Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Guest Post: Brother to Brother, 1886

Guest Post: Brother to Brother, 1886

By: Grant Vaughn - March 26, 2013

[My response to Grant on reading this post was that it was almost too heart-breaking to read. Brace yourselves.]

In continuing work with my cousin on the prison diary of George C. Wood (1854-1923), our 2nd Great Grandfather (sentenced for unlawful cohabitation), we came across a letter that George C. copied into his diary from his brother, Peter C. Wood (1852-1929).

Arizona, Showlow
Apache Co.

July 31, 1886

My Dear Brother, George C. Wood

With pleasure I received your letter of July 11. Was very glad to hear from you and to learn that you was well and happy and enjoying yourself as much as possible under the present circumstances. Nevertheless, praise ye the Lord, for he has said He never would forsake his saints. The Holy Spirit of God is with us in all our trials, troubles and persecutions. And the ministering of Angels of God are watching over us and causing our hearts to burn with joy and gratitude to our heavenly Father, under all circumstances and continually overruling all things for our best good, if we will but keep his commandments, and walk in obedience to his laws, and acknowledge his hand in all things that transpire or befall us as a people in this life while preparing ourselves for eternal happiness in the world to come. Where the wicked cannot trouble and the righteous are at rest.

Our Dear little Blessed Children, Chloe, Mahala, and Malinda have departed this life. Chloe died on Saturday July 18, ten minutes after seven o’clock P.M. Mahala died July 20, ten minutes to four o’clock P.M. Malinda died July 29, half past two o’clock P.M. All of scarlet fever. Malinda was taken sick July 13. Chloe and Mahala was taken sick on the evening of the 15. Our house is silent, their voices are hushed. I have no children to run and meet me at the dooryard. I hear not their little voices singing sweet melodies. We celebrated on the 5 of July in commemoration of July 4 [which was on a Sunday that year]. My three little girls stood up and sang together.

I’m going to write to papa,
I guess he’d like to hear
what his little girl is doing,
The same as when he is near.
I’ll tell him how I miss him,
And how I wish he’d come,
And never never leave us,
But always stay at home


I’m going to write to papa –
And oh! how glad he’ll be.
To get a little letter,
That was written all by me —

I’ll tell him bout my dolly,
She’s sleeping on the floor.
I fear that noise will wake her.
Oh! please don’t slam the door.
For I must not be bothered,
That’s what my ma would say,
When she begins a letter,
And sends us off to play.


I’m going to write to papa —
I’ll send him lots of kisses,
And on bright shining curl,
I’ll ask him to remember,
His lovely little girl.
I want so much to see him,
But I won’t cry a wink,
Cause when I write my letter,
My tears would blot my ink.

Mahala sang alto and they sang so lovely that everybody made remarks about them singing. And they never disbehaved their selves in meeting in their lives. They sang many pieces separately in the primary school, and could ask a blessing at the table as well as anyone. And could pray for each other in their sickness. Everybody in the place spoke well of our children. And we miss them yet.

We praise God from whom all blessings flow. And we look anxiously for the coming of the Son of man, and the resurrection of the just. When we can meet our mother and brothers and sisters, and our darling little girls five in number all under 8 years of age. Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

I am happy to know that you feel well and I pray earnestly for the blessings of peace and happiness to rest upon you always and upon all the saints of God that are there confined.

My love to them all, may God comfort your hearts, and you dear families at home. God bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Yours Truly,


The letter’s detailed information on the 1886 deaths of the three young daughters did not appear on LDS Family Tree or new.familysearch. It matches up with daughters born in Bountiful, Utah on Family Tree who only had their births recorded. And they had not been sealed to their parents. I added the info and the source and reserved the names. I offered to release them to my cousin as she found and transcribed the letter.

Peter and his wife Lauana Pace (1855-1901) had no more children. Two other young daughters had died previously in 1878. Peter died in Colonia Dublan, Chihauhua, Mexico in 1929. He had several other children by another wife.



  1. You’re right, Ardis. Heartbreaking. I think we forget how recently such tragedies were the common lot of families.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 26, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  2. As I read the first paragraph, I loved his strong testimony. But after reading the rest, his testimony is even more beautiful.

    Comment by Carol — March 26, 2013 @ 8:48 am

  3. This brings to mind this article.

    Comment by Carol — March 26, 2013 @ 8:51 am

  4. Good article, Carol. Thanks.

    I’d like to emphasize the obvious that family history does bring families together. And the inverse is also true – collaborating with relatives is the best way to do family history. It’s not just the sharing of the work, but the old idea that two heads (or more) are better than one to pick up loose ends and solve historical mysteries.

    Comment by Grant — March 26, 2013 @ 9:18 am

  5. Sorry, my link failed above. See my blog if you want more about the Wood Family. (Oh, or even here on Keepa). Someday . . . maybe we’ll put it all together in a book – at least the Territorial Penitentiary part.

    Comment by Grant — March 26, 2013 @ 9:31 am

  6. Heartbreaking. After reading the whole letter, I re-read the 1st paragraph. Knowing the circumstances it was written in, it seems such a statement of faith.

    “The Holy Spirit of God is with us in all our trials… And the ministering of Angels of God are watching over us… under all circumstances and continually overruling all things for our best good.”

    Get thee to the temple and seal that family together, so their daddy “will never never leave [them]/But always stay at home.

    …must stop typing…the tears are blotting my ink…

    Comment by The Other Clark — March 26, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  7. I was torn to hear of the three daughters dying within days of each other, and then later he drops the other shoe of two other daughters who had previously died. Some depths of sadness are too scary to contemplate. His testimony is all the more poignant for the amount of heartache suffered.

    Comment by kevinf — March 26, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

  8. Were the children not born in the covenant?

    Good for you, updating the information in the database. I’ve been trying to go through and correct things a little at a time in Family Tree, but it does take time. I always appreciate seeing that someone else from another branch of the family has been adding accurate sources and pictures and correcting dates and place names.

    Comment by Amy T — March 26, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

  9. Thanks, Amy. I did go back and check. The parents, Peter and Lauana, were sealed in person 17 Nov. 1887 in the St. George Temple after the deaths of their daughters. No idea why they did not seal their children to them. Maybe in those days they thought the sealing was retroactive?? With no descendants on this line, I don’t know how it would be caught (except by a collateral relative like descendants of his brother – as in my cousin and I). His second wife, Lucy Jane Flake (1870-1952), while married in “abt.” 1873 [?], does not seem to have children by him until 1889 and on in into the 20th century. They all seemed to have stayed in Mexico or Arizona and I saw some connection to a “Johnson” Family. So I stopped and didn’t bother with any more questions. We’ll get the three girls sealed. The first two already are, but not ’til 2007!

    Comment by Grant — March 26, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

  10. But wait! The 1887 sealing is under Peter’s name and with this spouse. Lauana’s records show a sealing to this spouse in 1871 in the Endowment House. Maybe the Endowment House records are not that complete? But why would they go to St. George in 1887? Too many questions. I’m just going to have my cousin seal the girls so we know they’re safe. Maybe they’re already all together if the records in heaven were kept better than the records here on earth, but they are supposed to match. We have to be sure . . . .

    Comment by Grant — March 26, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

  11. Well, that “abt. 1873” date for the second marriage is definitely wrong! :)

    Why would they go to St. George? Second marriage, the Honeymoon Trail, and all that.

    On having ordinances done, I’d guess you’d rather be safe than sorry if an ordinance doesn’t show up in the records.

    And, by the way, I never said: what a beautiful letter. So touching and sad.

    Comment by Amy T — March 26, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

  12. I have people in my family who lost a lot of children, but not ALL of them. The saddest part of this letter, to me, is when he writes about his daughters singing and now his house was hushed. That just tore my heart out.

    Comment by Maurine — March 27, 2013 @ 1:25 am

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