Sunday, December 20, 2015

Isaacs History: Chapter Fourteen: English Mission

Chapter Fourteen: English Mission
“I assure you I thought that God had chosen the weakest of all man
 to lead the people.”

I go devoted to His cause,
And to His will resigned;
His presence will supply the loss
Of all I leave behind.

I go because the Master calls;
He’s made my duty plain—
No danger can the heart appall
When Jesus stoops to reign.
Wiliam W. Phelps

Isaac was ordained a Seventy in the Church 28 December 1878.  As such he would have been a “home missionary.”  Shortly after, the next year, he was called to a mission to England.  At the time Isaac was called, John Taylor was directing the affairs of the Church as President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  Brigham Young passed away in 1877, and the First Presidency was not reorganized until 1880.  It was not uncommon to be called from the pulpit at a general conference session.  Several other brethren from the South Valley area were called to serve missions at this time. 
            During the time of John Taylor, calls started to arrive by letter, from Box B in Salt Lake City.  Box B was used as early as August 1979; and perhaps earlier.  (See Packer, Boyd K.)   It is likely Isaac received his call in this manner as he left on his mission in early 1979.  However this response to such a call, written in 1879 to such a call likely reflects Isaac’s attitude towards his call:

President John Taylor
Dear Brother,
Yours of the 27 instance notifying myself to make my arrangements to go on a mission to the United States is to hand.  You ask an answer of me.  My answer is, I am glad that I am counted worthy by my brethren to go on a mission or fill any place of trust and I hope that I shall never do anything to forfeit the confidence reposed.
I know of nothing now to prevent my going as desired although plenty to do at home.  (ibid)

Being called as a missionary was a vote of confidence from Church leaders.  However it was also a hardship:

Another stressful experience in many Mormon families was the absence of the father on missions.  Around the turn of the century the missionary program was reorganized so that the bulk of the responsibility was carried by young, single men, but for the first fifty years or more of the church’s existence is was not uncommon to call husbands and fathers to spend two, three, or as many as six years preaching the gospel outside of Utah.  No more than a few hundred families experienced such paternal absences to any significant degree, but for those who did it must have seriously affected the family.  (Arrington and Bitton p 194) 

Isaac John Jr. would manage the farming operation while Isaac was away.  He was 17 when Isaac let on his mission.  There were other sons who could help.  William was nine, Charles eight, Joseph eight, Silas, two.  Isaac’s daughters were Crillla thirteen, Araminta ten and Hannah five.  (See Family Search)  Isaac’s leaving at this time would have been harder as his first wife, Martha was pregnant.

Back to England

Isaac left for his mission January 22, 1879.  In traveling across the United States he made much better time going East than when he was with the hand cart company going west:

Dear wives and children, I am well this morning.  I hope that you’re fine.  We are gaining 25 miles for hour.  The snow is not so deep as it is at home.  We are in the finest car that I ever see.  It is warm and comfortable.  We shall be in New York Sunday at meetings which as [they have] been appointed to hear us.  (Wardle, Isaac, note, Jane 22, 1879)

This was quite a difference, where 25 miles a day was an excellent speed in 1856, now they were doing 25 miles an hour.  The snow got worse before they reached New York where they were to take a steam ship to England.  “I have been on board 24 hours only.  [We] traveled 10 miles in a white out.  [It has] been deep enough to go to see but expect to start in 3 hours.  The site I now behold is something that would make you gaze with wonder.  (Wardle, Isaac, undated letter)
Isaac explained that they traveled by express train, with few stops: “We traveled night and day till [we] reached this City, not having time to write to you.  I sent 2 scraps to let you know that I was all right.  We came on Express all the way stopping 10 minutes at Ogden 30 at Omaha 40 Chicago 20 at Pittsburg 15 at Philadelphia arrived at New York Sunday at 7 clock.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Jan 27, 1879)
Even with the snow, they made good time.  They left home on Wednesday, and were in New York for Sunday meetings.  “We got to New York in 5 days.  [We] attended meeting which had been appointed.  I spoke to the people.  (Wardle, Isaac, undated letter)  Of this meeting Isaac further elaborated, “Meeting was appointed at 10 oc [o’clock] which we attended and myself and Brother South spoke to the people which [were] glad to see us and hear form us and that all is well in Zion.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Jan 27, 1879)
Isaac did not give a very flattering description of New York.  “I now shall say to be thankful that you are in the valley of the mountains.  The wickedness that we see is sickening to eyes; prostitution on every hand, Ralrode? [perhaps ramrod as in striking, injuring, forcing intimidating] in every place, profanity till I thought that God will come out of His hiding place and chasten this nation.  I feel more thankful that your lot is cast with the Saints in the valleys of the mountains far away from the scenes.
[We] done our business on the Monday.  We went on board Tuesday.  [We] started Wednesday at 11 o’clock.  The Captain and officers was glad to see us and said that now we shall go through all right for not one vessel ever went down when one of your Elders was on board.  I was surprised at this.  [I] told them not to give us praise; but God was our protection and we should go through all right.”  (Wardle, Isaac Feb. 13, 1879)  “The sea-men say that when there is any of the Elder on board that they have no fears but all will be right.  They say that not one ever was lost when our people was with them.”  (Wardle, Isaac, undated letter) 
Isaac and his traveling companions set sail for England Tuesday January 28.  They journeyed by faster boat than when Isaac came with the Horizon.  Even so, Isaac took ill.  Isaac saw God’s intervention in calming the sea for his stomach.  “I want you to try to be of good cheer about me.  The Lord has been with me by land and sea; although I was very sick on sea.  His spirit [was] with me when I asked Bro John South to administer to me.  The waves and sea became calm as I told him it would.”  (Wardle, Isaac, Feb. 13, 1879)
The Elders were invited to speak to the passengers on the ship.  There was one naysayer:

The fortnight we was counted on to speak to the people which give good attention all but one.  I told him that we take the Bible for our guide and if he could confound us we would go home.  But this he did not do.  The people laughed him to scorn and said that he better go to school and learn better than to try to put down the Mormon Elders.  This was new to me but God’s Spirit was with us and we had the respect of [all] on board; the vessel wide.  All men would shun him as an imposter.  So you see that God does strengthen his servants when they trust in him.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 13, 1979)

Isaac and his companions were on the sea less than two weeks, being in Liverpool in time for Sunday meetings February 9.  Isaac was invited to speak after arriving in Liverpool:

Went to meeting on Sunday.  Three Meetings was held; we being called on to speak to the people. We was glad of having the opportunity of raising our voices in the belief of God’s work in our native land; to see the saints gathered around us and make us welcome.  My heart did most accordingly rejoice.  The spirit of God was with us,l and at evening meeting.  The Word had spread through some parties of town that two Elders from Salt Lake had come to preach.  I felt very weak to fill the position.  I appreciated I was the first of the two, but to my satisfaction the Lord was with us.  They was glad that they come to hear for themselves.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb 13, 1879)

Amongst Family and Friends

Isaac arrived in England February 6.  After arriving in England, Isaac visited the community of his birth and youth:

Arrivals – on Saturday, February 6, 1879, Elders John South and Isaac J. Wardle arrived at this port per S. S. Montana.  They have been called on missions to this country and are now visiting their friends prior to being assigned to their fields of labor. – European Mission – Great Britain.  (MS XLI 1879 p 106)

  He was given two weeks to visit before receiving his assignment. (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 13, 1879)  He took a few days to travel, visiting friends and relatives.  He also attended church in Whitwick:

  I am now it the house of my aunt Fran Smith, my father’s sister.  She and her husband James Smith is well and was glad to see me and made me welcome to anything that they had.  This was a blessing to me for I was weary by traveling so many thousand miles and glad to be [in] one home where I [am] allowed [to] lay down and rest my weary body.  …I have had the privilege to walk around to see Coleville and see some few old friends.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 13, 1879)
I visited all around the town and found some old acquaintances glad to hear of my father and his family and of Salt Lake City and that I had traveled so many miles.  They think I have more experience in traveling than all the people in the town. 
   I start in the morning to the big town of Leister to my uncle Isaac Wardle then to my field of labor. 
   I was glad to be in the old meeting house and to see the Brethren and Sisters once more; but not so glad to see them in the distressed circumstances so many of them having.  No more than $9.50 cts per week to live and if this is the condition of all the folks in England I know not what they will do.  My heart breaks for them. (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb 17. 1879)

Isaac also visited the mine where he had worked.  “I came to Coleville on Monday Night.  I stayed at a hotel.  Next Morning visited the coal mine where I worked when I left.  Here I found things changed very much.”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 14, 1879) 
Perhaps at this time Isaac was able to do some genealogy work.  He able to get some genealogical records while on his mission.  It is interesting that he was concerned about his ancestors.  “I have visit the graves of my grandfather and his family at the town of my birth and found some old friends that was glad to see me and made me welcome to such as they to eat and handed me the record to find my ancestor’s names.  They told me that it cost me 8 shillings and 6 pence0] But after telling them that I Come 7442 Miles to get this account of my ancestors they said that if I Come so many miles for that they could do what they had done without pay.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 17, 1879)
Back at Home: Farm and Family

Isaac’s letters reveal a deep affection for his wives and children.  While traveling on boat he was not worried for himself but those at home.  “I have no fears as to our safety; but I have as to you and the children.  (Wardle, Isaac, undated letter)   Isaac also talked of this, and of the possibility of ill health or death while he was away.  From New York he wrote:

I am now far away from you but I can see you all the same.  …It is 2870 Miles that we are apart but I hope [to] hear [not] long it [we] will be….united and that we shall be preserved from all danger till we have finished our mission and I have the privilege to return home to you all again.  I have prayed [to] God to bless you all and preserve you that sickness nor death may not make intrude among you and I hope that I have got your best wishes.  (Wardle, Isaac letter Jan 27, 1879)

The possibility of death or harm to a family member while away was real.  Isaac wrote, “I was glad to hear from you and to learn that you was all so well and getting along so well and that God had spared all of you so far and I hope that He will continue to bless you and preserve you and prosper you in all that you have to do.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter May 13, 1879) 
Loneliness was part of the experience of being separated from family.  "Loneliness was not unique to the wives though; husbands also expressed such feelings.  When away from their wives on missions, some wrote about desires to be with their wives."  (Embry p 131)
Isaac often addressed all the family members.  “My Dear Martha & Sophia, John & Crelez [Crilla Marie] Mentay  [Araminta] & William, Joseph & Charles, Hannah and my dear little Silas, I set down to write to let you all know how I am at present.  I am well at this time.  (Wardle, Isaac Jan 27, 1879)   “Dearest Martha and Sophia, John, Ivitez [Crilla Marie], Araminty [Araminta], William, Joseph, Charles, Hannah and my Dear little Silas Wardle, good morning to you all.  I hope you are all well as it leaves me, thank God.” (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 14 1879)  In another letter, Isaac asks that a likeness be taken of the children with their mothers so he could have this with him.  (______)  These are likely the pictures we have, on with Martha and her children; the other with Sophia with her children, but also including William Haston in the group. 
In another letter Isaac concluded with this line, “Give my love to all.  Kiss the children for me.”  (Wardle, Isaac, undated letter)  Another concluded “Be good children.  All write to father a little piece in a letter.  If no more make an X.”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Aug 7, 1879) Yet in another letter he wrote in the margin, “Kiss all of the Children for me.  I ever see them and you in my mind.  God bless.”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter May 13, 1879)  I think this last tells how much he missed the family.
The children returned Isaac’s affection.  “The children all sends there love and kisses to father.  They always ask God to bless father in they pray[ers] that he may return home to us again and that he may live long here upon the Earth.” (Wardle, Sophia letter June 25, 1879) 
Sophia wrote of the separation being a trial, “We know that it is a trial for you as well as it is for us but we know and realize that we must be tried in all things and we also know that if we are faithful to our God and our religion we will be rewarded.  (Wardle, Sophia, letter June 25, 1879) 
There were requests on both sides that there by a “likeness” taken.  Isaac was hesitant to do this, but must have complied as he informs his family in May, “I shall not write much this time as I send you my likeness.”  (Wardle, Isaac Letter May 13, 1879)
Before he left Utah, Isaac had made arrangements for his farming duties in his absence.  Isaac left his oldest son in charge of his operations while he was gone.  Isaac John Jr. was seventeen when Isaac left on his mission:

I hope that Johnny, my dear boy will be a good and affectionate son to you and as a father to my children.  My prayers is morning noon and night that God may bless him with health that he may perform every duty required at his hands and to have a watch care over what I left for him to see to.  Tell D German to do the very best he can with the sheep.  I have full Confidence that he [is] up to his duty and that he will be on the watch.  (Isaac, Wardle, letter Feb. 17, 1879)

In a letter Isaac was surprised he hadn’t been worried about temporal things, but then asks, “I would like to have my son John send me word how the sheep is getting along-and the horses of Panados on the Winmucks and how the boys are doing with the sheep and how he is getting on in every respect with the family’s welfare hoping that all is right.”  (Wardle, Isaac letter, March 11, 1879)  The family made reports on the condition of the sheep.  “John is at the herd and he has been there 2 weeks.  The sheep is doing well.  There is between 7 and 800 lambs and more coming.  John has discharged Dan Germon.”  (Wardle, Sophia, May 1, 1879)  There must have been some conflict between John and the man his father had hired to watch the sheep.
Bishop Bills either ran sheep with Isaac, and his son Isaac John Jr. while he was away, or took an interest in the farm operation.  “Johnny and I are going the last of next week to overhaul the shearing and prepare for shearing.  Wool at present is low, say thirteen to fourteen cents but we expect a little more.”  (Bills, letter to Isaac)  Henry Beckstead also commented on how John was fairing on the farm.  “Johnny is doing well and I think better than could be expected with his experience in life.  (Beckstead, Henry) 
A letter from home indicates all went well until the shearing, but then a disease got into the sheep and some died.  “I got along first rate with the sheep till after shearing and then I had a great loss.  It snowed down in the basin and storm and “catered” the sheep.  (Wardle, John, letter to Isaac July 6, 1879)  This same letter comments on the dry conditions later in the year.  “Seriously the water in Jordan river has been so low that anyone could walk across with their boots on.  (ibid)  When Isaac commented on this letter he was nonjudgmental for the loss.  “I was sorry to learn the loss of sheep but I thought like do not do anything to hurt one another feelings, comfort another all you can. I feel in my heart to bless you all and ask God to bless you.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Aug 7, 1879)
Overall things must have gone well with the sheep.  “John started the herd off this morning.  He thinks of going to “Checkkirck” with them.  Wool is 19 Cents per pound.”  (Wardle, Sohpia, June 25, 1879)  Sophia indicated John was starting a second herd for himself.  “John is going to get a ewe with 2 tags and start a herd for himself.” (Wardle, Sophia, letter August 6, 1879)     
There was an interesting experience with his family while Isaac was on his mission.  From a letter written by Henry Beckstead in April 1879, we learn that the health of Isaac’s family had been poor for a time:

After you left home your family was next to Brother Goff’s among all that I have seen.  Some of the folks wanted to send for a doctor but I did not think [it necessary] and I was satisfied in my own mind that no Doctor had the power to heal your family without the assistance of God.  I told your family that they should have anything that they thought would help them in every respect but they would not consent to those that wished to send for a doctor.  I then began to try to put down the spirit of doctor by calling the house to order for prayer after prayer.  I then asked Sophia if she had any choice.  She said yes I have.  I felt as thou there was a devil spirit in the house at that moment.  There were several of the elders there.  There was plenty of help.  We the servants of the Most High God with the Spirit of our calling promised the family in the name of our Lord and Savior that they should be made whole and sound which God granted According to our wants and our faith. … The children all look well and healthy.  Martha and Sophie’s health is not as good as times past but there is no danger I don’t think.  They was worn out with sickness.  I think that warm weather set them all right again.  Don’t fret about your family for while I have they will have.  (Beckstead, Henry)

The sentiment expressed by Brother Beckstead points to the way families looked out for each other, especially when the head of the family was gone on a Church mission.
Sophia sent Isaac a negative note about the health in the area, commenting on the Diphtheria epidemic that hit the area. “The diphtheria is raging in Draper and Brother Higby has buried his oldest brother today and five more down with the terrible disease.  (Wardle, Sophia April 23, 1879)  Diphtheria was a disease which affected the respiratory system.  From dugouts and Spires __________.  This disease is most noted by a white leathery substance that forms in the back of the throat.  This substance can block the larynx and cause croupy breathing and in its worse cases prevent breathing.  At this time treatment for emergency blockage of the larynx was via a tracheostomy. 
All was not work at home.  A couple of celebrations were documented.  One was a birthday celebration for the Bishop.  We, Martha and myself, went down to celebrate the Bishop’s birthday.  It was a surprise party.  There was about 123 children and all the brass band played.  (Wardle, Sophia letter August 6, 1879)
Isaac on several occasions mailed advice home to the young men, to his family or others.  One suggestion to his family is to read Revelations Chapter 18, so they could be familiar with the perditions that would befall Babylon, and that the Lord would gather out his Saints before this would happen.  (See Wardle, Isaac letter Aug 7, 1879)
Isaac was also worried about his wife Martha, and her pregnancy.  Sophia would keep him posted.  “Martha is about as well as can be expected.  She has been better this time than she was before but I will be glad when her trouble is over for it is a great trial to be left without you under such a circumstance; but never the less we trust in God whom will help those that put their trust in him.”  (Wardle, Sophia April 23, 1879)  Martha feels as well as can be expected.  She would like for you to send her a comforting word.  She feels that she needs your comfort.”  (Wardle, Sophia, May 1, 1879) 
He must have felt relieved when he received this letter. “Martha gave birth to a beautiful Boy on the 9 of June weighing 6 pounds.  She got along well for the Lord was with her and strengthened her for her task.  She is as Well as can be expected.”  (Wardle, Sohpia, June 1879)
In later letters, Sophia provides a description of the baby and reports on his progress.  “Martha is getting along firstrate and the baby is growing nice.  He has gained just 1 ½ pounds since he was born.  (Wardle, Sophia letter June 25, 1879)  The baby is growing.  He is so healthy and strong.  He looks like you.  He has blue eyes and his hair is light.”  (Wardle, Sophia, letter August 6, 1879)

Missionary Work: Wigan Branch and Traveling Elder

Isaac realized early in his mission, as most missionaries do, that he was dependent on the prayers of others.  “I hope that I have got your prayers and that the Bishop and Council and the teachers will pray for me in their priesthood meetings.  I know that I need them very much.”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter march 8, 1879)
His family responded in this fashion:

We ever pray God to bless you and fill you with wisdom and knowledge that you may prove faithful to your calling and then return home to us again.
… We will know whose sure better by asking God to bless you and preserve you from all harm and danger which is the prayer of your whole family.  The children ever pray God to bless and preserve father and bring him safe home to us again.  Father Wardle [Isaac’s father], Father Egbert [Martha’s father], Father Miers [Sophia’s father] and their families send their love to you and they ever pray for you.  Grandmother sends her love to you also and the neighbors all send their love to you.    
May God bless you and comfort your heart; and may you stand firm and faithful to your calling is our daily prayer to our Heavenly Father for you.  We feel proud that we have a husband whom God chose to perform such a great work and we know that God is with you and that you have the spirit of your mission for we can feel that spirit when we read your letters.  (Wardle, Sophia, letter May 1, 1879) 

Isaac took some care of his clothes and appearance, to help with his missionary labors.  “I had a little money left when I got to England but it took me some in fitting up so that I could go around respectable.  You cannot go here as you can at home.  We have got to look like gentlemen whether we are or not or we cannot get in with the people to talk to them!”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter April 3, 1879) 
 Isaac was assigned to the Liverpool Conference.  “Elder Isaac J. Wardle is appointed a Traveling Elder in the Liverpool Conference.”  (MS XLI p 137)  I have been appointed to the Liverpool Conference to travel under the direction of Elder D. Bunting. (Wardle, Isaac, letter March 8, 1879)  Before Isaac reported to his area of service, he attended a semi-annual meeting of the conference:

I was at the half year conference last Sunday with the Church authorities in England and we had a good time.  The Spirit of God was with us.  Both speaker and hearer felt that God blessed his servants but I was at this time very weak to stand up to speak to the congregation; but God strengthened me for the task.  I assure you I feel my weakness to fulfill the position I now occupy.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter dated March 8, 1879)

The Millennial Star reported Isaac’s remarks:

Isaac was a traveling Elder from Liverpool at a conference held in Miners Hall, Millgate, Wigan, on Sunday March 2, 1879.”  James L. Bunting was President of Liverpool Conference.  Elder Wardle spoke at this conference.  “Elder Wardle testified to the sameness of the spirit that was possessed by those who were true Saints here, with to that possessed by those that had gathered to Zion.  The same spirit would be felt in all the assemblies of the Saints, so long as they sought to do the will of God.  He encouraged the Saints to draw near unto God and He would overrule everything for their welfare.”  (MS XLI pp 133-34)

Isaac was a traveling elder out of Wigan, and was also called as Branch President.  “At the meeting during the day it was motioned that I be president of the Wigan Branch and that I travel through all the branches from Wigan to Liverpool, a Distance of 70-80 miles and strengthen the Saints always in my power.” (Wardle, Isaac Letter dated March 8, 1879)
Speaking of serving as branch president, Isaac talked of his own shortcomings.  “I took my position as president of the Wigan Branch yesterday.  I was well received by the Saints.  I assure you I thought that God had chosen the weakest of all man to lead the people.  I know that I have not had the experience as some have had; but God has called me to this position through His servants: and I trust in him alone to help me to do my duty as a man of God.   (Wardle, Isaac, letter March 8, 1879) 
Isaac took it upon himself to visit the old church members.  He compared this to home teaching but with the difference of there being many part member families:

I have taken it upon myself to go and see all the saint’s families as a teacher and see what I can do to strengthen them which they need very much.  I have visited all this week.  I found many old people that joined the Church 35 years ago.  I find a good deal of difference here in visiting to what I did at home visiting.  In some places the man is in the church and the woman out; sometimes woman in and the man out with children taking both sides of the question.  This position I now occupy is one that requires both wisdom and the Spirit of God to do it fairly and do my Duty.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter March 8, 1879)
I thought I would say to you that I visit among the saints and do all I can to counsel them.  They are all glad to see me but feel sorry that they are poor that they cannot feed me as they would like to do.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 14 1869)

In addition to visiting the members and exhorting them, they also held outdoor meetings to attract people interested in their message.  “I have enjoyed myself very much in my labors traveling and preaching to Saints and I tell you I never felt happier in all my life than I do in speaking to those [that] have not met the gospel of God.  …Our outdoor meetings has been very well attended.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter August 7, 1879) 
Earlier he had commented on the naysayers at the outdoor meetings.  “We are holding outdoor meetings and the “do man” is making a little noise in some places but that [is] all Right.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter May 13, 1879)  Isaac did encounter some opposition to his message at times but says this only made him a better missionary.  “We [have a] little opposition but that [is] nothing.  It only helps to make us to prepare ourselves for the work of God and to put our trust in Him.  We feel that He has even been with [us when] the learned ministers come to oppose us.  We come off victorious and we have had friends in every place to [which] we have been for God has given us his spirit.”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Aug 7, 1879) 
Isaac continued to serve in this area for some time.  He was there for the next semiannual conference:

A district meeting was held in Miner’s Hall, Wigan, Liverpool Conference on Sunday July 6, 1879.
“The first assemblage convened at 10:30 a.m.  Elders from Utah on the Stand—John Nicholson, from the Millennial Star Office; James L. Bunting, President of, and I. J. Wardle, Ralph Smith, W. H. Haugh and L. R. Martineau, Traveling Elders in Liverpool Conference.
Meeting was called to order by Elder Wardle, President of the Wigan District.  Singing.  Prayer by Elder R. Smith.  Singing.  Sacrament was administered by Elders Marsh and Glover.
President Bunting made some preliminary remarks, explanatory of the duties of the priesthood and Saints.  Brother Wardle reported the district as in a healthy, thriving condition, much energy, he said, being shown by the local priesthood and Saints in reference to the spreading of the work by preaching, distributing tracts and other means. (MS XLI p 435)

Isaac had success on his mission.  He doesn’t always talk about his baptisms, but does talk about some in the Wigan area:

I have been so busy that it seems that I have not Left you but 8 or 9 days [ago.]  April 1 I baptized 7 more into the Church.  I start in the morning to the town of Lymm.  I have been there once before.  I expect to baptize 3 more there and then go to Liverpool; stay 3 days and then come back to Wigan my headquarters.  I hope to baptize 5 more on my way back so you see that the Lord is blessing my labors.  …I think that the Lord will happen up the way so that we shall have a good harvest of souls this summer.  We have got 13 (6 in my last letter, 7 this) already this spring in the Wigan District since I came.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter April 3, 1879)

Some of the missionary work involved supporting the local members in their missionary efforts.  Isaac received three letters from S.D. Brinkwater with regards to his efforts to visit people.  “Brother and Sister Starkey agreed to come to Lymm with a portion of their family on Sunday June 29th.”  (Brinkwater. Letter June 11, 1879) His efforts also extended to his family.    “I wish to inform you that with two of my sons I am going to pay a visit to my Son Alma in Warrington on Sunday next.”  (Brinkwater, letter Aug 21, 1879) 
Isaac also helped with the immigration from time to time.  “I expect to be in Liverpool on the 23 and 24 to help to fix up the company that will start.”  As part of this duty Isaac informed his family of some people he had worked with who were going to be part of the immigration.  “They will be 1 sister and her son come in that company by the name of Brooks.  If you could be at the City when they get there she will tell you how I am getting along.  She has been very kind to me.  Do the same to her.  She has my likeness.  I gave it to her.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter May 13, 1879)
Isaac was released from his duties as Branch President in August.  This was because of health problems.  “I have been released from being president of the Wigan District on the count of my health and I preside over the Chester District” (Wardle, Isaac, Aug. 7, 1879)

Isaac’s Health

Isaac took cold shortly after arriving in England.  He was affected by the weather in England.  In the spring he talks of a bad cold.  “My head hurts at present. … [I am] hoping these few lines will find you well as it leaves me at this time with the Exception of a very bad cold which I have had for 3 weeks.  But I hope as warm weather is coming I shall be better soon.”  (Wardle, Isaac letter March 8, 1879)   Again in May he wrote, “I have had a very bad cold and cough most of the time I have been in England.  It has affected my memory very much so that it makes it bad for me to stand up to speak; especially outdoors.  But I hope before long I shall be better when the weather gets warmer.  Don’t fret about me.  God will take care of me.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter May 13, 1879) 
Isaac formed some very positive relationships, and was grateful for those who took care of him while he was on his mission.  This included care he received when he became ill:

I have been in the hands of very fine friends.  I make mention of Brother and Sister Marsh and Wiltsen at Wigan, John Tinsely and Glover Newton and Sister Ruebotem at Holen and Brother and Sister Derbyshire at Digmore and many others as far as they can make me comfortable; for which I feel thankful to All mighty God that he has been so mindful of me as to raise up friends to minister to me in time of need and I hope and pray that God will bless them for everything that they have to comfort me in my affliction through which I have passed so far.  (Wardle, Isaac, Aug 7, 1879)

Isaac blamed the weather for his own poor health, but also that of many of the other elders.  “This climate is very injurious to many of the Elders.  It has rained all this week.  We had 4 or 5 days dry weather the last 2 weeks. 4 days before that we only had some 4 or 5 days that we saw the sun.  It rains most all the time.  I do not see how the Earth drinks all the Water that comes from above.”  (ibid)

Isaac’s reports of poor health alarmed his family:

We hope that these few words may find you in better health for although it is hard for us to hear that you are so unwell it is still harder for you whom is so far away from home but as you said in your letters that you had had some kind hearted friends.  We trust to God that you may find someone to nurse and comfort you.  And may God, by his holy spirit, bless you with health and strength that you may be able to fulfill this great work witch God thru his servants has called you to do.
…I send you 5 dollars for you to get something that will nourish you if there is any to be got.  If your health don’t get any better do not stay too long before you report your circumstances.  We do not think it wisdom for you to [do] that and break your constitution.  Write as soon as you get this short letter and tell us the particulars about your health for we are anxious to hear from you.   (Wardle, Sophia, letter Aug 6, 1879)

We get a bit better description of Isaac’s condition from a later letter:

I shall write you before long inform you how my health is.  I have not wrote much to you lately on account of my health.  I hope that you and all my brethren will forgive me for it.  Tell all the neighbors I have not forgot them.  I would be glad to hear from them any time.  I expect to write to many of them when I can set at a table.  The reason is that I cannot.  [I] have got pain in my breast and kidneys.  I can walk better than set down to write.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Aug 7, 1879)

He was able to report improved health in August.  “I am very glad to tell you that my health is much better than I have been for some time.”  (Wardle, letter Isaac Aug. 7, 1879)

The People Suffer Economically

While Isaac served his mission, the economic situation in England must have been terrible.  He saw this as God’s judgment upon the people:

Everything looks as though a blast has come over the country and the people do not know what is the matter.  Things is so bad that men with families of 5 to 6 in [the] family make 2$ 50 cts for week.  This is all that they have to live on.  You know not what poverty is in the valley.  Bread is 4 ½ cents per pound; beef 17 cts; mutton 18 cts; potatoes $1 for 25 lbs or bushel and other thing in proportion.  Men do not know what to do and where to go to better their condition.  …They tell me that hundreds of people is almost starving to death and willing to work but can’t get any to do.  I have had young men say to me that if I would send them away they would work for 75 cts for day for 3 years and board themselves.  If this is not the beginning of God’s judgments I do not know where it will commence and I hope that I shall not see it.  My heart breaks to see the poor saints in poverty and no hope of being better.  When they asked me to eat with them I thought how thankful you and the brethren and sisters ought to be to our Heavenly Father for the blessing you enjoy at home.  You know not the poverty of the people and I hope and pray you never may see what I see.  Now behold my heart aches at the sight.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 13, 1879)

When I see my poor brethren have to go to work in the morning without the comfort of the mortal body.  [It] requires they work from 10 to 14 hours per day for 75 cts to $1 and think they are doing well.  This would be if they had work all the time; but some gets from 2 to 3 [days] per week at the most and they think it will be worse than what it is.  …It is not strange to see from 1 to 200 Men on the street corners standing waiting for something to turn up.  One man told me that he had traveled 5 weeks to find work and had not.  I have been accosted on the street by women whom I thought was in good comfortable circumstances asking for something to keep them and their children from starving.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter March 8, 1879)

Business is getting worse every day.  It seems that people will almost starve to death this summer.  Thousands of men are out of work and do not know what to do to feed their families.  This week two men has hung themselves; one last week because their children was crying for bread and they had none to give them so they took this way to get out of trouble. (Wardle, Isaac, letter April 3, 1879)

Isaac in his letter talks of his privations, but also the tender care of some of the members:

I am staying tonight with old Brother and Sister Rapley which takes water and she washes my feet for me and she gives me all the “harbe” beer drink that I want and they furnish me a bed to sleep in when I call to see them and give me the best they have to eat when I call on them.  So you see that the Lord has given me a home in the land of strangers.  I have got some very kind friends in this district which do all they can for me but it is not like being at home. (Wardle, Isaac, letter April 3, 1879)

 The condition in England prompted Isaac to write, “I want you John to pay all our debts and then keep out of debt.  Do all you can for your mother and Sophia and the children.  …Send me word how the sheep as doing this winter and how many lambs you have got and then I will write to you and tell you what to do about giving up sheep.”   (Wardle, Isaac, letter April 3, 1879)

Spiritual Blessings

Isaac received many spiritual blessings during his mission.  He knew that if he did his “duty” God would bless him:

We think that God will be with us in all that we do if we faithfully do our duty.  We think that God through his servants does manifest His power and that He will gather in the lost sheep of Israel if we faithfully do our duty but it [takes] the Spirit of God and peace and perseverance to accomplish this.  (Wardle, Isaac, letter March 8, 1879)

[I have] been much [more] of a spiritual minded man [than] before leaving home.  …Do no fret about me as God is with me by His Spirit and will take care of me and you also if you do what is right.  (Wardle, Isaac March 11, 1979)

Another blessing was that of friendship.  Isaac makes mention of a Sister Brooks who traveled to Zion, and Isaac asked his family to meet with her and make sure she was settled.  Sophia writes these words after this visit.  “I have been to see Sister Brooks on the 24 of June.  I was glad to find her.  I took tea with her.  I was still more glad to hear something from you and how well she spoke of you concerning your mission.  She also said that she knew that you had the spirit of your mission.  She is comfortable.  She sends her love to you.

The Journey Home

Isaac was released early form his mission on account of his health.  At the same time he sent a letter home saying he was improved, he sent this letter to the mission president, which was dated August 6. 1879:

Dear Brother,--According to promise, I write to you concerning the condition of my health.  It is about the same as when I last saw you.  Brother Bunting thinks it would be advisable for me to go home.  I feel myself that I am unable to cope with this climate another winter.  I should like very much if I were able to stay and fully accomplish the mission to which I have been called, but it seems my health will not admit of it. 
I thank you for the kind consideration you have shown in my behalf, and the valuable instructions you have given me.  I would like to go on the next ship, as I think it would be better for me to have a little time at home to recruit before winter sets in.  I hope I have been able to do some good in this land.  At least I have done no harm.
Your Brother in the Gospel,
Isaac J. Wardle”  (MS XLI p 559)

He was released as a result. “Release on account of ill health Elder Isaac J. Wardle is released to return to Utah with the company that will leave Liverpool on September 6, 1879.  William Budge, President of the European Mission.” (MS XLI p 555)
Returning home from his mission, Isaac was caught in a furor over Mormon immigration in general.  He, like most returning missionaries, accompanied a group of new immigrants.  In the 1870s, public opinion had been slowly forming against Mormon immigration, with the claims the Mormon Elders used unjust manipulations, and attracted the worse of society:

Despite the general verbal opposition to the Mormon immigration, little concrete action was taken to stem it until the 1870s.  In 1876 the United States Supreme Court ruled that immigration policy was a matter strictly confined to the federal government.  In 1879 Secretary of State William Evarts became uneasy about Utah’s “accession from Europe…drawn mainly from the ignorant classes, who are easily influenced by the double appeal to their passions and their poverty.”  Evarts soon sent a formal note [See chapter 12.] to several European governments requesting aid in stopping the Mormon stream at is sources, but he received little response in his move.  (Arrington and Bitton p 137)

            It would appear European governments had no interest in interfering with law-abiding citizens and their rights to immigrate.  That they may believe in polygamy had no sway in the argument.  (See ibid p 137-38)  However, that did not please all American politicians and newspaper men.  The New York Times published this article when the group went through new York:

How They Regard Secretary Evart’s Letter of Protest to European Powers.
Among the passengers of the Wyoming yesterday were 335 Mormon recruits, under the leadership of N.C. Flygare, and including 16 other elders, viz: Ralph Smith, Charles Monk, John Larsen, William McFadden, Isaac Wardle, R. Dansie, William England, Jonathan Midgley, Thomas Child, R. Nielson, John C. Scofield, J.F. Olsen, N.P. Nielson, James Hansen, G. Anderson, and William Goodman.  All names, except Scofield, are returning missionaries, having been in this country before.  They journeyed across comfortably as cabin passengers, their followers being relegated to steerage.  About half of the latter are Scandinavians, the rest being English and Welsh.  They are an unintelligent looking crowd, but are fairly clean as compared with other batches of their brethren who preceded them in Castle Garden.  They are nearly all in families, and the sexes are about equally divided.  There are about 50 children and 25 aged person who have relatives in Utah.  They left last evening for that Territory via the Pennsylvania Central Railroad.
The importance of the arrival consists mainly in the fact that this is the first batch that has come hither since Secretary Evarts sent out his famous letter of protest against Mormon Proselytism in Europe.  The Elders yesterday said that the Secretary’s letter had been widely published abroad, but had not met with a very favorable reception.  Wherever it had not been pitched into, it had been mercilessly ridiculed.  Many persons were of the opinion that is was a canard, not being able to believe that anything so absurd could be seriously father by the American government.  The Mormons were not disturbed by it in the least.  They considered that they had just as much right to preach their peculiar doctrines as any other religious body, and they looked upon the notion of prohibiting emigration, because there was the possibility of the emigrant violating the laws of another country, as too ridiculous for contemplation.  They claimed that polygamy is not taught as something to be enforced, but as permissible.  Abroad it is never practiced, and only in Utah here.  The ”revelation” about polygamy was given in 1843, and it was practiced in Utah from that time until 1862 before the United States Government made the slightest move to suppress it.  In the latter year Congress passed a law against it, but no attempt has ever been made to enforce that law.  The recent prosecutions, which resulted in the conviction of Reynolds, were instituted under an old Territorial act, and Reynolds could not have been convicted had it not been for the defection of members of his own family.  Out of 19 or 20 cases, his was the only one that it was found safe to proceed upon as a test one.
Such were the statements of the Mormon elders.  They professed to look upon the new movement against the latter-day Saints as a purely spasmodic outbreak, that will soon die out and end in nothing.  They announce that a further consignment of their brethren will reach here in October.  (The New York Times Published: September 17, 1879 Copyright The New York Times)

            Isaac served as a missionary for about nine months.  Isaac must have gained satisfaction with his mission, even though due to health reasons he came home early.  “It must have been with great satisfaction that he was able to return to England in 1879 and serve a nine-month mission in his homeland.”  (Wardle, Orrin)