I, Joseph Grafton Hovey, the youngest son of Thomas and Elizabeth Hovey was born in Cambridge, Middlesex County, state of Massachusetts, November 17, 1812. There were six boys and four girls in the family. The boys were Thomas, Stephen, Samuel, Ebenezer, Orlando, and myself. The girls were Eliza, Lucy, Anna, and Elmira.
When I was three years old my father moved his family to Newton, seven miles from the city of Boston, on a good farm. We all labored and enjoyed the fruits thereof for a number of years.
My father made a good quality of cider. In the fall of 1830 he had a large quantity of cider and was obliged to team it to Boston with two yoke of good oxen. On his return trips he would bring lumber and other materials. In the latter part of October 1830, when he was returning from Boston with a load of lumber he was killed by falling off the wagon and the front wheels passed over his neck and shoulders. It was rainy and cold weather and it was thought he went to sleep and fell off the wagon (“Perhaps a little too much cider”).
This sudden stroke of Divine Providence was almost too much for any of us to bear, especially for our dear mother, it being the first death in the family. Here was all of our expectations blasted in one moment. Our father being a good man caused our grief to subside in some degree. He was what we called a Close Communion Baptist. He was a deacon in the church and beloved by all who knew him. For many years he was very regular to exhort to his family by the fireside and taught us to pray. He urged us to obey him and keep the commandments of God. He prayed that parents and children might be brought up in the same bundle of eternal life. In fact, my father lived up to what light he had. He was taken away a short time before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized.
I, Joseph, now being seventeen years of age, I had a desire to learn some mechanical trade. I went to Boston to learn the carriage smith trade. I learned this with great dexterity, above that of my shop mates. I prospered greatly in this until I was twenty-two years of age when I was obliged to give up my labors because of poor health.
At this time there was quite a revival of religion so called by the different sects. Some years previous I sought the Lord earnestly to forgive me of my sins and prayed that because there were many kinds of churches. There were Presbyterians, Baptists, Orthodox; in fact, I have not the space to write the name of all the churches. Suffice it to say there was not one of the whole lot that was after the holy order of Christ’s Church. But as I was brought up by the tradition of my father, a Close Communion Baptist, I thought they were as near right as any of them, and in fine a little nearer according to scripture for they believed that a person must reverence religion and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I did not belong to or connect myself with any church. I could not see any utility in their doctrine; therefore, I did not give heed to their solicitations.
I, Joseph, at the age of twenty-two years took me a wife. She was Martha Ann Webster and was seventeen years of age. She was the daughter of Josiah and Hannah Webster of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We were married July 2, 1833. After marriage we left Portsmouth and returned to Boston, Massachusetts. I went into the carriage business again until I was burned out and suffered some loss. We left Boston and moved to Chelsea and stayed there until 1835.
I, Joseph, received a number of letters from my brother, Orlando, and Stephen, who were located in Illinois, 2,200 miles from Boston. They wrote that business was good in Illinois, it being a new country and they encouraged me to come. Business of all kinds was very dull in Boston. Therefore, I, Joseph, deemed it expedient to take my wife, Martha and children and journey to that country, Illinois.
June 12, 1837, we took passage for New York. It took 12 days to make the journey from Boston to Quincy, Illinois. Our way of conveyance was by railroad, steamboat and canal. The route was from Boston to Providence, thence to New York, from there to Philadelphia, then to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then to Cincinnati, from there to St. Louis and from there to Quincy, Illinois. The latter part of June we arrived at my Brother Stephen’s house in Quincy. We were in good health except little Martha. She had a threatening disease of consumption.
We remained with my brother, Stephen, for four or five weeks and then my brother, Orlando, asked me to practice medicine with him. He used the Tomsonian System. He had been practicing this for some years. I, Joseph, also had some knowledge of this system having been sick some years previous in Boston and was doctored by Dr. Lock, who was a practioner and my wife’s uncle. I, Joseph, commenced with my brother, Orlando, and practiced medicine some months with good success.
First Death and Another Birth in the Family
October 11, 1837 our little child, Martha, died of consumption and was buried at Quincy. She was one of the twins. This was the first stroke of death in our little family. Two months from this time my wife, Martha, bore me a son. We named him Grafton Wallice. He was an uncommon child and large for his age. He was very bright but we did not have him long. He lived to eight months old. Through the divine hand of providence we lost him by the icy hand of death. He was taken in the bloom of childhood when our hearts were set upon him as our first son. Our fond hopes were entwined about him and our future happiness and prosperity we should enjoy in future days. He is gone. We cannot embrace him more in this probation. He died August 26, 1838.
Hears the Gospel and Accepts It
In the year 1839, I, Joseph, moved to Pike County, Illinois. I practiced medicine there for two years with good success. June 8 of this year my wife bore me another son. We named him, Joseph Grafton.
At this time the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were exterminated from the state of Missouri by Governor Boggs. Some fifteen or twenty thousand souls, both women and children were forced to leave their homes in Missouri. One George White Pitkin, an elder of said Church, came and took up his residence near my home. This afternoon he came to our house for some medicine. My wife, knowing that he was one of the newcomers, Mormons, from Missouri, questioned him. By and by he gave us a short account of his persecutions and the Church at large. We were entirely ignorant of this and this was the first time we were informed of the Church of Jesus Christ or the Book of Mormon. He instructed us on the subject of the gospel in plain terms. We obtained the Book of Mormon and other books from our friend and these carried conviction to our hearts, especially the Book of Mormon.
I, Joseph, for the first time bowed myself before God in secret and implored his mercy and asked him if what I had read out [of] the Book of Mormon was true and if the man, Joseph Smith, was the one who translated these marvelous records. I, Joseph, asked God for a testimony by the Holy Spirit and truly I got what I asked for and more abundantly. Therefore, my wife, Martha, and I did truly rejoice in the truth we had found in those records. We also searched the Bible daily and found that it did corroborate with the Book of Mormon. We were, therefore, born again and could see the kingdom. Hence, July 4, 1839, we were baptized with water and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. One brother, Mr. Draper, baptized us.
We lived eighty miles from Nauvoo. It was at this time the Prophet Joseph Smith was in prison in Missouri. He sent an apostle to the Saints scattered abroad with greetings and that they must go far away from the place appointed by the God of Heaven, to Commerce which later became Nauvoo. Soon after the Prophet was delivered from prison and the commandment went forth to gather at Nauvoo.
I, Joseph, and my wife having a strong desire to gather with [the] Saints at Nauvoo, we sold our possessions and the latter part of July 1839, we started for Nauvoo.
Moved to Nauvoo
We stopped at Quincy at the suggestion of my brother, Orlando. There were a number of the Saints here who had been driven from their homes in Missouri during the cold winter and had nothing but the canopy of heaven to shelter them and many were sick. I had a feeling for their welfare and I remained and assisted my brother, Orlando, to administer medicine to the sick to the best of my knowledge and experience.
October 6, 1839 a conference was held at Nauvoo. A large number of people from all quarters was collected. This was the first conference of the Saints I ever attended. This was also the first time I saw the Prophet, Joseph Smith. At the close of the conference, I Joseph, with a number of the other brethren were called to take upon the priesthood. Accordingly, those who were called were requested to speak for themselves.
I, Joseph, arose to speak of my illiteracy and incompetency for the high and exalted calling. God saw fit to pour out his Holy Spirit upon me. I can truly say that this was the first time I had the testimony of the Holy Ghost for I, Joseph, was uplifted by the power thereof and my bosom did burn within exceedingly. Suffice it to say that I, Joseph, was ordained to the office of an elder under the hands of Brother Burnce and Cutler. I did rejoice exceedingly over the great and glorious things that were taught at this time. During the two days of meetings, several hundred dollars was collected to make payment for the land Prophet Joseph had bought for the city at Nauvoo.
I, Joseph, did return to my family at Quincy with my soul filled with joy under the contemplation of moving to the beloved place Nauvoo. November 1, 1839, I, Joseph, with my family consisting of my wife, Martha, my first born, Elizabeth, one of the twins, and my son, Joseph, left Quincy for Nauvoo. We arrived in nauvoo in the night of the second day. It was exceedingly cold. There were only a few houses at the time, hence the only shelter we could get was in an old stable partly torn down. Many of the Saints were sick because of their recent persecutions by the mobs. The place was unhealthy, so much so that the Gentiles could not live here and the plan was to let the damn Mormons go there and die off.
I, Joseph, and family did stop in the old stable that night but it rained so hard that we were obliged to get a tent. I obtained a lot, an acre from the Church to improve. I, Joseph, and my family did dwell in a tent for the space of two months, November and December. It was cold and disagreeable. But I did succeed in building a log cabin 12 feet by 16 feet.
The ensuing spring, 1840, great numbers did gather at Nauvoo and we prospered very much, although there was a great deal of sickness. Some died in the Lord and the power of God was made manifest in behalf of the sick. Many were healed by the laying on of hands by the elders in the name of Jesus Christ. In a few months we were troubled by our enemies, the Missourians. They kidnapped two of our brethren, whipped and hanged them up by their necks until they were almost dead. These acts were repeated frequently by those ungodly men. Also, repeated persecutions came down upon the Prophet Joseph Smith by the governor of Missouri. The Prophet Joseph was considered as a refugee from justice and caused a great deal of excitement in the country. He was tried by the United States Court and was found not guilty.
Persecutions were heaped upon us from time to time and it was needful to arm ourselves against those ungodly, blood-thirsty men. Hence the Prophet Joseph laid off a city plot? by the commandment of God and drew up a charter for the same which granted us all the rights of free born citizens of the United States. During the session of the House of Representatives of the state in 1840, the charter for the city of Nauvoo was granted, I, Joseph, did continue to live in the city of Nauvoo.
At this time we were commanded to build a house of the Lord. Also a house called the Nauvoo House to accommodate strangers, kings and queens and great men of the earth. Accordingly there was a committee appointed by the God of Israel to superintend those houses in the fall of 1840. The fund to commence the building of the [Nauvoo] temple were raised through tithing, that is every man put in a tenth of his property and thereafter his earnings every tenth day.
I, Joseph, did prosper well in good health but my wife, Martha, was not so well as myself. I, Joseph, did go to work in the stone quarry and I labored exceedingly for the Nauvoo House. I got out several hundred feet of stone during the season. I also worked on the Nauvoo temple cutting stone. In the meanwhile, my wife, Martha, was sick, even abortion took place and she was very low. But she was healed by going to the baptismal font and was immersed for her health and baptized for her dead.
We did prosper as a people. They did gather from all parts of the world to Zion and they did surely rejoice in the things of the kingdom. We were taught by the Prophet Joseph those things that cheered our souls, especially that about our dead.
But in the meantime the enemies of all truth did persecute the Prophet with vicious lawsuits by taking unlawful measures and did cause us to pay away a good deal of money for lawsuits. The Gentiles began to grumble about us having too much power granted us in our city charter, more especially about the Legion. We numbered a goodly number and at the same time we drew fire arms from the government.
We received about 300 fire arms from the government and this did assist much, for the brethren had their fire arms taken away from them in Missouri, when they were driven from the state into Illinois. Hence it was wisdom in God to command us to arm ourselves, after the manner of the world. Therefore, the world thought we were getting too much power by organizing a Legion.
About this time there came among us one, John C. Bennett, with great recommendations from the governor and others, friends of ours standing in high state. Therefore, John C. Bennett, was put in the office of Major General of the Nauvoo Legion, of which the Prophet Joseph was the Lieutenant General, as also of the militia. All things were in a prosperous condition until 1842, when the aforesaid Bennett, C. Higbee, and others did go about our city insulting our wives and our daughters, telling them that it was right to have free intercourse with the fair sex. They said that the Prophet Joseph taught that it was the word of the Lord. Therefore, many were deceived because Bennett was the Major General and was thought a good deal of and he was also appointed President Pro-tem, in place of Sidney Rigdon. Hence, he had a good opportunity to practice his fiendish designs. He was a man of great talents according to the Gentiles. However, he was brought before the authorities and cut off from the Church. He then went into the other cities and states and tried to bring persecution upon us by telling that we believed in more than one wife and having all things in common; in fact, everything the devil could do to destroy our Prophet Joseph. The newspapers were filled with the most vile and audacious calumnies that could be invented by the enemies of all good.
Bennett succeeded in getting the old writ of Missouri by swearing that Joseph Smith accessor before the fact of assassinating one Governor Boggs (the famous man that exterminated us five years previous) by one, Orin P. Rockwell. By those hellish reports the world was in great excitement, more so than when we were driven out of our lands and inheritance. Hence, the Prophet was sought for but could not be found. He went into the wilderness. This made the enemies very angry because they could not glut their vengeance on him. He was as innocent as the angels of heaven.
In 1842 all is quiet and the Saints are in a prosperous condition. Our city now numbers about 15,000 souls and increases greatly. The God of Israel blesses us in all things and the land has become quite healthy. The Saints do rejoice exceedingly. I, Joseph, about this time did rejoice in the things of God and for the exceeding goodness of God.
December 17, 1842, my wife, Martha, bore me a little son. We named him Thomas Josiah, after my father and my wife’s father. But, alas, the little son did not stay with us long. He was taken very sick with his teeth and died August 2, 1843. Truly we did feel to mourn. He was a promising little child; nevertheless, we did not murmur for we know that we will meet him again in the resurrection if we are faithful and hold out until the end. I, Joseph, did receive news that my mother died the same day that our little Thomas died. She did not belong to the Church of Christ as she did not have the message presented to her only as I wrote it to her. Nevertheless, I have the hope of meeting her again in the first resurrection through provisions that God has made for those who did not have the opportunity to embrace the gospel of Christ. Under those existing circumstances I have the most glorious hope of meeting my dead friends, to clasp hands in eternal felicity. In the meantime, I wrote a number of communications to my brethren in the east about the gospel but, according to the traditions of our fathers, all prophets, miracles, and apostles had been done away; hence, we did not heed new revelations from God. Therefore, I, Joseph, did not get much satisfaction from my friends in the east.
I, Joseph, and my wife, Martha, did receive our patriarchal blessings from Hyrum Smith, patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ. . .[patriarchal blessings omitted in this copy]
. . . January 1844, the spirit of Elijah was very comprehensive in some for truly they had the power to seal on earth and seal in heaven. Men were appointed by the Prophet Joseph to go through the city of the Saints and say unto them, “set your houses in order, stop all bickerings against each other and your neighbors.” Hence, I, Joseph, and my wife, Martha, covenanted that we would strive to keep all the commandments and be humble and meek and lowly, standing at the head of our family. We would also be likewise with our brethren and sisters. Meetings were held day and night in order to unite our covenants together to do the will of the Lord. Great peace and joy did prevail among us. Although there were designing characters among us who sought the life of the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum–even William Law, C. Higbee, Dr. Foster and a number of others who belonged to the Church, were seeking to destroy the Smith family. This was proclaimed on the stand by the Prophet Joseph and smartly reproved at the same time. Hence, this did not give much happiness to those characters. From that time on, those men sought every opportunity to lie and slander the character of the Prophet Joseph and the Church. They even went so far as to buy a press and establish a paper, The Expositor, in order to expose our iniquities of the Church as they would have it, and they themselves were counterfeiters, whoremasters and the most debasing characters who ever walked the earth. They were disfellowshipped because of their corruption.
They concocted a plan to destroy the Prophet by publishing a paper that was as foul as hell itself. They issued one number of The Expositor and in this slandered the name of God but still said they believed in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants but held that the Prophet Joseph was fallen.
Our City Council with the mayor, even the Prophet Joseph, deemed the Expositor a nuisance and must be removed. Hence, the marshall was ordered to take the police and burn the press. Hence, the marshall was ordered to take the police and burn the press. As soon as the press was abolished, the wrath of those apostates was kindled against us. They went in the country around among our enemies and published lies and caused the governor to call the case in requisition. Our enemies sought our lives, therefore, our posses were called out to defend ourselves from the mobs. I, Joseph, and my brethren were armed for two or three weeks. At last the governor requested that our Prophet Joseph and the City Council appear at Carthage and answer the charges. Our arms were also demanded to be brought with the Prophet Joseph. He promised protection by the governor and the faith of the whole state. The prophet deemed it wisdom under such friendly circumstances to comply with the demand.
I, Joseph, will record a few of the words of the Prophet Joseph before he was taken to Carthage. A day or two before, General Joseph gave orders for the Legion to form a line of battle which we accordingly did on the bottoms near the river. At 11 o’clock the General in his uniform came on the field with his escort and part of the Twelve for the last time. The day was beautiful. After the usual ceremonies had taken place, we marched with our beloved general to his mansion and there we were ordered to file in close compact in order to hear the word of our Chieftan. There were about ten thousand people present. Our beloved Prophet, General, and Chieftan stood on a small terrace in the west front of the mansion and east of the Nauvoo House.
There he stood between the heavens and earth and prophesied concerning our enemies. He said if they did persist in taking away our rights and we did unshield the sword we would not sheath it again until all our enemies were under our feet. I call upon you my boys, then if they take away our rights, we will send for volunteers from Maine to the Rocky Mountains. We will have our rights and they cannot help themselves. Says Brother Joseph, “I lift up my hand to heaven this day and may it be sealed in the archives that we will not give up our rights and privileges to those cursed mobs. May the thunder and forked lightening, war and pestilence come down upon those ungodly men that seek my life and your brethren. I am ready to be offered, for what can they do only kill the body. Stand firm my friends and seek not to save your lives for he that is afraid to die for the truth will lose his life. Hold out until the end and we shall be resurrected like gods and reign in kingdoms and principalities and power. Therefore, your God is my God. I want you where I am willing to lay down your lives for me. Therefore, you are blessed and I love all of you. May the God of Israel bless you and the power of God rest down upon the people.” He concluded by blessing us in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Patriarch Hyrum Smith stated that Sharp, the editor of the Warsaw Signal has inserted in his paper that he, Hyrum, had threatened in the City Council to kill Sharp, but “I Hyrum say before this people it is as false as hell. I have no enmity against him or against any other man on the face of the whole earth.” Brother Hyrum was determined to stand by the side of his brother, the Prophet Joseph, and go to Carthage with him notwithstanding the Prophet Joseph thought it best for Hyrum to stay back and “avenge my blood for they are determined to butcher me,” said the Prophet Joseph.
The Prophet Joseph started for Carthage with a number of his brethren. He said to some of them, “I am going up as an innocent lamb to the slaughter so if they slay me they will slay you. My mind is as clear and composed as the morning sun.” These are the conditions our beloved Prophet experienced on his way to death.
After driving to Carthage, they were confined in jail until trial. After a great struggle and effort they got bail, when the marshall and police were reached. But through the devices of those apostates and others, the mob swore out a complaint against the Prophet for treason. Hence, he was placed in prison against law, humanity and everything that was good. His brother, Hyrum, the patriarch of the Church, and brothers Taylor and Richards went in the jail with the Prophet Joseph, for they would not be parted from him. They were promised all the protection that was needed.
June 27, 1844 the governor left those of our brethren in prison with only eight men to guard them while he, the governor, went to Nauvoo with three to four hundred men to guard him. When he arrived at Nauvoo, he gave an insulting speech and drove away.
Between five and six o’clock, in the evening, those of the mob who were hidden, came painted as Indians or Lamanites and shot some hundred shots in the windows and doors of the jail. One bullet struck Brother Hyrum in the head and another in the throat. At the same time Brother Joseph was firing a six-shooter out of the door that led into the entry way. By so doing he drove them out. They then shot through the windows. Meanwhile, Brother Taylor, was wounded through the hip and wrist. In a moment the Prophet was shot in his breast and he fell out of the window where he received another shot. After he fell to the ground a dagger was plunged into his bosom. Another witness says that four of the mob took the body of the Prophet Joseph and stood him up against the well curb and the ringleader said, “Shoot him—-, damn him.” But those men could not obey the command for they could not stir a hand or foot to shoot. The witness states that at the time the command was given to shot by the captain of the mob, he, the witness, saw a bright light pass between the Prophet Joseph and the perpetrators. It, therefore, gave them a shock sufficient to disenable them to move. They were taken by the mob and put in their buggies and hurried off at great speed. Some of the mob spread the rumor that the Mormons were going to destroy Carthage and Warsaw and a large part of the people left the towns, more particularly Carthage.
Brother Willard Richards, one of the Twelve, was the only one left to gather up the remains of our beloved Prophet and Patriarch. Brother Richards said it was by the power of God that he remained unharmed for the bullets flew in all directions. There was only one family left in the town. They expected the Mormons to come upon them. Brother Richards had great difficulty to get the corpses removed at all. Brother Richards told this family that he would give his life for theirs if they would help him to take care of the bodies. By so pleading he appeased their feelings and they assisted him so that the next day the bodies were brought to Nauvoo. A procession of several thousand people followed the bodies of the beloved Prophet and Patriarch to the Mansion House. The next day at ten o’clock the bodies could be viewed. My wife, Martha, and myself did go and view the corpse of our beloved Prophet and Patriarch. Joseph looked quite natural but Hyrum was so swollen in the face that he did not look natural. We supposed they were buried, but I know not where. The sepulchre was prepared for them but as yet they are not [entered] in there.
For a number of days and nights, I, Joseph, and my brethren did stand on duty to guard the city, for we were threatened with destruction. Our enemies did not come at this time. Many apostates were going off to our enemies.
Some five weeks previous to this, my wife, Martha, bore me a son. This was June 13, 1844. He was a fine child. My love was exceeding great for him, for I, Joseph, did always love little children. But God saw fit to take him from us on July 17, 1844. This was a sad stroke for us, for this was four children we had lost. But I have one thing to comfort me and that is that I will meet them again if I hold out until the end and be eternally with them to enjoy their society, Glory to God, worlds without end.
Some two or three weeks after the death of our beloved Brother Joseph and Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon came and preached unto us that we were to choose a guardian for ourselves and to build up a kingdom to Joseph and a number of other things. That we should ask God who this man should be. This commenced a separating somewhat. But the most part of the people believed that the Twelve or the Apostles were the ones to preside over the whole church. Hence, I, Joseph, did pray with humility that the apostles might return as soon as possible. They were on a mission in the east. But thanks be unto God they came home a day or so after.
That Sunday Elder Rigdon came on the stand according to previous appointment. The Twelve did also come forward and express their right to the presidency, for they were authorized and endowed with the keys of the kingdom through Brother Joseph. Hence Brother Brigham Young lay before the people who they would choose.
The people said let the Lord God of Israel choose. Then the Twelve did explain the subject and made it as clear as the noon day sun of their power and their authority given them by the Prophet Joseph a few months previous. But suffice to say that I, Joseph, have not time and space to write all the particulars. For I worked hard on the temple of the Lord cutting and sawing stone and I do get so fatigued when I leave my labors that I have not much courage to write my life. It would not be difficult if I was in good circumstances. I am a poor man in the things of this world and have to work hard. But thanks be unto God of Israel that I am here in Nauvoo and have the privilege with the Saints of the Most High for the light and the intelligence is worth more than the riches of the Gentiles. The Twelve did call on the people at the conference to see if they would sustain them in their official capacity to preside over the whole church. Hence the vote was carried unanimous. There were a few who were for Sidney Rigdon. Sidney Rigdon went out into the country round about and preached to the brethren that the Twelve had no right to the presidency but he was the one who should preside according to his vision. But suffice me, Joseph, to say that his character and standing were too well known to make much impression on the brethren. Brother Joseph two years previous had told Sidney Rigdon of his acts and he would not carry him any longer for him. The Twelve said they felt more like mourning forty days in sack cloth than preaching but since Rigdon had sought to get up a division it was best to give the people to understand the right way.
About this time there was quite a number cut off from the Church, including Sidney Rigdon. Sidney Rigdon planned to gather at east Pittsburgh and then he was going to rid the canker and to conquer. Shortly after this he started for east Pittsburgh but stopped at St. Louis and there preached to the Church but without much success. In a few weeks the excitement was pretty much down among ourselves. Also with our enemies for the governor had ordered about four or five hundred men to come to Nauvoo and protect the Mormons. They came sometime in September, when our Legion muster was on. There were about 4,000 men in the Legion. Only fire arms taken from us, even those that we had to protect ourselves, our wives, brethren, the prophets. But, alas, this is a sorrowful time for us. The governor passed from this place to Warsaw and demanded the fire arms and the men who participated in the murder of our beloved prophets. He succeeded in taking them to Quincy and tried them but they were bailed until court sits in our country.
The time also came when the murder should be tried in Carthage. One of the main ones was Thomas C. Sharp, an editor of a paper, The Warsaw Signal, and one Davis, after a senator to Congress, and one Williams. A number of our brethren did go out to Carthage and were witnesses against those murderers. The court became excited and the trial was put off until the next spring.
October 6, 1844, the general conference of the Church was held. The weather was fair and beautiful. The Twelve were acknowledged as our head and all the authorities of the Church were tried to see if they were worthy of their statutes. The votes of the members were unanimous except for Lyman Wight, the apostle pro-tem.
But the president arose and expressed his opinion that he should hold onto Brother Wight for he believed that Lyman would come back again to us and obey council and all went with him in the north. Hence, he was retained in the Church. About twelve quorums of Seventies were organized. I, Joseph, was a member of the Fourth Quorum but the preceding Sabbath I was chosen to be one of the seven Presidents of the Twelfth Quorum. I was ordained by President Joseph Young and Brother Glap. My brothers of this quorum are Brother Dayton, Sr., Brother Luice, Crosby Chapman, and Joseph Goodel.
I, Joseph, had four shares in the Seventies’ Hall at five dollars per share. This hall was built for the purpose of the respective quorums to meet in for teaching of the Priesthood. This hall was dedicated in seven days. This was to permit all the quorums to have an opportunity to hear the preaching from the Twelve and others. I, Joseph, belonging to the twelfth and thirteenth quorums also, we met the 31st of December, 1844. The day was beautiful. About three or four hundred were crowded into the hall for this meeting. The meeting was opened by prayer by Elder Kimball, one of the apostles of the Lamb. Then followed an exhortation or rather Brother Levi Hancock, one of the second Presidents to President Joseph Young, gave an account of his coming into the Church and for the last thirteen years of his life. He joined the Church in its first year. He said he was not talented as much as some of his brethren and that he could not teach unless he had the spirit of God. He said he had left all and had gone to preaching and the spirit of God attended his labors. He had baptized a large number during his labors.
Then Brother Kimball followed on and said that Brother Hancock thought that he was not so talented as some of his brethren but I say he is and moreso for he had had thirteen years experience and further, that talents were not the gift of speaking as with a tongue put on a swivel but it was experience and the gift of God. He also said our President Joseph Young and lady were worthy of their statues for they had passed through great afflictions and we should hold them up with our faith and means for they must be supported. For Joseph and his wife had received their endowments and you Seventies and your wives will receive your endowments through them if you can get them at all. In fact, I, Joseph, and wife were greatly blessed for the spirit of the Lord filled the house. A great many things passed through my mind but I do not have space to write them in my record. The forenoon series was closed by a tune from the brass band and choir of singers. The hymn sung was composed by W. W. Phelps, “Will You Come to Me For the Dedication of the Seventies’ Hall.”
At the recess we all sat and ate and passed a portion of our substance around to each other and we did truly rejoice.
The afternoon meeting commenced at two o’clock. Brother Brigham Young arose and exhorted us to be diligent and keep the commandments and to practice and treasure up what we hear and lay them up in our treasury, so that when we are out into the world we might know how to teach those under our supervision. He urged the necessity to obey council in all things. He also spoke of the relation we held to our Father in Heaven and to our Mother, the Queen. If we are faithful we will come in their presence and learn of our first estate. He also spoke of the children of Promise, what they were, that they were very scarce, there is not two or three at present but we should know more about it when the temple was completed. We must strive to finish the temple soon that we might know the glorious principles that were laid up for those who were faithful. Hence, he said a man who cannot preside over a wife and children, much more over a quorum. Therefore, it was our indispensible duty to set ourselves in order that we might become as saviors unto the children of men, for we were placed in high and responsible positions. Many of us would go to the nations of the earth and unlock and proclaim the gospel and build up the kingdom of God in the whole earth. If we were faithful it would be but a short time before we could come up in the same places that the Twelve are and so on until we were very great men, so therefore, we must treasure up knowledge while it is a good time.
He also said that in order for a man to save his dead friends he would have to go through the same ordinances to save himself. Hence, it was a great thing to come up in such a responsible place. In the work for the dead the man would act as proxy for the male friends and his wife for the females, by so doing they became a king and queen. He concluded that we had done well in building a house to meet in and God would bless us. The meeting was dismissed by singing the hymn called, “The Seer,” written for this dedication of the Seventies’ Hall and dedicated by President Brigham Young by John Taylor.
This year, 1845, is the fourteenth year since the organization of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is about six years since I, Joseph, embraced the gospel. . .
. . .January 1, 1845, I, Joseph, and family enjoy the blessings of God, yea even health, I cut stone with all my might on the temple of the Lord this winter. I, Joseph, cut one star and its base and also one window and caps and closures on the temple building. The Seventies have commenced a library and a place for all kinds of antiquities. I, Joseph, took two shares of stock in this library.
Our enemies are calling secret meetings in order to destroy us if possible. Our city authorities called for four or five hundred policemen to catch those thieves who are prowling about. Hence, the Twelve called for volunteers to go to the adjacent counties and around the suburbs of the city to let our enemies and friends know what our determinations are and to watch for horse thieves and who steal on the Mormons’ credit. Hence, our elders went out and had success. Those who were against us did hear and believe our words. It did stop a great deal of plundering. Fear came over our enemies.
About the same time the legislature of this state was in session. They had a good deal to say about our city charter and privileges, the Mormons, war and all kinds of aspersions against us as a community. The court also released a murderer, even one of the senators, Davis of Alten, Illinois, one of the head men of the band of men who shot Brother Joseph, the Seer, and Brother Hyrum, the Patriarch, and he had the privilege of the House and of the Senate to let out his foul and hellish desires. Hence, they wrap it up together even to slay some of the best blood of the nineteenth century. Debate after debate was held in the House and at last they repealed our city charter, even our holy charter that was granted unto us by the legislature of this state some four or five years previous with a perpetual succession.
Some of the members of the House thought it best to repeal such powers as they were giving too much liberty. Such as the Legion and the right of Habeas Corpus, etc. Hence, we come to the conclusion that they might go to their length and do as they pleased for we must know that they must fill the cup of their iniquity in order for the Lord God of Israel to pour out his judgments upon the inhabitants of the earth for they are very wicked. The priests put up the people to persecute the Latter-day Saints and to kill them all the day long. Notwithstanding all the persecutions, I, Joseph, do rejoice in the Lord God of Israel and in keeping his commandments and the glorious principles of the Celestial Kingdom which inspires my heart to do good and to lay a foundation for myself and posterity to build there on it. I pray to my Father to spare me to do a mighty work for I am young, yet only 33 years of age.
Hence, I do not spend my time heedlessly but labor with all my might on the Lord’s House cutting stone to beautify his temple. The Twelve promise us great blessings even to save our dead friends and to go forth and build up the kingdom in the whole earth. As Brother Kimball said in the meetings that we were destined to do a great work. If we were faithful we would become great as our Father in Heaven is great. He would give unto those who were faithful, kingdoms, thrones, principalities and powers, even on this earth when this was celestialized, yea, a portion of it to distribute to our posterity. And then when we become so numerous that we have no more room, then we will do as the [b3ess] for instance, we will seek a place for them for there is plenty of space.
There is no end to space, hence, we need not be troubled for we will do as we see our Heavenly Father do. Brother Kimball said further if we would go to with our might and build the temple and the Nauvoo House, we would have that commandment fulfilled and such shouting that you will hear in that House (temple) because of the glorious personages that you will see. For angels, even hosts, will surround it. Therefore, prepare yourselves for the glorious work. All of you must be prepared for your washings and anointings for this will prepare you for the burial and resurrection. I, Heber, will have my body again, yea a new one. As you would plant a kernel of wheat and it sprouted, grew and bore. It will not be the same wheat you planted but the chit in the wheat brought forth the same likeness. In the same likeness we will receive our bodies again for they must burst the earth and come forth in order to be born of the earth to call her our mother. He says also, we talk about pleasure and amusements in singing and music; we will not only do those but we will dance for I am determined to. It would not do now for we are not prepared for we have too many black legs among us to corrupt our society and to partake of their evil designs. If I do not dance before I will when I get my new body for I will be as nimble a fellow as you ever saw. I can then shake my feet without making me tired. But if I should try it now I would puff like one of those old steamers going up the Mississippi. Says Brother Heber, I should not think it strange if a man should die and be buried and leave a good house and family and after he has taken his new body he will come and live on his inheritance with his family.
About this time a meeting was called in the Masonic Hall for the purpose, Brother Brigham said, to organize for they have taken away our charter and we must resort to something. We must organize twelve men into a company with a bishop at their head and see if we cannot take care of the poor as they may come here from Warsaw and Carthage.
April 6th. The conference commenced. The wind blew very hard. The president arose and tried the standing of the officers of the several quorums beginning with the Twelve. After which Brother Brigham did teach us concerning the baptism for the dead. You must learn to preside over yourselves in order to save others, he said. Hence, if a man cannot govern his family as Christ governs the Church, he is not capable of a family and his wife is no more bound to him. He urged the necessity of building the [Nauvoo] temple and the Nauvoo House. There were plenty of means to supply 400 men on those buildings if we would all be liberal in our means. Don’t keep your garments in your trunks for the moths to eat.
The second and third days of the conference were removed from the stand to the big hollow south of the stand on account of the wind. Brother Kimball spoke on general principles concerning our building up ourselves. Let the Gentiles plant their own fields and harvest them for we are determined to make all our own materials that we can. We have cut the Gentiles off from the Church for they have killed the prophets and this nation will not redress our wrongs for they have repealed our charter and who cared if we want nothing of them. All we ask is that they wipe up the blood of the prophets and that will be preaching enough for them for the present. All we want now is to build those houses and then we will have that commandment off our shoulders, he said.
May 24, 1845. The capstone of the temple was laid in its place this morning, a little past six o’clock. A goodly number of Saints had the honor and the glory to witness the completion. The morning was clear, cool, and beautiful. The Saints felt glorious. The band on top of the walls played charmingly. When the stone was placed there was a united shout, “Hosanna to God, Amen, and Amen,” three times. This not only gave joy on earth but filled the heavens with gladness. A hymn composed for the occasion was sung. The first verse of the hymn is as follows:
Have you heard the revelation Of this latter dispensation Which is unto every nation Oh, prepare to meet thy God
Chorus We are a band of brethren And we’ve reared the Lord a temple And the capstone now is finished And will sound the news abroad.
Brother Brigham remarked that Saturday is a Jewish Sabbath and that God finished his work on that day and that we may go and do likewise if we had a mind to. Therefore, the Saints did go home and keep this day in rejoicing in the Lord.
At this time the court sits at Carthage and our enemies are very much frightened. The apostles are obliged to dress in disguise on account of our enemies. The murderers are having their trial for murdering Joseph and Hyrum. It is supposed they will get clear for the Court has neglected three of the main witnesses; Daniels, who was an eye witness to Joseph being shot; Brackenbury, and a woman witness. Mr. Lambert, the state’s attorney, does the best he can. All the lawyers and judges fight against him. He says he is determined to administer the law to those murderers. On the 31st, Attorney Lambert made a plan against the murderers. It was said he shook with power and the plea was about five hours long. On the Sabbath the second day of June our prophet appeared on the stand to speak unto us the word of the Lord. Brother Kimball spoke good concerning us and how they were obliged to hide up on account of our enemies, who sought their lives. He said we would continue to be blessed if we kept united and we would finish the temple. He wanted to see it finished and get our endowments. Then we will go to a healthier country than this where we won’t shake all to bits and where [will] be at peace. Brother Taylor arose and spoke and bore his testimony also of the same truth. Brother Brigham arose and spoke concerning the temple and the Nauvoo House. He said if we would continue faithful we would have the temple covered in before snow flies.
Fires in all parts of the world are consuming the Gentiles, their houses and property. Frequent murders are happening and mobbing has got to be a common thing among the Gentiles.
The murderers of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum are released, although it was proven as clear as could be against those men, namely Tom Sharp, Williams, Davis, the leading men. The court is adjourned for two weeks to sit on the case of Brother Hyrum’s murder. The time arrived for the case but a dispute arose between Sheriff Deming and a clerk in court by the name of __________________. It was said the sheriff commanded the clerk to stop his cursing but he would not, so in self-defense the sheriff shot said clerk. The sheriff was arrested, tried and found guilty of murder and was bound over to appear in court for $5,000. Sheriff Deming was a man who sought to magnify his office and honor the law. The clerk who was shot was a mobber and envied Deming because Deming was for dealing the law to the Mormons and the anti-Mormons. Hence, he was disliked.
The mobbers are threatening the Saints. The Rigdonites are saying the prophesying that we will be driven out before we will get the temple covered and that we would get burned up here and all that belongs to us, thus says the Rigdon prophets.
I labored on Brother Kimball’s cellar for six days. I also made a door step for his front door to assist him in his house. I received nineteen dollars for laying and cutting the stone. I also assisted Brother Joseph Young with his house in his indigent circumstances. The total amount was twenty dollars.
My son, Joseph G., is very sick with the fever. But by the power of God he was healed.
July 17, 1845. My wife, Martha, commenced labor this morning at ten o’clock and it lasted until ten o’clock in the evening. Sister Roseana Repsher and Lucretia Hopper assisted her. My wife delivered the child and it was dressed by 25 minutes past eleven o’clock. It was delivered without much pain and my wife was never so comfortable at any previous deliverance. We named the child , Hannah Adelaide. Joseph and Elizabeth have the whooping cough.
A number of millions of dollars worth of property has been destroyed by fire within the month. There is a good deal of talk of war. There are murders and trouble among the sectarian churches. There are also droughts in different parts of the land and destructions by hail and wind. But we of the city of Joseph, (Nauvoo), enjoy the early and late rains and everything looks flourishing here; and all is peace within and about our city. No cry of mobbings as there has been.
August 23. This day the dome of the temple is put on. About sixty or seventy hands partook of melons on the attic. Pretty high eating. They hoisted a flag and it stayed until Sunday night. . .
. . .After we had begun to realize the abundance of one of the most successful seasons known for a long time, and while many hundreds of Saints were laboring with excessive and unwearied diligence to finish the temple and rear the Nauvoo House, suddenly in the forepart of September, the mob commenced burning the houses and grain of the Saints in the south part of Hancock County. Though efforts were made by the sheriff to stay the hands of the incendiaries and parry off the deluge of arson, still a fire and sword party continued the work of destruction for about a week. They destroyed about 200 buildings and much grain. Nor is this all. It was a sickly season and many feeble persons were thrown out in the scorching rays of the sun or dampening dews of the evening and died because of the persecutions. All this in a Christian land of law and order while they were fleeing and dying and the mob embracing doctors, lawyers, and statesmen. Christians of various denominations with the military from the colonel down were busily engaged in filching and plundering, taking furniture, cattle and grain. In the midst of this horrid revelry, none failed to procure aid among the old citizens. The sheriff summoned sufficient aid to stay the fire show of rum but not until some of the offenders had paid for the aggression with their lives. This, however, was not the end of the matter. Satan rests in the hearts of the people to rule for evil. The surrounding counties began to fear the law, religion and equal rights in the hands of the Latter-day Saints. They would feel after iniquity, terrify their neighbors to large acts of reserved rights. They began to open a large field of woe; to cut the matter short, the urge, the necessity to stop the effusion of blood, the Church or as they us called, the Mormons, should be expelled from the United States peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must, unless they would transport themselves by the next spring.
Taking into consideration the great value of life and the blessings of peace, a proposition upon certain specified conditions was made to a committee in Quincy. By the action of the convention this was supposed to have been accepted. We are sorry to say that the continued deprecations of the mob and the acts of a few individuals have greatly lessened the confidence of every form of law heard and in humanity and everything promised by the committee and conventions.
Although we have made great advancement towards fitting out for a move next spring, a few troops stationed in the county have not entirely kept the mob at bay. Several buildings have been burned during the month of October. We shall, however, make every exertion engagement sacred and leave the event with God for he is sure.
It may not be amiss to say that the continued abuse, persecutions and murders and robberies practiced upon us by a hoard of land pirates with impunity in a Christian republic and land of liberty, while the institutions of justice have been either too weak to afford protection or redress or else they have been a little remise, have brought us to the solemn conclusion that our exit from the United States is the only alternative by which we can enjoy our share of the elements which our Heavenly Father created free for all. We can then shake the dust from our garments and leave this nation alone in her glory while the residue of the world points the finger of scorn until indignation and consumption decreed make a full end. In our patience we will possess our souls and work out a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. We will withdraw the power and priesthood from the Gentiles for the great consolation of Israel when the wilderness shall blossom as the rose and Babylon fall like a mill stone cast into the sea. The just shall live by faith but the folly of fools will perish with their bodies of corruption, then shall the righteous shine.
On the Sunday of the 5th day of October, 1845, through the indefatigable exertions, unceasing industry and heaven-blessed labors in the midst of tribulations, poverty and worldly obstacles solemnized in some instances by death, about 5,000 saints had the inexpressible joy and great gratification to meet for the first time in the Lords’ House in the city of Joseph (Nauvoo). From mites and tithing, millions had arisen up to the glory of God with a temple where the children of the last kingdom could come together and praise the Lord. It certainly affords a holy satisfaction to think that since the sixth of April, 1841, when the first stone was laid amidst the most straightened circumstances, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had witnessed their bread cast upon waters, or more properly their obedience to the commandments of the Lord appear in tangible form of a temple. The windows were entirely closed in. There were temporary floors, pulpits and seats to accommodate quite a number. Preparatory to a general conference held three years past, our martyred prophet, now in heaven predicted that there would be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance can be performed in the font of the Lord’s House. Also, that the Church should not hold another conference until they can meet in said House for thus saith the Lord.
Right after the conference we commenced to organize into companies. The Twelve called out a number to go in their company. Also eight or ten captains of companies were set apart to fill up their companies to the number of 100 heads of families. Also, every man was to go to work and stew his pumpkins to the amount of 20______ and parch corn to the amount of ten bushels, for flour could not be obtained.
December 1, 1845. I finished my work on the baptismal fount and made an agreement to go to work for the Trustees and put up a shop and go to work ironing wagons to go to California. I had previously learned the trade of carriage making.
December 6, 1845. I was invited to go into the temple and receive the blessing that was for us. We arrived at the temple at one o’clock and were conducted by Brother Scovil to the washing room. I was washed by Brother Clapp and annointed by Brother Joseph Young. Brother I. Grant, Brother Rockwood, and Brother Clapp got through the ordinance at ten o’clock in the evening.
December 23, 1845. Some officers of the law came with writs for Brother Brigham and others of the Twelve. But as God would have it they took one Brother Miller as far as Carthage. They thought they had Brother Brigham. At Carthage someone who knew Brother Brigham saw that the officers had the wrong man so the mobocrats released Brother Miller. He came home unmolested.
The Saturday following the United States marshall walked through the temple in pursuit of the Twelve but could not find them. Sunday I met with the quorum in the temple according to appointment.
January 11, 1846. I was called on to go to work in the temple which I did. I assisted in the forenoon, afternoon and at night. I annointed some 70 persons. Twenty-six of us were called upon to go to the temple and be sealed to Brother Heber C. Kimball. The next Friday we were invited to go to Father Kimball’s and we received some good instructions and enjoyed ourselves in a dance, also.
The next week we were to work in the temple and father Kimball called on me to go home and get my wife and also James Smith and wife to be sealed to our wives. We did this. We were conducted into another department and received our Second Anointing. This was a source of knowledge to us and it was a great consolation that we were counted worthy before our Father in Heaven to receive that which we did receive.
I still continue to iron wagons. My health is very poor but am obliged to work nights in order to get ready to go into the wilderness. This has a tendency to break down my constitution. I feel very unwell.
May 1, 1846. We have only one yoke of oxen. I bought them from Brother Orlando in February. They are very poor. I cannot get any oxen from the Trustees nor anything of any worth as I was promised by Brother Whitney.
June. I continue to work nights to get cloth for my wagon and tent. I repaired a wagon for Winson Lyons and received $15 and bought some cloth to make a cover for my wagon and tent. I also bought some cloth for a thin coat and pants and some other little articles.
Brother Moore, who was doing woodwork for the Trustees and had the care of Brother Whitney’s business, insulted me one morning very inhumanely for taking other work besides that of the Trustees, and for working nights for other people. He knows full well that I have no way of getting a morsel of sweetening, not a morsel of store pay from the Trustee for flour. I have been working for them all winter. Brother Moore threatened to shut up my shop but as it happened he went to the Trustees’ books and found there that I owned the tools; therefore, he was obliged to haul in his horns and stop his abusive language. Brother Moore brought Brother Hayward, one of the Trustees, and asked me how much work I had engaged and said I only lied. I spoke and informed Brother Hayward what I had done for the Trustees, and what I had received and not according to the agreement I had with Brother Whitney.
Brother Whitney agreed that I was to be fitted out every whit but says I, you see, I am not fitted out nowhere near only as I have worked at nights to help myself. I says I will not stand for it. Well, said Brother Hayward, here is two five-dollar pieces, one for you and one for your brother, Orlando, and if you will go and finish these wagons, you shall have some more as soon as we can get it and anything that we have.
I from this time turned away all cash jobs continually expecting to receive some money from Brother Hayward, but all in vain. By the time we had worked ten or fifteen days, cash jobs were scarce and not many jobs of any kind came in. I am not able to lift my hammer hardly but I am obliged to get my wagons done, and Moon’s and Harper’s. They are rushing me all the time. The mob says we must be out by the first of June. I did a job for Brother Rider which if I hadn’t done I not have got any sugar, nor coffee nor any of the comforts of life.
But Brother Moore could not hold his peace as he must throw out some of his abusive language to Brother Rider saying that he must go to some other smith and not to me. Brother Rider said he did it to help me along as I was having a hard time of it. I think if it had not been for Brother Rider I should not have been able to get out of Nauvoo City, comfortably or not at all. I did $10 worth of work for Brother Rider notwithstanding the curtness of Brother Moore.
About the fifteenth of June the mob gathered on the prairie about four miles out of town and threatened to come into the city. The sheriff called all the people to defend themselves. He also selected a posse to go any moment. The new Citizens Committee held a number of meetings to take into consideration what they should do. The Mormons also met and chose their counselors that they might consult with the Citizens Committee. The new Citizens Committee had the full control of the business of the city. The new Citizens Committee appointed a committee to consult with the committee from the mob. They consulted with the mob committee concerning the Mormons. The citizens Committee told the Mob Committee the Mormons were getting away as fast as possible. They were crossing the Mississippi River as fast as four or five boat loads could cross. Some were on the banks of the river with some of their things and some had very little to eat. The Citizens Committee rather cooled the mob off and so they broke up and went home. However, they continue to threat daily. The Citizens Committee were sent out again in a day or so and to their utter astonishment they found the mob had all dispersed except two or three who had hid themselves behind a thicket. They were much frightened as they had heard the night before that the sheriff was coming in the morning with 800 strong and slay them all. They all scattered like sheep when the wolves are among them. Some went for home and some for the woods. This was the Committee’s report and this was the case as some of our brethren who lived out on the prairie said the members of the mob were running in all directions all night and morning. Some of the mob came to their houses for water and seemed to be very much frightened. Peace seemed to be restored once more in the city.
About June 28, 1846 we took our leave of Nauvoo. We went down to the ferry boat landing. It was difficult to get a boat started. I ran around until I was very much fatigued and my wife was also very tired and nervous, having to watch the cattle. I had two yoke, and one wagon and one cow. My oxen were quite unruly while I was running around for a boat. We had a small babe about one year old.
I got my wagon on the boat but left my wife and cattle. My wife felt timid about staying in the wagon because the boat was so heavily loaded we could not take them. We finally got across safely by hard work. I never worked harder in my life than I did on those oars trying to get across the river. I was in a great hurry to get back to my wife. Brother Rogers took me over. I arranged for passage for my wife, Joseph and Elizabeth to cross and stop in the wagon I had previously taken over. I was detained for sometime before I got my cattle over on a boat. I arrived over about 4 o’clock. I hitched my cattle on the wagon and we started for the Jack Oak Grove, along with Brother Eggleston and a number of other brethren.
We stopped at the Jack Oak Grove for two days after which I started to overtake Brother Joseph Young as he desired me to journey with him in the wilderness. We arrived at his camp on Mount Taber, about two miles from Jack Oak Grove. We stopped here about three weeks. In the meantime I was called on to attend to the sick. The first was Brother Hunter, the Bishop. He was attacked with cholera morbus, and was very bad. I waited on him very closely for a few days in order to keep him alive. In eight or ten days he got so he could get about and he rewarded me well for my services.
I also attended to five or six other persons and they all recovered from their illness.
My son, Joseph, was attacked with a disease like cholera. We did not think he would live from one minute to the next. I gave him medicine but it had no effect. I called in a brother and we anointed him from head to foot and in about an hour he began to vomit. He vomited about a chamber full and then called for a drink of water. Shortly, he was quite bright and then called for something to eat. He was much better in a few days quite unexpected to the neighbors. I believe the anointing was the thing that made the medicine operate. I and my wife did truly rejoice that our son was saved from the grasp of the destroyer. After a few days our son was playing about to the utter astonishment of all the neighbors.
I was sick myself for I had worked myself down before we had started from Nauvoo. I, therefore, did not keep the record of the times and all the particulars of my journeyings in the wilderness. At the present time I am sick and trying to recover from the fever and ague. I shall try to give as correct account of my journeyings as possible.
We took up our tent about the middle of July as near as can be remembered and took our leave of Mount Taber. We stopped about a mile and a half on account of the health of Brother Joseph Young. We found a shady place and enjoyed ourselves as much as could be expected under the existing circumstances. No one was down sick except Brother Joseph Young. We stopped ten days in a beautiful grove. It was about eight miles from the river.
We started today and journeyed all this day and it rained before we could get a place to stop. We found a place but it rained very hard. It held us up some. We made a fire and made our supper and it rained all night. In the morning we started on our journey before breakfast. It was very muddy traveling and somewhat misty and rainy. This morning we had some very bad hills to go up and down. My wife was very much frightened and would not ride in the wagon when we drove down the hills. This had a tendency to wear on her and break down her constitution. We traveled until about nine o’clock and stopped and took our breakfast. In about an hour we started for Bonaparte. We traveled and came to a little town, Charlestown, about noon and were treated with beer which was beautiful. Brother Joseph Young treated us. We traveled and tented by H. Green, a brother. It was a fine place. The next morning we started for Bonaparte. The next place we tented I do not recollect. The roads were very rough but we arrived at Bonaparte safely about 12 o’clock. We stopped there about two hours. We then forded the river. The women were put into one wagon, crossed over safely. We then followed and got over safely without getting our goods and provisions wet. We traveled on a bad road this afternoon. It was narrow and full of stumps and holes.
This night we stopped about seven or eight miles beyond Bonaparte. My wife and I were very much beat out. I cannot remember all the stopping places; therefore, I shall not try to give all the particulars. My wife continues to be somewhat frightened going down pitches and hills. She made a practice of getting out of the wagon and taking the baby and walking. Notwithstanding she was cheerful and would often exclaim how sweet and delightful it was to ride over the large and open prairies into the wilderness and how much comfort we shall have later on. She would say if it were not for the steep hills she would take great comfort in riding into the wilderness. But, alas, my dear wife every night was most beat out and so tired when we stopped that she did not feel like eating or doing anything else. I was sick and she was most of the time. But we put the best side out and moved along with the rest of the company.
August 18. I was quite sick so I was obliged to take an emetic. We stopped a few days to rest and wash. The weather was most fine and splendid. I was somewhat unwell but by faith and the blessings of God, I was able to continue the journey. We had stopped at this place for a week. In the meantime, I gathered a quantity of blackberries. We visited some of the Gentiles and supped with them and found them quite favorable to us as a camp.
I, Joseph, started from this place for Salt Creek two days before the others. The roads were quite good considering it being a wilderness. We were in pretty good spirits considering our ill health. I, Joseph, did kill some prairie hens at sundry times and they made a delicious dish for we had no meat. We gathered a quantity cow which provided plenty of milk and butter. We gathered a quantity of wild plums which were good to eat. We treated the entire company.
After many days we arrived at Mt. Pisgah. It was the first stake or place that was appointed on this route. As far as I could calculate or describe the land was broken and hilly with some timber.
Brother Joseph Young, our leader thought it was not convenient to pitch our tents here but on the other side of the town. We crossed a bridge about 30 or 40 feet wide and the water was about 5 feet deep. We stopped here for three days. In the meantime, Sister Young was very unwell. I was, therefore, called on by Brother Young to administer medicine to her as I had hitherto done before. Brother Dunken called on me to come and see his children and give them something for they were very sick with the fever. I, accordingly, went and gave them herbs and they got some better so that Brother Dunken could start on with us the next day. We were to go 25 miles today. I do not recollect what day of the month it was but I think it was the latter part of August.
Monday we started and I, Joseph, was quite unwell. We travelled until sunset and came to the desired place and stopped for one day. I took a course of medicine. The next day we started on our journey having tolerable luck. However, one of the boxes to my hind wheel broke but I wedged it up so it lasted me to the camp. Brother Joseph Young also broke one of the boxes of his wagon at the same time.
My health did decline every day. This morning I was taken with a chill and fever but I still drove my team for I knew if I gave up the ship my wife would get discouraged and she was already sick and beat out. I called on the Lord continually for health and strength.
My son, Joseph, was taken sick about the first of September and in a few days my wife, Martha, had to acknowledge that she was sick, in fact, she had been sick for sometime, even all the way on the journey but she would not give in. She feared it would discourage me. One morning I was attacked with a severe shake but still I drove my team in order to become master of the disease. I did travel on foot until I could not stand so I got into the wagon and the chill and fever stopped. I was brought to consider and meditate how I should stand it much longer. My past works before the Lord came before me. I called on the Father in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, to give me faith to endure. At this same time the good spirit seemed to whisper to me that if I would go to Brother Joseph Young he would tell me words whereby I should be healed. The testimony of the spirit was powerful to that degree that my fever broke and I did sweat profusely. I spoke to my wife and told her what my meditations were. I could not refrain from a flow of tears. She believed what I said for she had a testimony of it.
This evening we traveled very late and it was rough going so that Martha did go ahead and pick the road and see where the stumps were. I was so unwell this evening that I could not see very well. My wife was so sick and tired and troubled about me for fear that I would get under the wheels or under the oxen’s feet that she moaned bitterly. Notwithstanding after traveling in the woods, among the stumps, and up and down the hills, we came to a creek, the name of which I cannot recollect. In order to get across the creek with our teams, it took two to drive the team and five or six to hold up on one side of the wagon in order to keep the wagon from tipping over. We all got over safely. The bridge was made of flood wood. We gathered up some wood the best way we could, made a fire, cooked a little and went to bed.
We stopped at this place for one day and I was quite smart and went to hunt the cattle. In the meantime I found a fine quantity of grapes. Alma, Brother Joseph Young’s boy, went with me. We got about three packs.
The next morning we started about 9 o’clock. Here we are about 75 miles from Council Bluffs. I still continue to have the ague and my wife, Martha, dear soul, and Joseph and Martha Jane, the baby, are growing worse every day. We arrived at the Liberty Pole where the first party camped in the summer and who preceded us.
President Brigham administered to my wife who was very sick. She felt some better. The next morning we started across the ferry. About 11 o’clock, I took a severe attack of ague and fever. I shook from head to foot. We tied our cattle to the side of the flat boat and swam them across the river. Brother Brigham asked if he should drive my team to camp and have my wife and Joseph and our little babe ride in his buggy wagon and let Brother Lorenzo drive them. We had about 14 miles to go to reach camp. We arrived at the camp of the Saints about sundown. I had a very hot fever and my wife Martha was so sick she could not sit up. My son Joseph was also very sick. Brother Young took us in his tent. Truly I felt to thank my Heavenly Father for his kindness and mercy in sparing our lives and also that I had the opportunity again of beholding my brethren and the grand spectacle of beholding the Camp of Israel on a prairie far from her nativity. I feel very thankful to Brother Brigham for his kindness in taking my tent and in meeting us. Truly I shall always remember it, for the prophet of the Lord to drive my tent was an example of service to me. It reminded me of what Jesus said, “Whosoever shall be great among you let him be your minister; even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but minister.” I hope that I may always do likewise.
The morning following was the Sabbath. It was very windy and somewhat cloudy. To look around upon the camp and see the tents in motion and hear the large herds of cattle lowing, it caused me to meditate upon the Camp of Israel in the days of Moses. Says I to myself, “Can it be possible that we have been driven from the land of our fathers who did lay down their lives for our liberty that we might worship God according to the dictates of our conscience?” But I feel to rejoice that we have a promise of a more sure inheritance, even when this earth shall be celestialized. That inspires my heart to endure all things.
This morning we moved out about two miles from camp with Brother Young. We stopped here for about three days, and Father Kimball came and visited us and said we should come over to his division, and they could nurse us better than we could get with Brother Joseph Young, as Brother Young’s family was also sick. Accordingly, Brother James Smith drove me over to Father Kimball’s division. I spread my tent beside my wagon and got a bedstead and placed my wife on an ordinary bed once more. She was very weak, and we could hardly get her out of the wagon. With much difficulty we got her to bed. Father Kimball got us a girl to help take care of our baby which was not well.
I nursed my wife as well as I could. Yea, I did stand by her bed and did minister herbs and mild foods and prayed over her. I was sick myself. I had a high fever and shook all over. My wife could not take any food, only a little water. For nine days she took but very little of anything. After considerable persuasion, I got her to take an ametick [emetic] of Lobelia and this helped her. She said the ice water tasted good. Mother Kimball and the other sisters came to see my wife, and she talked quite freely with them. I did not think she would die, but she told some who were there she could not live. This morning I ate a very hearty breakfast. About 10 o’clock I was taken with a severe attack, the hardest I had ever had. I vomited a great deal and lay prostrate upon the ground. I exercised all the faith I could and I could not raise up. I did not know what was going on around me, but I did hear them ask Martha what they should do with the little babe, and she said, “Let me have the dear little lamb, and you see to my dear husband, as he is almost dead.” This is the last time I heard Martha speak. I had such a fever I was out of my head for some time.
About 10 o’clock in the evening Father Kimball came to the tent door and asked how we were. I told him I was better and I thought my wife was, for she was asleep. I went to sleep again. When I awoke later, although I was very ill, the first thing I did was to go to the bed of Martha to see how she was. She was partly uncovered and cold. I spoke to her but she could not speak. I persevered, but she was so stopped up in the throat she could not speak. She was unconscious and did not move. Her eyes were half shut, and she breathed very hard. Her pulse was low, and she was cold as death in her lower limbs. I concluded she was struck with death. I could not do much for her, as she could not swallow. I went for Father Kimball. He came and laid hands on her. He asked her if she knew him, but she made no signs that she knew him. I presume the dampness of the night and the bed clothes being partly off, and not having anyone to watch and give her some warm drinks and keep her warm, she took her death of cold.
Martha departed this life September 16, 1846, at about 11 o’clock. She was laid out in her robes to come forth in the morning of the resurrection. She was full of faith and good works. She delighted in the blessings of the Kingdom. It was her meat and drink to hear them spoken of. She often spoke of the Glory of God and what a blessing it would be to live and enjoy it. She did desire to live and gain more knowledge of God and his plans. She died without a struggle or groan. I stopped beside her bed until she drew her last breath and closed her eyes. She showed in her countenance that she was at rest. A number spoke of her pleasant countenance and peaceful corpse. If I am faithful, I anticipate meeting her and embracing her when she comes forth in the morning of the resurrection. I will behold her with a glorious body that cannot be diseased and afflicted, and all tears will be wiped away. My daily prayer is that I may hold out until the end and enjoy the glories of the Celestial Kingdom with her, and reign with my brethren throughout all eternity.
My dear wife Martha was interred in as good a manner as the existing circumstances would permit. We had a good coffin, and she was carried to the burying grounds. The sexton recorded her name with the dead, and she was numbered in his book.
I continued to be sick upon my bed. I was removed from my tent to Brother Davis’s. It was decided that we should move down on the bottoms near the river for Winter Quarters. Accordingly, September 24, I was moved with the rest about three miles. I was very sick as well as my son Joseph and my little babe Martha Jane. My tent was spread near the other tents. My little babe I boarded out to Sister Dunlap. I paid one dollar per week and furnished the bed for the child. The little thing was very sick, and I did not expect her to live from one day to the next.
I lived in a tent for about fourteen weeks, and then moved in with Brother Dunlap in his mud house. The weather was fine for this time of the season. One of the old settlers said for twelve years he had not seen such a moderate season. In the meantime, the brethren had put up a number of log and mud houses. They built about 100 such houses in six weeks. The timber was not very good, and they had to go quite a distance for it. Some went fourteen miles up the river and rafted down logs. They had exceedingly bad luck as the current was strong and the sand bars so frequent that it made it difficult.
The location of Winter Quarters bordered on the Missouri River about fourteen miles below Council Bluffs on the opposite side of the river. Our President Young and councilors made a treaty with the government and the Omaha Indians to build and plant for three or four years.
My health continued to be very bad for the fever and ague preyed upon me with violence. However, some days I was better and then I would take a backset or a violent cold all through my system. Joseph was about the same as myself. The babe was gaining some.
The brethren built a Council House, and they called a meeting to dedicate it, Brother Brigham there and a number of the Twelve. They talked about having a dance for those who had built it or assisted. Brother Brigham said he was going to have the first dance and his brethren with him so they would set a pattern for the rest. They called for the band, and on they came forthwith. Brother Brigham organized a number of couples and set the band to playing a tune, after which we kneeled down and prayed to the God of Heaven. I can truly say that the prayer that was offered up and the music and the dance were controlled with the Spirit of God which caused me to shed a flow of tears for joy. It was the first meeting I had been to for some time. Truly I was led to say this was the way the ancient fathers praised the Lord in a dance. The floor had been made of green timber. I took a violent cold, and it laid me up for some time.
The next day was the Sabbath. A revelation was read which had been given previous concerning us being driven out from our inheritance of our fathers and concerning the keeping of our covenants and organizing into companies to journey in the spring. Also to humble ourselves and to keep all the commandments of God. If we felt like it we could praise the Lord by song, dance and playing on instruments.
We began to organize into companies. Two divisions. First, Brother Brigham and second, Brother Kimball. We could not raise sufficient teams and provisions. The next thing they had to do was to fit out the pioneers as soon as possible. It was a hard matter to fit them out. They called for teams, tools and provisions of all descriptions. Meanwhile, Brother Brigham built a mule to grind corn and wheat. It caused a good deal of expense for it was built on a creek and the dam was not properly built and it washed out a number of times.
In February , Brother Kimball told me that if I would be careful of myself I would get well and drive a team on to the mountains and my cheeks would be rosy and health would spring up again in my bones. This caused my heart to rejoice. I feel to praise the Lord continually for his goodness to me and sparing my life to see these days, although my afflictions are great. I look continually ahead for the great reward for those who held out and are faithful until the end. I believe that I shall go forth and bear testimony unto the nations of the earth for it is more than my meat and my drink to do the will of my Father in Heaven.