Transcript for Caveen, Daniel, [Letter to editor], St. Louis Luminary, 10 Nov. 1855, 199
the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, by the Perpetual Emigration Fund Saints,
under the Presidency of Elder Richard Ballantyne.
North side S. Fork, Platt[e] river. Aug. 3rd, '55.
450 Miles above Fort Leavenworth.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE LUMINARY:
On Tuesday half past seven, A. M. the Saints met for morning prayer. Choir sung "Come all ye sons of Zion and let us praise the Lord."—Prayer being offered up by Elder Wm. Glover President Ballantyne then addressed the Saints for a short time and said: " I feel happy in seeing the good spirit and feeling that are manifest throughout the camp. This Day, is a day of rejoicing in the Vallies of the mountains, and we desire that this camp should rejoice and be glad. We shall therefore go a short distance and encamp for to-day, and in the afternoon hold a Festival and meet in the dance together, and if the brethren who are gone a hunting, bring in a Buffalo, we will roast him and enjoy ourselves." There was then given three hearty cheers for the 24th, followed by three times three for President Brigham Young. Elder Ballantyne shouted glory to God and the Lamb, and all the people shouted Amen.
At eight o'clock, A. M., the camp moved out in splendid order, with flags of all sorts and sizes affixed to the wagons, while the ladies were busily employed in gathering priarie flowers to adorn the heads of the oxen, and make wreaths for the brethren. By the time we reached the camping ground, which was eleven A. M., nearly all the oxen were adorned with flowers. Our wagons being drawn into carrel, cattle watered, and put into good pasture, extra provisions were then served out for the evenings enjoyment, which caused the ladies to be busily employed preparing confectionary, rice puddings, apple tarts, team coffee, &c., &c. While the ladies were thus engaged, a few of the brethren under the superintendance of Elder Wm. Pitt, were painted a flag on canvass fourteen feet by six with the following design. On the upper corner was a star representing Deseret. On the top the wide spread Eagle with the ribbon motto "O God save Isarel," under the Eagle was a large bee-hive with the ribbon motto "we'll never give up the ship."
On the opposite side of the canvass was the star of Deseret with a large bee-hive having the motto, "Glory to God and Brigham Young" which floated majesticaly in the breeze, hoisted at the west end of the carrel; while others of the brethern were taking their boxes from the waggons, to form a table of some sixty or seventy yards up the centre of the carrel, covered over with white table cloths.
During the time this was going on, President Ballantyne entered the carrel accompanied by Elder Wm. Pitt, of the Nauvoo Brass Band, having his violin. Elder W. Glover, who was appointed Marshal for the day; also, Elder Elias Gardiner, Captain of the first ten, with four young ladies dressed for the occasion, and who entered heartily into the dance. At this part of the stage, the camp had the appearance of a city of Drapers, Dressmakers and Milliners; for, by the by, the ladies had rummaged their boxes from top to bottom, in order to get their caps, dresses, &c., to see who would be the smartest at the ball. Supper being ready, and the tables being furnished with the necessaries, each ten sat down together with their respective Captain at their head, who in turn asked a blessing on the food of their respective ten, which the Lord had so liberally bestowed upon them in the wilderness, which consisted of venison, roast and boiled Buffalo, puddings, tarts, tea, coffee, &c. &c. Supper being over, President Ballantyne arose in the power of his calling; and adressed the Saints for a short time, pointing out the blessings and privileges of the sons and daughters of Zion. Elder Wm. Pitt was next called upon to deliver an oration. He said: "It is with pleasure I arise on the present occasion to address the Saints, and I feel it a great blessing to be thus privileged.
This day is kept in commemoration of the pioneers entering the Valley of the mountains, after enduring all manner of hardships and tribulations, knew that they were led there by the power of God; as much so as Israel in ancient times, and when I reflect upon what they have gone through, it causes me to rejoice to hear and see the prosperity that now attends them. When we were in Nauvoo, we did not know the hour that our enemies would be upon us, being continually surrounded by mobocrats, apostates, and false brethren,"
He then spoke of a few things which took place at their expulsion from Nauvoo, and showed how the enemies of the Church sought its overthrow, but the Lord overruled it for our good. He then gave a detail of the organization of the pioneers to travel to the mountains to seek out a home for the Saints. They did not care what they suffered if they could obtain this. Our head men had to live on a little boiled corn—they had no fine flour and bacon as we have; but the Lord blessed and strengthened them. He then gave a description of their journey to the Valley, which was interesting, showing how God overruled all things for good in establishing a place for the gathering of his people—Israel. His remarks were pointed and came home to every heart.
Elder George Myers was next called upon to address the meeting, after which, Elder Glover, Marshall of the day, said, "brethern and sisters we will have no more speaking at present. But you old men take your old ladies and enjoy yourselves in the Dance;" which was responded to by a hearty laugh from all present; so that all who were inclined joined heartily in the dance, to the vibrations of brother Pitt's violin accompanied by brother Cleggs dulcimer.
During the evening brother Glover entertained the company with a song, and DR. George Bell with a comic anecdote. The dance was kept up until a late hour. The company was then dismissed by prayer. Thus ended the 24th of July on the plains, a day that will be long remembered by those who were blessed in participating in the same.
DANIEL CAVEEN Secretary.