James Rollins, Autobiography, BYU Special Collections
A Life Sketch (1816-1839) of James Henry Rollins, typescript, BYU.
[This sketch of the life of James Henry Rollins was dictated by him to his daughter, Mary Osborn, and was later re-written in 1924 by his youngest daughter, Idah M. Rollins Hamblin, with the assistance of Melissa R. Lee Heyborn.]
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.1
James Henry Rollins was born May 27th, 1816, in Lima, Livingston County, New York, the son of John Porter Rollins, born in Rutland, New Hampshire, about 1794, and Keziah Ketura Van Benthuysen, born May 15, 1796, in Albany, New York.
The Rollins lived in Vermont and New Hampshire. There were three brothers who emigrated to America and settled in the Eastern States a while, then two of the brothers went south. Their names were James, John Porter and Henry Rollins. My father, John Porter, was interested in cattle and sheep, and he was going on a trip to Canada with a large boat load of cattle, when a storm came up and wrecked the boat, and he went with the load to the bottom of Lake Erie, about the year 1820 or 1821.
My mother was left a widow with three small children, myself and two sisters younger than me, Mary Elizabeth and Caroline. My mother's sister, Elizabeth Van Benthuysen then the wife of Sidney A. Gilbert, took me to raise as their own. They moved from New York to Mentor, Ohio, in 1825, and a year after that moved to Kirtland, Ohio, at which place my Uncle Sidney went into the mercantile business with Orson [Newel K.] Whitney, and I did chores for them, and as soon as I was old enough was employed in their store as clerk.
I continued working thus until Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt, and some other brethren came to Kirtland and brought the Book of Mormon in the fall of 1830. These brethren were on their road to find the Center Stake of Zion. They preached the Gospel to my uncle and aunt and the Whitneys and several others, and they were converted and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I did not join them, as I did not thoroughly understand it, but read the Book of Mormon through, and I had to read at night by firelight, as candles were very scarce at that time, and I lay on the floor on my back with my head to the fire and read at nights, the only time I had to read.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.1 - p.2
Brothers Cowdery and Pratt put some elders in charge and they were afraid to denounce the actions of individuals who were at that time operated upon by different kinds of spirits such as receiving revelations on parchment, and professing to receive them from heaven; others lying like they were dead, in meetings, on coming to rushing to the river and going through the form of baptism in the flowing ice until they had to be taken out, as was the case with Burr Riggs. After seeing all these, I pleaded with the Lord to show me if this spirit which was operating on certain individuals was His spirit. After much praying I was shown in a dream or vision Joseph and Hyrum. I saw them standing side by side through a wall which seemingly was transparent and was the color of amber. The light which enveloped them and me was not as the light of the sun, but such as penetrated me from head to foot. They beckoned me to follow them to the door, which opened to the north. They appeared as though they were waiting for me, and they received me in a very pleasing manner as I entered. After a very short time they bade me to follow them, which I did. They crossed a very long hall running east and west, the end of which I could not see; then entering a door which opened to the south, we three entered; they showing and pointing out the beauties of the place. I cannot describe the beautiful things I beheld. Nothing on earth can compare with the things I seen in my dream. They then passed to another door to the south; they opened it and entered, if I entered myself all remembrance was taken from me of that place. I never could think of anything I seen if I entered. After this I was shown by a guide, which was at my side. He showed me many things which has transpired since, and are being literally fulfilled to the very letter. My guide also showed me a liquid billow of fire, on either side of me; as it rolled along it consumed everything upon the earth, the extent or the length thereof either was I could not discern. I asked my guide as I stood over this fire which had no flame, what it was; he said, it was what is to come and the destruction which was to roll over the earth to cleanse it, and make it pure. He then took me back and showed me many things which I would have to pass through. He told me to hold fast the Iron Rod, which, at that time, I did not know the meaning of, or neither did he explain it to me.
The adversary, previous to this had tried hard and was determined to crush me. I plead with the Lord to help me, and said, "Oh Lord, take it away. I want none of it, don't let if follow me." It immediately vanished and my spirit was taken from my body at least for 10 hours before it returned.
And all these things shown me has surely been an anchor and solace to me in the many trials and tribulations which I have passed through. I am now 80 years of age, and am having this written from what I can remember, thinking perhaps some of my children and descendants would like to read them what I have passed away.
My first acquaintance with the Prophet Joseph Smith.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.2 - p.3
As early as February, 1831, I first met Joseph Smith in my Uncle Sidney Gilbert's house. This was the first day he arrived in Kirtland, and while he was in the house conversing with my uncle and aunt, I being at the front gate, saw a wagon turn over as it was coming down the slippery hill, and heard a woman and 2 or 3 children screaming. This was Joseph's family. I ran in and told Joseph and Uncle about it, and Joseph ran to assist them without his hat. My first impression was, that if any of the occupants were hurt seriously that Joseph could heal them, but none of them were hurt. Joseph and my uncle returned to the house. He asked my uncle if I was his son. He said, "No, I was his wife's nephew," "Well," he said, "the Lord has shown him great things." I truly had seen Joseph and Hyrum in my vision in December 1830.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.3 - p.4
After the turning over of the wagon Joseph and his wife, Emma, came to my uncle's house for the purpose of finding a house to suit her. Soon after this, more or all of the Smith family arrived in Kirtland. From this time on I became personally acquainted with the Smith family. Joseph Sen., his wife, Lucy Smith, Hyrum, Samuel, William, Don Carlos, and Lucy Smith, the youngest daughter, also Jenkins Salsberry and wife. All these I saw almost daily while I remained in Kirtland. I first saw Father Joseph Smith's wife, Lucy, and Don Carlos, on Sunday, the next day after they arrived at a meeting held at Isaac Morley's house. They were so very much fatigued from their journey, and during the meeting Don Carlos fell asleep in his chair, and after several had spoken he awoke and arose and bore as strong a testimony as I ever heard, of the truth of the work. Samuel H. Smith was a man of few words and was very industrious and hard working. William Smith afterwards came to the store and asked for me to go with him on his shooting expedition up and down the river. They often consented to let me go with him. Don Carlos and myself were great chums and were quite attached to each other. In a short time I took leave of the Smiths to prepare to start westward. Joseph went to Kirtland in the spring of 1831, and the first conference of the L.D.S. Church was held in that place. During the summer of 1831 many Elders were sent westward to Missouri, according to a revelation given June 1831, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Sidney Gilbert with his wife accompanying him, she being the first Mormon woman that went to Independence. I accompanied them, at the first of October we prepared to start, as we had to go from Kirtland across the western reserve to the Ohio River, which we did in wagons; taking the families of W.W. Phelps, Isaac Morley and several other families; also my mother's family, two sisters and myself. We were delayed when we got to Arrow Rock, one hundred miles below Independence, on account of the great flow of ice. The steamer turned back, and we remained there with W.W. Phelps for at least 5 weeks, when the wagons came from Independence, where we arrived about the 1st of January, 1832. Joseph Smith the Prophet came to Independence about the last of April, or the first of May. He came to my uncle's house and saluted my uncle and aunt, and then he came to me, and said, "Henry, I want to baptize you if possible before I leave." I was then working in my uncle's store and asked him if I could go with him to the Whitmore settlement, that he wanted to baptize me. My uncle said he could not spare me that day for the majority of the people came in on Saturday to do their trading, and he had no other help that he could depend on but me. When Joseph returned from the Whitmore settlement, he authorized Oliver Cowdery to baptize me instead of Him, which he did not get to do. I was finally baptized by John Carroll on the 1st of June 1832, about 1 1/2 miles west of the Temple block.
I will say good-bye to the Prophet as he has started on his journey down the river, the exact date of his starting I do not remember.
Camp of Israel
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.4 - p.5
I will now pass on from May, 1832, to June 1st, 1834, at which time came the first Herald of the Camp of Israel. The two men, namely, Amasa Lyman and Almon Babbitt came to the Hill farm which was occupied by Sidney Gilbert. They told of the near approach of the [Zion's] Camp, and of their escape from the mob at Fishing River. In a day or two after this the Camp arrived. Joseph the Prophet and his brother William, with Dr. F. G. Williams and several others stayed at our place, but the majority of the Camp went down Bush Creek, some three-fourths of a mile from us to the farm of John Burk, where many were stricken with cholera and died. There were five [who] died at our house, namely, William Weeden, a Brother Judd, Jessie Smith, a cousin of Joseph's and Sidney Gilbert, and Phebe Murdock. During this time of sickness I was sent by the Prophet and Dr. Williams to Liberty for medicine, and by Joseph to Brother Partridge's, Morley's and other places, with dispatches, of word to other brethren who lived at a distance from the Camp of Israel about the cholera and the brethren dying, as I had a pony and could go during the time of this terrible scourge. George A. Smith and Jesse Smith, both of them about my own age, we three were out in the road trying to get a ball out of a pistol which had got wet at Fishing River. We were all three quite merry and were laughing a great deal, when Jesse made the remark, "We had not ought to be out here making so much noise, while there are so many of our brethren sick and dying in the house. We don't know how soon some of us may be taken." We then opened the gate and went in at the east door of the house. In a short time after entering the house this noble boy was struck with the cholera. Joseph and his brethren worked over him, and with all they could do for him it availed them nothing and he died lying on the floor of our largest room. We wrapped him up in his bed-clothes and carried him and the other brethren what had died, and put them in graves that had been dug for them. We carried them through a terrible thunderstorm; we laid them in their graves without any coffins and covered them with mother earth. Joseph took the death of this noble boy very hard, as he undoubtedly had been entrusted with his care by the boy's parents. At this time Joseph was reprimanded by the Lord for trying to stay His Hand, and I think the Lord told him at this time that He would smite him if he tried more to stay his decree of afflictions as promised.
About this time the Camp disbanded, and I bid good-bye to Joseph and his brethren as they took their departure for Kirtland and its vicinity.
I next met the Prophet, his father, mother, and brothers in Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, where the Saints had gone to build up and settle in this county. I think the Smiths left Kirtland almost daily, and father Smith and family and Joseph and Hyrum were on the square after they arrived in Far West. Difficulties were encountered by the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon in obtaining the Presidency of the Church, as John Whitmer was the President and had been presiding during Joseph's absence. Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and W.W. Phelps were opposed to Joseph taking the Presidency, and when Joseph arrived there was dissatisfaction among some of those who wished to rule, and have their own way, independent of the Prophet, but failed to accomplish their designs in all matters. As time went on the Prophet and his brethren had considerable trouble from those that dissented and took sides against him and remained antagonistic until Boggs' army entered Far West and took Joseph and Hyrum and many others prisoners.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.5 - p.6
I will now return to what happened before Boggs' army came in as short a manner as possible. Difficulties had commenced in Daviess County on the day of election which was at my place of business, and in a bowery by the side of the house. About 12 or 1 o'clock Warren, a Democrat, who was a great friend to our people, in helping them to corn, bacon, etc., when the people first went to settle the country. At this time, William Pennington, the Whig candidate, got angry at this, and jumped on an empty barrel and made a great commotion and excitement. About this time, Dick Waldon struck Shoemaker Brown, one of our brethren, over the head with a three foot board. This caused a great stir among those present. John Butler and Price Nelson knocked down 3 or 4 of the opposite parties which caused an uproar, and broke up the election, and broke me up also. Soon after this transaction our brethren who had settled on Grand River were being driven in by a mob, partly to Diamon from other settlements. About this time it seemed that something must be done to protect (Adom-ondi-Ahman), and the brethren, Joseph and Hyrum, with David Patten's hundred men equipped themselves at Far West for Adam-ondi-Ahman. But before starting for Di-Ahman, 10 young men were chosen and were well equipped. Their names are as follows: Jess E. Hunder, Darwin Chase, Chauncey L. Higbee, Joel Miles, Elisha and Elijah Everett (twins) Frank Higbee, James H. Rollins, Benson Williams Durith and sometimes Ira Miles were with us. We were taken by the Prophet and his brother to the west side of Adam-Ondi-Ahman. They there gave us instructions and orders which were to go to Millport as speedily as possible, to see if the mob were there in force, as had been reported. But they had heard of our coming and had left with a cannon which they had threatened to blow up Adam-ondi-Ahman with. We saw no one as we entered Millport, but a woman sticking her head out of a window. On returning toward Di-Ahman, we met several men going to millport armed with a hundred rounds of ammunition on each man. We did not harm them. Finding that the mob had left Millport with the cannon and was making their stop at the Methodist Campground, 25 miles distance. We returned and reported what we had seen and done, then Joseph and Hyrum and David Patten's hundred traveled swiftly through their campground where we found the cannon in a very mysterious way. It was buried near the house and was discovered by Stephen Hale, the butt of the cannon had been uncovered by an old sow rooting the dirt away. Our men hunted under the house for balls and powder. We found sacks of powder there; also a cart was provided to carry the cannon, and it was taken to Di-Ahman that same day that we left Di-Ahman in the morning.
In a few days after this, we returned to Far West and were kept constantly on the move, to watch the movement of the mob. About this time a mob collected west of Far West on Crooked River. As soon as the news was heard of their collecting many of our brethren with David Patten at their head went to surprise the mob. At this time David Patten was shot and some others killed and wounded. David Patten died. The next day after this the mob gathered at Hayn's [Hauns] mill and pounced on our brethren, killing 18 of them. Among these was a young man by the name of Oliver Cox, who was my wife's foster brother. When he was leaving home the girls cried and did not want him to go, but he said, "Never mind, girls, if I die, I will have my boots on, and I will not be shot in the back." And he was not, he was shot in the abdomen, and when he called for water, as he did not die immediately, the water would run out of the place where he was shot, and the mob drug him all over the shop for his boots as they were new ones.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.7 - p.8
He was thrown in the well with the rest that was killed there and covered with mother earth. There were several others wounded at this time. On this same day, Col. George M. Hinkle ordered 50 men to go and relieve, or guard them, but only our ten volunteered to go. We were determined to go and help our brethren. As we rode across the Square, the Prophet came out of George Robertson's house, where David Patten and O'Banion lay dead. He came out without hat or coat and stopped us and asked us where we were going. We told him we were going to Hayn's [Hauns] Mill to assist the brethren there. He told us that we were his men, and that we must not go. If we did go against his will there would not be one of us left to tell the tale tomorrow morning. He was very pale and said he, "Go put your horses up and help us to bury these two brethren." And we did just as he told us. This, my children, was a sad day for us as a people. And soon after this it was noised around that Governor Boggs was raising the militia of the state to come against us. Preparations were made by our people to defend themselves. We tore down many log houses and made breastworks of them. This was continually going on. Boggs' army appeared on Goose Creek with five thousand men. I was on guard most of the night, which was a little rainy and very dark. The captain of the guard told me he would go home to get something to eat and would return in a short time. But he did not return; he buried his own sword and did not appear among us any more. The next day, as we were all gathered at the breast-works, we seen four men approaching us from the army with a white flag. Two of us boys were ordered to go and meet them with a flag of truce, namely James H. Rollins and Chauncey L. Higbee. A considerable fuss was made by Hinkle to get a piece of white cloth. At length, one man tore off his shirt flap, and tied it on a stick, and we both started, armed with our pistols, and knives, myself carrying the flag. We went and met the men who were coming up from the army; they were to-wit, a Mr. Huggins, a Mr. Gingell and two of the Pomeroy brothers. They talked very saucey to us because we met them with arms, they having none. I told them that we did not know what kind of men we were to meet. They asked many questions regarding the people that were in Far West, Sister Adam Lightner and family, John Clemison's family to come out of town and they would kill all the rest. I told them that Mrs. Lightner was my sister, and she did not want to go and leave the town, and I said I would stand by her regardless of life or death. Soon after this the army came up near our breast-works which was west of the town, nearly half a mile. Here they formed themselves into a hollow square. Col. Hinkle had given up the town to General Clark, and others of the army, and we were ordered first to march out to the army and give up our arms. We marched out, playing with the band, Washington's death march. We marched into the hollow square. At this time I saw, as I turned around, two of the Jackson County mob whom I knew, namely Tom Wilson and William Baker. They jumped the barricade with the horses. I then threw my drum from my shoulders and gave it a kick which rolled it into the square and followed these men up into town, where I found them before John M. Burk's tavern talking with two women, namely Mrs. George Harris and my aunt Elizabeth Gilbert. I charged them severely for talking to such men as they were our enemies, and had come to destroy us as a people. They said to me, "Why Henry, we will not hurt them. We did not come to destroy the women; but wanted the men to be subject to the law." These men went riding over the town after this, while the brethren were giving up their arms in the square, and prisoners were being taken out of their number that were in the square. Joseph and Hyrum were taken prisoners and threatened by many of the officers of the army to be shot or hung, but General Donaphan and Atchison who were at the head of the Liberty Grays, said they would leave the army entirely if such proceedings were carried out. It was finally decided to spare their lives at that time, and they were taken with 40 or 50 of our brethren to the Richmond jail. Joseph and Hyrum, Lyman Wight, Darwin Chase, and some others were put in jail, there not being room for the others. They were put in the court house with a hundred men to guard themthat was inside the court house.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.8 - p.9
About this time the Lightner brothers came up with a wagon, a prairie schooner, and they took Clemison and family, and Adam Lightner and my sister, his wife, and family into this wagon. I was assisting them in loading their bedding and they plead with me to go with them, and take my young wife along, whom I had married on the previous September 4, 1838. They finally persuaded me to go and they secreted me in the bottom of the wagon lying with my face downward, and they threw bedding on top of me, and when they left I was in this position and remained thus until we had passed safely through the army, and for several miles distance, when I was relieved of this tiresome position. We camped some 15 miles distance from Far West that night in the open prairie, and made our beds on the ground, and when we awoke in the morning there was 2 or 3 inches of snow above us. We got our breakfast early and pressed on our journey towards Richmond, passing through that place without stopping. We arrived at Pomeroy ferry about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The women and children were taken in the yowl, and the wagon and team were taken in the ferry boat. The ice being very bad, floating down in great chunks. The boat with the women and children in were ready to start. The ferry-man wanted Mr. Lightner to get in the boat and leave me to go over another time. Mr. Lightner said to him, "Mr. Harwood, I want you to understand that when I go, he goes, and if he stays, I stay also." Consequently when the small boat came back, we both went, and arrived at the landing where the wagon was waiting to take us on the Abner Lightner's, near Lancaster, Missouri. I remained at Lightner's house some 5 days with the others that were with us, and as I was reading the family Bible along in the room, there came a knock at the door. I bid them come in. A man stepped in the room and asked if Mr. Rollins was there. I told him I was the man. His name was Raglin, whom I knew very well in Daviess County. He said to me, "Can you pay me for a horse that you bought of me." I told him that he knew very well that I had nothing; that my partner, Slade, in Far West, had all my property, and he (Slade) would pay it. At this time, two other men rapped at the door inquiring for me. As they entered they said they had been sent for me from Richmond. I asked them what they wanted me for, and if they had any papers. They said, "No, they were under martial law, and I was wanted for a witness against others. I asked them if they would allow me to enter another room to put on a clean shirt. The men watched outside. They then ordered me to get on to one of the horses behind one of them. It was snowing very hard at the time. We went to the river where the ferry boats were lying awaiting their return. We crossed the river among the flowing ice. The ferryman, Mr. Harwood, grinning at me, by whose means I was traced to Lightner's house. I then mounted as before behind one of the soldiers, and arriving at Richmond court house, when General Clark appeared at the door, the men saying, "here is the man you sent us for." He said, "You get down off the horse, and go in the bull pen where sure enough there I found some 40 or 50 of our brethren, such as Bishop Partridge, Isaac Morley, James and Isaac Allred, and many others that I will not mention here, that were old men, and many of my former 10.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.9 - p.10
I was called the next morning when court had convened and the state prosecutor read the charges which were treason, murder, arson, larceny, burglary. He asked me if I was guilty of any of these. I told him, "No, sir, I am not guilty of none of them." About 11 o'clock the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum were brought into the court department which was situated on the same floor where we were kept. A pole was stretched across to keep us back from Judge King and his court. I stood, close to the pole, at the back of Joseph and Hyrum, and the lawyers Donaphan and Atchison. A man was brought in as witness against me, by the name of Odell, who testified that I had burned his house. I spoke openly, as I stood behind Joseph and Hyrum, that he was a curly headed liar. Joseph turned his head toward me and said, "Shaw, Henry, don't say anything." This saying caused some consternation in the court room. What was done about it, I don't remember. We were kept prisoners for several weeks. At last it was agreed that we could bail each other out, one of the brethren bailing another. Sometimes one would go bail for three or four of the brethren until they were all bailed out but myself. Isaac Allred having agreed to bail me out previous to this, but did not. I got one of the guards to go with me to find him. I asked him about it and he said he couldn't as he had already bailed out four or five of the men. I was then taken back and put under guard until evening. Someone came and told me that my young wife had come to see me, so I was allowed to go and see her, and if any one appeared as an angel, she sure did to me. She had ridden on a horse from Lexington, 35 miles. She was dressed in a black silk dress and looked very beautiful. And the warden said to her, and took the name of the Lord, and said, if as beautiful women as you are has a husband in jail you sure shall see him. She had been left at Lightners among strangers all this time. Donaphan and Atchison, the lawyers, took me to Gudgels Hotel to see her. They said I should stay there with my wife that night. They put us in room 6 by 8 with 2 guards inside the room with their heads against the door. I was taken very sick in the night and my wife was obliged to relieve my pain. The guard was determined to not let her go out, when my brother-in-law, Mr. Carr, said, "O let her go." He was one of the mob. The next morning at breakfast they set me and my wife at the head of the table. All eyes were turned upon us. About 10 o'clock in the day I succeeded in obtaining bail. My bail was fixed for all these crimes and I was signed by the notorious Beaugard Methodist preacher, Nathaniel Carr, my brother-in-law. Soon after this was settled, I obtained a horse, saddle, and bridle, and started with my wife on the same horse for Far West, 36 miles distance. It was quite cold, and we had to ride and run alternately to get warm until we arrived, wearied at Far West in the night safely. We had not been home long, Beaugard appeared in Far West and exacted my step-father's hotel, my father-in-law's hundred acres of land, and 40 acres of my own land, at least a thousand dollars worth of other property for security for the five hundred dollars for my bail, or he would take me back to prison. Some of the land that he wanted lay 3 miles from Haun's Mill. I had not heard whether my wife's father would consent to Beaurgard's requirements or not.
James Rollins Autobiography, BYU, p.10 - p.11
About this time, my wife's brother, William Walker, brought a horse, saddle, and bridle and portmanteau, and told me to take the horse and skip. Beaugard, that evening, took me up stairs and told me if I didn't produce those men to go my security the next day, he would take me back to prison. That night I saddled up the horse and mother gave me $16 to start with. C. L. Higbee and myself started together. The young people of Far West had gathered at a house half a mile out of town to bid us good-bye. We left them and rode 25 miles that night and came to a deserted house. After feeding our horses some corn that was in the crib, we laid down and remained there until daylight and pressed on our journey, and at sunset that day we crossed the mouth of the Grand River, 100 miles from Far West, when we put up at a house on the south side of Grand River, where we stayed all night. Next morning we started on our journey towards Quincy. We stopped again that night and put up at a hotel, when we learned that the Mississippi River was full of ice, and were not able to cross. A great many of our people were there. C L. Higbee parted with me here. This is the fifth day of our journey. I followed down the river alone obtained a crossing down the river at Clarksville, and the same day I crossed the Illinois River 20 miles from the city of Alton. I crossed that river and got to Alton at 9 o'clock that night having rode the same horse 350 miles in 5 days.
I found my brother-in-law there. I found a horse and a resting place. The next day I went with my brother-in-law to lower Alton where I found Chapman Duncan, a clerk in the American Hotel, where I was taken with the bilious colic which was very severe, my brother-in-law and another man took me to upper Alton where I had the attention that a family and doctor were able to give. I was several days in a very bad condition, but hearing about this time that Beauguard was in pursuit of me I saddled my horse and rode some 60 miles into Magovin Co., when I stopped to rest my horse and went to making rails for a man by the name of Hains. He was a young married man with one child who had come there from Kentucky. He had bought two hundred acres of land which lay next to a skirt of timber, where I made the rails. I worked there for several days and telling the people that I was on my way to Lewisville, Kentucky where I had a sister and calling myself James Henry. On the last day I had worked for them, which was Saturday, this day I had cut a large burr oak tree. I made 40 rails of one half of the cut-cut, I then ate my lunch and layed down on the flat side of the other half of the oak and I fell asleep and while lying there I received the plain audible words saying, "your wife Eveline is in Alton, if you want to see her, hurry!" I sprang from the log to my feet and looked all around expecting to see someone near by me, but to my great surprise I saw no one. I immediately gathered up my ax and dinner bucket and started for the house, which was some half or 3/4 mile distance, when I arrived at the house, the lady saw I was very pale and asked me if I was sick. I said I did not feel very well and I thought I would go on my way in the morning towards Louisville, Kentucky. She replied, "I would like you to stay with us. We don't want you to go." Her husband did not come until evening. I was very uneasy and could hardly content myself, until Mr. Hains came. I told him my determination to move on the next day which was Sunday. He tried to prevail on me to stay and offered me so many great inducements to stay, but it was of no avail. The next morning after settling up with me and gave me the money he owed me, it was a very bad morning, snowing and covered the way so I could not see the road, and it was dangerous to cross the prairies.
I went that day and settled up for the keep of my horse and returned and stayed that night with Mr. Haines, the next morning, Monday, was clear and nice. The wind having cleared the road making it easier to travel, so I then started and rode across the prairie 18 miles and came to a small town and stopped and secured my horse to a rock outside of a small grocery. On the platform stood a man of medium build. Said he, "I have been waiting for you to come. Come in and warm." I told him I was very chilly. I went over to the stove which was situated in the back of the room. After warming for a short time, I went to the door to see if my horse was all right. This man followed me as I went to the door. He then asked me if I would take something to drink. I said, no, I never drank anything but if he had some sweet montage wine, which the bartender said he had, I went to the bar with the strange man and drank a small glass of the wine and he said nothing. I went to the door again to see to my horse and he followed me again. I then went to the door again to see to my horse and he followed me again. I then went back to the stove and he said he wanted me to go home with him. I said it was impossible for me to go and he said, "I know you are in a hurry." I then went to the door again but he did not follow me this time so I shut the door and was in my saddle and off in a great speed. This man seemed a very mysterious man. I hardly knew how to take him or what he meant in his curious actions. I meditated on my journey considerable about the strange man. He was a very fine looking, dark-complected man and seemed very interested in me. However, I wended on my tiresome journey, very anxious to arrive at a place to where I was so eager to stop thinking I might find a resting place for a while for I was worn out for sleep and worry
While riding on my journey that day, I met a boy at Wood River Bridge, one mile from Alton, I quickly inquired of him, if my wife was in Alton. He said, "Yes, she is very bad at her brother's John Walker's. If you want to see her alive, hurry." The same words that was said to me when I lay asleep on the log. I surely did hurry my jaded horse and landed on the doorstep of John Walker's house. There I found my warning true in every sense as the doctor and women were just putting my wife in bed as I arrived. She was expected to die for days. Previous to this in a few days after my return she began to recover, when she was well enough, I rented a house and my family and Wm. Walker's family moved together into the house which I had rented. Soon after this, Adam Lightner, my brother-in-law and wife returned from Louisville, Kentucky and then they lived in the same house, also, it being a very large house. We all remained there during the summer season. I then moved to Clifftony miles above Alton where we found a house empty, large enough for 3 or 4 families to live in. We here decided to build a large flat boat for carrying wood to Alton and St. Lewis, this boat we constructed during the winter. Previous to this we hired a smaller boat and loaded it with sugar, maple for the Alton mill. As we arrived with the boat near the mill we endeavored to land the boat and fasten it to the shore, the boat in turning dipped water. I took the rope and swam to the shore, fastened it. In coming around she filled with water and sunk. The wood above the gunels of the boat was taken off by the current and floated down the river. We succeeded in raising the boat and emptied it of its contents that remained and we took the boat and tied it that night to the place where we had loaded it in the morning.
After resting a few days we went on to our large boat which we finished in spring and loaded the boat with wood for St. Louis. The trip was made successfully. We paid 20 dollars to steam boat in St. Louis to toe it up to our landing place. After making another trip to St. Louis, I disposed with my share of the boat to my other partners and myself and wife went to Alton and boarded the streamer "Austria" and set sail for Mont Rose in Iowa opposite Nauvoo, staying there overnight at Isaac Bebee's. The next morning started out afoot, myself and wife, being very anxious to get home to my stepfather's John M. Burks, which was 9 miles from Mont Rose, West, being a fatiguing journey for my wife to walk. She, of course, was very tired when we arrived at my mother's house. We remained there and assisted my stepfather to open up a large farm, which we planted with corn, squash and melons and produced a large crop of each. Father Burke and my mother in the spring following, moved to Nauvoo. I soon after their departure received a letter written by Wm. Clayton and signed by Joseph Smith, the Prophet, the contents of which was that I should come to Nauvoo immediately. I, therefore, went the next day and asked Joseph what he wanted of me. He inquired what I had in Iowa. I told him I had a few effects. He said for me to go back and arrange my things over there, dispose of them and move to Nauvoo, that he wanted me there. I did as he advised me and moved to Nauvoo, lived in with my mother for a short time where my eldest daughter was born. My wife had been very sick several weeks previous to the birth of the child and her life was despaired of and at the same time my little son was very low with measles and canker. They were being doctored by Tom Anisn, doctor from Warsaw. We remained in the house for four weeks previous to this time. I asked Joseph to call if possible and see my wife for she was very sick.
He came and administered to her and our little boy, then he asked the doctor, who was present, what he had done for my wife and the doctor said he had given such medicine for her cough. Joseph said, "that kind of medicine will do her no good." He said to my mother, "you give her a teaspoonful of consecrated oil with two drops of lobelia and increase the lobelia until her cough is perfectly loose and she will get well, and take no more of doctor's medicine." The doctor then left for his home at Warsaw and my wife soon began to rally and gain strength and in a very short time after was delivered which was the third child born. The first, a boy Horace Alenon, died at Clifton above Alton. The next, a son, John Henry, was born in Iowa and the daughter, Mary Amelia, born in Nauvoo, December 27th, 1843. Soon after this I went to Joseph where he resided down on the flats in a mansion, and asked him what he desired me to do. He said, "you come down about 10 o'clock on Monday morning about the 28th," which I did. I went with him to his store and he asked Newell K. Whitney if he had any work for me to do. He replied, nothing that he knew of then, that he had sufficient help at present. Joseph said to me, "I have work for you" and he took me through in the back of the store and showed me about the cords of hickory wood. He asked me if I were a good hand with the axe, I laughed and said, "well, some little." He said the clerks here were too shiftless to cut their own wood. I asked him if he had a sharp ax. He turned to Lorin Walker and said, "Get the ax for him. I want him to chop up this wood," which I did and piled it up the same day. The next day he came to the store and unbarred the outside cellar door and he would unlock it from the outside. When the doors were opened, he asked me if I thought I could straighten up things and I told him I would try and see what I could do.
He was pleased with the change I had made with the appearance of the cellar. Next day early in the morning Judge Cleveland brought a carload of hogs. Joseph asked me if I could cut them up and salt them. He said, "I want it done just as my wife Emma tells you." She came in the cellar soon after and told me to cut out the bones and salt them in the barrels after taking all the bones out of them and then put brine and then as much molasses to each barrel and after laying for a certain length of time, take them out and hang them up in the carriage house and smoke them. I said I was afraid as it was getting quite warm in the day, that their being sweet the flies would spoil them. She says "fix them as I want it done, if they all spoil" and they did most all of them spoil.
On or about this time Lyman White and Amsas Lyman and Henry G. Sherwood came up the river from the south with 25 barrels of Orleans sugar and several hogsets of the same and several barrels of molasses and about this time Edward Hunter also came with a large supply of dry goods from Philadelphia which he unloaded at his own house, where he stored them for a few days that he might select some articles for his own use before he sent them to Joseph's store. In the meantime Joseph told me to harness up his old Charlie to the buggy and take Brother Hunter around to view the city and to see Joseph's farm and to answer all the questions he might ask as near as possible. This I endeavored to do with pleasure and seemed to please Brother Hunter very much. He told Joseph when he sent for the goods to send me, which I took very much pleasure in doing. The Supt. of the store, Mr. Whitney and two clerks were marking and setting prices on the goods for several days. At this time a good deal of work was being done on the Temple which the workmen received orders for their labor on the store.
It was very much crowded for two or three days and as I stood in the counting room door looking at faces in the house, there were a great many very familiar with me and they came to me as they were waiting for their pay, asked me if I could wait on them. Joseph, being in the store at the time, said to me, "Why don't you wait on these people." I told him when I was ordered I would do so with pleasure. He then said, "Go and wait on them." I then went to work behind the counter on the grocery side and payed off many orders this day and the next, the store being crowded constantly and at least 50 to 100 people to be waited on from morning until night and being very close with so many present was very oppressive to us all.
When Joseph came in and saw us looking tired and pale, he told us to shut up the store that night and not open again for two or three days, which we did until we got rested. Then opened again for business. A few weeks after this time Joseph and Emma went to Rock Island up the Mississippi to visit their relations. While there the Sheriff of Jackson County came over the river to take him back to Jackson County but the Sheriff was remonstrated against by the people and Joseph would not be taken but said if the Sheriff would go with him to Nauvoo and there be tried. Joseph employed up there before starting back a criminal lawyer by the name of Walker who was a Whig candidate for state representative and he would defend him if Joseph would vote for him, which Joseph said he would do. When the people of Nauvoo heard of Joseph's troubles many of them started up the river to escort Joseph home that no accident should befall him. They met him coming returning with a candidate by the name of Hague of the Democrat party who was a candidate for the same office. A mass meeting was called on the hill west of the Temple by Joseph and when the people were gathered speeches were made by both parties. When Joseph arose to speak he told the people he had promised to vote for Walker and he was going to do so. Said it was a free country and they could vote as they pleased. After this the municipal court was called and Joseph cleared the accusations they had against him and the sheriff went home disappointed and when the election came off, the majority of votes were cast for Hague and he was elected as near as I can remember. Soon after this time Joseph wrote the key to his policy on the government of the United States and declared himself a candidate for president of the United States.
In a short time after this declaration trouble began and kept brewing until the charter of Nauvoo and the dispensation of the Masonic lodge were taken away and Tom Sharp of Warsaw, Signal Paper was filled with all kinds of rubbish and slander against the prophet and our people. Houses, barns and stocks were being burned by the mob which was in the Morley settlement south of Nauvoo and southeast of Warsaw. This burning of houses continued for some time. Previous to the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother at Carthage Jail before the Charter was taken from Nauvoo and apostates printed in the Nauvoo paper called the Exposition, which the city council and Mayor declared to be a menace and should be removed which order was carried out the next day and the press and type were removed which caused a great commotion in the country. The work of the mob was egged on by the apostates until Governor Ford's army gathered in Carthage. When Joseph and Hyrum were taken prisoners, I saw the prophet in his military costume standing in the frame building speaking to the people that were gathered around, which was quite numerous, this was the day before he was taken to Carthage. When Joseph and Hyrum, Dr. Richards and John Taylor were put in the Carthage jail, Governor Ford pledged himself and the state that they should not be harmed and placed the Carthage guard them and he, the governor, would go to Nauvoo, but his scheme was well planned. While in Nauvoo the Carthage guard withdrew and a posse of murders with blackened faces came from a different direction and stormed the jail and commenced shooting through a small opening in the door; when they shot and killed Hyrum Smith and wounded Brother John Taylor, Joseph ran to the window when he was shot and fell out of the window near the well curb and was gathered up by the mob and set up by the well curb when one of the murderers drew a long knife and stepped up to Joseph to severe his head from his body, when, to their great surprise, a streak of light came from heaven and struck this man and knocked him back and stayed his hand.
The history of this transaction of their assassination is more minutely described in the Church history of this terrible massacre than I am able to write at this time.
Their bodies were brought into Nauvoo and there they lay in state at the Mansion house and were viewed by thousands of the saints who were in deep mourning for their Prophet and Patriarch. The mob and apostates thought if they were killed it would put a stop to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but, to their surprise and chagrin, the Lord raised up other men to look after his people and they have grown and increased every since that time.
I will now go back to the transaction between myself and Joseph. During the spring and summer of 1844 previous to his death he told me to assist in carrying water and other commodities to the room above the store which I did and afterwards found out it was to give endowments to some of the brethren. A few days after this as I was alone in the store and was standing outside of the counter, Joseph came in with his cane in his hand and stepped directly opposite of me on the other side and eyed me for a moment, then he walked across to where I stood and raised his right leg and layed it on my left shoulder. He then took it down and walked back to his first position when he said, "I thought to break you down with the heft of my leg - but you are stiffer than I thought you was." He then asked me what I was studying about. I said not much of anything. He then told me he knew what I was thinking about. This was about the first of May. While I was in the store and no one being in there, N. K. Whitney came in and said Joseph wanted me to come up the river near the old printing office. I went, supposing he would send me somewhere of an errand, as he sometimes did. When I arrived, I saw that he had been baptizing several individuals. He said to me on my arrival, "Do you remember, I promised to baptize you at Independence, Mo." Said He, "I want to fulfill that promise now if you are willing;" I said "yes, I was very willing." He then took me in the river and baptized me after which I took a seat on a rock and he confirmed me and placed many blessings on my head and sealing such as I have learned the meaning of since in the Temple of the Lord. Some two months after this his store was closed for good. I asked him one day what he wanted me to do. He said, "go and work on the Temple." I moved to a house near Bishop Miller's and went to a stone shop and endeavored to obtain work and learn the stone cutting trade. I went to Dan & Andrew Cahoon. They said to me, if I would work with them six months that they would learn me the trade. I asked them if they thought I could support my family and work for them six months, about this time I went to Harry Standley a brother-in-law to the Cahoon Boys. He said to come to him in the morrow and he then could tell what he could do. I called the next morning and he said he had concluded if I would work with him for six months he would allow me $12.00 for the first month and raise my wages $5 every month for three months after the first and 30 dollars a month for the last two months. I accepted of his proposition, he agreeing to furnish me with provisions if he had to divide his portion, which he drew from the tithing office. I commenced work the next day and cut with Mr. Standley's help one of the diamond arch stones which counted to him $5.00 when finished. This was my first work in the stone shop.
I soon became so I could cut one of these arch stones without help. The Cahoon boys about this time made some little stir about Stanley furnishing me provisions and complained to their father about it and so much so they both said to Stanley to not let me have any more provisions. This caused Brother Plyer, the main workman on the wall of the Temple and Williams Wick, the arch. Architect to inquire into the matter of Father Cuttler and when Father Cuttler said to them and he desires some provisions although it may be little, "I will divide the last pound with you." I then told Stanley the decision and he said, "here are the tools, take them and go to work for yourself and then you can't be denied provisions." Stanley said, "you can have all the pay for your work yourself." After this I could do any work as the pilaster or arch. work that was to be done and after two months, Benjamin Mitchel came to me to rough out a cap stone which he said he would give me $50 which I did for him and one for Charles Lambert and another for a stone cutter from Quincy. One month after this, Brother Player and the architect came to me and told me to take one of the capital stones and dress it. I told them I didn't think I was capable of cutting one of these stones, but they persuaded me to try it and they would help me out. I did so with reluctance but accomplished this task and it was raised on the northeast corner of the Temple wall being the last capital stone raised on the wall. I then done other work that was to be done except work on the oxen which I declined to do. They were cut out of stone by the expert hands and which were to be placed around the baptismal font, which was entirely built of cut stone. This Temple, Joseph said, must be built and finished for endowments and for work in five years or the Lord would reject them and their dead. The upper part of the building was finished and part of the lower within the specified time. Much work was done in the upper part of the building as soon as accepted of the Lord, such as giving endowments and sealings. When I left the stone shop I went to work laying stone and brick for other people, cutting doors and window sills and caps. Soon after this all building was stopped on account of trouble by the mob and the people called Mormons were told by Brigham Young to fit themselves up for their exit west across the Mississippi River. My stepfather, John M. Burk, and son with myself went to work to get timber for wagons such as fellers spikes and hubs for the wheels of three wagons, the first one finished entirely we sold to Orson Hyde for $75.00 in gold. It was determined by us that I should go to Quincy, Illinois, with the money and buy iron to finish up the other two wagons and they worked hard in my absence that when I returned with the iron they could soon finish the other two. My stepfather and son having one and me the other. During the winter of 1845 and 1846 I went to Hannibal, Mo. with Frank Cuttler each with a team to search for goods that were landed by steamer. Somewhere below Quincy we received information while there that the goods were landed at Hannibal, Mo. across the river and were landed there for Amos Davis, a merchant of Nauvoo because of the great flow of ice in the Mississippi River when we arrived opposite Hannibal the river was frozen entirely over sufficient to bear wagons very heavily loaded. We crossed the river which appeared to be solid, loaded our wagons with the goods and returned safely back to the other side. When we arrived at Nauvoo, we unloaded and found that many of the goods were much needed by the people. Davis retained me for a few days to clerk in his store and then he sent me and Wm. Empy to St. Louis for more goods which was necessary for the people to have both in the Temple and on their journey west. On our return Davis again retained me in the store. Our trip was satisfactory. I helped him for a few days.
They were giving endowments in the Temple at Nauvoo and on the day of the last work on the Temple myself and wife went through with a great throng of people and received our endowments and was sealed for time and all eternity. This was on the 3rd day of February 1846. I was told the next day to take my wagon and team across the river with some of the twelve's family which I did and cross the river on the ice to the Iowa side and at the same time all the twelve crossed the river to Montrose. My wagon and team and contents went out to Sidney Lambers, a few miles distant west and remained there three or four days until brother Tanner and family were also ready to go with us to Sugar Creek where the Twelve were gathered with many others. We remained here for a few days during which time a violent wind and snowstorm came up on us in the night. The Guard could keep no fire and it was intensely cold for the women and children and also for the men on guard and teams tied to wagons and trees. A few days after this we started on our western journey and crossing the Des Moines River which we accomplished in two days after starting. Much flour was bought in Farming before crossing the river and we persuaded our journey until we came to Richard's some point, then it commenced raining and continued for many days and nights. We there got dry bark and layed from the wagons to the fire, which made a path for the women to walk on in order to cook their food. About this time Brigham Young sent word to me. I must return to Nauvoo with my teams and bring my own family which I had left all this time in Nauvoo and for me to come as soon as possible. Alexander McCray accompanied me back. We passed through Farmington and after crossing the Des Moines River we camped in the wood outside of the town. Then at night I went to see my sister Caroline who lived in this place. This was the last time I ever seen her. I returned to my wagon and myself and McCray went to bed. In the morning early I went to feed my horses in my feed box, as I approached my animals one of them was frightened and pulled so hard on the rope until he broke his neck but having an extra animal I crossed the Mississippi that day and went to trade my horses for oxen. I succeeded after much trouble in obtaining three yokes of young oxen. I then took my family and effects and found Horace Alexander and family with no team to draw their wagon. Furnished my best yoke of oxen to draw their wagon and family and we pursued our journey toward Council Bluffs with Hector Craight, their father and others.
A few days after arriving at Council Bluffs, it was noised about that we must give up 500 of our men to go to Mexico. Brigham Young and the Council of the Twelve decided that they would raise the number if possible. Col. Cane and Capt. Allen were the persons making this requirements for the government. Col. Cane was a bright young man, made speeches to the people gathered there and volunteers were called for by Brigham Young and others of the Twelve until the number amounted to the number they required. Cane and Allen said the government would give us the liberty to cross......build for ourselves in the Indian territory a place for the winter quarters of our people. We crossed the river swimming our cattle across which was a very perilous job but we finally succeeded without the loss of a single animal. We went across the cold springs on the other side a mile or so from the crossing of the river. We remained there on a ridge until a suitable place was found. We camped on this ridge in a spring facing the south. A council was soon held at this place, when it was determined for all the men that were able to go to cutting hay and stocking it up for winter use, which we accomplished in due time. After this time it was decided to all move to Winter Quarters that was the place picked out by the President, Brigham Young, and Council and we moved immediately and commenced to build houses and dugouts in the side hill. I went with the company up the river some few miles and cut rafted cottonwood logs down to Winter Quarters. I came very near getting my leg taken off by the raft in landing it. I sprang from the raft with the rope to fasten and stop it. As I jumped for the shore, the bank gave way from under my feet just as the raft struck the bank, but saved myself and succeeded in stopping it by a turn around a tree which was from the other bank. It was a very large raft of timber which made several houses, with one for myself. I also cut logs and built a house for the wife and family of my brother-in-law Horace Alexander who had gone as one of the 500 that was called to Mexico in the Battalion and they left in my charge during the winter of 1846. This wife gave birth to a child after which she had what the doctor called the black leg. She died and was buried in the hill. In a week or so her infant died and we carried it and opened the mother's grave and placed it's little coffin on it's mother's.
We soon after, according to orders, began cutting timbers to build a stockade for our fort before the pioneers should start in the spring for the West. This was to protect the camp from the Omahavo Indians and other tribes that were west of us. The Omahavos and the Sioux were at war with each other at this time. A great many Indians that were wounded would pass by us in a battle with Sioux up the river. In the spring after the Pioneers left we plowed and planted corn, squash, melons and etc. This was the year of 1847. Our farms raised a large crop of each. In the fall late, teams and wagons were sent back for the purpose of furnishing those that had none, that they might pursue their journey west. It was decided that these oxen should be taken up the river and herded in the rush bottoms some 25 miles up the river. John S. Gleason and myself took them and our families and herded the cattle in the rush beds. If we would do this, we should have teams to draw our wagons in the spring westward, which we did. There were other cattle, those that were sent back from the west were driven up there also. When the company started from Winter Quarters to cross the plains, Brigham Young being the leader of the companies, he started ahead with his company and then Amasa Lyman's Co. with a hundred wagons, I being in Masa's Co. then Dr. Richard's Co. which was mostly made up of English emigrants with Joseph Horn as captain of a hundred. The second day out we camped on the Little Horn river where we stayed two or three days, then we pursued our journey to Loopfork on the Platee River, where we crossed on the other side, which was very difficult to cross. Dr. Richards and Co. arrived on the other side we had left when it was determined to help with our lead oxen to cross them over on the same side we are, which we accomplished that day. No accident happened. We remained there the next day or two then starting the next morning early for the Main Platte River 20 miles distant and when we arrived there, both Amasa Lyman and Dr. Richards were taken very sick. We remained there 2 days and I went out and killed 4 antelope on the Sunday while we layed over. Our next move was up the Platte River towards Fort Laramie. We stopped 2 or 3 days to hunt Buffalo, as they were quite numerous before reaching Laramie. We supplied ourselves with meat, killing buffalo myself that day and another that Bro. Flake laid down. We were obliged to shoot two bulls in order to get the cow that he had killed as we were skinning this cow, another cow had made its appearance, coming down a ravine near us. I took aim and shot it. It turned and went up the bluff, about this time Brother Horn come to us and said their company had not killed anything. We told him to take the loins and rump and as much more as he wanted out of the two bulls and go upon the bluff and he would find a cow that he might have for his company, which he did and found it to be very fat. The next day we pressed on our journey towards Laramie. We came to an Indian village. There were a great many tents made of tanned buffalo hides. They impeded our progress and stopped our train by squatting in the road. They demanded pay for the water and grass of our captain and the chief answered we want you to give us flour, sugar, coffee, powder and lead. The Captains of each ten were set to work to get from the wagons these articles. The Chief, spreading his large buffalo robe on the ground, on which the contributions were emptied. We asked him if he was satisfied, he said "yes, if you will give me a little more powder." He was told we did not have any more to spare. The Indians then removed the contents of the buffalo skins and said we could pass on our journey. We were not troubled any more until we reached Fort Laramie, where we stopped our train. There were many Indians there with the French who kept the Fort. The Frenchman told us not to sell the Indians any whiskey which of course we did not do, but to sell it to him if we had any and they would pay us a big price and that those had it to sell sold it to the French for $1.00 a pint cup full. Banters were out by the Indians for a horse race and Nathan Canner ran his horse with the Indians and beat him. They wanted to give him a larger horse, which Brother Tanner needed and the trade was made.
About this time, while our people were trading for buffalo skins, the Indian Chief was discovered to be drunk and seemed to be very mad as he walked through with tomahawk in hand. He cut many gashes through the buffalo skins which hung on the banesters. He was watched by his squaws and two or three Frenchmen and was taken and bound and was laid away. We then pursued our journey after obtaining many buffalo skins. Until we came to the three crossings of Sweetwater, where we camped for two or three days for the women to wash. We killed quite a number of mountain sheep and one buffalo. We pressed on our journey up Sweetwater and while traveling up the stream, I killed 20 antelope and eleven of their kids. I took in to Salt Lake and tanned them.
When we came to Pacific Springs we here camped for one day. The next day we started for Green River which we crossed safely, by raising our wagons, beds, with blocks to keep the water from running into them, then we pursued our way to Ward Bear River and crossing this river we again raised our wagons, box and crossed with accident. Then we wended our way cross the mountains and arrived in Salt Lake about the first of October, being five months on the road from the time we left Winter Quarters until we arrived in Slt Lake. All this I have written from memory, the records of our travels on the way which I had kept, I delivered to our Captain was lost and could not be found and at this writing I am 80 years and six months of age. Many incidents of our travels I have not heard related, such as losing many of our cattle.
One evening when we were cooking our supper over the campfire, baking bread in the bake ovens, a number of Indians surrounded our campfire and asked for bread and as soon as it was baked, the Indians would grab it from the bake ovens and were quite fierce and while they were all around an old Indian stole our oldest son by catching hold of him and putting him under his blanket and then soon mounting his horse, rode away with John Henry. We soon missed him and several of the men and myself mounted our horses and away we went, overtook the old Indian and my son, about 7 years old at that time. We told the Indians we wanted the boy and the little boy was almost smothered to death by being held so tight so not to cry. The Indian said I was just fooling. My wife was so frightened and also all the camp, but we felt to thank our Heavenly Father for his recovery, and him unharmed and on this trip our oldest daughter Mary, only five years old fell and the wheel of the wagon ran over her leg and caused a dreadful scar, which she carried to her grave and the death of Sidney Tanner's little boy who fell from the wagon tongue and was instantly killed by the wagon running over his neck. He was buried by the road the same day. Then the company journeyed on toward Salt Lake. After we arrived there, I moved my wagon into the old Fort, also that of Horace Alexander's children. Their mother died at Winter Quarters after their father had been called with the Mormon Battalion. The mother died in childbirth and the father not knowing of her death and when hearing of the company coming he went out to meet his wife and family and did not know of her death until he reached the wagon where his children were being taken care of by their grandmother, Nancy Walker, and there he was told by Grandma the sad story of his wife's death. Mother and baby buried in the same grave. No one can tell the heart rending scene of the father and children. I soon obtained a room where we lived through the winter in the Spring I plowed and planted about five acres of wheat and corn and some vegetable seeds.
This was located about one mile and a half south of the Old Fort, but water being very scarce that season did not raise much of a crop. In October of 1849 President Young called several missionaries to the Sandwich Islands and George Q. Cannon being one of them. Charles C. Rich and myself, and a number of others, accompanied them as far as California. George Q. Cannon was then about 20 years old. When we arrived at Provo from Cottonwood where we stayed for a few days waiting for General Rich, during this time we organized James Flake as captain, which was not altogether satisfactory to General Rich, at about this time a company of men with pack animals and a great many others from New York joined us here. Their captain was a Mr. Smith. They went with us and we followed the road by Captain Trust, who had agreed in Salt Lake for $1,000.00 to lead them through to California by the Spanish trail, which he had traveled previous to this. We overtook them at a place called Minersville on the Beaver River, where they were camped. Captain Hunt spent all the day before we arrived searching water places for a nearer route to the Antelope Springs. He returned not finding any.
Very much exhausted then, our companies together turned our horses out to graze. One man of the New York Company by the name of Blodgett had a very fine horse which he turned out in the evening with our horses. The next morning when he found his horse, his tail and mane was shaved closely. We remained here one day. Brother Addison Pratt, and those that were with him with a wagon, made pack saddles out of a wagon and packed their horses and went with us. As we turned up the river and across the mountain to a place called then Little Salt Lake. It is now called Parowan. We stopped on Little Creek 2 or 3 days, there being excellent feed for our animals. At that place we then traveled on to Summit Creek, where we layed over one day. I was here taken very sick with the flu. I went up the stream about 1/4 of a mile and laid there alone for some time. Brother Richards and another one of our brethren made a search missing one from the camp. They found me lying under the bushes. They administered to me and then took me back to camp. One of the men in the New York Company had some Cholery medicine he had brought with him. He gave me some which helped me. After taking two or three doses I was able to start out the next morning. We then followed the Spanish trail to Pinto Creek. There a consultation was held and it was determined that we should leave and travel directly west, through the mountains for the Mary Posa mines. Thinking to cut off a great deal of travel by going that way. We found our way in pieces, by mountains and gulches. At one place in the mountains we could see a stream and open country just beyond.
Our mules and other animals slid down the mountains to a small hollow or valley, when we were down on this flat place we built large fires and prospected our route through the short canyon which we found impossible for our animals. There came on at this time a rain and snow storm, which caused our animals to shiver with cold. The mules warmed themselves by the fire like men.
We found that we were caught as it were in a trap and we could not go back the same way we came down in this little basin. We found by typing ropes together we could assist the pack mules to climb up the point of the mountain which led down the Gorge. After the first mule had got to the top, others followed without help. When all was over, we were in summer. No frost had appeared as yet. We camped on this very creek and George Q. Cannon host his horse that night by its falling off the bank of the creek and was found dead the next morning. We stayed there the next day, then we continued our journey over a very rough country without water or grass. We traveled that day, 30 miles or more and camped near an Indian cornfield which was in the night, and the next morning our animals were missing and were found at the place where we started from, about 5 miles distance from where we camped. We started from this point, where the animals returned. We then went on 36 miles that day, night, and found not water and feed for our animals. We tied up our animals that night and started out bright and early the next morning to try to find water. Brother Rich took the lead and Captain Smith and myself were sent to prospect for grass and water. We discovered a Mt. Summit some 3 miles distant, while on this Mt. I discovered a small cloud rising in the southwest. I said to Captain Smith, "it is going to rain." He answered and said, "why it hasn't rained here since Noah's flood." I said to him we must get down from here to our mules. As we saw the train going in the same direction that we wished, by the time that we arrived to where our mules were, they being tied at the foot of the mountain, it began to rain very hard, our hats both being alike, we turned them up so as to catch the water in them and when the water was gathered sufficient for a swallow, we drank, he drank it off and I also gave him what was on my hat. All the water that gathered in the holes in the rocks he would lick out like a dog, until he got sufficient to quench his thirst.
By the time that we arrived at the train, it was pouring rain and we stopped and scooped small holes that was filled with water and our animals got sufficient water to drink, being 36 hours without water and we would have perished if it had not been for this rain at this time. We pulled up dead Jawshaways and made a great fire to dry our blankets. Some of the men dug holes under a bank that was nearby and slept in them at night. It ceased raining so we were able to dry our blankets and ourselves by these fires the next day. We passed over the place we had seen the day before. Here we found a small spring and we camped at this place and by constant labor we got water for our animals. It was at this place the our company determined to take another course to the left. We also made it known to Cap. Smith and his company that we would travel no more this direction but would take our own course. The other company begging us not to go that way, but to go with them west, but we did not think so and when we started from this point, we traveled in a south-easterly direction and when about 30 miles from where we started from we came to a small lake of water. We had left the other company behind us. Here our mules drank sufficient water to satisfy them. We filled what vessels we had and passed on.
We could see a high Mt. or ridge which we would have to pass over if we kept on. As we came to the foot of the Mr. we discovered on the rocks many figures of animals engraved on the high rock. We also discovered an open path through the mountains. We We entered therein and found no obstruction to hinder our passing. We came in passing through a large group of arrows shot into a crevice by the Indians directly above about one hundred ft. They must of accomplished this hence it is called today, arrow canyon. This canyon is just wide enough for a wagon road and is about 3 miles in length as near as I can recollect.
As we came to the east end of this canyon, we saw many foot prints of children and could hear them playing, but could see no one. As we came out, we traveled and camped that night several miles from there east. The next morning we traveled on our course and camped again that night and the following morning early, some of our party discovered below us two or 3 miles wagons and smoke. We throwed on our packs as soon as possible and discovered when we arrived there Capt. Hunt with seven wagons of the company which he left Salt Lake with. The rest following our trail that we left from Pinto Creek, Utah. They were afterwards lost in Death Valley.
We were much rejoiced to find Capt. Hunt and wagons, there which was at the old trail crossing at Muddy. We bought flour off a man by the name of Dalleas, at 22¢ per lb. which was a little sour, but we managed to eat it, as we had lived on very short rations for several days before this. We also bought an ox and killed and jerked it, for our future travels. At this place our mules were badly alkalied. From this point where we stayed 2 or 3 days we proceeded to cross the desert to the Vegas, 40 miles at which we arrived very late in the night. Our mules continued breying when we were 3 or 4 miles from the Vegas. They quickened their paces. The night was very dark but we could discover water and green grass. We picked a dry place and camped, when we left this place, our next camping place was upper Vegas, or Cottonwood Creek. Our next was at Stump Spring and next at Resting Springs, being plenty of grass and water. There we rested over for one or two days. After leaving Vegas, we trailed up Amagosh Creek, past the Salt Springs. James Brown found some gold and passed on to Bitter Springs and from thence to the top of Cahoon Pass. In going up the Mahara previous to this we camped near a grove of Cottonwood. That night it snowed 5 or 6 inches upon us. Some of our company in the morning went hunting and killed a couple of deer. Although they were not fat we ate them with a good relish as we were pretty hungry as we were nearly out of everything to eat. Twelve of us went ahead that day and stopped at the upper crossing of the Mahara River. The next day we traveled and descended the mountains into the Cahoon Pass. Here we found a wagon which had been sent up that far loaded with sugar, coffee, flour, chopped wheat, meat and other things. We bought some 25 lbs. of chopped wheat and a quantity of beef for our suppers. We were so very hungry we ate very ravishingly. General Rich advising the boys not to eat too much, for fear of making them sick, but we could not resist, but were much distressed during the night.
The next morning we bought 18 lbs of chopped wheat and a lot of beef for our breakfast. I hardly remember what we stopped there for that day or not, but when we left there we did not take but little provisions, enough with us to last 2 days, hence we camped in the Cahoon Pass for the night as the wind was very cold and severe. The next day after a scant breakfast we traveled and came about 4 o'clock p.m. at which place we camped. We there found beef and grapes, but no flour and wine, there was near where we camped a ranch called Gornings. There was plenty of wild grapes in trees that was gathered by us and ate, and also Tunies which we had eaten before this on our road previous to satisfy our hunger. Wine and wild grapes caused many of the boys to shake as with the ague. The next morning we persued over to Williams' ranch as as we were picking a camping place and had stopped to unpack, it began raining. Williams sent word by a Spaniard for us to come to a certain for that he had and put our things there, as it was liable to rain for several days. Which we did with pleasure. The room we lived in for the next 30 days was nearly 100 ft. in length. It rained continuously night and day, more or less, for 31 days and nights.
There were slowns near the place and his team and cattle were mired in them and we were called on to help pull them out, our animals were recruiting past, so we were able to help them. The green clover was very plentiful at this time, about this time Capt. Hunt with the others we had left on the Mahara arrived at the Rancho Williams. Gave us a nice fat cow for our Christmas dinner. Our dinner was very much enjoyed by all hands. When the rain receeded, great preparation was made for our departure. Wheat was washed and ground, other provisions were obtained and loaded into the wagons that were to proceed on their journey up the pacific coast. Capt. Hunt, before starting, obtained two yoke of half broke cattle for about $30 a yoke, with a tame yoke on the lead some of us proceeded with the wagon, others with the pack train. We left the Rancho with the pack train and proceeded to the Mt. Gabril Mission and camped. The next day we passed through Los Angeles. We continued passing from mission to mission until we arrived at a mission called Annais and camped there. There were some Mexicans there. The Spanish Priest of the Mission wanted to know if any of our crowd could play the drums and I was pointed out to him, that evening they collected together what instruments they had which was fife and drum and old muskets. We marched to the door of the Cathedral with the Priest at the head of the column. They commenced, when arriving at the door, hollering and shouting and so forth to scare away evil spirits.
Before opening the door which the old priest did, and we all marched in. There were 3 or 4 candles in half pernnid form which gave a brilliant light. These candles on bottom tier and the next tier a little larger as so on to the top. The performance of the Priest I will not describe. Had an Indian boy on one side and an Indian girl on his left to change his cloak at least 6 or 8 times during the services, which was all spoke in Latin and no one, I presume, understood it at this time.
I left and went to our camp after starting from this place. We were directed to cross the Sentinis Mountain by a trail which was nearer for us than the road. We traveled all day and camped by a large spring in the Mt. where we camped the night and next day. We found there at this spring an old sailor who lived there alone. The covering to shield him from the rain and storm was a large shelving rock. Then after our arrival, several of our men went a-hunting deer. I remained at the camp to cook them supper. When they came in, they brought with them two deer. They came about half an hour before sundown. I gathered my gun and went up the trail a short distance and shot 7 deer. I got 5 of them which were not brought in to camp until next morning. We remained there that day and jerked their meat and took it on our journey, and dressed their skins which we carried along with us to another Spanish Mission, the name of which I have forgotten. Here we sold our deer skins $1 each, and obtained for them coffee, sugar and other things which we needed. I do not remember the exact route that we traveled from this Mission, or any incident that happened in particular, until we arrived at San Jose, where a bargain was made between Gen. Rich and a merchant for supplies to be furnished the company when they arrived. When they arrived with the teams, he gladly did so, and furnished them with provisions and tools to go into the mines, the nearest being at Mary Possa mines. Gen. Rich and myself, and several others, went on to San Francisco from this point, and obtained money to pay the merchant who furnished goods for the boys. Gen. Rich sold one of his mules for ____ and I sold my two mules for $525.00 to Daniel Stark. The next day I bought a span of small mules for $250.00 and the $250.00 I had left I gave to Gen. Rich to help pay expenses. When we went back to San Jose from San Francisco, which was 60 miles, which was on the back track on our return, the money was paid for the things we owed for. We put in our wagon such provisions and tools that we needed, and followed the road that the wagons had taken to what was called the Pachace Pass. Here we found a new-made grave on this pass, which afterwards we learned was the grave of Williams Dells of their company. We camped at the end of the pass on the borders of Saline Plains. Here we saw wild horses, elk, etc. The next day we traveled on across the plains to San Juacine River, which we crossed without much difficulty, and found in the timber a house occupied by James Waters, an old mountaineer and his family. He greeted us with the greatest hospitality, killing sheep for us, and such things as he had and receive no pay. When we left there, we traveled towards the Marra Passa Mine. On our way we camped at a small creek where we obtained considerable gold. In a day or two after our arrival there was a man and boy came along and took his rocker off his wagon and set it down and commenced digging, and from that time on as long as we stayed there, it was called Burgest Diddings. This man and boy washed from a lb.½ of gold each day. Some of our men struck the same lode by digging on the bank, and getting the same kind of gold. We did not start over the mountains to Mara Possa on account of the snow on the mountains. When we reached Marra Possa we found many mines there. Brother Flake and myself were partners and worked together. We dug and made about one ounce a day by working very hard. After several days there came to our camp Brother Rich and Amasa Lyman. They told me they wanted me to go north with them to take charge of a lot of mules which Amasa Lyman had obtained from Albert Tanner. I sold my own mules to Derwin Chase for $230.00 and did not get my pay. Brothers Rich and Lyman furnished me with another animal to go with them. Before leaving the Mara Possa Mine, I said to Brother Flake, if he would go below the falls of the creek he would find some gold. He did so and found a chunk of quartz containing $30.00 in gold. I then started with Brother Rich and Lyman for Lathrop's tavern on the Sacramento road. I stayed there several days and prospected around nearby. I found some gold but it was very low grade. I went from there to Greenwood Valley. When I arrived, I found Fayette and Carlos Bailey. He had a very good shanty and plenty of provisions. I went down to Greenwood town 3 miles distance, and bought a short handle shovel which cost me $8.00. While I was gone down Bailey found a place for us to work about half a mile from camp, and he made $25.00 while I was gone that forenoon. In the afternoon we both went up there and washed out $16.00 apiece. The next day, our quantity increased $10.00 each day, for five days, and the last day we got $92.00, and then could get no more, not even a dollar. Previous to this Brother Rich came to our camp to collect some tithing. I gave him $40 which I had in my purse at that time. He replied, "I don't want you to give all that; it is too much." But, however, I emptied it out on the scales. He asked me if he took it all it would pay for some in future. I was at work with Dr. Richardson as a partner, and Brother Rich said, "You will get this amount back before you know it." In less than a half hour after this we washed out $90.00 in gold, and while he was throwing out the dirt, I picked up a nugget weighing 12½, which resembled a little fat Dutch woman sitting in a rocking chair. This the Dr. wanted and I sold it to him for $16.
Many incidents which happened about this time I will not here relate. One circumstance which happened that we nearly all went and put up a double log house for James Dailey's brother, for which we received no pay. A few days after this Dan Clark and myself went to Lathorp's Tavern on the Sacramento road 50 miles distance, and took 21 or 22 of the mules and packed some of them with provisions, such as flour, pork, hard tack, coffee, sugar, tea, etc. We crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains with our train into the Carson Valley. Here we sold our provisions to emigrants for $1.25 a tin cup full; and pork was $1.25 per lb., sugar, coffee, tea and other commodities at very high price. I bought a Chicago wagon and two sets of harness complete for the amount of 10 lbs of flour. I offered him more but he could not take it across the mountains. Another man offered him 6 lbs and he was mad because I offered him more. We left our wagons in charge of Thomas Blackburn and returned for a new supply back to Lathorps, which we obtained and bid goodbye to the Lathorps and family. We then started again for Carson, Frank Dewey accompanying us. When we arrived there, we sold all that we wished to and the rest we kept for our trip homeward to Salt Lake. We camped here several days waiting for Amsas Lyman and his company to arrive from the other side of the mountain. When Lyman came with his company, it amounted to 25 or 30 men, 6 wagons, besides our own, some of them procured in Carson, and when we were all prepared we started across the Desert of 40 miles without water. There were dead cattle and horses strung for miles, which the emigrants had lost. We crossed at the sink of the Humboldt River and camped. The next day we proceeded up the river, and two of our men, namely John Gould and Farnum Kingston, were taken very sick in the afternoon. They lagged behind the main company. A messenger was sent back to tell them to hurry up, as it was dangerous to travel alone. They came in camp unaided, and laid down in their blankets from which they never got up. They died that night, and were rolled in their blankets and l aid them in side by side. After covering them with dirt, we made a fire of brush we gathered and made a fire on top of the grave. During the night Amasa Lyman told us to open a keg of brandy of 3 gallons to use on the sick boys, and told us to drink as much as we could and we ate sardines and crackers with the brandy, which kept us from taking the disease which afflicted the boys. After the burial of the boys, I went to look for my mules and found my most valuable mule was gone from the herd, and I did not dare to go from the camp to look for him, as we were in a hurry to leave the place. After traveling up the river, before we came to the Gravelly Ford, an Indian made his appearance, holding in his hand an old pistol that he wanted to swap for a Carivan. We said nothing to him until the last wagon was ready, which George Billing drove. He caught up his rifle and said, "Damn you, I'll narrawap you." At this he shot from under the cover, not fronting towards the Indian. At this he began hollaring and running and falling, then rising and running in a zigzag manner. We looked on a ridge half a mile distant, and there were a great many Indians on top of the ridge. We did not stop our train, but traveled a little faster until we came to the Gravelling Ford. About dark we heard Indians following us on the right, but we traveled on about 10 miles and camped, without fire, and a double guard was put around us. But we saw no more of the Indians, the next morning or day. We went to Goose Creek for our next camping place, which took us several days, and we traveled from thence to Bear River without any accident. We crossed the Malad on a natural bridge composed of cane and rushes. At Bear River, Clark and myself ate the first sardines since we left the place where our brethren died. We could not bear the smell of them previous to this. We passed on from this place towards Salt Lake, crossing the Ogden River and the Weaver Rivers and arrived in Salt Lake in the morning of the 6th day of October, 1850, having left the city for our journey on the first day of the same month in 1849. I found my family all well and paying 25¢ per lb. for all the flour they consumed, and other things at a very high price. My family boarded several emigrants and obtained money through that means to pay for their provisions. We remained and lived in the 14th Ward during the winter. During this winter I sold to D. H. Wells a span of mules to go on a stageline which was to be paid in cattle in the spring.
About this time, Charles Rich and Amasa Lyman were set apart by the Presidency to take their families and go to California. In the spring following, preparations were made for their departure.
I was called to go to California and take my family. Brothers Rich and Lyman were at the head of the company. When this was noised about, there were many of the brethren came to them and wanted to go. I heard Amasa Lyman say that I was the only one that the Presidency had told him that was appointed as yet to go. But from that time on until starting there were many chosen to go with their families. There was a young English girl that had been living with us, and assisting my wife, with her work. She wanted to go with us to California, as she had neither father or mother. I received advise from President Young on the 1st of March to bring her to the Council House and have her, namely Hannah Humes, sealed to me. Which I did on the 3rd of March. There were present at this time Brothers Kimball, Wells and others. It had been said by many that I could not take her to California unless I married her. I had previously to this sold my city lot in the 14th Ward to Wm. Clover for two hundred dollars. I received in payment one yoke of cattle, the balance in cash. I received from Edwin Woolley three yoke in for the mules which I had sold. On the 5th day of March, 1851, we started on our journey and arrived at Cottonwood where we found many ready to start in two or three days. They were mostly southern brethren. We went on in the course of a few days to a place called Payson. Here at this place, James Pace had built a log house, which was unfinished. At this place, the presidency from Salt Lake came to us. President Young advised those that had many young cattle not to take them with them then, but wished they would leave them and they would put them on the Salt Lake Island and let them increase. But none seemed to want to do that, and they took them with them. There were three papers gotten up for the people to sign which were going, which was that the people should obey the Council, California, which most of them signed. This was more satisfactory to President Young and Kimball and after talking to the people, counseling them to be faithful and true to their obligations we had taken upon ourselves, we then proceeded on our journey, and when we arrived in Iron County, we stopped at a place called Red Creek, and stayed for a few days. I made a trade while there with John Toppin, a yoke of oxen for a larger yoke. We then proceeded on our way, going by the old Spanish trail to the Clara River. We met with much difficulty as grass was very scarce for the number of animals we had and water only in long stretches which we found to be very scarce. We trailed down the Virgin River some 40 miles, crossing the river 13 times. At one crossing, the first one going over, Brother Smith's cart which was occupied with young Negroes, was turned over by the current, but none were lost. We wet on to the Muddy, nothing particular transpiring. We took 2 or 3 days to rest our animals before crossing the 50 miles desert, which was between us and the Vegas. We crossed this and made good time. How long we remained at the Vegas I do not remember. we passed on from this to other watering places until we arrived at Resting Springs, where we remained a day or two as grass and water was very good. From this point proceeded on, passed the Salt Springs and arrived in a day or two at Bitter Springs, a very desolate place. There was scarcely any feed for our stock, and water was very bad. We were very dry, and so was our stock. Our men had to fight them back with poles, until the women could get some water to cook with. we moved on to the Mojave; the first 15 miles was traveled in the night as the road was very sandy to the top of the ridge which divided us from the Mojave Valley. As we turned over the mountains the wind was blowing very hard. We were then about 18 miles from the Mojave River on a down hill grade most of the way. After we had gone down some 8 or 10 miles our cattle commenced bawling and making a terrible fuss as they could smell the water; and they quickened their pace, the loose stock leaving the train to reach the water. Some of the men loosened their cattle from their wagons and let them go, as they were very dry. Sister Mariah Lyman and children were left on the road until the next day. Most of us arrived at the Mojave in the night. I found next morning very early as I went to the springs for water, a shot pouch and belt which contained gold specimens from the Salt Springs, which I found afterwards belonged to a man by the name of Sublarit, who had taken it off at the spring late in the night and forgot to put it back. We proceeded up the river for 100 miles to the upper crossing of the Mojave River, the water rising only in pools along the trail, sinking and rising in different places. When we left this stream, it was 18 miles before we reached the top of Cajon Pass and camped. We then passed down on the other side the next day. The mountain was very steep and sandy; we had some difficulty to clear the road down the canyon. The next day we arrived at the mouth of the pass, where we found a nice spring of water; at which place we camped. Another camping place was found by some of the brethren about one mile distant. We remained here about three months. While we were living here, my wife gave birth to a fine daughter which we named Melissa Keziah, and Dan Clark's wife also gave birth to a daughter, which was also given the name of Melissa. While camped here we were organized in regular form with High Council and of which I was chosen as a member. During all this time, as we were scarce of provisions, Brothers Rich and Lyman went to San Francisco and purchased flour and articles for the camp where landed at St. Pedro, 79 miles distant, and when we received it in camp, it was distributed to those that were most needy.
During this time two schools were started, and I was selected for one of the teachers, and J. P. Lee and daughter Lucinda was to teach. I taught in a grove near our camp, which was in June. I did not teach any more than three or four weeks as I could not stand to be confined, and begged to be released, and Daniel Thomas taught the remainder of the time until the ranch of San Bernardino was purchased, which was made for $75,000 of the Luge family. At this time, we moved on to the ranch and chose a site to build the town. Our purchase contained eleven leagues of land, and we commenced, after arriving there, to make adobes to build houses with and preparing for the rainy season. A legislative meeting of all the men was called each evening, and there it was determined what work should be done the next day, all working in unison. In 1852 we raised a large amount of grain, wheat, corn and barley and vegetables of all kinds. We built adobe houses, and commenced to build a mill. We found it necessary to build a road into the mountains, it being very rough to get timber. About this time, Crisson and Sarihn obtained an engine which was taken up this road for the purpose of sawing lumber, which was accomplished with a great deal of hardship. We also obtained rock for millstones. Isaac Crundy and myself cut the stones, which were finished and placed in a mill which had been built for that purpose out of adobes. A large adobe building was erected for a store house near the mill, the same I erected myself. At this time, flour was 16 per hundred in Los Angeles. We sold large quantities of our flour for this price, this we accomplished in 1852 and 1853. We sold in 1854 large quantities of our lumber at a very high price, as it was the only saw mill in this southern country. On November 10th, 1854, my first wife, Eveline, gave birth to a son, which we named Charles Lyman, for our two leaders. My second wife, Hannah, gave birth to a daughter, Caroline Elizabeth, on Feb. 11, 1854. Hannah's first child, a son, was born 18th of April, 1852, and lived three days; died on the 1st of May, 1852.
About this time, I was called to clerk for a man by the name of Miner. He was advised by Lyman and Rich to try and engage me to take charge of his business while he went to Salt Lake for his health. I refused to do so unless I received one-half of the profits, to which he agreed to do. The business of the store from this time increased very rapidly. I advised my partner instead of going to Salt Lake to go to San Francisco, and lay in a large stock of goods. He took what money we had and started on this business trip and found the articles we needed at home very cheap; bacon and hams at 5¢ a pound, cook stoves at $16; calico at 5¢ per yd, and other things in proportion, said purchases to $21.00. 4 and 6 mule wagon loads were delivered in San Bernardino. Among the goods were found 16 cook stoves, 15 of which were sold the first day as fast as they were taken out of the wagon. In a few days the most of these goods were sold. At the end of the year I bought out my partner, built me a nice house of adobe with 4 rooms, which cost me 8 hundred dollars. I paid 2,000 dollars on the ranch which I bought of Lyman and Rich, three city lots besides my homestead, and two lots which I bought of Wm. Stout for $700; also 72 acres of land for which I paid to them $700, and one 5-acre lot south of General Rich's house. By this time money began to grow scarce. I then went in partners with Lyman, Rich and Hopkins. Brother Rich, Hopkins and myself went to San Francisco and purchased some $10,000 dollars worth of goods. We shipped them on a schooner for St. Pedro, one passage down costing us nothing. In going down the coast we encountered some very high winds and shipped many waves which broke into the cabin windows as we lay in our berths in the night. Hopkins said, "Brother Rich, catch my boots," as the water was a foot or more deep in the cabin. The next day or two after this our boat was becalmed among the Amnagapus Islands. There were many whales as long as our vessel came around our ship, which was wonderful for me to behold. The wind raised that evening; we pressed on our way to San Pedro, where we arrived ins safety. I forgot to say that on our upper trip on the steamer, Sea Bird broke her shafts opposite Monterry, and we were carried hither and thither for several days, some of the time out of sight of land. We finally landed on Point Conception, where we obtained water, beef and provisions, which we were entirely out of.
About this time, the United States steamer had been searching for us several days; they found us at this point. She pitched onto our steamer and towed us to San Francisco. We then hurriedly purchased our goods and loaded them on to the schooner, "Laura Bevin," and started on our homeward trip, as described before.
About this time, Hopkins drew out of the store. I saw that money was getting very scarce. I loaded three wagons with goods for Salt Lake. I sold them things enroute, including all the settlements, and when I arrived in Salt Lake disposed of the balance to Hooper and Williams, and made preparations to return to San Bernardino, which I did in 1855. This year the grasshoppers and crickets took many of their crops in the farming districts of Salt Lake. At this time, Providence came to the people's assistance, and the sea gulls came by the thousands and ate the crickets and thus some of their crops were saved. I had among my goods that I brought from California, 10 gallons of brandy, which I sold to Almon Babbitt, the secretary of the state, for 10 dollars per gallon. I exchanged much American gold for English sovereigns, which I paid out in California for full $5, five dollars each. A great many instances happened on our trip homeward that is not necessary to relate.
In the year 1856 my first wife was very miserable, being confined to her bed most of the time, as the climate did not agree with her. On May 24, 1856, she gave birth to a son, James Watson Rollins, and this same year, Hannah, my second wife, gave birth to a son, George Woodville, on the 19th of March, 1856.
There was nothing particular transpired during the years 1856 and 1857, except improving our places, making orchards and farming. In 1857 I was candidate for assessor of San Bernardino and was elected, notwithstanding the opposition. [If they were called back in '56, could he have served in '57? He was elected City Treasurer in 1854. ll] In 1856 we were called by President Young to Salt Lake, so we sacrificed our land and horses and fitted up for the journey. As we were coming on the road, my oldest son, John Henry, was driving a team of three span of mules, with my wife and children in the wagon. We were trailing along the Mojave, and he started out one morning, and was a few miles ahead of the train. As he drove around a point of a mountain, two big buck Indians came down upon them, and grabbed his leaders and swung them around and almost tipped the wagon over. At this, my wife with her baby in her arms, jumped from the wagon, and they threatened to shoot John Henry with their bows and arrows and he stood them off with a loaded blackwhip. At this juncture, when they were about to shoot my son, the train of wagons came around the point and the Indians fled up into the mountains. This frightened my wife so that from that time on the rest of the journey she was confined to her bed, and we came very nearly losing her. When we arrived in Cedar City, Utah, we stayed there for several weeks until my wife could regain her strength. While we were thus resting before going on to Salt Lake, we were counseled to remain in the southern part of the state to help strengthen the settlements there, which many of them did. Not being able to obtain a house to live in, in Cedar, I moved on with my family to Parowan, and there I found a house that I obtained from Job Hall. I lived in Parowan for a year or so. While here, on November 18, 1859, my wife Hannah, gave birth to a son, Francis Robert; that year I was called and set apart to go and be Bishop and help to settle a place on the lower Beaver River called Minersville, on account of there being some mines around that vicinity. I found and located the first lead mine in Utah Territory. We formed a company, and opened up the mine calling the mine Rollins Mine, and the district, Pioneer District. The company with Isaac Brundy hauled rock and made a primitive furnace, to which we hauled the ore, Brother Grundy smelting it for one half of the product. Some of our company withdrew. The first bar of lead smelted weighed 60 lbs. This was carried to Salt Lake by Tarlton Lewis. The next six bars I took myself, and sold to the merchants for 25¢ per lb., and I obtained for it shoes, clothing and groceries of all kinds. After this we procured molds which run bars that weighed 1 lb., and sometimes we run 5 lb. flat bars. The 5 lb. bars I sold to Brother Pyper for the purpose of making white lead. The smaller bars I sole for 25¢ apiece, as I went up through the country.
Previous to this time, I was ordained a Bishop of the Minersville Ward, and held that position until 1867. I was elected as County Representative to the first Legislature to Salt Lake. I remained there 40 days, and when I returned home, I resigned the Bishopric in favor of James McKnight, who was one of my counselors. (Records below indicate he served as Bishop from 1860 to 1869).
I was at this time appointed postmaster at Minersville, my salary being 12 dollars a year, and it increased year by year until 1872, when I received $240 a year. This great increase of the mails was caused by the opening of mining districts in different parts of the country, this being the central office. Four horse coaches were run here daily from Salt Lake to Pioche. I kept the station at Minersville, where the stages met either way, from which point I distributed for Beaver and all mails going south.
I sold my interest in the Rollins Mine for five thousand dollars. This mine was afterwards called the Lincoln Mine or district. I put three thousand dollars of this money in another mine, called the Cave Mine, which was located some four miles north of Minersville and seven miles east from Milford, and made gold and silver bars of bouillon, each bar being valued at $1800 and $2000. But I eventually lost all I had on account of bad partners, which finally left me penniless, and so ends my financial affairs.
I am now 80 years old and six months old and I am still residing in Minersville, where some of my younger children are, but I am thinking of selling my property here and going to Wyoming where some of my older children reside, and as age is creeping on both my wife and myself, thought it best. It is now March, 1888.
I disposed of my house to George Roverts Jr., for $500 dollars and will soon depart for the place mentioned to spend the rest of our lives with my youngest daughter, Mrs. Wallace Hamblin.
We departed for Wyoming on the first of July. We arrived in Salt Lake City and visited there with my oldest daughter, Mary Osborne for several days. Had a very enjoyable time while there. We then journeyed on and arrived in Lyman, Wyoming, on the 8th of July. My sons and daughter and families were all very happy to have us with them again. The people of Lyman were preparing for a celebration on the 24th of July in honor of the Pioneers. They asked me if I would make a speech on this occasion, which I consented to do. I related a great many incidents that I had passed through in those early days, which were very interesting to the younger people. The rest of the summer and fall I spent visiting back and forth with my sons, Charles and Watson and families, which I enjoyed very much. But as winter and colder weather came on, my health seemed to be failing me and I am quite feeble, so will close this writing, and put my trust in the Lord, His will, be done, not mine.
(Note: I finally abandoned the mining business - James Henry Rollins)
In the month of January, 1899, father and mother went to visit my brother Watson and family. They stayed there about two months and he kept failing. He never did get bed-fast. We called Bishop Brough to come down and administer to him. After administering to father, Bishop said he would go home and do his chores, and would return and stay all night. He did not get home before father passed away, while sitting in his chair by the fire. There were no telephones here then and no way to get news only on horseback. During the evening a blizzard came up and it was very dark. Bishop did not know how he was going to come down to the ranch, it was so stormy, but as he had promised he would try it. So we went out and got on his horse, and as he did a light appeared in front of him and lighted him right to our house. He told us about it as soon as he came in, and he stayed the rest of the night, and helped to wash and lay my father out. This was on the 7th of Feb. 1899. Father was laid away very nicely dressed in his Temple robes. He was buried in the Lyman cemetery, being the first man buried there. He was a faithful Latter-Day Saint until the end of his journey through life. Father was 82 years and 9 months old. Mother was born May 16, 1823 near Dayton, Ohio. She lived and had very good health for 13 years after father died. She fell and hurt her head and she was laid up for about three weeks but she never did get helpless. She passed away on the 25th of September, 1912. She was in her 90th year. She was buried in the Lyman Cemetery by the side of father. This ends the life story of James H. Rollins and his wife, Eveline Walker Rollins. The last written by their daughter, Mrs. Ida M. Rollins Hamblin.
Retyped by Deon Creager Smith from copy of manuscript obtained from Church Historical office. (Manuscript was very poor)
I am a Great-Granddaughter of:
Nelson Stoyell Hollinghead/Elizabeth Evans
Juanita Hollingshead Creager
Deon Juanita Creager Smith
6154 So. 2900 E.
Ogden, Utah 84403
Retyped and reworked for readability by:
Lida Larkin: a GG Granddaughter of:
James Henry Rollins/Eveline Walker
Melissa Keziah Rollins/John Nelson Lee
Mary Etta Lee/Warren Cox
Irene Cox/Walter Brooks
Lida Brooks md Richard B. Larkin
6417 Evergreen, Las Vegas NV 89107
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