Orson Spencer, "Letter from Orson Spencer," St. Louis Luminary, 11 August 1855, 150.
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LETTER FROM ORSON SPENCER.
MORMON GROVE, K. T., Aug. 4, 1855.
DEAR BRO. HART:—This city of camps and Saints is now nearly depopulated. These beautiful hills that a few days since were lighted up with the camp—fires of eight or ten hundred Saints, (even since I came) and since the first of June, with several thousands of glad hearted Saints are now comparatively vacated. The great herds of lowing cattle are now gone. The whips are now cracking to move the last lingering wagons of the last company of the season. A great work has been accomplished in fitting out with teams and provisions about three thousand Saints. Imagine more than half the thousands of cattle, to be wild and unaccustomed to the yoke, and a much larger portion of the drivers as unacquainted with driving as their oxen are to the yoke, the labor of supervision becomes considerable. A system of order in the distribution of provisions and cattle, and wagons and drivers, and conductors has been arranged mostly out of the raw materials, with all the precision that attends a regular army, and all without salary or pay. Some indeed have sunk under the accumulating circumstances, and their bodies now lie under the turf of the green prairie, until the resurrection morning. But the number is few out of the large multitude. But sympathy with surviving friends pays tribute to their graves as we linger where distant friends are even denied this melancholy office to the departed. Peace to their ashes and blessings upon the heads of absent mourners.
The Camps are healthy and in good spirits. President Erastus Snow gave us the parting hand yesterday at four o'clock P. M., in company with Elder C. H. Bassett. They went in a light carriage drawn by four mules. The Mail Stage bearing Captain Hooper and Kinkead left our grove the same hour for Salt Lake with two carriages-six mules to each carriage.
The whole company will probably reach Salt Lake about the same time. And while I am now writing, the Salt Lake mail due at Indpendence [Independence] five or six days ago is passing in sight of us. Most gladly would we snatch some letters from their bags and learn some news from our dear friends and Zion. But we have no such right. But we had just petitioned the General Post Master to establish a post office in this Grove to be called Mormon Grove post office. This place is situated about seventy-five miles distant from Independence, Mo. It is a charming spot. The farm is large and the crops look flourishing. Claims for settlement are multiplied on every hand. Brother Daniel Spencer leaves to-day for St. Louis, and thence to England, to renew his former labors in Britain, having shared in the multiplied duties of forwarding the entire emigration of Saints over the plains.
You with many others will be surprised to learn that brother Milo Andrus was yesterday suddenly appointed to take charge of a company over the Plains to Salt Lake. Several circumstances combined to render this appointment prudent and desirable. The absence of brothers' Snow and Andrus will be deeply felt in St. Louis and the Mississippi Valley. May the blessing of the Great Shepherd continually attend them in all their labors.
You will receive by brother Brown the statistical account of all the companions and the time of their departure over the Plains, &c. I intend to proceed on my journey to the Cherokee nation to-morrow or next day, in company with Elder James McGaw, who is appointed to take charge of Mormon Grove station. Accept my kind regards and remembrance of all the Saints.
Yours, truly, ORSON SPENCER.