Friday, February 18, 2011

A Letter Written Many Years Ago

[Bruce’s note: This letter was printed in the Putnam County Herald. The clipping was undated but based on the editor's note it was probably printed in about 1929.]

Editors note: The following letter was written nearly 85 years ago to the great grandmother of Mrs. S. Hayden Young. Her daughter and family went with the Mormons via Illinois to Utah in the Covered Wagon exodus of that period. Mrs. Young has the original letter which is of course yellowed with age, but otherwise well preserved. The handwriting being the olden style and practically perfect in execution. The letter was sent through the mails folded, but not in an envelope, nor did it have a stamp attached, as this was prior to the general use of either stamps or envelopes. “25 Cents Paid” was written on the outside fold of the letter, and the fold was sealed with beeswax.

Nauvoo. Illinois
January 25, 1845
Dear Mother,
   It is with feelings of no ordinary kind that I take my pen in hand this Sabbath morning to address you this letter. We are all well at present and have been ever since we sent the last letter., which was to David Nichols, except little Samuel. He was very sick a few days with the hives, but is now as hearty as ever. All the children are more fleshy than ever they were before.
   I hope this letter will find you all well. We have not heard from you since we received your letter of the 28th of July. We want you, if you have not written, to write as soon as you get this letter, for we want to hear from you very much indeed. Write everything that you think would be interesting to us. You said in your letter that “we should render each other all the satisfaction we could by writing.” I am somewhat at a loss to know what would be the most satisfactory to you. However I will tell you a little about Nauvoo and Mormonism–so-called. Nauvoo is a city of Saints, gathered from many parts of the world, as the old Prophet said – Two of a family, and one of a city to do the commandments of God; even to build a house to His name. With a few exception, I believe they are the best people in the world, all is peace and quietness. The people are industrious, virtuous and temperate, but now is the word of St. Paul verified: “They that live Godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution,” for the hand of persecution has been heavily upon us, and the world it seems is making preparations to lay the iron hand of oppression still heavier upon us by inventing the most abomnable(sic) falsehoods ever thought of either by man or Devil, and publishing them abroad, by this influence the charter of this city has been taken away, and the next attempt may be to take away our lives. The mobbers in Hancock county are still prowling around like so many blood-hounds, or so many hungry wolves, howling over the blood of some innocent sheep which they have murdered to gratify their ravenous appetites; they cry robbery, when it is evident that the greater part of the theft they speak of really does not exist, while on the other hand, bee-gums have been stolen and gums found by a Mormon’s house and the honey in the house of a mobocrat, and many other circumstances. They do this in order to justify themselves in the eyes of the people for murdering Joseph and Hiram, for they know that they cannot make it appear that the Mormons did it. They gather up the chips whereon Joseph bled and send them from one to another hundreds of miles in token of triumph. My very soul shudders at the thought of their wickedness, especially when I think how soon the wrath of an offended God will be poured out upon them.
   Surely all manner of evil is spoken of us falsely for Christ’s sake, but we know that through much tribulation we must enter into his Kingdom. But in the midst of our afflictions, our hearts are made to rejoice for we put our trust in that God who is able to light up a smile in the aspect of woe. Yea, his spirit is sweeter than the juice of grapes, and his approval is preferable to the smile of princes; his favor is richer than the finest of gold, and his wisdom transcends in wisdom, he will perform his work and accomplish his purpose. Man cannot prevent it. The principles of truth, and truth is everlasting as Himself, therefore His kingdom will stand, and those who abide its laws will come up before him to dwell in his presence. Therefore we will adhere to his statutes and will in the new and everlasting covenant, not counting our lives dear to us.
    Mother, I often ask myself this question: Why am I here along, without any of my connection? Why do they not come unto the work? The answer is suggested to my mind: They worship God and think that is all that is required of them. If this be the case, I wish to refer you to the 8th Chapter of the Acts, where a man of Ethiopia had been to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning, reading his bible, when Phillip came to him and preached to him and the first water they came to, they went down into it and he was baptized. I also read a chapter where Lydia worshipped God, yet she gave heed to the Gospel as preached by Paul. Though the Lord opened his heart that she might receive his word. Now, if the Lord has not opened the eyes of your understanding to see the necessity of His church being organized, according to the New Testament pattern, I entreat you to pray to the Lord in the persence(sic) of your soul, that he would open your heart to receive the truth of all that he has designed for our salvation. Mother, tell me your mind upon this subject in your next letter.
    I must begin to come to a close. Give my love to Grandmother Byrne and mother Young, and to all inquiring friends. I beg to be excused for bad writing and spelling, for the children are very noisy, and little Samuel is hanging around my lap. I called them around me and asked them what I should tell you about them. Francis says she wishes I would put her in the office with the letter and send her to Tennessee to see her grandmother. Now, said she, “if you will tell them that it will tickle them.” Miriam sends her love to Granny Byrne, Anna Martha says, “send me too.”
   We remain, as ever, yours in love until death. R. B. and A. D. Young.


Ardis E. Parshall said...

Worth waiting for.

I hope they were able to stay in touch. No wonder the Tennessee family saved this letter.

Thanks, Bruce.

BruceCrow said...

I'll write up a post on Rhoda and Alfred Young next week, but the short answer is yes.