Emmaretta Eliza Green, age 2, daughter of Robert Kenyon Green and Eliza Elvira Esther Morrison Green, was a Mormon pioneer.
Her living family doesn’t know that, so I’m posting this where the information can be found by Googling, as well as having her added to the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database.
Emmaretta’s parents (then married to other spouses) and older siblings emigrated to Utah in 1847, members of the Daniel Spencer company. Robert and Eliza Green were married by 1850 and settled in the Cottonwood area of the Salt Lake Valley. Eliza and at least some of the children of the combined marriages accompanied Robert back to the States late in 1854 when he was called to serve a mission there.
Family history notes that “Emmaretta Green was born in Chester, [Porter County,] Indiana 23 April 1855. She died before they returned to Salt Lake in 1857,” which probably accounts for the entry in New Family Search reporting that Emmaretta died in 1856 (no day/month given). In some family histories, Emmaretta is called “Loretta” or even “Energetta,” and sometimes appears as if she were two sisters instead of one small child with an unusual name.
But she didn’t die in 1856. She started west with her parents in 1857 and died on the Plains, somewhere east of Laramie.
On 19 August 1857, Amos Milton Musser, returning from a mission to India and traveling with the William G. Young company, wrote a letter to friends in New York City:
We are now within about 7 miles of the above named Fort [Laramie] under circumstances truly prosperous. Thus far we have been blessed beyond anticipation or expectation. We have lost but one ox and left but one wagon, and that an old one not worth hauling half the way.
General health prevails and a unanimity of feeling exists throughout. This last, you know, is a striking or prominent characteristic of the Latter Day Saints. Yesterday we unanimously deputed Elder W.G. Young to precede the emigration companies to the valley, that he may be enabled to report at head-quarters their exact position and circumstances, and that they may in time receive succor if necessary.
I regret to have to mention several deaths, and the loss of a number of cattle, through stampedes, in Captain Martin’s and Captain Hofhiens’ companies. The first of these companies lost a number of cattle in the stampede, so laming the train that several families were obliged to return to Genoa. Bros. Latey, Greener, Gillis and Keates, with their families and friends, were those that returned.
Brother E. Howard, from Sheffield, aged sixty-five, and a daughter of Sister Banford, aged four years, were the sufferers. They were interred in a double grave which formed a melancholy feature of the fatal spot where the tragic scene occurred. A Sister Rogers, and a daughter of Sister Turner’s were seriously injured, so much so that their recovery was hardly looked for. Captain Hofheins’ train lost upwards of thirty head of cattle. No human suffering I believe. The Hand-Cart Companies are, as far as we can learn, going along pretty well, but slower than was expected.
Several fresh graves mark the steps of the Angel of Death amongst them. I think we noticed but three or four. The names of three I remember well, as follows: Brother James Reader, late from St. Louis, formerly from England; Brother Peter Hanson, a Dane, and a young female by the name of Emerretta Green.
We learn that the company of soldiers, set apart to straighten the Utonians out, have lost 800 head of cattle, through stampedes; 60 head had been recovered. It is reported that Gen. Harney, their commander, has been remanded for shooting one of his subordinates, a lieutenant, in a duel.
The names of James Reader, Peter Hansen, John Banford (a son rather than daughter, obviously) and Edward Howard, along with the fact of their deaths, are already listed on the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database. Emmaretta’s name is not – at least, not until next week.
Musser’s letter was printed in The Mormon, the New York City newspaper published by John Taylor, on 19 September 1857. By that date, John Taylor had returned to Utah in anticipation of the Utah War; his deputies were winding up Eastern business. That issue was the last edition of The Mormon. In fact, Musser’s letter was printed at the end of the last column of the last page of editorial content, followed only by advertisements. It was literally the last news published in that newspaper.
The record of little Emmaretta’s death on the Plains as a Mormon pioneer came that close to being lost.