In the first settling at New Jersey there were three young men by the name of Stout who came from Germany–two of which were killed by the Indians, and the other one married a woman who had been scalped and tomahawked and left among the dead, and from thence came all the numerous hosts of Stouts now in the United States.
My father, being a poor man, maintained his family by tending a gristmill. In the fall of 1819 he removed to Clinton County, Ohio, and there maintained his family partly by farming and partly by days work. In the summer of 1823, my father sent me to Rebecca Stout, a cousin of mine, 20 days. This, with the former exertions of my mother, enabl to begin to read. In the summer of 1823, my youngest sister Elizabeth Mahala died of the measles; I also had the same complaint, and about the same year I had the French measles of chicken pox, and the mumps, and now whooping cough.
On the 29th day of July, 1824, my mother died of the consumption after a long confinement and much suffering. She left a family of eight children whose names were: Rebecca, Sarah, Mary, Margaret, Anna, Hosea, Allen J. and Lydia R. About this time I went to school a few days more to a man by the name of George Carter who was an old Quaker friend. I boarded at Uncle Isaac Stout’s while going to school.
After the death of my mother, my father broke up housekeeping and I lived awhile with a man by the name of Ephraim Done. My sister Margaret had married a man who called himself Willia McStout, an infamous rascal.
In the fall of 1824, my father, sisters Mary, Anna, Lydia, and myself removed to Cincinnati and stayed there a few weeks and then went on to the falls of the Ohio River and spent the winter. Soon after we got here my sister Mary was married to a man whose name was Nicholas Jamestown–another most abandoned wretch. During this winter I lived some of the time with a man by the name of George Ditchlers and some with George Colliers and with Major Newel. Mr. Collier’s folks were hard to please, but they were nice cleanly folks and tried to teach me good manners, but Ditchlers were right the reverse. In the spring of 1825, my father, Anna and I went on board of a keel boat which was bound for Little Rock in the state of Arkansas.
One day as we were floating down the Ohio River, the wind was so high it sunk some corn and oats, and I saw the skiff bounding over the high waves. I thought it was a fine place to ride, so I got in, but the violence of the wind broke the cable, and away the skiff went up, up stream with the wind, and had it not been for an old sailor who swam out from the boat by what is called the Rocky Cave (I went some ways into it) and brought me back, I should have been drowned.
We passed by what is called the Rocky Cave. I went out to see it for it is a curious place. My father fell out with the captain of the boat and we went ashore at a town called New America. From thence we traveled on foot across the lower part of the state of Illinois until we came to the Mississippi River, near Cape La Croix, where my father left Anna and me, and he went on to Washington County, Missouri. About fall he returned and we all three went to Uncle Ephraim Stout’s, who lived in Washington County, Missouri. It was there I for the first time saw my old Grandmother Stout. Soon after we came here, Anna and I were both taken with the fever and ague and I had it three months.
We again set out with Uncle Ephraim and went to Tazewell County, Illinois. Soon after we got there, I went and lived with a man by the name of Nathan Dillon. I stayed here nearly two years during which time father went back up to Galena, and St. Peter’s, and then to Ohio.
In the year 1827, I being an orphan child (this year sister Mary died January 5, 1827), and had to do the best I could, went and lived with a man bhe name of Martin Meyers. I was a very weakly child, but this man used to abuse me by whipping me for things which I could not help, so I resolved in my mind to be avenged on him as soon as I was able. I went to school 20 days while I lived with Meyers. In the summer of 1829, Hosea and Margaret came out from Ohio, and I left Meyers and went up to Stout’s grove. Sister Margaret had come here and by this time her husband had left her, and she was sick of the consumption. She died February 28, 1829. I went to school to Jesse Stout 20 days.
I now lived with Ephraim Stout, Jr. During the winter Uncle Ephraim Stout entered a complaint in the county court and had me bound out. He was commissioner, but I was 14 years old, so I chose James Watson to be my master. During the summer of 1830, I went to school and learned to spell and read, for I had forgotten almost all I had ever learned. The man’s name I went to was Archibald Johnson. About this time sister Rebecca, who still lived in Mercer County, Kentucky, died of the consumption. This fall my father and sister Lydia came out from Ohio and my father, being angry at Uncle Ephraim, took me from Watson and I lived awhile with Matthew Roberts who was a fine clever man. I then went to Little Mackinaw, where father had an improvement, and sisters Sarah, Lydia and myself kept house a few months. I then lived a few months at John Stout’s, another cousin of mine. I then lived a little while with one Henry Buckner. I then went back to Dillon’s settlement and lived a few weeks with Jonathan Hodgson.
In the month of June, 1831, my father and I started to go to Texas. We took water on the big Mackinaw River in a canoe and went out of that river into the Illinois River. We stopped at Naples, Mendota, and Beardstown and worked to get means to go on, when we passed Alton on the Mississippi River. The state prison was underway, the walls were from one to ten feet high. I took the ague and fever on the rivers and when we came to St. Louis, Missouri, I was so low that I could scarcely walk. We went on down to a little town called Hardinville, 25 or 30 miles below St. Louis, and there caught some fish and sold them. We also sold our canoe and then got into a wagon driven by a Negro slave, and went out as far as the lead mines. This Negro stole my father’s tray trowel which was a great loss to him, for he made his living chiefly by making head trays.
We set out on foot from the mines to go to Uncle Isaac Stout’s, a distance of 25 miles, and then I was so weak that I could not walk more than 50 yards at a time, but I gained fast so that in a week we got the 25 miles, and the last day I walked eight miles. We passed through Caledonia, the seat of Washington County. A doctor told father I was mortifying within, and if I did not have medical aid, I would die, but he was an enemy to doctors and would not let him doctor me. Then he offered to do it for nothing. I now had a three month spell of the ague and fever, but was able to go to school some of the time.
I lived awhile with John Rounds whose wife was a cousin of mine, and then awhile with Jacob Elliott, whose wife was also my cousin. In the spring of 1832, John Rounds removed to St. Francis River in Wayne County, Missouri, five miles from Greenville on the Tollman Smith farm. Father and I again set out for Texas on foot. We took the main military road which led to Little Rock, the territory of Arkansas. Father’s sore leg got so bad that he could not travel so we put up with a man whose name was William Holt, an old acquaintance of father’s. We stayed there two months during which time my father’s leg mortified, but he boiled verbenas leaves and applied to it, which stopped the mortification. We then pursued our journey on to Hempstead County, which lies on Big Red River. We were now out of both money and clothes, so we began to take jobs of both clearing and fencing land until we got us a few head of cows and hogs. We then made an improvement and went to keeping bachelor’s hall.
We were now within seven miles of the Texas line, but on account of the war which had commenced between the Texans and the Mexicans, father being quite old, declined going any farther. This was a good place to raise cotton, sweet potatoes, corn, oats, etc., but it was very sickly, especially for a northern man. We raised a crop on the improvement which we made and then we quit keeping bachelor’s hall and rented out the cleared land to one Benjamin Conover and hired out to work by the month.
In the year 1824 , a rich man by the name of William Beasley, entered our improvement, notwithstanding we held a preemption right, but we could not get the money to reenter it, so we referred the matter and were allowed $60.00 for our improvement.
In the fall of 1835, I went to work in a cotton gin and worked all winter for a man by the name of Robert Morrow, a noted bachelor who owned a number of slaves. In the summer of 1836, I worked out by the month on a farm, and in the fall and winter in a cotton gin.
About that time I was at a camp meeting and tried to get religion but I couldn’t make it go off like the Methodists and Presbyterians did, so I gave up trying anymore. There was an old man by the name of Thomas Graham who prophesied that I would make a preacher, but soon after he found that I played cards, so he was discouraged about me.
February 2, 1837, father and I set out on foot for Illinois. We had beefed all our cattle and turned them into cash. We traveled on through Clark County but we found we were too heavily loaded with clothing and trumpery, so we sold off the greatest part of it. We passed by the Hot Springs on the Washita River. There are about 32 springs issuing from a mountain which is covered with cedar timber, some of them are as hot as water can be made by fire, others lukewarm, and some as cold as any spring I ever saw. These hot springs will turn clay into stone in a few weeks. There are all manner of diseased persons here from all parts of the United States. They come to get their health.
We traveled on to Little Rock, the capital of the state, and there fell on company with William Royal, who married a girl by the name of Baker, a cousin of ours. As we rode in their wagon, father got his toes frosted. It was an uncommon cold day for that country. We went 40 miles with him, and stayed at his home ten days until father’s toes got well. While he laid there, I went with William Baker, who married one Rebecca Stout, a cousin of mine. As we returned, I steered my way through the woods and got lost and laid out all night. I saw scores of deer and we killed one before we separated, each one to take a different route home. I got in about nine o’clock a.m. and found a wedding was underway, so we had a high time the rest of the day.
We again pursued our journey to Washington County, Missouri and stayed at Uncle Jacob Stout’s one month. I worked for cousin Ephraim. He was a Baptist preacher. On the 4th day of May  we again set out for Illinois. We stayed one night at Selina on the Mississippi River, where we saw a show town burn down. The next morning we crossed the river and set out up the American bottom. We traveled up to Alton and there got a steamboat bound for Peoria. As I got on the boat a man by the name of Smith asked me if my name was Stout. I said yes. He said he knew me by Lydia. I asked him if he was acquainted with my folks. He said he was and that Anna had married a Mormon. I asked him what that was, for I never before remembered having heard the name of Mormon spoken. He said it was a religious denomination of folks. I asked if they believed the Bible. He said they pretended to but any man who understood the scriptures could confound them in a moment.
We set off and soon landed in Wesley City, where I found all my folks well. Benjamin Jones who had married my sister Anna kept a boarding house, and he and Hosea were at carpenter work with them, and at evenings I read the book of Doctrine and Covenants. I could not get hold of a Book of Mormon. I went to a number of Sunday prayer meetings, but still the most satisfaction I could get was what Hosea would tell me, for he was as well acquainted with the gospel as he is now, but had not obeyed it yet. Soon after we got here Lyman Wight, Charles C. Rich and Morris Phelps came on from Missouri and held a meeting, so we all went to hear, and I was well pleased, and so was father, but to my great astonishment, some were very mad and said they did not teach the scriptures, but I knew better for I was well acquainted with the Bible.
On the 5th of July, 1837, father and I set out for Caldwell County, Missouri, in company with Anna and Jones family, and what was called the Rich branch of the Church. C.[Charles] C. Rich was our leader. Hosea, Benjamin and Lydia stayed behind to finish some jobs and settle some business, and then came on by water. We crossed the Mississippi at Quincy and traveled through Palmyra, Huntsville, Keetsville, and Carlton. We got to our journey’s end about the 6th of August. My business on the road was to drive sheep and help Anna about the camping business. When we stopped, Ben’s boys and I tried to cut hay, but they were too small and I was so sick and weakly that I could not do any good at it. The weather was very rainy and we had no house to shelter in, but I tried to borrow rails from one John Cooper to make a pen to shelter in, but he refused, and afterwards let them lay and rot. I was now out of money and in a strange place. But on getting out of tobacco and coffee, I went to George M. Hinkle’s store and tried to get trusted until Hosea came on, but he would not credit me although he had agreed to do so. This made me mad, and if I had had money enough, I should have returned to the south, but fortunate for me, my money was gone. Hosea and Ben soon came on and Hosea had a good bag of cash, so he entered 200 acres of good land, and we went to work and built a house on it, and Lydia kept house for us. Father stayed sometimes at Hosea’s and sometimes at Jones’.
This fall and winter I was afflicted with a breast complaint–fever sores and a breaking out on my body so I was unable to work at all. My mind was also greatly troubled, for I had become satisfied of the truth of the gospel and wished to embrace it, but still lingered back and had not courage to go forward and be baptized until on the 22nd day of April, 1838, I and Thomas Rich were baptized by the hand of Charles C. Rich.
It seemed to me that I could almost walk and not touch the ground. I was baptized in Lost Creek, five miles south of Far West. Soon after that I had the elders to anoint me and I was healed of both my breast complaint and fever sores, after the bone had been naked all winter on my leg, etc. I had breaking out on my body in consequence of change of climate and water, which was also healed. Hosea [Stout] and I then rented 15 acres of ground and planted it in corn, pumpkins, melons, etc. Hosea had some of his own land in cultivation. We spent this summer in tending to our business until crops were laid by, but about that time the Johnson’s, Whitmer’s, and some other apostates began to go off and swear everything they could against Joseph Smith, and all the heads of the Church. They swore to some lies and some truths which were calculated to excite the Gentiles against us insomuch that mobs began to rise and commit depredations until we were forced to resort to arms in order to save ourselves and property.
The Church was organized under captains tens, fifties, one hundreds, and one thousands. This made the inhabitants mad to see us making ready to defend ourselves. They called our organization the Danite band. I belonged to the third fifty led by Reynolds Cahoon.
On the 4th of July , Sidney Rigdon delivered his declaration of independence, which enraged the mob worse than ever, so that by fall the whole country was under arms. Benjamin Jones took a job of building a warehouse for Mr. Pomeroy, and I went and cooked for his hands one month, but the excitement got so high that some of the inhabitants of Richmond came down to where we were at work to whip us. There came eight men down to whip three of us, and when they came, I was off from our camp on business, and old man Knapp got drunk as soon as they came, so Brother Jones was all alone, and as soon as they made their business known, Jones pulled up a stake out of the ground and bid them come on, but none of them dared to touch him. As soon as I came, Jones told me what had happened. Now, we had our wagon loaded up ready to go home, but we stayed until near night just to let them see that we were not afraid of them. In the afternoon, as we went home, one of them waylaid us to shoot us, but the sheriff found it out and made him come away before we came on.
We went into Richmond and I went to a store to get a wedding dress for my sister Lydia, and the mob was there threatening me on every side, but I did not notice them. We then went on two miles and stayed all night. The next morning we set out for home and got there about three o’clock p.m. and that night there was a call made for men to go and retake some prisoners from Captain Bogart, so Jones and Hosea went, but I had no arms nor saddle, so I could not go, but next morning I heard that the brethren had had a fight with Bogart and retook the prisoners, but David W. Patten, Gideon Carter, and Patterson [Patrick ?] O’Banion were slain in the fight. I helped to tend on Patten while he was dying.
The Church in that settlement all went into Far West that day because Sampson Avard told them that the mob would be upon them by night and kill them, but the mob fled as fast the other way, and one John Estes, went to Richmond and swore that the Mormons had fallen on Captain Bogart and killed all of his men, but him, and that they were ravaging the country, upon which testimony the governor issued his extermination orders. Soon after this, General Lucas came and surrounded Far West, and the Saints surrendered their arms to him because he was sent by the governor, and soon General Clark came with an army of 1500 men and took charge of the city and got the names of as many as the apostates would give him. These apostates would hand in the names of such as they had malice against. Now these dissenters had sold the leaders of the Church into the hands of General Lucas when he first surrounded the city. And Lucas had a court martial held composed of officers, priests and privates, and the prisoners were all tried in a lump and all sentenced to be shot the next day on the temple foundation. This was all done without the knowledge of the prisoners, or any testimony on their part. And when they were notified of their doom, Lyman Wight said he would believe it when he saw it. And Joseph Smith said, “Be of good cheer, for not a hair of our heads will be hurt.” But it happened that General Doniphan revolted from Lucas and told him that neither he nor his men should have nothing to do in such cold-blooded murder, and that put a stop to the matter for the present, and the prisoners were taken up to Jackson County.
[Surrender at Far West] Now, it so happened, that I was one who was reported to General Clark, and when he had gotten all the names he could get, he called the Saints out on the temple block and had Colonel Hinkle to form them in a hollow square with his main arms around them and he and his field officers in the center, so he began to call the names of those the apostates had given in. And when he (General Clark) had caused them all to advance two paces forward and form a separate line, he informed the rest of the Saints that they could have the privilege of going to their families, but those whom he had selected should be made an example of. He also made a speech to the Saints which is recorded in the Times & Seasons printed in Nauvoo. There were about 60 of us who were to be made an example of, so we were marched to Hinkle’s store house and kept under guard all night, and the next day we were started for Richmond in Ray County. We got as far as Long Creek and were stopped for the night. The encampment was made by Clark’s main army forming a circle of about ten acres and the special guards another circle made, and the prisoners in the center. We had some corn which was ground on a horse mill and so coarse that a man could not get one bite without a whole grain and nothing but dirty shingles to spread it on to take it before the fire, and a piece of beef to roast was our support. Then we scraped away the snow and lay down to rest until morning. We then had the same kind of a breakfast and then were marched on our way to the place of our destination.
This day I was so afflicted with the rheumatism in my hips that I could scarcely walk, but we were taken within two miles of Richmond and camped as before, and had the same kind of fare at night. But the next morning we had nothing for breakfast, and were taken to Richmond and put in the court house and were promised a good warm meal at the tavern, but it was not given. So about ten o’clock at night they brought some of the chopped corn and a small skillet but the prisoners were nearly all asleep, so I went to work and baked bread all night. So I had one-fourth of a pone for each of us by day, but I did not taste of any until the rest awoke and got theirs. Also, now we were provided with a sieve after this so that our bread was much more agreeable, and soon we had a large pot given to us to cook our beef in when we had any.
Now, I was kept here in this prison for three weeks during which time the mob was ransacking all the country over to get witnesses to swear against the prisoners. Among the worst of the apostates who swore falsely against the prisoners were John Corrill, Reed Peck, John Clemenson, W. W. Phelps, Sampson Avard, and George M. Hinkle. Their most dire antipathy was aimed against Joseph and the rest of the heads of the Church, but they implicated many of the prisoners swearing they were guilty of treason, and almost every other name known to the law.
After three weeks of examination, the testimony was all received and read over and those of the prisoners who were not implicated in any way were set at liberty. The only crime that was proved against me was that of being a Danite which was sworn to by Sampson Avard, but as they could find no law on the case, I was set at liberty and returned home. During my imprisonment, my fever sores were not attended to and my leg was nearly rotten so as to render me almost helpless. I got my leg hurt again and got home to my sister Anna’s home about ten o’clock at night, but Brother Jones, her husband, was yet in prison and did not get out for a week longer. I then began to try to raise means to send my brother Hosea’s wife to him, for he had escaped the mob by going up north through a wilderness country and got to Illinois with about 40 others. I sold our crop of corn for 75 cents per barrel and got $20 which enabled Sumantha to get to Quincy, Illinois where she found Hosea.
I then began to try to get father and myself away for we were all forced to leave the state by the next spring. I was on my return from Richmond, landing with a span of mares and wagon, belonging to B. Jones and on the wide prairie I saw a man walking behind me. I reined in the team to let him overtake me, and who should it be but Orson Hyde, who had apostatized in the fuss, but had seen a vision in which it was made known to him that if he did not make immediate restitution to the Quorum of the Twelve, he would be cut off and all his posterity, and that the curse of Cain would be upon him. I invited him to ride with me, which he was very thankful for as he was very much fatigued. I also divided my morsel of bread with him, but I was not much in love with apostates so soon after my exit from prison. But I saw that Brother Hyde was on the stool of repentance, and he did repent good and got back to his place in the Twelve. Then I took Jones’ team and joined with Brother Judd who had a yoke of oxen and a wagon, and took part of Judd’s family and my father, and went to Quincy, Illinois. I found my brother living near that city, and I left father there and took a team that belonged to the committee who was helping the poor out of Missouri and returned back to Far West. I there gave the team up to the committee and went on foot to Clay County to see if I could help old Father Knight out.
Now it had gotten to be spring and there were exceeding heavy rains, and the Saints were forced out by the mob, and women and children were dragging through the mud and water, which was the cause of many lives being lost. I found Father Joseph Knight tending East Mill. I went to work to try to find a man who would buy his land. After two weeks’ hunt I found one who gave $30 for 40 acres of good land so the old man took his family consisting of a wife and two children and three step-children, and we took a boat at Independence landing and went to St. Louis, and from thence to Quincy. Then I went out 14 miles to a little town called Rayson and worked with my brother at carpentry and other work until the 5th of July, 1839, when Hosea, Thomas Rich and myself started for Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo, and came here and stayed a few days and then went over the Mississippi River into Iowa, and then began to improve a place. And Hosea and Thomas returned to Rayson while I stayed and worked on the house, but my health was so poor that I could do but little now.
Father and sister Sarah who had lately come from Ohio, left and went towards Missouri, but Sarah died 25 miles below Quincy of consumption and father went on to Uncle Jacob Stout’s in Missouri and died there, also of consumption. He was about 73 years of age, and of 12 children, only four were left alive.
During the remainder of the summer, I worked at building a house for us to live in. I also made some rails to get me some clothing. I attended the general conference on the 6th day of October, 1839, in Nauvoo at which time I was ordained an elder under the hands of Alpheus Cutler. On the 29th of November, Sumantha, my brother’s wife died. I then went back to Caldwell County, Missouri and made a visit to see my sister Lydia and then returned to Iowa and spent the winter at work, sometimes making rails and some of the time building houses.
In the spring of 1840 we all moved over to Nauvoo, and I got my license as an elder, bearing the date of April 20, 1840, which I now have in Hyrum Smith’s own handwriting, which I intend to always try and preserve. Soon after this, I set out on foot towards the south with the intent to try to preach the gospel, young and unlearned as I was, but I had never spoken in public in my life. When I got to Louisiana [Missouri], 40 miles below Quincy, I went to the captain of a steamboat, and told him I wanted to get a passage on his boat but had no money. I also told him my business. He said I was very young to be on such an important mission but he granted my request so I rode on his boat to Herculaneum, 25 or 30 miles below St. Louis, and then went on foot to Washington County, Missouri, where Uncle Jacob Stout and family lived. I there gave out an appointment to preach in Mr. Buford’s school house. At the appointed hour, I arose and opened by prayer and then spoke on the first principles of the gospel for about three-quarters of an hour. I was somewhat embarrassed not being used to speaking in public, but I did call on the Lord for strength and wisdom to enable me to perform my duty with an eye single to his glory. I then gave leave for remarks, but none was made, so I gave out an appointment ten miles up the river at the widow McNeil’s house and on the next Sabbath I attended to that and after I was through with my discourse, Benjamin McNiel, whose wife was my cousin, made some remarks. He was a Methodist class leader.
I then went 50 miles further south to John Rounds, who also married my cousin, and there preached five times in Randolph and Lawrence Counties. I then went on to Batesville, where I was threatened to be hanged and burned by an old doctor, but the landlord of the tavern made him stop his noise. So I went on to White County and held a meeting at Thomas Royas’ then went ten miles to Gabriel Baker’s, whose wife was a Stout. I there preached once and then went on to the city of Little Rock and gave out an appointment to preach in the city hall, at early candlelight, but as soon as I arose about 40 or 50 men arose on their feet and began to ask impertinent questions, and then began to stamp on the floor and swear. I tried to call the house to order three times and this only made them worse. So I started down stairs and one man said to me, “If you are not out of this city by sunrise, you will ride out on a rail.” I told him that I had never yet rode in that manner, nor I was not afraid of having to do it. I then returned to the hotel where I had stopped, and several of the citizens came to me and asked me if I would preach if they would call out the police and keep order. I said I would. So they deliberated on the matter, but finally said that they would have to kill some of those ruffians to keep order. So they gave it up, but they were anxious to hear a Mormon preach. I then returned to White county to Baker’s and he gave me a chance to go to school free of cost. So I stopped awhile and still preached in that and adjoining settlements until fall, but the school did not get underway, so I returned to Nauvoo to the fall conference on the 6th of October, 1840.
I stayed in Nauvoo until about the 20th of November  and then set out on foot through the swamps towards Little Rock. The first day I traveled 14 miles and stayed all night and in the morning, the man of the house would not let me go until he had searched me and my valise for money, though I told him I had none in the evening before. I then went on and had to wade through mud and water and some ice until I came to Gabriel Baker’s in White County, Arkansas. I there found a trail on hand before Baker and another esquire. They were trying Henry Stacey for the crime of murder, which was not uncommon in that country. I stayed there through the winter and went to school some of the time, worked some and preached the gospel in several of the adjoining settlements. I baptized Lewis Kirkpatrick while I was there.
And on or about the 4th of July, 1841, I got a letter from my brother Hosea in Nauvoo stating that the mob was about the act of kidnapping Joseph and taking him to Missouri. So I wrote a letter and put my elder’s license in it and directed it to Nauvoo, then left my books and journals at Brother Kirtpatrick’s and set out on foot for home. I passed through Missouri to St. Genevieve in a week, then took steam passage and got to Nauvoo in ten days from the time I left Kirtpatrick’s, a distance of 500 or 600 miles and walked half of the way. On getting home, I found that Brother Joseph had gotten a habeas corpus and was set at liberty. I then went with Brother John S. Higbee down to St. Louis on a fishing spree. We fished with a seine, and took them to St. Louis and so I got myself some clothes. Then I returned to Nauvoo and worked awhile at tending a shingle machine and soon after I went to work at a carpenter and joiner work.
On the 20th day of October, 1842, I received a commission as third lieutenant in a company of the Nauvoo Legion. This same year I was initiated, passed and raised to the various degrees of masonry. I took great delight in this order of things insomuch that I improved every opportunity to learn the lectures and all the principles pertaining to that ancient and honorable order. This fall I had a severe spell of sickness and as soon as I was able to do anything I began to drive a span of horses belonging to Miles Anderson. I stayed at his house all winter and until the 1st of April, 1843, during which time I became acquainted with his oldest daughter Elizabeth. Our acquaintance continued to increase until it grew to the strongest attachment and love, but all unbeknownst to either of our friends.
This spring I went to school a few weeks to a man by the name of Warren and then went to carpenter work. On the 8th day of July, 1843, I received a commission of captain of the 1st company, 2nd battalion, 5th regiment, 2nd cohort, Nauvoo Legion. About this time Brother Joseph was again taken prisoner by a band of incarnate demons in the northeast part of the state. So the steamer, Maid of Iowa, was named and went around by the mouth of the Illinois River and up as far as Perue and we there learned that Joseph was taken to Nauvoo. So we returned and found him at home and set at liberty. During the voyage I suffered much with the toothache and was quite sick.
I still grew more and more attached to the object of my affection, and on the 7th day of July, 1843, Elizabeth Anderson, married to me by Elder Charles C. Rich, but her parents and friends were so much opposed to our union that we left her father’s house and went to James Pace’s to get married, and I never went into their house for over two years again. I then took passage on board the steamer Maid of Iowa, with my wife and set out for Black River, Wisconsin Territory, in company with Lyman Wight, George Miller and about 100 others to work in the lumbering business for the Nauvoo House and Temple. We were about five days getting up to prairie LaCross. We then shipped our goods on keel boats and polled and cordelled [?] up Black River to the Mormon Mills at the falls of the river. My business was chiefly carpenter and joiner work, building houses for the company to winter in. I worked the most of the time only when I was sick, which was a week or so.
About the 1st of March  our provisions gave out, so as to leave us quite hungry. Some ate an ox after he had been dead three weeks, and I ate of a piece and salted it and set it away but it stank so that it made me sick, and just as I was done fixing my stinking meat, two sled loads of flour hove in sight, so I did not eat any of that old carcass.
March the 12th  I began to build me a boat to go back to Nauvoo in and when I got my flat boat done, Lyman Wight swapped me a skiff for it so I set out with my wife about the 15th of March in my skiff down the Black River. We met with some difficulty by the ice which was running in the river. We stayed at a Mr. Douglas’ mill the first night and the second we camped to the river side of the woods. The third night we got to Prairie LaCross. We found that the Winonagagoes Indians had been killing one another and were in an excited state. We stayed all night at the trading post and got some little provisions, then set out down the Mississippi River. The weather was squally, the winds and waves made it dangerous traveling some of the time, but we got opposite Galena and put up with a bachelor some of the time, because of the wind and rain. We stayed there two or three weeks and he wanted us to stay all the year. He offered us great wages but we were anxious to get back to Nauvoo. I then sold my skiff and took passage of a steamboat and once again got back to the city of the Saints. I then went to work on the seventies hall at joiner work for a few weeks, then at carpenter work with my brother Hosea. We took jobs and I worked out a milk cow. I had to rent houses to live in, not being able to build.
On the 1st day of May, 1844, Elizabeth brought forth a son, and we called his name Charles Heber. This gave us great joy in the midst of our poverty. The child continued to grow fast and was a source of much comfort to us. My health was poor so as to not be able to do much hard work.
Now, there began to be excitement in the regions round about, so that the [Nauvoo] Legion was called out, which occupied my time as I had command of one company of footmen. The mob was determined to have the Prophet and we were determined they should not, so we kept under arms day and night for many weeks, but finally Joseph and Hyrum gave themselves up to be tried by the persuasion of false brethren and were taken out to Carthage.
And while they were in jail, Brother Joseph wrote an official order to Jonathan Dunham to bring the Legion and reserve him from being killed, but Dunham did not let a single man or mortal know that he had received such orders, and we were kept in the city under arms, not knowing but all was well, until the mob came and forced the prison and slew Joseph and Hyrum Smith and wounded John Taylor severely.
Their dead bodies were brought to Nauvoo where I saw their beloved forms reposing in the arms of death, which gave me such feelings as I am not able to describe. But I there and then resolved in my mind that I would never let an opportunity slip unimproved of avenging their blood upon the head of the enemies of the Church of Jesus Christ. I felt as though I could not live. I knew not how to contain myself, and when I see one of the men who persuaded them to give up to be tried, I feel like cutting their throats. And I hope to live to avenge their blood, but if I do not, I will teach my children to never cease to try to avenge their blood and then their children and children’s children to the fourth generation as long as there is one descendant of the murderers upon the earth.
Now, soon after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, I joined the Old Police and was under arms day and night when I was well enough, but I was frequently sick of the fever and ague, by being out on guard on nights. The police drew one dollar per day for services in city scrip until the legislature of Illinois repealed the city charter and then Brother Brigham Young called the Old Police together and told them that there was no visible means of pay, but said he wanted all who felt disposed to continue to guard the city, and the Lord would open some way for their support. But some of the police quit service when the pay stopped, but I kept on guard, still believing that the Lord was able to feed me, and soon after I got a berth in the Nauvoo Lodge where I got $1.50 per day and only had to act about three hours each day.
On the 22nd day of December, 1844, I received license as a seventy, was ordained some time before. I lived in rented houses, not being able to build for myself. I was sick considerable of the time this winter but I was on guard whenever I was able, and on the 9th day of February, 1845, I was ordained by A. P. Rockwood, a president in the 19th quorum of seventy Samuel Moore, senior president. President Brigham Young told a dream he had concerning a man child whom some say was dead, but he looked at him and saw that he breathed, and the child grew fast. Now this, he said, was the priesthood; though the Prophet was slain, yet the priesthood remained unhurt.
Now I taught an evening lecture school this winter on masonry, as many who had been in the lodge had not been well versed in the lectures. I continued guard, lecture school, sword school and various meetings all winter and spring. February 16th  my family was not well, my child was sick of a fever.
February 19th  I worked at joiner’s work and went to the sword school in the afternoon and to the lodge at night, and at midnight on guard in a storm of wind and rain, suffering with the ear and teeth ache. Now this is a sample of my duties (see scrap journals for particulars).
February 21st  I rent a house of Simeon A. Dunn for $1.50 a month, opposite the Nauvoo House store.
February 24th  I moved to the house I had rented.
February 25th  At the police meeting at the usual hour. We heard that the Twelve were in danger out at Macedonia and a company was sent to see to it, but the mob did not hurt them. I then fixed my army in good trim for any emergency that might come.
February 27th  At night John Scott and I were on patrol guard, near Mr. Clapp’s store, and we heard a cry down toward the mansion house as if someone was being killed. We ran to the spot but could see no one but William Marks who was in a rage because someone had thrown some stinking filth and ink upon Washington Peck, an apostate who was boarding at the mansion house.
March 1st  Stormy.
March 3rd  We began to fix for a garden and so on through the month. I stood guard half of every other night and did as much other business as I could. I bought a house and lot in the north part of the city, but it was so far off I did not live in it, but rented it out.
On the 6th of April  conference began. I had to assist in keeping the alleys clear, and such other business as the high policemen ordered. During this conference, Dr. Charles complained that the boys were following him with big knives and whistling at him.
April 10th  I went and engaged cakes and beer for the police to have spree.
April 12th  We had a feast of cakes and ginger beer, etc. (see scrap journals no. 2) We had a merry time.
April 14th  The babe was sick.
April 17th  The elders administered to Charles and he got better so that we could rest at night.
Until May I stood on guard, worked at gardening, served in the lodge, etc. I was quite unwell the forepart of May so as to scarcely be able to get about.
May 12th  I took a schedule of the arms and ammunition of my company so as to make out an official report to the commanding officer of the [Nauvoo] Legion.
May 15th  It was a day of fasting and prayer. My wife and I went and she was sick at evening so I missed going to the police meeting for the first time in a great while.
May 30th  I went up to the top of the tower of the temple, and I could see all the region round about (see scrap journal no. 3)
June 5th and 6th  My breast complaint was preying upon me so as to disable me from doing much. Monday, the 12th, myself and Daniel Carns were fined $1.50 each for getting angry, to be paid in beer. Charles was sick for some weeks.
June 15th  Sunday, my wife’s brothers and sister were all that were old enough, baptized, and I helped to confirm them.
Monday the 23rd [June 1845] I was detained on guard at President Brigham Young’s on the first watch of the night and J. Scott on the latter. But before John went to bed we heard a few blows struck as if someone was beating an ox with a club, which was followed by shrieks. So Scott ran towards the noise and met Irvine Hodge coming towards us who cried out, “Don’t kill me.” Scott said, “Who are you? I am John Scott.” “I know you are my friend,” said Hodge, and caught hold of Scott’s arm, and they came opposite of Young’s door, and said he, “I am a butchered man,” and immediately he fell. As soon as a light could be gotten, we found that the blood was running from his side, and there was soon a crowd of men on the ground, but he soon expired. And there was a jury called and body examined, which was stabbed three or four times and cut several of his ribs from his back bone, but the assassins escaped for it was so dark that a man could not be seen.
Wednesday, July 1st  I still kept on guard and worked on the lodge and made as much garden as I could. About those days I wrote my scrap journal in phonography, but was not well skilled in the science, so it is hard to read it. (see scrap book 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th.) I made ginger beer to sell this summer and I tended the Nauvoo House meat market, good guard, etc. until the 1st of September  and then there began to be trouble in the regions of Bear Creek, Carthage and Warsaw, so that we had to fly to arms again to protect ourselves against the mob. I had very [poor] health all the time but continued to stand guard as much as possible, of nights, and also keep with my company on duty whenever required. This fall, Elder Heber C. Kimball asked me to move on one of his rooms to live there the winter.
Soon after we moved into Brother Kimball’s house, he sealed my wife to me and on the 3rd of December, 1845, my wife brought forth her second son and I called his name Allen Joseph. The object of my living at Brother Kimball’s was to be on hand at a minute’s warning if anything should take place that he needed help, for the mob was determined to destroy the heads of the Church if possible. Now we were making every arrangement possible for starting in the spring for the west, somewhere, I knew not where. Some said to Vancouver Island, but we had to go somewhere. We could not stay in Nauvoo any longer without fighting all the time.
So the Church preferred going into exile, and accordingly, on the 10th day of February, 1846, I left Brother Heber C. Kimball’s house and crossed the great Mississippi River, for I knew not where, but I had no team, so I left nearly all my little household stuff and went in with my father-in-law in his big five-horse wagon. But the weather was bad, snow, rains and winds came on incessantly so that we could not travel for some weeks, so we lay in camp on Sugar Creek where I again was on guard all the time. My brother Hosea was the captain of all the guards, about 200, and I was a captain of ten.
While we were camped on Sugar Creek, Benjamin Stewart, one of Captain W. I. Earl’s men, shot one of my men by the name of Abner Blackburn, which was done by carelessly handling a big holster pistol. It was only a flesh wound and soon got well. I was there taken with the sore eyes so that when the camp moved on, I had to stay behind a week, but I got my eyes doctored up and rolled ahead, and overtook the camp at what was called Richardson’s Point. I had given my company in charge of Brother Martin Erwell while I was blind with the sore eyes.
It was the 16th of March  when I overtook the camp. We went out to work for the Gentiles to get provisions, for it was so wet and muddy we could not travel, but on the 19th we struck our tents and traveled 15 miles.
Friday, 20th [March 1846] sent my family ahead and stayed back with my company with Brother Brigham. We traveled 12 miles.
Sunday the 22nd, [March 1846] we went on four miles and came to Charlton River where we had a hard road to travel, hills and muddy. I saw 25 yoke of oxen to one wagon to get up a hill. Here we lay in camp until the 1st of April, 1846, during which time I peddled off some books for corn and other provisions. My father-in-law, Brother Anderson, swapped a large wagon for a smaller one, and got a cow, 15 bushel of corn, and 285 pounds of bacon to boot. Here also, some of my men discharged and went back for their families, etc. I was relieved of a great deal of care and anxiety, so we again went on a few miles through mud and mire and camped on Shoal Creek, where I camped with Brother Brigham’s company. Here I herded the cattle.
Friday the 3rd [April 1846] we started early, but there came a thunder shower so that the road got so muddy that we had to double our teams, and so some got stuck in the mud, and did not get to camp that night. So we kept rolling on from place to place through the mud until the 27th when we pitched our tents in a beautiful grove of timber where we began to make a farm. This place was called Garden Grove. Here it was determined by the council that those who were out of provisions should stop and raise a crop. About these times, the rattlesnakes bit a good many of our animals, and there was a great exposure the Saints were forced to undergo. There one of Hosea’s boys died. There was great want of bread in camp, so that we were oppressed on every hand, but we cried to the Lord, who heard our prayers, and we were fed by his all-bountiful hands, but some showed out their evil hearts by their mean mutterings and selfishness.
On the 15th [May 1846] the camp rolled on, but I still stayed at camp for I was quite sick and worn out by continually herding stock and waiting on the sick.
Tuesday the 19th [May 1846] we again set off for the next location.
Saturday, the 23rd [May 1846] we overtook the main camp on the middle fork of the Grand River, which is a rich prairie country with beautiful groves of timber on the water courses. Here we stayed until Tuesday, the 2nd of June, 1846, when the camp began to move off, and I and my father-in-law had to go down to Grand River 40 or 50 miles to get some cattle that he had traded a wagon for.
On the 9th of June, 1846, I was taken with something like a fit which caused me to fall in the fire, but did not get burned.
On the 11th [June, 1846] we moved into a house belonging to a man named Logan.
Friday the 12th of June, 1846, I was taken with a hot fever and continued to get worse for some time so that I was only able to speak when I was sent for by Brother Brigham to go in the [Mormon] Battalion to fight the Mexicans.
Saturday the 20th [June, 1846] the fever began to subside so there began to be some hopes of my recovery.
On the 25th [June, 1846] I was well enough to sit up in the wagon so we started for Garden Grove, where we arrived on the 28th, and on the 30th [June, 1846] we moved into Brother Duncan McArthur’s house, who was very kind to me in my affliction. Here I remained for some time, gaining strength slowly.
July 20th, 1846, I again began to work. My wife and children had the sore eyes on account of our exposure.
August 4, 1846, I sent off some kegs and bad cords which I had made, by Brother McArthur to sell to get some little notions to make us comfortable. My eyes got so sore I could scarcely see to work.
August 21st  I began to cut a set of house logs, and on the 22nd, I finished cutting them so I hauled my logs and built me a house and before I could get it done, my wife was taken down with the bilious fever and was very sick so that I could do nothing but tend her, until the 25th, when Allen, my youngest son was taken with a bad diarrhea, and came near dying.
August 27th  my wife began to mend.
On the 30th [August 1846] we were all better of our illness.
October 1, 1846, A. W. Babbitt came on from Nauvoo and told of the battle that they had with the mob and the surrender of the city to them. I now bought a piece of land with a crop on it of W. Chapman.
On the 1 I sold my house to William Hickman, who moved in with me. On the 23rd [October 1846] I moved into the house that I bought. I worked at repairing my house and tending on my sick folks until the 6th day of November, 1846, when I learned that my father-in-law was on the road with a sick family, three of them had died.
November 7, 1846, my wife now began to do a little of the housework, which relieved me. I now set out on foot to meet my father-in-law, and went 25 miles and met them. I got back November 8, 1846, and my father-in-law moved in with me, where we all remained until the 14th, during which time I sold of such things as I could not haul, and we again set out for Council Bluffs and went two and one-half miles.
15th [November, 1846] we traveled 12 miles and camped on a creek called White Breast.
On the 16th [November, 1846] we had to hunt cows all day.
17th [November, 1846] we started on our way, and got to Mt. Pisgah on the 19th.
On the 29th [November, 1846] I passed the grave of my brother’s other son, who died as he was passing by that place.
December 4, 1846, we came to the main fork of the Visnabotma where we killed a fat steer and rested ourselves. We then went on through mud, frost and cold winds until the 10th of December, 1846, when we came to the Missouri River, where the main camp was in Winter Quarters. I crossed the river on the ice and went to my brother Hosea’s house. Here the Saints had built a city in six weeks’ time.
On the 13th [December, 1846] we crossed the river and I went into my brother’s tent and went on guard the first night. Hosea and I then cut and hauled a set of house logs, and I got me a small cabin and moved into it. I continued to stand guard at night, but cut wood and sell it for other eatables. I got 75 cents a night for police service and then worked all I could so that I made out to keep something to eat and wear.
We were troubled with the Lamah Indians. They would steal everything they could get their hands on, so that there had to be a constant guard at night and day. All spring and summer I was out on horseback 100 days guarding the herds, and stood on guard at night all I could. I also kept the stray pound which kept me very busy. I was taken sick of the ague and fever several times. The atmosphere was very heavy and damp of nights. I got nine acres of land in cultivation. I also bought a cabin of Brother Lindsay Brady and left the ones built for my brother to occupy. Now, Brother Brigham took a company of pioneers and went west to hunt a resting place for the Saints and located Great Salt Lake City in the Great Basin of the Rocky Mountains. He then returned to Winter Quarters. Now, I was on guard day and night as much as my strength would permit, and seemed to be doing well until in December when my wife was taken sick. She got so bad that I was finally prevailed on to get Dr. J. M. Bernhisel to tend on her, and he gave her some medicine, bled her, and put a Spanish fly blister on her back, and she seemed to get better. So I went 25 miles up the river to summer quarters to assess the property of the settlement for tax purposes, and on my return I found that my wife had been confined a few hours before I got back. This was the 25th of January, 1848.
Now I was engaged in assessing and collecting taxes for the payment of the police and mounted guards, but I found it was a thankless job, for the people were poor and some that were able to pay would not, but I had to keep trying day after day. I also had to tend to the stray pound which was a hard task. Now my wife seemed to be very weak and grew worse so I had to stay by her day and night, but in spite of all I knew how to do, an inflammation took place, and on the 30th day of January, 1848, she died at 2 o’clock p.m. Now the weather was very cold and I sent word to her father and mother who came down as soon as they could, and on the 1st of February, they came and we buried her the same day.
Now I was in a benighted condition without a wife, with three little helpless children and a journey of 1100 miles to perform without an animal to help me, and what to do I did not know. So I continued to pour out my soul in prayer to God day and night for him to open up some way for me to support my little ones and get them to the valleys of the mountains. So I sent my three babes off for a few weeks, and I went to see them once in a week or so until I got my sister Anna to come and keep house for me. I then hired a girl by the name of Eliza Shurtliff to help my sister and then went and got my children and kept them at home. So I continued to hire first one girl and then another to help my sister.
Now the Saints were starting out for the mountains, and all who would not go must return across the Missouri River, for we were on Indian land and the Gaent [?] had ordered us off. Some time about the 3rd of April  I hired Amanda M. Fisk to work for my sister and towards the last of April, my sister was going over the river, but I had agreed with Miss Fisk to get married. So on the 30th of April, 1848, Brigham Young and Thomas Bullock came over and we were wedded at my own house. Now this was unexpected to some of our friends who wondered how I was to get along with my children. I now moved back over the river and went out on Pigeon Creek and rented a house and garden spot of Riley Howard. Now I began to put in a garden, but I had traded for an Indian pony, so I had something to ride, as I had a heap of going about to do now. I met with some old Masonic friends who gave me five dollars in gold which was a help to me, and I taught a lecture school which brought me something to eat.
I then went on a visit to Ray County, Missouri to see my sister Lydia, and when I started back, John Larkey gave me five dollars. After I got back home I went 150 miles back to Iowa to vote in the August election. This was done to accomplish some political movement. There was a large company of us. We were gone two weeks. This was rest and recreation for me, for I had been so long in public business that my mind needed a rest.
I got home on the 15th of August, 1848, and found my family well, but I took cold on the trip which gave me the ague, so that I was sick for two weeks so as to do no work out as outfit for the valley. We made a fifteen miles travel and stayed at Kanesville, where I settled up my tithing and some other business. We then pursued our journey . . .