Stevenson, Edward, [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, 10 Nov. 1855, p. 716.
After crossing the North Platte, near 400 miles from G. S. L. City, Aug. 12, 1855.President F. D. Richards.
Dear Brother—Having a few moments to spare, and an opportunity to drop you a line by way of some packers accompanying the Salt Lake mail, I take pleasure to inform you that the 3rd company of our emigration is thus far advanced in good health and fine spirits, excepting a few cases of measles, which progress quite favourably.
Our cattle are in good condition, although the feed has not been on account of drouth. The streams, especially the Platte, are quite low, unusually so; many of the smaller streams having dried up, which puts me to extra watchfulness to search out the best feed and water for our stock. In all my crossing the Plains, I never saw such favourable roads, neither greater prosperity in any company since, through the appointment of Elders Milo Andrus and Richard Ballantyne, I took charge of the company, which had advanced sixty miles from Mormon Grove. Previous to then, through disorder and disobedience, the destroyer came into camp, in the form of dreadful cholera, and swept off 25, 3 being often buried in one grave; also when I came to camp 25 were on the sick list. My soul was pained and moved upon when I saw our well-beloved Elders, S.H. [Sylvester Henry] Earl, John Mayer, H. E. Phelps, and George C. Riser, all from missions, worn down in burying the dead, and administering to and taking care of the sick, by night and day. They proved faithful, and overcame the powers of death by virtue of their anointing and faith in the Gospel.
The promise sent by me to camp was, if the Saints would repent, and receive me and my counsels, the powers of death should leave the camp, which was the case, and I can testify that not one new case causing death came into camp. But the destroyer was rebuked until perfect health was restored, for which we truly thank and praise God, our Father in heaven. Not being a welcome visitor to Mr. Lucifer, the great opponent of our Gospel and faith, he made war with me, for I only had time the first evening to form camp, being much fatigued from the toils of the day and administering to the sick, when I was attacked with the cholera. I felt to plead with the Lord thus—"Oh Lord, who knowest the secrets of the heart of man, thou knowest I have come according to appointment in the midst of death to bless this camp, and lead them to Zion; therefore remember thy servant in mercy, and spare his life." I called upon the Elders, who anointed me with oil, praying over me, and I do know the power of life was given me, although the Elder administering partook of the disease so as to vomit, and have the cramp, but he recovered the next day. I was able to move on the camp, for which I feel to thank God.
Truly the time is coming that was spoken of by the Prophet Joseph, when none but the pure in heart will be able to go up to Zion. Then the angles of the Lord will go before and watch over His faithful servants by land and sea.
This trip is a pleasure to the faithful, who have Zion in view. How beautiful to see tents and wagons on the green plains bedecked with fragrant flowers as a natural garden.
The 1st and 2nd companies are three days in advance, in fine health and spirits. This is the 3rd company. Elder [Jacob F.] Secrist was captain of 2nd company. Doubtless you have heard of his death.
I must close in haste, desiring to be remembered to all the faithful Elders and my friends in Europe. May heaven's choicest blessings rest upon you and them until we meet in the Redeemer's kingdom.
As ever, yours in the love of the Gospel,