by Wilma S. Smith and Randall A. Smith

Salt Lake City was founded on July 24, 1847 by 148 Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young. The group overlooked the valley from the mouth of Emigration Canyon and Brigham Young stated, "This is the place." A state-wide holiday on July 24, is decreed every year in the state of Utah to commemorate the arrival of the pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley.

On July 23, 1857 Mormons gathered for a two day rendezvous at Silver Lake campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon to commemorate the July 24 pioneer holiday. In the spring of 1857, without taking time for a thorough investigation, President Buchanan decided that a Mormon rebellion existed in the Utah Territory. Buchanan ordered the U.S. Army to march to Salt Lake City.

In the afternoon of July 24, 1857, word reached Brigham Young of President's Buchanan order and of the U.S. Army slogan, "On to Utah for war and extermination." The following excerpts from Winslow's diaries describe his observations and activities for the July 24 celebration.

[1857 July]

Thursday 23 I with my father and family started for the (c)anyon about daylight. We passed through the toll gate where we had to deliver our ticket for admittance. Roads quite dusty, (c)anyon well timbered. We passed a saw mill. Got there about 4 o'clock p.m. We then camped in an opening where they had a large lake and turned out our animals. We had several bands of music at night. At the sound of the bugle all were called to gather for prayers. After prayers we commenced dancing

Friday 24 Very cold in the morning. The camp arose at the sound of the bugle. After breakfast we (were) called to prayers as usual. After prayers several bands of music marched down to the lake. Some 200 yards from camp we had a firing of canons. The assembly then marched to the President's tent where we had some comic songs and a few speeches. We (were) dismissed for dinner. After dinner, went to dancing on floors made for that purpose (40 ft long 20 ft wide). I, with my cousin O. Badger, went to some lakes about 2 miles from camp. I caught a fish with 4 legs. I brought it to camp alive in my hand. Today we heard the news ... from the states that U.S. troops were on the way to the valley to kill off the Mormons. We had dancing all night. Next morning quite cold.

Eight days after the receipt of the news of the U.S. army preparing to march to Utah Territory, the pioneers, under the direction of their leaders, began to make preparations to resist the army from entering the Salt Lake Valley. Daniel H. Wells was selected by the legislature and authorized to choose commissioned officers to draft the systems of laws and regulations for the Mormon militia who called themselves The Nauvoo Legion.

Winslow Farr Jr. was selected to serve as a Captain of a 10-man militia team. During the month of August his diaries describe his daily activities of hauling hay, thrashing grain and helping others of the community complete their fall harvest. On September 15, 1857 Brigham Young issued a proclamation placing the territory under martial law.

Beginning September 11, 1857 the fol-lowing diary excerpts describe Winslow's beginning service with the militia.

[1857 September]

September 12 Quite warm. I got up about 3 o'clock in the morning to prepare to go to the city. We

started with 5 wagons, and 2 span of horses to a wagon, with provisions for 12 days. We got into the city at 10 o'clock and went down to the river Jordan and camped for the night. We trained some through the day. I kept guard at night.

September 13 Nice and warm. I got up about daylight and went after the horses which strayed away in the night. Took my breakfast at home in the city [His parents Winslow Sr. and Olive Farr resided in Salt Lake City where we assume he ate breakfast.] I then returned to the camp with my horses. We then trained awhile. We got our dismissal at 10 a.m. I with my 10 men went up to the (public) square to see the hand carts come in. I then returned home to Cottonwood.

The next eight days of his September 1857 diaries describe his daily activities on the farm.

Winslow's diaries contain a gap from September 21, 1857 through April 1, 1858 (perhaps he was called to serve in the militia). Winslow often carried a pocket journal. On several occasions in his diaries he describes losing a pocket journal.

[ 1858 April]

April 1 I was called by Bishop Andrus to go out to the mountains to prevent the soldiers from coming into the valley. (There were) something like 1,500 men that went out at the same time as I did. We started about 12 a.m. We arrived on the 4th on Weber river. We had to pack our poundage on our backs for about 25 miles on account of deep snow on the big mountain which hindered the wagons from going over. I was taken very sick on the night of the 3 rd . In the morning of the 4 th I felt some better. We traveled to Weber station the distance for 4 miles from where we (were) camped. Major Casper's battalion was ordered to go to a stream called lost creek about 10 miles west of Weber station. I am in this battalion with Captain Rollins captain of the 5th division. I enjoyed myself well while out there - helped build some battereys and make wickeups. My health is good. No fighting done yet. Not so much as a gun fired at the enemy. Everybody is moving out from the city of Salt Lake and the north country and moving south to what is called White Mountains.

In the late spring of 1858 President Buchanan sent a peace commission to meet with Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders. After months of preparation and drilling by the Mormon militia, an agreement between the Mormon leaders and the peace commission was achieved. Under the command of General Johnston, the U.S. Army marched peaceably into the Salt Lake valley on June 1858.

[ 1858 May ]

May 23rd Went rafting on the Weber river and lost my boots and socks which floated off the raft.

May 24 We started for home. I came in barefooted all the way. We got in Salt Lake City on the 25 th . The city is pretty well vacated. The soldiers have got in and are camped about 40 miles from Salt Lake City in Cedar valley. I returned home and (did) some harvesting.

With recent memories of burnings and mob attacks against the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois, thousands of the pioneer families abandoned their homes and moved southward.

The pioneers left behind their houses, orchards and farm, in Salt Lake City and various settlements of the northern Utah territory. With assurance from the church leaders and the commanders of the U. S. Army, the families returned in early July to reoccupy their homes and farms.

Winslow Farr Jr Diaries