Missionary Labors—Baptisms, etc.

Keokuk, Iowa
Sept. 20, 1877

Editors Deseret News:

Dear Sirs—Before leaving Burlington, the town from which I last wrote you, Bro. Madsen and myself sought diligently to get an opening for preaching, but the prejudices of the people were such they would not give us a hearing in public. We therefore made our way down the banks of the great Mississippi river, holding meetings by the way; but as it was harvest time and hot weather (95 to 105 in the shade), our meetings were not very well attended.

Arriving at Nauvoo on July 11, we were kindly received and entertained by Brother John Jamison and wife. The following day, in company with Bro. Jamison, we visited the Temple site and other places of interest, calling in the afternoon upon Emma Smith, who received us with a degree of kindness. She is now seventy-three years of age, with failing health. We took the liberty of asking her, in the spirit of charity, many plain questions, many of which she answered, others she evaded. She stated to us in the most positive terms, that her husband, Joseph Smith, lived and died a true prophet of God. After visiting the Saints in Nauvoo, we crossed the river, which at this point is over one mile wide, by ferry, to Montrose, when a walk of twelve miles down the banks of the river brought us to this place. Here we met our friend, Elder Alonzo Winter, missionary from Zion, holding a meeting with the few Saints here, some six in number, instructing them in regard to their duties.

On the evening of July 18 I dropped into a Methodist prayer meeting, about 100 persons being present. Liberty being given by the presiding elder to strangers, I offered up a fervent and earnest prayer, in which I managed to preach them a pretty good gospel sermon, to which many responded a hearty amen. At the close of the meeting several came up, not knowing where I was from, and shook me warmly by the hand, and gave an invitation to visit their next meeting which I accepted. On the following Wednesday evening I was present at their church and addressed them with much freedom of speech, on the subject of a living, active faith in the Savior, and upon the great necessity of present revelation. All paid the best of attention, with the exception of the presiding minister, who seemed nettled, and who interrupted me two or three times before I closed my remarks. After the services were over several of the members apologized to me for his conduct.

On the 7th of August I had the pleasure of meeting Prest. David M. Stuart, from St. Louis. We visited together the Saints and others in this vicinity. Receiving from Bro. Stuart an invitation to visit, in company with him, the Saints in St. Louis, on August 15, we boarded the fine steamer Golden Eagle, and a splendid sail of 210 miles down the great Father of Waters, which we made in twenty-four hours’ time, brought us to the great commercial and manufacturing city of St. Louis, with its teeming population of over 500,000 people. Here, in the heart of the great and corrupt city, there is a small branch of the Church, the members of which always make us welcome at their houses. The Saints here meet for worship twice a week. I had the pleasure of speaking to them on several occasions, and have left my testimony of the truth with them.

On the 30th of August Brother Stuart and I saw the announcement in the daily papers of the death of our beloved President Brigham Young. Although we felt to mourn the loss to the Church and world of a great and good man, yet we felt a calm spirit of resignation. While in the city of St. Louis I had the pleasure of meeting my wife Romania B., who was returning to her mountain home from a two years medical course of studies in the east, having graduated this summer with high honors from the “Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.” At the above city Sister Pratt was joined in her journey by Brother Tillison, wife and family, who are emigrating to Utah for the purpose of settling with the Saints. My visit with President Stuart, and many of the Saints and other friends in his district, has been an agreeable and pleasant one, one never to be forgotten. I returned from my visit by steamer and rail, to this place on last evening, being made welcome at the house of Sister C. Lambert.

Have one young lady applicant for baptism, who is waiting for her unbelieving father to give his consent. Brother Madson has baptized three young persons into the Pittsburgh Branch, just west of here, during my absence.

Your Brother in the gospel,
P.P. Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sep. 20, 1877, 5]
[Deseret News, Oct. 9, 1877]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


Local and Other Matters.
From Saturday’s Daily, July 21.
At Nauvoo.

The Nauvoo Independent says: A young Pratt, son of Parley P., and one Madison, a couple of Brighamite Mormons on Salt Lake City, were in the city and called to see us, one day last week. While in the city Pratt went to visit his old home, the house in which the family lived while here, and which was built by his father several years before the expulsion of the Mormons. The house mentioned is the one which was used by the Catholics as a place for worship before the building of their new church a few years ago. It has since been used as a parsonage and school-house.

[Deseret News, Aug. 1, 1877]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]

Return to histories of Parley Parker Pratt Jr.