Bullock, Thomas, "Interesting from our Missionaries on the Plains," The Mormon, 15 November 1856, 2.
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Interesting from our Missionaries on the Plains.
THROUGH the politeness of President Erastus Snow, we are able to place before our readers the following communication from Elder Thomas Bullock:
OCTOBER 17, 1856—10 A.M.
DEAR BRO. SNOW :—We are in good health and are now at Fort Kearney, having travelled a few miles every day; we have been troubled the past four days with cold south winds; many of the animals are very weakly, we intend to cross the Platte at this place, proceed to winter quarters, from where your humble servant intends to make the best of his way, and pay you a visit in Saint Louis and tell you many things that I cannot write at this time.
Not having yet had breakfast, and the teams waiting to move away, I now conclude my hasty sketch. Your brother in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
JOURNAL OF TRAVEL.
The following persons were called of the Lord, through the voice of His servants, the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on the 10th day of August 1856, to go on a mission to England, namely Thomas Bullock, Bernard Snow, Charles Hubbard, Thomas Pierce, John H. Tippitts, Wm. Brown, Ezra T. Clark, James C. Browning, George Gales and Samuel F. Neslin, and were directed to start by the middle of September.
On the 17th, Daniel Page, Samuel Koskelly [Roskelley], George Taylor, Henry Harris, James W. Stevens, Andrew H. Shumway, and William Bevans, were called to go to England; and Isaiah M. Coombs and Orrin Lewis to the United States. And on Sunday the 24th, Elder Parley P. Pratt, and Thomas Terry were also called to go to the United States.
On the 6th of September the above named missionaries, in company with several others, received their blessings and were set apart to their respective missions. On the 10th of September, your obedient servant, in company with Bernard Snow and George Yates started, (being the day appointed by the Presidency for us to leave,) and continued our pilgrimage slowly until the 13th, when our camp organized in Echo Kanyon [Canyon], by electing Ezra T. Clark, Captain of the company; Charles Hubbard, Sergeant of the guard; James G. Browning, Chaplain; and Thomas. Bullock, Clerk. Same day, William S. Godbe, with his train of merchandize for G. S. L. City passed us.
September 14th, we met east of Cache Cave, 13 wagons with a company of Saints under Captain Henry Boley: also Elder Benj. S [Benjamin L.] Clapp with 14 wagons of Saints from Texas; and a train of 24 wagons loaded with merchandize for Messrs. Gilbert & Gerrish, of G. S. L. City; and on the 15th we met near Bear River 28 wagons of merchandize for Gilbert & Gerrish: and 23 wagons with over 250 Danish Saints, and 14 wagons with English Saints.
On the 17th met Major Stephen B. Rose with a train of merchandize, and the advance company of the Saint Louis Saints, near Black's Fork.
September 18th, while we were descending the hill to Green River, we very suddenly met Elder Edmond Ellsworth with the advance company of English Saints, over 309, with their hand-carts, trudging cheerfully up the hill; as we neared each other, the heavens and the hills resounded with the loud Hosannahs of the Saints, while the waving of hats, bonnets and handkerchiefs was a lively scene that a daguerrian artist might covet. On our asking why we had not heard from them until we saw them, we were answered, "We have out travelled every other company, not one has passed us, not a horse company, or even a solitary horseman, so we have to carry our own report; and we should have been here sooner, if our ox teams which carry the heavy dunnage, could have travelled any faster." They were very cheerful and happy. But we missed what was called "The Crack Company" of hand-carts, led by Elder D. [Daniel D.] McArthur, which we heard spoken very highly of, also the company of Saint Louis Saints led by Elder John Banks; we saw the smoke from their camp fires, but they were too far away for us to visit.
20th. We camped with Captain [Edward] Bunker's company of hand-carts with over 650 Saints from England and Wales, on Pacific Creek.
22d. Camped with a company of brethren from the Southern States, many of whom had left Lyman Wight, and had been re-baptized by Elder Preston Thomas, also a large company of Saints with Captain [Jacob] Croft, near the Warm Spring.
Sept. 24. When we had been camped near Independence Rock a short time, we were gladdened by the arrival of Elder Franklin D. Richards, accompanied by the following returning missionaries: D. Spencer, C. H. Wheelock, G. D. Grant, W. H. Kimball, J. Ferguson, J. A. Young, J. D. T. [John Daniel Thompson] McAllister, J. Van Cott, C. G. Webb, W. C. Dunbar, N. H. Felt, and J. McGaw, who were in excellent spirits at the speedy prospect of their return to fair Deseret, the loved home of the Saints; they blest and comforted us, to prepare our minds for the trials that await us in a wicked and perverse generation. They also reported to us the disturbances, by the United States Soldiers, near Fort Kearney, shooting a number of Shyan [Cheyenne] Indians while eating corn, and the Shyan [Cheyenne] retaliation, by shooting A. [Almon] W. Babbitt, Thos. Margetts and his wife, Cowdy* and wife, four of Babbitt's teamsters, and several California emigrants.
29. We met O. P. Rockwell with four of Mr. Babbitt's wagons, and three other wagons, on the south side of the Platte; shortly afterwards we met Elder A. O. Smoot, accompanied by Elders Ira Eldredge and Brigham H. Young. Elder Smoot had in charge the Church train of 42 wagons, the Steam Boiler and machinery for Prest. B. Young, and other goods. We forded to the north side of the Platte.
30. Met Mr. Cauyer's train of 16 wagons of merchandize for G. S. L. City. We afterwards recrossed to the south side of the Platte.
Oct. 2. We passed over 450 Saints encamped (being part of the hand cart train) in charge of Elders [Millen] Atwood and Wylie [James G. Willie], 10 miles west of Fort Laramie. We waded the Laramie River, the gate at the end of the bridge being secured. If it were open, it would be a blessing to the hand cart companies, but I suppose the government is too poor, or they feel Independent of the prayers and blessings of the poor widows and orphans.
3. We pass by 18 Lodges of the Shyan [Cheyenne] Indians, who had killed the whites, encamped at the Indian Agents, 16 miles east of Laramie, who were desirous of making peace, and were waiting to make an exchange of prisoners, five days being allowed for that purpose.
Several persons join our company for protection, who are afraid to cross the plains by themselves.
4. We learn by tracks that Elder Edward Martin with over 700 Saints with hand carts, also Captain [J. W.] Hawkins wagon company had gone up the river road whom we also missed seeing.
5. We lay by in order for T. B. to send letters to Elder Martin and others, by James Gammell and Thomas Pierce, who return without seeing them. We resume our journey and pass Capt. [John A.] Hunt's company with 50 wagons, who were tarrying to bury a small child, a few miles west of Chimney Rock, or about 580 miles from G. S. L. City.
9. We take a southerly course from Ash Hollow to the South Fork of the Platte, and cross over; we see the first Buffalo, kill and divide it; after which we see many thousands, on the four following days, which are on the move south. We had heavy rain through the 12th, but the weather cleared up on the 13th P. M. and we had a fair view of the partial eclipse of the moon as it rose that evening, since which we have had cold southerly winds.
In Elder Felt's letter the person alluded to is called James Cowden, but we have reason for believing that Elder Bullock is correct in giving the name James Cowdy—[ED.