1853 November 30 Letter to Martha Gunnison

Title

1853 November 30 Letter to Martha Gunnison

Description

Condolences to the widow of Captain Gunnison and information concerning his murder and burial.

Type

Correspondence

Sender

Brigham Young
Albert Carrington

Recipient

Martha Gunnison

Date

1853 November 30

Location

Great Salt Lake City
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Number of Pages

3

Subject

Charity
Personal

extracted text

Great Salt Lake City Nov. 30th, 1853.
Respected Madam:
Though strangers to you we deem it a duty devolving upon us through our personal acquaintance with the late beloved, and highly respected Captain J. W. Gunnison, and our knowledge of the circumstances attending his death, to address you a few lines upon the subject.
This would have been done by the Mail which left for the States on the first of November, at the time news of de Massacre on the Sevier River was forwarded, but we waited in hopes of being able to write many consoling facts connected therewith, which the best, and most active steps had been taken to establish, but which have unfortunately failed; and now that all has been done that can be, and the result fully known, we write by this, the first opportunity.
About sunrise, on the morning of the 26th Ult. on the right bank of the Sevier River, and about twenty mills North of Sevier Lake, Captain J. W. Gunnison, and a party of Eleven men were surprised in Camp, and assailed upon by a band of thirty Indians. Captain G. fell, peirced with fifteen arrows; seven others of the party were also killed, and four succeeded in making their escape.
The News of this unexpected, & melancholy event did not reach this city until 6. O.clock. P. M. of October 31st, when the most speedy, and efficient steps were taken by the Governor to aid Captain Morris to retrieve, as far as possible, the results of the fatal calamity. At this time the idea had not entered our minds that Captain Morris would visit the Scene, and retire leaving the dead, unburied, and unprotected, but for reasons best known to himself he pursued this course, the result of which was, that by the time the party dispatched from this city reached the ground, the wolves had eaten the flesh, and scattered the bones promiscuously over a large area.
The most rigid search was made, and all the scattered fragments that could be found, were brought together, and adjusted as far as possible preparatory to burial. The most careful result of this search detected and secured only a part of one thigh bone, and a small lock of hair belonging to your deeply lamented husband. This bone, and the bones of Mr. Potter were taken to Fillmore City, and interred in one grave, the remainder were buried on the spot. With a melancholy pleasure we enclose you the recovered lock of hair, deeply regretting that circumstances beyond our control prevented our sending you the entire remains, as we had so fondly anticipated.
As warm personal friends of the deceased, permit us to tender you our heart felt sympathies in your sad bereavement, and offer our feeble tribute of testimony to the enterprise and worth of the departed, in whom the government have lost one of their most active, industrious, and skilfull officers, and a beloved family have been unexpectedly and tragically bereaved of one of the kindest and most affectionate of husbands & fathers.
Cheerfully holding ourselves ever ready to furnish you any further information you may wish, or to extend any aid you may require in this matter.
We Subscribe ourselves,
Truly Your Friends

Mrs. J. W. Gunnison Brigham Young
City of Grand Rapids Albert Carrington.
Michigane.
P. S.
We lay the hair in the letter to prevent it from chafing.

Item sets

Great Salt Lake City Nov. 30th, 1853.

Respected Madam:

Though strangers to you we deem it a duty devolving upon us through our personal acquaintance with the late beloved, and highly respected Captain J. W. Gunnison, and our knowledge of the circumstances attending his death, to address you a few lines upon the subject.

This would have been done by the Mail which left for the States on the first of November, at the time news of de Massacre on the Sevier River was forwarded, but we waited in hopes of being able to write many consoling facts connected therewith, which the best, and most active steps had been taken to establish, but which have unfortunately failed; and now that all has been done that can be, and the result fully known, we write by this, the first opportunity.

About sunrise, on the morning of the 26th Ult. on the right bank of the Sevier River, and about twenty mills North of Sevier Lake, Captain J. W. Gunnison, and a party of Eleven men were surprised in Camp, and assailed upon by a band of thirty Indians. Captain G. fell, peirced with fifteen arrows; seven others of the party were also killed, and four succeeded in making their escape.

The News of this unexpected, & melancholy event did not reach this city until 6. O.clock. P. M. of October 31st, when the most speedy, and efficient steps were taken by the Governor to aid Captain Morris to retrieve, as far as possible, the results of the fatal calamity. At this time the idea had not entered our minds that Captain Morris would visit the Scene, and retire leaving the dead, unburied, and unprotected, but for reasons best known to himself he pursued this course, the result of which was, that by the time the party dispatched from this city reached the ground, the wolves had eaten the flesh, and scattered the bones promiscuously over a large area.

The most rigid search was made, and all the scattered fragments that could be found, were brought together, and adjusted as far as possible preparatory to burial. The most careful result of this search detected and secured only a part of one thigh bone, and a small lock of hair belonging to your deeply lamented husband. This bone, and the bones of Mr. Potter were taken to Fillmore City, and interred in one grave, the remainder were buried on the spot. With a melancholy pleasure we enclose you the recovered lock of hair, deeply regretting that circumstances beyond our control prevented our sending you the entire remains, as we had so fondly anticipated.

As warm personal friends of the deceased, permit us to tender you our heart felt sympathies in your sad bereavement, and offer our feeble tribute of testimony to the enterprise and worth of the departed, in whom the government have lost one of their most active, industrious, and skilfull officers, and a beloved family have been unexpectedly and tragically bereaved of one of the kindest and most affectionate of husbands & fathers.

Cheerfully holding ourselves ever ready to furnish you any further information you may wish, or to extend any aid you may require in this matter.

We Subscribe ourselves,
Truly Your Friends

Brigham Young

Mrs. J. W. Gunnison
City of Grand Rapids Albert Carrington.
Michigane.

P. S.
We lay the hair in the letter to prevent it from chafing.