“Where are you going?”
“To the west.”
“To see where we can get land cheapest and best.”
“Who leads the camp?”
“Sometimes one, sometimes another.”
“Captain Wallace, Major Bruce,” etc.
The Prophet Joseph believed in being kind to all animals, and he instructed his brethren in Zion’s camp to kill none except for food. Man must first become peaceful, before animals will lose their fierceness. Not long after this instruction had been given, a brother became very tired by traveling and lay down on the ground to sleep. When he awoke, what should he see but a rattlesnake coiled up not more than a foot away from his head. Just then some of the brethren came up and wanted to kill the snake; but the brother said, “No, I’ll protect him, for he and I have had a good nap together.” He remembered what Joseph had said.
On June 7th the company having crossed the Mississippi river, camped on Salt river in Missouri. More of the brethren had joined the company on the way, and now it numbered two hundred and five men. From this point Parley P. Pratt and Orson Hyde were sent to Governor Dunklin at Jefferson city, asking him to use his power as the highest officer in the state to have the Saints brought back to their homes in Jackson county. The governor said he thought it right that the Saints should get back their lands, yet he was afraid if they tried to go back or if he called out soldiers to help them get their homes, there would be a terrible war and many people killed. So the governor would do nothing to help them.
While Zion’s camp was making its way to the Saints in Clay county, a meeting was held in Liberty where some mobbers from Jackson county tried to arouse the people against the Saints. Nothing being done at this meeting, a party of fifteen men started for Independence to raise an army large enough to destroy Joseph and the camp.
One of the leaders of this band was James Campbell. As he pushed his pistols into the holsters before starting, he said with an oath: “The eagles and turkey buzzards shall eat my flesh if I do not fix Joe Smith and his army so that their skins will not hold shucks before two days are passed!” As he and his companions were crossing the Missouri river their boat sank. Seven of them were drowned and among them was Campbell. What was left of his body was found three weeks after lodged on a pile of drift wood. The “eagles and turkey buzzards” had eaten the flesh from his bones.
On the 19th the camp passed through Richmond. They expected to reach Clay county that night, but were so greatly hindered by accidents that they camped for the night between two forks of Fishing river. A large mob had gathered, bent on destroying the camp. A boat containing forty mobbers had been sent over the river, when a storm arose. The rain fell in torrents, the lightning flashed, the thunder shook the earth. Great hail stones destroyed the corn in the fields and stripped the trees of leaves. The mob scattered in confusion. The river rose nearly forty feet, which made it impossible for anyone to cross. The brethren took shelter in a schoolhouse and escaped the storm. Thus again the Lord preserved his people from their enemies.