Joel H. Johnson (1802-1882) Journal

Joel Hills Johnson – Journal

(Covering his life up to 21 Dec 1858)


Ezekiel Johnson was my father’s name; he was born at Uxbridge, in the state of Massachusetts, January the 12th A.D. 1776. My mother’s name was Julia Hills, daughter of Joseph Hills. She was born at Upton, Massachusetts, September 26, A.D. 1783.

They were married at Grafton, Massachusetts, January the 12th, 1801, and I was born at Grafton, Massachusetts, March the 23rd, 1802. When I was a small child, my parents emigrated to the town of Westford, County of Chittenden, in the state of Vermont, where they lived about nine years.

In the fall of the year 1813, my parents concluding to move to the west, let me go with my uncle Joel Hills, (for whom I was named,) who was then on his way from Canada to the western country. I cannot relate many incidents of the journey, being small, but recollect passing the Allegheny Mountains in the state of Pennsylvania, and coming to Pittsburgh, where my uncle bought a flat boat, or what was then called an ark, into which he took his family with several other families, who having sent their teams by land. We then descended the Ohio River to Cincinnati, which was then a small town. My uncle located himself in the town of Newport, in the state of Kentucky, on the opposite side of the river from Cincinnati, where I lived with him until the spring of 1815, when my father came to Newport to look at the country, having moved his family from Vermont to Pomfret, Chautauqua county, in the state of New York. Not liking the country, he concluded to return and locate his family in that country. Accordingly about the first of May, he with myself (being then about 13 years of age) started on foot to accomplish a journey of about 500 miles, to the state of New York.

Though then mostly a new and timbered country. We passed several houses where the inhabitants had been butchered by Indians the year before. We arrived in Pomfret, Chautauqua county, New York, about the first of June. My father soon bought land and located himself in that town where I remained and lived with him until I was 21 years of age, which was on March 23, 1823. I then, like most other young men, concluded to begin the world for myself, and being very anxious to get property, I neglected education, which I now consider would have been more needful for me. My father being very poor, was not able to give me but very little schooling. I purchased a sawmill, with a piece of land, and a yoke of oxen, on credit, and went to work for myself, by hiring my board, and in two years I paid for the whole by hard work. I then built me a house. My sisters kept house for me until the 2nd day of November, 1826, when I took to wife by marriage, Miss Anna Pixley Johnson, daughter of Timothy Johnson. She was born at Canaan, New Hampshire, August 7, 1800. Her mother’s maiden name was Dimmis Welsh.

I shall now relate a few incidents of my religious experience up to the date of my marriage. When I was a very small child, my mother being a very strict Presbyterian, would often converse with me and tell me about heaven and hell, God, Jesus Christ, the devil, etc., and when but eight years of age I had quite a correct idea of those things to the precepts of men in those days, and sometimes when meditating upon them, I would weep bitterly, considering myself a sinner in the sight of God. I well recollect a time when my parents both gave me a scolding upon some trifling occasion. I thought I had not a friend in heaven, earth, or hell, and went out by myself and wept.

               And thought unto the brook I'd go
                And drown myself and end my woe,
               For if I drowned myself thought I
                  My soul will under water die.

So I started and went to a small brook not far distant, and selected a place for that purpose, but while reflecting upon the subject, a thought occurred to me that it was a temptation from the Devil, and so I desisted from my purpose and returned home.

When reading the New Testament, I would often wonder why people did not baptize for the remission of sins, and why the gifts of the gospel did not follow the believer as anciently, and thought if ever I became a servant of God, I never would be satisfied without the power to preach the gospel, and heal the sick that the ancients had. I sought every opportunity to attend religious meetings of every denomination with no other motive than to obtain a knowledge of the religion of Jesus Christ. When fifteen and sixteen years of age, my mind was greatly wrought up in reference to this subject. I would often sit up almost all night to read religious tracts and papers by firelight, for my father, being poor, could spare me no time to read by daylight. I also read the Bible with much attention and joy would often spring up in my heart with a testimony that the time would come when I should come in possession of that which I most desired. Namely the faith that was once delivered to the Saints. When eighteen years of age my mind became more at rest, because professors of religion of all denominations, told me that I had experienced religion. But yet I was not fully satisfied myself, because I had not been baptized for the remission of my sins, and received the Holy Spirit according to the New Testament. But was told that all these things were done away, so I concluded to content myself for the time being, seeing that they were not practiced. About this time, I commenced writing religious songs and hymns, upon various subjects. Some of which may be found in Zion’s Songster, of the Songs of Joel, a work of my own, but many are lost. I will here insert two accostics on my name written in my nineteenth year:

                  Jesus, my Savior and my King
               O how I love His praise to sing,
              E'n now in youth and through my days
               Like David I will sing His praise.
               He is my Prophet, Priest and Head.
                  Jesus for me a ransom paid.
              O I will love Him and serve Him too.
                 He is my Portion here below--
               Now since my Lord hath died for me
                 Shall I to Him ungrateful be?
                O no my heart doth quickly reply
                 No, never no, far sooner die.

                 Jesus is precious to my soul,
                     O! Yes He died for me,
                 Ever shall He my life control
                   Love shall my prompter be.

                 He is my helper and my friend.
                     Jesus to me is dear,
                   On Him I ever will depend
                    He bids me not to fear.

             Now since my Lord first loved my soul,
                    Shall E'r from Him flee,
                O! No a thousand worlds of gold
                    No tempter would they be . 

In my 23rd year, I was baptized by Elder Richard M. Carey, a free will Baptist preacher and united with the Free Will Baptist church at Forest Hill, Chautauqua County, New York. About this time the Universalists had formed a church in a neighborhood where I lived and was making proselytes. Upon this subject, of which I wrote a poem entitled Anti-Universalism which put a damper on their proselyting and gained me much credit among the different religionists of other denominations. Having gained some credit as a poet, (though I took none to myself) the Presbyterians offered to give me a college education and position if I would embrace their tenets and become a preacher of their sect. I have now related the principle incidents of my life, both in temporal and religious affairs, up to the date of my marriage in 1826. My circumstances at this time were good for a young man, having paid for my farm and mill, but being anxious to obtain this worlds goods I purchased an adjoining form which bought me several hundred dollars in debt, and to pay these debts in 1827, I took a job to build a sawmill, which I agreed to do, and furnish all the materials myself and warrant the dam against the floods for one year. With great anticipation I hired hands, bought materials on credit, and went to work and soon put the mill in operation; but for the want of a rock to build upon I built upon the sand, and when the floods came my mill dam was torn from its foundation, and great was the fall to me; for when my creditors saw my situation, they came upon me, and took away all that I had, and left me worse than nothing, and with the fall of my property, fell my constitution also, on account of excessive fatigue and labor in the water, etc.

In the year of 1829, I invented and patented a machine for striking shingles from a block at one blow, being the original inventor of the principle, I sold many rights which helped me considerably, but being honest myself, and supposing everyone else to be the same, I was soon swindled out of the largest part of my right, and being highly disappointed and discouraged on account of my misfortune, I concluded to leave the home of my youth and seek an asylum among strangers. Accordingly in the fall of 1830, I left home for the state of Ohio, and after traveling the state mostly over to find a location for my family, I found an old acquaintance of my boyhood in the town of Amherst Loraine county, by the name of John Clay, who invited me to move my family to his house; and join him in building a saw mill. I accordingly entered into company with him and went to work.. I sent for my family who arrived in the month of January; by the first of April, 1831, we had a saw mill nearly half completed.

About this time there was considerable excitement about the Mormons at Kirtland, Geauga county, where there had been a branch of the church built up and Joseph Smith had arrived at that place, and held a conference, and was sending out elders through the country, and many evil reports were in circulation concerning them which most of the people believed to be true. I obtained the Book of Mormon, and read it some, but was too filled with prejudice on account of the evil reports in circulations, that I returned it before I had read it through. But soon there arrived two Mormon Elders in the neighborhood by the names of Harvey Whitlock and Edson Fuller who preached in a schoolhouse nearby. Myself and my wife went out to hear them. They preached upon the first principles of the Gospel; treating upon faith, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, with the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, with signs following the believers, etc. This preaching filled me with astonishment, it being the first discourse that I had ever heard that corresponded with the New Testament. But when they spoke of the Book of Mormon, they made it equal to the Bible, but my prejudice was so great against the Book, that I would not receive their testimony. I heard them twice and concluded to stay at home, but they continued preaching in the vicinity and soon commenced baptizing. In a few days Lyman Wight, Samuel H. Smith, and others came to their assistance, and in a few weeks they baptized about fifty in the vicinity. All this time I kept at home except the two first meetings. My wife, who had always been a strong Methodist, had a desire at this time to attend their meetings which were held every day, and I gave my consent, for I would never abridge anyone’s liberty in religious matters. She attended several meetings and began to believe in the work, and myself having searched the Bible daily while staying at home began to think the work might possibly be true. I therefore concluded to the advice of Paul “to prove all things and hold fast the good.” I accordingly came to the conclusion to take my Bible in my hand and attend all their meetings, and investigate the subject thoroughly, with prayer for divine direction which I did for several days; comparing their preaching with the Scriptures which brought me to the following conclusions: Firstly, that as all Protestant sects had sprung from the Church of Rome, they have no more authority to administer in the ordinances of the Church of Christ, than the Church of Rome had, and if she was the Mother of harlots they must consequently be her daughters, therefore, none of them could be the Church of Christ. Secondly; that a Supernatural power did attend the Morman Church, and it had risen independent of all denominations, therefore, it’s origin must be from Heaven or hell. Thirdly; that it is unreasonable to suppose that God would suffer the devil to bring forth a work with the gifts and blessings of the ancient Church of Christ, corresponding with that which He promised to bring forth in the last days for the gathering of the House of Israel and by that means lead astray all the honest men of the earth, and, Fourthly; that as the principles taught in the Book of Mormon corresponded with the Bible, and the Doctrine of the Church was the same that was taught by Christ and His apostles with the signs following the believer. I concluded that the work was of God, and embraced it with all my heart and soul, and was baptized on the first day of June 1831, by Elder Sylvester Smith. My wife had been baptized a few days previous. I then immediately sold out my share in the sawmill and endeavored to prepare myself for whatever my calling might be, and on the 24th day of August, 1831 I was ordained a teacher and on the 20th day of September of the same year I was ordained an Elder and received the following license:

A license, Liberty and Authority, given to Joel H. Johnson, certifying and proving that he is an Elder of this Church of Christ, established and regularly organized in these last days A.D. 1830, on the 6th day of April. All of which has been done by the will of God the Father, according to His Holy Calling and the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, agreeable to the revelations of Jesus Christ given to Joseph Smith Jr., the first Elder in the Church, signifying that he has been baptized and received into the Church, according to the articles and covenants of the Church and ordained under the hand of Jared Carter, who is an Elder of this Church done on the 20th day of September, in Amhurst, Loraine County, and the State of Ohio, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty one.Elders Jared Carter and Sylvester Smith
Signed and Sealed.

Directly after I embraced the work, I wrote a very lengthy letter to Brother Seth Johnson and other friends in Pomfret, Chautauqua County, New York, my former place of residence, upon the subject of Joseph Smith being a prophet, the Book of Mormon, etc. (a copy of which I regret not having kept) and received an answer about this same time (September 20th) of which I give an excerpt.

Pomfret, Chautauqua County, New York August 22, 1831

Dear Brother,

How shall I address myself to you? In what language shall I attempt to answer your letter? My feelings are indescribable and an unaccountable sensation pervades my frame. O! for some angel, nay, O! for the Holy Spirit to guide my pen, while I attempt to address a few lines to you. May I write under a sense of my accountability to God and so I can meet with joy at the great day when you and I must be tried for eternity.

I have read and reread your letter to many, and by myself. When I have been reading, I have sometimes said in my heart, “This is directed by the Holy Spirit.” But when I have read the Book of Mormon, (I have read it some) I have said “Alas! Alas! the time has surely come, foretold by the blessed Savior. (Mark XIII 5, 6, 21, 22). Alas! Alas! that the devil has so much power on earth, O Lord, how long shall the prince of darkness be suffered to lead men captive at his will? I judge not neither have a satisfied my mind sufficiently as yet tell to tell any man what I think on the subject further than to say it is a supernatural work, either divine of infernal. One evidence I’ll relate, the next day, at evening after I received the Book of Mormon.

My mind being inexpressibly agitated I took the book with me, as I sometimes did the Bible, as a companion to my closet, (I had enjoyed my mind well for weeks,) to ask divine light on its contents. I laid it down by my side and knelt for prayer, when the top of a tree falling just before me startled me, however, I tried to proceed when a noise unheard before by me, and indescribable, arrested my ears at a distance. Still I endeavored to put my trust in God, and call on him in spirit and truth, but it approached nearer and nearer, till within 3 or 4 feet and overwhelmed me with its yells. However ashamed I must own I was frightend from my closet, and went to bed. Anything of the kind I have never experienced before or since. Strange things indeed I have found in your letter. Alas how unexpected, how unthought of. Is it true? That I know not, but the Lord has raised a prophet. But I have fears lest this is one of those false Prophets, or lo, here spoken of and warned against by the Savior and His Apostles, (1st epistle of John 11, 12, etc.) and that the right way of the Lord had been perverted by him through the influence of the devil, who has transformed himself into an angel of light. I have read the book a little, and find no evidence of its being a revelation from heaven of this nature. The manner of your becoming convinced of this doctrine, and book I am not prepared to condemn, but since Satan will, if possible, decieve the very elect, I fear that you may have been decieved. The style, title, and unpopularity of the book and doctrine I would not object to, did it bring sufficient evidence to me of its divine origin. It’s statement that the Indians are the seed of Joseph, etc. I might easily conceive to be correct, should I once be made to believe the work to be a revelation from God. Men’s not receiving it would be no evidence of its not being true to me. No, my brother, never did I recieve any intelligence in my life that so affected me as that contained in your letters. I view it of infinite importance that we try the spirits by which we are moved in such causes, which I ernestly hope you have done. O how careful should we be to embrace nothing but the truth, as it is in Jesus, for says the Apsotles, “though we hear and Angel from Heaven preach any other gospel to you than that ye have received let him be accursed.” You express your fear for the professing Christians that they possess the same spirit that crucified th Lord Jesus Christ, etc. I fear you are too fast. You exclaim O! when will mankind be rational? I ask you the same question. Had I the pen of an angel, say you, I could not paint my feelings. I think it would require an angels pen to describe mine. You prophesy with as much precision and apparant authority as did the ancient Prophets of God, who were compelled to go with “thus saith the Lord,” By what authority thou dost these things I know not”. Your injections to search the Scriptures, and pray to God for direction, I acknowledge to be good. Perhaps no better could have been given by an angel. I do not feel diposed to trifle with these things, and confess that professing Christians do not treat the subject as they ought. You say, you pray God that I may come to a full knowledge of the truth, to which I say Amen. I had enjoyed my mind well for some months previous to receiving your letters, but they so frustrated me that I have since felt miserably. I must close by praying God to guide us by His Spirit and lead us in the way of life everlasting, and teach and open the eyes of that one of us that is blind, and save us with an everlasting salvation. Although I might submit anything of an earthly nature to you, I cannot submit what pertains to my everlasting welfare to any being whose life is derived this is not my home. I have often said my treasure is laid up in heaven, and I am required to live faithful and contend ernestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints.

                              Seth Johnson

Having lost my health and property, (as before mentioned) in 1827 and ’28, and not being able to do any labor, and having but limited means to sustain my family, it was thought best for me to stay at home and not travel, as was appointed to preside over the church at Amherst, and labor what I could in its vicinity until the Lord should open my way for further usefulness.

I attended the conference held in the town of Orange, in Ohio, in the month of October, where I first beheld the face of the Prophet and Seer, Joseph Smith. When I was introduced to him, he laid his hands upon my shoulders, and said to me, “I suppose you think that I am great green lubery fellow.”

His expression was an exact representation of his person being large and tall and not having a particle of beard about his face. I conversed very freely with him upon many subjects relative to his mission, and received much instruction and was highly edified and blessed of the Lord during the conference and returned home rejoicing. In the following January (1832), I went to visit my friend in the town of Pomfret, state of New York, in company with brother Almon W. Babbit who was then a private member of the church. We visited and preached from house to house, and found some believing, and others very hard, against the work of the Lord. During our stay there, Brother Joseph Brackenburg and Edmund Durfee, (High Priests from New London in Huron County, Ohio), being on their way to the east , called on us which filled our hearts with joy. We held several meetings and some believed the gospel, and two were baptized. One of them was my mother, Julia Johnson, and the other my brother in law, Lyman R. Sherman, both were baptized by Elder Brackenburg, and there appeared to be quite an inquiring among the people. But, alas, in the midst of fair prospects and great expectation, disappointment often blast our hopes and proves the old saying true, that in the midst of life were are in death. For our beloved brother Joseph Brackenburg was taken sick with what was supposed to be the bilious colic and remained in great distress, which he bore with fortitude of a saint for one week and expired with an unshaken confidence in the fullness of the gospel which he had preached, and a firm hope of a glorious resurrection among the just. The sectarian priests taking advantage of this circumstance and howling like wolves, seemed to slacken the faith of those who were believing, which caused the work to stop for a while, for we were obliged to return directly home, and could not preside over the branch of the church at Amhurst, which duty I performed according to the best of my abilities, laboring for the benefit of the saints in it’s vicinity and other branches until May 1833 having baptized in all 12 persons, and ordained two elders and two priests.

I then went to Kirtland and being counseled by Pres. Joseph Smith, I made a purchase of land and moved my family to Kirtland about the last of July and commenced making brick for the House of the Lord, then to be built in that place, in which business I labored until the 25th of September of the same year. But the brick was not used for that purpose, because the church concluded to build the house of stone. About the last of October, I was taken sick with the bilious fever, and was confined to my house for several weeks. After my recovery I was under the necessity of building a house and laboring for the benefit of my family. I also built a sawmill to cut lumber for the Lord’s House, on a small stream near Kirtland Village, and labored for the benefit of my fellow creatures, by preaching the gospel wherever opportunity presented within the vicinity of Kirtland. My labors were mostly in the towns of Montville, Concord, Juntsburg, Russel, Leroy, Hamden, and Chagrin, (New Willoghby). In some of these towns I preached almost every Sabbath until the first of August, 1835, having baptized five persons; but many others were baptized in Huntsburg and other places who were the fruits of my labors. I also ordained two Elders and one Priest. On the 26th of August 1835, I left home in company with Elder Ezra Thornton to travel and preach the gospel for a short time in the south east part of the state of Ohio. I preached in Huntsburg, Parkman, and Paris, and on the 29th came to Palmyra, and stopped at Ezra Gilbert’s and found himself and family some believing. In the evening we were visited by a (would be) learned Baptist Priest, by the name of James Macalva, who swelled himself up like the toad in the fable and spoke many words about his college learning, knowledge of language, etc, and said that he had debates with, and wiped out the best of the Mormon preachers, and was acquainted with the Book of Mormon, and its origin and placed many a themes upon its author etc, and then gave us a challenge for a debate. We told him that we were ready to establish at all times the gospel and necessity of the Book of Mormon from the scriptures. I then asked him what fault he found with the book, and he answered that it was ungrammatical. I told him that we might condemn the Bible upon the same principle. He then said that there was not an ungrammatical sentence in the Bible. I referred him to a few passages, and asked if they were written according to the rules of grammar, but could not get him to say anything more upon the subject, but began to back out from his challenge by saying if we would go the town of Hyrum, he would debate us there. But we told him that we would not go there, where Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and others of the saints had been shamefully mobbed, but would debate with him in Palmyra at any time, and place he would mention, but he would not agree to that and so went home.

Sunday the 30th, preached at Mr. Gilbert’s at 2 o’clock, and also in the evening.

Monday the 31st, traveled among Nixite Quaklers and could not get a place for preaching.

Tuesday the 1st day of September tried to get a preachiung place at New Lisbon, but failed and came to Wellsville on the Ohio river, and stopped at Samuel Burwells.

Wednesday the 2nd, preached at Wellsville.

Thursday the 3rd, went to Franklin, 20 miles from Wellsville. On the way we me with a company of people raising a house to whom we introduced the subject of our mission and tried to get a preaching place in the neighborhood, but the Priests and Deacons present put their heads together and prevented us, and then told us to shake the dust from our feet as a testimony against them and leave them and their own blood should be upon their own heads.,

After warning them sufficiently, we left them and went on our way, and came to Brother Routzons Franklin township, where Brother David Evanshad labored and baptized six. We found them in good faith and preached to them two evenings in succession.

Sunday 6th, preached in the village of Hanover at 2 o’clock, and had a good congregation, and good attention. Several Campbellite priests were present. I thought it a good opportunity to preach upon the subject of Priesthood. I commenced by saying, that there were only three priesthoods mentioned in the Bible and only two of there were given by the God of heaven, for the benefit of mankind and they two were the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods; showing that it was through them only that mankind could obtain salvation. I then introduced the priesthood of Baal as the third priesthood mentioned in the Bible, and brought up the circumstance of Elijah the Prophet and the Priest of Baal to show the contrast between the Priesthood of God and that of Baal. Then said if I ask the priest of modern days if they have received the Melchizedek Priesthood their answer will be no, for that is too holy for men in these days. Then if I ask if they have received the Aaronic, if no is their reply again, for that was done away at the coming of Christ.

Then I said they must have received the priesthood of Baal, for they have no claim on any other.

While making these remark the peopled stated at me with profound silence and at the close of which I told the people that there was liberty for remarks, but no reply was made.

Monday 7th. Preached in the town of New Garden.

Tuesday 8th. Attended to the ordinance of baptism.

Wednesday 9th. Preached again in New Garden.

Thursday 10th. Attended an appointment at Georgetown.

Friday 11th. Preached Knox and Chambersburg.

Saturday 12. Attended an appointment at Alexandirs.

Sunday 13th. Preached at Brother Rouzton’s.

Monday 14th. Brother Thornton left me and went home.

Tuesday 15th, Preached again at Hanover.

Wednesday the 16th, went to hear a Campbellite preacher who compared the gospel to glass, and said as sun glasses are used to light pines and cigars with, so we may use the gospel to light our souls with the love of god, and said it was a good magnifying glass to magnify our sins by and ought to be used as spectacles, etc.

Thursday 17th, preached against at Brother Boutzonz.

Friday 18th, preached at Hanover.

Saturday 19th, No meeting on account of bad weather.

Sunday 20th, preached again at Brother Boutzonz.

Monday 21st, started for home where I arrived September 23rd, 1835. I have not labored but a little with my own hands on the Lords house on the account of bodily infirmity, but yet I have contributed of my means such as cash, lumber, stock, and other property all that lay in my power consistent with my poor health and indignant circumstances. The building of the temple in Kirtland was a great undertaking considering the poverty and minority of the church, and it required the utmost exertion of every member to accomplish so great an undertaking, for we had but very few friends among the world, while we had thousands of enemies who were holding their secret meetings to devise plans to thwart and overthrow all our arrangements. We were obliged to keep up night watches to prevent being mobbed, and our works being overthrown, but the Lord has promised to keep a strong hold in Kirtland for the space of five years, therefore were warned of all the devices of our enemies in time to elude them, until the temple was completed, the saints endowed, and five years expired. On the 8th of March 1835, all the male members of the church were called together to be blest under the hands of the first presidency of the church for their faithfulness in building the Lord’s house. I was also blest with the rest of the brethren at the same time. I was present at nearly all the most important meetings and councils of the church, was present at the calling and ordination of the twelve apostles, also at the calling and ordination of the first seventy elders and their presidents., I also received my endowments in the house of the Lord in the winter and spring of 1836 with the rest of the elders by ordinations , washings, annointings, sealings, etc. I attended all meetings previous to the dedication on the 27th of March 1836. With the meetings and councils that followed I saw and heard much of the power of God manifested as mentioned in the life of Joseph Smithy. I was also chosen a member of the second quorum of the seventies and received my ordination as such. My health continued very poor as it had done for many years, and the brethren mostly thought that I was fast declining with the pulmonary consumption in consequence of which I told that at a fast meeting in the Lords house (Father Smith presiding) that I was contending against all their faith for they all believed that I would not live long, but I believed that I should live many years, and if they would pray for and exercise their faith for me, I believed I should measurably recover, to which they all agreed, and from that time began to enjoy better health. In the summer of 1836 the brethren in Kirtland formed themselves into a banking institution called the Kirtland safety society. This institution would have proved the salvation of the nation if is had been left to carry out it measures, but the enemies of the church crushed it in its bud, which proves that no institution founded upon righteous principles can flourish in so corrupt a nation as the United States. From the above date to December 7 1837, I have not traveled but a little, but preached in company with Father Joseph Smith and others, in the vicinity of Kirtland and other places whenever opportunity offered and baptized during the time ten persons.

January the 3rd, 1838, I left home to go to Sandusky city on business and on the 7th preached in Amhurst, Loraine county, Ohio.

Wednesday the 10th, arrived in the city of Sandusky and on the 13th preached in the Academy on the subject of the gospel, but the people were very hard and did not want to hear any further on the subject.

Monday the 15th, I started homeward.

April 2nd, preached in the Lord’s house at Kirtland on the subject of the saints and building up Zion in North America.

July 2nd, attended to the ordinance of baptism. I will here insert a letter that appeared in the 5th no. of the 1st volume of the “times and Season” published in Commerce, (since Nauvoo), Hancock Co. Illinois.

To the Editor of the “Times and Seasons” and all the saints of our God and fellow laborer in the dispensation of the fullness of time.

Greetings Dear Brethren:

Realizing that all the faithful are wishing to hear from the Elder abroad and to know how the work of pruning the vineyard progresses in the last day, I had thought proper to give you a short progresses in the last day.

I started from Kirtland, Ohio with my family in company with the camp of the Saints, called from Kirtland Company, numbering in all, men women, and children, five hundred and fifteen souls, fifty eight teams, with a large number of cows. This company consisted principally of the poor saints of Kirtland, with the sick, poor, lame, blind, etc. with all that could not move without help. We had a fine journey to Dayton, Ohio, where we stopped and labored four weeks on the turnpike, then resumed our journey and arrived at Springfield, the seat of Government for Illinois, September the 15th, and finding that several persons in the camp were sick with fever. The managers thought it best for me to stop and take care of them, which I accordingly did, by renting a house for their benefit, and making other necessary provision for the comfort. I then commenced preaching in Springfield in my own hired house, but the prejudice of the people (on account of the difficulties in Far West) were so great they generally would not hear, but few were inquiring. Many of the brethren who stopped there also, and I soon organized them into a branch of the church, called the Springfield branch, over which I was chosen to preside, after which we held our meetings in the Cambellite meeting house. I continued preaching in Springfield and its vicinity until January 8, 1839. The church at this time numbered about forty members in good standing. I the removed my family to Carthage, the county seat of Hancock County, Illinois. In the vicinity of which I soon commenced preaching, and also near crooked creek, and in April, I baptized and confirmed several members and organized a branch of the church called the Crooked Creek branch, over which I was chosen to preside, which I have endeavored to do, preaching to the church and in other places until the present time, having had many call for preaching, which I could not attend on account of my ill health and indignant circumstances. I have baptized and confirmed in their vicinity 15 members, and brothers John E. Pages had baptized several, and James Carle two. This branch numbers about fifty members in good standing, and many more appear to be believing whom I hope will soon become Abraham’s seed, and heir according to the promise, by being baptized for the remis sion of the sins.

                Now let thy servants O our God,
                  Be clothed with power divine
             That they may spread thy truth abroad
                  And cause thy light to shine
               'mong nations who in darkness are
                  for darkness fills the earth
              That they may shun the devils snare
                     by having a new birth.
               And gathering home to Zion's land
                     which to Joseph given
              That they in safety there may stand,
               When Christ descends from heaven,
                To burn the wicked in his wrath
                    And to receive his bride
              With righteousness to fill the earth
                    Which then if purified.

From you fellow laborer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,

                         Joel H. Johnson

I would here remark in addition to the above that when I first came to Carthage in January 1839, I rented an old vacant store house with several rooms, in which I moved my family. I had not been here long before Sidney Rigdon, Bishop Partridge, and others who had fled from Far West on account of mob violence called on me while on their way to Old Commerce to seek a location for the Saints who were then being driven from the state of Missouri. And as soon as the authorities of the church had concluded to make Old Commerce (since Nauvoo) a location for the saints, they came flocking into Hancock county and on hearing that I was in Carthage, bent their course hither and made my home a stopping place until they could find a suitable location for the time being. I had by this time, through my labor and the blessings of my heavenly father, rooted out much of the prejudice existing in the minds of the people in reference to the difficulties at Far West and gained many warm friends to the saints in and about the vicinity of Carthage, which was a great benefit to the saints in exile who were seeking in Hancock County an asylum, from mob violence, for I had baptized several and also organized a branch of the church at Crooked Creek, eight miles distant in what was called the Perkins settlement. On the eighteenth of February 1840, I moved my family onto the west branch of crooked creek, having previously purchased a saw mill and piece of land, where I labored during the spring and summer for the support of my family, and preached on the Sabbath to the brethren. About the first of July, I appointed a meeting of the church to take into consideration the subject of organizing a stake in the crooked creek branch. The saints met and unanimously agreed to establish a stake if it agreed with the minds of the first Presidency. Accordingly we appointed a committee of three to visit the President and ascertain his mind on the subject and adjourned our meeting to the 9th of the month. Accordingly on the 9th the church met and heard the report of the committee from the President, which not only corresponded with our wishes but urged the necessity of a stake and gave directions for its organization. I was unanimously elected the president of the stake and ——————- was elected my first counselor, and Ebenezer Page was elected my second counselor or was chosen Bishop and Elijah B. Gaylor and William G. Perkins his counselors.

The high council was then elected and after some other business the meeting was adjourned until the 15th, when President Hyrum Smith was expected to be present to ordain those who had been elected to the office. Met on the 15th agreeable to adjournment when Hyrum Smith took the chair and called for those who had been appointed to office to come forward and receive their ordination. I was accordingly ordained the President of the state and all the rest were ordained according to their several appointments. The location being fixed upon fir a town, it was soon laid out and called Ramus. From this time on I began to make arrangements to build me a house in town so as to move in before a fall, but sometime in August my wife was taken sick with the nervous fever, and my family one after another was taken sick but myself. My wife lingered about five weeks and expired. In the first part of her sickness she manifested some uneasiness about another future state, until one morning she awoke with a smile on her countenance and said to me that the Lord had spoken to her that night and said to her “Go daughter, sleep in peace and rest.”

From that time her mind was at rest about her future state, but said that she should not live. Her greatest anxiety was about her friends that had not revcieved the gospel for which she almost constantly prayed. She also manifested much anxiety about her family, she talked to and about her children much; she would often throw her arms about my neck and exclaim “O! Joel, how I feel for you. It will soon be well with me, but what will you do with the children when I am gone?” A few days before she died she clasped her arms around my neck and said, “I have been all night thinking about you and the children. I know that you cannot take care of them alone when I am gone, you must get you another companion. I have been trying to think of one for you, but you most select one for yourself. I now feel satisfied to leave my children, for the Lord has told me that they will be as well taken care of as they would be if I had the care of them myself.

After this she manifested no more uneasiness about her family and fell asleep on the 11th day of September 1840, rejoicing in the hope of a glorious resurrection among the just. She was a kind and attentive companion and a tender and affectionate mother. She was buried the graveyard at Ramus ({now macedonia) Hancock county, Illinois. The following epitaph was inscribed on her tombstone:”


                  Lines written on her death:
                 So the shrouded form before me
                  White as in the evening tide
             When with the marriage  vow upon thee
                  I then took her for my bride

               While I look this on my loved one
                   Soon to molder in the dust
               I can say with a clear conscience
                 I have kept my vow and trust.

               Though I now must wander mournful
                'Round my loved and silent home
                Ever listening for my loved one,
                 Which to me no more can come.

            Still in those  dear babes she left me,
                 I can see her smile and form.
             Which shall bring to sweet remembrance
                Her fond heart so kind and warm.

               Short the time me father gave me,
              To the blessed  with her sweet love
               Yet the golden link that;s severed
                    Shall unite again above.


                 I lovely on and hast thou gone
                  While in life's early bloom
                 And left me here to weep alone
                    My loved on in the tomb?

             Must I live in life N'er see thee more
                     Thou lovely on so dear
               Has death thee from my bosom tore
                   No more my heart to cheer?

            Yes death has chilled they loving heart
                   And thou are from me torn
               Yet we shall meet no more to part
                 Where none are  left to mourn.

             Then I shall cease  my grief and woe.
                   Nor let my heart  repine.
                The loving germ I've lost below
                   Shall soon  again be mine.

                Shine on thou lovely gem so dear
                  In your sweet world of light
              I soon shall come to meet thee there
                   And claim thee as my right.

After my family had recovered their health a little so that I could leave home, I went to work again on my house which I had been building in Ramus, and on the 20th day of October, I took to wife by marriage, Miss Susan Bryant, daughter of Charles Bryant, (she assisted in taking care of my former wife through her sickness,) She was born at Vergeners in the state of Vermont, August 28, 1813. He mother’s name was Susan Filler. In the month of November I moved my family into Ramus, having previously sold my farm and sawmill, etc. I continues to preach to the church almost every sabbath during the winter and spring of 1841. While our town increased rapidly and love and union seemed to prevail and peach and plenty filled our hearts with joy, but in the latter part of the summer, we began to discover that false brethren had crept in among us unaware, who began to treat things contrary to the revelation of God, by saying that it was not hard to steal from our enemies, especially the Missourians, and there was nothing hard in meeting together and drinking ordinance spirits and having a spree now and then. Shivering our neighbors upon wedding occasion to make them hand over the grog and good things. To carry out their object of stealing and other wickedness more fully they formed themselves into a secret combination and held their secret weekly meetings. I protested against their teaching and proceedings both in public and in private, and warned the brethren against such principle that they taught which caused them to try to influence the brethren against me, which they in part succeeded to do by their smooth words and fair speeches. For some of them stood high in office both ecclesiastical and military. One of them was my first counselor and captain of a rifle company in the Nauvoo Legion, and another was a bishop of the stake and brevet major of the Nauvoo Legion with four of the high council. One of which was a captain of a company of lances in the Nauvoo Legion, with ten or twelve Elders which formed a quorum which thought themselves Some! At the September muster of the Nauvoo Legion the companies from Ramus encamped by themselves and the officers suffering drunkenness, and lewd conduct in the camp disgusted many of the Brethren who on their return to Ramus made bitter complaint to me of their conduct. Therefore, on the next Sabbath I took the stand and commenced preaching upon the subject of intemperance. Whereupon the Bishop arose and ordered me to desist.. Declaring that I should not preach upon that subject. I told him if the church had appointed him to preside that I would sit down and let him go ahead, if not to sit down himself and pay attention to his own business.

Upon which my first counselor arose and declared that they had heard that I was going to preach upon that subject and had come to stop me. Upon which I called a vote of the congregation to know if I should proceed with my discourse of not. The vote carried in the affirmative. I then called for order but the Bishop and his colleagues kept up such a confusion that no order was to be had.

After hearing their abuse for awhile, I left the house and went home. A few days afterward I called church together to know what was to be done. Upon which some of their met brought a complaint against me for leaving the house on the sabbath day before. I acknowledge that I had done wrong in leaving the house and accordingly asked forgiveness of the church, which was unanimously granted.

I told them that I had ought to have sent for a peace officer and had these peace breakers punished according to the law instead of leaving the house, for which neglect I felt to regret. But the clan being determined to justify themselves in their proceedings we concluded to adjourn the meeting for a few days for further consideration. At which time the church came together again to see what could be done in reference to our difficulties, upon which those met, (after finding withal their eloquence and smooth words they could not gain the majority of the church in their favor) concluded to make partial confession which they did to keep themselves from being disfellowshipped by the church. But I soon found their hatred towards me was not diminished in the least, for upon all occasion when we met in council to transact church and other business they would lay a snare for me by trying to make me an offended for a word, etc. On the 4th of November 1841, the High Council met (this meeting proved to be its last), to transact business when the Bishop (though not a member of the council) endeavored to take the lead of all the business for which I rebuked him, which made him very angry with me. Upon which my first counselor with the four high councilors (before alluded to) took sides with him and seemed very much pleased that some thing had cased for the disagreement. My first counselor then said that he had been praying that something would transpire that would place the odium of all the difficulties in Ramus on the right one, to which I responded Amen. Insinuating that I was the black sheep. The next say after this meeting my first counselor with four others of the clan, left Ramus upon some business of the own secret concocting, and in a few days we received a letter from some one of the stating that the whole fiver were in Mammoth Jail for stealing. I then saw that my first councilor’s prayers were answered upon his head, he being one of the principal leaders of the clan. On the 18th of November the church being together with Elders Brigham Young, Richards, and Savage from Nauvoo and having examined witnesses on the case of the above named five persons who were in jail, it was unanimously resolved that the whole five be expelled from the Church. On the 4th of December 1841, the church met in conference with Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards and others from Nauvoo present. After considering our difficulties it was resolved to disorganized the stake. After which John Lauson was appointed to preside which relieved me from cares and perplexities of mind from which I had long wished to be honorably released on account of my poor health. I have forgotten to mention in its place that I received a Patriarchal blessing under the hand of Father Joseph Smith, First Patriarch of the church while in Kirtland, of which I never received a copy. I was also blessed by Father John Smith, brother of the first Patriarch of which the following is a copy:

A blessing by Patriarch John Smith upon the head of Joel H. Johnson. January 18th, 1844. Joel H. Johnson born in Grafton, Massachusetts, March 23rd, 1802.

Brother Joel. I lay my hands upon thy head to seal upon thee a father’s blessing. Thou art of the blood of Ephriam, and thy father not being of the church hath no Priesthood with which to bless thee. I pray the Lord to grant His spirit and pour a blessing upon thee such as thy heart desireth. Thou has seen much affliction in thy day and waded through seas of sorrow and in as much as thou has been patient the Lord shall bless thee with a multiplicity of blessings. Thou shalt be delivered from thy fears. Thy family shall be blessed with health, wisdom and understanding, and thou shalt hold the priesthood forever and the mysteries thereof shall be unfolded to thy understanding far beyond what has entered thy heart. Thou shalt have power to administer in the name of Jesus Christ and no power shall oppose thee. Thou shalt have power to command the winds and the waves and to ride upon the wings of the wind, so mighty and great shall be thy faith. The Lord shall give His angels charge over thee to deliver thee in time of danger, and feed thee in time of famine and thou shalt converse with them face to face as a man converseth with his friend. Thy children shall be multiplied around thee and grow up like olive plants. They shall be numerous and a great and mighty people and shall rise up and call thee blest. Not withstanding, thou hast seen much poverty thy wants shall all be satisfied. I also bless thee with every blessing thy heart desireth and I seal thee up unto eternal life to inherit thrones, dominions, principalities and power. With power to bring all thy children with thee in due time. If thou observe the word of wisdom and Eternal life all these blessings shall be thine. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A blessing by Patriarch John Smith on the head of Susan Johnson, January 18, 1814, Susan Johnson born at Vergens, Vermont, August 28th, 1812.

Dear Sister, in the name of Jesus Christ, I lay my hands upon thee by the authority given to my charge. O Lord, I beseech thee to bless they hand maid and let her life be precious in they sight. Suffer not the destroyer to have any power over her. Dismiss thy fears dear sister, the Lord will bless thee, and thou shalt be blessed. Thou hast seen much affliction. The cloud of darkness shall disappear, and the sun of prosperity and happiness shall shine upon thee. Thou shalt be blest with the desire of thy heart, the disease hitherto praying upon thee shall be removed and thou shalt be blest with numerous family, and thou shalt yet rejoice to see thine offspring prospering about thee. Thou shalt have that portion of the Priesthood in company with thy husband that he holds, and power to drive the destroyer from they house when thy companion is not present to assist thee. Length of days in the right hand and in thy left riches and honor. I seal all the blessings upon thee enjoyed by thy companion and also with him seal thee up into eternal life. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

May the 17th, 1844, from the above date to the present, I have suffered much through sickness and indignant circumstances. However, I have preached occasionally in Saharpe, Joduncan, Job settlement, and Macedonia, (formerly Ramus), and have written a few poems, all of which may be found in Zion’s Songster.

June 27th, 1844. On this memorable day Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Joseph Smith, the Prophet, Seer, and President of said Church, were martyred in Carthage Jail by lawless bandits or mob, painted black, numbering about 150 or 200 persons; this was perpetrated about 5 o’clock P.M. Hyrum was shot first and fell exclaiming, “I am a dead man.” Joseph leapt from the window and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming “O Lord, my God!” They were both shot after they were dead and both received four balls. John Taylor and Willard Richards two of the twelve were the only persons in the room at the time. John Taylor was wounded in a savage manner, but W. Richards escaped unhurt.

Hyrum and Joseph were imprisoned not for crime, but by the malice of their enemies. The Governor of the state of Illinois pledged his honor that they should both be protected from mob violence, and returned in safety again to Nauvoo, after the trial, which pledge was wickedly forfeited. On the 13th of Nov. of the same year I moved my family to a farm four miles from Macedonia where I labored making rails, fencing and hauling timber for building, etc. I was here appointed to preside over a small branch of the church called the Pleasant Vale Branch to which I preached on the Sabbath, through the winter and spring. But in the spring, finding that I could not procure teams to break the land that I had fenced, I sold my town property in Macedonia for a share in a sawmill on Crooked Creek, to which I moved my family, expecting to procure some means by sawing for the benefit of my family, which was very destitute. But on the 4th of August, I was taken sick by the bilious fever. The season proving to be very dry and water poor, I was compelled to move back again to my farm as soon as we were able, and on the 31st day of December 1845, myself and wife received our endowments in the Lord’s House in Nauvoo, and on the 5th day of January 1846, I moved my family back again to the mill, in order to run it through the sawing season that I might obtain means to move my family out of the country for my life was constantly threatened, and land and household property would not sell at any rate. But in February I was taken sick with the winter fever, and was not able to do much labor until April. And the Hancock mob having prevailed in driving the Saints from the county, I had to leave with the rest, and having swapped my share of the mill for a soldiers right of 80 acres of land in Knox county, on the 30th day of May 1846, I started with my family to move to my land in Knox and arrived on Thursday the 4th of June having been driven from my possessions in Hancock county, and robbed of almost everything that I possessed on earth. And in the middle of a broad Prairie in the bend of French Creek, a miserable sickly place, I found my land, without a friend I knew anything about, or a face that I ever saw to glance on ray on my dismal prospects. Without a house of cabin of stick of timber for miles to build one. However we went to work and hauled time and built us a small cabin, and then I sent my boys back again to Hancock for my father. After they returned, we broke up some ground and sowed some buckwheat and made a garden, (although very late,) I then went to work out by the day at harvesting which business I continued until the first day of August when I was taken sick with the fever and ague, and my family one after another was taken down until we were all sick except the two smallest children, and so have continued more or less until the present time.

October the 1st thru December 19th. almost five months has sickness preyed upon m, yet I have but little prospect of immediate recovery of my health and yet I am poor, destitute, and distressed, having been robbed of all that I possessed and driven to this place, contrary to my will, and sickness compels me to winter in a cabin twelve feet by sixteen square without any floor, with a family of eight persons. My possessions in Hancock from which I have been driven, I estimate at two thousand dollars at a low rate.

January 1st, 1847. O Columbia! Columbia! how in thy glory tinged, and thine honor fallen to the dust; thou who has long boasted of the glorious institutions. Of gospel light; equal rights and liberty of conscience. Behold thy garments stained with the blood of innocence, and thy hands crimsoned with the blood of Prophets and of Saints. Behold, the thousands who thou hast slain, imprisoned, robbed of their goods and driven from their lands in the state of Missouri and Illinois. Lands that they have purchased of thee, under liberty of conscience. Behold them in exile, in poverty, in sickness and distress, seeking a place of rest, while none is to be found, and when they have petitioned and plead at the feet of thine assembled statesmen for redress and protection from mobs and persecution the only answer of thy Chief Magistrate has been, “Gents, your cause is just, but Government has no power to redress you.

I have said but very little in regard to the mobs that have followed the church from its organization, on the 6th of April, 1830, to its final expulsion from the United States to the valleys of the mountains in 1847, my main object having been to relate a few of the principle incidents of my own life, but i would here say that after the massacre of the Patriarch Hyrum and Joseph the Prophet by an armed mob in Carthage jail on the 27th of June 1844.

There was a short rest for the saints in Hancock for the mob supposed that after the heads of the church were dead, that the church would be broken up and scattered, and that would be an end of Mormonism, but in this they were mistaken, for they found that the church was more determined than ever to carry out the measures of their beloved and martyred Patriarch and Prophet. When they saw this, they were infuriated more than ever, and in September 1845, they commenced burning houses, and other buildings and destroying property and driving the saints from their homes, with a full determination to drive the whole society from the state, which they succeeded to accomplish sometime in the spring of 1846.

I was then running my saw mill on Crooked Creek, and sometime in March while myself and wife was absent to Nauvoo, an armed mob surrounded my house and told my little children that if their father and family did not leave the county immediately that their lives would be taken and property destroyed. But I had no means to get away with, for I could not sell my property for anything that would move me away, so I kept on running the mill and fulfilling a few small contracts that I had made in order to raise a little means to help myself away, until the first of may, when about 2 o’clock in the morning I was awakened by the tramping of horses and heard a voice calling me to the door. I arose and went to the door, and discovered that my house was surrounded my a mob of about one hundred men, armed with guns, swords, pistols and dirks, who asked me if I was preparing to leave. I told them that I was. They then said if I did not leave the county by the first day of June, that my life would be taken and my property destroyed, and after warning and threatening my very sharply, they left.

I made every exertion in my power to get away by the time specified by the mob and the last week in May I left the mill and went up to Macedonia and stopped at the house of my father until the 30th when I left for Knox county as before mentioned. But the night after I left an armed mob surrounded the house, where they supposed that I was and called for me but I had gone the morning before and saved the trouble of killing me as they had anticipated.

When I first came to Knox county I supposed that by the spring of 1847 I should be able to fit myself for a journey to join the saints in the west, but on account of sickness and disappointment in the value of my land, I found myself too poor to make the journey and so I was compelled to stay another year, (contrary to my will) and rented a farm and moved onto it in the month of April and sowed ten acres of wheat and planted 20 acres of corn, and put in other crops of various kinds which produced tolerably well considering the dryness of the season.

About the middle of September I was taken sick with the congestive chills which brought me near unto death, and has made me very weak and miserable and prevented me from labor unto the present time October 8th, 1847.

Having neglected to mention my marriage with Miss Janet Fife I will here say she was espoused to me by sealing and covenant October 25, 1845. Father John Smith, Patriarch, officiated. Janet was born at Leith in Scotland February 17th, 1827, and emigrated to America in 1842, and when she was eighteen did engage to wed me forty three years of age.

In the spring of 1848 I sold the land that I obtained in exchange for my Hancock County property for the sum of ninety dollars in cash and trade. I then made every necessary arrangement in my power for my removal to the west, and having obtained three wagons, five yoke of oxen and steers and a few cows and sheep with necessary provisions, etc. I loaded my wagons and started on the 6th day of May 1848 for the city of Great Salt Lake in Upper California, and came to David Row’s in Fulton county, for the first night and on the 7th David Rowe and his family started with me for the same place. My family consisted of myself and two women and six children. David Rowe’s family consisted of himself, wife, and four children.

We came to Nauvoo where I stopped and visited my friends, we then crossed to river to Montrose and stopped with my brother Joseph for one week, sheared my sheep and sold the wool etc. We then started for Winter quarters and had a very bad crooked road and had to repair and build many bridges. We arrived at Winter Quarters the first week in June, here we tarried four weeks, waiting for Doctor Richards, and Amasa Lyman’s company. We started from Winter Quarter in W. Richards company, on the 5th day of July for the place of our destination and after much fatigue, many hardships and difficulties, and the loss of one yoke of oxen, one heifer and twenty two sheep we arrived in the city of Great Salt Lake on the 19th day of October 1848. Having accomplished a journey of fifteen hundred miles from Knox County, Illinois to Great Salt Lake City in Upper California. While living in Knox county, I found many friends who seemed to pity the saints, and especially myself, for they saw that I was driven from my home in sickness and poverty. And they were very kind on my first arrival and sent me presents of such things as they thought I most needed, and while I stayed with them would assist me with their influence all that was in their power both at home and abroad, which was very beneficial to me, for which may the Lord bless them and save them at least. While on the other hand I had many enemies who were enemies only because I was a Mormon and would use every means to injure me that was in their power, by raising all manner of false reports, and would haul away my corn and rails in the day time. To excuse themselves they would say that they were only taking what I had stolen from them. I was thus robbed of 40 or 50 bushels of corn, and several hundred rails. May the Lord award them according to their works, is my prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

              I prayed to God for faith and grace,
                              By night and day,
             And means to leave that sickly place,
                        And speed away.
                 He heard my cry and said to me
                     Though sore oppressed
               By cruel foes  yet  you shall see
                        A  day of rest.
              He blest my hands, I bought and sold
                        And every trade
              He gave me thrice.  So not with Gold
                        A fit out made.
                 I sped  me then unto the west
                       To  shun my foes.
               And find a land that God had blest
                      Mid mountains snows.
              My way was hard and  rough 'tis true
                        Yet I possessed
               Faith  in my God and kept in view
                         A land of rest
              I reached the land my  heart desired
                      And thanked the Lord
                That I so  far from mobs retired
                      Could keep His work.

I soon built me a small cabin at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon, eight miles south of the city, into which I moved my family on the 19th of Nov. I was about this time elected Justice of the peace and also ordained Bishop of Mill Creek ward. The winter proving very hard and having lost one yoke of oxen after my arrival, I was obliged to sell the rest (with the exception of a small yoke of steers) with most of my cows and all of my sheep to save little to myself and prevent them from starving to death. In the spring I had but one yoke of steers and could not hire a team to work at any price and having to fence and break new land I could not raise but little grain in the ensuing summer. Scarcely enough to sustain my family. In the fall I selected land for a farm near the Big Cottonwood Creek, eight miles south of G.S.L. City, and on said land I built me a house in November in which about the first of December I moved my family, which was the first house fit for human abode, that I had lived in since I was driven from Hancock County on the 30th of May, 1846.

In the summer of 1849, the necessity of organizing a state government was taken into consideration by the inhabitants of the G.S.L. Valley which, after mature deliberation it was concluded to carry the object into effect. Accordingly the state of Deseret was organized with all its official members in the accomplishment of which I was elected a member of the house of representatives on the 6th day of December, 1849.

In the course of the winter a band of Indian robbers near the Utah settlement after stealing most of the settler’s cattle, commenced firing at and otherwise abusing the people of the fort. Complaints being made by them against the robbers to the head of department, who after due consideration thought best to kill the robbers and take their women and children prisoners. Accordingly they sent against them about a hundred armed men, who killed 25 or 30 of their warriors and took their women and children prisoners, which were distributed among the people. I took two women and three children, who were all sick, occasioned by exposure after having the measles. The two women and two of the children, which were boys, lingered several days and died and left only a little girl about ten years of age, and not knowing her indian name we called her Virouge.

March 23, 1850. This day completes the 48th year of my age and surely few and evil have been my days, for before I embraced the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was on the first day of June, 1831, my life was a continual scene of hardship, sickness, and distress and poverty, my life sought, and robbed of my goods, houses and lands, until finally, I am driven into the mountains of the great internal basin of Upper California, North America. Having been selected by G.A. Smith to assist in forming a settlement at the Little Salt Lake Valley, in the fall of 1850, I sent out with the expedition of my eldest sons, Sixtus and Nephi, provisions, and in the course of the winter I sold my farm and made other necessary arrangements, and started on the 14th day of March, 1851, with a part of my family, and three teams laden with provisions and other necessities for the settlement, and arrived at the settlement in Little Salt Lake Valley on the 10th of April, and found the boys had taken land in the field, and were putting in crops and had done very well. I joined them and took more lands and we put in all the grain and potatoes that we could. On the 15th of May, President Brigham Young and many of the Brethren from Great Salt Lake City arrived in our beautiful valley on an exploring and visiting expedition. During their stay they organized our settlement into the city of Parowan, and I was elected a member of the city council. I was also sent out with a small company to explore the Coal Creek Canyon and ascertained its resources for coal, timber, etc. And also the Iron Mountain for Iron, and on my return I discovered the springs in the edge of the Coal Creek Valley, where I stopped and refreshed myself and the team. On looking about a little I concluded to make those springs the seat of my farming operations and place of residence for myself and family for the future. Accordingly on my return to Parowan, I consulted George A. Smith upon the subject, who gave me leave to survey all the land I pleased at the springs for myself and friends. In reference to our crops they were tolerably good considering the dryness of the season, and lack of water for irrigation, although we had a frost in August that injured our potatoes and corn crops. About the middle of September I sent Sixtus back To G.S.L. City for the balance of my family who arrived on the 27th day of October, all in good health and spirits. About this time George A. Smith counseled me to build a house and corral at the springs and herd the cattle for the brethren at Parowan and Cedar, through the winter and establish at that place a sugar beet plantation and sugar manufactory as soon as I could. Accordingly on the 19th of November I commenced building a house at the springs and on the 6th of December I moved a part of my family, and on the 12th received the herd of cattle from Parowan, on the 15th moved the balance of my family to my new residence at the springs, which is now (January 1, 1852) known by the name of Johnson Springs. On the first day of March, my son Sixtus missed one of his oxen for which he searched most of the day, and at evening it was ascertained that he was driven off by two Indians, and on the next day we dispatched a message to Parowan, informing the brethren of the circumstances, who on the third day sent out 12 men to search out the thieves, who returned without finding them. And on the 4th day my son Sixtus with three others started on the trail of the ox and Indians and followed them about sixteen miles to where they killed the ox, and then tracked the Indians about four miles further where they found them in camp drying the beef. They consisted of two old Indians and two boys, one about 12 years old and the other about 5. They took them all prisoners and started to bring them home but when they came to the ford of Coal Creek the horses refused to cross which, when the Indians saw, they all but the youngest crossed the creek and then ran, and as soon as the boys could get their horses across they rushed them and fired killing one of the old Indians and wounding the other who escaped with the oldest boy by hiding in the willows, it being quite dark, they then returned home with the youngest boy, whom I took into my family, and called his name Sam.

In the course of the spring the county surveyor came and surveyed land for myself and boys of which we fenced about 20 acres, and put into crops, which done first rate. In the fall, I told the President of the Stake that I wanted to be released from the herd and fence my land before my claim was outlawed , but he told me to continue the herd and no one should take any advantage of the law in reference to my land claim So I continued the herd although contrary to my feelings , for I wanted to fence my farm and go to raising beets, and sugar making as Geo. A. Smith told me, but as the Presidency of the Stake was constantly preaching up the necessity of obeying council, I thought I might as well be cut off the church as not to do as they counseled me, although all I received for herding would not more than half pay me for the trouble and vexation of keeping up a herd. Sometime in November my health began to decline very much, so that I was not able to do any labor, and I soon discovered that my complaint was dropsy in the chest, which brought me so low that I was only able to sit up part of a day at a time and while reflecting on the scenes of my past life the sickness, persecutions, and sorrows, that it has been my lot to pass through from my youth right up, and probability of my soon leaving this world of affliction for one more glorious. The words of the Apostle John upon the Isle of Patmos was continually sounding in my ears by night and by day, “and he said unto me, write.” So that I could not rest until I had obtained the necessary materials and commenced writing, when my mind was led to write songs and hymns upon the suffering of the Saints and the blessings of my Heavenly Father, my health commenced to amend slowly, and continued until I was able to attend to some business, but not to labor. I employed myself, met with the Brethren in Cedar, and celebrated the 24th and we had a good time at both places. On the 26th an express arrived from Great Sale Lake City, informing us that Walker’s band of Indians had made war against the inhabitants of the territory and had killed one or more of the Brethren and had driven away many of their cattle. Orders was also received from the governor that all the out settlements should immediately repire to some fortified post. Accordingly on the 28th the Brethren from Cedar and Parowan relieved me of the herd. I then packed up my family and household furniture and moved into the Cedar Fort or City. In a few days a detachment of Militia, send by order of the governor under to command of Colonel G. A. Smith and Kimball, arrived to strengthen the southern settlements. They assisted in pulling down the building at Les and Shirtezes settlement, and also the houses at my place, and moving them on to the ground of the new city or fort, which was laid out on the south side of the creek, on to which ground was soon moved the inhabitants, and buildings of the old fort. The southern settlements were all put under martial law and after arranging affairs to the satisfaction of Col. G. A. Smith, the attachment returned to G.S.L. After the September conference, Erastus Snow and Franklin D. Richards came down to visit us and brought the news that about one hundred families had been selected at conference to be sent to the southern settlements as missionaries to the Indians. All the house that my family enjoyed from the time they left the springs til late in the fall was a few boards set up edgeways over a pole. I found a cellar, not occupied, into which I carried my desk, and wrote some forty or fifty poems which will be found in Zion’s songster. On the 20th of November, Brothers Snow and Richards called a conference at the new meetings house in Cedar City, to make arrangements in regard to the missionaries and do such business as was necessary for the inhabitants of Iron County. At which conference, I was appointed to return in the spring to my farm at the Springs, and establish a school to educate the children. My sons were to be my assistants. They were appointed as missionaries to take to my assistance any help that I should deem necessary. Although my health was poor, and means limited, yet I made every arrangement through the winter by securing building material, etc. I had forgotten to state that I did not get my houses up and my family comfortably situated until about the middle of December, about the time the City of Cedar was organized, and I was appointed a member of the city council. On the first day of March, 1854, as the herd had fallen into my hands again, I sent the boys with it to the springs, where they went and built them a cabin and took care of the herd, repaired up the fences round my farm and went to putting in crops, they also fenced, broke up, and sowed 506 acres for the Indians. At the April conference my son Sixtus, with many others was called on a mission to the Sandwich Islands. He started from Cedar City in the month of May with Parley P. Pratt’s company of missionaries, which left me very destitute of help. However in the month of June, I had a fort laid out ten rods square, and hired men to make me twenty thousand adobes, and called to my assistants, Laban Morrel, Samuel White, William and James Dalley, and James W. Bay, and about the middle of September commenced to lay up one fort wall. We built it of clay, three feet thick, pounded into boxes, and reared it eight feet high. I built one half of the wall and before I could get the wall and a house up, my family had to again share the comforts of a board shanty until about the middle of December when I got my house up so as to move into it. By the first of January 1855 our fort walls, gate and houses were up, so that we were fare and comfortable. Toward spring Brother Samuel White sold his claim in the fort to Brother Thomas Smith.

March 23rd 1855, this day completes my fifty third year, and yet my health continues very poor, not able to do any labor, having suffered so many hardships through life, I find my common abilities fail me very much. I will here insert the births and deaths of my children up to the above date.

  1. Julia Ann, my first born to my wife Anna, was born at Pomfret, New York, in Chautauqua County on the 2nd Day Aged one year, nine months and 16 days.
  2. Sixtus, my second was born at Pomfret, Chautauqua County, New York on the 8th day of October 1829.
  3. Sariah, my third, was born at Amherts, Lorain County, Ohio, February 18, 1832.
  4. Nephi, my fourth, was born at Kirtland, Geauga, (now Lake County) Ohio, on the 12th day of December 1833.
  5. Susan, my fifth, was born at Kirtland, Ohio, July 11, 1836.
  6. Seth, my sixth, was born at Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, on March 6, 1839.
  7. Nancy Maria, my first by my wife Susan, was born at Remus (now Macedonia) Hancock County, Illinois, on the 2nd of August 1841, and died May 5, 1842 aged nine months and three days.
  8. Emily, my second by my wife Susan, was a fair child, but still born on the 20th of November, 1842, at Ramus, Hancock County, Illinois.
  9. Joel H., my third by my wife Susan was born June 23rd 1844, at Ramus, Hancock County, Illinois, and died February 27th, 1846. Aged 19 months and 4 days.
  10. Julia Ann, my fourth by my wife Susan, was born at French Creek, Knox County, Illinois, Saturday, the 20th of February, 1847.
  11. Janet Miretta, my first by my wife Janet, was born at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon, 8 miles south of G.S.L. City on Sunday, December 17, 1848.
  12. David William, my fifth by wife Susan, was born at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon, on Monday the 12th of February 1849.
  13. Margaret, my second by my wife Janet, was born at my residence near Big Cottonwood Creek, on Tuesday March 19th, 1850.
  14. Joel H. the 2nd and Mary Susan, my sixth and seventh, by my wife Susan, were born at my residence near the Big Cottonwood Creek, on the Wednesday of November 29th 1850. Mary Susan died at G.S.L. City on the 10th of March, 1851, aged 3 months and 14 days.
  15. Joel H. the 2nd and Mary Susan, my sixth and seventh, by my wife Susan, were born at my residence near the Big Cottonwood Creek, on the Wednesday of November 29th 1850. Mary Susan died at G.S.L. City on the 10th of March, 1851, aged 3 months and 14 days.
  16. James F. my third by my wife Janet, was born at my residence at the Fort Johnson, in Iron County, Utah Territory, on Tuesday, May 25th, 1852, at 20 minutes before 12 o’clock in the forenoon.
  17. Joseph Elmer, my fourth by my Janet, was born at Cedar City, Iron county, Utah Territory, on Saturday, January 28th, 1854, at half past ten in the morning.
  18. Almon B. my eighth by my wife Susan, was born at Fort Johnson, Iron County, Utah on Wednesday, 21st of February 1855, at ten minutes past 2 o’clock in the morning.

Virouge, my Indian girl, died at Brother Almon W. Babbitt’s in G.S.L. City. My Indian boy, Sam, I gave to Sister Babbitt.

There being some misunderstanding between myself and the county court of Iron County, in reference to my claim at the Springs, I will insert a letter that I wrote to Brother G.A. Smith upon the subject: Fort Johnson, Iron County March 23rd, 1853.

Dear Brother George A. Smith:

The council of your venerable and beloved Father, I once sought, and received as the council of a father indeed, and since he has fallen asleep I look to you for a continuation of the blessing I once received at his liberal hand, and I now beg this indulgence on your council on the subject of a misunderstanding between the county court of this county and myself in reference to my rights and privileges at this place. I will explain the matter by first stating that I have always supposed my rights to be, and then state what the county claims are in reference to the same. In the first place you will recollect that in the fall of 1851, you told me to go the Springs and build a corral and herd the cattle for the brethren as long as they and myself could agree, and also to survey what land I placed for myself and friends and also to establish a sugar beet plantation and sugar manufactory as soon as possible, which has not as yet been within my power on account of Indian difficulties, and having to keep up a herd. The same cause has prevented me from fencing my land with exception of a bout 25 acres for grain raising. After being broken up by the Indian disturbance in 1853, at a conference called by Brothers Snow and Richards (two of the twelve) on the 20th of November on motion of brother Snow, I was appointed by the conference to return to my farm at the Springs and build a fort and establish a kind of missionary station to learn the Indians the art of farming, with that of civilization. I also had the privilege of selecting and taking with me as many families as I chose. Accordingly, in the following spring, I selected seven or eight families, five of which (namely) Laban Morrell, James Dalley, William Dalley, Samuel White, and James Bay, accompanied me to the location of our fort and commenced our operations about the middle of September. In full confidence that we should have the privilege of the settlers in Utah Territory, we disposed of our property in the city, and laid out our means here, and have run ourselves several hundred dollars in debt to get our walls and houses up so as to make ourselves safe and comfortable. I will here say that when I took the herd, I only expected to keep it one year, at the end of which, I told the President that I wanted to be released from the herd, and to fence my land before my claims were outlawed. But he told me to continue the herd, and no one should take any advantage of the law in reference to my land claim. So I continued the herd until it was broken up on the 28th of July, 1853, by Indian difficulties, and when I returned to my farm last spring the brethren wanted me to take the herd according to law, but I told them that I did not want the herd at any rate. For it had never paid its expenses, but they insisted that I should take it. So I consented to take it, as I had before done, but in the course of the winter the subject was again agitated about herding according to the law. I therefore prevailed upon brother Morrell to take out license, and attended the County Court at the March term, (myself being a member). When Dr. Morrell presented his petition for license, the court then inquired why I did not take out the license myself. I told them that I had not been able to do any labor for more than two years, and that I had but little help, and that the herd had never paid its way. That I also expanded all my means in building our fort, and had nothing to hire a herdsman with. Therefore, it was impossible for me to manage it any longer. The court then decided that the county had a right to draw a line round our fort at any distance that they pleased, within that circumference was county property for herd purposes except the improvements made by its inhabitants. Making no reserve for surveyed land, or other privileges, it was also decided that the inhabitants of our fort would not have the privilege of herding their own stock, but would be obliged to pay the holder of the license for the same. I contended that our settlement was made more than two years before the act was passed in reference to herding, and that I never supposed for a moment that there was any yoke to be placed upon our settlement, that was not place on others. The court then contended that I was sent to this place for the express purpose or establishing a herd ground for the benefit of the county. I told them that if I had understood it in that light, I should have called on the county to build the public works, such as equal portion of the wall and the corral with a bastion for its protection, etc., all of which I have built at my own expense, for nothing if the court is right. We have no objection to a herd ground being kept up here, but we would like the privilege of having and fencing what land we need for the tillage meadow ground, and pasturage. With the right of the water, and the right of herding our own stock and making accession to our fort sufficient to support a school that our children may receive the blessings of other settlements. Without which we have no encouragement to make any future improvements. The brethren here have done first rate, but none could do better, but at present feel rather discourages, but I tell them all will be right when you come up.

Yours as ever,
J.H. Johnson

A short time previous to my writing this letter to G.A. Smith., I made application to the county surveyor, to resurvey a portion of my land that had become outlawed in accordance with the 4th section of the act regulating transfers and possessions of land and real estate. Which says, after lands have been declared common they may be surveyed to any person applying for the same. In a few days afterwards I received from the surveyor the following note:

Brother Johnson:

Since my return from your fort, I have conversed with President Calvin concerning the resurveying of your land which is not improved. The extension of your fencing for pasturing was granted by his council, provided you would establish a herd ground. According to the requirements of law. Consequently I shall have to withhold the resurvey until further investigation. I take this way to inform you concerning the matter that you may be appraised in season.

Wm. H. Dame, Surveyor.

This note from the surveyor with the proceedings of the county court as above mentioned, caused me to believe that the authorities of Iron county were determined to rob me of my rights at the Springs, but I was in hopes to meet them face to face with Brigham Young, George A. Smith, and others on their arrival to Parowan on their annual visit to Iron County. But in this I was disappointed for they returned in such haste that I had no opportunity to have the matter adjusted. The workings of these men were manifested against me. I cannot call them enemies because I have always considered them my warmest friends, and can say with a clean conscience before my Father in Heaven, that I never knowingly have given them any occasion to become my enemies. Yet when the High Council was reorganized, my name was left out, though not many had the boldness to tell me of one fault that I have committed since I have resided in Iron county. I feel confident that the whole secret of the matters rests in their envy towards me for having come honestly in possession of the best farming, and stock raising location there is in Iron County. For which they have envied me from the beginning and have been determined to root me out.

                   Though Brethren thus unite
                   And in my prospect frown,
               And seem to pride and take delight
                   To tread and cast me down.
                 I count their prize but small
                   For all their labors vain,
               For all who rise by other's fall,
                    Are sure to fall again.
                     I envy not their peace
                   As I shall o'er them rise
              For God, my blessings will increase
                 And their false works despise.

Not having an opportunity to converse with Geo. A. Smith, while he was in Iron County, and not receiving an answer to my letter, and having a desire to visit my friends and settle some business in G. S. L. City, I concluded to go down for the first time since I left that place on the 14th day of March, 1851. Accordingly, on the 24th day of May,1855, I started with an ox team in the company with my son Nephi and my wife, Janet, and two little ones. We had a prosperous journey, and arrived at Payson, Utah County, on the first day of June, and found our friends all well. We tarried with them a few days, and preceded on our journey to G. S. L. City, to which place we arrived on Saturday the 7th and found our friends there all well. I immediately repaired to the bath house to try its waters for my health, which I did daily during my stay, and think that I received much benefit from the same. I visited Geo. A. Smith and related to him the course that was pursued towards me in reference to my place at the Springs. He said that when he sent me there he expected that I should have all the land that I wanted for myself and family, and knew no cause why I should not have that privilege, and advised me to go and talk with Brigham upon the subject. I went to see him, and found him just ready to start on a visit to the northern settlements, and I had no opportunity to converse with him upon the subject, and there the matter rests for the present. We concluded to return home by Sanpete and visit our friends in that place and bring home a load of salt and saluratus. Therefore we bought a yoke of oxen and wagon, an started on the 19th and arrived at Payson on the 22nd, and on Sunday the 25th, I baptized 19 of my friends at Payson. Left Tuesday the 26th, arrived at Manti on the 28th, found our friends all well and gathered our saluratus on the 29th on left on the 30th, obtained our salt at the salt mountain up the Sevier river on the 1st of July, and arrived at Fillmore on the 9th having had good visits with our friends and great blessings from Our Heavenly Father.

               For which to Him our thanks abound
              With gratitude our hearts doth fill,
                  Rejoicing that we ever found
               That peaceful way to Zion's hill.

We found that the grasshoppers had destroyed nearly all of the small grain in all of the settlements between our Fort and G. S. L. City except Springville.

             Which to the poor must cause distress,
                    For lack of daily food,
               But God has promised sure to bless
                    And feed the truly good.

The following incident occurred with my little boy James F. on our way to Great Salt Lake City:

                   While riding in a carriage
                   With wife and little boy,
                    I heard upon the sudden
                   The fellow laugh for joy,
                    A hole was in the cover
                 Through which a sunbeam came,
                The child who tried to catch it
                   Was laughing at his game.
                     But after many trials
                     A tear was in his eye
                  At this first disappointment
                    His bosom heaved a sigh,
                   I thought that many others
                   This very game have played
                Had often grasped for sunshine,
                   And only found the shade.

While I was absent at Salt Lake City, the authorities of the county sent the surveyor and surveyed a large tract of land, including my survey and possessions at the Springs, and recorded it the Iron County Herd Ground, thus proving that they intended to rob me, by waiting until I had built the fort with two bastions, mostly at my own expense, before even intimating to me that they intended to make any such survey, and thus rob me of the privilege of making any addition to my farm and oblige me to pay for the herding of my stock.

August 28th, 1855, I started to carry some flour to my brother Benjamin, at Summit Creek, in Utah County. Arrived on Thursday, 6th of September and found my friends all well at that place and tarried with them one week and went to G. S. L. City and found my friends at that place and stayed with them a few days and made purchase of some store goods and returned home. Arrived on Thursday 4th of October, having been notified to attend the District Court held at Fillmore as petit juror for the Second Judicial District of the Territory of Utah. Having also been requested by the Governor to attend as Chaplin for one of the House of the Legislative Assembly to be held in the State House at Fillmore for the years ’55 and ’56. I started on the 4th of November with my son Nephi, and wife Janet, and little child, two yoke of oxen, and wagon, laden with provisions and furniture, necessary to answer the demand of our stay at Fillmore. We arrived on the 10th and rented a house of Jenoram Dame, for five dollars per month. On Monday the 12th, the court was called and organized. Judge W. W. Drummond, presided. The first case on trial, was that of Levi Abraham, a Jew, for the murder of an Indian on the 23rd day of Sept. 1855, at Meadow Creek in Millard Co., Utah Territory, while traveling in a company called the Hildreth Company. Hosea Stout and I. Bean were counsel on the part of government, and A. W. Babbitt and I. A. Kelting on the part of defendant. The trial continued four days and was then submitted to the jury of which I was foreman. The jury in about three hours brought in a verdict of not guilty.

Monday 19th, the Court was called and the case of a young Indian was brought by the name of Enos, accused of being present at the massacre of the Gunnison party on the 26th of October, 1853, at the Sevier River, about 45 miles northeast of Fillmore. Hosea Stout was council for the Government, and Joseph A. Kelting and J. Bear for the defendant. The case was given over to the jury on the evening of the 20th, and on the morning of the 21st, verdict was rendered “Non Guilty.”

The next case called was that of Samuel G. Baker of Parowan, Iron County, for the murder of an idiot child, which terminated in his being sentenced to the penitentiary for the term of ten years.

Monday December 1, 1855, the legislative assembly convened in the State House at the Capital, Fillmore City and organized as the fifth annual session of the Territory of Utah.

In its organization I was elected Chaplain of the House. The duties of which I was endeavored to perform to the best of my abilities during its session of forty days at the close of which I returned home to my family at Fort Johnson, in Iron County, January 30, 1856. On my return home from Fillmore, I hired Bro. Sutton to bring myself and family and on the way he told me that he intended the coming summer to keep a dairy of 25 of 30 cows. I suggested the idea to him of going in company with him and establish a dairy for the benefit of the Iron Works, provided he would bring his cows to my place. He fell in with the idea, and so we went up to Cedar City and laid the matter before George A. Smith, (he being there), and Brother Height, the President. They were both highly pleased with the suggestion, and told us to go ahead. I then inquired of Brother Height who should keep the herd, provided Brother Sutton and myself went into the dairy business. Brother Height said it would be our place to keep the herd. I told him that the authorities at Parowan might object to a dairy being kept at my place as they had surveyed it into a herd ground. Brother Height said it was none of their business, for he did not consider that the herd ground belonged to them, but its benefits belonged more properly to the inhabitants of Cedar City, and that I had made a farm there long before the law was passed in regards to herding, and they had trampled my rights under foot in surveying my place into a herd ground. He thought that cows eating the grass to make butter and cheese for the iron works would be as much benefit to the county as though the Parowan stock had eaten it. We laid the matter before the Bishop also, and he was of the same mind of the President, and said if Brother Sutton and myself kept a dairy it would be our place to keep the herd. I told him that I did not care about keeping the herd myself, but we did not expect to pay herding for our cows. In a few days after this conversation with President and Bishop, they came down to our fort to adjust some little matter in reference to our individual rights, and upon the investigation the Bishop said that the case put him in mind of a man that borrowed a new plow of his neighbor, and used it a long time and had it repaired a few times and then it was our plow. In like manner, Brother Johnson gave these men privileges, when they came that they were satisfied with but now they own the whole plow. But the President in his remarks said that when Brother Johnson had never herded the stock; but let them go at loose ends as they pleased. I was astonished at the Presidents remarks remembering what he had told Brother Sutton and myself a few days before, why he had made them is best known to himself, for I never pretended to own land here that was not surveyed to me and that survey made agreeable to the council of George A. Smith. Neither have I promised land to any that I did not own, agreeable to the laws of the Territory. In regard to my inattention to the herd, he was mistaken for these statements were made without the least foundation in righteousness. He therefore must have changed his mind upon the statement of someone that felt disposed to do me an injury. The above remarks from the President done me much injury, as it caused the brethren here to take every liberty to run over my rights, and in a few days after this, Brother Morrell told me that the Judge had ordered him to come to Parowan and take out a license for the herd, for he did not care a damn about the old Johnson, and when he took out the license the Judge told him if Sutton came with his cows, to make him and Johnson pay herding for their stock, the same as every one else, and told him also to reduce Johnson’s land down to ten acres. So it came out at last, after I had spent over four years labor, and many hundred dollars in fencing land, building corral, houses, forts, etc. that the county owns it all the judge is Boss! And I may leave or be prescribed to ten acres of land, without the privileges of herding or pasturing my stock and subject to leave at any moment when the judge shall say “WALK SIR.”

Although I have suffered for the last twenty five years by persecutions and mobs for the truth’s sake, and am now almost worked out, sickness age, and care; with a large family of small children, who have nowhere to look, but to their father’s hand for the comforts of life, I may walk and seek me a home among the Piedes, or somewhere else, and it I can provide for my family, well, if not they may starve.

                As Job's friendship was revealed
                 While seeking kisses to impart
             With daggers  in their hand concealed
               They pierced me to my very heart.

II Samuel, 20th chapter, and 10th verse: Envy at my heels, and sorrow at my heart has been to constant attendants on my path through life this far. No marvel that the wise man cries out “Who can stand before envy?”‘ Reflections on its poison effects suggests the following stanzas:

                   Can the monster ever sleep
                    Ever hide its cruel dirt
                Green  eyed reptile of the deep
                Oft' hath stung me to the heart,
                   Like a serpent in his coil
                Pouncing on its peaceful spoil.
                  Oft' it has against me woke,
                 Hissing from its hellish cave
             Oft' my heart been  pierced and broke
                 By the sting the reptile gave,
                   Like a serpent coiled away
                 Seizing in the dark its prey.
                 Music, dancing, mirth and wine
                  Never can the reptile charm
                Gems, the richest from the mine
                  Can restore no healing balm
                  Like a serpents cruel spring
                 Gives its prey a  fatal sting.

Envy is a monster begotten by the father of murders. Even Cain who slew his brother, and is the blackest passion that ever possessed the human heart. No one can be condemned for defending his rights against such an enemy. One that will conceive ills against another, that has meddled with none of his rights, or done him the least injury. Solely because he is more prosperous than himself, has within his heart a propensity altogether derived from the father of murders.

March 23, 1856. This day completes the fifty-fourth year of my age, while my old chronic weakness is still my companion, and sorrow my lot. My feelings for today are portrayed in the following stanza.

                   Go calm the wind or water
                   Go change the rivers bed,
                  As soon may stop my weeping
                 O'er love and friendship fled,
                 Think not in age and sickness
                 To drive grief from  my brow!
                 Grief is the sweetest pleasure
                   The world affords me now.
               My eyes once beamed with gladness,
                  Sweet love around me smiled,
                   Hope then was my companion
                    and joy my bosom filled.
               But love proved false and fickle,
                    And envy took its place,
               Which filled my heart with sorrow
                   While tears bedew my face.
                   I have not always wept so
                For friends once filled my ear,
                 With every vow that friendship
                  Holds sacred and most dear.
                They were like birds  of passage
                Sung sweet  when days were  warm
                 Devoured my stores and left me
                  To stem the winter's storm.
                  Yet Father, Ill forgive them
                    and give for envy, love;
                   Good works bestow for evil
                    Nor ask thee to reprove,
                 Then grant thy love and favor,
                    wipe all my tears away,
                    No other powers can ever
                   My grief and weeping stay.
                  Father, now my sinking soul
                      Unto thee doth fly:
                 Let thy love my grief control
                      And my need supply.
                May the foes that round me stand
                     Who I blush to name,.
                  By Thy kind  directing hand
                   Know their sin and shame.
                While their wrongs I now forgive
                     set  they bosom free,
                   From the sorrows I receive
                  Through those wrongs to me.
                 I, through sorrow often learn
                    other's griefs to share;
                 And to know with deep concern
                     What my own sins are.
               Go tell though of trials and toil,
                 of perils ye saints not a few,
             of mobs, fire, destruction and spoils
            All these I have freely passed through.
               But yet to be robbed and cast down
                By those that I love most  dear
                 without any cause to me known
                Are trials more keen and severe.
                When loved ones to envy descent
                The heart, to the center is torn
              For wounds in the house of a friend
                 Are keenest of all to be borne
               But still I will bear them in love
                  Nor wish any harm to my foes
                  And then to my father above
            I'll go when life's journey shall close.

In June the Judge sent me word by brother Morrell that if I fenced any more land, he would send a peace officer and throw down the fence.

                Did my foes who thus condemn me
                 Know the feelings of my heart
               They would cease their cruel envy
                Then their hatred would depart.

Thursday, September 18th, I started with my wife Susan and little child accompanied by my son Nephi, with an ox team to go and visit our friends at Summit Creek in Utah County, and also in Salt Lake City, and attend the October conference, and to purchase and drive home a few sheep. We arrived at Summit Creek and Friday the 26th, and found our friends as well. We had a good visit with them and started on Tuesday the 30th for Salt Lake City, and arrived on Friday the 3rd of October, attending conference and done our business and started homeward on Friday the 10th. On our way we called at Lake City in Utah County and purchased 26 sheep, one of which died at Chicken Creek. We arrived safely home with the rest on the 25th and found all well, and was rebaptized on Wednesday, 29th, at Fort Johnson by Issac C. Height, President of the Stake of Cedar City.

November 27th, 1856. On this day was Hyrum, my fifth child by my wife Janet, still born, although a full grown fair child. (Occasioned by mistake in her attendant.)

              Yes, little stranger thou hast fled
                Before earth's light hath shown
                 Upon thy peaceful, lovely head
                  To make life's sorrow known.
               We welcomed thee with love and joy
                   But O! what sorrow filled
              Our hearts when we  beheld  our boy
                Through sad mistake was killed.

At the October conference the heads of the church preached the necessity of a reformation among the Saints by confessing their own sins against God and their brethren, and forsaking the same and by forgiving the sins of others and making restitution for all wrongs as much as possible. This glorious work of reformation and restitution soon commenced in Salt Lake City, and spread with rapidity to all the branches of the church. All who confessed and restored were rebaptized for the last time for the remission of their sins. In this reformation, I began to weigh myself in the scales of righteousness and soon found myself wanting in many respects, and saw more the necessity of forgiving my enemies than I ever did before and came fully to the determination to root out every prejudice in my heart against them if any there was remaining and hold no feelings against them but of the best kind.

               By envies court I have been tried
               While scandal sat there to preside
                   With those I love  indeed
           Who thought themselves in conscience just
                To seize and drag me in the dust
                  With none my cause to plead.
            But God who heard the oppressed ones cry
               Has looked on me with pitying eye
                 And saved me from their snare
             While I forgave them all their wrongs
             And pray for them, and raise my songs,
                  To Him in praise and prayer.
      'Tis God likes to forgive, and man likes to retain.
      Of me, my foes shall have no just cause to complain.
                Forgive them? Yes I will forgive
                 My foes both small and  great.
                For evil they shall good receive
                   And love receive for hate.
               And thus fulfill the law of love,
                   The Lord to us hath given
                  When he descended from above
                  And mark the path to heaven.

February 14, 1857. Today I feel more to forgive and love my enemies and to rejoice and press forward in the work of the Lord than I ever did in my life before. The reformation having brought many principles of truth and virtue to my understanding that I never have before understood or realized. For which I feel to thank my Father in heaven. Although through the wrong precepts and examples, I have formerly received, and lies vanities, and things of no profit that I have inherited from my gentile forefathers, I may have neglected some of those holy principles, for which I have repented with all my heart, and feel the forgiveness and approbation of my heavenly father, and am determined to never knowingly violate any principle of the Holy religion that my soul loves through the assistance of him, whose servant I am.

            I will praise the Lord, My God forever,
          And will sing to his praise a thousand songs
         For when I have strayed, he hath redeemed me.
             And  in mercy forgiven each trespass.
            He hath bound up the wounds of my heart
            Made by envy in the house of my friends,
           He hath saved me from the hands of my foes
            And wiped away all my sorrows and tears.
               He hath lifted me up in his mercy
          When I was forsaken and cast on the ground.
             He hath anointed my head with gladness
         And my board he hath spread  with his bounty.
              He hath given me women and offspring
          And hath blest me with Priesthood and power
           For which I will praise his name for ever
          And shout Hosannah to the God and the Lamb.

March 23rd, 1857. This day completes the 55th year of my age, and my feelings for today is portrayed in the following line:

               Oh! My Father, still my thirsting
                   Daily thee  my God to know
                 Is like those upon the desert
                 Where no cooling waters flow.
               Still for righteousness  I hunger
                 Fill, Oh! fill my thirsty soul
                   Let thy spirit too forever
               All my thoughts and acts control.
                 Help me lay a sure foundation
                  On the rock that cannot fail
                  For increase and exaltation
                  Ere I pass behind the veil.
                    Ere mortality  is lying
                   In the dust where many go
               Hear! Oh Lord, my constant  crying
                  For the Spirit's aid below.
               "Til the Savior  rends the heavens
                   And this mortal is renewed
               And caught up to find deliverance
                With the Saints amid the cloud.

Having been counseled by President Brigham Young to go with my sister, Julia Ann Babbitt, (widow of the late A.W. Babbitt, who was murdered on the plains by the Indians in the fall of 1856) to Council Bluffs City to transact some business appertaining to the estate and also to make what discoveries we could in reference to his death on the plains, I commenced on the first of April to make necessary arrangements. I settled up my affairs as much as I could in so short a time, and called my family together and gave them a fathers blessing and such instruction I thought necessary for them to harken to in my absence. I started on the 6th day of April, 1857, for Salt Lake City in company with my wife Susan, and two horse wagons. We arrived in Santaquin on Saturday evening the 11th, and found our friends all well. We tarried with them over the Sabbath, and called a family meeting on Monday morning in which I blest my two daughters, Sariah and Susan with their children and all my friends at Santaquin, from which place we started at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and arrive at Provo in the evening and stayed over night with Joel Bascom.

The next morning we started for Salt Lake City, and arrived at Sister Babbitt’s at about ten o’clock in the evening, Tuesday the 14th,. I, during my stay blest Sister Babbitt with her family, and my brother-in-law David Labaren, with his family and many others. I also, on the 17th received a Patriarchal blessing myself, under the hands of Issac Morley as follows:

A Patriarchal Blessing by Issac Morley on the head of Joel H. Johnson, son of Ezekiel and Julia Johnson. Born on March 23, 1802, in Grafton, Massachusetts.

Brother Joel H., I place my hands upon thy head by the virtue of the Holy Priesthood and I seal a father’s blessing upon thee and ratify all thy former seals that the blessings of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob may be realized upon thee. Thou shalt be blest in thy mission and in thy labors and this key shall be a blessing unto thee. Thou shalt be forewarned of any trial and thou shalt know that all things are right why thy mind is under the influence of peace. This mission will be a school unto thee for thou wilt realize the spirit of the Lord to a degree heretofore has not rested upon thee, and I say unto thee in all thy interviews where honesty is found with them that hear thee, thou shalt be prospered and blest in thy council. Thou shalt be prospered and blest to a degree that thou hast never before realized by communicating the everlasting gospel to those who are honest in heart. Be prudent in the communications and thy works shall be attended with blessings of the Lord. Let thy entreaties with them be short, and light will rest upon they mind and cause the blessings of heaven to rest upon thee. No enemy shall cross thy path and prosper. If any desire thy council, let meekness be thy monitor. Faith shall be increased in thy mind and I say unto thee thou shalt be blest and prospered and return in peace. Thou art of Ephriam, a descendant of the loins of Joseph, and I say unto thee go in peace and let the fear of no man rest upon thy mind, and I say unto thee this seal shall be unto thee a comfort, a lamp in thy path. Thou shalt be blest in communicating tidings to thy brethren and in leaving thy family and they shall prosper in thy absence. Thou mayest receive this key as a seal of knowledge and I seal thee up into eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ. Even so, Amen.