[Millennial Star, 30:12:188–89, 21 Mar. 1868]
Salt Lake City, Feb. 16, 1868.
President Franklin D. Richards.
Dear Brother,—I feel as though a words from me would not be unacceptable to you, therefore I sit down to pen you a few items concerning our mountain home, and the feeling of the Saints in Zion.
The Legislature is still in Session, but will close on the 21st inst. We have not had much business to do; our labor has been much abridged in consequence of the law passed by Congress prohibiting Territories from granting private charters.
On Friday, Feb. 7, 1868, President Young, accompanied by Elders Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, E. F. Sheets, Joseph F. Smith, A. O. Smoot and others, started for Provo. A great change has taken place in the administration of that locality. Brother A. O. Smoot is elected mayor of Provo, and presiding Bishop of the whole county; Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, George Bywater, A. F. McDonald, and Daniel W. Cluff, City Councillors; E. F. Sheets, Wm. Miller, and Myron Tanner, Alderman. They report the spirit of the people in that region as very good.
Last week, in company with Bishops Maughan and Rowberry, I visited Tooele and Grantsville. We had an excellent time there.
It will no doubt be a source of great joy to the Saints in Europe, to hear that the Saints in Zion feel liberal in donating for the emigration of the poor. Cache Valley manifests a good feeling in that direction, aas do also other places where I have visited. The missionaries in Cache Valley have done well, and have been blessed in their labors among the people who, in the place of spending so much time in dancing, are occupying their minds in studying, and posting themselves in literature, in religious principles, and various branches of education.
I have enjoyed myself exceedingly this winter in visiting the Wards and preaching to the people, also in attending the School of the Prophets. Much valuable instruction has been given there by President Young and others, which strengthens our spirits and fortifies our minds.
Times are very dull at present as regards money; goods are very low for cash, but a reaction is expected very soon, and those who have stored their grain will reap the b enefit of the high prices of produce.
An individual of questionable character, a short time ago, seduced the daughter of one of our brethren, named Hughes. Brother Hughes hearing that all was not right, came to town, and put the seducer in the hands of the city police. Next day the trial came on, and brother Hughes’s daughter testified to the deduction, stating all particulars. This grieved the father, who walked up to the seducer and shot him through the breast, not, however, fatally, as he still lives, although very low, and hardly expected to recover. This shows the fate of the transgressor, and should be a warning to those who come here with evil in their hearts.
Governor Durkee seems willing to sign the laws that we make, and is very kind and sociable. The Star comes regularly, and is very interesting. The families of the missionaries are all well, as far as I know.
I should judge from the signs of the times, and the spirit that rests upon our leaders, that great events are near at hand.
The great Union Pacific Railroad will, it is expected, reach Green River next summer or fall. Where it will come into this valley is not yet known to us, yet it is decided in the minds of the people that it will either come by Weber kanyon or Bear river.
There is very little snow left on the ground, but the weather is still very cold.
I have had the privilege of visiting at your house; your wife Jane is as amiable and interesting as ever, and thinks as much of her husband and family as ever. Your son Franklin is very kind and courteous, and your daughter Josephine has grown up to be a fine figure, and in her manner worthy of imitation.
Please give my kind love to brothers Preston and Penrose, and all the brethren with you.
The brethren of the Twelve here, and many of the hon. members, wish to be kindly remembered to brother Franklin.
Praying for the prosperity of the Mission over which you preside, I remain your brother in the Gospel,
E. T. Benson.