Amos M. Musser, “Correspondence of Elder A. M. Musser,” The Mormon, 15 Aug. 1857, 3.
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ON THE PLAINS, 5 days from Florence,
July 16th, 1857.
PREST. APPLEBY—Dear Sir: I now beg to submit for the satisfaction of your readers a brief statement concerning the emigration of 1857. Captain William Walker’s company was the first that left Florence for the mountains. I succeeded in organizing it on the 13th ult., while encamped on the Little Papeau [Pappea]. It numbered 86 souls, 28 wagons, 15 horses, 3 mules, 141 head of oxen, 26 cows, 19 loose cattle, and 1 handcart. Before they left, about 27 of the emigrants were baptized—a number for the first time. Among the candidates of this ordinance appeared the venerable Thos. B. Marsh, once President of the Twelve Apostles. He received this holy rite in all humility, and is now on his way to Zion, rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord.
On the evening of the 13th ult. The first company of hand-carts, under the supervision of Elder Israel Evans, made its appearance on the opposite bank of the muddy Missouri; they were detained several days in Florence on account of incessant rains, which swelled the small streams to an impassable depth. This company numbers 149 souls, (80 of whom are females—21 under eight and 2 over sixty years old, the eldest a female, sixty-eight years old,) 28 hand-carts, and an excellent four-mule team. We furnished them with a good outfit, and they left Florence on the 19th inst., feeling well and in high spirits. Before getting under way the next morning from the Little Papeau [Pappea], Bros. Taylor and Snow came up and gave them many words of encouragement, and blessed them in the name of out mutual Redeemer.
The week following the departure of this company, Jesse B. Martin’s Capts. and Jacob Hoffein’s companies arrived; the former consisted of 192 souls, 34 wagons, 130 oxen, 7 cows, and 1 horse; the latter, after being augmented by accessions form St. Louis, numbered 204 souls, 41 wagons, 170 oxen, 17 cows, and 4 horses. These two companies left a few days after their arrival.
The Danish team company, under the direction of Capt. M. Cowley, arrived on the 2d inst., and left on the 6th; it numbered 198 souls, 31 wagons, 122 oxen, and 28 cows.
On the 3d inst., the Danish hand-cart company arrived, under the supervision of Elder J. P. Park, and other Valley brethren. This company numbered about 330 souls, 68 hand-carts, 3 wagons, and 10 mules. Capt. Christian Christianson, a Dane form the Valley, was deputed to conduct them to Utah; they left on the 7th inst., in good spirits.
On the 8th inst., the freight train, under the guidance of Elder W. G. Young, came in with several accessions at Florence. This company numbers 55 souls, 19 wagons, 83 oxen, 4 cows, and 1 mule. I have the honor to be numbered with this train. On the 12th inst. we left Florence, and are now five days from that place. Our company is the last one on the Plains. We have a thorough organization; Bro. J. A. Little, president; W. G. Young, captain; Henry Lunt, chaplain; Albert P. Tyler, sergeant of the guard; and your humble servant, clerk and historian. Besides these brethren from the Valley, we have Bros. P. H. Young, James Case, and G. W. Thurston, with us. Sister Nancy Kent, Prest. Brigham Young’s eldest sister, is accompanying us to Zion; she is 71 years old.
By recapitulating, we find that there are now on the plains 1214 souls, 157 wagons, 646 oxen, 20 horses, 18 mules, 75 cows, 19 loose cattle, and 97 hand-carts; add to these the isolated emigrants in company with Bro. Taylor and others, and you will have the sum-total of our this year’s emigrations; which, I believe, have been as well fitted out, and are under as prosperous circumstances, as our emigrants have been in any preceding year. Our united desire is to see all things pertaining to the emigration brought to a successful conclusion, and satisfactory to all parties concerned. May the Lord assist us all in bringing about those results, is my prayer. Amen
Now Bro. Appleby, I am going to write you about something else. Five years have nearly elapsed since I bade you adieu in our own mountain home beyond the craggy ridge which divides the waters that flow into the great Atlantic from those emptying themselves into the noble Pacific. How many changes have taken place with Gentiles and Jews since then! How many myriads of human beings have at the bidding of the Great Author of our existence, come into and departed from this world of sorrow, pain, and degeneracy! How varied have been our own individual circumstances, situations, callings and duties. While I have been circumscribing the earth, twice in distance and once in reality—preaching to Asiatics, Anglicans, Welsh, Irish, Scotch, &c, forming a religious medley of Hindoos, Pagans, Mahomedans, Parsees, Jews, Gentiles, and a heterogeneous mass of discordant elements under the appellation of protestants, your time has been occupied very differently.
Permit me to congratulate you on your ascension to the editorial chair of the ever welcome MORMON. May you be highly successful as your worthy predecessor has been in closing the months of those despicable members of the fourth estate whose tales and editorial caterings are inundating the country, and exciting their greedy readers against an inoffensive and strictly virtuous people. If Editors exercised the sense, wisdom, honesty, and discrimination of ordinary capaciated donkeys, they would cease their incessant braying and publish the truth concerning the Utopians. When about to indite a chapter on Mormonism, I fancy I can see them with goose quill in hand seated in ghostly dishabille, in their opaque editorial chamber, emulating the example of the fellow who
“Gnawed his pen, then dashed it to the ground,Sinking from thought to thought a vast profoundPlunged for his sense, but found no bottom there,Yet wrote and floundered on in mere dispair.”
You have also the influence of a horde of sulphuric shepherds—keepers of the public consciences to deal with. Like the former, they crawl between Heaven and earth (backwards like the crab) apparently for no other purpose but to create dissension and confusion setting every man against his neighbor. This is to every reflective mind the obvious tendency of their doings.
Poor fools they little think they are taking the night train for Paradise, and that they will have to render an account of their stewardship.
I regret I did not find you in New York during my brief visit a few weeks since. I desired much to see you, and congratulated myself with the idea of accompanying you across the plains.
I have been so busy since my arrival in America that I have not had time to visit but one of my relatives. After settling up the business pertaining to the emigration in Boston, I took the express train for Iowa city. A few days after my arrival in Iowa, I was deputed to accompany Bro. J. A. Little to St. Louis, where we bought supplies for the two first companies of emigrants; I accompanied them up the river to Florence. We had on board about 150 lady and gentlemen cabin passengers; amongst whom were two Reverends and a theological student or graduate form the city of Gotham. Prior to quitting St. Louis, I was introduced to the Captain and Clerk of the Edinburgh as a missionary of the Mormon faith from the East Indies. This brought me into note, and to satisfy a flatulent curiosity I was obliged to preach to them on Sabbath evening, and on the evening following deliver a lecture on the manners and customs of the Orientals of Hindoostan. Of course the knowing could not remain silent. The two following nights were occupied in delivering rejoinerders. In turn, to consmate the affair, after repeated solicitations, in a discourse which occupied over two hours, I answered all objections of my opponents to the satisfaction of all my bearers, everyone of whom, after I concluded my remarks, tendered me a voluntary expression of their thanks.
Enough I must conclude, as my advantages for writing are very meager. A crammed portfolio for a desk, an inverted wash-tub for a seat, and surrounded by a parcel of loquacious emigrants discussing the success and other matters of the day, while their hands are employed in performing the varied paraphernalia of a camp life.
With kind regards to your able assistants, Bros. Stenhouse and Dulin, and with fervent prayers for your prosperity,
I remain, my dear Bro. Appleby,
Your friend and well wisher,
AMOS M. MUSSER.
P. S.—It is reported and believed that the Government has wrested from the conductors the July mail while they were endeavoring to effect its transit to Utah.
It may be pleasing for you to learn that the family of Martin Harris (one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon) is in Pottawattamie, and purpose migrating to Zion next spring.
Saturday, 18th—We have this day travelled about 10 miles and camped on the Platte within half a day’s drive of our Beaver river settlement. A meeting has been called and the propriety of all being re-baptized was suggested, carried and immediately attended to. We had a good time and purpose going up to the mountains as immaculate before the Lord as our gross natures will permit.