Letter: Edson Whipple to Philadelphia

Letter: Edson Whipple to Philadelphia

December 17, 1842

Nauvoo Dec 17th 1842

Brethren and friends in Philadelphia

After an elapse of several weeks I resume my pen to redeem the promise I made you in Philadelphia, of writing after getting to this place, and giving you a narrative of our journey and the conditions and situation of Nauvoo and the people and what my feelings were when viewing the fulfilment of the predictions of the Prophets of old. This will I do with the greatest of pleasure. Although my knowledge of the place and people is not extensive but to the reverse, is quite contracted owing to the circumstances which God in His command has seen fit to place me under.

After a journey of thirty-two days, we found ourselves in a company with a party of forty or fifty others that we fell in with on the way, we landed on the banks of the Mississippi in the City of Nauvoo.

After leaving Philadelphia and parting with thirty or forty of our brethren who had come to the depot to take the parting hand we united our hearts and voices in singing "Yes My Native Land I Leave Thee," which seemed to attract the attention of the Captain and crew.

About sunset we found ourselves at Columbia and there we shifted from the railroad to the canal and, us, our company composed the most of the passengers on board. We had the liberty from the Captain to arrange the cabin to our liking which we did. So that we were comfortably situated.

The weather being very pleasant so that we could be on deck most of the time where we could sing and make merry in the songs of Zion.

We had a Mr. Neal and family on hand with us. He seemed to be very anxious to know of our faith and doctrine which we laid before him in plainness. He was a Presbyterian and after a touch of the doctrine he soon offered his objections which soon led to a discussion on several points of our doctrine. After which we took the same ground that he had taken and offered our objections to his views, too, and contradicted them with the scriptures and showed to those that were on board the difference between the doctrine of the Bible and the doctrine of men which I have reason to believe resulted in much good. For as it happened in the providence of God on the Allegheny Mts. over Sunday and we succeeded in getting a school house which stood within a few rods of where we stopped. We held two meetings in it, which were attended by the Captain and hands together with the passengers and many of the citizens. On this occasion I endeavored to lay before them the first principles of the Gospel and the necessity of being obedient to the same in order to a joint heir with God and Jesus Christ.

After meeting, some came forward demanding baptism, at my hands and the administration of God, immersed the Captain and three of his hands and two passengers in waters of the Allegheny for the remission of sins. This caused our hearts to rejoice and give glory to God.

The names of the passengers baptized were a Andrew Grant and a Miss Atkerson who started in company with us from Philadelphia. The others Captain Jacob Utsler and two of his brothers and a young man by the name Windslow.

When we arrived in Pittsburgh I gave them an introduction to Elder Page. Miss Atkerson we left at Louisville, Ky. and Andrew Grant came on to Nauvoo.

We paid seven dollars each to Pittsburgh, then we engaged a passage to St. Louis for three dollars and fifty cents on board the steamboat Northbend, with Captain Galegar, we found all things as comfortable on board as could be expected and received the best of treatment from the captain and the crew and had many privileges on board granted above the rest of the passengers.

The steamboat began to think it something of an object to get our people as passengers

We were joined by a company of nine from Kirtland and when we got to St. Louis we joined a company of about thirty from Island, Vermont, and New York City. It cost us from St. Louis to Nauvoo $1.50 and 26¢ freight.

We were eight days from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and from Pittsburgh to St. Louis 21 days, and from St. Louis to Nauvoo 11 days.

The second week after we got here, I was taken sick and was confined to my house for two weeks. And after I had begun to recover, my wife was taken down with the fever. We used all the means in our power to break the fever, but could not. On the tenth day while the fever was raging Brother told us to take her to the river and baptize her for the healing power of her body and she would recover. We did so and from that time she began to recover. We put her in the two days following.

There have been hundreds baptized in the font and in the river for their health and in every case it has proved useful.

All that came out with us are well. Sr. Wilcox and family arrived and Brother Long and Jackson and Samuel Potter. As to the situation of the place it is as the Old Patriarch David described in the 48th Psalm. It is beautifully situated. It lies on the east side of. the Mississippi it extends about four miles along the river and about the same distance back.