Presentation on theme: "Chapter 5 Utah Studies. As the beaver trapping industry died out, many mountain men started sharing their stories of west with others. People were fascinated."— Presentation transcript:
As the beaver trapping industry died out, many mountain men started sharing their stories of west with others. People were fascinated by the stories about California and the Oregon Country. In the East, newspaper editor John O’Sullivan wrote “It is the Manifest Destiny of the United States to spread across the continent.” He meant that North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, including Canada and Mexico should be in the hands of the United States.
American Indians and Mountain Men had made many trails through what is now Utah today. Starting in the 1840’s wagon trains started using these trails. The Bidwell-Bartelson Party left Independence, Missouri in the spring of 1841. They wanted to get to California by wagon after hearing the accounts of the mountain men. They had little knowledge and no maps of the route west.
Fortunately for them, they joined three priests who were being guided by a fur trapper, “Broken Hand” Fitzpatrick. He guided them as far as the Great Salt Lake. The first known white woman entered Utah. Her name was Nancy Kelsey. Crossing the Great Salt Lake Desert was difficult. They found the life saving Humboldt River. They had to cross the Sierra Nevada’s without their wagons because it was late in the season. This proved that pioneers could reach California by land.
While he was still in his teens, Fremont got a job working with the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. For two years he worked with beside some of the most skilled mapmakers in the United States. He learned how to take careful readings of instruments, sketch field maps, and make notes of plants and minerals. Later Fremont met fifteen-year-old Jessie Benton and they eloped. He was hired by her father to map the Oregon Trail.
Government leaders were so dazzled by Fremont’s report that they printed 10,000 copies of it!
Fremont had about thirty men with him and were guided by Fitzpatrick and Kit Carson. They followed the Bear River through Cache Valley and camped for a week on the northern shores of the Great Salt Lake. A few of the men took a leaky boat and rowed out to a small island that is called Fremont Island today. They later hooked up with the Oregon Trail and went to California. They came back to Utah through what is Las Vegas and St. George today.
Mountain men Joseph Walker and Kit Carson guided this expedition, entering Utah through the Uintah Basin. They rode horses to the Provo River, followed it to Utah Lake, and went north along the Jordan River. They spent two weeks camped on the future site of Salt Lake City. They wanted to search for a water route from the Great Salt Lake to California. They went across the salt flats guided by a mountain called Pilot Peak. Fremont reported that Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake were the same body of water. He also said that Utah was a garden spot, fertile and well watered.
In 1853, Fremont had the goal of finding a good route for a transcontinental railroad. By this time Salt Lake City and many small towns were established. Fremont spent a harsh winter in the small settlement of Parowan. He made some mistakes, but Fremont gave accurate measurements of Utah’s altitude, collected soil samples, wrote about land, water, and plant life, and made important maps. This all added to the knowledge of the West.
People were interested in the fastest and safest way to get to California as more and more people came west. One of the first people to suggest a more direct route by way of the Great Salt Lake was Lansford Hastings. He wrote a book called An Emigrant’s Guide to Oregon and California but had never taken a route near the Great Salt Lake. He met Fremont in California and they discussed the possible shortcut, and Fremont agreed that it could be done.
The next spring, Hastings and his men reversed Fremont’s route and went east across today’s Nevada to Pilot Peak. They crossed the salt flats south of the Great Salt Lake, and then made their way through the Wasatch Mountains to Fort Bridger. They rode their horses along the Oregon Trail. He left word at Fort Bridger asking pioneers to use what he called the Hastings Cutoff. There were five groups that did just that.
Lansford Hastings The book that encouraged people to use the Cutoff
The first party to try this shortcut was led by Edwin Bryant, a Kentucky newspaper editor. They spent four days talking to Hastings at Fort Bridger. They decided to take the cutoff on mules and made it to California in great shape. George Harlan and Samuel Young also met up with Hastings at Fort Bridger. Hastings agreed to be their guide through the mountains.
The Harlan-Young Party was the first wagon train to try the Hastings Cutoff. They came through Weber Canyon and lost a wagon and a team of horses. Another party left Fort Bridger after them and met up with the Harlan-Young party by the Great Salt Lake. This convinced Hastings to warn future travelers to use a different route.
Another group that followed the cutoff was the Lienhard Party. These were German and Swiss immigrants who has just come to the United States. They wanted the free land that was available in the United States and were attracted to California. Hastings met them in the Morgan Valley and told them to take a different route. They ignored him and made it through Weber Canyon without problems because they were on horses.
The Donner-Reed Party were the last party to use the Hastings Cutoff in 1846. There were 87 men, women and children in 23 large wagons. The Reed family even had a double-decker wagon that was called a “rolling palace” which allowed for “elegant travel”. From Fort Bridger they started on the cutoff route. At the start of Weber Canyon, they found a note sticking in the top of some sagebrush.
The note was from Hastings, and said they should send a messenger ahead to find him and he would guide them through a better route than Weber Canyon. Reed and two other men went ahead and found Hastings west of the Oquirrh Mountains. Hastings took Reed up a new route through Emigration Canyon east of today’s Salt Lake City. At the top of Big Mountain, Hastings showed Reed the route by which he could pilot his company through. Reed joined his group and the began clearing a road through the canyon.
James and Margaret Reed View from Big Mountain Pass
They cut down trees and bushes and moved large rocks. When they finally came out of Emigration Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley they were exhausted. Building the road was an incredible accomplishment, but it cost them time, which proved to be a disaster. The next day they crossed the valley and made it to the Oquirrh Mountains. They had gone just 40 miles in 18 days, and had lost weeks of good weather. They traveled by night to avoid the scorching heat of the salt flats and they crossed that area.
The crossing of the Utah and Nevada desert was incredibly hard. They had no water, and some oxen wandered off and were lost. Wagons and supplies had to be left behind. Finally they reach the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was the end of October, and the stormy season was ahead of them. Attempts to cross the mountains on wagon and foot failed.
The people dug in for the winter and built small cabins in the tops of the mountains. Storms raged, starvation set in, and death soon followed. To feed her children, Mrs. Reed and others boiled ox hides and bones. As the months went on, some of the starving even started eating the frozen bodies of those who had died. Relief efforts were attempted through the winter. Finally a rescue party made it through. Only 48 of the 87 survived.
Before they left Fort Bridger, the Donner-Reed party had met mountain man Miles Goodyear, and his English partner Mr. Wills. Miles Goodyear established a trading post along the Weber River where the city of Ogden is today. He had married a Ute Indian Woman and they had two children. He named his trading post Fort Buenaventura. Mountain Men had been camping at this spot for years, and Goodyear hoped that he could supply immigrants as they went to California.
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