1861 December 10 Letter to Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow, et al..


1861 December 10 Letter to Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow, et al..


Recommendations on choosing the location of the settlement near the Santa Clara and Rio Virgin. He asks the settlers to focus on growing cotton and sugar.




Brigham Young


Orson Pratt
Erastus Snow
Brethren in the Southern Mission


1861 December 10


Great Salt Lake City

Number of Pages



Missionary Work

Item sets

Great Salt Lake City, U. T.
December 10th, 1861.

Elders Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow,
and the Brethren of the Southern Mission,

Dear Brethren:-We avail ourselves of the present occasion to congratulate you upon the success which has thus far attended your efforts in outfitting and journeying to your field of labor, and we pray our heavenly father that the like success may crown all your endeavors to render Zion independent and self supporting.

The richness of the soil and the genial climate of Washington County, coupled with the united energies of three hundred effective laborers cannot fail to produce the most beneficial results to our Territory in a short time, in furnishing those articles which cannot be successfully produced in the more northern counties.

In selecting a location for a city there are a few requisites to which we desire to call your attention. First and most important is a good central position, that shall naturally form a point of attraction, and a local Head Quarters for all the settlements upon the Santa Clara, and Rio Virgin (upper and lower) such a locality we think may be found at or near the junction of those Rivers. Great care should al(so) be exercised in locating upon high ground with dry gravelly soil a good distance from the river bottoms, and consequently free from the unpleasant and unhealthy miasma usually arising from bottom land in warm climates. The next consideration will be accomplished by conducting water from springs many of which you will probably find at no great distance, and by the digging of wells, but no reference should be had to the procuring of water suffi cient for Mills or Manufacturing purposes, all such establishments should be located on the streams as convenient to the settlement as proper [the last sentence of this page has been cut off] procured you will next look around for building materials, good stone, and good timber, and when found, open practicable roads to them, so that they may be easy of access to all.

We wish to caution you against sleeping out upon your farms, which will necessarily located on the bottom lands and may be some distance from your houses, you had far better travel a little distance to sleep, than to expose your health by sleeping on those damp bottoms. If this and such other precautions as prudence may suggest are strictly followed you need entertain no fears of sickness, but the blessings of health life and peace will attend you in all your labors.

We repeat the suggestion that the Brethren undertake only take the cultivation of such small tracts of land as they are able to cultivate to advantage having in view first the culture of cotton as the most important staple adapted to that climate, and the one most needed by the people of Utah at the present time. New York Herald of the 16th ult quotes milling upland cotton at 24 1/2 cents per pound, the usual price for the same article in times of peace being about 8 cents.

While particularly calling your attention to the culture of cotton we do not wish you to loose sight of the other products suited to your climate; we need sugar and wisdom suggests that you should give such attention to the cultivation of sugar cane as will guarantee us a plentiful supply. The culture of the grape, the fig the olive, and other fruits peculiar to such climates are every way desirable, as affording us articles both of necessity and luxury of which we must be deprived unless supplied from our own resources. It is to your exertions then that we look forward for a supply of all those things, let it be your aim and object Brethren that Israel shall not be disappointed in this reasonable expectation.

Nothing of very great importance has transpired here since you left, we are blessed with a general time of health, we have had remarkable pleasant weather thus far which enables the brethren to cover in their unfinished buildings. The Theatre is progressing very rapidly, and we expect that if the weather continues favorable in other week it will be entirely covered in. The workmen are busily engaged cutting stone for the Temple, and the foundation is <being uncovered> ready for an early start in the spring.

The Legislature convened yesterday, to day the newly appointed Governor who arrived about three days ago personally delivered his message to the assembly. The Members of the Assembly contemplate having a party at the Social Hall on Christmas day, to which the Governor, Secretary and other Federal Officials are to be invited.

Bros Kimball and Wells who have been measurably confined to their houses for some little time back with sickness, are speedily recovering and are now able to be out attending to the duties of their respective callings.

Praying that health, peace and every other needful blessing may attend you.

As ever Yours in the Gospel,

Brigham Young