Woodward, William, to Wilford Woodruff, 17 Feb. 1857, in [Papers and rosters relating to emigration companies] 1846-1860s.
Feb. 17, 1857
Elder W. Woodruff,
Knowing that you desired a brief sketch of what we know about last year’s emigration induced me to commence this brief note.
I left Liverpool on the 19th of April on the ship “S. Curling” bound for Boston. <with a> company of saints numbering about 703 souls under the Presidency of Dan Jones, John Oakley & David Grant. We arrived at Boston on the 23rd of May In good health & spirits as a company—experienced no difficulty with the officers & were treated with respect by the citizens of that place. Most of our company left Boston on the 26th of May in the cars for Iowa city, price of passage $ll.00. We arrived at Iowa City June 2nd. I staid at Iowa city till July 16th <when I left> with the 4th Handcart company James G. Willie captain. Millen Atwood, capt. of the 1st Hundred: Levi Savage capt. of the 2nd Hundred; William Woodward, capn. of the 3rd Hundred; John Chislett, capt of the 4th Hundred; & J. A. Ahmanson, capt of the 5th Hundred.
Our company comprised about 500 souls; 5 mules; 12 yoke of cattle; 20 handcarts; 25 Tents; & 5 wagons. Our company were Americans, English, Irish, Welsh, Scotch, & Scandinavians.
As we passed thro Iowa many of our company left us to live with the Gentiles. Our handcarts were of a very poor kind some of the axels almost wore thro’ before we arrived at Florence.
We arrived on the Banks of Missouri River August 11th & crossed the river same day on the steamferryboat Nebraska. Several of our company considering the journey too tedious left our company at Florence. When we started for the plains our company was reduced to about 425 souls, another wagon was given to our company to haul provisions as we were short of team, also about 4 yoke of cattle.
We left the little Pappea on the 18th of August in good spirits, for G. L. Lake. We travelled along very well till the 3rd of September, when more than one half of our cattle stampeded. We were then under the necessity of yoking up some wild Arkan’as cows & travelling the best we could. We made pretty good headway till we arrived at the upper crossing of the Platte. Many of our men now began to get weak, some had died, this made the duties of the camp to fall on a few & began to weaken the rugged & the strong.
Some of the causes that our people got weak was they had not enough to eat. From Iowa City to Florence, we had 10 ozs of Flour per day & little or no groceries. When we left Missouri River we had not quite enough provisions for sixty days at 1 lb pr head each pr day. We issued 1 lb of flour to each adult & 8 ozs to each child per day. About 8 miles weat of Laramie we issued flour as follows 14 ozs to each man; 12 ozs to each woman; 8 ozs to each child; & 4 ozs to each infant per day.
At Independence <Rock> we reduced the rations again Men 10 ½ ozs flour; woman 9 ozs; children 6 ozs; & infants 3 ozs per day.
We issued the last of our flour out at the 5th crossing of the Sweetwater. Bro. Willie, purchased some hardbread at Fort Laramie This we had on hand[.] on the 19th of October we met Bros. C. H. Wheelock, J. A. Young & two other brethren informing us that J. D. Grant & the “Relief Train” was near at hand. This inspired our company with fresh spirits that day we travelled about 16 miles with weary teams & hungry people[.] at our next camping place we buried nine persons.
The Relief Train came to our assistance on the 21st of Oct. with provisions & clothing & bedding & shoes. W. H. Kimball & others with six wagons returned with us. G. D. Grant & the Balance of the “relief <train> went on towards Independence Rock in search of the rest of the Handcart companies. crossing the rocky ridge we had a tremendous snow storm[.] the next morning we buried 13 souls. Some six wagons came to our assistance at this place on the Sweetwater; we travelled on & crossed Green river; the day we left Green River about 10 wagons from Fort Supply came to our assistance. From this time on wagons continued to come to our assistance with clothing & provisions. From the time we left Fort Bridger we had about 50 wagons assisting us on to the valley. We buried 68 souls of the “Fourth handcart Co” between Iowa City & G. S. L. City[.] The names of all the Bretheren I am not acquainted with that came to our assistance but suffice to say the most of them were on hand & kind to the sick & feeble altho some few were very attentive to the fair sex.
When our company arrived in G. S. L. City the Bishops took care of them immediately. Altogether the people of the 4th Hand cart co. have Great reasons to thank God & the Saints in Utah.
This or any portion of it is at your service