When between one and two years of age, my parents, with my two brothers, John and Obed, and my three sisters, Hannah, Eliza and Fanny emigrated to Chautauqua County, New York State, then a new county bordered on the state of Pennsylvania on the west and Lake Erie on the north, situated in latitude ’42. ’30 north.
In the midst of these wilds, and accustomed to the toils and hardships of a new country, I spent the days of my boyhood.
As for religious teachings and ceremonies, I knew but little, having a mind free and untrampled by the idolatries of the 19th century, I was accustomed to thinking for myself, yet my parents were of a religious turn of mind, and I was taught especially by my mother, whose tender care was always over me, for good, from the earliest period of my recollection to practice virtue and lead an upright and honest life; to speak the truth and deal justly with all men. In connection with this, I was also taught to pray, to believe in and worship God as the maker and preserver of all things; and as I increased in years, faith and spiritual strength increased within me, until I learned to call upon the Lord in faith, who heard and answered my prayers, visibly and sensibly, at various times, and my whole soul was filled with love and gratitude toward God, the Father of the spirits of all men.
By this time I had arrived at the 16th year of my age, and I began to see and feel the necessity of joining some people, and belonging to some church. I, as it were, awoke from the sleep, looked around me and beheld the state of the religious world, and meditated upon it for the first time in my life. Said I to myself, “Which of all the churches is the church of the living God who has heard and answered my prayers? Let me see and hear for myself.” I attended churches of different persuasions with a prayerful heart, but there was an aching void still. I retired day after day to the woods and there, where no human eye could behold, poured out my prayers and supplications to Almighty God that he would send some kind messenger, called and ordained of him to guide my footsteps in the paths of truth.
In answer to repeated supplications, I received the assurance that calmed my mind and gave me to understand that the truth in its fulness should be unfolded to me. None of the excitements of the day moved me. My feelings were known to God and to him alone, for I told them to no one on earth.
The time passed on until the summer of 1838. I was now in my 18th year when two elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into my father’s neighborhood. I went to hear them preach; what was my astonishment when I heard the speaker declare, “That God had sent them by special revelation, and that a dispensation of the gospel was now revealed from God to man, by the instrumentality of holy angels, and by the voice of God to man; to be preached as a witness to all nations, and kindreds, and people, and then should be the end of the wicked.”
I paused, I considered, I thought upon the prayers and desires I had poured out to God, and of the visions of my mind, and as the speaker proceeded, the spirit of God fastened the truth upon my heart, and though many mocked and cried out, “Delusion,” I felt within me that the message was true, that it was from the great Jehovah, and that it would penetrate the darkest corners of the earth; that no power could stand against it. In this joyful news I beheld an answer to my prayers, and that the words of inspiration had saluted my ears which brought peace and joy, I straightway obeyed the message, and realized its power.
Many others followed the example, and a branch of the Church was organized . The Holy Ghost was poured out insomuch that many were healed of their infirmities, and prophesied, some saw visions, others spoke in different languages by the gift and power of God as on the day of Pentecost. The language or dialect of various tribes of the American Indians was spoken, and that too by persons who had never spoken with an Indian in their lives. I will own, that though I believed, I was astonished, but will add that I have since traveled among various tribes of Indians in the central and uncultivated parts of America and have recognized not only the language, but the gesture and very manner in which it was spoken.
One may inquire why it was that the spirit of God dictated these individuals to speak in the language of these wandering outcasts. Oh! here is the mystery that the world hath not seen. These are a remnant of Israel, the descendants of Joseph, and heirs to the promises made to their fathers; see Book of Mormon. But I must return to the thread of my narrative. (Autumn of 1838) It was now the autumn of 1838. I determined to go west to join the body of the Church then located in western Missouri. The doctrine of the “gathering” was strongly grounded in my mind, and I set to work with my might to prepare for the journey; in this I was prospered, for means, almost miraculously came into my hands.
The spring drew near and the time of our departure approached when one day as I, with my brother and brother-in-law, was working in the forest, the wind being high, a branch from a high tree some six inches in diameter fell, and struck one end upon the ground, the other upon my head which struck me lifeless to the earth. I was taken up for dead and conveyed to my father’s dwelling. The family doctor was sent for, but my mother and others of my friends being firm in the faith of the gospel, sent a messenger for the elders of the Church, living some six miles distant. The doctor came first, examined my wounds and said in the hearing of witnesses, that my case was a doubtful one, and that without medical aid, I could not recover. But my mother begged him to let me alone, and said that when the elders came I should come to myself and live, and not die.
The doctor accordingly left, not a little surprised and with all offended. The elders came, anointed me with oil, and laid their hands upon me in the name of the Lord and prayed. When my reason returned, I recognized the inmates of the room, and in being asked if I knew anyone, I replied that I knew them all. This was the first that I had seemed to understand or know since the accident. I found that I had been severely injured and that I was extremely weak, but the whole affair seemed like a dream. However, I was able in about three weeks to follow my former avocation and driving teams.
The time passed–it was now April, and all things being ready, we set about for Missouri–1,000 miles distant, traveling by land with horse teams and lodging in our wagons; but before leaving, our neighbors called often and remonstrated with us for taking, as they thought, such a random journey. One said, “Have you read the news? Why the Missourians and the Mormons are at war; they are killing and destroying, and will you persist in going, and running into danger and death?” We replied, “We have warned you by words, we now warn you by light. If danger or death gets in our way, we intend by the help of God to face the same like men of God, and show all men by example that we have embraced no fiction but an eternal reality, and when the secrets of all hearts are revealed; then, if not till then, you shall know that we are not deceived.”
(April 15, 1839) We are now under way, our wagons were so arranged with boxes, some 12 feet in length, and with projections over the wheels as to make them commodious eating and sleeping rooms. In this manner we moved on, and at the rate of about 25 miles per day, meeting reports constantly, that the Mormons were driven, broken up, and destroyed, and that if we persisted in going to the seat of war, we should meet with the same fate. But nothing could daunt our courage; our course was onward, and we at length arrived at Kirtland, Ohio, the first place of gathering for the Saints as pointed out by revelation from God to be a stronghold for five years.
Here stood a fine stone building with these words neatly engraved in front: “HOUSE OF THE LORD,” built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was now unoccupied, together with most of the private dwellings of the town. The Saints had previously left for the same locality to which we were journeying. We entered the [Kirtland] temple, and beheld the fixtures, the curtains, the seats, etc., with astonishment, being so different from anything we had before seen and being, as we believed, built by revelation and commandment of God.
Here the Saints, though few in number and poor, in the infancy of the Church, surrounded with opposition, nevertheless, rich in faith and in knowledge of God, united their efforts, some toiling for a whole year together, without pay and with scanty food until this fine edifice was completed, being the first in the 19th century, and at the time the only building on the face of the earth built by revelation from heaven. Our hearts were filled with gratitude to God, that we were thus highly favored to live in the day when the voice of the Lord was again heard out of the heavens, and with bosoms burning with the intelligence of God, we still prosecuted our journey westward in order to join the presidency and main body of the Church with whom the oracles of God had been entrusted.
We now came into the prairie country. The first we entered was in extent, about 16 miles wide by 100 miles in length; we drove through a fine forest for several miles and then at once came into the mighty “fields of the woods,” a vast plain, stretching out before us as far as the eye could reach. Not a tree, not a shrub met our eye; no abrupt hills or rock, naught but a rich and luxuriant growth of grass and flowers of almost every hue, which presented themselves on every hand. Men, women, and children might be seen running in every direction to gather themselves a nosegay.
We passed on through these beauties of nature until we arrived near the center of the prairie when we met with some trouble in crossing a stream of water here. Night overtook us, and we pitched our tents on the opposite bank of the water. We here made our horses secure by tying them with long rein-attached picket lines driven in the ground, and spent the night in the midst of this wonderful garden of nature. Before going to bed, a wild deer came near the camp and seemed to look anxious, as though he would like to know what strangers had invaded his territory and had taken possession of his pleasure ground. But the crack of two or three rifles at the same moment gave him to understand that he was in imminent danger and he immediately took his departure. We separated, everyone to his tent or wagon and were soon in the embraces of sleep. The stillness of night universally prevailed until towards morning when we were a little disturbed by the howling of some wolves that came near.
The morning came, and the sun arose with its usual brilliancy. When our camp duties were done, breakfast over, and the usual devotions passed, we were again underway, continuing our course westward with the intention of crossing the Mississippi at Quincy City; but upon arriving within 200 or 300 miles of that place, we met several of our brethren, traveling east on missions, and they were authorized to counsel all Saints traveling west to direct their course to Commerce, situated on the east bank of the Mississippi, 250 miles north of St. Louis, where the Saints had commenced a settlement and purchased a large tract of land, etc.
After the dreadful persecutions through which they had just passed, called the “Missouri” persecution, wherein 11,000 persons had been driven from their homes which they had purchased with their own money, and compelled to leave a republican state, robbed of their all, while many were martyred and many others died of exposure, having been compelled to leave their homes in the dead of winter–all this for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s.
We accordingly turned our course two or three points and arrived in Commerce. (June 6, 1839). Here, instead of meeting the Saints in comfortable circumstances as we had expected to find them in Missouri, they were, as many as had been able to get through, living in tents and wagons for want of houses, some 400 miles from the place whence they had been driven, many in straitened circumstances, some sick and overcome with hardships and fatigue. I walked about the place. The sight was beautiful, though uncultivated and for the most part, covered with timber, brush and grapevines. I concluded to stop and share with the people of the Lord, while some of the company chose rather to go where they could fare better. I procured a lot and commenced to build a house for myself, mother and sister, who had journeyed with me, a short distance back from the Mississippi and near the residence of Joseph Smith.
Here in the midst of these wilds with but little earthly substance, I toiled and assisted in opening some of the first streets in that part of the city, with my own hands by cutting down the timber and underbrush which was so interwoven with grapevines that it was difficult to get one free to fall until several were cut off. However, the brush and encumbrances soon melted away before the persevering hand of industry and houses sprung into being on every hand. At length we were checked a little, for the sickly season came on and many, very many, felt its withering influence. The place had been known years before to be very sickly and our enemies had been known to say that we would die, all of us, if we attempted to settle there. Such was not the case but yet many who on account of their great exposure were easily overcome and fell victims to the destroyer, amongst whom were my mother and brother, and for months together there were not well ones enough to administer to the sick. I, myself, was taken sick in July and was laid up until late in September, and the house which I commenced was not finished for the season. By and by the scene changed more favorably. As the winter approached, the sickness disappeared, and plans were laid for draining some parts of the land which lay low, etc.
In the spring of 1840, our strength was greatly augmented by the arrival of Saints from various parts and the city, for so it had become, grew apace. Large tracts of land were purchased on both sides of the great father of waters and settlements commenced round about, while companies of Saints were arriving from various parts.
During this season, a delegation was sent to Washington to the then president of the United States, Mr. Van Buren; Joseph Smith and several other brethren comprised the delegation. They presented in legal form (affidavits) an impartial statement of all the enormities that had been perpetrated against the Latter-day Saints. After a hearing, which was difficult to obtain, the president replied: “Gentlemen, your cause is just; you have been deprived of your lawful rights as American citizens, but it is an individual state affair, and does not come under the supervision of the general government.” Thus our petition went unheeded and though property was destroyed in the amount of millions and hundreds of lives sacrificed, yet no remuneration has been made to this day; yet the petitions which were presented from time to time answered the requirement of the revelation [D&C 123] which says: “Petition at the feet of the judges; if they heed you not, petition at the feet of the governor; if he heeds you not, petition at the feet of the president, and if he heeds you not, I will come out of my hiding place and vex the nations.” (The word of the Lord to Joseph.)
But to return, during the summer of 1840, a charter was obtained and Nauvoo became an incorporated city and began to answer to its name- -fair, beautiful–and a site was selected for a temple, and the 19th of October was pitched upon to commence the work by opening a quarry. I was present to assist. Joseph the Prophet was also there and assisted, in company with some 200 or 300 brethren in opening a beautiful quarry of lime rock, almost as white as marble.
April 6, 1841, the cornerstones were laid in the presence of many thousands of people. It was a day long to be remembered.
April 13, 1841, having been called and previously ordained (October 1840), I left on a mission to the east, to the British provinces (Providence), journeyed by land through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, preaching the gospel of the kingdom by the way.
At Toledo, I took a steamboat for Cleveland, thence to Kirtland, and thence to Buffalo, New York, preaching as I went; thence to New York City, thence by shipping to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; I carried a quantity of books which I circulated and after stopping with my friends during the winter of 1841 and preaching round about the tidings of salvation, I again took shipping for Boston, the distance of 2,000 miles; distance across the Bay of Fundi, from thence home by way of New York City, Albany, Erie Canal, thence up the lakes to Chicago, thence to Nauvoo; arrived in August 1842; the journey home 2,400 miles long. During this mission, I baptized a number. About the time of my arrival, there was a demand from Missouri and Illinois to surrender Joseph Smith and others.
In September  a special conference was called upon to go abroad, preach the gospel and endeavor to allay excitement, etc. I set off in a northeasterly course towards Michigan, crossing the headwaters of the Illinois at Ottawa, thence up the Knakakee River, preaching in every village, and all the principle settlements as I passed and contending earnestly for the constitutional rights of the Latter-day Saints. I was remarkably prospered, and this undertaking resulted in lasting good, for the Lord was with me in word and in every deed. I arrived in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 30 miles from Detroit and 500 miles from Nauvoo. Here I tarried and labored for a time round about with some success, initiated such as received the word into the kingdom. Thence on a more southern route through the north of Indiana and interior of Illinois to Nauvoo; arrived in March 1843 in this mission, traveled rising of 1,000 miles, much of it through prairie country.
Five-eighths of Illinois is said to be composed of prairies; Indiana and Michigan also abound with the same. The north of Indiana as well as Michigan abound with small lakes and frequent sandy plains. But to return:
After my arrival in Nauvoo sometime in June, there was a general excitement raised in consequence of an attempt to take Joseph Smith and others to Missouri. He happened at the time to be on Rock River 100 miles from home. The attempt was fruitless, for Joseph returned in triumph to Nauvoo, and was met in the prairie by a great many of the inhabitants who went out on horses and carriages–a great company–with colors flying, and music playing to “Welcome the Prophet.” The scene was animating in the extreme!
About this time I was called upon to accept a mission, but declined, being somewhat worn down with traveling. I accordingly tarried in Nauvoo until July when a special mission was tendered me by the Quorum of the Twelve, to go in company with Elder B. [Benjamin] Brown to the British Provinces and such places as seemed expedient. We accordingly made ready and having been directed by conference to stop in Cook County, we accordingly directed our course towards Chicago.
We left Nauvoo (August 1, 1843) and set off by land carriage in company with brethren traveling to the north, proceeded directly to Cook County. There we stopped for awhile and labored, but as there was not an effectual field open here, and our mission being to the east, we accordingly proceeded to Chicago, took the steamboat “Illinois” bound to Buffalo, and got underway in the morning of August 24 . The lakes were calm and we had a very agreeable passage in company with Brother P. P. [Parley P.] Pratt and O. [Orson] Hyde. At Mackinaw, we had a view of a great body of Indians who had assembled for the purpose of receiving a payment from the U.S. Government.
They had pitched their tents all along for miles near the shore, examined the fort which stands on a very high bluff, thence pursuing our course through Lake Huron, arrived at Fort Cratiot which presented a beautiful appearance. A row of field pieces stood along the bank and the soldiers were on parade. Our band on board the boat played briskly as we passed down the narrow outlet. All was well calculated to enliven the heart and add joy to pleasure. The scenery along this route is wild and romantic; the Canada side is particularly so. We frequently saw groups of Indians in places. We stopped in Detroit a short time; thence through Lake Erie and passed on to the Canada side. Brother O. [Orson] Hyde preached under the awning of the hurricane deck to the passengers. As we passed my former home, all I could discern in the distance was a mist or smoke. On August 28, 1843, we arrived in Buffalo.
I have traveled those lakes three times, each time they have been still and calm, comparatively speaking. Here we parted with our brother and set off for Lewiston. We did not stop to examine the cataract of Niagara, as I had visited the falls before. At Lewiston we had a view of “Brock’s Monument” standing a little above Queenstown on the Canada side. Thence by steamboat we went to Rochester. Just before we entered Lake Ontario, we had a view of two forts, situated on each side of the river, which forms the national boundary.
We crossed the head of the lake to Toronto City, the seat of government for upper Canada. This place is singularly situated; the harbor is formed by a neck of land extending a great distance, in shape like an eclipse; thence across the lake, which was still and quiet, and arrived in Sacket’s Harbor, September 1, 1843. This is 1450 or 1500 miles from Nauvoo. Here we commenced our ministerial labors. At first there was but little opening, but prejudice gave way directly and our field of labor extended far and wide until the cry from all parts of the county was “Come over and help us.” We labored incessantly day and night, sparing no pains. I frequently had 12 or 15 appointments out at a time extending a long distance.
We assembled in conference December 30 and 31, 1843 in Jefferson County and at that time had baptized 50 persons into the kingdom and organized a number of churches. With conference now over, we designed prosecuting our journey to the provinces, but pressing invitations called us into the field. From that time our influence was increased and our labors extended still wider. We held a number of public debates, one in particular which was published, being held with the champion of the country and resulted greatly in favor of the Saints. Thus passed the winter and spring; but few days passed without meetings. My circuit was large and required much traveling, which I estimated at 2500 miles.
We assembled in conference May 25 and 26, 1844, in Adams, Jefferson County, New York. There were present on that occasion about 300 Saints, 700 or 800 spectators. A number of elders were present and branches were represented as follows: Adam’s Branch, 63 members; Elisburgh, 52; Indian River, 44; Clayton, 9; Lime, 39; Black River, 54; Billar Point, 12; Therese, 17; Alexandria, 23; and scattering members besides.
During our sojourn here we baptized about 150 souls and ordained eight or ten elders, etc. The conference now over, time would not permit us to stay longer; consequently, we prepared May 29  to leave.
I proceeded to Lockport, thence to Alexandria Bay and here took passage on board the steamboat “Rochester.” On June 3 , I left at 6:00 p.m. and arrived at Ogdensburgh at ten. It was 30 miles from Kingston. The river presents a rugged appearance, being interspersed with numerous rocky islands producing low shrubs, etc. The current was moderate; we passed Chippeway and other small towns. At 12 o’clock, I took passage on board the small steamer, “Charlotte,” belonging to a line of small boats that play between Kingston and Montreal; they pass down the St. Lawrence and up the Redean Canal, touched at Prescott–a fine town opposite Ogdensburgh, thence down the river, passed Cornwell–a fine town on the Canada side. Here the river is more rapid. Thence we went through Longlow, a very rapid place nine miles long, thence through Lake St. Francis, 25 miles long. Here the prospects are more pleasant. We passed Carto, a French town, and rapids of the same name. The quick descent causes a tremendous confusion of the water.
The country here is inhabited by French people; small French houses, quite compact, appear on either side. From here to Montreal the river is interspersed with islands and rapid currents. Catholic steeples appear frequently; huge crosses are seen occasionally in front of individual’s doors. We passed Cedar town and rapids; here the waters appear to be literally mad for three miles, presenting a mass of white foaming water. Next we came to the Cascades, another rapid, two miles long, up this it seemed impossible for our boat to live but she struggled through the foaming water and brought us safely through. Next we came to LeChina, a town principally French, opposite is an Indian town called Cocknatagon, 11 miles from Montreal, thence the LeChina rapids which surpassed any and everything of the kind I ever saw. Here all the waters of no less than eight lakes, the greatest chain on the globe, draining a vast country of 3,000 miles, are hurried over rocks forming almost a second cataract. Our boat passed through a narrow channel, at times almost buried, while rocks were visible at no great distance on either side. After a struggle of three minutes, we came through safely.
For some distance the mighty river goes foaming along towards its great reservoir; we passed LaPrairie on the right and arrived in Montreal on June 4, 1844, at 3:00 p.m. Our boat was locked into the canal immediately; we landed, and passed through the city to the lower part, procured a house in which we preached twice while there.
June 5, 1844, we spent the day in viewing the city. We passed through the principal streets, they are narrow and irregular. In the best parts, the buildings are high and covered with tin; all the back part are inhabited by French. Their buildings are small, irregular and compact. The incorporation extends three miles square and contains 50,000 inhabitants, two-thirds French.
One trait in the history of this city is that a four-wheeled carriage is scarcely ever seen, while calashes and cabs stalk the streets and hedge up the way. We thoroughly examined everything of note, particularly the Parish Church, the largest building of the kind in America, 260 by 130 feet; it contains 1363 pews, capable of seating 15,000 persons. The sanctuary is adorned in superior style, tinged with gold. We ascended the tower, 260 feet high, by means of 25 staircases forming 285 steps; from this observatory the whole city is seen at one glance. Spy glasses, etc. are at hand. The square-rigged vessels, about 100 in number, lay along the shore in full view. Men, horses, etc. hurry to and fro along the streets and appear like swarms of ants.
Having satisfied ourselves in viewing the city, we next examined the monster bell. It weighs about ten tons cast in London at the expense of 1200 pounds sterling. It is suspended in the western tower; the opposite one contains 13 smaller bells. This fabric is built of hewn stone and exclusive of bells, costing 150,000 pounds sterling.
On June 6, 1844, we left our lodgings at Mr. Griffis’ Hotel and repaired to Parish Church where we saw High Mass performed and other Catholic ceremonies; great splendor was exhibited. Two or three hundred wax candles were burning, some of them six feet long; 100 to 200 priests were present, some of them dressed in garments gilded, others in white robes. Next we visited the “Grey Nunnery” and examined it critically; we were not permitted to enter the “Black Nunnery.” The day was spent agreeably.
At 6:00 p.m., we took passage on board the “Charkafox” for Quebec and bid farewell to the Catholic metropolis, probably forever. I viewed the country very carefully. It is level and inhabited entirely by French, houses white, very compact along the banks of the river. Catholic steeples and crosses are seen as we pass along; the river is broad and beautiful the whole way, 100 miles.
We arrived in Quebec at 9 a.m., June 7 , and put up at Meriam’s Hotel; we proceeded to examine the city. The lower town is situated along the water’s edge under a high cliff on which is situated what is called the upper town. Besides these, there are three suburbs of entire French. The upper town is surrounded by a wall of 20 or 30 feet in thickness. We passed through Prescott Gate, obtained a pass from the commanding officer, and attended by a soldier, entered the citadel. It contains military stores, etc., 6,000 stand of arms, 3,000 barrels of powder, and provisions for seven years. One thousand five hundred troops are stationed here. The walls are mounted with 32 pounders, etc., not only around the citadel, but around the entire upper town; 250 heavy pieces on the walls, besides hundreds of heavy cannon and scores, if not hundreds of cords of shot or balls and bombs of all kinds in the citadel ready for use; magazines, batteries, etc., all numbered in regular order. This fortress is to all appearance impregnable.
After spending some hours in our search, we passed out through a strong gateway. Next, we examined the old French ruins, then proceeded to the Plains of Abraham. The clash of arms, the groans of the dying have long since ceased–all was silence. The roar of cannon, the crack of musketry no longer fill the plains with blood and carnage. Here fell two brave warriors, Wolfe and Montealm. I seated myself beside a monument bearing this inscription: “Here died brave Wolfe.” We passed over the battleground and descended the bluff where Wolfe and his men ascended, dragging their cannon after them. All was silent and lonely. June 8, 1844 was spent in reviewing the citadel and all military parks and public buildings.
June 9, 1844, being Sunday, we attended Catholic services in the afternoon. Thousands of Catholics were assembled and formed a grand procession displaying much pomp and show. The procession commenced their march from the church which was adorned in the greatest splendor, the sanctuary, with its images tinged with gold was lighted up with hundreds of wax candles, the priests, some in gilded garments and others in robes of white; ahead went boys dressed in white–some white with pots of incense, others with baskets of flowers to strew the streets, others with the altar, the Ark of the Covenant, then the bishop and a long train. Smoke issued from the pots and the altar as they passed. The streets were adorned with bushes and flowers and filled with thousands of people.
We visited two churches in Montreal and two in Quebec. They were all built in similar style, being built in a very grand and extravagant manner, especially the sanctuary–30 or 40 feet high, 20 broad, forming a concave front in the middle, stands at the height of 12 feet, the Virgin Mary with the infant in her arms. Next above is Jesus on a cross. On either side around about stand the Twelve Apostles, while above all on the top of the sanctuary, stands God on a ball, representing the earth as his footstool, holding a scepter in his hand. The whole front is regularly arranged with candles; when lit up the whole appears like a mass of gold.
Quebec is a large city, but meanly built, quite populous, wealth and poverty, pride and misery abound there. There were from 300 to 500 square-rigged vessels lying in port; the aspect is rather gloomy. Cabs and calashes are in use instead of four-wheeled carriages, plenty of dog-teams may be seen running to and fro through the streets. After a stop of four days we engaged a passage on board a French vessel– not a soul could speak English. We set off June 11  with ebb tide, sundown, with a fine breeze until flood tide, then down anchor, held on until ebb, thence on. The country below Quebec is gloomy, lofty, and precipitous banks while blue ranges of mountains are seen in the distance, their small white cots are seen along the river; they appear as white spots scattered over the hills and mountains.
On June 12  we arrived at St. Andre. This is 100 miles from Quebec. Here the country is rocky and very broken; the tide rises rapidly and high and extends 100 miles above Quebec to Three Rivers, rises at Quebec 15 feet. From River De Loup we proceeded back from St. Lawrence, crossed the Portage 30 miles to Lake Temisquata, bought a canoe, crossed the lake 15 miles, thence down the Madwaska to its junction with the St. John at Little Falls. We went 22 miles thence by means of our canoe to Grand Falls 36 miles and hired it drawn around the falls, thence on our journey as before. The inhabitants were nearly all French until we reached the Grand Falls and below that, English people. Lumbering is the chief employment. The river is rapid and we passed down swiftly. We arrived at Fredericktown June 19, 1844. The distance from Grand Falls to Fredericktown is 130 miles and the whole distance from Kingston, 768 miles.
On our arrival, invitations were received for preaching. We accordingly entered the field of labor. We were the first Latter-day Saints that ever journeyed that way. Our undertaking was an arduous one. We had to clear the ground of heaps of superstition before any seed could be sown to advantage. Priestcraft had reigned predominant and had become strongly rooted. At first it seemed impossible that any of these captives could be made free through the truth.
Hireling priests labored to save their craft. One modern Pharisee prophesied that we could not find one individual who would receive our testimony in the province. One or two preachers attempted to discuss, as challenges were given by us, but were put to flight and shame. Those who prophesied against us were soon proven to be liars. On July 15  about 12 individuals who had received our testimony in Queensberry County of York, came forward for baptism. The Lord confirmed the word with signs following according to promise. By this time certain persons, seeing that none dare stand before us and that we were likely to prosper notwithstanding all their exertions, were moved with anger against us and began to lay plots. The first thing was to enter complaints to the governor against us, such as that we were baptizing those who had once been baptized, influencing the people to leave the province and go to the states, believing in spiritual gifts, speaking against the established church common prayer book, tearing down churches, going against British laws, etc. etc.
At first we paid little attention to them and continued preaching until we had baptized 20, when we were informed that the governor had ordered the magistrates to meet in council and inquire into the truth of their complaints. Consequently three met. Their names were Parent, Earls and Morehouse, having given public notice previously for all persons who knew of our being guilty of the before-mentioned charges to attend. Two only were sworn–two testified to, what we acknowledged our names, places of residence, to what nation we belonged, etc. The other, a Negro, testified to all intents and purposes that we preached false doctrine, such as, that we had power to raise the dead, cast out devils, also, we were building a temple that should not be thrown down somewhere in the states, a place of safety, where the residue of mankind should be destroyed. The proceedings of this meeting were forwarded to the governor. Things having arrived to this pitch, we thought it wisdom to take some steps to counteract their proceedings.
We accordingly prepared ourselves with documents from Judge Boardsley and Dr. Shelton. We repaired to Fredricktown, appeared before His Excellency, the governor. Our names were recorded and our place of residence. Our documents underwent an investigation– the governor was very inquisitive. I was somewhat surprised that the governor should enter into a debate with us, but this he did, and it lasted about two hours. Many points of doctrine were taken up; at last, finding himself hard run for arguments, he accused us of being unacquainted with the dead languages. Thus closed our interview without any positive answer, whether we would be allowed our rights or not. Lawyer Wilmot, the governor’s chief counselor, treated us kindly, and told us there was no law that could harm us. This blew up the whole affair and frustrated their plans. We returned to our labors and continued preaching and baptizing. Many reports were flying abroad about warrants, prisons, etc. The whole county was greatly agitated.
Elder Brown went to Maine a short time. During his absence there was some mob talk. These desperadoes, finding themselves defeated in all their plots were determined to have revenge. Brother Brown soon returned. Our number had by this time increased to 25.
Soon after (September 2, 1844), Dr. Shelton and family were baptized, he being a man of influence and a magistrate in the county of York. The excitement seemed to raise higher than before and things appeared to converge to a point. The 11th of September is a day long to be remembered. In the afternoon, I preached in Dr. Shelton’s neighborhood, (text Revelations 12-14) and labored to show the falling away, the rise of great Babylon and the coming forth of the great work of God in the last days. I had great liberty and spoke at length. Brother Brown and others bore testimony. The Spirit of God was there. The meeting closed about sunset.
We repaired to the doctor’s house for supper. Everything did not appear just right. Some designing persons walked up the street, made use of some hard speeches and appeared to manifest a hostile spirit. With supper over, Brother Brown left the house and walked down the street toward Mr. Foster’s. Just before he reached the house, he was met by seven or eight ruffians who knocked him down and beat him most inhumanly, mangled his body by jumping on him, etc. On the appearance of a friend, the mob ran off.
Brother [Benjamin] Brown was brought back half dead, covered with blood and dirt. I washed his wounds, found him cut and bruised in a horrible manner, and got him in bed in a front room in the lower story. About 12 o’clock at night, I laid down with him and fell into a drowse for a moment, to be roused by a prowling mob. I sprang from my bed, seized a chair and held our bedroom door. The mobbers had possession of the front room and attempted to open our door, but I withstood them. At this moment, by means of stones and rails, our windows were broken in with a noise that was like thunder. This gave me to understand that there was no other alternative. We must either fall into the hands of a merciless mob, or I must do my best.
Elder Brown was scarcely able to get out of bed; all the weapons I had were a chair and cane; the chair appeared to be the heaviest. I drew it and stood ready for a charge, but none dared to put his head in my reach. I am thankful that they did not. I stood here in suspense, not knowing what my fate might be, but was determined to defend myself to the last; for there was no hope of mercy if once in their hands.
Our room was small, about ten feet square; stones, rails, etc. were thrown into the room, but as good luck would have it, we were not hurt by them. By this time, Mrs. Shelton broke through, for the mob, before they commenced their operations, crept in and fastened the family into their rooms to prevent them from lending a hand of assistance, and came to our door. Her voice was the voice of an angel; she bid us come out quickly; we did so, and that too, undiscovered by the mob. The night was spent in this deplorable manner. However, about the time we left the bedroom, the doctor left the house by a back door, and after a while returned with 12 men to protect the house.
On examination, we found the windows broken in a most deplorable manner. Our bedroom from which we had escaped was covered with stones, rails, etc. One room in the second story had all the windows broken, thinking we might be there. The room in which I had taken refuge was searched once, but in vain. The chief enmity seemed to center in me, but miraculously, I escaped unhurt. For months, the least noise would disturb me, and I would imagine that I heard breaking of glass, etc. My feelings were such as are not easily described. The mob consisted of about 30 men.
The next day we attended our appointments, some miles below, but Elder Brown was not able to appear in public for some days. All this did not discourage us, or the Saints. We continued to preach and baptize. For some days we preached and baptized during the day, and slept in the woods during the night time. During all this, we had many more invitations for preaching than we were able to fill.
Having an appointment up the river some miles, our friends assembled for a meeting. As we were detained later than was expected and having heard that a mob was lying in wait for us, 30 or 40 of our friends armed themselves with clubs and whatever came to hand, and came rushing down with all speed to meet us. Whether there was a mob or not, I never learned; however, we returned with them and had a good meeting, a large and attentive congregation who treated us with all the kindness in their power. We did not lack for friends.
The summer was now spent and the time drew near for us to depart. We called the Saints together and organized them into two branches, 47 in all. We were in the province about three months. Some had seen us in visions six months before our arrival, and after hearing the word, were convinced of the truth and testified that all was fulfilled to the letter. Even our dress and appearance they recognized.
All things being now ready, we set off for Houlton, Maine and were cordially received and preached a few times. We procured a passage with teamster and set off October 9  for Bangor, 120 miles; thence by steamboat to Portland, thence by cars to Boston, 400 miles.
October 15, 1844, we found the Saints in good spirits, between 200 and 300 in Boston, and were cordially received.
After a short time, I was called upon to go and visit the Saints in New Hampshire on business 70 or 80 miles distance. I returned again to Boston, being much worn down with excessive labors. I concluded to tarry during the winter and recruit my health. By invitation, I consented to take the presidency of a small branch in Lowell City, 30 miles from Boston, and to take up my abode there. I came into the city (December 1, 1844), and kept up regular meetings during the winter. I gave my attention partly to studying some useful sciences. I baptized a number during my stay.
On the 20th of January, 1845, I paid Andover a visit. This is a village about ten miles from Lowell. I went in company with about 200 persons in ten large sleighs. I had the privilege of examining a very large library containing nearly 15,000 volumes. I examined one that was published in 1492 in English.
On the 25th of January  we had a dreadful storm during the night. The snow drove through the air in almost solid columns. About three o’clock we were roused by the ringing of bells. Every bell in the city was ringing. The cry was “Fire! Fire!” I dressed myself and went out to witness the most terrific scenery that my eyes ever beheld. Fire engines were in the streets but buried in snow; it was impossible to get them to the fire. The wind blew a hurricane; the air was full; it was difficult to breathe. The reflection caused everything to appear red. The buildings burned down, no assistance could be rendered. The inhabitants escaped with their lives.
Lowell is a manufacturing town with 33 mills, 6,304 looms, 204,076 spindles. Number of persons employed, 8,735, females 6,320. Yards of cloth manufactured weekly 6,459,100, and annually, 75,873,200.
I made a visit to Boston and had the opportunity of ascending the Bunker Hill monument, the state house, and all other objects of note in the town. I saw a number of small brass cannons that were used on Bunker Hill during the first hostilities with England. I spent the winter very agreeably up to this date.
On March 12, 1845, I left Lowell. On March 29 I proceeded to Boston, thence to New York, thence to Philadelphia, thence to Pittsburgh, thence down the Ohio and up the Mississippi, arriving in Nauvoo April 25, 1845.
By council of Parley P. Pratt, nearly all the elders were called in at that time. My journey home was 2,168 miles and I found all things quiet. On May 28  I was present at the laying of the last stone of the temple.
On June 19, 1845, I had a settlement with the temple committee and paid tithing up to that date from the 18th of October, 1846, [?] at which time the temple was commenced.
On July 1, 1845, I joined the second quorum of seventies. After the death of Joseph, the Prophet, the responsibility of leading and bearing the Church and kingdom fell upon the Twelve, who proceeded to organize and set all things in order. The names of the quorum are as follows: President of the Quorum, Brigham Young; Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, John E. Page, Lyman White [Wight], George A. Smith, William Smith.
During the summer of 1845, the work of organization continued until 30 quorums were set in order. I remained at home and worked on the temple this season. There were but very few elders sent abroad this summer; the main object of the Church being to build the temple and Nauvoo House, which works were rushed on with great spirit.
The season glided away swiftly while all was peace and quietude, until all at once, without any notice, or the least cause while the Saints were pursuing their common avocations, a gang of ruffians on September 10, 1845, commenced an attack upon a settlement–Marly settlement, south of Nauvoo–by burning their houses and driving defenseless families from their homes. This burning continued and spread in the country branches, until 70 or 80 houses were consumed. During all this insult and destruction of property, the Saints did not show the least resistance.
At last, the sheriff (Backenstan), [Jacob B. Backenstos] thinking that forbearance was no longer a virtue, organized a posse, and set off for the burning district. He found a company engaged in firing and attacked them, killing some and driving the rest over the river, or rather, they rushed over through fear. The sheriff, at one time on his route from Warsaw to Nauvoo, escaped very narrowly, being pursued closely by four or five ruffians on horseback. The sheriff, coming up with friends, called on them to save his life; whereupon, one man P. Rockwell [Orrin Porter Rockwell] fired and killed a ruffian dead by the name of Warrel [Franklin A. Worrell]. Upon this, they retreated. The sheriff, with his posse, took possession of the principal parties in the country.
The governor, seeing we were likely to overcome our enemies, sent a force of 400 men who paraded the county and instead of bringing the burners to justice, they came to Nauvoo in search of stolen goods, dead bodies, etc. At length, troops were dismissed, except 50 who remained at Carthage to protect the mob. The destruction of property ceased after 10,000 to 12,000 dollars loss on our part and all things remained quiet.
On October 6, 1845, we had a general conference in the temple. The main business of the conference was to lay before the brethren the propriety of removing as a Church and people into the wilderness, out of the reach of gentile Christians. Measures were adopted for organizing the people into companies of hundreds, companies of fifties, and companies of tens, whose interest was to be one, for the purpose of removing all rich and poor. A vote was taken to the effect that all our means should be expended, if necessary, or that all should go so far as our means and influence will extend. Many interesting instructions were given respecting our removal to a place owned by God only, where we could be delivered from Christian mobs. President Young asserted that we owed the United States nothing, not a farthing, not one sermon. They have rejected our testimony, killed our prophets; our skirts are clear from their blood. We will go out from them; let them see these matters.
At the opening of the conference, the standing of the officers throughout the entire Church was tested by vote; all stood forth except Lyman White [Wight] and William Smith. The former was laid over, but the latter lost his standing either as an apostle or patriarch, and directly after was cut off from the Church. Nothing strange or important transpired in Nauvoo. During the autumn and winter, the companies turned their attention to building wagons, etc., the Nauvoo House being discontinued immediately after the commencement of the Hancock riots. The whole force was turned to the completion of the temple, as also every necessary preparation for our contemplated removal in the spring.
I continued as a regular laborer on the temple, and witnessed the completion of the upper room in which the endowments commenced about December 1, 1845. From this period, the temple was thronged, things being rushed on with the greatest haste. As many as 500 went through in 24 hours, this not common. I received my endowments in January, 1846. The work continued until the 8th of February  when all was stopped, and immediate preparations entered into for a removal. The crossing commenced on or about February 2, 1846, and continued until the 16th. As fast as they crossed, they removed back four or five miles and camped, waiting for all to cross.
April 24, 1846, the ferries are crowded; the brethren are crossing with all diligence and going on to join the main camp. The works on the temple ceased April 23, 1846; that is, the joiner work. The painters and masons continued a few days longer.
Since June 1845, I have labored 262 days on the temple.
May 24, 1846, we packed our things and removed to the river bank; on the 25th, we crossed the Mississippi and moved back in the territory two or three miles and camped.
May 26, 1846, we ascended the bluffs, and some six miles from Nauvoo, we found ourselves on a high and sightly place where we had a most splendid view of the temple and almost every house in Nauvoo. This was a farewell view. We thence proceeded on our journey, slowly, at the rate of 12 miles a day. We perhaps reached the Des Moines River on May 28, crossed the 29th, thence we went onward slowly and found a great number of brethren on the road, as many as 40 wagons, tents, herds of cattle. Flocks of sheep were seen in abundance. Moving onward, we traveled through a country interspersed with small prairies well adapted to husbandry, and somewhat improved.