My dear children do try and keep the laws of God, and do all the good you can in this life; be kind to each other and dwell together in love and peace. Be kind to the poor, the sick, be a friend to the friendless and the orphans that are left in the world without father or mother in this life. This is the counsel and wish of your loving mother.
July the 4th, 1885
SARAH D. RICH.
I, Sarah DeArmon Pea Rich, was born September the 23rd, in the year eighteen hundred and fourteen (1814), in St. Clair County, state of Illinois, in what was then called the Lookingglass Prairie, nine miles east of Bellville, seven miles south of Lebanon and twenty- five miles east of St. Louis.
My father, John Pea, was one of the first settlers of Illinois, was one of the rangers of that new country, and had to fort up his family from the Indians. My father served in the war of 1812, for which he drew a pension until the day of his death, and he lived to the good old age of 91 years, and taught his children to be like himself, true to our country and honor the flag of our Union under which he fought and helped to maintain all his life. Honor to his ashes. My father owned a farm and orchard near the Lookingglass Prairie, and also owned a quarter section of timber land in the Silver Creek bottoms, a portion of which was covered with sugar maple trees which was worked every spring by father and family in making sugar and molasses, which was fine fun for us children.
I can remember very well when I was only five years old how I would plead with my mother to let me stay down to the sugar camp and see them drain off the sugar for father had built a board shanty at the sugar camp for to stay in nights, to attend to the making of the sugar and molasses, and taking care of the maple water; but Mother would not let me stay nights for fear I would get sick eating too much warm sugar, but in the day time she would let us go for it gave us so much pleasure and fun to help father and brothers to keep the fire going, for when the sugar began to get thick they then had to give all their attention to stirring the sugar to keep it from burning, and were glad to have us children to keep the fire burning, and we enjoyed the fun so well that we never got tired. Although I was then so very young I can remember the pleasure and fun it gave me as though it was but yesterday.
I can remember my childhood days much better than what has transpired a few years back, but as that was a new country all that time, and my parents were among the first settlers of Illinois, us children had to be put to some kind of light work while very young in order to make the work a little lighter for our parents; Work that would seem so strange and odd to the children and young folks of these times, for we were then not allowed to romp and idle away our time like I see many children doing in Salt Lake City. Although we were allowed time enough to play to keep us healthy, for when our task was done we could have a time to play; so we would go off to our plays with a merry heart, and we had so many amusements to enjoy ourselves with in that day that we never once thought it was a hardship to have to work a part of the day to help our parents along.
In the early settling of Illinois the woods were full of wild grapes and nuts of all kinds in abundance, and we would make our amusements profitable, for we would gather nuts of all kinds and lay them up for winter, and the grapes we would dry what mother would not want to preserve, for they made beautiful preserves which were done up in honey, for sugar had to be kept for other purposes, for father could sell that to get other things needful for the family.
But honey was more plentiful, for bees could be found in those times in the trees that were hollowed–there they would go and settle and make their honey; and when my father and mother would find a bee tree, as they then called them (for the women went bee- hunting as well as men), and when they could find a bee, the men would go and take pails, tubs, or cans to hold the honey in and would chop the tree down and take out the honey, but had to look out for the bees, for they would get so mad at being disturbed, and they were very sure to commence stinging the first thing they came in contact with. They often would sting my father and brothers until their faces would swell awful, and that was very painful, but not dangerous. I have many times seen my father take out a wash tub full of honey in the comb from one bee tree; and many times would save the bee by forcing them in a gum which was made out of a hollow elm tree;–They were hollow inside like a mail keg, and they would saw them off about three feet long, and that was called a Bee Gumb; then the bees would get tired of fighting and would settle and father would have them in the Gumb.
In those days our parents had to raise cotton, and then pick the seed out by hand; and then mother and the girls that were large enough, would card it into rolls and spin it, and then weave it into cloth to make our clothing and our sheets, bed ticks, pillow slips, tablecloths and towels, we did not then have stores and shops to run to and buy such things as children are allowed to do in Salt Lake City. Everything then had to be made by hand.
Mother would give us small children our task to do every day; she would give each of us girls and boys a little bunch of cotton to pick seeds out, and when that was done we could play. How strange and odd it would look to your children of this day to have seen us set down cheerfully by the fire with our task by our side working away for dear life to see which would get done first. You children run and play from morning till night little think how children had to do fifty, sixty, seventy, and eighty years ago! And we then took solid comfort for working a little every day, did us good, and this is the way we had to do to help our mothers along; and we had to wear home-made clothes to meetings as well as at home, and we were not frilled and flounced to death like we see little girls stepping around now-a-days, acting lots older in company than their mothers, and fooling much larger in their actions. But the mothers are to blame for that because they have indulged them in doing so.
In these days we were very proud of our nice striped home-made dresses, for our mothers knew how to color pretty colors, and calculate stripes and checks for our dresses, and they looked very pretty. They also taught their young girls to spin, color, and weave their own dresses; and we took great pride in doing so. We were taught when little girls, that when we came home from meeting of a Sunday that our Sunday suit must be taken off and hung up for the next Sunday, for that would save washing. Thus we were taught to be saving and do as our parents taught us to do.
We helped our mothers to make the cloth we wore; and when we got older to help to plant and raise the cotton and flax, and my father raised indigo and rice. The indigo that he raised and prepared it for use, my mother would color a beautiful blue with it. We children helped father with his work in the field; we could pick the weeds out of the rice and help to hoe the corn and potatoes. I feel glad and thankful when I look back and think how I was taught in my childhood to help my parents in all their labors that they had to perform in order to make a living. I feel to bless them for giving me a knowledge to how these things were done, so that I can leave it for my children to look upon when I like father and mother have laid my body down to rest. It is a great pleasure to me to know that I did all in my power while I was young to help my dear father and mother to get along in days of poverty and hardships such as they had to pass through in those early days.
My mother had eight children, three sons and five daughters. Their names were; Nancy Rebecca, John Wesley, Elizabeth Knighton, Ezekiel, Sarah DeArmon, Missanian and Thomas Knighton and Jane Freeman. Nancy R., John W., and Missanian died in their infancy; Thomas K. lived to be 21 years of age, and died unmarried. We believed the gospel, but were not baptized, there being no elder near at the time of his death, for it was on his death bed that he requested baptism.
I will now return to the days of my childhood: when I was ten years old my father concluded to move his family into the state of Tennessee as he had heard that was a very healthy country, and my mother had very poor health. Father thought perhaps a change of climate might do her good, but he did not sell his property, but left it in the hands of my grandfather, Thomas Knighton, my mother’s father, so he only took what things he could put into two wagons, drawn by four horses each. Father drove the one that mother and the children rode in and my eldest brother drove the other. The journey was rather tedious and tiresome, as we were several weeks traveling.
One circumstance took place on the journey I never shall forget. I got very tired of riding in the wagon and would often ask father to let us out and walk, but as the other children did not wish to be bothered to look after me, father did not wish to stop as often to let me out, for I would always lag behind playing. This father did not think safe for me to do so. But one very fine morning, and there was a long uphill road that was straight, so they could see me ahead of the wagons and I was teasing to get out, father stopped and let me out, telling me to go ahead and run all day if I liked. I thought that was fine fun, so I struck off on the run, and it was a long steep hill, and of course they would have to stop once in a while for the horses to rest and I gained on the teams, and I would keep looking behind me. Finally I saw what I supposed to be a big black dog some distance behind me, following me up, but I thought nothing of it; but my father saw it was a big black wolf, which in that country was very dangerous. Father was so frightened that he stopped the wagons and took out one of the horses, and came on as fast as he could, for he saw the wolf was gaining on me fast. Father commenced hollering or order to scare away the wolf for it was gaining on me so fast it was only a few rods behind me when it got frightened at hearing father’s holler, and turned into the creek; and when father came up and told me the danger I was in, it was hard to tell which was scared the worst of us three–father, the wolf, or myself. But I was saved from death at that time, and I was cured from wanting to walk any more on that trip.
When we got into West Tennessee my father heard of a half brother of his living on Duch River in Bedford County of that state; he lived about fifty miles from where we were, but not in the same direction in which we were traveling, but we met with a man going right to where my Uncle lived, so father concluded to stop and let his team rest for two weeks, and sent word by this man that he would wait there and for him to come out and see him, as there was a farmer living there that let us have an empty house to stop in and treated us very kindly.
Father and his half brother had not seen each other since they were small boys, so when my uncle got word both him and his wife came to see us; they came on horseback, as that was the way of traveling in those days when going on a visit. They stayed a week visiting with us all, and when they were preparing to return home my Uncle asked my father and mother to let us go home with them and stay until father got to his journey’s end and got settled, and then uncle would take me home to my parents; for my father was still going on into East Tennessee–over a hundred miles from where my Uncle lived. So by hard coaxing they consented to let me go home with them, for it was fun to think of going home with them to see all my cousins and have a good ride on a horse behind my Uncle; and as he was a very large man I had hard work to hold on, for I was only a little girl about ten years old. My mother felt bad to part with me, but knew I would be better off until they got settled. They told me so much about my cousins I was going to see and what a good time I was going to have that I did not feel homesick at leaving them all behind.
So we traveled along finely until in the afternoon, and I was enjoying my ride so well, and thinking what a fine time I was going to have when something suddenly frightened the horse I and Uncle were on and gave a jump and I was thrown to the ground and seemed to knock the breath out of me, for when I came to myself my Uncle and Aunt were crying over me for they thought I was dead; then I thought I had only been asleep and wondered what made them cry. It was several miles to a house and they did not know what to do but finally my aunt took me by the hand and walked a short distance with me to see how badly hurt I was, but it soon wore off and I was able to ride again, but Uncle would hold on to me after that for fear I would fall off again. We stopped at the next house–stayed all night, and landed safely home the next day, and I was met by both my cousins–they were so pleased to think I had to stay a while with them, and from that time on for the next six months I was the pet of the family, for a kinder family could not be found.
My Uncle said the reason he thought so much of me was I looked so much like his mother, which was my grandmother for whom I was named, for her maiden name was Sarah DeArmon. Her first husband George Pea was my grandmother for whom I was named, for her maiden name was Sarah DeArmon. Her first husband George Pea was my grandfather, and after he died, she married Henry Verner, the father to this uncle of mine, and his name was then Vy Verner. My father had three whole brothers besides this brother; their names were George, Joseph and James Pea. He also had one sister, her name was Nancy Pea, but at her death her name was Nancy Brigen. Her husband’s name was Hyrum Brigen.
Well I will return to stay at my Uncle’s. I had a happy time while there for my uncle had five daughters, all single and grown, and one the youngest was about my age, her name was Abigail; they were all so kind to me, and all thought so much of Sarah D. as they called me, for one of my cousins’ name was Sarah, so they used the D. to distinguish us apart. The family were all very religious but very much divided in their religion. My Uncle and one daughter was what was called “Ironside Baptist,” my Aunt and two daughters were Presbyterians, the rest did not belong to any church.
The Presbyterian meeting house was near by, and me and my cousin near my age, attended meetings with my Aunt, for Uncle’s meeting house was two or three miles away and too far for us to go. My Aunt and the older girls told us we must attend to our secret prayers, which we were very faithful to attend to, and we read the New Testament evenings, and spent our time very profitable. My aunt would have us card and spin, which we liked to do, and would learn all I could while at my aunt’s for I knew that would please my mother when I would go home, for they had got settled in East Tennessee.
So they began to prepare to have me go home, but I had been treated so kindly that I dreaded the time to come to part with them. My uncle got me some nice clothes and the girls made them up for me; and uncle fixed up a side saddle and a nice gentle pony for me to ride. So I was quite delighted at the idea of having such a long ride on a horse all to myself, never once thinking how tired I would get before I reached home, for it was a hundred and fifty miles now to where father had settled for the time being. A long ride for a little girl like I was then, still I was very sorry to part with my dear aunt that had been like a mother to me, and with my dear cousins whom I had learned to love so well, but still I was anxious to see my father and mother and brothers and sisters from whom I had been separated so long.
So when the parting was over we started, my uncle and I, and a horse a piece. I kept up pretty well for three or four days, but then to get homesick and tired out, and would often fall back some distance behind, uncle would have to stop for me, and then I would ship up for a few miles, then he would commence singing to make company for me and keep me awake, for I would get so sleepy that he feared I would fall off the horse; then he would tell a story, or tell me how pleased mother would be when I got home. So he saw how tired out I was getting and as he loved to preach so well he would stop over a half day now and give notice he would preach in the evening. All this he did to give me a chance to rest, but I did wish he would keep on for I wanted to get home so bad, for of how lonesome and homesick I was, but finally we arrived at home, and mother was the first to meet me and said, “My dear child I will never be so foolish again and let you go away from me and stay so long.” Then came father and the children and we had a time of kissing, crying, and rejoicing. My uncle visited and rested for a week, and then bid us farewell for the last time in this life; for he returned home and only lived two years after and died. So I never saw him any more.
My father remained in Tennessee for three years working some at farming and some at his trade. He was a blacksmith by trade, but the last year of our living in that country my father bought up a “drove of horses” and took them into Georgia and Alabama, and sold them. He went on two trips of this kind and made money enough to get a good fit out to return back to our home in Illinois as mother’s health had improved, and we all wished to return to our home again, having gained a little more property in our three year’s stay in that country, and a little money to help us along. My two brothers had been a great help to father, and us girls had grown larger and were of more help to mother. We had a very pleasant journey on our return trip I remember; we traveled by way of Nashville and crossed the Cumberland River and the new bridge that was then just completed, which was then quite a curiosity, but now would not be thought much of an improvement, for there are so many greater improvements invented.
We finally arrived at our old home and found everything all right, for my grandfather had taken good care of our home and we were all glad of a home to come to; and father was glad that he had not sold his home. He then commenced anew to improve his home, and to work at his trade to make a living for his family.
I was now 13 years old and had one sister older and one six years younger, so my oldest sister and myself would card and spin and help to weave and assist all we could to help make clothing for; as we grew older we took great pride in learning to do all kinds of work such as carding, spinning, cullering and weaving, knitting and sewing; also milking the cows and making butter, as well as cooking.
Father had planted out quite a large orchard, and when it began to bear fruit became in great demand at St. Louis, for that was our nearest place for market at that time, and father would haul it there and sell it. Then it was then we young folks could begin to buy calico for Sunday dresses, and something else besides our own make. But we had to work in order to have something to sell so we could have other things to wear. We did not sit down idle and depend on our father’s hard work in order to have something to dress us up like some girls do in this day, neither did we expect our mother to get fine things for us to wear, but if we could earn a little and get our mothers a nice present once in a while, how proud we were to do so!
When I was only fifteen years old, my mother taught me to weave and I was so proud to think I could have the privilege of weaving for I had for a long time told mother I would be glad when she would let me weave, for I had got tired of filling quills for her to weave. I soon learned to be a good weaver, and soon I got so well learned that when I got done weaving what clothes mother needed for the family, she would let me take in weaving for other people, and would give me all I would earn. This soon enabled me to hire my younger sister to fill quills for me to weave and mother would do the spooling and warping for me, for I had not yet learned to do that, but was determined I would learn all the branches of weaving and making cloth. But weaving did not hinder me from doing my part at the other work, for I had to milk the cows and help to make soap, for we then made all our own soap out of grease and wood ashes, something girls nowadays know nothing about and would hardly believe it could be done if I told them how.
But young ladies, let me tell you that you know but little about work to what your grandmothers have done. So come and take a few lessons of us while we live. I shall ever feel thankful to my parents to think they taught me to do all kinds of work, for I was not only taught to work in the house, but was also taught to help my father plant and hoe corn, potatoes, plant and pick cotton; help to pull flax and to prepare it after it was raised to be worked into cloth, for flax had to go through many processes in order to get it ready to spin, and then it was spun on a little wheel run with the foot, something like sewing machines are run in this day. And I have gone down into the blacksmith’s shop to help my father blow and strike, when he had no one to help him, for my oldest brother, when he became a man, became a Methodist preacher, and gave all his time traveling and preaching, and my youngest brother had the dropsy, and was not able to work when he got old enough; and that is why us girls had to help father at times, so that he could carry on his work.
But after a while my father got better off and was able to hire work, and then we had an easier time. Neither did my mother have so much work to do, for times got better with us all. For my father’s trade got to be very profitable, for people came to his shop to get their blacksmithing done, for 20 to 30 miles, there being no other shop in that country and as the country improved money got more plentiful, and people could live better all the time.
But I can remember hearing my father tell about having to go to St. Louis to do his trading when there was scarcely any houses there except log houses; and that coffee then was a dollar a pound. I think this was in 1812, when everything was so dear in St. Louis. I have often heard my parents speak about the early settling of St. Louis.
My mother’s father, Thomas Knighton, was in the Revolutionary War, and served under General George Washington, and at one time was one of his Life Guards. I have often set and held the light for my grandfather at night for him to make shoes, for that was his trade, and in order to keep me awake he would tell me stories about the wars and what hardships he and others had to pass through and about the battle of Bunker Hill, and how the Torys or Red Coats, as they called the British, how they would run! I did so love to hear him tell about the wars that it seemed as though I never got weary or sleepy.
Grandfather and grandmother lived alone, although it was only a few hundred yards, yet they wanted me to stay with them and hear about the wars. Once, I remember a story he told about being with General Marion command, and they were partly surrounded by the British, and got out of provisions, and the British troops were aware of their being out, and were near enough to throw shells over into their camp, and to tantalize them, through shells loaded with wheat to let General Marion know that they had plenty while Marion’s men were starving. Grandfather said Marion wept bitterly, but plead with his men to be patient and the Lord would provide for them, and before the night came they had reinforcements and plenty of provisions, and marched on to the British camp, and routed them and took a lot of their supplies to the joy and comfort of those that were nearly starving in camp.
And another interesting little story my grandfather related to me while holding the lights for him to see to finish off a pair of shoes, which he had to finish that night, it being Saturday. He told me about one of the officers, I think his name was Putman, and he held the office, I think of General, at any rate he was a leading officer, and had performed many daring deeds, and that caused the Torys, or British to be very anxious to catch him in order to have revenge. So he had removed his family away from his farm, and kept an old faithful slave to see to things–one that thought a great deal of his master; but it became necessary of the general to go to his home to see to affairs thinking no danger at that time, but it appeared they were watching for him.
At any rate he had retired for the night, and left old Sambo, as he called his Negro to watch, and all around the house was thick clusters of blackberry briars, as they were then called, and they grew so thick it was hard to penetrate into them. So away in the dead of night the faithful old slave discovered the enemy was upon them, so he ran and told his master to escape as quick as he could for the British were upon them. The old gentleman was frightened and confused and only had time to gather his clothing in his hands and said to his faithful slave Sambo. Where shall I go? The old Negro said: “Take to the bush, Massah, take to the briers.” So the old man plunged into the blackberry patch far enough to be hid from all view and lay on his face scarcely daring to move for fear of discovery, but was near enough to hear all that was going on.
So they looked for him everywhere around, searched the house and then demanded the Negro to tell where his master was but he told them he did not know; but they insisted he did and if he did not tell them they would hang him. He still told them he did not know; so finally they hung him up, and when he was nearly dead they let him down, and when he came to so he could speak they asked him again to tell where his master went but the faithful slave told them again he did not know. They said, “They know better and would hang him again;” so they hung him the second time, and let him down, and he still stuck to it “that he did not know,” so they let him go and set fire to the house and burned it down; the old gentleman was so near the house that it nearly blistered him, and he could hear all they said to his faithful old Negro, and was afraid they would kill him, but he loved his master too well to betray him, so they went away never thinking anyone could run into so thick a briar patch.
I was so pleased to sit and listen to my grandfather tell about the War and what he and others went through that I scarcely ever got sleepy setting up with him. He would tell me what a good and great man General Washington was, and tell me how he would go into his tent and shut himself up and pray to the Lord for all the men and officers that served under him, I mean George Washington. My grandfather got his discharge from under his hand, and drew a pension as long as he lived. He died at the age of 84 years old, and after his death my mother drew the pension as long as she lived. He died a loyal citizen of Illinois, and always honored the flag of his country and sustained the Constitution of the United States; and so did my dear father who died in Utah, in Salt Lake City at the good old age of 91 years, and died a true Latter-day Saint, having joined the Church of Latter-day Saints in 1835.
I will now say a few words more concerning my aged grandparents and then leave that subject for my children and grandchildren to read after I have passed away from this life of sorrow. My grandparents lived alone, so my father and mother thought it would be best to have them a room built on to the one we lived in. They talked to them on the subject and found they were willing to come and then we could attend to their wants without going too far to see them, provided I would stay with them all I could. Mother told them, I should do so. The room was built and they were brought home to spend the remainder of their days. My grandmother lived about a year after she came to live with us; she died at the age of 71 years. She seemed happy and comfortable until the last and died perfectly in her senses–died blessing us all for our kindness to her. My grandfather was very lonely after her death and was buried beside my grandmother in St. Clair County, Illinois, on Silver Creek, on my father’s farm. (S. D. Rich)
In the summer of 1835 two Mormon elders came to preach at my father’s house by request of my father, as he had met them in the town of Belleville, nine miles from my father’s house. I, together with my father and mother were at that time members of the Reformed Methodist Church. The two elders came and held a meeting and preached on the first principles of the gospel, and related to the people about their being a prophet in their church, and told us about the Book of Mormon, and about an angel appearing to the prophet and others; all of which was new doctrine to the people, so as it was in the afternoon they held their meeting, my father invited them to stop all night, which invitation they accepted as they were then on their way to Kirtland, Ohio, some five hundred miles from where we then lived.
So after supper was over a number of neighbors gathered in to hear these strange talk, but I felt anxious to see the Book of Mormon they had told us about and I asked one of the elders if I could the see the book and read some in it that evening. So he gladly handed me the book, and I asked the company to excuse me for the evening and most of the night I spent in reading that book. I truly was greatly astonished at its contents that it left an impression upon my mind not to be forgotten:–For in fact the book appeared to be open before my eyes for weeks but the next morning those men bid us goodbye and started on their journey for Ohio. So our family had many things to say about this strange people; but still the things they told us left a deep impression on our minds, not easy to be forgotten.
But yet we did not think of ever meeting with those strange men again; and after they had been gone six weeks, I had a dream concerning them. I dreamed on a Friday night that they would come to our house the next evening just as the sun would be setting, and they would first come in sight at the end of a long lane in front of our house. I also dreamed that I met them on the porch and of the remark that was made both by them and of the remark made by myself, which I will relate later on.
So in the morning father and mother were going to Belleville, a town nine miles away, and while we were at breakfast I asked my father if he would not try to come home early that evening. He answered., “Why are you so particular, is your young man coming?” I said, “No, father, but those two Mormon elders will be here tonight.” “Why,” said my father, “have you heard from them?” I said, “No, but I dreamed last night that they would be here, and I feel sure it will be so.” Father said I must be crazy for those men were hundreds of miles away. I said, “Father, hurry home this evening for I am sure they will come.” He only laughed at me, and he and mother went off to town. Then said my sister, “Let us prepare for those men for they will surely be here.” She too, laughed at me, but as it was Saturday we went to work baking and preparing for Sunday, as that was our custom to do on Saturday; and as the day passed on I began to look once in awhile down the lane for those men.
Sure enough, just as the sun was setting they made their appearance just where I dreamed I first saw them. I met them on the porch, and bid them the time of day by saying, “I have been looking for you to come.” “Why,” said they, “had you heard we were coming?” “No,” said I, “but I dreamed last night that you were coming and I felt sure you would be here.” “Well,” said one of the elders, “and we had a vision that we were to return here and baptize you and build up a Church in this region.” I said, “Well, that is something for the future,” but bid them to take chairs and be comfortable for my father and mother drove into the yard and as I was standing on the porch my father said to me, “Well, Sarah, where are your Mormon elders?” I told him they were in the house, at the same time they stepped out onto the porch to meet my father, who seemed struck with astonishment remembering what I told him in the morning about my dream.
But after supper was over the evening was well spent in conversing about the principles of the gospel which they were preaching to the people, and we became more and more interested in what they told us. So in the morning, it being Sunday, Father took a horse and went and notified the neighborhood that there would be preaching at our house that evening by the Mormon elders. And when time arrived for the meeting the house was filled, and all listened with the greatest of order to a beautiful discourse upon the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and of the appearing to Joseph Smith of the angel, and many were astonished to hear such strange doctrine, for it truly was something new to the people.
And after the meeting was dismissed, a great number stopped and spent the evening, asking questions until a late hour. But before dismissing the meeting it was agreed that they should preach again on Tuesday evening following at the same place.
So the word went far and near, and they came from all the settlements in reach, and the house and porch was full of hearers. The elders preached on the first principles of the gospel, and were listened to with the greatest of attention. So when meeting was dismissed the elders had many invitations to preach in different places.
By this time I was truly convinced that their doctrine was from God, and on the next morning I went forth and was baptized; it was on the 15th of December, and they had to cut the ice and baptize me. I had made it a business of prayer to my Father in Heaven to show me is this the work of God, and He did so. I was truly convinced that it was the true gospel, and never have for one moment doubted it since; and it has now been fifty-four years since I embraced Mormonism; and I feel thankful to my Heavenly Father that I over heard and embraced the truth of His latter-day work.
But to return to my subject, these two elders remained in that place and built up a Church of 70 members, my father, mother and sister being among that number. So the reader can see that the vision those two elders had was fulfilled. Being the first one they baptized in speaking of those two elders being gone for six weeks after they first preached at my father’s, and we supposed that they had gone to Kirtland, I forgot to say that they had gone over into the adjoining county and were received by the people of that place, and had stopped and preached and baptized a number into the Mormon Church, among that number was Adsalom Free and his family, who afterwards gathered with the Saints in Caldwell County, Missouri, and were driven with the Saints from there to Nauvoo, and from there to the valleys of the mountains. One of his daughters Emmeline, became the wife of President Brigham Young; and two others became the wives of President Daniel H. Wells–Louisa and Hannah. Hannah is still living, the other two are dead; also father and mother Free have gone to join their two daughters.
After my father’s family had joined the Church, father commenced to close up his affairs so as to gather with the Church in Caldwell County, Missouri, but it was near three years before the way opened for him to move his family there. But at different times many of the elders traveling on missions would call at father’s and stop and hold meetings. One of the elders who had been several times at our house took a great deal of pains counseling me and my sister to be careful and not marry anyone that did not believe as we did, and told us the consequences that it might be the means of our not having the privilege of gathering with the Saints; and once when he called, he said to me that he had recommended me to a very fine young man that he thought would make me such a good companion, and told me his name.
So that passed on for some months, and another elder came and stopped and preached, and while talking to us girls about our gathering with the Church, he turned to me and said, “Sister Sarah, I have got a good young elder in the Church picked out for you as a husband.” “Well,” said I, “tell us what his name is, for that is the second one that has been selected for me a husband;” and when he told me his name, behold it was the name that the other elder had told me of several months before. This caused lots of comments in our family, and they would often tell me to look out for this fine young elder to come along.
So after a while the two elders returned to our house that first preached there, and the one that baptized me said to me, “Sister Sarah, while I was at Kirtland I recommended you to a very worthy young man who is an elder in the Church, and when I told him of you said he, “that same girl has been recommended to me twice before, and now I must hunt her up,” so when I inquired his name, it was the same as the two others had recommended to me. We all wondered, thinking how strange this all should be!
So about a month from that time I heard there was a letter in the post office for my father, and he not being at home I rode to the post office, about a mile away and got the letter, and on opening the letter I found one enclosed directed to me, and on opening mine found it was this same young man that had been recommended to me so many times before writing. I truly was struck with wonder and surprise. As a matter of course, it set me to thinking of the matter, and could not help but think the hand of the Lord had something to do in this matter; as I had always prayed to the Lord that I might be led by His Spirit in selecting a companion for life, and to guide me in this matter. I still have that letter and will copy the same in this book, although it was written fifty years ago.
Although we wrote several letters to each other after the one mentioned before we saw each other, the first one has been preserved with the greatest of care as a momento of our “first acquaintance by letter.” It was almost six months after I received this letter before my father sold his property in Illinois and moved to Missouri and after father got to Far West, it was about two weeks before I met with the young man referred to; his name was Charles C. Rich. It was in a public meeting that our eyes first rested on each other, and without anyone pointing us out to each other, we knew each other at sight; and in four months from the time we first met, we were married on the 11th day of February, in Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri. So my many friends can see the hand of the Lord had something to do in our acquaintance and marriage.
Now, I will say to all the young girls that are growing up in this church and wishes to get a companion that they can take comfort with through life, to do as I did–make it a matter of prayer and be careful in choosing and you will be blessed as I was, for the Lord truly heard and answered my prayers in this matter; for it seemed as though the hand of the Lord protected me in this matter, for I have been blessed in the same. O, that the young people of this day could only realize what blessings are in store for them if they would lay aside foolishness and be humble and live near the Lord, and read the revelations given the last days by or through the Prophet Joseph Smith. What a blessing it would be to them for there are surely great blessings in store for them if they will only live for it and ask the Lord to guide them aright in all things; but other foolishness and folly of the rising generation; it grieves me to see so much of it in this Church; parents should be more particular in looking after their children and see that they read good books and not let foolish trash and novels come into their house; and see that their children attend meetings and Sunday Schools and go with them to encourage them until they take an interest in so doing, and then they will go without much persuasion.
But dear children, you that will read this after I have passed away, remember to honor your parents, and take their counsel, and do right; they have had experience enough to guide you into what is right; take their counsel and you will be blessed. Daughters, be kind to your mothers, for they have passed through sorrow for your sake; and when you see they are in their declining years, cheer them up and let them have nice things for their comfort, and be choice of their feelings, for a harsh word a child to an old person sinks deep in their hearts and causes grief and sorrow in their lonely hours. Do not think anything too good for your mothers that have borne many children and watch over them by day and by night when they were not able to take care of themselves. Who is more faithful to their children than a fond mother? Fathers are kind and anxious for their children, but their main care by day and night rests on the mother.
Sons, be kind to your parents realizing that it is through their watchfulness and kind care that you are permitted to become men. Remember how many sleepless days and nights they have watched over you in sickness and have prayed the Lord to spare you to live and do good. So when you see them failing with old age, after many years of toil and sorrow, cheer them up; assist your fathers in their work; tell them to rest and let you do the hard work; try to make their last days their best days, and by so doing you can in a measure partly pay them back for their many days of hardships and sorrow they have had in raising you to have a name and bearing among men. Remember this when I am no more, my children and grandchildren, as well as others the advice is to all.
Well, now I will return to some of my experience in my early days of a married life. As Far West was a place every body lived in log houses, so my husband had built a nice little hewed log house and got it ready to live in by the time we were married. It was seven miles from Far West, near my husband’s fathers. So I left my father’s house in Far West and we moved to our cozy and happy home, and we thought we were the happiest couple in all the land. My husband had a beautiful prospect for a nice farm with plenty of timber and water, and our plans were laid for a comfortable and happy home in the near future. Our religion being first with us in all things.
My father in fitting me out to help us along gave me a nice riding horse, saddle, bridle and martingale, as they were fashionable in those days; and Mr. Rich had a nice horse and rig for riding, so we attended meeting every Sunday, and had the privilege of often listening to the Prophet Joseph Smith preach and instruct the people–a privilege we both appreciated very much. Things went on so nicely during the summer we never once dreamed what was in store to break up our happy anticipations and plans that were laid for our happiness with our home and friends.
Some time in the fall rumors were afloat that a mob spirit was beginning to trouble our Missouri Neighbors, and there was prospect of trouble ahead; and these rumors soon turned into reality, and we could foresee trouble ahead for us instead of the quiet happiness we had laid out for us. My husband and myself talked over the matter, and could see no way but to face the trouble when they did come. And as was always well gifted in discerning what was coming, would let no time be lost in giving me good counsel, and trying to have me prepare my mind to lean upon the Lord, to give me faith that I might withstand the trials that were ahead of us as a people.
He could foresee many things that I had not yet learned to think of, and he seemed to realize that the time was coming when we were to be separated from each other in the midst of our worst trouble, and would often tell me if such a time did ever come that I must not let my faith fail me but pray for courage to withstand trials when they did come. Little did I think the time was so near that he would compelled to flee for his life and leave mom as it were, in the midst of a howling mob with no one to look to for protection but my Father in Heaven. But such was the case, and thus it did occur as he had feared it would. For it was not long before the mob, many thousand strong gathered in upon us, and surrounded our pleasant homes and caused us to gather together into Far West in order that we could be better protected in the absence of our men that were out trying if it was possible to make peace without enemies and protect the settlements that could not possibly leave their homes and gather in with the rest of us.
My father and mother and sister had gone on a visit to Illinois to see my brother; they went just before these troubles commenced and as it was not safe for them to travel and return to their home in Far West, they wrote for me and my husband to move into their home and look after their things they had left. Consequently, we did so, and I took in those that had to leave their homes and flee into the city until I took in seven families.
By this time there was no room for any more; and among that number was John E. Page and his sick wife. He was then one of the Twelve Apostles of our Church; and about one week after, his wife died; and as the mob was troubling us so severely at this time it was impossible to have Sister Page buried for three days; and twice while she lay in the house a corpse, the mob entered the house and made a search all through the house to see what they could find. They were at that time in camp about a mile from our house, and it was then that I stood in my door and watched my dear husband as he was sent out to the guard of their camp bearing a white flag with a message from our people to them in order to try and make peace, if possible, but thus he was received by one of their guard, a Methodist preacher by the name of Beaugarde [Samuel Bogart].
He was the man that had a battle without people on Crooked River when David Patten was killed, one of the Twelve Apostles of this Church. My husband was also with David Patten when he was killed, and Beaugarde [Bogart] knew him, and this is why he wished to kill him, and my husband and some others were compelled to flee for their lives, as the mob swore they would kill him. I do not remember the names of all the brethren that left with Mr. Rich, but Hosea Stout, Samuel Smith, a brother of the Prophet and Seymour Bronson [Brunson], and Phineas Young were among that number that had to flee, and they had to travel out into a wilderness country where there were no settlements in order to avoid meeting any of the mob, that was prowling all through the country. Consequently, they experienced many hardships, and hungry for food as they had one horse a piece along they were five days lost and did not know where they were, nor which course to travel.
One of those days, the company of six only had one black bird among them to eat; they finally came upon a camp of Indians who received them friendly, and fed them, and supplied them with provisions in their rude way, and sent a pilot with them to the settlements. From there they made their way to Quincy, Illinois. The company stopped there while Mr. Rich went to the south part of the state to where my brother lived, and where my father and mother and sister were stopping, and got my father to take a team and come to Far West and bring me to him at Quincy; he was to meet me there. This was in the month of January  and the weather was very cold for my father to travel four hundred miles, but he made the trip in good time.
Now, I must return to some of my experiences during the three months I was left alone in the midst of the mob after my husband had to leave. He and I parted that night at one o’clock we had gone to his sister’s to stay that night before he knew he had to leave. His sister lived at the store on the public square of Far West. Her husband kept the store; and when we parted, not knowing whether we should meet again for a long time, I felt confident it was the only thing he could do to avoid a maddened mob from taking his life. So I felt contented to have him go, feeling that the Lord would spare us to meet again. So he and Hosea Stout made a covenant to stay together until we should meet again; and Hosea’s wife and I made a covenant that she and I would remain together as true friends until we should meet our husbands again, and upon this promise we shook hands with our dear husbands and parted. She and I then went into my sister-in-law’s house and went to bed praying the Lord to protect ourselves and our dear companions until He saw fit to have us meet again.
So, in the morning, after we had our breakfast we started to go home to my house, about four blocks away, but found on the road the mob had placed their guards out to protect anyone from passing. We attempted to pass but were stopped by bayonets pointed at us, and told we could not pass. I told him I was going to my home a short distance away; they still refused and all that we could do was to return to my brother-in-law’s, but when we got there and were telling in the store what had happened, the captain of the guards happened to be there and heard what I said. He stepped up to me and asked what was the matter. I told him; he then asked my name, and when I told him, he said, “Was it your husband that Captain Beaugerde [Bogart] killed yesterday?”
I said, “Yes, Sir,” for they thought he was killed.
He then said he would go with me to where the guard was and see that I passed on to my home. I told him on the way that I had sent my hired boy out with a team of oxen to get me a load of wood, and that the boy was taken prisoner and the oxen kept in their camp. He told me to give him the name of the boy and the description of the cattle, and he would see they were returned. So he told the guard to let us two ladies pass, which they did.
We went to our home and the Captain hurried on to the camp, and arrived there just as they had drove up my oxen to kill them for beef. He called to them to hold on, and asked for the boy that had come for wood with that team. He then ordered some of his men to hitch up the team and go and load on the wood and guard that boy to his home with the wood. So I soon had the boy, wood and team returned to me again. So by his carrying the impression into camp that my husband was killed it kept them from looking for him until he had time to get out of the way; but when they found out he was not killed, they felt awful and got mad and would often come to my house and tell me if I did not tell where he was hidden they would blow my brains out, at the same time pointing pistols at me, for they thought he must be hid somewhere, never once thinking it possible for him to make his escape, when there were so many troops of mobs in the country. This was the kind of a life I had to live under Mob Law for three months, not knowing what time they might set fire to my house, for they threatened several times that they would do so in order to find my husband, and I, at the same time in very delicate health.
They robbed me of my riding horse, stole my chickens and drove off my cows that gave me milk. Thus things went on until my father arrived. He found me very sick through excitement and hardships; but notwithstanding my sickness. With the help of Sister Samantha Stout we gathered things together, and packed up what little we had left, and on the 3rd of February , in the cold storms, we started the wagons, two in number, I mean two wagons to haul all my father had, and all that myself and Sister Stout had also Thomas Rich’s effects, for he drove one of the teams, we started for Quincy, Illinois. I was so feeble that I had to lay on a bed and travel over frozen ground for four hundred miles.
I must here mention the kindness of Brother Thomas Rich to me. He is a cousin to my husband and lived with us as one of our family. He was so faithful on this journey, for I had to be helped out and into the wagon every night and morning, and he being young and strong took that care upon himself, and was so kind to me that I wish his name ever held in remembrance by my children; also the name of Sister Samantha Stout. She was like a dear sister to me through all my trials and hardships in Missouri. She, too, passing through hardships and sorrow as well as myself; but she being poor in health and very young, her hardships shortened her days, for she did not live a year after we landed in Quincy, where we met our husbands that had fled for their lives some months before.
When we reached the Mississippi River the ice had broken up on the west side of the river and was running so the ferry boat could not cross. So of course I and Sister Stout felt quite down- hearted; we knew our husbands were on the opposite side in Quincy waiting for us, and by this time quite a number of the brethren were also there on the banks of the river waiting to cross over. All chance for crossing was to go across in a skiff or canoe through the ice until they reached the island and from there walk on the ice to reach Quincy on the east side. While I was setting on the bank of the river feeling so bad Brother George D. Grant came along, and knowing of my poor health, and seeing me feel so bad, he said to me, “Sister Rich, cheer up and I will go over and tell Brother Rich you are here.”
Some, on hearing what Brother Grant had said, remarked that it would be a very dangerous undertaking as the ice was running so swift. Said Brother Grant, “Well, I will try it, live or die.” So he and another man got into a canoe and started over. Sister Stout and I sat on the bank and watched him until he or they reached the island and started across the ice. They had not gone far before the ice broke, and one of the men fell into the river. We then saw two men from the opposite side run across the where the ice had broken. By this time it was getting late, near sunset, and soon a man came back with the canoe and said George Grant had fallen through the ice, and they got him out just alive and that was all. So when we heard this news we went back to our wagons clear discouraged. I went into the wagon to cry while Sister Stout and my dear father, and Thomas Rich prepared the supper, as I was not able to help them do anything.
But all this time my husband and Brother Stout, after seeing that Brother Grant was well cared for were planning to get over to us, for they were the two men that we saw go to Brother Grant when he fell through the ice. They got him out of the river and conveyed him to a good place where he was attended to, and then got a skiff and carried it on their shoulders to the lower island, being joined by Brother Webb whose wife was also in our company. They crossed on the ice carrying the skiff until they reached where the ice was running, then they landed their skiff and came down the river to where we were camped, and great was our joy!
To meet with our loved companions who were compelled to part with us three months before and flee for their lives from a howling mob. And after their staying with us that night, they concluded that it was best for us women folks to cross the river at once, and not wait until the ferry boat would cross, which was not likely to be the case for several days on my account, it was necessary we should cross over immediately, as I know not what moment I would be confined, with my first child.
So in the morning us three women and our husbands got into a canoe, and they rode us over the river to where we could cross the balance of the way on the ice. Just think of it my dear reader, to see us undertake such a perilous trip across the water running with ice, the cakes of which were so large that sometimes the men would have to jump back out on the ice in order to push it away and then jump back into the canoe again, and by hard work reached the ice on the other side, and my poor old father had to be left with the teams and wagons until the ferry boat could cross. The poor old man stood with tears in his eyes watching us not knowing whether or not we could reach shore. He said afterwards, that sad were his feelings to see us start out to cross the waters of the Mississippi–six of us in a canoe, but we reached the shore in safety and was met on the banks of the river by a Brother George Crouch and his wife, at whose house my husband had been stopping; and they made welcome and did all for our comfort that they could, until Mr. Rich could find a place to rent, which he found in a few days.
He rented a place about five miles from Quincy, for we were stopping in Quincy. The place that he rented was called The Old Methodist Institute. So we moved our things there and unloaded our wagons, and my father went into Sangamon County, Illinois where my brothers lived, and brought my mother and sister back with him, for that was where they were stopping on a visit; he returned with them the first of March , and on the 4th of March my first child was born, a fine little daughter who is now fifty years old living in this city. Her name is Sarah Jane Miller.
I got along finely for a few days, but took a back set which came near proving fatal, for I grew worse all the time, until my life was despaired for six weeks no one thought I would recover except my husband, Mr. Rich he would not give up but said all the time that I would not die. Finally he sent back to Quincy, five miles, for father Smith, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s father, he was then the Patriarch of our Church, for I thought I was going to die in a very short time.
So Father Smith came, and when he came to the bedside and looked at me he said he thought I would die. Mr. Rich quickly answered Father Smith: “She won’t die.” The old gentleman hung his head for a few moments and then looked and then said, “Let us administer to her, and I will give her a Patriarchal blessing.” He did so and Spirit of the Lord was so poured out upon him that he blessed me with a long life, and said I should speedily recover, and gave me such a blessing that all in the room were weeping for joy, for they had all been looking for me to die. When he got through the blessing he stood a moment looking at me and then said, “I did not have faith when I commenced blessing Sister Rich that she would get well, but the Lord poured out His Spirit upon me to give her the blessing, and promised her a long life, and many blessings and said he, “every word will be fulfilled.”
And I commenced to get better right away. And before he left the house he again administered to me, and commanded me in the name of the Lord to arise and dress me and eat breakfast with him and the family, which I did, notwithstanding I had been confined to my bed for six weeks, not able to even set up to have my bed made only as they would lift me out and lay me on a lounge while they would make my bed. I gained slowly for a few weeks and all our friends were astonished at my being healed by the power of the Lord, for it was nothing else that saved my life. For I had passed through so many hardships by being mobbed and driven that it truly was a miracle that I did live and get well.
But my dear children and friends, the Lord is still willing and able to bless all those that put their trust in Him; and after many tribulations come the blessings. Thus it was with me, and this it is true, for thus I have been spared to raise a family of eight children and live to a good old age, and still trying to do all the good I can and teach my children and grandchildren how to live that they can gain blessings from the Lord.
Well, Dear Children and Friends do not think that this was the end of my trials and tribulations, for it was only the beginning.
My father and mother rented a house in a little town called Burton, about ten miles from Quincy when I got well enough for them to leave me, and they moved there, and father started a house of entertainment and was doing well there, and when I got able to move we moved back to Quincy, and took a room of our dear Brother and Sister Crouch where Mr. Rich had been stopping when I crossed the river in that little canoe. I stayed there with my little babe while Mr. Rich would go and split rails to get means to pay house rent and get our scanty living. For money we had none being stripped of all we possessed by the mob, except our beds and what little clothing we had. We were very poor having no home and among strangers, with the exception of a few of our brethren that had, like ourselves been driven from their homes.
But what was worse our Prophet, and all the leading men of our Church were still chained in the dark dungeon of a Missouri prison, and we were left as sheep without a shepherd; but we had faith in God, knowing that we were His children and had embraced the gospel, and we realized that we were persecuted in a glorious cause, and if we were faithful we should yet meet our Prophet and our brethren again; but as yet we knew not which way to go nor where to settle, for the Missourians were still swearing that we never should see our leaders again. Consequently, what few there were left of us were very poor, but humble and prayerful, and put our trust in God and prayed for the Lord to deliver our Prophet and brethren out of the hands of enemies that they could tell us that which we should do.
The inhabitants of Quincy were very kind to us as a people and did all they could to give our brethren employment and assisted many that were in need; and many were sick, they also were cared for and their wants looked after by the people of Quincy. So after staying there a month my father came and thought we had better move to where he was living at Burton, so that I could be looked after by my mother and sister while my husband had to attend to other matters. We accepted his kind offer and went to my father’s at Burton and remained there until in the Fall .
By this time our leaders and prophet had gained their freedom and had gathered with the rest of the Saints at Quincy, and had purchased land up the Mississippi River, and was about to settle in what was afterwards called Nauvoo. So in the fall my husband left me with my father’s folks and went to Commerce, which was afterwards called Nauvoo, fifty miles away, and bought a lot and built a log house and then returned for me and my dear little babe. We had by this time taken a little boy to live with us and help me take care of the baby. He was only nine years old but a smart good little boy. His mother was a widow and could not well take care of him, as she had no home. His name was Lewis Thompson. He was such a faithful little boy; we took him before my baby was born, and he was so fond of my baby, and was so good to rock her in our home in a cradle.
So Mr. Rich loaded up our wagon, put all we had in one wagon and we started to our new home. We had two cows and one horse besides our team to the wagon, having sold our land that we were driven from for the horses and cows, so the little boy rode the horse home in Nauvoo about dark.
And I can assure you my friends, it was a happy time for us to once more feel at home among the Saints of God, and to be where we could hear word of comfort from the mouth of our Prophet Joseph Smith. For we were now where we could attend meeting every Sunday; also where we could visit with our dear brothers and sisters who, like ourselves had been driven and robbed; and they liked us, were glad of a resting place out of the reach of those that had sought our lives and the lives of our Prophet and all our leaders who had been delivered from prison by the hand of our Heavenly Father. We were truly a thankful and humble people.
Our new home consisted of a comfortable log house with a lot of an acre and a quarter of ground, covered with beautiful large trees, which furnished us plenty of wood for a long while, and our nearest neighbor on the west was Brother Heber C. Kimball, only a few rods from us; and our next neighbor on the south was Brother Charles Hubbard, now a resident of Wilford City, Utah. God bless him and his dear wife, Mary Ann, for their many kindnesses to us in the days of the first settling of Nauvoo; also Sister Vilate Kimball, whose husband, Heber C. was then on a mission to Great Britain. She, like us, was a new settler in Nauvoo, and Brother Kimball being on a mission caused us to take great interest in her welfare. So we soon became strong friends to each other, and we felt for each other for each other’s interest. She truly was a noble sister, and one full of faith in the work of God. And we took solid comfort together, and was thrown together in many trying circumstances. And if my husband and I had any nice thing to eat that she did not have we shared it with her, and she did the same by us.
She opened the door for the brethren to hold meetings in her house; and many was the time that the Lord poured out His Spirit upon us in our meetings that caused us to rejoice together, and many were the blessings we enjoyed together; also with Brother and Sister Hubbard, for they too, were good Latter-day Saints, and were faithful to help administer to the wants of Sister Vilate Kimball and family in the absence of her husband.
Thus we passed the winter and summer together; and the Prophet Joseph would also call on us from time to time. He would also inquire after the wants of dear Sister Kimball, as he took great interest in the welfare of the families of those that were off on missions, to see that they did not want for the comforts of life. We then, as a people were united and were more like family than like strangers. And as there were many sick these the Prophet Joseph Smith would to go from house to house with others of the brethren and administer to the sick, and see that they had the necessary comforts that the sick needed, and many were healed and raised up from a bed of sickness, looking as though they were nigh unto death.
Thus we as a people struggled through poverty and sickness in trying to make another new home for ourselves after being robbed and driven from the state of Missouri. The people of Illinois seemed to open their hearts toward us and treated us kindly for a season; and thus the Lord opened the way for us as when we were cast as exiles in a strange land, as it were, we were protected and blessed so that the work of the Lord continued to prosper and gain ground, and we began to prosper and gather means by hard labor until we were again beginning to be more comfortable; and my husband and myself and children took a journey to the north eastern part of Illinois to visit a sister of his living in what is called Troy Grove.
We by this time had a son and another daughter, which made three children, Sarah Jane, Joseph C., and Artemissa. We spent a few weeks visiting there and then we went to Allaway, visited there with friends, and then returned to Nauvoo to our home and spent the rest of the summer preparing for winter. Soon our little babe, Artemissa was taken sick with bloody flux. We did all in our power to save our dear one, but she died the 12th of September so we were left to mourn the loss of our sweet little girl, nine months old. She now lives in the graveyard among the Saints that died at Nauvoo.
Early in the spring of 1844 my husband was called on a mission to Michigan and Canada. So we sold out where we then lived and he rented a room for me in Brother David Fullmer’s house, not far from the [Nauvoo] temple, that was not then finished, so that I would not be alone while he was gone, having bargained for a place near the temple on Young Street, but we could not get possession until in the Fall, and he went to fulfill his mission leaving me with my two remaining children and a little girl 11 years old that we had taken to raise. So he started not knowing how long he would be gone as the Prophet Joseph had called many of our brethren at that time to go on a mission to preach the gospel of salvation to those that had never heard the gospel of this the Latter-day work preached.
But while he was on this mission in Michigan came the sad event of the assassination of our beloved Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith of which the readers are all well posted.
Sad was the news that reached our city on the early morning of June 28th, 1844, that our Prophet and Patriarch had both been cruelly murdered in Carthage Jail on the evening of the 27th in cold blood, while under the solemn pledge of the governor of the state that they should be protected, and have a fair trial.
At the same time the governor took his troops that were then stationed in Carthage to protect the Prophet’s life, he took them with him and came into Nauvoo leaving our brethren at Carthage in the hands of a howling mob, eager for the blood of our leaders. Thus were these two good and noble men of God betrayed and murdered.
And I must now tell my readers that one of those murderers was this same Colonel Williams that I have spoken about, the one that me and my husband–so kind when we were moving to Nauvoo, when we stayed at his house, and Mr. Rich was so sick, and he was kind to all our people and lay aside all his goodness, and joined the mob and helped take the life of those two good men. And after many years he died a wretched death, saying, “He had helped murder the servants of God.” His crime was before his eyes in his dying moments. Thus justice overtook him at last.
Well, I cannot describe the sorrow the Church was thrown into at this time, men, women, and children wept and cried aloud when the news came in that our brethren were killed; and Brother John Taylor, then one of the Twelve Apostles, badly wounded. So arrangements were made to have their bodies brought into Nauvoo. Teams and men were sent to Carthage to bring them, Brother Taylor was wounded so bad that the brethren had to bring him, in a litter; and when the word came that they were near the city, thousands went out to meet them. My father took his team and brought my mother and sister to my house and took me and them out to meet our dead Patriarch and Prophet Hyrum and Joseph together with our dear Brother Taylor, who lay groaning on the litter as our brethren bore him into the city. O, what a solemn time! I shall never forget it. They were taken to the mansion house where their families and aged mother was awaiting their arrival. Brother Taylor was taken to his home and family.
The mother of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum lived with Joseph and Emma. She being 80 years old, she was heart broken to look upon the bodies of her two murdered sons. But she bore up with great faith, knowing they were pure and innocent men.
The next day after their bodies were prepared for burial and placed in their coffins. They were placed in the Hall of the Mansion, side by side, where the brethren and sisters and children could pass through and look upon their peaceful faces. Thousands came from all quarters to take a last look; and steamboats loaded with strangers came from Burlington, Quincy and many other places, to look upon their dead bodies.
So on the third day they were laid to rest. Then all the missionaries that were out preaching were called home. Mr. Rich was at that time in Michigan; he hastened home as soon as he got the word to come; many were coming home as soon as they got their release to do so. Many of our enemies said now Mormonism is at an end, and we would all be scattered to the four winds; but our faith never failed us; we were humble and prayerful; and when all the brethren arrived the Church was organized and President Brigham Young, whose right it was to rule was our leader; and the work of our finishing the temple was begun.
My husband had returned with the rest of our brethren and was ready to take his part with the rest of the brethren of helping to finish the temple. Soon after he arrived at home he got the house he had bought ready for us to move into. As I was soon to be confined he hurried up the matter; so on the 2nd of September 1844, early in the morning I found it necessary for us to move at once. The good sisters of our neighbors volunteered to help me fearing I would not be able to get moved and everything straightened up, but I laughed and told them to hurry up and I would wait. Mr. Rich was taking the things in his wagon as fast as he could; it was not far we had to move–only three blocks, but we got moved and everything straightened up and at nine o’clock that night I had a fine son born, we called him after his father–Charles C. Rich, I was truly blessed, took no injury by moving, and was well cared for, and was in a few weeks able to take charge of my work and see to my family.
Mr. Rich was at the time one of the High Council, and had to be away most of the time, and to help with the temple which was fast being completed. Of course, I had to be deprived of his society most of the time, but we had a nice little home not far from the temple, in which I took great comfort with my little family, which then consisted of three children, and Harriet Sargent, the little motherless girl I had taken to live with me. She was just turned in her 12th year; she was a great help to me in looking after my children.
By this time, we as a Church were having to all appearance a little peace; our enemies seemed a little better satisfied thinking they had killed our Prophet and his brother, that our Church was again organized, and the brethren were going ahead with the temple and were about to finish the same, they again commenced to try and get up something against our leading men. They made many threats what they would do, and annoyed us all they could, but yet the work went on.
The [Nauvoo] temple was finished and dedicated unto the Lord, and the work of giving endowments commenced. President Young chose many brothers and sisters to come to the temple and assist in giving endowments. Among those chosen was Mr. Rich and myself; we were to be there at seven in the morning and remain until work was done at ten or twelve o’clock at night, if necessary. So we got a good girl, Mary Phelps, a wife of my husband’s to stay and take care of the children; and we helped in the House of the Lord to give endowments for four months, until the house was closed; and we as a people commenced to prepare ourselves to depart for the Rocky Mountains.
For by this time the devil was mad, and the lives of many of our brethren were sought by the mob that had assassinated our brethren, Joseph and Hyrum. But many were the blessings we had received in the House of the Lord, which was caused joy and comfort in the midst of all our sorrows, and enabled us to have faith in God, knowing He would guide us and sustain us in the unknown journey that lay before us.
For if it had not been for the faith and knowledge that was bestowed upon us in that temple [Nauvoo] by the influence and help of the spirit of the Lord, our journey would have been like one taking a leap in the dark, to start out on such a journey in the winter as it was, and in our state of poverty, it would seem like walking into the jaws of death. But we had faith in our Heavenly Father, and we put our trust in Him, feeling that we were His chosen people and had embraced His gospel; and instead of sorrow we felt to rejoice that the day of our deliverance had come.
So I set to work to prepare myself and family to be as comfortable as we could with what little means we had, for we wanted to start out with the first company and President Young wanted us to start in the first company, the same as he and his family were going in the first company. As there were only a few hundred families going to start out in this company; others were to follow on from time to time as it should be thought wisdom for them to do so.
I will now mention one good brother that came forward and offered to assist us with a wagon and team, and his young son to drive our team until we came to a stopping place, where the team and boy could be sent back. It was Brother Joel Ricks, and the boy he sent at that time was his son Thomas, only 16 or 17 years old. Other brethren also turned out teams to help carry provisions, tents and other things necessary for such a journey! I went to work and had some cloth made, and the sisters turned out and helped me to make up clothing for my children and family, and it was not long until I could say I was ready for a start.
But, as I am a little ahead of my story, I will go back to some things that took place in the temple we are about to have. As the gospel with all its fullness had been restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Of course all the former ordinances were restored; also among other things celestial marriage was restored, and the ordinances thereunto were performed in the temple just alluded to. So when my husband and myself had this doctrine explained and taught to us in its true light by those that had a right to teach it, we both saw the propriety of the same, and believed it to be true and essential to our future glory and exaltation hereafter. We accepted the same, and like old Sarah of old, I had in that temple given to my husband four other wives, which were sealed to him in that temple by the Holy Order of God by one having authority to do the same. Their names were Eliza A. Graves, Sarah J. Peck, Mary A. Phelps, and Emeline W. Grover. They were all that were sealed to him at that time. So this enlarged our family to be a few more in number to prepare for the journey west.
Many may think it very strange that I would consent for my dear husband, whom I loved as I did my own life and lived with him for years, to take more wives; this I could not have done if I had not believed it to be one principle of His gospel, once again restored to the earth, that those holding the priesthood of heaven might, by obeying this order attain to a higher glory in the eternal world; and by our obedience to that order my dear husband has left on this earth a numerous posterity, like the ancient apostles and servants of God.
Now I will again return to our preparing for the move West, and when we got everything ready for us to lead up, we started on the 13th of February, 1848, we crossed the Mississippi River on the ice with our wagons and horses. We had three wagons, one was driven by Mr. Rich, one by Brother Thomas Ricks, and the third by a young man that had volunteered to go with us by the name of George Stailey. We also had a young boy given into our care by his father, his mother being dead; his father wished him to go with us to the mountains and we were to look after him the same as our own; his name was George Patten, of whom I will speak more about later on. Two or three of the brethren crossed the river with us and assisted us as far as my father-in-law’s 12 miles away from Nauvoo, in Iowa.
In Nauvoo, on this the 13th day of February , I parted for the last time in this life with my dear mother, Elizabeth Pea; although we both expected at that time that she and my father and sister Jane would follow on the next season, but death deprived me of ever meeting my mother again in this life. Brother Charles Pendleton was one of the good brothers that kindly assisted us to my father-in-law’s and he returned home, and waited for a year or two and followed on. President Young, Kimball and others had also crossed the river with a few hundred families and were camped on a stream called Sugar Creek; there they waited until all the companies came together, and they all became organized.
Mr. Rich went back and forth to Nauvoo to help others of the brethren to start while we remained at father’s; also to get ox- teams to haul our provisions, so we had to leave our house and furniture, all unsold-left stoves, chairs, bedsteads, clock and all our furniture standing in the house, not sold. So the time came for us to roll out into camp, and we bid our friends goodbye and started for camp. It snowed all that day, and when we pitched our tent at night we had to sweep away the snow and make our beds on the cold ground, for there was not room for us to sleep in our wagons.
We remained in camp a few days; I there was taken very sick through being exposed in the storm; and as my Charley was then a nursing baby it was very hard on me to be sick. But by good care and the kindness of my husband and his young wives and the administering of the brethren, I was restored to health again, and able to travel with the rest of the company.
But before we left camp my father and sister Jane rode out to camp to see us and again bid us goodbye, and left us for good at that place, expecting to join us some time in the future when we would find a resting place. Mr. Rich returned from Nauvoo on the 25th, fixed up the wagons and made them comfortable as he could for the journey, and at three o’clock that afternoon we started on our journey; traveled five miles and camped on Lick Creek a little after night. There was on the ground three inches deep and we had a cold night of it, having to sweep away the snow, stretch our tent, and having to make down our beds on the cold ground. We had a lot of rag carpet which came in very handy to lay on the ground under our beds, but yet it was cold and uncomfortable for us having three little children, one a babe at the breast.
My health was not very good, but I was blessed of the Lord by my obedience in receiving the law of polygamy. For as my husband’s other wives were all young girls, and three of them were then with me, they assisted in the work, and helped me with my children; a blessing which I acknowledge was from the Lord. One of them–Mary A. Phelps Rich took all care of my children at night, except the baby; and when the weather was bad I stayed in the wagon with my babe and my meals were handed into me, as all the cooking had to be done by a fire built up in open air, rain, snow, or shine. Meals had to be prepared in this way; and all this time those dear girls waited on me, did the work without a murmur or complaint.
On the 26th of February, 1847, we started on and traveled through a little place called Farmington. Here Mr. Rich got some coffee, sugar, leather and other things to help us on our way. Then we went up the Des Moines five miles and camped on Reed’s Creek – Here we found Brother and Sister Miller and company, and some of the pioneers who were appointed to travel with each company to assist to build bridges, make roads, and to help us along in case of need. They were young men, or men that had volunteered to go with us some hundred miles, and then return and bring their families. Bishop Miller had here taken a contract of a settler that lived at this place of clearing ten acres of land in order to get grain and bread stuff for the journey; and it being Saturday, Mr. Rich stopped over Sunday, and had his men help Bishop Miller out with his contract. And on Sunday, February the 29th, 1847, Mr. Rich helped to bury Brother Smith’s child, one of the Brother Miller’s company. My husband and Bishop Miller preached the funeral sermon, there being a number of the settlers present who paid good attention to their preaching; and in the afternoon my husband went to visit Mr. Neal, an old acquaintance from Kentucky. I was quite sick that afternoon and could not go with him.
Monday, March 3rd, 1847, I was much better. Mr. Rich went to a place called Boneparte two miles away and got some horse-shoeing done and returned, and Brother Young’s company came up and all stopped and rested awhile, for the roads were so muddy, as the rain had melted the snow, and the roads were horrible. The mud was so deep we could only travel a few miles a day, and stop and camp several days waiting for the roads to get better. But we had to take courage, and endure the hardships before us through rain and mud. We passed Brother Orson Spencer’s camp; Sister Spencer was very sick, and afterwards we heard she had died. She was a noble, faithful Latter-day Saint, and was a kind mother to her beautiful children who were left motherless by her death. She was a lady in every respect, and left a beautiful family of children who kept all together and the daughters though then small, managed to do the work and were united together and became honorable sisters in the Church; and the sons became honorable men, and are all now living to do good.
We still traveled on as fast as the weather would permit, only traveling a few miles a day, and then perhaps stop for a day or two waiting for the rain to stop, camping and sleeping in our tent on the damp ground at night; and when there was a chance the men folks would get jobs of work from the farmers as we passed along, and the pay would enable us to get things most needed to make us comfortable on our journey, for we were very poor and needed many things that we had to deny ourselves of, notwithstanding all our hardships, we felt cheerful knowing our reward was in the future; and if we were faithful our lives would be preserved, and that we long would find a stopping place, where we could rest and help to build up the kingdom of God. For when we embraced His gospel we had a claim upon His promises. We continued on our journey all through the month of March, stopping when there was chance to get work; and our brethren would do the work, while their wives and children would cook, wash, iron, as most of our milk men do now a days, put in a little water. This is now [what] we poor Mormons had to do while journeying from civilization to find a home in the mountains where we could serve our God in peace for a season.
Each company had a few cows to give us milk, but often those cows had to be yoked up and help to draw our wagons, and of course, they could not give us much milk. We also, before starting out West got squashes and cooked them up as dry as possible, and then made them out into small thin cakes and dried them in our stoves, and put them in clean sacks, and they, too, were used in milk; and oft times, when we stopped for a few days we would make them into pies by soaking them in milk, but we did not have eggs to put in them to make them nice, but we did the best we could and called them squash pies. Young ladies of today, what would you think of one of our squash pies of those days!
Now, we started on our journey, traveled about four miles and camped on Fox River near the camp of Father Bent, and a number of the High Council were camped there. We again stopped while Mr. Rich and others took a job to make some shingles for a farmer near where we stopped, and the next day being Sunday, Brother John Taylor and his family came to our tent, made us a visit. Brother Taylor held meeting, spoke of what lay before us; told us to be humble and patient and all would be right. After meeting him and the portion of his family that was with, him [he] returned to our tent and took dinner with us, and cheered us up with his lovely jokes. Mr. Rich then visited the main camp to attend a council meeting. I and Sister Mary Rich went with him to visit some of our friends in that camp.
We returned, and the next day fixed up our things and again set out on our trip started, traveled up the divide between Soap Creek and Fox River and camped at Brother Orson Pratt’s camp. We that day had traveled about 17 miles; we were then within about three miles of the main camp where Presidents Young and Kimball were camped. The next day we traveled about 12 miles over bad roads, stalled in the mud and had to unload one wagon. The main camp was traveling just ahead of us, so we overtook them at night in camp and struck our tent and camped near by.
The next day our company started on leaving the main camp where it was, crossed the prairie, traveled 12 miles, crossed the Chariton River, camped on the West bank, here we again found Brother Orson Pratt and Brother Shumway’s company camped. Here Mr. Rich and others took a contract to clear one acre of ground–this they accomplished in one day and got 23 bushels of corn, for we had to feed our teams all this time while the brethren were doing this work.
The main camp came up, crossed over the river, and camped on the hill a half mile from our camp. Here, I will make mention that while crossing this river in a wagon, our worthy brother, Chariton Jacobs, was born and they named him after that river. He now is a worthy man of a family, and lives in Salt Lake City. We tarried here a few days, also all the camps; Brother Taylor’s company was camped near us, and one evening, Brother Taylor, Mr. Rich and myself, together with Sister Harriet S. Kimball visited the camp on the hill.
The brethren met in council, and about ten o’clock at night, Mr. Rich, Brother Taylor and myself returned to our camp. Sister Kimball remained in her own camp, as she had only come to our camp on a visit, having lived with me at the time she was married to Brother Kimball. By the time we started back to camp it had commenced raining, and was very dark, we missed our way, and by the time we reached camp we were wet and in mud over our shoe tops. But notwithstanding our mud, Brother Taylor cheered us up and kept us laughing all the way to our tent. It was a very wet disagreeable time; and while here in camp Sister Mary Rich, one of my men of our company, Brother Bartina also. We all felt very bad, for it was a bad time to get measles in our camp; and I had a baby about a year old that soon after came down with the same complaint.
Here at this place, the companies were all organized for our final march into the wilderness, as it then seemed to us, and many of our pioneers returned to Nauvoo to prepare to bring on their families and friends. And on April 2nd, 1847, we left the Chariton on our march towards the Rocky Mountains, leaving all the settlements behind, so from there on we had to pick our way without any road, only as we made it.
Soon after leaving this place my little baby Charley took down with the measles, and was very sick for a week or more, but we still traveled on, sleeping in our tent at night. Sometimes the rain would pour down and all would be damp and wet, but still the Lord blessed us and our little one, and Sister Mary recovered from the measles, and no one seemed to take the disease from them for which we thanked the Lord for his kindness; for to have the disease spread in so large a camp while traveling would truly be distressing. But the Lord is all wise, merciful to those who put their trust in Him.
We still continued our journey, could only travel a few miles a day on account of the bad roads. From Chariton River we continued our journey west only being able to travel but a few miles every day on account of mud and the bad roads; it rained part of the time, and as other times it would snow and sleet, notwithstanding it was in the month of April. About the 9th of April, we got to a dry elm grove in the prairie, here we found some of the companies that were ahead of us camped, having passed President Young’s companies on Locust Creek. Here we camped in Elm Grove and stayed over Sunday.
April 12th, waiting for the rest of the companies to come up. Here the brethren met in council at Brother Kimball’s tent and decided to go by Council Bluffs, and stop and make a settlement on Grand River. While here the boy that was with us–George Patten was taken very sick with the Mountain Fever, so we tarried until Wednesday, the 15th, and traveled on the divide leaving the main road, traveled about eight miles and camped in a small grove. After a hard day’s travel, reached a branch of the Medicine Creek; here again the company tarried and helped up the other companies, for when it was so muddy they would take their teams from the wagons and go back to those behind us and double teams, and help them up, for we were then like one family in our feeling towards each other, and consequently we had to travel slow in order to help each other along. We got all together and traveled on a few miles, and again camped in a body, and stopped on a small stream and waited over Sunday, as we did not travel on the Sabbath. Here our brethren held meeting and afterwards met in council and to find out how much provisions were on hand.
And on the 22nd of April, 1847, some of the company started on, while our company and some others had to stop on account of some teams of our being sick; and the boy that was with us still very sick. We stopped until Friday, the 24th, having lost one by death. We started on and traveled 16 miles and camped. And on Saturday, the 25th, we reached a grove which they named “Garden Grove”–here the main camp all arrived. Here it was decided that some of the companies were to stop at this place and fence in a large field and put in a crop, although late in the season. This was a beautiful place, plenty of timber and water. Brother Bent was appointed to preside over this place with Daniel Fullmer and Aaron Johnson, his counselors. Here we stopped until the 22nd of May:–stopped in our tent; our boy, George Patten, still got worse and became as helpless as a babe–was out of his head, and to all appearance could not live. Our beds had to be made down in the tent and were fixed comfortable. For the sick boy, all our family did all they could for him. Mr. Rich and a Brother Brownell took charge of him and watched him at night. Brother Brownell was traveling with us to help us along.
George Patten, the boy was put into our charge to look after the same as one of our own children. He had by this time become unconscious. Mr. Rich came to my bed and called to me, and wanted to know if I could watch over the boy awhile, for he must have a little rest. So I got up and went to the bedside of the sick boy while my husband and Brother Brownell could have a little rest. They both thought the boy could not possibly live many hours. So I took mt seat beside the poor sick boy and began to reason with myself. My reasoning was something like this. I thought to myself this poor dying boy was put into our charge to watch over the same as one of our own children; could we give up one of our own children to die without using all the faith within our reach to plead with the Lord to spare the dear one and not take it away from us; this boy had no mother living to plead with the Lord to spare the dear one and not take it to impress it upon me what to do for poor George–for he was a good boy, and we all loved him.
So when I got up from praying I was led by my feelings to put a teaspoonful of consecrated oil in his mouth; his tongue was drawn far back in his mouth and was very black, and his breathing rattling and heavy, and his eyes to all appearance set in his head. I did not see that he swallowed the oil, so I anointed his face and head with the oil, asking the Lord to bless the same; then, in a little while gave him another teaspoonful of oil, asking the Lord at the same time with a humble heart to spare the boy and accept of my feeble efforts in his behalf. I felt broken-hearted before the Lord, and to my great joy, I noticed that George opened his eyes and looked upon me as though he was astonished.
I said, “George do you know me?”
He spoke in a whisper, “Yes.”
Oh, how glad I felt by this time. Mr. Rich had woken up and inquired how the boy was, saying afterwards that he almost feared he was gone. I said to him come and see; the boy looked at him and smiled which astonished Mr. Rich so much that he turned to me and said, “What has caused such a change?” I said to him prayer and faith, and hope in our Father in Heaven. So I told my husband what I had done and how humble I felt while praying to the Lord to spare the boy’s life. My husband was truly affected, and told me the boy’s life would be spared to yet be a blessing to me in some future time.
And from that time on the dear boy continued to mend slowly and got well and proved himself to be a blessing to me and my children many years afterwards when my husband was away from home on a mission, and me and my children were destitute and needed help; for he grew to be a man, helped to bring his father to Salt Lake Valley, married, and settled in Payson, Utah, prospered and was blessed with plenty, raised a large family, and at this time is still living and many has been the time that he would bring me loads of provisions–butter and groceries when Mr. Rich would be off on missions to forward to the work of the Lord. And when George would help me he would always say “Mam”, for that is what he calls me, he would say, “Mam I owe my life to you, for your faith and prayers saved me from death.” This same boy is now Brother George Patton that lives in Payson, Utah; and he will give the testimony that what I write is the truth.
Well, I will not return to our travels from Garden Grove, to our next stopping place called Mount Pisgah. We left Garden Grove May 22nd, 1846. At this place snakes were very bad and many of our cattle and horses were bit by them. Our horse, the only one we had of our own, was bit by a rattle snake. Mr. Rich doctored him with sweet oil and harts horn, and he recovered. It was no uncommon thing to find snakes coiled up under our beds, when we took them up in our tent in the morning.
So the 22nd of May we took a part of our things and started for our next stopping place, having to leave a part of our things to be brought on at some other time, as Brother Thomas Ricks had to return to Nauvoo from this place to help his father’s family on the next season. So that left us one wagon and team short. So it took us about seven days to reach the place we were to stop at for the balance of the summer and the next winter; it was only 40 miles from Garden Grove, but we had to travel slow.
We arrived in camp on the 24th of May. On reaching this place we found that Father William Huntington was appointed by President Young to stop here and preside over the place, and that Ezra T. Benson and C. C. Rich to be his counselors. The brethren that had gone ahead of us to this place and were appointed to stop here had already commenced to raise small log houses. So we lived in our tent and wagons until our men could put up one log house and cover it with bark and dirt; and we had a dirt floor, but our tent was used as a room, also our wagon boxes were taken off of the wheels and turned into bedrooms. The men folk went to plowing and planting, late as it was, and putting up as good fences as they could to keep the cattle out of the crops. So it was not long until the brethren of this place had got in about one thousand acres of ground into grain, and potatoes, squashes and seeds of all kinds, such as we had with us, and they had it partly fenced then they went to work to prepare to fix up places to live in for the winter.
All those that had means to go on further had done so, leaving orders that all that came after was to stop at this place until further orders from the First Presidency, that had gone on the Council Bluffs on the Missouri River:–There they stopped for the winter in order to prepare to start in the next spring for the mountains. About the middle of June, Brother Benson started for Council Bluffs with the mail from Pisgah and returned, and about the last of June, Brother Benson was called to be one of the Twelve Apostles to fill the place of John E. Page who had apostatized; leaving the burden of the place on Father Huntington and Mr. Rich, to see to affairs as best they could; for there was a great care resting upon them at that time; and about the 20th of June we were visited at this place by Colonel Allen of the Army of the West. He wanted our people at this critical time of our travels to raise five hundred men as volunteers to go to the Mexican War to help fight Mexico. Father Huntington and Mr. Rich sent him on to Headquarters to where the First Presidency was.
So, my dear readers, you can see notwithstanding we had been driven and journeying in poverty to seek a place of rest, we were followed, and this cruel demand made upon us. So in a few days Brother Parley P. Pratt was sent from Headquarters by President Young and his Council of President Huntington and Rich to raise fifty men in this place as the heads of the Church had consented to have the five hundred men raised to fill the demands of the government from whence we were driven. Thus showing to the world that they were loyal to the government. A more cruel demand could not have been made upon us at this time of our affliction and poverty. The men were raised and sent, and their families had to look after themselves while they were gone.
About this time the brethren; President Young, Kimball, and Richards; J. C. Little and others had concluded to come and make us a visit and see about raising the men; they said that [what] Brothers Huntington and Rich had done in the matter was all right; they stayed a few days, preached to the people; gave good counsel; had a dance on the bear ground outdoors; seemed to enjoy their visit. So the brethren left their blessing with our camp and returned to Winter Quarters. Their visit to us at this time was encouraging, for they left a good impression among the Saints which gave them new courage to preserve and prepare themselves for what was ahead of them. Along about the 1st of July our brethren found they must go to work and stake and rider their fence in order to secure their crops from unruly cattle.
Now I expect that many of my readers will not know what stake and rider fences mean, for they do not see much of that kind of work in this day. They put stakes cross ways on each end of their poles, and then laid another pole on top of the old fence, which made the fence some higher than it was so the cattle would not jump over the fence.
About this time, sickness set in among the different parts of the camp. Many were down with chills and fevers, which kept our brethren busy administrating to the sick. And on August 5th, 1846, Brothers Benson and Sidwell called on us on the way to the East from Winter Quarters. At this time Brother Huntington was also taken with chills. He was our President and it was hard to have him prostrated with sickness. Brother Benson and Mr. Rich and others met in council and prayed for and administered to him before Brother Benson departed for the East, but our own dear Father Huntington continued to grow worse until the 19th of August, when he died. Great was the sorrow of the camp at the loss of so good and kind a president. All was done to save him that was in our power, but he was called for and had to obey the call. Thus passed away one of our most useful and noble men. Many were the aching hearts left to mourn his loss after he was laid to rest in that lonely spot.
The burden in looking after the Saints in that place then rested on my husband, as he was the only counselor left in that place, as Brother Benson, the first counselor had been called to the Apostleship. Sickness increased in the place, and on the 23rd, four days later, Mr. Rich was taken with the chills; two of my children were also down with chills and fever.
My dear readers, you can give a little guess how his family felt at that time, to see our leading brother laid away, and then his counselor, on whom rested all the burden of that place stricken down, and others of his family sick, and us in a far off land.
It was truly a time of sorrow. Mr. Rich lay sick about two weeks. During this time there were many deaths among the people left at this place, and other members of our family were taken sick and suffered much for the necessities which we could not get at that place as it was forty miles from any settlement. Although a number of our brethren had gone into the west part of Missouri to get work in order to lay in a few needful things for their families through the coming winter. So, by the good care which Mr. Rich received from the hands of his kind family and the faith and prayers of the brethren, he was restored to health again. Though very weak, he was able to attend to the affairs of the place.
About this time, nearly all of our family were taken down sick, so much so that there was scarcely enough of well ones in our family to see to the sick. Mr. Rich did all he could for the sick; they were calling on my husband for help; he called on those that had means to donate and assist him in this the hour of affliction to help the sick and poor that were in this place.
Sickness continued to increase and nearly everybody was sick, and many died. I think about eighty died at Mount Pisgah, and among that number was Father Joseph Knight, one of the first members of the Church of Latter-day Saints, one that assisted the Prophet Joseph Smith to means to support his family while he was translating the Book of Mormon. So, in this lonely spot in the graveyard at Mount Pisgah, in what was then called Pottawattamie lands, lies one of the noble benefactors of the Prophet Joseph, who still will come forth in the morning of the resurrection to meet the Prophet Joseph, as well as all good saints.
Also there, lies that noble father and president, William Huntington, Hyrum Spencer and many other brethren and sisters, and dear children, Brother and Sister Judson and their daughter, are also buried there in one grave. The little girl was buried one day, and on the following her father and mother died. There were so many sick that they could not find well ones enough to bury them for four days, so they were laid in one grave. They left three small children; one died soon after, and the other two, Timothy and Mary Jane Judson, Mr. Rich and I took, and brought them to Salt Lake. Mary Jane Judson remained with us until she married William Hanson, by whom she raised four sons and three daughters. Timothy, remained in our family about two years, and one of his older brothers came on and lived with us one year, and then he and Timothy went to California and are still there.
After the sickness of Pisgah, and so many deaths had passed over a little, our brethren had to look after their crops and secure the same to help them through the coming winter. Mr. Rich had two rooms built down on the river where we would be handy to wood for the winter, and where we were living, we had no spring water, which was supposed to be what was called mineral water, and caused so much sickness. On the river, we could use river water. It was a branch of Grand River.
We, with Mother Huntington’s family, and a number of other families, moved a mile or so from the hill where we had lived through the summer. Before we moved on the river, Mother Graves, and her daughter Eliza Graves Rich came on, as Eliza was one of my husband’s wives that had been left back in Nauvoo on account of her confinement on the 11th of February, before we left Nauvoo on the 13th. She had to be left, with her baby to be with her mother, and then they came on in the fall company. She also with her mother lived on the river.
At this place, Sister Sarah J. Beck Rich, another one of Mr. Rich’s wives, had a fine son born about the 26th of October. After this, Mr. Rich was again taken sick with a fever, and was very sick for long time, and it turned into the chills. He was sick in bed when I was confined on the 15th of December, when I had a son born. There we were in one little small room, with a bark roof and a bark floor, for the oak and other trees would peel away easily. The brethren would peel off large pieces of bark, and spread them out and make floors, and cover the house with the same.
Brother Lorenzo Snow and family had also come on the Pisgah and stopped for the winter. He lived near us, and himself and family were so kind to us in our time of sickness, and administered words of comfort and cheered us up in our affliction. And at this place we had many testimonies that the Lord had not forsaken us, and that He was mindful of His people who put their trust in Him. One item of which I will make mention, is that the poor were coming to us all the time for help, and this one circumstance I will mention showed the hand of the Lord so plain that I want to leave it for my children to read and think upon, so that they may put their trust in the Lord in some future time when they may have the chance of learning for themselves, as we did at that time.
Well, as I was going to relate, a poor woman, one of the wives of one of the men that had gone with the Mormon Battalion to Mexico, came to my husband who was still sick in bed, and told him that she had no bread for her children to eat. I, by this time was able to be up and see to my little babe. This sister was crying and told us how destitute she was. My husband turned to me and said, “Let this sister have some flour.” This was a puzzle to me knowing that we did not have twenty pounds of flour in the house, and none in the place to get. He looked at me and smiled, and said, “Sarah, let her have all that there is in the house, and trust in the Lord to provide for us.” I arose, and did as I was bid, but we did not know how our children were to get bread.
When the sister was gone, Mr. Rich said, “I know the Lord will open the way for us to live; so do not feel uneasy, for there will be a way opened for us having a loaf of bread in the house.” I too began to ask the Lord to open the way for us to live, and along towards evening we saw some covered wagons coming down the hill towards the house; so the man in front drove up and came into the house; it proved to be Brother Sidwell that was with Brother Benson that had called on us as they went East. Brother Sidwell said he wished to stop overnight with us. My husband told him he could do so. He then turned to Mr. Rich and said to him, “The Spirit tells me you are out of money and told me to help thee” (he used thee as [if] he had been a Quaker). He then handed Mr. Rich fifty dollars. Mr. Rich turned to me, handed me the money saying, “Now, you see, the Lord has opened a way for us to get flour.” He was quite overcome with thanks in his heart.
Brother Sidwell, after understanding the situation, said, we have bread in our wagons enough for tonight and in the morning, and we passed a wagon load of flour a little way back that was heading this way and will reach here either tonight or in the morning, so you can be supplied with bread stuff.” We both burst into tears to think the Lord had so blessed us for blessing the poor sister and her little children.
When the wagon of flour arrived, Mr. Rich not only laid in a supply for our own family, but got a lot to give out to others that were sick and poor, of that place, he also let us have some groceries. He was a wealthy bachelor on his way to Winter Quarters, and there assisted others to start to the mountains. I want my children and all that read this, when I am laid to rest in my grave, to see how the Lord blessed his Saints while traveling from Nauvoo to the valleys of the mountains, and how He has blessed them and sustained them after they reached the valley when our provisions were short and we had to live on rations and very small ones at that, for over two years.
Now I will return again to our Pisgah home. After my husband had got means from this good brother to provide for his family and for others, he commenced to get better. Brother Snow and others were very kind to him. They assisted Mr. Rich to get many things. Brother Snow and Brother York, were to see the brethren of the place and to look after business. By the 3rd of February, Mr. Rich had recovered enough to be able to go with Brother James S. Haleman to start to Winter Quarters to council with the brethren about what was to be done concerning our move to the West, having previous to this appointed Brother Snow as his first counselor.
Mr. Rich and Brother Holeman arrived at Winter Quarters after four days drive. They stayed nearly a week, got back to Pisgah on the 16th and found all well at home. Brother Snow and Mr. Rich held several meetings, and then he began to make preparations for our move to Winter Quarters; also to help Sister Huntington to go at the same time, we were to go. She was to go with her family about this time. Brother Orson Pratt and Brother Horn had arrived on important business concerning organizing and preparing for the journey west.
Before we left Pisgah, the brethren and sisters got up a party for our benefit; it was held in Brother Orval Cox’s shop. There were about one hundred people there. Mr. Rich was helped to some means to assist us on our journey. We had a good time, and good feelings prevailed; all were sorry to have us leave. We prepared for the trip, and on the 12th of March, 1847, we started on our trip with all our family and also Sister Huntington and her family, as President Young had sent a team and Charles Decker with a team to assist Sister Huntington and her family to Winter Quarters.
It was cold weather and continued so nearly all the way. We traveled fifteen miles and camped on the Big Prairie, and on the 13th crossed the Big Prairie and reached Brother Evans’ camp . . . . twenty-six miles. Here we stayed for one day, as it was cold, and on the 15th, we started again, and traveling twenty-five miles we came within five miles of Indian Town. On the 16th we went to Big Mishabotna, thirty miles. On the 17th, we traveled 17 miles and camped on Cay Creek. On the 18th, we traveled 18 miles and got within four miles of camp; on the 19th of March we arrived at the Missouri River, and found we could not cross, and here we had to remain three days.
It was cold and windy and very disagreeable, especially for the little babies–we had three of them in our family, the oldest of the three a little over one year old. We all felt good natured and made all hands as comfortable as possible. We finally crossed over the river in a flat boat and arrived safe in Winter Quarters. The brethren there soon found an empty house for us to stop for a while. After resting, Mr. Rich arranged things for us so that he could return to Nauvoo and dispose of what little property we were compelled to leave when we left Nauvoo. We found on arriving at Winter Quarters, that the Twelve, and many others were preparing to start West for the mountains, and my husband was anxious also to go West that spring.
On the 17th of April, Mr. Rich left Winter Quarters for Nauvoo, committing his family into the hands of the Lord, at the same telling the family, “If you pray for Sarah D. (his wife, meaning me) that I would see that they would have enough to eat until his return.” He was not able to leave enough on hand to last until he could return, and had no means to buy with, but on his going back at that time depended our prospect to go with the first company across the plains.
He bid us goodbye, and started for Nauvoo. At that time we had Brother James Leach and wife with us to help us along on our journey, as they had no children and could not have an outfit of their own. So it was not long before what we had in the house to eat had given out, and when we went to bed at night we did not know where our breakfast was to come from. When we got up in the morning, I called on Brother Leach to attend family prayers; he did so. I then told Brother Rich’s other wives that were with us, to put on the tea kettle, and set the table. I then said, “Brother Leach, come go with me.” I put on my bonnet and shawl and asked Sister Leach to see to the children, and I and Brother Leach go get something for breakfast. Brother Leach looked at me with astonishment, knowing that I had no money to buy anything with, but we started out on faith.
I was directed to two of the brethren that I thought I could borrow two dollars in order to get something for my family to eat, but they both were hard up, and were preparing to start West and could not spare the money, as they expected to be on the move before Brother Rich was back. So I started on; Brother Leach by this time wondered how I could be able to get anything to take home, but told me afterwards that he was praying in his heart all the time to the Lord to help Sister Rich to be able to supply her family with something to eat. I was by this time at the gate of Sister Ezra T. Benson. Said I to Brother Leach, we will call in here. Sister Benson was very glad to meet with me. After sitting a few minutes, she said, “Sister Rich, have you had your breakfast?” I said, “No,” then she called her sister Adeline to make a cup of tea for me. I felt by this time as though a cup of tea would do me good. Before I had time to tell her my business out she said, “Have you anything at home to eat?” I said, “No, Sister Benson, but I soon shall return home with something.” She threw a silver dollar into my lap and said, “Go to Brother Winchester’s and get some groceries, for he just got in last night with some groceries to sell. He has been out to the settlement to work, and got groceries.
By this time, tears could be seen both in my eyes and Brother Leach’s. I thanked Sister Benson, told her I would replace the dollar as soon as my husband got back. She said I should do nothing of the kind. So, we drank a cup of tea, and started for Brother Winchester’s. We had not gone far before we met Brother E. T. Clark with a sack of flour and a bushel of potatoes in his wagon. He said he had been inquiring where I lived and he said it was for me, so I sent him on to my house with instructions for the girls to hurry up breakfast and we would soon be there with some groceries. We went and got a little sugar, a little coffee, and tea, and of course a dollar would not get much, but we were so proud to get a little. We then started for home, passed Brother Falke’s whom I had never seen; he was just finishing dressing a calf. Someone present observed to him that there went Sister Rich. He turned and called me and said, “Sister Rich send that man here and get a quarter of this calf.” I did so, and reached home with plenty to eat, and I found the family ready to thank the Lord that they had prayed for me, and that the Lord had blessed me in my efforts to get something to live on until Mr. Rich could return. So, my friends, I write this that you may see the result of trusting in the Lord in time of need. Pray unto Him with a humble heart, and He will answer your prayers as he did ours at this time of need.
It is this same good Father in Heaven that sustained and helped his Saints to come to the valleys, and provided means whereby we could live after we got here, for lot was then cast in great poverty, and all our trials the Lord been near to answer the prayers of those who put their trust in Him. Who can doubt this work of the Latter- day Saints after passing through what I have passed through for forty-five years?
One thing I omitted to mention is that after we reached Winter Quarters, and before my husband started for Nauvoo, he and I and the girl who had been living with me so long, went to President Young’s office, as had been previously arranged with the president and with Mr. Rich, and the girl, Sister Harriet Sargent and myself, went to his office. I think it was the 12th of April, and Sister Harriet Sargent was sealed to my husband as his wife for time and all eternity of President Brigham Young. We returned back, and afterwards he returned to Nauvoo and disposed of what property we had left, visited our friends together with my father, mother and sister, left them in Quincy, Illinois. He then started for our camp in the west, fell in with a company of Saints coming out to Winter Quarters and traveled with them, and were very anxious to come to the Valley with the first company. They arranged with Mr. Rich to help him with his family so we could all come together. When they reached Winter Quarters, they found the companies fast preparing for a start, and all went to work together, and we all got fitted up for a move West.
With what my husband had, and what those brethren helped him too, partly as a loan to be replaced again, and part as a donation, we were fitted up as comfortable as could be with wagons and teams and provisions, besides some cows and sheep and teamsters, and some to drive the stock, for all the loose stock had to be brought along. The names of those two brothers who so kindly helped us to be able to come along with the first company were Zazabel Shoemaker and Aaron Cherry. We traveled together in the same company all the way to the valley. On Monday, June 14th, 1847, we started from Winter Quarters with all our family together with our teamsters numbering in all seventeen persons. We traveled out about three miles that day and camped.
On the next day, we traveled about fifteen miles and overtook Brother Taylor’s company, and on the 15th we reached Elkhorn River and the main camp crossing the river. It took a long time to cross over, there were so many wagons and stock here. We had to stop a few days to organize different companies. Here the brethren took counsel, and it was decided that a part of the company should start on, and our company was to wait until others came up. That night about dark, Bishop Whitney and Father Cutler arrived bringing with them Jacob Wetherby, who had started back to Winter Quarters, in the morning on business, in company with two other men and two women.
While passing through some tall grass, three naked Indians sprang up out of the grass, and Jacob and another man tried to get them to let the team pass (which they had stopped), and while they were laboring with the two Indians that had stopped the team, the third Indian shot Brother Wetherby, and then the three Indians ran and disappeared. Soon after, Bishop Whitney and Cutler came up and brought the wounded young man to our tent. We all could see that he wouldn’t live, so we fixed him a bed in our tent and did all we could to ease his pain. He suffered awful pain through the night; and the next morning, which was Sunday, his suffering ended in death. He was conscious until a few minutes before his death, then he dropped off like one going to sleep. As the rest of the company had gone on, they had to bury Brother Wetherby that night. Our folks had raised a Liberty Pole, and he was laid to rest with a few words from C. C. Rich, and prayer by him. He was buried just at dark as we were in fear of Indians, and had to keep out guards all night.
Here we had to wait until the brethren arrived that had gone back to Winter Quarters to bring on the canon, ammunition and the guns that were left. The Indians were reported to be hostile, so it was thought best that this company should bring the canon placed on a skiff or a boat fitted up on wheels, and drawn by a strong yoke of oxen. Early next morning, on Monday the 21st, the big canon was fired off. After breakfast, we again took up the line of march to overtake the companies that had gone ahead.
We traveled about 12 miles and reached the main camp. Here they had to arrange to put two yoke of cattle unto the canon, and furnish a driver for the same, as we had not a driver to spare in our company. It was decided that Mr. Rich should have charge of the canons to be taken West, in case of any attack by Indians. The boat, and one canon and the big bell was in our company. Mr. Rich had charge of the company. After all was arranged we started on traveling through this country. We had to place our strong guards at night, so you can judge the feeling of women and children traveling through an Indian country, not knowing what moment we might be attacked, by wild savages, and not very strong in number of men, for there were more women and children than men in our camp. We realized that we must be humble and prayerful, and put our trust in the Lord. It was through His mercy and care that the people on this dangerous journey were saved. We prayed to the Lord in faith, and He answered our prayers; for He will hear those that trust in Him and obey his laws as given through his prophets.
We continued our journey, traveled ten or twelve miles a day until we reached the Platte River. Sometimes it was best to travel in five companies abreast for safety. One night there was an Indian arrow shot into one of our cows in our company. We had to corral our stock at night by making a corral of our wagons and keeping guard at night. Then in the morning at daybreak, the big bell would be rung for the men to drive out the stock to get what feed they could before starting. The bell was so arranged over the boat and canon that it could be rung by pulling a rope.
It was soon found necessary to travel so many abreast, and then we would travel faster. We were detained a good deal by having to repair bridges that the pioneers had left ahead of us in the spring, had made for President Young and some of the Apostles and others who had gone ahead to pick out a location for our final stopping place. We were now following in their trail traveling up the Platte River. Timber was sometimes very scarce and hard to get. We managed to do our cooking with what little we could gather up in camp.
One morning, my husband was trying to hitch up an unruly ox, and the ox jumped over the wagon tongue, falling on my little son Joseph, and it came very near killing him. We were very much worried about him but he soon got over his hurt, and we traveled on, but with some little fear of trouble with the Indians as we were near the Pawnee agency and had met some men from the station that told our men that there was a war party prowling through the country that might give us some trouble, but our companies would generally camp close together, and when we would stop to camp, would sometimes fire a canon, as those Indians were very much afraid of the big gun, as they called it.
As were frequently meeting traders, they would keep us posted as to the movements of the Indians. In camp, a strong picket guard would be placed out, and by using great care and wisdom, we were permitted through the mercies of our Heavenly Father, to travel among the savages, and various tribes of the Indians unmolested. We women, the nurses, were often very much frightened for fear of an attack of the Indians, and I do know that it was through the protecting hand of God that we made the long journey across the plains from Illinois to Great Salt Lake and its valley, when we were but few in number. At one time, an arrow shot into a calf showed to us that Indians were prowling around near our camp. Several men out guarding the stock at night would see that Indians were prowling around near our camp, whereupon our men would drive the stock into our wagon corral for safety.
Along about this time we passed through several Indian villages that were looked over by white agency. They seemed very friendly, but seeing so many wagons passing through seemed a surprise to them. It truly was a dangerous trip and had we not been convinced by the power of the Lord to know that we were preparing to help lay the foundation for the building up of the kingdom of our Heavenly Father on this earth according to His holy commandment to his Prophet Joseph Smith, we never could have undertaken such a journey.
It was [because of] our faith and our knowledge that the Lord had sent His hand the second time to establish His work on the earth in order to prepare a people to be worthy to receive Him at his Second Coming, which we as a people know is near at hand, and that this work of the latter days, will never stop, nor be stopped until He makes His appearance the second time to redeem His chosen people.
The day is now near at hand, and the rising generation that will read this book will many of them live to see that day. So, my dear grandchildren and great grandchildren and many other of my young readers, let me beg of you to lay aside all folly and foolishness, and humble yourselves before the Lord, and seek for knowledge of this work of the Lord in this the Latter days, and be prepared to help in this great work. For, as sure as you live and read my testimony to the truth of this work of the Lord in this the latter days, and be prepared to take heed, for it is true, for I have seen the prophet of God, I have sat under the sound of his voice. I have heard him prophesy and have lived to see the fulfillment of his prophecies, and I do know for myself that he was a true prophet, and that the work of the Lord brought forth through man and the foundation he has laid for his followers to build upon will last throughout time and all eternity, and no earthly power can hinder the same.
The heavens are preparing for the fulfillment of all the words uttered by our Prophet Joseph Smith. He is also there to work in behalf of this work and will be with the Savior at His coming. So the wicked may stop their work against this people . . . their efforts will fall to the ground to their shame and disgrace.
We journeyed on up the Platte River, came into the buffalo country, seeing many large buffalo. Brother Lewis Robinson was the first one in our company to kill a buffalo. He killed one weighing over a thousand pounds. We all stopped and had a feast all through our camp. We stopped a few days to wash, iron and cook, while the men repaired their wagons, and let their teams rest and recruit up as we were in good food. When all the companies would come up, we would start on again.
But while passing through the buffalo country we did not travel fast, for all the men folks seemed to want to kill a buffalo, so they would travel a few miles a camp, and hunt, for it was a new sport for them. Mr. Rich was after a large herd, him and several of our company, riding horse back. They killed three. The first one he wounded; it was a very large one, and it turned upon him and came very near killing the horse he was riding, but Mr. Rich shot again, and killed the buffalo. The next day he killed two more. They dressed them and divided out the meat in the company. The men fixed scaffolds out of willows and spread out the meat cut up in thin slices, and made fires underneath, as one side of the meat would get dry, they would turn it over, and by so doing, it became dry. They called it “jerk” meat. We put it into sacks, and had enough to last us all through and it was the sweetest meat I ever tasted. The children grew fat on it. We also tried out the tallow, for we needed grease for our cooking. Every other company also supplied themselves with “jerked” meat. We were several days traveling through the Buffalo Country. Some days we could see herds of thousands together, and several times they would come in large herds crossing just ahead of our teams as hard as they could go, and in such large numbers that the roaring of them would frighten our teams.
It was all that the drivers could do to prevent a stampede among our cattle. It was dangerous traveling through this country, but we were preserved from serious accident. It was a grand sight to see these herds of wild animals, thousands of them, racing across the prairies. The sight of our wagons seemed to frighten them, and we were afraid they might attack us in their fright.
After we passed through the Buffalo Country, we came to a land alive with what is called “prairie dogs.” They live in holes in the ground, and made the hills resound with their barking all night long. They are about the size of small puppies, and as cunning as they can be. They sat near their holes by hundreds and barked and yelped until the boys got almost up to them, then they dodged into their holes or dens and stuck their heads out again and barked. Some of the men shot at them. They were such handsome little dogs with more fur than hair on them. If we could have caught them alive, we would have tried to tame them just because they were so small and pretty. Some of our company named that place “dog town.” From Mr. Rich’s journal, he says he believes he saw ten thousand head of buffalo feeding together at one time as we were passing through the buffalo country.
On the 29th of July we camped in sight of what is called “Chimney Rich.” And on August first, we camped at the foot of Chimney Rock. This is a large mound, and we found the names of some of the pioneers that were ahead of us, for they had passed there some time before. Here my husband wrote his name on the rock with red keel, also my name, and the names of his other wives that were with us, as well as our children’s names.
We traveled on and came in sight of Laramie Peak. We then began to cheer up, thinking we were getting nearer our journey’s end. We had word from President Young and Kimball telling us to cheer up, and it would not be long until we would find a resting place. In the 5th of August, 1847, we camped on a site–Laramie Fort, crossed over the river and traveled on the west side. On August 10th, we struck [?] the Black Hills. On the 12th we camped on Horse Shoe Creek where we found a nice cold spring of good water. It was named by the pioneers ahead of us and called Kimball’s Springs.
About this time we were having very warm weather, so much that we women got very sunburned. We had sand and dust, rocks and hills to pass over, and sometimes we were worn out and very tired, but not so much so as our brethren who had to walk most of the time, drive teams and stand guard at night. O, what a time we all had crossing the plains from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City! When I now see those brethren and sisters come to these valleys riding in cars in the shade, and that too, in one third shorter time that we were coming, and when they get here have something nice to eat and plenty in the land, and then hear them complain of hard times! I think they ought to have at least two weeks experience such as the brethren and sisters had when we came, then perhaps they would feel more thankful, and would not feel to complain, as I have heard many do. When we came there was no one to welcome us with potatoes, fat beef, honey, butter and all the good things that this country could produce. No, we could have nothing of the kind, yet we felt to thank the Lord for protecting us to where we could rest in peace.
About the 25th of August we came to the Saleratus Lake. This was a beautiful lake, as white as snow, and was pure saleratus, which we cut in large cakes. We gathered sacks full and brought them with us to the valley, which lasted us a long time to make bread with. Here we camped at Independence Rock, where we again left our names on the high rock. This was quite a pleasant camping ground. From this place we traveled on and passed another saleratus lake and camped on the Sweetwater, and from that day on, many of our cattle were sick, and a number died, which caused a delay in our travels. Our teams by this time were very weak. We still moved on a few miles a day and sometimes lay by a few days to repair wagons and wash and bake and let the teams rest. On Monday, August 30th, we camped between the mountains, when we traveled a few miles and camped on Sweetwater River. September the first we traveled over bad roads of sand, mud and rocks. So bad were the roads that we could not make much headway.
On the second of September, 1847, we met about thirty wagons of pioneers that had been with President Young and company to look for a stopping place for the Saints. Among them was a Brother William Clayton and John Pack returning to Winter Quarters to bring back their families. Here it blew up cold and rained, and was very disagreeable. We bid adieu to these brethren and traveled on, knowing we soon should meet President Young, Kimball and the rest of the Twelve. On Sunday the 5th, 1847, we reached Pacific Springs, having traveled through South Pass. Here we met President Young and all the rest of the Twelve and pioneers. This was a time of rejoicing. Here the two companies lay by two days to hold meetings and counsel with the brethren, and talk over what was best to be done. On the 7th, the pioneers started on our journey towards our resting place in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
About this time, my mother-in-law, my husband’s mother, the wife of Brother John Porter, who was also in Mr. Rich’s company, was confined to her wagon, and had a fine son. So, altogether we had to travel very slowly. On the day we parted with the company of pioneers it commenced snowing and snowed all day. This was the seventh of September; it was sudden change from the hot weather of the month of August. We traveled nine miles and camped on the dry sandy here one of our oxen died. We still continued our journey until the 11th, when we crossed Green River. We traveled twelve miles down the river and camped. On Sunday, the twelfth, we lay by to rest our teams, from there traveled on and camped on the muddy.
On the twentieth we crossed Bear River and for a few days several of our company were unfortunate in breaking their wagons. This detained the whole company for a while. After fixing up the wagons we started on.
On the twenty-seventh we traveled up the canyon five miles and started over the Big Mountain and all the companies camped together. On Sunday, October 3, 1847, the brethren held a conference, and the council organized.
On Tuesday, the 5th, at five o’clock P.M., Mother Rich died after a hard time across the plains and traveling over the mountains. She died in full faith of the gospel, and was a full believer in the Prophet Joseph Smith. She was patient in all her afflictions and never was known to murmur or complain in all the journey across the plains. She died as she had lived, a faithful Latter-day Saint, having joined the Church in the early days. She was a kind mother and devoted wife. She was buried on Wednesday, the sixth of October, late in the evening by the side of the beloved wife of Jedediah M. Grant, who died back over the Big Mountain, and brought in ahead of our company by Brother Grant. She being the first person buried in Salt Lake. Dear Mother Rich was the second person buried in the valley, and her death so soon after our reaching the valley caused us to feel very sad. Father Rich was left so lonely without his faithful companion, living alone in his wagon made it more gloomy for us, yet we felt thankful to think she lived until the morning of the first resurrection, when she is sure to come forth with the just, for she was a good noble woman, patient in all things. Her name before she was married to Joseph Rich was Nancy O’Neal, one of the great and noble families of the noble O’Neal family of Ireland. This same Joseph Rich and Nancy O’Neal, was the father and mother of my dear husband.
After our Mother Rich was laid to rest, Mr. Rich and the brethren of the companies that had come in commenced to prepare for the winter that was coming on, but before our pioneers left to return back for their families, there had been a company which had arrived from Mexico. Five hundred men had been called to the Mexican War, by Brigham Young, from Winter Quarters and Mount Pisgah. These men had gone, served their time, and were discharged, and had come on and met the pioneers to bring their families back to the valleys of the mountains. Those that were left here and the companies that had reached here ahead of our company, had commenced to build a fort, for it was council for the people to live in a fort.
Mr. Rich and the boys that drove our teams and others, went to work to try to get a place for us to have some kind of a shelter for winter was now nearly upon us. They fixed our tent as comfortable as they could for us to cook and eat in, and we had a little sheet iron stove to cook on, and our wagon boxes were our bedrooms. In this way we spent our first three or four weeks, for the men had to go to the canyons for wood and logs to build cabins with not knowing the number of Indians there were in the mountains and surrounding canyons, it was rather dangerous work for a few men and boys to go into the canyons, but they had it to do.
It was not long before the red men found out that we were here and they commenced to visit us, and look around to see what we were about, but seemed very friendly toward us. After we had got wood out for the winter, some of those that got in ahead of us and had got up some dirt roof houses, one of the families of the Mormon Battalion let us have two small rooms to live in until we could get room built. This was a great accommodation to us. One room was used for a bedroom and the other for a kitchen, and by the younger ones sleeping in wagons, we got along nicely until we could get rooms of our own. Mr. Rich and his teamsters went to work and by hand sawing logs and splitting them open with a cross cut saw, built us some nice rooms in the North Fort. We thought they were nice rooms, for they fitted them together so nicely that the inside walls were smooth and even. As soon as they were done we moved into them, and felt as though we had such nice rooms. Of course they had dirt roofs.
We spent the winter very comfortable, and in the spring our brethren tried to raise a crop. They sowed wheat, planted corn, and potato seed. Many had brought on potato balls; and thus we commenced to raise seed potatoes as we had to wait another year before we could have potatoes to eat, for we had to save them for seed. We had to dig roots, what the Indians called Segoes– they were very nice. We also lived on greens for there were thistles growing in the Valley that made good greens. Our cows did pretty well so we had butter to season our greens, and they were quite a help in those scarce times.
When the wheat began to grow, the grasshoppers commenced to devour our crops. The crickets too, were threatening destruction to our crops; the women and children would go into the field every day with tin pans and sticks and bells and anything that would make a noise to scare them away as best we could, while the men dug ditches and turned in the water, and ran the crickets and young grasshoppers into the water by droves. In this way many of them were destroyed. Finally, when the Lord saw we were doing all we could to save our crops, he sent forth the gulls from the lake. They came in large droves to light down in our fields and lived from day to day on crickets and grasshoppers, eating them by the bushel. They were a large white bird, as large as tame ducks, and to us at that time, we looked upon them as angels sent from the Lord to our assistance. No one was allowed to kill any of them, for we could see with a humble heart that the hand of the Lord was in their coming to help us to raise something to sustain life. We were thankful to our Heavenly Father for we gave him the glory of sending us help.
Our crops the first year, of course, were short, for we had not yet learned much about the climate nor the mode of irrigation. We were compelled to live on rations for another year, so our family had to come down to pretty small rations–two ounces of bread stuff a day to each person, so my readers you can judge it was pretty close times. We could send to Fort Bridger over the mountains to get groceries, but they had to be brought out by pack animals. Everything was high . . . coffee and sugar were one dollar a pound; tea six dollars a pound, and everything else, high in proportion. Many were not able to buy and had to go without. As every year brought on more emigration and more supplies were bought. Another year’s crop seemed better, people began to see better times and could live better.
Those who come to this valley now, can have no idea how the first settlers of this place had to live to make a start and help prepare a place for our enemies of this day to come to, that now want to drive us out that they may live. I say shame on all such. If they had to come and make a start as we did, many of them would die of starvation, for they are too lazy to work and have not got the Spirit of the Lord to teach them how to manage to get a living, but they want us to leave that they can have our hard earned existence; no, never boys, we came here to stay, and if our neighbors don’t like us, they can leave, not us.
Well, it is true, we had very hard times for a few years, but as our brethren and their families came in from the states, they would bring on more supplies and would exchange groceries and such things with us that were here and had raised a few things to exchange for that which we needed. We began to feel that better times awaited us and that the Lord was still merciful to His Saints; for we were then a humble people and put our trust in our Father in Heaven and He heard and answered the prayers of the Latter-day Saints. Thus, we have been protected and watched over by our Heavenly Father. It was through His goodness that we were fed and clothed in those days of scarcity; and to Him alone, do I feel to give thanks for I know he heard our prayers as a people. I am happy to say that notwithstanding, we had to come down to close rations, we all seemed satisfied and content with what we had. I never felt to complain, but we felt to pray for our enemies that had driven us away from plenty, and felt thankful that we were here.
So, times began to be better, and we all went to work with good feelings, knowing that we would be prospered in our labors, and that in the near future, we should enjoy plenty and come to spare if we all united in our labors to do good. We as yet, had no homes to hold meeting in, but regardless, we met every Sabbath and held meeting in open air until such times as our brethren could build a place of worship, which was done as soon as they could be spared from attending to raising something to live on. After more of our brethren arrived in the valley, and our president, Brigham Young, said the word, they went to work and built a temporary place to hold meetings, what was called the old wooden tabernacle in which we could be sheltered from the hot sun and the rains. We felt blessed to think we had a shelter in which we could meet and hear preaching from our leaders and others of our brethren every Sabbath. It truly was a treat for us after so long a journey, and so long having to attend our meeting out in the open air.
I hope my dear children and my grandchildren and great grandchildren that you may never have to pass through what I and others that helped to settle this valley of the Great Salt Lake have passed through. And I also hope and pray that you may always be found faithful and true to the principles that caused us your forefathers and mothers to leave our native lands and comfortable homes to journey to a place appointed by the Lord where he would gather his people together to build temples to His name and prepare for His second coming on the earth. My dear children, be faithful to this Latter-day work; never deny Mormonism as it is called. TESTIMONY
“For I bear my testimony to you that it is true, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and I have seen him, and was well acquainted with him, and have heard him prophesy, and have seen the fulfillment of many of his prophecies. Thus I know he was a prophet of God sent forth in the last days to lay the foundation of the Kingdom of God, never more to be thrown down; but it will increase and continue on the earth until He shall come to reign whose right it is to reign, to come and take possession of that same kingdom that was built up and established in these latter days by Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, and carried out by Brigham Young and John Taylor, and now rests on the shoulders of Wilford Woodruff and his council and the Twelve Apostles. And when the Savior makes His Second appearance, those men I have just mentioned in company with the Prophet Joseph will appear with him in his glory; and those that remain worthy will be caught up to meet them in all their glory.”
So my dear children and posterity be faithful, and be prepared for that great day, which will shortly come.
Well, to return to the history of our first settling in Salt Lake: The Lord opened the way for us to live through all our hardships and preserved us through the darkest days of our poverty; and after many days the emigration from the states to the gold mines in California commenced passing through and had many things to exchange for flour and other things that we had to spare; and finally some of the rich men of the world commenced to bring merchandise and opened a store in Salt Lake, called the Livingston Store. They opened their store in the Seventeenth Ward, in Brother John Pack’s abode house, and did a big business; as many of our brethren by this time and had been to the gold mines and brought in gold dust with which they could purchase goods and groceries, such as the families needed; and we began to branch out and feel more independent.
Our crops were blessed of the Lord, and we had plenty to eat and drink and to wear by being careful; for we had passed through enough to teach us to economize and save what we had and do with as little as possible in order to get a start in the world. In the mean time we never forgot our prayers and felt thankful to our Father in Heaven for blessing us with plenty once more. And we had now, by this time, located ourselves in log houses on our lots that were given to us to build upon, and hold claims on the same until such times as the land would come into market, and we could secure unto ourselves homes, and to save confusion President Young and Kimball and others set apart certain portions of land given out to the people as our inheritance for the time being. So there was a portion given to my husband and his family of three acres and three quarters in the 17th ward, now known as the George A. (Cannon) House; and where Brother James S. Brown and one Brother Davis live in the 17th ward.
Soon after we moved on to our lots and were beginning to be a little more comfortable, in the month of October, 1849, Brother Rich was called upon to take a mission to Southern California, leaving me in bed sick with a babe three days old. He started on the 9th of October to be gone a year or more. My babe was a little girl who now is the wife of Milando Pratt, of the 17th ward; and now she is the mother of seven children–five boys and two girls. When her father returned from his mission to California, she was 13 months old. While on this mission he was blessed with a little more means to bring home to make his family more comfortable by some friends and brethren in California that were full handed, and had means to spare.
Among that number was a Sister Maservy, one of the good Saints that had gone around to San Francisco on the ship “Brooklyn” a few years before; also a Brother and Sister Lincoln; they assisted my husband to some money to help his family knowing the hard times we had passed through in coming across the plains to reach a place of rest. They also sent many presents to our family in the shape of clothing which came in very good in those days of poverty and hard times; and we all felt to pray to the Lord to bless them for their kindness; although, at that time they were strangers to us, but afterwards became true friends; but now they have passed away to meet a reward for their kindness to us in the hour of need.
My husband, after he returned home from his mission was informed by our leader, Brother Young, that he was called again to return to California again the next spring to take part of his family and remain there and make a settlement in what was afterwards called San Bernardino. He had all winter to prepare to go, which gave him a chance to fix up my family comfortable; I, having had the offer from him to take my children and go with him; but as he had other wives that did not have but one child a piece I thought it would be better for them to undertake the journey than for me to go with five children. So, it was thought best for me to remain at home and look after my little children than to journey across the desert that had to be crossed to go to California.
So Mr. Rich fixed me as comfortable as he could, and on the 16th of March, 1851, he took three of his wives and started for southern California in company with Amasa Lyman, and a large company of Saints to make a settlement in San Bernardino. And on the morning that they left, myself and two of my children were taken down with erysipelas and were very sick for several days. This truly was a trying time for me as well as for my husband; but duty called us to part for a season and knowing that we obeying the will of the Lord, we felt to sacrifice our own feelings in order to help establish the work we had set out to do when we embraced the work of helping to build up the kingdom of God on earth. This is why, my dear readers, that I have endured so many hardships in this life, knowing I shall receive my reward in the kingdom of God, for all I have been called upon to pass through in this life. I know my reward is sure if I am faithful to the end; I shall receive a reward among the just.
A few evenings after Mr. Rich left, I had prayed with my children and put them to bed, and while meditating, all along I composed the following verses. I will here pen them in this book; they were my simple thoughts while all alone–so I hope no one will make fun of them.
O God, my Heavenly Father, I pray Thee lend an ear, And grant me now one favor, my feeble prayers to hear. O grant me now Thy Spirit to guide me always right, That I may ere long inherit a home in endless light.
It is my heart’s desire thy word for to obey, My soul do thou inspire while I do kneel and pray. O give me of thy wisdom, and of thy spirit, too. To teach my little children Thy righteous will to do.
O let thy arm befriend them and shield them from all harm, And angels to attend them in ways that are pure and firm. May they not incline to evil, but cleave unto the good, And shun the powers of Satan and worship Thee, their God.
Take charge of them, my Father, and be their constant friend, May they look unto no other while their days on earth they spend. May they be filled with virtue, and always love the truth, And also have great knowledge to guide them in their youth.
May they respect their father, and obey their mother, too, And be kind unto each other in everything they do. May they never be forgetful of thy commands, O Lord, May they always be found faithful in reading of thy word.
Wilt Thou this night be with them and guide them while they sleep, May they awake in meekness, and all thy precepts keep, And return to them their father for whom they daily pray, Sent forth upon a mission the gospel to convey.
O, let thy arm protect him while he is far away; For me and my dear children do for him daily pray.
I wrote down these simple verses that my children and friends may read them and see that their mother was mindful of them, and watched over them when they were little and in bed asleep unmindful of what their dear mother was doing for them. I felt humble before the Lord, and put my trust in Him, having faith that He would spare their lives in the absence of their dear father. Oh, that my children were as humble in this day as I was then; I feel that I tried to perform a mother’s duty to my children to the best of my ability; for I was left alone a great part of the time to manage my family the best way I could; for their father, being a leading man in our Church, his calling was away from home most of the time; which of course, left a great responsibility on the mothers.
On the third day after he left our eldest little girl, Sarah Jane took very sick with a fever, and was sick for several days. I watched over her day and night, and called in the elders to administer to her, and through prayer and faith and the good care of a mother, she recovered from her sickness and was well again. To be left alone in those days with a sick family was rather trying to me, but I realized that unless I passed through trials in this life I could not expect to gain the reward hereafter that is promised those that are faithful through tribulations in this life.
March 27. I received a letter from Mr. Rich, which was a comfort to me to hear him for a while. By this time my little children had recovered from their sickness; and as there was a pleasure company preparing for a trip out to Salt Lake, or “Black Rock” as it was then called, President Young had kindly sent me an invitation to go. I found myself preparing for a trip to the lake, as we then had to go in wagons; for it was the first trip of the kind that had gone out for pleasure. I felt honored to receive an invitation. So I got my husband’s sister Jane Ann Green to stay and look after my children and I prepared for the journey. Brother Aroit Hale and Chauncey West had fitted up a good four horse team and kindly invited me and Brother Hale’s wife’s mother to go in his outfit.
So on the morning of the 4th of July, 1851, the first company for an “out for pleasure” with 130 wagons and carriages, set out for the Great Salt Lake at the firing of the cannon as a signal to start. We started out in line in good order headed by the Band Carriage, and the President Young, Kimball, and others. The day was beautiful, we had a pleasant ride, arrived at Black Rock at one o’clock; the cannon was again fired on our arrival out there, and the American flag was hoisted, and the stars and stripes were floating in the breeze of the Great Lake with the big eagle and beehive attached, which truly looked grand. The company formed a corral with wagons and carriages and pitched with tents prepared to hear an oration from President Young; and after that was over we prepared our suppers and then retired to the edge of the lake–then it was dry land around Black Rock. After the company took a bath in the briny waters, having tents put up for dressing rooms, we then went back to our tents put on our Sunday clothes and went to the bowery prepared with a good floor for dancing.
We were then called to the bank carriage at the firing of the cannon for prayers; had some good remarks from President Young, and prayed by Apostle E. T. Benson; then we went back to the Bowery and danced until two o’clock, and then went to our tent and went to bed; rested well, felt quite refreshed in the morning; prepared and ate our breakfast and visited around among the camp until the cannon fired at ten o’clock to prepare to take up the line of march for home. We started; had a nice ride home; everything was in good order; we were then bands of Mormons–no Gentiles in our company; arrived at home at three o’clock. I found all well at home; children had been good; obeyed their aunt while I was away as I had prayed with them the morning before leaving them, and commended them into the hands of the Lord. I enjoyed my trip out to the lake; so did all that went in that company.
Now my dear children and friends when you read this, think how different a trip to the lake now is to what is was then. Now, you go in cars mixed up with all classes. Then, the love and fear of the Lord was with us–no evil was ever thought of among the crowd of brethren and sisters that went out in that crowd. We women felt as though every man in that company was a brother and protector, and we were daughters. Out there we had fatherly counsel from our leaders and good teaching from our elders, and some nice singing from Brother Kay and his family. For they were all good singers– his wife and three little daughters. Brother John Kay took such a pride in his family.
On the next day after I got home, it being Sunday, I went to meeting both in the forenoon and afternoon–we heard some preaching from President Young and Kimball. I returned home, visited with my family, and on the next day, Monday, I went to see Sister Paulina Lyman, she having a fine son born on the 5th.
Sunday, the 13th of July, 1851, I took three of my children, Charles C., John T., and Libbie with me to the farm. We had a good visit with Sarah, one of my husband’s wives and her sister, Henrietta, Thomas Rich’s wife; he was a cousin to my husband. I returned home in the evening, found all well. I guess I was very busy all the next week preparing for my eldest son, Joseph to march on the 24th of July, it being Pioneer Day. He was chosen to march on the 24th with a number of other little boys. On the day of the 23rd, Brother Bankhead sent me ninety pounds of nice beef for which I felt so thankful both to Brother Bankhead and to the Lord for the same. Thus I was blessed from time to time. When I was alone I prayed to the Lord for help, and he answered my prayers in many things. By this time I got letters from Mr. Rich, stating that they had arrived safe in California after a hard journey crossing the desert, but were yet living in wagons, not being yet settled.
I spent the week taking care of my children. One day, I went to help Sister Mary Richards, wife of Brother Samuel S. Richards, we helped to sew to get her husband off on a mission to Europe. She was a dear friend of mine. Bless her, for she was a lovely sister.
Brother Samuel loved her dearly. She did not live many years after his return from that mission, as she always had very poor health. We were intimate friends before her marriage. Her name was Mary Parker. I write this that my children may see I loved a good woman that was worthy of being loved, and I wish her name to be looked upon by them in honorable remembrance; also, her dear husband. I often visited her while Brother Richards was gone on his mission, and we enjoyed talking over our beliefs in the gospel, and hoped to be faithful to all principles of the same.
August the 20th, I went in company with Sister Whittle to Brother Thompson’s, to a party; there I met Brother Orson Hyde, who had just got in from the states, and learned from him the joyful news that my father, John Pea, and my youngest sister, Jane, were on their way to Salt Lake. This was joyful news to me. I returned home about two o’clock with Sister Whittle and her family. We had a pleasant time at the party for in those days we had no Gentiles to cause us to fear going home from parties, for we were all latter-day Saints. I went the next day and got some groceries to send back to my father for I learned he needed some.
On the 27th of September, my father arrived. I was overjoyed for I had not seen him for six years; in that time my mother had died and my father had married again. My sister Jane was back in Brother Allred’s company . . . Brother James Allred and they had not yet arrived. They did not get in until the 2nd of October. I had a house prepared for my father and his family, consisting of his wife and her son. His name was Charles Bayley.
When my sister arrived, I took her to live with us, as she was not married, and the only sister I had living. Before my sister arrived I had gone to our farm, twelve miles north of Salt Lake City, to visit two of my husband’s wives that lived there–one of them was expecting to be confined and as she lived so far away from us, I felt impressed to ask her to go home with me and stay until after her confinement. When I asked her to go home with me, she said, “I was just wishing you would ask me to go home with you.” So, we soon got her ready and I took her home with me in order that I could see to her through her sickness. I loved her dearly, for she was a good woman, and had always been so good. Her name was Sarah Jane Peck Rich. As my husband had now been gone six months, I felt it my duty to see that she was well cared for. I got her comfortable fixed up, and on Sunday the 5th, I went to meeting, came home and about midnight she was taken sick. I sent for Dr. Clinton and about four o’clock in the morning of the 6th of October, she had a pair of twins; a boy and a girl. I now could see why the Lord had impressed upon me to take her to my house. We felt very proud of the twins. I fixed her comfortable in bed and I dressed the babies and nursed and took care of them until the mother got well, and felt like returning to her home at Centerville, Daviess County.
My sister helped me with the work. Sarah gave me the privilege to name the babies; I named the boy Orson, and the girl, Orisa–they were such pretty, healthy children.
After Sarah returned to the farm with her children, my sister, Jane E. Pea was taken down very sick with the mountain fever. She was very low for a long time, and was under the care of Dr. Clinton. We had to watch over her day and night for a long time. A worthy old lady, whom we called Grandma Utley, came and helped me take care of her. She was a good nurse. My sister after being ill for six weeks, began to recover and slowly regained her strength again, and the old lady Utley still lived with me as she had no relatives in the church, and we all thought so much of her that we gave her a home.
After my sister got well she married William E. Heber, a brother that had been very kind to us during her sickness. They were married at my house by President Brigham Young, and when they went to housekeeping Grandma Utley went to live with them and remained until she afterwards married my father, John Pea, and as father had married another wife after mother’s death, the old lady returned and lived with me until her death. She lived five years after she was my father’s wife. My father would often come and stay a month at a time with us and then return home again. This old lady seemed so much like my mother that we did not like to part with her, and until death called for her. She was eighty-one years old when she died. A few years after her death, I took my father home to live with me, as he had become too feeble to keep house any longer. He lived with me the last three years of his life, being ninety-one years old when he died. He went down to his grave like a shock of corn fully ripe, went off like one going to sleep. He now lives with Grandma Utley, in the Salt Lake Graveyard, on the lot owned by C. C. Rich, Lot 2 Block 10, Plat E., Salt Lake Cemetery.
My sister, Jane F. Horner, died when she was in her seventieth year; her husband, William E. Horner, having died ten years before. They left two children living, and several grandchildren. William E. Horner living in Heber City, Utah, and Sarah Mariah Clotwrothy, living in Heber City, wife Thomas Clotwrothy, in Heber City.
I am now the only living child of my father out of nine children– all have gone but myself. Well now, I will return to my loneliness with my children in the absence of their father who was on his mission to California . . . I received a consoling letter from him after he reached the southern part of Salt Lake Valley, which I will here copy that my children and friends may see how he felt on this journey towards me and my children. Perhaps it will be a comfort to my children to know how their father felt towards them and their mother starting out to fulfill a mission that he considered of much importance, to them, as well as himself, and all his family . . . for we all know that by his going and fulfilling missions of importance, that it was for our welfare hereafter. And my dear children, when you read what your dear father wrote to me, you will see it was a trial for him to be away from home, but duty called him away, or he would not have gone from us.
PEETEENEET March 23, 1841
Sarah, Dear Companion,
I will now improve the time to let you know that I am well, also that all that are with me. We have had no bad luck except turning over one of my wagons at this place; no damage done except sprained Mary’s wrist, and hurt Emaline [Emeline] some. She is now almost over it, and Mary’s wrist is on the mend. I received one letter from you at Provo, by Brother Kimball for which I was thankful for, and thankful to hear that you were all well or nearly so. I felt pleased with the spirit and feelings manifested in your letter; if it were so that I could, I would return and visit you, but I have to start in the morning.
I also received another letter today by Brother Pomeroy, which still gave me joy to learn all was well with you. My prayers are continually that you and the children may be blessed. I have nothing but good feelings, and what I have done, I have done because I thought it was for the best. You need not have any fears that my feelings will be weaned from you and the children. Your letter in telling me of the feelings of Joseph and the rest, telling how bad they felt at my going away, touched all the tender feelings in my bosom.
Say to them to be good children; do right, go to school, learn all they can, and the Lord will bless them. Tell Joseph to be a good boy and he shall see his father again. I will remember a pony for him, not forgetting all the children and yourself. You must manage the affairs the best you can. I have no doubt that you will do that.
Now, I will say a word about the money from Bankhead. It is to buy wheat for your bread and the rest of the families. I want you to keep thirty dollars yourself and let Sarah and Eliza have ten dollars each for the same purpose. If this does not make enough, you must get more of Bankhead, if you can. I have been busy all day and it is now eleven o’clock, and I will finish in the morning.
All is well, I have not had time yet to write off my blessing, but will send that to you from Iron County. I will also write more then, as I am now pressed with business pertaining to organizing. I want you to take all the comfort you can, and comfort the children; you will now always be deprived of my society. Make all your sacrifices cheerfully and acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all things, and know that you will be rewarded for all your privations.
I must close. Be assured that you and the children have my prayers every day for your welfare. And, inasmuch, as I have any influence in the presence of the Lord, you shall be blessed. Write often and let me know all the particulars about the crops and farm. Live humble; do good and bless the children continually is my prayer.
Farewell from your affectionate companion forever,
Charles C. Rich to Sarah Rich
Five days later I received another letter from Mr. Rich when he was at Toillian Creek on the Sevier River, dated March 28, 1851.
Sarah, Dear Companion,
Having another opportunity of sending a few lines to you by Brothers Bankhead and Syewart, I will write you a few lines. I gladly write. We are all well, Mary’s wrist is better; our teams do well and have gained finely; our cows give us plenty of milk. I have felt much anxiety about how you all were, but I believe and know you will be blessed inasmuch as you put your trust in the Lord. I want you should do the best you can to save all of our things and keep everything from getting lost; and I trust we shall yet have something to make us comfortable.
I had a dream last night which I’ll tell you. I dreamed I was someplace, I do not remember exactly where, but I thought the Lord had the largest and finest storehouse I ever beheld. After looking and beholding the storehouse, a man came to me and told me that there had been some goods consigned to me. I went to the storehouse and they drew up a hogshead and rolled it on the scales- -it weighed 1950 pounds and marked on the head was Charles C. Rich. I told the men to roll out all that was marked to me and pile it up while I would go a little way off and see to some business; and when I came back, there was a pile of stuff, hogsheads, barrels, boxes, and bales and everything you could name, as large as a meeting house.
I then seemed to be in a city preparing to sell my goods. This is the outline of my dream . . . I thought I would tell it to you.
I am glad that I have a chance to write alone to you; I would be more glad to have a letter from you. I must draw my letter to a close, and say “May the Lord bless you and the children, forever.” Remember my love to Eliza and Sarah.
From your companion, forever,
Charles C. Rich
I copy these letters to let my children see that it was a trial for their father to leave home as well as for me and them to have him go. Him and those that were with him at this time had very hard times in crossing the desert; many times they suffered for water, both them and their teams and stock. As soon as they got through to San Bernardino, California, he wrote again and told me what a hard time they had in getting there, but I was thankful to learn that they had landed safe at their journey’s end, and that there was a prospect of their being settled for awhile, and that they were all alive and well. As soon as they got houses to live in the way commenced to be opening for them to fill their mission that they were sent to fill. Soon they were prospered in the same, and began to gather means around them, so that they could send a little help to us that were left behind. We had good crops that summer and the children and I, with the hired hand, William Judson, planted and raised a good garden.
We had a cow to give us milk, and with what we got from the farm, we were comfortable until Mr. Rich got means where he was, so by the next fall he could send us a few groceries and some clothing to help us along.
Of course those times we had nothing to waste, but we had to turn to make things last as long as we could, and we had to learn to be saving. And at the end of two years, Mr. Rich would make a trip home and bring us what he could, and see that the folks at the farm were comfortable; then he would have to return to his home in California to attend to Church business and other business.
I did the best I could in his absence. My children were small; I tried to teach them what was right, and worked hard myself to try to help along while their father was gone. I turned my attention part of the time to start a little orchard. Mr. Rich sent me some fruit seed from California. I planted apricot seed–was successful in all I tried to do in that line. I soon got a start; also bought a few young trees, and set them out, watered them by day and by night. I learned to do my own budding; and as Mr. Rich got to making us a visit every year, he would bring me choice cuttings, and some small green gage trees. I watched over them with pride and did all I could to get a start in fruit trees. I watched over and until at length had a fine orchard. I also had rose slips sent me from California by Sister Caroling Jackson, a mother to our Martha. Sister Agusta Joyce Crocheron, one of our poets, budded the tame rose into a wild rose bush, in my door yard; and I had the first tame rose bloom in my door yard that ever bloomed in Salt Lake Valley. I let Brother Staines have some of my rose cuttings, and he had the next tame rose bloom; but mine was one day ahead of his!
I pulled my rose as soon as it bloomed and ran to the printing office kept by Brother Carrington, who gladly gave me the credit in his paper of having the first tame rose bloom that ever bloomed in Salt Lake City. Brother Staines gathered his rose and did the same, but found I was one day ahead of him. So, of course, I was much delighted at my success in my rose. I then was in great hopes of some day having plenty of fruit; and when I began to have a few apples, peaches, apricots and plums. I felt paid for my hard work, and was delighted to see my children enjoy the same.
Mr. Rich was seven years in California; but would make visits home several times and spend perhaps a month or two months at home. The last trip he made at home, he took our eldest son Joseph C. Rich with him, which was another great trial to me to part with my boy, who would be gone two years. He was a good obedient boy, both to me and his father, and was just old enough to be a great help to me, as well as company. It is truly a trial, yet I wished him to go with his father, knowing that those of his father’s wives that were in California would be like mothers to him while there, and do for him the same as I would. So, his father took him to California and put him in school; he was then in his tenth year, 1855, and had always been such a good boy that I was very lonesome without him. I realized that it would be for his good.
When two years had passed, President Young called home those that had gone on this mission. Mr. Rich returned, bringing my son also. He brought all the family he had there, and we all rejoiced together for a little season.
When I heard they were coming, Sister Emiline [Emeline] Rich, my two boys, Charles and John, and I went down to Payson to meet them; great was our joy to have them all home again! Sisters Mary and Harriet Rich, my husband’s wives who had been with him in California, were glad to get home again. We all figured on having a good time together, little knowing what was in store for in the way of trouble. We took all the comfort we could, not knowing what was coming next.
After they had been home a short time, President Young and others, got up an excursion party to the head of Big Cottonwood; he gave Mr. Rich and family an invitation to accompany them there. Mr. Rich took some of his sons and myself, and Sister Emeline, one of his wives. We went, and were having a good time when Porter Rockwell and others arrived from the states and brought the word that Johnston’s army was on the way to give the Mormons fits!
I then began to feel as though there were close times again for us. We all had a good time in the canyon and enjoyed ourselves and returned home, not knowing what was coming next; but we looked to the Lord and our leaders to guide us, and felt humble and trusted in the Lord, knowing He had protected us in former trials and had taken care of His people.
I need not relate what followed, but President Young, Kimball and others would preach to us every Sabbath, and tell us to be humble and prayerful and trust in the Lord and all would come out all right. We knew they were inspired and that the Lord instructed them by his Spirit, to tell the people what to do.
So our people went about this work, taking care of their crops and planting and sowing as usual, waiting for the watchword from the servants of the Lord.
President Young had said, “That army should never come in here until he got ready to let them come,” but they kept moving toward the valley, many thousands strong; and our little army of boys and men were sent out to Echo Canyon to keep them out until we all got ready for them to come in.
My son Joseph was among the number of boys to help make and shoe them, among the rest. Mr. Rich was also sent out part of the time. While out in the mountain carrying messages back and forth in the cold winter, Joseph made some very narrow escapes of losing his life; but he was faithful in all that he was sent to do, and was honorably discharged when spring came. So my readers and children can see that my troubles and anxiety to leave our homes and move South; all that were north of Salt Lake City and all that were in the city were to move south. This included all those that were in the settlements around about. We did so, knowing the Lord had inspired our leaders to advise us what to do.
So, this church was again on the move, and Salt Lake City left desolate. Mr. Rich took his family as far as Provo. Some of our family camped out, while others got rooms as best they could. So when all were out, President Young sent word to the army that they could pass through the city, and make their camp elsewhere. Thus, the wisdom of the Lord was made manifest.
I need not relate the particulars, for it has all been written and published. We spent the summer in Provo; many went further South. In the fall, we again got the word, “To our tents, O Israel!” So, we took up the line of march again to our homes, finding everything all right at our homes, and our apple trees and other fruit were waiting to cheer up our drooping feelings, and we felt to thank the Lord for His wisdom and mercy.
We spent the following winter as pleasantly as possible. There are many interesting things [that] occurred that might be of interest to my children, but as I cannot remember all to note them down, they must read other books that have been published that will tell them many things that I have omitted.
After enjoying two pleasant winters with my husband and son, he was called in the spring of 1860 to take a mission to England. My son Joseph was called to go with him. Here again was another trial for me to have to part with both of them again. On the first of May 1860, Mr. Rich and my oldest son, Joseph, started on a mission to England to be gone two years, leaving me with a babe six months old, my youngest son, Frederick C. Rich, who now is married and a father of three sons and a daughter.
This was another lonely time for me, and I truly had many cares and responsibilities resting upon me. I now had five sons to look after, all under sixteen years of age; also, two girls and one grandchild. I braved the storm and did the best I could, and tried to teach my children what was right.
After two lonesome years, my husband and son returned, having fulfilled a mission with honor. They came home and spent another winter, when Mr. Rich was again called to take his family and make a settlement in Bear Lake Valley.
He went to Bear Lake in the spring, with part of his family; built some houses, and returned in the fall and moved me and the family there. I again had to see some hard times; and as I was sick nearly all the time I was there–I lived there three years, and the climate was so cold, it didn’t agree with me, and as Mr. Rich did not sell our place in Salt Lake City, at the end of three years, he moved me back to my home in Salt Lake City, to my great joy and satisfaction, where again I had the privilege of being at home among my friends where I had lived so long. Of course, I could not see my husband so often now, but he would come to the city and stay a few weeks with me and the children.
My son Charles C. was married to Jane Stocks while I lived at Bear Lake, and he remained there. Joseph and John also stayed in Bear Lake, but were not yet married. I was glad to return to my old home in Salt Lake City where I found so many old friends. My daughter was then living in my house in Salt Lake city. My youngest son, Fred, was then about eight years old. My fruit trees that I had tried so hard to start in Salt Lake City, were now in their full prime, being loaded with fruit. I went to work on the old place, trying to take care of what I had and get my three boys, David, Ben and Fred in school; and spent the summer looking after my fruit. My daughter Libbly [Libby], was also in school. I sold apples at seven dollars a bushel, and got a new stove for which I paid one hundred dollars. I dried fruit and sold, and got many things that I needed in my family. I also dried fruit and made preserves and sent to the families in Bear Lake, and did all I could to help along, as my husband had a large family to support. I felt it my duty to help myself all I could, and help clothe my children, and prepare them for another winter, together with the father’s sending some money, we were prepared to live comfortable through the winter.
When the Legislature for Utah met, Mr. Rich being a member of that body, came down and spent most of the winter with us. We had a good time, and when the Legislature was out, he left us as comfortable as he could, and returned to his home in Bear lake, where he was appointed to preside over that branch of the Church, and where the most of his family lived, having five wives and their children, living there. His father and family also lived there; his father was very feeble, having had a paralytic stroke. Before I left Bear Lake, Father Rich died and was buried near Paris, now Idaho State.
I struggled along and did the best I could with what I had to do with, trying to live my religion and to teach my children the principles of the same. I put my three youngest sons in school, and had them learn all they could while small. David, Ben, and Fred were the youngest; the other three Joseph, Charles and John remained in Bear Lake with their father. Charles married Jane Stok [Stocks], Joseph and John were single yet. Charles married young, being only sixteen years old. She also attended school until Professor John Morgan came to Salt Lake City and started a higher school than we had been having. He built what was called Morgans’ Institute in the Fourteenth Ward. My daughter Libbie [Libby] and Benjamin arranged to go to that. Ben made arrangements with Mr. Morgan to do chores around the building, and by so doing was to pay for his schooling. He was anxious to learn bookkeeping in order to fit him for a place in a store. That was his desire, notwithstanding he was but a boy . . . only turned fourteen.
Mr. Morgan took great pains with him, seeing he was ambitious, and desired to learn. He was rather a sickly boy, but stuck to school for about a year and a half, and then quit and got a situation in the Coop Store, under the care of Brother Beatty.
Libby, my daughter, got a place in school as assistant teacher, and continued school until she married Milande Pratt–a son of Orson Pratt and Mary Merrill. Benjamin continued in the store for several years and gained knowledge in the business; was finally sent to Ogden to work in the Coop Store there under Robert Watson. After a few years he married Nina Farr, daughter of Loren Farr then, mayor of Ogden.
David and Fred stayed in school until they got larger and concluded to hire out to work and help to earn something for themselves. Joseph finally married Ann Eliza Hunter, daughter of Bishop Edward Hunter, and is settled in Bear Lake, Idaho.
John also married–Deseret Collings, daughter of Brother James Collings of Bear Lake, Idaho.
Here I must mention our friend Mr. Morgan. He afterwards received the gospel and became a member of the Mormon Church, and has traveled and preached and did a great deal of good and is a faithful good man, and a good Latter-day Saint.
I will now say to my children, perhaps I have made some mistakes and repeated the same things over again in my writing, if so, correct the same, for sometimes I am confused and forgetful. I am now the only member of my father’s family living, with the exception of some grandchildren. All of my father’s family have passed away. I have no brothers or sisters living; and I am now in my seventy-eighth year.
My husband has also passed away; also my second son, Charles C. Rich, who died two years ago last June. I now have five sons and two daughters living and many grandchildren and some great grandchildren. I find myself getting old and feeble. I am now living with my son Ben E. Rich in Ogden, having broken up housekeeping in Salt Lake City a year ago last November. I have felt very feeble of late, and may not be able to continue writing in this book, but would be glad to write many things as I could think would be of any interest to my children to look upon.
I know, dear children, that the principles of Mormonism, as it is called, are true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. How do I know it you may ask? I know it by hearing him prophesy what was coming, and have lived to see the things prophesied about come to pass. I have seen the sick healed by his administration; and in answer to his prayers, I have seen many miracles performed in this Church; have been nigh unto death myself, and have been healed by the power of the priesthood. I have seen some of you, my children, raised as it were, from death’s door, by the power of the priesthood, by the laying on of hands by those who were in authority.
The Lord has established His work and His Church on the earth now in the last days never to be taken from the earth until He comes Himself to dwell with the Saints.
I want all of my children to do right and to keep the laws of God as revealed through those of His servants holding the power of communing with God our Heavenly Father. Never deny any of the principles of this the Latter-day work; live humble before the Lord; ask him for His Holy Spirit to teach you what is right and to keep you in the faith of this His latter-day work. Go forth and help to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. You, my dear children, if you do right, may live to see the wickedness swept off the earth and the laws of God set up in the land, never more to be torn down. Live so that you may gain favor in the eyes of our Heavenly Father; seek the salvation of your souls; and then live to help save others. This is the wish and constant prayer of your aged mother. I wish to live to do good and to teach my children what is right. Don’t think, that now mother is old, she is not capable to give you good counsel and teaching you in many things in addition to what you already know.
I pray for you daily and ask the Lord that you may all do right and be saved with your father in the kingdom of God. I have watched over and cared for you when you were small and have done the best I could for you under the circumstances; and in all, my desire has been to see you all engaged in the work of the Lord. I have been a true believer in the principles taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and all the leading men of this church, I embraced that doctrine over fifty-six years ago (written in 1891) I still love those principles and know they are true. I know the Lord will bear off his kingdom triumphant in spite of all those who are opposed to his work.