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Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
"THE GREATEST AND MOST WORTHY OF OUR SETTLERS." (MORMONS.) Schuyler, Walter S. Letter describing the polygamous Mormon community in Franklin, Idaho. Autograph Letter Signed to mother. 9 pages on onion-skin paper, 11 x 9 inches, bound with circular punch fastener; first and final pages detached, mailing folds, minimal wear. Omaha, NE, 12 April 1878
This long letter by a military officer describes a trip from Omaha, Nebraska to Franklin, Idaho, just over the Utah line. The author, a Gentile, has kind words for Franklin's large Mormon community: "These people as an industrial community certainly deserve the highest commendation. They have made of a vast wilderness, a garden whose fruitfulness is unsurpassed by any section of our country, and I am satisfied that when in the near future the reprehensible features of their life and creed shall have naturally disappeared, they will be regarded as the greatest and most worthy of our settlers." He notes that polygamy is forbidden in Idaho: "They solve the difficulty by keeping their extra families in Utah, keeping one wife with them for a while, then exchanging her for one of the others. I saw one man who had several wives, and 35 or 36 children. . . . In one house in northern Utah, I was shown a house where lived a man with three wives and 27 children. The house was very small, and I could not imagine where all the family could be stowed away. All these Mormon villages overflow with children, and though barefooted & scantily clad, all seem to have plenty to eat, and are very healthy and strong." Schuyler also describes the Henry O. Harkness Ranch and the Rose Fork Indian Agency in Idaho, as well as his commander General George Crook: "The General, though ordinarily the most taciturn of men, occasionally blossoms out as a raconteur. . . . His experience in the northwest and California has been very extensive." He also records a witty comment by Crook's aide, the author John Gregory Bourke.