The New Mormon Prophet—Nebraska the Rendezvous of the Followers of Joseph Smithy Jr.—Western Iowa and Nebraska Becoming Depopulated—Excitement upon the Frontier Concerning the "Pike's Peak" Diggings—Advice to and Outfit for Emigrants—General News.
Correspondence of the New-York Times.
OMAHA CITY, Neb. Ter., Monday, April 30, 1860.
The hoisting of an Anti-Brigham banner upon the Mormon battlements, and the rallying call of the new Prophet, JOSEPH SMITH, Jr., is a subject of gener-al comment among the Mormon population of this portion of the Far West; and, judging from the Press, it is also one of interest to those Saints who are found by hundreds in your far Eastern States. To the faithful of the "Far West," just now, however, it possesses more than ordinary interest, for the "worse halt" of the relict of the lamented Prophet, JOSEPH SMITH, Sen., representing the head of the new Church under JOSEPH SMITH, Jr., has extended his peregrina-tions to this portion of the West, with a view to se-lect a permanent abiding place—un grande rendez-vous for the followers of JOSEPH, Jr., the true head of the true Mormon Church. A few days since, I am informed from Mormon authority, Florence, a little town some six miles north of here, on the Missouri River, Nebraska side, was selected as the point, and the representative of the true Church under JOSEPH, Jr., departed eastward to report the substance of his negotiation to JOSEPH and the leaders.
The place selected, or at least so supposed to be, is an excellent one, commanding an excellent landing upon the Missouri River bank and a fine view of the surrounding country. In a financial point of view the Mormons also do well, judging from the amount of donation in the shape of town property they are to re-ceive from the proprietors of the town. Florence is more familiarly known to the Mormon world as “Winter quarters." It was there, after their depar-ture from Nauvoo, they spent the unfortunate Winter of 1847, in which disease and death carried them off by thousands ; and the prairie just back of the little town, to this day, is dotted with the rude graves of the Mormon pioneers. From there, ORSON HYDE led the vanguard of Mormons across the almost unknown plains to the present City of Salt Lake. From there were principally enlisted the celebrated, Mormon Bat-talion in our country's war with Mexico. It has, therefore, many associations for the Mormons. In 1847 there were a population of about 6,000 upon the present site of Florence. In 1854, when your cor-respondent first visited the place, there was but one house standing and but two settlers living there. A town site was then laid out, and Florence bade fair to become one of the important towns of the Far West, and it flourished well until "hard times" shut up the doors of Western town lot speculators, and Florence has been on the wane until this recent Mor-mon God-send. A population of 6,000 Mormons, it is said, will be there by Fall, and the knowing ones prophecy that the missionaries to be sent on to Salt Lake this Fall, to induce BRIGHAM'S followers to re-turn to the true faith of JOSEPH, will bring an aston-ishing return emigration next season. So mote it be.
A TIMES reader has no adequate idea of the ex-citement now generally diffused all over this portion of the far West, pertaining to the new gold fields of Western Kansas and Nebraska. All over the country it is the same. In the streets of our towns; upon the farms of our settlers ; at the hotel and fireside, every-where the same questions are asked. When do you start for the mines ? Where will I find you when I get there ? & c. An outsider would naturally sup-pose that two-thirds of the entire population were about starting, and really I believe that from one-fourth to one-half of the population of Western Iowa and Nebraska capable of leaving home will be in the mines by Fall. They leave in little parties of threes, fives, sixes and dozens. Your correspondent leaves on the 1st of June, and the TIMES' readers thereafter may depend, as far as the mines and the entire min-ing region are concerned, to hear occasionally such re-liable information as he may be able to gather from thence.
Already I notice some trains composed of men from Western New-York, and I think from present pros-pects it can safely be assured that one year hence will find an excitement—a gold fever, if you please—spreading itself all over Yankeedom, as did that of California. Such seems to me sure, and mark the prediction. Already the vanguard comes,—already the fact is so well settled to men of the West, that they sacrifice newly-made homes, and sell at $1.25 per acre their homes and improvements to do better in the mines. The West is moving earnestly, enthu-siastically in the matter. Reports from their friends there justify them in it, and if it all continues to prove true, as thousands of ventures here foretell, the far East will soon—must soon—be on the move. It was three years after the California gold excitement first started before Yankeedom stirred earnestly in the matter, and sent her thousands of sons to seek their fortunes. The gold mines of Western Kansas and Nebraska bid fair to excel California ; but I will not put my own prediction against the decrees of fate. Presuming from evidences of the present, (and the road westward from here to-day is thronged with the canvas covered wagons of embryo gold seekers,) a few words of advice to those who contemplate emi-grating to these mines, will not, I trust, fall (like scriptural seed) by the way-side. I would earnestly advise all who are doing well, to let well enough alone.
There are hundreds, nay thousands, already gone to the "Pike's Peak" gold mines, who have no idea of labor, and who go, simply trusting to some stray chance to show them an easy road to fortune. My own impression is, the market there is by this time even well supplied with this class of “miners ;" near-ly all the surplus population of Nebraska and Iowa have gone already, and their names are legion ; then you must not forget those of the same ilk from Kansas and Missouri. It will take a fair share of industry and perseverence and a good stock of application to suc-ceed in these mines. You must make up your mind the road to a fortune at Pike's Peak is "a hard road to travel." It will require some little capital to carry you through there, and, after you get there, if you ex-pect to make money easy, it will require a consider-able more judiciously used to start you on the track. By stage, (including about 50 pounds of baggage,) the fare from here is about $75, but good, comfortable am-bulances are sometimes started from here and pas-sengers "found " on the road for $50. A very com-fortable way is generally adopted by two or three, to join together and purchase an ox or horse team, pro-visioning themselves for six, eight or twelve months, at a cost for the three not exceeding $400, including everything for six months. This style constitutes the bulk of the emigration. Oxen in abundance are found here in the West, at prices ranging from $50 to $75 per yoke, and good wagons at from $60 to $80 each. All articles for an outfit can be bought at any of our Missouri River towns at less than the emigrant can buy in the prominent markets and ship here. In some future letter I will furnish the TIMES readers the prices of all outfitting stores and necessary amounts requisite for a party of three or six.
The Missouri River still continues quite low, and freights from St. Louis here are now up to $1 25 per 100 pounds. But little rain has fallen here in the West, and the prospect for a good wheat harvest is by no means flattering. More anon. JAKE.
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