“The Saints Are Rejoicing And Bearing Testimony”: Milo’s 2nd Report from St. Louis (October 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 written in St. Louis, October 20, 1854, Milo gave the Deseret News a report of his journey east and of his activities in St. Louis and the surrounding area. His letter was published in January 4, 1855.
To the Editor of the Deseret News:
Dear Brother–Having been absent about six months from your peaceful city, and feeling my heart burn with love to my brethren and sisters, many of whom would like to know how brother Milo Andrus was getting along, I thought I would give you, once in six months, a synopsis of the doings of the Lord through his feeble servant.
I started from your office on the 1st of May, at 9 a.m., in charge of our excellent friend Feramorz Little, who conducted us to Fort Laramie, where we arrived at 2 p.m., on the 14th, about five minutes before the Independence mail.
We there changed hands, bid brother Little good bye, with a promise to let him know how we got on with the rest of the journey, which I have not had time to do until now. We left Fort Laramie on the 15th, and arrived at Fort Leavenworth on the 27th, at 12 p.m. In the morning, at 9 a.m., we took passage on the steamer Sam C1 , John McCloy master. The river was in good order, and we came at a fine rate. The cracking of the whip had changed to the puffing of the steam; and cursing the mates had changed to "fire up, boys;" and I highly enjoyed the change.
We arrived in St. Louis on the 30th, at 6 a.m., all well and in good spirits; having made the trip in twenty-eight traveling days. We here met with Elders O. Pratt and H. S. Eldredge, and also D. P. Curtis and others from England, and with many warm-hearted Saints in this place, where I have been ever since trying to do good and help to build up the Kingdom of God.
After I had been here a short time, the cholera made its appearance and swept many thousands from the earth, mobs killed one another, and it seems to have been one of the eventful years all over the world; war, pestilence, and storms on sea and land, and other devastating influences wasting man and property from the face of the earth.
I have commenced again to contrast the situation of the Saints in Utah with what I am now obliged to hear, and I have many times thought I would like to have all the disaffected spirits sent on missions if they could do any good. Beloved Saints of the valleys of the mountains, be content, and obey the laws that "proceed from" the living oracles in your midst."
I began to feel after the Saints, and found many disaffected, and the Holy Spirit came upon me when I thought of the best plan to save the most; and I counseled them to renew their covenant by baptism, and by making new record, as the old were imperfect. I also opened the door to those who had been cut off, only forbidding such as were forbidden by all laws this side of the mountains. The result is, the Saints are rejoicing and bearing testimony that they never felt better in their lives, and about twenty five more have been baptized, some of whom had been cut off. All things bid fair for the future, and I trust in the Lord that much good will be done.
In the month of August last, I received an invitation to go to Illinois, about ten miles from the river. I went and preached, and then sent others; and last Sunday (October 15) I went again, and organized a branch, called the Centerville Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consisting of eight members, and left with good prospects, the devil being mad, and many inquiring after truth.
I remain as ever, Your brother and fellow-laborer in the gospel,
P.S. We have taken the Methodist meeting house, on the corner of Washington Avenue, and 4th street, and fitted it up for the sole use of the church, including the church office. M.A.