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1856, Sep 18 - Jones, Dan - Letter to Brother Daniels

(With Brother Henry Harries.)

Fort Laramie, Sept. 18, 1856
Dear Brother Daniels. -- While the animals are grazing and I am preparing for breakfast, I shall write you some of my news again, and since I have possessed neither pen nor ink for weeks, do your best to understand the scrolls of this lead. The last time I wrote to you was from the region of Elk Horn, at that place where we had that memorable Stampede when going to the valley last time. Since that time I have much to tell, if time permitted. Even se, you, and many other dear brethren, especially the work of my God which is under your care, have not long been out of my mind. Let Him whose work it is bless it, and prosper it daily, is every my prayer, for I love its welfare eternally.

It is not yet a fortnight since we set out from Florence, on this journey, and we are already over five hundred miles toward its end, and everyone is fit and well. Because of all the demands and fuss of setting thousands of other Saints on their way on this journey, I have hardly had time to remember that it was toward my home in Zion that I was going, where my dearest ones live, yes my beloved await me, who have yearned to see me many times for four years and three days; no, it was like a dream for me to be on the way to dear company and godly brethren, there to enjoy the glory of salvation in Zion. Do you know brother Daniels, what awakened me most, and forced me to believe I was really, returning there now? What would you say if you saw the buffalo by the thousand prancing around you, if the wolves showed you their snarling teeth from all sides, and the antelopes their white coats -- if you saw the tops of the distant mountains beyond the magnificent plains? Then, I think you would believe too, although amazed, that it is not a dream. Well, I have the provable signs of every looking forward that Zion is onward, ever onward.

We travel quite differently from the other companies. We go at a gallop always through everything that meets us -- often fifty miles, or more, in a day and ten or a dozen of those before daybreak, and as many or more at night. The Indians are so hostile along the route we followed, that we scarcely dared stop at night, for fear they would fall upon us and kill us. We rested, for the most part, in daylight, when we could see form afar those who approached. By doing that, we escaped many a danger.

Several small companies have been killed by the Cheyenne, (Indians) this year on the road we traveled. When we called in Fort Kearney, an individual came there who had traveled 50 miles on foot while out hunting, and informed us that a while company had been killed, among whom was that Thomas Margetts who created such ungodliness among the Saints in London, and was excommunicated for that. His wife and baby were also killed, and another returned apostate from the Valley called Cowdy (?), and his wife and child.

A few days before that, the Indians attacked A. Babbitt's camp, and killed every soul except one young boy who was a faithful Saint, who gave me a detailed account of the whole thing. He says that one woman from St. Louis, and her baby, were killed while in their bed in the wagon. The Indians shot everyone else belonging to the company, and they plundered the most valuable provisions, and forty oxen. I saw the wagons, the traces of the bullets, and the blood. All those who were killed were enemies of the Saints, except the woman and her baby, and she had been excommunicated in Saint Louis. They took her body away, but they left her under clothes there bloodstained and torn. A short while before that, they rushed on the mail, which fled before them to the doors of Fork Kearney, throwing out clothes, etc., along the way, to delay them. The army rushed out of Fort Kearney to meet them; they killed ten of them and the rest fled more fiercely than before. Another company of Californians were killed all but one; and lastly, they have got Col. Babbitt, secretary of Utah territory, himself in custody, after all his boasting. We saw the eagles eating his flesh and that of the two who were with him. Despite the fury of these wild men, it is a fact worth proclaiming to the ends of the earth, that not so much as one of all the thousands of Saints who are on this road, and almost on every side of the place of slaughter, has been harmed. They have not stolen one of their animals, and I have not seen any of the Saints in the least afraid of them; rather in the midst of a throng of three thousand of their warriors, brothers and sister, and children too, cheerfully shaking hands, and they (the Indians) laughing, shouting Mormon good good, no shoot Indian.

Upper Crossing of the Platte, Sept. 27th. I failed to get this ready for the mail in Laramie, and I shall now have the opportunity to send it to you with the company of missionaries who are on their way to England, etc.

I met here, (at the upper crossing of the Platte) my brother (Edward Jones) and his team [of horses], and I waited, so that we could take the threshing machine home with us.

Encouraging news from the Valley comes to meet me every day. All of my family are well, and yours too.

The company is about to start "short stories, aren't they? May the God of our fathers bless you, and everyone I know, is every my prayer. Your Brother,


Jones, Dan


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