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The Family File

Hyrum Don Carlos Clark

Missionary Letters

Notes regarding the Tennessee Mission of Hyrum D. Clark

Late in 1877, Hyrum D. Clark left with his Uncle Edward Stevenson on a mission. They stopped at the home of David Whitmer in Richmond, Mo. and heard his restatement of his Testimony of the Book of Mormon. Asked why he had left the Church, he replied that he had not but that it had left him.

Three letters by him and one by his Uncle Edward are here reproduced.

Shady Grove, Hickman Co. Tenn. March 5, 1878.

Mr. Ezra T. Clark
Dear Father:

I thought a word or two would not go amiss from your son, hoping it will find you all well as it leaves me and Uncle. The weather here is like spring now but the weather is very changeable, generally raining which makes it very muddy. We have had quite a number of meetings, mostly in private homes. There is a branch of 18 members here and a branch of 12 members at Tolly's Bend, a place 11 miles straight north of here. The latter is mostly of the Tolly family and is a very good branch. They are very poor. When you go to have a meeting, they come with a bundle of sticks to light their way. They are scattered pretty well here. We have added 3 to that branch and 1 to this since we came here and the prospect is that more will soon join the ranks. But generally, the people do not seem very anxious to hear the Gospel. Since I received your letter, we have been north 17 or 18 miles to Centerville, the county seat of Hickman County where we held three meetings in their Christian meetinghouse, during which time we held several at Tolly's Bend. Our headquarters is at Robert Churche's. He is good about letting us have horses to ride at times, etc. This branch is mostly composed of Churches. Well, I don't know as this is very interesting to you. You asked how my shoulder is getting. It has got along alright, I think, at least I don't feel any affects of it now and I don't think it will ever bother me any more. Also, my fare was about $70 besides other expenses of laying over, etc. All told, was about $85. I haven't been to scarcely any expense since I arrived here. I don't think I will need anymore just now. I don't know exactly how much I have with me. I have taken out $50 from one place in the belt and have got $20 of it left, so you know how much I have got. Uncle got a letter yesterday, stating that Brother Morgan and others were coming out here and he intimated that Uncle would be going back in the spring, but that I would be apt to stay 2 years. But I don't know how it will be yet.
I received a letter from Joseph (Hyrum's older brother) when I received yours. All well. I will close for the present, hoping to hear from you. I remain as ever your obedient son H. Clark. I have just written to Joseph S. Clark, I will enclose a letter to sisters.

Shady Grove, Hickman Co., Tenn. Mar 21, 1878.

Dear Mother:

I received your welcome letter of 7 & 8 in connection with Edward B. and was very good to hear from you that you were all well at home and to receive your picture. I think it is a very good one. I posted a letter to E.B. last evening before receiving his as I was coming from Tolly's Bend where we had been and held a meeting and where we have baptized two. So we have been the means of a few rejoicing in the Lord. Have baptized one in this Branch. There are a great many more believing and I think more will soon join. I don't know how much good we are doing but we are doing as well as we know how. I think the letters we have written have been delayed, by your remarks. Uncle has been wondering what was the matter of Mother and James that they don't write.
But I expect that you are busy as usual as you haven't any hired girl but hope you won't try to do too much. We are going to Mt. Pennington today in Maury Co. 6-1/2 miles from here to hold meeting where we also held meeting last Sunday. We are well. Uncle gets a little feeble occasionally. We don't do a great amount of traveling only in this vicinity which is a very poor country showing that it has gone through a terrible shaking as it speaks of in the Book of Mormon at the Crucifiction of the Savior. There are two branches here. One at Tolly's Bend 11 miles from here which is made up mostly of the Tolly family, which is a very good family. They are very poor. It is a pretty good house in this country has windows in it. Their fireplaces are built of mud and sticks, but we do not look at this so much but take things as they come and try to be thankful.

One morning, soon after we came, I took a walk out into the woods and wandered around and went in a little Cot where there was a small family in poverty sure enough. After talking a while, I started to go, but they wished me to stop to dinner, so I stopped. And while we were talking, tears came into our eyes for the wind was blowing and snow was on the ground and they had to have both doors open to let the smoke out for their poor stick chimney was not so high but what the wind would blow the smoke back into the house. I do not write this to find fault, but to give you an idea of some of the conditions. But not all. For some are very well fixed. I assure you I get plenty of cornbread, which is very good, for their main product is corn and pork.
Well, I will have to close as it is time to start. Uncle and I went to the river fishing a little while today. But it is too early for them, but I caught one about ten inches long. Will close for this time. Love to you and all the folks and friends from your affectionate son, H. D. Clark.
P.S. The mail does not go out until tomorrow, so returned. Uncle spoke on the pre-existence of man. The house was full. Have received a letter from M. F. Cowley stating they were holding some meetings in that vicinity. They didn't state when they would be here. We are going back to Tolly's Bend as one of them is sick. From there to Palestine for Sunday. H. C.

Shady Grove, Hickman Co., Tenn. April 17, 1878

Mrs. Mary S. Clark,
Dear Mother:

I have just received your letter that came to hand last night while we were over the Duck River holding a meeting in a private house according to previous appointment about two miles from here. There is an increase of interest generally speaking in the different places that we have visited. We returned here this morning and received your letter and also one from Orson Rogers.
Mary Stevenson Clark, Hyrum's Mother
I was glad to hear from you once more and that you were all well. I neglected to mention the receiving of the Juveniles and Women's Exponents, also History of Utah which were received alright. I have distributed them around but they feel pretty poor but were pleased to read them. The weather is getting very warm here. Yesterday in walking about three miles to visit a family to talk to, a woman whose husband we baptized; she is believing but it seems hard for her to receive; but what I was going to say, while going there my shirt became badly torn. I am wearing red-flannel garments. If you have got some linen ones already, you might send them to me as I don't know how much longer I will stay here. The Lord being willing, we will start for Palestine, a distance of about 25 miles, tomorrow, being our third trip to that place. There seems to be quite an opening in that vicinity to hear of the principles of Truth; for it seems that they haven't heard any Elders in that vicinity previous to our going there. We expect to spend about a week before we return. Will have horses to ride. Bro. & Sister Church have gone to Duck River a fishing but they do not bite very much. It is about like fish for men, not very many caught. Well, Uncle is going to write and he can tell you all. He is now reading the Deseret News dated April 10, 1878, having in it the news of Conference. Hoping to hear from you soon, I am as ever your obedient son, love to Father and all the folks.

Hyrum D.C. Clark

P.S. I received the Post Office order alright, with thanks. I should have written before but going around and being away from home lately, haven't had much time. We have not yet received the letter mentioned in your last letter dated Apr. 1st, 1878. There is and has been considerable sickness in this part of the country lately; some among the Saints but are recovering fast.

Hope Amasa will continue reading the Book of Mormon for there are lots of little boys who do not have this chance. I distribute my books and let them preach the Gospel. Only wish I had a dictionary to look at once in a while.
Thursday morning April 18, 1878 6 o'clock AM. Now at Duck River Ferry waiting for the mail carrier; is raining some. Just 5 months from home. Our healths are good and hope this will find you all well. Mail carrier has come. Good bye. H. Clark.

(Letter by Uncle Edward Stevenson):
Duck River, Hickman Co. Tenn. June 14, 1878.
Dear Sister Mary:
Your favor of May 31 rec'd June 10th, 1878. Contents digested and hasten to reply. Shall not complain of my health, for it might be much worse. . .
Well now, by the time this reaches you, expect that you will have a son not far behind it, for I think that he will not let many trains pass him on the way for he wants to see home about as much as anyone you ever saw. He is not very well, (Sick a little; homesick considerable. Many sick mucher) and has not been for quite a time. Soon after Hyrum came down, it went rather hard with him (I administered to him several times and comforted him and then myself). Hyrum has gained an experience that will do him more good than $1,00 dollars in cash would do him. He has been faithful and diligent and read and studied a great deal and he will talk in earnest to the young men and when once home will doubly appreciate what he has gained. One trouble with Hyrum: His ambition wanted him to get up and lay it down as one who had 40 years experience. As I say, Hyrum will realize more what he has gained after he has been home a short time. I would like to have taken him around to Cincinati and shown him something more than houses without windows. But there was no use talking, nothing would do now but a straight line 2000 miles long and I pray that the blessings of the Lord will accompany him home safely and find you all well. Hyrum is honorably released. I think he will not soon forget his Uncle Edward and his Tennessee mission.
Just as soon as Hyrum arrives, write without delay and I want him to write after he has been there a week. Farewell with kind love to all.
Your Bro. Edward Stevenson
There was more than one young woman would have liked to join the Church and then join Hyrum for life.

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