St Louis Jan. 14th 1855 St. Louis, Missouri] (Box 333)
My Dearly Beloved and affectionate wives [Artimesia Beman Snow 1819-1882] [Minerva White Snow 1822-1896] [Elizabeth Rebecca Ashby Snow 1831-1915] and children. Tis [It is] sunday A.M. I have hid myself away in my office (while the saints are assembled in the church overhead) To give scope to those tender feelings of conjugal and parental effection [affection] with which my heart is full and overflowing and to pen a few feeble lines for your perusal which will be a relief to my feelings and I trust a solace to yours. But how feeble is my pen to convey the sensations and feelings of my heart. I feel strong and fearless resolute and undaunted in facing an unbelieving, cold hearted world in preaching and writing in behalf of the Kingdom of God. But when I can hide away from the cares and multiplied duties that press upon me, and permit my mind to dwell upon the scenes of by gone days, and contemplate the sweets of my family circle - Tis [It is] then I feel like a child, and from all the fountains of my heart seem gushing forth streams of effection [affection] and my soul may feign indulge in the sweets of my family joys and feast upon the ravishing kiss, the smile of effection [affection], the tender carress [caress] and the warm glow from effections [affections] fire kindled upon the alter of loving hearts. To listen to those playfull [playful] amusements of the little children. The earnest enthusiastic appeal of Erastus W. The retiring shyness of little Artimesia and little Rassa [Erastus Beman Snow 1853-1900], Willard, Lizze, and Franklin looking on half anxious - half fearing to come to me, while both them and their mothers, I should want to clasp all in my arms at once and not know which to take first. But here I am and you are 1500 miles away and I must content myself by writing and wait 3 months for an answer. Well this is certainly a great privaledge [privilege] and I feel Truly grateful to my heavenly Father for this family and I do give thanks unto him whenever I hear from you. He has mercifully preserved and brought to me all that you have written so far as I know and I hope you have been equally fortunate in receiving mine. I have let no opportunity slip of writing to you and of sending you papers. This I shall send to you by California Steamer which is to leave New York on the 20th inst. [January] And this will [be] the last I shall send that way, as you will not probably receive it before the middle or last of March and I shall send by Independence after this. The letters which you write to me by the first of April mail Please direct to Independence Mo. As I shall probably be on the frontiers fitting out our emigration and other trains when that mail arrives and shall not want it to come down to St. Louis and back. Tell Bro. Zera [Zerubbabel Snow] so to direct as alone by that mail.
My last was directed to Artimesia in reply to hers of Oct. 30th but do not remember which day I sent it. Since that was sent I have received the December mail containing Deseret News + letters from Zera [Zerubbabel Snow], Gov Young and others as also one from Elisabeth dated 26th + 30th Nov. I was most gratified to learn that you were all so well, that the children had recovered from sore eyes, that Elisabeth had become healthy + hearty as ever she was - Truly Elisabeth ought you to be thankfull [thankful] for that inestimable blessing - I cease not to give thanks in my prayers and ask that it may continue, and that Minerva and Artimesia may also become strong and healthy. My health is quite good although I have had during the past week a cold and I find need of being a little more cautious in this changeable climate. for one day we have mud and the next ice. It has however been very open thus far and but little cold weather. Grass has grown all through this month untill [until] within two days. It is cold weather. I still board at Bro. Worley’s but I have not so much attention paid to my clothes and to my comfort as I used to have at Bro. Petersons when I was in Copenhagen. Bro. W. [Worley] has a large family and sister Peterson had no children but me to look after. I feel to bless her whenever I think of her kindness and attention to my wants, and I feel as though I [want] you should continue to show kindness to her. I should be very glad to have Elisabeth here if I was going to stay long, but the fatigues of a journey over the plains and the dangers of sickness is a drawback to the idea. Although she would have but one child yet if that or herself should be taken away in this climate I should hardly forgive myself for having taken them from their mountain home. It is not very easy to get comfortable boarding places among the Saints here. Elisabeth writes she has learned to spin. Well why did you not tell me what you had spun and what clothing you were making and what each of the other [were] about and what all the children were doing and what was going on among the people? I suppose you will say you could not think of everything, but the least thing about the house or family would interest me. I miss that..... giving the children all a chance at school and what ever books are necessary for them, get them if they are to be had. I shall try to send some books and presents next summer, If I do not come myself. There is my large map of Europe which the children can study and learn to find the countries where the English, French, Turks and Russians are at War. I wish to propose a few premiums for Sarah, Mahonri or any of the rest of you who will win them. I will give my pocket map which is in my book case to eithr [either] of the children who first learns geography so far as to go through the map of the United States. I will give Mahonri a hansome [handsome] pair of new Boots next winter if he learns the same whether he wins the map or not. I will give a present worth 5.00 [$5.00] to any one of my family who will read the New Testament through by the 1st of October next and $10.00 if they will read the New Testament and Book of Mormon both through within a year from next April. and $15.00 to the one who reads the Bible through in 18 months from that time. The money to be paid over to you as expended for anything which you may choose to order me to purchase for you. I shall surely send some presents to all the other little children if they mind their mothers well and they can offer such premiums as they please to the little ones. I have a new Years present to give Minerva. But I think I will not tell her what it is yet. I have not heard from Doc [Doctor] Clinton for the last 3 weeks he was than [then] well and at Philada [Philadelphia]. Elder [John] Taylor had not at last accounts got his paper started yet. I have lately heard from Bro. Charles, Shipley and Mason. The only news of importance from them more than I last wrote is, “Grandmother Streeter is Dead. Andrew A. Snow writes that she was buried a little before Christmas. Say to the Danish saints that 996 from Denmark are on the ocean and will probably land here about the 1st March. there are also 2 vessels of English saints on the way. Tell sister Anderson I will endeavor to send her truss as she desired me. I received a letter from sister [?] requesting [me to] look after some things sent by her husband in [storage] of young woman. But I have not seen the lady, but learn that she is here and following a disreputable business. apostate of course. Peter who is with the Danish company will soon be here to look after her. My love to Bro & sister Beckstrom [Brother and Sister Anna Beckstrom] and Olson. How have you got along this winter? Have you [headed] out among folks and enjoyed yourselves? Or have you enjoyed yourselves at home? I have enough to do to occupy my mind all the time and yet I steal away sometimes to a little party among the saints or to an exhibition or to theatre [theater]. But I never half enjoy such thing because I have not any of my family to enjoy it with me. My sheet is full and I have not written half what I would like to say to you all if I could see you But I must adjourn so goodbye. As ever E. Snow [Elder Erastus Snow, b. 1818]
[in margin] Do you pray together and with the children? Are they taught to pray? Do you live happy together, are you free with each other, to try to make each other happy and comfortable?