(In 1888 James Woolstenhulme was sentenced to 65 days in jail and fined $65 for unlawful cohabitation by the Third District Court in Salt Lake City)
James Woolstenhulme's family received the following letter as he was serving a prison sentence for polygamy in the Utah State Penitentiary. Punctuation and spelling are as he wrote:
Utah Pen Nov 18th 1888
To all my relatives and breathern and sisters I think this is the last I will write from this place at least for a while. But not my will, but the will of my heavenly father For I can say of a truth rather than sacrifice one principle of the holy religion which I am satisfied is from heaven I will stay here the rest of my days. For what hope have we outside of the Gospel and what are the few comforts of this life compared with eternal life whice we will atain to if we prove faithfull in this short life.
Religious persecution never did deter a true man nor cause him to recant this we learn from history's sad pages. Then this being so as we know. What can be accomplished against a religion heaven born which embraces the most sacred of human affection that is the marriage vow, is it possible that a man can drive his wife and children to seek refuge in the industrial home heaven forbid that such a being should be called a man say nothing of his being a Latter day saint. These are a few of my reflections which in my cell on a saboth day.
Brother Doxey you can use this as you please if you want to copy it and read it where it will do any good do so. I can say I feel first rate in health and spirits. Never felt better and I hope to retain the same spirit. I feel thankfull to all for the encouraging words I receive from you in particular from my mother. They give me much comfort I cannot feel as a prisoner does that has interfered with the rights of his fellow man, for I feel that I have wronged no one and I think those most concerned think so too. If I have any regrets in this is for those that suffer that is wives and little ones but they know that my love and affection for them can never be shaken, but by all this will be made stronger.
I hope my families will be friendly to one another for I don’t think any one will arrest you for cohab because you go and see one another when I am gone so be good and kind and loving to one another and seek to comfort each other. You may have a chance to answer this if you get it before Thursday but not after but never mind I shall tell you more and better news when I come If they charge you more than about 65 dollars and 2 for the papers don’t pay it but let me stay and work it out no more room so I must quit from your ever loving husband J Woolstenhulme forward to Julia