Evan Jones to the American Baptist Missionary Board — December 30 1838
Evan Jones to The American Baptist Missionary Board, Little Prairie, Missouri, December 30, 1838
We have now been on our road to Arkansas seventy-five days, and have traveled five hundred and twenty-nine miles. We are still nearly three hundred miles short of our destination. We have been greatly favored by the kind providence of our heavenly Father. We have as yet met with no serious accident, and have been detained only two days by bad weather. It has, however, been exceedingly cold for some time past, which renders the condition of those who are but thinly clad, very uncomfortable. In order, however, to counteract the effects of the severity of the weather in some degree, we have, since the cold set in so severely, sent on a company every morning, to make fires along the road at short intervals. This we have found a great alleviation to the sufferings of the people.
At the Mississippi river, we were stopped from crossing, by the ice running so that boats could not pass, for several days. Here br. Bushyhead’s detachment came up with us, and we had the pleasure of having our tents in the same encampment; and before our detachment was all over, Rev. Stephen Foreman’s detachment came up, and encamped along side of us. I am sorry to say, however, that both their detachments have not been able to cross.
The members of the church, generally, maintain consistency of conduct, and many of them are very useful. Our native preachers are assiduous in their labors, seizing all favorable opportunities to cherish a devotional spirit among the brethren. Their influence is very salutary.
I am afraid that, with all the care that can be exercised with the various detachments, there will be an immense amount of suffering, and loss of life attending the removal. Great numbers of the old, the young, and the infirm, will inevitably be sacrificed. And the fact that the removal is effected by coercion, makes it the more galling to the feelings of the survivors.
Source: Baptist Missionary Magazine, 19 (April 1839), 89