Seth M. Blair/Edward Stevenson Company (1855)
A small group of 89 individuals and 38 wagons traveled to Atchison, Kansas on their way to Salt Lake. At the outfitting post at Mormon Grove, their traveling group was augmented by returning missionaries and a number of additional families bringing the number of people to over a hundred with close to 46 wagons. The company was officially organized with Blair as captain before they left the outfitting post on 14 June 1855. Shortly into the journey, Blair became ill and was succeeded by Edward Stevenson.
Members of the company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley from 10-13 September 1855.View Summary
- “3rd Company of 50 report, 1855.” In Brigham Young office emigrating companies reports 1850-1862, Reports 1853-1855. (CR 1234 5, Box 1, Folder 38)
- Andrus, Milo, "Correspondence," St. Louis Luminary, 8 Sep. 1855, 166.
- Andrus, Milo, "Correspondence," St. Louis Luminary, 1 September 1855, 162.
- Andrus, Milo, [Letter to editor], St. Louis Luminary, 2 June 1855, 110-11.
- Andrus, Milo. "Letter from Elder Milo Andrus," St. Louis Luminary, 7 July 1855, 130.
- "Atchison An Outfitting Point," St. Louis Luminary, 23 June 1855, 122.
- Ballantyne, Richard, [Letter to Erastus Snow], St. Louis Luminary, 28 July 1855, 142.
- Bassett, Charles H., [Letter to James H. Hart], St. Louis Luminary, 1 September 1855, 162.
- Blair, Seth M., "Correspondence," St. Louis Luminary, 7 July 1855, 130.
- Blair, Seth Millington, Reminiscences and journals, 1851-1868, vol. 2, 104-34.
- “Condensed statistical report of Mormon Emigration from Mormon Grove, 1855 September 1.” In Brigham Young office emigrating companies reports 1850-1862, Reports 1853-1855. (CR 1234 5, Box 1, Folder 43, file 5)
- "Correspondence," St. Louis Luminary, 6 October 1855, 182.
- Crowther, Thomas, Autobiographical sketch, 62-63, in Histories and biographies written by members of Camp Sunflower, Daughters of Utah Pioneers of Center Utah County, Provo, Utah, vol. 1.
- "Deaths of Missionaries," Deseret News [Weekly], 8 Aug. 1855, 173.
- "Departure for the Plains," St. Louis Luminary, 26 May 1855, 106.
- Deseret News [Weekly], 12 Sep. 1855, 216.
- Deseret News [Weekly], 22 Aug. 1855, 191.
- Deseret News [Weekly], 22 Aug. 1855, 192.
- Earl, Sylvester Henry, Autobiographical sketch, 8.
- Earl, Sylvester Henry, Diary, 1852-1856, 6-8.
- Edward Stevenson Emigrating Company, Journal, in Edward Stevenson, Collection, 1849-1922, reel 10, box 11, fd. 1, 1-39.
- "Edward Wallace East," in Biographical Information Relating to Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database.
- "From Utah and the Plains," St. Louis Luminary, 4 Aug. 1855, 147.
- Greer, Americus Vespuccius, [Diary], in Eliza M. Wakefield, comp., A Tribute to Thomas Lacy Greer , .
- Greer, Dickson Hamblin, Autobiography and biographical sketches [ca. 1865-1940], [2-3].
- Hindley, John and John Parson, [Letter to Erastus Snow], St. Louis Luminary, 1 September 1855, 162.
- Hindley, John and John Parson, [Letter to Milo Andrus], St. Louis Luminary, 8 September 1855, 166.
- "Interesting from the Elders," St. Louis Luminary, 30 June 1855, 126.
- "News From Utah and the Plains," St. Louis Luminary, 30 June 1855, 126.
- "News from Our Immigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 17 October 1855, 253.
- "Our Emigration on the Plains," St. Louis Luminary, 8 September 1855, 166.
- "Our Immigration," Deseret News [Weekly], 8 August 1855, 172.
- "Riser, George C., Account of My Mission, [7-8], in Missionary reports, 1831-1900.
- Slack, Martin, Diary, 1851-1858, 25.
- Smith, Charles, [Letter to Erastus Snow], St. Louis Luminary , 1 Sep. 1855, 162.
- Snow, Erastus. "Our Correspondence," Deseret News, 5 September 1855, 8.
- Stevenson, Edward, [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, 10 Nov. 1855, p. 716.
- Stevenson, Edward, [ltr. ed.], Deseret News [Weekly], 5 Sep. 1855, 208.
- Stevenson, Edward, Diary, in Edward Stevenson, Collection, 1849-1922, reel 1, fd. 2, vol. 5, 1-9.
- "This Years Immigration," Deseret News, 8 August 1855, 5.
- "Visit of the Editor to the Camps at Atchison," The Mormon, 23 June 1855, 2.
- Wright, William Brockerman, Diary, in Papers 1855-1871; 1914.
|Allison, Martha||Unknown||Unknown||22 June 1855|
|Bagley, Charles Stewart||20||30 January 1835||11 February 1913|
|Bagley, Cynthia Ann Eliza||6||13 May 1849||13 September 1928|
|Bagley, Cyrenius||11||6 October 1843||23 June 1855|
|Bagley, David||15||12 November 1839||4 May 1865|
|Bagley, Edward Alma||8||10 February 1847||28 May 1929|
|Bagley, Edward Cyrenius||46||18 February 1809||10 June 1868|
|Bagley, Francis Mortimer||4||14 April 1851||26 August 1866|
|Bagley, Hyrum Alvin||1||2 February 1854||4 April 1932|
|Bagley, Joseph Smith||10||9 April 1845||10 April 1897|
|Bagley, Julia Anne||39||3 August 1815||23 June 1855|
|Bagley, William Henry||13||8 October 1841||25 January 1923|
|Barlow, James Madison||42||9 July 1812||8 February 1893|
|Birch, Hager||26||30 March 1829||21 December 1882|
|Blair, Alonzo Sheridan||27||19 February 1828||23 July 1899|
|Blair, Hannah Victoria||15||13 October 1839||13 April 1903|
|Blair, Seth Millington||36||14 March 1819||17 March 1875|
|Crawford, William H.||Unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Crowther, Mary Ann||4||7 May 1851||2 December 1934|
|Crowther, Thomas||32||12 March 1823||2 October 1898|
|Earl, Sylvester Henry||39||16 August 1815||23 July 1873|
|East, Edward Wallace||40||11 October 1814||29 May 1884|
|East, Julia||1||28 October 1853||3 November 1855|
|East, Mary||4||About July 1850||19 June 1855|
|East, Mira Carolina||1||28 October 1853||17 September 1863|
|East, Nancy||7||20 April 1848||4 July 1855|
|East, Sarah Mariah||14||31 December 1840||8 July 1890|
|East, William H.||12||17 November 1842||27 June 1855|
|East, Wilmirth Matilda||30||18 November 1824||31 March 1902|
|Foizey, Hannah||18||12 September 1836||14 January 1904|
|Green, Benjamin Pike||45||27 September 1809||2 June 1896|
|Green, Lucy Louise||39||20 May 1816||20 May 1870|
|Green, Nathaniel M.||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Green, Susan||17||5 August 1837||12 March 1922|
|Greer, Americus Vespucius||23||4 March 1832||3 May 1896|
|Greer, Dixon Hamblin||21||16 April 1834||29 July 1918|
|Greer, Eliza||Unknown||Unknown||23 June 1855|
|Greer, Gilbert Dunlap||32||11 October 1822||7 April 1912|
|Greer, Ira Abner||15||14 June 1840||23 June 1855|
|Greer, John Irvine||15||14 June 1840||23 June 1855|
|Greer, M. I.||Unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Greer, Marian Bonita||16||September 1838||unknown|
|Greer, Nancy Ann Terry||49||4 August 1805||26 September 1888|
|Greer, Nathaniel Hunt||52||26 October 1802||23 June 1855|
|Greer, Stephen Decatur||24||26 June 1830||25 January 1905|
|Greer, Susan Carthurs||31||About 1824||20 June 1855|
|Greer, Thomas Lacy||28||2 September 1826||30 July 1881|
|Greer, William Redrick||26||18 November 1828||6 February 1900|
|Greer, [Child]||Infant||10 August 1855||Unknown|
|Holt, John||48||24 March 1807||4 June 1857|
|Johnson, Alfred Summers||19||14 September 1835||23 August 1891|
|Johnson, James||17||13 October 1837||1874|
|Johnson, John Lycurgus||10||28 August 1844||29 June 1908|
|Johnson, Leonidus||9||About 1846||30 January 1856|
|Johnson, Nancy Reddick||49||9 August 1805||9 October 1878|
|Johnson, Nancy Wilmirth||13||22 November 1841||13 March 1902|
|Johnson, Sally Hunt||19||26 February 1836||30 July 1925|
|Johnson, Snellen Marion||27||27 October 1827||10 June 1900|
|Jones, H. E.||Unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Jones, J. B.||Unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Jones, James||Unknown||Unknown||22 June 1855|
|Jones, Margaret C.||13||About 1841||26 June 1855|
|Jones, Martha J.||9||About 1845||Unknown|
|Jones, Marvin R.||34||About 1820||19 June 1855|
|Jones, Mary A.||11||About 1843||23 June 1855|
|Jones, Rachel||32||About 1822||unknown|
|Jones, Sarah||Unknown||Unknown||22 June 1855|
|Jost, Alice Louisa||15||7 July 1839||8 June 1901|
|Jost, Eliza Ann||17||2 July 1837||20 June 1855|
|Langford, Elizabeth||9||About 1846||22 June 1855|
|Langford, Francis Marion||3||10 May 1852||21 October 1908|
|Langford, James Albert||Infant||12 August 1854||28 May 1863|
|Langford, Jeremiah Euchlet||40||November 1814||19 June 1855|
|Langford, Jeremiah Euchlet||6||18 September 1848||13 November 1919|
|Langford, Mary Jane Jackson||28||About 1827||19 June 1855|
|Langford, William Ezekiel||5||16 January 1850||6 May 1921|
|McLean, Eleanor Jane||37||29 December 1817||24 October 1874|
|Meyer (Mayor), John||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Middlemass, Abigail||13||1 February 1842||28 April 1931|
|Middlemass, Abigail||45||22 March 1810||23 June 1855|
|Middlemass, Edward||47||20 September 1807||9 December 1877|
|Middlemass, Edward Robert||7||25 January 1848||28 June 1855|
|Middlemass, Emma Charlotte||9||21 October 1845||23 June 1855|
|Middlemass, Joseph Hyrum||2||12 February 1853||9 June 1931|
|Middlemass, William Mark||5||22 November 1849||26 June 1855|
|Norbin [or Nosbin], T.||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Phelps, Henry Enon||26||31 October 1828||2 March 1901|
|Phillips, Delia Ann||12||14 April 1843||20 November 1893|
|Phillips, Francis Helen||8||14 February 1847||23 June 1855|
|Phillips, George Mathew Dow||39||23 May 1816||22 September 1893|
|Phillips, Hugh Gordon||4||9 August 1850||23 June 1855|
|Phillips, Louisa Adelaid||14||29 December 1840||14 December 1915|
|Priestly, Abigail||Unknown||Unknown||23 June 1855|
|Riser, George Christian||36||16 July 1818||24 January 1892|
|Roberts, Elizabeth||20||6 March 1835||3 June 1929|
|Robinson, John||23||10 March 1832||1 May 1884|
|Rollins, James [or John]||Unknown||Unknown||25 June 1855|
|Shares [or Shaces], William||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Stevenson, Edward||35||1 May 1820||27 January 1897|
|Teasdale, Margaret||18||7 May 1837||After 1856|
|Wheat, Charles Austin||8||About 1847||Unknown|
|Wright, Charlotte||9||17 January 1846||5 January 1897|
|Wright, Eliza||Unknown||Unknown||1 July 1855|
|Wright, Elizabeth||26||8 March 1829||15 September 1895|
|Wright, Hyrum Smith||Infant||20 February 1855||17 September 1895|
|Wright, Thomas H.||37||18 April 1818||27 May 1881|
|Wright, William Brockerman||19||10 February 1836||31 October 1916|
|Wright, William James||3||29 August 1851||20 January 1931|
|York, James Allison||24||15 March 1831||22 February 1856|
|York, Mary Willmirth||21||25 July 1833||21 June 1855|
|York, Nancy Adeline||1||20 January 1854||1 March 1920|
"The cry of the dying and shrieks of the living presented nothing but the true scene, even all the horrors of death imaginable. The grave diggers were employed both night and day." So wrote Captain Seth M. Blair from the Little Nemehaw River, Nebraska Territory, June 24, 1855. What brought his emigrant company to this?
In 1854 authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent Blair to Texas as a missionary. He thus returned to the state where he himself had been converted. In and around Port Sullivan, Milam County, Blair baptized some 50 individuals, whom he then persuaded to journey to Utah. At Camp Jeddy, he organized his emigrants into the Snow Branch.
The party left Port Sullivan on March 9, moving slowly north so that a few stragglers could catch up. By March 25, the party was six miles north of Marlin, Falls County. The weather was dry and windy, stunting the grasses that the cattle needed for food. By April 1 the company was still only 20 miles from Marlin. That day Blair suffered an attack of severe heart palpitations. When his health continued poor, he began to contemplate leaving the train for St. Louis. April 8, as the party camped south of Waxahachie, Ellis County, Blair expressed dismay because envy, jealousy, worldliness, and loss of the Spirit had crept in among his followers. On April 13 the company was still within three miles of Dallas. Elder Blair was delaying his departure for St. Louis because rivers were low, making navigation difficult.
The company finally left Texas on April 22, crossing the Red River at Preston. Now in Indian Territory, they traveled across Choctaw and Chickasaw land. From Boggy Depot, Blair and a companion finally left for St. Louis, where they would buy "an outfit &c for our people." Left in charge of the emigrants were O. Tyler and M. C. Greer with instructions to continue on toward Independence, Missouri, along the west bank of the Grand River, crossing the Arkansas at Brady's Ferry, and the Grand at Allberty's Ford, then via Scots Mills to Independence.
Blair arrived at St. Louis on May 8. Here he not only purchased supplies for the emigrants but 15 to 20 thousand dollars' worth of merchandise for himself and a partner. Here, too, he learned that Atchison, Kansas Territory (established 1854; 1855 population under 1,000) was the new outfitting point for Mormon emigrants.
From St. Louis to Atchison, Blair traveled by steamboat, arriving June 4, and finding his Texans already there. Because cholera had recently killed people at Atchison, the Texans "speedly" prepared to cross the plains. On June 7, Apostle Erastus Snow appointed Blair as captain and presiding elder of an emigrant train that included the Texans plus some 30 English Saints. This party headed west June 15. The train included 89 people, 38 wagons, 480 oxen, 21 cows, and 40 horses at the time they left Texas, but their number grew when the company was officially organized in Atchison to more than 100 people and about 46 wagons. After the emigrants had traveled only 20 miles cholera began to rage among them. The afflicted suffered severe, watery diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. They dehydrated quickly, often dying within hours. Meanwhile, the train moved on leaving graves along the way. One stricken Texan wandered away from camp, but despite a diligent search, he was never found. From the Little Nemehaw River, Captain Blair reported that within the first 24 hours of the outbreak about a dozen people died; during the first 36 hours the company buried 1 person about every 3 hours. Twenty-four individuals were still on the sick list. Before the disease ran its course, a total of 29 people died: 16 from Texas and 13 others. Meanwhile, outgoing missionaries from Salt Lake visited the camp, encouraging and blessing the members. After five days the epidemic subsided.
When the party reached the Big Nemehaw River, many of the survivors renewed their covenants through re-baptism and Captain Blair, still suffering from ill health, sent to Atchison for help. On June 25, when the company was at Oak Point (60 miles from Atchison), Elder Edward Stevenson (a returning missionary from Gibralter), arrived with instructions to assume leadership of the train. With him were 5 other brethren. Blair received them with gladness and pledged to sustain the new captain. The next day cholera attacked Stevenson, but he "took a dose of oil, and through the blessing of the priesthood" soon recovered.
The emigrants' health improved, but soon they had to deal with an outbreak of measles-then more bad news. While the party was camped near the head of Little Blue River (July 3rd), it learned that Indians had recently attacked earlier trains. On July 8 the emigrants stopped at Fort Kearney. The next day they caught up with the train led by John Hindley, and the two parties considered uniting for protection (as suggested in a letter from Elder Erastus Snow), but in the end the Stevenson group decided to go on alone. On July 15 Stevenson's train camped at Cottonwood Springs and remained there for three days while the captain went back along the trail to retrieve a coat he had left behind. Travelers grumbled about the delay. At Plumb Creek, 30 miles above Fort Kearny (July 11), Seth Blair took passage on a passing mail coach (he arrived in Salt Lake City on August 3). Meanwhile, the company crossed the South Platte without incident. At USA Hollow (July 24-25) they re-shod their oxen. The animals were beginning to fail as grass had been scarce and sandy roads wore the beasts down. By traveling hard, the party arrived at Fort Laramie July 31. There, a wagon ran over (but did not break) a little girl's leg. Ten miles further along, Captain Stevenson bought 10 yoke of fresh oxen from a trading post. The The train traversed the Black Hills and, on August 12, crossed the Platte River (North Platte) for the last time. Fears about Indian attack had been unfounded; Stevenson wrote that while the company had fed a few Sioux, there had been no trouble.
Somewhere along the trail a team had stampeded, overturning a buggy and damaging it so badly that it had to be abandoned. The train took the Seminoe Cutoff (leaving the main trail about six miles beyond Ice Spring and running south of Rocky Ridge, then through the Antelope Hills, past Upper Mormon Spring). The travelers reached the Sweetwater (August 15), crossed South Pass to Pacific Spring (August 22), and arrived at Green River (August 27). There a Texan purchased an additional 20 yoke of oxen. The train was at Black's Fork on August 31.
On September 2 Captain Stevenson left the company, determined to go on ahead, but en route he met Seth Blair returning from Salt Lake with fresh foodstuffs. Stevenson decided to return to the train. Dissention had been rife and over time respect for the captain had dwindled. Two men had gone bear hunting against counsel. Another had not guarded the cattle well and was released from his post. Still another had asked for a release. On August 14, some of the emigrants wanted to divide the train, alleging bad management, but following a meeting where the disgruntled aired their complaints, the secessionists decided to remain under Stevenson's leadership. Finally, a trial found one of the brethren to be in open rebellion; he was cut off from the Church. (This was the third of four trials held along the trail.)
The train camped at Fort Bridger (now a Mormon outpost), and by September 5 it was at Bear River.
As the company neared the Salt Lake Valley, small groups broke away. One of these arrived in the city September 10; the rest of the company arrived on the 11th.