"A Letter from Capt. D. Jones to President W. Phillips," The Call of Zion: The Story of the First Welsh Mormon Emigration (1987), by Ronald D. Dennis, 184-89.
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Bank of the Green River, October 12, 1849.
Perhaps you are thinking that we are at the end of our journey by now; but the main causes which have kept us longer than some who went before us are that there were so many rainstorms on the first 300 miles of our journey that it was difficult to travel because the wheels of the covered wagons would often sink very deep in the mire, and also that after we came to the highland, the grazing was and still is very scarce for the animals. And this is not strange when you consider that from 6,000 to 7,000 covered wagons, each pulled by three to six yoke of oxen, besides several thousand cattle, sheep, mules, and horses have passed along this road during this summer toward the paradise of the Saints and the country of gold; these consume much of the grass, but if you add to these all the thousands of buffaloes, antelope, elk, etc., who own, by poor grazing, this wilderness and desolate, parched land—this together with other considerations caused us to slow down and be content if we could travel but ten to twelve miles each day, and it was proved to our satisfaction before that this is the only way we can complete our journey. There is hardly a day that we do not come across skeletons of the oxen of those who went before us on the roadside, a monument to their foolishness in traveling too fast at the beginning of a journey as long as this one.
Not so with us or the other Saints, thanks to the God who preserved us. Whereas others leave their animals, their covered wagons, and thousands of dollars' worth of their provisions along the road, we are enabled, through the blessing of God, to wend our way steadily and comfortably along, although slowly; and while we find the graves of others often alongside the road, we rejoice and give thanks, as will you, that no one has died in our camp since we left Council Bluffs, nor has there been hardly any sickness. We have been on this journey now for over three months and have traveled 863½ miles, have ascended to the height of over 7,000 feet above sea level; and almost unawares we have been surrounded on nearly every side by snowy tops of the Rocky Mountains, which perpetually dwell in the white clouds. O, majestic sights!! They are beyond description.
There are between us and the Salt Lake Valley still 164 miles; yet I am confident that this journey will be finished within fifteen days, with the blessing of our God. O, hail, blessed day! All the Welsh who are here with me are living as befits the Saints, acknowledging God in all their ways and praising Him morning and night for keeping them until now from the captivity of persecuting Babylon, until their sweet voices resound in unison in the massive rocks around us, and we almost believe that they with their melodious voices charm the wolves who play outside our camp at dusk and so far have rendered them as harmless to us as our flock of sheep.
Since about a week ago nature has put on her white wedding gown as if to receive some new inhabitants in the fissures of these everlasting mountains; it spread a white carpet before the door of everyone one night, and spread a snowy white blanket lightly on some who had not taken care to close the cover of their wagon before night! The snow piled up between the wagons so that we did not see some of our neighbors until the evening; but we did not die in the snow this time according to the prophecies of our enemies. The sun shone pleasantly the second morning! The earth soon changed her garment, and soon between 200 and 300 wagons could be seen in a majestic row climbing the steep slopes while all were singing the songs of Zion; and we made camp in the evening under the crimson smile of the sun of the Western world. The Saints from the Valley sent more than eighty yoke of oxen over 300 miles to meet us, and great is the help they are to us. This is brotherly love worthy of emulating, and we anticipate more each day. All the news we have from the Valley brings joy to our hearts. May thousands of the race of Gomer soon come after us to the freedom of this country.
The Welsh are holding up under the difficulties of this journey, and are learning to drive oxen better than my expectations, and are winning praise from all the other camps of the Saints for their organization, their virtue and their skill, and especially for their singing.