IICAPTAIN JAMES BROWN'S JOURNAL, PAPERS, AND LETTERS
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Orson Pratt Brown's Father
Captain James Brown's
Camp of Israel, Salt Lake Valley, August 6, A.D. 1847
My dear Abigail:
It is with pleasure I sit down this morning and address you a few lines to let you know where I am, and what my engagements are, and also to let you know that I have not forgotten you and your family.
I also wish to give you some instruction in relation to your movements, and in relation to your family. I would keep them all together, as much as you can, so that you can control the whole matter yourself, until I can see you, which I hope will be soon.
I received a letter from my daughter, Nancy, and one from Sarah, they calculated on coming this summer in Israel Birche’s company. I am looking for them every day. Brother Kimball says he thinks they will be along this summer. He says that Sister Brown’s health is poor, yet she may recover so as to come this season. I hope she will come. If she does not, I want her to come with you. I sent the teams to you, not knowing but what Esther was on her way. If Nancy and Sarah use all the teams and wagons they have to bring them I want Esther to have room in one of the wagons I sent you. I want her to be made comfortable and to come with you. I hope she will be spared until I see her again. I want you to see her and to comfort her drooping spirit, for she has surely been afflicted since I left her. I shall write to her on this subject, not knowing whether she is coming or not.
My dear Abigail, the time seems long, when I look back, since I last saw you. You may think I have forgotten you, but never, the ties and covenants that bind and united us together are stronger than death and the powers of Satan. I hope I shall ever feel that affection for you and your father that will enable me to do all I can for you and them, but by the help of my Heavenly Father and my brethren, I hope to carry out the principles of salvation and exaltation in all things. My being called into the Army of the United States is no reason why I should cease to serve the Lord. I hope I shall ever remember my covenants and live up to them.
I arrived here with my command on the 28th day of July, one week after the twelve. I was also on their heels and had communication with them from time to time after we got to Fort Johns. I have quartered my company in this beautiful valley, where there is salt water and Sweet water,cold and hot water, in abundance and it looks very much like the one the Lord speaks of in Scripture, where the Lord’s people was to [be] built in the tops of the mountains and I hope I shall see you together with the rest of our friends flowing to it."
I should have returned this fall with the Twelve if I had been counselled to assist you on your journey to this place. I am counseled to take eight men and report myself at San Francisco Bay, on the Pacific Ocean, and meet the Battalion that is near that post. It is eleven hundred miles from this place. I want to return to Salt Lake this fall or in early spring. Brother Brannon, from near the Bay, is here and is going to pilot me; then my business will be to get a discharge for my men and draw their pay and transact other business of importance for the good of the Church.
I shall omit saying anything about my sufferings since I enlisted in the army of the United States. Those things will do to talk about and think about, when we have nothing else to employ our minds. Read this to my brother Daniel, and my sisters, and that will save me from writing to them. Give Moroni a sweet kiss for me, and save the rest for me when we meet. I haven’t heard anything special from Brother Bunker or A. Stephens since they left Santa Fe, only they arrived safe at the and all was well in February last.
There the letter ends. The last page may have been lost. A copy of this letter was given to Belva Rawson Moyle on September 25, 2001 by Shirley Farley of Willard, Utah. In the L.D.S. archives these comments are in the margin of the letter: Andrew Jenson "copied from the original in possession of M.A. Abbott, Richfield, Utah/Co, Utah, June 16, 1907." The original copy is reported to be in the possession of Abigail's grandson, Myron Alma Abbott who died 29 Aug. 1932. In this letter, James mentions that he had heard from both his daughter Nancy and from his wife, Sarah. Both of them wrote saying "they planned on coming to the Salt Lake Valley as soon as James could provide them with wagons and teams." The letter mentions that Heber C. Kimball had been in contact with the Brown families and he reported that Sarah's health was poor and he hoped she would recover enough to come this season. James was also concerned about his other wife, Esther. In Abigails's history it states that James sent the necessary wagons. Sarah and children came in the Brigham Young Company leaving June 1, 1848 and arriving in the Valley on Sep 20-24, 1848.
On August 8, 1847, Captain James Brown, having been given Power of Attorney to collect the Sick Detachment money from Paymaster Rich, he started for California. There were nine men in the company: Captain James Brown, Sam Brannan, who had come East to persuade President Young to settle in California, as guide, Gilbert Hunt, John Fowler, Abner Blackburn, William Gribble [Criddle], Lysander Woodworth, Henry Frauls and Jesse S. Brown, [CJB's son.] When he left the pioneer camp Brigham Young gave Captain Brown a letter to take to Captain Jefferson Hunt, Captain of Company "A", and the members of the Battalion who had marched on to California. Excerpts of this letter follow:
|Valley of the Great Salt Lake,
August 7 , 1847
To Captain, officers and soldiers of the Mormon Battalion.
"As Captain Brown and escort is about to leave this place for headquarters in California, we improve the opportunity of saying to you, that hitherto the Lord God of Israel blessed us and brought us to a goodly land, where we design to build a house unto Him.
"Therefore, when you receive this and learn of this location, it will be wisdom for you all, if you have got your discharge, as we suppose, to come directly to this place, where you will learn particularly who is here and who is not.
"We are making every exertion to prepare for the families that we expect immediately here. Will spend but little time in writing to you now as Captain Brown can tell you a great deal more than can be written......."
Young then urged them to bring camp equipment, horses and provisions with them, as they would need it..
Captain James Brown was called to complete his mission in the eastern States and from there he was called to be Emigration Agent for the Church. It was while he was on this mission that he had cholera. He was so ill that his friends gave him up for dead. Through his faithfulness he was healed [and able to carry on with his duties.]
He tells about his appointment as Emigration Agent in a letter to his son, James. [part of which is given below:]
New Orleans, February 22 , 1854
I take this course to write you all in one letter to save time and labor, as I am very busy. You, no doubt, will be surprised to hear that I am in New Orleans, but no more than I was when I received orders to come here, but ever feeling willing to be subject to the powers that be ordained of God, I am here on the Lord’s business, for whom I’m an agent. I was making preparations to start to Kainsville on my way home when I received a letter from Bro. Orson Pratt informing me of an appointment he had made for me to come this place as agent for the Saints expected here from Liverpool, to charter boats, buy provisions, etc. and forward them to St. Louis.
When I received the appointment I felt like Jonah, but acted like old Bro. Paul conferred not with flesh and blood but changed my course and purpose, left Alguma, Indiana, Fayette Co., on Monday the 4th day of February for this place. Landed here in good health. Had a pleasant voyage, good officers, South American Steamer, "Greenleaf", Master, William Clark.
Saturday, the 18th , went ashore, examined 48 ships from Liverpool and found out that there had not any of the Saints had arrived from Liverpool. I hired my board and lodging for $6.00 per week. I have a good comfortable room to myself. My room is on the fifth story of a very large house, as you may know my being so high that I am near to heaven as the best of them.
On Sunday, the 19th, the ship Jesse Munn, with John Duke Captain, landed. She had on board 320  Latter-day Saints on their way to Zion, 20 Germans and 300 others from Denmark and Norway. There are only three or four who speak English and they understand very little better. Leader’s name is Christian Larson. When I went aboard the ship on Monday and introduced myself to their leader and he introduced me to the company, it was truly interesting to hear them, in their broken language, exclaim, "Our brother has come from the land of Zion to help us." With their hands raised to heaven my heart was overflowing and I blessed them in the name of the Lord. Laid my hands on the sick and felt to rejoice that I was where I could do good for the people of God. I feel to pray all the time for the Saints of God, especially for those who are journeying by land and by sea to Zion, for they have many perils so pass through, and I never forget you, my family, that lie so near my heart. Live near the Lord that your prayers may be heard and pray for me that I may be helped in all my labors and live to return home in peace, for there is nothing but the power of God to sustain me in this land of wickedness and death.
Do the best you can. Raise good crops, plenty of pigs and chickens. Make some good cheese and have them mellowing. Spin up all the wool you can and have it on hand. I will try to bring the cotton yarn and dye stuffs, for I shall no doubt want a suit of clothes made when I get home and no money to buy more.
James, I want you and the boys to do as I told you in my last letter and get up plenty of hay and wood. Save all the straw your neighbors have to spare.
Give Bro. Birch my best respects and tell him to make me all the lumber he can and let it be drying. Flooring, I want joists for the house I have commenced. Tell Bro. Birch if Bro. Farr can’t have them got out for me as I wrote him on the subject I want. He should have them got out for me and he shall have the pay when I come home. If he takes it he will drive it through.
My hand is heavy and I am in perspiration, therefore, I will draw my letter to a close asking my Father in Heaven to bless you and save you from all sinning against Him while you live and exalt you in the Kingdom for Christ’s sake. Amen.
To All my Family, etc.
P.S. I have not forgotten your names, but have not inserted them for want of room. J.B.
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phebe Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown > Descendants
Photos and information from
Additions, bold, [bracketed], some photos, etc., added by Lucy Brown Archer
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org