Giles, Aaron Barnet, to Barnet Moses Giles , 3 Dec. 1856, in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832-1878, box 25, fd. 16.
My Dear Father, Mother, Brother and sisters. I take the pleasure of writing you this lines to let you know that I am well, and hopping [hoping] this will find you all well. My Dear Father, Mother, Brother & sisters and friends I know [now] begin to tell you the history of my journy and what I have suffered and how I have been served by thouse who pretend to call themselves Brothers and sisters—I left Liverpool on May the 23rd for Boston. I had a very good time on the sea and I was sick but 2 days. and we arrived in Boston on July 3rd which makes 5 weeks all but one day, we stoped in Boston 2 days. then we went to Iowa City on the Railroad which is 1000 miles from Boston. it took us a week to go to Iowa City. when we came there we had to camp there for 2 weeks. while we was there the 2 sisters Jemima Coock [Cook] & Hannah Wardell behaived themselves very unkind to me[.] the first night we came to the camp ground we had to sleep where we could get a place to sleep; the next day we went to cut sticks and stuck them in the ground and made a tent of sheets—when night came the 2 sisters and John Toone gave me one of my sheets and sent me to sleep under a waggon or any where I could get a place. and they served me so all the time we was there—we had to make our own hand carts and when the hand carts were finished we started for Council Bluffs which is about 300 miles from Iowa City—I had to sleep in the waggon by night on the way—we had our Raitions served out to us which was very little; the 2 sisters never gave me victules [victuals] enough. and never gave me my full Raitions of provision; so when I found out that they served me so I left them and drawed my Raitions with another man for they never gave me enough to keep my body up—before I had got half way from Iowa City to Council Bluffs I took sick with a very bad cold which brought on the ague fever which I had to suffer for 3 Months. I had to work and travell all the time I was sick which was a hard trial—and now I do know what a Father & a Mother and a home is—I had to lay out all my money to buy things for to strengthen me up all the while I was sick—When we came to Council Bluffs we stayed there a week—and we had fresh provision to last from there to salt Lake City which is 1000 Miles from Council Bluffs—so I bought a little provision exter [extra] for myself. because the Raitions were not enough for us so by that time I got to Elkhorn ferry I had but a half a doler [dollar] —I was so sick that I could not walk, but I was oblidge [obliged] to walk for the President of the Company would not let any one ride in the waggons. to 6oo persons there was but 9 waggons to carry provision—we traveled every day till we got about 100 miles this side Fort Laramie and I was driving beef cattle and I was so sick that I was oblidged to lay down for I could not walk no farther and thay would not let me ride in the Waggon so I was oblidged [obliged] to stop so I was so sick that I fell asleep by the Road side. they travelled on and left me. and when I awake I found that I was alone, so I tried to get up and try to overtake them, but I could not move so I sat <up> to think what I should do, out in the open plain. no house[,] no where to go to, and among woolves and among the Indians to be killed—some time in the afternoon I got very thirsty so I tried to go towards the Platte River which was about 1 Mile from the road an in about an hour I got there. when I got there I drank as much as I wanted and I went to walk to go farther, but I could not, so I sat down to think what I should do. so while I was thinking I fell asleep, and before I slept long I heard some trampling of horses so I awake. and saw a man on horse back and he was a Waggon Master of a Compeny of soldiers going to Laramie with the pay Master—and he asked me how I came there I told him I was left behind by the mormons and I was sick and could not go no farther; so he put me on his horse and had me up to the waggons and put me in one of the waggons. so they traveled on in hopes of overtaking the mormon Company, but they did not—and when they camped, they asked me w[h]ether I would get out of the waggon. I told them I would try, but I could not, so they lifted me out, and I laid down by the side of the waggon as if I was dead. so they came to me and asked me w[h]ether I would have any thing to eat and I said I would, and they gave me a good supper and I did eat like a horse; for I had nothing to eat all the day and after supper I went to bed and had a good nights rest—the next day the company started about 4 oclock in the Morning and about 7 oclock we came up to the mormon Company—the man that found me asked me w[h]ether I would like to stop with them to Fort Laramie for the L[ie]utenant of that Company said that he will take care of me and feed me and clothe me and give me mony and keep me as his own son, and I was so week and so sick that I was waisting away entirely, so that if I went on I should die before I got to salt Lake—my clouthes was all worn out and I was all in rages [rags]—so I went on to Fort Laramie with the Company, and we got there we stayed there 3 days—so the night before we started for Fort Levenworth, the Mormon Company Camped about a Mile from Fort Laramie so the Lutenant asked me w[h]ether I would go back with him or go on with the mormons company, and he said he would take care of me and feed me and clothe me, so I told him I would go back with him, and here I am happy and comfortable and am getting on first rate—so the night before, the Waggon Master carried me to the mormon Company to take what clouthes they had of mine, and it was packed in a waggon along with Toones clouthes, and they would not give it to me, because I would not go with them for I knew if I went on with them, I should not be able to reach the valley. I have got my Fiddel and am taking great care of it, and do practice it—the captain and Lutenant of the Company likes me very much and would not like to part with me and all the other officers like me and I am getting on first rate, and have plenty of clothes and mon[e]y in no less the 2 weeks I was able to show 6 Dollers in mony and I have got it put away—I have been here five weeks and am getting fat—the officers keeps up a mess, and there was from 15 to 20 officers and I has to wait on them of every meal. I know how to wait on them for if there was 40 I could wait on them myself; Mother would have a good place here to earn from 20 to 25 dollers a Month by Cooking for the officers—Dear Father, Mother, Brother and sisters be not in trouble about me, for I am in good place and have a very good Master, and if I ask him for clouthes [clothes] or mony he gives it to me directly—when I get mon[e]y enough I will go to salt Lake with a waggon Company if I live to get there—so do not trouble—and please to send me back an answer directly. having no more to write to you by sending my and the Lutenants kind love to you all and all inquiring friends—give my kind love to Brother and sister Alford from Bourton
Forth [Fort] Leavenworth Kansas Territory