The Church Historian's Press

September 1864

5 September 1864 • Monday

Monday, Sept 5th/64. Still rainy. I commenced a letter to Presidents Wells & Young at Liverpool, so that it might be ready, by the addition of a postcript, for the Mail upon landing. A boil or carbuncle that has made its appearance on my leg gave me considerable pain to-day.

6 September 1864 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept 6/64. Showery again to-day. Sighted land in the morning to our great joy – it was Long Island. Though the day was gloomy yet the sight of the land as we passed up the harbor – Staten Island, part of Long Island &c – was exceedingly pleasing to me. There is no land that I have seen which suits me so well as this beautiful land of Joseph. With all their wickedness I cannot help being attached to the people and to many of their manners and customs. Upon landing in New York it seemed to me that nowhere since I left here had I seen a people who could compare with the Americans in good looks. We dropped anchor in North River at 4 p.m. The baggage was put on a steamer which came alongside and (with the passengers who went on another steamer) was taken to the Jersey City where it underwent an examination by the Custom House Officers. It was a labor of no small difficulty, amid so much bustle and so many people crowding around to see their friends, to get one’s baggage from the midst of the baggage of 250 passengers. Bro. John W Young and myself were quite fortunate in getting ours passed. Nearly everyone had one or more pieces left unexamined and had to defer passing the Customs until morning as darkness had overtaken the officers before they had finished. We went to the St. Nicholas Hotel to put up; but, finding it full, went to the Metropolitan Hotel.

7 September 1864 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 7th/64. <Bro John W. & myself> Called upon <at> Bro. Miles’ place of business this morning; but learned that he was in Philadelphia. We went from there to Mr. Ben Holladay’s, who expressed his pleasure at seeing us, and who informed us to our great surprise that Indian difficulties on the road had caused the suspension of the Stage service between Atchison and Julesburg. They The Indians, (Sioux, Cheyennes and Arapahoes) had come down as low as Big Sandy and had attacked settlements, trains &c, killing hundreds of people and carrying off and destroying immense quantities of goods and other property. So great was the panic that men fled from the trains, leaving them to the Indians, the Stations were deserted, by the men in charge running into the settlements with the horses and harness. Mr. Holladay hoped to be able, if they <Government> only sent out soldiers enough, to resume Stage service next week. He advised us to stay here a few days & then go westward and watch our chances. He instructed his Clerk to write to his man on the frontiers – Mr. Gillespie – to give us reserve two places for us in the first out-going stage. From Julesburg to the Great Salt Lake City the stages were running regularly. He said he had been informed that everything was moving on quietly at-home and that there had never been such crops before as there were this year. He informed us also, which we were very sorry to hear, that the last of our emigration had been compelled to stop because of these troubles, and that (as he was informed by Mr. Otis, one of his employees) Bro. Joseph A. Young was in considerable trouble in consequence, having so many people on his hands. Upon these points, however, he could not give us as many details as we wished to know. My leg gives me a great deal of pain to-day. Went in evening with Bro. John W Young to Niblo’s Garden & saw the play of the “Duke’s Motto”; Mr. Wheatley taking the part of Henri de Lagadere.

8 September 1864 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 8/64. I stopped at the Hotel all day nursing my leg and Bro. John W. Young went and visited some acquaintances on Long Island. Dane

9 September 1864 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 9th. Bro. John W. Young returned to-day from Long Island. Kept in the House all day to-day, quite unwell from the diarrhea.

10 September 1864 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 10/64. Bro. Wm H Miles called and saw me to-day. We had a long conversation together. Called upon Ben Holladay with Bro. John W Young. He expressed his willingness to do all he could to assist us, if we needed it. He gave Bro. Young a letter, or Order, on Mr. Gillespie his Agent on the Frontiers for to let him and myself have passages on the Stage by an Order on President Young. We started for Philadelphia at 4 p.m. and reached there about 9 p.m. We went to Mr. Fenton’s. They were all very much surprised to see us; but very glad. Sammy Fenton has gone to the Valley this season with Bro. Joseph A. Young. My namesake, Geo. Q. Cannon Fenton, has grown very much and is becoming a <very> fine boy.

11 September 1864 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 11/64. Attended a meeting of the Saints at their Hall in Arch near the corner of 8th Street. There were but few present. I spoke first and was followed by Bro. John W. Young. I had considerable freedom.

12 September 1864 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 12/64. We went down this morning to make inquiries about Col. Kane (now, how no longer <Colonel> but General). We met his brother Rob’t. P. Kane, who informed us that the General was out at his place in Elk County. He suffers still from the wound in his leg, which is still open, and has occasional severe spells of neuralgia arising from the old wound in his cheek. He cannot ride; but is able to walk around a little with the aid of a stick. His spirits are tolerably good. His brother is anxious to have an operation performed this winter upon his leg, which the doctors hold out hopes will be successful in healing it. Mr. Kane said he would like us to dine with him before we leave town. In evening went to Walnut St. Theatre with Bro. John W. Young and Mary Elizabeth Fenton and two little girls, companions of Emma Fenton named Emma & Sally McLean, whom Bro. John W. Young invited. The play was Richlieu[,] Edwin Booth being the Star[.] I admired his style of acting very much.

13 September 1864 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Septr 13/64. <Bro. John W. Young and myself> Went down this morning and called upon Mr. Kane and had a brief conversation with him. He is very busy, having been absent <from there> about three weeks. He said he should be happy to do anything in his power for us. Went and visited Bro. Saml Harrison and family. They received us very kindly; but I think that the spirit of the world has more influence with him than the Spirit of the gospel. Br. John W. Young went and visited some relatives of his wife’s by the name of Canfield and returned with them to Mr. Fenton’s with the intention of going to the Negro Minstrels (Carncross & Dixie’s). I accompanied him and afterwards went to their house with them. Two of their companions by the name of Ross sang <with them,> played beautifully on the Piano.

14 September 1864 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 14th/64. Called upon Mr. Kane but had to call several times before I saw him. I had some interesting conversation with him about political matters. He is an old-line Democrat; he informs me that Gen. Kane is friendly to the Administration.

Mrs. Kane, the mother of the General[,] called in while we were there and was very glad to see us and expressed her regret that she had no home to invite us to visit her[.] She is living with her daughter.

Called at Sister Snyder’s.

15 September 1864 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 15th/64. I intended to have returned to New York yesterday; but Bro. John W. Young was not quite ready. His eyes are still very sore and he is almost afraid to start West for fear of their becoming worse. Yesterday I omitted to mention that Mr. Fenton received a telegram from his son Samuel F., who is <going home> with Bro. Joseph A Young, dated Julesburg, Sept. 12th, 64 in which he states that they had reached that point all safe. They expected to reach home about Octr 1st. They had been travelling with the last company of our emigrants and had about 500 well-armed men in the party and were quite safe from Indian attacks. We were much gratified and relieved by this intelligence. Started for New York at 2 p.m. The folks regretted to have us go.

Heard Mrs. Wood in the evening burlesque Opera singing in a farce called Jenny Lind. She did her part excellently.

16 September 1864 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 16/64. Called at Mr. Holladay’s this morning. He had gone West. Also at Bro. Miles’. I called upon Mr. Wm Martin of the Chicago, Quincy & Burlington Railroad and had a very agreeable visit. He took me down to introduce me to Mr. Cha’s. E. Noble, the Agent of the Michigan Central Railroad and the successor of Mr. Darius Clark, the gentleman with whom I formerly did business. Mr. Noble was not in. He very kindly sent, a Pass over his line to the Hotel just as I was on the point of starting from the Hotel, a <Free> Pass over the line he represents for Bro. Young & myself. Mr. Martin also gave me a letter of introduction to his brother, Mr. Henry Martin of Chicago, in which he requested him to give me a free pass over their line. As these favors came <to me> unsolicited, I felt much gratified at receiving them. Called also upon my wife, Elizabeth’s cousin Mr. Nicholas D. Herder and had a pleasant but rather brief chat. I gave him our likenesses and he gave me one of his. He regretted that I had not time to do down to Jersey to see the folks there. His Father is still living and smart, though he will be 90 years old his next birth-day. Had to be much hurried to get off at 6 p.m. Succeeded in getting berths in the Sleeping Car which went without changing to Niagara Falls. I met in the cars with Mr. King[,] Postmaster of the House of Representatives when I was at Washington and who was very kind to Capt. Hooper and myself. He introduced <me> to a Mr. Roberts, an important Telegraph man. King was appeared very glad to meet me. He & Roberts & myself had some interesting conversation.

17 September 1864 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept 17/64. Missed our connection at Rochester and [had] to stay until 11 A.M. before we left – the time that we ought to have been at the Suspension Bridge. We had, after reaching the Bridge, to wait there eight hours for the next train. We put up at the Central Hotel and took advantage of this time to go up and visit the Falls, which we had both seen before, however, but which can<not> be viewed, no matter how often, without seeing something in their sublime magnificence to admire. We ascended <the> Biddle Tower and had a fine view in the evening sunlight. We left the Bridge at 11 p.m., having secured good places in the Sleeping Car.

18 September 1864 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 18/64. Reached Detroit between 8 and 9 A.M. and found that we would have to stop until to-morrow morning for a train. Put up at the Biddle House. Wrote to (Insert extract)

Copied a letter for Bro. John W. to his wife’s Cousin in Philadelphia – Elizabeth Canfield.

19–20 September 1864 • Monday to Tuesday

Monday, Sept 19/64. Called upon Mr. Rice, Superintendent of Michigan Central Railroad. We took rail this morning for Chicago, dined at Albion and reached Chicago at about 9 P.M. I had did not see Mr. Hy. Martin but Mr. Harris, Assistant Superintendant, to whom I showed my letter of introduction gave me a pass. We obtained good sleeping accommodation on Car. We reached Quincy,

Tuesday, Sept. 20/64, at about 9 A.M., breakfasted and I called on Mr. Cha’s Meade, Assistant Superintendant of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RRoad. Crossed in a ferry boat to the Missouri side of the river. The Mississippi is lower now than it has been for many years. We had some trouble in getting across; running aground several times. Changed cars at Palmyra and got dinner & supper combined at Brookfield, and reached St. Joseph betwe about 11 P.M. This road is in poor condition, and though a money-making road, does not do its business with any regularity. A great many bridges have been burned and other damage been done to the Road by rebels and their sympathizers. To prevent such acts troops are stationed along the line, and there are occasionally good block houses near to large and prominent <expensive> bridges. We took train to Atchison and thro insufficient accommodation had to stand nearly all the way. An accident had happened on the road to-day[,] two cars having been overturned and broken up, the passengers having escaped with no very serious injury. We had a very rough crowd on the cars, whose language (the name of the Almighty being used in nearly every sentence) was very disgusting to me. These Western people, as a rule, are dreadfully blasphemous. Every sacred name being used on the most trivial occasions and in the most vulgar associations association – most shocking to hear. I have felt very indignant at listening to their profane and blasphemous expressions. Possessing a lovely land and having had unequalled advantages of government and for accumulating every thing necessary for comfort, they are a miserably degraded set race, and now their blessings are fleeting from their grasp and they seem to be under the displeasure of heaven. The course they are taking will eventually result in their entire destruction. The judgments of the Almighty will sweep them from the land unless they repent and that, too, speedily. From the East where we started to this point I can understand, in hearing these people talk, how the prediction of the Lord through Brother Joseph, respecting men in this generation lifting up their voices and cursing God and dying, can be fulfilled. The familiarity with which and irreverent manner in which they now use the name, will prepare them to curse him when his judgments and calamities come heavy upon them.

From the East, where we started, to this point, the change produced by the war has been very apparent to me, who have been absent with the exception of the few weeks I was at Washington, nearly four years. In the cities there is a great deal of glitter and seeming prosperity. Extravagance in dress and equipages and living and every expenditure, is everywhere apparent. But in the country there is a visible decay, which was is very noticeable. The war is being felt in the almost total suspension of improvements, affording a striking contrast between affairs here and with in our country.

21 September 1864 • Wednesday

Put up at the American House at between 2 and 3 o’clock of the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 21st/64. Breakfasted early and was taken from here in a bus to Atchison crossing the Missouri River in a Steam Ferry Boat. We put up at the Massasoit House. Was introduced by Bro. John W. Young to Gen. Bela M. Hughes, a lawyer who has been out to our country, and who entertains warm and friendly feelings towards us as a people. He introduced us to his son Andrew, and put us in his charge as he was going off to attend a meeting. From what we can learn the prospects for the resumption of the service on the Mail line is not very good, though Mr. Gillespie the Agent here thinks it may be running in about ten days. Andrew Hughes is a very strong Democrat and he spoke his mind very freely to us on the subject of the government and its measures while we were at his Father’s Office. Mr. Holladay is at St. Joseph; but was expected from there to-day. As he did not come Bro. John W. thought we had better return there and see him. We accordingly crossed the river again and after waiting upwards of three hours for the train – until 9 P. M. – we returned to St. Joseph, reaching there about 10.30. We put up at the Pacific House.

22 September 1864 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 22/64. Met Mr. Holladay and Mr. Warren Leland of the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, this morning. The former seemed to be at a loss to know what to do. He could hear nothing from Mr. Otis the Superintendent of the Road who had gone out to stock it and get things in order. While he was talking with us a telegram was handed to him from Mr. Otis, which informed him that the Indians had attacked a John Green’s wagon at Willow Island had <on the 19th> and captured it and killed his five men who were with it, and had killed five soldiers at Cottonwood. The telegram was dated the 20<th> at Plum Creek. The inference to be drawn from the message was that Green (John Y., and a nephew of Pres. Young) was not with the wagon at the time it was attacked. Otis said further that they must have soldiers to guard the stations and he thought Mr. Holladay ought to see Gen. Curtis. At 1 p.m. we returned to Atchison and Mr. Holladay, Senator Pomeroy and Mr. Leland went down to Leavenworth to see Gen Curtis. Mr. Street, paymaster of the Overland Mail Stage Company came in from Fort Kearney this evening and reported matters on the road as being rather favorable; but he had left there before the occurrences, of which Mr. Otis had telegraphed, had taken place.

23 September 1864 • Friday

Friday, Sept 23/64. Mr. Holladay returned with favorable news from Gen. Curtis. and The latter had promised to send out all the soldiers that would be needed to guard the road and make travelling safe. Ate supper at a Restaurant with Mr. A Hughes

24-25 September 1864 • Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, Sept. 24/64. and Sunday. These days have been spent in visiting Gen Hughes’ Office, reading and walking about.

26 September 1864 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 26/64. Saw Mr Holladay this morning. He intends to start for Salt Lake City to-day. Through coaches will not be put on until he first goes up the road and learns how every thing is moving. He thought, at first, that it would be better for us to wait until he telegraphed back from Fort Kearney, but, afterwards, he thought we had better follow on up to Thompson to-morrow and watch our chances to get through. Thompson’s is the furthest point to which the stages run at present. Beyond that the Indians are troublesome. He loaned me $50 – when he found out how much money we had on hand – for which I gave him a draft on Pres’t Young. He also gave us a letter on his Agents authorizing them to let us have anything we wanted – money &c. In case he should be gone from Fort Kearney when we reached there, we had a letter also given us authorizing the Agent there to send us on by the first coach. He loaned us a Ball and rifle to take through. I felt grateful and obliged for his kindness to us. He and Mr. Warren Leland of the Metropolitan Hotel New York, and Mr. David Street, Paymaster of the Overland Stage Line, started about 2 P.M. We bought some extra provisions for use on the road of Messrs Bartholow Bro’s. In evening we went up to Gen. Bela M. Hughes house by his invitation to take tea with him. His son, Andrew, led us up. The General and his wife and daughter received us very warmly. He lives They live here in very good style. The house is a very fine frame and it is furnished elegantly for this western country. The supper was served up in style – there being quite a display of silver ware. Negro servants served at table. A thunder storm coming on in the evening the family insisted upon our sleeping at the house, instead of returning to the hotel to sleep. We had a fine bed and bed-room.

27 September 1864 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 27th/64. Returned to the Hotel and packed up and breakfasted and went over to the Overland Stage Co’s Office. My baggage weighed 90 lbs; 25 lbs were allowed free, which left me 65 lbs to pay for at $1.50 pr lb, amounting to $9750/100. The fare is changed $300 being an increase of $50 since the Indian troubles and $150 within a few months. This made my bill $39750/100 for which Bro. John W Young drew a draft on his Father, including his own bill in the draft. There was another passenger going out on the road to meet his train who started with us and a Messenger belonging to the Line. We started about 9 A.M. Gen Hughes & son, Mr. Butterfield and others coming to see us start. We changed horses about every 12 miles. We ate dinner at a place <called Kinnekuck [Kennekuk]> 24 miles from Atchison. The roads were excellent through last night’s rain, being quite free from dust. The brake of our coach gave us considerable trouble this afternoon. The block slipped out at the top of a very bad-timbered hill and the brake handle slipped forward and struck the off wheel horse, and they the <team> ran away. We had a very narrow escape and came very near being upset. In the afternoon we passed through the city of Grenada, a city of but few houses. Before coming to it we also passed the Kickapoo and Pottawottamie Reserve – a very fine body of land.

We stopped and took supper at Seneca. It commenced to rain in the evening and rained, more or less, all night.

28 September 1864 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 28/64. I did not sleep very well last night, not being accustomed to the motion or to sleeping sitting up in a cramped position. I took a heavy cold in the night. A beautiful country – the roads rather heavy through the rain[.] Breakfasted at Rock Creek Station 120 miles from Atchison. Crossed the Little and Big Sandy – the latter place is about 40 miles from Atchison and 110 from Fort Kearney. Here some of the folks ate dinner, not feeling well in my stomach I did not eat. We drove from here over to Thompson’s Station, <about 12 miles>. The Stages have been running no further West than this point and our driver demurred about taking us further, as he had no orders to this effect. The messenger tried and we tried to induce him to go on, but all to no purpose; he would not move. Mr. Holladay had left here this morning; but without leaving any word respecting us. It rained heavily all afternoon. Slept on the floor in the house.

29–30 September 1864 • Thursday to Friday

Thursday, Sept. 29th/64. We made our minds with the Messenger to borrow a harness and take a span of the Stage Coy’s horses, which were here, and go on this morning to Yulick’s, 16 miles from here, where we had reason to believe there would be horses. When our driver found that we were bound to go on anyhow, he came to the conclusion that he might as well go on with us himself as to be left here without a coach to return with. After breakfast we hitched up and drove on. We found a change of horses at Yulick’s and we then drove on to Little Blue – 12 miles from Yulick’s and 28 from Thompson’s. Here we found another team and driver and we left the one who had brought us thus far. Bro. John W. Young and myself gave him $5 between us for the extra labor he had been at in bringing us forward. We left our fellow-passenger Mr. Jno. A. Nye of Coloardo [Colorado] and Idaho –he having places of business in both Territories – at this point. We next changed at Buffalo Ranch and then at Spring Ranch. At this point we met two coaches with through passengers from Denver, the first who had come through since the Indian difficulties. They had a number of horses &c along to stock the road. We next changed at the Muddy, and here we took on a driver who drove the coach to Fort Kearney, changing horses three times. We reached Fort Kearney at about 2 o’clock of the morning of Friday, Sept. 30th/64. We moved out of the coach into one that the man in charge of the coaches told us would be the one we would have to go in to-day. We learned that Mr. Otis would be going West to-day, which pleased as we <are> both acquainted with him and he is the General Superintendent of the Overland Stage Line. We slept tolerably well until morning.

From the passengers who came through on the Coach from Denver this morning we learn that the Indians had fired into a train <last night> on Plum Creek close <which was> camped close to the station and the soldiers’ quarters and had killed at least one man (we afterwards learned that two more men were wounded). They <(stage passengers)> were at supper at the time, and having ladies with them, had concluded to push out this way as fast as they could. Mr. Holladay was at supper there at the time of the occurrence. All along the road that we came yesterday, after leaving Thompson’s until dark, there were burnt houses & stations & other disagreeable evidence of the vengeance of the Indians. A number of people had been killed at various points which we passed and the whole country had been deserted. To make matters worse the militia that had been raised in Kansas & Nebraska to come up here and fight the Indians, had on many instances plundered <robbed> the Stations and Ranches of every thing they could conveniently carry off. Goods also which the freighters had unloaded at the Stations in their panic, had been extensively plundered & destroyed until scarcely a fragment could be found. We heard some very laughable cases of thieving, <one man having been seen with his horse loaded down with monkey wrenches,> and this militia had in a very brief space of time acquired a very unenviable reputation. The majority <of the people> declare that they had done more mischief than the Indians themselves. There have been no adequate measures taken by the military authorities to put an end to these Indian troubles, and I see no probability of their being soon ended unless more vigor is infused into their operations[.]

Mr. Holladay telegraphed this morning that no more coaches were to be sent West; but telegraphed a second time that they were to be sent on as usual. Mr. Otis, Mr. Street and Mr. Geo. Lloyd, Division Agent here, treated us very kindly. We had a new coach provided us, and Mr. Otis, Bro. John W. and myself got in. There were seven men altogether; but the others were all outside. We left Fort Kearney about 2 P.M. <having changed horses twice on the way.> We reached Plum Creek, where there were some troops, just at dark, and two soldiers were put on by the Officer in command as an escort. We had just reached the station – about three fourths of a mile further than the Post – when the Coach from the West with about 14 men on board drove up. They were much scared, and were very voluble in their description of the danger they had <just> escaped. About 4 or 5 miles back on the road as they were passing a an <abandoned> ranch known as Tom French’s, and just after the coach had passed it, they were fired upon <twice> by some Indians who made their appearance from behind the house. Both shots struck the coach; one entering in the corner, passing through the post just above the head of the passengers, & after breaking one of the bows, lodging in the roof; the other entered the lamp & was stopped by the steel candle spring of the lamp. The driver stopped the coach; but the passengers insisted on his driving on. It was <a> very narrow escape for them, as the inside of the coach was full <of people> and the top was also covered. It seems remarkable that no one was hit. Though a serious matter, I could not help laughing at some of their language & descriptions, they were so ridiculous. One of the passengers, in describing the occurrence, said that when the ball struck the coach, one of the soldiers, who was sent with them as an escort, was sitting inside, and he pushed him out as quick as he could so that he could have a chance to fight the Indians; “he was not a fighting cuss,” he said, “himself, and as the other had been sent along as an escort he wished him to have every chance at the Indians.” We could see the blaze of the burning house <from> where we were, the Indians having fired it after the coach passed. My mind was to go on, as I thought we would really be more safe after dark than in the day-time, and I thought that the Indians, knowing soldiers to be near, would be likely to go off as soon as they had set fire to the house for fear of being pursued. The driver was a little averse to going on, and Mr. Otis thought we had better stop there for the night. The passengers on the other coach did the same. We slept in our coach.

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September 1864, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 14, 2024