St. Joseph Mo. [St. Joseph, Missouri] 18th Nov 1860 [Sunday 1860-11-18]
9 oclock [o'clock] P.M. [9 PM]
My Dear Elisabeth I seize upon a passing moment while sister Stuart is making my bed to write a line to let you all know that I am still whine [whining] and moaning and my health is or would be very good if I did not eat more than I exercise. But stoping [stopping] at hotels and other comfortable houses, eating hearty, sleeping in beds [etc] is rather hard upon me after sleeping out so long and walking and exercising so much as I did while crossing the Planes [plains].
I mailed letters for Artemesia at Bridger [Fort Bridger, Wyoming], Larimie [Laramie, Wyoming] and Kearney [Wyoming] and advised you of my condition and the travels of the company. Our Journey from Kearney [Wyoming] to Florence [Winter Quarters, Nebraska] was not so plesant [pleasant] as the forepart on account of the unsettled state of the weather. We had rain cold winds and rather stormy and while laying at Loup Fork [Loup Fork River] we encountered another snow storm which although melted nearly as fast as it fell, was quite severe on our teams. But we had had plenty of feed and fuel to keep us warm. I however got quite wet and took cold which has effected my lungs considerabl [considerably]. It is however wearing off and my general health is good. We all arrived safely in Florence [Winter Quarters, Nebraska] with all our teams on the 6th inst [instant – Tuesday 6 Nov 1860] Just in the time I had predicted. Provision having been made by Bro Brigham [Brigham Young] for the team, to be appraised and turned over to the church. The missionaries were soon retiring of their teams and supplied with means to proceed on their Journey
I left my old Buggy with Brother W. M. Pyfes [Fife ?] to be sold. By the way, While stopping at Brother Pyfess [Fife], I saw Mrs. Smith formerly Miss Drollinger whom Julia doubtless recollects she being a sister to Alex Pyfess [Fife] wife. Her husband is a son of sylvester Smith [Sylvester Smith].
While at Florence [Winter Quarters, Nebraska] Bro. Pratt [Orson Pratt ?] and myself visited the old Mormon burial grave on the hill to see if we could see any traces of our little departed ones there laid away, But while we recognized upon boards or stones the names, or initials of many of our old acquaintances yet we found nothing left by which to distinguish the precise spot where little Mary Minerva or any of his were laid.
We reccogguised [recognized] Brother J.B. Nobles [Joseph Bates Noble] wife Sarah Alley. Also Jacob Gates Wife and many others.
The ground is still used a burial place for the town.
We found the country fast filling up along the Missouri River and extending west to within ten miles of Fort Kearney.
The Telegraph wires which now extend to Kearney are to be stretched out to Salt Lake city [Salt Lake City, Utah] next summer, if the Union don't [doesn't] burst up.
The general election for President of these United States took place throughout all the States, on Tuesday the 6th inst. [instant – Tuesday 6 Nov 1860] the day we arrived in Florence [Winter Quarters, Nebraska], which resulted in the choice of Abram Lincon [Abraham Lincoln] of Ill [Illinois]. The candidate of the Republican Party. So soon as the results of the election could be transmitted over the electric wires throughout the country south Carolina [South Carolina] inaugurated the Secession movement and called upon her sister States of the South to Join her in breaking up the union of these States and forming a Southern Republic. Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and it is said some other Southern States are responding to the call and arming and preparing for the movement. Whether the full time for bursting up this government has arrived or whether the present Black clouds and fog will clear away and their day be prolonged remains to be seen.
One thing is certain that fear is seizing hold upon the people and nearly every [everyone] is talking of the disolution [dissolution] of the Union and not a few are turning their eyes toward Utah for a place of refuge. A Deputation of Lawyers and Merchants at Omaha invited Elder O. Pratt [Orson Pratt] to Preach in the court house on Sunday the 11th [Sunday 11 Nov 1860] which he did to a large and attentive audience, and read to them the Revelation given 24 years ago in relation to the disolution [dissolution] of this Union and wars which would follow beginning with South Carolina. (See “Pearl of Great Price” [bound] in my book of Pamphlets) He concluded his remarks by inviting those who loved Peace and would uphold good and wholesome Laws to come to Utah when they saw the horror of civil War [Civil War] with all its consequences coming upon them.
We found a small branch of the Saints in Omaha and held several meetings with them. Also about 16 Danish families with whom I held a few meetings. While there a Steam mill, close by the house occupied for the Danish meeting, exploded killing the engineer and seriously injuring several other workmen and shattering the mill to attoms [atoms] and strewing the fragments all around. On the 13th Brother C. [A.] Spencer [C. A. Spencer] and myself crossed the river [Missouri River] and hunted up a few old saints at Council bluffs and held a meeting at [??] We visited Sister Powers and her husband from Peterbourough [Peterborough, New Hampshire] which most of you will recollect in Nauvoo. She is still in the faith and enquired [inquired] eagerly after her old acquaintances and wished to be remembered to you.
On the morning of the 15th [Thursday 15 Nov 1860] we took the stage for this place where we arrived yesterday evening [Saturday 17 Nov 1860] having layed over one day at Rockport [Rock Port, Missouri] to visit Brother Charles and Sister Lydia Whom we found in good health and quite blessed to see us. Charles is still living in Rockfort [Rock Port, Missouri] practicing medicine and Lydia at the same place where I last saw her 5 miles in the country. She had Just moved into her new house.
She has 8 children 4 boys and 4 girls and does all her work alone and told me she had not hired her macking dye [making dye ?] since She was married - She still loves the gospel and the people of God but her husband hates it.
Today Elder Cannon [George Q. Cannon] arrived with most of the other missionaries in the Steamer Chippewa from Omaha [Nebraska] and we are all expecting to leave here tomorrow morning at 6 oclock [o'clock] on the boat for Hannaball [Hannibal, Missouri] on the Missisippi [Mississippi River] from which place I with a few others expect to take a Boat for St. Louis [Missouri] and the ballance [balance] proceed on to New York [New York City, New York] via Chicago [Chicago, Illinois]. I hoped to have found a letter for me at this place but was disappointed. I trust I shall find one from home waiting my arrival at Saint Louis [St. Louis, Missouri]. I expect if the Lord will to go on to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and New York [New York City, New York] after making a short visit in St. Louis [Missouri].
Elder Orson Pratt tarried in Patawattomie [Pottawattomie] County and expects to accompany [Orniur] E. Bates across the country east and to go through Wisconsin thence to New York [New York City, New York]. We Brother spencer [Spencer], Mc Alister, and Oliphant are stopping tonight with Brother Stewart Shoemaker who used to live in Salt Lake and left at the time of the lote [?] and now he wants very much to get back again - Bro Oliphant wishes you to send his wife word that he is well and going on to St. Louis [Missouri].
I address this letter to Elisabeth [Elizabeth] but expect all to appropriate to themselves as much as they please and to write to me often. Give my respects to Father Couf [?] and all old friends who inquire after me. Kiss the little children for me and accept my warmest effection [affection] for you all
Erastus Snow [Elder Erastus Snow 1818-1888]