John Wood writes home to his mother, Isabella Wood in Texas describing the events and circumstances surrounding him at Fort Bridger, Utah Territory. He promises he will come home as “soon as Brigham Young will let me”.
Fort Bridger, Utah Territory
November 26, 1857
My Dear Mother,
It is a long time since I wrote to you, but it is a longer time since I heard from you. I left Paducah, Ky, for St. Louis, Mo. Not finding anything to do there. I went to Ft. Leavenworth and there I engaged to go as a teamster to Salt Lake. I intended to have wrote you from that place, but I was taken sick, and had left the settlement before I had an opportunity to do so and any chance that occurred on the road I was generally unprepared. It would be of little interest to recount the incidents of the road at present. I am not at my journey’s end yet and would rather tell it than write it anytime. The Mormons burned 275 wagons loaded with freight for government. They say they are going to fight til not a man remains on one side or other. There is about 25 hundred W.S. troops here and the Mormons muster about 10,000 men. There is nothing left for us to do but starve or fight them as provisions is very scarce in camp and Col. Johnson will not let us know whether we march on Salt Lake or remain here for the winter. It is only one hundred and thirty miles to the city from here but the snow is deep and it has been exceedingly cold for 2 months back. It snowed on us the 10th of October for the first time and there has been snow ever since. We are n ot able to take the wagons any farther as the cattle and mules is nearly all dead. They are stowing the freight in Fort Brider. It is all burned but the walls and they are 20 feet high and about 50 yards wide within. The teamsters is unloading and the soldiers is building a battery outside. If I go on to Salt Lake, I will write you a full account of what takes place as soon as possible. If return to the states, I will be home shortly after this reaches you although it is possible I may winter at Fort Laramie. If you know anything of F.M. ???, G.W. Mayfield or Frank Weatherby, give them by best wishes as I have not seen any person that I know but S.A. Bunch and they can tell you who he is. He was at Laramie in the Quarter Master department and Jo Molaskie, and Mrs. Price at Leavenworth. I feel homesick sometimes, but if I was acquainted with any person I would like it a great deal better but my time is short to write to you and others will expect to hear from me. I sincerely hope we may meet again on this earth and if not my Dear Mother, let us be prepared to meet where there will be no more strife. I have no idea when I will return to the States, but it will be as soon as Brigham Young will let me. Give my love to my Father, Brother John, and my sisters. I would like very much to hear from home or even from Texas but it is utterly impossible at present. If you should receive this before April, you might direct a letter to Salt Lake as it is possible I might stay there til July and get good weather to come back. There is scarcely a horse able to carry a man 100 miles from here in the outfit and it is probable they will never reach the states this winter. I don’t think I am able to travel eleven hundred miles through the snow, bit I will make the best I can of it so you need be afraid without cause. I can write no more at present but I will always remain your Affectionate Son, Hugh Wood
Written in a different hand and signed “J Woods” so possible written by Hugh’s younger brother, John.
To My Dear Brother
I think of the when faraway how lonesome
I do feel it would with a happy happy days return