[E. T. Benson to Editor, 16 Dec. 1854, report of missionary trip to Utah Valley, Deseret News, 28 Dec. 1854]
Of Elder E. T. Benson’s Missionary trip south to Springville and the intermediate settlements.
G. S. L. City, Dec. 16, 1854.
Presuming it may interest your readers, I give a brief account of my late visit south as far as Hobble creek.
I left home Nov. 30th, and traveled to Drapersville on Willow creek, where I preached in the evening on the necessity of building up God’s kingdom on the earth; that it would be done on natural principles, and that a great deal of manual labor is to be performed; on tithing &c. There are thirty-one families there, scatteringly situated, and partly forted in with an adobie wall one foot thick, and eight feet high. Their wheat crop is good. Bishop William Draper presides.
Friday, Dec. 1st.—I left Drapersville about 9 o’clock, a.m., and passed over the cross range by the upper trail. The ascent is very steep, the descent more gradual, but at the best, according to my judgment, it will be somewhat difficult to haul loading from Mountainville to this city by this route. I arrived at Mountainville about noon, put up at Bishop Isaac Houston’s; preached in the evening to an attentive congregation on the necessity of forting[**?]; on tithing, &c. There are twenty-five families at this place, with their houses built around a square of thirty-three rods on a side, and a wall between the houses seven or eight feet high. They are now making preparations to put up a good wall fourteen feet high according to Prest. Young’s counsel. They have a good school, and their crops were good.
Saturday, 2nd.—I went from Mountainville to Pleasant Grove; held a meeting in the evening; preached salvation, and the saints rejoiced. Bishop Henson Walker presides. The wall at this place is now from three to four feet high, and is built with rock.
Sunday, 3rd.—I left Pleasant Grove early in the morning. Bishop Walker accompanied me to Provo city; held a meeting in the Seminary and spoke on order being the first law of heaven; on schools; tithing; &c.; and counseled the people to see to the comfort and welfare of that portion of br. Geo. A. Smith’s family which resided among them.
We left Provo after meeting, and went to Springville; preached in the evening to a crowded congregation on the necessity of walled cities, and of forts for the saints to dwell in safely, and the brethren felt first rate. Their wall is going on rapidly, under the superintendence of br. William Miller, and is as good as any I have seen in the Territory.
Monday, 4th.—We left Springville about 10 o’clock a.m., took dinner with Elder Redfield at Provo, and arrived in Lake city rather late to have a meeting. However, Bishop L. E. Harrington thought best to have one, notified the people, but there being a dance among the younger class, the house was not crowded. Br. Walker returned home from Lake city, having borne faithful testimony in all meetings in which he was with me, and exhorted the saints to work righteousness; he is a good man.
Tuesday, 5th.—I went to Lehi, and Bishop David Evans not being at home, I called on his first counselor, br. Lorenzo Hatch, to accompany me to Cedar valley; he got br. Skeen to go with us. We arrived there in time to have a meeting in the evening. The brethren feel well, and appear to enjoy union and peace. They still live in their Picket Fort and have not done much work on their fort wall since Prest. Young was there last June. They are building a school room in the new fort.
Wednesday, 6th.—I returned to Lehi, held a meeting in the evening, had a crowded house and good meeting. The brethren felt here, as they did in other places, that the ‘laborer is worthy of his hire,’ and gave me some wheat, corn, potatoes, and money, and I feel to bless them for it; and I ask my heavenly Father to bless them.
The saints generally are awakened to paying their tithing, and building their fortifications. Many good tithing houses and dwellings are built to beautify Zion, and make our settlements desirable, useful and comfortable. Six hundred bushels of tithing wheat have been brought from Springville at one time, and the Bishop estimated there will be from twelve to fifteen hundred bushels of tithing grain sent to the General Tithing Office from that place this winter.
My text in Pleasant Grove was tithing hay, and in a few days the brethren responded to the call by sending fifteen loads to this city. It is to be hoped the saints in other places will forward their tithing hay, grain, &c., as speedily as possible, while the weather is pleasant, and the roads good, that those public works in which we are all concerned may be constantly and rapidly urged forward to completion.
E. T. Benson.