[E. T. Benson to Bro. Richards, G. S. L. City, 18 Nov. 1852, in Journal History, 17 Nov. 1852, p. 1 (from Deseret News, 27 Nov 1852)]
On the 2nd Inst., I left this City, in company with bro S. M. Blair, on a mission to Fillmore City and the intervening valleys and settlements of the Saints, to preach the Gospel and speak to the saints the peaceable things of the kingdom; and after an absence of 16 days, we have been permitted to return to the City, and found all well, and believing that you, in connection with your readers generally, would like to know how we found things, and of the prosperity of the Southern settlements; I thought to furnish you with the following items, taken from our journal.
We passed directly to Fillmore City, and then commenced to preach, with one exception, we preached at Provo City, on our way to Fillmore. We found the settlement at Fillmore in a thriving condition, its beautiful location is unsurpassed in the valleys of the mountains, the scenery picturesque, the crystal streams that it is situated on, lovely to behold; while the surrounding hills, vales and mountains lie beneath the green carpeting of the well known mountain grass, as green at this season of the year as the sage grass is in May; combined with the facilities of firewood, building materials, &c., and last, not least, the very best of soil for agricultural purposes, lying adjacent to the city plat, a good share of which has been put into cultivation by its citizens, the past season, and to their credit be it said, that they have the finest arrangements for irrigating their lands in their large and commodious sects, as well as the best cultivated fields and fence lands, we have examined in the valleys; and they now have Stacked in their stack yards some 8000 bushels unthrashed wheat besides Oats, Corn, &c., which is laid out on the plan of the face of a compass, each man having a front running to a point in the center, upon which a circle is struck sufficiently large for to set a machine to thrash their grain, and thus is every thing arranged and all that we have to regret, was that we found but 18 families who had acted on the counsel given them, and stopped or gone to that place.
We preached there on Sunday the 8th twice, and felt a good spirit prevailing, and the people rejoicing in the new and everlasting covenant, but very desirous to have an increase of their numbers, for they feel themselves rather in the minority, when compared with their red-faced brethren around them; and they need more help to carry out their improvements that they have on hand in Saw and Grist Mills, building, &c., and they sent their request by us through a vote, with uplifted hands to the Presidency, for more settlers, if it should meet their minds, with which we concurred and felt to bless the people in the name of the Lord and pray for their prosperity.
On the 9th we left for San Pete Valley, Manti, and at night reached the Sevier River, where we passed bro. T. B. Foot, building a bridge across the river and which to our great joy and satisfaction, on our return we found complete, and had the satisfaction of being the first to cross it after it was finished, and we pronounced it a good substantial bridge, and felt much credit was due bro. Foote.
On the 10th, we reached Manti City, and truly our hearts felt to rejoice, and felt to praise the Lord when we beheld what improvements our brethren had made, and how our Father had blessed the labor of their hands, fur truly, we exclaimed, the city of “Stacks” for all seemed to be the owner of stack yards, and we found the people in a prosperous condition.
We spent one day with the good people, and preached both evenings to a crowded house of Saints; and truly we were reminded of the day of Pentecost, for the Lord was surely with us and all felt to praise the Lord. We found the people had not only an abundance of grain, but also all kinds of vegetables, Pumpkins, Squash, &c., and for a sample I brought 2 fine heads of Cabbage home which were presented me by elder Billingsly; the citizens have erected a good Stone Fort in the city, 10 rods square, 8 or 10 feet high. A general spirit of improvements appears to be the order of the day. On the 11 inst., the first stone residence was finished belonging to President B. Young. We found only eight families of this Fall’s emigration in this lovely valley. What has become of the emigration of Utah?
On the 12th, we set out for Nephi, Juab Valley, and reached it about five o’clock p.m.; preached in the evening to the Saints and had a season of rejoicing, found 26 families of the Fall emigration at this point, and Nephi begins to extend her borders and assume quite a village appearance, and is truly situated in the heart of a valley capable of sustaining thousands. They are erecting a Grist mill, and a Saw mill is much needed.
Nov. 13th, left Nephi and dined at Clover Creek, at bro. Love’s, member elect for Juab. Clover Creek is a good place for some 25 families more to settle; in the evening reached at Payson, Peteetneet Creek, and preached to a crowed house, and much to our joy and their satisfaction. Payson is a beautiful settlement, as much so as any in Utah Valley. We found 22 families of the Fall emigration at that point.
Saturday reached the lovely site of Springville, where the busy *bus and *chalttering wheels of wagons and constant stir of men and boys, bespeaks that enterprising industry for which its citizens and presiding officers are characteristic. At 11 o’clock a. m., we preached at the house of President Aaron Johnson, a new building just erected. The Hall in which we preached is some 20 by 45 feet, were we found him and his worthy Councilors and his bro. Lorenzo Johnson, with a crowded house of Saints. We felt free and spoke as we felt, and all seemed to be in and to enjoy the Spirit of the New and Everlasting Covenant, and for which we felt truly to rejoice. At the earnest solicitation of our worthy brothers M. Miller and Johnson we stopped for the day, and in the evening we had the privilege of enjoying one of the most social parties, that it has been our lot to share in the valleys of the mountains, and about 8 o’clock p.m., a new impetus was given to our party by the arrival of bros. Erastus Snow, and F. D. Richards, bound for Iron County, and truly we left Springville and with it our blessings, and praying that Our Father might continue his blessings with the Saints at that place, as he has done in the days that are past.
15th, we reached Provo City agreeable to previous appointment, and preached at 11 o’clock a. m., and 2 p. m. and a more attentive congregation we have not met with in our mission, the house was crowded and it was said some 500 could not be seated in the house. Truly our hearts felt to rejoice and praise the Lord for the good measure of his Holy Spirit we enjoyed while addressing the Saints, for the Spirit seemed to run from heart to heart and all felt to rejoice and say thy will, and not mine be done. Of the City of Provo we can truly say a more industrious and enterprising people cannot be found, and Union and Peace seems to be their motto; for we enjoyed that Spirit in their midst while bros. Carter, Bird, and others shared with us, their kind and hospitable roots; may the Lord bless them and prepare them for his coming and glory is our prayer.
16th, we left for Dry Creek, Utah Valley, and preached to a large congregation of Saints, we found them in a prosperous condition and enjoying a good degree of the good Spirit, as was manifested on their attendance and many more we learn would have been out but we learned that some of the enterprising brethren had sought out a Valley, which they call Cedar Valley west of the Jordan River south of Tooele Valley, that abounds in fine land, timber, and grass, distance from G. S. L. City about 35 miles, and was absent making their improvements preparatory to moving their families; and we felt they are engaged in a good enterprise and with success.
17th, arrived at home and we thought to thus report ourselves and our mission to you and the Saints. Bro. Richards we omitted to say that bro. Tomkinson at Fillmore has in successful operation a Pottery and says he can make ware as good as Liverpool ware, from the material found there. Of the emigration, we think that one half of it has stopped in Utah Valley.
Yours truly in bonds of the New and Everlasting Covenant.
E. T. Benson
G. S. L. City, Nov. 18th, 1852.