By James Amasa Little
Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:1–4 (1946), 26–132
[p.25] Lorenzo Dow Young was born October 19, 1807, in Smyrna, Chenango County, state of New York, the son of John Young and Nabby Howe Young.1 John Young was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Tredway Young, and Joseph Young was the son of William and Hannah Young, who it is believed came from Europe and took up land in Hopkinton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. William's will was probated in May, 1647. In it he mentions a daughter Elizabeth, and his son Joseph, as his only son. On the maternal side the ancestry of Lorenzo D. Young has been traced back to Colonel Samuel Howe, of Sudbury, Massachusetts, who was born in October, 1642, a little over twenty years after the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Lorenzo in his infancy was a feeble child and his weakness continued into his boyhood.
He remembers his mother as afflicted with consumption for many years, and as a praying, fervent woman. He says of her: "She frequently called me to her bedside and counseled me to be a good man that the Lord might bless my life. On one occasion she told me that if I would not neglect to pray to my Heavenly Father, he would send a guardian angel to protect me in the dangers to which I might be exposed." His pious, faithful friend and mother drooped and died on the 11th of June, 1814, when Lorenzo was only six years and seven months old.
Soon after her death his father broke up house-keeping, and Lorenzo was sent about sixty miles to live with Mr. John P. Green, who had married his elder sister, Rhoda, and who resided near Cayuga Bridge, in Cayuga County, New York. It being a marshy, malarious country, Lorenzo was taken very sick with fever and ague and suffered severely.
In the autumn of 1815 the family removed to Tyrone, Schuyler County. In the meantime Lorenzo's father had taken up land on [p.26] which to make a home about six miles east of an isolated settlement named Painted Post, between which place and Father Young's, John P. Green was the only settler. Between their houses was a dense forest in which wolves were very numerous. At one time several chased Lorenzo to the house of Mr. Green, and he seemed barely to escape with his life.
During the winter of 1815 and 1816, Lorenzo's brothers, John, Joseph, Phineas, and Brigham were chopping timber and clearing land for their father, and as there were no female members of the family, Lorenzo was taken home to cook and assist in the house.
In the autumn of 1816, when about nine years old, Lorenzo had a peculiar dream which he has told as follows:
I thought I stood in an open space of ground and saw a good, well defined road leading, at an angle of forty-five degrees, into the air as far as I could see. I heard a noise similar to that of a carriage in rapid motion, at what seemed the upper end of the road. In a moment it came into sight, drawn by a pair of beautiful white horses. The carriage and harness appeared brilliant with gold, and the horses traveled with the speed of the wind. It was manifested to me that the Savior was in the carriage, and that it was driven by His servant. It stopped near me and the Savior inquired, "Where is your Brother Brigham?" After answering His question He inquired about my other brothers, and concerning my father. His queries being answered satisfactorily, He stated that He wanted us all but especially my brother Brigham. The team then turned about and returned the way it came. So powerful was the impression made on me that I slept no more that night. The idea seized me that some great evil was about to befall us. I then saw no other interpretation to the dream. Subsequent events proved that it foreshadowed our future. It was evidently fulfilled, when my father and all of his family entered into the new and everlasting Covenant. I told my father the dream and my fears. He comforted me with the assurance that he did not think my interpretation correct.
In the winter of 1817–18, Lorenzo went to live with his brother-in-law, James Little, in the town of Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York, to learn the business of gardening and tree raising. He remained there about five years.
In the summer of his twelfth year Lorenzo was put upon a race horse by Mr. Little, and sent on an errand. The horse was too spirited for a boy of his age safely to ride. It became [p.27] frightened and unmanageable, turning so rapidly around that the lad was thrown out of the saddle. As he fell his bare foot slipped through the iron stirrup, where he hung with his head just touching the ground. With his left hand he still grasped the bridle rein firmly on that side. The animal endeavored to kick him, but fortunately did not succeed on account of being too close.
The hold on the bridle rein prevented the horse from running away and caused him to turn around almost in a circle. In danger we often think with great rapidity. Lorenzo comprehended his situation in a moment, but at first could see no way to escape having his brains dashed out,
He was suddenly impressed to get hold of the stirrup with his right hand and make an effort to raise himself up so as to get his foot loose. By a great effort he succeeded in drawing himself up and slipping the stirrup over his foot; he then let go all hold and fell to the ground. The horse went at full speed for home and his stable. Lorenzo got up and found he was not much hurt. His mother's promise flashed into his mind, and he was filled with thankfulness that a kind providence had preserved him from serious harm.
In the autumn of 1822, Lorenzo left Aurelius and went about sixty miles to Hector, Schuyler County, New York. A Methodist revival was in progress in the town, and religious excitement ran so high that it became fashionable to make a profession of religion. So far as he knew, every young person in the neighborhood but himself professed to "receive a saving change of heart," before the close of the revival. As was usual during periods of religious excitement, meetings were held nightly. There it was the custom to request those who were seeking religion to come forward to a seat reserved for the purpose, "to be prayed for."
Young Lorenzo was somewhat affected by the prevailing intense religious feeling, and one evening attended a meeting presided over by Elder Gilmore, the leading minister. Two or three other preachers were also present. When the usual invitation was given for the penitent to come forward to the anxious seat, Lorenzo gave way to the spirit of the occasion and went forward with others. A considerable time was spent in prayer when all except him professed to have received a "change of heart." The meeting was closed, and Elder Gilmore proposed that those who were willing, should retire to a private house with the young man and continue in prayer until he was converted.
As proposed they retired to a neighboring house where the praying continued until two o'clock in the morning. Lorenzo was then asked if he had not received a "change of heart" and when he replied that he had not realized any change, they were disposed to give him up as a reprobate. Elder Gilmore told him he had [p.28] "sinned away the day of grace," and asserted that he would never offer another prayer for him. Although reverential in his nature there was nothing congenial to the youth in sectarian religion.2
The following morning Lorenzo left the scene of this religious excitement, returned to Cayuga County, to a place about three miles from Auburn, and went to work for a Mr. Munroe to learn the trade of a blacksmith. Munroe carried on a considerable business, employed a number of young men, and also several young boys as apprentices. After the labors of the day, Mr. Munroe and the workmen often gathered around the center table in the sitting room to while away the evening in a game of cards, in which Lorenzo was invited to participate.
Lorenzo's father had counseled him to never play a game of cards. "Not," said he, "that there is any particular harm in playing a game of cards, but card-playing has a tendency to lead those who follow it into other vices." He was firm in his determination to keep this counsel though it cost him his situation. Mr. Munroe did not appear disposed to receive any apology for not accepting his invitation; but Lorenzo arose, took up a Bible that was near him, and read during the evening, while the remainder of the company continued to play cards. The most of Mr. Munroe's workmen were inclined to infidelity, and the course taken by Lorenzo that evening brought upon him much annoyance and ridicule.
Although infidel in principle, Mr. Munroe was kind to those around him and manifested that kindness to Lorenzo as well as to others. He placed in his hand several infidel books, among them the writings of Voltaire and Thomas Paine.
For the first time the youth learned that skeptical works could not be read without leaving their impression on the mind, and that a continuation of reading them must eventually lead to confirmed infidelity.
The teachings of his parents had given him considerable faith in God, and to some extent he enjoyed the light of His spirit. He says: "It has since been evident to me that the reading of those infidel books stirred up an antagonism in me between the spirit of God and of skepticism. The struggle between them, in my bosom, continued about a year and was a source of great affliction. It became evident that the Lord through His spirit was trying to save me from error and darkness. I would advise all my young friends and especially those who have had the testimony of the spirit of truth, to never, by any act of theirs, invite the spirit of infidelity unto their hearts lest they fall away into darkness and go down to death."
[p.29]Lorenzo worked for Mr. Munroe for a year and a half when he was severely injured in lifting a saw log and was under the doctor's care for two months or more. He was pronounced incurable; however, he finally recovered but not so as to work at the forge again. He left Mr. Munroe and went on a visit to his brother-in-law, John P. Green, who lived one hundred and fifty miles from Auburn in Watertown, Jefferson County, state of New York. For some time his health continued poor and he became so weak as to keep to his bed most of the time.
As he lay one day where he could see the family in their ordinary occupations, he suddenly heard most beautiful singing, and was not long discovering from whence it came.
Standing side by side on the foot-board of the bedstead on which he lay were two beautiful, seraph-like beings about the size of children seven or eight years old. They were clothed in white and appeared surprisingly pure and heavenly. He was certain of being fully awake, and to him these juvenile appearing personages were realistic. They disappeared, the music ceased, and he turned and asked two of his sisters who were in the room if they had not heard the music. Their reply that they had heard nothing, surprised him.
At Watertown, the 6th of June, 1826, Mr. Young married Miss Persis Goodall, daughter of Joel and Mary (or Molly) Swain Goodall, and soon after moved to Mendon, Monroe County New York.3 There he had a remarkable dream or vision which made a life-long impression upon him. We will let him relate it:
In a moment I was out of my body and fully conscious of the change. I was sensible that I had passed through what we call death. I felt and acted as naturally as I had done in the body, with all my sensations as complete without as with it. At once a heavenly guide was by my side dressed in the purest white. For a short time I remained in the room where lay my body. My sister Fanny, who was living with me, and my wife, were weeping bitterly over my death. I sympathized with and desired to comfort them in their grief. I realized I was under the direction of the man who was by me, and begged of him the privilege of speaking to them. He replied that he could not grant it. My guide, for so I will call him, said "Now let us go." Space seemed annihilated. Apparently we went up and almost instantly were in another world, of the magnitude of which I formed no conception. It was filled with innumerable hosts of beings as naturally human as those among whom I had lived. All sorts of people [p.30] were intermingled, and some of them I recognized as acquaintances in the world I had just left. My guide informed me that they had not yet arrived at their final abiding place. Their surroundings and appearance indicated they were in a state of expectancy, and anxiously awaiting some event of considerable importance to them.
Going on from this place my guide said, "I will now show you the condition of the damned." Pointing with his hand he said, "Look." I looked down a distance which to me appeared incomprehensible, and gazed on a vast region filled with multitudes of intelligences. I saw every thing with the most minute distinctness, and the vast multitudes of people seemed extremely miserable. "These," said my guide, "are they who have rejected the means of salvation that were placed within their reach, and in that way have brought upon themselves the condemnation you behold."
The expression of the countenances of these sufferers was clear and distinct, and conveyed to me a consciousness that no one but themselves were to blame for their forlorn condition. This scene affected me so much that I could not refrain from weeping. Again my guide said, "Now let us go." In a moment we were at the gate of a beautiful city, which was opened, and we passed in. I cannot describe its beauty and grandeur. It was clothed in the purest light I had ever beheld, brilliant but not glaring nor unpleasant.
My guide rather hurried me on through this place to another still higher, but connected with it. It was still more beautiful and glorious than what I had seen, with an extent and magnificence incomprehensible to me. My guide pointed to a mansion of wonderful perfection and beauty, clothed with fire and intense light. It appeared to be a fountain of light from which emanated brilliant scintillations of glory, but I could form no conception of the extent of these emanations.
Said my guide, "That is where God resides." He permitted me to enter this glorious city but a short distance and, without speaking, motioned that we would retrace our steps.
We were soon in the adjoining city, where I met my mother and a sister who died when six or seven years old. These I recognized at once. After mingling with the pure and happy beings of this place a short time, my guide again said, "Let us go." When we were through the gate by which we had entered the city, my guide said, "Now [p.31] we will return." I could distinctly see the world from which we started, but at a vast distance below us. It looked cloudy and dark. I was filled with sadness, I might say horror, at the idea of returning there, for at first, I had hoped to stay in that heavenly place I had so long desired to see. Up to this time the thought had not occurred to me that I should be required to return.
I pleaded with my guide to let me remain. He replied that I must return and take my body, for I was only permitted to visit these heavenly cities before I had filled my mission in yonder world. He promised me if I was faithful to the grace of God which would be imparted to me, if I would bear a faithful testimony to the inhabitants of the earth of a sacrificed and risen Savior and of His atonement for man, in a little time I should be permitted to return and remain. To me the circumstances, the words, and the spirit that accompanied them were real and I was comforted and inspired with faith. I accepted the great mission that was then placed upon me and have never ceased to realize its responsibilities.
We returned to my house where I found my body, apparently dressed for burial. With great reluctance I took possession of it to resume the avocations of life and endeavor to fill the mission I had received. I awoke and found myself in bed, where I lay and meditated the remainder of the night on what had been shown me. Call it a dream, a vision, or what I may, it was as real to every sense of my being as anything I have passed through. The memory of this dream is still clear and distinct, after the lapse of over fifty years with their many changes.
From that time, although belonging to no church, the spirit was with me to testify to the sufferings and atonement of the Savior. As I had opportunity I exhorted the people in public and in private to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to repent of their sins and live lives of righteousness and good works.
About the 1st of November, 1828, Lorenzo returned to Hector, Schuyler County, where lived quite a number of people of the Campbellite faith.4 Squire Chase, a prominent man in the [p.32] neighborhood, had been a preacher of the sect and informed Lorenzo that his people were cold in their religion and had not held any meetings for several months. A few days after Lorenzo's arrival he went with Mr. Chase about two miles to a Methodist meeting. Up to this time Lorenzo had joined no church, but professed religion, attended meetings, and preached when he had an opportunity. When returning from meeting he remarked to Mr. Chase, "Why cannot we have meetings in our neighborhood as well as go so far to them?" Mr. Chase replied, "We are all dead; we should have meetings but I do not feel like preaching; if you will do the preaching I will appoint a meeting." This he did.
The first two meetings few attended, but on the third one the house was crowded. The interest increased until meetings were held nearly every night in the week. A reformation started among the people and quite a number were converted. Campbellite doctrines had long prevailed in the neighborhood and the converts desired baptism, as that was a prominent principle in the Campbellite faith.5 Mr. Chase urged Lorenzo to perform the ceremony, but he excused himself, not feeling authorized to administer the ordinance, as he had not joined any religious denomination. He finally utterly refused to do it, and Squire Chase sent forty or fifty miles for Elder Brown, a regular Campbellite preacher, who came, baptized about sixty converts and organized a branch of the Campbellite Church out of the fruits of Lorenzo's labors.
This was about the close of the year, and a circumstance occurred of interest as showing the intense religious excitement that prevailed.
For some time before Christmas evening, the young people of the place had expected to have a fashionable ball, but the interest in this had been absorbed by the reformation, and on Christmas evening Lorenzo Young preached to a crowded congregation in the same room where the once anticipated ball was to have been.
At the close of his discourse he remarked to the people the great and blessed change that had occurred, and requested those who were anxious for salvation to come forward to be prayed for. Between twenty and thirty of the young people, many of whom belonged to the first families of the place, came forward, all of whom afterwards made a profession of religion. Elder Brown and Squire Chase quite exhausted their persuasive power to induce Lorenzo to join their church, take a circuit and go to preaching, but the latter emphatically declared that he would not preach the Campbellite Doctrines. If he preached at all it would be the [p.33] whole Bible as he understood it. Elder Brown said he could do so, as he did not think he would preach anything wrong. A spirit worked with him to do all the good he could but not to join any religious denomination, and at this time it prevailed against all temptation. Doubtless the guardian angel, promised him by his mother, watched over his spiritual as well as temporal welfare. He says: "I think at the time of this reformation I had as much of the spirit of the Lord with me as I could well enjoy in my ignorance of the Gospel in its purity. I was full of the testimony of the truth as I understood it."
This reformation in Hector was a means of temptation to Lorenzo as he had diligently labored to lead the people to the truth and Elder Brown had stepped in and reaped the results of his labors. Because he would not join the Campbellite Church and preach for them, he was entirely thrown aside. The adversary reasoned with him thus: "What is the use of all your preaching? It does not amount to anything to you; you had better attend to your own business, and let such nonsense alone." He listened to these suggestions until he grieved the spirit of the Lord. He no longer had the spirit to pray or to exhort the people to lives of righteousness, and was in this condition for several months.
In all this lethargy and darkness Lorenzo knew there was such a thing as joy in the spirit of God; that in the testimony of Jesus there was light and peace, and that he had accepted a mission to bear this testimony while he remained on the earth. Knowing these things he became alarmed at his condition and feared that the Lord had forsaken him. He humbled himself in fasting and prayer and promised the Lord that if he would return his good spirit he would not again reject its suggestions.
Matters continued thus for several weeks. In one of his seasons of prayer and supplication he sensibly felt that he was again visited by the Holy Spirit. This encouraged him in exhorting the people whenever an opportunity presented. He went from home on the Sabbath and held meetings, and was laboring in this way when he first saw the Book of Mormon and heard the Gospel. He says of these events: "This and other experiences have convinced me that when we question the Holy Spirit it is likely to be grieved and leave us to ourselves, when our darkness will be greater then if we had never enjoyed its influences. Perhaps this incident in my life may suggest wisdom to others."
In November, 1829, Lorenzo recalls:
I removed to a place called Hector Hill. In February, 1831, my father, my brothers Joseph and Brigham, and Brother Heber C. Kimball came to my house, bringing [p.34] with them the Book of Mormon.6 They were on their way to visit some Saints in Pennsylvania. I was cautious in religious matters and therefore cautious about receiving the doctrines they preached. I read and compared the Book of Mormon with the Bible, and fasted and prayed that I might come to a knowledge of the truth. The spirit seemed to say, "This is the way; walk ye in it." It was all the testimony I could get at the time, and was not altogether satisfactory.
The following May, Elder Levi Gifford came into the neighborhood and desired to preach. Lorenzo's brother, John Young, belonging to the Methodist Church, had charge of their meeting house, and gave Elder Gifford permission to preach in it. The appointment was circulated for a meeting the evening of the next day, which was Saturday. The circuit preacher, Elder Midbury, arose to his feet and said:
"Brethren, sisters, and friends: I have been a preacher of the Gospel for twenty-two years. I do not know that I have been the means of converting a sinner, or of reclaiming a poor back slider, but this I do know, that the doctrine of more revelation, which the stranger has preached to us tonight is a deception, that Joe Smith is a false prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is from hell."
After talking awhile in this strain he concluded. Lorenzo immediately arose to his feet and asked the privilege of speaking, which was granted. He said:
Elder Midbury in his remarks entirely ignores the possibility of more revelation, and acknowledges that he has been a preacher of the Gospel for twenty-two years, without knowing that he has been the means of converting a sinner or of reclaiming a poor backslider; but still he claims to know that the doctrine he has just heard is false, that Joseph Smith is an impostor, and that the Book of Mormon is from hell. Now how is it possible for him to know these things unless he has received a revelation?
When Lorenzo sat down, a strong man by the name of Thompson, well known in the neighborhood as a belligerent character, stepped up to Elder Gifford and demanded the proofs of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Elder Gifford replied, "I have said all I care about saying tonight." "Then," said Mr. [p.35] Thompson, "we will take the privilege of clothing you with a coat of tar and feathers and of riding you out of town on a rail." In the meantime four or five others came to the front.
Acting under the impulse of the moment, true to instincts of his nature to protect the weak against the strong, Lorenzo stepped between Elder Gifford and Mr. Thompson. Looking the latter in the eye he said, "Mr. Thompson, you cannot lay your hand upon this stranger to harm a hair of his head, without you do it over my dead body." Mr. Thompson replied by more threats of violence, which brought Mr. John Young to his feet. With a voice and manner that carried with it unusual power, he commanded Mr. Thompson and party to take their seats, and continued: "Gentlemen, if you offer to lay a hand on Elder Gifford you shall pass through my hands, after which, I think you will not want any more tonight." Mr. Thompson and party quieted down and took their seats.
The Elders have since passed through so many similar experiences that they have ceased to be a novelty. Such powerful antagonism of spirits manifesting themselves in muscle, in a Christian Church, indicated a new era in religious influences.
In the spring of 1831 there was a two-day meeting of the Saints in the state of Pennsylvania, about sixty miles from where Lorenzo Young lived. He attended it and became fully convinced of the divine origin of the Latter-day work. The following summer he settled up his business and started for the Latter-day Zion in the state of Missouri. On his way out of the state of New York, he visited his brother-in-law, Elder John P. Green, in the town of Avon. As it was here that Lorenzo became fully identified with the Saints by obedience to the Gospel, we will relate the circumstances of his visit to Avon, verbally, as he gave it:
As I arrived at Mr. Green's on Saturday, he said "Brother Lorenzo, I am very glad you have come. I have an appointment to preach tomorrow at 1 o'clock, eight miles from here, but I am very unwell and not able to fill it. I want you to do it for me." Lorenzo marveled at the idea of filling the appointment of a Mormon Elder and said, "You want me to preach as a Mormon Elder when I have not even joined the Church?"
He still desired me to go, with the assurance that all would be right. Evan M. Green, his son, accompanied me with a revelation on the organization of the church which his father directed him to read to the congregation. Arriving at the place appointed, I found the house full and a Baptist preacher in the stand. I introduced myself [p.36] to the minister: he invited the congregation to sing; I prayed and E. M. Green read the revelation. I arose and commenced to speak; the good spirit was with me. I had much freedom and talked about one hour and a quarter. At the close I gave the privilege for anyone to speak who wished. The Baptist minister arose and bore his testimony that what they had heard was true Bible doctrine and could not be questioned.
After the meeting closed five persons gathered around me and wished to be baptized. Knowing I had not received the Ordinance, I put them off, telling them that when Elder Green came to fill the next appointment that had been given out for him, he would baptize them. Among those who at that time requested baptism were the Brothers Joseph and Chandler Holbrook, and Mary Ann Angell, afterwards the wife of Brigham Young.7
The following morning I told Elder Green that as I had believed in the Gospel for some time and preached as a Mormon Elder, I thought it was time that I was baptized. He administered the Ordinances, ordained me an Elder, and I went on my way rejoicing.
In due time Lorenzo arrived at Olean Point, on the Allegheny River, one of the streams that form the headwaters of the Ohio. Several families had gathered there with the view of descending the river in rude, low boats of their own construction. The party consisted of Phineas H. and Lorenzo D. Young, Daniel and Potter Bowen, Lyman Leonard, a brother from Canada, whose name is forgotten, and Joel Sanford, brother-in-law of the Young's by marriage with their youngest sister, Louisa, who afterwards died in Caldwell County, Missouri, soon after the Saints were driven out of Clay County.
The company built three boats and started down the river in the month of November. The water was low and falling. It was the lot of Lorenzo Young with others, nearly every morning, to get into the water and work the boats off of the sandbars on which they were anchored at night. The water was always cold and at times the ice was half an inch thick. This very much aggravated the whooping cough with which Lorenzo Young was afflicted.
After journeying this way for three weeks they arrived at Pittsburgh, at the head of the Ohio River. Three days before [p.37] arriving there Mrs. Persis Young was taken sick, and did not feel as though she could travel farther. The two brothers, Phineas and Lorenzo, concluded to remain awhile in Pittsburgh, as they were nearly destitute of money.
Soon after tying up the boat, it was noised about that they were a party of Mormons on their way to Zion. Some ideas of the Saints in regard to gathering, although often stated erroneously, had obtained quite an extensive circulation in the country. Many people came to see them and at first stared as though beholding a great curiosity. A room was rented and both families moved into it. One boat was retained, and the remainder of the company continued their journey. The way this company traveled would be thought a novel and hard way for Saints to gather in these days of railroads.
Respectable-looking men inquired if there were Mormon preachers in the party. An affirmative answer elicited a wish that they could hold a meeting. The Brothers Young soon learned that Mr. William Harris, of whom they rented their room, had met an Elder of the Church, learned something of the Gospel and had been baptized. Up to that time he had made no open profession of having joined the Saints. There was a large room in the same house where lived Phineas and Lorenzo Young, and Brother Harris offered it to them for holding meetings.
At the first meeting, which was held in the evening, a goodly number gathered into it, and the Elders Young spoke on the revelation of the Gospel. Before closing they gave the privilege for any one to speak who wished. An elderly lady arose and stated that she had been seeking for the truth many years; and had read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelations fourteen times with a prayerful heart that she might come to a knowledge of the truth. She testified that what the Elders had said was the first Gospel discourse she had heard, and almost in the words of the eunuch to Philip, she said, "There is water; what hinders me from being baptized?"
The house stood on the bank of the Allegheny River; the night was dark, and it was thought dangerous to try to baptize her, but she could not rest until her wish was gratified. She reminded the Elders of the case of the jailer who was baptized in the self same hour of the night in which he believed. A lantern was obtained and the Elders, followed by the people, went to the bank of the river. The bank was steep but Phineas H. Young held on to Lorenzo while he baptized the woman. They continued to hold meetings and to baptize until over thirty persons had united with the Church. They had authority to preach, baptize and confirm but not sufficient knowledge of the organization of the Church to organize a branch. The following winter of 1831–32, Elder [p.38] Sidney Rigdon passed through Pittsburgh,8 gave them instructions on this subject and they organized a branch and continued their meetings.
After events have passed, there is often seen in them a providence leading to important results. On the way of these brothers from the state of New York to Missouri,9 the only objective point in which they felt any interest, a seeming chance sickness induced them to stop for a season in Pittsburgh, where they found a people ready to receive the truth. They preached the Gospel, built up a branch of the Church, and were evidently led there for the accomplishment of this important work. As will be seen, they subsequently went to Kirtland instead of going on west. But before going there another place was destined to hear the Gospel from them. As before stated, on the arrival of these brothers at Pittsburgh, their finances were low. Phineas Young soon obtained labor, Lorenzo was not so successful. He walked the streets of the town day after day in search of a job, willing to accept anything he could possibly do. Finally he met a man who gave him some encouragement. Said he, "If you are a mechanic I can give you a job." He felt constrained to answer, "Yes," although he could not really lay much claim to the profession. "Well," said the man "I want twelve dozen steamboat trunks made." Lorenzo replied, "I am your man; but I'm traveling, have stopped here on account of sickness in my family, and have no place to work nor tools to work with." The man assured him that he had a shop, tools and everything to work with, and at once took him to his shop. The latter did not really comprehend what a steamboat trunk was but told the man he was from the Eastern States [p.39] where probably they did work differently from what they did in this country, and that he would like him to lay out a trunk for him that he might make no mistake. The employer picked up a suitable board, laid it on a bench and with square and compass soon laid out a trunk. "There," said he, "That is the way I do it. but if it don't suit you, do it as you have a mind to," and he walked out of the shop.
With Lorenzo food and comforts for his family were at stake. He knelt down and asked the Lord to enable him to do the work in an acceptable manner, arose and went at the task with a light heart. He put several trunks together that day. Towards evening his employer came in, examined the work carefully and said, "That is good enough; if you will do them all as well as that, it will do." Lorenzo put together twelve dozen trunks, covered and finished them to his employer's satisfaction, and was paid the money for his labor. He felt thankful for this kindly providence, and from that time found labor to make his family quite comfortable.
In the spring of 1832 it was suggested in the Pittsburgh branch that Lorenzo should take a mission to his native place in the state of New York, and the branch unanimously voted to that effect.
Lorenzo started on his mission about the 1st of April, on horseback. Near the close of the first day he called at a farmhouse and asked the owner if he could stay with him overnight, at the same time informing him that he was a minister of the Gospel. The former replied that he could not well do so as he was not much in the habit of keeping strangers. Lorenzo asked him if he was a professor of religion. Answering in the affirmative, he was asked if he remembered the counsel of the Savior to His disciples, to be careful to entertain strangers, for in so doing they might entertain angels unawares. The former dropped his head, meditated a moment, asked Lorenzo to dismount, invited him into the house and directed one of his sons to take good care of his horse. They were soon engaged in conversation.
As the day closed four or five stalwart sons came in from the labors of the field to whom Lorenzo was introduced as a stranger who wished to share their hospitality for the night. After supper an interesting conversation was kept up for the evening. When the time came for retiring to bed Lorenzo said that when circumstances permitted, he was in the habit of bowing in prayer at the close of the labors of the day, and asked the master of the house if he was willing to call his family together and permit him to pray with them. This was assented to.
The following morning his horse was brought out with oats tied on the saddle for his midday feed, the lady of the house furnished him with a lunch, and he went on his way rejoicing. At the end of the second day's travel he found shelter in a settler's [p.40] cabin. From there, two routes led to Geneseo, one by the main road, the other along a raftsman's trail up the Allegheny River, only practicable for horses and footmen, for a distance of about eighty miles, with only two cabins of settlers. It was a lonesome route but saved some fifty miles of travel. This trail Lorenzo decided to take the following morning. During the evening a stranger arrived at the cabin and with him shared the hospitality of the owner. He entered into conversation with Lorenzo and evidently took him for a raftsman who had been down to Pittsburgh and disposed of his lumber, and from what followed, evidently thought he had money. The stranger inquired if he was going by the trail which he recommended. When answered in the affirmative, he said they had better keep company as the road was very lonely; and as he was on foot he proposed that Lorenzo help him along by occasionally permitting him to ride.
In the morning the stranger started early leaving Lorenzo to follow. In a few miles he overtook the stranger who at once asked the privilege of riding as he had been walking a considerable distance. Lorenzo did not feel to entertain the proposal, and pushed on followed by the curses and threats of the stranger. He rode until well in the evening, and stopped over night at the last cabin on the trail. The following day he arrived at the settlement and left his would-be companion to travel on foot.
Only one incident occurred worth noticing on the remainder of this journey. Lorenzo called at a tavern to feed his horse. In the bar-room were several men. One of these began to talk about "Old Joe Smith," [Joseph Smith, the Prophet] rather addressing his conversation to the landlord. He told many of the absurd stories that were afloat in the community, making him out a money-digger, a sheep and chicken thief and, in fact, almost everything that would degrade a man's character in the estimation of others. Lorenzo endured this with difficulty for a considerable time. The man was much larger and apparently more powerful than himself, and he knew that if he answered in defense of the Prophet there would be trouble. When the Gentile was through, Lorenzo arose to his feet and addressing himself to the man said,"You are a stranger to me, but permit me to give you some advice. Whenever you again attempt to defame a man's character try and have enough truth in it to shade it, at least a little. What you have here said about the man whom you have called 'Old Joe Smith,' is utterly false. There is not enough truth in it even to shadow it." He expected the man would try to knock him down but to his disappointment he said not a word in reply, but walked to the door and out. The last seen of him he was leaving the place. Lorenzo turned to those in the room and said, "The man whom the stranger has called 'Old Joe Smith' is about twenty-three or twenty-four years old, and nothing can be said truthfully against his moral or his religious [p.41] character. What the stranger has said is utterly false." He then turned to the landlord and asked the amount of his bill. He replied that he was welcome to what he had received, gave him his dinner, and invited him to call, if he came that way again, and he would be welcome to the hospitality of his house.
Lorenzo Young spent the summer in preaching the Gospel, had joy in his labors, and was instrumental in bringing many into the Church.
He visited the town of Hector, where through his labors, as before stated, a Campbellite Church had been organized. He preached on the principles of the Gospel in the same house he had occupied on the previous occasion. Again let him relate his singular experiences:
Soon after I commenced to talk, such a spirit of darkness and opposition prevailed in the house that for the first and only time in my life, I was entirely bound. I stood speechless. The congregation looked at me as if wondering what could be the matter. A sensation, such as I had never before felt, came over me. My tongue seemed numb or paralyzed. In a short time I began to speak in an unknown tongue and probably spoke about fifteen minutes. Soon after ceasing, the interpretation came clear and distinct to my mind, and I at once gave it to the congregation. I had no further difficulty and talked about an hour. My old friend, Squire Chase, arose and testified that what he had heard was the truth, and that the power of God had been made manifest. Their hearts were softened by the good Spirit, and he and several others shed tears.10
I had prior engagements to meet a considerable distance from Hector. These would keep me away about two weeks. I regretted the necessity of going and left an appointment for another meeting on my return. I indulged the hope of establishing a branch of the Church there. In my absence Elder Brown, who had organized a Campbellite Church with converts through my labors heard that I was preaching Mormonism, and came there to counteract the results of my labors. He held meetings, visited from house to house, and repeated the extravagant stories and falsehoods about the Prophet Joseph and the Book of Mormon so extensively circulated in those early times. When I returned I found the minds of the [p.42] people filled with prejudice and bitterness. The spirit manifested that more preaching to them would be in vain, and I went away sorrowful. I have not heard that any of the people in that part of Hector township ever received the Gospel.
Father Young had sold out his property in the town of Mendon for several hundred dollars, and used it to supply the wants of the Elders. He afterwards moved 120 miles to Avon. He had served his country as a soldier in three campaigns of the Revolutionary War and at this time was drawing a pension from the government. He desired to go west to see the Prophet and this furnished him means to accompany his son to Pittsburgh. On arriving there the two brothers, Phineas and Lorenzo, purchased a family boat and with their families and their father started down the Ohio River, again with the intention of gathering with the Saints in Missouri.
As before stated in this narrative, Lorenzo's mother died when he was quite young and his father chose for a partner in life a widow, Hannah Brown. She had children by her former marriage and also by Father Young. This very naturally served to divide her family interests. When Father Young wished to to go west he was very desirous that his family should go with him, but as the wife objected when he started for the West, she went to live with one of her sons in Tyrone County, New York, about 150 miles distant. After Father Young had been in Kirtland nearly two years, she wrote to him that if he would come or send and get her she would live with him again. Lorenzo Young with a good team took his father with him and moved her to Kirtland. There she lived in quite comfortable circumstances until the time came for the Saints to evacuate Kirtland; then she objected to going to Missouri and went back to her sons in the state of New York, where she died.
About ten miles above Beardstown the Youngs tied up their boats for the night and circumstances induced them to remain there a few days. They had a horse and buggy which had been driven along the road near the bank of the river. The horse needed shoeing and nearby was a blacksmith shop which Lorenzo obtained the use of for this purpose. In splitting a bar of iron for shoes, the sledgehammer, in the hands of an assistant, parted from the handle, and with full weight fell on to the big toe of Lorenzo's foot, completely crushing it. He went to the boat and pulled off the boot, which was pretty well filled with blood. As near as practicable the toe was made to assume its natural form, dressed as well as circumstances permitted, and Lorenzo walked to the shop and completed shoeing the horse, though in great pain. In the meantime a neighboring farmer had engaged the brothers [p.43] Young to harvest and thresh twelve acres of grain. This was cut and bound without the aid of machinery, and threshed with a flail on a barn floor. On the second day of threshing Phineas H. Young gave out on account of the excessive labor and extreme heat, and turned his attention to shoemaking in the shade of the boat. As they had contracted to do the work and also needed the pay, with his father to prepare food and do a little light work, Lorenzo completed the tedious job. He now says, with the great pain he endured, he remembers it as one of the severest labors he ever performed. The Youngs continued their journey, but on arriving at Beardstown. Persis, the wife of Lorenzo, who had been quite sick for some time, was so ill it caused them to stop at this place indefinitely.
The people came to see them, soon learned they were Mormons, and expressed a wish to hear them preach. The morrow being Sunday, the Elders Young proposed to preach if a house was furnished for the purpose. Mr. Isaac Hill, since bishop for several years of the Second Ward of Salt Lake City, was then a citizen of Beardstown, and through his kindly offices the school house was opened for them. After the first meeting the people desired more teaching and in a few days five persons were baptized, among whom were Mr. Isaac Hill, and Peter Shirts, both since well known to many of the people of Utah.
In a short time Phineas went to Kirtland with Father John Young. As the Saints desired Lorenzo to remain in Beardstown, he concluded to spend the winter there, but afterwards thinking he might more readily obtain work at West Union, five miles from Beardstown, he removed there and with his labor made his family comfortable through the winter. Again, these brothers had been providentially directed to where a few persons were ready to receive the truth.
In March, 1833, Lorenzo Young followed his father and his brother Phineas to Kirtland, Ohio.11 The Kirtland Temple Committee was appointed June 6th, of that year. About that time with his team Lorenzo took Hyrum and Joseph Smith, his brother Brigham and Elder Cahoon to examine a stone quarry to see if the rock was suitable for the walls of the temple. It was decided that it would do, and a part of a load was put on the wagon. All returned to town and the rock was unloaded on the temple ground. [p.44] The Prophet remarked, "We have hauled the first load of rock for the temple." From that time Lorenzo labored on the temple, as occasion required, until its completion.
On the 17th of February, 1834, those holding the Priesthood were called together for the purpose of organizing a High Council, and Lorenzo Young was one of the number. Of this circumstance he says:
On that occasion I committed a grave error, and desire to leave a record of it for a lesson to others. The Prophet requested me to take a seat with the brethren who had been selected for this Council. Instead of doing so I arose and plead my inability to fill so responsible a position, manifesting I think, considerable earnestness in the matter. He then said he really desired I should take the place; but as I still excused myself he appointed another to fill it. I think that was the reason he never again called me to fill any important position in the Priesthood. I have since learned to go where I am called, and not set up my judgment against that of those who are called to guide in this kingdom.
The 8th of March, 1835, Lorenzo Young was set apart in Kirtland as a missionary to the Lamanites.12
When the temple was enclosed, in a meeting of the brethren called to consult about its completion, the Prophet Joseph Smith desired that a hard finish be put on its outside walls. None of the masons who had worked on the building knew how to do it. Looking around on those present his eyes rested on Lorenzo and he said, "Brother Lorenzo, I want you to take hold and put this hard finish on the walls. Will you do it?" Lorenzo replied, "Yes, I will try."
The following day with horse and buggy he went to Cleveland, twenty-two miles, determined if possible to find a man who understood the business. He had been there but a short time inquiring after such a man, when he met a young man, Artemus Millet, who said he understood the business, had just completed a job and wanted another. Lorenzo at once engaged him, put him and his tools into the buggy and returned to Kirtland.
The materials and fixtures were soon on hand to make the mortar, and work was commenced on the 2nd of November, 1835. Before the mortar was dry, Lorenzo, with a suitable tool made by [p.45] himself, marked off the walls into blocks in imitation of regular stone work, and at the proper time commenced penciling. It was the last of November and the weather daily grew colder. A Brother Stillman assisted him a day or two, but said he could not stand the cold and quit the work. Lorenzo persevered day after day, determined if possible to complete the task. When badly chilled he went into his house to get warm and again returned to the work.
The task was completed on the 8th of January, 1836, but Lorenzo was sick the last two days. He had caught a bad cold accompanied with a very severe cough, and in a few days was confined to his bed. His disease was pronounced "quick consumption," and he sank rapidly. When for two weeks he had been unable to walk, Dr. Williams, one of the brethren, came to see him. Considering his case a bad one he returned the next day and brought with him Dr. Seely, an old practicing physician, and another doctor whose name is forgotten.
They examined the patient and Dr. Seely asserted that he had not as much lungs as would fill a tea saucer. He appeared a somewhat rough, irreligious man. With what he probably considered a good natured fling at the belief of the Saints in miracles, he said to Father Young, "Unless the Lord makes your son a pair of lungs there is no hope for him." Again we will let the subject of our narrative tell his experience, when his life seemed to hang only by a thread:
I was so low and nervous that I could scarcely bear any noise in the room. The next morning after the visit of the doctors, my father came to the door of the room to see how I was, and I recall his gazing earnestly at me with tears in his eyes. As I afterwards learned he went from there to the Prophet Joseph and said to him: "My son, Lorenzo, is dying; can there not be something done for him?" The Prophet studied a few moments and replied, "Yes; of necessity I must go away to fill an appointment which I cannot put off. But you go and get my brother Hyrum, and with him get together twelve or fifteen good faithful brethren; go to the house of Brother Lorenzo and all join in prayer; one by mouth and the others repeat after him in unison. After prayer divide into quorums of three. Let the first quorum who administer anoint Brother Young with oil, then lay hands on him, one being mouth, and the other two repeating in unison with him. When all the quorums have, in succession, laid their hands on Brother Young and prayed for him, begin again with the first quorum by anointing, continuing the administration in this way until you receive a testimony that he will be restored."
[p.46] My father came with fifteen of the brethren and these instructions were strictly followed. The administrations were continued until it came the turn of the first quorum the third time. Brother Hyrum Smith led. The spirit rested mightily upon him and he was full of blessing and prophecy. He said that I should regain my health, live to go with the Saints into the bosom of the Rocky Mountains to build up a place there, and that my cellar should overflow with wine and fatness.
At that time I had not heard about the Saints going to the Rocky Mountains; possibly Brother Smith had. After he was through the administration he seemed surprised at some things he had said, and wondered at the manifestations of the spirit. I coughed no more and rapidly recovered. I had been pronounced by the best physicians in the country past all human aid. I am now a living witness of the power of God through the administrations of the Elders.13
On the 7th of March, 1835, a meeting of the Church was called in Kirtland for the purpose of blessing those who had labored or furnished means to build the House of the Lord. Lorenzo Young was one of the number, and was blessed in the name of the Lord.
He continued to live in Kirtland to labor for the support of his family and to go on missions. After receiving his blessings in the House of the Lord in the spring of 1836, he was sent by the Prophet Joseph to the western part of Ohio. He preached in a number of towns and baptized several persons.
This was a short mission, and soon after his return to Kirtland the Prophet called Lorenzo to go on a mission to the states of New York and Pennsylvania. He continued on this mission until late in the autumn, and organized a branch of the Church in the township of Hector, but several miles from where he had, by his preaching, enabled the Campbellites to organize a church. A Brother Smalley was sent into Pennsylvania with him and after two or three meetings left Lorenzo to labor alone during the season.
In the summer of 1836 Lorenzo had occasion to go to Pittsburgh, 150 miles away, on business. He had a little daughter not quite four years of age, named Lucy Ann. The first night, when [p.47] twenty-five miles from home, he dreamed her clothes caught on fire and burned her to death. So realistic was the dream it seemed the portrayal of a terrible reality. There was no more sleep for him that night. Early in the morning he drove his horse into the road with his face towards home, when some unfriendly intelligence suggested that he was not in the habit of going back after starting to accomplish a purpose.
This appealed to his pride, a weak point in humanity. He reasoned also that if he went home he would probably find his family all right—in fact that a dream was not worth much attention from a sensible person. These suggestions had so much weight with him that he turned his horse's head towards Pittsburgh, and continued his journey.
After an absence of ten or twelve days he started for home; again he put up at a hotel twenty-five miles from Kirtland. When sitting down to supper the landlady, learning where he was going, inquired if he had heard of the terrible misfortune of Mr. Young's girl being burnt to death? He was not personally known, and the landlady unwittingly gave him the first information of the affliction at home. He at once ordered his horse harnessed, and arrived home about one o'clock in the morning. Then he sensed the truthfulness of his dream, for in it he had been shown the details of the misfortune as they had transpired.
In the summer of 1837 there was much persecution in Kirtland, and many of the Saints left there for Missouri, among them Lorenzo D. Young. He sold off his property, fitted up his teams, and in the autumn, in company with Brother Isaac Decker, started for the Western Zion. On account of sickness in his family he laid by at Dublin, Indiana. In the meantime he started back on the road with his team to assist brethren who might be on the road from Kirtland. After traveling a few miles the first day he unexpectedly met his brother Brigham, who was also fleeing from persecution. Said he, "Brother Joseph Smith is on the way and you had better go back with me; wait until he comes up and go along with us." Lorenzo remained in Dublin until the Prophet and others came along, and in February, continued his journey to Missouri. On the way, in jumping from his wagon he fell and split the cap of one of his knees on a sharp stone. The injury was both painful and dangerous, and he suffered much in riding over rough roads on a loaded wagon. At Terre Haute, Indiana, his leg was examined by a surgeon, who said that if it got well it would always be stiff, but he did not believe the doctor, and had faith that he should again have the use of it. With 400 miles of travel he suffered much, but got the use of his leg the following summer, as he believed, through the administration of the Elders.
The company crossed the Mississippi River on the ice at Quincy, Illinois, and were the last to cross in that way that season. [p.48] When near the west side of the river the ice was so weak that the horses were taken from the wagons and planks were laid down on which to run the latter ashore.
In March, 1838, Brothers Young and Decker arrived in Daviess County, Missouri.14 The former purchased a farm from a Missourian, put in crops, built a house, purchased stock, planted an orchard and prepared for a permanent home. Mr. Decker rented a farm but the remainder of the company went on to Far West, twenty-two miles farther. Lorenzo and his friend Isaac Decker labored diligently during the summer, generally holding meetings on the Sabbath. Matters remained quiet around them until election day, 1838, the memorable 6th of August. The Missourians determined that the Mormons should not vote, but the latter asserted their rights, and a fight took place at the polls in the town of Gallatin, as related in Church History. Lorenzo, not feeling like attending election, did not go. This fight greatly excited the Missourians and was the beginning of serious trouble to the Saints in Daviess County.
Lorenzo lived eighteen miles from Adam-ondi-Ahman, and soon after the election he left his family on his place and accompanied by Brother Decker went there on military duty as a guard for about two weeks. After completing their term of military service the two started for home with but one horse, which they rode by turns. As they passed through the town of Gallatin, eight miles from home, Lorenzo was walking and Mr. Decker was ahead of him on the horse. About twenty rods from the road, and near a whiskey saloon, was stationed a company of Missourians. As the former was passing nearly opposite to them a party of men stopped in front of him and their leader ordered him also to stop. He was armed with a sword but the party, numbering twenty-two, were [p.49] mostly armed with rifles. Nothing was said to Brother Decker, who halted and was sitting on his horse a short distance off watching the proceedings.
The sergeant in charge of the party asked Lorenzo where he had been, where he was going, and if he was a Mormon, with many other questions, which were answered truthfully. After Lorenzo had answered one of his questions, with a profane epithet, he called him a liar. After this Lorenzo answered no more questions. The sergeant was about half drunk as were probably some of his men. He became much irritated at the silence of his prisoner and was very profane and abusive. Said he, "You have probably been robbing and burning in this section and ought to be killed. Anyhow I will make you open your mouth." He directed his men to form a half circle, a little distance from Lorenzo, evidently to concentrate the fire, and then ordered, "Make ready." In describing this scene Lorenzo says:
Every rifle was drawn on me. I prayed in my heart and felt much assurance that they would not be permitted to kill me. My life trembled in the balance, awaiting the leader's order to fire or recover arms. The latter order came. He then asked excitedly, "Now will you talk?" But I remained silent.
This performance was repeated; he was filled with wrath and commanded his men the third time, "Make ready, aim." It looked as though my time had surely come; but at this critical moment, a man in military garb armed with a sword, came running from the camp near the saloon. When near enough to be heard, he cried out, "Hold on!" The men lowered their guns, and again there was a respite for me. As he approached he demanded, like one having authority, "What are you doing?" The officer who had been abusing me replied, with an oath, "I am going to kill this Mormon." The superior officer ordered him to take his men to camp. As he did not move readily his superior drew his sword stepped in front of him and declared with an oath if he did not move at once he would take his head from his shoulders. His tone and manner indicated that he meant business, and the sergeant moved off with his men.
The officer who released me declared that the other was drunk and did not know what he was doing. He asked me many questions similar to those the other officer had asked, but in a gentlemanly manner, and I answered them frankly and truly. His heart softened and he bade me go on my way, adding, "Mr. Young, if you are ever in trouble in this war, and can do so, send for me and you shall not be hurt unless it is over my dead body." I made [p.50] a memorandum of his name, military title, etc., but regret to say that in my many moves have lost it. Again was the prophetic promise of my mother fulfilled, and my life lengthened out for some wise purpose.
In a day or two after Lorenzo arrived home, Mr. Richard Welding, of whom he had bought his farm, came to him, accompanied by three or four others and warned him to leave the country at once. Lorenzo asked, "Why must I leave? Have I not bought my land and paid for it? Have I not attended to my own business?" To which Welding replied, "Mr. Young, we do not want you to leave. You are a good citizen, and if you will only be man enough to renounce Joe Smith and your religion, we want you to remain with us; and I will protect you in your rights. The Mormons must all leave the county, and if you do not renounce them you must go too." No attention was paid to this warning, and three or four days after the occurrence a man rode up in front of Lorenzo's house when he happened to be away, called Mrs. Young to the door and again gave warning that Mr. Young and family must leave. By the mother's side stood her little boy, Joseph W. One of the men, using an oath, ordered the latter to go into the house or he would blow his brains out. The lad stepped back without his mother noticing what he was doing, took his father's rifle which was standing in the room, and before he had attracted her attention, was leveling it on the threatener. She quietly told him not to fire as they would certainly be killed if he did. He obeyed but manifested considerable belligerency for one of his age.
About five days after this warning, early in the morning, Lorenzo looked up the road towards Gallatin and saw a man on horseback coming towards his house at full speed. As he rode up he inquired, "Is your name Young?" When answered that it was, he continued, "I have ridden from Gallatin to inform you that in two or three hours there will be a company of twenty men here; they will fasten you and your family in your house and burn it down. For God's sake, if you value your wife and children, do not be here an hour from now. I have come to give you this warning as a friend, and should it be found out that I had done so I might lose my own life." Lorenzo thanked him for his kindness and the man rode off rapidly towards Gallatin. His wife was directed to prepare to leave immediately. Lorenzo attached a team to a light spring wagon, put in a bed, a few cooking utensils, a trunk of clothing, some food for the day; got his wife, his four children, William, Harriet, Joseph, and John into the wagon, fastened up the house, and started for Far West.
Lorenzo expected to return and get his goods, and the next day for that purpose obtained teams and started, but found the road strongly guarded by the enemy, who threatened to kill him [p.51] if he went on. He never obtained anything he left on the place. He started his son, William, then a lad of twelve years, with a team to go to his farm and try to bring away a load of food. Soon after he left Far West the boy was met by a party of Missourians who threatened to whip him to death, but, after consulting together decided that if he would promise to return they would not injure him. This he did, and the second effort to obtain something from the farm to help the family was a failure. These circumstances left the family very destitute, in common with many others of the Saints who had been robbed in like manner. Lorenzo had previously taken a fine pair of oxen and a new milch cow to Far West, thinking that he might possibly wish to remove there; but Clark's army15 drove the oxen into their camp and used them for beef, promising to pay for them, but Lorenzo received only the promise. These events occurred in October, 1838.
We will digress from the usual routine of this narrative to relate some circumstances connected with what had been the supposed organization of "Danites".
In the evening of February 5th, 1890, as Lorenzo and his nephew, LeGrande Young, were conversing, the former remarked that in reading Bancroft's History of Utah, he noticed the erroneous statement that an organization known as "Danites" in the days of Missouri was supposed to have originated with Apostle David W. Patten. LeGrande Young stated that he had often heard the inquiry, "Who and what were these Danites?" and he had never received a satisfactory answer; for his part he would like to hear a solution of the query. Lorenzo stated that he first heard of Dr. Avard, the founder of the "Danites" as known in Missouri, when presiding over a branch of the Church in a township occupying the southeast corner of the state of Ohio. In the days of Kirtland he was sent by the Prophet Joseph on a mission to that part of the state, and was requested to visit the branch over which Dr. Avard presided. Circumstances developed that Avard and Elder Sidney Rigdon were on quite intimate terms, and that the latter was considerably tinctured with the ideas and spirit of the former. Lorenzo Young says:
I returned to Kirtland, and in a short time was requested to attend a council of the First Presidency, which consisted of the Prophet, S. Rigdon, and F. G. Williams. I was requested by Joseph Smith to make a report of my mission, and particularly that part of it connected with Dr. Avard, and the branch of the Church over which [p.52] he presided. The impressions I had received of him were not flattering to his character for honesty and integrity. Without bringing any accusation against him, in a moderate way I expressed my views to the council. Elder Rigdon manifested his displeasure by animadverting rather sharply on my remarks. After he was through expressing his views the Prophet Joseph said, "Brother Young, I wish you to express your views of Dr. Avard without fear or favor." I expressed a wish not to do so, to which he replied that he really desired that I should. I then more fully gave my opinion that Dr. Avard was a dishonest, hypocritical man. I said to Elder Rigdon, "Give Dr. Avard time and he will prove my estimate of his character to be correct."
The Doctor attracted no further attention from me until my arrival in Far West. In the latter part of the summer, I found he was in Far West among the Saints holding secret meetings attended by a few who were especially invited. I was one of the favored few. I found the gathering to be a meeting of a secret organization of which, so far as I could learn by diligent inquiry, he was the originator and over which he presided. At one of these meetings he stated that the title by which the members of the society were known, "Danites," interpreted meant "Destroying Angels," and also that the object of the organization was to take vengeance on their enemies. Avard considered it the duty of the members to pursue them to the death, even to their homes and bedrooms. At different times new members were sworn in by taking the oath of secrecy and affiliations. The teachings and proceedings appeared to he wicked, blood-thirsty, and in direct antagonism to the principles taught by the leaders of the Church and the Elders generally. I felt a curious interest in these proceedings and determined to hold my peace and see what would develop. The culmination finally arrived. At one of the meetings Dr. Avard particularly required that all present who had been attending their meetings, should at once join the society by making the required covenants, and I was especially designated. I asked the privilege of speaking, which was granted. I began to state my objections to joining the society, and was proceeding to state my reasons and in them to expose its wickedness when Dr. Avard peremptorily ordered me to be seated. I objected to sitting down until I had fully expressed my views. He threatened to put the law of the organization in force there and then. I stood directly in front of him and was well prepared for [p.53] the occasion. I told him with all the emphasis of my nature, in voice and manner, that I had as many friends in the house as he had, and if he made a motion to carry out his threat he should not live to get out of the house for I would instantly kill him. He did not try to put his threat into execution, but the meeting broke up. From the meeting I went direct to Brother Brigham and related the whole history of the affair. He said he had long suspicioned that something wrong was going on but had seen no direct development. He added, "I will go at once to Brother Joseph, who has suspicioned that some secret wickedness was being carried on by Dr. Avard." Dr. Avard was at once cited before the authorities of the Church and cut of for his wickedness. He turned a bitter enemy of the Saints.16
At this time enemies were gathering about Far West. Major Seymour Brunson directed Brother A. P. Rockwood and Lorenzo to take their horses, go out two miles north of the town and patrol the country every night. They were ordered if they saw a man or company of men coming towards Far West, to hail them and demand the countersign, and if necessary to make the demand the second time, and if it was not given to fire on those approaching. Arriving on the ground where they were to perform their duties, the two men separated, taking different directions. It was a beautiful moonlight night. Lorenzo was on the edge of a prairie with his eye along the road when he discovered a company of mounted men coming over a swell in the ground. He retired a short distance to some timber and took a position behind the trunk of a large tree, under the shadow of its branches and twenty or thirty yards from the road. As the company came opposite him he demanded the countersign twice, as he had been ordered to do.
As they paid no attention to him he made ready to fire, intending to shoot the leader, when a sudden and forcible impression came over him to hail again. He did so and ordered them to halt. This time the leader recognized his voice and turning towards him asked, "Is that you Brother Lorenzo?" He also recognized the man as Brother Lyman Wight. He was on his way from [p.54] Adam-ondi-Ahman to Far West with a company of men to assist the Saints there. They were rejoiced to meet each other and Lorenzo was very thankful he had not obeyed orders.
Soon after the occurrence he returned to Far West. He had not had his clothes off to lay down for three weeks and on arriving home remarked to Mrs. Young that he hoped to get one good night's sleep. He can best relate what followed:
Perhaps I had slept two hours, when I was awakened by the bass drum sounding the alarm on the public square. I was soon out to see what was the matter. There were five men on the ground, of whom I inquired the cause of the alarm. They informed me that two of the brethren had been taken prisoners by the mob on Crooked River, tried by a court martial that day, and condemned to be shot the coming morning at eight o'clock. A company of men was wanted to go and rescue them. Preparations were hurried and in a short time forty mounted men, under the command of David W. Patten were ready to start.
We kept the road to a ford on Crooked River, twenty miles distant, where we expected to find the mob. As day was breaking we dismounted about a mile from the ford, tied our horses and left Brother Isaac Decker to watch them. We marched down the road some distance when we heard the crack of a rifle. O'Banion [Patrick O'Banion], who was one step in advance of me, fell. I assisted John P. Green, who was captain of my platoon, to carry him to the side of the road. We asked the Lord to preserve his life, laid him down, put a man to care for him, ran on and took our place again. The man who shot Brother O'Banion was a picket guard of the mob, who was secreted by the road-side. Colonel Patten at this time was in the advance at the head of the company. As we neared the river the firing was somewhat lively, and he turned to the left of the road with a part of the command, while Captain P. P. Pratt and others turned to the right. We were ordered to charge, which we did to the bank of the river, when the enemy broke and fled.
I snapped my gun twice at a man in a white blanket coat, and while engaged in repriming, he got out of range. A tall, powerful Missourian sprang from under the bank of the river and with a heavy sword in hand, rushed towards one of the brethren (who afterward proved to be Robert Thompson) crying out, "Run you devils or die!" Brother Thompson was also armed with a sword, but was a small man and poorly calculated to withstand the [p.55] heavy blows of the Missourian. He defended himself well, but his enemy was forcing him back towards a log over which he would doubtless soon have fallen and been slain. I ran to his aid and leveled my gun within two feet of his antagonist, but it again missed fire.
The Missourian turned on me, and Brother Thompson, for some reason, did not come to the rescue as it seems he should have done. I succeeded in parrying the Missourian's blows until he backed me to the bank of the river. A perilous situation, for I could go no further without going off the perpendicular bank, eight or ten feet to the water. In a moment I realized my chances were desperate. At this juncture the Missourian raised his sword, apparently throwing all his strength and energy into the act, as if intending to crush me with one desperate blow. As his arm extended I saw a white hand pass down the back of his head and between his shoulders. For a moment his arm seemed paralyzed, giving me sufficient time to deal him a desperate blow with the breech of my gun, which parted at the handle, sending the butt some distance from me, and bending the barrel (as was afterward ascertained) ten inches. As my enemy fell his sword dropped from his grasp; I seized it and dealt him three desperate blows on the neck. At the same time John P. Green, the captain of my ten, came up and reported that Colonel Patten was killed. In the midst of much excitement I reached him. He lay on the ground badly wounded in the abdomen. Said he, "Get a horse and get me away from here." Our horses were a mile in the rear, but there were a number of the enemy's tethered around unsaddled. Standing near was a Missourian who had been taken prisoner, guarded by two of the brethren. I requested him to bring a saddle. Considering the situation and his condition he answered me very impertinently. Instantly my blood boiled with indignation. I drew the sword I had taken from the Missourian and declared with an emphasis that gave the man to understand that I was in earnest, "You scoundrel, get a saddle at once or I will take your head from your shoulders."
He instantly started for a tent, closely followed by me. He brought a saddle which was put on to a horse. Colonel Patten was raised up to put him into the saddle, but so severely did it hurt him that he begged to be laid down again. Then a pair of the enemy's horses were harnessed to one of their wagons. With two other brethren I went to a tent and gathered up a lot of bedding [p.56] and put it into the wagon for the wounded. I got into the wagon and took Brother Patten, as the brethren handed him up, and laid him in the blankets. He was a man weighing 180 pounds. It afterwards appeared almost miraculous to me that, in the excitement of the occasion, I handled him and others of the wounded so easily.
Besides Colonel Patten there were five other wounded men put into the wagon: James Hendricks, Wm. Seely, a Brother Hodge, and two others whose names are forgotten. The body of Brother Obanion, who was killed, was also put in with the wounded. That of Gideon Carter, for some reason not seen at the time, was left on the ground but was afterwards recovered.
Colonel Patten was a brave man, though the following incident, related by Lorenzo, would indicate rather recklessly so to be a prudent leader: When lying on the ground soon after being wounded, with several of the brethren standing around, he ordered his officers to follow the enemy; follow them to their homes. Captain Pratt, as next in command, called Captain Green and others a little to one side and asked what had better be done under the circumstances. Captain Green said he thought they had better let the enemy go and take care of their dead and wounded. His views were also sustained by Lorenzo, and that was decided upon as the best policy.
When the camp was charged and the enemy fled, their road passed over a four mile prairie on the other side of which were two hundred and fifty of the enemy's cavalry. Had Colonel Patten's command pursued, the conclusion is reasonable that they would have been annihilated on this open ground.17
A few miles from the battle ground, the returning expedition was met by the Prophet Joseph Smith with a carriage and a company of horsemen. The wounded were taken to their homes and such care given them as the unfortunate circumstances of the people would allow. Lorenzo says of his deliverance from his enemy: "As soon as I had time to think I felt that the inspiration of my mother's promise had been verified. The appearance of the hand to me was real. I do not see how I could have been saved in the situation I was in without a providential interference."
[p.57] Soon after the return to Far West of the expedition to Crooked River, General Clark's army arrived before the town. In the evening after Joseph and Hyrum Smith and others had been taken, as related in Church history, Hyrum Smith had the privilege of going into Far West to see his family.18 From the spirit manifested by General Clark and his men, he believed that if they succeeded in taking the brethren who were in the Crooked River battle, they would be tried by a court-martial and shot. He and the two brothers Brigham and Lorenzo met on the public square. After counseling over the matter it was decided Lorenzo and others in the same situation, should start that night into the wilderness, north of Far West, for the Des Moines River, in Iowa Territory. Phineas H. Young being a good woodsman was selected to pilot them. The Saints in Far West had been so plundered by their enemies that they had but little supplies to eat or wear. Of this trip Lorenzo says:
I had on a thin pair of pants. My wife took a flannel sheet from the bed and with the assistance of the neighbors hastily made me a pair of drawers. These I afterwards gave to my brother Phineas as he seemed to suffer more with the cold than I did. Our bedding was as scanty as our clothing.
We left Far West that night and took no food with us. About sunrise in the morning we arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman, twenty-two miles from Far West. We needed breakfast, and we stopped in a clump of hazel brush and sent one of the party to the house of Brother Gardiner Snow to tell him our situation. He said he had not much to eat but would do the best he could. He [p.58] brought us a supply of stewed Missouri pumpkin and milk. Our keen appetites made this seem a very good breakfast.
At Adam-ondi-Ahman we obtained fifty pounds of chopped corn, and with this meager supply of food continued on our journey. From the first it was evident we must economize our food supply.
I was appointed commissary which, in this instance, included the office of cook for the company. When we started there were twenty men, who were to subsist apparently on this fifty pounds of unsifted corn meal during a journey of 350 miles. There was a large tin dish to bake it in. Morning and evening a cake was baked, without salt, before the fire, and a piece was dealt out to each man about an inch thick and four inches square. The second day, as night was approaching, we struck the edge of a prairie which was about four miles across. As our horses were weary we halted for a short rest when a man named Irvine Hodge overtook us. He informed us that General Clark had learned of our departure and sent a troop of sixty cavalry in pursuit; that it was only a few miles behind on our trail, and that the orders were to bring us back dead or alive.
We had thought of encamping on the spot but concluded to cross the prairie. This we accomplished and encamped in the timber. In the night snow commenced falling and appeared to come down in sheets instead of flakes. In the morning it was about a foot and a half deep. A part of the company at first regretted this but others felt that the hand of the Lord was in it. My brother Phineas at once declared that it was the means of our deliverance. We started on, the wind began to blow, drifting the snow so that our tracks were completely covered soon after they were made.
We afterwards learned that our pursuers encamped where we had rested, on the opposite side of the prairie from our night encampment. In the morning they pursued but found it impossible to follow our trail. Thus were we saved by a friendly interposition of the elements.
About this time eight of the brethren became disheartened with the gloomy prospects, and said they would rather face the chances of falling into the hands of their enemies than take chances of perishing with cold and starvation. They started for the settlements below or east of Clark's army, made their way to the Missouri River and escaped to a place of safety.
[p.59] This lengthened out the food supply for those of the company who continued on to Iowa. In a day or two they killed a young deer which was consumed for supper and breakfast. They also obtained a few quarts of honey from a bee tree which helped to satisfy the cravings of hunger.
With twelve days of travel in cold and snow the corn meal was all gone. Some of the brethren ate slippery elm bark but it made others sick. Phineas H. Young took with him on this perilous trip his son Brigham, then a lad of ten years, and they had but one horse between them.
We were fifteen days on our journey from Far West to the Des Moines River; the last three of which we were without food. After the snow fell our horses of necessity subsisted on what was above it. The brush soon made my thin pants ineffectual for covering my legs in the neighborhood of the knees, and the fragments were kept together, as much as possible, with small hickory withes. When for the first time we arrived near a house on the Des Moines River, I remained in the woods while one of my companions, Titus Billings, went to the house and obtained a pair of pants that I might be presentable.
On this trip men and animals appeared to have a wonderful power of enduring cold, hunger and fatigue. I am constrained, after more than fifty years, to acknowledge a special providence in our deliverance.
Having secured his own safety, Lorenzo's great anxiety was about his family, whom he had been compelled to leave among enemies and in a very destitute condition. He made his way to Morgan County, Illinois, where a few of the Saints lived. On arriving there he first learned of the sufferings of his aged father whom he had left in Kirtland, Ohio, in the autumn of 1837.
Probably without learning of the expulsion of the Saints, Father Young had traveled into Missouri until within seventy or eighty miles of Far West, where he was stopped by a mob and accused of being a Mormon. Not wishing to betray himself he said little, but the mob concluded he was a Mormon and proceeded to exchange property with him on their own terms. For a new eastern wagon and harness and a good team, they gave him an old Dearborn wagon, harness to match, a pair of Missouri ponies, and ordered him to leave the country at once.
His grandson, Evan M. Green, had driven his team from Kirtland and continued to drive it until the arrival in Illinois. On his way out of Missouri he arrived at the town of Atlas, on the Missouri River, in an exhausted condition. He remained there [p.60] with a Brother Westerly, who was also a fugitive from Missouri, to rest; but his grandson continued on into Illinois with Father Young's daughter, Fanny. There they met Lorenzo and informed him of the condition of his father, and that he was eighty miles distant. Lorenzo hired a carriage and started immediately to his relief. On arriving at the old log cabin which sheltered his father and the destitute family whose kindly hospitality he had shared, Lorenzo found him pounding parched corn for his supper, and learned that he had had no other food for two weeks. The next morning they started for Morgan County. Lorenzo had rented a house when he first came into the township of Winchester, Morgan County, and there he made his father as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. His father never regained his health but lingered until the following autumn, when he died in Quincy, Illinois, the 12th of October, 1839.
After rescuing his father, Lorenzo traveled on horseback three times through snow and in the extreme cold of winter, ninety miles to Quincy and back, five hundred and forty miles, in an effort to learn the whereabouts of his family at this general crossing place of the Saints into Illinois. This made a winter's travel of over one thousand miles after his flight from Far West. On his third trip to Quincy he froze his feet which caused him much suffering.
Finally, not being able to hear anything of his wife and children, on the last of January he gave a Mr. McClare the fine four-year old horse he had ridden from Far West, to go after his family and move them to Illinois. Mr. McClare started with a light wagon accompanied by Lorenzo as far as a ferry across the Mississippi River, twenty-five or thirty miles below Quincy. The weather had been so severely cold that they expected to cross on the ice, but they found it broken up on the river, and the idea of crossing with a team had to be abandoned. Mr. McClare turned back, but Lorenzo's anxiety to find his family was becoming intense. He offered the ferryman ten dollars in silver if he would put him across the river in a canoe, but considering it almost certain death to make the attempt through the drift ice, the ferryman positively refused to try.
Bitter was the disappointment of the husband and father, and as he stood musing on the gloomy prospects that surrounded him, a little girl, fitly representing an angel of blessing, came to him and asked, "Is not this Mr. Young?" He turned, spoke to her, and inquired who she was. She replied, "I am Brother Park's daughter and my father has sent me to invite you to come to our house, which is close by." Lorenzo accompanied her and soon met an old friend of his family who had been his neighbor in Kirtland, Ohio. He was a welcome guest and was soon seated for supper around the family table. How rapidly the current of [p.61] our lives sometimes changes! There was a rap at the door and Lorenzo's nephew, Evan M. Green, was ushered into the room bringing the glad news that Lorenzo's family had arrived from Far West the evening after he had left home two days before, and was anxiously awaiting his return. Lorenzo says of this culmination of his deliverance from Missouri, "I felt to thank the Lord for what a few hours before was a sore disappointment and cause of great trial to me; that was, that I could not cross the river. It was another kindly providence in my behalf, for had I crossed the river before the news reached me of the deliverance of my family, I should have struggled on to Far West without accomplishing any good, and I might have fallen a victim of my enemies. I found my family as well as could be expected, and only a few days after a tedious, tiresome journey my wife gave birth to a son, whom we named Franklin Wheeler. He was truly persecuted before he was born."
Having followed Lorenzo from Far West until he was again united with his family in a place of safety and peace, we will go back in our narrative and see how his wife and little ones escaped from Missouri to meet him in Illinois. As before stated, the family consisted of his wife and five children, the oldest a lad of twelve years. His wife was a woman of education and refinement, but of weakly constitution. When her husband and twenty others were compelled to flee for their lives, their destitute and helpless families were of necessity left to do the best they could. Winter was coming on with its chilling blasts. It had no terrors for those who had warm houses and plenty of food, but these fugitives from vindictive persecutions had little hope in the dark shadows that overhung their future, except in God's mercy. In the meantime the decree of the governor of the state had gone forth, backed by military force, that they must leave the country or be exterminated.
Soon after Lorenzo had left Far West, several Missourians came to the cabin occupied by his family in search of him. Disappointed in not finding him they shot down the only cow the family had been able to save from the mob, within a few yards of the cabin door. From that time the family had little else than frozen potatoes and corn bread to satisfy the cravings of hunger.
The Saints had been driven from their homes without being permitted to gather their crops. The cold was already sufficiently severe to freeze the ground for several inches. The eldest son, William, assisted by his younger Brother, Joseph, would dig a hole by a hill of potatoes, get a lever under it, and pry up a chunk of earth in which the potatoes were frozen, cut them out and cook them for a change with the corn bread, with possibly an occasional taste of bacon.
Mr. Isaac Decker, an old time friend and neighbor of Lorenzo's, hired a Mr. Bidwell to move his family into Illinois. The [p.62] destitute family, with clothing barely sufficient to cover their nakedness, with a meager supply of food of poor quality, was put into a wagon and started on a journey of 250 miles, accompanied by two other teams, a little after the holidays. There were several inches of snow on the ground. With the chilling winds, the short days, and the long cold nights, there was little, in the general surroundings of these people, to mitigate the usual severity of the season.
Missourians were generally a very hospitable people and, where they were not possessed of the spirit of vindictiveness towards the Saints, they kindly gave them shelter in outhouses and such room as they could afford. At other times they had no other shelter than the clear, blue vault of Heaven with the cold glittering stars that shone on all humanity alike. The forest furnished them an abundance of fuel but the vapor of the atmosphere settled on the branches of the trees in beautiful frostwork, and the ground was frozen hard and covered with snow. These surroundings might have appeared beautiful to people luxuriating in warmth and comfort, but to these thinly clad, poorly fed fugitives, the snow had that sharp crisp sound under their feet that indicated severe cold, the intensity of which they soon felt when, even for a short time, they left the smoke and partial warmth of their campfire. Partial, because while the fire warmed one side of their frail bodies, the cold air was chilling the other.
The oldest son, William, has furnished the following reminiscences of these trying scenes, of which most vivid recollections have survived the lapse of fifty years. The experiences of this family might be paralleled with slight alterations, by those of hundreds of others that will never be recorded by mortal pen. At that time William was young in years but old in bitter experiences. He says of himself at this time:
I had suffered and was then suffering from the afflications of those I loved, more than from my own. I had changed about with my parents, as Latter-day Saints, for several years, but the mobbings and drivings of the Missouri persecutions had made a deeper impression on me than any before experienced, doubtless for the reason that each succeeding year enabled me to better understand my surroundings.
The faith of the Gospel had not yet come home to my young heart. From sympathy I had lived in the spirit of my parents and more especially in that of my mother. I had both seen and heard the Prophet Joseph Smith, but as yet there had been no conception of his glorious mission, nor of the causes that operated to bring about the circumstances in which myself and those I loved were [p.63] involved. The query often arose in my heart, who is Joseph Smith, who my parents and many others appear to be following? Why should they cling to him and his fortunes and for so doing be compelled to leave homes, to suffer semi-starvation, nakedness, and want of all things? No answer to these queries had yet come to me. Only a new revelation could open my understanding, plant faith in my heart, and show me a better path to walk in. Dark shadows were hanging over my young life which were about to disappear before the light of Heavenly inspiration.
I still retain a vivid recollection in one of our encampments. After supper the men of the camp, as suited the wants or caprice of each family, scraped the snow off the frozen ground preparatory to making beds. Contiguous to the camp fire lay a large oak tree, once prominent among surrounding trees, but now laid low through age or the fury of the elements. This afforded a little shelter from the bitter night winds on that side, and it was here that my mother made the bed for herself and children.
In addition to the scanty supply of bedding, it was necessary to put over us such outward garments as we could spare; in this way and by sleeping together, a fair degree of warmth was insured. As another day of toil and privation drew to a close, that devoted mother kneeled down in the chilling air by our scanty bed, in which were deposited her dear children for the night. From the depths of affliction she poured out her soul in prayer to Him who could understand the sorrows of others, for He also had drunk to the dregs the bitter cup.
No human pen can portray the depth of humility, the fountains of devotion that were opened up in that soul; but many of the words and sentiments of my mother at that time sank deep into my heart. The spirit that accompanied them begot faith in me in the Gospel which I trust has thus far moulded my life in accordance with its glorious principles.
The following morning only brought the monotonous toil and privation of many other days. There were the same heartless, chilling elements to battle with; frozen potatoes and corn-dodger to partially satisfy the pangs of hunger, through which nature almost constantly made her need of nourishment manifest. In time the weary journey was accomplished by the arrival of the family in Morgan County, Illinois; but, as we have before stated, Lorenzo was away and in anxious pursuit of them. He and his family had found deliverance, not from poverty and want, but from their enemies.
[p.64] At a conference of the Church held on the Presbyterian camp ground, near Quincy, Illinois, May 4–6, 1839, nineteen Seventies and High Priests were designated to accompany the Twelve on a contemplated mission to England. Among the Seventies was Lorenzo D. Young. He afterwards made every possible preparation to fill this mission, but was positively counseled not to go by the Prophet Joseph Smith.19
Lorenzo remained in Scott and Morgan Counties during 1839 and the season of 1840, occupied in farming but at no time free from sickness in his family, which sometimes brought considerable destitution. He spent the summer of 1841 in Warsaw below Nauvoo, Illinois.20 In the spring of 1842, he moved to Macedonia, Hancock County. It was a Mormon settlement about four miles from the town of Carthage, and was made up of a few who had been compelled by sickness to leave the Kirtland Camp on their way from Ohio to Missouri, of other wanderers who were desirous of living in an organized society of the Saints, and latterly several families of Saints driven out of Missouri had located there; among these were Lorenzo D. Young and family. Much suffering in the Missouri persecutions had weakened their bodies and prepared them to receive the germs of disease that were engendered in the rich prairie soil and marshy bottom lands along the streams of Illinois. Lorenzo purchased a home and did very well until taken down with malarial sickness in the heat of summer.
William, the oldest of Lorenzo's children, was nearly three years older than when he went through the bitter experiences of the Missouri exodus. His sister, Harriet, was about nine years of age. She, like her brother, had ripened rapidly in the school of affliction. They both suffered more from sympathy with others than on their own account. This self-sacrificial element was strong in both parents and it was deeply planted in the natures of their children.
[p.65] The following circumstances are worthy of record as developing great faith in a young heart. On account of much sickness in the family the supply of medicines and comforts had run low. The circumstances that had surrounded William's young life had taught him self-reliance, and he felt that he must do something to relieve the necessities of his loved ones. He conceived the plan of going to Nauvoo, where he believed he would find something to do to earn a little money. It took a few days to ripen thoughts into practical plans. He first revealed his thoughts to his loving mother. Then, of course, the father was taken into their counsels. Many were the objections suggested by paternal solicitude. But finally the determination of William and the force of circumstances overcame, and consent was given him to make an effort.
He was now a lad of fifteen years with a mission, and it seemed to him a very important one. His whole soul was in that mission. It lit up his eye; it made his step more elastic; with his previous experiences it made him almost a man in practical thought.
It was twenty-two miles to Nauvoo, mostly over rolling prairie. Before the morning sun had dissipated the dew he was ready to start. That readiness simply meant the purpose within him, a few mouthfuls of food swallowed for breakfast, and a little for dinner tied up in a small cotton handkerchief.
The ground was cold but his feet had formed slight acquaintance with shoes for a long time, and were so accustomed to hard usage that they made no complaint. His auburn hair projected from holes in the ragged hat, and the locks were moved by the bracing autumn air, but the head did not complain, for it had been kept cool and clear for a long time. With great earnestness portrayed in every movement of the youth, the head was level for a boy's. The imagination constructed no air castles, at least any that since have proved such. His heart was full of the sentiment, "Oh if I can find something to do to help the folks at home."
Exercise in the open air brought appetite, but he could not afford to stop to eat. He consumed the corn cake which he had brought along in his handkerchief without breaking his rapid gait, with a relish that the pampered know nothing of, quenching his thirst from one of the prairie streams that wound among the rolling hills.
It was nearly sunset when he came in sight of Nauvoo. It was a beautiful sunset with fleecy clouds in all the variegated hues of the rainbow, but in those heavenly beauties there was no inspiration for him. He was dealing with the hard realities of life.
In Nauvoo he had many relatives and friends. They had been through the Missouri furnace of affliction, and on their faces were the marks of sickness and destitution. They were still under various kinds of shelter, from the well-worn wagon cover and tent to the newly constructed house. Corn bread was yet a staple [p.66] article of food and often difficult for some to obtain. But the friends of the youth divided their fare with him, for a community of suffering had cultivated communistic ideas of hospitality. The little surplus that one might have was often divided with the more needy.
For three days he traveled around Nauvoo, among friends and strangers, seeking for something to do, even for a pittance, but without success. He then begged a passage on the ferry-boat across the river to Montrose; but there he also sought in vain for employment. Returning to Nauvoo, as a last resort he went to a Mr. W., a saloon keeper, a dealer in death and destruction in the form of strong drink, who had two things, both of which were in the possession of but few persons in Nauvoo at that time—a warm side to his heart and money in his pocket. William, with a feeling akin to desperation, stated his case fairly. His father's family was sick, and he had come all the way from Macedonia willing to do anything to get twenty-five cents to buy medicine. Mr. W. put his hand into his pocket, handed the youth twenty-five cents saying, "Go home now, you have got your money."
William carefully tied up the money in a corner of his cotton pocket handkerchief. It was sacred and not to be used for himself on any consideration. His fortunate beginning seemed at the same time an unfortunate ending, for he knew of no place to apply for more, with any possible chance of success. Could he go home with so little? He was disappointed; he had expected more than that moiety from his great effort. With the cotton handkerchief in which was tied up the twenty-five cents well down in his pocket, he left Nauvoo on the road towards home and went a mile or two to share, for the night, the hospitality of a family relative.
In the morning he felt refreshed with a good night's rest. After breakfast his lady cousin gave him four or five fine apples. These being a luxury he also tied up in the 'kerchief with the twenty-five cents, and started out with the parcel in his hand. At first he was sad at heart. His countenance was not so cheerful, his step not so elastic as when going to Nauvoo. He had not gone far before he queried, "Will my Heavenly Father open the way for me to do something for my afflicted home?" Faith welled up in his heart. An intense desire came over him to pour out his soul in prayer to Him who is all powerful to help the distressed, could he find a place where no mortal would see him. About four miles from Nauvoo, on the top of a hill, the road he was traveling branched into two; one trail going to Warsaw, the other towards his home through Carthage to Macedonia. As the trails cut off they took down opposite sides of the hill. A little distance farther on the road to Carthage, there was a small stream. This when high with heavy rains or melting snow formed eddies and washed out considerable holes on the ground, which were dry. One of these answered his purpose. With uncovered head and swelling heart [p.67] he knelt down and poured out his soul with sobbings, with tears like the child that he was in heart. He arose with cheerfulness. A crushing weight of sorrow had been lifted, and there was light and peace in place of deep shadows that had nearly crushed him. He started towards home with more hope and a lighter step, and had not gone far before he felt impressed to turn back towards Nauvoo. The impression was supplemented by a hand on each shoulder, and he was turned around with his face in that direction.
William obeyed the impulse by beginning to retrace his steps. He had gone but a short distance before some intelligence, by his side, began to reason. While he saw nothing, to him the presence was real. It said, "You had better not go back to Nauvoo. You have tried to work without success and you will do no better if you go back; besides your friends there will begin to think that you have run away from home, and you will not find as much favor as you did before." The arguments were so plausible they attracted his attention. The last one especially seemed weighty, for beneath that ragged jacket beat a heart keenly sensitive to anything that had a taint of dishonor. Although this experience was new to the youth, everything connected with it was so natural that he did not stop to reflect upon the unusual circumstances.
The last monitor had a powerful influence over him and he again turned his face towards home, but still praying in his heart that the Lord would manifest what he should do. He had gone but a short distance when he again felt the pressure of a hand upon each shoulder, and he was again faced towards Nauvoo with rather more emphasis than the first time. Under the influence of the angel of his deliverance he felt, for a time, as though he would certainly go back to Nauvoo; but he had not gone far before his evil genius was again by his side, advancing the most specious arguments why he should go home instead of towards Nauvoo.
Again did the arguments of this evil genius begin to weaken his resolution, and draw him away from the blessing that was in store for him. He was again induced to turn his face towards home but still asking the Lord, in his heart, to know what to do. Surely he had need of help, for he was being acted upon, alternately, by two powerful influences without sensing his peculiar situation. Wondering at his own conduct, he had proceeded a considerable distance when, for the third time, he felt the impress of a hand on each shoulder, but with a firmer grip than before, he was faced about and pushed forward with a force that nearly threw him on his face.
For the first time the conception entered his mind that, perhaps, the angel of blessing was trying to get him to go towards Nauvoo to find the answer to his prayers. With this conception [p.68] in his heart the power of the Evil One was broken. The dark spirit was, doubtless, aware of the change that had come over him for it troubled him no more.
Relieved of perplexity he rapidly returned. As he reached the hill where the Carthage and Warsaw roads came together, a stranger from the Warsaw way, on horseback, met him at the junction. In a brusque but kindly manner he accosted him with, "Good morning, my lad. Do you live around here?" After William's explanation that he lived about eighteen miles from there the gentleman continued, "I am buying up land. Do you know of any for sale about here?" Like an inspiration it came to William that his father had a piece of land that he had said he would like to sell and he replied, "Yes, my father has some land to sell." "Can you tell me how I will find him?" the gentleman queried. "Yes, I will go along with you." The stranger looked at the youth with a little surprise, as though he doubted the propriety of starting out with him for that distance, but they were soon traveling together towards Macedonia.
The burden was again lifted from William's soul. There was light where were dark shadows before. There was an inspiration that comforted him by whispering, "This is the way relief will come." The kind-hearted man rested William by exchanging places with him occasionally, and they made good time to Macedonia. Lorenzo informed the stranger that it was too late in the day to show him the land, but he would do so on the following day.
The stranger looked over the forty acres of land that Lorenzo had offered for sale, was well pleased with its location and appearance, and paid a good price for it in gold.
The sum would not have appeared large to a family who were in good circumstances, but to one measurably destitute from sickness it seemed a fortune. They had learned by some of the severest lessons the practical value of money. This timely relief cheered their hearts and buoyed up their spirits with the hopes of a better future, and those hopes were not disappointed. The frosts of autumn had a beneficial effect on those afflicted with the malarious diseases of the country. Life changed for the better. The faith and energy of the eldest son, William, was the means in the providence of God of bringing great blessing to the family.
In the spring of 1843 Lorenzo D. Young purchased a place about two miles from Macedonia. It proved to be a very unhealthy location. It was here in the summer that his nephew, James A. Little, came out from Nauvoo to live near him and brought his mother, the sister of Lorenzo.21
[p.69] About harvest time Lorenzo and Mrs. Young and their five children on some days were all down, shaking and burning alternately with chills and fever, with only the nephew, James, and oldest son, William, to give them a drink of water. This sickness brought on great destitution which kind neighbors did much to modify, but even with their assistance there was often no other resource than boiled green corn, rather a poor article of diet without other food, and especially for people sick with malarial diseases. William and James were anxious to relieve the necessities of the family and obtain a supply of food for the coming winter. To accomplish this they labored hard when they could be relieved from the immediate care of the sick. To obtain bread they took a field of wheat to gather and thresh on shares, belonging to a Mr. Jotham Maynard. After working a day or two at it William was taken down with chills and fever, and it was necessary that James wait on the sick, as the whole family of Lorenzo was down. The boys were bitterly disappointed at not being able to labor for the relief of the family. So much did William take the situation at heart that he shed tears. With him chills and fever ran into other fevers, and finally into the dropsy. It was probably early in December, 1843, that his father took him to Nauvoo, where he was nursed by his aunt, Fanny Murray,22 in the house of Brigham Young. He continued to fill up with water and Doctors J. M. Bernhisel23 and Frederic G. Williams were called in. They decided that they could only give him temporary relief by tapping. Dr. Bernhisel thought that he could be relieved of twenty gallons of water. However this was not done. It was necessary to keep him in an upright position to delay strangulation. On the last day of 1843, the youth, to all human appearance, must soon pass away. In the morning Brigham Young sent an express to Lorenzo, living about sixteen miles from Nauvoo, that he must come without delay if he would see his son alive. Early in the evening Brigham aroused William from his stupor and asked him how he felt. He expressed himself as resigned to die, in fact that he did not care about living. As Brigham turned to leave the room, after some encouraging words, he remarked, "William, you can live if you wish to." About nine o'clock in the evening Lorenzo arrived. After warming himself a little by the fire, he roused his son. Then William's Aunts Fanny and Mary Ann [Angell], the latter the wife of Brigham, washed and anointed him, after which the father prayed for and [p.70] administered to him. Soon after these administrations Lorenzo took up his son, carried him into another room and laid him, for the first time for many weeks in a natural position on the bed, went to bed himself and both father and son had a good night's rest.
In the morning the superfluous water was gone from the body of the boy. He was found to be the merest skeleton with the relaxed skin laying in folds. From that time he continued to regain his health. As he gained strength he broke out in boils all over his body. This was probably a necessary result of the natural process of returning health, but the affliction was very severe. This was cured by an unusual method of administration among the Saints. A brother in the Church who claimed to heal by faith, came and gently rubbed his body all over with his hand, saying something inaudible to others. In about three days the boils disappeared and the dried remains could be rubbed of with the hand. It was a most remarkable case of healing and well worthy of record as a testimony to others. It afterwards transpired that, at the time the youth was being administered to by his father, the Elders, with his Uncle Brigham, were praying for him in a holy place. Lorenzo at once removed his family to Nauvoo.
The situation of Lorenzo Young and family, we may safely assume, was paralleled by that of many of the fugitives from Ohio and Missouri. In general terms, to say that the people were clothed would be asserting too much, for many of them had barely enough to cover their nakedness. To say that they were fed would be equally inconsistent. They had something to eat, but their food, much of the time, was not tempting to weak stomachs and morbid appetites. Their neighbors were kind but usually in similar circumstances. Those who had around them more of the comforts of life were proportionately taxed by the necessities of their more destitute neighbors. At times for weeks in these afflicted families there was little to relieve the terrible monotony of suffering.
In the spring of 1844, Lorenzo D. Young was appointed to a mission to the state of Ohio by the Prophet Joseph. He left Nauvoo the first day of June accompanied by his son William and Elder Isaac Decker, to journey with teams. It was a year remarkable for unusually high water in the streams of the country. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries overflowed and flooded the bottom lands contiguous to their banks. Even the small streams of the country were difficult to cross on account of high water and the soft marshy bottom lands. They were ferried a considerable distance over the Illinois River and its flooded bottom, at times passing over fields of corn three or four feet under water. About the 28th of June they arrived at Springfield, the capital of the state of Illinois. There they designed to lay by for the waters to subside. Two or three days after their arrival the news reached them, by Phineas H. Young, of the assassination [p.71] of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage Jail, on the 27th of June. A consultation was held and it was decided to send one of the party back to Nauvoo to learn the condition of affairs there, and bring word if it was thought advisable for them to return.24 William G. Young was at first selected to go, but finally Elder Isaac Decker was sent, leaving his wife and daughter to go on with Lorenzo. Phineas returned to Exeter, where he resided.
William Young says that at this writing he has a vivid recollection of that 27th of June. About the hour that the Prophets met their death the party was crossing a large prairie, and encountered one of the most terrific thunderstorms he ever witnessed. They felt, with great power, the spirit of darkness and affliction that spread like a funeral pall over the Saints when this sorrowful event occurred, even before the news of it reached them. When the party first arrived in Springfield they drove through the town, crossed the Sangamon River, drove out four miles and shared the hospitality of brother James Ide. He had joined the Church in an early day but was at this time rather in the background. The martyrdom of the Prophet and the conversation of his visiting friends renewed in him the spirit of the Gospel, and he proposed that Lorenzo preach on the coming Sabbath. This was assented to, provided a house could be obtained for the meeting. Brother Ide was a man of considerable influence and obtained a Baptist meeting house for the purpose, gave out an appointment and utilized every means in his power to spread the appointment through the country. There had been much excitement throughout the state with regard to the Mormons. News had just spread through the country like a tornado that the brothers Smith had been killed. In the excitement of the presumed overthrow of the Mormon Church, appeared a Mormon Elder in their midst who was ready to face the issues of the hour and defend the doctrines and rights of his people. It was in keeping with the circumstances that the people should flock from all parts of the country to hear him, that when Lorenzo Young took his seat in the pulpit he should see before him the judge from the bench, the lawyer from the bar, and a fair representation of all classes of citizens. The circumstances made the occasion a very unusual one, and to meet it unflinchingly required a high degree of moral courage. Lorenzo in relating the incident says that when he arose to speak, the congregation seemed made [p.72] up of giants and himself proportionately diminutive, but the Lord did not forsake him in the dark hour. The Holy Ghost opened his mind to the magnitude of the occasion and he was filled with the spirit of testimony and prophecy. He talked an hour and a half to a large congregation who appeared to listen with intense interest. Lorenzo remained there about two weeks, during which he continued to preach the Gospel, baptized several persons, organized a branch of the Church, ordained Mr. Ide an Elder and appointed him to preside. The party continued their journey to Ohio.
Arriving near Waynesville, Lorenzo D. Young rented a house. From there he and his son William went to the town of Chilicothe where they met Elders Joseph Young and Lorenzo Snow. The former had also been sent to Ohio on a mission but had made the journey by water. The three traveled about seventy-five miles and attended a conference of the Saints. From there the two brothers accompanied by William returned by way of Chilicothe to Waynesville, preaching by the way. They organized a branch at Waynesville as the fruits of their labors. Lorenzo traveled and preached the Gospel during the summer, sometimes alone, at other times in company with his brother, Joseph. Many believed and were baptized. They organized two branches of the Church. Mr. Isaac Decker had come out to Ohio during the summer and with his wife and daughter returned to Nauvoo with Lorenzo in the autumn.25
On the way Lorenzo Young met with a very severe accident. In throwing down hay from the loft of a barn where he kept his horses overnight, he fell about eight feet and struck his side across a pole, breaking two or three of his ribs. He was about two hundred miles from home and suffered much pain on the way, from the jolting of the wagon and from not having anyone to assist in taking care of his team, but with the blessing of the Lord, he arrived home safely. His son William remained in Ohio. Soon after his father left, William was ordained an Elder in Waynesville, and set out on a preaching mission with Elder William [p.73] McBride, when only seventeen years old. He returned to Nauvoo in May, 1845. As soon as Lorenzo had sufficiently recovered from his injuries he was sent back to Ohio by the Apostles to gather funds with which to assist in building the temple. He spent the winter of 1844–45 in preaching and gathering funds and returned to Nauvoo in March, 1845.
Lorenzo was soon after appointed one of the building committee of the Nauvoo House.26 In this position he became more or less exhausted from great exertions, and therefore more liable to disease than he otherwise would have been. He went out into a distant part of Hancock County to receive some property that had been donated for building the Nauvoo House; was taken very ill, returned home with difficulty and took to his bed with the lung fever, where he lay for several weeks, becoming emaciated and very weak.
Lorenzo recovered slowly, and when so far convalescent as to be able to sit up and get around a little, his brother Brigham came into his room and read the treaty that the Saints had been compelled to make with the mob, in which they agreed to evacuate Nauvoo.27 Brigham asked him what he thought about it. He replied that he should get well in time to go with them. Brigham queried, "Do you think you can live in the Rocky Mountains?" Lorenzo answered, "Yes, if I can only have health I can live anywhere. With that blessing I could carry dirt to a rock on top of a [p.74] mountain to raise food for myself and family." In fact he, with most of the Saints, was so nearly worn out with often recurring sickness and the persecutions by his enemies, that he was ready for any change that promised immunity from these evils. Lorenzo recovered his health in December, barely in time to prepare for the Exodus. He had invested what he had in real estate and had made some very good turns in business. He was compelled to fit up teams, wagons, etc., with what little means he had outside of that class of property.
Lorenzo fitted up two ox teams and one horse team with wagons and crossed the Mississippi River the 8th of February, 1846, and drove out six miles to the camp on Sugar Creek. The 15th of February Brigham Young arrived in the camp and the following day organized the people preparatory to the journey west, but did not move out immediately. He and Heber C. Kimball again returned to Nauvoo but only remained over night. About this time the weather turned severely cold, and on the 22nd, Bishop Whitney crossed his loaded teams over the Mississippi on the ice. In the organization Lorenzo Young was appointed a Captain of Ten.28 He says of these times of suffering:
In our camp there were hundreds of women and children with no other shelter than a wagon cover or cloth tent, and the weather was extremely cold. On the second day of March we broke camp. I started with my little company of ten wagons, with the camp numbering some 400 wagons. About the same time the weather moderated, and it rained until the mud made traveling almost impossible. Sometimes it required five or six yoke of oxen to move one wagon. With much difficulty it would perhaps be taken a mile, then the team of several pair of oxen would return and bring up another, and another, perform a severe day's labor and possibly travel four or five miles from the encampment of the previous night, with the women and children sitting cramped up in the wagons, for it was so very wet and muddy, they could not walk.
After a week of this kind of labor the camp arrived at Richardson's Point, fifty-five miles from Nauvoo. It remained there a few days and several of the brethren found work, for which they received corn to sustain their teams.
[p.75] Here Lorenzo's nephew, Edwin Little, was taken very sick with the lung fever. He was removed to a house about two miles from camp, but he continued to grow worse and died on the 18th of March, 1846. He was buried in a cold damp grave in a grove of trees a few rods from the road. It was a melancholy day for friends and relatives and especially for his stricken wife, Harriet.
To provide for the inhabitants of a city driven from their homes into a wilderness, exposed to the sweeping storms and bitter cold of winter, with nothing but the slender resources of the camp itself, is a task which but few men could hope to successfully accomplish. Yet the effort was a necessity on the part of the leaders of the "Camps of Israel" on the prairies of Iowa. Besides the food supply for the people, it required daily large quantities of grain to sustain the animals of the camps, and these were necessities of existence—their means of deliverance from the perils that environed them.
April 6, 1846, the sixteenth anniversary of the organization of the Church, found the camps on a branch of Shoal Creek, where they remained over two weeks on account of rain and mud. Nine or ten teams were sent to the settlements for corn. In about three days they returned, the most of them empty. There was but little strength in the old dry grass or in the early, succulent growth, and the animals were weak.
Many reflections crowd around this sixteenth anniversary of the organization of the Church. Its situation was quite in keeping with its wonderful, eventful history. Three times in this short period had its members been forced to evacuate their homes, en masse, and these sweeping exoduses were interspersed with minor drivings and plunderings. In these multiplied toils and sufferings, Lorenzo and family had carried their share of the burdens, and were now acting their part in this grand exodus of the centuries, certainly without a parallel since the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage.
During the night of the 11th of April, 1846, the mud froze hard. To any but Saints, circumstances would have been very discouraging, for it seemed to be with the greatest difficulty that they could protect their animals from starvation, and they were obliged to send off several days' journey to the Missouri settlements to the south, to procure grain. Many of the people were nearly destitute of food, and women and children suffered much from exposure because of the inclemency of the weather and from the lack of the necessities of life, such as they were in former times accustomed to enjoy. But in the midst of all these temporal afflictions the Saints were comforted in anticipation of better days. They were willing to endure hardships and privations for the sake of escaping the unrelenting persecutions of sectarian Christians, [p.76] from whom they had received, for many years, nothing but cruelty and the most heartrending oppression. Lorenzo Young recalls:
The 24th of April, Garden Grove, on the headwaters of Grand River, was reached. There it was decided to make a way station, a place of rest for those who were unable to proceed farther. It was still a seasonable time for putting in corn and other crops. The camps were organized for labor, and by the 10th of May many houses were built, wells dug, extensive farms fenced, and the place assumed the appearance of having been occupied for years.
Lorenzo Young built a house for someone to occupy who remained, as he continued on with those who traveled to the Bluffs.
After a long and tedious journey, attended with much suffering and want, the "Camps of Israel" arrived near Council Bluffs on the Missouri River. There the memorable event occurred of enrolling the Mormon Battalion for service in the Mexican war.29 Most of the camp crossed to the west side of the Missouri River and located at what was called Cutler's Park, on the west side of the river about twelve miles above Sarpee's Point,30 and on high ground about two miles west of where Winter Quarters was afterwards established. There in preparation for winter, considerable hay was cut and stacked.
At this place John Young, the oldest brother of Lorenzo, was taken sick. Lorenzo, as was his daily custom, called to see him, accompanied by his wife. They were met at the tent door by Sister Mary Ann, the wife of the sick man, who stated that he was dying. Lorenzo's wife suggested that it would be well to administer some stimulant. Tea was obtained and a strong decoction made. Brother [p.77] John Young was apparently gone. The eyes, the relaxed under jaw, and the general appearance indicated that he was past all help from human hands. A small spoonful of the tea was put upon his tongue. After a few minutes he swallowed it, when a little more was put into his mouth. In about ten minutes he opened his eyes, closed his mouth and from that time began to recover. When strong enough to talk he said that he had been in the spirit world as much as he ever would be in the future.
The camp remained at Cutler's Park several weeks, when it was decided to move it east onto the lower ground on the bank of the river, and there make preparations for the coming winter. This place was called Winter Quarters, the name sufficiently indicating its purpose. Tent and wagon covers had become badly dilapidated with hard service, and their owners were ready to exchange their meager shelter for a more substantial one, even of very rude construction.
Chimneys were made of sod, cut with a spade in the form of a brick; clay was pounded in to make fireplaces and hearths. Most of the roofs were split and hewed puncheon; the doors were generally made of the same material. Many houses were covered with oak-shakes, fastened on with weight-poles. A few were covered with shingles. A log meeting-house was built, about 24 x 40 feet, and the hewn floor was frequently used for dancing. A grist-mill was built, run by water power, and in addition several horse-mills and hand-mills were used to grind corn. Lorenzo Young built a log house with shake roof and puncheon floor, and used a covered wagon base for a bedroom.
Winter Quarters consisted of some 700 houses, indicating that 4000 people spent the winter there. Many of the people had remained at Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah. Others settled on the Potowatomie lands on the east side of the Missouri River, built houses, cut hay for their animals, gathered sustenance for their families and made every possible preparation for the winter.
This was the third and by far the most important way station between Nauvoo and the objective point of the "Camps of Israel"—the valley of the Rocky Mountains. There and in the surrounding country the Saints must gather strength and mature their plans for grappling with the difficulties of a thousand miles of desert travel. In log cabins and dugouts, hastily constructed under the pressure of necessity, they must endure the rigors of winter and take the chances of life and death with bodies worn, constitutions broken from excessive toil and exposure, often half famished for want of proper food and chilled for want of comfortable shelter and clothing. There could be but one result, that a city of the dead should increase rapidly beside that of the living. To say that the living were decimated would probably not be an [p.78] over-estimate of the mortality during that season of struggle for existence.
There Lorenzo D. Young had another sick spell of three or four weeks. When able to go about he went one morning to a man who had brought a load of meat into camp for sale, and purchased a few pounds of very thin pork, for which he was asked six and eight cents per pound. Lorenzo considered the price exorbitant and reminded the vendor that he should not extort from his brethren, for his pork cost him only two cents per pound and the hauling was only ninety miles. The man treated the matter lightly and said he bought and sold to make money. Lorenzo felt indignant at his course and laid a plan for supplying the camp at more reasonable rates. After consulting with and receiving encouragement from his brother Brigham and Heber C. Kimball, he borrowed five hundred dollars of Brother Robert Pierce and three hundred from Moses Thurston. With the money he went into Missouri and purchased 212 hogs and a few beef cattle. The hogs cost one and one half cents per pound, with one third of live weight deducted for waste. Lorenzo drove his purchases up to Winter Quarters, hired brother Thomas Grover to butcher, built a place to store the meat and opened a meat market. He sold his meat wholesale and retail at the same price, in order that the poor man, who had only fifty cents, might get his meat as cheap as the more well-to-do who could purchase a hundred pounds or more at once. He says of this business:
I sold over forty thousand pounds of pork and some beef. The pork I sold for two and two and a half cents per pound. Brother Brigham said I should have asked two and a half and three cents. I lost my labor and one hundred dollars, but had the satisfaction of helping hundreds of my poor brethren, which in after years gave me much pleasure. It was close times for the Saints at Winter Quarters in the winter of 1846 and '47, and the distribution of over 40,000 pounds of fresh meat among them for a little less than cost was no small matter. It gives me joy in my old age to contemplate the fact that I was an instrument in the hands of the Lord in feeding the hungry.
It was the fortune of Lorenzo Young to participate in the most important events of the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was an active, determined worker on the Kirtland Temple, a place where the seer of the 19th century, whose coming had been expected by prophets for ages, could be clothed with the necessary authority for the fulfillment of his mission as leader of the Dispensation of the fullness of times. In this temple, in common with his Quorum, he received such blessings [p.79] as were in store for the faithful. In Nauvoo he was again an active worker for the Temple and Nauvoo House; so much so that he injured his health as he had done on the Kirtland Temple. The latter Temple was constructed for perfecting the ordinances uniting the interests of the living and the dead. After receiving further blessings in this he was prepared, with his people, to flee from persecution into the wilderness, where they suffered much before they were prepared to start out an exploring company to fnd a place of refuge in the Rocky Mountains—an event that had been looked forward to by many of the faithful from the days of Kirtland.
The Saints in Winter Quarters bore their afflictions with characteristic fortitude. The long winter gave their leaders time to perfect plans for the important operations of the season of 1847. As spring opened, this wilderness, so lately occupied by only a few Indians, resounded with the sounds of intelligent, well directed labor. Every stroke of an axe, every turn of a wagon wheel or of a plow had in it a grand purpose—the further removal of the actors to a place of safety towards the setting sun.
Lorenzo was one selected by his brother Brigham, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to accompany him to the Rocky Mountains in search of a place of refuge for the Saints. Sister Harriet, the wife of Lorenzo, was sorely afflicted with phthisis, the low bottom lands along the Missouri River being a bad location for her health. He proposed to President Young to take her along. The proposition at once sprung the question, "Shall we take any of our wives along?" The proposal seemed strongly antagonistic to the preconceived ideas of President Young. He at first seriously objected, but Lorenzo urged that he could not leave his wife in that sickly locality with the reasonable prospect of her being prostrated with sickness during his absence. Both he and Harriet declared they were willing to take the chances in preference to her remaining; and finally Lorenzo declared that he was not willing to go unless she went along. Consent was given and this opened the way for others. After consultation Brigham Young and H. C. Kimball concluded to take a wife each.31 Lorenzo Young also took with him a son, Lorenzo Sobieski, and a stepson, Perry Decker, of about the same age as Lorenzo. Thus were the family relations represented in this pioneering expedition fraught with unforeseen emergencies and dangers. Well might the sisters plead for representation in this important move, on the score that they had so [p.80] far shared in all the dangers and hardships that had fallen to the lot of the Elders, and had never lacked in fortitude and endurance. Why should they not be represented in this supreme effort of their people to find shelter from their enemies? The position had been fairly won.
Lorenzo Young had a fine new milch cow which he proposed to Brigham to take with him. This was objected to as she might be a hindrance to the progress of the company; but Lorenzo gave assurance that if she hindered the company one hour he would leave her on the prairie. With this condition consent was given. She was tied to an ox wagon four or five days, and then followed the team without further trouble the entire journey, giving a good mess of milk twice a day and, with a little churn Mrs. Young had thoughtfully brought along, the family had plenty of milk and butter, and an occasional taste for their friends. She was one of a few cows that crossed the plains with the pioneers and Mrs. Young was a pioneer butter maker on the plains.
The teams of the pioneers began to move out of Winter Quarters on the 5th of April, 1847. Brigham Young joined the camp on the 7th, but he and others of the Quorum of the Twelve who designed to go returned to Winter Quarters twice before the final departure. For the last time they left Winter Quarters on the 14th of April and joined the pioneer camp on the evening of the 15th, twelve miles west of the Elkhorn River. The 16th, camp was organized in companies of hundreds, fifties, and tens. On the 17th, the company traveled seven miles and encamped. In the afternoon a meeting was called and they organized more thoroughly as a military body.
The group consisted of 143 men, 3 women, and 2 children—148 souls. They had a boat, a cannon, 70 wagons and carriages, 93 horses, 52 mules, 66 oxen, 19 cows, 17 dogs and some chickens. At two o'clock p.m., on this date the pioneers started on their journey and traveled three miles. The company was a choice selection of Elders whose experiences had endowed them with the qualities of faith in God and their leaders, with patience and fortitude under difficulties. In their minds was fixed the truth of the proverb that "in union there is strength." Brigham Young had led his people out of the fires of persecution, and they could admit of no other leader. He was truly a Prophet-General, with Apostles for lieutenants leading the veterans of his people into the shelter of the wilderness, marking out and making a road for the thousands who were to follow. In the strictest sense they were pioneers, for they followed no beaten track. The route they selected was the north side of the Platte River which for 500 miles winds in a serpentine course through a magnificent country with scarcely a mark of [p.81] civilization. They crossed several small streams before arriving at the Loup Fork of the Platte.32
The pioneers were now fairly on the plains, in the midst of wild animals and roving bands of Indians. Each day brought its legitimate labors, its real or imaginary dangers, its novelties in animal and vegetable life, and its new and varying scenery. Order was strictly enforced. Each man was required to be diligent in the duty assigned him. Wagons often traveled in a column of two and three abreast for greater security in case of attack. In encamping for the night an enclosure was formed with the wagons. The animals were carefully secured inside. A heavy guard was put on at night. The following from the journal of Elder William Clayton gives us some of the camp regulations:
At 5:00 in the morning the bugle is to be sounded as a signal for every man to arise and attend prayers before he leaves his wagon. Then cooking, eating, feeding teams, etc., till seven o'clock, at which time the camp is to move at the sound of the bugle. Each teamster to keep beside his team, with his loaded gun in his hands or in his wagon where he can get it in a moment. The extra men, each to walk opposite his wagon with his loaded gun on his shoulder, and no man to be permitted to leave his wagon unless he obtains permission from his officer. In case of an attack from Indians or hostile appearances, the wagons to travel in double file. The order of encampment to be in a circle with the mouth of the wagon to the outside, and the horses and stock tied inside the circle. At 8:30 p.m. the bugle to be sounded again at which time all to have prayers in their wagons and to retire to rest by nine o'clock....
The 19th of April, 1847, Elder Clayton, the camp historian conversed with Elder Orson Pratt on the feasibility of attaching machinery to a wagon wheel to register the distance traveled. The idea was afterwards practically carried out and a guide printed which was of great benefit to the emigrating Saints in after years.33 The 21st of April, the pioneers passed a large village of the Pawnee Indians. At the mid-day halt a few came into camp. Some [p.82] presents of tobacco, ammunition, salt, and flour were given them. As these Pawnee Indians were noted for their treachery and love of white men's horses, that night the camp was heavily guarded. Clayton's journal continues:
After the encampment was formed and teams turned out, the brethren were all called together and some remarks made by President Young, advising them to have a strong guard round the camps tonight. He called for volunteers to stand guard and about 100 volunteered amongst whom were all the Twelve except Dr. Richards. This guard was divided into two companies of fifty each, one company to stand the first half the night, and the remainder the last half. Those of the Twelve who stood took the first watch till 1:00 o'clock. Brigham and Heber both stood on guard. Out of the companies a party were stationed as a picket guard some distance from the camp; the balance stood near the camp. The night was very cold, with a strong wind from the northeast, and in the middle of the night, it rained considerable.... We have traveled today about twenty miles, the roads being good and very level.34
From the Missouri River to the South Pass every day's travel increased the altitude. This increasing altitude measurably neutralized the growing warmth of advancing spring and summer. For these reasons the pioneers, at times, suffered from chilling winds and storms. On the 23rd and 24th of April, the Loup Fork of the Platte was crossed with considerable difficulty. They found this the most dangerous stream to ford on the whole route, on account of an ever-changing bottom of quicksand. In crossing wagons it was necessary for men to wade the stream, and the cool weather made them very uncomfortable.
On Sunday, April 25th, a meeting was held at President Young's wagon. At a later assemblage of the people, eight camp hunters were selected who had the privilege of riding eight horses that were not used in the teams. Eleven other hunters were selected who for want of horses were compelled to travel on foot. The evening of the 26th of April, the Indians succeeded in getting away with a couple of valuable horses. William Clayton's journal of April 30th, 1847 says:
We have thus far followed the Indian trail, but it is now so grown over and so old it is scarce discernible. The wind blows strong from the north and the dust is very bad. The atmosphere is dull and cloudy. Our course today has been about west. At a quarter to twelve we [p.83] stopped to feed beside a small creek of clear, good, water, having traveled about eight miles.... We traveled again over a level prairie some distance from the river .... having traveled about eight miles, our course a little southwest.... We are about a mile from water and a mile and a half from timber.... It is now so cold that every man wants his overcoat on and a buffalo robe over it.... Eight p.m., the camp have found a good substitute for wood in the dried buffalo dung which lies on the ground here in great plenty, and makes good fire when properly managed....35
The morning of May 1st, 1847, was very cold. During the day's travel the pioneers had their first sight of buffalo on the plains. It made a sensation for in it was a spice of romance. A buffalo hunt was at once inaugurated. Several men mounted their horses and attacked a band that was in sight but a considerable distance away. Hunters and game were soon enveloped in a cloud of dust. The sport continued until eleven animals were secured. When these were brought to camp it presented the appearance of a lively meat-market. The meat not immediately consumed was dried over slow fires in the sun to preserve it for future use. The morning of May 2nd was cold but fine, with ice half an inch thick. Sometime during the night a buffalo calf was killed and dressed by the guard. In the morning Joseph Hancock came into camp, and reported that he had killed a buffalo the day before and had remained with it overnight to preserve it from the wolves. Men were sent with him, and what was not destroyed by the wolves during his absence was brought in.
On May 4th, the people were called together and some instructions were given for protection against Indian aggressions, as a band of hostile Indians had been discovered by a hunter the day before about twelve miles from camp. The guard was strengthened. It was ordered that the cannon be kept ready for immediate use; horses and mules were to be tied up inside the enclosure at night and the cattle outside the circle of wagons, and a strong guard was to be placed over the cattle when grazing in daytime. The company was visited by a Frenchman [Charles Beaumont]36 whose company of three wagons and nine men could be seen on the south side of the Platte River. The pioneers wrote fifty or sixty letters to their families in Winter Quarters, which Mr. Beaumont courteously offered to deposit in a convenient post office on the [p.84] Missouri River. Three of the brethren accompanied him to his camp. When they returned from their interview with the Frenchmen's company a council was called to consider whether it would be better to cross the river and take the old road to Laramie, there being good grass on that side, while the Indians were burning it on the north. But in view of the thousands that were expected to follow in their track, it was concluded to continue as before, braving the Indians and the burning prairies; for, said the pioneers, a new road will thus be made, which shall stand as a permanent route for the Saints independent of the old route; and the river will separate the "Mormon" companies from other emigrants, so that they need not quarrel for wood, grass or water, and fresh grass will soon grow for our companies to follow us this season.
Thus the pioneers broke a new road across the plains, over which tens of thousands of Saints have since traveled and which was famous as the "Old Mormon Trail," until the railroad came to blot almost from memory the toils and danger of a journey of more than a thousand miles by ox-teams to the valleys of Utah.
It is a curious fact that for several hundred miles the grade of the Union Pacific Railway is made exactly upon the old "Mormon" road.
While traveling on the afternoon of the 5th of May the company came to a column of fire which crossed their path, extending from the river north as far as could be seen. It was considered safest to camp upon the burnt prairie. The animals grazed until dark upon some small patches of grass that had escaped the fire. Early on the morning of the 6th, it rained sufficiently to lay partially the dust and ashes. The camp traveled two miles and found themselves on the west side of the newly burnt prairie.
Immense herds of buffalo were in sight on both sides of the river. When animals were turned out to feed they had to be watched to prevent them from mingling with the buffalo. Elder Orson Pratt estimated that he saw 10,000 during the day. A few antelope that came near the wagons were killed for food. No game was allowed to be killed except as it was wanted for food. Young buffalo calves frequently came in the way and had to be carried a distance from camp to prevent them from following. At this time the camp animals suffered for food, as every green thing was eaten by the buffalo. Elder Pratt estimated that 100,000 of these animals were in sight on the 8th of May, 1847. He says: "At this season of the year, the buffalo are the most of them poor for the want of sufficient food; we have killed no more of them than what the present necessities of the camp require. The bones and carcasses of the buffalo have been more or less abundant since we left the Loup Fork, and among them is frequently found human [p.85] bones, probably those of Indians; several human skulls have been discovered, which were whole and entire."37
For a considerable distance along the Platte, for want of better fuel, the dry excrement of the buffalo was used for camp fires. The 9th of May the tops of a grove of cottonwood trees were cut off to feed the hungry animals.
On the 11th of May a human skull was found, with teeth sound and well set in the jaw. Perhaps it had belonged to an Indian warrior who had fallen in one of the late battles between the Pawnees and Sioux, in which the latter were victorious. Small scars on the bone indicated that the scalp had been removed. There were indications that large parties of Indians had lately been in the vicinity. Also buffalo were scarce, evidently having been driven from the locality. The morning of the 14th of May the animals suffered considerably with the cold. Approaching Laramie the country became more broken, and, from hills near the road, the prospect was often extensive and beautiful. Here and there small herds of buffalo were grazing upon the hills and in the valleys. It was a new experience, even in the wonderfully varied lives of the pioneers. There was a wild, weird romance about the country, like some dream, some fantastic scene materialized. During the evenings the sound of music in different parts of the camp seemed strangely harmonious with the almost death-like solitude of these uninhabited regions.
There were indications that Indians had discovered the camp and were lurking around for the purpose of stealing horses. During the night one was seen by the guard creeping towards camp on his hands and knees. He was fired upon and immediately rose to his feet and ran away. During the following day fresh tracks of these nomadic robbers were seen in the sand. Out of the abundance of buffalo, deer, antelope, geese and ducks, the hunters were able to supply the camp with what meat was required, but there was no fuel for several days except floodwood and buffalo excrement. The 16th of May the camp rested in the afternoon and the people met for public worship.
On the 20th of May, Ash Hollow on the south side of the Platte was passed. It was so named from ash timber growing there and afterwards became a noted way-mark in traveling up the Platte. Rumor located here many a deadly fight between hostile bands of Indians and also between them and white men.38
[p.86] May 23rd was Sunday. As was the general custom on that day the teams rested. Rattlesnakes were numerous. Nathaniel Fairbanks was bitten by a large yellow one. Although remedies were applied he suffered considerably during the day. The people assembled for worship and were addressed by Brigham Young and others.
About 7 o'clock p.m., the wind blew a violent gale from the north, with rain and hail from a cold quarter. This made people and animals uncomfortable. The morning of the 24th a few flakes of snow fell. From a real or fancied resemblance of the surrounding hills and rocks to ruined cities and towers, this region was named "Bluff Ruins."39 During the day the camp was visited by a considerable number of Sioux Indians. Their chief's name was Owastote-cha. Soon after dark he sent his men away to encamp, but he requested the privilege of remaining with the pioneers over night. This, doubtless, was a precautionary measure on his part, as his people would disturb nothing belonging to the camp while their chief was enjoying its hospitality. A tent was spread for his accommodation. In the morning there was a hard frost. To a supper for the Indians the previous evening the pioneers added a breakfast.
The 26th of May, 1847, the pioneers passed Chimney Rock, but three miles north of it. At this point the valley of the Platte was about 3,790 feet above sea level. Prickly pears were more numerous. This indicated that they were getting into a country of not much rainfall during summer. They were still where there was no timber on the north side of the Platte and consequently no fuel for camp use except floodwood, which was very scarce, and "buffalo chips." The latter diminished in quantity as the company traveled west. No buffalo had been seen for several days, but antelope were plentiful.
May 27th the company passed the meridian of the highest peak of Scott's Bluffs, which was near the river on the south side. With indication of a shower in the afternoon the company encamped for the night. The showers along the Platte had been accompanied with high winds, rushing in fitful, violent gusts, but of short duration. The burned prairies were now mantled with the beautiful verdure of spring, and the river bottoms, refreshingly green, afforded luxurious herbage for the camp animals.
Sunday, May 30th, was another day of rest for the teams. It was appointed a day of fasting and prayer. A prayer meeting in [p.87] the morning was followed by preaching and exhortation in the afternoon.40
The 1st of June, 1847, the pioneers encamped about two miles from Fort Laramie, situated on the left bank of Laramie Fork, about one and a half miles from its confluence with the North Fork. Its walls were of adobe and about fifteen feet high. Ranges of houses were built in the interior adjoining the walls, leaving a central yard of about one hundred feet square. It belonged to the American Fur Company, was in charge of a Mr. Bordeau41 and was occupied by about eighteen men and their families.
This camp ground William Clayton called 543 1/4 miles from Winter Quarters. The pioneers had traveled the distance in seven weeks, less half a day, without other accident or loss than two horses stolen by Indians and two others killed. Here they found Brother Crow and family—17 souls who were the advance of a company of Saints from the state of Mississippi, who had wintered at Pueblo with a detachment of the Mormon Battalion.42 From them news was received of the welfare of the detachment. At this place the pioneers also met a party of traders from Fort Bridger on the west side of the South Pass, from whom they learned that two weeks before the snow was several feet deep on the Sweetwater and still deeper in the mountains. This had compelled them to leave their wagons in charge of some of the company and rush through with their animals to save them.
On June 2, a party of the pioneers crossed the river in a boat of sole leather and walked up to Fort Laramie where they were kindly received and seated in a neat, comfortable apartment. After a pleasant chat with Mr. Bordeau and others they walked down to see his flatboat, which was engaged at a reasonable figure to ferry the wagons of the pioneers across, as they had learned that traveling farther upon the left bank of the North Fork would, if not altogether impracticable, be attended with much difficulty. Mr. Bordeau informed the pioneers that the notorious Ex-Governor [p.88] Boggs of Missouri had recently passed, still manifesting great bitterness against the Mormons.43 He and his company were continually quarreling and many had deserted him. Blacksmith shops were set up in the pioneer camp and considerable repairing done. It was decided to send Amasa Lyman with others to Pueblo to meet the detachment of the Mormon Battalion that had wintered there, and hurry them on to Laramie to follow the track of the pioneers.
Early in the morning of the 3rd of June the pioneers commenced ferrying across the North Fork of the Platte. They averaged about four wagons an hour. The day before a small party of white men arrived at Fort Laramie who stated that they had made the journey from the States in seventeen days on horseback. From them the pioneers learned that a large number of emigrants were on the way, as they had passed about 2000 wagons, in detached companies, on their way to Oregon. The first of these companies would probably arrive at Fort Laramie the following morning. About noon Elder Amasa Lyman and three others started for Pueblo on horseback. Apostles Young, Kimball, Richards, and Pratt accompanied them to Laramie Fork, where they held a council, had prayer and blessed the departing brethren, who then forded the river and pursued their journey, while the four Apostles returned to camp. By 8 o'clock in the morning of the 4th, the pioneers had all crossed the river. About 11 a.m., Brother Crow's company of seventeen persons joined the camp. With the addition of these and the deduction of those gone to Pueblo, the pioneers, on leaving Laramie, numbered 161 souls. At noon the pioneers resumed their journey, following the Oregon road.
It was a great change from the long levels of the Platte bottoms to a broken, mountain road. From Laramie to Salt Lake there was no lack of fuel for camp purposes with pine and cedar on the hills, cottonwood and box elder along the streams, and sagebrush abundant almost everywhere, sometimes growing ten feet high.
The 7th of June, 1847, three companies of Oregon emigrants came up with the pioneers. Under this date Orson Pratt says in his journal:
This forenoon we have gained in elevation very fast. Laramie Peak, about 12 or 15 miles to the southwest, [p.89] shows from this position to good advantage. Its top is whitened with snow, that acts the part of a condenser upon the vapour of the atmosphere which comes within its vicinity, generating clouds which are precipitated in showers upon the surrounding country. This peak has been visible to our camp for eight or ten days, and I believe that almost every afternoon since, we have been visited with thunder showers, which seem to originate in the vicinity of this peak....44
The night of the 7th of June, 1847, the pioneers encamped on Horse Shoe Creek. Next day they saw a solitary buffalo, the first one seen for upwards of two hundred miles. They traveled fifteen miles and encamped on Big Timber Creek. About a mile from them were encamped a few wagons from Fort Bridger, on the west side of the mountains, loaded with furs and peltries, on their way to Fort Laramie. It was constant labor to repair the road and leave it in a passable condition for those who were to follow. For this purpose ten or twelve men were daily sent ahead of the company with the necessary tools for that purpose. Distances were also measured with the roadometer and boards set up every ten miles, conveying the information to the traveler of the distance west from Laramie.
The 12th of June the pioneers made the point where the Oregon road crossed the Platte River one hundred and twenty-four miles west from Laramie.45 They found the channel about one hundred feet wide and the water fifteen feet deep. Here they overtook one of the foremost companies of the Oregon emigrants. Three days previous to their arrival the pioneers had sent a small detachment in advance to this place, where they arrived about four hours ahead of any emigrants with the boat of sole leather before mentioned. As this would carry fifteen or eighteen hundred pounds of freight, they were employed by the emigrants to ferry them over. Goods were crossed in the skiff and the empty wagons floated. In the operation the latter were frequently hurled several times over by the force of the current. These emigrants paid the pioneers $1.50 for each wagon and load, payment being made in flour at $2.50 per 100 lbs.; yet flour was worth $10 per hundred at least at that point. The earnings were divided among the members of the camp equally, which amounted to five and a half pounds of flour each, two pounds of meal and a small piece of bacon. "It looked as much of a miracle to me," writes Wilford Woodruff, "to see our [p.90] flour and meal bags replenished in the midst of the Black Hills as it did to have the Children of Israel fed with manna in the wilderness; but the Lord had been truly with us on our journey and wonderfully preserved and blessed us."46
A few miles from the ferry the hunters succeeded in killing three buffalo and two antelope, the meat of which was divided among the different messes or companies, as usual. The hunters also killed a grizzly bear and three cubs. Bears were quite numerous on the Black Hills at that time. Since leaving Fort Laramie the hunters had killed a number of antelope every day.
On June 14th, 1847, the pioneers commenced crossing the Platte. Some of the wagons were crossed on light raft made of pine poles lashed together; others were floated, but the current was too rapid to do this without injuring them, so they resorted wholly to the slow process of rafting. Twenty-four wagons were crossed during the day. The pioneers remained at this place until the morning of the 19th. In this time two large canoes were constructed of cottonwood timber. These were placed parallel to each other, a few feet apart, and firmly fastened together with cross timber well pinned on; across these slabs were fastened, running lengthwise on the canoes. With a little iron work, rudder and oars were attached, and they had a boat of sufficient strength to carry over a loaded wagon of the emigrants. Captain Thomas Groves and nine men were left in charge of this rude boat, and with it a considerable business was done in crossing the Oregon emigrants daily arriving in small companies and very anxious to be crossed over without delay. Those in charge of the ferry were instructed to come on with the next company, who were expected to arrive there in a month or six weeks. They were urged to take every precautionary measure to protect themselves from Indians.
With teams in very good order and the people in good health and spirits, about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 19th of June, the pioneers left the North Fork of the Platte for the Sweetwater River, distant twenty-seven and a half miles. Twenty miles of the distance they traveled on the 21st of June. During the forenoon drive of the 22nd they passed the noted Saleratus Lake. They found large quantities of this useful article in the family economy. The Mormon emigration afterwards hauled yearly supplies of this into the Valley to use instead of the better but far more expensive commercial article, on account of heavy freight charges across the plains. Several bushels were gathered and taken along by the pioneers. The morning drive of seven and a half miles brought them to the right bank of the Sweetwater, about one mile below Independence Rock, and within one-fourth of a mile of the upper [p.91] end of the Devil's Gate. They found the valley of the Sweetwater from five to ten miles in breadth, bounded on the north and south by mountain ridges, isolated hills and rugged summits of massive granite, varying from twelve hundred to two thousand feet in height. In the afternoon the first glimpse was caught of the Wind River Mountains north of the road, but the air was too smoky to discover more than a faint, blue outline. They crossed two or three small streams and, after making twenty and three-fourth miles over a sandy road, encamped on the Sweetwater with good grass and wild sage for fuel. Two companies of emigrants encamped a short distance above the pioneers. The 24th of June the noted Ice Spring was passed. Elder Orson Pratt says in his journal: "We took a spade and dug down about one foot, and found the ground frozen and large quantities of ice. A few rods west of this we saw two or three small lakes or ponds, the water in them was very salt [sic] and of a bitterish taste. The soil is covered in many places with saline effloresences [sic] of considerable depth."
June 25th, 1847, the pioneers traveled 20 1/4 miles and encamped upon a tributary of the Sweetwater, the water clear and cold. Frequent banks of snow were upon the hills in the vicinity. Just below was quite a large and beautiful grove of aspen or poplar. The evening was cold, rendering overcoats quite a necessary appendage. The perpetual snow which completely covered the Wind River chain gave the scenery a cold, wintry aspect.
On June 26th, the grass was whitened with frost, and the sudden change from the high temperature of the sandy valleys below was most severely felt by man and beast. The journey was resumed during the forenoon and eleven miles were traveled, crossing the main branches of the Sweetwater, which were quite high, the result of the melting snows accumulated upon its banks, and in the mountains. At the largest and last of the main branches of the Sweetwater, the company halted to noon. Only in high altitudes was such a scene possible; abundance of good grass mingled with various plants and flowers upon the bottoms of the stream, and a few yards distant, were large banks of snow several feet in depth.
Orson Pratt's journal under this date reads:
This is 8 miles east of the South Pass. Myself with several others came on in advance of the camp, and it was with great difficulty that we could determine the dividing point of land which separates the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific. This country called the South Pass, for some 15 or 20 miles in length and breadth is a gently undulating plain or prairie, thickly covered with wild sage from one to two feet high. On the highest part [p.92] of this plain over which our road passes, and which separates the waters of the two oceans, is a small dry basin of 15 or 20 acres, destitute of wild sage but containing good grass. From this basin, about half a mile both to the east and to the west, the road gently rises about 40 or 50 feet, either of which elevations may be considered as the highest on our road in the Pass....47
On the western elevation the barometer gave the altitude above sea 7,085 feet. The distance of this Pass from Fort Laramie, as measured by the mile machine, was two hundred and seventy-five and a half miles. Four miles west of the Pass, at Pacific or Muddy Spring, was encamped a small company of men from Oregon on their way to the States. They were performing the journey on horseback and had left the settlements in Oregon on the 5th of May. One of them, Major Harris, a trapper and hunter, had resided in different parts of this region 20 or 25 years, having acquired an extensive and intimate knowledge of it in all its main features. The pioneers obtained much information from him in relation to the interior basin of the Salt Lake, the country of their destination. His report, like that of Col. [John C.] Fremont's was rather unfavorable for the founding of a colony in this basin, principally on account of the scarcity of timber. He said he had traveled the whole circumference of the lake and that there was no outlet to it.48
In the afternoon of June 28th they met James Bridger, who encamped with them that evening. He was going on business to Laramie with a small company. Being a man extensively acquainted with the country, many inquiries were also made of him in relation [p.93] to the Great Basin and the country south. His information was rather more favorable for colonizing than that of Major Harris. While partaking of breakfast with Mr. Young, James Bridger remarked, "There is more bread on the table than I have before seen for twenty years." "But, Mr. Bridger, how do you live?" inquired Mr. Young. He replied, "We live entirely on meat. We dry our deer and buffalo to eat, and also cook fresh when we can obtain it. We usually have our coffee, for that is easily obtained."49
June 30th, 1847, the company arrived at the crossing of Green River. The water was very high, one hundred and eighty yards wide, with a very rapid current. Two rafts were made and each was rigged with a rudder and oars. The wagons were safely crossed without taking out any of their contents. The animals were made to swim over.50
In the afternoon of the 4th of July, thirteen soldiers all belonging to the Church came into the camp, accompanied by those who went back to the ferry. These thirteen men had been detached by Capt. James Brown to go in advance of the main body to regain possession of horses that had been stolen from them at Pueblo. They had learned that the thieves were at Bridger's trading post, on Muddy Fork, a few miles southwest of the camp. They were the first representatives of the Mormon Battalion in the pioneer camp.
The following day the company traveled along the right bank of Green River, three and a half miles, then made a short halt to water their animals. Leaving the river they gradually ascended the bluff skirting the river bottoms, and traveled over a gently undulating, sandy plain, destitute of grass and water, for sixteen and a half miles, descended to the left bank of Black's Fork, and encamped for the night. For a few days several of the pioneers had been slightly affected with fever. Several causes tended to produce this. There was a great and somewhat sudden [p.94] change in climatic conditions. In fact, the general environment of the people was changed. In traveling they were often enveloped in clouds of suffocating dust which injuriously affected the lungs and head. The summer sun made the days exceptionally warm, and the snowy mountains surrounding the company on all sides, rendered the air cold and uncomfortable in its absence.
On July 7th, 1847, the pioneers encamped in the vicinity of Fort Bridger. Within a few rods were nine Indian lodges, occupied by families of white trappers and hunters who had taken wives from surrounding tribes of Indians. Halfbreed children were playing about these lodges. Bridger's trading post was a half mile west of the camp on an island, with no other road to it than a footpath. The fort consisted of two adjoining log houses with dirt roofs and a small fort enclosed with log pickets set in the ground, and about eight feet high. These houses and lodges were the home of fifty or sixty men, women, and halfbreed children.
The morning of the 8th of July the thermometer stood at 66 degrees. Ice had formed during the night, but it soon disappeared under the warmth of the rising sun. A brisk wind was blowing from the southwest. Several fine speckled trout were caught with the hook. It was a busy day, with the blacksmiths setting wagon tires, shoeing horses, and making general preparations for a rough mountain road in a southwest direction towards Salt Lake.
With a two days' rest for the teams in this paradise for mountaineers, and a general preparation for rough roads, travel was resumed on the 9th of July. The pioneers took Mr. Hastings' new route to the bay of San Francisco. The trail was scarcely discernible, as only a few wagons had passed over it the previous year.51 They traveled thirteen miles in close proximity to some snow banks, and camped on a branch of Muddy Fork.
On July 10th, the pioneers passed a small spring which they named "Red Mineral Spring," from the redness of the soil out of which it issued. The water had a very disagreeable taste and was supposed to contain alum in solution, also a large percent of [p.95] copperas, which would make it poisonous. Five miles from this spring the company attained the summit of a ridge between two branches of Muddy Fork, the barometrical height of which was 7,315 feet—230 feet higher than the South Pass. Nine miles farther they reached the summit of the dividing ridge between the waters which flow into the Gulf of California and those that flow into the Great Salt Lake, or the branches of Muddy Fork on the east and of Bear River on the west. Where the road passed over, the altitude was 7,700 feet, or 615 feet higher than the South Pass. This was the highest point over which the trail of the pioneers passed between the Missouri River and the Great Salt Lake Valley.52
The morning of July 11th, 1847, was clear, calm and pleasant, although considerable ice had formed during the night. On the 12th, the company crossed Bear River. There the road forked, and the right hand track, bearing a few degrees south of west, was taken. Antelope, which had been rather scarce, began to appear again in great numbers. Ten or twelve were brought in by the hunters during the day. The road was very difficult to find, except in places where the storms had not defaced nor the grass obscured it.
At the mid-day halt President Young, being sick, concluded to stop a few hours and rest.53 Several wagons remained with him; by request the remainder of the company moved on. Lorenzo remained with his brother Brigham. President Young being still behind, on the morning of the 13th of July, two messengers were sent back to meet him. Unwilling to move on without their leader, the camp waited. The messengers returned, accompanied by Heber C. Kimball. They reported that President Young was getting better but did not think of moving that day. The Twelve, who were present, directed Orson Pratt to take twenty-three wagons and forty-two men, proceed on the journey and endeavor to find Mr. Reed's route across the mountains. The main camp remained at the head of Echo Canyon, while President Young and those with him were still encamped where they nooned on the 12th.
On the 15th two parties went in search of Mr. Reed's trail across the mountains to the southeastern shore of Salt Lake. It was soon discovered, although so dimly seen it could only occasionally be found. The grass had grown up leaving scarcely a [p.96] trace of the few wagons that had passed there the previous year.54 This day President Young and those who had remained behind with him, eight wagons, joined the main company at the encampment at the head of Echo Canyon. President Young was much better, and in the afternoon the company traveled four and a half miles down Echo Canyon. Mr. Rockwell55 was sent back to report to those of the company in the rear, that the new route had been discovered. The pioneers were now fairly among the deep gorges and towering peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, east of Great Salt Lake.
In the morning of July 21st, 1847, the leading division of the pioneers passed over the Little Mountain and halted for noon at the head of Emigration Canyon. They called the swift running creek on which they halted "Last Creek." Elder Erastus Snow came from the wagons in the rear and reported them only a few miles back. He went with Orson Pratt in advance of the wagons down Last Geek, four and one half miles, to where it issues into the broad, open valley below.
Destined to be the first of their people to arrive at the object of their long and tedious journey, these two men ascended this hill from the top of which a broad, open valley, twenty or thirty miles long, lay stretched out before them. To the northwest the waters of the Great Salt Lake glittered in the bright, noonday sunbeams, and from them rose high mountainous islands twenty to thirty miles in extent. Before them was a vast wilderness in which the genius of solitude reigned. That profound silence was the assurance of room and rest for the wanderers who were about to take possession of this unoccupied desert.
They traveled a circuit of about twelve miles in the valley and returned to the camp in Emigration Canyon about nine o'clock in the evening. The main body of the pioneers was encamped about a mile and a half above the advance, while the sick were still farther in the rear. The 22nd of July, Apostles Orson Pratt and George A. Smith, accompanied by seven others, spent the day in exploring the valley.56 When they returned they found the wagons encamped in the valley five and one-fourth miles from where they left the canyon. On the morning of the 23rd of July, two messengers were sent to President Brigham Young and those who were with him, informing them of the discoveries and explorations of the advance party.
[p.97] Orson Pratt records in his journal:
The camp removed its position 2 miles to the north, where we encamped near the bank of a beautiful creek of pure, cold water. This stream is sufficiently large for mill sites and other machinery. Here we called the camp together, and it fell to my lot to offer up prayer and thanksgiving in behalf of our company, all of whom had been preserved from the Missouri River to this point; and, after dedicating ourselves and the land unto the Lord, and imploring His blessings upon our labours, we appointed various committees to attend to different branches of business, preparatory to putting in crops, and in about two hours after our arrival we began to plough, and the same afternoon built a dam to irrigate the soil, which at the spot where we were ploughing was exceedingly dry.... Our two messengers returned, bringing us word that the remainder of the wagons belonging to the pioneer company were only a few miles distant, and would arrive the next day. At 3 p.m. the therometer stood at 96 deg.
The 24th of July has been celebrated as the anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers in the valley of the Great Salt Lake from the circumstance that on that day, 1847, Brigham Young, who had been detained by sickness, and those who had remained with him, first emerged from the defile in the Wasatch Mountains and followed the track of the main body who preceded them. It was the culmination of nearly eighteen months of suffering untold hardships in search of a place of rest, where the Saints could enjoy immunity from the pursuit of their enemies.
There is a slight elevation of table land a short distance in front of Emigration Canyon. This hides the valley from the traveler until the top of it is reached. From this point Brigham Young and those who were with him, among whom were his brother, L. D. Young, and Apostles Wilford Woodruff and Heber C. Kimball, had their first view of the object of their toils, the valley of the Great Salt Lake. It requires no stretch of the imagination to comprehend that a feeling of joy, of exhilaration and thanksgiving, filled to overflowing the hearts of these weary pilgrims. The faith that had sustained them through years of suffering and hope enabled them to discern in the near future the attainment of the object of their sacrifices. They experienced the same impulse to shout for joy as those who had preceded them. President Young, still feeble from the effects of his late illness, was riding under the cover of Elder Woodruff's carriage. As the teams halted he came to the front, took a general view of the country before him, then uncovered his head, swung his hat and shouted with all the energy his feeble [p.98] condition permitted. "Hurrah! Hurrah!! Hurrah!!!" Then turning to Heber C. Kimball, who was near, he exclaimed, "Brother Heber, this is the Place." The circumstances emphasized the expression with a world of meaning.57
As the party came out of the gorge of the Wasatch range, since known as Emigration Canyon, in full view of the Great Salt Lake Valley, they gave way to the joyous impulses of the occasion in cheers and congratulations. With man sunshine and shadow are usually intermingled. They rejoiced in the fact that they had found shelter from enemies, but they beheld a barren waste and the sight of such a place for a home caused many sad reflections. Harriet, the wife of Lorenzo Young, on emerging from the canyon and looking over the country, turned to her husband and said. "We have traveled fifteen hundred miles to get here, and I would willingly travel a thousand miles farther to get where it looked as though a white man could live."
About noon, President Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo D. Young and the other brethren who constituted the rear company, arrived at the pioneer encampment on City Creek. The President and others who had suffered with sickness were improving quite fast, and were able to walk around. President Young's party found the main body encamped by some cottonwood trees on the bank of a branch of City Creek, about six miles from the mouth of Emigration Canyon, and near what is now the corner of Second South and Main streets, Salt Lake City.
They had had their first sight of the waters of the lake [Great Salt Lake] shimmering in the brilliant sunshine of an almost immaculate sky. Not a cloud floated above them, and the heavens had that peculiar blue seldom seen except in a very rarefied atmosphere. Dark spots, indicating forests, were visible on the distant, inaccessible mountain tops, but the timber to be utilized by the colony was mostly hidden from sight in the gorges which debouched into the valley. The foothills skirting the valley yielded no timber except several scattered scrub cedar and pines. There were a few cottonwoods and a clump or two of willows along City Creek. The valley afforded no cooling forest shade; no green savannahs [p.99] relieved the monotony of desolation. The most prominent varieties of vegetation were wild sunflowers with large, yellow blossoms and a species of dwarf thistle peculiar to the uplands, which grew thick on the dry benches, contending with the wild sage for the scanty nourishment afforded by the arid soil.
These plants were loaded with hideous crickets, their black and brown bodies forming anything but a pleasing contrast with the yellow tint of the sunflower blossoms. As these ugly, ogling-eyed insects fed and fattened on the juice of the plants, the latter were in a withered condition. Being the prominent vegetation on the bench lands at that season of the year, the appearance of the landscape begot an indescribable feeling of desolation. The air was almost painfully clear and the ground dry and parched. There was none of the haziness of lower altitudes to modify the sun's rays, and there was no shelter from them except under tents and wagon covers; still the heat was not so exhausting as in lower regions.
The most prominent animals of this desert were the howling and almost ever present wolf, the jack rabbit, or American hare, and an occasional mountain lion. The Indians were not only root diggers, but cricket eaters, as they utilized the crickets for food in large quantities. These scattered, wandering specimens of humanity were almost on a level with the sneaking, thieving wolf. Their harvest commenced soon after the arrival of the pioneers. When the crickets had attained their full growth, their live weight was about one ounce each. At such times they were very clumsy and easily handled. The squaws and children then enclosed a small piece of ground with stalks of sunflowers and sagebrush, leaving an opening on one side for the admittance of the game. They next surrounded a piece of ground, drove the crickets on it together, and forced them into the pen, in much the same manner that a flock of sheep is corralled. In this pen they would often be several inches thick. The entrance was closed and the fence fired, while someone in the pen frightened the crickets into the blaze, which scorched their wings and legs and generally killed them. They were then gathered up, dried in the sun on skins, and if these were not available the ground was utilized for that purpose. When properly prepared they were packed in skin sacks and usually cached or buried in the ground for winter food. The process completed, the wings and legs, the only part considered offal, would be pretty well cleaned off. The fact that they were a staple article of food evidences they were quite palatable and nourishing to the cultivated taste of the Indian.
The following circumstance, illustrating the thieving propensities of these aboriginal Americans shows that the Saints did not much improve their Indian associations in changing their location from the vicinity of the thieving Pawnees and Omahas to [p.100] the midst of the cricket-eaters of the desert. Towards evening after the arrival of President Young, the [Ute] Indian Chief, Wanship, to whose people the surrounding country belonged, came into camp. He was soon followed by twelve or fifteen braves. Probably few of them had before seen a white man, except mountaineers who more or less assimilated with the barbarian in their habits. They had a human curiosity to gratify, and a natural right to know something of their new neighbors. A few ideas were exchanged by signs and a little bread was distributed by the pioneers. While engaged in these friendly preliminaries to a better acquaintance, one of Wanship's sons went out of camp to where they had left their horses. Suddenly he gave a tremendous yell. This appeared to have a peculiar significance, for every Indian in camp sprang to his feet.
As was afterwards ascertained, Little Chief, brother of Wanship, at that time lived with his band at the foot of Utah Lake, and his sons were on a visit to their uncle, Wanship, and their cousins. All went to the pioneer camp together. While Wanship's boys were gratifying their curiosity in the camp, their three cousins mounted two of their horses, two on one and one on the other, and rode off. When young Wanship discovered the theft the yell he gave signified to his friends that something was wrong. The band was soon mounted and in hot pursuit, the fastest horses leading out at full speed. In about an hour they returned to camp with one of their stolen ponies. They overtook and killed the two Indians on one horse, three or four miles from camp going south. The other thief was pursued but escaped. These incidents, gave the pioneers some comprehension of the character of their new neighbors.
On Sunday, July 25, 1847, the morning was fine and pleasant. At 10 o'clock a.m., the pioneers met for public worship in the circle of the encampment, and were addressed successively by Apostles George A. Smith, Heber C. Kimball, and Ezra T. Benson. The speakers all expressed their feelings of gratification at the prospects before them, and were well satisfied with the country to which they had come. Elder Kimball referred especially to the manifold blessings with which the brethren had been favored during their travels. Not a man, woman, or child had died on the journey. In the afternoon the whole congregation partook of the sacrament of the Lord's supper for the first time in the Valley, and the people were addressed by Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt and Willard Richards. Remarks were also made by Lorenzo D. Young, John Pack and others.
On the 26th of July, 1847, Lorenzo D. Young went up City Creek to a scrubby oak tree, near where the bridge crossed the creek at the northeast corner of the temple block. It seemed a more [p.101] desirable camp ground than the one then occupied. He returned to camp and, by permission, moved his wagons on to the ground.58
President Young, riding with Apostle Woodruff in the latter's carriage, and others, soon after came along. Being pleased with the location the company was directed to move on to it.
About 10 o'clock a.m., President Young, Lorenzo D. Young, H. C. Kimball and several others ascended the mountains north ward to the top of a high peak. From there they had an excellent view of the country to the west and south. The company considered it a good place to raise an ensign and the point was called "Ensign Peak," by which name it is still known. The apparent facilities of the country were freely discussed from that standpoint. They then descended to camp where a team was brought into service, driven by Lorenzo Young. With this they visited various other points to obtain a more extended idea of their surroundings. Then on foot they more particularly examined the ground now known as the temple block. At the southeast corner of this piece of ground President Young made a mark with his cane and said, "We will make this the initial point for the survey of the country."
They were in the desert to found a state. Their being there was the result of circumstances forced upon them and the outgrowth of an all-absorbing religious faith. The ruling idea was manifest in partitioning the soil. Ten acres of land were first appropriated to sacred purposes, the erection of buildings for religious worship and eventually a magnificent temple in which the higher ordinances of their religion could be observed.
Those having seeds lost no time in putting them into the ground. The pioneers, from the first, did not expect to raise a crop that season, but took seeds with them, to plant that they might learn, as soon as possible, something of the character of the soil and climate of their new location. It would be a great satisfaction to know that food plants would grow. There was also a chance of [p.102] producing some germs of plants for the ensuing year. Men well acquainted with the country had spoken discouragingly of the chances for successful colonization. James Bridger had expressed doubts whether the food plants used by man in temperate climates would grow at all.59 This will explain the anxiety of the pioneers to experiment in that direction.
A thorough examination of the country was necessary for the colonists to fit themselves into their new environment to advantage. Its features and characteristics were strange and novel. If it contained the elements of wealth it also required different methods of developing that wealth to those they had been accustomed to on the rich bottom lands and rolling prairies of Illinois and Iowa.
Near where the City Hall now stands, Lorenzo Young plowed a piece of ground and planted what appeared to be a live bushel of potatoes he had brought with him. He with others put a dam in City Creek, from which the water was conveyed in a ditch and the potatoes irrigated. The planting made fourteen hills. Much of the summer was already passed, but with good care the potatoes grew well for several weeks. As the season of possible early frosts approached, he made fourteen small boxes from a wagon bed, thoroughly wet the ground and, with a shovel, carefully lifted each hill into one of the small boxes and removed them into his house. The potatoes continued to grow until checked by the increasing cold. The results of this effort to supply a future want were about a pint and a half of potatoes the size of marbles. They were buried for the winter under the floor of the house, made of whipsawn boards. The building of Lorenzo's house was commenced at an early date, as shown by the following record of Utah's historian, Andrew Jenson:
Tuesday, August 10th . This morning President Young and Heber C. Kimball went to the adobe yard to commence building houses in that vicinity. President Young laid the foundation of four houses. Heber C. Kimball four and Colonel Markham, Willard Richards and Lorenzo Young one apiece. This was the commencement of the building of what subsequently was known as the Old Fort, in the Sixth Ward, Salt Lake City. A number of logs had already been hauled on the ground.60
On the following day, the account goes on:
Willard Richards laid the foundation of another house; George A. Smith commenced two and Wilford [p.103] Woodruff two houses, making 17 houses so far in course of erection. Most of these were 14 feet wide and from 12 to 17 feet long. These first houses were built on the east line of the stockade or fort, and commencing at the northeast corner, in the following order: Brigham Young 4 rooms, Lorenzo D. Young 2, Heber C. Kimball 5, Willard Richards 2, Wilford Woodruff 2, George A. Smith 2, Amasa M. Lyman 2, and Erastus Snow 1.61
At 2 o'clock p.m., August 22nd, 1847, a special conference of the Church was held on the Temple Block, Great Salt Lake City, to do some important business before the final departure of those of the Twelve who were going back to Winter Quarters.62 The business was done and quite a number of the Elders spoke. Much good instruction was given but evidently only the leading ideas were reported. Elder Lorenzo Young took an active part in this first conference of the Saints on the shores of Great Salt Lake. The clerk's report of the remarks of the Elders is very meager, but the following was placed on record: "Lorenzo Young reminded those of the brethren who did not pray that now was a good time to begin to fulfill their covenants in this regard. When we covenant to do a thing we should always be faithful in doing it."63
Lorenzo says that at this conference several of the pioneers spoke discouragingly of the country on account of the scarcity of timber. As he had grown up in a heavy timbered country and knew from experience the great labor of preparing heavily timbered land for cultivation, he took a different view of the subject and emphatically asserted that he would prefer going forty miles for firewood and fencing than to be under the necessity of cleaning timbered land for cultivation.
About 2000 Saints followed the pioneers across the plains in 1847. By the last of June they were well under way. It was one of the grandest exhibitions on record of the faith of a people in the divine inspiration of their leaders. Ancient Israelites followed their Moses out of Egypt with doubts and complaints. We find a more fitting parallel for these Saints in the ancient Jaredites. With no other assurance of safety than the assertion of their leaders that the Lord would safely guide them across "the great waters" to the goodly land that had been promised them for an inheritance, [p.104] they embarked on vessels without sails, compass, or rudder, to float on a limitless sea at the mercy of winds and ocean currents.
These 2000 Saints set their faces towards the setting sun accompanied by their wives and little ones. Their only guide in the vast unexplored wilderness was the trail made by their leaders, whom they expected to find somewhere in the great expanse of desert, plain, mountain peaks, and valleys between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean, 2000 miles distant. With this emigration were two sons of Lorenzo D. Young, John and Franklin. The first drove a team, the latter, only nine years old, assisted in driving his father's cattle and sheep.
In 1846 the Saints planted a colony on the western ocean; and one year later, in 1847, they located another in the heart of the continent. From the first colonizing of the Atlantic Coast the "Western Frontier" had been an imaginary line, constantly moving westward, with the log cabins of the white man, until it reached the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. With the march of the emigrating Saints in 1847 the "Western Frontier" became historical.
On the 20th of September, 1847, Lorenzo's wife, Harriet, gave birth to a son who was named Lorenzo Dow after his father. So far as known to the parents, he was the first white male child born in the Great Salt Lake Valley; but this pioneer had not long to stay. He died on the 22nd of March, 1848.64
One thousand miles over a desert, far from outside resources, the pioneers early saw the necessity of strict economy in the use of their food supply. Early in the autumn of 1847 Lorenzo weighed his provisions and put himself and family on half a pound of flour per day to each person. In addition to their own necessities, the Indians were a constant tax on their breadstuff, by daily begging for "biscuit." The following account of the cool and heroic action of Mrs. Harriet Young should not only find a place in this sketch of the life of her husband, but as well in the history of the colonization of Utah:
Between the arrival of the pioneers in July, 1847, and of the emigrants who followed them the same season, Lorenzo built a house in common with others in the fort which was being constructed for the defense of the people. The ground on which the fort was built was somewhat low and, as before stated, Mrs. Young being troubled with phthisis, believed her health would be better if she were located on higher ground. For this reason, when the emigration arrived, by permission of the authorities that had [p.105] been selected to counsel the people,65 Lorenzo sold out in the Fort and built a house of hewn logs, of two rooms and hallway between. It was located about one mile from the fort, on the corner where, at this writing, stands the "Beehive House" west of the Eagle Gate, in Salt Lake City. [This was the first house built outside the fort.]
The situation was not considered a safe one, being too far from help in case of attack from Indians. For this reason Lorenzo assumed all responsibility of moving there, considering that the object justified the risk. He moved into the house early in December and in it made a feast for his friends on Christmas Day. It was at least one of the first Christmas dinners in Great Salt Lake Valley.
For many years after the founding of Salt Lake City, it was an ordinary occurrence for Indians to visit the houses of the settlers and ask for "biscuit," the word which they soon learned to use in asking for food. At this time there was an Indian in the habit of calling at the houses for "biscuit" who bore a general reputation for impudence and meanness, especially when there were no men about the premises. One day he called at the house of Mr. Young and seeing Mrs. Young and her babe without any apparent means of defense, walked into the room occupied by the family, with all the dignity of an aggressive barbarian. In an imperious tone he demanded "biscuit." The article was scarce and as such demands were frequent there was necessity for economy in giving. He demanded more and the last bread in the house was given him. He again demanded more "biscuit," at the same time by motions threatening to draw his bow and shoot if his demands were not complied with.
To Mrs. Young, life and death seemed to hang on the moment. She could see murder in the Indian's eye, and she had good reasons for believing it was in his heart. At this moment it occurred to her that she had a brave friend the savage had not seen in the form of a powerful mastiff that was tied up with a rope in the room on the opposite side of the hall. At such times thought is rapid and she was one to decide quickly and act with energy in an emergency. She motioned the Indian as well as she could that she would go and get him more "biscuit," for it was necessary to deceive him to accomplish her purpose. She stepped into the opposite room, quietly untied the dog, led him to the door of the room where the Indian had remained, and at sight let go of the rope and told the dog "take him!" The Indian brought up his bow, but before he could get an arrow into it the powerful jaws of the mastiff had closed on one of his naked thighs.
[p.106] It was harsh medicine but nothing milder would have saved Mrs. Young. The Indian had enough to attract his attention to keep him from drawing his bow and shooting her. He screamed with agony but Mrs. Young understood the nature of the savage too well to give way to the sympathy for his sufferings that soon welled up in her heart, until she was certain he was thoroughly subdued. Then she demanded his bows and arrows, put them out of his reach, and called off the dog which, not being very well fed on account of the scarcity of food, did not manifest much inclination to let go. Mrs. Young brought a vessel of water with a cloth and had the Indian wash the wound clean. She then made a plaster of salve kept in the house for such purposes, spread it on the wound and furnished the Indian with the means of renewing the dressing several times when it was needed, and dismissed him. He recovered but was never known to come near the house again.
Lorenzo made great efforts to introduce fruit trees in Salt Lake Valley. He brought with him apple tree seeds sufficient to grow under favorable circumstances forty thousand trees, and also a general assortment of fruit tree seeds. In the winter of 1847–48, Parley P. Pratt, with a small company, went to California by the southern route to purchase Mexican cattle to drive into the Valley for beef. John Y. Green, a nephew of Lorenzo, was one of the party and to him he gave five dollars with the request that he bring back some cuttings of California grape vines. They returned towards spring with a small drive of cattle which assisted to keep the settlers from starvation, and Mr. Green brought Lorenzo twenty cuttings from California vines. These were planted in the spring of 1848 and from their growth, the California Mission grape has been widely distributed throughout Utah.
With the arrival of the immigration that followed the pioneers of 1847, intercourse of the colonists with the outside world nearly ceased until the ensuing season. Happy in the peace and safety insured by isolation and solitude, they were left alone to battle with their destiny. The Saints were equal to the emergency; circumstances had already developed in them sublime faith and fortitude. Mr. Young has given to the writer some incidents of his experience in this first year of his residence on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. His struggles may be considered fairly to illustrate those of his people.
The Saints who crossed the plains in 1847 designed to take bread stuffs to supply them until they could harvest the following year, but they were not prepared for emergencies. About 200 Battalion men wintered in the Valley. Like their people, they had been forced by circumstances into many very straitened conditions. Perhaps their great sacrifices had made it possible to colonize [p.107] Great Salt Lake Valley. It was the Gospel principle of unity, strengthened by long association in toil and suffering, that saved many of these men, and others, from death by starvation during the first year's existence of this isolated colony. Oliver G. Workman, a Mormon Battalion man, came, with others, from California to winter in this Valley. There he met his brother Jacob and family, lived with them, and assisted in providing food. In the spring of 1848, flour became so scarce that it was difficult for the destitute to obtain even a moiety with which to sustain existence. Lorenzo says of this incident:
Mr. Workman came to me twice and stated that he had tried to get a little flour and could not. I told him I had none to sell at any price, but I let him have a few pounds each time. In a few days he came to me the third time and stated that he had tried to get flour until he was discouraged. He expressed his regret at being under the necessity of coming again, but said he, "What can I do? My brother's wife is famishing." I remarked that I had only a little flour left and stepped into another room where Mrs. Young lay on the bed sick. I stated the case to her and asked, "What shall we do?" The question was quite as important to us as to Mr. Workman; but she replied, "We cannot see anyone starve. Divide to the last pound." I weighed what I thought we might spare. It was seven pounds. As I handed the sack containing it to Mr. Workman, he put his hand into his pocket, and without counting, handed out a handful of gold. I again told him I had no flour to sell and that I would not exchange him a pound of flour for a pound of gold. He returned the gold to his pocket, and as he turned to go away was overpowered by his feelings and shed tears.
Soon after this occurrence we were entirely out of food. It had been necessary to work my oxen very hard through the winter, and all my cattle were too poor for food. I heard of a man on Mill Geek who had a three-year-old steer he was keeping for beef, with the design of going to California in the spring. I succeeded in trading him a pair of large oxen by agreeing to give him one quarter of the animal after it was dressed. I drove the steer home, butchered it, and hung the hide on the fence with the flesh side out. This furnished a feast for the magpies as they picked off what little meat remained. My share of the beef, with what food could be gathered from other sources, kept us alive for several weeks. During that time I made every possible exertion to obtain more food, but without success.
[p.108] The hide on the fence seemed the only resource left for existence. I put it to soak in City Creek. When it became soft and pliable I cut it into strips for convenience in handling, and labored on it about two days, scraping the flesh side clean and getting the hair off the other. After I became satisfied with its condition, I turned it over to Mrs. Young. To prepare a meal, a piece of it was boiled until it became a glue soup, when salt was added. This being a native product was abundant, while other condiments were as scarce as the food they were intended to season.
From the wreck of affairs in Nauvoo Mrs. Young saved a favorite set of china. I never knew more need of an inviting looking table than in those days of glue soup. It was decked out in the most inviting manner possible; the center piece, a dish of soup, with a ladle for dipping and conveying it to our plates. The Lord was always asked to bless the scanty fare. We satisfied our appetites as best we could, with a thankful feeling that we had that much to sustain life. Mrs. Young's health was generally poor, and on that diet she daily grew weaker. I felt that something must be done or she would die for want of nourishment. I went to a man who I understood had considerable flour and offered him one dollar per pound, but he stated that he had none to sell at any price. I finally offered him a good horse for fifty pounds but he still refused to part with any. He was one of a few Saints who had but little faith that we could remain in the country, and he planned to go to California when spring was sufficiently advanced. His fears that he might be short prevented him from letting me have any flour. I met Bishop E. [Edward] Hunter and made known my situation. Said he, "I have but little flour, but Sister Young must not die for want of some." He let me have seven pounds. Mrs. Young ever after believed that the kindness of Brother Hunter saved her life. On her dying bed, and about an hour and a half before she expired, she spoke of the circumstance and blessed him.
On the bottom lands along the River Jordan, thistles grew in abundance. The roots of these afforded considerable nourishment. As the large, dry top usually remained attached to the root until a new growth in the spring, they could be found and dug in the winter, and were a great help to the Saints in times of scarcity. In the spring of 1848 many acres of bottom land had been dug over. At times I was compelled to avail myself of this means [p.109] of sustaining life. As vegetation grew in the spring other roots and herbs were used for food. Segos for a time were in considerable demand, but several persons were poisoned by eating the wrong variety. Three died in as many weeks from this cause. After that sad occurrence they were not much used as edibles.
One morning I met Brother Welcome Chapman with a basket of cowslips. As I had been accustomed to these for early spring greens in my youth, to me, at that time, they seemed a great luxury. That they grew in this mountain region surprised me. Only those who have longed for something palatable and refreshing can appreciate the feelings that caused me to exclaim with considerable enthusiasm, "Brother Chapman, where on earth did you get them?" He replied, "I have found a little spot up in the canyon where they grow, and I go and get a basket of them in the morning to last us during the day." I asked him if the supply was sufficient to let me have some. He thought so, and gave me what he then had. When cooked we enjoyed them very much. Brother Chapman continued to furnish a few greens, from which we realized much benefit. In those times faith was an important factor in our lives. The prayer that the Lord would bless our food that it might strengthen us, was made up of no idle words. It came from the heart, and in return the blessing was often realized. With the meager fare I was able to accomplish considerable labor.
In the spring of 1848 Lorenzo planted a garden, including the small potatoes grown the previous year. He also planted his tree seeds. Everything grew well and promised fine results, in cluding five acres of grain; but those pests of the early colonizers of Utah, the mountain crickets, began to come down from the mountains in millions, eating every green thing and leaving the earth naked behind them. As they approached the premises of Mr. Young all hands turned out, using brush to kill and drive them. All their efforts seemed of no avail. Becoming exhausted with exertion and the heat of the day, they spread sheets and table cloths over the potatoes, not doubting but these would protect them until they were prepared to fight the enemy again. After an hour or two of rest they found that the crickets had eaten holes through the covering and nothing was left of the potatoes but short, naked stems. Forty or fifty thousand small tender fruit trees were all eaten off to the ground, and only seventeen grew again. The five acres of wheat looked promising and only in its preservation was hope for the family supply of bread until the harvest of 1849. The crickets would climb up the stalk and cut it just below the head, [p.110] which would fall to the ground. As in all new experiences there was ample room to try expedients. Mr. Young thought of one that proved his temporal salvation. He and one of his boys each seized one end of a bed cord and walked to and fro so as to let it drag on the wheat. This disturbed the standing grain and the crickets would drop to the ground. In this way the grain was saved. This labor was continued several days until the crickets were destroyed by the gulls which were sent by a kindly providence to the deliverance of these colonizers of the desert. Although every leaf was eaten off the potatoes they again grew luxuriantly. What seems still more strange to relate, when the crop was gathered in the autumn, in addition to a good crop dug from the ground, six quarts of perfect potatoes, the size of a hen's egg, were gathered from the joints of the stalks.
As the grain began to ripen, Mr. Young cut with a knife a few bundles of the earliest wheat, put them on the house-top to protect the grain from chickens while drying, threshed it out on a wagon cover with a stick, winnowed it in the wind, and took nearly a bushel to Chrismon's [sic] mill.66 It was the pioneer mill of Utah and stood just below the location of the Empire Mills at the mouth of City Creek Canyon. As yet the mill had no bolt, and bran and flour were eaten together. Mr. Young says of this circumstance: "My children have frequently said that this first taste of the wheat harvest of 1848 made the best biscuit they ever saw or tasted, and thanks to the kind providence we have not been without bread since."
The immigration of 1848 about doubled the strength of the Salt Lake colony. Increased numbers gave a sense of security, and the people began to build on their lots.
In the spring of 1849, Dr. John M. Bernhisel was selected by the Salt Lake colonists to go to Washington, District of Columbia, as their authorized agent to the federal government. As Lorenzo was going to the States on business he was required by his brother Brigham to act as his guard and see him safely through to the Missouri River. The object of Lorenzo in going to the States was to obtain some needful supplies of groceries, clothing, etc., drive in a flock of sheep of which there were but few in the Valley, and also make another effort to introduce fruit trees into the colony. All kinds of manufactured articles, needed for family use, were very high. For example, sugar was fifty cents per pound, and domestic and calicoes twenty-five or thirty cents per yard.
[p.111] Lorenzo was accompanied by his wife and her little son, Perry Decker, a Brother and Sister Holdaway, and an elderly Brother by the name of Wade. The party traveled to the upper crossing of the Platte River with a company who went down to repair the ferry boat that was left there the previous year, to ferry the emigration during high water in the early part of the season. Nothing of especial interest happened until the party arrived at Devil's Gate, where they learned from a mountaineer that Thomas Williams, who was about three days in advance of the party, had been robbed by the Crow Indians.
On May 25, 1849, when near Independence Rock, Wyoming, six miles east of Devil's Gate, Lorenzo learned that the company going to the ferry needed some iron. He informed them that when with the pioneers he had cached the irons of a wagon near Devil's Gate. Brother Andrew Lytle, one of the company for the ferry, was sent back with him on horseback to learn where the iron was cached so that it might be obtained when needed. Near Devil's Gate, a short distance ahead, they saw standing in the road a dismounted Indian holding his pony by the bit. His position was probably a signal, for a little farther on and to the left of the road was a body of about twenty Crow warriors mounted.
Lorenzo remarked to his companion, "We had better go back." The other replied, "I never go back. I am good for one of the Indians with my rifle, and you have a revolver and are good for two or three." Lorenzo further reasoned with him that they might kill two or three of the party, yet the savages would still be strong enough to kill them after their firearms were discharged and then destroy their brethren, and that he thought it more prudent to try the speed of their horses and endeavor to reach the company ahead. Mr. Lytle repeated that he never ran away, but Mr. Young started and advised him to follow. They had run about two or three miles when Mr. Lytle's horse began to show signs of distress, while the Indians were gaining on them. His rifle was a heavy one and Lorenzo took it to lighten up his horse, and said to him, "Do the best you can and I will not leave you," at the same time keeping a little behind to be ready for such defense as might be made in case the enemy were likely to catch up with them. The Indians continued to gain gradually on them until their leading horseman was within thirty rods, when Lorenzo checked up his animal, turned in his saddle and brought the rifle to bear on the Indian. The latter checked his horse. Those behind slackened their pace on a signal from the leader and rode slowly up to him. Lorenzo did not wish to shed the blood of the Indian but only to check the pursuit. They continued to travel as fast as their blown animals permitted, with Indians pursuing slowly in the distance. They crossed the [p.112] Sweetwater near Independence Rock and on the bank saw where their company had made their mid-day halt.
On the ground picking up the crumbs the company had left was a white wolf. Lorenzo turned to his companion remarking, "You thought you were good for an Indian; suppose you try your rifle on that wolf." With all confidence Lytle brought the rifle to his face but it missed fire with repeated efforts to discharge it. It was in such bad condition that it was unbreeched to draw the load on arriving in camp. There a single Indian, leaving his companions behind, rode up and asked the privilege of camping with the company at night. There being an interpreter in camp the request was granted. When the company halted for the night a couple of Indians rode out, and soon returned driving before them a fat buffalo cow. With apparently the same ease as a white man would drive a domestic animal, they brought it conveniently to camp, dressed it nicely and invited the company to help themselves to what they wanted. This made an excellent supper and breakfast. The following day Indians traveled with the company until about time for the usual mid-day rest, when another fine buffalo beef was driven on to the road and killed. This was at Willow Springs.
After a bountiful dinner of excellent buffalo meat the company prepared to resume its journey. As the wagons began to start on, a couple of Indians each produced a fine buffalo robe which they desired to exchange for shirts. In the company were Brothers Appleton Harmon and Hamilton. The latter had a fine horse for which the Indians had been trying to trade, having offered him several ponies in exchange. The Indians began to examine shirts and kept up a lively banter. Lorenzo's wagon was the last one to leave the ground. He noticed that all the Indians had gone with the exception of four fine-looking young warriors, and had disappeared with all their loose horses. Suspecting some trick on their part, as he started off he suggested to Mr. Hamilton that perhaps he had better come along. The latter replied that he would come pretty soon but wanted one of those buffalo robes first. Lorenzo continued to look back and, as he was going off, saw an Indian step in front of Mr. Hamilton's horse and another step up to his side as he was sitting on his horse, evidently without any suspicion of trickery. Suddenly the Indian by his side put his hand under his foot and, with a dexterous movement threw him out of his saddle and clear from the horse on to the ground on the opposite side. At the same time the Indian sprang into the saddle and the one who was bantering with Appleton Harmon jerked the shirt which he had been offering for sale out of his hands, sprang on to his own horse, and the four rode rapidly away, taking with them Mr. Hamilton's fine horse and a shirt. It was sharp practice, and the chagrined, crestfallen Hamilton started along on foot to overtake [p.113] the wagons, taking a last look at his fine steed as it passed over a hill out of sight in the distance.
At the upper crossing of the Platte the ferry company stopped to commence their work. The following day, the 28th of May, 1849, the company for the States continued their journey and met the first company of gold hunters on their way to California. Lorenzo's company camped at Fort Laramie several days. The emigration to California was immense, and it was the year noted for the vast amount of property destroyed and left by the way. There were many wagons at Laramie that were being sold for a trifle or left along the road, and in the mad rush after a phantom, many were fitting out with saddle and pack animals to hurry on to the gold fields. Fort Laramie was full of provisions that had been purchased at a very low figure. One man had a six mule team loaded with flour which he asserted he had already hauled a thousand miles. He offered it for sale to the man in charge of the Fort who offered him one cent per pound. The price bid was so low that he declared emphatically that he would destroy it before any man should have it at such a figure. He ordered his men to take the load to the bank of the river, and as the sacks were handed out of the wagon, he cut them open and threw them into the stream. Bacon was stacked up in places by the cord, and large amounts of valuable property were left on camp grounds, generally damaged as much as possible, that it might be of no value to others. It was the spirit of those people to destroy what they could not utilize rather than to have it benefit others.
The following circumstance will illustrate the intense excitement that prevailed. A man from Ohio showed Lorenzo a valuable horse that he had brought with him that was much reduced in flesh, a new wagon, a valuable set of carpenter and joiner tools, everything pertaining to a good camp outfit and a good stock of provisions for four men, all worth, if in a place where it could have been made use of, between three and four hundred dollars. He traded this property to Lorenzo for a California pony worth, ordinarily, about forty dollars. The pony was in fine condition, and the man had the gold fever to such an extent that he was willing to sacrifice everything for something that would enable him to hurry on to where a fortune might be dug from the earth in a day. It was a year of bitter experiences to the emigrants rushing to Caliifornia, but those who followed them the next year profited by those experiences.
At Fort Laramie was a certain Mr. Kesler, a California emigrant who had had a quarrel with one of his company and was dangerously shot through the body. Left by his companions he was desirous of getting back to his friends on the Missouri River. The personality of the man was not such as to commend him for company [p.114] on the plains. He came to Lorenzo bewailing his lamentable condition and besought him to take him into his wagon, care for him and carry him to the Missouri River, for which he offered to pay seventy-five dollars. Lorenzo had no room to spare and had already plenty to do, but through over-persuasion consented to take the man, only to repent of it afterwards. He agreed to board him, let him ride and sleep in the wagon, and dress his wounds twice a day. With the good care he received, in a few days he began to get out of the wagon and walk a little. As he gained strength he mixed considerably with other emigrants who were met on the way.
Under the bed in the wagon was a leather purse containing about five hundred dollars in silver. Kesler had probably discovered that the sack contained money, and would be quite as likely to think it was gold as anything else. One evening when encamped about half a mile from a company of gold hunters, Mr. Kesler went over to their camp and, for the time being, remained there, and a man, whose looks did not recommend him, came over to Lorenzo's camp and requested the privilege of remaining over-night in Mr. Kesler's place. Lorenzo objected, stating that he had no room for a stranger, and requested that he return to his own camp. The man was uncourteously persevering, and stated that he could sleep under the wagon. Lorenzo was soon convinced that a plan had been formed between him and Kesler to get possession of the sack of money, and tried mild means to get him to leave, until after dark. Lorenzo then determined that he should leave by some means. He took his revolver in his right hand, ready for instant use, walked up to the right hand of the stranger, gripped his right arm and hand with his left and started with him for his camp telling him that he must go, willingly, if he would, but if not by some means or other. The man soon discovered that Lorenzo was in earnest. He was marched to the door of a tent in which was Mr. Kesler, where Lorenzo let go his hold, shoved him in, and returned to his camp.
Kesler took several hundred letters from emigrants to post when he should arrive on the Missouri River. He probably received not less than twenty-five cents apiece, but offered Lorenzo nothing for carrying his mail. He was evidently a wicked, reckless man and destitute of the sentiment of gratitude. After arriving at the crossing of the Missouri River they came to the forks of the road. For several days Mr. Kesler had been throwing out dark hints and threats at Lorenzo, and the latter had also learned that the man whom he had taken in and treated with so much kindness for 500 miles of difficult travel had been one of the mob who had come up from Missouri to Illinois to kidnap the Prophet Joseph. Arriving at a fork of the road they stopped at a house for dinner after which Lorenzo went out to look after his team. He discovered that Mr. [p.115] Kesler had taken his valise and was going off without paying his fare. He overtook him and accosted him with, "Are you going to leave me, Mr. Kesler, without paying your fare, after I have brought you 500 miles in my wagon, dressed your wounds, and made you as comfortable as possible under the circumstances?" In an ugly insulting tone Kesler replied, "I don't care a d-m sir, I am now in my own country." This was too much for Lorenzo's mercurial temperament and his sense of right and justice. With earnestness and resolution to do evident in every gesture and feature, under the powerful impulse of the moment, he drew his revolver, stepped in front of the man who had so grossly insulted him and said, "Mr Kesler, do you pay me what you owe me now, or will I leave your carcass right here!" The man stood for a moment, looked around saw no reasonable means of escape, put his hand into his pocket and handed Lorenzo the amount he owed and went on his way. For fear of treachery the latter did not turn his back on the man until he was a safe distance from him. It was a daring, impulsive move in Lorenzo, for he was among enemies with his family and effects, and his enemy was among friends. He continued his journey to Kanesville, sixty miles, where still lived his brothers Phineas and Joseph.67
After remaining at Kanesville a few days visiting with friends and resting, Lorenzo purchased a comfortable traveling carriage with the design of going on to the state of Ohio. They left Kanesville on their contemplated journey and the second night put up about five miles from Savannah, sixty miles from Kanesville, on the way to St. Joseph, Missouri. There Mrs. Young was quite unwell with symptoms of the cholera, which had reached the stage of an epidemic in many parts of the country. In the morning Lorenzo proposed that they should return to Kanesville, but she objected as she did not like to turn back when once she had determined to accomplish a purpose. They continued on to Savannah, but she rapidly grew worse with the more advanced stages of the dreadful disease. There some medicine was purchased and they continued their journey to St. Joseph, sixteen miles. The town seemed in mourning, business places closed, and trade and traffic stood still on account of the cholera. Being aware of a general prejudice against coming in contact with people sick with the cholera, Lorenzo passed through the town to a hotel about a mile out, where he was acquainted with the landlord. He drove in front of the door, the landlord appeared, and the usual compliments were passed. He stated that Mrs. Young was sick and he wished a room by [p.116] themselves where he could care properly for her, and thought that with nursing a day or two she would be better. The landlord said he kept a public house and was willing to do the best he could, but if Mrs. Young had the cholera he could not take them in. Lorenzo however succeeded in evading the issue and his wife was carried into a room and placed upon a bed. He was then in a position to use all his skill for her recovery. In an hour or two the worst symptoms of the disease were so much modified that she became quite easy. She could not lie down and rest on account of the phthisis, and said if she had a rocking chair she felt as though she could rest. The hotel did not afford such a convenience. Lorenzo ordered his team harnessed and asked his wife if she thought she could get along for twenty-five minutes. She replied that she would take the chance. He drove to the town, one mile distant, purchased an arm chair, and made his wife comfortable in it in about fifteen minutes. They rested a day or two, gave up their journey to Ohio on account of the cholera, and returned to Kanesville.
A short time after Lorenzo returned to Kanesville he went down to Oregon, thirty miles above St. Joseph on the Missouri River, and in the neighborhood of Brother James Lake, an old Kirtland Mormon. Of him he bought ten acres of corn and some hay to winter his animals, hired a man for fifteen or twenty dollars to put him up a comfortable log cabin, in which the winter was spent quite comfortably. In the meantime he went into Missouri and purchased five hundred sheep, five wagons, and several pair of oxen, in preparation for his return to the mountains. As soon as the feed started on the prairies in the spring of 1850 he vacated his log cabin and drove out to the Tarkeo [Tarkio]68 River and encamped to gather things together for his journey. While thus busily engaged he was attacked with lung fever, and became so very low as to be given up by his friends and one of the best physicians in the country. Believing that his time was near for leaving the sorrows and joys of this world, he ordered a zinc coffin in which to convey his remains to the home of the Saints in the mountains. But the Lord spared his life for years of usefulness on the earth.
As his experiment to grow trees in Great Salt Lake Valley had been nearly a failure on account of their destruction by crickets, he determined to make another effort. After considerable thought on the subject he concluded to try to take trees with him of choice varieties of fruit and had a wagon fitted up for the purpose. Since he was still feeble from the effects of his illness, his wife, unwilling that the project should fail, took a team and the hired man, whom they believed to be honest as he had been with them some time, went ninety miles down into Missouri to a nursery, and purchased 200 [p.117] thrifty seedling trees and plenty of scions of choice fruit with which to graft them. On Harriet's return Lorenzo was still too feeble to labor much, but grafted a few each day as he had strength, until the task was accomplished. Six inches of rich loam was spread on the bottom of the wagon box. This was divided with lattice work into spaces two inches square for each tree. In these the trees were carefully arranged. A yoke of cattle was appropriated to haul this wagon; the outfit costing one hundred sixty dollars. Add to this the expense of a teamster across the plains, and today we feel as though this effort to supply the Salt Lake colony with choice fruit deserved success. The grafts started and did well until the summit of the Rockies was reached; then they began to put on a sickly appearance and wasted away. Only three trees were saved. Fortunately they were of three choice varieties. Much pains were taken in propagating them, and this effort has since proved a great blessing to the country.69
While Lorenzo was encamped on the Tarkeo [sic], his brothers Joseph and Phineas paid him a visit. The former felt very much discouraged about going to the Valley and said he needed three hundred dollars in money to buy a team and settle up his business before he could go. As Lorenzo did not know what he could do, he said nothing about assisting him at the time and after their visit was over the two brothers returned to Kanesville. Lorenzo believed that a Brother Newcomb, who was encamped about eight miles from him, had some money. Before he broke camp he visited him and succeeded in borrowing the money with the promise of repaying it in the Valley. About the first of May he made a start for the Valley by going to the ferry across the Missouri River located sixty miles below Winter Quarters. The question arose how was the money, borrowed for his brother Joseph, going to be sent to Kanesville. Much rain had fallen and the roads were very muddy. He had several men, but they were strangers and he could not leave his camp and property in their care.
His wife was frail and their little boy, Perry, was only eight years old, but she proposed, accompanied by Perry, to go to Kanesville with the money. Mr. Young finally consented through the force of circumstances, but not without after regrets on account of fears for her safety. As she started off there were fervent prayers for her safe return. The Tarkeo River formed a lake, and the shape of the country made it a necessity or great convenience for the road to cross an arm of this lake. A floating bridge of timber, twelve or fourteen feet wide, had been laid across the water. This bridge sank a little under the water but when it was clear the bridge could be distinctly seen and was reasonably safe. When [p.118] Mrs. Young arrived at the bridge the rains had made the water muddy, so that there was considerable risk in attempting to cross. Then about the middle of the bridge, which was half a mile long, the forward wheel on one side ran off and it appeared as though they were about to turn over into the water, but the well-trained, noble animal they were driving carefully drew the wheel on to the bridge and they were saved. The country was almost afloat with the late rains, and the drive of sixty miles was one of toil, anxiety, and nervous excitement to Mrs. Young. They arrived at Brother Joseph Young's in Kanesville, about 10 o'clock p.m., tired, wet, and nearly exhausted. The family had retired for the night, but they arose and assisted Mrs. Young into the house. They were surprised at her advent at such a time and in such a way.
After a short pause, as if a little reflection was necessary to realize the fact of her arrival, Brother Joseph exclaimed, "Sister Harriet, what is the matter? What on earth has brought you here?" She answered, "I have come so that you can go to the Valley," at the same time taking the money from her satchel. It was in ten cent pieces, money that Sister Newcomb had saved up. She emptied it on to the carpet saying, "There, Brother Joseph, is the money you said you wanted to fit you out for the journey." He was overjoyed, and gave expression to his feelings by jumping around, slapping his hands, and at the same time exclaiming to his wife, "Now Jane, we can go to the Valley." We may well believe that the sympathetic soul of Mrs. Young felt amply repaid for the labor and anxiety of the journey. The next day she returned to camp, but was so exhausted with the anxiety and toil of the journey that it was several days before she was well enough to resume travel. A drive of 120 miles in two days, under such conditions was certainly an Herculean task for a frail woman.
During the absence of Mrs. Young her husband accomplished the not inconsiderable task of transporting over the Missouri River five wagons, several horses, 80 head of cattle, and 500 sheep, forming camp on the west side of the river, which he left in charge of his men while he awaited the arrival of his wife on the east side.
On the 20th of May, 1850, Lorenzo started out on the long and tedious journey to the Valley. A few days after, when traveling, a few Pawnee Indians came along. A young Indian of the party ran his spear into a fat lamb and took it on to his horse. The driver of the sheep tried to induce him to drop it, but he turned to ride off and the driver discharged a shotgun at him, wounding him in the leg, as afterwards appeared. In the evening a chief and several Indians came to camp. The former could speak English. He appeared very angry and informed Lorenzo that his man had shot one of his boys in the leg, and that he must have seven beeves for [p.119] compensation. He was reminded of what he well knew, that the leading men of his tribe had made a written treaty with the Mormons, wherein, on certain conditions which the Mormons had filled, the Pawnees had agreed to let the Saints pass through their lands undisturbed. He also was informed that the Indian boy had been the aggressor. He was offered one beef but he manifested no inclination to be reasonable. That evening Captain James Lake came up with fifty wagons and encamped by Lorenzo. With the latter were several California emigrants who wished to travel with him, thus making his camp about twenty men strong.
From the mood in which the Indian chief rode off, Lorenzo rather expected the Indians would appear in force the following morning. Captain Lake was conferred with, and the men of his own camp. It was the universal custom in those days for men crossing the plains to be armed. Firearms were thoroughly examined and loaded afresh, and everything was well prepared for any demonstration of the Indians. Quite early in the morning they began to arrive until there were some three hundred mounted warriors around the camp. The chief proved to be the head chief of the band; he brought another chief with him. They were large, fine looking men, the principal almost a giant. Notwithstanding the injustice of their demands they still required five beeves. Lorenzo offered them two. He did not feel, under the circumstances, as though they should have anything, but was willing to make that sacrifice for the sake of peace. He determined to take the consequences rather than to accede to their unreasonable demands. There was fight in the manner and countenances of the chiefs. The camp was ready to move and directions were given for them to take the road. The men of the camps were enjoined to be ready to use their arms any moment, and the teamsters to stay by their teams to take care of them if an effort was made to stampede them. Lorenzo had an excellent revolver. He got on to his horse and said to the chief who was near him, "I have offered you all that is just and reasonable to settle this difficulty and shall give you no more. I have this revolver containing six loads. I shall stay right with you, and if you or any of your men make a move to stampede or injure these teams I will kill you instantly, and be sides I am good for two or three more." By this time the last wagon was getting under way. The chief led out his warriors in a single file; behind him rode Lorenzo, revolver in hand ready any instant to execute his threat. Perhaps a mile had been traveled in this way, but he did not relax in his threatening attitude for an instant. He well knew that with vigilance he held the key to the situation, but that a moment of inattention might be fatal. The chief had time to reflect on the situation and evidently could discern no way out save by the almost certain sacrifice of his own life. [p.120] He gave one yell and all his men halted. At the moment it was impossible to tell the motive of the move. It was not long until he spoke three times to his men and they all turned away from the train and rode off. Lorenzo says of this circumstance, "I acted on a general principle that has characterized my life. It was my constant desire to do right and deal justly. I could then ask the Lord to protect me in defending my rights. In this case as in other instances when in danger, there was an inspiration on me to defend myself. Under these feelings and conditions I have always been successful."
When Lorenzo arrived at the South Fork of the Platte River the water was high and there were no means of crossing except to ford. There two California emigrants whom he had hired to drive his sheep to the Valley arranged to go on in a faster traveling company direct to California. This was unfortunate, as he needed their assistance in crossing the river. That evening Captain Milo Andrews, in charge of a company of Saints of about fifty wagons, came up, but they were in too much of a hurry to assist him. Captain Lake and company also passed him. Lorenzo unloaded a wagon with a high box, filled it with sheep, put on four yoke of oxen and with two drivers several loads were taken over that day. In the evening Captain Thomas Johnson came up with a company, encamped near Lorenzo, and came over to see him. He took in the situation and remarked, "You appear to have a hard job on your hands." Lorenzo replied, "Yes, but I am used to hard jobs." Captain Johnson went to his camp, called the men together, told of the situation of Brother Young, and said he did not wish any of the company to cross the river until the sheep were over. The next morning they unloaded a wagon, helped to cross his sheep, and the second day all were encamped on the west side of the river. Ever after there was a kindly feeling in the heart of Lorenzo towards the man who had assisted him in an emergency.
One night when Lorenzo was camped on the bottom of the river there came on a rainstorm accompanied with terrific thunder and lightning. Two men were on guard, but the frightened sheep scattered and could not be controlled. Learning of this he took with him a reliable man and traveled about in the rain and mud for four hours, but was obliged to give up the task of gathering the sheep until daylight. In the morning they were badly scattered and many were torn by the wolves. It was an unfortunate night; his losses amounting to 127 sheep, worth in those days, in Salt Lake Valley, five dollars per head. The remainder of the journey was without further incident of note, but Lorenzo and Mrs. Young were tired with the labors and cares of the long journey, and not long after its close the latter was taken seriously ill, first by a fever, followed then by inflammatory rheumatism. Many friends [p.121] gave her up, believing she was past recovery, but her husband and his brother Joseph, who had come on from Kanesville still had faith that she might recover. On one of these days of affliction Lorenzo sat by her bed where she had been suffering such excruciating pain that she was a living skeleton. She remarked to him, "If I could be baptized for my health I believe it would do me good." The weather was cold and the ice thick on a pond close by. Lorenzo sent for his brother Joseph, and when he came he brought with him Brother Reynolds Cahoon. A hole was cut in the ice and Mrs. Young was carried to it in an armchair and immersed in the water with the usual ceremonies of baptism. From that hour she got better and soon regained her health, but her right shoulder was ever after crippled so that she could not raise her right hand to the top of her head. About this time Lorenzo took up a ranch on the west side of the River Jordan opposite where the town of Draperville [Draper] now stands. There he located his sheep and cattle, and also had charge of some stock belonging to the Church. He often visited the location but usually returned to Salt Lake City the same day.
In the winter of 1850–51, there were three desperadoes in the country who had been confined and guarded at great expense as there was no suitable prison for the confinement of criminals. They had been given their freedom on the promise that they would leave the country. It was feared they might steal valuable animals and to prevent this, should the attempt be made, a guard of four or five men was placed at night at the point where the road running north from Salt Lake City runs around a spur of the mountain by the Hot Spring, and another similar guard was placed at the bridge over the River Jordan west of the city. They had no orders to shoot anybody, or to directly infringe on the rights of peaceable citizens, but were directed, if any horsemen passed them in the night going out of the city, to notice them and if practicable find out who they were. The guard at the Jordan bridge was put in charge of a Mr. Armstrong. Lorenzo knew nothing of this guard until returning from his ranch over the Jordan in the evening of the 1st of March. As he approached the bridge he was roughly hailed by four men. They were noisy and appeared to be more or less under the influence of strong drink. He was riding the same noble animal that had saved Mrs. Young from going off the bridge into Tarkeo Lake. He turned his horse towards those who accosted him, and asked, "What do you want?" He was answered "Stop and we will let you know what we want." Lorenzo instinctively dropped his hand to the holster where he usually carried his revolver, but found that he had left it at home. The idea flashed into his mind that they might be some of the desperadoes who were known to be in the country, and were trying to get possession of [p.122] the animal he rode. Finding he was unarmed he turned his animal to the road and gave her the rein. He heard what appeared to be the leader order, "Shoot him! Shoot him!" The first shot passed close to the right side of his head; the second struck his left arm, cutting the main artery. A half mile from the bridge towards the city lived Brother Daniel Daniels. There being no fence in front of the house, he rode up to the door, partially fell off his horse and fainted. As soon as he came to himself he hollered and Sister Daniels came to the door, for Brother Daniels had gone to bed. In vain he endeavored to understand her Welsh, or get her to understand his English. While in the dilemma he fainted three times. Finally with great effort, he said, "For God's sake tell Brother Daniels to come out here!" Hearing the commotion, Brother Daniels got up, came to the door and at once recognized Lorenzo by the animal that stood before the door. Of what followed Lorenzo added:
Being a strong man Brother Daniels took me into the house, directed his wife to put a straw bed on the floor and laid me on it. Said I, "Brother Daniels, get on to the horse and go and tell Brother Brigham." Already the blood was through the straw bed and running on to the hearth. Brother Daniels replied, "You are bleeding badly and cannot live for Brother Brigham to get here." A Brother Jeremy lived across the road and I said to Brother Daniels, "Run and get Brother Thomas Jeremy and lay hands on me, and ask the Lord to stop this blood," He was gone but a very short time when he returned with two brethren, who prayed as directed, and the blood stopped flowing while their hands were still on my head.
Armstrong had three men with him when he ordered his men to fire: one man refused to do so. As before stated, one bullet passed near the head of Lorenzo, the other cut the artery of his arm and one gun missed fire. The man that carried the latter visited President Brigham Young the following day to inquire after his wounded brother. He said that his gun was a French musket, loaded with five bullets, and if it had discharged it would have torn Brother Young badly. The man appeared to feel as though his gun missing fire was a special providence, for he asserted that he had used it in hunting for several years and never knew it to miss fire before.
Mr. Armstrong, who had charge of this guard, had taken along a keg of "moonshine" from Mr. Moon's distillery in the First Ward, and he and his men had come under its influence sufficiently to unfit them for the duty they were sent to perform. Strong drink proved the ruin of this man, who afterwards apostatized when on a mission. He was sentenced to a term in the Alton Penitentiary, [p.123] where he died in April, 1851, before Lorenzo had fully recovered from the wound received at Jordan bridge.
Lorenzo Young was called and ordained Bishop of the 18th Ward of Salt Lake City about the same time the Ward was organized, and he was its first bishop.70
In 1856 the 20th Ward was organized when the 18th became practically extinct, being merged into the 20th. In February, 1866, it was revived by President Brigham Young and the bishopric was reorganized with L. D. Young at the head.
In the spring of 1851 Lorenzo accompanied President Young on an exploring and visiting tour to Parowan, then the extreme southern settlement of the Territory. They traveled through Sanpete Valley via Manti and Fort Gunnison; visited the present location of the town of Richfield, passed up the river to Bear Creek, ten or twelve miles below the site of the town of Panguitch, went up the creek and camped on the summit of the divide between its headwaters and those of Little Creek. There in the tops of the mountains they endured a severe snow storm. The high winds made fires impractical and they were compelled to retire to their wagons and make the best of a very uncomfortable night. In descending from the summit on the west side, considerable difficulties were encountered. In one place it was necessary to let the wagons and carriages down the mountain for a considerable distance with ropes. In the storm and exposure of passing over this summit, Daniel H. Wells got badly chilled, and came near perishing. The settlement of Parowan had been located by a colony of about 100 men, under George A. Smith, the previous January. On this trip Lorenzo had none of his family with him, and rode on horseback with his wounded arm in a sling.
During this year he abandoned his herd ground on the west side of the River Jordan and took up a more advantageous one near the Point of the Mountain, west [south] of Salt Lake City.
In the spring of 1852 Lorenzo again accompanied President Brigham Young on a visit to the southern settlements. The journey was extended to the locations of Cedar City and Harmony on [p.124] Ash Creek. The country south of the Black Ridge was also partially explored. With the exception of these trips, Lorenzo spent the years 1851–1852–1853 attending to his stock and improving his home. During that time he built a two-story house on what is now known as the Gilmour [Gilmer] Place. At the general conference on the 7th of October, 1852, the Saints voted that quite a number of Elders, including Lorenzo D. Young, should have missions to preach the Gospel of Israel in the valleys of the mountains.
At the morning meeting on the 9th of October, Lorenzo made the following remarks:
I have thought, while sitting in this conference, that I had attained to happiness and heaven; when I see thousands of intelligent beings gathered from the four quarters of the earth in this spacious hall. It speaks louder than thunder that this is the Kingdom of God. I feel as though I was in Zion this morning, and sitting in heavenly places, and hearing instruction; it breathes forth a spirit of peace, union, and power; and it makes every person happy.
It required a man of strong mind, power and energy to testify that God had spoken unto him by an angel, unto a generation of men who were sunk in wickedness and sin. Yet such a man was Joseph, the Prophet; and I testify before you that he brought forth the work of the Latter days, and we are the fruits of his labors. I ask you who were Brother Methodists and Baptists, why did you not continue with them? Simply because you saw you were standing on a slippery foundation, and beheld greater light when this work was presented unto you. If I am not in the Kingdom of God now I say farewell to all happiness and future hope of glory. But I am in it, and experience the blessings thereof. The Lord has brought us by his power and guidance from a land of oppression, sickness, disease and death, to a healthy land and a valley of peace and liberty.
I say to you heads of families, if you are not now laying a foundation for happiness and rest, where do you expect to do it? I shall be rewarded according to my works; but those who expect ease in Zion, when they wake up in the resurrection will find they have no inheritance therein.
If you can show me a man who is not selfish you show me no man at all. If you show me a woman who is not selfish you show me an idiot, and one who knows not the way to happiness or a crown of glory.
[p.125] When you see an opportunity of doing good and neglect that opportunity you will find that you have been led by the adversary on to the wrong path and are traveling the wrong way.
Know ye that the Kingdom of God is set up on the Earth and you are living in the days of Prophets and Apostles; and the Kingdom will continue to roll until it fills the whole world; then let us do everything willingly that is required of us.71
Once more Lorenzo accompanied President Young on a trip to southern Utah, leaving Salt Lake City on the 4th of May, 1854. His son, Joseph W., was also one of this company.
There are yet hundreds of the Saints living who remember the suffering for food in Utah in 1855–56, more especially in the latter year. The grasshoppers had so nearly destroyed the crops of 1855 that before harvest the following year there was much destitution and suffering for want of food. The resources of the Church for food supplies were so nearly exhausted that it became necessary to discharge the public hands. Many of these resided in the 18th Ward of which Lorenzo Young was bishop. The discharged men daily made calls on him, as bishop, for assistance in obtaining food, and he found it necessary to make great exertions to supply even partially the pressing demands. Lorenzo wrote to all the bishops in the Territory, setting forth the circumstances, requesting them to help him to all the grain that was possible and that any kind that would sustain man, even oats, would be acceptable. For this partial supply he paid out of his own funds. When every other source of supply was exhausted he continued to hand out to the suffering from his private store until only a few pounds were left.
As he could see no possible resources for further supply, he went to President Brigham Young, stated what he had done, and also that he had exhausted his ability to do more. Then came the earnest question, "What shall I do?" President Young dropped his head and seemed in meditation a few moments, then looked up and said: "Lorenzo, divide the last pound you have and trust in the Lord for the result." Lorenzo returned home with the determination to do as counseled. At evening he looked into his flour bin with the feeling that a peculiar crisis was at hand. There seemed no natural way to avoid impending famine. There were very few pounds of flour left, and every resource was exhausted. As was his custom he shut and locked the door of the storehouse securely.
The following morning Mrs. Young went as usual for flour, but soon returned to the room where Lorenzo was sitting, [p.126] considerably excited. Said she, "Brother Young, where have you been getting flour?" When he answered, "Nowhere," she said, "Go with me into the store room." He went in and opened the bin and to his surprise saw that not less than one hundred pounds had been put into it since the preceding evening. Lorenzo told his wife that he could not account for it as he had locked the door as usual the evening before. That bin proved to be like the widow's cruse of oil, for he has given this testimony: "I handed out of it to those suffering most until the season's harvest came to our relief. It may appear marvelous to many, but the facts were as related."
The Saints having become located where there was a prospect of immunity from persecution and of enjoying the fruits of their labors, circumstances and considerations of duty induced Lorenzo to increase his family. The 29th of April, 1856, he married Hannah Ida Hewett, and the 25th of November in the same year he married Ellen [Eleanor] Jones.
In 1858 he purchased an interest in a grist mill at the village of Richville, in Tooele County; sold out at the Point of the Mountain and moved his family there. He built a good adobe house and frame barn at Richville where for several years the Overland Stage Company kept their horses and their drivers ate their dinners.72
On the 18th of April, 1863, Lorenzo married Joanna Larsen.
It is a matter of general history that a United States Army left the Missouri River for Utah in 1857; that its progress was checked by the Utah Militia and that it was compelled to go into winter quarters at Fort Bridger, under very unfavorable conditions. While the army of invasion was snowbound in the Wasatch Range, Brigham Young decided on a remarkably bold and decisive policy—no less than evacuating the settlements north of Utah County, preparatory to laying that portion of Utah waste should the invading army determine to occupy it in a hostile attitude.73 Lorenzo Young and his family entered spiritedly into this policy in common with their people. They again left their homes, perhaps to find another one in the desert, with no conception of when or where. A return was hardly to be hoped for. Part of the family located at Provo to await the turn of events, while the remainder, with their cattle and sheep, went farther on to a little creek, southwest of Payson, where there was afterwards a settlement [p.127] called Spring Lake Villa.74 Wagons and tents were utilized for shelter.
William G. Young was at the time bishop of Grantsville and he and most of his Ward also encamped there. In common with the people, Lorenzo Young and his sons were ready to apply the torch to the houses that had sheltered them, and desolate the lands they had cultivated, rather than afford shelter and comfort to their enemies. But the Lord felt that the heart's sacrifice was enough. It was a happy termination to their trials when the word came that the Saints could return and occupy their homes.
In 1867, Lorenzo built a good frame house on his lot in the 18th Ward. It was plastered outside and in. The outside was left rough and when it was whitewashed was a pretty white house. In this house his wife, Harriet, passed away on the 22nd of December, 1871. Of her he bears this testimony: "She was a splendid housekeeper, a helpmate financially, a lady of education and intelligence, a hard worker with the grace and dignity of a queen, and above all a beloved and loving wife. Peace be to her remains."
Lorenzo Young has related the following interesting circumstances which occurred in 1870, while a part of his family resided at the mill in Richville, Tooele county: He was in much need of fifty dollars in money. To obtain it he went into Salt Lake City with his team, leading a mule to sell. He spent the following day in an unsuccessful effort to dispose of the animal. The morning of the third day he started for home with the mule tied to his team. Traveling a block and a half he saw Brother Zebulon Jacobs coming out to the road to meet him. After customary greetings, he being an old friend and acquaintance, Lorenzo asked him how he was getting along. With apparent dejection he replied that it was "the hardest time he had seen in his life." His wife had been sick for a long time and he was so reduced in circumstances that he had come from Springville to the City to see if he could not get some necessaries for her, but had not been able to get a dollar. Mr. Young had five dollars in his pocket; he handed it to Brother Jacobs saying, "Brother Jacobs, here is the last money I have; take it and get medicine and other little things you need." He says of what followed:
I had not traveled far before I had some curious reflections. As I believe, an evil spirit said to me: "Now what a fool you are. You have been to the City to raise money to pay a debt and given away your last dollar. Why did you not divide it?" At last, after being tempted until I became indignant, I arose up in my [p.128] wagon and said, "Get away from here, Mr. Devil. I will give away the last dollar I have and it is none of your business." I then raised my thoughts in meditation and prayer, as I continued my journey towards home. Traveling about five miles, I saw a man coming on a mule. We met with the usual salutation of "How do you do?" He said he was a prospector; was preparing to make a trip into the mountains and wanted a pack animal. I told him I would sell the mule that was tied to the horses at a fair price. He paid me seventy dollars for the animal. I told him as he was a stranger he should have a bill of sale, but I had no means with me of giving him one. He stated that he would put up at the Salt Lake House in the City, and I agreed to call there the next day and give him a bill of sale. According to promise I called and was informed by the landlord that the name was not on the record, neither had such a man as I described been there. I never saw the man afterwards. It seemed like a kindly providence to bless me in my difficulties. In thinking of it I am reminded of the saying of the wise man, "The liberal man divideth liberal things and by his liberality shall he live."
On the 4th of July, 1872, Lorenzo was driving a high-spirited horse in his buggy along Second South street, Salt Lake City, accompanied by his niece, Lydia Young, when a boy threw a burning fire-cracker under the animal. The mare was so frightened that she kicked with both feet, coming down astride of the fills. She then broke into a run and as he could not control her, he guided her so that she ran her head into a shop window. The collision threw him out of the buggy, while his niece jumped out. Lorenzo was thrown with much force and fell on the back of his neck and shoulders. When taken up, for some time he was thought to be dead. In about twenty minutes he began to show signs of life, but could not speak aloud for three weeks. He never entirely recovered from the severe injury then received.
The spirit of preaching the Gospel for the salvation of man rested upon Lorenzo Young from his youth. The spirit of the mission that he accepted from his angel guide in vision, in Mendon, Monroe County, state of New York, to "bear a faithful testimony to the inhabitants of the earth of a sacrificed and risen Savior, and of his atonement for man," is evidently the heritage of his sons under the Latter-day dispensation of the priesthood, inasmuch as six of his eldest sons have filled important missions.
About this time Lorenzo Young was set apart by the First Presidency of the Church to preside over and direct the labors of a quorum of Home Missionaries, under the general direction [p.129] of Apostle Orson Pratt, with Bishop Reuben Miller as his assistant. He occupied this position for about three years and had much satisfaction in laboring with his brethren. In the capacity of Home Missionary he visited nearly all the settlements of Utah with blessings to himself and the people.
On February 27th, 1873, President Brigham Young's party, which again included Lorenzo, arrived in Salt Lake City at 6 o'clock p.m., having returned from a three month visit to the southern part of the Territory, where much missionary work was done in preaching to the Saints and encouraging them to live their religion.
As his ability to do decreased with age, Lorenzo was not able to perform his public duties with satisfaction to himself, and in 1879 tendered his resignation as bishop of the 18th Ward of Salt Lake City, and was permitted by President Taylor75 to retire to his farm on the outskirts of Salt Lake City.
Lorenzo Young wrote in his journal October 1st, 1887:76
I am very unwell today, and if not better shall not try to continue my record. If I live eighteen days longer I shall be eighty years old. I have passed through many hard and trying scenes, but the good Lord has ever sustained me and at numerous times sent His holy angels to deliver me when all earthly hopes were lost, and I feel to praise His holy name. The path looks bright before me, and I look forward to the happy hour when I shall have finished my labor here, and am permitted to go and join the society of my dear friends who are beyond the veil, and I believe some are longing to see me come to join them in a more glorious labor than we can perform here.
On the 20th of January, 1888, Lorenzo expressed his feelings and recorded some interesting incidents of his early life as follows:
Today all pretty well, and I feel that I am greatly blest. I am free from the common cares of life to which almost all men are subjected to. My wife, Ellen, attends to all the domestic cares and I have no worriment about them. I am blest with all the necessaries of life, such as food and raiment, a comfortable habitation and a good bed and quiet room. This morning I had a little bird that my son, Frank, shot yesterday and brought in. When I sat down to my breakfast, a circumstance of my boyhood's experience came before my mind's eye and a scene which [p.130] transpired with my brother Brigham and myself, sixty-seven years ago last March. My brother was fifteen years old and I was nine years and in my tenth year. My father had gone into Tyrone, Tompkins County, in western New York and taken up a farm of one-hundred acres of land, in a dense forest fifteen miles from any settlement where there were any supplies to be gotten. My father and brothers worked [at] chopping [timber] through the winter. When spring came the boys went out to the settlements to get work, as we were out of all supplies, except my brother Brigham, and myself. Father had a nice lot of sugar maples on his place. He made troughs and tapped the sugar bush and left Brigham to haul the sap, and when he had made fifty or sixty pounds of sugar, he took it on his back and started for the settlement to exchange it for flour, as all our flour was gone and that was our main living, in those days. Our boys would think it hard fare to sit down to a breakfast of nothing but bread, water and porridge, although that was our living, only as my brother John would once in a while kill a deer or perhaps a partridge.
Well, on this occasion father had been gone two days, and brother Brigham and I had worked very hard to gather the sap, which labor fell entirely on Brigham, but I kept it a-boiling. We had eaten the last flour the day father left, and had not had a bite all day except what sugar we had eaten and we were very faint, but as night drew nigh we started for the house and to our joy a little robin came flying along and lit on a tall tree near the house. Brigham ran to the house and got the gun, and if I ever prayed in my life, I did then that he might kill the poor little robin. The gun cracked and down came the robin. We soon had it dressed and boiling in the pot, and when we thought it cooked we then wished for flour enough to thicken the broth. Finally brother Brigham got the flour barrel and told me to set a pan on the floor and he held up the barrel and I thumped it with a stick and the flour came out of the cracks and we got two or three spoonfuls and thickened the broth, and then with thanks to God for his mercy, we ate and seemed to have all we wanted, a full meal for two hungry boys on one little robin and two spoonfuls of flour.
We had a good night's rest, and the next morning went to work and worked all day until almost night on the strength of our little robin, when our father came with flour and we were once more happy. Now in my [p.131] advanced life I can look back upon the days of my boyhood and see the many hardships I had to pass through, and to remember the hardships my father with his family passed through, and who from obscurity have become some of Zion's noblest sons and daughters....
On the 20th of September, 1888, Hannah Ida, wife of Lorenzo, died in Salt Lake City, aged 49 years, three months, and nine days. She was the mother of three sons and two daughters. The funeral services were held on the 24th of September. The following is from Mr. Young's journal of that date:
Today we have paid the last tribute of respect to my wife, Hannah, and the mother of five of my children. The funeral services were held in the First Ward meeting house, Bishop Warburton and my nephew, Seymour B. Young, officiating. My son, William, spoke; also had a good meeting. About twenty-five carriages escorted a large number of friends to the cemetery. My son, Franklin W., offered the dedicatory prayer at the grave. This is twelve of my household, ten children and two wives and mothers I have laid away to rest until the morning of the resurrection, when I expect to receive them all again and enjoy their society in peace and happiness, and dwell on this earth to die no more or suffer pain or woe.
January 29th, 1890. Today my nephew, James A. Little, whom I employed about two months ago to write a sketch of my life, has read to me the last sheet of the pencil manuscript. The preceding portions he has read at various times as they have been written. Since I resigned the bishopric of the 18th Ward of Salt Lake City and retired to my quiet home in the southeast portion of the city, my life does not appear to have been very eventful; still it has not lacked in the joys and sorrows incident to mortality. Here, the Lord willing, I hope to end my days in peace.
I have been subject to very severe turns of sickness in which I have suffered great pain. So much so that release from human ills has often seemed desirable, had it been the Lord's will. But inasmuch as I still continue to suffer at times severely, I feel to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in the continuation of my life, and am awaiting my departure with resignation to his purposes. As the current of life gradually runs slower, and the shadows of the future gather around, my past life often passes in review before me. I think I can truly say I have not oppressed the poor, nor sought by unrighteous [p.132] means to accumulate wealth. But the Lord in his providences has blessed me in my old age with means to do good, with which to assist those of my numerous family who are in somewhat straitened circumstances, and to give assistance to all in the struggle of life; for which I feel thankful, as well as for the very comfortable manner in which I am passing my last days.
My generation has passed away. I am the last one living of five brothers and six sisters, and with great satisfaction, but still wishing there might have been no exceptions to the rule, I leave the following on record regarding my father's family: My father, my stepmother, Hannah Brown, my four brothers and six sisters, with their wives and husbands, were all members of the Church, carried out their professions and lived like true Saints, with the exception of two brothers-in-law, of a family of twenty-three; twenty-one of them, if I pass away in the faith, will have lived and died Latter-day Saints. My half-brother, Edward, was baptized in his childhood, but in his ripe manhood withdrew from the Church.
Of my own family I desire to leave the following summing up: The wife of my youth, Persis Goodall, bore me ten children; my wife Harriet Page, two; my wife Hannah Ida Hewitt, five; my wife Ellen Jones, four; and my wife Anna Larsen, three. Eighteen sons and six daughters, of these at this date [August, 1890], eleven sons and three daughters are living, and with their wives and husbands are in full fellowship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ten who have passed away did so before arriving at years of accountability, or died in good standing in the Church. There is so much that is near and dear to me on the other side of the veil that hides the immortal from our vision, that I feel almost impatient to burst the bonds and be free. Then when I reflect on the abundant overflowing blessings that my Heavenly Father has showered upon me, I chide myself for my impatience.77
1John Young, father of Lorenzo, fought as a youth in the Revolutionary War, campaigning under George Washington. Legend has it that at the expiration of his service he walked the hundred miles back to his Vermont home carrying a cannon ball as a memento of his military career. Three years prior to the birth of Lorenzo, the family, which ultimately numbered thirteen children, moved from Vermont to western New York. Bitter poverty dogged the Youngs from farm to farm in this new country, and the mother's premature death may well have been hastened by stark privation.
2The incident is evocative of the religious atmosphere of the "burnt over" New York frontier, where revivalism and millennarianism were rampant during the 1820's and '30's.
3Brigham Young, following his marriage with Miriam Angeline Works, Oct. 8, 1824, had settled in Mendon, where he was employed as a journeyman Painter and glazier, to which he added, in a small way, farming.
4The Campbellites, or Disciples of Christ, were founded in 1826 by Thomas Campbell and his more famous son, Alexander, as a result of doctrinal disagreements with the Baptists. The sect, with its affiliate, the Christians, Spread rapidly throughout Mid-America, especially during the decade of the 1830's. As a "creedless" organization it has laid major stress upon Christian unity. Cf. B. B. Tyler, History of the Disciples of Christ (American Church History Series, vol. XII, New York, 1894).
5At the outset, the Campbells were insistent upon the necessity of Baptism as the essential Christian initiation, whereas the Baptists from whom they had separated tended to regard it as a rite signifying Christian maturity.
6The Book of Mormon was published in March, 1830. Brigham Young himself was not baptized as a Mormon until April 14, 1832, prior to his historic meeting with Joseph Smith in November of that year. However, it would seem that Brigham had devoted much time to the study of the new revelation between its publication and his final acceptance of it, and while still a catechumen, was a zealous promoter of Mormon teachings.
7Miriam Angeline Works, first wife of Brigham Young, died of tuberculosis in Mendon, N. Y., Sept. 8, 1832, a convert to the faith which had so powerfully attracted her husband. It was in February, 1834, at Kirtland, Ohio, that Sidney Rigdon performed the marriage ceremony for Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angell.
8Sidney Rigdon, a native of western Pennsylvania, had passed through several phases of Baptist and Campbellite revivalism and had acquired a considerable reputation as a highly emotional preacher before he was introduced to Mormonism by his friend, Parley P. Pratt, in November. 1830. He quickly rose to a place of prominence as one of Joseph Smith's most trusted advisers and shared in the Prophet's wanderings and sufferings from Ohio to Missouri. When Nauvoo was founded, he was named councilman, professor of Church history in the projected university, and city attorney. His name was placed in candidacy for the vice-presidency of the United States in Joseph Smith's campaign of 1844, but he seems to have taken little part in the venture. After Joseph Smith's death he attempted to capture the Church presidency, but being unsuccessful, withdrew from fellowship and organized an independent branch of the Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at Pittsburgh. Long before his death in 1876 his following had dwindled away.
9The impulse of the Youngs to migrate to Missouri stemmed from their response to Joseph Smith's revelation (Doctrine and Covenants, section 57) that "this is the land of promise and the place for the city of Zion." Joseph Smith visited Missouri in the summer of 1831 and made plans for the establishment of the New Jerusalem in Jackson County, which envisaged the ultimate transfer of the headquarters of the Church from Kirtland, Ohio, to the Trans-Mississippi West. The infiltration of Mormons into the settled area of Missouri aroused the Gentile frontiersmen to violent protest, with the result that the Saints were driven, in 1833, into Clay County.
10Speaking with tongues was a characteristic charism of early Mormonism. On occasion of his first meeting with the Prophet Joseph, Brigham Young gave voice to what was recognized by Joseph Smith as "the pure Adamic language". Cf, Preston Nibley, Brigham Young, the Man and His Work (Salt Lake City, 1936), p. 11.
11Joseph Smith's selection of Kirtland, Ohio (now a suburb of industrial Cleveland but then a quiet farming community) as the first headquarters of the Saints dates from the fall of 1830, following the publication of the Book of Mormon. The success of the brilliant Parley P. Pratt in winning numerous converts there determined the choice, and the disappointing reception accorded the Saints in Missouri prompted Joseph Smith to proceed with an extensive building program in the Ohio village, including the first Latter-day Saint temple, upon which Lorenzo was engaged. The structure was designed along the familiar lines of a New England meeting house.
12According to the anthropology of the Book of Mormon the Lamanites, or Indians, were the degenerate descendants of Laman who had rebelled against the prophet Nephi, and had so been cursed with a red skin. Through their conversion to the Restored Gospel, as well as through intermarriage, it was confidently expected that the American Indians would again become a "white and delightsome people".
13If Lorenzo Young's statement of Hyrum Smith's prophecy is correct this would seem to be the first reference to Mormon settlement in the Rocky Mountains. It is well known that on August 6, 1842, and on several occasions thereafter, Joseph Smith spoke of the Mountains as a place of refuge for the persecuted Saints, where they would become a "mighty people." Cf. Brigham H. Roberts, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, 1931), vol. V., p. 85.
14After their expulsion from Jackson County, the Saints remained for a while in Clay County, where they were kindly received, but where settlement was not feasible. In Caldwell County, however, vacant land was abundant, and the community of Far West was founded as a new center of Mormonism. By 1838, when Joseph Young arrived from Kirtland with 600 followers, in accordance with Joseph Smith's directions, the Mormon population of the area had reached nearly 5000, with others settled in Daviess, Carroll, and Ray Counties, adjoining. A bluff overlooking the Missouri in Daviess County was named by the Prophet Tower Hill, and a site at its base was selected by him for a new holy city, to be named Adam-ondi-Ahman. This, he declared (Doctrine and Covenants, section 117), was the land in which Adam dwelt after he had been driven from Eden.
Unfortunately for the Mormons, their attempt to establish themselves in isolation on the Missouri frontier continued to inflame the antagonism of the non-Mormons of the region and led, during 1838, to a fresh outbreak of lawless warfare. Undoubtedly, there were faults on both sides, but the "driving and harrying" of the Saints, culminating in the destruction of Far West and the tragedy at Haun's Mill, where seventeen Mormon men and boys were killed displays religious intolerance at its worst, and reflects little credit upon the Missouri state government of the time.
15John B. Clark held rank as major general in command of a division of the Missouri state militia. During the whole sorry business of the expulsion of the Saints from their homes he seems to have been distinguished by an especially revengeful spirit, in rather sharp contrast to his fellow officer, General Alexander Doniphan.
16Lorenzo Young's estimate of Sampson Avard would appear to be entirely justified, since the whole episode of Avard's ascendancy over Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon tended to bring discredit upon the Church organization and to furnish a handle for the Gentile opponents of Mormonism who claimed that the Danite Band was a subversive element on the frontier. Avard turned state's witness against Joseph in the trial at Richmond in November, 1838, but was not excommunicated until March 17 of the following year. Cf. B. H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Period I, History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet (Salt Lake City, 1902–12), vol. III, pp. 180–181.
17This lively account of the "Battle of Crooked River" (Oct. 25, 1838), and of the fatal wounding of Apostle Patten is one of the most detailed on record. It was news of this affair, grossly exaggerated and colored by partisan passion, which determined Governor Lillburn Boggs of Missouri to spare no means to rid the state of the Mormons, and which influenced even so fair-minded a man as David R. Atchison (later Senator), who had defended the Mormons at the time of their expulsion from Jackson County, to appeal for summary measures against the Prophet and his followers.
18When the news of the Haun's Mill massacre reached Far West on October 29, 1838, Joseph Smith, who had contemplated resistance to the Missouri militia, appealed to General Alexander Doniphan to arrange terms of surrender. Doniphan, who was personally friendly to the Prophet and who had undertaken his legal defense, prevailed so far as to prevent Joseph Smith's immediate execution and to guarantee a trial. Brigham Young escaped, and the reasonably peaceful withdrawal of the Saints from Missouri to Illinois was directed by him. According to the Oliver B. Huntington diary (MS, Utah State Historical Society, vol. 1, p. 34) it was Joseph who, on the eve of his surrender, dispatched the participants in the Crooked River engagement, who were especially sought after for vengeance, to the north.
After an inconclusive trial in Richmond, Ray County, Joseph Smith was taken to Liberty, where he spent nearly five months in jail. On April 6, 1839, he, with his companions, was taken to Gallatin, Daviess County, for trial on the scene of his alleged crimes. Defended by Peter Burnett, later governor of California, a plea for change of venue because of local prejudice was granted, but the Prophet, as might have been intended by his captors, found no difficulty in escaping from his drunken guards. The Missourians, having possessed themselves of the Mormon lands and improvements, and having transferred to Illinois the problem of dealing with the sectaries, made only token efforts to retake him.
19Brigham Young, though worn out by his exertions in transferring the Saints to their new home and gravely concerned for the welfare of his family, promptly responded to Joseph Smith's direction that he head the mission of the Apostles to England. With the death of Apostle Patten and the treason of Apostle Marsh, Brigham had ascended to first rank in the Quorum of the Twelve. The Seventies, named for the disciples of the Gospel, were entrusted with the missionary activities of the Church, while "the Twelve," the Apostles, formed the central governing body.
20The immediate reaction of the non-Mormon settlers of Hancock County, Illinois, whither the bulk of the Saints had gathered after their exodus from Missouri, was entirely favorable. The site of Nauvoo was selected by Joseph Smith shortly after he had effected his escape from the Gallatin prison and rejoined his faithful across the Mississippi. The first sign of disaffection toward the Mormons was noted in the village of Warsaw, where the speedy growth of Nauvoo (which soon outstripped Chicago as the metropolis of the state) was eyed with frank disfavor as a distinct threat to Warsaw's hegemony in Hancock County politics.
21An older brother, Feramorz, also settled in Nauvoo at this time. In after life, Feramorz, as mayor of Salt Lake City (1876–1882) and as a successful business executive, was far more widely known than the retiring James Amasa.
22Fanny Young Murray was an older sister of Lorenzo and Brigham, born November 8, 1787. She married Robert Carr and after his death Roswell Murray, and on November 2, 1843, was sealed to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young performing the temple rite. She died June 11, 1859.
23John M. Bernhisel perhaps gained a more lasting reputation as delegate to Congress from the Territory of Utah than as a physician. In Washington during the 1850's he ably but unsuccessfully opposed the fiasco of the Utah War. In later years he served as a regent of the University of Deseret.
24The concern of the missionary party was fully understandable, especially as the death of the Prophet and his brother left the question of succession to the presidency of the Church undecided. Against Sidney Rigdon's rather strong candidacy, on the score of his numerous services, Brigham Young, who had hastened home from Peterborough, New Hampshire, on receipt of the tragic news, powerfully asserted the right of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, of which he was the head, to exercise the primacy. On August 8, in a general meeting held in the grove near the unfinished Nauvoo Temple, Brigham Young carried the day overwhelmingly.
25Prior to this mission to Ohio, on March 9, 1843, Harriet Page Wheeler Decker, wife of Isaac Decker, was married to Lorenzo as a plural wife. Presumably an amicable separation had been arranged between Harriet and her first husband, though the record is blank. As for Persis Goodall Young, about all that can be said is that she gradually fades from the picture. There is no further mention of her in the biography, but in the journal she is mentioned twice. On Tuesday, July 7, 1846, while the pioneer band was enroute across Iowa, Lorenzo, then settling down at Winter Quarters, remarks that he "Visited Persis and the children." Later, on December 12, 1846, the entry reads, "Sister Fanny and Persis took dinner with us." It would seem probable from this that Lorenzo's first wife was living with his sister Fanny, one of Joseph Smith's widows, and was thus a member of Brigham Young's household. Persis subsequently became a wife of Dr. Levi Richards, and came to Utah in Bishop Edward Hunter's company, September 29, 1850, with her daughter, Harriet. She died September 16, 1894, in Salt Lake City, aged 88.
26The Nauvoo House was designed as a large and substantial hotel, built in conformity to a revelation received by Joseph Smith in January, 1841 (Doctrine and Covenants, section 124). Work on this ambitious structure lagged for several years, but was taken up in earnest under the driving force of Brigham Young after the Prophet's death. At the time of the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, however, the hotel, like the even more pretentious temple, was only partially completed.
27The first few months of Brigham Young's regime over the Church were passed in comparative quiet, and for a time it seemed as though popular reaction to the killing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith might favor the Mormon cause. By the beginning of 1845, however, renewal of hostilities again became a distinct threat. Both political parties in Illinois, the Whigs and the Democrats, having failed in their bid for Mormon support, united in a campaign to drive the Latter-day Saints from the state. In January, the liberal city charter of Nauvoo was repealed and the civic officers deposed. Feeble attempts of Governor Thomas Ford to defend the reputation of the Mormon people proved ineffective, and by the autumn of that year bitterness was running so high that a repetition of the Missouri persecutions seemed inevitable. In the event, Brigham Young's decision to yield was in part governed by his recognition that conflict could only end in disaster for his people; in part by the impulse, which had long germinated in the mind of Joseph Smith, to seek out a permanent place of refuge in the Rocky Mountains. In the general council held in September it was resolved to send fifteen hundred men to the Salt Lake Valley, and a committee of five was appointed to gather information bearing upon the mass migration thither. Shortly thereafter, confronted with an ultimatum from the embattled anti-Mormon Gentiles, Brigham Young signed an agreement whereby the Saints were to vacate Nauvoo by the following spring.
28B. H. Roberts, in his A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, 1930), vol. III, p. 52, describes the organization of the march: "The first step in organization, when it was decided that the Saints must leave Nauvoo, was to select twenty-five men called captains of hundreds; authorized in turn to select one hundred families, and see to it that they were prepared for their journey across the Rocky Mountains. The captains of hundreds were also instructed to select captains of fifties, and of tens, with clerks, guards, etc., and making such division of camp work as gave best promise of success."
29Acting on the suggestion of Secretary of War William L. Marcy, Col. Stephen W. Kearney, commanding at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, dispatched Captain James Allen to meet the Mormon migration and to enlist, if possible, a battalion of soldiers for a twelve-month period to effect the occupation of New Mexico and California as the western phase of operations of the War with Mexico. At the Mormon encampment at Mount Pisgah, Iowa, Allen circularized the Saints, but it was not until official approbation had been given by Brigham Young and his council, that enlistments were received. Over 500 men were enrolled and under the command of Col. Philip St. George Cooke performed the difficult march to the Pacific Coast. The advantages of the arrangement, as recognized by the Mormon leader, were twofold: the transportation of a considerable body of the Saints to their mountain destination without embarrassment to the depleted Church treasury; and the cementing of more cordial relations with the Federal government which would guarantee freedom from molestation to the pilgrims enroute across the plains. Incidental to the story of the Mormon Battalion was the presence of numbers of the discharged members at the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, California, early in 1848.
30Sarpee's (Sarpy's) Point was named after a well-known St. Louis trader, Peter A. Sarpy, who operated for many years along the Missouri River.
31Clara Decker, Brigham Young's wife who accompanied him on the journey, was a daughter of Harriet Page Wheeler Decker, wife of Lorenzo, by her former marriage to Isaac Decker. At sixteen she was married to Brigham as his sixth wife on May 8, 1844, an older sister, Lucy Ann Decker being his first polygamous wife. Ellen Sanders, wife of Heber Chase Kimball, was the third woman of the party.
32In this account of the journey of the vanguard of the Mormon pioneers from Winter Quarters to the Salt Lake Valley, James A. Little did no more than to recast and telescope what he had previously published in his book From Kirtland to Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City, 1890, Juvenile Instructor's Office). When he came to the writing of this biography of Lorenzo D. Young he incorporated a few added details which will be noted in their place.
33Lawrence Clayton, ed., Clayton's Journal (Salt Lake City, 1921), pp. 80–81; The Latter-day Saint's Emigrants' Guide, by W. Clayton (St. Louis, 1848). The Guide is reprinted in B. H. Robert's, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, 1930), vol. III. pp. 549–572.
34Clayton's Journal, pp. 87–88.
35Op. cit., pp. 114–115, passim.
36Charles Beaumont, with nine men, had left Fort Laramie during the spring, carrying a load of furs to the Missouri. Cf. LeRoy R. Hafen and Francis Marion Young, Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West (Glendale, Calif., 1938), p. 122.
37During 1850, while Apostle Orson Pratt was president of the Latter-day Saint Mission in Great Britain, his journal was published serially in the official Church magazine, The Millennial Star. This extract is found in vol. XII, No. 3, pp. 34–35 (Feb. 1, 1850).
38Here the emigrant trail dipped sharply down to the bed of the Platte River. Near this spot, during the summer of 1856, General William S. Harney annihilated a force of Brule Sioux, winning the unenviable name of "Squaw Killer."
39Dr. Willard Richards gave the name to the formation, according to Clayton's Journal, p. 175.
40In camp near Scott's Bluff, Saturday, May 29, President Brigham Young, unleashed a vigorous attack on what he considered the growing laxity of the rank and file, the card-playing, the dancing, the unseemly quarreling. As reported by the faithful Clayton, the sermon was well calculated to induce the piety of Sunday, May 30 (Journal pp. 189–199).
41Bordeau (also spelled Bordeaux, Bourdreau, Boudeaux, Bedeau, and Bondeau; Bernard DeVoto in his Year of Decision, 1846 remarks that its possessor probably did not know how to spell it himself) was the bourgeois, or factor, of the American Fur Company of St. Louis, operating at Fort Laramie. He had entertained the eager Francis Parkman during the previous summer at the post.
42Robert Crow and his son-in-law, George Therkill, Mormon converts from Mississippi, had wintered at Pueblo and brought to the Church leaders news of the sick members of the Mormon Battalion who had been left there. Brigham Young dispatched Apostle Amasa Lyman to guide these convalescents to the Salt Lake Valley.
43Lillburn W. Boggs, despite the obloquy attached to his name because of the famous "extermination" order issued against the Mormons, seems to have been an able governor of Missouri. He served in the State Senate from 1842 to 1846, but his opposition to Senator Thomas Hart Benton broke his political career. In the latter year he moved to Napa Valley, California, where he played his part in establishing American authority to replace the ci-devant Mexican rule. Before his death in 1860 he amassed a fortune as a trader with the California Argonauts.
44Millennial Star, vol. XII, No. 8 (April 15, 1850), p. 114.
45The crossing of the Platte is not far from the present location of Casper, Wyoming. Heavy rains, unusual at the season, had swollen the river, making it possible for the Mormon pioneers to collect ferry charges from the Gentile emigrants.
46Cf. Matthias F. Cowley, ed., Wilford Woodruff, History of His Life and Labors (Salt Lake City, 1909), p. 299.
47Millennial Star, May 15, 1850, p. 146.
48Moses Harris, also known as "Black" and "Major" Harris, was a mountain man of long experience. Possibly a native of Kentucky, he may have been with the Ashley expedition of 1822, and was certainly a member of the 1823 party. He is described as being extremely dark in complexion, utterly fearless, and of extraordinary endurance. He was one of the trappers who convoyed Marcus Whitman to the Green River crossing in 1836, and accompanied the American Board missionaries two years later. In 1844 he guided the Gilliam and Ford emigrants to Oregon, and according to a contemporary source, "has traveled the route over and over again, and knows every tree, creek, spring, hill and hollow that lies in the way of the traveller." On May 5, 1847, he left the Oregon settlements with seven men and twenty animals laden with furs for trading. His encounter with the Mormons is mentioned in the journals of William Clayton, Howard Egan, Orson Pratt, and Wilford Woodruff, and all relate his discouraging report of the Salt Lake Valley. He showed them a copy of Samuel Brannan's California Star, second newspaper to be launched in the former Mexican colony. Clayton remarks that Harris painted a more favorable picture of Cache Valley as a place for the Saints to locate. (Journal, 271–272). Harris died of cholera at Independence, Mo., May 6, 1849. Cf. Charles L. Camp, ed., James Clyman, American Frontiersman (San Francisco, 1928), pp. 53–58.
49James Bridger (March 17, 1804—July 17, 1881), a native of Virginia and a member of Ashley's first expedition of 1822, was perhaps the most famous of the mountain men, and has deservedly been made the subject of J. Cecil Alter's exhaustive biography, James Bridger (Salt Lake City, 1925). His initial cordiality toward the Mormon pioneers soon deteriorated, and in 1853 he abandoned the "fort" he had established ten years earlier in southwestern Wyoming. In 1857–58, he served as a guide for Johnston's army invading Utah. His declining years were spent in Kansas City, Mo.
50Little fails to mention the arrival, on June 30, of Sam Brannan, fresh from California via Fort Hall. Enroute, Brannan and his two companions had passed through the gruesome camp of the Donner party, where the evidences of the desperate cannibalism of the survivors—or some of them—were, from his description, plain to see. Brannan, who had headed a company of the New York Saints who had sailed for California, arriving there the previous year, attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Brigham Young and his council of the superior advantages of a settlement near the Golden Gate. His disgruntlement eventually led to his separation from the Church.
51Lansford Warren Hastings, on the basis of his sketchy and inaccurate knowledge of Western trails, published at Cincinnati, Ohio, in the spring of 1845, his famous but ill-omened The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California (Charles Carey, ed., Princeton, 1932), in which the merits of his cut-off through the Wasatch Mountains were advertised. During the migration of 1846, Edwin Bryant and his company, unencumbered by wagons, broke through the Weber Canyon barrier, crossed the Salt Desert, and arrived in California in due season. A second company, piloted by Hastings himself, experienced the full difficulties of transporting wagons over the almost impossible trail. It was the Reed-Donner party, starting from Fort Bridger on June 28, that encountered such delays in road breaking as to bring on the disaster which overtook it in the Sierras. Altogether about 80 wagons had been taken through the Wasatch barrier during 1846.
52On the evening of July 10, narrates William Clayton (Journal, p. 289), Miles Goodyear came into the Mormon camp and gave a rather favorable report of the Salt Lake Valley. Goodyear had obtained a grant to the country around the future city of Ogden from the Mexican authorities in California as early as 1841, and had built a fort, consisting of a stockade and a few log houses, near the confluence of the Weber and Ogden Rivers. On June 6, 1848 he sold out his holdings to James Brown, discharged from the Mormon Battalion. Cf. Charles Kelly and Maurice L. Howe, Miles Goodyear (Salt Lake City, 1937).
53President Young's illness seems to have been a dysentery known as "mountain fever."
54James Frazier Reed, active head of the Reed-Donner party, confronted with the almost insuperable difficulties of the Weber Canyon route, had blazed a new trail from Echo across "Big Mountain" and "Little Mountain," ultimately emerging into the valley through Emigration Canyon.
55Porter Rockwell, one of the hardiest of the Mormon scouts.
56These are the famous "Nine Horsemen" whose exploit has been considered worthy of commemoration on the Centennial Monument which was unveiled at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, July 24, 1947.
57Wilford Woodruff, in M. R. Werner, Brigham Young (New York City, 1925), p. 231, gives a more solemn account of the arrival of the Mormon leader: "When we came out of the cañon into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. While gazing on the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. But all he said was, 'It is enough. This is the right place, drive on'." Like most famous statements of history, there seem to be as many versions of what Brigham Young actually said as there are individual reporters who heard him or fancied that they did so.
58Orson P. Whitney, History of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1892), vol. 1, p. 337, writes: "Early on the morning of the 26th, before the President's exploring party had set out, Lorenzo D. Young obtained permission to remove his wagons from the south branch of City Geek to a more elevated, and as he believed, healthier site on the branch running westward, near what was afterwards known as the Whitney Corner, opposite the northeast corner of Temple Block. There stood a solitary scrub-oak, one of the few trees at first visible in the valley. Beneath the scant shade of this exile of the forest—for it was neither monarch nor resident of the wood—he placed his covered wagon box, lifting it from the wheels for that purpose, and did all in his power to make a comfortable and cozy little nook for his dejected wife, so badly dispirited over the treeless and desolate aspect of their new home. The President and his party, passing by on their way to the mountains, decided that this was a better camping ground than the one occupied. Other wagon were therefore directed to remove to that vicinity, which, being done, it was thenceforth known as the Upper Camp. In the neighborhood a spot for a garden was selected, and its cultivation immediately begun."
59According to legend, Bridger is said to have remarked that he would pay $100 for every ear of corn grown in the Salt Lake Valley. Actually, as related in Clayton's Journal (pp. 275–276) he merely remarked that he considered the nights were too cold in the valleys for the successful raising of corn.
60Andrew Jenson, ed., The Historical Record (Salt Lake City, 1890), vol. IX, p.88.
61Ibid., p. 89 (Actually, this occurred on Aug. 12).
62It is difficult to estimate the number of Saints, mostly members of the Mormon Battalion, who arrived in the valley between July 22 and mid-August. That they were fairly numerous may be surmised from the fact that on August 16 a first party of 24 pioneers and 46 Battalion dischargees left Salt Lake City for Winter Quarters, and on August 26, a second company, headed by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, totaling 107 persons, set out for the same destination.
63Cf. Jenson, op cit., p. 99.
64On August 9 a daughter was born to John and Catherine Campbell Steele in a tent on temple square; and on August 15, a daughter was born to George and Martilla Jane Therkill.
65Father John Smith, uncle of the martyred Prophet, had been chosen to preside over the colony during the absence of Brigham Young and the Twelve.
66This first grist mill was built and operated by Charles Crismon. Shortly afterward, a pioneer named Leffingwell constructed a threshing machine and a fanning mill near the same location, and John Neff put up a flour mill near Archibald and Robert Gardiner's saw mill near the mouth of Mill Creek canyon.
67Kanesville, named for the benevolent Philadelphian, Thomas L. Kane, was the successor to Winter Quarters, built on the present site of Council Bluffs, Iowa, as a result of government permission for the Mormons to occupy the Indian lands on the east bank of the Missouri for a period of five years.
68A stream in southwestern Iowa.
69Tradition in the Young family recalls two of these varieties as the Spitzenberg Kaign and the white Winter Pearmain apple trees.
70The division of Salt Lake City into nineteen ecclesiastical wards, each headed by a bishop and his council, was effected on February 14, 1849. Contradicting Little, Orson F. Whitney in his History of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1892), vol. 1, p. 388, states that Presiding Bishop Newell K. Whitney was the first bishop of the Eighteenth Ward. Whitney further states that: "Each of these wards comprised, as far as practicable, three blocks square; the enumeration beginning at the southeastern corner of the city, where the First Ward lies, and running west to the city limits, where the Fifth Ward ends. The enumeration then continued on the next tier of blocks from west to east, then back again, and so on until all the wards were formed." It would seem that Lorenzo Young shortly assumed the duties of ward bishop, serving from 1851 to 1878, in place of the presiding bishop, whose duties prevented close attention to his home ward.
71"Journal History" (Ms., L.D.S. Church Historian's Office), Oct. 9, 1852.
72Richville was one of the first settlements in Tooele County, located on Twin Spring Creek. Here Ezra T. Benson built a saw mill in 1849, and the village, in 1856, was declared the county seat, but lost that distinction to Tooele on January 18, 1861.
73For an account of the Utah War, see "The Utah War—Journal of Albert Tracy, 1858–1860," Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. XIII.
74Spring Lake Villa is located between the modern towns of Payson and Santaquin. Tradition holds that it was the birthplace of the famous Pa-ute warrior, Black Hawk, who died there Sept. 27, 1870.
75John Taylor (1808–1887), third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
76This reference together with subsequent entries are contained in a later unpublished journal, in possession of his granddaughter, Mrs. Marie Y. Erekson.
77During his declining years, Lorenzo Dow Young resided in Salt Lake City, lovingly cared for by his wife, Ellen, at her home on 11th East Street, assisted by his wife Hannah Ida, who did the carding and weaving, and his wife Joanna, who was the seamstress of the family, both of whom lived on 9th East Street. The home as a unit, according to family tradition, was singularly harmonious and peaceful, reflecting Lorenzo's irenic personality. In such idyllic surroundings, Lorenzo departed this life on November 21, 1895, in the 89th year of his age.