“I Am Willing to Do My Duty in All Things”: Milo’s 1st Report from St. Louis (July 1854)
Milo Andrus served as the president of the St. Louis stake from 1854 to 1855 at a time when St. Louis was an outfitting center for Mormon migration to the West. In a letter to President Brigham Young, written on July 15, 1854, Milo gave a report of his activities. The original letter resides in the LDS Church’s Historical Department.
Dear Bro. Young,
As the mail leaves here in a few days, I sit down to give you some items, necessary for you to be acquainted with. In the first place, Bro. George Halliday has remained here until now, hoping to effect the sale of the machinery, but no applications have been yet made. I have paid a quarter insurance on it amounting to $140.00 which money I drew from D. P. Curtis out of the P.E. Fund. Also $30.00, the bill for adverting from the same source, and a bill for re-storage amounting to $120.00 to be paid in a week. I don’t know where to get the money to pay it with, but I have faith to get it somewhere. Now I believe that Bro. Halliday, under the circumstances he has been placed in, has done the best he could. I shall leave the subject now for further consideration, and say the emigration of the present season has closed. Last Thursday the passengers of the ship Clara Wheeler, abt. 50, arrived safe here, being the last company from England. I am sorry to say that quite a number of our people have died, chiefly of cholera in St. Louis, especially 28 of the passengers of the ship "Germanicus," Rieham Cook, Pres. They had a passage of 10 weeks to New Orleans and the lateness of the season caused us to council them to stay here another year. Elder Cook and about 12 more, have continued their journey home. I have sent a long account of these things and a corrected list of the dead to England to be published in the Star, a copy of which you no doubt will get in due time. But the news from Fort Leavenworth will be mailed there, and you will excuse me writing it. I may say, however, that A .D.L. Buckland and Jessie Turpin have died there of cholera. Eider Bank and nearly all the Elders on mission this time have arrived. Elder Workman, Laity, and Hoa Kisson have gone on to England, and Elders Siler, Church, and Tyler, have left also.
Relative to my mission here and the church generally, and also the place, I find this is a Smut Mill where the wheat, smut, and chaff can be separated, and I cannot help thinking that if the grunters of Utah were set down here for a few years they would be in a measure cured of their favorite pastime. What in the world had you against me to send me here, to be roasted both inside and out, or, in other words, to be done quite brown. Pray tell me in your next. But the people say and the doctors also it’s quite as sickly as /49 and far hotter.
I can assure you that preaching of the judgments of God and being an eye witness of them, as I am, is altogether two different things. But I am willing to do my duty in all things, and abide your council. I have received a long letter from Seth M. Blair. He has fought for the cause of truth down the river, and at New Orleans and is about as bold among the Gentiles as he is in Utah. I suppose by this time he is in Galveston. I may say, however, that a friend he thought to have met in Memphis, Tennessee is numbered among the dead, much to his regret.
On the 27th of June we held a commemorative meeting in memory of the martyred Joseph and Hyrum, six miles west of St. Louis at "Dry Hill." We left here at 8 A .M . and returned at 6 P.M. We dedicated the day to speaking, singing and praying. Elders R. Cook, D. P. Curtis, George Halliday, and myself occupied the stand for speaking, and the Spirit of the Lord was in our midst. About 250 attended, and the spirit of unity was there–not a jar to mar the day and purpose for which it was dedicated. The clerk may send on a report of the meeting, etc., for publication if necessary. Notwithstanding the circumstances under which we are placed, we are adding to our numbers. About 12 have been baptized within the few days past.
There is yet another subject I have at heart and that is the course of William Smith. He came here and I quickly discovered his mission, which was to get an influence over the minds of the people, professing to go, or get ready to go, to the valley and see you. But the course of teaching he pursued relative to celestial marriage and insinuating that he was not so bad as people thought he was, that he was abused and lied against, and misrepresented, etc .–these things determined the course I saw I had to pursue and that was to stop his influence right off. And with the help of Elders Curtis, Halliday, and others, we accomplished it. He solicited the chance of speaking before the Saints on the 27th, which I flatly denied. He put a piece in the "Republican," complaining of being persecuted, etc., but I have some doubts of the necessity of such a piece, as he was taken upon a writ while here and placed in Alton Jail. But he was bailed out. The clerk informs me he has sent you the slip from the pen of W. Smith. There are 2 others I wish to speak of. Thos. Margetts and John C. Armstrong. They are here. The former I have no charge against. He is working at his trade with his brother at the Gravois Coal Mines. The latter stayed a while in New Orleans and came up at the end of the spring, bringing with him two women, one of which he slept with on the passage up and was checked by Elder D. P. Barnes, who was mate of the boat. He has lied and shuffled when asked for his residence, and I have been informed he has commenced a doggery, but I will post you up on these things as they come to hand.
I still remain yours as ever,