"Visit of the Editor to the Camps at Atchison," The Mormon, 23 June 1855, 2.
SAINT LOUIS LUMINARY—EXTRA
SATURDAY MORNING, JUNE 16, 1855
Visit of the Editor to the Camps at Atchison.
Health of the Emigrants—Organization of Companies—Starting upon the Plains—Salt Lake Mails—Indian Depredations.
We have just returned from a three weeks' tour in the upper country, and too late to furnish our readers this week with more than a bird's-eye glance at the position of affairs on the frontiers, and the events of our tour.
The fine steamer F. X. Aubry landed us on the levee at Atchison, at two o'clock on the morning of the 29th ult., where we found Elder Glover, with part of his company, still on the levee, who had landed from the Equinox the previous day. After taking a morning nap, and breakfasting with Elder [James] McGaw, we surveyed the town, and the few tents and detachments of companies still remaining on the old camp ground just back of town, and later in the day visited the general encampment at Mormon Grove—four miles west—which presented the appearance of a city of tents and wagons beautifully arranged in the open woodland, and covering several undulations. Our visit was emphatically one of business; but it proved equally one of pleasure.
The lowing of cattle—the din and bustle of camp—and the joyful greetings, were to us what martial music is to the soldier. Although we had allotted ourselves only three or four days in camp, the great amount of business relating to the P. E. Fund emigration, as well as the Danish and other independent companies, which required our personal attention, detained us until the 10th inst., and then it was with reluctance that we bid them adieu, to return to our duties in the city.
During our stay we organized four companies for the plains, consisting of about fifty wagons each.
The first, under Captain Kinley [John Hindley], consisted chiefly of the emigrants from St. Louis, and other parts of the States. The second, under captain Jacob Siechrist [Secrist], embraced the Danish and part of the British independent company. The third, under Captain S. [Seth] M. Blair, embraced the Texas Camp, and portions of the Saints from other parts of the States and adjacent Provinces. And the fourth, under Captain Richard Ballantyne, embraced a part only of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund emigration.
The first drew out and formed a separate encampment on the 1st inst., and soon were on their march for the mountains. The 2d were also moved out, and the 3d was moving out when we left, and the 4th were preparing to follow soon as their outfits could be completed.
The general health of the camps was good, although several deaths have occurred in the Danish camp and among the passengers of the ship "Juventa," who had almost entirely escaped until they reached Atchison. Among the lamented dead of this company, we have to mention Elder Simpson long and favorably known among the British Saints, and Elder Bell, late President of the Malta Mission, and his wife.
The Saints who remain in camp are busily engaged plowing and planting, and thus laying a foundation for the sustenance of the poor that maybe left. The merchant train of Messrs. Livingston, Kinkead & Co., of Salt Lake, passed near Mormon Grove, on the 2d inst., being the first of the season, and one month later than previous years. Several other merchant trains were being fitted out at Atchison and Leavenworth City. Our business called us by the way of Weston, Kansas and Independence, where on the 12th, we took passage on the "Polar Star," the universal favorite in the Missouri trade.
Up to the time of our leaving Independence no tidings had been heard from the Salt Lake Mail, due on the 30th ult. It was reported that the party with the April mail, outward bound, had been robbed of every animal at Devil's Gate, and fearful apprehensions were entertained for the safety of the party. Some early trains of California Emigrants are also reported to be stripped of all their animals.
Capt. Heath of the U. S. Army, direct from Fort Kearney, who was a fellow passenger down the river, informed us that the May mail, outward bound, with which was Hon. J. M. Bernheisel, had been safely escorted by a part of his command as far as Ash Hollow, and safely delivered to a like escort from Laramie. Dragoons have started from Fort Leavenworth to patrol the line, and keep Indians off the road.
The Ben Bolt, with a company of Saints, was just landing at Atchison, as the Polar Star left there, on the 14th.