Woodruff, Wilford, to Brigham Young, 3 Sep. 1850, in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832-1878, reel 56, box 43, fd. 26.
We received a visit a few days Since from Brothers Stratton & Hanks As messengers from the Valley[.] Their visit Has truly cheered our hearts & not ours only but the Hearts of all the moveing camps of Israel who are wending their way through these mountains to their desired Home[.] It Has caused our souls to rejoice not ownly in the interest the presidency of the Church manifest for our welfare but also of the glad tidings & good report they bring of the imminient prosperity & Blessings of God upon the Saints in the valley & of the Mountains. I wish to say a few words concerning my present Condition & circumstances & the company with me[.] I received your Letter of instructions while in the east concerning the gathering of the Saints from the Eastern Lands. I laboured with all diligence to carry out the instructions given me[.] It was a Baner field & like the gleaning of grapes after the Vintage was done yet in my gleaning we Baptized about 800 & gathered about 500 for the Vally & the remainder who are in the faith will leave the East for the Vally next Spring[.] I started from Boston the 9th April with 209 of the Saints[.] the Philadelphia company Sta[r]ted a week before. in consequence of freight baggage &c we Had to take 8 tons trans on Emigrant trains which made it
somewh somewhat late in arriving at Kanesville. I sent two men early in the Season to St Louis with what means we could raise to procure teams for our journey but Nothing was bought until my arrival[.] the great flood of gold emigration Had denied the country of cattle & most of the Emigrating Saints had also bought before we purchased & it Seemed almost impossible to attain teams at all, & we had to purchase mostly wild unbroke Steers or old oxen, However th[r]ough the Glory of god we were enabled to organize a company of over sixty waggons & crossed the Mo rivers the 16th June the majority of which were our Eastern Brothr, but many Had to stop that expected to come in conseqal [consequence] of the High price of Oxen & the cost of Means. We first organized our company with two divisions[.] Robert C Petty was app[oi]nted Capt of Hundred. Leonard Hardy Captain of first fifty Edison [Edson] Whipple captain of 2d, 50.
At Ash Hollow two of my waggon wheels were broke to peaces which had to be filled with new spokes [--] tyre[tire] set[.] I did not think it wisdom for the whole company to wait for the work to be done so by Advise some of both Divisions stoped with me to assist me which formed a third Division of our Company[.] the 1st Division with Captains Petty & Hardy went on. Also the 2d division under captain [Armstead] Moffet[t]. Captain Whipple Stoped with me[.] we Now form the 3d division of our company counting 26 waggons 12 of which are my own or under my immediate care & responsibility, we are in the rear of the other Divisions.
the first Night after Leaving the La Bonte we lost 75 Head of oxen which strayed from the guard in the Night which detained us 4 days[.] were all found but 4 Head, I purchased 66 Head of Oxen & 30 cows for 12 waggons each carrying about 20 Hundred[.] I have lost but 4 Head out of that Number as yet 2 died & 2 strayed[.] But the fore part of our journey was wet muddy roads which was Hard upon our unbroke Steers[.] their Necks were badly galled & quite a Number are Now breaking down Neck and foot sore, & failing, & we are Now finding but Little feed but I spare No pains to Search for feed where their is any prospect of finding it[.] I am endevoring to travel every day as far as conditions & the Strength of our cattle will permit. I think the 1st & 2d Divisions of our company with economic prosperity & the Blessing of god will mostly be able to reach the Vally with the oxen they Have[.] But Brother Stratton will be able to judge of it as he passes them on His return[.] those of us who are in the rear are the worst off I think according to present appearances that myself & the company with me will not be able to reach the Vally with all our waggons except we could get the assistance of some 12 or 15 yoke of oxen & we should be very thankful of any of our friends in the Vally could meet us with that amo[un]t of teams[.] in the mean time we shall do our best to progress as fast as possible[.] the first & Second divisions of our Compny are two or three days in advance of us[.] A. O. Smoot[,] Heywood & Woolley & Edward Hunter are from 1 to 4 days in the Rear[.] However Elder Stratton will give an account of them
At the commecmt [commencement] of our
Gourney journey we Had some Sickness in our Compny as was the case with all the company Herd [heard] from[.] their were 7 deaths in our compny 3 children, 2 wmen 2 women and 2 Men, one of which was Samuel Smith. Our encampments are in the enjoyment of good Health & Spirits at present. I Believe brothers Stratton & Hanks have labored faithfully to accomplish the object of their mission which will prove a benefit to the camps in general[.] We feel that we are remembered before the Lord by our Brethren in the Vally[.] And that the Blessings of our Heavenly Father may continualy rest upon you & all the faithful in Zion & the Travelling camp of Israel is our daily prayer
Yours in the Gospel of Christ