Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock

Overview

The official journal of the Brigham Young pioneer company is made available for the first time in this book. The arrival of Latter-day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake is one of the major events in the history of the LDS church and the West. Thomas Bullock, the author of this account, was the official journal keeper of that party of pioneers.

Bullock was the “Clerk of the Camp of Israel,” an English scribe who is perhaps more responsible than any other person for the ...

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Overview

The official journal of the Brigham Young pioneer company is made available for the first time in this book. The arrival of Latter-day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake is one of the major events in the history of the LDS church and the West. Thomas Bullock, the author of this account, was the official journal keeper of that party of pioneers.

Bullock was the “Clerk of the Camp of Israel,” an English scribe who is perhaps more responsible than any other person for the vast documentary record of the LDS church in the the mid-nineteenth century. Though he wrote thousands of pages ultimately released under other men’s names, he remains a relatively obscure figure in Western History.

An intensely personal document, Bullock’s account rises above its status as the “official” journal. He shares his doubts, his complaints, his personal assessments of his fellow travelers throughout the pages of the journal. This remarkable record presents in detail the daily reality of a journey that has become an American legend.

From Nauvoo to Salt Lake and back to the Missouri River, Bullock’s journals from September 1846 to October 1847 paint a colorful and personal picture of both the Mormon Trail and the suffering of the poverty-stricken Saints during their struggle across Iowa in 1846. They tell the legendary tale of Brigham Young’s pioneer company–the beginning of a great exodus across the Plains and Rockies to the Great Basin Kingdom.

Life at Winter Quarters, the renowned “miracle of the Quail” at the Poor Camp on the Mississippi River, detailed accounts of buffalo hunts, dances and celebrations, and other trail events are recorded.

Jim Bridger’s famous meeting with Brigham Young and other leaders of the pioneer party was described in detail by Bullock. Bridger’s comments on the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, the Indians, agriculture and the West in general show the breadth of knowledge of mountain men like Bridger. The interview also gives evidence of the unanswered questions still plaguing the Saints as they neared their destination.

With maps, illustrations, bibliography and index, this work is a major contribution to the history of overland migration, the LDS church, and the wider West. The book provides insight into the impressions of a devout European immigrant of the great American West. An appendix containing biographical data on Mormon pioneers is included.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
First published in 1997 as the first volume of the Kingdom of the West series, Bollock's journal of the trek west to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake was the official record of the Brigham Young pioneer company. He was the Clerk of the Camp of Israel, and wrote thousands of pages of Mormon history during the middle of the 19th century, but most of was ultimately published under other names and he remains obscure. Footnotes identify and explain references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870622762
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: Kingdom In The West
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author


Will Bagley is an independent historian who has written about overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and the Mormons. Bagley has published extensively over the years and is the author and editor of many books, articles, and reviews in professional journals. Bagley is the series editor of Arthur H. Clark Company's documentary history series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. Bagley has been a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the University of Utah and the Archibald Hannah, Jr. Fellow in American History at Yale University's Beinecke Library. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows has won numerous awards including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library, Westerners International Best Book, and the Western History Association Caughey Book Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 is the first of four volumes of Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails Series.
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