Gravois 6 miles off St. Louis Feb 15th 1857 [St. Louis, Missouri Sunday 1857-02-15]

My Dearly Beloved Artimesia Minerva Elisabeth [Elizabeth], Josephine Sarah, Mahonri, Artimesia B. Erastus B. [Eratus Beman Snow 1847-1900] Franklin, Erastus W. [White], Willard, Susan, Emma, [Libby] and Florence:

I want to hear from you very much. Oh it is a long time since I have heard (not since Sept 29th [Monday 29 Sep 1856]) But I learn by telegraph that the California mail has arrived at New York which I fondly hope will bring me news from you up to December [1856].

The overland mail which left Salt Lake first November [Saturday 1 Nov 1856] [mor ?] left at Big Blue about 200 miles from Independence. I expect we shall get it about next may [May 1857].

The California Steamer leaves again on the 20th [Friday 20 Feb 1857] and I must write a few lines to you before I can receive the letters which I hope are now on their way from New York.

I wrote you from Washington [Washington DC] on the 17th January [Saturday 17 Jan 1857]. I went from Washington [DC] over the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road [Railroad] to [Wheeling] on the Ohio River thence by Rail Road [railroad] though [through] Ohio and Michigan to Chicago on Lake Michigan, thence by R.R. [railroad] 91 miles North West to Jonesville Wisconsin where I spent five days visiting my sister Lucina Warner [Lucina Snow Warner] and her husband and children. I had not seen sister Lucina [Lucina Snow Warner] since I left Kirtland [Kirtland Ohio] in 1838. They were much overjoyed to see me and heard gladly everything I had to say or teach about the Gospel and Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour [Savior]. But her husband was as hard and unbelieving as ever. When I could have a chance to talk with the children Otis and his wife and [Horace] heard me gladly There was not so much place for the word, with [Oscar] and Ellen. The latter is married to a Mr Miles and lives 12 miles off while all the rest still have a home at Fathers and their mother is as she always was a slave to the whole family. Otis and his wife seem however to appreciate her worth more than the rest. I hope that some seed may come of which I have sown in their hearts and that of little Henry Franklin, who is about two months younger than Mahonri and looks so much like him that I could scarsely [scarcely] keep my eyes off him. (He gave me a knife to send to Mahonri.) Tell mother that sister Lucina [Lucina Snow Warner] sends much love to mother. She is fleshy, but her nervous system is much broken and her faculties impaired. There’s a Rail Road [railroad] from Chicago to Jonesville but snow [or ?] very deep and weather cold there, and I was [two] days going by rail R. [railroad] which is usually performed in four hours. We had two heavy Engines and only two cars and a host of men with shovels to shovel away the snow when the Engines got fast in the drifts.

I returned to St. Louis [Missouri] on the 5th inst [instant – Thursday 5 Feb 1857] after an absence of two months and 7 days. My health much improved. The saints generally were very glad to see me and I felt that it was time for me to resume my labours [labors] among them. Satan was striving to lead away souls and some have to be severd [severed] from the church, while others are repenting and renewing their covenants in Baptism.

The wickedness of the world is increasing at a fear-full [fearful] rate on every hand and the saints are mixed up with it iniquity abounds, and it becomes necessary to use great plainness of speech and to reprove with sharpness to keep the saints in the right way of the Lord. We had very severe weather all through the states from the first of December [Monday 1 Dec 1856] untill [until] early in February [Feb 1857]. It is now mild. The ice gone out of the rivers and Steamers running. Sister [Orson] Pratt has succeeded in getting her two children from New Orleans and is now in Texas. Bro. P. [Parley P. Pratt] is still East. She and the children will start for Utah with the Texas saints. I should like to know how you are doing this winter. Has my little Erastus W. [Erastus White Snow] And Artimesia [Snow] been baptised baptized]? And do they and the other children pray? Do they learn well at school? Is my stock doing well and Bro. Shurtliffs doing well upon the farm? is he pushing forward the fencing? I am raising a company to go up in April [Apr 1857] to start out from Florence [Winter Quarters, Nebraska] and make a location 180 miles west on the Platt [Platte River]. I shall leave about the 15th [Wednesday 15 Apr 1857] and perhaps, be gone untill [until] June [Jun 1857]. I shall be glad to meet a wife there with a company of Missionaries if Bro. Brigham’s [Brigham Young] thought it best but I have not felt to direct or ask it. I pray my Heavenly Father to continue to bless you all. E. Snow [Elder Erastus Snow 1818-1888]