Lyman Omer Littlefield, 1819-c1890
Lyman Omer Littlefield, who has undertaken in this little volume to give publicity to many incidents connected with the experience of the Saints, is the second son of Waldo Littlefield and Mercy Higgins. His grandfather, Josiah Littlefield, fought through the war of 1812, for which service he drew a pension during the latter years of his life. He is a native of the state of New York, township of Verona, Oneida County, and first breathed the vital spark of life November 22, 1819. Counting up the years, it is easily determined that he is now nearing the “three score and ten,” which so frequently fixes the limit of human life.
When his mind wanders back over the vista of the past to call up the time and place where he first heard a rumor of anything pertaining to the strange people now having a world-wide fame as Mormons, or, more properly, Latter-day Saints, the focus of his mind concentrates upon a spot in dear old Verona which was his home by virtue of its being the abode of his parents. In that neighborhood he made his infantile debut upon this terrestrial globe and there is laid the scene of his earliest recollections. But that halcyon period is ended now. The actors are scattered upon the wide globe, and those then so devoted in their friendships would be strangers now if chance were to bring them together. But, at such meeting, did some fortuitous chance reveal the parties’ names, the intuitive powers would be instantaneous in throwing off feelings of restraint and prompting enquiries into the fortunes of each since the days of childhood had gone down forever in the great whirlpool of time.
A golden bible–the rumor said–had been taken out of the earth in the western portion of New York State by a young man named Joseph Smith, who said an angel of the Lord had revealed it to him: that it purported to give an account of a great and enlightened nation of people, then extinct, from whom the American Indians were descendants. This strange rumor became the topic of much talk and wonderment through that part of the country.
Soon after hearing this rumor it was my lot to turn my back upon the hallowed scenes of that natal home–scenes still dear in memory–as my parents removed to Michigan, settling near the town of Pontiac, in Oakland county. Not only after our location there, two Mormon Elders came to our neighborhood and held meetings. Of course we knew they were followers of Joseph Smith, whom rumor had associated with the golden Bible matter concerning which we had heard in the state of New York. Naturally enough we felt a curiosity to see these strange men and hear more concerning their new religion.
My parents were members of the Methodist Church and did not wish to exchange that faith for another; but they went to hear what these strangers had to say. Their little son Lyman was permitted to bear them company. It was winter and of course a sleigh was our mode of conveyance. Their place of holding meeting was in a log schoolhouse built in the edge of some timber and as we turned from the main road to drive near we knew that meeting had commenced, for we heard the speaker in a full and animated tone of voice enunciating his doctrines. It is said in the scriptures: “Blessed are they who know the joyful sound;” so the writer must just then have been one of the favored, for at the very first sound of Jared Carter’s voice–for it was he who was speaking–a strange, unaccountable feeling came over me, and before hearing one word pronounced by him, there was something connected with the tone of his voice that convinced me he was a man of God and was telling the truth. The writer went in that meeting prepared to believe all the speaker said, and your humble friend has been a believer in what many call Mormonism from that hour.
After attending one or two more meetings and reading the Book of Mormon all she could, my mother was fully convinced of the truth of the gospel. My father did not believe so readily, but after a few weeks he, too, was convinced and my parents became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–they being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins and having hands laid upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost. Quite a number of people in that vicinity embraced the new faith and a branch of the Church was organized and presided over by Elder Samuel Bent.
In the spring of 1844 Elders Hyrum Smith and Lyman Wight came there on a special mission. They were enroute for the state of Missouri and some eighteen of the brethren of that branch of the Church and three women got ready to accompany them. Among that number was my father, my brother Josiah and myself.
The mission of these brethren was in the interest of the Saints who had a short time previous been driven from their homes in Jackson County, Missouri, by a ruthless mob, because of their religion. The object was to use their influence with the authorities and people of upper Missouri to have our brethren reinstated in their possessions and rights as citizens in Jackson County. A much larger company had been gathered from the branches of the Church organized in different parts of the eastern states, and had started from Kirtland, Ohio, having the same object in view.
Our little Michigan company had to travel, of course, across a large portion of Michigan, across Indiana and Illinois to Quincy where we crossed the Mississippi River. During this journey our whole company walked almost the entire distance, as the teams were too heavily loaded to admit of our riding. Our feet were often blistered and bleeding; but all were patient and endured the fatigues without murmuring. Memory does not serve us whether it was in Indiana or Illinois that we camped at the residence of Brother Rich, father of C.C. Rich. The latter joined us upon our journey and as is well known, at a later date became one of the Twelve Apostles.
After crossing the river at Quincy we traveled to Salt River, where we formed a junction with the company from Kirtland. They were encamped at the farm of Brother James Allred. There we first looked upon the Prophet of the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith. And there also we beheld Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Parley P. Pratt, George A. Smith, Orson Pratt, Joseph Young, Martin Harris, Phineas Young, Zebedee Coltrin, and many others who have been men of note and usefulness.
The meeting of the brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, at this juncture was cordial. Hyrum ever had been and was in after years a reliable staff upon which Joseph could lean with confidence. The ties of brotherhood that existed between them was strong and enduring and they mutually relied upon each other for aid when emergencies required it.
The company at Salt River numbered 205 souls, and constituted what was known as Zion’s Camp. There a complete reorganization took place, and we started on our journey rejoicing.
We finally, through the providences of our Heavenly Father, arrived in Clay County in safety. We encamped just east of the town of Liberty, near the residence of Brother Burget. Here the cholera broke out in our camp and some eighteen or nineteen of the brethren fell victims to the destroyer and were buried at night by torch light so as to keep the fact of the presence of cholera from the knowledge of the inhabitants, and thus prevent, if possible, unnecessary excitement and trouble.
Being aware that a complete account of the many remarkable and very interesting circumstances connected with the journey of this camp has been fully written and will some day appear as a part of the Church history, the writer declines to dwell upon it here to any greater length. He was then a mere boy, only about thirteen years and six months old and his greatest regret at the time was that he was not a man in stature so that he might participate more in the performance of camp duties, as was the privilege of the men. He is not quite certain whether Bradford Elliot or himself was the youngest member of the company; but as Bradford, as report has it, has long since passed behind the veil, the writer is today the youngest man living who had the honor of traveling, with blistered and bleeding feet, hundreds of miles in one of the most important campaigns ever performed in the interest of the great and glorious latter-day work. But few of that faithful company are now remaining and when a few years more shall have rolled into eternity the residue will be gathered to that grand encampment of Saints now rapidly forming in the world of spirits.
The Saints who had been cruelly and unlawfully driven from their possessions in Jackson County numbered some fifteen hundred souls. They had found friends and were permitted to settle in that region bordering along on the east side of the Missouri River, but were forbidden to recross to their former homes.
The Prophet Joseph used every peaceful, lawful and persuasive means to accomplish their reinstatement; but the mob spirit so predominated over the minds of the people that the voice of reason and the stern demands of justice could not make sufficient impression upon the people. He even petitioned to the governor of the state to have them reinstated upon the lands for which they had paid their money into the government treasury; but to no purpose. The Jackson County mob was rampant and bloodthirsty, and the authorities of the state did not feel disposed to encounter the turbulent tide of opposition which existed against our people so there was no alternative but to accept the situation, as unjust and cruel as it was, and leave the event with the Almighty.
My father rented a farm about two miles west of Liberty on the way to the Liberty landing, of a Mr. Hawks. John Corrill was our nearest neighbor, and Bishop Edward Partridge, who had been tarred and feathered at Independence, and W. W. Phelps, lived in the neighborhood,–also John Burk and Henry Rollins (now of Minersville) lived nearby. Soon after our settlement there, my father let me go to the Missouri Enquirer printing office to learn the printing business. The paper was edited and published by Mr. Robert N. Kelley, who was politically a Democrat and religiously a Methodist preacher. There were one or two boys in the office who were Mormons. Mr. Kelley was friendly disposed towards our people and Mrs. Harriet Williams Kelley, (his wife) was a talented, kind-hearted and most estimable lady, in whom the writer ever found a friend and sympathizer.
Joseph used his utmost energies to accomplish what good he could in the interest of those who had been driven out of Jackson County, and after organizing a High Council and otherwise setting the Church in order, he and a portion of the members of the camp returned to Kirtland and the residue located themselves to the best advantage according to the opportunities that were presented.
Soon after the departure of Joseph, an opening was presented for the Saints to settle in the two new counties of Caldwell and Daviess. Caldwell joined Clay County on the north and Daviess lay still north, joining Caldwell. Splendid opportunities were afforded the brethren in that new region for pre-empting land and making themselves homes, which opportunity they availed themselves of and went to work with energy to make themselves comfortable.
That country abounded in delightful locations. A high rolling prairie, with a black loam soil, interspersed with groves of timber and producing in many places heavy crops of delicious grasses for stock grazing or for the cutting of hay, and watered here and there by clear streams of running water–made it a desirable region for settlers on the public domain. Upon a delightful and sightly location the city of Far West was surveyed and soon a beautiful and thriving town sprang up as if by magic. The Latter-day Saints, with their habits of industry and thrift, in a little time were established in comfortable and happy homes and the voice of praise and thankfulness to the Almighty was heard in their abodes and in newly erected places of worship.
In August, 1836, the Saints commenced settling in Caldwell County. My father moved there and selected a place about two miles south of Far West, on the road leading to Liberty, Clay County. In addition to opening a farm, he formed a partnership with Mr. Calvin Graves, and purchased a stock of dry goods and family groceries and commenced business in Far West. Also, they took a stock of goods to Grand River, in Daviess County. In both of these places they were selling many goods and prospering. About this time the writer left the printing office and clerked in the store at Far West.
Father purchased a farm on Dog Creek, about half way between Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman, which was generally called the “half way house,” where he moved his family, but still continuing to sell goods.
During this time the work of the Lord had wonderfully progressed in Kirtland, Ohio. The temple had been completed and dedicated to the Lord and great blessings had been received therein by the Saints. In consequence, Satan began to work in the hearts of many prominent men there. They run after the things of the world and became lifted up in the pride of their hearts. At length they became rebellious and conspired against the Prophet Joseph. In relation to this it is stated as follows in the Biography of Lorenzo Snow:
“Five of the Quorum of the Twelve were in this apostasy. Wherever the spirit of speculation–a grasping for the things of the world–obtained, the light of the Spirit of God departed, and impenetrable darkness ensued. Some even became so blind as to seek to depose the Prophet of God. At length the hostility of the belligerent party assumed such a threatening attitude that late in the autumn of 1837, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had to flee for their lives; and at a moment’s warning started for Missouri.”
The arrival of Joseph Smith and his first counselor, Sidney Rigdon, at Far West was a cause of great rejoicing among the Saints. They had fled from the intrigues of a dangerous conspiracy in Kirtland, originating in the bosoms of those very men who had been blessed with the enlightening influences of the spirit of God, which flowed to them through the channel of the gospel which the angel from the courts of glory had revealed to the very man whom they persecuted; that man who had given them his confidence, placed them in positions of prominence and trusted them as true servants of God’s kingdom, and personal friends. Truly, “a Prophet is not without honor save in his own country and with those of his own household.”
Joseph had escaped from the machinations of his own brethren, it is true, and the snare they set for his feet, but he was destined not to find much peace in Missouri. A few months, at most, were all the time allotted him for a partial rest from the turbulence and sufferings to be inflicted by a powerful foe. But then–as was ever the case with him–the whole energies of his soul were absorbed in the glorious latter-day work to which he had been called by his Divine Master. Of this great man the humble writer of this little volume had been an admirer ever since the time he first looked upon and watched his career in Zion’s Camp. And here, in Far West, his admiration and respect for him personally, as well as for his calling, was heightened day by day. We watched his intercourse with the people, and listened to his preaching from the stand, with sentiments of profound respect and pleasure. There was something in his manner, his countenance and spirit that was not associated with mortal man that we had ever looked upon before.
Sidney Rigdon was a fine-looking man, polished in address and powerful in oratory; but he was far behind Joseph in the possession of those magnetic powers of the mind which attracted the multitude, and chained the attention of his auditors. In comparison, Rigdon’s eloquence was delightful, like the ripple of the merry brooklet that glides over its pebbled bed or dashes down a narrow declivity; but the testimony of Joseph struck through the heart, and, like the thunder of the cataract, declared at once the dignity and matchless supremacy of the Creator.
There were various causes which produced dissatisfaction with the people of the adjacent counties against us. In Caldwell and Daviess Counties we were strongest at the polls and enabled to elect the men of our choice, as is the right of American citizens everywhere. We elected to the Legislature, John Corrill, a member of our Church. At the polls at Gallatin our opponents tried to prevent our men from voting, by mob force, but our brethren stood for their rights like men, and cast their ballots. This took place at the August election of 1838.
On the 4th of July, 1838, the cornerstone for a temple was laid on the public square at Far West. A liberty pole was erected and the stars and stripes unfurled to the breeze. An address was delivered on that occasion by Sidney Rigdon, to which our enemies took great exceptions, and from which much excitement resulted in Caldwell, Daviess and Carroll Counties.
We will here give place to a very interesting and important contribution kindly furnished for these pages by Mrs. Lucy Walker Kimball, as follows:
Lucy Walker Kimball was born April 30, 1826, town of Peacham, Caledonia County, Vermont. She was the daughter of John Walker and Lydia Holmes. Her father was born June 20, 1794, town of Woodbury, Connecticut. Her mother was born April 18, 1800; married April 18, 1819. Father was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ in 1832; mother, two years later. They left Vermont in 1834 for the west. They found a small branch of the Church in Ogdensburg, New York; some of Brother Kimball’s first converts, preparing also to go west. My father was induced to remain with this branch until 1837. During the year 1835, the children who were eight years and upwards were baptized by Elder Abraham Palmer. They were full of faith, having been taught to pray by their parents, and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and the signs followed them. Some spake in tongues, others prophesied; again others had the gift of faith to heal the sick, etc. One of this little band prophesied that before we reached our destination we would be surrounded by armed mobs with blackened faces, and would need much faith in God to endure the many persecutions and trials before us, and that some of our number would lay down their lives; others would see their brethren shot down before their very eyes. This was verified at the wholesale slaughter at Haun’s Mill.
Notwithstanding all this we did not falter in our faith, but started on our perilous journey trusting in God. We passed through Kirtland just after the Saints had left for the far west. When we arrived in Caldwell County we were surrounded by a mob of about forty persons with blackened faces. They hooted and yelled and looked more like demons than human beings. It was early one December morning when this occurred. They ordered my poor, delicate mother out into the deep snow, searched our wagons, took from us our arms and ammunition, pointed their guns at us children to intimidate us, and cursed and swore in a most frightful manner. One of the neighboring women had intruded her hateful presence into our camp, urging them to shoot. “Shoot them down,” she cried, “they should not be allowed to live!” The question may be asked, how did we feel under these circumstances? I can speak for one, I did not tremble–I did not fear them. They looked to me too insignificant and I felt to trust in One, (although but a child) who held our destinies in His own hands.
We continued our journey until we came to a settlement on Shoal Creek, five miles distant from Haun’s Mill; my father and another of the brethren went to the mill to hold council with Brother Joseph Young and others, as to what course was best to pursue under the circumstances. They were in a blacksmith shop when a mob appeared in sight, formed in line and commenced firing, without giving any warning whatever, upon men, women and children. The first ball fired by the enemy lodged in my father’s right arm. He returned the shot but found it impossible to reload. He then ran down the bank of the creek, and just before him one of the brethren in ascending the opposite bank, was shot down. He stepped under some lumber leaning against the bank, which afforded very little if any protection, but, in answer to prayer, their eyes were blinded, and, although they looked directly at him, yet apparently did not see him, passed on, declaring with an oath that not another Mormon was to be seen. He remained there until all was silent, then ventured forth to witness the dreadful scene of the massacre.
In the shop lay the lifeless body of the son of Warren Smith with his brains beaten out with the breech of a gun, and another of the same family with his thigh torn entirely away, and apparently mortally wounded. A little further on an aged man, Father McBride, lay weltering in his gore. It was not enough to shoot him down, but the murderers had found an old scythe with which they had mangled that venerable head in a most horrible and sickening manner. A young woman was also found behind a huge log, where she had fallen in a fainting condition with a wound in one of her hands, several bullet holes through her clothing and a volley had lodged in the log. If a man had on a good coat or a pair of good boots they were stripped from their bodies in a most brutal and inhuman manner, while the victims were in the agonies of death.
My father aided in dressing the wounds of those worse off than himself and to bury the dead as best he could with his left hand. His own arm was not cared for or scarcely thought of, in the midst of the terrible suffering of others, until it was in danger of mortifying. Besides, the country was in such a state of excitement, he had to hide from place to place, and came near losing his arm. Two weeks later he rejoined his family, pale and emaciated. My brother William had gone in search, having learned that his life had been spared, but was wounded. These two weeks were full of the keenest anxiety.
On the night of this fearful slaughter, a young man came running through the woods and deep snow, bare headed, telling us that an armed mob had surrounded those at the mill, and were murdering men, women and children, and would soon be upon us. This news caused a regular stampede in our little company, as some of our company had gone to the mill. Some of the women took their little ones in their arms, while others clung to their clothes; a loaf of bread and a blanket or two, were carried by older members of the family, and all rushed deeper into the snow and adjacent timber. Mother pleaded in vain for all to remain in camp, as there would be no possible safety in such a flight. The cries of the famishing children would betray them, besides they could have no fire, as this too would attract the attention of the mob.
My mother and Sister Davis (whose husband had died enroute, and whose loss was deeply mourned by all), remained in camp, called their children together, prayed with them, soothed their fears, and assured them that the same God whose watchcare had been over us during our journey thus far, was our friend still and would protect us. We went to bed feeling that we were safe, and God was our friend; but when the morning dawned and I looked into my mother’s pale face, I was positive she had not closed her eyes, and felt, child as I was, almost guilty that I had suffered myself to be lulled to sleep by her magic words of comfort, while she had kept a vigilant watch during that fearful night of keenest anxiety. Those who left camp returned exhausted and almost famished.
Early next morning a fine looking young officer rode into camp, and said he had come as a friend to save us from the fate of those at the mill. He referred to the dreadful scene with words of sympathy and regret. He said he was forced to join the military to save his own life, but had done and would do all in his power to save the oppressed. If we would follow him, he would lead us to a place of safety, to a friendly neighborhood, where we would find shelter from the cold storms of winter. We followed him, and here was where my father found us. James Flanagan, the young missionary who died with smallpox in England in 1848, was one of our company. He was an exemplary young man; in fact, an exception among men. His zeal for the cause of truth was unexcelled.
We left the state of Missouri in 1838 and went with the Saints to Quincy, Illinois, and to Nauvoo in 1841.
My father performed two missions to the Eastern States, emigrated with the Church in 1846 to Council Bluffs, and was appointed president of a branch of the Church in that locality. In 1850, he came to Utah and settled in Farmington, Davis County, where after many years of suffering, caused by the hardships he had endured, he passed away, October 18, 1869, aged 75 years, 5 months and 8 days. Thus ended the life of one whose great grandfather came from Scotland and was one of the first settlers in Connecticut. His grandfather, Jos. Walker, was born in Connecticut, town of Woodbury. His wife’s name was Elizabeth. They had five sons and several daughters. The sons’ names were as follows: Joseph, Simeon, Caleb, Timothy and Reuben. The names of the daughters I do not know. He subsequently moved to Peacham, Caledonia County, Vermont. He was over 95 years of age. His wife died at 90. His father, Simeon Walker, was born in Connecticut, town of Woodbury, and served faithfully his country in the revolutionary war, in which he was severely wounded by a cannon ball in the thigh, which produced lameness during life. I fancy I see him now as he comes down the hill from Peacham bowed with the infirmity of age and hardship, leaning on his staff. He takes me on his knee and tells me the story of the war, how he became lame, how bravely they fought for freedom, for liberty; “Liberty or death!” was the watchword.
My grandfather was one of the first settlers in Peacham. There they were compelled to stand guard to prevent being kidnapped by the Tories. After the Tories were subdued, he made a farm, married Mary, a daughter of Reuben and Beulah Miner, and had a family of nine children, namely, Solomon, Simeon, Abel, John, Charles, Ruth, Clarinda, Mary and Elizabeth.
William Holmes, my grandfather on my mother’s side, was born January 15, 1770, in Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts; Lydia Adams, his wife, was born same town, county and state.
Lydia Holmes, my mother, was an only daughter, almost an idol in the home where there were seven sons. There was great grief in the hearts of her family and friends when she received the gospel and came west. Their sorrow knew no bounds when they received news of her death, which occurred January 18, 1842, at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. I will state here, however, that my father and second brother, Lorin, came to Nauvoo in the spring of 1840, to attend conference and secure a home. At this conference, Orson Hyde was called to go to Jerusalem. Father concluded to leave Lorin with the Prophet until harvest, with the understanding that he then should return and help him through harvesting, but when the time came, the Prophet told him to write to father to hire someone in his stead, and at his expense as he could not part with him.
In the spring of 1841, father took his family to Nauvoo. My brother met us with an invitation to dinner, which we gladly accepted and were introduced to the Prophet and his wife, Emma, and the dear children who in after years I learned to love as my own brothers, and Julia, an adopted daughter, as my sister. During the summer mother was taken with chills and fever. At length, one after another of the children were attacked with the same disease until all were in a helpless condition. Mother was invited to spend a few days at the Prophet’s house, they thinking a change would benefit her. But she could not be content away from her afflicted family. At her earnest solicitation, they sent her home to her family by placing a bed in a sleigh, as the summer had passed and it was now good sleighing; they covered her closely with blankets and, beside, sent many comforts to those at home, as they had often done during her stay.
My mother lingered until January, 1842, then passed away. Calling her children around her bed, she bore a faithful testimony as to her convictions that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that through him the gospel of the Son of God had been restored in its fullness, whereby we might return into the presence of the Father. She exhorted her children to never depart from the truth, but to live so that she might meet them in that world where there would be no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more tears of anguish at pronouncing the sad word good-bye. She then closed her eyes and her sweet spirit passed away, leaving a beautiful smile on her dear face. It did not seem to us that it was possible she was dead, but only in a sweet sleep. When at length we were forced to believe she would never speak to us again, we were in the depths of despair. Ten motherless children! And such a mother! The youngest was not yet two years old. What were we to do?
My father’s health seemed to give way under this heavy affliction. The Prophet came to our rescue. He said: “If you remain here, Brother Walker, you will soon follow your wife. You must have a change of scene, a change of climate. You have just such a family as I could love. My house shall be their home. I will adopt them as my own. For the present I would advise you to sell your effects, place the little ones with some kind friends, and the four eldest shall come to my house and be received and treated as my own children, and if I find the others are not content or not treated right, I will bring them home and keep them until you return.” I wrung my hands in the agony of despair at the thought of being broken up as a family, and being separated from the loved ones. But said the Prophet, “My home shall be your home, eternally yours.” I understood him not. However, my father sought to comfort us by saying two years would soon pass away, then with renewed health he hoped to return and make us a home where we might be together again.
Soon after he left, my sister Lydia, aged 8 years and 11 months, was attacked with brain fever. We had visited her several times and found that all that was done did not relieve her sufferings, and when we told the Prophet how very sick she was, he told the boys to put a bed in the carriage and he went with them. He told the family that they must excuse him, but he was under the greatest obligation to look after her welfare and had come to take her to his own house where he could see to her himself. He took her in his arms from the carriage and baptized her in the Mississippi River; but in a few days she too passed away. Everything that could be done was done. But she was to join her dear mother in the spirit world, and we were left more lonely than before.
Here allow me to say that our own father and mother could scarcely have done more or manifested greater solicitude for her recovery than did the Prophet and his wife Emma. They watched with us by her bedside and when all was over, accompanied us to her last resting place beside her mother. One after another were brought home until all the younger members of the family were there except the baby. Judge Adams and wife, of Springfield, Illinois, came to Nauvoo and desired one of the girls to live with them. We reluctantly consented for sister Jane to return with them, where she had a pleasant home until after their death, when she returned to Nauvoo.
My brother William married Miss Olive Hovey Farr, in the fall of 1843. They boarded at the mansion six months, then went to housekeeping and took the children with him. I begged the privilege of going with them! I thought it too great a task for his wife to assume so great a responsibility. The Prophet and his wife introduced us as their sons and daughters. Every privilege was accorded us in the home. Every pleasure within reach was ours. He often referred to Brother Lorin as his “Edwin.” He was indeed his confidential and trusted friend. He was ever by his side; arm in arm they walked and conversed freely on various subjects. He was with him when he was arrested at Dixon by Wilson and Reynolds, who were determined to take him down the river into Missouri, but were foiled in this attempt. It was in this case “Uncle Billy” Rogers as he was familiarly called, made himself conspicuous in his defense; declared, with an oath, that they could not come there and kidnap a man and take him away in that manner. He said he would be d—-d if Smith should not have fair play. They were forced to take him through the state by way of Nauvoo. Brother Lorin hurried on home, brought his favorite horse Charley, and met him on foot, weary and covered with dust. He warmly embraced him, mounted his horse, and rode into Nauvoo. As they drew near the city, the people turned out en mass to greet him. Brother Lorin went with him to Springfield to attend his trial, and had the exquisite pleasure of seeing him acquitted.
At the time he crossed the river and was actively making arrangements to go beyond the Rocky Mountains, he said, “I have the promise of life for five years, if I listen to the voice of the spirit.” But when Emma and some of his brethren besought him to return, he said, “If my life is worth nothing to you, it is worth nothing to me.” He well knew it was in the program that he must sacrifice his life for the principles God had revealed through him. Death had no terrors for him, although life was dear. I have often heard him say he expected to seal his testimony with his blood. He anticipated great joy in meeting his parents and friends beyond the grave. He believed that as soon as the spirit left the body, we were shaking hands with and greeting our friends.
He often referred to the feelings that should exist between husband and wives, that they, his wives, should be his bosom companions, the nearest and dearest objects on earth in every sense of the word. He said men must beware how they treat their wives. They were given them for a holy purpose that the myriads of spirits waiting for tabernacles might have pure and healthy bodies. He also said many would awake in the morning of the resurrection sadly disappointed; for they, by transgression, would have neither wives nor children, for they surely would be taken from them, and given to those who should prove themselves worthy. Again he said, a woman would have her choice; this was a privilege that could not be denied her.
In the year 1842, President Joseph Smith sought an interview with me, and said: “I have a message for you. I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.” My astonishment knew no bounds. This announcement was indeed a thunderbolt to me. He asked me if I believed him to be a prophet of God. “Most assuredly I do,” I replied. He fully explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage. He said this principle was again to be restored for the benefit of the human family, that it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father’s house, and form a chain that could never be broken, worlds without end. “What have you to say?” he asked. “Nothing.” How could I speak, or what could I say? He said, “If you will pray sincerely for light and understanding in relation thereto, you shall receive a testimony of the correctness of this principle. I thought I prayed sincerely, but was so unwilling to consider the matter favorably that I fear I did not ask in faith for light. Gross darkness instead of light took possession of my mind. I was tempted and tortured beyond endurance until life was not desirable. Oh that the grave would kindly receive me, that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear mother. Why should I be chosen from among thy daughters, Father, I am only a child in years and experience, no mother to counsel; no father near to tell me what to do in this trying hour. Oh, let this bitter cup pass. And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul.
The Prophet discerned my sorrow. He saw how unhappy I was, and sought an opportunity of again speaking to me on this subject, and said: “Although I cannot, under existing circumstances, acknowledge you as my wife, the time is near when we will go beyond the Rocky Mountains and then you will be acknowledged and honored as my wife.” He also said, “This principle will yet be believed in and practiced by the righteous. I have no flattering words to offer. It is a command of God to you. I will give you until tomorrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.”
This aroused every drop of Scotch in my veins. For a few moments I stood fearless before him, and looked him in the eye. I felt at this moment that I was called to place myself upon the altar a living sacrifice–perhaps to brook the world in disgrace and incur the displeasure and contempt of my youthful companions; all my dreams of happiness blown to the four winds. This was too much, for as yet no shadow had crossed my path, aside from the death of my dear mother. The future to me had been one bright, cloudless day. I had been speechless, but at last found utterance and said: “Although you are a prophet of God you could not induce me to take a step of so great importance, unless I knew that God approved my course. I would rather die. I have tried to pray but received no comfort, no light,” and emphatically forbid him speaking again to me on this subject. Every feeling of my soul revolted against it. Said I, “The same God who has sent this message is the Being I have worshipped from my early childhood and He must manifest His will to me.” He walked across the room, returned and stood before me with the most beautiful expression of countenance, and said: “God Almighty bless you. You shall have a manifestation of the will of God concerning you; a testimony that you can never deny. I will tell you what it shall be. It shall be that joy and peace that you never knew.”
Oh, how earnestly I prayed for these words to be fulfilled. It was near dawn after another sleepless night when my room was lighted up by a heavenly influence. To me it was, in comparison, like the brilliant sun bursting through the darkest cloud. The words of the Prophet were indeed fulfilled. My soul was filled with a calm, sweet peace that “I never knew.” Supreme happiness took possession of me, and I received a powerful and irresistible testimony of the truth of plural marriage, which has been like an anchor to the soul through all the trials of life. I felt that I must go out into the morning air and give vent to the joy and gratitude that filled my soul. As I descended the stairs, President Smith opened the door below, took me by the hand and said: “Thank God, you have the testimony. I too have prayed.” He led me to a chair, placed his hands upon my head, and blessed me with every blessing my heart could possibly desire.
The first day of May, 1843, I consented to become the Prophet’s wife, and was sealed to him for time and all eternity, at his own house by Elder William Clayton.
Today I have but one regret, which is that I have not been a more worthy representative of the principle of plural marriage, and that I have not lived a more perfect life. I can also state that Emma Smith was present and did consent to Eliza and Emily Partridge, also Maria and Sarah Lawrence being sealed to her husband. This I had from the Prophet’s own mouth; also the testimony of her niece, Hyrum Smith’s eldest daughter, (my brother Lorin’s wife), as well as that of the young ladies named themselves, with whom I was on most intimate terms, and was glad that they, too, had accepted that order of marriage. Instead of a feeling of jealousy, it was a source of comfort to me. We were as sisters to each other.
In this I acted in accordance with the will of God, not for any worldly aggrandizement, not for the gratification of the flesh. How can it be said we accepted this principle for any lustful desires? Preposterous! This would be utterly impossible. But, as I said before, we accepted it to obey a command of God, to establish a principle that would benefit the human family and emancipate them from the degradation into which they, through their wicked customs, had fallen.
In all this, God had in view a road marked out for me that I knew not, to struggle against the tide of opposition, prejudice and tradition, to aid in establishing a principle that would exalt mankind and bring them back into His presence. A tie has been formed that will guide me to the highest and most glorious destiny, if I continue to walk in the regeneration, which is the grand object of my life.
No one can possibly feel more deeply to regret than I do, the course taken by the sons of President Joseph Smith, knowing that they have been misinformed; that it is through prejudice, through yielding to popular opinion that they have been misled. They might heir their father’s priesthood, if they would take proper steps and honor the principles revealed through him. Thus they might be called to occupy prominent positions in this dispensation, to aid in forwarding the great work of redemption and to seek to bring every honest soul of every nation to a knowledge of the gospel of the Son of God. O, that they had eyes to see and ears to hear the sound of the gospel, and walk in the footsteps of their illustrious father, knowing as I do that he was the grandest personage that has stood upon the earth since the days of our Savior. O, that God would in His boundless mercy, His matchless charity, withdraw the curtain and let but one ray from His magnificent countenance shine upon them, that like Saul of Tarsus, they might turn to God and become his apostles in very deed. That they might also accept the many testimonies given by those whose lives have been pure and spotless, who have sought to aid in establishing eternal principles that will exalt the human race in the presence of God. How gladly we would have them in our midst, did they walk in the spirit of their father.
They seem surprised that there was no issue from asserted plural marriages with their father. Could they but realize the hazardous life he lived, after that revelation was given, they would comprehend the reason. He was harassed and hounded and lived in constant fear of being betrayed by those who ought to have been true to him.
Since 1845, I have been the wife of President Heber C. Kimball, by whom I have had nine children, five sons and four daughters, have lived in the same house with other members of his family, have loved them as dearly as my own sisters, until it became necessary, as our children began to grow up around us, to have separate homes. Every mother has her own mode of government, and as children grow in years, it is more pleasant to have them under the immediate dictation of their own mother. I can truthfully state, however, that there is less room for jealousy where wives live under the same roof. They become interested in each other’s welfare; they love each other’s children. Besides, in my experience, I find the children themselves love each other as dearly as the children of one mother. In sickness, it has been a pleasure to minister to those in need of assistance.
I will say here, too, that it is a grand school. You learn self control, self denial; it brings out the nobler traits of our fallen natures, and teaches us to study and subdue self, while we become acquainted with the peculiar characteristics of each other. There is a grand opportunity to improve ourselves, and the lessons learned in a few years, are worth the experience of a lifetime, for this reason, that you are better prepared to make a home happy. You can easily avoid many unpleasant features of domestic life that through inexperience you otherwise are unprepared to meet.
The study of human nature is a grand study. I can only speak for myself in this regard. When I separated from others and went to a home with my own children, I placed many little safeguards around our home that experience had suggested, and my children grew into their teens without having heard an unkind word between their father and mother. When the father was there, everything was done necessary for his comfort. To make our home a pleasant one was the chief object of life. When absent I knew he was in good company and where he had a right to be. I stood in no fear from his associations with others, because I knew their purity of life. It is needless for me to say anything in regard to the life and character of President Heber C. Kimball. He lives in the hearts of the people called Latter-day Saints, and his acts and works are known abroad.
As time passed on he seemed to appreciate more than ever his wives and growing children. His last words to me were that he had been agreeably disappointed in my course of life, had appreciated my example as a wife and as a mother, that none had excelled me in the home life. Wherever my lot had been cast, there he had found a place of peace and rest. “Let me now thank you kindly,” he said, “for every kind word, for every kind act of your life, and when I am gone, which will not be but a short time, you shall be blessed and find friends.” He went on to say that if he never spoke to me again, I might rest assured that I had his most sanguine good feelings, his unbounded love and esteem. “What can you tell Joseph when you meet him? Cannot you say that I have been kind to you as it was possible to be under the circumstances? I know you can, and am confident you will be as a mediator between me and Joseph, and never enjoy any blessing you would not wish Heber to share.”
These words were more precious to me than gold, as they were his last, with the addition of “I leave my peace and blessing with you. May the peace of Heber ever abide in your habitation.”
I do not pen these facts thinking that others did not share equally in his esteem, as every woman carves her own niche in her husband’s affections.
Heber C. Kimball was a noble whole-souled son of God, and was as capable of loving more than one woman as God Himself is capable of loving all his creations.
Sister Vilate Murrey Kimball, first wife of Heber Chase Kimball, was one of the noble women of earth. She was dearly beloved by his wives and children, as well as by all who intimately knew her. Too little has been said of her exemplary life. She was as a ministering angel to those in distress, ever ready to aid those who had not been so fortunate as herself in regard to the comforts of life. She never seemed so happy as while seeking to make others happy. Every year it was her custom to invite all the family to dine at her table, and insisted that it was her privilege to wait upon and make them happy and comfortable. In her last sickness, she expressed her regret that she could no longer have the pleasure of seeing the family together as she had been in the habit of doing. On one occasion when one of her old time associates was urging her to come often, as she had done in her former years, she answered, “You must excuse me, as our own family has grown so large that by the time I visit them all, I want to begin the rounds again.” This shows the good feelings she cherished towards her husband’s many wives and children. Too much cannot be said in praise of her example. In her demise, Zion lost one of her noblest daughters.
Very sincerely, your sister in the gospel,
Lucy W. Kimball.
The above from the pen of Mrs. Kimball is written in an entertaining style. Her statements are all unequivocally straightforward and will convey to the reader the impression that she speaks of circumstances and facts wherein she was an actor. The writer was well and familiarly acquainted with her in the Nauvoo days, when she was Miss Lucy Walker, a blooming and vivacious young lady of fifteen or sixteen summers. She possessed a character above reproach and has ever been universally esteemed as an upright person, whose veracity has never been questioned upon any matter. With the relationship concerning which she speaks, between herself and President Joseph Smith, deceased, the writer became familiar during the residence of the Saints at Nauvoo and of course previous to the death of the Prophet. He then knew that a marriage existed between them, by a variety of circumstances not necessary to be enumerated here. If it were possible for a doubt ever to have existed, Mrs. Kimball’s statement herein made, after the lapse of so many years–during which time the Prophet’s mortal remains have reposed in the grave–would most effectually remove such doubts. We give it here to establish a fact–persistently controverted by some–in the history of the remarkable man who brought forth a faith which has indelibly marked the nineteenth century with a new religious era destined to revolutionize the opinions of the moral world, before mankind can be made to see the gospel eye to eye and travel together the straight and narrow path which alone leads to eternal life hereafter. It is true that the restoration of the fullness of the gospel, through the agency of this remarkable man, has already engrafted upon the theories of many renowned theologians numberless ideas and views which they have gleaned from the doctrines given through him and from the sermons and writings of the various elders who have been prominent in advocating his doctrines. And there is one marked feature in all this. These theologians, as much as possible, reproduce these doctrines as being new with them, to make the world believe they possess a genius of mind fruitful in the origination of new ideas, far in advance of the age, which no brain but theirs has been powerful enough to grasp. Also, it would be too great a bending of the dignity of those learned divines to confess they found such grand ideas among the doctrines of a people which the combined efforts of the world cannot vanquish with argument, and hence persecution and defamatory subterfuges become the prolific missiles hurled against them by a union of the religious brotherhoods.
That the reader may understand more clearly the character of the troubles that existed in Daviess and Caldwell Counties, we will insert the following extract from the journal of Brother David Osborn, Senior, who is now residing in Hyrum, Cache County, Utah. Brother Osborn was born in Greenbrier County, Virginia, March 31, 1807, making him now about eighty years old. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July, 1835, and has shared in the persecutions which the Saints have suffered up to the present day. He moved with his family to Caldwell County in the fall of 1836, in good time to share in the troubles soon to be inaugurated there:
About the 15th of October, 1838, I concluded to go to Fort Leavenworth in company with Charles Stoddard to chop cord wood. Times had been rather squally but at that time the excitement was laid. The night previous to starting I had a dream warning me of trouble, and also showing me that I would be delivered out of it. I related it to my wife who persuaded me not to go, but I shouldered my knapsack and axe and went on with Brother Charles. We got employment with a Mr. Grover, chopped about three weeks, and began to hear awful reports of war and bloodshed in the vicinity of Far West. We had not told that we were Mormons. I told Charles I must go home and see to my family and he consented to stay a little longer and bring the money for our services. I told Grover I was tired of chopping and thought I could make more to go home and bring my team and haul.
I set out 60 miles to Far West, got about half way and the road was filled with mob-militia. The rumor was that the Mormons were burning houses, taking stock and driving the old inhabitants out of their borders, and on Thursday night next, Plattsburg was to be burned. I joined in with them, having to pass through Plattsburg, told them I had a family near where the Mormons lived, if they had not been burnt out, and inquired where they intended to rendezvous. They replied, “near Hunter’s mill.” They told me to go on and get my rifle and meet them there, which I promised to do. I had not proceeded far through Plattsburg till I was overtaken by three gentlemen officers, who, having had a dram, were talking very fluently. They halted, eyed me closely and commenced asking me questions. I told them I lived a few miles from the Mormon settlements, had been to Fort Leavenworth at work and was on my way home and if my folks had not been burnt out or driven away, I would soon meet them at Hunter’s with my rifle. One of them swore I was a spy. I showed them my axe, clothes, etc., but all would not do; I must go with them. So I got on behind one of them and, after traveling a few miles, met a man that told them he knew I was a Mormon. I then acknowledged it, telling them that when they first accosted me, I was afraid they were a set of ruffians and would abuse me, but since I found them to be gentlemen I could tell them the truth.
We arrived in the camp of the mobocrats late in the evening. It was soon noised abroad that they had taken a Mormon prisoner. They came from all parts of the encampment to see and ask me questions. Among others, William Hunter and some others with whom I had had dealings came up. They spoke in my favor, said they believed if there was an honest Mormon that Osborn was one. To me such information at that particular time was very welcome. After this, their colonel, Cornelius Gillum, told them the prisoner should not be abused nor insulted, and told them to quit asking so many fool questions. This was a great relief to me, for they soon scattered, though they had two men to guard me while they stayed in that place which was but two or three days, in which time they got together all their forces from the Platt country.
In their counseling they talked much of sending me to Far West with an express, giving them [the Mormons] the privilege of taking their women and children out of the city, as they felt loath to kill them with the men, but all the men must be shot and the city burnt and Joe Smith [Joseph Smith], it seemed, they all wanted the privilege of shooting, and several swore they would skin him and make razor straps, tugs, etc., of his hide. In the morning, before starting, they painted themselves with red and black stripes all over their faces, Gillum calling himself the Delaware Chief.
After marching out onto the prairie, Gillum called a halt and made a speech to them, telling them that he expected to march into Far West that day, and he expected to prove to them that he was not a coward, but that he was willing to fight in defense of his rights and to rid himself of a people whom he considered to be the enemies of the country, reminding them of the blood and treasure spent by our revolutionary sires to purchase the liberty which we were now called upon to defend, urged them to be valiant and true to each other and also to American institutions, though he said he wished, and intended to propose, to decide the contest in a single combat between Lyman Wight and himself. There they brought in another prisoner, Asa Barton, whom they captured with his horses and wagon loaded with corn. They gave Asa and me the privilege of riding on horseback–without saddles.
We moved on and joined the main army on Goose Creek, in fair view of Far West, three-fourths of a mile distant. Here they had forty or fifty prisoners whom they had picked up in different places, suspicioned to be Mormons, but some were not. These were kept under guard. One man named McRary lay in a wagon almost dead, having had his skull broken by some of the gentlemen soldiers. I saw quite a body of soldiers move on towards the city. I looked and waited in great suspense to learn the issue, expecting to hear the report of firearms, but nothing could we hear. Finally we saw them returning and when they got near, we saw Joseph and Sidney, Parley and others of our brethren, marching in front, and about the time they crossed the creek the soldiers commenced shouting and screaming as if the woods were filled with panthers. These prisoners they took to another place and put them under a much stronger guard. I, with my fellow prisoners, were liberated next day, went and saw Joseph and his comrades put into a wagon to go to visit their families and thence to prison. Such a spirit as was manifested on this occasion, could not, I think, be equalled on this side of the lower regions. I now started to go home, but could not pass the guards around the city, so I had to go back to the gentlemen officers and get a pass by which I was enabled to pass the guards and proceed homewards.
When I arrived I found all vacated; my family had gone with the rest to Adam-ondi-Ahman, twelve miles distant. Two or three hundred of the militia camped the same night at my house. I stayed all night at Brother Amos Stoddard’s–he and his brother Franklin being prisoners at Far West at this time. The mob helped themselves to corn, fodder, potatoes, chickens, honey and hogs, without any ceremony. I started next morning for Adam-ondi-Ahman, got half a mile and was hailed by a gentleman soldier. I showed him my pass. He took it, but could not read it; so I read it for him. He said, “Leave this place d–d quick,” with a spirit that savored strongly of fire and brimstone. I got to Adam-ondi-Ahman, and, by virtue of my pass, got through the guards there.
I found my family camped out in the snow and frost by the side of a big log. My wife seemed considerably cast down in spirits. Our child was quite sick, having been so much exposed to cold. Hundreds of brethren were there, camped out in the cold, which was truly a melancholy sight. They kept us guarded there near a week before we could get to go home. Finally our case was decided. We must all go into Caldwell County within ten or twelve days, stay there during the winter and then leave the state. We all received a pass to that effect.
We returned home, got things together a little and went across the prairie into Caldwell to look out a place to camp through the winter. The snow was six or eight inches deep. We found a little grove of timber in a low place with a small stream of water running through it. Seven families of our neighborhood pitched their tents there for the winter. Judge Smith and two or three other men came round and told us to be gone against the next Tuesday or we would be driven by force.
Our little William died November 12, 1838, two or three days before the time set for us to go. We had set up and watched him night after night and he died in my arms when we were all alone. We went over to Brush Creek, made a half-faced camp at first and afterwards made a log shanty. My horses stood out in the cold all winter, when I had good stables at home.
One cause of the war was the difficulty that took place at our August election, which was held at Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess County. I lived eight or ten miles from that place, was not at the election, but some of my neighbors were, who took an active part in the fight, for such it terminated in. Some of the old Jackson mobocrats, having removed to, and settled in that new country, had exercised their influence of hostility against the Mormons, and when the time to vote came on, they forbid the Mormons voting, which they (the Mormons) were determined to do. One of our men walked up with his ticket. A Missourian drew back to strike him, but a Mormon, standing close by, was too quick for him. He knocked him over, and then commenced a general fight with clubs, brickbats and knives. John Butler, one of my neighbors, a large man of over 200 pounds, got hold of a piece of timber with which he defended the rights of our friends.
Riley Stuart, another Mormon, cut away with a knife or dirk, wounding one man very badly. So the report was that the Mormons came off victorious. The other party left the ground and there was but little voting done. Butler and Stuart had to abscond for a long time. The mobocrats went off and told what the Mormons had been doing and raised a mob of some 300 in number, who collected at Millport, a little town some three or four miles below Adam-ondi-Ahman, the latter commenced and presided over by Uncle John Smith and Lyman Wight, twelve miles north of my residence, on Grand River. Joseph said this was the identical place where Adam called his children together and blessed them previous to his death.
Our brethren at this place, hearing of the mobs gathering together at Millport, sent a spy into their camp to ascertain their movements and designs. He acted his part well and obtained all the information he wished, came back and reported that some 300 were painting themselves and preparing to go up next night and wipe out the Mormons and set fire to their houses. Well, there was no time to waste. The number of men in the village, I suppose, was not half that of the mob. Lyman Wight commenced immediately to prepare for action and defend themselves to the last extremity. Runners were sent all over the country to gather in our brethren to help defend the place. I remember well of James Robeson coming to my house about 11 o’clock at night. He woke me up and said I was wanted immediately to go and meet my brethren at James Bingham’s two-and-a-half miles distant on the road to Adam-ondi-Ahman, as that was the place of rendezvous. This was news indeed. I had not come up to Zion with the special object of fighting and had no shooting tools whatever. Robeson was off in a few minutes to go and notify others. We were in a new country, thinly settled–about a mile to the nearest neighbor.
“Well, mother,” said I, “what do you think of the case? Can you take care of the children and manage affairs till I get back?”
“Why,” says she, “don’t be foolish or go crazy. What can you do without a gun? Or if you had one you don’t know how to use it. You had better lay down and go to sleep. You’ve had no hand in causing the difficulty and I would let them settle it themselves.”
This reasoning did not satisfy me. I looked upon it as a religious persecution and a test of our faith, and in a few moments, bridled my gray mare, left my folks to do the best they could, saying, “I hope I may get a gun on the way, but if I can’t I can use a club.”
About twenty men in all met at the place appointed. I borrowed a gun of Brother Waldo Littlefield. We appointed J. Bingham, an old Missouri hunter, to be our captain. He then saw that all were as well prepared as possible for any emergency and told us to ride in single file, not to speak and make no more noise than we could help. He thought about the crossing of Grand River we would come in contact with a party of the mob, but we went on and met no mob and had no hindrance till we came to the picket guard. They were wide awake and thought we were an enemy, but, knowing one of our company, let us pass. Before we got to town we had another guard to pass. It was about daylight, and all were in arms, prepared for defense.
Lyman Wight received us gladly and made a small stump speech telling us “Not to be excited or afraid, but be cool and remember that we are called upon to defend our religion, our wives and children and our homes, and while we are here in self defense, we are not going to suffer for food. Now you that have horses, take them down to my field of corn. I have twenty acres of it and just help yourselves. Yes, boys, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we–fight.”
That day was spent in training and preparing to receive our visitors the following night, but no mob appeared. They found out we were expecting and preparing to receive them, and, believing caution to be the parent of safety, scattered to their homes. Still they kept up a howling and threatening attitude against the Mormons, till the authorities of Missouri stationed a company of 1500 or 2000 men at Gallatin, I think under the charge of General Atchison of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri.
This account of the imprisonment and exposures to which Brother Osborn and family were subjected in Missouri, during the perilous days of mob rule in Caldwell and Daviess, not only tells the sufferings endured in their case, but it serves to illustrate, in some degree, the hardships and cruelties endured by hundreds of the Saints whose lot was cast in that region of country.
What was it all for? Were they in the wrong? Had they–the Saints–merited imprisonment and was it just that they should be thus dispossessed of homes and comforts to endure the rigor of winter blasts and the peltings of the driving snow? According to the enactments of Congress, they had availed themselves of the rights granted to all good citizens to pre-empt and build themselves homes on the public domain. In doing so, they had improved and fertilized that before unsettled region and extended the area of civilization. They had caused seed time and harvest to produce their beneficial results there, for the seeds that were cast into that rich soil sprang forth and yielded abundantly, insuring prosperity to the husbandman. Houses and barns, neighborhoods and towns, sprang up, dotting the prairies and groves in all directions. Thrift and the evidences of much comfort were visible to all visitors from the neighboring counties, and envy soon began to find place in their hearts.
They could not well be reconciled to the fact that these counties, so recently settled, should outstrip the older ones laying adjacent. They grew jealous of this prosperity and soon began to covet these homes of comfort and pleasant surroundings. They could find no pretext against them justified by civil law. The only chance was to renew the old tactics that had so successfully cast out hundreds of loyal citizens from Jackson County, because they belonged to a sect which they called Mormons, whose religious ideas were so susceptible of proof that the ablest men among all the sects were not able to disprove them by any rule of argument. For this cause they were induced to unite against and devise plans by which to persecute, and drive them, and thus gain possession of their improvements. Because they were prosperous they were envied and because they believed in the gospel which Christ commanded to be preached to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people under the whole heavens,” they must be persecuted, hunted and cast out.
Herein lies the secret of all the conflicts by mobs and litigation of lawyers and courts that have followed up this people from the time the Father and the Son visited Joseph Smith and the angel of the Lord delivered into his possession the records of the Book of Mormon. Because the Saints believe these things to be true and declare also that the Almighty has again spoken from the heavens to a Prophet on the earth, as He did to Moses and many of the ancient prophets and apostles, they are looked upon by many of the children of men as being deluded; they are denounced as impostors and as unworthy of citizenship. They declare, without blushing, that they, like the ancients, should have no abiding place, are not entitled to equal rights with other citizens and should be followed up with the relentless lash of persecution so long as they persist in preaching doctrines of this kind which all the old religious sects denounce as heresies.
So were these same doctrines of faith in God, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, denounced as heresies by the scribes and pharisees in the olden time, though they were declared by the missionaries whom Christ sent into all the world to preach to “every creature.” Because our people so faithfully supplemented those apostolic doctrines, the mob forces of Jackson County, in 1833, drove hundreds of them from their homes, across the Missouri River, and in 1838, the time of which we now write, the mob element of Caldwell, Daviess, Carroll and Saline Counties, unitedly came against this peaceable, law-abiding and loyal people, determined on the destruction of their homes, the confiscation of their property and their final expulsion from the state.
There was no alternative; our people must go. In those fertile regions, they had erected new homes of peace, caused agriculture to flourish, had established marts of trade, engaged in mechanical enterprises and the legitimate pursuits of business, but this, all this, must be overslaughed, trampled down by the ruthless brigands and scattered as by a terrible cyclone of ignorant intolerance, which infuriated the breasts and brains of the worst men of that country. They could establish no wrong the Mormons had done, could point to no law that they had broken, but their tidiness and prosperity outstripped that of their neighbors. Their morals far surpassed those who lived adjacent, and for these good qualities they must be driven out. They must go into the cheerless prairies and face the winter snows, must be hurried over the frozen earth–away from their home-fires and sheltering roofs–many sick, destitute, shoeless, without sufficient raiment, and apparently no friends but God! In that exalted Being the Saints trusted, and His angels, in safety, guided their destiny.
Lyman Wight, alluded to by Mr. Osborn, was vigilant at his post to guard the rights of the people of Adam-ondi-Ahman, exhibiting the same characteristics of bravery and energy which, in 1833, he displayed in defending the Saints in Jackson County, and which there made him the terror of the mob about Independence, the Blue River and other places where the Saints were menaced by their enemies. That history gave him wide notoriety, which caused Cornelius Gillum, the self-styled Delaware Chief, to court a personal conflict, alluded to as a final termination of the troubles surrounding the devoted city of Far West.
The writer ever has been quite an admirer of the career of Lyman Wight, because of the bold independence of character generally exhibited by him in the various positions he was called to occupy. He might have been, however, on some occasions, rather hasty and impulsive in action. He was quick to make up his mind and equally ready to execute his plans, but a little too slow to listen to the admonitions of his friends. Joseph Smith was about the only man whom he cared implicitly to obey, and when Joseph was taken and he felt no longer to acknowledge any restraining influence from other sources, he acted upon his own wisdom, he then fell into the only snare of his whole useful life, so far as we are informed. Herein this great man showed a weakness, for if he had listened to Brigham Young as he used to listen to Joseph, he never would have led off a company to Texas, and probably many more years of usefulness might have been added to his earthly existence by that Being whose cause and people had been defended by him so many years.
History, however, will ever chronicle the name of Lyman Wight among the early defenders of the truth, who labored faithfully to establish the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and make God’s people secure in their privilege to worship Him in a free land, according to the dictates of conscience. Brother Lyman Wight, once a member of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a man generous in his nature and effective in defense, has gone to his final account, and our faith and hope is that a just and merciful God will reward him according to his works, which doubtless will entitle him to great blessings in that bright world where mobbers can trouble the just no more.
This valiant man died in Mountain Valley, Texas, March 31, 1858. His death came suddenly and was caused by a violent attack of epileptic fits.
Austin Hammer (my father) was the son of John Hammer and Nancy York Hammer. He was born in the state of South Carolina, May 6, 1804, and obeyed the gospel in 1835 in Henry County, state of Indiana. He moved to Clay County, Missouri, where he stayed a short time and soon after settled in Caldwell County, and made a cash entry of 120 acres of land and raised one crop of corn. His farm was within three or four miles of Haun’s Mill, both situated on Shoal Creek.
In the fall of 1838, the mob threatened to burn this mill because it ground grain for the Mormons, and all the mills in that section of the country, controlled or owned by the mob party, refused to grind for them, hoping by so doing to starve the Mormons out. In consequence of these threats, a few of the brethren assisted in guarding the mill. This duty they had performed for several days and nights. The mob kept repeating their threats of violence. Finally some of our leading men interviewed the mob leaders who agreed upon a certain day when they would send a committee to the mill to confer with our brethren and see if terms could be agreed upon whereby a compromise could be arranged.
On the day thus fixed, being the 30th of October, a number of our brethren were at the mill hoping to have something of a reasonable talk, being of course, anxious that peace and security might be restored. With this understanding entered into, no violence from the mob party on that day was anticipated, and the brethren stacked their arms. The mob committee, however, did not make their appearance, but as the day was drawing to a close, a company of the mob, some two or three hundred strong, were seen partly sheltered from observation by the heavy timber nearby. Our brethren immediately hoisted a white flag. When the mob saw the flag, they knew they were discovered.
They rode rapidly on, led by Boregard and Comstock, and on their arrival at the mill one of them–without saying a word to our men–gave orders for their men to fire, which order was obeyed. Their leader then said to the brethren: “All who desire to save their lives and make peace run into the blacksmith shop,” whereupon my father and my uncle John York, together with others, ran into the shop, which was immediately surrounded by the infuriated assailants, who commenced firing between the logs, as there was no chinking between them. They also fired through a long opening made at one side of the shop by one of the logs having been sawed out to admit light; and at the same time, they fired through the door which was standing open. Several were killed in the shop, my father being one of the number, seven balls being shot into his body, breaking both thigh bones. Some of the brethren thus shot down were dragged out into the yard so that their murderers might have a better chance and more room to strip them of their clothing. All who had on good coats and boots were rifled of these articles. My father had on a new pair of boots that fitted him tightly and in the efforts to get them off he was dragged and pulled out of the shop and about the yard in a barbarous manner. In his mangled condition, this cruel treatment must have caused him the most excruciating pain.
The brethren, seeing that the mob party were so numerous and bloodthirsty, concluded that it was useless to make any defense. Their only safety was in everyone making their escape the best way they could, which they did by fleeing into the woods and brush, or wherever they could secrete themselves. When the mob had murdered all they could find and robbed a number of their clothing, they retreated.
After the darkness of night had come on, the brethren who were in hiding began to make search for those who had been killed and wounded. My father was found and carried into Haun’s house, where he died about 12 o’clock that night. During that night they kept up the search as well as the darkness would permit, but were only able to find the wounded by their groans. All they were able in this manner to find were taken into Mr. Haun’s house as soon as possible so as to be protected from being torn or mangled by the hogs with which the woods at that place were full. When daylight had fully come, the brethren who had been spared had to move with great caution, knowing that the mob was liable to fall upon them at any moment, for the purpose of finishing their bloody and damnable work.
Of course, there was no opportunity for affording the dead a decent and respectable burial. There was an old dry well nearby, and the only thing possible to be done was to place all the bodies of the dead into it. They were all put into this well together and the only burial clothes with which they could be clothed were just what this rapacious band of murderous vampires had left upon them. In this manner, seventeen bodies of our brethren found there their place of rest, my father and my uncle York being among the number. At the time of this sad occurrence, I was in the ninth year of my age.
I wish here to record a circumstance which occurred exactly at the time this bloody deed was being enacted. I stood in the yard with my mother, my Aunt York, my cousin Isaiah York and some of the smaller children of our two families. Our anxiety, of course, was great as to the fate of the brethren at Haun’s Mill, knowing also that my father and uncle had gone there to aid in its protection and assist those of our friends who lived there. We were standing there exactly at the time this bloody butchery was committed and of course, we were all looking eagerly in the direction of the mill. While in this attitude, a crimson colored vapor, like a mist or thin cloud, ascended up from the precise place where we knew the mill to be located and was carried or streamed upward into the sky, apparently as high as our sight could extend. This singular phenomenon–like a transparent pillar of blood-remained there for a long time–how long I am not now able correctly to state; but it was to be seen by us far into that fatal night, and according to my best recollection now, my mother’s testimony was that it was to be seen there until morning. At that hour we had not heard a word of what had taken place at the mill; but as quick as my mother and aunt saw this red, blood-like token, they commenced to wring their hands and moan, declaring they knew that their husbands had been murdered.
Our uneasiness through that night was too great to be described, and when daylight came, my cousin rode to the mill in order to learn the facts in relation to what had taken place. On his arrival there, he learned concerning the massacre and brought us word back as soon as possible. The following morning my cousin and myself went to the mill and found that the dead had all been buried in the well by our brethren as before mentioned. We found the hat of my uncle York with a bullet hole made through it on the two sides at or near the place usually occupied by the band, showing that my uncle must have been shot through the head. We, at this time, went into the blacksmith shop previously spoken of, and there saw a sight truly appalling. The earth constituted the floor and in places where there were small hollows in the soil, the blood stood in pools from two to three inches deep. A boy had tried to hide by creeping under the bellows, but was discovered by the ruffians and killed. The boy begged piteously for his life, exclaiming, beseechingly, “Oh! don’t kill me, I am an American boy!” But this touching appeal to their patriotism was unheeded, and the innocent and noble boy–while thus appealing to the memory of his native country–had his brains dashed out which were plain to be seen upon the logs at the time of my visit.
As before stated, during the time of this bloody onslaught the brethren and sisters tried to save their lives by secreting themselves. One young lady by the name of Mary Stedwell secreted herself behind a large log. While in the act of hurriedly throwing herself behind this log, one of her hands received one of the enemy’s bullets which passed through it at the palm.
The death of my father left our family in a very helpless and unprotected condition. It would have been an event sufficiently melancholy had he died of sickness, at home, where his family could have administered to his wants, and his last moments been soothed by those attentions which the hand of kindness and affection alone can satisfactorily administer. But to be cut down in his prime and torn thus suddenly and ruthlessly from wife and children so intensified the gloom which rested down upon our bereaved circle, that for a time it seemed that no ray of hope or joy would ever by able to penetrate our bosoms. And could we have been left, uninterrupted, to pass our season of grief–that would have been a boon which we had not the privilege to enjoy. Those prowling fiends who–like demons of hell–had murdered the innocent and robbed them of their raiment, were still lurking around watching for new victims. Especially all the male members of the neighborhood had to keep concealed. The moment the mob got sight of them, they were shot at. The women were not quite so closely hunted and they, by being extremely cautious, managed to convey water and food to their husbands, sons and brothers, to keep them from famishing. Myself and cousin had to sleep in shocks of corn or in the brush for two or three weeks, not daring to enter the house, and we were kept from starving by the food which our mothers and sisters managed to convey to us. The nights were cold and frosty, which added seriously to our affliction.
After about three weeks from the time of the massacre, the mob sent our people word that we were all to leave that country inside of ten days or we would all be killed. They were doubtless stimulated to make this announcement because of the order of extermination which was issued by Governor Boggs. Whatever the cause was, it was equally cruel to be borne by our people. It affected our family equally with other members of the Church. The burden of all this preparation and removal, on our part, rested first upon my mother. A less healthy and resolute woman could not have had the courage and endurance to grapple successfully with the obstacles that lay in her path. A family of six children upon her hands to be made ready for removal in ten days’ time, would have been a wonderful undertaking in a time of peace with an abundance of means at her command. But she had neither peace or available means. True, my father left her 120 acres of excellent land, with a government title, a good crop of corn, already matured and ten or fifteen acres of fall wheat. But all this she had to leave for the enemy to appropriate to their own use. In fact all the comforts of home had to be sacrificed, and with the Saints of God, we had to flee, destitute and hunted, because of our religion.
The names of her children were Rebecca, Nancy, John, Josiah, Austin and Julian. My mother’s age at that time was about 32 years.
Well do I remember the sufferings and cruelties of those days. But we knew when the ten days were up that we would have to be on the move or our lives would be sacrificed. The Saints had no opportunity to sell their possessions, except in a few cases, and this is exactly what the mob wanted, knowing that they could take possession after they had compelled our removal.
Our family had one wagon, and one blind horse was all we possessed towards a team, and that one blind horse had to transport our effects to the state of Illinois. We traded our wagon with a brother who had two horses, for a light one horse wagon, thus accommodating both parties. Into this small wagon we placed our clothes, bedding, some corn meal and what scanty provisions we could muster, and started out into the cold and frost to travel on foot, to eat and sleep by the wayside with the canopy of heaven for a covering. But the biting frosts of those nights and the piercing winds were less barbarous and pitiful than the demons in human form before whose fury we fled. The stars looked down upon us from the vaults of heaven, reminding us that God ruled on high and took cognizance of the conditions of those who peopled His earth.
When night approached we would hunt for a log or fallen tree and if lucky enough to find one we would build fires by the sides of it. Those who had blankets or bedding camped down near enough to enjoy the warmth of the fire, which was kept burning through the entire night. Our family, as well as many others, were almost barefooted, and some had to wrap their feet in cloths in order to keep them from freezing and protect them from the sharp points of the frozen ground. This, at best, was very imperfect protection, and often the blood from our feet marked the frozen earth. My mother and sister were the only members of our family who had shoes, and these became worn out and almost useless before we reached the then hospitable shores of Illinois.
All of our family except the two youngest–Austin and Julian–had to walk every step of the entire distance, as our one horse was not able to haul a greater load; and that was a heavy burden for the poor animal. Everything bulky or anyway heavy was discarded before starting. Such articles as my father’s cooperage tools, plows and farming implements we buried in the ground, where they may have remained undiscovered to the present time.
There was scarcely a day while we were on the road that it did not either snow or rain. The nights and mornings were very cold. Considering our unsheltered and exposed condition, it is a marvel with me to this day how we endured such fatigues without being disabled by sickness, if not death. But that merciful Being who “tempers the winds to the shorn lamb,” sheltered and gave us courage, otherwise strength and our powers of endurance must have given way and we perished by the roadside. My mother seemed endowed with great fortitude and resolution, and appeared to be inspired to devise ways and plans whereby she could administer comforts to her suffering children and keep them in good spirits. Her faith and confidence had ever been great in the Lord; but now that all this care and responsibility came upon her shoulders, with no husband to lean upon, she felt indeed that God was her greatest and best friend, and she realized that He alone must be the deliverer of herself and family and conduct them to a people possessing the sympathies of humanity.
At last we reached the Mississippi River and were happy indeed. We gazed upon the opposite shore with hearts overflowing with thankfulness to our Heavenly Father, for that indeed was our land of refuge, an asylum, and we hoped there to find a home where mobs would not lay in wait to shed our blood or place the torch to our houses and barns. We crossed the river at Quincy, Illinois, where not only our family but the entire host of exiled Saints found protection and friends whose hearts and hands were open and ready to administer relief.
Our family went to Pike County, where we made the acquaintance of Mr. Hornback. He was kind and furnished us a small house to live in through the remainder of the winter. In the spring, my Uncle William Anderson came and took us to Indiana, to my grandfather Hammer’s. After staying in Indiana about three years, my mother was extremely anxious to go to the Church at Nauvoo, and an old friend by the name of Fielding Garr furnished an outfit for our entire family and moved us near to the town of Laharp. All this he did at his own expense, and continued to see that we were provided for until we could provide for ourselves. His two oldest sons–Richard and John Garr–would haul our wood and chop it up for us.
We remained at Laharp until the Church was again driven; and we with them were compelled to seek an asylum in the wilderness regions of the Rocky Mountains.
My mother’s name was Nancy Elston Hammer. She was born in February, 1806, and died at Smithfield, Cache County, Utah, October 10, 1873. She died full in the faith of the gospel and all the doctrines revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith. She rests from her earthly sufferings, which will make her resurrection glorious.
During the last years of her pilgrimage, her mind was much occupied in reviewing her long and useful life. In conversing with her children and friends, she expressed much satisfaction that she had acted her part so well and that the Lord had been merciful in giving her the light of His Holy Spirit, which had been a lamp to her feet to direct her course safely through the darkest perils of life. She has gone to her glorious reward, where the turmoils of the wicked cannot afflict or drive the children of the righteous from the eternal dwellings prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
When the reader considers that it is really true that fifteen thousand people were actually dispossessed of their homes and the comforts they had accumulated for their families, in the fall of the year, and many of them forced to take the road for Illinois with but ten days notice–and that the longest time given extended only to the month of April–some little estimate may be formed as to the amount of suffering the Saints must necessarily have endured by their cruel exposures along the highways, during the storms and freezing cold weather of that memorable winter in which they fled from slaughter to the hospitalities of a neighboring state. The details which Brother Hammer has given as to the destitution and cruel exposures to which his father’s family was subjected, and the fortitude and faith in God manifested in what may be called the moral or religious heroism of his mother, may serve as a specimen of what was necessarily endured by other families and other noble women of the Church who were called to act a part similar to that related by Sister Hammer–his mother–whose name upon the long list which might and should be recorded–deserves to embellish the pages of history yet to be printed and transmitted to the inspection of millions who will live during the future ages.
A short time previous to the commencement of the hostilities alluded to in the previous chapters, the writer left Far West, bidding adieu to his young associates, and returned to Liberty, Clay County, where he renewed his labors in the Missouri Enquirer office.
In time, exciting and exaggerated reports began to spread through the country and fill the columns of newspapers, respecting the troubles existing in the counties previously named. These accounts were all garbled in such a manner as to place the Mormons to great disadvantage and make them the aggressors. Every subterfuge was seized upon with avidity and colored with false representations, so as to place the Mormons’ cause in a false light before the country. The majority of the inhabitants of Clay, Ray and other counties, became poisoned in their feelings by these insidious and often repeated exaggerations, and finally the greater portion of the people of upper Missouri were influenced and prejudiced thereby. Nothing could be related too horrible and unreasonable for them to swallow as a sweet morsel. To the cause of the Latter-day Saints, they turned a deaf ear. Even at the capital of the state this baneful influence bore sway. Governor Boggs–an old enemy of the Mormons during the Jackson County troubles–was ready and willing, without investigation, to act upon these ex parte reports and lend his official aid to the mob parties. He even went so far as to mobilize their forces about Far West, into the militia of the state, until their ranks were swelled to sixteen thousand men, who were commanded by, perhaps, as efficient officers as held command in any portion of that country.
It is a sad commentary upon the American institutions that the executive of a sovereign state should allow himself to become so corrupted as to use his official power in a way to pander to a ruthless mob who were actually desolating one of the most beautiful and productive portions of the country and inaugurating terrorism and devastation, where an industrious people had erected and consecrated to civilization the sacred altars of happy homes, and those homes possessing the associations of clustering joys, without which a nation can never be truly happy or enlightened. Yet this was actually done by Lilburn W. Boggs, in the nineteenth century, a period which boasts that its enlightenment and tolerance surpasses that of any previous age of the world’s history. And this he caused to be done, not only to exile a portion of his own loyal subjects, but, if possible, to exterminate them wholly from the face of the earth. His notorious order of extermination is sufficient evidence of this.
This, in brief, is the nature of that force which was marshaled at Goose Creek, at the time Mr. Osborn was brought there a prisoner by Gillum and his men. It was an army of this doubtful character there encamped against Far West, for the purpose of subjugating it and to imprison, if not slaughter, its inhabitants. This over-reaching stretch of gubernatorial duty virtually legalized all the lawless acts of those marauding bands that had laid waste the farms and homes of the Saints, so far as the official action of the chief executive of the state could render them such.
The various legal departments of Missouri were petitioned for redress, but no attention was paid to the representations of our people. A majority, at least, of the official men lent their influence on the side of this wholesale mobocracy, and the legislature appropriated a large amount out of the state treasury to pay the expenses of what was denominated the “Mormon war.”
At the reduction of Far West, by the treachery of Colonel George M. Hinkle (a Mormon), Messrs. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, George Robinson and Parley P. Pratt, were delivered up to the enemy, under the assurance that “as soon as peaceable arrangements could be entered into,” they should be set at liberty. Notwithstanding these preliminaries were arranged, the very first night of their imprisonment, on Goose Creek, a court martial sentenced them to be shot the next morning at eight o’clock on the public square in Far West. This treacherous decision was prevented from being executed by the noble interference of Brigadier General Alexander W. Doniphan, who threatened to withdraw his command if they did not retract. He said: “It is cold blooded murder, and I wash my hands of it.”
This heartless execution thus prevented, the prisoners were permitted to take a brief leave of their families, when they were hurried away, under a strong guard, to Independence, Jackson County, where, strange to say, they received much kindness and leniency from both the officers and people.
After remaining at Independence a few days they were taken to Richmond, Ray County, where they underwent an ex parte examination before Judge Austin A. King, which continued from the 11th to the 28th of November, 1838, and resulted in the committal of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McRae, to the jail in Clay County, on the charge of treason. There were other prisoners also tried before this court, namely: Morris Phelps, Luman Gibbs, Darwin Chase, Norman Shearer and Parley P. Pratt, who were committed to the jail at Richmond, for the alleged crime of murder, said to have been committed at the battle of Crooked River, while in the act of dispersing the notorious Bogart and his gang.
It must have been about the first of December when the prisoners assigned to the Liberty Jail were conveyed to that place.
It was the privilege of the writer–if it may be called such–to witness their entrance into the place. They, of course, traveled upon the main road leading from Richmond, and entered the town of Liberty on the east. They were all in one large, heavy wagon with a high box, which, as they were seated, hid from view all of their forms, except from a little below the shoulders. They passed through the center of the town, across the public square, in the center of which stood the courthouse. After crossing this square the wagon containing them was driven up the street northward about the distance of two blocks, where, at the left hand side of the street, was a vacant piece of ground, upon which, close to the street, stood the Liberty Jail, ever to be rendered famous by the entrance into it of these illustrious prisoners. If that jail is still standing, it would be a commendable enterprise if some one of our Utah artists would sketch it for the satisfaction of all who are now and shall be hereafter interested in the details of history so far as relates to Joseph Smith.
The inhabitants of Liberty, and many from the surrounding country, were out to witness the entrance of the prisoners into the place, and many, on that occasion, in my hearing, expressed their disappointment that the strangers should so much resemble all other men of prepossessing appearance.
This large, clumsy built wagon–the box of which was highest at each end–finally halted close to the platform in front of the jail, which platform had to be reached by means of about half a dozen steps, constructed on the south and north sides of the same. The jail fronted the street at the east.
The prisoners left the wagon and immediately ascended the south steps to the platform, around which no banisters were constructed. The door was open, and, one by one, the tall and well proportioned forms of the prisoners entered. The Prophet Joseph was the last of the number who lingered behind. He turned partly around, with a slow and dignified movement, and looked upon the multitude. Then turning away, and lifting his hat, he said in a distinct voice, “Good afternoon, gentlemen.” The next moment he had passed out of sight. The heavy door swung upon its strong hinges and the Prophet was hid from the gaze of the curious populace who had so eagerly watched.
Because Joseph used the term “good afternoon,” some of the people became excited and made various threats. The custom of a Missourian would have been to say “good evening.” They thought his expression implied a covert meaning that he should make his escape before morning. Joseph being an eastern man, expressed himself after the custom of the eastern people. Finally the excitement subsided, the people dispersed, and the prisoners were left to seek the best rest their hard, dark, and cheerless prison quarters might afford them.
We, also, retired from the scene, full of anxiety and concern. In the Missouri Enquirer office, after that day, ample opportunities were afforded for meditation, as the past and present came up for review. Joseph and his fellow prisoners were men whom I knew and loved–men who with me possessed “like precious faith” in the God of heaven. These men were actually, so to speak, within a stone throw of the place of my employment. So very near, and yet so far were they beyond my power to render them aid! For me or any others of our faith in that place to have tried to aid them would have been useless, if known to the people. There were those, however, who did aid them in a certain way. Just across the street, directly opposite the jail lived a family of Latter-day Saints, who were full of sympathy for their imprisoned brethren. This family befriended them in the only way within their power. Having heard it whispered that their food was not, at all times, of a very good quality, they, as often as convenient, and when safe to do so, found means to pass to them through the prison grates, (which could be reached by a person standing upon the ground from the outside) various articles of food, such as cakes, pies, etc., which they themselves prepared. This had to be done very cautiously, under the cover of night. The names of those who performed these good Samaritan-like deeds, were Samuel Kingsley and his wife Olive Martha, also his sisters Rachel, Eleanor and Flora. The doubtful character of the food sometimes placed before the prisoners, by those to whom that duty had been assigned (it is said that human flesh had actually been given them to eat) doubtless caused them to duly appreciate and relish these wholesome repasts, knowing, as they did, that they had been carefully prepared by the hands of sympathizing friends.
We will here digress a little and relate a melancholy episode connected with the termination of the earthly existence of Miss Eliza Kingsley, who was the sister of Brother Kingsley, just named. The circumstances, briefly related, are as follows:
Sister Eliza’s age, at the time of her demise–which took place in Liberty–was perhaps a little over twenty years. In appearance and manners she was highly prepossessing. Her character was above reproach. She had been for some time under engagement of marriage to John McDaniel, a merchant of Liberty. Twice the wedding day had been fixed upon, and each day the marriage had been postponed; the first time, in consequence of the death of Mr. McDaniel’s mother, which was a legitimate reason, but the second ceremony was prevented only by some alleged important business matter. He gradually grew indifferent and finally absented himself altogether from her company. Her affections were firmly fixed upon him and an abandonment on his part was what Eliza could not endure. She sank into a settled melancholy and her declining health was noticed with alarm by her friends. She was usually reticent about the occurrence, only alluding to it in the presence of her most intimate friends and those whom she knew were conversant with the circumstance. While laying very low upon her bed of death, she frankly spoke of her sad condition and blighted hopes to her friend, the writer. Earth, to her, was henceforth bereft of enjoyment, and she felt willing to seek a place of rest in the bright world beyond, where she hoped to have strength and knowledge sufficient to counteract the sting of disappointed hopes that had darkened her earthly path. Death came to her relief and she welcomed the messenger without any expressions of regret.
Her remains were conveyed, by her friends, to the burial ground at Far West, some forty miles distant, that they might rest where the ashes of the Latter-day Saints reposed.
When we had performed the sad rite of burial we returned to Liberty, where we again resumed the cares of life. But there is a sequel to this episode which must not be omitted: John McDaniel, not long after her death, took a trip out west to Santa Fe. Soon after his return he was arrested, charged with the murder of a Santa Fe trader, for his money. He was tried, convicted and finally hung for the crime in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. These facts were subsequently chosen as the foundation of a romance which was published in the Illinois Republican, entitled “Eliza, or the Broken Vow.”
The prisoners had been some time confined in the Liberty Jail when a circumstance of some important occurred in which they were among the principal actors. A good many years have passed away since its occurrence and my memory is not sufficiently retentive now to detail only the general particulars:
I was just returning from supper on my way to the printing office and had reached a position in front of the jail, when suddenly and unexpectedly was heard the sound of anxious voices and a quick rush as if made by strong and determined men. Above the tumult was distinguished the well known voices of my friends–and that of Joseph’s distinctly–asking in earnest tones for freedom. Also the voice of Mr. Samuel Tillery, the jailor, was plainly heard resolutely denying their petition. This struggle continued only for a brief period, when the jailor’s light shone at the outside of the jail walls, and the door lock gave a clicking sound as the key turned in the heavy lock. Just then a man jumped from the platform, and Mr. Tillery’s assistant, with an oath, fired a shot at him as he ran a few rods north, sprang upon a horse that was hitched to a fence, and rode rapidly away. This was some friend of the prisoners’, who had tried to render assistance to his imprisoned brethren. I have heard that it was Brother Cyrus Daniels, and that he was wounded in one of his arms by the shot of the assistant jailor, but have no means of knowing as to the correctness of this.
Mr. Tillery and his man then hastened past the place where I was standing, and ran down the street into the town alarming the people with their cries for help, calling them to rally to the jail, as the prisoners were trying to make their escape. As soon as Mr. Tillery passed me down the street the situation was quickly taken in and the conclusion formed that that was not a safe position for a Mormon to be caught occupying at such a juncture, unless willing to be arrested as an accessory to the attempted escape, which charge could not have resulted in the least good to my brethren and would only have made me unnecessary trouble. I ran westward past the jail, across the then vacant square through which deep gutters had been cut by the heavy rains. Into these, in my hurry, I tumbled and turned a number of somersaults. Scrambling along as well as possible I finally gained the first street west from the jail, then ran south about two blocks and turned east, in which direction the public square or center of the town was soon reached. By this time a large number of the citizens were on the move, in a very excited manner, towards the jail. Knowing myself then to be safe from suspicion, I ran along with the rest and soon was standing at the spot where the alarm from the jail first saluted me.
A large crowd gathered there, and everyone was filled with the most intense excitement. Several demanded of the jailor the keys, but he stoutly refused to let them pass from his possession. He had wished the people to gather there lest the prisoners might make their escape; but when he found that they were securely locked within the walls and everything was all safely arranged, he was satisfied for the prisoners to remain in their secure quarters, and would not consent that they should be delivered to the populace in their excited and enraged condition, knowing that the consequences would be fatal to the defenseless men. In this, he filled the requirements of the law.
Some time was spent around the jail in vain attempts to get possession of the men to whom they desired to do violence. Wicked profanations were freely indulged in and a variety of threats made; but finally, growing disheartened, they withdrew, and the precincts of the jail soon were made lonely in the still shadows of night.
The most orderly portion of the citizens repaired to their homes, but the profligate and rowdy class resorted to the groceries and saloons and spent the night in drinking, gambling, and cursing “Joe Smith” and the Mormons.
The attempted escape was the topic of conversation, and the most exaggerated stories and rumors were told. Their imaginations were so wrought up that many of them believed there was a chain of Mormon forces all along the road to Far West determined to effect the release of their friends and carry them away in triumph to some place of safety. But as time wore away, in a few days their excitement was allayed and they began to breathe freely, so far as the terrible Mormons were concerned.
Two or three of those who attempted to rescue the prisoners were shut into the jail, and they were taken before the court to answer to the charge of attempting to release the prisoners. The following is what Joseph himself says in reference to this attempt to regain their freedom:
“We should have taken out a writ of habeas corpus and escaped the mob in a summary way, but unfortunately for us, the timber of the wall being very hard, our auger handles gave out, which hindered us longer than we expected; we applied to a friend for assistance, and a very slight incautious act gave rise to suspicion, and before we could fully succeed, our plan was discovered. We should have made our escape, and succeeded admirably well, had it not been for a little imprudence or overanxiety on the part of our friend.
The sheriff and jailor did not blame us for our attempt; it was a fine breach, and cost the county a round sum. Public opinion says we ought to have been permitted to have made our escape, but then the disgrace would have been on us, but now it must come on the state. We know that there cannot be any charge sustained against us, and that the conduct of the mob–the murders at Haun’s Mill–the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, and the one-sided, rascally proceedings of the legislature, has damned the state of Missouri to all eternity. General Atchison has proved himself to be as contemptible as any of our enemies. We have tried a long time to get our lawyers to draw us some petitions to the supreme judges of this state, but they have utterly refused. We have examined the laws and drawn the petitions ourselves, and have obtained abundance of proof to counteract all the testimony that is against us–so that if the judges do not grant us our liberty they have got to act contrary to honor, evidence, law or justice merely to please the mob; but we hope better things, and trust that before many days, God will so order our case that we shall be set at liberty and again enjoy the society of the Saints.” Times and Seasons, Volume I., No. 7, Page 101.
It is beyond my power to record but a small portion of the acts, the oaths and criminal threats of that angry crowd of men, who doubtless, would have murdered those innocent men could they by any means have gained possession of them. My poor prayer ascended to the God of Israel for their preservation. For that once I was rejoiced that the building was a strong one, for although it was a prison, it was, under the circumstances, a very ark of safety for them when furious and wicked men were filled with rage and vengeance around its walls. Otherwise, had it been frail and vulnerable enough to yield to the attacks of assailants, their lives would have been sacrificed–even as lambs that fall among ravenous wolves. And within its uninviting courts, the Lord communed with the Prophet Joseph by His Spirit, revealing unto him the counsel of His will concerning Joseph himself and also for the welfare and safety of His people in their then scattered and forlorn condition.
Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants was written in that jail, by the Prophet, March 20, 1839, and Sections 122 and 123 were written by him a few days later while he was held a prisoner for his religion because he dared proclaim to the world that God lived and had again spoken to man upon the earth. From this jail Joseph also found means of writing and sending letters of counsel to his brethren who had arrived in the state of Illinois. And when I–though but a boy some nineteen years old at that time–heard the voice of this great man appealing earnestly for that freedom of which he and his brethren had been so unjustly deprived, the emotions which were awakened within my bosom were keen and earnest in the wish that his effort might be successful. As well as was possible, under circumstances so peculiar, I was engaged in mental prayer to the Father of mercies for the liberation of the Prophet, and those associated with him, from the power of their enemies, that they might again breathe God’s free air in a land once liberated from the tyranny of kings in those glorious colonial struggles in which their immediate ancestors bore a conspicuous part.
That a man honored by the Almighty, as was Joseph Smith, should thus be beset by men whom he had never harmed and against whom no charge of violated law could be sustained by impartial witnesses, was indeed to be deplored. These men, first by the treachery of Hinkle, and secondly by the violated pledge of honor made by General Clark and his officers, had been deprived of liberty and dragged ruthlessly from their families and friends; and that they were thus defenseless and seemingly at the mercy of a rabble who thirsted for their blood, was a condition painful for me then to look upon and contemplate, with no power to extend them aid. That they were really placed in conditions so perilous, was then and still is, cause for sincerest regret; yet still there is a kind of satisfaction indulged that the writer at Liberty, saw them still preserving their dignity while wearing the oppressor’s chains. They were deprived of liberty without the justifiable warrant of law; for they had violated no statutory enactment of the state or nation. They had ever been supporters and not violators of law and order. It was the genius of their morality and religion to promote peace in society and extend the area of happiness to the largest possible numbers of their fellow beings.
If the citizens of Clay and Ray Counties–in fact of the entire upper Missouri–had known those prisoners as I then knew them, the doors of their prison would have been thrown open in a moment. But their true character and the grand motives of their life-labor was not understood. The cry of false prophet and delusion had filled their ears and closed up those benign channels which lead to the heart and awaken the finer sensibilities of humanity. They were strangers, and, in their estimation–for such had been the battle-cry of mobbers and bigots–they were deserving of chains, fetters, and the dreary dungeon. The demoniac spirit of vengeance within the breasts of hundreds around their prison, vented itself in wicked maledictions. Myself, a mere boy, powerless and alone, had to listen to all these coarse and wicked epithets against men whose characters, for honor and noble deeds, I knew to be as far above that of their defamers as the heavens are above the earth, in point of perfection. Though in the midst of that infuriated rabble–many of whom thirsted for their blood–the brethren did not feel entirely alone and friendless. They were not forsaken, for the Omnipotent Ruler of the heavens and the earth communed with them, and the Prophet, in the midst of that faithful imprisoned band, received divine instruction.
To render the history of that imprisonment more complete, the following revelation is inserted:
The word of the Lord to Joseph, the Prophet, while in Liberty Jail, Clay County, Missouri, March, 1839.
The ends of the earth shall enquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee.
While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.
And thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors;
And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor, and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies, than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever.
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all; art thou greater than he?
Therefore, hold on thy way, and the Priesthood shall remain with thee, for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you for ever and ever.
This revelation must have been of inestimable worth as a comforter to the minds of the imprisoned brethren. If it is possible for the reader to fully consider their circumstances and then realize the fact that in the midst of all this–in the very depths of imminent peril of life itself heavens were exercised in their behalf, and the voice of the Lord was sent to the Prophet to speak peace to their troubled souls–as Christ once spoke peace to the agitated waves of the sea of Galilee–then can we have some faint conception of the tranquil joy which must have been enkindled in their hearts on receiving this great testimony that God was their friend and would be their deliverer from the hands of their embittered foes and the clanking chains that held them in confinement. The voice of profanity might pronounce maledictions and curses; the wicked, with murder in their hearts, might caucus for their death; the cunning lawyer and the subtle judge might encompass them around by a cordon of unjust writs, charging them with treason against their government; the cruel and unfeeling, like barbarians, might glory in their unjust confinement and boast that their doom was sealed and a restoration to liberty and friends was impossible; the despotic vampires might glut themselves with the hope that the loved ones of their families and the brethren of their peculiar and precious faith would never greet them more or listen to their voices; but now, that Jehovah had spoken what was all this insignificant clamor to them? The oil of gladness had been poured upon the troubled waters; their acceptance with God was declared, and all was tranquility and reconciliation in the hearts of these devoted followers of the meek and lowly Jesus.
A profitable lesson may be learned by all who carefully read this revelation. It demonstrates the fact that the Divine Ruler, from his heavenly abode, ever watches over His faithful servants, even noting the minutest movement on the part of the wicked who lift up weapons against the lives of the innocent and helpless. It is edifying to note the carefulness and precision with which the Almighty alludes to, and describes, the heart-rending scene which took place when the Prophet Joseph Smith was torn from his home, his wife and children, by the relentless officers at Far West. He who numbers the hairs of the heads of those who trust in Him and suffers not a single one to fall to the ground without His notice, guards, unseen, the lives of His chosen ones, and palsies the hostile arm that it cannot strike them down before their days of probation are numbered and their earthly missions are fulfilled.
Hyrum Smith also was subjected to a similar ordeal. He, too, had to make the sacrifice of all his home endearments. He was one of the most noble and exemplary men that ever stood upon the earth. But, like his brother Joseph and the patriarchs of early ages, he counted the consolations of home as secondary to the providences of the Great Creator; and committing his wife and children to the keeping of the guardian angels of their presence, he passed from the sheltering roof of his humble abode and obeyed the stern command of men whose mission was to slaughter the innocent.
The other prisoners who were destined to accompany them, also had tender wives and helpless children, but the entreaties of none of these companions nor the childish petitions of youthful offsprings could awaken one single emotion of those holy feelings of humanity which are found in the hearts of all mankind not rendered callous by sin and the shedding of blood.
On April 6th, the prisoners were taken from the Liberty Jail to Gallatin, Daviess County, Missouri, for the purpose, as the officers of the state said, to have a trial. The circumstances that transpired there, will be best understood by inserting the following account given by Patriarch Hyrum Smith:
“When we arrived at that place, instead of finding a court or jury, we found another inquisition, and Birch, who was the district attorney–the same man who was one of the court-martial when we were sentenced to death–was now the circuit judge of that pretended court and the grand jury that was empaneled were all at the massacre at Haun’s Mill, and lively actors in that awful, solemn, disgraceful, cool-blooded murder; and all the pretence they made of excuse was, they had done it, because the governor ordered them to do it. The same jury sat as a jury in the day time and were placed over us as a guard in the night time; they tantalized and boasted over us of their great achievements at Haun’s Mill and other places, telling us how many houses they had burned, and how many sheep, cattle, and hogs they had driven off, belonging to the Mormons, and how many rapes they had committed, and what kicking and squealing there was among the d–d bitches, saying that they lashed one women upon one of the d–d Mormon meeting benches, tying her hands and her feet fast, and sixteen of them abused her as much as they had a mind to, and then left her bound and exposed in that distressed condition.
These fiends of the lower region boasted of these acts of barbarity, and tantalized our feelings with them for ten days. We had heard of these acts of cruelty previous to this time, but were slow to believe that such acts of cruelty had been perpetrated. The lady who was the subject of their brutality did not recover her health, to be able to help herself, for more than three months afterwards. This grand jury constantly celebrated their achievements with grog and glass in hand, like the Indian warriors at their dances, singing and telling each other of their exploits in murdering the Mormons, in plundering their houses, and carrying off their property. At the end of every song, they would bring in the chorus, ‘God d–n God, God d–n Jesus Christ, God d–n the Presbyterians, God d–n the Baptists, God d–n the Methodists!’ reiterating one sect after another in the same manner, until they came to the Mormons: to them it was, ‘God d–n, the God d–n Mormons! we have sent them to hell.’ Then they would slap their hands and shout, ‘Hosannah, hosannah, glory to God!’ and fall down on their backs, and kick with their feet a few moments. Then they would pretend to have swooned away in a glorious trance, in order to imitate some of the transactions at camp meetings. Then they would pretend to come out of their trance, and would shout, and again slap their hands and jump up, while one would take a bottle of whiskey and a tumbler, and turn it out full of whiskey, and pour it down each other’s necks, crying, ‘D–n it, take it, you must take it;’ and if anyone refused to drink the whiskey, others would clinch him, while another poured it down his neck and what did not go down the inside went down the outside.
This is a part of the farce acted out by the grand jury of Daviess County, while they stood over us as guards for ten nights successively. And all this in the presence of the great Judge Birch! who had previously said in our hearing that there was no law for Mormons in the state of Missouri. His brother was then acting as district attorney in that circuit, and, if anything, was a greater cannibal than the judge. After all these ten days of drunkenness, we were informed that we were indicted for treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing. We asked for a change of venue from that county of Marion County, but they would not grant it, but they gave us a change of venue from Daviess to Boone County, and a mittimus was made out by the pretended Judge Birch, without date, name, or place. They fitted us out with a two-horse wagon and horses, and four men, besides the sheriff, to be our guard. There were five of us. We started from Gallatin, the sun about two hours high, p.m., and went as far as Adam-ondi-Ahman that evening and stayed till morning. There we bought two horses of the guard, and paid for one of them in our clothing which we had with us and for the other we gave our note. We went down that day as far as Judge Morin’s, a distance of some four or five miles. There we stayed until the morning, when we started on our journey to Boone County, and traveled on the road about twenty miles distance. There we bought a jug of whiskey, with which we treated the company, and while there the sheriff showed us the mittimus before referred to, without date or signature, and said that Judge Birch told him never to carry us to Boone County, and never to show the millimus, ‘and,’ said he, ‘I shall take a good drink of grog, and go to bed, you may do as you have a mind to.’ Three others of the guard drank pretty freely of whiskey, sweetened with honey; they also went to bed, and were soon asleep, and the other guard went along with us and helped to saddle the horses. Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the state of Illinois, and in the course of nine or ten days, we arrived in Quincy, Adam’s County, [Illinois,] where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health, they having been driven out of the state previously, by the murderous militia, under the exterminating order of the executive of Missouri.”
Thus we end this chapter, which gives a brief account of the hardships endured by these prisoners, for conscience sake, and of the injustice inflicted upon them by debauched judges and juries, and by the ignorant rabble who joined in the popular clamor against them in their helpless condition. God delivered them in the manner shown by the now martyred Hyrum Smith, and a few days of weary travel and fatigue, restored them to their families and the society of the Saints, who had found an asylum in a neighboring state.
Soon after the occurrence of the incidents, as related at the Liberty Jail, my friend Samuel Kingsley, his wife and sisters, left for Illinois. I was uneasy in mind concerning the condition of my remaining friends in Caldwell and Daviess Counties, and obtained leave of absence from the printing office in order to take a trip there and see for myself their true condition.
At Far West the principal buildings stood intact, but many of the private dwellings were not occupied by their owners and builders. Those of the inhabitants still there were preparing to go upon their forced exit, as the gubernatorial mob edict had fixed the time when they must depart.
I contemplated, with sadness, the change that had taken place in such a brief period of time. Those residences where I had passed happy hours and months, with the friends of my youthful prime, were deserted and desolate. My feet, as I stepped towards the thresholds where once I met with friendly greetings, awoke no responsive echoes. The voices of my young associates pronounced no word of tender recognition. The hand of affection was not there to grasp mine, as in the past. Those smiling faces that once beamed with gladness at my coming, while the eye sparkled with brightness and bosoms heaved with emotions of fidelity–alas, where were they all? My God! Why were they not there? The cruel truth full well I knew and my spirit was crushed! They were gone to hunt an asylum from oppression! Was not that the new city our parents had built? Had they not acquired lawful titles to the soil? Was not that their country and rightful place of abode? Yes, but they were what the world call “Mormons,” and such, in the estimation of a cruel, wicked populace, had no rights that should be regarded.
That townsite–Far West–and as far as the eye could extend over the rolling prairie towards the four points of the compass–was not marked by a single habitation for the abode of man, when our people halted their wagons and pitched their tents there in 1836. But within the short period of their residence, the scene had been transformed, as if by the hand of magic, and small towns, settlements and farm houses with their accompanying improvements, heightened the broad and dappled beauty of the undulating landscape, exhibiting evidences of the industry and skill of the hunted and ever-toiling Mormon people.
A short time previous I had looked over this romantic region with pride, hope and inspiring joy, but now with emotions of sadness, despondence and grief. Wherever I turned, loneliness and desolation were unbroken by any feature calculated to awaken cheerfulness or mollify the tendency to despondence. My people were not there! They had left their homes empty and desolate–all save a few, and they were struggling to prepare for the dreary journey. The houses, nearly all, were in the midst of stillness–save the sweet melody of birds, which fell upon my ear like a requiem dirge. No axmen were in the enclosures or groves; no curling smoke arose from the chimneys, indicative of bright firesides and tempting repasts; the voices of bleating lambs and lowing herds sent forth no echoes upon the ambient air. No, not even the barking of the faithful watchdog broke the monotonous silence.
At that time, what was missed more than all else were the voices of the loved ones which had saluted me in the past. Their cheerful music was hushed and the melody of their Sabbath orisons no more sent up anthems of praise into the ears of the God of Sabbaoth. Alas, where were they all? The forms of those early associates, those trustworthy young men, and the rosy-cheeked bevies of happy girls–once so vivacious and merry-hearted–indeed, where were they? Once we mingled there, in life’s halcyon prime; but not I walked alone and the happy past lived but in memory. The aged, also, with gray heads and bent forms, the mother with the suckling babe and the father with his group of plodding boys–all, all had left, and at that hour were on the weary march, exiled and cast out from the homes their hands had built, and from the streets they had surveyed and converted into thoroughfares for enterprise and traffic. In the midst of those scenes, endeared by so many tender memories, I felt as a stranger, and almost as an intruder; for why should I be there, and they, the owners, ejected and driven away? That hour, though peculiar, was full of interest as the past and future were contemplated.
To me, that was an interesting spot. A great future awaits it. Twenty-five miles to the north, on the north side of Grand River, was Adam-ondi-Ahman, the place where Adam built an altar, offered sacrifice, and blessed his posterity. Also, that “is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or ;the Ancient of days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” D&C 116 “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as the burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9–10
About fifty miles from there, in a southerly direction, the center stake of Zion is yet to be organized and a magnificent city and temple built, by command of the Almighty, at Independence, Jackson County. Far West will then cast off its gloomy aspect, for it will be rebuilt by the Saints and a temple erected there, the cornerstone for which is already laid. Concerning the erection of this house unto the Lord, and also the building up of Far West, the reader will please read Section 115, Doctrine and Covenants. Let the reader especially note this language made use of in the sacred revelation: “Let this city, Far West, be a holy and consecrated land unto me, and it shall be called most holy, for the ground upon which thou standest is holy.”
Yes, I have looked upon that land when it was the peaceful abode of the Saints, who had found refuge there from Jackson and Clay Counties, from Kirtland and many other places. It was a delightsome country to look upon. It had been but little inhabited for hundreds of years, perhaps ever since the Jaredite and Nephite nations dwelt there. The chances favor the idea that its soil had not been stained with human blood, at least since the era just alluded to, unless the “red men of the forest” have since that early period, made that the scene of some bloody strife. But when Joseph stood there, on April 6, 1838, the Lord said, “the land” on which he stood was “holy.” We may hope from this that the delightful region had escaped much of the pollutions of all the races that have dwelt upon it since Father Adam offered sacrifice upon the time-ruined altars of Adam-ondi-Ahman.
While the Latter-day Saints dwelt there, a great majority of them, at least, tried to walk circumspectly before the Lord and serve Him. Lucifer, the arch enemy of Christ, was not pleased that this should continue, and so inflamed the hearts of the people against them that the strength of the wicked were marshaled and drove them from their inheritances. Inasmuch as this was the case, the Lord, so far as the Saints are concerned, will not hold them responsible, because His house is not built at Far West and the residue of His people are not gathered there, and because that beautiful country is not filled with cities and those sanctuaries of worship which He is ever pleased to accept at the hands of a sanctified people. But there is a most glorious future in store for that and other portions of the Land of Zion, to be revealed at the appointed times, when the Saints shall return with strength and wisdom sufficient to obey His laws and build up the waste places, that Zion may arise and put on her beautiful garments.
A few miles north from Far West, towards my father’s rightful home–the “half-way house,” as it was called–I found that persecuted parent. He had fled with his family from his home, a few miles, and in a retired spot in the woods, had constructed a rude cabin by rolling together some logs. He had put chinking between the logs and filled the openings with moistened earth, as well as he could, to make it warm and protect his family from the cold and piercing winds which were already there as the preludes of winter. My heart sank within me! Was that indeed my father’s home? Was there nothing left to him of his home comforts? Nothing to smooth his way or sooth his bodily pains, now that he had performed a weary march over the summit of life and was, with feeble step, descending the downward path that led to his final rest! Was it really true that an honest man, an upright citizen and peaceable neighbor, because of his religious convictions, was forced to seek shelter in a wilderness, there to combat the rugged blasts of winter, as best he could, in the noble endeavor to preserve the lives of wife and dependent children!
With an aching heart I watched his form, already beginning to bend under the effects of a life of weary toil, and discovered in the halting movement of his limbs the growing effects of that rheumatic affection which, though hereditary at first, had now been inflamed because of the exposures and extra toil forced upon him by a relentless mob. And that shapeless hut was his present abode, and the tyrannical edict was that, before he could again enjoy the sheltering consolations of a comfortable home, he must build it under the protective sympathies of a more loyal people.
A little from that improvised abode was a warmer and more comfortable house, a farm where eighteen acres of splendid Missouri corn and other products had been raised by him that season. All the conveniences there were rightfully his. He had acquired a lawful privilege to possess it in peace. But the cavalry of the mob had trampled down the nutritive substance of his fields and wasted the remunerative increase of the summer toil. He had ventured back under the cover of night–his dreary way being lit by the dim moon–and stole away a few loads of his own corn. This furnished him with bread which kept his family from starving while he remained there. To accomplish this, he dried the corn, shelled it from the cob, and ground it in a large hand-mill which he was lucky enough to have in his possession. This was the only kind of bread he was able to provide for his family under such straightened circumstances; but this, with milk, butter and sometimes with meat or the stewed pumpkins purloined from his own enclosure, because quite palatable food. The family was thankful to obtain it, for it kept the deadly wolf from their humble door. Rude and tasteless as was the fare, still I partook of the plain repasts with a thankful heart, because it gave nourishment and strength to my aged father, mother-in-law, and my brothers and sisters. But the thought that pained me was intensified by the reflection that soon those loved ones must vacate even the comforts afforded by those sheltering logs, and travel the drifted roads of winter to some more humane and hospitable people. In a little time they took their departure and patiently buffeted the storms and endured untold hardships in connection with the many hundreds who fled during the memorable exodus.
Immediately upon the breaking out of the trouble, the firm of Graves & Littlefield notified the firm from whom their goods were purchased that they were obliged to suspend business and wished them to come and take possession of the merchandise and indemnify themselves with the assets to the best possible advantage. This was done and those gentlemen were entirely satisfied that they had been dealing with honest men.
Such were the gloomy prospects under which I found my father and family, and the future was ominous for them and the retiring Saints. I bid them good-by with a multitude of crowding emotions and returned again to my employment in Liberty. Mr. John Rodgers, one of the editors of the paper, advised me by all means to remain there, as the people knew me and I would not be interfered with. In giving this advice, Mr. Rodgers spoke his friendly sentiments, but my friends and brethren were exiles and in trouble and I was anxious to share their fortunes.
One day at noon, I was the first of all the employees to return from dinner. While near a “standing galley,” from which I was about to lift some type for distribution, a voice, clear and distinct, said, “You must go to Illinois and marry a young widow.” This was indeed strange and excited my surprise, as no person was visible in the room. I knew not how to understand it. Neither did I know a “young widow” in that state. However, after a few days, the circumstance passed out of mind.
Soon after I purchased a pony, (Santa Fe by name) a saddle and bridle, and, with a few dollars in my pocket, started upon my journey to Illinois. My brother Josiah saddled his horse and rode with me about ten miles, when he turned back and I pursued my journey alone. Since that parting, Josiah and Lyman have never met, and the only tidings I have had concerning him is that he, soon after our separation, went in company with a Mr. Strode to Texas.
Solitary and alone, Santa Fe and his rider plodded along the weary road, meeting with nothing but kind treatment, but of course the people were not informed that I was a Mormon. When within about forty miles of Quincy, I found that Santa Fe’s back was too sore to endure the saddle and rather than be detained several days so near my friends, I offered a young man the outfit if he would take me immediately to the Mississippi River opposite the city of Quincy, which proposition he accepted. Saddling two fresh horses we mounted them and one day’s ride landed me at the place agreed upon. My escort returned and I crossed the river where I was soon made happy in the society of many of my exiled friends. I found my father and family quite comfortably situated on a farm he had rented, about one and a half miles east from the city. The account of suffering to which they were subjected after their departure from that temporary Missouri cabin, was painful for me to listen to. It is needless to recount those hardships now. Suffice it to say they were much similar to those experienced by most other families of the Saints who endured the constant succession of perils incident to a compulsory march of so large a number of people, ill provided for during those cold winter months. I found temporary employment in the office of the Quincy Argus.
Among many other acquaintances, I found Lysander Gee, who had been a Far West associate. Enquiring of him of the whereabouts of many friends, I asked concerning the residence of our friend Samuel Kingsley. Said he, “He has been dead a few months and his wife and sisters are living but a few blocks from us.” Accompanied by him, I soon made them a call. Mrs. Kingsley had a babe then about five months old. She informed me she had buried her husband near Beardstown, on the Illinois River, and being left among strangers, she concluded to remove to Quincy and live with her sisters-in-law. I called several times at that residence. That lady and myself attended a few parties together and, not to be circumlocutional, right here it might as well be told the reader in plain words that, in due time, Mrs. Kingsley, at my suggestion, consented to substitute the name of Littlefield for that of Kingsley. This arrangement being confirmed with the usual covenant and agreement, we took a trip about twenty miles to a little place called Liberty, in Adams County, and at the residence of her uncle, Benjamin Andrews, the marriage ceremony was pronounced which constituted us lawfully husband and wife by Elder Elisha H. Groves, a preacher of the gospel in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For a legal permit, or license, authorizing this act of matrimony, I had previously taken my father to the clerk of the county court at Quincy, and took out a marriage license–it then being the state law there that a minor could not obtain a license without the consent of the parents. An examination of the records of the county court of Adams County will verify the truth of this statement. The marriage took place about 11 o’clock in the forenoon, when we stepped into a sleigh and drove back to my father’s home. Singular enough the occurrence of my hearing the voice in the printing office in Liberty had not occurred to me until that prediction thus had its fulfillment.
The all-absorbing question then was how and where were we to live? We were both poor; I was out of a permanent situation in business; but we were young and willing to employ our energies in the accumulation of the comforts of life. Just at that time I saw in a newspaper an advertisement stating that a printer was wanted at Rushville, Schuyler County, to take the charge of and print a Democratic paper in that place, the office and material being then in position for immediate operation. I told my wife that was our opportunity. She was of my opinion, as is always the case with a devoted wife during the honeymoon period. Leaving her at my father’s home, I took the stage for Rushville, where Hon. Mr. Richardson, the proprietor, made an agreement with me. A paper had been printed there entitled The Illinois Republican, and I continued it, retaining the same title.
In a few weeks the stage brought Mrs. Littlefield and little Samuel Omer. We rented two rooms in the same building of the office, bought furniture, and in a few days our home presented a comfortable and cozy aspect. My little stepson was a treasure, daily developing new indications of sprightliness, to all of which his mother called my attention in sentences of lavish panegyrics, such as are employed by most young mothers. I grew extremely fond of the boy baby and named him Samuel, for his father, and Omer for his stepfather. That appellation, the name of Samuel Omer Kingsley, has since become quite familiar to those who delight in witnessing exhibitions of skill in the execution of daring feats of horsemanship. Ere that boy grew to manhood he had won the applause of thousands of admirers who had assembled under the broad canvasses stretched upon American soil, as well as that of many countries in Europe. It was he who rode the female character of “Ella Zoyara” through the “old world,” creating an immense sensation, when Mr. Spencer Q. Stokes filled his lady costume with glittering stones, put diamond rings upon his fingers and caused the admiring multitudes to believe he was really as Mr. Stokes represented: a young lady of rank and station among the very nobility of those regal lands. He was caused to ride from city to city in magnificent carriages, drawn by richly caparisoned steeds, and being attended by liveried servants. Periodicals have paraded fine cuts to illustrate his matchless horsemanship. One of those asserted that he was of French parentage, and a writer who gives a lengthy account of his career in the New York Sun, states that he was born in Louisiana. Both of these statements are erroneous, innocently made by the writers alluded to, for the want of the real facts. He was born of “Mormon” parents in the city of Quincy, Illinois, as already related. In later years he became a partner in the Wilson Circus, which has performed several times in Salt Lake City, in Ogden, and in Logan, Utah. He went with this circus to India where he died at Bombay, April 3, 1877.
Our residence in Rushville terminated in about one year, during which time my mother passed a few pleasant months at our home. After leaving there we resided a short time in Quincy, but not being contented short of Nauvoo, we moved and took up our abode there.
As has been already shown, the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and their fellow prisoners, reached in safety their families and friends in Quincy, Illinois, after having suffered a most unjust and cruel imprisonment for about six months in the state of Missouri. The joy resulting on consequence of such a meeting cannot be fully described by my poor pen. The actors themselves were alone able to comprehend it because it was their immediate cup of joy that was filled to overflowing. The full sympathies of their hearts were enlisted in those tender ties which ever bind closely together family unions. In sympathy with them was also that brotherly love of the Saints which was stronger than death blending in that happy reunion, which had been permitted in the providences of the Supreme Ruler who eventuates for good the joyful seasons allowed to those who trust in His providences. Husbands and wives, parents and children, met with that enraptured thrill of delight which none can describe by the use of words. Brethren and sisters, of like precious faith, grasped the trusted hands with eagerness and warmth that gave evidence of that undying confidence that outlives the periods of oppression and defies the chains and edicts of tyrants to annul. Prayers of faith had gone up to the Father of mercies for the liberation of those noble men during their incarceration, and thus were they answered. The fetter that had kept back the captives from the ranks of the fleeing exiles, were struck from their manly forms, and they were once more free to seek the pursuits of happiness and the welfare of the human race.
That was a meeting where each heart was stirred to the depths with emotions sacred within their recesses–emotions which the presence of strangers could not have awakened. Those identical persons were necessary there, for none others had the right to claim and call forth, from the pent-up fountains, those treasures of affection that had been so long and faithfully garnered for an occasion like this, and fondly cherished by the brightest anticipated hopes of those very parties, during many months of cruel separation. Those wives and children had prayed for this meeting while treading paths through the drifted snows that led them to the friendly shores of Illinois; and those faithful men, while imprisoned captives, and when the blazing torch of suffering was industriously swayed by the persecutive hand of relentless oppression, they too, in faith and confidence, had asked the Supreme Ruler for deliverance, that they might be permitted, in a friendly land, to hail their friends where family associations were respected and where the obligations of reciprocal friendship were fostered.
Blissful moments of exultant joy! Who can measure the full volume of that love–stronger than death–that pours from the hidden fountains of the heart! Who can fix limits to that divine emotion which “casteth out all fear;” that love which emanates from the Divinity, the very incipient germs of which are rooted in a soil consecrated to the production of those fruits which are destined to blossom, mature, and be perpetuated through an eternal existence beyond the grave. We see even the wicked influenced by its benignancy, and nations swayed by its potency. Its mild tapers glow around the altars happified by domestic felicitude. Its beacon fires send out the cheering blaze of hope to the weary toilers of the imperiled bark; and where the clang of war tells of death and slaughter, prayers of the wounded and dying are breathed for the remembered dear ones sheltered beneath the connubial roof where cluster the tenderest ties known to the heart of mortals.
Yes, the wicked–they who obey not God–are obedient to this all prevailing influence; but they understand not fully its divinity or why its powers hold dominion in the hearts of the children of men. They often yield to its sway without consulting the prompting of wisdom or the teachings of correct principles to control its indulgence. The writer once read a beautiful poem written by a young lady to her affianced who was then in prison convicted of murder. Two lines of it were:
“I ask not, I care not, if guilt’s in thy heart, I but know that I love thee whatever thou art.”
This couplet showed the depth of this lady’s affection for the man who had chosen for her husband, but, poor girl, what would have been her reflections if she had consulted these few words of divine inspiration: “No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
The parties of whom I have been writing had not fixed their attachments upon unworthy objects. A far-seeing Providence had directed their union. Their choice was founded upon the revealed and immutable principles of Jehovah. The ties that bound them together in their various relationships were destined for an eternal duration, and neither bonds or imprisonment had power to render them void. They were united for this life with the expectation and knowledge that if they proved faithful to God and his cause, those attachments would be perpetuated and have an eternal existence through the eternities to come in the bright realms of the great hereafter. In this happy meeting can be seen the fulfillment of the words of the Lord to Joseph in the Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes; thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again, with warm hearts and friendly hands; thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression as they did Job.”–D&C 121:7–10.
On the third of May, six of the Twelve Apostles met Joseph Smith near Quincy. On the 9th of that month, Joseph left Quincy with his family, and arrived at Commerce on the day following.
The Prophet was naturally a man of ceaseless energy and at that time his anxiety was so great concerning the situation of the Church that he could not find but a brief period to devote to visiting and associating with his family and friends. He commenced at once the task of arranging for a location where the Saints could gather, and for this purpose purchased the tract of land where Commerce then stood of a Mr. Galland, the improvements of which, at the time of the purchase, consisted of of one stone house, three frame and two block houses.
Thither the Saints began to gather and build up the place. In a short time it was an astonishment to look upon a people so comfortable after having been driven from their homes and stripped of the most of their property. But they were industrious and frugal and the Lord blessed them. This place seemed to have been reserved for the then poor and persecuted Missouri exiles, who fled, for conscience sake from the fury of mobs and the vengeance of a corrupt executive.
In addition to the land procured at Commerce, the Church purchased the town of Nashville, in Lee County, Iowa Territory, and twenty thousand acres of land adjoining, and Joseph advised that a town be built upon the tract, opposite Nauvoo, to be called Zarahemla.
Commerce was surveyed off in excellent order, which covered a very large area of ground, extending from the river far back in an easterly direction beyond the gradual rise of ground that overlooked the country for miles around. The majestic Mississippi flowed down from the regions of the north and swept around its western edge, while on the opposite shore was Zarahemla and the undulating prairies of Iowa.
When, in the providences of the Almighty, Joseph was enabled to shake from his manacled body the chains of a cruel imprisonment and flee from his oppressors, he stepped upon those hospitable shores imbued with the realities of experience that enabled him to comprehend the full value of freedom. He had been made to feel how bitter is the cup that tyrants can place to the lips of innocent men when, within their hearts, the lamp of justice is extinguished and the night of bigotry gives forth no beacon lights from the hallowed altars of mercy. This created within his sensitive nature new stimulants which gave almost superhuman impetus to his wonderful energies, enabling him to overcome many obstacles in order to plant his people in that goodly spot, where economy and toil, thanksgiving and the worship of the Supreme Being, already blended together in mutual endeavors to garnish their new place of refuge and make it desirable for all the oppressed and down-trodden who might seek after a sheltering place from tyrants. Under these stimulating influences the city sprang up and was being built with astonishing rapidity, and once more the Latter-day Saints were happy.
In their cruel expulsion from Missouri, the exigencies of their situation rendered it impossible for the Saints to adopt any organized system governing their order of travel. That systematic skill in organization, which ordinarily governs their movements, was necessarily dispensed with in this instance. The mob and governor of that state had fixed the early part of the month of December for the Saints all to leave Daviess County and none were permitted to tarry longer than April in the county of Caldwell. For fifteen thousand people, including families with children of all ages, to be forced from the limits of a state during those cold months is truly a merciless and heartrending picture for enlightened people to contemplate. Families and individuals took their course according to the best wisdom they possessed, many hardly knowing their destination; but Illinois seemed to possess every mind as being their “city of refuge.” Go they must, as the consequences to them, according to the conditions of the governor’s order, was “extermination!”
The noble David Patten, an apostle, had been slain, many other men had been imprisoned, maltreated and slain, and instances have been already shown where the chastity of defenseless women had been violated. While thus adverting to those Missouri scenes the heart sickens and all sensibilities of humanity are shocked and we feel that the exit of the Saints was perhaps not too quickly commenced and not too speedily ended.
As our people stepped upon the soil of Illinois they felt that they were freed from their pursuers, for the people there reached out the friendly hand and gave those who needed it shelter and sustenance. But as long as chains were upon our brethren and leaders in the prisons of Missouri, a cloud overshadowed the Saints, and now that those captives were freed and the Prophet of the Lord was in their midst, they thanked God and took courage. He was the great leader, and the Lord, through his instrumentality, soon prepared a gathering place, as we have seen. 1839.
At a conference held the 6th of May,  near Quincy, about fifty miles below Commerce, William Marks was appointed to preside in Commerce.
About the 11th of June,  the first house erected on that location, by the newcomers, was raised by Theodore Turley, and up to June 1, 1840, about 250 houses had been built.
For a considerable time the Saints were afflicted by sickness, principally chills and fever, and Elijah Fordham and others were instantly healed under the administration of Joseph Smith.
After more than seven months’ imprisonment without conviction, Parley P. Pratt and Morris Phelps escaped from the Columbia Jail, Boone County, Missouri, and arrived in Quincy, Illinois, after days of dreadful suffering from hunger and fatigue. King Follett, who also tried to escape, was retaken. He was retained until October when he had his trial, was acquitted, and made his way to Illinois.
August 8,  Elders John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff started on a mission to England.
August 29,  Elders Parley P. Pratt and Hyrum Clark started on a mission to England.
September 18,  Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball left on a mission to England, leaving their families in sickness.
September 21,  Elders George A. Smith, R. Hedlock and Theodore Turley left for England on a mission.
At a general conference held October 5,  William Marks was appointed president of that stake, E. Partridge, bishop of the upper ward, and V. Knight, bishop of the lower ward. George W. Harris, Samuel Bent, Henry G. Sherwood, David Fullmer, Alpheus Cutler, William Huntington, Thomas Grover, Newel Knight, Charles C. Rich, David Dort, Seymour Brunson and Lewis D. Wilson were chosen members of the high council.
October 29,  Joseph Smith, accompanied by Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee and O. P. Rockwell started for Washington, to lay the grievances of the Saints before Congress. He presented claims against Missouri from 491 individuals for about $1,381,000. To all this he was answered by President Van Buren that his cause was just but he (Van Buren) could do nothing for him. 1840.
April 6,  Elder Orson Hyde was appointed a mission to Jerusalem.
September 15,  the governor of Missouri made a demand on Governor Carlin, of Illinois, for Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, Caleb Baldwin and Alanson Brown, as fugitives from justice.
January 19,  an important revelation concerning the building of the Nauvoo Temple, the order and authority of the priesthood, etc., was given to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo. See D&C 124.
January 24,  Hyrum Smith received the office of patriarch of the Church, in place of Joseph Smith, Senior, deceased. William Law was appointed one of the first presidents, instead of Hyrum Smith.
January 30,  at a meeting held in Nauvoo, Joseph Smith was elected sole trustee for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the office to be vested in the First Presidency of the Church continually.
February 1,  the first election took place for members of the city council of Nauvoo. John C. Bennett was elected mayor; William Marks, Samuel H. Smith, Daniel H. Wells and Newel K. Whitney, aldermen; Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Charles C. Rich, John F. Barnett, Wilson Law, Don Carlos Smith, John P. Green, and Vinson Knight, councilors.
February 4,  the city council elected Henry G. Sherwood, marshal; James Sloan, recorder; Robert Thompson, treasurer; James Robinson, assessor; Austin Cowles, supervisor of streets.
February 4,  the Nauvoo legion, originally consisting of six companies, was organized with Joseph Smith as lieutenant-general.
April 6,  the cornerstones of the Nauvoo Temple were laid. A general conference that continued until the 11th was commenced in Nauvoo.
May 24,  the first presidency in Nauvoo called upon all scattered Saints to gather to Hancock County, Illinois, and Lee County, Iowa. All stakes outside of these two counties were discontinued.
June 5,  Joseph Smith was arrested on a requisition from the state of Missouri, tried on the 9th, and liberated on the 10th on a writ of habeas corpus, at Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois.
July 1,  Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and John Taylor arrived at Nauvoo from their mission to England.
The above items are brief but expressive of events which might be enlarged upon with advantage to the reader; but as the limit of this book is small and much other matter is to be presented, these will do without enlargement. We cannot but rejoice, however, that the Saints have been blessed with so goodly and delightsome a location connected with such cheering prospects. The Hebrew word Nauvoo, which interpreted means delightful, furnished the most appropriate name for the city; for the location in its entirety, in point of scenic beauty, is seldom surpassed. But for a time the place was very unhealthy. In fact, the people who had attempted to make successful settlements there previous to the coming of the Saints, were compelled to abandon the place for this cause. But after the land had been extensively plowed and the lower places drained, it became probably as healthy as any portion of the surrounding country.
Our homes there began to put on an air of comfort and assume that attractiveness and thrift that has always attended the efforts of our people wherever they have been permitted to dwell in peace for a few months or years. The Saints flocked there from the surrounding stakes, and on the 16th of February, 1841, the ship Echo sailed from Liverpool with 109 Saints, under the direction of Daniel Browett; and on March 17th, of the same year, the ship Ulster sailed from that port with 45 Saints, under the direction of Thomas Smith and William Moss. These emigrants united their efforts in enhancing the interests of the new settlement. The city and suburban districts grew in prosperity, in numbers and prominence. Plundered as they had been, and poor as they were at the beginning, their prosperity was so great that they soon were placed upon an equal footing with the older inhabitants of the country who had dwelt in that region for many years. The Lord blessed them because they helped themselves by their habits of industry and economy. In this relation the Historical Record says:
“A foundation had been laid for a temple in the city of Nauvoo. A charter had been obtained for the city, conferring liberal powers upon the city council. A university and manufacturing association were duly incorporated, and a legion chartered. The university was organized and put in operation in general departments. The manufacturers’ association commenced the erection of large buildings for the manufacture of pottery. Thousands of people flocked in from every part of the United States and the British Isles. Streets were opened, and hundreds of fine buildings erected. A company was incorporated for the purpose of building an extensive hotel with a capital of $200,000; a considerable amount of the stock was sold, and the basement story of the building, with 240 feet front, was finished. An extensive printing establishment, stereotype foundry and bookbindery was put in active operation, two Masonic lodges established, and a large and commodious masonic temple built. Several flourishing villages of the Saints were established in different parts of Hancock and neighboring counties, as well as in Iowa. In the meantime, Joseph Duncan, an aspiring party leader, anxious to become governor of Illinois took the stump at Edwardsville, and from that place visited different parts of the state, rousing all the vile passions and religious prejudices that could exist against the Saints, promising that if he could be elected governor of Illinois, he would exterminate the ‘Mormons.’ This formed an extensive anti-‘Mormon’ party who, although unsuccessful in the election which elevated Thomas Ford to the executive chair, continued its operations.”
Our enemies did not relish this prosperity. They could not understand how it was that a people, made poor by the plundering hordes of the western counties of Missouri, could in so short a period become so comfortable, possess such large estates of landed wealth, and make such advances in mercantile, mechanical, manufacturing, agricultural and educational interests. They could not trace in all this the hand of Jehovah, who possesses the power to lift up and pull down at His pleasure. But the Saints could discern the overruling hand of Jehovah and trace His benign providences in all these successes. Our enemies went so far as to charge dishonesty against us. That was their only subterfuge for solving the enigma of our advancement, and this was far from having a truthful foundation; however it became a weapon which was vigorously brandished by fanatical zealots and political harpies. If our people could have been let alone a few years they would not only have become wealthy themselves, but would have enriched the population of all the adjacent country and made that portion of the state the most attractive within its borders. But this they could not do. Their jealousy became so intensified that they rapidly grew quarrelsome and vicious in their demeanor towards us. Joseph began to be harassed with vexatious lawsuits and some of the settlements were menaced by mobs. Law and order was trampled under foot of men and our fields by the hoofs of the invading cavalry. Neither could Missouri rest in peace and be content to withhold her persecutive and bloody hand. The hundreds of our people who had fallen beneath the sway of their despotism were not enough victims. Their executive sent to us writs and demands for our principal men, again to place them in prison, load them down with chains and consummate the original purpose of many in that state, that of shedding their blood.
On the 6th of May, 1842, an attempt was made to assassinate ex-governor L. W. Boggs, by some party unknown at his residence in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. His injuries, however, did not prove fatal. Boggs made affidavit that he had reason to believe that the assault upon him was made by O. P. Rockwell as principal and Joseph Smith as accessory before the fact. He applied to Thomas Reynolds, governor of Missouri, to make a demand on the governor of Illinois to deliver Joseph Smith up to an authorized agent of Missouri to be dealt with according to the laws of that state for the crime charged. Governor Carlin, of Illinois, accordingly issued a warrant for the arrest of O. P. Rockwell as principal and Joseph Smith as accessory to the shooting of Boggs. The papers for their arrest were placed in the hands of the deputy sheriff of Adams County, who at once came to Nauvoo, and, on August 8, 1852, made the arrests. A writ of habeas corpus was applied for and granted by the municipal court of Nauvoo. But the sheriff refused to comply, claiming that that tribunal had no legal jurisdiction in the case. Leaving the prisoners in the care of the city marshal–but failing to leave the original writ without which they could not be held–the sheriff returned to Quincy and the brethren were, under the circumstances, allowed their liberty to go where they pleased. When the sheriff returned on the 10th, he was unable to find the whereabouts of the prisoners, relative to which the following extract contains interesting particulars:
“Joseph crossed the river and stayed at his Uncle John’s house for a few days in the settlement called Zarahemla; but on the night of the eleventh of August, he met by appointment, his brother Hyrum, Rockwell, his wife Emma, and several other friends at the south point of the island, that we have already described as being midway between Montrose and Nauvoo.
It has been rumored that the governor of Iowa had also issued a warrant for the arrest of Joseph and Rockwell, whereupon it was decided that it would be better for them to remain on the Illinois side of the river. Subsequent events, however, proved that this rumor was a false one. Joseph was rowed up the river by a Brother Dunham to a point near the home of a Brother Derby. Rockwell had been set ashore and he proceeded to the same point on foot, where he built a fire on the bank of the river that Dunham might know where to land. At Derby’s the Prophet remained in hiding for some time, and Rockwell went east, remaining for several months in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
From his place of concealment, Joseph directed the movements of the people at Nauvoo, and managed his own business through faithful agents, who met with him occasionally. Emma spent considerable of her time with him, and beguiled the loneliness of those weary hours of inactivity, that he whose very life in the synonym for intense activity, had to endure.
During those days of exile, one gets a glimpse of the Prophet’s private life and character, that in part explains the mystery of his power and influence over his friends and his people–it was his unbounded love for them. Speaking of the meeting with his friends in the night at the island, in the account he gives of it in the Book of the Law of the Lord, he says:
‘How glorious were my feelings when I met that faithful and friendly band on the night of the eleventh [of August], on the island, at the mouth of the slough between Zarahemla and Nauvoo. With what unspeakable delight, and what transports of joy swelled my bosom, when I took by the hand on that night my beloved Emma-she that was my wife, even the wife of my youth, the choice of my heart. Many were the vibrations of my mind when I contemplated for a moment the many scenes we had been called to pass through, the fatigues and the toils, the sorrows and sufferings, and the joys and the consolations, from time to time, which had strewed our paths and crowned our board. Oh, what a commingling of thoughts filled my mind for the moment!–And again she is here, even in the seventh trouble–undaunted, firm, and unwavering–unchangeable, affectionate Emma!’
Of his brother Hyrum on the same occasion he says:
‘There was brother Hyrum, who next took me by the hand–a natural brother. Thought I to myself, brother Hyrum, what a faithful heart you have got! Oh, may the Eternal Jehovah crown eternal blessings upon your head, as a reward for the care you have had for my soul! Oh, how many are the sorrows we have shared together! And again we find ourselves shackled by the unrelenting hand of oppression. Hyrum, thy name shall be written in the Book of the Law of the Lord, for those who come after to look upon, that they made pattern after thy works.’
So he goes on to call the faithful by their names and record their deeds of love manifested towards himself, and pronounces his blessings upon them. As one of old said, “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren”–surely Joseph Smith possessed that witness–he loved his brethren better than his life!
Some of the brethren proposed that Joseph go up to the pine woods of Wisconsin, where a number of the brethren were engaged in getting out timber for the temple and Nauvoo House, until the excitement shall subside in Illinois. Of this proposition, Joseph said in a letter to Emma:
‘My mind will eternally revolt at every suggestion of that kind. My safety is with you if you want to have it so. If I go to the pine country, you shall go along with me, and the children; and if you and the children go not with me, I don’t go. I do not wish to exile myself for the sake of my own life. I would rather fight it out. It is for your sakes therefore that I would do such a thing.’
This plan, however, was abandoned.
It appears that Joseph had resolved to submit no longer to the injustice he had suffered from the hands of the people of Missouri. It was rumored that the officers on leaving Nauvoo, breathed out threats of returning with sufficient force to search every house in the city and vicinity; and Ford, the agent of Missouri, threatened to bring a mob against the Mormons, if necessary, to arrest the Prophet. Hearing these rumors, Joseph exchanged several letters with Wilson Law, who had been recently elected major-general of the legion, vice John C. Bennett cashiered, in which he admonished him to have all things in readiness to protect the people in their rights, and not for one moment to submit to the outrages that were threatened.
‘You will see therefore,’ said he, in a letter written on the fourteenth of August, to Law, ‘that the peace of the city of Nauvoo is kept, let who will endeavor to disturb it. You will also see that whenever any mob force, or violence is used on any citizen thereof, or that belongeth thereunto, you will see that the force or violence is immediately dispersed, and brought to punishment, or meet it, and contest at the point of the sword, with firm, undaunted and unyielding valor; and let them know that the spirit of old seventy-six, and George Washington yet lives, and is contained in the bosoms and blood of the children of the fathers thereof. If there are any threats in the city, let legal steps be taken against them; and let no man, woman or child be intimidated, nor suffer it to be done. Nevertheless, as I said in the first place, we will take every measure that lays in our power, and make every sacrifice that God or man could require at our hands, to preserve the peace and safety of the people without collision.’
To these sentiments there was a willing response of acquiescence on the part of the major-general, and he pledged himself to faithfully carry out Joseph’s orders, provided the emergency for doing so should arise. After a little, however, the excitement began to subside; and as Joseph’s hiding place at Derby’s was discovered by a young man who suddenly came upon Joseph and his kind host while they were walking out in the woods for a little exercise, the Prophet moved quietly into the city, staying first at the house of one friend a day or two, and then removing to that of another.
In the meantime the situation was plainly placed before Carlin; and the course that Joseph had taken fully vindicated by letters written to him by Emma, his wife, who displayed no mean ability in the correspondence she opened up with the governor, which so nearly concerned the peace of her family. She directed the attention of the governor to the fact that Joseph had not been in the state of Missouri for some three or four years–that if her husband had been accessory before the fact, to the assault upon ex-governor Boggs, the crime if committed at all–which she stoutly averred was not the case–was done in Illinois, and there was no law to drag a man from a state where the crime was committed into a state where it had not been committed for trial, and as her husband had not been in the state of Missouri for several years previous to the assault on Boggs, he could not have fled from the justice of that state, and therefore ought not to be given up under the fugitive-from-justice law.”–B. H. Roberts, in Contributor.
Joseph was finally arraigned before Judge Pope at Springfield. The question of jurisdiction was brought before the court.
“The matter in hand,” said Judge Pope, “presents a case arising under the second section of article IV of the Constitution of the United States, and an act of Congress of February 12, 1793, to carry it into effect. The Constitution says: ‘The judicial power shall extend to all cases in the law or equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made and which shall be made under their authority.’
‘Therefore, on that line of reasoning,’ continues Mr. Roberts, ‘the judge concluded the court had jurisdiction. As to the second objection–the right of the court to enquire into facts behind the writ–the judge held it unnecessary to decide that point as Smith was entitled to his discharge, for defect in the affidavit on which the demand for his surrender to Missouri was made. To justify the demand for his arrest the affidavit should have shown “First that Smith committed a crime; second that he committed it in Missouri. And it must also appear ‘that Smith had fled from Missouri.'” None of these things the affidavit of Boggs did, and the judge held that it was defective for those reasons and added:
‘The court can alone regard the facts set forth in the affidavit of Boggs as having any legal existence. The mis-recitals and over statements in the requisition and warrant are not supported by oath and cannot be received as evidence to deprive a citizen of his liberty, and transport him to a foreign state for trial. For these reasons, Smith must be discharged.’
And Joseph had scored another victory over his old enemies of Missouri.”–Ibid
Still another demand was made for Joseph Smith by the governor of Missouri and his arrest took place near Dixon, Lee County, Iowa, June 23, 1843. The officers making the arrest were Joseph H. Reynolds, sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri, and the other was constable Harmon T. Wilson of Carthage, Illinois. He was most shamefully treated by them. They attempted to run him into Missouri without giving him any chance to obtain legal or other aid. But they failed in this as Joseph found an opportunity to procure assistance from two lawyers at Dixon through whose aid a writ of habeas corpus was obtained and made returnable before the nearest tribunal in the Fifth Judicial district authorized to hear and determine such writs. Joseph informed the lawyers that the nearest tribunal possessing such jurisdiction was the municipal court of the city of Nauvoo. This was found to be correct. A writ was sued out against Reynolds and Wilson, Joseph claiming $10,000 damages. The sheriff in charge took Reynolds and Wilson also into custody, and the company began to travel in the direction of Nauvoo.
Immediately after Joseph’s arrest, William Clayton had been dispatched to Nauvoo, and Hyrum Smith, upon learning the condition of his brother, forthwith obtained over three hundred volunteers who immediately started in various directions through the state, they not knowing what direction Joseph might be compelled to travel. Also the steamboat Maid of Iowa, with Elder John Taylor and others on board, steamed down the Mississippi and up the Illinois River to Peru, then back to Nauvoo, to have an eye on steamboats and detect, if possible, any move that might be made to take Joseph to Missouri by such conveyance.
Joseph started from Dixon on the 26th of June. When about forty-five miles from that place, he began to meet the advance of the company from Nauvoo, when he said: “I am not going to Missouri this time. These are my boys.” The joy that was felt by Joseph and his accompanying friends at this meeting was beyond description; but his brutal captors were seized with trembling and declared they would “never go to Nauvoo alive.” The sheriff demanded their arms. They remonstrated, but finally delivered them to the sheriff.
On the 30th day of June, 1843, Joseph was met by the Nauvoo brass and martial bands, his wife, brother Hyrum and hundreds of citizens, who escorted him in triumph through the streets to his residence, while Hail Columbia was being played. His grounds were thrown open to receive the multitude that assembled to welcome their great leader, who, through God’s interposing mercy, had once more triumphed and been permitted to reach his home and the protection of friends.
Joseph’s table was sumptuously spread with every luxury, and Reynolds and Wilson were seated at the head of it and served with the utmost kindness by Mrs. Smith in person.
Once more the Prophet was free, and he, as well as the entire Church over which he presided, felt to thank the God of Israel for his deliverance. As he stepped inside of his enclosure, before washing or brushing away the dust with which his clothing was covered, he sprang quickly upon the fence and obtained a firm footing upon one of the gate posts which had quite a broad top. Then, taking off and swinging his hat, he exclaimed in a loud voice so that all might hear: “Hosannah! Hosannah! Hosannah! to God and the Lamb! I am once more delivered from the hands of the Missourians!”
A shout went up from the assembled thousands of his friends, and springing from the fence, he passed into his house to exchange happy greetings with the members of his family.
A full hearing of the case was had before the municipal court of Nauvoo, and Joseph was discharged.
Soon a general excitement spread through Hancock County and then through the entire state against our people. Reynolds was deeply mortified in being defeated in his expectations of taking back with him to Missouri the Mormon Prophet in chains.
This was the forty-ninth time Joseph had been in the custody of his enemies to answer to trumped up and malicious charges from which he had in every case been set at liberty, for the reason that as he had violated no law, nothing could be sustained against him. But the fiftieth and last arrest was soon to follow–with a deeper and far more subtle intention of violence than was ever before intended on the part of his enemies. A little more time and the schemes of malicious plotters, aided by an apostate and wicked element, would have reached the acme of merciless villainy, and the papers would be served to place him in prison where “powder and ball” would do the fatal work, for which no protecting shadow of law could be found upon any of the statutes of his country.
The circumstances attending his arrest and murder, as well as that of his brother Hyrum, have already been minutely detailed by me in my book, The Martyrs, which is still on sale at the Juvenile Instructor office, and as there is not sufficient room in this volume, we shall speak but briefly of that most melancholy event. Suffice it to say that in the afternoon of the 27th of June, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith fell martyrs for their religion in the jail at Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, while prisoners under the pledge of the governor of the state for their personal security from mob violence.
President John Taylor also was terribly wounded by four of the bullets fired into the jail; his flesh was torn in a shocking manner and the blood flowed freely upon the floor and spattered against the walls of the prison.
Apostle Willard Richards who was also in the jail was more fortunate, as he escaped without being hit by a bullet, or in any way receiving injury by violence.
Some three or four days after this horrible murder was committed, Elder Taylor, though very weak and feeble from the effects of his wounds, was conveyed eighteen miles to Nauvoo, part of the time being drawn upon a sled to which horses were attached, and being carried the remainder of the distance by men upon a hand litter. He was greatly fatigued, but the carefulness and kind attentions of his attendants so husbanded his strength that he was enabled to meet the many hundreds of his friends who went out several miles to greet and escort him to his home.
The thought of being settled, as we supposed permanently, in the midst of the Saints in a land of peace as it then really was, gave much comfort to myself and family. Our sympathies were enlisted in all that pertained to the happiness of the people who dwelt there, and the prosperity that shed its dawning influence upon our growing city yielded its increase of satisfaction as those blessings were developed from month to month and from year to year. We had hoped with them to build a home where violence and the rage of mobs would no more invade the settlements of an innocent people who had been hunted and pursued from the beginning of their religious identity–though their ideas of gospel truths had their earliest inception in “the land of the free.” This desire had also been fondly cherished by our entire community, and it gave strength to the nerve and muscle when heavy toil and persevering diligence were necessarily employed in the development of the country.
The Times and Seasons was being published by Don Carlos Smith and Ebenezer Robinson, who were also the editors and proprietors. They gave me employment as a compositor on the paper. I found them courteous and kind men to work for and everything moved along satisfactorily. This was the business of my choice; we were in the midst of the people we loved and had no desire only to remain with them, worship there and share their destiny.
Not long after the founding of this city, the name of Commerce was discarded and that of Nauvoo substituted. On the 21st of April, 1840, the Postmaster General of Washington changed the name of the post office to that of Nauvoo and appointed George W. Robinson postmaster. On the 27th of that month, Bishop Edward Partridge died there, aged forty-six years. His death was attributable to the exposures he was forced to endure during the troubles in Missouri. On the 27th also of that month, James Allred, Noah Rogers, Alanson Brown and Benjamin Boyce were kidnapped from Hancock County by Missourians and taken to Tulley, Lewis County, Missouri, where they were imprisoned, whipped and ill treated, until nearly dead. Brown and Allred escaped a few days after this treatment, but the others did not succeed in escaping until August 21, during which time they had been put in irons and endured much suffering. Many things of a persecutive character began to be inaugurated against us which tended to open our eyes to the fact that in Illinois there were wicked men enough intermixed with those who were law-abiding citizens to foment strife and enact evil against our people. In the preceding chapter we have seen to what extent this wickedness was carried, culminating in the martyrdom of the Prophet and patriarch of the Church and the serious wounding of a distinguished member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The occurrence of this tragedy brought a dark and gloomy day to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the world.
The writer wishes here to refer to certain events in which it became his duty to take an active part:
About the 10th of June, 1845, I began to be impressed with a desire to go to St. Louis, Missouri. I tried to throw off this feeling as I had no business to transact there, but my efforts in that direction were entirely futile. The influence increased upon me until it reached a most intense condition. Finally I concluded to follow the promptings and about the middle of that month started for that city.
As I rapped at my mother’s place of abode, my sister Joanna answered at the door. Her noiseless and subdued manner instantly impressed me with the knowledge that sickness was in the habitation. Though she welcomed me with the genial warmth of a kind-hearted sister, she did not fail to communicate the fact that positive silence was necessary to be observed. Notwithstanding our meeting was conducted with that view, my mother’s quick ear caught the pronunciation of my name, and in her reduced and enfeebled condition, arose from her bed and attempted to come from her room to see if it really was me. As soon as we saw her advance, we sprang to her with all the quickness possible and caught her reeling form just in time to prevent her fall. We lifted her gently to her bed and as she sank upon it I was encircled by the emaciated arms of my beloved mother. We spoke soothing words and ministered all the little restoratives we thought would quiet her agitation and quiet the nerves. In a reasonable time she became composed and was supremely happy because her son had come before the flickering lamp of life was extinguished.
O, that I could wield a pen skilled to relate the emotions and remembrances that crowded into those fleeting moments! Full well then I knew the Supreme motive that directed thither my footsteps. I was there to see my dear mother in the last hours of her mortal life, to receive her dying benedictions and tender, though feeble, caresses. I was present to gratify the anxious yearnings of an affectionate heart and mollify the pangs that must be attendant upon the last hours when mortality is to part with the dear ones of earth and launch out from the shores of time and cross over to the eternal realms forgotten by us in our mortal incarnation. I was sent there by a divine impulse, to receive the last instructions and listen to the wishes of a parent at the close of a weary life, to lull the tempest of a troubled existence and offer consolations to a bosom rent and torn by the disappointments and sorrows of her earthly stay. There she lay, pale and weak, my mother. Her form emaciated and thin, but with all the functions of intellect endowed with strength and vigor to enunciate sentiments of tender recognition.
Kind reader, have you stood by a mother’s death bed and watched life’s taper as it paled in the increasing shadow of death? Have you made note of the failing pulse which quickened into life your own existence? Did you watch when the eye’s sparkling rays that were wont to fire your bosom with thrilling transport were being obscured in the gathering mists that render dreary the portals of the tomb? Have you bent downward for the ear to listen when the trembling voice gradually lost its power of utterance? If you have your knowledge will qualify you to imagine the emotional tumult that crowded and filled my being as I watched by that bedside until all that was mortal of my mother’s remains were rendered inactive in the oblivious shadows of death.
Does manhood lose its dignity of bearing while bending meekly beneath the weightiness of such a blow, that the eye sheds tears of weeping, or the faltering tongue utters tender regrets at the final parting? No, proud man looks noble and exalts his being while thus lowly bowed in the solitude and awe that invests a shrine so hallowed by those sacred memories that appeal to reason for the sanctifying incense that nature’s God has fixed to blaze within the deep recesses of the human heart. The proudest monarch that ever wore a crown, or the most illustrious commander whose fortune it has been to subjugate empires, are melted into contrition when she who nursed the incipient fires of his mortal existence is passing from earth to be hidden from his gaze through the appointed seasons of revolving time. Even the obdurate and depraved turn to her with reverence, and though crime may have placed his feet upon the scaffold where his offense is to be expiated, yet even there the obdurate heart melts into contrition as regretful recollections crowd his bosom that his life had not been molded by the plastic hand of a mother’s watchfulness and the words of gentle admonition that fell from her lips. We reverence father for his protection and justice, for sheltering abodes that have secured us from the pelting storms, for his continued kindness as we grow from infancy to manhood, for his wise counsels and expenditure of means, perhaps to polish and refine us with educational science, but through all these bestowments the mother’s vigilance has been co-equal, and through all she has ministered as the guardian angel of our existence. Her gentle hand is remembered in every circumstance and condition that has intervened. In health she has spoken kindly congratulations and in sickness has patiently watched through the midnight vigils to bathe the burning brow and still the raging pulse with grateful emollients. She moves in a sphere where unselfish affection holds dominion and wins its votaries by the charms of gentleness and grace, which draw upon the most enduring sensibilities evolved in the bosom of mortals. The adoration that may be revealed in the responsive blushes that glow upon a maiden’s cheek, may be more impulsive and brilliant, but cannot be more lasting or conducive to the perpetuity of more substantial benefits. The holy flame of a mother’s devotion will burn on undiminished in its brightness, while that of the trusted bride and bridegroom may wane and be extinguished upon the bleak shores swept by the unwelcome winds of adversity.
My mother lingered for four or five days after my arrival. In the warmest terms she expressed her thankfulness to her Heavenly Father that I had come to be with her through her sickness. I conversed with her freely concerning the doctrines and principles of the Church, in relation to all of which she expressed her firm belief, and spoke of her great desire to get well that she might renew her covenant by being rebaptized. She felt that this would be a great satisfaction inasmuch as she had been absent from the Church for several years. She said this had been her desire for a long time, but she had put it off from time to time. “But now,” she said, “if the Lord permits me to get well, I will attend to it, and nothing shall hinder me.”
She would have me by her bedside as much as possible except when she thought I was weary, and then she would beg me to lie down in the other room where I would not be disturbed, and get some sleep and rest. I was troubled, at that time, with inflamed eyes, and the day before she died she would insist on bathing them with some eyewater, notwithstanding she was so very feeble. She said no one could do for her “darling boy” (for so she often called me), “like his own poor mother.” She dreamed the night before her death of purchasing some fine book muslins, a cap, etc., and when the cap was brought with her burial clothes, I found it precisely answered the description of the one she dreamed of purchasing.
She expressed much concern about her children. She was entirely resigned to her fate and I am thankful that I can say truthfully that I never saw a person die more perfectly happy. About 3 o’clock a.m. of the 23rd of June, 1845, I was startled by the rattles in her throat. I was quickly by her side where I found my ever-faithful sister Joanna watching over her. Then I knew all hope was lost. The fond dreams of future days of comfort and happiness with that affectionate parent, that previously occupied my mind, had not flown forever. There lay my beloved mother, struggling for a few more breaths to prolong her earthly existence! O, God! what feelings chilled my frame! I knew a few minutes were all she had to stay, and with an effort, I summoned all my fortitude to put on at least an external appearance of tranquility. Placing my lips to her ear, I whispered low: “Mother, if you should not live would you like for me to have someone rebaptized for you and see that all things possible are done for your benefit hereafter?” O, what joy beamed in her countenance as she faintly replied: “O, yes, my dear son, to be sure; by all means, by all means.” Again I inquired: “Would you like for me to take you to Nauvoo and have you buried with the Saints?” Then her countenance glowed with satisfaction, as she but poorly articulated: “O, yes, to be sure, my kind, dear son!” And again I whispered: “Mother, you will see my little children.” She made an effort to raise her head, as if she expected they were present, and eagerly asked: “Where?” To correct her understanding, I answered: “In the spirit world.” She then sank back upon her pillow as if satisfied, and said: “O, yes, yes.” These were her last words, and she soon fell asleep in death.
As soon as it was light, I started to see Mr. Benjamin L. Shaw and met him on his way to inquire as to my mother’s condition. This gentleman was a relative, himself and my mother being first cousins, in consequence of which and being a man of great wealth, he had extended to the family much financial assistance. He asked if my mother had made any request before her death. I told him of her desire to be buried at Nauvoo. He said that her wishes must be complied with. We went together to the undertaker and he ordered a coffin, and a suitable strong box in which the casket containing her remains were to be placed. Some ladies came and she was suitably made ready for burial. The habiliments with which she was to be clothed were made and her body was invested with the robes for her final rest. She was placed in the coffin and then O, how peaceful and pleasant seemed her rest! Then, my mother, your troubles were ended. The storms of life were passed and your spirit could soar to a world of peace and joy. No more shall you endure the tempests of mortal suffering or the winds of malevolence roar around your pathway, nor the clouds of adversity shut out the genial sunlight of connubial joys. Your career of sorrow now is over. Well and patiently you have endured the reverses attendant upon the mortal existence. You have accepted of God’s revealed and redeeming truth, and the celestial consolations of the future life will heal the wounds inflicted along the dreary shores of this life.
The coffin containing her remains was placed into a strong box which was nailed up securely and conveyed on board a steamboat. My two sisters–Joanna and Almira Harriet–and myself took passage. We had a reasonably pleasant trip and arrived at Nauvoo about 10 o’clock a.m. of June 25th. I engaged the sexton–William Huntington–to dig the grave. A few friends rode out to the cemetery and about 4 o’clock p.m., my mother’s inanimate form was consigned to her final resting place where she, with the Saints who sleep around her, will rest until the trump of God shall call forth the pale nations of the dead from the sleep of death. Until then, my mother, we must be separated.
My sisters, after visiting at my home for a few days returned to St. Louis.
It will be a little out of place in the order of dates perhaps, but I wish here to insert the obituary notices of two of my sisters. The St. Louis, Missouri, Evening Gazette, dated Tuesday, January 20, 1846, contained the following:
“Died, at about 2 o’clock on the morning of the 19th inst., Almira Harriet, aged 11 years.
And never did the cold and unrelenting frost of death nip a sweeter bud! Already had the affectionate amiability of her heart–the mature and womanly dignity of her manners, and the flattering promise of her high intellectual endowments–tenderly endeared her to a circle of sincere and disinterested friends. The religion of Christ was the ruling passion of her soul. Conscious that her dissolution was approaching, she expressed a calm and cheerful resignation to her early doom, and met the fell destroyed with a serene smile upon her pure lips, that was still lingering there, when the coffin lid was closed over her forever. Enshrined within each heart that knew her, the bright vision of her spotless life must forever,
‘Still lingering, haunt The greenest spot on memory’s waste.’
“Died, in this city, on Saturday, July 26, after an illness of many months’ standing, Caroline Matilda, beloved wife of John W. Newman, in the 46th year of her age.
The funeral will take place this morning at 10 o’clock, from the family residence, corner of Carpenter and Sixth Streets, to which the friends of the family are invited.
A devoted wife and mother whose affection encircled her home’s loved ties most tenderly, sleeps in death. Like the evergreen garland on the brow of honor and valor, that affection encircled to bless, to grace and to cheer, while it leaves its mark on the world after the possessor has passed beyond the toils, trials, loves, and well-earned esteem of her life labors. She has laid aside the tender wand of affection,
“With which she o’er a household ruled,”
and “climbing the golden stair,” has gone to receive the reward of a life pure and spotless.
Her life was best appreciated where best known–in her home and in the neighborhood. More than ordinarily intelligent, made Mrs. Newman the cherished companion of those who delight in mental culture, while her kindly nature and Christian-like relations with all, made her advice valuable and appreciated when given.
She was in the truest sense a Christian woman, whether administering to the felicity of her own household, discharging the duty of a neighbor, or as a member of the great sisterhood in which she so modestly performed a sister’s part. She leaves behind her a Christian mother’s best legacy to loved sons–the record of a spotless life. Her home was her all, and first of earthly consideration, and she the brightest sunbeams of cheer, the light of its brightest joys to husband and sons of her home quartette of felicity.
Outside of her domestic joys the Church was next akin to her first care, and here she modestly endeavored to fill the consistent Christian woman’s part devoutly.
Her kindness of heart, conscientious convictions, honesty of purpose and charity for all, in happy union with her other and many Christian graces, makes her loss by death a calamity not only to those bound by the sacred ties of blood, but through every other channel her virtuous life deeds ramified.
She was a native of New York, married in St. Louis, and for nearly twenty-five years had been a resident of this city, respected,loved and cherished by all. She had only returned “home to die” from a visit to a sister in the country the day before her final summons came to fill another grave and make another home sad and gloomy by the departure of a loving wife, a devoted parent and cherished friend.
Sympathy turns with pitying eye, Mingling warm tears with those of sadness, While friendship calms the rising sigh And grieved hearts are filled with gladness By the thought of life in the orb supernal, In the rest to her through life eternal.”
–Sangamo Monitor, Springfield, Illinois, July 28, 1879.
By request, we here insert the following descriptive article from the pen of the author of this book, which appeared in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons, of November 15, 1841:
Sights from the Long Tree
‘Twas morning–the sun rose under the brightest auspices, and the thin, vaporous clouds that flitted in the heavens, continued gradually to flee away before the gentle morning breeze, that seemed wont to greet their golden visages with the soft rustle of its dewy wings–until not a hand’s breadth of them were seen remaining to mar the spotless beauty of the ethereal blue. Oh! how beautiful and sublimely grand–as I sat beneath the Lone Tree, on this delightful morning–did the scenery of nature, which was there spread around me, clad in the luxuriant robes of summer’s brightest green, appear to my enamored vision! Sweet, too, as the mellow cadence of the Aeolian harp, when its chords are swept by the artful fingers of a maiden’s tiny hand, was the distant music of birds offering up their morning orisons to the Author of their joy, as they twittered from spray to spray among the green foliage of a neighboring grove.
I was bounded by a vast and fertile prairie on the west, who superabundance of wild but beautiful flowers waved their proud heads in the passing breeze, as if rejoicing at the sublime appearance of the “King of Day,” on the east by a wide-spread valley that intervened between me and the great “Father of Waters,” whose disporting wavelets wore the gay smile of the rising sun as they rode gently on towards the mighty ocean, and on the north and south by seemingly interminable woods, whose foliage danced gracefully in the morning light, and sent its peaceful and unwritten whisperings away upon the balmy wings of the passing zephyrs. Upon this valley were seen numerous herds of cattle eagerly feeding upon the green, unbroken surface, while the melody of their tinkling bells stole upon my ear, and made me for once, envy the cheerful shepherd his humble lot, which calls him from the monotony of village traffic to muse, undisturbed by any of the litigated topics which always agitate the mind in the busy walks of life, amid scenes so romantic and delightful as those with which I was surrounded.
On the opposite side of the Mississippi, lay a broad and beautiful plain, which stretched up and down its waters as far as my sight could extend, and was thickly covered with dwellings, which for their simple neatness and rural beauty, were to me far preferable to those gaudy palaces where aristocracy sits gorged in the lap of affluence and surrounded by all the paraphernalia of inexhaustible wealth. Yes, for that spot, so truly picturesque in its scenery, and where but a few years ago, nought was seen save the curling smoke from the Indian wigwam, or heard but the fearful twang of the savage bow-string and thrilling yell of the fearless war whoop, my soul felt an attachment which all the alluring pageantry of an opulent world would fail to inspire. Oh! what clam and unbroken serenity dwelt in my bosom as I contemplated its matchless beauty of landscape and thought of the many endearing ties that bound me to its inhabitants, which now numbered near eight thousand souls. That was the delightful city of Nauvoo–the home of her whose destiny was united to mine through the many conflicting changes of this transitory life; her, who with timorous heart and reciprocal affection, I had led to the sacred altar of Hymen, and whom I now delighted to call by the ever dear and consecrated name of wife!
There too, dwelt my brethren, who after being driven from their peaceful homes in the west by the barbarous hand of religious persecution, had made it their place of refuge, and from an uninhabited waste, converted it into a flourishing and populous city. They had been delivered from their enemies and they dwelt in peace. The effulgent morn of prosperity beamed bright upon their hopes, happiness smiled in every countenance, and friendship, pure and unalloyed, reigned supremely in every bosom. But the sight of the beautifully sloping hill–situated near half a mile from the Mississippi–on whose delightful summit the temple of God was being erected, filled my mind with emotions still more pleasing and delightfully intense, emotions to which the corrupt and profane world is a stranger, and which the acknowledged pen of sublimest eloquence and profound erudition, would prove infinitely inadequate to describe. That temple was fast approaching a state of completion, and in the eagerness of my soul, I said: the day is not far distant when its magnificent walls of grandest architecture and most skillful masonry, will post their ponderous and polished fronts upon that beautiful eminence, and become the beauty of Zion to sentinel the sacred land.
My attention was now attracted by a congregation of people who were assembled in a beautiful grove near the summit of the hill and seated in the unbroken redundance of its shade. It was Sunday and they had met to worship Him who is the divine author of their holy religion. Now me thought I could hear the heavenly chant of their song of worship send its mellow notes, rendered more soft and harmonious by distance, through the ambient air and, being inspired with love for its sweetness, I hastened from the place where my bosom had been so emulated with feelings of transport, to join my brethren in worship near the temple of God.
In the spring of 1843, I was sent on a mission to the southern portion of Illinois. Taking a steamer at Nauvoo at what was generally called the upper stone house landing, we wended our way down the broad majestic stream which ran rapidly from the place of embarkation for a distance of twelve miles, the facilitated current being caused by the water flowing down a gentle declivity which gave to the river at that point the title of The Rapids–at the foot of which on the Iowa shore, was the flourishing business place widely known as Keokuk.
I had taken passage for St. Louis, Missouri, intending at that place to cross the river east and travel out into Madison County and commence my missionary labors. This was my first mission from home with the sacred object in view of trying to disseminate the truths of the gospel, as a missionary, by lifting up my voice to the people and giving my reasons for the hope that had been inspired within me. Hence the undertaking was a most important one to me, considering my youth and inexperience. But at the start I committed myself to the keeping of my Heavenly Father and asked Him not only to aid me by His Spirit in enunciating the saving truths of the gospel, but also to overrule for my personal safety that I might, in due time, return to my family and friends.
While traveling down the Mississippi, a certain legal gentleman whose name I here omit and who had been identified in some of the later lawsuits that had been vexatiously brought against the Prophet Joseph, obtruded his acquaintance upon me. He asked some inquisitive questions and I discovered he was not pleased with some of my answers. Finally, he sullenly withdrew from my company, after expressing some interest in my welfare. The last item that he took special pains to elicit from me was that I was to leave the steamer at St. Louis. I notice in him a gratified expression upon gaining this intelligence.
The city of Alton, on the Illinois side of the river, is distant above St. Louis about thirty miles. In the latter part of the night I was awoke in the midst of a frightful dream and springing from my berth, put on my clothing as quickly as possible. Then, taking my carpet sack, I hastened from my stateroom and down the flight of stairs, when, stepping quickly along the plank that ran out upon the shore, found myself in a place strange to me. One of the men standing there informed me we were in Alton. My reasoning faculties came quickly to my aid and a feeling was inspired within me, as quick as thought, not to be uneasy for all was right and intended for my preservation. I acknowledged the hand of the Lord in the circumstance. The steamer immediately withdrew and soon the heavy and lonesome sound of the escaping steam was heard far downstream to echo along the sable shores.
I could not account fully for the strange incident that had just occurred. I had escaped no visible danger and had I reasoned entirely as an uninspired and doubting naturalist often does, I might have felt like finding fault with the Providence that had disturbed my sleep with unpleasant dreams and propelled my powers of locomotion to that then lonely shore. Thus it is with man oftentimes. Because they had not seen with the natural eye some danger they have escaped and their quick perceptive powers of sight did not detect the adder that was coiled in the path, or because the sleeping reptile failed to rattle a signal for the deadly spring–they fail to acknowledge the hand of God in their deliverance from harm and attribute their preservation to their own sagacity and precaution.
After spending about one hour in solitude the first gleams of approaching light shot upward along the eastern horizon. Welcome tokens! Glad presage of approaching day, when the shadows would be scattered by the king of light while mounting to the zenith of his diurnal circuit. Never did a morning’s dawn bring to me more exultant joy. Never did the human heart overflow with fuller transports of thankfulness to the Divine Creator, who–as in the beginning–caused light to spring forth and scatter the darkness that enveloped the earth. It gradually revealed to me the buildings and signs of civilization and domestic care before the drowsy denizens ventured forth into the streets or filled the marts of trade. That light ever drives away the general distrust occasioned from a knowledge of the crimes sheltered from sight beneath the curtains of night, and renews confidence in the Great Supreme which gives distinctness to the matchless splendor of His works. Never has day dawned upon me when my whole being was more completely filled with emotions of thankfulness. Mysteriously ejected from the steamboat and left in an unknown city enveloped in darkness, the reaction from despondence by the transporting light was rendered gratifying beyond all power of description.
Morning is ever a welcome period. Its influences are hailed by all as the night’s repose is ended and the slumberer–refreshed in the oblivious hours–first opens the organs of vision upon the green earth made radiant in the early beams of light. The dews of night hand pendent from the lilies and refresh the green grass, but the resplendence of such gems has but a brief existence. Like the most innocent and lovely of mortality that expire in the hours of their brief existence, such sparkling brilliants do not always last to bless and give during charms to the sanctified circles of connubial life. The voluptuousness of that hour glitters through the forests and the silent dells, upon the foliage of the trees that sway in the winds over our heads and on the mountain brow where the untamed roe tosses his broad antlers upward into the brightness of a newborn day, sniffs the freshened breeze, and shakes the tears of night from his shaggy neck. As the sorrowing heart–when a ray of hope steals kindly through the soul and lifts the despairing spirit up to catch the phantoms of some filial joy–so do the world’s denizens bask in the exultant ecstacies of the early dawn, before the mounting sun melts into vapor the dazzling dews of beauty and float away into denser and sullen clouds to be shaken by pealing thunder the enveloped in the lightning which sends down its fiery bolts and claims mankind and his accumulated comforts for its victims.
Because the hour is brief and beautiful we love it. The blessed moments of life which cannot last–we quaff their glories with a zest all the more exquisite because they are transitory. But though the soaring sun drinks up the fragile freshness from the trembling foliage, its warm rays quicken the earth with reproductive powers and the roots of the forest oak, with the fragile stems of flowers, send upward the spirit of life to clothe the tops with leaflets and blooming petals that survive the summer solstice until December’s blasts hurl them withered from their stems. This tells us that there are departments in the domains of nature where existence is not so transitory and where happiness and beauty can endure until ripened for the change which preludes the resuscitation of another life that will not be shaken by the blasts of death. The statistics of mortal life declare that the natural man may endure to “three score and ten,” but the inspirations of a higher divinity begets faith and knowledge in an existence that is immortal where joys are more than momentary and where the beauties of the paradisaic fields will never fade, where the flowers bloom perennially and the forms created in the image of the Eternal Father will not be cut down, but forever endure in the fullness and vigor of perpetual prime.
Yes, the dawn of morning–as the beginning of life–is full of promise. The bow of hope spans the horizon as the precursor of promised joys. All creation is decked in the habiliments of gorgeous attire–as the blushing bride is led to the hymeneal altar by smiling maidens to meet the greetings of her chosen lord. The rays of rising glory light the beacon torches upon the towering mountains and chase the shadows from the lowland vales. The feathered songsters awake from drowsiness and silence to hail the welcome light and chant their welcome notes, and the bee hums its tiny tunes as it sips honey from the rich petals of the rose. The nimble kine skips upon the hills and through the meadows in glad revelry of the effulgent fragrance, while old and young, of the human race, bathe the smiling cheek in the playful dalliance of the radiant darts that chase away the shades of gloom and make all bright and glowing in that perpetual flood of light that has blessed the revolving ages with seed time and harvest. Buy alas! much of that gush of delight is obscured in the glooms of care and toil, for man is doomed to eat his bread by the sweat of the brow. The bright day lives but through a few brief hours. The glorious sun slowly but surely descends from the exalted point of meridian splendor and sinks to rest behind the western verge where the emblems of its departed glory is refracted upon the gorgeous sky, itself soon to become oblivious in the broad curtains of the gloomy night.
Such are the days and nights allotted to mortals whose abode is upon this fallen earth. The light of day gives place alternately to the shades of night, and the mortal spark of life is as surely extinguished in the solemn hush that darkens the passage to the tomb. That which is earthly in the tenements of the human race must slumber through the night of death, but the intelligent portion–the living soul–will be awakened in a morning that will eclipse the early splendor of the diurnal day, for that will be the full fruition of the matchless splendor of the Eternal King of Glory. Then mankind will be fully redeemed, the earth exalted to its destined orbit, and all will be merged in the boundless region of unfading light that illuminates the celestial cities where the thrones of the Gods are eternal and the brightness of His glory will bless the beautified worlds with perpetual day.
A stranger, I wandered through the streets of the city, wondering how to proceed and contemplating upon the singular manner by which I was made a wanderer there. As soon as the people began to walk abroad, I commenced making inquiries and by the usual breakfast time I found the abode of a Latter-day Saint by the name of Brown and was seated at his table partaking of the morning’s meal with himself and wife. This is the same Brother Brown who was murdered some twenty or twenty-five years ago in Salt Lake City over a trouble concerning the water with which his lot was being irrigated. The man who committed the unjustifiable deed went by the name of Cockroft. He received the sentence of the law and was shot for his crime.
I found in Alton several families of the Saints and held a few meetings in that place. I did what good I could in that vicinity and then traveled out into the interior, conversing with the people as opportunity presented upon the principles of the gospel, and at the same time trying to disabuse their minds concerning the false rumors that had been put in circulation regarding Joseph Smith the Prophet and the people of Nauvoo generally. To converse with the people by the wayside and in their dwellings was about all the opportunities presenting for me to promulgate the doctrines of the gospel. After a few days travel in this way, I came across a few families of Saints by whom I was kindly entertained as often as I desired to be a participant of their hospitality. Brothers Joel Ricks, now a resident of Logan City, William Steele of the Smithfield Ward, and Levi Stewart, now residing in the southern portion of Utah, are the only names I can now remember who with their families resided there. I held some meetings in their houses. They manifested much faith and interest in the progress of the latter-day work. But aside from the Saints not much spirit of inquiry could be awakened in that section of the country.
Much faithful preaching had been done there by the elders, and all that were honest hearted enough to obey the sacred truths had already done so and a considerable number of such had removed to Nauvoo. But while there, in my wanderings, circumstances in which I was occasionally placed cause me to reflect upon the journeyings and missions performed by Christ and His Apostles, who went forth without purse or scrip, and these memorable words were frequently brought to mind: “Foxes have holes and the fowls of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”
Elders James Butler and Thomas Edwards had done a good work through that country and I was much pleased to meet with them while there.
In process of time, Brothers Joel Ricks, William Steele, and James Olive were going on a visit to Nauvoo and by their kind permission, I returned with them. We arrived in the town of Ramus, Hancock County, about the 25th of August, where I joined my wife whom I had left there, at the residence of her uncle, Benjamin Andrews, to remain during my absence.
I was there presented with my little daughter who had been born on the 19th of that month. My family and friends were pleased at my arrival at such an interesting juncture and I partook freely of the prevalent feeling of gratification. We named our little daughter Donna Isora, a name gleaned from a Spanish romance during the few days leisurely passed by me and which I read for the amusement of Mrs. Littlefield while she was approaching to convalescence.
As soon as circumstances permitted we returned to our home in Nauvoo. Our little daughter grew finely and became the pride and pet of the family circle.
It will be well to state here that this was the third child that had been born to us during our residence in Nauvoo. The first born was a daughter whom we named Mariah. The second was a son and we named him Edward Lytton, out of respect to Edward Lytton Bulwer who in recent years has been familiarly known as Lord Lytton, and who in the early years of my life, ranked in my estimation, among the most chaste and beautiful writers in fictitious literature.
Those two first born little treasures were laid in their early death depositories where their ashes will rest until awakened by the resuscitating power of Omnipotence which is to call forth the inanimate forms of the dead, and reconstruct them suitably for the abodes of the spirits which are eternal and consequently require habitations to dwell in which are rendered secure from any future periods of decay. Their stay was brief in our domestic circle, but those few hours were enough to fix their family identity, receive names by which they are to be distinguished from others in the family group which is to have an existence and an organization beyond the grave, when the work of the resurrection shall have “raised to newness of life” those who are heirs to the felicities which are to bud and blossom forever upon the fair fields of those celestial landscapes that have been preserved, or redeemed, from every curse and made radiant in that matchless brightness and purity that reflect the true imagery of the deific forms of the Father and the Son.
The loss of those two babes made our watchcare over our little Donna Isora all the more vigilant lest some accident should befall her or some contagious disease lay hold of her system, by which she should be snatched away from us. And this created within the bosom of my wife an early anxiety, for soon after the birth of the child and before my arrival home, she knew by the movements of the attendants in the room that they were trying to conceal from her the fact that spasms were threatening a fatal result. She summoned her strength, and turning her face to the wall at the back side of the bed, she engaged in mental prayer to her Heavenly Father to spare the child’s life, and she there, at such a time, made a covenant that if the Lord would spare her child, she would in all things yield submissively to His will and try to keep His law the remainder of her days. Her prayer was answered and that then tiny form has since expanded into womanhood and beautiful children have been the fruits of her marriage with an honorable man. How well the mother kept her covenant belongs to the final judge of us all to declare.
In Nauvoo, on the morning of the 7th of August, 1841, at 20 minutes after 2 o’clock in the 25th year of his age, Elder Don Carlos Smith, the publisher and one of the editors of the Times and Seasons, departed this life. His funeral obsequies took place on the 9th inst. amid a vast concourse of relatives and friends. He was buried with military honors, holding at the time of his death the office of brigadier general of the 2nd Cohort of the Nauvoo Legion.
Concerning this good and great man the writer published an article in the Times and Seasons, from which the following is an extract:
“Few men ever lived more universally beloved and respected–by both strangers and acquaintances, kindred and friends–than did our lately deceased brother–Don Carlos Smith. His worth, his amiability, his hospitality, his generosity of sentiment, his benevolence of principle, his capability as an officer and his usefulness as a citizen–are too indelibly impressed upon the hearts of this community, and the numerous circle of friends who are united to him by the endearing ties of natural affection, to be soon forgotten. With his brethren, he felt the grievous yoke of persecution–which he was willing to bear for the sake of the religion he had espoused and which he ever struggled to perpetuate–but the unpropitious hand of death has taken him untimely from our midst, and his ashes now slumber in the silent tomb. “He lies full low, but he lies in peace,” his spirit has gone to the God who gave it. Death has torn him from the wife of his bosom, and from the society of his little children, but he is at rest; his soul is emancipated, he feels no more the heavy hand of persecution, and the turmoils and adversities of this life no longer agitate his peaceful bosom. He is taken from us for a little season, but we shall meet him again in that bright world, where the weary are at rest, and where sorrow and parting can never come. Then let the Saints cease their lamentations, and thou, bereaved one, let those pungent sighs of heart-felt anguish be hushed into repose; let that heaving bosom be calm, let that widowed heart be comforted, and those tears of sorrow dried up! You soon shall join him in a better world than this.”
During the period of which I am now writing (1843-4) a subtle and malicious undercurrent was silently and stealthily running and spreading through the circles that composed the society of Nauvoo. As well as the glorious doctrines of baptism for the dead, there were many other truths of vital moment which were revealed to the members of the Church through the agency of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Some of the doctrines were construed by evil disposed persons in a way to place them in a false light before the people by placing upon them interpretations different from what their real import would justify. There were those ready and willing to embrace the opportunity of fabricating false deductions for the purpose of counteracting or lessening the great influence which Joseph wielded against all who practiced any species of evil in society. Among these were disaffected persons, some of whom possessed ability, cunning and a degree of influence. Some of them were persons who were ambitious for promotion and advancement into public favor, a portion seeking social, political or religious advancement, according to their taste. But Joseph was the man who stood boldly in the Thermopylae to defend the innocent and unsuspecting and direct their minds in the true channel that pointed the way to eternal blessings.
In order to fan the excitement and intensify the feeling of animosity against Joseph and the Saints, and cause that to become the general sentiment of the country, they commenced the printing of the Expositor, a paper that was to be the organ through which they could issue their vituperative tirades upon the personal character of both sexes, whom they desired to make victims. The first number of this paper was issued on June 7, 1844. Its contents, as was expected, was very insulting. It attacked their domestic circles in a way to misrepresent the morals of the people and impugn the integrity and loyalty of every man of prominence who was considered to be especially favorable to the advanced doctrines of the leaders. It was plain that they intended to wage a warfare, through the agency of the press, to break down every influence favorable to the citizens of Nauvoo and to deprive them, as far as possible, of their legal rights.
The contents of the first number of this sheet was so libelous, and evidence gathered from other sources so conclusive that the City Council resolved upon immediate action and issued the following:
“Bill for Removing of the Press of the Nauvoo Expositor.
Resolved by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo, that the printing office from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor is a public nuisance; and also of said Nauvoo Expositor which may be or exist in said establishment; and the mayor is instructed to cause said establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in such manner as he shall direct.
George W. Harris, President pro tem.
Passed June 10, 1844,
W. Richards, Recorder.”
Foremost among the disaffected cabal was the notorious John C. Bennett. The Prophet fully exposed his corruptions and he fell from every position of trust that he had ever occupied among the Latter-day Saints. By the Prophet’s influence in his favor, during the time that Bennett labored to aid in establishing the people in their Constitutional rights, he done a good work in helping to procure the Nauvoo City charter by enactment of the Legislature. But when he corrupted himself and prostituted every possible virtue that was presented in his path–and he was destitute of any spirit that prompted him with a desire to reform–the confidence of Joseph and the Saints was withdrawn; he fell, and his fame was at an end. His lechery had debauched every virtuous sentiment that morality had ever taught him. There was no scheme of villainy, within his grasp, that he would hesitate to employ to gratify his lust. Many of his unvirtuous acts in Nauvoo were ventilated, and his attempted defamations of the Prophet proven utterly false. A circumstance with which the writer was familiar now occurs fresh to mind, concerning which the following are a few of the facts:
During the winter when a lyceum was in progress in the upper room of Joseph’s store, this same Bennett became enamored of a lady of good repute and comely mien. The lyceum sessions were held regular each Wednesday evening. The husband of this lady was a member of that institution and a regular attendant of the same. The doctor selected these particular evenings as being propitious for the success of his wicked design and commenced to make calls upon her at such hours. Notwithstanding he was well skilled in the etiquette that belongs to social life and knew how to ape refinement when he chose, yet upon these occasions he was grossly rude and impulsive in his advances. The lady, from the beginning, knowing his influence at that time, dreaded to offend him and tried to argue and reason with him against his unjustifiable course. She also dreaded the consequences in case she informed her husband of the facts. She took this course during two of his visits, but finding her efforts ineffectual, she resolved to detain her husband at home when the next evening for the lyceum should arrive. Her pleadings grew so earnest that she became successful, her husband not suspecting the real cause. He was somewhat surprised, of course, when the great Doctor Bennett called at his humble abode. The door of this residence opened immediately on the sidewalk and it was quite handy the next morning for this invader of domestic happiness to open the door, after the husband was seen to go to business, and threaten to take vengeance on her husband because she had detained him at home the previous evening.
The doctor instituted slanders against her husband and tried to hamper him with the law which, for a short time, threatened serious trouble. The husband being innocent of what the doctor had caused to be charged against him treated the matter deliberately and in a short time was fully vindicated in the estimation of those whose minds had been disconcerted by the poison which this unscrupulous defamer had prescribed. And soon after, the expositions that the Prophet caused to be made public against him hurled him from the pinnacle of his influence and he could no longer crush the innocent beneath his relentless step.
Besides Bennett, there were the two Laws, the two Fosters and the two Higbees who were the leaders and prime instigators–among the apostate element–of the movement which culminated in the murder of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, Hyrum Smith, the patriarch, and the severe wounding of Apostle John Taylor. All these intriguers were members of the Church at the time they commenced to lay their plans, if possible to weaken the confidence of the Saints in their successful and popular leader. They were enabled for a time, to work for the advancement of their schemes without having their motives suspected, from the fact that they labored to retain as long as possible their membership in the Church, and also to guard against their misrepresentations coming to the knowledge of those who were known to be staunch members in harmony with the movements and counsels of the Prophet.
They were also members, and I think officers of the legion. William Law was a member of the First Presidency of the Church. Their abilities and attainments were good enough, and if they had been Latter-day Saints really at heart, their record might not pass down attainted through the ages, they might have continued to labor for the advancement of God’s purposes with honorable results to themselves. They coalesced with the outsiders who were envious of the influence Joseph very properly wielded in the community. As our people responded to all the requirements of good citizens by paying taxes, improving the highways, and in many ways building up and beautifying the country, it was right and proper that they should have a voice in all legitimate measures adopted for the public weal.
It is not the intention of entering upon an elaborate detail of the many causes that led to the bloody tragedy that was enacted at Carthage, which stained the honor of the state and branded the actors with the guilt of shedding the blood of innocence. It has been out object here to record who were the first instigators of the trouble. They were men who professedly had been Joseph’s friends and had espoused the religious truths which he, in the providences of God, had been made the instrument to enunciate.
We now come to a most important epoch in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph, the Prophet of God, the president and leader of the Saints, and the first head–under Christ, of the dispensation of the fullness of times–was gone behind the veil. He was not seen, as in days gone by, upon the streets–not in the oft-repeated visits to the homes of his people, and not in the earnest worshiping congregations of assembled thousands to listen to the instructions which the Great Jehovah, in his lifetime, caused to flow from his lips. The First Presidency was by his death made vacant, and hence the organization of God’s Church upon the earth was, for the time being, just that much deficient in its organization. Joseph, the wonderful leader, had ended his mortal career and his inspired spirit had gone to mingle with the nobility that dwell in a world where the warfare over the besetments of the flesh are ended, and where eternal life is to assume supreme dominion. The wicked had at last prevailed over his temporal body, and his blood had been spilled to fix the broad seal of testimony to the saving truths he had enunciated during his ministry among the children of men.
The Church was now brought to a severe test. Previously, we had formed no very distinct idea how it was possible to move forward in the track of a glorious destiny without the daily supervision of the man whom the Lord had placed in order as His leader and Prophet, to bring in the stupendous regenerative work of the latter times, which is to prelude the coming of the Messiah in the plenitude of His righteous reign, which is to be eternal. We lacked an experience necessary for our edification that we might be more thoroughly schooled in the knowledge of the Lord. To this end a new leaf had been turned in the volume of His providence whereon was written a lesson, a lesson which, though bitter and painful, was necessary to be learned to prepare us for the events through which the Saints of the last days were destined to pass. Joseph had acted most nobly his part, and as his place was then left vacant and the First Presidency was consequently disorganized, of necessity other men must be introduced and another leader chosen. Upon whose shoulders was to rest that great responsibility? Who was able to fill up the void and lead successfully on the vast numbers destined to be augmented through the preaching of the gospel among the nations?
Before this question was mooted in the minds of the people, the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought to Nauvoo, dressed and laid in state at the mansion house, where thousands of people, bathed in tears, passed in procession, two abreast, to view their mangled remains. The writer of this, with his wife, thus had the mournful privilege of looking one sad and brief adieu upon the noble forms of those men of God.
That was an hour marked in the history of this people, and although forty-four years have since passed away, the powers of memory seldom go back and review the scene–though in gleams of momentary fleetness–without sensations of pain.
They were indeed gone. We had then to learn the great lesson that God’s work does not depend upon one man, and that He has many servants whom He designs to honor and make conspicuous through their devotion to the cause which is destined to benefit and exalt all who fill the mission of life with faithfulness. Neither does the labor and the honor all belong to one branch or tribe of the house of Israel. The following gives a glimpse of the final renown which is to be achieved and the manner in which the fame of the tribes is to be perpetuated:
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb.”–Revelations xxi: 10-14.
As is well known, this terrible tragedy was enacted at Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, in the afternoon of the 27th of June, 1844. To give the reader further light as to the manner in which the massacre of Joseph and Hyrum Smith was accomplished we make the following extracts:
“The governor was made acquainted with the threats that had been made against the lives of the prisoners, but on the morning of the 27th, he dispatched the McDonough troops and sent them home, took Captain Dun’s company of cavalry and proceeded to Nauvoo, leaving these two men and three of their friends to be guarded by eight men at the jail, and a company in town of sixty men, eighty or one hundred rods from the jail, as a corps in reserve.”
Says the Times and Seasons: “About six o’clock in the afternoon (June 27th) the guard was surprised by an armed mob of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty, painted red, black and yellow, which surrounded the jail, forced in–poured a shower of bullets into the room where these unfortunate men were held, ‘in durance vile,’ to answer to the laws of Illinois, under the solemn pledge of the faith of the state, by Governor Ford, that they should be protected! but the mob ruled!! They fell as martyrs amid this tornado of lead, each receiving four bullets! John Taylor was wounded by four bullets in his limbs. Thus perishes the hope of law, thus vanishes the plighted faith of the state, thus the blood of innocence stains the constituted authorities of the United States, and thus have two among the most noble martyrs since the slaughter of Abel, sealed the truth of their divine mission, by being shot by a mob for their religion.”
At that time most of the Twelve Apostles were on missions in the Eastern States, but they returned home as soon as possible after receiving the sad news. Immediately after reaching Nauvoo on Thursday, August 8, 1884 , they attended a very large meeting that had been called by Sidney Rigdon, at the grove east of the temple. Mr. Rigdon did not occupy the stand which had been erected for the accommodation of speakers, but, leaving that vacant, he stood in a wagon which had been purposely placed more central in the congregation, as he complained of being quite feeble and thought he could more easily cause the people to hear from the new position. He spoke perhaps a little over an hour and advanced his claims to what he called the guardianship of the Church. The writer noticed from the beginning of his remarks that he fell far short of enjoying his usual amount of freedom in addressing his audience. His usual flow of eloquence was much abated, he seeming rather nervous and disconcerted. He also seemed to close abruptly, in a way to leave his propositions in rather an obscure and ambiguous condition. I attributed this to the entrance of some of the Twelve Apostles who passed down one of the aisles and took seats upon the stand.
After Mr. Rigdon dismissed his meeting, Apostle Brigham Young arose and called the people to order. There seemed to be felt a general feeling of relief and all gladly kept their seats to listen to the new speaker, who stated very feelingly in substance that it was contrary to his wishes to so soon have to speak upon the matter of choosing a successor to our beloved Brother Joseph Smith, the Prophet, whom God had raised up to establish the great work of the last days. He felt like anointing his head, as did Aaron, and mourning for his brethren for thirty days in sackcloth and ashes, before entering upon the duty then forced upon him. He said Brother Rigdon seemed to be in a hurry about the matter and the course he had taken made it necessary that the people should come to an understanding and find out upon whom the mantle had fallen. The following are some of his memorable words, which will at once be recognized as being characteristic of that great man:
“There has been much said about President Rigdon being president of the Church, and leading the people, being the head, etc. Brother Rigdon has come one thousand six hundred miles to tell you what he wants to do for us. If the people want President Rigdon to lead them they may have him; but I say unto you that the quorum of the Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world.
The Twelve are appointed by the finger of God. Here is Brigham: have his knees ever faltered? have his lips ever quivered? Here is Heber and the rest of the Twelve, an independent body, who have the keys of the priesthood–the keys of the kingdom of God to deliver to all the world. This is true, so help me God. They stand next to Joseph and are as the First Presidency of the Church.”
He then went to work as a workman understanding his business. He called for the quorums of priesthood to be seated together in order, as much as the circumstances would permit, and then presented the matter under consideration in a manner so plain and convincing that all could readily understand that Joseph’s mantle had fallen upon Brigham Young. It was self-evident that the power and influence that had rested upon Brother Joseph in the performance of his official duties, rested upon him. This became at once so satisfactory that he, at that meeting, became the unanimous choice of all present. In other words, the quorum of Twelve Apostles became as the First Presidency of the Church, and Brigham Young being the president of that quorum made him the first representative man, or president of the Church.
“President Young and the Twelve pushed forward the work on the temple as fast as possible, and took a very wise course for the promotion of peace and to restore confidence in the community generally. They published an epistle to the Church at large, which was timely and replete with good counsel and they also used all their influence to correct the mind of Governor Ford, which had been much abused upon the Mormon question which at that time agitated the people of the entire state–also to have the wrongs of the Saints redressed. Every effort to restore peace proved ineffectual, and Hancock County continued to be the scene of mob violence until 1846.”
We would be pleased here to present the causes that led to the martyrdom–and the particulars of its accomplishment–in a more amplified form, but as previously stated, we have given them in detail in a former publication and with that shall have to be content, so far as this little work is concerned. Many may read this volume after the writer has passed away, his body to slumber in the silent earth, and to those it might be pleasing, perhaps, to hear my testimony in relation to the many facts and incidents of those times, but such all are found printed in the Church publications to which they may doubtless have access.
The following extracts will show the cruel treatment to which some of the brethren were subjected:
“On the 11th of July , John Hill, Archibald N. Hill, Caleb W. Lyons, James W. Huntsman, Gardiner Curtis, John Richards, Elisha Mallory and J. W. D. Phillips, who were engaged in harvesting wheat about twelve miles from Nauvoo, while working in the field, were surrounded by an armed mob who completely hemmed them in, thereby preventing their escape and then ransacked their wagons for their firearms. After taking from them every weapon they had, the mob sent to the woods for some long hickory switches. Then taking the defenseless, one at a time, they forced them to assume a stooping position in a ditch, while each of them received twenty lashes across the back with the switches wielded by one of the mob party. As there were but eight of the brethren, they were so completely in the power of these merciless creatures they could not do otherwise than submit to the torture. The mob then smashed some of their guns to pieces over a stump and returned the fragments to them, while they retained the rest of the guns and pistols. The brethren were then ordered with an oath to get into their carriages and drive for Nauvoo and not look back, and the mob fired a parting shot at them as they did so.”
“Two of the mob engaged in this shameful affair were soon afterwards arrested, in retaliation for which Phineas H. Young, Brigham H. Young, Richard Ballantyne, James Standing and James Herring were pounced upon while near Pontoosuc and forcibly taken into custody by a party of the mob. They were not accused of any crime, but were informed that they would be held as hostages for the safety of McAuley and Brattle who were held under arrest by the civil authorities of Nauvoo. The guilty, conscience-stricken wretches who held these brethren in their custody were constantly imagining that the friends of their prisoners were close upon their track, and accordingly hurried them from one place to another, traveling a great deal in the night, sometimes halting for a short time, when fear would come upon them and they would again take up their hurried flight, through woods, thickets and marshes, urging their prisoners on at times by goading them with the points of their bayonets, and this too when they were almost fainting from sickness and fatigue. Once the mob was on the point of shooting their prisoners, and had even cocked and pointed their guns at them, when the alarm was sounded by one of their party that the Mormons were on their trail and it would not do to make any noise, when they again took up their flight.’ These brethren were held in captivity twelve days. During this time poison was given to them, which failed to accomplish the fatal result that was intended. Finally the mob again determined to shoot them and their prisoners were ordered to form in a line and be shot. At this juncture Phineas H. Young plead with the mob to spare the lives of his brethren, and offered his own life if they would only do so. The delay occasioned by this appeal saved their lives, as just then one of the mob party came riding by and reported the Mormons, three hundred and fifty strong coming upon them; and again the prisoners were hurried off. Finally the brethren made an earnest appeal to the guard whose feelings were softened and they even aided them in making their escape.” The Martyrs
The following account of the whipping of Richard Ainscough, never before published, has been furnished for this volume:
My brother, Richard Ainscough, was born in Eccleston Township, England, in the year 1815, where he embraced the gospel and was baptized in 1837, by Elder Heber C. Kimball. On the third day of June, 1839, he sailed from Liverpool in a company of thirty-six Saints, myself being one of that number. We landed at Keokuk, Iowa, September 9, 1839. This place is situated at the foot of the rapids twelve miles below Nauvoo. Some of our company went up to Nauvoo and received counsel from the Prophet Joseph for our company not to come to Nauvoo, but remain back and obtain employment as opportunity might offer. Accordingly my brother and myself crossed the river and found employment at Camp Creek–where the notorious Col. Williams resided–a little place about three miles below Warsaw.
The next spring my brother and myself obtained employment at a flouring mill in Warsaw, owned by D. S. Witter and R. L. Robinson.
In 1843, I removed to Nauvoo where I married and settled down. My brother Richard remained in the employment of the mill company until the summer of 1844. A short time previous to the assassination of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, he made me a visit. At that time the county was full of excitement against our people and as he had left all his things at Warsaw, started back with the view of getting them and returning to Nauvoo. On arriving at Warsaw, he found that the man with whom he left his things had moved to Keokuk and he went there for them. After obtaining them he started back, intending to go to Warsaw, but the steamer from some cause, failed to touch at that place and he was put off about thirty miles below and fell into the hands of a lot of mob ruffians who were told by the men on the boat that he was a Mormon thief and they must attend to him. These roughs confined him in an ice-house until near sundown when a gang of about twelve men returned to the place of his confinement quite intoxicated. They took my brother a few steps into the woods and told him to take off his clothes, which he did, all except his pants and boots. They then tied his wrists together. Drawing up his arms, they hitched them over the limb of a tree at such a height that his toes just touched the ground. They then told him they were going to give him sixty-five lashes. They then gave him fifteen lashes with a cowhide when they stopped and asked him if he believed “Old Joe Smith” was a Prophet. He answered, “Yes.” Then a fresh hand took the rawhide and gave him fifteen more lashes. They then said to him, “Do you still believe Old Joe is a Prophet?” He replied, “Yes. I do not believe but I know it, and if you want to kill me, kill me at once and don’t kill me by inches.”
At this juncture, one half, or a little more of the mob began to soften and feel some sympathy for him and opposed his being whipped anymore. The most sympathetic of the assailants finally said that he should not be whipped anymore, and if there was any whipping to be done, they would have a hand in it.
The result of their division of feeling was that my brother was taken down, handed his clothes, and not giving him time to dress, he was told to leave, which he did. His back was terribly lacerated, the flesh being whipped off so that some of his ribs were bare.
Notwithstanding his condition he walked that night several miles through a swampy bottom. In the morning he came to the main road and, being much fatigued, lay down to rest. After awhile a man with a team came along. Upon learning his condition and the cause of the same, my brother was taken into the wagon, but not being able to stand the jolting, he was left at a tavern to be taken care of.
This friend then went to Warsaw and informed D. S. Witter of my brother’s condition. Mr. Witter sent a buggy after him and had him brought to his house and offered five hundred dollars reward for the apprehension of the men who had committed the outrage, but none of them were ever identified.
From the effects of this terrible mistreatment, my brother suffered untold torment. He lived between three and four months and on the twenty-second or twenty-third of December, death came to his relief.
He died and was buried in Nauvoo, never having seen a well day after the heartless punishment herein related, was inflicted upon him. He continued in full faith of the gospel and entertained the brightest hopes of a part in the resurrection of the just.
Smithfield, Cache County, Utah, July 24, 1888.
Notwithstanding many of the men who were guilty of the Carthage outrage–both against the law and the lives of the prisoners–were well known to the officers of justice as well as to the citizens generally, still not a man has ever been convicted for that crime. It is true that complains were lodged against some of the men in due form and they were brought before the court and testimony produced sufficient to have convicted them of murder, but the judge and the jury being entirely influenced by the mob element of the country, verdicts of guilty were impossible.
William M. Daniels, who went all the way from Warsaw to the jail with the mob that committed the deed, and who was an eyewitness to the whole transaction, gave his testimony before the court, but the lawyers turned his statements into ridicule and the court itself took good care that the account he gave had no weight in the scale of justice poised by him with persistent partiality. This account–quite lengthy, but very important–will be found in The Martyrs. It was written by me and first published in pamphlet form at Nauvoo, and because it brought to light the whole plot, as well as the names of the agitators and committers of the murder, it brought against Mr. Daniels and myself threats of vengeance. He was hunted and if he had fallen into their hands outside of Nauvoo, his life would have been in great jeopardy. He was not a member of the Church at the time of the murder, but joined it soon after. It was owing principally to compulsory means that he was kept with that company during their march from Warsaw.
Mrs. Daniels, his wife, was then in Quincy and he would not have been safe in passing through the excited mob districts through which he would have to travel in order to join her. It was thought the wiser plan to send for her to come to Nauvoo, and as I was going to that place on some business, he made arrangements for his wife to return with me. I took passage down on a steamboat, expecting to return to Nauvoo by the same conveyance. But circumstances rendered it necessary for me to return by stage. I would not ventured to have done so had I not been under the impression that the stage ran through to Nauvoo without having to lay over for the night.
About sunset the driver informed us that we were to stay at Warsaw for the night. This disconcerted both Mrs. Daniels and myself, as we knew that to be one of the strongholds of the mob leaders. There was no alternative. We had to put on a bold front and trust in God. She was much agitated lest it should be found out that she was the wife of the witness against those who had sworn to be avenged upon her husband. I told her not to be excited, for no violence would be used during our stay there, told her to make the acquaintance and secure the friendship of the ladies of the house, and she would have their assistance if necessary.
A gentleman passenger, a stranger, and myself called for a room, went immediately to it, and soon retired. In the morning we arose early. My friend passed out into the bar room and onto the street several times, and at length informed me that there was trouble brewing for me. He said there was a man in the bar room by the name of Jackson, backed by two or three others, all armed, threatening vengeance against me when I should make my appearance.
I comprehended at once that there was danger of real trouble. Jackson was considered to be a desperado, but I knew he had no just cause to be offended with me and the only pretext he could bring was that he had been implicated in the Daniels pamphlet of which I was known to be the writer the publisher. The circumstances called for calmness and self-possession on my part. I told my friend that I thought the danger would be averted.
Soon I was visited by the landlord himself, Mr. Hamilton. He was a brother to the Mr. Hamilton who kept the hotel at Carthage to which Apostle John Taylor had been taken after being wounded in the jail. He confirmed all that had been reported to me and said further that Jackson declared that I had on some occasion insulted him while on board a steamboat, which was an entire fabrication. Also, he said I was a d–d polygamy “Mormon” and that the lady who was a passenger with me in the stage was one of my “spiritual wives.” All this was false, and was resorted to by Jackson that he might have a popular excuse for interrupting me in that hot bed of mobocracy. My only cause of offense against him or his friends was as has been already related.
Mr. Hamilton said he had stood neutral through all the difficulties that had existed in the county wherein the “Mormons” and other citizens had been involved, and he wished still to maintain that attitude, and he disliked very much to have any difficulty at his house. To avoid this he wished me, after breakfast, to pass away from the hotel by a back passage through the lot and make my way to the residence of Mr. Odell, who always had felt quite friendly towards our people, and he would direct the stage driver to call for me there.
Mr. Hamilton’s request was so reasonable and so courteously made that I consented.
When the breakfast bell rang I was the first man to enter the dining hall. A long table extended form the door of the bar room down to the further end of the hall, where Mrs. Daniels, with some of the ladies of the house, were seated. I passed around the seated myself opposite to Mrs. Daniels, extending to her and the ladies with her, the compliments of the morning. She was certainly a lady very attractive in her personal appearance.
Just at that juncture the bar room door opened and the first man to enter was my opponent. He walked down the entire length of the table–passed by numerous chairs, plates, and the smoking repast–to seat himself close to my left arm. Upon being seated he said to me: “Good morning, Littlefield. Rigdon has cut the church off, up at Nauvoo, has he not?” I replied: “No, Jackson, the Church has cut Mr. Rigdon off.”
Without attempting to eat, Jackson arose quickly from the table and returned to the bar room.
After finishing breakfast, I passed into my room, and, after requesting my traveling friend to see Mrs. Daniels, with her luggage, into the stage, I left by the route indicated by my landlord, and soon reached Mr. Odell’s abode in safety. The stage called for me in due time and we were soon upon the road to Nauvoo.
“What transpired at the hotel after my ‘underground’ departure?” I inquired of my friend. The term is a proper one, for, though strangers, there was a “mystic tie” that made us friends. He said:
“When Jackson went from the breakfast table into the bar room he declared that he was then convinced that the lady at the table was a ‘spiritual wife.’ He said he knew them by a certain colored ribbon which they always placed in their hair when arranging their toilet. He was very angry at the independent but correct reply you gave to his question at the table, and declared he would have shot you then if there had been no ladies present. When Mrs. Daniels and myself passed into the bar room, Jackson and his two men-in-arms were there in anxious waiting. Upon not seeing you, he quickly asked:
‘Where is Littlefield?’
Mr. Hamilton–‘He must be gone.’
Jackson–‘It is d–d well for him. He is too smart to put himself in my hands.'”
This was a splendid starter for a merry and lively conversation during the remainder of the journey. I congratulated that lady that she had become a reputed “spiritual wife” to a “Mormon” to whom she had but just been introduced and who was running a risk to escort her to the man whose real wife she was. She laughed heartily at the peculiarity of the situation and related our adventure with much cheerful gusto to her husband when they met.
During all this time mobs filled the county of Hancock, in every neighborhood where the settlements of the Saints were in anywise isolated and many were shot at and otherwise maltreated.
Edmund Durfee, an inoffensive man, while assisting to extinguish a fire that the mob had set in a stack of straw, in the Green Plains precinct, was shot by the mob who were concealed nearby.
“The governor was petitioned to interpose his power, but failed to inaugurate any thorough measures to check these outrageous proceedings. He seemed in a great degree hardened against all such intercessions.
“The genius of Brigham Young and the Twelve Apostles was equal to the emergency, yet the removal [for a removal had been agreed upon] of such a vast number of people, among whom were very many poor, aged and infirm, was a stupendous undertaking, requiring skill and financial ability. But they set about the work in earnest and trusted in God. Companies of mechanics were organized and set to work to build wagons, make tents and wagon covers, purchase and trade for teams, etc., etc., and in the month of February, 1846, a majority of the Saints were ready for the great exodus into the wilderness.
“It should be here stated that this removal was agreed upon and stipulations entered into to this effect between the Church authorities and their enemies, the understanding being that the whole of the Church should leave the state as soon as their property could be disposed of. This agreement, however, was entirely disregarded by the mob party, for the Saints were driven from the state before they had a chance to sell more than a fraction of their property. The main body crossed the Mississippi in the early part of February, 1846, but Brigham Young, Willard Richards and George A. Smith did not cross the river until the 15th of the month.
The minority who were under the necessity of remaining a few months longer to try to sell their property and make an outfit were warred against and hunted night and day during the entire summer of that year, and on the 11th of September, quite a formidable mob force began to menace the suburbs of Nauvoo. Their cannon, loaded with grade and canister, was fired at the companies of volunteers who were endeavoring to check their advance. They also fired three rounds at Esquire Wells’ house, occupied by his family at the time. William Sheen and his party, who had charge of a cannon, succeeded in checking their advance somewhat, and though the mob made several attempts to outflank the volunteers, they were unsuccessful.
“On the morning of the 12th, Major Clifford, not a ‘Mormon,’ who had been commissioned by the governor and commander-in-chief of the Illinois militia, who was stationed in Nauvoo, notified the mob party to disperse and suspend hostilities. To this they paid no heed, but fired upon the city with increased vigor. Soon the firing on both sides became very brisk. Captain William Anderson, who displayed great bravery in the fight, was shot in the breast by a musket ball. He lived fifteen minutes, all the time encouraging his men. As he was hit, he exclaimed: ‘I am wounded; take my gun and shoot on.’ His son, Augustus L. Anderson, was killed by a cannon ball. David Norris was killed by a cannon ball. Hyrum Kimball, Benjamin Whitehead, John C. Campbell and Curtis E. Bolton were wounded.
“Some of the mob were killed and wounded and they were compelled to retreat.
The mob continued their firing upon the city until the 16th. In the meantime a correspondence was in progress, which resulted in a treaty between the citizens of Nauvoo and the mob party, in which it was agreed that the mob forces were to occupy the city, and the ‘Mormons’ were to deliver up their arms and leave as soon as they could cross the river.”–The Martyrs
According to the agreement entered into by the leaders of the mob party and those of the Church, the Saints were now to leave their homes and seek a new place of abode. Mob rule was in the ascendancy, or at least, there was a tendency in the minds of the people of the state to suffer the recklessness of the lawless portion of the people to go unchecked in their aggressions upon the rights of those citizens known as “Mormons.” There was no middle ground reserved to be occupied by the sick, the helpless, the aged, or inform, but positively all the Latter-day Saints had to leave the state of Illinois to hunt another asylum from oppression. Very many of our people were positively unable to make a fit out for their families, especially in cases where they could not find purchasers for their property and homes. Cases of this kind were numerous and perplexing. To be overpowered by bands of armed and incendiary mobbers, and forced to leave with wives and children, was the result of that sad condition of society which never should have sway within the borders of any enlightened nation, especially in a republic. Darker and sadder still becomes the picture to know that the motives that impelled such a condition of things were engendered in religious prejudice. To the writer it was painful to contemplate a picture so revolting to patriotism. Himself, his family and friends were stripped once more of their rights as American citizens. What had we done to merit such treatment? We had dared to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. This was the stupendous total of our offending. We certainly had not infringed upon the civil, political, moral, or religious rights of any people. We had thought well of our country, loved its institutions, and had never resorted to force except in self-defense. We had fondly hoped to live in peace with the people of Illinois. Hundreds of them had received us with kindness when driven destitute from Missouri to their borders. This we were not disposed to treat with ingratitude. But the influence of those generous and noble souls had gone down in the turbulent whirlpool of strife which illiberal and biased minds had since awakened. We have not even now forgotten the kindness of friends who perhaps brooked the prejudices of neighbors to minister to our people at the time when an adjoining state had tried to crush us beneath the iron heel of oppression.
We had to go. We must bid adieu to the many homes we had built, to the farms we had improved, to the city we had adorned, and to hundreds of warm-hearted friends who still would have befriended and retained us as citizens and neighbors had it been discretionary with them to so have shaped affairs.
The writer of this was one of the many who were unable to make an outfit for the removal of his family at that time. To provide for a journey of at least thirteen hundred miles, and one thousand of that distance through a trackless waste, was no small undertaking. It was one which required much exercise of wisdom, prudence and sagacity as well as outlay of means. The present facilities for travel did not then exist. There were no railroads and not even wagon roads for the greater portion of the distance that lay between us and the Rocky Mountains. There was then no prosperous Utah–like a garden of beauty–to gladden the scene where clustered our prospective hopes. An unexplored desert plain lay between. Unbridged rivers intervened; mountain passes existed in their native roughness, to increase toil and augment the dangers to be met. To surmount obstacles such as these called for the most indomitable will as well as abundant means. Hundreds who had the pluck to undertake the journey, had not the means to provide for all contingencies, hence they were under the necessity of waiting until by industry they could accumulate sufficient. In order to do this, many retired into the friendly districts and obtained employment with a determination to follow those pioneers who had so nobly led the way.
The Times and Seasons, of course, was discontinued. Hence the writer had no employment in “the art preservative of all arts.” He concluded to move with his family down to St. Louis, expecting there to find employment on some of the many papers published in that city. Accordingly, with my wife, Samuel Omer, and our little Donna Isora, we embarked on board a steamer for the place named. We arrived safely, rented rooms, and I began to search for a situation as a compositor. We had been there three weeks and no opening was presented to me and the prospect began to look gloomy.
Mrs. Littlefield, with her accustomed habits of industry, readily obtained all the sewing she could do from the ladies. At that juncture I received a letter from A. W. Babbitt, Esq., wishing me to return to Nauvoo as he was about to start a new paper there in defense of the rights of our people until the Saints could all sell their property and prepare for the removal of those who were necessarily left behind.
After a consultation with my wife, we came to the conclusion that it was best for me to comply with the wishes of Mr. Babbitt, and she would remain for the present and accomplish what she could in her line. Of course, I was to remit money for the support of the home in St. Louis.
The paper we started was called The Hancock Eagle. Mr. Babbitt paid the expenses of the paper. It was edited by Dr. Matlock, whose given name I have forgotten. He was one of the “new citizens.” This was an appellation applied to all non-Mormons to distinguish between the two classes. In justice to Dr. Matlock, I will state that in addition to his possessing more than ordinary talent, and being a gentleman of much refinement, he was deeply devoted to the interests of his country, was a lover of the Constitution and a patriot. During the course of the struggle, as he witnessed the unjust encroachments upon the rights of the people of Nauvoo, and saw that their constitutional rights were utterly disregarded by the governor and most of the officers of the state, he was filled with sorrow. His able pen had been vigorously used in elucidation of those sacred inherent rights which never should be infringed by any who hold dear the sacred rights which the early patriots died to secure to every American citizen. He gradually lost his health, sickened and died. It was thought by some of his most intimate friends that his death was hastened in consequence of his having laid the matter here alluded to seriously to heart. Every citizen entertained for him profound respect. Even his opponents in the editorial arena honored him for his ability, and none rejoiced at his loss, except perhaps it might have been the incendiary editor of the Warsaw Signal. He has made an enviable record and must be classed among the honorable men of the earth.
After I had been there a few months Mrs. Littlefield came up from St. Louis to visit me, bringing with her our pet girl baby, but leaving Samuel Omer in school at St. Louis. Remaining with me four or five weeks, she returned, and I continued my labors on the paper, which, however, was discontinued in the fall.
I then went to Keokuk and obtained a situation as clerk in a store, rented a house and went after my family. My wife received me most cordially and the children expressed their delight in those untutored ways so pleasing to all who delight in the innocent artlessness of childhood. She seemed as satisfied as possibly could be expected without the company of her husband, she only regretting that I could not remain in St. Louis. She finally asked my acquiescence in her wish to remain there during the winter. After much conversation upon the subject, I reluctantly consented for them to remain.
When the time came for my departure, with a reluctant and heavy heart I stepped on board a steamer for Keokuk.
Soon after leaving the wharf I found myself seated in the main cabin in moody meditative silence. A feeling was forced upon me that I had made a mistake in consenting to let my family remain in St. Louis, and to make amends, resolved to send a letter back for my wife to take the next steamer for Keokuk, which I did. I do not know that she received my letter, but she did not reach Keokuk as I desired.
After having been in the cabin a few hours, I noticed seated at the opposite side, some four men observing me with scrutiny. I recognized two of them as being among the leading mobocrats of Hancock County, who had been identified in the Daniels pamphlet as having been in the company that committed the murder at the Carthage Jail. After eyeing me closely for a time and indulging in low conversation among themselves, they walked out and passed up the side-stairs that led to the hurricane deck, doubtless to consult together as to the most appropriate manner of disposing of me. In due time they returned and sauntered back and forth along the entire length of the hall, at intervals observing me with much interest, but to all the attentions bestowed upon me I maintained an oblivious demeanor.
At one time one of them, whom I recognized as being a justice of the peace at Warsaw by the name of Grover, seated himself at a side table and engaged himself in preparing a paper shaped as if it might have been a legal document.
I was satisfied evil was intended me. What was I to do? was the question that revolved quickly and earnestly in my mind. Trust in God was my mental resolve. After importuning Him, I determined to follow, step by step, the whisperings of His spirit.
While standing before a large map that was suspended at the side of the hall, apparently trying to glean some information from it, but really on the alert if possible to learn something from the movements of these men, one of them for the first time approached me. This was John C. Elliott. The following talk occurred between us:
Elliott–“I believe I have seen you at Nauvoo?”
Myself–“It is quite possible, sir, I have frequently been in that city.”
Elliott–“Is your name Littlefield?”
Elliott–“Do you know William M. Daniels?”
Myself–“I have heard of a man by that name.”
Elliott–“Do you know where he is at the present time?”
Myself–“I cannot tell you where he is.”
At this, Elliott turned away, pettishly exhibiting ill suppressed signs of displeasure.
The next best step for me to take seemed to be to secure a state room, as it was approaching the evening hour. I applied to the clerk of the boat who informed me that all the rooms were occupied as the boat was crowded with passengers. I went away and in an hour or two from that time I felt impressed to apply to him again for the accommodation. This time he gave me a similar answer. I asked him to grant my wish if it were possible, as I was a stranger and was not feeling in the best of spirits. He studied a moment and said: “Well, there are a couple of gentlemen to get off at Hanibal, and the best I can do is to give you their room after our arrival at that place. I thanked him and told him that would do. Just as the boat left the wharf at that place I applied to the clerk again and he gave me the keys with which I unlocked the doors and entered the apartment with a light heart. I could then lock out intruders and retire from the vigilant gaze of my enemies.
I found the room exactly to my liking. It was situated just at the foot of the side-steps that led down from the hurricane deck where there was a door opening opposite to the one that led into the main cabin. This was arranged to suit my purpose. Locked within this little apartment, my spirit could peacefully commune with my Heavenly Father. I did not retire, for sleep and rest was no part of my program.
I knew that sometime during the night we should land at Quincy, on the Illinois side. When the boat lay at that landing I took my carpet sack and walked boldly into the cabin and saw that it was convenient for me to pass close by my enemies, which I did, wishing to create within their minds the belief that I had left the boat at that place. Instead of passing down the steps which led to the planks which were launched out for persons to walk to the shore upon, I turned to my right and quickly ran up the short flight of steps that led me to the hurricane deck, passing over which to the opposite side of the boat, I descended the short flight of stairs and found myself at the door opposite to the one through which I had just passed. I opened it and soon found myself in my room again with both doors securely locked. I lay down and slept until morning.
When I awoke the sun was shining in all its splendor. I learned from the conversation in the cabin that we were at Warsaw. While meditating upon my situation, which I considered to be somewhat peculiar, two men were promenading to and fro in the cabin, in conversation with each other. As they were passing opposite and close to my room, one of them said: “Your Mormon left the boat last night, did he?” “Yes, he got off at Quincy, and it is d–d well for him that he did,” was the reply. These words satisfied me that all my suppositions regarding their designs of mischief against me had been well founded. They were baffled by supposing I had gone ashore at Quincy, and thereby I was delivered out of their hands. In a quiet way I had followed the whisperings of the Holy Spirit faithfully and an intense feeling of thankfulness filled my heart at the happy termination of the affair. This to me was an important lesson which showed me the ease with which the Lord can frustrate the designs of the wicked when His servants act by the dictates of His Spirit, to which, had I not have given heed, I have no doubt but what the evil designs of these men would have been successful.
My conclusions at the time were that Squire Grover had made out a paper for my arrest which was to be made while the boat was laying at the wharf at Warsaw with the view of getting me off the boat, after which they would have me in their power to treat me according to their wicked designs. But I was now free from their hands. As soon as the boat passed up stream towards Keokuk, I left my room and walked out into the cabin to enjoy the freedom of the boat.
I arrived in safety at Keokuk and went to my situation in the store.
My wife not coming up from St. Louis as I had desired disappointed me very much. I felt lonesome and discontented and longed to know how my Nauvoo friends were situated whom I knew to be scattered along the pioneer trail as far west as Council Bluffs and Winter Quarters.
I got ready and started. Following on their trail, I visited their various encampments or locations. At Pisgah they had opened and fenced farms, built residences of various kinds, from the dug-out and rude hut to that of quite comfortable log houses.
Many of the Saints having died and been buried at Pisgah induced Sister Eliza R. Snow, at my solicitation, to write the following poem: THREE HUNDRED GRAVES IN PISGAH.
Pisgah was then a wilderness,
Where none but redmen’s feet had trod,
Until its dearest sands were pressed
By the mob-driven Saints of God.
We’ll stop and drop a loving tear
O’er those we leave in sacred trust;
Three hundred graves are huddled here,
And each enwraps a sacred dust.
Robb’d of our wealth, and driven forth
From homes, and lands, and country dear,
As exiled wanderers in the earth,
We stopp’d to rest a season here.
But sickness came and added care
To destitution’s pressing woe,
And death, soon following, met us there,
And laid three hundred dear ones low.
Why are they buried on the wild?
O, tell us wherefore did they roam?
Why not the father, mother, child,
Lie in their sepulchers at home?
‘Twas persecution’s purple rod
That drove them to the wilderness;
And why? They dared to honor God
And do the works of righteousness.
And now we leave them here to rest,
As Abram went not knowing where;
We turn our faces to the west,
And hope for PEACE and JUSTICE there.
These lines from the pen of this celebrated writer were written under date of July 29, 1887, at Salt Lake City. Her death occurred at the Lion House, December 5, 1887, at five minutes past one o’clock. These dates show that this must have been among the last, if not the very last, of her poetic effusions. For this we prize it all the more, as we can place it on record in evidence of her faith in the gospel, and her fidelity to the memory of the Saints, to the very close of her mortal career. As to her superior ability as a writer, we do not here undertake to eulogize her. Her writings are printed upon the historic page of the Church which, combined with her pure and spotless life, will continue as a monument down through the years that are to swell the future ages. She requires no meed of praise from our pen to brighten the examples which link together the chain of her long and useful life. She was born in Becket, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, January 21, 1804.
Garden Grove also contained many improvements for so new a place. Besides these two places there were several smaller encampments of the Saints before reaching Council Bluffs and Winter Quarters. I crossed the Missouri River about eight miles above the site where Omaha now stands. The place was then called Winter Quarters, as a large portion of the journeying Saints passed the winter of 1847 there. After their departure, the name of the place was changed to that of Florence.
On the night of the 12th of April, 1847, a vote was passed in council of the Twelve Apostles appointing me a mission to preach the gospel on the British Islands. My letter of appointment was signed by Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Willard Richards, clerk, on April 14, 1847.
On the 10th of May I left Winter Quarters for Liverpool, England. I left that place in company with Brother Alexander McRae who took me in his buggy as far as Savannah, Missouri. From there I rode with Brother Daniel Spencer to St. Joseph, from which place I went with Brother Campbell and daughter, Brother Jesse W. Fox, and Miss Polly Thompson, thirty miles to Weston, at which place Brother Fox, Miss Thompson and myself took passage on the steamer John Hardin. We arrived in St. Louis on the morning of the 28th. A large number of Saints resided there. They were in good spirits and held meetings regularly for the preaching of the gospel.
On the morning of the 29th [April, 1847], we left the wharf at St. Louis. The morning was a lovely one. Brother Fox and myself were seated on the hurricane deck to enjoy the pleasure of a “goodbye” sight of the city. The view presented to us was splendid. The distant city with its towers and bright domes–the many steamers at the wharf, motionless and still, while others passed and repassed on the bosom of the broad Mississippi–presented a scene of business and wealth. But my mind was occupied with other matters, from which it could not be diverted by the alluring prospect. I had expected to have met my family in that city. But upon learning that Mrs. Littlefield had gone to New Orleans, the disappointment fell with crushing weight upon my spirits.
While at Winter Quarters–previous to my being appointed a mission–I wrote her a letter which I sent by Brother Frodscham, requesting her to come with him, by steamer, to Winter Quarters. He was to fetch his family when he returned and it appeared to be a lucky opportunity for her to come comfortable, as I sent money to pay her expenses. This was strange to me. For my part, I had not got tired of following the Church, though it should be in exile.
There was but one path for me to travel and that was the one to which the finger of duty pointed.
On the morning of May 30th  we entered the mouth of the Ohio River. Its clear water presented a strange contrast to that of the riley appearance of the Mississippi.
The scenery along the Ohio River in many places was very fine. Cincinnati is certainly a very tidy place, with streets clean and neat. We left Cincinnati June 3rd . At the junction of the Erie and Cleveland canals we parted company with Brother Campbell, daughter and sister Polly Thompson. They followed up the Erie canal and we the Cleveland. We had to pack our trunks three-fourths of a mile before we could find a tavern, which gave us a relish for our bed. At Warren, Brother Fox and I parted, as he had to go by way of Akron. I walked across the country to Kirtland where I arrived at 4 o’clock, June 9th, with swollen and blistered feet. I was received by my father-in-law, John Andrews, and his family, with the utmost kindness and treated with perfect respect during my stay.
In two or three days Brother Fox arrived. We found there several members of the Church–some of them firm in the faith, some rather lukewarm. There were plenty of apostates, the leader of whom was William E. M’Lellin, once one of the Twelve Apostles.
Being anxious to see the inside of the temple, on Sunday I went to meeting, feeling doubtful whether I would have another opportunity, as M’Lellin had possession of the key. A man by the name of Knight–who joined J. J. Strang but at that time a follower of M’Lellin–occupied the stand. He dwelt upon the abominations he said the Church had entered into, in consequence of which the Saints had been driven into the wilderness to suffer.
M’Lellin followed him and talked of the secret orders which he falsely said were in the Church–said they were contrary to the Book of Mormon, said David Whitmer was the man to lead the Church, that Joseph Smith transgressed about the year 1831, and only had power left with God to appoint another in his stead, which he said Joseph did in 1844 by appointing David Whitmer. To confirm this he referred to a conversation he had in Pittsburg with Benjamin Winchester.
After meeting I was shown through the interior of the temple. I also went upon the top or roof of that noble structure where a delightful view was obtained of Kirtland and the surrounding country.
While in Kirtland, M’Lellin called upon me at Jacob Bump’s residence. He commenced upon me in relation to the Church, its authority, its transgressions, etc. I argued in defense until 12 o’clock at night, when he withdrew but returned the next morning before breakfast. This time Mr. Bump joined with him against my arguments. I bore my testimony faithfully which made no apparent impression, but I felt that I had done my duty towards them.
While there I made the acquaintance of Brother Luman Heath and wife and rebaptized her mother in the Shagrin River for the renewal of her covenant, according to her desire. I also made the acquaintance of Brother and Sister Kent and many others.
I preached twice to full houses and on Monday, June 21 , Brothers Fox, Heath, Wilcox and myself attended M’Lellin’s conference in the temple. I counted seventeen of his followers, all apostates from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The speakers indulged in a tirade of abuse against the authorities of the Church.
Monday, June 27 , Brother Reuben McBride took Brother Fox and myself to Painesville, ten miles, where we took passage in a stage for Buffalo. At Lockport, I left the canal boat and took a stroll several miles in search of relatives, but was unsuccessful.
July 4 , about noon, I inquired again concerning my namesakes and the man of whom I enquired pointed to my Uncle Lyman Littlefield’s house which stood within a few rods of the canal. Not more than ten minutes from the time I made the inquiry, I knocked at my uncle’s abode and a hospitable voice bid me enter. Being seated, the scene presented within the compass of that room, to me was of vast moment. I knew that venerable head was my uncle, that the matron at his side was my aunt, and the young men and the one young lady at the table I felt sure were my cousins! This was an auspicious moment, to occur on the anniversary of our nation’s independence! The memories of childhood were instantaneous in crowding among the most sacred recesses of recollection! My uncle so much resembled my father! I could not wait longer for recognition! The following conversation ensued:
Myself–“Is your name Littlefield?”
Myself–“Have you relatives in the west?”
Uncle–“I suppose I have a brother somewhere in the western country. He went away with the Mormons and I have not heard much about him for twenty years.”
Myself–“What was his given name?”
Myself–“I am well acquainted with a man out there by that name.”
Uncle–“That must be my brother. How long have you known him?”
Myself–“My earliest remembrances are of him and my mother.”
Uncle–“You are not his son!”
Myself–“I am his second son, Lyman, and was named after my uncle, in whose habitation, and in the midst of these, my cousins, this is a happy moment!”
As I entered, the family was partaking of an early supper. I had not seen them since a little boy, some twenty years previous to that meeting. To be thus ushered into their presence filled me with emotions of pleasure. Their joy was exhibited as if by an electric wave. Simultaneously, uncle, aunt and cousins sprang from the table to salute me with eager and hurried words of welcome.
They did not stand upon the strict order of etiquette. The influence that impelled them was imperative, and they followed the impulse of those consanguineal ties which spring from the purple tide that pulsates the kindred heart. To them it was as if I had suddenly, from regions unknown, sprang into their presence to apprise them that I still lived. To me, to be thus gemmed around with such brilliant specimens of human form, and they my own blood kindred, was an event gratifying beyond all power of the tongue or pen to delineate. Their joy was evidenced in the sparkling eye and glowing countenance. I tried to expatiate and felt what a boon, to me, would have been the enrapturing powers of eloquence. But life’s transports and its woes are alike evanescent. At times the glorious sun pours down upon the green earth, its broad sheen of glittering radiance, showing the romantic landscapes in the full lusciousness of their native array, and this gives a charm like that which bedecks the fair edens of the blessed; then a change–the curtains of night are drawn, the revolving globe shuts out the brilliant day, with the warble of birds, but the musical roar of gliding streams that leap down declivities and thunder from the cataracts, lull us to slumber with the mingled dignity of their voice, that declare a ceaseless harmony in the flow and order of nature’s vast creations.
A little time explains all, calmed the tumult of joy, and I united with them in completing their anniversary repast.
My visit and acquaintance with my Uncle Lyman and family, as well as with many other uncles, aunts and cousins in that neighborhood, was most agreeable and satisfactory to them and myself. On the 22nd of that month [July, 1847] I reluctantly bid them all adieu and went to Rochester where I spent one day in visiting cousin Sidney Higgins and other relatives on my mother’s side. I took the steamer Lady of the Lake and went down Lake Ontario to Sacketsharbor, ten miles from which place I found Brother Fox at his father’s home, whom I was happy to meet again. I took the stage for Rome, sixty miles distant, which place called up many youthful memories. Ten miles from there was the place of my birth. With my father I had attended “general trainings” at Rome and looked at the grand officers on prancing steeds and the wheeling columns. My twenty years’ absence had rendered strange to me all the scenery, but I was gratified to travel through my native state.
Cohose is a delightful place, situated on the Mohawk River. Standing on the Erie Canal, one half mile west of the village, a magnificent scene spread before the beholder. There is a long succession of canal locks. The Cohose Falls, down which the clear waters pour, send upwards a mist of spray to dance in wreaths of playful fantasy in the glancing sunbeams, while the waters of the “old canal” rested in their basins, a few feet below. There was a quiet green beyond, over which the aged and the youth, the merry and sedate, slowly sauntered arm in arm. The river bluffs arose just beyond, skirted with young growths of cedars, but bridge, with lattice work, stretched across the stream. The quiet village in the vale below sent up its modest spires above the foliage of the trees, and the high lands spread out their broad limits like a map of sublimity beyond. There were broad, well-cultivated farms with fine residences; and woods, groves, wild clumps of trees and trees ornamental, that here and there in fantastic array, dotted the checkered landscape. Over all this, the yellow radiating tints of the retiring sun reflected a gorgeousness that mellowed the ambient air into an enchanting halo that captivated the mind of the beholder.
Night soon hovered over the scene, and Dr. Daniel Olts, of Courtland County, (that state), and myself returned to our boat and passed the evening with our books.
On August 2  I arrived in Albany. I did not like the city much, but I saw only the lower streets. I was told it was beautiful further back. I took passage on the passenger steamer South America, left the wharf at 6:30 a.m. The North River is a most delightful stream. It is not rapid. It runs clear and deep–free from rocks, sand bars or “snags” which makes it safe and easy to navigate. No freight was carried by passenger vessels. The burthens of commerce were conveyed in sail vessels and it was interesting to view the many sails that floated over the bosom of the Hudson. The shore sceneries are romantic and beautiful. The bluffs for many miles seem to be solid rock that rise up to a great height. There is a view of the Catskill mountains towering their blue summits to the skies at the base of which are table lands and sequestered vales. We see Poughkeepsie, Newburg, West Point, Sing Sing, Nyack and Tarrytown. Beautiful bath houses were erected along the water’s edge, every little distance for forty miles above New York, for the benefit of bathers in the salt water from the sea. We arrived at New York at 2 p.m.
The Saints in New York and Brooklyn were very kind in providing me with necessary comforts while I should be crossing to Liverpool.
On Monday morning, August 23, 1837, Elders Applyby, William H. Miles, Brother Burnett and four or five sisters who had just come from England, and several of the New York Saints went down to the docks and saw me on board the sail ship Liverpool, which was towed out by tug boats to the open sea.
The limit of this volume is now nearly filled. Consequently I shall not give a full account of my voyage. One or two incidents only I will briefly relate:
At four o’clock a.m., August 29 , a woman died. Her body was wrapped in canvas, by and sailors, which was sewed up securely then carried to the small side door and place upon a plank with a bag of sand tied at her feet. The end of the plank was then lifted to a proper angle, and the weight of the sand drew her, feet foremost, into the “dark blue sea.” This was the first burial at sea I had ever witnessed. It was a melancholy spectacle to witness a human form thrown into the deep ocean where nothing can mark the place of interment! The sand was not of sufficient weight to sink her and, as we pursued our course, she was seen far behind amid the bounding waves.
A young lady by the name of Eliza Cherry was among the passengers. She sickened and became a great sufferer. She was remarkably patient. Her modesty and general quiet demeanor won for her the sympathy and esteem of all who were quartered in the portion of the ship adjacent to her berth. She expressed no particular anxiety except a strong desire to live to see her father who resided in England and who she was going to visit. On Monday, September 20, 1847, this young lady died and was lowered from the ship to find a sepulcher in the mighty deep until the “sea shall give up its dead.”
September 23 , we entered the Irish Channel, sighted Cape Clear, the Irish coast, the Dungowan and Waterford Mountains, etc. O, how the Irish passengers rejoiced as they gazed upon their native shore! On the 25th we passed the Welch coast, the islands of Anglesy, the villages of Bumorris, Amwich and Middlemouse. We took on board the pilot, the tug boat hitched to the Liverpool and we were safely moored at the Liverpool docks.
I went direct to 39 Torbock Street, the publication office of the Millennial Star. I was rejoiced to meet President Orson Spencer and family, and Apostle Franklin D. Richards there.
I labored in the Millennial Star office about six months–preaching frequently in Liverpool and its suburbs. I was treated with much courtesy by President Spencer and family, Apostle Richards and the Saints generally. Afterwards I went to labor in the Cheshire Conference, under the presidency of President J. Goodfellow.
On the 9th of February, 1848, I was appointed by President Spencer to preside over the Staffordshire Conference. During my labors in that conference, I enjoyed the friendship and confidence of the Latter-day Saints and labored diligently for their welfare in the things pertaining to their advancement in the principles of the gospel, also to bring unbelievers to a knowledge of the truth.
I made a couple of pleasant and, as I believe, profitable visits into Woostershire, where L. D. Butler presided, and he visited and labored in the Staffordshire Conference in return.
I made a trip to London and took in the sights of that mammoth city. I would be gratified had I space to give in detail an elaborate account of the London sights, of England and its people, and of my mission.
July 6, 1848, I went on board the sail ship Forest Monarch for New York, in company with four of the English Saints. The ship had moved a little way out from the docks and had cast anchor. I observed a row boat steering for our ship and one of the men who left it clambered up the vessel’s side and I was made happy in the presence of my old friend, Elder Lorenzo D. Butler, the President of the Worcestershire Conference.
Salutations exchanged quickly, and he explained the object of his visit. He said it might be the case that I had been unfortunate enough to be on board a doomed ship. He said a friend of mine was strongly impressed with that belief and he had been solicited to interview me about the matter. It was feared, if I started to cross the ocean upon it, I would be lost.
I told my friend I had come on board with good intentions, and if it were really true that the passengers were in danger, that perhaps my presence might not be detrimental to their safety. I confessed that I might have my hands full before reaching America; but my confidence was in God and His Providences and I would look to Him who “tempers the winds to the shorn lamb,” for the outcome. I told him I loved my friends and felt grateful for their solicitude, but I believed in the over-ruling providences of God, and that if I should be careful on the voyage to do nothing with an evil intent, and followed the promptings of His Holy Spirit, that all would be over-ruled and I would again stand upon the soil of my native shore.
My friend saw that I was firm in the position I had taken, and, with feelings of disappointment, left the ship. I watched, with melancholy interest, as the distance widened between us. The Forest Monarch lay quietly at her moorings, as an experienced warrior might have done when resting for strength at the threshold of conflict.
The next morning by daylight the tug boat came along side and towed us out into the channel. The weather was delightful. In the afternoon, off Hollyhead, a breeze struck up that caused waves to dash against the bow of the ship with sufficient force to burst open the port hole of the vessel and the water rushed in among the steerage passengers in large quantities. Great alarm seized upon all. Screaming, crying, praying and swearing were alternately heard and the Irish Catholics commenced counting their beads, crossing themselves, etc.
The captain ordered “tack ship.” The vessel’s bow was held from the wind and the captain gave orders for making fast the port hole. The regular or original block that filled the opening had been taken out at Liverpool and a temporary one swung on hinges from the top of the opening on the inside and fastened with a catch at the lower edge. This was done for the purpose of admitting air while loading the vessel at the docks. When the waves forced themselves against the bow of the ship the catch was found too weak and was broken, while the temporary door swung upward upon its hinges and admitted the water. They fastened it again by placing an iron bar across and lashing it at each end with ropes inserted through auger holes bored through the hull. This was accomplished with much trouble and the ship put on its course. In a short time it burst open again. This time universal consternation prevailed, more intense than before. Many, pale as death, threw themselves upon the deck, apparently with little power to move or speak.
The bow of the ship was turned from the waves. The next morning was more calm and the port hole was fastened securely which was accomplished by suspending a platform from ropes over the ship’s bow, upon which the carpenter descended, inserted the block originally made for the purpose, and filled it around with oakum. This made it permanent. Had this occurrence been postponed for some of the storms destined to meet us in our course, certain destruction would have been our portion.
On the 12th of July, 1848, a very heavy gale came up from the west and continued for forty-eight hours. The ship lay to under close reefed top sails, while she wallowed through the waves like a monster of the sea. I can but imperfectly describe the scene in the lower decks, among the 480 passengers, but those who have been in storms on the ocean can view something of the incidents through the glass of imagination. The ship, rolling from side to side, some of the passengers holding to posts, ropes, or whatever they could grasp. Many were thrown entirely across the deck and back again, among boxes, trunks, and all kinds of articles. Cries with pain from bruises received in the heterogeneous mixture, mingled with the enjoyable laugh of the reckless ones, strangely blended with the roar of the winds and the pelting of the waves against the ship’s sides, which seemed but frail protection against the combined fury of the elements.
The storm continued to rage. There was not a moment’s lull in the wind, which all the time blew direct from the exact point of compass for which we wished to steer. At 12 o’clock a.m. of July 13th,  there was no sign of the storm abating, but, if possible, it seemed to rage with greater fierceness. The danger appeared imminent. A responsibility seemed to point to me, as if a duty were assigned me. I felt convinced that there was but a brief period remaining until the Prince and Power of the Air would consummate his designs, did not the Divine Powers interpose. I was clinging with both arms clasped tightly around a post from which it seemed, at times, that I must be hurled by the plunging fury of the vessel, which indeed behaved as if doomed for destruction. While in this position a panorama of my life passed in review before me. Two or three words, as if shaped in letters of burnished gold or written by flames of fire, were presented. These words were so chosen as to be indicative of some unwise act or sinful deed. They would remain there, undiminished in brightness, until I had earnestly and humbly implored the forgiveness of my Heavenly Father. When I had duly repented, that set of words would pass away and others take their place, until mental restitution was made as before. These manifestations continued to alternate for a time and then passed away.
Realizing the full extent of the threatened peril, I importuned my Heavenly Father and asked that His good spirit might direct me, if there was anything possible for me to accomplish, as a humble instrument in His hands, I acted as the spirit of the Lord directed. Taking with me a bottle of olive oil that had been consecrated by the authority of the priesthood, I made an effort to reach the hurricane deck which I succeeded in doing after much difficulty. The dense darkness of the night shut out from sight the surging billows, which were only brought to view by the rapid lightning flashes, while the booming voice of terrible thunder shoot the sea. The scene, though awe-inspiring, exhibited a little of the majesty of the Creator’s works. Our ship mounted each succeeding wave with trembling and unsteady motion and then descended into the foaming troughs with a reckless madness that was portentous of an inevitable tomb down in the unfathomed abyss.
No power but that of omnipotence, thought I, can save us from the perils of this terrible moment. The puny arm of man was far too short and feeble to extend to us a rescue. The eighty colored sailors that manned the toiling ship were skulked away in some place of fancied security and the captain and his officers (I was informed afterwards) had given up for lost and retired to their own apartments. The sails were closely wreathed, except one or two of the lowest, left purposely, if possible to hold the vessel a little steady.
At such an hour–in the midst of darkness and the electric flashes–I wrestled against the dangers that threatened to hurl me into the foaming immensity that gleamed and sparkled in the lurid light. O, the terrible majesty of that scene! I cannot portray it! That boundless expanse of ocean was stirred up from its depths and piled around into mountain heights, and as our ship descended along each crested wave, it seemed that at the base might be our sepulchre!
Reaching the bulwarks with safety, with my left hand I grasped a rope to keep from being hurled across the deck or into the sea. With my right hand I took from my pocket (for so was I impressed) the bottle before mentioned, and, in the name of the Lord, poured out the oil upon the winds and the waves. Then, rebuking the anger of the elements in the name of the God of Israel, I turned from the scene and reached in safety my quarters below the deck. It seemed but a few moments after my arrival there when I heard someone speak out earnestly from the gangway: “Good news; the wind is going down and turning in our favor.” The wind died away by degrees and the next morning not a breeze was wafted over the blue crest of the ocean. All was calm and placid as is the humbled human breast after passion’s terrible hurricane has subsided and left it once more to the empire of peace.
I place this matter upon record as an evidence of God’s power and to show that He has conferred His Priesthood upon men in these last days through the instrumentality of His Prophet Joseph Smith. I relate these facts with much diffidence lest some may think I do so with boastful motives, which is foreign from me. I feel myself as being one of the weakest instruments that our Heavenly Father has chosen in this age of the world and honored with the authority of His priesthood. To Him belongs all the glory and to Him, for this and many other evidences of His preserving mercy, I offer the tribute of a grateful heart.
On the twentieth of July  another storm set in which lasted twenty-four hours, in which the mercy of our Heavenly Father was made manifest in our preservation. Also, on the twentieth of August, the elements seemed to be, if possible, more determined than ever on our destruction. The storm raged all day and night. We were in a very dangerous part of the ocean, between Sable Island and the mainland, as I understood, among rocks and shoals. The squalls struck us repeatedly with such fury that the sails were rent in pieces and the greatest peril was threatened. This time it seemed to me that all the hosts of the infernal regions were determined to destroy us. I stood at the bulwarks holding to the rigging about twelve o’clock at night. Again faith was exercised in the God of Israel and again His Omnipotent power was manifested in our preservation. All the powers of my soul were employed as I exercised faith in the name of the Lord and humbly asked Him to rebuke the fury of the winds and the waves and after a time my heart was filled with gratitude when the squalls came with less fury and less frequency. We were again preserved by the power of Jehovah and He alone it was who stilled the terrible motion of that angry sea.
That was a terrible night. In addition to the horror of the storm, we were near having a collision. A vessel, for the first that it had been discovered, through the darkness and fog, was lying across our ship’s bow. Every effort was quickly made by the officers of our ship and we passed them safely. Had the vessels truck, under such circumstances, the disaster must have been great to both. The captain, two days after, speaking to me of that night, said: “I took good care that nobody but myself knew the danger we were in.”
From Newfoundland we had a fair wind, the first since we left the Liverpool docks. All sails were stretched to catch the wooing breeze, and we were able to make excellent headway. A sight of my native shore filled me with a supreme gratitude I had never before felt–gratitude to God that we had been brought safely through so many dangers and again permitted to enjoy the privilege of looking upon the shore of my beloved country.
To Newfoundland we had almost incessant storms, with the wind blowing exactly from the point of the compass for which we wished to steer.
On the evening of the 25th of August, 1848, two steamers came alongside, to which the luggage of 480 passengers was transferred, and we all were soon landed on the wharf of New York, thankful to place our feet upon land once more, after having been denied that privilege for fifty-one days.
In the midst of these interesting reminiscences we are under the necessity of closing our labors for the present. From the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo–taking in the many unpublished incidents connected with their unexampled journey to the Rocky Mountains, and the founding of a prosperous territory–much of interest remains to be chronicled. All this, and much that has already been furnished us, may afford material for a second volume.
Addressed to Elder Lyman O. Littlefield, on his departure from America, on a mission to Europe.
By Miss E. R. Snow.
Go, brother, go forth in the spirit of Jesus, Enrobed with salvation, encircled with power; God forth as a herald and publish glad tidings– Go call to the nations and tell them the hour.
Go, brother, be humble–hold fast your profession– Continue to cling to the strong “iron rod:” ‘Twill lead thro’ the mists and the clouds of thick darkness, To the fountain of light and the glory of God.
Go, brother, thy country has chased thee in exile, With an oft oppress’d people, the Saints of the Lord; Who are passing the furnace of deep “fiery trials,” Rejoicing in hope of the “better reward.”
Go, brother, go tell our dear brethren in Europe The suff’ring and patience and faith of the Saints, Who, for righteousness sake, on the earth are but strangers– But God is their Lord, and their spirit ne’er faints.
Go, brother, and say to the Saints that are faithful That God is preparing a kingdom of rest; And when they have pass’d thro’ the tide of affliction, With the fullness of blessing they’ll truly be blest.
Go, Brother, be faithful, and God will protect you And bear you in safety across the great deep; And your guardian angel will bring you instruction, And whisper sweet comfort to you when you sleep.
Go, brother, and when from the friends now around you, You are breathing the air of a far distant clime, Look oft in the mirror of your recollection And the sweet sounding harp-strings of friendship will chime.
May the God of our fathers preserve you from evil, And fill you with wisdom and light evermore; And when you with honor have finished your mission, Return you in peace to America’s shore.
Winter Quarters of the Camp of Israel, America, April 25, 1847.