"Obituary," The Mormon, 22 Nov. 1856, 1.
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MURDERED by the Indians, 120 miles west of Fort Kearney on the Platte river, about the 10th of September last, Col. Almon W. Babbitt, Secretary of Utah, in the 43d year of his age.
Mr. Babbitt was born in one of the Eastern States, and whilst still in his boyhood removed with his father's family westward to the wilds of Ohio, where in 1833 he joined his destinies with the Church of Latter Day Saints or Mormons. Having a very limited education, it was left for his determined energy to become more acquainted with books, and carve out for himself his future course and his fortune. The study and practice of law was adopted, and the deceased for years engaged in a successful practice. The Col. represented a portion of the citizens of Illinois in the State Legislature, and for two terms represented the people of the new Territory of Utah in Congress. In 1852 when Western Iowa was enthralled with political fanaticism, Mr. Babbitt established the Bugle Office and raised the standard of Democracy whose flag still waves triumphantly. Soon after, Mr. Babbitt received from President Pierce the appointment of Secretary of Utah, in which capacity he served up to the time of his melancholy decease.
Mr. B. made the first trip across the mountains with the mail, and has altogether made nearly twenty trips across the Plains to or from either Utah or California, sometimes alone and unprotected, escaping the dangers of this long and tedious journey by his energy and watchfulness and quick perception of danger. His character was marked with an energy and determined perseverance rarely found. His towering ambition was softened with unbounded generosity and a firmness for the right that nothing could move. He has ever been an unflinching friend to the cause of his oppressed brethren and has manfully battled for their rights.
He left his family last spring, to visit Washington upon official business, visiting this place both upon going and returning. With a number of friends, we accompanied him to Florence, N. T., on the last of August from whence he started out to Utah, with only one attendant. Upon arriving at Fort Kearney, he found that the Cheyennes had attacked his freight train of Government Property and killed four of the party, and taken the stock and every other valuable they desired.
Here Mr. B. stopped a week to gather up what could be found of the scattered property purchase other teams, obtain drivers and start the train again, himself starting forward with two attendants, viz: Frank Roland and a Mr. Sutherland. They stopped at 2 o'clock when 28 hours out, and having travelled 120 miles, a band of 12 mounted Cheyennes, whose hands and arms were yet reeking with the blood of the murdered, bore down upon them with a wild shout and a hideous yell. Mr. S. was away from the wagon a short distance. Mr. R. stood near by apparently petrified, and was shot down by a score of well aimed arrows. Mr. B. after hailing the Indians, fired, first his rifle, then his revolving pistols at them, but being still hard pressed, clubbed his rifle and backing toward his carriage fought desperately and effectually, and single handed and alone as he was, would have stood a chance to have come off victorious over more than half a score of savage warriors, had not a blood thirsty wretch come up behind him into the uncovered wagon and with his tomahawk felled him to the earth. Mr. S. endeavored to save himself by flight but was also overtaken and killed. * * * Thus has fallen a noble brave, a true and good man whose loss will be severely felt by his family and numerous friends.
After braving every danger by sea and land and having traversed the American continent over many a time, the steel of the savage has laid him low upon the desert heather, a prey to wild beasts, where even a resting place for his bones cannot be found. Will our brave countrymen avenge his death upon the worthless barbarians who have spilt his priceless blood?
Fare thee well, noble, brave, generous and good A. W. Babbitt. Thy work on earth is accomplished. May we emulate thy virtues.—[Council Bluffs Bugle, Nov. 4