Letter from Don Carlos and Agnes Coolbrith Smith, 11 April 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

April 11th 1839
, after reading a line from you to myself, and one to which awakens all the feelings of tenderness and brotherly affection that one heart is capable of containing, I sit down in haste to answer it; My health and that of my family is tolerable good, and have been very sick but are getting better. Your family are in better health now than at any other period since your confinement: Mary [Fielding Smith] is getting tolerable good health, she is doing the best she can for the good and enjoyment of the children; the family are all together and seem to be contented. Lovina is a good girl and has quite a motherly care for the children, and takes considerable interest in the welfare of her mother. As respects you[r] fears concerning Mary, you may put them to rest: I believe that she is your friend, and desires to promote your happiness; I have no fault to find with Mary, for she has had a long fit of sickness, and where there has been a lack of wisdom, had she been well and had her own way, there would in all probability been no call for the observations that I made in my letter to you. I think it will be wisdom for to remain where she is at present. The course that we have pursued I think has proved advantageous to her. I am in hopes that my letter did not increase your trouble, for I know that your affliction is too great for human nature to bear, and if I did not know that there was a God in Heaven, and that his promises are sure and faithful, and that he is your friend in the midst of all your trouble, I would fly to your relief and either be with you in prison, or see you breathe free air, air too that had not been inhaled by and corrupted by a pack of ruffians who trample upon virtue and innocence with impunity and are not even satisfied with the property and blood of the , but must exult over the dead. You both have my prayers, my influence, and warmest feelings with a fixed determination if it should so be, that you should be destroyed, to avenge your blood four fold. Joseph must excuse me for not writing to him at this time Give my love to all the prisoners, write to me as often as you can, and do not be worried about your families; Your’s in affliction as well as in peace.
[p. 39]
Beloved Brethren and Joseph, by the permit of my I write a line to show that I have not forgotten you, neither do I forget you for my prayer is to my Heavenly Father for your deliverance; It seems as though the Lord was slow to hear the prayers of the Saints, but the Lord’s ways, are not like our ways, therefore he can do better than ourselves; you must be comforted Bro & J. and look forward for better days; your little ones are as playful as little lambs, be comforted concerning them, for they are not cast down as and sorrowful as we are; their sorrows are but momentary, and ours continual. May the Lord bless, protect, and deliver you from all your enemies, and restore you to the bosom of your families, is the prayer of .
, Mo. [p. 40]


  1. 1

    Soon after arriving in Illinois, Lucy Mack Smith and her daughter Lucy fell ill with “a very severe case of Cholera.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 17, [2].)  

  2. 2

    After being essentially bedridden for “4 or 5 months,” Mary Fielding Smith wrote to her husband on 11 April 1839—the same date as the featured letter—noting that her health was rapidly improving. (Mary Fielding Smith, [Quincy, IL], to Hyrum Smith, 11 Apr. 1839, Mary Fielding Smith, Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Mary Fielding. Collection, ca. 1832–1848. CHL. MS 2779.

  3. 3

    Lovina, the oldest daughter of Hyrum and Jerusha Barden Smith, was born on 16 September 1827. (Hyrum Smith Family Bible.)  

    Hyrum Smith Family Bible, 1834. In Hyrum Smith, Papers, ca. 1832–1844. BYU.

  4. 4

    On 19 March 1839, when church member David Rogers brought the prisoners letters from family and friends, Hyrum Smith was distraught that there was nothing from his wife, Mary Fielding Smith. The next day, he wrote to Mary: “If you have forsaken me you could also send me word then I should know what to depend upon.” (Hyrum Smith, Liberty, MO, to Mary Fielding Smith, [Quincy, IL], 20 Mar. 1839, Mary Fielding Smith, Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Mary Fielding. Collection, ca. 1832–1848. CHL. MS 2779.

  5. 5

    In his 6 March 1839 letter to Hyrum Smith and JS, Don Carlos Smith expressed his opinion about either Mary Fielding Smith or Mercy Fielding Thompson: “The family would do better without her than with her; which I am confident you will regulate when you come. One reason for so saying, is that I do not think that she is a suitable person to govern the family.” Don Carlos’s language is too vague to determine with certainty which woman he was referring to. (Letter from Don Carlos Smith and William Smith, 6 Mar. 1839; see also Esplin, “Hyrum Smith,” 122–163.)  

    Esplin, Ronald K. “Hyrum Smith.” In United by Faith: The Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family, edited by Kyle R. Walker, 122–163. American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2006.

  6. 6

    As of 11 April 1839, Mercy Fielding Thompson, Robert B. Thompson, and their daughter, Mary Jane, lived “in a small House in Quincy” with Mary Fielding Smith; her five-month-old son, Joseph F. Smith; and her five stepchildren, who had evidently relocated from their grandparents’ residence. (Mary Fielding Smith, [Quincy, IL], to Hyrum Smith, 11 Apr. 1839, Mary Fielding Smith, Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Mary Fielding. Collection, ca. 1832–1848. CHL. MS 2779.

  7. 7

    See Psalm 138:7.  

  8. 8

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 180, 199 [Mosiah 11:24; 21:15].  

  9. 9

    See Isaiah 55:8–9.