"Latest News from Our Immigration," Deseret News, 28 Sept. 1854, 3.
The Bros. Shepherd and Obray arrived on the 26th inst. express from the church train on the 21st, from whom we learn that the Danish company were on Black's Fork on the 21st; Elder Daniel Garn and company seven miles this side of Fort Bridger on the 22nd.
Dr. Richardson and company were west of the summit of Bear River Mountain on the 23rd, and Captain James Brown and company were passed in small parties from Cache Cave to Weber River on the 23rd and 25th. Many in Dr. Richardson's company were sick with the scurvy, and 30 had died; otherwise the companies were well, and getting along finely.
Bro. Obray was one who went back with a bro. Williams Scott, after the cattle which had stampeded near the crossing of the South Fork of Platte, and he states that they found 50 head of those cattle at Fort Kearney, in the possession of a trader named J. W. Woodard, and some of them yoked to his wagons; that Woodard would not give them up without being paid five dollars a head, and, as they had no money, he agreed to wait at Kearney four or five days until they could go 65 miles further back, and see Elder A. F. Farr on the Little Blue, but left the same day, taking all the cattle with him, and going down the Platte directly out of the line of our rear immigration.
T. S. Williams of the firm of J. M. Horner and Co. informs us that this Woodard is partner in the firm of Marshal, Woodard and Co. who have a store, and keep the post office at Unionville, on the Big Blue; if so, there may yet be a chance of getting those cattle, which will reduce the stampede loss to about 20 head; and we may be able to learn the reason of the strange (to say the least) conduct of Mr. Woodard towards women and children on the dreary plains, far from their destination and with weak teams at a late season of the year.
Bro. Obray brings no news from J. M. Horner's train, in charge of A. F. Farr, later than the 13th of August, when they were 65 miles beyond Fort Kearney; and knows nothing about any of our companies back of the church train.
In addition to the news of the fight between U. S. troops and the Sioux, contained in the letter from Elder Benson to the Presidency, and published in connection, we learn from bro. Obray that a lame cow strayed from the loose herd of the Danish company into a Sioux camp, where they were merry making, and they killed and eat her. Upon requisition of Lieutenant Gratten, the chief proffered to pay for the cow, but the person who killed her was demanded, and being sent for by the chief, said he did not want to be given up, but would relinquish his and his family's share of the annuity money, then due, in payment for the cow; which being refused, firing began on the part of the troops. The Sioux have not interfered with the emigration and have shown no disposition to do so, and there were no Mormons at the fight.
Pacific Creek, 20th Sept. 1854
President Brigham Young and Council:
Dear Brethren,--Our circumstances and situation are as good as could be expected, considering what this camp has had to encounter. We have travelled with our heavy loads and weak teams beyond all human calculation.
There has been trouble between the soldiers and the Sioux at Laramie, 31 soldiers being killed. I was on the ground the third day after it was done. The whole country is quite in an excitement, the traders fleeing in all directions, and expecting a general war.
All this happened through an unwise move of lieutenant Gratten and the interpreter. The chief offered to settle the question on fair terms, but the officer would not, and commenced firing on the Indians. The cannon was elevated too high, and only clipped the tops of the lodge poles; the old chief and his brother were wounded, and have since died. Before the troops had time to reload, they were all shot down.
On the 18th we met Captain Blackburn, Casper Young and their parties to help up the trains. We were glad to see them all well. Brother H. S. Eldridge and the brethren who came with him, with the mule teams, start for the Valley this morning; the rest of us will come as soon as possible.