From that time the Saints moved slowly westward across the territory of Iowa. As they advanced, the spring rains came and often drenched the travelers through. The ground now became very muddy, and it was so hard for the poor teams that some days only a few miles were traveled. Sometimes their camping places were so wet that they who slept on the ground would have to lay on branches of trees so that they would not sink into the mud.
At first there was very little feed for their animals, and they had to live on the bark and twigs of trees, with what, corn could be spared for them. Many horses were traded for oxen, as they could stand such hardship better. Trips were made to the nearest settlements to buy food. Those who had no money traded what they could spare, such as dishes and feather beds for corn.
For the first few weeks there was not much order in their way of traveling; but on March 27th the Saints were more perfectly organized. Brigham Young was sustained as president of the whole camp. Then captains were appointed over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens. Clerks were chosen to keep the records, etc., and men were called to see to the buying and distributing of the food. Thus every one had something to do and everything was done in order.
[Illustration: A PIONEER TRAIN.]
Often in the evening when supper had been eaten, the logs were piled on the bonfire, a space was cleared, the musicians brought out their instruments, and the sorrows and hardships of the day were forgotten in the innocent dance.
The camp always rested on Sundays, and if the weather would permit, meetings were held.
On April 24th a point on Grand river was reached, one hundred and forty-five miles north-west from Nauvoo. Here it was decided to form a settlement—to build houses and plant crops, that those who came after would have food and a stopping place. The settlement was called Garden Grove. Soon it was as lively as a hive of bees. Hundreds of men were busy making fence rails and fences, building houses, digging wells, clearing land, and plowing. Meetings were held often and the people were instructed and encouraged. Parley P. Pratt and a small company were sent ahead to find another location for a settlement. They found a beautiful place about thirty miles from Garden Grove, which they called Mount Pisgah. Here houses were also built, and farms and gardens planted. As many of the Saints were poor and sick they rested at these two settlements while the main body went on.
From Mount Pisgah the country was wild Indian lands, there being no white settlements or roads. The spring rains had now moderated so that the roads were better. On June 14th President Young and the leading companies arrived at the Missouri river, where a stop was made. Most of the companies came up in July. A camp was made on the east side of the river on some high land called Council Bluffs.