Morgan, William, [Letter, June 25, 1852, William Morgan to William Phillips and John Davis], in Ronald D. Dennis, The Call of Zion: The Story of the First Welsh Mormon Emigration , 236-38.
Dear Brothers Phillips and Davis.—
According to my promise in my last letter I take this opportunity to give some details of the account of our journey from the Bluffs to this lovely place. After taking our leave of Brothers Jones, Daniels, Jeremy and others, the ones I knew being more numerous than the ones I did not know, we continued our journey with our hearts rejoicing, reflecting on the conversations and the interesting and edifying counsels which we received from the aforementioned brethren, praying for our Father to bless all of them in their dangerous and goodly endeavors, on land and water and in the midst of our own nation. After arriving at Mountain Creek and traveling about three or four miles, we decided to rest through the night where there was plenty of grazing for animals. The sun was about to hide its head in the west and the mantle of night was drawing nigh exhorting everyone except the watchmen to rest. We heard the noise of a wagon coming pell-mell from the city road; by then all were straining their eyes to see what was coming, and before long the lead watchmen shouted out, "Welsh from Salt Lake." There was no need to say it again, for the first word pierced through us all like an electric current. Everyone came near having a race to meet them. To our great joy who were they but Thomas Jones, Hirwaen; Morgan Hughes, Pontyates; and William, son of Evan Jones, Mill Street, Aberdare. They had come from thirty to forty miles to meet us with a load of fruits of the Valley, such as watermelons, mushmelons, potatoes, pickle cucumbers, grapes, etc., to welcome us. The watchmen came over to the camp, according to the language of the ancient Welsh, "without a sword unsheathed against them." They put their entire load under my care, and I had the honor of dividing the load among the brothers and sisters; and even though the divider normally gets the smallest share, I got plenty myself and everyone else, even though we had not tasted such delicacies all during the summer. We went no further than the foot of the mountain the next day. The second day we crossed the second mountain, as it is seen here; by the time we reached the expanse which is between the second mountain and the first, there was a multitude of brethren awaiting us with the same presents which we received from the other brethren. I shall name some of them: John Parry, Newmarket and his son, DI. Leigh, Owen Roberts, Thomas James, Cadwaladr Owens, etc., too many to name. We reached the city on the last day of September, all healthy and our hearts thankful to our Father for the privilege. We had traveled 1,130 miles, without a civilized man owing a furrow of land except in two places, i.e., in Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger. All except these two places is under the government of the various Indian tribes and the buffaloes, thousands of them. It is not unusual to see four or five hundred of them in one herd coming to the Platte River to get water. We killed five of them on our journey; their meat is similar in its taste to Welsh beef. Salt is not needed to keep it from smelling bad; drying it in the heat of the sun serves the same purpose which the salt does over there, without the salting. The Indians are kindly people if one behaves kindly toward them. One day, totally unawares, I happened to come into the midst of about three of [or] four hundred of them, i.e., the Sioux. As was my custom, I was on horseback riding in front of the camp to look for the trail and for a comfortable place to have lunch; and having gone ahead of the camp for about two miles, I saw two of them coming as fast as their horses could carry them to meet me; and as far as I was concerned I was like King Henry [sic] ready to say "Kingdom," not "for a horse," for I had a good one under me but "for being in camp." It was too late to turn back; it was better to go forward, and it was not long before their Indian majesty and myself met one another. He greeted me, "How do, Mormon good." I thought by then that they were not as bad as I believed; I went ahead between the two chieftains, who were in their official and pompous dress, till we arrived at their camp which was about a mile and a half from the place where we had met; their camp was arranged in an astronomical manner in my opinion; their biggest tent was in the middle, and a picture of the sun had been drawn with something red, the same kind as is seen in the old country, and the others with pictures which I did not understand. This brought to my mind the words of the prophet, that "people worship the sun," etc., since they are totally ignorant of the "true and living God." They behaved toward me in an extremely gentlemanly fashion. Their chiefs spread their blankets on the ground, motioning for me to sit down to smoke what they called a "peace pipe," as I understood through the translator, Huntington. The manner of having a pipe handed around in each group is like the shilling jug in taverns of the old country which is handed around to all the members of a group, and each one in his turn takes a drink. So it is with this pipe: the chief takes two or three puffs and then passes it to the next one and so on around the circle until the chief has it again. Refusing to sit down with them to smoke is a sign among them that the one who refuses is envious. Well, Brother Davis, how will you react if you are called to the pipe? I am confident that Brother Phillips like myself has not forgotten and will take his turn. When the camp came we took up a collection from them, such as a spoonful or two of sugar, cakes, etc., and their majesty accepted our gifts. Then our camp got under way, with myself having shaken hands and spoken and received suggestions that I did not understand, and I followed after the camp. All that I understood of their speaking was "Good Mormon," and "swap pongo." Although the red boys, from what I could observe on the journey, were completely harmless, yet I do not say that they will not steal if they have the chance. But I can say this much, that after going past thousands of them, when some were sleeping in our camp, nothing was stolen from us nor was an insult ever given to any of us. And although the journey was long, I considered it nothing but enjoyment every step of the way; so it was to me, and so it is to everyone who is fond of observing the wonders of the desert and seeing something new every day.