Smith, Charles, [Letter to Erastus Snow], St. Louis Luminary, 1 Sep. 1855, 162.
Dear Brother—I write to inform you of the death of Capt. [Jacob F.] Secrist, who died of Cholera, twenty miles east of the Litttle Blue. He was away from the camp hunting horses when he was taken sick, near the Nemehaw.
Brother [John] Pugh, who was with him, left him in charge at Vermillion Creek, and hastened on to overtake brother [Seth M.] Blair's company, and procured a carriage through the exertion of brother Stevenson, and sent back to bring him up to our camp, which was about fifty miles ahead of him. They arrived at the camp, on Turkey creek, at 2 o'clock on Sunday morning. He was very low at the time. In the morning we washed and anointed him, and laid our hands upon him. All day, on Sunday, he appeared quite easy with the exception of fever in his bowels. He died on Monday the second day of July, at 1 o'clock. We concluded to take his remains with us to the Valley, if possible. We procured tin from brother Jackman, in charge of Hooper & William's train, and brother Stevenson made a tin coffin but afterwards it was thought not sufficiently strong for the purpose, so we intered his remains on the banks of the Little Blue, where the road first strikes near the river bank.
We put up two posts, one at the head, and the other at the foot. His name is cut on the first one; it is plain to be seen, being but forty feet from the road, and about the same distance from the river. We are getting along very well—have had four deaths in the first division.PLATTE RIVER, above Kearney, the 15th.
We have had no opportunity of sending, so we are waiting for the mail to pass.
The number of deaths are as follows:
Thomas Morgan, aged 12 years, from Alton, Illinois; measles and fever.
Stephen Welsh, aged 18 years, from Nova Scotia; cholera.
Mary Ann Falkner, aged 37 years, from Nova Scotia; cholera.
Stephen Falkner, aged 14 years, from Nova Scotia; cholera
Burke Falkner, aged 4 years, from Nova Scotia; diarrhoea.
John Falkner, aged 2 years, form Nova Scotia; measles.
Nancy Welsh, aged 50 years, from Nova Scotia; Cholera.
We have seen nothing of the first company. All the trains are ahead of us, so we deemed it best to go on.
Yours, in the gospel covenant,