Thursday, June 14, 2012
The following letter was among those in the Relief Society Jubilee box opened in
Provo in 1930, after
being closed since 1880. It is written by the late Alice Greenwood, and was
addressed to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
To My Grandchildren
March 27, 1881
A short history of Alice Houghton, wife of William Greenwood
Having the privilege of giving a few short items pertaining to my history to be read to my posterity in fifty years form now, I take great pleasure in so doing. Go donly knows what will then be the condition of my children’s children then suffice to say I will prophesy good concerning them for I do dedicate them to the Lord and to his great work on Earth. I will not go back much before I set sail from the shore of my native land only suffice to say I am the daughter of William Houghton and Alice Beardsworth, born May 8th, 1825 in Clayton, near Preston, Lancashire, England, and am only one of family of five sons and five daughters.
My mother died when I was young, only 8 years old. I left the shores of
company with my father and step-mother and brothers and sisters.
On the 12th of March, 1842, my father received the Gospel in England hence we came over to this land (America) with a company of Latter-Day Saints and landed in New Orleans the 25th day of April 1842, in the sailing vessel (Ship Hanover). We took passage on a steamboat and landed in Nauvoo the 15th day of May 1842.
I was married to my husband, May 30th, 1843 by Gentile Law. I was again married by the Celestial Law of Marriage February 6, 1846 in the
in Nauvoo. Soon after I was married the
first time I accompanied by husband to England going there on business to
his father’s house. We started on the 17th
day of June, 1843, from Davenport and landed off
the shores of Great Britain,
July 22, 1843. We stayed in England
until the 9th day of December, 1843, and that day set sail from
Liverpool in the ship “Rochester” and landed in New York, January 15, 1844, and
then traveled along slowly and while traveling down the Ohio River near
Cincinnati I gave birth to my son Joseph Robinson on the steamboat.
We journeyed up to
where my father and brothers and sisters lived and was there when the Prophet
Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred. We finally moved down the river to Nauvoo in
the fall of 1845 with the authorities of the church.
We traveled with the church through a new country- no roads, wet weather and exposed to the storms and wintered on the opposite side of the river to Winter Quarters. My husband took down soon after arriving at
Council Bluffs with the
chills and fever and I despaired of his living, but God spared his life. We
lived in an old log hut covered with clap boards and the house was lighted down
the chimney and my husband at death’s door apparently, but we got safe until
spring and made an effort to immigrate west where God should direct his
servants so we got ready and started.
We then had three small children: Joseph, Benjamin, and Margaret Ann and we could truly say not knowing where we were going but trusting in God who was our friend, knowing he was able to take care of us and bring us to a goodly land where we should be free from mob law and on the 12th of June, 1847, the companies started from the Horn River a few miles from the Missouri River and arrived in Salt Lake Valley October 28, 1847.
We had a pleasant time traveling until we arrived at
Laramie where we had out horses stolen by the
Indians and after that I had a hard time having three small children; the ponies stolen were my team to ride in
with my children. I have been in
pinching time in these mountains and can truly say I never felt to murmur
through them all for my Heavenly Father has given me strength in the midst of
On January 7, 1864, I gave my husband another wife, (Emma Julian Mercer) one of the wives of Brother John Mercer, deceased. Also March 22, 1869, I gave my husband to wife Bertha Eyring and trying all the time to go through the sacrifice to the best of my ability in my poor weak way. The names of my children are: Joseph, died in 1864,
Elizabeth, died an infant seven months,
Benjamin, Margaret Ann, Alice, William H., Samuel, Jacob, Alma, Rachel,
Jedediah M., Mary Ellen, Joshua and Ruth, making fourteen children and now I
bring this very short account of my life to a close.
I now desire to bear a faithful testimony to my Posterity that may come after me of the great work of God commenced in this my Generation and the mission of Joseph Smith the Prophet whom God sent and revealed the Gospel in its purity and that is the truth from heaven and I lived to see him in the flesh, and now the greatest desire of my soul is that my children and their children many remember the Lord their god and serve Him for He is God ever, the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph and Hyrum. I truly believe God brought us here to these mountains to serve Him and we were led here by Brigham Young who was Joseph’s legal successor and he was truly inspired of God. And now I pray that God may bless my Posterity and that they may grow up to be a great nation and serve the true and living god, and who shall read this may realize it to be a voice from those who have lived to see the commencement of this great work and the dead yet living and having the faith to come forth and have part in the first Resurrection with all the faithful in this last dispensation and that you my posterity may live so as to enjoy the same blessings, and meet you in a better and happier sphere of action among the sanctified and redeemed of all nations and generations.
And now I big you Adieu for the present