Missionary Letters from Ephraim Green
compiled by Lin Floyd

While on a mission to the Sandwich or Hawaiian Islands in 1865-68 with his wife Mary DeForest Smith Green who is my 3rd great grandmother, my 3rd step great grandfather Ephraim Green wrote these letters to his stepchildren. The first one is addressed to John and Allis, that would be John McGucken Malin and his wife my 2nd great grandmother Alice Melissa Smith Malin living in Utah. One of Alice's descendants, Louise West of Golden Colorado has the originals of these letters in her possession. I learned of these letters only in the past year and have been trying since then to get a copy of them from her. Here they are for all to enjoy. The spelling is something else and shows the lack of education of the writer but his words demonstrate his faith and willingness to serve a mission with his family wherever called. This was his second mission to the same place. He served his first mission in 1854-5 was in Lanai Island and he was called home after a year because of Johnson's army invading the Utah Territory. His second mission with his family was to Laie Island and lasted from 1865-68. [Editor's note- to clarify misspelled words in his letters.]

Laie, Oahu
Sandwich Islands
Jan 28, 1866

Dear Children John and Allis:

We received your leter of no date Jan. the 20 and was glad to hear from you. Though your afflictions have been gate [great] yit the Lord has bin merciful in sparing your lives and lives of many of your near and dearest friends.

Wee are all well at present, though your Mother's health is never very good and thare is but litle prospect of hur being very ruged at present. The moscetoes and red ants, the rats and mise and every creping thing that ever was on the urth [earth] I believe is hear to vex and torment the life out of a body. The moscetoes just os soon as it is dark comes in swarms. I makes me think of a swarm of beas and the only way to git rid of them is to git into bed and pull the mosceato bars over you. Then the fleas take you in custady. The rest of the knight. So there is but litle of you left in the morning. [Sounds delightful, can you imagine the primitive conditions they lived in?]

Thar has bin a very distructive wind that has kild [killed] my corn and evry green thing whare the vine did not reacy so my rospect [prospect?] is all blasted for a crop of corn. I have a fue [few] potatoes left that was out of the reach of the worms so you see that I have evrything to buy but a fue potatoes and nothing to by with. I shall plant my rise [rice?] this weak and then I have the chance to cut one hundred cord of wood at one dollar per cord. This will help mee a litle if I can stand it to chop.

The wethir is very warm and I am groing fat and lazy. I have writen to the bishop that hee must send mee the money for my place or I should close the mrgage [mortgage]. And I allso have written to judge Smith to sell the place and forward mee the money for I am in want at the presant and thare is but little prospect of my giting rich hear at presant. I want to git my money and put it out to intrist [interest?]. This will nearly surport mee heer with very litle exershoon [exertion] then when I am at liberty to come home I am all right.

I can go to San Francisco and buy goodes that I can duble on and have my money left when I git home I have to pay twelve percent for money hear. I have set out seventy coffee plants but I have little faith in anythig but shuger [sugar] mill on these Islands. I beleive that I have given you all the nuse [news] at present. Your Mother says that she never was in a place that shee disliked so bad as she dus this but she is willing to stay and fill the mishon [mission] aloted to hur untill she is called home and whare that will bee I don't know for I think that the saints will bee I don't know for I think the saint will Salt Lake before I shall return.

We received a leter from Nelly [this is probably Cornelia Smith who was living in Coalville with her husband Harrison Shurtleff while her parents were on this mission] since I commenst this. We subscribe our selves. Your affectinate Father and Mother and Sister. [Mary DeForest Smith Green's youngest child Ella Smith age 10 in 1866 went with them on this mission] Write oftin and oblige your, Ephraim Green

Laie, Oahoo
Sandwich Islands
Nov 20, 1866

Dear Children:
It is with pleasure that I take my pen to drop you a fue lines. Brother Randal and wife will leave hear tomorrow. Wee received your favor of the 30 of Sept on the 15 Nov [this gives you an idea how long it took for them to receive a letter from home, about 6 weeks] and was well pleased with the spirit in which it was writen. Be faithful and live your religeon and the Lord thy God will bless theee with a multipity of blessings even evry desire of thy hart in richuness before him. We ware well pleased to hear that Haty [another stepdaughter Harriet Smith married to Theodore Bellwood but possibly widowed at this time] and hur children was with you and it would be pleasing to us for them to remain thare till wee return. How long that may be I know not, but I am in hopes it won't be long as our labors are but little around hear. Wee shall vail ourselves of the first oportunity you may be asure.

I would like to send you and Haty a soing masheen [sewing machine?] by Brother Randal but I don't know what kind you would like to have. Wharefore I will not send at this time and events may so order that wee may come and bring it our selves. You must write and let mee know in order that I may git the artical you want. This would bee a nice amusement for our two young lades that is just coming into the stage of action. [Not sure who he is referring to perhaps some grand children?]

There is Allis [Alice Smith Malin]one more thing that is very asential for them to due that is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptised for the remission of thare sins and thay shall recieve the Holy Gost. Then the Lord will one [want] them as his children and bless them in evry good work and worth. Ela [this was his stepdaughter Ella Smith, age 10 who was with them on their mission] has bin baptised nearly a year. Our children that was over eight years old ware all baptised at the same time.

Wee ware also pleased to hear that Charles [another stepchild, son of Mary DeForrest and Noah Smith who is about 20 years old at this time] was doing so well and taking a coars [course?] to save his money. Hee says that wee have never writen to him. If he had gone to th Post Office 11 months ago hee would found a leter thare directed to Charles A. Smith from his Father and Mother. Through his neglect of taking the leter it was opened and red [read] and sent back to us after the absence of 10 months. Pryty well shatcre [shattered?] and the invelop nearly off so that anybody could read it that a min [mind] to.

I have no more news at present. Nelly said that Haty was going to write so I will not write to hur this time. I may git hur leter this next mail then I will write to hur and the children. Then Ela is going to write to Geny [not sure who this is, perhaps Jenny, could be a grandchild?] I want John [probably John Malin, husband of Alice Smith-a step daughter] to see Ludsen and git the money for the hay that Theadore Serine was oing [owing] to him and mee. I think the amount was thirty dollars which Bro. Ludson gave to mee. When collected if the children wantes any thing you can gite it for them. Tell the children to be good children and Grandmother and Ella will come to live by. Give our love to Haty and the children and Mother Malin [this may refer to John Malin's mother Sarah Malin?] and except a good portion to your selves. Ephraim Green and Mary Green

Interesting Background Information on Sandwich/Hawaiian Islands:

1. Mormon missionaries finally arrived in Hawaii on December 12, 1850 and started missionary work on Lanai. By 1865 they had purchased a 6,000-plus acre plantation at Laie, Oahu, which has been an important regional center ever since. Today, in addition to the Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie is also home to Brigham Young University Hawaii and the Hawaii Temple. In other words, Laie is a cultural, educational and spiritual center for the LDS Church in Polynesia. http://www.polynesia.com/islands/mission.html

2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in Hawaii since 1850, when Elder Charles C. Rich, an apostle, called ten LDS men from the gold mines of northern California to open missionary work in the Sandwich Islands, now Hawaii. Within several months five of the elders left the mission, but George Quayle Cannon, Henry William Bigler, James Keeler, William Farrer, and James Hawkins remained. Initial conversions came on the island of Maui, where the first branch was organized in the Kula District, near Pulehu, on August 6, 1851. The Church made remarkable headway, with more than 4,000 Hawaiian convert members in fifty-three branches by late 1854. By this time, several small schools were under way, meetinghouses were constructed, and the Book of Mormon had been translated into the Hawaiian language by Elders Cannon and Farrer and Jonatana H. Napela, a local member. It was printed in 1855. http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/organization/world/hawaii_eom.htm

3. At the age of fifteen, Joesph F. Smith was called on a LDS Church mission to serve in the Sandwich Islands (designated the Hawaiian Islands after acquisition as a territory of the United States) under the direction of Apostle Parley P. Pratt. He successfully learned the language of the Hawaiian people and reported great success in four years 1854-58 of missionary work on the islands. He later returned and served a Mission to Hawaii in 1864. First LDS mission in 1850 was in Lanai the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is also known as the "Pineapple Island" from its history as an island-wide pineapple plantation. The island is somewhat circular in shape with a width of 18 miles in the longest direction. The land area is 140 sq. miles (367 sq. km).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii#Geography

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