Milo Andrus letter to Orson Hyde printed in "From the Plains," Frontier Guardian, 2 Oct. 1850, 3.
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CAMP OF ISRAEL, FORT LARAMIE, July 19th, 1850.
BROTHER HYDE: agreeable to your request and as opportunity offers we have thought proper to address you from this point and give you a general outline of our journey, thus far, and our present condition as we informed you we left the river on the 3d day of June moved on without interruption till we arrived at Salt Creek, there we had to build a raft to cross our wagons on, which detained as two days and a half--got all over safe. Here we had two cases of measles but they did not spread in the camp, although numbers were exposed, from here we pursued our journey again over fine roads, plenty of water and grass, and reached the Platte Bottom on the 14th, all in good health. On the 23 we reached Fort Kearney[.] here a spirit of Division crept in among us. But by the energy and eloquence of Capt. Andras [Andrus], union was soon restored, and now we are all here in general good health, and a good spirit prevailing amongst us. We have had no sickness, with the exception of two or three cases of diarhoea, which was soon checked. On the 2d day of July, we reached the South Fork, Lower Crossing--found the water in places four feet deep and very wide. On the 3d, we succeeded in crossing nearly all our wagons over without accident or injury to our goods; next day we got all over, dried our wagons, and moved out a few miles. Until now the grass has been abundant; but since we have been on the north Fork, it is only in places we find sufficient for our teams.
A number of our cattle have become lame, and we have been under the necessity of erecting a blacksmith's forge to make shoes in order to shoe them; we have been obliged to leave several, and two or three very old oxen, that when the grass began to fail could go no farther. But still we are in good traveling condition, and intend to prosecute our journey as fast as circumstances will permit. When it is possible we rest every Sabbath day, meet together, to hear a discourse partake of the sacrament, &c., and every two weeks we stop Saturday and Sunday; clean out our wagons, wash, &c. The roads have been very good with the exception of a few places heavy dragging in sand; our teams look well; and we think we are in a prosperous condition. We send you the number of persons and animals belonging to the camp: We number
184 head of oxen,
We have found that a great many of our wagons are too heavy loaded. We would advise by all means to bring light strong wagons with from 1200 to 1800 pounds. and sufficient team, that if one yoke should give out the others could draw it. Our heavy cattle from six to ten years old that were not broke down have stood the trip equally it not better than younger. A[s] near as we can judge from what graves we have seen, and we have not been able to see half of them; that from Fort Kearney to this place, they have averaged one to every mile; about nine tenths of them from the State of Missouri.With sentiments of respect,
brethren in the Gospel,
MILO ANDRAS [ANDRUS] , Capt.
JAMES LEITHEAD, Clerk.
June 13, 1850
Mr. F. J. Wheeling: According to promise I sit on the ground, 11 o'clock at night, to write that the road from Council Bluffs here up the Valley of the Platte is the best I ever saw. We arrived here yesterday all in good health, made the trip in 21 days, laid over 4--say traveled 17 days. We are 8 days in advance of the trains that crossed at the Kanesville Ferry at the same time that we crossed at the Council Bluffs Ferry; and 10 days ahead of them that crossed at the same time below the mouth of Platte; the road south side of the Platte is a very hard road to travel. I cannot tell the reason why so many are advised to go that road, when those who do it know it to be the worst road by half; their teams are poor their men sick and drilled down from the fatigue they have had on that road. I would say to all who come after us, by all means take the road north side of the Platte. One large train crossed just behind us at the head of Grand Island over to this side. The two roads are in site of each other for 300 miles, frequently in hailing distance. Our teams would pass them on a slow walk by hundreds; one day we passed over 500 wagons, often from 100 to 300 wagons. We are now ahead of the main body of emigration; 3 days in advance of the St. Joseph Trains. We have killed some Buffalo. I am very tired and must rest you shall hear from me again first chance. Give my respect to Dr. Clark, Decator, and all my friends.
A. G. Clark