From my first remembrance I had serious reflections on futurity. My parents being of Methodist faith and hearing them talk about it, I had impressions on my mind that I shall never forget. When about seven years of age I was taken sick with the inflammatory rheumatics; it passed from my feet to my finger ends in every joint; it left me in very poor health, and shortly after I was taken with what the doctor called an impostume on my leg, and after it began to mend I took the dropsy in my left eye; it was swollen for thirteen days so that the sight could not be seen, and when I could open it they said it looked like a hog’s eye after it had been scalded, and the doctor said it would be difficult to save.
From that time until I was in my twentieth year I had twelve hard attacks of the rheumatics, it taking me at least once a year and sometimes twice, in the spring and fall. During this time I came near being killed three different times by being thrown from horses and once by a large frame cart falling on me, which caused the rheumatics to return on me. When in my nineteenth year, pain fell in my left side and my left arm and thigh and leg began to shrink and fail me so that I began to think that I should lose the use of that side altogether. I was so reduced that my mother could carry me from one room to another with ease, in her arms, but through the means used, the Lord began to restore my limbs again so that when I was twenty-two years of age I was getting better than ever I expected to be.
I was able to labor at light work. During the last attack I began to have serious reflections at times about my future existence and I often thought what the Lord wanted of such a being as me upon the earth and I desired either to have my health restored and become like other boys at my age or die, for I did not like to live in that way. Notwithstanding the sickness and trials I had to pass through, I grew very fast. I stood six feet when at the age of twenty-two. When in my twenty-first year [c. 1829] there was a great revival among the different sects of all denominations – as great an excitement as I ever saw, and I went to the meetings with my comrades and tried to learn the ways of the Lord, but could not see that there was any chance for me, and began to be concerned deeply. There was a Methodist camp meeting that I concluded to go to and thought if there was such a thing as religion I would seek after it and get it if I could. While at this meeting, which lasted three or four days, most all my companions and associates professed a remission of their sins and I left alone. That made me feel worse than ever; they tried to get me to go to the mourner’s bench, but I was too stubborn for that, but I made up my mind if there was such a thing as religion, I would have it and keep it as my own property, letting no one know it.
The meeting broke up and we all started home, all rejoicing but myself. I felt miserable going with them and had to pass the house of whom three of the youths belonged who were rejoicing. When they met their mother who was a pious Presbyterian, there was a shout almost equal to the camp meeting; it made me feel still worse to see them so happy and I could not feel so. They all got in the house and I tarried out for a while and finally concluded to stiffen myself up and keep them from knowing there was anything the matter with me, determined at the same time if there was such a thing as religion to find it and keep it to myself. I started in the house when they were still shouting and when crossing the room there was a power came on me that threw me to the ground and every nerve in me seemed to be numb, and my hands cramped and the first thing I knew I cried for the Lord to have mercy upon me. I thought now they all had found out that I was seeking religion and that made me feel very mean. I lay there for some six hours, but I did not think it more than one. I felt calm when I first arose, but it was not long until darkness and the same bad feeling came back to me again.
Meetings now were very common and I attended them and when there was a call for the mourners I would go not thinking it would do me any good but I thought that by my going forward it might cause someone to go that it would be good for. I continued going for some time until I really thought that it was a sin and a shame for such a one as I to ask them to pray for me. I stopped going to the mourner’s bench but continued to go to meetings and one Sunday at class meeting, I felt awful and had for some time. The class leader asked me how I felt. I told him that I felt bad. He talked to me and tried to encourage me all he could but to no purpose. I sat there thinking of my condition. I seemed to have a view of myself; I thought I could see every sin I ever committed and while in this condition I felt as though my seat was sinking from under me all at once. Thus I felt with all my soul to call upon the Lord God to forgive me, a sinner, and all of an instant the burden left me and I felt to rejoice for a minute or two. Then I stopped to think what such a change meant. I thought, is this religion? There was a voice which whispered to me and said, “You have yet to preach the gospel to the world.” That struck a damper on my feelings and my enjoyment stopped, though I did not feel the same heavy burden that I felt before.
I that day gave my hand to the Methodist on trial and from that time began to search the scriptures for myself and began to think at what society I would settle down to join permanent, for during my searching the scriptures I decided baptism by immersion was right. The Methodists did not like for me to leave them, and said I had got a hope among them and I should stay with them. My parents desiring much for me to stay with them in the same church, it looked well for all the same family to go to the same church, but baptism by immersion seemed right to me though I had been christened when a child, and the Methodist would not baptize the second time. By this time a few months had passed over and the revival stopped, and the different sects began to contend about dividing the converts and about their authority, the true order of the church, etc. I went to hear all and said but little, read the scriptures and prayed most ardently to know the right way. My troubles increased as I saw so much division and strife and one would rise up and say he was called of God to preach the gospel, and point out his tenets saying this is the way, walk in it! And another would rise up saying he was called of God and this is the way, etc. through them all, all pointing different ways. This made me think more seriously than ever and search the scriptures and pray to know the right way.
My mind became more dark and began to fall somewhat into distaste. Principals and that voice that spoke to me when in class meeting had weighed heavily on my mind, but the thought of attempting to hold forth any doctrine of the different sects, I could not think of doing it, for I saw clearly the one who was the best read and the best orator could whip out the rest, and then someone else would come along and put him down, and so it went on, all in confusion. I said in my heart it could not be of God. My mind was still troubled about preaching the gospel. I said and covenanted in my heart when I could come to know the true order I would stand up for it, and even lay down my life if necessary for the truth as it existed in heaven, or the true order of his kingdom.
About this time there were singular solemn feelings that came to me, generally in the forepart of the day from seven until nine o’clock, my spirits would be troubled so that I could not labor and could not get rid of it without talking about religion and caused me to begin to try to speak in meeting, but it would return on me again and again and nothing would relieve me but to empty out my feelings.
This is as well as I can recollect the state of things in the year 1828; when this trouble would come on, it felt to me there was something in the east that I was looking for. I thought of the Jews who looked for the Son of Man coming from the east, etc. This trouble seemed to increase on me and I was talking of my troubles to anyone that I had a chance to talk to. The Baptists said that the Lord intended that I should preach the gospel and would chastise me until I would obey, and further, I would have to preach predestination doctrine for that was the only truth that did exist. Well, my mind was still to be baptized by immersion and my father, being anxious for me to stop with him in the Methodist church went fifteen or twenty miles to get a Methodist priest who would immerse some five or six that desired it, and when it was attended to, the Methodist came to see it and made all manner of fun and game of us possible; that hurt my feelings to see those professing to be saints make light of the commandments of God, and finally concluded that I would not live with a people that would do so and went to the Baptists and was baptized again, telling them at the same time that I did not believe one word of their predestination doctrine as held forth by them, but as they valued baptism by immersion, but, when that was all done I still felt no better in spirits. The Baptists would say to me that God would chastise me until I would preach the gospel according to their faith that I could not believe, but still in trouble I felt all the time that I was willing to search and scriptures and praying to know what to do. I found many things in the scriptures that proved a true order of things anciently, apostles, the various gifts, etc., but I could not connect anything together to satisfy my mind and it all looked like a mess of confusion.
Chapter Second 1831
On February the third, 1831 I was married to Caroline Farzine Skeen, daughter of Jesse and Keziah Skeen. Her mother’s maiden name was Taylor. Caroline was the seventh child; she had six sisters and three brothers, Nancy was the first born. She was born on the first of January, 1801; she married William Macglothling; they had eight children that we know of. Sarah was next, born in 1802; she married John Groves; they had five children. Elizabeth, she was deaf and dumb, was born in 1804; she was never married. Rachiel was next, she was born in 1806; she married Archibald Meadows, they had six children. Charity was born in 1808; she was deaf and dumb.
Kenyon Taylor was born in 1810; he married Permelia Low, daughter of John and Mary Low; they had six children, all boys. Caroline Farzine, born in 1812, married to John Lowe Butler, had 12 children, seven girls and five boys. Alexander David was born in 1814; he married Mary; they had six children. John Gilbert was born in 1816, he married Malinda; whether they had any children or not is not known. Mary who was the youngest, was born in 1818; she was deaf and dumb; she was never married. Robert Taylor was father to Keziah Taylor.
In 1832, I prayed and searched the word of God diligently and could find no relief to my mind. I still went to meeting, but my mind was greatly troubled, so that I did not care to work but little for I thought if I should gain the whole world and lose my own soul it would be no advantage to me whatever. So one day I rode out to see a brother Baptist and made known to him all my troubles. He began as usual and answered me and said that the Lord would continue to chastise until I would preach their faith. This had great weight upon my mind, so I started for home and while on my way a rebellious spirit took hold of me and I made up my mind that I would stop going to meeting for it was all contention and nothing to be depended upon and if I read the word of God I could not comprehend it, and when I prayed I could get no answer and finally I concluded that I would be as independent as God himself. If he would not answer me when I pray, I would quit praying to Him, and as he would not give me an understanding of the scriptures I would quit searching them and lay all aside.
When I got home I told my wife what I intended to do and when I had told her it hurt her feelings very much indeed. I then went to put up my horse; my barn was up by my orchard. When I got there I found that a wind storm had passed over when I was away and had destroyed several of my fruit trees by blowing them down, and had blown off a great deal of fruit from the other trees. When I saw what had happened I began to feel very angry to think that the Lord should send such a storm to do me so much damage, and still feeling the same independent spirit, I stood up, looking toward the heavens saying I would not preach such stuff as my Baptist brethren told me I would have to preach and if he thought he would make me to try it and I would quit praying to him for he would not answer me and I would be as independent as he.
While in this exercise of mind there were several streaks of lightning passed before me in the heavens. I said I know you can strike me dead with lightning but pop away if you wish for I will neither preach, pray, go to meeting, nor read the scriptures any more. I felt as though I was seven or eight feet high. I then got some corn tops for my horse and started to feed him and when in the act of stepping in and putting the fodder into the rack, there was a voice spoke to me saying, “I will set on you a refiner’s fire.” I turned about to see who it was that spoke to me, but I saw no person. I then looked around the barn but saw no person. I certainly thought that someone spoke to me for the voice was so audible, but yet, I still heard no one, neither saw I anyone. This set me to thinking of what I had been doing. I had been defying God and so forth. As I went down to the house I concluded to read one more time old Malachi; it speaks of refiner’s fire, etc. and when I got into the house I told my wife what had happened when putting up my horse. I then sat down to read for the last time old Malachi. I read it through twice and closed the book with a determination never to open it again, but made up my mind to go once more and pray and it for the last time.
I started to a place in the field where I often went to pray. I got about fifty steps from the house. My whole mental powers seemed to be drawn out to God to know the truth, and the true order of his kingdom, and if I could only know what, I would do anything, even to the laying down of my life if necessary. While in the exercise of mind, there was a voice that spoke to me saying, “Stand still and see the salvation of God and that will be truth.” That instant a light shone round me. I was filled with the Spirit of the Lord and saw clearly that God would save all the workmanship of his hands and truth would stand or be set up in our midst and it will not need propping up as the sects of the day had continued to do.
From this time I began to look for something to come forth different to what we then had in any church. I often told my brethren that the truth would stand alone and might be told by an illiterate man. It could not be put down. Things passed on tolerable well those times. I went to meeting and they would call upon me to speak, and sometimes I would be so filled with the spirit that I did not know what I did say, but those that heard me said that it was a warning to repent, etc.
In 1831, on the 17th of November, my wife bore unto me a son. I was keeping school at that time, for I was unable to do much hard work, being very sickly from my boyhood, suffering very much from the rheumatics. I still attended the meetings, but gained nothing by it, for the Spirit of the Lord was not there and where the Spirit of the Lord is not, there is little to be learned. In 1833 on the 20th of April, another son was born unto us. He only lived about four months. We named him William Alexander; the other boy was named Kenyon Taylor. In 1834 on June 13, a daughter was born unto us; we called her Charity Artemesia. On the following March, the first day, 1835, when at a Baptist meeting, a word came that two Mormon elders would preach on that evening at my Uncle John Lowe’s. I said I would go and hear them. My Baptist brethren opposed me, but I told them I was going to hear them for myself. They then appointed two brethren to go with me, and when we got to meeting seated together one on each side of me, the elder rose up to speak.
I expected they would speak from their Golden Bible, but they did not and to my astonishment, they commenced preaching the first principals as set down in the New Testament. This astonished me. I knew every word they said to be truth for I had the testimony of it. I asked them a few questions and they kindly answered them. I then told them that my house was a home for them as long as they wished while they were preaching. My Baptist brethren sat on either side of me and said to one another how John is taken up with them. See his mouth is wide open to swallow it all. This doctrine will just suit him for it is what he has been seeking after; he will leave us now and join these Mormons; he never was satisfied with the Methodist, so he left them and joined us, and he did not believe in our doctrine. Now he will join these Mormons and believe everything that they preach.
I invited the elders to come to my house and hold meetings there if they wished. I then started for home thinking and weighing over in my mind the doctrine and principals that had been held forth that evening by the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My mind was lit up more than it had ever been before and I could begin to see clearly the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. I arrived home and my mother was then staying with us. I told them of the principals of the gospel. My mother said, “Well, John, what do you think of these Mormons?” I told her that I thought that they preached the true and everlasting gospel or they were the greatest imposters that I had ever seen or heard. “Yes,” said the old lady, “that is just like you; you were not content with the Methodists, then you joined the Baptists, and they do not suit you. Now you will join these Mormons.” I suppose I told her the Lord said try all things and hold fast to that which is good. The next morning I started to work in my clearing, but I had not gotten more than one hundred yards from the house when the same rebelliousness came over me. I then turned right around and went back to the house, took up my Bible and began to search the scriptures and pray to the Lord to hear and answer my prayer and to bless me with an understanding heart, so that I could see and know for myself. I knew it was the nearest right of anything I had heard yet, and I believed that it was this that the Lord had said to me to stand still and wait for the truth.
I continued to call upon the Lord and to read the scriptures. I was determined to find out more about these Mormons so I went to hear the elder’s preach again on the next Thursday. They preached about the order of the kingdom and I had never heard anything so plain in all my life before; a child could understand it all. It was just the thing that I had been hankering after and now I felt to rejoice and was perfectly satisfied they were sent of God as the saints of old. I went home, thanking my Heavenly Father for the blessings that he had bestowed upon me from time to time and I felt to go forth and obey his commandments. I asked my wife what she thought of the Mormon elders. She said she thought they were men of God, and that it was the only true church of God and the only way to be saved.
On Friday, the next day, I was lying on my bed reading and resting my mind. I traveled back over my past history and was thinking from the first time that I had serious reflections up until the time that the voice spoke to me and told me to stand still and see the salvation of God and that would be truth. And the voice of the same spirit said, “This is truth that you have been hearing, now choose or refuse.” Now I was at a standstill to know what I should do. I saw the sacrifice I had to make in losing my good name and also what little property I had that it would go to if I joined these Mormons, but then it was the truth that we had heard and the elders were sent of God to preach the true and everlasting gospel. What could I do? I had promised the Lord that I would serve and obey him and even lay down my life for the gospel’s sake if necessary. And what was my property against my life, why nothing at all, and if I lost my good name it would be to gain a better one. So while I lay on my bed, I covenanted with my Eternal Father to obey the first choice. I then felt better and to rejoice that I was so blessed of God. I then felt the spirit of God to rest down upon me with this testimony that it was right. So on the next Monday, the 9th day of March, 1835, about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I was led into the waters of baptism by Elder James Emmett and baptized for the remission of my sins. There were some six or eight baptized the same day, my wife being one of the number. There were more baptized after that. The elders appointed a confirmation meeting to be held at my home on the 12th, Thursday evening. There were nine confirmed and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us; five spoke in new tongues, myself being one of the number. The elders continued to preach and baptize until 22 were baptized and they then organized a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ordained Benjamin Lewis an elder and myself a teacher.
After the little branch was organized by Elders James Emmett and Peter Dustan, persecution raged so that we had to run the elders off and had to do the best we could, but the Lord was with us and watched over his little flock, and built us up in the kingdom of God. My mother, when hearing that the elders had gone, began to cry and say that they should come back for she had not been baptized yet. And when we told her that they had gone and we knew not whither, she said, “O, what a fool have I been to have heard the gospel for two weeks and then to let the elders go and leave me unbaptized.” She went on finely about it; but it so happened that they took a notion to come back again for something, they could not tell what, but they knew that they had something to do.
Now my wife’s sister, Charity was deaf and dumb and hearing the fuss that was made about the Mormons, she came to my wife and asked her the meaning of it all, and my wife told her as well as she could by signs. She then asked my wife how it was that the Methodists and the Baptists and all other denominations could preach and no one would say anything to them, while if the Mormons preached, they were hooted at, laughed at, and fun made of them by everybody and threatened to be murdered by some and persecuted by all. She could not understand how it was, so my wife told her that it was the true and everlasting gospel that they preached and that they were sent of God and also that she had been baptized for remission of her sins. The Lord then opened her understanding and she told my wife that she would be baptized too, by the man sent of God, but my wife told her that she had better not as her father was very much opposed to Mormonism and that he would lay all the blame upon her, but Charity persisted in being baptized. This all took place just after the elders had departed, so when the elders turned back again, they knew the Lord wanted them for some wise purpose and when they came into the house, there were two sisters waiting to be baptized; so they baptized them, blessed them and departed on their journey, rejoicing in the Lord their God.
We met together and enjoyed ourselves worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and during the rest of the year I was selling off my farm, houses and everything that I could not take with us (to go to Zion) and while we remained there it so happened that a store belonging to John Finn in a small town called Franklin about five miles from where we lived caught fire by some means or other. Well, they blamed it on me and said that I had set fire to it to turn it down, and several other accidents that occurred about that time were all laid upon the back of John L. Butler.
My wife’s father was bitterly opposed to Mormonism; he came to our house and stayed overnight when Brothers Emmett and Dustand were staying with us and went and told it all about to whoever we met that my wife and I and my sister Lucy Ann and the Mormon elders all slept together in one bed on the floor, and everybody believed that it was true because my father-in-law was or always had been a very truthful man. Now Mr. John Lowe, my mother’s brother was justice of the peace and he heard all about it so he felt it his duty to look into the matter. So with his own hand, and a little while after they were gone, there were a lot of rowdies that came and filled up the road; there was a road between two fields and logs rolled up together on either side, so they dragged them down into the road and piled them up so that no one could pass except on foot. Mr. John Lowe heard of it and came down to see whether it was so or not and when he got there, he found that he had been informed rightly. He had to get off his horse and come the rest of the way on foot. He told us to say nothing about it at all and those who did it would tell of themselves.
There was a public meeting some two weeks later, and there were some there that commenced talking about how nicely they had stopped the Mormon road so Mr. Lowe happened to hear them. So he said, “Now you had better go back and replace every log where you got them from and if you do not, I shall take care to put a heavy fine upon you.” So there were about ten or a dozen men who came the next day and cleared the road again, and it took them a great deal longer to put them back than it took them to place them there; they were at it nearly all day.
The judge was a first-rate, good man. He did not believe in Mormonism, but he believed in folks having their rights. He was a good republican. One night as I and another brother were talking over matters together, a half a dozen rocks came whizzing by our heads. So we thought we had better take care of our heads. We then stooped down under the logs, and the rocks went over us. Well, we never said anything about it until a few days after. One John Mitchel told some of his neighbors that he and some more liked to have killed the Mormons the other night, throwing rocks at them; he knew they must have hurt them very bad for he heard the rocks bounce off of them.
Mr. Lowe heard of the affair and got on his horse and rode down to John’s and says he, “John, I have heard a bad tale about you and I have come down to see you about it. I heard that you and some more of your companions threw rocks at the Mormons. Now tell me, did you do it, or was you telling a lie? Now tell me.” John hung down his head and said that he did, but he knew that it was wrong and he hoped that he would forgive him and he would do so no more.
“Now, John,” said the judge, “I am glad that you have owned up to it, for the Mormons have got the rocks and I should have fined you very heavy had you not been sorry for what you had done.”
Well, all this time I was preparing to move my family which consisted of myself and wife and three children, my mother, sisters and three brothers. My father-in-law still held bitter feelings against us and tried to do us all the harm he could. About a month before we started, he said that if I offered to go he would shoot me and three times he sent me that message. I sent word back to him that I had a good rifle and could shoot as good as he could and if he came to my house when I was going to start, or before, I would shoot him first if I could.
On February 25, 1836, my wife bore me another daughter. We called her Kiziah Jane. She was about a month and eight days of age when we started. A day or two before we started, I was out and my Uncle John Lowe came down to our house and called my wife and said to her, “Caroline, bring me John’s rifle quick, there is a flock of turkeys and I want to kill one,” and he said he would bring it back directly, and when I returned home I missed my rifle, and said, “Where is my rifle?” My wife said that my Uncle John Lowe had come and gotten it to go and shoot some turkeys but would be back directly with it. “Now,” said I, “suppose the old man should come to kill me, I should have no weapon to defend myself with at all and that will be a good go.” “But,” said my wife, “do you think that he will come?” I said that I could not tell. Well, we started, and we had to go by my Uncle John’s. He came out to bid us goodbye, and in his hand brought my rifle. It was still loaded; he only wanted to get it out of my possession into his own, “For,” said he, “John, I should not like to see you kill the old man.”
Chapter Third 1836
We bid our friends goodbye and started on our journey. It was about the first of April. We had three hundred miles to go before we reached Missouri. We traveled with ox teams. We had one yoke of cattle give out and we had to get another yoke. We had pretty good travelling considering. We arrived at Father James Allred’s in Ray County on the 16th of June, and found many Saints rejoicing in the new covenant, and I realized myself to that which I had embraced was the truth from God. The Saints there were much persecuted, and they went and laid out a county and called it Caldwell County. The Saints all moved there and called it Far West. I moved there myself and assisted in making the first settlement; but first we moved into Clay County and stayed there a little while, and from there into Caldwell County. We moved there in the fall and stayed there two winters and from there we moved to Daviess County.
I went with Brother Gee, he lived close by us, and we went to the election [Gallatin] in Daviess County when the Saints were refused the privilege of voting, and rescued some of the Saints from a furious mob, and the Lord did strengthen my body far beyond the strength of man. Just after I joined the Church, I took a second growth and grew two inches and a half and grew very stout indeed, and my health became strong, and I felt as if I could handle any two men on the earth. When myself and Brother Gee got there, there was a large crowd of folks. Soon after the election commenced it was rumored around that the Mormons should not vote and that drew the brethren together. They commenced talking about how there had been a man going around among us finding out who the Mormons were going to vote for and when they heard it made them mad. They said that the Mormons should not vote because the Mormons did not vote to suit them; they must not vote at all. Now this the Saints did not like to be deprived of, their liberty and rights, so some were determined to go and put in their vote. Now for my part, I felt like backing everyone for it was our right.
There was Riley Stuart, Hyram Nelson and myself and another man that I can’t think of his name just now, but we all started to go and put in our votes. I was about the last one and the brother that was on ahead got knocked down and then Brother Riley Stuart interfered for him and one of the mob rushed at him with a knife. Riley turned and ran when he saw the man draw his knife. I then ran after the ruffian and as it happened, I saw an oak stick lying in the road; it was split, one of those sticks that they have to build chimneys with and just as the fellow struck Stuart, I struck him and as I struck him there had been another fellow running after me with a loaded horsewhip and struck me right between the shoulders, but it did not seem to hurt me much only I felt that I could take them all if they would come along. Just as the fellow struck me, I turned around and struck an underhanded lick and just fetched it under his chin and broke his jaw in two places and down he came; we had no more trouble with him.
There was so much excitement after that, that I could hardly tell what did transpire, but one of the brethren had a large cotton handkerchief full of earthenware and some fellow broke some of them with a stick, and he then made a weapon of them and commenced breaking the rest of them over their heads. I know that I knocked them right and left, every one that came in my reach and I know that there were over eight or ten. There was one fellow commenced bawling when he saw one of his companions lie motionless on the sod. He said that they had killed poor (Dick Wilkdin) Bill, and a brother hearing the poor fellow wailing for his companion thought that he would give him something else to cry for, it was Washington Vorus. He came up with a rock and threw at him and struck him right in the mouth. He boohooed and cried out what d–nd hard licks those d–nd Mormons do hit. They then commenced carrying off the men that had been knocked down and some killed and some were standing up against the fence and against the house with the blood running from their heads and faces, and I expect that some of them were from the effects of the teacups and saucers. However, they looked pitiful objects indeed, and when it was all over, Brother Vorus looked at the crockery ware and there was not a piece left the size of an inch and the handkerchief and all was covered with blood.
The officer then came up to me and said that we could come and vote, but I told him that I did not care whether I voted or not, but he said that I’d better come and put in my vote, so I started on behind. I had not yet put down my stick and he saw it and said, “For God’s sake put down your stick, there is no use for it now.” But I told him that I had no weapon and I did not care about leaving it, for it had been a good friend to me. “For God’s sake don’t come here then.” So I turned back and he kept on. It was only a bite to draw me in and then they would have taken me or used me up and then Brother Samuel H. Smith came up to me and said let us go home, but when I got to where I had left my wagon, I found it gone, so Brother Smith said, “Come and go home with me,” which was about three miles from my house. Brother Gee started home with the team and my wife going out of doors saw the team and started to meet it, but there was but one man in the wagon and he was standing up and had the whip in his hand laying it onto the horses and horses going at full speed.
My wife had gotten some distance from the house when she met him and she said to him, “Who was Brother Gee, what in the world is the matter, where is Mr. Butler?” “Why,” said he, “hasn’t John Butler come home? I thought that he would have been home by this.” “Why,” said he, “he has killed five or six men at the election,” and on he drove past my wife and stopped at the house and got out and started for home, leaving the horses all hitched up and leaving my wife to take care of them. She took them off the wagon and fed them and then waited anxiously for my return, but I returned not until the next morning after breakfast from Brother Smith’s.
I concluded to ride over to Far West some fourteen miles from where we lived and I saw Brother Joseph Smith. He resided there. He asked me if I had removed my family. I told him no, I had not. “Then,” said he, “go and move them directly and do not sleep another night there.” “But,” said I, “I don’t like to be a coward.” “Go and do as I tell you,” said he. So I started back again and got home about two hours after dark. I then said to my wife, “We must pack up our things and leave here directly, for Brother Joseph has told me to.” My wife was very glad for she had been wanting to move for a long time. So we loaded up one wagonload and took it down to Brother Taylor’s about one mile and a half and my wife and Malinda Porter, a young woman that was boarding with us, who was keeping school. They packed up another wagonload by the time I got back and we all started off just about the break of day.
Now about sunrise, or a little while after, Brother Gee saw in the distance a large body of men. He said that he thought there was about thirty-odd. He watched them come toward the house and surround it. He then ran down to Taylor to tell them that we were all killed, I suppose, and when he saw us, he said, “Oh, I am so glad that you are here for there are about thirty men around your house to kill you all.” I then saw the hand of the Lord guiding Brother Joseph Smith to direct me to move my family away. If he had not, why in all probability we should all have been murdered, and I felt to thank God with all my heart and soul.
I then started on to Far West and my wife followed me the next day. We stopped on the west side of Far West and went into Follet’s farm to live. While in Caldwell my wife bore me another daughter on the 16th of December, 1837. We named her Phebe Malinda. She is about nine months old.
The Saints were still persecuted in every corner, and while I was in Far West, Joseph Smith and Hyrum were taken prisoners. A man by the name of Kinkle [Hinkle?] came to compromise with them, but they must come unarmed, and so Brother Joseph and Hyrum went and when they met so that they could see each other, this man pulled off his coat and stood with his back to them; that was for them to come without arms. Well, they met and this fine friend said, “Gentlemen, there are your prisoners.” So they just took them and of all the yelling and whooping and swearing; it was done then. Some of the brethren went with Joseph and Hyrum. The mob then took them off and came back. The next day they came back and surrounded the city and were going to take all the males prisoners, and through the day we had to hide anywhere we could. I had my horse hitched inside the field, my wife was at Brother Hendrick’s, and as I went to get my horse, I took my bridle off the pickets, and was going to get him and my wife came and snatched the bridle from me and went and hung it back on the pickets. I never spoke, neither did my wife, but she came and took me out again and told me that there had been six men watching my horse to get me for the last three or four hours. As it happened while this transpired, they were reading a piece of paper, so that they saw nothing and suspected nothing.
There had been a battle fought on Goose Creek by the Mormons and mob and several were killed and wounded, among the killed was David Patten, one of the Twelve and Brother Hendricks was shot right through the neck. At night they still kept on guard around the city and Brother Dannets was so mad that he got an old horse pistol and loaded it pretty heavy and then crawled out in the brush and fired it off and the confusion there was in their camp was laughable for their officers gave their command to their men, “fall into rank and prepare your arms for the Mormons are upon us,” and they surely thought it was so. They heard no Mormons coming and all was quiet again; they went back to their fires and some went to bed. After a while, whang went the old pistol again and they did not know what to do. They mustered together again and got ready to kill every damn Mormon that came in sight, but none came in sight, so they went to bed again and so he kept it up until morning.
Well, I went then to go through the guard which was not a very pleasant job, but however, I started and got along first rate with the help of God, but I had never felt to murmur until this time. I had to cross the creek and take off my clothes and tie them on my head and wade through and the banks on either side were almost straight up and down and the water was bitter cold and when the water came up to my breast, it chilled me through and then I felt to murmur by the time that I got out, but I prayed the Lord to bless me and give me his Holy Spirit to enable me to hold fast to the principle of eternal salvation.
I got through the guard and went to Brother Hubbard’s and stayed with him four days in which time I had to keep pretty close. I went from there to Brother Head’s and stayed with him a little over two weeks, and when I was there I used to tell the folks that my name was John Lowe and some knew no different so I got along very well. When the mob came to Far West there [was a man] by the name of Nathan and [I was] well acquainted with him. He would not volunteer to come and fight the Mormons so they drafted him and made him come and just before they got to Far West the captain told the men to cut a whole lot of switches to hang them on their saddle so that if the Mormons should whip them out they would have something to make the horses faster, but Nathan did not get any switches and they said, “Why do you not get some, Nathan?” His answer was, “I have no cause for any for I have never done the Mormons any harm and they will not do me any harm.” So when they got to camp and the baggage wagon had come up, Nathan said that he was going over to the city to see an old friend of his and they told him that the Mormons would kill him if he did. He told them that he was not afraid, so he started over to my house, and when he got there he told my mother that he had come to have some supper and stay all night. She asked him who all the men were that had come down on the city. He told her that they were a mob come to kill all the Mormons. “Well,” said the old lady, “you have come with them, have you not?” Nathan said he had, but not to kill the Mormons; they had forced him to come to fight them, but they could not force him to shoot and he was going home in the morning.
Well, about three of four hours later there came five or six men to fetch him away. They said that the captain had sent them after him. Nathan told them that he should not go for he could sleep in a house. So he said that they could go and tell their captain so. Well, they went back and Nathan slept. He had his breakfast in the morning and told the folks that if the mob drove the Mormons away, his house would be a home for them as long as they had a mind to stay. Well, he wished them good luck and started, but not back to the camp, but back home. Now the captain sent over in the day to see where he was, they inquired of my mother where he was and she told them that he had gone home, so they had to go back without him. They still kept guard about the place, and they took a great many prisoners, some forty or fifty, and they were hunting pretty close after me, but I kept myself from being known to them. They all formed a hollow square and gave orders for the Mormons to bring all their arms and lay them down in the square, so I went and got my rifle and sword. It was counseled by the brethren to lay down our arms for it would be better for Joseph and Hyrum. I laid down mine, but there was one man who came to lay his arms down and he walked into the middle of the square and looked around him upon the black-looking villains and then swung his sword around his head and threw it, point foremost, until it struck the ground and buried it in the ground eight or ten inches, and said “If you have got my arms, you have not got my spunk.” He then retired and gave room for more and a while after that there came some five or six men to search for arms. They came to my house and asked my wife for all the arms she had. She told them that I had given them all up, and the officer said, “Have you got any small arms, such as revolvers or small pistols, bowie knives or the like?” She said, “No, I have not, and if I had you would not get them, so you may as well be gone.” He answered and said, “We have come to search and take all we can find.” “Well, she said, “you may search if you want to.” “Well,” he said, “I suppose we can take your word.” They then left and went somewhere else.
While I was away about December, Father Smith gave out that there would be a prayer and fast meeting for Brother Joseph and Hyrum while they were in prison, for the Lord to bless them and enable them to bear the cruelties that they had to suffer and pass through. My mother and my wife went to go to the meeting. It was to open about sunrise in a place that was built by Joseph but when they got to the door, it was locked and they thought that they were at prayer. Father Smith and his folks and Brother John Taylor came up and they said to them, “Why do you not go in?” They said that they were at prayer. “At prayer?” said Father Smith, “no it cannot be.” So he tried the door and found it locked on the inside. He said that some of the apostates had gotten there before them and that they had done it to break up their meeting. He called to them to open the door, but no one answered or took any notice whatever.
By this time, several had gathered together and some of them wanted to take an ax and cut the door down, so that they could get in, but Father Smith said, “No, we must not do that,” and Brother Taylor said that if they had deprived us of meeting in the house, they could not deprive us of praying to God, our Heavenly Father to look down in tender mercy upon his servants and enable them to bear their afflictions and the wrongs that they had to pass through.
So Father Smith said, “Let us hold meetings in this house,” pointing to one of the houses belonging to one of the brethren, “and they that cannot get inside can hear outside, and we will have a good meeting, although the devil has tried to frustrate our design.” They did hold a meeting and those that were there said that they never saw such a meeting. The Lord was with them, and that to bless and answer their prayers. They broke up about four o’clock in the afternoon and the apostates had not come out yet. There were the Whitneys and Thomas B. Marsh and a great many more in there. What their business was I never found out, but some plan to help and destroy Mormonism.
Some few days before that a man by the name of Maclelling (McLellin), one who had been high in the Church and Kingdom of God and had held the office of one of the Twelve, and another man went into Brother Joseph’s house and commenced searching over his things and Sister Emma asked him why he had done so and his answer was because he could. He took all the jewelry out of Joseph’s box and took a lot of bed clothes and in fact, plundered the house and took the things off and while Brother Joseph was in prison, he suffered with the cold, and he sent home to his wife Emma to send him some quilts or bed clothes, for they had no fire there and he had to have something to keep him from the cold. It was in the dead of winter. My wife was up there when the word came, and she said that Sister Emma cried and said that they had taken all of her bed clothes, except one quilt and blanket and what could she do. So my wife with some other sisters said, “Send him them and we will see that you shall have something to cover you and your children.” My wife then went home and got some bed clothes and took them over to her.
Well, all this time I was on my way to Illinois. There was Brother Elias Higbee and David Louis [Lewis] with myself. The night after the mob took Brother Joseph and Hyrum, I asked Brother Isaac Morley to ordain me to the office of a priest and I would join some elder and help to roll forth the Kingdom of God. He laid his hands upon me and ordained me to the office of an elder. Well, myself and brethren stopped at a place one night and asked a man we saw if he could gave us something to eat and a night’s lodging. He asked us where we were from. I told him that we were from Clinton County. “Oh,” said he, “you are from the other side of the damn Mormons and what are they doing at this time? They are getting rubbed out, ain’t they?” I answered that I did not know much about them. “Yes,” said he, “you can stop all night and welcome. I know you must be tired.” So he told his wife to go to work and get a good supper ready for these men for they were tired and hungry. So she bustled about and went to work and got us a good supper, and then we had a little conversation, but I avoided Mormonism as much as possible, and answering questions about it.
After we had gone to bed there came a man to the house and said, calling the man by name, “Come down with me,” said he, “for there is a damn Mormon down here,” come down from the Mormons to see his mother-in-law and sister himself. “Now, we are going to give him perfect hell.” The old man told him that he could not go with him tonight for he had company and could not have them leave. “Well,” said the fellow, “I am sorry for I should like you to have the fun of the job as well as ourselves.” “What’s the fellow’s name?” said our host. “Well, now, I think it is Riley Stuart [Stewart] they call him.” He then went off. I thought that when he first came and told his take and said that there was a Mormon here that some of the mob had gotten on our track and was going to have a go at us, but I found out afterwards that it was not us. I felt greatly relieved when I heard it, although I felt sorry for Riley’s condition for they were bound to ill treat him if they caught him, which I hoped they would not, but the same fellow came back in about an hour and a half and said they had done it for him. He said that they had lots of fun with him, seeing him try to help himself.
Well, we got up in the morning about daybreak, and I can tell you we were not long in getting away. We saddled our horses and got ready and the old man said that we must stay to breakfast, but I told him that we were in somewhat of a hurry and that we would not stop. Well, he said that he was very sorry, but that we must have our own way. The old lady said that we must take some biscuits in our pockets to eat on the road, so we took them and started on our journey wishing them good morning. I found out that Riley Stuart [Stewart] had caught hell sure enough as the fellow said. He was pounded over the head and it liked to have killed him. He was laid up through it. 1839
We arrived at Quincy, Illinois and I went and stayed with an old man there and kept school and Brother Louis [Lewis] kept school too. I taught the old man’s children and his grandchildren and some few neighbor’s children, some twenty or more, and I kept school until January and in February my wife started for Quincy with the rest of the Saints and Brother O. A. Smoot [Abraham O. Smoot], having no team said to my wife that he would drive her team for her if she would let him put his traps in the wagon, so she let him do it, and we had no boy big enough to drive a team, Taylor being only seven or eight years of age. Well, they started, but it was bitter cold and they suffered fearfully, but by the help of God they were enabled to stand and bear it. My wife, after she had started had very sore eyes and Sister Smoot had to lead her along for five or six days. I had but two horses and a very light wagon, so they could not ride.
They were walking one day and they called at a house and asked to go and warm the children. The man of the house said yes, go in and warm. They went to the door and his wife was there. They told her that they had come to warm themselves and the children. She said that she could not think of such a thing as to let them in for they might have some disease about them and she had a house full of small children and they might catch it. “I am afraid,” said she, “that you Mormons are diseased and I don’t want it to get into my family.” Sister Smoot made answer and said, “you will have it soon enough, if we do not bring it to you.” So they went on again.
One day as they were going along, Sister Smoot was sitting in the front end of the wagon and had my daughter Kiziah on her lap. They had a horse that would kick once in a while, and he began to kick and struck Sister Smoot on the knees and my daughter on the eyebrow. They both screamed loudly and my wife went running back to see what was the matter. She found them both bleeding most fearfully. There was a woman who came out of her house for they happened to be passing by a house at this time to see what was the matter. She soon saw and she ran into the house and got her camphor bottle, some brown paper and a pan of warm water and brought it to them and helped them all she could. She said she was right sorry to see the Mormons suffer so much and be driven about from place to place. They were close to the mouth of Chariton River and there were lots of Saints camped there and my wife went and got some elder to go and lay hands upon Sister Smoot and my daughter, Kiziah. They got some better. The cork of the horseshoe was pretty sharp and the kick was a heavy one.
On another day as they were going along, they got so very cold that they did now know what to do; the children were all crying with the cold. They went up to a house and asked the woman within if they might come in and get warm. She said nothing. They asked her again; and she made no answer so they said, let us go in and get warm. So in they went, and the woman went off into the next room and never spoke to them at all. But they sat there and warmed themselves and children good and started on their journey again, but it was a hard trial for women and children to pass through, the severity of the weather and the hard-heartedness of the people. But they will have to suffer for the ill treatment of the Saints, and indeed they are suffering at this time. God will cause the prophecies of his servants to come to pass to the very letter; they need not think that they will escape for the Lord is just and he will punish those that have ill treated his children and shed the blood of his servants the prophets.
Woe unto the nations of the earth for there shall be wars and rumors of wars and bloodshed and murder through the world, for they have not hearkened to the voice of the Lord, and have killed his chosen servants and driven his children into the wilderness and have made them to suffer and pass through the most bitter trials and their blood has long since cried unto the Lord for vengeance upon their enemies, and his punishments are bound to be fulfilled. He will not let his servants go unavenged.
Well, it still kept bitter cold, and my wife and children suffered very much indeed. There was an old lady who got one of her feet wet, and she liked to have frozen it, but Sister Smoot gave her a dry stocking and that saved her from freezing, but they had to lead her to camp. There the brethren had a large fire built so that they couldn’t get within six feet of it. They still traveled on until they came to the river; there was plenty of timber there and Brother Smoot cut down a dry tree and piled up the branches and set fire to it. It made a very large fire. By and by the owner of the land came along and said to the folks, “you burn wood as if it was your own.” “Well, there is plenty of it,” said Brother Smoot, “and I don’t think that you will miss one old dry tree; besides, it would lay here and rot.” “You think,” replied the stranger, “that I can find no use for such wood, but I can tell you that I can, so I want you to cut no more,” and he then went off and left them to their own meditations.
I had heard of the Saints coming from Far West and had been over the river to inquire for my wife. I heard that she was coming, and would be there in a day or two, so I went back again. All this time there were men all around watching and hunting for me up and down as if I were some wild beast of prey, but they were not sharp enough to catch me, for the Lord was with me and that to bless me and guard me from all evil, designing men. They were taking the brethren, those that they thought had any influence wherever they could lay their hands upon them and drag them up to prison there to answer for what they had never done, and most of these men were Christian men, those that believed in Jesus Christ and the Bible and were as religious as they could well be. These were the men that were dragging off the servants of God, men that were innocent of the crimes they said they were guilty of, and some of them, but very few, thought they were doing God service by taking these brethren and throwing them into prison. They were like the folks in olden times when Jesus Christ was upon the earth and the apostles.
My family arrived on the other side of the river. I then took the canoe for the river was blocked with ice so that the boats could not run and went across to fetch them over, but I could not get our wagon over, so I stayed there that night and myself and Brother Smoot went back into Quincy and left our family with the wagon. The ferry boat made a passage through the ice in a day or two afterwards and fetched our families over. We then had no place to go and it was bitter cold, yet it was about the 12th of March.
There was an old man, I forget his name just now, who kept a large butcher shop down by the river and a large wholesale store down by the boat landing. He also had ten or twelve small houses that he had built on purpose to rent. He told some of his tenants that they had to seek other apartments for the Mormons were coming and they had no place to go to, and he was going to let his apartments to them. So the old gentleman came to me and told me to bring my family up to one of his houses and we could live in it until we had been there a little while, so that we should have a little time to look about us and get a place. He also told us to go down to the butcher’s store and get some meat when we wanted some. He never charged us anything for what we had. There were three or four other families living close to us that were Mormons; they were living in his houses that were joining ours. He treated them all with kindness. It seemed a new thing to us to be treated with so much kindness. The Lord opened their hearts so that his Saints could not suffer so much as they had done in the forepart of the winter. The folks generally were kind to our brethren all over the place.
In the summer of 1839, if I mistake not, I was ordained to the office of seventy under the hands of Joseph Young and others. This ordination took place at a conference held east of Quincy, Illinois. We lived in Quincy about three or four weeks and then moved out about ten miles from Quincy and rented a farm and put a crop in. I then was called to go on a mission to preach the gospel in Illinois, so I had to leave my crop in the hands of my brothers until I returned, which was not until the next January. We preached the gospel to the people and they behaved to us like gentlemen, but we could not induce any of them to join us or to believe in the principles of eternal life and salvation.
While I was on this mission, Brother Joseph and Hyrum were released from prison. They came over to Quincy and the governor told them that they might go and build a settlement in Commerce, that was up the river from Quincy, but it was the most sickly place in the state, so Brother Joseph concluded to move in the forepart of the year forty four. My wife bore me a daughter on December 29, 1839. We named her Caroline Elizabeth. About March, Joseph and Hyrum moved up to Commerce, and I went up just after them to look at the place and see how I should like it. Brother Joseph asked me if I was coming to live there. I told him that I wanted to live where he did. “Well,” said he, “you have not got your family here yet, have you?” I told him no, I had not moved them up yet, but that I had come up just to look at the place. Brother Joseph then said, “You will come over to my house and stay while you are here, and until you move your family up.” I thanked him for his kind offer, and when I got over to the house, I found a whole lot of folks sick. It was a very sickly place indeed. I asked Brother Joseph what kind of a place it was. He said it was a low, marshy, wet, damp and nasty place, but that if we went to work and improve it, it would become more healthy and the Lord would bless it for our sakes.
I went to work after I had been there some three weeks to pay for my board and helped Brother Joseph to fix up his fence and to plow his lot and do up his garden for him; then my family was moved up and I built a house and fenced my lot upon the hill. We were all Mormons but one, and his name was Daniel H. Wells. He was squire of Hancock County. At that time everyone was building and you could look over the little settlement and see the hand of industry in every corner of the town. Things prospered with everybody and the Saints began to look for better times than they had seen lately. It began to be a more healthy country and folks began to be strong again. It was a serious time when nearly every family was down sick and the sufferings we had to encounter are beyond the knowledge of any man except he pass through it, but thanks be to God, our Heavenly Father, he heard and answered our prayers when we called upon him. He blessed us and the land for our sake and it yielded and brought forth in abundance, so much so that the folks did not know what to do with their stuff.
They built ward houses and granaries and they were filled to overflowing by the blessings of God and the industry of the Saints, for they had to labor to get things around them. But they prayed unto the Lord to bless the labors of their hands and he did so and they built a large city and made every improvement that could be made. Down in the bottom it was all swamp and low, wet places. The Saints went to work and drained it all off so that it became dry and a great deal more healthy. The wharf was also improved, and the boats used to run regularly down to St. Louis, Missouri. The city council met and changed the name of the place; the name hereafter was Nauvoo. Brother Joseph built him a nice large house. They called it the Nauvoo Mansion. It was a splendid building.
In 1842 we commenced to build the temple of the Lord; the cornerstones were laid and dedicated by Brothers Joseph and Hyrum and some other brethren. Things were still in a flourishing condition and the Saints were still industrious and they were happy for the Lord had blessed them in all their undertakings.
In 1842, I started on a mission to the Sioux Indians; myself and Brother Emmett, and Brother Joseph said, “You are not going to take your family along with you, are you?” “That is what I have understood,” I replied. “Well,” said he, “you will be back in less than six months.” However, we started now. It was as beautiful a country as ever a man would wish to set his eyes upon. If any of my readers have ever seen the western world before it was trod upon by civilized nations, you will know what kind of a country it was. It was bordered around by sloping hills and a chain of fresh water lakes in the center of the valley. Game abounded there and the birds sang forth their notes to their mates; the fawn played by their dams and the whippoorwill chanted forth his notes in the evening when the sun had sunk to rest behind the western hills.
We had but little success among the Indians this time; they did not like us at all. They stole our horses and shot our cattle and came very near shooting us. We started our folks toward home, my family numbering my wife and five children. Well, as I say, we started them from home and Brother Emmett and myself were to stay and find our horses. We stayed and found them, but the Indians took them from us again; then we had to fly for our lives. Now we started to go right between two lakes and the Indians tried to head us to waylay us and kill us. We had then not tasted one bit for eight or nine days. I prayed to the Lord to look down in mercy upon us and strengthen us and enable us to endure the trials and sufferings of hunger that we had to pass through. We got to the point between the lakes and headed them without interruption from the Indians. I could not tell the reason only that the Lord was our friend and changed the mind of the Indians so that they turned from their bloody design for they meant to kill us if they only could catch us. Whether they got to the point before us and got tired of waiting or whether they did not get there until afterwards, I cannot tell, but one thing I know that they were so bloodthirsty that they would have devoured us if they could only have seen us.
After we had passed the point of the lakes, there was a stream of water running into the lake, running on our right hand and the spirit of the Lord told me that if I will turn aside and go down to the river I should find something to eat. I told Brother Emmett and we turned aside and went down to the stream. We had our rifles with us, but we had not seen any game at all; everything seemed to be far away when we wanted them close. Well, as we were going down, I had several thoughts come into my head; I could fancy seeing a fat deer standing on the bank of the stream, cooling his thirsty tongue. Then I thought I could see a good fat elk grazing on the bank of the stream, but we had gotten there and I could see no deer nor any elk. My mind was darkened, and I felt to murmur and called upon God and asked him why he had caused us to come so far out of our road and then not find anything to eat. I cast my eyes upon the stream, not knowing which way to go or what to do for we were weak and could hardly walk. I had not my eyes long in that direction when all of a sudden I saw thousands of fish in the water and fine large ones they were, too. I looked with wonder and astonishment and I thanked the Lord for his mercy and loving kindness unto us and I asked his forgiveness for doubting him and prayed for his holy spirit to enable me to put my trust in him more than I had hitherto done. We then caught fish and fed our hungry appetites, and then starting on our journey, thanked God for his watchfulness over us and his blessings unto us, and the Lord did continue to pour down his blessings upon us, so that he did deliver us from the bloodthirsty savages and enabled us to arrive home safely without any harm to ourselves.
We arrived about twelve miles from Nauvoo on the night of the fifth of October [1842?]. I wanted to get to conference, it being the next day, so I got up the next morning and got on a horse and went to Nauvoo to conference, and I got there just as it commenced. I then went back after my family and brought them home, and Brother Joseph asked me if we all got back safe and well. I told him that we had gotten home safe, but it was by the blessing of God. He said that he was glad that we had gotten home safe, and he said, “Now go and try it without your family and you shall not be hurt,” so I left my family in Nauvoo; they were all pretty well at that time, although they had seen much hardship. They had to live on crabapples and honey for nine weeks and nothing else to eat only what game we could kill once in a while. Well, I started back again with Brother Emmett to the Sioux nation but we had but little success for they did or could not understand the principles of the gospel, so we had to return home again on the fourteenth of February and my wife bore me a daughter and we named her Sarah Adaline, on the 15th of February, the next day after my return. I stayed a little while and then left for Kentucky.
Chapter Five 1842
I stayed until fall before I left for Kentucky. I followed teaming through the summer, but I had a spell of the rheumatics that spring and suffered a great deal, but not so much as I used to before obeying the gospel. I had no farm then, so I teamed for one and another hauling up goods from the landing into the city. I left Nauvoo in September and started on my journey to see my friends. I found them all pretty well and bitterly opposed to the principles of the kingdom of God. Yes, they were blinder than ever to the truth of the work of God; they would not see themselves nor let anyone else see if they could help it; they were full of the devil and persecution. I also went and visited my friends in Tennessee, and found them bitter opponents against the Church. I bore my testimony to them and left–leaving them to meditate upon the words that I had spoken unto them.
I found my wife’s sister who was deaf and dumb, Charity, still clinging to the kingdom of God, and wanting to go home with me to Nauvoo, but her brothers tried to stop her from going with me. My uncle, John Lowe, was the only one that treated me with kindness. He told me that he would do all he could for me, for I was going to take Charity home with me. Well, her brothers threatened to shoot me if I offered to take her away and her other sisters who were deaf and dumb cried and made so much to do; they were afraid that their brothers would kill me. I told them not to fear although I knew that I was in very close quarters. I got ready to go one morning the day before Christmas, and went down just after breakfast and got Charity and started and I never heard such mournful cries in my life before as the two sisters made when they had to part with their sister. I thought that they would go distracted, but we wished them goodbye and started on our journey to Nauvoo.
I called at my uncle’s, John Lowe, as I passed and wished him goodbye. As it happened, Charity’s brothers had gone down in the settlement to get a lot of fellows to help them run me off; they had gone while I started with Charity, and as providence willed it, after we had driven some two or three miles, we came to two roads and I did not know which to take, so I took the left hand road and drove on just as usual as if nothing was wrong, although I could not see any difference in the travel upon the roads, for one was traveled about as much as the other. Well, we travelled on and had no one to molest us in any way whatever.
Well, Charity’s brothers came back to the house and found us gone; they were then so enraged that they went and got their horses and called upon their friends to help them bring back their sister that had been stolen from them by that damned Mormon devil. They jumped upon their horses and got their rifles and started after us as fast as their horses’ legs could carry them, but the Lord was bound to foil them in their mad intentions, for they rode on until they came to the fork in the road; they then took the right hand road and travelled along at head long speed, while we took it easy and comfortable on our journey, so they got but little for their trouble. When they had ridden on for two or three hours they began to think that I had flown on the road with railroad speed, so they thought that it was no use going any further, for I had so much better horses than theirs to outrun them, so they thought surely that they would have caught us before that time, it being about mid-day. Well, they had to return home without us and we kept on our journey. The two sisters that were at home were glad when they heard that they had not found us for I really think that they would have taken Charity home and have killed me and buried me right there on the spot, but the Lord’s protecting hand was over us and ever near to help or defend us from our enemies, and I felt to thank him for his mercy in delivering me out of their hands.
Well, we arrived home safely at Nauvoo and my wife was very glad to see her sister. There is one circumstance that I have missed putting down. In the summer before I went to Kentucky, Brother Joseph started with his wife, Emma, to visit her friends, and I expect some of the dissenters told some of the Missourians and a mob came over and put themselves up as officers of the peace to take him to Missouri and make away with him. They were going to Stone River to see her friends and on the way they waylaid him and took him prisoner, and Emma did not know what to do, so she started back again to Nauvoo. Now these Missourians took him to a house belonging to an old man and asked him if he would let them have a room to put their prisoner. Now while they were going and after they had gotten there, there was a fellow with a revolver pointing it to Joseph’s ribs, and once in a while he would give him a poke with it, until he had taken the skin off in more than one or two places. Well, the old man heard by some of his folks that they had ill-treated their prisoner so he thought that he would go and see the prisoner, so he went to the door and it was fastened so that he could not get in. They were counseling together what they would do with him. I expect the old man demanded admittance, but they would not let him in, so he told them that he was coming in, or would set fire to the place and burn them up, but what would go in, so they let him in.
“A pretty thing,” said he, “to keep a man out of his own house when he had kindly let you have a room to secure your prisoner in.” So he asked Joseph whether he had been ill-treated. Joseph opened his shirt bosom and showed him his side which was then bleeding, and said, “If you call that ill treatment, why I have been ill treated.” The old man looked and said, “Who did it?” and Joseph said his captors. The old man said, “Gentlemen, you have abused this man shamefully and I tell you, you can’t do such things in my house, and I tell you how we serve folks that don’t go by the laws of the Constitution of the United States. We just take them by lynch law, and I can tell you that you must not abuse a prisoner in this part of the state or you will be very apt to know of it.” He then asked Joseph whether he had had anything to eat. He said that he had not. “Why,” said the old man, “these other men have had something to eat, why did you not get some?” “Because,” said Joseph, “they would not give me any.” “Never mind, you shall have some.” “Oh,” said they, “he is only a damned Mormon.” “Well,” said the old man, “Mormon or no Mormon, he is a man and a citizen of the United States and he has got to have justice and he is going to have it so long as he stays with me.” They then growled about something, but the old man went off to get something to eat for Joseph. He gave him something good to eat and told him that he should have a bed to sleep upon, but that those other fellers would have to find their own for they should not sleep with him.
Joseph told him about Emma’s going back to Nauvoo and that he expected someone would be along to help him out of the difficulty. The old man then told Joseph that he would keep him there until some of his friends should come to his assistance. His treatment to Joseph was very kind. If it had not been for him, I don’t know how Brother Joseph would have fared, but the Lord was his guardian angel and he would just let things go so far and no further. He softened the old man’s heart so that he should have justice done him, and to bring about his purposes.
Well, at this time Emma had gone back to Nauvoo and told the brethren that Brother Joseph had been taken by a mob. I, at that time, had been ordained one of Joseph’s lifeguards, so some thirty of the brethren with myself started to go to Brother Joseph and rescue him from the bloodthirsty wretches if we could. It took us some time for we did not get on the right track for awhile. Well, we met them coming back. The old man had gone and gotten some of his friends and taken Brother Joseph and started to Nauvoo with him. The mob was taken also and brought with him, except two or three, those who abused Brother Joseph so mean; they went home the next day fearing, I expect that the old man would bring his threats into realities, so they put for home.
Now we met Brother Joseph and his escort and we had not been with him more than half an hour when about three hundred of the brethren came up all mounted and ready for anything that might transpire. The old man gave up Joseph after his thanking him for his hospitality and kindness to him. The brethren took the mob prisoners and the old man and his friends wished us good day and started for home. And we started for home, too. Sister Emma sent Joseph out some clean clothes, but Joseph and his brethren were as dirty as he and he was not going in clean and his brethren dirty, the dust upon the road then was four or five inches deep. The folks all heard of our arrival home and they all came out and lined the street on both sides. Brother Joseph was first and then Brother Hodge and myself, his lifeguards and then came the officers that took him prisoner, and then the rest of the brethren. The folks, both men and women and children, were glad to see their leader again, and out of the hands of murderers; they took off their hats and bonnets and ushered him all the way up the street. Brother Joseph took off his hat and looked around upon the people and shouted, “Hosannah to God.” The officers said that the people thought a good deal of him. “Yes,” said Brother Joseph, “they are the best people in the world.”
I went home with Brother Joseph to the mansion house and saw the prisoners safely under guard. They did not know what to think; they thought that they were about done for; they thought that they would be killed; they took their trial, but Brother Joseph did not want to hurt them at all, so he let them go home and told them in the future to do unto others as they would that others should do unto them. They looked very sheepish; they went home and left us once more to ourselves, but there were lots of apostates there so that Brother Joseph could hardly not make a move without its going abroad to the mobs. There was a widow woman who lived close to us who had her husband die. She had been kept by the bishop of the ward and some of the neighbors. My wife used to take her quantities of food. So one night when I was gone out, one of the sisters that lived close by went to her house and she would not let her in. She asked her the reason. She said that she had company and she would open to the door to nobody. So the sister came to our house and my wife told her that she had thought for several months that she kept company with those she ought not to, so they agreed to go to Sister Chapman and Sister Louis [Lewis?] and get them to go up there and ask her the reason that she acted so and would not open the door to the sister who had treated her with so much kindness. So they went and asked her and she said that it was none of their business. “Well,” they said, “I don’t see the reason why you cannot let us in.” She was looking over the door; there was a space above the door and she said that she had company and she would not let us in. They then spoke up and said, “Well, I would be ashamed if I had a nigger in the house with me,” and every taunting words that they could to induce her to open the door, but she would not; so they went home.
So the next day an officer came to take the women before the justice of the peace to answer for what they had done to the poor widow. Well, the justice bound them over to keep the peace under five hundred dollars bonds. There were two brethren there that went their security and the women were set at liberty. They were very frightened at first, not knowing what they were brought up to court for. After that the sisters held a relief society meeting and Brother Joseph came along and asked the sisters if they had been hurt. They told him they guessed not. “Well,” he said, “I want you to look after that woman more closely than you have ever done before and I shall take care that the bishop does not feed her anymore.” Well, one of the sisters wanted to go and see her one morning and there being no smoke coming out of the chimney, she thought that she was not up and did not like to go, so my wife went with her, and they found the house empty and the bird flown away, and we never heard of her since. The sisters thought that would be the end of her, that some time she would come up missing. There were several such persons in Nauvoo and always will be, for the net gathers all kinds of fish, and there is bound to be some that are no account and of no use.
Things prospered with the Saints all over the city and the city still improved and looked well. I was called with Brother Louis [David Lewis?] to go on a mission into Illinois to preach the gospel to the people. We started in 1843 in July, but we did not have much success. We gathered out some few honest in heart, but the most of the folks were very bitter against us, and they were getting worse every day and were persecuting the Saints more and more; they were not so kind as they were when we first went there. The kindness dwindled away until it became hatred, and a Saint was an obnoxious thing in their sight. Well, we asked no odds of them if they would only leave us alone. We had brought them the word of life and salvation, and they could please themselves either to obey the commandments of God or let them alone. We fulfilled our mission by the help of God and returned home early in the spring of 1844. My wife bore me another son on the 28th of February. We named him after myself, John Lowe.
Chapter Sixth 1844
Times began to get so that our persons were not safe. Brother Joseph’s life was not safe at all. He had several lifeguards to go with him when he went anywhere; they had issued writs for him several times to try to get him into prison again, but they could not prove him guilty in any way whatever, but they ill-treated him shamefully and sometimes threatened to kill him on the spot. They took him to Carthage jail to try him over and over again, but they could not prove anything that was against the laws of the Constitution of the United States against him and would have to deliver him up again. This made them more enraged than ever, and they gathered together in places to counsel together and plan the best method of making away with him.
The Missourians were red-hot mad, their bloodthirsty souls were boiling over to get hold of him to tear him to pieces like dogs upon their prey, and so it went on. The spirit of murder was in their hearts to the overflowing; they were going to overthrow Mormonism and put it down under foot. They strove with all their might and main to get hold of the authorities to put them to death, but they could get no hold on them.
The temple was being fixed up so that the folks could get their endowments and receive their washings and anointings. The mob issued a writ for Brother Joseph and Hyrum and they were taken to Carthage jail. I and some more of his lifeguards went with him. We were all willing to live or die with them. He, Brother Joseph, spoke to us all and told us that he was like a lamb led to the slaughter. He also spoke to Brother Hyrum and wished him to return home with us. We begged him to let us stay with him and die with him, if necessary, but he said, no, we were to return to our home, and Brother Hyrum said that he would stay with Brother Joseph. For my part, I felt that something great was going to transpire. He blessed us and told us to go. We bade them farewell and started. We had twenty miles to ride, and we went the whole distance without uttering one word. All were dumb and still and all felt the spirit as I did myself. I cannot express my feelings at that time for they overpowered me. I felt like the prophets of the Lord were about to be taken from us and that they were going to await their doom, the same as the Lord did when he was here upon the earth.
We went to our homes like so many sheep that he lost their shepherd, knowing not what to do. Some of the brethren visited them in the jail. Brother John Taylor was with Brother Joseph and Brother Willard Richards was with them. Then the governor sent troops there to protect the prisoners from the mobs that came there to take the lives of the brethren; they did go and guard the jail, but it was very poorly done. The mob came and demanded the prisoners and if they would not give them up they would tear down the jail and take them; they were all blackened up so that folks should not know them, but they were known, every one of them, and the first one will not escape the punishment in wait for them. There were ministers of the gospel, there were lawyers, and the pious men of the day there, but woe unto them for they have shed the blood of innocent men, and the penalty is a heavy one.
They fired into the door and windows and burst the door open, but were repulsed by those inside, and some were knocked down. Brother Joseph was shot from a window and fell outside; they then put him up against the well in the yard and shot at him, and there was a young man who rolled up his sleeves and took a large butcher knife and went up to cut off his head, but the Lord spoke and said that it should not be done; and the earth was darkened and the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled through the heavens for they had murdered the prophets of God and their blood had cried unto the Lord for vengeance of their murderers. There was a flash of lightning that struck the fellow that held the knife and frustrated his design. They were all frightened and they ran away.
Brother Taylor was shot in the breast, but the ball struck his watch and broke it all to pieces and that saved his life. Brother Hyrum was killed and lying in his blood. Brother Richards was not hurt at all. It was only the prophets that were slain. They were led on by the devil and his army and they gloated over their bloody deeds. They were like to many demons from hell, but when their work was done they were glad enough to get away altogether, although they said they had put an end to Old Joe and that the Mormons would all be put down, but they little knew that the Lord said that it should no more be thrown down.
The Saints all felt it when Brother Joseph was killed, they could not tell the reason why it was, but their hearts seemed to melt within them and they mourned and knew not what for, and when the tidings came they were sorely distressed, and prayed that the Lord would avenge the blood of his servants the prophets, and truly he will for he has said so, and he will keep his word. But Mormonism will still roll on until it breaks in pieces all the other nations, which will have to be accomplished before a great many years, then there will be righteous judgment and the wicked will be punished for their unjust deeds.
We still went on preaching the gospel. The mob got hot again and began their persecutions against us and trying to put down Mormonism. Thus things went on until Brother Brigham sent me up to the Iowa River. We started about Christmas and wintered on the Iowa River in Emmett’s company. Brother Brigham sent me up to tend to affairs up there for they were stealing and carrying on. Emmett started in September to go to the mountains and he wanted me to go in his company, but I told him that I would not go for I was going to stop and go with Brother Brigham. He returned and wanted me to go again with him, but I refused to go with him again. They were driving off cattle and stealing, and the news came to Brother Brigham and he called me and told me to go and get ready to start to Emmett’s company, and said he, “There are some good people in the company, and I hate to see him carrying them to destruction, and it must not be for you must go and save them from destruction.” So I went up the river to the camp and stayed with them. They had gotten pretty well along in the art of taking what did not belong to them and applying it to their own use. They would pick up a yoke and put it on their wagons and say that it would come in handy if they wanted to yoke up any more team.
There was a man in the company that had no coat, so one of the brethren lent him one and when he went to go off they took the coat from him, and he went down to Iowa City and told the officers of justice that they had been stealing cattle and had stolen this coat from him, so the officer of justice came and took several prisoners, myself among the rest.
Now when the officers had taken us prisoners there, they came up to us, some seventy-five of them, and a great many that had belonged to the company were in the crowd, so I got my pistol and buckled on and got my rifle and went and stood by the fire in front of the tent. I was standing there when the officer came and read the writ to me and said that I was his prisoner. I told him that I was not well. He said that I would have to go with him. I told him that I would, providing that he would pledge himself that no one of his party should stay behind. He said that he would not do it, so I said that I would not go. He then went to his party and told them about it. He then came back to me and told me that he would pledge himself and I was to go on condition that he would keep his pledge. Some of them had already begun to plunder further down the camp. I kept my arms to defend myself with, for it was in the heart of the Indian country.
So we started and got about ten miles and camped for the night. I had just about finished my supper when one of the fellows got up and said, “Hurrah, who will volunteer to go back and get some horses and cattle?” Several got up, so I finished my supper, put on my pistol and got my rifle and said that I would go, but the officer said that I was his prisoner. I said to the brethren, “Won’t you go with me?” They all said, “Yes, but you are my prisoners.” “No matter,” said I, “if any man goes, I shall go with them,” and I told him that he had not kept his word. He said that he could not keep them from going. “Then,” said I, “you cannot keep me for I am bound to go if anyone else goes.” He then told the men that they could not so, so he placed us brethren guard over them that wanted to go back for plunder, and then placed a guard over us.
Now the very ones that had had us taken were the ones that had stolen the cattle and had left the company because I had told them they had to quit it. I pointed out some of them to the officers and asked them if they could not remember when they brought in a yoke of cattle, and another when he brought in a cow, and they could not deny it. By the time that we had gotten down there the officer began to see that it was not us that had been doing the mischief. They said that we could go if we liked. I said no, that we had a writ and we wanted to appear in court to answer for what we had done, so we appeared at court and we were discharged, and they had to fit us out with provisions to return to our families.
We returned and found them all well. There was a large quantity of Indians round about us. I made a medicine dinner and their chief and a young fellow by the name of Henri, a half breed, came to dinner and swore to be friends. There was a man, a mountaineer, by the name of Brenyer. He was out hunting when this took place; he was a very handsome man, and very over-bearing. Brother Brigham sent two elders to me to tell me to come down, he wanted to see me. Brother John S. Fullmer was one of them, and he had a horse to trade and he traded it to me for a watch and forty dollars. He then traded with Brenyer for the same amount, a watch and forty dollars, and Emmett came and said that it was too little for the horse, and that he would take the horse himself.
One day I was riding the horse out and who should come but Brenyer. He came and caught hold of the bridle and told me to get off. I told him that I did not think that I should. He said that it was his horse and he would make me get off. I told him that it was my horse and I had bought and paid for it. He said that it was not my horse and he wanted me to get off, or he would make me. I had a cutlass with me. I drew it, and told him to let go. He did not, so I struck at him. He dodged and let go his hold. He then went to the Indian chief and told him that he wanted him and his tribe to go to work and kill all the men, women and children off and he would reward him. He said that he would do it. He then went to Henri and told him that he and his tribe were going to kill all the folks of men, women and children. Henri said, “Yes, go and kill all of them that have taught you to spin and to make cloth and to raise corn, to make sugar, and to live comfortably. Yes, go and kill them all off and then you will be always left Indian for no more will come, for they will be afraid that you will kill them all off, so that they will not come, any more of them.”
Well, the old chief said that if they would tell them the ones that had offended them and he would have them put out of the way. Brenyer then told him which ones it was that he wanted killed, and the old chief came to me and told me that he did not want to kill me, but if I would give him a mare and colt that I had he would make a treaty with me. So I thought that it was better to let him have them than to endanger myself and family. So I told him that I had done nothing to hurt anyone and I could not see why it was that they wanted to kill me. But I told him that I wanted to keep good friends with him so he could have the mare and colt. He thanked me and told me he would give me a horse and saddle. He did so and they were worth all I gave him. Well, all this time a Frenchman had Henri in his house giving him whiskey to make him drunk and locked themselves in but he did not get so drunk as the Frenchman wanted him to. Brenyer was mad because the Indians had not killed me. He must have revenge on someone so he pitched his spite on Henri and killed three horses for him.
Now Henri’s brother-in-law knew of it, so Indian-like he went to avenge his brother’s rights and he shot nine horses and told Brenyer that he had taken three for one, but he had wasted his ammunition in killing the horses and as ammunition was very high up there and hard to get, he must kill three more horses to pay himself and Brenyer stood by and dared not say one word. So you see how the Lord punishes those who do his servants an injury. They are bound to meet with their desserts no matter in what circumstances they are placed; the punishment is bound to overtake them and the Saints of God. If they only live true to their faith and true to their God and obey the councils that are given to them from time to time by those that set over them no matter where they go, no matter in what circumstances they are placed, or what trials they have to pass through, the Lord is near them to bless them. He has truly blessed me in all my journeys and has ever been near me to help and guard me from all evil designing men; he has delivered me out of their hands, and I feel to thank him for his tender mercy toward me.
About this same time we had a wedding there. Charles Packet was a Frenchman and could not speak a word of English, when first he came there. He married Axey Sargent. He was hired to Brenyer, so he had to leave and run away and leave all he had except his clothes, after a while.
I had left there at that time to return to Nauvoo with John S. Fullmer and Brother Sherwood. We started on the 17th of October  in company with two Frenchman, Piqy [?] was one and he was going to pilot us down the river to St. Joseph. There were five of us altogether in the canoe. Just before we got to St. Joseph, there was a feeling that came over me that I must not go by St. Joseph, for some purpose or other, I could not tell. So I told Brother John S. Fullmer and Brother Sherwood that they could take a steamboat and go down to St. Louis and from there to Nauvoo, and I would go across the country. I left them and started.
I was thirteen days in going across to the Mississippi River, and I had some trials to pass through. For four days I never tasted a bite of food, but the Lord was near to bless and comfort me on my journey. Well, Brother John S. Fullmer and Brother Sherwood told me that they kept on down the river and when they got near to St. Joseph there were five men armed with revolvers and bowie knives, and they asked them if that was the canoe from Fort Vermillion; they told them that it was. The men then said that they wanted them to show them John L. Butler. Brother Fullmer told them that he was not there. “Well,” said they, “we know that he is here.” They then told them that he was not there. “Well,” they said, “that fellow had lied to them for he said that there was a canoe coming down the river and John L. Butler was in the canoe with two more Mormons.” They then began to curse and swear, that if he was there they would damn soon put an end to him. They were men that had been in the general election in Daviess County and they thought that they would put an end to me, when they had a chance; they said the fellow had only told them to fool them. The brethren then took the boat and went down to St. Louis. I stayed in Nauvoo all that winter and worked in the temple, giving the Saints their endowments.
That winter Brother Brigham wanted me to return to Emmett’s Company and take charge of it, and bring it back and not let them go any further. I could not return in the winter season for we had to go through two hundred miles of wilderness and the snow was very deep and it was Indian country. I returned with Brother James Cummings and arrived about April. I found the camp in a poor condition. My wife had been very sick; indeed, they did not think that she would live for six months. My family had been living on a half pint of corn per day and the sufferings that they had to pass through were very bitter indeed.
There was an old squaw that lived there. She asked my mother if she had no mother. She told her, no, that her mother was dead. She said that she would be a mother to me. So my wife told her she was willing to do it, it being the tradition of the tribe; the children always called her grandmother after that.
One day, Brother Short and Brother Hall were going across the river and my wife asked them if she could go across and gather some roots for her children. They said yes, but they did not want to be bothered with a lot of women. The old squaw said that she would go and help her for she always gave her something to eat when she came to her fire. So they went over and were left over there for four days and nights and nothing in the world to eat but roots. They made a fire and gathered up some leaves and made a bed as well as they could. It was the first of April and not very warm. They called to the folks on the other side of the river; they heard them, but none came to bring them back, and there were the children left by them, several small children. John was then a baby.
My wife laid down on the fourth day, for she was very weak and feeble, and she dreamed that I had come back and that I was standing on the other side of the river. As she dreamed she awoke and said that your father’s come, see him, and she looked and sure enough I was standing on the bank of the river with Charity and Phebe in my hands. Now, both had seen me in the distance and had put out of the fort and down to the river through the brush and gotten into the canoe and gone across to my wife to bring her across and when she got there she said, “Is not Mr. Butler come?” He said “No, he was not,” and she said that she could see me standing on the bank on the other side of the river. He said that her eyes were better than his if she could see that far. “Why,” said he, “it is a mile and a half wide and you can’t see that far.” Well, we got into the canoe, and they started back. My wife kept her eyes upon me and I went away and my wife said to halt, they were all gone from the bank. He said, “Don’t look at them, but look at the water here; it is very dangerous and it can tip over; we all shall be drowned.” My wife said that she guessed that there was no more danger there than where they had crossed. He said there was for it boiled up tremendous. The river had risen the day after they had gotten over there and the timber came down so that it was dangerous to cross at that time.
Well, they got to the shore and I was there to receive them. There were both my women, Caroline and Charity; they were both sealed to me before we left Nauvoo. I did not know hardly how to keep my hands off of Hall; I felt like I could tear him to pieces. Brother James Cummings said that they ought to have their throats cut for serving a lot of women like that, and my wife asked Hall what he had told her that lie for, that Mr. Butler had not come. He said that he thought that she would get so excited that they would be tipped over and all be drowned. My wife asked him if he thought that she had no sense.
When my wife was sick, Henri went down with his horse and small cart to get some provisions. He got two hundred of flour, fifthweight of coffee and some sugar and tea and when he came back he came and got one of my little girls and took her away, and Sister Packet came and asked what he was going to do with the child. My wife rose up in her bed and asked what he was going to do with her child and told Sister Packet to watch and see. He took her to his house and after a while she came out with a pan of flour on her head and a pint of sugar and some tea and told her to give it to her mother for she needed it to make her well. So Sister Packet ran and helped and the child brought it in for it was about as much as she could carry. My wife was truly thankful for it, for she could not eat the corn, and if she did it seemed to throw her back again.
Now, whenever I killed any game I always divided it with Emmett. It had been voted that the whole camp should throw their stuff together and fare alike, when they first started, but they did not all fare alike, for my wife was often without means and Emmett’s folks had killed four fat deer, but the first might never come to the share of my family. Now, this was while I was gone. When I went away they all voted for me to go and they would see that my family did not suffer for want if there was any in camp. Now, Emmett was mad and did not want me to go at all, and said after that he did not vote to help to take care of my family.
The Indians had made the company a present of forty bales of dried buffalo meat and none of that came to the share of my family. Now, after I was gone, they counseled building houses for the winter and there were none to build one for my folks, so some of the brethren spoke to Emmett about it and he said that he was not going to build houses for them, that those that voted for him to go were the ones to build him a house. One of the brethren asked my wife one day if she had not gotten some meat from Emmett. It was Brother Potter. He seemed surprised. She told him that she had received not the first mite. He then asked her if he had not given her some buffalo meat. She told him that she had not gotten any meat at all. “Why,” said he, “damn such a man.”
On that night there was a meeting and everyone was to speak their feelings and Brother Potter got up and spoke his feelings and said that Sister Butler was suffering for the want of some meat and that she had not had any and Emmett said, “How do you know that she has had no meat?” “Why,” said he, “she is here.” And he said to her, “Have you any meat, Sister Butler?” She answered “No, she had not seen or tasted of any.” “Well,” said Emmett, “let them that voted for John L. Butler to leave his family go to work and take care of them.” “Well,” said he, “if that is the case, we will do it and she shall have some meat, if I have to go and kill the fattest ox in the company, which I will do.” But Emmett said that he would give her some buffalo meat. So the next morning he gave her some meat. No one can tell the trials and hardships the women had to pass through.
While I was in Nauvoo that winter, I took two more wives and they were sealed to me in the temple. My third wife was Sarah Lancaster. She was sealed to me on the 28th of February, 1846, by Brigham Young. She was the daughter of Wright and Sarah Lancaster. Her mother’s maiden name was Briant. She was a daughter of Auther and Elizabeth Briant. Her maiden name was Peelle before she married Briant. Sarah’s grandfather’s name was William Lancaster. He married Sarah Sanders. Her brothers and sisters are as follows: Her oldest brother Briants, he died an infant, Rex, Lawrence, Ocky were next, all boys; Elizabeth, her oldest sister, William Sanders, Sarah, and Wright Rex married Farabe Hemby; they had six children. Ocky married Mariah Wever; they had nine children. Elizabeth was married to Thomas Widup; they had eight children. William Sanders married Lucinda Meek; the last account they had seven children. Wright married Mary Davidson; they had nine children and are in the Church. My fourth wife was sealed to me in March; she was the mother of my wife, Sarah; her name was the same, Sarah Lancaster. My third wife, Sarah came with me to Council Bluffs. I then left her there. Her mother, my fourth wife, was old and she thought that she was too old and feeble to go on such a journey as it was to Salt Lake, so she went back to Indiana from Nauvoo. Sarah, my third wife, was born in Wayne County, North Carolina on the 23rd of March, 1806. My fourth wife, Sarah was born in the same place on the 28th of June, 1771.
Well, as I said, I left Sarah at the Bluffs. Myself and Brother Cummings went on to Emmett’s camp and when we got there we found that Emmett had traded for a squaw and had gone to St. Peters on the Mississippi, so I told the brethren and sisters and told them what Brigham [Young] had said, and that we had to start to Great Salt Lake. It took about three days to get ready and to get our cattle altogether. Sister Emmett was alone and I asked her if she wanted to go with us. She said, “Yes, and be as quick as you can, for if Emmett was here I am sure that he would not let me go.” Well, I told her that I would take her with me if she wanted to go whether he was willing or not. “Well,” she said, “let us go before he comes. I expect him home in two or three days.” So we all packed up our things to go down to the river. We started on our journey when Emmett came to us. He was mad as he well could be for he said that he had bought a squaw and he intended to end his days at the Vermillion Fort; so he had to lose his squaw; he traded a horse for it but he could not bring her away from her tribe. We crossed the Missouri River and went up to the Pawnee village. . .