The Trek


Samuel K. Gifford

Journal Entry: Platte River

The Cholera also commenced its work in camp and soon we buried a gentile that died of the Cholera and then Peter Shirts' wife died. Then Captain Thomas Johnson called the camp together and said, 'If you will do as I tell you with regard to the water that you use for drinking I will promise you that there shall not more than five die in this camp with the Cholera.' All believed what he said and did accordingly and the strange promise was literally fulfilled, for just five and no more died.

While the gold seekers ahead of us and the Saints behind us were dying at a fearful rate. I will now tell you about the water. The Platte water being muddy, there had been wells dug all along the Platte bottom to get clear wat[e]r. The wells were about six feet deep with steps dug to get to the water. The council was this, to not go near those wells for water but get their water out of the river and drink none without boiling and to fill their churns, teakettles, and everything that they had that would hold water, with boiled water to use while traveling.

There was in the camp a kind of a fearful looking for the Small pox, as quite a number had been exposed, but no one had it. The Lord had respects to the words of his servant and preserved the camp from farther [sic] sickness and death (Autobiography and Journal of Samuel Kendall Gifford, 1864, typescript, Family and Church History Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9).

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