The main company, therefore, went on down Echo canyon, up Weber valley, and across the mountains, coming down into Salt Lake valley through Emigration canyon. President Young had told them that when they got to the open country on crossing the mountain they were to go to the north and stop at the first convenient place for putting in their seeds. This the company did, and on the 23rd of July they camped on the ground where now stands the beautiful city and county building in Salt Lake City. After offering up their thanks to God for his preserving care, they at once got out their tools and began to work. The season was so far advanced that if they were to raise anything they must hurry. When they tried to plow the land, they found it so dry and hard that some of the plows were broken. What could they do? Then the thought came to turn the water in the creek over the land and soak it up. This was done, and then there was no trouble to plow and plant. This was the beginning of irrigation in this western part of the United States.
President Young and his party followed the next day. President Wilford Woodruff was with him and we will let him tell of it:
“On the 24th I drove my carriage, with President Young lying on a bed in it, into the open valley. When we came out of the canyon into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a look at the country. While gazing on the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and now he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the vision had passed, he said:
“‘It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on.’”
On August 26th, President Young and a company of one hundred and seven persons, started on the return trip to Winter Quarters. On the Sweetwater river they met two large companies of Saints on the way to the valley, following the trail of the pioneers. There was great rejoicing, as the Saints now for the first time knew where they were to locate. These companies arrived safely in Salt Lake valley in September and October.
President Young and company arrived at Winter Quarters October 31. All was well with the Saints, and they were prospering.
And now a very important event took place. From the death of Joseph the Prophet up to this time the Church had been led by the Twelve. Now it was decided to reorganize the First Presidency, and at a meeting held in Winter Quarters, December 5, 1847, the Twelve chose Brigham Young as President of the Church. He chose Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards as his counselors, and these now became the First Presidency. This action of the Twelve was sustained at a conference of the Church on the 27th.
Thus the work prospered. Many meetings were held, and the Church was set in order. Missionaries were sent to the world, and the Saints, now that they had another gathering place, began to flock towards the new Zion in the mountains. Winter Quarters was deserted and a new settlement founded across the river. It was called Kanesville (now Council Bluffs) in honor of Thomas L. Kane who did many kind acts for the Saints.