Transcript for William Woodward letter to Heber C. Kimball, 11 June 1856
Iowa June 11th 1856.
Prest. H[eber]. C[hase]. Kimball: Dear Brother, Thinking you would like to hear of the emigration of the European Saints, & the progress of the "Hand-Cart" companies, I have concluded to write to you from this point, & tell what little I can about the Emigration of the "Mormons" on their way to Great Salt Lake Country. In the first place, our camp ground is about two miles west of Iowa City, on a rising point of land. It is a good location & was selected by bro. D. Spencer.
This place was selected in the early part of May, & several of the Saints came here. James Ferguson's company came on the ground on the 14th of May, numbering about 531 souls. In company with James Ferguson were Edmund Ellsworth, S[picer]. W[ells]. Crandell[,] W.B. Hodyetts, John A. Hunt, J.D.T. McAllister & D[aniel]. D[uncan]. McArthur. Since that time this place, has been an important place for business, such as making "Hand-Carts," "Ox yokes," "Ox-bows" &c.
Dan Jones' company came into camp June 2nd numbering about 500 souls, mostly from Wales. Health of this company tolerable good. Up to this time 16 infants of Bro. Jones company have died, since they left Liverpool, & one adult; total died in Capt. Jones company 17 souls. I came in this company. Riding in the cars was very trying to the infants. Up night & day after crossing the sea is very trying to weak persons.
Bro. Spencer is President of the emigration to Deseret from Europe & is constantly on hand attending to his business. James Ferguson assists him. J.D.T. McAllister is commissary of the "P.E. Fund" store, which is at this place[.] Daniel Tyler is Bishop of the camp—Daniel Spencer & James Ferguson his counsellors. C.G. Webb superintends the making of Hand-Carts. E[dward]. Bunker the making of ox yokes, ox bows & the hauling of timber from the woods some six miles distant from camp. Wm. Walker is going to haul luggage from this place to the Valley at $12.50 pr. hd. lbs. if two thirds of the cash is paid down; if it is paid in Utah when the things arrive there, it is to be $15.00 pr. hd. lbs.
The best of feelings exist in camp. The "Hand-Carts" are thought considerable of by all of us, & the bad feeling if such a thing you can call it is, we wanted to go by the First companies—that is the boys that are left.
The First "Hand cart" company rolled from this place on the 9th of June, in fine spirits. This company has a band with it, & is led by Capt. Edmund Ellsworth—he is assisted by John Oakley & William Butler. This company was greatly cheered by all present as it was leaving the Ground: it numbered 278 souls[.] they had with them 6 yoke of cattle, 3 mules & 1 horse & 3 wagons & 56 hand carts. Five persons to each cart.
The second Hand-Cart company left this point to-day about 11 A.M. led by Capt. D.D. McArthur assisted by S.W. Crandell & T. Lenord. McArthur's company left in fine spirits—they are generally hardy scotch & fine travellers.
The Third company is now fitting up—they are "Cambrian-Americans." We call everybody here, "Americans"!
J. Van Cott, W.H. Kimball & G.D.Grant are purchasing cattle for the company. I guess they are in Missouri.
A Dependent Company of ox teams will start when they get their cattle. The wagons that are here & those that are gone by the two "Cart" companies, came from Chicago and cost from $75.00 to $110.00 dollars. Flour at this point is worth about $3.50 pr. hd. lbs. Bacon about $9.00 pr. hd.
We have heard that another ship load of emigrants have arrived at New York by the ship "Thornton" numbering when they left Liverpool 764 souls. James G. Willie, Miller [Millen] Atwood, & Moses Clough preside over the Thornton's company. We expect them at this point by the 16th or 17th of June.
We have meetings twice on Sundays & occasionally thro' the week. Many strangers attend our meetings on the Sabbath & listen attentively to what is said. We have many "hand cart" sermons preached; & a "hand-cart" song sung, the chorus of which is the following:—"For some must push & some must pull, As we go marching up the hill. Then merrily on the way we'll go, until we reach the Valley."
Seventeen lbs. of luggage is what is allowed to each person with the "Hand-Cart" companies. Much luggage will have to come by Wm. Walker's freight train.
I have but little to say about the difficulties in Kansas, or the nominations for president. Buchanan late ambassador to Gt. Britain & Beckenridge of Kentucky have been nominated by the Democrats of Iowa City, the former for President of the U.S. the latter for vicepresident.
The best of feelings exist amongst us that are left on the camp ground. We are only waiting for the word "Up & go to the Valley".
I am clerk to the camp; & Postmaster; that is, bring & take letters to & from the Post Office.
Our camp is now rather quiet since the two first companies have left us. Occasionally a Gentile or two visit us enquiring about our strange religion, & the reasons we are moving westward. I have heard thro' Bro Tyler that times are rather hard in the Valley—Bro Tyler has received a letter from his wife bearing date March 28th 1856. When difficulties commence with the Saints what must they be when the[y] reach the Gentiles.
Give my kind love to bros. Brigham & Jedediah & Sister Kimball & all of the family. Tell Lucy that her Bro. Loren from Nauvoo is in camp & is going to the Valley this season. Remember me to the young folks & all enquiring friends. I enjoy tolerable good health & I am in good spirits
I have sent a letter to Laura M.H. by the mail that I send this one
June 16th. Our camp is busy turning out the Hand-Carts. Yesterday we had good meetings. The Spirit of the Lord was with us & we felt well. Bro. Spencer is gone to St. Louis on business. James Ferguson has gone out to see how the hand cart companies are getting along. Peace prevails here.