Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 12, 1872

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Central City, Colorado

July 31, 1872

Portions of this letter are published in UL 226; 7MR 214; 8MR 120-121; 11MR 115-117.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

Here I am at Mr. Fair’s, husband to your cousin, Addie Clough Fair, looking out and upward upon mountains of perpendicular rocks estimated at five hundred feet high. From the foot of these mountains to the top, upon ledges of solid rocks, slight excavations have been made and houses built in every spot that could be made available by stone foundations. Directly in front of me are several tiers of houses, rising one above another. Never did I behold such a scene as this. There is scarcely a sign of vegetation, no trees, but abrupt, barren rocks. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 1

Some of these houses are very nice and expensive. Just before me is a large, fine house, built high on the top of the mountain. A wall of masonry several feet high bears up the front of the house, while the back of the house rests upon the solid ledge drilled and chiseled out for the builders. A very nicely-finished barn is built in the same manner. In stepping out of the house there is not a level place for the feet to stand upon unless built up like a platform. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 2

There are but a very few natural yards and these are lower down the mountain and are only one or two feet in width. They build up a yard several feet high, draw dirt and place upon the top of the stone and then have but a few feet to just step out of the doorway. It is only the most wealthy who can afford this extravagance. The [homes of the] poorer class, and even some very nice houses, have not one foot of level land around them. The banker’s wife’s mother stepped out in one of these high, made yards to hang out clothes. She was sixty years old. She made a misstep, fell from the wall and broke her neck. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 3

The streets are exceedingly dusty. Black Hawk is an incorporated city which runs into Central, another incorporated city. Both have eight thousand inhabitants, including Nevada. The mining enterprise keeps the country alive, but they say business is very dull now in the mining region. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 4

Mr. Walling took us up, up, up the mountains. We feared sometimes that we should never reach the top. We had a commanding view of the country. We could look down upon Black Hawk and Central, and see all there was of both cities. It looked fearful [it was] so high, and below was a fearful precipice of rocks. If the horses had stepped over to one side we should have fallen hundreds of feet. We had a commanding view of the mountains. They were on every side of us. We could distinctly see the high mountains covered with large patches of snow. These banks of snow are estimated to be from fifteen to fifty feet deep. Some of them are perpetual. Frequently the air coming from these snow banks was so chilly, although the sun was shining very warm in the valley, we were obliged to put on extra garments in the mountains. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 5

Black Hawk and Central are a rough, seamed, scarred country. Heaps of rocks and dirt that have been cast out from the mining mills and from which the precious ore has been taken, were lying everywhere. We went into one of these, called stamp mills, in Nevada, and saw the machinery at work to separate the ore from the rubbish. It was quite a tedious process, and it was very interesting to see the workings of the machinery. We obtained some fine specimens of quartz. The view upon the top of the mountain was most interesting, but words cannot present the picture before your mind in its reality. The mountain scenery of Colorado can never be described so that the imagination can gather distinct and correct ideas of this country. It is wonderful! It is marvelous! The scenery of the grand old mountains, some bald and others covered with trees! Instinctively the mind is awed and deep feelings of reverence bow the soul in humiliation as the imagination gathers a sense of the power of the Infinite. I would not be deprived of the privilege of seeing what I have of the mountain scenery of Colorado for considerable. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 6

Willie has been writing some. I cannot write very lengthily because all my moments when I can write are occupied in preparing matter for publication. One matter is in reference to our school. The second is in regard to the Institute. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 7

We are highly gratified to hear that you are prosperous in the Lord, Edson and Emma. We hope you will ever make the kingdom of God and His righteousness your first consideration. Then God will be to you a present help in every time of need. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” [James 4:8.] I hope the backslidings of others will not discourage either of you, but that you will both live up to the light and walk in the light as Christ is in the light, lest darkness come upon you. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 8

I walked miles yesterday up the steep mountains and I did not get to rest until past eleven o’clock. But this morning I am up at five, bright and active. This trip among the mountains is doing much for my health. None of you were aware of my miserable state of health. I knew it would not make home better to complain when I left Battle Creek. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 9

Father is better, we are sure; but he has times of shortness of breath and faintness or giddiness. He is careful of his diet. One drawback here in Colorado is that there is no fruit in this country, only that which is imported. This is seldom fresh, and sells at very high prices. The pure air and freedom from care are advantages we gain. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 10

Mr. Walling is very earnest that we should go with him across the Snowy Mountain Range to what is called the Park, on the other side of the Snowy Range. There are ponds from which trout are taken and these we should enjoy to live upon. We should have to ride on ponies over the mountains. Our provisions for three or four weeks would be taken in a wagon. All of us would have to ride on the ponies over the mountains while two horses would draw the provisions and blankets for lodging. When there, over the mountains, we are away from all settlements and must carry everything along that we need. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 11

Willie is perfectly enchanted with the idea, but we fear some it may be too hard for your Father. Again, would the Lord be pleased for us to spend our time thus? These questions we carefully and prayerfully consider. If we do not go over the mountains tomorrow, we shall go through the mountains to Denver and next week be on our way to California. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 12

Be sure, my children, to keep your souls free in the Lord, and then He will lead you. The meek will He guide in judgment; the meek will He teach His way. 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 13

Your father is perfectly cheerful and happy. We had precious seasons of prayer before God in the groves and mountains in behalf of ourselves and you and the cause and work of God at Battle Creek. We are glad to hear from you. Write often. In much love to you, dear children, 2LtMs, Lt 12, 1872, par. 14