"WE WENT TO WORK AND FOUNDED AN EMPIRE" (MORMONS.) Woodruff, Wilford. Letter describing the Mormon settlement and development of Utah. Letter Signed to G. Rand. 2 pages, 10 x 7 3/4, plus integral blank; folds, short separations along center fold. (MRS) Salt Lake City, UT, 22 November 1877
Estimate $2,000 - 3,000
Wilford Woodruff, Sr. (1807-1898) joined the Latter Day Saints in 1833, became an Apostle in 1839, and then served as the president of the Church from 1889 until his death. In this letter, Woodruff gives a concise history of Mormon settlement in the west: "I arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on the 24th of July 1847, with President Brigham Young in my carriage. It was the first time either of us ever set eyes upon this land. We found it barren and desolate with no mark of the Anglo Saxon race. We went to work and founded an empire, as it were, on a belt of land . . . filled with cities, towns, villages, gardens, orchards, besides fields of crops. . . . Our temple will probably when finished cost two million dollars, and is the finest temple erected in America. . . . In fact Utah is filled up with splendid cities, buildings and improvements of every kind." with--a similar but shorter letter from Woodruff's fellow apostle Erastus Snow (1818-1888) to G. Rand: "I am in my sixtieth year, have been a pioneer in this city in 1847 and later in locating and organizing most of the towns and settlements in southern Utah and southeastern Nevada of which St. George is chief, where I shall be happy to welcome you if you ever visit this region." Salt Lake City, 27 December 1877. Provenance: both letters sold at a book fair by Robert Dalton Harris of aGatherin' to the consignor, circa 1980s.