Great Salt Lake City, August 8, 1848.
To President Brigham Young and the council and camp of the Saints now journeying to this place, Greeting:
After waiting a long while for news from you, were at length greatly cheered by the arrival of a mail on Sunday morning the 6th inst. We were assembled in council in Father Smith’s house, when the news arrived. We soon received and read your letter addressed to the Presidency and Council here and various news, letters and documents, which were all calculated to cheer and overwhelm us, being the first news direct from Winter Quarters since we left in June before last.
We were somewhat startled to find the Twelve dispersed in a great measure, some to one and some to another point of the Globe insomuch that a quorum of them will hardly be together very soon; but we must say that it is as it should be, and that we have felt during the present season as if missions awaited those who held the keys of the traveling duties of the priesthood soon, for Israel must be saved, and the light caused to shine abroad among the nations. I have felt anxious to sit down once more in council with my brethren and to talk of all things pertaining to our present and coming duties, and I trust to see you soon and enjoy this unspeakable blessing. Brother Taylor and myself and one or two others have continued to meet when circumstances would permit and pray for our brethren of the Twelve and all others; and we believe our prayers have been answered thus far in a remarkable degree.
I have enjoyed good health all the time in this Valley and have been enabled to labor as hard as I ever did a season in my life. My family are all in usual health, and in good spirits; and God has blessed me with one son and three daughters, born in the Valley, including a pair of twins, which are called Abinadi and Belinda; they and my other children are al doing well.
We are also greatly blessed in gardens in wheat in corn and in all things I have set my hand unto. We have lived on the fruits of our garden in a great measure since the early part of May. And now we have some green corn, squashes, cucumbers, melons, beans, etc. I have raised some 60 bushels of good wheat without irrigation, a few bushels of rye and oats, tolerable flax, and my corn in the field looks as well as any corn I ever saw in the States. It grew seven feet high, before I watered it. Our gardens, wheat and twelve acres of corn are the fruits of my labor and that of two small boys and the help of some of our women folks.
Please excuse these little personal affairs; they are mentions to give you some idea of this new country and its productions.
Many have lost their crops, some for want of proper selection of soil, some for want of good cultivation, and some because of insects, especially crickets. Some soil in the Valley requires much water and some little or none.
The wheat crop has exceeded all expectations; oats do better than in the States; say 60 bushels to one of sowing on sod ground, every kind of vegetable suited to the northern latitude does well.
If nothing happens to disappoint us in the corn crop, we may reasonably calculate to have a surplus of grain over and above breading the present inhabitants; say from 10 to 20 thousand bushels.
The people here have labored very hard and constant ever since we reached the Valley, and yet much remains to be done. We built our houses, fenced and planted our gardens, cultivated our fields, fenced as well as we could, watered, harvested, fought crickets, dug ditches, etc., and now hay is being cut, roads made, etc.
We have four saw mills and one grist mill in operation and Father Neil is now building a very good mill for grinding. I understand they have found a first rate quarry of burr stone near Salt Lake.
In addition to our other labors we have explored the country to some extent, found numerous vallies, with rich soil, excellent and abundant water, good grass, and plentiful timber.
We have found a route from the Weber to this place without crossing any mountains or large hills; it leads mostly through beautiful parks, rich in grass, in water and in timber. When the wagons first reach the Weber, let them take up the stream ten miles through an open valley, then up a small branch westward named Silver Creek, five miles through a willow canyon which we are endeavoring to work a road through, thence three miles through meadow to the heads of East Canyon creek, thence down said creek northward three miles in an open valley, thence up a small branch among pine, fir, and aspen groves and open ground two miles to an easy summit, then down a gradual inclined plain four miles to Canyon Creek below the willow springs at the foot of the mountain, thence over the mountain and down into the Valley, unless we get time to work through the canyon and cut off the last mountain obstacle which will cost $800 or days work and which we hope to do soon.
Business and cares will prevent my coming to Green River to meet you. But I hope to meet you at some nearer point. The local authorities here will, I trust, make every necessary movement to supply you with teams, etc., as soon as possible; and may God Almighty bless you and the saints forever and ever. Amen.
I remain your brother in the new and everlasting covenant,
Parley P. Pratt
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Aug. 8, 1848, 2-4]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]