San Francisco, Jan. 13th, /55
My dear Sister, Agatha,
A happy new year to you.
I am well in health and spirits. Your letter came to hands a few days after the others viz. Thursday 11th, enclosing a few lines from my dear sister Hannahette. It was overlooked in the post office. I should have received all the letters of the mail of Dec. 1st on New Years Day, but for two causes, first the post office shut for a holy day, 2 letters all sent to Santa Clara, just as I came from there here, all to be received by E. then remailed to me this delayed them till about the 5th. It was a painful waiting.
1 letter from Prest. Young, 1 from Br. Cannon, 1 from Belinda, 1 from Kiziah, 2 from Phebe, 1 from you and a few lines from Hannahette.
E. is quite out of health—her spinal and nervous aflictions are dreadful. She sometimes sinks into a dreadful state of gloom and melancholy like Belinda used to, and had rather die than live half an hour. She lives at Santa Clara, and has a good home, and does no work only for her self. She washes and sews some for ourselves. I am only with her a portion of the time. I feel much sorrow for her. She suffers much.
We had a gen. conference at Santa Clara, on the 30 and 31 and 120 members were represented in five branches, in this upper country. There is a slow but constant increase, in nos. and in spirit, faith and power. There are a few good souls in this country who love God and his servants as they love their own souls. One such is worth all the labours of a life time. A colony will start for Utah on the first of May, probably the northern route. I had thought to come with them, but through Br. Tanners ill luck or mismanagement I have lost much means in the vessel which he is utterly unable to pay at present. So I see no prospect of being able to come home even on a visit. I am sadly in debt, and to all human appearance, like to be for a long time to come. One thousand five hundred dollars would scarcely pay my [page break] debts here, including the old notes I gave when here before, in order to get means to get home. I have not been able as yet to spare means for a cloak and my cloths are old and shabby, though I mannage to keep up a tolerable appearance. I have no reason to complain, for there are elders here who after a five years mission have to work at washing or diging to earn means to get home. There are others who are performing a mission while their wives are out at service to earn the means to help them go and come.
It is hard getting work here at any price, and as to working I cannot do it—die or live. I have a shipment of books from the office at Liverpool which I expect will arrive in a month or so; but there will be about three or four hundred dollars duties to pay on them for which I see no opening at present, so I will have to put them in bond, as security for the duties.
The best of the saints here think it is enough to pay their tything, and use hospitality, and give now and then an article of clothing or a few dollars to pay a stage or steamer, and the others have no idea of doing any thing, nor would they have, if even an angel would sound his trump and tell them with a voice of thunder to help build up the Kingdom of God. The spirit of God is poured out here in a wonderful manner on the meek and faithful, and we have great joy in the midst of our poverty. The branch in S. F. consists of inactive and nominal members, traveling, or trancient Elders or members, and a few good souls who have opposition in their own households in a way that they cannot entertain the elders. So I hire me a small dark cluttered, unfurnished bedroom in a little back shed, or shanty. Some good sisters furnish me a few articles of beding. I get my meals round among them, and two or three give me now and then a dollar or two, which pays my rent and other little expences. In Santa Clara the brethren are somewhat wealthy, and families agreed in the Gospel. They are hospitable and I can have a good home among them when there, but duty calls me here much of the time. [page break]
Well, after all I am hapy, and at twilight when I am intolerably lonesome I get the family letters and read them over and over and love every word, and feast on it. And then I think, I could live a long life of loneliness and exile for the sake of being counted worthy of a union with such souls as the Lord has given me.
Agathy, your letter was a good one, and it came from a good and noble heart. I think I have received all the letters which have been sent me from home from time to time. They were all good, I have no reason to find one word of fault with any of my family. I believe they all do the best they can, and that they are the blessed of the Lord. I pray for them always. I was sorry to hear of the sickness of little Moroni and little Mary and Phebe and others, but thankful that God had spared them. I appreciate the word of remembrance from Aga and Lona. God bless them forever and also Stina, and Lucy and all the children, even little Ettee. This letter is as much to Hannahett as to you.
Now comes the love subject. Well, what shall I say? Well, it won’t do to write it. It cannot be either written or spoken, feeding hogs and other work is a part of it. But, the more refined part was never expressed by pen or tongue. It is the language of the heart only. You may take a piece of paper and fill it as you please and I will subscribe to it all, and more too. Just think of the most endearing expressions which ever passed between us, and all the kind and affectionate words and actions of our short sojourn together and be assured my heart and affections are still the same, including a vigorous and constant growth in all that is tender and good, and pure, and sweet, and holy. I intend to love you more and more, and to go on with my own dear ones: and:
Be fruitful, multiply and let our race extend–
Fill earth, the stars, and worlds that never end.
As a step in this progress I expect to possess and occupy a goodly portion [page break] of the elements in Carson Vally, Utah, this summer, and who knows but some of my family can yet live there with me. My love to all my family and friends.
No, never will I forget – Yfe, el siegos.
P. P. Pratt
[Transcribed by Dorrie Lee and Suzanne Taysom, Jan. 2014]
P. P. Pratt to Agatha [Pratt], transcribed letter, 13 January 1855; MS 278, folder 1, document 13, p. 1-4, online images, Ann Agatha W. Pratt Reminiscences and Letters, 1847-1907 (https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE2090355&usedforsort=MS_278_f0001 : January 2014); Church History Library, Salt Lake City.