My dear Sister,
It is hot and dry here. My skin cracks from the craving for any moisture. I didn’t know pain until this adventure. The sun is a brutal friend. I long for the warmth of the sun at night and curse it during the day. I hope you never have to make this trip. I keep wondering if there is an easier way. I question why we had to leave home. Nothing looks better here; I don’t see an easier life. I see hard work and obstacles to overcome.
The road is rough and scary. David assures me that once we are in California I will have the life I am accustomed to. I am worried 1847 will be my last.
Death accompanies us each day. Death is a companion of the trail. Sarah Campbell lost her young son to sickness. He didn’t even have a proper burial. Luke is buried in a shallow grave along the trail. Sarah wanted to stay with him. Her husband had to pry the boy from her arms.
Two days later her husband James was killed in a hunting accident. Sarah lost her wits and took off without her young babies. David and I are looking after the girls. It is best since we don’t have any young ones yet. The girls are beautiful and fair, Faith is four, Hope two, and Charity is one.
With the increase in mouths to feed our food is running low. I pray we get to an outpost soon.
You are in my thoughts each day. I will write again when I can. The heat, dust, and rough road are taking their toll. I vomit quite frequently. I am not well at the moment. I can’t eat. I melt each day in the scorching sun. I know I have to survive for the girls.
It is useless for me to describe the country. I have no words. I will write again soon when I am less fatigued.
Your loving sister,
Mrs. David Mattison