John Taylor letter in Historical Department journal history of the Church, 1896-2001 July, 18 Aug. 1847, 3-5.
View this source online
On this date Elder John Taylor wrote the following:
La La [P]rele Creek, 35 miles east of the Ferry, Aug. 18, 1847.
To Pres. Brigham Young and the Council of the Twelve:
Beloved Brethren: We received your letters and messengers in safety and were rejoiced to see both our beloved Brother Phineas Young and Ezra T. Benson, together with their escorts. Their messages to us from our friends were indeed good news from a far country, and traveling as we are, we know how to appreciate a favor of this kind. We thank God, our Heavenly Father, that you have been so successful in your undertaking and that after the many wanderings, trials, persecutions and afflictions of the saints that you have at last found a home, and we trust that when your families and ours shall meet in Zion, you may rest from your weary pilgrimage, realize the full fruition of your hopes and rejoice with your brethren, the saints of the most High, in the Kingdom of God, which shall be established, and in the Lord's House which shall be reared on the mountains.
When we received your first letter, we counciled about the propriety of sending messengers to you immediately and thought that it would be expedient to defer it until we arrived in the neighborhood of the ferry. We were just on the eve of doing so, when our beloved Brother Benson arrived.
We find that you expected us to be near to our place of destination than we are; but [I] can assure you that every exertion has been made, both to make as early a start as possible, and also to expedite our journey after we started. Our numbers far exceed what we anticipated, for instead of numbering one hundred wagons we have near six hundred; the cattle were generally weak in coming off the rushes; we had to recruit our cattle and to send to Missouri for bread stuffs. You know, brethren, that it takes a little time and labor to start a large wheel, it has, however, commenced rolling and will, we trust, not stop until it reaches the valley of the Salt Lake.
We started from Winter Quarters on the 12th of June, organized at the Horn <(Elkhorn),> and made our final departure from there on the 20th of June.
We are organized into four hundreds and nine fifties <, the hundreds> under the direction of Capt. Spencer, Hunter, Grant and Smoot. Each Captain has two Captains of Fifty and General Rich has a separate company of Fifty. Bro. John Young with Capts. Spencer and Hunter preside over the temporal affairs of the camp, and Uncle John Smith over the spiritual affairs, <over the spiritual affairs.> Gen. Rich has charge of the military concerns, all "under the direction of the Twelve." We have met with no serious difficulty further than the loss of about twelve horses and forty head of cattle, the cattle from Captain Grant's company and the horses from Captain Smoot's. The cattle, however, were principally made up by voluntary contributions, so that all the companies have equally shared the loss. We find that our loads are heavy and our teams light and weak, but we think we shall be able to reach the place of our destination. If, however, you have spare teams and a few teamsters, they would not come amiss, but as you are acquainted with your own circumstances best and Bro. Benson will give you the particulars of ours, we shall leave it to your own discretion.
Accompanied with this we have sent you a list of all the adults in the several companies. We called at the several post offices on the way and obtained the letters directed to us. The health of the camp is very good. There has not been more than two or three deaths, one of those an adult, who was an invalid when we started and the others children. We have also been generally free from sickness and accidents. Some few children have been run over, but none killed. Peace prevails in our midst, and we have realized great blessings from the hands of the God of Israel.
Your families were all well when we left Winter Quarters. You may expect also on you return to find an abundance of corn and vegetables of different kinds growing; we plowed and enclosed a large tract of land before we left and the city was all picketed but a few small gaps which would be very soon done. There was no particular difficulty with the Omahas, nor was there likely to be.
The saints are all anxious to meet you and again to see your faces and to hear your voices.
It was our intention when you left not to come this season, but to spend the winter with you; but we afterwards judged it expedient to alter our minds and are thus far on our way with the saints.
With gratitude for your services in behalf of the camp, we remain
Your brethren in the New and Everlasting Covenant