Letter No. 2
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June 19, 1852.

I now take up my pen to write you a letter to let you know where we are and what we are doing. We are now about 10 miles east of Ft. Laramie. We are all in tolerably good health at this time. We have both good and bad news to tell you. Aunt Louisa Richey was taken with the diarrhoea about the 10th of June, and they gave her medicine and she got a good deal better. And on the 14th she was taken with cholera morbus a little after dark, and got worse all the time, till about noon the next day, when she appeared to get almost easy, and stayed so till about 1 o’clock the next morning, when she took worse and died about five minutes past 2 o’clock. We buried her about 9 o’clock the same morning. She was buried in as decent order as circumstances would admit of. Being so far from timber, we could not make a coffin. The grave was dug very deep, with a vault. They wrapped her up in bedclothes and laid her in the vault. We took the sideboards of a wagon and covered the vault with them, and then covered it up. We sent about two miles for tombstones. Her name, age and date of her death were cut upon one of them. She died about 75 miles east of Ft. Laramie. She did not express any fears of death, but she was unwilling to die and be left on the plains. Uncle Stuart took it very hard. Uncle Caleb and his company overtook us on the 15th of June, and stayed with us that night. He received two letters at Council Bluffs—one for him and one for Uncle Stuart. They were the first news we had got from you since we started, and it was the first time we had heard from uncle Caleb since we passed Eddyville. He is now three or four miles behind us. We were very glad to hear from you all. There is considerable sickness on this road. The most of the sickness is behind us. We think we are past the sickliest part of our journey. We passed from five to eight fresh graves of a day. The principal part of the sickness is the diarrhoea and cholera. Some have died with cholera in four hours after taking it. The people think the using of bad water is the cause of the sickness. We do not feel discouraged yet, but we are going on in pretty good spirits. We have had plenty of grass since we crossed the Missouri River. Our cattle are all in better order than when we started, and travel faster than they did when we started. We have had the best roads I have ever seen, or expect to see, so far.

I will now try to give you some idea of how we travel. We turn our cattle out to grass by daylight every morning, and start about 6 o’clock and travel till noon, then unyoke the cattle and drive them to water and grass and stay about two hours. Then we start and travel till 5 o’clock, and ten turn them out on grass till dark, and then tie them up and guard them all night. The St. Joseph’s road is in sight all the time on the other side of the river. I think the road will be about full of wagons and teams when the roads come together. There are eleven wagons in our company.

Our company has killed two antelopes; they killed one of them today. We have seen a few buffalo along the road, but have not killed any yet. We have not seen an Indian for about three weeks. We burnt up Uncle Jas. Ingram’s old wagon last night. We have left all our stoves. We camp on the bank of the Platte River every night. The bottom on this side of the river is generally about two or three miles wide, covered with pretty good grass. We have not had any wood for 200 miles, except what we hauled with us.

JAMES AKIN, JR.

To James Richey, Salem, Iowa.

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