Transcript for "The Outward-Bound Missionaries," The Mountaineer, 16 June 1860, 170


[The following items of news from the plains have been addressed to us from the missionaries' camp, near Fort Laramie, May 21st, 1860:]

"Having an opportunity to write, I thought it would not be uninteresting to yourselves and readers to receive a few items of news concerning the mule train under direction of Messrs. Rich and Lyman. I accompanied the ox train, under direction of Captain Jos. W. Young, for the first week out, along the Chalk Creek road; supposed to have some advantages over Echo Kanyon [Canyon], which we fully realized and appreciated. We found abundance of grass and good water all along this road. We encountered some pretty steep hills, especially near the coal mines, on the Weber; but the ground was all hard without gravel, and met none of those miry spring holes so frequently recurring in Echo Kanyon.

On Saturday afternoon, the 5th inst., Messrs. Lyman and Rich came up with the ox train. We had an interesting meeting, and series of discourses. Bro. Lyman exhorted the brethren not to let the dust and dirty shirts, consequent upon such travel as this, to overcome too much their sense of propriety; to preserve the gospel missionary spirit as much when dirty teamsters as when clean, washed and dressed, and in the stand before a congregation. Bro Rich urged upon them a kindly and mutually aiding spirit; that the experienced brethren in the church should companion with those that were younger in knowledge, in their journeyings to their several fields of labor. Bros. Brown and Gibson being requested, made some additional remarks. A warm, zealous, and resolute spirit seems to possess every one of the company; and there was frequent mention of the glorious counsel and promises delivered by President Young at the time of blessing the elders on their departure.

The mule train now pushed on ahead. We have found feed tolerably good all the way thus far; perhaps the poorest range was in the vicinity of Independence Rock.

At Green River and on the Sweetwater, we met large bands of Shoshones. They are coming out to meet the returning soldiers on the road, in the hope of getting some presents. We also passed a large camp of Arapahoes on the Sweetwater, near Devil's Gate. They were eager for trade, and some good buffalo robes were bought for six pint cups of flour. The Shoshones and Arapahoes are fighting the Crows and Sioux. On the 11th inst., a party of Shoshones fell upon some Crows in the Wind River mountains and killed five. On the 15th inst., we passed a small detachment of soldiers, with mountaineer guides, commanded by Capt. Reynolds. They are out on a tour of topographical observation, to survey all the region around the head waters of the Missouri and Colorado; and also to observe the mineral resources of the Utah mountain region. They were then directly bound to examine the sources of the Sweetwater, and afterwards of the Yellow Stone.

We had another meeting with U. S. troops, on the 18th inst. A small party of dragoons, under command of a sergeant, came to our camp at noon, and claimed two strangers, who had joined our party, as deserters from the U. S. army at Camp Floyd;—and they were also charged with robbery. One called George Kelley had been employed as cook for bros. Rich and Lyman's mess. He had shown a paper to bro. Rich and others of the party, which was regarded as a discharge. The other, Alex. Dempster, represented himself as having been employed as clerk, or secretary by an officer; and was returning to his family in the States; he assisted in driving the loose animals. They were charged with stealing $1000 in gold; and a gold watch and U. S. revolver were taken from Dempster. The sergeant commanding the arresting party, an intelligent young man, was very polite and courteous in his intercourse with our party. He showed us how we had been deceived by Kelley—he said that the paper shown was a discharge, but by re-enlistment; and Kelley had scratched off that portion referring to the re-enlistment. The sergeant took breakfast with us the following morning, bought some grain for his horses, and hired a couple of animals to carry his prisoners to Laramie.

We have moved along very satisfactorily and harmoniously thus far, without a single accident. We have had some very cold weather, along Sweetwater, and needed all out blankets, robes, and overcoats. The thermometer stood 2( above zero, one morning; and oftentimes it was ten and twenty degrees below freezing point. We have had a little sickness in camp, some ague and diarrhea; but all are comparatively well at this time. Our party numbers 48 souls—among whom I may mention, bros. Rich, Lyman, Woolley, Beebe, Bazzard. James Brown 3d, and John Gibson, White, Dame, Eldredge, Adams, Babbitt, Nephi and Samuel Johnson, Tobin, Orson K. Whitney, who joined us on the 13th, having come from Provo, Joseph and Samuel Smith, &c., &c. Bro. Jas. Brown was appointed captain, and bro. Dame, chaplain; and I am officiating as voluntary historian. We send greetings to the loved ones in our mountain home.

Yours fraternally,