Great Salt Lake City, U.T.
March 28th 1855
My dear Sister,
Your letter, with one from Jane & Kate, each, came in the mail of February, which reached here about the 16th of this month, and you can imagine my delight at the receipt of three in one mail. We have had rather a dull winter. I say rather, but I mean an exceedingly dull winter. As long as the pleasant weather lasted, I could amuse myself by going out duck shooting, but after the ponds froze up, and the cold weather set in, we have been quite at a loss what to do with ourselves. Sleighing we had only for a few days, the weather being an exceedingly mild one here. No society here which we could enjoy, tho’ the Governor did at New Year give a party to which we were invited, & Judge Kinney one [primarily?] to the Cols. & the officers, at both of which we of course met the “Mormon Belles” and made the acquaintance of several families yet this did not give to us the entrée to their houses. It was a piece of policy on the part of the Governor entirely—he had this whole affair reported and published in the paper here (which is entirely a church affair, of which I think I [want?] a copy to give). They are jealous of all Gentiles and of course discourage any intimacy among their young people with us. This did not amount to much however, as there are very few people among them of any pretensions to respectability at all, and therefore it was not much of a deprivation. Tell Jim to look out for some letters which have been written from here, to the New York Herald & the Baltimore Sun & some of the California papers. They will be rather _____ __ the rumours and what is more, they are true. I have been away from home a great deal in my lifetime, spent years in a foreign country, [but] never did I feel anything approaching to home sickness before. Never did months drag their slow length along before as they have done here this winter. Thank God it is over at last and we are now preparing to go into camp once more, and I hope by this day [a] week to be on the road to Rush Valley with the Command, where we will await the coming up of the grass to start across the country. We have just rec’d our designation in California. My Co. goes to Ft. Yuma near the mouth of the Colorado. Comp. H. (Col S’) to Ft. Tejon, about 60 miles east of “Los Angelos,” the Col. has rec’d his appointment as Governor of this Terr’y but will not accept just now; he will take his command through to California first. If the Col. resigns it will promote me to his [Comssr?] and I will go to Ft. Tejon. Direct all your letters for me to the care of Lieut. Chas. Shinder, Adjt., 3d Art’y, HdQrs, Benicia, Cal., paying the postage to him & he will forward them wherever I am.
I am very glad to hear that Aunt has enjoyed such fine health this winter and pray it may continue. Sam I am sorry had such a hard time of it, tho’ I think a little reduction in the “Corpus” would rather benefit or at least improve his personal appearance.
I will send this letter by Adams & Co. Express to California & tell Jane & Kate I write them both by [the?] mail. At the end of February I had rather an exciting trip to Fillmore City, to receive and bring up the Indians who murdered Capt. Gunnison. I went down with twenty two men and brought up five them in eight days, making 300 miles in that time. They have since been tried by the Mormons and found guilty of manslaughter only and sentenced to the penitentiary. The proof was positive & clear but the jury were counseled by Brigham Young as to their verdict & thus they perjured themselves. May God have mercy upon them. They would hang two Indians for killing two Mormon boys last summer, when they had scarcely any proof at all, but when a Gentile is murdered it is only manslaughter. I cannot write all truth about these people here, but will sometime or other [after you receive this under cover].*
Love to all.
Believe me ever,
Your affectionate Brother,
John F. Reynolds
*This bracketed phrase appears at the top of p. 4 of the letter. Where it belongs in the sequence of the letter is unclear.