175 years ago today - Jul 22, 1847. Thursday.

[William Clayton, two days before the pioneer company arrives in Salt Lake valley]

Agreeable to President Young's instructions, Elder Pratt accompanied by George A. Smith, John Brown, Joseph Mathews, John Pack, O. P. Rockwell and J[esse] C. Little started on this morning on horses to seek out a suitable place to plant some potatoes, turnips &c. so as to preserve the seed at least.

While the brethren were cutting the road I followed the old one to the top of the hill and on arriving there was much cheered by a handsome view of the great Salt Lake laying as I should judge, from 25 to 30 miles to the west of us, and at 11 o'clock I sat down to contemplate and view the surrounding scenery. There is an extensive, beautiful, level looking valley from here to the Lake which I should judge from the numerous deep green patches must be fertile and rich. ...There is no prospect for building log houses without spending a vast amount of time and labor, but we can make Spanish brick...or we can build lodges as the Pawnee Indians do in their villages.

When I commune with my own heart and ask myself whether I would choose to dwell here in this wild looking country amongst the Saints surrounded by friends, though poor, enjoying the privileges and blessings of the ever lasting priesthood with God for our King and father, or, dwell amongst the gentiles with all their wealth and good things of the earth, to be eternally mobbed, harassed, hunted, our best men murdered and every good mans life continually in danger the soft whisper echos loud and reverberates back in tones of stern tho' quiet determination. Give me the quiet wilderness and my family to associate with, surrounded by the saints and adieu, adieu to the Gentile world till God says return and avenge you of your enemies. ... The ground seems literally alive with the very large black crickets crawling round, up grass and bushes. They look loathsome but are said to be excellent for fattening hogs which would feed on them voraciously. The bears evidently live mostly on them at this season of the year... We are now 5 1/4 miles from the mouth of this Kanion making the whole distance of rough mountain road from the Weber River to the mouth of the Kanion on this side a little less than 35 miles and decidedly the worst piece of road on the whole journey...

A while after we camped Elder Pratt and company returned and reported that they had been about 15 miles north from here and this region is as suitable a place to put in our seeds as they have seen . . .

A council was held at the Dr. [Willard Richards] Wagon and decided to move early tomorrow to the place designated, also, to send two men back to the president and company to report progress &c. then to commence forthwith and plow and plant about 10 with potatoes this week if possible, and thus continue till the seed is secured.

[George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1995, http://bit.ly/WilliamClayton]

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