Letters of a Missionary Apostle to His Wife

Brigham Young to Mary Ann Angell Young, 1839–1841


For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first six months of 1838 gave reason for hope despite challenging setbacks. Joseph Smith and other Church leaders had moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to the Mormon communities in northern Missouri where community building accelerated among the Saints. But also during this period, a number of formerly important players on the Restoration stage severed their association with the Church, including several of the Church’s Apostles. During this volatile time of paradox, the Prophet Joseph Smith implored heaven to “show us thy will, O Lord, concerning the Twelve.”1 The answer came on July 8, 1838: “Next spring let them depart to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name” (D&C 118:4). The place designated for this mission “over the great waters” was Great Britain, whose green hills and vales had been partially opened to the message of the restored gospel the previous year by Apostles Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde. Now the call was to the Quorum of the Twelve as a body.

In the several years after their call to the apostleship in February 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio,2 members of the Quorum of the Twelve participated in activities that mostly kept them near the Church’s center in Kirtland. A lack of focus under Quorum President Thomas B. Marsh also limited the Twelve to a portfolio without a plan. At the time of their departure for England in the late summer of 1839, only six of the original Twelve were still in the Quorum. David W. Patten had been killed in Missouri. Five others were excommunicated from the Church. Four men—John E. Page, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith—had been called to fill the vacancies in the Quorum, making ten members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1839.

Three of the group chose not to go to England: Orson Hyde, William B. Smith, and John E. Page. The names and ages of the seven who accepted the call were: Brigham Young (38), Heber C. Kimball (38), Parley P. Pratt (32), Orson Pratt (28), John Taylor (30), Wilford Woodruff (32), and George A. Smith (22). They were relatively young men, averaging 31 years of age. Willard Richards, age 35, who accompanied the Apostles as a missionary, would be added to their quorum in April 1840, bringing the total of those who ministered in England at this time to eight of the Twelve. Orson Hyde, called by Joseph Smith in April 1840 to a mission in Palestine, joined his quorum members in England for a short time in April 1841 en route to his assignment.

When Brigham Young finally became Quorum President, coincident to his arrival in England in April 1840, his leadership and the Twelve’s concerted objectives and efforts transformed the role of the Quorum. The effect was remarkable. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has stated, “Neither this group of men, the British Isles, nor the Church would ever be the same again.”3

The months between the Quorum’s call and their arrival in England were marked by sacrifice and hard work. Preparations for their departure began in the spring of 1839. The revelation to the Apostles stipulated that to initiate their mission they were to “take leave of my saints in the city of Far West [Missouri], on the twenty-sixth day of April next [1839], on the building-spot of my house” (D&C 118:5). At the temple site, early in the morning on the day required, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, and John Taylor assembled and, pleading to the Lord for divine assistance regarding their mission, ordained Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith to their quorum. This important event was accomplished in secrecy because of the hostile feelings toward the Saints held by the citizens of Caldwell County, Missouri, at the time.

Joining their young families in the newly inhabited Mormon settlements of Montrose, Iowa, and Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinois, Quorum members worked for several months to provide for their wives and children.4 Finally on September 14, 1839, Brigham Young, nearly incapacitated from sickness, bid Mary Ann and his six children farewell and headed east for New York. The plight of his family, still in crude and inadequate housing, weighed heavily on his mind. Despite the family’s pathetic condition, Young soberly concluded to his wife Mary Ann that he “would goe and perfo[r]m my mision or die in the attempt.”5

Brigham was nearly five months preaching and visiting Church members on the way to New York City, where he preached and baptized for five more weeks. He departed New York on March 9 and landed in Liverpool, England, twenty-eight days later on April 6, 1840. For one year and two weeks on English soil he did his utmost to further the establishment of the kingdom of God among the citizens of Great Britain. Twenty-two months after leaving his family, he arrived home in Nauvoo, on July 1, 1841.

Brigham Young (1801–1877) was born in Whitingham, Vermont, the son of John and Abigail Howe Young. Mary Ann Angell (1808–1882) was born in Seneca, New York, the daughter of James William and Phoebe Ann Morton Angell. At the time of Brigham’s mission to Great Britain, Mary Ann was his only wife. His first wife, Miriam Works, died in 1832, leaving him a widower with two children. He married Mary Ann on February 18, 1834, in Kirtland, Ohio. (He entered plural marriage in 1842.) Six children comprised Brigham’s household at the time he left for England: two children he had with Miriam and four more he had with Mary Ann, including a baby daughter born only ten days before his departure from Commerce.

The correspondence edited here is preponderantly personal. The letters uniformly demonstrate Brigham’s concern about the condition of his family left behind in meager circumstances.6 Despite her situation, Mary Ann, even a year after his departure for England, showed support for her husband by telling him she would exist under any circumstance rather “than have you come home [before] you have done the will of God.”7 While Brigham’s correspondence does not reveal the broad scope of his work and business in England, his zeal for building the kingdom of God and his love for his family are evident.8

The nine letters edited here are part of a collection of family materials comprising several dozen documents and artifacts recently donated by Greta Fairzina Barker Blair to the LDS Church Historical Department. Greta Blair is the wife of the late George Washington Thatcher Blair, a great-grandson of Brigham and Mary Ann Angell Young. Merian Murphy, a friend of Greta Blair’s, assisted in the donation of the collection to the Church and prepared an early typescript of the letters that was useful in the preparation of the letters printed here. The Historical Department and BYU Studies express gratitude to Greta Blair and Merian Murphy for making the publication of these letters possible.9

Each of the letters in this compilation were written either during Brigham Young’s transit to England or during his last few months of missionary service there. Other missionary letters to Mary Ann have been previously published in BYU Studies.10 With the publication of the nine letters below, all of Brigham’s known extant missionary correspondence to his wife is now published, with the exception of a letter in the Philip Blair Collection at the University of Utah, perhaps the first letter Brigham wrote to Mary Ann after leaving Commerce, Illinois.11 He apparently sent three letters to her between October 1839 and January 1840, sent another letter written September 7, 1840, and likely sent several other items of correspondence about which nothing is presently known.12

The letters edited here are Brigham Young holographs, with the exception of the letter dated October 1, 1839, which he apparently dictated to Harriet Decker. Although he was at one end or the other of thousands of items of correspondence throughout his church career, extant holographic correspondence is not common.13 These nine letters vary in size between 38 cm × 23 cm and 41 cm × 26 cm, though most are of the smaller dimensions. The letters, folded once with writing on each side, are in black and blue ink (though most of the black ink has rusted to a brown color). Several letters evidence franking and sealing wax. While there is some foxing of the paper and several places where small portions of the paper have been worn or torn away, the contrast between ink and paper is excellent, rendering the letters legible.

The idiosyncracies of Brigham Young’s writing have been preserved. Spelling and capitalization reflect that found in the original letters. His spelling phonetically follows the manner in which he spoke. He publicly acknowleded that had only a few days of formal schooling. Sensitive to his limited literary skills, he repeatedly pled with those to whom he wrote to “excuse all mistakes and errors.”14 He did not organize his letters by paragraphs, and, while he included some punctuation in his writing, he often placed dashes, commas, colons, and semicolons where, by modern standards, commas or periods are required. In order to make the letters more readable, therefore, I have added some light punctuation. Where Brigham quotes himself or others or includes the words of his own prayers, quotation marks have been added. Abbreviations such as Br and Wm have been standardized to Br. and Wm. I have combined broken words, and I have used brackets [ ] to clarify and explain information not in the actual text. Long explanatory sentences are bracketed and italicized. I have used angle brackets < > to signify textual insertions. Words crossed through or erased I have rendered as strikeouts, although single letters or incomplete words crossed through or erased I have eliminated. In several instances I have lowered superscripts to the line. Several of the letters were written over a period of days, and when these dates are known, I have noted them in brackets. The addresses are written in various places on the folded paper, usually on the fourth side of the writing surface. I have included these addresses at the end of each letter.

The biographical information supplied in the endnotes comes from a variety of sources, including Susan Easton Black, Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1848 (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984); Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants (Provo, Utah: Seventies Mission Bookstore, 1981); and Dean C. Jessee, “Biographical Register,” in The Papers of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989, 1992).


In this letter, perhaps the second one Brigham Young wrote to Mary Ann after leaving home, Brigham expresses interest in having his financial affairs settled while serving his mission.

October 1, 183915

Winchester, Scott County [Illinois], Oct. 1th 1839

my dear companion, we are now at Brothers [Isaac] Deckers.16 we are comfertable in helth. we have ben blest apon our jurney. our prospect are good. I can wright but little so I must say to you what I want to say concirning buisness. Brother [Theodore] Turley over took ous in Quincy [Adams County, Illinois].17 he told me he saw Brother [Alanson] Ripley and Brother [Vinson] Knights a day or two before he started and he spoke to him about the money I owed Br. Turley.18 Br. Ripley replied that he did not know anything about what he owed me. we had no settlement. I want you should ask Br. Ripley if he does not reccollect of setting down in his own house, opening his big account book, and showing me his Charges against me and making a settlement and the balance due me was twenty three dollars, twenty two cents and he agreed to pay Br. Turley twelve dollars for me which he may now pay to you for I will pay Br. Turley as he is with us. does not Br. Ripley remember well that I took a suit of clothes off my back that I never wore an hour and sold him for George A. Smith for twenty nine dollars and a half and a fine coat pattern for fourteen dollars for Br. Wilford Woodruff, all of which I requested Br. Ripley and Br. Nights to prize [appraise] or get them prized [appraised] but they were satisfied?19 Mary, you may read this to Br. Ripley but if he does not choose to settle the affair say nothing to him for I have had such perfect confidenc in Br. Ripley I do not wish it destroyed. let all thing remain as they are and trust in the Lord. he alone will sustain and clothe [and] feed us. yours in the bonds of love. B. Y. to M. Y. [A postscript from Harriet Decker to Mary Ann Young, discussing family and friends, appears here.] I enclose a dollar bill in this letter on the state bank of Ill. B. Y. to M. Y.

Mrs. Mary Ann Young
Montrose, Iaway
to the Care of <Mr.> Davis the ferryman


Begun while Brigham Young was visiting the Richards family in western Massachusetts, this letter recapitulates his journey across western New York, through New England, and to New York City, where he finished the letter. He reports his dreams of family (the first of several letters in which he reports such dreams). He also reports his intention to return to his family that summer (1840) if he can sail for England immediately.

January 14 [January 16, February 5], 1840

Richmond [Berkshire County, Massachusetts], January th[e]14, 1840

to You my companion & Wife in tribulation & patience, this is the six letter that I have wreten to you sence I left home. I supose you will think I mean you <shall> [k]now all my travels, & I mean you shall [k]now in the mane, for this will be a comfort to you. for when I think how it wold feast my sole to here from my wife & children, then whith a r<e>[j]oiceing hart set down to tell you all abought my traveles. as to my fair [fare] sence I left, in food & lodgen & traveling, I doe not thin[k] I <cold> wish better, & as to frends, I doe not think that Paul or Peater ever had better. I doe rejoice in the god & rock of my salvation for he is merciful to all. I have som things to try my faith as well as others and it is right that I should & my prair is that the Lord will keep my feet from sliping & my tong from speaking gile. but my gratest troble is abought my famely, whether they have a comfortble house & comfotble food or not. doe they enjoy helth? if so & I [k]now it, all is well with me. if I could onley here from my <famely>. often it appears to me that I should not think it a task in <the> least to goe to the Nations to preach the everlasting gospel. it is my theam to <Preach>: my theam [is] to tell the riches of Emanuel.20 I have injoyed my self well sence I left home concidirn my helth has ben so poor. I have found the best of frends sence I left home. I have nont wanted for a meal of vitles and a good bed sence I left Illinoice. when [I] get to New York I expect to here from you. I often dr[e]am of seeing you & the children. I dreamed the other night of seeing Elizabeth verry sick with the quick consuption.21 it was not thaught she could live but a short time. I dream of seeing my famely & that is <the> news that I get from home. how grate our triels are here & how grate will be our joy if we are faithful to our Hevenly Fathers command. “O Lord, Keep me. keep my famely. bl[e]ss them. bless my Brother & their famelies, more especile the Elders that <are> pr[e]aching the gospel. I pray, my Hevenley Father, to keep ous humbel & faithful that the Kingdom of Heven may goe forth to the Ends of the Earth, that the glory of god may com dow[n] from a bove & the knoledge of the Lord cover the Earth. I long to see the day when mobs will seace to drive the saints. role on the happy day, O Lord, when Jesus shal raign on Earth insted of the a mob spirit.” I am now at cosons P[hinehas] Richards. we have ben here 8 days. cosons Rhoda & na[n]cy send their best Love & respects to you. they seam to be well a quanted with you & the children. Hepsabeth thaught so mutch of you & the children & wrote abought you.22 thirsday the 16 [January 1840]. I will now commence my jornal as I desire my letters to be my history.23 I wrote to you from Hamilton [Madison County, New York, and] maled the letter at WatterVille [Madison County, New York]. Brother [George A.] Smith & my self left Hamilton the first <day> of Janury 1840. Brother [Joseph] Murdock sent his team to waterville with ous.24 we left the Brotherin in the best of feeling. (our feelings ware united to gether as thogh we had all ways lived to gegher. I recolect now we are nomore strangers & ferners but fel<low> sitizens & of the house hold of God. in faith we are made ni [new?] by the blood of Christ.) we left waterVille the 2 [January 1840]. Brother James Gifford brought ous to Utica [Oneida County, New York].25 while in Madison [Madison County, New York] I <had> the Plashier of visiting the Brotherin in som number of towns. they ware in <good> faith & are verry ancious to be with the saints in the west. meney of the saints wished them selves in the Mosuria difficulties. I have no dought but they will be satsfide if before the woinding up seenes <are over>. we left Utica <the> 3 [January 1840], took the cars & came to Abana [Albany, Albany County, New York] abought 6 in the evening. [We] put up at the railrode House. saterday the 4 [January 1840] I went out in to the Citty to find som of the Brotherin as we had hered that their ware som their. I soon found them. I will give you the names of som: Jonathon Duke, Robert Campbel, Brother Boys. in Troy [Rensselaer County, New York, we found] P. Bridggs [Briggs ?] & Br. [David] Sloan.26 on saterday I went to Troy then to Lancinburge [Lansingburg, Rensselaer County, New York, and] herd P[hinehas] Richards Preach in the evening. he Preached well [and] was much liked. I Preached their the next day [then] returned to Troy. [We] held a meting on Monday <6> [then] returned to Albana. [I] Preached in the Evenin to the Brotherin. the next morning we took the stage for West stockbride [West Stockbridge, Berkshire County, Massachusetts]. [We] arived at Unkel [Joseph] Richards about 1 o.c. P.M. [and] found them well.27 their are afue in that place that are strong in the faith of the Ever lasting Covenent that God has Esablished in our day. we staied their about ten days. Edwin Persons [Pearson or Pierson] braught ous to Canon [Canaan, Litchfield County], Connecticut, whare we now are.28 thir ar som fue in this place that are striving to serve the Lord. we are here & when we shall get to New York I [k]now not. the snow is about 5 or 6 feet deep here & the ro[a]ds blocked up. I should not wright so often to you ware it not that I relise how much you want to here from me. I shal pay the postge on this letter. if I pay all my letters to you before I cross, I supose you will not care how meney I send. I hope I shal here from you when I get to New York. [Brigham Young’s cousin, Rhoda Richards, here pens ten lines of greeting to “Cousin Mary.”] Coson Rhoda has writen afue lines to you. Sunday 19 [January 1840]. I preached in Sheffield [Mills, Berkshire, Massachusetts]. 26 [January 1840] Sunday. G. A. Smith preached at Brothers <French> & I spoak after him.29 on monday 27 [January 1840] Brother French braut ous on our jorney one day tord New Haven [New Haven County, Connecticut] then sent another man with ous. we had to stay in N. haven from tusday till frida[y]. then we took the steam Boat New Haven for new York. we had to plow through the Ice for severl miles but we suceeded in our jorny till we arived at frogs Point, 18 miles from New York. but the Lord provided for ous. we left the Boat, went to shore on the ice, loded our trunks on to a dirt cart, [and] went a bout a mile. a gentleman asked ous if we wished to take a seet with him in a caredge that he had hired. we did so & arived in New York that night. we found Brother [Parley P.] Pratts House. he was not at home. sister [Mary Ann Frost] Pratt & children ware well.30 Brother Taylor, Woodrouf, & Turley are gon over to Englan.31 I understand Brothers Joseph [Smith] & S[idney] Rigdon are in Phelidelphe [Pennsylvania].32 I recived a letter from You, the firs[page torn] you rote. I was rejoiced to here from You. I red the same things in your letter that I antisapated with regard to Your location. I wrote to you from Kirtland [Lake County, Ohio] ab[o]ut Father [James William] Angel, that he wanted you & your mother [Phoebe Ann Morton Angell] to com to Kirtland.33 concirning Brother [Reynolds] Cahoon & the house, if we did not let him have the house, I was to pay for the factory that I had of him.34 that was the bargan. I hope You have recived the letters I have sent to You. if you have, I thin[k] you will find that you & I have felt alike about our travels. I am in New York. when I shall crooss the water I no not. if you can com to Kirtland with Brother [Oliver] Granger & he will get you a house, I shall beg[l]ad.35 I want you should get the house that Father [Isaac Gates] Bishop ocipied.36 if you should be in Kirtland in the spring, I think I should see you before I croos the water. you wrote in your letter that your helth was very poor & you a wasting away. this hirts my feelings. I dremp the other nights you was ded. I waked my self up a weeping and lay awak[e] a while metetaing upon our life sast [past] & present. sister [Mary Ann] Pratt sendes hir best lov to you. she expets to be [in] your company in Kirtland. Febury 5 [1840]. I am at Brothers [Parley P.] Pratts [in New York City]. whare this letter will find you I no not. the Brothers P. P. Pratt & orson Pratt thinks of going acros the water within a fue days.37 if I doe not goe with them I think I shall not goe till summer & if so I shall want to see you in Kirtland if before I cross the water. if I goe now I shall return in the summer. I think I have recived a letter from H[eber] C. Kimbale. he is in the west part of [New] York state.38 he has Baptized Wm. Murry & wife. he is Violats [Vilate Kimball’s] Brother.39 fair well. the Lord bless you & children. B. Young [to] M. A. Y. I shall pay the Postege of this letter. Brigham Young To Mary A. Young

Mrs. Mary A. Young
Commers, Hancock Co., Ill.


This seventh letter from Brigham to Mary Ann since he left Commerce six months earlier was also his last letter prior to departing for England on March 9, 1840. Brigham’s longing to hear from his wife and his frustration at the difficulties in long-distance communication are evident in the letter. When Brigham penned the first part of the letter, it was his intention to return to the United States that summer or fall. By the end of the letter, perhaps after visualizing the potential for widely establishing the Church in England, he has reconsidered the length of his stay, which he speculates might now be for a year.

February 14 [February 29, March 5, 7, 8 or 9], 1840

New York, Feb. 14, 1840

this is the seventh letter I have written to you sence I left home. it is five months to day sence I left my house & famely. I have seen a grate menny sick [h]ours sence I left. but through the mercy of god I am here ammong frends & brethern. I have in joyed my self verry well a conciderble part of the time. I have preached almost every night sence I have ben here. Brother O[rson] Pratt & my self are now wating till the 25 of this month when the ship Garick will sale & we expect to goe to Englan & accomplish our mision & returne & in joy our families & frends for a while.40 whare as if I should returne & meet mi famely, I should hav<e> but a short time to stay with them [and] I should not feele satesfide till I had performed the mision that is a pon me. I promised the Lord that if he would open the way I would goe. he has provided for me thus far & has prepared the way for me to goe across the watter. I feele as though I had better goe now & returne the latter part of summer. Brother [Reuben] Hadlock arived here last night & is going with ous.41 I expected he had gon home. Brother [Heber C.] Kimball we left. he has wreten to this place [that] he has Baptized Wm. Murrey & wife, Violat<s> Brother. I have wreten to him to have him com in time to goe with ous. 29 [February 1840]. I ad afue words to mi letter. Brother Kimball has arived & is going with ous. Br. P[arley] P. P[ratt] is going & G[eorge] A. Smith. their is 6 of ous now wa[i]ting fore the ship Patrick Henrie. she is a large, new, fine Packet.42 the ship Garic would not take Pasengers. so by O[rson] P[ratt] & mi self not going on heir we now have more compiny which will render our jorney more plesent, I beleve. (I wish you to take a dead [deed] of the land Even Greene has in his hands, of that Levi Richards has in his hands, & that Soloman has all in Your one name.)43 March the 5 [1840]. I have jest returned from a short mision on long Island in compena[y] with Elder Hadlock. we was gon one week. we found the people verry much beleving. their was 9 Baptized [and] meny more about reddy to be Baptized.44 the work is going on in these parts. twenty four has ben recive<d> in to the church in this citty [New York] with in ten days. Brother Kimball has jest recived a letter from his wife but Brother Brigham has receved but <one> sence he left home. I wish you would wright a fue lines to him to comfort his poore hart. I supose his wif has soe much to doe <&> so menny babes to takcare of that she has not time to wright. but still I think that if his wife [k]new jest how much he wants to here from hir wife, I beleve she wold wright a fue lines to him to let him [k]now how she is & hir children. I am perswaded that he loves his wife & children as well as enny other man [even] if he dos not make quite so much fus about it. I often ketch him all most thinking out loud & exclaming “O, that I could here from my famely. how I doe want a letter from my wife” & so on. but a nuph of that. I doe not wish to be childeish but I must say this is a world of triels & fertuge [fatigue].45 Sister Violate Kimball says you was preparing to com to Kirtland & that Brother Hyram [Smith] <advised> you not to goe but to stay there.46 if it is best for you to stay there, stay. I am willing & especiley till I returne home. still if <I> could com & find you in Ohio insted of going to Ioway I should be glad, as my mision is to the Eastern world. but I can say the will of the Lord be don. I hope & trust that I shall never feale to rebel or goe contr[ar]y to councel or the spirit of the Lord. as to your going to the Ohio, I have told you how I felt about it. I wish you to doe the will of the Lord. there fore I shall not say enny thing with regard to advice. doe as you think best.47 I wish to doe right & keep humble for their is sliprey pathes that Elders travel in in this Church. I think it would be better for me to be in humble submision to the powers that <be> & to [ad]here to councel even if it costs me mutch labor. may the Lord keep ous humbel & faithful. Mary, I am all most a mind to wright you a love letter & see if that will not bring a nancer as Brother orson [Pratt] has has received 6 or 8 from his wife. this keep to your self for I am all most ashamed [about] it a[l]reddy. Brother [Francis] Benidick [Benedict], that was up their last spring, sends his best respecs to you & the children [and] wishes to see you & all the Brotherin.48 Sisters [Mary Ann] Pratt & others send their love to you. When I think of you & the children I feele verry ancious to here from you & how you are. I doe not [k]now whare you are nore how you are but I trust to see you agan in the faul. still I doe not [k]now but what it would be best fore me to stay till a nother yere if you still remane in that contry. I shall doe acording to circumstances. when I find whare you are I shall wright agan but not before if I here from you soon. soon after I arive in England I shall provible [probably] wright to you. the ship that we goe in is afine craft. when she is loded hir quarter decks will be provible eightin feet out of water. 7 [March 1840]. we doe not sale till monday the 9 [March 1840]. I understand the steam boat Grate Western has jest arived from Liverpool. we shall have the newes in a fue [h]ours in the papers. mary, I want to see you & talk with you. I trust I shall when the Lord shall signefy by his spirit. if I could doe sumthing for your comfort I shoud be glad but I doe not see enney way that I can. thank the good Lord I can pray for you. my feelings are pecular. if I had faith enuf & faithfulness <to> have mi famely rother nirer then a six months jorney, I think it would be agreable to boath of ous. but if we are faithful we shall not all our lives time be subject to so menny inconvnience in this life. sunday & to morrow w[e] exspet to goe on bord the ship. she sales at twelve o.c. I shall not close mi letter but lev[ink smear] it for sister [Mary Ann] Pratt [to] wright a fue word & let you [k]now that I am gon. when you wright to me wright to the same place whare sister [Vilate] Kimball dos to hir husban. I [am] quite unwell to day. geting our things on board was too much for me. we are well provided for: beds & beding & provision epenty [aplenty]. our pas<e>dg [passage] [is] paid. we shall be in small places. we shall not be so comfortable as we could wish. I supose their will be 50 or 60 pasingers in one small cabin. a word to the children: I [wish] Elisabeth to prctes [practice] wrighting & Violate [Vilate] to[o] so they can wright to me one of these days.49 be good girles, good to your mother & the little Children. little Joseph, mi first born son, be a good Boy & lern your book.50 mind your mother. tell little Brigham to be a good Boy & he shall goe with me in the ship one of these days. tell little Mary ann she must lern to soe so to hem me a hankerchief when I com home.51 Kiss little Emma for me & tell her I will kiss hir when I com home.52 You & the Children must pray fore me. so I say fair well. give my love to the Brotherin. Mary A. Young [from] Brigham Young

this is the Last day [March 8 or 9, 1840] with ous in New York for a fue months.53 I have not wretten but a fue things that I wantterd [wanted] to say. when I returne I will tell you more then I can wright. You must for give my erores & joking a gradel [great deal] of the time. I doe not hardley [know] what I doe wright or what I doe say. I will say fair well. I Bless you in the name of jesus Christ our Lord a cording to all the athority that I have. the Lord bless the children & preserve you all. M. A. Y. [from] B. Y.

Direct your leters to Preston, Pole Street no. 21, Lankershire, England.

[Mary Ann Pratt, Parley P. Pratt’s wife, apparently posted this letter to Mary Ann Angell and at this point in the text penned several lines describing the departure of the missionaries for England.]

Mrs. Mary A. Young
Commerce, Hancock County, Ill.


Brigham began writing this letter to Mary Ann on the day he arrived in Liverpool. He describes his ocean voyage to England and characterizes his new social milieu. He also includes a lengthy rehearsal of another dream.

April 6 [April 12, 15, 16, 24], 184054

Lever Pool [Lancashire, England], Apriel the 6, 1840, the first day of the eleventh year [of the organization of the Church].

my dear wife, I now attempt to wright to you agan haveing jest landed here after a long and tedeas jorny of 28 days on the brod ocean. we left N[ew] York the 9 of march [1840] and this morning found the vesel ancankered in the river in front of the <this> citty. Brothers H[eber] C. K[imball] and P[arley] P. P[ratt] and my self took a small Boat and went <came> to <the> shore. we soon found aboarding house and got som breckfast. about 3 oclock in the afternoone the other Brotherin came a shore. we have [had] a day of rejoiceing and thanks giveing. this evening [we joined] in prayer, thanks, and ble[ss]ing eachother by prayer and laing on hands. I led in prayer. Brother H. C. Kimbell fol[low]ed me. we then arose and commencd blesing eachother. I lad mi hands on Brother H. C. and blesed him. the other Brother Brotherin lad on hands with me. H. C. then arose, lade his hands on Brother P. P. P. in company with the <rest> of ous and blest him. then P. P. P. arose, lade his hands on Brother [Reuben] Hadlocks head with the rest, and blest him. then Br. Hadlock arose and blest Br. O[rson] Pratt. then Br. O. Pratt arose and blest Brothere G[eorge] A. Smith. Then B[rother] G. A. S. arose and lade his hands on my head and blest me. we have had a good day. our ascemble has ben small but solom and yet cherful. our harts rejoice in the Lord and I Pray that we may doe much good on this land. I began to feele like entring in to the field of labor. my helth is improving. my ap<e>tite is verry good. I think I shall soon get my helth. the People in this citty are verry much lik the americans in mannars and looks. but they cook their vitles with out salt and cal[c]ulate for one to cut the bread and spred the butter so as to not use but two knives, so I am told. however I shal [k]now more about them here after. I feele verry well here. we expect to goe to Preston [Lancashire, England] to morrow where we shall <see> our brothirn, we hope. tusday. 7 oclock. fresh knews. Elder P. P. P. has ben out in to the strets. he got on track of Elder [John] Talor. we found him and Brother [John] Moon.55 Brother Taylor has commencd the work of the Lord in this place.56 the Lord is to work in Englan as well as in Americk. there is about 30 [Church members] in this Citty. Brother [Wilford] Woodroof is in a grate fiel[d] of labor.57 we understand the work has commenced in Scotland.58 I will leve this part of the subject for the present. you will want to [k]now somthing about our voige on <the> water. monday morning, March the 11 [1840]. I went from Brother Allbrights (whare I loged.59 I slept alone. when I layed down upon my bed I endevered to look to the Lord with all my sole and asked my Hevenly Father in the name of Jesus to give me som way som manifestation concerning my jorney across the water. I fel asleep and dreamed a dreamed that was satesfisd my feeling in agrate mas<h>ere. I will relate it to you. I found my self traveling with som persons, hoo I doe not [k]now, but found my self decending apresipest [precipice] of grate hight, as I looked from the botom after I had saftley arived theire. when desending, the first I relized, I was about half way down it. this first part of the way was not perpendicelar. I then looked down the rest of the way. it was grate, som haundred of feet. ameditley I found my self in a snow bank jentley desending down the remander part of the way. the snow soon sunk awaue and <I> found my self safe at the foot of the mounten on a large body of water covered with ice and snow which was werry week. I had to pase over this water. I looked to the <right hand>. I cold not see acrooss. I looked strate forard. I could see to the other side verry plane. I then stepted on to the ice beleving I should goe safe across. the ice looked like honney comb but I was not afrade. I had [not] proseded far before som person asked me if I was not a frade. I ansered I was not. at that moment [I] saw menny peple on the ice pas[s]ing and repas[s]ing. I also said to the one hoo asked me if I was not afraid, “doe you not see that cord that I have hold of?” at which moment I saw in my hand [a cord] reching to the top of the mounten that I had jest desended. I then looked to the east shore to which I had to goe and the ice was coverd with water but their was a grate menney people pasing over it and I past one with out geting wet at all. I sayed I send then spoak and said I would send the cord back for others to take hold of when they came over, which I did. thus ended my dreme) and came up to Brother P. P. Pratt. the Brotherin and sisters had commenced getherin to gether to see ous start. we went down to the wharfe. the Brotherin and sisters flocked around ous whose faces I shall never forget, for there faces looked like Angels. about 11 oclock we left them. I jumped down in to the small Boat which caried ous out to the ship. my Brothen folied [followed] me. we began to shake hands. we to took leave of fifty or thir [there] about, I should think. we then went on board about 1 o.c. P.M. the vesel reasd ancar and she was toed out of harbor by a steam Boat. we had aplesent breze and the sun sunk behind the plesent land, Staten Iland. the vesel began to tost [toss] which made me feel bad at my stumeck. I did not set up but verry little for severel days. there came on a severe storm which lasted for som days. we ware all sick. our situation was verry disagreable [with] a bout 50 or 60 pasingers in one small Cabben and all of them sick. we had not the privledge of going on deck with out geting drenched with salt water, the waves continula dashing over the deck, the water poring down in to the cabben where we was. sumtimes it was lik som river thundrin dow[n] som catric [cataract]. the mate of the vesel sead he had not seene suchatime fore fiftee years.60 yet we felt calm and cerene. I constenly looked to the Lord bel[ie]ving we should arive safe on the other side of the water as I had seene in my dreme. we had 16 days of head wind which kept ous on the water longer then we should have ben. but through the mersy of our hevenly Father we arived in liverpool after being on the water 28 days. Brothers H. C. K. & P. P. P. and my self got into a small boat and went a shore (as the vesel lay at ancor in the river), the six day of Apriel, the firs day of the eleventh eri [year]. we spent the time in liverpool till wensday with Brother [John] Tailor and som of the Brotherin there. <Sunday the 12 [April 1840, marginalia in this general vicinity within the letter]>. on wensday Brothers H. C. K., R. Hadlock, Or. Pratt, G. A. Smith and my self came to Preston [Lancashire] in the cares [railroad cars]. I did not find coson W[illard] Richards as I had expected. he came home the next day.61 we found Brotherin that are verry kind to ous so the word of the Lord is verified in providing Fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers for ous. I take much satsfaction in visiting the brotherin in this place, though the Brohern are poor here, yet verry free acording to their circumstances. when I look at the difrents betwene poore People here and in America I rejoice that you and the children are there. every meal [is] waed [weighed] <to> the people here. if they have two pence to lay out for a meal they then can eat two pence worth. but if they have but one copper they can not have but one coppers worth to eat. The Poor Peopel are rich in that contry for they have the privledge of borowing. there they have the privledg of bagen and asking for somthing to eat if hungry. but they have not that pr[i]veledg here. let there circumstances be what they may they must not aske for food. if the[y] doe and they are reported they are taken up and sent to the work house to recive the due demerit of their crime. last fridia I was seting here in Br. W[illard] R[ichards’s] room. I hered som person singin. the sound came up aganst the window. I saw as smart looking young young man well drest for laboring. he continued singin and looking first one way and then the other. I asked why he should be in such bisness. the ancer was, “I supose he is out of imploy lik agratemenny others and cannot get enny thing to doe and he is hungray and wants a peace of bread.” I had two penneys left in my pocket. I started to give him one but while I was making the inquire he had gon out of my reach. if you could but see and have a knolidge of the inhabtence of this contry and the world your hart would be pained with in you. I cannot say you would be wiling to beseprated from me for there sakes. for I doe not know that it is in the powr of enny women to doe more then you due to have me go and the Lord will bless you for it and I bless you with all the Power that I have to bless. I wish I had it in my Power to bless you with somthing to make you and the children comfortble for food and a litle clothing. this would doe my sole good. but I will pray for you continule that your life may be spard and helth and the children untel I shall see you all agan and then till the savior coms. then we shall in joy each others company and I trust I shall enjoy my the society of my famely som concideable part of the time before. how much of the time I shall have to spend abroad I know not but now I am here I pray the Lord to enable me to lay a foundation for agrate and glories work. the worke is roling on in this contry. I hope that I may be nable to accomplish my mision in rightousnes and then return home. if I could onley relize that you and the children ware comfortble, in helth, and had food and rament and ahouse, I should feele contented. I remember the Lord will p[r]ovide and he can doe it better than I can. in the letter you rote to me you thought that we should see each other before I crost the water. I had som such feeling my self, but you will reculect that when I left home I thaught and said that I would goe and perfom my mision or die in the attempt. I came from place to place as the Lord opened the way and through the mercy of god I am here and I think the enchantment is broke and the Lord will bring me of concoror [off conqueror]. I feele well and happy that the Lord has called me to such a glories work in these last days and you as a help meet for me. the Lord bless you and my lovei[n]g children. dear Mary, when I see the sitution of the Brother here and there I an rejoiced that my fanely [family] is in that contry. I see feamales [families] of our church, som young and som older, come, som five, som ten, som twenty miles. if they want to be here at 10 o.c. a.m., they start the night before hand and walk most of the night, as they have no other wae of conve[ya]nce, stay to meeting all day and then till evening meeting is out and then walk back agan. and perhaps while conversing with them they will burst in to tears in conciquence of being apposed by Parence or companions. it makes my hart ake and could in good wish them in som good sitution on som of the western P<r>iarie. Apriel the 15 [1840]. this day we met in Confrence with the church [in Preston, Lancashire]. we have had a verry good meeting.62 the Brotherin are verry kind. 16 [April 1840]. I have jest herd from commerse by way of sisters [Leonora] Taylor dated Jan. the 9 [1840].63 I think I have reson to be thankful that I am a live. it apares to me that the devel has tried his best to destroy me. I will tel you a little about a faul I had in N. York. Brothers O. Pratt, R. Hadlock, and my self was agoing to from Brocklan<d> [Brooklyn, New York] to N. York citty. the ferry Boat had started from the wharf. I had to spring with all mi might to reach the Boat. I entended to have caut hold of a post that was on the Boat but mist it [and] fell my hole length upon my left side with my left hand exstended up which throde mi left sholder out. I cried out to Brother orson to take hold of mi left hand. he did so and puled it down to mi side and put mi right hand up under mi left sholder at the same time and sliped mi shoelder joint in to its place agan. in mi faul mi left arm stuck aniron ring that was on the deck of the Boat. I <have> born agreat dele of pain in mi sholder and arm. I have poor turnes, verry often unabl to indure much fotuge [fatigue].64 this moming I am sompthing nigh two hundred miles south of Liverpool in Worsestershere.65 Close by [are] the Milvern [Malvern] mountins, the highest mountins in England. the Quen and Lords com here for devershion. we have preaching places all through this part of the contry.66 I am now with Brother [Wilford] Woodruff. the work is spreding verry fast in England.67 how long I shall stay I [k]now not, but the will of the Lord be don[e]. I have verry exqisit feelings about my famely when thaughts flud apon me. pehaps they are sufering for the comforts of life. but I have this to comfort me; the Lord said he would provide for our families if we would doe our duty.68 when I was in N. York I thought that I should returne this faul but I doe not [k]now wether I shall or not. I want to doe that which is for the best. it is a grate jorney to this contry. I should have written before this time had I have none [known] whare to drict mi letter. I visited I verry butiful garden in Liverpool with Brother Taylor and som of the rest of the Brotheren. it was a verry beautful sight. the meny tombs walkes under the ground cut out of soled rock and som on the side of the hil with tombs along each walk. When on my jorney to this place we visited the Cathedreal in worcester. one part of it, about one hundred and fifty feet, was built about six hundred years sence or a little more. the other part no[body] [obscured text] [k]nowes eneything about it. its age and constucters is not none [known]. it is about 3 or 4 hundred feet long. its archetector is verry curieas [with] agrate menny butiful stone and marble monuments. one Pulpet [is] cut out of one soled rock. the workmanship can not be equeled by enny in our part of the world.69 at the present time there are menny ancent looking buyldens. every thing looks ancent. the Peaple looke verry helthy here. there maner of liveng is verry plane and simple. what the Lord has for me to doe or what is before me I cannot tel. I continualey look to the Lord for to direct me in mi duty. every night when I retire to mi rest I aske my hevenly Father to manifest unto me somthing concerning my labors. then as soon as I drop into sleep I will find my self in that Contry with my famely and frends doing bisness or Preaching or teaching the church, and what it means I [k]now not. nether doe I [k]now whether it menes ennething or not. I dremp last night of handing this letter to you my self. this of corse will not be. I hope you will have the plsure of p[e]rusing this before agrate while. as soon as I find out whare you are I shall wright often.70 if I was agoing to stay in this contry menny years, I should want my famely with me. still if it is the Lord[’s] mind fore me to doe other wise I hope I shall feele to say amen. I shall send a letter to Kirtland to find out whether you are there or not. I shall send a letter to Brother Joseph Young at the same time.71 mary, you must excuse mi bad wrighting and speling and recive my love, for I love the Lord with all my hart and so I doe my wife and children. I bless you and the children in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am yours for ever.72 Brigham Young.

[At this point, Wilford Woodruff penned a number of lines to his wife, Phoebe. “Bptizsed 160 in a month,” he related. He also pled for correspondence on behalf of his fellow apostles: “When you write speak of all of the families of the 12 & others that are in the country & in this way we can all hear from our families.”]

Mrs. Mary Ann Young
Commerce, Hancock County, State of Illenoice, United States
to the <care> of E. Roberson [Robinson] and D. C. Smith
Manchester, England, No. 9 Chapel Cort, Jersey Street to the Care of
P. P. Pratt


Brigham recounts a Church member’s vision concerning the work of salvation in the postmortal world. He remains ambivalent regarding the length of his missionary service in England.

May 26 [May 27] 1840

Manchester, Lancashire, England, May 26, 1840

once more, my Dear Mary ann, I attempt to wright to you to let you know how and whare I am. I have ben here three days along with Brother P[arley] P. Pratt preparing a hym Book. Br. [John] Taylor came from Liverpool last night. we expect to have our hym Book out reddy for use by the firs of July next.73 I have ben with Br. [Wilford] Woodruff & [Willard] Richards in herefordshere.74 there has ben 350 Baptized in that regon of contry. the work is spreding fast in this contry. the Brotherin of the twelve are all well and doing well. I have jest heard that you are in Comarce or in that regon of contry. I have heard that Elder [Heber C.] Kimball has recived a letter from his wife. what the knews is I doe not know yet I shall as soon as I can wright to him and get an ancer. but I can not wate for that now for I have an opertunity of sending [a letter to you] by som of the Brotherin that is going to america with in a fue days and I must send what I can now. I shall send you our paper [Millennial Star] and som little present of monney if I doe not get disepointed. I heard you was not going to Kirtland. I am willing and I am rejoiced to think you are willing to szacrefise everithing for the councel of our Brotherin that the Lord has given ous for Counceleas [counselors] in these las<t> days. it is my feelings to goe right strate ahead if it takes all the hare of my head. I want to live in that way that the Lord will say by in by to me when he comes, “you have well don. now you mad [may] enjoi the socity of your famely and be though. <I will mak you a> ruler over much.” I som expect to get a letter from you before July confrence and them [then] I shall be able to wright to you, I think, whether I come home this fall or not. some times I am led to think this will be the time that you saw that I was gone three years. it will be perty hard for me to stay two years. yet I think it would not be best for me to travel so far for one years labor as to returne to Commerce. while I think of it, I want you should tell Brother Joseph Smith whare to direct a letter. I wrote to him but afue weaks <sence> and did not tell him whare to Direct a letter I rquested him to wright to me.75 thursday morning, 27 [May 1840]. last night Brother Kimball came to manchester. he had a letter that he had jest recived from his wife. she gave us som knews about our fameles. she stated that you had given up going to Kirtland and Brother Joseph [Smith] was agoing to have you and sister [Leonora] Taylor and sister [Sarah] Pratt som houses built nere the temple lot.76 I would <rather> you would have a house on my lot that Br. Joseph set apart for me near his own house. I am desposed to wright you a vision in this or som other letter <that> I shall send. it is concerning David W. Patten’s minestry in the world whare he has gon. it gives my hart joy inexspersable. O my Dear mary, how I long to see you and the children, yeas, my loving children and affectnate wife. I am most perfictly satsfyde the Lord braught ous to gether and could wish he would so order it that we might live to gegher [together]. when I begen to think abought my famely and think perhaps they are in kneed of food and rament it gives me hart rendings feelangs. I find I can not resest my feelings as I used to. I often think of what I have hered you say about feeling like a whiped Child. I would not have you understand by this that I am descoredg<d> in the lest; I am not. som times I think it matters not how soon my poor old Boddy is worn out for I have but little or no rest in this contry. my labors are verry hard, som times a little better, and then again quite down. this day I am verry feble [with] som fevor. the are [air] dos not agree with mee. it gives me a verry dul feeling. Br. [Hiram] Clark has jest com in.77 he has jest got over a chill of the ague and feever.78 I have ben out to a brothers house to dinner. I for get how menny bagers I saw but enuph to take all the pennes and copers I can get. ennyhow it is verry destresig times in England. the Brotherin want to goe to america. as menny as can will goe this seson. I think that I shall tarey here ore in the old contrys till a nother seyson. but I shall doe as the Lord shall direct about it. Br. W. Richards recived a letter not long sen [since?]. it sopke of the affares in the west. it also bore the knews of the deth of his father.79 Sister Violate [Vilate Kimball] says Israel Barlow is mared [married] to Elizabeth Havens.80 also that Abanna [Abby Ann] Greene is mared.81 Mary ann, harken to my councel. if you want enny thing due you aske for it? make your self comfortble as you can and the children. I will in devor to send som cloth in the faul for the little Boys by the Brotherin that will goe over then. I am not Prepared to due it now for I have not got it for my self. my old coat is pirty raged but I think I shall be able to makit stick on my back som time yet and if I can get enny thing I shall send it to you.82 all my concern is about you and the children. if you get a house in that contry built for yourself I hope it will be in a good place whare we can have water and a garden. build small but have it devided in to different apartments so when I doe com home I may have a place to rest for I expect but little till [I] get home. I will now give you the vision, [insertion from top of letter] <Sister Booth sayes she heard a voice saying she must goe to Paridice. then she was cared away in the vision.> “I Ann Booth, Wife of Robert Booth of the Town of Manchester, England, had the following vision of the 12 day of march in the year of our Lord one thousand and forty <1840>.83 Being caried away in a vision to the Place of departed spirits I saw 12 Prisons, one abova nother, verry large, and builded of soled stone. on ariveing at the <dore of the> upermost Prison I behe[l]d one of the 12 apostles of the Lamb who had ben martered in America, standing at the dore of the Prison holding a key in his hand with which he opned unlocked the dore and went in and I fol[low]ed him. he appeard to be of a large sise, thick set, darke hare, darke eyes, and eyebrows of a smiling count[e]nan[c]e, and on <his> head was a crown of gold or somthing brighter. he was dresed in a long, white robe, with the sleves plated from the sholder down to the hand. upon his brest ware fore [four] stares [stars] apparently like gold <or briter> and a golden girdle about his Loins. his feet was bare from above the Ancles down<w>ard and his hands were also bare. as he entred the prison he seemed to stand about 3 feet from the floor (which was of Marble) as if the place was not worthy for him to stand upon. a verry brilient and glorie<u>s light surounded him, while the res[t] of the prison was dark. but his light was peculiar to him self and did not reflect upon others who was in the prison who ware surounded with a gloom of darkness. on the right hand of the dore stood Jhon Wesley, who on seing the glories personage, rased his hands and shouted ‘glory, honer, praise, and Power be ascribed unto God and the Lamb forever and ever. Deliverance has Com.’84 the Apostle then commecd to preach the Baptism of repentence for the remision of sins and the gift of the Holy Gost by the laing of hands when the hundreds of prisners gave a shout with aloud voice saying ‘Glory be to God for ever and ever.’ the marble floor was then removed and a River of watter clere as Cristall seemed to f[l]ow in it place. the Apostle then called to John Wesley by name who came fawrd quickley and both went down in to [fold in paper worn, obscuring the text] and the Apostle Baptized him and coming up out of the water he lade his hands upon him for the gift of the Holy Gost, at the same time ordaining him to the Preasthood of Aaron. the Apostle then retired to the place whare he first stod and John Wesley then proseded to Baptize a man by the [name] of Kilbham and next John Madison and Wm. Scott and John Tongue <who> ware Methodest Prachers with whome I had ben a quanted personly. the next he Baptized was my grand father Edmond Whitehead. the next was my unkel Johon [John] Whitehead and the nxt was my sister Elizabath Oland. the <next> was Joseph Lancashere. next Samuel Robinson Robinson and the next was my own Mother. all these had lived and died Methodest and I had had ben personly aquanted with them all. and after this he Baptized all the Prisoners amounting to menny hundreds. after they ware all Baptized, the Apostle Lade his hands on them all and confermed them. then instantly the Darkeness dispersed and they ware all surrounded and envellopd in a Brilint light, such as suround’d the Apostle at the first. and they all lifted up theyr voices with one accord giving glory to God for deliverence. My gra<n>d father then came to me and Blest me saying ‘the Lord bless [you] forever and ever. art thou com to see us deliverd?’ my mother then came to me and clasped me in hir arms and kissed me three times and said ‘the Lord Almighty Bless the for ever and evere.’ I then awoke out of my vision and felt so happy and rejoiced that I could not lay in bed. I awaked my husben. we got up. I then tooke the Bible [and] opened it to 3 different places: first to Isah 24, Chap. 22 v.85 the next was John C. 1, v. 5.86 the third time I opned [the] bible was <first> Peater 3 C. 18, 19, 20 ver.87 not being aquanted with these texts of Cripture and opening to each of them provedencily, I was asstonished beyend measure. I would futher state that at the time I had the vission I had never hered of the deth of David Patten whome I have sence lerned was one of the twelve Apostles of the Later day saynts in America and was martered in the late percution in the fall of 1838. but in <the> vision I knew that it was an Apostle who had ben slane in America.88 I here by sollemly testfy that I actually saw and hered in the vision what I have related and I give my name and set my seal in witness to same, well know[ing] that I must stand before the Judment seet of Christ and ancer to this testmony, amen & amen.”89 I must come to a close with this letter. I shall wright more and send it this time. I long to [see] you and the children. they must be good children and pray the Lord to preserve our lives and helth till we shall meet again which I hope will be before menny years. tell Sister [Phoebe] Woodruff I saw [Wilford Woodruff] but afue day sence.90 he was well. he would be glad of the oppertuny of sending [a letter] home but he dos not know enny thng about the Brotherin going over now. he will send [a letter] by the next compey that goes over. he doe[s] not get enny knews from his wife. give my love to all the Brotherin that enquire after me. if Brother [William] Benbow has arived there tell him his little Boy is well and the frends are all perty well.91 you may shoe [show] this letter to Brothers E[benezer] Roberson [Robinson] and D[on] C[arlos] Smith. if they want a part of it let them have it.92 I shall send you apaper for fere the papers that was sett [sent] to Brother Joseph Smith will not get there. we have sent 50 coppes [of the Millennial Star] so that the Brotherin Could be Served. B. Young. the sister that had this vision I [heard] in compny with Brothers Kimball, P. P. Pratt, and J. Taylor. She told much that I can not wright in this letter. it gives me joy to here from our Quorum and find they are to work for the salvation of the Nations of the Earth. I <think> Brother David [W. Patten] has as much to doe as thou[gh] he had steded [stayed] here along with us. it is glorious to me to think that our fore Fathers who have lived acording to the light they had. I think I shall see my Dear Mother ther and my sister that died about 1808 for they boath lived and died in full faith of a glorus rescerescion in and thrue the name of Jesus Christ.93 ther is menny things that causes me to rejoi<ce> in the last days. I want you to let sister Ann Bently see this vision as soon as you can conventy [conveniently] can.94 it will rejoice hir hart and I feel to give Glory over Power and might to [the] Lord most holy for his goodness to the children of men in the grate salvation of Jesus Christ. give my love to sister Ann. tell her I rejoice with her. I will now Close my letter and my hart is [that] the Lord Bres [bless you], yea, Bles you and the Children. I Bles you. I mene to Bles you with somthing to help you to live.

Once we live on Zion land
The Lord then Bles my Mary ann
Preserve her life in his own hand
my children dere and I whose I am

Brigham Young
Mary Ann Young
and our children

Mrs. Mary A. Young

Commerce, Hanck County, the State of Illinoys


The September 15, 1839, letter from Brigham to Mary Ann found in the Philip Blair Collection at the University of Utah has not yet been published. Chronologically, that letter is followed by the six letters printed above. Three letters written between October 1839 and January 1840 have not been found. Five letters written between June 1840 and January 1841 survive and have been previously excerpted or published in BYU Studies.95 Printed below are apparently the last three letters Brigham wrote from England to Mary Ann before his return to the United States. The letters primarily concern his family’s health and welfare.


Brigham describes emigration plans for the British Saints, expresses family concerns, and makes observations concerning God’s intervention in his life.

February 11 [February 13], 1841

72 Burlington street, Feeb. 11, Liverpool, 1841

my Beloved companyan in tribulation and the Kingdom of Patiance, it is with feelings of sorrow and gladness mingled to gether that I attemp<t> to communicate my thoughts to [you] at this time. as I aproach nearer to the time of my departure from this land to my own native contray, the more my mind is ingrost with thoughts of the injoyment of my famely and frends. I look foreward to the time of my arivel at home and with egarness antisipate the pleasing meeting I shall have when I can be seeted in my own house and look upon my wife and children and realise my self in there society agan. last sabath the 7 of Feb., a bout 5 minitus before 12 o. c., Br. Hyram Clark with his company concisting of 235 soles, left the dock gate. they was on the ship sheffield, [with] Capt. [Richard K.] Porter.96 they was well accomedated. they had as good a time on the account of the wind as they could ask. Br. Clark felt well. he forgot to hand me the Book of doctrien and Covenants as he cal[c]ulated to. I paid him 5/s English Shilings for it. you may get it of him and keep it till I come home. when they had left the dock Brothers [Willard] Richards and [John] Taylor and my self went to our lodgens. I found severel letters for me that the postman had jest left, one from Br. [Heber C.] Kimball in London. I opened it [and] found in it one inclosed from you. this made my hart leep for joy. I opened it with out delay and perused the contents there of and I read in [it] that you and the children was well and you had a comfortble house and enuph to eat and you was in the society of your frends and you had recived the things that I sent you. I thank my hevenly Father that he dus here and answer prayer, for surely he has heard our prayers and suplied our wants. there is one thing I forgot to menshen in my letter that I sent by Br. Clark. I told you in that letter I sent a little more than [text obscured, possibly 5] dallars in gold. I also sent 40 yards of Jackenet [jaconet] for white hancachiefts and for white dreses for females.97 I want you and the girles to use it for your selves. I shall want some hancachief of it. I baught this cloth of Elder Ahston from Ribchester [Lancashire]. this letter I expect will not be read by enny but your self. the last letters it seemes there is nothing sa[i]d about the masorians trubeling the Brotherin at this time. I hope the fus is over for the present. the talk is in this contry that England has or will, with out doubt, declare ware with america.98 I due not feele trubeled about it my self in the least. I hope the masorians will have som thing elce to attend to be sidese mobing the Saints be fore long. and I say in the name of the Lord in as much as the goverment or the presedent and other officers have refused to let the Laws of the land have there proper demand in the protections of the Saints they shall see the time that they will caul upon the Saints to protect them, when there shall be non to help them. I want you to wright to me to New york to the care of Lucian R. Foster, No. 13 Oliver Street, and if you want me to by enny thing there, I will try and due it.99 I hope to be in a situation to help my famely a little. I shall send a nother letter the 11 of of march [1841] by the steamer that sales to halafacks [Nova Scotia] and to Boston [Massachusetts]. we think of fiting out a nother company about the 10 of march that will goe by New orleans.100 Feb. 13 [1841]. this day the Bretherin have gon on bord the ship. the[y] expect to leve to morrow. I hope and trust they will have a good passeg.101 I can truly say the Lord is good to me. he gives all I ask for. I never have witnesed the hand of the Lord so viseble in all my life as I have sence I left home this time. my hart is like the charit[y] of aminidab.102 [There] is glory in my sole and peace all around, though I long for the society of my famely. I love them dearly. there society is pressious to me when I can have the priveleg of injoying it. I thought before I left home this this time that if I staed much longer it would be verry hard for me to start and goe to feren lands. I am all most dreding to come home. I shall have the privelig of staying so little time. when I am with my family I enjoy my self in there company and hate to leve them but as it is my duty so to due I say goe ahead. I hope and trust I shall never forsake the field [until] the harvest is don and the wheat is all gethered in to the garner of the Lord. [There is] one blesing I feele to ask of my hevenly Father: that my wife and children may live long on the Earth even till the winding up seene of all this wecked world and enter in to the millinem glory. I have jest recived a letter from Elder Lorenzo Snow. he is well [and] is going to London to spend the seson as the work is now started there.103 we want it to goe on for we shall want to maket our home there when we return to England a gane. Br. Snow is a fine young man. I think much of him. he is a useful man in the vinyard. Br. H[enry] G. Sherewood gave him a recemend and I beleve it he will prove himself worthy of the confidence of all his acquantence in this contry.104 the Lord is still roleing on his work in this contry as rapedly as ever. they are building up churches in evry direction; in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and in the Ile of Man. Br. [James] Burn[h]am is duing well.105 I have hered from all the Bretherin with in a fue days. they are all well and all expect to returne home to america in the Spring a bout the firs of Apriel. it is geting late and Br. Taylor and my self want to goe to bed. it is now 12 o.c. we have not got to rest earler then this for som time. I shall send this letter by the hand of Elder [James] Lavender. he has a wife and one daughter. they are anise [marginalia] <famely. I will intriduse them to you as such.106 may the Lord Bless you & the children.> Sundey morning. we are all well. So I say faren well. the Lord bles you. take as much love to your self as you plese and to the children [and] to all the Saints. I send by Br. [Daniel] Brewett [Browett] one Box of rasons, a bout 28 pounds.107 sister [Leonora] Taylor says in hir letter that John Boyington [Boynton] is Baptised a gan.108 my hart leeps for joy to see those men coming back. [An apparent postscript in the margin of the first page] <I will subscribe my self your companyan in life. to M. A. Y. [from] Brigham Young.>

Mrs. Mary A. Young
Nawvoo, Hancock County, Illinoice, United States of america [three underlines] [side note] Ship Echo via New Orlenes by the hand of James Lavender.


An expression of Brigham’s concerns for his family, his appreciation for Mary Ann’s support, and his joy in the prospect of returning home the following month, this letter also makes reference to emigration matters and the status of the Church in London.

March 1, 1841

149 [Millennial] Star office, Oldham, Manchester, March 1, 1841

Beloved wife, I have but a fue minitis to spend in wrighting to you this evening. I am now at Br. [Parley P.] Pratts.109 [I] came from Liverpool last saterday. I shall stay here a fue days. Br. Pratts famely are verry well at present and in joy them selvs well and think they shall stay in this contry som time. the rest of the 12 have but a little more then one month to stay here before they start for home. I am perfictly willing to stay here till it is the the will of the Lord for [me] to start home & when that time comes I shall rejoice, for I want to see my famely on[c]e more. the Brothern are all well as far as I know. Br. [Wilford] Woodruff has ben unwell in London but is now better and a bout his buisness. Br. [Heber C.] Kimball & Woodruff will soon be here to prepare for home. Br. [Reuben] Hadlock will come with us. I have sent som letters to you by the companes that has gon over lately. Br. H[iram] Clark started on the 7 of Feb. with a com[pany] of 234 soles on the ship Sheffield [with] Capt. [Richard K.] Porter.110 on the 16 of the Same month another Com[pany] Started for that place by New orlenes on the Ship Echo [with] Capt. [Alfred A.] Wood. there was 109 Soles led by Elder Daniel Browett. they all left in good spirits. you will have the priveleg of seeing menny of the English Brotheren in that place. I have recived a letter from you Stating that you had recived the things that I had sent you. this I am glad of and hope you have recived som comfort from the us[e] of them as I have indevered to due what I could for you thou[gh] you are far from me. yet I would be glad to help a little in suporting my famely. I feele thankful to my Henvenly Father for such a help meet in life, one that is so will[ing] to due for me and my children so I can goe and attend to the gr[e]at work of the Lord in gethering up the Richous, that Zion may be free. be of good cheere, mary, and let your hart be comforted. I pray for you and the children continualy that you may injoy good he[al]th. I shall see [you] agan soon and we will rjoice together agan. I hope Br. [Theodore] Turley will pay you what he owes you before you suffer.111 you must make yourself comfortble in as much as you can. I know a[n]d feele that you have a hard time in life but the Lord will reward you for your labor. we have recived the times and sesons up to Jan. 15. it came in one month & 4 days from Nauvoo to England. it gives us grate satisfactions when when we red it [in] the knew [news] concerning the saints. I hope the saints will be humble and faithful and merit the Blesings of god and all peple. it apears that Br. Joseph [Smith] think[s] it to be the will of the Lord for us to come home and you may be shure I am glad. I due not see enny thing in his apistle to us that intimates that the Lord is displesed with what we have don sence we have ben in England.112 we have not hered one word from Elders [Orson] Hyde & [John E.] Page for a bout 5 months, onley a little note in the 15 no. of the times and sesons.113 the Lord was not well plesed with the delay of their mision. I sho<u>ld be glad to here from [you]; I think I shall before long e[i]ther in this contry or that. I am thankful to here of the returne of J[ohn F.] Boying [Boynton] & L[uke S.] Jo[h]nson returne to the church.114 give my love to them and [their] famelies and to all the Saints. [Give] my best feelings to Joab, Jan. [General] in Israel.115 the [work, portion of page missing] of the Lord is going on rapedly in this contry. Sa[i]nts [portion of page, with one or two words missing] incresing day in meny parts of the contry. Br. [Lorenzo] Snow is in London [and] will stay their till we com back if nessery. he is one of the choice ones.116 there is a bout 50 Saints [in] London and a good prospect [exists for more], so [say] the Brothers H[eber] C. K[imball] & W[ilford] W[oodruff].117 if you will wright to me to new york I think I shall get it. we shall start from here as so[o]n as we can after the 6 of Apriel.118 you have Br. [Lucian R.] Foster[’s] directions so you can direct [your letter] to his care. if you want I should get you ennything there, wright what and I will get it if I can.119 Sister [Mary Ann] Pratt and hir sister [Olive Grey Frost] Sends there love.120 they now set soing [sewing], one on the right hand of the table & the other on the left. B. to m. a. young. Brigham Young. you must excuse all mestakes for I have had but a fue minits to wright and while wrighting the Brothers & Sister [are] talking to me every minits of the time. may the Lord Bles you and preserve you, amen and amen. Mary ann [Pratt] sends hir best love to Joseph & also to Vilate. I must bid you fair well for the present. kiss the children for me. I shall not kneed to send my love to my wife and children for it is there as much as you want or can due enything with.

Mrs. Mary Ann Young
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinoice, United States
Via Steme packet to Boston


This letter may have been Brigham Young’s last communication to Mary Ann before his departure from England on March 17, 1841. He includes his characterization of British life after having lived in England for a year. He also makes an inventory of materials he is sending home to America.

March 13, 1841

72 Burlington street, Liverpool, March 13/41

Beloved Mary ann, this evening I have a fue moments to converce in [a] lonley way. I am thankeful that I have the priveleg of this but I want to be whare I can speeke to you face to face and the time is neere at hand when we shall start for home. I dream verry often of being in my own native land. I dreaned last night of being almost home. it is now about nine oclocke in the evening. Br. [Heber C.] Kimball has jest comin to the room to wright a little. I am at a bording house whare the Bretherin put up that [are] going to america. Brother [Thomas] Smith or [William] Morse [Moss] will hand this to you.121 if we have good lock [luck] we shall be there soon oftere this letter reaches you. Elder [Reuben] Hadlock has com from Scotland to get reddy to goe with us.122 we shall leve as soon as we can after the 6 of Ap[ril]. there is a grate dele of talk in this contry a bout ware [war] with america, concerning the Burning [of] the Careoline by McLeod. I feele as thou we should get away firs at enny rate. Elder [Orson] Hyde and [George J.] Adams arived here last weak, wensday the 3 of march, 18 days from New York.123 he [probably referring to Orson Hyde] is in good helth and Spirits I understand. I have not seene him yet [as] I was in Manchester when he arived. he went to Preston before I returned. Elder [John E.] Page has not yet arived. yet I hope for his Sake he will be here to goe with Elder Hyde. I have recivd a letter from <14> you lately. it gave me good kews [news] as far as it went. I should liked to have had more paticklers but was thankful for what I did recive and you know they that gladly recive little, to them more shall be given. So I expect to recive a grate dele yet when we get to talking a bout home. I all most dread to goe home for I feele as though it would be harder then ever to leve home, which no doubt we shal have to due a grate menny times.124 I have got so I feele almost like a child a bout such things in consequence of my ill helth I supose. I feele that the Lord [is] able to strengh [strengthen] me to due all things that he requireth of me. I recived a letter from Br. G[eorge] W. Roberson [Robinson] which was thankfuley recived.125 [It] gave som knews a bout the state of afares in that contry. I am thankful that the saints have a little rest. I trust we shall have the priveleg of staying with our famelies a while in peace. I shall try and ansure Br. Robersons letter soon. I [am] truley thankful to here that Br. [Sidney] Rigdons heth is improving.126 I hope to spend menny, y[e]a, menny happy days with him on this Earth and see all mobbers reciv there jest due from the hand of there Judge. you must give my love and thanks to Br. Roberson for his letter. you must kis the Children for me. tel them I want to see them and will soon come home and have a good viset with them, for I feele as though it would be a grate plasure to me to get out of so much tuemult and noys [noise] and let my eys be closed upon the rchedness [wretchedness], poverty, destress, and wickedness that there is in this contry. there is the gratest unequalety in this contry that I ever saw in my life and the feelings of the people are such, in conciquence of there apresion and poverty, ware it not for for Stricktness of the Law and police men at every corner of the streets, the hole contry and towns would be in one mase of confusion, and it would be kill and destroy until redused to one generall destructtion, which provible [probably] will be mashereble <measuraly> fullfild here after. Sunday evening. I am now seted at Br. Richard Haresons [Harrison] table.127 Elders Kimball and W[illard] Richards set wrighting. the rest of the famely are at meeting. I shall finish my letter and seele it for I shall have no time after to night. we expect the vessel to goe out tomorrow.128 I pray for you and the children continuly and you must for me. give my love to all the saints. take a good share for your self and the children. we are all well and in good sperits. Brs. Kimball [and] Richards joine in Sending love to you and the children. so I will Bid you good night. may the Lord bles you, amen. to M. A. Young [from] B. Young. you must excuse all mestakes and errous. this is your own side of the sheet. I send by Brothers Thomas Smith and Wm. Morce [Moss] my trunk that I braught from home. I shall give you a bill of what I send in the trunk. I did not give a perfict bill of what I sent last fall in every poticklar and you did not tell me much a bout it. but I will give you a bill of this trunk that I now send. I will commence on the Books: Butterworths concordance, large Book of mormon, 2 d[itt]o marked M. A. young, 1 d[itt]o E. Young, 1 d[itt]o V. young, 1 doctrenand covenent marked M. A. Young, Bucks theologacal dickenary, Book on the provicies, large Bible, 1 d[itt]o small Bible, prespeteren [Presbyterian] disepline, Moremons unvaled,129 1 Bible doctren, John Wesley life, the evening and morning Star, Mesenger & advocate, 1 slide lock. this ends [the inventory of] Books. Clothing: 1 Blue Broad Cloth Clo[a]k [with] fir coller, 1 pare Black caresimere [cashmere] pants, 1 d[itt]o dark [suit?], 1 pare flanel sheets, 1 pare of flanel shirts, 2 pare neet wohlen drawers, 2 d[itt]o neet rappers [wrappers], 2 pare neet coton drawers, 1 Black Silk velvet vest, 1 yellow Silk hancacheft, 1 pare carpet slipers, 1 long night [shirt?], 1 pare read [red] slipers, 5 pare of long wohlen stockings, 1 pare Buck skins gloves, my snupf Colard Coat that I wore from home,130 1 read [red] mareno [merino] hancachief,131 one hare Brush, Shoes, 1 pare of Boots, 1 pare Boxes or over shoes, 2 pare of Patens [patent leather shoes?] for women, 5 pare of Cloggs for the children. I beleve this is pirty much all [with] perhaps som more Book than what I have menchned. 1 pece of Inden Ruber [india rubber], 4 little pin or neadle Boxes the [that] will plese the little girles. this is monday morning and I am in a hurrey so I must come to a close. I have to goe to [the] Binders and to the vessel and menny others. I subscribe my self your frend and husben and companion in the Kingdom of Patiance. to M.A. Young [from] Brigham Young. I have not time to correct.

Mrs. Mary A. Young
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinoice, North America
Ship Alesto, N[ew] orlenes, By the hand of Thomas smith & Wm. Moss

About the author(s)

Ronald O. Barney is Senior Archivist, Archives Division, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


1. Joseph Smith Jr., The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2d ed. rev., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 3:46–47 (hereafter cited as History of the Church).

2. History of the Church, 2:187.

3. Jeffrey R. Holland, as quoted in Ronald K. Esplin, “Brigham Young and the Transformation of the ‘First’ Quorum of the Twelve,” in Lion of the Lord: Essays on the Life and Service of Brigham Young, ed. Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995), 70.

4. James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 1837–1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 57–58.

5. Brigham Young to Mary Ann Young, April 6, 1840 (see page 174 of this issue).

6. Lorenzo Snow, prior to his departure for England in May 1840, visited Mary Ann Young in Nauvoo. He wrote, “I found Sister Young occupying an unfinished log hut, with a loose floor, and no chinking between the logs; consequently the sides and the ends of the hut were open, leaving the inmates exposed to wind and storms. . . . On my asking her what she wished me to say to her husband, she replied, ‘You see my situation, but tell him not to trouble, or worry in the least about me—I wish him to remain in his field of labor until honorably released.’ Her apparent poverty-stricken, destitute condition deeply stirred my sympathy.” Eliza R. Snow Smith, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Company, 1884), 47.

7. Mary Ann Young, as quoted in Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 292–93.

8. A parallel account of a portion of Brigham Young’s mission to England is found in his journals for the period. See Brigham Young Papers, Archives Division, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City (hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives). A short biography of Brigham’s life, including the period of his mission to England, based on his journals and other material, was prepared in the 1850s by the Church Historian’s Office. Three drafts of this biography are located in Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve [ca. 1830–80], LDS Church Archives. A version was published as “The History of Brigham Young,” in the Deseret News Weekly from February 24, 1858, to March 10, 1858, was published again in the Millennial Star from October 10, 1863, to January 30, 1864, and was later published in Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801–1844, comp. Eldon Jay Watson (Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968).

A record of Brigham Young’s mission to England as seen through the eyes of his friends and associates is found in the journals of Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith. See Wilford Woodruff, Journal, LDS Church Archives, published as Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898, typescript, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1983–1985); and George A. Smith, “History of George Smith by Himself,” Historian’s Office, LDS Church Archives. This account is based on Smith’s journals located in George A. Smith Papers, LDS Church Archives. Elder Smith’s account of the mission was serialized in the Instructor from June to September 1947. Brigham Young’s other apostolic contemporaries—Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and Willard Richards—kept record of their own service but left no appreciable documentation of Brigham’s experience.

A splendid account of Brigham Young’s apostolic mission to Great Britain is found in Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission. Other accounts of this mission that discuss Brigham Young’s role include Richard L. Evans, A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1937), 85–200; Dean C. Jessee, “The Writings of Brigham Young,” Western Historical Quarterly 4 (July 1973): 277–81; James B. Allen and Malcolm R. Thorp, “The Mission of the Twelve to England, 1840–41: Mormon Apostles and the Working Class,” BYU Studies 15, no. 4 (1975): 499–526; Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), 74–97; V. Ben Bloxham, “The Call of the Apostles to the British Isles,” and “The Apostolic Foundations, 1840–41,” in V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, and Larry C. Porter, eds., Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837–1987 (Solihull, Eng.: Corporation of the President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987), 104–62; and Ronald K. Esplin, “The 1840–41 Mission to England and the Development of the Quorum of the Twelve,” in Mormons in Early Victorian Britain, ed. Richard L. Jensen and Malcom R. Thorp (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1989), 70–91.

9. George Washington Thatcher Blair Collection, 1830–1988, LDS Church Archives.

10. Excerpts of letters written on June 2, 1840; June 12, 1840; November 12, 1840; and January 15, 1841, are found in Dean C. Jessee, “Brigham Young’s Family: Part 1, 1824–1845,” BYU Studies 18, no. 3 (1978): 317–21. The complete letter written on October 16, 1840, is published in Ronald K. Esplin, “Inside Brigham Young: Abrahamic Tests as Preparation for Leadership,” BYU Studies 20, no. 3 (1980): 300–306.

11. Leonard Arrington dates the letter as September 15, 1839, though the register of the Philip Blair Collection at the University of Utah states no known time or place of origin. Compare Arrington, Brigham Young, 447 n. 57, and Dorothy Rasmussen, comp., “Register of the Papers of the Philip Blair Family, 1836–1968,” 12, Special Collections, Manuscripts Division, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

12. Two letters from Mary Ann to Brigham are known to be extant. These letters are dated March 21, 1840, and April 15, 1841. The earlier letter is part of the Church Historical Department’s recently aquired George Washington Thatcher Blair Collection, while the later letter is excerpted in Jessee, “Brigham Young’s Family,” 317–21.

13. According to Dean Jessee, “Of an estimated 70,000 pages authored by Brigham Young in the church archives, fewer than 425 were written in his own hand.” Jessee, “The Writings of Brigham Young,” 274. In addition to the letters edited here, an August 9, 1835, holograph communication from Brigham to Mary Ann is also a part of the G. W. T. Blair Collection, LDS Church Archives. This letter is probably the earliest extant letter of Brigham to Mary Ann.

14. Dean Jessee writes, “Had Brigham Young been speaking and writing a phonetically spelled language such as German, his autograph writings would have appeared to the reader then and now as literate as those of any intelligent man with a solid education. As it is, the inconsistencies of English orthography evaded him throughout his life.” Jessee, “The Writings of Brigham Young,” 275.

15. This letter is in the handwriting of Harriet Amelia Decker (1826–1917). She was the daughter of Isaac and Harriet Decker. She married Edwin S. Little in 1842 and, two years after Little’s death in 1846, married Ephraim K. Hanks. Her two sisters, Lucy Ann and Clara, became wives of Brigham Young. Harriet’s mother, after separating from her husband Isaac, married Brigham Young’s brother Lorenzo. See Teton Hanks Jackson, “She Came in 1847,” in Our Pioneer Heritage, comp. Kate B. Carter, 20 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958–77), 2:308–10.

16. Isaac Decker (1799–1873), who lived in Winchester, Scott County, Illinois, in 1840, later became Brigham Young’s father-in-law.

17. Theodore Turley (1800–72) was with the Twelve at Far West, Missouri, on April 26, 1839. Also called to serve as a missionary to England, he accompanied the Apostles to the British Isles.

18. Alanson Ripley (1798–?), who was soon to become a bishop in Iowa, was a Nauvoo city surveyor and later a sergeant major in the Nauvoo Legion. Vinson Knight (1804–42) later became a bishop in Nauvoo.

19. George A. Smith (1817–75), cousin to Joseph Smith Jr. and the youngest Apostle called to the mission to England, later served as a counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency of the Church. Wilford Woodruff (1807–98), called to the Twelve on July 8, 1838, later became the fourth President of the Church.

20. The reference to the “riches of Emanuel” is likely an allusion to the blessings available from the Lord Jesus Christ.

21. Elizabeth Young (1825–1903), the oldest child of Brigham Young and his first wife Miriam Works, married Edmund L. Ellsworth in 1842 in Nauvoo.

22. Brigham Young’s mother, Abigail Howe, was a sister to Rhoda Howe, mother of the four Richardses mentioned here: Phinehas (sometimes spelled Phineas) Richards (1788–1874), Rhoda Richards (1784–1879), Nancy Richards (1792–?), and Hepzibah Richards (1795–1838). The youngest of the Richards children was Willard Richards (1804–54), who accompanied his cousin Brigham Young on this missionary journey. The Richards family was living at this time in western Massachusetts in Richmond, where they had moved in 1815. Rhoda Richards, Journal and Letters of Rhoda Richards [ca. 1936], typescript, 3, LDS Church Archives. (The Richards home is incorrectly placed in Richmond, Schoharie, New York, in History of The Church, 4:75.) For an overview of the Richards family’s contribution to the Church, see D. Michael Quinn, “They Served: The Richards Legacy in the Church,” Ensign 10 (January 1980): 24–29.

23. Here Brigham Young shows his interest in preserving the record of his life and his unstated expectation that his letters would be preserved. From 1832 to 1837, he had periodically kept a diary, and he maintained a sporadic diary while on his mission in Great Britain. Jessee, “The Writings of Brigham Young,” 277.

24. Joseph Murdock (1783–1844) lived in Hamilton, New York.

25. Information about Brigham Young’s involvment with Gifford is found in “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, February 24, March 3, 1858, 402, 409. Little is known about Gifford, although he was later a participant in a conference held in Utica, New York, in July 1843. E. P. Maginn, “General Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons 4 (August 15, 1843): 300, 301.

26. Jonathan O. Duke (1807–68) was performing missionary service in the area at the time. See “History of Brigham Young,” Millennial Star 25 (October 31, 1863): 695. Robert Campbell (1810–1890) and his mother hosted Brigham Young on January 4, 1840, at their home in Albany, New York. “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409. Information about “Brother Boys,” “P. Bridges” [or Briggs], and “Br. Sloan” is not available.

27. Joseph Richards (1762–1840) was married to Brigham Young’s mother’s sister, Rhoda Howe.

28. The “History of Brigham Young” includes this information about this trip: “17 [January 1840]. Edwin Pearson took his horse and cutter, and brought us to Canaan, Litchfield Co., Connecticut: in some places the snow was fifteen feet deep.” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409. Brigham Young’s brief association with Person (Pearson or Pierson) is found in History of the Church, 4:76.

29. Brigham Young’s brief association with French is described in “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409; and History of the Church, 4:77.

30. Parley Parker Pratt (1807–57) was one of the original Twelve Apostles ordained in February 1835. After his first wife died, he married Mary Ann Frost Pratt (1807–91) on May 9, 1837. At the time Brigham wrote this letter, Parley and Mary Ann had two children: Parley Jr., nearly three, from Pratt’s first marriage, and Nathan, about a year and a half old.

31. John Taylor (1808–87), ordained an Apostle on December 19, 1838, was born in Milnthorpe, England. He, Wilford Woodruff, and Theodore Turley left New York for Great Britain on December 20, 1839. They arrived in Liverpool on January 11, 1840.

32. At the time Brigham wrote this letter, Joseph Smith Jr. (1805–44) was President of the Church and Sidney Rigdon (1793–1876) was First Counselor in the First Presidency. En route to Washington, D.C., Joseph Smith was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, several times between December 21, 1839, and January 27, 1840. See History of the Church, 4:47–77.

33. Mary Ann Angell was the daughter of James William Angell (1776–1850) and Phoebe Ann Morton Angell (1786–1854).

34. After the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri, Reynolds Cahoon (1790–1862) moved to Iowa, where he was called to the stake presidency on October 19, 1839.

35. Oliver Granger (1794–1841) had been a member of the Kirtland high council and a missionary in Ohio, New Jersey, and New York. In July 1838, Joseph Smith received a revelation for Granger counselling him to “contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church.” Doctrine and Covenants 117:12–15.

36. This is possibly Isaac Gates Bishop (1779–1845), who had lived in Kirtland and had worked on the Kirtland Temple.

37. Orson Pratt (1811–81), younger brother of Parley P. Pratt, was one of the original Twelve Apostles ordained in February 1835.

38. Heber Chase Kimball (1801–68), Brigham Young’s close friend and later his counselor, was one of the original Twelve Apostles ordained in February 1835. After visiting Mendon and Victor, New York, in early 1840, Elder Kimball departed for New York City on February 10. See Heber C. Kimball to Vilate Kimball, February 19, 1840, Heber Chase Kimball, Letters, 1839–1854, photograph of holograph, LDS Church Archives.

39. William Ellis Murray (1802–47) and his wife Helen E. Sarvis Murray (1805?–?) were baptized on January 1, 1840, by Heber C. Kimball. See Heber C. Kimball to Vilate Kimball, December 27, 1839–ca. February 7–9, 1840, typescript, Heber C. Kimball Family Organization, compilation of Heber C. Kimball correspondence, 1983, LDS Church Archives. Vilate Murray Kimball (1806–67) and Heber C. Kimball were married in 1822. Heber’s and Vilate’s correspondence during the apostolic mission to England is an important source of information for that period.

40. The Garrick, a ship whose speed was highly reputed, had carried Apostles Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde to England in 1837 to open missionary work in the British Isles. These Apostles also returned to the United States in 1838 aboard the Garrick. See Conway B. Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners: A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987), 81.

41. Reuben Hedlock (1801–?), whom Brigham and others referred to as Hadlock, served as elders quorum president in Kirtland and later as president of the British Mission, 1843–45.

42. The 159-foot-long Patrick Henry, built in New York City in 1839, was a packet ship—a passenger vessel that also carried mail and cargo on a regular schedule. The apostolic passengers “paid $18 each for steerage passage, furnished our own provisions and bedding, and paid the cook $1 each for cooking.” Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 165. See also “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409.

43. Evan Melbourne Greene (1814–82), a nephew of Brigham Young, had served several Church missions in the United States in the 1830s. Levi Richards (1799–1876), a cousin of Brigham Young, later became a doctor in Nauvoo and Utah. Solomon Angell (1806–81), Mary Ann Young’s brother, is perhaps the Solomon mentioned here. He had served as a member of Zion’s Camp and in 1836 became one of the First Quorum of Seventy.

44. The entry in the “History of Brigham Young” for February 23, 1840, reads:

I visited Long Island, and preached in the counties of King and Suffolk, at Hempstead, Rockaway, Brooklyn and other places. At the last meeting I held, I told the people I was on a mission to England with my brethren; I had never asked for a dime in all my preaching, but we had not sufficient means to proceed, and if any one wished to contribute to help us, I would thankfully take it. After meeting, $19.50 was put in my hands. We baptized nine, and returned to New York. (Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409.)

Brigham Young’s journal entry for February 25/March 4, 1840, reads: “R. Hadlock & myself went to Hemstead. Preached in Rockway and in the naberhoods about till wensday the 4 of March. there was 9 Baptized.” Brigham Young, Journal, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives.

45. Mary Ann Young replied to Brigham’s request for a letter by writing from Montrose, Iowa, on March 11, 1840: “I recieved your letter Night before last from New york With much joy. I regret you have herd so litle from your family the winter past. I have had many cares to provide for my children as they were So destitute for every thing and my health [has been] feeble. my health is improving Since the Weather is warmer.” Mary Ann Young to Brigham Young, March 11, 1840, G. W. T. Blair Collection, LDS Church Archives.

46. Hyrum Smith (1800–1844), Joseph Smith’s brother, was Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church.

47. Kirtland, Ohio, was abandoned by the Saints as a center of gathering in 1837–1838. When Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball passed through Kirtland on their way to New York in November 1839, they found just a few Church members living there. However, by early 1840, the Church’s population in Kirtland had grown again to 125. After a year that number had tripled. The number of Saints living in Kirtland may have numbered as many as 700 when many of these Saints moved to Nauvoo in 1843. Thereafter, small pockets of Saints or former Church members settled in Kirtland. See Milton V. Backman, The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 368–72.

48. Probably Francis Benedict, at whose house near Canaan, Connecticut, Brigham Young preached on January 17, 1840. See “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409. This is probably also the Benedict mentioned in Parley P. Pratt’s letter to Joseph Smith in November 1839 as one of the elders who attended a conference in New York City on November 19–20, 1839. See History of the Church, 4:22.

49. Elizabeth Young (1825–1903) and Vilate Young (1830–1902) were Brigham’s only children with his first wife, Miriam Works.

50. Joseph Angell Young (1834–75) was the oldest child of Brigham and Mary Ann.

51. Brigham Young Jr. (1836–1903) and Mary Ann Young (1836–43) were twins. They were named after their parents.

52. Emma Alice Young (1839–74) was born September 4, 1839, ten days prior to Young’s departure for his mission to England.

53. Brigham Young and his traveling companions left New York on March 9, 1840, on the ship Patrick Henry.

54. The last part of this letter may have been written on April 24, 1840, when Brigham was with Wilford Woodruff and wrote a letter to Mary Ann. The letter was mailed on May 1, 1840. See “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 410.

55. John Moon (1809–50), who had joined the Church during the first apostolic mission to Great Britain, led the first group of British Saints to emigrate from England to America. They sailed on the ship Britannia on June 1, 1840.

56. John Taylor had been working in Liverpool since the latter part of January, after arriving in England on January 11, 1840. See Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 106–18.

57. Wilford Woodruff arrived in England on January 11, 1840. Later that month, he located himself near the Staffordshire potteries, where he stayed until March 3, 1840. From there he moved south to Herefordshire, where he found himself the catalyst for one of the most remarkable of all missionary ventures in Church history. See Thomas G. Alexander, Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1991), 87–92.

58. Alexander Wright and Samuel Mulliner, both Scots who had emigrated to Canada in the 1830s, were called in 1839 to return to their homeland to there open the latter-day work. They arrived in late December 1839. By the time Brigham Young arrived in England, nearly five dozen had joined the Church due to their efforts. See Frederick S. Buchanan, “The Ebb and Flow of the Church in Scotland,” in Bloxham, Moss, and Porter, Truth Will Prevail, 268–70.

59. Information about “Brother Allbrights” is not available.

60. Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young’s fellow traveler, wrote that “the sea Looked like mountains and vallies. Sometimes the ship would be on the top of a wave as high as a three story building, and the next moment it would plunge into a yawning gulf, where the water would be perhaps thirty feet higher than the vessel on every side.” The ship tossed, and “no one could stand or walk with out holding on, and the dish would frequently run a way with the spoon.” Parley P. Pratt, as quoted in Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 380. The Pratt and Heber C. Kimball accounts of the voyage are reproduced in Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 376–83.

61. Four days after Brigham Young’s arrival in England, he met his cousin, Willard Richards. “I was so emaciated from my long journey and sickness that he did not know me,” Brigham said. “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409.

62. Wilford Woodruff told the Saints in Nauvoo that this conference was “the first council and general conference we had ever held in a foreign nation.” The tally to date, he reported, “was 1671 saints, 34 elders, 52 priests, 38 teachers, and 8 deacons represented.” Wilford Woodruff to Elders Robinson and Smith, October 7, 1840, in Times and Seasons 2 (March 1, 1841): 330.

63. Leonora Cannon Taylor (1796–1868), born on the Isle of Man, married John Taylor in Toronto, Canada, in 1833.

64. The “History of Brigham Young” describes the immediate effect of this injury. After his companions wound a handkerchief around his shoulder and helped him up, Brigham was taken to a fire for warmth. He soon fainted. “[I] was not able to dress myself for several days,” he described. Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 409. Brigham Young’s “turnes” may be the noun form of turn associated with dizziness.

65. The county of Worcestershire was melded with Herefordshire in 1974 and the combined county on modern maps is now called Hereford and Worcester.

66. For a description of Malvern Hills and the Apostles’ missionary efforts in the area at this time, see Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 147–55.

67. Of a conference held on July 6, 1840, in Manchester, Wilford Woodruff wrote: “We heard 71 churches and conferences represented, containing 2513 members, 56 elders, 126 priests, 61 teachers, 13 deacons, making an increase since April 15th, of 840 members.” Woodruff to Robinson and Smith, in Times and Seasons 2 (March 1, 1841): 330.

68. In the revelation received by Joseph Smith on July 8, 1838, calling the Twelve “to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel,” the Elders were told that if they were faithful in their assignment, the Lord would “provide for their families.” Doctrine and Covenants 118:3–4.

69. Worcester Cathedral was begun in 1084. Undergoing many alterations through the years, the remarkable nave and tower were completed in the fourteenth century. A comprehensive restoration of the cathedral was conducted 1857–74. The “History of Brigham Young” states that Young visited the cathedral on April 21, 1840. Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 410.

70. As mentioned earlier, there was a possibility that Mary Ann Young would move with her children to Kirtland. On March 21, 1840, Mary Ann wrote to Brigham to say that Joseph Smith had counseled her “to not go to Kirtland. he Says tis not the Will of Lord.” Obviously, Brigham had not received her letter at this time. Mary Ann Young to Brigham Young, March 21, 1840, G. W. T. Blair Collection, LDS Church Archives.

71. Joseph Young (1797–1881), elder brother of Brigham Young, was one of the seven Presidents of the Seventy, 1835–81.

72. This phrase may be a reference to the doctrine of eternal marriage, which had not been widely popularized among Church members at this time. While Joseph Smith was in Philadelphia in December 1839 and January 1840, he met with Parley P. Pratt, an Apostle, who wrote that the Prophet “taught me many great and glorious principles concerning God and the heavenly order of eternity. It was at this time that I received from him the first idea of eternal family organization, and the eternal union of the sexes in those inexpressibly endearing relationships. . . . It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity.” Parley P. Pratt Jr., ed., Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 259, 260. The teachings about eternal marriage and the sealing ordinance were more widely implemented by Joseph Smith later in Nauvoo, Illinois. See M. Guy Bishop, “Eternal Marriage in Early Mormon Marital Beliefs,” Historian 52 (autumn 1990): 76–88; T. Edgar Lyon, “Doctrinal Development of the Church during the Nauvoo Sojourn, 1839–1846,” BYU Studies 15, no. 4 (1975): 443–45. It is not clear when Brigham Young first learned of the doctrine of eternal marriage. He closed his letter to Mary Ann of February 11, 1841, with the expression, “I will subscribe my self your companyan in life.”

73. The deadline for publication was met. A discussion of the hymnal preparation and publication, including Brigham Young’s involvement, is found in Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 246–49. See also Michael Hicks, Mormonism and Music: A History (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1989), 26–27.

74. On May 20, 1840, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and Willard Richards made final decisions concerning publication of the hymnal and Book of Mormon. They met near the crest of the Herefordshire Beacon, in the picturesque Malvern Hills. After prayer, Brigham recounted, “We held a council and agreed . . . I should repair immediately to Manchester, and join the brethren appointed with me as a committee, and publish 300[0] copies of the Hymn Book without delay. It was also voted that the same committee publish 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon.” The committee finished the collection of hymns on June 28, 1840. “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News Weekly, March 3, 1858, 410.

75. Brigham Young’s letter to Joseph Smith is found under the date of April 17, 1840, in History of the Church, 4:119–20.

76. “Sister Pratt” probably refers to Orson Pratt’s wife, Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt (1817–88), to whom Pratt was married in 1836. They had one living child, Orson Jr., age two, when Orson Sr. left for England in the spring of 1840.

77. Hiram Clark (1795–1853) arrived in England for missionary service in December 1839. He served in the British Mission on several assignments including appointment to mission leadership positions before being called to preside over the Sandwich Islands Mission in 1850.

78. Ague is a debilitating and often deadly malaria-like disease with wide effect in the nineteenth century.

79. Seventy-eight-year-old Joseph Richards died March 29, 1840, in Richmond, Massachusetts.

80. Israel Barlow (1806–83) married Elizabeth Haven (1811–92) on February 23, 1840, in Nauvoo, Illinois. Barlow was one of the first to identify the Montrose/Commerce area as a potential gathering spot for the Saints.

81. Abby Ann Greene (1817–47/48), Brigham Young’s niece, the daughter of John P. Greene and Rhoda Young Green, was married to Henry B. Gibbs in 1840 in Nauvoo, Illinois.

82. See the description of Brigham’s coat in note 131.

83. Ann Eastwood Booth (1793–?) and Robert Booth (1793–1846) were married in Manchester, England, in 1817. They had joined the Church as the result of William Clayton’s missionary work. See James B. Allen, Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987), 21. Wilford Woodruff may have become aware of Booth’s vision from Brigham Young the day after Woodruff’s arrival in Manchester, England. Woodruff was sufficiently impressed with the vision that he too copied Ann Booth’s account in his journal on July 2, 1840. His entry for that day reads, “I was informed of a remarkable vision of Sister Ann Booth which I have written on the following page.” The text of the vision, very similar to that found in Young’s letter, followed. Wilford Woodruff, Journal, July 2, 1840, LDS Church Archives.

84. John Wesley (1703–91), an English religious reformer, was one of the founders of Methodism.

85. Isaiah 24:22. “And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

86. John 1:5. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”

87. 1 Peter 3:18–20. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

88. David W. Patten (1799–1838), one of the original Twelve Apostles, was killed incident to the Saints’ difficulties in Missouri at the Battle of Crooked River on October 25, 1838.

89. The concept of the work of salvation beyond the grave was introduced by Joseph Smith in revelations received in 1832 (D&C 76:73) and 1836 (D&C 137), though not popularized among Church members at the time. In November 1837, Joseph Smith published answers to questions “daily and hourly asked” him and other Church members. Joseph’s answer to one of the questions (“If the Mormon doctrine is true[,] what has become of all those who have died since the days of the apostles?”) pointed to the work of salvation beyond the grave: “All those who have not had an opportunity of hearing the gospel, and being administered to by an inspired man in the flesh, must have it hereafter before they can be finally judged.” Untitled editorial, in Elders’ Journal 1 (November 1837): 28.

At the funeral of Seymour Brunson on August 15, 1840, the Prophet Joseph taught the doctrine of baptism for the dead, an initial feature of the doctrine and practice of vicarious ordinance work for persons deceased. He informed Brigham Young and others of the Twelve in England of the doctrine in a letter written December 15, 1840, surmising that word of the teaching “has ere this reached your ears.” See Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church Archives. A portion of the letter, omitting mention of baptism for the dead, was published in [Joseph Smith Jr.,] “Extract from an Epistle to the Elders in England,” Times and Seasons 2 (January 1, 1841): 258–61. Subsequent particulars of baptism for the dead were revealed to the Prophet on January 19, 1841 (D&C 124), and September 6, 1842 (D&C 128). The first baptism for the dead was performed on September 12, 1840, in the Mississippi River. It was not until November 21, 1841, that baptisms for the dead were performed in the font of the not-yet-completed Nauvoo Temple. See Smith, “Extract from an Epistle,” 258–61; M. Guy Bishop, “‘What Has Become of Our Fathers?’ Baptism for the Dead at Nauvoo,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 23 (summer 1990): 87; Gordon Irving, “The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830–1900,” BYU Studies 14, no. 3 (1974): 291–95; History of the Church, 4:454.

90. Phoebe Whitmore Carter Woodruff (1807–85) married Wilford Woodruff on April 13, 1837.

91. Brother Benbow is probably William Benbow, who independently emigrated from England the same day Brigham Young and his companion Apostles arrived in Liverpool. Benbow and his wife Ann joined the Church in January 1840 and later introduced Wilford Woodruff to John Benbow, William’s brother, who became a significant benefactor to the Apostles and to emigrating British Saints. See Bloxham, “Apostolic Foundations,” 132, 147.

92. Ebenezer Robinson (1816–91) and Joseph Smith’s younger brother Don Carlos Smith (1816–41) were publishers and editors of the Times and Seasons, the Church’s newspaper in Nauvoo. Their partnership began with the first issue in November 1839 and ended in December of 1840 when Robinson left. If they were shown Brigham Young’s letter, they apparently chose not to publish it.

93. Brigham Young’s mother, Abigail Howe Young, died in 1815 at age forty-nine. His sister Abigail died in 1807 at age fourteen. Both women were known by the nickname “Nabby.”

94. Phoebe Ann Babcock Patten Bentley (1807?–41), known as Ann, married David W. Patten in 1828. After Patten’s death in October 1838, she married Benjamin R. Bentley (also spelled Bently). Notice of her death on January 5, 1841, was printed in the issue of the Times and Seasons where she was described as having “suffered much from the power of disease.” “Records of Early Church Families,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 27 (January 1936): 33–34; “Obituary,” Times and Seasons 2 (February 15, 1841): 325.

95. See note 10.

96. The Sheffield was the fourth emigrant ship to sail from England with Mormon emigrants. The group of 235 led by Hiram Clark constituted the largest group to depart to that time. New Orleans, Louisiana, was the port of entry where they arrived on March 30, 1840, after which the passengers traveled by steamboat to Nauvoo. See Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 180–81.

97. Jaconet is a lightweight cotton cloth used for clothing and bandages.

98. Diplomatic relations between England and the United States had been strained since the American Revolution. At the time Brigham wrote this letter, relations were difficult primarily because of the arrest of Alexander McLeod. McLeod, a Canadian deputy sheriff, was arrested in New York in November 1840 on charges of murder and arson stemming from the December 1837 raid and sinking of the Caroline, an American steamship that had been transporting supplies to Canadian separatists stationed on the Canadian side of the Niagra River. The Americans and the Canadian separatists were outraged over the attack, while the British and the Canadian loyalists were outraged over McLeod’s arrest. McLeod was eventually acquitted. Tensions between the two sides increased until this matter and a number of other irritations were resolved in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842). See Thomas A. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, 9th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974), 198–220.

99. Lucian R. Foster (1806–?) was serving as a missionary in New York City at the time. Foster reported at a conference held April 6, 1841, in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, that the Saints in New York numbered 155 and that “the work of God was in a prosperous condition in that city [New York].” Benjamin Winchester, “Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons 2 (May 15, 1841): 412. Foster was later excommunicated.

100. The projected emigration company would leave Liverpool on May 17, 1841.

101. The Echo, captained by Alfred A. Wood, sailed from Liverpool on February 16, 1841, with 109 Latter-day Saints aboard led by Daniel Browett. It arrived in New Orleans on April 16, 1841, after fifty-nine days at sea. See Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 62.

102. This may have reference to God’s intervention in behalf of Aminadab, a Nephite “who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them.” Later God “turned him about” and made him an instrument for converting many Lamanites. See Helaman 5:35–50.

103. Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) arrived in England October 22, 1840, and began his assignment in London on February 11, 1841. Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith opened the work in London in August 1840. See Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 181–82, 226.

104. Henry G. Sherwood (1785–1862) was a member of the Nauvoo high council and had previously served on the Kirtland high council. He was also Nauvoo city marshal at this time.

105. James Burnham (?–1843), who joined with the Saints in Kirtland, served as a missionary to England and Wales for about two years, arriving in Liverpool on October 22, 1840, with Lorenzo Snow. He later died in Richmond, Massachusetts, while performing missionary work. His death was noticed in Benjamin Andrew’s letter to the editor, Times and Seasons 4 (May 1, 1843): 187–88.

106. James Lavender (1801–?) and Mary Ann Smith Lavender were baptized by Willard Richards on Christmas Day, 1837, and New Year’s Day, 1838, respectively. After Richards departed Bedford, Bedfordshire, where the Lavenders lived, James was left in charge of the branch. He served as one of Daniel Browett’s counselors for the emigrants who sailed aboard the Echo from Liverpool on February 16, 1841.

107. Daniel Browett (1810–48) served as leader of the 109 Mormons who emigrated on the voyage of the ship Echo that left Liverpool on February 16, 1841. A Mormon Battalion veteran, Browett was killed traveling to Utah from California after his discharge. See Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 62.

108. John F. Boynton (1811–90), one of the original Twelve Apostles, was excommunicated in 1837. The information passed to Brigham Young about Boynton returning to the Church was faulty. He did not rejoin the Saints.

109. Parley P. Pratt left England in July 1840 to retrieve from America his wife and children, whom he believed would be an asset to his publishing work in Britain. He returned with his family to Manchester, England, on October 19, 1840. See Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 169, 171, 205.

110. In an April 15, 1841, letter to Brigham, Mary Ann Young described Hiram Clark’s return to Nauvoo: “Br. Clark has just come into the place [Nauvoo]. he has <had> Some trouble in geting along [with] so many. But it Seemed the chaff Blew out from among the compony on the way, <there has 200–3 come with him>, for those that rebelled against him have stoped on the way and there has not any come, he Says, but humble Soles. Br. C[lark] called the next morning after his arrival and gave <me> the two letters from you & the litle Box undistrubed as it was from your hand.” Mary Ann Young to Brigham Young, April 15, 1841, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives.

111. Mary Ann Young’s reply to her husband on April 15, 1841, described Theodore Turley after his return from England: “Br Turley was very poor when he came home and his appearane on the jorney from England was very disgusting to many respectable people. He Repented and come back into the church again. they Say he is very humble, I am thankful. I have I have [sic] not recieved <not> much from Br. Turley, yet he Says he is willing to do eny thing he can or turn work on that Account.” Mary Ann Young to Brigham Young, April 15, 1841, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives.

112. Smith, “Extract from an Epistle,” 258–61, contains a portion of Joseph Smith’s instruction to the Twelve Apostles. For Joseph’s approval of the return of the Twelve, see Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 295.

113. Orson Hyde (1805–78), one of the original Twelve Apostles, and John E. Page (1799–1867), ordained an Apostle in December 1838, did not accompany the Twelve to England in 1839. Subsequently the two were called on a mission to Palestine at the April 1840 general conference at Nauvoo. As they traveled east they became separated. Elder Page stayed behind in the United States, while Elder Hyde, who had opened missionary work in England with Heber C. Kimball in 1837, sailed for England again February 13, 1841. Elder Hyde’s arrival on April 1, 1841, brought the number of Apostles in England to nine. He continued on to Jerusalem, and on October 24, 1841, dedicated Palestine for the return of the Jews, before returning to Nauvoo on December 7, 1842.

The issue of the Times and Seasons Brigham referred to was probably the issue dated November 15, 1840. A reference to Orson Hyde and John E. Page’s mission is found in that issue in George J. Adams’s letter from New York, dated October 7, 1840. Elders Hyde and Page were not mentioned in the next issue of the Times and Seasons.

114. As mentioned previously, John F. Boynton did not return to the Church. Luke S. Johnson (1807–61), one of the original Twelve Apostles, was excommunicated in April 1838 but was rebaptized in 1846. He accompanied the Saints to Utah in 1847 as one of the pioneer vanguard.

115. “Joab, General in Israel,” is the pseudonym employed by John C. Bennett (1804–67) in his letters published in the Times and Seasons from September 1840 through February 1841. Joab’s correspondence argued in behalf of Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints, no doubt ingratiating Bennett to his new church. When Bennett’s scandalous motives and behavior were discovered, his identity as Joab was made known in the Times and Seasons. He was disfellowshipped and later excommunicated in 1842. See “Certificates of William and Henry Marks,” Times and Seasons 3 (August 1, 1842): 875; Andrew F. Smith, The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 57, 59, 78–97.

116. Lorenzo Snow became president of the London Conference and a counselor to Parley P. Pratt, who presided over the mission. While in London, Elder Snow in 1842 presented Queen Victoria with a copy of the Book of Mormon published the previous year in Liverpool. After nearly three years in England, he returned to Nauvoo in April 1843. He became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1849.

117. Elders Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith opened London to missionary work on August 18, 1840. While the work was sporadic, the London Conference was organized February 14, 1841, at which time there were 106 members in four branches. The Saints in the conference numbered more than two hundred in August 1841. For an overview of the Apostles’ work in London, see Bloxham, “Apostolic Foundations,” 150–59.

118. April 6, 1841, was the day appointed for a general conference to be held in Manchester for the British Saints prior to the departure of the missionaries. The Church in England at the time of the conference was composed of 5,864 members, an increase of over 4,300 since the April 1840 conference. See Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 300–302.

119. On April 15, 1841, Mary Ann responded to Brigham’s offer to have Lucian R. Foster pick up goods for her on the way home to Nauvoo: “The litle Boys talk much abot their litle wagon that Father is going to bring them. Joseph [said], ‘tell Father I send my best love to him.’ E[lizabeth] Says She wants Some Light plain Silk to make her a Bonnet of Belt & Slide. She would like Some litle white Artificial flowers. She Says you may do as <you> are amind about geting them. You Said in your letter if there <were> eny thing I wanted to write and you would try to get it. I do not feel as though I wanted much. the things you have Sent me, I coul[d] not [have] Selected things that I more needed. I feel willing [that] the Spirit of the Lord Should direct in all things that concerns me. I can name a few things [that I need:] Misceto Barrs, Som Black Serving Silk by the oz. & Nutmeggs by the oz. if you had a fu [few] Dollars to Spend after you reched home in goods if you Should lay out a litle in Calaco & factory cloath it would be very prophetable as cloathing is so hard to get in this place. you can obtain any produce of the contry for cloathing and get a good price for it. we have no fire dogs or handirons. But you can do as you think best concerning every thing. I am Shure I shall be Suited if you are. I only Spoke of these things Because they would come very high in this place.” Mary Ann Young to Brigham Young, April 15, 1841, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives.

120. Olive Grey Frost (1816–45) accompanied her sister Mary Ann Frost Pratt, who, with her husband Parley and their children, traveled to England in October 1840 for Elder Pratt to resume his missionary labors. Olive and the Pratts left England in December 1842 to return to America. Because of illness within their company, Olive did not arrive in Nauvoo until April 1843. Later that year, Olive became a plural wife of Joseph Smith. See Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 586–92.

121. On March 11, 1841, Brigham Young appointed Thomas Smith and William Moss (1796–1872) to supervise the fifty-four Saints sailing from Liverpool on the Alesto. The ship departed March 17, 1841, and arrived in New Orleans two months later. See Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, 8.

122. While Orson Pratt focused his energies during his apostolic mission in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hedlock, who had also served in England and Ireland, spread the gospel in Glasgow, Scotland, until his departure with the other missionaries in April 1841. See Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 85, 162, 213, 294.

123. George J. Adams (1811?–80) accompanied Orson Hyde, who was en route to Palestine, as far as England. Adams, after serving in England and returning to Nauvoo, was called in 1843 to accompany Elder Hyde to open missionary work in Russia. Their mission was aborted. Adams later became disaffected with the Church. He was finally excommunicated in 1845.

124. Shortly after his return to the United States from England, Brigham Young learned that the Lord had accepted his missionary service. A revelation dated July 9, 1841, given through the Prophet Joseph to Brigham, said, “It is no more required at your hand to leave your family as in times past. . . . Take especial care of your family from this time, henceforth and forever” (D&C 126:1–3).

125. George W. Robinson (1814–78) was a son-in-law of Sidney Rigdon. He served for a time as Joseph Smith’s clerk, general Church recorder, and postmaster of Nauvoo. He left the Church in 1842.

126. Sidney Rigdon (1793–1876), a Counselor in the First Presidency to Joseph Smith, had been very ill during 1840. According to his biographer, he suffered from recurrent ague (malaria) and a long season of depression. His weight dropped from 212 pounds to 165. By 1841 his health had improved some. See Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994), 279–85.

127. Brigham is probably referring to Richard Harrison (1808–82), a Church member since 1840, who was later ordained an elder by Brigham Young on March 31, 1841, just prior to Young’s return to America. Harrison emigrated from England in 1842.

128. The Alesto sailed from Liverpool for New Orleans on March 17, 1841. See also note 121.

129. This likely refers to either the anti-Mormon work by Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed: or, a Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time (Painesville, Ohio: by the author, 1834) or Parley P. Pratt’s defense of the faith, Mormonism Unveiled: Zion’s Watchman Unmasked, and Its Editor, Mr. L. R. Sunderland, Exposed, 2d ed. (New York: Printed for the publisher, 1838).

130. Concerning the coat, the entry in the “History of Brigham Young” for December 6, 1839, reads, “The brethren [in Hamilton, New York] were very kind to us, bro. Benager Moon gave me satinette to make me an overcoat, sister Lucetta Murdock made it for me; this was a great blessing to me, as I had worn a quilt with a comforter run through it in lieu of an overcoat, all the way from Nauvoo, which had not much of a ministerial appearance.” Deseret News Weekly, February 24, 1858, 402.

131. Merino is a fabric of soft lamb’s wool or wool and cotton.


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