Edward Phillips (1813-1896)

Autobiography of Edward Phillips (1813-1896)

This sketch was written by Sylvia Phillips, then a fourteen year old granddaughter of Edward Phillips, as he dictated it to her in the year 1889. Italicized portions are apparently Phillips’ corrections/additions. Typescript in hands of family.
Edward Phillips, son of William and Mary Phillips, born in Oxenhall Parrish [Parish], Glouscestershire [Gloucestershire], England, April 2, 1813. He was christened April 3, 1813.

When [I was] six months old my father moved to Leigh, Worcestershire, Upper Sandlin, and there rented a farm of one hundred acres for three years. From there moved to Black House, Creadley, Herefordshire, and rented a farm of seventy-five acres for four years then returning to Upper Sandlin and rented that farm again for three years. From there he moved to Creadley and rented another farm. While working there he was taken sick and died at Longley Groen [Green], Suckley, Worcestershire, November 29, 1825, at the age of sixty-two. He married Mary Ann Pressdee in Worcestershire, being about ten years her senior. She was the mother of eleven children. From that time I employed myself farming and learning blacksmithing. I joined the society called the “United Brethern” whose president and leader was Thomas Kington. Everything worked well with us until within a year of the time Brother Wilford Woodruff arrived in our neighborhood. It seemed to me that we had come to a precipice and could not go any farther until Brother Wilford Woodruff placed a bridge over that precipice and we went on with glad hearts rejoicing. I went to hear him preach at Ridgeway Crossing on or about March 15, 1840. A day or two following I went to Hill’s Farm to hear him speak. When I started my good old mother said, “Edward, I should think you will not come back without being baptized.” I obeyed this council. I was the only male member of my father’s family who received the gospel. My sister Susan followed suite. I was one of the forty-six preachers that Brother Woodruff speaks of in his “Leaves of My Journal.” The forty-six were baptized except one, that was Phillip Holdt. Brother Woodruff baptized me at Hill Farm where he baptized six hundred. He told me not long ago, that less had apostatized out of that lot than any other of the same number in the church.

I[n] a few days after I was baptized, I was ordained a priest and put in charge of two branches, Ashfield and Crocutt, with George Brooks as my addistant [assistant]. This was near Sherrage, Leigh, Worcestershire. In the fall of that year, I was ordained an elder at the conference, under the hands of Brother Woodruff, and was sent to preach the gospel with Elder John Gaily to the Forest of Deane and Glouscestershire [Gloucestershire]. There I had the privilege of visiting my father’s family. We traveled and preached nearly a year and many were brout [brought] into the church under our administration. My mother embraced the gospel about this time under the hands of Brother Woodruff at a place called Moorings Cross, Maythen Parrish [Parish], Herfordshire [Herefordshire], 1841.

I left my home to emigrate to America. I went to Gloucester and in company with one hundred saints went to Bristol and boarded the “Carolina” for America. We set sail for Quebec, August 8th, 1841. We had a tedious voyage of eight weeks and three days, but landed safely. Thomas Richardson was our President. We set sail for Quebec, from Quebec we went to Montreal by steamer, and from Montreal through the lock to Kinston and then we sailed along Lake Ontario to Lewiston. We had a fine view of the city of Toronto. From Lewiston we boarded the train (which was drawn by mules) from Niagara Falls.

The next day we boarded the train for Buffalo and arrived at that place after dark. We put up at the Farmer’s Exchange for a week because of sickness. We then boarded the Chespeake [Chesapeake] for where now stands the great city of Chicago. We hired a man there to take us to Nauvoo with a team which contract he filled. We arrives [arrived] at Nauvoo in the latter part of October, 1841, on Saturday. On Sunday, I was anxious to see the Prophet. I attended meeting there and saw him for the first time. I did not need an introduction for I knew him the moment I saw him. He preached the gospel of salvation to us that morning which caused my heart to rejoice. Next day, Monday, I went to work in quarrying rock for the temple, (that was my first days work in America) near the upper Stone House on the Mississippi River. I continued to work on the temple and the Nauvoo House, most of the winter. I boarded with an old friend by the name of Jenkins, a shoemaker. There I fell in love with my present wife, who had preceeded [preceded] me a few weeks to America. On the 2nd of August of the next year, being one year from the time I left home, we were married by Heber C. Kimball near Camp Creek in Hancock County. She bore me fifteen children, nine of whom are still living, three of whom were born in Illinois, and the two first, a boy and a girl, died there. We were driven from their graves at the point of a bayonet, which was very grievous to us. I had some land and made me a nice home near where they were buried. I was working in the field near the house when the news came that the Prophet and his brother were killed at Carthage Jail. This made me shed bitter tears for I felt they were two good friends and I knew Joseph was a true prophet of God. He had said that he would go and die for the people. I was under arms in Nauvoo when he gave himself up to die for the people. He discharged us and told us to go home and he would go and die for us. We would gladly have gone and stood between him and death, but he would not let us. I was ready and willing to go. We were quartered at the tithing yard and slept in the Nauvoo Exposition Building. We went one day for foliage for our horses, and met Gen. Joseph Smith with his staff in the street. He cheered us and said, “Well done, boys.” We had been out inspecting the ground where we expected to meet our enemies. Word came to our Captain one night that the pickett guard was driven in and we were ordered out in the dead of night to go and meet the mob. I was determined to go and assist, so I borrowed a horse from a boy who did not like to go himself. Nevertheless this proved to be a false alarm and I went back disappointed. The prophet said he would go and die for us. He did and was butchered in cold blood. I was not there when he was killed, but I went later and took my wife with me to show her the well, curb, and the window where he jumped out when he was shot.

I have a Patriarchal blessing hanging in a frame in my room, which was pronounced upon my head by the prophet and patriarch, Hyrum Smith, in the fall of 1844[1843?], which is worth more than gold to me – Gold is no name for it. The predictions are being literally fulfilled every day. I know if I prove faithful it will all come to pass. I knew then and also know now that Joseph was a true prophet of God, and that the mantle of Joseph fell on Brigham Young who was his legal successor.

I was present at the meeting when this took place and heard with my own ears and saw with my own eyes. We all thought Joseph had come back to us although we knew he was in his grave. I was standing by the temple talking to Brother Woodruff and he pointed out a spot to me on the opposit[e] side of the river about a mile and a half above Montrose, and said there would be a city and a temple built there and the place would be called Zarahemla. I was at Nauvoo when the temple was finished and dedicated. I went up into the tower and wrote my name there. As I understand, the wicked have burned that temple to the ground and it is all destroyed like the Jerusalem temple. But I expect to see that temple re-erected and the one built on the opposite side of the river to match.

Before leaving Nauvoo in 1846 (for that was the time that we were driven far away) I want to McDonald’s near McAween’s Mill to try to sell my little farm. There I found a few of Joseph and Hyrum’s murderers drinking together. One of them was “Old Tom Dickson” of Locus Grove, and an old professed friend of mine. If it had not been for him, I expect they would have butchered me also for they placed a pistol in the hands of a little boy about eight years of age, and told him to say “Damn you Sir, I could kill you.” The little fellow swung his revolver and acted bravely over the affair.

In May 1846, we started on our journey West. Left Camp Creek passed through Pontique and crossed the Mississippi at Fort Madison. Traveling through Iowa and the season being very wet, it was very laborious to get through. We had to travel the ground three or four times over to help each other. We did not arrive at Council Bluffs until the Battilion [Battalion] had left for Fort Leavenworth under command of Col. Allen. Council Point was our winter quarters. We remained there until 1849.

Leaving there in the spring of ’49 with Capt. Gulley’s company. William Hyde was Captain of our fifty. We traveled until we arrived at Grand Island. Capt. Gulley was taken sick and died there. Daniel Collett and myself washed him and dressed him and laid him away. We then appointed Orsen [Orson] Spencer as Captain of our hundred for the remainder of the journey. The cholera was very troublesom[e] on the road, it being the year of the California gold craze. A great many of the emigrants died of cholera. It also got among the Indians and made them very angry with the whites for crossing their country. A great many of them were camped at Scotch Bluffs and were threatened to war with the emigrants. When we arrived at Scotch Bluffs, soldiers were called for at Fort Laramie to come and meet us which they did and guarded us through in safety. We traveled the balance of the way in safety to Salt Lake Valley in October of 1849. I turned in and built a log house on a ten-acre lot south of Salt Lake to dwell in for that winter. I got logs out of Red Butte Canyon. I bought a five ace lot of Gardener Potter’s trading him one of my old favorite steers for it. In the winter of 1849-50 John H. Green and myself started noth [north] to hunt a farm. We traveled to the north extremity of the county (what is now Davis County) to the sandridge until we encountered snow so deep and frozen so hard that we could not travel farther. We concluded to return (rather than perish) to find shelter. We had intended going as far as Ogden finding us a farm, but the snow prevented us from doing so. We went back and stayed over night with S. O. Holmes. We concluded the creek was the best place we had seen and returned in the spring of 1850.

On or about April 10, 1850, I started with my family for what is now Kaysville Creek, but which many at present call Kay’s Creek, but I arrived one day previous to Bishop Kay. We settled there on Sandy Creek in Frosoloscey’s survey which we called Phillips Creek. In a day or two after our arrival on what is now Kay’s Creek, we took our plows and started about the same time. We had five bushels of club head wheat each, which we sowed broadcast. I sowed mine on six acres. Brother Kay sowed his on five. We plowed land for farming side by side, being about equal in quality. I raised two hundred fifty bushels from my six. He raised two hundred ten from his five.

President Young paid us a visit after we had harvested our crop and he wanted to know how much I had raised. I told him two hundred and fifty bushel. I[He?] was asked why his[my?] crop was the best on the creek that season and I said it was due to the prayers I offered at the time of planting. He told of this in a sermon on the stand in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle, to try and show the increase. This was done without a fence, but we had to stand guard night and day to watch as well as pray; for there were from one to two hundred cattle turned out every night about a mile above us belonging to emigrants who were on their way to the California gold diggings. The country north of us for almost twenty miles was covered with a luxuriant growth of grass. We called it bunch grass. In the fall of the year, it would wave in the breeze like a grain field. It was rich for wintering stock. That is now a dry farming country, raising from 15 to 25 bushels of wheat per acre. I have lived to see within the last ten years from 15-20 headers all running in sight at the same time, cutting and putting in the stack from 25 to 30 acres each day. I owned on [one] of them. Probably a dog threshing machine following up separating the wheat from the straw and chaff.

President Young and his council and company arrived at our settlement in the fall of 1850 and organized a ward, appointing William Kay as bishop, myself and John H. Green as his councilers [councilors]. On a subsequent meeting by President Young predicted that the waters would increase sufficiently to supply three wards instead of one which has been fulfilled. At that time we had hardly enough water for one ward. Now it is divided into two wards and we are expecting it to be sub-divided into the third. At the time of my first settling here, we could not raise a peach tree, but the elements are so softened that now we can raise any kind of fruit. In 1850 I carried a chain for Surveyor Lemon form [from] the first creek south to our settlement, the first survey in this ward. After this, Jesse Fox was our surveyor. When I came to Kaysville, I brought with me an aged mother and a short sketch of her life. The summer of 1850, I built a log house being the year the Ward was organized. The following summer, I built another and in 1853, I built the first adobe house in Kaysville Ward, consisting of three rooms. On March 15, 1854, [I,] Edward Phillips, was married to my second wife Martha Annly Taylor by President Brigham Young, in the Endowment House. To this union three children were born. She died July 16, 1864.

In 1855, President Young counciled [counseled] us to build a meeting house about two miles east of where we had settled. We selected a spot at which place there was a military post, the commander being Captain Joseph Taylor. We united with him for protection against Indians and walled in a fort about covering sixty acres. Some of the walls of which are still standing today. In this fort we had the foundation of the meeting house. The dimensions being 90 by 45 feet which is in a good state of preservation today. It was commenced in the winter of 1855 and 1856 and completed in 1862.

About this time we were advised by the President of the Church to enlarge our fort sufficiently to make a city of it. After doing this, we built a wall around the whole of it consisting of one hundred twenty acres or a quarter of a section. Our location was a beautiful one being between the Wasatch Mountains and Great Salt Lake. About six miles of rolling country between and from ten to fifteen miles from North to South. In 1856, Bishop Kay was called on a mission to Carson Valley and Allen Taylor was appointed to take his place as Bishop. After the return of the Carson mission, Christopher Layton was appointed to take his place as bishop.

In his turn as bishop, he was appointed as one of the Legislature of Utah, and while in the position, he procured a charter of the city of Kay’s-ville, which has been in running order ever since under different mayors. That is Kaysville as it was. Now Kaysville as it is: Our bishop is Peter Barton, John R. Barnes and Thomas F. Rouche as his councilors, who are giving satisfaction. Hyrum Stewart as mayor and the city council govern the city.

Our ward was divided into two wards. We have two roller mills, a creamery, two post offices, six free district schools in full operation, a very nice academy consisting of $8,000, a city hall costing about $6,000, one millinery, one very nice grocery store, two railroad depots, four blacksmith shops, six general merchandise stores, a Z.C. M. I. and many fine residences. My farm where I first settled consists of one hundred acres divided into twelve fields with the intention of carrying the sheep industry. I have three artesian well[s]. One averaging three gallons a minute, one seven, and the largest 70-75 gallons per minute. This one supplies a fish pond which is well supplied with carp. I have lived to be nearly eighty years, to see the third generation. I have had eighteen children of whom thirteen lived to marry; ninety-nine grandchildren and some great grandchildren.