Parley P. Pratt wrote from Richmond, Mo., to his wife’s parents (Aaron and Susan Frost) in Bethel, Oxford county, Maine, as follows:

“We are in tolerable health at present.  Mrs. Pratt has had the fever and ague a long time, but she has so far recovered that she is able to be about.  She has a little son, four months old, a fine boy; his name is Nathan….Our enemies have made war upon us because of our religion and after a long and severe struggle with the mob, the governor of the state called out from ten to seventeen thousand militia with order to exterminate the Saints or drive them from the State.  Our militia was disarmed and we were forced to sign away our lands and agree to leave the state.  This being done, they took nearly one hundred of us prisoners and sentenced Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Hyrum Smith and Parley P. Pratt to be shot without judge or jury.  The day and hour of our execution was appointed, but God would not suffer us to die.  We were, however, torn from our families as prisoners of war and have already been in bondage about six weeks; we are now awaiting trial and what they will do with us, God only knows.  From thirty to one hundred of the Saints have been slain, some of them after they laid down their arms; some women and children have also perished, and women’s chastity has been violated in several instances.  Much property has been plundered and houses burned, fields of grain laid waste and cattle driven off.  Neither governor, judge, nor militia afford us any protection; nor is anybody prosecuted except “Mormons.”  The Legislature of the State is now in session and have taken up the subject of our persecutions, but what they will do, we know not.  So far our lives and property as a family has been preserved, accept the sacrifices necessarily attendant on such times; but I know not if my life will be spared through it all.  If not, my dear Mary Ann and the little ones would be left desolate.  We wish to God that her relatives would settle in the west where she might enjoy their society.”

As an appendix to her husband’s letter Sister Mary Ann Pratt, wife of Parley P. Pratt, who had joined her husband in Richmond, Mo., to spend the winter with him in prison, wrote to her parents, as follows:

“Do not give yourselves any trouble concerning us; we are in the hands of an all wise God, and he will do with us as seemeth him good.  I feel firm in the faith of the fullness of the Gospel, and I am determined by the help of God to endure to the end, that I may have a share in the celestial kingdom of God.  I am glad that I am counted worthy to suffer affliction for the Gospel’s sake.   I never lost one minute’s sleep through all the troubles.  For I always believed that the Lord would protect us.  My health is improving and I never had a better appetite than I have now.  The children are well and my Mary Ann never was so hearty as she is now; she is lively as ever.  My little Nathan is a lovely child; he has blue eyes and looks like my Mary Ann.”

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 9, 1838, 1-2]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]

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