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1856, Jul 4 - Jones, Dan - Letter to Brother Daniels

Udgorn Seion, Sept. 27, 1856
Letter of President D. Jones.
Israel Camp,
Near Iowa City,
July 4th, 1856

My dear Brother Daniels, -- As you see I am still alive, although you fear by now, perhaps, because of my long silence, that I am on the Plains, or in the other world. The truth is, the care of the 700 people who were entrusted to my care had so heavily overburdened me, that, by the time I reached here, I had hardly enough strength in me to live any more, and it was not for nearly three weeks that I nor anyone else knew in which world I would be the next day. By now, through the goodness of my God, there is hope that my life will continue who knows how long. Thanks be to him for that.

I wrote to you at length from Boston. Thank you for your comforting letters from (sic) there, and I received one here too, which proves that neither the ocean nor the continent has diminished the love which has bound us together for so long, and inseparably I hope.

We came from Boston to here in eight days by railway, and for L2. 6s each, half price for those who were under 14, and bringing a hundred pounds (weight) without paying.

The common people of this country treated us humanely, although some wanton and evil men tried to entice some of the sisters away in every place where they had a chance, and in several towns, such as Buffalo, Toledo, Chicago, and Rock Island, especially the last, we were obliged to mount an armed watch on the carriages, on Saturday night, and fight with crowds of hounds such as those that were once in Sodom throughout the Sunday with arms, clubs, pitchforks, and swords in order to keep them from rushing on the sisters, and indeed all the brethren fought well until victory, and although we had very little help from the Sheriff and his army, he was kind enough to give us the freedom to defend ourselves, and no sooner was that obtained than the little Mormon army rushed into the middle of the throng, outing a swathe before them as wide as the road, and guess who was leading them. The next day it was proved before the Mayor that these bloodhounds had sworn allegiance to each other in order to help each other to steal the fairest of our women to serve their own devilish purpose, and it was thanks to the power of arms and the bravery of (my) fellow-soldiers that they did not succeed. In the first town I mentioned I had to assemble a few select men and clear the station before us, with the Station Master's permission, of the savages who were rushing into the midst of and insulting the sisters when they were changing carriages (a'rnwyfau --?), and threaten to out the throat of the first who came into their midst to that end. Oh how thankful I was to be able to settle the company on this sacred ground, in the midst of Saints and brethren where they would be safe. I felt as though my work was almost over, and the innocent little flock spared from the teeth of wolves, and brought safely to the fold each and ever one. Apart form that worry, we came this far comfortably, cheaply and successfully, peacefully and without complaint and with unity and love increasing among us. In a word, I cannot praise too highly the dear brethren, and there were not too many exceptions among the other sex, and those few almost cost the best lives in the camp. Only damnation, trouble and pain follow the devil of love on the road to Zion, and this is the main hobby of the evil one in order to ruin the young and torment their leaders who give them better counsel. But enough about that, although we have to guard the camp here with a strong force in order to keep the foxes out at night, and you would laugh to see the occasional one in the snare. Thanks be to our God that the faces of all the Presidents who are here (and they are here from the four corners of the earth, now on their way home) are set like flint to defend and safeguard the chief adornment of the other sex at all costs. Three companies set out with the handcarts some weeks ago, one of them from Wales, about 300 in number, about three weeks ago. They left in the midst of loud shouts of Hosannah and rejoicing. I escorted them the first day and their only concern was that I would not be allowed to go with them; because of this many cried; but I was advised to stay here to help President Spenser, etc., to start the companies before us. Over two thousand people have come here from England, after me: over a thousand have out for the far west; three companies of men on foot, comprising about 1500 people, intend to leave next week.

I was elected to supervise the wagon and carriage camp, including nearly a hundred draught-harnesses [or possibly teams of draught horses], or at least to start it until President Richards catches up with us, and I intend to start it this week. In their midst are between 150 and 200 Welsh people all first rate. Yet the strong western winds here have winnowed some chaff on this threshing floor, or the occasional wheat seed to the door step to hide until the next sowing season. No one has been expelled [excommunicated?] as yet, and only one of the 707 has died, namely Sister James of Tredegar, and a few babies as I noted before.

Our dear President Spenser is proving himself to be a better man all the time the greater the burden that rests on him, so that everyone here considers him invaluable.

Services are held here every Sunday, and throngs came from the country and the towns to them, including many Welsh people among others who live near here. The meetings are often in the evenings, and there is a prayer night and morning in every tent at the sound of the bugle for that purpose. There is remarkable unity and brotherly love here through everything, whatever language, race or nation, hardly any difference is seen. Nearly all the remainder of the American Elders who came here across the plains the same time as you and I, are now on their way home under full sail as conquering giants; and if you were here too, the ranks would be nearly full.

People come hundreds of miles here with the express purpose they say of seeing for themselves if the wonders they have heard about us and our camp are true: carriagefulls of them are seen here almost every day and hour, and they all marvel at the scene before them and indeed our big white city on the top and the slopes (?) of a beautiful hill and open country looks very fine, especially when the sun shines on it, it glitters rather like that city which John once saw from the top of that mountain. The large round tents are in straight rows, wit their number above the door; the square tents are as straight in other rows, and the wagons with their white, red, black, yellow, and multicolored covers are a round wall meeting each other, and their tents another wall outside that. Everything inside and out, and even the roads are kept as clean and pure as though you were in a nobleman's park. Not infrequently heaven rains down tears or joy profusely on our heads, until there is scarcely a dry thread on anyone, in the midst of which echo back through the air the shouts of the songs of Zion mainly from the sisters when the water streams from their gown of silk and satin. Although there are in this pickle scores who were brought up to delicately almost to tread the ground at home, let alone lie on the ground in our Fathers' great bedroom with no cover but His blue airy coverlet. They get neither cold nor chill, and it is all merely delight to them; they rise from their beds sometimes with the dew of heaven like incense smoke rising in columns from their clothes, a monument to their sacrifice for the gospel of Jesus, while praise to God issues from their lips and not complaint.

President Snow visited us recently from St. Louis, having just returned from the Valley.

No doubt O. Pratt, Benson, and Phineas Young have arrived there with you by now; when you see them, remember me to them very kindly.

All news from the Valley is very comforting, and while peace reigns there, over here nothing is heard but the sound of war with forces from the Eastern States swarming toward Kansas to meet the forces of the slave-traders of the South on a battle ground which is already scarlet from men's blood, yes men who were nursed on the same breasts [possibly, raise on the same hills], and were nourished form the same valleys have swords locked together on their own hearths, and their father cannot understand who is at fault, who is to be helped, but rushes his armies to kill both sides as they please! While the poor things are quarreling about the soil which will fill all their heads before long, the Saints are thus left in peace to go safely home through the middle of them this year again! Great is the wisdom of our God and the precaution of his shepherds.

You will hear from me again from Council Bluffs. Until then, dear brother, Farewell; the Lord bless you with every competence to fulfill our important position to His satisfaction, to our own and to all the Saints', and bless those who bless you and all our co-workers.

This with fond remembrance to all, the brethren in the Office, and all the Officers and the Saints is the fervent desire of our dear brother in Christ,



Jones, Dan


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