Abraham O. Smoot recalls hearing about federal troops coming to Utah in summer 1857.

Feb 14, 1884
Abraham O. Smoot

Abraham O. Smoot, Letter, February 14, 1884, rep. Edward W. Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City: Star Printing Company, 1886), 156–157

Star Printing Company
Judson Stoddard, William H. Russell, Nicholas Groesbeck, Abraham O. Smoot, Orrin Porter Rockwell
Reading Public

"On the 2d of June, 1857 , I left Salt Lake City in company with a young man from the Thirteenth Ward, by the name of Ensign , (whose father still resides in that ward), in charge of the last mail going east by the Y. Express.

"We met between Fort Laramie and Kearney, some two or three hundred United States troops, who said they were reconnoitering the country in search of hostile Indians, who at that time were very troublesome on the plains. The officer in command (whose name has gone from me) treated us very kindly, and proposed to furnish us an escort as far east as Fort Kearney, I thanked him for his kind consideration in offering the escort, but told him I feared his escort would not be able to keep up with me, as I proposed to drive about sixty miles a day, until I reached Fort Kearney, and at that speed I thought there would be little, if any, danger of the Indians overtaking us.

"About one hundred miles west of Independence we began to meet heavy freight teams. The captains and teamsters all seemed to be very reticient in relation to giving their destination, and all I was able to learn from them was that they had Government freight , and were bound for some western post, and the trains belonged to William H. Russell.

"In less than two days from that time I reached Kansas City, twelve miles west of Independence, where I met Nicholas Groesbeck who had charge of the Y. X. Company at that end of the route. In company with him we immediately proceeded to the office of William H. Russsell, and there learned that the destination of his freight trains was Salt Lake City, with supplies for Government troops who would soon follow, I also learned from William H. Russell of the appointment of Governor Cumming and other Federal officers that came out with the United States troops that year.

"The next morning Mr. Groesbeck sent the mail into Independence and I remained in Kansas City to learn more of the movements of the Government, if possible.

"The mail we took down was received by the postmaster and he informed. the carrier that he had received instructions from the Government to deliver no more mail for Salt Lake City at present.

That denial implied that we had no more use for our stock and mail stations on the route ; so, in consultation with Bro. N. Groesbeck and others, we concluded to move our stock and station outfits homeward. Myself and Judson Stoddard were given the responsibility, and two or three other young men (Bro. Ensign being one) were detailed to assist us.

"We moved slowly gathering everything as we went, until we reached South Platte about 120 miles east of Fort Laramie where we met Porter Rockwell with the July mail from Salt Lake City, he proceeded no further east but returned with us to Fort Laramie, 513 miles east of Salt Lake, arriving there on the 17th of July.

"On the 18th Bro. O. P. Rockwell and myself, believing that we had passed all danger of Indian troubles, concluded to leave the stock in the care of Bro. J. Stoddard and others to bring in at their leisure and we would make our way home by the 24th of July, the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the Pioneers in Salt Lake Valley. This arrangement did not meet with the approval of Bro. Stoddard against which he strongly protested but without effect, so he finally accepted the alternative of leaving his stock (some eight or ten which were his personal property) with his trusty hired men and accompany us to the Salt Lake Valley.

"We hitched up two span of our best animals to a small spring wagon and left Fort Laramie on the evening of the 18th of July, and reached Salt Lake City on the evening of the 23rd of July, making the 513 miles in five days and three hours.

Yours respectfully,


Provo City, Utah, February 14th, 1884."

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