Nicholas Groesbeck left Salt Lake City, Utah for a mission to England for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 14 Aug 1866. He returned home in May of 1867.
[The following is the first part of a photocopy of a typed letter written to Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck from her husband Nicholas Groesbeck.]
75 Bridge St. Derby
Feb. 13th, 1867
My very dear wife:
It does almost seem that when I get to writing to you, that I hardly know when to quit. When I commenced this letter, I thought I should not fill up more than one sheet, but as usual I am converting it in a long letter. I hope, however, you will have patience to read it. I could have written yesterday, a short letter, and had it gone out by today’s ship, but I did not feel satisfied in my own mind to do so, so I have plenty of time to converse with you on this sheet.
Mother, I had a beautiful dream about you last evening, also, night before last. I thought, in my dream, that I embraced you in my arms, as I always do, and I kissed you again and again; and did really have a feast all by myself, and thought, of course, that it was all real, till I awoke. But I did enjoy myself while it lasted. I also dreamed that I came home this coming Spring. I thought I did not feel very well satisfied with myself, on account of coming home so soon. I thought it was a long travel for so short a stay, but I thought it was in consequence of my health that I returned so soon. I saw you and all the children. I have had some dreams about William that I have not really liked. I hope and pray William is a good boy. I thought he had been drinking and spending considerable means; but he promised me he would do so no more. If such is not the case, or true, I wish you would speak about it in your next, and let me know.
I hope you all enjoy yourselves. You have a comfortable and a happy home, which I feel thankful for, and a plenty to make you happy, as far as this world’s goods are concerned, but that does not always add to happiness.
I hope John and William are tending to their school steady and punctual, for now is the time for them to learn. They should study grammer by all means. They can never learn to talk proper without a knowledge of that branch of study. You have Bro. Ott to urge the necessity upon their minds. I feel the want of a knowledge of that branch of study at this present time. Give my respects to Bro. Ott and wife and Sister Cook.
A letter from home, oh what measure of gladness
Do these simple words and their meaning contain
Tho the heart is oppressed and bowed down in its sadness
Those words can awake it to pleasure again.
When parted by call from the hearts that still love us
A missionary from Zion, amid strangers we roam
When the earth frowns beneath and the heavens gloom above us
How dear to the heart is a letter from the loved one from home.
Perhaps we can trace the kind hand of a dear wife
Amid tears gushing out as we think of her love
That love, which no time or distance can smother
Shed forth from a heart which no absence can move
And, oh, if in reading that prayer we discover
A small wrinkled spot with the stain of a tear
The fountain of love from its banks will flow over
And bathe it with drops which are scarce less sincere.
A letter from home, when the seas we are parted
A voice speaking out of the midst of the gloom
‘Tis a token of love from the firm and true hearted
To tell us we are not forgotten at home.
God bless them all, yes, bless them in my mountain home.
Mother you will excuse me for writing as I do. If anyone should see this they would think that I was a young lover; but that would not be true, for I am quite an old lover. I have not language to express and set forth my very good, warm and affectionate feelings that I have constantly in store for you; tongue and pen would fail to describe, or set forth in its true light, the fountain from which it flows is inexhaustible; therefore, I will submit what I have written for your consideration, knowing that you know that my acts long since have proven to you that the above written is verily true.
God bless you, for I pray continually that you may be blest with our children; may God, our Heavenly Father, bless them, preserve them from the power of the adversary, and from all evil designing men and women. This is my prayer constantly in your and their behalf. Bless and kiss those little ones for me. I see their pretty actions. Their likenesses are good. I have now got all but John’s. I want his when he gets it taken. I hope John will give his attention to learning, and not too much attention to the girls. Some council to William. William wrote me a very nice letter; so did Sis, so did Hiram and Josephine and Caty; they should write frequently on the thin paper, it will learn them to compose.
(To be continued.)
Picture of Groesbeck cradle in Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, Salt Lake City, Utah. Donated to the museum by grandson Edward J. Groesbeck. Picture is blurred because I took it through glass protecting the display in 2008. The sign on the cradle reads: Cradle belonged to Nicholas Groesbeck, pioneer 1856., Our Groesbeck Ancestors in America, compiled and published by Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, Sr., 1963, pg. 19. Letter from Helen Rex Frazier collection.