Emily Partridge Young (1824-1899) Autobiography
What I remember, I have been requested to write a short sketch of my life, and as I have kept no journal of my early days, I will have to depend mostly upon my memory.
I was born on the 28th of February 1824 in Painesville, Geauga County, Ohio. I was the third daughter of Edward and Lydia Clisbee Partridge.
My parents emigrated from Massachusetts to Ohio, where they became acquainted and married. My father was doing a thriving business as a hatter. He had accumulated considerable property and had provided a very pleasant and comfortable home for his family. I was quite young when I left Ohio, but I will try and tell you some things that I remember about the home of my earliest childhood.
I remember a frame house with one large room and two bedrooms on the first floor. Opening from mother’s bedroom were two closets, one large and one small one. The large one was fitted up with shelves and was used for a kind of storeroom. The half story above consisted of one large and one small bedroom and a clothes closet. On the landing at the top of the stairs were large bins for storing flour, meal, etc. The front door opened into an entry, or small hall. The stair went up from this small hall–or rather entry. The kitchen was in the basement. Opening from the kitchen was a dark vegetable cellar which was sometimes used for shutting up the children when they needed punishing.
I remember once my sister Harriet was shut in the dark, and how sorry I was for her, for to a child, darkness has all the horrors imaginable. I do not remember ever being shut in there myself, but if I was not, it was because I was not old enough, not because I did not deserve it; for I was the most mischievous of the whole flock.
The well with the “old oaken bucket” was near the kitchen door. The front yard was a green plat with rose bushes and sweet brier growing under the front windows. In back of the house was a garden with red and white currants; no black and yellow currants, such as grow so luxuriant in these mountains were ever seen there. I remember an arbor, or summer-house, as we called it, with seats on both sides and covered with grapevines with clusters of blue grapes hanging among the leaves and twigs, beyond our reach as one might suppose. But children, though small, will find some way of getting such things, and we were not exceptions to that rule. I think the grapes were Issabellas, for I never eat an Issabella grape without thinking of my father’s garden.
I remember a variety of flowers such as pinks, daffodils, blue bells, lily, iris, snowballs, etc. that lined each side of the path leading from the house to the arbor. And then I remember the patches of tall grass–almost as high as my head was then, and how we children would tie the top of the grass together to make houses for our dolls. I remember the delicious cling-stone peach that grew near the back of the house, the cherry tree that stood in the corner of the lot, and the large weeping willow near the shop. There was a flat embankment running the whole length of the back of the house and a frame covered with grape vines, both shading the house and making a nice shady place for the children to play and we took possession of it. Not that we played there all the time by any means, for we were like gypsies roaming around from one place to another and we were not stinted for room as some children are in large cities.
Not far from the house, next to the street, was father’s hat store and how I used to rummage under the counter, child fashion, looking for treasures, such as bits of red, blue, green and gilt leathers, such as are used to line hats and boys’ caps. And oh! how I would sometimes bump my head when I would raise up, and then how I would cry. Joining onto the back of the store was the shop where the hats were made. In the center of the room was a large iron kettle, about as large and shaped something like our bathtubs. It was fitted into a furnace. It was for coloring hats. Above the kettle was a large wheel, with pegs to hang the hats on to be colored. The wheel was kept turning so the hats went into the dye and then into the air and then into the dye, and in that way they were prevented from spotting. In coloring black the light and air are very essential to make a good color. In this same room there was a screen with a spout that drained into a barrow in the cellar. It smelled very much like the old-fashioned blue dye.
I remember upstairs, the long table where the workmen pulled and whipped the furs. I remember the implements they used, even the thumbcots, the shape of the hats before they were blocked and furred, and after they were pressed, and the blocks that would fall to pieces when they were taken out of the hats.
Further back in the lot was a large frame barn, and a large yard full of black fowls and sometimes the cow and horse would stand there.
The hay in the barn loft made a good place also for us to play and we would ransack the hay for hen’s nests. And when we found one full of eggs we were as happy as if it was a gold mine.
On the corner of the place was a vacant lot (but it was all fenced in with the rest; I presume that father had preserved it to some time build a nice house) covered with green grass where we would spend most of our time playing with packing boxes. We would build houses by placing boxes in positions to make a great many rooms and as there was different-sized boxes, we had a great many different-sized rooms. And when we got tired of one kind of a house, we would change it by placing the boxes in a different position. And so we would roll those boxes from one side of that piece of ground to the other. And we always had plenty of help from the neighbor’s children.
But with all the abundance of play ground that we had it seems that I was not satisfied for I would run away to the neighbors’ and then I would be brought back and tied up to mother’s bedstead with a long rope that would reach to the sitting room. I used to cry a little but soon forgot all about it, until I would start up again to run away, when the rope would stop me and then another cry. But they would not keep me tied up always, so I would be off again. And once when I was out in the street a pet lamb of one of the neighbors’ took after me and I really thought it would devour me if I let him overtake me. But I beat him, running, and got home first. I also remember being chased by a big boy when I was playing in an old house across the street. Of course, he only wanted to scare me, but I did not know it then and I thought he certainly meant to kill me; and did think so for years afterwards. It is not a good plan to fool with children, for they take everything in earnest and are apt to form wrong impressions that will be lasting.
My father and mother made a visit to their relatives living in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, taking their oldest and youngest children with them, leaving me and my sister Harriet with Aunt Phoebe Lee who lived in another town not far away. There I was again chased by a girl. She got my bonnet and ran home with it. I thought the children in Unionville (the place where my aunt lived) were “awful” mean. Well I guess you think I remember a good many silly things, but there is one thing I do not remember now although my oldest sister says I was once positive that I could remember when my father and mother were married, and that I was at their wedding. However, I have no recollection of it now.
Well if you are not too tired, I will write a little more of my youthful recollections.
I used to sleep in my mother’s bedroom in the little trundle bed. But one morning when I woke up I was in bed in the spare bedroom with my little sister. When we got up we were shown the little dead baby boy and oh how sorry we were that he was dead, for we had never had a little brother before (he was named in the St. George Temple, Clisbee Partridge). He was mother’s fifth child.
I remember my little playmates. There was little Edward Huntington. I called him my baby because I loved him the best of all. Of course, in children the motherly instinct predominates. And then there was Lucy Phelps and Mary Ann Seely and the little lame girl. Her name was Dorthie Ann Payne. What a treat it was when she would let me take her crutches for a little while. I thought I would almost be willing to be lame myself if I could have such a nice pair of crutches. And then there was Sarah Granger, who was very small for her age. Her uncle, with whom she lived, used to call her “Peny.” Yes, I remember the big unruly boy that was tied up in the shop. And how sorry I was for him. He was sometimes tied up because he would run away. He was a poor friendless boy that nobody could do anything with, and the town officers got father to take him and teach him a trade and try to make a good boy of him. His name was Harlow Castle. I sometimes wonder whatever became of him and if he really was a bad boy or whether people had no patience with the poor friendless boy. I wonder if he is still alive and if he remembers the little black-eyed girl that would come in the shop and look on him with such pity because he was tied up, for this little girl had been tied up for running away too and knew how to feel for him.
I think I must have had a rummaging disposition for I remember every nook and corner of the house, store, shop and from garret to cellar, inside and out. I remember the orchard that was in another block, and the pasture land that was down in the woods where we would go in a wagon to gather chestnuts and butternuts. I remember we had plenty to eat and wear and would sometimes ride in a spring wagon and I wore the sweetest pink calico dress that ever was, and little yellow shoes. Harriet had a pink dress too but not as pretty as mine (as I thought.) Well I think my father must have been almost a rich man when I look back and consider the amount of property he owned. But when “Mormonism” came, our home went (whether it was sold or not, I do not know.) And I have never had such a home since. It was some time in the year 1830 that four elders came to Ohio. Their names were Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson. My mother soon believed the gospel after she heard it; and was baptized by Parley P. Pratt. My father was not so ready to believe at first, and told them he thought they were impostors when Brother Oliver Cowdery said he was thankful there was a God in heaven who knew the hearts of all men.
What they said must have made considerable impression on his mind, for he sent to them after they were gone to Kirtland, to purchase a Book of Mormon. And then he concluded to take a trip to New York and see the Prophet for himself. And this is what Brother Joseph says of him (in his history):
“It was in December 1830, that Elder Sidney Rigdon came to inquire of the Lord, and with him came that man of whom I will hereafter speak more fully, named Edward Partridge. He was a pattern of piety, and one of the Lord’s great men, known by his steadfastness and patient endurance to the end.” Brother Joseph baptized him in the Seneca River on 11 December 1830.
He then went to visit his relatives, who reside in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, anxious that they should hear the joyful tidings that so filled his heart with gladness. He thought they had only to hear, to believe it. But, oh! how disappointed he was when they rejected him with his joyful news. They pronounced him crazy, and one of his sisters ordered him out of her house, and said “she never wanted to see him again.” What a bitter spirit lays hold of the unbelievers as soon as the truth is presented to them, and those that profess the most religion are the most uncharitable. When my father returned to New York, his parents sent his youngest brother to accompany him, they thinking him deranged and not capable of taking care of himself. But this brother, after he arrived in Painesville, received the gospel and was baptized. His name was James Harvey Partridge. They reached home about the beginning of February 1831.
From New York, home, my father traveled in company with the Prophet who was moving his family to Kirtland, which had been appointed a gathering place for the Saints. After his arrival home, his old and most intimate friends that had been so anxious for him to go and find out the truth of the reports about “Mormonism” because of his honesty and superior judgment, pronounced him crazy when he declared the Book of Mormon true.
The Saints began to gather to Kirtland from all parts of the country where the gospel had been preached; and as we lived about three miles from the landing, our house made a good stopping place for the Saints, and we had more or less of them stopping there from that time on while we remained in Ohio. The barn loft was filled with boxes of goods belonging to the Saints. And how I did wish I could see what was in those boxes, but they were nailed up tight and not a crack left to peep in at. Well you see, young as I was, I had a little of the curiosity attributed to our sex.
Some of the Saints, traveling through Painesville to Kirtland and stopping at our house, brought the measles and mother’s children all took them. Some of them were very sick. When I was recovering from measles, I took the canker, and could not eat for a long time. I well remember the day I could eat a little custard. Oh! how good it was. Mother had company that day and how nice the table looked with the old-fashioned blue and white china. Well, my mouth got well, but my ear was sore for years and I can’t tell you how I suffered with it both from pain and mortification of pride. When my ear did get well, it left me deaf and I have been deaf (in that ear) ever since.
After my parents had joined the Church they were seized with the spirit of gathering, as everybody is, as soon as they are baptized. My father bought a house and lot in Kirtland, but he never had the privilege of living there as you will see.
On 4 February 1831, my father was called by revelation [D&C 41:9] to be a bishop in Zion, and was ordained to that office soon after. Some time in June following, Brother Joseph, with several of the brethren started for Missouri, my father being one of the number. They reached Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, about the middle of July. After located Zion (in Independence, or that town being the center spot) and transacting other necessary business, the brethren returned home, leaving my father to remain in Zion as he had been appointed by revelation to labor in that place and to take up his residence there and send for his family. My mother felt that her trials had begun when my father was called to accompany the Prophet to Missouri. Her children were just recovering from the measles, and her oldest child was still very sick with lung fever. It was a new thing for her to be left alone in the hour of trouble, or to have any responsibility outside of her little family. But she was one of the “staunch and true” and knew it would not do to put the “hand to the plow” and then turn back. She could ever acknowledge the hand of the Lord in her trials as well as her blessings. I think it was a great trial for my father to be left in Missouri. He expressed great anxiety about his family in a letter that he wrote to my mother.
It seemed to him a very great undertaking for mother to break up her home and prepare for such a journey with a family of little children, without her husband to advise and make arrangements for her, for she was then young and inexperienced in such things. My father felt the great responsibility resting upon him. His own words will better express his feelings, as he wrote them to mother, than any language of mine can possibly do. He says: “I have a strange desire to return to Painesville this fall, but must not. You know I stand in an important station; and as I am occasionally chastened, I sometimes feel as though I must fall, not to give up the cause, but fear my station is above what I can perform to the acceptance of my Heavenly Father. I hope you and I may so conduct ourselves as at last to land our souls in the haven of eternal rest. Pray for me that I may not fall. Farewell too for the present.” Dated Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, 5 August 1831.
My father placed his business in the hands of a young man by the name of Harvey Redfield. His property was sold at a great sacrifice (as much as was sold at all), so much so that his friends pronounced him insane. They could not see what there was in religion to make a man give up all worldly consideration for it. And that is still a mystery to the world and we cannot wonder at it when we realize how little they have in theirs to create hope, or to exchange their worldly comforts for. But ours is different, it is everything. There is nothing in this life too dear to sacrifice for the hope of the future that our religion gives us.
The next season mother with her family started for Missouri, in a company of Saints under the direction of W. W. Phelps and A. S. Gilbert. Mother must have had a great deal to try her on that journey that we as children knew nothing about. What little money she had with her to defray her expense, she was advised to put into the hands of W. W. Phelps and he cheated her out of it. We went down the Ohio River to Cincinnati in a keel boat. Then we took a steamboat and went up the Missouri River. It was on this boat that our provision chest was rifled and thrown overboard. We saw it floating downstream and knew it at once. The lid was open and we could see that everything had been taken out but the papers that things were packed in. Once when the boat landed, one of our company, a young woman, Electa Camberlin, [Chamberlain?] slipped from the plank into the water, but was soon rescued again. When we were within about one hundred miles of our destination we met the ice coming down the river so thick that the boat could not proceed and we were forced to land at a place called “Arrow Rock.” On the banks of the river there was a log cabin occupied by Negroes. There were two rooms, with no windows. The light was admitted through the open door, a common thing then in the Negro cabins, and white folks too sometimes. These Negroes let mother and Sister Morley have one room. There was about fifteen in number in both families. But there was a fireplace in the room. We could have a good fire, and so kept from freezing. We remained here about two or three weeks, it being very cold weather.
At the end of that time a large Kentucky wagon was procured and the two families and their effects were stowed into it and we started again for Independence. The weather was still very cold, so cold that we had to lay by again one day. That day my father and Brother Morley met us, and anybody that has been in like circumstances can understand how happy we were. I do not know how we happened to be separated from the rest of the company. Whatever suffering and privation my mother had to endure she never murmured or complained, but rejoiced that she was counted worthy to endure tribulation for the gospel’s sake. She felt that she had enlisted in a good cause and she looked forward to the happy time that had been promised to the Saints. Her religion compensated her for all the hardships she had to endure.
Well we again started for Independence and when we arrived at that place we were so jammed and packed in the wagon, by the load shifting, that we could hardly pull ourselves out. I remember that when I went to get out of the wagon I could not stir until some of the load was removed. My father rented a log room of Lilburn W. Boggs, the same that was afterwards governor and took an active part in driving the Saints from their homes.
The next winter, houses to rent being scarce, father took a widow and four children into that room we were in, making twelve or thirteen in the family, to sit by one fire and do all the work. Now don’t think for a moment that we were crowded or that we children quarreled; perhaps we did, though I don’t remember. We stayed here until father built a small log house of his own, one room on the first floor and one upstairs, and a cellar. This house was on the corner of the temple lot, or quite near it–about one-half a mile from the public square of Independence. About the first thing the Saints did, after providing shelter for their families was to start a school for the children.
The first school I remember attending was in Jackson County. It was in a log cabin and taught by Miss Nancy Carl. One day the schoolhouse was surrounded by a tribe of Indians. The door and windows were filled with Indian’s faces and every crack where the chinking had fallen out, we could see Indian eyes. Our teacher went to the door and talked with the chief, but the scholars were as quiet as mice. We were not as used to seeing Indians in those days as children are now. Well, everything was different from the home we had left and all seemed so strange in our new home, plenty of Indians and Negroes, and the white folks were so different in their customs and manner of speaking. It was “I reckon,” and “a right smart chance.” Instead of carrying things in their hands, they would “tote” them on their heads; large bundles and baskets, churns, piggins of milk and piggins of water, all toted on their heads. Little children were carried or toted astraddle one hip and women were going barefooted in warm weather, and little boys from two to ten years old were running the streets with nothing on but a shirt. Everything seemed to be after the style of the “backwoods man.” When they washed, instead of rubbing the clothes on a washboard, they would “battle” them, that is, they would wet the clothes in strong soap suds, and then lay them on a smooth board or log, if it was outdoors, and then beat them with a smooth stick, large at one end and small at the other, called the “battle stick.”
Their dresses were more for comfort than for looks. I remember a kind woman gave mother one of her day caps. It was made of large figured light calico. It had a frill around the front and neck. Perhaps you think she did not wear it, but she did though. She was among “Romans” or Missourians, and she thought it no harm to do as they did when it suited her comfort and convenience.
The brethren began to build houses and gather around them the comforts of life. In building their houses they would have “raisings.” After the logs were hauled and prepared, then all the men in the neighborhood would turn out and lay them up. Raisings with the men were something like the old-fashioned quilting was with the women. We read in the Prophet’s Joseph’s history of one in Kaw township where he helped the Coalsville Branch raise their first house, the logs being carried by twelve men in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel. Some of the houses were built very neatly, the logs being hewn on the outside and inside, and the corners sawed off smooth, and for a log house they looked very respectable. But the Saints were not to be permitted to enjoy their homes long.
I think it was in 1832  that the mob began to make threats and commit depredations by night by breaking windows and shooting into the houses of the Saints, sometimes using abusive language. Father had a large stack of hay in his yard back of his house. One night the mob set it on fire. It made a tremendous blaze. In this manner the mob kept annoying the Saints through the summer. The mob was holding meetings and forming resolutions to drive or destroy the “Mormons” and as they said in one of their preambles “peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.” I suppose they meant by that if the Mormons would hold still while the mob heaped upon them all manner of abuse, they would do it peaceably, but if they resisted, they would do it by force. There was considerable excitement at times, not knowing what the mob might do. The brethren would gather nights into our house for protection. They had the room below and the families were upstairs. The men were armed and twice guns went off accidentally, the ball lodged once in the stairway and once it went through the head of the bed. The brethren would pray all together, not as one man, but as many. They did not understand the order of prayer then as we do now.
Children had heard so much about the mob that the very word was a perfect terror to them. They would often cry out in their sleep and scream, “the mob is coming, the mob is coming.”
In the summer of 1833, my youngest brother was born. When he was about three weeks old, mother sent me with Harriet to the spring for water, when I looked back and saw the house surrounded by an armed mob. We remained at the spring until they had gone. Then we got our water and went up to the house. They had taken father (George Simpson was their leader) up to Independence. We did not know what they were going to do with him; it might be kill him, as they had threatened. He had been put in prison once or twice before. After he had been gone awhile I was standing by the window looking the way the mob had gone, thinking of father, when I saw two men coming towards the house. One I knew. It was Albert Jackson, a young man. He was carrying a hat, coat, and vest. The other I thought was an Indian, and as they were coming right to the house, I was so frightened that I ran upstairs. When they came in, it was our dear father who had been tarred and feathered, giving him the appearance of an Indian. (Charles Allen was also tarred and feathered the same day.) They had done their work well for they had covered him with tar from head to foot except his face and the inside of his hands. I suppose hundreds witnessed the outrage. I have heard one woman affirm that she saw a bright light encircle his head while the mob was tarring him. I very well remember the clothes he had on when he went away. They were dark blue. I remember blankets were hung up around the fireplace to screen him while the tar was being scraped from him.
I think it was the same day that the store was broken open and the goods scattered in the street. The printing office was also demolished and the press, type and papers scattered over the ground. Brother [W. W.] Phelps’ family lived in part of the same building. They were turned out of doors and their furniture broken and things scattered in the street. These are my father’s own words, “I was taken from my home by a mob, for about half mile, to the courthouse on the public square in Independence; and then and there surrounded by hundreds of the mob; I was stripped of my hat, coat and vest and daubed with tar from head to foot, and then a quantity of feathers put upon me; and all this because I would not agree to leave the country, my home where I had lived two years. Before tarring and feathering me, I was permitted to speak. I told them that the Saints had to suffer persecution in all ages of the world, that I had done nothing which ought to offend anyone; that if they abused me, they would abuse an innocent person; that I was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, but to leave the country, I was not then willing to do. By this time the multitude made so much noise that I could not be heard. Some were cursing and swearing saying, ‘Call upon your Jesus, etc.’ Others were equally noisy in trying to still the rest, that they might be enabled to hear what I was saying, until after I had spoken. I knew not what they intended to do with me, whether to kill me, whip me, or what else I knew not. I bore my abuse with such resignation and meekness that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to retire in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched as I thought. As for myself, I was so filled with the spirit and love of God that I had no hatred towards my persecutors, or anyone else.”
After my father had been tarred and feathered, a man raised a whip to finish him by thrashing him when another man, more human, laid hold of his arm saying he had done enough. They then treated Charles Allen the same. Others were brought up to be served in the same way, or whipped, but for some cause the mob ceased operations, and adjourned until Tuesday, the 23rd. Elder Gilbert, the storekeeper, agreed to close, and that may have been the reason why the work of destruction was suddenly stopped for two days. In the course of these days, wicked, outrageous and unlawful proceedings, many solemn realities of human degradations, as well as thrilling incidents were presented to the Saints.
An armed and well-organized mob in a government professing to be governed by law with the Lieutenant-governor (Lilburn W. Boggs) the second officer in the state calmly looking on and secretly aiding every movement, said to the Saints, “You now know what our Jackson boys can do, and you must leave the country,” etc. And when Bishop Partridge, who was without guides, and Elder Charles Allen walked off, amid the horrid yells of an infuriated mob, coated like some unnamed, unknown biped; and one of the sisters cried aloud, “While you who have done this must suffer the vengeance of God, they having endured persecution can rejoice for henceforth, for them is laid up a crown, eternal in heaven.” Surely there was a time of awful reflection, that man, unrestrained like the brute beast, may torment the body, but God in return will punish the soul.
While the destruction of the printing office and store were going on, two young girls, nieces of A. S. Gilbert had run out of the house and hid in the corner of the fence and were watching the mob, and when they saw them bring a table piled full of papers and set it in the middle of the street and heard them say, “Here is the book of revelations of the damned Mormons;” they watched their opportunity when the mob returned to the house, they ran and gathered up as many of the papers as they could hold in their arms and ran into the cornfield and hid. The mob soon discovered them running with the papers and followed them but could not find them. The cornfields there were so very large and cornstalks grew so high that they were almost like young forests and it is an easy matter for a person to get lost in one of them. These two girls had run so far that they were lost, but after a while succeeded in finding their way out. They went to an old shanty where they found the family of Brother Phelps trying to make themselves a little comfortable. Sister Phelps took the revelations and hid them in her bed. This is how a few of the revelations were preserved. The names of these girls were Mary E. and Caroline Rollins. I remember most of the circumstances that transpired at that time but was to young to remember the particulars well enough to tell them. I was about nine years old and had been baptized (in a creek not far from Independence) by John Corrill.
After the mob had ceased yelling and had retired and while evening was spreading her dark mantel over the unblushing scenery as if to hide it from the gaze of day, men, women, and children who had been driven or frightened from their homes by the yells and threats of the mob, began to return from their hiding places in thickets and corn fields, wood and groves, and view with heavy hearts the scenery of desolation and woe. And while they mourned over fallen man, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable that they were accounted worthy to suffer in the glorious cause of their Divine Master. There lay the printing office, a heap of ruins. Elder Phelps’ furniture was strewed over the ground as common plunder, the revelations, book works, papers and press in the hands of the mob, as the booty of highway robbers.
There was Bishop Partridge in the midst of his family, with a few of his friends, endeavoring to scrape off the tar which from eating his flesh seemed to have been prepared with lime pearlash, acid or some flesh-eating commodity, to destroy him. And there was Charles Allen in the same awful condition. As the heart sickens at the recital, how much more at the picture! More than once those people in this boasted land of liberty were brought into jeopardy, and threatened with expulsion or death because they wished to worship God according to the revelations of heaven, the constitution of their country, and the dictates of their own conscience. O liberty, now art thou fallen, Alas! Clergymen where is thy charity? In the smoke that ascendeth up forever and ever.
On the 13th of November, between three and four o’clock in the morning, the camp was aroused from their slumbers to see the beautiful and grand sight of the falling stars. The Saints beheld it with hearts of rejoicing. Being persecuted and cast out from their homes for the sake of their religion, and knowing it to be one of the signs of the last days spoken of by the prophets, it was calculated to cheer and comfort their hearts and strengthen their faith in the gospel, notwithstanding they were in deep affliction. Although I was but a child at the time, I looked upon the scene with delight. The heavens seemed wrapped in splendid fireworks. The appearance was beautiful and grand beyond description.
I think it was several weeks that we were camped on the bank of the river. The weather began to be quite cold–too cold to remain in tents with any degree of comfort. The Saints found homes as best they could, searching out and making habitable all the old shanties and hovels that could be found, endeavoring to keep as near together as possible. Father and Elder John Corrill procured an old log cabin that had been used for a stable and cleaned it up as best they could and moved their families in. There was one large room, and a leanto, but that was not of much use, as the floor was nearly all torn up, and the rats and rattlesnakes were too thick for comfort. There was a large fireplace in the one habitable room, and blankets were hung up a few feet back from the fire and the two families, fifteen or sixteen in number, were gathered inside of those blankets to keep from freezing for the weather was extremely cold, so cold that the ink would freeze in the pen as father sat writing close to the fire. Elder Corrill’s family took one side of the fireplace and we took the other. Our beds were in the back part of the room, which was cold enough for the polar regions.
The next summer the Saints procured a small cabin in a paupau grove for a school and one of our Mormon girls was installed as teacher. And notwithstanding our deplorable circumstances I spent many happy hours with the school children in that beautiful grove at hours of intermission, swinging on the long wild grapevine that hung from the tall trees, or tearing down some of the long and slender ones to jump-the-rope with. We built houses of the branches of the paupau tree, the wood being very brittle we had no difficulty in breaking as many as we wanted. The fruit of the paupau is about as long as the bananas, and about four or five times as large around, with a smooth skin. The inside, when ripe, is a yellow, thick, creamy pulp, with large flat seeds, and to the taste is very sweet; but oh! such a sweet! one taste will generally suffice, nobody wants to taste it twice.
Some of the old citizens of Clay County, sent their children to our school and of course were better dressed than the Mormon children, which caused them to sometimes sneer and make fun of our shabby clothes, but generally we got along very well. The Saints were very poor, and I sometimes wonder how they provided for their families the necessaries of life. My father being bishop made the times much harder for him, for he not only had his family to provide fr, but he had the poor to look after and provide for their comfort also.
I sometimes think that bishops in these days know but little what the office of bishop was in the early days of the Church–in the days of its poverty and inexperience. Sometimes the poor would grumble and complain because there was not more for them. To raise money in those days was almost like wringing water out of a dry sponge.
The revelations and letters that the Jackson County Saints received, must have been a source of great comfort and consolation to them in their afflictions, and when the Prophet Joseph came with Zion’s Camp, I can imagine, in some degree, how great their joy must have been, and, child as I was, I partook of the joyful spirit of my parents. Some of the brethren of Zion’s camp stopped at my father’s and I particularly remember Dr. Darwin Richardson. When Brother Joseph returned to Kirtland father either went with him, or soon after, and was absent several months.
How mother managed to live I cannot tell; only the Lord did provide. The children continued to go to school in the log cabin in the Paupau Grove, having our pleasures and troubles mixed as a natural consequence of school children, but children’s troubles are generally short lived, and ours did not hinder us from having plenty of fun. We had some sickness in our family while father was absent, but our lives were spared through all our wanderings, until we came to Nauvoo; there death began to make inroads in our family. Some of the brethren purchased land in Clay County, but the Saints had no intention of making a permanent settlement in that place. The spirit of mobocracy continued to manifest itself among the inhabitants of Clay County, and the Saints began to flee from their persecutors. They purchased land in Caldwell County, Missouri, and established a gathering place for the scattered Saints.
Father moved his family into a piece of timber, about three miles from the place where Far West was afterwards located. Father and the brethren that were with him built log huts and prepared us as well as they could for the coming winter. The timber in which we were camped was mostly hickory, with some black walnut, and hazel bushes were plentiful, and all were loaded with nuts, and when the frost came they dropped from the trees and lay so thick on the ground all around us that the children were kept pretty busy gathering them up. We gathered several bushels, and feasted on nuts through the winter, if with little else. As father’s eldest children were all girls, my sister Harriet and I had to act the part of boys and help him with his work, such as milking the cows and going to the prairie and assist him in loading hay, and sometimes we would carry the chain when he surveyed the land. After Far West was laid out father built another house and we moved into the city. The Saints from all parts of the world, where the gospel had been preached, began to gather in, and the place was rapidly built up.
Troubles in Kirtland multiplied, until the Saints in that place had to flee to Missouri and the Saints in the west had the Prophet, for the first time, residing in their midst, which they esteemed as a very great blessing. The Saints continued to take up land and settle in the surrounding counties, and peace and prosperity reigned in their midst.
. . . On the fourth of July, 1838, the Saints assembled in Far West to celebrate the day, and I think the spot for the temple was that day dedicated. Our national flag, the stars and stripes, attached to the liberty-pole, floated gaily in the breeze. All were happy and joyful, as none but the Saints know how to be.
Shortly after the fourth a terrible storm arose; the thunder and lightning were terrific; the liberty was struck and shattered by a bolt, foreshadowing coming events, as the sequel proved.
Not long after this rumors came to Far West, from different settlements of the Saints, of threats, and depredations being committed by small parties of Missourians. There was trouble in Daviess County–a battle was fought on Crooked River, and Brother David Patten, one of the Twelve, and some others of the brethren were killed. Then came the news of the terrible massacre at Haun’s Mill, and before we were hardly aware of it a large army of the mob were marching towards Far West, with an exterminating order from the Governor. The brethren hastily got together wagons, logs, boards and whatever they could find that would do, and threw up a breastwork to protect themselves, in a measure, from the bullets of the murderous mob. The mob halted when within about half a mile of Far West. A white flag was sent out by the mob, and were met by a party of our brethren, also carrying a white flag. The mob demanded three persons to be brought out of the city, then their design was to massacre the rest.
The days following another flag was sent by the mob, and some of our brethren met them and learned that they were commissioned by the chief executive, and were authorized to exterminate the Mormons en masse, and they had three thousand troops under command to carry these orders into effect. Col. Hinkle went out to meet the flag of truce, and secretly made arrangements to deliver up the leaders of the Church to be tried and punished; to have the property of the Saints delivered over to the mob to pay their expenses and all damages done them, and also arranged that the Saints should leave the state, and their arms be delivered up to the enemy.
In the evening of the same day the first step in this base treachery was taken. Hinkle represented to the Prophet, that the officers of the militia desired an interview with him, in the hope that a settlement might be brought about without carrying out the Governor’s exterminating orders.
. . . Brother Joseph and others complied with the request, and were delivered into the hands of the mob as prisoners of war by the treacherous and cowardly George M. Hinkle. The brethren were put into a hollow square and strongly guarded. The mob they set up a most horrid, unearthly yell, and one might well imagine that it came from the throats of demons of the lower regions. It was a sound long to be remembered, and one that no person could desire to hear but once in their lives, especially under like circumstances.
On the morning of the 1st of November,  the bugle sounded for the brethren to assemble. Every man went well armed and was paraded and delivered over to the mob. The brethren were surrounded and required to surrender their arms and were guarded all day, while the soldiers went from house to house, plundering, pillaging, destroying, and driving, in some instances, women and children from their homes. Before the mob disbanded, after securing the arms of the brethren, they rode through the city, and passed so close to our house that we could hear their remarks.
A short time after this I was outdoors, when a party of the mob came up with their guns on their shoulder, almost to our door, and shot a two year old heifer. I felt no fear, for I had got pretty well used to seeing mobocrats by this time, but stood and saw them skin and cut it up and carry it away.
A court martial was held by the officers of the mob and Joseph and the brethren that were with him, without having the privilege of saving a work in their own defense, were sentenced to be shot on Friday morning, on the public square in Far West, in the presence of their families and friends. At this General Doniphan objected, saying he would have nothing to do with such cold-blooded actions, and he would withdraw his company from the army. This probably saved the lives of the prisoners, at that time, as the sentence was changed and they were taken to Independence, Jackson County. Fifty-six more of the brethren were taken prisoners by General Clark, among whom was my father. They were collected within a small circle on the public square, surrounded by a strong guard, and there they were compelled to sign a deed of trust, which deed was designed to put their property into the hands of a committee, to be disposed of to pay all the debts which had been contracted by any, and all that belonged to the Church. Also to pay all damages the mob might have sustained from any person whatever. And all those who denied the faith were exonerated from signing this deed of trust. They were then marched and confined in Bark’s tavern, in Far West, Nov., 1838.
General Clark came in and said to the brethren there, that they were guilty of all manner of crimes, and although they might not be more guilty than others who were not taken prisoners, yet he intended to make an example of them. The nature and enormity of their crimes were such that they were not fit to live among a moral people, in moral society. Therefore they should not be allowed to live in the state; that it was a part of the treaty made by General Lucas, that the Mormons should leave the state, and that was the Governor’s orders also. He said the would permit them to stay until the weather became warm, and if they were not off then he would pledge himself that he would drive them out of the states, and if he had to come again he would show them no quarter.
They were then driven to Richmond, Ray County, Missouri like so many dumb animals, and continued in Richmond jail. The weather was cold, the ground was covered with mud and slush, and when they camped for the night they lay upon the ground, and some [?] without a blanket to wrap around them to protect them from the cold and frost. But I will let my father [Edward Partridge] tell his treatment at that time, while a prisoner, in his own words, as he wrote them in the form of a prayer:
“Oh, Lord, look down in mercy upon Thy people who are afflicted and oppressed. How long, O Lord, wilt Thou suffer the enemy to oppress Thy Saints. Destruction hath come upon us like a whirlwind, in the which Thou hast verified thy words, for Thou didst forewarn us that it should come, and behold Thy word is fulfilled. The enemy came upon us to drive us from the state of Missouri, or exterminate us. But Thou, O Lord, did stay their hands from killing us, though numbers were massacred; and Thou didst send forth uncommon sever frost and snow and by that means save us, as a people, from being driven out at the time appointed. But Thou didst suffer the enemy unlawfully, to take Thy servant, together with scores of others, who drove us like dumb asses from our homes, in a cold, dreary and melancholy time. We were confined in a large, open room, where the cold northern blast penetrated freely. Our fires were small, and our allowance for wood and food scanty. They gave us not even a blanket to lie upon. Our beds were the cold floor.
There, Thou didst suffer the wicked to tyrannize over us; yea, the vilest of the vile did guard us and treat us like dogs; yet we bore our oppressions without murmuring; but our souls were vexed both night and day with their filthy conversation, for they constantly blasphemed Thy holy name.
How long, O Lord, wilt Thou suffer them to blaspheme Thy name? Wilt Thou not soon cut them off and consign them their portion among hypocrites and unbelievers? In the midst of our oppression we did call upon Thy name. O Lord, and Thou didst hear us, and deliver us in some degree from the hand of oppression, yet the enemy doth still threaten us and would fain destroy us from the face of the earth, but we are in Thy hands, O Lord, and we know that the enemy can go no father in oppressing us than Thou dost permit. O Lord, deliver Thou us from our oppressors. Send Thy judgments and destroy those who are not willing to let Thy Saints have a resting place upon Thy footstool. Save Thy people O Lord, save Thy people from oppression and bondage, yea, redeem Thy Zion; in Thine own time redeem it.
How long, O Lord, shall the enemy be permitted to wear out Thy Saints? Hasten, hasten the day when the ancient of days can sit, and power be given Thy Saint to take and possess the kingdom, even forever and ever. Amen. [Signed] E. Partridge.
Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, January, 1839.
The brethren were prohibited, by the mob from going out or coming into the city, but many of the families living out had gathered in for protection, which caused provisions to be very scarce, and much suffering ensued. The mob had taken cattle, pigs, poultry, and whatever they wanted for their army to eat while they were camped outside of the city, for all know that even a mob must eat to live, if they have to rob women and children of their last morsel to do it. I know how it was in our family–mother had to boil wheat to eke out the little corn meal that we had; flour we had none, and I remember seeing her make some pumpkin pies, using corn meal for the crust; I suppose she thought the corn dodger and pumpkin sauce would taste better to the children if it was made in the shape of, and called a pie. Some were worse off than we were, for they had nothing but parched corn to eat. Well, these were some of the mobocratic days of my childhood.
Father was released from prison and returned to Far West, but in consequence of trouble being brought upon him by apostate brethren, he was compelled to again flee from his family and home. Mother, soon after, put what she could of her effects into a wagon and, with her family, started for–well, anywhere out of the state of Missouri.
We were set down on the banks of the Mississippi River, opposite Quincy, and were again houseless and homeless, wandering in the cold and bleak winter weather, with scanty food and clothing. We pitched our tents and waited for an opportunity to cross the river. There were several families of Saints there when we arrived, and they were continually coming, so the bank of the river was dotted with tents, now the only home of the again exiled Saints. The wagons bringing families were unloaded and taken back for more of the Saints. When we crossed the river it was partly on the ice and partly in the ferry boat. The shore on the Quincy side of the river was lined with the inhabitants of that place, to witness the crossing over of the Mormon outcasts even the exiled Saints in midwinter. Perhaps many thought they were a strange people, or some kind of animals; not human beings like themselves, subject to sorrow and pain, cold and hunger and distress.
In all our wanderings and being driven, we have had to go out in the cold winter months, and the suffering of the people must have been very great. Children could not sense the awful reality of the situation as older ones did, on whose shoulders the burden rested. I sometimes look back upon those scenes with horror, and wonder how the Saints did continue to endure, time after time, such heartless cruelties. But many could not endure, and so found an early grave.
And now, in 1885, nearly all of the Saints that were living then have passed away, and the few that are living now are those that were children then, and they are becoming advanced in years, and it will not be very long and there will be none left living upon the earth to bear witness against the horrid deeds of the Missouri mob. But the record of their wicked deeds will remain and condemn them; they will yet have to foot the bill with interest.
After crossing the river, mother rented a room in Quincy, and here father met us. We remained but a short time in Quincy. Father moved his family to Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois, where we remained until a place for the gathering of the Saints was appointed, when we moved to Commerce, afterwards Nauvoo. Father secured a city lot, and pitched his tent under a large elm tree.
The place was very unhealthy, and nearly everybody there was sick; so much so that it was hard to find well ones enough to care for the sick, or bury the dead. As we had not been there long enough to be affected by the climate, father sent his girls, that were old enough, among the sick to help take care of them. I was at Brother Ebenezer Robinson’s; he and his wife were both sick. I stayed as long as I could keep up. I went home sick, took my bed, from which I was unable to rise for several weeks. My sister Harriet proceeded me home, and was occupying one side of the bed, very sick. We lay in this condition until one day Brothers Young and Kimball called at our tent they were just starting on a mission, and they administered to us, when the fever broke, and we were much better, but we did not get our strength.
After a few weeks, being neither sick nor yet well, we were taken down with the shaking ague, which continued with us, off and on, for one year or more. As the tent was an uncomfortable place for sick folks, father rented a room, in what was called the “upper store house,” built at the steam-boat landing, before the Saints began to settle there. Several families occupied other portions of the house. Brother Hyrum Smith’s family had a room adjoining ours.
Father had the chills and fever, but he felt so anxious to build a house for his family, which had to be done mostly by his own labor, that he felt he could hardly spare time to be sick, so he would take quinine and break up the chills for a week or two, so that he could labor on his house, and when the chills returned he would take more quinine and go to work again; but he saw that it would take a long time at this rate to get into his house, so he concluded to build a stable for his cows and move his family into that; but moving was the last thing he ever did in this life. He died on the 27th of May, 1840, in his forty-seventh year. My sister Harriet died a few days before, in the store house, on the 16th of May, 1840, in her nineteenth year.
I will here mention the kindness of Brother and Sister William Law to our family in our distressed condition. While my father lay sick, my sister Eliza and I, and some of the other children were sick also, and it was very unpleasant for so many sick to be in one small room. Brother and Sister Law took Eliza and I home with them and showed us every kindness. I felt as though I had almost got to heaven after all the years of suffering that we had endured, and now to be in such a good house, and to have a comfortable bed to lay upon, with nourishing and palatable food, I almost thought that it was too pleasant to be true.
After father’s death Brother Law took our whole family home and administered to our wants, and with such good and kind care we began to improve in health, and when we had sufficiently regained our health we went back into our little hut once more.
When I think of the Laws, and what good men they seemed to be, and realize the course they have taken, my soul sorrows and mourns over their fate. Can it be possible that such kindness as they extended to my father’s family will be all lost?
On the 3rd of February, 1841, The Patriarch, Isaac Morley, came to our house and gave us each a patriarchal, or father’s blessing. Mine was as follows:
“Sister Emily, I lay my hands upon thy head, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and I seal upon thy head a father’s blessing. Notwithstanding thou art an orphan child, the heavens and the earth are stored with blessings for thee.
Thou hast embraced the fullness of the everlasting Gospel in the days of thy life; they name is registered in the heavens. The angels rejoiced over thee when thou wast born into the kingdom of thy Savior, and if thou wilt ever support the principles that adorn they sex, they name shall never be erased from the Lamb’s book of life.
And if thou wilt ask thou shalt receive intelligence pertaining to the kingdom of God; the heavens and the earth shall unbosom their blessings unto thee; thou shalt have the blessing and gift to speak in wisdom and act in prudence; thy example shall be worthy of imitation to the daughters of Zion; and if thou wilt listen to the voice of wisdom length of days shalt be given unto thee, and thou shalt have the blessing to see the winding up scene of this generation; peace and tranquility restored to man. Thy blessing shall be handed down to thy posterity from generation to generation, and thou shalt have the blessing to return to the land of thine inheritance. And thou shalt have the blessing to see Ephraim crowned, and to wait upon the table in a day when a feast of fat things are prepared.
Thou shalt sing the song of the redeemed. And I ask God my Heavenly Father to enlighten thy mind, to guide thee in the days of thy youth, and lead thee in the path of piety and virtue all the days of thy life, and when thy Savior shall make His second advent crowns of glory shall be sealed upon thy head, and let the honor and glory be given to God and the Lamb, forever and ever, amen and amen.”
Times were hard and we were very destitute, having been robbed and driven from our homes and possessions so many times, and having had much sickness after we came to Nauvoo, and being afflicted in various ways, consequently we were reduced to extreme poverty. Mother was good at turning her hand to almost anything. She got an old stock, such as men wore at their necks at that time, ripped it up to learn how it was made, and then obtained a block and went to work making stocks to sell. In that way she earned a little to keep her family. My sister Eliza and myself were the oldest of the children, and it seemed necessary that we should do something toward earning a living.
Eliza had learned the tailor’s trade while in Far West, and was a good seamstress; she had no difficulty in obtaining work; but I, what could I do? I had learned to wash dishes, to sweep and scrub a puncheon floor, and such like things, and the only chance that seemed to be for me was to go out to work. We would think and talk upon this subject day after day, and I think I cried a little, for the thought of having to leave home to me was terrible. While things, with us, were in this condition, Sister Emma sent for me to come and live with her and nurse her baby. It seemed as if the Lord had opened up my way, it was so unexpected, and nothing could have suited me better for tending babies was my delight. My sister Eliza, also, went there to live, which made it pleasanter for me and more home-like. Joseph and Emma were very kind to us; they were almost like a father and mother, and I loved Emma and the children, especially the baby, little Don Carlos.
They gave me the privilege of attending a school that summer, taught by Brother and Sister Howard Coray. This was the last of my going to school. What little education I have got I received in the log cabin schools, as we were roaming about, being driven from place to place; but I have gained an experience that money cannot purchase.
On the 15th of August, 1841, the baby, Don Carlos, died. John C. Bennett made it his home at the prophet’s house at this time. He was thought to be quite a great man, and had considerable influence for good; but afterwards turned traitor, and sought to injure Brother Joseph by publishing falsehoods. He secretly worked for his destruction, and once, when the Nauvoo Legion were having a sham battle, he laid his plan to have the prophet slain, but Brother Joseph detected it, and frustrated his wicked design.
The first intimation I had from Brother Joseph that there was a pure and holy order of plural marriage, was in the spring of 1842, but I was not married until 1843. I was married to him on the 11th of May, 1843, by Elder James Adams. Emma was present. She gave her free and full consent. She had always up to this time, been very kind to me and my sister Eliza, who was also married to the Prophet Joseph Smith with Emma’s consent; but ever after she was our enemy. She used every means in her power to injure us in the eyes of her husband, and before strangers, and in consequence of her abuse we were obliged to leave the city to gratify her, but things were overruled otherwise, and we remained in Nauvoo. My sister Eliza found a home with the family of Brother Joseph Coolidge, and I went to live with Sister Sylvia Lyons. She was a good woman, and one of the lord’s chosen few. Emma, about this time, gave her husband two other wives–Maria and Sarah Lawrence.
Early in the spring of 1843 the Young Gentlemen and Ladies’ Relief Society was organized. Brother Joseph gives a short sketch of the rise of that society.
. . . After the prophet’s death, I again entered into plural marriage. I was married to President Brigham Young according to the law of proxy, and received my blessings in the Temple at Nauvoo. I had one son born in Nauvoo; he was name Edward Partridge Young Smith. The Saints were again driven from their homes, and I crossed the Mississippi River about the middle of February, 1846, and was again without home or shelter, an outcast and a wanderer in the dreary wilderness, without even the necessaries of life. My babe was about three months old. I was not quite twenty-two, and had been driven, with the Saints of God, by mobs, four times, and all for my religion.
When I look back and remember the great responsibility that rested upon my father [Edward Partridge] as first bishop–his poverty and privations, and the hardships that he had to endure, the accusations of false brethren, the fault-finding of the poor, and the persecutions of our enemies–I do not wonder at his early death. And when I remember his conversations with my mother, and can now comprehend, in my mature years, his extreme weariness of soul, it brings to my mind a clause of his blessing, which says, “Thou shalt stand in thy office until thou shalt desire to resign it, that thou mayest rest for a little season.”
I think it was the first fall of our stay in Clay County, that a slaughter yard was established on the banks of the river not far from where we lived; thousands of hogs were killed and packed for the market, giving employment to the Saints in that vicinity. The men killing and cutting them up, and the women and children cutting up and trying out the lard, having a share of all they did, and in this way the people were provided with meat and lard, which was a great blessing at that time. I remember of going with mother, and doing what I could to help her, day after day.
While we remained in Clay County the brethren did all they could to regain possession of their homes. They petitioned the governor, employed lawyers, and tried in various ways to gain redress, but all their efforts proved to be of no avail. The Prophet Joseph Smith manifested great anxiety concerning the Saints in Zion. He was constantly writing letters advising them what to do, and sending words of comfort and encouragement. Revelations were given assuring the Saints that the Lord remembered them in their afflictions. A father could not have manifested more love and anxiety if his best beloved son had been in deep trouble, than the Prophet did in regard to the Saints in Missouri and their persecutions.
The following are extracts from one of the letters that the Prophet sent to the brethren in Zion: [see HC 1:450-51, 453-55.]