Helaman Pratt Correspondence 1886
1a Calle de Soto No. 2
City of Mexico June 8, 1886
President John Taylor
Salt Lake City
Dear Brother, Since my last to you I have a visited all the congregations of the saints in this land, and most of them at their houses. I find that quite a numbor have returned like the sow that was washed, to wallowing in the mire. They have given away to their former vices, and quite a numbor have committed adultry and will have to be delt with. I have been here so long that I begin to get on the inside track of things in this country, and it appears almost as though the whole people were corrupt beyond redemption, and a spirit of indiference has taken possession of the hearts of the people in regard to religious matters. We have made but little progress in proselyting thus far this year there having been only 8 baptized.
This is not only the case with us but all the Protistants are complaining, and many times their magnificent temples are without congregations, servises being held with only three or four present. Our meetings are very poorly attended, and it is only by visiting at the houses as teachers that we can keep life in many of those who have been baptized. However we have some good people here who if they had a chance would I think make good saints but before we can expect to do much with them they will have to be gathered out of this wicked and corrupt people. Bro. Thatcher realised this and when Bro Snow was here he saw the necesity of their being gathered, that is those who were worthey, and when I was in Chihuahua he concluded that we could take the first company of from 50 to 75 persons in August. On my return I began to talk the matter up with the people, and some are making preparations to go. I have also the promis of the minister of Fomento (Gen Pachaco) through Senor Campo, that our Mexican Colonists can pass over the Mexican Central R.R. at the expence of Government, this is in accordance with Senor Campos contract with the Govt. and I think there will be no trouble in passing them to Gallego Station, where they could be met by teams and conducted to the colony, providing it was done while the iron was hot, at the time I was talking with Bro. Snow on these matter, he thought I would be released to go to the Colony in Aug. and I could take the first company with me. But if I am required to stay here longer, it will be nessary to have some one there who can talk the two languages, to take charge of the Mexican saints; if they go, as the manners and customs of the two races are so diferent, that they would not get along very well unless some good purdent man was with them to lead them along as a father would his little children, as if they were taken there with no one to look after and incourage them they would soon become dishartned, and I fear many would be lost. I have written to Bro. Snow on this subject, asking what had better be done, but have had no word from him since April. I would be pleased to have your council as to whether we shall send a company in August, or not.
When Bros. Snow, Young and Taylor were here last July, Bro. Snow told Bro. I. J. Stewart that in one year from that time he could be released to return home, he is there for expecting his release. My wife who is here is in a delicate state of health, and expects to be confined about the first of Sept, Her nervous system has been very much shattered for many years, and this climate has proved to be very trying on her and she feeles as though she could not live through her sickness if she remains here, and desiers very much to return to her home and children before her sickness. She is the mother of six children, and it has been harder for her to be delivered each time, she feeles as though unless she has the best of help she will not get through safe. To get professional assistance here will be very expensive, from $50 to $100 according to the time, for a doctor, to say nothing of nurse, &c. I make these statements to you thus plain, that you may understand the situation and say whether she had better return or stay here.
If you think best to release Bro. Stewart, and it meets your mind she could return with him in July, but in that case tickets would have to be sent from Utah or money to get them.
The people are very anxious to see Fernando Lara, (the Bro. who went to Utah with Bro. Thatcher and who has been about 4 years in the B.Y. Academemy at Provo) I am now arranging to start some of the native Elders out preaching, this I have not been able to do before on account of their poverty and no way to support their families. I have also published a small pamphlet on the proper mode of baptism, and against the baptism of children, since my return from Chihuahua, which is very much liked by the native saints. Hoping to hear from you soon and that you may continue to enjoy health and fredom.
I am as ever your Bro in Christ.
My wife says says she would undertake the journey alone if bro stewart is not released rather than stay, providing a ticket could be sent at once.
1a Calle de Soto No. 2
City of Mexico Aug. 7,1886
James Jack Esq.
Salt Lake City,
I take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt this day of your favor of the 7th inst. containing Deseret National Bank draft No 140020 for $300.00 Three hundred dollars.
As ever yours, &c.
1a Calle de Soto No.2
City of Mexico Aug 18, 1886
Presidents Taylor and Cannon
Salt Lake City
Your very welcom and incouraging letter of june 16th was received by me on the 26th and its contence parused with pleasure, and the council noted. I have not written befor on account of having nothing particular to communicate, I receive letters nearly every week from Bro. Snow and others of the colony. Bro. Snow tells me that owing to the failure of their wheat crop he thinks it would be best to defer the gethering of the saints from here until next year, and we have so notified those who were making preperations to go. There is nothing new in the missionary field, and although bros Cummings and Cluff have now sufficient of the language to begin to talk in the meetings, and to visit and converse with the people, and are working faithfully, still it seemes as though we were making very slow progress.
Bro. Fernando Lara arrived here on the 14 inst. He was quite sick when he arrived the change seemed to affect him the same as nearly all who arrive here at this season of the year. The people were very glad to see him and I trust he will be able to reach many who it has been imposible for us to talk with.
He is now at Amacamaca visiting his family, and will spend a few days with them, and then enter upon the duties of his calling.
There has been a great deal of excitement here growing out of the Cutting Case, but it is beginning to abate, and it is now the oppinion of boath Americans and Mexicans here that all will be arranged without trouble.
I have received word that my wife and boy arrived home in safty, for which I feel thankful.
Hoping that you may be blessed with health and strength, and continue to escape the vigilence of your enimies, and live to see zion redeamed.
I remain as ever
1a Calle de Sot No. 2
City of Mexico Oct 14, 1886
Prests Taylor an Cannon
Salt Lake City
Your very kind and interesting letter of Sept 1st reached me on the 16th inst. I was pleased to hear of your good health and prosperity, and that your were still enabled to avoid arrest.
The same day that I received your letter I started for the city of Chihuahua by request of Bros. Snow and Thatcher, to assist them in arranging land matters. I presume they have or will report to you in full the result. We held our conference at Ozumba on the 4,5, & 6, inst, and were blessed with the presence of Bro. and Sister Snow and Bro. Thatcher, and received much good instructions from them.
Our meetings were well attended by the native saints and at the close of each meeting a long table was spread with the bounties of life and all were invited to partake, and thus we had a fiest of temperal as well a spiritual things. The meeting houses were very nicely decorated with flowers &c, and a harty welcom and a spirit of brotherly love was manifest by the native saints towards the Brethren and sister Snow which caused feelings to arrise in their hearts that I believe will not soon be forgotten. During the conference Bro. Artiaga made a motion that the saints in Mexico unite in sending warm expressions of love and respect to the Presidency and Apostols of the Church. Bro. Thatcher left here for the colony on the evening of the 12inst. Bro. and sister Snow will remain here untill the business in hand is arranged or it is found that it cannot be accomlished. Bro. Snow wishes me to state that they are negociating with the government for a part of that mountain country including Corales Basin, and expects to know whether their offer will be excepted or not in a day or two, when he will report to you in full.
Ever praying for your safty.
Casas Grandes Dre 6/86
Helaman Pratt esta inurito como colono en la colonia Pivares y para que sea ve convuido con tul caracter le entiendo el presents
P.G. del Campa
[Transcriber’s Note: This needs to be proofread by a Spanish speaker.]
“Juarez” Casas Grandes
Dec. 19, 1886
J.H. Ralston Esq.
Your favor of Nov 8 reached me on the 16inst. I was sorry to hear of your sickness and hope that you are now better, you will se by the heading of this that I am now in the colony and am buisey making preperations to house my family who I expect by the 20 of Jan. I have been expecting a letter from you every mail but have recd but the one above refured to.
I am very anxious to know whether you are still desirous of entering into business as we have talked or not as if so I do not wish to tye my self up in anything elce, but if not I desire to know so that I may be fre to ingage in with others.
[Transcriber’s Note: Illegible paragraph]
__expect to be back __________loaded with game we will also explore a section of country yet not known by us. We have located a square lease of land on that which I spoke of your buying which is considered by some to be worth $10,000.00 for its timber, there is plenty more just as good.