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Oliver Cowdery Letters

Sources: Oliver Cowdery Letters, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California (hereafter cited as Huntington), letters of Oliver Cowdery cited in Stanley R. Gunn, Oliver Cowdery: Second Elder and Scribe (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962) and LDS Church Archives. With the exception of two letters, the letters in this collection have been printed in Gunn's work and were located at the time of the publication of that work in the Huntington Library or Church Archives.

[Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had moved to Fayette, New York at the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr. to conclude the translation of the Book of Mormon. Section 18 of the Doctrine and Covenants must have been received prior to this letter being written, since Oliver quotes an extract from the revelation in this letter to Joseph Smith's brother.]

Fayette June the 14 1829

Dear Brother Hyrum [Smith]

These few lines I write unto you feeling anxious for your steadfastness in the great cause of which you have been called to advocate and also feeling it a duty to write you at every opportunity remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God behold the Lord your God suffered death upon the cross after the manner of the flesh wherefore he suffered the pains of all men that all men might repent and come unto him and he hath risen again from the dead that he might brign all men unto him upon conditions of repenteance and how great is his joy in the soul that repents and behold he commandeth all men to every where to repent and baptised and not only men but women children which have arrived to the years of accountibility Stir up the minds of our friends against the time we come unto you that then they may be willing to take upon them the name of Christ for that is the name by which they shall be called at the Last day and if we know not the name by which we are called I fear we shall be found on the hand Ia have many things to write but if the Lord will I shall shortly come unto Zion Please tell Mrs Rockwell that these shoes fit well and I received them as from the Lord tell him that whatever he does in the cause of Zion he will in no wise loose his reward. Now may the grace of God the Father and of our Lord Jesus Christ be and abide with you all Amen this from your Bror. Oliver A fellow labourer in the cause of Zion

Oliver Cowdery

Ps give my love to all those who anxiously inquire after my property &c.

[When Joseph Smith moved to Ohio, he wrote to his brother Hyrum (on 3 March 1831) who presided over the Colesville, New York Saints. In his letter he included a letter received from Oliver Cowdery who had just arrived in Missouri with the "Lamanite Missionaries." Below is Oliver's letter as quoted by Joseph Smith to his brother.]

-- My dearly beloved brethreren after a considerable lengthy journy I avail myself of the first opertunity of communicating to you a knowledge of our situation that you may be priviledged of writing to us for we have not heard any thing from you since we left you last fall we arived at this place a few days since which is about 25 miles from the Shawney indians on the south side of the Kansas River at its mouth & delewares on the north I have had two interviews with the Chief of the delewares who a very old & venarable looking man after laying before him & eighteen to twenty of the Council of that nation the truth he said that he and they were very glad for what I their Brother had told them and they had rec[e]ived it in their hearts &c- But how the matter will go with this tribe to me is uncirtain nether Can I at present Conclude mutch about it the we[a]ther is quite severe and the snow is Considerable deep which makes it at present quite difficult traveling about I have but a short time to write to you my b[e]loved Bretheren as the mail leves thi[s] place in the morning but I wish some of you to write to me immediately a full letter of all your affairs and then I will write to you the situation of all the western tribes &c . . . I remain in Christ your Brother forever


Kirtland, Mills, Geauga County, Ohio October 30, 1833

Dear Brother [Ambrose Palmer]:

I arrived here a few days since after an absence of twenty-six days, during which time I enjoyed good health and a measure of the Spirit of the Lord, for which I am grateful to him.

I purchased a Press and type, all of which had arrived at Buffalo, when I left that place; when they will arrive here is uncertain to us, as that depends upon the providence of our Heavenly Father. If however his providences are favorable, they will arrive in a few days, undoubtedly; but with the necessary preparations it will be December before we can issue a paper. We wish you would obtain for us what subscriptions you can and forward either by letter or by some one of the brethren; by the former if no opportunity of the latter occurs, as it will assist us in the purchase of paper to commence business.

We intend with the blessing of the Lord and the prayers of the Saints, to have the "Star" enriched with valuable information from the churches, as we shall be favored with the reports from the Elders, as well as Essays upon doctrine, and scripture, the signs of the times, etc.

We trust, through the blessing of the Lord, that such a publication will not be uninteresting to the Saints, and that from them we may receive support sufficient to defray the subsequent expense of the same.

We do not seek, neither desire self-aggrandizement; we only ask for ourselves the common comforts of life, and our bread, which we are willing to obtain by the sweat of the brow; and all our labors we are willing to consecrate to the service of the Lord, (and he knows the integrity of our hearts) in the advancement of his cause, wherever he shall appoint our station in his Kingdom . . . .

I remain your brother in the Lord,

(signed) Oliver Cowdery

To: Ambrose Palmer, New Portage, Medina County, Ohio Source: Oliver Cowdery to Warren A. Cowdery, October 30, 1833, Huntington.

Kirtland Mills, Ohio, October 30, 1833

Dear Brother Warren [Cowdery]:

I remember the obligation I am under to address you (though in a hasty manner) on my arrival in this place. My journey was not as speedy as I could have wished, but I thank the great dispenser of all good, that in his providence a special case was not lacking toward me to bring me safely to the bosom of our relatives here, all of whom I found enjoying usual health.

I delivered your letter to our parents and saluted them in your name. Re. Brother Rich and wife regretted the loss of a visit from you and sister Patience, when I related the circumstance of your arrival soon after departure.

Nothing extraordinary occurred on my journey after leaving your house. I found my press, vc. in Buffalo, but when they will arrive here to me is uncertain, that will probably depend on the favorableness of the weather. So consequently it is uncertain when we shall be able to issue a paper, but we hope soon.

Perhaps I should not do justice to the cause of religion, were I to let this opportunity pass without saying a few words on that subject, as it is my dependence for happiness hereafter. I mean when this earthly house of my tabernacle shall be dissolved. Perhaps my appearance before you was not as grave, or solemn as you could have expected considering my profession: (a thought which occupied my mind several times while I was at your house:) but the joy and gratitude which filled my heart on the reflection of the peculiar providence of God in sparing me to see you once more, and the many perils which I have been called to pass through, without an explanation to one unacquainted, might perhaps prove a matter of astonishment, but with you, I trust these things are excusable. You must know, Brother Warren, that as a conscientious man before God having been favored so highly in the sight of him, (though by me unmerited) that peculiar anxieties press upon my mind for the welfare of my relatives, though I admit "that a Prophet is not without honor save in his own country and among his own friends." Though I do not make this quotation because I was treated with any disrespect while at your house: for I can, should I never be permitted again to see you in this state of existence, carry the pleasing remembrance, even to the time of my dissolution, of the kindness manifested on your part toward me, for which I am grateful to the Father of my spirit. You will readily admit that no extraordinary communication was ever made from heaven to mankind, without an extraordinary purpose, and that God always values his word to that degree, that every whit of it in its bearing has a tendency in a greater or less degree to happify [?] his creatures, if duly appreciated by them, for man is not to live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from his mouth.

You may, however, question the propriety of more revelations in these last days, and say or think that the Book of Mormon is wholly superfluous, in consequence of the abundance of revelations previously put into our hands. But as time will not allow me to discuss this subject at the present, I forbear, being in great haste, being conscious however, that your own judgment when brought to bear will find a propriety and a beauty, now in this age of strife and contention, in the idea of something being given to set aside . . . and strifes on the all important subject of man's salvation.

You, no doubt, will admit that God's creatures at this age are as near to him as at any other, and that in consequence of his unchangeable loving kindness he will, or must stoop, and regard the cries and answer the prayers of the children of men the same in all ages of the world alike, if addressed to him in the same faith.

And that he could not be an unchangeable being were he to condescend to speak from the heavens to the ancients and grant them unspeakable blessings when they approached him in a proper manner, and at this, or any other age refuse so to do when approached in the same way by the creatures of his own forming. I would consider it reproaching the character of Him whose loving kindness endures forever, and his memorial to all generations, were I to admit for a moment, that his Saints had not the same claim upon his goodness now, that they ever had and might not with the same holiness of heart obtain the same assurance of eternal life!

I hope that I shall hear from you soon particularly upon this subject, and have no doubt of your deep interest in the cause of God, nor of your willingness to express your feelings on the same.

Excuse my haste, and accept assurance of unfeigned esteem from your brother.


P.S. I have heard from my wife; she is well, and a prospect or probability of her coming to Ohio this season. My respect to Patience and family: to Brother Howlet and Sister Sally, and friend Hyde and family.

To: Warren A. Cowdery, Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York.

Kirtland Mills, Ohio, November 12, 1833

Dear Brother [Samuel Bent]:

Were it not on particular business, amid my hurry, I should not address you at this time, as I am necessarily occupied in making arrangements for printing. Brother Joseph Wood left us some days since, and undoubtedly ere this arrives to your hand, will be with you. Previous to his leaving us Brother F. [Frederick] G. Williams wrote a line and directed it to you expecting Brother Wood to carry it; but probably in the hurry of starting he forgot to take it. The substance of the line was as follows: We wish Brother Bent to send us, by the hand of Brother J. Wood, four or five smoked, dressed deerskins. Be particular to select those that are good size, soft, and free from hard places. If I mistake not, I mentioned something of this when you were with us, if not, it is immaterial. If you can send us the above-named skins, you will confer upon us a kindness. You may collect the amount for the skins in subscriptions for the Star if you can obtain that sum, if not, we will pay you at another time. It will probably be near the first of January before we shall issue the first Star from this place.

Since Brother Wood left us, Brother Joseph S. [Smith] and Sidney R. [Rigdon] have returned from Canada, where they raised up a church of fourteen members.

The Lord was with them truly, and their testimony had great effect on the minds of hundreds. There is a bright prospect of a great work in that country, and my prayer is, O, may the Lord roll it forth in mighty majesty, until thousands may be brought to rejoice in his peaceable kingdom!

We have received some letters from our brethren in Missouri but it is hard to draw from them anything decisive as to the probable length that those deprecators will go in their acts of wickedness, and barbarity. There seems to be a holding back on the part of our brethren, and we expect for fear that their letters might be intercepted. They will undoubtedly bring these offenders to justice, yet they say that they swear openly that if the brethren attempt to seek redress they will rise and slay all they can! We leave all with God!

Yours truly, though in haste:

Oliver Cowdery

To: Samuel Bent, Pontiac, Michigan Source: Oliver Cowdery to John Whitmer, January 1, 1834, Huntington.

Kirtland, January 1, 1834

Dear Brother John [Whitmer]:

This morning I take an opportunity to communicate to you a few lines in answer to several letters received from you, which as yet remain unanswered, but I have no hesitancy in persuading myself that you will forgive this delay. When you wrote, no doubt, you supposed that all would come safe through the post office; but I, having reason to suspect that they would be purloined, dare not communicate anything that would do you any injury, even if it should be taken out and you not receive it; in this, no doubt, you will justify me.

We received the names of our former subscribers a few days since, which was mailed on the 3rd of last month, and a letter from Brother Conil to me, directed to Brother Elliott, Sunday evening. Know assuredly, Brother John, that we are anxious to receive intelligence from our brethren who have been driven from their inheritances, and we are pleased to hear that the governor is likely to give you aid; for we pray continually that the Lord will stir up the hearts of the rulers and men in authority, to avenge his children. The law is sufficient, the Constitution was established according to the will of heaven, and all the lack is for those whose duty it is to see that they are kept inviolable do their duty; pray that this may be the case; for God is able to turn the hearts of all men sufficiently to bring his purposes to pass. You have requested instruction on the subject of Church Records: I have just conversed with Brother Joseph concerning the same; and he has given me instruction upon his letter published in the 8th No. of the Star; but says that we shall probably receive more on the same, and then we will communicate it. I will say, however, that it is necessary to keep the names of the Saints, and when a child is brought forward to be blessed by the elders, it is then necessary to take their name upon the Church Record. Put down the name of the man, his place of birth, and when, etc., and also of his family. If he begets children after that and they do not come into the Church their names are not known with their brethren in the book of remembrance. The names of the Saints are to be kept in a book that contains the laws of God, this is what is meant in Brother Joseph's letter. Each family will have its record with the law of the Lord in it; each branch of the Church the same in every city; and each city one general record kept by a general clerk. Brother Joseph says, that the item in his letter that says, that the man that is called, etc., and puts forth his hand to steady the ark of God, does not mean that anyone had at the time, but it was given for a caution to those in high standing to beware, lest they should fall by the shaft of death as the Lord had said. Since I came down I have been informed from a proper source that the angel Michael is no less than our father Adam and Gabriel is Noah. I just drop this because I supposed that you would be pleased to know.

Brother Gilbert writes a few words concerning my wife, in his letter to Brother Whitney, and says that he was ready on his part to advance money for her expense when Brother Orson and John came. Please say to him that I am satisfied with him on that point, and am thankful that he was willing so to do, and am under the same obligations for his kindness, as though she had actually come. But I was greatly disappointed, and my heart is often filled with sorrow. You no doubt recollect Brother Joseph's long communication by the hand of Brother Orson and John, that it was the will of the Lord, or wisdom that I should tarry here. How then, Brother John, could you suppose that I could come to Zion in the spring to tarry? You request the names of the authors of that letter concerning tongues; I have written them once, but I conclude you did not receive my letter. Wm. [William] Whitney, and Rhoda Mills wrote the letter referred to, but we presume they wrote nothing that did not transpire, so we did not blame them, we only cautioned you because we saw that you would get into difficulty if you depended on the gift of tongues for revelation.

I have not been able to ascertain where my wife was, though Brother Gilbert says she is well, and you say she is with father and mother. I suppose of course, you knew, but it would be a satisfaction to me to know also.

I want you to see her and hand her the following and write me immediately, and by so doing you will confer a lasting favor on your unworthy brother.

I daily think how many hours I have spent with you and Brother William, and I ask myself, shall I not be privileged again to enjoy your society; yea, verily I trust in the Lord that I shall, for I often see you in visions and in dreams.

My love to all the family and brethren.

Oliver [Cowdery].

P.S. I enclose a fifty dollar note in this which has been donated by the churches, that is, forty of it, for the relief of the needy Saints, which you will hand over to Brother Partridge and Brother Phelps, excepting ten dollars which I sent to my wife. I feel for her wants, but it is difficult for me to get much money to send.

Kirtland, Ohio Monday, January 13, 1834

Dear Brother Lyman [Cowdery],

. . . I was pleased with your principles as advanced in yours to me, and in reply I may say, that as to the pure republicanism which was the basis of my political creed while with you, I have not changed from the same, for the Magna Charta, of equal rights, equal privileges, is that which shall never be dishonored by me; and my fervent wish, is that it never may be by any of the name, while this country is called America, or the sun in yonder firmament continues to shed his light upon the footstool of God.

My occupation in life is different from what it was when I resided in your country, and my profession is also different, but so long as we all are bound to support the constitution and are held amenable to the laws, it is but just, that we should entertain our own opinions, and exercise our own privileges in every matter in which we all are so deeply interested; consequently then, I consider it not only my privilege, but my duty, to myself and to the name, to ever entertain uncontrolled and unshackled principle as to the matters of our government, and without further comment on this point, I will say, that as they were when I was with you, so they will remain.

Perhaps you may be anxious to ascertain my principles as to particular forms of government, that is whether a government would not be better administered by the clergy, or to speak more in the common phrase, whether a government of Church and State would not be preferable to ours, or any other? I have observed for some time past, a move toward that end by a certain sect in our land, which has excited my attention, and caused me perhaps, to investigate the subject more closely than I should have done, had it been otherwise. My opinion upon this point is established, and is simply this, the moment on any one religious sect, how extant, gains the ascendancy sufficient to hold the administration of our government, the human heart is so easily corrupted that a spirit of intolerance would immediately transcend that of justice and equality that we should be compelled to immediately bid an everlasting adieu to our hard bought liberty.

You ask me for information relative to the shameful outrage in [Jackson County] Missouri. I forward you a paper with this letter, from which you will learn every principal matter relating to the same, excepting that I have been informed that the governor of the state has offered to reinstate my friends upon their own lands and also has issued his proclamation to call out three hundred men from the adjoining counties that a court might be held; but the last has not yet been confirmed, consequently I wait without putting too much evidence in it, until I learn further particulars. I may say with propriety, however that one of the most disgraceful scenes has transpired, that has ever been the painful duty of any American Citizen to record, or relate since these colonies were organized into free states. Peaceable inhabitants have been vilely and inhumanly treated, and one killed; helpless women and children have been compelled to seek an asylum among strangers, and some to wander in the open prairies without food, or anything but the open canopy to shelter them. These unlawful proceedings will, no doubt, be accounted for (though not made to appear justifiable). When I inform you that those men were principally emigrants from the Southern States, and settled in that country before the land came into market, and the probability is, that few were able to purchase and if they are not the offscourings of the United States, the society from which they came is equally to be pitied with themselves.

How this unhappy affair will terminate I am unable to say, but I am informed that several suits have been commenced against the heads of the mob. And I have no hesitancy in saying, that if justice is done, we shall receive a fair compensation for all our damages sustained, and these miserable outlaws feel the weight of justice to that efficient degree that they will perhaps be willing to let peaceable citizens remain unmolested hereafter . . . .

That I have equal claim upon the laws for protection in my manner of faith and worship, is a fact also, that no scholar of the constitution will, for the moment deny; and to seek the destruction of a man because of his religion, is a step too low for any citizens of our Republic to take. The body may be confined in chains, racked upon the wheel, or consumed with the fagot, but still Mens Invicta Manet (The Mind remains unconquered) . . . .

Kirtland, January 21, 1834

Dear Brothers Wm. [William W. Phelps] and John [Whitmer]:

I am yet alive and anxiously wait till the Lord grants us the privilege of meeting again.

Our office is yet in the brick building, though we expect in the spring to move on the hill near the Methodist meeting house. Our enemies have threatened us but thank the Lord we are yet on earth. They came out on the 8th about 12 o'clock at night, a little west and fired cannon. We suppose to alarm us, but no one was frightened, but all prepared to defend ourselves if they made a sally upon our houses.

My love to Elizabeth,

Write again that I may publish it.

Oliver Cowdery

To: William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, Clay County, Missouri Source: Oliver Cowdery to J. G. Fosdick, February 4, 1834, Huntington

Kirtland Mills, February 4, 1834

. . . . It becomes my painful duty to inform you that at a council of high priests and elders assembled yesterday, Brother Joseph Wood was expelled from the Church. Brother Samuel Bent wrote me a letter sometime since, requesting me to obtain the consent of the brethren in this place for Bro. J. Wood to tarry in your country a season. Accordingly I made the necessary inquiry and returned him the answer in mine to him of the 7th of January last. The brethren here consented to have Bro. W. [Wood] tarry with you for the express purpose of preaching the gospel, and not to spend his time in idleness and pretended study . . . . Our sympathies would have said spare him, had it not been for the conviction of every man that he could not in justice stand. These are the days of trial." God has spoken from the midst of eternity, and committed his everlasting gospel to men on earth! They have heard his voice! Shall we hold fellowship and communion with those who will dishonor the holy cause and bring a reproach upon the Church of Christ and wound the pure in heart! No! God forbid! Talents or no talents, science or no science, intelligence or no intelligence, we know that whatever is good is from God, and is the gift of his hand: consequently, then, it can be recalled when he will, and man is left as naked as that one was who met Christ, coming out of the tombs. The Lord calls for laborers and if one will not be faithful he calls another; his elect will be gathered, they will hear his voice, they will follow him: and blessed is he in that day whose garments have no been spotted with sin! . . .

Oliver Cowdery

To: Bro. J. G. Fosdick, Pontiac, Michigan

Source: Oliver Cowdery to W. [William] A. Cowdery, April 29, 1834, Huntington.

Kirtland Mills, Ohio Tuesday evening, April 29, 1834

Dear Brother [William A. Cowdery]:

I have just received yours of the 21st April, by the hand of Brother Pratt and Hyde who are both well.

As appears you have been prevented visiting this country for the present, in consequence of unforeseen and uncontrollable events. Perhaps I have on my part, anticipated too much happiness by receiving a visit from you, be that as it may, that which I had considered would, not only be a source of consolation but a blessing. I am for the present, deprived of.

Your last to me in my estimation is the most interesting of any heretofore received: There is no subject like the subject of eternal life with me. When I contemplate the past scenes of my life, though I am obliged to regret my folly. I cannot but admire--yes, I render thanks to God, for his wonderful condescension, in that he has given me to know the certainty of the acceptable way of life and salvation. You inform me in yours that you have received the highest possible testimony for a man: this I do not doubt, but permit me, dear brother (though here I am under the necessity of making apology because I am a youth, and you are my elder brother) to recommend still a continuance in prayer and fasting before the Lord. Remember Moses fell down before the Lord and fasted forty days for Israel when they had sinned till God turned away his wrath! Our God is our Father and will hear, if we faint not. I am of the opinion that an over anxiety of mind on temporal affairs, often hinders our frequent desired communion with our Lord, and from knowledge. I am prepared to say that nothing short of a full surrender to him will bring that peculiar blessing which we so often desire, that is, of obtaining witness from him.

Upon the members of the house of Cornelius the Holy Spirit was poured out as was upon the disciples at Pentecost, and this previous to baptism; if your faith is like theirs, you will obtain the same, but if not I would advise an obedience. You will see that your former profession was merely a hope, nothing sure, or else you would not be at any loss to determine now.

Men are justified when they live to what light they have, but when a greater is presented, God requires an obedience. Why is it that men are unwilling to embrace life when it is offered freely. Because the remedy presented for the Prince of Syria was simple, he despised it in his heart. So with men too frequently. But I am now more prolific than I had time at first, and I close by assuring you that any wishes for your welfare are indescribable.

Our parents and relations are well. I do not get to the west as I had expected, in consequence of business of printing. I wish I had one of your boys in our office, please write me on this subject. I should like but you will tell him for me, that the systems of men are like the spider's web. I have no strength to endure the great day of God Almighty, near at hand!

Oliver Cowdery

P.S. My love to our relations and friends.

To: Dr. W. A. Cowdery, Freedom, N.Y.

Source: Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon to Brethren, May 10, 1834, Huntington

Dear Brethren:

It becomes our duty to address you on the subject of immediately preparing and journeying to the land of Zion, to establish a plan for the ransomed of the Lord, against the day when desolation and wrath shall be sent forth upon the wicked, and be poured out upon the nations that despite his promised rest, without measure. It is no doubt known to you, that a large number of our brethren have lately gone up for the deliverance of the afflicted Saints, who have been dispossessed of their lands and homes by a lawless band of men, who has risen in defiance of all law, all equity, and all power and taken the life of one, and sought the overthrow of all who have embraced the everlasting gospel in these last days.

When these brethren have arrived in the vicinity, or as wisdom shall direct, they will wait for our brethren who have been driven out, to inform the governor of that state, that they are ready to go back to their lands. The governor is bound to call out the militia and take them back, and has informed our brethren of his readiness so to do previous to this time. When orders arrive from the Governor to the military commanding officer, in that vicinity to guard our brethren back, then it is expected that all will march over, the former residents as well as those now on the way. When they are on their own possessions, they have a right to defend themselves and property from destruction and spoilation, and be justified in sight of the laws of heaven and men. The company [Zion's Camp] now on the way with the scattered brethren when collected, will be sufficiently strong in the strength of the Lord to maintain the ground, after the militia have been discharged, should those wicked men be desperate enough to come upon them. But we wish you to see the propriety of more numbers in this situation. For instance, ten men were to go back. The mob would be disposed to assault them, because they were few in number, but were there a large number, even so many that they (the mob) knows were sufficient, without the least difficulty to withstand them, it is consistent to foresee that they would be silent and either flee the country entirely or remain inoffensive.

Many of our brethren have come forward on this occasion and manifested a true spirit of patriotism and of nobility, becoming the saints of God, and the citizens of a free government, and put their lives at stake, either to see our afflicted and dispersed brethren brought back to their homes or die in the attempt. Greater love has no man, than to die for his friend--this is the last great act of love required in the law of Christ, and is stronger than every earthly consideration. By this shall all men know that you are my disciple, said our Lord, because you love one another. A disciple is a follower--Christ laid down his life for his disciples and if they are willing to do likewise they are His indeed. It is just that our brethren should be brought back, because they have purchased their lands without abusing or molesting anyone, and they are free lawful citizens of these states. Should we quietly submit to this abuse, none embracing this gospel would be safe in any part of our country, for the adversary of righteousness would influence this wicked generation to slay us wherever we can be found, and we should be left without a place to lay our heads in safety. We have the right of citizenship and of the protection of the laws while we conduct ourselves circumspectly, and God has never required that we should submit to these abuses without exerting ourselves against them. If we were to remain quiet, when our property and homes were taken from us by wicked men, where would our women, and our helpless infants look for support, and whither would they flee for protection? What brethren, is now to be done? Our brethren have already started, and with the protection and blessings of our father will soon be permitted to offer the sacrifice of praise upon the goodly heritages. Their numbers are such that we do not apprehend much danger, except upon small parties, the mob may attempt further violence for a season, as they now abuse our brethren whenever they can find them in that country.

Our brethren [Zion's Camp] who have now started on this arduous journey have a small supply of money, and as the crops of wheat which were put in last fall by our dispersed brethren are in all probability, destroyed, the whole company who may remain after our brethren are taken back, will be obliged to purchase till grain can be raised, which will be one year from June till wheat harvest. It will be unsafe for our brethren to labor for hire among that people after they return, so you see in what situation they will be placed, unless our brethren abroad rise up and put forth their hands to assist in the name of the Lord. That county abounds with bread stuff which can be purchased very low, and with the assistance which our brethren abroad are able to render, the goodly land can be sustained and the saints be established to rejoice forever.

The privilege of being among those who redeem and prepare the land upon which unborn generations are to rejoice in the salvation of God, ought to inspire every heart, and stimulate every saint to action in the great work. Our brethren should remember that it is great work. Our brethren should remember that it is not the work of a few days, but that they are laying the foundation of an order of things which is to remain while time endures. And what can be more pleasing than the reflection, that by our diligence we prepare a habitation and place of security where our children can be preserved amid the shock which is to dissolve the nation? Many of our brethren who have gone up for deliverance of Zion have families in this country, and will be under the necessity of returning when Zion is redeemed. So you can see the necessity of more following immediately, that the company be not weakened so as to give the enemy the power to drive them again. We therefore advise, that our brethren make immediate preparation, gather up their effects, and go forth and join the brethren in the west as soon as circumstances may admit. No time should be lost, the love you have for your brethren calls for this act immediately, the ties of the new covenant demand it, and your little ones claim at your hands a place of refuge which it is in your power to secure it. Set the brother into whose hands this circular may come, immediately show it to the brethren in his vicinity, and let them dispose of their property (such as they cannot carry) and gather in upon the consecrated land. We do not wish you to understand by this, that we advise you to be hasty or wasteful, but let such as can start immediately, and the others make preparations to follow. The Lord has said, that there was abundant means in his church to establish the places where he had appointed his to gather, so that no power of the enemy could overthrow them; and while some journey to the land of Zion, others can help strengthen the stake of Kirtland, and we can see the work of our Father greatly prosper while all enemies are put to silence. Our brethren will be obliged to join companies of several families, in order to be safe after they arrive near the state of Missouri, as the mob might fall upon one or two families, and destroy them before they could obtain assistance. It is to be expected, many of the mob will leave the country for fear of being brought to justice, and of course will seek to annoy the saints wherever they can find them. You will see the necessity also of providing sufficient weapons to defend yourselves in case of an attack. Our brethren living in the east, need make but little delay after they are ready, as there are many churches, and by going on they can fall in with some others who may be going from these, but they should not advance too far west, without joining a company where there are from twelve to twenty able to use arms in self defense. In all that we have said, brethren, we do not urge anything contrary to good order. Let good order prevail in all your proceedings, we beseech you; for by so doing you are sure to prosper. When you journey, remember you are saints, and let your deportment show, to all who are disposed to look upon you, that you are truly what you profess to be, the children of God.

Remember the commandments, and live peaceable with all if possible; but reflect on all occasions, that you are citizens of a free country, and are entitled to all its privileges as such.

We say, may the Lord bless you, while we subscribe ourselves, your brethren in the bonds of the new covenant, Amen.

(Signed) Sidney Rigdon (Signed) Oliver Cowdery Source: Oliver Cowdery to John A. Bryan, October 15, 1843, Huntington.

Kirtland, Ohio, October 15, 1835.

Dear Sir [John A. Bryan]:

Having seen your name announced in some of our public journals, as a candidate for our next governor, I have thought there would be no impropriety in addressing you on that subject.

Would you accept a nomination from your friends provided they in their judgment made you their choice in the State Convention, to be holden on the 8th of Jan. next . . . .

I should be pleased if I could give you the full return of votes in our county, but cannot. Our town has done her duty--out of about 200 votes we give a majority of about 75. If the sister towns have done the same we are triumphantly ahead; but this is not expected. Our county has long been the prey of factious aristocrats . . . .

The Democracy of the county met in convention on the 10th and appointed their state delegation. I am one of that number, and if permitted by providence shall probably be in your place on the 8th January. Our delegation, I believe are firm democrats and will pull with the party . . . .

It is my political faith that the representative is to be instructed by the people; but I believe that to instruct them before they or even the representative have a knowledge of the thing about which the community is or is to be concerned, is unwise. Upon this matter, then, I am perfectly free, and if called upon to give my voice for an individual for our next governor, shall act conscientiously in giving it in favor of one of our most straightforward democratic friends. . . .

O. Cowdery

To Hon. John A. Bryan, Columbus, Ohio. Source: Oliver Cowdery to William Kenmore, October 15, 1843, Huntington.

. . . . You are aware that the time for the selection of a person to be held up for the suffrages of the republicans of the state, is fast approaching, and that those who are selected by the several counties to attend in Convention on the 8th of January next [1836], will have to act in that responsible station . . . .

Mr. Baldwin of Trumbell has been named, and others in different sections of the state, what objection, sir, would there be in your mind against accepting a nomination from that convention? Would you accept? . . . .

O. Cowdery

To: William Kenmore, St. Clairsville, Ohio. Source: Oliver Cowdery to R. M. Johnson, October 30, 1835, Huntington

Kirtland, Ohio, October 30, 1835 Dear Sir [R. M. Johnson]:

You will excuse the intrusion of a stranger, while I congratulate you upon our late elections, in this state. I think I may say safely that the last part will decide, or have a great bearing upon our next, when we give our voice for electors of President and Vice President. Our last Legislature was opposition--now we have so far triumphed that I think, without doubt, we shall have a majority on joint ballot of twenty. This will secure democratic offices in the gist of that body, and will so far give an impetus to the great republican wheel, in the state that it will gather new force and rapidly roll on till 1837 shall say to the Union--Ohio has done her duty!

. . . . Though our county (Geauga) is opposition, yet there are many who will do their duty so far as regards the great interest of the cause of democracy.

. . . . Our state votes by general ticket, the democratic state convention meets at Columbus on the 8th of Jan. next, when electors will be selected, and I have no doubt that the result of our next election will give the nominee of the Baltimore convention an overwhelming majority. I also forward you the Northern Times, formerly edited by myself--now under my direction . . . .

I am your obedient servant,

O. [Oliver] Cowdery

To: R. M. Johnson, Great Cropings, Scott County, Kentucky

Source: Jas. M. Carrel to R. M. Williams, October 29, 1835, Oliver Cowdery Letters, Huntington

Kirtland, Ohio, October 29, 1835

Dear Sir [R. M. Williams]:

. . . . I perceive by yours, that my first led you into error. We do not intend at resting our claims to the Post Office, and the removal of the present Whig incumbent on mere party grounds. I think, when our petition is got up, we will be able to show he is unworthy of the responsible station he occupies, from his gross neglect of duty, and disqualified for the office, from a total want of the capacities required to perform the duties incumbent upon a man who is a servant of the people, especially in an office of the description in question.

That he leaves his office in times when his duty requires he should be there, and leaves it in the care of a woman! That when he is in his office, he is entirely destitute of that spirit of accommodation, and gentlemanly deportment, towards those having business in the office, that should characterize the conduct of every man who is living on the bounty of the government--and who is put into that station for the express accommodation of the public!

On yesterday, the day on which our regular mail should have been here, he was absent, and on that account our mail had to lie over till today--thereby depriving us of our facilities for sending out and receiving important intelligence.

P.S. He has not yet returned! May the day soon come when our free and happy country, shall no longer be disgraced by such officers!

I have now give you a short outline of the causes that actuate the citizens of this village in their wish for the removal of the present incumbent. And now let me give you a brief view of the why's and wherefore's that lead us to petition for the appointment of Mr. Oliver Cowdery.

He is a gentleman whose business habits and qualifications fit him for a much higher station than the one spoken of, but his ambition is not by any means commensurate with his abilities--and therefore it is more for the satisfaction of the public mind in this place that he is brought forward than from any particular wish on his part to undertake the duties of the station.

And he is a man who let what will come, will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of whatever situation in which he may be placed.

And his bland and gentlemanly deportment, and manly bearing toward those whom business or inclination brings into contact with him, are so universally known and acknowledged, that he had endeared himself to all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance.

Jas. M. Carrel Source: Oliver Cowdery to S. Avord, October 22, 1835, Huntington.

Kirtland, Ohio, October 22, 1835

To Dr. S. Avord Beaver, Pennsylvania

Dear Sir:

By requesting, my friend has given me the opportunity of occupying a space. I cannot, in justice, let an occasion pass unimproved when I see a prospect, or think I see one, of benefitting my fellowmen. I must apologize for the short space occupied by my friend, as to answer every communication with a lengthy letter would be impossible, we therefore, when requested, forward our paper, which develops in short, our principles, or at least, our views with regard to the first principles of the gospel: when we do this, generally, we can do no more except our friends from abroad, as many do, visit this society, and learn from what they here see, etc., more extensively, our faith.

. . . We believe, in short, in God, and in a Saviour Jesus Christ; We believe that all men must repent (if they are saved) for all have sinned, and that salvation is free for all. We believe that when we please God he will manifest the same to us by his Spirit, the ministering of angels, or his own voice. We believe if we endure faithful to the end we shall be saved. We believe in the scripture of the Old and New Testaments, and the Book of Mormon. We believe that God never had a church on earth without manifesting his will to that church, and we believe that the salvation of men was never left in that vague way that we must grope our way through this life upon uncertainties and doubts. We know that we are built upon the Rock, the word of truth, and that God has called upon his creatures in the last days preparatory to the time when he will come in the clouds of heaven.

Oliver Cowdery Mess. and Adv. [Messenger and Advocate] Office, October 22, 1835

Source: Oliver Cowdery to Mr. Wm. [William] Frye, Esq., December 22, 1835, Huntington.

Kirtland, Ohio, December 22, 1835

Dear Brother in the Lord [William Frye]:

. . . Upon the subject of the Egyptian records, or rather the writings of Abraham and Joseph, and may I say a few words. This record is beautifully written in papyrus with black, and a small part, red ink or paint, in perfect preservation. The characters are such as you find upon the coffins of mummies, hieroglyphics and etc., with many characters or letters exactly like the present, though perhaps not quite so square form of the Hebrew without points.

These records were obtained from one of the catacombs in Egypt, near the place where once stood the renowned city of Thebes, by the celebrated French traveller Antonio Sebolo [Lebolo], in the year 1831. He procured license from Mohemet Ali, then Viceroy of Egypt under the protection of Chevralier [Chevalier] Drovetti, the French Consul, in the year 1828; employed 433 men four months and two days, (if I understood correctly, Egyptian or Turkish soldiers), at from four to six cents per diem, each man; entered the catacomb June 7, 1831, and obtained eleven mummies. There were several hundred mummies in the same catacomb. About one hundred embalmed after the first order and deposited and placed in niches and two or three hundred after the second and third order, and laid upon the floor or bottom of the grand cavity, the two last orders of embalmed were so decayed that they could not be removed and only eleven out of the first, found in the niches.

On his way from Alexandria to Paris he put in at Trieste, and after ten days illness, expired. This was in the year 1832. Previous to his decease, he made a will of the whole to Mr. Michael H. Chandler, then in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his nephew, whom he supposed to have been in Ireland.

Accordingly the whole were sent to Dublin, addressed according, and Mr. Chandler's friends ordered them sent to New York where they were received at the customhouse in the winter or spring of 1833. In April of the same year Mr. Chandler paid the duties upon his mummies and took possession of the same. Up to this time they had not been taken out of the coffins nor the coffins opened.

On opening the coffins he discovered that in connection with two of the bodies were something rolled up with the same kind of linen, saturated with the same bitumen, which when examined proved to be two rolls of papyrus, previously mentioned. I may add that two or three other small pieces of papyrus, with astronomical calculations, epitaphs, etc., were found with others of the mummies.

When Mr. Chandler discovered that there was something with the mummies, he supposed or hoped it might be some diamonds or other valuable metal, and was no little chagrined when he saw his disappointment. He was immediately told while yet in the customhouse, that there was no man in that city, who could translate his rolls; but was referred by the same gentleman, (a stranger) to Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr., who continued [that] he possess some kind of power or gift by which he had previously translated similar characters. Brother Smith was then unknown to Mr. Chandler. Neither did he know that such a book or work as the record of the Nephites had been brought before the public. From New York he took his collection to Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania], where he exhibited them for a compensation. The following is a certificate put into my hands by Mr. Chandler, which he obtained while in Philadelphia and will show the opinion of the scientific of that city:

"Having examined with considerable attention and deep interest, a number of mummies from the catacombs, near Thebes, in Egypt and now exhibiting in the Arcade, we beg leave to recommend them to the observation of the curious inquirer on subjects of a period so long elapsed; probably not less than three thousand years ago.

"The features of some of the mummies are in perfect expression. The papyrus covered with black or red ink, or paint, in excellent preservation, are very interesting. The undersigned, unsolicited by any person connected by interest with this exhibition, have voluntarily set their names hereunto, for the simple purpose of calling the attention of the public to an interesting collection, not sufficiently known in this city." signed

John Redman Cone, M.D., E. H. Rivinius, M.D., Richard Harlan, M.D., J. Pencoat, M.D., Wm. P. C. Barton, M.D., Samuel G. Morgan, M.D."

While Mr. Chandler was in Philadelphia he used every exertion to find someone who would give him the translation of his papyrus, but could not satisfactorily, though from some few men of the `first eminence' he obtained in a small degree the translation of a few characters.

Here he was referred to Brother Smith. From Philadelphia he visited Harrisburg, [Pennsylvania] and other places east of the mountains, and was frequently referred to Brother Smith for the translation of his Egyptian relic.

It would be beyond my purpose to follow this gentleman in his different circuits to the time he visited this place, the last of June or first of July, at which time he presented Brother Smith with his papyrus. Till then neither myself nor Brother Smith knew of such relics being in America. Mr. Chandler was told that his writings could be deciphered, and very politely gave me privileges of copying some four or five different sentences or separate pieces, stating at the same time, that unless he found someone who "could give him a translation soon he would carry them to London."

I am a little in advance of my narrative. The morning Mr. Chandler first presented his papyrus to Brother Smith, he was shown by the latter, a number of characters like those upon the writings of Mr. C. [Chandler] which were previously copied from the plates containing the history of the Nephites, or Book of Mormon.

Being solicited by Mr. Chandler to give an opinion concerning his antiquities, or a translation of some of the characters, Brother J. [Joseph] gave him the interpretation of some few for his satisfaction. For your gratification I will here annex a certificate which I hold, from under the hand of Mr. Chandler, unsolicited however, by any person in this place, which will show how far he believed Brother Smith able to unfold from these long obscure rolls, the wonders obtained thereon:

"Kirtland July 6th, 1835

This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr., in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic characters, in my possession, which I have, in many eminent cities, shown to the most learned; and from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I find that Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr., to correspond in the most minute matters.

Signed Michael H. Chandler

Traveling with and proprietor of Egyptian Mummies."

The foregoing is verbatim as given by Mr. Chandler excepting the addition of punctuation, and speaks sufficiently plain without requiring comment from me and it was given previous to the purchase of the antiquities, by any person here.

The language in which this record is written is very comprehensive, and many of the hieroglyphics exceedingly striking.

The evidence is apparent upon the fact, that they were written by persons acquainted with the history of the Creation, the fall of man, and more or less of the correct ideas of the notions of the Deity.

The representation of the Godhead--three--yet in one, is curiously drawn to give simply, though impressively, the writer's views of that exalted personage. The serpent represented as walking, or formed in a manner to be able to walk, standing in front of and near a female figure, is to me, one of the greatest representations I have ever seen upon paper, or a writing substance; and must go so far towards convincing the rational mind of the correctness and divine authenticity of the holy scriptures, and especially that part which has been assailed by the infidel community, as being fiction, as to carry away with one mighty sweep the whole atheistical fabric, without leaving a vestige sufficient for a foundation stone. Enoch's pillar as mentioned by Josephus, is upon the same roll. True, our present version of the Bible does not mention this fact, though it speaks of the righteousness of Abel and the holiness of Enoch--one slain because his offering was accepted of the Lord, and the others taken to the regions of everlasting day without being confined in the narrow limits of the tomb, or tasting death, but Josephus says that the descendants of Seth were virtuous, and possessed a great knowledge of the heavenly bodies, and that in consequence of the prophecy of Adam, that the world should be destroyed once by water and again by fire. Enoch wrote a history or an account of the same, and put into two pillars one of brick and the other of stone; and that the same were in being at his (Josephus') day. The inner end of the same roll (Joseph's record) presents a representation of the judgment. At one view you behold the Savior seated upon His throne, crowned and holding the scepter of righteousness and power, before whom also, are assembled, the twelve tribes of Israel, the nations, languages and tongues of the earth, the kingdoms of the world over which Satan is represented as reigning, Michael the Archangel, holding the key of the bottomless pit, and at the same time the devil as being chained and shut up in the bottomless pit.

But upon this last scene, I am able only to give you a shadow, to the real picture. I am certain it cannot be viewed without filling the mind with awe, unless the mind is far estranged from God; and I sincerely hope, that mine may never go so far astray, nor wander from those rational principles of the doctrine of our Saviour, so much, as to become darkened in the least and thereby fail to have that, to us, the greatest of all days and the most sublime of all transactions so impressively fixed upon the heart, that I become not like the beast, not knowing whither I am going, nor what shall be my final end . . .

Oliver Cowdery

To: Wm. Frye, Esq., Lebanon, Calhoun County, Pennsylvania Source: Oliver Cowdery to William Frye, December 25, 1835, Huntington.

December 25, 1835

Dear [William Frye]:

. . . You will have understood from the foregoing, that eleven mummies were taken from the catacomb, at the time of which I have been speaking and nothing definite having been said as to their disposal. I may, with propriety add a few words. Seven of the said eleven were purchased by gentlemen for private museums, previous to Mr. Chandler's visit to this place, with a small quantity of papyrus, similar (as he says) to the astronomical representation, contained with the present two rolls, of which I previously spoke, and the remaining four by gentlemen resident here.

Though the mummies themselves are a curiosity, and an astonishment, well calculated to arouse the mind to a reflection of past ages, when men strove, as at this day, to immortalize their names, though in another manner, yet I do not consider them of much value compared with those records which were deposited with them.

If providence permits, I will, ere long, write you again upon the propriety of looking for additions to our present scriptures, according to their own literal reading.

Yours as ever, O. Cowdery

P.S. There are a great number of elders in Kirtland now, many of whom are attending an English school. We are expecting a Hebrew school to commence in a few weeks, if we get a room prepared.

The most of those elders who are now in the school are studying and receiving grammar, history, writing, etc., the house of the Lord is being finished as fast as can be expected considering the smallness of the means in the hands of the Church, but we trust the Lord will open the way that we may fulfill his commandments: and in due time, also we look for the redemption of Zion. I earnestly circumstance pray that you may be prospered in all lawful pursuits, and your family may be blessed with health, and that you may, according to your own wish, be one of the hundred forty and four thousand, who are to stand upon the Mount Zion, having the harps of God.

Oliver Cowdery

To: William Frye, Esq., Lebanon, Calhoun County, Illinois Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, August 19, 1842 in Gunn (1962).

Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio August 19, 1842

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Yesterday I received a letter from Brother Lyman by which I learned that yourself and Brother Daniel were at Kirtland. I had learned sometime since that you both were at the West and this is the reason why I have not written you. I want to know how you found your affairs, property, etc. But if you can make it convenient, come up and see us and then we can hear from your own lips. Sometime in March I received a letter from W. [William] W. Phelps in Nauvoo. It is a strange affair, neither head nor tail to it. Why, in the name of common sense he should have written me so strange an epistle I cannot say. He requested no reply from me to himself so I have not answered it. I think sometime I will write him notwithstanding.

Our healths have been as good as usual when you were here. This is our sickly season; as yet the country is quite healthy. We have a month and a half or two months in which we may look for sickness, during which time hope to be preserved through the goodness of our God, whose arm alone has saved us so far when earthly friends are few and distant.

We have been contemplating a visit to our friends at Kirtland, but I doubt some whether we shall be there, it is a difficult matter to leave a professional business any time, to be absent a few weeks when one has numerous competition.

My business is steadily increasing nothing operates against me, except the fact that I have been formerly connected with, what is now an important church. Were it not for this I believe I could rise to the heights of my ambition. But shame on man, or men, who are so beneath themselves as to make this a business. My God has sustained me, and is able to sustain me, and through his own mysterious providence, lift me above all my foes. With his dealings I will be content.

I write you in much haste. Answer immediately, and if you can, come and see us--if not let me know everything interesting.

Our love to Lucy Remember us

Oliver Cowdery

Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio August 26, 1843

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Yours of the 22nd has been received; for every expression of friendship and brotherly affection, you have my hearty response in (se . . . . . ) I had been looking for you, or a letter, of your whereabouts. You say you are going East, return and then move to the West. Are you going to reside in Nauvoo? When will you leave, and how will you go? Can't you so visit us before you go? It is reduced to nearly a certainty that we shall not visit our friends at Kirtland this season. There are many things about which I would be glad to converse. When you were here we talked of rearing fruit trees, etc. You know our conversation on that head. I spoke of a healthy location in the West, both to you and Daniel, and am anxious to see you upon that subject. I also told you that I was poor had not the means to provide myself a library, move, etc., and proposed some arrangement with yourself respecting this matter, do not understand me as saying that I am not, through the blessing of a kind Providence, doing well here. But I say to you as . . . . . . . to Warren and Lyman, in all my letters what I meant, and will have the society of some of my relations or friends. I do not have that society here. I am a mark for my enemies and only stand in the strength of my God. They fear my talent and God has put the dread of my countenance upon their hearts. They have tried to overcome me, but God the Lord has raised me up. Against no man have I offended, to my knowledge, and not asked forgiveness, and on Him do I rely.

From the foregoing it will be easy for you to ascertain my position. You are well aware of the torrents of abuse and injury that I have received, fomented, no doubt, by those miserable beings who have long since ceased to disgrace the Church of which you are a member, with their membership. But you know all is not right. Could I see you I would converse freely, but I do not feel willing to write more fully.

You say "the Twelve" say they have written me. I have received nothing from them. I received a strange unmeaning letter from my old friend [William W.] Phelps last spring, but he requested no answer. I have not written him, certain to be sure, friend Phelps did say that I could write to your brother, Brigham, who was President of the Twelve. Of course, I know I could write to your brother without this information. But I did, and do now suppose, that if your brother or anyone also has any business of importance with me, he, or they, will not fail to let me know it.

On your return from the East do not fail to come forward to visit us, or write. By all means do not go West before we see you. You say there is a good opening in Hancock County for a good lawyer, and also holds out other flattering inducements for a poor man. This is one reason why I want to see you.

On the subject of those plates founded by the young man in Illinois. I had heard a rumor, and thank you for your trouble in conveying to me the fact. We had heard that they were now in Nauvoo.

We enjoy tolerable health so far, this season, though we look for sickness through this section for a month yet. From our residence here we have learned to be cautious, and still hope to escape disease and death. If you would, instead of coming, there . . . . . . a great ....... things to . . . . . . . learn. How has his mother got on? When does he go West? How many inhabitants are there at Nauvoo--How many of the Church in Hancock County--in Iowa, etc. How many lawyers? How do you go, by land or water? Does women and boys--saying anything about getting away from the land will they get away?

I may be teasing you too much to ask you to come up here--but if I could come down to you without bringing the family, I would slip down--I have so long talked of their going when I did. I cannot disappoint them. The means I cannot spare for that purpose now. I have determined to live prudently and get something to either go West, or get me some books.

Give our love to Lucy--tell Daniel I think it is a little strange he does not write me. Consider this scroll private, and rest assured that I am your brother in the best of feelings. The Lord bless you.

Oliver Cowdery

To: Phineas H. Young Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio

Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, December 18, 1845 in Gunn (1962)

Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio December 18, 1845

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Your last letter was answered immediately on its reception, and since writing you I have also received the anticipated one from friend [William W.] Phelps, of which last, I will speak hereafter. Since my last to you, in accordance with the request in yours, I have seen and conversed with Mr. Crockett. I found him reasonable and apparently kind, and he assured me he would do all he could for Brother Thurstin. He was quite anxious to learn what I was authorized to offer, I told him, I was rather directed to see him and ascertain what he would offer. I told him, I would say, that my friend Thurstin would take a part cash, say one half, less the legal discount on notes, and the other half in property--good horses--a wagon or two and some harness. He said he had no money by him now, but he would look around and see what he could raise. That I might say to friend Thurstin that if his, Crocketts' horses, (the four he had when you were there) suited, that he might have them, and he would further look and he thought he could get them a wagon or two, and some harness. On leaving, Mr. Crockett, he wished me not to part with the notes till he should have a little time, and he would call and let me know, etc. So far, then, with Mr. Crockett.

I have made further inquiry, and believe I can trade the whole of the notes by taking two span of first-rate horses, two-horse wagons, and double harness, but am told that the whole are worth six hundred dollars. By taking this property, I can get the rest in cash, at a share--but at what, I cannot fully say. If the last proposition will suit, let friend Thurstin send me the other note forthwith, and either say what I may do in the promises, or let me do the best I can for him. At any rate I must have some further directions, as I can go no further without I ought to say further, that in the last offer I have made, the property and money will not be ready till the first of April next. And should I make a trade for friend Thurstin, if he does not want to come himself, I will convey the same to him after the spring term of court. But, perhaps, he better come himself, or send a person better qualified to judge the value of the property. Whatever decisions he had made for me let him sign them, as he holds my receipt for the notes. And if he does not come himself, but sends another person, he must send my receipt.

I may further say that I will do anything I can to advance his interest or wishes in the matter. Now, as to the letter from Brother Phelps. But as it is short, and you will understand the whole by reading its contents, I have translated it verbatim et literatim.

Nauvoo, Illinois December 1, 1845

"Sir: The Quorum of the Twelve solicited me to write to you some time since, but a press of business in preparing for the endowment in our new temple, has deterred me. I saw your letter to Phineas, etc. To be short, we have concluded to let this rotten government alone, and shall not petition at Washington. That will satisfy you on that score. As to our exodus, if you believe that we are Israel, come and your friends say come, and let him that is athirst say come, with all things ready.

Respectfully, etc. W. [William] W. Phelps

P.S. This from your old associate."

As to the propriety of soliciting the aid of the general government I am still of the opinion, it would be better; but shall press the matter no further. And as to the remainder of my friend's letter, you will permit me to say that it is very short. I have not copied it with a view to find fault with my friend, nor with a wish to do him an act of injustice, but it is very different from what I had anticipated. I think, sometimes, that my frequent letters to you on the subject of what I have so often expressed anxiety upon, has led you to believe me efficious and overanxious, and though I have often been disappointed, there is notwithstanding, an act of injustice being done me. There is an act of justice due me, not only for my own, but for the sake and character of my friends and relatives; particularly those who are yet in the Church. So far as the others are concerned they care nothing about it. Indeed, I sometimes think, they wish it never to be given, as that may effectually prevent my return. You know my feelings fully on this subject--you will present them to Brother Brigham--tell him I am more and more anxious that matters be settled--the sooner the better, of course. As you will immediately, have him, by all means, drop me a card. Samuel Brannan writes me strongly to come to New York and go with him by water. Were I to go, for many reasons, I would prefer going this way, and avoid a long journey by land. As to Lucy and Phoebe, if I should come on with friend Thurstin's property, I shall give them my advice fully. I wish Brother Daniel would write me.

Write me forthwith--send on Crockett's notes, with full instructions, etc. The private matters alone are private. Say to friend Phelps I thank him for his letter.

With consideration of much esteem and good will, I remain your friend.

P.S. Love to Lucy, Phoebe, Daniel, etc.

O. [Oliver] Cowdery To: P. H. Young, Esq. Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois

Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio

Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, March 23, 1846, Church Archives cited in Gunn (1962)

Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, March 23, 1846

Dear Brother Phineas [Young]:

Yours of the 5th and 9th mailed on the 11th has been received. I was not looking for a letter from you, nor did I expect, when one should be received that it would contain what yours does. I mean that part relative 2nd Eldership, Counselorship and (etc.).

Before the receipt of this, you will have received one from me, enclosed in another to Brother Daniel, from which you will discover that your last was perused with the deepest satisfaction, and that one received from Brother Orson Hyde, about the same time, was either misunderstood, or in spirit misconceived by me. But from your last I am fully satisfied that no unjust imputation will be suffered to remain upon my character. And that I may not be misunderstood, let me here say, that I have only sought, and only asked, that my character might be exonerated from those charges imputed to me the crimes of theft, forgery, etc. Those which all my former associates know to be false. I do not, I have never asked, to be excused, or exempted from an acknowledgment of any actual fault or wrong--for of these there are many, which it always was my pleasure to confess--I have cherished a hope, and that one of my fondest, that I might leave such a character as those who might believe in my testimony, after I should be called hence, might do so, not only for the sake of the truth, but might not blush for the private character of the man who bore that testimony. I have been sensitive on this subject, I admit, but I ought to so be, you would be under the circumstances, had you stood in the presence of John with our departed Brother Joseph, to receive the lesser priesthood, and in the presence of Peter, to receive the greater, and looked down through time, and witness the effects these two must produce--you would feel what you have never felt, were wicked men conspiring to lessen the effects of your testimony on man, after you should have gone to your long sought rest. But, enough of this. I will here say, that I cannot fully comprehend the purpose of Brother Hyde's letter, but from your last, in referring to a conversation by Brother Brigham [Young] about the presidency, I am fully, doubly satisfied that all will be right--that my character will be fully vindicated. I write thus plainly because I do not intend to mention it again in any of my letters. Let the records show what you, Brother Parley [P. Pratt] and Brigham, think and they shall and you will be furnished with weapons to use against your enemies hereafter, to good effect.

You say you are having a meeting on the 6th of April. Brother Phineas, I could be with you, and tell you about the 6th of April 1830, when but six men then only belonged to the Church, and how we looked forward to a future. I should gladly, but I cannot only in spirit--but in spirit I shall be with you. And then in assembled kneel with those who are yet alive of that six. How many can you count?

From my letters, you and Brother Daniel, you will see that Brother Thurstin left, much to my regret, without letting me see him again. I think if he were to send me a note that falls due the first of October 1846, I could get the money on it by giving a share; by this means I could be with you sooner than I know in any other way. You will, of course, see him on the subject, and I will too on receipt of this--the condition of my family is such that it is not possible for me to come with them, this spring, but I want to be prepared at the earliest moment.

We are well as usual. I write in great haste may the Lord God our Fathers bless you and yours--and the children as a body. Such is my prayer--such is my heart.

I am yours in the new and everlasting covenant.

Elder P. [Phineas] H. Young

William could dictate that the subject matter of our communication remain with the Twelve for the present. Our love to Daniel and Lucy and Phoebe. Let me hear from you.

Oliver Cowdery

To: P. H. Young, Esq., Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois

Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, February 14, 1847 in Gunn (1962).

Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio February 14, 1847

Brother Phineas [Young]:

We received yours of the 1st January dated in the Territory, and mailed at Oregon January 8, by due course of mail. It is not necessary to occupy space in telling you how gladly we received the information of your place of abode, health, prospects, etc., for no day passes without our thoughts being turned toward our relatives and loved friends, who are toiling and struggling in the far-off wilderness, during a cold pitiless winter.

As to the information which you expect, I will say in short, that so far as I am able to ascertain, there is no present intention to give you trouble by those who are in authority. I think I am safe in saying that there is a feeling of sympathy towards you, which is calculated to do you good, and while this lasts, and while the nation's eyes is [are] turned towards the persecution and result of the war with Mexico, you will have little to fear from this side of the Territorial Line. What length of time the war may continue, of course, no one at Washington would pretend to give me a conjecture. Circumstances may transpire which may terminate it very soon; it may be greatly protracted. The President, and with him a majority of the people, want it to terminate honorably to us; but it is impossible to say what influences may be set at work by those who aspire to high places; nor is it now easy to conceive how far the question of Slavery in newly acquired territory, may bear the action of the present Congress. A great deal depends upon the action of the present session, which will close on the 4th of next month. The war question engrosses the most of the time, either directly or indirectly, consequently you need look for no official move towards the erection of a new territorial government west of Missouri this winter, and to wait for any action of this kind, as Congress will not assemble again till next December, it seems to me would not be wisdom. You are now tenants by inference, upon territory set apart, mostly to the use of the Indians. Your members are such that you are lessening the game on which they mainly depend for sustenance, and a double caution is necessary, that you do not weary out their patience, or excite their jealousy. If you continue to kill the wild game, they may be weary of your presence; if you spread out to cultivate the soil, they may be fearful of your power; against the two extremes, you must guard, lest they complain to the government. In judgment, you must hasten your journey greatly for your disadvantage. I have been writing upon this point as though there was no present design to erect a new territory. I have no belief that one will be formed in time to do you any service. Under all these circumstances, and in view of the facts, were I called upon for an opinion as to the course to be taken, I should say, by all means push on party after party, as many in number and as frequent as circumstances would allow, taking good care to keep my rear well protected, and see that one company through the entire route, this coming season, and a good large one too. If those who have accompanied General Kearney are to be dismissed in California, then a smaller company might do. If the Indians see you moving, they will be less likely to complain, and if your enemies know you are moving off, they will think they are to be rid of you, and will be less likely to seek your injury.

Now Brother Phineas, I have been giving you all the information in my possession, and which I have taken no little pains to obtain, and I have made the above suggestions, from the conviction that I believe I have some wisdom on the subject. I have done so with a view solely for your benefit, though you may not be benefitted thereby. I am decided that it is not safe for you to think of making permanent homes in the territory east of the mountains.

A few days ago I received a paper printed at Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, July 1, 1848 which gives me the news of the arrival at that place of the Brooklyn, from New York, with my old apprentice, Samuel Brannan, and his company, on their way to California. The Hawaiian Islands belong to the Sandwich Islands group. Ten deaths occurred on their passage, (4 adults and 6 children) and two births. This paper speaks in the highest praise of the deportment of the company during the long voyage (136) days and though edited by Samuel Seaman's Chaplin', talks very much like a Christian. He implores the blessing of heaven upon them. I ought to have said that the Brooklyn, arrived on the 20th of June. How soon she was to sail, the paper does not say.

I believe I have now given you all matters, of a general interest, and fulfilled my pledge to my friend Thurstin, upon the matter particularly spoken of when he was here. When you see him, you will, of course read to him this, and tell him that I remember him with due affection, I hope he may be blessed.

I am sorry to have to inform you and Lucy, their father is very low, if indeed, he be yet alive. He was taken down some 50 or 60 days ago of inflammatory rheumatism. At first he suffered much, but for some time he has not complained, except when moved. My last date from Kirtland was the 9th inst. Soon, and likely the next mail will bring us intelligence of his death. I have no doubt that ere you receive this, our father will have passed away to his last resting place.

The rest of our friends were well, so far as we learn. Lyman has moved to Wisconsin and I believe, getting into business. We have written to Daniel and Phoebe but get no answer, of late, and we are glad you mention them. We regret to learn of Brother Luke Johnson's afflictions.

The winter has been very changeable thus far. The news from Europe of late has caused wheat, etc., to advance in price, in consequence of the wonderful distress for want of food in the old country. So the world goes--distress, famine, wars and rumor of wars; the end must come by and by (Pointed Finger), then look out, Gentiles! Some knowledge. Elizabeth and Maria join me in hearty love to you, Lucy and the little one. May the Lord Almighty preserve you. You will also remember me to Brother Brigham, Luke, Phelps, family and all friends.

As ever your brother and friend,

Oliver Cowdery

Elder P. [Phineas] H. Young

You will see that my entire sheet is directed to yourself. I have thought it just as well to do so, and save postage, and time of writing. But you will understand the purport is going to all my old acquaintances and friends. I want to be understood as having written about things of which I have.

To: P. [Phineas] H. Young, Esq., Huntsucker's Ferry, Atchison County, Missouri

Source: Oliver Cowdery to Brigham Young, February 27, 1848 in Gunn (1962).

Elkhorn, Walworth County, Wisconsin February 27, 1848

Dear Brigham [Young]:

By the hand of Brother Phineas H. Young I received your epistle of December last, and after reading it carefully and conversing freely with Brother Phineas, I have thought that if circumstances would permit I would visit you in the early part of the spring say as soon as the 6th of April, if possible. This will give me an opportunity of seeing my valuable old friends, and time too of conversing upon interesting subjects. I have concluded to do so for many reasons; One is, it is difficult communicating as fully by writing as one would often wish, and also it will give time to say orally what one can hardly communicate in any other way as well. I have said above, that if possible I would see you the 6th of April: this my be prevented on account of certain business, of which Brother Phineas will fully acquaint you, which I may find myself under an honorable obligation of doing.

Brother Phineas informs me that you talk of going into the [Salt Lake] valley this summer. After conversing with Brother Phineas upon some matters of importance, you may think best not to, till you shall have seen us. I refer you to Brother Phineas for full particulars, upon which you will act as wisdom may direct. Brother Phineas will also inform you of the substance of what I have just written to Brother David Whitmer, advising him for reasons given by all means to be at Winter Quarters on the 6th of April.

As I may not be with you at the conference, and as this is a confidential communication, I may be permitted to say a word in relation to a matter long since past, but which is due Brother Phineas. At the time the Twelve were chosen in Kirtland, and I may say before it had been manifested that Brother Phineas was entitled to occupy the station as one of the number; but owing to Brother Joseph's urgent request at the time, Brother David and myself yielded to his wish, and consented for William to be selected, contrary to our feelings and judgment, and to our deep mortification ever since. Brother Phineas occupied at that time a relation to myself that caused me to feel delicate about urging his name and besides Brother Joseph, about that time was bearing down heavily upon Brother Phineas. The time has now come when Brother Phineas can occupy the place where he ought to have been from the first, and I cannot but hope he may have justice done him as far as possible. You and others may think that it is a matter about which I have no right to speak, but this shall not prevent my saying the truth, for it one to a worthy man, though he be my brother-in-law.

As to other matters, I refer you to Brother Phineas. I will in great haste subscribe myself.

Yours in the new covenant,

Oliver Cowdery Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, March 1, 1848 in Gunn (1962)

Elkhorn March 1, 1848

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Yesterday's mail brought me a letter from Brother Lyman, written on Sunday evening the 27th. He informs me that a bill was then drawn up and would be presented to the council on the next day, authorizing an index to be made by myself. He thinks it will pass. The mail on tomorrow will bring me something further, and perhaps definite, after which I will write you more at length.

Since you left I have thought of many things of such importance, about which I should like to converse, but cannot till I see you--I think I have learned some things of some interest. I shall not write to David again till I am able to give an opinion whether I can see him soon.

My health continues to improve. Elizabeth and Maria are well, and give our love to Daniel and Phoebe, and be assured of our esteem and friendship.

In haste, but as ever,

Oliver [Cowdery]

P.S. Write me when at Daniel's. O.

To: P. H. Young, Esq. Montrose, Lee County, Iowa Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, April 16, 1848 in Gunn (1962).

Elkhorn, Wisconsin April 16, 1848

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Some time since I wrote you (the date I have forgotten) informing you of my ill health, at the time, and of my determination to start as soon as circumstances in that respect would permit. For more than two weeks after the date of my letter my health was such that I dared not undertake the journey. When I began to anticipate starting, Elizabeth was suddenly and severely attacked with chills and fever, and in consequence I have been delayed till now. This being the 16th, I am now or should be under the necessity of making the entire journey in two weeks in order to reach the Bluffs by the time the camp will be likely to leave for the [Salt Lake] valley, and besides I could not go to the Bluffs, round by Richmond and return here before court. What to do under these circumstances, I have been greatly at a loss to determine. I had anxiously hoped to see my old friend on the 6th of this month, but was prevented in consequence of sickness. I then thought I would clear up and struggle on and be there by the first of May, and in this I am disappointed. For some time, in fact, when you were here, I had determined to move to the new purchase, but thought it might be better on many accounts, to go up there first. Since being hindered, as stated above, I have been very much distressed, fearing my delay might embarrass you in our calculation about the future. You will recollect our conversation when you were here, on the subject of nursery on my own part, I have, the more I have reflected on it, the more anxious I have been to engage in the business; I am still equally anxious. Now, as it is not possible for me to undertake the journey and return before court, I have thought to drop you this, detailing the foregoing facts which are your answer. If you still think it best or advisable to visit the Bluffs before coming, say so, and that shall be it, and if not, say how it shall be and I will follow your advice.

Brother Miller has manifested the right spirit on the subject of my going West, nor does he know but I am now on my way, or there, ere this, and he said that he will furnish me with a team, if I went in the fall, and go up when he does, as he intends to go if he succeeds in making a sale. He will do that at any rate, if I wish it, and as much more as you shall say is the wish or advice of Brother Brigham.

You are aware and much better able to judge than I am--that in order to make anything towards a respectable beginning toward a nursery we want a large quantity of seeds. These, I think I can procure in Ohio in time to bring with me in the fall; but in order to do so, I shall want you to say a word to Brother Miller, in your next letter to me, as I know he stands ready to render me any aid I want, on your suggestion. I think I am to dispose of my place, and get what I have already paid, and also released from my further liabilities, if so, this will help me some; but I shall still want something to get seeds, etc. I have thought much on the subject of a nursery, as I say above, and am fully satisfied, that whatever may be our position in the Church, we better press into that business, as we can carry it on with little personal attention after a short time, and soon benefit ourselves by a full equivalent, and not be burdensome to the brethren. Fruit is what all the Saints want, and the more they have the better for health.

I have written the foregoing as though you were not going over the mountains this season. It may be that you have determined on doing so, and for that reason will be unable to engage in the business proposed; you will of course inform me; but it would greatly gratify me to have you delay going till we can get a good nursery started. And since we can do it with little expense, and that be a benefit to the great body, while the avails will help to render us an income, there is no doubt but it is wisdom to do it.

You will write me fully on all these matters--let me know what was done at the conference with regard to yourself, and also your humble brother. Have you talked with Brother B. confidentially on certain important matters yet to come? Was David there? Were any steps taken towards effecting the reconciliation and union of which we talked, and which is so much to be desired? Tell me plainly on all these. Had I been permitted to have been there, these matters would have engaged my earnest labors. For myself, as I told you, when here I ask nothing, but I am not mistaken as to what the spirit of wisdom would and does dictate, on the subject of harmony and oneness. Being the oldest member of the Church, and knowing as I do, what she needs, I may be allowed to suggest a word for her sake, having nothing but her interest in view. But enough now--write me forthwith--l shall wait with anxiety to get an answer. I shall write Brother Daniel forthwith, and also Brother David, they will both be disappointed, I suppose, but I cannot help it. From hence forward I shall double my efforts in effecting a harmonious, righteous, reconciliation--I know what is right and I hope I may soon see the right take place. This letter is in confidence--it must be a private one. I write in haste, but am yours in the new covenant.

Oliver [Cowdery]

As I determine to come even if I do not dispose of my place, it is important that you enclose to me a word to Brother Miller. This will enable me to go about it in good time, and not suffer a disappointment. Don't fail to give your opinions as to whether I better come up before moving. I also want to prepare for seeds by writing to Brother Hansen as soon as possible. By your not going over this spring, we suppose Lucy will be glad, if by staying she can have our company--which she is certain of, if the Lord wills.

Elizabeth and Maria join me in love to you and Lucy--we hope too we shall not be long afflicted with the remains of Sandusky fevers.

We are on the eve of great political events--on these I want to see you and others, and converse upon. Say to Brother Brigham, that it seems to me he better not go over till I see him. Is there not wisdom in this? Let him judge.

Oliver Cowdery

To: P. [Phineas] H. Young, Esq., Atchison County, Missouri Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, April 29, 1849 in Gunn (1962).

Richmond, Missouri April 29, 1849

Brother Phineas [Young]:

I returned as far as Judge Cannon's after leaving you at the ferry, and arrived in Richmond in good time the next day--horses a little stiffened from fast driving.

There is nothing new here since your departure for the Bluffs; the roads are literally lined with California teams--and report[s] say, these are only the commencement--the vanguard. If so the loss of stock, if not life, must be great ere they see the end of their contemplated journey. Every day confirms me in the opinion I had formed before your arrival, that it would be bad policy for the Saints to think of starting for the valley this spring. I know the personal anxiety of many to go, but have heretofore felt a deep solicitude to be with them, but I do not know what would induce me to start with my little family now. The idea of being crowded in and mixed up with companies--thousands of gold hunters, would impel me to wait another year, as a preference if I could not go this fall.

I hope you will send down the buggy as soon as possible--the sooner the better for us. We have heard nothing from Johns since you were here, but `Fan' ought to have a colt ere this. Don't forget to fasten the wrench to some part of the buggy, say the Reach, if you send it by boat.

My books, etc., also I meant sent down as soon as they arrive. If we had our `traps' together, and a good place to stay at the Bluffs, Elizabeth and Maria would prefer to stay there on some accounts while I am on a trip to the `everlasting mountains,' but as it is they will remain here. But a short time since--today I have been conversing with Daniel about Daniel's repairing clocks in this section, and he says he has no doubt that he might get any number to clean.

Previous to your return here, I frequently thought of dropping a line to the leading brethren at the Bluffs, on the subject of the vast number of gold hunters who are calculating to go up on our `trail,' but on further reflection have concluded that they must be fully advised, and any suggestion from me might be of no service. I cannot but feel a deep solicitude in the premises, and if you think proper, may assure them of the truth of what I have said, as to the great numbers daily pressing by land, as well as by water.

The strawberry, gooseberry, currants and English duck, I hope are in a proper condition to increase.

Give my love to Lucy, Phoebe and the children. My best affections to David, and respects to all, who as for your unworthy

Brother Oliver [Cowdery]

P.S. Elizabeth and Maria are at Jacob's or I suppose this little sheet would hardly hold all our love united.

O. [Oliver Cowdery]

N.B. Write immediately if you do not come soon.

To: Phineas H. Young, Esq., Kanesville, Pottawatomie County, Iowa Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, June 24, 1849 in Gunn (1962).

Richmond, Missouri June 24, 1849

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Yours by the hand of Brother Daniel has been received, read faithfully and carefully considered. For many reasons which Brother Daniel will be able to explain to you, I have obliged to abandon the idea of going to the mountains this season. I will not take time or space to write them, as he can communicate them more fully on the different items, only I will say that Frisbie is going, or already gone, cart with horses, so no money from him--and without which I could not go.

Carpenter was to have come to Richmond on the Saturday after we were at his place. I neither saw him or heard from him for some two weeks, I am as you know, bound to pay the horse debt and shall try to work it out in some shape and save my buggy. I am sorry Daniel did not come with my one horse harness, and also bring my saddle and bridle.

Now, my intention is, as soon as I can get through with my liabilities here, to come up to the Bluffs. Iowa, you know is my place of residence since the time we crossed the Mississippi last fall.

I am sorry Daniel did not bring the paper containing the epistle from the [Salt Lake] valley, though I saw an extract from it in a St. Louis paper, from which I learn of the hard winter and probably, or possible scarcity of provisions and more particularly as many of the gold diggers will be forced there to prevent starvation.

As to your going to the valley, I am of the same opinion I was when I saw you last; but I do not look upon it as a prudent move for any man to take or undertake to, a family this season. Still, those living at the Bluffs ought to know better than I do. At a moderate calculation there are 35,000 yoke of oxen on the road via Fort Laramie, and where is the feed for ten thousand? To say we will wait till they all are through is saying what cannot reasonably be looked for. They will be forced to take the late, and the latest feed, as well as the earliest. Good ponies and mules may go through--ox teams, will find great difficulty. So it looks to me, and had I even the teams, I would not start with them.

From rumor, and that alone, I learn that the Quorum of the Twelve is filled.

Before you leave, write me by mail.

Elizabeth and Maria are well and join me in love to Lucy and the little ones. as ever Your brother

Oliver [Cowdery]

To: Phineas H. Young, Esq., Cartersville, Pottawatomie County, Iowa Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young in Gunn (1962)

Richmond, Ray County, Missouri

Brother Phineas [Young]:

Yesterday I received your letter of the 11th, and mailed at Oregon in this station on the 14th; and I take the earliest western mail to answer it. I am also in receipt of one from you, dated at Cartersville sometime since which till now has not been answered. I am thus particular for the reason, that you inform me of frequently writing and obtaining no answers.

Sometime in August I had an attack of bilious fever; the most severe of any in my life, but with the blessing of heaven, and the kind care of friends, I recovered in a few days. Unfortunately for me, before recovering sufficient strength, I rode out when the weather was very warm, which brought on a severe attack of chills, together with a return of my old difficulty of lungs. The chills were soon disposed of, but my lungs are very bad, with considerable cough. I have been careful to take exercise in the open air and flatter myself that my cough is less severe and that I raise less also. I have spit no blood during this attack as last winter; a circumstance also favorable, as I interpret it. I am thus particular--all of which is strictly time--that you may know how much I desire an interest in your prayers.

From yours of the 11th I learn of the safe return of Brother Babbitt from the [Salt Lake] valley. I also learn of the abundant harvest of wheat and of the good prospect for corn and other crops, and the prosperity of the Saints generally; for I am certainly thankful to the Lord, our Heavenly Father.

. . . . . . kindly known how to understand you when . . . . . . of not being in company with me this summer, and for that reason have thought . . . . . . make no reply, but wait till we see each other . . . . . . when face to face I may understand.

Though your last letter is not as full as I could have wished, yet I learn from it that the good brethren of the valley wish me to go to Washington and that either they or Brother Babbitt wish me to go to Nauvoo [Illinois], also. These are matters about which I could have desired definite information, so that I could have been making calculations accordingly. On the subject of your accompanying me about which I see a little feeling. Let me be governed in this, as in all other matters, by wisdom, and all we know, will then be right. Both of us have dependent families, to whom we owe our first care. I know not the business in Nauvoo, if I should go, and it might not be necessary for both to spend our time in attending to it. But whether it may or may not be, you have no reason to believe, from anything ever written or spoken by us, that I did not desire your society. I am poor, very poor, and I did hope to have health and means sufficient last spring to go West and get some gold, that I might so situate my family, that I could be engaged in the cause of God; but I did not succeed. I was then in hopes that you could go as you wrote me--if I could not. Now as neither of us went, let us not be discouraged, but press on, trusting in the Lord.

I have succeeded in paying the note off the house with the exception of a little over $15.00 the greatest share of which Elizabeth paid while laboring at her trade.

You will certainly acknowledge I have written a longer letter than usual; but I would have written more if letters were conveyed to and from me within the time, and with the certainty they ought. I shall look with deep interest for further intelligence from the Bluffs daily until I learn something further. One word more: does not Brother Evans know that it is less than 250 miles from Kanesville to Richmond, the longest way it can be traveled? Why then mark letters with double postage?

Give our respect to our relatives, and to all enquiring Saints,

As ever, your brother Oliver Cowdery.

P.S. Say to Brother Orson, that I received the two papers of the 8 and 22 of August.

To: Phineas H. Young, Esq. Kanesville, Pottawatomie County, Iowa.