Greene, John Portineus, 1793-1844

Letter, 1843 Feb., Buffalo, New York, to “Dear and Loved Children”

Photocopy of typescript, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.



                                                                                                             City of Buffalo, Erie, Co., N.Y.

                                                                                                                            February A.D. 1843.


Dear and Loved Children:

            I now write to you all as one, and direct to Addison, for I have written to you all separately by private conveyance several times; and the first of December, I wrote by mail from Batavia to E.M., and also to the girls, but have not received one line from any of you, neither have I heard from you at all.  And I assure you I have had no small anxiety about you all, but especially Eliza, John, and Nancy.  But, as I think, you must have received some of my letters, in which I expressed my feelings, as much as I could with my pen.  But oh! how faintly can language describe the ties of consanguinity or the parental affection of that heart which has watched with intense anxiety over their own offspring from the first dawn of life until the period when the principles of this life are about to be framed which will fix our fate for happiness or for misery, either in honor or dishonor, for life or death.  Oh! my children, you know not the feelings of my bosom for you, for those who have no homes of their own, but are dependent whether sick or well; and yet I have full confidence that you who have homes and means of your own will not see your own flesh and blood suffer or even want for the heart, or the necessary article.  But as I gave directions in my former letters, I forbear for the present, by only asking you to remember the golden rule, which I believe you will do.  And as I suppose you wish to know how we are, both in regard to health and all other matters, I will tell you as near as I can.  Our health has been very good all the time since we left Nauvoo, with the exception of some light colds and my old affection of the lungs, which the extreme cold weather produced, but at present I enjoy a very good state of health so that I have preached almost every day or night all winter.  I came to Buffalo the fore part of December, lifted the standard of the New Covenant, stayed nine days, baptized and organized a branch of fifteen members, then returned to Genese County, Batavia, to attend the Conference on the 25th, and tarried with your mother through the month of January; (and on the 8th day we had added to our family a fine girl which we call Mary Emma).  They are yet in Batavia, but I intend to go next week and remove them to this place, 40 miles, where we expect to stay until April.  And then we shall go East to see our friends and the branches of the Church, to finish my business before I can return.  But if the Lord will permit, I will return the latter part of summer and provide for my children.  And I expect to have an opportunity to send some things to John and the girls in the spring, and wish I could before.  John, I have a very likely mare, the best horse kind I ever owned, and she will have a colt in the spring.  I shall turn her out to pasture in the spring, if she has a good colt, I shall bring it home with me, and I design it for you.  Oh! my son! if you could feel for me as I do for you, you would be steady, study your book and live like a Christian, and by so doing, you would add to your father’s comfort, and instead of bringing down my gray hairs to the grave with sorrow, you would anoint my head with the oil of gladness and fill my heart with unspeakable joy.  I do wish I could know what Eliza and Nancy are doing and how they are provided for this winter.  Is Rhoda married, and is she well?  And how do Amanda and those little ones do?  Also Abbyann and her babe?  Those little sweet angels, how I do long to see them and their parents!  What is the reason you have not written to me before?  Do not delay one moment after you receive this, write me at Buffalo, and if you know anything about Evan, tell me where he is and what he is doing.  Also give my respects to Messrs. Gibbs and Norton, and also the state of all things in the west, what about it, &c.  Your grandmother Greene was well in October last, and I have not heard from her since, nor from any of our friends.  Now write me some of you immediately on receipt of this, and do not think that to-morrow shall be as this day.  But write to your father like children.  And with all your doings, continue in the work of the Lord, and let no man take your crown; and in so doing God will bless you and yours.  And now I ask my Heavenly Father to keep and preserve you in the Kingdom of his dear Son for ever and ever.  Amen.

            This is from your most affectionate father,

                                                                   John P. Greene

To all my dear children in Ill.


[Transcribed and proofread by Brian D. Reeves, from photocopy of typescript, 16 April 1999.]