Treseder, Charles M., "Correspondence from Great Salt Lake City," The Mormon, 29 Nov. 1856, 3.
ELDER TRESEDER of Hornerstown, N. J., has forwarded the following letter for publication which will no doubt be interesting to relatives and those who are ever pleased to read of Utah. Not unfrequently we learn of the Saints in the States receiving excellent letters from their relatives in Utah; we would take this occasion to suggest to all—send on such letters to us or copies of them, retaining the private business to yourselves. We do not publish letters as evidences of the divinity of Mormonism, but in these days when so much of a calumnious character is reported against the inhabitants of Utah, the plain, simple letter of a child to his parents, or that of parents to their children, will outweigh ten thousand letters of paid correspondents. We congratulate Elder Treseder in having a portion of his family with the body of the Church, and pray that circumstances may favor him, that he with his partner and the remainder of his family may join those who have gone before, as a recompense for his faithfulness and unwearied zeal in propagating the principles of Truth. A way will open up.G. S. L. CITY, Sept. 29th, 1856.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER: As the time is near at hand, for the Eastern mail I thought I would say a few words to you and give you some particulars respecting the arrival of the first two companies of hand-carts. I hope you have good health : Richard, George, and myself are well.
The first two hand-cart companies arrived in the city last Friday evening, 26th. Since we received the news of their starting, they have been the universal topic of conversation; while at work or in leisure. I wonder where the hand-carts are? was on the end of every one's tongue.
We heard various reports concerning them but nothing true till last Thursday when we heard they were within one day's march of the city. We heard they were going to winter at Fort Laramie, some said the reason they had not been seen was while the mail passed they had gone off the road to feed—others they had stampeeded: but last Thursday all doubt and uncertainty was at an end by a messenger coming in, stating they certainly would be in the next day.
The excitement in the city on the 4th and the 24th of July, to my mind, was nothing in comparison to it. Presidents Brigham Young, and H. C. Kimball escorted by the minute men and a company of Lancers, followed by as many of the citizens as could turn out—some in vehicles and some on foot, with the two bands, to welcome the hand-carts and they did not forget to take them something to eat.
President Brigham Young, and Kimball went part way up the little mountain in a buggy and met them coming down. Bro. Brigham was introduced to them as they formed in line, and he was so much affected with the spectacle, he could only say: My good people I am glad to see you, God bless you all. He hurried away, he could say no more. The Salt Lake Brethren then gave the emigrants plenty to eat and they once more went to their hand-carts and made the last start. As they came down the bench you could scarcely see them for the dust. When they entered the city, the folks came running from every quarter to get a glimpse of the long-looked-for hand-carts.
If I had had time I should have gone as far as the foot of the little mountain, but I had not the time to spare, and so I was contented to meet them in the city by Brigham's house. Behind a row of wagons and carriages, came the hand-carts. I shall never forget the feeling that ran through my whole system as I caught the first sight of them. The first hand-cart was drawn by a man and his wife, they had a little flag on it, on which were the words: "Our President—may the unity of the Saints ever show the wisdom of his counsels."
The next hand-cart was drawn by three young women. I did not take particular notice of the others, some were drawn by women some by men, in all amounting, I believe, to 50 hand-carts, and near 500 souls. I believe some 7 or 8 persons died on the road. The tears rolled down the cheek of many a man who you would have thought would not, could not, shed a tear; but the scene was exciting in the extreme and most everybody felt sympathetic and joyous. I could scare refrain from tears. Richard cried like a child, and amongst the women the crying was pretty near universal.
I went down on the public square with the companies. Bro. Brigham spoke a few words and retired, requesting the Bishops of the several wards to first see that they did not want. In the morning of the next day, there was an abundance of provisions for them, and they sat down to a dinner provided for them by the Governor: the Nauvoo Brass and Capt. Ballo's Band playing all the time. There were hundreds of people on the Square all that day, and all day yesterday. The emigrants appeared in pretty good spirits, and I think in good health with a few exceptions. In a short time I have no doubt the Square will be as empty as ever; they will soon disperse, some to their friends, some to the country, some perchance will go back. The entrance of the two first hand-cart companies into G. S. L. City, will never be forgot by thousands. They outtravelled all the ox teams that left with them, and overtook and got in before a company of ox teams who are not yet in, under the Presidency of Eld. John Banks, who left 10 days before them, and they would have been in several days sooner, had they not been hindered in waiting for the ox teams they had with them. Yesterday I had once more the pleasure of listening to Bro. John Oakley, giving some account of his mission and his travels with the hand-cart companies as their rear guard; he looked as well as ever I saw him. I spoke to him on the Square last evening, he asked me how I like the place, desired me to do right and stick to Mormonism, which, by the help of God, I mean to do. Bro. Brigham said that he knew Bro. Oakley and the men who travelled with him were good men. I can assure you that to Bro. Oakley was a great consolation.
Bros. Dunbar, William Kimball, Joseph Young and others, are expected in every day, I shall be glad to see the little man once more. I should not be surprised if he should work in the same shop with me. I work with Bro. Cline yet, and I am now boarding with him, and expect to do so all winter. We are very busy making buckskin clothes for a fair that is coming off this week, intended to exhibit articles and produce of every description that are made or raised in Deseret. We are making a coat and pants of buckskin that when finished will cost one hundred and forty dollars. The coat is embroidered with silk in bunches of grapes, the edges are trimmed with otter skin: the pants have bunches of grapes from the bottom to the hips all the way up the side seam. The labor of the embroidering cost seventy dollars, and the silk twenty dollars, the rest is spent in the skins and the labor of the tailor. We think they will gain the premium for the tailoring department: they are sold to Mr. Livingston, a merchant in this place, who is going to the States by the next mail, and who calculates to take them to New York.
Harvest is now in, but we expect some hard times yet before another harvest, but I hope economy will be observed and I have no doubt that all will be well. There is a great reformation in Utah; the Home Missionaries are abroad stirring up the Saints to diligence and to repent, get baptized, and to renew their covenants. Hundreds have done so and those who wish to do right and be Saints are going to be baptized in the city; as I have not been baptized since I have been in the city, I shall gladly avail myself of the opportunity. I could have been baptized before if I had wished, but I have neglected it.
I often think of you, and imagine I see you seated around the table, and I sometimes imagine how you feel when you see the vacant places of your three eldest sons; but I thank God we are all well and do not want, though we cannot always get things the moment we need them, yet we do not require clothes. Winter will soon shut us in, and then we shall have dancing and theatrical performances, and the time will wear away pleasantly enough. I went to a party three weeks ago, and enjoyed myself much; but I never go that I do not think when I shall have the pleasure of father's or mother's company, or that of my dear little sisters. I presume Phoebe is a fine girl, and Frank I believe is a wicked little fellow; kiss them all for me, and tell them their brothers do not forget them, though so far away. I have had my likeness taken, and would send it to you if I could. Samuel Rosekelly, my old schoolmate, is gone on a mission to England. I heard some time ago that Bro. Hart was coming out this season; but I was told yesterday he is not. I believe some of the Jersey Saints are coming out with some hand-carts; I say God speed and give them strength. Bro. Heber Kimball said yesterday that millions would come by that means, and many with their bundles on their backs. Since I have been here I have been tried considerable, and have said that which, in moments of reflection, I have been sorry for; but from this time I wish to do right and serve the Lord, and work out my own salvation with fear and trembling.
I hope I shall not tire you with so much writing, and that out of the whole you will find some things that may interest you. As it is getting late I will come to a close; and if the mail comes in to-morrow (the last of the month) I trust I shall have a letter from you, as I was disappointed by the last. When you write, send me all the news you can, and remember me to the folks in Devonport, and tell them I should be glad to hear from them. I wrote a long letter to uncle Francis by the last mail, giving him a full account of travelling over the plains and some description of the place.
Old Mr. and Mrs. Benham are going back to the States in the spring; they have been grumbling ever since they have been here, although they have done better than hundreds of good Saints whose feet they were not good enough to wipe. Such to me is one of the mysteries of the life of man, why the evil are frequently enjoying all the good of this life, and the honest and virtuous are in want, cold and misery.
Richard and George send their kindest and best love, and accept the same yourself from your ever affectionate son,