In November, he became an agent for a publishing firm. He wrote that he had been out in the country and made many acquaintances, that he ate well, and earned much more than previous work. He cleared $40 a week. “I like this work,” he said. “I am my own boss.…I keep to myself at night, read, and try to improve as much as possible to get something that will be beneficial to me.” Harry loved the out-of-doors. He wrote, “I have enjoyed myself very much. I have been fishing, shooting rabbits and birds, and riding.…I scared a wild cat—let it pass without touching. I was scared.” He described mosquitoes in one letter; apparently, he hadn’t seen them before. In another letter, “I like the county very much, pretty scenery and you can enjoy yourself to your heart’s content.”
Harry attended Church meetings when he could that year. He wrote, “I have been to the tabernacle two Sundays—a grand organ and a large choir, well-attended, too.” He also said, “Brother Taylor [President John Taylor] died on the 25th (couldn’t celebrate the 24th of July). All being well I intend going to see him. This makes three presidents that I have not had the pleasure to hear speak.” He probably heard the next four many times. His testimony grew. He wrote, “More and more I learn of Mormonism, the more I feel to press on.”
Patriarch John Smith gave him his patriarchal blessing in 1887. In it he was promised “to live to a good old age,” that “he would sit in council, to exhort the saints in faithfulness.…It will be thy lot to be a peace maker.…Shall be prospered in thy labors, spiritual and temporal.…shall find friends. Many shall seek thee for council and rejoice in thy teaching…shall heal the sick…thy name shall be handed down to posterity from generation to generation.” Looking back on his life, all of these things came to pass. He truly was a great man, loved by all who knew him.
He wrote letters to his family, instructing them on procedures and things to bring on their trip to Zion. He tried so hard to get his father to come—he told him of opportunities in his trade (“pottery would pay here—could make jam jars”) and said in his last letter before the family came, “We shall have many anxious moments for waiting and watching for the joyful news that you, Father, have left Old England to unite with those that love you with a childrens love and the love of a wife. You cannot think of not seeing us again. I you do, I hope that you will soon change your mind. The loss of a father is much.…What a rejoicing the meeting will be, but just think for one sober moment how the rejoicing would be doubled if only we were going to see your face. The love and affection we have for you is increasing and not decreasing as you might think, make up your mind that you will come out also and live together in peace and union.”
His mother, Lucy, and her five youngest children arrived in Zion on September 1, 1888—a joyful reunion. Except for William, the family was united once again. They made their home on 3rd West between 7th and 8th South on the west side of the street in an adobe house. Later, they moved to a larger place of four rooms in the rear of his sister Elizabeth’s and her husband Joe Griffiths’ home between 3rd and 4th West on 8th South.
Around the corner, at 908 2nd West (now 100 West) lived the Edwin Pettit family. Harry met their eldest daughter, Mary (or May, as he called her), probably through his mother, as he indicated in a letter. He started courting her as early as February 20, 1888, when he had written in her autograph book, “Dear friend Mary, Please accept my warmest wishes…”
To be continued...
Photograph of the temple and tabernacle in Salt Lake City from www.flickr.com/photos/theinfamousgdub/2123158951/.