I am now almost fifty-four years of age, and I expect in a few years to go the way of all the earth, and now commence this work as one of the last and important duties of my life.
I was born in the state of Vermont, Orange County, town of Virshier, on the 28th day of July, 1797. My father’s name was Moses French Jackman. My mother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Carr.
I know but little of my grandparents, only what I obtained from my mother when I was quite young. She informed me that my Grandfather Jackman and his two brothers came from England at an early date, and were all Baptist Deacons. My father was put to a shoemaker’s trade when a boy in old Salisbury, state of Massachusetts, in which place my mother lived.
My Grandfather Carr was a seafaring man and died in the city of New York, of a yellow fever at an early age. I have no knowledge of the death of either of the others of my grandparents.
My mother was born about the year 1750 or 1760. I think my father was a little the youngest.
Soon after they were married, my father moved to the state of Vermont. My mother had five boys as follows: Daniel, Moses French, James Rayerdon, William, and myself, Levi. They had no girls. My father was killed by the fall of a tree on July 7, 1797, three weeks before I was born. He was a man of almost unexampled piety, and his death was much lamented by all who knew him. I was born July 28, 1797.
The next winter my Uncle Levi took my brother Moses and kept him till he was twenty years old.
My mother had a hard time to provide for her family while they were young. In February, 1810, we moved to the state of New York; arrived at Batavia on the 26th of March and in the fore-part of April went on a piece of land that we had selected for our home.
The country was entirely new, and game such as bear, deer, wolf, etc., was plentiful. At that season the earth was covered with herbage and blossoms of every variety. The scenery was truly delightful, but the flood of immigration soon changed the appearance of things.
Soon after our arrival, my mother had a cancer in her breast which terminated her days about the 20th of September, 1819. She was one of the best mothers, and spared no pains to bring up her children in way they should go.
On the 13th day of November, 1817, I married a wife by the name of Angeline Myers. This was in the town of Alexander, Genesee County, and the place where we first stopped when we came to the county.
My wife, when I married her, had a son by the name of Albert Brady. He was then about four years old. We afterwards called him by my name.
We had five children as follows: William was born October 6, 1818. Aurelia was born September 20, 1820. Parmenio was born August 6, 1822. Ammi was born February 6, 1825. The next was a boy, Levi Myers, born May 2, 1828, but he lived only about two hours.
In the year 1830, we moved to the Ohio Portage County. The next winter Joseph Smith and others came to that country with the Book of Mormon, and bore testimony to its truth, etc. After a fair investigation I believed it, and embraced it. On the 4th day of May, 1831, my wife and her mother were baptized. On the 7th I was baptized. Harvey Whitlock baptized us and many more in that place.
A few days after this I was ordained an elder by Oliver Cowdrey [Cowdery]. This season Joseph Smith with about twenty elders went to the west part of the state of Missouri to find location for the saints. They returned the next fall after having picked on Jackson County for the place. This season a few families moved to the place. The work spread with much power and signs followed the preaching of the work, and very many received it. In November, at a conference, I was ordained a high priest with many others. It was decided that as many as could (with few exceptions) should move west the next spring.
Wishing to see some of my brothers who lived in Pennsylvania before I went west, I started in March, in company with Peter Whitmer, to see them.
The first evening after we arrived at my brothers in Columbus, we attended a Methodist meeting and were invited to preach. It was new work to us, but we did the best we could. When we were through we were opposed, and abused by their leader. We were invited to preach the next evening in a school house in another part of town.
At the appointed time we went to the place. The house was full. A stand with a lamp and candle burned on it, with two chairs to point the place for us.
If ever I felt small it was at that time. Brother Porter testified to the Book of Mormon, made a few remarks and sat down. I found good liberty in speaking, and the people did honor to the name of gentlemen and ladies, and I hope some good will result from the interview. We soon returned home.
Persecution had already commenced in this place. Early in the spring, [at Hiram, Ohio] Joseph Smith and Sydney [Sidney] Rigdon were taken from their beds, and dragged on the ground for some distance. Joseph was taken near half a mile and beaten till he was left for dead.
On the 2nd of May, 1832, I started with a company of near one hundred for the west, and arrived at Bever, on the Ohio River, on the 6th. We chartered the steamboat, Messenger, and started down the Ohio on the evening of the 7th, and arrived at St. Louis on the 14th. We left St. Louis by land on the 20th, after shipping a part of our goods for Chariton. The teams arrived at that place on the 7th of June. At this place, Brother Shanks and myself and families had to stop for want of teams. I soon went to Jackson County, a distance of 110 miles, and got teams and we started on the first day of August, and arrived at Independence on the 14th. In a day or two we went to another settlement of the brethren west of Independence about ten miles. This was called the Timber Branch.
As a people we now began to enjoy ourselves, supposing that our warfare was ended. A printing press was already in operation; one store; schools were in many places; mechanics and farmers all busily engaged, and everything seemed to promise peace and prosperity.
But our hopes were soon blasted. The spirit of slander and persecution soon began to show itself. The mob soon began to hold meetings to take measure against us, and our once clear horizon began to show the gathering of a dreadful storm which was soon to fall on our defenseless heads.
On the 20th of July , a meeting of from 300 to 400 of the mob gathered at Independence to commence their operations of destruction. They tore down our printing office (a two story brick building), and destroyed most of the contents. They stripped, and tarred and feathered Bishop Partridge and one Allen, and threatened death and destruction to all the saints if they did not leave the country.
Some of our leading men, for the sake of a compromise for the present time, agreed for themselves, to leave the country; one half of them by the first of January next and the other half by the first of May and to use their influence to have all the Church do the same, hoping something would turn in our favor before that time. We laid the matter before the Governor, but he had not power to help us. After frequent insults and abuses, they laid a plan to be carried into effect on the evening of the 31st of October. That evening I shall never forget. I had been in bed some time, suspecting no evil, when I was called on by Brother Peck who informed me that the mob was throwing down houses nearby, in the south part of the settlement. I arose, put on my clothes, and went to the door.
The moon was shining in its meridian glory, not a cloud to be seen, not a breeze of wind to disturb the quiet repose of the leaves of the trees. All nature seemed to be hushed into silence to witness a tragedy not often acted on the earth by people who call themselves civilized.
A mob party of from 40 to 50, with weapons of death, had come upon our settlement in an hour not looked for, and had commenced throwing down houses, and shamefully beating the men when they could catch them, while the women with their little ones fled to the woods to hide themselves in the brush to save their lives from being taken by the mob. The falling of the logs and boards as they fell to the ground, could be heard quite a distance in the stillness of the night and was well calculated to strike horror to the saints who saw that destruction awaited them.
Some fifteen houses were more or less demolished, and some of the men pounded in a shameful manner.
The next morning the people sallied forth from their hiding places, and witnessed the destruction of their once happy homes where they had so lately enjoyed the prospect of peace and future prosperity. All hopes of remaining in that country were at an end, and gloom and sorrow were the common lot of all the saints.
About this time Brother Golbert’s store was broken into by the mob, and many of his goods were strewn about the streets.
I shall mention but a few of the particulars of the doings of the mob, because it has been written by abler pens than mine.
The brethren that lived in the Timber Branch thought it best for their safety to go some two or three miles to a small branch that lived on the edge of the prairie, where the brethren had a grist mill, and try to save that from the mob.
We had been in that place a few days when, on the 4th day of November, 1833, a messenger came in haste and informed us that a mob was at the River Blue; had taken the ferry, and was committing violence on the people which were between the Timber Branch and Independence.
David Whitmer, who had charge of the post, took about fifteen men and went to see what was going on, leaving the place in my charge. In two or three hours he returned and said that the mob met them on the way and dispersed his company. Those of us that remained started as fast as possible to learn the fate of our brethren. We numbered about thirty with fifteen guns.
We soon came in sight of the mob in and about Christian Whitmer’s house. They numbered about sixty, well armed. They did not discover us till we were within pistol shot, when James Campbell, their leader, called, “There come the Mormons, damn them um, shoot um.” A general discharge took place, the mob ran in confusion crying, “Go back, Mormons. Go back, Mormons.” They left two of their numbers on the ground. One lawyer by the name of Brazill was killed, one more mortally wounded by the name of Linvill. One of our men by the name of Baber, was mortally wounded. A number of both sides were wounded. It was about sunset, and some thought that we had better stop in an empty house near by, but by my advice as to a place of more safety was to return to the mill.
The most of our men felt cheerful and ate their supper and attended to the wounded as though nothing serious had happened. But it was different with me, I could neither eat or sleep. I saw that we were in a situation that nothing but the arm of God could preserve us as we were few in number and surrounded by thousands who waited only for some pretext to cut us all from the face of the earth. I saw that they then had something to start on, and unless the Lord should do something for us, we must all be hewn down by a raging and relentless mob. While thus reflecting on our situation, it was proposed that two or three of us should go to town and see how things were shaping in that quarter. I proposed to go for one. Three of us started and went a back route where it was not inhabited, and got to the place where the brethren lived sometime before day. A scene of horror and destruction presented itself. The news of the battle, much exaggerated, had reached the mob in town. They had seized a number of our men and put them in prison, and were threatening death and destruction to all the Mormons.
The leaders of our people were trying to effect some treaty with the leaders of the mob, but it seemed like tempering with demons.
The mob made a demand of all our men that were in the battle. This was agreed to for we could not help ourselves. I then expected to be tried for my life by a mob court, and the chance of escape was small. But they altered their minds, and made other arrangements and claimed but seven men as prisoners. Our people were to give up their guns, and leave the country without delay, and they were to protect us from insults by keeping a guard up to preserve the peace. And they were to charter the ferry for us to cross the river, which they failed to do, as in everything else they had agreed to do. After all the arrangements were made, I started for home. I soon met Lyman Wite [Wight], who hearing of the situation of the brethren in prison, and supposing they would be murdered, had raised all the brethren, about 100, and had started to release them or lay the town in ashes. I informed him of the arrangement, and it was consented to. They gave up fifty-one guns to the mob. When the guns were surrendered, the mob did not dare to take them from the hands of the brethren, but ordered them to stack the guns against the fence from whence they fetched them.
I went home in hopes that we should remain undisturbed till we could get away. But in this I was deceived. No sooner were we disarmed, than they, without fear, went from house to house, plundering, whipping and insulting whom and as they pleased, threatening the women and children with death and everything that was calculated to spread horror and dismay through the country where the most of the men were driven away and none to help them.
After spending a few days at home getting ready for my departure, I started for town to get some salt. I kept a little from the road to save insults. I happened to fall in with a company of women and children with bundles in their hands, with one wagon and one man. They told me that an armed mob had gone up and threatened to burn them up if they were not gone when they returned, and the little group was making their way for the prairie. The sun was about two hours high. I soon reached the west part of the town where the brethren lived.
The whole place was in the utmost confusion. The mob was raging like fiends of darkness, and it was with great difficulty that their head men could keep them from murdering the entire people. At this critical moment the cry of MURDER was heard at a short distance. I said to Brother Sylvester Howlett [Hewlett?] who was standing close to me, that this was no place for us. We started in haste for the woods and soon got into the thick brush, where we would be safe for a short time.
It soon became dark and we could not travel as the brush was very thick and no road. We wanted to strike out on the prairie but we could not tell which way south was. We kept on till we struck a trail but did not know which way to go. We lay down, watched the move of the stars. We then started and soon came out. I had a few hours of deep reflection on our situation. I expected the mob had gone up according to the report of the women I had seen, and what I had since seen and heard confirmed it in my mind that they had gone up to make a general slaughter. I did not really expect to see my family anymore and the appearance was that if we saved our lives it would be by going through the unsettled part of the state of Illinois or St. Louis.
We concluded, however, to go on a back trail towards home and see what we could discover. We found some men in a back settlement who informed us that the mob had done no injury only by way of hurrying us off. I then went home and found my family with each a little budget ready to start on my return. But I concluded to wait a few days as I had no team neither did we know where to go as every avenue seemed to be stopped. Attempts were made to go to different counties, but the inhabitants refused us admission, and for a long time it seemed that we must stand still and be murdered all together.
But at last we gained admittance into Clay County on the opposite side of the river and by the last of December the brethren were mostly in that county and many without shelter for winter. But as a general thing the people were kind to us. In the summer of 1834, Brother Joseph, with about 100 brethren, arrived from the east to render some assistance to us. He organized the Church in that country and established a high council of which I was appointed a member.
Brother Joseph soon returned with the most of those that came with him. Much excitement was occasioned by their arrival among the settlers of the country.
A temple was now being built in Kirtland, Ohio and many of the first elders were instructed to go to that place to help on with the work and to preach by the way and I was on of the number. I made my arrangements for going and on the fourth day of May 1835, I took an affectionate farewell of my family and started in company with Brother Calob Baldwin, on foot and without money.
We traveled this day, 18 miles and stopped with Brother Sheffield Daniels.
Tuesday, May 5 – Breakfasted with Brother Ezekeil Pock, traveled 24 miles to Richmond and stopped with Justice Pooler.
Wednesday 6 – Traveled 32 miles through country and stopped with a fine sort of a man by the name of Carey, on the Wackendaw.
Thursday 7 – It rained in the night. It was muddy walking this day, we went 45 miles to the Charriton River and stopped with a Brother Niccols.
Friday 8 – It had the appearance of a rainy day and stopped and held a meeting with the brethren and baptized two, viz.: A.B. Jackman, and Betsey Ann Fossett. We had a good time and rejoiced together.
Saturday 9 – Traveled 32 miles and stopped with one Mr. Kimbo in Randolph County.
Sabbath Day, May 10 – This day we had to wade through several of the branches of the Salt River and after traveling 37 miles, arrived at the Salt River Branch of the Church and stopped with Brother I. Allred.
Monday, May 11 – We tarried this day with the brethren and found them mostly in good faith and doing well.
Tuesday, May 12 – We traveled this day about 27 miles and it was with much difficulty and after a number of trials that we got a chance to stop at any house, but at last was taken in by one Lewis in Pike County. He was a Baptist man. We were used with respect by himself and family.
Wednesday, May 13 – This day we went to Bolen Green. Arrived about one o’clock pm, having traveled 15 miles. We stopped with Brother McBride. Four families of the brethren lived in this place. The most of them came together and we spent the remainder of the day and evening in teaching the things of the kingdom of God, and we had a profitable time together.
Thursday, May 14 – This day we reached Louisiana at two o’clock pm, a distance of 12 miles. This is a small town on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The ferry is kept at this place by a man by the name of Burnett. After crossing the river we passed through a town by the name of Atless; then passed down along the foot of the bluffs, and stopped with a gentleman by the name of Kurr in Pike County. Traveled this day 24 miles.
Friday, May 15 – This day we traveled 20 miles and stopped at Brother A. Holden’s in Green County after having crossed the Illinois River at Wagoner’s Ferry.
Saturday, May 16 – This day we passed through Carilton, the county seat of Green County. After traveling 22 miles we stopped with a brother by the name of Levi Mynick. This man was one of the number that was murdered in the slaughter by the mob at Hawn’s Mill, some years later. This was a fine family, and strong in the faith although no other of the same faith lived near them.
Sabbath, May 17 – We intended to hold a meeting this day in the school-house, but it was occupied by a Baptist missionary sent from the East under a salary of $500.00 for preaching every fourth Sabbath in this place. His name was Lemmon. We went to hear him and left an appointment for ourselves for the next day at four o’clock pm at that place.
Monday, May 18 – Accordingly we went and behold, Mr. Lemmon was on hand to look to his flock and the fleece. He had not the politeness to offer us a seat. So we took our seat on the back side of the house. We set forth the gospel in its plainness and the necessity of more revelation, etc. And when we had got through, the priest arose and said with zeal, crying out, “Delusion! False Prophets!” He having to assist him a little sheet filled with falsehoods written by the Reverend Mr. [William?] Peck. After he had finished his ungodly remarks, he started off in a hurry not giving us a chance to reply to him. We gave out another appointment for the next Sabbath at twelve.
Sabbath, May 24 – It was rainy this morning which prevented meeting till four pm when a few came together. We explained the little sheet alluded to, and showed the falsehoods it contained. We then preached on the gospel, etc., after which a Methodist Priest attempted to do something but made out but little and sat down. We think that our labor in this place has removed some prejudice from among the nonest part of the people.
Monday, May 25 – We left our beloved brother, Myrick, and family this morning and traveled on our way. A little before night it had the appearance of a heavy rain. We stopped in a little old cabin, and improved the time in giving the people some idea of our faith, etc. They were attentive and appeared to come to understanding. We traveled this day 24 miles.
Tuesday, May 26 – The night had been very rainy and the country being low the trailing was very hard. The rain again descended in torrents. We had to wade considerable of the way, and our umbrellas were of but little use in a heavy storm. We traveled only about six miles this day and stopped with on W.J. Matclean. We spent the remainder of the day in reasoning from the scriptures, etc.
Wednesday, May 27 – We traveled but a short distance this day, it being rainy, and stopped with one Turner. In the evening a number of men came in to talk with us. Among them was a Methodist exhorter. He was ignorant and zealous. In our conversation we quoted the sayings of Christ to his apostles in regard to the signs that should follow them that believe. He would not believe that it was in the Bible, and in fact we found many such cases, so great was the ignorance of the people although they professed much wisdom. We tried to get up a meeting, but could not.
Thursday, May 28 – We traveled this day thirty miles in the rain and in a low wet country and stopped.
Friday, May 29 – This day we passed through Springfield, went 24 miles and stopped with a widow Campbell.
Saturday, May 30 – Traveled fifteen miles to a place called flat branch. We found six families of the saints in this place. They were much rejoiced to see us and we none the less to see them for we needed some rest and repose being rather worn down.
Sabbath, May 31 – We held a meeting with the saints and had a refreshing season. They seemed to enjoy much of the spirit of the Lord and strong faith in the gospel. Brothers A. Smith and E. Miller said they would go a day or two with us on our journey if we would stay until Wednesday. We did so and had our clothes washed.
Wednesday, June 3 – The country before us was low and many streams to cross and the morning being rainy we concluded to stop another day. We held a meeting in the afternoon. The spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us in an uncommon manner. The spirit manifested to me that they were prepared to be sealed up unto eternal life which when I proclaimed to them the spirit fell on us all as it were like a refiner’s fire, to a greater degree than I had ever before experienced.
Thursday, June 4, 1835 – We all started on in the morning and went about 25 miles through wet land and waded many ponds and creeks of deep water. Brother Miller preached that evening to a few of the neighbors that came in. Brother Smith and Baldwin followed him. They paid good attention and appeared to have good feelings. This was in Shelby County.
Friday, June 5 – This day we traveled about 18 miles and stopped with a Mr. Runalds.
Saturday June 6 – We tried to get a chance to preach but could not. We took dinner with a fine, friendly man by the name of Armon Trout. We stopped overnight with Wm. [William] G. Haden, Esq. He appeared at first to be jealous of us but after talking with him on the subject of our faith, he became very friendly and seemed almost loath to part with us in the morning, for his prejudices were removed from his mind.
Sabbath, June 7 – We could get no chance to preach but we stopped in houses and taught the people in their families and so spent the day traveling about 13 miles. We stopped with one Marten. They gave us supper and lodging but not breakfast. They were hard unbelieving people and like many others requested a sign to make them believers. We preached to them a while and left them.
Monday, June 8 – We went a short distance and took breakfast with one Guymon. He was a Baptist. He treated us kindly and gave good attention to our teaching. The roads were very muddy as usual. We struck the Terrehute Road and took dinner with one Shoats. He treated us kindly. At this place, we parted with Brothers Smith and Miller. They were good faithful brethren. We traveled this day about 18 miles and stopped with one Terrice in Edgar County. He treated us with civility but required pay for our victuals. We gave him a pair of slippers and he paid us back 25 cents.
Tuesday, June 9 – Passed through a small town by the name of Grandview; thence through Parie, the county seat of Edgar. About five miles from this, we found Brother Thomas Guymon. He was glad to see us. He was the only one that belonged to the Church in that country. He had been baptized by Brother Rathburn, some years previous. A number of elders had preached in that place and baptized only two and one of them was then gone. Brother Guymon invited us to preach. He said the people desired to hear more of our doctrine. It seemed hard for me to undertake to preach where smart elders had labored so much with so little success. Yet we considered it our duty to do so if they required it of us and leave the effect with God. We gave an appointment for the next day at 12 o’clock.
Wednesday, June 10 – According to appointment the people came together and gave good attention and desired us to preach again the next day at one o’clock. We consented. We were invited home with one Wm. [William] Hanks. He was quite believing from what he had already heard.
Thursday, June 11 – About thirty people came together. They gave good attention and wished to hear more. By this time a number became quite convinced of the truth of what we preached but were not ready to obey. Feeling anxious for their good we gave out an appointment for the next Sabbath. Thus far, we had not been persecuted and we had been blessed with good liberty, in preaching. A man by the name of Nelson Nunley, invited us home with him on Friday night. He was a representative from Edgar County, and is a fine, smart man and very believing.
Sabbath, June 14 – A large company came together the most of them were much delighted with the doctrine we preached. A Baptist Priest came also. After preaching was over and the people were dispersing, he endeavored to sour the minds of some out of doors by telling them that all the prophecies were fulfilled and that we had preached lies to them but he could not make the people believe it and he injured himself by trying to injure us and by fighting against the truth.
Monday, June 15 – As no one proposed to be baptized, we informed the people that there was no use in our staying any longer. After breakfast we started leaving, the most of them in tears. We had not gone far before some of the men overtook us and went with us to the neighbors and shortly after, their wives followed them. They wished that we should stop and preach the next day, which we agreed to.
Tuesday, June 16 – The people came from 6 to 8 miles to hear us and payed good attention and many were cut to the heart and desired to be baptized. We went in the water and baptized, while others wept aloud.
Thursday, June 18 – In the afternoon, we met for a confirmation meeting. The names of those that were baptized and confirmed were: Gabriel Taylor, Delila Taylor, Polley Roads and Sarah Guymon.
(Thus far I have written; Stopped for a season. I commence writing again in December, 1867. I am now a little over 70 years of age.)
Sabbath, June 21 – Held meeting at Brother Hank’s. Had a large and attentive congregation. After meeting, the brethren made choice of Brother Thomas Guymon, for their leader, and I ordained him a priest.
Monday, June 22 – Visited several of the neighbors and found many of them believing.
Tuesday, June 23 – Held a meeting at 5 o’clock p.m. and six more concluded to obey the gospel, namely: Thomas Rhodes, and his wife Elizabeth, Polley Hanks, Sarah Alley, Jane Savage, and Sarah Vervil. Thus, the work of the Lord began to work among them.
Wednesday, June 24 – Went out about five miles to visit a man by the name of Thomas Hickley.
Thursday, June 25 – Held a meeting at his house at four o’clock p.m. From thirty to forty people attended and gave good attention.
(The 26th and 27th we spent in visiting the people and writing letters.)
Sabbath, June 28 – Held a meeting at Brother Hank’s house. A large number collected. Brother Baldwin spoke first and I followed. We had good liberty in speaking. The most of them gave good attention. Some few would laugh and make fun out of what we said. Many believed what we said, except the new book, yet one by the name of Peter Savage believed and wished to obey.
Some stayed after meeting for the purpose of contention, but they had it among themselves.
After meeting we went home with Thomas M. Tade. He and his were believing. She was a sickly woman and had not been able to do her work for fourteen years, only a small part of the time.
The next Monday, June 29, she wished me to pray for her and lay hands on her, which I did. She received a portion of the spirit, and felt much comforted and soon began to mend.
We found some that believed what we preached, but could not feel themselves worthy to be baptized, thinking they must become saints in the place, but we soon convinced them that repentance came before perfection.
Friday, July 3 – At four o’clock p.m. we held a meeting to confirm those that had last been baptized. Many others that were present were convinced of the truth, but still kept back. Among those was one old lady by the name of Elizabeth O’Hair. After spending sleepless night, she came the next morning and desired to be baptized. We appointed a meeting at five p.m., Saturday, July 4th, and we ordained Thomas Rhodes an elder.
By this time the devil became angry, and some of his servants begin to threaten us with violence. But we thought it best for us to do our duty, and run the risk of the results, which we endeavored to do and trust in God for his aid. Accordingly we went and baptized Sarah Fannen, a young woman, and Mary Williams.
Sabbath, July 5 – We met for teaching, confirming, and breaking bread, etc. There was a large collection of people and we spent some time in speaking to them and then attended to the other duties, after which three more concluded to be baptized, namely: Thomas N. Tade, Amelia Tade, his wife, and Dulsina Ringo.
After that we had a controversy with our old enemy, the Baptist priest, and when we found that he desired darkness rather than light, Brother Baldwin warned him to repent and prophesied that he would be rejected by his flock and would finally die, a poor miserable being; all of which was fulfilled within a few years after, as I was informed by his daughter when I visited that place in the summer of 1844.
We met again after candlelight expecting that would be the last time that we should meet with them, as we intended to start the next day. Those that had been baptized last were confirmed. We gave such instructions as we thought proper, and dismissed.
Monday, July 6 – They so loathed to let us go, we concluded to stop one day longer and meet again. That evening we spent among the saints. We met according to appointment and John Lawson and Parmelia, his wife, were baptized. We had a time of rejoicing and the most of them wept like children.
I thought of the last meeting that Paul had with some of the saints, when he fold them that they would see his face no more. It was truly a trying time for us all. It was like parents and children taking a last long farewell of each other. A number stayed all night so loath they were to leave us.
Tuesday, July 7 – This morning we baptized a young woman by the name of Nancy Hill. We then started on, leaving many in tears. This day we traveled about 21 miles and stopped with Brother Daniel Shearer in Indiana.
Wesnesday, July 8 – This day we found the people hard-hearted, and it was with difficulty that we got a chance to stay with anyone. We finally stopped with one Elisha Harrison. He did not say much, but she was a hard case. In the morning we paid them seventy-five cents and went on.
Thursday, July 9 – We found the people this day as those yesterday. We had thought of the comforts of home and the loved ones we had so lately left behind. They would neither feed us nor hear us preach. We finally got a chance to sleep in a house, but could get nothing to eat. This was on the west margin of the city in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Friday, July 10 – We had six cents left with which we bought some bread which we ate for breakfast. We thought this to be a hard country for disciples. We stopped about noon, however, where they were about sitting down to dinner. They invited us to eat, which we did. They did not appear to have any regard for religion, but we felt to thank God and them for the kindness they bestowed on us. We stopped at a tavern, that night, kept by a man by the name of Woods in the town of Charlotvill [Charlotville]. We had to pay them out of money that was sent by us for Papers. At this place we were informed that about five miles north were some of our kind of people living.
Saturday, July 11 – We went to that place and found one that had been baptized; a lady by the name of Eleanor Mayerd [Maynard?]. Some others are believing, but were not quite ready to obey.
Sabbath, July 12 – We held meeting at one o’clock p.m. People gave good attention, and the most of them were friendly, but some of them were hard. A middle aged lady, who was keeping a school in that place, and who was at the house where I was invited to take supper, was very much enraged at me for my preaching, and abused me very much. When supper was ready, she was walking the floor. She was invited to eat, but would not, saying that she was not well.
I never saw her after, but was informed that she died in a day or two after we left, and some of them said that it was a judgement on her for her abusing that Mormon elder, having reference to me.
Monday, July 13 – We left that place and traveled about 22 miles and stopped with Brother Hammer.
Tuesday, July 14 – This day we struck into the national road again and crossed into the state of Ohio. About dark, we stopped to a tavern and engaged lodging, but the man and his son got into such a quarrel that we thought that we had better leave them to enjoy it alone. We went a mile or two further and stopped with a family who used us kindly. We left Indiana and with it a hard set of people.
Wednesday, July 15 – This day traveled about 32 miles and stopped near Dayton.
Thursday, July 16 – Crossed the Miamme River and through the beautiful town of Dayton. Nothing importance for a few days.
Sabbath, July 19 – We arrived at Brother Merrill’s in Milford, Knox County, where we found a small branch of about ten members in good standing.
Monday, July 20 – We stopped this day and held a meeting in the evening. The people were attentive.
Tuesday, July 21 – Started on. Nothing of importance took place for some days.
Thursday, July 23 – Stopped at New Portage where we found a branch of the Church of a good size. We preached to them in the p.m. They appeared to be doing well.
Friday, July 24 – We traveled to Auroria where Brother Bolden and I parted, having business in different directions. I went east to the town of Hiram, the place that I started from when we started for Jackson County, Missouri in 1832. I stopped that night at the home of Sister Hinkley. The few of my old friends that I saw were glad to see me, but being in a hurry to get through I did not stop long.
Sabbath, July 26 – This morning I reached Kirtland, and stopped with Brother David Whitmer. Went to the temple to meeting and heard Sidney Rigdon preach about four hours to about 1,000 people.
Tuesday, July 28 – (My birthday) I commenced work on the temple, and worked 194 days. The House was dedicated on Sunday, March 27, 1836. During my stay in this place I boarded with Elder Runals Cahoon. It was a fine family and enjoyed myself in their society. All the important circumstances that took place in these days are recorded in history. I would only say that I believe that as great things were heard and felt and seen as there was on the day of Pentecost with the apostles.
After these things were accomplished, and the elders were dismissed, I concluded to go east to visit my friends in Pennsylvania and York states.
Monday, April 10, 1836 – I started to see brothers Daniel and William in Pennsylvania. They lived in Columbus, Warren County. The roads were very bad with water, snow and mud. I arrived there on the fifth day about noon. They were much pleased to see me. I had not seen them for four years. I spent the most of my time in talking of our religion, and the Book of Mormon. But my labor seemed unavailing.
Tuesday, April 19 – This morning I left them in all probability for the last time on earth. I had done all I could, and I felt to leave the result with God. My feelings can not easily be described. I started to see my other brothers.
Thursday, April 21 – This day I arrived at the house of my brother Moses, in Catteraugus County, New York. My brother was not at home, but his family was glad to see me for I had not seen them for ten years. After explaining to them all I could concerning our religion and finding that all I could say could do them no good, I left them Saturday, April 23rd, to find other friends.
I arrived in the town of China, Genesee County, New York that evening and spent two days in visiting some of my old friends in that place. They were very glad to see me and talk to me, but I could not convince them of the truth of the Book of Mormon.
Monday, April 25 – This morning I started for Alexander to see my brother James, and other connections and friends in that place. Traveled 26 miles and stopped with John Myers, my wife’s brother. This was the place we first settled in the spring of 1810. It was then vast wilderness with but five families in the country. But now the patches of timber are small and far between. Oh, what a mighty change!
Tuesday, April 26 – I went to see my brother James, but he was not at home. But his wife nearly fainted when she saw me for they supposed that I was dead. My brother did not get home until Friday, during which time I spent in visiting my wife’s connections and my own, and spent the most of the time very pleasantly. On the return of my brother, I spent the most of my time with him. It was with him as with others of my friends. My company was agreeable, but my religion was not. After bearing my testimony to the Book of Mormon, etc., I left them with only twenty-five cents in my pocket and 1,000 miles from home on foot and alone.
Monday, May 2 – Reached Buffalo that evening, distance 28 miles.
Tuesday, May 3 – I found my brother Moses, and telling him of the great things that were taking place found that he, like others, could not believe my testimony. But to express my feelings on leaving my friends, from first to last, would be impossible. But I had consolation that I had tried to do them good. While walking on the sidewalk I found Brother King Follett who had been to that country on business. He had been collecting some money that was due him. Our meeting was joyous. He was my neighbor in Missouri and we were both going home. He let me have some money, and we engaged a passage on the steamer Columbia, to the nearest port to Kirtland.
We started at six p.m. on Tuesday, May 4th, and arrived at Kirtland next day evening. We now made arrangements for returning home.
Tuesday 17 – On this day Brother Follett and I started in company with Brother McHenery and family. We had a wagon and horses belonging to Brothers David and John Whitmer to go home with, taking the most of the load for them.
We had good weather for a few days. It then came on rainy, and the roads became very bad but we continued our journey until the 5th of June, when we arrived at Clear Creek, Edgar County, Illinois, where Brother Baldwin and I built up the branch before spoken of-and to my joy I found that the eleven months that I had been absent from them had not destroyed that cord of love that bound us together at the time of our parting. A part of this branch had already moved to Missouri to join the saints in that place, and another company was intending to start in about ten days, and they strangely desired that I should stop and go with them as their leader. After due reflection, I consented to stop with them. My desire to see my family as soon as possible was great. Yet in view of doing them good, I concluded to put off the pleasure of my family a few days longer.
Wednesday, June 8 – Brother Follett and Brother McHenery started on, and on Friday Brothers Fisher and Ralph arrived from Kirtland. They concluded to stop a few days. Brother Baldwin also arrived.
Sabbath, June 12 – Held a meeting. Brothers Baldwin and Fisher occupied the time. I appointed a meeting for Tuesday, June 14th. After making some remarks in relation to our duty, we attended to some business. Two of the members chose to withdraw and their names were crossed out. I then baptized a young man by the name of Henery Taylor.
Tuesday, June 16 – We started, as many as had intended to go, and took our leave of those that stayed behind. We accomplished our journey in safety, and reached home with joy to myself and family, after having been about 15 months away from home.
Before I got home the spirit of persecution had revived and raged so that our people that were going to that place had to stop in the counties below until arrangements could be made for another location. It was finally settled that we should go north to a new county and live by ourselves, which we were willing to do. This was afterwards called Caldwell County. The most of us left Clay County and settled our new home that season. We laid out a town on a beautiful elevated place and called it Far West. We soon organized our city and county. I was elected one of the Justices of the Peace, and had considerable business to do. We were prosperous and happy for a season.
But after a while the mob spirit began to rage again, and its progress and operations are recorded in history. In the summer of (?) I bought a farm about eight miles east of the city and went on to it. I had a violent attack of chills and fevers, but finally recovered. By the time that I was able to get around a little, my wife was taken sick nigh unto death. And by the time she got about, her mother, who had lived with us for many years, was taken sick with the Lilian Chollick (????) and died in a few days.
A few months previous this, I had to give back my farm on account of the mob operations, and spent the winter in one part of Naham Curtis’ house. It was a kind family. In March, Brother Curtis and myself and our families started to find a new home in Illinois. Some part of the time the weather was very stormy and the roads extremely bad.
We all had to leave the county under the extermination orders of Governor Boggs. We finally arrived at Quincy, Illinois in the fore- part of April.
A bargain was soon made for a small tract of land in Hancock County. Here a small town was commenced on the river which we called Commerce.
But the name was altered and we called it Nauvoo. It was very sickly the first years. Our people bought land all through the country and began once more to be a happy and a prosperous people. I got a lot and worked the most of the time at the carpentering business. In the fall of 1840, we commenced to build a temple.
This season Brother Joseph wanted a large number of elders to go out on missions, and I concluded to go for one. Accordingly on the fifth of June, I started in company with Brother Enoch Burnam. We went aboard a steamer and landed at Xulton. It was the steamboat Riley. The captain did not charge us anything for our passage. Brother Nathaniel West and his wife, and her mother Sister Follett were on the same boat. They had started for the state of Ohio on a visit.
We went home that night with Brother Jared Carter. He was stopping with a family by the name of McIntosh. They were friendly people. The woman belonged to the Church.
Saturday, June 8 – We started for Carlonsville, tried a number of times to get dinner and finally stopped in with a friendly man by the name of William Buell. We spent a few hours pleasantly with him. We left him and went on trying to get a chance to preach, but in vain, for the people were beginning to be filled with hatred against the Mormons.
We passed through a small town called Bunker’s Hill. It was now near night, and we tried to get a place to stop but none would let us in. We continued on till about nine o’clock when we came to a tavern. At first he told us that we might stay. But when we told him that we were Mormon Elders, he would not let us stop. A man by the name of Roads had put up with him, and kindly offered to let us sleep in his wagon. We accepted the offer, and went in and lay down. Within a few moments, a number of young men who deemed to belong to the tavern, commenced throwing things against the wagon cover. I told Burnam that this was no place for us. We started out, and they commenced throwing things at us, one of which hit me in my leg which lamed me for a number of days. They followed us with a blacksnake whip and a long strip of board with which they punched us and otherwise abused us. I, being a few steps ahead of Brother Burnam, as soon as I got to the brush, I stepped into it supposing that he would follow me. But he stopped to talk with them a moment and lost sight of me, it being dark.
I waited for him some time, and not seeing anything of him I went back a little further in the brush and lay down. A heavy wind with rain soon came on and I had to take it as it came. I started as soon as I could see in the morning. After traveling a few miles I found where he stayed after he had traveled a number of miles through the dark woods and bad roads. I finally found him about nine o’clock at the house of Mr. Blackburn.
I had traveled this morning about twelve miles and had eaten nothing since noon the day before, and was glad to find friends who were willing to supply my wants. Among others we found Obe James Brown and wife who were very kind to us and who finally joined the Church and gathered with the saints and proved to be faithful saints.
Monday, June 10 – We stopped to rest a little and have some washing done which they did with pleasure. We tried to get the people together to hear us preach, but only got three families together. The others had heard all they wanted to of our gospel. They had been visited by elders before we went there. We freely taught those that were willing to hear.
Tuesday, June 11 – This morning we left them and went five miles to a place called Brush Mound; in this place we had hopes of getting a chance to preach but found the people behind hand with their work on account of the long rains, and we could get no chance to preach. So after taking dinner with a Campbell preacher and talking with him for about four hours, we started on again to find what was called the Lewis Settlement, where we arrived about dark. We were received with feeling of kindness which is very desireable among strangers in a strange land. At this place we found the widow Lewis whose husband was killed at Hawn’s Mill, Missouri. Her husband’s brothers were very friendly. As we could get no chance for public preaching, we concluded to stop a few days and visit the people and hope to do some good that way.
Wednesday, June 12 – We went about three miles and called on a man by the name of Erceminger, of whom we had had a good report because of his friendly disposition. He was very friendly to us and made us welcome to his house and to refresh ourselves and to hold a meeting. We gave out an appointment for the next Sabbath at three p.m.
Thursday, June 13 – We went about seven miles to see a man by the name of Jameson. Stayed with him one night, next day Saturday we started back to fill our appointment, but the creek had become so full by the heavy rains that we could not fill our appointment.
Monday, June 16 – (Dates do not agree) We went next to Brother Ercemenger’s and Brother Charles Jameson’s. We gave out an appointment for the next Sabbath, at the Union School House, where there had been but little preaching by our elders.
Sabbath, June 23 – The house was well filled and the people gave good attention, and behaved like gentlemen, all but one man, a Campbellite Priest, who came on purpose to make a disturbance. After I had closed my remarks, he arose and undertook to destroy the validity of the Book of (Mormon) Covenants, by reading detached sentences and putting his own construction on it. He was quite tungey and did all he could to destroy the truth. We replied to each other a number of times. When he spoke the most of the people would go out. When I began they would return, which showed their preference and their abhorence to his dishonesty of heart. But the people did not ask us to preach again, we concluded to go on east.
Monday, June 24 – We started at two p.m. Our course lay through a prairie of about fifteen miles, much of which was covered with water from one to two feet deep. However, about dark we reached a house where we were kindly received and had a chance to dry ourselves and have supper.
Tuesday, June 25 – We started this morning and soon came to a creek which was too deep to wade. We got a man to take us over in a canoe, for which I had to give him my handkerchief. We stopped that night with a Methodist family who treated us kindly and I pray the Lord to bless them for their kindness to us.
Wednesday, June 26 – We traveled about a N.E. direction. This day was some rainy and we had many streams to wade and many low places that were full of water. This continued for about fifteen miles. The first house we came to we tried to get a chance to stay but were refused. A heavy shower was hanging over us and it had begun to sprinkle but we had to go. We were about three fourths of a mile from a good looking house and when we got to it we were wet to our skins and the rain falling fast. We asked the man if we could stop with him. He at first consented, but when he found that we were Mormons he would not let us step inside the house. We stopped at the next house but could not obtain entrance. We went to the next house, he was a Methodist by the name of George W. Falconar. He received us cheerfully and did the best for us he could. We stayed with him till after breakfast next day and talked with him freely about our faith, etc. He urged us to stay till the next day on account of the difficulty in the crossing of streams of water, but we chose to go on, which we did, and I pray my Father in Heaven to bless that man and his household forever. At this place we struck the Springfield road. The rain had fallen all night, and the whole of this low level country was nearly covered with water.
Thursday, June 27 – We started and went about half a mile to a creek which was too deep to ford, and we had to work a long time to get poles and fix them into bunches of brush to form something that we could cross on. At about eleven a.m. we got over the first stream. After traveling a few miles we stopped to a house and tried to get some dinner but we were refused. We traveled this day about 20 miles and had to wade through creeks and ponds of water in some places nearly waist deep. At night we found a brother by the name of Best with whom we stayed overnight.
Friday, June 28 – We started after noon and in crossing the Ocan (???) we had to wade waist deep before reaching the bridge. Went about one mile and stopped with Brother Abbet. In this place we found a small branch of six members. One Brother Love and wife have for many years since proved themselves to be saints. We stopped with them till the next Tuesday, and held meeting on Sunday.
Wednesday, July 3 – We left this morning. Found wet traveling the most of the day. We stopped that night with a man by the name of Marshal. He was a gentleman, and used us well.
Thursday, July 4 – We found good roads this day which were a new thing to us. We stopped that night with a man whose name I did not enter at the time and have forgotten it.
Friday, July 5 – We passed through a beautiful country this day and at night arrived at the place where Brother Baldwin and I had raised us a branch of the Church nine years before. We stopped with Brother Hanks.
They manifested much joy on seeing me. We have traveled hundreds of miles and found the people mostly too hard-hearted and no desire to hear the words of life. We taught the people all we could get a chance to and leave the result of our labors with God. We had for some days past heard reports that there was trouble in Nauvoo and that Joseph and Hiram [Hyrum] were in jail, and finally that they were killed. But we could not credit the report and paid little attention to it. I had indulged in a hope that there would be a chance in this place to do some good, but in this I was mistaken. A few yet remained of those that had been baptized nine years before. We visited them and it seemed to give them much joy. We visited many who had been friendly when I was there before, and I now found them the same friendly people. We finally stopped for a number of days hoping to get letters from home, but none came. Finding that we could do no good by staying, and feeling anxious about the affairs in Nauvoo we concluded to start for home.
Sabbath, July 21 – We bade our friends adieu in that place and started for home and after traveling through heat and dust we reached home on July 29th, 1844, and found the people in a state of weeping, lamentation, and sorrow. Joseph and Hiram [Hyrum] had both been murdered in the Carthage Jail. A full account is found in Church history.
I soon got a chance to go on the steamer, “Maid of Iowa,” as a carpenter and remained there till winter. Soon after I went to work on the temple and continued until I was wanted to work in the wagon shop to help make wagons for our removal to the mountains. About this time in the late fall, the temple was so far finished as to allow the giving of endowments. My wife was taken sick about this time but seemed to get a little better so that she could be taken to the temple and we received our endowments. A short time after she was taken worse and finally died January 24, 1846.
That was a gloomy day for me. We had lived together some twenty- eight years without a jar of contention. She was a kind wife, a tender mother, and neighbor whose loss was lamented. In short, she lived and died a saint.
It was a lonesome time for me. My children were mostly grown up and were gone to different places and I was left alone. After living in this way for some time I married a widow by the name of Salley Plumb. She had taken care of my wife in the last of her sickness, and I knew her to be a good and kind woman. I continued to work in the wagon shop until we got ready to leave the place.
Many of us had to stop in Iowa to finish our outfit for the mountains. I had a pony and the woodwork of a wagon which I got at the shop as part pay for my work. After getting into Iowa, I went to work and traded my woodwork of my wagon and got an old wagon that would do to run, by paying boot. I traded my pony for a yoke of oxen. I then worked for flour for the journey and started for the stopping place or Winter Quarters of the saints, not far from Council Bluffs on the Missouri River. In the company that I started with were Lyman, Moses, and Joseph Curtis and families. We arrived in that section of the country after winter had set in. Some of us got old cabins to go into, but the most of the company had to build huts to spend the winter in. We passed the winter as best we could, a part of us preparing to start on our final journey in the spring.
On the 29th day of March, 1847, I left home in company with Lyman Curtis to join the camp of pioneers to find a home for the saints somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I had one yoke of oxen and a wagon. Lyman had one horse. We took bread stuff to last us eighteen months. Some beans, a little pork, but we had no groceries for we were not able to get them. My clothing was old and scarce. And in this condition we started to go, where, we could not tell or what we should have to contend with. We only knew that we must go and the Lord would attend to the bringing out the result. We arrived at Winter Quarters on the 31st and after finishing our arrangements we left April 3rd and on the sixth we arrived at the Elk Horn where we found four teams that had started before us. We crossed the creek on a raft and awaited of the remainder of the camp. Saturday, the 10th, the main camp commenced crossing the river and finished next day. The river was about ten rods wide. This place is in Latitude 41-46 north and 1,330 miles from the mouth of Bear River where it empties in Salt Lake according to Fremont’s account.
Monday, April 12 – Brothers Brigham, Kimball and some others returned to hold a council with the remainder of the Twelve who had just returned from the east. The most of the camp of about 63 wagons moved on up the Platte [Platt] about ten miles and waited their return.
Thursday, April 15 – Brothers Young and Kimball and others returned to our camp on the Platte. The next day, the 16th, the Camp was organized and started and went a few miles and camped; when all together the camp was 73 wagons, and 143 men. The weather was cold, ice 3/4 inch thick in the mornings, no grass for our teams; had to chop down cottonwood for brouse. This day we traveled about seven miles and camped. It was a cold day.
Saturday, April 17 – Stayed in camp.
Monday, April 19 – Moved on. Weather fine.
Tuesday, April 20 – Warm, fine day.
Wednesday, April 21 – Cold wind N.E. Signs of rain, about ten a.m. we had got within a few miles of the Pawnee Indian winter quarter, and some few came out and met us and seemed very friendly. A little after noon we stopped to bait our teams, opposite their camp which was on the other side of Loup Fork. The chief and about thirty others soon gathered in. They appeared friendly and wanted presents. But when we did not give them much powder, tobacco, etc., as they wanted they went away. Some of them stole a few things such as bridles, etc.
We went on about eight miles and camped. To prevent a surprise by the Indians in the night we had a hundred men on guard, fifty at a time. We had some wind and rain and cold. The Pawnees are much fairer complexioned than most other Indians. They had their heads shaved with the exception of a strip about two inches wide from a little back of their foreheads to the back of their necks and that was about two inches long and stuck straight up resembling a rooster’s comb. Their dress was a breach clout and a buffalo skin or robe, a blanket to throw over their shoulders. Some had leggings.
Thursday, April 22 – Fine day, followed up Loup Fork and a little after noon crossed Bever Fork, a stream about three rods wide, 2 1/2 feet deep. The banks were high and steep and had to attach ropes to the tongues of the wagons and men to the ropes to help the teams up. This is in Latitude 41-25. A little before sunset we reached the old Pawnee Mission Station but it was evacuated. This is a fine situation.
Friday, April 23 – We went up about seven miles and commenced making arrangements for crossing the river which is about half a mile wide and about three feet deep in some places with quicksand and bottom. We spent the day in preparing for crossing. We had come up the Platte [Platt] and Loup Fork about 130 miles through as fine a country as I ever saw for farming or grazing. The great difficulty was the lack of timber. We camped about 3/4 of a mile below the old Pawnee town. I went to see the place. It is situated on the north side of the river on a beautiful plain which is about 20 feet above the river. The plain is about 1/2 a mile wide. Back of that, the ground rises. The town stood on the bank of the river. It contained about 140 lodges.
Last winter when the Pawnees were all gone on a hunt, the Sioux Indians came and burned the town, only leaving the Chief’s lodge which for some reason they left unhurt. They had all been built alike.
The one remaining was about 45 feet on the inside and about 15 feet high in the center. They were built round with a row of posts about seven feet high, standing nearly straight up and down. On the top of these posts were plates to support the upper part. The timbers were put on those plates running quite steep to the top, leaving a hole in the center for the smoke to go out. The fire being in the center of the lodge, from the east side an entry was made running out about 20 feet and of good width.
The first covering to the lodge was poles running up and down. The next was small poles running ’round and lashed to the others. The next was long grass laying up and down. Then all was covered with turfs of grass. The lodges were all made in that way. They had stables made with poles stuck in the ground, and others running around fastened with strips of rawhide or bark.
The timber for all this work had to be brought a number of miles and must have cost a vast amount of hard labor.
Saturday, April 24 – This day we crossed the river by doubling teams and taking all the advantages of the stream that we could. We went on about three miles and camped on the bank of the river.
Sabbath, 25 – — Lay by —
Monday, 26 – Between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning our guard fired their guns on our left wing near the river and reported that Indians were creeping close to our lines and that six Indians arose and ran up the river bank at the discharge of our guns. The camp was soon under arms but nothing more was seen of them.
It was Pawnee Indians we found afterwards. Grass very scarce for our teams. We traveled about 14 miles and camped on a salt run called Gravel Creek. After we camped this evening the Indians stole two horses and made their escape.
Tuesday, 27 – We left the Loup Fork and went south to strike Platt about 10 a.m. We came to where the old grass had been burned and the young grass began to make its appearance. Through all our journey thus far and still further we had to feed our teams some of our bread stuff to keep them up. At this place we found the first signs of buffalo. Before we reached the Platt Bottoms the ground became so sandy that it looked like a barren desert. We stopped this night on a fine little creek but found it difficult to find a few dry willows to make a little fire. One antelope was killed. This was the first game of any size that had been killed since we started. Just as we stopped a gun was carelessly discharged and broke a horse’s leg. This was the fourth horse that was lost since Friday. On that night a horse belonging to Brother B. [Brigham] Young, got hung by his halter.
Wednesday, April 28 – We crossed the creek and went South about eight miles and came near the Platt timber. We then turned up. The bottom had the appearance of a vast green sea; no timber in sight only a narrow strip on our left along the river shore. We traveled this day about 12 miles.
Thursday, 29 – We crossed Wood Creek this morning. This empties into the Platt. We traveled today about 16 miles. The day was very warm and the dust arose in a dense column along the whole line. It had been so for a number of days which made it very disagreeable.
Friday, April 30 – It was quite cool through the night. This day the wind was brisk from the north and very cold. We traveled about 16 miles and camped without timber.
Saturday, May 1 – Windy and cold. About 9 a.m. we saw about 50 buffalo. Our hunters went after them but got none. Soon after we saw hundreds of them and we got five old ones and a number of calves. This day we passed through what is called a Prairie Dog Town. This town covers hundreds of acres. They are of the dog species about as large as a ground dog and live in holes and they were quite thick. We stopped a little before sunset and got in our beef which was received with much joy. We had a fine feast that night. We camped on a creek which we called Buffalo Creek. We found some wood. Traveled that day about 12 miles. We have passed through a fine bottom country of good land for some days. The interior is too broken for cultivation.
Sunday, May 2 – Our camp this morning had the appearance of a meat market. All hands were fixing their beef for cooking or drying and making ropes of the hides. The ice was near 1/2 inch thick this morning but soon came off warm and pleasant.
We had passed for some days a country of buffalo grass. It resembles blue grass in that it is fine and usually not more than 4 to 6 inches high. In many places the grass is fed down by buffalo so that it has the appearance of an old pasture only the fence is missing. We went on about three miles to good grass and camped on the bank of the Platt, a little above Grand Island and at the mouth of a creek that we called Bluff Creek. No wood only willow brush.
The buffalo meat came good to us, for Curtis and myself had lived on cornmeal bread and water porridge for some time; only we could get a little milk of Brother John Brown, to put in it. When he could spare it he would give us some. I shall never forget his kindness to us.
Monday, May 3 – The camp stopped this day to do some blacksmith work and let our teams recruit a little, it being the best place of grass we had found. At the same time a company of twenty hunters went out to hunt and to see the situation of the country ahead of us. About three o’clock they returned and reported that they had discovered a large body of Indians who tried to surround them but they made their escape. Much anxiety was felt for the hunters who had gone north and a company sent out for them. They all returned in safety. They killed two or three antelope and about as many buffalo calves. We saw smoke ahead and found that what little feed there was would soon be destroyed by fire which would be hard for us.
Tuesday May 4, 1847 – We started on but had not gone far before we found that our fears were too true. The Indians had set fire to the old grass which was among the new and all was burned together, excepting here and there a small spot. The sight was gloomy indeed. At this time a small company of traders was passing down on the other side of the river. One of them came over and informed us that grass was good on the other side of the river, but after a short consultation we concluded not to cross but continue on the north side because it would be better for our brethren that would follow us. So after writing a few letters to send back by them we started on. We traveled about 10 miles and camped on a creek which I called Clear Creek. We found grass at this place.
Wednesday, May 5 – We found the land more moist and flat than we had found it before. The wheels cut in considerably in places. We found that the most of the grass was burned. At about half past four we had to stop because of the smoke and fire ahead, and the wind had blown a furious gale all day from the south. We camped close to the river and put our teams on a small island where there was grass. This day the camp killed one buffalo and five calves. We had plenty of beef, veal and antelope, all first rate meat. We traveled about 10 miles and camped.
Thursday, May 6 – As it was poor picking for our teams we started early and went two or three miles to a place that had not been burned and took breakfast and baited. The ground was dry today. Wind west and warm. It was a pleasant scene to see thousands of buffalo feeding quietly, strung along the road for many miles between us and the bluffs, and elk and antelope feeding with them undisturbed. By this time some of our teams began to fail for want of food. This day, went about 14 miles and camped on the river bank.
Friday, May 7 – We started late this morning that the teams might have a chance to fill themselves. The wind blew hard from the north and cold. The Indians have camped along the way in large bodies of hundred of lodges in a place, which has been done at different times for years past. And the sticks they left and a little drift wood and buffalo dung served for our fuel. The buffalo are so plentiful that it requires a strict watch to keep them and our cows from running together. We can kill all we wish but we kill only what we need to eat. We are in full view of hundreds of them all the time. This day we went about 9 miles and camped near the river by a slough.
Saturday, May 8 – This day we went about 11 miles. The grass is entirely eaten down by the buffalo. So that our teams can hardly subsist. The country we passed through today is very sandy. The bluffs come down to the river where we camped tonight.
Sabbath, May 9 – We went this day about 3 and 1/2 miles to get better feed but found a sandy, naked country. These are hard times but we hope for better.
Monday, May 10 – At this place we put a pole with a box on it and a letter in the box for the company who was coming after us with their families. The box was marked on the outside, “316 miles from Winter Quarters.” We crossed two creeks today. Quick sand bottom, very hard crossing. Went 10 miles and camped.
Wednesday, May 12 – We went about 12 miles and camped. It was a fine warm day.
Thursday, May 13 – The wind blew very cold from the east. The weather changes almost every day which makes it very unpleasant. We came ten miles, crossed Sandy Creek and camped.
If it had not been for the buffalo dung we must have suffered for want of fire. This evening is very cold. Overcoats and mittens came in good play.
Friday, May 14 – This morning was quite cold and a thundershower from the southwest. The bluffs came down to the river and we had to hunt a passage through them which we did by traveling about 4 miles through them where we found a good pass. The country is very broken back of the river bottoms. Came 8 miles; no sood.
Saturday, May 15 – Wind north, very cold, rain a little, overcoats, robes, blankets and mittens all in order today. We had to pass over the bluffs again today about two miles then struck the Platt again. Went 7 miles.
Sunday 16 – Cleared off warm; stopped all day.
Monday, May 17 – We had to cross the bluffs again today. About two miles brought us back to the river bottom again. We found a number of fine springs, which made some wet bad places to cross. We went about 12 miles and camped. The feed is getting much better.
Tuesday, May 18 – We have not seen a stick of timber for some days. Went 15 miles today.
Wednesday, May 19 – We soon had to raise the bluffs again. They were steep and all dry sand. It was the hardest wheeling that we had found. We struck the bottom again in about 1 and 1/2 miles. It soon commenced raining and continued an old rainy day. We went about 8 1/2 miles and camped. The sight of a tree is out of the question. It is seldom that we can see so much as a bush.
Thursday, May 20 – Cloudy, cool day. This day we came to where the Oregon Road struck the south side of the north fork of the Platt at Ash Loller. Crossed a creek about 4 rods wide; quicksand bottom; bad crossing. Came 16 miles.
Friday, May 21 – Cleared off; more pleasant and warm. Went 15 1/2 miles. A little before we camped we saw two or three Indians. One came to us. He was well dressed and appeared friendly. This was the first Indian we had seen in a long time. No timber in this part.
Saturday, May 22 – Weather good. About 3 p.m. we came to the bluffs again where they joined the river again. We had to find a pass. The Bluffs at this place seem to have been thrown up in the utmost confusion. Rocks, gravel and sand, just as it happened. We soon struck the bottom again and camped. The bluffs at this place have the appearance of some old city with its crumbling walls and broken- down towers. Some of the walls standing from 50 to 100 feet higher than the land adjoining them. We went 15 1/2 miles this day.
Sunday, 23 – We lay by today. It was very warm until nearly night when the wind came from the north and in a short time it blew and rained very hard and was very cold.
Monday, 24 – It was so cold this morning that we could not keep warm with overcoats and mittens. It snowed a little. The road was quite sandy today; a little before night we discovered a party of Indians on the other side of the river on horses coming up. When they saw that we were going to camp they hoisted the American flag. We answered it with a white one. They then commenced crossing the river. There were about forty of them. They camped on the bank. We camped near, one half mile back from the river. Some of them came to us and were very friendly. We traveled this day 16 1/2 miles. Before this, Brother Wm. [William] Clayton had fixed a way of measuring the road with his wagon wheel.
Tuesday, May 25th – The most of the Indians and squaws came to our camp this morning and wanted to trade. Some of our camp traded some cornmeal and bread and got robes, etc. Some traded horses. They were fine looking and good behaved and a happy company. They were dressed neat and clean and truly gentlemen and ladies. When we started they recrossed the river and went their way. They were a band of Sioux. We went 12 and 1/4 miles that day. Warm.
Friday, 28 – Cold N.E. storm. We did not start till near noon. We went 11 1/2 miles and camped. It had been a disagreeable day. We found tolerable plenty of drift-wood which was very acceptable in a cold day. Today we could see a few trees on the other side of the river which was a new thing to us for we had not seen such a sight for a long time. We have not seen any buffalo for some days. We killed some antelope.
Saturday, May 29 – Cold, wet morning. Did not start early. For some time past, some of the brethren had indulged in many things that were leading them astray, such as dancing too much and playing cards, dice, etc., and using bad language. Brother Young [Brigham], seeing the situation of the camp improved an opportunity this morning after the rain had stopped, to call the camp together. He reproved them sharply for their conduct and warned them of the distress that would come on them unless they repented and reformed. After much good instruction and admonition, he called on them to know whether they would reform. They covenanted that they would. He then appointed the next day for a day of fasting and prayer, and for breaking bread. After noon we traveled 8 1/2 miles. It rained smartly before we camped but stopped before sunset.
Sunday, 30 – We attended to the duties of the day. A good spirit prevailed and many expressed their determination to do better.
Monday, May 31 – Frost this morning, but was a fine day. Sand and hard wheeling. Went 16 3/4 miles. Camped on a small creek. The feed was scarce. We began to find a little more timber. Today we came in sight of the Black Hills at the distance of about thirty miles which in this high altitude appears to be but a short distance.
Tuesday, June 1 – Weather warm today. Sandy, hard wheeling. Grass scarce. We reached Laramie a little before night. Traveled 12 1/2 miles and camped. This is called 522 miles from Winter Quarters. The last 390 miles of our journey to this place, I presume that wagon wheel had never before rolled.
Wednesday, June 2 – We spent the day making arrangements for crossing the river to the south side.
The traders had a flatboat at this place which we hired to cross our train and paid them fifteen dollars for the use of it. They were quite friendly to us. The leaves on the trees are about half grown.
Thursday, 3 – The trader fort stands in the forks, between the Platt and the Laramie forks. The Platt is about 20 rods wide at this place. We commenced crossing but were hindered by rain.
Friday, 4 – We finished crossing and I went out to the fort which was about 1 1/2 miles from the Platt. The walls are made of adobes with door attached to the walls on the inside and one two stories high. A row of houses also runs through the center of the fort. About forty men belong to this station. Three of our company that belong to the Mormon Battalion, whose families were left at Purbelo, went for them, a distance of 180 miles. We were also joined by a small company of saints of ( ) wagons and one cart, who had wintered at Pueblo. We left about noon. Went 8 1/2 miles.
A little timber stood along the river bank and a little on the Bluffs. I saw in this place a sample of the way that the Indians deposited their dead. They rolled them in a blanket or buffalo robe and lashed them in the forks or to a limb of a tree, high up from the ground.
Saturday, 5 – Pleasant morning. We kept along the river about 10 miles then left it and crossed the hills. A company of eleven wagons, bound for Oregon, passed us while we were waiting at noon. We went a little past them at night and camped. It rained a little this p.m. and in the night. We camped on a fine little creek called Cottonwood Creek. We traveled 17 miles this day and found plenty of wood for fires.
Sunday, June 6 – We held meeting this morning and went five miles in the p.m. to reach the next camping ground the next day. This morning the train that we had passed, went past us, and before noon another train of twenty wagons passed us; all ox teams of three to five yoke of oxen to the wagon. At night we found the best grass we had found on our journey.
Monday, 7 – This morning another company of 13 wagons bound for Oregon passed us. Today we had to fix the road in a number of places. This is in the Black Hills and it is truly hilly. We traveled 13 miles and camped on Willow Creek. The grass is good and considerable timber. Some showers today. Timber and bushes became quite plentiful.
Tuesday, 8 – We had many heavy hills to cross today. Cold west wind today. We went 15 1/2 miles and camped on Swift Creek, a fine stream with plenty of wood for camp use.
Wednesday, 9 – Fine day. After traveling about three miles, crossed Red Butte Creek. Steep banks. This morning some men were sent ahead to make some arrangements for crossing the Platt. We went 17 1/2 miles and camped on a fine stream called Deer Creek, with some large timber. We camped near the river.
Friday, 11 – Fine weather and mostly good roads. Killed plenty of antelope and some deer. By this time we had to diminish our allowance of bread and eat more meat which came rather hard on me for fresh meat gave me the bowel complaint. This day we traveled 17 miles and camped on the river bend. Here we overtook one of the Oregon trains that had passed us. They were crossing the river but we went further up to cross.
Saturday, 12 – I was quite unwell today. We had tolerably good roads. We went eleven miles and reached the main ford. The water was so high that we could not ford it. Our men that went ahead to prepare for our crossing, had overtaken the first Oregon train and had taken their goods over in a leather boat which we brought with us from Winter Quarters for which they received a fair reward in provisions, which we much needed.
The bluffs to the south some few miles off were covered in spots with pine or balsam.
Sunday, June 13 – We had a meeting as usual. Brother B. [Brigham] Young, H. [Heber] C. Kimball, and O. [Orson] Pratt gave good instructions. The provisions received, as before mentioned, were divided in the camp, which gave each 54 1/2 (51/2)? lbs. flour, 2 of meal, and of bacon, all of which was needed as our provisions were scarce; we had fed so much to our teams to keep them alive. The Lord has, thus far, blessed and preserved us.
Monday, 14 – We made rafts of pine and fir poles that we brought from the bluffs or mountains, on which we crossed the river with the wagons, and took the goods in the leather boat. In the p.m. we had a thunder shower with heavy wind, which stopped us.
Tuesday, June 15 – We crossed what we could but the water was high and rising. The river at this place is about 1/4 mile wide and ran so swift that we had to tow or pull our raft up stream more than a mile, to land at the ferry on the opposite side. The Oregon Companies were coming up to us. They wanted (thought) we should take them over. We finally concluded to leave a few men with the boat and raft for a few days.
They finally made two canoes and fastened them together which did well for a ferry boat. After everything was arranged and we had all crossed, as well as some of the other companies, we got ready to start. We were detained at this place until Saturday, 19. We left a company at the ferry to cross the Oregon Companies who were continually coming up, and we went on. We went 27 1/2 miles and camped in a place without much grass and all the wood that we could get through this section of the country was the dead wild sage and green bush, a small sort of brush.
Sunday, June 20 – For the want of grass for our teams we went on. We found some small patches of grass and some water in a number of places. We got to the Willow Springs about noon which is a good campground for a small camp. We then rose a high hill and from the top we could see beds of snow, away south on the mountains. Gravelly hills and sandy bottoms made it hard wheeling. We went 20 1/4 miles and camped. It was now near dark.
Monday, 21 – Some frost this morning near the creek. We passed this morning a number of what we then called salt ponds, but proved to be saleratus ponds. We have come south direct for about 12 miles. We reached Still Water, at Independence Rock, at noon, and according to our measurement it is 174 1/2 miles from Laramie or Fort John. Some of the men went back at noon and got pails full of the saleratus which proved to be pure and good. This p.m. we crossed the creek which was about 3 rods wide and 2 1/2 feet deep. We went up the valley between the two ranges of mountains and turned west. The valley affords but little grass only on the margin of the creek. The production is mostly wild grease bush, etc., where we camped, which is about 7 miles from the rock. The creek runs through a notch in the mountain, only wide enough for the water to pass through, a distance of about 40 rods or more and the rocks standing almost perpendicular on both sides, about 200 feet high. It is a singular place and a fine situation for a mill. This is called the Devil’s Gate. We went this day 15 1/2 miles. The country is mostly sand and gravel. Hard wheeling. Our provisions getting scarce; Curtis and I concluded to ration ourselves to one pint of flour or meat each day for each of us.
Tuesday, 22 – We traveled 20 3/4 miles and camped on the bank of the river. The grass was tolerable good and the weather was very warm. Plenty of snow in sight on Sweet Water Mountains.
Wednesday, June 23 – Hard wheeling today. We can now see Green River Mountains They are very high. We traveled this day 17 miles and got a good camping place, excepting timber. These mountains are a part of the Rocky Mountains.
Thursday, June 24 – We traveled 17 miles today before we found a spot of grass sufficient to bate our teams. By this time it was nearly 2 p.m. Our teams were tired and no better place near we concluded to camp till another day.
Friday June 25 – This day we passed over some high hills. Some of them were covered with rock standing partly on the edge at an incline of about 45 degrees. At times we would strike the river and we crossed its branches several times. We found a little grass on the banks of the streams but no timber; only shrubbery.
Saturday, June 26 – This is a cold morning and in a cold country. Everything is covered with frost, and ice in the water pails. It soon became warm again. At noon we came to the Sweet Water again and crossed it and stopped to bate. The snow lay in heaps on the north side of the bluffs, where we stopped, 5 or 6 feet deep, the grass standing green close by it and dandelions in full bloom. Strawberries and gooseberries also were in bloom near by. We traveled this day 18 3/4 miles and camped on the bank of the Sweet Water again. We are now in the pass of the mountains. A little ahead of us the water runs west. We are camped between the Table Rock on the south and Green River Mts. on the north, being about twenty miles apart. The face of the land is much more level and smooth in this section than we have found it for some days past. This is about 227 miles from Laramie.
Sunday, June 27 – The morning is pleasant but cool and frosty. The mountains a little north of us covered with snow, look a little odd at this season of the year. The scarcity of grass compelled us to go on. We met a company from Oregon, and one old mountaineer, who gave gloomy accounts of the country around Boar River and the Salt Lake. The day was warm and the land loose and gravelly. We went 15 1/2 miles and camped where grass was scarce.
Monday, June 28 – Warm day, good roads level. This afternoon we met Captain Bridger of Fort Bridger. He gave us much information in regard to the Salt Lake Country which was not very favorable. We traveled this day 15 1/2 miles and camped on the Little Sandy. It is about three rods wide and about two feet deep.
Tuesday, June 29 – Fine day. The country quite level. The Wind River and other mountains were now in plain view and all of them covered with snow. We traveled till dark in order to get to grass and water. We crossed the Big Sandy at noon. It was about six rods wide and about two feet deep. We camped on its bank. We traveled 23 3/4 miles.
Wednesday, June 30 – We struck the Green River at noon; had come eight miles. It was skirted with bitter cottonwood of good size. We had to make rafts to cross on, which were made this afternoon. At this place, Brannon, from California, met us. He brought a good report from that country.
Thursday, July 1 – We commenced crossing the river. This river is about 40 rods wide, with a heavy current. It was a job to cross it.
Friday, July 2 and Saturday, 3 – About noon we finished crossing and went about three miles down the river about south.
Sunday, July 4 – We stayed at this place and sent five men back to meet the camp that was coming after us, to take dispatches and to guide them on. The weather was warm and quite a number of our company had been taken sick with Mountain Fever within a few days past. They would generally get better in two or three days. Today a part of a detachment of the Mormon Battalion came up with us. They were on their way to Fort Bridger on business for the government.
Monday, July 5 – We kept down Green River a few miles then left it and struck on Ham’s Fork. Traveled 20 miles.
Tuesday, 6 – Went 15 1/2 miles and struck Black’s Forks.
Wednesday, July 7 – Crossed Black’s Forks a number of times and camped near Fort Bridger. It consisted of three log rooms and a small yard enclosed with pickets. We came this day 17 1/4 miles. On Monday last I was taken violently sick with the Mountain Fever. I do not know as I ever experienced such excruciating pain in my life before as I did through Monday night. It was mostly in my back and hips. I am now getting better. There are more or less taken sick almost every day. The stony ground that we have to travel on makes it very hard for those that have to ride in the wagons.
Thursday, 8 – Stopped all day.
Friday, 9 – Traveled 13 miles and camped on the Muddy. The roads have been hilly and stony.
Saturday, 10 – Hilly and stony.
Sunday, 11 – Lay by all day.
Monday, 12 – Better roads. Crossed Bear Creek. The soil looks better. Some herbage on the hills. Found scattering flax some days past. Brother B. [Brigham] Young was taken sick today where we stopped at noon. He stopped and a few wagons stopped with him. We came 16 1/2 miles today. We began to find grass quite a plenty. My health remains quite poor so that I am hardly able to walk. It was thought best to send on a few teams and men to look out and fix the road, and the remainder, with most of the sick, to stop a day or two. Accordingly , 23 teams started a little after noon on Tuesday, 13th. We took the valley of Wells Fork and followed it down about 12 miles and camped. Our measuring wagon stayed, so we had to guess the distance.
Wednesday, 14 – We found scattering flax of good size. The valley was fertile but very narrow and the hills on both sides were several hundred feet high. In many places it was difficult passing. A little before night we struck the Weber Fork and camped. We came about 14 miles today.
Thursday, 15 – We wound our way up the ravine to the top of the hill, which was very difficult to ascend, for about seven miles, and a raise of from 400 to 500 feet. We then descended another ravine, equally as bad and camped after traveling about 12 miles. Curtis was taken sick this evening and I was far from being well, which made things look rather gloomy.
Saturday, 17 – Ice this morning. Brother O. [Orson] Pratt and Captain John Brown went on to examine the route and others went to work fixing the roads. In the afternoon we started on and crossed over a hill and came on to a creek and followed it up. We had to cross it a number of times which was hard to be done. We went about six miles.
Sunday, July 18 – Frost and ice this morning. The weather is very hot through the day. We stopped today to rest and Brother Pratt delivered a good discourse by way of encouragement, etc.
Monday, 19 – We followed up the creek and crossed it eight or nine times. It is truly a difficult passage. We came about seven miles today. Gooseberries are plenty in many places on the creek.
Tuesday, 20 – We left Kenyon Creek (Canyon Creek)? this morning and struck up a ravine. Our journey for a number of day had been rather gloomy. The mountains on both sides have been so high and the ravines so cracked that we could see but a short distance and it looked as though we were shut up in a gulph (gulf or gulch) without any chance for escape. The ground was quite rising for about five miles. We found more timber today than we had before since we left home, but much of it had been killed by fires. After we got to the top of the hill, we had a long steep hill to go down. This is what is now called the Big Mountain. We came this day about seven miles.
Wednesday, 21 – We soon left the ravine and went up a steep hill about 1/2 a mile up. This is now called the Little Mountain.
From the top of this hill, like Moses on Pisgah’s top, we could see a part of the Salt Lake Valley, our long anticipated home. We did truly rejoice at the sight. We then descended down a steep hill into another ravine and camped. We went that day about seven miles.
Thursday, July 22, 1847 – This morning a part of the camp that we had left came up with us and others had to stop because of sickness. Our move has slow for it took all the able-bodied men from one-half to three-fourths of the time to make the road so that we could possibly get along. It took us till 4 p.m. to fix the road and go about four miles. We had to pass through a canyon that was full of timber mostly of small maple and the bluffs came almost together at the bottom. And when we finally got through, it seemed like bursting from the confines of prison walls into the beauties of a world of pleasure and freedom.
We now had entered the valley and our vision could extend far and wide. We were filled with joy and rejoicing and thanksgiving. We could see to the west, about 30 miles distance, the Salt Lake, stretching itself northwest to a distance unknown to us. And the valley extending far to the north and south. No timber was to be seen only in the mountains. We went on west about two miles and camped on a creek with plenty of grass and some brush for fire. Brother Pratt and others who went out in the morning to explore the country soon joined us. They reported that they found but little timber only what was in the mountains.
Friday, July 23 – We went a short distance north to a small grove on a little stream and camped. Brother P. Pratt called the camp together and dedicated this country to the Lord. We then commenced plowing to put in a little early corn, buckwheat, potatoes, peas, beans, etc.
The soil was good and before night we had put in seed. We felt to thank the Lord that we had been preserved on our journey;that no lives were lost, that we had found a good country of land where we thought our enemies could never find us and where we could worship God unmolested. According to our measure we are 1040 miles from Winter Quarters.
Saturday, July 24, 1847 – About noon, Brother Young and company arrived and we had a time of rejoicing together without restraint.
We had a meeting with much good instruction. Brother Young said that we should find a place for a permanent location. We should then have our lands set off to us and each one manage his own affairs and work for themselves, etc. We had men out every day exploring the country and it found that there was a large amount of timber in the mountain, though mostly hard to get at. The timber was mostly pine and balsam with some oak and ash.
Monday, 26 – Continued farming.
July 28 – This is my fiftieth birthday. This evening Brother Young called the camp together and the men that had been exploring made their report. They had found no place that looks so well as this place. Many of the brethren expressed their feelings and all seem to feel that this was the place to stop. Brother Young then said that he wanted to know how the brethren felt in regard to it. But he knew that this was the place, for the city, for he had seen it before, and that we were now standing on the southeast corner of the temple block. He said many other things which did us good. A vote was taken then on the subject and all voted that this be the place to stop.
It was then advised that we build a fort to protect ourselves from the Indians. The plan was that it should be made of sun-dried brick or adobes, enclosing 40 square of land. The wall to be 10 feet high, which was to form the back side of the houses, and to have one large gate on each side of the square.
I presume that a colony was never settled under so many disadvantages as this.
The appearance of the country was truly forbidding. The face of the earth had the appearance of a barren desert. No grass only on the streams or on low land, nothing green on the remainder. The mountaineers said that grain would not grow here for they had tried it and every appearance went to prove the fact. All we had was in our wagons; our tools for farming, etc., our seed, our clothing, our provisions to last till we could raise, if that ever was and in fact, our all; out of the reach of commerce and one thousand miles from any settlement on the east rendered the hope of assistance out of the question, no odds what our wants might be. We must depend on God and do the best we could, feeling however, that the mob would not be likely to disturb us for a few years at least. So we took courage and went to work. All hands soon sent to work. Work–some at farming, and some on the walls of the fort.
About this time a part of the Mormon Battalion arrived, which gave us joy. It was deemed advisable to send back as many teams, to Winter Quarters, as could be spared, to help others on, the next spring.
Accordingly, as soon as the teams had time to recuperate a little, the ox teams started back. L. Curtis went with my team, which left me without any and what was worse, I had not provision to last me more than six or eight days, because we had to feed it to the team on the journey to keep them from starving and there was but little in the camp from the same cause, and none to be got within hundreds of miles. Brother Kimball advised me to stay which I was willing to do for to go back was like going to the land of sorrow and death. I felt sure that the Lord would preserve us in some way and that seemed to be the feeling of all of us.
About two weeks after the ox teams started, Brothers Young and Kimball and others, started back with the horse teams.
Taking out so many reduced our number to a few, but we drove business to the best advantage that we could, soon expecting a company of our brethren with their families to arrive. We expected there would be about one hundred families of them from Winter Quarters, and I was anxious for their arrival and I expected my son Ammi was with them.
My provision was soon gone. Brother Roundy had gone back and left his flour mill with me. He said that if his family was not on the way he should go on, and in case I could use his bread stuff. So when mine was gone I used some of his. He, however, met his family and came back. About the 20th of September the camps began to arrive but instead of 100 families, there were about 660 wagons and many of the teams were driven by women and children; the men being either dead or in the army. The camp had lost many of their cattle by disease and starvation. Two or three deaths only had taken place among the people. About the middle of September, we had a frost which killed some of our crops and soon after they were all destroyed by the cattle, the land not being fenced nor the cattle guarded. But we proved that the earth would produce grain, etc.
September 30 – I went out about ten miles and met Ammi in a train. Our meeting was one of joy, being in a land far from our former home, and under these peculiar circumstances, with no other connections within one thousand miles. I had not seen him before for more than two years.
In a few days all the camps got in, which made a large show. Up to this time I had hoped that I should have received some help from my company of ten to which I belonged in the east but none, and every visible prospect for a living was cut off. Some of those that came had got plenty for themselves, while others had scarcely any left.
It looked like a dark day, but I consoled myself by thinking that I was in the line of my duty. And that there was the work of the Lord and He would see us safe through. So I felt to resign myself into his hands.
We now found our fort, which contained 160 rooms, would contain only about 1/4 of the people. It being too late to make adobes the most of the people got some kind of timber for houses and enlarged the fort on north and south making from north to south 160 rods and forty east and west. Some of the brethren that had nothing to eat got a chance to work for some that had plenty and got their board for their work which was better than to starve.
I went to making door and window frames out of split timber and got some provisions for it and some work on my house, firewood, etc.
I got into my house or shop in the latter part of November, 1847. I lived alone. A high council was organized soon after the companies came in and I had the honor of being one of them. In the forepart of November we sent a company to California to get some spring wheat and other seeds and cows and make such trades as they thought best in the name of the people.
This undertaking was very hazardous and hard enterprise; to start a journey of hundreds of miles at this late season of the year, through an untraveled mountain region and none of them knowing the way. About this time more of the battalion arrived from California who were destitute of means of subsistence, which made our case look much worse than it did before. Winter had come on and it must be a long time before we could raise our own bread, if ever. A number of the battalion started back to Winter Quarters to their families. Our main dependence for living was our cattle and many of them had been sent back and remainder was very poor, which was rather poor picking. A few Indians came and camped near us for the winter. They lived mostly on seeds and roots and wolf meat. We found they eat the large thistle root. I went out to get some one day, but by the time I had got about a bushel, the snow fell and covered the ground and I could find no more. I only regretted that I could not get enough of them. They tasted much like a parsnip.
I have to eat very sparingly, and frequently do not know where the next bite is coming from; yet the Lord opens the way for my support and preservation.
January 1848 – Being without a First Presidency it seemed to give the people a chance to show out what was in them. It having cost the people so much to fetch provisions so far, some appeared to be disposed to make the necessities of the destitute their opportunity, and sold things, I thought, rather high. I feared that such a principle if not checked might prove our destruction. I went to Father John Smith who was then the president of the place and recommended that prices should be set by the council for labor, provisions, etc. The proposition was opposed but it was finally carried into effect and the results were good. Some few were not pleased with the arrangement but it changed the drift of things much for the better. The most of the people were desirous to do right and were kind and did all they could to help the poor and needy and to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth. I had expected that we had left the thieves behind, but in this I was disappointed, for we found they were in this place. But as fast as they were detected they were dealt with according to law.
A spirit of dissatisfaction began to show itself as to the country and against our leaders. Some wanted to go to California and were determined they would go at all hazards. The council took the subject into consideration.
Not knowing what influence they might use in that place and for other reasons, we passed a law that none would be permitted to go until the Presidency should return next season. Yet some did start and we sent the martial and brought them back. They, however, got permission from somebody to go and they started on again. I must acknowledge I thought it bad policy but it was not for me to judge. It seemed to give them power over the council and others took license from it to do a little more as they pleased. I thought that we had better have no law, than to have it trampled under foot.
We have considered it a part of our duty to bring the Indians from their benighted situation and raise them as a branch of the House of Israel to a knowledge of the true and living God and establish them in the gospel of Christ. In this place we find a people to commence with. They have not been poisoned by Sectarianism, nor were they but a little above the brutes in regard to intelligence. They live or rather exist in small bands and are always at war with each other. They have no abiding place, but roam from place to place. And when they stop for a short time they fix them a lodge by sticking up some poles and covering them with weeds or long grass so as to form a little shelter. They live in constant fear of other bands who each in turn kill when they can. Sometimes, however, they have a season of peace. They live on what little game they can get and roots and seeds and crickets which are very large.
As to clothing, it can hardly be said that they have any. It consists mostly of old tattered and filthy skins of buffalo, deer, rabbit, etc. Finally, they are the most miserable, filthy, degraded set of beings that I ever saw in human shape. When I reflect and consider that they are of the House of Israel and the children of the covenant seed into whom belongs the priesthood and the oracles of God, and when I think of what they will be when they become a white and delightsome people, I say to myself, “O Lord, who can do all this?” But the decree has gone forth and must be fulfilled.
The winter has been very mild with but little snow in the valley. Cattle have lived well by grazing. The large wolves have killed some of our oxen and cows, and the Indians near Utah Lake drove off some which was truly a loss to us under our impoverished circumstances. But we hope for better times.
Notwithstanding the little descentions and covetousness that was among us, take us as a whole, we enjoyed ourselves and were as happy a people as could be found in any place.
On the 12th of March, a company of seven men started for Winter Quarters with the mail. Ammi was one of them. It was a hard and hazardous undertaking. Over one thousand miles to go at this season of the year, without an inhabitant only at Bridger and Laramie, liable to lose their way in the mountains or on the plains or to be killed by the Indians. But the mail must go. I felt bad for him under such circumstances but I believed the Lord would preserve them although they might have to suffer much.
Both did take place. They narrowly escaped death by the Indians, by freezing, and by starvation; yet they got through alive and were joyfully received by the Presidency and all the saints; I felt rather lonely for a while not having any connections within 1000 miles. Yet in the main I enjoyed myself well.
Notes from a sketch by S.C. RICHARDSON
Levi Jackman was a member of the 13th. “Ten” of the original pioneer band and one of Orson Pratt’s selected vanguards, that came ahead of the main body into Salt Lake Valley, and marked the 24th of July as the advent of the pioneers.
Levi Jackman was a member of the high council in Utah and served for many years as a counselor to the bishop in the 16th ward in Salt Lake City.
In the city directory and business guide published in 1869, Levi Jackman’s name appears in the list of manufacturers as a maker of saddle trees. Later he is known to have made chair seats, drums, and window and door frames.
Levi Jackman was a polygamist. His wives were Angeline Myers, Sally Plumb, Lucinda Harmon, Mary Vale Morse, Delia Byam, Elizabeth Davies, Caroline Christiansen and Ruth Rodgers. By his first wife he had six children. By Lucinda Harmon he had four children: Sarah Lucinda, Levi Harmon, Almira Sophronia, and Daniel Wells.
In March 1864, Levi moved Lucinda and her children to Pond Town, now Salem, Utah. They purchased a small piece of ground and built a humble home. Levi spent the summer months in Salem and the winter months in Salt Lake City. Levi Jackman passed away on the 23 of July, 1876, in Salem, Utah, and was buried in the Salem Cemetery. (Missionary, Councilman, Patriarch were his Saintly titles.)
The knowledge of my forefathers is very limited, and that of my own life up to the time of writing will be scant, having to rely mostly on memory for at least thirty years of my life.
The knowledge imparted to me by my mother of my ancestors was that in an early day, 1634, they (three brothers) came from England and settled in America. My 3rd great grandfather staying in or near Newbury, Mass. The other two going farther south. What their names were and their destination was I never learned. My father, Moses French Jackman, was the son of Daniel Jackman and Eleanor Merrill, and was born June 16, 1769, Salisbury, Mass.
My mother, Elizabeth Carr, daughter of James and Mary Carr and born September 19, 1769 in Salisbury, Mass. Her parents were of Scotch descent and lived in Old Salisbury on opposite side of the river from Newburyport in the state of Massachusetts. He being a sea- captain at some period of his life and died in New York of Yellow Fever. My mother had left her, near the bank of the river, one brick and one frame house and for some time lived alone, teaching school, and dressmaking. Her brothers were sea-faring men, one being killed in an engagement, but do not know with what nation.
My father, Moses F. Jackman, was apprenticed and became a finished workman at the shoe-making trade. He had two brothers Abel and Levi. I mention them as their names will appear later on.
On the marriage of my parents, previous to 1790, my mother sold her property and with my father moved to the new state of Vermont where they bought fifty acres of land, where their family were born, and it was here that my father met his death on the 7th of July, 1797, twenty-one (21) days previous to my birth, 28th day of July, 1797. The accident that caused his death I will relate as near as memory serves me aright.
My Uncle Abel Jackman agreed with father to do some chopping for him some two or three miles from our home. Father went also accompanied by a near and very dear friend by the name of Rollins, as they were never happy only when together.
They commenced to fall the trees, and in the falling of an ash tree about a foot in diameter it fell over a knoll or eminence and in the rebounding of the butt it struck father on the side of the head killing him instantly. A messenger was dispatched to inform and bring my mother to my Uncle Abel’s home where the body lay. He went, but did not inform her of the accident but desired her to accompany him, but it seemed that she had a foreboding that some calamity had taken place, not daring to ask fearing the reply. On arriving at my uncle’s home she went in finding all in sorrow and silence. My uncle taking her arm walked the room for a long time. She then being in ignorance of the true condition. At length Uncle proposed that she be told, which was done and she was conducted into the chamber of death. You can imagine her grief and sorrow on seeing her husband, her friend, her only joy on earth, cut down by the cruel shaft of death in the prime of life, leaving her and his family to mourn his untimely death. It was a sad ending to a life of eight or ten years of wedded happiness, and it was with great difficulty that she bore her affliction. Summoning all her fortitude to her aid and realizing the duty devolving upon her, she devoted her life to the welfare of her children. Left in poor circumstances, and with fifty acres of very poor land (but happily out of debt) and with no manual aid from her children to assist her she nobly and trustfully took up her increased labor to do battle with the things of life for the welfare of the children. The next winter following my father’s death, Uncle Levi came from Massachusetts and took my brother Moses back with him until he attained into his twenty-first year of age.
By industry and economy my mother succeeded not only in providing food and clothes for our bodies but stored our minds with principles of truth and salvation, trying in kind motherly ways to inculcate our minds in morality and uprightness, belonging to no church. My parents were very strict in attending church, generally the Methodist, my father before his death being chorister. In the years 1808 and 1809 there was much excitement and much said of the fertility of the land in what was then called the “Hollen Purchase” situated in the western part of New York State. Mother being enthused with the reports of the country – sold her land on time -a small advance being made that enabled us to prepare the moving, which we did in January 1810; having all our worldly possessions packed in one sleigh, we bid our friends adieu – leaving many in tears at bidding us good-bye with the expectation of never seeing us again in life.
After crossing the Green Mountains, the snow gave out and we were compelled to trade our sleigh for a wagon – paying a difference of fifteen dollars, this being a great sum to us in our limited means. Before our journey was ended our money was all paid out and we were compelled often to stop and work a few days for subsistence, and then continue our journey onward until on the 26th of March, 1810, we arrived at Batavia, Genesee County, New York. Staying there briefly we went eight miles further into the township of Alexander, taking up our quarters in an old house until we found a permanent resting place for a home which we did some time in April following and put up a log cabin and moved into it. Those days of my youth were among the happiest of my life – spent in helping to clear off the dense, forest of trees clothed in its mantle of green leaves and foliage; the ground covered with a mat of flowers of every description, color and hue; crystal streams wending their way to the larger streams lower down in the valleys. The denizens of the forest, the bear, and deer, wolves and other animals roamed at will around our humble home unsuspecting of danger.
Home seekers soon came pouring in, humble homes soon sprang up around us, improvements were made throughout the country and the wilderness was soon converted into fruitful fields, yielding their bounties to reward the toilers for their labor.
Here our greatest loss befell us in the death of our noble mother, occurring on the 20th of September, 1819. For several years she had been afflicted with a cancer of the breast – causing her much suffering until released by death – going to join her ones gone before and with the just.
From this point of my life I pass over to a later date, as it would swell this sketch to a much greater length than I would care to follow.
On the 13th day of November, 1817, I fell in love with and married a young widow, Angeline Nyers Brady, she having one son, Albert, five years of age, who from our marriage took the name of Jackman – following are the dates of birth of our family:
William Ruel Jackman born Oct 6, 1818.
Aurilla Peckham Jackman born Sep 20, 1820.
Parmenie Adams Jackman born Aug 6, 1822.
Annie Rumsey Jackman born Feb 6, 1825.
Levi Jackman Jackman born May 2, 1828.
The last named lived only two hours.
The next year, 1830, I moved to Portage Co., Ohio, and early the next spring Joseph Smith and another person came to our village bringing the Book of Mormon and a few revelations declaring boldly that it was a revelation of Jesus Christ and testifying to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that the last dispensation was now being ushered in.
After a fair investigation I became satisfied of its truth and was baptized by Harvey Whitlock on the 7th day of May, 1831. My wife and her mother, Ruth Rodgers Myers, having been baptized on the 3rd of May – four days previously. A few days later, I was ordained an elder under the hand of Oliver Cowdry [Cowdery]. Something like one hundred persons joined the Church from that place, with many other branches of the Church organized in adjoining towns and counties.
The doctrines taught and embraced by the Mormon people were so plain and reasonable that I did not believe anyone who had heard the same could ever apostate, but as time passed on it showed me my mistake. This season, 1831, Joseph Smith with a number of elders started for the west part of the state of Missouri where Oliver Cowdrey [Cowdery], Peter Whitmer and others had been sent a year before to find a location for the saints. Jackson County (a new one) had been selected for the place – a few families started for this place and arrived in safety.
Persecutions commenced with the rise of the Church. I was ordained to the high priesthood at the October conference in 1831. In the midst of persecutions and dissentions the elders continued to preach and testify. Many sick were healed and signs followed the preaching of the word. Among others my daughter Aurilla was healed of a lame arm that was supposed never could be healed or restored; but it was through the laying on of hands in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. About the first of March, 1832, I, in company with Peter Whitmer, went to see two of my brothers, Daniel and William, then living in Pennsylvania. In the evening of the day of our arrival we attended a Methodist meeting and were called on to preach. It was new work to us but we bore them our testimonies at the close of our speaking; a priest opposed and ridiculed us. The next evening we were invited to speak in a school house in another part of the town. On our arrival the house was full; a light stand with a lamp and candle burning on it with chairs standing by, which seemed to signify that it was the place for us. We felt our weakness at that time; but the Lord helping us we found enough to say, and those present paid good attention, and we hoped with good results.
We returned home to our families and found them well. Brother Joseph Smith and others having returned from Missouri the fall previous advised as many as could (and with few exceptions) to start for Missouri. In the spring of 1832, myself and family, with a large company of saints organized and started on our journey on May 2nd, and arrived at Bever, on the Ohio River on May 6th; we chartered the steamer “Messenger” and started down the Ohio on the evening of the 7th, arriving at St. Louis on the 14th–leaving St. Louis on the 20th by land after shipping a part of our goods for Chariton on the river, where we arrived June 7th with twenty wagons and about one hundred persons.
It was found at this point that all could not continue for the want of room. Brother Hanks and family, myself and family, concluded to stop and await the return of some of the wagons for us; which came as agreed and we continued our journey August 1st and arrived in Jackson County on the following 10th and were soon settled on our inheritances under the dictation of Bishop Edward Partridge, and we fondly hoped that our persecutions were at an end; but alas, it was not to be. For a short time we were happy and prosperous, building us homes and making improvements as fast as we could. Had schools in many places, a printing press in operation, as we much prospered in all things temporarily. Spiritually we had the gifts of tongues and their interpretation of the same, the spirits of prophecy, etc., and were a blessed and happy people for a little brief season. Alas! but too soon, the dark clouds of an approaching storm arose above our surroundings again. The spirit of slander and persecution soon became visible. Meetings of mobs were soon held, and our once clear sky began to be clouded over with an approaching and dreadful storm. Soon to burn with all the fury possible on our defenseless heads; acts of violence were committed on individuals in different parts of our settlements.
Pursuant to a previous appointment, a meeting was called for the twentieth of July by the mob held at Independence; between three and four hundred came together to commence the work of destruction among our people and property. They tore down our printing office, a two story brick building destroying its contents; tarred and feathered Bishop Partridge and one Allen; and with threats of death and destruction to all our people if we did not leave the country. Some of our leaders for the sake of saving the lives of our people agreeing to leave the country themselves with one half of the people by the first of the next January, and the remainder to leave by the first of May; and to use their influence to have all the Church do the same, they, hoping that before that time something would take place to save them.
We laid the matter before the governor and he claimed that he had no power to protect us; and we supposing it wrong to take up arms, were in our own defense. This was our condition until the night of October 31. That night I shall never forget while life lasts. I had retired to rest for some time, not suspecting the evil that was to take place ere the dawn of another day, when one Brother Peck, a near neighbor of mine, called on me and informed me that the mob had attacked the southern part of the neighborhood and were tearing down houses, driving women and children into the woods. I hastily arose and put on my clothes and went to the door. The moon was at its full and in the south shining in all its glorious splendor. Not a leaf stirred on the trees, all nature seemed standing in horror and silent amazement witnessing an awful scene of forty or fifty mobocrats, armed with weapons of death, that had come upon an almost defenseless people, tearing down their homes, their hard earned homes that sheltered them, almost over their heads, driving them forth in the night into the woods with their little children clinging unto them. Shamefully beating many of the men who could not make their escape. The sounds of falling logs and the rattling of boards as they fell to the ground struck terror to the hearts of the oppressed, those sufferers who were doomed to submit to the horrors of those hellish persecutions. After tearing down and destroying fifteen or twenty houses, and accomplishing their desires, they left the place. The affrightened people did not dare to leave their hiding places until the next morning, when they ventured out to witness the destruction of their once happy home, which they had so lately enjoyed with a prospect of spending a life of prosperity and happiness.
All hopes of remaining in the country were now about to end. About this time Gilbert’s store in Independence was broken open and much of its contents stolen, and some of the brethren beaten with guns and clubs. We sued for redress and in return received abuse. (I should have stated that this place above mentioned was ten miles west of Independence).
November 2nd, a party of the mob proceeded against a settlement six miles west of the town and tore the roof off from one house, several shots were exchanged, one of our men was wounded in the head, and one of the mob in the thigh.
For the safety of the men in this region of the country it was deemed wisdom for the most of them to go about three miles southwest of where a small number were located, they having a mill which we desired to preserve from the enemy. We had been in location a few days, when on the 7th of November a messenger arrived in haste informing us that the mob was committing violence on all the inhabitants on the Blue, where they had been two days before. David Whitmer who had charge of the post took fifteen men and went to see what was going on, leaving me to take care of the place. In two or three hours he returned and reported that some sixty of the mob had attacked his company, in a place called Whitmer, (the place where the mob tore down houses, on the evening of August 31), and had dispersed his force. The few of us that had remained numbering about 30 men with fifteen guns started in haste and soon came in sight of the enemy about sixty in number well armed, surrounding the home of Christian Whitmer, seated on fences, etc. We divided our forces in two parts, one approaching from the south, and one from the west. They did not discover us until we were within pistol shot, when Campbell, their captain, yelled out, “There comes the Mormons – Dam-em! Shoot um.” At that moment a stream of fire and lead was passing in every direction. The mob in perfect fright fled in confusion leaving many of their guns on the ground, and one lawyer by the name of Brazille was killed, and one mortally wounded, many of their number were wounded in different ways. Our people also having several wounded and one mortally.
It being now near sunset, Whitmer advised that we go into a house and pass the night. I proposed that we return to the mill, which was followed out. Our men feeling cheerful and lively attending to relieving and dressing the wounds of those wounded, and in preparing the supper, for which I had no relish. I could neither eat nor sleep; considering the blow we struck and besides being surrounded by hundreds of mobbers who only wanted an excuse to murder and destroy us, our numbers being so very few. On this evening it was decided that two or three should go to town and see how things were where the fight had taken place. I proposed for one to go. We reached town after taking a roundabout course some time before day. It presented a scene of terror and distress. The news had reached town of the battle and the mob had taken several of the brethren as prisoners, and seemed determined to kill them (the heads of the Church), and the leader of the mob was trying to enter into some treaty, which was like tampering with demons. After many attempts it was finally decided by both parties that we should deliver up our guns and leave the country without delay; and that all hostilities should cease on their part, and that they should hire the two ferries for us that cross the river into Clay County.
It was known that Lyman Wight was on his way from the Whitmer settlement with about fifty of the brethren to rescue those that the mob had taken prisoners; but they had been liberated under the treaty made. I left for home and met Lyman Wight with his men and informed them of the arrangement and they also consented. They secreted some of their arms and gave up the rest which was about fifty guns. The mob having nothing to fear now we had given up our arms, passed through the country, whipping and plundering as they pleased, frightening women and children with threats of murder and burning. I began preparing for a removal, and had occasion one day to go to town on business, and fearing that I might fall in with some of the mob if I went the road, I chose a by-way out at one side. I saw one wagon with one man and a large company of women with bundles in their hands turning from the road into the woods and then across the prairie to escape a mob, who they said had passed towards the Whitmer settlement and told them if they were not gone on their return they would kill them all. This was a distressing sight that I shall never forget while life lasts.
(Here his journal suddenly ends.)