Friday, November 21, 2008

Letters Home from Harriet Atwood SILVER DUNN

From Lee Library Home Page, Brigham
Young University:

Harriet Silver Dunn, 1818-1857 and Simeon Adams Dunn, 1803-1883

Letters of Harriet and Simeon Dunn, 20 April 1844, Nauvoo; 21 June 1846, Camp of Israel; 8 October 1848, Salt Lake Valley.

In the absence of diaries, these letters provide snapshots of the three phases of the Mormon movement west. The first is from Nauvoo, the second from Winter Quarters, and the third written after the arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.

Simeon Adams Dunn [1803-1883] was born in Groveland, New York on August 7, 1803. He eventually moved to Michigan, marrying his first wife Adaline Rawson in 1828. His brother James came as a Mormon missionary to his home in 1838; Simeon was baptized in April 1839. He moved to Nauvoo in 1840 with his wife and three children. He served several missions for the Church during the Nauvoo period. While in Nauvoo Simeon served as a policeman, helped in the construction of the Nauvoo Temple, and received his endowments in December 1845. His first wife died during this period. In 1845 he married Margaret Snyder, with whom he had two additional children. She died shortly after the birth of their second child. He married again, to Jane Caldwell, but the marriage was of a short duration.

When he left Nauvoo on 18 May 1846, he traveled with his four young daughters. He also served as a policeman in Winter Quarters. It was there that he met and married Harriet Atwood Silver on 3 January 1847. This new family left Winter Quarters on 16 May 1848 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 28 September 1848. He served another mission, this time to the South Sea Isles, from 1850 to 1852. Following his return home, they made their home in Brigham City, Utah, and they were the parents of six additional children, including two sets of twins. Harriet died in childbirth in December 1857. Unfortunately, we lack the detail for Harriet's life that we have for Simeon.

The first item displayed is Harriet's 20 April 1844 letter to her parents in Bloomfield, Vermont. It conveys her deep faith in the religion she has accepted, and asks that her parents understand her choice.

The second item is her letter to her parents, dated Camp of Israel, 21 June 1846. It reaffirms her faith and choices.

The third item, also to her parents, but signed by both Harriet and Simeon, is dated the Salt Lake Valley, 8 October 1848. It contains a summary of their pioneering trek to the Great Basin.

Letters of Harriet and Simeon Dunn, 20 April 1844, Nauvoo; 21 June 1846, Camp of Israel; 8 October 1848, Salt Lake Valley.


Nauvoo April 20 1844

Dear Farthr &;Mother

Your kind letter of March 27 was recd April 18 and it rejoiced me verry mutch in receiving the same in hearing from you &;that you wher [all well?] and as well situated as you stated you where as to reguards matters of local interest and at the same time in view of the feeling that you express about my leaving I have reasons to regrett on your Accounts and it is in view of the sorrow you seem to have in my leaving my ones happy home my kindred &;friends know more to see them again for ever it was a great trial for me sure to do but the matter I well considered before I left Cabbotvill but in view of the knowledge that I have concerning my [ ? ] will I was fore his sake constrained to sackrafice all Earthly things to do as he has Commanded and that is in the language of John to come out of [her?] my peopell that you be not partakers of [her?] sins &;ye receive not of her plauges. and oh Dear Farther &;Mother if you could but realise for a moment the destruction that the mighty God of Jacob is to pore out upon this nation and that [?] with in the course of a few more setting suns your [trouble?] would not be a bought your absent daughter but it would be in making all hastey preperation to come &;meet her [weither?]-- it should be in the peakes of the woods or on the shores of the Pacifict and in as mutch as this is probiley the last communication that you will receive from me fore the present and prehaps the last for ever And I want that you should remember what I say, and that is that this religion that I heave embraced is the religion of Heaven and that God is with this peopel [p. 2] and I know that sutch is the case and their is not enney thing under the Heavens but what I would be willing to pass through to [be] with this peopel. You seems to think that it is verry straing that Mrs Brook should of left her Husband in the way that she did and that and that sister King you mention but did you ever think what the savior said concerning sutch matters he said he that would not leave Farther &;Mother &;Sisters &;Brothers Wifes &;Husbands &c.;For my Name sake was not fit for the kingdom of Heaven and the same causes will produce the same affect in theis dayes as they did in thoes days in regeard to the case of Sister King it was not as you stated for she &;my self in connection with Sister Brook may come in company togeather and there was know Mormon Elder that run a way with enny of but with our own accord we left the land &;home that gave us birth for the purpos of being numbered among his peopel and to heave our naimes rote in the Lambs book of life and I as yet have now reason to be sorrey neither am I I would not your lack a gain to him for a world but the desir of my heart is to be on the march for my new home in the far distant West and if you was only a long with me and my Brothers &;Sisters I should feel happey and may God grant that you should be wise for yourselves that you may choose that better part that never can be taken from you and that is his spirit that will guid you into all truth &;show you things to come but that [dost ver?] you do not believe and that is what produces the difference between us but you shall ever heare my prayer &;best wishes and if we should not heare the privalidge of meeting again in this World may I conduct myself in sutch a wa that I shall be able to come up in the morn of the first resurrection and heave the power to make yours graves yeald its keeping and to heave [p 3 of letter] you come up in newness if life where we shall be parted know more for ever but to walk the golden streets of the new Jerusalem and while the iternal ages shall role away themselves a way to walk in the presents of God &;the Lamb and sing our loud hallayahs for Ever &;Ever Amen Amen ..................... in regeard to my journey to this place I can say it was truely a good one the tim pasd plesently a way we meet with know accidents what ever we was 15 dayes from the time we left home till we arrived hear I shall start in Company of abought 5000 the first of May a part of the Saints started in March and are on their journey, with spirits as boyant as air, you can rite to me as often as you choose their will be a line of Communication keep opend from this place to our Br in the west for a year or more to come and theier will be thoes [who?] will be emigrating from Nauvoo to the West constantley all the time and if ennay of you want to come &;be with us you can come this way if you choose when you wright you will want to direct it to me as follows Harriet A Silver Isreal Camp Camp of Isreal and a sheet of paper around it and the outside one directed to Mr Almond W Babbitt Esp. [P M?] Nauvoo requesting him to forward the one to me the first opportunity and please pay the postage to this [place?] so he shall heave know troubl a bought it

I remain as Ever your Affectionat

Daughter Harriet A Silver

I received a letter from Adeline at the same time the onely time I have herd from her, but you must all [written on p 3] write often

Courtesy of the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University

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