(Elvira and Emeline are Edson's sisters; James is Elvira's husband)
Illinois, Hancock Co., City of Nauvoo
Brothers and sisters in Boston, James, Elvira and Emeline--
Being situated some two thousand miles from you, I feel it a duty to write you and let you know where we are.
I expect you know where we are. I expect you know that we left Philadelphia for this place. We got here the 29th of October after a journey of 32 days. We had some detention on the way on account of low water.
Soon after our arrival I was taken sick with a bilious complaint for a few days. Lavinia was taken down with a winter fever and was brought down very low. We had our doubts about her recovery. But she dreamed one night that she had been baptized for her health and was healed. And you know that the Mormons are believers in a God that is a revealer of secrets by dreams.
At this time she had lain twelve days with a burning fever and was so weak that she could not help herself. Rut we got a carriage; took her out of bed, put her in the wagon; took her to the river; cut a hold in the ice and baptized her. We repeated this for three days. The fever left her and from that time she became better.
Now we both, together with Mother, enjoy good health. I am heartier myself than I have been for ten years. Mother stood her journey out here very well. She is well contented.
The city contains about twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants who have come from all parts of the United States and from Europe and from the islands of the sea.
It has only been a little better than three years since our people came to this place and for the time, I think it has a prospect of becoming a fine city, one that in a few years will be ranked among the finest. I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Joseph Smith the man that much is said about. I find him to be a man of intelligence and I believe a man of integrity. I am certain he is belied by his enemies.
I have also had the satisfaction of viewing the Temple which is now under way. And I believe when it is finished we shall enjoy many privileges in it, that was enjoyed by the people of God in by-gone years
It is to be when finished, from the lower floor in the basement to the eaves about seventy feet, and from the eaves to the spire one hundred feet. It is 87 feet by 128 feet, on the ground there is to be an outer court one hundred feet.
In the basement there are twelve oxen carved, large as life, and on them the baptismal fountain. In it we are baptized for our friends that are dead ("And if the dead rise not at all, why then are ye baptized for the dead?") The building is made of grey limestone, neatly hammered.
I have bought two lots (1 acre each) for 100 dollars each. A log house is on each. 1 shall move on one in about two weeks. I have been engaged for some time in getting timber from the islands for building. Provisions of all kinds are very cheap--pork $1.50 per hundred, corn 18¢, beef $2.00 per hundred, butter 10¢, eggs 6¢.