“Emigrants Perishing on the Plains,” Zanesville Gazette, 17 February 1857.
The St. Louis Evening News gives the following account of the sad fate of some of the deluded devotees to Mormonism.
We have referred to the fact of three trains of Mormon emigrants to Salt Lake having been overtaken by a snowstorm on the Plains. They were met by Lieut. Kelton and Dr. Page of Fort Laramie, at the crossing of Sweet Water, about the 15th of December, and according to their opinion are supposed to have perished. Nothing has been heard of them since, and it is greatly to be feared that the next tidings from them will inform us that the whole company, several hundred in number, have perished. At the time they were met by the officers of Fort Laramie, they were suffering beyond measure for want of provisions and on account of the cold—They were badly clothed, and in consequence of the hardships many of them were dying; in one camp they buried 15 in one day. The mode of burial, since they cannot dig the frozen ground, is to lay the bodies in heaps and pile over them willows and heaps of stones. Gov. Brigham Young, learning something of their condition, dispatched some men and provisions to their relief, but these were met by the mail party returning to the city again, having been turned back by the violence of the storm they encountered. What the poor creatures will do, and what will become of them, it is hard to tell. Under delusion, they left their homes in foreign lands; and, to satisfy a whim of the Governor, undertook a journey of thousands of miles, not half provisioned or fitted for a trip that, even in good weather, is difficult enough, let alone this inclement season of the year.
Source: 1857 Scrapbook No. 6, in Historian’s Office, Historical scrapbooks 1840-1904.