Empey, William to Brigham Young, 23 June 1854, in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832-1878, box 23, fd. 12.
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Prest Brigham Young
Knowing that you ever have a deep and abiding interest in the gathering of the Saints I wish to give you a brief acct. of the General Emigration this season
The Danish Company under the presidency of H[ans]. P[eter]. Olsen rolled out on the plains a few days ago, but in consequence of heavy rains & being heavy laden, they are remaining at Big Blue a few miles out on the Prairie unable to proceed further. The President of the company has returned with a note from Elder Orson Pratt stating that I must supply them with what oxen the[y] wan t I take security upon their teams for the [-], which has been done.
A company of fifty wagons under the Presidency of Elder Job Smith started out—last—Saturday
Dr. Darwin Richardson will start with thirty two wagons early in the morning W[illiam] F[urlsbury] Carter will start one day behind him with a company of about 32 wagons I may possibly add to these companies before they start The latter two companies are P[erpetual] E[emigrating] Fund.
The companies have been detained three weeks longer than necessary for the want of wagons—
In consequence of the immense emigration to California & Salt Lake every thing is very high this season.
Oxen range from 75 to $110.00 from [for] yoke and cows from 25 to $40.00 per head. The price of wagons in St. Louis is $67.00 and the freightage to Kansas ranges from 6 to $12.00 per wagon. The cause of this variation is the various stages of the river.
On acct of the high prices of cattle &c this season the Independents have been proportionally made to depend upon the P E Fund for means to complet their outfits the [- -] the third having far overshot their expectations. Many of them have expressed that they would much rather have come out by the fund as it would have relieved them of much anxiety of mind
By communication from Elder Orson Pratt for Elder Daniel Cairns we are informed that a council was held in St. Louis to examine the state of the Emigration generally, in which it was decided that more should receive their outfit at St. Louis after the 25th inst on acct. of the late arrival of the companies and some having not yet arrived.
There has been considerable mortality among the Saints this season about 200 have died belonging to the aforesaid companies Elder William Taylor has arrived at Kansas with part of another company the [-] of which are coming up the river.—
Elder Daniel Cairns who is here assisting me will take the latter over the plains as soon as we can get them organized—
In great rush I subscribe myself your [-] William Empey per Charles Evans