Sidney Tanner's wife Louisa Conlee Tanner died on September 29, 1846, at Winter Quarters. Sidney must have put off the grim task of notifying her family, because it took him seven months to write to his father-in-law, step-mother-in-law, and other family members with news of her death, and by the time he wrote this he had been remarried for more than four months to young Julia Ann Shepherd, a very brave girl to step in and care for his six motherless children.
Why was this letter in possession of the Tanner family? Is this a copy? Who owns the original? The handwriting is strikingly different from the Sidney Tanner letter featured the other day, but could be the same handwriting, perhaps written with a different pen?
A copy of this letter is in the collections of the Church History Library. The CHL copy includes a typescript, which has been corrected into standard English. I am trying to transcribe the actual letter as-is, but the computer keeps autocorrecting the transcription, so this should be approximately correct.
Winter Quarters April 13th 1847
Dear Father and Mother Brothers & Sisters
I gladly embrace this opportunity of writing a few lines to you and tell you how we have been situated and how we are at present. we left the Iowa the 4 of March we traveled five days and stoped our youngest child by the name of James Monre was taken sick and died the 17 of March with the inflammation on the brain. we had got about 2 hundred miles from Montrose when we received your letter dated Feb 10 and you wanted to know what we wanted to moove for. it was to go to a land of freedom where we could enjoy the peace of sosiety and our liberty we did not want to live in country where their is no peace no liberty and citizens was not allowed their rights. we went on about one hundred miles farther to council point when we had another child aded to our family it was a boy ^its name was Mason Lyman^ & was born July 1 and Louisa got her health was well as ever we crost the Missouri river the last of July at council bluff where we stoped for the winter. [indecipherable] Louisa was taken sick with the fever she got ^some^ better and then took the canker and the chills fever and was sick a bout two months and then departed this life leaving her strongest testimony of the truth of the gospel of christ taught in the lasts days she requested me to write to you and tell you that she died in the full triumphs of the faith of Jesus Christ and her most desire for living was for the benefit of her family and Friends and do what she was afraid they would not do for themselves that they might arive to a glorious salvation in the kingdom of God where she
[e]xpects to meet them and enjoy their society she often spoke a bout you and wanted to see you and hoped ^that^ you would yet embrace the gospel and come to the west she died September 29 her babe was taken sick soon after she died and lived to be four months and 23 dys old it ^died^ Nov. 29
This will be sad to you I have no toubt to hear of a death of a sister who has been near and unto you. the rest of my family is ^well^ at present
Lydia was sick last fall with the fever & ague I have six children living you gave me some very good advice to beware of false propets and evil doers that has been the cry in all ages of the world when the Lord has sent his servents and apostles forth to preach that was the sayings in the ^the days of our^ savior and apostles but the scripture says “beware of those who ware a form of Godliness and deny the power there of from such turn away I was sorry to here of your misfortune of your getting ^your house^ burnt. I would be glad to see you all I expect to remain here untill next spring I want you to write to me soon as posible and I would be ^glad^ to have you come and see us
I do not want you to forsake me and the children because of our misfortune but write as ofen as you can give my respect and good wishes to all our relation and enquireing friends the children sends their love to you all I rmain as your affectionate son and Brother
James and Monroe Conlee
direct your letters austain post office
I concludes a record of the children ages
Allen Benedict Tanner was born March 2 1831
Lydia Tanner was born Nov 3 1832
Emma Tanner was born June 1 1835
Mary Louisa Tanner was born Sep 4 1837
Ely Elizabeth Tanner was born May 14 1840
Sidney Tanner was born March 6 1842
James Monroe Tanner was born July 30 1844
Mason Lyman Tanner was born July 1 1846
James or Monroe