"I have been shaking every day for the last month and can scarce write any—I received yours of Aug. 14 while shaking at ten or twelve knots an hour—and as you told me not to perform any impossibilities—I have hitherto found it an impossibility to sell my house and lot—but the very next morning I wrought [a] miracle, in giving it away for one hundred dollars. The only obstacle in the successful termination of my miracle is, I have not yet got the hay—you may rest assured I have done, and will do my best to come I have a very kind neighbor, who, as quick as he heard I had bargained for the disposal of my place, began to run it down, and has caused Mr. Bolander to waver about completing his purchase. May the Lord reward him for it, and a few other vagaries.
"I have also received yours of the 24th Aug—brought from the Trustees Office to the Temple &c &c &c with the seal broken open—in order to find out the nature of our communications—I have written about seven letters to you—which I verily believe have been waylaid—and I was getting much disappointed in not receiving one reply—but I am very thankful for these two.
"Even my little boy says 'dadda I wish we were out of this country, for when I've done shaking I can get nothing to eat—we have all been 'shake, shake, shaking' more or less for the last five weeks. A fortnight ago, I, Henrietta, & Thomas Henry were not expected to live thro the day—I sent to the Trustees for something to cure us or we might be dead before the morrow—Heywood & Fulmer ordered Whitehead to come up & see us, & learn what I needed—but he has never been yet—and if it had not been for a little Charity—and Henrietta selling her clothes we should all have died of starvation—it will almost be a miracle if you see little Willard alive for he has fallen away dreadful this week—and if you was to see me and my family at this moment, you would say we had either been whitewashed or had risen out of our graves—we have not the least idea where our next meal is to come from. I do not write these things to harass your mind—but to tell you my situation, and to shew you that I am really desirous to come to you and again go at the history. At this moment my two eldest boys are shaking.
"Yesterday I exerted all my strength to go & see Benson, & Lucy. She went home about a fortnight ago sick. She is also confined to her bed with fever—Benson looks a skeleton—they subsist by selling their clothes for food—when he gets better, he talks of selling his cow and going down to New Orleans to obtain employment—he says it is impossible for him to get teams or food for his journey to the West—Ann is nearly dead, she is almost reduced to shadow—she first commenced with chills and fever, and is now afflicted with canker in her inside.
"John Rushton is Steam boating and I understand is very well his wife & child were well the last time we heard—Jane Hall is down at St. Louis—and I have just heard that Susannah Lippot started for St. Louis & expect she is there.
"Before I was taken sick—while hunting the oxen—I accendentally found out brother Longstrath's house. I called. Sister Nanny was very well. bro & sis Longstrath were down at St. Louis. I understood that you had written three letters to him and which were sent down to him—but there had been no reply.
"There have been a many Saints who were preparing as fast as they could to go to the west—who have gone to the grave. Many literally dying for want—whole families are sick—and not one to help the other—two or three dying in a house—great difficulty in getting coffins and then to be buried by strangers—there is not one house in this neighborhood, but there has been sickness in it—there appears to me to be more sick now than when Nauvoo was crowded with Saints.
"In addition to all this, the Mob is within five miles—close to Wilcox house—about 5 or 600 Strong & with 8 cannon—those Saints who are well are in the woods this side of Joseph's farm—the Cannon were roaring about 5 P.M. yesterday but I have not yet heard of any casualties on our side.
"We should have crossed the River this day, sick as we are—to secure your Cattle & Waggon & my few cloths but cannot pay the Ferryman, the Mob threaten if they get in the city to kill man woman & child & they have invited men from all the counties to join them—promising them that they shall share in the plunder of the city. Rest assured I keep as strict a look out after your cattle as if they were my own—they cost 125.00 & Waggon 80. I have spent scores of days looking after them and shall bring all safe to you, if possible.
"I am in hopes that I shall cross the river in a few days and shall move on to Bonaparte where I shall have to stay for the flour that Mr. Bolander has promised me.
"There is another utter impossibility—and that is, to expect the Trustees to let me have two more yoke of oxen, or a fit out, (altho' both have been promised me) and that is the reason why I contracted to let Mr. Bolander have my property so very cheap.
"The South West Pillar of the Belfry was struck with the Lightning last Su[nday] [paper torn off] was done—some persons seem to be scared about it.
"Hyrum Smith's Widow &c &c crossed the River last Tuesday. & I have [paper torn off] has exchanged the Mansion for a Farm in Burlington—to which place she is [paper torn off]
"Henrietta joins me in love to you and yours—and we pray that [paper torn off]
"I remain Dear Father
"Your very affectionately
"Please tell William Cook Mitchell that his mother died last Tuesday morning 10 September 184" (Thomas Bullock to Willard Richards, Sept. 1846, Brigham Young office files, Family and Church History Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)