Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 20a, 1879

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Johnson Ranch, Indian Nation

May 3, 1879

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 110, 112.

Dear Children, Willie and Mary:

When I wrote you last we were encamped two miles out of Denison, waiting for decrease of water to cross the ferry. After being held until April 30, we decided to take another ferry, making us some ten miles more travel. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 1

We have eight covered wagons beside our two-seated spring wagon. Our party is composed of twenty-one, taking in men, women, and children. We have three tents along, two cookstoves, one sheet iron camp stove. Our family is composed of eleven, including Elder Corliss and Dr. Hardin, a fine man of excellent spirit. He ought to be connected with our sanitarium. We enjoy his society. He is cheerful and refined. His company is a great acquisition to our party. Then there are Brother Bears and his daughter Nettie Cole who has been living with Brother McDearmon’s family; two boys from Kansas whom we provide with food and they take mutual interest in doing the work, driving team, and taking care of stock. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 2

We crossed Red River upon a poor ferry boat, managed by working the way with poles. Wednesday noon we were a happy party to have Red River between us and Texas. We spread our oil cloth on the ground, and all sat down to our low table and took refreshments. I was too much exhausted to enjoy the journey or the food. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 3

We camped on the open prairie. Before the tent was trenched, the beds were made on the ground and on the bedstead. When the storm struck us we were found unprepared, and in ten minutes there were several inches of water in the tent. We got up the two girls and placed bed and bedding on our own bedstead, and such a mess as we were in. After a time we decided, all four of us—Marian, Adelia Cole, Ette Bears, and myself—to sleep crossways on the bed and Father lodge with the doctor in the wagon, Corliss in our carriage. Thus we returned to rest. Next day all were sick with colds and bowel complaints. I was an exception, but was sick with weariness. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 4

The next night we lodged in the same way. I slept about one hour. We pressed on Friday and camped early on this spot, Johnson Ranch. We were prepared for the Sabbath, for we had ample time to buy eggs, butter, and milk for the Sabbath. I washed out thirteen towels while Marian prepared the food for Sabbath. This journey is doing her good. She is getting into domestic labor nicely. If we only had a cook we would do excellently. Marian does well, but I dare not rest the burden upon her because she is willing. If Mary White could be here to thrash around and cook and enjoy the journey, then I should enjoy it much better, but anxiety for Marian and fears that she is doing too much make me labor too hard, and in my worn state I feel every tax. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 5

I wish Mary would join us at Emporia; and if she cannot come, have someone come who can help us in the cooking line. Cannot Willie and Mary take the trip from Emporia with us? If not, I shall be obliged to leave the train. I cannot go farther weak-handed as we are. We ought not to have this care. I had rather attend twenty camp meetings with all their wear, knowing I was doing good to souls, than to be here traveling through the country. The scenery is beautiful, the changes and variety enjoyable; but I have so many fears that I am not in the line of my duty. Oh, when will this fearful perplexity end? I am getting rested some, but I still feel very tired. Today, Sabbath, I spoke one hour to our small congregation under the tent. I had special freedom in speaking from these words: “I am the Vine, my Father is the Husbandman,” etc. [John 15:1.] 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 6

We have to be very well armed in passing through the Indian territory. We have our wagons brought up in a circle, then our horses are placed within the circle. We have two men to watch. They are relieved every two hours. They carry their guns upon their shoulders. We have less fears from Indians than from white men who employ the Indians to make a stampede among the horses and mules and ponies. A messenger was sent forty miles on our sorrel pony to send a dispatch that we could not get to Emporia in season. The prayer over for the close of the Sabbath, our messenger rides into camp with letters, one from Willie, one from Elder Andrews, and one from Sister Wilbur. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 7

There are plenty of tarantulas here. The doctor has just bottled two immense fellows that look frightful. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 8

I do not think Eliza Burman [Burnham?] can take the place of Lucinda; anyway her very appearance is objectionable. She is a defiant person to get along with. She is capable, but oh, dear, I do not know what to do for help. My soul is sick and faint and discouraged. I tell you, Willie, I shall never, never consent to go to any place with Father alone again. It is the last time. I know not what is before me. God hangs a mist over my eyes. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 9

Dear children, may God bless you, is my prayer. Love to our children, Edith Donaldson, Addie, and May, and all dear friends. 3LtMs, Lt 20a, 1879, par. 10