Historian’s Office
Great Salt Lake City
May 28, 1856

Dear Brother O. Pratt—

As I commence my first letter in the Historian’s Office, I feel that you are the person that I should write to.

You may be aware that on Monday, the day before I parted with you a the mouth of the kanyon, that I had an ox die suddenly, and in my endeavours to save the hide, while skinning it, I casually scratched my left arm with a rib, and a few days afterwards the place inflamed; a swelling rose on the spot, the poison virus got inoculated into my system, which caused me three or four weeks’ sickness, and which came very near costing me my life.  About the first labour on my recovering, so as to be able to get out of doors, was to be called up about half-past one o’clock in the morning, on Friday the 16th instant, to administer to your wife, Sarah.  I promised her in the name of the Lord that all should be well with her and her child, and that she should be blest in her labour.  In fifteen minutes after, she was safely delivered of a very fine daughter, weighing 12 lbs.  I have seen her several times since; both she and her daughter are doing well.  I have now so far recovered from my sickness as to be able to attend to business.

Eighteen days ago the mail arrived from the east, being the first news, by way of the South Pass, since last November.  The carrier only brought in about one half of the bags sent from Independence, during that time; the other half being left somewhere between there and here; perhaps left at Fort Laramie to amuse the U.S. soldiers with our news and correspondence during the winter evenings.

The California mail has arrived pretty regularly this winter.  By that mail we received the Western Standard, and letters from brother C.C. Rich and others.  I am very much pleased with the appearance of the Standard, it is ably conducted, and I think it will prove a benefit to the Saints, and help to keep at bay some of our vile calumniators, who will not be so barefaced in their attacks, when they see we have a paper that will defend our cause.

We learn, by the late mails, that there is much trouble in Oregon and Washington Territories; the Indians are having it pretty much all their own way.  I am happy to say, by recent letters from our missionaries in East Oregon, that all is peace with them.  President Young has talked of sending up about fourteen wagons to bring back loads of dried salmon, to help out the scanty supplies of food in this country.  Brother Rich is also making calculations to furnish some grain for this Territory, in case we get too tightly pinched; but we feel thankful to our Heavenly Father for His gracious mercies, in sending us a bountiful shower every week, since President J.M. Grant spoke upon “the dry moon,” and exhorted the brethren to exercise faith for rain—which you may remember—when it commenced raining while he was preaching.  The past week has been very warm, and wheat is running fast; many brethren are in high glee, and are calculating to commence cutting wheat about the 20th of June.  The cut worm is devouring a portion of the wheat and corn crops.  The peas are beginning to bloom beautifully; the potatoes and other crops are growing fine.  At the same time we have the music of the gulls as they fly over our heads seeking for grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects, but they find very few to feed upon.  There is a greater abundance of grass in all the valleys and mountains than we have had for two years.  The brethren continue busy planting corn and late crops, and all the old broke land is being cropped, which shows an untiring zeal in those who remain to secure for themselves, and the Saints who are coming from the old countries, a sufficiency of food for the next year.

Elder P.P. Pratt has again regained his health, so far as to preach in the Bowery last Sabbath; he has now gone on a mission to Utah County.

The Presidency, and those of the Twelve who are here, are enjoying good health.  They, with the Council, remember you in their prayers.

There are a few sick here; among whom are sisters Mary Ann Young and Mary Richards, who are a little easier today.

Elder McCarthy, who was shipwrecked on one of the Society Islands, has baptized the interpreter to the King, who speaks twelve languages.  Also the interpreter to the Government Company, who speaks four languages.  Brother McCarthy ordained them both Elders, and set them to preaching the Gospel, in the midst of the people; so some good is growing out of his shipwreck.

Yours truly,
W. Woodruff

[Millennial Star, 16:507]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 28, 1856, 1]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Aug. 2006]

Return to Letters to and from Orson Pratt