David B. Updegraff

Clark, Dougan and Smith, Joseph H. David B. Updegraff And His Work. Cincinnati: Published for Joseph H. Smith, by M.W. Knapp, Revivalist Office, 1895, pages 91-04.

This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.

(Extract of a letter written to Eliza Mitchell--afterward Mrs. Updegraff--at the time of his conversion):

Wonders are abroad in our community, and if I do not mistake, there is a work of good, of usefulness and love for you and all of us to do. Who would wear a starless crown, or be content with merely entering heaven, when work is to be done and laborers are few, and every gathered soul is a star in the "crown of rejoicing"--and again we know that as the "angels differ," so will the ken of gifted spirits glorify Him more."


(Extract from a letter written to Sister Updegraff in 1869, when his evangelistic work began):

That you are well and happy, I thank my Master and our Father, and though I long to see you with yearning love, yet I feel that I am about His business, and do know by the assurance of faith that He will keep you, and that "all things work together for good" to us because we love Him.

Bless the dear children! I pray that our Savior will be so near to them as to keep them good,--and I do trust Him fully to bless us darling. I know He will.

I had this morning a sweet season of wrestling with our God and Father for your peace and joy in the Holy Ghost,--and He will grant it, and thus knit our souls together as well as our hearts. None but He can blend our souls in perfect accord, so that our wills may be swallowed up in His. "He working in us to will and do of good pleasure." The Lord keep and bless you every one. His arms be around you. More than ever thine own loving husband and your most loving father."


I do hope and pray that thee and they may be kept by the power and love of Jesus, and I am sure that thy work and labor of love will be accounted as to the Lord. I can't tell how fervently I commend you to Him continually, lie is blessing me here in His work, and giving me great place with the people, and many souls.

It seems long since I saw you all, but I don't dare turn toward home lest I should shrink from my duty to our dear Lord. I keep well, and there are many souls to be saved and helped, and if it seems hard now, precious wife, to be separated, I am sure that in the sweet by and by we shall be glad, and rejoice evermore that we had the courage and self-denial to endure, as seeing Jesus, and the time hastens. May the dear Lord sanctify it to us."


I want to drop you a line to tell you of my safety and health, of my deep love and continued remembrance and solicitude for you all, my precious ones. My heavenly Father is unspeakably good and gracious to me, and to us all, is He not, dearest? For which do let us be devoutly thankful, and so, as we recount our mercies, and dwell on our blessings through Christ our Savior, we are "brought nigh by His blood," and can rejoice in His presence. I surely love the world well as I ought for myself, and am as ambitious of its comforts and enjoyments as I dare be, and yet I am sure they are as nothing "but as dross and dung" compared with the "excellency of the knowledge of Christ." And would we not rather resign the former than lose the latter? But blessed be God, He does not demand this at our hands, so far as we know,--only willing, obedient hearts.

But I did not mean to preach,--only a line of love to my sweet treasures at home (of whom thou art the crown,-my precious wife). May the Lord be very near to every one of you. I must now stop, though my love and solicitude and prayer for you are only half told."


I do trust and pray that the dear Lord will comfort, keep, and bless you all. Absence would be intolerable if I could not believe that all things would "work together for good," and that our dear Lord would take care of you, my dearest earthly treasures.

I am in first-rate health, and not working too hard; so don't be uneasy; but it will be sweet to get home,-- kind and good as friends are to me, "there's no place like home." In tender and abiding love to every one."


Meeting is large and very dead, but I pray the Lord that we may have a raising of dry bones yet in this valley.

I am well and shall rejoice when the moment comes for me to fly toward home. I never more fully realized that it is not my own pleasure I am seeking--that I can most fully find at my own dear home, with the darling wife and children which God has so graciously given me. May He bless and keep you all in safety is my often prayer-I leave you in Jesus' care. Pray for me."


I am quite well and the people are so kind, but they will not spoil me, darling, for "Jesus saves me." It has been pretty hard work for a few days just because everybody's eyes were upon me and so confident it would have to go anyhow, that they were not humble--but the power is just beginning to be felt; and I can't bear to see Israel defeated before Ai, and thus cause a shout in Satan's camp, and I feel so sure that for my sake thee would say "wait a little," that I think most likely I would not drop it so as to get home just at the time mentioned in my last. God will bless us, and I won't run. Pray for me."


This is the day I expected to start home, but know if thee was here, thee would say, "not yet," for however it may be I am sure thee wants to see victory for God, and it is just turning to His side. Yesterday was one of power, and last night I found great liberty. Praise Jesus! Over one hundred have come to the altar and the work is only starting.

I am quite well, but it is cold and I feel keenly the absence of home comforts and loves, and think I shall come flying as soon as God wills, for I so long to see you all. I am committing you to God moment by moment, and must trust Him to keep you."


I send this note to say how I love you all and long to see you, and God willing, it will be soon, though not just yet. The Lord has blessed us here and I cannot go without an attempt to gather a few more sheaves. Such opportunities to lay up riches in Heaven do not often occur, and the Lord is good to me in stilling the loving emotions of my soul toward you all. Pray for me and be patient, and we will always be glad in eternity, I am sure. With undying love and devotion,

Your husband and father.


[This was written after a friend's funeral.]

A solemn and good meeting and then we consigned dust to dust. I am thinking about you, my precious ones, very much. How sweetly we are spared to praise and honor God as a united family. But I feel so weak and unworthy. It is my constant anxiety to be wise and faithful as a husband and a father as well as every other way. The great thing, after all, is to be ready to go to another world. It is a critical thing to get safely through and out of this world. My heart longs for home and its precious treasures. I can only trust that the dear Lord is keeping you, and that tile ' angel of the Lord is camping round about you,' and this trust keeps my otherwise anxious heart restful. Dearly as I love you, Jesus loves you more and will fold you in His arms continually.''