Mormon History

Fools Looking For Gold - 1851

  Daily Missouri Republican June 10, 1851

[News from the Great Salt Lake]

We have a letter from a correspondent at Great Salt Lake City, dated the 20th April. The mail from the United States had not then reached there, having been out sixty one days, if it left on the first of March.

About the 10th of April, a company of fifty Mormons, composed of the principal men, Governor Young among them, started for Iron county, or Little Salt Lake. They were on an exploring expedition to the different valleys at the south. It was generally believed that there was much gold near the Little Salt Lake, some specimens having been found, and this is probably one of the objects of the expedition.

The Indians were giving the Mormons and the emigrants much trouble, by stealing and running off their stock. A large party started about the 10th of April in search of the Indians and to regain the stolen animals. On the Tooelee Valley, one of the company, an emigrant, was shot by an Indian and killed. His name was Lorenzo Dow Custer, from Ohio, and a wife and two children are left behind him. They had stolen four of his horses. On the 19th, one of the company returned to Great Salt Lake City, with information that five of the Indians were captured; and for stealing their horses and refusing to tell where the remainder were encamped, they were shot. The party were determined to follow the Indians to their encampments.

Money is represented as beinf scarce, in the hands of a few, and not in circulation. Wheat has gone up to $4 per bushel. A much larger amount of merchandize is expected at that place than there is money to buy, unless gold is found in Iron county, by the company which has gone to seek it.

The health of the citizens of Salt Lake City was good. An enumeration of the inhabitants was in progress, and it was supposed that the nineteen wards of the city would average two hubdred persons each, or say 4,000 in all. About 1,000 emigrants have left that place for California and a great many Mormons had gone South to settle the different valleys.

The expenses attending the troubles and difficulties with the Indians are very heavy -- the writer estimates them at not less than $50,000 since he has been there. To call out fifty or one hundred men, at a time of the year when every man should be at work on his farm, is no small loss to the community.

In a second, or supplemental epistle to the church, it is stated that Messrs. Miles Beach, of St. Louis and Blair, of Texas, have opened an establishment for the manufacture of sugar from the beet root.