Dan Jones and the Wales Mission

Reid L. Neilson and R. Mark Melville, "Dan Jones and the Wales Mission," in The Saints Abroad: Missionaries Who Answered Brigham Young's 1852 Call to the Nations of the World, ed. Reid L. Neilson and R. Mark Melville (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2019), 1–32.

Historical Introduction

“In no place hardly have I preached without a few hundreds of attentive hearers, and not unfrequently a couple of thousands,” Dan Jones reported on his second mission to Wales in September 1853. Jones, a native Welshman, had been sent to preach the restored gospel in Wales between 1845 and 1849, and he exhibited a natural talent for preaching in a nation that was especially receptive to the message of the Latter-day Saints. So prosperous was this mission that church leaders called him to serve there again in 1852, and of the eight missionaries featured in this volume, Jones saw by far the greatest number of converts. Over the course of his mission, he visited various church conferences, preached to densely packed crowds, organized branches of the church, responded to attacks by local clergy and others, and published tracts. He had a major role in bringing a sizable group of Welsh converts into the church and subsequently into Utah Territory, both in 1849, when he returned from his first mission, and in 1856, when he returned from his second.

The Early Life of Dan Jones, 1810–44

Dan JonesDan Jones. Courtesy of Church History Library.

Dan Jones was born in 1810 in Flintshire, Wales, to Thomas and Ruth Jones. He went to sea by age seventeen and became a mariner, perhaps even traveling around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and visiting India, among other places. After marrying Jane Melling in 1837, he immigrated to the United States about 1840 and became a boat captain, earning the title “Captain Dan Jones.” In 1842, he became part owner of a steamboat called the Maid of Iowa, and as its captain, he would transport Latter-day Saints from a sawmill in Wisconsin to Nauvoo via the Mississippi River. After hearing unfavorable reports of the Saints, Jones investigated church doctrines and was baptized on January 19, 1843. That April, the Maid of Iowa carried a group of Saints to Nauvoo, and according to tradition, upon their arrival, Joseph Smith stepped aboard, put his hand on the head of small-statured Dan Jones, and reportedly proclaimed, “God bless this little man.”[1]

The Prophet subsequently purchased a half interest in the Maid of Iowa and became a joint owner of the steamboat, which Jones piloted frequently on church business.[2] Jones spent the nights of June 25 and 26, 1844, with Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage Jail. In a letter to Thomas Bullock, Jones reminisced that on the last night in jail, Joseph Smith told him, “You will see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you ere you die.”[3] The next morning, on June 27, Jones visited Governor Thomas Ford and asked for better military protection. When Jones returned to the jail, the guards denied him entry. He was given a letter by Almon Babbitt with a request from Joseph Smith to take it to Mr. Browning in Quincy, Illinois. As Jones was about to depart on his horse, which he had previously arranged to be ready for him, a mob surrounded him, but he managed to escape and departed on the wrong road, fortuitously avoiding a dozen soldiers sent to waylay him. Jones was away from Carthage when the mob murdered Joseph and Hyrum Smith.[4] Jones boarded a boat traveling on the Mississippi River; when it stopped near Warsaw, Illinois, he hid under a mattress and remained hidden from a mob that intended to hang him.[5] To Jones and other Latter-day Saints, these narrow escapes from death were a fulfillment of prophecy that enabled him to later labor in Wales, just as Joseph Smith had said.

First Mission to Wales and Settlement in Utah, 1845–52

In 1837, Joseph Smith called Apostle Heber C. Kimball to open missionary work across the ocean in the British Isles. As the work progressed, missionary efforts expanded into Wales, with Henry Royle and Frederick Cook being the first officially assigned to the country. By the end of 1840, there were more than one hundred converts in North Wales. Thanks to the efforts of William Henshaw and others in South Wales, branches of the church were organized in 1843, and on April 6, 1844, the Merthyr Tydfil Conference[6] was organized, the country’s first. But Henshaw spoke only English and not Welsh, and he and many of the other missionaries were limited in their efforts.[7]

When Dan Jones arrived in January 1845, there were already two hundred converts in South Wales. But Jones initially labored in North Wales, where he witnessed the conversion of only three people during his first year.[8] However, at the end of 1845, he was transferred to Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. There in the heartland of the country, Apostle Wilford Woodruff put him in charge of all the country’s missionary work. As part of his proselytizing efforts, Jones authored and published many tracts and other works, including a periodical called Prophwyd y Jubili (Prophet of the Jubilee).[9] Jones also called for the new converts to gather to Zion, though “Zion” had switched from Nauvoo to Utah during his absence. As many of the Welsh planned to leave their native country, antagonistic publications and sentiments raged, often taking aim at Dan Jones specifically. “You would have thought that I had seven horns, if not as many heads,” Jones reported. “The scenes here are very like the continental rabbles of Missouri, &c., and still raging worse and hotter daily. You need not be surprised should you hear of Carthage tragedies ere long.”[10] Nevertheless, he was a dynamic speaker and seemed to relish the sense of battle between him and the local clergy. Despite opposition, Jones’s efforts were fruitful: by the time he departed Wales after laboring there for four years, the Latter-day Saint population of the country exceeded three thousand. In February 1849, Jones led a few hundred Saints aboard the Buena Vista to depart for their new home in America.[11]

After arriving in the port city of New Orleans in 1849, Jones led his group up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, where he established a Welsh suburb called Cambria’s Camp for those who could not afford to go to Utah at that time. Jones, along with the approximately eighty Welsh pioneers who were financially able to travel to Salt Lake City that year, became part of the George A. Smith wagon company that arrived in Salt Lake City in late October 1849.[12] Weeks after his arrival, he entered into plural marriage by marrying his second wife, Elizabeth Jones Lewis, who had been part of the George A. Smith company with him. In late 1849 and early 1850, President Brigham Young asked Apostle Parley P. Pratt to oversee an expedition to southern Utah to find new places for settlement. Jones was one of many men assigned to the journey; part of his purpose on the trip was to search for a rumored Welsh Indian tribe.[13] After returning to his home in Salt Lake City, Jones finished constructing a sailing vessel, the Salicornia, used by Howard Stansbury and the United States Army of Topographical Engineers to survey the Great Salt Lake.[14] In September 1850, Isaac Morley chose a hundred men, including Jones and his family, to help settle the town of Manti. Jones was elected as its mayor in April 1851, serving in this capacity until he left on his second mission to Wales in the fall of 1852.[15]

title page of "Udgorn Seion"Title page of Udgorn Seion (Zion’s Trumpet ), edited by Dan Jones.

Second Mission to Wales, 1852–56

When Dan Jones was called on his second proselytizing mission in August 1852, it was under more difficult circumstances. Whereas his first mission permitted him to bring his wife Jane along, for his second mission he had to leave behind not one but two wives, Jane and Elizabeth, and several children, many of them Elizabeth’s children from her first marriage. Jones headed across the eastern United States before sailing to the United Kingdom in company with Thomas E. Jeremy and Daniel Daniels.[16] These two companions had been baptized in Wales while Jones was serving his first mission, and both had previously sailed with him on the Buena Vista.[17] When Jones arrived in Wales in December, local Saints flocked around to welcome him back. He served as second counselor to mission president William S. Phillips before becoming president of the mission again in January 1854, at which time he also became editor of Udgorn Seion, the Mormon periodical of Wales.[18] He also resumed publishing missionary pamphlets and tracts.[19]

On this second mission, Jones found the Welsh less receptive to his message. Persecutions raged, with one particular factor being especially significant: polygamy. His first mission had taken place before the 1852 public announcement of plural marriage, but Jones’s second call came at the same time the Latter-day Saints’ unconventional marital practice was announced to the world. Jones himself had entered into plural marriage three years earlier. On his way to Wales, Jones translated Joseph Smith’s 1843 revelation on plural marriage into Welsh, which was published in the January 1, 1853, issue of Udgorn Seion.[20] The practice generated significant disapproval among those of other faiths. “The capital which the priests make of the ‘plurality’ has prevented the people investigating heretofore, although it has had a salutary influence upon the Saints, and it is getting old and forgotten by the world gradually,” Jones wrote.[21]

Despite the public opposition from many, Jones had incredible missionary success. People crowded into buildings and followed him from town to town to hear him speak.[22] “The increasing audiences the Elders obtain generally, and the lively interest which the public manifest in the all-absorbing topic of ‘Mormonism,’ more than intimate that it is neither dead nor dying; . . . a thousand-and-one other sweet-scented nosegays, may divert their attention a while, but, like ‘Jonah’s gourd,’ they fade and perish, and, when the Spirit of truth, like a breeze from Paradise, blows away their stench, ‘Mormonism’—the same impregnable and ever-living theme, still haunts them closer than ever before; . . . hundreds, if not thousands, now stand aghast on the brink, with nothing apparently withholding but shame that they have been so long scared by the baseless bug-bears of their clerical hob-goblin story-tellers.”[23] Two thousand people were baptized into the church between 1853 and 1856, when Jones returned to Utah.[24]

During his presidency, Jones also helped with collecting money for the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, which provided loans to needy Latter-day Saints traveling to Utah, and oversaw another migration of Saints to the Salt Lake Valley. He was delighted to see these converts’ enthusiasm to gather: “I beg to assure you that I would not wish to see a greater desire for that than is evidently pervading every class, in every locality. ‘Do help me to go to Zion;’ ‘When shall I go home?’ ‘Oh, do try to help me off this time,’ are so often reiterated in my hearing, and plead with such anxiety and earnestness, that they tingle in my ears, asleep as well as awake.”[25] From April to May 1856, Jones oversaw more than seven hundred Saints, organized into eleven wards, aboard the S. Curling,[26] sailing from Liverpool[27] to Boston.[28] These Welsh converts then made their way to Iowa by rail, where they outfitted before crossing the plains to Utah. Most of them joined the Edward Bunker handcart company, the third company to test the inexpensive handcart experiment, arriving safely in Salt Lake City in early October.[29] Jones did not travel with this company; he had been assigned to head a wagon company, but due to illness, John Hunt instead headed the wagon company, and Jones joined Apostle Franklin D. Richards’s group. Richards and his companions moved swiftly across the plains, passed the ill-fated Willie and Martin companies and brought word of their plight to Salt Lake City in time for the October 1856 general conference. Dan Jones did not participate in the rescue of these groups due to illness.[30]

Postmission Life, 1856–62

After returning to Utah, Dan Jones spent the remainder of his life less dynamically. He married a third wife, Mary Matilda LaTrielle, and lived in Salt Lake City, where he continued to minister among the local Welsh population, rather than returning to Manti.[31] In 1857, he began sailing the Timely Gull, a ship belonging to Brigham Young, to transport cargo to sell at various spots on the Great Salt Lake.[32] He moved to Provo by 1859. His first wife, Jane, died on February 24, 1861, and Jones passed away from tuberculosis in Provo on January 3, 1862, at age fifty-one.[33]

Dan Jones’s missionary companions likewise served in the church for the remainder of their lives. Daniel Daniels took over Jones’s duties as mission president and editor of Udgorn Seion from 1856 until 1857. He moved to Salt Lake City and later Brigham City, Utah, and Malad, Idaho, where he served as bishop from 1866 to 1877 before dying in 1879.[34] Thomas Jeremy departed from Wales in 1855 and sailed back to the United States with Edward Stevenson.[35] He served a second mission, acting as president of the Welsh Mission from 1860 to 1864, and he labored again in the British Isles from 1875 to 1876. He served on the high council of the Salt Lake Stake for nearly twenty-three years, from 1864 to 1887, before dying in Salt Lake City in 1891.[36]

Dan Jones’s Family Life

Dan Jones married Jane Melling in 1837 in Denbigh, Wales, and she immigrated to America with him. Jane accompanied Jones on his first mission to Wales. When he was instructed to return to Utah and to bring a group of Welsh Saints with him, he planned to leave Jane and their new little daughter Claudia in the care of the Saints in Wales until he could return on a second mission. However, Jane, not wanting to be left behind, traveled with her four-week-old infant daughter on board the Emblem, a ship that left Liverpool on March 12, 1849, two weeks after Jones had left on the Buena Vista.[37]

During that first mission, Jones met Elizabeth Jones Lewis, a Welsh convert. Elizabeth sold property to her brother-in-law for three thousand pounds to finance many of the Saints’ travel expenses.[38] Jones and Elizabeth departed from Wales in 1849. Elizabeth wrote: “I had paid the passage of forty persons across the ocean and up to Council Bluffs, and from there I provided for and paid the expenses of thirty-two to Salt Lake City. Having every comfort that could be obtained, we perhaps made the trip under as favorable circumstances as any company that has ever accomplished the journey.”[39] Jane and her newborn, Claudia, caught up with Jones and Elizabeth at Council Bluffs, Iowa. The company reached Salt Lake City in October of 1849, and on November 8, two weeks after their arrival in Salt Lake, Dan Jones was sealed to both Jane Melling Jones and Elizabeth Lewis.

In 1851, Jones traveled with his wives, Jane and Elizabeth, to settle in Manti, Utah. When Jones left on his mission in 1852, he had two daughters living: Claudia, Jane’s daughter, and Ruth, Elizabeth’s daughter. Jane bore a son, Joseph Dan, the following May. During this period, Jane would drive an ox team from Manti to Salt Lake to exchange butter, cheese, grain, and other goods for cloth, thread, and other things not obtainable in Manti.[40]

Elizabeth was caring for six children from her first marriage. She and Jones had a daughter, Ruth, and after she moved to Provo, Utah, she also gave birth to a son, Brigham, just barely after Jones had left Utah.[41] She appears to have struggled to support her family during this time, as referenced in a discourse in which Brigham Young reproved the Saints for not paying debts: “There is a sister from Wales, the wife of brother Dan Jones, who has expended thousands of pounds to help the poor to this place, and they have cursed her all the day long, and she has now to labor hard for the support of herself and children.”[42] During his mission, Elizabeth requested and was given a bill of divorcement from Jones. The reasons for her request are unknown. She remarried Dan four months before his death and was appointed the administrator of his estate when he died.[43] She continued living in Salt Lake City until her death in 1895.

On February 18, 1857, Dan married a third wife, Mary Matilda LaTrielle, who had traveled in the company Jones temporarily captained in 1856.[44] They had two children,[45] and Mary died in 1916.[46]

Source Note

While on his second mission, Dan Jones wrote seven letters that were published in the Millennial Star, the official church publication of the British Isles. These were addressed to President Samuel W. Richards and his brother Franklin D. Richards, who succeeded him as mission president.[47] We have herein reproduced four of the letters, which recount the mission’s remarkable successes in the face of significant opposition. The letters describe masses of people gathering to hear Jones speak, converts being baptized, mobs and clergymen persecuting the Saints, and Jones publishing defensive tracts. The final letter describes the journey of the seven hundred Welsh converts aboard the S. Curling as they sailed from Liverpool to Boston.

Document Transcripts

Dan Jones to Samuel W. Richards, September 29, 1853[48]

Merthyr Tydfil, September 29, 1853.

President S. W. Richards—

Dear Brother—I have had the pleasure of visiting a Conference every Sunday since I saw you, and have preached in the most populous places some four or five times every week besides. I am happy to say that the Lord in His goodness has bestowed His good Spirit upon me to overflowing. I was very kindly received by the Saints and the world everywhere, and I had the great pleasure of leaving the Saints in union, and fully determined to be up and doing, while the day lasted. In many places I found people who had travelled from twenty to thirty miles across hills and dales, purposely to meet me. I do believe that with the blessing of Him who owns the vineyard, it will blossom like the rose, so that it will bear a better crop than ever. In no place hardly have I preached without a few hundreds of attentive hearers, and not unfrequently a couple of thousands. For instance—in Bethesda, Carnarvonshire,[49] on a Sunday afternoon, a very large barn was prepared for the occasion, with a pulpit, &c. When I came in sight of the place, behold! a small field adjoining was nearly full, so that I had to crowd my way, and O! the eyes that stared at the “man of forty wives,” they were like truckle berries in milk! “Where will you preach?” inquired a loud voice from the far end. “In that big barn, if I can ever get there,” was the reply. “You can’t get in, for that was crammed full of people long ago,” cried many voices. And so it was, pulpit and all! What a chance, thinks I! “Fetch a cart to the middle,” was the next invention, which was scarcely said than done. Into the cart I mounted, and who that has not experienced the like can imagine the “glorious heaven below” which I realized the next two hours? Heaven’s floodgates were thrown open, Pentecostal like![50] With open mouths, and tears of joy glistening in their eyes, did the mass unmoved drink down with greediness eternal truths. They were reluctant to have an intermission, many followed me, and the world contended who should have me to tea. Several promised to be baptized soon. That over, and six o’clock come, again they were there, and some congregations had brought their preachers with them—more than one got converted, too, as they admitted to me. Again over the mass I mounted my scaffold, and had as good attention as before, and as much power of the Spirit as I wished to have, for a couple of hours more; in fact, ’twas difficult to find a place for the “Amen.” All were astonished, all believed, methinks! at least, if there was an unbeliever left he dared not say so. Till dark they stood there, and several voices begged of me to “preach to-morrow,” saying, that “thousands more would come.” I told them that I had an appointment in Bangor[51] then, five miles off. A general shout was heard—“Let us follow him to-morrow,” and many of them did. I left six there to be baptized next day by the Elders. The Calvinistic Association[52] was commencing at Bangor then, but I sent the bell-man round, and got hundreds of their hearers, and five at the close said they would be baptized. From there I had to be on the lope to Carnarvon,[53] &c., to enjoy similar scenes of blessedness. If I had had time to stay, I might have done more; but a streak of fire is kindled, and the Elders are blowing the bellows. God bless them.

Your affectionate brother,

D. Jones.

Dan Jones to Samuel W. Richards, April 3, 1854[54]

Merthyr, April 3, 1854.

President S. W. Richards—

Dear Brother—On the 25th and 26th ult. we enjoyed a good meeting of the East Glamorganshire Conference here.[55] All was peace and goodwill with the Priesthood and the Saints, much of the Spirit of God was enjoyed, all seeing eye to eye in all matters of business done; many responded to the call to go and open new places of preaching, two new Branches were organized, and fifty baptisms reported.

The Priesthood generally are realizing their duty of saving souls; they take hold with zeal in reformation, out-door preaching, tract distributing, and, better than all, they manifest a determination generally to live their religion before the world; the results are, that the Lord rewards their diligence by copious out-pourings of His Holy Spirit, nearly all the Branches in this Conference have received the various gifts of the Spirit, of late;[56] and I am cheered with similar good news from all the Conferences. Present prospects flatter me that, by the aid and blessing of Him who owns the work, much good will be done, and there will be a great gathering into His fold.

The Presidents of other Conferences are alive to the importance of faithfully warning men this coming summer, and are preparing for the campaign with energy.

I have just returned from attending a Conference in Brecknockshire,[57] and I am happy to say that truly the Spirit of the Lord is there, and the prospects are cheering; love and union abound generally.

I intend visiting Monmouthshire[58] Conference next Sunday, where they have lately baptized about fifty.

I learn that the circulation of the Star and the Udgorn is increasing gradually, although the agents do not order more from the offices.

A few days ago, we had the pleasure of baptizing a neighbouring Baptist minister, and one of his local preachers.[59] Many of their former members came to witness their confirmation, when I had a good opportunity of laying the truth before them. They listened attentively and respectfully, and I believe that the spirit of truth impressed an unvarnished testimony upon their minds. The two brethren have received testimonies of the truth, and are zealously testifying unto others.

The same day and hour, at another place, a Unitarian minister was baptized, who is a promising young man also. He never ceased praying for forty-nine hours after baptism, until the Lord blessed him with His Spirit in much power and demonstration.

The young man straightway went amongst his old associates, and testified of the truth. Instead of converting all before him, as he had anticipated, he was expelled from a college where he had been sometime graduating, his friends scorned and his parents disowned him, but he came here in good cheer, and says that he has found a better Father than the one he lost, and better friends.[60]

May the Lord bless the three with perseverance to endure all things, and make them a blessing to many of their old associates, many of whom are not far behind, they say.

Thus, you see, dear brother, that the Lord is crowning our labours with some success, although but preludes to a spontaneous harvest of souls, I trust. A spirit of inquiry is manifest in the world, and the crowds who come to hear preaching, indicate that the Lord has many more children in Wales yet.

I crave an interest in your prayers, to rightly administer the word of life to Saint and sinner, and for the prosperity of the kingdom of God in Wales.

With kind regards to yourself, brother [James] Linforth,[61] and the brethren in the office, and ever praying for your success in all things pertaining to your high and responsible calling, I am truly your brother, &c.,

D. Jones.

Dan Jones to Franklin D. Richards, October 26, 1854[62]

Udgorn Seion Office, Swansea,[63] October 26, 1854.

President Richards.

Dear Brother—In accordance with your request through the Star, to be advised of the state of the work of God amongst the various nations over which you have the high honour to preside, I embrace this opportunity to inform you of the general features of the Church in Wales.

During the summer season the Priesthood have been diligent in out-of-door preaching, and have had more numerous and attentive audiences than heretofore; “camp meetings” have been the order of the season, especially where much opposition has been presented; and the combined influence of the Saints so assembled has never failed so far to move the prejudice, storm the strongest ramparts, and win conquest to the kingdom of God.

The weaker Conferences have been much strengthened by the aid of Elders and Priests from the stronger, who, together with many “volunteers” labouring in new grounds, sustained principally by tracts, have done much towards the spread of the Gospel; and I am pleased to see, by the renewed vigour of the officers generally, that they realise their responsibilities, and the importance of faithfully warning their fellow beings of impending dangers.

You can anticipate our future prospects of success when I say, what I have not been able to say so unexceptionably heretofore, that officers and Saints are united, so far as I know; and I have had the pleasure of visiting the majority of the Conferences of late; everywhere the Saints evince an increasing desire to excel in living their professions, which to me is a certain forerunner of paramount success.

Now, the weather being unfavourable to out-door preaching, the brethren manifest no less zeal to water the seed so profusely sown, by distributing tracts from house to house and selling them to the world, each having his sphere appointed him weekly;[64] and truly it does the Saints, as well as the world, much good, because, as they say, the Lord blesses them with His Spirit abundantly in so doing. So that “Mormonism,” so far from being in a dying or dead state, as many have flattered themselves, is humming about the ears of the priests and people, who feel quite alarmed already, and admit that this “imposture” threatens to be more dangerous than ever. You would be pleased to see the diligence of the Saints, in following the tracks of the clergy, priests, and Scripture readers, and all sorts of pedlars, with “Replies” to the falsehoods which they spread abroad, sometimes meeting in the same house, and then I leave you to judge who finds the door first! Truly their zeal is worthy of a better cause. But through the blessings of Him who owns the work, all their efforts are abortive to retard its onward march. The capital which the priests make of the “plurality” has prevented the people investigating heretofore, although it has had a salutary influence upon the Saints, and it is getting old and forgotten by the world gradually.

Baptisms have not been as numerous as we expect them to be shortly, although a few individuals are still being baptized everywhere. I will merely recite one out of many instances—even in Merthyr, the place where the very stones might have denounced a Gospel-hardened race,[65] the seed is sprouting like a tulip bed after a summer’s shower—seventeen baptized and twenty backsliders returning in one Branch in one week. That most popular of preachers—the Cholera,[66] which has swept off hundreds in that vicinity of late, may have contributed some to accomplish the above; but I am glad to learn, that out of the many attacked by that “king of terrors,” no Saints have died there, and only two or three have I heard of elsewhere, the ordinance being their only antidote.[67]

In regard to myself, I never did feel a greater desire to further the purposes of God, so far as I understand them, nor more pleasure in it; I never fancied that I could do much, but my mite is as willing as the much of my brethren. My Counsellors—Elders [Thomas] Jeremy and [Daniel] Daniels, are very efficient and zealous men, of one heart and soul with myself in all things, and they are a great blessing to the Saints. May the Lord bless them for it.

I have lately published upwards of 50,000 Welsh tracts on the first principles, “Replies,” and “Invitations,” with the addresses, time of preaching, &c., for every Branch of note throughout the Principality, nearly all of which are in circulation, at the lowest rates, besides other Welsh tracts previously on hand, and a fair proportion of English, so that taking all into consideration we have a reasonable prospect for success when the spirit of truth accompanies them home to the honest heart.[68] The problem is solved, that tract distributing, so far from augmenting, is the best method of liquidating “old book debts,”[69] by winning new coworkers to that, as well as to every other laudable work; proving the force of the expression of one of old—“He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly;”[70] whereas, the liberal mind deviseth liberal means, and by his liberality shall he live.[71]

The old debts have been considered quite an impediment to the progress of the work in all the Conferences, but I am pleased that, of late, a new era has dawned upon us in that respect, by the abundant blessings manifestly poured upon the faithful minority in proportion to their exertions in paying the debts, so that by far the majority are now convinced that the Lord pays better interest on their loans than they had conceived of; nor is it new or strange to hear them detail in the meetings how the Lord has repaid them for “days’ work” contributed, but the fact engenders faith in Him and in His promises, in proportion to its use.

Without particularizing on incidents, you will be able, by the above representation, to delineate the general features of the work in Wales at the present time; and while your superior judgment may deliberate over the scene, that the Spirit of inspiration may dictate amendments, alterations, new means, or anything, anyhow, to give the Gospel a greater impetus in our midst, is the heart’s desire of him who has no higher ambition.

I will detain you to state one instance, which occurred lately, to show the rage of the adversary, and you may have a suggestion on the subject.

While two Elders were preaching in Caermarthenshire[72] a few Sundays ago, a gang of thirty or forty, led on by a tavern keeper, commenced shouting and hallooing, professedly to drown the voice of the brother who was preaching. Their lungs failing before they accomplished their object, the stones came next; one struck the other brother in the face, until his blood was streaming; others whizzing by their heads, failed to dislodge them, so the mobs rushed upon them, forced them to flee, and pursued them for a long way, until one succeeded in gaining the woods; the other was knocked down by a stone, and brutally kicked while bleeding on the ground, the timely aid of a generous stranger saving his life, when they had pronounced him dead. The stranger carried him to a house, and he so far recovered as to be able to ride back with a guard next day to detect the mob, when the tavern keeper openly avowed the deed, and declared that “the next time, instead of stones they would use guns;” and he subsequently, when arraigned before the authorities, reiterated the threat with impunity, and without the least prohibition, fine, or censure on their part. The highest dignitaries have written abusive letters to our attorney for defending the brethren. These are the third and fourth Elders whom this man has attempted to murder; one, an old man over sixty years of age, was struck down by a stone hitting him on the head, thrown by this same villain, a year ago, abused, and left for dead. When he recovered so as to be able to prosecute him, the Court fined the defendant 6d![73] The plaintiff had the costs to pay, and had a severe reprimand for preaching, with threats if he continued. Another Elder, having called at this fellow’s house on business, he came in with a club, and beat him so brutally that he barely escaped with his life.

There are those in that vicinity who believe, and some desire baptism, but this roaring lion threatens the life of any Saint he meets, and we can get no protection. But I have probably written enough these busy times, hoping this long history will remind you of that long letter promised me long ago.

With congratulation upon your safe return, and continual prayer for you in every good, and with my kind respects to yourself, to President [Daniel] Spencer, if there (heaven alone can reward him for the good he has done here—universally and deservedly beloved and esteemed), also to the brotherhood in the Office, I bring my epistle to a close.

From your brother in the Covenant,

D. Jones.

Dan Jones to Franklin D. Richards, May 21, 1856[74]


Ship “S. Curling,” May 21st, 1856.

President [Franklin D.] Richards.

My dear Brother—While the passengers are on tip-toe, stretching their necks over the bow of the ship, watching for Cape Cod[75] to raise his hoary head above the blue lip of ocean, I, though no less anxious than they to see the long looked-for welcomer of all pilgrims to “the land of the free and the home of the brave,”[76] retire to my cabin to inform you of some of the incidents of our voyage.

In a few hours after I was loosed from your parting grip, and that of the other faithful and highly esteemed brethren at your Office door, on April 19, which parting has not yet been or will be for some time forgotten, I found myself mustering the passengers on board the S. Curling, in the open sea, being towed out by a steamer. All this over, to the astonishment of the inspecting officers, in less time and with less trouble, they said, than they ever had with any other ship; and after the tug had taken our worthy brother Daniels and other faithful escorters back home, I availed myself of the first opportunity to organize the passengers.

Having conversed with my counsellers, J[ohn]. Oakley and D[avid]. Grant, and some dozen presiding Elders, brother [Patrick Twiss] Birmingham[77] was chosen Secretary; the ship was divided into eleven wards, and suitable Presidents appointed to each, whose duties, although defined to them emphatically, would only be a repetition to you of what you have often heard.[78]

For the first three days gentle breezes and tides wafted us to Cape Clear;[79] four days more of strong north east wind hurried us at the rate of twelve or more knots per hour to the westward, which had so flattered us with a speedy passage, that it took two weeks of adverse winds to erase it from our minds. During this time the S. Curling, though called a mammoth of her species, with her 700 passengers and luggage, crew, and withal 2,000 tons of iron in her bowels, rocked like a crow’s-nest on a lone sapling in the gale, nor paid deference to Saint more than to sinner, all in turn.

Amidst the wreck of berths, wholesale, the passengers grappled to be uppermost, which position was no sooner gained, than they were again reversed with beds uppermost. Of course pots, pans, kettles, and every thing that could make a noise, joined as usual in the music, and the medley dance. Upon the deck, also, where we enticed, helped, carried or hoisted all we could, true affection bound them in heaps or piles to each other; all had one leg too short or too long every step, but amid such a throng ’twas as difficult for one to fall alone as it would be for a ten pin to fall alone amidst its tottering throng; and here, before they learned to walk alone, all felt the power of the adage, “Once a man and twice a child.” More than once, in the mean time, the power of the Priesthood curbed the fury of old Boreas, who, as soon as the bits were out of his mouth, like a prancing steed, again would snort in the gale, requiring all the faith on board to rein him in, until, at length a certain few, in an indescribable circle, fettered him, and ever since stubborn old Boreas has been more tractable to his riders, and promises to continue so until he lands them.[80]

Notwithstanding the roughness of this wintry passage, we continued to be quite a devotional people. At 5 a. m. each day the bugle called the men out to clean their wards, and then to retire on deck while the ladies were dressing for morning prayers, at a quarter to six o’clock. At dusk the bugle called all hands to prayer again, by wards, and it pleased me much to see, by the almost universal willingness to go below, that the call was duly appreciated, nor was the scene less interesting to see seven hundred Saints on their way to Zion, pent up in so small a space, all bow the knee, and, with their hearty Amen, lift their hearts in aspirations of praise to Him who deserves our all. Instructions suitable to the circumstances were freely given, at such times, by the presiding Elders; and, to their praise be it said, were as freely received and promptly carried out.

Our evenings, after meetings until bedtime, were spent in singing the songs of Zion;[81] after which the men retired on deck, while the females retired to a better place.

Sundays, at 10 a. m., I have enjoyed myself much in council with the presiding Elders, where undisturbed union has always reigned. At 2½ p. m., we held public meetings on deck, where we had Captain and crew among the audience. The sisters, especially through the various wards, being ever preaching their favourite topic—the celestial order of marriage[82]—it was deemed ungenerous in the Elders not to help them in such a laudable undertaking. Consequently, according to previous announcement, myself and counsellors volunteered our services to help them, and did our best for a couple of hours, the two last Sundays; in return we received the thanks of the sisters for doing it so much better, they say, than they could do it themselves.

At 8 p. m. the bugle again called to sacrament meetings[83] in the wards, when many could not refrain from testifying of the goodness of God and their love of “Mormonism.” Tuesday and Thursday evenings, prayer meetings convened in the wards.

Thus, from day to day, blow high, blow low, in the bonds of love and union, whether English, Irish, or Britons—of the latter we had about 560—has this noble band of Zion's pilgrims served their God, on the wide ocean; nor do I believe that any people could do better, under the circumstances, than they have done.

In the cooking department, where I have seen in the experience of years, others, “whose God is their belly,” have a “bone of contention” in every kettle, and fight with bones, kettles, and pans, these quiet and self-denying people have sanctified even the galley—the seat of war—with their harmony. Two wards at a time have half an hour for cooking breakfast, three quarters for dinner, and half an hour for supper, reversing alternately, and the intervals between meals for baking, &c. This dispenses with the throng around the galley, and each know his turn by seeing the number of his ward over the door.

The health of the passengers, although good in the main, considering the weather, has not been without grievous exceptions. I regret to say that, notwithstanding myself, counsellers, and others devoted all our time to nourish the sick, especially the old, and the mothers of infants, by preserves, soups, sago, arrowroot,[84] and all the well assorted stock you furnished, owing to a lack of energy in some to contend with and overcome sea-sickness, by coming to the air, themselves and babes suffered much, six of the latter have died, namely Joseph J. Davies, son of George W. Davies, of Cardiff,[85] aged one year and five months, of inflammation of the lungs, on 28th of April; Hyrum Bassett, son of John Bassett, of Wales, 29th of April, aged ten months, of inflammation of the lungs; Joseph Thomas, son of William Thomas,[86] of Milfordhaven,[87] on the 8th of May, aged nine months and five days; Parley R. Lewis, son of John Lewis,[88] of Tredegar,[89] of cancer in the breast, aged seven months, on the 9th of May; John Davies, son of Evan D. Davies, of Glamorganshire, of consumption,[90] on the 17th of May; and Joseph Price, son of John Price,[91] of Pembrokshire, May 21st, of consumption, aged twelve months. Three of the former, however, were so weakly, that the doctor said while inspecting them at Liverpool, they would not live ten days. Mothers might prolong the lives of their babes, did they keep them half the time on the deck in the fresh air, but they keep them smothered up in their arms in the blankets, inhaling each other's breath. Owing principally to this the chicken-pock[92] broke out among the children, and in despite of all efforts to check its progress, in which the doctor of the ship and Captain Curling distinguished themselves, it spread throughout the whole of the ship, yet, by steady perseverance, and the blessing of God upon the ordinance of His Gospel, it has not proved fatal, but by this time all have either recovered or are recovering.

To change the topic from our decrease to our increase, I have the pleasure of saying, that our company has been augmented by the inauguration of two little cherubs from the spirit world,[93] who are already the favourites of all, and all say, they must come to Zion with us. They would have one called Dan Curling Dee, son of Thomas Dee,[94] Llanelly,[95] Wales. The other is called Claudia Curling Reynolds, daughter of brother Reynolds, England; mothers and babes are doing well, and the former say they would come a long way again to be rocked in so easy a cradle with their infants, and especially so as to bequeath upon their infants the rights of cosmopolites or citizens of the world. We are kept on the alert, by the signs, waiting for Neptune[96] in his carriage to bring us some more sea-born “Mormons.”

But, hark! What means the tumultuous throng of hasty feet that press along? The word is passed—Land oh! Land oh! I cannot stay, I must up to see it too. Well, there it is sure enough, the grey old Cape Cod, some dozen miles to the windward; passengers, old and young, lame, maimed, halt, and blind, shouting out, “There it is! There it is! There are houses, and trees, and men walking!” Some wish for wings to fly to it, yet they have to wait for them to grow.

It affords me much pleasure to say, that my gratitude to you is still increased, commensurate with the able and efficient aid I have received, in all things, from the good men whom you gave me to be counsellors—ever ready, always willing, and one in all things, I cannot speak too highly of them; nor will the services they have rendered to this people be soon forgotten.

The conduct of Captain Curling has demanded our praise; generous, courteous, and philanthropic, he has shared his commiseration indiscriminately among the greatest sufferers, and all have received comforts from his liberal hand. He has vouchsafed to us the freedom of his commodious and splendid ship, fore and aft, both in our devotions as well as our amusements and recreations, for which, as well as for his gentlemanly, humane, and parental conduct, the Saints, in public meeting assembled, of all people first and foremost to appreciate and reciprocate favours, were pleased with the privileges given them, to express, with an uplifted hand, their gratitude to him; and many are the invocations for their Father to repay him with the blessings he merits. As for myself, we have spun yarns together for hours, as we paced the quarter deck eagerly scrutinizing the horizon, lest a treacherous squall should take us unawares, and disturb the repose of the sleepers below. At home among the stars, born in a storm, cradled on the ocean, few things escaped his eagle eye, with such a one, hours have I spent with a pleasure known only to weather beaten old tars. May he moor his barque, yes, his fleet in Zion's snug harbor, ere the equinoctial gales of life beset him.

I ought to further add, that the provisions you furnished were of a superior quality, and so abundant that few drew their rations. You would be reminded, by the meat, &c., which was hung up to the deck below, of a huge butcher's shop, and, sometimes, when the overstrained cords gave way beneath the ponderous mass, some felt the strength and hardness of bones, which did not, luckily, however, prove fatal.

Boston, May 25th. On the 22nd, pilot boarded us; light winds off shore kept us off until daylight of the 23rd, when the tug, Enoch Train, came alongside and towed us to Quarantine Ground. In a few hours the Inspectors came aboard, welcomed by the spontaneous three cheers of 700 people, and, strange as it may seem, called the names of all, and passed them, in less than one hour and a half, without any further complaint than that “I was taking all the handsome ladies to Utah.” The passengers were all remarkably clean, as well as the ship, which commanded the admiration of all. In proof of the latter I would say, that I had made a wager with Captain Curling, upon leaving Liverpool, that the lower decks would be whiter than his cabin floor, and the Quarantine Doctor decided in my favour.

Noon, we moored alongside the wharf, and had the great pleasure of meeting my worthy friend N[athaniel]. H. Felt,[97] whose judicious counsels I had learned to appreciate before, while taking a company through St. Louis, but now more welcome than ever.

24th. Concluded a contract with the Railway, to take about 400 to Iowa city[98] direct, fare $11, under 14 half-fare, and under 6 years free, with 100 lbs of luggage free: $3.50 per cwt[99] for freight; to leave Monday, 11 a.m. Got the privilege from our ever kind Captain Curling, to remain on board until that time. Sent all luggage except bedding up to the station in safety, and without aid of either mates, loafers, or any but ourselves. Our arrival created quite an excitement through the City, and the wharf is thronged with inquisitive and astonished spectators, including reverends, ladies, officials, and editors. A delegation from the tract society waited on me, petitioning the privilege of distributing Testaments, tracts, &c., to enlighten the benighted “Mormons,” and they were as much astonished as pleased when informed that their charity was highly appreciated, and that they were at perfect liberty to say or introduce anything they pleased, to any and all of the passengers—that we could investigate, and, if they could decoy any away from “Mormonism” I would thank them for it, and be glad to get rid of them.[100] They gazed wildly when informed that these people’s actions were predicated upon actual knowledge, by the revelations of God to each for himself, and not upon mere belief. I informed them that if they would pronounce in their churches, and attend to-morrow on the wharf at 11 a.m., and at 5 p.m., I would endeavour to tell them what “Mormonism” really is, and invited all the Bostonians to come and hear our own representations of ourselves, which seemed to please them much, and by all prospects there will be a good turnout. May the spirit of “Mormonism” manifest its wonted power for their good.

I have been treated very respectfully, even courteously, by your Consignees, officials of the city, and government, and in fact, without exception, and even after critical examination on principle, have been highly complimented. Thank the Lord that “Mormonism” is looking and marching upwards through the snares of darkness with which hireling priests and editors have endeavoured to ensnare it.

The Enoch Train[101] arrived 12 days before us, and the company is highly spoken of for cleanliness and order, the best ever here, ourselves excepted of course!

I was much disappointed in my expectation of meeting Presidents [John] Taylor[102] or [Daniel] Spencer, here, they are both out west, I am informed. [103]

I am endeavouring to dispose of the surplus provisions to the best advantage, but have not as yet had an offer to my mind.

Having said so much hurriedly, brother Franklin, and being called upon by an assembled throng to preach for them, I bid you, and the beloved brethren in the Office adieu, praying the Lord to bless you with health, influence unbounded, and all your heart’s desires in time and eternity, and beg to remain as ever, truly your brother in the Gospel,

D. Jones.


[1] Dennis, Call of Zion, 1, 79n6; Jones, “Martyrdom of Joseph Smith and His Brother Hyrum,” 79; Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:658; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 4–14.

[2] Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 7–10; Leonard, Nauvoo, 150–51.

[3] Jones, “Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith,” 10; see also Jones, “Martyrdom of Joseph Smith and His Brother Hyrum,” 101; Smith, History, Vol. F-1, June 26, 1844, 173.

[4] Jones, “Martyrdom of Joseph Smith and His Brother Hyrum,” 79–109; “Home Intelligence—Wales,” Millennial Star 16, no. 26 (July 1, 1854): 414; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 15–18; Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:658–59; Leonard, Nauvoo, 384–90.

[5] Jones, “Martyrdom of Joseph Smith and His Brother Hyrum,” 80, 107–8.

[6] A conference was a geographical ecclesiastical unit consisting of several branches. Merthyr Tydfil is an ancient town in southern Wales. It was the country’s industrial center in the midnineteenth century. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Merthyr Tydfil”; Dennis, Call of Zion, 1.

[7] Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 936–37; Dennis, Call of Zion, 1; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 20–22.

[8] Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1854 Welsh Mormon Periodical, xiii.

[9] On his first mission to Wales, Dan Jones published Prophwyd y Jubili (Prophet of the Jubilee), a Mormon periodical in Welsh, from 1846 to 1848. As Jones prepared to leave his mission, he established the Udgorn Seion (Zion’s Trumpet) to replace Prophwyd y Jubili and to be published by John Davis. Both papers promoted and defended the Mormon message as official church publications for Welsh readers. Davis oversaw the publication of Udgorn Seion until 1854, when Jones succeeded him as editor; Daniel Daniels took over in 1856, Benjamin Evans took over in 1858, and George Q. Cannon took over in 1861. The periodical ceased publication in 1862. Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1856 & 1857 Welsh Mormon Periodical, xix–xxx.

[10] Dan Jones, “Letter to Elder Orson Spencer,” Millennial Star 9, no. 20 (October 15, 1847): 318–19.

[11] Dennis, Call of Zion, 1–31; Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, 936–37; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 19–31.

[12] Dennis, Call of Zion, 36–69; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 46–55.

[13] Smart and Smart, Over the Rim, 124–26, 227–28. According to Welsh folklore, a prince named Madoc sailed from Wales in 1170 AD and landed in America, and his descendants survived and carried on Welsh language and tradition somewhere on the continent. The legend became vastly popular in America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as various groups tried to identify Welsh Indians. See Williams, Madoc.

[14] Van Alfen, “Sail and Steam,” 207.

[15] Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 53–72.

[16] The Millennial Star in November 1852 also mentioned an Edward Griffin in the list of missionaries called to Wales, but the list was compiled from various letters and not from official sources. The conference minutes and the First Presidency’s Eighth General Epistle, both published in the Deseret News, did not mention Edward Griffin. “Important Special Conference,” Millennial Star 14, no. 38 (November 13, 1852): 600; “Minutes of Conference,” Deseret News, September 18, 1852; “Eighth General Epistle,” Deseret News, October 16, 1852.

[17] See “Jeremy, Thomas Evans,” and “Daniels, Daniel,” in appendix 2, pp. XXX, XXX herein.

[18] Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1853 Welsh Mormon Periodical, xvi; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 31–35.

[19] Dennis, Defending the Faith, xv.

[20] Revelation, July 12, 1843 [Doctrine and Covenants 132], at Joseph Smith Papers website, josephsmithpapers.org; Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1853 Welsh Mormon Periodical, xvii, 8–16.

[21] “Home Correspondence,” Millennial Star 16, no. 48 (Dec. 2, 1854): 766; p. XXX herein; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 31–34.

[22] “Home Intelligence,” Millennial Star 15, no. 45 (November 5, 1853): 733–34; p. XXX herein.

[23] “Home Correspondence,” Millennial Star 17, no. 34 (August 25, 1855): 539–40.

[24] Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 31–35.

[25] “Report of the Church in Wales,” Millennial Star 18, no. 16 (April 19, 1856): 242.

[26] The S. Curling was built in Thomaston, Maine, in 1854 and was owned and piloted by Captain Sanders Curling, also of Thomaston. In 1855, the ship and Captain Curling transported 581 Latter-day Saints, under the leadership of Israel Barlow, from Liverpool to New York. Dan Jones led the second group of Latter-day Saints on this ship; the S. Curling departed Liverpool on April 19, 1856, and arrived in Boston on May 23. Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 178–79.

[27] Liverpool, on the northwestern coast of England, was the nation’s primary port in the 1800s. The first missionaries to England arrived there in 1837. John Taylor began preaching in Liverpool in 1840, and there were many converts in the ensuing years. Between 1850 and 1869, more than 30,000 Latter-day Saints departed from Liverpool. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Liverpool.”

[28] “Foreign Correspondence,” Millennial Star 18, no. 27 (July 5, 1856): 427–30; p. XXX herein.

[29] Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “Edward Bunker Company (1856).”

[30] Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 78–82.

[31] Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 82–84.

[32] Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:660; Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 85; Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1856 & 1857 Welsh Mormon Periodical, 204. Brigham Young had the Timely Gull built in 1854; it was wrecked at Antelope Island in late 1858. Morgan, Great Salt Lake, 253–57. Van Alfen, “Sail and Steam,” 208, erroneously states that Dan Jones built the Timely Gull, but he was in Wales at the time of its construction.

[33] Christensen, “Life and Contributions of Captain Dan Jones,” 86–88; Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:660.

[34] Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1856 & 1857 Welsh Mormon Periodical, xviii.

[35] See chapter 3, “Edward Stevenson and the Gibraltar Mission,” herein.

[36] Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 2:653.

[37] Dennis, Call of Zion, 112.

[38] Nash, “Isaac B. Nash Family Histories & Documents,” 11–12.

[39] Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 460.

[40] “Jones, Claudia—History of Claudia Jones Dennis,” Welsh Mormon History.

[41] Josephine Lewis Anderson, “Elizabeth Jones Lewis Jones—Biography,” Welsh Mormon History.

[42] Brigham Young, “Necessity of Home Missions, Etc.,” Journal of Discourses, 3:121.

[43] Christensen, “Life and Contribution of Captain Dan Jones,” 89–90.

[44] Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “John A. Hunt Company (1856)”; Welsh Mormon History, Immigrants, s.v. “Mary Matilda LaTrielle.”

[45] Christensen, “Life and Contribution of Captain Dan Jones,” 88–89.

[46] Welsh Mormon History, Immigrants, s.v. “Mary Matilda LaTrielle”; “Service Tuesday for Mary M. Vincent,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 1916.

[47] “Home Intelligence,” Millennial Star 15, no. 45 (November 5, 1853): 733–34; “Home Intelligence,” Millennial Star 16, no. 17 (April 29, 1854): 269–70; “Home Correspondence,” Millennial Star 16, no. 48 (December 2, 1854): 766–68; “Foreign Correspondence,” Millennial Star 18, no. 27 (July 5, 1856): 427–30. We did not include the other three letters because of space limitations and because their contents were less relevant or less informative of Jones’s mission experience. See “Home Intelligence—Wales,” Millennial Star 16, no. 26 (July 1, 1854): 413–14; “Home Correspondence,” Millennial Star 17, no. 34 (August 25, 1855): 538–40; “Report of the Church in Wales,” Millennial Star 18, no. 16 (April 19, 1856): 241–45. Jones also wrote a letter to church president Brigham Young from Wales in 1855, which includes additional details about his mission. Dan Jones to Brigham Young, March 27, 1855, Incoming Correspondence, Brigham Young Office Files.

[48] “Home Intelligence,” Millennial Star 15, no. 45 (November 5, 1853): 733–34.

[49] Bethesda is a town located in the former boundaries of Caernarvonshire, which used to be a county in northwest Wales. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Caernarvonshire.”

[50] In Acts 2, the followers of Jesus were gathered on the day of Pentecost, “and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). After the Apostle Peter preached, three thousand people were baptized.

[51] Bangor is a city in northwest Wales. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Bangor.”

[52] The Calvinistic Methodist Church, known today as the Presbyterian Church of Wales, grew out of eighteenth-century preaching by Griffith Jones, Howel Harris, and Daniel Rowland. The movement seceded from the Church of England in 1795 and became formally established in 1811. Proselytizing for the religion grew in the ensuing decades. Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, s.v. “Calvinistic Methodists”; Dennis, Prophet of the Jubilee, xxi.

[53] Caernarfon is a port town in northwest Wales. It is home to a thirteenth-century castle. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Caernarvon.”

[54] “Home Intelligence,” Millennial Star 16, no. 17 (April 29, 1854): 269–70.

[55] Glamorganshire was a county on the southern coast of Wales. It contained the cities of Cardiff and Swansea. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Glamorganshire.”

[56] Gifts of the Spirit are “heavenly endowments” given by God through the Holy Ghost. These gifts include “tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues,” and others. H. George Bickerstaff, “Gifts of the Spirit,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:544–46; Joseph Smith, “Church History,” March 1, 1842, in Davidson et al., Joseph Smith Papers, Histories, Volume 1, 500.

[57] Brecknockshire was a mountainous county in southeast Wales. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Brecknockshire.”

[58] Monmouthshire was a county in southeast Wales, bordering England and right below Brecknockshire. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Monmouthshire.”

[59] The Reverend John James was baptized “together with a young preacher who belonged to the same house of worship” in Cefn-coed-y-cymmer on March 19, 1854, by Thomas Jones, himself a convert from the Baptist faith. Thomas Jones recorded, “Brother J. James met with the people, in the Chapel of the Baptists, the next morning, for the purpose of terminating their obligation with one another; and a host came together in the afternoon, to witness the confirmation of the two brothers. My prayer henceforth is to God, for them to receive a solid witness for themselves, so they may call on all their old friends to come and seek the same blessing, and to rejoice together with them in this great grace.” Thomas Jones, “Baptism of a Preacher,” Zion’s Trumpet 7, no. 12 (March 25, 1854), in Dennis, Zion’s Trumpet: 1854 Welsh Mormon Periodical, 191.

[60] Thomas Jones wrote, “I am pleased to inform you that I received a letter from Carmarthen, last week, notifying me, after I had left my home, that they baptized a young Student enrolled in the School, where preachers are taught by men. He was confirmed at the water’s edge; he gave himself to earnest prayer; and within forty-eight hours, he had a clear witness; but, because he spoke of what the Lord had done to his soul, he was turned out of the School, the Chapel, and the house of his father! Is it not strange, how the professors of Christianity hate the religion of Christ?” Jones, “Baptism of a Preacher,” 191–92.

[61] James Linforth (1827–99) served as assistant editor of the Millennial Star beginning in 1851, traveled to Utah in 1856, and was living in California by 1860. Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, 1:111, 393; Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “James Linforth.”

[62] “Home Correspondence,” Millennial Star 16, no. 48 (December 2, 1854): 766–68.

[63] Swansea is a coastal city in southern Wales. Many emigrating Welsh Latter-day Saints left from Swansea before going to Liverpool, England, to sail to America. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Swansea.”

[64] Nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint missionaries would publish pamphlets and other tracts to spread their message and to respond to criticisms from outsiders and former members. Distributing the tracts became an important part of the proselytizing effort. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Pamphleteering,” 15–26, 85–99.

[65] Jones might have taken the imagery of stones preaching from Luke 19. As Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, his followers praised God. The Pharisees told him to rebuke his disciples, and he responded, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).

[66] At the time these missionaries visited, the world was suffering from the third cholera pandemic, which originated in India. Unsanitary conditions and global trade led to widespread cholera, a disease that dehydrates and can be particularly lethal if left untreated. Hays, Epidemics and Pandemics, 227–37.

[67] James 5:14 in the New Testament says, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Since the beginning days of the church, elders placed oil on the head of the sick, put their hands on the afflicted’s head, and offered a blessing, similar to a prayer. Bruce B. Clark, “Blessings,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:129.

[68] Dan Jones authored more than a dozen pamphlets on his first mission to Wales and nearly two dozen on his second. This was in addition to Prophwyd y Jubili, Udgorn Seion, a hymnal, and a book of scriptural commentary. Dennis, Defending the Faith, xv.

[69] In the 1850s, new publications printed at the Millennial Star office were given out on credit. This practice allowed more books and pamphlets to be printed and distributed, but debts for these works accumulated. Sometimes a missionary would incur a debt but not remain long enough to repay it, and local leaders often issued reports and lectures requesting payment. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Pamphleteering,” 21–22.

[70] 2 Corinthians 9:6.

[71] See Isaiah 32:8.

[72] Carmarthenshire was a county in southern Wales. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Carmarthenshire.”

[73] British currency consisted of twenty shillings (s) per pound (£) and twelve pence (d) per shilling. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “pound.”

[74] “Foreign Correspondence,” Millennial Star 18, no. 27 (July 5, 1856): 427–30.

[75] Cape Cod is a curved peninsula in southeast Massachusetts. European travelers landed on the cape beginning in the early seventeenth century. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Cape Cod.”

[76] Francis Scott Key coined the United States’ nickname “land of the free and the home of the brave” in “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written in September 1814 after the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. The song, set to the tune of the anthem for England’s Anacreontic Society, gained steady popularity in the decades preceding the Civil War. Ferris, Star-Spangled Banner, 14–25.

[77] Patrick Twiss Birmingham (1830–?) was from Ireland and traveled to Utah in 1856. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “Patrick Twiss Bermingham.”

[78] The elders presiding over the eleven wards were Thomas Thomas, John Edwards, John Perry, Job Welling, John McDonald, James Thomas, Evan Evans, Richard Williams, William Butler, John Lewis, and John Walters. Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 178.

[79] Cape Clear is part of Clear Island off the southwest coast of Ireland. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Clear Island.”

[80] Boreas was the Greek god of the north wind. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “Boreas.”

[81] The Welsh were known for their tradition of singing. Bathsheba Smith traveled across the plains in 1849 with some of Jones’s converts, and she recorded, “Maney of the Welch Saints were excelent singers, which afforded us assistance in our public meetings, and helped to enliven our evenings.” After the Saints from Wales arrived in Utah, Brigham Young asked John Parry to organize a choir of the immigrants, and this choir evolved into the Tabernacle Choir. Smith, “Autobiography,” 24; Dennis, Call of Zion, 60.

[82] Marriages properly performed through the priesthood were known by church members as sealings, in which men and women were sealed together for eternity. Today sealings occur in temples, but during pioneer Utah times they were performed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Marriage sealings performed by proper authority are viewed by Mormons as one of the crowning ordinances of their religion. Doctrine and Covenants 132 taught that under certain circumstances, Latter-day Saint men could be “sealed” to more than one wife. Plural marriages, or “celestial marriages,” required the approval of ecclesiastical leaders and had to be performed by priesthood authority. Revelation, July 12, 1843 [Doctrine and Covenants 132], at Joseph Smith Papers website, josephsmithpapers.org; Bennett, “Nature and Development of Latter-day Saint Temple Work,” 22–33; Paul V. Hyer, “Temple Sealings,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:1289–90; Campbell, Establishing Zion, 170.

[83] Sacrament meetings are Sunday gatherings of Latter-day Saints in which they commemorate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper by partaking of bread and water (or wine, in the nineteenth century). The practice dates to the very beginning of the church. C. Robert Line, “Sacrament,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, 1050–51.

[84] Sago and arrowroot are starches obtained from tropical plants. They are used as thickening agents, but by themselves they are nutritionally deficient. Second Supplement to the Penny Cyclopædia, 237.

[85] Cardiff is a seaport city in southeast Wales. A castle was built in the eleventh century, and it became the capital of Wales in 1955. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Cardiff.”

[86] William Thomas (1805–?) was a Welsh farmer and arrived in Utah in 1856. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “William Thomas.”

[87] Milford Haven is a seaport town on the southwest coast of Wales. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Milford Haven.”

[88] John Lewis (1824–?) arrived in Utah with his family in 1856. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “John Lewis.”

[89] Tredegar is a town in southeast Wales that was important in the coal industry. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Tredegar.”

[90] Consumption was an older word for tuberculosis, so called because it led to weight loss. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “consumption.”

[91] John Price (1820–83) arrived in Utah with his family in 1856. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “John Price.”

[92] “Chicken pock” was a variant for “chickenpox” and also sometimes referred to the individual pustules of the disease. Chickenpox usually infects children and is an airborne contagion. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “chicken pock.”

[93] In Latter-day Saint theology, all people existed as spirits and lived with God before they were born. Gayle Oblad Brown, “Premortal Life,” and Walter D. Bowen, “Spirit World,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1123–25, 1408–9.

[94] Thomas Dee (1832–1906) and his wife Ann arrived in Utah in 1856. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database, s.v. “Thomas Dee.”

[95] Llanelly can refer to an inland town in southeast Wales or a larger seaport town, Llanelli, further to the west. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Llanelli.”

[96] Neptune is the Roman god of the sea. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “Neptune.”

[97] Nathaniel Felt (1816–87), a tailor, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and was baptized there in 1843. After fleeing Nauvoo in 1846, he settled in St. Louis and assisted emigrating Saints who were traveling through that city. He relocated to Salt Lake City in 1850 and became a legislator. From 1854 to 1856, he served a mission in New York City and the surrounding region; he returned to Utah in 1856 but served additional missions to Britain and New England later in life. He died in Salt Lake City in 1887. Woods, “Nathaniel H. Felt,” 219–36; Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 2:380–83.

[98] Iowa City is located in eastern Iowa and was the original capital of Iowa Territory and the state of Iowa. The University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, was founded in 1847. Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, s.v. “Iowa City.”

[99] “Cwt” is an abbreviation for hundredweight, a unit of measurement equal to 112 pounds in the United Kingdom and 100 pounds in the United States. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “hundredweight.”

[100] Church leaders often said it was better if people who were weak in their faith would leave the church before traveling to Utah. In 1855, the First Presidency stated, “If any apostatize in consequence of this regulation [regarding handcart travel], so much the better, for it is far better that such deny the faith before they start than to do so, for a more trifling cause, after they get here; and if they have not faith enough to undertake this job, and accomplish it too, they have not faith sufficient to endure with the saints in Zion, the celestial law which leads to exaltation and eternal lives.” See “Thirteenth General Epistle of the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Deseret News, October 31, 1855, in Neilson and Waite, Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel, 249.

[101] The Enoch Train was built in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1852. On March 23, 1856, it departed Liverpool, England, with more than five hundred Latter-day Saints, including Truman Leonard, returning from his mission to India, and converts from Switzerland, South Africa, Denmark, and India. It landed in Boston on May 1, 1856, and some of its passengers were among the first handcart pioneers. Sonne, Ship, Saints, and Mariners, 71; Knoblock, American Clipper Ship, 69.

[102] John Taylor had been sent to New York to print a paper and to oversee Mormon emigration through New York City. He established the Mormon, which ran from February 17, 1855, to September 19, 1857. The office of the Mormon was located within two blocks of three dozen newspapers, including the New York Tribune and the New York Herald, and it published numerous articles defending Mormon doctrines and addressing misinformation. It also provided emigration guides to Saints traveling west and information on places they could find jobs in New York. Taylor edited the Mormon until May 1857, when he left New York to return to Utah. Woods, “Gifted Gentleman in Perpetual Motion,” 177–92; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, 3:203–5; “Our Last Issue,” Mormon, Sept. 19, 1857.

[103] Daniel Spencer had arrived in Boston on March 30, 1856, and in April he did some business with John Taylor in New York. He made his way to Iowa City that month, but in early May he returned to Boston and New York via railroad. He went back to Iowa City that May before Jones had arrived. Spencer, diary, April–May 1856.