formed
    1847-Mormons arrive in Zion
    1847- Sept 14th Mexican War Ended
    1848, 1854, 1866-Cholera Epidemic, vapours
    1848, January 24, John W. Marshall discovers gold at John Sutters Sawmill on the American River in Cal.
    1849-Edgar Allan Poe dies (b. 1809)
    1849-1850 Zachary Taylor 12th Pres. dies in office
    1850 John C. Calhoun dies, V.P. under Jackson
    1850-1853 Millard Fillmore, 13th Pres., dies in office
    1850-California Statehood
    1851-Exposition in England (worlds fair)
    1851-Wet-collodian process invented by Frederick Scott Archer
    1851-Joel Roberts Poinsett died (B. 1779), diplomat brought plant back from Mexico (1829) poinsettia.
    1852-Lola Montez dances in New York
    1853-1857 Franklin Pierce, 14th Pres.
    1853-Commodore Mathew Perry to Japan opens trade
    1854-Kerosene, distilled petroleum oil
    1854-Silkworm disease
    1854-Centrifugal drive Windmill, David Halladay, Conn.
    1854-55 Crimean War, siege of Sevastopol, Russians fleeing
    1855-David Livingstone discovers Victoria Falls named for Queen Victoria (1819-1901)
    1855-Tintype (melainotype, ferrotype), invented by Hamilton L Smith of Gambier, Ohio
    1855-first trans Atlantic cable is laid
    1855-56-Drought, crickets again
    1855-56-Universal Scientific Society
    1855-56-Fillmore, territorial capital
    1856-Neanderthal man discovered
    1856-Tintic Wars
    1856-First Small Penny 1¢ (rare)
    1856-Mormon Handcart Transportation Disaster
    1856-Bessemer invents converter to make steel
    1856-Sabin awarded “Best Cut Nails” in Deseret, Agricultural & Manufacturing Society fair
    1856-57-Reformation preaching blood atonement
    1856-57-XY Company, Brigham Young Express & Carrying Co.
    1857-Last Large Penny 1¢ (Large Cent)
    1857-Pasteur studies fermentation.
    1857-Flaubert publishes Madam Bovary
    1857-Sepoy Rebellion in India
    1857-John Stewart Mill publishes On Liberty
    1857-58-Transatlantic telegraph cable laid
    March 1857, William Parrish, Beeson and Potter killed, son Orrin survived
    Franklin Pierce (Pres 1853-57) appointed George P Stiles and Drummond
    1857-1861, James Buchanan, 15th President, despised the Mormons
    James C. Breckenridge V.P. 1857-1861 (Pierces V.P.), went to the Confederate States
    Hannibal Hamlin, V.P. 1861-1865
    Secretary of State – Lewis Cass, Jeremiah S. Black
    Sec. of Treasury – Howell Cobb, Phillip Thom, John A. Day
    May 13,1857 Parley P. Pratt killed in Arkansas
    Judge Wm. W Drummond from Illinois by way of Washington with prostitute Ada Carrol left SLC
    May 20, 1857 Buchanan position on the Mormons, May 28 formation of army
    83 miles a day from Cedar City to Salt Lake, 250 miles in 3 days on horseback, returned the next day
    Sept 11, 1857 Mountain meadow massacre 90-120 adults killed, 18-19 children spared
    Sept 1857 Capt Stewart Van Vliet quartermaster came to Salt Lake for supplies, cold reception
    Feb 25, 1858 Thomas L Kane (Penn.) writing of the Mormon plight under the pseudonym Dr. A Osborn
    Martin Van Buren & Thomas Ford recognized the injustice against Mormons
    June 26, 1858 The Army of Utah (Johnstone’s Army) to Cedar Valley (Camp Floyd), Fairfield, local Gomorrah, Frog Town, Dobie Town
    Alfred Cumming 1802-1873 Second Territorial Governor, spring 1858
    1858- Can opener invented 50 years after the tin can


    Comment by admin — March 8, 2008 @ 8:13 am

  7. Local Brew “Valley Tan”, Tiger Sweat, Tarantula Juice were terms used to describe the local moonshine. Here is an interesting description by a well known fellow:

    Horace Greeley (1859):
    Spirits of Turpentine
    Aqua Fortes (Nitric Acid)
    Steeped Tobacco
    …its looks alone condemn it- soapy, ropy, turbid, it is within bounds to say that every pint contains as much poison as a gallon of whiskey.

    “There ain’t nothing bad about this whisky; the only fault is, it isn’t good.”

    “It smells like gangrene starting in a mildewed silo, it tastes like the wrath to come, and when you absorb a deep swig of it you have all the sensation of having swallowed a lighted Kerosene lamp a sudden, violent jolt of it has been known to stop the victim’s watch, nap his suspenders and crack his glass eye straight across.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 13, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  8. Cabinet & Chair Shop

    You might notice the chair up there on the roof of my shop, that is my advertising sign, not everyone coming into the Valley can read or understand English but they know if they see a chair, they can get furniture made here. Speaking of furniture, I would appreciate if you please don’t sit, stand, kneel or lean on any of the furniture, the stove may be hot and all of the tools in my shop are very sharp, so when you cut yourself, do not bleed on the tools or furniture; it rusts the tools something awful and makes the furniture hard to sell. Come on inside.
    Welcome to the Cabinet Shop where I make the finest furniture in the Valley.
    Now lacking hardwoods like we had back east and in Europe all of the wood growing out here in the West are softwoods like pine, fir and spruce and they are painted and grained to imitate hardwoods and fancy woods imported from around the world.
    Now if you folks don’t have hard coin and I don’t take that card or paper money from the States, I do take produce from the farm in trade for my furniture. Beef cattle, oats, eggs, corn, wheat, turnips, chickens, onions, lumber, anything of value in exchange for my furniture. (When offered small children in trade “I only take things of value.”) Of course cash orders are attended to promptly and repairs done in a neat and proper manner.
    Now I can’t just go buy boards, I have to cut down my own trees and I do that in the fall when the sap is down. I select good tall straight trees, chop them down, cut them to length and remove any branches. Now I can’t move those heavy trees around that time of year the ground is too soft, I wait until winter when there is ice and snow.
    Come winter I take a team of horses up, oxen don’t do well in the mountains, hook a choke chain around those logs and snake them down off the mountain to the mill site where I leave an order with the sawyer on how I want those logs cut up into boards.
    Now he is going to charge me a one third custom (grist) for cutting my logs up into boards, so if I haul down three trees, he will cut them up into boards, give me the lumber from two and keep one to sell, so I don’t have to come up with any hard coin to get the lumber I need for the furniture I make.
    Now he can’t do any sawing that time of year, the only thing he can do on his mill pond is ice skate, it is frozen solid too. He has to wait until spring, the thaw and freshet when the water flows out of his mill pond, over his water wheel and powers the saw mechanism that cuts my logs up into lumber.
    Now I can’t get up there that time of year the roads are too muddy, I have to wait until summer, take a team and wagon up, load up the lumber, bring it down and put it out in the wood shed where it will have to dry for a year or season before it is fit for making furniture. So I have to make sure I have plenty of wood on hand to meet the demand for furniture for all those coming into the valley by wagon, as they were told not to bring furniture with them, it was too bulky and could be made here. They were told to bring essentials, tools and utensils, things we couldn’t make out here, so there is a great demand for furniture. Some folks did try to bring furniture with them and left some fine firewood for those that followed.
    Now sometimes I can use the wood when it is green, which is not the color that just means that the wood is fresh cut and has not dried out and shrunk up. Now wood shrinks a lot around the tree but hardly any in the length and I can use that to my advantage. Notice the solid seat on that chair, it is made out of green wood that was fresh cut this year and all of the other parts are made out of good dry seasoned wood that was cut last year or the year before.
    Now I drill tight socket holes and glue everything together, of course the glue does holds the chair together but when the seat shrinks and all of those holes I drilled get smaller it just locks that chair together and it never comes apart, and that is why I make the finest furniture in the Valley. Any questions?

    How long does it take to make a chair?
    Well a chair like that Windsor side chair takes about 9 hours to make all of the parts. It takes an hour to glue it together and 24 hours for the glue to dry. Then I paint the chair and that takes about an hour to paint it and a day or two for the paint to dry depending on the weather. Then I grain it and it takes about and hour and a half to 2 hours to grain the chair and a couple of days for the varnish to dry. So between the time it is order and the time it is delivered is about a week but most of that time is spent waiting so I can do other things.
    Where do you get your paints and how do you grain the furniture?
    The raw ingredients all have to be imported and paint is a mixture of linseed, turpentine and pigment, red iron oxide, yellow ocher, burnt umber, etc., added for color. Now a fellow is growing flax this season so we should have a good crop of flaxseed oil or linseed oil this fall. The varnish used for graining is copal resin or gum mixed with turpentine, linseed oil and other gums and resins to which burnt umber pigment is added to make a pigmented varnish that acts like a glaze. It is applied with special brushes and manipulated with brushes, steel graining combs, rollers, rags, etc. to imitate the fancy woods and even stone like marble unavailable out here in the west.
    Did you build this building? (The Cabinet Shop)
    No, this building was built by a carpenter, I am a cabinetmaker. Carpenters build buildings and cabinetmakers build furniture although some of our constructions methods are the same. This mortise and tenon joint here in the post and beam are the same as ones I use on doors for cabinets. The tenon goes into the mortise and is held with a wooden peg. This peg in the building is a trunnel or treenail made of a hardwood like oak or locust and the carpenter leaves them sticking out proud. The reason for that is that if the building ever needs to be moved, the roof and siding can be removed, the pegs knocked out the building disassembled and put up elsewhere.
    Because Brother Brigham has told the saints not to burn down their houses to collect the nails and hardware. This has been illegal in America since 1688 but it was a common practice, the wood was everywhere and virtually free but the hardware had to be purchased from the blacksmith and the nails had to be imported from back east. Nails may cost me a 5¢ a pound in Philadelphia by the time I get them freighted out here they cost me $1.30 a pound, so you can see they are quite expensive.
    Mr. Sabin down south has imported knives and made the machine to cut nails but the iron plate still needs to be imported from the east, the Iron Mission can not keep up production to meet the demand. His prices are better at 59¢ a pound.
    Are there any hardwoods out here?
    There are some growing along stream banks and river bottoms, the birch is too small, as are the willows and red-osier dogwoods, the cottonwoods are usually rotten on the inside. The scrub oak up in the mountains is a white oak but too brittle, mainly used for firewood and tanbark. Now there are big leaf maple growing up City Creek Canyon and here in Last Creek Canyon (Emigration Canyon), also ash and box elder is limited, but the predominance of wood available for building and furniture are softwoods, pines, firs, spruce, cedar and juniper. There is also Mountain Mahogany that grows up in the mountains, not too big but real hard and heavy.
    Now Brother Brigham has told the saints that if they have anything shipped out from the states to have it packed in hardwood shipping crates, so from time to time people will bring in pieces of hardwoods and we will gladly fashion them furniture from it and keep the extra.
    I saw the sign, do you make coffins?
    Yes, people will come in with a length of corn stock or a knotted rope because I do charge by the foot, extra if you want an arched top or liner, but I will burn oil to get that job done, guaranteed delivery next day, especially this time of year. Now in the winter we have to determine just about how many people will expire and dig a sufficient number of graves before the ground freezes. ($1.10 per foot, now some folks have been known to shorten the recently deceased to save a couple of dollars). So when Mrs. Webster came in with a short length of yarn, I knew just what she needed. (Pointing to a child’s coffin).

    Now I am looking for an apprentice, that would be a young boy between the ages of 9 and 11 years of age. Their parents would sign a legal contract with me for a period of 4 years and in that 4 year time period I would teach him the trade of cabinetmaking. He would work for 12 hours a day 6 days a week, would get two meals a day and a place to stay out of the weather, a loft in the barn or woodshed, they stay in the shop in the winter because I have heat in here. There is no other pay involved.
    They do get time off in the spring to help their folks with planting and in the fall for harvest and when school is in session they do get time out for schooling because that is an important part of their training as they need to know their ciphers, how to add, subtract, multiply, divide and figure out board feet. And at the end of the 4 year time period had the apprentice not run away or expired they would receive ‘custom of country’, which includes a set of new clothes and a set of tools, most of which they have made as test pieces during their apprenticeship. They also receive their walking papers and they become a journeyman at that point, free to take their journey, perhaps going to another community and opening a shop or they can go to work in their master’s shop. I pay between $1.75 and $2.50 a day for the services of skilled craftsmen and those are good wages.

    Keep me in mind for your furniture needs.

    Stephen Shepherd
    Dinwoody Cabinet & Chair Shop
    57 East First North
    Deseret City, Utah Territory
    This is the Place Heritage Park

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 17, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  9. Occupations listed in the 1850 Census in Utah Territory
    (Actual hand written spelling on Printed Census Forms)

    1. Architect
    2. Artist
    3. Attn at Law
    4. Baker
    5. Barber
    6. Blacksmith
    7. Boatman
    8. Bookbinder
    9. Botanic Physician
    10. Brewer
    11. Brick Layer
    12. Brick Maker
    13. Brick Mason
    14. Brick Moulder
    15. Brush Maker
    16. Builder
    17. Butcher
    18. Cabinet Maker
    19. Carpenter
    20. Carriage Maker
    21. Chair Maker
    22. Chair Turner
    23. Chancellor of University
    24. City Recorder
    25. Clerk
    26. Cloth Dresser
    27. Clothier
    28. Coachman
    29. Coal Merchant
    30. Cobbler
    31. Collier
    32. Comb Maker
    33. Cooper
    34. Cordmaker
    35. Cordwainer
    36. Cotton Gin
    37. Currier
    38. Cutler
    39. Daguerreotypist
    40. Dairyman
    41. Dentist
    42. Dep. Postmaster
    43. Distiller
    44. Doctor
    45. Draper
    46. Dress Maker
    47. Dyer
    48. Engineer
    49. Farmer
    50. Fiddler
    51. Fisherman
    52. Forgeman
    53. Founder
    54. Foundry man
    55. Gardener & Nurseryman
    56. Glove Maker
    57. Groom
    58. Gunsmith
    59. Harness Maker
    60. Hatter
    61. Herds boy
    62. Indian Trader
    63. Interpreter
    64. Iron Moulder
    65. Jeweler
    66. Joiner
    67. Laborer
    68. Lieutenant
    69. Limner
    70. Machinist
    71. Marshal
    72. Mason
    73. Merchant
    74. Midwife
    75. Mill Wright
    76. Miller
    77. Miner
    78. Moulder
    79. Musician
    80. Nurseryman
    81. Oil Dresser
    82. Overseer
    83. Painter
    84. Patriarch
    85. Peddler
    86. Physician
    87. Plasterer
    88. Portrait Painter
    89. Postmaster
    90. Potter
    91. Preacher
    92. President
    93. Printer
    94. Recorder
    95. Rope Maker
    96. Saddler
    97. Sail Maker
    98. Sailor
    99. Sawyer
    100. School Master
    101. School Mistress
    102. School Teacher
    103. Sheriff
    104. Ships Carpenter
    105. Ships Joiner
    106. Shoemaker
    107. Shopman
    108. Silversmith
    109. Soap Maker
    110. Spinner
    111. Stone Cutter
    112. Stone Mason
    113. Storekeeper
    114. Surveyor
    115. Tailor
    116. Tailoress
    117. Tanner & Currier
    118. Teacher
    119. Teacher of French
    120. Tin Smith
    121. Tinner
    122. Tinsman
    123. Trader
    124. Turner
    125. Wagon Maker
    126. Warehouseman
    127. Watch Maker
    128. Weaver
    129. Wheelwright
    130. Woodsman
    131. Wool Carder
    132. Woolen Master
    133. Yeoman

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — April 16, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  10. Furniture prices in Utah in 1864

    The following moderate prices in gold or its equivalent have been established:

    Common Bedstead $14.00
    Eight square Bedstead 16.80
    Extra “ 18.00
    Screws and Slats added 3.50
    Trundle Bedstead 8.00
    Crib 10.00
    Windsor Chair 2.00
    Rush bottomed Chair 2.50
    Child’s high “ 3.25
    French “ 5.00
    Sewing “ 5.00
    Congress “ 5.00
    Large Rocking “ 9.00
    Lounge, turned post 11.00
    “ scroll with back 14.00
    “ “ double 16.00
    Fall-leaf Table with drawer 12.00
    Kitchen Table with drawer 7.00
    Center Table, 3 ½ ft. diameter, with rim 26.00
    Round Stand (medium) 4.00
    Wash Stand with drawer 30.00
    Clothes Chest, complete 31.00
    Coffin (largest) 10.00
    ” (smallest) 4.00
    Spinning Wheel 6.00
    Reel 4.50

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — April 24, 2008 @ 10:55 am

  11. Proper Methods of Eating & Cooking in the Nineteenth Century
    Prepared by Stephen Shepherd
    There are some particular methods of eating that was practiced during the pioneer period. Of course proper manner and etiquette was practiced and here are a few reminders as well as how people actually ate their food.
    Of singular importance and perhaps the most visually effective method of portraying the common method of putting food into ones mouth, is eating with a knife. People in the nineteenth century, our ancestors did not eat with a fork, and there were several reasons why this was the common practice. Now there were forks and they were used to hold meat as you cut it with your eating knife. Eating knives have long wide blades and was used for shoveling food into your mouth at the same time minding your manners.
    The wide thin flat blades were held with the sharp edge away from the mouth and they ate from the back side. In this manner no sharp edges ever were around the mouth. With the invariable opportunity for infection, sharp objects, especially sharp pointed objects were not put into the mouth. You must remember this is a time when there were no readily available antibiotics to deal with infections. Forks were also more difficult to make than flat knives or spoons and were more expensive, a household many have one or two for the whole family.
    Forks were also associated with the Devil and were avoided for this correlation to evil with social, cultural and religious considerations. There are many reasons that forks were not used to eat with, but were associated with eating.
    Using eating knives is a very effective method of eating and you can put away a lot of food with this traditional eating utensil, they both cut and serve up, also fewer utensils to wash.
    There are some techniques that can help, gravy and sauces tend to keep loose items such as peas, beans and corn together. Mashed potatoes are also another good food item to mix with objects that may tend to roll from the flat knife. It does require some practice to eat with a knife, but it will show to the public a more accurate portrayal of life in the nineteenth century.
    Of particular note is the fact in the nineteenth century the diet was much different that that of today. Pioneer life was much more physical and required extraordinary amounts of calories to be consumed every day. Our sedentary lifestyle does not require anywhere near the amount of caloric intake. On the trail a person could consume between 6,000 and 8,000 calories a day with out any problems such as weight gain. You would burn up that much energy in a good days travel. Once they had settled physical work was still required and large quantities of food could be consumed and burned up in the same day doing that daily work.
    In the nineteenth century people were not at all worried about eating too much fat, especially fatty meats. And of course the fat in a lot of meats is very flavorful and provided the needed calories. Marrow was also another food that has fallen out of favor. A marrow spoon was a common utensil in almost every household. From simple hand forged examples to finely crafted silver with fancy wooden or ivory handles were quite common in the nineteenth century. Marrow on toast with a little salt is a treat that must be experienced.
    More of the animal was eaten in the past than today, the tongue, organs called ‘pluck’ were favorites; liver, kidney, heart, stomach and intestines were all readily prepared and eaten.
    Men and hired help would eat first to get back to work, especially on the farm, then the women and children. In most households all members of the family ate together. The table would be set and then the call for the meal. Men would sit down, follow normal table manners and the women would serve. When the women were to be seated, the men always stood up and assisted, this practice was also followed by the children, young men would parrot the adults and treat women and female children with the same respect, ’Please’ and ‘Thank You’.
    After a blessing on the meal the food is passed around the table until everyone’s plate is full then the meal begins. It is good manners to wait until everyone is served before starting the meal. If you need something you can reach for it if you remain seated (boarding house reach). If you need something you can’t reach, request ‘Please pass me the…’ When food is requested it is not good manners to serve yourself first then pass. You should pass the food then request it back.
    People would refer to each other by ‘Mr.’, ‘Miss’, ‘Mrs.’, ‘Ma’am’, ‘Sir’, always saying
    ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’. Calling someone by their surname was the common method of greeting even married couples called each other Mr. and Mrs., in public.
    When it comes to cooking in a fireplace, almost all cooking was done over hot coals and embers which give off a more uniform heat that open flame. Hot coals were raked out of the fire onto the hearth and the spider (3-legged frying pan or pot) was placed over the coals, not in the fire. Gridirons (grills) and griddles were used in the same manner. Hot coals are a uniform temperature while the flame of the fire can vary by hundreds of degrees. Open flame also puts soot on the cooking utensils; hot coals do not, so cleanup is easier.
    When starting a fire use fine tinder such as cedar bark or tow to get the flames going from the strike-a-light, (flint and steel and char cloth [natural cotton or linen cloth charred in the absence of oxygen]), burning glass or instantaneous match lights (Lucifer’s, vespers, loco-foco’s) to ignite the smaller kindling pieces to get the larger logs burning. Please do not use the small pieces of kindling for fires; those are just for getting the logs burning. Use the logs to make the hot coals and embers for cooking.
    Also the tongs at each fireplace are not ‘log tongs’, to move logs around you use a hooked poker, these are steak tongs, and they are used for handling food. You will notice that most tongs do not handle logs well; they were never intended to move logs, just turn the meat or other items that are cooking on hot coals on the hearth. Do not use tongs to handle logs, use a poker or shovel, the tongs are for food.
    If you think about cooking in front of a fire in a fireplace, it is hot on the side by the fire and not on the other, that is why little cooking was done over fire, it was invariably done over coals. Now heating water to a boil or cooking stock in a hanging pot can be done on a crane over the fire, but best results for frying, sautéing, baking are best done over hot coals. Roasting, toasting and broiling can also be done in front of the fire.
    Cooking on a cast iron stove was an improvement over meal preparation at the hearth. For one thing it was safer. The second leading cause of death for women after childbirth was death caused by burning. Wearing a number of petticoats to protect them from the heat, this was a potential source of fuel. They were soaked in borax to make them fire resistant but that made the fabric irritating. If you cook around an open fire be careful!
    Stoves require preheating to get them up to cooking temperature. Folks could tell how hot a stove was by how a little splash of water danced over the hot surface. Do not pour large quantities of water on hot cast iron stoves as this can cause them to crack, just a little for the test. Some stove retain their heat longer for more uniform cooking. Feed the stove less than a fireplace as it tends to be more efficient and the heat can be maintained by the dampers on the stove. There are dampers to let air into the firebox and a damper to let smoke out the chimney. You want to retain as much heat as possible without causing smoke and soot to back up into the room. All surfaces of a working cast iron stove can be hot, so be careful. Once they are at heat it takes very little wood to maintain the temperature.
    Masonry bake ovens, those made of brick, stone or mud work on a different method. There is no fire present when the actual cooking or baking is being done. A fire is built inside the oven and it is allowed to heat up to cooking temperature. Depending upon the size of the oven this can take from a several hours to a several days. And once it is heated the masonry mass will retain its heat and only requires a small firing each morning to bring it up to heat.
    Once the fire has burned down the ashes are swept from the oven and a handful of cornmeal is spread out on the floor of the oven. If there is a little remaining ash, don’t worry, the temperature has sterilized everything. The cornmeal raises the food being baked up just a bit from the floor of the oven, whether a pan, pie tin, pot of beans, loaves of bread, muffins, biscuits without imparting flavor and is easily brushed off after the items are removed from the oven.
    Because the oven is hot, long handled tools, a rake to remove the coals, a broom to remove the ash, a long handled fork to fetch pie plates, pots, etc. and peels, long handled flat paddles to slide under and remove the items. These are also used to position items in the oven for baking.
    After the oven is hot and ready to use, bake items that require the highest temperatures first, then those items that can bake at medium temperatures and finally those that cook at lower temperatures.
    Use lifting hooks, lifting forks and hot pads to handle hot metal items around fireplaces, stoves and ovens. Food coming from the fire can be hot so please use caution when handling hot food.
    Cleaning a greasy pot or pan is relatively easy, clean out left over food then fill with water and place back on the heat. A scoop or two of fine wood ash is placed in the pot. The ash and grease mix together and made a crude soap that converts the grease to soap. Repeat as necessary. Hard lye soap should be grated to make it dissolve better in hot water. When they are clean they are placed near the heat to warm them up to thoroughly to drive of any moisture and dry to prevent rusting. Tin ware can also be dried in this manner, taking care not to get them too hot melting the solder.
    A knife box is used to clean the carbon steel or iron eating and cutting knives. It is an open box with a place in the bottom for pumice (fine volcanic glass) to be stored and on the back of the open box is a wooden wedge. The box is placed flat and some pumice is put on the wedge and the flat sides if the knife is rubbed against the wedge with the pumice to polish the knives up and removes any rust.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — April 27, 2008 @ 6:46 am

  12. Here is an illustration of the lay out of Great Salt Lake City, by Pratt and Sherwood in 1847 as directed by Brigham Young from the inspiration of Joseph Smith Jr.’s plan for the ‘City of Zion’.

    The reasons the streets are 132 feet wide is NOT to be able to turn a team of ox and wagon around! You can turn a team and wagon in far less, the reason the streets are that wide is that they are 2 chains (66 feet) wide.

    Survey of Great Salt Lake City and Old Deseret Village


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 11, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  13. I have recently finished a research paper about the First Camp of the Utah Pioneers when they first entered the valley in 1847. They could not have camped where the monument is on 17th south and 5th east, they could not have camped below about 10th east. Here is the 1849-1850 survey map:

    Survey Map

    The Valley as it appeared when the Saints arrive &
    the location of the First Camp in the Valley

    Now of course the first Mormon through the Valley of the Great Salt Lake was Lavina Murphy who was a member of the ill-fated Donner-Reed Party of 1846. The second and third Mormon to enter the valley on July 22, 1847 was Orson Pratt and Eurastas Snow on a single horse (not sure who was first).

    Now Mr. Pratt had varied from his directive from Brigham Young, of going down Weber Canyon, finding the remnants of the previous years Donner-Reed party going up Henifer Canyon, he followed their trail to the mouth of Emigration Canyon, emerging on what is now Donner Hill.

    Knowing full well that after that canyon and all the river crossings (the Saints had crossed rivers 44 times on the way out West, 16 times in Emigration canyon) that there needed to be an alternate route, a road was ‘improved’ along the stream bottom at the mouth of that treacherous canyon. This was done before the ‘Vanguard Company’ arrived. And every wagon train to follow ‘improved’ the road, just to get through.

    On horseback Snow and Pratt explored the valley, reported back and led the first emigrants into the valley. On July 24, 1847 when the wagon carrying Brigham Young entered the valley and rising from a stupor brought on by Rock Mountain Spotted Fever he uttered the famous words “This is the Place, drive on”, or so they say.

    By that time the south fork of City Creek Canyon was diverted at 3rd south between State Street and 2nd East and 5 acres were under cultivation and irrigated. The North fork was later diverted down North Temple (in the middle of the street) to the Jordan River.

    When Pratt and Snow entered the valley they were south of Last Creek Canyon (Emigration Canyon), they were on horse back and could easily explore the valley, which they did and determined the best place to place the city.

    When the Saints entered the valley, July 24th they were on the North side of Emigration Creek (Last Creek Canyon), because they were in wagons and needed to have an easy into the valley. Because of the nature of the topography of the valley, they would have been forced to keep to the north side of the creek and of course they would have followed the easiest path possible. The best early representation is a painting by William Henry Jackson showing the saints entering the valley and the course of the waterways in the background.

    The last obstacle along the way to the valley was the escarpment along the Wasatch Fault along 13th East. Anywhere north along that level is very steep and Red Butte Canyon (not a large canyon compared to others and didn’t flow year round) limited how far north was ready accessible. The topography near Westminster College on 13th East and 17th South is the best place to drop down the 90 feet or so to the flats at 17th South and 11th East.

    It is here where the Saints first camped in the Valley on the evening of July 24, 1847. Now this doesn’t agree with the existing monument on 5th East and 17th South on the South West corner. And here is why they could not have possibly camped that far west. Emigration (Last Creek) Creek turns towards Liberty Park at that point, and I doubt the Saints were in a mood to cross that particular creek one more time.

    And thanks to Joseph Smith Jr. the Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and his vision of the ‘City of Zion’ set up on a perfect grid set along the cardinal points, Great Salt Lake City was the model for many western cities and towns.

    This grid system leads to my understanding of the valley and how it appeared when the Saints first arrived. Because of urban development much of the original courses of the existing watersheds have been obliterated. So I was interested in determining just which way the water flowed. And water was incredibly crucial to the survival of the Saints in the West, and Brigham Young’s introduction of an organized irrigation system revolutionized the settlement of the West and was perhaps his greatest contribution to the development of the West. But then again he has so many significant achievements.

    There are later developments that happened that leads me to this conclusion. Water was important and the pioneers needed to get it up out of the stream banks and river bottoms along the gallery forests that lined the stream banks. Red River Birch, Willow, Cotton Wood, Box Elder, typical tough western varieties populated these narrow furrows that cut into the foothills, some through glacial moraines from the recent Ice Age.

    The valley, a remnant of Lake Bonneville, an ancient lake that suddenly drained leaving the dead saline sea that is the Great Salt Lake. The Saints entered the valley nearly at the original shoreline, which is quite visible around the city even today.

    The lowest part in the valley is the Great Salt Lake and everything drains into it, first mostly emptying into the Jordan River which comes from Utah Lake in Utah County, picks up all drainages in the Salt Lake Valley and delivers them into the Salt Lake.

    It is hard to tell how much of the original course of the Jordan River is the way it was when the Saints arrived, but it is obvious that the courses of all of the watersheds in the valley, in other words all of the canyon drainages ended up in the Jordan River. It is at what point that they enter that river that determines where the first camp was located.

    This did not start out as an attempt to dispute where the first camp was, but rather where the water flowed and why. It was during my investigation that I realized that because of the original watershed of Emigration Creek (with others) determined where the Saints would have progressed and camped.

    It is from a compilation of geography, topography, hydrology and logistics that led me to these conclusions. It is the end of a long journey, the Saints have arrived in the land of Zion and they are home. People who knew what to look for, figured out where was the best placed to settle and put down stakes, weirs, diversion canals, head gates and ditches.

    If Jim Bridger did wager with Brigham Young about the first bushel of corn in the valley, Old Gabe would have lost that one. And of course Brother Brigham would not have nor could have engaged in a friendly wager. The valley did blossom like a Rose, all possible because of diverting water.

    The main drainages into the valley are the Jordan River which empties Utah Lake from the south and picks up along the way; Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Cottonwood canyons empty into the Jordan at about 4500 south as near as I can tell. Mill Creek canyon creek converges with Parley’s Creek and Emigration in Sugarhouse.

    Butterfield and Bingham canyon flow directly into the Jordan River, a couple of canyons on the north end emptied directly into the Great Salt Lake, all others entered the Jordan River that emptied into the Lake. The early map shows the original course, while the Hydrological maps made in the late 20th century shows the courses of these rivers after they have been changed. In some cases the new maps do not show the flow of water because of development.

    Now here is where it gets difficult, the more settled part of the city, so very little evidence of the original courses, although they are apparent on aerial photographs and topographic maps but require some interpretation. Having taken a Map Interpretation class at the University of Utah, I know how to read maps and the topographic maps (some from the 1920’s) were of great help in determining the lay of the land. And as we all know, water flows downhill and the terrain will control where the water flows. And as we all know, well we use to know, that to get a wagon down a hill or slope, you choose the flattest way down for the ease of the animals and the vehicle, tipping over is a problem with wagons.

    Water flows downhill and will seek the simplest course to follow, so topography can contribute to our understanding of how the Saints viewed the lay of the land from ground level. Moving heavy wagons over the Rocky Mountains gave them a good idea of gravity, terrain and where was the best and easiest way to get the wagons through terribly difficult conditions.

    There is a unique condition in the valley that appears to focus on Liberty Park, which is a natural low point for the junction of Red Butte Creek, Emigration Creek and Parley’s Creek. Is it any wonder that Brigham Young built the first mill early as it appears on the 1850 Stansbury Survey map (where it was noted as City Mill) and Isaac Chase built the Chase Mill there in 1852? Did Parley’s creek originally empty into Liberty Park/ Chase Mill/City Mill, I am not sure, but from the evidence, it looks like it did. Further evidence shows that Mill Creek also entered the convergence.

    There may have been more than one mill pond at the Chase Mill, and multiple mill ponds for mills, saw or grist appear in other locations, Mill Creek Canyon, etc. One pond fills the other after the water has been used from the first to run the mill. A second pond gave more water to power the mill longer. I think that the (Athletic) park just to the South East corner of Liberty Park was probably a location for the second pond.

    Red Butte canyon is not as large as say City Creek or Emigration or Parley’s it was large enough to form a gully or gorge that would prevent ease of access, so it forced the emigrants down (South) to follow Emigration Creek and the easiest place to drop over the 13th East (fault line) escarpment is at t 17th South.

    Fairmont Park at about 21st South and 10th East was probably the terminus of Parley’s Creek in the valley and it hooked up with the drainage into Emigration somewhere in Sugarhouse, a bit below 11th East. The terrain is fairly flat along this plane, so things tended to float north by north west.

    I talked with a fellow who I am sure is in his 70’s or 80’s, with a quick mind and he remembers as a youth (age 6 or so), throwing ‘floats’ into Emigration Creek and Parley’s Creek and Mill Creek and they all came out in the same place, in Sugarhouse where the old Medical Arts Building use to be, near 21st South and 1050 East (approximately). The convergence then flows north along present day McClellan Street towards Liberty Park.

    It was at this point that I think I understood the original watershed of the valley in 1847. However things changed instantly and water was immediately diverted. It was when I was examining aerial photographs of the Salt Lake Valley that I begin to appreciate what the Saints did to insure that there was sufficient water to grow the crops necessary for survival.

    Now here is where I think it gets interesting. Salt Lake City is set up on the City of Zion plan as envisioned by Joseph Smith Jr. and implemented by Brigham Young (with professional help) and is evident in many cities in the west set up on the same plan. If one looks at the layout of the city it is apparent that the major non-grid road is Highland Drive, which cuts across the valley from the south to the north tending west. Now this is the course of the Highland Canal which was cut, as all canals are, to flow gently downhill. Canals drop so many feet in elevation for so many feet in length to get a slow steady flow of water.

    And what does this canal capture, well all the water from Little Cottonwood Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon and Millcreek Canyon (and the small ones in between) and eventually Parley’s Canyon and dumps it together with Emigration and Red Butte Canyon and all others in between, into Brother Brigham’s Mill pond at Chase Mill (City Mill) in Liberty Park.

    Now this tail water (water out of the tailrace, after it has been used to turn the mill’s water wheel), drains out on the North West corner of Liberty Park and flows down and next to 4th south and by Pioneer Park (old Adobe Fort) where the Saints spent their first years. So this water drains into the Jordan at about 4th south. And the Deseret Pottery advertised they were near the mouth of Emigration Creek, not the mouth of the canyon but where the creek entered the Jordan River. The pottery was located on about 4th south and 2nd west, just above the ‘old fort’.

    The fort would have been located near water and above any flood plain. It is interesting that the elevation of the adobe fort is just 10 feet below the level of Liberty Park, the drive to ‘downtown’ was very flat, the center of town was a bit higher in elevation.

    The Highland Canal was constructed for multiple purposes, first to provide needed water to irrigate the large amount of dry land above the water. The ‘Big Field’ was a section of dry ground that just needed a bit of water to blossom like a rose. The other reason was to float the heavy Granite blocks to construct the Temple in Downtown Great Salt Lake City. The stones were cut, taken to the headwaters and placed on barges and floated down to where they were transferred to Ox Carts and brought to the construction site. The barge / canal venture lasted only a short time and most blocks for the temple were taken from the quarry by narrow gauge railroad down to the regular railroad and brought to temple square by train.

    The Ox got all the credit, but barges did most of the hard lifting and carrying. And the Highland Canal makes a distinctive mark across the Valley that is not according to the normal grid pattern. And where does this canal end up? Liberty Park, just draw a line along that direct obtuse road and it ends up at the Chase Mill. So virtually all of the water draining from the Wasatch Mountains in the Salt Lake valley eventually flowed through Brigham Young’s Chase Mill or City Creek which flowed through his property at the President’s House (Beehive House).

    The 1849-1850 Survey map from the Stansbury Expedition also supports the theory that the first camp could not have been below 7th East and was definitely not on 17th South and 5th East in Salt Lake City. Even Millcreek was diverted into City Mill (Liberty Park, Chase Mill) by that time and an early canal was dug an in operation that brought Little Cottonwood Creek to Millcreek and thence to Sugarhouse thence to Liberty Park.

    When the Pioneers first entered the valley in mass on July 24, 1847 they camped at about 17th South and 11th East. They then moved down to where the adobe fort was built on 3rd West and 4th, 5th South. They never crossed Emigration Creek again so they could not have gone down west that far.

    Stephen Shepherd

    111 Days to Zion by Hal Knight and Dr. Stanley B. Kimball, Big Moon Traders, 1997
    The History of Emigration Canyon by Jeffery Carlstrom and Cynthia Furse, Utah State University Press, Logan, Utah 2003
    The Latter-Day Saints’ Emigrants’ Guide by William Clayton, St. Louis, 1848
    The Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California by Lansford W. Hastings, George Conclin, Cincinnati, 1845
    Map of the Salt Lake Valley, hand drawn by Thomas Bullock from a description by Hastings of the valley. Church Archives, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Salt Lake County Hydrological Features Map, Sept 1986, 1”=5000’. Salt Lake County Department of Public Works Flood Control Division
    1850 Stansbury Survey Map, Capt. Howard Stansbury, Gunnison & Preuss cartographers from the 1848(9) and 1850 surveys of the valley and surrounding areas.
    Journal of Orson Pratt by Orson Pratt privately published.

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — June 18, 2008 @ 8:48 am

  14. Animals in the Utah Territory:

    Spanish Merino


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 2, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  15. Prices in the Utah Territory in the 1850’s:

    Rio Coffee 37 1/2 cents per pound
    Clarified Sugar 33 1/3 cents per pound
    Whiskey $4.00 Gallon
    Wheat $2.00 per bushel
    Cord of wood $1.00

    Building & fence lumber $20.00 – 25.00 per 1000
    Flooring & Finished lumber $40.00 – 45.00 per 1000

    In 1849 the Saints grew 40 pounds of hops and 70 pounds of tobacco in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 2, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress