Letter from John A. Hunt to Brigham Young, 16 September 1856.
- Source Locations
- Church History Library, 1234 1_b0024_f0022, items 55-58:
- Related Companies
- John A. Hunt Company (1856)
- Related Persons
- John Alexander Hunt
Camp on the Platte River, Opposite Grand
Island, about 2 m. above Fort Kearney.
Sep. 16. 1856.
President Brigham Young
In compliance with instructions received from Prest. F.D. Richards, and as Captain of the last company of emigrants en route from Europe to Utah this season, I take pleasure in communicating the incidents of the journey from Florence to this place, and the condition of the company at the present time.
The company, consisting of
5 240 Souls with 51 wagons and 2 carriages, left Florence on the 31st ult. [August] and travelled about 2 m. where we encamped until the morning of the 2nd inst. [September] We then resumed our journey and reached Loup Fork on the morning of the 7 th without having encountered any detention by the way, but there the water had risen 2 feet during the previous night and carried away the moorings of the ferry from the west Side of the river, in consequence of which we were detained until the evening of the 8th before we could commence to get the illegible <wagons> over. We ferried 10 over that night, and the balance the next day, in addition to which we travelled about 7 m. At Shell Creek a brother Derry from London left us to return to Fontenelle, N.T. with his brother-in-law who resides there and induced him owing to the lateness of the Season to remain until next year. This reduced our wagons to 50 & the company to 236 Souls which we stand at now. Prest. Richards[,] Elders Spencer, Wheelock, Young and others passed us on the 6th inst. [September] about 12 m. E. of Loup Fork.
I am happy to inform you that hitherto no accident has befallen us, and we have experienced no difficulty from the Indians, although one tribe, the Cheyennes, is reported to be hostile and has attacked Mr. Babbitt’s wagons and killed 2 men and a baby, and the dragoons from Ft. Kearney inform us that the Same tribe has since attacked another party. The military had a fight with this tribe on the 27th ult. [August] and killed 10 men and took from it a number of horses. At 9¼ m. E. of Ft. Kearney we this morning found the following notice nailed to a tree – “Travellers are warned to be on their guard as the Cheyennes are hostile. The cavalry had a fight with them on the 27th of Augt. A train was attacked <by the Indians> the same night, and 2 men killed. J. [or I.] B. McIntyre, Lieut 1st Cavalry Ft. Kearney Aug 29th/55 (?56). [“]There was a sister from St Louis in Mr. Babbitt’s company, the mother of the child killed, but she has not been found and it is supposed the Indians have carried her off. We passed the graves of the two men & child yesterday.
Today we <saw> the skull of a buffalo with the following memoranda upon it – “Captain Bunker’s company passed here Augt. 13 All well. John McDonald” “Atwood and Willie Aug 31. 1856. passed here”. “Captain Hodgetts passed Sep 11. All well”. “Captain Martin’s Company passed here Sep 13. 9.40 am. All well” Sep 9. F.D. Richards and company passed here 25 minutes past 10 o’clock, all well”. There was more writing upon it, but unintelligible. A few miles further on we picked up another skull with the following memorandum upon it “4th Hand-Cart Company passed here 3 p.m. Aug 30. 1856. All well Captain J.G. Willie”.
We have a few sick among us but only one seriously and we trust soon to be in a general good state of health. As to provisions I believe there is sufficient, providing we make the journey in ordinary time, say by the first week in Novr. The cattle all appear to be in good health, as though they would be driven through, though as to these matters it is perhaps rather early yet to give anything decisive and I shall write again from Stations further on. The Saints comprising the Camp feel well as a general thing <and> in good Spirits, and while I write are enjoying themselves in Singing the Songs of Zion. They seem to appreciate the peculiar position in which they are placed owing to the lateness of the Season, but they manifest great faith in the accomplishment of the journey in due time and without Suffering.
Up to this time we have neither seen nor heard of Cap [William] Walker & his freight train of 10 wagons, and believe he must be far behind, if indeed he has left Florence.
We solicit a continuance of your faith and prayers and those of the Saints in Zion in our behalf while we journey that we may escape all dangers by the way and reach you in Safety.
Your Obedient Brother in Christ,
John A Hunt
[written by clerk upon receipt or upon filing:]
John A. Hunt. Route 16 Sept. 1856.
To B. Young.
an account of journeys on the plains
Rec? by E [Eastern] mail, 24 March /57.