Autobiography of Mosiah Hancock (1834-1907)
Mosiah Lyman Hancock, 1834-1907
Source: Autobiography of Mosiah Hancock, typescript, BYU-S.
Compiled by Amy E. Baird, Victoria H. Jackson, and Laura L. Wassell (daughters of Mosiah Hancock).
Grammar has been standardized.
Mosiah Lyman Hancock Autobiography
It is not my intent to treat much on my sufferings; suffice it to say that my part of suffering can go to the end of oblivion. . . . yet if the avenging angels take vengeance on the guilty, I think the righteous will escape, for the assumption decreed is bound to sweep over the land as with the fire of destruction. Few of the children of men understand the nature of the fall and redemption of man. Therefore, if through my humble endeavors to place the truth before them I can persuade some to tread the path that leads to the tree of life and enter into the tent of the Lord, I shall be grateful to God for the privilege of so doing.
I am the son of Levi Ward Hancock and Clarissa Reed Hancock. I shall not give our genealogy in this short history of mine at this time, for it is had in the Holy Temples so far as the work for our dead has been done. Suffice it to say: We are of the Old Puritan stock that was in Boston as early as 1632, and my ancestors fought for the freedom of our country. All laid down their lives of my Father’s relatives in the war of the Revolution, except Thomas, my father’s father, and he came out of the war honorably discharged when scarcely fourteen years of age. If our posterity can manage to be as true to the work of God, I shall be most truly happy.
I was born in Kirtland, Ohio, on April the 9th, 1834. As I remember, our house was on a hill in Kirtland; it had two rooms. The room on the east was used as a kitchen–it was about 20 by 12 feet. The front room had a cone roof about one fourth pitch. It had a door open to the south, and often my mother would tell me to look and see if the sun shone vertical in the door and if so, it was time to set father’s dinner. The front room mother used as a parlor, and a room to quilt and spin in. Often Grandmother Reed would be there; also mother’s sisters, Rebecca and Laura. What joyful times they had carding and spinning. The women used to spin in a different manner than they do nowadays. In those days they got the dinner ready on time. No there are plenty of ‘she politicians’ who take great pleasure in putting the devils in office.
We had a spring, perhaps four rods from our east door, which lay at the foot of a small hill where I used to go for water with a small tin bucket. There was a wagon shop across the street a little to the west of our house, run by some man by the name of Webb. I used to go there to see them work at the wagons and watch them paint. One of the men’s name was “Pardon”, and I used to think, “What a funny name”.
On the fourteenth day of May, 1835, my sister Sarah was born. They said that six weeks before her time, father being on a mission, my mother had to milk the cow–the cow kicked mother causing her to go over on her head,–Sarah lived only one day. On the fourteenth day of May, 1836, my sister Amy Elizabeth was born in Kirtland, Ohio.
About this time, I thought I would cut some wood. Mother had in those days what she called a woman’s axe. I should think the handle was about three feet in length and the axe would weigh some seven to eight pounds. There were five nicks in it, I think. Mother had been chopping wood, and I felt sorry to see her do it, so when she had gone in the house with her wood I put the axe upon my shoulder and brought it down–first cutting my ear, and then my foot! Being bare-footed, I soon sought mother for medical aid! Mother had taught me from my first recollection that when I saw a woman chopping wood, I should take the axe and cut the wood for her. In so doing, I could thus prove my genteel blood! In late years I have been wondrously surprised to see young things that are termed men, from sixteen to twenty years of age, stand with silent complacency as it were, and watch while their mothers, sisters, or grandmothers wielded the axe to get enough kindling to brown a piece of toast to satisfy their innocents.
I wish to write now of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord revealed to this Prophet as early as the year 1831 that in consequence of great wickedness which would come upon the earth in the latter days, it would be necessary for great men to take the noblest wives. The Lord had reserved the most noble of His choice spirits to come forth through a pure lineage, as the noble spirits were not willing to come through a lineage that was corrupt.
Father nobly assisted the prophet in his good work. Then the apostates tried with all their power to get Joseph down, but they only succeeded in throwing themselves out of the Church. They put the Prophet to a great deal of trouble, and he had to go to Missouri. We went with him, and it was there on the road to Far West that I learned to love the noble course of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I went and asked father, “Who made the father of our God?”, and Brother Joseph answered, “Brother Levi, it is just as natural for God to have a father as it is for you or me to have one.”
When we went to Far West we had a good team of horses. Father had bought a mare we called “Turk, the Arab Steed”, and Tom, her mate, we paid five hundred dollars for, was just as good a horse; so we had a fine team. As we were very heavily loaded while going to Far West, I tried to walk all I could to make it easier on the team. We had grandfather, grandmother, and father’s brother, Thomas, with us. Uncle Thomas had fought in the War of 1812 and was at the storming of ?. Then there was father, mother, my sister Amy and myself going along too. I was bare-footed; never knew the luxury of having a pair of shoes until I was seven years of age, then my Uncle Alvah made me a present of a pair.
It was the disposition of the Prophet Joseph when he saw little children in the mud to take them up in his arms and wash the mud from their bare feet with his handkerchief. And oh how kind he was to the old folks as well as to little children. He always had a smile for his friends and was always cheerful.
We had it tolerably good in our move to Far West. I remember that one night there were sixteen of us little children in one bed. We used to make our bed on the ground, but grandfather and grandmother and some of the children slept in the wagon.
We arrived at our place on Plum Creek about March 20, 1838. There were approximately eight inches of snow on the ground, and not having a tent we were forced to camp in the open for awhile. Father had bought a place from an old Missourian when he had come out of Zion’s Camp some four years previous. There had been some round logs drawn up to the square. Father soon hewed the logs for building while grandfather made a wooden trowel and a hickory spade. Soon the house was daubed inside with clay, and chinked and daubed outside. Shakes were put on the roof; and a chimney was laid up of sticks and daubed inside and outside with clay mud. A pinion-floor was made. A bedstead was made out of tree limbs and posts so that mother might be as comfortable as possible while her baby was being born.
My little brother, Francis Marion, was born on the 16th of April, 1838. We were truly glad that we were in a house, for a mob was howling outside swearing that they would kill every man, woman, and child belonging to the Mormons. Mother was giving birth to Marion while this mob was in its fiendishness, like so many hellions. There were two young girls with mother at the time of the advent. One of the girls was fourteen, the other only twelve. They drove my little sister and me under the bed; and we, hearing a noise quite strange, started to see what was the matter, but were soon shooed back under the bed by the young ladies. I inquired of my folks where they found the baby, and they said, “In a hollow tree!” I went out through the woods as far as I dared go because the mob was still too close by to be appreciated by me, but I could not find anything like it in shape or size!
We had it tolerably fair that spring. The elm-bark and base-wood buds came in good at first, and for greens we used pigweeds and other weeds to eat. Father had bought three hundred hogs when he came out of Zion’s Camp four years previous, so we had some seasoning for our greens. We also had plenty of strawberries, green corn, and wild plums. In the fall, we had walnuts and hazelnuts. I gathered them with my grandfather, Thomas Hancock.
I would often go up to Far West to see the folks and have a good visit. Often I would see a bear during my journey; but I had more dread of wild hogs than of bears! I used to take pleasure in making pop-guns and squirt-guns from small branches off the elderberry trees; those trees were plentiful in the land.
Once I was permitted to go to a Methodist Camp Meeting, and I used to think it funny to see them pass the hat to get money. I could not help contrasting the way they had of conducting their meeting to that of the Latter-day Saints. While our meetings are conducted with singing and prayer and intellectual talks, theirs were conducted, “Come to the Anxious Seat,” “Come to Jesus.” I would like to have seen which of the howlers was supposed to be Jesus. I, being young, could not understand, but being of an inquisitive mind, I desired to know, for it was told to me by one of the greatest shouters that if my parent’s would come to that meeting and join them, they would not be killed! My parents told me that if I liked, I could go again to their meetings. I never knew why I went, but I did go four nights in succession. I used to think that if the Saints ranted and howled like these people, what a host of people we might have in our Church someday. I decided not to go any more, but I changed my mind when a man told me that Jesus would be there tomorrow night, sure! I decided to go and see if he looked like the same one I had seen there before, and oh! the groaning, shouting, and hollering of “Amen”! One man said that Jesus would not fail to come this time. At last a woman came to the anxious seat and shouted “Glory”, and the congregation said “Amen”. Then the woman said she had the power, and a man grabbed her in his arms and said, “I’ve got him”. The woman fell to the floor as limp as a dish-rag, then a man with a cloak on kicked the candled over. . . . I went home wondering if those good religious people would kill us all. The noted, Sam Bogart, seemed to be the chief howler and cloak carrier in the whole congregation.
We had a good patch of corn this summer and fall, so again we had green corn boiled on the cob, and grated corn, and hominy or milled corn.
This season we went up to Far West to celebrate the Fourth of July. Sidney Rigdon was the orator of the day. Just the day before the celebration the Prophet Joseph asked father to compose a song. He worked on it much in the night and had it ready for the occasion. Uncle Solomon Hancock helped father sing the song. It is as follows:
SONG OF FREEDOM
by Levi Ward Hancock, July 3, 18–
1. Come lover of freedom, to gather, And hear what we now have to say. For surely we ought to remember The cause that produced this great day. Oh, may we remember while singing The pains and distresses once born By those who have fought for our freedom And often for friends called to mourn.
2. The lives and the fortunes together And honors all sacred and dear Were solemnly all pledged forever By our honored Forefathers here. Including the great and the noble Who in our behalf were so brave They offered their lives for our freedom When called for our country to save.
3. The parliament lords and the commons To gather their soldiers prepare And placed at their heads men to lead them Then over the ocean did steer. To fight with their foes? Oh, no, never! To deal with their enemies? No! But for some few fancied offenses Across the Atlantic did go.
4. T’was then a pardon was offered To all who would willingly yield, Excepting John Hancock and Adams, The fate of these men had been sealed. Thank God then, for good Patrick Henry And other men who with him dared To come out with heart rending speeches Against what these war lords declared.
5. The Tories were all crying “treason” Against those who called for their right, And they would not listen to reason But called on their forces to fight To gain for the lords and the commons, Who called for a tax without right Then often from morning to morning Contended for it with their might.
6. God armed our forefathers with power And Washington came to their aid; In wisdom he lead the great battle And soon made the Tories afraid. He raised up the Standard of Freedom And called for his brave volunteers Who all gathered quickly around him And from their bold enemy steered.
7. Hark! How the great battle rages. Behold! He undauntedly stands. The great cause for hereafter ages, He pleads with his sword in his hands. Behold, English lords then came bending, And from their high chairs soon fell down. And Tories and tyrants lay bleeding Before this great Man of Renown.
8. Great love then filled every bosom, And joy beamed upon every face Where lingered the true seed of freedom, All willingly gave God the praise. They told the sad tale to their children, And told them the same to hand down To their children’s children forever Until the great trumpet should sound.
9. To celebrate this day of freedom Don’t let it ever be lost. Remember the wars of our Fathers And also the blood they have cost. Go children, and tell the same story To your children’s children unborn, How English lords, tyrants, and Tories, Have once caused your fathers to mourn.
10. T’was honor that nerved up your Fathers And caused them to go forth and fight To gain us this great day of freedom In which we can now take delight, Yes, daughters, you too have your freedom, You too have your country most dear, You love well your own Independence, Your Forefathers gained for you here.
11. Exalt then the standard of Freedom, And don’t leave upon it a stain. Be firm and determined forever Your freedom and rights to maintain.
Remember the God of your Fathers. Ye Sons and ye Daughters give ear; Then with you ’twill be well hereafter, And nothing you’ll then have to fear.
12. Farewell, ye old venerable Fathers’ Who have stood for many a year. Ye, like the aged trees have fallen, Except just a few there and here. White locks plainly show they’re soon going To earth-dust from whence we all came, To rest in the mansion of glory Beyond all the trials and pain.
Uncle Solomon Hancock helped father sing this song on the southeast corner stone of the Far West temple. The stone was there, but was afterwards laid by the twelve apostles on April of the following year.
There were friends of the mobbers who would infringe upon the rights of we lovers of freedom. We rejoiced in building good homes, sheds, and corrals; and in teaching the proper rudiments, that all should be just and propitious to each other; and in teaching the principles of the Gospel to the children of men. We rejoiced in the prospects of a good education. The natives called us abolitionists and supposed we sympathized with the Negro. I saw great cruelties made upon the Negro, but I am delicate to touch upon what I have seen performed.
The eastern people held the name of Deity in sacredness. They kept clean door-yards and other things in order, with sufficient out-buildings for sanitary purposes. They had beautiful gardens with everything calculated to please the eye and gladden the heart of the refined. The Missourian generally lived in a house of unhewed logs with no roof to speak of and no yard for his stock. He seemed to have no education, and it made him jealous of the Saints because of the superior excellence of their minds.
In the spring when we first came to our place, I often used to go borrow a little fire, for in those days there was no matches that we knew of. Our flint and steel was missing, so I had to borrow fire, and I would go bare-footed and in my shirttail. When I got to some houses they would refuse to let me have fire or to let me in, and they would set their boys on me and I would have to run and stand them off the best I could. I was not long before I could stand my ground, for my father came along one day and saw how a boy was treating me. Up to that time my father had taught me to run when anybody wanted to fight me, and I had fulfilled the command of my father until I was as cowardly as a hen-pecked husband. This time however, seeing the condition of affairs, he said, “Mosiah, if you do not whip that boy, I will whip you”. I knew my father meant what he said, therefore I waltzed right into my foe. Father did not need to whip me, and ever after, that boy had a high regard for me even though he was a year older than I. However, the boy’s father and another smarty started to make short work of my father. But, when I saw my father tripping off a horn-pipe on their bodies, I took courage. When my father had finished his business, he said to me, “Mosiah, I give you leave after this good education. The natives called us abolitionists and supposed we sympathized with the Negro. I saw great cruelties made upon the Negro, but I am delicate to touch upon what I have seen performed.
By my parents kind endeavor to instill in me the doctrine of Christ, I was always kind to those with whom I came in contact, and never to my knowledge have I been guilty of striking a first blow.
Now I return to our fourth of July celebration. The mobocrats tried to make it appear that the Mormons were disloyal to the government; as well might a toad declare that an eagle had no freedom. None of those but the most ignorant of humanity ever said that of a Saint. The Prophet Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and all of our kindred, were from Eastern or Puritan stock, and the songs of liberty and freedom were on every tongue. As well might a vulture sing of the imperfections of a dove, as for the mobocrats to croak about the Saints. The mobocrats were known to say that the law could not reach the Saints, but that powder and ball could! The lightning struck the liberty-pole and made it a mass of splinters, and Brother Joseph said, “There goes the liberty of the people.” Now after sixty-three years have passed, these are my thoughts concerning the liberty of the Saints.
That which the prophet, Daniel, said has surely come to pass concerning the trials of the Saints. No Saint, male or female, has any need to break the high and Holy Covenants with God. The prophet Daniel was cast into the lion’s den and he did not do it. We should study more of Daniel. Also, the three Hebrew children did not deny God when they were thrown into the fiery furnace! All the Holy Prophets from Adam to the present time did not forsake God—they have continued to keep the sacred commandments and covenants with Him. Christ, whom Satan supposedly thought was in his power, had no time to bargain for the glories of Satan, and He carried out His mission of the redemption of man.
In my reflection on the power of this beast with eagle’s wings who was to overcome the Saints; and of their worship of the beast, I asked myself, “How far are we justified in worshipping the image of this beast?” To be sure, all the money of this nation is stamped with the eagle, and I know that it is handy to have cash!
I now go back to our celebration of the Fourth of July. The noble Prophet gave vent to his feelings of joy for the restoration of the Gospel, and or it being set up in this chosen land of liberty. We all felt very happy on that joyful day. When we returned home, we found that the mobocrats had begun to exercise their hatred toward the Saints. They were shooting and killing their hogs, sheep, cows, and chickens; they would shoot the Saints from behind trees, houses, banks and thickets, or from wherever they could hide themselves; and then raise the cry that the Saints were doing these things. We being few in number, had to tolerate to some extent their power. I well remember when Brother David Patten and Brother Carter were killed at the battle of Crooked River; and also several of the brethren wounded! Brother Joseph Holbrack was literally hacked to pieces, and he was brought to our home about the first of April. My mother nursed him for about three months. He had to remain in the hay loft all the time until he was able to get out of the state. One evening, old Sam Bogart and two other men came hunting him. He was hid in the hay loft covered with flax. The men were heavily armed, and they searched the premises around before they came up to the house late at night. I would have all who read this to understand that my parents were not people of blood; yet there had been so much murder, rapine, and crimes perpetrated by the mob, that my father did not know how to treat the “Christians” of Missouri. Father got his broad axe and the “women’s” axe for mother, and said, “We will set the bench before the fireplace for them to get warm—then if they start any trouble, I will grab the broad axe and you take the other axe and we will sell our lives as dearly as possible. We have Brother Holbreck and the three children to defend!” The axes were placed behind the door, then father stood in the door way, and mother stood with rifle in hand…..the bandits made their approach on the outside. Said Sam Bogart, “I have a search warrant for Joseph Holbreck”. Father asked them to come in, but Bogart said he didn’t believe Holbreck was there. So they went away.
I cannot attempt to describe my feelings as I stood on the floor in front of the fire while those three dark figures stood outside our door. I felt sure my mother would get one of them even if they killed my father. I shudder to think of those dark times. I wish all to understand that these things did happen in mobocratic Missouri—-in that Christian land close to where the so-called Christians held their Christian meetings….right here in the land of the brave and the free! I am a witness of these things, and no one can deny them!
This fall we went over to Far West. I was always glad to see the Prophet and the noble brethren associated with him. What good meetings we had in Far West! I well remember the enjoyment we had at a prayer meeting. One evening I heard Brother Tubbs bear his testimony of the truth of the Gospel, and his daughter Betty also bore her testimony.
There was a mob of 1600 camped in the vicinity of Far West. Judas Iscariot [George M.] Hinkle came in and reported the state of affairs in the camp of the mobbers. A person destitute of the Spirit of Christ might think there was something sweet about Hinkle. Someone got up and spoke in tongues; and Betty Tubbs spoke, saying that she well realized that the time had come for all to put their trust in God and not on man, `and for every tub to sit on it’s own bottom’, then she sat down! A few days later, Hinkle formed a brotherhood in a hollow square, and made them cast their arms of defense on the ground. He then delivered the Prophet over to the mob! After they had taken the arms from the brethren, they kept the brethren in the square for three days and two nights without food. The mob became very brave after they had taken the brethren’s arms. One of their officers complimented the men on their bravery, and said, “Now you can go and do as you please with their women”. Many of them left with the intention of committing rapine. When the terrified women ran out to escape those brutal fiends, it was more than the men in the square could stand! They ran out to protect their loved ones; then the mobbers turned loose and shot down men, women, and children! They shot the children because they said that “Nits Make Lice”. I saw C. C. Richardson going from Far West with a white flag of truce. As he and his companions approached the camp, they were fired upon by the mobbers. Luckily, none of the brethren were hit, and a truce was patched up. But the mobbers were not to be trusted. After the brethren had delivered up their arms, father mounted his horse Turk, and rode off to Adam-ondi-Ahman. A party of forty-two of the mobs cavalry started in pursuit of father. A whisper came to him, “Go through the Hale thicket, then turn to the left.” This he did, and it brought him in the rear of the gang that was pursuing him. He said to one of the men in the rear, “Where has that fellow gone?” I don’t know”, was the answer, “but we will soon catch him.” Father stopped his horse and pretended to tighten his saddle-girth and then he escaped from his pursuants.
The night before the surrender, mother had run 250 bullets for father’s rifle. Father and his brothers, and a few others, did not give up their rifles. There were 16 guns that were not surrendered. The owners taking their 16 guns into the thicket caused more consternation against the mob than all the mobber’s guns caused against the Saints. But trouble had started! The nation with “eagle wings” was to make war on the Saints and overcome them. The Saints soon had to start forth to please the State of Missouri.
One day about twenty women met in the home of the mother of Prophet Joseph Smith. Some said, “Now that the mob has taken our guns, what shall we do?” I remember part of the speech my mother spoke, “We can do as the Carthage women did when the Romans took the arms off their husbands; we can pull the hair out of our heads so the menfolks can make bowstrings.”
It is a fact which should be remembered. . . . . the Hancock brothers, Levi, Joseph, and Solomon, with their guns guarded and fed 600 men, women, and children while camped in the woods after they had been driven from their homes. They were waiting for an opportunity to get away. I saw the Prophet marched away; and I saw, oh, the scenes I witnessed! I do not think people would believe them, so I will forbear. The howling fiends, although they wore the uniforms of the U.S., they were not to be trusted! So some of the brethren made three hundred tomahawks for protection.
I can hold it no longer—–and I tell the truth when I say…..I saw a thing in the shape of a man grab an infant from its mother’s arms and bash it’s brains out against a tree! Two men got hold of me and had it their own way for awhile; but before they commenced, they told me I could pray. I rehearsed a part of a piece spoken by a young Indian, “The sun sets at night and the stars shun the day; but glory remains when twilight fades away. Begin ye tormentors, your threats are in vain; for the son of Alnasmak will never complain.” They showed me no mercy! . . I could look upon my body, and I was far above them and was glad; for behold, I saw a personage draped in perfect white who said to me, “Mosiah, you have got to go back to the earth, for you have a work to do!” How I ever came back I can never say!
I saw the fiends tie a young person to a bench—she was scarcely sixteen years of age—-and fourteen things in human form performed “that” upon their victim which would cause a hyena to revolt at their fiendish orgies! It continued long after their fainting victim had become unconscious. This with other things too numerous to mention were enough to cause the Saints to pause and consider the dismal surroundings confronting them.
And they, the Saints, having descended from the mighty Abraham, went forth by the spirit of God to deliver their friends–and the mobocrats melted before them as the dew before the sun. Can you wonder then that these loved ones who were devoted to each other and to those enduring ties of love, freedom, and religious liberty–by right of their own, can you wonder then that they could not longer trust their captors, and were determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible? There were some three hundred men and women determined to march forth with spears and battle axes in hand to have their liberty, and to have their Prophet restored to them again. But, the word of the Lord came through the Prophet that the Brethren should have the Saints be patient. The Prophet’s Brethren were a few staunch men in the Church known as the Spartan Group. Their words were few; but their works were great; and their faith was far reaching. They were of the old honest stamp, and if anyone could make a home or heaven in hell, they could! They were true to the Prophet of God and to the virtues and graces; and they never wanted to hold the fat position that Hinkle and some of the others tried to get. In fact, they seemed to be content with their lot as honest Saints.
Some people tried to class the Mormons with the Danites. The Danites were of a different stripe, however. The Danites tried to hold an outward friendship for the Prophet, and for the teachings of the Savior, but it was not skin deep. They tried to get a hog’s office among the Saints, which proved their love for ‘loaves and fishes’. They usually got a few traps that no decent devil would be justly proud of. Oft times they would locate a dwelling in a neighboring town on the prairie or in the woods. There they would let their bottom door swing in for all sorts of low-down characters to meet; where they could always boast of a deck of cards and a candle; and felt themselves safe from official scrutiny. They usually had plenty of horses when needed; and they were quite able to get up and speak in prayer meeting. They were hale fellows, well met with the black-legs and the apostates of the country. They would pay some tithing in order to pave the way for them to get benefits; and they would say, “Hurrah! for Mormonism” when they were around the Saints, and then some black-leg who belonged to the same gang would bawl out, “I’m a Mormon”! They have always been a clog in the Church and a clog in the country wherever they have been.
After we left Far West, we were left alone for awhile. The mob worried to know where my father was. One day a deputation of men came to our place and generously gave father three days to get away, which pleased us very much for we certainly had no desire to stay. Father was an expert in everything he tried to do, and he rigged up a foot lathe and soon had two hubs turned out. It didn’t take us long to build a cart, and soon we were traveling off with the cart box filled with corn. The snow was deep enough to take me to the middle of the thigh, and I was barefooted and in my shirt tail. Mother had made me a tow shirt in Kirtland, and the shirt still stuck to me, or rather, I still stuck to the shirt. We had old Tom hitched to the cart, and father drove the horse and carried the rifle on his shoulder. Mother followed the cart carrying my little brother, Francis Marion in her arms. I tried to follow in her tracks. We finally stopped to rest and get something to eat; but mother said she could not stand it much longer. She cried . . . . . and father said, “Cheer up, Clarissa, for I prophesy in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ–you shall have a pair of shoes delivered to you before long, in a remarkable manner”! After we had made our fire and eaten of our roasted corn on the cob, mother reached down on the side to get her old shoes, and held up a new pair! Father answered, “Clarissa, did I not tell you that God would provide you a pair in a remarkable manner?” We continued on until dark when we found a good sized log to build our bed by. Our cart was filled with ears of corn, so we could not make our bed in it. We made a bed of leaves and put a quilt on top of them, then we covered ourselves with what loose garments we could spare–we were not oversupplied with clothing in those days. Father had what was called in those days a coat; I had my shirt; and mother had one dress made of the same material as my shirt. She had made them in Kirtland, and since that time hadn’t had the opportunity to spin or weave because the mob would not give us time to get anything together. We even had to leave our flax after we had raised it! Father cut down a basswood tree for Tom to graze on during the night.
We gathered elmbark to eat with our corn on the cob–elmbark and buds helped us get along until we came to the Mississippi river. There we camped for the night because we didn’t know how to cross the river. Oh! what a cold night that was! Tom had some buds and limbs to browse on; and we still had some corn left. We found some herbs growing on strings which we discovered to be wild potatoes–they were good roasted, but I was glad to eat what I could find raw. We also had elmbark which was a luxury with corn.
The next morning the river was frozen over with ice–great blocks of frozen ice all over the river, and it was slick and clear. That morning we crossed over to Quincy, Illinois. I being barefooted and the ice so rough, I staggered all over. We finally got across, and we were so glad, for before we reached the other side, the river had started to swell and break up. Father said, “Run, Mosiah”, and I did run! We all just made it on the opposite bank when the ice started to snap and pile up in great heaps, and the water broke through!
We did not stay in Quincy, for there were so many poor Mormons there; and mother said she wanted to get where we could have a home of our own, even if we had to camp under a tree for awhile. We continued on to Commerce. We left Quincy on February 9, 1839, and arrived at Commerce on the 11th. In the evening we camped under a tree, a wild cherry tree, such as was used to make furniture in those days. Father went to see a man named McFall, with whom he made a bargain for 30 acres of timber land, and 40 acres of farming land. The timber land was about two miles below Nauvoo, on the bank of the river; and the farm and meadow land was four miles from Nauvoo, a little south of the road to Carthage. Our city lot was two blocks from the Prophet Joseph’s home, and we camped under a cherry and hickory tree on the lot. We always had fruit and nuts from the trees while we lived in Commerce.
While father was negotiating for our inheritance, I went with mother to see a Squire Wells; and he seemed to be very tender hearted when he saw my emaciated condition. He said to mother, “Mrs. Hancock, do you say that boy walked all the way from Plum Creek in that condition?” (I had walked all the way in my bare feet in the snow; and my little sister, Amy, rode in the cart with her heart full of tenderness to see the rest of us tramp through the snow; and so we came through.) When mother took off my shirt, I took a look at myself in the Squire’s looking glass; and I must say, I never saw such a scarecrow in all my life! My head, feet, and eyes, had not diminished in size–neither had my knees–but the rest of me! My mother called my legs pipe stems, and my arms straws!
We found good friends in Squire Wells, Brother McFall, Dr. Galland, and a few others. Commerce had but few inhabitants. We settled on our lot, and father dragged some logs with Tom and soon put them up to the square. When Tom had finished with his work, I don’t know which of us looked the worst, though Tom still resembled a horse and I resembled a boy!
Tom having finished his mission on earth, I suppose Father thought he should have an honorable discharge. One day when there was considerable snow on the ground, I saw father carrying an axe and leading old Tom down to the river. I asked father what he was going to do, and he told me to go to the house. I went, and as I looked from the corner of the house, I saw Tom standing on the ice, and father was cutting a circle in the ice around Tom. I went in and asked mother what it meant, and a tear rolled down her cheek. Then I saw the cake of ice tip, and Tom went under the water–I went into the house, and we all tried to forget our old horse, Tom.
When spring started to draw near, father started to make some wooden plates and bowls. He also made a hickory spade, and we piled up a brush fence and soon had a garden in. There were so many sloughs in Commerce, that the garden was sickly indeed! Our house was on the bank of a slough, and there was a spring about fifty yards down from the house.
My parents were so sick at times that we children knew not what to do! At times we children were so hungry and sick that it seemed we were destined to starve to death. One day, my sister Amy and I started through the fields to see if we could find some cobs with corn on them. The first one we found had three kernels on it. My sister, Amy, scanning it for a moment, said “Mosiah, oo is sa biggest body, oo sood ave two and me one.” I had to take the two; but the next cob we found had seven kernels on it, and it was much easier to divide. As hard as our lot was, we never quarreled. Sometimes when our parents were sick and could not cook greens, we ate them raw. I have pulled up grass and ate it, also basswood buds and elmbark. When the people began to move into Nauvoo and were dying off so fast, father would work day and night making caskets, when he was not sick. He would have to starve until the coffin was finished, or until our dear mother came home from work, for she nearly always brought us something to eat. Sometimes both father and mother would be sick for several days–then we would suffer indeed!
One day father was working on a plow, and several good sized shoats came into the yard and began to root up the garden. We had driven them out three times, and father said, “If you come in here once more, I will kill you with a hewing”! I went into a thicket and prayed that father would take a good sized chunk and kill one of those pigs. They did come in again, and father picked up a good sized chunk he had just hewed off a plough beam and threw it with unerring accuracy–hitting mr. piggy right between the eyes, and knocking him dead! Father groaned out, “I am undone!” Then he grabbed the shoat by one leg and started about town to tell of his misfortune. He could not find the owner though, so he anchored the pig at Squire Well’s, telling him of his trouble. Whereupon, the worthy Squire said, “Mr. Hancock, you cannot find the owner, so take the pig home and make good use of it”. Father brought it home, and it weighed some 80 or 90 pounds! Mother skinned the shoat-then told father not to worry over such small matters. But the rest of the shoats did not seem satisfied, so they came back again! The same boy made another prayer, and the same arm threw the same piece of wood– and another shoat died right there–and mother skinned another shoat! We were all happy as long as the meat lasted. I always felt that God opened the way for us to get something to eat.
The water stank in Commerce because of the many sloughs. We were so sick at times that we knew not what to do! Sometimes my parents were so ill they could hardly move, and I would take a quart cup and fill it with water from the spring that was about 60 yards from the house. Then, I being weak, would crawl on my arms and knees, and place the cup of water ahead of me and crawl to it each time I reached it, until I reached the house. Then because of father’s feverish distress, I would usually give it to him. The water would disappear before anyone could get scarcely a taste, and looking at the heroic face of my mother, and the innocent face of my little sister Amy, I would repeat the pilgrimage until my knees and elbows would be worn near the bone!
When father was able to, he preached the Gospel as often as possible. While on a mission in Indiana, he stopped at a building where 400 people had gathered to dance. The man who was to furnish the music could not get his violin to work. Father’s shoes were gone, and his pants were holey at the knees and behind, but he stepped up to the man and asked him what was the matter with his goose. Father took the thing and tuned it and made it fairly sing! The people danced until satisfied; then one of the men suggested that they get father a new suit, hat, and boots because he had fixed the violin and because they had had so much enjoyment. So they bought him a new suit, hat and boots! Then he addressed them for two hours on the principles of the gospel, and afterwards he baptized two dozen of them about daylight. While father was still sick, he went up to Missouri to see the Prophet. He then went to our old home at Plum Creek. He was also at the laying of the corner stone of the Far West Temple. While there, he learned where Turk was, our horse that had been stolen from us by the mob. He got Turk, and started towards Nauvoo, where we were living then; but decided to leave the horse with George Parish, who had married my cousin Abigail Hancock. He got some peach and plum trees and then went up to Montrose; plunged into the river and swam over to Nauvoo. Father began making coffins again, but was again soon sick and it was impossible for us to keep from being ill. We were able to get a coon out of a tree occasionally, which helped on provisions.
This summer Brother Joseph came home, and we went up to his place to see him. As I glanced on his table and beheld a beautiful boiled corn on the cob, I thought “Oh, what a grand sight!” The corn seemed to be of the King Phillip variety of yellow flint. Brother Joseph asked his father to return thanks on the food, and Father Smith took up an ear of corn in his right hand holding it between his thumb and forefinger, and said, “Oh, God, the Eternal Father, we thank thee for this corn, and pray in the name of Jesus Christ to bless it to the strengthening of our bodies, and the strengthening of our stomachs till Thou can provide something better; which we ask of Thee in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Tears were streaming down his cheeks, and I thought it a repast of the most excellent type.
This year of 1840 is almost gone. We had a picket fence up by Christmas, and enough corn stored to keep our spirits in our bodies. We raised a great deal of pop corn this past season.
On April 1st, 1841, my cousin Solomon Hancock made me a present of a fine axe and helve. I commenced to cut wood and stack it alongside the house. From that day on, I never knew my father to take an axe in his hand to cut wood. Previous to this time I had used the woman’s axe; for all the boys of my size agreed it was a great health promotor. On April 9th, my Uncle Alvin presented me with a pair of shoes, which I dared not wear except on Sundays. On Sundays I tucked the shoes under my arm and started for meeting; slipping them on just before I arrived there. After meeting was out, I would take them off and walk home in my bare feet. They were so roomy that I kept them in good condition for three years, then turned them over to my brother, Francis Marion. I hadn’t even dared to wear the shoes while cutting wood for fear of cutting them!
On April 19, 1841, my little brother John was born. This summer my father made me a little Kentucky rifle; so now and then we have squirrel for soup. Mother certainly knew how to make a savory soup!
I often associated with Hosea Stout–he would often take me in his arms and say he had chosen me for his body-guard; but I would tell him I wanted to be a body-guard for the Prophet.
This summer I played my first game of ball with the Prophet. We took turns knocking and chasing the ball, and when the game was over the Prophet said, “Brethren, hitch up your teams”; which we did, and we all drove to the woods. I drove our one-horse wagon standing on the front bolster, and Brother Joseph and father rode on the hounds behind. There were 39 teams in the group and we gathered wood until our wagons were loaded. When our wagon was loaded, Brother Joseph offered to pull sticks with anyone–and he pulled them all up one at a time–with anyone who wanted to compete with him. Afterwards, the Prophet sent the wagons out to different places of people who needed help; and he told them to cut the wood for the Saints who needed it. Everybody loved to do as the Prophet said, even though we were sickly, and death was all around us, folks smiled and tried to cheer everyone up. In those days it seemed that we were all of the blood of Israel, and we were more willing to help our neighbor. In these days, it seems that the man who has the most money is the only hog worthy of notice. As the prophet Moroni said: “Their wail is, ‘Yea Zion prosper, all is well'”. Those who can yell it the loudest are the ones most sought after, while the meek and humble followers of Christ are cast down to earth with their bodies laid across a ditch for the nobility to cross over on. It reminds me of hypocritical Israel worshipping the golden-calf. . . . while the God of Heaven was giving His Holy Laws, ‘Thou shalt have no other God before Me’. I ask myself this question, “What are the people worshipping today? Is it the golden calf or the image of the beast?” Suppose we go back a few years to the time when Grover Cleveland was president. At that time, three Church leaders went to ask him if he would use his influence to have the persecutions against the Saints stopped. His reply was, “I wish you people up there would do as we do down here”. Did all of them do it? No, just one, who wanted to play politics. And I noticed the other day in a paper where this man met with a brilliant party, an honored and petted one of the land. Why? I asked myself. “Is it because he obeyed the thing called the law of the land instead of what I thought was the law of God?” I asked myself, “What am I? I seem as if I am not fit to be even a hewer of wood or a drawer of water for such gentry. What shall I do or where shall I go to find refuge? Shall I give up my choice friends that I have loved so long, and take up my abode with the outcasts of Israel, and patiently await the time of the Lord?” These are serious thoughts on my part.
Although only a boy, I saw the mantle of the Prophet Joseph rest on Brigham Young; and he arose lion-like to the occasion, and lead the people forth from the region of death, to this desert and portly land. Here he has caused the desert to blossom as the rose, according to the word of Holy Prophets. Yet some condemn the course that President Young took. I saw one of my brethren only yesterday, and he seemed to be possessed of some intelligence, but he said, “Brigham Young bullied it over the Twelve”. “Who had a right to preside over the Church?” I asked. “I say it was Brigham Young! Were his counselors at that time one with him? It seemed to me that they were. When he said, ‘Brethren, it is time for us to go into the United Order’, did President Young prove his ability to lead out? He did.” But to return to the Prophet–it was his ambition to be one with the humble, and there was no feeling of aggrandizement with him. Now back to Nauvoo. This season there was much ditching to be done; the sloughs stank terrible! There were many deaths and much sickness. Father made many coffins, and quite often when a man who could pay for a coffin, ordered one–father would say, “Here is a poor man who cannot pay for one; let’s give it to him, and you can order one from someone who needs the money worse than I do”. I often wondered what we would do next, but the way always seemed to open up. I well remember, while playing “Anti I Over” at Truman Gillets, the biscuits I saw there, and the one I took. I sought to make it right with him, but he laughed at me cheerily.
I saw many remarkable cases of healing under the hands of the Prophet while we were at Nauvoo.
Once a man came to live with us, and he was quite lazy. He would pop a large pan full of corn and eat it all by himself; but because he was poor and had no home, my parents were kind to him. I am proud of my lineage.
I was baptized on April 10, 1842, by John Taylor, one of the apostles of the Prophet. I was baptized in a river at the end of a road which ran into it. There I shed my old shirt; and donned a calico one, and a pair of jeans!
Many things transpired in Nauvoo that I witnessed; but they are in history, so I need not mention them. I attended April conference on the 9th of April, and also attended Sunday School for the first time. There were 14 scholars who attended that school. I was in the New Testament class taught by John Taylor.
We boys in Nauvoo formed a company called the ‘Sons of Helaman’. Brother Baily from Massachusetts was our captain; and he was proud of us and we were proud of him. I was second Lieutenant, and we drilled quite a lot. Just before we left Nauvoo, I was in the Prophet’s guard most of the time. I loved to march and parade and have the martial spirit; and was happy under military discipline. I would take my rifle with me even though not in company nor on parade with the Sons of Helaman. Often I was in the rank of the grown men, and no one ever said, “Your in the way”. Why it was thus, I could never comprehend. I loved to see a martial feeling cultivated.
Sometimes after our annual conference, the Prophet and others brought oil to our house to be consecrated! And it was my father’s fortune to be kind to the poor, to preach the gospel, to guard the Prophet, and to work on the temple. Nothing at our house that was eatable ever went to waste. Big lubbers would come to our house with large pieces of bread and butter only to show how much of it they could crumble and waste. They would ask for a top, and father being a good turner on the lathe, could soon turn out a top for them. Even after father was kind to them, they would come and say to me, “Why doesn’t your father get plenty of bread so you can carry it around town and waste it as we do?” I would reply that my parents were not fools; that my father worked hard helping others; that he preached the gospel; worked on the temple; and guarded the Prophet–which was more than they could say.
A few of the apostates began to get a little power in the Church again. There were the Bennets, the Laws, and the Fosters, whose acts were deplorable; and they seemed to think of the Church only because of the ‘loaves and the fishes’.
The newspaper, “The Nauvoo Expositor”, was printed and issued by the spawn of Satan. They printed the most abominable lies and misrepresentations. These falsehoods were more than the Prophet and the good Brethren could stand. One night, I had a notice that something was to be done by the despisers of iniquity. I shouldered my rifle and marched along, and I saw the press and type go through the window. I picked up a hat full of type, shouldered a press log, and with my rifle returned home, arriving there about 4 o’clock in the morning. Right or wrong, I thought I was prompted to do it, but from that time on, all the powers of the evil one seemed to be directed against the Prophet. He knew no peace from then until his death. Some may ask why I did it; and as I said, Right or wrong, I think that I was prompted to do it. The heavenly watchers know more about it than I; and the Power of Heaven did the prompting.
I was in a sham battle, and expected to be in another one directed by Bennet, but I was told to keep my eye on Francis Higbee, which I did, for he was a serpent in the grass, through the goodness of the Father of life, our noble Prophet was spared to still cheer the Saints.
I joined the whistling and whittling band. In those days there was, now and then, a fop or dude who would go to a man’s shingle pile, and with his hat or cap cocked on one side, would sit and whittle and whistle. There was no law against that, but from what we could learn, some of them were interested in taking the life of the Prophet. We kept a good watch, and were directed to keep an eye on the “Black Ducks”. We really tried to do our duty and we succeeded in bagging some game. I was about to give some instances, but forbear by saying, “In no case did I ever help to engage in whittling any one down to make them cross the great river unless they were known to be lurking around the Prophet’s premises quite late, or to be seeking that which was none of their business. In extreme cases when we knew a man to be a snobber, and who still sought the life of the Prophet, we would use our rail. We generally had four boys to a rail—–the rail would be flat on the bottom and was three cornered; on the top corner it was terribly sharp—–fixed to suit the aggravating circumstances. Four boys generally knew how to manage the rail. We all had our knives and our timbers to whittle and make rails from, and we knew what tunes to whistle. I do not know if the boys from Nauvoo would like for me to betray those old-fashioned secrets; but that was the way we initiated those who seemed to wish with all their hearts to become thoroughly acquainted with the secrets of the Prophet. If they appreciated the way of innocent childhood, they could repent of their sins and be ready for baptism. I do not know of any who seemed to be desirous of continuing the war; instead they were on hand for a covenant of peace. Bennet and some of the others were left to the Prophet’s own management. Well do I remember the Prophet’s speech from a frame in front of his mansion–where he said, “Brethren, I now roll this work onto the shoulders of the Twelve; and they shall bear and send this Gospel to every nation under Heaven”. He asked the Legions if they were not all his boys, and they shouted “Yes!” I stood on the rail of the fence in front of the mansion. When the Prophet said, “Brethren, the Lord Almighty has this day revealed to me something I never comprehended before! That is–I have friends who have at a respectful distance been ready to ward off the blows of the adversary. (He brought his hand down on my father’s head as he was acting as body-guard to the Prophet) While others have pretended to be my friends, and have crept into my bosom and become vipers, and have been my most deadly enemies. I wish you to be obedient to these true men as you have promised. ARE YOU WILLING TO DIE FOR ME?” Yes! was the shout. “You have said you are willing to die for me–“. Then he drew his sword and cried, “I WILL DIE FOR YOU! If this people cannot have their rights, my blood shall run upon the ground like water”. When the Prophet had his hand upon my father’s head, I said to myself, “I trust that I will be as true to young Joseph, the Prophet’s son, as my father is to his father”. Afterwards at home, I told my father of my thoughts, and he said, “No, Mosiah, for God has shown to Brother Joseph that his son, Joseph, will be the means of drawing many people away from this Church after him. Brother Joseph gave us to understand that it was our duty to follow the Twelve. The majority of this people will be right; but when you see people thirsting for the blood of the Saints, you may know they are not right”. Before the Prophet spoke from the frame, he had started to go to the rocky mountains, and went as far a Montrose; but through the interference of some pretended friends, he returned. I was a witness to these things–and when the Prophet spoke from the frame, he spoke with power, and the people loved him.
The next day the Prophet came to our home and stopped in our carpenter shop and stood by the turning lathe. I went and got my map for him. “Now”, he said, “I will show you the travels of this people”. He then showed our travels through Iowa, and said, “Here you will make a place for the winter; and here you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake! You will build cities to the North and to the South, and to the East and to the West; and you will become a great and wealthy people in that land. But, the United States will not receive you with the laws which God desires you to live, and you will have to go to where the Nephites lost their power. They worked in the United Order for 166 years, and the Saints have got to become proficient in the laws of God before they can meet the Lord Jesus Christ, or even the city of Enoch”. He said we will not travel the shape of the horse shoe for there we will await the action of the government. Placing his finger on the map, I should think about where Snowflake, Arizona is situated, or it could have been Mexico, he said, “The government will not receive you with the laws that God designed you to live, and those who are desirous to live the laws of God will have to go South. You will live to see men arise in power in the Church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. There will be two great political parties in this country. One will be called the Republican, and the other the Democrat party. These two parties will go to war and out of these two parties will spring another party which will be the Independent American Party. The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, “Let’s divide up the lands of the United States”, then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided. Then the country will go to war, and they will fight until one half of the U. S. army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle. They will keep on until they are very ragged and discouraged, and almost ready to give up–when the boys from the mountains will rush forth in time to save the American Army from defeat and ruin. And they will say, ‘Brethren, we are glad you have come; give us men, henceforth, who can talk with God’. Then you will have friends, but you will save the country when it’s liberty hangs by a hair, as it were”.
I saw the Prophet and the rest when they departed from Nauvoo for the last time; and I went out to meet their martyred bodies when they were brought from Carthage with Apostle John Taylor, who was himself so badly wounded that he could not stir. There were many of the Saints who went out to meet them, and their hearts were full of sorrow. I went to see those noble martyrs after they were laid out in the mansion. Their heads were placed to the north. As we came in at the door, we came to the feet of the Prophet Joseph, then passed up by his left side and around his head, then down by his right side. Next we turned to the right and came to the feet of Hyrum, then up by his left side and around his head and down by his right side; then we filed out of the other door. So the great stream of people continued until the Saints all had the privilege of taking their last look at the martyred bodies.
After the people had gone home, my father took me again into the mansion and told me to place one hand on Joseph’s breast and to raise my other arm and swear with hand uplifted that I wold never make a compromise with any of the sons of Hell. Which vow I took with a determination to fulfill to the very letter. I took the same vow with Hyrum.
I remember Sidney Rigdon in his great desire to become Guardian of the Church. But I had seen the Prophet proclaim these words before the people, “I have carried Sidney Rigdon long enough–I now throw him from my shoulders. If my brother Hyrum wishes to pick him up and carry him, he may–I carry him no longer”.
I saw Brother Brigham Young, of the Quorum of the Twelve, arise before the people–and I saw in him the look of Joseph, and the voice of Joseph; and it seemed to me that he was as tall as Joseph too. I knew that the mantle of Joseph had fallen on Brigham. I had heard the Prophet say from the frame that he threw the furtherance of this Church and Kingdom upon the shoulders of the Twelve; that they should bear and send this Gospel to every nation under heaven. Some say that Brigham knew nothing about it–perhaps not, for when the Prophet and Hyrum were slain, Brigham was in Pittsburgh, New Hampshire. After the death of the Prophet, the mob spent their fury on the Twelve and a few others. The Brethren pushed the work on the Temple; and the Gospel was preached; and every Saint was busy doing all he could to help the work along. Although I was very young, I was on guard many a night, and gladly did I hail with many of the Saints, the completion of the temple. On about January 10, 1846, I was privileged to go in the temple and receive my washings and anointings. I was sealed to a lovely young girl named Mary, who was about my age, but it was with the understanding that we were not to live together as man and wife until we were 16 years of age. The reason that some were sealed so young was because we knew that we would have to go West and wait many a long time for another temple.
My mother had a little son that we called Levison. There was a man who would get drunk in the temple; and once when mother was giving endowments to the women, a voice said to her, “Go to your baby”. She went and found that drunkard lying on her child. She grabbed the fellow up and threw him on the floor by main strength, although his weight was about 240 pounds. The baby did not live long.
Father had a great deal of opposition in Nauvoo. One day as father and I were walking down Water Street, and we came within twenty feet of the Mansion, an east window raised up, and Francis M. Higbee took deliberate aim with a rifle, and shot father in the left breast. I was walking on father’s right side, and I saw the shot fired, and heard the thud as the bullet struck, but father stopped and picked up the bullet from the ground, and reaching it toward heaven with his right hand, said, “I thank thee, O God the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, that thou didst destroy the power of this bullet”. As soon as the shot was fired, the window was shut down. I suppose Higbee thought father was gone this time for sure, but father had been shot at many times by the mobbers and apostates. Father had had the temple in his care for sometime, and some were jealous of the honors conferred upon him.
Once while I was in the temple, Brigham Young came to me and said, I perceive that you are a sober boy and quick to observe, but do you think you can remember all you have seen and heard in this temple?” “I think I can”, I said. “Be sober and remember all you can, for great things will be expected of you”, he added. He examined my rifle while I was on guard one day, and he guessed it to be a 44 caliber; I thought he was good at guessing.
The Saints started for the Rocky Mountains. We were driven across the ice, but before we started, a man came and wanted to buy father’s 20 acres of timber land. Father said he would sell no land, but would rent or lease it for five years. The man answered, “I will let you have a nice yoke of two year old steers, if you will let me have the dry wood on ten acres of your land”–so we took the steers.
We had 200 bricks which we had bought on the Iowa side to finish our mansion, and along came Uncle David Froman from Pennsylvania; he was an old prosperous Dutchman that Grandfather Reed’s folks raised. He said to father, “Levi, I will give you 25,000 dollars for your possessions”, but father answered, “No, I will not sell”. Uncle David had a yoke of oxen and a nice covered wagon, and he had come from Pennsylvania when he heard of our troubles; he came to see of what benefit he could be to our folks. “I want you to take my team”, David said. Father told him, “I will give you possession of my property, but in five years I hope I can return with an army sufficient to protect us in our rights”.
We crossed over on the ice. Before we left we had parched 14 bushels of corn and taken it to Law’s Mill to be ground for food on our journey. But when we went to get our meal, it was gone! We had no further use of William Law or his mill. We were going to use the parched corn when meal time came, and each one was to take his share of the corn meal and mix it with milk–or water, if we could not get milk. William Law had been pampered and petted by the Prophet and some philanthropic propensities in the Church until he had built a pile of money for himself. He puts me in mind of some I have seen since his day who have the same wolfish propensities when they grab the best prizes and seem satisfied for awhile.
The mob had burned our home and everything in it; even the feather bed mother was trying to get out of the house. We found a good friend in a Washington Vorus, who kindly took us into his house and told us to help ourselves to his corn. We borrowed frying pans and bake kettles, and parched corn until we had 20 bushels, which we got ground ready for our journey. Before we got off, we said goodbye to our friends in Nauvoo.
An officer and six mounted dragoons came to Norman Tillet’s to get a wagon and a yoke of oxen that had been traded to Tillet for his place. There was quite a rumpus! My mother told me not to take my gun, and to stay away from there. We saw them at a distance, however, and they took the team and went away. Some of us boys followed them for two or three miles; they knocked some of the brethren on the heads with the butts of their pistols. We boys threw stones at them from our slings, thinking they would unbind our brethren. We kept inside a fence; but they threw down the fence so as to have a better chance to chase us. We kept this up until we met Port Rockwell, and in his smiling style he told us we had better go back–so we did. We went back to Sugar Creek, where my father, George Myers, Andrew Little and myself were detained to make wagons for the poor. So it was quite late when we left. Besides we had rain every day while there. O! the storms! When we did get ready to start, Father would take us on one day’s travel; then the next day he would go back and get Grandmother Reed and Uncle Levi (who was two years older than myself), and Uncle Ira (who was a little younger than I). And father traveled, and kept the two families along by traveling the road over three times until we caught up with the pioneers at Counsel Point. We got there just in time for President Young, Kimball, and Richards, to come and choose father to go and spiritually preside over the Mormon Battalion. Father went, and we were left alone. The two grandmothers, and the two uncles, and a Sister Sprague, whose husband also went in the Battalion, lived with us.
We were some three weeks in the rain, and one morning mother said, “Mosiah, Sister Sprague and I wish you and Helen to go over to the Indian Mills and see if the people there do not want us to teach their children how to sew, knit, spin, read, write, cipher, and spell. You and Helen take your baskets and go, and on your return get the baskets full of berries. So off Helen and I started, taking the Indian trail to the Mills. Before we got there, however, we were overtaken by seven Pawnee Indians who detained us some time until Helen thought to pray–then the duskies let us go. We finally arrived at the Mills, and the agent, Mr. Wicks said, “Tell your mothers to come”. We started back on the road–and we gathered a good dinner–a squirrel, some fish, and our baskets full of berries. We soon moved our things to the Indian Mills, and Mr. Wicks let us have rooms on the bank of the Big Mosquite, where we were handy to the water, the wood, and the fish of the stream. We went there the 10th of August. On the other side of the stream was a forest of trees where we would often see the rabbits run into a hollow log or tree. We would take a stick and split the end and put a small piece of wood in the fork and press it against the rabbit, and bring it out or down by twisting the stick. We always knew by the squeal of the rabbit when it gave up. I had brought a piece of wire along from Nauvoo to make fish hook from, and Oh! how we brought out the fish! We also made traps to catch quail and prairie chickens, so we didn’t lack for fish or meat that season through. Our parched corn meal got moldy, but we got some new meal, and we had boiled corn, and sometimes fish or a turkey or a deer. Thus the Lord kept us from perishing. Our mothers managed to keep busy, so we got food now and then, but it was hard to keep the Indian children in school, or even to teach the girls to knit or spin.
I got with the Pottawattomie, and some of the Delaware Indians and read the Book of Mormon to them. They would never let me go hungry, and they would often fill my hat with venison or buffalo meat–dried, and so nice! I well remember a boyfriend I had by the name of Opteksech. I taught him to read the Book of Mormon. His skill in the use of the bow was greater than mine, though.
This fall mother bought ten tons of hay by sewing for a half-breed Alex Miller. He helped us out by letting me help him in the hay field. I helped put up hay, and being bare foot, my feet bled very much. He would laugh at my pain, so when they went to dinner, I would take a scythe and mow hay until I was quite independent. He proved himself dishonest, but we had plenty of hay. With my hay, I bought a scythe and snath, and I soon learned to grind my scythe in the proper way, so when next summer came I had my hay cut before anyone knew it.
We dried considerable berries and gathered many nuts this fall. I also went to school some this winter of 1846-47. In the spring of 1847, we were not able to go with the pioneers, so we had to stay over this summer. We children went to school until it was time to cut hay. I became expert in getting game and fish, so we did not suffer. But there were some who fattened their own nests at our expense. One man in particular, killed one of our steers. We had five families to provide for, but he never so much as said, “Sister Hancock, here is a quarter of your steer”. Such folks seem from time to time to flourish, and sometimes those who are careless in the rules of honesty seem to maintain a fair position among the people. Father had chosen three bishops to assist in helping us out while he was with the Battalion; but all the good they did was to direct my labors, somewhat, but never returned anything to us. Father’s tools were borrowed and never returned either. As for the steer, the one killed, it was returned to us by paying $27.00 in sewing for another one.
My brother Levi was born the 28th of February–8 1/2 months after my father left for the Battalion. We had a cow that freshened this spring, but she was up to the bottoms, 40 miles away. We tried to get some of the brethren to bring her down, and they said they would. But mother dreamed that Bill Hickman got the cow and calf, and she wished me to see if I could get a horse and saddle. I dreamed, however, that thieves got away with the horse and saddle, so I took my gun, and mother made me three skillets of corn dodger, and the next morning I started out on foot. Mother also gave me three matches so that I could have a fire when I camped. Our bedding being scarce, I did not take a quilt, even though the season wasn’t very warm. The first day was so muddy that I got only about 20 miles; but I came to a grove of trees–mostly slippery elm and basswood. I soon had a good fire for the wood was plentiful. I had my knife along, and I got some elmbark which seemed to go well with my corn bread. I made me a bed with some dry leaves at the foot of a clump of trees, and was soon in a sound sleep. But, a dismal noise awakened me! I grabbed my gun and corn dodger, and up a tree I went, for wolves were in force! I threw some wood on the fire so that the blaze would keep back those “clamoring varmits”, as David Crocket would say. Oh, how the cold wind did pierce me! By daylight the wolves were gone, and I left my perch. I soon got warm by the good fire, and I tried to do some praying–for the music in the wolves choir seemed to introduce in me a desire to feel a little religious. I went on and inquired for our cow, but no one seemed to know anything about her. I soon got my eye on her, and started back that evening. I got to a nice wood where I built a fire, and tied the cow with a rope I had found. The calf had been considerable trouble, so I tied it to the cow! Oh, but the wolves were so thick! I had the calf tied to the cow and the cow tied to a tree–then I made a fire close to the cow, then scraped some leaves together for my bed. I got a great pile of wood so I could keep fire through the night. Then I saw a rabbit run up the hollow tree where I intended to lay my head; I reached it with my arm and soon had it skinned and cooked. I had a supper fit for a king with the rabbit, some of the dodger I had left, and some milk I milked into my mouth! The third day of my trip, I arose early and ate the rest of my rabbit and dodger. I found the cow had eaten the pile of straw I carried on my head, which was supposed to be my hat, so I went forth bare headed. However, the day was cloudy, so I didn’t suffer with heat. Although the snow was nearly gone, except in the gulches, there was much mud; but I made it to the Perkins settlement, where I and my “companions” fell into good hands. The goodly company seemed to suppose me to be somewhat of a hero. I had a good supper and slept soundly, never once thinking of the wolf choir. The next morning I ate a hearty breakfast, and my kind friends sent me forth with a good lunch. At noon I shot large grey wolf that got too close, and while going down the Mosquite, a panther to put up a sneak job on me and my company–however, I saw it’s movements as it crouched near the path. I put a ball between its eyes and it quivered without making much of a spring. I then began to cast about for another place to sleep, supposing it would be late before I got the thing skinned; when all at once, Jack Reddin rode up on horseback. He saw the situation and gave me $2.50 for the panther, so I traveled on towards home, reaching it about 12 o’clock midnight, much to the joy of my mother who was waiting and worrying for me. I can assure all, I rested sweetly that night!
My mother wished me to buy a pair of shoes with the money I got for the panther, but I said, “No, Mother, it is warm and I can go barefoot. You have to work hard–get something for yourself!” That summer we went to school taught by a sister, and I went all I could. I worked early and late, and got my lessons at school so I could do other kinds of work.
It was the winter of 1847-48. We got some game from time to time, but we passed through some privations. On the 10th of May, 1848, mother sent me forth to Winter Quarters to see Brother Brigham and find out if we could go to the Salt Lake Valley. He said, “Yes, and here is a team.” So I took a team back with me, and our team was for us and the other team was for father’s 2nd wife. But the 2nd wife did not come with us, so mother took charge of both teams.
We started with 27 bushels of cornmeal, 15 lbs. of flour, 2 pigs, a dog, and a cat. There was Uncle Levi Reed, 2 1/2 years older than I; and Uncle Ira Reed, a little younger. Levi and Ira drove one team and I the other; although when I would be out hunting, mother would drive my team. We all walked because we were heavily loaded. We left the Indian Mills on May 14, 1848, and we left Winter Quarters on May 18th. While we were camped at Winter Quarters, Mary Dunn came to our camp and wanted to go with us, but mother said we could not take her because we had no room. Mary’s mother had died and her father had gotten a stepmother for his children. She came with her bundle of clothes to our wagon, and with what joy I hailed my noble, beautiful wife! But Mary had to go, and oh what sorrow as I saw her depart. We were separated for life. We went over to Elk Horn and was organized in Zera Pulsipher’s company of 50. He was captain. There was John B. Butcher, John Bills, Wm. Burges, John Alger, Samuel Alger, Lewis the tinner, Brother Bunday, Brother Neff, and Charles Pulsipher. I took my duty through the day with the men, and had my turn standing guard at nights. My first turn standing guard was with John Alger. He said I could have the first turn if I would stand till one o’clock; which I did.
We killed our first antelope at Soapfork; and I also caught a catfish there that weighed 36 pounds–John Pulsipher helped me pull it out. We got our first buffalo about 100 miles out of Soapfork. There were four of us boys, and we went to camp and brought out seven yoke of oxen to get the buffalo! John Benton mourned because of the parts of the buffalo we threw away. Then we boys thought we would stroll along up the Platt in quest of other game; but we went too far and got surrounded by wolves before we got back. We got a severe scolding when we got home, but the howling and the massing of the wolves was a great deal worse in my estimation! When we got to within about two days travel of Laramie, we just about got into some trouble with a large company of Sioux Indians. John Alger started in fun to trade a 16 year old girl to a young Chief for a horse. But the Chief was in earnest! We got the thing settled, however, and were permitted to go without the loss of Lovina. We went through Laramie and on to Platt Ferry. Father, in returning from the Battalion trip, had stopped there, but had gone on to Salt Lake valley because he had heard we were not coming until next year. We found Lewis Robinson at Platt Ferry, and he was going on to the valley. Mother wished to go also, for I was so free to do everybody’s bidding that I was nothing but skin and bones, and mother was afraid I wouldn’t live through it. She talked to the captain of the company, but he gave her the most insulting language, so we pulled out and went on. I did not have tostand guard for that company anymore, and I began to mend from that time forth.
When we got to Cash Cave we met father and Brother David Petigrew going back to the bluff for us. So father returned with us to the valley. While we were going down East Canyon Creek mother’s foot got caught in between the box and wagon tongue and broke the toe at the upper joint; but the skin was not broken. So father anointed her foot there and administered to her and it was healed quite soon. We went on and at the mouth of Emigration Canyon I broke a hind wheel; but we had some of father’s carpenter tools along and the wheel was mended.
This evening August 2, 1848 Edmond Ellsworth and Charles Shumway came up to our camp with some roasting ears. August 3rd, we drove into the old fort in Salt Lake Valley and went into a house or room on the west side of the north gate. We turned our teams out near the warm springs while we went to making adobes for a house that we intended to build at Spring Creek toward the warm springs. Father had drawn a lot for mother and one for Emely. So we hauled our adobes cut, and it being late in the fall, we stacked them up without a foundation or under-pinning. We moved out there on our lot which was in the 18th Ward of Salt Lake. We soon made a dam and had a pond where we put up a wheel then we attached some machinery and ran a turning lathe where we made bedsteads, chairs, tables, cupboards etc. So it was late before I could get up our winter’s wood but at it we went when we thought the team able to get wood or poles and sometimes cane or hay for the cattle in the winter. It was very cold before we got our wood; the first load I got was at the head of Little North Canyon. My brother Francis Marion and I went up on Christmas day. Mother doled out two spoonfuls of bran-mush to us before we started. Some might ask: “Where was all the meal gone that you brought from Council Bluffs?” I answered: “It was all gone–the 27 bushels of corn meal was gone every whit; not a particle remained. It we had only our own family we would have had enough, but mother’s judgement run-not for others when we started from the Indian Mills. She had calculated bread-stuff to last us one year; but there was none to speak of raised in the valley for us. We were supposed to have been considered as father was in the Batallion. When we came in there was always a hord eating at our table; and there was no Elija to tell us that our bread should not fail. So it failed on Christmas Day. Oh! the stomachs that were filled from our small pile–mostly batallion boys. We children would often look at the table with pale anxious faces and which that all of us together could just have what one of those idle gluttons was destined to eat, but no, their guts showed us no mercy. Now if there are any of them left in the land, I wonder if they ever think how Zion prospered at that time?
Now we return to the Christmas of 1848 of which I spoke. After we received the two spoonfuls of bran mush, we started forth to the head of little North Canyon. We got there in time to put on part or perhaps most of a load of poles or quakingasp wood. We secured the oxen to a wagon wheel and gave them some cane, then we built a fire and went to bed. We had only one quilt and part was under us and part was over. When we awoke in the morning, we had four feet of honest snow on us. Marion left me there, and I got the rest of the wood alone. He went to a fellow with a team about 200 yards below. I started home as soon as I could, but the wind, Oh, how cold it was! It took my straw pile off and left my hair flopping. I was so cold I couldn’t ride, and I didn’t know what to do, so I tried walking and kept up with the team. After awhile I got on and rode to the hot springs, where some unseen power grabbed me and shook me to wake me up and keep me from freezing to death. I usually could stand a lot of cold. I let the team go on while I stopped and warmed my feet in the hot spring water. But, I was too greedy with the hot water, and I scalded my partly frozen feet–they were thawed, sure enough! I then started out and overtook the team at Salt Springs. There I stopped to thaw my feet again, and let the team go to more warm springs which I soon reached and once more warmed myself and took a good thaw before I went home. When I reached home, my mother had unhooked the oxen, had fed and cradled them. Who can imagine the suffering of frozen feet? In three days time, every nail came off my toes! Could I find fault with God or any of His servants? Or with even my innocent brother who ran away and left me? The government had made the demand for the Battalion, and the Church had furnished the same; and the men went trusting their families into the hands of the Lord; yet was the Lord to blame if we had no shoes? Not that I know it to be so. While I suffered with my feet I also suffered with my face– I had the tooth-ache so bad that it seemed I would go crazy. In my suffering I had an inspiration to carry pine gum and put it in my teeth when they began to ache; however, that would not work in every case of tooth ache. I knew I had been healed by the power of God; He is powerful. I arose in the morning feeling thankful indeed.
I went to Brother Gibbs store, and he let me have 1/4 lb. of gun powder for $1.25, and 1 lb. of shot for 75 cents. My brother Francis Marion came from the hot springs loaded with geese and ducks. When the Lord gave us game, our good Yankee mother knew a thing or two in making the fowls palatable!
Some of the brethren went to California in order to have a better time. Those of us who stayed kept the Word of Wisdom and tried to make a living and keep the commandments of God. When our ammunition gave out, we sharpened some sticks and went up the mountain and dug segos, but oh, the back aching job for the meager messes we obtained! Some got poisoned by getting the wrong kind. As soon as the frost was out of the ground in the bottoms, we went for the thistle roots which were nice to eat– either raw or roasted; we used the tops for greens.
It wasn’t long before, Jack, one of our oxen, slipped into a spring and drowned. We finally got some help to pull him out– then we cut his throat to see if the blood would run, but no, he had soaked too long. He looked fairly good when he was taken from the spring, even though his nose was pale and his hoofs white. We skinned him. Being told that the tripe was good, we set about cleaning that also. We knew that intestines were good to put sausage in, but having no sausage, we cleaned the intestines good and chopped them up with the liver, lights, heart, melt, and kidneys, into what we called chitlins. I thought the meat was splendid, even though he was 20 years old and had served us faithfully. However, my tender-hearted mother shed tears to think that we had to eat him in our afflictions.
Our two hogs that we had brought with us would run out in the daytime through the winter, yet had done tolerably well. The male one used to go through a hole in the wall, and one day a pile of adobes tumbled down on him; so we cut his throat and skinned him. It seemed such a joy to eat such pork! I took some of the boiled hog with me when I spaded up our 10 acres. Thus I continued until our wheat was in. When father came from California he had brought some wheat; so he spaded ground and planted two quarts of wheat on one-half acre. When he went to Platt Ferry, he left the wheat with Brother Charles Shumway, who saved six bushels for us. We boiled and ate five bushels, and I ate one peck raw while I spaded the ten acres and planted wheat. I would also get some fish or minnows to help the food along, and sometimes I got a rabbit. I had to work so that our wheat was in time to make a crop, and the Lord provided for us. While I dug away to make a crop, I took a hoe and furrowed the land about 14 inches apart, then dropped the grain into the rows about 7 inches apart. I also worked a ditch for water for our land. On the 17th of May, 1849, the first gold diggers of California made their appearance in the City–they were a company from Cincinnati, Ohio. They had mule teams, and seemed to be composed of fair intelligence–very kind and affable in deportment. They asked me of our faith, and I tried to give them the information which they seemed to desire. Some of them seemed to be up in what might be worldly parlance, considered profane history; but as far as that was concerned, their ideas seemed dull. One of them asked me if I could let them know where they could stay through the night with some woman. I told them that I thought there were none of that kind in the City. The captain said to me, “Young man, if you will not take it as an insult, I would offer you some bread that is somewhat stale”. Said I, “I wold take it with many thanks”. So they got me a sack and gathered up the bread, and I had large sackful to take home. I tried to eat a biscuit on the way, but could eat no more than a half one because it was the first bread I had tasted since Christmas, five long months! Here I saw the prophesy of President Kimball fulfilled which he spoke on the 1st of May. He said, “Cheer up brethren and sisters; for I prophesy to you in the name of Jesus Christ, that within three weeks clothing can be bought here as cheap as in New York City”. He turned and sat down and said, “I wish I had not said that, for I do not see how it is to be brought about”. I was on the stand and heard all he said; for I helped to sing. After I took the bread home, I returned. We took their teams out and tended them all I took the bread home, I returned. We took their teams out and tended them all night and three days more. They paid us well. We also baked a lot of bread for them, and they paid us in flour. We got a hundred pounds of flour from them, and they also gave me a hundred pounds of coffee! We later traded the coffee off. We also got a hundred pounds of states bacon; so we began to hold up our heads in joy! I had worked like a slave, nearly starved too, and here I was all ready paid for my toil! Before they left, a gentlemen came up to me and asked me to go to their camp. There he made me a present of a new brown broadcloth suit that had never been soiled! He also presented me with a nice library of books. Said he, “I do this because of the respect due to you from me, in consequence of your superior and excellent qualities of mind and heart, in placing before me the principles of the doctrine of Christ in their purity”. I only wish I could remember his name.
So the harvest time came. I obtained a harvesting cradle, and went down with my cradle and a rake to cut our wheat. Mother went down also, but I said, “Mother, if you are going to work in the harvest field, I shall go, for I will not work in the field with a woman.” She said, “Mosiah, can’t I stay and cook for you?” I said yes. But a procession was being formed–there was my mother ready with a rake, and also my brother John ready to help. Sufficient to say, we got it done and in the shock; then in the stack at home before the snow fell. We had boiled wheat with milk.
Our friends would ask mother if she did not wish she were back in the States. She would always answer, “No! I have seen the noblest martyrs in their own gore; I have seen my husband hounded by mobbers of Christendom, in priestly attire; I have beheld my son, a noble hero, marching forth in his bare feet, with nothing but a single shirt to shield him from the shivering blasts. Since God has delivered us, I want no more of modern Christianity!”
President Young gave my father another wife, and father was called upon to strengthen Sanpete County, which he did to the best of his ability. He went to Manti and was there most of the time until August of 1853. He then came to the Legislature as a delegate for two terms.
We had a machinery shop burn down in 1852, with a loss of 6,000.00! It was supposed to have been burned by the Indians. We used the machinery to make different things for the people; some paid us, and some were careless.
Father had brought some potatoes from California, but when he went to Platt Ferry, he left his potatoes with Brother Shumway, so that in the spring of 1849 we had only one peck left. And father in his generosity divided the peck equally with Charles B. Hancock and Levi Reed. That left us with one-third of a peck. One morning as I was going to the field to spade up land for a wheat crop, I heard a tap on the wagon, and Doctor Willard Richards beckoned me to come to him. He said, “Brother Mosiah, has your father got any potatoes? I said, “He has just one-third of a peck which he is trying to save for seed”. Said he, “Will you ask your father if he can spare me one potato? I wish it for seed”. I returned to father and told him of Brother Richard’s request. Father picked out three of the largest potatoes in the pile—–he held them in his hand for a minute with his eyes closed, as if asking a blessing over them. Then he handed them to me, saying, “Tell Brother Richards I make him a present of these, in the name of the Lord.” I returned to Brother Richards and told him what father had said. He took them in his hands and held them perhaps two minutes; then opening his eyes, he said, “Mosiah, tell your father that I say in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he will have more potatoes with what he has left than if he had kept these”. I asked father if I could tend the potatoes, and he said yes, So I planted a hill apiece for Brother Willard Richards, Brother Brigham, and Brother Heber. I spaded the land and planted the potatoes three feet apart. I got a good yield and took them to the brethren. I cannot help but draw the contrast between the brethren of nowadays, and the brethren of the old style of those days. How can I forget the noble Prophet, who felt it no disgrace to be equal with his faithful brethren. Oh, how familiar he was to all, and others of our brethren since his time. But now how does it seem if people cannot yell out, “Great is Baal; Great is republicanism, Great is democracy”. The chances are there is no pot of gold for them within sight.
Through the kindness of President Young, I went to parents school, and I paid my own tuition. I soon tried to do all the good I could among the Indians, but they were sassy and mean. A great many were camped on the bench above our place. The measles thinned them out considerably, and they took turns carrying each other to the hollow above our place. One day the Indians took a notion to kill some of the cattle belonging to some of the brethren, and Charles C. Rich was sent with a squad of men to settle the business. The Indians gathered on a knoll above our place and were quite saucy. They were well armed. I too was well armed with my rifle and fifty rounds of ammunition. We marched up to within four rods of the Indians, and B. Huntington began to talk. He said they had been killing the Mormon’s cattle. They said they had not, that they had killed only their own. They said their deer had run away and some other animals had come to eat up the grass, and they had only killed some to last them a short time. They told us not to go hungry. There was one we called “Bear Claws”. He had the claws of a bear hung on his neck. He snapped his gun toward us several times; I feared it would go off, the way he handled the trigger. At last Brother Huntington said there was no use trying to do anything with them, as they were too well armed for us. At length Brother Rich began to inquire how much ammunition we all had, and found there was only two of us that had the 48 rounds required in those days. One-half of the twenty men had no ammunition at all; and three had no locks of “battle”. Brother Rich told the brethren that they had better go home and prepare for emergencies that might come, so the brethren started for the fort, and I went home. The Indians yelled in defiance at our discomfort. We killed sheep before long and gave it to the Indians and they seemed tolerably satisfied. That was on my birthday, April 9th.
There were in those days some cattle kings who thought they owned the world because their cattle ate most of the grass; and I took the poor, little folks to guard and shield from foes without and foes within. There were those who had no respect for the rights of those of tougher beef. I tried to teach the Indians the Book of Mormon. I tried to teach them all the good things I could, but they seemed incapable of learning any good things. President Young used to say they were the remnant of the old Giddiantian [Gadianton] robbers.
The people were so poor in paying for things we made for them that we had to give up our shop. Father took his tools to Manti where he tried the furniture business; but the result was–his shop burned down!
We tilled our land. I worked at different kinds of labor and I was also set aside as a teacher to labor with father and William Hawks. I tried to do all the good I could. This was in the nineteenth ward. Our bishop, James Hendricks was a cripple, he had been crippled in the battle of Crooked River, where Brother David Patton, and Brother Carter were killed. I now had to prepare to push out towards Utah County. The Indians at that time were cruel. In the winter of 1851-52, I worked for James Gamble on a railroad track at the point of the mountain, making a dugway around the mountain. I also cut considerable hay at Jordan. I paid myself when I worked for myself, but neither Gambles nor some others paid good.
On my birthday, April 9th, 1852, I was ordained a Seventy in the Old Council House in Salt Lake City.
I carried three peach trees on my back to Payson, and I left them there then returned to the City. I rigged up with my brother-in-law, B. W. Brawn, and on the 12th of May, we started with certain other men, to run the ferry on Green River. I didn’t realize what a crowd I was with until they had me out on Green River. The most notorious of them wished me to do a job that my whole soul rebelled against. At my refusal, they pushed me off the boat; and the river being high, and the current strong, I did not gain the shore until I had been carried down for a distance of one-half mile in the cold water. Having on my overcoat and boots, it became quite tedious before I reached the shore. I found some trappers I was partly acquainted with, so I felt safe. I stayed with them all night; then returned the next day to the consternation of those fellows who thought I was a sure goner. The day before I made my escape from that gang, I knew not what to do. Their leader could pray [bray?] as loud as any jackass I ever saw, and yet to all appearances he was quite a saint. He even told me he was Brigham Young’s right hand man, as well as other startling things. With these strange things before me I knew not what to do.
I had been ordained a Seventy; and I could realize that I held the priesthood, so I though that I would go back to the States. I felt that God could and would take care of me. I started and got up toward the South Pass when my brother-in-law, Amy’s husband overtook me. He had two horses; I was walking. We went on to the east side of the pass and came to the camp of a man by the name of Deshaw, who had married a squaw. He had a boat and he wished us to take it down to the crossing of the Sweetwater and put it together and run it; and he would send his boy with us and furnish a team to haul it down to the river. And we were to give him one-third of what we made. We took it down and I being an expert, soon got it together. We made a few trips across, though the waters were high. It seemed to work all right; but George and I did not agree so I went on. Soon Ephram Hanks overtook me and asked me where I was going. I told him what that gang had said and asked him if Brother Brigham had ordered such things done. He said it was a lie that Brigham never told anyone to do such a deed. This statement eased my mind. He said I could go back with him on his return. I thanked him feeling that he was a friend. I soon came upon a stranger by the name of Edward Dolittle. He and his partner wished to hire me; they said they would give me one hundred dollars a month, and would board me and give me all the whiskey, tobacco and coffee I could wish for. I stayed with them but used none of the stuff named. They were satisfied with me and I with them; for I had never worked or dealt with more honest men. I had the chance of trading for myself, and when Ephram Hanks came along I was ready to go too.
I had a wild mustang horse that I caught and tamed. I had another good horse and three hundred dollars in cash and I had not tasted whiskey, coffee or tobacco. I got home with my pile. I set my sack of money in Eph’s wagon and took his saddle and I kept along with him until in passing the Presidents Office President Young beckoned to me and I went to him. He asked me where I had been and what I had been doing. I told him all. I got home the evening of the twenty third of July with the blessings of God and the Holy Priesthood. The next day I celebrated Pioneer Day and was assigned the Banner of Judah to carry. I was well fitted to take any honors or anything. My hair was as black as the slow, and I had made the leap forward and backward of many feet so that I was not a dude. I could lift my end of weight with anyone. On the 18th of August I was drafted from my minute Company to go and help our people against the Indians at Sanpete. We started on that day under the command of Colonel Lyman Stevens. We went as soon as we could. While there I had some adventures, and not wishing to pose as a hero I will try to say that we tried to be of use to our kindred there. I soon became acquainted with the relatives of father’s other wife. I truly found them kind and affable in every particular. After we had guarded and chased and harvested to the satisfaction of our friends we returned home.
On Christmas day we had a scrap with the United States Soldiers. I saw in a certain history of Utah, that it was a row with a set of persons that were drunk. I ask in all reasons, why do people in getting up our histories resort to such abominable falsehoods? Why is it not as easy to tell the truth and shame satan as it is the wish of some to try to shame God and to raise satan to a standard? Have not our enemies been the petted and pampered ones long enough? And now I tell it. That command located in those barracks in Salt Lake City had been pampered by the elite of the city until they supposed that the majority of the women and the girls were their private property. Erma King was my partner as we were walking down the sidewalk on the East side of what was then know as Hell-Street, or Whiskey-Street. The walk was full of soldiers and some Mormons. Some of us were going to the Seventies Party at the Seventies Hall of Science. There came along two of the finest looking ladies I had ever beheld. There were two soldiers, or perhaps two sergeants, one of whom made such an expression right in front of the young ladies that all at once the blabbers head had broken a picket and his head lay between two more pickets. Then there was considerable stir. I saw that it was no place for my partner, so I hailed a team and having taken my partner in we stopped to see the rest of the play and I saw it all through. I had had no liquor of any kind. There might have been some under the influence of liquor to some extent, but if there were, I failed to see it on any one of them. We went on to our dance having an enjoyable time. Our dance being dignified, we closed at an early hour.
I had come down from Payson on a visit. The first of August, I started from Payson with an ox team to meet my father, who was coming from Manti. I had my rifle and two pistols which I had made myself and while I was crossing Summet Creek, now Santiquin Creek, a bullet took off part of my hat rim so that it lopped down. The oxen took the hint and ran so fast that I did not have time to shoot. I went on to Nephi and stopped at Samuel Adams the next morning. I was on the point of starting out to meet my father when they took me and my team and placed us under Marshal Guard. I helped the people in the harvest field and got no pay. In the evening I started forth with my gun and pistols to meet my father for I was worried about him. As soon as it was dark I started forth from Nephi and the way I went was up to Creek Canyon and soon arrived where Fountain Green now is. And as I was about to take a drink of water I saw my father with a gun in his arms. I soon explained the situation to him and how I had broken away from my guards and that I would not camp there. He said; “Then let us go on to Nephi.” We arrived there at half- past-four in the morning. I had traveled twenty nine miles since dark. They let me go after that. The next day we rested and on the following day went on to Payson and here I helped make a large house for father. I also drew a lot by the side of my father’s for myself. I made the adobe for myself while I made father some. I let Warren Hancock put up my house for the rent. I was called here and there and never at any time did I shirk a civil, Military or any other duty that I know of in my days from the time I was ordained a Priest after the order of Aaron up to the present time. I have seen dudes placed in office over the people when they were not qualified for the position; yet they and their friends have denied it and therefore in many instances they have been a drag to the position they occupied.
On the ninth of January in 1857 I took a handcart girl to wife by the name of Margaret McCleve, in the town of Payson. I fixed up a room which I had rented from Bishop Hancock. We had our times of hardship. I had stayed by father and got his blessings; and had attended his sick wife for I thought she needed tender care. I had done by my father as I would wish my sons to do by me. I certainly tried to do my duty faithfully. I had chances to marry stylish girls; but my great desire was to raise up children in the true spirit of the gospel. I had made my father as comfortable as possible and then he was called to the city. He went down in the spring of 1856 and located in the fifth ward. He had a hard time. I know that Brigham Young thought well of father, for notwithstanding his age he was no gormandizer. He would not use the tithing or church means in any way but would attend to his duties in every respect.
In 1856 he consecrated his property to the church, as he supposed the circumstances were on this, wise. He and I were down from Payson and Bishop Raleigh got the consecration deeds up, and he said to father one morning, “Brother Levi”, `If you are ready to consecrate your property to the nineteenth ward now is the time.’ “All right,” said father. So we went over to Bishop Raleigh’s residence with my uncle Samuel Alger and myself as witnesses. When we got there Raleigh said, “Brother Levi, I haven’t had time to make out these deeds in full, but you put your name here and Brother Alger and Brother Mosiah put your names here,” which we did. Now we were required to consecrate to Brigham Young, he being trustee for the Church. We supposed it would be filled out in his name. Some few years after we found out that the Government took it in hand to see that things were restored to their right owners. We found that the deeds had been made out to another person by the name of Thomas White for $1.50 (one dollar and fifty cents). I inquired into the affair and found by Mr. White that he had paid Mr. Raleigh sixteen hundred dollars and fifty cents for the premises. While we were toiling to build up the kingdom, those whom we had calculated as brethren were sucking our life’s blood from us and taking upon themselves of Mr. so and so after the gentiles fashion. These and other things were too much for my brothers and they left the Church. The gentile mobbers had been hard on us, but the climax of exquisite grief came by the horrible profidity of those who we thought were our Brethren.
We were required to forgive each other from time to time; and we do all in our power to take the counsel of the Savior. But while we resist evil it seems impossible to forget some of the Pharisees of our times. Could our brethren and our kindred stand these things as we had to stand them we would feel paid for all our toil and pain. Behold I have seen my noble father untiring in the persecutions heaped upon him by the mobbers of Christianity, untiring in his exertions in defending the Prophets of God; untiring of getting the poor from the mobocracy; untiring in his exertions in taking the Mormon Battalion through in the spirit of the gospel that they might not fail to receive the reward for all their toil over the desert and chilly mountains, until he, through the direst exposure, became paralyzed on his right side; until he was unable to hold his hand still; after all these things to still be sent forth to strengthen the outskirts of those people, and still in his emaciated condition standing nobly to the rock, pay or no pay, until through the goodness of God he sank like a warrior, taking his rest with his Priesthood upon him. I told him this on certain occasions when I thought he had received sufficient abuse. I said, “But you will lay your body down for others to walk over to what they will suppose to be their exaltation.” I have seen this fulfilled in several instances.
When we came to the mountains, we came to serve God and not mammon. We have a little of the beliefs of the gentiles especially while we are in captivity to their fashions; but it is entirely contrary to the nature of God to serve the devil because it is fashionable even if we should be in captivity. Does not God plainly say; “If you do thus and so you will prevail over your enemies, and if not, they will prevail over you. Look to the revelations of God! Why are the wicked set up and pampered? Some say: “If my son does not do any worse than to go to a pool table or a saloon that it is not so very bad.” So they are encouraged to go from bad to worse until the foundation of life spiritually and temporally, is cut off. They are captives of satan, indeed, and the choice spirits of the Kingdom of God, that we are responsible for, are beyond our grasp, a prey to Satan’s miseries. Who can ever pay for the loss of those jewels? Then in all reason, I ask: Why do people not pause in their rush for Satan’s popularity and consider the dismal surroundings that confront them? Can you be happy even when surrounded with the everlasting Glories of God without your children?”
I shall now return to Payson. About the time I was one and twenty years of age, I know not whether to call it a dream or a vision; some have classed it a dream. I do not expect to give it in full: for to me it is sacred, beyond expression, especially some things I have no power to describe in words or to express in writing. Me thought I was taken away somewhere to Oh! such a Glorious Realm. I saw He whom at that time we Reverently spoke of as The Great Eternal. I saw the females at his right side. I have no idea of their number. I there saw the Savior; and calling me by name He said, “Mosiah, I have brought you here that you may know how it was before you went to yonder earth.” Thinks I, What earth? for it seemed to me that I had no knowledge of an earth. He said, “As it is written in the Beginning, God created man, male and female, created He them.” “And know you that no man is man without female, and that in the Lord. And no female is female without the male, and that in the Lord.” I shall not attempt to tell how they were formed…suffice it to say, they were created in pairs, the male and his female. And as they came up to the throne of the Great Eternal the mothers seemed to name the females, and Oh! the respect they seemed to entertain for each other as they marched forth. The right elbow of the female seemed to touch the left elbow of the male. I should judge the males, generally to be about six feet two inches in height, and the females some three or four inches less. Their forms seemed as perfect as a new born infant, with no interference. They marched forth clothed in robes of a light color, tied in front.
They were instructed in everything that could be imagined, the finest oratory and everything of literary turn, including astronomy, trigonometry, surveying and the use of most delicate machinery. The females were taught to weave, to knit, to sew and to work in everything in their departments. Oh! the music of those spheres; I seem inadequate to touch upon the least of those accomplishments of the Heavenly Characters. Yet they were so orderly and harmonious that it seemed as if one could hear a pin drop. I saw some who became more efficient in science or other knowledge and they were advanced from class to class. It seemed as if the female always kept with her companion for they were always together, for I never saw one fall behind. Even those who had been placed to overlook the classes were always together. The male overlooking the males and his female overlooking females. I even had a companion with me that needed no prompting. It seemed that I had been with the Savior so long, it seemed that I wore the same vesture as his. All at once a Heavenly voice seemed to reverberate, as it were, through the immensity of space and said: “Hear all ye, Oh my children! We have a world for you on which you can dwell and you can have the chance on coming up as we have come up.” We then gathered together in counsel to devise means of redemption, should it be needed. One arose whom I had always looked upon as the Savior and said that he would go down and lay before the Children of men the gospel that they might have the chance of attaining the glory as the Gods had done by the obedience to the Divine Plan of Life. Then I saw another who supposed his plan to be superior to the plan of the first for he said that he would save all; only that he wanted the glory. I saw that he and his plan were not accepted, so there was considerable commotion. At last I saw, as it were, a platform extended where the contest could be decided. I was indignant at the opposition as we fought with our opponents. The one called Levi became my father, and the one called Clarissa was my mother here on earth. My father seemed a savior as he strove to bring me up in the admonition of the Lord; and blessed be the name of my parents. Clarissa became my mother and she certainly did a christian duty to me. But there are others who have no right with me or mine, that I cheerfully leave in the hands of One that I know doeth all things well. Although I have been weak at times, I trust that I can be worth of Glory hereafter.
I helped to build the Spanish Wall around Salt Lake City before I went to Payson, and helped to fence the fields from the Indians. I was through the Indian Wars of Walker and the Notorious Utes in those days. I knew that Jesus Christ promised that he would see me safely through, and he has thus far. I sparked, as the saying goes, several girls in those days, some of noble quality who tried to have me covenant with them that if we were married I would never get another wife as long as we live, but I never sold myself to such an idea.
When father moved to the city, I had made the adobe for his house. I had hauled them up and had done most of the building of the same, had hauled the wood, done the washing, ironing, and cooking for the family. I had done a great deal of praying also.
A man by the name of Phineas Cook bargained for our house so we let him have it. I reserved two rooms for myself until the house was paid for; but the whole eight hundred dollars went from one to the other until nothing was realized from the whole building. I drew a lot next to the fathers.
I often used to be sent as a missionary to bring back a thief, while on many expeditions to the Indians. And the thief always seemed to be willing to come back. We seemed to have some reformation now and then when the people would get a streak of wanting to do better; and they would come for us to do baptizing. One cold day I baptized three hundred Indians. When father went to the city I hired out to Phineas Cook as a carpenter to learn the trade, but he was no better workman than myself. I was always standing guard when President Young came around. Early one spring of 1860, President Young saw me and said, “Mosiah, I have chosen you as one to go to Salt Lake City and finish up your education under Prof. Orson Pratt. So I traded my place in Payson to John Badger for his place in the 16th ward in Salt Lake City. I also traded my farm to Badger and got 80 acres of his land on the Jordan River. I had let Matthew Mansfield use my 10 acres before that was out on Mill Creek. Well, I attended to school all I could, renting out my farms and working the carpenter trade evenings, mornings, and Saturdays.
On the 19th of November, Margaret and I received our endowments and sealings in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. We were married at Payson, January 9, 1857, by Bishop C. B. Hancock. Our eldest son, Moroni, was born October 14, 1857. I being away from home after the Johnson Army, Margaret had a tough time giving birth to Moroni, being three days in labor. I returned in January and found my wife a wreck of her former self; but she soon recuperated when I came home.
The brethren who went forth to repel the invaders had no one to help bear the expense of the campaign. But when I returned I set about tending to my affairs. The spring we were married the brethren wanted a great deal of work done, such as carpenter, mason, surveying etc. and they promised to plough for me if I would do their work. They would plough for themselves and everyone else before they would plough for me. So in the spring of 1858 I spaded up my large city lot and put that in. I had an orchard on my lot that I was proud of. This fall I tucked away about six hundred watermelons and at Christmas time I had four hundred and some lasted until early spring. On December 7, 1858 my daughter Margaret Clarissa was born in Payson, and blessed by John B. Fairbanks when eight days old. I belonged also to the Theatrical Association of Payson. I had laid up 300 bushel of wheat and had $700.00 in the theater at Payson. We played on the stage through Utah County and sometimes at Nephi. We had a good stage run of the country. Sometimes Brother George A. Smith would be with us. He would encourage us often by saying that we were good actors. So when President Young called me on a mission to go to school in the city I felt quite good over it. I got there in the spring of 1860, on May 12th, and went to school all I could.
I did not realize the excellent opportunity extended to me by the Noble Prophet of God, yet I did appreciate the chance. I thought it my duty to work that I might not become a burden of others–therefore I worked what I could. On the 12th of September 1860 our son Mosiah Lyman was born in the 16th ward in Salt Lake City, Utah.
By order from President Young, I with John and William Lytlle and Joseph McRose started out for Green River to explore and find a road. When we got there we were recalled for President Young said that it had been taken for a reservation for the Indians. So we were called to Dixie in Southern Utah on a mission. I sold out to H. Redfield for $700.00 and started the 12th of December 1861 from Salt Lake City. I got to Payson and stopped for the winter. My cattle got scattered, I hunted for them almost every day, but could not find them. Brother David Ellsworth who married my wife’s mother wanted to go to Utah’s Dixie. Dr. P. Meeks, who had married my wife’s sister was already down there. At last on the 20th of March I made up my mind that as soon as I could find my cattle I would start for Dixie. I went out on the 21st and found every hoof belonging to me, except one cow.
On the 21st we started out with father Ellsworth. My family consisted of myself, my wife, Margaret, our daughter Margaret Clarissa, our son, Mosiah Lyman and my sister Emily Melissa. We had our team and father Ellsworth and Joseph McCleve had their teams. We had a yoke of large oxen, six sheep, five cows, two steers and some calves. On the same day we started I found my other cow.
We went on towards the land of Mormon Cotton. We stopped by many of our friends who were glad twice — glad to see us come, and glad to see us go. Someone told us that we would soon come to the country of Mormon Pieplant. We could easily tell it, they said. There was also the Mexican “Mescall”. So when we got to Ash Creek we stopped to get our dinner and of course stewed some pie-plant, which proved to be the case, or soap root. But we did get rid of our colds; for the stuff proved to be too laxative for our weak natures. However we got to Cottonwood, as there were cottons on the creek where Dr. Meeks lived. We got there the 17th of May 1862.
I had lost my sheep at the Severe River and the wolves being so thick I supposed not one of them could escape. But I wrote to the Bishop of Nephi and found that everyone of them came bounding into Nephi the next morning. He wrote me that he had sheared them and the whole outfit was at my command. I took out my trees, 150 that I had brought from Salt Lake City and 150 that I had brought from Payson. The peach tree leaves, some of them were two inches long. I set the whole pile out in rows, and I think they all lived.
We moved up near Quail Creek and went to clearing of land. Not having water in the ditch I went up and took it out of the creek on my land. We bought the water three fourths of a mile and cleared off five acres of land and ploughed it and put it in cotton and corn, so by the fourth of July I had my crop all in. On the fifth of July I started back after Sarah Tew, my 2nd wife, who was still in Springville. I loaded in a lot of sticks, or green ash saplings, which I, with my knife, made into wagon-bows as I trailed along. I then kept them in place by tying them with oase strings. These I sold for one half bushel of wheat each. I got to Springville and stopped at my sisters.
This was my sister Amy, my only own sister who later died in child birth with her first child. She had married George W. Brown of Pioneer Fame. She had been to a beautiful city and had seen Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brother Joseph told her that she could go back to tell her friends that she could stay only three days, that her brother Mosiah would be at her house on such a night and she could let him know what she had seen and heard. She said: “Mosiah, you will not see me alive when you return.” I did not want her to talk of dying so off to the city I went taking Sarah with me so that she could have her endowments. She was sealed over the alter to me the 26th day of July 1862 by Daniel H. Wells.
I soon started back for Dixie; my oxen were in splendid condition. I met George Rust, who had his horse team. One of his horses had balked with him so much that he was discouraged with it. He said: “Mosiah, don’t you want to work yourself into getting a horse team?” “No such a horse team as that”, said I. Said he, “I’ll give you my horses even up for your oxen.” “No you don’t.” said I. I knew what a smart horse jockey he was, and how green I was on all such smart trading occasions. Said he. “What will you do?” Said I, “I have a notion to try and see what I can do with that team.” “If you will throw in the harness and let me have five dollars to buy grain with; as my oxen have never needed grain, and if I find that I can do nothing with the team, you will let me have my oxen and yoke back, I might try the horses.” Said he, “I will not make any Indian trades.” Said I, “I can’t do without the double-trees.” Said he, “You can have them in welcome.” I saw that his wagon was a little lighter than mine, only the tongue was thinner; and I felt the oxen ought to go with my wagon. And I said: “Give me $5.00 to boot and we trade the teams, wagon and all except the loads.” So we took off the loads and changed them. And he begged me not to tell anyone what a fool he had been. I made the same request of him in regard to myself. “For,” said I to him, “I can realize that I have let you have an experienced team that has been trained a long and weary seventeen years, and I have never had the least balk with either of them.” So we both started on our way.
I came to Dixie at Ash Creek and met John Adair, who wanted my pinto horse. He asked: “How old is he?” Said I, “He was sold to me as a five year old horse.” Said he, “I will give you that five year old pair of steers for your horse.” “That chain, also” said I. “Yes”, said he. So we traded and I hitched the steers onto my wagon and never once thought of mourning because of the loss of my other oxen. I went on and met a man going out on the range. He wanted my other horse. Said I, No you don’t want him.” “Why yes I do, why not?” Asked he. Said I, “He is balky.” “Has he ever balked with you?” asked he. “No,” said I. `But he balks’!
I wish to add that when I returned from Salt Lake my sister had been dead for nearly one-half an hour. In my trading I got a large hog, which in those days we thought it no harm to eat, we fed him ten bushels of corn. When he was dressed he weighed 480 pounds. I found the town lots surveyed when I came home and my folks were well. I moved onto my two lots; and soon put up a couple of stone rooms on the lots. I put on a lumber roof, moved my family in and made a fireplace in each end of the shanty; we then got our stove out, it being somewhat of a luxury in those days. We then got our stuff up from the field.
I soon found that I had to go with Jacob Hamblin to the Moquis Indians. We were ready to go on the 1st of November. I was in St. George with the rest of the party when we were set apart by Apostle Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow. There were 21 of us men at this time, and we started to find a way over the desert to the San Francisco mountains. We went from St. George to the mouth of the Grand Wash on the Colorado River. Isaac Riddle took a boat along that he had made; Andrew Gibbons, a faithful brother, stripped himself to the waist and with only his drawers on, helped swim the animals over the river. After the animals were over, we buried our boat with three days of provisions, hoping to meet here on our return home. We went up to Grass Springs where there was plenty of feed. The Indian guide left us at the river and we obtained two more guides. Their heads were quite shaggy, and they spoke a sort of Piute dialect. They were low in their deportment, and many of them were quite badly deformed. They were naked, and when they first go sight of us, would run like wild deer until stopped by the guides. They would stop and look at us until, by chance, we might drop a cracker, then they would scramble for it. They were not farmers; all they seemed to comprehend was to keep out of our way, and to eat cedar berries. I saw no other food among them. There were many of them not far from the river. When we went up in the mountain country not far from the river, there were some deer. When we came to the edge of the desert, our guides said they would never see us more. They left us soon after we left Peach Tree Springs- -a spring which water was fair, and which was surrounded by about 30 peach trees. We then steered for the San Francisco Mountains as far as we could calculate. After two days travel we could see two little peaks to the southeast; which we reached six days after getting sight of
On one certain occasion, I went to explain as well as I could, the principles of the gospel. We had a great many words written down in the “Deseret Alphabet Characters.” The landlord gave me to understand that the food should be looked after first; so he wished me to ask a blessing on it–which I did. Then we commenced operations. Of course I had a big wooden spoon which I always kept with me. They would wait for me to help myself, then they would follow. I took some rabbit soup and meat first, and I got an enjoyable piece of meat; then when I took more upon my spoon, I beheld what a tender morsel it was! With the three large rabbits were seven small ones that had not been cleaned! I put the spoonful back, found my way outdoors, and cast up what I had eaten–to the consternation of my new friends, who called it waste. We saw that our provisions were getting low, yet our friends did not want to spare any provisions, still would feed the three missionaries. We desired to leave–Brother McConnel, Thomas Haskel, and Ira Hatch. We left for Utah with four Moquis Indians, who wished to see the “Mormon machinery”. Our provisions were very low, but we tried to be patient. When we came to the place where young George A. Smith was killed, we camped for the night. The snow was 16 inches deep. In the morning, we hitched up and packed our animals, sent them ahead, then we remained to pack the rest. When we were ready to start, I could no where find my horse that I had packed and sent ahead. I go to the front and report; I start back and go three miles and cannot find it. I see two Navajos on our vacant camp ground. They do not see me, and I go back again to our company who are now several miles away. I told Jacob Hamblin. I could see that my mare was tired, so I threw the reins over the saddle horn, sent her with the men, and back I flew on foot. I got to the camp ground just at sundown. I went up in the cedars about one mile and found my horse. The pack was on it all right, so I tightened it and started after our company. As I was going towards a little pass, I saw two Indians to my right trying to head me off before I could reach the pass. I kept the horse on the trail as much as possible. I heard a voice say, “Mosiah, remember the fate of George A. Smith”. I happened to look to my left and saw four Indians running to head me off. Again the voice said to me, “Mosiah, remember the fate of George A. Smith.” I took out my butcher knife and gave my horse a prick in the thigh to make him speed–he gave a kick which sent me back! I returned my knife to it’s scabbard and took the horse by the tail so that when he got off the trail I could steer the rudder and keep him on. Both my revolvers kept swinging against my hips and I hardly knew what to do. I had certainly gone as fast as the Navajos anyway. I knew those Indians were enemies of the most venomous kind. I saw the two on my right level their guns. I was a little ahead of them, and I leveled the revolver in my right hand. They stopped and I drove my horse into the pass. Then I turned and faced them. There were six who faced me. I now held both revolvers in my hands. The Indians were tall and well formed, except one who had thick lips and was quite large. (I learned after I reached camp that he was the one who got George A. Smith’s pistol and shot him in the back between the kidneys.) He was spokesman, and said, “Mormon, how you do?” holding out his hand, “Mormon, me see um gun.” They seemed so friendly that I thought I’d let them see my revolvers one at a time. I started to hand one to him, when again that voice said, “Mosiah, remember the fate of George A. Smith.” I now was aware that I had been warned the third time, and I was thoroughly aroused to the responsibilities in which I was under. I determined to sell my life as dearly as I could. Although the odds were against me in numbers, I yelled out, “Harken, you sons of bitches.” They stood still. I being perhaps twenty feet from them. I motioned the fat one to come forward, and I told the others to stop. I then slipped the revolver I had in my left hand into the left scabbard, while my dusky friend strode towards me. The rest of them were in a huddle in the 10 foot wide pass. He came up and I took his right hand with my left hand and shouted in his ear, “Momon Navajo, How you do? You see um gun? I kept my revolver in my right hand cocked, and the muzzle within a foot of his face. Having commenced with the bully, I called the others to take their turns to investigate my gun. They seemed to be satisfied without further parley. I told them not to follow me. I walked backwards toward my horse. Had it not been for the snow on the ground, it would have been pitch dark. So off I went, following the trail. I knew my dusky friends could not pass me as long as I kept the trail; and I made old Jim trot. After I had gone several miles, I saw a light on a hill– the horse saw it too and enlivened his trot. When I got nearer, I could hear voices say, “He has gone as George A. Smith went. It was a shame to let him go alone that way.” They were coming to look for me, and as they came near me, they gave a shout of joy. There was William Lytle and James Andrews and James Pierce, and others whose names I do not remember. I tried to get on the horse behind Lytle, but could not–so one of the boys helped me up, and to the camp we went. When we got to camp, it was two o’clock in the morning, and it was full of Indians! Old Pennenshanks had been in camp ever since our camp was made, but they were just leaving. I felt tired and lay down to rest until morning. The next day we traded some ammunition for sheep meat, and on our way we went. We soon got to the Colorado River, crossing it on New Year’s Day, 1863. Some were of the opinion we ought to wait until morning, and Brother Hamblin asked my opinion. I said, “Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today.” “That is my feeling, too,” said Brother Hamblin. So we crossed that evening.
There was a sad occurrence that happened in the morning before we got to the river. One of the brethren had emptied a small sack of flour into his pack. One of the others had found the sack and had shaken some flour down into one corner. I should judge there might have been about 1/2 ounce of flour. The brother that made the discovery was large and bulky, six feet and two inches in height, and weighing 260 pounds. He called the other man a thief. The other man went to explain and the big one called him a liar. Brother Steel said to the big man, “Tom Walker, you are a bigger man than I am, but powder and ball make us equal. Stand twenty steps off with your revolver, and we will see who is the best man.” It seemed to me that not two seconds had passed when each man was in place with revolver cocked and ready! But–I flew to Tom and put him on the ground, wrenching the revolver from him. James Andrews had Steel flat on his haunches and had his revolver too.
By January 2, 1863, we were on the west side of the Colorado river. It was full of great blocks of ice, and how glad we were to be across. The pass through a gorge was washed out and it was full of quicksand; so we commenced to cut willows and roll down stone so we could have a road to travel on. The morning of the 4th we had it finished, and six of us men whose animals were the best, started out for the settlements to have supplies sent to the company. We set off, and the evening of the 5th found us at Pahreah. Some of the animals were given out, and it fell my lot to stay with them until the company came up. I cheerfully let them take what little grub was left and go on. On the 6th, I followed a wolf’s tracks for some distance, but could not get sight of him. I wanted him for food, and I had only one load for my rifle so I had to be careful with it. On the 7th, I killed a buzzard. Having a Moqui bowl that would hold perhaps two quarts, I boiled the buzzard in it. I also had 12 beans that I had picked up in a Moquis field intending to plant them when I got home, but I put them in with the buzzard. I also got some white stuff from the creek bottom and mixed it in too. Soon the pile was bouncing over a good hot fire–wood was plentiful. I made a wooden spoon from cottonwood, and when I needed water, I got it with a piece of hat I had left. Just about the time the buzzard began to be a little tender and I was thinking of a royal meal, William Maxwell came along. “Mosiah, for God sakes, have you anything to eat? I haven’t had a bite for three days!” Said I, “I have a turkey buzzard most done–let us hurry, for I haven’t had a bite for three days either.” So we downed it, and I did not think there was a stink to it, for I had licked the bowl clean; but when the company came up, some of them wanted to know, “What in hell stank so!” The next day we went to Kanab. Some of us had had nothing to eat, but I found some rose buds! I gathered about a quart, and gave some to Jacob Hamblin. We ate them with relish. Soon a couple of horses were brought forward to take a pick of which one to kill for food. One was so sore that he had not a whole piece of skin 6 inches in diameter on his back or sides! From his neck to the roots of his tail, and down his sides to the middle, there was no skin at all! The other was a mare of such thin proportions that it seemed as though we were choosing from a skin that had been doubled over a pole with the legs left dangling. They called me to give my judgement. I looked to the southwest, saying, “Let some of us go yonder and get that white-tailed deer.” They all looked, but there was a man instead–a man on horseback leading a pack horse. It was Lucas Fuller, popping his lariat with his left hand. He had stopped at the Maxwell ranch, and Sister Maxwell had sent 60 lbs. of flour and a mutton out to us. Luke Fuller being one of the Mormon boys, knew no fear when in danger, and feeling no fatigue when he saw his brethren were suffering, came forth again with his noble help. I can assure all that the 60 lbs. of flour and the sheep were all cleaned up at one meal!
We went on to Pipe Springs that day and camped for the night. On January 10th, we went to Short Creek, got some breakfast, then went on to Virgin City, reaching there by 10 o’clock in the evening. A feast of royal proportions was prepared for us, and we ate to our satisfaction—–we and our animals both, until daylight, then Brother Jacob Hamblin and I rode over to my place at Harrisberg, a distance of 18 miles, and ate our breakfast. I had taken two lbs. of flour from my home. The people were subscribing food, and etc. for the mission, but never brought it in. They also promised to do my ditch work, but did not do it. I got home in time to see my family without flour, so I went to a man who owed me flour, but could get none. I went to men that I had been kind to in various ways, but “No, you should have stayed at home and let the Indians go to hell!” Such was the feeling in those days of many who made long prayers! I had one particular friend that I had accommodated to a great extent, but he could not lend me any flour for he saw no way for me to pay it. Neither did I. So I went upon the top of a mountain, and there I asked God to open a way that I may never ask such a one again for an accommodation, and to help me get those things I needed to carry on my work. I came home and met Samuel Hamilton. He said, “Mosiah, there is a four year old steer in the bottoms with your brand on. How much will you take for it?” I stepped down in the bottoms, and sure enough, there was my steer that I had not seen since I had bought it and put my brand on it. Some good spirit had lead it there just in time to be of great benefit to me. I let him have 3/4 of the beefed steer for 800 lbs of flour.
There was a man who had a lot of cattle, and he owed me 600 lbs. of flour. He wanted to let me have cornmeal pound for pound. I said, “Bring it along.” Then he said he would let me have some cane seed meal. I said, “Bring it along.” But, nothing ever came from him, yet he was the first to come and borrow from me when he saw that I had a supply. He would keep his cattle to bother his neighbors, but depend on borrowing for a living.
I now return to my ditching for water. I went up to a dam and having received an assessment, I made a ditch to get water to my land. I made 36 days’ work in three weeks, then came home; but before the water had reached my lots, the thieves above had stolen it. So I had to follow it up.
I had set out 300 trees as an orchard starter, and started a fence around my two lots. They were 15 rods square, and side by side—-that made 30 by 15 rods. I started and took the stones out of the land, trenching it three feet deep and making one rod the first day, January 12th, on the north-east corner of my land running south. On the next day of work, I made one rod run west. I put in some radishes and lettuce and drove my fence and water ditch very fast. Yet I went to meetings and Sunday Schools and attended my prayers and kept the Word of Wisdom. I prospered so much that even the High Priests began to be astonished. Even the dudes that had never been on an Indian mission came and begged garden truck of me. So I fenced and made garden and guarded my crop at night until I was nearly worn out.
In the spring, James Lewis came to me and said, “Brother Mosiah, you have a fine yoke of cattle. If you will let them go back to the States after the poor, I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ, that you shall not lack team work.” So I let them go. I could not get a team to haul a load of wood or rock, so I had to carry wood off the mountains, sometimes two miles! I loaned my wagon to a Brother Gould, and he left it in a low place and a flood came and took it off, never to return. I trenched my land and threw and carried stones to the line—-I made my fence, keeping the stock back and saving my crop. I made a stone corral besides, and I also saved my trees.
On August 31, 1862, my son Levi was born. On May 7, 1863, my son Samuel, Sarah’s son, was born. I blessed them both.
Sometimes I used my carpenter tools to fix a broken wheel for a man who came along, and thus the work kept going and also the tongues wagging. There was an amount of ditch breaking, and the water would be wasted. I got my burn only three times during the summer, but my trees lived because I made hollow places around them. Some who pretended to be my brethren, would steal the water for their trees, day and night, until their trees got yellow from being scalded—-then someone would take a handkerchief of leaves to Church Meeting for the chance to condemn the misfortune of the country. Thus the summer of 1863 passed.
In the fall, my oxen returned; and the Bishop of Washington came up to settle tithing around Christmas time. He said he would allow me 40 dollars on my tithing for the use of my oxen for the following summer, so we called it even and my tithing was paid.
January 1, 1864, found me out of debt. My oxen were again wanted, and I let them go again after the poor. In the fall, only one of them came to me; the other was lame and was left at Beaver. I gladly let my team go to bring the Saints to Zion while I spaded my land to raise a crop. Again my tithing was canceled for the use of them. I knew not where I could find my steers, I was in need of them very much. About one half of my cattle were missing, but no man had a better crop than I.
I have struggled with poverty of the country and worked like a slave, and have fared hard. My families have shared my privations uncomplainingly. Yet there are those who have never entered into that Holy Law who are jealous of what I consider my good fortune, and they try to discourage my families in every way.
After I had fenced my land, and had taken the stones off of it, some of these people took a large strip through my land because of what they call authority. I had to take up my trees and vines, and it was no less than 500 dollars loss to me. The dignitaries of a certain part of the country built their own places at the expense of more honest around them. I even saw, while working in St. George, a certain place where as much as a bushel of bread was thrown into a certain pen where four large hogs were raised. Some might say, “Whose business was that?” I say it was the business of every true Saint in all the world. For the rich are those clothed in regal robes who do not care for those who are not lucky enough to have a fat teat to suck. Honest hard working men would have been glad to have recovered the bread from the hog’s trough.
Dixie as it was, had some naturally good resources, but oh, the toil of the poor and honest! They had a butchershop in St. George, and it was hard for us to keep track of our cattle. Some of the dignitaries would sometimes stop with me and invite me to visit them when I came to St George. When I went to their places, they put on style. Yet some never put on style and I could go to them and they were always the same, the best they had was at my command. Still other dignitaries purposely managed not to have hay for my team.
January 1, 1865, I was out of debt. I got out my crop. I let Brother Forsythe take my oxen to Sanpete for some flour. He returned and said that flour was scarce over there, so I went to Toquerville and got 121 lbs. of flour from Brother Forsythe. Not knowing where to get a team, I shouldered my flour and carried it to Grape Vine Canyon. I was tired, so I stopped to rest and fell asleep. I had carried my flour six miles! All at once, a cheerful voice called out, “Well, Brother Hancock, is it you?” “Yes,” said I. “Why, what have you got, flour?” “Yes.” “Where did you get it?” “Over to Toquerville.” “Why, you didn’t carry it from there, surely?” “To be sure, I brought it on my own back.” “Well, get in my carriage.” So I got in and rode home where we got breakfast together. We used to do the best we could while in Dixie.
In the summer of 1862, President Brigham Young came through Dixie. The people were so glad to see him that they took every means in their power to make everything as comfortable for him as possible. I remember too, when he stopped at Harrisberg at the time Dr. Pridy Meeks, my brother-in-law, and I, with our families were living in willow rooms that joined. The President stopped with us. He sat at the head of the table and had me sit down at his right. The President, when everything was ready, asked a blessing, then all began to eat. He asked for some buttermilk; then crumbed some bread in it and began to eat. He conversed freely on the situation of the Saints in the mountains, and said that he dreaded the time when the Saints would become popular with the world; for he had seen in sorrow, in a dream, or in dreams, this people clothed in the fashions of Babylon and drinking in the spirit of Babylon until one could hardly tell a Saint from a black-leg. And he felt like shouting, “To your tents, Oh Israel!” because it was the only thing that could keep the people pure. “I know that my families court the ways of the world too much,” said he, “And our hope lies in the Lamanites. I hope that you brethren who labor among the Indians will be kind to them. Remember that someday they will take their position as the rightful heir to the principles of life and salvation, for they never will give up the principles of this Gospel. Many of this people for the sake of riches and popularity, will sell themselves for that which will canker their souls and lead them down to misery and despair. It would be better for them to dwell in wigwams among the Indians than to dwell with the gentiles and miss the glories which God wishes them to obtain. I wish my families would see the point and come forth before it is too late. For oh, I can see a tendency in my families to hug the moth-eaten customs of Babylon to their bosoms. This is far more hurtful to them than the deadly viper; for the poisons of the viper can be healed by the power of God, but the customs of Babylon will be hard to get rid of.”
In the Spring of 1863, President Young and Smith, and other prominent men of the Church, held a meeting in Harrisberg. President Young said, “This is the place for our women and children and we to meet the demon on our grounds. And as long as they have anything to eat, we will have something to eat also. For so help us, our God, we will never give up that Holy Law that the noble prophets laid down their lives to maintain. Here we can raise our cotton and our wool, and if our children have to go barefoot, here is the place where they can do so. The powers of hell will do their utmost to get this people to give up that Holy Law which God designs to maintain. Give the devil an inch and he is sure to take an L, (a measuring square.) Therefore, I do not intend to give one inch, but to maintain every foot of ground we have gained. Suppose the sons of God had given up when Satan rebelled, what Glory would they have for giving up at that time? We do not propose to give up now, any blessing God has vouchsafed unto us. This is a time for Heavenly advancement.” (unquote).
January 1864, I went up to Salt Lake City with all my folks. The drought was so tough that I had to carry water one and one-half miles; clear from the old field to water our fruit trees. I worked at carpenter work in Salt Lake City, making considerable “store pay”. Much of the work then was paid for in “store pay”. I hitched up my team, which consisted of three oxen and one cow. I got up to the city in August. I stopped at my father’s while I worked in the city, and someone stole my cow while I was there. I sold one of the steers for beef for 80 dollars in greenbacks, they being worth about forty percent. I made five hundred dollars with my tools, and helped to put up the Godby Pitts Drug Store.
We started for Dixie in Southern Utah late in the fall. When I got to Beaver, I heard of my ox that had been left there two years before. I found him and took him along and butchered him two days after I got home. Our crop was used up by the drought, but our trees were alive. So we started again with renewed energy. We left on the 24th of July, and returned on Christmas Eve. I had made the round trip and cleared $500.00.
The Navajos having killed a Brother Whitmore and Mentyre, I was ordered to Kanab with 100 men. However, not being able to get them started soon, I and my brother-in-law, Joseph McCleve, started out ahead on December 10th in a foot of snow. When we got to the troughs, the snow was three feet deep. I told Joseph he could go back, as he was scarce sixteen years old. I gave him that privilege, but he most nobly told me that as long as I advanced, he would not retire. So having nothing but grain to feed our animals, we pushed on. We traveled all night until we got to the Command of Pipe Springs at daybreak. We made 60 miles in one day and one night. After some Indians had been disposed of, and the bodies of our brethren found and sent to St. George, we began preparations to look after some more Indians. I was sent to Kanab to cooperate with Captain Roundy. I took a company of 10 men over a distance of some 18 miles through snow four feet deep. We went over in one day—-nothing hindered our progress except a man from “Muddy” who took the name of Deity in vain, and I took it upon myself to rebuke him for his manner of language. Then when his horse happened to stumble in the deep snow, he broke the breech of his gun over his horse’s head! I was obliged to put him under guard; yet I had to take him along because we had no men to spare to send with him back to Pipe Springs. I let him carry his broken gun and had one of the men look after him. I had to lead the way to Kanab. We got to Kanab after dark and were welcomed warmly by Captain Roundy and his kindred. They had been forced to gather at Kanab for safety from the Indians, but they were a happy little community. We spent some time with the people, until one night about 9:00 pm there was a shot at a distance. We invited the caller, and when he came, it proved to be Lehi, a young Indian who had left the Navajo camp to give us intelligence of the approach of the Navajos, our enemies. Some of our boys thought that he was a spy, but I felt that he told the truth. We saddled up and started. I took nine of my men, as I had sent the swearer to the compound as soon as I conveniently could because I wished the rations for better men. Besides profaning, he was a coward. I had one Gentile, a non-Mormon, in my command. He was a gentleman and a brave man. Eight of my boys followed us through the night and the next day, but one of the boys deserted and went back to the cabin. Brother Roundy’s boys, seven of them, were gritty and faithful Saints to the backbone. We went to the place where Lehi the Indian said the Navajos would come; and sure enough, there was the trail. Some of us were in favor of stopping there until the return of the enemy, but some feared for their families–so we struck the Navajo trail and followed them. When we got after them, they had gathered up the cattle and horses, and when we thought we were close to them, they were twelve hours ahead of our company. But we rushed forth! Those of us who could, vaulted from the saddle and took it on foot in order to have our horses as fresh as possible for the final race; we had to. We had oats along for grain, so we stopped as often as we thought necessary to grain our animals. We found that we were gaining on the enemy, although they made good time every now and then. We came upon an animal that had given out. They always put an arrow in them so if they had been fat enough for beef, there was danger of poisoning. So we kept up the pursuit until within a few miles of the top of the Buckskin Mountains. Then John William Smith caught up with us, having dispatched that which forbade us following the Navajos over the mountain because of danger. We thought we would take some rest, for we had taken no sleep for two days and two nights.
End of Mosiah L. Hancock’s writings.
FOLLOWING ARE SKETCHES OF MOSIAH LYMAN HANCOCK’S LIFE’S STORY TAKEN FROM THE HISTORY OF HIS THIRD WIFE, MARTHA M. HANCOCK.
I, Victoria H. Jackson, daughter of the above-named couple in order to shorten the history of my father, describe some parts, as follows, of my mother’s history concerning him. For the latter part of the history written by himself is unobtainable.
My mother’s life, the same as that of my father, and many others of those days, seemed doomed to great severity. The sad outcome of her deep love for her first husband was almost too much for her. Before the birth of their baby, he laid hold of the wrong horses and ran afoul of the law. Mother refused to leave the state with him. After her baby’s birth and through her father’s request, she obtained a divorce.
I now quote my mother:
“Levi W. Hancock, head president of Seventies, also a great patriarch and state legislator, etc., who lived in Washington, Utah, used to spend much time at the home of my father, George Myers, of Spanish Fork. They had been close friends back in Nauvoo, even before the prophet Joseph’s death and had made wagons together for the saints’ crossing of the plains.
“This Brother Hancock seemed to like me and wanted me to marry his son Mosiah, who lived in Leeds, Utah, with his wife Margaret and her children. I said, `If it is the will of the Lord, I’ll be willing to marry your son.’ He replied, `You go and pray and ask the Lord, and He will show you if it is His will.’ I had full confidence in this patriarch of God, and after I had fasted and prayed for three days–then, I think it was the next night, but hardly know whether it was a dream or a vision, (though it seemed too real for a dream)–I was shown in what seemed a very striking way, that Mosiah Hancock was the one for me. Next morning I told Grandpa Hancock my dream, and he said, `Yes, that’s from the Lord; do not get discouraged.’ “The main reason that I thought in the weeks following that my prompting had been from the Lord, was that it seemed as though the Devil was doing all he could to discourage me. I had considerable trouble with members of my family at home, especially my sister Elizabeth. She said, `You pretend to have dreams and think you’re worthy of a son of Grandpa Hancock. You married Johnson against father’s consent, and you aren’t worthy to have dreams from the Lord. Your dream must be from the Devil.’
“I said to her, `Your actions, and the actions of some others, are proof to me that the Devil is working against me in this very thing. And Grandpa Levi thinks I’m worthy to have the right dreams.’
“But Rachel Ann Brimhall, another sister of mine, remarked, `Martha, don’t get discouraged yet. If your dream is from the Lord, it will surely come true.’
“I got to thinking of Mosiah’s wife and children and decided that I didn’t want to make trouble in any family, I became discouraged and told Grandpa Levi that I could not accept Mosiah. I told him that I also had a dream that showed me that I’d have a hard and trying life if I accepted his son, yet that it would be for my schooling. Grandpa Levi asked, `Then shall I tell him that the bird has flown?’
“I answered, `Yes.’ But, after reasoning things out, I thought that after having that wonderful vision, showing me what I should do, that I was not justified in backing out. I was finally convinced that my message had been Divine. So I wrote a letter to Mosiah, telling him of my dream.
“Father had built a new house, the one that now stands in 1933. I stayed with him that winter. Grandpa Levi also stayed there much of the winter and gave us our patriarchal blessings. I had received one letter from Mosiah. It seemed that he believed strongly in plural marriages as advocated by the prophet Joseph, but that he didn’t know what to do. For there was much that stood in his way, and he didn’t know whether it was the Lord’s will that he enter polygamy.
“In the spring Grandpa Levi wrote Mosiah to come and take him to conference in Salt Lake and wanted them both to go to George Hancock’s (Mosiah’s cousin) at Payson and celebrate their birthdays. His was the seventh and Mosiah’s was the ninth of April. Also Grandpa Levi could visit his brother Joseph, father of the wife of George, who had married his cousin. It was after conference and when they had come back as far as Spanish Fork station that Mosiah stopped off and the others went on to Payson.
“Mosiah had quite a pain in his side before reaching the station. He wanted to know whether it was right for him to come and see me and asked the Lord to give him a sign that if it was right, that the pain would stop at once. Of course he wanted it stopped anyway, but there were other reasons why he later said it had stopped at once. He was satisfied that he had his right answer.
“And now I shall relate what had happened just before this. My little child took very sick the fifth of April. Mother was considered one of the county’s best doctors but neither she nor another doctor we had, let alone anyone else, could tell what was the matter. Maggie’s system was terribly clogged and blood came from her mouth; and she had a high fever. Some thought she had been poisoned from playing with the neighbor’s poisoned dog. We did all we could, but she died the next day–on her third birthday–April 6, 1878.
“Father at Salt Lake conference didn’t get the word we sent to him and didn’t know of this until he returned after she was buried. He said that she had told him before he went, `Drandpa, I won’t det well.'”
“While my heart kept aching for Johnson and kept up that ache for seven years, I had found much comfort in my little Margaret Ann. I named her after her father’s mother. She was such a sweet, bright little child, but now she was gone.”
“Next day after the funeral, I was so sad I couldn’t do anything. The girls had gone away and left things undone; I was too much overcome with grief to do it. Rilla Brimhall, my cousin, came to see me and said, `Martha, have you heard the news?’
“What news?’ I asked.”
“`Well Levi Hancock and son are at Payson celebrating their birthdays and maybe Mosiah will come to see you.’ But I was so stupefied and sorrowful over the sudden death of my only child that I didn’t seem to be much interested then.”
“After awhile, while the work was still not done, I heard a knock at the door. When I opened it, there stood a nice appearing man. He asked, `Is this where Brother Myers lives?’
“`Yes,’ I answered.”
“`Where is he?'”
“`He may be out in the lot.'”
“After he went around the house, I got to thinking that perhaps he was Mosiah. When he came back, he said that he couldn’t find father and I asked, `Are you Levi Hancock’s son?’ “Yes, did you have a dream about me?”
“I replied, `Yes’ and he uttered some kind of praising words. I continued, `I just buried my little child yesterday, and the children left the work for me to do and I didn’t feel like doing it.’
“I don’t recall what he said then, but he sympathized with me. He acted cheerful and nice and kind. I had given him a chair, and when father came and talked with him, I began to get some life into me again and hurried to get the work done and cooked a nice dinner. I could cook well in those days. Then he and father and I talked and I talked most of the afternoon, and the awful feeling I had about my child seemed lighter. Mosiah told me that the reason he didn’t come sooner or write again was that he wanted to be sure it was right for him to marry me. Besides, he had lots of work that had to be done and there were other discouraging conditions.”
“We talked lots about whether or not we should get married. With so many things in the way, we didn’t know how we would get along. He said he hadn’t known that I was so young. He had thought that I was one of father’s daughters by his first wife. He was forty-four years old, I was only twenty. But he seemed to enjoy himself at father’s place, and after two weeks we decided it was best for us to marry and started for southern Utah. We went to Leeds, where I met Margaret, Mosiah’s first wife, who shook hands with me. After a few days, Mosiah came into the house and said, `Come Martha, we’re going to the temple.'”
“I said, `Not now. I want to help Margaret with the washing.'”
“He said, `She can leave it until we get back.'”
“So we were married in St. George Temple, May 10th, 1878, a month after I had met him. We visited Grandpa Levi, who, like my father, was glad that they could have the same descendants. After, we returned to Spanish Fork, I stayed at fathers while Mosiah worked awhile in Salt Lake City.”
“In order to shorten the description of my parents’ experiences, I will explain that they, with mother’s sister Esther, returned south and spent a few weeks at my father’s in Leeds. Then in December they started for Brigham City, where people were living in the United Order. But with a heavy load and bad roads, they took a different route from the main one, and the wagon tipped over, pinning mother beneath two heavy boxes. That caused the premature birth and death of her baby girl on December 10 at Brigham City, no funeral being held, however, she was buried in the cemetery. My parents later enjoyed themselves in Brigham City with a good people and ate at the long tables, according to the communal custom, in the United Order. In the spring they went to Snowflake Arizona, where they bought some land. Grandpa Myers had given them $100.00 in gold, a nice new sewing machine with a metal top, among other things. They used much of the money to buy trees, then went to Moien Copie, where father worked at the woolen mills and mother and Aunt Esther cooked for the hands in order to get money for land payments.
In the late fall mother and Aunt Esther went to Orderville with friends while father went to help Aunt Margaret and family, who were moving to Arizona with his brother Joseph and others. But, because of danger to the men in hiding and in sending letters while they tried to escape the federal authorities who were searching for polygamists, he had no way of knowing where his first family was. Therefore he missed them, but later overtook them at Lee’s Ferry at the Colorado River and helped them to get moved to Taylor, Arizona. In the spring he went to Orderville, where mother and Aunt Esther were. They lived in the United Order there, and on the fourth of July, 1880, I was born.
That fall they went to Spanish Fork, staying at grandfather’s while father went each day to work in Provo on the B.Y. Academy, later used for the Brigham Young University. Later on they started for Taylor, Arizona, stopping to visit Grandfather Hancock in Washington, Utah. Mother’s young twelve year old brother, John, was going with them, turned the horses out to feed, and one valuable animal ran away. They had to wait to get another horse and then proceeded to Moien Copie, where David was born October 28, 1881. From there father took Aunt Esther, then seventeen, for another wife in the St. George Temple. They went again to Arizona, and took up some land east of Taylor, near Uncle Joseph Hancock’s place; they lived in a dug-out for awhile as did many others. Then later they made adobes and built a two-room house. Mother helped father fence a hundred sixty acres, taking us children along. Aunt Esther did housework, and her premature son, George Levi, was born dead the next summer. They visited often with Uncle Joe’s family close by. Aunt Margaret frequently sent her girls to help tend the children. On March 8, 1883 Aunt Esther’s son Mosiah Mayer was born.
After father returned to Utah, the Indians broke out in war, making much trouble for the white settlers before the soldiers were called from Fort Apache, Arizona, to help defend the whites. The redskins killed a man by the name of Robinson and wounded another. They also burned the Pinedale home of father’s oldest son Lyman, destroying many of this family’s goods. They shot at mother’s brother John and made the bark fly from a tree just in front of him. And they set fire to a field of growing wheat that mother and her brother had planted at Pinedale. While ransacking through Lyman’s things, they found a photograph of father, as Lyman’s wife, Miriam, related later. One indian held up the photo and called out “Elk! Elk!” Already they were sorry they had robbed the home of Elk’s son. They had named father this, for he had outlasted their own fastest runner,”Lightning”, in a 75 mile walking and running race. Lyman’s father had been a missionary among them and they liked him. Strange Indians, not knowing whether to kill him, would open his shirt front, and seeing the LDS garment, given for bodily protection, would release him.
January 3, 1884, mother’s son George Mayer was born. Father then in Utah couldn’t earn much money. But mother said that she had raised a good garden and they had vegetables, including some to divide with his first family. Before father had left for Utah, he and mother started to work at Holbrook at a boarding house. But the smallpox broke out and they had to walk back to Taylor, a distance of about forty miles. In the Spring mother tried to work again at Holbrook, but found it too hard. Now I again quote my mother:
“One day I had to leave my children alone while I planned to go to Snowflake on business. On the way a fearful feeling about the children’s safety took hold of me. I told the man in whose wagon I was riding, that I’d have to go back. Our place was about a mile out of Taylor. Before I reached home, I heard an awful screaming. I hurried fast, resulting in a fall into a ditch that almost stunned me. Oh! what a sight met my eyes inside the house. Victoria told me about it afterwards. She had been curious about a can that I had put on top of the cupboard. She and David piled up boxes, and she reached up and pulled the cayenne down into the eyes of all three, George had also creeped over there. The cayenne went into their eyes, noses, and throats and nearly sent them crazy–almost strangled them to death. I hurried and bathed their eyes with milk and sugar, then applied mashed apple poultices, which helped. But their eyes were badly swollen and it was a long time before they got over this.”
“In the summer of 1884 my baby George and Esther’s Mosiah got the summer complaint–very badly. I checked George’s sickness with oak bark. I tried to get Esther to use it for her baby, but she hesitated, for she was young and didn’t realize its condition and the value of certain herb remedies in these pioneer times. She often left the sick baby for Victoria to tend. I had about all I could do in the garden, I could only feed him. Finally he turned cold, we didn’t realize that he was getting so bad. We sent for Margaret, who tried to warm him with peppermint tea. Finally he passed away. The dear little soul seemed almost like my own child. Mosiah was still away, but Margaret tried to comfort us. She was a good soul in such cases. Ester was away working.”
“Mosiah stayed in Utah, where the officers were not as bad as they were in Arizona. He stayed until the fall of 1884, then returned to Taylor, and as the officers were after him there we prepared to leave for Utah. The Government put in cruel Mexicans as officers to arrest the Mormon polygamists. Many of the brethren and wives suffered from this situation. President of the Stake, Jesse N. Smith, was arrested and sent to jail for six months. He advised us to leave for Utah.”
“We sold a few things, locked up our house, and left our property for Margaret’s boys to look after. We left Taylor on Christmas Eve, 1884, escaping the officers by traveling ten miles off the road and camping the first nights in the cedars. We had horses and a medium light wagon. A few miles before we reached Woodruff, we saw two men come out of the cedars on the west side. They stood waiting for us.”
“Mosiah asked, `What shall we do?'”
“I said, `You and Esther and the children all get back in the wagon and pull the covers down tight, and they wont know who all may be in there or what they might get if they interfere. I sat on a box in the front with a gun at my side and held the horses’ lines with one hand. Of course we did a lot of praying in our hearts. When I drove near the Mexican officers, I stopped the team to see what was their business. I didn’t speak until they said, `We want some matches.'”
“I replied, `I haven’t got any.'”
“We’re hungry; we’ve got to have a fire; we need matches.”
“I haven’t got any matches. I need them also. I’m hungry too.”
“They made the request three times, then stood and talked with each other. They stood with their hands deep in their big overcoat pockets, and each one had two big rows of ammunition around his waist outside his overcoat. I saw their arms extended very straight and their hands in their big pockets. I knew that both had a revolver in each hand. Of course they didn’t know how many shots might be fired from our wagon. These two looked me straight in the eyes; I stared back at them. After talking awhile longer, they finally decided to leave. I waited until they were out of sight and then drove on. We thanked the Lord for our escape from those fierce officers.”
“We traveled on and stopped awhile at Brother Smithson’s–in Woodruff. He had been with Mosiah in Indian troubles, etc. Then we went to Brother Reidhead’s at Woodruff. After two or three days, we left there early in the morning, while roosters were crowing.”
“We traveled till we came to the Little Colorado, which was north of Winslow, I think. As the weather was very cold, there was real thick ice on the water. We had to cut deep to get water for the horses. We were afraid the wagon would break through, so we took the children and goods over and put them on the bank. Esther drove the team, and Mosiah and I lifted on the wheels, and the wagon went over safely.”
After traveling a short distance further, there stood waiting for us another officer–a big one. And he had been there watching us while we had crossed the ice. While Esther drove the team, Mosiah and I walked, holding onto our guns. We took a road leading somewhat away from the officer, then Mosiah walked over to him and asked, `Well, what do you want?’
“The officer answered, `Mr. Hancock, I have an order for your arrest.’
“Mosiah was sorely tried at having to evade the officer so much, and, as he had exerted himself standing in the cold ice and water when we had crossed the river, he was very angry. He jumped up in the air and swung his arms as he usually did when he was angry and excited. He shouted, `Arrest and be damned.’ Come and get me you son of Hell.'”
“As the officer hesitated to come near, Mosiah jumped into the air again and dared him to come closer. The officer stood as if stunned, and after awhile said, `Go on Mr. Hancock. I don’t want you.’ And he turned and went away. We waited until he was gone, then rode on thankful again to be delivered.”
“We needed to put up a desperate fight, for it would have been bad for us if he’d taken Mosiah and left Esther and me alone with the children on that winter wilderness. When we got a watering place (I think it was Jacob’s Pools near the Buckskin Mountains,) Mosiah took the team, which had traveled all day without water, to a mining place and asked for water. They told him they were U. S. Army officers and would let him have water if he would let them have one of the women with him, for they had no women there. Mosiah knew that he would have not to appear to be opposed to their desires. So he got them to let us have water then by promising that he would see what the girls said about it and then let the officers know the next morning. So when he told us, I said, `Well, if either of us has to go, I’ll go. I’ll stand out where they can see me and you point me out to them.'”
“We did a lot of praying about that also. When Mosiah went with his bucket and horses for more water, I saw him pointing me out to them. When they looked over at me, I waived my gun above my head and yelled out in a very coarse voice, `Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! for Hell!’ I repeated that three times, then added,`Come on, come on, ye sons of Hell!’ I’m ready for you!'”
“Well they thought I was insane or something else awful; they looked disgusted and said, `Go on, go on, Mr. Hancock. We don’t want her.'”
“We hitched the team and went, thankful to the Lord for helping us use a clever plan. We also felt that the Lord was with us when we were climbing the Buckskin Mountain and the snow was almost too deep for us to go through, for a man driving a big heavy outfit had passed us and broken the road so that we could travel.”
“Our hearts were heavy when we got to Southern Utah and knew that we couldn’t see Grandpa Levi. He’d gone from this life. We went on to Kanab and lived awhile with friends, then went to Gunnison and stayed a week at the Bishop’s place.”
I, Victoria Jackson, resume my narrative:
One day while father sat and dozed by the fire, he saw, in sort of a vision, a man take his ropes and put them in the back of his own wagon. Father jumped up and told his folks about it, then ran some distance before he could overtake the traveler, who denied knowledge of the ropes. Yet father looked and found them in the back of the wagon. My folks went on to Spanish Fork. Grandfather had married an Iceland lady who had a little boy. She was quite good to us, but as mother now had children to make a noise, grandfather’s home was not as it had been. Yet we stayed there until spring, then went to Manti, where father did carpenter work on the Temple which was then being built. We lived in a couple of rooms of a long row of houses built for Temple workers and called “Temple Row”. We didn’t get much money, but drew provisions from the “Temple Store”. We fared quite well while staying there. Mother’s daughter Martha, and Aunt Esther’s son Wilford were born while we were there. I used to carry father’s dinner to him up that big Temple wall. Patriarch Works, living at Manti, gave each of us our patriarchal blessings.
I got diphtheria and was almost gone, but revived when father and others administered to me.
The next spring father quit the Temple carpenter work, and he and mother took up some land at Birch Creek Utah. Mother homesteaded it, as father had already used his homestead right, and I stayed with Aunt Esther in Manti until weeks later, when father moved us to Birch Creek. While we were traveling, I found fun in taking hold of an iron rod that held the furniture, etc. in the wagon and then swinging outward. Father happened to look back and chided me. I watched my chance and repeated the act. The next thing I realized, I was lying flat on my back on the hard ground and the rear wagon wheel was running over my right leg near the thigh. That was the last I could remember about it for weeks. My leg bone was terribly crushed. Doctors were scarce for even those people with much money. Folks marveled at the fact that my leg mended so well, even with priesthood administration. Father was an expert at setting bones. A stretcher was made for me to finish the trip, I being six then. At Birch Creek mother kept warm poultices of elderberry and flaxseed upon my leg, which healed in due time.
Father sold some goods, clothing, groceries etc. he’d brought from Manti and bought lumber, with which he started a three room house. But it was never finished, for although they raised a good garden when they got water–after digging a large ditch a mile long–they had much trouble with a neighbor–an apostate Mormon who kept stealing their water. But that was not their worst grief; the officers who had not bothered father in Manti were again on his trail. But he did manage to teach school there that next winter. The bones of my leg not being very strong, I had to walk a mile to school through deep snow and tall sage brush. And I had to wear big heavy wooden shoes. As that was mostly a Danish community, quite a number of the people wore them. Mine were too large so I’d take them and my stockings off and hurry as best I could barefooted, for the snow would almost freeze my toes; I’d put on my “woodies” before reaching the school house.
In those days drawing pictures in school was not allowed. School teachers had the right to whip children for that as well as other offenses. I remember some teachers beating their pupils unmercifully for even minor offenses.
One day a boy sitting in a desk behind me raised his hand and said, “Brother Hancock, Tora has made a picture of a little boy on her slate.” I was called up front and the one whack that father gave me on the hand with his heavy ruler was awful. I was thankful that he didn’t hit me more than once.
Father feared the law would molest him unless he had mother and Aunt Esher at separate places. So the next spring he moved mother to Bennie Creek Canyon, twenty-five miles south of Spanish Fork, where he put up a lumber room. Aunt Esther remained at Birch Creek for awhile, and after her Esther Caroline was born, father moved her to Orderville, Utah. Mother’s Clarissa Elizabeth was born there, July 28, 1887. The folks raised some garden there that summer. One time George fell from a high chair, throwing his neck out of joint. Both father and mother declared it was broken, yet people then though there was no hope for broken necks or broken backs. His head when he was picked up after this accident, hung rather loosely–like that of a dead chicken and not like that on an unconscious person. Father got him between his knees and worked the vertebrae of his neck gradually into place. Then they fixed a sort of “stay” around his neck, and he got all right.
Father was away most of the time–mainly in out-of-way places. But, as there was much grass at Bennie Creek, he left mother the team. Sometimes we would go to Spanish Fork to visit grandfather; sometimes grandmother was there with us. But one time while only mother and we children were there, the horses strayed away. Mother went to look for them, I became more and more worried. We were alone night and day, and Indians and sheepherders were about. But the biggest worry was that she was gone so long we didn’t know what had happened to her. And we were hungry also. Our nearest neighbors were a mile away. So after two days, I decided to get the children ready and walk to grandfather’s in Spanish Fork, about twenty-five miles away. I thought we might catch some rides at the highway over a mile away. David and I would take turns carrying Clarissa. As we were about ready to go mother returned, tired and nearly ill. She had had nothing to eat while gone but choke-cherries. But she had the team which we harnessed and were soon on our way to visit grandfather.
Mother said that one night while near asleep, she heard grandpa Levi’s voice singing about little George, who was an exceptionally bright child. She instantly felt that her boy was marked for death, that grandfather wanted him. She had thrilled, as had many others in the past years, when hearing grandfather’s fine melodious voice; but now it made her cry. She pleaded with the Lord also with grandfather to spare her boy at least awhile longer. She had wanted for some time, to get material to make him a nice suit to replace the dresses, used in those days by small boys. Soon afterwards she was able to make a suit for each of her two boys. But she noticed that George was being troubled more than usual with worms. Many children in those days were troubled with worms. There seemed to be no sure cure for such; although mother tried various medicines.
Returning to Birch Creek we sensed a lonesomeness in the house from which Aunt Esther had moved. Father came while we were there. As he had to be careful about coming out in the open, he had mother go to Provo and attend to business for him. But she had to walk or catch rides as best she could while carrying her year old baby, Clarissa, who was very sick and thin from summer complaint. She had to leave us children alone; as father usually hid out in the cedars and other places, and disguised himself while working. We had only potatoes to eat. We made sage-brush fires in the stove and cut the potatoes in slices to fry them on the stove. Some neighbors would give us some skimmed milk. Mother was gone for several days. Father came one day; I cried and told him we were afraid to stay there alone at nights. He said that he came and stayed there at nights and got away before daylight so the officers would not see him although I didn’t see how he could do that. I felt better at his concern for us. Then one day that fall when father had dared to come to see us – sure enough! There came an officer right after him. Knowing how hundreds of his Brethren in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and other places had been caught in the Government net, he had managed to escape. But at last they had him. He and mother were subpoenaed to appear in Provo Court the next February. The officer started to write down my name; but father ridiculed him and talked him out of subpoenaing an eight year old girl.
But father did not appear in court. He and other men went into hiding. Mother with us children went by team to Provo and stopped with George T. Peay in his home near the lake of west Provo. Father and Peay had been fast friends through Indian troubles etc.
Many subpoenaed men, women and older children were at Provo at the time for trial; many who had come from quite a distance and had scant means with which to travel and to buy food and lodgings, these mostly women, suffered mental as well as physical hardships, due to the severe treatments to their loved ones, their bread winners, because of that trial. It seemed that those polygamists hunters were upon a joyous pastime; for they delighted in it as do fox-hunters and others seeking animals for sport. Those well-paid partly human wolves gloated and joked over the distress of their victims. Many men hid in potato pits and straw stacks out in the cold hills, suffering from severe cold, hunger and fear, many became sick, some died from such sufferings. President of the Latter Day Saints Church, John Taylor, was one of such victims. That was how the Government in those days protected some of its citizens. Considering the various hardships that accompany plural marriage, many people – I was also a skeptic, wondered why others would live that law.
Well might we heed the words of my good brother-in-law Reuben Perkins, who many years ago, said to me, in words to this effect, “Could one wife family affairs be publicized as were those of polygamists, you’d probably see as much trouble.” I now agree with him, just how many educational phases of life’s great school do we like?
We naturally shrink temporarily at least, from those whose words and acts conflict with ours, whether they be marital companions, blood relatives, or others. For our advancement, this shrinking we should avoid. Ostracism does not promote spiritual growth. Contention, quick tempers, provoking habits etc. are not readily overcome. But intelligent association with each other, in plural marriage or otherwise, reveals the danger signals and affords the would-be followers of Christ a chance to govern their reactions to threatened strife. Those following the plural marriage law, believed that God gave it for other reasons also.
Returning to the trial, I quote my mother:
“I left the children with Peay’s and went in time for the session and waited in the small room where they questioned many women who were there for the same reason that I was. About twenty officers sat at the table and would have those who were soon to be questioned sit at the far end of the table; and the awful things they would ask were sickening. For women were more reserved about such things in those days. They were asked if they were with child. If so, who was the father, and other things to offend them and shock them. Most of the women questioned before I was, came away crying. But I felt prepared. I had dreamed that I should not know too much about my Husband’s affairs, especially things I was not sure of, or that was none of their business. I got through that room sooner than most of the others and was not crying when I came out. They paid the women only ten dollars each after that hard trip. I was glad to get away from there. After a few more days at Peay’s place I went and stayed with Mosiah’s brother Marion, and family, who lived just out of Payson. He fixed the wagon and fed and cared for us for two months. He said he would do all he could to help me and the children but that he didn’t want Mosiah coming around there with any of his “Mormon dope.” Marion had previously left the Church. Unquote.
We returned to Bennie Creek; and while there the great fear that mother had over losing George in death became a reality. He passed away March 8, 1889. Father was away, mother tried to feel that Grandfather Levi wanted her boy; yet I can never forget seeing her sitting out upon the hill, back of the house, yielding to severe grief. While I, not understanding God’s Laws, knelt behind a tree and prayed earnestly that my brother be restored to life.
In August we went up to Mill Creek Canyon; there grandmother waited upon mother when Laura Levina was born September 4, 1889. My parents thinking that father may be less molested in southern Utah, planned to go to Mammoth Ward, a small town near Hatch and now extinct because of floods. Being in such poor circumstances, they left little Martha, then four years old, and me with George and Amy Hancock at Payson where we remained until later, after father had started a three roomed house at the Mammoth. After I went to Mammoth I helped mother pick many hopps that we sold for money with which we bought a few necessities. The year before while I was yet at Payson, mother was bitten by a rattlesnake while picking hopps. After much pain and suffering she conquered the poison by poultices which she understood considerable about.
A selfish man “jumped” mother’s homestead while we had to be away from Birch Creek; so she took up another homestead two miles above Mammoth Ward where the soil was rich. From the side of the gulch on her homestead, where the creek ran, flowed an exceedingly large spring of water, adding much to the size of Sevier River. With one horse, upon which the small children rode, we went often to our land where we raised some garden. Neighbors helped us out a bit. Milk from a cow that father brought was greatly appreciated.
Father, who sometimes, for disguise dyed his grey beard black, had to sneak into the house on very short visits, and be on the alert there in that neighborhood the same as elsewhere.
In the early winter of 1891 mother dreamed that she should have a son and should name him “Joseph”. February 1, 1892, Joseph Heber was born. Father came later from Spanish Fork and said that as Grandfather Myers was getting along in years he wanted his children near him in order to divide up his property. So we sold some things, then taking a few belongings mother took us children on the trip in the one horse cart. On arriving at Grandfather’s home we found that his Iceland wife would not let him divide the property or would not allow us in the house. Grandfather especially wanted and wished to favor mother and Aunt Esther, whose lot was hard. So we stayed for a few days with mother’s brother Samuel. We children were all there except little Martha, who was living for the time being with a Panquitch lady.
Father bought a cow. Uncle Sam helped to beef her; so we enjoyed meat for a while. That winter, with father away as usual, we stayed with Grandmother in a room at Mt. Pleasant. The next spring we returned to Mammoth Ward; but in our absence a man “jumped” this new parcel of mother’s land.
It would not have been safe for my father in his life time for anyone knowing the case to mention the burning of the Beaver Jail.
Father was finally arrested and sent to jail, where many other men were sent for living in polygamy, their hair was cut closely to their heads. They suffered many indignations and humiliations in captivity. Some had been imprisoned for a long time. I remember hearing father, who in talking with some of those former prisoners, tell of a narrative to the satisfaction and enjoyment of his listeners; how shortly after he was thrown into jail he indulged in thoughts of the blessings that would surely come to him and the other poor fellows, there for a just cause, could some miracle happen to free them, to return them to their own fireside, thus enabling them to support their poverty-stricken families for awhile at least. It happened that he thoughtfully looked at the coal-oil lamp and studied awhile upon its inflammable possibilities. He never told what he did. Anyone knowing the lamp’s make up would understand, but presently he said out to the guard: “Your lamp’s exploding.” There could have been danger that the guardsman would not heed him and terrible tragedy follow, but he opened the doors letting the men all out. No telling when they were again rounded up; but the jail was burned down.
My parents had been hounded so much by the officers and forced to move here and there until they seemed to have formed the habit of moving and were on the go sometimes when it was evidently unnecessary. And there was much miss-management sometimes on both sides, resulting mainly, from the upheaval in which they were compelled to live.
Father who with his first wife kept a small store at Leeds was from habit and nature one who preferred to buy goods by the gross, the dozen or the box, and cloth by the bolt etc. But mother was free-hearted to the extent that she would divide with those who did not have, of whom there were many in those days, thus sometimes shortening necessities for her own family.
My father now getting along in years and suffering from kidney-stones could not do heavy work as in his younger days. He had fought in the Black Hawk and Walker Indian Wars. Although he was not one to endeavor to get his name recorded as a veteran of such; he had a medal given to him for his part in those wars. He later gave the medal to his eldest son, Lyman. Also Indian war veterans of Springville and Provo told me that they knew of him fighting in such wars and did not see why he failed to have it in record. Anyway apostle, Senator, Reed Smoot some years before father’s death inserted a small article in the Deseret News trying to find “Mosiah Lyman Hancock” for the purpose of getting him a pension. But the business was prolonged until too late and father passed away.
We read from the little book, “John Hancock” in the series “Our American Statesmen” that the two John Hancocks, father and grandfather of the Statesman John Hancock; also of his brother – our ancestor Thomas, were ministers of the Congregational Church as was also Reverend Clark the father of the wife of John Hancock, the first. The second John Hancock herein named was said to have been possessed of more than ordinary talents and was noted for his diligence, prudence and piety.
Many fine and noble characteristics were handed down that line, as also from the Reeds, Bearses and our other ancestors, and may yet be extended for many generations to come by those who will cultivate the same. But of course there are also faults among which, is the dangerous tendency towards egotism and self praise. Should we not, as descendants watch our steps regarding such? For history reveals that there is danger in mankind thinking themselves infallible and believing that the wrong powers cannot give us dreams and promptings. Even though when inclined to be fine and upstanding in early life, we may when surely tried; grasp at what could be, negative “straws,” in following after the wrong powers and thus invite Devine chastisement. Many writers laud their ancestors to the extreme and thus they make flaws look large when discovered.
Father used to tell of his second wife, Sarah Tew whom he met while acting on the stage in various settlements while he lived in Payson. Tired of hardships during Indian fighting troubles and other discouragements she left him. But he declared, more than once, that she appeared to him in a dream – or near dream – and asked to be resealed to him. He was much concerned in wanting everyone of his wives and children for the next life.
My mother also, had more trials than she was scarcely able to bare. Her folks offered to help her if she would leave father; for they declared him an inadequate provider for his family. I did not then realize, nor could I tell them of how his younger days, even between fighting Indians one time and preaching to them another, then out to fight the Johnson’s Army who were sent to kill the Mormons. I could not tell them that he had been a good manager and economical provider for his family in younger days; and before his trouble with Government officials and other hardships had broken him down.
Mother declared she would stay with him. Finally while father was away mother decided to go to Uncle Sam’s for a few days, hoping that father would soon find another place for us to settle. He had brought her a team and a wagon but Uncle Sam was provoked at her for not leaving father so when she arrived there he said to her, “Go to Father’s.” But now she realized that the home of her father that had always been open to her and her husband, and her increasing family in all her former struggles, was now not for her. The Iceland woman had closed and locked the door against her.
In describing her mental suffering at that time mother said that everything seemed dark; there seemed no ray of hope, and that Satan whispered in her mind: “Kill yourself.” She said that evil prompting awoke her benumbed spirit and she declared: “Never will I give way to such a crime.” Then she went and stayed awhile with her mother, whose own means were also scant, but who was very ready to divide with her hungry children the last food that she had.
I became tired of traveling about with my parents so much that I sent to Orderville to visit my sister Clarissa Fackerel. Then I worked at the woolen mills and in various homes. Girls in those days worked very hard for cheap wages. I managed to raise enough money to help me through a couple of years of much needed schooling. After four years at Orderville I went with my brother, Levi Hancock and family to Arizona where father’s first family lived. After another year had passed I married Jonathan Jackson on October 5, 1898. I took into my care my sister Laura, who had stayed awhile with other folks.
In the meantime mother had rented a little house in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. She was determined to settle down and sent to working at house work etc. But wages were scant for her hard work. Then she began making payments on a small home.
As Aunt Esther had left the family and mother being father’s only Utah wife father did not need to be so much in hiding; but from force of habit he was much on the move, taking David with him most of the time. Mother grieved considerably for her children who were away from her. She did not get to see her father and mother for some time. Finally her father, George Myers, who was able to get about and take care of his bees, orchard, and garden at the age of 94 years became ill with ptomaine poisoning and soon passed from this life. Father attended the funeral and sang a song, composed by himself, honoring grandfather.
After mother and David had lived a few years at Mt. Pleasant father went with them to the Salt Lake Temple and earned some money, as many others did at that time, doing Temple work. Clarissa also went to Salt Lake where she did house work for other people. Father suffered very much with the gravel-stones and other ailments of old age while in Salt Lake City.
While they were in Salt Lake Jessie Jackson, my Husband’s brother and wife Annie, who is the youngest child of father and Aunt Margaret, went with their two little children to have their temple work done. But soon their baby boy became seriously ill with diphtheria. Father and mother worked hard and spent freely their scant means to help the frantic parents save the baby’s life. But in spite of all they could do or the Elders administration did, he passed away; was buried in a Salt Lake cemetery and the sad parents returned home with their little girl only. Mother burned much of their bedding and other things to prevent the spread of the disease. But they were thankful they had helped in the case what they could.
Mother needed to keep up their payments on their home so she left father with David and returned to Mt. Pleasant to work. As she had to work out so much of it, it was difficult for her to care for Joseph as she should, and she let him stay for awhile with relatives who worked at Tintic. When father heard of it he became very angry because of Joseph’s being there among fellows who drank and smoked, etc. Then ill as he was, he hurried over to Tintic, got Joseph, who was but seven years of age, and started on foot with him on the long journey from northern Utah to Taylor Arizona. Of course he knew from past experience that they could get rides from travelers going that way; but they had to do very much walking which was hard for both of them. Father brought Joseph to my place and although John and I were struggling to make a livelihood, and yet had Laura with us, we also took Joseph. Father told us that another reason he had for taking Joseph from Utah was to try and get mother out to Arizona. She had repeatedly refused to go. Mother was so provoked about it that she at first planned to have Joseph returned to her. But realizing father’s condition and other circumstances she did nothing about it.
In the spring of 1901 John and I with our first child Irene, also Laura and Heber Joseph moved to Woodruff, Arizona. Not meeting with expected farming success — thus shortening our means, I let Laura live with Cecelia Owens, an invalid.
Having returned to Salt Lake from his Arizona trip with Heber Joseph, my father accompanied by mother and David resumed their work in the Salt Lake Temple. In 1904 father, David and Clarissa furnished the rail road fare for mother to hasten to Arizona, and doctor Laura, who was ill. Father finally became too ill for Temple work so his son John, of his first family, got him from Salt Lake, and took him down to Arizona’s Gila. He was there cared for by John and father’s daughter Mary Butler. With mother’s permission, David sold her home in Mt. Pleasant and with the proceeds bought a team and wagon, also some provisions which he took to Arizona. In the winter of 1906-7, father still on the Gila, became very ill, and passed from life, January 14, 1907. His wife Margaret, after much illness, passed away May 4, 1908. While Aunt Margaret was ill she dreamed of a beautiful mansion being prepared for her by father and their deceased son, Joseph. — Amy E. Baird, daughter of Mosiah Lyman and Margaret McCleve Hancock, gives the following events concerning her parents. —
“About the first event that I can remember was when I saw my mother crying.” I inquired the reason of my sister Sarah, who told me that our mother’s mother had died.
My mother, who was born in Belfast Ireland Sept. 17, 1834, pulled a handcart all the way across the plains to Salt Lake valley, arriving in 1856 in company no. 2. Certainly young men would have liked her for a wife. But she said that in her patriarchal blessing it had been stated that she would go to Zion and get a husband according to the desire of her heart. We lived for awhile in the United Order in Orderville where we ate at the long tables. We had a pretty good home and a small store in Leeds, Utah, also cattle, considerable land, an orchard etc.
Father had a carpenter shop; mother had a sewing machine, a luxury in those days – also other furniture. It was a trial for mother to leave there when they had a pretty good start; but father said that they were called to Arizona. So we moved down there in the winter of 1879 in company with Uncle Joseph Hancock. Father met us at Lee’s Ferry at the big Colorado River. He had been at Moiencopie for awhile. I heard that he had accomplished the development of certain species of peaches while there.
As father was a carpenter by trade he had many tools at the home that he and my brother,____________, had made of sawed logs for mother at Taylor, Arizona. Also he built a house of adobe east of Uncle Joseph’s for Aunt Martha and her sister Esther. I had a chest today and did have a bedstead, I let Levi have, made by father and Levi before we left Utah. When father was away mother earned money at midwifery. And with the help of us children we raised a garden, fruit and berries. Mother and I kept a small store. The boys worked hard to support the family; father as did mother, had confidence that they would do all right.
Dear Brother Jode (Joseph) as he was getting ready to hall freight would examine the family’s shoes, and looked into the flour bin to see what was needed in such lines, he would also have us make out a list of the things we wanted. Sometimes mother would say to me, with tears in her eyes: “He’s just like a father to this family.”
Jode was ready to marry Maggie Jensen November 5, 1994. While riding a horse, it became frightened and reared over backwards, crushing my brother Jode’s skull. He died within hours and his funeral was the same day his marriage was to have taken place. When a child he had fallen from a rock fence and had broken his arm.
When father was at home he used to gather the little ones around him and teach us how to sing. When my little brother wandered away he would bring him back and try to interest him in singing. One night when father came home John hid behind the door then jumped out and laughed; father jumped and grabbed him and they both laughed heartily.
Mary when small, was afraid of the dark; father wanted to break her of that fear and hid himself while mother took her out after dark. Father watched his chance and jumped at Mary, then said, “Now don’t be scared! It’s only Pa.”
Although father was not with us much I noticed that he had many good ways about him. He had such a light step and would be close by you before you knew he was anywhere around. He was a good public speaker and a splendid dancer, in fact he was called “Fancy Dancing Hancock” as was John Hancock, who signed the Declaration of Independence, and who was a brother of father’s great grandfather.
Father also had an excellent melodious voice for singing. He lead the Payson choir. He was very neat yet economical about his food and cooking, about his garden and premises, also about his personal appearance. He bathed frequently, sometimes in icy water. When his daughter, Jane Perkins’ small boys passed by Taylor’s reservoir they saw him, after breaking the ice, refreshing himself in a cold water bath. He was not very affectionate but was very fond of his family. Father was versatile, and not a mere amateur. He was naturally gifted in many ways, as a carpenter, brick layer, mortar masonry, surveyor, nurseryman and mercantile manager. He was a pioneer scout and school teacher and was gifted in doctoring people and animals, also in setting broken bones and sprained parts.
Father was humorous and a good conversationalist, he could mix well in company of high dignitaries of church or state, or could sit in a wigwam preaching and making peace with the Indians. He was disgusted with those who worshipped fashionable society, in following after what “The Jones Do.” He was quick tempered and sarcastic at times, yet he was ready with words of praise and comfort when needed. He was quick and agile in his movements and a great walker, noted for walking long distances. He arose at daybreak and took a short nap during the day, he had no patience with late sleepers. He said that many a time in Pioneer Days, when hungry, while riding upon a horse he would dismount to pick up a kernel of corn or an apple peeling to eat.
And when his rawhide moccasins wore out he burned the hair from them, scraped, washed, soaked and cooked them over night in the coals, then ate them. When I heard of father having been so hungry I thought: “no wonder he was so saving,” for he didn’t want to see even a kernel of corn, a teaspoonful of bran, or any food wasted.
At the age of 12 two men were required to pull an arrow from his knee, shot there by an Indian. This knee troubled him much in later life.
He told us that after he had been beaten unconscious by the mob and driven from Missouri when yet very small, he saw the mob set his parent’s home on fire. His mother was carrying out their feather bed. It was snatched from her arms and thrown into the fire with their other belongings.
When father had been away from us for some time and mother heard some things she hardly knew what to do. Father would patiently reply, “Sometime my first family will understand me and they’ll be mine.” When mother was dying she said that father, with my brother Jode, who also had passed away came to her and wanted her to go to them, and also wanted her to look at the beautiful home they had prepared for her. She said that she saw her home and that it was lovely beyond description. All the misunderstandings that had been between her and father had been swept away, and she was anxious to go to him.
Although it was hard to give mother up, it was a great satisfaction to her children to know that father’s words were fulfilled and that there was a reconciliation between them. When John came to see mother during her last sickness, after father’s death, John said that father told him that he dreamed he had died and went into the spirit-world. They asked him what he was doing there, he told them that his earthly work was done and he desired to enter into his rest. But they said, “Well you have made some mistakes in your life, and in order for you to attain the place you desire you must go back to earth and suffer awhile longer.” “And you must do so without complaining.” Then father turned to John and asked, “Now John have you heard me complain?” John answered, “No I haven’t.” And John told us that in all father’s sufferings he had not heard him utter one word of complaint.
Mother’s children felt that father’s soul had been purified and made fit to enter the place he desired, because of his sufferings and willingness to suffer for past mistakes, and we believe that mother felt repaid for what she went through. To have a son stricken so suddenly as was Jode was a great grief to mother as well as the whole family. But when on mother’s death bed father and Jode showed her the beautiful mansion they had prepared for her, she said that Jode and two Robinson girls, who had died, were standing by her bed pleading for their temple work to be done.
Mother wanted me to promise that I would have the work done. I did not know how I could go to the temple, but she could not rest until I promised, which I did. Two months after mother’s death I met Samuel W. Baird. And about three months after that we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. There we had our work done and the two Robinson girls sealed to my brother Joseph Smith Hancock.