Letter to Emma Smith, 18 May 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

19th 18th May in Indiana State town of
My Dear
meeting being over I sit down in my tent to write a few lines to you to let you know that you are on my mind and that I am sensible of the dut[i]es of a Husband and Father and that I am well and I pray God to let his blessings to rest upon you and the Children and all that are a round you untill I return to your society the few lines you wrote and sent by the ha[n]d of Brother Lyman gave me satisfaction and comfort and I hope you will continue to communicate to me by your own hand for this is a consolation to me that to convirse <​with​> you in this way in my lonely moments which is not easily discribed I will indeavour to write every Su[n]day if I can and let you know how I am <​and​> will write to and give him the names of the places we pass through and a history of our jour[n]ey from time to time so that it <​will​> not be ne[ce]ssary to <​for​> me to endevou [endeavor] to write it but feel a satisfaction to write a few lines with my own hand in this way I can have the privelege to communicate some of my feelings that I should not dare to reveal as you know that <​my​> situation is a very critacal one and and are all well and are humble are detirmined to be faithful and finally all the Brothen [brethren] are well and cannot fail I must close for I cannot write on my knees sitting on the ground to edification O may the blessings of God rest upon you is the prayre of your Husband until death
[Joseph Smith Jr.]
[p. [1]]
MAY 19
Geauga County


  1. 1

    This letter from Emma is not extant. “Brother Lyman” was likely either Lyman Johnson, who joined the company on 10 May with a group of volunteers from Vermont, or Amasa Lyman, who departed Kirtland on 9 May. The other four camp participants named Lyman were with the Michigan contingent. (Account with the Church of Christ, ca. 11–29 Aug. 1834; “Journal of the Branch of the Church of Christ in Pontiac,” 1; Woodruff, “History and Travels of Zion’s Camp,” 8; Lyman, Journal, 6 May–18 June 1834.)  

    “Journal of the Branch of the Church of Christ in Pontiac,” May–June 1834. CHL. MS 4610.

    Woodruff, Wilford. “The History and Travels of Zion’s Camp, Led by the Prophet Joseph Smith from Kirtland Ohio to Clay County Missoura in the Spring of 1838,” 1882. CHL.

    Lyman, Amasa. Journals, 1832–1877. Amasa Lyman Collection, 1832–1877. CHL. MS 829, boxes 1–3.

  2. 2

    These letters have not been located. George A. Smith reported that one of the camp’s participants, Frederick G. Williams, kept a history of the expedition and a list of all who went on it, but these items were lost. (George A. Smith, Autobiography, 43.)  

    Smith, George A. Autobiography, ca. 1860–1882. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 1, fd. 2.

  3. 3

    These are all relatives of JS who were on the trip. Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury was married to JS’s sister Katherine, William Smith was JS’s younger brother, and Jesse Johnson Smith and George A. Smith were both cousins of JS. (JS History, vol. A-1, 509; George A. Smith, Autobiography, 17.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

    Smith, George A. Autobiography, ca. 1860–1882. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 1, fd. 2.

  4. 4

    TEXT: A narrow slice of the letter has been cut away near the bottom, indicating the removal of JS’s signature.  

  5. 5

    TEXT: These two lines are stamped on the letter.  

  6. 6

    TEXT: The amount of postage assessed for the letter. Handwriting unidentified.  

  7. new scribe logo

    Address in handwriting of Frederick G. Williams.