Monroe, Sevier County, Utah
February 26, 1891
Mr. Luther Vradenburg:
Beloved Cousin: I take pen in hand to inform you that your favor of 16th inst. came to hand yesterday which found us in very good health. And hope this will find you in good health and prosperity. I am pained in learning of the death of Cousin Bradly. Yet we are sent here upon the earth to perform our mission, and to fill up the measure of our creation. Then when we have performed the labors that we were sent to do, we will be invited back into the presence of our father that is in heaven and receive that welcome plaudit, Well done thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, enter into the Joys of thy Lord, I will make you ruler over many. This is the state of those who are faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord in all things. I do not know how to put words together sufficiently in thanking you for your kindness in answering my letter to you. I hope you will not think it too much of an imposition imposed upon you in me asking you to inform me when and where Uncle William Vredenburg, and Aunt Betsy and all your brothers and sisters were born. Likewise where and when died, where your wife was born and when. Likewise the name of your wife's parents and the names of the wives of all your brothers. I know the names of your sister's husbands. I believe Cousin Eliza's husband's name was Allison Laidley. Cousin Eunice's Geo.(Isaiah Lamphier. Cousin Sybel's-Alexander McCord. I am desirous of making the record as complete as possible. It has been about 54 years since I have seen any of your family excepting Cousin Adna and Alexander McCord who were both in the same Battalion with me in the Mexican War but not in the same Company. It seems almost like hearing from the departed spirits or one risen from the dead in hearing from you. You requested me to tell you about my brothers and sisters. To begin with will say that brother Thomas Ichabod Williams died in Saint Louis, Missouri in the winter of 1838. Perhaps you may remember the circumstance of his death. Brother John Con. Williams died in Montrose, Lee Co., Iowa in 1842. Daniel Robert died the same year in Montrose, Lee Co., Iowa. Mother died August 2nd, 1843 in Montrose, Lee Co., Iowa. Sister Elthea is living in Bloomer, Chippewa Co., Wisconsin. Sister Sarah Ann is living in Bloomer, Chippewa Co., Wisconsin. Elthea's name is Donnoley. Sarah Ann's husband's name is Isaiah Shipman. Sister Mary is living in Yuba City, Sutter Co., California. Brother Cornelius is living in California. His P.O. address is Yuba City, Sutter Co., California.
Sister Catherine Iverson is living in Pleasant Grove City, Utah Co., Utah. I can only give correct information in regard to Sister Catharine. She is living about 150 miles north from where I am living. She has two grown sons and one living daughter. Her sons have both been married, her oldest sone has now a family of a wife and two or three children, his name is Alma Nicolas Iverson. Her youngest sons name is Christopher Williams Iverson, his wife died about 2 years ago and he has not remarried. The daughter's name is Melicent Jacobina Iverson is about 20 years of age. I have not heard of her being married. I have not corresponded with Sister Mary Pugh in 34 years, nor with Cornelius in 16 years. It does seem that I am unworthy of correspondence from them because I do adhere to the principles of Mormonism. I do not know that we should harbor envious toward each other because of the difference of opinion either politically or religiously. But so it does seem. Well it does not matter to me whether a person thinks as I do or not, or views things as I do. I give everyone the same priviledges that I want to enjoy myself of serving Almighty God according to my own convictions. I have am satisfied with my religion. I know that it is of God. I have proven it to be the work of the Lord in which I am engaged. And I know that it will not pay for me to give up at this late hour. Although we are persecuted as a people by thos who are not of us. Well, supposing we are persecuted for the gospel sake. Were not the Saints of olden time also persecuted for the gospel sake. I have witnessed the blessings and gifts of the gospel made manifest in the church that was promised to the saints in the days of our Lord and Savior. Viz. The healing of the sick by the laying on of hands and the anointing with oil by the elders of the church. This is in compliance to the instructions of the Savior, when he commanded his disciples thus - If there be any that are sick amongst you let them call in the Elders of my church and let them anoint you with oil and lay their hands upon you, and pray over you, and you shall be healed. We believe that all men will receive their reward for the deeds done in the body. If our works have been for good, then will we receive our reward for good. If our works have been for evil, so will be our reward be for evil. God our heavenly father is of tender mercy and of long suffering and awards unto every man according to his deeds. Yet, God is just in all things. I do not know that you care to give attention to my religious views. But dear Cousin, I beg of you not to be offended for this intrusion. So I will change the subject and ask you if you can tell me the names of the children of Cousin William Vradenburg, when and where born, if any be dead, the names and when and where died, when and where Cousin William died and was born. What I would like for you to do is to give me that date of the birth of your father and mother. The name of your father's father and place of birth and date. And the maiden name of your father's mother, where born, When born, where and when died. And so down all through your family, Brothers and Sisters, their children, your date of birth and place of birth. Your children the same when and where born.. And if any are deat, at what age when died and where. This Cousin Luther I know is a task imposed upon you. And I hope you will excuse my eagerness. But as I preciously stated, I wish to make a journal or life history as complete as I possibly can, so that my children and your children or any of our relatives should meet, whether in our life time or after we leave this stage of being, they can readily trace up their relationship to each other, which would be very pleasant and agreeable to them. Our winter thus far has been very mild, with the exception of a few days. You speak of the LaGrippe and Pneumonia being the cause of Cousin Bradley's death. We had one of our boys taken with the Pneumonia. He was 8 months and, 14 days old, would have been 21 years old if alive now. We have 3 children living, 2 Boys and one girl. The name of our oldest is James Isaac Williams, Born April 15, 1867. 2nd son Christopher Peter Williams, born May 29, 1869, died Feb. 14, 1870. 3rd son, Moses Elias Williams, born Dec. 11, 1870. Daughter Ida Melicent Williams, born 3rd December, 1873. I was married to Miss Eda Peterson, in Richfield, Sevier Co., Utah, by Rev. James Wareham, July 8, 1866. Our oldest boy, James Isaac is in Nevada, and has been for nearly 2 years. He was been engaged in carrying the U.S. Mail by contract for a period of 15 months, after the term expired, he has engaged in sheepherding. The other children are at home with us. I was 61 years old 13, December last. My wife is 54, 8 day of last September.
Do you ever have any of our Elders visit your vicinity? If they do come to you as missionaries, please treat them with kindness do not turn them from your doors, for they are not generally supplied with purse and script but come as the humble servants of the, true and living God, presenting the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You must not look for them to be highly educated men, for they are some taken from their plows, some from their shops, others from their anvils, while others are again taken from their mills and in fact are all taken from their humble walks of life and that too without any previous preparation to go forth and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ warning the people of the Judgments that are to befall them wicked and the ungodly Lifting up the warning voice to all with whom they may come in contact to Repent or at least to Believe, then Repent, and be babtized for the remission of their sins and having hands laid upon them by thos having authority from Jesus Christ for the gift of the Holy Ghost and in as much as they do, comply with the foregoing requirements with good and honest hearts they will know for themselves and not for another, whether the work is of God or whether, it is of man. Dear Cousin, I hope that you will pardon this strain. I hope there is nothing that.I have written that will offend either yourself or anyone else. I do sincerely ask God to bless you in your advancing age, to comfort your, heart, and to giv you a joyful heart. And have hour heart and mine prepared for the reception of the pure principles of life and Salvation when it is presented to you by those haveing authority to minister in the gospel instead of listening to those who preach for hire and divine for money. Christ says the Gospel is free unto all men, and told his Apostles these words. Finally, I give ye this gospel, and I command you to freely give it freely, for I give it ye freely. I would be pleased to have your children to correspond with me and my children and open a correspondence between them and please request Cousin Bradley's family and in fact all of your relatives to do the same. It is now 20 minutes pas 5 o'clock PM. So I will bring this to a close, hoping to hear from you and yours soon. We all unite in sending our kindest love to you and all eriquiring friends and relatives.
I still remain your loving Cousin,
James V. Williams
Excuse Poor writing
Address James V. Williams
Sevier Co., Utah.
Note: He wrote in a small nice looking "hand". The ink is dimming now making it difficult to copy. The originals of these 2 letters now belong to Ione V. Nelson, Grandaughter of Cousin Luther to whome then were written. (Luther was our great uncle) Ione is Christian Scientist. She and Frank and Mary visit each other in Milwaukee. F. is now an ordained Nazarene Minister.
Note: This letter is an exact copy of the original typescript. The notes at the end are in the orginal.