I recently made a trip down to the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, to try to gather some documents pertaining to my ancestor Levi Jackman. While some of the documents have been copied and distributed for many years, other documents seem to just be cropping up in the catalog, and don’t seem to have been distributed among family members, at least not among my branch of the family.
After following the slow and somewhat tedious policies of the Church History Library’s reading room, I was able to copy about 50 pages of documents. I’ll post them here as I get a chance to review them and transcribe them. There are still many documents that need to be copied, if anyone is familiar with scanning microfilm (very similar to the process at the Family History Library) and would like to go make some more copies, I’d love to have your help.
Anyway, here is my first transcription. It comes from a collection titled Levi Jackman Papers, under the call number MS 4453. I have standardized most of the spelling, and added punctuation for readability. There are a few words I could not figure out, if you know what they are, please make a note in the comments and I’ll correct it.
July 27 1835
Beloved wife and family, I suppose that you are waiting for a letter and think the time long since you received a letter from me. I have over run my time six or eight days on account of getting through and I got here yesterday morning.
Brother Baldwin sent a letter the day before we left our place of labor on Clear Crick, Ill., He did not say when we should start for we did not know but something might hinder us – but so it was that we started the next day. We baptized two that night and one the next morning, making in the whole at that place twenty three and they lay near our hearts. We left them in a flood of tears but thanks be to God they are strong in the faith and I hope to meet many of them where parting tears will not be known.
It is true I loved brethren before with great love, but I find that a greater degree is to be enjoyed after spiritually begetting them in to the kingdom after much labor in the spirit by night and day for a long time. Some of them would burst into tears when we spake of leaving them for some days before we left them, and I believe that many of them would been willing to shed their blood for our safety. But we left them and traveled the National road the most of the way to Columbus, Ohio, however we stopped at the place where Brother West baptized two when he went down and then in a prospect that some more will obey in that place, we found the people through Indiana to be a hard, blind, and wicked bit. They did not want to hear the gospel. None feed them that preached it, only for their money and if we had not had any money with us which we got by subscribers for paper, I do not know how we should lived. But the Lord knows how to ____ all things before ____ for his people.
We preached but once in Indiana and once in Ohio. Last Thursday we reached Head Portage on the canal. We found a fine church in that place. We met with them in afternoon, had a good time. We found Brother P. Pratt’s wife living with his mother. She has joined the church again but she is still out of health. We went to Sister Siddy’s sister. She is well and as nigh as I even learn she will go to that country as soon as Brother Cr. Coalts gets big enough. She informed me that sister Siddey was married. I acknowledge I was astonished beyond measure but I had to sit it down among the curiosity of the latter days.
We got a chance to ride as far as Aurora and from there I went to Hiram. I was informed that there was a church of about twenty members in Sholersville.
I got into the edge of Hiram about sunset. It would be in vain for me to describe my feelings while passing over the ground I once so frequently traveled and as I came to the place where we, with many others, obeyed the gospel, I stopped on a log which lay over the little stream on the upper side of the road. There I reflected on the times we so frequently resorted there to witness the solemn ordinance there administered. But great in the change, no prayer to be heard, no sweet singing to enliven and charm the soul, but there only remains the green grass on which we used to kneel and the little clean stream which glides along, making its way to the basin of the great deep. My mind still pursued the subject of the great fall of the once beloved Harvey, the changes of times and different scenes which we have passed through, etc. The whole scene was rendered solemn on the account that night was spreading its dark mantle and the bustle of the day was rushed to silence and I passed on, thanking God that my eyes had ever beheld the place and that I there obeyed the gospel.
I forbear dwelling on this subject. I went to Sister Hinkey’s. They was very glad to see me but the old man left the shores of time on the third of last May. The old lady and Sophronia is strong in the faith but Eber is rather ____. The people in that place are all well. I was in a hurry to get through and started next morning. They send their love to you all. They are coming out as soon as they get their things ready. Brother Hamman came out here about four weeks ago and they (as I am informed) concluded to go to the Michigan. Daniel sold his farm, got two hundred dollars in cash, so Benjamin took Daniel’s family and went on as Daniel went back after Benjamin’s family. Platt is about as he ever was and went with them.
But as I before said, yesterday morning I got to this place. The Brethren are all well and engaged in the cause of the Lord. You will learn by the papers that the house is covered and the steeple nearly done. The prospect is that next season will fetch things for our joy if are faithful.
I intend write more on this subject in my next. I have not room to right in this but a few of the many things that I want to. I expected to have got a letter from you here but there is none. Fruit is very plenty. Brother Borsh (?) the head mason on the house has withdrawn from the church. I expect to work on the house for a spell and I shall send something for your help as soon as I can get a chance.
Brother Baldwin is well and will send a letter next week. We have finished our journey together in unity and peace. He has shone himself ______ as a preacher of the gospel on all accounts. He is a worthy brother.
I must conclude by exhorting you to be faithful. I am sensible that you are lonesome without me, but remember, dear wife and children and mother, that we are to receive the great blessings of the kingdom by sacrifice, and if you are willing to give me up to the Lord for a season, it is a sacrifice which is pleasing to the Lord and the Lord will give unto you the reward, and in the name of Jesus I exhort you all to be faithful and patient and as the Lord liveth, the day of your rejoicing is near at hand, for all heaven is engaged in it and the servant of the Lord are laboring night and day to fetch about the glorious day.
I exhort the children to obey your mother in all things and do it willingly, and pray much for yourselves and for me and for the redemption of Zion and for the day of rest for the people of God.
So I must conclude, remember my love to all the faithful brethren and sisters and may God bless you all, amen.
(Exterior is addressed to:)
Wife of Levi Jackman, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Paid, 25.
Below are the scans of the microfilm from which this letter was transcribed. Click on each to see the full image, then from that page you can right-click and save the image to your computer.