Letter from Joel and Joseph Johnson, circa 13 May 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

For the Times & Seasons
Died at Hancock Co. Ill. May 5th 1842 Nancy Maria, Daughter of & Susan [Bryant] Johnson, aged 9, months & 13, days.
The Mothers Reflection
How can I begin to record
The Sorrow with which I am filled,
When called upon by the Lord
To part with my only dear child.
But when I a moment Reflect
I cease in my heart to complain
Gods right is to give, & to take
And Blessed; yea, Ble’st Be his name
I Know that my Babe is at Rest
Where nothing can trouble it mor[e]
Can Live & can Sing with the Bles’t.
Where pains and afflictions are Oer
Its actions are fresh in my mind,
While viewing the place it has left,
But still to Gods will feel Resigned
Altho of my darling Bereft
Which now is resigned <​consigned​> to the tomb
The hour that’s appointed for all
Then why should I mourn at its doom
Or weep for whom Jesus doth call.
I ne’er will so hard hearted be
Again for to wish it Back here
When now from all trouble tis free
Its Soul from all Blemish is Clear
And now from my mourning I’ll cease.
And try in the name of the Lord
In wisdom & faith to increase
& Live & abide by his word [p. [1]]
That when th[e] Blest Morn doth arrive
That we shall arise from th[e] Tomb
My darling I thee may Reciev
When parting shall no more be Know[n]
Died in , May 13 1842 after a lingering, & severe Illness, of two years Amos. P. son of & Julia [Hills] Johnson aged 13 years. He was a member of the , & firm believer in the gospel, and Evinced his dependence & his reliance in on the of the gospel, to the last. He was patient thro’ all his sufferings & fell asleep without a struggle or a groan.
Rest in Peace dearest Brother till Jesus shall come
At the sound of the trumpet come forth from the tomb
Yea come forth from the Tomb <​with gladness & hail​> the blest day
When thou wast released from thy body of clay [16 lines blank] [p. [2]]
[5 lines blank]Prest Smith if what is contained in this sheet meets this your approbation please publish Insert if not Insert <​Insert​> the deaths
As Ever Yours
J[oseph] E. Johnson [21 lines blank] [p. [3]]
Joseph Smith
Editors Times & Seasons
<​​> [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    Joel and Joseph Johnson had a sister named Nancy Maria Johnson Clark, who died in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. It appears that Joel and Susan Johnson named their daughter after this deceased sister. (Johnson, “A Life Review,” 2, 21; Vital Records of Grafton, Massachusetts, 185.)  

    Johnson, Benjamin Franklin. “A Life Review,” after 1893. Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, 1852–1911. CHL. MS 1289 box 1, fd. 1.

    Vital Records of Grafton, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. Worcester, MA: Franklin P. Rice, 1906.

  2. 2

    TEXT: In the original, the indenting varies from stanza to stanza. Here, indention is standardized.  

  3. 3

    See Job 1:21.  

  4. 4

    See Revelation 21:4.  

  5. 5

    In a 20 March 1842 discourse on death and resurrection, JS taught that “the Lord takes many away even in infancy that they may escape the envy of man.” He further counseled that “instead of mo[u]rning we have reason to rejoice, as they are deliverd from evil & we shall soon have them again.” (Discourse, 20 Mar. 1842.)  

  6. 6

    The fact that Amos died peacefully was a sign among nineteenth-century Christians of a “holy death” and evidence of his salvation. The phrase “without a struggle or a groan” was commonly used in nineteenth-century obituaries to describe what witnesses felt was a peaceful and therefore holy death. (See Brown, In Heaven as It Is on Earth, 26; and Faust, This Republic of Suffering, 6–18.)  

    Brown, Samuel M. In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

    Faust, Drew Gilpin. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. New York: Knopf, 2008.

  7. 7

    TEXT: Text written sideways on address panel.  

  8. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Willard Richards.