"Mormons En Route for Utah," The Mormon, 13 Sept. 1856, 2.
IT may not be uninteresting, to some of your readers, to learn something of the movements of the emigration to Salt Lake Valley this season. A few days since, in company with Col. Babbitt, Secretary of Utah, and several citizens of this place, we visited Florence, N. T., and there found encamped about 500 of the "faithful," all in good health and spirits, intending to start in a day or two on their long journey. (They left on Monday, 18th inst.) From Capt. Willey [James G. Willie], and assistant Capts. McGaw and Levi Savage, we learned that the train had been but three weeks in coming from Iowa City, and that all were healthy, cheerful and contented.
Having seen several hand-cart trains pass through this city, and cross the ferries at Elk Horn and Loup Fork, we could not help but remark the enthusiasm which animated all classes and ages. This train seemed to be better provided with camp equipage, and out fit of provisions, &c., than those which preceded it.
We saw the butcher dealing out a splendid beef to the crowd, and were informed that the allowance was one half pound each, one pound flour per day, and the usual quantities of molasses, sugar, &c. Many, however, have private supplies, which enable them to live very comfortably.
It may seem, to some, that these people endure great hardships in travelling hundreds of miles on foot, drawing carts behind them. This is a mistake, for many informed me that after the first three days travel, it requires little effort for two or three men or women to drag the light hand-cart with its moderate load of cooking utensils and baggage.
It is also a fact, that they can travel farther in a day, and with less fatigue, than the ox-teams.
These trains are composed of Swedes, Danes, Germans, Welch [Welsh], Scotch and English, and the best evidence of their sincerity is in the fact that they are willing to endure the fatigues and privations of a journey so lengthy.
First, they have toiled wearily o'er the hundreds of miles which separated their native hills from the European sea-port from which they were to embark—then see them on crowded ships, braving the dangers of the broad Atlantic—afterwards, they travel patiently one thousand inland miles to Iowa City, thence to start on foot for a journey over hill, plain, desert, mountain, fourteen hundred miles to reach the "Happy Valley."
This is enthusiasm—this is heroism indeed. Though we cannot coincide with them in their belief, it is impossible to restrain our admiration of their self-sacrificing devotion to the principles of their faith.
But we have forgotten Florence, not destined, like its beautiful Tuscan prototype, to be universally worshipped as the most lovely of European capitols, rejoicing in her magnificent palaces, her glowing paintings and speaking statuary—but to be known in this our practical work-a-day world, as one of the most important towns in the Territory of Nebraska. Three months ago there were but five buildings, there are now about forty, and as fast as labor and material can be obtained they will continue to build. Before winter, probably 150 houses will have been erected.
The steam saw mills are doing their best to supply lumber, but the water mill on Mill creek moves lazily for lack of "copious showers." Another steam mill will be put up this fall. There are two brick yards near at hand; a lime kiln, and a quarry of superior building stone. To James C. Mitchell, Esq., who has labored for nearly two years to make Florence a town in fact as well as name, is most of the credit of its improvement and growth to be attributed. We cordially wish it success and prosperity.
P. S.—Since the above was written we notice the following arrivals in this city en route for Salt Lake:
On Monday, 18th inst., 56 hand-carts and 5 ox-teams; on the 20th, 80 ox-teams; and on the 21st, 60 hand-carts and several teams.
About 400 have already left Florence; the above trains contained about 800 persons, and a large number are still expected, via St. Louis.