Confessions of John D Lee / Mormonism Unveiled - John D Lee - Chapters 9-16
MORMONISM - ITS DOCTRINES, AND HOW IT ORIGINATED.
A SHORT time after the events narrated in the preceding chapter, it was arranged that Parson Hall and myself should hold another discussion at the Campbellite Chapel. Parson Hall did not want to meet me in the discussion, but be had to do so or lose his flock, as all the people had become interested in the subject of Mormonism.
We met at the appointed time, and chose two umpires to act as moderators of the meeting. The subject to be discussed was: "Are apostles, prophets, teachers, etc., together with the spiritual gifts spoketh of, as recorded by the Apostle Mark in his 16th chapter, necessary to be in the Church now as they were then? I took the affirmative, the Parson the negative; the discussion lasted six hours. In his closing speech Parson Hall became very abusive and denounced the Mormons to the lowest regions of darkness, and the Prophet, Joseph Smith, as a vile impostor. I replied to him and closed the discussion. It was agreed that the Old and New Testaments should be the only authorities to be quoted by us. The umpires refused to decide who had the best of the discussion. They said it rested with the people to decide for themselves. It was evident, however, that the people were with me. The principal topic of conversation was about this strange Mormon doctrine.
Parson Hall's flock was by no means satisfied with his course. He said this Mormon doctrine was the strongest Bible doctrine he ever heard of, and he feared the consequences of a further discussion of it. But this would not satisfy the people, who wanted to hear and learn more of it; so another discussion was agreed upon, in which Parsons Curlee and Nichols were to assist Parson Hall, and prompt him.
The subject was, "Is the Book of Mormon of Divine origin, and has it come forth in direct fulfillment of prophecy? And was Joseph Smith inspired of God? I had the affirmative. We selected three judges; the hall was thronged. I felt the responsibility of my situation, but I put my trust in God to give me light and utterance to the convincing of the honest and pure in heart. The discussion lasted many hours. I showed conclusively, both from the Old and New Testaments, that, in accordance with scripture and prophecy, the ten tribes of Israel had been broken up and scattered upon the face of the earth. That sure and indisputable evidence had been found and produced, by which it was certain that the tribes of North American Indians were descendants from the ten tribes of Israel. I showed that from many customs and rites, prevalent among the Indians, that there could be no doubt, in any rational mind, but that these tribes had sprung from the remnants of the scattered ten tribes of Israel. The prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, the traditions and history of the Indians, so far as known, their solemn religious rites and observances, were conclusive evidence of this fact. And God has repeatedly promised that, In His own good time, these tribes of Israel, this chosen people, should be again gathered together, that a new and further revelation should be given them, and to the whole world, and that under this new dispensation Zion should be rebuilt, and the glory of God should fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the mighty deep.
It should be as a sealed book unto them, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, "Read this book," and he saith, "I cannot, for it is a sealed hook." It is strange that a people, once so favored of God, strengthened by His arm and counseled by his prophets and inspired men, should have so far wandered and become so lost to all sense of duty to God! But so it was, until, as the prophet says, the Book that should come unto them, should speak to them out of the ground - out of the dust of the earth; as a "familiar spirit, even out of the dust of the earth." The Book that was to contain the divine revelation of God was to come forth, written upon plates, in a language unknown to men.
But a man unlearned, not by his own power, but by the power of God, by means of the Urim and Thummim, was to translate it into our language. And this record, in due time, came according to God's will. It was found deposited in the side of a mountain, or hill, called Cumorrah, written in the reformed Egyptian language, in Ontario County, in the State of New York. It was deposited in a stone box, put together with cement, air tight. The soil about the box was worn away, until a corner of the box was visible. It was found by Joseph Smith, then an illiterate lad, or young man, who had been chosen of God as His instrument for making the same known to men.
Joseph Smith was a young man of moral character, belonging to no sect, but an earnest enquirer after truth. He was not permitted to remove the box for a period of two years after he found it. The angel of God that had the records in charge, would not permit him to touch them. In attempting to do so, on one occasion, his strength was paralyzed, and the angel appeared before him and told him that that record contained the gospel of God, and an historical account of the God of Joseph on this land; that through their transgressions the records were taken away from them, and hid in the earth, to come forth at the appointed time, when the Lord should set His heart, the second time, to recover the remnant of His people, scattered through all nations; that the remnant of His people should be united with the stick of Judah, in the hands of Ephraim, and they should become one stick in the hands of the Lord. This is the Bible, which is the stick of Judah, that contained the gospel and the records of the House of Israel, till the Messiah came. The angel further informed him that when the Ten Tribes of Israel were scattered, one branch went to the north; that prior to the birth of Jesus Christ the other branch left Jerusalem, taking the records with them, of which the Book of Mormon is a part. The branch of the Ten Tribes which went north doubtless have a record also with them.
When these plates, containing the Book of Mormon and God's will, as therein revealed, were removed from Ontario County, New York, they were taken to Professor Anthon, of New York City, for translation. He replied that he could not translate them, that they were written in "a sealed language, unknown to the present age." This was just as the prophet Isaiah said it should be.
Do any of the present denominations counsel with the Lord? No, they deny revelation, and seek to hide their ways from Him. Upon all such He pronounces woe.
I do not wish to be considered as casting aspersions on any other sect. It is not my purpose to do so. The love that I have for truth, and the salvation of the human family, may cause me to offend, but if I do so it is because of my exceeding zeal to do good. Remember that the reproof of a friend is better than the smite of an enemy. Jesus said, "Woe unto you that are angry and offended because of the truth." It is not policy on your part to be offended on account of the truth. If your systems will not stand the scrutiny of men, how can they stand the test of the great Judge of both the living and the dead? I place a greater value upon the salvation of my soul than I do upon all earthly considerations.
After my second discussion I began to baptize some of the leading members of the Campbellite Church. Among the first to be baptized were John Thompson and wife. Thompson was sheriff of Rutherford County, and was an influential man. among others who were baptized were Wm. Pace and wife. Mrs. Pace was a sister of Parson Nichols, who assisted Parson Hall in his last discussion with me. Major D. M. Jarratt and wife, Mrs. Caroline Ghiliam, Major Miles Anderson, and others, were also baptized and received into the Church. My friend Webster, after being with me about a month, returned to visit and strengthen the branches of the Church established in Smith, Jackson and Overton Counties. I continued my labors here on Stone River and Creple Creek about six months. During the most of this time I availed myself of the opportunity of studying grammar and other English branches. During my stay I lectured three times a week, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sunday afternoon. Sabbath forenoon I attended the meetings of other denominations. During this time I held four public discussions, in addition to those I had held with Parson Hall. I held two discussions with the Rev. James Trott, who had for fifteen years been a missionary to the Cherokee Nation.
I held a closing debate in that settlement with the Rev. Mr. Cantrall, of the Campbellite faith. He came from a distance, at the request of friends, to endeavor to save the flock. After consultation with Parson Hall, and other members of the flock, they refused to submit to moderators or judges, neither were they willing to be confined to the Old and New Testaments for authority to disprove the doctrine that I defended. Their proposition was that Mr. Cantrall should speak first, bringing any argument he chose; when he had finished I was to conclude the debate, and the people were to judge for themselves who had the best of the argument. My friends would not consent to this arrangement, but I told them that they could have it their own way, that if the Rev. Cantrall wished to condescend to the platform of a blackguard, that in case of necessity I might meet him there, though I would prefer an honorable debate to slander and ridicule. This statement I made to the assembly prior to the Rev, gentleman's mounting the stand, with Parsons Hall, Curlee, Trott and Nichols as prompters.
They had provided themselves with a roll of pamphlets and newspapers, containing many of the low, dirty, musty, cunning, lying stories about Joe Smith's walking on the water, being a money digger, an impostor and a thousand such stories. Mr. Cantrall read and emphasized each story, as his prompters handed them to him. He occupied about two hours and a half in this manner, and about half an hour in trying to point out discrepancies the Book of Mormon. He spoke of the absurdities of the boat that the Nephites built to cross the ocean in, from Asia to America. That it was built tight, excepting a little hole on top, for air, and that it would shoot through the water like a fish, and ridiculed such an absurdity. He defied me to produce any such inconsistencies in the Holy Bible. He said the Bible was a book of common sense, written by men inspired of God. It was full of good works, and only pure characters, and nothing like the impostor Joe Smith. He challenged me again to point out a single instance in the Bible which would compare with the stories in the Book of Mormon. The idea of apostles and prophets and supernatural gifts in the Church, as it was in the days of Christ, was absurd. That the History of Nephi was absurd and a burlesque upon common sense. That he hoped none of the people would be led away by such nonsense and folly. I sat facing him during all his long harangue of abuse and ridicule. When it came my turn to speak, I asked the reverend gentleman to occupy my seat, that I did not want more than thirty minutes to reply. I said to the assembly that a sense of duty to the truth, and to the cause I had espoused, alone prompted me to make any reply to the long tirade of abuse and sarcasm they had been listening to. The gentleman and his prompters had gathered quite an angry-looking cloud of pamphlets and newspaper slang and abuse, which culminated in a tornado of bolts of thunder, tapering off with wind, blixen and chinck-a-pin bushes, without quoting a single passage of scripture to disprove my position, or in support of their own. But on the contrary, he had become an accuser of the brethren, speaking evil of things he knew not. The spirit of persecution hatred and malice is not the spirit of the meek and lowly Saviour. The gentleman tells you that the day of perfection has arrived, that Satan is bound in the gospel chain, that we have no need of spiritual manifestations, that this is the reign of Christ. Now, I will say if this is the millennial reign of Christ; and the devil is bound in the gospel chain, I pity the inhabitants of the earth when be gets loose again. After reading the description of the millennial reign, as it shall be, as described by the prophet Isaiah, can any one be so stupid as to believe that we are now living in that eventful day? Shame on a man who would deceive and tamper with the souls of men! The gentleman who has told you this don't believe it.
The gentleman has challenged me to produce anything from the Bible equaling in strangeness the building of a boat like a fish, in which the Nephites crossed the ocean from Asia to America. I call his attention to the first chapter of the Book of Jonah. Here a very strange craft was used for three days and nights, in which to send a missionary to Nineveh. This craft was constructed after the manner of the boat spoken of in the Book of Mormon. If the prophet was correct in the description of his craft, he too scooted through the water in the same way that the Nephites did in their boat. The Book of Mormon is nothing more or less than a book containing the history of a portion of the House of Israel, who left Jerusalem about the time of the reign of Zedekiab, King of Judah, and crossed the ocean to America; containing also the gospel which was preached to them on tins continent, which is the same gospel as that preached by Christ and his Apostles at Jerusalem. The Bible and the Book of Mormon both contain a history of the different branches of the House of Israel, and each contains the gospel of Christ as it was preached unto them, the different branches of the house of Israel, and to all nations. Both testify of each other, and point with exactness to the dispensation of the fullness of time. The Book of Mormon does not contain a new gospel; it is the same gospel as that preached by Christ. That it is a mysterious book, is just what the prophet said It should be, "a marvelous work, a wonder." But my friend says that it is too mysterious, too wonderful for human credence, and challenges me to point out anything told in the Bible that seems inconsistent with reason or our experience. Now, which is the most reasonable, that Nephi built a boat after the pattern mentioned in the Mormon Bible, directed by God how to build it, and crossed the ocean to this continent, or that Jonah was in the whale's belly for three days and three nights, and then made a safe landing? Or would it sound any better if Nephi had said that when he and his company came to the great waters, that the Lord had prepared great whales, two or more, to receive them and their outfit, and set them over on this side by that means? Nothing is impossible with God. If He saw fit to send Jonah on his mission in a whale's belly, I have no fault to find with Him for so doing. He has the right to do His own will and pleasure; and if he instructed Nephi how to fashion his boat, or Noah to build an ark against the deluge; or to cause Baalam's ass to speak and rebuke the madness of his master; or caused Moses to lead the children of Israel through the Red Sea, without any boat at all; or caused the walls of Jericho to fall to the ground, and the people to become paralyzed through the tooting of rams' horns; or empowered Joshua to cause the sun to stand still while he slaughtered his enemies; is any one of these things more wonderful than the other? Now any one of these instances that I have selected from the Bible, if found in the Book of Mormon, would be sufficient to stamp it with absurdity and everlasting contempt, according to argument of the gentlemen who oppose me; but when found in the Bible the story assumes another phase entirely. It is as the Saviour said of the Pharisees, "Ye strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." My opponent strains at a gnat, when found in the Book of Mormon, but if camels are found in the Bible he could swallow them by the herd. I cannot see why a big story, told in the Bible, should be believed any more readily than if found in the Book of Mormon. It is not my purpose to find discrepancies in the characters of the ancient prophets or inspired writers, but my opponent has challenged me to produce from the Bible a character of such disrepute as that of Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet. Now I will say that of the characters that I shall mention, we have only their own history or account of what they did. Their enemies and contemporaries have long since passed away. But if their enemies could speak worse of them than they have of themselves, decency would blush to read their history. I will refer to only a few instances.. Moses, the meek, as he is called, murdered an Egyptian that strove with an Israelite, and had to run away from his country for the offence. He was afterwards sent by God to bring the Israelites out of bondage.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He built the ark, and was saved through the deluge. His name has been handed down from posterity to posterity, in honorable remembrance, as one who feared God and worked righteousness. But we find him soon after the flood getting drunk, exposing his nakedness, and cursing a portion of his own posterity. Lot, whose family was the only God-fearing family in Sodom and Gomorrah, rescued by the angel of God from the judgments that overwhelmed those cities, when only a short distance from Sodom became drunk and debauched his daughters.
Think of the conduct of David with Uriah's wife, and David was, we are told, a man after God's own heart. Also Judah, Judge in Israel. Peter cursed and swore and denied his Master. The enemies of Christ said he was a gluttonous man and a wine bibber; a friend of publicans and sinners; that after the people at the marriage feast were well drunken, that he turned water into wine that they might have more to drink; that in the corn fields he plucked the ears of corn and ate them; that he saw an ass hitched, and without leave he took it and rode into Jersalem; that he went into the Temple and overset the tables of the money changers and took cords and whaled them out, telling them they had made his Father's home a den of thieves. I am aware that all Christians justify the acts of Christ, because he was the Son of God. But the people at that time did not believe him to be the Son of God, any more than the gentleman does that Joseph Smith was the Prophet of God. I have alluded to these instances merely in refutation of the challenge impose upon me by my opponent.
But few seem to comprehend that man, in and of himself, is frail, weak, needy and dependent, although the Creator placed within his reach, as a free agent, good and evil, and has placed in the heart of every rational being a degree of light that make us sensitive and teaches us right from wrong. As the Saviour says, "There is a light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
I have been obliged to abbreviate my argument very much, lest I tire my readers. I had scarcely closed speaking before my Reverend opponents were making for the door. They would have nothing more to do with the Mormon. Some were honest enough to acknowledge that Mormonism, as it was called, would stand the test; that it could not be disproved from the Bible, and that sooner or later all other creeds would have to give way to it, or deny the Bible, for the more it was investigated the more popular it would become, as it would expose the many weak points and inconsistences of the different denominations. Others denounced it as an imposition, and warned their adherents to have nothing to do with it. This kind of talk from the pulpit only served to give Mormonism a new impetus. I soon baptized many converts, and organized branches in that and adjoining counties of over one hundred members.
LEE CASTS OUT DEVILS AND DOES OTHER WONDERFUL WORKS.
A SHORT time after holding the discussion mentioned in the preceding chapter, Dr. A. Young, of Jackson County, Tenn., came to me and wished me to go with him, and join in a discussion with a couple of Campbellite preachers. At first I declined, as the distance was nearly one hundred miles, and my labors in the ministry where I then was were pressing. I had more calls to preach than I could fill.
Dr. A. Young was made a bishop, and A. 0. Smoot, a convert, was made an elder in the Church.
I finally consented to go and attend the discussion. On our arrival at the place agreed upon, I learned that all necessary arrangements had been made. The subject was, "Is the Book of Divine authenticity, and has it come forth in direct of prophecy, found in the Old and New Testaments, and is Joseph Smith Divinely inspired and called of God?" We had the affirmative. There was a large concourse of people assembled. The discussion lasted two days. At the close of the debate the judge decided that the Mormons brought forth the strongest reasonings and scriptural arguments, but that the other side had the best of the Mormons in sarcasm and abuse.
When I was about to leave Dr. Young exchanged horses with me, he keeping my pony, and giving me a very fine blooded black mare. I was then built up, so far as a good out-fit for traveling was concerned. Dr. Young traveled with me as far as Indian Creek, Putnam County, twenty-five miles south-east, as report said that a couple of Mormons had been "raising h-l there, to use their own words. So we concluded to visit the place and learn the facts. This was about the first of March. it was on Saturday that we arrived there. We rode at once to the Methodist Chapel. Here we found several hundred people assembled - the most distressed and horrified looking worshipers my eyes ever beheld. Their countenances and actions evinced an inward torture of agony. Some of them were lying in a swoon, apparently lifeless; others were barking like dogs; some singing, praying and speaking in tongues, their eyes red and distorted with excitement.
The chapel was situated in a yard surrounded with trees. I was so overcome with amazement and surprise that I had forgotten that I was on horseback. The first that I remember was that a man had led my horse inside the gate and was putting me off, saying, "Come, get down, you are a Mormon preacher; we are having fine times. I objected, but walked to the south end of the chapel, instead of going inside. A chair was set for me by some rational person, and I leaned my head upon my hands and commenced praying. I was a stranger, both to the people and to their religious exercises. I was puzzled, not knowing what to do in the situation. I saw a young woman, about eighteen years of age, of handsome form and features, in her stocking feet, her handsome black hair hanging down over her shoulders in a confused mass. She was preaching what she called Mormonism, and warning the multitude to repent and be baptized, and escape the wrath of God. In front of her stood a young Methodist minister, to whom she directed her remarks. He smiled at her. All of a sudden she changed her tack, and belted him right and left for making light of what she said. The next moment she confronted me, and said, "You are a preacher of the true Church, and I love you!" Thus saying, she sprang at me to embrace me with open arms. I stretched fort my hand and rebuked the evil spirit that was in her, and commanded it to depart in the name of the Lord Jesus, by virtue of the holy priesthood in me vested. At this rebuke she quailed, and turned away from me like a whipped child, and left the crowd and went home, ashamed of her conduct.
This occurrence gave me confidence in God, and in Him I put my trust still more than I had ever done before. It was now about sunset and we had had no refreshment since morning. I arose and informed the multitude that we would preach at that place on the morrow at ten o'clock. A merchant by the name of Marshbanks invited us home with him, some of the leading men accompanying us. They informed us that a couple of men, brothers, from West Tennessee, named William and Alfred Young, formerly members of the Baptist Church, who had joined the Mormons, had been there and preached; that they enjoyed spiritual gifts as the apostles anciently did, and had baptized the people into that faith, and had ordained John Young, Receiver of the Land Office there, a preacher; that he was an intelligent, well-educated man, but was now a fanatic, and many of their leading men were ruined and business prostrate, and all through that impostor, Joe Smith. They said he ought to be hung before he did any more harm; that their settlement was being ruined and all business stopped; that if any one would give John Young, or Mark Young, his father, who was formerly a Methodist class leader, their hand, or let them breathe in their face, he could not resist them, but would come under the same influence and join them. I told them that I had been a member of this Church for a number of years and had never seen or heard of anything of this kind.
The next morning, about day break, those two fanatics were at Marshbanks' house. They said they had a glorious time through the night, and had made a number of converts. I began to reason with them from the scriptures, but as soon as I came in contact with their folly, they began to whistle and dance, and jumped on to their horses and left.
Sometime on our to the chapel, my friend Marshbanks indulged in a great deal of abuse of Joe Smith. He told me that I could not be heard among the fanatics at the chapel, and that I had better return to his house and hold a meeting there.
I said to him, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will preach there to-day, and not a dog will raise his voice against me, and you shall bear witness to it." He replied, "Very well. I will go with you and try and keep order." As we entered the chapel, the same scene of confusion prevailed that we observed the day before. Some were stretched on the floor, frothing at the mouth, apparently in the agonies of death. Others were prophesying, talking in tongues, singing, shouting and praying. I walked into the pulpit as a man having authority, and said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, and by virtue and authority of the Holy Priesthood invested in me, I command these evil spirits that, are tormenting you, to be still, while I lay before you the words of life and salvation." As I spoke every eye was turned upon me and silence reigned; the evil spirits were subdued and made powerless. There were two Presbyterian ministers there who asked leave to take notes of my sermon, which I freely granted, telling them further that they were at liberty to correct me if in anything I spoke not according to the Law and Testimony of Christ.
I preached a plain sermon on the first principles of the gospel of Christ, as taught by the apostles. I showed to them that the house of God was a house of order, and not confusion; that the Spirit of God brings peace, joy, light and complete harmony. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, and every person who has the Spirit of Jesus has the spirit of prophecy, and should and would do the will of Heaven; that one may have a gift of prophecy, another of tongues, another of interpretation - but let one speak at a time; that this fanaticism which they had witnessed during the last few days was not to be fathered upon Joseph Smith or upon the Mormons; that we had no affinity for such a religion, and that we discarded it as from beneath and not from God. Before I dismissed the meeting I asked my Presbyterian friends if they wished to reply to me. They said they did not; that they were much pleased with my remarks, and that they were scriptural and reasonable.
I then concluded to return to the Branch at Rutherford County, and continue my labors there. A delegation came to me from the Assembly and said, "Mr. Lee, your discourse today has turned us up side down. You have convinced many of us that we are going astray. Do not, for mercy's sake, leave us in this situation. We are persuaded that many are honest-hearted and will obey the truth. I replied, "My mission is to preach the truth, to call erring children of men to repentance. I appointed a meeting, and preached that evening at the house of David Young, a brother of Mark Young, the Methodist class leader, to a large body of inquiring minds. The following day we preached at the side of a clear running brook. After the preaching many demanded to be baptized. I went down into the water and baptized twenty-eight persons, among whom ware two well educated young men. One was a nephew of Gov. Carlin, of Illinois; the other was F. McCollough, now a Bishop at Alpine City, Utah.
Most of the leading families of Putnam County were converted and I organized them into a Branch, and remained with them about ten days, teaching and instructing them, the better to establish them upon the true basis of order and equity, and to guard them against those fanatical influences that had been ruining the people of this neighborhood.
Elder Samuel B. Frost had been laboring in DeKalb County, East Tennessee, where he had baptized about thirty converts. As he passed on his return to Nauvoo, I sent for him to tarry with me a few days, and assist me, as Dr. Young had returned home. Such of the people who had been under the power of the spirit of darkness became alarmed, and dared not trust themselves away from us. We fasted and prayed three days and three nights, pleading with the Father, in the name of the Son, to give us power over those evil spirits.
And here I will say that up to the time of my witnessing what I have here narrated, I was skeptical on the subject of our power over evil spirits. I had heard of such manifestations, but had never seen them with my own eyes before. My experience here impressed me deeply, that we could attain such power, and showed me the stern necessity of living near to God, for man, in and of himself, is nothing but a tool for the tempter to play with.
As I said, the people durst not trust themselves away from us. One time we were in a large room, at Mark Young's house. I was sitting by a desk writing in my diary. Adolphus Young, the chairman of the delegation which had waited on me and requested me to remain with them and set them right, was walking too and fro across the room. As he came near me I noticed that his countenance changed, and as he turned from me he cast a fearful glance at me. I kept my eyes upon him as he walked away from me. When near the centre of the room be wilted down and exclaimed, "Oh! God, have mercy on me." Without a word spoken, Elder Frost and myself sprang to him. Laying my hands upon him I commanded the evil spirits, by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of him. As I spoke these words I felt as if a thousand darts had penetrated my mouth, throat and breast. My blood ran cold in my veins; my plume stopped beating; in a word, I was terror-stricken. I saw a legion of evil spirits in the vision of my mind. And what was still more, they had fastened their fangs in me and I was about to give up the contest, when another influence came to my relief, and said to my spirit: "Why yield to the powers of darkness? You hold the keys over those evil spirits. They should be subject to your bidding in the name of Jesus, through faith. This last comforting influence relieved my fears, strengthened my faith, and gave me power to overcome the evil spirits. I was not more than a minute or two in this situation, but during that time I endured more agony, torture, and pain than I ever did in the same time before or since.
This may seem to be a fabulous story to my readers, many of whom will, no doubt, attribute it to fanaticism; nevertheless it is true. The man was restored, and bore record of the power of God to his deliverance, and was to the day of his death an honorable, good citizen.
I was never considered a long-faced preacher. During my stay here I added to this branch of the Church until it was more than fifty members strong. My friend, Elder Frost, agreed to wait in Overton County until I could re-visit the branch in Rutherford County, and set things in order there. Then I was to accompany him home to our families in Nauvoo, the City of Joseph.
I ordained William Pace to the office of the lesser priesthood, to take charge of the Saints there. We also ordained Adolphus Young to preside over the branch at Indian Creek, Putnam County. After calling on Dr. A. Young, I joined my friend, Eider Frost, and drove to Nauvoo for him six jacks and jennets to exchange for land, that he might have a place to come to. We had a pleasant journey to Nauvoo, as the weather was fine. On arriving In the city I met my family, all in good health. I traded some of my stock with Hyrum Smith, the Prophet's brother, for land.
It was now June, 1842. In the summer and fall I built me a snug, two-story brick house on Warsaw street, and made my family quite comfortable. I enclosed my ground and fixed things snug and nice. I then took a tour down through Illinois. H. B. Jacobs accompanied me as a fellow companion on the way. Jacobs was bragging about his wife and two children, what a true, virtuous, lovely woman she was. He almost worshiped her. But little did he think that, in his absence, she was sealed to the Prophet Joseph, and was his wife.
We raised up quite a branch of the Church in Clinton County Among others whom we baptized, were the Free sisters, Louisa and Emeline; also the Nelsons. Emeline Free was afterward sealed to Brigham Young, and her sister Louisa to myself. She is now Daniel H. Wells' first wife.
I also visited my relatives in Randolph County, the home of my youthful days. Here I baptized my cousin Eliza Conners, with whom I had been raised. I also baptized Esther Hall, the sister of my old friend Samuel Hall, with whom I lived when I was first married. I was kindly received in my own county.
But few, however, cared to investigate the principles of Mormonism, as the most of them were Catholics. In all my travels I was agent for our paper, the Nauvoo Neighbor, and collected means, tithings and donations for the building of the Temple. From here I returned home by steamboat.
Through the winter Joseph Smith selected forty men for a city guard, from the old tried veterans of the cause. I was the seventh man chosen. These men were also the life-guard of the Prophet and Patriarch and of the twelve Apostles. My station as a guard was at the Prophet's mansion, during his life, and after his death my post was changed to the residence of Brigham Young, he being the acknowledged successor of the Prophet. From the time I was appointed until we started across the plains, when at home I stood guard every night, and much of the time on the road, one-half of the night at a time, in rain, hail, snow, wind and cold, to nourish, protect and guard, and give strength to the man that has proven to be the most treacherous, ungrateful villain on earth. In return for all of my faithfulness and fidelity to him and the cause that he taught, he has wantonly sacrificed me, in a dastardly and treacherous manner. But I must not think or reflect too much upon so frail a being. He has contracted the debt himself, and sooner or later must atone for his own sins. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay." Such a base, vile, inhuman wretch, cannot long escape justice. However, I intend to speak more fully of this depraved man at the proper time and place in this narrative.
A TENNESSEE PLANTER MAKES IT HOT FOR PARSON LEE.
DURING the winter of 1841, a letter was sent to the Prophet from the leading men and members of the branch church on Stone River, Tennessee, and Cripple Creek, Rutherford County, Tennessee, desiring him to send me back to labor in that country, as there was a wide field for preaching there.
They stated that I had so ingratiated myself among the people that no other man could command the influence and respect to do good that I could among them. This was enough. In the latter part of February I took leave of my family and entered upon my mission.
To refuse to comply with the call of the Prophet is a bad omen. A man so doing is looked upon with distrust, renders himself unpopular, and is considered a man not to be depended upon. At the time I started the river was blocked with ice. I traveled on foot, without purse or scrip, like the apostles of old, carrying out the motto of the Church, the bee of the desert, "Leave the hive empty-handed and return laden." In this way I, as well as many other elders, brought in money, thousands of dollars, yearly to the Church, and I might say many hundreds > of thousands, as the people among whom I traveled were mostly wealthy, and when they first received the love of the truth their hearts as well as their purses were opened, and they would pour out their treasures into the lap of the Bishop. All were taught that a liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by his liberality shall he live, and that he that soweth liberally shall reap bountifully, etc.
As I passed along my way, I strengthened the brethren of the various branches, reminding them of their duties, especially of the necessity of building the Temple. That duty was more important than all others, for in that alone, when completed, they could attain to the highest exaltation of the Priesthood, together with all the spiritual gifts that belong thereto. When I arrived at my old home, the place of my childish days, I found Elder John Twist, who was waiting my arrival. We staid in that, neighborhood a few days, and then started on again. My uncle was going on our way with a wagon for about one hundred miles, and we accompanied him. I passed through Kaskaskia, where I was born, but did not preach there, for my uncle was in a hurry to reach the point of his destination in Jackson County, where be was establishing a wood yard on the Mississippi River. Here we intended to take a steamer for Nashville, but no steamer would take us on board at the landing, for it was a bad one to bring boats up to. While staying at that place we preached to the people, and made our home with Mr. V. Hutcheson, and his sister Sarah, where we were treated very kindly. Finally a flat-boat came in sight. We hailed it and went aboard. We were soon on good terms with the Captain and crew, and went with them to Memphis, Tennessee. At this place the Captain of the flat-boat sold out his cargo, and then offered to pay our fare on a steamer from Memphis to Nashville. While we were in Memphis, General William Henry Harrison, then a candidate for President, arrived, and a great political meeting of the Whig party was held in the open air. After my friend Wm. Springer, the Captain of the flat-boat, had sold his cargo, and received his money, he invited my friend Twist and myself to go with him to a saloon. There were quite a number of men in the saloon, fiddling, eating, drinking and otherwise enjoying themselves. Captain Springer was not used to drinking. He soon got mellow, felt rich, and commenced throwing his money around in a careless manner. The saloon-keeper was a man with an eye to business, and was particularly interested in friend Springer. He treated him often and insisted on his drinking. I tried to get Springer to go to his boat, and took him by the arm and started off with him, when one of the crowd told me not to be so officious, that the man knew his own business and was capable of attending to it. I said nothing to him in reply, but I sent Twist in haste to the boat for the crew to come at once before Springer was robbed of his money. They came, but not any too soon for his benefit, as a row had commenced, with the design of going through him while it was going on. when the crew came, I started for the boat with Springer, the crew keeping back the crowd of drunken robbers. By acting in this way we saved him and his money too. Twist and myself refused all kinds of drinks that night. We were therefore sober and in good condition to protect the man who had favored us and been our friend. Next morning Springer wished to reward us, but we refused to let him do so.
I told him we had done nothing but our duty. We parted with him and his crew, and took passage in a new steamer that was owned in Nashville, and was then making its first trip from Nashville to New Orleans. The boat got into a race with the Eclypse, another fine boat. The Captain was a fine man. The crew were all negroes. One of the firemen on our boat took sick, and was unable to do his work. I saw that the Eclypse was crowding us closely. I threw off my coat and took the negro's place as fireman. I saw a barrel of resin near by; I broke the head in with an ax and piled the resin in the fire. This soon had its effect, and our boat soon left the Eclypse far in the rear. The steamers parted at the mouth of the Ohio. The Captain was so well pleased with my work that he gave Elder Twist and myself a free passage.
When we reached Nashville Elder Twist became homesick and left me, and returned to Nauvoo. I gave him $10 to pay his way home. I was thus left alone once more. I found the Branch at Nashville in a healthy condition, and much pleased to have me with them. I then visited the Branch in Putnam County, and preached to them, advising all to go to Nauvoo. I added several new members to the Church. By the next Spring that entire Branch had gone to Nauvoo. The Branch on Stone River also went to Nauvoo soon after I returned home. A delegation, headed by Captain John H. Redd, came to invite me to go and preach in the settlement where Captain Redd lived. They said I could not preach publicly, for my life would be in danger, as many of the citizens were very hostile to the Mormons and had run one man out of the neighborhood for practicing Mormonism, and Randolph Alexander had been run off for preaching Mormonism. Captain Redd was formerly a sea captain and a native of South Carolina. I told the delegation I would preach, provided they gave general publicity to my appointment. They were startled at the proposal, and said my life would not be safe a moment if I undertook to preach in public. I told them to trust that to me. They returned home and gave general notice of when and where I would preach. At the appointed time I started for the place of meeting, which was twenty miles was from Murfreesborough. I was met by a guard of ten men, headed by Captain Redd, who came to meet and protect me. The next day I preached to a large number of people. I spoke two hours to them, upon the subject of our free institutions and the constitutional rights of American citizens I told them who I was and what I was; that I was a free American citizen; that I claimed the right of free speech as a free man; that I held myself open for investigation; that if the people wished me to set forth the tenets of our faith I would do so, otherwise I would leave; that if they did not desire to hear the truth they could make it manifest and I would leave their country. The vote was unanimous for me to tarry and preach to them. I preached there twice. My first sermon was upon the apostasy of the churches of the day and the necessity of a purer gospel, proving what I said by the Scriptures. I then followed up with the origin and authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
I was then induced to continue my sermons. I staid there and continued to do my Master's will. After the fourth sermon I commenced to baptize members. The first one that I baptized at that place was Parson John Holt, of the Christian faith. Then I baptized seven of the members of his church; then Captain Redd and his family. This unexpected success of the gospel created great excitement in that section of country. About ten miles from there lived two men, lieutenants in the militia company of Captain Bogardus, of Missouri fame and disgrace. These men had strayed into this section of the country, and were employed by two wealthy farmers, and were acting as overseers. They told fearful stories about the Mormons in Missouri, and gathered up a mob of about twenty-five men and came with them, determined to tar and feather me if I preached again. Word reached the settlement of what was intended. The people came to me to ask what they should do. I told them to wait and let me manage the affair. The next day, Sunday, while I was preaching, one of the lieutenants, by the name of Dickey, made his appearance with ten men. He informed me of his design, and that I must quit preaching and leave for other parts of the country. "Not just yet," said I. At this he and his men made a rush for me. As they started the women next to the stand formed a circle around me. While thus surrounded I continued my sermon. I refuted the absurd stories of Dickey and his crew, and I then told the people there what I knew had been done at Far West by Lieut. Dickey and the members Captain Bogardus' company. The mob tore down my stand, but could not get at me. Then they retired to consult. Captain J. H. Redd then appointed a meeting to be held at his place that afternoon, and he told the people that he did not want any person to come into his yard unless they came intending to behave that if there was any violence used there some one would get hurt. I preached at his house that afternoon. A fearful storm raged during most of the time, but this was fortunate, for it kept the mob away. While I was preaching a drunken wag interrupted me and called me a d-d liar. Captain Redd was sitting near me with two large pistols, which he called his peace-makers. This insult was not more than out of the fellow's mouth when Captain Redd caught him by the neck and rushed him out of the house into the rain. The coward begged hard for himself, but he was forced to go out and sit under a porch during the rest of the sermon. Captain Redd was a kind-hearted, generous man, but would not stand abuse. The next Sunday was a cloudy day, so the meeting was held within doors. Dickey had by this time raised his mob to about fifty men, and had made every arrangement to give me a warm reception. Two men who were intoxicated were selected to start the disturbance, Or "open the ball," as they called it. I had just commenced speaking, when one of these men began to swear and use indecent language, and made a rush for me with his fist drawn. I at once made a Masonic sign of distress, when, to my relief and yet to my surprise, a planter rushed to my aid. He was the man who employed Dickey. He took the drunken men and led them out of the crowd, and sat by me during the rest of my sermon, thus giving me full protection. That man was a stranger to me, but he was a good man and a true Mason. His action put an end to mob rule at that place. After the meeting I baptized some ten persons.
Soon afterwards I was sent for by Col. Tucker, of Duck Creek, Marshall Co., to come there, a distance of thirty miles. I attended, and delivered three lectures, which were well received by all, the Colonel in particular. He was a wealthy Virginian, and pressed me warmly to make his house my home. His wife and family were favorably impressed. They were of the Presbyterian order, and two of her brothers were ministers of that faith. I remained here a few days, and left an appointment to preach on the following Saturday and Sunday. Before leaving I let the Colonel's lady have books on our faith, and returned to fill some appointments that I had made at Capt. Redd's. At the appointed time I returned to fill my appointments on Buckskin River.
Within half a mile of Col. Tucker's house was a Methodist chapel. At this place lived a New Light preacher, an old man, who invited me to stop with him. He informed me that Col. Tucker had become bitter against the Mormons on account of his wire believing in them, and that she wanted to be baptized. She had left word with him requesting me not to leave without baptizing her. This was something that I wished to avoid, so to prevent trouble I concluded not to go to Col. Tucker's at all. I filled my appointments, and returned to my Christian friend's house for refreshments, intending to make my way over the mountains that night, and thus avoid meeting Mrs. Tucker. I had just finished supper, and stepped to the door to start back, when I met Mrs. Tucker. She upbraided me for not calling to see her. I said to her that it was contrary to the rules of our faith for an elder to interfere in any man's family against the wish or will of the husband or parents; that she should keep quiet and the Lord would take the will for the deed. The more I tried to reconcile her, the more determined she became to be baptized. While I was talking with her a young man came to us and reported that Col. Tucker had ambushed himself, with a double-barreled shot-gun, near the place of baptizing, swearing vengeance against the man that attempted to baptize his wife.
I was in hopes to persuade her to return, but in vain. She said to me, "You have declared your mission is from Heaven, that you are a servant of God, and I believe it. Now I demand baptism at your hands. If you are a servant of God, don't shrink from your duty."
I looked at her for a moment, and said, "Woman, if you have faith enough to be baptized under these circumstances, I
have faith enough to try it at least. Some ten personal friends who lived in the little village accompanied us to the water, a short distance above the usual place of baptizing, and attended during the performance of the Ordinance. They advised her to return home immediately, with her two servants, and never let on as though anything had happened. We started to return to~ the house of my friend, carrying my boots in my hand. It was now dark. As I got to the top of a high fence, and cast my eyes about me, I luckily saw a man near me in the rear, with a double-barreled shot-gun in his hands, or what I supposed was such. He was within ten steps of me, or nearer. I at once recognized him to be Col. Tucker. Having heard of his threats, I was induced not to tempt him too far. I placed my hands on the fence and sprang over it, alighting on the other side, near a cross-fence which separated the garden from a field, of corn, to avoid a collision with him. As quick as thought I got on the opposite side of the fence, among the corn, which was at full height. I was within twenty feet of Tucker and could hear all that was said. I heard him rave, draw his shot-gun down, and demand with oaths what they were doing there. Had they been baptizing his wife? I recognized the voice of the Parson's lady with whom I was stopping. She had the wet clothes of Mrs. Tucker.
"Tell me," demanded Tucker, "if my wife has been baptized, or I will blow your brains out." The reply was, "She has been baptized." "Where is that infernal Mormon preacher?" demanded the Colonel; "I will put a load of shot through him." "He is in that corn field, was the reply. The Colonel then raved the more. Finally some of his friends persuaded him to return borne, and not disgrace himself. He pretended to do so, but it. was only a feint to get me out, I feared. After waiting until all was quiet, I returned to the house of my friend, and passed through the door and went out on the porch. I sat down and was slipping off my socks, to put on dry ones, when I heard a rustling in the room behind me. The next moment Col. Tucker had his gun leveled on me, and it flashed. He then whirled the butt of it to fell me to the earth. Seeing my danger I sprang and caught him around the waist, with one of his arms in my grasp, which left him with only one arm loose. He said, "I have you now, d-n you, where I want you." He was a strong, muscular man, and, no doubt, supposed I would be no match for him. I ordered a young man that stood near by, to take his gun. I then gripped him with an iron hug, and sent him back into the room. The old gentleman with whom I was stopping, ordered him out of the house unless he would behave himself. He said he had invited me to his house, and felt that to was his duty to protect me. The Colonel replied that he would go if he could, that he never knew before that when he was in the hands of a Mormon, he was in a bear's clutches. I said, "I will take you out if it will accommodate you." Thus saying, I stepped out on the porch with him. I saw that he was willing to go. This gave me new courage. He said, "D-n you, let me go or I will blow your brains out when I get loose." I replied, "There is but one condition on which I will let you go, and that is that you will go home and be quiet and trouble me no more." He replied, "D-n you, I will settle with you for all this." I felt that a man who would treat a stranger as he had me, could not have the moral courage to back him in so shameful an act as the one he was engaged in. This was in the month of July, and it was very warm. I had hugged him closely, and he was growing weak. He said again, " Let me go, I am getting faint. I will be still if you will let go of me, and I will make it hot for you if you don't let me go." As he said this I renewed my grip upon him, and raising him up, said, "You have tried to take my life without cause, and still persist in doing so. If you don't behave I will throw you out of sight on this hard ground." I said this with an emphasis as though I meant it. As I was, as he supposed, in the act of dashing him to the ground, he begged of me, saying that if I would let him loose, he would go and trouble me no more. I let him fall to the ground, and handed him his gun, and let him live. When he got a little distance away he began threatening me, and said he would be revenged. After all had quieted down I retired to rest in the upper story of my friend's house.
About one o'clock in the morning I was awakened by the voice of a female, which I recognized as the voice of Mrs. Tucker, in company with two or three other ladies. She informed me that her husband was bent on my destruction, and that he and ten men were way laying my road, and advised me not to start in that direction; that her husband had accused her of wetting the wads in his gun to save my life; but for me to be of good cheer and put my trust in God, and that she had not regretted the steps she had taken. I thanked her for her kindness, and told her that I wished her to return home and not come to see me any more; that I was in the hands of God and He would protect me and deliver me safe; that her visits to me would only make her husband more enraged at her. They retired, and I fell asleep.
At four o'clock I awoke, dressed myself, and ordered the servant to saddle my horse. As the servant hitched my horse to the post, Tucker and several men appeared upon the ground. Tucker told the servant that he would cut him in two if he saddled my horse. I spoke to Tucker kindly, saluting him with the time of day. His reply was, "I have got you now, d-n you." Thus saying, he ordered his nephew to bring Esquire Walls immediately. After washing, I took my seat on the porch, and took out my Bible to read. Tucker stood about ten steps from me to guard me and my horse. My old friend, the New Light preacher, with whom I was lodging, had a fine horse saddled for me and hitched on the south side of the cornfield. He advised me to pass down through the corn-field while I could do so without being detected, and thus get away out of the county before a warrant could be issued for my arrest. Deliverance was very tempting, yet I did not like the name of running away from trouble. It would convey the impression of fear, if not guilt, to most casual observers. So I chose to face the music and abide the consequences.
A little after sunrise I saw Justice Walls coming, and some fifty men with him. At this my heart leaped for joy. Among so many I was satisfied all were not against me, as many of them had attended lectures and were favorably impressed with them. After a short interview with Col. Tucker, Justice Walls informed me that Col. Tucker demanded from him a warrant for my arrest, for having baptized his wife without his consent. I asked Col. Tucker if he ever forbid me to baptize his wife; if he did not invite me to his house and invite me to stop there when I returned; that I had not seen him, after this conversation, until after his wife was baptized. That I had not urged her to be baptized; that she came to me and demanded to be baptized. I told the Justice that I had violated no law of Tennessee. The law allows a wife much greater privileges than being baptized without the consent of her husband; that she could sell one-third of his real estate, and her deed would be good. The Justice said I was right, and told the Colonel it would be useless to issue a warrant without just cause. The Colonel then demanded a warrant for my arrest for assault and battery. He said I had abused his person, and that he was sore all over and scarcely able to walk. The Justice told the Colonel that it seemed to him that he was the one who had made the assault; that he snapped a loaded gun at me and had attempted to take my life, and that what I had done was in self-defense. He told Colonel Tucker he would talk with him again.
He then beckoned to me to follow him, and I did so. We went into a room by ourselves; when he said to me, "Parson Lee, you have many warm friends here. I have been very much interested in your lectures. I believe you to be honest and firm in your faith, and I will do all I can for you. Colonel Tucker is a desperate man when aroused. As a matter of policy, to humor him, I will give him a writ, but I will manage to delay the time to enable you to get out of the county. I will send for my law books, with instructions to delay in getting them here, and will argue with the Colonel that I must have my books here to examine the law. It is only four miles to the county line, when you will be all right. Then take the trail over the mountain, and they will not know which way you have gone. When you get into your county remember me on election day. This county and Rutherford County send three members to the Legislature. I am a candidate, and the vote of your friends in these counties will secure my election. When I send for my books you appear and bid us good-bye, as though you were not afraid of any man. Colonel Tucker has promised me he will use no violence if I will give him a writ. The Justice then gave me a token of the Brotherhood, and then walked out to confer with Colonel Tucker, and sent his nephew back for his books, instructing him to delay in getting them, so as to give me time to get out of the county, before an officer could overtake me. He told the Colonel to keep cool and he would soon have a writ for me.
I went into the dining-room and sat down to breakfast, and ate a little as a blind. Then taking up my saddle-bags, bade them all good-bye.
I walked to my horse, that stood hitched where the servant had left him. As I left the house Justice Walls followed me as though he was very much surprised, and said, "Parson Lee, I hope you will tarry until this matter can be settled amicably. I told him that I had violated no law, that my ministerial engagements compelled me to leave, and that I should have done so before had not this unpleasant affair detained me; that I chose to serve God rather than fear the ire of man. Thus saying, I placed my saddle upon my horse. Colonel Tucker leveled his gun at me, and said, "D-n you, I knew you would run. I turned and eyed him and told him to put up his gun; that I had borne all I intended to from him; that if he attempted violence he would never trouble another man. At the same time the Justice told him to be careful, that he had made himself liable already. I mounted my horse and turned to the Colonel and told him he might guard that wood-pile until the day of judgment, for all that I cared. He again raised his gun, but was prevented by the bystanders from shooting. I rode off leisurely, and when about seventy-five yards away I stopped and watered my horse. Tucker again drew his gun on me, and I expected him to shoot every moment, but I durst not show fear. My road lay along the mountain for some two miles. When I passed a house I would walk my horse, and sing and seem to be wholly unconcerned, but when I was out of sight I put my horse on the keen jump, and was soon safe out of Marshall County and in Rutherford. Finding an out-of-the-way place, with
good blue grass and plenty of shade, I got down from my horse and returned thanks to my Father in heaven for my deliverance.
In the afternoon-I arrived at the house of Capt. Redd, where I generally made my home. The brethren all came to welcome me back, and I related to them my experience and deliverance. A short time after this James K. Polk and Col. Jones, both candidates for the office of Governor of Tennessee, and the candidates for the Legislature, including my friend Walls, met at Murfreesborough and held a political meeting. Walls related to me the sequel of what happened with Col. Tucker. When his nephew went for his law books he permitted his horse to get sway, and was nearly ruined in the brush and grapevines while I was escaping. Col. Tucker did not blame the Justice at all, but rather sympathized with him in his misfortune. Mrs. Tucker still remained firm in her faith. The kindness of Justice Walls to me in my hour of peril was not forgotten. I spoke of it in all my meetings, and to my friends in private. And to this act of justice and humanity he owed his election, as he was elected by majority of only five votes.
I visited the branch on Stone River and made arrangements to return to my family at Nauvoo, the City of Joseph. The two branches now numbered about sixty members. I organized a branch west of Murfreesborough, and ordained John Holt to the office of Elder. I baptized a young girl at Readysville, by the name of Sarah C. Williams, of rich parentage. She was about ten years old, and afterwards emigrated to Nauvoo, with the family of Wm. Pace. She was sealed to me in her fourteenth year, and is still with me. She is the mother of twelve children, and has been a true, faithful companion to me. I lectured at Murfreesborough for about ten days, and about the first of October, 1843, I took the steamer at Nashville for my home at Nauvoo, arriving there on the 14th at October.
MATTERS OF PECULIAR INTEREST AT NAUVOO.
Upon my return home I found my family well. Work on the Temple was progressing finely, and every effort was being made to push it ahead. About this time John C. Bennett came on a visit to see the Prophet, and soon after joined the Church. At that time he wielded quite an influence in government affairs. He grew in the graces of the Prophet and became his right-hand man. He endeavored, in connection with Stephen A. Douglass, to obtain a charter for the City of Nauvoo. Bennett organized the Nauvoo Legion, and was elected Major General. Through his influence, backed by Douglass, arms were obtained for the Legion from the government. A Free Mason's lodge, and the privileges of Masonry, were extended to the Legion. Judge Cleveland, of Springfield, Ill., was very friendly, and frequently visited the Prophet. A fine lodge was built in Nauvoo, and many were admitted as members. The brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, held high positions in the brotherhood. I here became a member of the order and received three degrees.
The institution flourished during our stay in Nauvoo, and was frequently visited by the Grand Worshipful Master from Springfield, and lectures were had and a library established. I was Librarian of the order. I was also Wharf Master of the city, and held the position of Major in the Nauvoo Legion, and commanded the escort in the Fifth Infantry. I was made the general clerk and reader for the Seventies and issued the laws to that body. I held the office of a Seventy, and was collector of the delinquent military tax. The same Fall I was appointed a committee, with Brigham Young as counselor, to build a hall for the Seventies, the upper story to be used for the Priesthood and the Council of Fifty. Previous to my being appointed on the committee two committees had been appointed, but had accomplished nothing,, and we commenced without a dollar. My plan was to build it by shares, of the value of five dollars each. Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, told me that he would give the Patriarchal Blessing to any that labored on the foundation of the building. The Seventies numbered about four hundred and ninety men. I was to create the material. That is, I would watch, and when I could get a contract to take out lumber from the river, as rafts would land at the city, I would take common laboring men, and the portion of the lumber that we got for our pay we would pile up for the building. In this way we got all the lumber needed. The brick we made ourselves, and boated the wood to burn them and our lime from the island.
In the month of March, 1844, we had the building up on the west side nearly two stories high. One day when the wall was built up nine feet high and forty-five feet long, and was of course green, a tornado came that night and blew the wall down, breaking columns and joists below, doing a damage of several thousand dollars. I was inclined to be down in the lip, but Brigham Young laughed at me, and said it was the best omen in the world; it showed that the Devil was mad, and knew that the Seventy would receive the blessings of God in that house; and as they were special witnesses to the nations of the earth, they would make his kingdom quake and tremble; that when Noah was building the ark he was mobbed three times, but he persevered, and finally they said, "Let the d-d old fool alone, and see what he will accomplish." "Just so with you; double your diligence and put her up again. If you do not you will lose many a blessing."
I went to work again with as many men as could work to advantage. We threw the wall down flat, and commenced a new one, another brick thicker than the former. I borrowed fifty thousand brick, and made them and returned them when the weather was fine. By the first of May we had the Hall closed in.
I must now leave the building of the hall for other matters. During the winter, Joseph, the Prophet, set a man by the name of Sidney Hay Jacobs, to select from the Old Bible such scriptures as pertained to polygamy, or celestial marriage, and to write it in pamphlet form, and to advocate that doctrine. This he did as a feeler among the people, to pave the way for celestial marriage. This, like all other notions, met with opposition, while a few favored it. The excitement among the people became so great that the subject was laid before the Prophet. No one was more opposed to it than was his brother Hyrum, who denounced it as from beneath. Joseph saw that it would break up the Church, should he sanction it, so he denounced the pamphlet through the Wasp, a newspaper published at Nauvoo, by E. Robinson, as a bundle of nonsense and trash. He said if he had known its contents he would never have permitted it to be published, while at the same time other confidential men were advocating it on their own responsibility. Joseph himself said on the stand, that should he reveal the will of God concerning them, that they, pointing to President W. Marks, P. P. Pratt, and others, would shed his blood. He urged them to surrender themselves to God instead of rebelling against the stepping atone of their exaltation. In this way he worked upon the feelings and minds of the people, until they feared that the anger of the Lord would be kindled against them, and they insisted upon knowing the will of Heaven concerning them. But he dared not proclaim it publicly, so it was taught confidentially to such as were strong enough in the faith to take another step. About the same time the doctrine of "sealing" for an eternal state was introduced, and the Saints were given to understand that their marriage relations with each other were not valid. That those who had solemnized the rites of matrimony had no authority of God to do so. That the true priesthood was taken from the earth with the death of the Apostles and inspired men of God. That they were married to each other only by their own covenants, and that if their marriage relations had not been productive of blessings and peace, and they felt it oppressive to remain together, they were at liberty to make their own choice, as much as if they had not been married. That it was a sin for people to live together, and raise or beget children, in alienation from each other. There should exist an affinity between each other, not a lustful one, as that can never cement that love and affection that should exist between a man and his wife. I will here mention that Orson Hyde and W. W. Phelps turned against Joseph in Missouri, and forsook him in time of peril and danger, and even testified against him in the courts. After the troubles were over, and Joseph was again in place in the midst of the Saints, they both wished to be restored to fellowship and standing in the Church, confessing their faults. Joseph laid the case before the Church, and said that if God could forgive them he ought to, and would do so, and give them another chance. With tears he moved that we would forgive them and receive them back into fellowship. He then sent Elder 0. Hyde and John E. Page to Jerusalem, and to the land of Palestine, to dedicate that land for the gathering of the Jews. Report said that Hyde's wife, with his consent, was sealed to Joseph for an eternal state, but I do not assert the fact. I also understood that Brigham Young's wife was sealed to Joseph. After the death of Joseph, Brigham Young told me that Joseph's time on earth was short, and that the Lord allowed him privileges that we could not have.
A difference arose between Joseph and Wm. Law, his second counselor, on account of Law's wife. Law said that the Prophet proposed making her his wife, and she so reported to her husband. Law loved his wife and was devoted to her, as she was an amiable and handsome woman, and he did not feel like giving her up to another man. He exposed the Prophet, and from that time became his enemy. His brother, Wilson Law, sided with him. They were Canadians, and wealthy and influential men. They, in connection with Foster and Higbee, who were in the wane in the faith, established a paper at Nauvoo, called the Expositor, in which they took about the same position that the Salt Lake Daily Tribune does. They set the Prophet up without mercy. They soon got after Brigham for trying to influence Martha Brotherton to be sealed to Joseph. Her father found it out and helped to expose them, which made it rather hot for them. The next move of the Prophet and his friends was to get the City Council to pass an ordinance declaring the Expositor to be a nuisance, and also Higbee's grocery, unless they would close them up.
John C. Bennett became suspected, and fears were entertained that he would join the faction. He was accused of selling offices in the military organization, to certain men who would help him win the good graces of some of the young sisters, and that he became intimate with Orson Pratt's wife, while Pratt was on a mission. That he built her a fine frame house, and lodged with her, and used her as his wife. Fearing that Bennett would assail the character of the Prophet, I brought him before the City Council, and had him make a statement, certifying that he knew nothing derogatory to the character of the Prophet, and that his behavior, was that of a gentleman and a man of God. After this, Bennett was hauled up and dealt with, and severed from the Church. He said that the Prophet gave him permission to do as he had done with Mrs. Pratt. Joseph said Bennett was guilty or adultery, but that as a matter of policy he had not exposed him until after Bennett had made his statement.
Previous to this time, the Prophet had written a letter to Martin Van Buren, wishing to know his views in regard to the grievances and wrongs of the Mormon people, should he be elected President. He replied that he believed their cause was just, and that Congress had no right to interfere. That it was a State matter, and was left to the Executive. The Prophet addressed another letter to Wm. H. Harrison, on the same subject. His answer was but little more satisfactory. He them drew up a statement of his own, of the power and policy of the Government. A convention was called, and the Prophet was. nominated as a candidate for the Presidency. He set forth his. views in the Nauvoo Neighbor, a newspaper formerly known as the Wasp. He stated that if the people would elect him President it would be the salvation of the nation, but if otherwise, the Union would soon be severed. That the two political parties would continue to influence the people until it would end in a civil war, in which all nations would take part, and this nation would be broken up. At this convention, the Elders were assigned missions to different States. I was sent to stump the State of Kentucky, with ten elders to assist me.
Brigham Young said to me, "You had better shut up the Seventies' Hall, and obey, perhaps, the last call of the Prophet." Things looked rather squally before I left, and but little prospect of growing better. I left Nauvoo on the 4th of May, 1844, with greater reluctance than I had on any previous mission. It was hard enough to preach the gospel without purse or scrip,, but it was nothing compared to offering a man with the reputation that Joseph Smith had, to the people as a candidate for the highest gift of the nation. I would a thousand times rather been shut up in jail, than to have taken the trip, but I dared not refuse.
About one hundred of us took the steamer Ospray, for St. Louis. Our mission was understood by all the passengers on board. I was not long waiting until the subject was brought up. I had made up my mind to banish all fear, and overcome timidity. I made the people believe that I felt highly honored to electioneer for a Prophet of God. That it was a privilege that few men enjoyed in these days. I endeavored to make myself agreeable by mixing with the passengers on the steamer. I told them that the Prophet would lead both candidates from the start. There was a large crowd on the boat, and an election was proposed. Judges and clerks were appointed and a vote taken. The Prophet received a majority of seventy-five, out of one hundred and twenty-five votes polled. This created a tremendous laugh, and we kept it up till we got to St. Louis. Here the most of us took the steamer Mermaid. The change of steamers afforded me a new field of labor. Here I met a brother of Gen. Atchinson, one of the commanders of the militia that served against the Church at Far West. He became very much interested in me, and when we parted at Smithland, Ky., he invited me to go home with him and preach in his neighborhood. My destination being Frankfort, I could not accept his invitation. I went to Lexington, by way of Georgetown, lecturing as I went. I finally went to the Capital, put up at a hotel, and endeavored to hire the State House to speak in, but found it engaged.
My funds were low, though my hotel bill was four dollars per day. After three days' trial I hired the Court House. The people said that no Mormon had ever been able to get a hearing, though several had attempted to do so. When evening came I had to light up the house and ring the bell. Elder S. B. Frost assisted me. Soon the hall was filled with none but juveniles, from ten to fifteen years of age. I understood the trick. They supposed I would leave, but to their surprise I arose and said I was glad to see them out in such great numbers; that I knew they had good parents, or they would not be here; that if they would take seats and be quiet we would sing them some of our Mormon songs. Elder Frost was a charming singer. We sang two or three songs. Our juvenile hearers seemed paralyzed. I then knelt down and prayed. By this time the hail was crowded with men, and I begged them not to crowd my little friends out. I then spoke about an hour and a half upon the constitutional rights of American citizens. I spoke of the character of the Southern people; that they were noted for their kind and generous treatment of strangers in particular, but that I feared, from the treatment I had received, that I had missed my way in Kentucky. My sires were of Southern birth; my father was a relative of the Revolutionary Lee, of Virginia; my uncle was from Lexington, Kentucky; that I came a stranger into their midst, and I felt confident that the right of speech would be extended to us; that we were ministers of the gospel, traveling without purse or scrip, dependent upon the generosity of the people for food and raiment, nor did we preach for hire; that if they wished, we would remain there and lecture, and if it met the approbation of the people they could have the gospel preached to them without money and without price. The first man that spoke up was a saddler; he said he was a poor man, but we were welcome to his house, giving the street and number. About twenty more responded in like manner, among them some of the most wealthy men of the county. We went home with a rich farmer, and continued our labors, having more calls than we could fill. We were sent for by a rich planter, who lived about twenty miles away. I was anxious to extend our labors as much as it was advisable.
On our way to the planter's we found it difficult to obtain dinner. The orthodox people did not like to associate with Mormons. I finally asked them to direct me to where some infidel or gambler lived. They wanted to know what on earth I wanted of them. I replied, "To get something to eat; that they were too liberal-minded to turn a stranger away from their door. That the Saviour ate with publicans and sinners, for the very reason that we do, for the religious scribes and pharisees would not feed him." They pointed us to the next house, where we went and were kindly received and entertained. The gentleman informed us that he belonged to no church, but that he had an interest in a church, and said we were welcome to preach there. He went and made an appointment for us to preach. We preached there and were received with the greatest kindness. I soon began to baptize, and calls came in on every side, when the papers brought us the news of the assassination of the prophet Joseph, and his brother Hyrum.
We returned immediately to Frankfort, as I expected the Elders there, to learn what to do. We all retired to Maple Grove, on the Kentucky river, and kneeled in prayer, and asked the Lord to show us whether or not these reports were true. I was the mouth in prayer, but received nothing definite in answer to my prayer. I told the elders to follow their own impressions and if they wished to do so, to return to Nauvoo. Each of them made his way back. I went and spent the evening with a Mr. Snow. He claimed to be a cousin of Erastus Snow, who was favorable to us. We spent the evening talking over the reported deed. The next morning, about ten o'clock, my mind was drawn out in prayer. I felt as though the solemnity of eternity was resting upon me. A heavenly, hallowed influence fell upon me, and continued to increase until I was electrified from head to foot. I saw a large personage enter the door and stand before me. His apparel was as white as the driven snow, and his countenance as bright as the noon-day sun. I felt paralyzed, and was speechless and motionless. It remained with me but a moment, then receded back out of the door. This bright being's influence drew me from my chair and led me south about three hundred yards, into a plot of clover and blue grass, and stood over a persimmon tree, which afforded a pleasant shade. I fell prostrate upon my face upon the grass. While here I saw Joseph, the Prophet, and Hyrum his brother, the patriarch, and their wounds by which they had been assassinated. This personage spoke to me in a soft, low voice, and said that the Prophet and Patriarch had sealed their testimony with their blood. That our mission was like that of the Apostles, and our garments were clear of the blood of the nation. That I should return to Nauvoo and wait until power was granted us from on high. That as the Priesthood fell upon the Apostle Peter, so should it rest with the twelve apostles of the Church for the present. And thus the vision closed, and I gradually returned back to my native element. Rising up I looked at my watch and saw that I had been there an hour and a quarter. Returning to the house my friend Snow asked me if I was ill. I replied in the negative. He said I was very pale, that he saw my countenance change while I sat in my chair; that when I went out of the door it seemed as though every drop of blood had left me, or been changed. I then told him that the reports in the papers were true, and the two Saints, the Prophet and the Patriarch, were no more. I asked him to take me to the landing, as I wished to take the evening packet, as my labors were done in this county for the present. He importuned me so hard that I told him what I had seen. He saddled a horse for me and one for himself, and we started, in company with several others, for the landing. When we were about to start on the steamer, Mr. Steele, a brother of the Captain, introduced me to the Captain. About eight persons demanded baptism, but I could not stop, but advised them to come to Nauvoo; among them was my friend Snow. I had a cabin passage free. When I reached Nauvoo, the excitement was at the highest point.
DEATH OF JOSEPH SMITH - SOME OF BRIGHAM YOUNG'S CRIMES.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and Hyrum, his brother, were assassinated on the 24th day of June, 1844, at Carthage, Ill., about twenty miles from Nauvoo, while under the pledged faith of Gov. Ford, of Illinois. Gov. Ford had promised them protection if they would stand trial and submit to the judgment of the court. By his orders the Nauvoo Grays were to guard the jail while the prisoners awaited a trial.
The mob was headed by Williams and Sharp, editors of the Nauvoo Signal. When they approached the jail the guard made no resistance, but fell back. Stephen Markham, who had been to visit the prisoners an hour or so before they were killed, gave Joseph an Allen revolver. A part of the mob rushed up stairs, to the inner door of the prison, and burst it open and attempted to enter. Dr. Richards parried off the bayonets with his heavy cane. Joseph reached out his hand and fired off his six shots at the crowd, and wounded several mortally. Hyrum, who was trying to brace against the door, received a shot in the face near the nose. He said, "I am a dead man," and fell. John Taylor received a shot, but fortunately it struck his watch, which saved his life. These four were in the prison. Taylor, however, received another shot and fell. Joseph left the door, sprang through the window, and cried out, "Oh, Lord, my God, is no help for the widow's son!" as he sprang from the window, pierced with several balls. The crowd then left the door and ran around to the windows.
Dr. Richards covered Taylor with a straw bed. Several shots were fired at the bed, some of which cut his legs. Dr. Richards looked out of the window on the scene, and had several balls pass through his clothing, but received no injury. After Joseph fell he was set up against the well-curb and shot again. A young man named Bogge rolled up his sleeves, and with a knife attempted to cut off his head. At this instant, many of the bystanders report that a flash of light encircled the Prophet, and the man who was advancing to cut off his head fell back. They all seemed frightened, and fled after perpetrating the horrid deed. A runner was sent to Nauvoo to acquaint Governor Ford with what bad been done. The Governor was terror stricken, as it endangered his life, he being alone, without a guard, and at the mercy of the Mormons, had they chosen to take advantage of him while he was in Nauvoo. Governor Ford advised them to be quiet, and promised that he would see that their murderers should be prosecuted. He gave the Mormons a company of troops to go and bring their dead friends to Nauvoo. They were placed in rough oak plank boxes and brought to the city. There was great lamentation and mourning over them among the people. Joseph was a man dearly loved by the Saints, and blessed with direct revelation from God, and was an honorable, generous, high-minded man. The remains of the Prophet and his brother were laid in a sepulcher made of stone. The rough boards, which once enclosed them, were sawed in pieces and distributed among their friends, many of whom had canes made of the pieces, with a lock of the hair of the Prophet set in the top of them, and those canes are kept as sacred relics to this day.
THE DEATH OF JOSEPH SMITH.
But I must go back and speak of the cause of their arrest. While I was in Kentucky the printing press and the grocery of Higbee & Foster were declared nuisances, and ordered to be destroyed. The owners refused to comply with the decision of the City Council, and the Mayor ordered the press and type destroyed, which was done. The owner of the grocery employed John Eagle, a regular bully, and others, to defend it. As the police entered, or attempted to enter, Eagle stood in the door and knocked three of them down. As the third one fell the Prophet struck Eagle under the ear and brought him sprawling to the ground. He then crossed Eagle's hands and ordered them to be tied, saying that he could not see his men knocked down while in the line of their duty, without protecting them.
This raised the ire of those men, Higbee, Foster, and others and they got out writs for the arrest of Joseph and others, and laid their grievances before the Governor. Joseph, knowing the consequences of such a move, concluded to leave for the Rocky Mountains, and lay out a country where the Saints would not be molested. He crossed over into Iowa, with a few faithful friends with him. These friends begged him to return and stand his trial; that the Lord had always delivered him, and would again. He told them that if he returned he would be killed, but that if he went away he would save his life and the Church would not be hurt; that he would look out a new country for them; that the Governor bad also advised him to do so. These old grannies then accused him of cowardice, and told him that Christ had said he would never leave his brethren in trouble. He then asked them if his Emma wished him to return. They answered, "Yes." He then said it was all light before him, and darkness behind him, but he would return, though he felt like a sheep being led to the slaughter. The following day he crossed the river again to Illinois. He kissed his mother in particular, and told her that his time had come, and that he would seal his testimony with his blood. He advised his brother Hyrum not to go with him - that he would be a comfort to the churches when he, the Prophet, should be gone. Hyrum said, "No, my brother, I have been with you in life and will be with you in death!" The Prophet then called Gen. Dunham and had some private talk with him, and started for the jail at Carthage. Dunham said that the Prophet requested him to take his command and ambush it in a grove near Carthage, and watch the movements of the crowd, but Dunham dared not go contrary to the orders of the Governor. He might have gone in the night time, as he knew that Joseph feared treachery.
About this time the settlements on Bear Creek and at Great Plains had a difficulty with the outsiders, and the settlements. were broken up and the settlers driven to Nauvoo. The Mormons sought redress under the law. The sheriff tried to suppress the riot by a posse, but could not get a posse from the outsiders, and he was obliged to summon them from the Mormons. This made him unpopular and endangered his life, which rendered him powerless. Governor Ford tried to bring to justice those who had assaulted the Smiths, but public opinion was against him, and the mass of the people objected, hence nothing was done. Some of the leaders in the horrid deed were members of the Legislature, and though the disturbance was partially quelled, still the feeling of enmity continued to exist until the final breaking up of the Church.
Every exertion was made to push forward the completion of the Temple at Nauvoo.
Before proceeding further, we must learn who was to be the successor of the Prophet to lead the Church. It was then understand among the Saints that young Joseph was to succeed' his father, and that right justly belonged to him. Joseph, the prophet, had bestowed that right upon him by ordination, but he was too young at that time to fill the office and discharge its solemn duties. Some one must fill the place until he had grown to more mature age. Sidney Rigdon set up his claim, he being the second counselor to the Prophet. Rigdon had a few backers for his claims. A man by the name of Strong, who had been writing for the Prophet, set up his claim to the office, by forging an appointment from Joseph. Time passed on until the whole twelve got in from their missions, and a conference was held, and the several claimants came forward with their claims. Sidney Rigdon was the first who appeared upon the stand. He had been considered rather in the background for sometime previous to the death of the Prophet. He made but a weak claim. Strong did not file any. Just then Brigham Young arose and roared like a young lion, imitating the style and voice of Joseph, the Prophet. Many of the brethren declared that they saw the mantle of Joseph fall upon him. I myself, at the time, imagined that I saw and heard a strong resemblance to the Prophet in him, and felt that he was the man to lead us until Joseph's legal successor should grow up to manhood, when he should surrender the Presidency to the man who held the birthright. After that time, if he continued to claim and hold the position, he could not be considered anything else than an usurper, and his acts would not meet the approbation of Heaven. Hence the course of Brigham Young has been downward ever since. As soon as he got the reins of government in his hands, he swore that he would never suffer an officer to serve a writ on, or arrest him, as they had Joseph; that he would send them across lots to h-l, that dark and gloomy road whence no traveler ever returned. At that time I lived on Warsaw street, about one-half of a mile east of the Temple.
He wished me to remove near to him, as I was one of the guards that were assigned to guard him. I had quite a comfortable brick house and lot, all in fine order, on Warsaw street. He told me to let him have my property on Warsaw street and he would buy me a house on the flat, nearer to him. I did so, and he bought out Samuel D. Frost, and sent him on a mission to Kentucky, where I had been laboring, taking his family with him. He had a nice little frame house. I moved into it and had it finished on the inside and made quite comfortable. Brigham at that time was living in a little log house, but was preparing to build a brick house. I renewed my labors on the Hall of the Seventies, and finished it in grand style. It was then dedicated, and the different quorums all had a pic-nic party in it, beginning with the first quorum, consisting of seventy-seven men to each quorum. Brigham said this hall would be a creditable building in London. He called upon me to organize all the young men into Quorums of Seventy, and keep the records for them. He appointed me General Clerk and Recorder of the Seventies, and through me were to be issued the licenses of the Quorums. This was to be my compensation for my services. Joseph Young was the senior President over all the Quorums. My responsibility increased daily. I was offered the position of senior President, I to select my six Counselors and my Quorum of Seventy, but I declined, as I did not want the responsibility. I held then all the offices I could fill. Having finished the hall, I was offered, or rather had a mission, to build Joseph Young, the head President of the Seventies, a neat brick dwelling. Calling upon the Seventies to assist me, I soon mustered all the help that was necessary, and made brick enough to build me a large dwelling house. Including my other buildings it was ninety feet front, two and a half stories high, with a good cellar. By the middle of July, 1845, I had both houses, the one for Joseph Young, and the one for myself, finished, ready for painting. During the Winter of 1844-5 a man by the name of Stanley took up a school, teaching the use of the broad-sword. At the expiration of his term I opened three schools, of fifty scholars each, in the same exercise. I gave thirteen lessons in each school, receiving two dollars from each scholar. This made me six hundred dollars. I received twenty-five cents for each license that I issued. With these means I purchased paints and oils to finish my dwelling house. I became very popular among the Saints, and many of them donated labor and materials for my dwelling house. I had a handsome inclosure, with fine orchard, well of water, house finished and grained from top to bottom, and everything in the finest order. I was young, strong and athletic. I could drive ahead and work all day and stand guard half of the night, through all kinds of weather. My pay for all this was the honor and trust reposed in me. To guard the President and leading men of the Church was considered a great and mighty thing, and would not be exchanged by those holding that office for ten dollars a night. It was considered that this would qualify those performing that duty for any position of honor or trust. In 1845 I was present at a trial, when two young men named Hodges were indicted and tried for murdering an old man and his wife. The Hodges said that Brigham Young had sent them to rob the old people of their money, of which they were supposed to have a large amount.
When they went to rob the house they found the inmates ready for them, and one of them was wounded. Thinking then that they would be detected, they killed the old people, and robbed them of their money. One of the party became alarmed and reported on the two Hodges boys. Their older brother, Erwin Hodges, said that Brigham Young had gotten his brothers in this scrape, and that he could get them out of it, and that if he did not do so his (Brigham Young's) blood would atone for it. The same evening as Erwin was returning home, a little after dark, he was met by two men who had been waiting for him to come along. After some little conversation, as Erwin was turning, he was struck over the head with a police club, and then stabbed four times over the heart. The murderers then fled, supposing him to be dead. He was, however, only stunned, and the bleeding revived him. He ran about one hundred and fifty yards, and fell near Brigham Young's gate. He called for water, and also for Brigham to lay his hands upon him. Some person asked him who had done the deed. He replied he thought they were his friends, and expired without finishing the sentence, or he was afraid to tell.
A neighbor came running to my house, knowing that Brigham was there, as he often came there to keep away from suspicious persons. I started home with Brigham, and while on the way, 1 remarked to him that it was a shocking affair. After a moment's hesitation, he replied that it was not any worse for Hodges to be killed than it would have been for him (Young) to have his blood shed. This answer recalled to my mind the threat that Erwin had made during the day, at the trial of his brothers, who were sentenced and hung at Burlington, Iowa. These men who turned away from the Church were the most bitter enemies to Brigham Young, and sought every opportunity to entrap him. They had a list of their most private friends, to ensnare him, and find an occasion to arrest him with a warrant. This caused Brigham Young to keep hidden as much as possible. In the meantime, his "destroying angels" were diligently on the watch, and every suspicious man was closely tracked up, and no strategy neglected to find out his business. If they were suspicious that any man wanted to serve a writ on his Honor, Brigham Young, they were careful never to let that man escape. Sometimes they would treat them with great kindness, and in that way decoy them to some out-of-the-way place, and "save" them, as they called it. They were not only on the track of officers, but all suspected characters who might come on to spy out what was going on; for instance, the consecrating of the stock of their enemies, by the Saints, and driving it in at night and butchering it, and distributing it among their friends. Joseph Smith in his life-time said that a man who would steal from a Gentile, would steal from his brother if he could not steal from any one else; that he deprecated this petty thieving, and that the Saints should wait until the proper time, and then steal back the whole State of Missouri and get their homes back with interest. I knew of several men who were put out of the way in this manner, though I never saw any of them killed. Besides there were enough willing tools to do all this kind of dirty Jobs without me, though it was entrusted to the police to do, they being sworn to secrecy. If any of them was caught in a scrape, it was the duty of the rest to unite and swear him out. It was claimed that the Gentiles had no right to administer an oath. I have heard men say they would swear a house full of lies to save one of the brethren. Whatever the police were ordered to do, they were to do and ask no questions. Whether it was right or wrong mattered not to them, they were responsible only to their leaders, and they were amenable only to God. I was a confidant among them, and they let me into the secret of all they did, and they looked to me to speak a good word for them with Brigham, as they were ambitious to please him and obtain his blessing. I knew that I was in their full confidence, and the captain of the police never asked me to do anything he knew I was averse to doing. Under Brigham Young, Hosea Stout was Chief of Police. They showed me where they buried a man in a lot near the Masonic Hall. They said they got him tight and were joking with him while some men were digging his grave. They asked him to go with them into a pit of corn, saying it was fully grown. They told him they had a Jug of whiskey cached out there. They led him to his grave, and told him to get down there, and hand up the jug, and he should have the first drink. As he bent over to get down, Rosswell Stevens struck him with his police cane on the back of the head and dropped him. They then tightened a cord around his neck to shut off his wind, and then they covered him up, and set the hill of corn back on his grave to cover up any tracks that might lead to his discovery.
Another man they took in a boat, about two o'clock at night, for a ride. When out in the channel of the river, the man who sat behind him struck him upon the head and stunned him. They then tied a rope around his neck and a stone to the other end of the rope, and sent him to the bottom of Mississippi River. There was another man whose name I have forgotten, who was a great annoyance to the Saints at Nauvoo. He generally brought a party with him when he came to the city, and could threaten them with the law, but he always managed to get away safely. They (the Saints) finally concluded to entrust his case to Howard Egan, a policeman, who was thought to be pretty long-headed. He took a party of chosen men, or "destroying angels," and went to La Harp, a town near the residence of this man, and watched an opportunity when he would pass along. They "saved" him, and buried him in a wash-out at night. In a short time afterwards, a thunder storm washed the earth away and exposed the remains. They also told me of an attempt to rob an old man and one son who lived on the Bear River. Ebeneser Richardson, an old tried veteran and policeman, had charge of this mission. Four of them went near the residence of the old folks. Two of them went to the house to get lodgings and refreshments. The old gentleman told them that he was not prepared to entertain them, and directed them to a neighbor who lived a mile away. They insisted upon stopping, and said they were weary and would lie down upon their blankets. The fact was that the old man was suspicious of them and utterly refused to keep them. They then went away and counseled over the matter, and concluded to wait until they were all asleep, then burst in the door before they could have time to resist. The old man and his son being sure that they had come for the purpose of robbing them, had expected, and were waiting for their return. Each of them had a gun. Richardson and his party waited until about midnight, when they slipped carefully to the house and listened. All was still. Then Richardson and another man burst in the door. As the robbers were in the act of entering the house, the old man and his son both fired. Richardson's arm was broken just below the elbow; the other man received a slight wound. The reception was rather hot and they backed water and were glad to get away. Richardson wore a cloak to conceal his broken arm. The matter was kept a profound secret.
A "BLOOD ATONED" VICTIM, NEAR NAUVOO.
I was in Brigham Young's office about this time. His brother Joseph, and quite a number of others were present, when Brigham raised his band and said, "I swear by the eternal Heavens that I have unsheathed my sword, and I will never return it until the blood of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum, and those who were slain in Missouri, is avenged. This whole nation is guilty of shedding their blood, by assenting to the deed, and holding its peace. "Now," said he, "betray me, any of you who dare to do so!" Furthermore, every one who had passed through their endowments, in the Temple, were placed under the most sacred obligation to avenge the blood of the Prophet, whenever an opportunity offered, and to teach their children to do the same, thus making the entire Mormon people sworn and avowed enemies of the American nation.
They teach the rising generation to look upon every Gentile or outsider, as their enemy, and never to suffer one of their number to be sentenced by a Gentile court. They have even gone so far as to teach them not to allow a Gentile Judge to hang a Mormon dog. That they have no right to come into this Territory, and to sit in judgment upon the Saints. That the Saints are to judge the world instead of the officers of the world Judging them. I once thought that I never could be Induced to occupy the position that I now do, to expose the wickedness and corruption of the man whom I once looked upon as my Spiritual guide, as I then considered Brigham Young to be. Nothing could have compelled me to this course save an honest sense of the duty I owe myself, my God, the people at large; sod my brethren and sisters who are treading the downward path that will lead them to irretrievable ruin, unless they retrace their steps and throw off the yoke of the tyrant, who has long usurped the right of rule that justly belongs to the son of Joseph, the Prophet. I have been driven to the wall by circumstances beyond my control, and have been forced to resort to the first law of nature, self-protection. Perhaps this has served to open my eyes to a sense of duty. I confess I have been deeply steeped in fanaticism, even more so than I was aware of, until I felt the bitter pangs of its direful influence upon me.
I heard Mother Smith, the mother of Joseph the Prophet, plead with Brigham Young, with tears, not to rob young Joseph of his birthright, which his father, the Prophet, bestowed upon him previous to his death. That young Joseph was to succeed his father as the leader of the Church, and it was his right in the line of the priesthood. "I know it," replied Brigham, "don't worry or take any trouble, Mother Smith; by so doing you are only laying the knife to the throat of the child. If it is known that he is the rightful successor of his father, the enemy of the Priesthood will seek his life. He is too young to lead this people now, but when he arrives at mature age he shall have his place. No one shall rob him of it. This conversation took place in the Masonic Hall at Nauvoo, in 1846. Several persons were then present.
In the meantime Brigham had sought to establish himself as the leader of this Church. Many years, however, passed away before he dared assume or claim to be the rightful successor of Joseph, the Seer, Prophet, and Revelator to the Church. When the time came, according to his own words, for Joseph to receive his own, Joseph came, but Brigham received him not. He said, as an excuse, that Joseph had not the true spirit. - That his mother had married a Gentile lawyer, and had infused the Gentile spirit into him. That Joseph denied the doctrine of his father, celestial marriage. Brigham closed the door and barred him from preaching in the Tabernacle, and raised a storm of persecution against him. He took Joseph's cousin, George A. Smith, as his first counselor. This he did as a matter of policy to prevent George A. from using his influence in favor of Joseph as the leader of the people, which he otherwise would have done. He also ordained John Smith, the son of Hyrum the Patriarch, to the office of Patriarch to the Church, and his brother Joseph F. Smith, to the office of one of the Twelve Apostles, thus securing their influence and telling them that had young Joseph been willing, to act in harmony with them, the heads of the Church, he could have had his place, but that he was too much of a Gentile ever to lead this people. Brigham said he had some hopes that David, a brother of young Joseph, when he became older, might occupy the place of his father, but Joseph never would. In this low, cunning, intriguing way he blinded the eyes of the people, and gained another advantage over them in establishing himself and family at the head of the Church, as the favored of the Lord. Strange as it may appear, yet it is true, that many of this people are blind to the intrigues of this heartless impostor. They suffer themselves to be bound in fetters of bondage, and surrender the last principle of manhood and independence, and make themselves slaves to that corrupt usurper and his profligate family, who have robbed the fatherless, and usurped the right to rule that belongs to another; and who has been trying to put his profligate sons at the head of this Church, to rule. over this people.
Now let us for a moment divest ourselves of fanaticism, which is the result of ignorance, and look from the stand-point of justice and reason, and compare the conduct and character of the two families. Young Joseph, the legal heir of the Prophet, because he denies polygamy, or celestial marriage, is accused of not following in the footsteps of his father, which Brigham says renders him unworthy to be a leader of this people. How much better is Brigham's son, John W. Young? Has he followed in the footsteps of the Prophet? Every one acquainted with his heartless conduct must answer, No! On the contrary, he turned away the bride of his youth, and his offspring by her, and also his other wives that were given him in the celestial order of marriage, and then took up with an actress from the stage! A woman not even of the faith of the Mormon Church.
Notwithstanding all this he is put forward by his father, Brigham, as his right-hand man, to guide the destinies of this Church and people. Oh! consistency, where art thou! and justice! where hast thou fled! Have this people lost their understanding? Does it require inspiration to detect the fraud and injustice at the bottom of this move? I think not. But it does require a great deal more fanaticism than I want to possess to sake me believe that God or justice has anything to do with it. I am honest in saying that it is from beneath, and none but a depraved, heartless wretch, would stoop so low as to use religion as a cloak to dupe and deceive the people. To accomplish so corrupt a purpose he has robbed the rich and the poor of this people. He has made them pay tithes and tributes to himself. He has made himself rich and waxed fat, until he really imagines himself to be the Lord's vicegerent here on earth, and that no one has the right to interfere with him. He is above the law - he is the Lord's anointed! Oh! vain man, go hide thyself, and consider from whom thou hast received the succession, and through whose hard earnings thou hast been made rich.
I must not forget to make mention of the qualifications of young Briggy, the son of the present leader of the Church. He is considered by his father fully qualified to be his successor; to stand at the head of the Church and lead the Saints. This amiable son of the Prophet Brigham, while on a mission to England, concluded that he would measure arms with Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales, by driving as many horses as she did to her carriage. This was a violation of law. The Queen very soon gave Prince Briggy to understand that she was the ruler of that kingdom; that it his father could measure arms with the President of the United States, his son could not do so with her. Prince Brig was shut up in jail, and there he was to remain until the fine for his offence was paid. I have been told that $26,000 were paid from the perpetual emigration fund for his release. This emigration fund is collected from the people for the gathering together of poor saints, but the liberty of this worthy young man was of more consequence than the gathering in of poor saints. Perhaps it is this ambitious act of the Prophet's son that has qualified him to act as a leader! How does the character of Smith's sons compare with that of Brigham Young's sons? The one were peaceable, law-abiding citizens, the others are spendthrifts and ambitious, regardless of law or order - just like their father, full of self-esteem, miserly and bigoted. I remember twenty years ago, among the first members of the Church, it was all the talk that young Joseph would soon take the leadership of the Church, as the rightful successor of his father, the Prophet. At that time it never was thought that Brigham Young intended to hold the place permanently, and establish himself and profligate family at the head of the Church, as he has done, to make slaves of the Saints, to keep and support himself and worthless sons. The Saints have suffered themselves to be led step by step downward, lulled to sleep by false promises and phantoms that can never be realized. They are powerless, and having lost their self-control, they cannot resist the charms by which the serpent captivates his victims and holds them fast under his influence. Oh! that I had the power of speech to touch the understanding of my brethren and sisters, to wake them from the stupor and lethargy that has overcome them, through the subtle cunning of the devil, that I fear has already made the bonds of many of them so strong they can never loose them.
But I must stop and take a retrospective view of things in Nauvoo. that I have not yet mentioned, trusting to my worthy friend Bishop to place these sentiments which I have just written in their proper place in my history. I have felt impressed to write them while I could do so, not knowing that I would have the liberty to bring up all the circumstances to that date.
INSIDE VIEW OF POLYGAMY AND THE DOCTRINE OF "SEALING."
IN THE Winter of 1845 meetings were held all over the city of Nauvoo, and the spirit of Elijah was taught in the different families as a foundation to the order of celestial marriage, as well as the law of adoption. Many families entered into covenants with each other - the man to stand by his wife and the woman to cleave unto her husband, and the children to be adopted to the parents. I was one of those who entered into covenants to stand by my family, to cleave to them through time and eternity. I am proud to say I have kept my obligations sacred and inviolate to this day. Others refused to enter into these obligations, but agreed to separate from each other, dividing their substance, and mutually dissolving their former relations on friendly terms. Some have mutually agreed to exchange wives and have been sealed to each other as husband and wife by virtue and authority of the holy priesthood. One of Brigham's brothers, Lorenzo Young, now a bishop, made an exchange of wives with Mr. Decker, the father of the Mr. Decker who now has an interest in the cars running to York. They both seemed happy in the exchange of wives. All are considered aliens to the commonwealth of Israel until adopted into the kingdom by baptism, and their children born unto them before the baptism of the parents are to be adopted to the parents, and become heirs to the kingdom through the law of adoption. But the children that are born to parents after the baptism of the parents are legal heirs to the kingdom.
This doctrine extends much further. All persons are required to be adopted to some of the leading men of the Church. In this, however, they have the right of choice, thus forming the links of the chain of priesthood back to the father, Adam, and so on to the second coming of the Messiah. Time will not allow me to enter into the full details of this subject. The ordinance of celestial marriage was extensively practiced by men and women who had covenanted to live together, and a few men had dispensations granted them to enter into plural marriages, which were taught to be the stepping-stone to celestial exaltation. Without plural marriage a man could not attain to the fullness of the holy priesthood and be made equal to our Saviour. Without it he could only attain to the position of the angels, who are servants and messengers to those who attain to the Godhead.
These inducements caused every true believer to exert himself to attain that exalted position, both men and women. In many cases the women would do the "sparking," through the assistance of the first wife.
My second wife, Nancy Bean, was the daughter of a wealthy farmer, who lived near Quincy, Illinois. She saw me on a mission and heard me preach at her father's house. She came to Nauvoo and stayed at my house three months, and grew in favor and was sealed to me in the Winter of 1845. My third and fourth wives were sealed to me soon afterward, in my own house. My third wife, Louisa, is now the first wife of D. H. Wells. She was then a young lady, gentle and beautiful, and we never had an angry word while she lived with me. She and her sister Emmeline were both under promise to be sealed to me. One day Brigham Young saw Emmeline and fell in love with her. He asked me to resign my claims in his favor, which I did, though it caused a great struggle in my mind to do so, for I loved her dearly. I made known to Emmeline Brigham's wish, and even went to her father's house several times and used my influence with her to induce her to become a member of Brigham's family.' The two girls did not want to separate from each other; however, they both met at my house at an appointed time and Emmeline was sealed to Brigham, and Louisa was sealed to me. Amasa Lyman officiated at the ceremony. At the same time Sarah C. Williams, the girl that I had baptized in Tennessee, when but a child, at the house of Wm. Pace, and who came to Nauvoo, stood up and claimed a place in my family. She is yet with me and is the mother of twelve children. She has been a kind wife, mother and companion. By Louisa I had one son born, who died at the age of twelve. She lived with me about one year after her babe was born. She then told me that her parents were never satisfied to have one daughter sealed to the man highest in authority and the other below her. Their constant teasing caused us to separate, not as enemies, however. Our friendship was never broken. Her change made her more miserable than ever. After we got into Salt Lake Valley she offered to come back to me, but Brigham would not consent to her so doing. Her sister became a favorite with Brigham, and remained so until he met Miss Folsom, who captivated him to a degree that he neglected Emmeline, and she died brokenhearted.
Plural marriages were not made public. They had to be kept still. A young man did not know when he was talking to a single woman. As far as Brigham Young was concerned, he had no wives at his house, except his first wife, or the one that he said was his first wife. Many a night have I gone with him, arm in arm, and guarded him while he spent an hour or two with his young brides, then guarded him home and guarded his house until one o'clock, when I was relieved. He used to meet his beloved Emmeline at my house.
In the Spring of 1845 Rachel Andora was sealed to me - the woman who has stood by me in all my troubles. A truer woman was never born. She has been by me true, as I was to Brigham, and has always tried to make my will her pleasure. I raised her in my family from five years of age. She was a sister to my first wife. Her mother, Abigail Sheffer, was sealed to me for an eternal state. The old lady has long since passed away, and entered into eternal rest and joy.
But to resume the narrative of events at Nauvoo. In the year 1845 the building of the Temple was progressing. Through the Summer trouble was brewing among all the Saints, both in Illinois and Iowa. Many of my friends from Tennessee, and some from Kentucky, emigrated and joined us during that Summer and Fall, as well as some from other places. An effort was made to complete the Nauvoo House if possible, but finding the storm approaching too fast the work on the House was abandoned, and all bands put at work on the Temple. We were anxious to complete the Temple, in order that we might receive our promised blessings in it before we commenced our exodus across the plain in search of a home, we knew not where. Our time was limited, and our Christian friends who surrounded us, whose ire had been aroused to the highest pitch, were not likely to allow us to remain longer than our appointed time. The killing of the Smiths had aroused their friends to acts of violence, and many whose houses were burned and property destroyed, who had come to Nauvoo for protection and shelter, retaliated by driving in stock from the range to subsist upon. No doubt the stock of many an innocent man was driven away, and this served to bring others into trouble.
Thus things grew worse the longer the Saints remained at Nauvoo. It was an unfortunate matter, and much of the trouble that came upon the Church was brought on through the folly and fanaticism of the Saints. I have seen relentless cruelty practiced by those who directed this cattle stealing. I cannot call it anything else, though they called it getting back what had been taken from them. It caused many strangers to come to the city to look for traces of their cattle. A company was organized, called the "Whittiers." They had long knives, and when any of these strangers would come to town, they would gather around him, and whittle; none of them saying a word, no matter what question was asked. They would thus watch any stranger, gathering close to him, until they finally ran him out of town. I never took part in such low, dirty doings. I was taught from a child to respect all persons, as every spirit begets its like. I never did think any good came of such conduct. A man must respect himself, or he can never command others.
During the fall of 1845 companies were formed for making wagons for the contemplated move, as a great many of the Saints were poor, and had neither wagons nor teams. Teams were more easily obtained than wagons. People traded off their lots and loose property for teams. Many of the wagons had wooden hoops in place of tires, for the want of iron, though iron and everything else was at the lowest price. Common labor was only twenty-five cents per day, but money was hard to get.
About the 1st of December, 1845, we commenced filling up the rooms for giving endowments. I assisted in putting up the stoves, curtains and other things. It was about fifteen days before we got everything ready. I must mention that when the doctrine of baptizing for the dead was first introduced, the families met together, down by the river side, and one of their number, of the order of the Melchisedek Priesthood, officiated. They were baptized in behalf of all they could remember, the men for the men, and the women for the women. But when the fount was ready in the Temple, which rested on the twelve carved oxen, they went and were baptized in it, after the same order, except that a clerk must make a record of it, and two witnesses must be present, and the name of the person baptized and for whom he or she was baptized, and the date of baptism, together with the name of the officiating elder, and the name of the clerk and witnesses entered in the register or record. All persons who are baptized must also be confirmed. Male and female alike pass through the same ceremony, and the fact entered in the record kept for that purpose.
This is done for all who have died without the knowledge of the gospel. As Jesus, while his body lay in the tomb, went and preached to the spirits, in the spirit world, the doctrine of his gospel to all who had died before hearing it, since the days of Noah, so through baptism for the dead, can our friends, and those who have gone before us, be made partakers of this new and last gospel sent to us, and receive its blessings and eternal reward. No person, however, is allowed the privilege of this baptismal fount, or their washings or anointings, unless they have paid their tithings promptly, and have a certificate to that effect. In many cases, also, where men require it, their just debts must be settled before they are allowed to be baptized, washed or anointed. In the order of Endowment, a list is made out the day previous, of those who wish to take their endowments. Every person is required to wash himself clean, from head to foot. Also to prepare and bring a good supply of food, of the best quality, for themselves and those who labor in the house of the Lord. In the latter about twenty-five persons are required in the different departments to attend to the washing, anointing, blessing, ordaining, and sealing. From twenty-five to fifty persons are passed through in twenty-four hours.
I was among the first to receive my washings and anointings, and even received my second anointing, which made me an equal in the order of the Priesthood, with the right and authority to build up the kingdom in all the earth, and power to fill any vacancy that might occur. I have officiated in all the different branches, from the highest to the lowest. There were about forty men who attained to that order in the Priesthood, including the twelve Apostles and the first presidency, and to them was intrusted the keeping of the records. I was the head clerk; Franklin D. Richards was my assistant clerk. My office was in room number one, at President Young's apartments.
I kept a record of all the sealings, anointings, marriages and adoptions.
I was the second one adopted to Brigham Young. I should have been his first adopted son, being the first that proposed it to him, but always ready to give preference to those in authority, I placed A. P. Rockwood's name first on the list. I also had my children adopted to me in the Temple. Brigham Young had his children adopted to himself, and we were the only ones, to my knowledge, that had our children so adopted at the Temple at Nauvoo. As time would not permit attending to all the people, the business was rushed through day and night.
Officers were on the alert to arrest Brigham Young. He often hid in the different apartments of the Temple. One day about sunset, an officer, knowing that be was in the Temple, waited for him to come out, as his carriage was waiting for him at the door. Brigham threw his cloak around Wm. Miller, who resembled Brigham in build and stature, and sent him to the carriage with Geo. D. Grant, his driver. As they got to the carriage, Grant said to Miller, "Mr. Young, are you ready to go?" As he spoke to him, the officer said: "Mr. Young, I have a writ for you. I want you to go with me to Carthage, twenty miles distant." Miller replied, "Shall I take my carriage?" The officer answered, "You may if you choose, and I will pay the bill."
Grant then drove Miller to Carthage, and the marshal took him to the hotel and supplied him with refreshments. After supper an apostate Mormon called in with the marshal to see him. When he saw Miller, he said to the marshal: "By heavens I you are sold this time. That is not Brigham, that is Mr. Miller."
The marshal was a good deal nettled, and said to Miller:
"I am very much obliged to you."
"You are quite welcome. I hope you will pay my bill as you agreed to do."
"Why did you deceive me?" demanded the marshal.
"I did not," replied Miller, "you deceived yourself." I said nothing to deceive you."
"All right," replied the marshal, "I will settle your bill, and you can return in the morning, if you choose."
This friendly warning gave Brigham to understand that it was time for him to get away, that many such tricks would not be wholesome.
In the Temple I took three more wives - Martha Berry, Polly Ann Workman and Delethea Morris, and had all my family sealed to me over the altar, in the Temple, and six of them received their second anointings, that is, the first six wives did, but the last three we had not time to attend to.
On the 10th of February, 1846, Brigham Young and a small company crossed the Mississippi River, on the ice, into Iowa, and formed an encampment on a stream called Sugar Creek. I crossed, with two wagons, with the first company. Brigham did this in order to elude the officers, and wait there until all who could fit themselves out could join him. Such as were in danger of being arrested were helped away first. Our police crossed over to guard the first Presidency. Those who were not liable to be arrested remained back and sent their teams forward. I took one of Brigham's wives, Emmeline, in one of my wagons, with Louisa, her sister, as far as Florence or Rainsville. All of Brigham's wives, except the first, were taken by the brethren, as he did not at that time have the teams or means to convey his family across the plains, but was dependent on the brethren for help, though he had used every means in his power to raise an outfit.
Brigham called a council of some of the leading men. Among them was one Joseph L. Heywood and myself. Heywood was a merchant at Quincy, Illinois, and was doing a fair business before he joined the Mormon Church, and was considered an honorable man. When the Mormons were driven from Missouri many had occasion to bless him for his many kindnesses to them in their hour of trouble. At the council, after some conversation upon our present move, Brigham proposed to appoint a committee of men, against whom no charges could be brought, to return to Nauvoo and attend to the selling of the property of the Saints, and to see to fitting out the people and starting them forward. He proposed that I, A. W. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood and David S. Fulmer be that committee. Brother Heywood was asked to turn over his whole stock of goods to fit the first Presidency and the Apostles for the journey. This to Brother Heywood was a stunner. He replied that he was indebted to honorable men in the East for the most of his stock, and that be did not dare to defraud them; that he had been taught from childhood to deal honorably with all men. He was that he could raise the money to pay his East creditors from the sales of the property at Nauvoo. This brother Heywood thought very doubtful, as the property of a deserted city would not be very valuable. Brigham then said that this was a case of emergency, and they must have the goods; that Brother Heywood must write to his creditors and tell them that owing to the trouble among the people business had fallen off, and that he could not pay them, but would in the future. Brigham told him if he failed to raise money from the sale of city property, as soon as the Church was established that he would raise the money for him to satisfy his creditors, and this would give him more influence than ever among the outside world. They finally persuaded Heywood to turn over his goods. If time permits I will hereafter tell how he came out of the matter. For all of my services for the leading men I never received a dollar. I have managed, however, to maintain my family in good style, to pay my tithing and live independently of help from the Church. I was called a shrewd trader and a good financier, and always had plenty.
I usually had some money on hand. These were considered by Brigham noble traits in my character. He would rather a person would give to him than beg from him.
THE SAINTS MOVE WESTWARD.
A FEW words in regard to the Prophet Joseph. He was tried twenty-One times for different offences, and acquitted each time. One time when he was visiting at Peoria, he was captured by four men from Missouri, who started with him in a wagon, to take him to that State. Two of them sat beside him, with cocked pistols, punching him in the side occasionally, and telling him that if he opened his month they would blow his brains out. He was not arrested by any process of law, but they were trying to kidnap him. Stephen H. Markham, an old tried friend of Joseph, ran ahead to the town of Peoria, employed a lawyer, got out a writ of habeas corpus, and had him set at liberty. When the news reached Nauvoo, the Saints were in the wildest state of excitement. The Mormon steamer there was laden with troops, who hastened to Peoria to rescue the Prophet. When they arrived there they found him at liberty. This was in 1843. The same winter he organized what was called the "Council of Fifty." This was a confidential Organization. A man by the name of Jackson belonged to it, though he did not belong to the Church. This Council was designated as a law-making department, but no record was ever kept of its doings, or if kept, they were burned at the close of each meeting. Whenever anything of importance was on foot this Council was called to deliberate upon it. The Council was called the "Living Constitution." Joseph said that no legislature could enact laws that would meet every case, or attain the ends of justice in all respects.
As a man, Joseph tried to be a law-abiding citizen, but be had a motley crew to manage, men who were constantly doing something to bring trouble upon them. He often reproved them and some he dis-fellowshiped. But being of a forgiving disposition, when they would come back to him and beg his forgiveness, his kind, humane heart could not refuse them. He was often basely imposed upon.
I was standing with him one cold day, watching a couple of men who were crossing the river in a canoe. The river was full of ice, running swiftly. As they neared the shore the canoe upset, throwing them into the river. One of them got on a cake of ice, but the other made several attempts before he could do so. As quick as thought Joseph sent a runner to them with a bottle of whisky, saying, "Those poor boys must be nearly frozen." This man Jackson was standing near; said he, "By Heavens, he is the moat thoughtful man on earth."
On another occasion, on the 4th of July, 1843, at a celebration, a number of toasts had been offered, when some one said, "Brother Joseph, suppose you give us a toast." Raising his is wishing that all the mobocrats of the nineteenth century were glass, with water in it, in the place of spirits, he said, "Here in the middle of the sea, in a stone canoe, with an iron paddle; that a shark might swallow the canoe, and the shark be thrust into the nethermost part of h-l, and the door locked, the key lost, and a blind man hunting for it."
But to return to our expedition across the plains. The snow lay about eight inches deep on the ground when the first company crossed the river. The plan of operation was this: We must leave Nauvoo, whether ready or not. All covenanted to help each other, until all were away that wanted to go. The teams and wagons sent to help others away were to be sent back as soon as a suitable place was found at which to make a settlement, and leave the poor, or rather those who had no teams to go on with. I was unwilling to start out with a part of my family, leaving the rest behind, and thought that now was the time to get them out before greater trouble commenced. I went into Brigham's tent and told him what I thought of the matter, and that I thought I could fit up teams in a few days and bring them all away. He replied that he had been thinking of the same thing. Said he:
"Go, I will give you five days in which to sell out and cross the river again, and bring me one hundred dollars in gold."
I informed the portion of my family that was with me of my intentions. My first wife was still at Nauvoo. I had the confidence of my family, and I was a man who seldom undertook anything that I did not carry out. I started back on foot, and crossed the river on the ice. I fell in with acquaintances about La Harpe, who were in trouble about a number of wagons and teams which they had purchased in the State. The devil was to pay generally. Some of the Gentiles who had lost cattle laid it to the Mormons in Nauvoo, and they were determined to take cattle from the Mormons until they got even. I had a brick house and lot on Parley street that I sold for three hundred dollars in teams. I told the purchaser that I would take seven wagons and teams, and before I went to sleep that night I had my entire outfit of teams. My large house, costing me $8000 (in Salt Lake City it would have been worth $50,000), I was offered $800 for. My fanaticism would not allow me to take that for it. I locked it up, selling only one stove out of it, for which I received eight yards of cloth. The building, with its twenty-seven rooms, I turned over to the committee, to be sold to help the poor away. The committee informed me afterwards that they sold the house for $12.50.
I was sitting with my family, and was telling them that I must get $500 in some way, but the Lord opened no way by which I could see where I could get it, and I had but five days in which to get out of Nauvoo. In an adjoining room was an old gentleman and his daughter, who rented the room of me. They were from Pennsylvania, and the old gentleman was wealthy. The daughter stepped into her father's room, and soon returned, saying that her father wished to see me. I went into his room. He gave me a seat and said, "You once did me a kindness that I have not repaid. Do you remember meeting me once, when coming from the Temple? I had been there with my wife and only child to get my washings and anointings. I was not admitted, because I was a stranger, and no one to vouch for me. I was returning with a heavy heart, when I met you. You returned with me and used your influence, vouched for us and procured our admittance. I obtained our endowments. I had a cancer on my breast at that time, that was considered incurable. From the hour I received our endowments it has never pained me and it is healing up. Now, I am thankful I have it in my power to do you a little favor in return." So saying, be lifted the lid of a box and counted out $500 in gold coin, saying that if it would help me I was welcome to it. I offered him a team, but he said he had money enough to buy his outfit, and support him while he lived, and that he felt thankful for an opportunity of returning my favor. This was to me an unexpected blessing from an honest heart. I wept with joyful gratitude; I had the means that I desired in my hands. The next morning I received my teams and wagons. All had to be fitted up for the journey. My family all went to work making tents and things needful for the journey. I sent my wagons to the Mormon wagon shop and told them to work night and day, and put them in the best order within three days, and I would give them $50 dollars in gold, which was $5 for a day and night's work, quite a difference from fifty cents, the usual price. They went to work in earnest, and as fast as a wagon was finished I had it loaded. In the meantime A. W. Babbitt was urging me to cross the river, as there was an officer in town looking for me. On the third day I started one of my ox teams across the river on the ice, and came near losing the whole outfit, by its breaking through the ice. I crossed no more teams that way. I then got a large wood boat and some twenty-five men to help me, and we cut through the ice across the river, so that the boat could be towed over. On the fourth day I had all of my effects at the river side. The day before, when I had crossed the team that had broken through the ice, I met an officer at the river side looking for me. He wanted to arrest me on the charge of lascivious cohabitation - having more wives than one. I told him that I had seen John D. Lee crossing the river the day before, and that one of his oxen broke through, and added that it was a pity he had not broken through also. I stepped into a saloon with the officer and we took a drink together. I then went with him into the wagon shop, and stepping in ahead of him, and tipping the wink to the men there, said,
"Have any of you seen John D. Lee to-day? Here is an officer looking for him."
They replied that he had crossed the river the day before. This satisfied the officer, and he went away. I bought oils and paints for my wagons, and five gallons of whiskey to treat the boys who had helped me over the river. As we left the river, a heavy storm came up. It was so dark I could see nothing. I had four mule teams, and let them follow the road. We halted about a mile beyond the town of Montrose, and a man who lived there, named Hickenlooper, took us all in and attended to the animals. I went to sleep and did not wake until ten o'clock the next morning. This man had all the supplies we needed, flour, bacon, etc.; and I purchased my store of supplies from him. I learned that the company had moved on, and was camped at a place called Richardson's Point, forty-five miles from Montrose. Before reaching the encampment, I was met by Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, and Dr. William Richards in their carriages, who bade me welcome. After we reached camp, a council was held, and I reported my success, and gave an account of my mission. When I had finished, Brigham asked me if I had brought him that hundred dollars. I replied I had, and handed it to him. He counted it, and then said,
"What shall I do with it?"
I replied, "Feed and help the poor."
He then prophesied, saying that I should be blessed, and means would come unto me from an unexpected source, that in time of need friends would be sent to my assistance.
The roads were in a bad condition, and we lay here a few days, during which time I painted and numbered my wagons. Myself, Geo. S. Clark, Levi Stewart and another man were appointed hunters, as there was much game in the country we had to pass through, turkey, deer and some elk.
From here we traveled to the Raccoon Fork of Grand River, in Iowa, about seventy-five miles. At the three forks of the Grand River we made a halt. In fact the rain had made the country impassable, and our provisions were running short. Here we found some wild hogs, and the men killed several. Brigham said that they were probably some of our hogs that had become scattered when we were driven out of Missouri. This was sufficient license for many to kill anything they could find.
While we lay here two men came to our camp, named Allen Miner and Mr. Clancy. They were traders to the Potawatomie Indians. Allen Miller had married one of my wives. They informed me that we could get everything we needed about fifty miles from there, near Grand River. We unloaded about seventeen wagons and selected out such articles as we could spare. I was appointed the Contracting Commissary, to do the purchasing for the companies. This was in April, 1846.
We started with those two men and the seventeen wagons, and drove to Miller's and made that headquarters, as he had provisions in abundance. The grass was like a meadow then. I had some horses and harness to exchange for oxen and cows. When we had turned out our stock for the day at Miller's, Mr. Claucy invited me home with him. On entering his house I found his partner, Patrick Dorsey, an Irishman, sick. Mr. Dorsey had been tormented with a pain in his eyes, in so much that he had rested neither day nor night, and was losing his sight. I asked him if he was a Catholic. He answered that he was. I knew their faith, as I was raised a Catholic and once believed in their doctrines. I asked him if he wished me to pray for him. He inquired if I was a minister, to which I replied that I was. He then said:
"Do pray with me, it you please, for I am in great distress."
I then laid my hands upon his head, and asked the Father, in the name of the Son, and by virtue of the holy priesthood in me vested, to stay his sufferings and heal him. The pain left him instantly, as he took his hat and walked with me to Miller's house. They were astonished to see him apparently without pain, and asked him what I had done for him. He answered:
"I was in great distress; a stranger laid hands upon my head, and prayed and made me whole; but who he was, or whence he came, I know not. But this I know, that I was almost blind, and now I see; I was sick, but now I am well."
This little occurrence created quite an excitement in the settlement, and nothing would do but I must preach the next evening. During the next day I made several trades. Evening came, and I preached at my friend Miller's. When I closed they made me up a purse of five dollars, and offered to load one of our wagons with provisions.
MORMONS LEAVING NAUVOO ON THEIR JOURNEY WESTWARD.
We remained here about a week and did finely in trading. On Sunday quite a large attendance, for a new country, turned out to hear me preach. I was weary and did not feel much like preaching. However I preached about an hour and a half. At the close of the service they made up ten dollars for me, and a Mr. Scott, a wealthy farmer, said that if I would drive my wagons to his establishment he would fill them all with flour, bacon, potatoes, etc. I had the use of my friend Miller's store to store away our traps, as I had more than we could take away. The people were anxious for me to stop there and take up a farm, make my home with them, and preach and build up a church. I told them I was bound for the Rocky Mountains. As for Mr. Dorsey, he offered me all he had, and wanted to know what to do to be saved. He gave me a history of his life. He told me he led a company of men from Carroll County, Missouri, when we were driven from the State. I reflected a little and gave him a list of city property at Nauvoo that I would turn out to him at one-fourth its value, for such property as he wanted to turn out to me. He said he had twelve yoke of oxen and some twenty-five cows, and other stock; four bee stands, three wagons, some six to eight hundred dollars' worth of bacon, flour, meal, soap, powder, lead, blankets, thirty rifles, guns, knives, tobacco, calicoes, spades, hoes, plows, harrows; also twelve feather beds and all of his improvements. He said he only wanted his carriage and a span of black horses, to take himself, wife and partner to Nauvoo. All the above property he turned over to me, and I gave him deeds to property in Nauvoo. He was to go back with our return teams, as Brigham had commenced making a settlement at the place where he was camped. He called the place Garden Grove. We returned to camp, laden with all our teams could haul, besides the three wagons that I had got from Dorsey. There was a great deal that we could not move away. I took a forty-gallon cask of honey and a quantity of whisky and brandy from Dorsey. The bee stands, improvements and farming utensils I turned over for the use of the settlers that remained at Garden Grove.
This circumstance confirmed me in my oft-expressed opinion that much of the trouble that has followed this people has been created by wild, ignorant fanatics; for only a few years before these same people were our most bitter enemies, and when we came again and behaved ourselves, they treated us with the utmost kindness and hospitality.
I also made arrangements for all the labor needed by the company that was left, so that they could be planting crops and raising supplies while building houses to live in. The company left would be strengthened by others who would follow. All the borrowed teams were returned to bring others forward, and those who had teams of their own went on and made another settlement called Pisgah, and then went on to Council Bluffs, which was afterwards called Kanesville, in honor of Col. Thomas L. Kane. From this point I took a cargo of traps, consisting of feather beds, fine counterpanes, quilts, and such goods, and went down to Missouri, with a large number of wagons, to obtain a cargo of supplies, and beef cattle and cows. During my absence a call was made on the Mormons for five hundred men to go to Mexico, to defend the American flag. Col. Etham Allen and Thos. L. Kane came to raise the required number of men. An express was sent back to Pisgah and Garden Grove to furnish their number. The ranks were nearly full before I reached camp. Dr. Richards said to me:
"I am glad you have returned. We want you for one of the Captains."
"All right, I answered, and started to enroll my name. Brigham Young called me back and said he could not spare me; that there were men enough to fill the bill without me. The battalion was filled, and Col. Allen, a United States officer marched them to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
From Council Bluffs I returned to Missouri, to buy a drove of cattle for Brigham Young, Dr. Richards and others, they having received some money from England. I also loaded some twenty wagons with provisions and articles for trade and exchange. I also exchanged horses for oxen, as the latter were low and the former high in price. About the middle of August I returned, with about five hundred head of cattle.
While I was gone the camp had moved across the Missouri River, at a place called Cutler's Park. The cattle swam the river, but the provision train was still on the Iowa side of the river. A. Grant, and some other of Brigham's men, teamsters and waiters, crossed back for a couple of loads of provisions for Brigham and some others. Without saying a word to me they loaded up from the train their supply of provisions. When I heard of it I was considerably ruffled, as this train was in my charge and I was responsible for it.
I went to Grant, who seemed to be the leader, and told him he had not acted the gentleman in interfering with what did not belong to him. We had some warm words, and had not other parties interfered we would have come to blows. He justified himself by saying that Brigham sent him. I told him I did not care who sent him - that there was a right way and a wrong way of doing things. The feeling grew bitter between us, and they accused me of doing many wrongful things in my office. Finally Brigham called us all together in the presence of the first Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, and we made our statements. My accusers said what they had to say, and then I replied. When Brigham had heard our statements he reproved my accusers sharply, and fully approved of all I had done. He then said we must not have any ill-feeling, and directed me to shake hands and be friends. I was the first that arose to comply. We shook hands, and though we agreed to drop the matter, still the old spirit lingered, even after we had crossed the plains.
LEE GOES ON AN EXPEDTION TO SANTA FEE.
WE GOT into camp the next day. After striking camp I noticed that a tire was gone from one of the wagons. A few days afterwards the mother of my first wife went down to a stream near by, and caught a number of fine fish, and on her way back to the camp she found the missing tire. It had rolled nearly three hundred yards from the road, and was laying where it at last stopped. The people all began cutting hay and stacking it, so as to be prepared for feeding our stock during the winter.
One night in the latter part of September, I dreamed that Lieut. James Face, of Co. E, Mormon Battalion, stood at my tent door, and said that Col. Allen, commanding the Mormon battalion, was dead. I saw him plainly in my dream, and after he gave the information, he started back to his camp, and a man went from our encampment with him. I saw him and his companion, and all they did on their way back to Santa Fee, their dangers from the Indians, and all that took place, etc.
The next evening I went, as was usual, with Brigham Young and Dr. Willard Richardson, the Church Historian, to attend a Council meeting at Heber C. Kimball's camp. After the meeting was over, and we we were going back to our tents, I said to Brigham Young:
"We will find Lieut. Pace at my tent when we get there."
"How do you know that?" said he.
I then told him my dream, and we walked on. When we got in sight of my tent, there stood Lieut. James Pace, just as I had seen him in my dream. This did not surprise me, for I knew he would come. Brigham Young said:
"What on earth has brought you back?"
He replied, "Col. Allen is dead. The battalion is without a commander and I have returned by order of the other officers to report to you, and ask you who shall now lead us."
"Why did you not elect one of your Captains?" said Brigham Young.
"The officers prefer to let Col. Smith, of the United States army lead us, if you will consent to it. But some of our men object, so I came for orders from you," said Pace.
The matter was taken into consideration by Brigham Young until next morning. In the morning he came to me in my tent, and said:
"John, how would you like to go back with Brother Face and get the remittances of the soldiers?"
I said nothing could be more objectionable than such a trip. "My family is large, I have no houses for them; they are without provisions, and I have no means to shelter them from the winter storms. I have not sufficient hay cut to feed my stock through the winter. I must attend to keeping my stock in order or I will have nothing left to take me and my family over the plains next Spring. But," said I, "there is no one more willing to sacrifice himself and his own interests for the benefit of the Church than I am."
He waited and heard me through; then he said, "Thus sayeth the Lord. You shall go, my son. Prosperity shall attend you during your absence, and you shall return in safety, not a hair of your head shall be hurt."
I said, "It is sufficient to know your will, I will go; but who will take care of my family in my absence?"
He said, "I will see to your family, and attend to all you are interested in during your absence."
I was satisfied, and proceeded to carry out the will of Brigham Young. I had cut considerable hay in company with the brethren, but as it had to be divided, I considered I would not have much to my share, especially after I had to divide in Winter with the lazy poor, or poor devils. I never went much on this copartnership system of labor. There are always a number who will not work, and yet they are always present when there is a division to be made of the proceeds of the labor. Joseph Smith classed the poor in three divisions. He said, "There are three kinds of poor. The Lord's poor, the devil's poor, and the poor devils." I never objected to share with the Lord's poor, but when it came to dividing with the devil's poor and the poor devils too, It was rather more than I desired; it took away all the profits.
My outfit for the intended journey consisted of a snug light wagon, a span of good mules, a spy-glass and such traps as a man needs on the plains. I also took Dr. Willard's dog with me to watch while I was asleep. I was ordered to keep my business secret from every one, for fear of being robbed on my return home. I was not allowed to even tell my wives where I was going, or how long I would be gone. I went to St. Joseph, Mo., and put up at John Gheen's, and stayed there while fitting out for the trip. While there I met Luke Johnson, one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. I had a curiosity to talk with him. concerning the same. We took a walk down on the river bank. I asked him if the statement he signed about seeing the angel and the plates, was true. If he did see the plates from which the Book of Mormon was printed or translated. He said it was true. I then said, "How is it that you have left the Church? If the angel appeared to you, and you saw the plates, how can you now live out of the Church? I understand you were one of the twelve apostles at the first organization of the Church?"
"I was one of the twelve," said he, "I have not denied the truth of the Book of Mormon. But myself and several others were overtaken in a fault at Kirkland, Ohio - Wm. Smith, Oliver Cowdrey, one or two others, and myself. We were brought up for the offence before the Church authorities. Sidney Rigdon and Wm. Smith were excused, and the matter hushed up. But Cowdrey and myself were proceeded against and our choice given us to make a public confession, or be dropped from the Church. I refused to make the public confession unless Rigdon and Smith did the same. The authorities said that would not do, for Rigdon was counselor to the Prophet, and Wm. Smith was the brother of the Prophet, and also one of the twelve; but that if Cowdrey and I would confess, it would be a cloak for the other two. I considered this unjust and unfair. So I left the Church for that reason. But I have reflected over the matter much since that time, and I have come to the conclusion that each man is accountable for his own sins, also that the course I have been pursuing injures me alone, and I intend to visit the Saints and again ask to be admitted into the Church, Rigdon has gone to destruction, and Wm. Smith is not much better off to-day than I am."
This conversation was a great comfort to me. We went to Fort Leavenworth, where we learned that Colonel Smith had taken command of the battalion and had marched on with it. Lieut. Pace got another good horse here, and such oats and provisions as we needed. We then struck on after the command. We overtook the battalion about fifty miles below Bent's Fort. Our brethren were rejoiced to see us. Many had grievances to relate, and all had much to tell and enquire about. That morning they had buried one of the battalion named Phelps. The men said his death was caused by arsenic which the doctor had forced him to take. They claimed that Colonel Smith was a tyrant - that he was not the man that Colonel Allen had been. The command was on the march when we came up with it. There was a fifty-mile desert before us, and little water on the route. Colonel Allen had allowed the men to pray with and for each other when sick and had not forced them to take medicine when they did not want it. But Colonel Smith deprived them of their religious rights and made them obey the doctor's orders at all times. The doctor examined the sick every morning and forced them to take medicine, or when they refused to take it they were compelled to walk, and when unable to walk and keep up with the others they were tied to the back end of the wagons, like they were animals. The doctor was generally called Death; he was known to all by that name. While traveling along Captain J. Hunt, of Company A, introduced Colonel Smith to me. I then invited them to ride in my wagon. They got in, and I soon introduced the subject of the treatment of the troops adopted by Colonel Allen, and spoke of its good influence over them. I said the men loved Colonel Allen, and would all have died for him, because he respected their religious rights. I said they were volunteers, and not like regular troops; that they were not used to regular military discipline, and felt that they were oppressed, and had lost confidence in their officers. I referred to the ill-treatment of the men, and talked quite freely. Captain Hunt got very mad, and jumped out of the wagon. He said I talked like an insane man more than a man of sense. The Colonel said that he was willing to give up the command to the choice of the battalion. I said he had better keep it until we arrived at Santa Fe, but for his own sake he had better ease up on the boys a little. That evening Captain Hunt sent a delegation to me informing me that I was causing the command to mutiny, and I must stop it or he would have me put under arrest. I asked where he was going to find his men to put me under guard - that he could not find them in that command, and that if he doubted my word he had better try to arrest me. The Captain knew I was right, and so the matter ended. I then told them I would encourage the men to obedience until we reached Santa Fe. The troops were better treated after that.
On the march water was very scarce; I saw a man offer $16 for a coffee-pot of water one day on the desert. I walked most of the time, and let the sick ride in my wagon. When we reached the Spanish settlements we got pepper, onions, corn, sheep, goats and other articles of food. We reached Santa Fe in the midst of a snow storm. All the Mormons were pleased to find that honest Missourian, Colonel Doniphan, in command at that place. He had a kind, humane nature. The sick and disabled men of the battalion were sent to a Spanish town called Taos, under charge of Captain Brant, for care and rest. Soon after reaching Santa Fe Colonel Philip St. John Cook took command of the battalion. The soldiers were paid off, and Howard Egan, who had accompanied me, was given one-half of the checks and money, donated by the soldiers for Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the remainder was given to me to carry back to winter quarters. I remained in camp ten days to recruit my animals, because I could not purchase an animal there for use. The army had taken everything fit to ride or walk.
I wished to have Lieut. Gully return with me, and it was necessary to obtain permission for him to resign before he could go with me. I went to see the commander and stated the situation to him, and asked that Lieut. Gully be allowed to resign. The General granted my request. The Lieutenant had been acting Commissary of Subsistence, and had to make up his papers before he could start. I waited until he was ready to go with me. I also took Russell Stevens with me, as he had been discharged on account of ill health. While thus waiting I was troubled with Egan considerably, for he was drunk every day, and I feared he would be robbed. I had Stevens watch him most of the time. By closely guarding him I kept him and the money safe. General Doniphan said I should have a guard with me, and he would send one back to protect us through the Indian country, but animals could not be procured. I then took the necessary trouble and procured as good a team as I could to start back with. With the consent of the General I got a large mule, after much trouble, to work with one of my own. While we were in camp at Santa Fe the Doctor was robbed. His trunk was stolen, carried out of the camp, and broken open. Two gold watches and some money were taken from it. Two mules were also stolen the same night. I knew nothing of this, nor who did it, until long afterwards. After we had started home Stevens had the mules. He brought them to camp and said they were his. I think Stevens and Egan robbed the Doctor, but they never acknowledged it to me. About the 11th of October, 1846, we started for home over a wilderness twelve hundred miles wide, nearly every foot of it infested with Indians. We camped in the mountains at Gold Springs, where little particles of gold can be seen on the bottom of the streams. Egan and Stevens did not join us until we had gone fifty miles from Santa Fe. They had the Doctor's mules and a Spanish horse with them when they joined us. When we had traveled ninety miles I discovered that one of my mules was failing. The little flesh that was on them was soft and would not last, for we had not fed them any grain. It was difficult to recruit our mules on the grass, for it is very short generally, and the immense herds of buffalo ranging, over the country keep the grass short. At the last Spanish town we passed through I sent Egan to buy a couple of mules. That night Egan and Stevens came to camp with two poor, miserable looking little mules. I said:
"What on earth have you brought these poor brutes for?"
Egan said, "We cabbaged them; it was the best we could do."
I told him that I was on a mission of duty, and trusted in God, and I would not permit him to bring stolen articles to the camp. I then sent him back with the mules at once. I said, "My trust is in God, and not in the devil. We will go on, and you take back the mules, and leave them where you got them." He did as I directed. At Moro Station, on the More River, the last camp we would find until we reached the eastern side of the plains, we found a large, fat mule, that belonged to the Government. Lieutenant Gully gave the station keeper, a young man, a receipt for the mule, and we took it with us, as we were, in one sense, in Government employ. We were carrying a mail, and on general business for the Government. This was a large fine, gentle mule. I called her Friendship. When the other animals grew weak, I fastened the double-tree back to the axle, and thus Friendship hauled the wagon fully three hundred miles. At the Cimerone Springs we met a company of traders from St. Louis, with a train of thirty-eight wagons. One of their wagons was loaded with pitch-pine wood for cooking purposes. It was then raining, and a regular plains storm was coming on. These storms are sometimes very destructive. A train had been over taken at this same place a year before, and nearly all of the animals belonging to the train perished. I counted one hundred and ninety skeletons of mules that had died in that storm.
Many of the men also died at that time. The storm had taken place ten days earlier in the season than the one then threatening us. We were all invited to the camp by the Captain; the other men went, but I staid in the wagon to write up my account of the trip, which I was obliged to keep by order Brigham Young. Captain Smith then came to my wagon and gave me a drink of fine brandy. He invited us to take supper and breakfast with him, which we did. He asked me if I was not afraid to travel in such a small company, and said the Indians were all on the war path, and committing depredations all along the road, that he had a large train, yet did not consider himself safe. I answered, "My trust is in God, not in numbers." This led to a conversation on religious subjects. When I told him who I was, and fully stated my belief to him, he was much interested in the new doctrine. At supper he had every thing to eat that could be desired. The Captain put up a large tent over my wagon to protect it from the storm and wind. The next morning the storm was over and we made an early start. The Captain gave me a large cheese, a sack of butter crackers, some sardines, and many articles which were of great value to us on our long, cold journey over the plains. He also gave me his name, age, and place of residence in St. Louis, writing it in a little blank book which he gave me. He then gave me five dollars in gold, shook hands with me, and said, "Remember me in coming days," and we parted.
At the crossing of the Arkansas River, we met several companies of Missouri troops. They informed us that Captain Mann, with three companies of troops, had been attacked by a large body of Southern Pawnee and Cheyenne Indians, that they fought three hours, when the troops were defeated and lost seven men killed, with quite a number wounded. That three of the men had come for help. That Captain Mann had lost all of his animals except the three that the messengers escaped. with. That the men only had a small supply of ammunition, and shot it all away before they retreated. Reinforcements had gone to their assistance and would bring in the command. They insisted upon us stopping with them, saying it was madness for us to attempt to go on. I told them that my trust was in God, and my business was urgent and we could not stop. We went on twelve miles, when we met the troops bringing in the wounded, and the remnant of the men who had been engaged with Capt. Mann, in the late Indian fight; they also insisted upon our returning with them. They said there were eight hundred mounted Indians not more than two miles back, following up the rear guard, and that we would all be certainly massacred unless we returned with them. I must admit that the prospect looked dark. Still I felt impressed to go on. Along this river, while it runs in nearly a level country and with no timber in a hundred miles, yet there are many washes that sometimes run out perhaps a mile from the river. Often these washes, which were quite deep, caused the road to run around them, thus forcing a person to travel a couple of miles to gain two hundred yards in distance. It was near one of these washes that we met the last body of troops. We stopped at the point where the road turned back to the river. My comrades were in doubt what to do. I felt that the danger was great. While debating the matter over in my mind, my whole dream that I had the night when I saw Lieut. Pace at my tent door, came fresh before me. I at once saw the whole situation. While studying upon this matter I heard a voice - an audible voice - say:
"John, leave the road and follow me. The voice appeared to be about twenty feet in front of me, and the same distance from the earth. I was startled, for I could see no one who could have spoken thus to me. I said to Lieut. Gully:
"Did you hear that voice?"
"No," said he.
"What shall we do?" I asked.
He said, "You are intrusted with this mission, follow your impressions and all will be right."
From that moment I felt an invisible power that led me out into the plain, away from all roads or trails. We went along about half a mile, when we came to a low basin, which entirely hid us from the road. This basin contained about one acre of ground, and was covered with good grass. I felt it my duty to stop there, and did so. It was then about one o'clock, P. M. Soon after stopping we saw a cloud of dust made by a large herd of buffaloes running from the river where they had gone by water and had been frightened by Indians. We did not see the Indians, for we were perfectly protected by our position. We staid there and let our animals eat grass for about one hour and a half. We then started on again, following my invisible guide, in an easterly direction, over a country entirely strange to me. We traveled on until after dark, when we came to a deep wash which my guide directed me to follow down to the river. I did so, and came to the very spot where the Indians had attacked Captain Mann that morning. Fragments of the train lay scattered all over the plain. Our mules were much frightened, perhaps at the smell of the blood. We watered our animals, and filled our canteens with water. The night was still and the least noise would echo and re-echo through the river canyons, until it made the place more than horrid for people in our situation. We traveled on until near midnight, when we turned out our animals, tied the dog to the wagon-tongue, to give us a guard, then all lay down and slept until day-light. We never camped near watering-places, nor near the road. Our reasons for camping away from water, and at least half a mile from the road, were to avoid the Indians. We never had a fire at night.
The next day we found a large, fat young mule, with all its harness on. It had evidently been frightened during the battle and broke away from the command. It was fully forty miles from the battle ground. I was much in need of fresh animals, for mine were nearly given out. The finding of this mule, as we did, gave me renewed confidence in God, and strengthened my belief that he was leading us.
The next day we traveled on in the same direction. The heavy rains had made the grass good. Buffalo were constantly in sight. We followed our course three days, when we struck the road again at a stream called Walnut Creek. Here we found a large Indian encampment, but the Indians were evidently out on a buffalo hunt. We crossed the creek and camped, concluding to cook our supper and let our animals eat and rest. It was no use trying to escape from the Indians, for I knew they bad seen us and could capture us if they wished to do so. I concluded the best plan was to appear to be perfectly easy and without fear. Soon after camping, a band of over fifty warriors surrounded us. I offered to shake hands with them but they refused. I then offered them pins and needles and some calico that I had purchased to trade to the Spaniards. They took my proffered gifts and dashed them on the ground. I began to feel that although we had been delivered from many former dangers, our time had at last come. I remarked to Lieut. Gully, who was a true and faithful man:
"Pray in your heart to God, and ask him to turn away the ire of these people. They have been abused by large parties of white men and soldiers. They think we are of that class, and that we are only friendly because we are in their power, but if they know who we are, that we have been sent to preach the gospel to them, and to learn them its truths through the Book of Mormon, they would die sooner than see us hurt. I saw an elderly-looking Indian turn and speak to a noble looking young warrior. They talked some time, and would occasionally turn - and point to me. Then they all dismounted and came nearer to us. The old man raised his voice and talked in a loud tone, and in a rapid manner to his men, for about five or ten minutes. The young warrior then turned to us and spoke in plain English, very much to our surprise. He said:
"Young man, this is my father. He is the head chief of the Osage Indians. I have been educated in the East. We came here with the intention of scalping you all. This tribe has been abused by what my father calls the pale-faces, though he wishes to be friendly with them. When a small part of this nation comes in contact with a larger force of pale-faces, they are shot and abused, but when the Indians have the advantage the pale faces are always wanting to be friends. We thought you were of that class, but now my father is satisfied you are good men. I have read the Book of Mormon to him and to our tribe. I got the book from a preacher, who was in the Cherokee Nation. My father wishes me to say to you that you shall not be hurt. If you wish any dried buffalo meat you can have all that you want. - Do not be afraid, we will not harm you, but you had better remain here until morning, for you may fall in with some of my father's braves, who will not know who you are, and they will attack you. If you stay until morning, I will go with you until you are out of danger. I replied that my business was urgent, and we must go on, that we had letters from the Mormon battalion to their friends at home, and must go on at once. The young man then told the chief-what I said. The chief then said, through the young warrior:
"If you cannot stay, I will send word to the other chiefs not to hurt you. They may not see you, as they are away from the road, but I will send some hunters out to tell them to let you pass in safety." I then thanked them very kindly, and told them I was raised among the Delawares and Cherokees, that when a child, I used to play with them before they were removed, to this country, and that I was still their friend. They then asked if we wanted any dried meat. I told them no, that I would prefer some fresh meat. I saw a buffalo near by, and asked them to kill it, and bring me some of the meat. One of the Indians rode for the buffalo at the full speed of his horse. The well-trained horse stopped when near the buffalo, and the Indian shot it down, then jumped from his horse and cut out a piece of the hump, and returned with it before we were ready to start. I then gave the Indians what trinkets we had, and started on again. It was now after sunset.
Here was another manifestation of the providence of Almighty God. I felt so grateful for our deliverance that I could not restrain my tears of gratitude. I care not what people may call me. I know there is a just God, and a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. I know that my Redeemer liveth and I shall see Him for myself and not for another. Though the day of my execution is near at hand - four days only are given me to continue the history of my life-(this is March the 19th, 1877)- my trust is in that Arm that cannot be broken. Though men may err, and cruelly betray each other unto death, my life may be taken from this earth, but nevertheless the hope of my calling in Christ Jesus, my Lord, is the same with me. I am sure that I shall rest in peace. I must not suffer my feelings to overcome me, or destroy the thread of my narrative. I wish to continue while time affords me a moment here, that my history may live when I am no more.
The next day only two Indians came to us, but they could not talk English, and we could not speak their tongue, so we had no conversation. I am certain from the actions of the two Indians that the old chief had kept his word with us and notified his tribe to let us go on in safety. On reaching the Pawnee Fork, a tributary of the Arkansas River, we found Captain Bullard's train of thirty wagons. They lay by all day in search of eight of their mules, that had been stampeded by the Indians, although they had been picketed and closely guarded. The company could not find a trace of them. The men were a rough, boisterous set, and, while our animals were very weary, I concluded it was still best to go further before camping. It was then raining, but that made the traveling better, for the country was quite sandy. We camped late that night at Ash Creek. We now felt that we were over the worst of our dangers, but we still had sufficient of trials before us to keep it from being a pleasure trip. Next morning our riding animals were unable to travel. They refused to go on. I again went to God in prayer and laid our case before Him, and asked that He would open up the way for our deliverance. That night I dreamed that I was exceedingly hungry and had little to eat, when five ears of large, solid corn were handed me by a person, who said, "This will do you until you get to where there is plenty. The ears of corn were of different colors; one ear was jet black, but perfectly sound; one was red, and one was yellow. I was much pleased with the corn and felt that there was not much danger of suffering now. The next morning our animals still looked fearfully bad; only two of our riding animals could raise the trot. Lieut.. Gully said unless God soon sent us some fresh animals we would have to give up.
"We will not give up, said I. "God has protected us thus far and we must still trust in Him - in the eleventh hour of our trouble He will aid us. We will find help to-day.
"I hope so," said he.
He then said, "have you been dreaming again?"
I related to him my dream about the corn, and said I thought the ears of corn meant mules. After prayer (we always kneeled in prayer, night and morning) we started on our way. The mules could hardly travel. We made about six miles, when we saw fresh tracks made by shod animals, that appeared to be dragging long ropes and pins. The tracks were following the road, going in the same direction that we were traveling. We had a long down grade before us. The plain was dotted here and there with herds of buffalo. I halted and took up spy-glass, and took a careful survey of the country. My efforts were rewarded by the sight of a number of mules feeding among, the buffalo. We went on until we arrived as near them as we could get without leaving the road. We called a halt, turned our mules loose, then took out the oil-cloth that I had to feed the mules on, and took a little of the grain we had left, and put it on the cloth. The strange mules saw it, and came running up to us to get a feed of grain. We then got hold of the ropes that were on the necks of four of the mules, and tied them together. There was a black mare mule that was quite shy, but I finally caught the rope that was on her neck. The mule at once came at me with her ears turned back and mouth open. She caught me by the arm and bit me severely, then turned and ran away. Lieutenant Gully said:
"Let her go, she will kill some of us."
"No, we will not let her go, we need all the mules," said I. I again caught her, and she made for me again, but I caught the rope near the end where it was fastened to an iron pin, and struck her a blow with the pin, which knocked her down. I then placed my knee on her neck, and caught her by the nose with my hands. I held her this way until a bridle was put on her, after which we were able to manage her easily. I then hitched this wild mule to the wagon by the side of Friendship. We then had fresh riding animals, and turned our jaded ones loose, and drove them before us. At Kane Creek we lost the mule that I got from the soldiers at Santa Fe. It drank more of the alkali water than was good for it, so we left it on the plains and went our way. We saw so many fresh Indian signs around there that we knew we had no time to stay attending sick mules. A few nights afterwards I saw a large body of Indians among the cedars on a mountain, not far off, but our lucky star was guiding us, for soon after that we met three hundred soldiers, with whom we camped that night. The force was so strong that the Indians did not attack us. Next day we met soldiers very frequently, and every few hours we would meet a body of troops from that time until we reached Fort Leavenworth. It was storming very hard when we got to St. Joseph, Missouri. We put up at a hotel, but before our animals were in the stables Egan was gone, and I could not find him that night, yet we searched for him very diligently. I was fearful that he would be robbed, but he happened to meet some honest men who put him in bed, and kept him and his money in safety until morning, when we found him.
After leaving St. Joseph, where we had purchased a lot of supplies, we started for winter quarters, and had to go through from six to ten feet of snow, the whole distance. We reached our friends in safety. I had two hundred dollars that the soldiers had made me a present of. I took three of the mules we had found on the way, and divided the others between my companions. We reached winter quarters, now called Florence, on the 15th day of December, 1846. The snow was deep, my family all living in tents, and in a suffering condition; but I must report first, as it is usual to pay homage to the man of God, Brigham Young, then attend to my family, but when I saw my family exposed to the pelting storms of Winter, while all others had comfortable log houses, I was angry. I cannot say I was disappointed, for it was not the first time that Brigham young and others in authority had broken their promises made to me. My family received me as they always did, with open arms and thankful hearts.