Mormon Literature Sampler:

The Hascall-Pomeroy Correspondence*

Irene Hascall Pomeroy

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To    Miss Ophelia M. Andrews
        North New Salem
        Franklin County

        (Care of Col. Wilson Andrews)

Postmarked:    Kane Io. May 16 1848
                       [in manuscript]

Great Salt Lake City March 5th 1848.

Cousin Ophelia, having a little leisure from domestic cares I thought [I would] write you a few lines knowing you would be very anxious to hear from us. We are all well contented and happy. We have a log house made of hewed logs sixteen by eighteen and covered with planks and slabs. Our fireplace is made of clay pounded into one corner and the fireplace cut out just such shape as you please. The rest is sticks plastered outside and in which makes it quite nice. We have quite a nice door made of fir boards which were sawed since we arrived. We have nothing but the boards of our wagon for floor yet. We have a window with five squares of ten by twelve glass and one of cloth pasted on. There is two beds at the east end of the room and curtains drawn across the room in front of the beds and a little chamber floor over the beds where we keep our provisions. Picture to your self Irene sitting in such a room as this writing on her same chest which stood in her chamber in Mass. Mr Pomeroy and Thales have gone to what is called the Cotton woods for poles to fence the land. Francelle is filling the little creampitcher (your mother and mine used to play) with water and washing it in the washdish. Mother is knitting. (I will fill this page with family concerns now I have come so near to it, and tell you on the next how we came hear and what kind of place it is). We have two yoke of oxen, two cows two heifers (two years old) a pair of horses three hens two chickens and a dog. We have killed one yoke of oxen for beef. We expect to have a garden in front of our house. Our farming land is five or six miles from hear. The houses are built adjoining each other and in the form of squares enclosing ten acres each. It was thought wisdom to have them in this manner for this season because we could better defend ourselves from all kinds of danger.9 When the companies arrive next Summer we expect to commence a brick house. There will be a city laid out then and each building will have land for all necessary purposes and a large garden and the farming land will be with out the city.

When Mother wrote you at Winter Quarters we were preparing for our journey still farther west. Thales went down into Missouri with Br Wallace and bought a new supply of provisions and we left Winter Quarters June 17th and I can assure you we passed through a variety of scenes a distance of ten hundred and sixty miles from W. Q. Rivers, brooks, mudholes, mountains, plains, woods, broken waggons Indians, Buffaloes, wolfs, deer, antelope, wild dogs, bears &c. The Indians were very friendly. They do not hurt if we kept strong guard out so they could not steal our horses and cattle in the night; We passed through some places where it [was] almost impassable, mountains of cragged rocks seeming as it were bending over us on either side of the road, at another time we would be on the side of a mountain below us on one side of the road 50 or 100 feet straight down as Grandmother says, on the other side a mountain and seeming every moment as if the waggon would be upset. This was the last part of the road. The first 1000 miles was mostly praries, see nothing but land as far as the eye could reach; You can look on the map and see where we came; We came nearly the whole of the length of the Platte river and camped on its bank most every [night]. We walked a great part of the way where there were bad roads (Catherine says tell them I could walk 10 or 15 miles per day). We generally travelled front 10 to 15 miles in a day sometimes 20 and once or twice 25. We did not travel on sundays on the whole we had quite a pleasant journey. We would (about half a dozzen) go on ahead of the waggons, find some place of curiosity and wait for the teams to come up. How many many [times] mother and I would say how Aunt Samanthy would love to see this and that. Grandmother might have come if she had thought so. There is some older than she here. I presume you have heard of Richardsons bitters. The old man's son is here and his sons mother came from Vermont. Emeline is yet in W. Q. When we came away she was teaching school in the same family where she has been.

There was about 600 wagons came last summer.10 Such only came as could buy provisions, the rest staled to raise it. We expect a much larger company this season. Well after all this long journey, when we were coming over mountains and between them all at once a little narrow passage between the mountains (called a cannian11 I think I have not spelled it right) opened into a beautiful valley. This is our place of residence. It is in the midst of the rocky mountains surrounded on every side by impassable mts. and just one passage in and another on the west side which will not take much labor to stop an army of ten thousand. Now let the mobbers rage. The Lord has provided this place for us and if we are faithful the troubles and calamities of the Gentile nation will not harm when all is past, we will step forth from our hiding place the secret chambers spoken of in the bible. I wish you would come and stay with [us]. You would if you [could] see the future. But live in darkness, we know this is true, what you call mormonism. If we ever meet in the resurrection you cannot say I never told you. What I say to one I say to all who shall here it, and read it to every one you can (this part if nothing more) for I say it again I know it is truth and I say it by the spirit of God. I would die in one minute for this gospel if necessary or required of the Lord. Remember what I say to you, I expect Augustus before long. He said he should come when he was twenty one. The journey does not seem to us now as it did in Mass. Why we [would] not think any more of coming back than we used to do of going to New York city. There is a large salt lake lying in the northwest part of the valley called on the map lake Timpanagus.12 Its water is more highly impregnated with salt than those of the ocean. They make some of the nicest salt you ever saw. They can shovel up bushels of coarse [salt] on the bank. The mountains near the city are covered with vegetation. Those at a distance look rough and rocky. The timber is mostly on or near the mountains. Streams of beautiful water run from the mountains and empty into a river called Jordan which empties into salt lake. Some of the mountains are covered with perpetual snow. The climate is thought to be warmer here than in New England. The winter has been very pleasant. Feed for cattle all winter. Those that ran at liberty were grew fat all winter.

People have commenced plowing and planting some but it freezes a little [at] night. We have not had any snow to last long. There are some maple trees here, poplar fir cotton wood oak birch spruce and a species of hemlock. Br. Woodburys family are here and all much better than when they left Nauvoo. Catherine is well and children. Elizabeth and Loenza are well send love, Loenza is married to Joseph Kings-bury. I [suppose] you know that Abby is dead. When they left Nauvoo they went off the road into a very sickly town because they could get great wages and thought they would earn something. They were all taken with chills &c. and none but Br Pond E[lizabeth] and L[oenza] survived the disease. Br Aikins family are yet at W. Q. and William W. was on his way there last we heard from them and Mrs. Russel Maria Ellen and Hiram Clark. W[hile] at winter Q. H lived with Emeline. You have heard of dressing in skins. I will send you a specimen. Francis has a coat and pantaloons and Thales pantaloons. We can wash it and stretch it while it dries. Thales says he wants to see George & Waldo Albert and the rest of the boys very [much]. He is almost a young man, taller than I. We have heard father is on California shore and have wrote to him and expect he will come here this season. Tell Grandmother she would laugh to see Francelle talk and motion it out with her head like Aunt Phebe. Francelle has been putting my ink on her hair calling it oil. Mother says tell Grandmother and S. she [has] not been out of coffee yet and drinks it most every day. We have got company a lady from Cape Cod. I know you are a good scholar so I think you can read this. I have not time to read my letter you must guess at what is not here. It is a very healthy place.

I have not much room for compliments. Love to all who know us. I think perhaps you are married. If you are love to your husband. Write as soon as possible. When you write pay postage or it will not come.


Let grandmother have the skin if she wants it.

[Note: One the back of the folded letter appears this notation--"Miss Andrews was this postage paid? P.M."]

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*Irene Hascall Pomeroy (1825-61), Ursulia B. Hascall (1791-1875). [These] letters are taken from the Hascall-Pomeroy correspondence. The mother (Ursulia) and daughter (Irene) were baptized in 1842. Irene and her husband arrived in Nauvoo in 1845 and were followed the next year by Ursulia and her son Thales. Ursulia's husband, Ashbel Green Hascall, went with Samuel Brannan on the ship Brooklyn. He died before reaching Salt Lake City. Irene, the mother of eight children, suffered a burned hand and subsequent amputation. She died at thirty-six at the home of her friend, Emeline B. Wells. Ursulia reared the children until Francis, Irene's husband, became well located in Paris, Idaho. Ursulia remained in Paris until her death in 1875. The letters represented in this book were selected from the twenty-four written between 1845-1850 and published in the Utah Historical Quarterly, 25 (1957). Footnotes are those supplied in that publication.

9. "Monday, March 6, 1848. The G.S.L. City fort contained 423 houses and 1,671 souls. Adjoining farming field consisted of 5,133 acres of land of which 875 acres were sown with winter wheat." Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology (Salt Lake City, 1914), p. 35.

10. According to B. H. Roberts, CHC, 3:291, between the middle of September and October 10, 1847, 2,095 people had arrived in the valley. Irene, Eugenia Francelle, Ursulia, and Thales are listed among the Four Hundred, with G. B. Wallace Captain of Fifty and James Smith captain of the first ten. See also Kate B. Carter, comp., Heart Throbs of the West, 8:439.

11. Emigration Canyon.

12. Irene here indicates the confusion prevalent regarding the topography of the Great Basin. For a map of the area in 1826, see Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Utah, p. 19. On his journey through the Utah country in 1776, Escalante gave the name Timpanogos to present day Utah Lake for the Timpanogos Indians who lived in the region.

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