Ballantyne, Richard, to Brigham Young, 22 July 1855, in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832-1878, reel 33, box 23, fd. 18.
Beloved President Young
It is with thanksgiving to God, our Eternal Father, that I avail myself of the privilege of sending you a few lines to inform you of the position &c of the First Company of P. E. Fund Emigrants, that left "Mormon Grove", 5 miles from Atchison, July 2d 1855.
Since the date of starting we have travelled every day, Sundays excepted. The feed, and roads, have been good. The emigrants have enjoyed good health, generally. Three persons have died since we left viz an old man of 72 years [William Hunt] and 2 infants [James Cyrus Worlton and ?]. We are now on the Platte River, where the water is better and more plenty, and where we trust those who are weakly from diarrhhea will begin to amend. We have faith that God will bless us, as heretofore, and save the lives of this people. I know of no cases of dangerous illness in our Camp at the present time. General good health and cheerfulness prevails. We have meetings and sacrament on Sabbath.
In regard to our teams I would say that our Cattle are very light. We have some good oxen, but the most of them are very small. The Cows are poor and scrubby things. Not more than a dozen give any milk. All the milk in camp has not been sufficient to color the tea, yet I have heard of no complaint on this account from the passengers.
In regard to provisions I would state that we laid in to start with, agreably to the counsel of Elder E. Snow, 80 lbs Breadstuffs to each person. This quantity was expected to last till we should reach Green River, where, Elder E. Snow stated, we might expect provisions to meet us from the Valley. We still depend on provisions meeting us at that point, and shall in the meantime manage this department as prudently and economically as we Can. We have rationed the people ever since we left the Grove, and have allowed them 7 lbs flour or meal, each, per week; 1 lb Bacon 1/2 lb Sugar and a small allowance of Tea, Rice, Coffee, and dried Apples. Milk, as I before stated, I may say we have none. This makes it a little harder on the Company than it otherwise would be. We intend killing some Buffallo, if the Lord will, so that we may need to draw but lightly on the valley for supplies, as we understand the grasshoppers have this season greatly diminished the crops.
We have lost 4 Animals belonging to the P.E. Fund. one lame ox gave out yesterday, and though a guard was left with him last night, to bring him on this morning he was unable to come along. One ox died near the Big Blue. One cow, while eating a piece of a garment, swallowed two or three papers of needles, and died in about two days afterwards. One ox, while I was absent from Camp hunting another animal, ran off, and could [not] be found. We would have been happy to have saved all that has been intrusted to our Care, but notwithstanding our Continual care and anxiety, the P.E. Fund Company have unavoidably to sustain the losses mentioned.
The Indians are quiet and peaceably disposed, so far as we are able to learn at the present.
The P.E. Fund Company have 42 waggons, 105 yokes of oxen, 22 yokes of Cows and 401 passengers in this Train. There is 4 waggons, 5 yoke of oxen and 13 passengers beside.\
Having read the foregoing to Elders [William] Glover, Gardner, [William] Pitts [Pitt] and Myers [Mayer], they give their unanimous sanction to the same, and desire me to say that we are one in all things for the salvation of this people and the property Committed to our Care And warmly join with me in expressing to you our unlimited confidence and esteem, And Praying God our Eternal
Desiring your prayers, and the prayers of the Saints, I have the honor to be your fellow laborer and pupil in the Kingdom of God.
P.S. The brethren whose names I have mentioned join with me in love to our families and the Saints. R.B.