On May 19, 1849, H. Egan wrote the following letter at Fort Kearny to a friend in Kanesville, now Council Bluffs, Iowa. Egan, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was bound for Salt Lake.
“Bro. Orson Hyde Dear Sir: According to promise I write to you a short sketch of my travels. . . . May 21st A few miles east of Salt Creek [Ashland, Nebraska, vicinity] met three wagons on their way back to Nodaway County, Missouri, reported that a number of their company had the measels. . . . Our company now number 57 souls, 22 wagons, 46 yoke of cattle, 21 cows, 6 horses, 5 mules, 3 young cattle, 21 fowls, 6 dogs, 1 cat. We are travelling at the rate of about 15 miles a day, feed is good, the weather very cool and our cattle are doing well. . . .
“May 31 Eight miles east of the head of Grand Island: there is one continual string of wagons as far as the eye can extend, both before and behind us. They reported a great deal of sickness in the different companies for the first two or three weeks: but now mostly enjoying good health, and our cattle are gaining. If the Platte river is low enough I think I shall cross over to the North side when I get above the head of Grand Island, in order to get out of the crowd, that I may have more sea room. This evening there is twenty nine camps in sight, numbering from fifteen to forty wagons in a company.
“June 1st We arrived at Fort Kearney about noon today: I ascertained that there had [been] 4131 wagons passed up to the last of May, and there is probably about 2000 behind us. There is some of the companies selling their wagons and packing from this place: wagons which cost $125 dollars in the States have sold for $10 to $20 dollars, bacon has been sold for one cent per pound, flour one to two dollars per hundred, and other articles in perportion.
“Captain Robert Patten of the Nodaway company who was left by his company 80 miles east from this place, died on the 29th, a few men with two wagons were left with him, part of them returned and part of them came on. It seems morally impossible for all wagons which are on the road to get over the mountains this season. I remain yours truly. H. Egan.”