JOHN WOOTTON [WOOTON] (1811-1845) LETTERS Source: Letters of John Wootton, typescript, Newel K. Whitney Land and Records Office, Nauvoo, Illinois. John Wootton to George Hancock, Tunstall near Newcastle, Mill St., Staffordshire, England, September 1842. Tuesday, Liverpool, September 27. Dear Mother, Brother and Sister, I write these few lines to inform you that we are all in good health and in good spirits and have got a good berth in the vessel- about the middle of the ship. The ship's name is Henry and is one of the finest vessels in the docks and is expected to be first at New Orleans before the other two that have gone before. We expect to go out of Liverpool on Wednesday. We have got Brother Harvey on one side of the berth and Brother Groucote above them and Brother Richard Ralphs on the other side. My wife and children bed down in Bradshaw's cabin with Sister Walker and were very comfortable. Please tell Brother Cotton to recommend the saints to go by his boat for it is a very good one and he was very good to the saints. It is the cheapest way. It only lay us in four shillings and six pence each by chartering the boat with their luggage to Liverpool. Please tell Brother Cotton to recommend the saints for respectable accommodations for lodgers at Y---hoslope 5th, Regent St. near Clarence Dock, Liverpool. Good night, for it is time to go on board so no more from your we be loved with kind love to you all. John Wooton to Mr. George Hancock, near the Highgate Inn, Tunstall, Staffordshire, England. Nauvoo, State of Illinois, Sept, 1844 Dear Mother and Brothers and Sisters, We received your kind letter and was glad to hear that you were all well in health, as it leaves us at present, thank God for this blessing. John has been sick but is now better. Attewall is not so delicate as he was in England. He is a very fine boy and is in good health all the time we have been here. We were sorry to hear that our mother had been sick. We often wish that she was with with us. Elizabeth Corray tells her of me. I wrote from St. Louis in January with the account of our voyage up the river and our stay there. Please send us word whether you received it or not. We remained in St. Louis all winter and started for Nauvoo on the second of April and we were all day in going up through the ice coming down the river. The first continued from before Christmas till then when we were met by hundreds of our brethren, Joseph and the Elders with Chas. Stevenson and wife. They lived in a large home built with bricks. Then Chas. Sevenson went to live above the frame house, and we went above the Tom...selves. I commenced working in about two days on what is called the Nauvoo Brick Yard. I worked 6 days. Day work one... 4 shillings and 2 pence, then I commenced tile..per thousand and crisp 2 bits is one shilling. Quarter of a dollar per doz. channel brick ... same price dust bricks, 5 dollars per thousand…in Nauvoo that will take anything it .... good and burns red. There is plenty of it. I... see next spring there is a great call for tiles there..houses built in this city. There has been 11 hundred thousand made on the yard that I work on this summer before July 16th. I do not know how many brick yards there are in Nauvoo. I have bought a lot of land above the [Nauvoo] temple about half a mile and it is some of the best land in the city, I bet with the crop on it we get 44 dollars for it. Give our love to Joseph Beaford and wife and tell them we will send more news in the next letter. Give our love to James Stell and wife and to Gibson's family and Coughlours and Wm. Handley, John Lunt, Benjamin Frith and Fitchford Wm. Gibson, James Latham and wife, to Uncle and Aunt Barrow to Uncles and Aunts give my love to John Pitts and old man Cotton and George Cotton and wife. Tell George I wish he was here to make mules for Nauvoo is getting to be a fine place. Give our love to Ellen at Landon, to Thom Wootton and wife, Wm. Landwell and Isaac, to Wm. Ashall and wife, and to all our brethren in the Church. Please to let Brother Joseph Wootton of Buralam see this letter as I promised to write to him. Write by them that are, coming direct as you did before. We intend building a house on it this fall. We have got bricks and sand. We can get sand for nothing here. We are not getting the potatoes on the land. It is planted with corn and taters. Land is getting very high in the city. Some lots of land near the temple here are selling at 800 dollars a lot, that is an acre. Land out of the city is low at 5 dollars per acre and lower than that. You may have part wood land and part clover. Then you may have the wood to fence your land and to burn. There are many hundreds of acres taken in that are only ditch. I'm thinking of taking some in next summer for myself. You may have this land for nothing as it is what they call Prairie land. This land was given to the Lolgers at the time of the American War. All the people in the city may turn their cows on this land. Hundreds of cows are taken out each day out of the City. Boys take them every morning and bring them back at night, for 3 pence, per week. Each cow they have getting hundreds of tons of hay and bring it in for winter. Now we can walk along the streets in Nauvoo for 3 or 4 miles and all the way there is a house and a cow and an acre of land, but they begin to sell part of their lots as the people come in very fast from different parts of America. I think there will be no less than 1000 houses built this summer in this city. Glass is very low and they put many windows in their houses. Here we can get glass panes for 2 pence. Each timber is low and we can get a hundred feet for 1 dollar and a quarter. As many people that come in build themselves board houses and live in them in summer while they build themselves brick houses. Then they take the boards from their house. They can do well in these places as we have not much rain in this country. Please excuse me not writing before now as I am a poor writer and loath to begin the Sunday before the 4th of July. Great excitement took place in Nauvoo through Joseph Smith being taken prisoner. He was gone on a visit about 150 miles from Nauvoo when he was taken for treason for the old offence and he has been lawfully tried before time after time and acquitted. He was taken by two men who said they were Mormon Elders. When they got him in a room they drew out two pistols and said, "God damn you, if you speak a word we shoot you." They would not let him see anybody but said they would shoot him if he spoke. We'll shoot you in this way, They went on to tell the people of the place and they saw him used badly, so they said if he wanted a lawyer he should have one and told the men if they did not let him, they would pull them limb from limb as it is the law of America to have private conversation with a Lawyer if the prisoner has a mind to do so. Then the Lawyers said he should be tried at the first Justice's meeting held in Illinois, so it was at Nauvoo and they brought him to Nauvoo. Joseph Smith took the two men to his house and put them at the head of his table and fed them with the best he had, though they said as they left that as they came along the road Joseph opened his coat and told them many times for he was tired of such a life as he had had with them. On the 4th of July Joseph preached. Many people came to see the place from Quincy where the last plates were found this summer about 50 miles from Nauvoo. I am thankful to God that I came to this place to hear such a man as Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. They are men of God. We can learn more of [from] Joseph Smith in one sermon than we could learn in England in 50 years. We could not come to analyze the truth and we also wish to God there were many more Joe Smith's in Principle and Rightness. I believe both Joseph Smith and Hyrum to be prophets of God and I could give more testimony to the work if I had room. We were glad to hear that Elizabeth was going to London. We were glad to hear of your goodness towards us in coming back to England by yourself as we didn't want to come back but want you here for we have better prospects here. It is hard for people when they first come here for one or two years at first. This place is getting better every year. There is more money coming, We should be glad to have you as soon as we can. I have often thought of coming over to fetch our Mother here and I will as soon as I can come during the winter season. We will get out the blue tea pot which is broken and which you sent ub by somebody else. I have not given you the price of provisions but they are low. So no more from your affectionate son and daughter. Note: These two letters are not signed, but they were evidently written by John Wootton. (...apparently indicates section not legible when typed in the 1940's by Barbara Wootton Lewis. She edited some of the spelling at that time. Madelyn Wooton Larsen in typinq in 1975 is copying the letters as done by BWL, then. 1975 letters are with Lorraine Willis Jensen and said to be almost in shreds.) April 24, 1844, Nauvoo State, Ill., Bancock County Dear Mother, We take the opportunity of writing a few lines to you hoping they will find you in good health as it leaves us at present with the exception of my sister Ann who is a little sick. Her legs and feet swell at times. We were glad to hear that our mother had enjoyed good health last summer and she will this summer. You complain of us not writing sooner. Please to excuse us this time and we will oftener. We wrote in September and sent it by Post with the account ot Nauvoo in it, but have not received any answer from it at present. We thought we should this spring by Bradbary but have not. I give you the account of Nauvoo in it. Please read the Star or the letter in the Star Vol No.6. You will find my views in it about Nauvoo. We were sorry to hear that work was so bad with you. It was good with us last summer. I was making tiles and paving bricks all summer. We got the grate set up in it and coal to burn. Please tell Leeses to bring their grate with them. They will find it a great comfort to them here. Give our love to them. We have had [a] very pleasant, winter and brother Joseph Smith has preached in the open air in January, Feb. and March. These months have been so fine we have a fine spring. I have been on the prairie land to search for my cow. She strode off and the land is rich and good and hundreds of acres of wheat which looks well and very forward. The fruit trees have blossomed well. I have got eight peach trees on my land. I have sold a part of my land to Thomas and Richard Ralphs. I intend to get five or ten acres of land out on the prairie. We can get land on the other side of the river for nothing or that has been planted for very little. I was up in that territory about 25 miles in the winter. I went for a barrel of flour. I get it for 4 dollars as it was scarce in Nauvoo. It has been dear and corn meal scarce this winter. It has been hard for some to get along this winter but I have worked at different jobs and got along well. I have not commenced making tiles this spring. At present tiles are wanted. I expect to begin with John Snider that came over the sea with us near to my house which is about 3/4 of a mile from the temple. East Green Street. We have often talked about you when we have been sitting by our fireside at night and when we have gone to bed we have dreamed about you and our hearts have rejoiced when we have been telling you that we have embraced the truth we have received this winter is worth leaving our native land for our good neighbors and kind friends, oh dear mother, brothers and sisters, our uncles and aunts and our all. I often think of our parting when I could not weep with you, but the reason was, I rejoiced so in my soul to know that the heavens were once more open to the children of men and He wanted a house built to his name that he might make known His will to man on the earth once more before the dissolution of all things spoken by Daniel the Prophet. We received a letter from Joseph Basford in April 27th dated October 8th, with a letter in it, from Richard Speed. He wrote to me to inform me not to engage with anyone but him and me and we were to go in partnership together. I was sorry to hear of him being drowned at. New Orleans. I am informed that his wife gave our love to them. Please tell them that this country agrees with us very well. My wife has enjoyed better health than she did in England She and Attewell look as thought hey lived in a country place. I have often wished her mother could see her. She looks so well. John is a very fine boy and is not weaned yet. Tell them that must excuse me not writing to them as their letter did not come...the river till April and the man was about to start to England. Tell him that my faith in Joseph Smith is an good as it ever was. I believe him to be a Prophet. He is going to be put up, for the President of the United States. It is generally believed that he will be elected. They are sending 400 or 500 hundred to preach and canvas without purse or scrip. I was glad to hear that Elizabeth was going to live with her brother-in-law. Give our love to them. We should like to know what was the cause of ElIen's death. We were glad to hear that Harriett was a Latter Day Saint. Ann wishes she could express her joy to you when she received the news. We hope she will press forward in the work, we know it to be true work, We hope that the news we hear will be that our Mother and George will be Latter Day Saints. We were glad to hear that your minds were to come here. We will do all we can to get you here if you still wish to come. We do not think of building another house but to help you. We have only built a small house. Please send word where Wiliam and Isaac are. I wish they were here. Abal Shufflebotham has not come to Nauvoo yet nor Spencer Walker nor Ishnell Harvey. At the present time they art at Saint Louis. Whether they will come I do not know for many fall out by the wayside. Dear Mother, Ann wishes to send her your prayer. She wants to know those names in it for her remembrance, .Please send me some flower seeds, stock zilover seed, and double silever, Daley roots, Bulys, Black coraans seed. Please tell Ann Gibson that there is plenty of straw here. Ann is having her bonnet stained and it will be three shilling. They wear many straw hats here. Give our love to our brothers and sister, and to our Uncles and Aunts, James Stall, and wife and Gibsons, Osmon Shaw, Wm. Hassell arid wife, Jesse Lathen and. wife, and George Cotton and wife. Now I conclude with our kind love to you. Love to inquiring friends. Write by Post. Letter written to: George Hancock, Collier Clay Hills, Tunstall, Staffordshire, England, October 28, 1845 Nauvoo, June 28, 1845 Dear Mother, We received your kind letter dated July 22 and we were very sorry to hear that you were sick, but we hope by this time you are recovered, We often wish that you were with us and more, so when we heard that you were sick, Ann could not get much sleep that night she received the letter from you. We were glad to hear that George and his family were well. We are in good health and have been all winter. Your daughter has been stouter than she ever was. You would not, know her this last winter had you seen her. I have been working at Burlington a city about 50 miles above Nauvoo. I have now begun to make tiles and selling them for 7 dollars per thousond. That is 29 shillinqs. Two pence 7 inch Quarry at 15 dollars per thousand, paving bricks 10 dollars. It appears that business will be very good this summer. It is expected that they will selling many bricks made in Nauvoo this summer. We have had a very pleasant winter and an early spring harvest is now begun and the crops are great. We expect to be about one shilling and six pence per bushel. Wish you could see Nauvoo and the country back of it for 14 miles as it is all planted with all kinds of produce and all seems peace and prosperity. We have built several large buildings, a singing hall, a masons hall for the free Masons to meet in and a hall for the Seventies to meet in as there are about 50 quorums of Seventies now which must go out to preach after their endowment on the 24th of May. We saw the top stone of the temple put on with shouting hosannas to God and the Lamb. They are now putting the roof on it. It is a fine building and people are coming from all parts to see it. They are now building a large house for a tavern on the bank of the river which will take about three hundred thousand bricks. The murderers which were taken for murdering Joseph and Hyrum Smith were acquitted. The world never did persecute men for killing Prophets, but God said, "Vengeance is mine and I will repay.'' We were sorry to hear that you had so much trouble with George being out of work, but we hope this will find you doing better. There :is nothing in this world but trouble, but we must prepare for it. We pray for you and hope you will embrace the Gospel. Remember the words which our Lord spake to Nicodemus. You spoke of coming here. We wish you were here, all of you but we are afraid that you would not stay with us as you cannot believe as we do but we hope we shall see you again. We were sorry to hear that Job Bennett had such a misfortune. Send us word how he is getting on and where William and Isaac are. Either they are still with his. We were glad to bear that Eliger had met with such a nice young man as Samuel Cooper. I respect that family if it is those girls father and mother that worked for me. Give my love to them all. I wish Job Bennett could be here. Attewell, how he can read his book. He goes to school every day. He can read in the testament well and John is a very smart boy. He is the largest boy according to his age that we have and that Connel Harvey has gone back to Tunstall. Please give our love to him and his wife. We are sorry that he fell by the wayside. I will now write a few lines to my Brother Thomas in a way of exhortation. Dear Brother, We were qlad to hear that you were well and hope this will find [you] the same and I desire that you will consider your standing before that God whom we must give an account for the deeds done in the body. I hope you have not succeeded to pervert the bright ways of Lord for God has never sent you to preach, therefore he will never reward youu but will be guilty of turning His words into fables, therefore repent of those things and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, then you shall know for yourself whether the Doctrine is of God or man. May God bless you, I am thankful that I was not laid away by men who say Lord and do not the things which God has commanded them. You may think that through Joseph Smith being killed that this work would have been distrusted but it is not so for it will roll forth till it fills the world. We all send our love toyou and to all our brothers and sisters and uncles and cousins and aunts to Joseph Basford and wife, Thomas Calelough and wife, Brother Lees and wife, Brother George Cotton and wife, Br. Hassell and wife. Our love to Bro. Osmon Shaw and all the Mormons in Tunstall and Maria Johnson and Gibsons and all my old neighbors. Attewell sends his love to his Uncle Job Bennett and his Aunt Sara and his Uncle that is going to send him something. Please send us word if you have any news from our sister Elizabeth. We have sent two letters since tha time we sent to you and received on the 24th of July direct for John Wootton Brick and Tile Maker, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, North America. Don't cease your letters, so no more from you affectionate son and daughter. John and Ann Wootton
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