LETTER OF JOHN NEEDHAM
Ms d 3327 – Church
Utah (about 1892)
Dr. R. A. Hasbrouch
Salt Lake City
I received your letter of the4 27th Inst.
Yesterday. I will send you a short account, for it seems
very uncertain that you will use it, from the way you have used the others I
sent. William Henshaw laboured
as a missionary in South Wales, so I was told
years after I left that country. With regard to the impressions of the brethren
that he was in Wales
before me, you can act upon that impression if you wish to. I have told you the
truth in my former communications with regard to myself and my labours in Monmouth and Wales. My labours
were in South Wales, not North Wales. I do not
know James Burnham, but should think the Mil. Star very good evidence of his labours. I was in Monmouth and Wales in the fall of 1840 and years
1841 and 1842. In 1843 I left for the United
States and went to Illinois
and lived there and was acquainted with Joseph Smith. I received the Gospel in
Preston in 1837 and was acquainted with the first Elders that came to England—President
Young, Kimball, Hyde, Woodruff, Richards, & Fielding and others. I laboured in Staffordshire under G. A. Smith and other
places near Birmingham
and __________ and went to my new fields in the fall of 1840. I had the charge
of Garway Conference until I left in 1843. I ordained
Elders and others and sent them out into Monmouth and Wales, but not
anyone by the name of Henshaw that I remember. Elders
Levi Richards and Curtis from America
came and laboured in Garway
Conference at times and was a great help to me and the other elders with
their counsel and experience. I will give you the names of some of the Branches
we organized—Abergaveny, Lantoney
Abbey, Longtown, Hewshovell,
Lanfoist, Llanellen, Lancathy, the Welsh Iron Works. Bros. Palmer, Taysom, Harris, and others laboured
with me. Some branches was organized in the winter of
40 and 41 and most of them in the year 1841. It kept 6 or 7
elders busy traveling from branch to branch in the years 1841 and 1842, for we
had quite a conference of members and officers. In July 24th,
1842, we held a camp meeting in Llanellen. The next
day we had a social Tea Party of Elders and members of the church. Many of our
branches was in the Welsh Hills, or I might say in
small valleys between the Hills such as Lantoney
Abbey and Longtown. Those in
Monmouth even was just on the border of Wales and spoke the Welsh language.
My health is not good or I might say more. The dates and names I have taken
from my journal that I kept during my labors in the ministry.
In conclusion let me say, I do not and cannot say I was the
first Elder that preached in Wales
and amongst the Welsh, yet I know of none before me. But it is not proof that I
was the first. If Brother Wm Henshaw was in Wales before me
it was before the fall of 1840 and the year 1841. When I left and was in the U.
States I was told a Brother Henshaw was labouring in Abergaveny and
amongst the Welsh Saints that I had laboured with,
but I can’t say it was Bro. William Henshaw. I
believe I was the first Elder that preached in Abergavenney.
I was alone and preached in the Streets. I was taken to the home of a Mrs.
Tucker and after a time the family came in the Church. I baptized them. I
should think Elder Morris coming from Wales and being so well acquainted
with the Welsh Mission would be able to help you in finding out facts, and his
judgment would be valid. I hope you will get the right ones, or one; then it
will be all right with me.
Hoping you will have better success with this letter than
the others and soon be able to satisfy yourself and the brethren as to the
first Welsh missionary. My age is between 73 and 74; was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.
I am sincerely yours,