Bleak, James G. to John Moore, 3 Dec. 1856, in Moore family, Papers, 1846-1876, item 3.
Wednesday, December 3, 1856
Dear Father and Mother
I shall suppose you have received our letter giving the particulars of our sea and part of our land voyage therefore I shall say nothing but that relates to our journey across the plains and our reception in this city.
We left a place called Iowa City, on the 1st of August and arrived in this City on last Sunday the 30th of November the distance being 1,300 miles. We should not have been so long performing the journey but we were detained on the road in consequence of the snow falling considerably towards the latter part of our journey.
The scenery across the plains is certainly not to be surpassed. We saw the prairie
of on fire several times and consider it one of the grandest sights in nature. While the weather was fine we had an abundance of excellent plums and grapes which grow wild in the woods also cherries and gooseberries[,] small, but of a nice flavour. Our health as a general thing has been very good[.] Betsy has enjoyed better health on the whole of the journey than she did at home. Mary is rather poorly, at present and I have my feet frostbitten in consequence of which I am not able to do any thing like work and do not expect to be able for at least 2 months. But thank God I am consoled to know that neither my wife or children will want for any thing, neither will they have to apply anywhere for releif. We are in a room by ourselves and are liberally supplied with food and firing which treatment will continue until I am able to work but of course no longer. Do not understand that I am running in debt and that I shall have to pay when I get well, such is not the case, what is supplied to us is given, not trusted[.] at the same time I believe this to be about the worst place for idle or lazy people to come to.
A young man named [Alfred] Bridge[,] a Baker that came out with us[,] died on the plains, also a young woman <named Barge> you may remember seeing at our house, she was very deaf, also died. The old lady named Johnson[,] the weaveress[,] is alive and well and has enjoyed very good health all the way; with the exception of sea sickness.
When you receive this return an answer as soon as possible so we may know you have received it safely then by the time we receive yours we shall be able to write you more particulars about this place. Direct to James Bleak[,] Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. U.S.A. Donot pay postage. Give our love to our brothers and sisters and all enquirers. No more from your affectionate Son and daughter Jas. & Elizth. Bleak