When William Miller was called to serve a mission to England in 1856, what miracle did his family experience?
a. The Three Nephites appeared
b. The Angel Moroni appeared
c. The widow’s loaf
d. Health and healing
The William Kelly company of 25 well-armed and uniformed men, predominantly Englishmen, was the first to break through the mountain passes during the season of ’49. It had left Independence April 16, had been ferried across the Platte 400 miles from Salt Lake City by Mormons who “are always on the lookout for gain as well as glory,” and, in anticipation of the large overland emigration, had established a ferry there much to the satisfaction and safety of the travelers and their own compensation in coffee and four, more precious to them than cash. Their reluctance to impart any encouraging information concerning the route via Salt Lake City gave Kelly the distinct impression that they disliked the idea of his company passing through their capital. That it was the disposition of the authorities to swing the migration north ward by Fort Hall and away from Salt Lake City, is substantiated by the direct statement of Dr. John M. Bernhisel who enroute eastward, regretfully reported back to his superiors that he and his companion were only partially successful in diverting the gold seekers to the northern route. Thus Mormondom’s first feeling was to avoid further contact with incompatible elements, particularly with their old-time enemies; they were willing to forego the advantages of capitalizing their position as a replenishing depot.
Kelly states that his company was accorded every courtesy when it was discovered that they were Englishmen. In return for the loads of butter, eggs, cheese, milk, and vegetables brought to their camp by hospitable people, the travelers compensated them with “what we could afford of coffee, sugar, and tobacco, which were not to be had in the city for the last two months.” Kelly’s little volume, published in London, 1852, was the first book by an eyewitness of the Mormons in the Basin. It supplies an invaluable glimpse of the conditions in Mormondom on the eve of the gold rush, and his observations are interestingly told, accurate, and without prejudice. “There was ample promise of an abundant harvest in magnificent crops of wheat, maize, potatoes, and every description of garden vegetables. They have numerous herds of the finest cattle, droves of excellent sheep, with horses and mules enough and to spare, but very few pigs. There were legions of superior poultry. The company exchanged and purchased some mules and horses on very favorable terms.”
Chronicles of Courage, Lesson Committee (Salt Lake City: Talon Printing, 1996) Vol. 7, 72-73.