1861 April 15 Instructions for Joseph W. Young and Company


1861 April 15 Instructions for Joseph W. Young and Company


Joseph Young is made Captain over fifty wagons. Instructions are given on organizing companies and the expected conduct of those traveling.




Brigham Young
Heber C Kimball
Daniel H Wells


Joseph W. Young
Ira Eldredge
Joseph Horne
John R. Murdock


1861 April 15


Great Salt Lake City

Number of Pages



Overland Travel
Church Leadership

Item sets

Copies of these instructions were given Capts Ira Eldredge
Hoseph Horne, & Jno R. Murdock.

President's Office,
G. S. L. City, U. T., April 15, 1861.


To Elder Joseph W. Young and all in his company while crossing the plains to Florence, N. T., while at or near that place, and during their return to this City.

Brethren:-- We appoint Elder Joseph W. Young to be the Captain of a company of some fifty wagons, more or less, and wish him to organize his company, appoint a Chaplain, arrange the Police or Camp Guard and appoint their Captain, and detail the Cattle Guard and appoint their Captain.

The Company will assemble and attend prayers morning and evening of each day, with the exception of the Cattle Guard who may happen to be, at the time, absent on duty.

There must be no swearing, no drunkenness, no gambling, no contention, no unreasonable whipping or other abuse of cattle, nor any conduct contrary to good order and the welfare of the Company and the proper observance of each other's rights; and whoever fails in observing these specifications, and persists in so doing, and will not give heed to these instructions and those of the person or persons in charge over him, should be discharged and turned out of the Company.

The men detailed as Cattle Guard are required to be vigilant in the care of the oxen when out of the yoke, and to be careful that the animals have the best opportunities that circumstances will permit for obtaining sufficient food and grass of the best quality the locality will afford; and, to enable them to fulfill these requirements and otherwise properly look after the animals when not traveling, they are relieved from the performance of other duties, further than they may choose to assist therein, and are to be afforded facilities for sleeping while the train is in motion, whenever they wish so to do. The riding animals required by the Cattle Guard must not be ridden in the day time, except in attending to the cattle while unyoked, or in case of necessity.

Whenever camp is made where water and the best grass are some distance apart, be careful to have all the animals watered before they are driven to grass.

No charge will be made for the transportation of Missionaries and their baggage, but they are expected to assist in driving teams, in standing camp guard, and in performing such other duties as will promote the welfare and good progress of the company.

The four Companies sent from here must not at any time, in going or returning, be more than a few hours apart, that in case of difficulty or danger they can assist or receive assistance from each other, as the case may require, on very short notice; and while at Florence must camp on high ground some 3 or 4 miles back from the Missouri river, and near a spring or rivulet of as pure water as the rejion affords.

The Companies will load freight in the following order: 1st., goods that will be furnished by Henry W. Lawrence to Elders Jacob Gates, or Nathanial V. Jones, or Joseph W. Young; 2nd, persons named on a list in the hands of Joseph W. Young; 3rd, persons unable to provide teams and wagons; 4th, the machinery known as E. R. Young's, if br. William Pyper wishes it brought upon his consigning it to the care of some responsible person in this City; 5th such useful articles as may be in the warehouse n Florence, in the order of the earliest adaptation to our present wants and requirements, and leaving the boiler bought for the paper machine in as good charge and condition as circumstances will permit; it should be housed and painted over. The Captains of the four companies br's Joseph W. Young, Ira Eldredge, Joseph Horne, and John R. Murdock--will mutually consult and agree upon the subject of loading as above specified.

Captain Joseph W. Young will be held responsible for the conduct, property, management, and rate of travel of his Company and will so regulate the day's travel in going down and so herd the cattle when near Florence as to keep them in the best possible condition for the return trip.

Each teamster receiving loading, both here and in Florence, must give the Captain of his Fifty a receipt of the kind and weight of said loading.

Every person in each Company will provide himself with a good rifle or double barrelled shot gun and ammunition, so far as practicable, and be careful that they are always in good condition for use at a moment's notice.

The reason for our requesting each one to be well armed, and for the Companies to travel only a few hours apart, is because it is reported that there is much difficulty between the whites and Comanches, and that the Sioux are disaffected about their annuities and are threatening to interrupt travel across the plains. And as the Comanches and Sioux roam to and across the road you will travel, and may endeavor to put their threats into execution and gratify their ill will, we feel again to strongly urge all to be ever on their guard and for the Companies to so time their travel as not at any time to be so far apart as to be unable to assist each other in case of necessity.

When those sent by any Ward are unable to pay such necessary expenses for ferriage, blacksmithing, wagon repairing, &c., as may be incurred during the trip, and can not make arrangements with some persons from other Wards to loan them the requisite means, let them sell one or more animals to enable them to defray said expenses.

May the Lord God of Israel guide and bless you all in your travelings and campings, and in every effort you may make for the prosperity of His cause upon the earth, is the prayer of,

Your Brethren in the Gospel,

First Presidency

Brigham Young
Heber C. Kimball
Daniel H Wells