[Report on the Rescue of the Martin Company], in "History of Brigham Young," 11 Nov. 1856, 983-86.
12th Claudius V. Spencer arrived from the
p plains. Four teams with grain started East.
13th The First Presidency received an
dispatch <Express> early this morning, and they, with W. Woodruff went into the Prest’s Office. The express brought tidings in effect as follows: Bro Jos A Young & Bro Geo Grant, had parted. They agreed that they should not go any further than Devils gate. But Joseph A <then> went on to the Platte. Found them at the Upper crossing of the Platte. Soon Bro Grant arrived and prepared They were in camp and had been there 9 days waiting for the snow to go off. Soon Bro. Grant arrived and prepared the Camp for moving. He said to Joseph A, “What would your father do now if he was here?” Joseph answered, “If my father was here he would take all the books and heavy materials and cache them, in order to save the lives of the people. So they agreed to do it. They cached all their articles at Devils Gate, and took up the weak and the feeble and started towards home. They then sent an Express back to tell the teams that were on the road to come to them. But John Vancott and Claudius V. Spencer had got to the Sweetwater, and not hearing anything from the hand cart companies, they turned back with their teams and nearly all the company followed them. This news arrived in the city several days since, and an express was sent out to meet them and turn them back. All the companies were together, 2 ox trains and the Hand-cart train. When the brethren found them many of the old oxen had died, but the young oxen, many of them, were fat and fine. Bro. Tannant, who had bought Prest Young’s place, is dead. He died near Scott’s Bluff’s. The people were suffering with cold and hunger some. David H Kimball and others went ahead and picked out Camp grounds, made up fires, and shoveled off snow. When the camp came up they would take the old men and women and children that could not walk and carry them to the fire, and help them get supper, and would then dance around their fires and sing and shout to keep up the spirits of the Company, and while journeying during the day, would wade over all the streams and drag the hand carts over, and carry over all the lame men, women and children.
When Wm Kimball met with Bro Van Cott he took one pair of his mules and put on to his own wagon, and told him to turn around with the other, to the east, & follow him till they came to the company as the companies had lain back at sweet water [Sweetwater] to water. Elder G.D. Grant wrote a good letter to prest Young, giving a description of the Company, and their situation. He says that not more than one third of the hand-cart company were able to walk and many were barefoot and freezing their toes.