Homan, John G., [Letter], Deseret News [Weekly], 2 Aug. 1865, 351.
The following letter from Elder John G. Holman to Pres. B. Young, relating to this season's immigration, which we have been kindly favored with for publication, will, we have no doubt, be very interesting to our readers.
DEAR BROTHER:—This evening, 6 p.m., the Danish company arrived, about 550 in number. They brought with them the bodies of three persons that had died on the steam-packet "Denver," coming up the Missouri river, between St. Joseph [Missouri] and this place. A child died two hours after their arrival, and about 30 have died since they started from their native lands, four of whom have died between New York and St. Joseph. The diseases were mostly measles, followed by scarlet fever, and debility produced by diarrhea. The company are industrious and cleanly, and every attention has been paid to their sick. Elders [Anders W.] Winberg and [John] Svenson, have had the care of the company; when they arrived at New York they were accompanied by Elder Miles P. Romney to this place. The company is composed of Danes, Norwegians and Swedes. Elder Henson Walker has arrived here; he joined the Danish company at Quincy [Illinois]. The Danish saints have brought with them several good tents, and they are pretty well armed and have considerable luggage with them.
The English company arrived here on the 15th inst. Numbering nearly 400, one sister has died of consumption, and two of measles. On their arrival the saints were immediately conveyed to dwelling-houses, where they were made as comfortable as practicable. The poor families were supplied with medicines, and the ordinance was frequently administered to the sick.
It is the expectation to get the saints away as soon as possible, but how long before they will get started we cannot say, as the high waters in the Grand and Little Platte rivers, between St. Joseph and Quincy have washed away miles of railroad line, thereby hindering the forwarding of the wagons and other articles necessary for the out-fitting of the emigration; in consequence of this a few of the saints have lost their luggage. It was with great difficulty the last arrival of saints got across, as the bottoms were entirely covered for miles.
We have many here that are entirely destitute, depending upon being assisted through. It is the intention of bros. [Thomas] Taylor and Holman to forward all the saints that are here and will go, if means can possibly be arranged to accomplish the matter. There are plenty of cattle here for sale, at prices from $140 to $175 per yoke. The yokes and bows are already purchased. Flour is contracted for $4 12 per sack; Bacon can be had at 16 1/2 cents per pound. Material for wagon covers and tents have been and will be forwarded in sufficient quantity to supply the demand. The health of the saints is generally good. Meetings have been held and have been well attended, all seeming to feel first rate, and glad they have so far been able to effect their emancipation from babylon.
There have been some 60 or 70 of the single men hired to the different merchant trains as teamsters to drive thro' to Great Salt Lake City. In addition to the single men employed as teamsters there are several married men with their families accompanying the trains, working their way through, receiving as wages the transportation of their families.
There are many of the brethren getting labor near by, during the time of their stay.
Elder W. H. Waylett arrived at New York on the 4th inst., after a passage of twelve days, he then joined the company at Castle Gardens in good health and spirits, and came in with them to Wyoming.
On the 29th inst., Lars Peterson, who arrived with his father, mother and some relatives, in the Danish company, went with a few emigrants to bathe in a small stream called the Weeping Waters, and took the cramp, as it is supposed, and was drowned unobserved by the balance of the company. He was a single man about 30 years of age, and had assisted some 20 of the Danish saints in emigrating; as soon as it was discovered through seeing his clothes remain upon the bank, search was immediately made for him, and his body found in the bed of the stream. To-day he was buried, and a large concourse of Danish saints followed him to the grave, who feel to mourn his loss, as he was greatly respected by them.
I do not think of any thing further to mention at this time, excepting I am expecting Elder Thomas Taylor to arrive in ten or twelve days.
Ever praying for your welfare, and the continued prosperity of the cause.
I remain your brother,
per GEORGE SIMS.