Taylor, John, "Editorial Correspondence," The Mormon, 18 July 1857, 2.
LITTLE PAPPEAU, near Florence, N. T.
July 1st, 1857.
BRO. APPLEBY—Dear Sir: I have just made a start from Florence in company with a number of brethren, and for the first time since my arrival in this upper country, find time to address to you a few words.
Previous to my leaving Florence I requested Br. Musser to write you an account of the emigration, to which I beg to refer you. I will merely say that all things are moving well. The first English company of hand-carts left in good spirits on the 19th ult., and I visited them, in company with Bros. Snow, Cunningham, Musser, and others. I certainly was to me a novel sight; old and young, male and female, were in some manner "hitched in," aiding in pushing or pulling the hand-carts and thus practically carrying out a song that they seemed to chant with great glee:
I took hold of a hand-cart alone to pull it up a hill, and found it rather heavy; but this same cart had five persons to draw it, which, of course, is different from one. The opinion of most persons who are experienced in the matter is that those who are inexperienced in cattle can travel the road easier in this manner than to have the charge of a team. Some seventy Elders, destined for various districts of country, have travelled in this way from the valley.
Captain [Jesse B.] Martin left with an ox-train company on the 29th. The St. Louis ox-train company left on the 30th; and the Delaware and Philadelphia ox-train company left to-day. The last two companies are organized in one, with Jacob Hophines [Hofheins] as their captain. Bro. Little arrived from St. Louis two days ago, and Bro. Eldredge of St. Louis yesterday. Bro. Phineas Young also arrived a few says ago. The Danish handcart company, if not now arrived, is expected hourly. Everything is moving peaceably and harmoniously, and officers and people, I believe, are doing as well as they can. The weather is now warm, and grass abundant, and there is every prospect at present of the emigration moving on well. But I find I am doing what I requested Bro. Musser to do, and must stop.
Bro. Snow left a few days ago for our new settlement called Genoa, where we expect to join him and others en route in a few days for Utah. Bros. Henry W. Miller, Andrew Cunningham, Geo. J. Taylor, accompanied by a number of horsemen, who go with us to Kearney to guard us against depredations from white and red Indians, are now with us. The tents are now up, the camp fires smoking, and the cheerful sound of women and children, as the former attend their domestic duties and the latter rollick on the green grass in the innocence of youthful mirth, all bespeak happy contentment—all, indeed, at this their first experience on the rolling prairie, are full of hilarity, and seem as merry "as village bells at harvest home." A wagon that was upset and some parts of it broken, was unloaded, mended and reloaded in half an hour.
The prairies are now dressed in a lively green. Nature had dealt with no parsimonious hand in this country. There is enough of grass in this unoccupied region to feed millions of cattle, and the land for hundreds of miles is rich and fertile. Often, while I have been here, have I reflected upon the miserable position of tens of thousands in the eastern cities, who are dwelling in miserable damp cellars and pent-up garrets, breathing a fetid, unwholesome atmosphere—while there are millions of unoccupied lands in the western country, which only requires labor to produce not only the necessaries, but the luxuries of life. Our eastern people seem to be unacquainted with the resources of the West, or, if they know it, do not appreciate it. They indeed sing "Uncle Sam is rich enough to give us all a farm," but they are too indolent, negligent, or lack the energy to possess it.
Very great improvements have been made in all the upper country on the border of the Missouri. Florence, however, is one of the prettiest sights that I have seen. They have made very rapid improvements here, and what was a few years ago a solitary place is now a thriving and rapidly increasing little city. Labor of all kinds commands much better prices here than in the East.
In passing through this county I am reminded forcibly of the time when we first traversed this land, and especially our sojourn in Winter Quarters. I visited the graves of many of our dead, and could not but reflect upon the trying scenes we then passed through in our exodus from what is boastingly called "the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the asylum for the oppressed." We then left the abodes of civilization (?) to find an asylum among the tawny savages of the forest; and many fell beneath the ruthless hand of persecution and the fiendish hate of hypocritical demons in human form. The honest-hearted man, the old revolutionist, who had battled for what is called liberty, together with the widow, the fatherless and orphan, were hunted like the deer in the forest, and many a stalwart arm and noble heart lay palsied in death. I felt like saying: "Sleep on, ye martyrs of truth; you are now at rest, and all is well. No slanderer's tongue can longer bite as a viper; you are far beyond the reach of mobs and mob violence."
Many of the headboards of the graves that designated the last resting place of those weary wanderers were removed or burned by the yearly prairie fires. I was enabled to decipher the following, which may be interesting to many of their friends: M. Das; H. T. F.; I. H. F.; P. J. Hallins; Eliza Elaker Starke, 15 Juin 1856; A. F., Feive, Denmark, 27 Juin, 1856; Jane Benbow; Sarah Halley, Dec. 28, 1846; J. S. and H. S. Turley; S. A. Pendleton; John Smith; T. Bellington; Susannah Bigler; Michael Peterson; Norga Dodder, 7 Juin, 1856, America. Like all grave yards, the old and young slumber together. But I find I must stop; I am writing in my carriage, with a board for my table, and the messenger awaits my letter. My love to all. Adieu.