Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission, part 2 (Graphic History)

Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission, part 2 (Graphic History)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 20, 2009

Adapted from Leaves from My Journal, by Wilford Woodruff; artwork by Douglas Johnson.

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to be continued …

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Text from Leaves from My Journal

… We then left the swamp, and put out into the prairie, to lie in the grass for the night. When we came out of the swamp, we heard an Indian drumming on a tin pail and singing. It was very dark, but we traveled towards the noise, and when we drew near the Indian camp quite a number of large Indian dogs came out to meet us. They smelt us, but did not bark nor bite.

We were soon surrounded by Osage Indians, and kindly received by Mr. Jereu and his wife, who was an Indian. She gave us an excellent supper and a good bed, which we were thankful for after the fatigue of the day. As I laid my head on my pillow I felt to thank God, from the bottom of my heart, for the exchange of the barbarous treatment of a civilized Presbyterian priest, for the humane, kind and generous treatment of the savage Osage Indians. May God reward them both according to their deserts.

We arose in the morning, after a good night’s rest. I was somewhat lame, from wading in the swamp the night before. We had a good breakfast. Mr. Jereu sent an Indian to see us across the river, and informed us that it was sixty miles to the nearest settlement of either white or red men.

We were too bashful to ask for anything to take with us to eat; so we crossed the river and started on our day’s journey of sixty miles without a morsel of food of any kind. What for? To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, to save this generation.

Think of this, children; think of what the Presidency the Apostles, and the Elders of this Church have passed through to give you the homes and comforts you now enjoy. Think of this, ye statesmen and judges of this American nation; ye who are now seeking to destroy God’s people in the wilderness, who have gone hungry and naked and have labored for fifty years to save this nation and generation.

We started about sunrise and crossed a thirty-mile prairie, apparently as level as a house floor, without shrub or water. We arrived at timber about two o’clock in the afternoon. As we approached the timber a large black bear came out towards us. …

Wilford Woodruff’s First Mission (Graphic History) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18



  1. So cool. Thanks.

    Comment by Jami — September 20, 2009 @ 9:07 am

  2. interesting incident and the ending with the bear is just so classic of serial comics of that time. Great stuff.

    Comment by JonW — September 20, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  3. The plot thickens!


    Comment by Steve C. — September 20, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  4. had we known then what we were later to discover …

    it’s amazing to realize that what sounds so much like fiction is absolutely real. unbelievable dedication and sacrifice.

    Comment by ellen — September 20, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  5. The “Woes of Wilford” are the new “Perils of Pauline.”

    These cartoons are about 60 years old, Steve, which explains the use of the word “savages” (well, that and that’s the word used in WW’s 19th century autobiography).

    Yeah, ellen, they’re true. I complain about my mission being a hard one, but the difficulties in France didn’t tend at all toward swamps and bears and camping with the Indians.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 20, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  6. Awesome. I can’t wait till he gets to Tennessee. OK, OK I have a one track mind.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — September 20, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  7. That won’t be for another two months, Bruce — I think he reaches Memphis in, like, part 11 or 12. Oh, the anticipation!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 20, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  8. Loved it. And I agree that the “to be continued” with the bear pursuing them is great.

    (What’s “heap thanks”? Is it an old way of saying “thanks a heap” or “thanks heaps”?)

    Comment by Hunter — September 20, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  9. Bruce Crow: He’s got to get to Arkansas first. :-) I can’t wait for that.

    Comment by Steve C. — September 20, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

  10. Steve is going to want Wilford to linger in Arkansas, while Bruce is going to want to pull him over the river to Tennessee. If only this were the worst controversy we ever saw on the blogs! :)

    Hunter must have had something better to do in youth than watch melodramatic westerns. “Heap” is how TV Indians of the ’50s and ’60s talked. Your “thanks heaps” or “thanks a lot” is the right “translation.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 20, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  11. “Heap thanks”


    Comment by Geoff J — September 22, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

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