And was all in the Township of Longbarough upper Canada, and I was baptized March the 20th 1833 and in June the same year was ordained a priest under the hands of Brigham Young, and I bear testimony and traveled and preached as circumstances permitted until September the 11, 1834, I then in company with Daniel Wood and family; with my family that consisted of wife and two children. I there and then bid adieu to Canada, to my birth place, and to my father and mother, brothers and sisters, for the sake of the gospel and together with the Saints to Kirtland, Ohio, which we reached the 24th of the same month and I was satisfied and rejoiced at meeting some of my old friends, brethren from Canada, and more satisfied to see the face and hear the voice of the Prophet Joseph and from him and his brethren received much valuable instruction.
I then went to work and found a location, built me a house and by hard labor provided a comfortable living for my family which consisted of a wife and three children, but I was quite poor as to this world’s goods, but I labored faithfully and prospered exceedingly.
And next spring 1835 at the April conference by a unanimous vote of the conference, the walls of the basement of the temple which had been covered the fall previous were uncovered, and the work of building the [Kirtland] temple resumed with a covenant to finish the walls that season. I threw in my might of labor with the rest of my brethren which was but few to do so great a work, but it was done. I also went to Canada that summer on a short mission and was abundantly blessed, and returned again in September to my family and to the society of the church in Kirtland.
And the following winter had the privilege of attending the theological school which was superintended by the Prophet Joseph and his councilors from which I received much good instructions preparatory to the endowment when the [Kirtland] temple was finished, during which time I was put into the presidency of the priests quorum which the bishops presided over. During the meetings and endowment which gave me another opportunity of farming more new valuable acquaintances to-wit; Bishop Edward Partridge of Zion or Missouri, and the Bishop N. K. Whitney of Kirtland with their respective councilors, under whose hands I received the ordinances and blessings which were many and great, they being the only bishops in the church at that time. The Twelve Apostles and the First Quorum of Seventies were chosen about that time.
And there in the [Kirtland] temple on the Day of Pentecost of the 6th day of April 1836 there was such a time of the outpouring of the spirit of the Lord that my pen is inadequate to write it in full or my tongue to express it. But I will here say that the spirit was poured out and came like a mighty rushing wind and filled the house, that many that were present spoke in tongues and had visions and saw angels and prophesied, and had a general time of rejoicing such as had not been known in this generation.
Then all things remained quiet until about the first of June. The Quorum of the Twelve was sent to the eastern states and Canada to hold conferences and regulate affairs in the church abroad in that direction and I was counseled by the Prophet to go on a mission which I did and traveled in company with them to Laborough in Canada, where I had formerly lived and joined the church. We there and in the vicinity around, held several meetings and conferences and set the branches in order and baptized quite a number and had a time of rejoicing together to think and to see that the Lord was blessing our labor with success. But in this place we separated and the Twelve continued their mission further east down the river St. Lawrence and crossed into the states and by that route home. But I took up on the north side of Lake Ontario by way of Toronto and there crossed Lake Ontario to Lewiston and by that route home, found all well and rejoicing in the blessing of the gospel.
Things went on comfortable and pleasantly during the ensuing fall and winter, and by the assistance and council of the Prophet I prospered exceedingly well so that I got me a nice little farm of twenty acres on which I built a good comfortable house and made other suitable improvements suitable for the comforts of life. All went well until some time in the summer of 1837 when travelers begin to creep in which changed the state of affairs financially throughout Kirtland, which damaged me to the amount of over one thousand dollars, which took my team and other good property but during the ensuing winter we had a good time in the temple and I was called upon to be ordained a high priest and was ordained under the hands of Don Carlos Smith and counsel who was president of the high priests quorum and brother to the Prophet Joseph.
And I was set apart to go to Illinois the coming spring  to take charge and preside in a branch of the church that had been previously raised up. I then went to work with mane and might to make up an outfit and I succeeded in procuring a team and wagon as I intended to take my family with me, for many of the Saints were making preparation to leave Kirtland in the spring and I never expected to return there any more. I expected the avails of my little farm and home to supply me with means to get me another home if I should ever be so happy as to reach Far West where we were all aiming to go and make a permanent home as we thought then. But let me here say that I was sadly mistaken and seriously disappointed, for instead of having means to buy me another home in Far West, lo and behold a Christian gentile had me in his clutches and swindled me out of my little home so I never got one dime for the whole. But he made me a very believable affair that was if I would stay and live on the farm I should have it all my life to support my family on and if not he would keep it, for he said he might as well have it as for old Joseph Smith to have it and so he kept it although he had every dollar of his pay for it. This was the fruit of Mr. Branche’s religion although a stray Presbyterian, but as I do not intend this to expose other peoples faults I will let the above suffice, and resume my own travels and say that the above affair afforded another opportunity for me to leave father and mother, brothers and sisters, house and land for the gospel sake.
And I hastened to start on my mission to Morgan County, Illinois, which I accomplished and started April the 16th 1838 only having my family that consisted of a wife and five children; that was all the company that I had to travel with for the first hundred and twenty miles. I there lay weather bound for a week on account of storm which made the roads too bad that I could not travel and while laying by a number of brethren came up, some from Canada and some from Kirtland, Ohio. Among that company was George A. Smith and his father and mother and brother John. I fell in with them and we traveled on through mud and more for two or three weeks and finally reached the place of destination for me, some time in May, namely Morgan County, Illinois.
There I stayed finding the place of my appointment filled by previous action of the branch; I was satisfied and concluded to make my way on to Far West so I took leave of the brethren and traveled on in that direction until some time in the far part of June when I was brought down with a severe attack of sickness so that I was obliged to camp by the wayside. There stood a big oak tree and under it a nice plat [plot?] of grass. There I took up my abode for a little season, this was at Huntsville, Randolph County, state of Missouri, about one hundred and twenty five miles from Far West.
After laying there several days I was taken up by a good samaritan and lodged in the house of a brother by the name of Edward Weaver where my wants were simply provided for and I soon began to revive and get better. After laying there a few days, there came along another company from Kirtland bound for Far West, and in that company was the Prophet’s father and mother and two brothers, namely Hyrum and William Smith and their families. The old gentleman, the only [?] living patriarch then known in the Church was invited and entreated upon to stop and hold a blessing [meeting?] which he did, and it was a glorious meeting too, for the spirit of the Lord was poured out upon the incapious Efrisian [?] and I there had an open vision or presentment of much of the surprising of the Saints and especially that of the Smith family. And I proclaimed it to the congregation and it affected the old patriarch so that he wept like a child and said the vision was true and from the Lord, which in a few weeks or months proved to be true, which will be seen by what followed in the coming fall.
But father Smith and two sons tarried five days with us after the meeting and organized the place or branch into a temporary stake of Zion for a resting place for the Saints that was worn out in traveling from the east. In which organization I was set apart by them, the Smiths to take charge and preside over the same which I did to the best of my ability until some time in August when a message came to us to break up our organization and come to Caldwell County as there was strong indications of hostilities by the mob.
We hastened to comply with the instructions received from the Prophet and in a few days was on our way for Far West but the mob was getting so hostile that after traveling a day or two we began to feel as though it was not safe to keep on the main traveled road through the settlements as the spirit of mobocracy was opposed to any more Saints gathering to Far West. So we concluded to leave the main road and took a by road that led through a thin settled country for about 15 or 20 miles where the settlement and road ended and we took across an uninhabited country without any road about 40 miles which brought us out at the Rinowaned Hauns Mill; [?] and from there through Caldwell County to within about 4 or 5 miles of Far West, where we concluded to stop and make our home in that place.
There was a large branch of the Church here known as the Lay Creek Branch. So I bought me a snug little home consisting of a log house and blacksmith shop and seven acres of good land under cultivation with a good rail fence around it, but that took all of my means to pay for it, but one yoke of oxen, one house and two cows, but corn and pork was plenty, corn being the main bread stuff then, so I set to work at shoemaking and made my family comfortable again.
And in a short time I was called upon to take the presidency of this branch being the only high priest in the branch. I accepted the appointment and all things went on comfortable notwithstanding excitement reigned in the country around and hostilities increased daily by the mobs on the out side; still many by the adjoining counties and finally by the middle of October hostilities ran so high that we received another message from the Prophet requesting us all in the out settlement to come in to Far West City. We readily complied with the counsel given and many of the brethren tore down their log houses and moved to the city; but I did not tear my house down, but went into the city with the rest of my brethren from that branch, and took shelter in an old log cabin with three other families which required some little patience, for one family by the name of Fowles did apostatize and went off with the mob and I have not heard from them since.
I will here say that after we arrived in the city there was quite a stir among the people for reports were daily and almost hourly that the mob was gathering on every side, so it kept us on the look out all the time, day and night until on or about the 22nd day of October there came a report that the mob was ruining houses, destroying property and killing our brethren that had not gathered into Far West, but lived about in or 14 miles out from Far West. On hearing the report there was a company of about seventy five men raised and dispatched to see what the trouble might be, they traveled on until they came to the place of trouble near Crooked River as it was called.
There they came in contact, [Battle of Crooked River] with the mob which opened fire on our brethren and quite a skirmish issued which resulted in the death of David W. Patten one of the twelve apostles, also Simeon Carter and a young man by the name of [Patrick] O’Banion and some more of the brethren badly wounded.
On their arrival to the city it threw a gloom over the whole place but the most of the brethren maintained their integrity but some faltered; yet there was faithful ones enough left to keep on the lookout and stand guard and do what was required of them, until about three or four days after or on the 27th or 28th of October 1838. While on duty or watching for the mob, lo and behold we spied their glittering armor some two miles in the distance.
They came on the direction of our city; which produced some little stir in the place, and in a few minutes there was about two hundred men both old and young, mustered to the public square in the city; the rest of the men living absent. We were immediately marched to the south boundary line of the city in the direction of the mob to defend our wives and children and property from destruction. When we arrived to our post the mob was coming down on to a low piece of ground on the boarders of Goose Creek where there was some scattering timber that took them out of our sight but some of them climbed up in to the trees and looked over into the city and swore that they saw an army of men that would number thousands. This we learned from our brethren that was prisoner then in their camp; the sight of this great army brought terror to their camp which caused them to halt for a little time.
But we soon saw a flag raised by a few men coming towards us, a detachment or committee consisting of four men namely George M. Hinkle, Colonel Judge Philips, John Corrill and Reed Peck, Mayor [?]. They were chosen and soon sent with a white flag to meet the flag that was coming. They met in our sight but we could not hear what passed between the parties; but they all went to the enemies camp together and in a short time the committee returned to our ranks and said that it was a government army sent out by Governor Boggs to investigate the difficulty if possible, and they wanted Joseph and his councilors, and the Twelve to come immediately to their camp and hold council with them considering the matter.
On hearing this Joseph said he could go as he did not wish to contend or resist the government, so he with all of the required brethren that was present started with the committee immediately for the army camp. They soon met the flag borne by a number officers and to the great surprise was delivered over by the committee to the officers as prisoners of war.
They then turned and went to the enemies camp when they commenced yelling and howling as if some ugly demons had come from the lower regions; but we did not know what all this noise meant.
Soon then our committee returned to us saying that Joseph and the brethren would stay all night in counsel with the officers and would be sent home at eight o’clock in the morning, and said there was some rough and ungovernable characters in the crowd and we had better stand to our arms and be prepared to defend ourselves and wives and children; it being near sunset, but we set to work with all our might and threw up a breast work of such material as we could get, house logs, plies, wagons, boards slabs, and wagon boxes and other materials such as we could gather through the night, and when morning came we had about a half or three quarters of a mile of beautiful breast work, considering our circumstances as we had neither eat or drank since the morning before as our wives or children dare not come to us.
But after waiting some time in the morning our committee went again to the camp to learn the result of the council, after a short absence returned to us saying that a treaty had been affected in which we were to lay down our arms in evidence of our living as peaceful citizens, and sign over our property to the state to pay the expenses of the war. And Joseph had agreed to all of this and that the army would be up soon to carry the treaty into effect, and that we must act accordingly; that was a tough pill to swallow, however if Joseph says so, all right. [Surrender at Far West] Sure enough in a short time we saw the army approaching and they marched up to our ranks, and formed a hollow square in which we were all marched by our Commander Colonel Hinkle. We were then ordered to lay down our arms which we did, so that we was divested of every weapon for defense even our large pocket knives were taken. While this was going on another hollow square was formed and we were marched into that away from our arms in a helpless condition. And we stood there waiting for their orders, and every now and then a women would come in crying and saying that we would all be shot down in a few minutes, the soldiers at the same time was busy picking their flints and priming their guns and making ready for to fire when their noble general said I suppose you are tired you can sit down on the grass and rest a little, which was quite a favor and we sat down. And the side of the square where my lot was cast was made up with painted demons which proved to be the old Jackson County Militia. After sitting a little I became drowsy from fatigue and hunger and I lay myself down on the grass, with my feet towards the painted demons and soon fell into snooze, but on hearing some sudden move I raised up and thinking they might shoot me in the legs I changed my position and lay down again with my head towards them and soon fell into a pleasant sleep. But was soon awoke by the word of command; men arise to your feet, and we were soon marched away into the city by the side of the army and after getting some instructions from the general were allowed to go to our families within the city; but not to attempt to go out of the city at our peril, yet this was quite a privilege as many of us had not eaten anything for nearly two days.
So after supper we retired to our beds, for we were glad to get a little rest and we had been advised to keep our house dark or we would be liable to get shot. We could often hear guns firing, dogs yelping, hogs squalling and demons howling and yelling, cursing and swearing. After spending the night this amused, we arose in the morning and could see hogs, dogs and sheep laying dead in the street and gate ways that led out of the city. They had been shot by the ruffians that seemed to think they was many running away on all fours, they also committed many other depredations, such as raping and stealing, and the worst of all did outrage and shamefully abuse to some of our most worthy and virtuous females. I will here relate a short conversation that took place between a little boy about twelve years old by the name of Buduas Dustin and a Methodist preacher; and captain of a company and chaplain for the army by the name of [Samuel] Bogard, which took place as follows:
One evening when the little boy was present the army was called to order to attend evening services and a solemn prayer and thanks to their unknown God for the glorious works that he was permitting and assisting them to perform, and when the prayer was finished the boy stood as if in deep meditation and said, “Mr. Bogard can I ask you one question” Yes boy”, was the answer, and the boy proceeded by saying, “Mr. Bogard, sir, which way do you think is right for a person to have their eyes closed or open when they pray?” Well my boy I suppose either would be acceptable if done in humility but it looks more humiliating to have our eyes closed against the transitory objects around us and from the world.” “Well,” said the boy, “I think if I was engaged in such a work as you are I should want my eyes open.” “Why my boy,” was the inquiry. “Because I should fear the devil would carry me off if they were shut.”
They then threatened his life for a young Mormon; but he said, “I am no Mormon,” and he was not and so he escaped but subsequently joined the church.
I will now return to the doings of some of the doings of the day after breakfast. We were all called to the public square in the city [Far West] and there required to sign a deed to our property, to pay the expenses of the war; yet Joseph did come nor we did not know but little what was going on, but I will here mention one thing that occurred the first night in camp. There were four of our brethren that was prisoners in the camp allowed to come to the city with a brother by the name of William Carey that lived in the house with me, an old acquaintance that I had baptized in Canada some three years previous. They brought home on a board with his skull broke in with his own gun, by they hands of a mobber by the name of William Dunnihoo [?]. Brother Carey died the next day an innocent harmless man and giving no offense but for his religion must and did by a master.
I will now say that after we had got mostly through the business of signing the deeds, we were called to witness one of the most heart rending scenes. Joseph and his brethren were brought up from the camp and driven up [at Far West] to their own dear ones, where they were permitted to see their wives and children a few moments to bid them an everlasting farewell; being told that they would never see them again. They were then driven off, leaving wives and children overwhelmed in a flood of tears, when one of the wives was in a condition not to be left one day without the assistance of her husband, let alone having him dragged off by a ruthless mob never to return. But such was their condition; both husbands and wives in the hands and to the mercy of an unmerciful set of beings. But the Lord overruled all and delivered them out of their hands in his own due time.
We then learned when Joseph and his brethren was in camp instead of being in an honorable council with the officers, for which they were competent and abundantly qualified; there were suffering abuse and undergoing a mock trial by court martial for crimes alleged which they were never guilty of. But the court decided guilty, and sentenced Joseph and his brethren in company to be shot the next morning at eight o’clock. General [Alexander] Doniphan with his command was appointed by the court to execute the sentence, but he swore that he would not do it for he said it would be nothing but cold blooded murder. Consequently early the next morning Doniphan commanded was placed under marching orders and marched away about three miles from the main army so that he might not witness the scene, or be implicated with the same, he Doniphan being a noted lawyer, it began to create some uneasiness with the rest of the officers of the court martial, and they concluded to change their former decision and make a new one that would give Joseph a fair chance for his life. So they decided on sending them to Liberty Jail among the old Jackson County mobbers and so they did and sent some of them to guard them safely through. Now after the prisoners were gone and the business of the day through we were called upon to listen to a piece of valuable counsel and advice from over noble General Clark and then be dismissed which was the best of all the doings, and that speech was nearly as follows:
“Now men I will say that you have thus far complied the treaty as make with you leaders by giving up arms and deeding over your property to pay the expenses of this war which you have here the instigators of, and I think you must feel as though you have been dealt very leniently with, as our orders were to exterminate you all without discrimination but as you have thus far complied with the treaty made, you will now be let to go to carry out the rest of its stipulations which is to leave the state of Missouri by planting time in the spring or be exterminated or driven out at the point of the bayonet or rifle and one of the two things must and will be done, now on your dismissal.
I will now give you a piece of good advice; when you are discharged go to and provide for the wants of your families and make speedy preparations to leave this state and hunt a place wherever you can and scatter about like other people and never gather together again in companies not even of ten under presidents, prophets of bishops and apostles, to govern you, if you do you will bring down the wrath of a just people upon you as you have heretofore done. Now men if you will heed this command and advice it will be well with you, and I will here invite the blessings of the great unknown God upon you to help you so to do; men you are now dismissed to carry out these measures.”
Now after prowling about the city for a day or two more and gathering what they could best manage of our most valuables, they concluded to leave which they did, taking with them a few apostates which we could very well spare, and now was the time for us to [go] back to our homes that we had been obliged to leave which the most of us did. I seen sat [soon set] about hunting my team which I had turned on the prairie when I came to the city, I went in the direction of the soldiers camping place and soon found the heads of my oxen laying in the road near the camp, and stopped me from hunting anymore, and I returned to the city and got the widow Carey’s team to move us back home, on condition that I would take her with us and keep her and team until she could leave the state; the mob having just killed her husband a few days previous, I agreed to do so which I did.
On arriving home I could find but one cow, I had left two but on looking a short time I found the head and hide of the other where she had been destroyed; that left me with one horse and one cow to make up my team with which to leave the state in the spring.
I will here say that the most of the brethren from this branch came back to their old homes, and soon forgot or neglected to observe or keep the counsel that was given to our dismissal from the army for we did soon assemble ourselves together and rejoice to think we were worthy of suffering for gospel sake, but we did not have the Prophet or bishops to govern us but would have rejoiced to have had them. But suffice to say that I went to work at shoemaking and pork and corn was plenty and cheap and we had plenty to eat and through the course of the winter traded my horse and cow and some spare clothing for a good yoke of oxen. And through the generosity of a brethren by the name of [Eleazer] Brown I obtained money and bought me another yoke of oxen which made me a good outfit for team and on the 12th day of March 1839, I with my family in company with Mr. Brown and others bid farewell to our Missouri home and started to seek a new home in a more congenial clime.
We traveled on without anything of note taking place until the latter part of March, we then landed all safe in a little town by the name of Atlas on the border of the great Mississippi bottom in the state of Illinois. There we met a brother-in-law of mine who beset me to stop with him a few days to which I consented, that separated me and Mr. Brown, we taking the road leading north up the river in the direction of what subsequently became Nauvoo. I stayed a few days in Atlas and in the time met with a chance to sell my team which I did and being indebted to Mr. Brown for the money that bought a part of it, I immediately set out to find him and pay what I owed him, which I did by traveling about 12 miles up the river to a little town called Pleasantvale. I there met Mr. Brown and family, we were glad to meet again, not knowing when we parted that we should ever meet again in this world. But I paid him what I owed and he insisted on my coming and settle in this place as the people were friendly and every thing plenty to live on, so I looked around and soon found an old log cabin and three acres of ground which I rented for the season. I soon moved my family onto it and went to work and put the ground to corn and garden truck which done well and I had plenty the coming year.
I will here say that about this time Joseph and Hyrum make their escape from Missouri and came to Quincy, Illinois about 30 miles up the river from where I had stopped. They soon called a meeting and gave some general instructions to the Saints that was at the meeting and to be sent abroad to all the Saints scattered about through all the country, and then went immediately looking for a location to gather the Saints so that they might again be in one place as a body.
They soon succeeded in obtaining a place by purchasing a little place called Commerce that had been mostly vacated on account of its being so very sickly; but the Saints commenced gathering into Commerce like doves coming to their windows. This was about 50 miles up the Mississippi River from Quincy.
I will now return to my own doings for a while. I went to work on my little rented place making garden and also to shoemaking and enjoyed my new home very well until some time in the month of June I was visited by one of the original high council. After he found there was several of the Saints in that part of the country he called them together and organized us into a branch of the church, and I was set apart and chosen to take charge of the same, and to hold meetings among ourselves, and if invited by good responsible citizens to preach, go and do so; which I did, and the Lord blessed my labors and many believed and were baptized and the word prospered until October.
Then there was to be a conference held in Commerce October 6, 1839. I went and another such sight my eyes never beheld; that portion of the assembly that had lived in Commerce during the summer looked more like ghosts that had neither flesh nor blood or but very little, yet they seemed to be satisfied and glad to think they were able to attend conference. They organized the place into a stake of Zion and changed the name of the place from Commerce to that of Nauvoo, a resting place and in the organization I was chosen as one of the high counsels, but was subsequently released by telling Joseph what I was doing and what the prospect was in Pike County where I had been laboring during the summer about 80 miles from Nauvoo. He told me to return and continue preaching and when the branch reached the number of hundred he would then come and organize the branch of stake of Zion. I went home to my field of labor, doors were open on every hand, I preached and baptized and in about two weeks the branch numbered 112. I let Joseph know according to his instructions and he being over taxed with business sent his brother Hyrum who was his first councilor and Bishop George Miller. They came and organized the branch into a stake of Zion for a resting place for the Saints that were gathering from the east and from the south in the organization.
I was ordained and set apart to preside, and William Allred Bishop; we were then instructed to obtain a piece of land and lay it off into town lots and build a meeting house and provide for the comfort and convenience of the Saints as they gathered in, which we succeeded in doing. We built a frame meeting house, if I remember right 36 by 40 feet and completed it. We held our meetings in it. Many of the old citizens joined the Church and all went on comfortably until some time in the summer or fall of 1842, when mobocracy and persecution began to show their hidry [?] head. By the time I had got me a nice little home and was comfortably situated by, a message came from the Prophet to discontinue our organization and immigrate to Hancock County, and most all the branch submitted to the call, and in the spring of 1843 I moved with my family and located in a place called Green Plain in the vicinity of Warsaw in Hancock County, with the notorious Levi Williams for one of my neighbors.
I there bought a farm on good terms and went to improving, built me a good house and a small grist mill and put about 20 acres of land in a good state of cultivation with a good fence around it, and was on good terms with my neighbors although the most of them were gentiles. But they professed to be much pleased with my enterprise in the place, and all went on well with me, until some time in June 1844. Then there was frequent reports about Joseph from Nauvoo, that produced some little excitement, for priests and lawyers and apostates had combined together to again make trouble, the men in the neighborhood where I organized, lived to go to Nauvoo and assist Joseph. They came and invited me to go with them to take Joseph, but I refused, they wanted to know if I would go if the Governor order me to go, I said no I would not go if the devil himself ordered me to go against Joseph for his people were my people and where he goes I will go also.
This appeared to vex them a little although we had always been on good terms as neighbors and they then said then you will have to leave, for you can’t live here although we like you as a neighbor. So they left me and soon started for Nauvoo, with old Colonel [Levi] Williams as there leader, which resulted in the martyrdom of Joseph the Prophet and Hyrum the Patriarch, Owen Brchers Brasher and [Willard Richards] and John Taylor, the present President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; this was done in Carthage Jail, June the 27th, 1844. Then the desperadoes came back to Green Plain without having the black thoroughly washed from their necks and faces and they never could get it from their character or consciences, but they did not interfere with me any more until about the 20th of October 1845, although they engaged in a little town called Lima that was settled mostly with Saints, in burning houses and plundering and sometimes killed our brethren. And one day there came an armed force of about 60 men, they set fire to my hay and grain that was in stack and then to the house.
I will just say here that at that time I had two little boys laying at the point of death, one 4 1/2 years and the other 2 1/2 years old; Albert, oldest Edward and Parley Pine by name. They were carried out into the woods and a bed made by their mother on the ground with bed and bedding under them and a large bedstead set over them with plenty of bedding and close over to keep them from getting wet with the heavy rain that was rapidly approaching.
I will here say that while the women and some of the gheerous(?) that had volunteered to help her were carrying out some of the things. The rest of the crowd divided the straw out of a bed into the four corners of the room and set fire to it, the women tried to put it out, but some of the ruffians took her by the shoulders and put her out of doors and she was not in a condition to be handled rough with safety, the house burnt down with the rest of its contents.
I was obliged to flee to save my life. I remained out until there came on a very heavy thunderstorm, I then ventured out to see what become of my family. I found them all alive and no personal injury done, but my house and grain and hay and considerable fence was burnt to the ground which threw my field open to the commons, where I had about a thousand bushels of corn mostly in the shock [shuck], but all exposed to the ravages of hogs, sheep and cattle which were roaming at large in abundance. But my wife begged of me to leave as the mob was hunting me the last she could see of them.
So I was obliged to take shelter in a large shock? of corn as it was raining very hard. I lay there until it began to leak through on to me, so I was obliged to crawl out and I then went to see how my family was getting along, and found them more comfortably situated, for a brother came along and carried the sick children and their bed and bedding into the mill which they had not burned, supposing it to belong to another man, although they had got some wet in changing locations, I remained with them until near daylight. Then I ventured to go to my nearest neighbors, a Baptist preacher by the name of George Walker. When I arrived and began to tell what the mob had done, he said, “Mr. Draper I know it, I saw it all but I could do you no good for I feared they would destroy me next; Is there anything I can do for you?”
I said, “I wished to get his wagon to move my family from among this mob and then I will return it.”
He said, “there is my wagon take it and if you return it, all well and if not, all is well.”
I then went back to help my wife gather up the little fragments left, by this time daylight appeared and while we were busy preparing to leave, lo and behold we saw ten armed men. They were in pursuit of me again and I was obliged to flee and I make my escape but it was upon my hands and knees through the brush. I succeeded in reaching another neighborhood, there I got a young man to go and let my folks know where I was, and help them pack up their things and bring them to me, which he did. I then took them to Pike County where a distance of 50 miles where I got them into a house with my wife’s brother. After that I had them comfortably situated the next day being the 6th of October 1845, my wife was confined and brought me another son, and the other two little boys that was sick soon began to get better.
After all was apparently safe and provided for, I then took my leave and started to Nauvoo a distance of about 80 miles. Some part of this I had to pass through a section of country where the mob was daily proceeding about and doing damage and seeking the lives of men that would claim to be Latter-day Saints or Mormons.
But I passed through and unharmed and arrived safe in Nauvoo, where Brigham and Heber who was then the president of the church, I told them what I had done, how and where I had left my home, which they highly approved. I then asked their council for my further movements, which they gave as follows: “Brother William, if you wish to remain with the Saints, go back and take care of your family where they are the best you can through the winter and make every effort you can to get ready and go with us next spring to the Rocky Mountains, but come again to Nauvoo in about two months and get your endowment,” which I did on the 28th of 1846.
While I was there several of the brethren crossed the Mississippi River over into Iowa then on their way for the mountains, but I returned back to Pike County and there made speedy preparation to follow on in the spring which I did, and left Pike County about the 20th of April 1846 and went to Nauvoo and added some to the family and to the outfit.
And on the first day of May crossed the Mississippi River and took the trail to follow those that had started before for the mountains through a wilderness country where no white lived. We made quite a company and I was chosen their captain.
We traveled on some 200 miles and nothing worthy of note took place but one night where we had camped to our great surprise up came Brigham and Heber returning from the Missouri River, the place which they had reached, they brought us the information that the United States officers met them there and called for 500 able bodied men from our traveling company to go to Mexico to fight their battles. This was quite a damper to us not withstanding we traveled on, but Brigham and Heber went on east to meet other companies. When we got within about six miles of the Missouri River we came to a halt and struck camp to wait for Brigham to return which he did in two or three days.
Then a place was prepared and the men was called together, met with Brigham and the army officers and Colonel Thomas L. Kane who had heard of the call made on us, and came to witness the result, but after a short consultation in council with Brigham and the officers it was decided to respond to the call made. And a call for volunteers then issued which was readily responded to and within twenty four hours the required number 500 was more than made up. And there was immediately a large bowery was erected at a little known as Trading Point settled only be Indians and their traders on the Bank of the Missouri, there we had jolly parting dance.
And the next morning being the 16th day of July 1846, which was the parting time between husband and wife, father and children, brother and sister, and so 500 of our most able bodied men were marched away across a 2,000 mile desert to fight the battles of the United States from which we had just been driven.
Now I will leave those that have gone and turn to those that are left on the prairies. We could look in every direction and see the prairies dotted with wagons and tents and speckled with cattle, who’s owners had gone. Now it was that something must be done for the women and children that was left unprovided for and without protection and in an Indian Country, so a meeting was immediately called and the country divided up into districts or wards, and bishops appointed and a bishop to each ward. It fell to my lot to be one of them and when I went to look up those that were in my district there was 33 families and each bishop was to take charge and provide for all that was left in the ward that fell to him. So we immediately set about the work that fell to him.
So we immediately set about the work of gathering up the cattle and getting herdsmen to take care of them, and the next move was to provide shelter for the folks and provide for the stock as we were left with so few men that we could not move on any further until the brethren returned from the army, or some other way was provided for our deliverance. So we set to with all our mind and might and strength. We built log cabins and brought some from the Indians that was about to be drove from their homes by the government as we had already been.
But I will here mention that Brigham and a large number of the Saints crossed the river to the west side onto the Omaha lands not owned yet by the United States. They built up quite a little town with over 500 houses, but the rest of the Saints remained on the east side of the river on the Pottawattomie land, that the government was about to take possession of, but they were soon gathered into more compact bodies were they could be better provided for, and more easily protected.
And I located at a little place called Council Point where there was quite a settlement of half breeds and Indians. I bought one of their farms with quite a comfortable house on it. I had built two cabins before as my family was large, but I was soon comfortably situated, and the Saints keep flocking in so that in a short time we had a fine little town, and it soon become necessary to have a better organization. And it was desired to organize Council Point into a branch of the Church and have ordained a bishop to do business in a church capacity. So I was chosen and ordained bishop and done whatever business that became necessary in the branch by the church law.
But by this time there was circumstances and characters in our midst that the church law did not fully provide for and they were not willing to be governed by what laws we had and Iowa was not organized with a territorial government, consequently was without any civil code to govern with, so in the absence of other laws we went to work and organized a provincial government with a law making department. And appointed or elected officers to administer the laws as they were made or as occasion required, in which department I held a position and we went on administering the laws as they were made by issuing writs, punishing crime, assessing fines and collecting them, and sitting in judgment in cases of debt and using the means for enforcing the Missourians and all other business necessary to preserve peace and safety in the country.
Every thing moved on quietly, some went to farming and some to peddling off their surplus clothing and such articles as they could best spare to the merchant to obtain bread for the destitute. And so we were all provided for, and the next year we raised plenty for our own consumption and the country soon bare testimony in favor of its new settlers fortheir perseverance, industry and tact and thrift. All things moved on well under our mode of government until the United States organized Iowa with a territorial government. Then we ceased further operation under our provincial government, and sent our court records to Washington which there met with the highest approval.
I will now say a few words about the company that crossed the river and built up Winter Quarters of which a large number sickened and died from privation and hardships they had to undergo. However those that were sick and did survive began to revive when winter set in and by spring had so far recovered that a company was raised and some, them in April with Brigham at their head, started as a company of pioneers consisting of about hundred men to cross the trackless plains where nothing but the savages and the wild beast roamed. This was to seed a home for the Saints in the valleys of the mountains where they could serve the Lord and keep his commandments. But the various incidences of their travel I shall not attempt to write but leave it for better writers and those that have the sad experience and let it suffice by saying that they arrived in safety to the valley of the Great Salt Lake July 24th, 1847, and there located the present Salt Lake City sight with its temple block and other public grounds, which stands forth in evidence of the greatness and wisdom and perseverance of its founders.
I will here say in the spring of 1848 all that was able left Winter Quarters as it was called with it 500 houses and started to join the Saints in Salt Lake Valley and those that were not able to go were taken back across the river into Iowa. And there provided for by the brethren was doing well, flourishing little towns and making and cultivating large farms which produced abundance for the inhabitants. The chief place or head quarter for public business was Kanesville [Iowa] so called because of the kindness and gentlemanly conduct of one Colonel Thomas L. Kane who came to visit and witness our affliction. Soon the gentiles began to come in to Kanesville with stores of goods, which afford abundance of necessaries and luxuries and convenience to fit out for the mountains and plenty for them that stayed longer.
About this time and previous, the brethren had returned from the Mexican War and resumed the cares of their own families that liberated those that had the responsibility before they came. Now it was in the Spring of 1849, I was counseled to immigrate to Salt Lake that season, I responded to the call and made speedy preparation to go with a company that was to immigrate that season. And on the 5th of July I bid farewell to my home and friends at Council Point, and started to join the company to old Winter Quarters, where they were waiting to organize for the travel.
And when I arrived we were organized, and I was appointed by George A. Smith to take part in the oversight of the traveling company in connection with Judge Apelley [Appleby?] and Judge Clark.
We then started out to cross the plains for Great Salt Lake, we travelled on slowly and nothing special occurred worthy of note, there was but little incident that occurred. On the 2nd of October near the south pass we were caught in a great storm that lasted 36 hours which killed over 70 head of our cattle and horses; that weakened our team some. But after the storm ceased we shoveled our way out and traveled on again. We did not travel many miles until we came to where there was no snow and all was fair weather, which continued until the 26th of October when we arrived safe in Salt Lake City, and broke up camp entirely; having been four months and a half on the plains, but was happy now to meet with our brethren that had also come up through great tribulation and make them a home in the mountains.
I then stopped a few days with my brother Zenird in which time I met with a chance to rent a house and lot for one year, my family being large it required some little exertion to provide for their wants for flour raised before harvest to the enormous price of from 75 cents to one dollar per pound, and it was hard to get seed grain, but I succeeded in getting both, so my family did not suffer or do without bread.
During the winter I bought me a little farm and rented another about 6 miles south of the city; it being too far to go back and forth to farm it and tend the crop. I bought a small log cabin and some time in February moved a part of my family to Mill Creek where my far? was. I put the city lot in with potatoes and the farm with wheat and corn and raised a good crop of each so I had plenty for the ensuing year and some to spare.
In the summer of 1850 there was a new settlement started on what was then called South Willow Creek, about twenty miles south of Salt Lake City. I was invited to come and settle there which I did, and in November 1850 moved my whole family there. I took up land and made me a good farm and raised plenty of grain and cattle and horses, and the settlement increased so it became necessary to have the place organized into a branch of the church.
I was called to preside and serve them as bishop, having been ordained to that office before. I served in that capacity until the close of 1857 and in the spring of 1858, I was obliged to leave a good home again, and go south in the general move. I went as far south as Spanish Fork about 42 miles in distance. I there stopped and located. I never expected to go back to my old home again, I there purchased four houses and lots and about 80 acres of land of which over 50 was good farming land and the rest grass land. I used to raise plenty of grain for my own use and had lots to spare, and I done well until 1862. Then the grasshoppers and crickets destroyed my crops so they proved almost an entire failure. The year 1863 was also followed with another failure and grain of all kinds raised to an enormous price, (wheat to five dollars a bushel) and wood was hard to get, being a long way off, and I had four fires to keep up, and my oldest boys had all married and left me with a large family of little helpless children with only their mothers to help me.
Putting all these disadvantages together I found it taking off my best property faster than I could well stand; one bushel of wheat per day for bread or $5.00, and two loads of wood per week and it took from two to three days to get one load, and I found I could not stand that way of living much longer, so I concluded to sell out and immigrate to Sanpete where ceder wood was plenty and where we got the most of our bread stuff from.
So in the fall of 1864, I sold out my property in Spanish Fork for less than half what it cost me, and early in 1865 immigrated to Moroni, Sanpete County, where I bought a house and lot and about 15 acres of land for which I paid 900 dollars in property. I also bought a share; one third of an old grist mill, worth about $400- $500? for which I agreed to pay $1,500 for one third of the mill. My property was going very fast for bread at $5.00 a bushel and I could make my bread with the mill, although I had to pay $500 five hundred dollars down in property, I thought I would have my share in the mill left and if I paid it out for bread I should have nothing, and I got about as near that as I wanted; for I only realized for the whole after spending about two or three hundred dollars in repairs, I got about one hundred.
But I made my bread with it by working hard and raising some on the land I bought. Since mill and land are all gone I have had some anxieties, but I have got nearly through with all, for my young and helpless children that I have spoke of before are now grown to be men and women and are able to take care of themselves, and lend a helping hand to their mothers, and as for myself; I think I shall not need any help, for I do not wish to be burdensome to my children or any one else.
I will here say that I have lived in Moroni hardly seventeen years, but am sorry to say that in this short period I have suffered more in body and mind than I have all the rest of my life. Although I have spent nearly fifty five years of that time in this church, but when I was about to sink under the weight and influence of temptation, the Lord verified his promise; wherein he said you shalt not be tempted more than you are able to bare, but in every hour of temptation I will make way for your escape; and he did by sending his servant President John Taylor on or about the 18th day of August 1880. He invited me into the house of Bishop J.W. Irons and after being seated he asked me a few question which I answered briefly.
He then called upon one of his counsel George Q. Cannon and one of the apostles, Erastus Snow and they laid their hands on my head and reordained me to all the offices and all the various grades of priesthood that I ever had been previously ordained to and confirmed and in addition ordained me to the office of patriarch after the ancient order, and reconfirmed all the blessings that had ever been pronounced upon my head by those that had administered to me before by ordination or otherwise, and that seemed to impart new life and vigor to both body and mind and spirit.
But I find that I am on the decline so far as my bodily strength is concerned and must ere long lay off this mortal tabernacle and my spirit go to rest or to join those that have gone before who have passed through great tribulations and have conquered the last enemy. And for this reason I have written this imperfect narrative that my children and grandchildren and finally all my posterity to the latest generation may see what their progenitor, and those that he associated with in this Church, had to pass through for sake of the gospel.
And I now feel thankful that I have the privilege of bearing my testimony to the trust of what I have written, although there may be some little errors in dates, but nothing designly or that would destroy the truthfulness of this narrative.
And I also feel to bare testimony to the truth of the everlasting gospel as introduced to this generation by Joseph Smith the Prophet, and is now being preached by his successors and the Elders of Israel that are going forth to carry glad tidings of salvation to the nations of the earth.
And I also feel to join the labor by calling upon all men, Jew and Gentile, bond or free, priest and people, to home or abroad; all who have not obeyed the gospel to listen and hear and believe and be baptized for the remission of your sins, and have hands laid on you by one who has authority for the gift of the Holy Ghost and you shall receive it, for the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are afar off as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Now in conclusion I will say that I have been some two weeks writing this imperfect narrative, and will now come to a close on this eleventh day of December in the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty one; (December 11, 1881) which makes me seventy four years and seven months and seventeen days old, and the husband of five living wives and father of fifty one children and grandfather to about one hundred; and great-grand-father to about twenty more, and I now leave my blessing upon them all, and ask my Heavenly Father to seal the blessing of Abraham and Isaac.