Journals from the Past

historic journals(click to view larger)

On these pages you can see four journals that were kept more than 150 years ago by early pioneers. By looking carefully at them, you may get ideas of what you can write in your own journal. Try to write in your journal as often as you can. Then when you grow up and have your own children, you can share some things from your journal so they can know what you were like when you were their age!

Thomas Bullock

Thomas Bullock kept the official journal for the first group of pioneers who traveled to the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young in 1847. Brother Bullock made lists. He wrote the names of every person who traveled west with him. From this list we know exactly who was on that trek.

What lists could you make in your journal? Maybe you could make a list of the children in your Primary class or a list of your favorite books.

Luke Johnson

Here is a picture of Luke Johnson’s journal. He also traveled with Brigham Young as the company doctor. In those days, a doctor had to make the medicines he used to help people get well. He wrote the recipes for his medicines in his journal.

If you have a favorite food, you could copy the recipe in your journal.

Appleton Harmon

Two ideas of what you could put in your journal come from Appleton Harmon’s journal. You can see that he put down the dates of when he wrote. That’s very important. Always put the date so you won’t have to wonder about when you wrote something. Appleton also sketched what he saw as he traveled west.

In your journal, you could draw a picture of your family or of an event in your life such as a piano recital. You could also draw what you see when you look out your window.

Eliza R. Snow

Eliza R. Snow was the first secretary of the Relief Society. She wrote about what happened at meetings she attended in a special book. Because she did this, we know what happened at the very first Relief Society meeting. Sister Snow wrote poems in her personal journal, including the lyrics for 10 of the hymns in our hymnbook.

When you want to remember a talk from sacrament meeting or a story you heard in Primary, you can write it in your journal. If you like to write poems, your journal is a good place to keep them.

Copies of these journals are on display in the Church History Museum.

Illustrations by Jared Beckstrand