Great Salt Lake City, July 9, 1849

Dear Brother Orson,

I wrote to you by last April’s mail a lengthy communication or two, embracing many subjects, and the general news of interest.  The United States mail goes out one week from Monday next, I therefore avail myself of this opportunity to inform you that myself and family are well.

It is a general time of health here, and it always has been.  It has been hard times for bread, but harvest has now commenced.  I have cut some wheat which I intend to thrash tomorrow.  Crops are many of them fine.  Wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn and vegetables all do well.

As a grazing country, there is scarce its equal on the globe.  Milk, cheese, butter, beef, &c., are very fine and abundant.  The region around us would support millions of cattle and sheep, not only in the vallies but on the mountains.  Our cattle climb the highest hills, and delight to graze on the sides of the steepest declivities where it is possible for them to climb.

The best foundation for a living in this country would be a herd of young heifers, driven form the States, or a drove of sheep.  Butter, cheese, milk, beef, &c., will always find a ready market, and command a high price, because of the travel and traffic therewith, as well as domestic consumption.  The present travel through this place, or near it, will, it is thought, amount to some thirty or forty thousand persons.  All will centre here another year, and much of it does this year.  This employs blacksmiths, pack-saddlers, washing, board, &c., and opens a large trade in provisions, cattle, mules, horses, &c.

Scores or hundreds of people now arrive here daily, and all stop to rest and refit.  After crossing the great prairie wilderness for a thousand miles, where nothing is seen like civilization or cultivation, this spot suddenly bursts upon their astonished vision like a paradise in the midst of the desert.  So great is the effect, that many of them burst forth in an ecstasy of admiration on emerging from the canyon, and gaining a first view of our town and its fields and gardens.  Some shed tears, some shout, some dance and skip for joy; and all doubtless feel the spirit of the place resting upon them, with its joyous and heavenly influence bearing witness that here live the industrious—the free—the intelligent, and the good.  In truth our town now presents a plateau of several square miles, dotted with houses, and every foot of it, except the broad and pleasant streets, enclosed and under cultivation.  Fields of yellow wheat, are waving in the breeze.  Corn, oats, flax, and garden vegetation fill the vacuum, and extend every way as far as the eye can distinguish objects.  To say nothing of one field south of, and adjoining the city, of some 7,000 acres, fenced and mostly cultivated, and several smaller ones in different directions.

One may now ride on a good carriage road, from Brownville to the Weber river on the north, to the Provo river of the Utah Lake on the south, a distance of near one hundred miles, fine cultivated fields and civilized dwellings, more or less, from one extreme to the other.  Good frame bridges are already completed across many of the streams.  We have three grist mills, and some ten or a dozen saw mills in operation, or in progress.  Timber here is abundant, and inexhaustible in the mountains.

I had like to have forgot about the gold, which is almost as plentiful as stones, over in the California mountains.  But this climate is so healthy, and the air so pure, that the gold fever troubles none but transient persons.  The inhabitants who have become acclimated here, seldom, if ever, feel even the symptoms of that raging disease which has carried off so many, and turned the brains of so many others in the states and nations of the world.

We are sorry to hear of the cholera among the Saints, and of its ravages among our Welsh emigrating brethren; but so it is, and it only confirms me in my dislike to the present route of emigration.  I hope, ere long, that we will find a better route from Europe to this place.

I have heard nothing from my brothers or from my mother, or any of my family abroad.  I get no letters, so I conclude I have no friends or acquaintances in the States or in the British Isles who remember me; but I will continue to write to them, and perhaps they will be awakened to a remembrance that brother Parley once appeared among them with glad tidings, and should not be forgotten.

The first presidency are well, and in good spirits.  The twelve are well.  A. Lyman has been sent to the coast, C.C. Rich is being sent thither, and Addison Pratt to the Isles of the Pacific.

Our Council House is progressing.  It is a stone building, two stories high, and 45 feet square, and at present, the most substantial building in our city.  It would grace New York, or any other city in the States.  I don’t know when I shall be sent away.  I am studying the Spanish language, and preparing for Spanish America.

I must now close my letter, and prepare for meeting.  So, dear brother, with the best wishes, and kindest remembrances of myself, my family, and of brother Vancott and family, I say farewell.

P.P. Pratt

Two o’Clock—We have had a good meeting, brother Young preached.  All were edified, some laughed, and some, probably, wept.

I was at the Utah Lake last week, and of all the fisheries I ever saw, that exceeds all.  I saw thousands caught by hand, both by Indians and whites.  I could buy a hundred, which would each weigh a pound, for a piece of tobacco as large as my finger.  They simply put their hand into the stream, and throw them out as fast as they can pick them up.

Five thousand barrels of fish might be secured there annually, just as well as less.

Great numbers of strangers attend our meetings now every Sabbath, and we feel as if we were about in the middle of the world, and in as good a place to preach the gospel to all the world as can be found.  My love to all my friends in the British Isles.

P.P. Pratt

[Millennial Star, 11:342]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 8, 1849, 5]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]

Return to Parley P. Pratt in Utah