Ronald D. Dennis, The Call of Zion: The Story of the First Welsh Mormon Emigrants (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1987), 122–240.
1. [Dan Jones], “Henffych California” (Hail to California), Prophwyd y Jubili (Prophet of the Jubilee), October 1848, p. 158.
2. [Dan Jones], “Cynghorion i ymfudwyr i California” (Counsels to the emigrants to California), Prophwyd y Jubili, November 1848, pp. 165–69.
3. J. D. [John Davis], “Ffarwel y Saint” (The Saints’ farewell), Prophwyd y Jubili, December 1848, p. 186.
4. “Gwahoddiad i Galifornia” (Invitation to California), Seren Gomer (Star of Gomer—a Baptist periodical), December 1848, pp. 373–74. (Signed “Dryw Bach” [A small seer].)
5.Thomas Jeremey [and twenty-four others], “Cyfarchiad olaf y Saint ymfudol i California” (Last greeting of the emigrating Saints to California), Udgorn Seion (Zion’s trumpet), March 1849, pp. 55–58.
6. William Phillips, “Ymfudiad y Saint i Galifornia” (Emigration of the Saints to California), Udgorn Seion, March 1849, pp. 59–61.
7. Dan Jones to John Davis, 18 April 1849, New Orleans. In Hanes ymfudiad y Saint i Galifornia (An account of the Saints’ emigration to California) (Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, 1849), pp. 5–21.
8. Thomas Jeremy to John Davis, 18 April 1849, New Orleans. In Hanes ymfudiad y Saint i Galifornia (Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, 1849), pp. 21–24.
9. Dan Jones to William Phillips, 30 April 1849, St. Louis, Udgorn Seion, June 1849, pp. 122–23.
10. Dan Jones to William Phillips, 13 July 1849, Omaha, Udgorn Seion, September 1849, pp. 179–82.
11. William Morgan to William Phillips, 2 September 1849, Pottowatamie County, Iowa, Udgorn Seion, November 1849, pp. 218–19.
12. George A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, and Dan Jones to William Morgan and William Davis, 21 September 1849, Camp of Israel. In Cyfarwyddiadau i’r ymfudwyr tua Dinas y Llyn Halen (Directions to the emigrants to Salt Lake City) (Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, 1849), pp. 2–6.
13. Dan Jones to William Phillips, 12 October 1849, Bank of the Green River, Udgorn Seion, April 1850, pp. 105–10.
14. Dan Jones to William Phillips, 20 November 1849, Salt Lake City. In Tri llythyr oddiwrth Capt. D. Jones, ac un oddiwrth Mrs. Lewis (o Gydweli), o Ddinas y Llyn Halen (Three letters from Capt. D. Jones, and one from Mrs. Lewis [from Kidwelly], from Salt Lake City) (Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, 1850), pp. 1–3.
15. William Morgan to William Phillips, 25 December 1849, Council Bluffs, Udgorn Seion, February 1850, pp. 51–54.
16. Elizabeth Lewis to John Davis, 10 April 1850, Salt Lake City. In Tri llythyr oddiwrth Capt. D. Jones, pp. 6–8.
17. Dan Jones to John Davis, 12 April1850, Salt Lake City. In Tri llythyr oddiwrth Capt. D. Jones, pp. 5–6.
18. Dan Jones to William Phillips, 12 April 1850, Salt Lake City. In Tri llythyr oddiwrth Capt. D. Jones, pp. 4–5.
19. Thomas Jeremy to John Davis, 14 April 1850, Salt Lake City, Udgorn Seion, October 1850, pp. 281–85.
20. William Morgan to William Phillips, 26 May 1850, Council Bluffs, Udgorn Seion, July 1850, pp. 186–88.
21. Gwilym Ddu [William Lewis], “Englynion” (Verses). In Cyfarwyddiadau i’r ymfudwyr tua Dinas y Llyn Halen, p. 12.
22. William Morgan to William Phillips and John Davis, 19 July 1850 Kanesville, Iowa. In Cyfarwyddiadau i’r ymfudwyr tua Dinas y Llyn Halen, pp. 2, 6–10.
23. Dan Jones to William Phillips and John Davis, 10 September 1850, Salt Lake City, Udgorn Seion, 11 January 1851, pp. 17–19.
24. Dan Jones to William Phillips, March 1851, Manti. In Llythyr oddiwrth Capt. D. Jones at Wm. Phillips, yn cynnwys newyaddion o Seion (A letter from Capt. D. Jones to Wm. Phillips, containing news from Zion) (Merthyr Tydfil: John Davis, 1851), 8 pages total.
25. Elizabeth Lewis to John Davis, 1851, Manti, Udgorn Seion, 23 August 1851, pp. 272–74.
26. Thomas Jeremy to John Davis, 21 January 1852, Salt Lake City, Udgorn Seion, 8 May 1852, pp. 142–45.
27. Dan Jones to William Phillips, 1 May 1852, Manti. Private collection. Xerox copy in possession of the author. All by the last one-fourth of the letter was published in Udgorn Seion, 4 September 1852, pp. 287–90.
28. William Morgan to William Phillips and John Davis, 22 June 1852, Pottowatamie, Udgorn Seion, 7 August 1852, pp. 259–60.
29. William Morgan to William Philips and John Davis, 20 September 1852, Bear River, 80 miles from Salt Lake City, Udgorn Seion, 8 January 1853, pp. 32–33.
30. William Morgan to William Phillips and John Davis, 25 June 1853, Salt Lake City, Udgorn Seion, 27 August 1853, pp. 143–47.
When pestilence is harvesting the countries—
Harvesting man like the grass of the field;
When its foul breeze blows
Laying waste the green earth,
Yonder across the distant seas, for me.
When the sharp shining sword
Is bathed in blood;
Yes, blood—the warm blood of men,
In the worst battles ever fought,
Yonder to the Rocky Mountains I shall go.
When the seed of the sower descends
Straight under the soils of the field.
When that sower waits
To reap—but without ever reaping;
The country is for me the Eden of the world.
There the crops are abundant,
There the fruits are sweet;
The end of the winter of Eden’s curse;
The beginning of the Lord’s blessed summer:
There is the chief paradise of the world.
There the tithing is brought together;
And the great temple is founded;
There it is splendidly sanctified,
With the Lord when the hour comes:
Thou shalt be the new Canaan of the world.
You brethren who have stayed behind,
Hasten to come after us;
Remember, we shall await you
With a longing look;
Sing until you all come there.
Let the dear sailing vessel come,
Let the brethren come aboard;
Farewell to thee, world of the curse,
Thou, breeze, blow away:
Only California henceforth.
In response to the frequent and varied questions which we are asked with respect to the preparation and the expense of emigrating, if the inquirers are not satisfied with the following observations, let them ask again. In the first place, with respect to the preparation for food for the voyage, we say that the state government requires every shipowner to carry on board the ship the various provisions which we mentioned already in our previous observations on this matter in the last issue of the Prophwyd; that is, that everything be proportionate with respect to nourishment, for a pound of bread to be apportioned to each emigrants over the age of one each day of the voyage, in addition to 10 pounds of bacon each for the voyage; these supplies will be included in the price of the crossing, that is, the sum which in the last ship was £3 12s 6c for everyone over fourteen years of age. We further observe that the above preparation perhaps may not be sufficient for everyone, and anything else which the emigrants may wish to purchase will be at their discretion, with respect to provisions and abundance. The following list we consider sufficient for each one, in addition to the provisions of the ship; and so each one can determine at his home not only the additional cost he will have to bear for food, but also whether it will be better for those who have such things at home to bring them or to buy them for the following prices in Liverpool:
pounds of Hard Bread for everyone over 14 at 3 pence a pound
pounds of Rice at 3 pence a pound
pounds of Sugar at 3 ½ pence a pound
pound of Tea at 2 shillings a pound
pounds of Coffee at 6 pence a pound
pounds of Treacle at 2 ½ pence a pound
pounds of Raisins, or Currants at 4 ½ pence a pound
pounds of Butter, at 1 shilling at pound
pounds of Cheese, at 8 pence a pound
Take note that this will be in addition to the price of the crossing. It is seen that the above prices are much lower than such things are sold in the shops; the reason for that is the advantage which is allowed to the emigrants by purchasing large quantities together from the Custom House, without tax on them, because it is intended to use them at sea. To those who can prepare oat bread, good butter of their own, cheese, preserves, pickles, or other things they may desire, it will be very good for them to take such things with them from home. The state government sees to it that all provisions which are prepared by the ship are good and tasty; to the head of each family will be weighed out each week that which he needs for the time being, for him and his family, so they can use it how and when they choose themselves. Those who have children under the age of fourteen will probably not need to provide the additional items above for them, since the provisions of the ship will be sufficient and their cost less by that much. It will be up to each one to provide his own provisions also on the way to Liverpool and then until the ship begins the voyage.
We do not counsel the Saints to buy very much clothing material here, more than will last them for about two or three years in order to be warm and comfortable; for they will earn more than the difference of prices in the interest they will receive from the money they would spend for them; while from the other side such goods would lie in decay and useless in comparison. While we warn against extremes on that side, we urge everyone from the other side to prepare as much as they can, durable warm and useful clothing; especially let abundant preparations be made for underclothing, dark wool clothes, especially for the children and women; for clear water for washing clothes cannot be obtained on the ocean. Let there be prepared an equal proportion of heavy and light clothing, or summer and winter clothing, such as is prepared for the climate of this country generally. If all the women and their daughters would have a dress of homespun material, or Welsh wool gowns, as are worn in Carmarthenshire, etc., that would be considered valuable for arriving at the end of the journey; if the men could get a suit or two of clothes besides that which they normally have here, that would be sufficient for them to get under way, especially of outer clothes; but as for underclothing, the more you have the better, for one of the main points in the creed of the Saints is cleanliness, comfort and satisfaction. Though we shall experience various climates during the journey, the first part of it will not be too warm to wear winter clothes of this country; and the rest of the clothing, that is, those for the warm weather, we could counsel everyone to get deal chests of the following sizes, if new ones are purchased, that is 3 feet 3 inches long, about 18 or 20 inches wide and deep, and put their clothes dry and neat in them, so that there will be no need to open them for a long time, especially on the sea, for the breeze and water of the sea will greatly damage clothing. Besides that, the chests of the above sizes will be more convenient than to move the belongings back and forth, and after they are filled with spare clothes, they can be put out of way on the ship, and there will be more space for the passengers. Let all do according to this counsel before leaving town; otherwise they will encounter inconvenience on the way, if all their clothes are in confusion and mixed throughout all their chests. Dress the children warmly and healthily, lest they all start crying from colds or other discomforts. Those who have feather beds may take them along; i.e., as many as wish for their use on the voyage. Notice that all must provide their own beds and bedding on the ship, and every other place; and so take care to bring enough blankets and other bedding to be comfortable. The ship provides nothing more than bed boards only, that is, the place on which to put the beds.
The emigrants would be well advised to take them for the service of their family after arriving home a good proportion of the following things which they will have at hand, that is, plates knives, forks, spoons, crockery (china, if they wish), and the other things which the women deem desirable for their comfort, for we consider their comfort as much, yes, even more than our own; and we hope to see them at the end of their journey having built homes and living in them—having planted vineyards, and enjoying the fullness of their tasty produce with no one to frighten them or oppress them; and as a result, we counsel them to think for themselves about the dishes, etc., on which they will choose to prepare such feasts after arriving home. They can carry them across the sea, in moderation, at no cost—i.e., for their own service; for if the government officials where we land on the other side think that we intend to sell any of such things, they will put a tax on them, which perhaps will make them more expensive than if they were purchase in St. Louis. But for such things for personal use, they rarely tax them there. Since there will be no need for such dishes for normal use on the voyage, it would be best to put them for safekeeping among the spare clothes to keep them from breaking. We do not counsel anyone to take heavy tools, nor in fact scarcely any household furniture, except what had been mentioned; and we do nor counsel the various craftsmen to take very many of their normal tools with them, for they can probably get new ones, better and cheaper, in St. Louis. As for tin dishes for use on the voyage, they can be obtained in Liverpool best as we get under way.
We have already been speaking with the captain of the steamboat Troubadour about taking the first company of emigrants from Swansea to Liverpool; and that kind gentleman promised to make every provision for the benefit and comfort of the travelers, and to carry them much cheaper than usual. We shall advertise the time later in great detail; but perhaps the whole company cannot be prepared before the end of January or the beginning of February. After reaching Liverpool, someone else will board the ship which will be prepared by Pres. O. Pratt and will let us know so that we can be there three or four days before sailing, and that is the time that the wisdom and value of that part of the “Mormon creed” will be seen, i.e., everyone mind his own business, lest the sharpers and the wolves snatch them and their belongings, while smiling to their face; but we sincerely hope that the Welsh flock know the voice of their shepherd too well to mistake the howl of a wolf for it. From Liverpool, the normal time for the voyage to New Orleans is form six to seven weeks; the most part of the journey, after leaving the borders of this kingdom, is temperate, and the breezes are lovely, and more often than not here are too few of them. In New Orleans, large steamboats are available during that season of the year to come close to the ship and take the whole procession and their belongings at once, in about five or six days and for about 10 shillings each, up the great Mississippi River, for over eleven hundred miles to the great city of St. Louis. There another steamboat will be obtained to take them and their belongings up the Missouri River to Council Bluffs, about eight hundred or nine hundred miles in about a week for about a pound each. All will need to provide their own food along this part of the journey, besides the prices mentioned; and in short, along the way from the ship to the end of their journey, all will take care of their provisions at their own cost. Yet the uncommon unity and love of the Saints will be very advantageous to them to buy everything required in large quantities; and so, everything that is necessary to buy, especially the conveyance along the rivers, will come much less expensive to each one.
After reaching Council Bluffs, you will be outside the western confines of Babylon, among settlements containing thousands of Saints emigrating to Salt Lake City, who make the desert blossom as the rose, and who will prepare themselves there for the rest of the journey; sot the Welsh procession will rest in Council Bluffs while preparing wagons and food and buying animals to pull them forward; perhaps this will take several weeks of time before the hole procession is ready to get under way again, besides being more than likely that there will be several thousands of other Saints, besides the Welsh, traveling together form there through the Rocky Mountains. There are in Council Bluffs shops and every kind of necessary skills being carried on by the saints where wagon and every needed tool can be purchased. In those neighborhoods milk cows cost about 2 pounds each, a yoke of oxen from 5 to 6 pounds, further to the east from here they can be obtained cheaper because the Saints have been buying so many in those areas. We cannot count the cost from Council Bluffs forward to our satisfaction, as well as from there back; but the best estimate we can make is this which follows. If eight persons were to go in together to buy a wagon, one yoke of oxen and four cows, which would carry them and their clothes and their food comfortably, we think that their expense would be more than £3 10 shillings or £4 each, and the wagon and the animals would belong to them then. Those who have a family of four, five, or six children, will need to get a wagon for themselves; but for families of two or three children, two such families can get together to buy one wagon between them and share the cost. The distance from Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City is considered about one thousand miles, and there is enough game on the journey for sustenance. These few counsels we deem sufficient for this time about the above things, and we wish for all who can see their way open before them to send to us their names, and ages of each one, and the babies also, as soon as possible. We are mindful that these days are the time of gathering and the day of winnowing, that the call is for the children of Zion of come out of Babylon, lest they be made recipients of her plagues; and no doubt each one who neglects the duty to emigrate will sadden the Spirit of God, when God opens his way and provides the circumstances for that. We know of some in this land who began to wither, like the wife of Lot of old, until they became dry trees waiting to be gathered for the fire.
All the latest news from California is very comforting. Apostle W. Woodruff tells us through a recent letter that over nine hundred wagons loaded with Saints have left Council Bluffs toward Salt Lake City during last June and hosts of others are preparing to follow them. Every crop has produced in the valley beyond all expectations; the Saints enjoy generally better health there than in any other place they have been. The medicinal water which are in the springs there have proven to be a priceless blessing to the sick so far, and what a blessing it would be if we could see all the sick children of God from Wales leaping with joy in the banks of these springs.
The spirit of gathering had taken a strong hold on the Saints in Wales and throughout the world, and we are happy to learn of that. How thoroughly are the words of Isaiah fulfilled when he says, “In that day,” not only “shall the deaf hear the words of the book,” but he clearly says further,—”The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 29:18–19). What greater “rejoicing” could the poor, meek men of Wales desire in this life than to get a way of emigrating to a country where there is and will be abundance for them, and their race after them to all generations of the earth. Well, such preparation is already awaiting them in Zion, only to go there to enjoy it. And for the comfort of the poor Saints, we state that we have sufficient faith to believe no matter how great their poverty that “He Who started them in this good work will finish it,” through preparing their way and bringing a means to their hands according to their faithfulness, so that the easiest way for all to arrive home is through fulfilling the role which they are in at the present time. But we do not have sufficient faith to believe that God will allow the poverty of one of His faithful Saints to deprive him of his blessed deliverance. And will they not “rejoice in the Lord” at that time, in spite of the extent of their former poverty? We expect to yet see a nation of meek Welshmen who will strengthen a strong host of brave men from the stock of Gomer dwelling happily and peacefully in the centers of the western continent, and all obedient citizens of heavenly laws. We expect to see the poor in their beautiful carriages along the high roads of the earth, enjoying their fill of its abundance. And before long we shall lend a listening ear to hear the mountains and the hills echoing the sweet songs of rejoicing of the children of Zion; and sometime soon we hope to see kings and queens encouraging this great and wondrous work to be fulfilled. Blessed is he who does it with all his might, because that is that work which continues in praise to his name through his generation, while the work of all the foremost people of the world is like grass, stubble, and clay.
We would like for the Saints to remember, especially those who intend to go toward Zion, that that is a place “where justice dwells”; and consequently, all children of Zion should be workers of justice, as far as they can, even while in captivity in Babylon. The laws of Zion do not allow any of her children to work injustice with any of the Babylonians; and as far as we can know, we do not allow any who are indebted to anyone of the world, justly, to emigrate without either paying them, satisfying them or getting their forgiveness, or in some other way working justice toward them. The Saints were warned of this before and we remind their pure minds again, so they can strive to free themselves from all they can of this tiresome captivity by the time they happy invitation comes to call them home. It is our desire for the benefit and a freedom of the Saints, as well as for the glory of Zion, which prompts us to call the attention of the Saints frequently to this important matter. it is true that the wages are low and the time is bad; yet, there was never a time so bad that the principle of justice could not be shown through doing that which can be done; and then if but a penny of the old debt incurred while one of the Babylonians can be paid, that would show a penny’s worth of righteousness and so on as much as possible; and then there would be faith to claim the blessing of the just God on every just effort to work justice, and doubtless it would succeed.
According to custom all who transport emigrants over the sea, Pres. Pratt expects each one to send one pound of the money for passage in advance, before he will hire a ship, which will secure for each one passage on the ship for his turn to come there in time by the announced time, through paying the rest of the price of his passage according to that which was mentioned above; and consequently, we ourselves expect to save expense, loss and cost, that all will do, or someone for them to bring the aforementioned pound with them to the NEXT CONFERENCE which is held in Merthyr, which will take place on the LAST SUNDAY OF THIS YEAR; and then, if Pres. Pratt is able to be here on that occasion, as he had promised, he can get them all together; or if he cannot come here, they can be transported to him, and so he can then have a better advantage to hire a ship more cheaply, through getting more time to choose ship, than if he but takes whatever might be there at the time, and so the crossing will be cheaper for everyone. Notice that a place will not be secured on the ship for anyone except those who follow this arrangement.
Farewell now everyone;
We shall sail the great ocean,
In complete longing for God’s Zion,
For it is better to go to the land
Given us by our Father;
We have lived captive far too long.
Freedom has come to us in the wake of adversity,
We have been called out of Babel;
At the call, our intention is to go—
To go in spite of the cruel enemy:
Our God, through His great grace,
Will bring use safely to his seemly Zion.
Farewell, British land,
Our home for a long time,
There is a better home before us now;
Hardship, agony and violence
Are perpetually here,
But there is paradise beyond the great open sea.
Who is willing to come to Zion?
It is a place of complete deliverance
From the plagues and troubles
Which come to worry mankind;
It is a safe place to live
When storms cover the earth.
Let us also bid farwell
To the Saints for a short while,
Until we see them all at home:
Our farewell is long
To them who deny the truth,
For they are not of the family of Heaven.
Let us go singing across the sea,
Without fear in our hearts;
God by His kindness shall watch the vessel
When it rides the wave;
And may the Saints throughout this island
Be also in His care.
Oh, come to California,
Dear Welshmen, dear Welshmen
Stand here no longer,
There are havens for us there,
We shall have land without rent or taxes,
Prepare to come without delay,
Dear Welshmen, dear Welshmen,
Do not tarry here except for that,
We can get corn without sowing or harrowing,
Everyone believe, everyone believe,
And bread without baking it,
Houses will grow for us from the earth,
Lovely and attractive palaces,
Oh, this is an alluring place,
Everyone believe, everyone believe
A place where pain or sorrow will not come,
There are geese by the thousands,
Come quickly, come quickly,
Running through the streets,
And those after being roasted
Are ready by lunch,
Who would not go there?
Come quickly, come quickly
With the feast prepared for him,
There are fat oxen there.
This is heaven, this is heaven,
And thousands of fat pigs,
This is heaven,
Are waiting by the doors
With the knives in their throats,
Ready, morning and night,
This is heaven, this is heaven,
There is no one with a sparse table,
This is heaven.
Soon vehicles will run,
By themselves without horses,
We shall not have to have servants
To serve us, or maids,
There are no problems there,
To trouble the family of Zion,
Clothes come from the clouds,
Become Saints, become Saints,
Like hail in showers,
The cow milks herself,
The milk soon turns to cheese,
The butter comes without effort,
Become Saints, becomes Saints,
‘Tis a sin for you to doze,
Give love to the things of the earth,
Venture forth, venture forth,
Some are extremely attractive,
Joseph Smith is calling,
A very famous man was he,
There is strength in his name,
Venture forth, venture forth,
Although he had to die,
You wealthy famers,
Hasten to come, hasten to come,
Provide work for the splendid auctioneers,
Hasten to come;
Oh, sell your possessions,
Before the heavy judgments come,
And consume you with the plagues,
Hasten to come, hasten to come,
To gain refuge for your souls,
Hasten to come.
The man of Glantren is about to get under way,
A great prophet, a great prophet,
He is zeal from his feet to the crown of his head,
A great prophet;
He has sold his things,
Already for the journey,
May a fair wind call him to being,
Great prophet, great prophet,
Until he reaches the land of the Saints,
Near Bogeyman’s Hole A Small Seer
Dear Brothers and Sisters—With sadness and nostalgia on the one hand, and great joy, love and hopes on the other, we send this last greeting to you who are staying behind on Babylon. We all feel deeply indebted to gratefully recognize the great care and protection of our Heavenly Father over us until now. We, 240 of us besides children on board the ship Buena Vista, and 65 other Welsh Saint besides children on board the ship Hartley, have organized our whole circumstances as comfortably as can be expected and intend to sail on the great ocean tomorrow. We have unusually good weather on our voyage here; and however many the dangers which surrounded us, and however much was prophesied of adversity for us, and however many Babylonians who tried to discourage us, mislead us and plunder us—we all thank our God today in victory for giving us a leader to guide us safely through it all, without anyone getting hurt or plundered of anything. Much did the enemies of the truth prophesy about our dear President, Capt. Jones, that he would plunder us of our money, and that he would leave us in the midst of strangers and that he would do any number of bad things to us; but justice to his character, justice to the religion which he professes, glory to the God who owns him, our duty is to testify to you that our dear Bro. Jones had been and continues to be more of a blessing to us in the present circumstances than ever before, and we can never repay him enough for his continual care over us and his beneficial directions to us. Through him we got new and comfortable ships to transport us cheaply. The price of our transportation is £3 12s 6c each for each person over 14 years of age, and £3 each for those who are under that age and over one year old, when there are some other ships her now sailing to the same port which are charging £5 each, and without all the necessary provisions, while on the other hand our ships contain all the provisions we will need. This was for us through his wisdom and fatherly care over us. And not only that, but we know that he, instead of cheating the Saints out of their money, as many falsely accused him, has paid much of his own money to comfort and assist the other, and until now has refused to receive the least pay for that; rather he has paid to the penny the same price as ourselves for his transportation in every regard. In short, his loving and watchful behavior over all has without exception bound the affections of all around him with more and more love, until everyone likes to hear his voice in our midst; and the biggest worry of all of the others was that there would not be a big enough ship to transport everyone in the same place with him.
Dear Saints, all of us are encouraged and praying that the gracious Lord will quickly open the way to you to come after us to Zion. No doubt little Wales is like a boiling pot with the false tales about us, and much will be prophesied about the wrecking of our ship, etc., but pray for us, and we shall go safely under the protection of our God; do not believe them! Also you can defend our character on our departure from Babylon and our righteousness; for you know that our dear President proclaimed and warned beforehand that he would not allow anyone to come away who was in debt to the world or to the saints; and we are happy to say that there is none of us with a guilty conscience because of that, or who had given cause to disgrace the religion of Jesus Christ; when on the other hand, completely contrary, the Babylonians boast of not paying to us their just debts, as if exerting themselves to the utmost to plunder us of everything them can grab, which unless they repent will testify against them in the judgment. They were so bad, some of them that they influenced our own families, yes, our dear wives and children! so as to frighten them against coming with us! yes, to cause contention between husband and wife, between parents and dear children. What worse could they have done? They will have much to answer for! Yet, no doubt these themselves [the “Babylonians”] will raise their voices highest to condemn a man for leaving his disobedient, peevish and cruel wife behind when she refuses every offer to come. We assure you that there are no men in our midst who have not tried their utmost to get their wives to come with them, and their children also. Do not the laws of man and god assure to the husband, as the head of his family, the choice of his country? And if they refuse to follow him, his wife or children are the ones who are leaving him, and it is not he who is leaving them!
Many stories were spread before we left that women were going against the wishes of their husbands; but a baseless lie is that; there is none of the kind that we know of in our midst, or anyone who had wronged a man in our midst or who had wronged a man in anything, without reconciling the wrong. The rage of our fellow nation was go great toward us before our departure from Wales that we could not enjoy our civil rights in hardly any place; and it is abundantly true that the life of our dear Brother Capt. Jones was in such danger that hi house was attacked almost every night for weeks before his leaving Merthyr, so that he godly life was no safe in sleeping except between guards from among his brethren; and there were scoundrels so inhuman who had been paid to kill him as he left, so that he had to leave secretly the day before. To what end is all this? You know that is was not for any cause given to anyone, rather it is all the rage of the devil against him, because he is an instrument in the hand of God to Zion. The only repayment which Bro. Jones desires is to get an interest in the prayers of the Saints and for them to be kind to his dear wife and child* whom he leaves in you midst until he returns, because his only child was but four days old when he left them—and he practiced every other self-denial for the gospel of Christ and the Saints. No doubt his reward and that of his family for it all will be great in Zion.
Many preachers of the different sects, after slandering us and smearing our characters, through the Welsh publications and condemning our dear religion for their pulpits, and doing everything they could to disgrace us and to shatter our feelings, are even here, when we are on board the ship, with practically one foot out of Babylon, and they are trying to frighten the saints about the sea voyage, about the country and about everything which is good, trying to persuade them to everything except that which they should do. Great are their efforts to put envy between us and Capt. Jones. He is the target of all their arrows; but up to now they have failed to influence so much as one. And each one was glad to get back on shore for shame of their own false beliefs. And occasionally one of the more honest of them confessed in surprise that neither we nor our religion were as bad as he had thought. Yesterday they received irrefutable testimony from Capt. Jones and others, and even from their ministers and the Rev. H. Rees as well, until they went back to shore hurriedly and mutely. We hope that it will beneficial to bring them from darkness to light.
All praise and trust is due to our dear Pres. Pratt for all his goodness to us here. He is worthy of your trust also in all things.
For now, dear Saints, farewell to all of you; hasten to come after us.
We are your brothers in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thos. Jeremy, Llanybydder
Benjamin Francis, ditto
David Phillips, Brechfa
Daniel Daniels, ditto
Rice Williams, Swyddffynnon
William Treharn, Pontyets
David James, ditto
Morgan Hughes, ditto
Samuel Leigh, Llanelli
John Richards, ditto
William Rowland, Hirwaun
Rees Jones, ditto
Thomas Giles, Merthyr
William Morgan, Merthyr
Edward Edwards, ditto
Benjamin Jones, Aberdar
Edward Edwards, ditto
William Davies, Rymni
John Williams, ditto
Rees Price, Dowlais
Job Rowland, ditto
John Hughes, Penycae
William Lewis, Blaenafon
John Parry, Birkenhead
William Jenkins, Caerdyf
Liverpool Feb. 25, 1849
* We are happy to report that our dear sister has recuperated so quickly that she became sufficiently strong to be able to leave with a ship full of Saints which sailed about the middle of this month; and she intends to join her husband in Council Bluffs before long.
Mr. Editor—I wish to give some of the story of the Saints who emigrated from this country lately, since I accompanied them to Liverpool and consequently am enabled to describe their voyage up to that point.
The emigration was begun in Swansea, where all the Saints of South Wales met on the 13th of last February, and at 9 o’clock the next morning they were to leave on the steamboat Troubadour, to go to Liverpool. A preaching meeting was held the previous night in the large and convenient chapel which the Saints have in Swansea, which was overfilled with responsible listeners while Bro. Thomas Pugh and others preached. The emigration had caused a great commotion in the town, and thousands gathered to see the Saints depart. When the emigrants were about to leave the won, through permission of the Captain, they sang “The Saints’ Farewell” very beautifully, attracting unusual attention of the observers. Great respect was shown to the occasion by the crowd in general, and many handkerchiefs were being waved in the nearby windows. While the singing continued the ship sailed away, and it arrived at Liverpool about 3:30 the following Thursday. They had a voyage which was especially successful and shorter than usual by four hours. Everyone was healthy and content during the entire voyage, except that a little seasickness troubled some. Upon landing at Liverpool the captain of the ship showed great care for the Saints by landing at a place where there were no “sharpers” of the town waiting, hosts of which had gathered at the usual place to await the steamboat so they could steal from the emigrants. In addition to this kindness the Liverpool Saints had rented a large, six-story house in order to care for their Welsh brothers while in the town. It was sufficiently large for the whole company to take lodging in it. I am pleased to say also that, through listening to their leaders’ warning to take care of their possessions, all the Saints kept everything safe so that all the cunning of the predators of the place did them no harm in any way. They spent five days in the before-mentioned house, and during that time no more than 1s 6c each was charged for lodging. The following Tuesday everyone moved to the American ship which intended to sail the next day; but through some obstacles it waited there until the 26th. In the meantime the Saints stayed on the ship, and I also stayed in their midst; and I saw some of the Saints at times taken sick; but no sooner were hands laid on them than they were restored immediately; and I can bear witness that I have never seen more of the power of God than I saw on the ship. While I was in their midst there, I was led by curiosity to put many of the Saints to the test, especially the weakest ones (and I can name Gwilym Ddu, to satisfy the friends of Pntypridd), in order to see if I could get some of them who were homesick to go back. The answer which I received generally was “However much we love you, we cannot love you so much as to wish to turn back with you. Leave us in peace; it is forward that all of us want to go.”
The Saturday before sailing, the Rev. Henry Rees and some of the sectarian preachers of the town came to the Saints on board the ship. They asked me and Capt. Jones if the emigrants were Welsh. We answered, “Yes.” Then they asked a second time, “Is it true that there are here widow form the south who have prepared clothes to put on their departed husbands in California and shoes to put on their feet, for we have received letters from respected minister from South Wales telling us that,” “Not a word of that is true,” said we; “rather it is a barefaced lie; and those persons knew it was a lie when they wrote to you. Nevertheless, there are on the ship some widows who have kept some things of their husbands out of respect, but not to greet them with in California.” “We are very glad indeed,” they said, “that the Welsh are as wise as that. We were surprised to hear that the Welsh were so foolish; but now we have witnesses to the contrary.” Then we showed our principles to those reverends, telling them that we did not believe anything except that which is in the Bible. With that, they said, “Very well; we wish success to you to arrive at the end of your journey, and may God bless you all.” After that they left, bidding farewell to us, and they are probably very disappointed with the Saints.
On Sunday (that is the 25th) a conference was held on the ship, which was begun at 2:00 by the secretary, by singing and praying, and it was carried forward under the presidency of Capt. Jones. Several of the brethren spoke on the occasion and an unusual measure of the Spirit of God was enjoyed there. All the Saints there were embodied in one branch; and then they were divided in eight groups, with a president over each group; and three others were appointed to preside over the whole company. After that, a council was organized to arrange the matters of the Saints, so that everyone could have justice; and then the conference was ended in the customary manner.
After that the time drew near to sail toward home, which would take place the next day at 11:00. On this occasion, the harpists and singers had a place on the captain’s cabin, to sing “The Saints’ Farewell” for the last time, when crowds had congregated to listen to their music and to be eyewitnesses of their departure of California. Many left their tasks to be present, and great was the courtesy which was shown on the occasion. They reached the mouth of the river at about 1 o’clock and
“They went singing over the ocean
Without a single fear in their breast,”
until soon they escaped our sight, and their wish and our is for them to reach the “better country.” Another ship left the morning of the next day full of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Saints. That the gracious God may bless them and us is my continual prayer. Amen.
New Orleans, April 18, 1849.
Dear Brother Davis—
According to my frequent promise to the dear Saints whom I left behind in Wales, I shall give an account of our voyage across the ocean up to this point. There are no doubt many tales about us which have been spread throughout Wales, and prophecies about our drowning, etc. Therefore, I beseech you to announce in your Udgorn that all these are false up to now—that we are still alive, even though on the other side of the sea from you. I hope that they do not believe that his letter is coming from the spirit world. Furthermore, the Captain had not turned the ship to Cuba and sold the saints into slavery as yet, as was prophesied in Seren Gomer and by others that would do. It is facts like these which prove who the false prophets really are.
But on with the account of our voyage. Since I am writing to many who intend to follow us sooner or later, for whose happiness we are desirous, allow me to itemize the most educational things, so that they may benefit from our experience. According to the account concerning us which you heard from Liverpool, I report that before sailing, that is, the first Sunday after boarding the ship, we established ourselves as an emigrating or floating branch on the depths, yet in another sense, as an established branch, and the various officers were chosen to fill the different responsibilities appertaining. We held a meeting of the Saints, distributed the sacrament and received open evidence that our worship was accepted by Heaven, through the presence of the Holy Spirit in his lovely influence. And we received open evidence that the enemy, as in the days of Job, had come there also, by his possessing of one sister, until she was driven out of her senses, causing her to scream and utter inhuman things and frightening curses; but her disturbance did not keep up very long, for through the laying on of hand of the elders and the prayer of faith, our Father saw fit to seal the promise of His Son “to them that believe,” on land and on sea, that is—”In my name shall they cast out devils”; and Oh, how valuable was the blessing this time.
The ship was divided into eight sections according to the number of the families. Elders were assigned to supervise each section, to see that everyone acted properly and received justice impartially, to foster and nurture love and unity, and especially to see that all kept the places clean and healthful. To that end, it was arranged for two each morning to arise before the others around them and wash the deck clean and dry it. These eight presidents, together with another triad, that is, William Morgans, Merthyr, and Rice Williams and William Davis, Rhymni, his counselors, constituted a council to organize all temporal and spiritual matters. In this manner we prepared ourselves through agreement without exception.
On Monday, the 26th of February, about two o’clock in the afternoon, we set sail from the port, and all the saints, accompanied by the harp, sang “The Saints’ Farewell” as we left the dock. Their sweet voices resounded throughout the city, attracting the attention of and causing amazement to thousands of spectators who followed us along the shore as if charmed. We were followed here by our dear and faithful brethren, William Phillips, Merthyr, Abel Evans, Eliaseer Edwards, and some of the other faithful elders, together with David Jeremy from Brechfa. These brethren, having shown every other kindness and assistance they could, like dear kinsmen to loved ones at the graveside, vied with each other in showing yet additional love by buying oranges and throwing them to us in the ship as long as they could reach it. The fall of the oranges out of our reach into the sea proved that we were too far to shake hands with each other any more. It was only this last separation from them that could agitate the fountains of tears in spite of ourselves. By this time, almost unawares, all we could see behind us were their handkerchiefs like flags waving in the breeze, in a language shouting form the aching heart, “Farewell, farewell! to sail across the vast sea to dear Zion”; while all they heard back were the echoes of our warm hearts coming with the breeze from the water, “Farewell, farewell! land of Britain,” etc. We thought that not only foreign men but all nature as well had become calm to observe the scene and that the winds of February had turned into summer breezes in our behalf. We indescribable feelings we were dragged by two large steamers out of sight of the city; and before nightfall our ship was rocking just like a hut on the surging waves of the sea. The steamers turned back after escorting us about 30 miles, and inwardly the scene changed on us. Now some would go to light fires, boil water, make tea, etc., while others, made more miserable by seasickness, staggered to their beds. when eight o’clock came and the ship was under full sail—the wind from the west and everything in order as much as possible—a meeting was held for family prayer, a everyone went to lie down, but hardly anyone could sleep; and even though the wind was not stormy and the sea was not rough, still it was sufficiently rough to make almost everyone so sick that I shall not forget that night for a long time. Though hardly anyone could sleep, yet no one slept less than myself and a few of the other elders, as we were back and forth comforting and assisting the sick as much as we could throughout almost the entire night. The sunlight was beautiful the next day, and some of the sick improved; yet they could hardly walk by themselves across the deck without someone guiding them, which service kept me quite busy, but it was no less pleasant than every other guidance in their behalf. This morning I tried hard before succeeding in getting some of the sick out of bed to breathe the healthful air, since seasickness causes such a debilitating feeling. Some were almost angry with me because of this insistence; but I wouldn’t be refused, even though I was obliged to carry many a person on the deck. And I was well paid for my trouble through patience, once they realized that the topside and healthful air would improve them gradually and without exception, so that it was easy to see the difference between those who succumbed to their desire to stay in their beds and the others who showed their courage by coming to the healthful air on deck, whose healing, together with the testimonies of these to others, convinced others to follow their example. And I cannot encourage too much those who will yet come to do all they can to come on deck in similar circumstances.
It was not long before those who resisted most strongly to come topside with me were thanking me the most because of almost forcing them to come. This day I got enough men to come to the “Company Shop” (as was called the storeroom at the back of the ship where the supplies were kept); and the three members of the first presidency and myself became makeshift shopkeepers to weigh the following different foods for each family as they wished; so that each one could prepare it how and when he wished. To all over fourteen years of age the following amounts were distributed with half that to everyone between one and fourteen; that is—ten pounds of hard bread, white and good; four pounds of sugar; three pounds of cheese; three pounds of butter; four pounds of raisins; two pounds of rice; two pounds of coffee; four pounds of molasses; one-fourth pound of tea. This food was of extremely high quality and a gift from Pres. Pratt, something which no one else gave to emigrants; and no matter how sad some of the women’s faces were, the sight of such a gift caused them to go cheerfully to the shop; and although they stepped on each other’s feet and sometimes fell into each other because of the shaking of the ship, yet I declare that they laughingly called for help “to raise the lowest,” and they tried again. There was no respecting of persons in this, rather it was the best on his feet who kept his head up, and everyone agreed that the one leg was too short, or that the other was too long, almost every step.
In the afternoon, since there was a cross wind, the ship stayed along the coast of Ireland, until its steep mountains and jagged rocks threatened to mangle us if we came closer. And we all rejoiced when the sailors turned the other side of the ship to the wind and its point toward the borders of our own beloved country. There were several other large ships in our sight sailing to the west, but it was absolutely incredible how our ship sped by them all one by one so that we could see them no longer. In the middle of the night the winds increased when we were very close to the lights of the Holyhead peninsula. Almost everyone, except for myself and Brother Daniel Daniel, was sick.
[February] 28. we went on deck at the break of day, and the first thing which attracted my attention was Bardsey Island, not far from us. And beyond it the huge mountains of Caernarvonshire lifted up their snowy peaks, vying with each other in height and in the desire to see at the crack of dawn whether the children who had been raised on their breasts were still alive or whether they had drowned; or if what they heard on the ocean were the lovely voice of their emigrant sons echoing as before in the forest and glens of their land. In this eager search, like a nostalgic mother in the midst of her daughters, dear Snowdon above the rocks of Snowdonia stretched her neck most and raised her head highest into the heavens gazing after us and forgot, because of her desire, to take off her snowy night cap to greet us; yet there were none of these sons, except myself, who had strength to echo back her motherly farewell before she lowered her comely head behind her daughters one by one in the eastern ocean.
But my vessel did not wait for my affection to embrace for long its object (that is, the dear land of my fathers) because of her greyhound-like desire to speed along her way across the seething white caps, as though frolicking, splendid and fearless, on the tops of the furious waves. But it was not the green ocean, in spite of its commotion; the blue sky, in spite of its ferocity; not even the comfort of my fellow travelers nor how much I wanted this; nor was it the last farewell to the shores of my country which mainly filled my thoughts. Rather, I pondered seriously the condition of her inhabitants. I see myself now with a small handful, a sheaf of the fluttering of the inhabitants of Wales, looking from afar on the country which is called the “garden of Christianity”—”the country of the Bibles,” which had erected the lofty tops of her numerous houses of worship to the sky as a monument to her zealous enthusiasm, yes, behold this and even more. And is it a fact or just a dream that I have escaped on the water from the midst of my Welsh brothers with my life by the skin of my teeth? If so, why? If not, why all the persecution, the slander, and the false accusations I suffered for years from the press and the pulpits? Why did my residence have to be guarded for weeks? Why was my life safe only among guards? Why did I have to flee in secret before the time? Why was I not able to bid farewell to my dear wife and my baby? It was doubtless not for transgression in the world; for once, twice, yes, even three times I challenged any man to prove me guilty of transgression. Oh, it must be admitted, it cannot be hidden, that religious persecution is what caused it all; there must be strength in my religion, if nothing else but that could prove it, for it to have been able to excite the old passion of every false religion to persecute it. Persecution does not originate form God; neither does the religion which persecutes come from Him
Oh, yes, ‘tis a fact, the sun dawns cheerfully on my head as an exile form the borders of my country; the winds try to beat me back as an exile for his belief; my beloved vessel, my castle, fights to defend me against danger as an exile cast out by his brothers whose benefit he seeks, and she opens her sails to the wind to carry me, as if her kinsman, safely home to Zion, like a victorious soldier to his home. Their thoughts, unawares, drew my affection and my eyes toward the west to ponder on Zion and her glories, until once again, like a flowing stream, it came to my memory that of her dear children thousands are left behind in Wales and that of my gentle fellow nation there, multitudes would love the true faith if they had a chance.
Once again I turned my face to the east and my spirit in prayer to the God Who initiated this good work, and blessed His gospel with success in Wales to make His servants mighty men, and beloved like the sons of the great thunder, to sound the trump more loudly, until the inhabitants of hill and vale are awakened from the sleep of false religion, to embrace the gospel so that His Spirit, like the purifying fire, could refine those who obeyed. But by this time, the blue cover of the sky and the high whitecaps of the waves, between them almost hid under their covers the little green garden, that is, the country which raised me. I vowed that I would not be angry for the evil which I received there. Nor am I exiled forever, rather I shall yet come across the depths to the home of my loved ones to try, if there be a way, to take them to worthy Zion in my embrace in time.
O my country! my love binds itself around your beautiful vales; your rocky shores are all “magnetic stones”; for I want to benefit your peoples. May the gospel of heaven raise its white banners on every brow and hill within your land, and wave in all your breezes. But yet, there is within your land something which surpasses everything I have noted, something far above, more beloved and fair, though so far away now, and closer than anything else to my heart! O my mind, stop, come, return back. Why do I break the stings of my heart? Why do I call? She will not come back. Well, then, just for an instant raise your wings to the wind and feast in her company. Angels of heaven now surround her bed lulling her to sleep; her cheeks red and her smile happy as if she sees me; she reaches out her pure arms; she embraces tightly as if her dear lord were in her arms. But he is not there, just his image. O little rosebud, and the only one, hardly as old as a new moon, why did I leave thee? Even until this morning, my beloved,* for following me across land and sea, and many countries; for happily sharing the troubles and comforts of my breast; for many times having cause me to forget the world and its things, and for so tightly having kept the keys of my heart for ten years; for everything and everyone who has ever been even until this morning as my mind shot at the break of dawn to your bedchamber—I have loved you. Oh, if only my mind could stay here longer, yes, wait for you to awake. But the first parting was sorrow enough—why cause a second wound?
Take courage, my spirit; this must be for Christ’s religion—it is not for long, nor is this separation without its everlasting reward. You, angels pure, I charge you to care for my wife and baby; I go courageously on. Watch over her until I return; she is precious to my soul, for she was content for my sake. For this Snowdon will jump into the sea before I shall ever, ever, forget her. To thy arms, my father, I commend everything I have. One look yet—one more greeting ere I leave. My spirit bows above the place where she lies; now it takes strength for this adventure! Hush! What is the matter? Where am I? What, on the high sea? Yes, with a call to hasten to the sick.
Well, well, I wandered far, but I shall return to my account. There was hardly anyone able to prepare food today, but Daniel Daniel and William Jenkins and I agreed on an attracting device by helping several onto the deck. We made a comfortable place for a row of the women to sit in the air, and I set about making a gruel out of oat flour for them, which strengthened them greatly. And so, pot after pot we apportioned to them in a circle on the condition that they stay up to eat it. It is hard to describe the good this did them, and I would counsel everyone to take a sufficient quantity of good oat flour and oat bread with them, for they shall see that this will taste better to them than anything else for awhile.
In the evening, Ireland was in sight; the wind increased so that it was necessary to lower the top sails to the lowest position and pull all the other sails in. The ship was turned with its stern to the south for awhile, and then back to the other side throughout the night; but whether on one side or the other it was totally impossible for it to remain still or to allow anyone else to lie or stand in his place, rather like a door on its hinge it continually swayed those who were lying down; but as for those standing, it was throwing them along the deck with the boxes and their crockery as recklessly and without warning as the wild horse throws its unskilled rider across the hedge and leaves him there. But without any pity when the rider got up, the ship would throw him somewhere else until he crawled home. It was no use begging her to stop; the grumbling of the one or the groaning of the other together with the voices of the children had the same effect on her, that is to increase her drunkenness. Many agreed with me before morning that it was better to let her have her own way and let her rock until she was tired of it. And so it was. She has hardly ceased yet.
March 1. For a good part of the day we were running a race with the steeple of St. David’s, Pembrokeshire. But before night we got ahead of it, thanks to the help of the wind. By this time, many, especially the men, had taken courage, in spite of falling so much like the baby, until they had learned to walk along the sides. A prayer meeting was held in the evening, and soon after that the wind turned to our favor, something which greatly encouraged the sick. Only oat bread tasted good today.
[March] 2. We were out of sight of land and only blue sky and green water around us except for an occasional ship sailing her own way. The majority improving considerably.
[March] 3. Beautiful weather, and the children playing all along the ship, and the parents laughing upon seeing an occasional pile of them on top of each other on the deck, yet not daring to venture there to interfere. Until today we were escorted by birds of our country, but no longer; rather, having entrusted our care to multitudes of sea birds, they returned.
[March] 4. (Sunday). At two o’clock, we had a splendid, lovely meeting of the Saints, and everyone was perfectly content except for an occasional one of them who refused every counsel to come on deck, who have by now gotten fevers in their beds. All this caused us great concern and trouble, along with sincere prayers before they were restored to health. I would warn others to refrain from doing the same thing. Many beneficial and interesting admonitions were given in the meeting. After the sacrament, several testified of the goodness of God, etc. The sick improving. At night the Saints divided into two prayer meetings, half at each end of the ship. The wind supported us pleasantly.
[March] 5. Beautiful weather throughout the day; constant strolling on the deck; the musicians singing with eleven musical instruments and everyone except a few sick fairly comfortable.
[March] 6. Rather unexpectedly to any of us, our dear sister, wife of Brother Hugh Davies form Liverpool died, over sixty years of age. Her health was very poor when she came on board so that she hardly expected to get across the sea, yet her wish was to come with her family. The captain and the officers of the ship were very kind in view of the circumstances, and everyone throughout the ship felt that our dwelling today is a house of mourning. A prayer meeting was held in the evening, and everyone’s health improved. The death had the effect of causing others, who had up until now refused, to rise from their beds, and the result was their improvement.
[March] 7. The climate beautiful and the wind fair, the ship sailing about seven miles per hour. Preparations were made to commit the body of our sister to her watery grave. I preached her funeral sermon at two o’clock on the text “How are the dead raised up and with what body do they come?”—(Paul). I answered the last question briefly, but the answer to the other question was continued along for several Sundays, and it has not been completely answered yet! After the sermon, the coffin was placed on a large plank, the ship was stopped, and after the Saints had sung a hymn the sailors raised the inward end of the plank so that the coffin slipped down the other end to the salty deep, which, because of the weight of the stones which were placed in the coffin to sink it, opened up to swallow its precious treasure and to keep it safe until the day when the command shall be given for the “sea to yield up the dead which are in it.” Some have very mistaken ideas and are greatly afraid to think of being buried in the sea. Some think they would float on the surface, a prey to the fish. Even if it were so, it is no worse than rotting in the cold grave and being food for grave worms; but the fish do not have those who are buried in the sea; the purpose for putting weights with the body it so that it will sink down quickly and lower in the ocean than the fish ever go and lower than they can live. And there it will float in peaceful salt water, which will keep it from decomposing or rotting forever. Yes, until the day of their rising, when the “sea will boil,” they will be kept better than the best of the Egyptians were kept through embalming. This understanding does away with the conflict which is in the thought of being buried in the sea and rather makes it preferable. Also I think that this is what the apostle had in mind when he said that the sea gave up the dead, not alive I would think, but the body which was buried in it, and which was preserved in this manner, never to be made alive, for “the body which is sown is not that which shall be,” whether it be sown in the sea or land, but an incorruptible body which shall be united with the spirit which possessed the body before. After the sea had closed it jaws on its morsel, and after our little ship had stood for us to be able to behold this majestic sight for a few minutes, her sails were filled with breezes and she galloped across the waves as if nothing had ever happened. The wind continued in our favor, and everything was comfortable, and all the sick had improved with everyone eating his allowance throughout this week. A prayer and counsel meeting was held each night.
[March] 11. (Sunday). The wind, light and against us; the sea, calm, with each having scrubbed himself before the meeting, which began at two o’clock and continued until five o’clock; we were for over two hours trying to answer the previous question, that is, “How are the dead raised up?” It was postponed until the next meeting. Everyone appeared to be happy and rejoicing in the teaching. Before the end of the meeting the wind turned strongly in our favor according to our prayers, and it continued for the most part in our favor throughout the week. Sometimes it blew us over ten miles an hour. We felt the wind and the climate by now gradually getting warmer, since we had sailed still to the southwest. Several began to complain that their woolen clothing was too heavy and that they could not bear it any longer. Better for everyone to have additional light clothing. We have had hardly any rain, except for a few showers; but it was not raining that time, rather pouring water down from the clouds. At times, we saw several different kinds of fish, some very big, others smaller, jumping from the water. This helped the lazy ones to come on deck, which helped them with every breath they took.
[March] 16. The wind was against us greatly in the afternoon. A prayer meeting was called at seven to pray for fair wind. After the meeting, I said to some who were near me that I felt the desire to go on deck and not return until our Father would give us fair wind. As I was going, having put my foot on the lowest rung of the ladder, those around me were chatting about one thing and another, and asked what I wanted most. I answered that I would most like to hear the mate on the deck shouting “Haul in the weather braces!”** And before I had moved my foot, I, and the others who had heard my wish, heard the mate above our head shouting loudly, “Haul in the weather braces!”—yea, word for word as I had said. And behold a fair wind blowing strongly in our favor which within a few days had driven us about a thousand miles homeward, that is toward Zion. Great was our thanks to our God for that.
[March] 17. (Sunday). Beautiful weather and everyone comfortable. In the afternoon we and an excellent meeting of the Saints with more on “How are the dead raised up?” Meeting in the evening. Fair wind and weather so beautiful throughout the week that it was almost like Wales in June. An occasional squall and cloud breaking to supply us with water for washing. It is beautiful to see the children playing across the deck and entertaining their parents. Some singing here, others talking or reading there; some walking arm-in-arm while others prepare foods of as many kinds almost as could be obtained in any cookshop. The musicians did their best to beautify the atmosphere. Also the harp with its pleasant sounds alone in the evening entertained us as it sang farewell to the king of the day as he lowered his red head into the western sea. To light the scene in his place, lovely Phebus awakes from her sleep, as if she envied him. No wonder that scenes less wondrous than this excited the heels of David of old to the point that he even took off his garment in the temple—and for what? Hush! shall we reply? What is the use of hiding the fact, did he not do this in order to dance? Yes, yes, and there was hardly anyone in our midst, except for an occasional dry sectarian, who did not prefer to imitate him rather than rather than to find fault. At least it would be hard to deny that it was so here at times, and it did not even cause a storm. “The company store” was open, without books or money, to distribute a sufficiency of either white beans, rice, wheat flour, oat flour, bacon or anything else, and plenty of it for everyone. Some complained of a cold through getting wet in the rain.
[March] 25. (Sunday). Light gusts of wind at times. Again the scene around us was “like a calm sea of glass.” And not only the elements, but our ship and all her children as well were observing this holy Sabbath by resting quietly. But the sun gazed too intently on some until it was a relief to retreat to anywhere from its presence. A meeting of the Saints in the afternoon, and a lecture on “How are the dead raised up?” A sermon in English on deck in the evening and nearly all the sailors spoke well of the teaching. The wind rose strongly in our favor in the night. Hardly any scene in particular this week worthy of note. Except for an occasional cross breeze, which changed almost consistently in the middle or at the end of our prayer meeting held each night. There was also an occasional appearance of fish to entertain us, and a ship here and there in the distance to gladden the lonely scene. Also the devilish foe, himself, asserted his right with Neptune (the god of the sea) to journey with us, though his company was not so sweet; nevertheless, it was hard work to cast him overboard because of his cleverness. And not infrequently in hard times he would turn himself in to an angel of light and as such would occasionally hide in the pocket of an officer. Of everyone who may be left hind in Babylon let this one be the last! He is a poor sailor, a troublemaker, and a worse guide than Ahithophel. Not to the swine, not to the sea, but to some of the Babylonians he escapes at times. And the next time that I cross the sea with a group of the Saints to Zion the other two kinds can stay home! A great benefit is felt by drinking and bathing in the sea water in the morning. Let everyone have his children do so as often as possible. Let everyone take care to refrain from suspending anything which would keep the air from going through the ship. Also let everyone take care that neither they nor their children become constipated—take a laxative. Because of this neglect some have suffered until they were almost incurable. Refrain from eating a lot of heavy food, for this idleness does not allow it to digest. Above any other valuable thing to bring to the sea do not forget to bring a generous supply of patience. There will be a great deal of wear on this commodity; let care be taken that it may not fail. Even more valuable than much gold is a little grain of true faith on the sea, for that will buy a fair wind and everything essential. But in spite of everything that has happened, I have not heard anyone repent for having undertaken the journey. It is just that they are desirous of reaching Zion. It has been a great pleasure to hear almost everyone over and over again praising the goodness of God in our behalf—the fair weather, the beautiful breezes, the excellent food, and the general success which we have had better than expected before getting underway. And truly it was not a small pleasure to see the cooks by the fire making their puddings, their pancakes and their fries piling up and inviting the one and the other to drink tea with each other. And in the evening “they arose” happily as did those earlier “to dance.” In this manner frequently many pleasant days came and went on the ocean. Who can blame them?
April 1 (Sunday). This Sabbath again all nature agreed with us to pause and gaze on the excellence of the creation of our God. Two other ships did the same in the distance. A very lovely meeting of the Saints; a lecture for two hours on “How are the dead raised up?” Several took off all their woolen clothing, like myself, and caught cold. Take care against this. Although summer clothing is lovely now, it is better to check yourself (so say my sufferings). For in this climate the clouds suddenly rend under the weight of their watery burden. And especially do not wear wet clothing. At noon today our time here was four hours later than London time. When it was twelve o’clock or noon here, it was four o’clock in the afternoon in London, which proves that we are 60 degrees to the west of London, with 30 degrees and 9 minutes to the west to run yet before reaching New Orleans. I observed the sun today again through the sextant, and I determined our latitude to be 23 degrees and 54 minutes north, or within 14 miles of the tropics where in the middle of summer the sun would be above our heads. But since it is in the south now and lovely breezes temper the weather, we did not feel uncomfortable heat. Our distance from New Orleans today is about 2,000 miles. Our distance from the land we expect to see on our journey, that is “Hole in the Wall,” one of the islands of the Bahamas, is between 900 and 1,000 miles. Our southerly distance from Liverpool in 1,806 miles.
[April] 2. We had some storms and rain and rough winds from several direction which threatened to swallow our little shell unto the depth of the salty cauldron; in spite of all this, through the protection of our God and the skill of our captain and his sailors, our ship climbed upwards from wave to wave, as the swallow would fly through the slight breeze. The sea shook our little vessel and all the passengers as does the whirlwind with the crow’s nest in the oak tree without being able to disturb even one of the small chicks therein. Upon perceiving, however, that is awful and fierce waves did not deter us, the sea desisted in its effort and smiled pleasantly. The sun, which had earlier worn sackcloth, with a stern and ugly gaze, now took off his clothing a cloak at a time and laughed at the battle, promising fairly as he lowered his head amidst the red sky that we would have a fine night for sleeping. For this everyone offered thanks and made the most of it. Perhaps the next statement will be incredible to the ignorant, but it is absolutely true, nonetheless, that we saw almost every day after that fish flying! Sometimes we saw scores of them together. They flew at times a good mile or more, and then they would wet their wings in the top of a wave and off they would go a second time. They are chase by other fish who jump several feet out of the water after them. It is a good thing for the defenseless that the Creator in this case had provided them with wings for their protection. These fish do not fly very high—but higher when the wind is strong than when it is peaceful. And other times, in these areas I saw them fly against the sails of the ship and fall on the deck. And inasmuch as they can rise only from water we caught them. They are not as big as a common mackerel. Their wings are not feathers, rather a kind of bright and very thin skin. In the water they close and serve the same purpose as wings. Their length is from six to ten inches. They cannot fly unless they keep their wings wet, and they are seen only in warm weather.
Now Mrs. Williams, originally from Ynysybont, who had been sick with a fever for several days, is gradually improving. Jane Morgan for Cardiff, who had suffered painful sores on her legs off and on for nine years and had been considered completely incurable by the doctors, is worsening. She has become more and more discouraged about the Church ordinances, and her faith had weakened. Ever since we reached warm weather we have arranged for each section on its day to have a turn to spread out its beds and bedding on the deck in the sun, something which had been very healthful for all. Let everyone do so as often as possible. Our captain has graciously given us some kind of liquid to sprinkle along our sleeping places. It purifies the air wonderfully and we use it frequently. We have several elderly people on the ship, and they are all improving as they come to the deck every lovely day. One old gentlemen, close to 100 years old, says cheerfully that he is happier than he has ever been. He says also that many of the sectarians in Wales and even in Liverpool, the Rev. H. Rees and other reverends, tried to dissuade him from coming, prophesying that he would not arrive across the sea and many other things. “But I am,” says he, “determined, through the power of God, to prove them all false prophets.” He had lost his hair, except for a few strands white as snow, but by now he has an abundant new crop just like the hair of a child. And he says that he feels younger and younger!
Fair and lovely wind. On Saturday the 7th I had been up all through the night looking for land until four o’clock in the morning, and I had hardly slept before the loud shout and its exciting effect on everyone else, that is, “Land ahead,” had awakened me. Great was the joy this caused to all the emigrants; there was nothing else mentioned or noticed for a time except land. By sunrise we were sailing nicely along to the south along the coast of Abaco Island, one of the Bahamas. This is quite a deserted island, populated mostly by fishermen, and people who cut firewood and carry it to other parts to sell it. Earthquakes chase everyone away from here from time to time and cause much damage. Not a very pleasant sight. Nine o’clock in the morning we turned the ship to the west to round the southern edge of the island within three miles or less of land. At this southern tip there is a lighthouse on a rock and dwelling nearby in which the lighthouse keeper lives. There were three other ships sailing along with us past the lighthouse, but keeping more to the south toward Cuba. By midday the island had disappeared out of sight behind us, and there appeared several other islands and rocks to the south of us less than ten miles away. For the understanding of those who will come this way, since they will come close to the aforementioned lighthouse, I should have commented that its name is “Hole in the Wall”; thus, those who see it will remember it through the eyes of someone who has looked on it before them. I call their attention to the meaning of the words, or their origin. You can see a large hole through the high rocks on the rocky mound where the lighthouse is located. It looks like a bridge or a large “arch” of man-made work, but either nature or the struggle of the elements is what has made it. There was earlier another more remarkable bridge reaching from the top of one rock to the other round rock which is now by itself about 300 yards out to sea from it.
This area is considered the most dangerous place to navigate in the whole world. For several hundred miles we are surrounded by islands, sandbanks and rocks, some above the surface and others below. We see some small ships fishing and some other small ships called “wreckers,” that is, ships which know the seas and sail around continually, depending for their livelihood on the misfortune of other ships. Whenever ships have lost their way, these lead them back to the right way and save many lives. If this were all they do their work would be good, but they are accused of using false signals to mislead ships from their path in order to get thousands of dollars for guiding them back out of danger. Many ships much lose their way to support the numerous wreckers surrounding us now. But there is no need for their assistance, and I hope that such will continue to be the case.
At sunset the bottom of the sea was no further than twenty fathoms down. We navigated slowly and carefully through the night, and our leader brought us safely to see the light of Sunday again. It was Easter Sunday, and although hardly anyone had many new clothes to wear that day, we saw many new and wondrous things around us. We saw a lighthouse on another island and several Frenchmen who lived on the shore, having built their houses, or rather their simple mud huts, along the shore. We sail now to the south along side the Grand Bahama Bank.
There is a lovely wind from the southeast, and the ship is traveling six miles per hour through the water. Also the water is running with us from three to four miles per hour. This southern current is less than a mile wide from which the Gulf Stream to the north runs totally contrary. Here the bottom of the sea is in green water ranging from five to twenty fathoms, and the water is cold. A few yards away to the south, however, the color of the water is black; it is much warmer and runs directly opposite. We saw on the rocky shores the remains of shipwrecks. Several wreckers sail along with us. Everyone is contentedly observing the land. We are especially delighted to leave it so quickly behind us and pull toward the end of our voyage. The island of Cuba is to the south not far from us, and the ridiculous and loathsome prophecy of Seren Gomer*** that the Saints would be sold as slaves here is the subject of scorn between almost every two people along deck. The correspondent has immortalized his foolishness with poor taste and has brought Cuba more notoriety than anything else. This now serves to bring to the recollection of the emigrants the lies and false accusations which were said and published about them and their dear religion by their fellow nation until it loosened their love, knot after knot, even from the country of their birth. And instead of thinking of turning back, it prompted them to turn their faces not toward the east but into the sunset for freedom to worship God, and for those rights of which they were deprived by “zealous Christians” of their own country! Yes, the constant prayer of everyone throughout the ship is “Blow, east wind, blow us fiercely to the western ocean.”
Oh, it is beautiful to contemplate this scene! Hope is what fills everyone’s breast as the shop sails along, propelled by the lovely breeze. All on the seas give many thanks to their Savior. In Zion, however, is the lodestone from which they derive all their comfort. But we shall not continue to put forth our own thoughts, lest this letter be too long for the Udgorn Seion. I shall concentrate more on the account, and each one can think for himself. Perhaps that is what I should have done from the beginning.
I forgot to mention that we had a meeting of the Saints Thursday night last, as we did several times before, but this time was the first in which we put the gifts into practice. And great was the commotion this caused up and down the ship amongst the Babylonians! They clustered along with the officers of the ship at the entrance of our place and listened in amazement. We wondered greatly what had caused this; then we perceived that “Achan” was in our midst—that two or three of the Saints who had transgressed were there with them, translating for them and causing them to believe evil things about us, so that the officers of the ship and the captain also were more bitter toward us then than ever before, and I had a hard time calming him down. To our dismay their interference obliged us to cease practicing the gifts in the middle of the meeting, but not before we had received great comfort through them and learned some things about you, yourself, there in Wales, etc. We were informed that the party of those who failed in their designs on me as I was about to leave Wales is plotting revenge on my dear fellow officers who were left behind me; but they will not succeed. O Lord in Heaven, watch over them. Also, we learned that many of the Babylonians are praying for our failure and the Saints for our success.
Afternoon, wind fair. We had an excellent meeting of the Saints. We had retired to the back of the ship where neither the Babylonians nor the traitors in our midst could prevent us from enjoying the gifts of the Spirit, which gave us great comfort. Daniel Daniel and Benjamin Francis were ordained elders. Many counsels were given concerning health and clothing and the necessity for each one to care for the condition of his stomach. The latter counsel cause nearly everyone to come asking for medicine, inasmuch as the oil was depleted. This is necessary to forestall diarrhea. Let everyone take care in this matter.
[April] 9. Our God brought us safely through the dangers of this night also and smiled on us by continuing the wind in our favor. At 8:00 a steamboat came by us on its way from Havana to New York, and we also saw three British warships. Afternoon, we saw the borders of Florida, American continent. The land was low and sandy, a few trees here and three; and only judging from the smoke rising columns to the clouds form one place and another, there are also some kind of inhabitants living here. We sailed along the coast until nightfall. We saw two lighthouses: one there and the other on a cluster of small, rocky islands which are named Fortugas [Tortugas]. After rounding these at the break of the next day we changed our course to the northwest; and here we left the Gulf Stream behind us with scarcely 500 miles to reach New Orleans. The “N.E. trade winds,” which have carried us steadily and quickly for almost the last fortnight, are fair here still. More water was apportioned out for washing, as we have plenty on board to last for another month. And I cannot like this bustling scene with the sisters all around the deck doing their washing any better than to the scenes I remember seeing by the hot waters of the iron furnaces in Merthyr on washday! The lowest deck was washed, and under the beds, with chloride of lime, in order to purify the air. Mrs. Williams is more ill. All are busy preparing their chests, etc., and to be ready to leave the ship before long. More food was offered from the “company store,” but everyone had such an abundance that they did not get it. They said that all their sacks and vessels were full so that they had no room to hold any more. And many said that they had never before had such a variety or abundance of foods in their lives. And I maintain that anyone who is not happy with this food should be shut in the oven for a while, like the lap dog of the gentle lady.
Tuesday afternoon. Wind light, the sea calm and the weather uncomfortably warm. We saw some ships which appeared to be coming out of New Orleans. Mrs. Williams, of Ynysybont near Tregaron, is worsening fast, and signs are that she will not live long. She told her sons and me that she had little choice whether she died now or whether she would be granted to live longer. “My greatest desire,” she said, “is to reach Zion; and I fear that my dying on the sea will discourage others in their old age from venturing across the ocean after me. I am content to die rather than be an obstacle to the cause of God; on the other hand,” she said, “I wish to go to rest now in the bosom of Jesus, if that is pleasing in His sight.” She said that the greatest honor she had ever received was to be able to become a member of the true church of the Son of God, that there was no fear in her breast concerning the other life and that her religion now proved its strength more than ever before. She was asked if she was sorry that she had left the Methodists, with whom she had been a respected member for 55 years. She replied that she preferred now more than the whole world to have been able to live to hear the preaching of the gospel by the Saints. And she solemnly counseled her sons to continue faithful until death so that they would obtain with her a better resurrection. She depended through her feebleness on the ordinances of the Church, and no complaint was heard for her lips. She continued lucid through the night, and at a quarter past four the next morning her spirit departed in peace, leaving a smile on her lips. she received every care, assistance and kindness from everyone, and especially from her faithful sons who revered her as they did their own souls. They did not weary in serving her almost day and night, comforting her and attending her. She had reached far more than 80 years of age.
Thursday, April 12. Every funeral preparation possible having been made, Sister Williams’s funeral sermon was preached. Afterwards she was committed to her watery bed in the presence of hundreds of emigrants who looked simply and orderly on this sobering sight while a choir sang. And after that our oscillating dwelling made her way forward away from the mournful scene. Alone on the huge sea, she proceeded slowly with the black darkness as her garment of mourning. The sun also, despite its great strength and courage, was already trimmed in its cloudy cloak of mourning in the distant west when it perceived that one of the mothers of Israel had fallen on her way to Zion. All, all with a look of sadness. That night passed and only the shark, that cruel fish with its long, forked teeth, as if a faithful dog by the grave of its master, stayed as a marker of the resting place of the departed. Though she is among the fish in the severe ocean until the resurrection, peace be to her remains and praise to her name. The next morning at the break of dawn, welcome pleasant east wind. It zealously took pity on our condition and blew away the garment of mourning. Our sorrow was bestirred from her sullenness—like Phoenix from the ashes, her appearance was changed from head to foot. In short, like David of old after his son died, our ship in full sail, like a stallion in battle, hastened over the untamed waves. She strove to cheer up her mourners with the hope of seeing their port tomorrow. In spite of that, before morning came she had turned treacherously against us, and other winds blew us toward the eastern world. The sun by this time, despite its mourning and sympathy the night before, became a tormentor. From its hot cage it issued forth strong punishment with its scorching rays.
Friday. Several other ships were seen. Also seen was the greatest wonder which came had ever seen in their lives. In spite of seeing a burial yesterday in the somberest of scenes, today we saw a strange and majestic marriage between the “waters which are beneath the firmament and the waters above the firmament,” intermingling through powerful and mighty water spouts. The elements in their boasting tried by resounding together to eliminate all else in our firmament and mix everything together in a water world. In this endeavor they roar frightfully; they stir an acre or more of the briny foam as if in a cauldron. In the depth of the cauldron the fish, in spite of themselves, are seen flying helter-skelter from their element to the sky. In its self-activated womb the enormous and heedless vat gives birth to a powerful whirlwind which with the wall of its element blows its opponent like chaff across the surface of the waters. Despite their thickness the clouds part, and form the pieces is woven a long, thick and spinning neck. Quickly downward the neck goes and the lowest part frolics to join with it! Now a union occurs. They combine—a beautiful marriage between the great salty liquid and its elements above! Such an embrace is a surprise! Yes, mixing and kissing until all the sea perspires with the effort. Truly, this is the element which turned in marriage previously. Now, through sweetening that which was salty, the elements imitate the miracle of their Lawgiver! For a moment one thought that the water would prevail and swallow everything into its turmoil. But in time, just as when our earth was flooded, mercy from heaven smiles. A rainbow, the covenant-sign of Noah, was given, a phenomenon which revived the faith of the onlookers. Then God released wind “from His hand” to help the feeble whirlwind below. They join in a terrible attack and before them they sweep the wondrous water-spouts into fragments back to their places. And although they try time after time to lift their heads from their watery grave, they are unable to rise any higher than the top of their waves.
Not only the elements around us today are stirred up, but also the emotions of the sojourners. At the bidding of the prince of the air there are some which are boiling. Those in his treacherous army become tailors, and their work is to make a mask of the darkness to enshroud the heads of their magicians. ‘Tis painful to say that they succeeded in so doing. Their caps fit so comfortably that I fear that they will be worn by some to their very destruction. The mighty king of Bablyon had not only land armies, but I understand by now that also his navies wave their flags on all the seas. May his kingdom be shattered speedily. May his subjects on land and on sea turn traitor on him. Would that his majesty swallowed by a whale on his way to the depths of the ocean with a lock on his mouth—with myself keeping the key!
Saturday, the 14th. Wind contrary. The land birds flying to the ship are tired, and the children catch them and tame them. We are diligently looking out for land.
Sunday, the 15th. Wind rather contrary and blowing hard. Many are half sick between homesickness and seasickness. It was passed in the council to excommunicate William, he son of B. Jones, Aberdar, and his wife. Others of the family are not much better. They cause much worry to the Saints through their false accusations to the captain, disgracing our dear religion, etc. There is every hope that Ebenr. Thomas will repent. Much trouble has resulted through too much association with the people of the ship back and forth. One of them, in spite of our best efforts, succeeded in bemusing and confusing the maid of one who had been so kind as to pay her cost from Babylon. I shall take more care next time that generous people will not be deceived by lasses who come to make love instead of to serve. Prayer meeting was held at 2:00 and at 6:00. The sea thrashed violently through the night.
Monday, the 16th. At 8:00 in the morning I went to the fore of the ship and saw a column of smoke in the distance rising to the air. We soon perceived that it was a steamboat from New Orleans coming to meet us; another steamboat form the other side came running toward us as fast as it could. And within two hours the two were by our sides. We gave a large rope to one of the two which pulled us to the mouth of the Mississippi by noon. Great was everyone’s joy and gratitude for arriving here. We have 100 miles yet to the city. We arrived Tuesday, the 17th, all healthy. Soon we shall leave from here to go up the river to St. Louis.
Now hastily, I shall say farewell this time, since other matters are calling me. Dear Saints, be faithful to the heavenly calling which you have received and hasten to prepare to follow us. Listen to the voice of your presidents. That the Lord will bless you is the constant prayer and heartfelt wish of
Your brother in the gospel of Christ,
*As was noted in the Udgorn lately, Mrs. Jones improved so quickly that she was able to leave after her dear husband, and he has most likely seen her in Council Bluffs by now—J.D.
**Order to pull on the ropes which set the sails across the ship and means without exception fair wind.
***Is it erroneous if asserted that the Rev. H. W. Jones, publisher of the Seren, is the above false prophet who was writing under the name of “Anti-Humbug” is Seren Gomer, 1848?—J.D.
New Orleans, April 18 1849.
Dear Brother Davis,
Be so kind as to give me the loan of your “Trumpet” to blow in for the first time from a distant country. What I especially wish to make known in it is the story of our voyage from Liverpool to here. Monday, the 26th of February, about two o’clock in the afternoon, we began our journey. And as we left from the Waterloo Dock, we sang “Farewell of the Saints.” At that time there were in me some very strange feelings; yes, so strange that it is too difficult a task for me to describe them on paper and ink. I remember the cheerful faces of my faithful brethren—William Phillips of Merthyr, Abel Evans, Eleaser Edwards, John Davies, David my brother, and Daniel Evans, Felinfach, Ystrad, Cardigan—who came from Wales to escort us as far as they could. Oh, how lovely was the association I had with some of these brethren on numerous occasions in Wales. Sometimes the day was too short for us to talk about the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and we would frequently take the night as an extention to it. And sleep would stand in the distance form us while others would be abundantly comfortable in its grasp. At that time it came to my mind, “When will I see them again?” I imagined hearing something in answer that it would not be long before seeing them over in Zion. And at that I took courage.
As we were going out of the port I saw my dear brethren following after us along the bank of the river as far, I think, as they could. I imagine that I hear their voices carried along by the gentle breeze saying, “Oh, Father, watch over them,” while we ourselves echoed back:
God of Israel, keep them
In the midst of the host of enemies
Like the sons of thunder on the field,
Until they conquer the black enemy
After we had gone out to the sea about 30 miles, the steamboats who had escorted us turned back, leaving us alone on the huge ocean. The wind was rather contrary to us the first day, but the weather was very lovely.
Tuesday we came in sight of Ireland. The land seemed barren and the mountains very high; nevertheless, dwellings could be seen very frequently at the foot of the mountains. The following Wednesday and Thursday most of us were in rather bad spirits because of seasickness, although some made it without one sick day. In these days our revered president, Capt. D. Jones, was very attentive to the sick. He showed his love for us greatly, walking back and forth along our large ship administering to the sick. He and Bro. Daniel Daniel from Brechfa, together with William Jenkins form Cardiff and a few other faithfuls, painstakingly made gruel for us. This was the most tasty food of any other during that time. It was better to say in our stomachs than anything else. I did not request salt or butter in the soup then, nor was I able to eat bread with it. It was the same time my dear wife and the children. Mary, our youngest daughter, was not sick during the entire journey, although some had predicted before we left Wales that she would surely die on the sea, because she had not yet been weaned. But thanks be to God for keeping us all alive. We were sick but a few days, and I see now that the sickness was beneficial to us through cleansing our stomachs. I advise everyone who comes yet to Zion to bring oat flour and oat bread with them. They will find that this is the best food when they are sick. The best way for those who yet come after us to Zion to stay healthy is to try to stay often up on the deck. This will be advantageous counsel to them from our sad experience. Bro. Jones was very diligent to get some to the deck. Some tried to linger in their beds and tried to hide from him when he went past; I was not far from doing so myself. Jokingly, he at times would threaten to pull the pulley down from the deck and put a rope around us to pull us to the top even if we did not want to go. But everyone went to the deck on his own without Bro. Jones’s having to carry out his threat.
Love for us is what compelled Bro. Jones to continually do everything in our behalf. I saw all his worth in our midst from the time we started our journey to this place. And there is no doubt in my mind also the Bro. Jones will do his best yet to do everything in our behalf until we reach the Valley of the Mountains. And I also believe that his chief effort there will be to make us happy and able to enjoy temporal and spiritual blessings.
Dear brother, you can publish in your melodious “Trumpet” that all are false prophets who prophesied from the press and the pulpits that Bro. Jones would sell us as slaves, take our money, etc. It is very obvious to me and all the Saints to perceive which spirit it is that leads them to imagine such things about him.
But to return to the account of our journey. Hardly anyone of us continued sick after the first few days. I do not intend to give that account of our journey day by day in this letter, as I had first thought, since Bro. Jones gave such a detailed account of our journey in his letter. Let it suffice for me to testify that he has given the account properly. I have a daybook in which I put down the most wondrous things we saw each day, together with what kind of weather we had. At times we saw rather large fish swarming to follow our ship and jumping up a little higher than the water; their length was between four and five feet and some larger. They are called sea-sows. Also we saw the dolphin which was lifted up on deck alive by one of the sailors. This is considered the most beautiful of all the fish in the sea and is about the size of the common salmon of the Teifi. We saw the flying fish, dozens of them. They were flying above the water from one place to another. On the 19th of March we saw a fish about twelve feet long which some called a shark and others a young whale.
We left many ships and islands behind and each day our vessel hastened toward the sunset. We had lovely weather and fair wind frequently each day. In fact, it was much more pleasant for us than I had thought it would be. The middle of March was like the middle of June. While in one part of the ship the musicians were playing, edifying books were being read somewhere else. Others were chatting about our dear compatriots, about the success of the gospel in their midst and about how many of their relatives had been obedient to truth. My prayer for all my relative and everyone throughout Wales, especially those who heard my preaching in the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, is that they will grasp the true light. May the seed which I sowed grow luxuriantly. I do not doubt that it had good soil in different places and that it will give fruit. May my brethren who are still there care for the weak shoots so that nothing will destroy them, and may they sow all their seed in fertile soil so that it will give much fruit.
We held prayer meetings almost every night instead of family prayer. Our Father poured out His spirit greatly on us from the heavens. He answered our prayers and even caused the wind to obey our request. Every Sunday we held meetings of the Saints in remembrance of our blessed Lord. At times in these meetings we received knowledge through the Spirit about you there in Wales. Yes, great things were revealed to us. And, oh, how sweet was the teaching which Bro. Jones shared with us about the resurrection of the dead, that is, “How are the dead raised up and with what body do they come?” There is more mystery in this than many think.
I see that my letter is getting long. I must close despite how enjoyable it is for me to give the account of our lovely journey. But before closing I wish to inform my dear brothers and sisters who intend to follow us yet to Zion to take care to obey their leaders in every counsel which they receive from them from time to time. In this way they can have great joy in the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, if they forget this counsel and disregard the holy priesthood, it is better for such to stay behind until they come to have enough of the Spirit of God to be humble, meek, gentle, and tractable.
Dear brothers and sisters, hasten to come after us, remembering to keep the above counsel in your minds. And remember the saying of Jesus Christ that “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Now dear Bro. Davis, having been so lengthy, I close by telling you that we have arrived here in health. My wife joins me in remembering you kindly, and wishing you every goodness.
Your dear brother in Christ,
St. Louis, April 30, 1849.
My Dear Brother Phillips—
Following the detailed account of our sea voyage which I sent to Bro. J. Davis from New Orleans, I shall add hurriedly that we all arrived here Saturday, the 28th.
In New Orleans we caught up with the emigrants of the ship Ashland, which started from Liverpool with about 200 Saints several weeks before us. I hired a steamboat, and I took them and the Welsh Saints with me in it; the price for carrying us 1100 miles up the river is (for us) $2.25, or about 10 shillings! And in addition we can take 100 pounds of freight. The steamboat came alongside our ship to take our goods aboard, which spared much expense and loss. The cholera is very bad in New Orleans, and many are dying on the steamboats along the rivers, especially the immigrants. On one ship which went before us there were forty-two who died from cholera; on their other journey, nineteen, etc. But they were not Saints. Through bing careful to observe the rules of cleanliness, to refrain from drinking the water of the river without letting it settle, putting alum or oat flour in it—through being faithful and godly—through refraining from eating fruits, meats, etc., in short, through striving as if for life in every sense, and through the blessing of God on His ordinances, thanks be to Him, the Welsh Saints have come alive and been healthy up to this point, except one dear brother by the name of Jenkin Williams from Aberdare, who was a good and faithful lad the whole voyage, except that he went contrary to the counsels which were given, and he hid the cholera as long as he could be taking his own way to treat it through brandy; and the sad result was that he died here within a few hours after arriving, and he was buried with due respect. A few minutes before he died he left a remarkably good testimony after him and said that he was completely happy as he faced death.
Also a young child of R. Price of Dowlais died of consumption. These are all the Welshmen who have died until now. But of the English Saints two women and one child died of the deadly cholera. The officers of the boat were surprised how few deaths there were in our midst, and they asked in surprise each morning, “Are there none of you dead yet?” A baby was born to the wife of Samuel Lee, Llanelli, and also to the wife of John Rees of Cardiff, a stillborn. The mothers are improving greatly.
Yesterday I hired a steamboat here to carry us to Council Bluffs for 16 shillings per person, with 100 pounds free and 2 shillings for each additional 100 pounds of freight. From among the Saints who are here we completely filled the cabins and everywhere else. The other boat will come alongside us to take us and our goods in; thus, from Liverpool to Council Bluffs it did not cost any of the Welsh a penny for moving their goods!
Everyone is healthy today and heartened and rejoicing in their privilege and desirous to move forward. Better news from the West still. There are here between 3,000 and 4,000 Saints. Mormonism is winning in popularity now so fast that the treacherous tricks of its malicious false accusers are being revealed. “The fact is too obvious to be concealed any longer, that they are a powerful, intelligent, diligent and courteous people and good citizens,” say the publications now about the Saints and everyone courts their favor. This is good; they have been disregarded long enough. Here we purchased iron to make wagons in Council Bluffs, and flour and meat, groceries and everything necessary for the journey to California and to settle there. We have every opportunity to hold public meetings every day and every night, in every boat; when I was here before, it was worth the life of a man to say that he was a Mormon.
May the 1st—We hired a steamboat and moved to it yesterday to carry us to Council Bluffs, 900 miles up the River Missouri, for 16s 8c each, half price for children between four and fourteen; and younger than that no charge; we can have 100 pounds of luggage without paying, and we pay 2 shillings per hundred for the rest. We shall start from here tomorrow. We purchased our food here to get us to the Vallyer. Also our stoves, iron to make wagons, clothes, arms, goods, etc., etc. To this point, our journey has not been as expensive as I noted in the Prophwyd. And as far as I can tell, the costs will be hardly any different from what I noted there. The deadly cholera is killing hosts here now. One dear and faithful elder died this morning, namely Benjamin Francis, leaving great sorrow behind him. It would be difficult to find any more faithful than he in his life, and he died happy. His wife and children will come along with us.
Benj. Jones and his whole family except his wife became blemished from unfaithfulness. They went away along the road to destruction at a gallop today. David Giles and David Jones and his wife went with them, completely unknown to me. I shall take greater care next time to refrain from bringing any but the faithful Saints with me.
I heard that my dear wife is on the sea following after me; if so, may the gracious Lord keep her is my constant prayer.
Dear brother, be faithful and fearless through all persecution to lead properly the dear flock which I left under your care. You officers, remember my counsels to you, nurture the Spirit of light, love the Saints, and feed them with truth; and may the God of Israel bless you abundantly. Amen. Remember me to everyone at once, to my brother and his family, and your own family, etc.
Your brother in the gospel,
Country of Indians, Omaha, July 13, 1849.
Dear Brother Phillips—
Hastily, and almost before a dog opens his mouth in the camp, I take this early morning opportunity to send you a few lines. There is not time to portray the sight around me nor to preamble, for the mosquitoes are biting, the sun is almost up, and I am awaiting the call to get under way with fifty wagons to the Far West, beyond the furthest borders of every civilized country to the midst of the red-skinned people of the forest.
Wm. Morgans and William Davies from Rhymni have followed us this far at my request, so they can tell you our course in more detail, which time and my duties do not permit me to do now. And at this time I say to you only, do as they direct you by letter; for I had the opportunity to speak with them much that I cannot write about now. In Council Bluffs I established a part of the Welsh company which came here, and a Welsh branch of the Church, with Wm. Morgans as president. The prime objective of this is so they will be ready in this center point to receive, welcome, and direct such of our dear nation as may come after us. For they can give details of the advantages of the country, and of the Welsh who have stayed in that part of it. I shall only say, allow those of the Saints who wish and who you think best qualified to come here as soon as they can; and those who cannot go as far as the Valley of the Mountains can come to this beautiful country and earn enough soon to help them the rest of the journey.
There are of us Welsh twenty-four covered wagons loaded going forward now, and we have come about eighteen miles on our journey successfully. You shall receive the names from Wm. Morgans.
All news from Zion is good. You shall receive the newspaper which is also published here from William Morgans.
To the dear Saints in Wales I saw, “Be faithful in the calling to which you have been called from darkness to the light of the Jubilee; hurry after us to build Zion; come one, come all, according to the directions of your presidents, out of Babylon, form the midst of pestilence and disease, wars and battles of a transitory world to the freedom of the children of Zion—to the safe place of the redeemed.” It is possible to come here for the cost which I noted in the Prophwyd, that is between 6 or 7 pounds apiece for those fourteen and older; and it is possible to soon earn assistance to proceed, which cannot be earned in Wales in a long time.
Everyone from this company here is very content, and very eager to see their relatives etc., following them soon. My dear wife and baby arrived here safely a few days ago and in time to go along with us. The cholera imposed heavy losses on our small army along the rivers, especially on the accursed waters of the Missouri; yet, the effect was small in comparison to that on other people throughout the neighboring boats and towns. Wm. Morgans will go into detail as to who was prey to it; I hope that a greater proportion of the Saints there are not in its clutches. You shall have great comfort in reading the interesting letter which I received lately from Parley P. Pratt from the Valley, which I shall send to Bro. Davis to publish.
Those who wish to write to their friends who are going to California should address the letter like this: “_______ ________, care of Capt. Jones, Great Salt Lake City.” Put the letter in an envelope and address it to “Mr. Orson Pratt, 15, Wilton Street, Liverpool,” and he will forward it at no cost except for the postage.
Give my warm regards to Bro. John Davis and Abel Evans. Be one; put your shoulder unitedly under the ark—to all the conference presidents and all the officers; dear brethren, feelings of nostalgia are beating in my breast for your company, for your voices in the council and the congregations, and my hope is to behold your happy faces before long, and your hosts with you in worthy Zion. May God, our Father, hasten that blessed day is my sincere prayer continually.
Give my warm regards to all the dear Saints. Your benefit, your success, and your temporal and eternal joy are the heartfelt wish of
Your humble servant in the gospel of Christ
NB. I was hoping greatly to hear whether my dear brother Wm. Howells had ventured forth on his mission again. May the God of Israel bless him with success. My health is improving gradually, although my voice still continues hoarse; so hard to be still with so much to say.
A Letter of Capt. D. Jones to J. Davis.
The following in an excerpt from a private letter which Capt. Jones sent to us:
“Do your best to sell my books which I left and send the rest of the money with some faithful bother who will lead the next company to come here. Doubtless, they will be very useful by then to support my family, so that I can devote my time to serve the Saints, and perhaps to look for the Welsh Indians. I desire an interest in the prayers of all the dear Saints for success in this, and so that I will be able to be of more and more benefit to my nation, regardless of which country I am in.
“Farewell now, dear brother; may the Lord God of Israel bless you and clothe you with the spirit of your calling, so that you can enlighten your compatriots and sound your “Trumpet” so that the huge rocks of Wales will echo the calling to her inhabitants to hasten to Zion.
Your brother, etc.
Pottowatamie County, Iowa, 2 Sept. 1849.
Dear Brother Phillips—
It has been a good five months since I saw you in Liverpool, and I think that neither you nor I will ever forget the day we took the last look at each other for a time. There are close to 8,000 miles between me and country of my birth at the present time; but in spite of that, my mind can fly across the great deep like lightning, frequently to gaze on the faces on my dear brothers and sisters who stayed back there; but I am confident that before long I shall see many of them following to this desirable country, so that I may speak to them face to face and rejoice together in the Lord, in the same country, and under the same roof, as in earlier days. But I dare not, at present, give vent to my feelings. I must be about the work which links all the dear Saints in general. We, the Welsh, here have divided into two groups; one group has gone ahead toward the plains of Salt Lake, that is twenty-two wagons, under the presidency of Bro. Jones; the other group is staying here for the purpose of putting a Welsh settlement in the place. This will be to the advantage of the monoglot Welsh who follow; for there will be people of the same language and from the same country, and most likely many who will know them and have been associated with each other many times, to welcome them to this new country; for there are only English here for several hundreds of miles—and we, a small handful of Welsh in their midst, brothers and sisters, enjoying our freedom like the birds, with no one to say a word against us, but all of them very friendly. I live in the house where Apostle George A. Smith lived, and William Rowland, a Hirwaun, in the house of Apostle Ezra T. Benson. Counting adults and children we number 113 in all until more come from Wales, for I have no more room to accommodate any more, for the Saints are covering the land; yet perhaps some will come from the worlds above. The Welsh Saints here love each other, and some have married also. I shall not name them now; you will yet hear. We, the Welsh, have almost all our land adjoining; and Brother Jones has purchased a land claim which is 150 or more acres, near our lands, and had entrusted it to my care for a gift to the Welsh. We intend to build a meetinghouse on it, as soon as we can; and I think that will not be long, for the hard part of our work is over; our wheat harvest is past, all of it under cover. I wish for you to remember me to the Saints in general. All the Welsh Saints here greet you, and they would be delighted to see a shipload coming across next spring. If they can get as much as £7 each, they can come over here; and if they cannot go further, they will have in three years, or two perhaps, enough oxen and cattle to go ahead. I am sure of this, for some in this company who had not a penny when they landed here have cattle and sheep now; if fact, I know of no family in this country who has not a cow or two. I am in a hurry, and I end by wishing for the gracious Lord to bless you and your family, and all the Saints who are under your care.
P.S. Bro. Jones wishes for you to send Abel Evans with the next company, if you can spare him. You shall hear from me again soon. I would be glad to receive an answer to this letter and some information about my sister Anne. Bro. Jones is improving in his health, and Sister Jones and the child are quite well. Seven pounds I said would be enough for one to come over; think of those who can spend £14, yes, £28 if they choose, with taking many steps on the streets of Liverpool. And if one or more will overspend their money, I hope that no one will blame me for saying that £7 is enough. You shall yet hear in greater detail concerning the prices of things on the journey and the prices of the provisions which will be necessary. You can expect that within a month, or earlier perhaps.
Camp of Israel,
on the hills of the Sweet Valleys,
near to the Independence Rock,
649 Miles from Winter Quarters,
September 21, 1849.
Brothers W. Morgan and W. Davies, Presidents
of the Welsh Saints in Pottowatamie, Iowa, G.A.
Our most sincere wish always is to give counsel, assistance, or suggestions which may be of benefit and ease to our brethren. Although we are so distant from you, we consider it a suitable thing to offer for your observation some things which we have learned through experience, which will benefit you if you adopt them, and not only you, but everyone else who may immigrate across the deserted and interminable plains to the Great Salt Lake Valley. We wish for you to understand that we are not taking upon ourselves any leadership or taking upon us your presidency, for that belongs to others. But we think after we have reached the end of our journey, it will be too late in the winter for the presidency in the Valley to give information to you this winter, and Bro. Hyde will ask us to put this to the attention of those who are under his direct presidency. In the first place, we wish to impress on your minds the great importance of your situation with respect to the offices which you hold; you can set a good example for the Saints, that is, give unity, pious secrecy in all your counsels and in your daily transactions; be patient, long-suffering, meek, temperate, virtuous, just, loving and in every thing worthy of emulation. In the choice of your animals for the immigration, we would counsel you to insist on those which are used to the yoke and easy to handle, not older than ten or younger than five years old. Be sure that your wagons are built form good materials, strong and light, and the wheels six inches higher than they usually are. They are good for crossing rivers by keeping the water from your supplies. The wheels should be 1 ¾ inches in width and 2,000 lbs on one wagon, and three yoke of good oxen to pull it; but the most convenient load is 410 lbs. on a light and strong wagon with two yoke of good oxen; such loads will go across damp places without sinking and getting stuck on the spot as some of the heavier ones usually do. Never should you put over 2,000 lbs. on one strong wagon with three yoke of good animals; and be sure to have other animals besides those in the yoke, so that you will have ready assistance if one of those in the yoke happens to be injured or die. Take care lest your animals get whipped to excess or any other mistreatment. We believe that the gold seekers have lost more of their animals because of the whip and other mistreatments than because of their load, their journey, or alkali poisoning. The bones of their animals are scattered along the way of the trail, and it is astonishing to think of the loss as one looks at them. Let that be the freedom of those who are fond of flogging dumb creatures. When the hoops instead of breaking the wheel as usual and then joining it as a shorter one, make a wooden hoop corresponding to the length and width; set it tightly between the hoop and the wheel and nail it so that it is secure; it serves the same purpose and does not require a lot of time to make.
About the manner of your journey, we would counsel the one adopted by Pres. Young; no fewer than fifty wagons in each band; no fewer than twelve good horse for the purpose of rounding up the animals and of looking for place to camp, and they will be useful when the animals get out of control and run, goring each other; in short, without the horses you cannot follow the animals, overtake them and bring them back, etc. To keep the animals in order, we would advise you to tie them up each night until the grazing gets scarce, when each will prefer to look for his morsel or to rest than to threaten with his horn and shift himself. Be careful ad watchful in all things; put from eight to ten faithful watchmen around your camp and your animals every night. Do not permit anyone’s fine tale about your safety, such as “There is no need to guard them—you are safe here—no harm will come to you, etc.,” keep you from organizing faithful watchmen as we have mentioned. Let each group have iron bolts, that is the biggest ones, together with the next size to them, pertaining to wagons, in case some break when the blacksmith’s shop is far away, also linchpins, etc. Take care in the choice of men as officials for the immigrations that they be meek, patient, long-suffering and slow to be excited to bad tempers, slow, determined and understanding. Do not be in a hurry to travel; if you go forward sixty miles each week, be content; driving animals hard in hot weather causes the black disease to spread and causes them to die soon. Allow your animals to go slowly when the grazing is good, so that they will be in a good condition and strong when you go to a more sparse place. Through that plan, they will be enabled to go across the deserted and fruitless plains when necessary to travel several days through the day without food or water. Be careful that your animals do not drink the waters of the poisoned alkali, which this part of the earth is full of from the highest crossing of the Platte to Independence Rock. In short, be sensible and cautious in all things, especially with respect to your animals in the crossing, for it is on them to a large extent that your temporal salvation depends. Another thing we consider of great importance and which we would desire to impress on your mind, is the use that is made of strong liquor. Our brothers come from a distant country where liquor is scarce and hard for anyone to get except for the wealthy, and so liquor is seldom used by the poor. But when they come to American where liquor is so cheap, and they not being accustomed to the drunkening effect, they are very likely to make too much use of it, to their own harm and great loss. For that reason, we counsel everyone under your care to abstain completely, and refrain from making use of it, only except when necessary in the case of illness. If you cannot get wagons as we have suggested insist on some as similar to them as you can. Tell the Welsh to buy good “Russian duck” in Liverpool to cover their wagons. That is the only material which will keep the rain from getting your beds and your supplies wet on your journey. Insist that your wagons be made like boxes on the sides and the bottom, so that no water can get through the sides or the bottom. Purchase those things which will be necessary in New Orleans or St. Louis, such as stoves, crocks, irons, tea kettles, etc., and which will be needed on your journey. Last spring we gave an order to the merchants of Kanesville to buy those things which we needed for the immigration; they promised to do it, but they failed to fulfill their promise. That is why we urge you to buy in other places, as you are able, those things you will need, lest others are disappointed as were we. Insist on a few good Americans who know how to drive and who are gentle with animals to be drivers in every group, an expert guide to lead every group of immigrants. Do not depend on cows to be of any use in the yoke for the purpose of helping the oxen, but take along as many as you can, for they will be very useful in the Valley. Every group should have axletrees of hickory wood, lest some of them break, and some oak wood for spokes. Let everyone weigh his load, and refrain from taking anything he can do without. Buy some good grass ropes to tie up your animals; and have ten feet of rope for each ox. A herd of animals has stampeded before, and it is frightening and dreadful to behold them. Terror, running, the earth trembling, chains rattling, yokes snapping, wagons falling apart, watchmen trampled, some perhaps killed, others wounded, are the effects which go along with a herd of animals in a stampede. Tell our friends in Wales to come to the plains of the Great Salt Lake as soon as they can; and those who cannot prepare to come to the plains, let them stay in Pottowatamie County, Iowa, where they will meet with friends and many of their brethren. The Welsh company is with us; they are going forward well with Capt. Dan Jones in their midst; they are happy and content and make the camp resound with their evening song. They are enjoying health and a good spirit, and undeniably have been blessed; and we say, “May the Lord continue to bless them.” We offer the foregoing suggestions for your benefit and for that of everyone else who immigrates to Great Salt Lake City. May the Lord bless you, and give you wisdom to be prudent and faithful stewards and shepherds over the inheritance of God which you have been placed to preside over, is our prayer.
Bank of the Green River, October 12, 1849.
Dear Brother Phillips—
From between what seems like showers, with the frequency and importance of tasks, I snatch the opportunity at midnight to greet you, yes, from the extremes of this distant wilderness. And even though our local distance increases continually, yet that, nor anything else which befalls me on this lengthy and strange journey, will alienate my thoughts, my feelings of love or my prayers from you, from my other dear brothers in the priesthood—the kind Saints—children of my begetting in Jesus Christ, nor cause me to forget the vineyard of my Lord, the garden of my planting and my flock in Wales.
My conscience is peaceful ever since I left you with respect to every teaching which I preached, every discipline which I ordained, and every organization which I established before leaving you, and daily I pray to God who owns the vineyard to watch over it in all things. I entrusted the Saints seriously to the care of their various presidents, and I taught and proclaimed their duties to them, so they did not have to be ignorantly led about in error; and great the privilege, awesome the responsibility, grave the consideration—you and your counselors were selected as watchmen over everyone there. O, remember my counsels, follow my example as I followed the sound doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be an example to the Saints in humility, tenderness, patience, love and all the fruits of godliness; so that when you are as close to the chief earthly fold as I am, you will enjoy looking back at your work, and joyfully think about giving an accounting. O, how lovely it is for me now to think of my efforts day and night while there, even though in my body every day I felt torture and pain which they caused me.
I do not feel so fearful about the cause there after leaving you as at first I thought I would feel; the reason for that is that I know that God is with you still, and His Spirit is guiding you according to your request from Him; and frequently we receive here a short and exceedingly sweet message with the speed of the mind, by means of a mail coach of which the world known nothing; for our Father, at our petition, tells us about you!
Perhaps you are thinking that we are at the end of our journey by now; but the main causes which have kept us longer than some who went before us are that there were so many rainstorms on the first 300 miles of our journey that it was difficult to travel because the wheels of the covered wagons would often sink very deep in the mire, and also that after we came to the highland, the grazing was and still is very scarce for the animals. And this is not strange when you consider that from 6,000 to 7,000 covered wagons, each pulled by three to six yoke of oxen, besides several thousand cattle, sheep, mules, and horses have passed along this road during this summer toward the paradise of the Saints and the country of gold; these consume much of the grass, but if you add to these all the thousands of buffaloes, antelope, elk, etc., who own, by poor grazing, this wilderness and desolate, parched land—this together with other considerations cause us to slow down and be content is we could travel but ten to twelve miles each day, and it was proved to our satisfaction before that this is the only way we can complete our journey. There is hardly a day that we do not come across skeletons of the oxen of those who went before us on the roadside, a monument to their foolishness in traveling too fast at the beginning of a journey as long as this one.
Not so with us or the other Saints, thanks to the God who preserved us. Whereas others leave their animals, their covered wagons, and thousands of dollars’ worth of their provisions along the road, we are enabled, through the blessing of God, to wend our way steadily and comfortably along, although slowly; and while we find the graves of others often alongside the road, we rejoice and give thanks, as will you, that no one has died in our camp since we left Council Bluffs, nor has there been hardly any sickness. We have been on this journey now for over three months and have traveled 863 ½ miles, have ascended to the height of over 7,000 feet above sea level; and almost unawares we have been surrounded on nearly every side by snowy tops of the Rocky Mountains, which perpetually dwell in the white clouds. O, majestic sights!! They are beyond description.
There are between us and the Salt Lake Valley still 164 miles; yet I am confident that this journey will be finished within fifteen days, with the blessing of our God. O, hail, blessed day! All the Welsh who are here with me are living as befits the Saints, acknowledging God in all their ways and praising Him morning and night for keeping them until now from the captivity of persecuting Babylon, until their sweet voices resound in unison in the massive rocks around us, and we almost believe that they with their melodious voices charm the wolves who play outside our camp at dusk and so far have rendered them as harmless to us as our flock of sheep.
Since about a week ago nature has put on her white wedding gown as if to receive some new inhabitants in the fissures of these everlasting mountains; it spread a white carpet before the door of everyone one night, and spread a snowy white blanket lightly on some who had not taken care to close the cover of their wagon before night! The snow piled up between the wagons so that we did not see some of our neighbors till the evening; but we did not die in the snow this time according to the prophecies of our enemies. The sun shone pleasantly the second morning! The earth soon changed her garment, and soon between 200 and 300 wagons could be seen in a majestic row climbing the steep slopes while all were singing the songs of Zion; and we made camp in the evening under the crimson smile of the sun of the Western world. The Staints from the Valley sent more than eighty yoke of oxen over 300 miles to meet us, and great is the help they are to us. This is brotherly love worthy of emulating, and we anticipate more each day. All the news we have from the Valley brings joy to our hearts. May thousands of the race of Gomer soon come after us to the freedom of this country.
The Saints have formed a state in California by the name of the state of “Desert” (search the Book of Mormon for the meaning of the word!) and have sent a petition to the American government for a dispensation to that effect, which, if granted now, will fulfill many a prophecy, such as “Your official will be from yourselves,” etc., “I shall restore your judges as before, and your councils as in the beginning,” At this time the state officials will be inspired, and without this arrangement it is impossible for the “kingdom of God” to be fully established and for its laws to be administered on earth. Everything works to the good of the Saints in the end, and the whole earth will know that before much longer.
The Welsh are holding up under the difficulties of this journey, and are learning to drive oxen better than my expectations, and are winning praise from all the other camps of the Saints for their organization, their virtue and their skill, and especially for their singing.
I need not enlarge further here on advice concerning things and preparations for the journey to those who shall come after us, because Apostles G. A. Smith and E. T. Benson and myself have written all those things in great detail to Bro. William Morgans, who is the president of the Welsh settlement in Council Bluffs, and have asked him to send it to be published in the Udgorn Seion. How far will Brother Davis sound his “Trumpet” now? My heart longs to hear it s voice; I haven’t seen one since I saw you. Send me at least fifty of every number, as you are able, through the hand of Bro. Pratt. I hope that Bro. Davis is receiving regularly the newspaper which O. Hyde publishes in Council Bluffs, according to the agreement which I made there. If the above-mentioned directions reach you, publish them in the Udgorn so that the other Saints who follow us can have, for free, the information which we had to purchase. May they study them carefully for their benefit.
I know not when I shall get to see you and the dear Saints there; but I know this, that it is the true wish of my heart to see all of you here with me in Zion. I long more and more continually for your friendship, your church meetings and the marvelous conferences which we had.
Some of the Saints are worried because the Cholera Morbus snatched away so many of our dear brothers and sisters on our journey from St. Louis to Council Bluffs, lest that counteract the cause of God in Wales and keep their dear relative and friends from following them; but I say, as Job of old with an easy conscience, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed by the name of the Lord”—in spite of how painful it was to my feelings under the circumstances for death to cruelly tear my dear ones form my bosom. And I fear that the persecutors of the Saints in Wales have a more necessary task nearer to home than to set anything foolish against the religion of Christ because of the death of His Saints.
With respect to the emigration from Wales here, I will say again as I wrote before, Come one—Oh, that all could come rapidly. Open the gates, proclaim all the bondsmen of Babylon free to come to Zion, yet in an orderly way; not through flight for a while yet. In spite of that, everyone who can get hold of 7 to 8 pounds in his pocket to get underway, counsel him to come to Council Bluffs, where he can meet with loving Welsh brothers and sister with their arms wide open to receive him, and direct him if he cannot come along the way without stopping. By saying this I do not intend for you to harm the vineyard of God by driving away too many of the workers at once, but do this also in an organized way. May a shipful come at once, and select seven brave and faithful elders to be in council in their midst, which will be of one heart and one mind, to keep them all out of the clutches of the devil, for they will be without doubt tried worse and a thousand times more than in Wales. There is but the Day of Judgement which will prove the work, the worry, and the fatigue which I went through to keep them all from the wolves until now.
With respect to the wealthy who pay the cost of the poor to come over, let them prepare their hearts to forgive them everything if, in spite of everything, they repay them with unkindness; yet, let them not weary in well doing, for their reward will be greater from God. The elders will have their arms full to guide all of them here who profess every faithfulness before beginning, yet they strive more and more. O, how valuable is the Spirit of God on this journey for nurturing unity and love and warding off conflict; without this, not even an angel could lead a company across, I suppose. Pray daily for more of it.
My health is not yet as good as I would wish by far, nor as good in the last weeks as it was; and if it be possible under the weight of this heavy burden for any man to get better, I request an interest in the prayers of my kind brothers and the dear Saints, for strength each day to serve them continually.
Remember me and my wife and all the Saints here to your dear wife and your family and your counselors. Be one in heart.
Remember my lovingly to the council and the Saints of Merthyr, Dowlais, Aberdar, Hirwaun, Monmouthshire, etc. But what am I doing by starting to name names; like children of my bowels I love all without exception. May the gracious God bless them and keep them to eternal life.
Remember me to the faithful presidents of the conferences, and the branches. Let them remember my counsels to them in the last conference and always, and that which I proclaimed.
Remember me lovingly to all the Saints, which is all I can say to them now so far from them, by earnestly pleading with them, as God would plead with them through me for them, for the sake of their own souls, to behave according to godliness in all things, so that the very glorious name which they took on themselves will not be scorned; bid them to listen to the advice of the priesthood, to pray to God, and live lovingly, honestly, chastely and righteously; for thus they shall have an abundant entrance into the eternal resting place of their God.
Now, dear Saints, farewell to you all for a while, although I have more things to declare than I am able now from here. May the gracious Lord bless you all with His spirit abundantly, and keep you in the midst of persecution and strengthen you in trials and save you all in His kingdom is the sincere prayer of
Your brother, etc.
Salt Lake City, November 20, 1849.
Dear Brother Phillips—
By chance I have the opportunity of sending this letter from these remote parts in this season of cold across the Rocky Mountains. Some of the American soldiers, I heard now, are going to the States and will be ready to start before I finish this letter. We arrived here healthy and happy on the 26th of last month, and we were very pleased about everything here on the whole, temporally and spiritually, so much better than we were told, as was the wisdom of Solomon beyond the comprehension of the Queen of Sheba. This is nearly all I have time to say about the place; you shall have a more complete account next spring. All the Welsh are content and are joining together to enclose about 600 to 700 acres of land on the banks of the West Jordan River about four miles from the city, which country is called New Wales, as fruitful and beautiful a land as any under the sun in the Western world. It does not cost anything, but is cheap to everyone, and as much as everyone can cultivate.
It is surprising what great work has been done in a year in this splendid valley! Yesterday I had the pleasure of baptizing close to forty of the Welsh here in order for them to renew their covenants and seal their faithfulness to the Lord God of Israel; and great was the joy and the rejoicing in their midst through the day! Our only worry was that there were not thousands more of our dear fellow nation here; yes, all the honest in heart with us. We established a Welsh branch of the Church to God to hold their worship meetings in the language into which they were born, with Thomas Jeremy as president and Daniel Daniels and Rice Williams as counselors.
I have put all the Welsh into comfortable situations to get plenty of work of gold, money or supplies, etc. The wages of the workers are 6s 6c per day, the craftsmen from 10s to 12s per day, and if all the Welsh craftsmen were here, there would be people running after them with gold in their hands to pay them. This Valley is so healthful that I haven’t heard of old age or sickness or disease since I have been here. I heard our dear President Brigham Young say publically that he could not remember when anyone was buried here, and I haven’t heard any mention of such a thing since I have been here.
I am building a house in the city, on the inheritance which was prepared for me before I arrived; I received a lot, or an acre and one quarter, for each of the Welsh in the city who chose to build on it also. Mrs. Lewis got a paradise-like lot near the temple and she has a house on it almost finished already in addition to a farm in the place which I mentioned; and she, together with all of the company, are rejoicing greatly that they have come to this place. Others are building houses in the city, that is, of the Welsh, and all are happy in their countenances. In short and in great haste, understand me when I say that all is well with everyone here, and an abundance of food and as good shops as are seen in Wales.
As for me, although the world says that I am getting all this ease at the expense of the Saints, I shall say that all the Welsh except myself are getting to rest here in ease to serve themselves and to make themselves happy; whereas, I had not been here a week before I was counseled to prepare to go from 800 to 1,000 miles further to the southwest on a mission for God, and that at my own expense, across the tops of the snowy mountains through tribes of savage Indians along a road on which white man has never before set foot. Tomorrow morning is the hour to get underway; I know not when I shall return. My mission is to search out the branch of the race of Gomer which are called the Madocians; their story is well known, and I go with the intent of bringing them unto the fold of the Good Shepherd. Oh, Saints, pray for my success and that my life will be protected among bloodthirsty savages. You shall hear more when I return.
I and all the Welsh received a hearty welcome to the Valley; the presidents came miles to meet us and to welcome us, and great was the joy. Everything is well.
My fatigue is vexing my health still so that I am hardly better than when I started from Wales; yet, God will strengthen me miraculously day by day. Oh, dear Saints, pray for me now; for my work is still increasing. Oh, that I had the opportunity to tell you of the hopes which are shortly before us to be fulfilled for you, but I cannot. Be patient a while yet. My wife and family are well and, together with all the Saints, send their regards to you and the dear Saints there. Farewell now, dear brother and all, in great haste.
Council Bluffs, December 25, 1849.
Dear Brother Phillips,
I think it would be beneficial to give a few of my thoughts with respect to the necessary things for the distant journey which many of my brothers and sisters will be facing before long. The first thing to have is a good supply of patience; for grumbling does no one any good; and if they are to have a trouble-free and successful journey, let everyone resolve to keep the counsels of the president. If they do not do that, they are likely to lose the Spirit of God from their midst; the evil one will enter, and then it is not easy to get him out. Even though many of our company fell victim to the cholera, I know of but one or two of them who did not find fault with the president’s way of doing things; thus, the voluntary obedience was not from the heart—some were not content with those whom Bro. Jones selected to oversee some matters because so and so was older in the Church, etc. I repeat, take care and beware of that spirit; remember the counsel of the Lord Jesus Christ—i.e., listen to the voice of your shepherd. If so done, the journey will be a successful one.
Now I shall mention some other things. All kinds of garden seed would be good to bring over. We counsel the craftsmen to bring their tools with them. Writing paper would be a great service, such as a quire or two. Those who can, bring tin dishes for treating milk, also crockery, glasses, iron and steel. The spades for coal mining here are not worth much, but shovels are expensive, i.e., from 4 shillings to 5 shillings each. You can get shovels in Liverpool for about 10 shillings for half a dozen. I would be grateful is some of the brethren could bring a half a dozen shovels from Liverpool for me; it will not be much trouble for them to do so. Also half a dozen pitchforks. I would be glad to get them; a shilling each is their price here. It is worth bringing all sorts of ironware here except axes; those are better here than in Britain. The price of common iron here is twopence and halfpenny per pound; small iron is threepence and higher. Calico is twice the price; earthenware vessels the same; glasses also are expensive here.
We advise everyone who will be emigrating to take care that their boxes are strong, made of dry wood; some have suffered losses because their boxes were not dry, and so their clothes become mouldy. Potatoes on the ocean would be very desirable, and herrings, oat flour, bacon, dried beef, pepper, mustard, salt, pickles, onions and oranges. The oranges, in my opinion, are not of much use; apples are better, the ones which can be baked or put in cakes. Brandy is beneficial to warm the stomach when it is cold and the sea is rough. For seasickness, it would be good to take some things about a fortnight before starting in order to cleanse the stomach so that it will be as free from bile as possible. Small children are better sailors than adults; they stand on their feet while their parents have one leg too short or the other too long to walk without difficulty. I have written to you before; I hope that you have received my letter and that there will be an answer before this one reaches the end of its journey. I sent two copies of the Frontier Guardian to John Davis. I would be glad to get a copy of Udgorn Seion. Is it possible for the “Trumpet” to sound across the sea? Many Welsh Saints would be glad to hear it if its voice can reach America. I would like to know the terms; perhaps we could put together a plan so that there could be communication every month or more frequently. I shall be grateful to Bro. Davis for his opinion on the matter. I should like to have a letter telling when the Welsh intend to set sail, who will be the president, etc., so that I can write a letter to St. Louis or New Orleans to meet them. No doubt that between now and the time they set out I can give direction as to some things they can buy there and sell here for a rather good price. It is expected that the gold diggers will come here in the spring in hoards. If they come, there will be a chance to make some money quite easily; some make about $400 each in a few months by buying things for the gold miners. The Welsh can do the same thing easily with no obstacles on their journey. I had a chance myself the first day I set foot on land in the Bluffs to earn $49 by selling to them. By now you see the good I can do for the Saints by sending a letter to meet them if I don’t come in person.
We as a Welsh branch are happy, and I have performed four marriages: John Williams, of Monachlog, and Mary Jones, from the neighborhood of Mynydd Aberdare; Edward Evans, Hirwaun, and Alice, the daughter of David Richards, the blacksmith. Alexander Owens, Twynyrodyn, has died from yellow fever; please inform his wife. Let no one fear the sea; it is lovely to sail on in fair weather; from Liverpool to the Sounding is the roughest part. Our tabernacle will be finished by the time you bring the emigrants here; it is in the square now. I have heard but once from Bro. Jones after his departure to the Valley; he was 500 miles from the Bluffs at the time—he, his wife and child, and the whole company were healthy and going along successfully. I expect a mail pouch yet from the Valley in the near future. We have heard about the cholera in your midst; there is no more cholera in St. Louis now, and there has not been any of this devastating illness in the Bluffs so far.
Remember me to the officials and all the Saints, and may the gracious Lord bless you and bring you safe to beautiful Zion is the wish of my heart.
I am your brother in the new covenant,
P.S. Let it be known that Wm. Jenkins, from Cardiff, is staying in the Bluffs. We heard through the gifts that some of the brethren are suffering because of fire and that the destroyer is there in your midst. I received letters from Morgan Morgans, E. Thomas and Morgan Hughes. John Ormond and his son and two daughters are here.
Salt Lake Valley, April 10, 1850.
Beloved Brother in Christ—
At last I date my letter from the blessed place which I longed so much to see, and for which I broke through many obstacles to reach; and though it is not perfect heaven, nor is everyone in it perfect, yet I am not sorry for having come here, and the evils which were prophesied to me back there about this place and its inhabitants have not been fulfilled; and I believe that it is my duty to my Good Lord and His cause to send my witness back, for the sake of those who have not had this experience as I have had, and so they can take heart also to come here.
Do not expect me to give you a detailed account of a place which is so full of wonders as this one; you shall have more from others; but I shall say, like the Queen of Sheba earlier, that I was not told half the good things about this place and its inhabitants. The city is being built with miraculous speed, and the country around it is being worked incredibly well. There is a convenient worship house already finished in which we meet with several thousands of dear Saints each Sunday from every country, and we hear the voices of the best people on earth, and our dear President Brigham Young and his counselors, the Apostles and others teaching us in the law of heaven with pleasure and great sweetness to me and showing the great power, wisdom and love of God in the plan of salvation; and not only people who love the heavenly teaching are taught here, but more than anything is that everyone else is following suit, and peace, prosperity, and love reign; and God is praised more and more for this salvation. I have not seen a drunken person in this place or anyone quarrelling with another; I have only heard of someone threatening to take another to court, except that he was too ashamed to be the first one in the place to do that. I have yet to hear an oath or swearing on the street; not one murder or theft that I know of in the place, nor have I seen any immorality. And as for the highest officials here, they are surprisingly humble, meek, and godly—like a father to his children is all their behavior, from what I have seen. I fear greatly that sickness, pestilence, poverty, and oppression are causing much suffering to my dear brothers and sisters in the gospel in Wales, which causes me to desire and to pray a great deal to be able to see them by the thousands in this blessed place. May all the best Welsh soon come here, and what a time we’ll have them. There is no one here begging or any poor here. The men who came here the same time as I did are such freeholders that it is difficult for me to get anyone to work my small farm. A busy time for sowing is now here. The wages of workers here are two or three dollars per day, and work buys what cannot be had for gold. All the Welsh who came here are doing well and are very respected by everyone. We farm with each other “on the banks of the Jordan,” and the place is called “New Wales.” Capt. Jones has just returned from searching for the Welsh Indians. I write in haste because the mail is about to leave. I write to you because I hope that my relatives are on their way here.
If my dear husband, father and my sister have not started from there, tell them to come soon; I would be glad to see them here together with my brothers and all my relatives. If you have a chance, remember me to them lovingly; and my heartfelt wish is for them all to obey the gospel speedily. If you choose to send this, my testimony, to them, I hope that it will have the blessing of God for them. Tell them and everyone who mentions Capt. Jones that he has not been the evil man that they prophesied about him, rather until now his behavior has been the direct opposite. We all found him kind and benevolent, and his entire behavior is like a father toward his children, and great is our duty to thank him and the God who sent him to be a good leader to us. He had not received nor has he tried to get any of my money, and I have not heard that anyone of the company has been the loser of one penny because of him; and the prayer of all of us is that God will bless him with health which he has lost serving us and recompense him in the world to come.
Dear brother, exhort all the Saints for me to continue faithful in this Church, for I am certain that this is the religion of Jesus Christ.
Remember me lovingly to you and all the Saints,
Your sister in the new covenant,
Salt Lake City, April 12, 1850.
Dear Brother Davis—
I have so many things to write to you by now that I hardly know what to start with, but this Epistle will tell you many of my thoughts; and besides this, briefly, I shall say to you and all the dear Saints there, Oh, brethren, be faithful and diligent in the heavenly calling to which you have been called, since you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Make good use of your time in the vineyard of God there, before you are called here, for there are difficult days ahead. Everything is fine here, and all the Welsh are healthy and happy here.
I returned here from the south in February, after traveling about 1,000 miles, and being within less than 100 miles from the abode of the Madocians as I was told afterwards by Indians who had been in their midst. I could not have gone further, as our horses and our supplies were depleted and the rainy weather was flooding the country. We nearly lost our lives traveling across the snowy mountains for hundreds of miles through snow between three and eight feet deep, and sleeping in it at night with nothing more than a blanket to cover us. We left behind some days a half dozen of our horses and mules to die or as prey for the wolves. We were for several days without food before arriving at the Utah settlement on returning. You shall have some account of our discoveries in the Epistle, but it is not the time to tell everything to the world there. We intend to fulfill the purpose of this adventure yet, perhaps this year; at least, we shall not give up until I get hold of the Madocians, and get the main road opened to the Saints to come from Wales across the railway of Panama to the California channel, up the Colorado River and there overland to the settlements of the Saints, which will be near the port at which the steamboats will land from there to here is every valley before long. The good intentions of God toward the old race of Gomer are becoming manifest strangely and rapidly to our dear President and to us. Dear Saints, remember and keep the counsels which I have given to you there. Respect the priesthood and pray for me and for yourselves.
I am, your brother in the new covenant.
NB. When will the “Trumpet” sound? Send it here very chance you get. For goodness sake, do your best for me with my books, and send the money; I was on the above journey at my own cost and I shall go likewise again before long.
Great Salt Lake City, April 12, 1850.
Dear Brother Phillips—
A few lines only can I write to you now; you shall see the letter from Brother Davis which says much about myself; yet, I hope, yes, and I pray daily for God to keep you from the evil which surrounds you, and give you influence on all the Saints, as a good shepherd has on his flock, that you may keep them in unity, love, growth and continual success; and I hope, I say, that hosts of those who persecuted me as the worst man in the country, before this have obeyed the gospel of my Lord, come to know me better and to love you; and that will cause me to love the most hateful of them, yes and embrace them if I could see them here. I fear that the government hardly gives you any protection; but, if not, do not become disheartened; the King of Kings is watching over you; He will preserve you if you are humble and pious before Him. Do not forget to pray to Him and serve Him. You cannot fulfill your important office there without His assistance. Oh, I would be so happy to see your face here and for us to get to tell each other our troubles and our hopes, but probably we shall do that first over there. Doubtless the poverty, pestilences, and deaths of every kind, together with hatred of the world, are causing much worry to you and the Saints; but rejoice in this, there is salvation here from every evil but death, and very seldom does the King of Terrors visit this place. Yet, we are not here without our trials and temptations to the extreme, though different from there; and some, I am sad to say, even among the Welsh, are giving themselves to false influences, especially that which is called “yellow fever,” that is, the desire to go from here to the country of gold to get rich. I imagine that many beloved Welsh are on their way here for some weeks, and may the gracious God keep them from the evils which surround them, and especially from the Cholera Morbus on the Missouri River. Oh, William, that was the strangest time I ever saw in my life to see the power of God and the power of the devil. *****
My wife and little Claudia are well, and all the Saints, and they send their greetings to you and to your dear family, and all the Saints there. Farewell now, from
NB. The American soldiers did not take the other letter until now because of the weather, and so I send it now. I hope that the other letters I sent have reached you promptly. I have heartfelt longing for your conferences and your association, but I must be content now.
Great Salt Lake City, April 14, 1850.
Dear Brother Davis—
Would you be so kind as to lend space in your melodious “Trumpet” for this letter, so that those who wanted me to write to them can have an answer through it; for it would be too much work for me to write to all I would like to personally. I hope that my old faithful brothers and sisters around Llanybydder and Brechfa and other places will do their best to spread the Udgorn through the country so that those who wish will get to read our account.
By the goodness of my Heavenly Father toward me and my family, we arrived here, that is, to the neighborhood of the Valley, all healthy on the 29th of October. In the meantime our revered President, Brigham Young, and his two counselors with him have come to visit us, that is all the Welsh; and great was the comfort we all received by listening to his welcome to the Valley to us, and his excellent counsels pertaining to this settlement. He counseled us to go to the west side of the city, to stop about three miles from the city so that our animals could get better grazing. We camped on the bank of the Jordan River, which runs directly from Utah Lake to Salt Lake; the width of the river is about 100 feet, in proportion to its depth of about five feet. In this river there is an abundance of large fish; and also hosts of wild geese and ducks descend to it and to the small lakes which are along its banks. This is an excellent place for those who derive pleasure form shooting game, with no reason for fearing anyone. There is free agency to everyone to kill the number they desire. As a family we lived in our wagons for a month’s time here before getting a house; we were very comfortable in that way, because we had a good top on our wagons, and a stove in one of them for the preparation of food, etc. Then we lived for about four months in a room which we obtained in the city; but now we are in our own house, on our city lot, which we call “privilege city.” The size of the lots is an acre and a quarter, which everyone own without money and without value, only to pay for measuring it and recording it, that is, $1.50. The Welsh chose to get their city lots on the west side of the city on a beautiful plain; the biggest part of three blocks is in the possession of the race of Gomer. The blocks are generally 10 acres, which makes eight lots in each black. I believe that we have obtained the most fertile land in the city, although it is all extremely good. My reason for thinking that it is so good is because it is flatter and lower than other places of the city. Our land is rich, black soil; I’m not sure how deep it goes, but I do know that in some places it is six feet. I observed this by seeing the marks left by some who had dug down to get water conveniently by their houses; the appearance of the soil in that depth is black and rich. The biggest part of the Welsh intend to build on their lots this year. There is plenty of room for thousands of Welsh to come yet nearby us. It hardly costs anything to keep animals. Because of the size and the richness of the Valley, horses, oxen, and cattle are kept outside through the winter; but some keep their cattle by their houses, and give hay to them, so they will be more convenient to milk. All the Saints here get as much land to work as they wish without paying anything to anyone except to measure it and record it. We, the few Welsh who came here, have chosen our own land for planting (i.e., land for farming rather than for building) on the west side of the Jordan River about five miles from the place where I live. Unusually abundant crops are raised here of wheat, barley, Indian corn and oats, potatoes, squashes, watermelons, cabbage and every kind of garden vegetable as big as you wish.
I shall give a bit of history of the fruitfulness of this large valley. Mr. Halliday planted one bushel of wheat, called “touse wheat,” and got from it 183 bushels; another planted one bushel of potatoes and got 330 bushels. It is said that you can get from barley obtained from California about 100 bushels form planting one. Perhaps this account is too good for some Welsh to believe, but yet, that will not make it any less true. What good would it do me to send false testimonies there? Those who come here can know for themselves. I think that the reason that the tillage gives such a good yield is that you need to sow only very lightly. I heard some say here that half a bushel of what is enough to sow an acre, the same amount of barley. Because of the fertility of the earth, the tillage spreads unusually well here by growing; and the goodness and love of our Heavenly Father which blesses us temporally as well as spiritually is acknowledged here. The holy prophets foresaw this valley and spoke of it. See Isaiah 32 from the 15th verse to the end of the chapter. The last two verses in the chapter and some others also are easily understood; for we see frequently the “hailstones descending on the trees” when there is nothing coming down on us in this low city. It is good to sow near all the streams here because there is not as much rain here in the summer as there is in some other countries. It is necessary to water the land here at times; I, myself, am very thankful to my Heavenly Father that my land is on the bank of the Jordan River, and I can drive the feet of the oxen there whenever I want. Perhaps the above verses will not be believed literally by everyone in Wales, but it is very likely that they will inspire them to think something else, if they have not abandoned the old custom. Oh, how lovely is it to be surrounded here by high mountains, whose tops can be seen at times above the clouds, and which are covered with snow year round. There is a look on them as if they were testifying that not one enemy can come here to do harm to the Saints. You have heard about the excellent springs there are here, which are especially medicinal. It is so nice to bathe in the hot spring; there is another one here so hot that you can hardly keep your finger in it any longer than while you are counting from 10 to 15. There is sufficient water in it to turn a large mill or more.
There are excellent prices here for men for their work. A stonemason here earns $2.50 per day; a carpenter, $2.00 per day; from $6 to $10 is paid a tailor for making a coat; laborers, $1.50 per day; and remember that one need not work as hard here as in Wales. Some of the Welsh brothers here earn from $3 to $4 per day by digging by the job. The Americans are not used to digging. So, you see how easy it is to live here. The price of the wheat here now is $4 per bushel; Indian corn, $2.00; a yoke of oxen here costs from $70 to $100; a cow costs about $30; a good horse from $150 to $200; a dollar here is 4s 2c of your money there. I am not sending for my dear brother, David, and my dear sisters, this time, because Bro. Jones sent back from along the way that David would get to come here this year with the faithful brother Abel Evans, and Bro. Howell Williams, and others. I hope they come; there would be great joy here to see them. I hope that my dear father comes also on the journey here. I wish greatly to hear how my sister Sarah is, if she is not on her journey here, together with the Cefncrwth family, of Meidrim. I hope they are now members of the Church of Jesus Christ and that they will be in Zion before long.
My dear brothers and sisters, this is a lovely place; this is where he who hold the keys of the kingdom of God on the earth is; the Twelve Apostles are heard here preaching excellently on the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but there is not so much need to exhort the Saints to come here, for if they keep the Holy Ghost within them, He will show them the necessity for this salvation. I know not when I shall come to Wales. None of the Welsh at the last conference was sent on a mission to any place; but some were sent to England and to various islands of the sea. The conference was held on the 6th and 7th of this month, in the Tabernacle, which is very, very big; but nonetheless too small to hold all who went there. The Welsh were exhorted by our revered President, Brigham Young, to sing the song of “Joseph and Hyrum.” The English here love very much to hear the Welsh sing. Oh, how lovely it is to escape from the weariness captivity to the midst of the best people on earth, where justice and holiness abide, where we can worship God with no one to disturb us or to frighten us, about 1,000 miles from everyone except the Lamanites, who are here and there in the mountains, that is, the seed of Joseph who was sold into Egypt.
Before I finish, I wish to say a little to those who have not obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ; and this is it—Remember to listen to the servants of God there, that is, the preachers of the Saints, for there is no one there who can teach you the way of salvation except only them; for that reason listen to them, and obey their teachings so that you can be saved. If I reasoned with you at length, I could not give you better counsel.
I hope Mr. Davies, Clynglase, parish of Llanwrda, sees this letter. I sincerely hope that he and his dear family are in the Church now.
I do not have time to write more; the mail leaves here tomorrow morning.
Dear Saints, farewell “for a small moment, until we see each other all at home.” My family joins with me in remembering all the Saints in Wales, especially in Llanbydder and Brechfa and Cardiganshire. I hope that the dear Saints whom I love so much continue faithful; and may the gracious God who called them from darkness to light bless them with the spirit of love, unity and peace and save them in the end in His heavenly kingdom, which is the constant prayer of
Your dear brother in Jesus Christ,
NB. I would very much like to have several letters from my brothers and my friends in Wales. Let them send them to: “Thomas Jeremy, Great Salt Lake City, California, North America.” I sincerely hope that you, dear Bro. Davis, will correct every mistake which you see in my writing.
Council Bluffs, May 26, 1850.
Dear Brother Phillips,
Bro. Abel Evans brought his company of Saints here on the 23rd of this month; and on his testimony and your licenses, they were received as regular members of the Welsh branch in Cambria’s Camp.
Dear Brother, there are some things taking place among the young people, things which are natural according to the custom of the old country but which would be good for them to turn from. One thing is making promises of marriage. My opinion is that it is best to refrain, and that it would be wiser to get married before getting underway, for those who wish to do so. Bro. Abel Evans and myself also failed to see that earlier; but he had opened his eyes before coming to the Bluffs and married a lovely girl form near Carmarthen, Mary Jones from Wern Branch. Usually families live better here than widowers; and so, then, those who wish to get married, let them get married, and those who wish to refrain, let them refrain; but let all boys and girls and all widowed men and women leave the old country without making promises to get married. Thus, there will be no danger of breaking promises; and they will come free to a free country and leave those who remain behind free also. That was the opinion of Bro. Jones also, as I recall, i.e., to covenant until the emigration. I have performed marriages for eight in this country and expect six or eight again soon.
Our town is like a boiling pot these days, and as full as Merthyr market on Saturday, so that one cannot drive a wagon without stopping along the streets. They are gold people, and they leave some of their gold behind, or you might think so, for flour is $6.00 for a hundred pounds, Indian corn is $1.50 a bushel, and some have sold for $3.00. I was told by Dr. Bennett, a doctor of one company, that there are 4,000 acres of wheat in Illinois with no one to cut it and likely to be trampled by the animals. The Mormons preached the gospel—yes, the Prophet Joseph was the first to proclaim it there, but they did not believe his witness, rather they shouted, “Away with him,” just like his Master. It was Mormons who discovered gold in California, and strange how truthful is the witness and how accepted it is by the people in general; but there is not a grain more of truth than the testimony of the Mormons in Merthyr with respect to the gospel; but the spirit of the world is running after its toy, that is, the root of all evil, and as a result it cannot receive the Spirit of Christ, which is truth and love, glory to God in the heavens, and on the earth good will. Well, good luck to them and their gold. Let whoever wishes become merchants. We, however, shall build Zion, the city of our God in the Valley of the Mountains; and when the time comes for her to raise her head, her King will come and her glory will envelop her; and at that time the false men will be afraid.
I received ten packages of Udgorn Seion from one of the English brothers who came here with the first shipload, addressed to Capt. Dan Jones. They will be on their way to him before you receive this letter, but not all of them; for after they came to our territory, we judged that we are entitled to a tithe, and we kept two of each package. You see that we have not tithed as heavily as the old country, according to the law of tithing. We have paid for six months of the Frontier Guardian, and it is to come across there regularly as it comes off the press. I have seen but one letter from you, nor have I received the Udgorn monthly as you said; and I do not know whether the Frontier Guardian which I sent has been received or not; it is being sent to Merthyr and Dowlais. I received a letter for Elizabeth Thomas, from the county of Glamorgan, and I sent it over last April to the Valley. Let no one be disheartened who has sent letters to the Valley to relatives and to Bro. Jones, for answers will be forthcoming as soon as possible. I expect to hear from the Valley, from Capt. Jones and the Welsh Saints, between now and the end of June. Bro. Prythero from Abersychan and his family are staying in my house at the present time, and they have taken some land in another part of the country and will be going there soon.
Remember me to all the Saints, together with the officials; and may the blessing of God be with you.
Yours in the eternal covenant,
Kanesville, Iowa, July 19, 1850.
Dear Brother Phillips and Davis,—
I received the following letter in the mail which came from the Valley this month, that is July 1850, with a request from Bro. Jones for me to translate it and send it to the Udgorn. Here it is at the editor’s service, but not without mistakes, which I am confident the editor will correct; but the sweetness of English writing as wrought by its famous authors is out of the translator’s reach.
[The letter which Morgan received from George A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, and Dan Jones, dated 21 September 1849, is then presented. The English translation of Morgan’s Welsh translation from the original English is Translated Document 7 (TD7) in this appendix. Toward the end of the letter, reference is made to the Welsh Company: “They are happy and content and make the camp resound with their evening song.” Morgan adds his own comments in a footnote as follows:]
*I am an eye and ear witness of that. I think, as do the Apostles, that the spirit of music has descended on them from out of the evening before their departure from the territory of the Honuhous. About six o’clock Friday afternoon, Bro. Jones ordered me to call the camp together for the purpose of reading the rules of the journey; and in a short time each was by his post. I had the honor of beginning the first meeting for 1850 years, at least, on that land, for the purpose of organizing the Welsh journey. Bro. Jones followed; and after that, the word was given out to sing to close the meeting. As we sang the first part of the verse, that is, “When the Saints shall come,
etc.,” we saw the English and the Norwegians and everyone I would think, with their heads out of their wagons. With the second part, the wagons were empty in an instant and their inhabitants running toward us as if they were charmed. I heard good singing in Wales, but nothing like the strength and sweetness of the last song I heard by my brothers and sisters, co-travelers, on the land of Honuhous. Some asked me where they had learned and who was their teacher? I said that the hills of Wales were the schoolhouse, and the Spirit of God was the teacher. Their response was, “Well, indeed, it is wonderful; we never heard such good singing before.” —Wm. Morgan.
To that which Brothers Smith, Benson, and Jones have written about the journey, and the preparations for it, I shall give the prices of several things which is suppose might be useful for the smallholders or the farmers. The price of an iron plough is 25 cents per pound, or a shilling and a halfpenny in the money of the old country. Understand that iron ploughs here are in one piece, the point and iron the same kind as the casting which is sold there by the ironmongers; the whole thing weighs about 30 pounds. The iron harrow, that is, the teeth, 8s 4c. Files for sharpening saw, 7½c each; for a large saw, or a whip saw, 1s 6 ½ c. A scythe handle, 4s 2c; scythe of a larger size, 6s 6c. A spike for the hay, 2s 1c. Wheel rim iron, 2 ½ c per pound. Four wagons wheels cost, that is, the four rims as some call them in the old country, £1 14s, before the blacksmith puts his hammer to them. In my opinion it is better for everyone to buy his milk pitcher, that is, the tin kind, in Wales. The pitchers for keeping milk for making cream cost 1s 8c each here; their size is between 12 and 13 inches in diameter in the widest spot, that is, the top; 8 ¾ inches at the bottom, and 3 ¾ inches deep. Pottery is close to three times as expensive here as it is there; the worst cup and saucer which are for sale in Wales cost 5c here; and other dishes are proportionately higher. Bed ropes, 1s 5 ½c each; half-inch ropes, 1s ½c per pound. The ropes of the old country are better than the ropes of this country in general; the hemp goes black here before getting any use from it. I saw much of it in St. Louis half-rotten, and I saw one steamboat full of it catch on fire, until it burned to the water lever; but I don’t think that that was a big loss to the public. I have not seen any sickles here, but they would be very useful; and I suppose that it would be well for the farmers when they come here for them to have brought their sickles from the old country with them, and not to sell them and leave them behind as did those who came first from Wales. Closed billhooks are useful in this country. The axes in this country are better and as cheap. Tongs, fire shovels, and bellows for blowing the fire in the morning would be very useful here; also knives and forks, brass candlesticks, soup spoons, and teaspoons. It would be best for the women who go, to buy parasols; women are not seen walking very often without them here; and truly a veil is something quite good—women are not seen very often without them, even some of the Welsh. The blue cotton which is sold for 4c in Merthyr costs 8c here. I would counsel those who go to bring moleskins for everyday wear; they last longer than the other materials here. I shall make an end now on this end; in a previous letter I gave my thoughts about a few things which I considered beneficial for the emigrants to come across the sea; and as far as I can remember concerning that which I wrote, I have not changed my mind about the directions which I gave, and I do not think that I will have to blush in the presence of the emigrants who make use of them; at least, my conscience is clear that everything originated from an intent to be of benefit to my Welsh-speaking brothers and sisters and others also.
I received three numbers of the Udgorn, together with a note from Bro. Phillips, and a letter from you to Capt. Jones, which I sent ahead on the fourth of this month. We received letters from some of the brethren who are in the Valley, that is, Daniel Leigh from Llanelli, D. Peters, and Capt. Jones. They are in agreement about the fruitfulness of the country; D. Leigh says that the Valley of the Mountains is the best under the sun to raise crops. He says that one bushel of wheat planted in the ground gives the marvelous yield of 166 bushels, and one bushel of potatoes gives 133 bushels. “What is all the fruitfulness of the land,” he adds, “in comparison to the teachings which are received from the Apostles? They are worth more than anything I have ever seen.” Evan Rees and Edward Williams are digging for coal, and Mrs. Lewis is living in the town. Elizabeth Thomas from Waunfro near Cardiff married William Clark; perhaps Bro. W. Thomas will be glad to hear that he is increasing in family so far away from him.
There are some things in the old country which I would be glad to see here, that is, all the honest in heart wishing to do the will of God continually, and that which is owed to me in the old country. One is as just as the other; if not, I do not expect anything from this which I may consider owed to me. I wish for Bro. Phillilps to try to collect my notes, and I shall be thankful to him, and to those who pay.
Bro. Capt. Jones has sent only a little piece by his own hand, but he sent in print an account of the conference in the Valley. That which you want will be in the Guardian, if it comes to hand. The substance of the letter of Bro. Jones was that I was being tested; “and it happens, dear William,” says he, “that you are not tried by your best friends until you are at the end of your journey. Keep at it, great will be your honor, in spite of everything.” He ended by saying: “I know not where I shall be when you come to the Valley, nor do I ask to know anything but that which is commanded me. All the Welsh are well. Remember me and Jane to all the Saints. —D. Jones”
I was in a hurry when I wrote the last time (as if there were a time when I was not in a hurry), and perhaps some will make use of that which I sent in a way I have not considered, although really it is not my official duty upon arriving at this side of the sea, and I do not consider there to be more strength in that which I write than there is in that which some other brother or sister writes from this place. Yet, perhaps there are those who have not forgotten that which Bro. Jones wrote from the Indian territory; listen to his counsel. Well, then, my opinion is that it is better for all who are engaged to be married to free themselves before starting from Wales, if one comes before the other; and those who are coming at the same time, and are engaged, it would be well for them to do the same or get married before starting. But perhaps better than marrying would be to undo the engagement. The sea is free and the country they come to is free; and between freedom of the sea and the freedom of the land, covenants are broken even by those who are traveling together. Well, then, it is better not to be under promise, in my opinion, in every meaning; for not much time is needed to get married here. They can see each other for the first time ever at nine o’clock in the morning, and if they wish they can become husband and wife according to the law of the land and the Church also, before twelve o’clock the same morning.
Your letter says that there are many Saints who are coming across next autumn. Bro. Pratt will be there before that; but let them come whenever they wish, for I have nothing to do with the emigration; therefore, I shall keep my mouth shut on the subject of the time of the year. But I shall be thankful to you for sending a letter here a month or two before they come, mentioning their number of each skill, and the sum total, men, women and children, and the day of the month they will be leaving Liverpool. If they come here, perhaps that will be of benefit to them. My paper is full, and I am tired, and there is not time to do any complaining this time. I shall close now by wishing for the gracious God to give to you and all connected with you and under your care, wisdom, so that you will be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, in these latter days, in broadening the kingdom of God on the earth. Amen.
I am, your brother in the new covenant,
P.S. All the Welsh Saints greet you.
Composed on the journey by Gwilym Ddu, formerly of Pont-y-ty-pridd, Glamorganshire.
Some of the sectarians insist,—that to sell us
In shame, like animals,
Across the sea, our leaders would do:
Such was the group’s cry.
“The Captain,” they say, “enticed,—in the area
Of Merthyr a huge number of Wales’s children,
That they might be sold,—
Yes, a shipful from among the host.”
Oh! blind men, poor souls,—if they continue
In their course of an angry disposition,
When the judgment and the plague come upon them,
Their false tales will be as the wind.
Our Moses and mighty chief—he is Jones,
Our supreme and heavenly teacher;
Full of the energy of holy wisdom
To lead us into the land of praise.
[Taken from page 12 of Cyfarwyddiadau i’r ymfudwyr tua Dinas y Llyn Halen (Direction to the emigrants to Salt Lake City), a twelve-page pamphlet published in 1850 by John Davis in Merthyr Tydfil. “Gwilym Ddu” is the poetic pseudonym used by William Lewis, a member of the first group of Welsh immigrants to enter the Salt Lake Valley in 1849. He composed the above “Verses” during the crossing of the plains with the George A. Smith Company in that year.]
Salt Lake City, September 10, 1850.
Dear Brother W. Phillips and J. Davis—
Until now for the life of me I have not had a chance to greet you, in spite of my desire, since I wrote before; and now, short words are my song, for I am about to leave again from here further away to settle, that is, to the valley of San Pete, and that according to the counsel of Pres. Young to me, and as many other Welsh brethren as can come. I know not yet who will come. This place is splendid country to settle in with an abundance of water and wood close by. It lies about 130 miles from here. We went through it last year as we searched for the Madocians, and I shall be as much as that on my way to fulfill that venture yet, which thing, if God wills, I shall do before I rest. I do not have time to say hardly anything about this place or its happenings, but I shall send you the Deseret News, which is published here, to do its part of that for me.
I had received only one small letter from you since I left Wales, nothing from anyone else, until the mail came in very recently; and yesterday I received the Udgorn for last year. I cannot describe my feelings as I took hold of a book which came from the hands of my dear brothers in the dear country which I left; a host of things which have gone by came to my recollection! But when I cut its pages and my eyes rushed across its pages, I saw the names of a number of the brethren whom I love so greatly shining through it like diamonds amid the rocks along the seashore—proving they were yet diligent in the field, faithful in the vineyard of their Lord, which vineyard is of my own planting. The bonds of my heart are nearly bursting with hiraeth to see them, to shake their hands once again; yes, for their company eternally. I cannot be completely happy without all of them, those whom I loved so much; and yet, instead of returning to feast in their company and to battle together shoulder to shoulder with you in the army of Jesus there, He sees best now to send me even further! Well, I am content. His will be done, says my souls. So be it.
Yet, oh, dear brethren in the priesthood, what shall I say to you one and all to comfort you? This you know, that you are servants, as am I, of great Jesus, and that He is expecting all of us to fill the circle into which we have been placed; and He shall call us together sometime to give our account. Well, dear brethren and children in Christ, be sure to appear there happy. Remember what which I told you when I was there and do it; and thus God our Father will bless you forever and ever. I was about to say kiss my dear co-workers there; what else shall I say to them to show my love for them? Yet, that would be nothing. I have not time nor space to even name them, as they are too numerous. Go forward, dear Saints; the crowns are ahead of you and eternal life to clothe you. I dreamed lately that I was in the middle of a room full of you in council, and embracing my dear brethren W. Phillips and J. Davis endlessly, and it was exquisitely sweet! Oh, such heaven it was to me, but it was but a dream! Oh, teach the dear saints tenderly in love the way to keep the counsel of God. Thanks to my Father for answering my prayers in your regard. Remember me to dear Howells and his family lovingly; that the Lord be with him and his family is my constant prayer. Remember me to all the Saints. My wife and little Claudia are well, together with the rest of the Welsh. Remember me and my family kindly to my brothers, John and Edward, and my relatives. Oh, that they were here; I shall pray for them all to be faithful Saints anyway. I heard that A. Evans is not coming here this year, but that he is staying in Council Bluffs. ***
The roads here are still white from the wagonfuls of immigrants. They are like doves coming to their windows from the four corners of the world. The sickness which gathered on my lungs through hard work there has not gotten much better yet. Dear Saints, remember your poor servant and pray for him, he who served you almost to the death; and for him be faithful and diligent in the work of God. We had an excellent conference here last week, and everything here is successful and wonderfully organized, for there is an able leader at the helm and an abundance of assistants. I cannot get a chance now to write an account of my journey to the south last winter; you shall have that as soon as I can write it. You shall have an account of the Council Bluffs Welsh from Bro. W. Morgans. They are welcome to dwell on the land I bought there for them. At last, I must close. Brethren, here are for the three of you my love and my heart forever and ever. Amen.
Manti City, March, 1851.
My Dear Bro. Phillips—
With pleasure I commune with you by means of a letter for lack of any other means, even though a letter is but a poor means to transmit my frequent thoughts with respect to, and my nostalgic feelings for you and my dear brethren in the priesthood together with all the dear Saints there. Believe me that you are never out of my thoughts for even a day, and the best wishes of my heart are offered up at the family altar daily in your behalf to Him who is able to keep you safe and gather you together to the place of deliverance where you can hear the sound of the lovely songs of victorious Zion instead of having your ears stunned by the transitory moans and groans of friends, relatives, and loved ones; where you meet a brother and friend with a cheery smile on his face, an index of a happy and guileless heart, instead of like it is there, being pained by an angry look and gnashing of teeth at you along the streets by those whom you wish to benefit, as I received while there. The wish which fills my mind, in spite of everything which happened, is to see hosts of the Welsh enjoying the teaching, the quietness and the peace which are here; and the deliverance from sickness, plagues, and the oppression which, according to all accounts and prophecies, continue to sweep the wretched inhabitants of the world there to the spirit world, ready or not, and trampling the rest under their iron hooves into the dust without hope of salvation.
May the day soon come when you all shall find yourselves here, and I shall have the pleasure of your company in the valleys of these peaceful and healthful mountains, and you shall have your fill of fruitful land to work without paying rent or hardly any tax to anyone for it and plenty of wages to satisfy you for every trade. Yes, when you shall have, as does everyone else here, the full enjoyment of all the elements, possession and endowment of our Father to His children. And you shall have also the perfect law of freedom to defend you in all your rights and to urge you to do every good thing, and also to punish you for your smallest transgression which you do knowingly.
Our church and state officials here are form among ourselves at last, as Isaiah prophesied they would be for the Saints in the last days. The news came here lately that the United States has permitted us to be a territory and choose our respected Pres. B. Young as president. And they have granted generous privileges to the new territory, considering who they are. Our borders reach to the south to a latitude of 37 degrees north. Our King rightly said: “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” and it would be good for all His subjects to remember that continually.
The situation of the Saints here is extremely successful, spiritually and temporally. These valleys produce wheat, barley, oats, potatoes and every kind of crop and vegetable that can be grown in Britain, but much more abundantly with less trouble, except to irrigate, which is a task which must be done carefully and diligently, for there are insufficient rains in the summer without that. The way that corn is irrigated is by opening furrows with the plough after sowing the seed a few feet from each other in such a way that the water runs slowly along the furrows. The water is obtained from the nearby streams through ditches which are dug for this purpose. And these lands are of such a nature that the water penetrates through all these furrows in a few hours; and then the water is turned away for perhaps a week, more or less. In this manner, 40 bushels of what per acre are generally produced, and frequently more; and I know of some who have gotten the incredible sum of over 200 bushels after the sowing of one bushel, something uncommon, although true of the above-mentioned California wheat, which is what is sown here most and which produces much grass from each seed, sometimes scores, for I counted them myself. And the ears of corn fork into several of considerable size because of that which is called the seven-headed variety. The price of wheat now is $2.50 to $3.00 per bushel. Its price some time ago was much higher, and last summer, to the immigrants, it was as high as 25 cents per pound of flour, oats and barley being a little cheaper; potatoes about $1.00 per bushel, butter 50 cents, cheese the same price or less. The wages of craftsmen are from $2 to $4, workers from $1 to $2 per day. By the month from $12 to $20 per month for the year; and I am now paying one of the Welsh boys in salary $200 per year plus his food and washing, and to one other lad about fifteen years old, $100. Also to a maid $1.50 per week, and $1 to the other, that is, Welsh ones. The common wage for maids is $1 per week, and there was great demand for Welsh women until they became too greedy for wages. I am writing like this about these valleys in general, and not about any place in particular, lest you misunderstand me.
At the last conference, Pres. Young wished for me by naming me in public to emigrate to this place, that is San Pete, and so I came in the autumn. This is a splendid valley, advantageous to settle in, although not as large as the Great Salt Lake Valley, yet more advantageous in some respects, such as there is here a greater abundance of land, easier to work and irrigate in proportion to the inhabitants, than there is now there; for you would be surprised how they have settled there already! Much easier to get trees, shelter, firewood, etc., here. In the account of my journey to the south last year, you have the history of the settlement of this place; and it has increased already until there are several hundred comfortable houses, and families who are the most loving, devout, and peaceful that I have ever seen. Not a cross word, no profanity, no oppression or injustice have I seen since I have been here. We have a worship house which is large and comfortable, which is overflowing every Sunday with cheery and happy people; school is held in it every day and it is too small so that we had to build another schoolhouse lately. Some meetings are held in them every night through the week. Also built here since I came are a corn-grinding mill and a sawmill for laths and shingles. There is a shop her in which you can get nearly all the common supplies you want, and the prices are not so different from those of the States as you might think, except for some things.
Several thousand acres of land are worked in one enclosure, and it is pleasant to see with what unity and brotherhood everyone works together for the benefit of all in everything. And, in fact, it can be said of this people that “whatever they put their hands on to do, they do it willingly and with all their might.” It was thought that the desire of each one is to build the kingdom, and by doing only that each builds himself.
The next news will cheer your hearts every one, I know for myself. Sing, you, the scattered of Zion through the world! Yea, rejoice in the British Isles of the sea, for the Lord God is shortening His great work for you, and will do it shortly in justice! A temple to Him is to be built in Zion in which your own thirsty souls can drink deeply from inexhaustible fountains of knowledge about God and the proper way to worship Him, about Heaven, its laws, its enjoyment and its glory, and where you through preparations and godly ordinances can become fit to associate with its inhabitants and be taught also in the perfect ethics which are used in its eternal dwelling place. Yea, in your time and according to your faithfulness you can possess the fulness and strength of the priesthood which reigns there and in every other place. And after completing your work and giving to God and to His servants sufficient proof of your faithfulness and worthiness, you can gain a goodly entrance in through the gates of the Temple first, and there from gate to gate unto the most holy! Blessed are those happy souls. Is not the expectation of such bliss—of the strength of faith, of getting that faith which was once given to the Saints—worth every effort and suffering? Here is mention of something similar to the substance of religion and godly wisdom. This only will satisfy the desirous souls who have tasted the first fruits of the Holy Ghost. Well, dear Saints, for your comfort and you devotion I assure you that the blessed time is at the door; yes, the appointed time for which your souls have longed. The thing which I taught you frequently when I was there, and with heavenly sweetness, was that it was close. Oh no, my dear friends, Mormonism is not false in anything which I taught to you, although there are some who deceive themselves through it. To them will be the unspeakable loss, but to all the faithful will come more than tongue can tell of blessings and glory and eternal lives to enjoy. What else shall is say from this distance? You know your duties; obey the priesthood which is in your midst, and if you support the leaders through your faith and your prayers and your obedience, they will lead you all safely in time to the enjoyment of all which your hearts desire; yes, and more than your hearts can imagine. But remember that it is necessary to have a test of your faith in all things always. God says that He will try His people in all things, and so it does not mean in some things only. Expect that then, and watch and live properly today while there is a today, and thus you will endure to the end.
Further on this topic I shall say that I understand through recent communication from Pres. Young that when he beings the foundation of the Temple they intend to begin to give to those first who are going on overseas missions their endowments in the Council House, which is a spacious and beautiful building, newly finished. Before its foundation, they will build a wall of rocks around the Temple Block, which contains 10 square acres. This wall will be 4 feet thick and 8 feet high; on top of this will be a wall of bricks 8 feet high, and 6 feet of pickets on top of that. There will be in this wall several gates which will be guarded by watchmen. And the firm decision is that through these gates no unclean thing will enter in any way or under any circumstance. For on these conditions only, if you notice, the Lord gave a promise of His presence in the other temples which were built. Yet some who were unclean and evil crawled into those because the circumstances of the Saints were such that they could not withstand them as can be done here. And iron railway is being made to carry the rocks from the mountain to the wall. And that is not all that is going on here, but much else which I cannot express to you through a letter. In short, this new world is already clothed in the cheerful countenance of antiquity, and her diligent inhabitants are fulfilling the character of the little, diligent creatures whose name was given to the place, that is, “Deseret,” which translated is “honeybee.”
There are here four cities already established, dedicated, inhabited and being built surprisingly fast: Great Salt Lake City, Ogden City (40 miles to the north), Provo City (46 miles to the south), and Manti City (130½ miles to the south of Salt Lake City), i.e., the place which was first called San Pete. Coaches have been prepared and established to run each week from here to Ogden. This service will begin as soon as spring arrives. Bridges have been made across the rivers, and the road has been made the whole distance. Several settlements have been established here and there across Utah Valley and in the north corner of this valley, and mills have been made this winter. In short, the valleys of the mountains for hundreds of miles are already alive with inhabitants!
Surprising, the gathering that we have here from the eastern world. One would think that nearly all its inhabitants have left home, between the Saints who have come here and all the thousands who have come through here to the country of gold. There is some unrivalled commotion going on at least! Besides this, a company containing many families, I know not exactly how many, but far more than 100, under the presidency of G. A. Smith, emigrated from the Great Salt Lake Valley to the Little Salt Lake Valley last January, together with all the preparations and tools advantageous for establishing a settlement in the valley, which I mentioned on my journey, in the place where we kept our wagons, etc. They took supplies for a year and seeds of every kind of corn, etc. The intent is to raise supplies mainly to satisfy the thousands of miners of iron, coal, etc., that it is intended to send there next summer to make iron, etc. The government here now is making plans to begin an iron railway from the Great Salt Lake Valley to the Little Salt Lake Valley. And as soon as they can, it is intended to drive it through to the port of San Diego on the Pacific Ocean. Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich (two Apostles) are now in the city preparing a numerous company and are by now about to leave to settle in William’s Ranch, near Los Angeles, and within 40 miles of the port which was mentioned. A rich, healthful country and a temperate climate which is said to never have frost or snow; but all the fruits of the tropics are produced abundantly.
You can see from all these movements that the prophecies or the imaginings which I wrote to you before are being quickly fulfilled, that is, that the purpose of all this is to open the way for the Saints to come here from the south, instead of coming along the accursed waters of the Missouri and the long and painful journey across the land and the Rocky Mountains. I believe that it will not be half the distance, the cost, or the time to come here when the railway is finished which is being hurried along across the Isthmus of Panama, and from there in a ship to San Diego, and from there along the railway to the place which you choose. This is good news, isn’t it, to the oppressed children of Zion, especially when we remember their longing for their freedom and their homecoming—when they have no hope, thousands of them, that they could earn enough there in their lifetime to pay their cost to come here. In spite of that, I have better news still for the faithful and the patient, which proves the great care of God and His servants for all His children. I think that many in view of the foregoing promises will sing and weep, rejoice and grieve alternately. For, they say, what good is the temple or its ordinances to us who are too poor to be able to go to the place where it is? And they worry day and night because of their inability to come to Zion to enjoy the privileges of the Saints. But take heart, poor people of Wales; you will not be lost because of your poverty. And the arm of your God was not shortened so that He could not gather all the poor from the corners of the earth. Although there will be a curse of thousands on the heads of those poor persons whose cost was paid to Zion because of their dishonestly and their unkindness; yet, they do not close the ways of God nor can they prevent His work form prospering. Instead of that way of gathering the poor, a society has been established here sponsored by the government, with B. Young presiding over it, through gifts which are already tens of thousands of dollars. Its purpose is to gather the poor here, where they will work on the public works until they pay back that which they received. Bishop Hunter and others were deputized and sent to the States, and they returned in the fall with hundreds of the remnants of those poor who were in Nauvoo, etc. All the income from their work is returned to the treasury, and so it increases all the time, besides the continuous contributions until, I hope, its beneficial effects will be felt even in Britain and Wales also before long. Behold to you, poor people, proof of that which I promised though God to you when I was there, that is, that you would not be left behind because of your poverty. Rejoice, then, in this; be faithful and patient until you are sent for.
Another bit of news that I have to tell you is that we, ourselves, in this place have begun to build a temple—that all are agreed in the matter, and I have no doubt but what it will be finished before the end of next summer. There is an abundance already promised for that. And after that our joy will be even fuller.
Other news is with respect to the Madocians. Besides that which I wrote in the account of my journey, I heard in the fall in the City, from a gentleman who lived in Mexico and was on his way home from the States through here, that he a few years ago had found on his journey a nation of white people. And he described them very similarly to the way Mr. Ward and others described them and as settling in the same place. He says with respect to their houses that they are either hewn in the rock or built of rock in a nook between high rocks and impossible to get to except through a narrow descent—that they climb ladders to the tops of their houses from the outside and go down into them from the ceiling to the bottom. Others say things different from that. He and his friends were welcomed to their midst by about 300 young women coming dressed in their petticoats and white pettigowns with their heads adorned with flowers, etc., that each had a little pouch and some Indian corn flour in it which they scattered along the path before them. This custom shows their abundance together with their generosity and their kindness. They filled their needs cheaply when they went away.
Besides that, Col. Doniphan from Missouri announced that part of his army in the Mexican War, after proclaiming peace, offered their service to restore peace among some of the neighboring Indians. They lost their way for a time, and at last they came across some white people who received them with a welcome, and they wintered there. In the spring they escorted the soldiers to Santa Fe. For that kindness the Col. sent a regiment to accompany them home safely. After that he published their story in the newspapers of the States, but I have not had the privilege of seeing them. One said to me that he had read the account together with two treatises which were published by other travelers who were in their midst. And the former assures me, I know not how, that it was Welsh that they spoke there. These accounts agree remarkably in the peculiarities about them.
Even more explicitly, I understood through the Indians who visit us here that some of their elders used to go almost every summer to the south about a ten-day journey to trade with some white people, who, they say, make and wear clothes similar to the Mormons; and that their women are much fairer than they. That they work the earth and plough with one large fat horse with an iron plough—that their implements for horses are kind of a strong web of their own making. They showed me wool blankets which they bought there which are similar to the home spun of Wales. They make some of several colors, and black rows or blue in white in others. These Indians say that they are rather superstitious—that they believe in diviners, wizards, etc., and that one man rides home from the forest on a huge piece of wood without anything visible pulling it along! Poor things, if they are more superstitious than these Indians. I expect more of their history when some of the persons who were in their midst return, and you shall have an ampler account yet. Bro. Davis complained that the pieces were long last year, but I fear that you will be of the same mind as he now if I do not end at last. But it is either feast or famine between us still, and it cannot be otherwise now. But I must end at last feasting on the accounts I have about you in the Udgorn, etc., until next fall, it seems, when I shall expect a feast through receiving your stories for the year through the Udgorn and comprehensive letters which I shall expect from many of you.
All the families who came here are alive and healthy as far as I have heard, and they cannot help but do well in this country, all who try. Several Welshmen came through here to the country of gold, and with them no one of the Welsh went but Thomas John. I am so pleased to see if only the names of my old zealous brethren and co-workers, such as Thomas Pugh, Howell Williams, T. Giles, David John, Thomas Rees, John Thomas, Eli. Edwards, Robert Evans, Jos. Davies, D. Williams, Wm. Williams and his family, etc., etc. But there is not space to name them all or the half who are close to my heart always, but no one more than yourself and my dear brethren, John Davis and Wm. Howells. I translated his letter and it was published in the Deseret News at the request of Pres. B. Young. I intend to write to him soon and let him hear this letter. Pray for him as do I every day. My warmest love to the above brethren and their families together with all my acquaintances and all the dear Saints there. And my chief wish is that you be zealous, meek and godly, and pray continually for each other, for the success of Zion and for your unworthy brother in the Lord.
Dear Brother in the Gospel—
My excuse for writing to you is that I am not sure where my parents or my relatives are living now. And if they are alive you can tell them about me. Also, I promised to many of my dear friends, Saints and others, that I would write form here about the happenings and nature of the country, its inhabitants and the religion professed. Many promised to believe my testimony from here if I testified that Mormonism still seemed true. Although their delay to believe until then was not wise, yet, I consider it my duty to fulfill my promises to them. Thus with your permission to give space to this in the columns of the Udgorn I can still hope, though from afar, to help them break the debate that was in their minds.
With respect to the country in general, briefly, for the space does not allow me to go into detail: this is a mountainous country broken into valleys, great and small, rich and lovely, with rows of high, rocky, wooded, snowy and cold-looking mountains, which are in contrast to the rich meadows and the summer-like weather which is around their feet, which without exception form a majestic sight.
Its present inhabitants, besides the remnants of several tribes of Indians that live almost inhumanly and unnoticed along its lowlands and its hills, are the Saints, who, like myself, immigrated here from different parts of the world. They, without assistance in the world almost, except the freedom of the elements in their natural condition and hope to stimulate them, can here enjoy the freedom to worship their God, something which was forbidden them in almost every other part of the world. They took hold of something without shape, and already, not only are they a people independent of the world, possessing a fulness for their maintenance from the fruit of their own labors, but also they have peace and freedom which are priceless.
Our officials, temporal and spiritual, are from amongst ourselves, and the laws like the subjects receive justice. Needless to say, these inhabitants are religious, for nothing else is fashionable, much less tolerable here. There are here four cities speedily being built and inhabited, some containing already thousands and some tens of thousands of inhabitants; and the country surrounding with respect to agriculture looks similar to Wales, except that the fields are richer, flatter and a bit larger, some fields containing thousands of acres! Every craft is thriving, and schools in every settlement. Worship houses are numerous and full of Sabbath worshippers. Normal health is enjoyed throughout the settlements and peace reigns through the regions altogether. But I cannot say half of what I feel or what I see of the rights and enjoyment, not to mention the religious privileges of these saved inhabitants.
When I see the temporal advantages of these valleys, my thoughts escape back frequently to compare the conditions of my fellow-nation in Wales, and their poor ground, their rents and their hard taxes, and all which makes a hard world there, with the ease, the fulness and the freedom they can enjoy here, with moderate diligence. But when I understand about the plagues, the choleras, the disease and the deaths, the thefts, the murders which are ravaging mankind there, and embittering the sweetest pleasures, I cannot help but worry that they are not here by the thousands; and I know of nothing which would make my happiness more complete than to enjoy Welsh company here.
With respect to the religion, the truthfulness of which I testified so much about when there, I testify more firmly today than ever that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ in its strength. I get additional testimony of this continually, and such that I could not get there, which had set its truthfulness beyond doubt in my mind a long time ago. And if my friends there could hear my testimony now, it would be stronger than any; and my exhortations would be more intense by far for them to get baptized by the servants of God for the remission of their sins and to be saved in the kingdom of God. Oh, you, my dear relatives, believe this my testimony. Be wise for your own benefit. You, my acquaintances whom I implored so much for your obedience to the plan of God to save mankind—from this distance, may this last inducement strengthen you to break the argument at last, that it is better for you to obey the ordinances of heaven than to take pains to try to conduct yourselves zealously according to the human traditions of the age, which in contrast are but mere shadows of the substance. Choose the good part and be saved is my constant prayer.
Remember me lovingly to my dear parents, my brothers, and my gently sister if you see them, and to the faithful Saints, hoping to see them here soon, “like doves coming to their windows.”
The Welsh who came here the same time as I did are alive and all healthy and successful as far as I know. All my own family and I, thanks to the Grantor of all blessings, are enjoying excellent health, with cheerful prospects ahead. The health of our dear Pres. Capt. Jones is better than it was, but his diligence in every way keeps him feeble. Likely he will write to you himself, and several others, from whom you shall have a more detailed account than I can give to you. Capt. Jones was elected Mayor and Chief Justice for Manti City lately. I am your sister in the gospel of Christ.
Great Salt Lake City, January 31, 1852.
Dear Brother Davis—
With delight and pleasure I write to you again from the Far West, hoping that this little paper will reach you safely, and that you are enjoying health and temporal and spiritual success, which is the wish of your old friend. The earlier time in Llanybydder comes to mind often when we were small babies newly born in the fold of the Good Shepherd. Great was the joy we felt at that time when there were but four of us holding our meetings in my old home (Glantrenfawr), and asking for great things from our kind Father; and greater was our joy when we would get an answer to that which we had requested, and that we also knew at the time that our closest neighbors, and our relatives whom we loved so dearly, were bereft of those truths about which we had already come to know.
We had not been there long before some others enlisted under the same banner as we, ourselves. Some of our neighbors complained at that time that old Captain Jones (as they said) had deceived us, that we had promised all we had to him, etc., which neither they nor anyone else could prove one word of truth in it to this day. In that time several faithful brethren came to us, i.e., Brother Abel Evans and Thomas Harries, and others, who were of great benefit to us through their valuable counsels, and the greater experience which they had had in the Church of Jesus Christ. When in that condition, and increasing gradually, the father of lies and his children raged greatly against us, until we came to be the target and the scorn of some nearby reverends; but all worked out to our good. You will remember that letter which I received from Capt. D. S. Davies, Dolau, threatening me so greatly because of the religion I professed, calling the Saints, poor things, “The damned night deepers that leadeth the people away down to hell”; but the Lord saw fit to bless us in proportion to the persecution which we suffered. It would be too lengthy for me now to mention old Daniel the Blind, and other cruel persecutors, for I know that they all shall receive justice in the forthcoming day, when the secrets of all hearts will be examined.
Forgive me, dear brother, for writing that which you knew already; it is a pleasure for me to write and remember former times.
Now, I venture to give some of our story here to you. Several of the nation of the Welshmen came here last fall, and all of them are enjoying excellent health. Shortly after they came here, I had the honor of baptizing about eighteen of them the same day; they were confirmed in my own house; after I baptized them, the Lord poured out His Spirit on them abundantly, and on us also as we administered in an extraordinary manner. No wonder we feel good, for love and joy dwell in every heart. The ordinance of baptism is necessary for all of the Saints to obey after coming here. Our revered Pres. Brigham Young and his counselors, and the Twelve, gave obedience to the above ordinance when they came here, renewing their covenants to the Lord to live faithfully, etc. Everything is going along well here; the storehouse of the Lord is being filled quickly; we anticipate more and more blessings continually, because the promise is on our side. The Lord said through the prophet, “Will I not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it?” Hosts of the Saints last year received their endowments, and endowments continue to be given again this year. Several of the Welsh had the extremely high honor of receiving them also. I say to you, Bro. Davis, blessed are those humble and faithful (and I fully believe that you are one of such), for there are many blessings for them which they have not hitherto had. I do not possess the words or expression to describe the excellence, glory, and wisdom of the holy order which my Master, my goodly Father, has set out to bring His children to receive an inheritance of eternal life. Several large houses were built here last year by the Church, and preparations are now being made to make large walls around the Temple Block; soon no doubt an excellent temple will be seen here, the kind of which has not been seen in this dispensation, if the Saints continue as faithful as they are at present. Their diligence and faithfulness and their success are a matter of wonder for the world, and they know not what to say or to think about us; but they admit that there is something wondrous about us. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood that the invisible hand of the Lord is protecting and keeping His children daily, although He suffers the enemies of the Saints to persecute them from place to place, from city to city, until finally they persecuted them to the wilderness, about 1,000 miles from all settlements of white people. This is good that we are so far from them; we may have calm here to worship our God, “with no one to hurt us or to make us afraid,” for the mobs of Missouri and Illinois are too far. We do not hear in this quiet city here the cruel blasphemies, i.e., deceivers, satanists, and false prophets, etc., etc. Oh, how lovely is the dwelling of brothers together far from the Pharisees and hypocrites of this age; but no matter how far we are, several of the Gentiles come by us, who are sick from yellow fever. They are desirous of gathering before their golden god in Lower California; they stay here but a short time. Why? Because the Spirit of the living God reigns here; for fear, terror, and horror are on sinners in Zion. Yet, we baptize an occasional one of those who are honest in heart of the blood of Ephraim who comes here in their midst. Such are happy and rejoice with us in the salvation of our God. When will I see you here, dear brother? Doubtless you would like to be in the great source of light and knowledge, which with its crystalline waters goes quickly to the four corners of the earth; but yet, perhaps duty calls you to stay there for a while; if so, you lose nothing, but it is a loss to those who refuse to come here when the way is open to them to come.
How sweet it is to listen to the counsels of our President Brigham and his counselors, together with the Twelve in their turn: they show so clearly our duties in this church, and the great reward which comes from carrying them out. What is the wisdom of the Colleges of the world compared to God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, and the strong deeds of the Holy Ghost? I answer, nothing; for their wisdom is natural, earthly, for they do not think about the things from above; they oppose godly wisdom and the power of God in our age, just as they did in every age when the priesthood was on the earth.
I must finish; and if you see this letter as worthy of appearing in your Udgorn, you are welcome to use it; and if it appears in the Udgorn, I say again to those of the Saints who read it, “Flee, flee to Zion according to the counsel of the servants of God, the presidency in Wales.” I wish very much to hear from my relatives, my father, and David my brother, and my sister Sarah, if they have not started toward here. I wish for the family of Cefncrwth, Meidrim, to send a letter to me; I would very much love to see them here, and I hope that what I have said to them will stay in their minds. I wish for my mother-in-law to send a letter to me frequently. My wife joins with me, together with Bro. Benjamin Jones, Sadler and Richard Jones, in sending fond regards to you and Bro. Thomas Harries.
Farewell for a while, dear brother.
Your humble servant,
Manti City, May 1, 1852.
Esteemed Brother Phillips—
After an extended delay I again write to remind you and the beloved Saints in Wales that I am still alive here and continuing in the enjoyment of many privileges and blessings, temporal and spiritual. The cause of the delay was Pres. Young’s counsel to me last October to prepare for a mission to Wales. And so I expected to carry my own letter; however, he together with scores of other brethren came through here yesterday to visit the southern settlements and instructed me to prepare to search further for the “Madocians” next fall. He said that lately he had heard quite a number of interesting stories about them which would be too long to report in this letter. I shall follow his instructions.
Dear Brother, you and your important mission occupy my thoughts and my prayers frequently, and it causes no small comfort to me to hear through letters, etc., that the Lord is keeping you and strengthening you through His Spirit, to lead the Church there with success—to hear, I say, that unity and charity are prospering to the point of attracting sinners to obey the gospel of Christ. And no doubt if the Welsh understood what is being enjoyed here, together with the things which await them also there, they would readily obey as a nation. But God arranged that “through the foolishness of preaching is the saving of those who believe.” So, they must believe your witness before they can see through the veil which is between them and their future destiny, one way or the other.
No doubt you await some stories from me this time. The best of these is that the inhabitants of all these valleys are enjoying general health and peace. The countenance of their Father smiles on them and their possessions, and their labor, temporally speaking, and we enjoy more privileges, blessings, enlightenment and knowledge from God, our Father, and the great plan of salvation continually. And in this church there has never before been seen such unanimous devotion and unwavering and general determination to build the kingdom of Jesus as there is through these valleys now. This enthusiastic unity and zeal brought down from heaven in the last conference more blessings and knowledge than ever before. The natives who live around the settlements are peaceful now. The kingdom has come in our midst here, which coming our ancestors desired so much to enjoy a part in. Agriculture is so fruitful that all the storehouses of the country have overflowed with labor, and an abundance of wheat can be obtained for between 2 and 4 shillings per 60-pound bushel. Cheese from 6 pence to 10 pence; butter from 10 pence to 1 shilling; horses cheaper than ever here; horned stock continue in the previous prices; clothes about double the American prices. But there is a shortage of money here presently, which causes the merchants for the most part to transport their goods to the gold mines from here.
There are brave efforts in favor of independence from the whole world and its markets, through an increase of home skills. And there is already a large part of the inhabitants making their own clothes and necessities, insofar as the climate allows the materials to grow. And there are settlements continually spreading to the south where everything can be produced which can be produced in any climate. While the peace and protection continue at home, which cover these valleys at present, neither you nor we need to be uneasy about the jealousy and the fury which are appearing against us in the States or in any part of our Father’s footstool.
With respect to the immigration here this year, there is no room to doubt any longer but that it will be far beyond any past year through the States. Preparations are being made here to send scores, if not several hundred wagons to meet the immigrants traveling on foot, who will be along the way by the thousands. Food, etc., will be taken to them about halfway from the States.
With respect to the emigration from Wales, you no doubt are getting all pertinent counsel from the Presidency in Liverpool, yet I shall add this for the consideration of the emigrating Saints from there—Let them strive to keep the Spirit of God with them so they will not lose the spirit of gathering, or forget their inciting purposes there, nor the final selection after arriving here. This gathering is a strong wind, and blessed is he who keeps his sights diligently on
the objective. I am sorry to understand that some of the Welsh who arrived at Great Salt Lake last year are starting or have already started off for the gold mines, contrary to counsel, to die from the “yellow fever,” as the lust for gold is called. Of the two choices it is better for the Saints to live and die faithful here and go to paradise than to lose their future glory by trying to gather and failing. I received a letter from Thomas Giles lately which caused me great comfort. Thank him for it for me, and I shall try to repay him before long by writing to him. I have had but one letter from you since I saw you, and the pleasure of seeing your name in your own hand on the pleasing gift of fruit stones. I have received about half of those which you sent, and thank you very much for them.
I haven’t heard from Bro. Davis for a long time. What is the reason? And I have not received the Udgorn except the first volume, and a few issues after that nearly two years old, from H. Evans. Have nearly all my old colleagues died, or are they on their way here? My family is well and all the Welsh from what I hear. Greet the dear Saints there for me lovingly; may the gracious Lord bless them and you, and Bro. Davis, Pugh, etc. I, myself, bless you all. Amen.
I am yours, etc.
Dear Brother Davis,
I received a comforting letter lately from my brother Edward in which he shows the spirit of a Saint and a longing desire to immigrate to Zion; and he earnestly beseeches me to assist him if I can. I wrote him back to ask you if you have on hand any money owing to me; and if so, be so kind as to present it to him, and his reception of it will be as good as money to me.
I am so short of money here that I have not had as much as one pound for more than a year! But I am grateful for sufficient food and peace to enjoy.
I depend on you, Brother Phillips and the faithful Saints there to do your best for me in this according to your customary kindness. Please convey thanks for me and for my wife to Margarett Jones for her delightful present of a little pair of shoes and stockings for our baby. They reached us when they were greatly needed, for leather is not to be had here for any price in the world, neither is it likely that any will be available until some is made here; I hear that some has been made in Salt Lake.
Thanks for your letters which you sent some time ago and for the books; I desire nothing more than to hear of the course of the gospel in dear Wales, and I would be very glad to hear more frequently. May wise God bless you all with charity, with wisdom and with eternal success is my sincere and daily prayer. My wife and my children are enjoying good health (thank goodness for that) and join with me in remembering you and your family, and Bro. Phillips and his family, beloved Pugh, together with all our acquaintances, especially all the Saints. Soon we shall meet you all here like wheat gathered to the barn before the coming of adversity.
Can you give to me news of my brother John? I have not heard from him since I left there, except one letter from his daughter Sarah about two years ago. Edward says that he is on his way here; I hope that he is. I rather expect to see the three of you here before I return there; yet that will be according to the mind and counsel of Him Who owns us all.
I hope to hear much from you before I start to the south in the fall to search out the Welsh Indians, after which I shall repay the news, most likely! I heard that you have published the Doctrine and Covenants, together with the Book of Mormon in Welsh. Oh, how glad I would be to see them. May their Author endow you with wisdom for the important work, say I. I must make an end now as you can see, by bidding farewell for a time.
Your brother, etc.,
Pottowatamie, June 22, 1852.
Dear Brothers Phillips and Davis,
I take the present opportunity to write to you from Pottowatamie. The Welsh branch has begun its journey toward the Great Salt Lake Valley, with some of the English and the French in the company. Fifty wagons make up the camp and are divided in five groups, that is, ten wagons in each group, and there is a captain over each ten wagons; also, a captain over the whole camp. I shall name those whom you know—Capt. D. Evans, Llanelli, the first; John Rees, blacksmith, formerly from near Pont Haiarn, Merthyr Tydfil, the second; H. Evans, former president of West Glamorgan, the third; Coward, the fourth; the fifth, you do not know him. William Beddoe, brickman, formerly from Pendaren, is the scribe of the camp, and Abel Evans is captain of the guards, and the writer is the servant of the whole camp. I have written three letters, and according to that which I heard from Bro. Evans, they have not reached their destination.
All the Saints are in good health, each one with his tent house as white as snow; and we would be glad if our brothers and sisters, many whom we know, were closer to us to get to see the truth of the word which is like this: “A country flowing with milk,” etc. Much milk in our camp is thrown out as casually as is the bathwater used by three or four Merthyr colliers. We have more than we can use, and there is no one close by in need of it.
Rachel Rowlands, Hirwaun, is improving well; she and William’s two daughters are in the camp on their journey to the Valley, together with Thomas Morris and Ann, my sister; thanks to you for sending them across. I shall make an end now; you shall have more of our story after we have crossed the river.
I am in haste,
Bear River, 80 miles from Salt Lake City, 20 September 1852.
Dear Brothers Phillips and Davis—
According to my promise, I now take the opportunity of writing to you for the second time on this journey. We have had a comfortable journey all the way so far, and the weather has been unusually moderate with but little rain and no storms; and even though we crossed one mountain which was 7,700 feet above sea level, we saw not so much as one day of snow on our way. We did see a lot of black clouds rising with the wind, and we heard distant thunder as if the whole heavens above were gathering their forces to sweep us away; but they dared not harm us, because of that One Who has all authority, and who calls the stars by their names, and He whose command the winds obey. He parted them as if by His hand (i.e., the clouds) until they went past us on every side with us in the middle without our feeling their effects. And not just once or twice did this happen.
We are all well at present, and we had but little sickness on our journey. Four have died, i.e., William Dafydd, from Llanelli, and Thomas, his son. Also William, son of Sister Howells from Aberdare, who fell under his mother’s wagon wheel which went over his chest. We administered to him through the ordinances of the Church of Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures, and the next night he was strolling around the camp. He fell sick again in a day or two, and Bro. Taylor and myself administered to him again, but he died in spite of everything and everyone. The other who died was Jennet, the daughter of Thomas and Anne Morris, from cancer. You shall have more of the account of our journey when we reach the Valley.
Last night we were in our camp on the bank of Sulphur Creek, two miles from here. We heard in the morning that our dear brother, Capt. D. Jones, was camped by the Bear River. It was not long, as you shall learn, after hearing the news, before the word “pack up and pick up” came out; and I know that nowhere on the journey was there a quicker response to any call. His name had lit a flame of love in the breast of everyone toward him so that nothing else could be heard through the camp but “Bro. Jones,” and “let us go to meet him.” It wasn’t long before the wheels were turning. After traveling close to a mile, we saw a man of small stature walking quickly to meet us. We did not know who it was; but as we drew nearer to each other, to our joy who would it be but our dear Bro. Jones and his customary cheery smile. It is easier to imagine than to describe our meeting. After shaking hands, embracing, weeping and kissing, we went to the bank of the river where he had left his horse, having traveled from twenty to thirty miles during the night ahead of his company in order to meet us. We decided to spend a day in his friendship, to converse with each other about things pertaining to the kingdom of our God. Oh, brethren, how sweet the words poured over his lips. It is true that every word from his mouth was sweet earlier in Wales, but they were a thousand times sweeter here on the desolate mountains of America, between eight and nine thousand miles from Wales.
I must end this letter, for the camp is getting near, and Brothers Jeremy and Daniels are coming. Who can hold a pen when faithful brethren with whom I traveled thousands of miles in the bonds of love are getting near? Not I. There, the brothers and sisters are running; I cannot restrain myself any longer. Behold, everyone is coming back to the camp with his heart full of joy in full proof of the truthfulness of the words “how lovely is the dwelling of brothers together.” We spent the rest of the day in brotherly love, at times singing, other times testifying of our determinations, listening to the teaching of the three brethren, until the day went past, and, if the truth be told, until twelve o’clock at night also. And though in the midst of the green willows we met, the Spirit of God was among us. We all took our leave so that each could fulfill his calling in full confidence that we would meet again in Zion. The camp is getting underway. Farewell for now, dear Brothers Phillips and Davis.
I am your brother in the bonds of the Gospel,
Salt Lake City, June 25, 1852.
Dear Brothers Phillips and Davis,—
According to my promise in my last letter I take this opportunity to give some details of the account of our journey from the Bluffs to this lovely place. After taking our leave of Brothers Jones, Daniels, Jeremy and others, the ones I knew being more numerous than the ones I did not know, we continued our journey with our hearts rejoicing, reflecting on the conversations and the interesting and edifying counsels which we received from the aforementioned brethren, praying for our Father to bless all of them in their dangerous and goodly endeavors, on land and water and in the midst of our own nation. After arriving at Mountain Creek and traveling about three or four miles, we decided to rest through the night where there was plenty of grazing for the animals. The sun was about to hide its head in the west and the mantle of night was drawing nigh exhorting everyone except the watchmen to rest. We heard the noise of a wagon coming pell-mell from the city road; by then all were straining their eyes to see what was coming, and before long the lead watchmen shouted out, “Welsh from Salt Lake.” There was no need to say it again, for the first word pierced through us all like an electric current. Everyone came near having a race to meet them. To our great joy who were they but Thomas Jones, Hirwaen; Morgan Hughes, Pontyates; and William, son of Evan Jones, Mill Street, Aberdare. They had come from thirty to forty miles to meet us with a load of fruits of the Valley, such as watermelons, mushmelons, potatoes, pickle cucumbers, grapes, etc., to welcome us. The watchmen came over to the camp, according to the language of the ancient Welsh, “without a sword unsheathed against them.” They put their entire load under my care, and I had the honor of dividing the load among the brothers and sisters; and even though the divider normally gets the smallest share, I got plenty myself and everyone else, even though we had not tasted such delicacies all during the summer. We went no further than the foot of the mountain the next day. The second day we crossed the second mountain, as it is seen here; by the time we reached the expanse which is between the second mountain and the first, there was a multitude of the brethren awaiting us with the same presents which we received from the other brethren. I shall name some of them: John Parry, Newmarket and his son, Dl. Leigh, Owen Roberts, Thomas James, Cadwaladr Owens, etc., too many to name. We reached the city on the last day of September, all healthy and our hearts thankful to our Father for the privilege. We had traveled 1,130 miles, without a civilized man owning a furrow of land except in two places, i.e., in Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger. All except these two places is under the government of the various Indian tribes and the buffaloes, thousands of them. It is not unusual to see four or five hundred of them in one herd coming to the Platte River to get water. We killed five of them on our journey; their meat is similar in its taste to Welsh beef. Salt is not needed to keep it from smelling bad; drying it in the heat of the sun serves the same purpose which the salt does over there, without the salting. The Indians are kindly people if one behaves kindly toward them. One day, totally unawares, I happened to come into the midst of about three of four hundred of them, i.e., the Sioux. As was my custom, I was on horseback riding in front of the camp to look for the trail and for a comfortable place to have lunch; and having gone ahead of the camp for about two miles, I saw two of them coming as fast as their horses could carry them to meet me; and as far as I was concerned I was like King Henry [sic] ready to say, “Kingdom,” not “for a horse,” for I had a good one under me, but “for being in camp.” It was too late to turn back; it was better to go forward, and it was not long before their Indian majesty and myself met one another. He greeted me, “How do, Mormon good.” I thought by then that they were not as bad as I believed; I went ahead between the two chieftains, who were in their official and pompous dress, till we arrived at their camp which was about a mile and a half from the place where we had met; their camp was arranged in an astronomical manner in my opinion; their biggest tent was in the middle, and a picture of the sun had been drawn with something red, the same kind as is seen in the old country, and the others with pictures which I did not understand. This brought to my mind the words of the prophet, that “people worship the sun,” etc., since they are totally ignorant of the “true and living God.” They behaved toward me in an extremely gentlemanly fashion. Their chiefs spread their blankets on the ground, motioning for me to sit down to smoke what they called a “peace pipe,” as I understood through the translator, Huntington. The manner of having a pipe handed around in each group is like the shilling jug in the taverns of the old country which is handed around to all the members of a group, and each one in his turn takes a drink. So it is with this pipe: the chief takes two or three puffs and then passes it to the next one and so on around the circle until the chief has it again. Refusing to sit down with them to smoke is a sign among them that the one who refuses is envious. Well, Brother Davis,* how will you react if you are called to the pipe? I am confident that Brother Phillips like myself has not forgotten and will take his turn. When the camp came we took up a collection from them, such as a spoonful or two of sugar, cakes, etc., and their majesty accepted our gifts. Then our camp got under way, with myself having shaken hands and spoken and received suggestions that I did not understand, and I followed after the camp. All that I understood of their speaking was “Good Mormon,” and “swap pongo.” Although the red boys, from what I could observe on the journey, were completely harmless, yet I do not say that they will not steal if they have the chance. But I can say this much, that after going past thousands of them, when some were sleeping in our camp, nothing was stolen from us nor was an insult ever given to any of us. And although the journey was long, I considered it nothing but enjoyment every step of the way; so it was to me, and so it is to everyone who is fond of observing the wonders of the desert and seeing something new every day.
Since I have spent one winter season in the city, perhaps you would like to hear a little of our history. The city is laid out in straight streets from north to south and the same from east to west; the land is square, or in “blocks” as they are called, with ten acres of land within each block. The town is between two and three miles long and about two miles wide. There are splendid buildings here: the Storehouse of the Church is about 190 feet long and three stories high and has been completed in a most excellent way; the Council House and the Social Hall are grand buildings, in addition to the other splendid buildings which are under construction. It is intended to put a hundred masons to work this summer on the wall which is to surround the Temple. The streets of the city are 130 feet wide with trees planted between the footwalks and the way for the vehicles, and there is water running with every street with places to turn it out according to the wishes of the inhabitants. The flat land on which the city is located is about 30 miles wide and 200 miles long with mountains surrounding it on every side; and there is snow on the mountaintops now, and I am told that it is there throughout the year; and there is a beautiful view to behold. The foot of the mountains is covered with plants and flowers, and their top is like white sheeting placed on a green table with the Salt Lake at their feet, in some places like a transparent glass. When the sun hides its face in the west it reflects on the snow, the leaves, the flowers and the water, and the sight is beautiful beyond description. Not much snow falls in the Valley; the idle animals can live through the winter on the flat land. The foundation of the Temple is almost finished; the cornerstone was placed last April, and it is thought now that the building will be ready within three years.
Here is a segment of a letter of Brother Jones to Bishop Hunter:
“Esteemed Bishop Hunter.—Many of my compatriots are coming across in the 13th company; I do not know their condition; perhaps their money and their provision are scarce. If so, when they reach the Valley, I shall be grateful to you for furnishing them their needs, through the hand of Brother Morgans [sic], and I shall pay you in Manti, San Pete Valley. I am, etc., D. Jones.”
Brother Jones gave that letter to me on the banks of the Bear River, and I shall not soon forget his fatherly care over his fellow nation; and on behalf of myself and my camp I express warmest thanks to my brother and the hero Jones, although none of us was in need. I have been in Manti lately; Jane and the little girl were healthy, but Jane was expecting her baby any day. The Welsh who have come to the Valley from the beginning of the emigration until now are all alive and well except four, i.e., the wife of D. Phillips; Jane Morgan, Cardiff; Lucy, the wife of Captain Evans, Llanelli; and Mary Ann, the widow of George Davis, Rhymni; the last two died in childbirth, Jane from cancer, but I do not know what Sister Phillips’s illness was, as she died before I came to the Valley. Everything is going along well in these valleys, and the land and the crops are abundant. Some wheat will be cut this week. If a diligent man comes here without one shilling in his pocket, in three years he will be self-sufficient if no misfortune befalls him. There is plenty of work on the Public Works for those who have no animals; and the wage for the laborers is 3 shillings 3 pence per day, and 12 shillings 6 pence per day for the masons. The price of flour in the Storehouse of the Church is 1 pound 5 shillings per hundred, and it does not rise or fall in price. Here is a better place for the workers of Merthyr Tydfil, is it not, together with those who have no animals? And the plants and flowers which spring from the earth say in their language, “Here is fruitful soil; till it and you shall have your daily bread.” My paper is nearly full. My love to you, your wives and children, and to Brother Jones and all the Saints. Martha wishes to be remembered to you in the same way.
Your brother in Christ,
*Answer: I shall make the head of the pipe a chimney and not my mouth.—J. D.