Richmond, Ray county, Mo., December 1, 1838
My dear Mary Ann:
Our situation is decided for the present; Joseph and Sidney and four others have gone to Liberty where they will be kept in jail till further trial; myself and about 20 others are in jail here in Richmond; but they will probably be all bailed out except 4 or 5 of us who will have to say. It may be all winter before our final trials will be over. The jail is somewhat open and cold; but the sheriff has promised to furnish us with a good stove and plenty of wood, and we have plenty to eat, and drink.
It is now at your own choice to come and spend the winter with me; or to live a lonely widow on a desolate prairie, where you are not sure of a living, or protection. If you choose to come and winter with me, you will please bring your other bed and plenty of bedding, so that we can hang a plenty of curtains all round our bed. Bring a chest of clothing such as you need, bring our table and 2 or 3 plates, a few basins and a wash bowl. Bring all my interesting books and especially my Big Atlas; bring all the weighing paper and my steel pens. In short bring every thing that you think we shall need. I can pay your board, and mine is paid for me; you will have nothing to do but to sit down and study with me.
I think it will be much cheaper and easier, and more comfortable for you to winter in jail with me, than to live where you do, as you have none to help you. But take your own choice; if you choose to come you can store your household goods with some honest family who will take good care of them, and the cows and oxen will abundantly pay their keeping. Let some trusty hand have them all to keep tilt we call for them. Bro. Grant has spoken that he would like to keep them. But I shall leave all to your own choice and judgment; if you do not come, you will please send the books, paper, and pens. You need not be afraid of the old jail for it is better than the hut where you now live.
I was very sick yesterday, but the Lord has healed me; the jail was so open, having nothing to hang around my bed, I took a violent cold. I think I shall be much more comfortable if you come than I shall be alone. I long to see my little Nathan, and tell Mary Ann to be a good girl and always pray for her papa. The Lord bless you all, amen.
Parley P. Pratt
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 1, 1838, 2-3]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]