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 Missionary Letters of Edwin Centennius Penrose

Edwin Penrose, good looking well dressed young man

  Letters to His Father Charles W. Penrose

and His Mother Lucetta Stratford Penrose 

Southern States Mission 1898-99 

A Note to Readers:

In transcribing these letters I have tried to keep the original spelling, abbreviations, punctuation and slang.  I prefer to use a minimum of brackets.  I have broken up a few long paragraphs for greater readability.

Susan Woodland Howard

 Miller Station, Miss. 3/23/1898

 Dear Father:

Your kind communication of 15th came to hand O.K.  Eld Tuddenham and I have had much to contend with during the last few weeks but glad to say that with the help of God we have come off—so far—victorious.  I rec’d the Living Light’s all right.  I got some fine point in them.  About the “Beau ideal” racket your answer is enough.  I wanted some information concerning it.  Will ask for more advice later.  I’ll be glad to get the braces.  I need ‘em. 

The people are looking for a cyclone in this country.  The weather is very strange.  Cloudy and very warm.  Flowers out in full bloom.  An old Catholic tackled me yesterday and got cleaned up for his paines.  They are the worst yet.  I wish you would explain all of the 12 C of Rev’.  I know some but can’t harmonize all.  Also 13 C. 

The Government have been, and are sending troops to Atlanta and other points on the Southern Coasts.  I’d like to have a job on a “man o’ war” and knock daylights out of those half-breed dagos.  My health is fairly good considering the change in the weather.  Since started this letter the weather has turned cold.  It may be hot again in two hours.  Preached the other night on B of M.  Had fine liberty.  I’m glad the young folks are taking interest in the YMMIA.  I wish they’d stir things up a bit in old slowpoke 9th Ward.                                                                                               

Love to Mother and all                                                             

Your loving son Ed. 

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Oglesby, Miss Apr 6th 1898

 My Dear Father: 

I know of no better opportunity of answering yours of the 31st than at present.  Having just taken a most refreshing bath I feel much better.  Last night I retired with a cathartic pill, 9 grains of quinine and two hot lemonades ‘neath my belt; to say nothing of a chunk of alum in my mouth, and two toes tied up with cranberry “sauce.”

I have been dyeing my summer’s coat and vest, also my hat.   My winter clothes are almost ready to fall off, so I am glad spring is here for that reason.  I need a pr. of shoes and will borrow $2.00 from bro. Oglesby and get them myself and know what I am getting.  I sent to the Chattanooga office for some and they are N. G.  If you can send me $2.00 within the next two weeks I will pay bro. O back. 

I have used a great no. of books and tracts since our Sept conf. and don’t want to get anything from the office except literature.  Eld’ Tud and I have been enjoying the society of Eld’s Ashby & Alvord for a week and had a “Jim dandy” time.  I wrote to Frank the same day I did to Ernest; I hope he rec’s it OK.  The braces you sent arrived OK and are doing effectual work & etc.  Thank you!  My rheumatism is spasmodic in its nature.  It comes on suddenly and—ouch!—that’s it now!  In my right hip and both knees. 

I am glad to hear that George is doing better and hope that he will continue doing better.  It’s a testimony of no small weight to me every time I think of the contrast of my former life and now.  While I realized I am not as good as I should be I hope to keep on the road of improvement.  Glad to hear of you all being well and I hope you will stay that way.  I will strive to profit by your counsel and please make mention of Tud and I in your prayers.  DeSoto has some good people in her and I am very anxious to get ‘em.  No doubt if I were home I would imbibe the spirit of war and take a notion to go to the front.  I would not be surprised if war was “poured out on all nations” ere long.  What do you think of it?  Would a war with Spain effect our labors in any way.

My address will always be Hernado DeSoto Co. Miss unless otherwise directed.  The weather is turning some warmer but it is so changeable you can never tell what it will be two hours ahead.  I am quite busy now and should write more.  Give my love to Mother and the rest.  Excuse scrawl.  My love and blessing to you. 

Write soon.  Eld “Tud” sends regards.  If you can kindly send the copy of Improvement Era with your Ingorsoll article to WW Perry, Cockrum, DeSoto Co. Miss.  He is a good friend. 

With Love, Your son Ed

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Lewisburg, Miss 4/18/98

 My Dear Parents:

I haven’t heard from you for some time, but I presume that owing to conference you have not had much time.  My experience during the past week has not been altogether pleasant, but it has been most profitable to us. Eld’ Tuddenham and I are still together but I think we will be changed by the 25th of present month.  I hope not however, for we are so united in our work and I delight in aiding him to develop in this great work.  I remember how helpless I was 15 months ago. 

We worked two little cities last week and left our testimonies with all who would receive them.  Since conference—Jan ‘29/98 the spirit of persecution has been somewhat augmented, altho’ we have been very fortunate.  Some of the brethren have been mobbed and last week Elders Wheeler & Taylor were whipped by a gang of “Christian gentlemen.”  Have no fear for me though for DeSoto Co is civilized if not christianized.  In a little town that answers to the conspicuous cognomen of “Kelly” we were right royally entertained “nit” as they say.  We visited a Methodist minister, who by the way is “sanctified holy without sin.”  But strange to relate, when he was informed that we were “mormon Elders,” his “holy sanctification” fell several degrees.  He ranted and snorted and almost had a fit and all in it.  We tried to get him into the scriptures but “no siree,” “ugh!” “Get out of my house!”  “Clear out!  --ah r-e-r-O!”  Curtain.

Say father and mother you won’t know your boy when he returns.  I’ve learned to control myself almost perfectly.  I can keep cool when the “enemy” is snorting like and engine going up a steep grade.  And thanks to God I am learning to “bless them which persecute me” and “love my enemy’s.”  Jesus well knew how we could bring to perfection the attribute of love when he said, “Love your enemies.”   After we left “Kelly” the consoling words of the Savior came to me:  “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and shall cast your name out as evil, for the Son of mans sake.”  Luke 6:22 Sometimes however, I fell like suggesting to the “Christians” of the 19th C. to use automatic breast-pump to draw out the milk of human kindness.  But I suppose they would say, “no longer needed.”  “These things are done away.”  Still I feel that the results are with the Lord.  That’s none of our business.  If we do our duty we will have enough to attend to wont we? 

Our conference has been almost drained of strong Eld’s.  The 25th of this month Eld’ Callan goes to Eng’ by request of his father for genealogies.  I’d like that too.  Our former conf. president and one councilor has gone to Ga to open up a conference there.  DeSoto is coming on ok.  Last night we preached at this place to a large crowd, in our Tabernacle furnished by B.F. Lewis of this place.  The Spirit of God was with us and we both had great power.  Thanks be to the Father!  Mr. Lewis and wife have treated me as near like a mother and father as it is possible for “strangers” to do.  I believe they will join the Church.  The finest family I have met in the South.  I’m quite well but only weigh 128.

Well, write soon.  God bless you all.                              

Your Loving son


Hernando Miss.  “All’s Well.”

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Bright, Miss. April 21st 1898

My Dear Parents: 

I was pleased yesterday when the P.M. handed me a letter from “Box B.”  I wrote to you last Monday but perhaps another letter now will not be out of order.  The “enclosed” came up OK.  Thank you.  I am also thankful you sent the Ingersoll article to friend Perry and will be doubly glad if you can find time to write to M. J. Harris & wife. 

I believe I have mentioned several times my friends the Lewis family.  B.F. Lewis, wife & eight fine children.  One of the sons W. T. Lewis is going to write to you, so he says.  Theirs is the finest family I’ve met in the South.  They are educated and refined.  If I were to give you the history of Mr. Lewis life you would say “another Job.”  He was once a wealthy merchant and had more than his share of the “ups and downs” that characterize that kind of life, and finally a cyclone came alone and ruined him financelly.  Then came one thing and another but thro’ it all he exclaimed, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed by the name of the Lord.”  He is now in the bee business and is getting on fine.  He has a nice home and I am welcome there any time for which I thank my Heavenly Father.  “Brother” Lewis and family are members of the methodist society and I fully believe most of them will unite with the Church of Jesus  Christ this summer.  Pray for my success in that direction. 

The second Sunday in May we preach at Lewisburg again, in “our Tabernacle.”  I hope to have your faith and prayers from now till then in a “special manner.”  The 1st Sunday is ours as well as your fast day.  Remember me then.  We fast every Sunday.  “Tud” is still with me, but on the 28th of present month I get a new companion.  “Fresh fish(ers).”  I’m a training Elder and will try to do my duty by my new companion whoever he may be.  I enclose part of Pres. Kimball’s letter to our conf. which explains my duty in this capacity.  DeSoto Co is not so densely populated as I thought it was and if not hindred by Yellow Jack this summer we will be through with it by fall. 

War is about all you can hear now and I for one am sick of it.  I wish they would get to fighting or forever shut up.  If we do fight I’ll wager a penny that Spain will wish she had loaded poor Columbus with chains before he discovered this country.  I don’t want war if it can be avoided with honor, but honor can never be expressed in dollars, neither can liberty be measured by scales as a yardstick.  McKinlay is too tame.  This country is playing the bully act it seems to me.  The brawling in the House the other day senseless and inchoerent is an indication of the kind of long-eared asses we have at Washington.  Like similar disgraceful exhibitions in England, France and Germany, it proves that in the most highly civilized countries manners are a veneer and not a very thick veneer either.  Messers Bartlett and Brunner (?) should be tethered somewhere out on the desert where their braying would not disturb decent people and they could comfortably kick each other to death.  Well, I must not draw too much on the “invective” should I?

My corns are sore but I am trying some stuff given me by friend Harris.  Rheumatism is not so bad as it was.  I’m glad you had a nice conference and very very glad Pres. Woodruff was able to speak.  Long may he live!  “Never say die” is a good motto even if it is English dontcherknow.  Ha, ha, ha.  Only a Joke, see?  I will try to put said motto into practical adaptation. 

My suspenders are no suspenders to by labers by any means.  Rather on the opposite side.  I must not close without telling you of the answer to our prayers we rec’d this morning.  We have had a hard time to get our washing done and the other day the idea came to me if I wanted anything to ask for it.  So we did ask of the Lord.  Yesterday we called on some people by the name of Sanders, took dinner with them and was invited to stay all night.  We accepted.  This morn Mr. S came to “our” room and said:  “If you would like any washing done my wife will have the niggers do it for you, we had ours done yesterday but we can have yours done today.”  We accepted.  That is a testimony, isn’t it?  I am enjoying pretty good health.  Give my love to all.  Ask Slivers to get a move on herself and answer my letter.  I dread this summer.  Hot!

Good by, God bless you all. - Your Loving Son, - E.C.Penrose

P.S.  Did you get the flowers I sent you Mother? - Keep the enclosed for me.  My address will be Hernando; as usual.


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Sardis  Apr. 29, 1898

                 Elders Penrose & Comp.

                                 Dear Bros.

Elder Albert H. Kempton arrived here yesterday & will go & labor in Tate with Elder Cranney.  Elder Tuddenham arrived O.K. at 10:00 today after a good trip.  We are glad to see him so filled with the Spirit of work.  He & I enter Batesville tomorrow, & Elders Alvord & Callan into Sardis.  Elders Stamworth in the country & Elder K toward Tate.  In this position we are going to put forth strenuous efforts the coming week, for the Lord helps those who help themselves & these people, & are willing to bury individuality under sword of duty. 

Sorry Pres. Ms. cannot be with you, in Lewisville, on the 8th, as he is not yet here.  You can feed them Elder P. am persuaded you are pleased with your comp & will do all expected along the line of training & that your ability in that direction will materialize in promotion to responsible position.

And your companion, whoever he is, we welcome you into our ranks as an authoritive soldier against error.  You have m much cause for thankfulness to God that you are in the S.S. Mission, the North Ala Conf. & above all to have the developing position afforded in traveling with Elder Penrose, who with yourself, is one of the choice Spirits of heaven, he honored with the privilage of training Elders. 

Do your duty to God, each other, & mission.  Your devoted Bro. Rodney Ashby.

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Lewisburg, May 6th, 1898

 My Dear Parents:

We are again in the land of the living.  Or in other words we are once more prepared to hold forth in the now famous Tabernacle of Lewisburg.  Elder Tuddenham is “done gone” into Panola Col and my companion Eld. Chas’ Jacobsen “and me are yet, yea even-yet-at-it-in-DeSoto.”  Enclosed is a letter I just rec’d from Pres. Ashby, one of the noblest boys in the S.S.M.

The weather “kold” and miserable today, hot and sultry yesterday.  Frizzle and fry and shiver!

Last Sunday we had a testimony that is well worth relating so here goes.  We obtained permission to use a certain school house to hold meetings in and forthwith begin to hold.  An old man whose name is Johnson kicked up a row and said we should not preach.  We knew he had no authority to stop us so we still continued.  He (the old man) came storming in and demanded our names.  Now it chanced we had some influential friends there.  One, a Mr. Sanders, director of the Hernando Bank.  Then our friends spoke up and said:  “Take my name too.”  “Mine too” and a small voice in the corner piped out “take mine too, ‘granpaw.’”  Our friends said they would furnish a lawyer in case we needed one.  But we didn’t.  We then went on with the meeting.  I preached on the B of M. and after I got through a preacher who was in the congregation asked permission to speak.  It was granted and he spoke.

He commenced in rather a hostile spirit but in less than one minute was confounded and began to blubber like a fellow with a new set of false teeth.  And in less than 4 minutes concluded thusly:  “friends we have been well entertained by these gentlemen and let us investigate their claims.”  How’s that?  A man nearly fifty years old and studied the bible all his life, been preaching 10 years.  Just as Paul says to the Cor’ Saints:  “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” 

Thanks, praise and honor be to God for his loving and merciful care over us.  I feel that I rec’ blessings far beyond my deserts.  I want to always be humble and thankful to Him.  Several of our friends want to build a church.  One man, Dr Lauderdale will give the land and $20.00.  Father your letters to Harris & Lewis are fine.  A preacher sent W T Lewis’s father an anti-mormon pamphlet full of vile lies and Mr. L is going to send it back with this message “Weighed in the balance and found wanting.”  Got just about half of DeSoto done and will be glad when it is finished.  Whats the matter with Lucille?  Give my love to Kate & Brown and all of ‘em.  Remember me in your prayers and fasting.

God bless you all

Your Son


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Lewisburg, Miss.  May 9th 1898

 My Dear Father:

I wrote to you last Sat’ but owing to certain circumstances that have been brought about since then, causes me to write again.  I mail you with this mail some photos.  One of B.F. Lewis and family, and one of his “bee yard.”

B. F. Lewis is the subject of this letter.  As you will know, he and his family have been as kind to me as it is possible for them to be.  He has tendered the use of his vacant storehouse for a “Tab” in which we have been preaching.  He is favorably impressed with Mormonism and has been reading a great deal.  Of course the opposite power has shown itself.  Al manner of lies and slanders have been told on us and the other day a preacher sent Lewis an Anti-Mormon pamphlet written by one John Eaton, L. L. D. of Washington D.C.  It, like all the rest, is full of lies and misrepresentation. 

The other day the pastor of the Methodist church, of which B. F. & family are members of, called on Mr. Lewis and tried to convince him that we were not “Orthodox.”  Mr. L. has read considerable mormon literature and heard us preach and of course knows that if anybody is orthodox it is us.  He told the preacher so.  The preacher hinted that the church would take Mr. Lewis in hand for it.  The only charge they can make will be that he was encouraging us and we are not “Orthodox.”  Mr. L. thinks they will “try” him and he will not submit to it and is determined that I shall defend him.  I have consented to do so and I know and feel that with God’s help I can do it in a way that will cause our enemies to gasp for breath.  I believe Lewis and family will join the church ere I leave De Soto Co.  I also believe the Methodists will “church him” as they call it.  If they do I will skin them alive on the question of “orthodoxy” and also have a chance to preach the Gospel to some of the learned divines (?)  Now what I want is this:  Can I get B. H. Roberts “a New Witness for God”?  Can you send it to me in care of B. F. Lewis, Lewisburg, DeSoto Co. Miss and write him a note also?

If you can give me any information relating to the Methodist Church I would be glad.  Have no fears for Edwin C.  The Lord God of Israel is with me and I will come out on top with the banner of Eternal Truth triumphantly waving.  Remember me in your prayers.  I preached last night on the subject of Was Joseph a Prophet?  Had fine liberty for one hour and thirty minutes.  Alls well. 

Love to all.  In haste so excuse scrawl write soon or sooner.



Yours of 4 just here.  Glad to hear from you.  Ed

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Lewisburg, May 16, 1898

My Dear Parents:

Only a few lines to say hello.  Attended Methodist meeting yesterday and got fits from the preacher.   The lies and slanders he told would fill a good-sized book.  He advised the people not to entertain us but “brother” Lewis (I always call him brother) and family are just as firm as ever.  This preacher tried to do and say all the mean things he could think of but it only aided us so much the more.  Last week we held 18 meetings, visited 72 families, revisited 13, distributed 206 tracts and sold 12 voice of warnings and gave three away.  So the work goes on in the face of bitter opposition.  Sat’ an article came out in one of the county papers that was vile.  Today I wrote an article to a Hernando paper which I hope they will publish. 

If they do I’ll send it to you.  Summer is on us and it is going to be beautiful soon.  I don’t know how I’ll stand it in this low country.  For the next month we will be in the Mississippi bottom.  As it is sickly there we will rush our work.  Eld. Jacobsen stands the work remarkably well.  Kindly tell “Slivers” I’ll answer her letter soon as I have time.  I’m not feeling as well as usual, but will be OK ere long no doubt.  Well, I must put a patch on my pants so must close.  God bless you all.  Your Loving Son

Ed Penrose

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Bright Miss June 1st 1898

My Dear Parents:

Father’s letters of 15 and 26th arrived in due time.  I was very thankful for them both.  Am glad you are all well and enjoying life.  Since my last writing I have been very sick.  “Dumb chills” and fever.  About the time I was forced to take my bed I was with friends and good friends.  Geo. L. Smith and his charming little wife could not have been more kind to me if I had been their own brother.  They live at Bright, Miss.  Friday and Sat 26-27 I was awful sick and Mr. Smith went to Hernando and employed a good Dr.  I protested but ‘twas in vain.  They doped me all night Sat and all day Sunday with fever medicine and quinine.  Besides chills and fever I had hypercatharsis.  Sad isn’t it?  I am much better now and with good friends J. R. Lauderdale and family.  I asked young Smith what the Dr. bill would be and he said:  “Never mind the bill.  I’ll pay that for you.”  For which I am very thankful.  I am going to take a good rest now before I go to work again.

Funny things have happened at Lewisburg.  The poor Methodists are having trouble much.  Since the advent of Mormonism in their midst “things have taken a turn.”  If the good “Christians” would only come to me with their tale o’ woe I’d supply them with “tear Jugs’,” ship the salt to the brewery in St. Lewis and get rich.  It’s a great scheme.  O it’s a snap!  You see its on this wise:  with the Methodist the bigger the pay the better the preacher.  Lewisburg has always been noted for its poor preachers until a year ago; with a crowbar or something they managed to open their hearts, likewise their purses and purchased a good preacher.  So they imagine.  When the “Mormons” came in the preacher kicked up a devil of a row.  Didn’t blame him much ‘cause by taking half of his flock made a cut in wages see?  If I was working in a store getting good pay and some fellow should come along and offer to do the work better and for nothing, I’d take a maule [maul: hammer or mallet] to him.  Well, the preacher got up in the pulpit and said “old Joe Smith used to steal chickens when he was a boy” etc.  and he made such a blatant ass of himself generally that some more of his members got down on him.  Now the funny part is that the remaining members can’t pay the price that the man of God demands, and unless he comes down very low they will have to be content with an inferior brand of grace.  They tried every way possible to get us Eld’s out of the way.  They have the court, I am told, ready to try friend Lewis but they didn’t want me in the way.  The other day a cunning little plot was laid to get me out of the way but it failed.  A Dr. at Lewisburg, named Wilkins, an intellectual mis-fit, went to the Grand Jury and beg’d them to make an indictment against me at once.  The charge was to be trespass.  The Jury was composed mostly of our friends and of course they ignored the long-eared yap who signs himself M.D. (mad dog.)  Young Smith that took such good care of me was on the Jury and he told me all about it.  “A drowning man will grasp at a straw.”

I hope they will let me defend Bro. Lewis.  I’ll do it with the ability the Lord giveth.  Roberts “A New Witness for God” was rec’d by friend Lewis but I have not been their lately and of course have not seen it yet.  De Soto County is now finished as far as canvassing is concerned.  Scores of books & hundreds of tracts have been given away.

Well, I hope some of the seed will fall on “good ground.”  I would like to see some more fruits of my labors, but the results are with God.  I’m glad our noble State responded to the call of the President to defend our country.  “Rah fer Utah!  If Geo continues to manifest such a belligerent spirit I would suggest the war as a good place for development.  “Rah fer George!  I like peace but I’d given a pretty to have witness that scrap.  No.  I have not heard from Frank yet.

I am very glad to hear the good tidings of Pres. Woodruff and Elder Grant.  Long may they live for the good cause.

Kindly tell Lucille, Elder Hinkly has not been released yet for some cause or other.  Give my love to all the folks.  Am glad Brown is at work.

May God bless you all.

Your Loving Son

Edwin C. Penrose

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Lewisburg, Miss.  June 17, 1898

My Dear Parents:

I am much better today as my writing this letter will indicate.  President McGregor wrote to you the other day.  I suppose you rec’d it all right.  Lewis’s have been as kind to me as possible and if it had not been for them I should have been in a bad fix.  I now weigh but 111 pounds and that is not enough.  I must have a rest and take some kind of a tonic.  Could you recommend anything?

I have not heard from you for about two weeks.  I hope you are all well.  Sunday June 26th I will preach my last sermon at Lewisburg.  Will then go to Laws Hill, Marshall Co. Miss, do some baptizing and take a good rest.  Then to Union Co and Alcorn.  [?]  From the latter Co, I will travel with Pres. Mc.  The Methodists have bit off more than they can chew in the Lewis case and I am persuaded that they will try to drop the matter but Lewis will not let them.  I am in need of a hat and a pr. of pants.  The former could not be sent, but if the pants could be mailed so they would reach here by Sat 26th I would feel very thankful to you all.  I expect to leave De Soto Co on the 27th.  My love and best wishes to you all.  Your loving Son

Edwin C.

[In pencil] Pants size 32-32.

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Brights, June 23/98

My Dear Parents:

I suppose that ere this you are in receipt of my letter of the 18th.  I am now feeling more like myself, if I do only weigh 111 pounds.  The Lewis family have taken the best of care of me during my severe illness.  And I must not fail to mention the Lauderdales of this place who have been extremely kind to me.  I have recovered from my sleeplessness and can put in seven hours every night “sawing gauards.”  My food also seems to do me the good it should do, and in fact, I am better all over.  I expect to leave this country next Monday, so please address your next letter to Laws Hill, Marshall Co, Miss.  I expect to do some baptizing there and will no doubt remain there for a week, or possibly ten days.  My garments are beginning to go and if some of the girls could manage to make me some more I would be very glad indeed.  Will tell you later where to send them.  Kindly tell ‘Cille I will answer her letter soon.  I have done nothing for the last month on account of bad health, but lay around.  I expect to keep busy at the same job for the next month to come.  I did not have “chills and fever” as it was first supposed, but had “break-bone fever.”

I attended the Methodist meeting last Sunday and the preacher did not have anything to say about Mr. L’s trial.  He (the Preacher) is trying to let the matter drop but Lewis would not let him do so.  Lewis jumped up in meeting and told the preacher something had to be done.  Mr. Lewis has a “Ready Reference” and he thinks he can “lick” ‘em himself.  My friends here have tried in every conceivable way to persuade the preacher to meet me, but nary a meet can I get out of him.  I wrote a letter to one of the Hernando papers this week and if it comes out I will send it to you.  The Harris’s and Lewis’s and several other families are convinced that Mormonism is true but popularity keeps them from accepting it.  They all say yes, its true but I am not good enough to be L.D.S.  Of course, that is an old trick of the devil and no doubt you are familiar with it.  Next Sunday is “Mormon-day” at Lewisburg.  I presume the largest crowd ever assembled in DeSoto Co will be seen at the Burg.  Remember us in your prayers.  My companion is will.  Crops look promising for the Mormons friends.  Weather very warm.  Give my love to all and write soon and often.

Your Loving Boy


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Lewisburg, Miss   June 26, 1898

My Dear Parents:

I sent you a card yesterday stating I was sick again.  Well I was, but I am now all right again.  Do not have any fear for my health I am OK.  I rec’d the black pants and $2.00 bill for which I am very thankful to you.  I have rec’d all of your letters and was very glad to get them.  I will now write to Pres. Rich and tell him I am all right.  I am not going to travel with Pres. This summer.  Supt of Sunday Schools E. E. Hinckley has been released and I have been appointed to fill his place.  My field of labor will be wherever I care to go in Miss or Ala.  I am going to Laws Hill sometime this week.  And then for a good rest sure.  Brother Lewis says the reason he has not answered your letter is that he wished to wait until after his trial so he could tell you of it.  I will do all you advised me to do, and am sure I will profit thereby.

Am sorry that Cille has a lame arm and hope she will recover soon.

Today is Mormon Day at Lewisburg.  I guess we will have a large crowd in our Tabernacle.  I am going to preach at 11-3 and 8 o’clock.

I am sorry to hear of George’s condition: it is too bad that he cannot see the folly of his position.  But there’ll come a time some day.

Well, I must right to Ben E. Rich, and Pres. Mc. So will break off here for the present.  Do not have any fear of my welfare.  I am recovering rapidly.  I am sorry I sent the card yesterday but this will set the matters right.  Address Hernando till further notice.

Your Loving Son

E C Penrose

Monday morning:

Yesterday was a grand day at Lewisburg.  The Tabernacle was packed and jammed to its fullest extent.  I preached morning afternoon and night.  Had five apply for baptism.  Hurrah for DeSoto.


The Lewis’s send their love to you.

Card enclosed:

W. T. Lewis


Solicitor for

Globe Bible Publishing Co.

Of Philadelphia, PA.

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Laws Hill Miss.   July 9th, 1898

My Dear Parents, Bros & Sisters:

Your kind favors of the first came to hand yesterday.  I am sorry my card gave you any alarm.  I did not intend it so.  I have received everything you have sent me and hope you all will accept my sincere thanks. I appreciate your kindness beyond my ability to express.  I am taking a good rest with the saints of this place.  These are the ones I baptized and they are firm and steadfast in the faith which makes my heart swell with Joy.  Since the arrival of the sage I have had considerable fun.  As you all know, wild sage tea hasn’t the most delicious taste in the world and there was a hot time in the old town last night.  I gave ‘em all a large dose of  “Mormon tea.”  I believe it will fix me up OK.  I did not do some of the baptizing I expected to do on account of the illness of one of the candidates.  With the aid of the world, the flesh and the devil people can hatch out excuses a plenty for not being baptized.

Day before yesterday Eld. C. A. Sperry, one of the noble Elders of our conf’ left for his home in S. L. City.  He is going to visit you soon and tell you about missionary life in the South.  Elder E. E. Hinckley will also visit you I suppose.  He was our S.S. Supt. Our conference meets Aug 13-14-15 and then I’ll go to Ala.  Prest Kimball writes:  “As a matter of news it will be interesting to you to learn of my appointment as chaplain to the 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Engineers ...  I shall try to prove myself in a measure worthy of the blessings of the Lord . . . Though I may, peradventure be called to the Philippine Islands, I’ll not forget you, but shall affectionately remember you and shall pray for you, asking the blessings of the Lord to be upon you continually.”

We were sorry to see Prest. Kimball leave us, as his faith & zealous efforts has undoubtedly done much to place the S. S. Mission where it now stands.  I am glad, however, that Elder Ben E. Rich has been chosen to succeed him as I feel assured that under his guidance this mission will lose none of its present prestage. [prestige?]  Kindly explain the enclosed you sent to me.  Elder Bellows, my former DeSoto Co. Companion, is very sick in Tunica County.  Mississippi is very unhealthy and I am going to put the balance of my time in North Alabama.

Give my love to all.  Write soon and address Michigan City, Benton Co. Miss.  Praying Got to bless you all, I remain

Yours as ever

Edwin C. Penrose

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Michigan City, July 20th 1898

My Dear Father:

Yours with Alice’s enclosed is at hand but your pamphlets on Josephites I did not get.  I shall write to sister soon and acknowledge the receipt of her kind letter and present—thank you.  I leave here in a few moments for Lee + Union Co’s & from thence I know not where.  Tell Cille not to feel offended at anything Elmer Hinckley said.  He is full of fun and means no harm.  Sorry mother’s eye is not well & hope she will soon recover.  Give my love to her & all the folks.

My health is much better altho’ I have had some “shakers” recently.  I am sorry to learn of Pres. G. Q. Cannon’s condition.  Also that the Church is in debt.  I am not surprised at the failure of the “News” nor am I surprised that the people desire you to return there.  I wish you would.  That is, if you did not have to work so hard.  I am glad to learn of Frank’s cusses.  Hop it will continue so.  Give my love to the folks of the 11th.  When I reach Union I will write you again.  My timid converts will be baptized after conference.  Excuse short note.  My love to you all.

May God bless you.

Your Son [& c?]

Edwin C.

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Baker, Miss.  July 25, 1898

My Dear Parents:

The work still goes on in spite of opposition, and “North Alabama Conference” is doing here share of spreading the “Eternal Truths of Heaven.”  It seems, however, that Pres. Rich is trying to annihilate us by releasing so many of our Elders.  Within the last month he has released 9 of our strongest Elders.  Among them Rodney Ashby, 1st counselor to our beloved President.  This is a hard blow to us.  Pres. McGregor is now holding quarterly conference with the Saints in Alcorn Co, Miss. And for five days I have been laying around at friends Pannells [?] hospitable home, writing letters &c.  I believe I am gaining in weight, and verily I aught to, for I have undergone the pleasant experience of Chills and fever succeeded by quinine, calomel, oil, salts, miscellaneous pills and other delicious compounds! 

There’s no news here worth repeating.  Everything and everybody (Mormon Elders excepted) seemed to be full of ennui as a tariff editorial, slightly tempered by a faint hope of finding an excuse for committing a homicide.  I declare if it was not for our work, it would be like being consigned alive to a second-hand sepulcher and sodded down with crocodile tears beneath a lying epitaph; to live her in “de lan’ of cotton.”  But blessed hope!  It will not always be so.  “There’ll come a time someday.” 

I must not forget to tell you about my “set-to” with a learned divine of the Methodist breed.  I offered him a “tract” but he scornfully rejected it, saying:  “It’s full of lies and blasphemies!  I’ve never read one and don’t want to.  You’re tramps, so just tramp on!”  I did not “tramp on” but remained there and had a good time.  I will not quote the scripture I gave him, but will refer you to chap & vs and you can read it for yourselves.  P for Penrose and M for Methodist:

P:  “My dear sir.  You profess to be a servant of God—a minister of the Gospel, and if so you should certainly conduct yourself as much like a gentleman as a “tramp” at least.”

M:  “We don’t want you in this country and we’re not going to have you here!

P:  “I have something to say to you, and I want you to listen.  You have taken advantage of us in the pulpit and made statements that were false-assertions which I defy you to prove sir!”

M:  “What did I say that was not true?”

P:  “You said we were not preaching the Gospel, that our doctrine was a lie and would send men and women to hell.  Now listen to what Paul says (Gal. 1:8) What did Paul preach?  (See Heb, 6-1,2,3 vs.)  Did not Paul preach that?  And did not Peter preach the same thing as Paul preached?  (See Acts 2-37, 38, 39 vs.)  Is that not the doctrine of Christ—the Gospel?”  I referred him then to II Peter 1st chap 20-21 vs.  Also II John 8 vs.  “Now sir, is that the doctrine of Christ?” I asked “and do you preach it?”

“Um well” quothe he.  “I, er, get out of here I don’t want to talk to you!!” 

“You are afraid,” I said, “to meet me with your bible and compare Wesleyism or any other ism with so-called Mormonism!”  But he voussafed me no answer, but a look that will last me a long time.  I asked for “bread” and he gave me wind pudding!

Methinks these sectarian ministers should employ their gall to transform the seas into ink with which to chronicle their greatness.  Speaking on ink thou:  you must not take any exceptions to this ink, it belongs to my hectograph

Elder Jacobsen is still with me.  Our conference will perhaps be held at Teasdale, Tallahatchie Co, Miss.

I hope mother’s eye is well, and that you are all well and happy.  Father will you go back to the “News” if the people insist on it?  How’s Lucille’s are?  Is Geo’ at work?  What is Brown doing?  Give my love to all.  Must close now to catch the mail.

Your Loving Son,

E C Penrose

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Egypt, Miss. Aug 8, 1898

Beloved Parents:

I’m OK.  Held Sunday School with the Saints here yesterday.  I have organized a splendid S.S. here.  One more new Elder in our conf. L. R. Farley of Ogden.  He belongs to “Uncle Edwin’s Ward.”   Elder Tuddenham—“Tud” you know—is with me for a few days.  I’m going to try and fix it so we can travel together after conf.  Elder Bellows is here also, and has the “Chills.”  But he hasn’t a monopoly on them for E. C. P. had a dandy yesterday and one Friday.  Pres. Rich has given us some encouragement by sending word that he was not going t keep the Elders—only 26 months at the longest.  How you like dat?  If such is the case prepare for E. C. P next Feb.  Eh?  Haven’t heard from you for 3 weeks or more.  Maybe my P.M. is N. G.  I hope all the folks are well and enjoying life.  Did you and Lucille rec’ my letters of recent date?  Weather here is dry and hot.  Lots of sickness too.  “Slow fever.”  Eld. Tud sends regards to you.  Give my love to all excuse haste.

Your loving Son

E. C. Penrose

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Laws Hill, Miss. Aug 18, 1898

My Dear Parents:

Conference is a thing of the past.  I am glad its over with altho’ I enjoyed myself immensely.  Our noble band of 34 Elders assembled at Jackson Grove, Tallahatchie Co the 12 inst.  We were disappointed twice.  1st Satan stirred certain people up against us so we could not use the church that had been promised us.  2nd Pres Rich was not with us.  We had a splendid time.  Just the same, Elder Nels P. Nelson, 1st counselor to Pres. Rich, visited us and gave us much valuable instructions and encouragement.  At first I was inclined to think that he was bigoted—I was rather prejudiced but when I heard him preach I changed my mind.  He had the Spirit of the Lord with him.  You will no doubt read of the proceedings of our conference in the “News,” so will not attempt to say much about it here.  Our former conf Pres. Joseph McGregor and six other Elders are now speeding homeward.  I presume you will see Eld’s McG and Slack before this letter reaches you.  Our conf. officers are Joseph Skeen, president Eld’s Alword and Humphreys, Assts.  E. C. P., S.S. Supt.  My companion is LeRoy Farley of Ogden.  I believe I mentioned him in my last letter.  He is very apt, and I have no reason to complain. 

Last Sunday at 6:45 am I baptized brother Oglesby’s daughter Adeline and today (17th) I baptized her sister-in-law.  The Oglesby’s are all “Mormons” now.  In addition to these baptisms I have had the privilege of blessing a youngster and organizing two S.S.’s within one week.  Elder Nelson told us that we could expect our releases anytime between two years and 28 months from time of leaving home.  Hurrah!  Father I do not like to trouble you, but my account at the Chattanooga office has caused me a great deal of anxiety.  Pres. Rich earnestly requests that we send home for money with which to settle our accounts.  Except in one or two instances I have not sent to the office for anything save that which I needed.  I told Pres. Nelson that by the 10th of Dec. ’98 I thought my bill would be payed in some way or other.

I am now making a flying trip to DeSoto Co. and will then start for Alabama.  Mother:  some time ago I sent you some newspaper clippings and would be pleased to have them returned.  Enclosed please find a letter for “Slivers.”  My health is better but not good.  Quite thin yet.  By the by, the fecundity of my upper lip is simply marvelouse.  I have a real nice mustache dontcherknow!  Some of the Elders say “it” is the cause of me being so thin.  Perhaps it’s a case of “the survival of the fittest.”  Must close now as its time to go to bed.  Give my love to all the folks.  Your affectionate son

E. C. Penrose

Guntown [?], Lee Co. Miss.

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Lewisburg, Miss.  Aug 27/98.

My Dear Father:

Your favor of the 18th inst came to hand yesterday.  Was very glad to hear from you altho’ your letter was short.  I have at last rec’d your pamphlets.  They are splendid.  The best I have seen.  My success in the Sunday School work still continues.  Eld Farley is getting along fine.  It does me good to see and assist Eld’s to develop in the work of the Master.  I wrote Uncle Edwin a good letter a few days ago.  Guess he’ll be surprised.  I have spent the last week revisiting my friends in DeSoto Co.  They are as glad to see me as tho’ I was a son or brother.  And the way the chickens fly when they see me coming is a caution.  The weather continues H O T !  I’m now at Lewis’s but I am going to Cockourn today and back again Monday.  Friend Lewis is about six too many for these hot-headed self-righteous Methodists. He is going to beat them bad.  The E. E.’s would not let me appear as counsel for Lewis.

Glad to hear that Bert is home and hope he will try to do better in the future.  It seems that he is easily led by evil influences.

I think Amy’s “hubby” had better apply the soft-pedal to himself and not let it happen again.  Kindly extend my congratulations to Ettie and John. 

I am always glad to hear of Frank’s success.  He did receive my letter, you said so he did not answer it.  I would be glad to hear from him.  I send my love anyhow.

I am surprised to hear of Prsts. Woodruff and Cannon taking a trip to Cal!  I wrote bro Geo’ Q. a letter last week, relative to S.S. work.

I hope this is my last summer in the South.  That hope may be wrong but I can’t help it.  Give my love to Mother and the folks.

Excuse haste.  Must catch the P.B.  I’ll write again soon.

God bless you all

Lovingly your son

E C Penrose

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Damon Miss.  Sept 21 1898

Dear Father:

I rec’d three letters yesterday—one from Cille, two from you.  I was scared pretty bad when I opened yours of the 3rd inst, and learned of sisters (Slivers) condition, but I thank God from the bottom of my heart that her life was spared and trust that she will have no more trouble.  Enclosed please find a letter to her.  Now about that account:  I was as much surprised as you were at the figures.  Still, I have no reason to think there is any mistake.  You as “what is it all for?”  You remember a year ago last May I sent to the office for a suit of clothing and a pr. of shoes.  $14.00.  The following Sept I sent for hat for which they charged me $2.50.  In Oct I sent for a pr of shoes $300.  Jan’ ditto.  Last Aug I sent for another pr and had $1.75 charge to Eld Jacobsen and $1.25 to me.  Last Christmas you folks sent me $10. cash.  $400 of which I sent to the office to go on my account, the balance is literature.  Tracts 60 cents per 100.  Dodgers 20 c. per 100.  Voice of W $1.20 per doz.  B of M $1.00 per copy.  Writing pp&e 60 c per pad.  Compare my acc’ with Elds Hinckley and Ashby.  Hinckley’s the maximum over three hundred and twenty five dollars!  Ashby’s the minimum two hundred dollars.  According to their statement, the reason for such accounts is simply this:  It has been the cry ever since I arrived here to “buy plenty of literature—at the office, be liberal and don’t be afraid to run up an acc. At the office the Lord will provide etc.

I have canvassed 3 thickly settled co’s and acted on the above advice.  The instruction you mention of giving me regarding giving literature away said instruction I never rec’d.  I have worried a great deal over this affair.  I hope the above explain fully and please don’t think I have been wasteful.  I have only obeyed counsel. 

I am very sorry to hear of the Penrose ailments and I can contribute my mite (?) to the family collection.   To use the language of the small boy “I feel worse all over than any other place.”

I did not get the papers you sent me, for the reason that nothing but first class matter can be forwarded.  I will be glad to get some papers and especially the one with your article in it. I sent a letter to Geo. yesterday.  Kindly give it to him. 

Give my love to all the folks.  Will not write to Cille this mail.  Haven’t time will write this eve.  Praying God to bless you I am your loving Son (in haste)


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Damon, Miss  Sept 27, 1898

Dear Father:

I suppose a few lines from me at this stage of the game would be OK.  While the “news” is scarce yet I am sure you are always glad to hear from me and learn that E. Centennius is still in the ring, or rather still on the tramp.  I have been very busy for the past week, writing letters to the various Sunday schools and Elders.  Brother Farley has been suffering with boils and general ill health.  I will go to Colbert Co from here and then comes the hard walks.  There is one stretch of country in Ala. That I dread to go over afoot.  That is from Tawnly to Wade, via Birmingham. I must go that way on account of S. S.’s and Prest Rich desires me to do some baptizing at Wade.  I do not feel equal to such a walk as I have to go way up to Gadsden, not a great distance from G’a, and then back to Mississippi by November 1st if I can.  If possible, I should like to bridge the difficulty (between Townly and Wade) by rail.  The distance is about one hundred miles.  Can you do anything for me in that line?  R.R. fare 3 cts per mile.  It will positively be my farewell visit to “Alabam.”  The President of our conf’ is here at Brother Watson’s.  This is his headquarters for some time.  Kindly let me know concerning the above as soon as possible.  I shall not send to the Office for anything more.  Love to Mother and all the folks.  God bless you all.

Your loving Son

Edwin C

(How’s Slivers?)

Michigan City, Benton Co., Miss

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Tawnly Ala,   Oct 16th, 1898

My Dear Father:

Your kind favor of the 3rd inst came to hand yesterday.  Accept my thanks for the $2.00 and give my thanks to Mother for the $1.00.  Your answer to mine of Sept 21 came to hand in due season and has been answered.  I will not need any money for my return trip as I shall not go back the way I came, but go due west and there is no R.R. going that way.  I shall need some shoes in about three weeks, but probably the Saints at Gadsden will be able to get me some.  They are poor but will help me if they are able.  It will be necessary for me to send to Chatt for some paper and envelopes, (I have to write to the Sunday Schools) and that will end my dealings (account) there I hope.  I will let you know if at anytime I need something.  I realize it is “touch” on you to keep two “fishers and hunters” at work, and that is the cause of my anxiety over the account.

I am very thankful to my father and mother and my God for the grand privileges I have enjoyed.  If I do   appreciate your goodness I will show it in the future by taking a course in life acceptable in the sight of my Heavenly Father, which I am determined to do.  My mission seems to be a little harder now it is drawing to a close and it is a question whether or not I could stay another year.  I am not discouraged at all.  I am very thoughtful for my mission, only I am not well, (nor sick) and don’t expect to be in this country.  My fever in May, June and July has left its effects.  I enjoy my work though.  Have a nice lovable companion and we are meeting with success in the S. S. work.  I am very happy indeed to know that you and Mother are satisfied with my work thus far.  I’ve organized one more School this morning making eight all told that I have organized.

I wrote to “Slivers” again and cautioned her about “Ted.”  “Brown” will “sorter” do, but I draw the line at “Ted.”  We will leave here Tuesday and go to Birmingham and thence to Gadsden, Ala.  Would be glad if you would send me at the above place, Gadsden, some Rays of Living Light.  They have done much good here in the South.  I am glad little Jessie wants to be a “Mormon,” and hope that she will always be one.  Sorry Uncle Edwin is so ill, what is his trouble?

In regard to the position those sectarian preachers have taken, I am not surprised for the workings of politics and the devil is the sine-qua-non to their success.  I believe the relationship of the preachers, politics and his satanic majesty is that of about 2nd cousins!

The weather here has turned much colder.  I have been cold for a week and can’t get warm.  Eld Farley was OK when I left him.  Give my love to all the folks.  When you write to Frank give him my love, tell him I’m still alive and he has my address.  Tell E.S.P. likewise.

God bless you all.

Your Loving Son

E. Centennius P.

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Argo, Ala   Oct 23, 1898

My Dear Parents:

I have not heard from you for some time but when I reach Gadsden I expect I shall find there letters from you awaiting me.  I have just enjoyed a pleasant trip with Elder Child to the City of Birmingham, Ala.  After leaving there we came here and found a people awaiting to hear the Gospel preached.  One family here are members of the Church and we stopped with them.  I’ve preached from Tuesday until today (Sunday) and many came to hear us that had never heard a “Mormon” preach.  Our preaching stirred them up much.  The Spirit of God was manifest in our meetings and this morning I had the pleasant privilege of leading five (5) more honest souls into the waters of baptism.  Two young ladies, one young man about 26 years of age and a young man and his wife.  The devil is “mad”!  I also blessed another baby.

 I just received a letter from my good DeSoto Co. friend B. F. Lewis.  Enclosed please find the same.  He is a good man and is on the right road.  I see the hand of God in this affair.  Lewis will yet be a “Mormon.”  I should like to baptize him, but just so long as he is baptized its all right.

The Saints here are very good to me.  I have been quite unwell for some time and they have bought medicine for me.  We leave here tomorrow for Gadsden when we have quite a branch.  I shall stay there long enough to stir the Saints up to a realization of their duties and “hike” for Miss.  I expect by the time I have visited all the Schools in Miss, I can look for my release.  The program you sent me came to hand OK.  I should like to have attended the affair.  Your (Fathers) picture is fine.

It is getting very dark and my pen here is a pour one so I shall close.  Will write again when I reach G.  Give my love to all the folks.  It is very cold here at present.  In haste

Your Loving Son

Edwin C. Penrose

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Gadsden, Ala,   Oct 24th

At Argo Haseman House, 8:15 pm

The Saints gave us $1.00 and so we are stopping in a “HOTEL.”  I have a “Kold” which has settled in my eyes and I’m almost blind.  I’ll be OK soon.  We go to the Saints in morning, 5 miles north of here.  I’ll write again in a few days.  Love to all,

The devil is mad over our baptizing.

Yours, etc. Ed

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Gadsden, Ala.  Nov 4th, 1898

My Dear Father:

I have been writing all day and now that it is night I shall wind up by writing you my weekly enstallment.  We have had splendid success in preaching to the Saints and Sinners here.  The Spirit of the Lord has been bestowed up us in great abundance for which I am very thankful.  The other night I preached on the Book of Mormon and had splendid liberty, speaking for nearly two hours.  The Saints said it was the greatest Spiritual fest they have enjoyed.  Of course, honor to whom honor is due.   One family of Saints are going to move to Miss.  Bro John Gaylor and family are the ones that are going to leave.  We will have to ordain another presiding Elder in his place, which we will do Sunday.  Bro G. his son, Elder Child and I will all start together in a buggy.

I hope you are having a good time on your trip.  I rec’d a fine letter from Uncle Edwin’s folks the other day.  Enclosed you will find the same.

Today I gathered about a quart of fine chess-nuts and will send them home if “you uns” will provide for their transportation.  They weigh about two pounds and a half all packed.  I rec’d Mother’s letter OK and answered the same.  I now weigh 131 pounds.  Getting better you see.  The frost has put a stop to yellow fever so we can approach Mississippi with safety.  Give my love to all the folks and ask ‘em to write soon.  May the Lord bless you all.  Remember me in your prayers.

Your Loving Son,


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Dickson, Ala.  Nov 17, 1898

Your kind favor of 2 inst came to hand OK.  Also the “Rays.” “Thank-ye.”  I have traveled over 165 miles since the 9 inst so you see I have been very busy.  I have heard through an indirect way that Baskin and Roberts “got there” OK.  Glad!  Do you think there will be any trouble about “seating “ B. H.?  I should like to get his article that was published in the Herald and also the conf pamphlet.  I presume Bro J. W. Taylor’s sermon made lots of trouble and that Prest. Cannon’s did not help matters any, eh?  Of course, I am not the one to say so, but what do you think?  Two papers or pks have been sent to me (from home I guess) but I have not rec’d them yet.  I believe hard times are coming again for we Mormons.  I feel it in my bones.  Only those who keep the good Spirit with them will stand.

Please send me all the copies of “News” with debate between “it” and John D. Nutting.  From beginning up to date.  Send to Michigan City as soon as you can. 

I am now with our Conf Prest. And am very busy, but will write again soon.  Give my love to Mother and all the folks, ask ‘em to write to me.  “All’s well.”  The Eld’s that had yellow fever are now OK.  Fasting and prayer brought on the earliest frost ever known in this country.  Excuse haste.

Your Loving Son


Hinckly is married.
Michigan City, Miss.

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Dickson, Ala.  Nov 18th, 1898

My Dear Father:

Yesterday I wrote a few lines and today I do it again.  Some items of interest to me and perhaps to you have just come to my notice.  The enclosed letter from Ben E. Rich will explain in part.  All the Elders are expected to subscribe for the “Southern Star” and I desire to do my part and also to persuade some of “you uns” to do likewise.

Would be pleased if you could send to Jad” B Snead at Snead P.O Blount Co, Ala, 2 pounds or so of Lucerne seed.  Snead is a good friend of mine and a well to do farmer.  I expect to spend Xmas at Oglesbys, Laws Hill, Miss.

One of our prominent workers, Elder R. E. Alvord, will return home soon.  He will call on you I presume.  He and comp: Pres Skeen my comp: and myself are all here together.  I expect to leave in the morning.

Please do not forget to send me the papers I mentioned in my last.  I believe I told you that bro. Galor came half way with us and then backed out.  “Flunked!”  Give my love to all.  Excuse haste.  I am informed that I can (should) have money at Chatt’ soon after Dec. 10th for my return trip.  God bless you all.

Love and best wishes.

Your son,


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Damon, Miss.   Nov 25, 1898

My Dear Father:

Your kind favor of 17 inst came to hand yesterday.  I rejoice over the great victory of the Dem’ party.  The “howl” made over B.H.’s election has reached Mississippi.  I hope he will be seated OK.  I am glad the folks are all well.  I did not know Jessie was ill.  Am glad she is getting better.  Give my love to all the folks and tell ‘em I am enjoying my labors very much.

I am not surprised that you are called to resume your position on the “News.”  I am real glad you are going back although I am cognizant of the fact that your position will be no sinecure.  You have my faith and my prayers and I know the lord will bless you in your labors.  I have every reason to believe I shall return home in Feb.  An earlier date would not displease me by any means.  My trip from Ala to Miss “in a buggy” was a decided failure.  We were one week coming 165 miles and spent one night with “Uncle Samuel” and three nights at “Widow Sprawls.”  It rained all the time and was cold.  I am wearing a summer suit and the combination was not the most cheerful in the world.  Bro’ Gaylor suddenly had “heart failure” (the kind usually experience by young and tender people on their first trip from home) and went back home.  The other night four of us Eld’s were caught in an awful storm after dark.  The rain fell and the wind blew with a fury I never care to see again.  Large trees were torn up by the roots and fell all around us but we came out without a scratch. 

I would be glad if you would send me the “News” with the account of Lewis’s trial.  By the by, wonder if I couldn’t get a job on the “News” when I return?

Give my love to Frank when you write.  Ask Slivers to write if I do not go home before Feb’ I will perhaps spend three weeks or so with our Conf’ president Joseph Skeen.  He does not move about but remains in one place all the time.

Please send your letters to Michigan City until Dec 15 and then address me at Laws Hill, Marshall Co. Miss until Xmas.  My companion Eld’ Child will very likely be my successor in the S.S. work.  Excuse scrawl.  Write soon.  Give my love to Mother and all. 

Your Loving Son


Please read the enclosed.

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Laws Hill, Miss  Dec 22nd, 1898

                Merry Christmas to all!

My Dear Father:

Your kind favor of 17th inst arrived yesterday.  I am very grateful to you and Mother Lucille, Alice and Kate for the Xmas present.  It is highly appreciated I assure you.  I am very sorry the chess-nuts had been tampered with and if possible I shall bring some home with me.  You cannot imagine what a relief it was to me when your letter came.  I had not heard from home since Nov. 24, and was in a “stew.”  The letter you spoke of, with statement of my account enclosed, has never been received by me.  I received the papers you sent but no letter.  Perhaps it will return to you.

I am very glad most of the folks are well, but very sorry Jessie is having such a hard time.  She does have a hard time, and if “sorrow” builds the shining ladder up” she ought to be at the top.  Kindly convey my love and best wishes to her and the rest of the folks.  Tell Mother I shall come home fully prepared to do ample justice to that kindly delayed dinner.  I have missed four festive seasons and I know I will fully appreciate it.  I have been trying to think who Lucille’s “Frank” is.  I’ll have to give it up, however, and get the desired information from “you uns.”  I am glad my letter made a good impression and if it is published I hope it will do someone else good.

About that $500,000 bonds:  I, unlike Monte Cristo, haven’t “a million or two in some corner of me vest pocket” and therefore I cannot invest.

I am feeling fine now and think I shall regain my lost flesh if a good appetite and plenty of fresh meat and fruit count for anything.  I am taking a good rest here at Bro. Oglesbys and everything seems to be at peace and harmony.  The weather has turned colder and is assuming a Christmas aspect.  And at this very moment the folks are commenting on the physical perfection of a turkey, the sight of which would drive into ecstasy any Epicurean extant.  Come and dine with us.  I have had two good hunts recently:  the results are a profound secret.  Had a fine fox hunt also. 

My companion is well and we are enjoying each other’s society very much.  The Lord has blessed us abundantly and we have held some fine meetings.  Pentecostal feasts!

I have been thinking much of late that in two or three years from now I should like to return to the South on another mission.  I believe I am thoroughly ground in the faith and

Will “never run down at the heels” as Apostle Lyman says.  I know that as my knowledge of Godliness increase my love for humanity expands.  I feel like Bro. John Nicholson did when he said he was thankful he was born on this planet and the he knew no other people than those who were striving to live right, or words to that effect.  I am thankful for a good Father and Mother who have ever proven to be my friends and wise counselors.  I pray God to bless you with his Holy Spirit continually and preserve your from all harm and may you see many Merry Christmas’ and Happy New Years.  I must close now in order to catch the mail.

Your Loving Son

Edwin C. Penrose


Michigan City, Miss.

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Laws Hill, Miss  Dec 27, 1898

My Dear Parents:

I had a lovely Christmas Saturday afternoon.  Elders Cranny and Hepworth arrived which proved very pleasant.  Sunday was a beautiful day in every sense of the word.  And such a dinner!  We had turkey with dressing (which I carved) sausage, nice fresh ham, “fry” and “sauce,” apple jelly, peaches, blackberry jam, 6 96) kinds of cake, and pie “till you couldn’t rest,” and fresh apples, oranges, and candy.  Brother Oglesby has a daughter who is the finest cook “in seven counties.”  Received a call to go down into Tallahatchie and organize a S. S. so I sent Elders Child and Hepworth to attend to the same while Elder Cranny and I go into DeSoto Co for a few days.  I have some thing up there I desire to get, and besides I want to know how the “land lays” since friend Lewis’ “trial.”  It is hard to tell just how we will be received in that Co as the “antis” are “sore” on “Penny.”  I expect to eat New Years dinner at friend Harris’ in Cockrum.  They are firm friends and can be depended on.  The “News” with my letter has not arrived.  I would be glad if you would cut it out and send it to me in a letter.  Henceforth my P.O. will be Michigan City, Benton Co, Miss.

Brother Oglesby and family expect to move out to Utah a year from next March.  They are poor but good workers and genuine Latter Day Saints.  Is it not right for the Saints to move westward if they can defray their own expenses? 

After braving DeSoto we shall come back here and then go east to Colbert Co Ala, where I expect to remain with the conference president until I am released, which I hope will be in Feb.  I hope you all enjoyed your Xmas and that you will have a happy New Year, and many of ‘em. 

Let me hear from you often. Hope you no longer have the la grippe.  There is no news to tell so must chop off.  Love to all.

Your Loving Son,

Edwin C.

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Senatobia, Miss,  Jan 9, ‘99

My Dear Father:

I have a few moments to spare and must drop “you-all” a few lines.  In Tallahatchie Co. we have a flock of Saints who, it is feared, is being scattered by a wolf in the shape of a Josephite.  The Elder in that Co. are unable to cope with the new foe and the President of the Conference has appointed me to proceed there at once and look after the interest of Truth.  I shall reach there tomorrow.  I have sent word to the Elders there that I am coming.  A discussion is inevitable.  I have all the books I need and feel that if I am humble, God will give me victory in his might.  I have nothing to fear.

Can it be proven that the Josephites ever advocated or accepted the doctrine of polygamy?

I sent you today a photo of a lot of “fishers and hunters,” taken last Jan.  It is North Ala. Conf.  I am studying the Doc. & Cov. And arranging my arguments, so must close.  Am now in a hotel waiting for the Prop. To see if he will take care of us.  My companion and I are both well.  I hope you are all OK.  Haven’t heard from you for 16 days.  Excuse penciled scrawl.

Weather good and bad by spells.  Roads awful, mud, slush, etc.  Let me hear from you soon.

Your Loving Son


Love to Mother and all the folk


Michigan City, Miss.

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Teasdale, Miss.  Jan 12, 1899

My Dear Father:

Your brief tho’ welcome letter of the 7th came to hand this am.  Glad you are all well, and hope you will remain so.  I trust that your work on the “News” will not prove too much for you.  That you will have unparalleled success and find joy in your noble work I feel assured.  The right man is in the right place.  The intimation in your letter that I am to be released in early (March 1st) springtime is OK, but if Prest. Rich keeps me another summer I’ll register a full-sized kick.  If he keeps me until the married men in our Conference are released I’ll stay a long time.  I am the next oldest Elder in our Conf.  I should like to return home in March.

I was much disappointed when I arrived in this Co and found that our friend the Josephite had gone.  I was anxious to meet him.  He would not wait for us, but tarried long enough to inject is “pizen” and stir up strife in at leas one neighborhood.  I think we shall be able to adjust matters all right.

“Blood atonement” stories, interspersed with racy pabulum and the “dead issue” of Polygamy are the cudgels used by the emissary of Josephism.  The preacher told Elder Tolman that he (Josephite) could prove from the Bible that our Temples are a “fake.”  He claimed that we had changed the Doc. & Cov. to suit ourselves, and that Prest. Woodruff testified in court that Brigham Young substituted the revelation on Plurality of Wives in the place of a revelation given through the prophet Joseph.  What do you think of that?

Of course, there is no use in haggling over technicalities, but I should like very much to get hold of some of the alleged “proof.”  I have searched the Bible in vain for some of the “fake Temple” doctrine.  If Hosea 8:14 has any bearing whatever on the L.D.S. it is beyond my ability to comprehend it.  If you can give me any information on the above points I will be glad to get it.  Josephites are very cunning.  They abstain from the use of coffee, etc and testify that they “know” we are without authority.

Can it be proven that the prophet Joseph practiced polygamy?

Yesterday Elder Tolman and I borrowed the shotguns and eight hounds and went rabbit hunting.  Oh the time we did have. Killed 14 bunnies, one bird and a squirrel.  The hounds would run the rabbits around to where we were and then we would plunk it to ‘em.

The weather is very bad at present.  It has rained almost ten days.  The other day I wrote a few lines from Senatobia and sent you the picture of North Ala Conf.  How do you like it?  I wrote to Katie the other day.  Did she get my letter?

Next week I am going to assist the brethren in this Co. to work the City of Charleston.

I am feeling fine at present and so is my companion.  I have a walk of sixteen miles “fornirist” me this day so must close.

Let me hear from you often.  May God bless you all.  Love to Mother and all.

Your loving son,


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Watervalley, Miss. Jan 26, ‘99

My Dear Father:

Your kind favor of recent date was duly received but I have been so busy I have not had time to answer until now.  I am now six miles east of Watervalley where we have six new but staunch members.  They got hold of The Voice of Warning and were converted.  We have organized a good S.S. here.  This morning I was teaching them the principle of baptism for the dead and it was so plain t them that they cried for joy. 

Tomorrow we must leave here and go to Panola Co and meet two new Elders.  Elder Child and I have to part.  Elder “Tud” is with me at present.  We worked the City of Charlston and had a good time, and then went into the camp of Josephism.  The Josephite has done no damage whatever to our saints, but succeeded quite nicely in turning one neighborhood against us by circulating a pack of lies about us.  I got a chance to preach two discourses in that settlement and I went after him rough shod, but in the spirit of kindness.  In our last meting I preached on the gathering of Israel (Is 2 Ch) and touched upon Temple work some, and showed the people plainly that we were God’s people.  I also proved to them that Mr. Tucker (the Josephite) had lied about one of our saints, Sister Cox.  He told it around that she said:  “if her husband wanted more than one wife it was all right with her, for it took three or four to keep house anyhow.”  He lied, and I told him so in the presence of the people.  He was harping on polygamy to Sister Cox and she said:  “If it was God’s Will that my husband practiced polygamy I don’t (wouldn’t) care.”  You see the difference.

In concluding my remarks I bore the strongest testimony to him (Jos) and the people it was ever my lot to utter.  I never felt the power of God so much in my life before.  At the close of the meeting the preacher got up and asked questions and rec’d answers as follows:

Q:  “Do you accept the Bible, B of M and Doc. & Cov. for your standard books?”

My A:  “Yes sir.  And also the Pearl of Great Price.”

Q:  “Do you teach all that is contained in those books in your Sunday Schools?

A:  “No sir.”

Q:  “What part don’t you teach?”

A:  “I decline to answer.”

The preacher looked very much confused for a few moments and then proposed to debate the question between us with polygamy as the main issue.  As it is against the State laws of Miss. To preach on that subject, and also a violation of Apostle Lyman’s counsel given to us Elders, I declined to discuss that question.  The preacher then told the people a lot more falsehoods and wound up by railing against polygamy and declaring that we were teaching it.  He also said that the Bible did not teach polygamy.  I told the people that we were not teaching that doctrine.  Tucker jumped up and yelled:  “They do.  I’ll prove it to you.”  (He then produced a Ready Reference.)  Said he:  “Here is a little book that has 13 pages of verses from the Bible that is devoted to endorsing, teaching and advocating polygamy!”

I then showed the people the weakness of Tucker’s position, and how one of statements or charges destroyed the other viz. his statement that the Bible did not teach polygamy and then declaring that a book of 13 pages of verses from the Bible was “devoted to endorsing teaching and advocating” that doctrine!  He tried hard to squirm out of his predicament but I had written his words down in black and white and he could not get out of it.  He never even tried to answer my argument.  The God of Heaven gave me a testimony that day that I shall never forget.  And furthermore I know that Josephites have no more authority to preach the Gospel than did old Gov. Boogs!

I wish you would mail to me in care of Joseph Skeen:  Sulligent, Lannar Co. Ala the following:  Six copies of your Blood Atonement, 6 Priesthood and Prest” 3 Mountain M M.  I can use them with good effect where the emissary of Josephism has been operating.  Josephites do not mind a little thing like straining and even breaking the 9th section of the Decalogue.

Now in regard to my release and trip home:  This walking business is getting “next to me.”  It is doubtful if I will be able to walk to Conference as I sprained my foot and back some time ago and at times it is very hard for me to get over the road via the Shoe Leather Express.  I should like to go home by way of Chicago, and spend a day or two in the latter place with the brethren.  I am now looking very “seedy” for the need of clothing and head gear.  If I could go to Chattanooga Prest. Rich could fit me out with the necessary articles at a very reasonable cost.  Although my clothing is very worn and frayed I can make them do for a month or so by a tight pull.  I visited St. Louis on my way out here and do not care to see it again, but would like very much to visit Chicago on the above mentioned plan.  If it is agreeable with you I would be “proud” if you would make arrangements with Prest Rich at once.  I hope I shall not have to go out into the field after next month.

Give my love to Mother.  I hope she is well and happy.

Next month is your birthday and I wish I could send you something.  I will bring you a new son in the person of Edwin C.  Did you get the groupe  I sent you from Senatobia?

Love to all.

May the Lord be with you

Your loving son

E.C. Penrose

Michigan City, Miss

Benton Co.

Michigan City, Miss

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Wallace, Miss   February 2nd, 1899

My Dear Parents:

Since my last to you I have had a merry tramp.  As you are aware my old chum and companion “Tud” has been with me for three weeks.  After leaving Watervalley where we blessed five children and organized a S. S. we went back into Tallahatchie Co.  Our Josephite foe has been laboring very hard to pull himself out of the kinks, but in vain.  The people will soon see how absurd his “argument” is and judge accordingly.  I am now in Panola Co. at brother James Bevalls.  My new companion is here and who do you suppose he is?  Elder Jess A. Berry, son of Wm. S. Berry who was so foully murdered in Lewis Co. Tenn. 1884.

Last night as I grasped the hand of Elder Berry a feeling of awe came over me and I thought of the nobility of his father who gave his life freely to save that of his companions and fell a Martyr for the cause of Truth.  What must the “conspirators” and “corruptionists” in Utah today who were in part responsible for the crime think as their minds wander back to that fatal 10th of Aug. 1884?

[Note:  From Quinn, Extensions of Power, p. 783, “10 Aug., anti-Mormon Mob attacks Sunday meeting of Mormons in Tennessee and murders four men, including missionaries William S. Berry and John H. Gibbs.”]

The same spirit that prompted and led up to that crime is plainly manifest today.  He who enters the work of the work of the Lord must prepare for a lifelong conflict for as long as Satan has power he will use it against us.  But we know who guides the Ship and “All’s well.”

While at Watervalley the other day, Sister Golden who was baptized recently asked me to explain to her understanding the principles of Baptism for the dead and Pre-existence of Spirits, which I did.  The latter subject somewhat puzzled her.  The next morning when I awoke I heard her tell her husband that during the night in a dream some Spirits came to her and conversed with her.  Some of them said they had lived upon this earth and had tasted of death and were now waiting in Paradise until the resurrection.  The others told her that their abode was in Heaven, that they had not been upon the earth yet, but were coming ere long and have a tabernacle as we have and go through the experience we are going through.  Quite a testimony, wasn’t it?

I just received some news that nearly floored me.  Elder Berry tells me that some of our Elders—Hill and Michelson—have been released.  Hill has only been out twenty-two months and Michelson 18!

It looks now as though we were not going to hold conf this month.  I have been asked to go over to Tippah Co and organize a branch of the Church.  I shall held a kind of Branch Conf with the Saints there and perhaps two or three pair of Elders will be with us.  The weather at present is miserable.  Sloppy and cold.

I suppose I shall go to Marshall Co from here and then to Tippah.  Evidently the Conf Presidency take me for a pony Express Co.  My foot is still in a bad fix and it is very hard for me to walk.  The joint in the big toe is hurt and I cannot bear my wait upon it.  Have to walk sideways.  I have to write some more so will close.  Love to all.

Your affectionate son

Edwin C. Penrose

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Michigan City, Miss. Feb 25th 1899

Hon. Chas W. Penrose, S.L. City

My Dear Father:

I am now at Bro Edwards, in Benton Co. and am still under the weather. Yesterday I rec’d a reply from Bro. Rich, and after stating that he was sorry about my illness, and complimenting me on my labors says:  “We appreciate your labors and are reluctant to part with you but we feel that you should be honorable released.  Your conference will be held about the 30th of April and if your condition and circumstances will allow we would appreciate it if you could stay until that time and come from that Conf. to Chattanooga and then we can fit you out here as you suggest and make arrangements for your transportation home.

“If your health will not permit of your staying until that time we will gladly release you at any time and arrange for you to come to Chattanooga and go from here home via Chicago.”

That you see, would force me to stay here until April 30th, or ask for a release.  Although I do not feel like remaining until that time I decided to remain and not give anyone a chance to say: “he flunked.”  I do not want my release to read, “by request.”  I do not think they should have left it to me in that manner, under the circumstances, but do not feel to complain.  I am still unable to walk far but hope to be able to get around in a few days.  I wish I could have had your advice relative to this matter.  Our Conf. is to be held about 175 miles south from here.  Here is a letter rec’d recently from Prest. Skeen.

Give my love to all.  I am receiving the best of attention from these good Saints.  Your loving son, Ed

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Michigan City, Miss  3-2-99

Dear Father:

Just rec’d a letter from Prest. Rich in which he says that I shall be released as soon as my successor as Supt of Sunday Schools be appointed, which will be soon I think.  I would like to surprise the folks and if it would do no harm you might keep it a “secret.”

I shall try to return as per arranged.  My health is some better but I am very weak, especially my ankle.  I am going to Tippah Co and organized a branch (I am 6 miles from there now.  I ‘m taking (from Br Dr. Jones) Iron & quinine, nitric & muratic acid and that has kept me going for a week.  I hope you & all the folks are well and happy.  Excuse haste.

Ever praying for your welfare, I remain

Your loving son

E. C. Penrose

Michigan City, Miss.

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Chattanooga, Tenn. March 12th 1899

 My Dear Father:

The day I rec’d yours of the 3rd inst I started for Chattanooga.  I did not get the R.R. fare from the office so borrowed it from Bro. Edwards.  ($10.00)  and sent it back when I got here.  Yesterday I went downtown with one of the Brethren—Eld Felt—and got fitted out nicely.  My suit was $15.00.  I got it for $12.50, two shirts $1.00, 6 collars 90 cts. Tie 65 cts Hat$2.50, Cuffs, buttons, soap, polish $1.00and shoes $3.00.  $21.55.  I am still uncertain as to whether I will go to Chicago or not, with probabilities inclining to the latter.   In the first place I can get no companion, 2nd, it will require more “incidental” cash and 3rd I would just as soon make a good visit in St. Louis & Kansas City and will have company besides as another released Elder is expected here tomorrow or next day.  I am having a good time here in this “swell” little town and have a trip planned out for tomorrow pm to Look Out Mt. Etc. etc.

I regret very much to say that Prest. Rich is not here and I shall not get a chance to see him.  Sister R. is here though and has made a present of a lovely photo of Bro R and herself.  Next Saturday there’s going to be a baptizing in the Tenn River and consequently the Eld’s are looking forward to a fine time.  The great (?) Sam Jones has been here giving the natives a dose of his open sewer sermons.

I had a hard time leaving Bro. Edwards the other day.  Sister E. & the girl cried and sobbed as though I was their dearest friend on earth leaving them.

I hope all’s well at home.  Will see you all ere many days if alls well.

Good-bye, love to all.

In hasteYour loving son


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Go to the Letter from This Place Written on This Date

Miller Station, Miss. 2/23/1898

Oglesby, Miss. 4/6/1898

Lewisburg, Miss. 4/18/1898

Bright, Miss. 4/21/1898

Sardis 4/29/1898

Lewisburg 5/6/1898

Lewisburg, Miss. 5/9/1998

Lewisburg 5/16/1898

Bright, Miss 6/1/1898

Lewisburg, Miss.6/17/1898

Brights, Miss. 6/23/1898

Lewisburg, Miss 6/26/1898

Laws Hill, Miss. 7/9/1898

Michigan City, 7/20/1898

Baker, Miss. 7/25/1898

Egypt, Miss. 8/8/1898

Laws Hill, Miss. 8/18/1898

Lewisburg, Miss.8/27/1898

Damon, Miss. 9/21/1898

Damon, Miss 9/27/1898

Tawnly, Ala. 10/16/1898

Argo, Ala. 10/23/1898

Gadsden, Ala. 10/24/1898

Gadsden, Ala. 11/4/1898

Dickson, Ala. 11/17/1898

Dickson, Ala. 11/18/1898

Damon, Miss. 11/25/1898

Laws Hill, Miss. 12/22/1898

Law Hill, Miss. 12/27/1898

Senatobia, Miss. 1/9/1899

Teasdale, Miss. 1/12/1899

Watervalley, Miss. 1/26/1899

Wallace, Miss. 2/2/1899

Michigan City, Miss. 2/25/1899

Michigan City, Miss 3/2/1899

Chattanooga, Tenn. 3/12/1899

Other Ed Penrose Links

His Biography

The Temple Block Wall

An Interview with the Old Clock

His Vital Records

His Descendents