McCarrey, William to Dear Parents and Friends, 1853.
Dear Parents and Friends,
I take the pleasure to write to you these few lines to let you know that I am well and in good health as present hoping this will find you the same.
We got into a company of Saints on the second of June, and have been traveling on our journey ever since and we hope to do so throughout the remainder of our journey. We are in a company of 28 wagons. All Saints with the exceptions of myself and three or four others.
We crossed the Missouri River about seven miles above Kanesville. The ferriage was one dollar per wagon and ten cents per head for loose cattle from there.
From there we came into the Indian country, a wild and desolate country from there to the next river. We had to ferry the Elk Horn a distance from the Missouri River of 30 miles. The ferriage was a dollar fifty cents per wagon and we ferried the cattle across from there.
We came into the Big Flat Bottoms and we had to travel on the bottoms ever since and we expect to do so for the next four hundred miles or farther. We are at present 380 miles from the Missouri River, and about 140 miles from Fort Laramie, and before we complete the remainder of our journey to the Salt Lake which is at least 651 miles yet. We expect to travel from 15 to 17 miles per day. We had to wait some 10 or 12 days on the account of some cattle there was in the company getting sore feet, and we expect to get there in about seven or eight weeks from now. By now you may think it is a hard and unhealthy journey, but I tell you it is quite a pleasure, and has been an enjoyable trip for all who can make themselves comfortable.
There is about one hundred and twenty individuals in the camp and we have not had a case of sickness on the whole journey as yet. In all our travel we have not seen over two bands of Indians yet. We have almost forgot there is such men in the country. We watch our cattle by night in our turn three at a time. We have seen as small companies as 12 or 13 wagons together traveling in perfect safety.
There is also a law passed in camp to the effect, there is to be no traveling on Sunday and to have Sunday School in proper Mormon order. We met and pray three times a day and through the week, night and morning.
The captain of the camp is a man experienced. He has crossed the plains several times trading in dry goods at Salt Lake. We are traveling the Platte Bottoms which is as level as a plank floor. We are getting along first rate. Our cattle stand it out first rate. They are in better order than what they were when we started. Our cattle ran off and broke several of the wagons. I have not broke anything as yet.
I would like very well that you would come mother, but I expect to see you come next spring. I would like to see John and his wife, and Randel and sister Jane. I would prefer oxen for this journey. Horses stand it very well. I think this journey would do very well for Eliza Jane’s health. Give my love to Isaac and all the family, to Rober Robertson and wife and all friends. So no more at present from your most undutiful son.
P.S. Charley Raghier [Keighan] and wife send their love to you. Napoleon is a fine boy. I will write when I get to the valley, and send you all particulars. Farewell.
Let John or James write by return post direct for William McCarrey, Utah territory.