"Letter from Elder Orson Hyde," Frontier Guardian, 22 Aug. 1851, 2.
ON THE PLATTE RIVER, 108 MILES EAST OF LARAMIE, July 22d 1851.
DEAR BR. MACKINTOSH:--
I have just met Mr. Bateman, from the Valley, and I write you by him a hasty scroll.
On the 11th inst., near one branch of the Loupe Fork, we were assailed by a party of about three hundred Pawnee Indians, and robbed of between seven and ten hundred dollars. There were only seven of us, and about three hundred on them. I lost about eighty dollars worth of blankets, guns, clothing, camp furniture, and provisions, besides my Jim Horse; but he fought himself clear from them and I redeemed him by paying forty dollars. We are now all well and in good spirits. The forward emigrants are now nearly at Laramie. Capt. Smith's three fifties were not robbed by the Indians, as they had passed before the Indians had taken their position on the route. I fear the remaining companies will suffer much by their depredations. I am now satisfied that there was a concerted plan between the Omahas and Pawnees, to rob and plunder the trains; but the Omahas stand back by reason of our talk with the chiefs, and leave the Pawnees to act alone. The Pawnees told us that they expected the Omahas up there and asked us if we had seen them?
The route is a very bad one in consequence of the trains turning down to the Platte after crossing the Horn, instead of heading that stream and keeping up between the running water, and Loupe Fork. There will be a great scarcity of water, for the accommodation of the emigrants in passing over the numerous sand hills and ridges, on this route. Br. Orson Pratt lost his horses after crossing the Missouri River, at Winter Quarters. He supposed the Omahas had stolen them. The Government will probably chastise these Indians for their robberies,--they richly deserve it.
We have had but one rain storm since we started; but that was sever and heavy.
Mr. Bateman can tell you some of the news from the Valley. This route that we have come is about one hundred and fifty miles longer than the usual one, while the route contemplated would have been rather nearer than the old one. But I have no complaints to make, or reflections to cast upon anyone.
Remember me kindly to my wife and family, and tell them not to be over anxious about me. We have been mercifully relieved of much of our loading to our own serious inconvenience, but to the great relief of our teams.